Sunday, October 14, 2012

Bloody Mary Bar

Louisiana has so much to offer in the way of food. Since living in Louisiana, I have eaten some of the best food I have ever had and tried some new things that I either previously did not like or had never really wanted to try. A Bloody Mary is one of those things. It was never something that really appealed to me and one time I had one (in Las Vegas) I didn't really care for it. But, once I tried one here in New Orleans, I realized that these were the real deal--they really know how to make them here!

For the first time in over ten years, Steve decided not to go to Dallas for the annual OU/TX game. The OU/TX game is a game surrounded by great tradition. Between the weekend festivities, the Texas State Fair, seeing friends, walking around hearing Boomer Sooner and OU Sucks constantly, Texas fair food, Big Tex and, of course, the big game, I felt bad that Steve would be missing it. So, to make it a little fun and festive, we decided to have friends over for Bloodys and Breakfast to celebrate the big morning game.

I decided to put together a Bloody Mary bar so that each person to add what they wanted to their own bloody mary. It is super easy to put together and just need to you make sure you have a few options for everyone and let your guests be creative. I have listed a few suggestions below for you but really the possibilities are endless!

The Essentials
The Mix:  If you have a preference, choose your favorite. If not, I recommend Zing Zang. This was a recommendation by one of Steve's coworkers and it really is the best I have had. It is spicy and perfected seasoned. It really stands alone without needing to be "doctored" up.
The Vodka: Again, choose your favorite. We used Tito's. Tito's is handmade vodka from Austin, TX. It is good and not too expensive.
The Veggies: Cut up carrots and celery stalks that can serve as stirrers for your cocktail
The Glass: I think Bloody Marys look best in a high ball glass
The Garnish: Lime Wedges, pickled okra, green olives

The Extras:
Hot Sauce: Here in our house, Tabasco is the only way to go. Crystal or Louisiana Hot Sauce are also good choices
Dry Seasonings: Tony's, fresh ground pepper, celery salt, cayenne pepper. Try rimming your glasses with any of these!
Additional Seasoning Ideas: Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, lemon or lime juice, clam juice, beef broth
Garnishes: Tabasco flavored green beans, pearl onions, boiled shrimp, pepperoncini peppers.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Creamy Roasted Green Chile Chicken

It's Hatch chile time! Last year, I created this recipe for Green Chile Sauce. When I saw the huge display of Hatch chiles at the grocery store, I wanted to do something similar but kick it up a notch, so I jazzed up last year's recipe a bit by creating a creamy consistency with Greek yogurt and then baked chicken in the sauce and topped it off with pepper jack.

3 hatch green chiles
2 jalepenos
2 T olive oil, divided
1 T flour
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/8 t ground cumin
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1/8 salt
1/3 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1-2 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning
3/4 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded

First you need to roast the chiles and jalepenos. Green chiles can have a bitter taste in the skin, so roasting the peppers first will get rid of that taste because you'll remove the skin. To roast, you can either hold the peppers over your gas stove, throw on the grill or broil in your oven. You'll want to roast the peppers until the skin blisters and chars. If roasting in the oven, preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a foil lined sheet pan, drizzle peppers with one tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast for twenty minutes, flip chiles and jalepenos and roast for an additional 20 minutes. Place the charred chiles in a brown paper bag and allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. This will allow them to steam and will make the skin come off easier. Cut off stem, slice lengthwise and gently peel the skin off and remove seeds. Chop into small pieces.

In a pan over medium, heat olive oil. Add onion and garlic to the pan and sauté for two minutes. Add green chiles and jalepenos and sauté another two minutes. Add flour and stir to distribute. Cook out raw flour taste for about one minute. Add chicken stock to the pan, scraping up and browned bits from the bottom. Stir until smooth. Add cumin, cayenne and salt.  Bring to a low boil, stirring occasionally. When it comes to a boil, reduce to a low simmer. Continue to simmer for about 20 minutes.

If you'd like a smoother texture, blend with an immersion blender until you get your desired consistency . If  you don't have an immersion blender, cool sauce and pour in your blender and blend until you get your desired consistency. Make sure to cool the sauce or you might blow the top off your blender and have a giant mess! :)

Remove sauce from heat and stir in the Greek yogurt. Taste and check the seasoning and adjust to your liking.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Season chicken on both sides with homemade taco seasoning. Place chicken in your choice of baking dish, sprayed with nonstick spray. Spoon chile sauce all over chicken and top with pepper jack. Bake for about 30-35 minutes (depending on the size of your chicken).


Homemade Taco Seasoning

Like many processed foods, store bought taco seasoning has a ton of sodium and preservatives. Since many of the spices contained in the store bought varieties are common it is super easy to make your own!

I usually multiply this recipe several times and keep it in an air tight container for use anytime. This is great on chicken, steak, fish, veggies...anything that you want to give a little Mexican flair to.

1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon hot mexican chili powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

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