Hatch Green Chile Season

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I can’t even begin to describe that first whiff Hatch chiles roasting on an open fire. But, it’s that time of the year again.  Not to be confused with other chile peppers, like jalapeños, serranos or poblanos that that are also green in color, Hatch chiles are a specific variety of green chile grown in the Hatch Valleys of New Mexico. For those of us fortunate to live in the Southwest, we can purchase them fresh in the store and many stores roast them on the spot. I prefer to buy fresh and roast them at home myself. I also will buy them in bulk in order to vacuum seal and freeze for other times of the year. For those without access to fresh varieties, you can find them canned. These usually are very acceptable substitutes in most recipes.

The benefits…

Green chiles are naturally packed with Vitamin A (essential for maintenance of teeth, bones, mucous membranes, eyes and skin) as well as Vitamin C (as a vitamin helps body maintain and repair the body and as an antioxidant helps the body fight infections.) The chemical compound capsaicin , that gives them the spice, also releases endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are naturally occurring “pleasure” neurotransmitters. They are produced by the hypothalamus in response to excitement, exercise, pain (for relief of), love, orgasm and in this case, eating spicy foods. Recent studies by the American Association for Cancer Research, also points to the ability of capsacin to help manage the spread of certain cancers.

The recipes…

Whether you pick some up for the health benefit or just because you love the burn, be sure to grab some chiles on your next trip to the farmers market or store and check out these great recipes!!!

How to Roast Hatch Green Chiles

Hatch Chile Vinaigrette

Coffee Rubbed Ribs with Hatch Green Chile BBQ

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Coffee Rubbed Ribs with Hatch Green Chile BBQ Sauce

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Coffee Rub Ingredients:

3 T Ground Coffee
1 T coarse salt (kosher or sea)
1 T Organic Local Honey
2 t sweet paprika
1 t freshly ground black pepper
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t ground coriander
1/2 t unsweetened cocoa powder

Sauce Ingredients: 

5 Hatch Chiles, roasted and chopped

2 T Coconut Oil

1 Yellow Onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 c Fish Sauce

1/2 c Beer (Not paleo, I know. If this an issue, substitute chicken stock.)

1/8 c Organic Local Honey

Salt and Pepper, to taste

1 29 ounce can tomatillo sauce (Tomato sauce may be substituted if tomatillo not available. The sauces will be distinctly different from each other, but both equally tasty.)

Sauce Method:

1. In large sauce pan, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until tender. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

2. Add green chiles and remaining ingredients and reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes. Remove and allow to cool before continuing.

3. In blender, puree sauce until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired.  Sealed refrigerated sauce will keep 1-2 weeks.

Ribs Method:

This method may be used for one slab or as many as your grill will hold. Using the recipe above, you will have a generous amount of sauce for leftovers.

1. Season ribs with coffee rub.

2. Place ribs on foil (with sides and ends folded up forming a “boat.” Pour about 1/2 cup of water under ribs.

3. Cook in 300 degree BBQ for about 2 hours. Do NOT lift lid during this time to allow steam and smoke to remain trapped inside the BBQ.

4. After 2 hours, remove ribs from foil, place directly onto grill and brush with sauce.

Hatch Chile Vinaigrette

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Ingredients:

1 Garlic Clove

2 Hatch Chiles, roasted, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

2 T Apple Cider Vinegar

2 T Lime Juice

1t Kosher Salt

Black Pepper, to taste

Organic Local Honey, to manage heat of chiles

Method:

Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and process until smooth and emulsified. May be stored for 4-5 days.

 

How to Roast Hatch Green Chiles

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There are many methods that may be used for roasting chiles. An open flame is hands down the best method, preferably outdoors on a grill. Many times, however, if a grill is not available, I will use a plumbers torch (available at any hardware store for around $15-$20. Do not try this with smaller kitchen style torches meant for caramelizing creme brûlée or other smaller jobs. You need a stronger, wider flame spread to do the job and you most likely will run out of fuel before you finish your peppers using a smaller torch.) If neither of these are available, the same techniques below may be used using the broiler setting of your oven and placing the chiles on a sheet pan and turning with tongs when needed.

Method:

1. If available, wear disposable gloves to prevent capsacin containing oils from getting on the hands and burning more sensitive areas when touched.

2. Place chiles on a grill and roast about 3 minutes until skin begins to blister. Blistering the skin is essential, however you do not want to cook the flesh of the chile underneath.

3. Once blistered, turn with tongs. Repeat as necessary until all sides are blistered. Place in plastic bag or tupperware and allow to sweat for about 5 minutes. This will loosen the skin.

4. With dry paper towel, gently wipe the skin off of the flesh of the peppers. Note: Do NOT run them under water as this will also rinse essential oils from the flesh. If you wish a milder flavor in your dish, the seeds and inner pith (white fleshy ribs inside the chile may be removed to decrease the heat.

5. At this point, the roasted chiles are ready for use in your favorite recipe, or  to seal and store in the freezer for later use. If kept airtight, they will keep for about year.

Curried Pork Lettuce Wraps – From 2012 Austin Parade of Homes Chef Night

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I was honored to be selected as one of the featured chefs for Austin’s 2012 Parade of Homes Chef Night at the PGM Design + Build home. PGM owner, Edgar Prats, and I later reunited on the He Said, She Said radio program. He’s been begging me ever since for he pork recipe I prepared that night. This curried pork is a test of patience, but well worth the wait to prepare. I originally served this as a one bite amuse-bouche at the event, but it’s especially delicious served wrapped in a crisp lettuce cup. The cool crunch is an awesome compliment to the sweet spice of the pork. I usually will buy an entire pork shoulder at a time (about 12-18 lbs). If entertaining, you can cook the entire shoulder or split the butt (upper part) from the picnic (lower part) and freeze one for a later use.

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Ingredients:
1 pork butt, bone in
1 sweet yellow onion, sliced 1/2″ thick
1 – 12 oz can coconut milk
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 stalk lemongrass, bruise with heel of knife
equal parts Penzey’s Sweet and Hot Curry Powder, about 4 Tbsp each mixed
salt and pepper
4 Tbsp coconut oil
1 head Boston lettuce

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Season butt completely with curry powder, then sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper.
3. In large Dutch oven, heat coconut oil over med-high heat.
4. Sear butt in oil on all sides until browned. Remove and set aside.
5. Add lime juice and coconut milk to Dutch oven to deglaze the pan.
6. Return butt to pan, add remaining ingredients except lettuce, cover and place in oven.
7. Once in oven, immediately reduce heat to 200 degrees F.
8. Cook for 4 hours, basting every 20-30 minutes.
9. Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes before shredding pork butt with fork.
10. Strain pan sauce and save it for remoistening pork if needed.
11. Serve in lettuce wraps by themselves or topped with fresh chiles, your favorite salsa, shredded cabbage or cilantro.

Note: This can also be made in a crockpot. Turn crockpot to high and allow to heat completely. Once this is done, sear the butt in a sauté pan. Transfer pork to crockpot and deglaze saute pan with lime juice and coconut milk as above then transfer sauce to crockpot and add remaining ingredients. Cook high for 4-6 hours or reduce heat to low once all ingredients are added and cook 8-10 hours.

Chicken Enchilada Stew

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When I wake up to rainy days like today, only one thing sounds good. Soup. I had just enough time to throw this in the crock pot before heading to class, can’t wait for the amazing smell when I get home later, NOMS!

Ingredients:
2lbs chicken breasts
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 bell pepper, chopped
2 jalapenos, sliced very thin
4 Hatch green chiles, charred with torch or over stovetop burner, deseeded and chopped
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 (14oz) can of fire roasted tomatoes
1 (7 oz) can tomato sauce
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
bunch of cilantro, to garnish
avocado, to garnish

Method:
1. Season chicken breasts with cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Sear lightly in saute pan with coconut oil on both sides until they begin to brown. Don’t cook through completely.
2. Add chicken and all ingredients to crock pot on low for 8-10 hours or high for 6-8 hours.
3. After 6 hours remove chicken breasts and shred with a fork before returning to crock pot to finish cooking.
4. Garnish with fresh cilantro and diced avocado.
5. Enjoy!!!

Note: I make this typically in large batches. It can be eaten as more than just a soup. By straining the stock, the chicken and veggies are amazing in omelettes and on salads.

Faux-lafal… Yep, had to go there…

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Gotta keep with the theme for National Falafal Day with a paleo friendly version I worked up. These make a great side dish, salad topping, or by themselves with some tzatziki sauce. And for another twist on the traditional recipe, check out my good friend Chef Amy over at What Jew Wanna Eat.

Ingredients:

2 cup raw cauliflower, pureed in food processor
1 cup ground almonds or pecans
3 tbsp Penzey’s Greek Seasoning
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 clove garlic, minced
4 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
4 large eggs
6 tbsp coconut flour
coconut oil, as needed for sautéing

Method:

1. Mix all ingredients well in a bowl.
2. Form mix into 3 inch patties.
3. Add and melt just enough coconut oil in sauté pan over medium-high heat to coat bottom of pan.
4. Sauté patties a few at a time. Flip when you begin seeing the sides brown.

National Falafal Day!!!

Ok, I realize it isn’t paleo traditionally, but in celebration of the holiday I had to make a stop at one of my favorite vegetarian spots today for lunch, Maoz at The Triangle 4700 Guadalupe.

Now, before I get any backlash, being made from chickpeas, falafal is not paleo. However, more important to me, it is gluten and grain-free. And for the uppity Austin foodies, yes Maoz is a franchise and not born in our backyard. But, they are locally owned and the owner has been there working and chatting with guests virtually every time I have been in. The service is incredibly friendly and their product is always very fresh.

My pick, the Maoz Salad Box every time. At 250 calories to start, you then have a topping bar of tons of fresh produce and homemade sauces to top it without feeling guilty. I definitely recommend checking them out!

Avocado, Citrus and Fennel Salad

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This is a great little salad I like to whip up when it starts warming up outside. The avocados are a no brainer as I always have them on hand and they go in just about everything I eat. A great vegetarian source of protein, avocados contain all 18 essential amino acids to form a complete protein. They are also a great source of high density lipoproteins (the good cholesterol) and have incredible anti-inflammatory properties. Combine the peppery spice of the arugula with the sweetness of the citrus and the fennel’s aroma and it’s a win.

For those who know me, my favorite things to make are soups and sauces, and that includes dressings. There really is no reason for anyone to visit the salad dressing aisle in the grocery store other than to get some ideas of a dressing to make at home themselves in a batch to use and also store for later.

One of the first ingredients to look at in our diets whether it be for weight management, performance or just simply to be healthy is where our fat comes from. Rather than get into too much science here, for now let’s just stick with the refined oils used in salad dressings. When oils are processed, their chemical structures are manipulated by manufacturers in order to increase shelf life, maximize smoke points for high-temp cooking and any number of other reasons. These alterations also increase the likelihood of oxidation of the oil and making them molecularity unstable and potentially becoming carcinogenic free radicals within the body. The list below are oils to avoid and those recommended. Keep in mind that we are only talking about for cold uses. I will spend significant time in another post discussing oils safe for cooking as many listed here like olive oil are very dangerous to cook with for the same oxidation concerns.

Oils to Avoid: Canola, Corn, Vegetable, Soybean, Grapeseed, Sunflower, Safflower, Rice Bran

Oils Recommended: Olive, Sesame, Nut (walnut, pecan, macadamia), Flaxseed, Avocado

Next time you’re at the store, pick up a bottle or two or ten. Read the labels and I challenge you to find many if any at all that do not contain these processed oils. Look especially close at those that advertise being “Made with Olive Oil.” Sure, the are technically made with some olive oil, but there are no guidelines set as to what percentage must be olive oil and what can be the other junk.

The Ginger Citrus Vinaigrette recipe below is a great example of what you can do yourself. The ratio of vinegar to oil is one that can be kept standard for you in other dressings so with that you can get creative and play with other flavors from fruits to berries, nuts and spices. This leaves you in control not only of the flavors you are in the mood for, but also the quality of ingredients you are putting into your body.

Ginger Citrus Vinaigrette
1/2 cup blood orange juice (may substitute orange, lime, yuzu or any citrus juice)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon organic local honey
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Salad
4 cups arugula, rinsed
1 whole avocado, peeled pitted and sliced 1/4″ thick
1 whole fennel bulb with frond, bulb sliced very thin with knife or mandoline, with sprigs reserved for garnish
1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
1 grapefruit, cut into supremes

1. Mix all vinaigrette ingredients except oil, salt and pepper into a bowl and whisk together or blend with a hand mixer.
2. Very slowly drizzle oil while continuing to whisk until an emulsification begins to develop. Oil may be added a little faster at this point. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Lay avocado slices across bottom of plate as a base for arugula.
4. Toss arugula, shaved fennel and red onion lightly with just enough vinaigrette to coat but not soak and wilt the leaves. Place on top of the arugula.
5. Garnish with supremes and fennel sprigs.
Note: for added protein, this salad goes GREAT with smoked salmon, ahi tuna or lump crab meat. Enjoy!!!

Against the Grain Dining – Wholly Cow!!!

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I was on the run today and needed a quick bite. Not us how I ever missed this place when I was living downtown, but it’s killer. Located just south of 7th St on Congress, Wholly Cow features local, grass-fed beef in all their burgers, Philly cheesesteaks, reubens and chili as well as locally-grown organic produce.

I went with the Fit Cross Burger and Sweet Potato Fries (yeah, yeah, yeah, I know they’re not paleo, but it was one of those days 😉 The burger was hugged between two portobello mushroom caps with lettuce, tomato and onions. The mushroom caps are a nice change from my standard naked burger. There’s something just not quite right about having to eat a burger with silverware and lettuce cups tend to disintegrate about halfway through. I’ve had other restaurants attempts at shroom buns, but most of the time you end up with one of two things. The caps are either raw and end up crumbling, or they are over marinated or cooked to the point that they are a slimy mess. This was perfect. I’ll definitely be back and will have to checkout their S. Lamar location inside Zen Food Mart and Convenience Store. Zen is also known for their selection of local organic produce for sale as well as organic non-GMO Fredericksburg Peaches while you’re there. Noms!!!

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The original location is located inside the new ZEN Food Mart Convenience Store at 3010 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78704. 512-394-8156.
Restaurant hours are:
Mon-Thurs from 7AM – 9:30PM.
Friday & Saturday 7AM -10:30PM.
Sunday 10:30AM – 8:30PM.

The downtown location is at 619 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701. 512-425-0811
Hours are:
Monday – Thursday 8AM – 9PM.
Friday 8AM – 3AM. Saturday 10AM – 3AM.
Sunday 10:30AM – 8:30PM.