"It IS all about the TASTE"
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  • Guacamole

    Tis’ the night before Cinco De Mayo, and through the States, tomatoes, peppers, avocados, and cilantro are been beaten into a unrecognizable pulp, to be served as guacamole..

    From Wikipedia:

    Guacamole, sometimes informally referred to as “guac” in North America, is an avocado-based dip or salad first created by the Aztecs in what is now Mexico. In addition to its use in modern Mexican cuisine, it has also become part of American cuisine as a dip, condiment and salad ingredient.

    And there is the first time I can remember, that I venomently disagree, with the Wikipedia Community.

    Guacamole, is NOT a dip, Guacamole IS a salad.

    But like almost all things “Americanized”, the concept has been abused and misused to the point of no longer being recognizable as the original product. Made with chunks of avocado, minced onion, finely diced tomatoes, and just enough Jalapeño or Serrano pepper to add a spice kick. No mayonnaise, no sour cream, no stick blender and for god’s sake, no mariachi bands.

    Guasacaca is a smooth green sauce, from Venezuela, made with avocados and vinegar, with a much stronger flavor and spice kick .. (But that is another post)

  • Tacos Con Carne


    Tomorrow is Cinco De Mayo, and I will be (hopefully) recovering from a weekend of high pressure ops. That said, perhaps a little bit of Mexico can creep onto my plate .. I am thinking Tacos… But not just any tacos, soft tacos with strips of steak, grilled peppers, onions, fresh cheese, a tangy dipping sauce, perhaps guacamole and some form of lettuce salad on the side.

    A taco is a traditional Mexican dish composed of a corn or wheat tortilla folded or rolled around a filling. A taco can be made with a variety of fillings, including beef, pork, chicken, seafood, vegetables and cheese, allowing for great versatility and variety. A taco is generally eaten without utensils and is often accompanied by garnishes such as salsa, avocado or guacamole, cilantro, tomatoes, minced meat, onions and lettuce.

    These come in many varieties:

    The Hard Taco
    Beginning from the early part of the twentieth century, various styles of tacos have become popular in the United States and Canada. The style that has become most common is the hard-shell, U-shaped version. Such tacos are crisp-fried corn tortillas filled with seasoned ground beef, cheese, lettuce, and sometimes tomato, onion, salsa, sour cream, and avocado or guacamole.

    The Soft Taco
    Traditionally, soft-shelled tacos referred to corn tortillas that were cooked to a softer state than a hard taco – usually by grilling or steaming. More recently the term has come to include flour tortilla based tacos mostly from large manufacturers and restaurant chains. In this context, soft tacos are tacos made with wheat flour tortillas and filled with the same ingredients as a hard taco.

    The Double Decker
    Comprised of a hard taco wrapped in a similarly sized flour tortilla with a layer of re-fried beans or guacamole between the layers

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  • Slow Cooker Pulled pork

    The local micomart had pork shoulders on sale today, at a very good price, so now I’m looking at this and trying to sort out how to cook and not spend hours dealing with it.

    But taking a trick from my father, I have a the shoulder, some onions, some bbq sauce left from the last smoke job, and some liquid smoke. Take all of this and plop into a slow cooker and simmer until the meat breaks down and the sauce thickens to a rich, meaty, spicy spoonable mass.

    Serve over split Hoagie or Onions Rolls, with cole slaw, BBQ Beans, or pickles and raw onion, add an Ice Cold Beer and I am almost ready for the coming week.

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  • Con Queso Dip

    As the annual Badwolf revel approaches, I must place my RogueChef’s hat on and consider the menu for the event.

    As always, I will do a fresh salsa, and a Guacamole, but want something a bit more. Perhaps Queso, but not the average run of the mill melted processed cheese melted and mixed with pickled jalapeno rings.

    And while processed cheese is just “Oil Field Trash”, in its melted state it is good stuff, the stuff of my youth. But when you are serving queso, people hope for something more sophisticated. Some recipes are called queso compuesto, or “queso and other good things”—good things could be a scoop of beans or fajita meat also added to the dip. Perhaps some really good chorizo, browned off, crumpled and mixed in.

    While I have eaten MANY bowls of cheese spread and jalapenos poured over tortilla chips, I really have a urge to make a real Chili con Queso with real peppers and real cheese, and have it taste as good or better than the rectangular brick of cheese food.

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  • Slow Cooker – Brisket Chili

    It seems to have decided to become late fall at last, windy, rainy, cool / cold. In short, glorious weather for pneumonia, which really is just not my cup of tea.

    All that and the current crop of high intensity engagements have left me dry, drained, and damaged, it is time to fight back with things to build the blood, fill the gut, and add a fire to the eye, lead to the pencil and a purpose to the step ..

    From way back in my youth, these are the days my mother made chili, or Texas Red, no mushrooms, no tofu, absolutely nothing fancy, just beef, stock, Legumes, Allium, Solanaceaes, and capsicums, and perhaps some cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and other trace element style spices. (Alliums are the onion family, onion, garlic, etc, Legumes are beans, Solanaceae are nightshades – tomatoes to be specific, and capsicums are peppers.)

    To quote a description:

    Texas red if it walks the thin line just this side of indigestibility: damning the mouth that eats it and defying the stomach to digest it, the ingredients are hardly willing to lie in the same pot together.

    If one looks at all the legends of how chili was discovered, there is one thing in common…. ABJECT POVERTY, so the meat involved is not going to be the best, but since it will be close to the horn or the hoof, I am sure it will have flavor beyond compare, and collagen beyond believe. (And this is a good thing….)

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  • Meatless Monday – Chili Sin Carne

    As the Festival of Sukkot arrives, and I have been exchanging greetings with various friends who celebrate this, in one of these exchanges I was asked for a post on “Veggie Chili”.

    Now a bit of research shows …

    Vegetarian chili (also known as chili sin carne, chili without meat, chili non carne, and chili sans carne) acquired wide popularity in the U.S. during the 1960s and 1970s with the rise of vegetarianism. It is also popular with those on a diet restricting the use of red meat. To make the chili vegetarian, the cook leaves out the meat or replaces it with a meat analogue, such as textured vegetable protein or tofu, or a starchy vegetable, such as potatoes. These chilis nearly always include beans. Variants may contain corn, squash, mushrooms, or beets.

    I am lucky in the fact, that chili refers to a soup, stew, or curry, containing, Guess What…. Chilies!..

    But there is a problem, providing taste, texture, and aroma from a purely vegetable basis, but these are not insurmountable…

    Lets take the basics of chili…

    Chili Basics

    Item Replacement Comment
    Meat Soy Meat / Tofu Finely ground Tofu burger
    Stock Vegetable Stock Make your own
    Spices Spices No Need to Substitute
    Beans Beans Multiple types
    Tomato Tomato No Need to Substitute
    Fat Margarine Corn Oil Solids, Butter (if acceptable)

    Now a vegetarian chili does gains very little from a long simmer, the long cooking time is to help less-than-prime pieces of meat break down and tenderize, the only advantage to cooking for more that enough time to soften the beans is to get the spices to blend and mellow, as well as have come of the beans break down and provide starch to thicken the gravy.

    So how do I make vegetarian chili, it all depends on the vegetarian… Seriously, some vegetarians will not consume milk fat, (aka vegan), so using butter to add fat will not work and other methods (margarine, corn oil solids, etc) must be used.
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