Saturday, August 16, 2014

SMA SHORTS 8/16/2014

How do I shop?

I don't go to the store with a shopping list. I go to the store, see what ingredients look the freshest and then make my list.

Finally: real BBQ!

Diablo Panzon, at 94 Salida a Celaya, is a Cafe Rama property that boasts a wall-to-wall Argentinean grill and dishes out BBQ that is cooked to absolute perfection.

You can easily recognize that 'Cafe Rama style... mismatched furniture and the unusual style of artwork on the walls. It's a very comfortable environment to dine in and just cozy enough to lose track of how many margaritas you've actually consumed in the past hour.

I enjoyed the Cowboy Pork Chop, a small mixed salad, rice that combined both wild and white with mangos and dried cranberries and a full ear of corn. Whatever was in the mayo made this Elote a new favorite. You also get complimentary fava bean dip with tortilla chips.

This generous plate of food was just $149 pesos and is the same price as their salmon.
Why have sauce when you have BBQ this good? I would ask for it without the BBQ sauce next time because it took away from the flavor of the meat.

Put this one on your go-to list. It's a keeper. But then, anything involving grilled meat is a keeper.

Speaking of Pork Chops...

I grabbed a 4:00 PM lunch at the new OBOS Restaurant at 11 Cuna de Allende. Part of the Fat Mermaid and Chuleto Cocina International in Zihuatanejo, this somewhat pricy restaurant has a not-so-typical menu which includes a shrimp flambé on the high end for $305 pesos.

Since I was just coming off the Diablo Panzon pork chop, I ordered it again. This one was $175 pesos of thick-cut pork smothered in a mushroom gravy that was both rich and delicious. It was served with potato slices, spinach and carrots. Slightly French but also reminded me of a good, old-fashioned roast.

While I was there, a deluge of rain came down - a repeat of the flood we had last week- and within minutes the waiters were furiously sweeping the rains away from the front door. I also lost my outdoor seat which is the majority of the restaurant's space. In fact, there are only 2 tables inside the restaurant.

The service was good and I would definitely go back. Save it for a special occasion though instead of a rainy day.

THANKS for thPhotos...Wish You Were Here!

Huevos Rancheros Burger... The Rockit Bar, Chicago

Kayt Nelson at Sloppy Joes. Jealous!

Crab Cakes from Andrew Zimmern

As many of you know, good crab cakes are hard to find here in San Miguel.

Solution: make them at home!

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg, beaten
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, picked over
20 saltine crackers, finely crushed
1/4 cup canola oil
Lemon wedges, for serving

In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the egg, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce until smooth.

In a medium bowl, lightly toss the crabmeat with the cracker crumbs. Gently fold in the mayonnaise mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Scoop the crab mixture into eight 1/3-cup mounds; lightly pack into 8 patties, about 1 1/2 inches thick. In a large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the crab cakes and cook over moderately high heat until deeply golden and heated through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the crab cakes to plates and serve with lemon wedges.

Make Ahead: The crab cakes can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight.

My New Favorite Addiction: Juice...A NonAlcoholic Conga Recipe

6 Oz OJ
4 Oz Pineapple Juice
1 Oz Grapefruit Juice
Dash Grenadine

Blend and serve over ice.

Rosa Cookies...

I've eaten a lot of Mexican cookies but none like these Rosa shaped cookies...a gift from Cesar's wife...and much like my Scandinavian grandmother's rosettes.
Add a few more miles to the daily running routine and pass me another cookie, please. They're addictive!

El Cafe de La Mancha
Recreo 21A

Owners Paloma and Christian are passionate about good coffee. Espresso, Cappuccino, Latte, French Press, or Japanese Vacuum - they have it all...including a Chemex (a Yama Cold Brew Drip Tower)... A Melitta Dripper (for German coffee) ...the Ibrik = Turkish Coffee and the Aeropress which Paloma explained is the equalivent of making espresso with your hands.

This was the best Italian Cappuccino I've had in a long time.

This place is tiny and comfortable. Best to go in the afternoon after the AM crowd is at work.

Go in this week and wish them a happy one year anniversary.

Are you measuring?

Of course. No shortcuts in pastry: It's a science!

Queso Fundido Macaroni and Cheese

No surprise that I liked this Mac and Cheese because Queso Fundido is one of my favorite Mexican feasts.

Recipe by Sonia Mendez Garcia

5 ounces Mexican chorizo
1 large poblano pepper
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1½ pounds extra sharp, white cheese, shredded
1½ cups Mexican crema
8 ounces small pasta shells
½ cup crushed, taco flavor Doritos chips
½ cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
Canola or olive oil spray

Set the top shelf in oven to about 10 inches from top broiler. Preheat broiler for 5 minutes. Preheat a nonstick medium pan to medium/high heat for 3 minutes. Place the poblano pepper on a foil-lined baking sheet. Cook under broiler, turning when needed, until the skin blisters on most sides. Never leave the broiler unattended. Cook the chorizo in nonstick pan for 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer chorizo to a plate lined with paper towels, set aside. Remove poblano from oven and let it cool in plastic storage bag or in between a clean kitchen towel.

Combine the milk and heavy cream in a glass bowl or large measuring cup. Heat in the microwave for 35 to 45 seconds just to heat slightly, set aside. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, whisk in the flour and cook for another minute. Whisk in the milk mixture, add the nutmeg, mustard, salt and pepper. Cook on low/medium heat, without boiling, for 15 to 20 minutes or until sauce thickens. Add 1 pound of the shredded cheese, reserving the remaining cheese. Stir just until melted, cover and remove from heat.

Combine the crushed "Doritos" and panko bread crumbs in a bowl, set aside. While the sauce is cooking, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside. Remove the blistered skin, stem, and seeds from poblano pepper, then dice. Spray a 13 x 9 pan with canola or olive oil. Add the cooked pasta, white cheese sauce, Mexican crema, chorizo, poblano pepper. Stir gently to combine. Top with remaining shredded cheese, panko and "Doritos" mixture. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for at least 20 minutes before serving. Yields up 8 servings.
Note: The macaroni and cheese is much easier to serve if you let it cool slightly. If you like it even more cheesy, add another cup of your favorite shredded cheese! Cover and keep in refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Delicious Salad but Swimming in Dressing?
Always ask for your dressing on the side.

When making dough, freeze the butter and grate it into the dry ingredients.
Why? You'll handle the cold dough less, resulting in a more flaky product.

Get your skin back to feeling baby-soft with this easy home-recipe for Sugar Scrub:

Granulated sugar
Extra-virgin olive oil
An essential oil of your choice

Put one cup of sugar in a bowl and add one-third cup of olive oil and 10 drops of an essential oil of your choice.

All Sugar:La Pulga...

Cooking 101:
To get into the mood for cooking, I put on some Music and pour myself a large glass of wine.

On the Road Again...

Next week: Guanajuato.
Everyone has told me that Guanajuato is not a great food city so don't expect good food. Sounds like a challenge to me!

September: Back to Mexico City.
Our favorite food city in Mexico. New twists on some old standards...and a few surprises along the way.

Stay tuned…

Buen Apetito!