Cinco de Mayo Bobby Flay style

Queso FundidoLast weekend my sister Nila came to town, and since she lives all the way in Kansas, we don’t get to see each other often enough. The weekend was filled with all things L.A. .. Getty Museum, Santa Monica Beach, happy hour at Drago Centro, The Last Book Store, but I’d have to say my favorite event was spending an evening in the kitchen together, making a Bobby Flay feast for an intimate dinner party.

Me and my sisNow if you’ve ever perused Bobby’s Mesa Grill cookbook, you can probably understand how quickly the time flies by when preparing his dishes.  And while it is true that many of his dishes do take some time to prep, it’s worth it!  I simply love the fresh tastes of his contemporary Southwestern menus.

 

So here’s what was cookin’ in my kitchen ..

Frisee SaladFrisee Salad with Chorizo and Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
12 ounces Spanish chorizo sausage, sliced 1/4″ thick (I substituted the soy chorizo from Trader Joe’s .. YUM!)
8 ounces frisee, torn into bite-sized pieces
Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 plum tomatoes, quartered
Thinly shaved Asiago cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano, for garnish
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Soy Chorizo1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the sausage and cook until lightly browned on both sides, 4-5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. (If you make it with TJ’s soy chorizo, it’s pre-cooked so remove the casing and crumble in a skillet to warm through.)

2. Place the frisee in a large bowl, add 1/4 cup of the vinaigrette, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Place the tomatoes in a bowl, add a few tablespoons of the dressing season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.

3. Divide the frisee among 4 large plates, arrange tomato quarters and slices of the chorizo around the perimeter of each plate. Garnish with shaved cheese and chopped cilantro, and drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette.

Roasted garlicRoasted Garlic Vinaigrette
Makes about 1 cup
8 cloves roasted garlic, peeled (instructions to follow)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped red onion
1 tablespoon honeyRoasted Garlic
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Combine the garlic, vinegar, onion, honey, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste in a blender and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil and blend until emulsified. This can be made up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated.

Roasting garlic: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Separate the cloves of a head of garlic, but do not peel. Drizzle the cloves with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Wrap the garlic securely in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until very soft. Squeeze the pulp from the skins, discarding the skins. Roasted garlic will keep covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Queso FundidoQueso Fundido with Roasted Poblano Vinaigrette
Serves 4

Bobby Flay says this is one of the all-time most requested recipes at Mesa Grill.  He says “what’s not to like about melted, bubbly cheese topped with a green chile vinaigrette?” It’s pretty easy to make, so give it a try!

Monterey jack cheese1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
3 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese (12 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces fresh goat cheese, cut into 8 slices
Roasted Poblano Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Tortilla chips

1. Preheat the broiler.

2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk int he milk and cook until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the grated cheese; season with salt and pepper.

3. Scrape the mixture into an 8-inch cast-iron pan and place the slices of goat cheese over the top. Put the pan under the broiler and broil until the goat cheese is golden brown on top. Remove from the oven, drizzle with the poblano vinaigrette or spoon it over the top, and sprinkle with the cilantro. Serve with chips for dipping.

Blending the vinaigretteRoasted Poblano Vinaigrette
Makes about 3/4 cup

2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped (instructions to follow)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup canola oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the poblanos, 2 tablespoons cold water, vinegar, garlic, honey, canola oil, and salt and pepper in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. This can be made up to 8 hours in advance and refrigerated.  (BTW, if your market doesn’t have poblanos, you can certainly use Anaheim chiles.)

Roasting ChilesAnaheim chilesRoasting Peppers and Chiles
Pre-heat your broiler. Cut peppers or chiles lengthwise; remove seeds and stems. Place peppers, skin side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Slide into the oven and broil until charred nicely (keep a close eye on your oven – this won’t take long!). Remove from the oven and place peppers in Roasting chilesa bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for about 15 minutes to allow the skin to loosen, then peel. Roasted peppers and chiles can be covered and stored for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

 

Tortilla ChipsTortilla Chips
I’m fortunate to live in a diverse city, with access to all sorts of ethnic markets.  One of my favorites is Baja Ranch, just up the street.  They make the BEST corn tortillas, fresh every day.  I like to make my own tortilla chips in order to cut down on the fat and sodium.  Cut the tortillas into chip-sized wedges; spray a half-size cooking sheet with cooking spray, then lay the tortillas in a single layer.  Spray the tops with a bit more cooking spray, then sprinkle with kosher sale. Bake in a 375 degree oven until crisp and golden, about 12-14 minutes.

Wild Mushroom QuesadillaWild Mushroom Quesadillas with Red Chile Jack Cheese and White Truffle Oil
Serves 4
Not only is this dish super tasty, it’s beautiful, too!

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 1/2 pounds assorted mushrooms, such as cremini, shiitake and portobello, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ancho chiles, soaked (instructions to follow)
2 cups shredded Monterey JAncho chilesack cheese (8 ounces)
12 (6-inch) flour tortillas (I used corn)
1/4 cup grated cotija cheese or Romano cheese (1 ounce)
4 teaspoons white truffle oil

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook until golden brown and all of their liquid has evaporated, 8-10 minutes.

Wild Mushrooms3. Remove the anchos from their soaking liquid, reserving 1/4 cup of the liquid. Stem, seed, and finely chop and place in a bowl. Add the reserved soaking liquid and the cheese, and mix to combine.

4. Place 8 of the tortillas on a flat work surface. Divide the cheese mixture and mushrooms among the tortillas and season with salt and pepper. Stack the tortillas to make four 2-layer tortillas and cover each with one of the remaining tortillas. Brush the tops with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with the cotija cheese.

Quesadillas5. Transfer to a baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until lightly golden brown and the cheese has melted.

6. Cut into quarters and drizzle with the truffle oil.

Soaking chiles: Place dried chiles in a bowl. Pour boiling water over the top to completely immerse the chiles. Let soak for about 30 minutes, or until soft. Remove the chiles from the water and remove the stems and seeds, reserving the water.

Jalapeno PoppersJalapeno Poppers
One of my favorite appetizers is jalapeno poppers .. you may remember reading about them in a prior post.  JalapenosPoppers on the grillSince I had a bit of leftover chorizo, I thought it’d be fun to replace the salami in with the soy chorizo, and YUM!!! .. will definitely be making this again!  Check out this link to my prior post for the “specifics.”

 

Cooking with FireCoffee-Rubbed Filets Mignons and Rib-Eyes
Searing over a wood fire is one of my favorite ways to prepare a steak, and last year we picked up a Santa Maria style barbeque which is the perfect tool for making a perfect steak. We rubbed our steaks with BBQ Beef Coffee Cure (recipe from Tim Byres cookbook called Smoke: New Firewood Cooking) and the hubby grilled our steaks to perfection!

Santa Maria BBQBBQ Beef Coffee Cure
Makes 2 1/2 cups
Byres says “I encourage rolling up your sleeves and using your hands to mix these spices – it helps to capture a feeling of nostalgia for cooking” .. and I couldn’t agree more!

1/3 cup finely ground dark roast coffee
1/3 cup dark chili powder
1/3 cup smoked paprika
1/2 cup kosher salt
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl, using your hands to break up any clumps. Do not refrigerate. Store in an airtight container, in a cool, dry place, such as your cupboard.

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