Monday, October 24, 2011

A break from Sauces!

Did I tell you I went to Machu Picchu? I wish I could tell you it was the real one in the Andes in southern Peru…but alas, it was the new restaurant in Raleigh, North Carolina! While visiting Ann and Bruce (sister and brother-in-law) a review of the restaurant was in the newspaper and within an hour, we were on our way. It is in a strip center; very average looking from the parking lot. As you enter, you notice the giant mural of Machu Picchu. It is such a breath taking wonder, literally. It is a pre-Columbian 15th-century Inca site located 2,430 metres (7,970 ft) above sea level.[1][2] It is situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru. It was so nice to sit and breathe comfortably in Raleigh and yet experience part of the culture. Not one of the 6 of us had a clue what we were in for….we just knew we were game for something new.

One look at the menu and I was lost! Fortunately, our server was excellent. Each question was answered politely and patiently…and we had many! There were many unfamiliar words and terms on the menu….from beverages, specials, ingredients, desserts! After much humming and hawing, we each chose a different menu item so we could try as many things as possible. The menu consists of a collection of signature Peruvian dishes as well as Nouveau Andean dishes to cater to the Raleigh Community. We all agreed the outstanding dish was Tacu Tacu con Apanado de Carne de Puerco a combination of fried Peruvian Canario beans, rice and specialty Aji sauce, served with breaded pork and salsa criolla (thin slices of red onions and spices) and Extra Virgin Oil! The plate of food was HUGE and DELICIOUS! To see the complete menu, go to and click on “our menu”.

Chef Gloria and her Side-Kick
Having been a chef in a major restaurant here in Kansas City, I know how important it is to come out into the dining room and meet your customers. I was amazed at the time Chef Gloria and her Sous Chef spent with us. I didn’t ask, but I am fairly sure they were a husband and wife team, both well versed in their menu and very willing to talk about it.
All together, the menu, the dining room, the service, the server, the chef and her sous chef, and of course, the food, made for a great afternoon. Okay, so it wasn’t the real Machu Picchu, but it was fun! And I didn’t have trouble with the altitude!
Peruvian cuisine is recognized around the world as one of the best in South America - try it and see what everyone is raving about. Here is a recipe for you, straight from Peru.
Anticuchos are a popular party food in South America, especially in Peru. The most traditional Peruvian anticuchos are made with beef heart, but they can also be made with chicken (anticuchos de pollo) or steak.

Anticuchos are seasoned with garlic, vinegar, cumin, and aji panca, a mild red chile pepper with a smoky flavor common in Peruvian cooking. You can often find dried aji panca or jarred aji panca paste in specialty stores or Latin food markets

Grilled Beef Anticuchos - Anticuchos de Carne

12 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon cumin
1/4 cup mild chile pepper paste (aji panca, if available)
1/2 cup vinegar, divided
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
2-3 pounds steak (sirloin, tenderloin)
Wooden skewers

1.Cut beef into 2 inch chunks and place in a nonreactive bowl or dish.
2.Mash the garlic. Add a little water if necessary to make a paste.
3.Make the marinade: in a bowl, mix the crushed garlic, 1/4 cup of the vinegar, 1/4 cup chile pepper paste, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper.
4.Pour the marinade over the beef and mix well. Marinade beef overnight in the refrigerator. If you are pressed for time, marinade beef for at least 1 hour at room temperature.
5.Prepare the grill. Place the beef onto the skewers (about 4 pieces of beef on each skewer).
6.Make a basting mixture of 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1/4 cup vinegar, and a pinch of cumin.
7.Grill the skewers for about 5 minutes on each side, or to desired doneness. Baste beef several times during cooking.
8.Serve with rice and corn on the cob.
Makes about 12 skewers.

So, after some research on line and a trip to  the library, I have found a recipe for our favorite dish, Tacu Tacu con Apanado de Carne de Puerco, with a few changes, I suspect.  There was no fried egg on the Tacu Tacu in Raleigh, but I think it sounds delicious!

Tacu Tacu con Apanado de Carne de Puerco
5 slices of bacon
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon chile powder or chile paste (or to taste)
1 1/2 cups cooked beans (canned are fine)
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
20-25 saltine crackers
4 pieces of very thin boneless pork steak
4 tablespoons butter
Vegetable oil for frying
2 bananas or plantains
4 eggs
1/3 cup of thinly sliced onion for garnish

Saute the bacon until crispy.
Remove bacon (save for another use), and use the bacon grease left in the pan to sauté the chopped onion with the chile powder (or chile paste), until soft and golden.
Stir in the beans and mash them with a wooden spoon until they are pretty well broken up. Add the rice and stir.
Cook, stirring, until the rice and beans are heated through. Remove from heat, let cool, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Process the saltine crackers in a food processor to make fine crumbs. Set aside 1/2 cup of the crumbs for later use.
Sprinkle a layer of crumbs on a cutting board, and place a piece of pork over the crumbs. Sprinkle the steak with salt and pepper, and pound the steak with a meat pounder until flat and thin. Flip the steak over and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Repeat with the rest of the steaks.
Heat butter and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a skillet until hot, then sauté steaks for 2 minutes on each side, or until desired doneness. Remove from heat and place steaks on a plate. Cover them with foil and keep them warm in a low temperature oven until ready to serve.
Cook the rice and bean panackes: Shape the cooled rice and bean mixture into 4 flattened, football-shaped patties. Press them into the remaining saltine cracker crumbs, covering both sides.
Using the same skillet that cooked the steaks (uncleaned), heat 2 - 3 tablespoons of oil. Add the patties (1 or 2 at a time if necessary) and cook, 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown and crispy on the outside. Remove patties from heat and cover with foil to keep warm.
Peel the bananas and slice each in half crosswise. Slice each piece in half lengthwise, to make 8 pieces. In a clean skillet or pot, fry the banana (or plantain) slices in an inch of vegetable oil. Sprinkle with salt and set aside.
Assemble the tacu tacu: On each plate, place one of the rice and beans patties. Top it with a piece of steak. Place a slice of fried banana on each side of the plate.
In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespooons butter until hot. Crack the eggs into the skillet and fry for 3 to 4 minutes. Top each piece of steak with a fried egg.
Garnish with some thinly sliced onions and serve.
Serves 4.

I don't want to go all "Shirley McClain" on you, but I would love to go to the real Machu Picchu. I think I could really use a little spirituality.

Another sauce!

It has been a while since I last posted a blog….much has happened here in my world, and I simply have not had the time or energy. But, things are calming down. This last weekend I volunteered to help with the release of the vineyard's new wine....Somerset Ridge Crimson Cabernet. It has quickly become the favorite of many! I am among them.

There was a family gathering here in Kansas City for the military funeral of my uncle, Colonel G P Vogt. The National Cemetery in Leavenworth, Kansas was absolutely beautiful with the hundreds of huge old trees gracing the hillsides in the 128 acre cemetery. The leaves are turning, but the grass is still very green. It was a wonderful afternoon of loving family and military pride, an overwhelming combination. My Uncle Pete was quite a character. We spent many hours laughing as we remembered and shared stories of him. It was wonderful having all of my cousins gathered once again.

I find it rather difficult to jump back into blogging after being away from it. The month of October has been a very busy time and it is difficult to figure to get my mind under control! I am usually not at a loss for words, but I am having a tough time deciding what to write about! I know I owe you another mother sauce recipe, so I suppose I should start there.
 So far we have covered Béchamel, based on milk, thickened with a white roux. and Espagnole, based on brown stock (usually veal), thickened with a brown roux. I hope you have tried them!

This time I want to tell you about Velouté, a sauce based on a white stock, thickened with a blonde roux. “Veh-loo-TAY” is a fancy French name for a white sauce that is stock based and thickened with a white roux.
The stock used is usually chicken, veal, or fish.

 1 1/2 cups white stock (veal, chicken, or fish) - white stock just means the bones were not roasted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Bring the stock to a simmer in a large saucepan.

In a separate saucepan, melt the butter over low heat (don't let it burn) and add the flour. Raise the heat to medium and stir the butter and flour together for about 2 minutes. You are making the roux. Take a good whiff and it should have a pleasant toasted smell.

Whisk the simmering stock into the roux and keep heating and whisking. When the stock begins to simmer again, turn down the heat to low and cook until the sauce thickens. A thin skin may form, just skim it away with your spoon. Depending on your stovetop, the sauce may take 5 - 10 minutes to get to your desired consistency.
Season with salt and pepper

From this basic sauce, you can now make the two most notable sauces that are based on velouté. They are Sauce Allemande and Sauce Supreme. I would like for you to try Sauce Allemande.

The Allemande Sauce (which is also sometimes called "German Sauce") is a finished sauce made by thickening a velouté with a mixture of egg yolks and heavy cream called a liaison
The Allemande sauce is sometimes mistakenly called Sauce Parisienne. Sauce Parisienne is similar, but it uses cream cheese instead of the egg-cream liaison, and so it is a different sauce altogether.

1 quart velouté
½ cup heavy cream
2 egg yolks
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
Lemon juice, to taste

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the velouté over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and reduce for about 5 minutes or until the total volume has reduced by about a cup.
In a stainless steel or glass bowl, beat together the cream and egg yolks until smooth. This egg-cream mixture is your liaison.
(In the culinary arts, a liaison is a mixture of egg yolks and heavy cream that is used to thicken a sauce.)
Slowly add about a cup of the hot velouté into the liaison, whisking constantly so that the egg yolks don't curdle from the heat.
Now gradually whisk the warm liaison back into the velouté.
Bring the sauce back to a gentle simmer for just a moment, but don't let it boil.
Season to taste with Kosher salt, white pepper and lemon juice. Strain and serve right away.
Makes about 1 quart of Allemande Sauce.

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
oil painting by Kay Tucker

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek

Somerset Autumn on Wea Creek
Oil Painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection


oil painting by Kay Tucker

Kansas Storm

Kansas Storm
oil painting by Kay Tucker, Private Collection

Watercolor Collage

Watercolor Collage

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time

Tempo al Tempo....All in Good Time
48"x36" sculptural painting by Kay Tucker