Wednesday, May 11, 2016

T-Bone Steak with Ancho Chile Onion Marmalade

     Western Steakhouse Cuisine!
     T-Bone Steak is the most popular steak cut that there is.  By connoisseur standards, a T-Bone is just as good as a Porterhouse Steak, because the Strip Steak section on a T-Bone is big and meaty.  True T-Bone Steak fans really do not care much about Tenderloin Steak side of the bone.
     A T-Bone Steak has a smaller percentage of tenderloin attached to the bone than a Porterhouse Steak.  A Porterhouse is usually cut at least 1" thick and the Tenderloin section must be attached to at least 2 1/2" of the bone.  Often a T-Bone Steak will meet or exceed the Porterhouse standards and the Tenderloin section will be quite large.  A T-Bone that has a large Tenderloin section attached to the bone is an added bonus, but how thick the steak is cut is what will determine whether the steak should be labeled as a Porterhouse.  As long as the Tenderloin size requirement is met, labeling the steak as a T-Bone or Porterhouse is up to the butcher.      
     As with any steak, some fat marbling should be present for a tender and flavorful steak.  USDA Prime Grade Beef is guaranteed to have a substantial percentage of fat marbling.  USDA Prime Grade Beef is usually only sold at butcher shops.  USDA Choice Grade Beef is usually sold at grocery stores.  USDA Choice Grade Beef can be hit or miss.  Sometimes a USDA Choice Grade T-Bone will look just as good as a Prime Grade T-Bone, so it pays to take a look at a few Choice Grade steaks before committing to a purchase at the market.

     Onion Marmalade is perfect for roasted or chilled meats.  Onion Marmalade is not really a true marmalade.  Because the onions are julienne sliced, it does kind of resemble a marmalade, so the name sticks.
     Admittedly, Onion Marmalade does taste much more robust when Ancho Chile is added.  Ancho Chile is a Dried Poblano Chile.  Ancho chile has a deep, fruity, mild spicy flavor.  Ancho Chile Onion Marmalade really adds a nice gentle flavor to a Southwestern style steak!  

     Ancho Chile Onion Marmalade:  
     This recipe yields a little more than 1/2 cup.  (Enough for 2 steaks.)  
     The pectin in the onions will naturally combine with the sugar to gel a small batch of marmalade.  For large batches of this marmalade, add a liquid or dried pectin product and use the proportion needed for making fruit preserves.
     The marmalade can be made like a medium thick glaze sauce or the marmalade can be made so the thick jelly coats the chile and onions.  It is up to the cook to decide on the texture.    
     Step 1:  Cut 1 medium to large dried ancho chile open.
     Remove the seeds and stem.
     Cut the ancho chile into thin strips.
     Step 2:  Heat 2 cups of water in a sauce pot over low heat.
     Add the ancho chile strips.
     Simmer till the ancho chile starts to become soft and reconstituted.
     Step 3:  Add 1 1/4 cups of julienne sliced onion.  (1/8"x1/8"x 2 1/2")
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce.
     Add 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar.
     Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1/3 cup of sugar.
     *Taste the liquid.  The balance of sweet and sour should be slightly on the sweet side.  Adjust the flavor if necessary.
     Step 4:  Raise the temperature to medium heat.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 5:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer and reduce the marmalade, till it starts to become thick.
     Step 6:  Add 1 cup of water.
     Simmer and reduce the marmalade a second time.
     When most of the liquid has evaporated, the marmalade should have the rusty brown color of the ancho chile and the onions should be suspended in the jelly.
     Step 7:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Set the marmalade aside and let it cool to room temperature.
     Place the marmalade in a container and chill for at least 12 hours in a refrigerator.
     *Fresh marmalade can be kept refrigerated for 7 days.

     Southwestern Steak Seasoning:
     This basic recipe yields enough to season 2 large steaks.   
     Place 1 tablespoon of sea salt in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 3/4 tablespoon of table grind black pepper.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground chile ancho (or cayenne pepper).
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of cumin.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder.
     Mix the ingredients together.

     T-Bone Steak with Ancho Chile Marmalade:
     This recipe yields 1 T-Bone Steak entrée.
     Step 1:  Select a 16 to 18 ounce T-Bone Steak.  (The bone will weigh 3 or 4 ounces.)
     Season the steak with a few pinches of the Southwestern Steak Seasoning.
     Allow the seasonings to flavor the steak for 10 minutes.
     Step 2:  Heat a chargrill or a cast iron ribbed griddle over medium/medium high heat.  (A broiler in an oven is okay too.  I used a broiler for the steak in the pictures.)
     Step 3:  Grill or broil the steak on both sides, till it is cooked to the desired finish temperature.
     Set the steak on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan and let it rest for 1 to 2 minutes.
     Step 4:  Place the T-Bone Steak on the front half of a large serving plate.
     Place about 2 to 3 tablespoons of the Ancho Chile Onion Marmalade on the bone of the steak. (Serve with a ramekin of extra marmalade on the side, because guests will nearly always ask for more!)
     Place a potato and vegetable of your choice on the plate.
     Garnish the plate with Italian Parsley sprigs.
     Garnish the marmalade with a Pickled Yellow Chile Guero.

     The sweet tangy rich flavor of Ancho Chile Onion Marmalade tastes nice with a T-Bone steak!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Southwestern Succotash with Roasted Mint Tomato

     Healthy Southwestern Style Succotash!
     Succotash is classic vegetable recipe that has Native American roots.  East of the Mississippi the native spelling of succotash is Sohquttahhash or Msíckquatash.     
     Early American colonists often cooked Native American traditional recipes, but more often than not, the recipe was modified to suit the taste of the settlers.  Many early American settlers were puritans and they had simple tastes.  The colonial style succotash recipe that most people are familiar with is made with corn, lima beans, butter and seasoning.
     Succotash is popular from coast to coast.  There are many different tribal names for this corn and bean stew.  The closer one gets to Mexico, the more the local language changes to western tribal tongues and the Aztec Nahuatl language becomes an influence.  There are also many Mayan food words in the Aztec Nahuatl language.  The Mayan word "Chulibu'ul" refers to stewed beans and corn.  
     After doing some research, I posted a Chulibu'ul recipe last year.  This recipe became popular, so there definitely are people around the globe that are genuinely interested in Native American food.  In this age of not trusting artificial food and GMO food products, people are finding comfort in naturally good old traditional pre-colombian recipes.  
     As mentioned earlier, the early American colonist version of succotash was plain and simple.  Native American succotash recipes often include many more ingredients than just lima beans and corn.  Chile peppers, onion, potatoes and tomatoes are often on the list of succotash ingredients.  Local herbs, flowers and spices also are added to flavor the stew.  Succotash does not have to be plain and simple.  Today's southwestern succotash creation is a good example of how succotash can be an exciting vegetable entrée.

     Southwestern Succotash:
     This recipe yields 2 large portions!  
     Succotash can be served as a side dish or as a vegetarian entrée.    
     Step 1:  Place 2 1/2 cups of Frozen Fordhook Lima Beans in a pot.
     Add 2 cups of fresh or frozen corn kernels.
     Add 1/4 cup of minced onion.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of garlic paste.
     Add 1 crushed seeded ancho chile pepper.
     Add enough water to cover the ingredients with 1" of extra liquid.
     Step 2:  Place the pot over medium high heat.
     Bring the liquid to a boil.
     Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Step 3:  Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil or unsalted butter.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of crushed Brazilian Pink Peppercorns (or 2 pinches of black pepper).
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of coriander.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of cumin.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced epazote.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of sumac berry spice.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of filé powder.  (ground sassafras leaves.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1 pinch of ground chile arbol.
     Add sea salt to taste.
     Step 4:  Simmer till the lima beans and corn become very tender.  Allow the broth to reduce to just below the level of the vegetables.  Only add water if necessary.
     Keep the Southwestern Succotash warm over very low heat.

     Roasted Mint Tomato:
     This recipe yields 1 roasted tomato.
     Step 1:  Select 1 large heirloom tomato or organic tomato.
     Use a paring knife to crown cut the top of the tomato.  (Wolf's Tooth precision cut.)
     Step 2:  Brush the entire tomato with blended olive oil.
     Step 3:  Season the open crown of the tomato with sea salt and white pepper.
     Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of finely grated jack cheese or parmesan cheese on the crown.  (optional)
     Sprinkle 2 pinches of dried mint on the tomato.
     Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of fine French bread crumbs on the tomato.
     Drizzle a few drops of blended olive oil on the toppings.
     Step 4:  Place the tomato on a roasting pan.
     Bake in a 350ºF oven till the tomato becomes tender, but not mushy.
     Keep the roasted mint tomato warm on a stove top.

     Southwestern Succotash with Roasted Mint Tomato:
     This recipe describes 1 entrée presentation.
     Ladle about 2 1/4 cups of Southwestern Succotash into a large serving bowl.
     Place the Roasted Mint Tomato on the center of the succotash.
     Sprinkle 1 thin bias sliced green onion on the succotash.
     Garnish the tomato with an Italian Parsley sprig or cilantro sprig.  

     Viola!  A hearty old time succotash with a pleasant southwestern flavor!  Vegetable entrées like this really get the body in tune for springtime outdoor activities.