Dear Kat: On spice and comfort food

My friend Kat and I are trying this thing on our blogs. What we want to do is a series of letters to each other about food and life and whatnot. We became friends in the kitchen over food and gin and photography while we were graduate students in Scotland. She was my maid of honour at my wedding. Now Kat lives in Germany and I live in the US. We miss cooking together, so this is our way of reframing that part of our now much more encompassing friendship. Katharina blogs at Tea Cake Sandwiches.

Dear Kat,

It’s been a long cold winter and I’m glad it’s almost done. It’s been way too long since I wrote you one of these letters.

I have some disappointing news. That grocery store with the jungle animals is closing. It’s hard for a city of 40000 people to sustain four different grocery stores. It’s sad though, to lose the one store where we could find good quality organic and gluten free ingredients.

To be honest, Dwight has been doing more of the cooking around here than I have lately. My work schedule tends towards the crazy and he really enjoys cooing from scratch. We received a wonderful food processor from R & J for Christmas – that’s the one that was initially stolen from our front porch by a brazen thief. In any case, Dwight has taken to making his own sauce and salsa bases.

Last night he made these amazing adobe chile beef tacos.

Adobe Chile Beef Tacos

2 lbs flank steak

ground cumin

smoky praprika

salt

pepper

dried adobe chillis

4 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons butter, unsalted

1/2 bell pepper, red

1/2 bell pepper, green

onion, chopped medium fine

2 cloves of garlic

1 Tablespoon flour (we use GF)

1 cup of beef or chicken stock

1 cup of cilantro/coriander

12 tortillas

We’re going to send you some New Mexican dried chiles in the mail so that you can try it for yourself. I would find the freshest tortillas possible. We learned to prepare our tortillas a little differently after having dinner at the home of one of our hispanic friends. They prepare them over an open flame,we just use a little butter/olive oil in a pan and heat both sides. They come out delicious, a little crispy and lovely and warm.

So here’s how you make it:

Destem and deseed the chiles, cover with water and boil for 10 minutes. Let cool for 20-30 minutes. Then process in a food processor with a tablespoon of olive oil. Meanwhile, saute garlic and onion in butter, and add flour to create a roux. Add the chile paste, then add 1 cup of stock. Season with salt or pepper.

Take the flank steak and rub in salt, pepper, sage, paprika on both sides. Let sit for 20 minutes. Seal on both sides in a hot pan, place in the oven for 10 minutes maximum. Check regularly. Let rest for at least 5 minutes. You could also use a slow cooker, but we weren’t that organized.

Slice into small chunks and put the steak into the sauce and warm up if necessary.

Saute bell peppers and the rest of the onion to softness. Place peppers and onions in a bowl, place cilantro in a different bowl.

Make your tacos at the table. I usually only eat 4-5, so this recipe will have a little leftovers.

What now?

I saw that lovely photo of some waffles you made last week and i was ridiculously envious. I was also remembering those awesome weekend brunches we used to have together.

So, are you up for a challenge? How does a gluten free waffle recipe sound? We don’t have a waffle maker right now, but I would totally buy one in order to make waffles that I can eat!

The last couple of times Dwight and I have gone to Austin we’ve gone to Max’s Wine & Dive Bar. It is an amazing place and their champagne with gluten free waffles and fried chicken is out of this world. Austin is 7 hours away, so i’d love to be able to recreate this in my kitchen!

So, if your heart desires, would you be up for creating a gf fried chicken recipe too?

Much love,

Annie


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