Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Storms a Brewin'

There are soon to be big changes here at Xocoatl Express. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Mysterious Shrimp Shakers

As the end of summer draws ever near The Order of the Shrimp Shakers unite for an amazing dinner of shrimp and fellowship at Cape San Blas on the Gulf of Mexico. Proper food and drinks are required for the lengthy weekend stay. I won't completely divulge what goes on during a meeting of the Shrimp Shakers but I can tell you it's a wondrous event.

5lbs of fresh Florida White Shrimp (from the Gulf of Mexico)
1 package Zataran's Shrimp & Crab Boil
5 cut potatoes
1/2 sliced red onion
Sausage (we used turkey and pork)
Corn on the cob

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pernod Gets the Nod

So, this month I have dedicated to the spice star anise. First on my list dedicated to this amazing spice is Pernod (Aux Plantes D'Absinthe Superieure) pronounced pear'no. This exquisite liqueur is not only for drinking but can be combined with many dishes and recipes. 

What is Pernod you ask? Pernod is a brand named French liqueur often referred to as a pastis. So then what the hell is a pastis? Pastis is an anise flavored liqueur aperitif with a very very high alcohol content 40-45%. When absinthe was banned in France back in 1915 Pernod reformulated their drink to omit the banned wormwood component, focusing on a heavier anise flavoring. However, in 2007 absinthe became legal in many countries and the Pernod recipe changed once again to include wormwood but kept in place the heavier anise. 

The leading characteristics of Pernod is its licorice and herb flavors. It has relatives in Greece with ouzo, Italy with sambuca and Spain with ojen. Pernod is much lighter/airy and less thick and syrupy as its cousins. Another interesting characteristic of Pernod is its ability to louche or turn from a green to a cloudy milk color when cold water is added. 

Aside from drinking Pernod enhances vegetables dishes like braised fennel, celery or carrots, baked cabage or onions and sauces served over asparagus or broccoli. For a refreshing salad dressing add a tablespoon to some oil and vinegar. Or combine lime juice with sugar and Pernod and drizzle over fruit salad. Also, substitute it in recipes that call for wine like meat and poultry dishes. And one of my favorites is to add a splash of it over my vanilla ice-cream...yum. As to not overpower the dishes add Pernod at the end of cooking, since the alcohol can be quite strong. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Star Anise - A Month of Celebration

I've officially labeled the month of April as "The Month of Star Anise". I figure trends need to start somewhere and why not here. So, in the following weeks I'll be posting recipes that include this illustrious spice from drinks to appetizers, hearty meals and yes my favorite - chocolates. By all means feel free to write in and include some of your favorite recipes and/or uses of star anise, after all it's not merely my month to celebrate but yours as well. 
Cheers, Aaron