Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Southwest & Rocky Mountains

Southwest cuisine consists of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and least according to American Regional Cuisine, Second Edition by Michael Nenes.
The influences for this region consists of mainly those blazing trails to settle the West and of course the Native Americans.

Our menu consisted of grilled vegetable gazpacho, spicy pork empanadas, marinated dried bean salad, roasted lamb, fingerlings with parsley basil dressing, and lemon chess pie.

The grilled gazpacho was made by Christine and it tasted great! She grilled the red onion and zucchini; then roasted the green pepper. Process the concasse tomato, peeled cucumber and garlic with the roasted/grilled vegetables. Thicken with bread crumbs and V8 juice; then add cilantro, vinegar, salt and pepper. Chill the soup thoroughly and serve in a cold bowl with minced cilantro. I made the pork empanadas and they were awesome. To make the dough you need equal parts cream cheese and butter (1/4 cup each), 3/4 cup of flour, 1/4 tsp of baking powder, a dash of vinegar, tbsp of water, salt & pepper; work with your hands and make a smooth resilient dough. In a pan saute ground pork, onion, garlic, serrano chile, peeled/seeded/diced tomato, cilantro, salt and pepper. Roll out the dough to 1/8 of an inch, cookie cut some circles and fill with the drained/cooked filling. Press them closed and either pan fry them or deep fry them. You will love these empanadas...I used a tsp of ground cayenne to kick up the heat; it is of course "SPICY" pork empanadas.

Chef cued up our roasted lamb which was rubbed and roasted in the oven. Mike created the fingerling potato recipe and it was great. Good mix of flavors and the basil made it really for the marinated bean salad it wasn't my favorite because I felt it was too boring.

Maria made the "Just Pie" I mean Chess Pie. In fact that's how the name was derived by people thinking it was named chess pie. The funny thing is this pie is an East Coast pie which made it's way into the Southwest cuisine. Awesome Pie! First you whisk 4 eggs at room temperature and then add each of the following ingredients one at a time. Make sure each ingredient is fully incorporated until you move to the next one. The ingredients are in this order: 1 1/2 cups of granulated white sugar, 1 tbsp of white cornmeal, 1 tbsp all purpose flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 5 tbsp of melted/room temperature butter, 1/2 cup buttermilk, 5 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp lemon zest, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Pour into a pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for 30 -40 minutes. Pull out of the oven, cool the pie to set. Dust with powdered sugar and viola! This pie is awesome for "just" being pie...

Overall a very quick week, but none the less it was a lot of fun as usual. In fact the name for my empanadas are now: "Alpanadas"...Thanks Chef Bill I love the new name.

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