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2013 in review

31 Dec

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Can The DelGrosso Food Blog Win Another Title?

30 May

You all remember the last post I made regarding my Integrale Milanese “Mexicana”?  This is another fabulous entry into another fabulous contest. This time it’s the Marx Foods Integrale Gauntlet! I again, humbly call on all of my subscribers, followers, and casual readers to head on over to their site and please VOTE FOR MY ENTRYVoting starts today 5/30 and ends on 6/1 so please HURRY!

The full details of the contest are below (shamelessly scraped from the Marx Foods Website):

Round 1: Savory Risotto Challenge                   Voting Method: Public Poll

Because this is a fantastic risotto rice, that is how we’ll start this challenge. Create an irresistible, original risotto recipe featuring Integrale rice. You are welcome to use any additional ingredients you would like, but this risotto has to be savory. Links to the recipes from this first round will all be published on our blog and put to a public vote to narrow down the field. The top 10 bloggers will move forward.

Round 2: Dessert Risotto Challenge                  Voting Method: All-Inclusive Internal Vote

This is the sweet round – create an original rice pudding (or “dessert risotto”) recipe featuring the Integrale. Again, you can use any additional ingredients you’d like, so long as you make a sweet treat. These recipes will be voted on via an internal vote – each of the participating bloggers will vote for their top two favorite recipes (other than their own), and the Marx Foods staff will vote for their top 5 recipes (5 votes total). The 5 bloggers with the most votes from this round will move forward to the final round.

Round 3: Photo Challenge                                 Voting Method: Marx Foods Staff Pick

The last hurrah! For the final phase, it’s all about presentation. This is the photo round! We want to be wowed to the point of drooling by the photo and the recipe. Create any original recipe of your choosing with the Integrale rice, just make sure it LOOKS as good as it tastes. The submissions will be judged by our photographer, photo assistant and videographer to select one winner.

Important Dates:

  • 5/8: Entry Deadline
  • 5/11: Integrale Rice Ships
  • 5/29: Round 1 Deadline
  • 5/30-6/1: Public Poll for Round 1 on the Marx Foods blog
  • 6/1: Bloggers for Round 2 Announced
  • 6/10: Round 2 Deadline
  • 6/12: Recipes from Round 2 posted on the Marx Foods blog
  • 6/14: Internal Poll Vote Deadline for Round 2
  • 6/15: Final Bloggers for Round 3 Announced
  • 6/24: Round 3 Deadline
  • 6/26: Winner Announced

Vote Here for The DelGrosso Food Blogs Entry : Integrale Milanese “Mexicana

Integrale Milanese "Mexicana"

Integrale Milanese “Mexicana”

The 4th Annual Morel Challenge Champion!

5 May

For all of those readers who supported me in this great content challenge from Marx Foods I am proud to announce that The DelGrosso Food Blog was just announced the WINNER of The Marx Foods 4th Annual Morel Challenge with my Morel, Wild Ramp, Poblano & Goat Cheese Soufflé!

The Winning Dish!

It feels so great to have been recognized by everyone as having the best recipe! It really validates all the work I have put into this blog in the last 8 months. Thank you to everyone who has ever read, commented, voted, talked about, or cooked one of my recipes! I hope this is the first of many accomplishments for The DelGrosso Food Blog.

The prize for this recipe challenge is 2 lbs. of FRESH morels from Marx Foods, so look for a few wonderful morel recipes to come in the next few weeks.

Vote for The DelGrosso Food Blog!

1 May

You all remember the last post I made regarding my Morel, Ramp, Poblano and Goat Cheese Soufflé. Well this soufflé was my entry in the Marx Foods 4th Annual Blogger Morel Challenge. I humbly ask for all of my subscribers, followers, and casual readers to head on over to their site and please VOTE FOR MY ENTRY! The winner receives 2 lbs. of FRESH Morels, and as an added bonus, the winners friend receives another 2 lbs! So if The DelGrosso Food Blogs entry wins, maybe one of you will win also! Voting starts today 5/1 and ends on 5/3 so please HURRY!

2012 Rochester Electronics Chili Cook-off

20 Mar Rochester Electronics Chili-Cookooff

What do tortilla chips and semiconductor chips have in common? Well, really, nothing at all, but they both go great with CHILI!Rochester Electronics Chili-Cookooff

Not only is Rochester Electronics the world’s most comprehensive solution for mature and end-of-life semiconductors, they also hold great food events. On March 15, they held their 3rd Annual Chili Cook-off at its corporate headquarters in Newburyport, Massachusetts. This year, 17 different entries, a record number, came to Rochester Electronics, all with the same desire to brew the best pot of chili in the Seacoast and bring home the coveted Presidents trophy.

The entries ranged from the sweet “Suga Mama’s Sweet N’ Spicy Chili”, which was sweetened with what seemed to be sweet pickle relish, to the high-octane heat of habenero chili in the “Kickin’ It Up A Notch Chili”. The event was also catered by American Barbeque, of Beverly, Massachusetts, with pulled pork, mashed potatoes and cornbread, but this was all about the chili! The judging was by secret ballot, with each person who attended the event voting for their favorite chili. I personally tried every entry with a separate bowl and spoon for each one. I can truly say that there was not a bad chili to be had at the cook-off!

The Chili Cooks

My entry featured fresh handmade Mexican Chorizo, Pancetta, Tri-tip, Pozole, and my own special blend chili powder; you can find the recipe below. In the end, the guests choose first timer Nick Rabbit as the overall best, his chili featured hot Italian sausage, hamburger, and a touch of barbeque sauce.

 
 
2012 Rochester Electronics Chili Cook-Off Official Results
1. That Jane From Maine Chili – Nick Rabbit – 2012 Champion!
2. Dago Reds Old #77 – Chris DelGrosso
3. Sweet Joppa Heat, A Clipper City Favorite – Keith Maguire & Chris Mele
4. Suga Mama’s Sweet N’ Spicy Chili – Erik Corkern
5T. Barnyard Chili – Karen Quarantiello 
5T. Chilly Chili – Pablo Lora 
5T. Kickin’ It Up A Notch Chili – Mike Smith of Boston Carnival Village
6T. Screamin’ Banshee Chili – Jamie Vatcher
6T. Kickin’ Chili – Crystal Vitale
7. 4 Watt Chili – Brian Thibeau
8T. Meaghan’s Fabulous Chili – Meaghan Meredith
8T. Authentic Mexican Chili – Heather Brogna
8T. Burning Saddle Chili – Jay Chapin
8T. No Name Chicken Chili – Bob “Wiles Thing” Wiles
8T. Sweet Cajun Chili – Loren Krott
9T. Turkey Chili – Jason Lemieux
9T. Kate’s Pot of Gold – Kate Mageary

Now for the winning recipes, we have the top two finishers recipes for you…

Top 2 Chili Cooks

The Top 2 Chili Cooks

 

That Jane from Maine Chili

(Recipe Courtesy of Nick Rabbit)

  • 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes with their juice (chopped)
  • 2 14 oz cans Dark red kidney beans
  • 1 Medium onion (chopped)
  • ½ cup of green pepper (chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons barbeque sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 Hot or Sweet Italian Sausages
  • 1 lb of Hamburger
  1. Brown 6 links of hot Italian sausage and cut into coin shapes prick sausage while they cook to drain fat (Add to le creuset pot)
  2. In one tablespoon of the fat, sauté 1 medium onion dice, 1/2 cup or more diced green pepper remove and add to le creuset pot
  3. Brown ¾ to 1 lb ground beef drain off all fat add to chili pot
  4. Add all ingredients and bring to a boil reduce to simmer and cook 1 hour

 

Dago Red Old #77 Chili

  • 7-8 ounces of Pancetta or Guanciale, finely diced
  • 1.5 lbs. Fresh Mexican Chorizo
  • 2 lbs. Tri-Tip or Sirloin Tips, cubed
  • 1 large Vidalia Onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 28 oz. Can of San Maranzano Plum Tomatoes
  • 3 Chili Poblanos, roasted, peeled, seeded, and deveined
  • 15 oz. Frijoles de Olla
  • 15 oz. Pozole (Corn Hominy)
  • 3 tblsp Fresh Chili Powder (see recipe below)
  • 1 tblsp. Brown Sugar
  • 3 tblsp. Tequila (Anejo or Reposado) – I used Don Julio
  • Cracked Black Pepper
  • Salt
  1. In a separate skillet, cook the chorizo off until done, about 10-15 minutes.
  2. In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, render down the Pancetta until it is somewhat crisp, about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add the onion and the garlic and cook until the onion is translucent and the garlic is aromatic, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the cubed sirloin tips and then add the chili powder, cook until the meat is not pink anymore on the outside, about 5-6 minutes.
  5. Deglaze with the tequila and continue to cook until the liquid reduces by half.
  6. Now add the chorizo and mix well to incorporate.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, crush the tomatoes with a potato masher or by hand (I use my hands!)
  8. Add the tomatoes to the pot and mix well, reduce the heat to medium and bring to a nice boil. Add some salt and cracked black pepper to taste.
  9. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and then add the chopped chili poblano.
  10. Continue to simmer on low heat for about 2 more hours. I recommend putting the chili in a crock-pot or slow cooker for about 8 hours on low. In the last 30-45 minutes, add the pozole and the beans.
  11. Serve with some fresh Chipotle-Cheddar Scones!

  

Dago Red Old #77

The Dago Red Old #77 on display

DelGrosso’s Fresh Chili Powder 

  • 2 Dried Chile Guajillos
  • 2 Dried Chile Anchos
  • 2 Dried Chile Pasilla
  • 2 Dried Chile Chipotles
  • 3 Dried Chile de Arbol
  • 1 tblsp. Dried Mexican Oregano
  • 1 tsp. Cumin Seed
  • 1 tsp. Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp. Whole Black Peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. Kosher Salt
  1. Take the dried chiles and remove the stems, empty the seeds and break them apart into small pieces, I sliced them and separated the seeds.
  2. Place all the chile pieces, cumin, and peppercorns in a skillet over medium high heat and toast them until they become aromatic, DO NOT BURN THEM OR THEY WILL TASTE BITTER!
  3. Let them cool and place the oregano, salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and half of the toasted chiles in a spice grinder and grind until fine. Wait about a minute for the dust to settle, then add the rest of the chiles, grind once again until a nice fine powder.
  4. Store in a airtight container.

    Me with the "Secret Weapon"

    Me & the "Secret Weapon"

Corned Beef and Colcannon

12 Mar Home Cured Corned Beef and Colcannon

This weekend was the first “official” road race of the spring running season up here in New England, the St. Paddy’s Five Miler, in Portsmouth, NH, where your’s truly ran an uninspired 45:30… One can almost smell spring in the air and with St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, I thought it was time to post my first Irish recipe. Here in America, when we think of St. Patrick’s Day, we think of parades, Guinness, and Corned Beef and Cabbage.Home Cured Corned Beef and Colcannon

So what does corned beef have to do with MexItalian cuisine? Well, absolutely nothing, but I have always wanted to “corn” my own beef.  Now, the process of “corning” beef refers to the treatment of the meat with “corns” of salt and without going into the menusha of wet-cured meats, gives the cheaper, tougher cut of brisket suppleness and tenderness. There are several advantages to corning your own beef. The first being that is so extraordinarily simple, why would you not do it yourself. Another reason is that you are in complete control the ingredients that you are using in the curing process and you have ownership of the flavors and nutritional value of the finished product. I am specifically talking about the use of sodium nitrite, or Pink Salt. There have been numerous studies on the use and consumption of nitrites, but to make it simple, I tend to shy away from any food additive that is lethal to humans in larger quantities. One only needs a few simple ingredients, a corning technique, and 5 days (it takes 5 days to cure the beef prior to cooking so start NOW!).

For my St. Patrick’s Day feast I decided to serve my home cured corned beef not simply with the traditional cabbage and potato, but with another dish that combines both the cabbage AND the potato; Colcannon! For those of you who have never heard of, or eaten colcannon, it is another delicious traditional Irish dish that is made by combining mashed potatoes with cabbage or kale.Colcannon

So now that I had my menu, I started by putting my meat to brine on Tuesday morning so that it would be ready for my post-race Sunday meal. I submerged the brisket in a stockpot and made some room for it on the top rack of my refrigerator and turned the brisket each night. On Sunday I simply rinsed the brisket, placed it in another stockpot, covered it with water, added a bit more pickling spice, and simmered the brisket for 3 1/2 hours. I then added the potatoes to the pot and cooked them WITH the beef in the same broth, I think that this really brings both dishes together!

As I always say, if it is worth eating, then it is worth doing right! Forget that packaged corned beef loaded with cancerous nitrites. This corned beef is made from 100% grass-feed beef, crystal clear spring water, and hand toasted pickling spices. Serve that up with a hearty serving of colcannon and you can have a St. Patrick’s Day feast you can be proud to serve!

What is your St. Patrick’s day meal? If you are Irish, what are your traditions?

Home-Cured Corned Beef

(Adapted from Micheal Ruhlman’s Corned Beef : How to Cure Your Own)

  • 1 5-pound beef brisket
  • 1-1/2 cups kosher salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons pickling spice (see below)
  • 1 tsp pulverized celery seed
  • 1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut in two
  1. In pot large enough to hold brisket, combine 1 gallon of water with kosher salt, brown sugar, garlic and 2 tablespoons of the pickling spice and the crushed celery seed.
  2. Bring to a simmer, stirring until salt and sugar are dissolved.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until chilled.
  4. Place brisket in brine, weighted with a plate to keep it submerged; cover. Refrigerate for 5 days.
  5. Remove brisket from brine and rinse thoroughly.
  6. Place in a pot just large enough to hold it. Cover with water and add remaining pickling spice, carrot, onion.
  7. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer gently until brisket is fork-tender, about 3.5 hours, adding water if needed to cover brisket.
Corned Beef and Colcannon

Corned Beef and Colcannon

 

Pickling Spice

  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons allspice berries
  • 1 tablespoon ground mace
  • 2 small cinnamon sticks, crushed or broken into pieces
  • 2 to 4 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons whole cloves
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger.
  1. Combine peppercorns, mustard seeds and coriander seeds in a small dry pan.
  2. Place over medium heat and stir until fragrant, being careful not to burn them.
  3. Crack peppercorns and seeds in a molcajete (mortar and pestal!) I knew I could add a Mexican twist to this!!
  4. Combine with other spices, mix and put in a tightly sealed plastic or glass container.

 

Colcannon

  • 8 large red potatoes
  • 1 head of Savoy Cabbage chopped
  • 6 scallions
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup Fat-Free   milk
  • 2/3 cups Fat-Free Sour Cream
  • 1/4 tsp. white pepper
  1. Peel the potatoes rather lightly, it is ok to leave some of the skin on.
  2. Quarter them and place them in the stockpot cooking with the corned beef. Cook until fork tender, about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a large sautee pan or dutch oven over medium-high heat and add 3 tablespoons of the butter.
  4. When all the butter is melted, add the cabbage and sautee until just wilting and then reduce heat to low and continue to cook until tender about 8 minutes, stirring often. (Take special care not to burn the cabbage). Turn off the heat and cover.
  5. Once the potatoes are done, remove from the stockpot with a slotted spoon and drain them well in a colander.
  6. Combine the milk and the sour cream in a bowl by simply whisking in the sour cream.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, mash the potatoes well, combining the remaining butter and the milk and cream mixture. Continue to mash and stir until you get the desired texture that you like. (I like them a bit rustic and lumpy)
  8. Fold in the cabbage and add the scallions.
  9. Serve with the corned beef and a pint of Guiness!
Colcannon

Colcannon

Bánh mì Inspired

8 Mar

This weeks reblog comes from The Incuistion. This Vietnamese version of my Mexican Tortas made of pickled radishes, tamarindo, red onion, fresh cucumber, cilantro, and basil looks so delicious that I may just go out and make it this weekend! The avocado aioli is inspiring and would be wonderful with some fish tacos as well! Be sure to trackback to her blog and check out some of her other recipes as well! What do you think?

The Incuisition

On my way home from the beach the other day, I was trying to figure out the prefect evening meal to finish a day dozing in the sand. I was in a daze, just having emerged from the long afternoon sun and from under the gauzy blanket of ocean sounds: the waves, muffled gossip from girls on a nearby blanket, scattered birds, and children with their cries and plastic shovels. I was craving something with real texture and strong spice. I wanted to carry over the feeling of Pacific breeze, warmth and ease into the evening. I kept thinking about the flavors of tamarind, soy, cilantro, and sesame. When I got home, I did something I rarely do: make a sandwich.

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