The Omnivore’s Hundred and its Vegetarian Cousin

Berhaut Epoisses Stinky Washed Rind Cheese

Just like any self-respecting pinoy operating on Filipino Time, I’m late to the party as usual. The Omnivore’s Hundred has been making its way around the blogs and has even spawned a vegetarian version. Both hundred-item lists are featured here and it looks like I still have a long way to go. In the spirit of open-mindedness, I’m willing to try anything at least once, with a few reasonable exceptions, of course.

View my Omnivore's and Vegetarian's Hundred »

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A Meme

Rogue Chocolate Stout and Unibroue La Fin Du Monde

It’s my first time getting tagged with a meme and I want to say something cool like, “I had to look it up on Wikipedia because I don’t know what it is.” I know exactly what it is, though. It means that I now have a grand total of five readers and I couldn’t be happier. Thanks to Deb of Kahakai Kitchen for noticing my little corner on the interwebs and finally using the correct gender-specific pronoun to address my masculine self. She even edited “her site” to “his site” in her meme post.

View A Meme and the reason I photographed two empty beer bottles »

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Coda alla Vaccinara – Eat Like a Roman Butcher

Coda alla Vaccinara - Braised Oxtail Butcher Style

Famous for dishes that highlight quinto quatro, the “fifth quarter” or oft-ignored parts of an animal, Rome sounds like my kind of town. Alla vaccinara is old Roman for “butcher’s style” and no other cut could be more appropriate for such a designation than oxtail. Unappealing to most, a butcher would know that when properly prepared, oxtail can be much more enjoyable than pricey ribeye or tenderloin.

Unlike other offal that hide behind cutesy names (sweetbreads for thymus glands, adidas for chicken feet, rocky mountain oysters for uh, cow “berries,” and soup number 5 for see preceding item), oxtail is exactly what it sounds like. It is, in fact, the tail of an ox-slash-cow, so unless there’s a nuclear spill nearby, there’s only one small sliver per beast. I’m convinced, however, that the neighborhood meat counters rarely carry oxtail not because of low supply, but because the white-clad guys behind the counter keep it for themselves.

View Coda alla Vaccinara recipe »

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Homemade Corn Tortillas using Masa Harina

Homemade Tortillas using Masa Harina

Chicago is home to several vibrant Latino neighborhoods, some predominantly of Mexican heritage. It follows that there is hardly any shortage of sources for Mexican ingredients. There are even several tortillerias open to the public that produce freshly made tortillas by the truckload and buying from these factories is easily the best option — the turnover will be high and the tortillas will be at their freshest. Since tortillas stale quickly, most store-bought varieties are pumped full of preservatives and could have been on the shelf for weeks.

It’s one thing to cook labor-intensive Mexican dishes in a city home to excellent Mexican restaurants — the options range from humble street food and taquerias to fine-dining establishments with elaborate tasting menus. New heights of obsessiveness are reached when one also makes the simple but somewhat finicky tortillas at home.

View Homemade Corn Tortillas using Masa Harina recipe »

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Chicken in Red Sesame Seed Sauce

Chicken in Red Sesame Seed Sauce - Pollo en Pipian Rojo

Ancho chiles, the most commonly used dried capsicum in Mexican cookery, give this thick and earthy dish its characteristic maroon color. The muted red hues of pipián rojo hides its complexity — toasted sesame seeds meld with Mexican herbs and spices to create an intense sauce with a consistency similar to mole.

There are two distinct steps in preparing pollo en pipián rojo. The chicken is first poached in an aromatic broth to season and cook the meat. The red sauce is then created separately. It will be used to poach the chicken a second time.

To make the pipián rojo, the ancho chiles and sesame seeds are toasted and combined with spices and garlic to create a paste. The chicken broth from the first poaching is used to thin the ancho-sesame paste, only to be thickened again to further deepen the flavors of the sauce.

View Chicken in Red Sesame Seed Sauce recipe »

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