Housemade Pretzel Bites


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1 cup warm water (100° to 110°F)
1 (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast
3 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour plus more for work surface
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, well softened
Grapeseed oil for bowl

Baking Pretzels:
8 cups water
1/2 cup baking soda
Pretzel salt or coarse kosher salt

Make Pretzel Dough:
Stir together warm water and yeast in a large bowl and let stand until a creamy beige foam develops on the surface, about 10 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, start over with new yeast.)

Meanwhile, in a smaller bowl, stir together flour, salt, and light brown sugar.

Add flour mixture and butter to yeast mixture, and stir together first with a wooden spoon and then with your hands, until it forms a dough. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough until it is smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes, dusting with more flour as needed if dough sticks to work surface.

Transfer dough to a lightly oiled large bowl and turn over to coat with oil. Cover with a kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let rise in a draft-free place at room temperature until doubled, 2 to 3 hours.

Punch down dough and divide into quarters. Form each quarter into 4 balls. Roll each ball into a 12-inch-long rope. Cut each rope into six (2-inch) pieces

Bake Pretzels:
Heat oven to 450°F with racks in upper and lower third. Well oil 2 large baking sheets (about 17- by 12- inches).

In a 4- to 5-quart saucepan, bring water and baking soda to a boil (mixture will be foamy at first, but foam will dissipate). Add 12 pretzel bites and cook 30 seconds (they will rise to the surface almost immediately), then transfer with a slotted spoon to baking sheets. Quickly sprinkle pretzel bites lightly on both sides with pretzel salt before they dry (so salt sticks). Repeat with remaining pretzel bites, returning water to a boil between batches.

Bake pretzel bites in oven, switching sheets between racks and rotating sheets halfway through baking, until deep chestnut brown, 8 to 10 minutes (watch closely toward end of baking; bites brown quickly in last few minutes). Immediately transfer pretzel bites to wire racks to cool.
Serves with a homemade cheese sauce
“That’s the Next Recipe” Stay tuned!




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Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 2 minutes
Chill: 1 hour


1 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup water, plus more, if needed

2 teaspoons each: kosher salt, pickling spice

2 Persian Cucumbers, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 Combine cider vinegar with 1/2-cup of water, salt and pickling spice in a small saucepan. Heat to a boil.

2 Place cucumber in a clean, dry glass container just large enough to hold all the slices. Pour boiling brine over cucumber slices to cover completely. If all cucumbers are not submerged, add cold water to cover. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour. Pickles will keep for about 10 days.


Wild Mushroom Risotto


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1/3 cup peanut oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 cups arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
7 Cups vegetable stock or chicken stock, kept simmering
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound wild mushrooms (such as shiitake, cremini, oyster or portabello), stems reserved for stock
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a medium-size heavy saucepan, heat the peanut oil. Over medium-high heat, sauté the onion and garlic just to soften, stirring constantly, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the rice and continue to stir, using a wooden spoon, coating the rice with the oil and onion.

Deglaze with the white wine and cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring often. Pour in enough hot vegetable or chicken stock to cover, about 3 cups, and cook, stirring often, until the liquid is absorbed.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the olive oil. If the mushrooms are large, cut them into bite-size pieces and sauté over medium-high heat just to soften, 3 to 4 minutes.

Pour 3 cups of hot vegetable or chicken stock into the rice, turn the flame to high as possible and keep stirring until al dente . Stir in the mushrooms and the remaining 1 cup stock, as necessary.
Remember, the risotto should be creamy, not runny. Remove from the flame and vigorously beat in the chilled butter and the Parmesan cheese until completely dissolved. Stir in the parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste.


House Cured Pork Belly (BACON)


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7 to 9-lb whole, skinless pork belly, divided into 2 or 3 equal pieces*
2 ½ pounds kosher salt
2 ½ pounds brown sugar
1 ¼ Tbsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp curing salt, to help preserve the bacon,

1. In a large bowl, combine the salt, sugar, spices

2. Place the pork belly on a large baking sheet or high-sided pan. Liberally rub each piece of pork belly with the curing mixture. Place each piece of rubbed pork belly into its own zip-top bag, squeezing out the air, and sealing tight. Discard the remaining curing mixture.

3. Place the bags in the refrigerator and allow the pork to sit for 2 days. After 2 days, open the bags and pour out the liquid. Squeeze out the air, reseal each bag, flip the bags so the other side of the belly is now on the bottom, and then return the bags to the refrigerator for 2 more days.

4. Remove the bellies from the bags, rinse off the cure, and pat dry.
Slice into desired cuts.


Pasta Carbonara With Shaved Truffle Carbonara


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Pasta With White Truffle Carbonara

A different twist to a basic plate of pasta topped with shaved truffles.

1 Garlic Clove, Finely Chopped
1 Tablespoon Butter
1/4 Cup White Wine
1/3 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Large Egg
1 Egg Yolk
1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated
Salt & Pepper
3 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley, Finely Chopped
1 Pound Fresh Pasta (Fettuccine or Linguine)

Black or White Truffles
or Black or White Truffle Paste or Butter

Cook the garlic over medium heat in the butter until it is light golden brown.
Add wine to skillet and cook until it has almost evaporated, then remove from the heat and add the cream.
Cook the pasta until it is al dente.
Whisk together the eggs, parsley and cheese.
Pour the cream mixture over cooked pasta and mix thoroughly.
Add the egg mixture salt and pepper to taste, mixing well.
Serve, topping with shaved truffles.


Housemade Pasta


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1 pound all-purpose flour
4 whole eggs, plus 1 yolk
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1 to 2 tablespoons water or more if needed

Put the flour on a clean dry work surface. Make a hole (this is also called a well) in the center of the flour pile that is about 8 inches wide (bigger is definitely better here). Crack all of the eggs and the yolk into the hole and add the olive oil, salt and water.
Using a fork beat the eggs together with the olive oil, water and salt. Using the fork, begin to incorporate the flour into the egg mixture; be careful not to break the sides of the well or the egg mixture will run all over your board and you will have a big mess! Also, dont worry about the lumps. When enough flour has been incorporated into the egg mixture that it will not run all over the place when the sides of the well are broken, begin to use your hands to really get everything well combined. If the mixture is tight and dry, wet your hands and begin kneading with wet hands. When the mixture has really come together to a homogeneous mixture, THEN you can start kneading.
When kneading it is VERY important to put your body weight into it, get on top of the dough to really stretch it and not to tear the dough. Using the heels of your palms, roll the dough to create a very smooth, supple dough. When done the dough should look VERY smooth and feel almost velvety. Kneading will usually take from 8 to 10 minutes for an experienced kneader and 10 to 15 for an inexperienced kneader. Put your weight into it, you need to knead!
When the pasta has been kneaded to the perfect consistency, wrap it in plastic and let rest for at least 1 hour. If using immediately do not refrigerate.
Roll and cut the pasta into long strands.


Mama Mia Meatball Sliders


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1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)*
1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, divided
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/4 cup Grapeseed oil
1 cup chopped onion
6 fresh garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 28-ounce peeled tomatoes

Arugula leaves (optional)
18 Rolls split horizontally (Wheat optional)


1. Mix all meats, panko, 1/2 cup water, 6 tablespoons cheese, egg, egg yolk, 1/4 cup parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in large bowl. Form into eighteen 2-inch-meatballs.

2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sear meatballs until brown all over. Transfer to plate. Pour off drippings from skillet. Reduce heat to medium. Add oil to skillet. Add onion, garlic, basil, and fennel seeds. Sauté until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add all tomatoes with juices. Bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Reduce heat to low, cover with lid slightly ajar, and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

3. Puree sauce in processor until almost smooth. Return to same skillet. Add meatballs. Cover with lid slightly ajar and simmer until meatballs are cooked through, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes longer. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.

4. Place arugula leaves on bottom of each roll, if desired. Top each with 1 meatball. Drizzle meatballs with some of sauce and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons parsley and 2 tablespoons. Cheese. Cover with tops of rolls.


CAJC Champurrado


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3 pounds prepared masa (either pre-made masa purchased from a tortilleria or homemade will work; if making at home using a masa harina product like Maseca, prepare to directions on packaging before proceeding. If you buy masa harina for home use, be sure you buy the one for making tortillas­–not the one for making tamales. If you’re really ambitious, you can grind your own nixtamal to make masa. I typically buy mine straight from the tortilleria.)

 18 cups water

 3 to 4 1/2 cups milk

 4 disc Mexican chocolate (Abuelita)

 1 Large cone of piloncillo

 6-7 small cinnamon sticks

 5-6 tablespoons granulated cane sugar (if desired to make it sweeter)



 Either cheesecloth  to strain the dissolved masa

 A molinillo or a wooden spoon


Measure out 18 cups of warm water into a large bowl. Submerge the masa and using your hands, dissolve the masa in the water until the water is cloudy and the dough is completely incorporated.

 Over another large bowl, preferably deeper rather than wider, lay the cheesecloth

While holding the cloth in place, pour about a third of the dissolved masa water into the cloth. Bring the ends of the cloth together to close it at the top and gently massage the bottom of the cloth to strain the water through. Be careful not to squeeze too hard because the water will squirt. Repeat until you’ve poured all the masa water through the cloth. Once you’ve massaged the cloth so there’s no more water but still some clumps of masa, squeeze the cloth well to get any remaining water out. Discard the remaining masa from inside the cloth and pour the water into a deep pot.

 Place the pot over a medium flame and add the piloncillo (you can chop the piloncillo before adding if you like), stirring with the molinillo or wooden spoon until it dissolves. Add the cinnamon once the piloncillo is incorporated. Constantly stir the water; as it heats, it will start to thicken. If you don’t stir enough, depending on the masa you used, it can start to get clumpy–which you don’t want.

 You will know the atole is thick enough to add the chocolate when the liquid leaves a coating on the back of your wooden spoon. Add the chopped chocolate and stir well with your spoon or molinillo. Add the milk, stirring constantly. If desired, add a little raw cane sugar to sweeten.

 Remove from heat and let cool slightly; ladle into mugs.

 Yields about  18-20 servings.


Chile Relleno Stuffed with a Cilantro/Lime Charred Corn Relish and Queso Oaxaca, with Tempura Batter, Finished with a Salsa Verde and Chipotle Crema


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TIP: Try to shop all your local farmers markets for fresh produce, FRESH and HEALTHY way of cooking, when cooking in the kitchen!

4 Servings

Level: Medium

Total Time 35 minutes

Prep 30 minutes

Cook 5 minutes



3 Fresh Tomatillos (small)

1 Jalapeno

2 Fresh Garlic Cloves

1 Inch of Fresh Ginger

Pinch of Cumin and a Small Amount of Water


Crema Mexicana

Chipotle en Adobo


2 Corns (Sweet)

2 Limes

1 Bunch of Fresh Cilantro

1tbs of Kosher Salt

Fresh Cracked Black Pepper


Tempura Batter

Favorite Mexican Beer

Kosher Salt

Fresh Black Cracked Pepper


4 Chile Pasilla

Grapeseed Oil


  1. Saute tomatillos and jalapeno until charred. Next blend garlic and ginger, and a small amount of cold water, until smooth. Add jalapeno and tomatillo, and again blend. Final add your cumin and season with kosher salt and fresh black cracked pepper, to taste.

2. Take your fresh crema Mexicana, and use only the adobo sauce, and whisk with crema. Set aside.

3. Wrap corns in foil, place on grill until charred, let cool 5min, and then cut kernels, set aside. Chop cilantro, rough chop. Next cut fresh squeezed limes in half. Place in bowl chopped cilantro, charred corn kernels, and squeeze fresh limes, season with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste. Grate queso Oaxaca and combine all ingredients.

4. Pour tempura batter in bowl. Next pour your carbonated water and whisk (it will be up to you on how thick you want your batter; I personally recommend a thick batter).

5. Roast pasilla chile, cover and peel pasilla, make a slit on one side, and stuff with corn relish. Make a tight fold to seal pasilla. Place grapeseed oil in a pan on medium heat. Heat for 5 minutes, this is for frying of the chille relleno. Next get beer batter bowl, and dip chile in batter. Next transfer to sauté pan, and fry until golden. Place on paper towel to absorb excess oil.



Get a white plate, and place your chile relleno on the center of your plate. Ladle your slasa verde over the chile pasilla, and finally get a spoon, and garnish a nice amount of your chipotle crema.






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