Puerco Pibil inspired by Once Upon a Time in Mexico

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Puerco Pibil inspired by Once Upon a Time in Mexico

Once Upon a Time in Mexico, against all odds, played a large role in the creation of BwB - my first-ever DVD, its special features showed me that I could one day be a filmmaker *and* a chef. In this 2003 Banderas action-comedy, Johnny Depp inexplicably caps a cook for making this Yucatánian special a bit too perfectly; as director Robert Rodriguez says, make at your own peril.

 

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons annatto seeds

  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns

  • 1 teaspoon cloves

  • 2 teaspoons cumin seed

  • 8 allspice berries

  • 1/2 cup orange juice

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar

  • 5 lemons, juiced

  • 2 habanero peppers, seeded and chopped

  • 2 tablespoons salt

  • Splash of quality anejo tequila

  • 5 pounds pork butt, trimmed and cut into 2” cubes

  • 2 banana leaves, cut into 16” segments

  • Cooked white rice

  • Lime slices

  • Cilantro

  • 1 red onion, sliced

  • 4 cups apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds

  • Corn tortillas

Method

Makes six 4-6 servings

  1. Toast annatto seeds, peppercorns, cloves, cumin, and allspice in a dry sauté pan for 3-5 minutes over medium heat, until fragrant.  Pour into a spice grinder and process into a fine powder, 2-3 minutes.

  2. In a blender, combine orange juice, vinegar, lemon juice, habanero peppers, salt, tequila, and ground spices.  Blend on high speed for 30-60 seconds, until well-combined.  Combine marinade and pork in a large plastic bag, massage until evenly coated, and allow to marinate for 30 minutes.

  3. Preheat oven to 325F.  Line a deep casserole with banana leaves, and pour pork into the center.  Wrap banana leaves around the pork, seal tightly with aluminum foil, and roast for 4 hours.

  4. Serve with rice, lime slices, and cilantro.

  5. To serve with tacos: while pork roasts, combine red onion and mustard seeds in a large heatproof bowl, and cover with boiling apple cider vinegar.  Let steep for 30 minutes, and serve over tacos.

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Monster Cake inspired by Zelda: Breath of the Wild

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Monster Cake inspired by Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Zelda: Breath of the Wild may very well be the first open-world RPG developed for the Switch, released in 2017, not including DLC, to so prominently feature cooking in its story and strategy. At least it will be in my mind until someone angrily corrects me in the comments. Seldom have fruits and vegetables dancing in a wok over an open fire yielded so many hearty stews, stamina potions, and pixelated monstrosities.

 

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces white chocolate

  • 1/4 cup corn syrup

  • Violet food coloring/ube extract

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

  • 3 teaspoons baking powder

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 7 large eggs, separated

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • 3/4 cup whole milk

  • 4 ounces grated ube (or other purple/white yam)

  • 3-4 teaspoons ube extract

  • Violet food coloring as necessary

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

  • 4 ounces goat butter (or normal unsalted butter), at room temperature

  • 4 cups sifted powdered sugar

  • 1-2 teaspoons ube extract/violet food coloring

  • 4 ounces durian meat (or other tropical fruit - coconut, pineapple, mango would work very well)

  • Brown food coloring as necessary

Method

Makes six 4” cakes

  1. Melt white chocolate in a double boiler.  Fold in corn syrup, mix until homogenous and a thick paste forms.  Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to set in a cool room for 24 hours.  Remove from plastic wrap, add a few drops of ube extract or food coloring, and fold into the chocolate until the desired color is achieved.  If the chocolate starts to become oily, add a bit of sifted corn starch.  Shape into horns and set aside, refrigerating if the chocolate needs to firm up.

  2. Preheat oven to 350F.  Sift together flour, baking powder, first sugar, and salt.  Whisk to combine.  In a separate bowl, whisk together egg yolks, vegetable oil, milk, ube, ube extract, and food coloring, until a deep purple color is achieved, and whisk together with dry ingredients..  In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat egg whites until light and frothy.  Add second sugar, and beat with the whisk attachment until glossy stiff peaks form.  Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter, taking care not to deflate them.

  3. Lightly oil 4” mini springform pans (or a cupcake pan or large casserole), and fill 3/4 full with cake batter.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a tester comes out clean, and the exterior of the cake is golden brown.  Remove from the oven, allow to cool 10 minutes, and remove from springforms/cake pans.  Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter.  Add sifted powdered sugar and mix slowly, gradually increasing mixer speed as sugar is incorporated, until a thick frosting forms.  Divide in half, and mix first half of frosting with ube extract until light purple.  Beat together second half with durian or fruit of choice, coloring with brown food color as necessary until the correct color is achieved.

  5. Assemble the cakes: slice the cakes in half latitudinally, and spread on a generous layer of light purple frosting.  Top with top half of cake, pipe on a cone of durian frosting, and press white chocolate horns into each side of the frosting.

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Lemon Pepper Wet inspired by Atlanta

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Lemon Pepper Wet inspired by Atlanta

Lemon Pepper Wet is an Atlantan institution, virtually unknown outside the Peach State until Donald Glover's groundbreaking series made us salivate without even showing us the pay dirt. Look behind the Pulp-Fiction-style glowing MacGuffin and see the saucy, zesty wings underneath with this week's episode. Shout out to J. Kenji Lopez-Alt for his groundbreaking oven wing technique.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds chicken wings, separated into pieces

  • 1 tablespoon lemon-pepper seasoning (see below to make seasoning from scratch)

  • 1/4 cup buffalo sauce (for JR Crickets version)

  • 1/4 cup clarified butter (for American Deli version)

  • 2 quarts vegetable oil

Method: Deep Fry Version

Makes 2 pounds of wings

  1. Preheat frying oil to 350F.  Fry wings for 7-10 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.  For JR Crickets version, toss with lemon pepper seasoning, followed by buffalo sauce.  For American Deli version, toss with lemon pepper seasoning, followed by clarified butter.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds chicken wings, separated into pieces

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 tablespoon lemon-pepper seasoning (see below to make seasoning from scratch)

  • 1/4 cup buffalo sauce (for JR Crickets version)

  • 1/4 cup clarified butter (for American Deli version)

Method: Oven Fry Version

Makes 2 pounds of wings

  1. Combine kosher salt and baking powder, and sprinkle over wings.  Toss until thoroughly coated, and place wings, far apart enough so that they’re not touching, on a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet.  Refrigerate overnight, uncovered, and allow to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before baking at 450F for 35-45 minutes, until brown and crisp.  For JR Crickets version, toss with lemon pepper seasoning, followed by buffalo sauce.  For American Deli version, toss with lemon pepper seasoning, followed by clarified butter.


Ingredients

  • 3 lemons, zested

  • 2 tablespoons pepper

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon celery salt

Method: Lemon Pepper Seasoning

  1. Set oven to lowest possible temperature. Spread lemon zest out on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake for 45-75 minutes, until completely dried.  Pulse in a food processor until ground to granules, and whisk together with remaining ingredients.

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Taco Town 15-Flavor Taco inspired by SNL

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Taco Town 15-Flavor Taco inspired by SNL

Thank you everyone for helping me reach 1 million subscribers! Take a sordid peek behind the curtains of the BwB stage and see how I make the show each week. Then, join me as I endeavor to stack as many Mexican, French, Italian, and American layers into one beer-battered monstrosity known as the Pizza Crepe Taco Pancake Chili Bag.

 

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3/4 cup milk

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 egg

  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, thawed

  • 1/4 cup chopped tomatoes

  • 1/4 cup chopped onion

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 3 cups corn starch

  • 3 cans light beer

  • 3 tablespoons salt

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 tablespoon sour cream

  • 1 tablespoon mayo

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1/4 cup smooth guacamole

  • 1/4 cup sour cream

  • 2 ounces ground beef

  • 2 teaspoons taco seasoning

  • 1 hard shell taco

  • 1 ounce shredded lettuce

  • 1 ounce chopped tomatoes

  • 1 tablespoon nacho cheese

  • 2 tablespoons refried beans

  • 1 small flour tortilla

  • 2 ounces shredded monterey jack cheese

  • 1 medium corn tortilla

  • 1 chalupa shell

  • 1 large corn husk

  • 1 egg, scrambled

  • 3 ounces gruyere, shredded

  • 1 merguez sausage, cooked and sliced

  • 4 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sautéed in butter

  • 12” frozen meat-lover’s pizza, baked according to package directions

  • 1.5-2 gallons vegetable oil

  • 8 cans vegetarian chili, heated

Method

Makes 1 gigantic deep-fried taco

NOTE: It’s recommended to remove the corn husk (as corn husks are inedible), and omit the blueberry pancake all together.  Additionally, if you want more compatible flavors, substitute chorizo for the merguez, additional monterey jack for the gruyere, and skip the pico de gallo/baking step.  Frying this taco is dangerous - make sure to use extra long/wide tongs, protective gloves, and extreme caution when lowering it into the hot oil.  Better yet, just don’t make this thing at all please.

  1. To make crepe batter, combine eggs, milk, flour, vegetable oil, and salt in the jar of a blender.  Blend on high speed for 1-2 minutes, until completely smooth.  Pour onto a preheated crepe griddle, and use a wooden dowel to spread into a thin layer.  Cook according to manufacturer’s directions, and stack crepes on a plate covered with aluminum foil to keep warm.

  2. To make pancake batter, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl.  Add egg and cooled melted butter, and whisk until batter forms, allowing batter to remain slightly lumpy.  Pour about 3/4 cup onto a 13” crepe griddle and spread as necessary until batter reaches the edges of the griddle.  Top with blueberries and allow to cook until bubbles begin forming all over the pancake and edges turn glossy, and bottom has browned.  Flip, and continue to cook until fluffy and thick.  Place on a plate and cover with aluminum foil to make the pancake as flexible as possible.

  3. To make the pico de gallo, combine tomatoes, onion, salt, lime juice, and cilantro.

  4. To make the beer batter, combine flour, corn starch, beer, salt, and eggs.  Whisk until smooth.

  5. To make the Southwestern sauce, whisk together sour cream, mayo, paprika, cayenne, and chili powder.

  6. To make the guacamolito sauce, combine guacamole and sour cream.

  7. Brown the ground beef and add the taco seasoning, along with 2-3 tablespoons of water, as per package instructions.

  8. Heat very large pot of oil (at least 15” in diameter) to 350F.  Begin assembling the taco: start by filling a crunchy taco shell with ground beef, and topping with lettuce, tomatoes, southwestern sauce, and nacho cheese.  Spread refried beans on a flour tortilla, and wrap around taco shell.  Place monterey jack cheese on a toasted corn tortilla, and wrap that around the flour tortilla.  Fill a chalupa shell with guacamolito sauce and place the multi-layered taco inside.  Place the chalupa taco into a corn husk, and top with pico de gallo - bake in a 350F oven for 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, cover a single crepe with scrambled eggs, merguez sausage, and gruyere cheese.  Take the taco out of the oven, remove the corn husk, and wrap inside the crepe.  Place the crepe-taco onto the meat lovers pizza, wrap it around the taco, and finish by wrapping the blueberry pancake around the pizza.  Press together as tightly as possible without breaking any of the layers. Secure with long wooden skewers, and using a wide casserole filled with some beer batter, cover the entire taco in batter.  Using extreme caution, place the battered taco in the hot oil, basting with a metal ladle if not completely covered by the oil.  Fry for 10 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crispy all over.  Remove from the oil and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes on a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet.  Fill a canvas bag with vegetarian chili, and place the taco inside.  Enjoy?

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Lemon Cakes inspired by Game of Thrones

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Lemon Cakes inspired by Game of Thrones

This weekend we're welcoming back the show that has the monopoly on lurid violence, epic battles, and wholly unnecessary nudity: Game of Thrones. George R.R. Martin's ability to describe the crunching of a skull is rivaled only by his ability to describe the crunching of a pastry, so it's only fitting that this sexy saga is home to some serious food porn. And revenge porn. And porn porn. I'm a main character in this show, so my life is decidedly in danger this week.

 

Ingredients

  • 8 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 3 large eggs

  • 2 lemons, juiced and zested

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 2 Lemons, sliced 1/8” thick, seeded

  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 3 large eggs

  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

Method

Makes 9 servings

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar.  Adding one at a time, beat in the eggs on medium-low speed, increasing to medium and beating for 1 minute after all have been added.  Add dry ingredients and stir together with mixer on low, followed by lemon juice, zest, and buttermilk.  Beat all ingredients together for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.

  2. Pour batter into a greased/floured/parchment-lined 9x13” casserole, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 30 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack and removing the parchment paper, allowing to cool for another 30 minutes.

  3. While cake bakes, prepare candied lemons: combine 1 cup of sugar with 1/2 cup water, and bring to a simmer.  Add lemon slices and cook for 15 minutes, or until soft and translucent - allow to cool on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

  4. In a wide saucepan, whisk together lemon juice, sugar, and eggs over medium-low heat.  Once combined, add butter, and continue to heat until butter is melted.  Whisk constantly until a thick pudding-like curd forms.  Chill for an hour before using.

  5. Using a biscuit cutter, cut 9 individual cakes from the whole cake.  Top each with a dollop of lemon curd, and top that with a slice of candied lemon.  Serve with whipped cream if desired.

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