Monday, August 24, 2009

Hatch Chile Season

Oh yes, It's that time of year again. Hatch Chile season is upon us. If you're lucky enough to live in a part of the country where you can procure these delights, you'd be wise to stock up. If the Hatch Chile is not available in your neighborhood, be aware that the Hatch Chile is generally any variety of the New Mexico Chile, which happens to be grown in Hatch, NM.

This is the first year where I've noticed all of the local markets carrying both a mild (New Mexico #20) and a hot (Big Jim or Sandia) pepper. In the past (at least at the stores I shop in) you've just had the luck of the draw; this is not the case this year. Both Sprouts and Central Market were advertising fresh chiles in mild and hot. I chose to make my purchases at Central Market, mostly because they roast on site and they make just about everything you could imagine with the Hatch pepper on the "roasting" weekends. For example, in my adventure on Sunday, I procured the following:
2lbs each of hot and mild roasted peppers -- roasted on site, in front of me
1lb each of hot and mild fresh peppers
1lb of Hatch Chile Pork sausage
1 jar Hatch Chile salsa verde
1 package fresh Hatch Chile Hamburger Buns

There were many other options include fresh guacamole, pepper jams and fresh pepper jack cheese made with the delicious Hatch Chile, but I thought I had done enough.

Anyway, the fresh chiles are good for many of your standard chile applications, and the roasted go great in everything; my meal plans include Hatch Manwich and Hatch Chicken Enchiladas. I might make rellenos with the fresh peppers; we'll just have to see.

Tonight, I made Hatch Chile Rice. And it was awesome.
1 Cup Rice
2 Cups Chicken Broth
3 Tbsp minced roasted Hatch Chiles (I used the Hot ones)
1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Granulated Garlic
Salt to taste.

Rinse your rice, throw it in your rice cooker, add the broth, chiles and seasoning and fire it up. Don't have a rice cooker? You're on your own. I've forgotten how to cook rice w/out one.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Quick word about BYOB

You may have noticed that I mentioned the fact that Citrus Bistro is BYOB several times in the review. Post dinner at CB, I decided to do a little research on other BYOB restaurants in the Dallas area. I'd like to thank Google for the below link.


Lists all of the restaurants with a BYO option, and their corkage fee, if any. Only in select cities, but the "select" cities happens to cover the majority of the BeefRobot readership.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Black Pepper Simple Syrup

So, sure, we have all tried simple syrup at one point or another. Maybe we've even made it. But lately, simple syrup is, well, a little too simple for me. I saw a recipe a while back for black pepper simple syrup and it sounded delicious! Tonight, it is achieved.

Start with your basic simple syrup recipe, though I thought it a good idea to add a touch more water than normal. I use a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water, though it is not unheard of to make the sugar portion 1.5 or even 2 to 1 part of water. Then I added about 25 black peppercorns to the pot. I set it to simmer for about 25 minutes, though I will experiment with a longer simmer for greater concentration of the pepper.

The first drink I made with the syrup was an easy one: 4 tsp black pepper syrup, vodka, soda. This drink is very clean, and with a nice undercurrent of pepper. The combo of sweet and pepper really is a mellow way to add a little kick to a drink.

Drink #2: ice to half a rocks glass; just cover with tequila (I did gold tonight); add 6 tablespoons BP syrup. Enjoy this - the syrup adds a layer of complexity to your tequila and gives it the illusion of having been aged. Tasty!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Citrus Bistro -- a review

While shopping in the Preston and Royal area a few weeks ago, I had noticed Citrus Bistro. I did my internet research, and decided it would work well for a nice Friday dinner.

In my research, I had noticed that Citrus Bistro is BYOB, so I grabbed a bottle from the wine fridge and we headed out, arriving at around 7pm. We walked in the back door, near the patio and were asked if we had a reservation. We said no, the host said "no problem" and lead us to a table in the front of the restaurant. Note, this place can get pretty loud, and it appears as though there are a lot of regulars, so you might be wise to make a reservation.

We were seated, and the host went to retrieve some wine glasses for our bottle. He returned shortly, and poured our glasses and explained the numerous (4 or more) nightly specials, and explained that if there was something we wanted that wasn't on the menu, they'd make it assuming they had the ingredients. One of the specials had some soft shelled crab involved, and I seriously considered ordering a plate of crabs, but decided that I'd stick with the current specials/menu options.

Misstep #1. Joy's wine glass had lipstick on it, that wasn't her own. The glass was quickly replaced, but, we didn't notice till after the wine was poured. Ok, now we're short one glass of wine, and they still charged the corkage fee? I should have said something, but for some reason was in a good mood or something, and didn't.

After some deliberation, and assurance that the "Dover Sole" special was indeed Dover Sole, and not Black Flounder, Lemon Flounder or any other Flounder I chose the pan seared Dover Sole, and a Caprese salad.

Misstep #2. My Caprese salad was made with some run of the mill Roma tomatoes -- which I know are traditional, but... For an $8 salad of tomatoes, cheese and basil dressing, I want something heirloom.

My Sole, on the other hand, was probably one of the most correctly prepared pieces of fish I've ever had. And quite delicious. The lemon butter sauce was just right, and as an added bonus, the fish came out whole but was de-boned table side by an extraordinarily adept member of the wait staff.

Joy had the Copper River Salmon special, which, as we were in the height of Copper River season, was spectacular. Cooked perfectly medium, with a delicious crust and silky smooth interior.

In short, since this review is really long, Citrus Bistro is solid, though if you're ordering off the specials menu it can be a little pricey. BYOB is really nice though, and is not just limited to wine, judging by some of the clientele’s flasks, and road scotches they brought in with them. It can get a little loud though, as most of the customers seemed to have imbibed some level of alcohol and the space is small. I can say, with all certainty that we'll be back, cause I love a restaurant that doesn't frown upon you walking in with a pre-poured road cocktail.

Citrus Bistro