For the last week or so I have been thinking about New England clam chowder. I could not get my mind off of it, but then as I was flipping channels late one night, I came across a cooking show that had featured a place…
Month: January 2012
The croque monsieur. The sibling of the croque madame. A French style sandwich that, once made, will be in your memory for a very long time. It is a sandwich unlike no other. If you were to compare it to a hot brown sandwich, as awesome and amazing as those are, it still does not compare. See there is something to be said about the crunch you get when biting into this sandwich. The nutty and sweet flavor of the Gruyère cheese, along with the smooth creaminess of the béchamel sauce really makes this sandwich stick out.
Ingredients: [Print this Recipe]
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups of milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- pinch of nutmeg
- 1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- 6 thin slices of Gruyère cheese
- 8 thin slices of Black Forest Ham
- 1 cup of grated Gruyère cheese
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 4 slices of thick cut French sandwich loaf
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
Begin by making the béchamel sauce. Get two saucepans, and heat one on a medium low heat, and the other on medium heat. To the pan on medium, low heat, add the milk, and let it get warm. To the other pan, add the two tablespoons of butter, and let it melt down and begin to bubble a bit. Add the flour to the butter, and mix it very well to incorporate the two. Continue whisking for about two minutes, being careful not to let the flour mixture brown. Slowly add in the warm milk, and continue whisking until you everything is nice and smooth. You will whisk this for about 8-10 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Add in the salt, nutmeg, and the parmesan cheese. Give a good mix, then remove it from the heat until it is ready to be used.
Next, get a large skillet going on the stove, and bring that to a medium heat. Butter four slices of the bread, and lay them into the skillet, butter side down. The goal here is to get them nice and golden brown, without burning them. As they begin to cook, add a tablespoon of butter to two pieces of the bread. Lay down three slices of Gruyère cheese on top of the mustard, then top each with four slices of the black forest ham. Let them continue cooking on the skillet, lifting to peak every couple of minutes, until the have reached that golden brown color, and have a crunchy exterior.
Now for the assembly.
Get your broiler going on 475 degrees.
Add the slices of toasted bread to a baking sheet. Place the toasted bread on top of the bread with the mustard, cheese, and ham. Now take the bechamel sauce and generously spread it all of the top of each sandwich. Take half a cup of the Gruyère cheese and add that to the top of the bechamel sauce.
Place this under the broiler until the cheese is nice and bubbly and everything is warmed through, roughly 4-6 minutes.
Remove the sandwiches from the broiler, and place on a serving plate. Dig in!
This one is super delicious and has not left my mind since I last made it. It has that sort of impact. Trust me.
If there is one thing that my children and I agree on for a late night snack, it has got to be the soft pretzel. This snack was something I grew up with and it is something enjoyable to reflect on those childhood memories when…
It’s soup season, and to boot, it’s comfort food season, at least in Wisconsin. See, it is pretty darn cold here right now, and when we come inside the house after hours of sledding outdoors, or even just getting home from work, we want, or better yet, we need something to warm our bodies. This is where a nice bowl of soup comes into play, and in my opinion, a nice bowl of pozole comes into the picture.
If you have never had, nor heard of pozole, it is basically a Mexican soup that has this wonderful corn, and is loaded with super tender pork, a simple stock (in this case a red stock), and is garnished with shredded cabbage, thinly sliced radish, and fresh cilantro. It is a soup to be reckoned with. In a nutshell, it is just plain awesome.
So lets get started on making this wonderful pozole rojo. Rojo by the way means red in Spanish.
Ingredients: [Print this Recipe]
- 2 lbs of pork shoulder, cut into 2 inch cubes
- 6 Guajillo chile peppers, stems and seeds removed
- 4 Chile de Arbol peppers, stems and seeds removed
- 2 cups of boiling water
- 2 large, white onions, diced
- 1 head of garlic, thinly sliced
- 12 cups of water
- 2 cups of chicken stock
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1 tbsp Mexican oregano, crushed with your fingers
- 30 oz can of Hominy, or Mexican corn, drained
- 1 lime, quartered
- 10 radishes, thinly sliced
- 3 cups of green cabbage, thinly shredded
- Fresh cilantro
- Fresh Jalapeno peppers, seeds removed, sliced (optional)
- Tortilla chips or fresh corn tortillas (optional)
Begin by hydrating the peppers. Add the chile peppers to the two cups of boiling water, cover, and set aside for about 30 minutes.
Next, add the pork to your soup pot. Cover with the 12 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium. During this time, start skimming the brown foam that comes to the top of your stock, and start discarding that. Continue this process until you no longer have those impurities. Continue cooking the pork for about 2 1/2 hours, until the meat is super tender. Once the meat is cooked, remove the meat with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl. Let the meat cool so that you can handle it with your fingers.
Once the chiles have rehydrated, add them to a blender with about 1 cup of the water that they were hydrating in. Add the two cups of chicken stock to the blender, along with the salt, pepper, and garlic. Blend until you have a very smooth mixture.
If you have a mesh strainer, now is the time to use it. Your goal is to add the blended chile mixture through the strainer, just in case there are any portions of the flesh from the chile peppers. Strain that directly into the pork stock and give a good stir. You now have the beginnings of your red stock, the rojo in pozole rojo. Give yourself a pat on the back, and carry onward.
Once the meat is cooled, tear it up into manageable bite size pieces and add it to the stock. Toss in the diced onions, as well as the strained hominy. Give it a good stir, bring it to a simmer, cover and let it cook for an additional two hours.
Once the soup is cooked, give a couple of good ladles of the soup into your bowl, and top with the jalapeno slices, radishes, cabbage, cilantro, and lime. Not all of it, just generous serving of each.
To eat, well, you can probably figure this one out. Get your spoon and tortilla chip ready. Mix the cabbage into the soup, along with some of the radishes and cilantro, and dig in. Every bite is amazing. Tender bites of delicious pork pairs ever so nicely with the subtle heat of the stock. Then you can the tender bites of hominy and the crunchiness of the cabbage and radish. Wow! Comfort in every bite. This batch of pozole can be eaten of the course of a few days, and gets better every day.
Classic, comforting, and truly Mexican, this pozole rojo is worth making. Trust me.