Smokey Roasted Red Pepper Salsa

The Super Bowl is coming. You’re gonna need salsa. And if you’re gonna bring salsa, you gotta bring it like a MAN.

Back in San Francisco, there was a taqueria called Papalote.  They had decent burritos, but the thing that kept bringing me back was their crazy delicious salsa. Now that I live on the opposite side of the country, this recipe has held me over.

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Roasting your own peppers is really pretty easy, if not a little time consuming.  All you need is a gas stove (or any broiler) and some tin foil.

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You steam the peppers in foil pouches for 10-15 minutes after charring them on the stove, then the skin should peel off easily under some running water.

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Seeding and removing the white pith of the peppers is really easy after roasting. You can use a knife or your hands, but just a quick word to the wise: if you decide not to wear gloves while handling the inside of the jalapeño or the chipotles (which are essentially jalapeños that have been smoked and dried), do yourself a favor and DO NOT rub your eyeball for the next hour or so afterward.

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Fire-roasting the rest of the ingredients is a little simpler, you just gotta keep an eye on them under the broiler.

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When your veggies look like that, they’re ready! (Note: I already peeled off the burnt layer of onion on top, but it basically looked like the tomatoes)

Cilantro is kind of a controversial herb.  People either love it or hate it.  I really don’t get the hate, I think cilantro is the best, and you should too. Cilantro is usually pretty dirty when you buy it, so a quick way to wash it is to put it in a bowl, fill it with water, shake the cilantro around and let it soak for a few minutes, then take it out.  You’ll see all the dirt and sand that sunk to the bottom of the bowl when you dump the water.

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Now the fun part. Chop everything up (minus the cilantro), throw it in a food processor, add some lime, and have at it.  By the way, if you don’t have one of these lime juicers you do not know what you are missing.

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Process to a pulpy consistency, chop the cilantro and add that in, then turn the processor back on. This time add a little olive oil while it is processing, similar to making pesto.

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ORALE!!

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Smoky Roasted Red Pepper Salsa

2 medium-sized tomatoes
1 red bell pepper
1 jalapeño pepper
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
½ medium Spanish onion
1 ½ cups cilantro, thick stems removed, packed
1 large lime
3 cloves garlic, skin on
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
½ tsp pepper
Olive oil (about ¼ cup)

Turn broiler to High

Place the red bell pepper and jalapeño pepper directly on a stove burner and turn it on to char the skin (if you don’t have a gas stove you can broil them on high as well, but it will take longer to get charred on all sides). Rotate the peppers so each side gets a good char. When the pepper skin is mostly blackened, wrap each pepper in a foil pouch and allow them to steam for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the tomatoes, onion, and garlic cloves on a baking sheet and place on the rack closest to the broiler, and allow to blacken as well. Once the top vegetable skin gets nice and charred, flip them over to allow the other side to cook. The garlic will take much less time than the tomatoes and onion, so flip them first and remove them as soon as their skins get dark. The rest of the vegetables should take about 3-5 minutes each side.

Once they are blackened as in the picture, remove and allow to cool.

Remove the peppers from the foil pouches, then rinse them under cold water to remove the charred skin.  It should come off easily if you allowed it to steam long enough. Cut each pepper in half and remove the pith and seeds (or you can leave the jalapeño whole if you want it spicier). Do the same with the 2 chipotle peppers.

Give the peppers, onion, and garlic a rough chop and add to the food processor. Carefully add the roasted tomatoes in whole, skin and all. Squeeze the juice of the lime into the processor. Add salt and pepper, cover the food process and pulse until it looks pulpy.  Scrape any large chunks that may have gotten stuck on the sides down into the pulp. Turn the processor to ON, and while processing carefully drizzle olive oil in a steady stream through the top. The color of the salsa should go from a deep red to an almost creamy orange. Once it gets to that color stop adding oil.

Finally give the cilantro a rough chop, throw it in to the food processor and process for another 15 seconds or so until the cilantro is incorporated.

Eat with chips or with your next burrito.

 

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Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA

Dogfish Head 120 Min IPA

NAME: Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA
TYPE: Imperial IPA
ORIGIN: Rehoboth Beach, DE
ABV: 15-20%
REVIEW: This here is the elusive Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA. It’s not easy to find. DFH only brews this a few times a year and releases a limited amount because it’s so time consuming and expensive to make. Crazy hoppy. It’s boiled and continually hopped for a full 2 hours (hence the name), then dry-hopped daily as it ferments, THEN aged another month over whole-leaf hops.  It’s a deep amber color, über hoppy beer with a rich, smooth mouthfeel. Slow, very sweet finish which masks it’s high ABV. Honestly I think I still prefer the 90 Minute, but definitely worth a try. Very good.

goodwilltasting grade: B+

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Heavy Seas Small Craft Warning Über Pils

Heavy Seas Small Craft Warning Pilsner

NAME: Heavy Seas Small Craft Warning “Über Pils”
TYPE: Strong Pilsner (Bock Lager)
ORIGIN: Baltimore, MD
ABV: 7.0% ABV
REVIEW: Golden brown color, sharp, bitter hop taste with a sweet malty finish, bubbly mouthfeel.

goodwilltasting grade: C+

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Soy Braised Spare Ribs with Bok Choy

As delicious as a Panda Express Bowl with orange chicken on a bed of chow mein is, I’m sorry, it’s just not Chinese food. Here’s something you can make relatively easily at home with not too many exotic products that is DELICIOUS and (I’m assuming) slightly healthier than Panda. Or P.F. Chang’s. But don’t get me started on P.F. Chang’s.  Just know that we probably can’t be friends if you enjoy eating there.

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Chinese cooking and ginger go together like peanut butter and jelly. It just works. Although I like the taste it gives to certain dishes, I never liked biting into a big chunk of it during dinner growing up, so I’m keeping the slices pretty big and easily removable.  After slicing, pound each piece gently with the back of the knife to release more juices and flavor from the ginger.

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I’m using a wok to make this dish because I’m too legit. If you don’t have a wok you can definitely use a Dutch oven. Just make sure whatever you use has a good fitting lid.

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There’s alcohol in this dish, so if you wanna impress the ladies you can ignite it with a lighter… or if you got the skills you can tilt the pan slightly towards the flame from the stove to ignite.  Tutorial to come, Casanova!

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Hoisin sauce is a common condiment in Chinese cuisine. People use it as a dip for roasted pork, slather it on flour pancakes for mu shu, or (my personal favorite) on steamed buns for Peking duck. So good. Here it adds a little sweet and savory boost at the end of cooking, and also serves to thicken the sauce a bit.

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RIB ON!

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Okay, this bok choy may be the easiest recipe I’ll ever post but it’s so good and manlier than your adorable wedge salad.

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How’s this for a Panda Bowl?

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RIBS (adapted from about.com):

2 tablespoons oil for stir-frying
1.5 lbs pork spareribs cut into 1-inch long segments (if you can’t find them ask the butcher to cut them for you)
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
5-6 thin slices ginger, crushed
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup Chinese rice (michiu) wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 green onion, sliced thin for garnish

Preparation:

Heat the oil on in a wok or dutch oven, on high heat. Add the ribs and brown on all sides (a couple minutes each side or until it’s browned and caramelized). Add garlic and ginger and fry briefly, until fragrant. This will really help impart those flavors into the dish. Add the stock before the garlic and ginger start to burn, then add all the remaining ingredients. If you are cooking with a wok and want to impress a chick or something, you can tilt the wok towards the flame and flambe the ribs after adding the wine. Once the flames die down, cover the wok and turn the heat down to low.  Simmer for about 1 hour, or until the ribs are tender, adding more water or stock as needed (that is, don’t allow all the liquid to evaporate and burn at the bottom of the pan). During the last 10 minutes, remove cover, add hoisin sauce, and simmer for the remainder of the cooking time. Garnish with sliced scallions before serving.

BOK CHOY:

1 2-lb bag of bok choy tips, aka baby bok choy, sliced lengthwise and rinsed
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp salt
1-2 tbsp vegetable oil (2 good glugs into the pan)

Preparation:

Heat oil in wok on high heat, then add the garlic. Saute until fragrant, then add the bok choy. Toss around in the wok, then add salt. Toss a little more to distribute the salt, then reduce heat to medium low and cover for 4-5 minutes, tossing every minute or so.  Since there’s so much vegetable in the pot, it will kind of fry and steam at the same time while covered, so cooking time is minimal.

Serve bok choy with spare ribs on steamed white rice.

Beer pairing suggestion: Rising Tide Daymark American Pale Ale, or simply a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

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Long Trail IPA

Long Trail IPA

NAME: Long Trail IPA
TYPE: English IPA
ORIGIN: Bridgewater Corners, VT
ABV: 5.9%
REVIEW: Drank from the bottle so not sure about appearance, but smell has a subtle hop nose, faint pine and very floral on the tongue, weird biscuit-y mouthfeel, bitter finish with an unpleasant aftertaste. This beer pretty much solidifies my distaste for English-style IPAs. Try again, Long Trail.

goodwill tasting grade: C-

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Rising Tide Daymark American Pale Ale

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NAME: Rising Tide Daymark
TYPE: American Pale Ale
ORIGIN: Portland, ME
ABV: 5.5%
REVIEW: Beautiful gold color, bubbly foamy head. Mellow hoppy citrus nose, pretty unremarkable taste but its a very drinkable, refreshing beer with a crisp bittersweet finish. Really just tastes like a blander version of Sierra Nevada.

goodwilltasting grade: B-

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Verdi Imperial Stout

More adventures with European beers!

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NAME: Birrificio Del Ducato Verdi
TYPE: Imperial Stout (brewed with chilies)
ORIGIN: Gruppo, Italy
ABV: 8.2%
REVIEW: Pours black with a foamy, cream colored head.  Nutty, roasted smell, rich chocolate taste, creamy mouthfeel, sweet finish with a touch of heat at the end, both from the chili and from the booze. It’s the Mexican hot chocolate of beers. But from Italy. Delicious.

goodwilltasting grade: A-

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Magic Hat Séance Saison

Magic Hat Seance Saison

NAME: Magic Hat Séance Saison Ale
TYPE: Seasonal Saison
ORIGIN: Burlington, VT
ABV: 4.4%
REVIEW: Dark caramel cola color, bubbly head. Deep malty toffee smell, slightly sweet and herby taste with a short, flat finish. Smelled better than it tasted. Overall just a really underwhelming beer. After trying this and 21st Amendment’s Sneak Attack I decided that people need to stop trying to make fall/winter saisons. Keep ’em bright and summery the way nature intended!

goodwilltasting grade: C-

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Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale

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NAME: Anderson Valley Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale
TYPE: Winter Warmer
ORIGIN: Boonville, CA
ABV: 6.9%
REVIEW: Caramel color, toffee and a little honey on the nose. Tasted sweet and nutty, medium bodied mouthfeel with good carbonation, sweet, almost syrupy finish.

goodwilltasting grade: B

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Herbed Brussels Sprouts Hash

Mmm, weekend hash.  Weekend hash is a staple in my house, and today I had some leftover roasted Brussels sprouts to add in. I tend to throw a lot of random leftovers into my hash, some common ones being: peppers, asparagus, onions, oh, and fried SPAM (my personal favorite).

I also cheat a little when I make hash. Usually I just throw the potatoes in the microwave for 5 minutes to cook them first to save on cooking time. Hopefully I’m not zapping all the nutrients out of them.

There are 3 tricks to making a good hash: 1) A good amount of oil/butter, 2) A heavy skillet, 3) Pacing. When cooking on the stove, potatoes will take a long time to develop that crispy, delicious crust we all love, and if you throw everything into the skillet all at once, everything else will burn before getting that crust. Also, you need a good amount of oil and a nice, heavy, thick-bottomed skillet that will disperse heat evenly and retain that heat so the potatoes don’t burn. I like using a cast-iron skillet for hash and I recommend you do too.

One more thing. I’m definitely not an all-organic Whole Foods nut, but one thing I try to always buy organic are potatoes. Apparently non-organic potatoes have the highest pesticides content among all conventionally grown fruits and veggies. Also I really think they taste better, and they’re not that much more expensive.

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Start with heating up the skillet on medium heat. Melt some butter, add your potatoes, and season. Toss a little to evenly coat, then just let it sit. I guess I forgot one more trick: 4) Resist the urge to keep tossing around your potatoes. They need prolonged contact with the skillet to develop a crispy crust, so wait about 30-45 seconds between tosses.

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Once the potatoes brown a bit you can add the Brussels sprouts and garlic.

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Let everything brown and crisp up a bit more, then add your herbs. I had some rosemary, sage, and thyme leftover from a poultry blend I bought so I threw that in.

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Last but not least, add your green onions.

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What a fine looking hash.

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Of course no hash is complete without a couple fried eggs on top. Let that yolk run all over the hash, throw a little hot sauce on, put on some Saturday morning cartoons, and you’re good to go.

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Herbed Brussels Sprouts Hash

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
3 medium-sized organic yellow potatoes
1/2 lb (about 1 1/2 cups) leftover roasted Brussels sprouts (recipe below), quartered.
3 green onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme (about 3 sprigs, leaves stripped off), finely chopped
1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
6 sage leaves, finely chopped
Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
2 eggs

Wash the potatoes in cold water, then arrange them in a single layer on a microwave-safe plate.  Microwave on High for 5 minutes. The potatoes will be too hot to handle after microwaving, so it will be a good time to wash and prepare all the other ingredients while they cook and cool. Once the potatoes are cooled, cut into 1″ cubes.

Heat a cast-iron skillet on medium heat, melt the butter. Next, add the cooked potatoes and season well with seasoned salt and pepper (give them a good dusting all over the top). Toss to combine and to evenly coat each piece with seasoning, then let the potatoes sit.  Toss every 30-45 sec until the potatoes start to get crispy all over, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and Brussels sprouts. Again toss and let sit between tosses, until everything gets browned and crispy on the sides, about 3-4 more minutes. Add the herbs, toss gently, then add the green onions.  You might need to add a little olive oil at this point so the herbs and onions don’t burn.  Also, if the vegetables start to get too browned, you may need to lower the heat to medium-low.

Again toss to combine, cook for another 2-3 minutes, and serve it on a plate with 2 fried eggs.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts:

1 lb bag of large Brussels sprouts
1 tbsp olive oil
Garlic Salt
Pepper

Pre-heat oven to 400 deg
Wash and halve all Brussels sprouts lengthwise, place in a baking pan, coat with olive oil, season with Garlic salt and pepper, and throw in the oven. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until sprouts are tender. Great, healthy side dish to go with any pasta or meat dish. You can also add some feta and balsamic vinegar if that makes you happy.

goodwilltasting beer recommendation: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a little brunch beer. A nice beer cocktail would be even better. I’m thinking something with Allagash White, a little ginger syrup or ginger beer, and orange juice. I’ll see if I can find a recipe for this.

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