October 31, 2010

Chorizo, Potato & Mushroom Tacos

Cooler temperatures have finally arrived in St. Louis. Up until this week, it's been so warm I am still picking sungolds from our garden and a tiny pink rose is blooming in our backyard. Nevertheless, a chill is in the air and we've had to turn on the heat. And, around here that means 'tis the season for comfort foods...hearty breakfasts, soups, roasts, casseroles, pastas...

And, man, do I need some comfort! We've had some very sad & upsetting things happening in our extended family. I won't go into details here, but it boils down to some all out fucking batshit craziness. Nothing is as it was seven months ago. Our hearts are broken.

But, all the drama just makes me appreciative of the good things in my life. Jerad and I are sticking together through this, stronger than ever. We are making big plans for our new little family. We have fantastic friends who are supporting and encouraging us. Our jobs are both going well. We finally got our 100-year-old wooden house painted and are in the middle of building a new front porch (it was literally falling down). 

Of course, through it all, we continue to eat well. I still believe that you cannot live well if you have not dined well. To promote such wellness, Jerad recently made these tacos for dinner.

Chorizo, Potato, and Mushroom Tacos
from Rick Bayless's Mexican Everyday

serves 4
12 ounces fresh Mexican chorizo, casings removed
1 medium white onion, halved and sliced into rings
6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced about 1/2 inch thick
12 ounces potato, grated on the large holes of a grater
1/2 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro
12 warm corn tortillas
  • Crumble the chorizo into a large nonstick skillet set over medium heat.  Cook, stirring often to break up large clumps, until some of the fat starts to render and the sausage looks half-cooked, about 4 minutes.
  • Increase the heat to medium-high, and add the onions and mushrooms.  Cook, stirring constantly, until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the grated potato over the mixture, and cook until the potatoes are soft, about 3 minutes, stirring often.  Reduce the temperature if the potatoes start to brown before they soften.  Taste and season if necessary - some chorizo is seasoned highly.
  • Scrape the mixture into a serving bowl and sprinkle with the chopped cilantro.   Serve with warm tortillas, salsa, & queso fresco.

October 24, 2010

Venison Wellington

October 1, sunrise: Sixty seconds into deer season this year, our friend Carl shot a doe with a bow & arrow.

 This is NOT the deer Carl shot this year. I snagged this from his Facebook page. Being a deer hunter, duck hunter, & fisherman, he has A LOT of dead animal pics on there.

Before I was with Jerad, I thought hunting was pretty brutal. Plus, I didn't like eating venison at all. But, I've accepted hunting...I've even watched a deer being dressed & numerous birds (ducks, geese, doves) being cleaned. It wasn't nearly as gross as I'd expected. I've also discovered that venison, particularly the backstrap, is tender & tasty. It is so similar to beef that it's hard to tell the difference when you're eating a good cut, especially meat from a two- to three-year-old doe.

A "backstrap" is essentially the same cut as filet mignon; it's a muscle from the lower back that runs along the spine. It looks like beef--bright red & lean--smells like beef, and tastes like beef. You cook it exactly as you would a whole filet.

from Askthemeatman.com

October 9, 2010

Peanut Butter & Pumpkin Dog Treats

THANK YOU to everyone who's been voting for me in Project Food Blog. I didn't make it to round 4, but that's okay. I wasn't happy with my last post, so I wasn't surprised by the results. You see, I had people over on Saturday for my "luxury dinner party," drank too much champagne since I was celebrating my birthday, & woke up too late on Sunday (the day the post was due). I spend the entire day nursing a headache, editing pictures, and writing the post. I knew something was missing; it just didn't feel complete. But, since the deadline was looming, I submitted what I had. Of course, the next day I thought of a few other things I could have added to the post to make it better.

Nevertheless, I'd planned ahead just in case I did make it to the next round...which was a photo challenge. I actually made couscous-stuffed whole branzino last Monday, but I wasn't impressed with my photos or the recipe itself. So, I had an idea to make homemade dog treats and let my pups "help." My friend Corey was kind enough to take some photos while we were cooking.

Don’t let his big brown eyes & floppy ears fool you; Arlo’s kind of a pain in the ass. In fact, right at this moment his barking his head off in my ear at nothing in particular. At least he’s not chewing something up. Like my shoes, FIVE pairs of which he’s already destroyed.

October 3, 2010

Project Food Blog: Luxury Dinner Party (Challenge #3)


Project Food Blog is the first-ever interactive competition where thousands of Foodbuzz Featured Publishers are competing in a series of culinary blogging challenges for the chance to advance & a shot at the ultimate prize: $10,000 & a special feature on Foodbuzz.com for one year.

Challenge Prompt: Celebrate! Whether you're an experienced host or an entertaining newbie, get creative & host a luxurious dinner party where your guests will discover new tastes & exotic flavors. Share your hosting secrets with readers, like how to cook for a crowd, plan a menu, or involve guests in the prep.


This challenge couldn't have come at a better time, because yesterday was my 37th birthday. Age has never bothered me before, but for some reason 37 bothers me. I woke up yesterday with terrible back pain; I just felt old. However, as far as birthday celebrations go, it was a pretty good one...I had a multi-course dinner at Araka with my girlfriends on Wednesday, met a couple other friends at Monarch for dinner & drinks on Thursday, saw Anthony Bourdain speak on Friday, & threw a Spanish tapas tasting party last night.