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Perfect, Yum, Right on. HOT, maybe use less chili if you don’t like some pretty good heat.  I made this a few weeks back and loved the technique for cooking the tenderloins. I’ve used it again with other spices this past week.

Spicy Chipotle Pork Tacos with Sun-Dried Tomato Salsa
Recipe by Rick Bayless

  • 2 (about 1 pound total) pork tenderloins (from free-range pigs please)
  • 1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles en adobo
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 cup (about 2 ounces) sun-dried tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped (a generous 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped, pitted kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • About 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, rich-tasting pork lard or bacon drippings
  • 12 fresh, warm corn tortillas (reheat store-bought ones or make them from scratch)

Butterflying and marinating the pork: Lay 1 tenderloin on your cutting board and cut it in half. Now, with a sharp knife, make a horizontal cut through 1 half (you’ll be cutting parallel with the board) from one long side to within 1/4- inch of the other. This will allow you to fold open the meat like a book, utilizing that 1/4-inch uncut side as a hinge. Using a meat pounder or heavy mallet, pound the pork to between 1/4 to 1/8-inch thickness. In a food processor or blender, thoroughly puree the chipotles and all the canning sauce. With a pastry or basting brush, liberally paint the meat on both sides with the pureed chipotles. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to 24 hours). Repeat with the other tenderloin pieces. (There will be considerably more chipotle puree than you need; cover and refrigerate the leftover for up to 2 weeks and use it to marinate other meat, fish, poultry or vegetables.)

Soaking the sun-dried tomatoes: In a small saucepan bring the orange juice just to a boil. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, stir well, cover and remove from the heat. Let stand, stirring once or twice, until softened, about 20 minutes. Salsa: Scrape the soaked tomatoes and the juice into a food processor or blender, and measure in 1 tablespoon of chipotle puree. Pulse the processor until the tomatoes are rather finely chopped (not pureed). Scrape into a small serving bowl. Rinse the chopped onion under cold water, shake off the excess liquid and add it to the salsa along with the olives, cilantro and the lime juice. Stir everything together, then taste and season with salt, usually about 1/4 teaspoon. Adjust the consistency to that of an easily spoonable salsa with additional juice or water if needed. Set aside at room temperature while you cook the meat.

Searing the meat: Set a large (12-inch) heavy well-seasoned or non-stick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Add the lard, oil or bacon drippings, brushing or spreading it around to evenly coat the surface. (If using a non-stick surface, oil the meat instead of the pan.) When the oil is very hot (it’ll just begin to smoke), lay on one of the marinated meat pieces in a single layer. Sear on one side until beginning to brown (2 to 3 minutes), flip it over, and sear the other side about 1 1/2 minutes. You are looking for at least 145 internal temp. Transfer to a baking sheet in a single layer and keep warm in the oven. Sear the remaining meat and add to the baking sheet.

Chop or slice the meat into smallish pieces and scoop into a warm serving bowl. Set on the table along with the salsa and warm tortillas, and your meal is ready.

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I want to write.  I have a ton to say.  I want to give you a ton of information about factory farming and how horribly we treat farm animals.  I want to tell you not to eat any pork from an animal that was raised in a metal pen, 7 feet long by 2 feet wide that never sees the light or stands on dirt.  I want to share all the information that I’ve read, but I can’t write well and I don’t have much time.

If you are interested in what gives me nightmares and what has driven me to spend as much as 100 percent more for humanley raised meats for my restaurant and my home here are a few links to check out:

Humane Society of the US

Food and Water Watch

Sustainable Table

Righteous PorkChop

If you live in Reno please check out slowfoodreno.com and come to one of our meetings and say hello.  I can’t write well, but I can talk! 🙂

As for this recipe, it rocks.  If you want to cook Mexican food, pick up a Rick Bayless book.  I have three now and every recipe I’ve tried (and I’ve tried a ton) is awesome.

This recipe looks hard but it’s not!  I did it for dinner after work.

Gorditas with Classic Shredded Beef

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 pounds boneless beef chuck steak, cut into 4 pieces
  • 3 small white onions, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus oil to a depth of 1/2-inch for frying
  • 1 (28-ounce) can good-quality whole tomatoes in juice, drained and chopped or 2 cups chopped ripe tomatoes
  • 2 to 3 serranos or 1 to 2 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded and very finely chopped
  • Salt
  • 1 pound (2 cups) fresh, smooth-ground corn masa for tortillas or 1 3/4 cups powdered masa harina mixed with 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 scant teaspoon baking power
  • About 1/3 cup grated Mexican queso anejo or other dry grating cheese, such as Romano or Parmesan
  • About 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine the meat with 2 quarts salted water, about 1/3 of the onions, and half of the garlic and simmer until the meat is very tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Strain, reserving the broth for another use. When the meat is cool enough to handle, shred it into coarse strands with your fingers or 2 forks. Don’t worry that there are bits of onion and garlic mixed with the meat.

Wash and dry the saucepan, set it over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the oil. When the oil is hot, add half of the remaining onions and cook until golden, about 6 minutes, then stir in the remaining garlic and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes and chiles and cook until most of the juice has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Stir in the shredded meat and simmer for a few more minutes, then taste and season with about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Heat a well-seasoned or nonstick griddle or heavy skillet over medium heat. Knead the masa (fresh or reconstituted) to make it pliable, adding a little water if necessary to achieve a soft-cookie-dough consistency. Knead in the flour, baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Divide the dough into 10 portions and roll into balls; cover with plastic to keep from drying out. Line a tortilla press with 2 pieces of plastic cut to fit the plates (to be on the safe side, cut them from a food storage bag; the thicker plastic usually works better for beginners). Gently press out a ball of dough between the sheets of plastic to about 4 inches in diameter (it’ll be about 1/4 inch thick). You’ve now made a gordita, which is what you call a fat tortilla. Peel off the top sheet of plastic, flip the gordita, uncovered side down, onto the fingers of 1 hand, and gently peel off the second piece of plastic. In one flowing movement, roll the gordita off your hand and onto the heated griddle or skillet. Bake for about 1 1/2 minutes, then flip and bake for another 1 1/2 minutes on the other side. The gordita will be lightly browned and crusty on the top and bottom, but still a little uncooked on the sides. Remove to a plate. Continue pressing and griddle-baking the remaining gorditas in the same manner.

When you’re ready to serve, warm the shredded beef. Rinse the remaining onions in a small strainer under cold water and shake to remove the excess moisture. Have the cheese and cilantro at the ready.

In a deep heavy medium skillet or saucepan, heat 1/2-inch of oil over medium to medium-high until the oil is hot enough to make the edge of a gordita sizzle sharply, about 350 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer. One by one, fry the gorditas, turning them after they’ve been in the oil for about 15 seconds, until they’re nicely crisp but not hard, about 45 seconds total. When they’re ready, most will have puffed up a little, like pita bread. Drain on paper towels.

Once they all are fried, use a small knife to cut a slit in the thin edge of each one about halfway around its circumference, opening a pocket. As you cut them, fill each gordita with about 1/4-cup shredded meat and a sprinkling of the onions, grated cheese, and cilantro.

No picture, no story. I just wanted to get this down so I can remember it for the future.  It was excellent!

Melted Cheese Casserole with Mexican Sausage and Roasted Chiles (adapted from a Rick Bayless recipe)

Ingredients

  • 2 medium fresh poblano chiles or fresh pasilla chiles
  • 8 ounces Chorizo Sausage
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 8 ounces Mexican melting cheese such as Chihuahua, quesadilla or asadero
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro & sour cream optional

Roast the pablanos over an open flame, turning regularly until the skin is evenly blackened and blistered, about 5 minutes.  Be careful no to char the flesh, only the skin.  Cover with a kitchen towel and let stand for 5 minutes.  Rub off the blackened skin, then pull or cut out the stems and the seed pods.  Tear the chiles open and quickly rinse to remove any stray seeds and bits of skin.  Cut into 1/4 inch wide strips about 2 inches long.

Heat the oven to 350.  In a medium skillet, cook the chorizo over medium heat,stirring to break up any clumps, until half-cooked, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is richly golden and the chorizo is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the poblano strips, taste and season with salt if necessary.  Transfer the mixture to a 9 or 10 inch shallow baking dish.

Very lightly dampen a clean kitchen towel. Wrap the tortillas in the towel, then in foil, sealing the edges tightly. Place in the oven and set the timer for 7 minutes.

When the timer goes off, stir the cheese into the warm chirizo.  Set in the oven alongside the tortillas and bake until the cheese is just melted. Sprinkle with the crumbled oregano and serve with the sour cream, tortillas and cilantro.

Not much of a story here.  No picture for that matter.  But I do have a really simple and really tasty recipe for rice and ground meat.  I’ve cooked this recipe three or four times now and I have to put it into my blog so I don’t forget it.

As for my life, business is going great.  We are having a wonderful April and May looks to be better.  We were just in the newspaper click here to read the story.

We are starting a Slow Food group in Reno, which is exciting.  We’ve had two meetings and have about 30 founding members.  Ready for prime time in a few months… still trying to get it all figured out.

As one side note, I’m still as crazy as before about humanely raised meats and our need to end factory farming animals in the world.   Swine flu is making more people aware and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Okay on to the recipe.  Inspired from 1080 recipes.  Love this book, it’s the Silver Spoon for Spain!

Dirty Rice (serves 4 to 6)

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
  • 14.5 ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (or use a few seeded tomatoes from your garden)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/4 cups long-grain rice
  • 2 1/4 cups boiling beef stock
  • Kosher salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan.  Add the onion and pepper and cook on medium until softened, about 8 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

Add the tomato and beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon until lightly browned.  About 5 minutes.

Add the paprika, season with salt and pepper and mix well.  Add the rice and cook stirring constantly for 2 minutes.

Pour in the boiling stock, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, until rice is tender and the majority of the liquid has been absorbed.

Serve and devour!

wwheat2

We cut open the Applegate Farms, Oven Roasted Turkey Breast on Friday and the consensus was that it tasted like actual turkey and that is was awesome.  We sell a ton of turkey in the restaurant so I was really concerned that we might not like the new product.  With very few antibiotic-free, sustainable and humanely-raised options available in bulk packaging my quest for better meat could have been stopped dead cold.  Fortunately this is not the case!

We will crack open the ham and the salami this week, but I know they taste great because I have purchased them both at Whole Foods in retail packaging!  I can’t tell you how excited I am to be able to offer sustainable, hormone and antibiotic free, humanely-raised meats at Dish.  As far as I can tell there is not another sandwich place in a 200 mile radius doing anything like we are!

We were also excited because we are now using Niman Ranch bacon.  Niman Ranch, though Bill Niman is gone, still has one of the best hog raising standards in the country.  I’m happy to say we are taking a large amount of $$ out of the factory farmed animal side of things and this is only the beginning.

A couple of other notes to put out there.  HBO is running a new documentary called Death on a Factory Farm.  I suggest you take a look at it.  It starts next week

I’ve mentioned before an organization that labels products with the Certified Humane logo.  Here is their up-to-date listing of producers across the US with links to each company’s website!

Okay so on to bread.  I purchased the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes per day last year and I love it.  We have made a ton of bread out of the book and the only time it didn’t turn out perfect was when I forgot how much flour I measured into the bucket and guessed wrong!

I would go out and buy this book if you like bread, you want to make your own and you don’t want to spend hours managing the process.  It’s incredibly easy and the results are great.  In fact when I made the honey whole wheat bread I took a loaf to work and all the employees thought it was great.  No easy task with a bunch of foodies!

So take a look at the below recipe, get the book to get all the exact details!

Oh and you can visit Zoe Francois’ (one of the authors of the book) blog to get more details – http://www.zoebakes.com

wwheat1

No Knead Honey Whole Wheat Bread- (makes 5 one-pound loaves)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 5 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil
  • 6 2/3 cups whole wheat flour

Warm the water and milk to about 100 degrees. Add the yeast, honey, oil and the salt to the water in a 5 or 6 quart, resealable, lidded plastic food container.  You can pick these up at Resco or Smart and Final or other restaurant type food service places.

Now add all of the flour at once.  Mix with a wooden spoon, stand mixer with a dough hook, or a food processor fitted with a dough hook attachment.  You are done when everything is uniformly moist with no dry areas.  Should take no longer than a few minutes.

Cover with a lid, not airtight and allow to rise until it starts to flatten on the top or begins to collapse.  Should be about two hours.  Do not use mason jars with a lid or anything airtight…it could explode. Put the dough in the refrigerator overnight or for at least three hours.

I tried to make it in a loaf pan and didn’t put enough dough so experiment as you see fit.  I like the free-form loaves the best so I haven’t tried it again in the pan.

On baking day, prepare a pizza peel by sprinkling it liberally with cornmeal to prevent it from sticking when you slide it into the oven.

Sprinkle the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour. Pull up and cut off a grapefruit size piece of dough.  Hold the dough, flour your hands if you need to.  Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go.  You are forming a round ball of dough. The bottom side will be a collection of bunched ends, but it will flatten out during baking. The top will be mostly smooth and cohesive.

Rest the loaf on the pizza peel for 1 hour and 40 minutes. Twenty minutes before you are ready to bake the loaf, preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a baking stone place on the middle rack and a empty metal roasting pan or broiler tray for holding water on the shelf below.

Dust the bread with flour and then slice about 1/8 of an inch slashes into the bread.  You can do them in any pattern you see fit.

After the 20-minute preheat, open the oven. Slide the bread onto the stone. Quickly pour 1 cup of hot water into the roasting pan or broiler tray, shut the door and bake for about 60 minutes until the crust is nicely browned and firm to the touch. Dot not open the oven or the steam will escape. The steam helps make the crust.

Allow to cool on a wire rack and then eat it!

Store the rest of the dough in your lidded, not airtight, container in the refrigerator up to 14 days!

pot3

I’ve been busy to say the least.  Busy gaining weight, busy eating a ton of food… good and bad, busy trying to learn as much as I can about factory farming, busy trying to start a Slow Food chapter in Reno and busy trying to overhaul the kinds of meat products we are using at Dish.

Let me tell you, it is not easy to source humanely-raised, antibiotic-free, hormone-free meats.  My normal distributor doesn’t carry any of the brands I was looking for.  Well, wait, they do carry them, but the price is triple what we are paying now for ham, roast beef, turkey, bacon and salami.

So I moved on to our secondary distributor and called them.  They didn’t have anything!  Both of these companies are national and the leaders in their industry, but they carry very few organic and pretty much no humanely-raised options of any kind.  Blah… supply and demand I suppose!

I was starting to really get panicked until I thought of calling another company out of Sacramento that services Reno.  They came through… In fact today we received our first shipment of humanely-raised, antibiotic and hormone-free turkey, ham and salami as well as Niman Ranch applewood smoked bacon.  We also are now getting our eggs through  a farm that lets their chickens run around on natural ground with sunlight on their backs!

As for sourcing meats for my home, well that’s a bit more problematic.   None of the supermarkets in town carry anything on the pork side that is even close to humanely raised.  I’ve called quite a few places and have met with everything from laughs to surprise that I would want to buy humanely-raised meats.  What are you supposed to do?

We fortunately have a Whole Foods in town, so I have started to buy anything pork-related from them.  I’ve also looked up all the local farms within 100 miles and have contacted a few of them who raise beef and pigs.  Our plan is to visit each of them to see how they are raising their animals and then put together a group of people to purchase the meat!  I challenge you to do the same thing.  Yes it costs more, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I will just eat half as much meat as I did before!

So the good news is we are starting to make a difference.  Actually based on the amount of meat we use, I would say we are making a huge difference.

So on to Pot Roast.  I found this recipe in Gourmet Magazine a few months back and instantly had to make it.  It was super simple, but included a huge amount of caramelized onions.  Since I started cooking I’ve had quite a bit of a problem really caramelizing onions well.  Either I don’t cook them long enough or I burn the crap out of them.  So keep your eyes on them and don’t walk away for long!

This is the perfect weekend night dinner before the temperatures start heading into the 80s and 90s and a steaming pot of meat doesn’t sound so great!

pot21

Super Rad Pot Roast

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb onions
  • 1 – 5 pound, grass fed, boneless beef chuck roast, tied
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 Turkish bay leaves
  • 2 (12-oz) bottles beer
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

Pat beef dry and season all over with 2 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wide 5- to 6-qt heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown beef on all sides, about 15 minutes, then transfer to a plate.

Cook onions with bay leaves and 1 teaspoon salt in remaining tablespoon oil in pot, scraping up brown bits from bottom and stirring occasionally, until onions are well browned, about 25 to 35 minutes.  Add beer and vinegar to onions and bring to a boil, stirring and scraping up brown bits. Add beef and meat juices from plate and return to a boil.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in middle. Cut a round of parchment paper the diameter of the inside of pot (near the top).

Cover with parchment round and lid and braise in oven until meat is very tender when pierced in several places with a meat fork, about 4 1/2 hours.

Transfer beef to a cutting board and let stand, loosely covered, 20 minutes. Cut off string, then slice meat. Skim off fat from sauce and discard bay leaves.

Serve braised beef with onions and sauce and devour!

Humanely Raised Meats

Pigs Across America

Things have been going well for us at the restaurant and at home.  Business has still been strong so far this year and sales are up for the first two months over last year!  Hurray for that.

As for me, well I haven’t been working out, or blogging.  I have been cooking on and off and reading.  I just finished two books that have turned my whole life upside down.  The first, which was the start of it, is “Meat“, by Fearnley-Whittingstall and the other, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollen.

Both books were excellent.  But “Meat” was what started my new found desire to eat only humanely raised animals. If you are not aware, and you are probably not, 99% of all pigs in the United States are raised indoors, and for a large portion of their life, they are unable to turn around, root in the ground or do anything at all that resembles normal pig behavior.  Worse yet, pigs are one of the most intelligent animal species and are smarter than dogs and resemble the intelligence of a three-year-old child.

I’m not going to post the picture of what their confinement looks like, but if you are interested take a look by clicking here.

I’ve had a very hard time with this for the past three weeks.  I’ve always been interested in animal rights and have donated money to many charities, but over the past three weeks I’ve spent hours and hours reading about factory farming of animals in the United States and can tell you I have cried, been pissed off and overall just plain sick to my stomach.

So what have I done? Well first off I’m not buying meat for our home, nor will I have any meat in my home that comes from Factory Farms.  No more frozen pizza with pepperoni on it, no more ribs, bacon, chicken, etc. from the supermarket.

I’m buying all my meat from Whole Foods because they have the highest standards currently in any type of grocery store model, and I’m looking into purchasing a partial cow and partial pig for my home freezer.  I’m calling local farmers and visiting their farms to see how they take care of their animals.  We have always bought free-range organic eggs and I couldn’t imagine buying battery caged eggs.

As for the restaurant we have always used organic free-range eggs and I just tonight have sourced humanely raised deli ham meat, as well as bacon and salami.  This is where I will start and will expand from there.  Let me also say this is so important to me that I will personally be eating all of the increased cost for this humanely raised, antibiotic free meat.

pigfly

I’ve been working very hard to understand all the ins and outs of organic meats as well as humanely raised meats so please share with me your experiences or questions.

Here are some resources if you are interested in finding out more about this:

Applegate Farms – Humanely raised meats

Niman Ranch – They started it all

Animal Welfare Approved – program and food labelthat promote the well-being of animals and the sustainability of humane family farms

Slow Food USA

Local Harvest – Get connected to a local farmer in your area

Eat Wild – Another site to find local farms

Farm Sanctuary – Non Profit Organization dedicated to saving animals

The Humane Society of the US

My Local and Humanely Raised Facebook page

So I will be back to posting recipes soon.  You might not see as many with meat as my plan will include spending much more for it, so I will enjoy it more and eat it less!

Thanks all!