1/2 cup raisins
3 tbsp white rum
3 cups masa harina para tamales 2 tsp baking powder
1¼ cups granulated sugar
1 cup lard ¼
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 drops red food coloring, optional Corn husks as needed, softened in warm water
The best dessert in our house growing up was a nice, hot tamal de dulce straight out of the tamalera — a Mexican steamer specifically designed to make tamales — and a rich cup of hot chocolate. In this recipe, I included one of my favorite additions, rum soaked raisins. Rum is a popular ingredient in Mexican desserts, and I try to use it in my recipes as much as possible. In this recipe, it gives an extra twist to my mother's memorable tamales de dulce. To make this recipe successfully, I have called for masa harina para tamales (page 248), to give just the right level of sweetness and lard to ensure a fluffy tamal.
For tamales: Place raisins, rum and ½ cup water in a small saucepan over high heat.
Bring to a full boil. Remove immediately from heat. Strain raisins and transfer to a bowl to cool completely before using.
Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, add masa harina para tamales, baking powder, sugar, lard, salt, vanilla and food coloring, if using, into the bowl. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute to incorporate ingredients. While on medium speed, add 2 cups water in a steady stream. Increase speed to high and mix for 6 minutes. Test readiness of masa according to directions on page 248. Fold in raisins.
Working one at a time, place each corn husk, or two depending on size, in the palm of your hand with the point end facing away from you. Scoop ¼ cup masa onto the center and spread into a rectangle, ¾ inch from the top and ¼ inch from the bottom. Fold in the sides of the husk to the center, enclosing the masa. Fold up the point, forming a small bundle. Secure each bundle by loosely tying a thin strip of husk around the center of the tamal. Place tamales in steamer, covered with a clean, damp kitchen towel then the lid, and cook about 40 minutes to 1 hour.
To serve: Place warm tamales on a platter and accompany with chocolate caliente.
The bold flavors of the remoulade intensify the more the ingredients are mashed. After chopping the capers and piquillo peppers, firmly press down on each ingredient with the side of the knife to extract as much of the ingredients’ juices and flavors before adding it to the bowl
2/3 cup mayonnaise
cup capers, finely chopped
2 jarred piquillo peppers, finely chopped
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 tsp chopped garlic
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 lb fresh jumbo lump crabmeat
Place all of the ingredients except the crabmeat in a bowl and combine well, using a spatula to mash and then mix everything together. Fold in the crabmeat. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
This recipe has been part of family gatherings at Tracy's house for as long as she can remember, so when we started the Tomato Seasonal Menu at the restaurant, she asked Hugo to put it on the menu. This is a dish that really speaks to Tracy's Gulf Coast culinary roots. It is a great appetizer for any party or beginning to any meal.
The fried green tomatoes are also part of another classic Backstreet dish — Fried Green Tomato Salad — comprised of fried green tomatoes on a bed of lightly dressed arugula, sliced grilled portabella mushrooms, fresh cherry tomatoes, pecans and crumbled blue cheese.
Makes 16 pieces
4 medium green tomatoes, cut into ½-inch thick slices
2 cups dried breadcrumbs
1 tsp coarse kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried oregano, crumbled
2 cups grated parmesan cheese
3 whole eggs
¼ cup whole milk
¼ cup corn oil
Place tomato slices on a sheet pan lined with paper towels. Season each side of each tomato with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside.
Combine breadcrumbs, salt and freshly ground black pepper, paprika, cayenne and oregano in a shallow bowl. Stir in the parmesan cheese. In another bowl, whisk together eggs and milk; set aside. Dip each tomato slice in the egg wash; then dredge in the breadcrumb mixture. Shake off excess after each stage. Return coated tomatoes to the sheet pan.
Preheat large non-stick pan over medium-high heat with oil 2 minutes. Pan-fry each green tomato until golden brown, 1 minute per side. Transfer to another sheet pan lined with paper towels.
Serve topped with Crabmeat Remoulade.*
4 lbs heirloom tomatoes of different colors
1 tbsp coarse kosher salt
3 cups all-purpose flour plus 2 tbsp
2 ½ - (4 oz) sticks unsalted butter, cubed, chilled
1 ½ tsp coarse kosher salt
¾ cup ice water
18 sun-dried tomatoes
4 tbsp unsalted butter
¾ cup olive oil
2 cups finely chopped white onion
¼ cup finely chopped garlic
½ cup chopped Kalamata olives
¼ cup fresh oregano, chopped
¼ cup fresh thyme, chopped
Pinch red pepper flakes
½ cup whole milk
2 whole eggs
1 small bunch basil, chopped
2 ½ cups arugula, chopped
2 cups grated Asiago cheese
12 thin slices Sottocenere cheese, optional
It's tomato season! Right now, Chef Hugo is once again offering the Seasonal Tomato Menu at Backstreet Cafe, and the Tomato Pie is one of diners' favorites. The recipe is inBackstreet Kitchen: Seasonal Recipes from our Neighborhood Cafe, but we thought we'd share it with you online. So get out there and pick the tomatoes in your garden and get slicing!
This is a southern low-country classic. It's a nostalgic dish that brings back memories of grandma's homegrown tomatoes. I asked Hugo to recreate his own interpretation of this recipe to make when the Texas tomatoes are in their peak season. It is a lot of work but is worth making for a special lunch party or family gathering, when the heirloom tomatoes are plentiful at the farmers market.
Prepare tomatoes (8 hours ahead or overnight): Slice heirloom tomatoes, crosswise, into ¼-inch thick slices. Place tomato slices on a perforated sheet pan or sheet pan lined with paper towels. Sprinkle salt. Place a piece of parchment, followed by another sheet pan and 3-(16 oz) cans. Place everything on a long tray to catch juices and leave pressing overnight or at least 8 hours. Rinse the pressed tomatoes with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
Pie crust (make up to 1 day ahead): Place 3 cups flour, butter and salt in a food processor and pulse until a crumbly texture forms. Add the water and continue to process until dough forms a ball. Place the dough onto a clean surface sprinkled with remaining flour and knead until all the flour on surface is incorporated into the dough. Flatten into a disk and wrap in plastic. Chill 2 hours or overnight.
Remove pie dough from refrigerator and roll to a disk of an even 1/8 -inch thickness. Fit dough into a 12-inch pie pan, leaving 1-inch overhang. Chill at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line dough-fitted pie pan with aluminum foil and apply weight, such as uncooked beans. Place in oven and blind-bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and remove weights. Return to oven for an additional 5 minutes. Remove and set aside until ready to assemble pie.
Assemble pie: Place sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl and pour enough hot, boiling water to cover. Let stand for 30 minutes to soften. Strain and puree in a food processor into a smooth paste. Preheat a medium frying pan over medium-high heat with butter and oil until butter melts. Add onion, garlic,olives, tomato puree, oregano, thyme and red pepper flakes and stir to incorporate. Continue cooking until a dry paste forms, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Whisk together milk with egg and set aside. Spread half the amount of the cooked tomato paste onto the pie crust, followed by sprinkling half amount each of basil, arugula, Asiago and Sottocenere cheese, if using. Add a layer of pressed tomatoes, making sure to completely cover cheese. Lightly season with freshly ground black pepper. Pour half the amount of egg mixture. Repeat once more with the remaining ingredients. Cover with aluminum foil and place in oven. Bake until mixture sets, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven, uncover and return to oven to brown top, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp water
¼ vanilla bean, split in half
¾ lb fresh pitted cherries
1 ½ tbsp brandy
1 ¾ - (4 oz) sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 ¾ cups powdered sugar
2 ⅓ cups almond flour
3 tbsp plus 1 ¾ tsp cornstarch
2 ½ whole eggs
¾ cup pistachios, crushed
Nothing is more cheerful than a summer cherry dessert. In Ruben’s interpretation of this classic French delight, he cooks the cherries in brandy to intensify their flavor. He makes the clafoutis as a sponge cake, which complements the cherries as well as the brandy. In the following recipe and at the restaurant, we use 5-ounce crème brûlée ramekins about ½-inch deep, which can be found at your local gourmet kitchen supply store. Alternatively, you can make this in two 10-inch shallow ceramic tart molds; lengthen the baking time to 45 to 50 minutes.
To prepare topping: Combine sugar, water and vanilla bean in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat. Bring to a boil and leave boiling until the sugar dissolves and the mixture obtains a thick syrupy consistency. Add the cherries and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the brandy. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Allow it to completely cool. Strain, discard liquid and set cooked cherries aside.
To make batter: Place butter and sugar in a bowl of stand-up mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the almond flour and cornstarch, mix to combine, about 3 minutes. While on medium speed, slowly add eggs, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Continue to mix until light and fluffy. Transfer mixture to a piping bag.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly coat eight 5-ounce ramekins, or two 10-inch ceramic tart molds, with cooking spray and place on a sheet pan. Evenly pipe batter among ramekins, or molds, and evenly sprinkle crushed pistachio over batter, followed by sprinkling ¼ cup of cooked cherries into each ramekin. Evenly distribute cherries between large molds if using. Place in oven and bake until golden brown on top, about 28 to 30 minutes or as directed above. Remove from oven and serve warm.
Serves 8 to 10
6 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
½ recipe Almond Streusel for topping (recipe below.
Makes about 3 ¾ cups
1 - (4 oz) stick unsalted butter, cubed
¾ cup tightly packed brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coarse kosher salt
1 tsp minced orange zest
½ tsp ground ginger
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup almond flour
Growing up, my wife Tracy Vaught’s family served sweet potatoes in the traditional American fashion. The sweet potatoes were whipped and had marshmallows on top. The ones we serve at Backstreet are a more elegant version with a sweet crumble on top. They are baked for a very long time. When you cut into them you will see the many layers of sweet potato inside – it is worth the wait. This is the most ordered item on our Thanksgiving to-go menu and can be made up to 2 days ahead. Reheat by removing from refrigerator 30 minutes before warming in a 350°F oven, covered, for 30 to 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350˚F degrees. Lightly spray a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
Place a mandolin on a clean cutting surface. Cut sweet potatoes, lengthwise, into thin slices of 1/8-inch thickness. Whisk together the heavy cream and sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
For each layer, arrange the sweet potatoes in a single layer in the prepared dish. Lightly drizzle the cream-sugar mixture over the potatoes. Repeat this process until using all of the potatoes. For the top layer, drizzle all of the remaining cream-sugar mixture. Cover with aluminum foil, place on a sheet pan to catch cooking juices, and place in oven until the sweet potatoes are soft or until easily pierced through with a knife, about 2 hours. Every 30 minutes, turn sheet pan for even baking. Remove from oven, uncover and sprinkle gratin with streusel. Return to oven and bake until lightly browned on top, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Serve warm
Combine all ingredients, except the oats, in mixing bowl and chill, along with paddle attachment, in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes before beginning the recipe.
Fit mixing bowl with cold ingredients and chilled paddle in stand-up mixer. Mix on medium speed until acquiring a coarse meal texture. Add the oats and mix just until incorporated into streusel, about a couple of seconds. Use immediately or freeze as directed above for up to 3 months.
Makes 4 servings
1 garlic clove, peeled
¼ small white onion, coarsely chopped
½ celery stalk, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp black peppercorns
2 tsp kosher salt
24 medium shrimp
¾ cup tomato juice, chilled
¼ cup fresh orange juice
½ cup plus 1 tbsp fresh lime juice, divided
1 tbsp salsa inglesa (Worcestershire sauce)
¼ tsp kosher salt
¾ tsp ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, peeled
½ whole serrano pepper, stemmed
1½ cup Clamato® tomato cocktail juice, store-bought, chilled
In San Adrés Cholula in Puebla, Tak & Beer, a bar/clamatería — cocktail stand — serves an incredible spicy beer cocktail with shrimp. A tomato juice mix is poured about halfway in a mug that has a chili powder rim. A shrimp “skewer” is placed on top and a nice, cold beer is served on the side. The customer pours the beer in the mug until it fills up, replenishing the beer content after each sip. What a great way to enjoy an afternoon!
Fresh lime juice as needed
cup Mexican chili powder
4 beer mugs, chilled
4 long bamboo toothpicks
4 cold dark beers
To cook shrimp: Set up an ice bath by filling a bowl with ice and water. Place stockpot over high heat and add garlic, onion, celery, peppercorns, salt and 8 cups water. Bring to a rolling boil. Add shrimp and cook for 2 minutes. Immediately transfer cooked shrimp to ice bath to stop cooking process. Allow shrimp to cool completely before peeling and deveining them. Refrigerate covered with plastic wrap until ready to assemble.
*For cocktail mix: Pour tomato, orange and 1 tablespoon lime juices in blender. Add salsa inglesa, salt, ground black pepper, garlic and pepper. Purée into a smooth consistency.
Transfer to pitcher. Add Clamato® juice and remaining lime juice, stir to combine.
To assemble: Pour a small amount of fresh lime juice onto a small plate; place chili powder on a separate small plate and form into a mound. Working one at a time, dip the rim of each beer mug in the lime juice and transfer to the chili powder, creating a red ring on each.
Divide cocktail mix evenly among beer mugs. Skewer 6 cooked shrimp onto each toothpick and place 1 skewer on top of each mug. Serve with beer.
4 cups hominy, cooked (procedure to right)
1/4 cup slaked lime (calcium hydroxide)
3-1/4 quarts (13 cups) turkey stock (or chicken stock), divided
4 cups leftover turkey (cubed or shredded)
2 cups tomatillos, chopped
2 cups poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
1 cup white onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, roasted
1 serrano pepper, roasted
3 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
¾ 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
4 epazote leaves
3 hoja santa leaves, chopped
Salt to taste
Soak 3 cups of dry hominy in water over night. (Once cooked, it will be 4 cups in volume.)
Before cooking, drain the hominy and place in stockpot with fresh water, approximately 6 inches above hominy, add the slaked lime and mix well. Bring to a gentle boil, and cook for approximately 90 minutes or until soft. Once ready rinse with cold water until water comes out clear. While rinsing, remove the small hard kernel at the top of each piece of hominy. Optional: you can use canned hominy.
In a small stock pot, bring turkey stock (reserve 1 cup for next steps) to a gentle boil. Add the cleaned hominy. In a blender, place 1/2 cup turkey stock, tomatillos, onion, garlic, serrano, cloves, peppercorns, cumin and roasted pumpkin seeds and blend well. Add to pozole pot and stir to incorporate, and bring to a gentle boil for 10 minutes. Stir in turkey.
In blender, place 1/2 cup stock, cilantro, parsley, epazote and hoja santa and puree. Add to pozole and mix well. Season to taste and simmer for 5 minutes to meld flavors. .
Garnish with onion, radish, avocado and fresh lime juice, and serve with tostadas on the side. Enjoy hot.
Enjoy The VIdeo Demonstration Below