Geek Chef

I cook, I talk, I geek

Dream Meal January 12, 2010

Filed under: Food — geekchef @ 1:52 pm
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This might sound odd, but I had a dream that I was on Master Chef (a show I am planning to audition for later this month), Jason Mraz and the owners of Cafe Gratitude were the guest judges and the task was to create a vegan meal.

I was really excited to cook for Mr. A-Z, even though I am not a big fan of the vegans… I don’t like people who limit their food enjoyment. So I made vegan tamales and chocomole for dessert. The dream was so detailed that when I woke I felt the need to start cooking. Here is the tamale recipe I dreamed up, forgive the funky photo – my camera died and I’m using my iphone.

Sweet Corn Tamales with Soyrizo & Cactus

(Tamales de Elote con Soyrizo y Nopales)


1 cup masa harina
1/2 cup canned cream corn
1 cup vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt


1/2 package of Soyrizo
1/2 cup of nopales, chopped

Other filling options:

slices of soy pepperjack cheese
chopped mild chiles

Tomatillo Sauce

1/2 lb. fresh tomatillos, husked
1 jalapeño, split and seeded (pulled from nopalitos jar)
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons vinegar (rice or white wine)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup cilantro, stems removed
2 teaspoon lime juice

In a medium bowl, mix filling and set aside. In another bowl, mix all dough ingredients together until the consistency of soft play dough. Spread a thin layer of dough on corn husks soaked overnight, leaving about an inch uncovered on the narrow part of the husk. Spoon some of the filling down the middle – careful not to overfill, fold the sides in and then fold the narrow bit down. Place tamales into a steamer basket and cook for about an hour or until firm.

While tamales are steaming, broil the tomatillos until the skin is lightly burned. Throw all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.


what to do with old bananas? October 1, 2007

Filed under: Food — geekchef @ 3:12 pm
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I have a few things in mind…

Plantain Empanadas

1 small Poblano chile, roasted, peeled and seeded
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup cold Refried Black Beans
2 ripe plantains, unpeeled
2 ripe bananas, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
2 scallions, white and some green parts, thinly sliced
1/4 cup peanut oil
1 cup Crema
1/4 cup grated Anejo, Romano or Feta cheese
1/4 cup grated Manchego or Feta cheese
Creme Fraiche or sour cream for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut a lengthwise slit in each plantain and set it on a baking sheet. Bake until the flesh is thoroughly soft and oozing through the slit, 40 to 50 minutes, Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, make the stuffing: Finely dice the poblano chile. Combine with beans, scallions, cheeses and pepper in a mixing bowl. The stuffing can be made up to a day in advance. Peel, trim and discard any tough ends from the plantains. Combine the plantains, banana and salt into a food processor and pulse until a smooth puree is formed, or mix until just blended. Be careful not to overwork the dough, or it will become too starchy. Wrap in plastic and chill about 2 hours.

To assemble the empanadas, roll 2 tablespoons of the dough lightly between your palms to form a ball and flatten to the size and shape f a tortilla. Place about 1 teaspoon of the bean stuffing on half of the dough circle and fold over to enclose, pressing the edges to seal. Place the stuffed empanadas on a platter and chill at least 30 minutes or as long as a day. (Stuffed empanadas can also be frozen).

To cook the empanadas, heat the peanut oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Fry 4 to 6 empanadas, at a time, shaking the pan constantly, about 1 minute per side or until dark brown all over. (If they darken too quickly, as they may if very ripe plantains were used, lower the flame slightly). Drain on paper towels. Serve hot with Crema, Creme Fraiche or sour cream for dipping.

Bananas Foster Ice Cream

4 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 ripe bananas, peeled and cut lengthwise into halves
1/4 cup banana liqueur
1/2 cup dark rum (recommended: Myers’s)
1 quart cream
8 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar

In a large pan, melt the butter. Stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon. Add the bananas and baste them with the syrup for 2 minutes. Pull the saute pan off the burner. Carefully add the banana liqueur and rum. Place the pan back on the stove and shake the pan a couple of times. The pan should flame, if not, ignite the pan with a match. Shake the pan back and forth until the flame dies, basting the bananas continuously. Remove from the heat and cool completely. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, add the banana mixture and puree until smooth. Set aside.
In another saucepan, add the cream and bring to a gentle boil. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar together until pale yellow. Whisk 1 cup of the hot cream into the egg mixture and mix thoroughly. In a steady stream, slowly add the egg-cream mixture to the hot cream remaining in the saucepan. Continue to cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Whisk the banana puree into the cream mixture and mix thoroughly. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill thoroughly. Process in an electric ice cream machine according to manufacturers’ directions.


First attempt at microwave egg poaching August 6, 2007

Filed under: Food — geekchef @ 10:21 am
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I need to play with the timing and settings on my microwave, but yesterday I made half decent – slightly overcooked for my liking – poached eggs.

I shredded some cheddar on tortillas and toasted it in the oven, topped with a little salsa and the poached eggs. BAM! Instant huevos rancheros! Tasty too. It’s not the most glamorous of dishes, but with a little cream, green onion and maybe black olive I could make that one hell of a brunch item.

Maybe a quail egg on a mini tortilla for a appetizer, hmmm.

In case you need a recipe..

Microwave Huevos Rancheros

2 eggs
4 tortillas
1/2 cup grated cheese
1/4 cup salsa
1/4 sour cream
2 tablespoons sliced black olives
chopped green onion

*Microwave egg poacher

Lay out tortillas on a baking sheet and sprinkle shredded cheese on all the tortillas. Toast in toaster oven or regular oven until cheese is melted and tortilla edges are a little golden.
While tortillas are toasting, pour a little water in the bottom of the egg poacher and then crack open egg and carefully pour one egg into each cup. Close and microwave for one min. Open the poacher and let vent for a second *venting is important, unless you like scraping egg off the top of your microwave*, then microwave for another 30-60 seconds depending on your microwave strength and preference in doneness. Plate tortillas, with two tortillas overlapping a bit – similar to a ven diagram. Drain the water from eggs and place in the center of the tortillas, cover with salsa and top with sour cream, green onion and olives.

** I know this is more of a PWT version, but it’s tasty. Also the black speckles on the eggs are pepper, in case you were wondering.. I also added a few shots of Tapitia hot sauce 🙂


The secret ingredent August 2, 2007

Filed under: Food — geekchef @ 1:37 pm
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I had a craving for Albondigas : Mexican meatball soup, and went searching the internet for recipes.

I have made it before but never got the flavor just right. I found a recipe on that listed mint as the missing ingredient. MINT! Sure, why didn’t I think of that? I have always been impressed with the effect a little sprig of mint has on flavors. That said, try a little mint in your green salad, it’s awesome.

So here is the recipe from elise, with a few changes of my own.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup of tomato sauce
3 quarts of chicken stock or beef stock OR water and bullion cubes (about 2 large)
1 or 2 zucchini, cut into large chunks
1 large carrot, sliced
1/2 lb of string beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 or 2 potatoes, cut into large chunks (not really necessary, but I love meatballs and potatoes together)
1 pound ground turkey or beef
1/3 cup of raw white rice
1 raw egg
1/2 cup of chopped fresh mint leaves
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Dried oregano, crumbled
1 tablespoon of brown gravy mix
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and minced garlic and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and broth mixture. Bring to boil and simmer. Add carrots and potatoes.

Prepare meatballs. Mix rice into meat, adding mint, gravy mix (sounds weird but makes ground meat taste meatier), salt and pepper. Add raw egg. Form beef into 1-inch meatballs. Return soup to gentle simmer. Add meatballs and remaining veggies to soup. Cover and let simmer for 1/2 hour. Add a few pinches of oregano, cilantro and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 6-8.