Pureed ancho chiles give the beef incredible flavor, a deep dark color and loads of moisture. When I was putting my burger together I decided to make it absolutely obscene by using two half pound patties, four slices of monterey jack and I topped it with homemade ketchup. It still seemed like it needed something so I put two armadillo eggs on top.
A simple reduction of balsamic vinegar. Reducing concentrates the flavor and brings out the sweetness of the vinegar. A classic sauce for steaks and vegetables but it even works well with fruit. It's quite popular when paired with strawberries.
Three Must-Have Magazines for Chile-Heads
Top Three Bangin' Periodicals
I don't know about you but I'm a magazine junky. Call me strange but I read them backwards the first time round - must be some kind of mental condition. I also get easily distracted. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, the three most important magazines for any chile-head who loves to cook. Fine Cooking Magazine, Bon Appetit Magazine and last but not least, Chile Pepper Magazine are the ones I'm talking about. But, why these three specifically?
I'm sure it's fairly obvious as to why Chile Pepper Magazine would be such an important read for a chile-head and I'm sure you have more than a vague idea regarding my reasons for touting the other two as such. However, I still feel the need to ramble on... plus, I want to share something beyond reasons - a philosophy if you will - regarding why an aspiring home chef should read these three periodicals "periodically" (pun intended).
In it's essence my philosophy about life is that knowledge allows you to open your mind. When you learn about something you earn a greater freedom with it. In other words, sometimes you need to learn all the rules so you can break 'em. I know, I know...I'm a rebel without a cause but following that thought I'm sure you can understand why I'm claiming that Fine Cooking and Bon Appetit are "must-have" publishings. Both of these magazines are top notch cooking magazines that feature real cooking techniques, innovative ingredient combinations and creative recipes that don't suck. To boot, they're bound to flex your culinary cranial muscles.
I'd have never thought to snack on melon wrapped with prosciutto and basil if all I read were magazines that featured powdered onion soup mix recipes. "Out of the pouch" recipes like that do have their place but too often we limit ourselves to only one way of thinking. I believe we often do this because we get it into our heads that "out of the box", "out of the bag" or "from a mix" styles of cooking are faster. And, let's face it, these days that's important to most of us. But, we fool ourselves. It's because we've become accustomed to one way of thinking that we often lose sight of the fact that "out of the box" cooking isn't always faster. And, it certainly isn't better tasting or better for us.
By expanding your horizons with some new, fresh and real cooking ideas you can hopefully improve the quality of every meal you make. Even the fast ones. Whether you're trying to figure out what to do with leftovers, creating a gourmet meal for guests or trying to kick up a box of macaroni and cheese, the more diverse your cooking background the more fun you'll have and the easier cooking will be. I guess the best way to explain it is that you can easily become a culinary MacGuyver if you open your mind a bit. So while the centerpiece of Fine Cooking Magazine or Bon Appetit Magazine might not include spicy food or chile peppers they can provide a broad range of options through techniques that can certainly add another level of quality to your cooking.
Chile Pepper Magazine is a different story all together. It's focus is spelled out right in it's title. This magazine will give you some absolutely bold ideas on how to blend fiery chiles and other spicy ingredients into recipes you'd never have thought they belonged. While it's main concern is not technique or food science it provides a completely different angle that is very useful to someone who is a diehard fan of chile peppers and spicy food. I mean how often do you make ancho chile chocolate mousse? How about a chile pepper souffle or a habanero infused martini? See where I'm going with this?
I love all three of these magazines and I'd be hard pressed if I had to choose only one. I will say, however, my loyalty to Chile Pepper Magazine has lasted nearly ten years. No matter which of these magazines you read the important thing is to enjoy yourself and to learn something. Thank you for reading my thoughts on these three fine publications and for allowing me to share a little philosophy ala Matt. Later!
Fine Cooking - $ 29.99
Retail Price: 41.65
Chile Pepper - $ 19.99
Retail Price: 29.70
Bon Appetit - $ 15.00
Retail Price: 47.88
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