Salvadoran Pupusas With Spicy Ragout

Salvadoran Pupusas With Spicy Ragout

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Note: 1) my blog post Knowing Sauce Is Important explains how to economically prepare ragout, 2) reduce the amount of tomatoes to intensify the flavor of the sauce (this note was added to the recipe), 3) consider enriching the masa (dough) with eggs

The pupusas that I previously made in my blog post Pupusas With Melted Onions And Aioli were not authentic. They were made by putting a filling between 2 thick corn tortillas. While I was playing with masa (dough made with corn flour), I found a website at Pinterest that showed me some pictures. The trick to making pupusas is adding a very small amount of water to masa for tortillas. These pupusas were made with 1 cup of Maseca. The recipe for tortillas adds 3/4 cup of water to 1 cup of Maseca. To make pupusas, add 1/2 tablespoon or less of water at a time to tortilla dough until the edges of a big ball of dough do not crack when the ball is flattened. The dough seems to be more dry when someone adds salt. I used 1/2 teaspoon of table salt. I stuffed the pupusas with a mixture of chopped green beans and cotija cheese. I put spicy ragout and a mixture of bread crumbs and the filling over the pupusas.

I cooked the pupusas using several methods. 6 minutes on each side over medium heat in a non-stick pan works well. Using a steel pan, someone must cook a pupusa between medium and medium-low for 7-8 minutes on each side. Cooking them over medium heat will stain the pan. Cooking them for 7 minutes will reduce the amount of browning. The pupusas cooked on a steel pan had the best flavor. If using a non-stick pan is similar to using a steel pan, I might suggest using lower heat and cooking pupusas for a longer amount of time. Someone must decide if they want a lightly browned crispy surface or browned crunchy surface. I used vegetable oil and corn oil. The flavor of pupusas cooked in corn oil was not exciting. I preferred pupusas cooked in vegetable oil. I did not cook pupusas in canola oil.

I finally finished my vegetable ragout recipe. It is my first tomato sauce. The recipe was originally for a vegetable ragú, but since I had to be interested in French cooking and culinary arts books from French schools to learn to think about cooking, the recipe became a vegetable ragout. This pureed stew is great over pasta, rice, biscuits, or pupusas. Someone would probably become confused searching for an elbow in this sauce. Since it is very thick, the pasta must be very thick or big. The idea for this sauce is to use vegetables, herbs, and spices from different cultures to make a tomato sauce. Use vegetables from ratatouille to make a French ragout, or use chili powder and peppers to make a Mexican ragout. The special ingredients I used for the ragout to put over pupusas in this blog post were mini sweet peppers, beef broth, cumin, and Chardonnay.

Steel Pan Between Medium and Medium-Low For 8 Minutes On Each Side (I Would Try 7 Minutes In The Future)

Steel Pan Medium Heat For 5 Minutes (Stains The Pan)

Steel Pan With Corn Oil Between Medium and Medium-Low For 8 Minutes On Each Side (I Did Not Like The Flavor)

Non-Stick Pan Medium For 5 Minutes (Great Results, I Would Try Lower Heat And Longer Time In The Future)

Spontaneous Starting Place (Too Thick, Raw Dough In The Middle, Or Brown And Bake)

Download The Recipe:

How to Make El Salvadoran Pupusas

Vegetable Ragout

Strawberry Agua Fresca With Watermelon

Strawberry Agua Fresca With Watermelon

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Summertime is here! It’s time for an ice cold beverage. This recipe for Strawberry Agua Fresca uses watermelon. The idea to use a 2:1 ratio of watermelon pieces to strawberries, add some lemon juice (or the peel), and blend the ingredients with ice cubes. This is one of my favorite drinks.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups strawberries
  • 4 cups watermelon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cups ice cubes

Instructions

  • Blend the ingredients to make a smooth liquid

Download The Recipe:

Strawberry Agua Fresca

1. Introduction to High-Performance Blending: Vitamix G-Series: (Vita-Mix Corporation, 2015), 59.

Cajun Flageolet Bean Soup With Thomas Keller’s Buttermilk Biscuits

Cajun Flageolet Bean Soup With Thomas Keller’s Buttermilk Biscuits

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Note: 1) the idea in the recipe is to put sautéed vegetables and browned meat in beans and their liquid, the liquid is seasoned with spices, the soup is thickened with flour, flour can be added to a soup by mixing it with butter

This Cajun Flageolet Bean Soup is my new recipe. I am excited. This soup summarizes some of my experiences learning to cook for the past 6 months. Once the flavors combine after cooling the soup, the soup has great flavor. To make this soup, I thought about the Cuban Black Bean Soup I put on this blog, and a recipe for Cajun White Beans with Andouille from Deep South Dish. The idea for the soup is to mix “perfect ratios” of sautéed French vegetables with cooked meat and beans. The beans were seasoned with vegetables and herbs used by French chefs. I added Cajun seasonings to the cooking liquid of the beans. The soup was thickened by adding flour to the vegetables. These ideas could be used to make several soups from different cultures.

I used Andouille sausages from D’Artagnan.  D’Artagnan advertises on WordPress and I found some of their products at markets where I live. These were the best Andouille sausages I have had. Cajun food may be confusing to prepare because it requires someone to know things about cooking professionally. Popular Andouille sausages are usually heavily spiced sausages that are soft. Some Andouille sausages are firm and spiced. For a beginner in the kitchen, the fine flavors of a French sausage may be confusing because the flavors are not strong. These sausages from D’Artagnan had the fine flavors someone with experience might expect from a French sausage, but they also had a lot of flavor. They also had flavor after being boiled. These were great sausages. I was wishing to have a piece of their slab bacon. Their cookbook is very interesting.

These French white heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo gave me the experience I always desire to have when thinking about white beans. Knowing the flavor of white beans is so important. I cannot wait to make soup with these beans using a smoked ham hock. I am very pleased that I found Rancho Gordo, and that I am able to have these beans from a market where I live.

Thomas Keller’s buttermilk biscuits are the finest and most delicate buttermilk biscuits I have made. Someone should consider halving the recipe. I make square biscuits because the trimmings from making circular biscuits make biscuits with a different texture than the texture of the circular biscuits. I explored this idea in my blog post Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits.

After making these biscuits, I believe that someone can determine how their biscuits will taste by tasting the dry ingredients mixed with butter. If this is true, then someone can think about designing a biscuit. Maybe someone could taste the dry ingredients without butter. I believe that these biscuits were designed to have great flavor. Since making flaky biscuits may depend on moisture or expanding gasses, adding more baking powder might make a flakier biscuit, but the flavor of the additional baking powder might be offensive.

Note: 1) without a slow cooker, someone using 2 pots or 2 large pans could suffocate the vegetables with the beans and their liquid, and use a beurre manié [1to thicken the soup, suffocating means drowning with liquid, or pouring a large amount of liquid over the vegetables

Cajun Flageolet Bean Soup

To know the flavor of this soup, cool the soup to permit the flavors to combine; to have the best experience, cool the beans, and warm them before serving.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound cooked Flageolet Beans (or white beans) and cooking liquid
  • 12 ounces Andouille or beef sausage, sliced
  • 5 ounces smoked bacon (consider smoked turkey bacon), cut crosswise to make 1/2-inch strips*
  • 2 cups sweet yellow onions, medium dice
  • 1 cup baby carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup celery, halved lengthwise, and cut 1/4-inch crosswise
  • 1 cup scallions, mixture of green and white parts, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons garlic
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun spices (not salty seasonings, otherwise adjust recipe)**
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, minced
  • Salt (preferably same type used in beans)

Instructions

  • Reduce the beans a little, just until the water is below the surface of the beans
  • Brown the sausage over medium heat in a large saucepan, and put in a bowl
  • Render the fat from the bacon between medium and medium-low heat in the same pan, drain, and put in the bowl with the sausages
  • Remove some bacon grease if there is too much bacon grease
  • Add some olive oil to the pan, there should be 1/4 cup of grease and oil
  • Sauté the onions, carrots, and celery over medium heat until the onions are translucent, about 12 minutes
  • Add the garlic and sauté the vegetables until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes
  • Add the flour, stir the vegetables, and cook for about 1 minute***
  • Add liquid from the beans to deglaze the pan
  • Remove the pan from the heat
  • Add the Cajun spices to the beans
  • Add the vegetables and meat to the beans
  • Add the parsley
  • Add salt to taste (no salt may be necessary, the bacon may be salty)
  • Boil the soup
  • Simmer the soup for 30 minutes to combine the flavors
  • To have the best experience, cool the beans, and warm them before serving

* If people believe that the brand of bacon that they are using has a strong smoky flavor, consider using less bacon.

** I want the beans to be cooked in salt water. If someone is going to use these beans in Cajun soup, and if someone is going to use a salty Cajun seasoning, then the seasonings must be added to the beans in the recipe for making Flageolet Beans. Since the seasonings are probably mixed with table salt or sea salt, consider using 1 tablespoon of seasonings, and if desired, add less than 1 teaspoon more of the seasonings, or add more table salt or sea salt 1/4 teaspoon at a time while tasting the broth after each addition.

*** To avoid this step, and deglazing the pan in the next step, make a beurre manié [1] with 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of flour. Since the flour in this step cannot be browned, using a beurre manié should provide similar results.

Cajun Flageolet Soup

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Thomas Keller’s Buttermilk Biscuits

Download The Recipes:

Flageolet Beans

Cajun Flageolet Soup

Thomas Keller’s Buttermilk Biscuits (I looked at some of these recipes, the amount of salt was consistently wrong, Thomas Keller uses 1 tablespoon Diamond kosher salt [1/2 tablespoon table salt, 1/2 tablespoon + 1 pinch Baleine sea salt, 3/4 tablespoon Morton kosher salt])

Thomas Keller’s Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb with Honey Mustard Glaze

Thomas Keller’s Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb with Honey Mustard Glaze

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Since I was disabled by my hunger, I did not use paper frills or the guard of honor or crown roast presentations for racks of lamb. The crust on these lamb chops was sweet and interesting. Lamb appears to be a red meat with a soft texture and a delicate flavor. I do not believe that veal is red. But both probably have a pleasing soft texture. The flavor of red meat may include a stronger flavor from minerals in the blood of the meat. I was excited to eat lamb.

Where I usually shop, grass-fed meat has a different color and a different flavor than grain-fed meat. The flavor of grass-fed meat is significantly different and exciting. There are places that feed animals with scientifically formulated diets with grain. This meat has a lot of flavor. I believe that the flavor includes minerals similar to iron. I have pictures of cows in my memories from Oregon or Europe where cows feed in pastures (pasture-raised), but I believe that a ranch usually gives cows feed. The feed can be made from grain or grass. I believe that sheep are usually fed grass in pastures.

Note: 1) the chemicals that make grass green may be responsible for the differences between grass-fed and grain-fed meat, 2) since cows probably evolved to eat grass rather than corn, maybe a cow can digest grass more efficiently (to enhance growth optimization/maximization)

The breadcrumbs were mixed with parsley, rosemary, anchovies, and butter. This created an original complex flavor that I appreciated. I enjoy the strong flavor and the fresh smell of flat-leaved parsley. The flavor of the fresh rosemary was similar to the smell of pine needles. I used the anchovies because the flavor appeals to me. The glaze was made with clover honey and Dijon mustard. Clover honey is significantly different. The flavor of the glaze made the meat more exciting.

Next time, I will be cutting the racks to make pieces with 2 bones in each piece. Despite reading that the rack should be cut to include 2 bones in each piece of lamb, I cut most of the pieces to have 1 bone in each piece. I wanted to serve this as finger food. If there are two bones, there is more meat. More meat gives someone a greater opportunity to appreciate the delicate texture and flavor of the lamb.

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Mise En Place To Hand [1][2]

Download The Recipe:

Thomas Keller’s Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb with Honey Mustard Glaze

Revisiting Potato Rösti – Techniques And Canola Oil

Revisiting Potato Rösti – Techniques And Canola Oil

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I planned to make this blog post after making more rösti. The potatoes have to be very dry to be fried in a steel pan without sticking to the pan. A similar recipe I recently read reminded me that some people use animal fat rather than butter or oil. Some stores sell duck and beef fat in a bottle. Other stores sell duck fat in the meat department. The potatoes can stick using canola oil. When using either fat, butter or canola oil, move the rösti by moving the pan in circles (swirling the pan) on the burner. After flipping the rösti using a plate, especially when using canola oil, put a spatula under the rösti near the place stuck to the pan. After the rösti is not stuck to the pan, continue to move the rösti by moving the pan in circles on the burner. The butter creates a more flavorful experience, but I want to be able to use canola since butter can be expensive.

Note: 1) swirling the pan may make evenly browning the rösti easier (trick or technique? since the rösti rotates when the pan is swirled, the rösti will avoid being browned more over a hot spot probably created by a burner)

Removing the water from the potatoes with a towel may be too difficult for some people. Elderly people may have problems twisting the towel. If I remember correctly, in his recipe for Scallion Potato Cakes, Thomas Keller recommends that people use a salad spinner to remove water from the potatoes. I do not have a salad spinner. Without drying them, the potatoes will stick to a steel pan. One group of pictures below shows one idea for removing water from grated potatoes that did not work. The only method that worked for me was using a towel.

Note: 1) some people remove liquid by using a potato ricer, 2) some people bake a potato until it is tender, 3) some people use waxy potatoes (red potatoes) because they may lack moisture

The potatoes may discolor if they are not submerged in water that contains lemon juice or white wine vinegar. Books for culinary artists may recommend using lemon juice or white wine vinegar, but I only had white vinegar in my pantry when I made these rösti. Information on the internet explains that an enzyme on unpeeled potatoes causes the potatoes to discolor. An enzyme is something biological that makes a chemical reaction possible. If I remember correctly, the discolored potatoes may not appear significantly discolored after being cooked, but the chemicals created by the enzymes may change the flavor of the potatoes. [1]

Notes On Method (Procedure):

  • Clarify Butter (Cheesecloth May Make This A Faster Process)
  • Preheat Oven To 350°F/177°C
  • Weigh Potatoes
  • Use Lemon/Vinegar Water
  • Peel And Grate Potatoes And Put Them In Lemon/Vinegar Water
  • Drain The Potatoes
  • Salt The Potatoes And Let Them Stand For 5 Minutes
  • Squeeze Dry The Potatoes With A Towel (Or Possibly A Salad Spinner)
  • Put 3 Tablespoons Of Fat, Clarified Butter, Or Canola Oil In A 8-inch Frying Pan
  • Mix 2 Tablespoons Of Fat, Clarified Butter, Or Canola Oil In The Potatoes
  • Shape The Potatoes Into A Ball In A Mixing Bowl
  • Heat The Fry Pan Over Medium-High Heat Until There Are Wisps Of White Smoke
  • Put The Ball In The Pan
  • Spread The Ball To Make A Cake (Or Patty)
  • Swirl The Pan (To Move The Cake)
  • Flip Using A Plate To Check Browning
  • If One Side Is Browned, Brown The Other Side
  • Swirl The Pan
  • Release Any Parts That Stick (When Using Canola Oil)
  • Swirl The Pan
  • Flip Using A Plate To Check Browning
  • Return To Pan Dark Side Facing Up
  • Put In The Oven For 20 Minutes

Making Rösti With Canola Oil

My Improvised Salad Spinner (Not Good Enough)

The Procedure (Click An Image Have A Slide Show)

Download The Recipe:

Potato Rösti – This Makes The Best Hash Browns ☺

Buttermilk Crêpes

Buttermilk Crêpes

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These crêpes were very satisfying. A grocery store where I live has weekly sales that sometimes include cookware. Since I always wanted a crepe pan, I got this pan for a very great price. It works well. The best heat for making crepes is probably between medium-low and medium. I have big plans for these crêpes. The batter is probably thicker than the batter for crêpes made with milk. I used an existing recipe. I substituted milk with buttermilk, I added 1 additional teaspoon of sugar, and I added 1/4 cup of water.

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Download The Recipe:

Crêpes

Thomas Keller’s Recipe For Making Breadcrumbs And The Ideas For My Improved French Bread Recipe

Thomas Keller’s Recipe For Making Breadcrumbs And The Ideas For My Improved French Bread Recipe

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This is Thomas Keller’s recipe for making breadcrumbs. These bread crumbs are great. They are very lightly browned. He bakes them at 250°F/121°C for 1 hour on a baking sheet. After 30 minutes, he moves them around. I had trouble appreciating the process of making bread with a mixer. I have improved my recipe. I am going to suggest that water absorption is the most interesting thing to observe when making bread. Different techniques effect how flour absorbs the water. Without making several loaves,  I am excited when the dough is soft but not sticky because the machine will knead the dough. The rules for using a Kitchenaid mixer are to knead the dough using the first 2 speeds. When the dough is soft, the mixer will knead the dough as if the machine is working at higher speeds. I will probably make a video that shows how cocoa moves through white dough to demonstrate how flour may travel through the dough while it is being kneaded. Some people may want to add as much flour to the dough as possible. I may have found a book that has technical information that can be used to create a procedure based on science to make bread. The goal in this blog post is to hydrate the flour, and to create bread with a fine crumb.

Note: 1) how the dough is hydrated appears to determine how successfully the mixer kneads the dough

I found my original ideas for French bread in the Joy Of Cooking. Soft white bread was something my family always had in the kitchen. I remember going to the grocery store where soft loaves of French bread were put near the magazines near the cashier. There were times when my stepfather enjoyed eating French bread and boiled ham sandwiches. Eating soft white bread is exciting because I believe that feeling starch dissolve in my body makes me happy.

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My best method for making bread (my recipe):

  • Grease a bowl
  • Boil 1/2 cup water (in a microwave)
  • Put the salt and yeast in a mixing bowl
  • Put the flour in a separate bowl
  • Add 1 cup of cool water to the boiling water
  • Adjust the water to be about 125°F/52°C
  • Using the whisk attachment, mix the salt, yeast, and 2 cups of flour
  • Using the paddle attachment, mix all of the water with the ingredients in the mixing bowl
  • Add flour 1/4 cup at a time to make a soft shaggy dough
  • Using the dough hook, mix the remaining flour to the dough 1/4 cup at a time
  • Using hands, lift the dough out of the bowl once the dough is a ball
  • If the dough is not sticky, knead the dough for 8 minutes
    • THE RULES
      • IF THE DOUGH IS STICKY, ADD 1 TABLESPOON OF FLOUR AT A TIME
      • IF THE DOUGH IS TOO FIRM, ADD 1 TABLESPOON OF WATER AT A TIME
  • The dough will become very smooth
  • Let the dough rise for 2 hours
  • Punch the dough and gently form a ball with the dough
  • Let the dough rest for 10 minutes
  • Flour a surface with 1/4 cup of flour
  • Roll the dough to make something similar to a rectangle (be very careful, be gentle when using a rolling pin, make the dough one thickness, observe a sheeter work)
  • Roll the rectangle into a loaf
  • Pinch the seams and tuck the ends of the loaf
  • Move the flour around the surface
  • Roll the cylindrical loaf in flour (French bread baked in a humid oven can have an unattractive appearance, the flour gives the surface of the bread a nice appearance)
  • Let the loaf rise for 2 hours on a baking sheet covered with parchment or a silicon mat
  • Put a pan in the oven to hold 1 cup of hot water
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F/205°C
  • Pour the water in the pan
  • Bake the loaf for 15 minutes
  • Reduce the heat to 350°F/152°C
  • Bake the loaf for about 20 minutes
  • Knock on the loaf to hear a hollow sound, otherwise continue to bake the loaf
  • Let the loaf cool
  • Store the loaf in a plastic bag