Thursday, September 22, 2011

Taco Salad with Honey, Chipotle Vinaigrette

Taco Salad

Now I'm now the type of guy who orders a salad when I go out to eat at a restaurant but every now and again it's nice to kind of mix it up. This is kind of the best of both words. You get the spicy taco meat mixture, the crispy chips and the fresh, cold lettuce. It's simply too good for words. Then you combine it with a honey and chipotle vinaigrette, you are in for one killer salad. I really hope you like it because I know me and the wife certainly do. If you have any questions or suggestions please let me know.

Kitchen Notes
- You can use whatever recipe for taco meat you'd like, my recipe can be found here.
- If you want to use simple tortilla chips instead of my deep fried tortillas, that's fine as well.
- Customize however you wish, cheese and tomatoes would be great on this as well.
- Makes 4 large dinner salads.

- 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon mexican oregano
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 10 white corn tortillas, chopped into strips
- peanut oil for frying
- 4 heads romaine lettuce, rinsed and chopped
- 1 red onion, sliced thin
- 2 ears of corn, kernels removed
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 bunch cilantro, washed and roughly chopped
- 1 & 1/3 pound ground taco meat, my recipe can be found here

The Process
1. Combine the vinegar, honey, mustard, chipotle powder, lime juice, pepper, salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and oregano and mix well using a whisk. Then slowly stir in the olive oil using the whisk until it all comes together. Place in the fridge for at least an hour to overnight.
2. In a large pot heat the peanut oil over medium high heat. Fry the tortilla strips in batches until they turn golden brown. Remove from the oil, place in a large bowl then season with salt and green tabasco (optional).
3. While frying the tortillas, cook the taco meat to your preference. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
4. In 4 large bowls, divide the lettuce, onion, corn, beans, cilantro, taco meat and crispy tortilla strips amongst them. Make sure the vinaigrette is mixed well, then add to each of the salads.
5. Enjoy!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Beef, Barley and Beer Stew

Beef, Beer and Barley Soup

Yeah you read that right I made this soup with a 16 ounce can of some fine Scotch Stout. It was delicious. Also it was my first rutabaga experience and let me tell you, it was really amazing. They are kind of like a really earthy tasting potato with a hint of horseradish. I recommend that you make this soup just how I have it written down because it couldn't have turned out any better. I mean you can play with it if you want to, but it's not really necessary. Like always if you have questions or comment please let me know.

Kitchen Notes
* I used chuck steak but you can use whatever you like. I use it because of the fat content and it really fantastic when you cook it down.
* If you don't want to use the rutabaga, then potatoes will suffice.
* Serve with some warm crusty bread to sop up all the good juices.
* If you don't have an oven save cooking apparatus, then just cook it on the stove on low for 2 hours.
* If you can't find a Scottish ale, then some dark brewed beer would be great.
* Makes 8 servings as an app, or 4 as a meal.

- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 & 1/2 pounds chuck steak, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 rutabaga, peeled and cut into cubed
- 1/2 pound of button mushrooms, quartered
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups beef stock, divided
- 1 16 ounce can of scotch ale
- 2 14.5 ounce cans stewed tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup pearled barley
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves

The Process
1. Heat a large, oven safe (dutch oven), pot to medium high heat then add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Combine the flour, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Add the beef cubes to the dredge and coat completely. Add the beef to the hot pot (reserve the remaining seasoned flour) and cook until all sided are browned about 8 minutes total. Remove the beef from the pot to a plate. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
2. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan, then add the celery, onion, carrots, rutabaga, mushrooms and garlic to the pan. Cook for about 10 minutes or until all the vegetables have been sweatted down. Add 1/2 cup of the beef stock to the reserved flour and stir until the flour is nice and smooth. Return the beef to the pot then add the flour/beef stock to the pot and stir well.
3. Deglaze the pan with the beer and bring to a simmer. Add the rest of the beef stock, the tomatoes, the barley, the thyme and the bay leaves to the pot and bring to a simmer. Season with more salt and pepper if necessary then place the pot in the oven and cook for 3 hours stirring every 1/2 hour or so.
4. Remove the pot from the oven and reseason if necessary. Ladel into bowls and top with some parmesan cheese or fresh chopped parsley.
5. Enjoy!