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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Back to the Basics

Oxtails/Good Sear/ Birch Beer

Onions and Garlic/Cueritos

Blood Sausage/Finished Braise/Cheese Whiz

"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food."


OK so it's finally after the holiday season and everyone is back to the same old grind. I'ts a stressfull time for us all, but especially tough on the Industry folk- the family get-togethers, buissness parties, restaurant promotions, etc etc. Thanks to an old floor needing some revamping at the restaurant we all scored a few days off. Much needed time to heal wounds, rest and regroup and of course time to get back to the basics... home cooking. Between working two jobs and a crazy schedule I haven't had much time to cook at home. I was glad to catch a few days/ nights off. Had some good time to sleep, eat, sleep some more and even get in a few nice rides on the ol pedal pusher. Monday night I had a grip of Mussles and Clams and invited a few friends over. I intended to make a nice white wine tomoato broth with citrus , herbs, butter and the like but once again the bloody electric stove bent me over and sonic- reduced my liquid leaving a nice 10w-40 looking sauce and a nice aroma of burnt hair, and a bitterness that left us all looking like the keystone light guy.

The next night I needed to redeem myself. I couldn't go out like that. I felt defeated and needed la revancha. So I decided to cook my Birch braised short rib recipe, and instead of short ribs, I settled for some nice oxtails. I grabbed some nice sour oranges off a tree by work, bought cinnamin stick, mexican basil, onion, garlic and a bottle of Pennsylvania Dutch root beer. This stuff is the best. Although its made in Pennsauken NJ, and which isn't exactly Amish country, this stuff is the king of root beer. More of a birch flavor ( as the name suggests) it is much more an herbacious flavor than regular root beer with a nice red hue. If you dont reside in the Delaware Valley, you can't get it and the closest comparison would be IBC root beer. Dont even think of using MUG. Anywhoo I started out searing the oxtail first dusted with cornstarch, salt, pepper, and paprika, which gives a nice hungarian style aroma. Next I removed the seared meat, reserving any juices as well. Wiped the skillet clean sauteed onion and garlic with a little butter. Once they were good and translucent I added mexican basil, orange zest, re-seasoning with salt and pepper, and sauteed a few more minutes. Next put the meat back in, add birch beer, juice of one orange and left over peels, cinnamin sticks, beefstock, more herbs, reserved juices, cover and set in oven to BRAISE. 3 hours @ 350F. Make sure if your cooking this to check every so often if you braising liquid gets low, and if it does add more stock. Added to the dinner was some nice BLOOD SAUSAGE, some corn and egg noodles. Also I had a chingadera of cueritos. These are cooked pork skin in a light vinger brine with jalapeno and carrot. They have a wierd texture and are not nearly as flavorful as the one you might get in taco form, but between the blood sausage and the cueritos, I had a satisfying fix of pork appetizer. The braise came out nice, with a nice savory flavor from the birch beer and cinnamin. The meat was fall off the bone tender with a wonderful gelantounus flavor. I think I could have used less soda and a little more beef stock. Any more cinnamin would have been overpowering and I think next time I will use a half a stick and maybe add some bay leaf.

Mexican Slang of the Week

"chingadera/o"- "fucker"

Is used to call an object of unknown or forgotten/incorrect name. Can be used for people as well. The root verb being Chingar, literally "to fuck". Has a myriad of applications just as the English counterpart applies.


  1. that hippocrates quote is fantastic! no one accepts my veganism, but i've never felt better and so "nourished" haha sounds stupid but i am serious :)

    you are a MACHINE, that food sounds DELICIOUS!! I can't believe how amazing of a chef you have become!

  2. Heeey Brah, how about a SHOUT OUT for providing that Birch Beer?

  3. thats whats missing from my tailgate! oxTAIL!