Cocoa Rubbed Steak With Bacon-Whiskey Gravy

Sometimes you read a recipe and say "Man this sound so good I have to make this". Well that is exactly what we said when we saw this recipe in the latest version of Food Network Magazine. Steak, Bacon and Whiskey what could possibly go wrong.  Unfortunately some things are too good to be true and in the cooking world sometimes things just do not turn out as well as you thought they would.  This recipe was one of those things that just didn't turn out as well.  You may be asking i"f it didn't turn out good why would we post the recipe?" Part of the reason we started this blog was to help people find recipes worth making and also recipes are not. Who knows you may be able to make some changes that will fix whatever went wrong.

Ingredients:

The Steak

  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 1-pound New York strip steaks (about 1 1/2 inches thick)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

The Gravy

  • 4 strips bacon, diced
  • 1 leek (white and light green parts only), finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whiskey
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Make the steak: Mix the cocoa powder, both paprikas, brown sugar, cayenne and 2 teaspoons salt; rub on the steak and bring to room temperature, 30 minutes.
  2. Make the gravy: Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove to paper towels with a slotted spoon; set aside. Add the leek to the drippings and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
  3. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the whiskey, then return to medium heat; if the alcohol ignites, let the flames die out. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the mixture is reduced by one-quarter, about 8 minutes. Whisk in the heavy cream and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the gravy coats a spoon, about 7 minutes. Stir in the butter, reserved bacon and parsley; season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
  4. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat, about 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon butter; when it melts, add the steak and sear until a dark crust forms, about 8 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes. Season with salt. Slice and serve with the gravy.

The Spice Rub:

Making the Gravy:

Results: 

Let us start by saying we did not follow the recipe to the letter.  Instead of using a cast iron skillet, we used the grill. We point this out because it may have lead to the ineffectiveness of the recipe. We did however get some nice grill marks!

Ok so what happened, well the steak just tasted like a steak.  It was not bad, but it didn't taste like anything. We didn't get any cocoa flavor, no smoked paprika or anything else in the dry rub. We are willing to bet a lot of this was due to using the grill instead of the skillet.  A skillet would have helped keep all the spices on the steak while the crust formed.  On the grill, it is likely that once the juices started running off the steak so did the spice rub. As a result say goodbye to all of our flavor. These are the things that happen sometimes, and we would be lying if we didn't think this outcome was because we put it on the grill.  We had our fingers crossed it would work, but we made a mistake.  Had we cooked it properly we are still not sure how good this would have been and we do not plan to find out.

While the steak did not come out right, the gravy on the other hand was very good, after a few fixes.  We had some issues with the gravy.  The flavors and ingredients all worked extremely well in the gravy, the issue came in with the cooking time and method.  After the heavy cream is added into the mixture the recipe says to reduce the heat to a simmer for about 7 minutes until the gravy coats a spoon.  Well after cooking this for over 15 minutes it had reduced but not thickened and the steaks were done.  As you can see above we put it on the steaks and ate, but it was more of a broth than a gravy.

After we ate, we were happy with the gravy.  It had such good flavor we knew we had to fix it and use it for something else.  So we decided to crank up the heat and reduce it as much as we could.  Guess  what? it did reduce to where it should have originally, it just needed to be cooked on higher heat. Now with an actual gravy we were able to fully appreciate it.  We ended up using it on top of toast and a poached egg as a eggs benedict.

Even though the steak came out a loser in the recipe, we did find the gravy making the effort worth it.

The Steak is a Should Not Eat

The Gravy is a Should Eat

Homemade Lemonade

We love Lemonade, but it is hard to find good lemonade.  All you see these days is pre-mixed lemonade loaded with sugar.  We wanted to make a quick and easy homemade version using yes Real Lemons! So we stumbled upon a recipe claiming to be the best lemonade ever.  With all of that boasting we had to put it to the test, so without further adieu, the best lemonade ever (we will see).

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed organic lemon juice,  6 organic lemons
  • 1 cup white sugar (I passed on raw because I didn’t want the hint of molasses flavor)
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 6 cups filtered water
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 – 3 drops yellow food coloring (optional) 

Directions:

  1. Place 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil to dissolve sugar. Stir until it is dissolved, and remove from heat. Let cool.
  2. Combine sugar water, lemon juice, water and vanilla extract in a 2 quart pitcher. Stir to combine. Serve over ice

Results:

This is not the best lemonade we have ever had.  It is however a very good recipe.  The lemonade is not overly sweet, but it is a bit too sugary for our taste.  Kids will almost certainly love this recipe. We liked it better after watering it down a bit.  It was extremely fresh with great lemon flavor.  The addition of the vanilla was quite unique and refreshing, it helps set this recipe apart from some others you may have seen.  

If you enjoy lemonade, this is a quality recipe but do not expect to be making "the best ever".

Towering Flourless Chocolate Cake

We were going to add last nights dinner recipe first, but after a request from one of our twitter followers here is dessert instead. We found this recipe in the latest issue of Food Network Magazine.  Flourless chocolate cake is usually very rich, and almost impossible to eat without milk.  This recipe even called for Guinness beer, much to our surprise.  This is our first attempt at making a cake that was not from a box.  We had no clue how this would come out and if our baking skills were even up to par so we had our fingers crossed.

Ingredients:

The Cake:

  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the pan
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup stout beer (such as Guinness)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

The Meringue

  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2.  Put the bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bowl touch the water). Stir until the chocolate melts, then remove the bowl from the pan.
  3. Put the eggs, turbinado sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set the bowl over the same pan of simmering water and whisk until the mixture is warm, about 2 minutes. Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer; beat with the whisk attachment on medium speed until tripled in volume, about 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, bring the beer and vanilla to a low boil in a saucepan. Reduce the mixer speed to low; beat in the beer mixture, then the melted chocolate, until combined, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the butter until incorporated.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs, about 35 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack 1 hour, then run a knife around the edge of the pan and remove the ring. Let cool completely.
  6. Make the meringue: Microwave the chocolate, butter and corn syrup in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second intervals, stirring, until the chocolate melts.
  7. Whisk the granulated sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar, salt and 1/3 cup water in a heatproof bowl. Put the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water; beat with a handheld mixer on low speed, then gradually increase the speed to high and beat until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Remove the bowl from the pan; continue beating until the meringue is cool and fluffy. Fold in the vanilla, then fold in the melted chocolate until swirled. Spread the meringue on the cake.

The Cake:

The Meringue:

Results:

Make sure you have milk in the house! This cake is chocolate overload, but in a good way. The cake is very dense closer to a cheese cake than your traditional birthday cake.  The meringue on top had a marshmallow consistency and tasted like hot chocolate. it was very light and airy and complemented the cake nicely. If you are a chocolate lover this is the type of cake for you, with 3 different types of chocolate in it.  In the future we may even use the chocolate Guinness stout adding even more chocolate flavor. We will no doubt be making this again, and we recommend making it.

Grandma Capune's Banana Cookies

The biggest problem with Bananas is everybody either eats them all right away or they forget they have them and they go bad.  Well this past week we would ourselves in the later category.  We had big dreams of eating a banana a day and so on, but Thursday rolled around and we had a whole bunch of yellow and black bananas.

At this point we only had a two options, we could toss them or make the standard Banana Bread.  While we don't have anything against Banana Bread, we just were not in the mood to make it.  Instead we decided to look on the internet and see what other things we could do with the bananas.

After a few minutes combing through multiple banana bread recipes we saw a recipe for Banana Cookies.  It was posted on a food blog called Vanilla GarlicThe name of the blog threw us for a second, but we looked anyway and saw this recipe comes from the bloggers grandmothers secret recipe stash.  Once we saw it was a grandma recipe we knew that this was the one to try. I mean why would grandma steer you wrong, especially when it comes to cookies?

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 cup of mashed bananas
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 2 cups of flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground mace or nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • (optional) 1 cup of pecans or walnuts or chocolate chips (or mix and match)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and continue to beat until well mixed.
  2. Mix the mashed bananas and baking soda in a bowl and let sit for 2 minutes to froth a bit, this will give the cookies their rise.
  3. Mix the banana mixture into the butter mixture. Combine the flour, salt, and spices and mix into the butter and banana mixture until just combined.
  4. Fold in the pecans. Drop into dollops onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until nicely golden brown. Let cool on wire racks.

Results:

This was a very simple recipe, with a lot of ingredients that every kitchen should already have.  The ease of this recipe is important because it's not often that you plan to have bad bananas in the house.  The cookies had great flavor and tasted very much like banana bread.  Considering the ingredients are very similar it was bound to taste the same. We put toasted pecans into our cookies and suggest that everyone add nuts into theirs.  

The cookies were softer than I had expected, more cake like than cookie.  We found that after a few days these cookie hardened a bit and had a nice crunch to them.  They went perfectly with a cold glass of milk.  If you have old bananas and you want to try making something other than Banana Bread give these cookie a shot. Easy, quick and tasty just like a grandmother would make.  Thank you to Vanilla Garlic for posting this recipe.

Pickled Red Onions

This recipe highlights our new favorite condiment, the pickled red onion.  Red onions have a certain spice which msakes them perfect on burgers, tacos or in salsa.  This recipe provides an easy way to really give these onions another depth of flavor by pickling them in lime juice.  Along with immense flavor, the pickling also helps give these onions a crazy highlighter pink color.  We guarantee that everyone will be asking how to make these onions once they try them. They are especially good in tacos!.

Ingredients:

  • 2 small red onions
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt + more to adjust taste

Directions:

  1. Slice onion into thin strips and place in a bowl
  2. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon salt and a squeeze of lime juice, let rest for about 10 minutes
  3. Cover the onions with lukewarm water and let rest for another 10 minutes
  4. Rinse and drain the onions
  5. Add the lime juice, salt and the oil, and mix well.
  6. Cover the onions and place in the fridge, the onions will start to turn pinkish after about 3 hours, and will turn very pink if left overnight. Taste again before serving and add salt if needed.

Here are the onions in the water bath:

Now the onions are mixed with the oil and lime juice to pickle:

There are the onions after a few hours, you can see them slightly changing color:

After a day or so see the deep pink color they have achieved: 

Results:

As we stated, we love these onions.  They come out with this amazingly sweet flavor thanks to the limes. We have been putting these guys on everything we can think of.  They were perfect on tacos especially the Salsa Verde Carnitas Tacos we made a few weeks ago.  They were a perfect topping on both burgers and turkey burgers we have eaten recently.  They also went nicely on our Mango Arugula Salad.  You will see that they are very versatile and so good you will want to put them on everything.

Homemade Bagels

Everyone lovesa hot, freshly cooked bagels. The only problem is that usually to get one you need to be up early in the morning. If you do manage to get one right out of the oven count yourself lucky because that is when a bagel at it's peak.  It is crispy and crunchy on the outside, perfectly soft and doughy on the inside.  We wish we could get bagels like this everyday. While we do not plan to get up at 3 am every morning to make batches of bagels, we did want to see how to go about making bagels.  We present to you our attempt at Bagels.

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour 
  • 1/4 ounce instant dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons; or 1 envelope active dry) 
  • 2 tbsp sugar  
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water ( 120°–130°F) 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons malt syrup (for the boiling water; alternatively, you can use 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar)
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water (optional, for toppings)

Directions:

  1. Add all the dry ingredients to the bowl of a food processor or mixer until well incorporated, about 5 seconds. With processor/mixer running, slowly add the water; process until dough comes together and rides up over the blade, about 30 seconds. Continue processing until dough becomes satiny and elastic, about 30 seconds more.
  2. Transfer dough to a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  3. After dough has risen but before you divide and shape it, prepare your water bath: Add the malt syrup to 6 quarts of water over high heat and let it come to a boil as you continue with the following steps. Also: Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  4. After dough has doubled in bulk, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and press down with your fingers to expel the gases. Divide dough into 10 equal portions.
  5. Ball a portion of dough, then roll it into a "rope" about 7 inches long and about 1 inch thick. 
  6. Wrap the dough around the back of your hand, overlapping the ends in your palm. Place your hand, along with the dough, palm-down on the work surface and roll dough back and forth until ends crimp and seal together. Place dough ring under a span of plastic wrap while you repeat rope-and-loop process with remaining dough portions.
  7. At this point, your malt syrup–water should be boiling. Use a skimmer or slotted spoon to carefully add bagels, one at a time, to the water. (Note: no more in the pot than 3 at a time.) Bagels should sink but then rise again after a few seconds. Simmer for 1 minute, flipping bagels at the 30-second mark.
  8. Remove bagels from water with skimmer or slotted spoon to a clean kitchen towel. 
  9. For bagel toppings: Place bagels on wire cooling rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Brush bagel tops with egg-water mixture. Shake on desired toppings. Sesame seed, poppy seed, kosher salt, minced onion, and minced garlic are classic
  10. The baking sheet will collect excess dry toppings (such as sesame or poppy seeds). Simply pour them back into their containers for reuse.
  11. Place bagels on prepared baking sheet. Bake until light brown and shiny, 15 to 20 minutes. Flip, and bake until reverse side is golden-brown and shiny, about 10 minutes more.

This is the dough after it has been allowed to rise (step #2):

Here is the dough after it has been removed form the bowl ready to be rolled out and divided:

Below will help explain how to roll the dough out:

Take the ball and roll it out into a "rope"

Take rope and wrap around your hand, then press down to connect both ends:

Below is the water bath for the bagels:

Results:

As you can see the bagels came out looking like bagels, which is always a good sign. They had good coloring, but could have staying in few more minutes for darker browning.  When we cut into the bagels, they were perfectly cooked all the way through.  They had the same consistency that you would get from any bagel store. Up until this point we thought we had a major victory on our hands.  The problem came when we took our first bite.  Unfortunately this dough had no flavor to it. This recipe is lacking either salt or sugar in the dough, which resulted in a flavorless bagel.  

A bagel should have some flavor even without butter or cream cheese.  We were a bit disappointed with the lack of flavor but everything else was right.  Since the rest of the recipe works, it will only require some tweaking.  Once we topped these guys with some butter and cream cheese all was forgiven.  This recipe provides a nice base for making bagels.  With some extra salt and or sugar in the dough mixture these bagels should come out just right.  

To see how bagels were made in Brooklyn in the 70's check out this video (Thanks Nick, Happy Birthday):

Mango, Avocado, and Arugula Salad

We have been posting a ton of recipes lately, but they have been pretty meat centric.  To help appease our vegetarian/healthier friends we found a great salad recipe to share.  This one is a mango, avocado and arugula salad.  It is a very simple salad to put together with a nice fresh vinaigrette.

Ingredients:

Salad

  • 6 cups arugula leaves
  • 1 mango, peeled and cut into long slices
  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced
  • ½ red onion, sliced
  • 1 tbs lime juice

Spicy orange vinaigrette

  • 1 tbs champagne vinegar
  • 4 tbs orange juice, about ½ orange
  • 2 tbs lime juice, about ½ lime
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 2 tbs finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 red chili or hot pepper, sliced
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the salad dressing in a bowl or jar, stir or shake until the ingredients are well mixed.
  2. Soak the onion slices in warm water with a dash of salt and 1 tbs lime juice for about 10 minutes.
  3. Rinse and drain the onions slices.
  4. Toss the arugula leaves with half of the vinaigrette.
  5. Add the avocado slices, mango slices and onion slices to the arugula mix, drizzle the remaining vinaigrette on top.

Here is the orange vinaigrette

 

Results:

We are not big salad eaters here at We Ate That, but we decided we have to give all things a try. We chose this salad because it had mango and avocado in it, both things we love.  We had our fingers crosses that this would be at least tolerable.  Once we ate, we all agreed that this salad was very good.

The key to any good salad is the freshness of the ingredients.  This recipe is simply arugula, mango and avocado topped with red onion slices.  The vinaigrette helps to complete this dishadding a nice citrus flavor which pairs perfectly with the mango and avocado.  The sweetness of the vinaigrette and mango help to cut the bitterness of the arugula.  It is a very fresh salad that would work very nicely at a summer BBQ.  It would also be a great complement to tacos, chicken or steak marinated with similar flavors. 

We would recommend this recipe to everyone, even those who do not like salad. 

Halal Cart Style Chicken and Rice

There is nothing like living in New York City.  The variety of food options available at anytime of day are amazing. The only problem is when you are craving a certain type of food and live no where near the best place to get it. We have been craving chicken and rice from the Halal cart on 53rd and 6th.  This dish starts with chicken thighs that are marinated and seared on a hot grill. The chicken is then  served over a bed of cumin and turmeric flavored rice and topped a tangy white sauce that brings the whole dish together.  It is finished with freshly diced tomatoes, lettuce and warm pita bread.  The cart of 53rd and 6th is the best in the city, the only problem is that its popularity often causes the line to stretch down the block.

With the cart being far away we started scouring the internet to find a recipe. After looking for awhile we stumbled upon this recipe from Serious Eats which claimed to be a spot on rendition of what you can get at the cart.  We were a bit skeptical since comparing your recipe to the best cart in the city is a bold statement to make. Since we were craving Halal Chicken we decided to see if it compares.

We would like to dedicate this recipe to a friend of ours who is currently serving our country and is unable to get his beloved Halal Chicken.  Hopefully he see this recipe and will be able to make this if he has a chance giving him a little taste of home while he is away.

We will break down this recipe into three parts, the chicken, the rice and the sauce.

The Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup light olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat (6 to 8 thighs)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil

Directions:

  1. Combine the lemon juice, oregano, coriander, garlic, and olive oil in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. Season the marinade to taste with kosher salt and black pepper.
  3. Place the chicken in a 1-gallon zipper-lock bag and add half of the marinade (reserve the remaining marinade in the refrigerator).
  4. Turn the chicken to coat, seal the bag, and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours, turning occasionally to redistribute the marinade 
  5. Remove the chicken from the bag and pat it dry with paper towels. Season with kosher salt and pepper, going heavy on the pepper.
  6. Heat the oil in a 12-inch heavy-bottomed cast iron or stainless-steel skillet over medium-high heat until it is lightly smoking.
  7. Add the chicken pieces and cook without disturbing until they are lightly browned on the first side, about 4 minutes.
  8. Using tongs, flip the chicken. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the chicken is cooked through and the center of each thigh registers 165°F. on an instant-read thermometer, about 6 minutes longer.
  9. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  10. Using a chef’s knife, roughly chop the chicken into 1/2- to 1/4-inch chunks.
  11. Transfer to a medium bowl, add the remaining marinade, cover loosely with plastic, and refrigerate while you cook the rice and prepare the sauce.

 

 

The Rice


Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain or Basmati rice
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large Dutch oven.
  2. Add the turmeric and cumin and cook until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add the rice and stir to coat.
  3. Cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is lightly toasted, about 4 minutes. Add the chicken broth.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes without disturbing.
  5. Remove from the heat and allow to rest until the water is completely absorbed and the rice is tender, about 15 minutes.

 

The Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

 In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, parsley, and 2 teaspoons black pepper. Whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt.

 The Results:

We were proven wrong, you can get really good Halal Chicken and Rice at home.  This recipe really does come pretty close to replicating the Halal style Chicken and Rice at 53rd and 6th.  We all know that no matter how good it is, it woln't compare to getting it from the cart.  We totally agree with that statement, but we will say that if your craving this dish and can't get to the cart this is a great alternative.  

The marinade on the chicken is perfect and has the same spices used at the cart.  The key to the chicken is making sure to really brown each side helping to form a nice crust on the chicken.  Cooking the chicken a second time helps add extra flavor.

The rice was simple yet super flavorful.  Adding turmeric is how the rice gets that bright yellow color while the cumin adds the spice you can taste.  Using chicken stock also helps impart extra flavor into the rice.

In our opinion it is the sauce that brings this dish over the top.  To come close to tasting like the cart it was key to make sure the sauce was authentic.  It was perfect and fresh, it may have been even better than the one at the cart since we made it fresh that day.  The additions of Greek yogurt and fresh parsley really stand out in this sauce.  The lemon juice also adds a nice tang to finish it off.  

Everything mixed together with some fresh tomatoes, lettuce and pita bread makes this recipe a winner in our book and a should eat.  Thanks to Serious Eats for posting this recipe online!

"Big Blue" Blueberry Hot Sauce

Even though the majority of us here at We Ate That are New York Jets fans we would like to show our respect of the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants by naming this recipe "Big Blue" Blueberry Hot Sauce.  

This recipe is a result of the local grocery store having some great looking blueberries.  We tried to think of a unique way to use them and decide Blueberry Hot Sauce could be very interesting as none of us have ever had this let alone heard of it.  So we found a recipe online and decided to modify it a little bit and this is what we came up with.

Ingredients:

  • 5 Jalapeno Peppers ( we removed the seeds from 3 of the peppers and left 2 of them as is)
  • 1 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. of sugar 
  • 1 carton of fresh blueberries
  • 1 lemon (juiced)
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Agave (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place jalapenos into a sauce pan with oil.  Sauté for 5 minutes and then add blueberries.  
  2. Makes sure to coat berries in the oil, then add in the lemon juice and apple cider vinegar.
  3. Allow mixture to simmer for 10 minutes to allow the blueberries to breakdown.
  4. Take mixture and place into a food processor or blender.  Blend mixture until smooth.
  5. Mix in sugar, and taste sauce is not sweet enough add in more sugar to taste.
  6. We had Agave in the cabinet so we added about a tablespoon instead of sugar (learn more below)
  7. If your mixture is too thick,  add in water to help thin the sauce.  
  8. You may now jar the sauce and allow it to age as is or you can strain out the pulp.

As you can see above our sauce ended up thicker than we had wanted to we added in more water to give us a thinner sauce.

Results:

We have never made this recipe and we were pleasantly surprised with how it came out.  It packed a lot of heat but was nicely offset buy the sweetness of the berries.  This sauce works nicely with chicken as we tried it on some frozen chicken nuggets.  It should pair nicely with chicken wings. It is not your average hot sauce, but should have people talking.

Learn about Agave:

Agave is a natural sweetener that is often used as a supplement for sugar or honey.  It is said to be 1.4 to 1.6 times sweeter than sugar.  It is made from the stalks of the Blue Agave Americana plants found in South Africa and Mexico.  It is easily dissolved in liquids making it a easy product to use in your cooking.

Salsa Verde Carnitas Tacos

We love pork here at We Ate That, we also love Tacos. They go together so perfectly, so we decided to make some Salsa Verde Carnitas.  Carnitas are the version of pulled pork made in Mexico.  It is often served in taco form. You may remember that we posted a recipe for Salsa Verde before.  We used the homemade salsa verde to ensure a fresh taste as compared to jarred or canned versions. 

Ingredients:

Carnitas

  • 3 1/2 pounds pork butt or shoulder
  • 2 cups salsa verde either canned or homemade (Click Here for our Salsa Verde Recipe)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt
Tacos
  • Corn tortillas (heated and softened)
  • 1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Cotija Mexican farmer's cheese, or some grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • Crema fresca, crema Mexican, or sour cream
  • Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish

Directions:

  1. Trim the excess fat from the pork shoulder roast.
  2. Place the roast, the salsa verde, onion, chicken stock, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and oregano in a large, thick-bottomed pot, and heat on high heat.
  3. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover and simmer until meat pulls away easily with a fork, about 3 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove meat from liquid in pot and put the meat into a roasting pan.
  5. With 2 forks, tear the meat into large shreds, spreading them out in an even layer in the roasting pan. Roast meat for 15 to 20 minutes until parts are brown and crispy.
  6. While the meat is roasting, skim and discard fat from the liquid in the large pot. Heat the pot on high and vigorously boil the remaining liquid, stirring, until reduced to 2 1/2 cups, 8 to 10 minutes.
  7. Return the meat to the pot with the liquid. Stir in chopped cilantro. Season with salt.

Serve with heated and softened corn tortillas (20 seconds each in the microwave spread out over a paper towel will heat and softened packaged tortillas sufficiently), diced avocado, crumbed Cotija or grated Monterey jack cheese, sour cream (or crema fresca).

Step #2 - All the ingredients mixed into the pot before cooking


Step #5 - Here is the pork shoulder after it has been pulled

Step #7 - After roasting in the over, the pork is added back into the pot it was cooked in coating the pork in the Salsa Verde and other ingredients helping to give the pork a nice sauce.

The Results:

The Carnitas (or pork) came out perfectly.  They were nice and tender and had great flavor thanks to slow cooking in the pot with all of the other ingredients.  Roasting the pork in the oven also added a nice crisp to the pork which helps give the tacos a crunchy texture.  The salsa verde was great when we made it as a dipping sauce and is a perfect addition as a sauce for the carnitas.  There was a strong cumin flavor in these tacos, when making these in the future we would use a little bit less cumin to suit our taste. This is a very good recipe and is easy to make, it takes awhile to cook but does not need constant attention.  It is the type of recipe that once everything is in the pot you can just walk away and take care of other things while the pork slow cooks.

Maple Chipotle Chicken Wings

Going into Super Bowl weekend we would be remised if we did not provide everyone with a wing recipe for all of those Super Bowl Parties going down.  We wanted to changed it up from the regular "hot" wing recipes and we found a simple Maple Chipotle Wing Recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 2 pounds chicken wingettes and drumettes
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons red hot sauce. We recommend Frank's Red Hot
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 500°.
  2. Coat a large baking sheet vegetable oil. You can also line the sheet with foil.
  3. In a bowl, mix the flour with the salt and sage. Add the chicken and toss to coat.
  4. Spread the chicken on the baking sheet in a single layer and spray with vegetable oil. 
  5. Roast the chicken for 45 minutes, turning once or twice, until browned and crispy.
  6. In a bowl, whisk the hot sauce, butter, chipotle pepper and maple syrup until combined. Add the chicken wings to the sauce and toss.

Above is the wings coated in flour, sage and salt about to go into the oven.

Here is the hot sauce starting with butter, Frank's Red Hot, Chipotle Pepper and Maple Syrup.

These wings came out so crispy, you can't even tell they did not go into a deep fryer

The Results:

We had high hopes for this recipe, but we did not expect it to be this good!  These wings came out extra crispy which is amazing since they did not touch a deep fryer.  They were seasoned perfectly thanks to the flour mixture. The Maple Chipotle Sauce had the perfect balance of sweetness and hot sauce flavor.  We were worried that these wings would be too sweet, but they were perfect.  They tend to be on the mild side in terms of heat.  

If you prefer your wings to be on the hotter side, you may want to add 1 or 2 more whole chipotle peppers into the hot sauce.  This will add more heat into the sauce and also give you more chucks of peppers on the wings.

Anyone looking to make wings for the big game should consider making this recipe. These are not your regular old wings, you get a nice hint of sweetness followed by the familiar smokey flavor of regular hot wings.  Baking them in the oven also helps make them a tad bit healthier than the deep fried variety.  Get after these wings and lets us know what you think!

Tomatillo Salsa Verde

We are trying our hand at making Salsa Verde.  Salsa Verde is a versatile dish because it can be used in numerous ways It is often used as a condiment, a dip or even part of a stock in other recipes (we used some of this in one of our upcoming recipes).  

The main ingredient in Salsa Verde is the tomatillo.  Tomatillos are in the nightshade family and are closely related to the cape gooseberry.  Like the gooseberry, tomatillos come "wrapped" in a papery husk and once ripe must be removed prior to being eaten. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb tomatillos
  • 1/2 cup white onion (quartered)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 Jalapeño peppers OR 2 serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Remove the husks from around the tomatillos and rinse well.
  2. Cut the tomatillos in half and place cut side down on a baking sheet along with the onion. Place under a broiler for about 5-7 minutes to char the skin of the tomatillos.
  3. Place tomatillos, lime juice, onions, cilantro, chili peppers, sugar in a food processor (or blender) and pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed. Season to taste with salt. Cool in refrigerator.

Results:

We were pretty happy with the Salsa Verde.  It is very mild and perfect for anyone who does not like "heat" in their food.  For us it was lacking the heat we prefer, but that can be fixed.  In the future we plan to leave the seeds in our peppers to help give it the heat we desire.  This salsa is perfect as a topping for your tacos or just serve as a dip for tortilla chips.  

Chicken Cutlet Pizza w/ Fresh Mozzarella

For today's recipe we have a few different components.  We have made pizza dough, sauce,  and chicken cutlets from scratch.  We will focus on the creation of the pizza but will provide the recipes for the other components also. You can use store bought ingredients but where is the fun in that.

The Dough

Ingredients:

  • 1 package active dry yeast (.25 ounce) 
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until foaming, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups bread flour, olive oil, salt, white sugar and the yeast mixture; stir well to combine. Keep mixing until a stiff dough has formed. Cover and place in the fridge to let rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes it can also be left overnight.
  3. When ready for the dough, punch the dough down to take some air out.
  4. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface. Knead dough into a round ball and the shape the dough to the desired crust shape.

 * If using the dough on the same day, start creating your sauce while the dough is rising.

The Sauce


Ingredients:

  • 1 can of Whole San Marzano Tomatoes (28 oz, can be regular tomatoes)
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 8 basil leaves (sliced)
  • Red Pepper Flakes 
  • Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan, then add the minced garlic.  Cook until slightly golden for about 2 min. Then add the onions into the garlic. Let the onions and garlic cook down until soft, add pepper and salt to taste.
  2. Remove tomatoes from the can and hand crush them into the saucepan.  Make sure to add any remaining liquid from the can into the sauce.
  3. Add the basil into the sauce as well as salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.  Bring sauce to a boil. Once the sauce reaches a boil lower the temperature to a simmer and allow sauce to cook down to your desired thickness.

You may be asking why I specifically said San Marzano tomatoes.  This is because I personally feel the offer superior taste compared to all other tomatoes.  They are so good you could easily eat them out of the can so they do not need much to make a great sauce.  The flavor of these tomatoes t is said to come from the volcanic soil the tomatoes grow in.  To learn more about San Marzano Tomatoes Click Here.

 The Chicken Cutlets 

Ingredients:

  • 2 Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Egg
  • Flour
  • Italian Season Bread Crumbs
  • Vegetable Oil

Directions:

  1. Slice the chicken breasts thinly, about a 1/2 inch
  2. Take the egg and beat it with a small amount of water in a bowl to create an egg wash
  3. Place flour and bread crumbs each into separate bowls to create a dredging station
  4. Coat the chicken breasts in the flour, followed by the egg wash. Shake off any excess egg wash and then place the chicken into the bread crumbs.  Coat the chicken well, you may even repeat the egg wash and bread crumbs if you would like
  5. Place and heat enough vegetable oil in a pan to cover the bottom of a pan
  6. Once the oil is hot cook the chicken cutlets until they are golden brown on each side

The Pizza


Ingredients:

  • Pizza Dough (see above or use store bought)
  • Tomato Sauce (see above or use store bought)
  • Fresh Basil
  • Fresh Mozzarella 

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees
  2. Roll out the dough into the shape of pizza of your choosing
  3. Slice or break apart your your hand the Mozzarella
  4. Brush olive oil around the edges of your dough
  5. Spread the sauce around your dough using a ladle.  Start from the center and work your way outward.
  6. Place the basil leaves around your pizza
  7. Take the cheese and cover the pizza, ensuring there is enough cheese to cover the basil so it does not burn.
  8. Slice chicken cutlets into strips and place on the pizza.  Then cover each strip with a small amount of sauce to help keep the chicken form drying out in the oven.  Drizzle olive oil across the top of the pizza.
  9. If you have a Pizza stone feel free to place the pizza right onto the stone.  If you are using a tray place a small amount of corn meal on the pan to help keep the dough from sticking to the pan.
  10. Cook pizza for about 8 - 12 minutes or until golden brown.  Be sure to check your pizza often as all ovens vary. 

Results:

As you can see there are more than one pizza pictured above, they all turned out perfectly.  The chicken pizza specifically came out great.  The cheese and sauce we both fresh which adds a fresh flavor to the pizza.  The dough itself was crispy and a bit too think.  Next time we would make sure to work the dough a bit more to get the extra air out of the dough.  Overall we were very happy with the results of this recipe and would definitely recommend anyone that enjoys pizza to try making it at home.  It is not nearly as hard as it looks, just takes some practice.

  

Habanero Mango Hot Sauce

For our first recipe on the site we have decided to go with our foray into hot sauce.

We chose a Mango Habanero Hot Sauce with the intentions of making our own version of the Buffalo Wild Wings Classic Mango Habanero Wings.  

This recipe is a tribute to a friend who loves Buffalo Wild Wings and more specifically the Mango Habanero Boneless Wings.  We even heard a tale of a road trip in which he stopped at 5 different Buffalo Wild Wings in one day (eating in at least 2 of them).

After sifting through numerous recipes online, we finally found one that looked up to our standards.

 Ingredients:

  • 6 whole Mango (peeled and seeded)
  • 7 whole Kiwi fruit (peeled)
  • 7 whole Habanero chile peppers (stemmed and seeded)
  • 4 whole Limes (juiced)
  • 3 whole Lemons (juiced)
  • 4 tablespoons Orange Juice (Frozen concentrate)
  • 1/3 cup Vinegar (White)
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 cups Water

Directions: 

In stock pot add Habaneros, water and salt. Slow boil for 15 minuets. then drain, saving 3/4 cup of water.

Puree in blender the saved water and all ingredients except vinegar. Return to stock pot and simmer on medium low heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar till slightly cooled. 

Keeps in refrigerator 4 months or can and process. Refrigerate after opening.

Serving Ideas: Sweetly Hot and Spicy ideal for chicken, pork or fish.

 

After following the directions step by step, here is the finished product.

 

 Results:

The sauce has some great flavor, it starts off with an intense mango flavor with very little heat.   The heat then slowly starts to make itself known and after a few seconds you start to feel the full effect of the Habaneros.  While you can feel the heat it is not overpowering and adds some nice depth to counteract the sweetness.  

We have not been able to test this sauce on wings yet because it does still have to age.  With most hot sauces it is recommended that you let it age a minimum of 2 weeks to really let all of the flavors and heat of the sauce develop.  The plan is to make some wings for the Super Bowl and give this sauce a wing test.

Tips:

- When working with hot peppers you may want to wear gloves.  When cutting, stemming and seeding peppers you will be exposed to Capsaicin.  This is the active chemical in peppers that produces "heat" and if you do not wash your hands properly you may inadvertently get some capsaicin in your eyes.  It is not pretty.

- After you have aged your hot sauce you have the option to "strain" the sauce.  Doing this will allow you to remove any pulp and or seeds which will create a smoother/thinner sauce.  This is optional as some people do prefer to have a thicker sauce.