So this recipe has been my favorite so far. Not just because the food turned out great but because of the people we had over to share it with us. The Adair family are some of my oldest (not age-wise) and very best friends. I probably spent half my youth at their house playing video games, watching movies and there could have been a little trouble making in there, too (that part may be a little fuzzy). We had a great time catching up and our girls always like to see their unofficial “grandparents” and “uncles”.
This recipe was fairly easy and most of the ingredients are really easy to find. We easily fed six people with the meat and had rolls and salad as sides. The meat in this one is done on the grill rather than in the oven which I liked. I love to grill and had never done tenderloin before so I was excited.
TIP: Since the glaze has a good amount of sugar in it from the jelly, it is prone to char from flare-ups on the grill. Keep on eye on the grill and put out any unnecessary flames with a small squirt bottle filled with water.
I think the mojo is really what made this dish so good. Please do not be scared because a habanero pepper is one of the ingredients. You only use half and it gets spread fairly thin in the sauce. It's not super hot but, rather pleasantly spicy. It wasn't really enough to have you reaching for your drink after every bite but it definitely made itself known (if that makes any sense).
I will tell you that the one ingredient I had a little trouble finding was the guava jelly. I couldn't find actual jelly so I settled for guava paste (ate de guayaba) from Pro's Ranch Market and it turned out fine. I'm sure with a trip to Lee Lee I could have found it but I wasn't in the mood for a long trip.
You could easily half this recipe and use only one tenderloin for a smaller family. It would be less expensive and should still turn out great. I highly recommend this recipe, especially if you want to impress any visiting guests.
Grilled Pork Tenderloin a la Rodriguez with Guava Glaze and Orange-Habanero Mojo
2 pork tenderloins (about 1 1/2 pounds each)
2 tablespoons canola oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Guava Glaze, recipe follows
Orange-Habanero Mojo, recipe follows
Preheat a grill to high.
Brush pork with oil, and then season it with salt and pepper. Set aside a few tablespoons of the Guava Glaze for brushing the cooked pork. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side, brushing frequently with the Guava Glaze. Remove from the grill, brush again with glaze and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice into 1/2-inch thick slices, drizzle with the Orange-Habanero Mojo, and serve immediately.
TIP: Pork needs to be cooked to around 160 degrees to be done. To avoid having to cut your pork open to see the center, invest in an instant read thermometer or, even better, I have a digital probe thermometer that I can leave in the whole time. Both are great kitchen helpers and you'll use them more than you think.
1 cup guava jelly, or apricot jam
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Whisk jelly, mustard, and orange juice together in a small bowl. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
3 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 habanero chile, seeded and finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add lime juice, orange juice, and habanero chile and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half. Whisk in the cilantro and cumin and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Drizzle over pork.
TIP: Just like last time, it's best to either use higher quality orange juice (not from concentrate, low or no pulp) or squeeze it yourself. The results will aways be better.
Okay, so I missed a big recipe last week. I justified it by posting a little recipe that I served as a side but here's the real review/recipe for the main dish.
This weeks recipe was a big ol' hunk of pork. A pork shoulder to be exact. These are normally found in bottom portion of the meat section near the pork (usually by the ribs). If you can't find find shoulder, look for pork butt, they both come from the same area of the pig which is nowhere near its hind quarters. These guys are big; it's hard to find anything under 6 pounds so you'd better be feeding about 6 people or counting on leftovers. On a side note, the leftovers were just as good as the night it was made.
The word “mojo” in the title is probably not the one you're thinking about. It's not the “you're messing with my mojo” kind, it's the sauce kind though they are both pronounced the same. It's a term that apparently originated in the Canary Islands that comes from the portuguese work for sauce, molho (mol-yo). You can thank me when that random fact pops up on Jeopardy.
This dish cooks in the oven for a few hours but the pork doesn't cook long enough to fall apart. You basically carve the pork off the bone. It was great this way but I would choose pulled pork or carnitas over a cut of pork any day. I believe this recipe would be insanely better if placed in a slow cooker for 8 hours (but that's just me). When it's done, shred it, put it in a corn tortilla, pour a little of the sauce over it with some onion and cilantro and you, my friend, are in theoretical taco heaven. I'll probably revisit this recipe and give this a try.
The main flavor, besides pork, is citrus. It's not overly tart or sweet like I thought it might be. I actually thought it balanced very well once it was cooked. The pork came out with a few caramelized spots from the sugars in the juice but it never tasted burnt. Caramelization is rarely a bad thing. It, more often than not, adds another flavor layer to the dish. The sauce adds even more complexity to the dish. At first bite you may not be sure if you want to keep using it but, trust me, it takes a couple bites to really appreciate. After bite number 3, you won't feel the same way about it.
When cooking the meat it's very important that you have a thermometer to check the temperature of the meat to ensure it's cooked all the way through. It's important for two big reasons: 1) it's a big chunk of meat that you bought to eat, not waste and, 2) WORMS! Okay, so you might not get worms (I said might) but you can get some nasty food poisoning that will ruin the next day or so for you. Better not to risk this one. Get a thermometer.
Okay, about the recipe...it wasn't super clear on a few things so I had to kind of assume what Bobby actually meant in certain places. I'll do my best to throw in some guidance where I had to think for myself. ENJOY!
TIP: It's not recommended to use store bought orange juice from concentrate. You'll end up with some funky stuff in the pan as it reduces. It's better to go with the real stuff and juice your own. Store bought lime juice, however, isn't a problem (no pulp)
Combine 4 cups of the orange juice and 1 cup of the lime juice and zest in a large saucepan over high heat and reduce to 2 cups. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining orange juice and lime juice add a few cloves of garlic and 1/4 cup of the oregano. Let cool to room temperature.
Using a paring knife, make small slits over the entire surface of the pork and rub the garlic into the slashes.Whisk together the oil and remaining 1/4 cup of the oregano in a large roasting pan, add the pork and turn to coat, cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
TIP: Don't put any marinade over the pork until the last 30 minutes as instructed. If you put it on any sooner, it will burn the sugar in the juices rather than caramelize it which could ruin the dish. It's best to just wait.
Remove the pork from the refrigerator 30 minutes before roasting. Season the pork with salt and pepper and cook for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 degrees F and continue roasting, basting with the marinade during the last 30 minutes of roasting until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reaches 150 degrees F. Remove from the oven, baste with any remaining glaze, tent loosely and let rest 15 minutes before slicing.
Using a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic, serrano, cilantro and a few pinches of salt until it becomes a paste. Add the orange juice, lime juice and oil and stir to combine.
NOTE: A mortar and pestle is a super-handy kitchen tool and they are relatively cheap to buy. I use mine quite a bit and it also allows you to experiment with different spice combinations that require freshly ground ingredients.
Lots of people have a dish that they are particularly good at making and that everyone seems to enjoy. It's their "go to" dish when asked to bring something to a potluck. Mine is black beans and rice. The dish is extremely simple. I mean, the title tells you a quarter of the ingredients needed.
I learned to make this dish on my mission in Portugal from a Brazilian family. They know how to do it right and I think I do this recipe justice (humble brag, I know). I always get compliments on this dish and my sister even offered me money to make this for her each week. I almost feel guilty because there is so little work involved with it. You be the judge. Here it is:
Black Beans and Rice
Makes 4 servings
2 cups White Rice
2 cans Black Beans w/ liquid (make sure they are plain black beans, not seasoned)
4 Cups water
1-2 Tbs. Garlic, finely chopped
1-2 tsp Salt
1-2 Bay Leaves
NOTE: These are meant to me cooked at the same time.
Place chopped garlic and salt into a mortar and pestle and grind into a paste. If you don't have a mortar and pestle you can pile up garlic on a cutting board, pour salt on top and smash with the back of a spoon. Don't worry too much if it doesn't reach a consistent paste, we just want it all mixed together evenly. Divide paste into two equal portions. (The amounts of garlic and salt can be adjusted to taste. I don't suggest any less than the minimum in the ingredients of the dish will be bland)
Get a large pot for the rice and a medium saucepan for the beans. Drizzle approx. 1 Tbs. of olive oil in each over high heat. When oil is hot place a portion of the garlic paste into each pot and mix until garlic starts to brown. Add rice into large pot and beans into saucepan. Stir each to mix paste in. Add the bay leaf to the beans, reduce heat to med-low and cover. After stirring the rice for a minute or two in the pot to coat with oil add the water. Stir again, reduce heat to med, cover pot but leave small opening to prevent boil over.
Cooking times will vary with the rice so keep an eye out for it. Mine usually takes around 20 minutes. If you can't see the liquid through the rice anymore try this trick: Lick your finger and quickly touch the bottom of the pot (don't leave it there). Your listening for a sizzle. If it sizzles, that means the water is gone and your rice should be ready. For some scientific reason, it won't sizzle if there's still water in the pot. My rice come out perfect every time with this trick.
Once the rice is done remove from heat and fluff with a fork or serving spoon. Remove the bay leaves from the beans and serve!
TIP: To add a little spice, put a little cayenne pepper into the bean pot or on individual servings.
Shrimp and clams can be tricky to shop for and store.
Since I had to buy and store shrimp and clams for this recipe, I figured it may be a good idea to let you guys in on how to store these guys when you buy them. The first major rule is try to use them the same day you buy them. This is your best bet to avoid any type of funky taste/smell or food poisoning. However, if you must store them, here are a few tips to follow:
Clams have a relatively short life span once you bring them home. Hopefully they were in a tank of circulating water wherever you bought them which keeps them alive (yes, you have to kill them to eat them). If you aren't going to use them within a day (or two at the most), do not buy them. Once bought, the best way to keep them is in a damp burlap or cloth sack. Do not put them in water or in anything airtight as they will die of a lack of oxygen. If you don't have one of these sacks lying around you can put them in a bowl (again, no water) and place a wet towel over the top and keep in the fridge. Really fresh clams can last up to three days when kept like this but I wouldn't risk it. My maximum would be about 36 hours.
When you're ready to cook them, take the bowl out the the fridge and remove the towel. Many of the clams may be open slightly; this is normal. You can tap their shell or jiggle the bowl and they should start to close up. Give them a minute after tapping/jiggling to fully close then dive in. Look at each clam and if it's cracked, throw it out. If you can easily wiggle both shell halves back and forth, throw it out. If it won't close not matter how much you tap and jiggle; throw it out. And lastly, if, after cooking, it still has not opened; (say it with me) throw it out. All these are indicators that the clam is dead and should not be eaten. This is why it's good to overestimate a bit when buying clams; high mortality rate.
Shrimp are a little different. They have a longer shelf life than clams but only about a day or two more for really fresh shrimp. Chances are you're buying these from your local supermarket and they're probably already a day or two old. I'd stick with the 36 hour maximum fridge storage to be on the safe side (with 24 hours being the goal). To store shrimp simply place them in an airtight storage bag or container. You can even freeze them by putting water in said bag/container with a little salt and freeze. Make the amount of shrimp in a bag/container the same amount you may use in a future recipe because once you thaw them, you can't refreeze them. If storing in the fridge, no water is necessary.
Trust your eyes and especially your nose when buying any seafood. If it looks bad, is discolored or smells funny, it's most likely not fresh and possibly spoiled. Like Ben Franklin said, “Fish and guests stink in three days.” After that just assume it will make you very sick if you eat it.
If you have anything you'd like to know, just comment below and I'll get back with you!
Bobby Flay Night made its debut at my house on Sunday in the form of Shrimp and Littleneck Clams with Wild Rice Waffles and Candied Mango Butter. Seafood and waffles, together at last!! Some of you are, no doubt, confused by this combination but, let me tell you, it works. It's the same principle of having bread or a roll to sop up the soupy goodness.
This dish is a soup-based curry and turned out to be more rich than we bargained for. It has ½ cup of both heavy cream and coconut milk and, seeing how this dish can serve four, I thought it could use a little more of each but I followed the recipe for fear of screwing it up royally and was glad I stuck to the script. Neither my wife or I could finish our bowls. We picked out and ate the seafood and spooned some of the vegetables onto the waffles but we just couldn't finish the broth off.
If you're not a big fan of clams or shrimp or seafood in general, this dish probably isn't for you butmy wife isn't a big shellfish fan either (something about the texture and them looking like bugs) and I told her she had to try at least one clam and one shrimp and she ended up eating all of the ones in her bowl. I was pleasantly surprised to see that she was enjoying them so don't sell yourself short on this one. You may not have liked clams when you were seven but now you are a sophisticated adult with a mature palette; clams and shrimp may be your new favorite things.
Now to the recipe – I made a few substitutions but other than that I stuck to the recipe. The first substitution was that I used Manila clams rather than Littleneck clams. They are almost identical in shape, size and taste and they even grow near each other so this is not a big deal. I found both my shrimp and clams at Lee Lee Asian Market, one of my all time favorite stores. Imagine that the world has one central grocery store with a little bit of everything from everywhere in it; that's Lee Lee. I paid about $10 for my shrimp and clams together and ended up with left over shrimp.
TIP: You may want to overshoot what you need for clams just in case you get any dead ones or if any die before you use them. More on that later.
I also purchased my coconut milk and mango at Lee Lee. Wild rice can be found at most grocery stores and a little box should be all you need. Mine cost $2 and made more than the recipe required. The rest of the things I bought were produce items which are usually super cheap and easy to find.
TIP: Wild Rice takes a full hour to cook so be sure to plan your time accordingly.
Another substitution I made was chicken broth instead of the white wine. Since I don't drink or cook with alcohol, this make for a cheap and easy alternative. You can also use white grape juice as an alternative to white wine but I didn't think the sweetness of the juice would go as well with the curry.
The last swap out I did was I used chicken stock instead of shrimp stock. Bobby gives a recipe on how to make your own but I was looking to keep my budget low and I couldn't find shrimp stock at Lee Lee though I was told they had it (language barrier). I also used an pre-made curry powder rather than stock my pantry with more spices to make Bobby's Mesa curry mixture.
One note about the butter before I end this; it's awesome. I left out the cilantro because I wanted to be able to use it on toast or whatever else I can find. If you're not going to try the curry recipe, at least try the butter (minus the cilantro). You won't be sorry.
Shrimp and Littleneck Clams with Wild Rice Waffles with Candied Mango Butter
Wild Rice Waffles:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups cooked wild rice
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
Preheat your Belgian waffle iron. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the wild rice and stir just until the mixture is well combined, season well with salt and pepper to taste. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. In another bowl, beat together the milk, buttermilk and eggs. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir together with the whisk until just combined. Stir in the wild rice mixture. Lightly butter the grids of the waffle iron, if needed. Spoon out 1 cup of batter onto the hot iron. The batter will be thick so spread with a metal spatula. Close the lid and bake until the waffle is golden and crisp. Remove from the iron and cut into quarters
Mesa Curry Mixture:
3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, ground
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, ground
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, ground
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cloves
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
Sauce: 1 tablespoon olive oil 12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 large onion, coarsely chopped 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped 1 large carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped 2 tablespoons Mesa Curry Mix 1 cup white wine 6 cups shrimp stock 1/2 cup heavy cream 1/2 cup coconut milk 2 tablespoons light brown sugar Salt and freshly ground pepper 14 littleneck clams, scrubbed Heat the oil in a medium saute pan over high heat until almost smoking. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper to taste and saute for 1-2 minutes on each side until almost cooked through. Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, apples and curry and cook until soft. Raise the heat to high, add the wine and cook until reduced. Add the stock and cook until reduced by half. Reduce heat to medium, whisk in the cream, coconut milk and brown sugar and cook until slightly thickened. Add the shrimp and the clams and cook until the clams open. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Candied Mango Cilantro Butter:
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped
2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
Heat the brown sugar and honey in small saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar has melted and is bubbling. Add the mango and cook over medium-low heat until the mango is soft and caramelized. Place in a food processor and process until smooth, remove to a bowl and let cool. Place butter in a food processor and add mango puree and process until smooth. Fold in cilantro, scrape into a medium ramekin and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
Ladle the sauce into a bowl. Place 3 shrimp and 4 clams in each bowl. Top with 2 waffle quarters and a dollop of the candied mango butter. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
Those of you who know me probably know I enjoy cooking and if you didn't know that, now you do. This little blog, as you see in the title, is called “The Bobby Flay Experiment”. This idea was really my wife's so I can't take all the credit. My plan, over an undetermined amount of time, is to cook my way through one of Bobby Flay's cookbooks. I guess I should define “cook my way through”: by this I mean go through the cookbook and pick out the ones that look the best to me. I'd do them all but, as it stands, I have neither the time nor the funds to hit every one (c'mon people, lobster ain't cheap).
Why Bobby Flay? He's my favorite Food Network chef. I'm an admitted Food Network junkie and Bobby has some of the best recipes out there (most of them involving chipotle). He's the guy I'd pick to sit down, have a good meal with and just shoot the breeze.
Why a blog? I also like writing but never really have a good outlet for it. In the past I've written four restaurant reviews for azcentral.com and received a lot of good feedback from them. I liked writing about food so I thought this would be another great opportunity to do just that. Whether anybody actually reads this or not is not really a concern of mine but I always love to hear feedback, positive or otherwise. I just hope to improve my writing skills.
I hope to write about not just the meals and cooking them but also about some of the techniques used and maybe even the shopping trip for ingredients (this will hopefully involve at least one trip to Lee Lee asian market). I may even invite some friends over for Bobby Flay Night to share the meal I've made but please don't get all offended if you don't get a call. I can't feed everybody.
As time goes on I may branch out and do other recipes from other chefs that catch my eye but I've got a good list of recipes from Mr. Flay so I should be good for a while. Here's to hoping this actually stays updated. Please follow me and stay tuned for updates!