Monday, October 16, 2017

Halloween - Creepy Cool Meat

Gory Halloween warning! Time to get squeamish with my creepy imagery of raw meat and viscera. I'm about to git medieval for this coming holiday.

This Sinister Chef gets ghoulish in the following recipes - like a bloody scene from a Stephen King and Edgar Allen Poe story. Once you've digested this macrabe blog post, your taste buds may nevermore be the same.

And if you're a vegetarian, avert your gaze! Or peak through hand-covered eyes to read my queasy prose. I'm sure to be on pop musics morose, and strident vegan, Morrissey's *hit list if he ever sees this. (And I'm a big fan of his songs with The Smiths.)

Some of my most ghastly recipes may make your skin crawl, while others will have your taste buds baying at the moon with pleasure, mouthful after mouthful.

So read on, and don't forget to click on any recipe name that will then bring you to my original blog post to see all the hair-raising details -- presented with gory gifs, bloodcurdling photos, grisly videos, and eerie text.

Right off the bat, I like my Carne Asada steak and hamburgers medium rare. Oozing is fine by me - E. coli be damned!

Raw bloody carcasses of meat have been disturbingly depicted in fine art. Rembrandt van Rijn is primarily known as a Dutch painter of moody portraits during the 17th Century, and I am especially influenced by his "Carcass of Beef" (flayed ox) study - just check out the audacious composition with gory details.

And here's the artist Francis Bacon's 20th Century version, below.

The Chiaroscuro Chef photographs flesh against dark backgrounds lately (mainly on a blackened cookie sheet) - usually lit from a single direction, with deep shadows, very much inspired by Rembrandt. An artfully dark and forbidding example is my recipe for Pasta alla Genovese, where I use sliced cheap beef shank.

Offal is not so awful to this Carrion Chef. After watching a classic horror flick, I cruise foggy boulevards in the midnight hour looking for ways to quell my ravenous appetites...for tacos, that is! 

Buche (stomach,) lengua (tongue,) and tripas (intestines) are on menu at local taquerias and taco trucks. Watch the shuddersome video below to see what stops me in my tracks.

It can get messy cooking with meat. You have to have an iron stomach. Try breaking down a pork shoulder sometime, like I do below for my gruesome Carnitas video recipe.

It's probably the most artistically nauseating footage I've ever shot - but, boy does it taste heavenly when you cradle a fat stuffed tortilla filled with moist, citrus and cola marinated, slow-cooked pork.

Ground chicken or turkey is mushy and wet, more so than ground beef or pork. But I use it a lot as it's cheaper than beef. Just check out my Patty Melt video to see what I mean -- yuk!

After chicken, pork is the cheapest flesh. When hacked, mangled, and minced into sausage, it's delicious for breakfast, or added to a stir fry like my Green Beans and Ground Pork recipe below. This may sound perverse but it's actually fun to animate with ground meat, it's like playing with Play-Doh, just greasier.

Check out my video below to see the messiness.

Are you still with me? Man, are you are hardcore! I'm getting extra creeped-out just assembling this blog post.

Ever gut a fish? Whoa, that is one freaky task! Slice the belly open, yank out the internal organs then chop off the head -- oh, I'm feeling faint just remembering the viscera and the smell - barf!

If you want to scare the bejesus out of your dining guest, then serve them a Grilled Whole Fish - head on! 

This tinned bloody-looking slaughter scene comprised of tomato sauced fat fingers of sardines is one of my most visited food blog posts. And my morbid visitors are mostly from Europe - go figure. My pasta dish, Sardines in Tomato Sauce with Olive Oil over Pasta, is a delicious mouthful.

Sushi is typically made with freshly butchered raw fish. It's so artfully presented that you miss the gore that goes into each delicate slice of aquatic flesh.

Here's one of my tastefully shot Sushi recipe videos, the simply presented, Tuna Nigiri Sushi.

Halloween has a dark streak of  humor and some of my recipes do too. Take my wacky Trump Orange Chicken....please. It looks like a McDonald's Chicken McNugget, but my entree is made with real chicken pieces, not a pink slime composite.

How about a recipe where Turkey Bacon swallows up a Brussels sprout like a disembodied human tongue...yikes!

I like to cook whole chicken or large leg quarters. There is nothing like the animal pleasure of ripping apart the poultry carcass and picking every piece of succulent meat off the bones. My Chicken Tinga and Roast Chicken with Rosemary are succulent examples.

Well, I'll leave you with the squishy butchering of a couple of chicken pieces. It's the cheapest meat you can get and I have all kinds of recipes that use it.

So get out there and have an entertaining Halloween holiday. It's not all blood and guts!


Monday, October 9, 2017

Chicken Tinga Bowl - Leftovers Series

Some recipes are better served as leftovers. And my Latin-flavored Chicken Tinga recipe fits the bill. Chicken that's cooked in smoky chipotle red chiles in adobo and tomato sauce tastes better over time. Click here to see the recipe, or watch my recipe video at the end of this blog post.

Chicken Tinga

It's an intense taste that you can soften with the addition of pinto beans and rice. And keep the flavors building by adding chopped onion, cheese and sprigs of cilantro. It's basically a bowl of chile with all the toppings, and more.

Chicken Tinga is one of my go-to recipes when I have a backyard patio party. I just set out a steaming bowl of slow cooked Mexican stew, with a pile of tortillas and homemade salsa, and let the guest build their own.

I usually have a pot of pinto beans on the stove that has been filling the kitchen with it's soothing aroma. Some gluten averse guests will skip the tortillas and make a simple Chicken Tinga Bowl.

Chicken Tinga Bowl

I don't always have leftovers, but when I do I like the addition of my Mom's Mexican Rice. Saute a little onion and garlic, then tint the rice with a tablespoon of tomato paste. Mexican Rice and Pinto Beans (from a can or homemade) are the base to any Leftover Bowls, like my Carnitas Bowl I made a while ago, here.
Homemade Pinto Beans - Video Recipe

So, start the bowl by heating up the beans, rice and Chicken Tinga in the microwave, or stove top.

I like a little crunch from fresh chopped red onion, finishing the Chicken Tinga Bowl with melty cheese and brightly flavored cilantro.

You can gild the lilly by adding your favorite spicy salsa. So click on any recipe name above to get all the tasty details and make your own Chicken Tinga Bowl.

Chicken Tinga - Video Recipe

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

National Taco Day - Recipes & Reviews

Today is National Taco Day, the most hallowed of culinary days in my cocina (kitchen.) I can have tacos morning, noon and night. So read on and you'll know what I mean - just click on any taco name, or highlighted text, to see all the tasty details from my blogpost recipe or review.

In the morning it's spicy Mexican chorizo with scrambled eggs and refried beans nestled into a warm corn tortilla.

Breakfast Tacos

And my Chorizo & Egg Taco is about as cheap as you can get. I get Mexican chorizo from the 99c only Store natch, and all kinds too, like beef, pork and even soy (which is a recent favorite.) Eggs still show up at my local Dollar Tree.

The simplest breakfast taco to make is one made of Scrambled Eggs & Refried Beans. You can used canned refried beans or make my Homemade Mexican-style Pinto Beans.

And for Breakfast Tacos, it all about the salsa toppings. I like salsa from a jar, but sometime I just gotta go for it and make my own Homemade Salsa, and it's easy to do.

I'm ready to party on this auspicious day, and when this cheap$kate does it you can bet pennies will be pinched without a sacrifice in flavor. For my backyard soirée it's my favorite taco: a slow-cooked pork Carnitas. Just check out my video below to see what I'm writing about.

I buy a 5 to 6 pound budget pork shoulder, and I can get a couple dozen tacos out of it, too.

 And boy it's the perfect budget recipe that your friends and neighbors will line up for. You let them do most of the work -- they get to build each taco to suit their taste. I like to set out some chopped onion and cilantro. You can make your taco bar any way you like, go ahead and add a bowl of shredded cheese, chopped lettuce and tomato, and a cheap jar of salsa, too.

Chicken is one cheap protein. My Chicken Tinga recipe will have your guest coming back for seconds...and thirds! Chicken Tinga is a stew simmered in tomato sauce with a can of spicy chipolte peppers, but you can make a mild version with a can of enchilada sauce.

 Chicken Tinga

One of my most unique tacos came about one summer while on vacation at our spectacular national parks in Utah. I stopped to eat and had an Indian Frybread Taco. Frybread is flour dough that's rolled out and deep fried. You top the frybread with chili beans, lettuce, tomato and cheese.

Frybread Taco

Carne Asada, or grilled steak, is a favorite taco of mine. Just make my marinade for thin sliced steak, let it set for an hour, then slap it on the grill. After the Carne Asada is done you chop it up and serve on a corn tortilla

Carne Asada Taco

The marinade is a simple mix of lime juice, oil, cilantro, cumin, garlic, salt and pepper.

Drive anywhere in Los Angeles and you will see taco trucks, sidewalk taco vendors, and taquerias on almost every street. And I've stopped at most of them. What follows are a few of my faves - with a few recipes I cribbed from them, too.

When I moved to Los Angeles over 40 years ago, I discovered the taco truck. Boy, have they evolved over the years. In the beginning it was just hamburgers and tacos made with ground beef. Well, that all changed about 9 years ago when a hotel chef named Roy Choi, who was down but not out, rebounded from couch surfing to start Kogi Taco Truck.

A fellow co-conspirator came up with the idea of a Korean taco, and Roy Choi assembled the taco ingredients of Korean barbecue short ribs with an kimchi-style coleslaw, served on corn tortillas. His truck was an instant hit, and Kogi jump started the ongoing nouveau taco truck renaissance.

Kogi is still around and I still love them. Check out my video below, where I hang out night and day, for L.A.'s most uniquely mouthwatering  taco.

Inspired by Kogi's mashup of Korean BBQ and Mexican Tacos, I came up with the Loxaco, that combines Jewish and Mexican cuisines.

A Loxaco is comprised of homemade lox (cured salmon) in a fast food crunchy taco shell topped with cream cheese and thin sliced red onion. I introduced this preposterous concoction at a book signing in Libros Schmibros, a lending library in East Los Angeles. How did it go over with book lovers? The following video is a twofer, you get a recipe plus a literary happening scene.

After a double feature at my fave art house cinematheque like the Egyptian or New Beverly Theater, on the way home I swing by Leo's Taco for a few al pastor pork tacos. They just cost a $1.25, and the line can be long, now that the word is out.

This is porcine perfection on a paper plate. It's tender and flavorful grilled marinated pork, that's cooked in front of a gas grill called a trompo. A cook manning the grill slices off thin slivers, finishing the taco with flare: a flying slice of pineapple. Check out the yummy action below.

I've followed the Two Hot Tamales from the beginning, when the Border Grill was in a storefront with half a dozen tables on Melrose Avenue. Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken are fixtures on the L.A. dining scene who jumped on the taco truck train, bringing their neuvo take on Mexican cuisine to four wheels. They primarialy park their taco truck in the environs of Silicon Valley West Coast, Santa Monica.

My Tacos El Primo video review has gone viral. That means this YouTube video gets thousands of views per month - right now it is pushing half a million. Why? I'm not sure. Let's see... in this video I review Buche and Tripas tacos, or tacos made from slow-cooked stomach and intestine. Gross right? One thing I noticed is half my visitors are from Mexico, so maybe half my audience is curious how gringos react to offal.

That doesn't seem interesting enough really, but hey, what do I know, I'll take it. I did the taco review because Tacos El Primo was a midnight munchies stop on my return home from various Hollywood treks. 

When you have a neighborhood food stop, you eventually dive deeper and try eats you would not normally taste.

Tripas (intestine) Taco

Well, join the multitudes and check out my Cheap$kate video review of Tacos El Primo.

Deep fried Fish Tacos are one of L.A.'s great culinary contributions. These battered depth charges of crunchy perfection are based on the street food of Baja Mexico and other coastal communities. If you like British Fish & Chips, you will love Fried Fish Tacos.

Fish Taco

The battered fillets of fish are typically served on corn tortillas and topped with a white crema and chopped cabbage. I have my own recipe for Fish Tacos you can see by clicking on the recipe name.

And this is the best taco deal in town: Today (Wednesdays) is $1 Fish Taco day at Tacos Baja! Yeah, that's what you heard - don't believe me? Just watch the video below and see it for yourself.

Celebrate National Taco Day with me today. Hey, celebrate it any day now that I've shown you a slew of taco recipes you can make easily and cheaply.

And I'll end with a queasy taco review, from of all places, Jack In The Box's 2 for 99 cent tacos...ugh, watch it with a barf bag.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Sauteed Crookneck Squash - Video Recipe

I like a side dish that takes minimal prep - no peeling or need to clean it out. You can cook it whole or slice it and saute. I like to add a little onion and garlic with a dash of salt and pepper.

 Play my video recipe below to see for yourself how easy it is to make my tasty vegetarian side:
Sauteed Crookneck Squash - Video

Play it here. Video runs 1 minute 58 seconds.

Also called Summer Yellow Squash, the skin is a bright hue and usually smooth, but sometimes it has a bumpy surface.

You don't peel this type of squash as the skin tenderizes when cooked. You also eat the seeds. All I do is slice off the tough squash ends, then cube the squash for cooking - so there is very little waste.

Squash comes in all shapes and sizes, some have a hard shell. Yellow Crookneck Squash is similar to green Mexican squash. Italian squash is called zucchini.

This recipe come together quickly. It only takes about 10 to 15 minutes of slow cooking to tenderize fresh squash.

I get whole fresh squash at my local Latin grocery and 99c only Stores for around a dollar per pound. I used 2 whole yellow squash for this recipe, a half onion and one small garlic clove. You can substitute zucchini or Mexican squash for Crookneck Squash, they taste similar enough.

Next time you are in your local farmers market or a regular grocery store make sure to pick up a few Crookneck Squash and try my brightly colored sauteed side dish.

3 cups squash - about 2 medium sized Crookneck squash. Roughly chop into bite sizes. Okay to use Italian squash (zucchini) or Mexican squash.
1/2 onion - about 1 cup chopped.
1 teaspoon garlic - chopped.
1 tablespoon oil - to saute onion, garlic and squash.
Salt and pepper - to taste

Chop half an onion. You can cut into larger or smaller pieces to suit your taste.

Add cooking oil to a pan over medium heat. Saute onion and saute until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. While onion sautes, you can chop squash and garlic (or use chopped garlic from a jar.)

Add chopped garlic to cooked onion. Mix and saute a minute.

Roughly chop yellow squash into bite sizes. Discard tough stem and end piece. Finally add chopped squash and season with salt and pepper. Mix cooked onion, garlic and squash.

Turn heat to low and cover the pan, or pot. 

Now all you are doing is softening the squash by letting it steam for about 15 minutes total. Stir squash every once in a while.

The yellow squash will break down and release some liquid as it steams. I don't add any water, but do check on cooking squash in case the the liquid cooks out too fast. If so, add a tablespoon of water as needed. As long as the pan or pot is well covered, and the heat is not too hot, the squash will stay moist.

You can cook the squash as long (or little) as you like, to reach desired tenderness.

Serve hot when done. My Sauteed Crookneck Squash freezes and reheats fine, too.

 My YouTube video link for viewing or embedding, just click here.
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