Barbecue

Yuca ( Cassava)

Yuca or Cassava

Latin American cuisine knows yuca very well! I was thrilled to see that my local supermarket here in Colorado is selling it raw. 

Yuca is a tuber very much like the potato. However yuca is king for me and most of Latin American cuisine. It has a wonderful texture, it’s great for “sancocho” ( Colombian soup filled with multiple meats and cooked slowly for many hours.) To help illustrate, maybe our dear Louisiana gumbo may be a distant cousin of Sancocho.

To enjoy yuca you don’t need to cook a stew like sancocho, since yuca goes well with grilled beef or chicken and it’s perfect with scrambled eggs or omelets. Also, if you can get to some Latin American cheese (Mexican, Peruvian or Colombian) then yuca and cheese is the best snack! 

The recipe for boiled yuca is very simple.

Peel the yuca and wash well. Set enough water to boil but make sure you add 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 white onion in big chunks. It will boil for at least 30 minutes but you will know it is done when you take a knife and it goes through easily. Texture should be soft.

Some like to fry yuca after it’s been boiled and serve as a side to a meat ( beef or chicken) , instead of potato fries. 

I hope you may find it and try it sometime. It’s my favorite! 

BBQ and ‘Other’ Bold Flavors

A friend recently shared an article on BBQ flavored chips and their history. I have to say that BBQ chip flavor is familiar and appealing today, but that was not the case years ago. Far more interesting than history, I was impressed with a discussion on how food brand marketing companies take the taste introduction process to the furthest extreme, to open remote markets. They learn from and adapt to foreign food, culture and regional likes/dislikes to better understand the target. The article also talked about chips and soda companies daringly reinventing products to win the Asian market. For example, one of  them recently came up with Chicken-Cola flavored chips in Asia. “It’s apparently a favorite flavor there!” What a concept! I was also greatly surprised to learn that there are 205 types of chip flavors available worldwide.

Two points in my post: ‘Adaptability and diversity.’ Thinking about these bold flavor combinations encouraged me to get into my kitchen, be creative, mix familiar ingredients with totally new ones, innovate, come up with different ideas and flavors. Kids are great for this! They’re creative, explorers, fun! When it comes to cooking, I am with them… After all, we should at least attempt to have fun cooking! 🙂

So, from BBQ chips to BBQ chicken… What could I do different this time? Since winter is still here, I went from outdoor BBQ to indoor BBQ on my electrical skillet! Talk about adaptability… It turned out to be a great (and super easy) recipe, I hope you agree.

Recipe

Ingredients: Boneless chicken thighs (1 or 2 per person), BBQ sauce (your favorite brand; Use 1 bottle), salt, pepper.

1. Add 1 TBSP of canola oil to the electric skillet. Place the thighs on the electric skillet.

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2. When brown, add salt and pepper. Add the BBQ sauce on top and cover with lid.

 

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3. Lower setting to 250 degrees on the electric skillet and let it cook for 20-30 minutes. Turn pieces so both sides cook well. Let it cook for another 20 minutes. Finally, check the chicken to make sure it’s cooked all the way through.

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Serve with rice and veggies or with salad greens. 🙂

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New Year Easy Recipe – ‘4 Spices’ Dry Rub Skillet Chicken

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This is my last post for 2013. To welcome the New Year, I am sharing this family favorite:  ‘4 Spices’ Dry Rub Skillet Chicken recipe. Juicy and tender, the secret to this easy recipe is the ‘4 spices’ dry rub.

Start by adding salt and pepper to uncooked chicken. Ingredients for the dry rub are generous amounts of: 1) Whole cumin seeds, 2) coriander seeds, 3) ginger and 4) paprika. Mix and rub on the uncooked chicken with olive oil (to help spread the dry rub.) Cover and marinade for 30 minutes in the fridge. If you have time for prep work, let it marinade for 2-4 hours in the fridge. Either way, I have made this recipe following a 30 minute marinade and the chicken turned out moist, juicy and flavorful.

IMG_4992Cook on medium heat on a pan until chicken pieces have browned on all sides.

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Cover and simmer. Mix the remaining dry rub with 1/2 cup of water and add to the pan. Follow this last step only if all liquids at the base of the pan have evaporated. Turn the chicken halfway through the process, and remove from the pan when all pieces have cooked completely.

IMG_4998Tips:

  • This recipe also works well with boneless chicken thighs.
  • Serving suggestions: Serve with mashed or boiled potatoes and broccoli, or with a simple green salad and french bread. 

The ‘4 Spices’ Dry Rub Skillet Chicken is a great way to unwind welcoming the first of 2014! 🙂

Little Annie’s. Aspen, CO.

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Their Motto: “We’re Open Year ‘Round, Serving Locals and Travelers from Around the Globe.” From Little Annie’s Favorites Lunch Menu: “BBQ Beef. Shredded beef brisket mounded on an onion roll with Annie’s own BBQ sauce. You’ll need a fork for this sandwich.”

I substituted the fries for mashed potatoes with gravy. I figured I needed to taste the BBQ Beef with mashed potatoes and I was not disappointed. A rich, soft, mouth-watering delight!

The place history.. quoting from their About page (http://www.littleannies.com/about.html):

THE HISTORY OF LITTLE ANNIE’S

Little Annie was the daughter of a silver miner who came to Aspen
in the late 1870’s (called Ute City back then) in search of fortune. With
all her charm, Little Annie became the darling of the town, and the
largest silver producing mine on the back side of Aspen Mountain was
named after her.

Little Annie’s Eating House established in 1972, carries on the tradition Little Annie started of pleasing people from near and far. We still remember the words Little Annie spoke around the campfire.

“Travel light in life,
Take only what you need:
a loving family,
good friends,
simple pleasures,
someone to love
and someone to love you,
enough to eat, enough to wear,
and just enough to drink
for thirst can be a dangerous thing.“

(http://www.littleannies.com/about.html)

Last year’s sad closing due to financial struggle was in the news. In October, last year also, Little Annie’s reopened with new ownership, but same awesome loyal staff. Having visited the place, we understood why the town was taken by these events. Restaurant locals come in, waiters greet them by name. As we sat there, we saw a waiter approach a guest with a smile and ask: “Feeling like Grilled Prime Rib again?”  🙂

Today, this charming place experiences yet another challenge. Next door, a new business development construction moves forward as Aspen city council and planners work on ways to protect this historically significant 20th century structure. This restaurant has been recognized by locals for their food and by historic architecture preservation entities by its historic contribution. The restaurant received the “Best Old Restaurant” award in 1998.

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We ordered from the Favorites Menu, the Santa Fe Chicken Sandwich. Menu description: “Southwest marinated grilled chicken breast with Muenster cheese and a green chili, with our special Santa Fe mayo. Served on a kaiser roll.”  It was bold, spicy, flavorful and their special Santa Fe mayo was the perfect complement. Fries were fresh, chunky, solid, delicious!

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The most popular dessert: Annie’s Rum Pecan Bundt Cake.. We had to get extra forks. Everyone at the table had to have a bite! Absolutely tasty, moist, intensity of nutty, sweet rum flavors in every bite. Now we know “why” it is a popular dessert.

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Little Annie’s in Aspen, CO. A food tribute to history, respect and tradition in a beautiful town.