Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Barbequeing Mexican Style!..... perfect for summer

Barbequeing in Mexico has long been a favorite way of cooking, except you will still find rustic wood charcoal fires made on the floor between bricks and a wire covering to hold the food or you'll see wood fires inside humble homes or pits in the ground made to hold the fire while large chunks of meat are held on top to cook or home-made "asaderos" made from bricks, cement blocks, adobe or you name it, whatever's on hand.....

When we lived in Puerto Vallarta and lived 2 blocks from the ocean, we'd walk down to the beach in the late afternoon to swim and I'd take along a wire grill (which the local wrought iron guy made for me), a bag of charcoal (purchased from the lumber store) and whatever I'd planned to cook over a fire: paella, carne asada, BBQ chicken, pescado sarandeado, seafood boils, etc...... we'd swim for a while and waited for the food to be done... a great way to go on a summer's evening.

Only when we've lived in the US have we had a "fancy" BBQ. All the years in Mexico we've made our own, even in our restaurants they've been "custom made" (a fancy term meaning Ricardo and Maria, our employee who was also a brick layer, would set about and make grills of different designs and sizes, they were great! Some had gas burners for easy lighting but the first one's were very rustic, yet produced the most wonderful food!

So if you're in the mood for BBQ and want to give it lots of flavor and a different spin than the traditional tomato BBQ Sauce, try some of these suggestions:

Tequila Lime Chicken.- Great tasting chicken you will love!

1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (5 to 6 limes)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
1 tbl chili powder
1 tbl minced fresh jalapeno pepper (1 pepper seeded, optional)
1 tbl minced fresh garlic (3 cloves)
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 whole (6 split) boneless chicken breasts, skin on or your choice.....

Combine the tequila, lime juice, orange juice, chili powder, jalapeno pepper, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken breasts. Refrigerate overnight.

Heat a grill with coals and brush the rack with oil to prevent the chicken from sticking. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, sprinkle well with salt and pepper, and grill them skin-side down for about 5 min, until nicely browned. Turn the chicken and cook for another 10 min, until just cooked through. Remove from the grill to a plate. Cover tightly and allow to rest for 5 min. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Note: If you use a whole chicken or a butterflied chicken, you will have to allow more cooking time for this, however if you decide on making chicken skewers instead, then less cooking time will be called for.
Salsa de BBQ de Guayaba (Guava BBQ Sauce).- This aromatic and flavorful sauce will be a hit with your family.......

4 guayabas or guavas, cut off the ends and cut in quarters
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves

1/4 cup ketchup
3 tbl apple cider vinegar
2 tbl dark brown sugar
1-2 cloves garlic, through press
pinch of ground Thyme
1/4 ground black pepper

Put first group of ingredients in a pan, bring to a boil, lower heat and cook until the guavas are very tender and the water has thickened some. (You can also just use this like this over ice cream or as stewed fruit).

In a blender, put the rest of the ingredients and add the cooked guavas and about 1/4 cup ofthe cooking liquid (more if sauce is too thick, should be spreadable). Put in a pan and cook or 5-15 min. Taste and adjust seasonings. Paint on chicken pieces and grill as usual.
Bourbon Chicken Skewers.- A nice change and great taste with this versatile sauce which will bring memories of southern nights!

1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Bourbon Whisky
2 tbl soy sauce
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
4 chicken thighs or breasts, boneless, cut in strips
8 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 10min

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a zip lock bag and mix well. Add the chicken and marinade in the fridge at least overnight. When you take out the chicken to cook it the next day, pour the marinade liquid into a pan, bring to a boil then simmer for 15-20 min until thick.

Insert the chicken onto the skewers and grill for about 8 min. or until done, turning once. You can brush more marinade while cooking to prevent their drying out and serve some sauce on the side.
Grilled Quesadillas.- A great addition to grilled items you can try, plus it's so flexible, almost any ingredient will make them great!

Small, taco sized flour tortillas
1/2 lb cheese cut into strips (see combinations below)

Try these:
Brie Cheese with thin Apple slices (you can also add some walnut pieces)
Cheddar Cheese and Ham slices, pieces of bacon and topped with avocado
Asadero Cheese with Poblano Chile strips, onion slices and some Mexican Crema
Mozzarella Cheese, sliced tomato, Basil leaves and red onion slices
Jack Cheese, Chicken strips, pieces of mango or pineapple, cilantro leaves
Manchego Cheese, beef fajitas, onion strips, mushrooms

Place a tortilla on the bottom, add the cheese and any ingredients you are adding, top with another tortilla. Oil or spray the grill well so it won't stick. Cook quesadillas on each side so
that grill marks appear. To serve, cut in quarters and place some guacamole, Pico de Gallo and
your favorite hot sauce. Adjust any ingredients to suit your taste..... the variations are endless.
Lemon Cheesecake made with Ricotta.- This Italian version of cheesecake is wonderfully light and has a very interesting sauce that will please everyone, try it!

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (or make your own from crushed cookies)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
6 tbl melted butter
1 1/2 lb cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1 lemon, zested
3/4 lb ricotta cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 F. In a bowl, mix together the crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the butter and mix well. Using the back of a spoon, press evenly into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake until golden, about 8 min. Remove from the oven and cool before filling.

With a mixer beat the cream cheese and sugar on low speed until well incorporated, smooth and light, about 2 min. Add the eggs, one at a time, and lemon zest and continue to beat until well incorporated, scraping down the sides as necessary. Slowly add the ricotta cheese to the batter and mix until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the middle of the oven until starting to set, about 45 min. Lower the oven temperature to 325 F and cook for another 20 to 25 min. Remove from the oven, use a thin sharp knife and run the blade along the inside of the cake pan to loosen the sides. Loosen the outer ring, and let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack. Once the cheesecake is cooled to room temperature, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 6 hours or overnight.

Remove the cake from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature before serving. Slice the cake and serve on dessert plates, with the Citrus Thyme Sauce drizzled over all.

Citrus Thyme Sauce:
6 tbl butter
1 cup sugar
1 grapefruit, skin and pith removed and segments cut away between the membranes
1 orange, skin and pith removed and segments cut away between the membranes
1 lime, skin and pith removed and segments cut away between the membranes
1 tangerine, skin and pith removed and segments cut away between the membranes
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 cup cognac-based liqueur (like Grand Marnier or brandy)

Set a pan over medium-high heat and add the butter, sugar, grapefruit, orange, lime, tangerine and thyme. Once the butter and sugar have melted, about 2 to 3 min, remove the pan from the heat and add the liqueur into the pan. Ignite with a long kitchen match and when the flames subside return the pan to the heat. Continue to cook until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 10 min. Remove from the heat and serve on top of the cheesecake.
We're all done and ready for a cookout.... Go ahead and try these, all you'll need is a great salad, corn on the cob, potato salad or cole slaw and you're good to go!

Also, just because I've mentioned chicken in some of these recipes doesn't mean you can use these sauces on other meats or fish since they work equally well with these too! And like always, don't be afraid to get creative and adjust the seasonings or add your own touches too.....

Keep checking in more for recipes and great food ideas..... talk soon!

No comments:

Post a Comment