Saturday, November 30, 2013




My Thanksgiving Turkey and Side Dish
Thanksgiving is a day when we get together as a family and share our gratitude for our abundance in life.  I know that my mom is grateful that I help her so she can remain independent.  I know that I am grateful for my amazing job, which is a privilege to go to every day, that I am self-sufficient and that I am surrounded by many incredibly talented and brilliant people, both friends and colleagues. With that said, I will share with you my turkey from beginning to end, and the side dish I contributed to the meal. 

Part One:  Butter
 I use one stick of butter 
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 rounded tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon fresh, finely chopped sage
1tablespoon fresh, finely chopped oregano
1 tablespoon fresh, finely chopped rosemary
1+ teaspoons fresh, finely chopped sage
zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
salt and pepper

Fresh herbs and seasoned butter.  The flower is just because it was pretty.  Just for looks.  The fresh herbs came from my former residence.  Thanks, Spinner, for letting me cut fresh herbs!

Part Two:  Stuffing
 I stuff the turkey with slices or discs of peeled orange and lemon.  I also stuff it with one onion, quartered, three smashed and peeled garlic cloves and fresh sprigs of rosemary, thyme, sage and oregano. 

The Bird:
After removing the insides of the turkey, I thoroughly wash it and pat it dry with paper towels. I bring my seasoned and herbed butter and mayo mixture to room temperature and rub the mixture inside the cavity, under and thoroughly over the skin.  At this time, then, the turkey is ready to roast. I let it side that way overnight, however, to allow the herbs to flavor the butter mixture and the turkey.  


The turkey is oven ready.  I placed a foil tent over the top for the first three hours. 


 After the first three hours at 375 degrees, I remove the foil tent. 

The next half to full hour, or so, is where things went awry for my turkey.  The little red device that pops out alerting you that the turkey is done never did pop out.  I untied the legs and allowed it to roast a bit more, as the meat between the thigh and body was just not fully cooked.  I stuck a thermometer in between the thigh and the body after a bit more time, and the temperature was still not where it should have been.  I removed all of the stuffing (which smelled fantastic) and allowed it to roast yet again for a bit.  The thermometer never ever reached where it was supposed to.  Absolutely not sure why.  I realized two things, however. First, I should have rotated the turkey so both sides roasted evenly.  Due to other things going into the oven, the turkey was lopsided.  Next, I realized I more than likely overstuffed the turkey, thwarting its full potential to cook thoroughly. Finally, I should have followed my gut and my nose and I should have removed the turkey and let it rest after removing the stuffing and allowing it to roast for another twenty minutes.

The most important things I learned this Thanksgiving:  Follow your gut and your nose, as they know when things are done even when technology fails to support that instinct.  In addition, despite that cute tv commercial where the lady rearranges her living room, kitchen and dining table to make everyone happy, you may not be able to please everyone.  It is statistically impossible.  Finally and most importantly,  Cook what You like.  The rest will fall into place if you allow it to.  It sure can help alleviate the stress.  I have decided that next year I am not going to have turkey, instead, I am going to prepare a hefty prime rib roast.  It is clear that turkeys and I are unmixy things, so beef it is next year!!!


The turkey is done.....Finally!!!  Yes, it looks much like a mummy, I know!

My Side Dish:  Prosciutto Wrapped Green Beans:
I started by washing and blanching about four cups of green beans.  I blanched them for about three minutes and then let them chill down and stop the cooking process in an ice bath.  They remained quite bright green!  I tossed the beans in a medium bowl with extra virgin olive oil, three cloves of garlic, finely chopped, and seasoned lightly with salt and pepper.  I wrapped the green beans in prosciutto and sopped up the oil mixture at the bottom of the bowl with my little packets of beans.  I sprinkled the packets with some of the leftover garlic and roasted for 18 minutes at 400 degrees.  They were just Delicious, if I don't say so, myself.  


I hope your Thanksgiving was full of happiness, gratitude and the sense of belonging to something wonderful, regardless of how wild and whacky your family might be.  We all have that going on, I am quite sure, in some form or another.  I hope you take Christmas dinner, if you have it or celebrate it, easy and enjoy making what pleases you.  Your joy of cooking will come out in your food like a shard of light piercing dense clouds after a storm.  Sounds silly, I get it, but it is true.  That is when you will have no stress over cooking and your guests will simply see your love coming through to them in your food and your relaxed smile.   Enjoy!!!

 

 










 

Friday, November 29, 2013



Chile Verde Pollo Tamales
Green Chile Chicken Tamales

My dear friend, Maria Paz, my partner in culinary crime, came over on Tuesday and showed me how to make Green Chile Chicken Tamales, or, Chile Verde Pollo Tamales. We had so much fun, had such incredible conversation, laughs - mostly at my klutzy expense, and tasted amazing tamales.  We both agree that the only way it might have been more fun is if we had wine to go along with the tasks.  Alas, I had to drive out of town to pick up my son for Thanksgiving after his classes at CSU Sacramento let out, so I refrained from any drinking.  I know, responsible.  It's what I do.  

Maria brought the chicken already marinating in its luxurious verde sauce which she had made completely with fresh ingredients; nothing canned in this recipe! She also brought a huge pot that was almost as big as she is, and don't let me forget to talk about the fiasco with the steamer grate!  I purchased the corn husks and the masa.  What an experience, masa!  I felt like a gardener (which is one of my passions, as well) getting my hands full of masa. Why I did that will be explained a little later.  Let's just say, it feels good, like dirt to a gardener. 

Enough foreshadowing, let's get to the recipe!

To make the Verde Sauce:
2 pounds of tomatillos, peeled and washed
2 medium white onions, quartered
2 jalapenos
16 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or your favorite high heat oil)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock (we used homemade chicken stock)

2 bunches cilantro  (about a cup)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. 

On a cutting board or chopping block, quarter and peel the onions and smash and peel the garlic cloves.  Toss the vegetables, minus the cilantro, in the oil and spread out over a large roasting pan.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to season.  Roast the vegetables in the 400 degree oven about 18 - 20 minutes.  You will know when the vegetables have finished roasting;  your nose will tell you, as the aroma will envelope your whole space.  

Remove the roasting pan and allow the roasted vegetables to cool about six to eight minutes before transferring over to a large blender or food processor. Now add the cilantro to the food processor.  Pulse until the mixture becomes a loose pesto consistency.  Not too loose, not too thick.  Taste and season again, if needed.  If it is great, set the sauce aside for a moment. 




While the vegetables are roasting, shred the meat from two roasted chickens.  Place the meat in a large pot.  Pour the verde sauce over the chicken meat and stir in the pot over medium heat.  Allow the mixture to simmer on low about twenty minutes.  Remove and allow the mixture to cool overnight.

Now we must attend to the dried corn husks.  The husks must be soaked in water for about thirty minutes before they can be pliable enough to use.  Keeping them submerged took some high tech work, but we made it happen.  
In the large pot, add the husks and try to separate them a bit.  Pour water over the husks until the water covers them, much like you would cover potatoes in order to boil them.  





 Told you it was high tech!!!

In the large pot, you see two red cans. They are olives.  Maria says olives are oftentimes traditional in tamales.  She halves them.  That was fun, because you would think I had been drinking as they kept rolling off of my cutting board and my dog kept trying to devour them.  Fiasco.  Plain and simple. And not my first one!

One of the most important challenges we faced - other than my bout with klutziness - was how to set up our assembly line in limited space.  My birthday present last year from my good friend and former colleague, Mr. V, a culinary cart, provided much-needed extra counter space.  In front of us, we had a large bowl of the prepared masa.  We had a large metal pot with the Chile Verde Pollo filling, spoons (my undoing), a large roasting pan, a bowl of Maria's homemade chicken stock, a bowl with the olives (what was left of them) and a plate for me. 

Now, Maria is an expert at making tamales.  She looks like a master pizza dough maker, only making tamales.  She flattens the palm of her hand, she places a husk, smooth, soft side up, then uses a spoon to slather masa over the front third of the tamale like she is spreading peanut butter.  She then places the filling in the center, folds one side over to the other, then over the original fold, and then folds the narrow end of the husk forward.  She efficiently and quickly makes a beautiful tamale packet.  I, on the other hand, in my first several attempts, flung masa all over the place, much to my little dog's delight, until I decided to use my fingers.  The spoon was just not it for me.  Not my friend!  While I was not quick and efficient, using my fingers - which Maria said was more traditional than spoons - was much better for me. I kept that small bowl of chicken stock beside me so I could dip my fingers in it in order for the masa to stay on the husk and not on my hands.  That strategy worked pretty well for me. 




Using my fingers was much better than the spoon for me. Doesn't that Verde Pollo filling look enticing?  Delicioso!


Another view of my handy work. 

After spreading masa over a third or so of the wide, flat part of the corn husk, we placed a spoonful of the verde chicken filling in the center of the masa. We folded the lower side over the filling, rolled it inward, then folded the top (or, from where I was sitting, the right side) over the left, then folded the narrow end up over the top.  I know this is repeated information, but I wanted to reiterate that below the photos. 

Now I have to tell you about another fiasco we had happen.  After we removed the corn husks and placed them in a separate bowl, it was time to put the steamer grate into that large pot you saw above. Maria got it in there, but it stuck below the lip it rests on.  I was able to partially lift it but not pop it out from where it was stuck.  Maria, always clever and smart, used one of my chopsticks to leverage it out of its wedged-in place. We had a good laugh about that, too.

With the screen firmly in the correct place in the large pot, the water boiling nicely, Maria placed the tamale packets, folded-up side down, onto the grate. 

 
 After that first batch finished steaming, about thirty minutes later, we plated a couple of tamales to try.  One a piece became four for me.  I was happily stuffed for the rest of the day.  It was so tasty, tangy, flavorful and warm.  It was perfect comfort food for a busy, but fun day with my friend. 

Sadly, we ran out of corn husks, so we could not complete a third batch of tamales.  Yes, a second, just like the one above, was repeated.  Such amazing aromas during steaming and delicious flavors upon eating!  Miss Maria wanted to offer a nearly vegan option, in which the filling included slivered and sauteed white onions and jalapeno chiles, and, to be the crowning glory over the onion-chile mixture, a sliver of mozzarella cheese (ergo the almost vegan version).  Here is a photo log of Maria working on that filling.  

 Maria cutting vegetables on my culinary cart!  I love it!





 Above: the onions and jalapenos before and after saute'.  



A section of one of the tamales.  The olive is incredible with the green chile and chicken mixture.  



Invite your friends and throw a tamale making party!  There are literally dozens of different fillings, from spices to fruits, to different meats and a plethora of different amazing flavors.  One of my favorites has the pineapple.  DeLish!  I have to tell you, however, I truly LOVE the Chile Verde Pollo tamales.  Love that tangy, rich flavor!  What a fun party idea, don't you agree?  Try this recipe. You cannot go wrong, and you will fall in love with it. I know I did.  Enjoy and Thank You for your time!

 

Sunday, November 24, 2013




Roasted Veggie and Salami Pasta

Among my favorite pasta sauces is a spicy Arrabbiata. I love the aroma and the taste of roasted vegetables in the sauce.  If you have not done this already, Arrabbiata as a pizza sauce is amazing.  You will love it.  In this dish, I used roasted vegetables to make a fresh, from-scratch sauce that is warm, inviting and particularly a cool autumn-winter favorite.  It is one of the simplest, least time-consuming sauces I have ever made.  Let's get started!
Starting line-up:
1/2 cup of your favorite salami  (I used Italian dry and Sopressata)
1 yellow or red onion, quartered
6 large cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
2 pints of cherry or grape tomatoes (washed)
1 Fresno chili
1 serrano or sweet Italian chili
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Italian dry seasoning or, 2 fresh sprigs of oregano and 6 - 8 fresh basil leaves  (or both!)
salt and pepper
1 pound (for 4) of your favorite pasta or, 1/2 pound for two people
Parmigiano cheese to grate over the plated pasta

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Toss the prepared vegetables in a bowl with one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.  Place the veggies into a cast iron skillet or an oven-safe skillet.  Season with salt and pepper. Place the oven-safe skillet into the oven and roast for about 18 minutes, until the tomatoes begin to pop open.  Your nose and ears will tell you, especially, when this process has occurred. 


Remove the two peppers and remove the stem and the seeds.  If you want your sauce extra spicy and hot, leave the seeds in.  This sauce is already smoky and spicy with the seeds removed, but I leave that up to you.  Afterward, place all of the roasted vegetables into your food processor or blender.  Puree the vegetables and set aside.  

Ready to add the rest of my roasted tomatoes!

Meanwhile, in a high-sided skillet over medium-high heat, add the other tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.  Slice the salami into slivers and sear up in the hot oil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add your blended sauce.  Bring the heat back up until the sauce boils.  Add the dry seasonings now. Stir thoroughly.  

Bring a pot of water to a boil and salt liberally. Add your pasta and cook about 8 - 12 minutes, until al dente, or, just before it is fully cooked.  Meanwhile, add half or so of the fresh basil, reserving a few torn leaves and a couple of whole leaves for garnish, if you like. 


Allow the sauce to simmer on low for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally to allow those wonderful flavors to marry well.  Your home will smell absolutely amazing.  If you live in an apartment, your neighbors will be jealous and give you a thumbs up as they walk by your place (as they did with me!). I had my windows open a little.  

When the pasta is done, save about a half cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta in a colander.  Turn the heat off. Add a small tab of butter to the large pasta pot, add the pasta with a few torn basil leaves (or fresh baby torn kale) back to the pot.  Grate a little parmigiano cheese over the pasta, then pour the sauce into the large pot over the pasta.  Grate a bit more cheese and using tongs, thoroughly mix the pasta with the sauce.  That little tab of butter will not only give the pasta mad flavor but it will give a gloss to your sauce and help it stick better to the pasta.  


About this time, I bet you wish you had smellaphone or smellaputer!

Plate, sprinkle with and garnish with fresh torn basil, and grate a bit more parmigiano atop the pasta.  That sharp taste will be throughout the pasta and sauce. Trust me, so good!  Now serve and enjoy!!!


 Enjoy this warm, spicy pasta made with all fresh vegetables and herbs.  Nothing better on a cool or cold autumn or winter's night.  Until next time, Thank You for viewing!




Sunday, November 17, 2013

Semi-Homemade Cheesy Kale Fried Ravioli with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce


Sometimes you get a craving for something warm, filling and beyond the norm of every day cooking.  After all, it is not every day that we spend a good hour or two carefully filling, folding and frying or boiling ravioli, as well as creating a flavorful meatless Monday sauce.  I was off last Monday, and upon the third day of my three day weekend, I had the time to devote to my own kitchen. I wanted to have a meatless Monday after a meaty dinner Sunday with my mom, and so, following my craving, I made semi-homemade ravioli which I stuffed with ricotta and parmesan cheeses and finely chopped fresh baby kale. I filled round potsticker sheets forming half circles and fried them in a mix of canola, grapeseed and extra virgin olive oil.  For my sauce, I used two large sweet roasted red peppers along with shallots, red onion, a Fresno chili and garlic which I'd roasted as well.  It made for a thick, flavorful sauce.  Let's get started with the recipe itself, alright?

Ingredients:
2 shallots, halved
1 quarter of a red onion
3 cloves garlic to roast, plus one to grate
1 Fresno chili
2 large sweet red peppers
1 package round potsticker (pasta) sheets
1 15 ounce container of ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped baby kale
2 cups canola or vegetable oil (I used an oil that is comprised of canola, grapeseed and extra virgin olive oil).  
salt and pepper
1 small bowl water
*I added a teaspoon of dried oregano and a couple of fresh leaves of basil to my sacue

 
 Some of the fresh ingredients I used for my ravioli.




Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  On a baking sheet or in an oven-safe skillet, add a little extra virgin olive oil to your roasting vegetables.  Season with a little salt and pepper and roast until the peppers' skins are blackened.  Remove the peppers and place them in a zip lock bag or a paper sack and allow them to steam.  This will allow the skins to separate from the flesh of the pepper.  It makes for easy skin removal.  Allow them to steam for at least fifteen minutes.  Remove the skins, seed and ribs. Cut the pepper flesh into thirds.  Add the peppers and the other vegetables to your food processor or blender.  Either will be fine.  Just make sure that the ingredients are not hot.  If they are hot, you will have a veggie-explosive (and pretty messily funny) situation. Process or blend the veggies until the mixture is smooth.  Puree is the setting you want.  At that point, add the mixture to a skillet over low heat and allow the mixture to reheat and for the flavors to marry. I also add a quarter cup of heavy cream and a teaspoon of dried oregano crushed between my palms.  For even more Italian flavor, tear up a couple of fresh basil leaves. The aroma will be fantastic!

While I am talking about the sauce, I made ravioli with a few different sauces, red pepper sauce among them.  For those sauces and a slightly different version of this one, please see my ravioli post from February 2013.  Thank you!

 Now that the sauce is slowly warming and those amazing flavors marrying, time to start on those ravioli!  You will need a flat surface and a non-skid chopping block or something stable like that.  You will need to dedicate a set period of uninterrupted time for this, as the sheets of pasta can dry out quickly and that can cause problems when you go to fry or boil.  I fried mine, in keeping with the wonton/potsticker wrappers, which can be used either way.

In a medium or large bowl, add the ricotta and parmesan cheeses, and mix together.  Add one clove of garlic, finely grated, and the half cup of kale, finely chopped. Season with salt and pepper.  Mix together thoroughly.  Now, position your bowl of water near your filling and folding station.  You may want to use a brush for this, but I used my fingers.  Fingers are my best kitchen utensils. And, as always, make sure they are always clean!!!  Add a little bit more than a teaspoon of the filling to the center of the wrapper round. Using your fingers, moisten the lip of the round liberally.  Fold the lip either toward you or away from you, whichever method is easier for you.  I began folding it away from me, but found that folding it toward me was much easier.  But, whatever is more comfortable for you.  


 You should be able to make 30 (thirty) ravioli.  Be sure to cover them with a moist paper towel or moist cotton towel.  When you lay the ravioli out on a plate or a pan, do not allow them to touch.  This is Very Important.  If they touch you may not be able to separate them, even by moistening further.  I was not careful, some of them touched, and I could not use them.  I lost five that way.  I learned my lesson: do not allow them to touch. Enough said.  

Meanwhile, have your oil heating over medium-high heat.  If you want to flavor the oil with garlic, smush a garlic clove and toss it in, skin and all, and then turn on the heat.  When it begins to sizzle, remove the garlic.  Your nose will tell you how wonderfully flavored the oil is!  The oil should be about 350 degrees. 

Add three ravioli and keep them separated. They will sizzle and may do pop and splatter due to the water we used or if some of the filling oozes out.  You may well want to wear a heavy apron during the frying time.  The ravioli will brown quite quickly, in less than two minutes.  Allow them turn golden brown and then turn them.  They will brown even further on the opposite side.  Total cook time should be no more than four minutes.  Nothing in the filling needs to cook, so you are essentially frying the outside and nicely warming up the interior ingredients.  Place them on a plate lined with parchment paper or, on a baking sheet with a rack over it.  You may want to place them in the oven at 200 degrees to keep them warm and crispy.  Frying upwards of thirty ravioli is a busy job, and can be take a bit of time.  

Tip:  If you are not going to fry up or boil all of your ravioli, they can easily be frozen.  Line the bottom of a container with parchment or waxed paper, place a layer of the ravioli atop the paper, carefully placing them so they do not touch, place another layer of parchment atop that, and create another layer.  You can remove them, partially thaw if you are going to fry them, or just place them in to boiling salted water to boil them. 

When you are ready to serve, add a dollop of the aromatic sauce to a plate, arrange the ravioli - whether you fried them, like I did, or boil them, as I did in my previous post - and add a little more sauce, if you like.  Top with a fresh basil garnish and enjoy.  I had fun scooping up the sauce with my ravioli.  You can always toss the ravioli in the sauce and add more parmesan or pecorino romano cheese. Whatever you are feeling!



I hope you enjoy this dish, as it was one of my favorites this autumn, thus far! 

 
 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Italian Grilled Cheese Sammy


One of The Most Go-To college student foods is grilled cheese sandwiches.  All you really need is to slices of bread, butter or margarine and cheese.  But what about kicking it up a notch?  Or 47?   How about adding a roasted red pepper, provolone cheese, smoked Gouda cheese, sopressata salami and Italian dry salami?  How about making a ricotta cheese and basil pesto spread?  How about crusting the bread with finely grated parmesan cheese?  Any college student or "townie" can make this very filling "sammy" and fully enjoy amazing textures and flavors reminiscent of Italy. 



Here is my starting line-up:
      For the spread
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 -3 tablespoons basil pesto 
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, finely chopped or grated                                             

     Meat and Cheeses
Sliced Provolone 
Sliced Smoked Gouda
Sopressata Salami
Italian Dry Salami

     For the Sammy
Large slices of your favorite bread  (I use Sourdough)
1 large sweet red pepper, roasted, steamed, peeled, ribbed and seeded and sliced into strips
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 - 1 stick of butter or margarine


Spread the ricotta-pesto-cheese mixture to the slices of bread, add some slices of the roasted red pepper to one side, the provolone to the other.  Arrange the cheeses as needed to cover the entire surface area of the bread.  I my case, breaking them into half moon shapes worked great.  Arrange the meats atop the cheeses to your liking.  Place one slice atop the other and thoroughly butter one side.   Add two or three tablespoons of parmesan cheese to the buttered side and press it down.  Place a skillet or grill pan or grill plate over medium-high heat.  When quite hot, place the sammy buttered-side down.  Reduce the heat to medium.  Butter the top side now, adding another couple of tablespoons of pressed in parmesan. Check after about four minutes to make sure the bread is golden brown.  The aroma of the parm, butter and bread and the melting cheese ought to be incredible about now.  When the bread is crispy and golden, carefully flip over the sammy.  Follow the above directions.  Remove the sammy when done, allow it to rest for a few scant minutes, IF you can!  Cut at an angle, arrange nicely, add some rich fruit or a green salad to your plate, and fully enjoy a savory, sweet, rich and aromatic experience!  



Tip:  If you cannot use butter or margarine, or if you do not have enough of one of those, add some mayonnaise to the butter/margarine. 





 
A Couple of Things I Have Been Up To....

Welcome, gentle readers, to another chapter of "What I Have Been Up To".  I reinvented my "Growed Up Mac and Cheese" which was great fun and very tasty!  Not only did I boil my farfalle pasta in chicken stock and Tecate beer, but I added Tecate to my roux.  Delicious!  In addition, I used both andouille sausage (one of my all-time favorites) and also Chipotle Chicken Sausage.  The combination of Cajun and Chipotle spice was quite complimentary.  Loved it.  I also added roasted Anaheim green chiles. My son devoured it, which was a great sign of success.  Here is a wedge of it:  


On a more comical note, I made Chocolate Decadent Cupcakes. That in itself, while messy, was not the comical part.  I decorated my cupcakes - with absolutely  no confidence - using one of those frosting bags (the technical term escapes me) and my frosting, which I wanted to look like a rose, turned out more like worm poop.  Yes, I am deeply shamed, but it is too funny to not share it with you.  Here, have a laugh.  It is ok.  I laughed, too.  Yes, indeed, this is the reason why I am not writing a baking blog.  Clearly. 

 
The best part was being able to use my last year's Christmas present, my KitchenAid hand mixer.  Made life a lot easier.  The last batch of cupcakes that I'd made (at a friend's house) I mixed by hand with a whisk, which took forever.  This time, it was quite fun. 

Thank you for enjoying this episode! Stay tuned for two more posts!  I have been quite busy in the kitchen!

Sunday, November 10, 2013



Chorizo 'n Pork Fried Rolls with Egg and Scallion


Lumpia is one of those indelible foods that is a real family favorite during our New Year's celebration.  My son's mother's family is Japanese-American, and Grandma U makes THE most incredible Japanese and Asian-inspired dishes I have Ever eaten.  One of those dishes is Lumpia. Yes, I know Lumpia is a Filipino stuffed, fried roll.  My brother-in-law's wife and her mother gifted the family with Lumpia.  It has been a fam favorite for decades, now, and it has been made myriad ways with myriad fillings:  pork, beef, chicken and always, with vegetables. Fish, I bet, too, has been used, such as shredded shrimp.  Well, I had a major craving for Mexican food with chorizo and lumpia, all at the same time.  Not only that, but I wanted breakfast, too.  So what did I do?  I put them all together into one roll.  Not lumpia, not a chimichanga, not a burrito nor an egg roll, really.  I literally rolled them all into one! 

So in this recipe, which looks more complicated than it is, by-the-way, I use both Mexican beef chorizo and fresh ground pork.  I incorporate seasonings and fresh scallions to the mix.  While this is not a thirty minute meal, it is not one of those "takes forever" meals, either, and it is great to make when you have some dvr shows to watch, and rather than be a couch potato, you can be on your feet and productive while catching up.  Yes, that is my excuse, and I am sticking to it!  :)

Here is my staring line-up:
1 package (appx 16 ounces) Mexican beef chorizo  (or your favorite chorizo, even soyrizo, meatless chorizo)
1pound of ground pork
3 eggs, whipped with a fork
1 bundle (or six) scallions with excellent greens), sliced into one inch bites, whites and greens
a few spigs of fresh cilantro
1 Fresno chilis, finely chopped
1 serrano chili, finely chopped
1 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper, separated
salt
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 yellow or red onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin seed or 1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chile pasilla or chipotle powder
1 tablespoon of aged Tamari sauce
2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
3 tablespoons finely grated cheese (your favorite; I used grated - more like crumbled - Cojita, Queso Anejo, cheese)
1 package lumpia or egg roll wrappers
1 small bowl water
1 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil  (or your favorite high heat frying oil)



Prepping the ingredients is actually the most difficult part of this entire dish, so not to worry.  I do have a confession to make, and I suppose this is the best time to do so.  I had BIG plans to make lumpia, and I thought I was so smarty by picking up lumpia wrappers at my local grocer.  Well, clearly, as you can see by the photo, I was not paying attention very well, as I obviously picked up egg roll wrappers.  Being reasonable and flexible, I have to call these fried "rolls", not lumpia.  I will get lumpia wrappers for New Year's and add photos to this or an updated post.  Fear not, lumpia die-hards, I can make this happen!

Over medium-high heat, add the chorizo to a skillet, making sure to squeeze or cut it out of its packaging.  If you use "soyrizo", which is all-vegetable chorizo, add a light drizzle of oil to the skillet as it has practically no oil nor fat whatsoever.  Beef and pork chorizo, on the other hand, contain a lot of it, so there is no need to add oil.  I used beef chorizo, so I did not add oil, obviously.  It renders immediately.  When the fat has fully rendered, drop the product into a tight colander and allow the fat to drain.  Set it aside.  In the same skillet or pan, add the ground pork.  Season with salt and pepper and a sprinkle of smoked paprika. Cook for about three minutes, then add the chiles, finely chopped onion and garlic, smoked paprika and the Tamari and Sriracha sauces. Cook for about five more minutes, until the onions become translucent. Add a half cup of the scallions just before reducing the heat. Remove the meat and veggies from the heat and set aside for ten minutes to cool.

Meanwhile, in the same skillet, no oil needed, add the finely whipped eggs over medium-high heat.  Once it begins to bubble on the sides, reduce the heat to medium.  You are making a very thin layer of egg, almost an egg crepe.  Season with salt and pepper, smoked paprika, and the sprinkle the cheese all about the thin  layer as it bubbles.  When the sides have solidified, carefully flip it and reduce the heat immediately.  Remove the egg layer to a flat plate (no rim) and, using a pizza cutter, which I find easiest to use, cut it into half-inch slices, and then slice across the center diameter. You will probably have some extra egg slices left over, whch are you to snack on.  That's not a problem for you, right?  Didn't think so.  Just like me!  



   While the meat mixture cools, time to set up your roll construction line.  It is a bit of a puzzle process if you have a small kitchen, like I do.  But if I can make it happen, Anyone can.  Trust me.  Here is part of my arrangement on my little counter top. 


My set up is easy for me, but set up your space for your own comfort.  I take a wrapper lay it on a plate. I take an egg slice, top it with fresh scallion greens), add two spoon fulls of the meat mixture, wet the full edges of the wrapper with my fingers which I dip in the water.  I fold in the sides (right and left first, then roll from the counter edge (my tummy) forward.  

You can see I have moistened the wrapper sides, and have folded the sides inward.  That keeps the filling from slipping out during frying. 


The sides were folded and moistened, and now roll forward from your tummy.  Place the roll on a plate covered with a moistened paper towel or moistened kitchen towel.  

Once you have completed rolling the mixture into wrappers, set them in the refrigerator for about fifteen minutes, still covered, to set.  In a few minutes, add the frying oil to a large skillet or your deep fryer (in which you will need more oil than I'd posted in my ingredient list).  Just to let you know, the oil heats up quickly and the rolls begin to brown up quite rapidly, so do not walk away from this part to use your tv remote!  It takes perhaps two minutes per side, or three-four minutes, tops, in your deep fryer. Below is my fry set up.  I have a baking sheet off to the left with a rack in it, and the oven is set to 250-degrees.  I place the rack in the warm oven to keep the rolls crispy until I am ready to serve.  I do the same with fried chicken and other dishes I must cook in shifts.  Don't you?


 
 
Below is the first of my rolls frying. The aroma is amazing.  I am sure you will wish you had "smellaputer"!

I knew better, but I added garlic powder to flavor the oil before frying.  I knew better.  I should have added a crushed garlic clove to the oil to flavor it before heating up. Next time. Live and learn.  That is what it is all about!
 
I arranged my fried chorizo and pork rolll on my favorite Japanese serving platter.  I also made a dipping sauce. Here is what I did (no photo, sorry):  to half a cup of mayo (but plain yogurt would be just as great) I added a teaspoon of finely chopped fresh ginger and garlic, each, a teaspoon of tamari sauce and sriracha sauce, each.  I crowned it with a tiny pinch of black pepper and a splash of apple cider vinegar.  I realize that my dipping sauce would have been much better had I made it much earlier in the day, or even the night before.  Again, live and learn.  It is what my blog is all about.  Learning and enjoying fun with food. 
 
This is a fun and spicy dish.  It is perfect for finger food entertaining.  It has something for everyone, and the dipping sauce is a crowning delicious glory.  I hope you enjoy! 
Itadakimasu!