Friday, September 25, 2009

Best sloppy joes ever

Tonight I made the most amazing sloppy joes ever. I think I am on a mission to make as many sloppy joe recipes as possible. I have made so many and honestly, I can't think of one that I didn't like. I know I love sloppy joes but tonight made me realize how much I really do love them.

Once again from my favorite food site I try and browse this site daily. I have made so many recipes through this web site. If you haven't checked it out you must. What it is is a web site that shows tons and tons of pictures of food with a small caption and then when you click on that picture it directs you to that person's blog. It's addicting really because then you start to check out their site and see what else they have going on. I love it. So please tell me that you will try this recipe.

I changed it a bunch so this is my version of that recipe which I believe mine is much better. Please enjoy.

1 lb ground turkey
1 can pinto or kidney beans drained and rinsed
1 large red bell pepper diced
4 cloves garlic minced
1 large poblano pepper minced
1-2 T oil depending how lean your turkey is the leaner the more you may need
3/4 c ketchup
2-3 T chili pwd depending on how hot you want it (I used 2 since I used a poblano too)
1-1 1/4 c dark ale beer (I used Blue Moon)
2 T worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
one cup diced green onions

Saute the peppers, garlic and turkey until it looks like the turkey is almost cooked. Add the ketchup, one cup of beer, chili pwd, worcestershire, salt and pepper. Cook until reduced and add the beans and green onions. Add more beer to obtain the desired consistency. I don't like mine super runny so I let mine reduce. I think I did end up using 1 1/4 c in the end but I wanted to be sure not to have them too runny. It really does reduce after about 10 minutes or so.

These things are so good and so so rich. I love them. The original recipe called for a pound and a half of meat but since Turkey is usually sold by the pound I didn't want to mess with it and used the beans with it instead. I love beans in my sloppy joes. One of my other favorite sloppy joe recipes uses beans too so I knew it would work. The other recipe also called for canned chilies and I am all about fresh ingredients so I used a fresh poblano. You could also do two jalapenos too if you want, or just be a wuss and do the can. Kidding. But I used a red pepper instead of green which the other recipe called for as well. Once you have a base recipe like sloppy joes you kind of have the freedom to change it up a bit. Maybe that's one reason I love sloppy joes. Please make these and let me know what you think. YUMMMMMM!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Best pie of my life

My parents were up for the weekend and we decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and head up to Apple Holler apple orchard. First we dined upon the wonderful buffet of foods. Some of the most memorable dishes being the apple walnut french toast and the apple cinnamon bread pudding. Don't even get me started. That stuff was sitting in my belly until two that afternoon. I was cursing myself for even trying the stuff. Sinfully delicious.

This place is a good time don't get me wrong, but it's a freaking joke when it comes to expense. It cost me $40 to fill a bag full of apples. Keep in mind, I could feed a small army apples for the month, but truly, come on. They are making a killing. We ended up getting only honeycrisp which is the best anyhow, but we didn't even get to pick them from the trees. We picked them from boxes out in the field. All of the others had been picked. I was just happy to get them, but honestly I haven't had much luck there with actually being able to pick anything. All of the pears were gone too which broke my heart.

The reason for my entry is that we purchased what later became known as the best pie I have ever had in my life. I am posting this for all of you who have the chance to get up there and find one for yourself as well and join in my delight. It was an apple cherry pie. It had a layer of crispy crunchy topping on top that was so thick you had to bust through it with a jackhammer. I am telling you this pie freaked my freak. I also have to say that it sat in my tummy like a rock with the rest of my apple food. I have never been sicker, but it was worth it.


We have been waiting so long it seems for this place to open and we finally got to go downtown and eat at the new Rick Bayless restaurant called XOCO (pronounced sho-ko). As we were driving by to find a parking spot we saw Rick Bayless walking up to the restaurants. All of his places are next to each other. XOCO, Topolobompo, and Frontera Grill, all in line like heavens gates.

We got there around 10:45 on saturday and to our surprise there was no line. That was just not what we expected at all. So we went inside and learned that the tortas were not served until 11 but that we could wait in line until then (at that point it was only about 11 more minutes). I can deal with that. So we were the first in line. There were others streaming in.

I had to order the last piece of vanilla coffee cake. It was good. The flavor was good, it just wasn't as moist as it looked to be. It was afterall the last piece so it had probably been sitting out all morn. It tasted sort of like a vanilla wafer. We also got a Mexican chocolate biscochos. It was awesome. I ate it later that night but mad it was awesome. It was sort of like a scone I guess but wasn't dry like a scone. It was light and airy with a slight crumb. It had bits of sugar on top and the Mexican chocolate was oooh so good. I would buy a dozen of those next time. Those and the chocolate hazelnut cookie that I got as well. Man, that thing was one of the best cookies of my life. It was the perfect texture. Soft and chewy with that amazing Mexican chocolate yet once again. That stuff is money.

My parents were in for the weekend. They enjoyed the hype of it all. Rick ended up showing up inside there too. I stood down by the woodfire oven watching him as he tasted everything to make sure it was perfect. It was amazing to see him and to see him doing this. He is so awesome. So each of us ordered a different sandwich which was nice because we got to try everyone elses food. Of course we ordered home made tortilla chips and guacamole. His is the best there is.

My mom had the
Gunthorp Chicken: Wood-roasted red chile chicken, caramelized onion, black beans, avocado, tomatillo salsa. It was delicious. A perfect balance of flavors and always nice to have some avocado in there.

My dad ordered the Choriqueso: Homemade chorizo sausage, roasted poblano, artisan jack cheese, tomatillo salsa. This too was delicious. Not my favorite because I am not a big chorizo person but still very very good.

Jason got the Pepito: Braised Tallgrass shortribs, caramelized onion, artisan Jack cheese, black beans, pickled jalapenos. I have to say other than mine, his was the best.

I ordered the Ahodaga: Golden pork carnitas, black beans, tomato broth, spicy arbol chile sauce, pickled onions. It was so wonderful. And the presentation was beautiful. The broth was such an pleasant addition to the sandwhich. The nice thing about it was that they ask you how you would like the heat level of the broth. I chose medium and it was perfect.

And how could we pass up dessert. We ordered the churros and the chocoflan. The churros were amazing. They were dusted with a coarse sugar and tiny bits of Mexican chocolate. Three for $3. How are you going to just order one? Yeah, that's what I thought. The chocoflan was interesting. It was not what I expected. It looked dense like a cheesecake but was more loose than a cheesecake and had a slight taste of pumpkin to it that was a pleasant surprise. It was good but not my favorite. This dessert is interesting because when it starts out, the pumpkin flan layer is on the bottom and the chocolate on top. During the baking process they reverse themselves somehow. It's magic I guess.

All in all, I loved it. I can't wait to go back. I will have to go two more times at the very least. Once to try out the breakfast and another for the caldos (soups) which are served only after 3. Some interesting facts about XOCO are that they have a window at the front of the restaurant where you can see them making the freshly baked goods. They are making chocolate from raw cocoa beans. What that means my friends is the freshest richest hot chocolate of your life. Please go give this a try, and even if you have to wait in line, it is well worth it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The hiatus is over

It really sucks to be broke when you love to cook so much. So now I am happy again because the cooking is back in full affect. Yesterday was a great day because I made some Rick Bayless pork tacos in the slow cooker. I also baked some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. This time of year rolls around and I crave those kind of flavors of fall so much. The cookies turned out so so good. I am so happy with them. I used two different recipes and kind of made my own twist on them.

This taco recipe is another example of how you don't have to be a good cook to make something amazing. It was so so simple. It was so good. I can't even believe how good it was. Well, I can believe it because it's Rick, but at the same time, for as simple as it was, man it was good. Everyone needs to make this sometime. We are going to be eating it for days now because it made so freaking much. Oh, boo hoo, I am so sad about it. I froze some of it because realistically we just won't be able to eat it all before it goes bad. There is enough in the freezer for at least three more meals of two tacos each. Yeah. One day I will remember it's in there and have a yummy surprise meal all ready to go. I made my usual side dishes too. Sadly neither turned out due to laziness and stupidity. A) I forgot to mash the avocado before I put the other stuff in, so when I mashed it with the onions in there it got a little watery. I wasn't happy with how it turned out. It still tastes good, just not quality like I usually pull off. So the salsa didn't turn out either. I did this one other time too and you wouldn't think it matters but it does. I used a white onion instead of a yellow onion. I had a white onion so I though, eh, I'll roll with it. No, there is something about it. Doesn't taste right. Someone else probably wouldn't notice but I did.

So here is the recipe for the tacos. Please please please make them and tell me how they come out for you.

The cookie recipes goes like this.
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c white flour
3/4-1 c sugar
2 eggs lightly beaten
1/2 c vegetable or canola oil
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t vanilla
1 t salt
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 t cinnamon
a couple shakes of pumpkin pie spice
1 c chocolate chips or more if you want

Mix all the wet and mix all the dry separate (not including sugar of course). Slowly mix in the flour to the wet. Add chocolate chips at the end. Do not overmix. Bake at 375 for ten minutes on prepared baking sheet. Transfer to wire rack immediately to cool. Enjoy. Yummy yummy yummy.