African Style Rice

I know what you must be thinking (maybe), ‘why is Dax posting about an African style rice recipe when it is so close to Cinco de Mayo! Shouldn’t he be posting about some Mexican recipe instead!?’.  I thought the same thing, for only a second, but this recipe is too good not to post. Of course I will be knocking out some sort of Mexican torta in a couple of days, but in the meantime, the focus is on an African style rice dish that is loaded with awesome spices.

This recipe was inspired by a couple of different thoughts. One being the chicken suqaar sandwich and some flavors of Indian food that I recently had. When the two came together, it was a match made in heaven. This is a recipe that is a one pot meal, and one that you could eat throughout the day, or week. It makes plenty and has you questioning the spice blend.

African Style Rice Recipe
African Style Rice Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of basmati rice, soaked in water
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 6 cardamom pods, seeds only
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced (or substitute boneless/skinless thighs)
  • 2 cups of chicken stock

Start by adding the rice to a bowl, and cover with cold water. Set this to the side as you prepare the rest of your dish.

Heat a large skillet (enough to hold all of the chicken, vegetables, and rice), on medium heat and add in the canola oil. Let the oil heat up for a minute or so, then add in the diced onions. Cook these for about 7 minutes, or until they just begin to caramelize.

Now add in the garlic, ginger, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, star anise, cumin, black pepper, and turmeric powder. Give these a good stir, and cook for about a minute so they release their oils. Give this a good smell. Don’t you love it?

Toss in the tomatoes and chicken, and give a good stir.

African Style Rice Recipe
African Style Rice Recipe

Strain the rice, then add the rice to the mixture. Give this another good stir, then add in the chicken stock. Stir again, bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the rice and chicken has fully cooked.

Remove the lid, stir, and give it a taste. If the rice is cooked, great, if not, cook a bit longer. Season with any additional salt.

I served mine as a main course, alongside some Indian mixed pickles to bring a nice accent to the dish.

This African style rice was pretty darn awesome, and pretty to boot due to the turmeric. Hope you enjoy.

African Style Rice
Author: 
Cuisine: African
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of basmati rice, soaked in water
  • 1 whole onion, diced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 6 cardamom pods, seeds only
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • ½ tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • ½ tbsp turmeric powder
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced (or substitute boneless/skinless thighs)
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
Instructions
  1. Start by adding the rice to a bowl, and cover with cold water. Set this to the side as you prepare the rest of your dish.
  2. Heat a large skillet (enough to hold all of the chicken, vegetables, and rice), on medium heat and add in the canola oil. Let the oil heat up for a minute or so, then add in the diced onions. Cook these for about 7 minutes, or until they just begin to caramelize.
  3. Now add in the garlic, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, star anise, cumin, black pepper, and turmeric powder. Give these a good stir, and cook for about a minute so they release their oils. Give this a good smell. Don’t you love it?
  4. Toss in the tomatoes and chicken, and give a good stir.
  5. Strain the rice, then add the rice to the mixture. Give this another good stir, then add in the chicken stock. Stir again, bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the rice and chicken has fully cooked.
  6. Remove the lid, stir, and give it a taste. If the rice is cooked, great, if not, cook a bit longer. Season with any additional salt.
  7. I served mine as a main course, alongside some Indian mixed pickles to bring a nice accent to the dish.

 

Neapolitan Style Pizza

I am always on the constant pursuit to try to perfect pizza. You might already be familiar with all of the pizza recipes I’ve made, and as they have always been great (in my opinion), I am always looking to improve on the dough. I believe with this last batch, I probably did a fairly close job to making a neapolitan style pizza dough. It had the right amount of air pockets, and a good chew.

This past week allowed me to tinker with the dough and bust out the KettlePizza (which I love using). Granted the pizzas only took minutes to cook in the KettlePizza, the dough itself was the star and took days to ferment.

Neapolitan Style Pizza Recipe
Neapolitan Style Pizza Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 lb 00 flour, plus more for dusting your work surface
  • 25 g kosher salt
  • .80 g active dry yeast
  • 2 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, optional
  • buffalo mozzarella
  • your favorite pizza sauce
  • your favorite toppings

The goal is to measure by weight, so if you have a digital food scale (which I highly recommend), use it. I found that measuring by weight rather than volume is one of the keys to a good hydration ratio. I also have been using the double zero style flour as it is a bit finer and gets the texture I am looking for.

Start by adding the flour to a mixing bowl along with the salt, yeast, and then slowly add in the water. Slowly mix, either by hand, or what I use, the KitchenAid mixer. Mix for only a minute or so, then let it rest for a few minutes. After a few minutes scrape the sides of the bowl with a wooden spoon to get any flour into the center of the mixing bowl, then mix on medium for about 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, turn off the mixer. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then with a kitchen towel. You will place this in a warm area to let the dough rise. I like to place a coffee mug filled with water and place into our microwave for about a minute, then let the steam build up. I then remove the mug, and place the covered bowl in there.

Once the dough has risen, about double in size, if not more, then lightly flour your work surface, and divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Lightly oil with olive oil, place in a sealed container, and place into your refrigerator for 4 days to ferment. Yep, I did 4 days, and it was awesome!

Neapolitan Style Pizza Recipe
Neapolitan Style Pizza Recipe

After 4 days, and when you are ready to make the pizzas, remove the dough, a few hours in advance, from the refrigerator to let it come close to room temperature.

Lightly flour your work surface with the double zero flour. Remove one of the balls of dough from the container and place onto the floured surface.

Gently working from the center outward, begin shaping your dough into a pizza like shape. I find that the circle does not need to be perfect, but once you have formed your dough into a thin circle, then move it onto a lightly dusted pizza paddle. Now begin building your pizza.

Take some sauce and lightly coat your pizza. Then top with a a good buffalo mozzarella cheese. I tear off chunks of the cheese and top on the pizza. I’ve found that buffalo mozzarella cheese works way better than a store bought shredded type.  Then top with your favorite ingredients. The pizza above used thinly sliced mushrooms, onion, and bell peppers.

If you are using an oven, preheat it to the highest temperature, along with the pizza stone, or if you are using the KettlePizza then make sure your kettle is heated. I like my kettle heated to around 700 degrees.

Slide your pizza in onto the stone or into your kettle, and cook until the crust is golden and the toppings are cooked.

The end result is a perfect crust that was crisp, airy, and had the perfect chew, and that four day fermentation did the trick! I’m sure I will continue to tinker with dough throughout my life, but so far this one is the shining star. Good luck and I hope you enjoy!

Smoked Beef Brisket

A Costco was recently opened in our neighborhood, and the place is massive. My wife and I are not members (yet), but my father-in-law is and he invited us to join him. I have heard nothing but good things about this place, and as I was familiar with Sam’s Club, I was interested walking around, not knowing what I would purchase.  I did not realize this place offered so much stuff, and in particular I was pleasantly surprised with their meat department. A few minutes in and I had a cart full of stuff, including a huge beef brisket. I typically only find flats in our stores, and they are super expensive, but this one at Costco had the flat and point, and it was huge, and super affordable. That alone was worth the trip.

I was jazzed to make another attempt at smoking this beef brisket, and well pretty darn excited to boot.

Smoked Beef Brisket Recipe
Smoked Beef Brisket Recipe

Beef brisket is one of those cuts that, in my opinion, are sometimes tough to make, but when done right it is probably the best slice of beef you may ever have. I think I nailed it, not only in getting the awesome smoke ring, but this cut like butter and was super tender.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 11 lb beef brisket, fat trimmed
  • salt, to lightly coat
  • cracked black pepper, to lightly coat
  • Your favorite wood for smoking meats
  • aluminum foil

Start by trimming all of the fat. It’s ok to leave a little bit, but you pretty much want it off. Pay attention where the flat and the point meet, and get your knife in there and trim all of that out.

This process alone took me about 35 minutes. No lie.

Once you have the fat, feel free to save it for a later use, such as grinding into meat for making sausages, or discard.

Generously season all sides of the beef brisket with kosher salt and cracked black pepper. I then sealed mine in a large bag and let sit in the refrigerator overnight.

How to smoke a beef brisket
How to smoke a beef brisket

Before you are ready to smoke, take the brisket out of the refrigerator, and let it come to room temperature, roughly 30 minutes or so.

During this time, get your smoker ready. I use a Weber charcoal grill for my smoker, lining hot coals on one side, and drip pans, full of water, in the center.

My coworker sold me some digital probes for taking temperature for the meat, as well as the inside of the smoker, and when I put my brisket on, it was hovering around 270 degrees, and my brisket cooked at that temperature for probably 30 minutes until I got the temperature down to about 245 degrees. I smoked that for about 6 hours, then wrapped it in foil and cooked for about another 8 hours around 190 degrees. Low and slow if you will.

Once I had the internal temperature set to around 190 degrees then it is time to pull it off the smoker. I let my beef brisket rest for about 40 minutes before slicing into it. Slicing is the moment of truth, and truth be told mine was perfect. I was left with a great outer bark, and great smoke ring, and moist and tender. I was stoked. You can use this for sandwiches, eat as is, or even quesadillas! Costco now has me sold and we are now most likely getting a membership for the brisket alone. Hope you give this one a shot, and wish you all the best in smoking a brisket!

Beef Tongue Tacos

I remember years ago when my coworkers and I went to our local taqueria  and one of my colleagues ordered beef tongue tacos. I didn’t flinch at all as I was used to plenty of my friends eating ‘weird’ things in my life. I always had an interest in beef tongue, and on a recent visit to my favorite taqueria, I decided to get a beef tongue taco, or taco de lengua, and base my own recipe off what my experience was with theirs. To say the least, the beef tongue taco was amazing, not only in how ‘beefy’ it tasted, but also in texture. I swear, if I served you own, you would most likely think it was some type of beef. That’s when I decided to take things in my own hands, and head back to the meat department and order a tongue.

I did not tell anyone the following day (well I told my daughter as she was baking a cake) what I was making as I wanted to surprise them when I was going to serve the tongue tacos the following day. Were they surprised? Yes.

Mexican Beef Tongue Tacos Recipe
Mexican Beef Tongue Tacos Recipe

Making the beef tongue takes a few hours to make, but it is totally worth it, plus you are left with some awesome beef stock when you are done.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 beef tongue
  • 4 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 tbsp whole black pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 6 dried chili piquin
  • 2 whole onions, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 bunch of cilantro stems (use the ends of the fresh cilantro)
  • flour or corn tortillas, warmed
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • limes, quartered
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil

Start by taking the tongue and adding it to a large saucepan. Add water and make sure it covers the tongue by a couple of inches. Place this on medium heat, and boil for about 2 hours.

After 2 hours, remove the tongue and place onto a cutting board. Pour the water out and wash out the saucepan.

Return the tongue back to the pot, cover with water again, then add in your aromatics. Add the jalapenos, black pepper, salt, bay leaves, piquin, quartered onions, garlic, and cilantro stems. Bring this to a simmer, and cook for 4 hours.

After 4 hours, remove the tongue, and strain the stock. Discard the stock solids, but reserve the stock (it’s really great).

Next, take the tongue and rinse under cold water. Now it’s time to peel the outer layer as that is not desired. If you cannot easily peel it, use a pairing knife and trim all of it away, exposing the cooked beef tongue.

Mexican Beef Tongue Tacos Recipe
Mexican Beef Tongue Tacos Recipe

Discard the outer layer, then cut your beef tongue into strips, then into bite-sized chunks. Season with a pinch or two of salt. Mix, and get ready to sear it up for your tacos.

Heat a large skillet on medium heat, then add a tablespoon of oil. Once heated, add in some of the beef tongue, and cook until it gets a slight sear on them. Once seared, add a spoonful or two of the reserved stock. Heat through until the stock reduces, then remove from the heat.

Take a flour tortilla, load it with some of the beef tongue, and top with cilantro and onion. Squeeze some lime, and dig in.

Mexican Beef Tongue Tacos Recipe
Mexican Beef Tongue Tacos Recipe

It is everything I love about a simple taco. A slightly charred flour tortilla with a bite from the jalapeno and onion, along with the tartness from the lime. I’m in. Now with the nicely charred tongue, and now I have a new favorite taco.

Short of the story… DON’T BE AFRAID TO TRY NEW THINGS! The new things can be down right amazing.

Beef Tongue Tacos
Author: 
Recipe type: Tacos
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 beef tongue
  • 4 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 tbsp whole black pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 6 dried chili piquin
  • 2 whole onions, quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 bunch of cilantro stems (use the ends of the fresh cilantro)
  • flour or corn tortillas, warmed
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • limes, quartered
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
Instructions
  1. Start by taking the tongue and adding it to a large saucepan. Add water and make sure it covers the tongue by a couple of inches. Place this on medium heat, and boil for about 2 hours.
  2. After 2 hours, remove the tongue and place onto a cutting board. Pour the water out and wash out the saucepan.
  3. Return the tongue back to the pot, cover with water again, then add in your aromatics. Add the jalapenos, black pepper, salt, bay leaves, piquin, quartered onions, garlic, and cilantro stems. Bring this to a simmer, and cook for 4 hours.
  4. After 4 hours, remove the tongue, and strain the stock. Discard the stock solids, but reserve the stock (it’s really great).
  5. Next, take the tongue and rinse under cold water. Now it’s time to peel the outer layer as that is not desired. If you cannot easily peel it, use a pairing knife and trim all of it away, exposing the cooked beef tongue.
  6. Discard the outer layer, then cut your beef tongue into strips, then into bite-sized chunks. Season with a pinch or two of salt. Mix, and get ready to sear it up for your tacos.
  7. Heat a large skillet on medium heat, then add a tablespoon of oil. Once heated, add in some of the beef tongue, and cook until it gets a slight sear on them. Once seared, add a spoonful or two of the reserved stock. Heat through until the stock reduces, then remove from the heat.
  8. Take a flour tortilla, load it with some of the beef tongue, and top with cilantro and onion. Squeeze some lime, and dig in.