Monday, March 30, 2015

Sun Dried Tomato, Roasted Poblano and Monterey Jack Egg Sandwich

     A Grilled Breakfast Sandwich With A Tasty Southwestern Flavor Combination!
     Egg sandwiches are cheap and filling.  A plain fried egg on white bread with ketchup and hot sauce is a filling sandwich that has gotten plenty of people through tough economic times.  A plain fried egg sandwich can be made in a jiffy with little mess.  By just wrapping the egg sandwich with a napkin before hopping in the car, time can be saved by not waiting in line at a fast food joint drive-thru.  A home cooked egg sandwich certainly will leave the tummy feeling better than a fast junk food, especially when taking a scenic Sunday drive!

     Sun Dried Tomato, Roasted Poblano and Monterey Jack Egg Sandwich:
     This recipe yields 1 sandwich!  
     Step 1:  Place cup of water in a sauce pot over low heat.
     Add 4 sun dried tomato halves.
     Simmer the sun dried tomatoes, till they are tender.
     Remove the reconstituted sun dried tomatoes from the pot.
     Cut the sun dried tomatoes into thin strips and set them aside.
     Step 2:  Cut 1 small roasted chile poblano into thin strips and set them aside.  (About 1/5 cup of pepper strips.  Either canned or fresh roasted poblano is fine for this recipe.)
     Step 3:  Toast 2 slices of whole grain wheat bread.
     Step 4:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 whisked large egg.
     Sprinkle the reserved sun dried tomato strips and the reserved roasted poblano strips on the eggs.
     Do not stir or scramble the eggs!
     Step 5:  When the bottom half of the eggs are cooked firm, flip the eggs.
     Place a few thin slices of Monterey Jack Cheese on the eggs.
     Add 1 tablespoon of water to the pan.
     Place a lid on the pan.
     Allow the steam to melt the cheese.
     Step 6:  When the eggs are fully cooked and the cheese has melted, use a spatula to place the eggs on one of the pieces of toast.
     Place the second piece of toast on the egg sandwich and cut the sandwich in half.
     Place the egg sandwich on a plate and garnish with a parsley sprig.  (Or simply place the sandwich on a napkin and eat the sandwich while on the road!)  
    *Be sure to turn off the stove and kitchen lights, before bolting out the door!

    The simple combination of whole grain bread, roasted chile poblano, sun dried tomatoes and jack cheese gives this southwestern style egg sandwich an appealing flavor!  

Western Cattle Ranch Skillet Breakfast ~ White Cheddar Pepper Eggs, Smoked Bacon, Baked Ranch Beans, Taters and Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits

     An Extra Hearty Western Style Skillet Breakfast!
     Well, springtime is finally just about here.  The bears will start coming out of hibernation soon.  The trout will start jumping and the longhorn sheep will start butting heads.  Spring is also when many outdoorsman start getting active too.
     Springtime is when cattle used to be driven north to green prairies for fattening up, before the heat of summer set in.  In the Southwest temperatures start climbing up over 100º by April and water starts getting scarce on open range ranches.  Moving the cattle north guaranteed water, endless grass feed a healthy herd.  
     In the old days of the wild west, chuck wagon breakfasts were a little rough around the edges.  Wild game, salt cured meat, biscuits, cornbread and beans were pretty much standard fare on a cattle drive.  On a ranch the food was a bit more plentiful.  Fresh eggs, potatoes, onions, fresh peppers, sugar, milk, butter were usually on hand and sometimes even cheese was stocked.  With more food items on hand and with some good cooks in the kitchen, a ranch style breakfast usually was much grander than simple chuckwagon fare.  

      It has been a while since I have published a skillet breakfast recipe.  Skillet style food presentations are meant to be big hearty meals and the guidelines are easy to understand.  The skillet must be full of food and there should be no empty spaces.  The entire meal should be in the skillet, with nothing on the side.  The food should be placed in the skillet with a sense of order that is appealing to the eye.  Most of all, whatever food that is chosen should support the theme of the name of the skillet entrée.
     There are big cast iron skillets that are wide enough to hold enough food for a family of four.  That is an option for family style meal skillet presentation, but a giant skillet family breakfast will weigh a ton!  If you really want to build muscles, a big family size skillet presentation is the way to go.
     For an individual portion skillet breakfast, an 8" to 12" cast iron skillet is plenty big enough.  The skillet should be seasoned with a thin carbon black coating and the skillet should be wiped with vegetable oil so it glistens and shines.  Not even a spec of rust can be on a skillet that is used to present food.
     I thought about how placing two items that feature White Cheddar Cheese on one entrée might be criticized as being overkill.  Rightly so, but Cheddar Cheese fans might disagree.  Cheddar has a flavor that some folks simply cannot get enough of in the morning!   

     Pinto Beans:
     Canned or fresh cooked pinto beans can be used to make Baked Ranch Beans.  If fresh is preferred, follow this link to the Pinto Beans section in this recipe:

     Baked Ranch Beans:
     This recipe yields 1 large portion.  
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over low heat.
     Add 1 cup of rinsed canned or pre-cooked pinto beans.
     Add enough water to cover the beans with 1" of extra liquid.
     Add 1 1/2 ounces of diced canned tomato and a proportion of juice from the can.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of ancho chile powder.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1 slice of uncooked smoked bacon that is coarsely chopped.
     Add 1/3 cup of brown sugar.
     Step 2:  Simmer and stir occasionally till the brown sugar dissolves.
     Cover the pot with a loose fitting lid.
     Bake the beans for 20 minutes in a 325ºF oven.
     Step 3:  Remove the lid from the pot.
     Continue baking the beans, till the excess liquid evaporates and the bean sauce reduces to a thin consistency that barely coats the beans. 
     Keep the baked ranch beans warm on a stove top. 

     White Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits:
     Follow this link to the recipe in this website:

     Home Fry Taters:
     Step 1:  Cut 5 to 7 ounces of washed unpeeled russet potato into rustic looking bite size pieces.
     Place the potatoes in a sauce pot. 
     Add enough water to cover the potatoes.
     Boil over medium high heat, till the potatoes are blanched and they are less than halfway cooked.
     Drain the water off of the potatoes.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan or cast iron skillet over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add the blanched potatoes.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Sauté till the potatoes are fully cooked and golden brown highlights appear.
     Keep the home fries warm on a stove top.
     Smoked Bacon:
     Heat a griddle over medium low heat.
     Add 4 strips of smoked bacon.
     Grill the bacon, till it is golden brown and crisp.
     Place the bacon on a wire screen roasting rack to drain off any excess grease.
     Keep the bacon warm on a stove top.
     White Cheddar Pepper Eggs:
     Step 1:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/4 cup of coarsely chopped green bell pepper.
     Add 1/4 cup of coarsely chopped red bell pepper.
     Sauté till the peppers are tender, but not browned.
     Step 2:  Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 2 whisked large eggs.
     Sauté and scramble till the eggs are cooked soft and runny.
     Step 3:  Add 2 ounces of chopped White Cheddar Cheese.
     Stir till the eggs are fully cooked and the cheese melts.
     Remove the pan from the heat.

     Western Cattle Ranch Skillet Breakfast ~ White Cheddar Pepper Eggs, Smoked Bacon, Baked Ranch Beans, Taters and Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits:
     Step 1:  Wipe a clean seasoned cast iron skillet with a thin film of vegetables oil. 
     Warm the skillet in a 150ºF oven.
     Step 2:  Place the skillet on a countertop.
     Mound the Cheddar Pepper Eggs on one third of the skillet.
     Place the home fries in the skillet on another third.
     Fill the remaining third of the skillet with the Baked Ranch Beans.
     Step 3:  Sprinkle 1 thin sliced green onion over the ingredients in the skillet.
     Place the cheddar buttermilk biscuits on the edge of the skillet.
     Place the 4 smoked bacon strips across the middle of the skillet.
     Place the skillet on a paper doily lined serving plate.

     This is a nice hearty skillet full of western ranch style breakfast vittles!

White Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits

     White Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits:
     If cut into 2 1/2" square or round shapes, the yield is about a dozen biscuits!
     A combination of lard and butter is used in this recipe, so the biscuits will have an old west flavor.
     Step 1:  Place 2 cups of all purpose flour into a bowl.
     Add 2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt.
     Sift the ingredients together into a mixing bowl.
     Step 2:  Add 3 ounces of cold butter that is cut into 1/4" cube pieces.
     Cut the butter and lard into the flour with a fork or a baker's cutter tool (ricing tool), till the flour looks like it has been riced into pieces that are smaller than tiny peas.  
     Step 3:  Add 1 cup of cold buttermilk.
     Add 3 ounces of Sharp White Cheddar Cheese that is chopped into small pieces.  (about half the size of a pea.)
     Gently stir with a spoon or fork, till the ingredients just barely combine. 
     Only mix the sticky dough, till the dough barely holds together.  (Do not over mix biscuit dough or the texture will be flat instead of light and fluffy!  The dough will be sticky, till it is benched on a flour dusted surface.)
     Step 4:  Bench the dough on a moderately heavily flour dusted surface.  Flip the dough in the flour dusting to coat the sticky dough surface, so the dough surface is dry. 
     Step 5:  Roll the dough into a 1/2" to 3/4" thick sheet.  (If the dough is rolled out too thick, the biscuits will look like the Leaning Tower Of Pisa!)
     Use a 2 1/2" to 3 1/2" round biscuit cutter to cut round biscuits or cut 2 1/2" squares with a knife.  Cut several biscuits.
     Step 6:  Combine the scraps and roll them out again to cut a few more biscuits.  (Cut these biscuits to a different size than the first round of biscuits.  This is because after working the dough twice, the texture will be more like a scone than a biscuit!  It is easy to notice the twice worked biscuits in the pictures above.)
     Step 7:  Place the biscuits on a parchment paper lined baking pan. 
     Brush the tops of the biscuits with buttermilk. 
     Let the dough rest for about 5 minutes.
     Step 8:  Bake in a 425ºF oven, till the biscuits become fully cooked and lightly toasted with golden highlights on the tops.  (About 10 to 15 minutes)
     Remove the biscuits from the oven.
     Place the pan on a cooling rack and let the biscuits cool to a serving temperature.
     Keep the biscuits warm on a stove top.

    Tasty and a perfect biscuit texture!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Desayuno Cazuela Mexicana with Hopi Blue Maize Tortilla Chips

     A Mexican Style Chip And Dip Breakfast!
     Baked egg entrées are a nice treat for breakfast.  Today's Mexican breakfast casserole has plenty of flavor and it is full of hearty healthy ingredients to start a day with.  The Hopi Blue Maize Tortilla Chips turns the Mexican egg casserole into a casual laid back chip & dip breakfast dining experience!

     Casserole entrées are usually assembled in a way that allows certain ingredients to simmer or brown.  Refried Beans line the casserole.  Jalapeño cilantro eggs are placed on top of the refried beans.  The casserole is topped with cheese and antojitos style vegetable garnishes.

     A bag of Organic Blue Corn Tortilla Chips was used for the casserole presentation.  In the morning, convenience often is a priority.  The same goes for refried beans.  Canned refried bean are a nice convenience.  Some brands are much better than others.

     *This entire recipe yields 1 hearty individual casserole!
     Canned refried beans are a convenience for a breakfast recipe.  Here is a link to a refried bean recipe, if you prefer to make your own:  
     • Refried Pinto Beans ~ Refritos!
     Heat 1 1/4 cups of refritos in a small sauce pot over low heat.  (Add a splash of water to loosen up the refritos.)
     Keep the refried beans warm over very low heat.

     Cilantro Mild Chile Pepper Eggs:
     Step 1:  Place 2 large eggs in a mixing bowl.
     Add 1 tablespoon of milk.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped roasted red bell pepper.
     Add 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro.
     Whisk the egg mixture, till it is blended.
     Step 2:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add 2 tablespoons of finely chopped onion.
     Add 1 thin sliced green jalapeño pepper.
     Sauté till the pepper and onions start to become tender.
     Step 3:  Add the egg mixture.
     Sauté and scramble the egg mixture, till the eggs are fully cooked.
     Remove the pan from the heat.

     Mexican Breakfast Casserole with Hopi Blue Maize Tortilla Chips:
     Queso Fresco is a fresh cheese that is like fresh mozzarella.  Some brands of queso fresco will melt and some will not.  It depends on the fat content.  If in doubt about the ability to melt, then use queso asadero or queso oaxaca.  Both of these fresh cheese varieties will always melt.
     Step 1:  Spoon the refritos into an individual size casserole dish.
     Spread the refritos over the bottom of the casserole dish in an even layer.
     Step 2:  Mound the egg mixture on the center of the refried beans in the casserole dish.
     Place 5 or 6 thin slices of tomato on the eggs.
     Sprinkle a generous amount of grated queso fresco over the ingredients in the casserole.  (About 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup.)
     Sprinkle a few sliced black olives over the cheese.
     Step 3:  Place the casserole on a baking pan.
     Bake the casserole in a 325ºF oven.
     When the casserole becomes hot and the cheese starts to soften and melt, then the casserole is finished baking.
     *Try not to brown the queso fresco when baking.  Traditionally, queso fresco is just softened and melted.  Browning cheese is not traditional in Mexican cuisine.

     Set the hot casserole dish on a doily lined serving platter.
     Insert several large blue corn tortilla chips into the refritos around the rim of the casserole dish.
     Sprinkle 1 thin bias sliced green onion top over the casserole.
     Garnish the casserole with cilantro sprigs.
     Garnish with 2 thin sliced lime curls.

     This is a fun Mexican style breakfast entree!  

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Mighty Warrior Sword Kabob!

     A Mighty Sword Kabob Presentation That Will Conquer A Backyard Chargrill Party!  
     • Southwestern Spice Marinated Ball Sirloin Tip Steaks
     • Za'Atar Chicken Breasts
     • Blueberry Sausage
     • Spicy Italian Sausage 
     • Sweet Mini Peppers!  Served with 
     • Curry Rice
     • King's Hawaiian Rolls
     • Grilled Bermuda Onion and Heirloom Tomato.

     Barbarian food and the barbarian dining experience is a recurring restaurant concept theme venue.  Nearly every culture around the globe has a history of warrior conquests that folks in the modern age marvel over.  
     Sometimes a chef at a casual European style pub offers a Dark Ages Barbarian Special du Jour, just to create consumer interest.  Occasionally a restaurant pops up that has a Medieval Age theme.  The entire menu is rustic and food is eaten with bare hands.  
     The Excalibur Casino Resort in Las Vegas looks like a gigantic Medieval Castle.  This resort has a long running dinner show called "The Tournament Of Kings."  The food is served Medieval style while knights on horseback joust and clobber each other with gothic weapons.  There is nothing like munching on rustic Medieval food with bare hands while watching knights in armor fighting with swords right in front of the dinner table!    
     Long Sword Skewer Food Presentations bring out the recessed genetic warrior traits in guests.  There is something about food that is speared by a sword that inspires a feeling of bravado and heroics.  Sword food presentations are somewhat crude by modern standards, but those who want to dine like barbarians really do not care about high society social dining etiquette anyway.   An almighty warrior sword food presentation is for down to earth customers that crave dining adventure!
     An Arabic, Brazilian or Persian style sword skewer is the ultimate backyard chargrill party macho food weapon.  When the guests take one look at the savory chargrilled big steaks, sausages and chicken breasts on the big sword skewer, jaws drop and everybody says "WOW! ... Look at that awesome gigantic sword kabob! ... That is so awesome dude!" 

     If one wishes to overwhelm backyard chargrill party guests with sheer barbaric machismo, then one simply must have a few big sword skewers in their arsenal! 
     Persian & Arabic style sword skewers can be purchased at internet specialty shopping sites and Mediterranean food markets.   I purchased a big sword skewer at Habib's Persian Cuisine-Mediterranean Market in Las Vegas.  I actually liked the quality of the sword skewer so much, that actually returned to Habib's to purchase 2 more!   
     Sword skewers are much more than a gimmick item.  Sword skewers represent the historical ages of warriors, bravery and conquest.   A few big sword skewer kabobs can feed a lot of barbarian guests at a backyard chargrill party! 

     *This entire recipe yields 1 large sword kabob platter that can feed 4 to 6 guests!

     Southwestern Spice Marinated Ball Sirloin Steak Preparation:
     A Ball tip Sirloin Steak is not an official N.A.M.P. cut of beef.  A Ball Tip Sirloin Steak is a regional cut of beef that is popular in midwestern states.  American butchers are familiar with this cut of beef and most grocery stores sell this cut by the name Ball Sirloin.  
     The Ball Tip Sirloin section is located near the Tri-Tip Sirloin section and this cut of beef is usually prepared like a Tr-Tip Steak.  A Ball Tip Sirloin Steak has very little fat marbling.  Marinating a Ball Tip Sirloin Steak ensures that the meat will be tender after cooking.  
     Step 1:  Select 2 Ball Tip Sirloin Steaks that weigh 12 to 14 ounces apiece.  
     Place 1/2 teaspoon of ancho chile powder in container that is just large enough to hold the two steaks.
     Add 1 teaspoon of New Mexico chile powder.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground chile pequin or cayenne pepper.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of cumin.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of coriander.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground anatto.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder.
     Add 1 pinch of garlic powder.
     Add 1 pinch of Mexican Oregano. 
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 tablespoon of water.
     Add 1 tablespoon of lime juice.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of white wine vinegar.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Place the steaks in the marinade and coat each side.
     Cover the container and chill for 4 hours.  
     Flip the steaks in the marinade occasionally.
     Blueberry Sausage And Spicy Italian Sausage Preparation:
     Good Blueberry Sausages can be found at butcher shops.
     Select 1 Blueberry Flavor Bratwurst Style Sausage and 1 Spicy Italian Sausage that weigh about 6 to 8 ounces apiece.
     Place the sausages on a small roasting pan.
     Lightly brush the sausages with vegetable oil
     Roast the sausages in a 300ºF oven, till they are fully cooked and very lightly browned.
     Keep the sausages warm on a stove top or on a high rack on a chargrill.
     Curry Spice Rice:
     This recipe yields 4 to 6 portions!
     Step 1:  Place 2 cups of water in a sauce pot. 
     Add 2 cups of light chicken broth.
     Add 1 tablespoon of Yellow Madras Curry Powder.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric.
     Add 1/4 cup of minced onion.
     Add 1 teaspoon of garlic paste.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
     Add 3 tablespoons of clarified unsalted butter.  (Ghee)
     Step 2:  Bring the liquid to a boil over medium high heat.
     Add 2 cups of long grain white rice.
     Return the liquid to a boil.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Cover the pot with a lid.
     Allow the rice to simmer and steam for 20 minutes.
     Keep the rice warm on a stove top.
     Za'atar Spice Roasted Chicken Breasts:
     Za'Atar Spice Mix is available at Mediterranean food markets.  There are several regional variation of the spice mix ingredients.  A Za'atar blend from Egypt will look and taste different than a Za'atar blend from Iraq.   
     Some Za'Atar spice blends have more cumin than others and some have plenty of Wild Thyme in the mix.  Middle Eastern Wild Thyme tastes completely different than European Thyme.
     I used a Za'atar spice blend that was imported from Jordan in this recipe.  The Jordan Za'atar had a high proportion of Green Wild Thyme. 
     The Za'atar chicken breasts can also be roasted on a chargrill away from direct flames over moderately low heat. 
     Step 1:  Select 2 large boneless skinned chicken breast filets that weigh 6 to 8 ounces apiece.
     Place the chicken breasts on a plate.
     Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the chicken.  (1 or 2 tablespoons)
     Sprinkle a generous amount of za'atar spice mixture on the chicken.  (3 to 5 tablespoons)
     Use your fingertips to rub the za'atar spice mix and olive oil onto the chicken.
     Step 2:  Place the chicken breasts on a wire screen roasting rack on a roasting pan.
     Sprinkle 1 or 2 pinches of sea salt over the chicken.
     Step 3:  Place the roasting pan in a 325ºF oven.
     Slowly roast the chicken, till it is fully cooked.
     Keep the Za'atar Chicken Breasts warm on a stove top or on a high chargrill rack.

     Chargrilling the Vegetables, Steaks and Sausages:
     All of these items can be grilled at the same time.
     Step 1:  Heat a large cast iron ribbed griddle or a chargrill to a medium/medium high temperature.
     Step 2:  Brush these vegetables with olive oil and grill them, till grill marks appear:
     - 3 or 4 sweet mini bell peppers
     - 2 slices of bermuda onion that are about 3/8" thick.
     Keep the vegetables warm on a high chargrill rack.
     Step 3:  Grill the roasted Blueberry Sausage and Spicy Italian Sausage, till grill marks appear.
     Keep the sausages warm on a high chargrill rack.
     Step 4:  Remove the Ball Tip Sirloin Steaks from the marinade.
     Chargrill the steaks to the preferred state of doneness.  (A medium finish temperature is best for ball tip sirloin.)
     Keep the steaks warm on a high chargrill rack.

     King's Hawaiian Rolls:
     King's Hawaiian Rolls have a unique sweet flavor and they are a favorite item here in the west coast region.  Since Las Vegas is the Ninth Hawaiian Island, I had to represent Hawaiian Warriors in today's recipe somehow.  King's Hawaiian Rolls were the ticket!
     For information about availability, follow this link:
     • King's Hawaiian
     Warm about 1 dozen King's Hawaiian Rolls in a 300ºF oven, shortly before serving.

     Warrior Sword Kabob Platter Presentation:
     This Warrior Sword Kabob Platter serves 4 guests!
     Step 1:  Select a 24" to 28" Sword Kabob Skewer.
     Step 2:  Use a boning knife to cut a slit through the center of each sausage and mini sweet pepper that will be placed on the sword skewer.
     Cut a slit through the center of the width of each Za'Atar Chicken Breast and the Southwestern Spice Marinated Ball Tip Sirloin Steaks.
     *Cut each opening just wide enough for the sword skewer blade to pass through.
     Step 3:  Place the prepared chargrilled items on the sword skewer in a way that creates eye appeal.
     Place the sword kabob on a baking pan and warm it in a 250ºF oven or warm it on a high chargrill rack, while getting the presentation platter ready.
     Step 4:  Select an oval serving platter that is about the the same length as the Sword Skewer.
     Mound at least 4 generous portions of the Curry Spice Rice along the length of the platter, as a bed for the kabob.
     Step 5:  Garnish the platter with these items:
     - Kings Hawaiian Bread Rolls
     - Heirloom Tomato Slices (Black Krim Tomato garnished the platter in the photos.)
     - The chargrilled bermuda onion slices
     - Crown Cut Lime Halves
     - Small bunches of cilantro sprigs
     Step 6:  Remove the warm Warrior Sword Skewer from the oven and place it on top of the rice on the platter.
     Warrior Sword Kabob Table Service Style
     When serving, remove the sword skewer.  Cut each sausage, chicken breast and steak in half.  Then divvy up the portions onto plates.

      When the backyard chargrill dinner guests happen to be a little bit on the barbaric side, feed them food that they like!  A Warrior Sword Kabob will certainly suit their fancy! 

Cheddar Jalapeño Huevos con Chile Colorado y Tortillas Fritas

     Cheddar Jalapeño Eggs with Chile Colorado Sauce and Crispy Fried Tortillas!  
     Soft steamed tortillas or soft tortillas gently warmed on a grill are usually the standard bread choice for a Mexican style breakfast.  Few restaurants offer crisp fried tortillas in the morning.  Crisp fried tortillas with cheese eggs and sauce can turn breakfast into a casual chip & dip dining experience.  Scooping eggs and sauce up with the crunchy tortillas is a fun way to eat breakfast!

     Chile Colorado Sauce
     Chile Colorado is also known as Enchilada Sauce.  The dried red chile peppers that are used to make the chile colorado sauce in today's recipe are in the mild to medium heat range.  Any dried red chile peppers can be used to make Chile Colorado sauce and selecting your own blend of dried peppers is like adding your own signature touch.
     There are regional Chile Colorado Sauce recipe variations that require specific kinds of dried chiles.  Chile Guajillo is most often used to make this sauce.  In the Yucatan, Chile Cascabel is the top choice.  In Oaxaca, Chile Negro is used to make a unique kind of Chile Colorado.  In Chihuahua, Mexico, a few smoky Chile Morita are often added to a Chile Colorado recipe.  In the desert southwest, mild New Mexico Chiles get top billing.
     Powdered ground chile peppers are best for making quick Chile Colorado for breakfast.  Whole seeded dried red chiles take more time time to reconstitute and then they have to be pureed.  If time is limited in the morning, then ground dried chiles are the best choice or Chile Colorado because the sauce can be finished in about 10 minutes.

     Chile Colorado (Molido Style):
     Chile Molido translates to Ground Dried Chile Pepper.  Chile Arbol is in the upper medium spicy hot range, so use less if a mild spicy flavor is preferred.
     Step 1:  Heat a sauce pot over medium heat.
     Add 2 cups of water.
     Add 1 tablespoon of Ground Chile Guajillo.
     Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of Chile Arbol Powder.  (To taste!  This pepper is spicy hot!)
     Add 1 tablespoon of Ancho Chile Powder.
     Add 1 pinch of garlic powder.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of cumin.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of lard or olive oil.
     Step 2:  Bring the sauce to a gentle boil while stirring.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer and reduce the sauce, till it becomes a thin sauce consistency that can glaze a spoon.
     Keep the colorado sauce warm over very low heat and stir the sauce occasionally.

     Fried Torillas:
     Step 1:  Cut 2 small 5" corn tortillas in half.
     Heat a deep cast iron skillet over medium heat.
     Add enough vegetable oil or lard, so the fat is 1/4" deep.
     Adjust the temperature of the oil, so it is 360ºF.
     Step 2:  Place the tortilla in the oil side by side.  (Only fry a couple at a time if you use a small pan.)
     Pan fry the tortilla halves on both sides, till they are crispy and golden highlights appear.
     Step 3:  Use tongs to remove the tortillas from the hot pan.
     Place the tortillas on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan to drain off any excess oil.
     Season the tortillas with sea salt.
     Keep the fried tortillas warm on a stove top.

     Cheddar Jalapeño Eggs:
     Step 1:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 2 pats of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 thin sliced green jalapeño pepper.
     Sauté till the jalapeno starts to become tender.
     Step 2:  Add 2 whisked large eggs.
     Scramble till the eggs become halfway cooked and so they are still very loose.
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped cheddar cheese.
     Stir and scramble the eggs, till the cheese is soft and the eggs become are cooked.
     Remove the pan from the heat.

     Cheddar Jalapeño Huevos con Chile Colorado y Tortillas Fritas:
     Mound the cheddar jalapeno eggs on the center of a plate.
     Spoon the chile colorado sauce on the plate around the eggs.
     Overlap the fried tortilla halves on the plate, so the the tips poke into the mound of eggs.
     Sprinkle a little bit of thin sliced green onion over the eggs.

     Scooping the eggs up with the tortillas fritas is crunchy fun!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Pepper Jack Elk Burger & Roasted Red Jalapeño On Grilled Sourdough!

     A California Style Elk Burger!
     Elk is one of my favorite wild game meats!  Elk tastes like "sweet aged beef" with no gamey aftertaste.  Las Vegas butcher shops get plenty of Elk from Utah, but northern Nevada has a large population of Elk too.  Elk are like a gigantic deer and they are one of the great symbols of the west.

     A friend of mine that lives on Mount Saint Helens in Oregon has access to a steady supply of local Elk.  Dining on Elk is a regular thing up there and the drug free clean Elk meat is not taken for granted.  Elk Tacos, Elk Sausage and Elk Meatloaf are everyday regular meals in Oregon.

     While driving back home to Las Vegas a few months ago, I had a good Elk Burger at the Cactus Cowboy Restaurant in Hatch, Utah.  This restaurant is actually located on a free range American Bison ranch and buffalo is on the menu.
     Buffalo Burger or Elk Burger?  I chose the Elk Burger at the Cactus Cowboy!  That elk burger tasted so good, while driving down the long scenic Utah country roads.  The feeling was rejuvenating and a lousy fast food burger would have resulted in the opposite effect.  All I can say is that when the fatigue feeling sets in while driving long distances, a meal of organic wild game can really make the body feel good and strong.
     There are plenty of Elk Hunting Guides for hire between Hatch and Koosharem, Utah.  Those who get the hankerin' to hunt some Elk while visiting Las Vegas now know which direction to go.  Those two places in Utah are only a few hours away by car.

     Pepper Jack Cheese is awesome tasting with wild game burger meats like, Elk, Buffalo or Venison.  Pepper Jack is Monterrey Jack Cheese that is flavored with minced hot chile peppers.  So, I    
     California Sourdough Bread is traditional for western style sandwiches.  In fact, if a sandwich is made with Sourdough Bread, it often will have the "California" monicker in the name of the sandwich on a printed menu.  Char grilling the sliced Sourdough Bread adds a rustic western visual effect.  
     A pan roasted Red Jalapeño Pepper is always a nice choice of garnish for casual western style food.  Ripe Red Jalapeños can be very mild tasting or fiery hot.  There is a wide range of spicy heat level in these peppers.  Every once in a while that first bite can be a real eye opening fiery surprise!
     Fresno Peppers are similar to Red Jalapeño Peppers.  If no Red Jalapeños are available, a Fresno Pepper is a good substitute.  Fresno Peppers are a little bit deeper shade of red and they tend to be just a little smaller than Jalapeños.

     *This entire recipe yields 1 Elk Burger!

     Pan Roasted Jalapeño:
     Red Jalapeños are fully ripe and the spicy heat level is usually fairly mild.  Jalapeños contain a higher proportion of capsicum oil than any other pepper.  Every so often there is a fiery hot Jalapeño in the bushel.  If a guest really prefers mild chile pepper heat, it is best to taste a roasted whole Red Jalapeño Peppers before serving it up.   
     Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1 large whole ripe Red Jalapeño Pepper.
     Sauté the pepper, till a few brown highlights appear on all sides.
     Set the Pan Roasted Red Jalapeño on a platter and keep it warm on a stove top.
     Grilled Sourdough Bread:
     Heat a cast iron ribbed griddle or char grill over medium heat.
     Season the grill grates with vegetable oil.
     Grill 2 slices of California Sourdough Bread on both sides.  Try to flip the bread so a cross-check pattern appears.
     Keep the grilled bread warm on a stove top.
     Burger Setup Plate:
     It is best to set the plate up first, because Elk Burgers are so lean that they only take a couple minutes to cook.  
     Set one slice of the grill sourdough on a plate.  Set the other slice aside.
     Place a Boston lettuce leaf on the plate.
     Place 2 thin slices of bermuda onion on the lettuce leaf.
     Place 2 slices of tomato on the onion.
     Cascade a few Bread & Butter Pickle Chips on the plate next to the lettuce, tomato and onion.
     Set the burger set up plate aside.
     Pepper Jack Elk Burger & Roasted Red Jalapeño On Grilled Sourdough!:
     Elk is a very lean meat.  Elk should only be cooked medium rare to medium or the lean meat will be tough.  
     A well seasoned chargrill or ribbed cast iron griddle can be used to cook the Elk Burger, but the grill must be brushed with oil every time that the burger is flipped or the lean meat will stick like glue.  
     I used a non-stick sauté pan or a well seasoned cast iron griddle actually world better than a chargrill when cooking extra lean wild game meat.  The lean Elk Burger will not stick to the surface.
     Step 1:  Heat a non-stick sauté pan or well seasoned cast iron griddle over medium heat.
     Step 2:  Weigh 6 ounces of Ground Elk Meat and pack the lean ground meat into a ball shape.
     Press the Ground Elk into an oval burger patty shape, that is about the same shape and size as the slice of sourdough bread.
     Season the burger patty with sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 3:  Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter to the pan.
     Add the Elk Burger Patty.
     Sauté the Elk Burger on both sides, till it is a little less done than medium rare and lightly browned.
     Step 4:  Place a few thin slices of Pepper Jack Cheese on the Elk Burger.
     Add 1 ounce of water to the pan and immediately cover the pan with a domed lid.  (The steam will soften and melt the cheese.)
     Remove the lid after about 10 seconds.
     Step 5:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Use a spatula to place the Pepper Jack Elk Burger on the slice of grilled sourdough on the burger setup plate.
     Place the Pan Roasted Red Jalapeño on top of the burger.
     Lean the second slice of grill sourdough against the burger.

    This is a simple great tasting California style Pepper Jack Elk Burger that will impress guests!