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Monthly Archives: December 2008

Our local butcher had a sale on “Bacon ends and bits”… Essentially the ends of the bacon that get trimmed off… Man how I love a local butcher shop and not just some grocery store mass produced crap…

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As I continue to enter the waters of foodie\gourmet\snob\gastrofreak etc etc etc I’m learning about new restaurants. Some that have been world famous for ages and some that are so “on the cutting edge” that they are brand new. Ive updated my “Places to eat before I R.I.P.” to include links to each of the places on that short list, please take a second and check them out…

Or better yet take a look here at what many have coined as the best restaurant in the world… Yes Im speaking of El Bulli

They are already sold out for 2009… in case you haven’t noticed its not yet 2009 and there are no reservations left… They serve 55 people a night and that’s it… no more… Chef Ferran Adria and his staff are responsible for starting many many of the trends in find dining today… Trends that are now old and outdated for them are still amazingly brilliant and unbelievable to us… Who out there watches Iron Chef America???? Who has seen chefs create a “foam” it came from El Bulli… Who has seen the little fake “caviar” that look just like caviar but are entirely something else? it came from El Bulli. How about anyone creating some sort of flavored “cotton candy”? it came from El Bulli… Including scents in your dining experience such as the guys from moto wrapping utensils in herbs that are not to be eaten… only the scent to induce flavors…

Ill be the first to admit I dont know if El Bulli and chef Adria actually invented these techniques or not but there are videos of him and his staff doing this sort of thing YEARS before it showed up here to the general public… So to all of my foodie friends out there, Im assuming you already knew, but if not.. the future is coming from Spain…

Yes I know…. “DUH… Gee Scott you sure are on the pulse of fine dining by telling us that Spain has some amazing food” Hey you know what… Im still new and Im sure there are others just like me that love to learn new things… So go out and learn!!!!

Living in Wisconsin has its pluses and minuses… Im not sure which category these pictures fall into… Please remember that these were taken on the first official day of winter… My God is it going to be a long winter…

Jess and I had some shrimp to use up… as she walked out of the house she basically said… “Just figure out something to make with them” So I hoped on line and came up with this recipe…

Ingredients

* 4 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
* Salt and freshly ground pepper
* 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
* 3 (6-inch) tortillas or 8-inch tortillas cut to size (I used small corn tortillas)
* 1/4 cup grated Monterey Jack
* 1/4 cup grated white cheddar
* 3 tablespoons Cilantro Pesto, recipe follows
* 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder (I didnt have any so I used a little cayenne powder)
* 2 teaspoons sour cream, or to taste

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, to taste. In a small skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and saute the shrimp for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Reserve for garnish.

Place 2 tortillas on an ungreased baking sheet, sprinkle half the cheeses and 1 1/2 tablespoons pesto on each, and season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Stack the 2 layers and cover with the remaining tortilla. Brush with 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle evenly with ancho chile powder. May be prepared 1 day ahead up to this point and refrigerated. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until the tortillas are slightly crisp and the cheese has melted.

Cut into quarters and serve hot, garnished with the shrimp, more pesto, and sour cream.
Cilantro Pesto:

* 2 cups firmly packed cilantro leaves (This was one whole bunch for me)
* 2 cloves garlic
* 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (I used pine nuts)
* 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
* 1/2 teaspoons salt (I just eyed it up)
* 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 5 tablespoons olive oil (I just eyeballed it)

In a food processor, combine cilantro, garlic, pumpkinseeds, lime juice, salt and pepper. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil until sauce is emulsified. May be prepared up to 2 days ahead, covered, and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature 1 hour before serving.

Yield: 1 cup

So I did as told but think I put to much oil in the pesto… in the pics below you will see the extra oil, but it did NOT throw off the flavor… Maybe it was because I used good olive oil and it wasn’t just grease leaking out. I think it took a whopping 15 minutes of prep time and then 10 minutes of actual cooking time.. Very good recipe just watch the oil amount…

So its my first attempt at decent mexican food… but it actually turned out ok…

Im on a self imposed 30 day ban on booze… No I didn’t get all drunked up one night and decide to do this after a lengthy and powerful hangover… Its simply a test to see if I can do it 😉 and maybe give the old liver a break. Yes I also realize I chose one of the toughest times of the year to accomplish this… but oh well here goes nothing… So the beer postings will be few and far between for the next couple weeks but I hope to focus on more food-centric postings. So keep your eyes peeled