Posts Tagged ‘extra virgin olive oil’

Fresh Chile Citrus Salsa

July 7th, 2009 by Justin | Comments Off on Fresh Chile Citrus Salsa | Filed in Salsas, Sauces

I don’t watch a lot of television, but when I do, I naturally gravitate toward the Food Network.  And, unashamedly so, two of my favorite shows are Chopped and Iron Chef.  I just so happened to be watching Bobby Flay competing on Iron Chef last Sunday, and noticed that he had four or five blenders filled with different combinations of vegatables and what not to be pureed into sauces.

Since I was planning on making tacos some time soon (which happened to be yesterday), I decided to give this technique a try.  Also, I just so happened to have the luck of having a roommate who recently took up gardening,  so I had all of these peppers hanging around fresh on my balcony.  “Fresher is better” and all that.


  • 3 roma tomatoes
  • 3 jalepeños
  • 3 banana chiles
  • 3 Anaheim chiles
  • 2 limes
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tbps. extra virgin olive oil

Remove the tops of the tomatoes, quarter and add to blender.  Add the juice of the lemon and limes.

In a small pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and peppers.  Toss till well coated.  Roast until the chiles begin to blacken on each side.  Turn with tongs to get an even roasting.  Be careful not to burn them as you don’t want flaky bits of ash in your salsa.  The entire process takes about 7-10 minutes.

Once roasted, remove the chiles from the pan and place on a cutting board to cool.  Do not rinse or wipe them down.  Once you are able to handle them, remove the stems.  Leaving the seeds in while provide more spice,but if you or your guests can’t handle the heat, deseed them as well.  The chiles should be very tender, and able to be quickly deseeded with a quick scrape of a spoon.

Add the prepared chiles to the blender and puree until liquefied.

Spicy to the lips and sweet to the palate.  Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dirty Tacos

July 6th, 2009 by Justin | Comments Off on Dirty Tacos | Filed in Meals

So here’s a quick and dirty taco recipe that I just threw together as a lunch for myself one day (and I love tacos)

Tacos, first off, are not necessarily a main course. They are traditionally, and still are, served as appetizers or snacks; however, just as some might go nuts with buffalo wings, they can easily stand on their own.


  • 1 medium, sweet (yellow) onion
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 tbsp. Red vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Tabasco sauce
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Dragon sauce

In a small frying pan, saute the onion in olive oil over medium heat for roughly 5 minutes until just tender. Add 1 tbsp garlic powder and cook for about 2 more minutes.  Transfer to a covered bowl to keep warm.

While the onions are cooking, butterfly and dice the chicken breast into bite size pieces.

In the same pan (do not clean or drain it), fry the chicken over medium/medium high heat with the red vinegar, Tabasco, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Dragon sauce, and 1 tbsp garlic powder. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Combine the onions with the chicken and continue to cook until the chicken is firm, roughly 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand to allow the sauce to thicken a bit. You should end up with a dark brown (hence the “dirty”) mix of goodness.

Meanwhile, in another pan, fry corn tortillas in corn oil to your liking.  I prefer them best just slightly crunchy. Fill the tortillas with chicken, onions, and drizzle sauce from the pan over each.  Of course you can add a little cheese, diced tomatoes,  and cilantro to bring it all together.

Makes about 8 tacos.

A taco of a different color

In the end, except for looking the part, these don’t really taste much like tacos in the traditional sense.  But they are tasty little buggers and passed the “friends test.”  I originally made this about 2 years ago and had thankfully written down the recipe.  We brought it out again for an impromptu dinner get-together last night along with a new fresh chile citrus salsa creation.

A note about the Dragon sauce:  This isn’t really a commonly stocked item by most grocers where I live, and honestly, I have no idea how it got in my cabinet. It smells and tastes similar to soy sauce (which you can use as a substitute), but it’s thicker, less salty, and a tad richer with a hint of spice.  It seems to be pretty popular though, and a quick Google search will give you plenty of sources.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Chicken ala Ackbar

July 1st, 2009 by Justin | Comments Off on Chicken ala Ackbar | Filed in Meals

So here’s a chicken dish that’s been turning out well with some consistency in both preparation and review.


  • 2 Chicken breasts, butterflied (or enough for 4 people)
  • 2 Tomatoes (cubed)
  • 2 Onions (cubed)
  • 2 cups (or 4 servings) jasmine rice (prepared as directed on package)
  • Fontina, shredded
  • Olive oil
  • Red vinegar
  • 2 lemons, or 5 tbsp. juice
  • Dry white wine (optional)
  • Green Tabasco (optional)
  • 1 tbsp Basil
  • Fresh ground pepper (buy a mill, dammit)
  • Garlic powder
  • Cilantro, whole or chopped (as a garnish)

Ready? Go!

Prepare the rice as directed on the package. The time here will depend on the type of rice and the method in which you prepare it. Lacking a rice cooker, I choose to cook on the stove top which, taking about 20 minutes, is a perfect time for this dish as the whole thing should take about that long. While the rice is cooking, begin cooking the vegetables and chicken as follows.

In a small frying pan, begin caramelizing the onions in 2 tbsp. olive oil and of red vinegar each over medium heat, breaking up the onions into smaller pieces while cooking.  Add basil and a pepper to taste.  Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, turning the onions occasionally so as not to burn. Reduce heat to low and add the tomatoes, stirring carefully to distribute the tomatoes without smashing them. Cover and let sit on a low heat until the rest of the dish is ready.

Meanwhile, in a separate pan large enough to hold all of the chicken without overlapping, again start with 2 tbsp. olive oil and red vinegar over medium heat. Once the red vinegar begins to bubble, add the chicken to the pan.  After about 5 minutes, add lemon juice, a dash of white wine (optional), garlic powder (enough to lightly coat the chicken), and a dash of Tabasco (optional).  Cover and reduce heat to low.

Allow the chicken to cook undisturbed for about 5 minutes, turn, and recover.  Since we will be cooking the chicken for about 15-20 minutes, be sure to use a low heat so as not to over-cook and dry the chicken out.   When the chicken is almost ready, uncover, raise the heat to hi, and turn the chicken again. Allow the chicken to cook briefly just long enough to slightly sear the presentation side (1 to 2 minutes).

A dish best served funky…

Serve the chicken, presentation side up on a bed of rice and top with the onions and tomatoes (don’t forget the juice!).  Garnish with shredded Fontina and whole or chopped cilantro.  For the Tabasco inclined, a little of the green stuff goes well with or without the cilantro.   Some corn tortillas would also be nice.

Serves 4.

The whole meal only takes about 25-30 minutes with preparation.   The Fontina, a softer and mild cheese, can, of course, be substituted with something else to your liking. I suggest that you keep it soft and mild.  However, if you want to go hard, try some Parmesan.  But if I catch you using that Kraft trash, I will break into your house and tear your wife in half!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Garlic-Basil Pesto

April 19th, 2009 by Justin | Comments Off on Garlic-Basil Pesto | Filed in Rubs, Sauces

I’ve had a mortar and pestle sitting around for quite a few months now but haven’t really used it much.  So today, after a long couple weeks of work and not doing much cooking of my own, I decided to experiment while cooking dinner for Sherelle and I.

I came up with two offerings, both sauces: a garlic power house and a surprisingly sweet complement to chicken.  This is the first of two mortal and pestle sauces.


  • Package of fresh basil, minced
  • One clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lemon

Combine all in a mortar and pestle with approximately one tablespoon each of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and a squeeze of lemon.  Work mixture until a paste is formed.

Can be applied directly to prepared chicken, fish, vegetables, pastas, etc, or used as wet rub for grilled fish and chicken.  You can also make this in bulk and use to bolster red and other sauces.

I’m a huge fan of garlic, but just to warn you, this combination creates a very strong garlic flavor that I know not everyone is keen to, so use your discretion when cooking for the garlic shy or someone you plan on kissing anytime soon.  All that said, anyone can enjoy its full flavor when applied thinly.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Sweet Hazelnut Reduction

April 19th, 2009 by Justin | Comments Off on Sweet Hazelnut Reduction | Filed in Sauces


  • 1 handful (10 to 15) hazelnuts, crushed and minced
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 3 tsp sage
  • 1 lemon

Begin reducing the white wine in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Grind hazelnuts in mortar and pestle with 1/2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil until a semi-smooth paste is formed (you may need more olive oil depending on the amount and/or size of hazelnuts used).  If you are using fresh sage, grind that with the hazelnuts as well; otherwise, combine the hazelnuts, sage and the juice of half a lemon with the white wine once it begins to simmer.  Allow it to continue to simmer, stiring occasionally.  I let it sit while I cooked the chicken that it was going to be served on top of (5 to 10 minutes).

If you want your sauce a little thicker, as I did, you can reduce the heat to low and whisk in about 2 tbsp of flour.  Then pass the reduction through a mesh strainer to remove any unabsorbed globs of flower and to produce a smoother texture.  Also, you can add about 2 to 4 tbsp of salted butter for a creamier consistency.

White wines are sweet, and because of this the further you reduce them, the sweeter your sauce will be since the sugars will be left behind.  Keep this in mind when determining how long you want to let your sauce reduce.  I reduced it down to about 1 cup’s worth and was pleased with the results.  Enjoy!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tags: , , , , , ,