Friday, August 20, 2010

Pork Barbecue

Labor Day weekend is right around the corner and is traditionally a time for friends and family to get together for a cook out. Now if you've got enough friends and family someone might be cooking a whole pig (in Florida it's called a pig roast; in Carolina it's a pig pickin) But maybe you're not entertaining that many folks but you still want that good smokey flavor. Enter the pork butt......Oh you bunch of perverts!
We like to use a six or seven pound bone in pork butt. First salt and pepper your butt.
All over.
And it's ready to throw on the grill.
Let it sear for about five minutes, then flip it over.
Now baste the seared side with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water.
Repeat until all sides have been seared. Add hickory chips that have been soaked in water for at least twenty minutes to the outside edge of the coals.
Now turn and baste every ten minutes or so. Add hickory chips to the outside coals as needed.
After an hour or so start checking the temperature. Add more charcoal if needed. Now would be the time to quit basting with the vinegar mixture and switch to a vinegar based barbecue sauce.

You want to achieve an internal temperature of about 150-155. Then it's time to take it up.
Let the meat rest for at least ten minutes. The temperature will rise to 160-165. This is just right. I don't like under done pork but I don't want it to dry out either. It took about two hours to cook this butt from the time I put it on the grill until the time I took it off. Cooking times will vary, ALWAYS use a meat thermometer. Now it's time to carve and serve.
Dress with additional barbecue sauce to taste. Makes for great barbecue sandwiches also!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cuban Sandwich

In Florida, probably the most popular sandwich is the Cuban. Traditionally a Cuban consists of ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, dill pickles, mustard, and of course Cuban bread (if you're from Tampa you'll include salami). There are of course variations, one of the most popular is substituting chicken for the ham. Here is my variation made mostly from left overs. First you'll need a good Cuban bread. Can't find one? Make your own. You need these.
In a bread machine combine 1 and 1/8 cups of water, 3 cups of bread flour, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of salt, 2 teaspoons of brown sugar and 2 teaspoons of yeast. Select the dough cycle for a 1 and 1/2 pound loaf. When it has finished kneading remove to a lightly floured board.
Work the dough out lengthwise
and cut into two pieces.
Form into two loaves and place on a cookie sheet or baking stone lightly covered in corn meal.
Let rise, uncovered for ten minutes.
Cut several slits or one long one in the top of the bread.
Cover the top of the bread with an egg wash consisting of one egg mixed with a tablespoon of water.
To a baking pan add one cup of hot water and place on the bottom rack of your oven.
Place the loaves in the cold oven on the next rack up and cook for 25 minutes at 400 degrees. It's stomp down amazing but it works. Remove from the oven
 and let cool on wire racks.
After the bread has cooled or you got some bread from the store it's time to start the sandwiches. We're going to use left overs from earlier meals.
The chicken breasts were marinated in Asiago Cheese and Garlic Italian Dressing and cooked on the grill. The pork tenderloin ( was grilled as well. First spread some mustard on both sides of the sandwich.
Next comes the pork.
Now the Swiss cheese.
Top with chicken slices.
Don't forget the dill pickles. Place 'em over the chicken.
Now preheat a panini press to high. If you don't have one of these
don't worry. Just heat a skillet and use a large, heavy pan to be the press. You'll have to turn the sandwiches over to toast both sides. Now butter both sides of the sandwiches if you are using the press(we used Olivio) and place in the press.
Close the lid and gradually add pressure.
Put some muscle in it Alice!
After a few minutes they're done.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Fish Tacos II

I'm not much on repeating recipes with minor changes but I've got to make an exception to the rule. We decided to have fish tacos the other night (using the frozen mahi that we used for blackened fish) but then I thought why not try a little avocado cream that we used with the taco burgers? You remember; a half cup of sour cream, the juice of a key lime and one avocado.
 Blend together and TA DA.
But this time we're gonna add this.
So now we have a chipotle avocado cream. Prepare the fish and the wrap the same way. To build your fish taco smather on the chipotle avocado cream.
Add the fish and some cabbage to taste.
A little jalapeno pepper.
Some Mex cheese if you like and you're done.
How's that for quick, easy and most tasty?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Shrimp and Crab Enchiladas

I have not found many good Mexican seafood recipes but this is definitely one. It calls for green enchilada sauce that you can buy in a can. Unfortunately the only ones that we have found have a very high sodium content. So we make our own version. You'll need these.
First you need to roast the poblano peppers. We just throw 'em on the grill while we're cooking something else. They can then be cleaned and refrigerated until you need them.
After they're roasted place them in a bowl covered with plastic wrap for a few minutes until they cool.
The skins will peel right off.
Clean the seeds out and they're done.
Next take these ingredients.
Saute  several  cloves of garlic in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, then add chopped onions and tomatoes with a cup and a half of water and bring to a slow boil. Season with a pinch of salt.
Reduce down until most of the water is gone.
Pull out your trusty boat motor and blend away.
It should look like this.
Now to a pound each of cooked shrimp and crab(we used claw)
add eight ounces of shredded Monterey Jack cheese. If you wanted to throw in some fresh peppers that's up to you.
Now take some tortillas
and roll up some of  the mixture.
Place the rolled tortillas in a baking dish.
Now you can pour a can of green enchilada sauce over the top (don't blame me if you swell up like a pig and have a massive coronary) or you can pour the homemade enchilada sauce over the top.
You knew I was gonna add more cheese didn't ya?
Cover and cook for thirty minutes at 350 degrees.
Remove the cover and cook for fifteen more minutes.
A few green onions on top.
And serve with sour cream.
Or you might even want some more cheese!
It might not be the prettiest thing that I've ever served but it sure is tasty.