Posts Tagged ‘mexican’

Empellón Cocina: Mexican with a Twist

Friday, May 31st, 2013 Comments Off on Empellón Cocina: Mexican with a Twist

We recently had the great pleasure, while visiting New York City, to have an early dinner at Empellón Cocina, a new restaurant recommended by Gavin Kaysen for their creative interpretation of Mexican Cuisine.  We were curious about the meaning of Empellón and learned that it means “push or shove”, which tells you that this must be an adventuresome chef who wanted to infuse a bit of fun into the atmosphere.  Rising Star Chef Alex Stupak has created an incredible menu with offerings that must only exist on his menu, as we have never seen them anywhere else.  Guacamole made with pickled Jalapeños, Pistachio Guacamole, instead of the usual corn chips, the guacamole and salsas are offered with Masa Crisps.  All seven salsas can be sampled for $15.  There were so many tempting selections, but the portions were too generous to try everything on the menu.  We shared the Soft Shell Crab Tacos and the Shrimp Tacos after our starters of Pistachio Guacamole and the 7 Salsas, my favorite was the the Smoked Cashew Salsa (with smoked cashews and chipotle pepper).

Shrimp Tacos with Smoked Potatoes, Brown Butter Crema and Pickled Pasilla Oaxaquena.

Shrimp Tacos with Smoked Potatoes, Brown Butter Crema and Pickled Pasilla Oaxaquena.

7 Salsas, including such flavors as pumpkin seeds, smoked cashews, tomatillos, chipotle peppers, and the spiciest of all : Salsa Habanera.

7 Salsas, including such flavors as pumpkin seeds, smoked cashews, tomatillos, chipotle peppers, and the spiciest of all : Salsa Habanera.

Soft Shell Crab Tacos with lightly roasted tomato petal and lime mayo.

Soft Shell Crab Tacos with lightly roasted tomato petal and lime mayo.

Chef Alex shared the recipe for the Arbol Chile Salsa – Recipe and below commentary from the Chef:
This salsa lasts indefinitely and improves with age. It is extremely picante and can be used in place of pretty much any store bought hot sauce. We use this salsa on our tongue tacos as well as in our micheladas but it goes well on just about anything.
100 each Arbol Chiles
1/4 cup Sesame Seeds
1/4 cup Hulled Pumpkin Seeds
1/2 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
10 each Allspice Berries
5 each Whole Cloves
1 tablespoon Mexican Oregano
1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
1 tablespoon Sugar
5 each Garlic Cloves
2 cups Cider Vinegar
1. Remove the stems from the chiles and discard.
2. Roll the chiles between your fingers to remove all the seeds and discard seeds.
3. Place the chiles in a blender.
4. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet until they begin to pop and turn a deep brown color. Add the sesame seeds to the blender.
5. In the same skillet, toast the pumpkin seeds until they pop and all turn a golden color. Add the pumpkin seeds to the blender.
6. In a molcajete or spice grinder, pulverize the cumin, allspice, cloves and oregano. Add the ground spices to the blender along with the salt, sugar and vinegar.
7. Blend the mixture for several minutes. It should be quite smooth.


Carnitas Means “Little Meats” and Big Flavor

Monday, April 15th, 2013 1 comment
Roasted Pork Shoulder for Carnitas

Roasted Pork Shoulder for Carnitas

We love Mexican cuisine, everything from fish tacos to chicken mole to the traditional Chiles en nogada. This weekend we made carnitas. This dish requires a pork shoulder. Naturally, in Costco fashion, the only pork shoulder available was over 14 pounds. So we cut the large piece in half and froze half. We trimmed the meat of most of the excess fat, then salted it. It’s best to then refrigerate for a day before beginning on the prep.

Here is our recipe for easy carnitas that earned rave reviews from our guests:

5 pounds pork shoulder (after trimming fat)
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
Canola oil
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon Gary’s Rub (from Cook the Part, page 26)
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
6 cloves garlic

Heat oven to 325 degrees on convection roast.
Cut the pork shoulder into 6 inch chunks.
Heat a few tablespoons canola oil in large iron skillet on the stove top. Brown the pork pieces until well-browned. Add chicken broth to the frying pan and scrape all the browned bits from the frying pan and add to the roaster.
Generously sprinkle the rub on the browned pork.
Place the browned pork pieces into a large roasting pan.
Add the cinnamon stock, bay leaves, cumin and garlic to the roasting pan. Add water to the pan until the pork is about 2/3 covered with the liquid.
Roast for 4 hours or until liquid cooks down and pork falls apart when probed with a fork.
Remove pork from the liquid and shred, discarding any additional fat.
Place in a large roasting pan and pour a few tablespoons of liquid over the meat.
Cover with foil and refrigerate.
Before serving, remove the foil and heat in the oven in 350 degree oven until warm or crisp up as much as desired.
Serve with guacamole, chopped red cabbage, red onion, black beans, purchased or homemade salsas.
We served this with warmed corn tortillas or lettuce to be used for lettuce wraps.

Good with a fresh Mexican salad to start.


Tamales – A Mexican Christmas Tradition

Thursday, January 10th, 2013 1 comment
Linda with Tamales

Linda with Tamales


By Linda Sierra

I’m happy to report the tamales were a hit yet again this year.  We made more than 6 dozen and it is done in a sort of assembly line where one puts the masa on the cornhusk, the next puts the meat and olives and the next folds them up.  This is a blast.

This recipe has been in my family since I was a child.  My  mother has been using it since I was about 5 years old.  So it is at least 40 years old.

Feliz año nuevo!






Folded TamalesSteaming Tamales


3 lbs – 1 inch chunks beef stew meat
2 cans – 28 oz. enchilada sauce (Las Palmas “mild”)*
2 lbs – 1 inch chunks pork stew meat
2 Tbs – Oregano
4 – Cloves garlic minced
60 – Dried cornhusks (~1 pound)
8 cups – Instant Masa (Maseca brand)
2/3 cup – Vegetable oil
2 2/3 cups – Shortening (Crisco) or lard (I use Crisco)
2 – Medium onions chopped
2 Tbs – Baking powder
2/3 cup – Flour
60 – Black pitted olives cut in half

• In large pot put beef, pork and garlic with enough water to cover. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1.25 hours until meat is tender and stirring occasionally.
• Soak cornhusks in warm water for about an hour, they will become soft. Drain, keeping them damp on paper towels.
• In large skillet over medium heat cook onion until tender in hot vegetable oil. Stir in flour until blended. Add enchilada sauce, oregano and 2 teaspoons of salt. Drain meat, reserving the liquid. Add meat to the sauce and cook for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally with a fork to shred the meat. The sauce will be very thick.
• Beat at low speed with hand mixer instant masa, 5 1/3 cups reserved meat liquid, shortening, baking powder and 4 teaspoons salt.
• Assembly: place cornhusks tip away from you. Use a small spatula or large spoon and spread 2 Tbs of masa onto center or cornhusk in a rectangle about 5” x 4”. You can paste two corn husks together with a little masa if they are too small. Put 2 Tbs of meat on the center of the masa, place 2 olive halves on top of the meat mixture.
• Wrapping: Lift up right side and fold 1/3 of cornhusk over filling, fold the left side over the last. Fold the tip of the cornhusk backwards, about 1/3 of the way down. Tamale will be open on one end. Place the folded tamale with the folded side down so it won’t open.
• Steaming: In a large pot with a vegetable steamer add an inch of water. Place tamales with the open end up, folded side down, standing up in the pot, over medium-high heat, heat water to boiling. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Be sure to add water if it is evaporated to keep the moisture right for proper steaming.
• Test for doneness: Remove and unwrap 1 tamale. If the dough is firm and does not stick to the husk they are done.
• Yield: 5 dozen. You can cut the recipe in half. I usually double it.
• You can find most of these items in the Hispanic Food section of most grocery stores. Northgate Gonzales has everything you’ll need if you have trouble finding everything.
• *You can also make your own enchilada sauce but run the risk of making the sauce too spicy. I can help you if you want to make it from scratch. That is why I recommend the “mild” Las Palmas enchilada sauce because the flavor is rich and not hot. Be sure it says “mild” on the label or it will be very hot.

Categories: Entree, Recipes
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Holy Mole: Poblano Y Negro

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 Comments Off on Holy Mole: Poblano Y Negro
Mole Tasting at Red Iguana

Mole Tasting at Red Iguana

For an easy dinner any night of the week, stop at your favorite Mexican restaurant and pick up a quart of your favorite mole. On our outing to Park City this week, we stopped at Red Iguana 2 in Salt Lake City for lunch and purchased two quarts of mole to be used for a dinner during our stay. First, we enjoyed the mole tasting to make our selection. The offerings included:
Mole Amarillo
Mole Coloradito
Mole Poblano
Mole Verde
Mole Negro
Red Pipian
Mole de Almendras
It was a tough decision, but we settled on the Poblano and Negro. Dinner tonight was a breeze with the two moles already made and available. If you cannot find a restaurant that sells good mole by the quart, you can also purchase mole at the grocery store and follow the directions.
We are having dinner for six tonight. The remaining work was to prepare the meat, 4 skinless, boneless organic chicken breasts and a 1-1/2 pound pork loin. The breasts were cut into 1-1/2 cubes and sautéed in a small amount of vegetable oil until brown. We then covered the chicken with the mole Poblano and simmered for 40 minutes. The pork loin was trimmed and also cut into cubes, sautéed and simmered in the mole negro. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the mole before serving.
We prepared a side of Mexican rice, which is always made with a chopped onion. Stir fry the rice in a tablespoon of oil, making sure each grain is coated with oil and then adding chicken broth. We added some chopped green onions (because they were left over from our breakfast frittata.
The rest of the menu was an appetizer of Rajas (recipe coming soon), a salad of arugula, zucchini ribbons, red pepper and panela cheese. Dressing was olive oil (2 parts), lime juice (1 part) and Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. The final accompaniment was Jamaica, a tea made with dried hibiscus blossoms.