Saturday, June 30, 2012

MD Ranch Cookhouse is Now Home to the FROZEN Cowboy.



MD Ranch Cookhouse - OUT OF BUSINESS as of September 2014

380 South Main
Monticello, Utah, 84535

(435) 587-3299

Website: Still None


If you abhor freshly cooked, flavorly seasoned food, then MD Ranch Cookhouse is now the go to place for you. Husband and wife owners, Dan and Sally believe that the best cooked food must be frozen, not fresh. While Dan does come into the restaurant, you'll find him in a side room mostly playing card games with friends. Sally is an absentee owner which speaks volumes of, "I don't care, this is just a hobby."













They also do not believe in spending money on advertising; there is a small ad in the weekly local paper and that is it. Otherwise it is word of mouth or seeing the place as you drive past (hint, keep on driving). There is a small gift shop inside selling generic "Made in China" items; guess the idea of selling wares of local artisans is too novel an idea for this duo. What is very disappointing is that when I spoke with Dan in April 2011 (my first review), he had such awesome plans for the development of MD. What happened to the enthusiasim Dan?

Chris is a friend of Dan's who manages the kitchen area; Chris has lots of enthusiasim, but little experience in the culinary arts. He manages two new cooks, one with 8 years experience in restaurant services, the other with very little experience. Basically the blind leading the blind with the staff yelling from the roof top, "give us training and professional kitchen tools and equipment to work with!" The entire kitchen, and thank you Chris for the tour, needs to be revamped with more professional kitchen equipment and better space utility and organization. Definitely better deep fryers, walk-in freezer (there is none, only an upright) and a standard home refrigerator. There is a grill area with both a flat top and barbecue style grill; one stove/oven and for some strange reason, these are constantly being turned down in temperature instead of maintaining a standard high temperature. No wonder everything is deep fried, the oven is hardly ever ready for use! MD opens at 11am, the kitchen staff usually arrives at 10:30am for preparation; a half hour to turn on the equipment basically, but very little fresh food prep work. Chris is a nice guy, but excuses of "it takes too long to prep this or that" is just that, an excuse.

Oh, before I forget, there was one beautifully shining star at MD Ranch Cookhouse, our waitress Brittany. She is perky, with lots of attitude that just makes you smile and laugh. If you do go to MD, make sure to ask for her as your server.



So lets get to the food; so I have to admit that Corn Nuggets, although frozen and deep fried, is a favorite of mine. The outside is crispy and golden brown; the inside has tender corn and creamy sauce; just absolutely yummy. Give me a basket of those and a salad and I'm a happy camper.

Now although there is a meat processing plant within the town limits, seems that MD rather pay for cheap frozen, than fresh cut meat and poultry. As for seasoning, the consensus is that the locals don't like seasoned food, they prefer very bland. Well I live in this town and can tell you that those old timers with dry as dust taste buds may like it bland, but not everyone, including tourists. During the spring, summer and fall months, the bulk of income should be made. During the winter months, when there are only the locals to rely on, there is the option of closing for the season, or catering to those locals who enjoy good, fresh and flavorful food. The others who like it bland? Let them go to the local gas station for overcooked coffee and stale donuts, just the way they like it.




The Reuben Burger can be either a quarter or half pound burger with grilled corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing. While the burger meat was cooked to order, it was unseasoned and depended on the other items to give it flavor. The buns are large, fluffy and toasted; while the sides are usually fries, potato chips or cole slaw, we were lucky to be able to try sweet potato fries. Unhappily the fries came out unseasoned, but once MD's seasoning salt was put on them; delicious.



The Wild West Chicken Sandwich; the West would certainly have been lost with this sandwich. If you order it with the breaded chicken breast, expect a round, pressed chicken patty as you would find in the freezer section of your supermarket. I ordered the grilled chicken which is frozen, precooked chicken; it is steamed (why, I have no clue) to order and while warm on the outside, was cold in the center. I refused to eat it as I did not want to get sick and did bring it to everyone's attention. The thick cut bacon would make any lover of bacon break down and cry; the meat was hard as a rock and easily pulled away from the undercooked fat. The barbecue sauce is house made (surprise, surprise) and is very good; they should bottle and sell it in their gift shop. I had the cole slaw as a side and while house made (another surprise), it needed a twang to it, like more vinegar; however it was fresh and that counted highly.


Ok bacon lovers, here is a photo of thick cut bacon I made this morning in my own kitchen. In a 12 inch skillet, high heat, I was able to cook 6-7 pieces in each batch; each batch took only 8 minutes to fry up to delicious crispiness.



Dan, Sally and Chris; before you make any plans to remodel the MD Ranch Cookhouse; remodel the kitchen and most especially...THE FOOD! Fresh is best; frozen has its place, but not as your main source. Good luck; you're going to need tons of it.

Mary Cokenour

NOTE: The information I have written in this blog post is either from personal experience having a meal at MD Ranch Cook House, or from speaking with current and former employees.  If the employees themselves are stating that major changes, especially in food quality and handling, are needed, than there is accuracy in the statements.


MD Ranch Cook House on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Are you Wok-ing Yet?

With all the running around of summer fun, did you have time to go out and buy your Wok? If yes, are you having fun making quick, simple and easy meals in less than 30 minutes? If no, what are you waiting for?

Well here's another recipe for you and hope you enjoy it as much as my family does. Oh, to get a recipe for fried rice, click on the word Wok in the first paragraph.


Orange Chicken

Ingredients:

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp salt
½ tsp white pepper
1 egg white
¾ cup cornstarch
canola oil for frying (3 cups for Wok, 4 cups for a large skillet)
1 cup red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup sugar snap peas or snow pea pods
1 tsp each minced garlic and ginger
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp grated orange peel
¼ cup chopped green onions

Sauce

1 cup water
2 Tbsp chili sauce
4 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
4 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp sesame oil

Preparation:

In medium bowl, combine chicken with salt, white pepper, egg white and cornstarch; coat chicken thoroughly.

In Wok, or large skillet, heat oil to 375F; fry chicken in batches until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per batch. Drain chicken on paper towels; clean out Wok or skillet, but retain 4 tablespoons of oil.

While chicken is frying, place sauce ingredients in medium sauce pan; over medium heat and let cook until sauce begins to thicken; about 8-10 minutes; stir occasionally to keep from burning.

Stir fry bell peppers, snap peas or pea pods, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, orange peel and green onion for one minute in the Wok or large skillet. Add back the chicken pieces; add sauce and combine thoroughly; let cook for one minute before serving with rice.

Makes 4 servings.

Mary Cokenour

Monday, June 25, 2012

Another Clean Out the Pantry Meal.

This is one of those recipes that was created out of sheer "I have no clue what to make for dinner" moments. Basically it came about by just looking through the freezer, refrigerator and pantry; then waiting for something to speak to me.

In the freezer I found a pound package of shrimp nearing its expiration date; ok, so need to use those up now. In the refrigerator I found several open containers and packages of cheeses that had been used for other recipes, but not entirely used up; the same for some heavy whipping cream and half n' half. Pantry! That's where the picture started to form in my mind of what ingredients I now could use and how to put it all together. I found a can of sliced mushrooms, tomato sauce and diced tomato; ok, so we're going Italian with this one. But wait, instead of pasta, why not use some of those Amish egg noodles my mother had sent me recently?

With ingredients laid out on the counter, shrimp defrosting in the microwave and water for the noodles waiting to boil; the game plan came into being. While I could have just pieced it all together eventually in a skillet on the stovetop; no, I wanted a casserole that would go in the realm of classic. My son was going to be home from work in about an hour and he was going to be my main guinea pig. He also works as a cook, so knew he would be a strong critic and not hold back; hey, who do you think thought him to cook in the first place!?!

In my to be posted recipe, I call for ricotta cheese blended smooth; this can be achieved with a blender or hand mixer. If, for whatever reason, you cannot find or use ricotta cheese, small curd cottage cheese will work just as well, but it too must be blended smooth. This recipe also contains five different cheeses, so consider it decadent and the lactose intolerant are hereby forewarned.



Pantry Shrimp Casserole

Ingredients:


1 (4 oz) can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
½ cup tomato sauce
1 lb medium sized shrimp, shelled and deveined
8 oz. egg noodles, cooked and kept warm
2 cups half n’ half
½ cup heavy whipping cream
4 Tbsp butter
1 cup ricotta cheese, blended smooth
½ cup each grated parmesan, shredded provolone, grated pecorino romano cheeses
½ tsp each ground black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
½ cup each shredded mozzarella and shredded pecorino romano cheeses

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375F; smear butter on the bottom and sides of a 2 quart casserole dish. Place in a large mixing bowl the mushrooms, tomatoes, tomato sauce, shrimp and cooked egg noodles.

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, bring the half n’ half, whipping cream and butter to a simmer; whisk in the ricotta cheese. Gradually add in the parmesan, provolone and grated romano cheeses; also the black pepper and garlic powder. Reduce heat to low and stir until all cheeses are melted; quickly add to the ingredients in the large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.


Spread out mixture into the casserole dish and top evenly with the shredded mozzarella and romano cheeses. Bake for 20-25 minutes; until cheeses are melted and beginning to brown around the edge of the dish.

Makes 6 servings.

Mary Cokenour

Friday, June 22, 2012

Haute Gourmet Mexican.

Last night Fattboyz Grillin hosted one of their specialty nights, Mexican Night. In June they hosted Italian Night and I'm still crying about missing out on that one. Anyway, the featured chef was Leon Sampson, a culinary arts student destined to be top notch. His creative dishes showed his culinary talents from flavoring to plating.

My friend Heidi and son William accompanied me for dinner; we happily needed wheelbarrows to help us to our cars afterwards. So, lets talk about our Mexican feast.


With our drink order came a basket of multicolored tortilla chips and a freshly sensational salsa. The real opening number was Posole, a soup containing tenderly fat hominy, shredded pork and seasoned broth. A warm, generous portion of Navajo Fry Bread and cilantro pesto paid homage to the posole.


Next came the teaser, Street Tacos, of either shredded chicken or beef; tenderly seasoned with fresh vegetables on crispy mini tortillas. Fun is the key word here.

But wait, there's more!



The Combo Plate featuring a shredded beef enchilada in a red tortilla and a homemade sauce that was dark red, thick and rich; Tamale Pie draped with ancho pod sauce that was sweet with heat; creamy refried beans and moist rice. Just because there is a lot of desert in Mexico certainly does not mean the rice and beans have to be desert dry.

I made sure to taste each item several times and though I wanted to eat more and more, my stomach finally put a halt on the binging. So you know full well what I'm having for a leftover meal tonight.

Congratulations Leon on a culinary feat well executed; Congratulations Reed for getting Fattboyz higher and higher on the map of eateries in the Four Corners area.

Mary Cokenour

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Crack that Coconut!

Several weeks ago I purchased the tropical fruit package from Bountiful Baskets and included was a coconut. My first reaction upon seeing it was, "what the heck am I supposed to do with that!?!" I had never worked with a real coconut before, just the bagged shredded coconut you get in the supermarket. So on the counter it sat, watching me, staring at me, mocking me.

Occasionally I picked it up, walked over to the trash can, but no, I didn't throw it out. I refused to be beaten by a mere coconut. I would shake it and hear the liquid inside; that's a good sign that shows that the coconut "meat" is still fresh and moist. Then I decided to do the insanest thing possible; I gave it to my dog to play with. He loved tossing and chasing it around the yard, but then I noticed that he had stopped and was licking it profusely. He had cracked it and lapped up the leaking liquid.

The coconut was small and I didn't give much thought to cracking it open and trying to do something with the liquid myself. Remember, I was looking at it as a protagonist; an enemy that needed to be conquered. Yes, I could have gotten a hammer, cracked it open in a proper way, etc, etc, etc. What fun would that be? Anyway, I grabbed the coconut, took it out to the driveway and let it drop and split open completely it did. The outdoor cats enjoyed the treat of the spilled coconut liquid and I felt good spoiling them a bit.


Right, so what do I do now? Finally went on the internet and looked up how to handle a coconut. I gave the two parts a good wash in water to remove any dirt. Now most sites said to roast the coconut between 400F to 450F, so I took the middle of the road at 425F and preheated my oven. I placed the two halves, open ends downward, into an aluminum baking pan. Now the coconut has a rather "hairy" exterior, so I covered them with a sheet of aluminum foil, leaving the ends open for air circulation. How embarrassing it would have been to have the hair on the coconut catch on fire.


I roasted the coconut for 20 minutes; the edges of the meat closest to the shell will start turning brown. Removed the pan from the oven and let them cool till I could comfortably handle them. Using a meat mallet to whack the shell and a butter knife between the shell and meat, I removed the meat from the shell; it will break apart if you're not gentle in the procedure.


The meat will have a firm brown skin on it and this can easily be removed using a vegetable/potato peeler. Again, be gentle as it can break apart easily.




The final tool you'll need is a grater for shredding the deskinned coconut meat. Now you might want to use a food processor, but the meat is very moist, so don't be surprised to constantly be cleaning your blades. In this instance, a grater is just more logical and efficient to use.


After shredding, I was able to fill a quart size freezer bag; squeeze the air out before sealing and it will last about six months in the freezer.

All in all, I probably will try this again, but this time I will be more careful and save the liquid. Whether I use it immediately for baking, or drinks like a pina colada, or freeze it into cubes, I'll still not waste it.

Mary Cokenour

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

You'll Skor Big with this Cake.

For Fathers' Day, my friend Heidi makes a particular cake for her hubby, Sean, called Skor Cake. Now she got this recipe from a mutual co-worker, Becky Hall Hughes, and I'm glad Becky shared this delectable treat. It's a simple recipe using boxed cake mix, but the results are a sugar high you won't care if you die from. It is a very rich and sweet cake, as you've gathered, so cut the pieces small (16-20), but you'll get a huge satisfaction.

The recipe does call for broken up Skor candy bars, but if you cannot find those, use Heath Bars instead. Also, if your supermarket or local WalMart carries it, in the baking section you'll find bags of Skor or Heath Bar pieces. They're smaller and more uniform in shape, but that just means you get to pour more over the cake. I don't see a big problem with that!



Heidi Murphy’s Skor Cake

Ingredients:


1 Devil’s Food Cake Mix
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 jar of Mrs. Richards Butterscotch/Carmel topping
1 regular size container of Cool Whip
5 to 6 Skor bars crushed to small pieces

Preparation:

Bake cake per instructions on box; let cool for about 15 min or so; then poke holes into it with a wooden spoon handle. After holes are poked, open sweetened condensed milk and pour over whole cake evenly.

Do the same with the Mrs. Richards Butterscotch/Carmel topping; pour over cake as evenly as you can. Cover the cake and refrigerate overnight; it just makes it taste better.

When ready to serve, cover the top with Cool Whip; then sprinkle Skor pieces on top.


Cut (about 16-20 squares) and enjoy!

Mary Cokenour

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Hidden Diamonds in Monticello, Utah!

Pack up your vehicles with camping gear, gather the family and/or friends together and head on up into the Abajo Mountains overlooking the town of Monticello, Utah. There be diamonds up yonder!!!



The cool water of Monticello Lake reflects like diamonds in the bright sunlight. A soothing breeze flows throughout while nature enjoys life in this scenic vista.


Publicly owned by the Manti-La Sal National Forest, access to Monticello Lake is unrestricted and there are many areas set back in the trees for primitive camping. Dalton Springs is 2 miles east and has 16 campsites, picnic areas, drinking water and vault toilets; user fees are charged. Buckboard, 1 miles east, is more primitive and has 13 campsites.


Besides camping, take advantage of the many trails for hiking and ATVs.  Some trails are unmarked, so don't be surprised if you come upon hidden Indian ruins.  Look, take photos, but please don't touch as these are sacred grounds.









This area of the Abajo Mountains also has two other lakes.









Loyd's Lake, a reservoir constructed back in the 1980's which offers a walking path around the lake itself; and camping areas.











...and Foy Lake, 14 miles west of Monticello, located 8350 miles above sea level within the mountains itself. This is primarily a fishing lake and there are a few camping areas nearby.






Surrounded by this wonderful forest land and its spectacular views (the above photo is overlooking Monticello itself), it is surprising to know that, only a half hour drive away from Foy Lake, is the desert and the road that leads to Newspaper Rock and the Canyonlands.



The main fish available at the lakes is Lake Trout, and being a food blog, I would be remiss in not giving you a recipe for this delectable edible. If you're camping and using an open fire for cooking, trout can be fried up in a pan, or use the pan as a mock oven by wrapping the fish in heavy duty aluminum foil.

Clean off any scales from the body, trim off the fins, and slit open the body underneath. Clean out the entrails and wash thoroughly with cold water. A simple seasoning mixture of salt, ground black pepper and dill can be sprinkled inside and out. While cooking, squeeze lemon juice over the fish; or, if using the wrapped with foil method, add the juice before sealing. Cooking time should be 10-15 minutes depending on the method used. Trout meat is white, firm and sweet tasting; the cheeks are a treat and the cooked eyeballs a delicacy.

So enjoy the diamonds found upwards from Monticello, Utah; and all nature has to offer.

Mary Cokenour

Saturday, June 16, 2012

More Fun with BACON!!!

Being in the mood for a bacon and egg breakfast for the weekend, I pulled the thick cut maple bacon out of the freezer for defrosting. At the same time, I pulled out a package of lean ground beef to make meatloaf for dinner.

After getting home from work, it was just one thing after another; them came the time to make dinner. Looking at the ground beef, I started to reconsider making the meatloaf and I thought of other recipes. I really like those Tamale Stuffed Peppers, but alas, no fresh peppers in the fridge. I could make my Mexican Shepherd's Pie; very similar to the stuffed peppers, but as a casserole. Heh; I spotted the now defrosted bacon, a picture formed in my mind and I decided, "why not!?!"



That's right, Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf and I used many of the ingredients from the Tamale Stuffed Peppers to give an extra Mexican twist. Hey, if I can put bacon into or on top of cupcakes, why not a meatloaf? ...and so it began.


Now the first major decision I made was to use a roasting pan with a rack instead of a baking dish. I lined the pan with aluminum foil, inserted the rack, but also put a sheet of foil over the rack. I pricked a few holes here and there on the sheet to allow any excess oil to drip through; the meatloaf wouldn't absorb the excess oil or cook in it and burn the bottom.  The foil also kept the meat mixture from dropping through and falling apart.


Second decision was to trim the slices of bacon and not tuck them under the meat mixture. I felt that being hidden from the heat would keep them undercooked and I wanted the bacon crispy.



The bacon added moisture to the lean ground beef, cut easily without crumbling and did not stick to the foil at all. Every bite was infused with the maple flavor of the bacon; but after swallowing a strong bacon flavor coated the tongue. You were still able to experience the flavors of the Mexican ingredients too. As a garnish, some cool, freshly made salsa was just right.

Yeah, I like playing with bacon.

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf with a Mexican Twist

Ingredients:


2 lbs lean ground beef
1 cup each diced onions and tomatoes
1 cup whole kernel corn
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup diced bell peppers
¼ cup diced chile peppers (medium heat)
¾ cup each plain bread crumbs and cornmeal
½ cup milk
2 Tbsp New Mexico chile powder (medium heat)
10-12 slices thick cut bacon (maple flavor works well)

Preparation:

Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil; place rack inside; place piece of foil over rack and prick several holes to allow for oil drainage. Preheat oven to 375F.

In a large bowl, thoroughly combine all ingredients except the bacon. Remove meat mixture to foil covered rack and carefully form a loaf. Drape bacon strips over loaf, but do not tuck underneath the meat mixture; trim off excess.

Bake in oven for 2-2 ½ hours, or until internal temperature reaches 180F. Carefully transfer loaf to serving platter and cut into slices; bacon would have shrunk and can be used as a guide.

Makes 10-12 servings.

Mary Cokenour

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Chinese Spaghetti?

Lo Mein is a popular dish in most Chinese restaurants and take outs.  The noodles are made from wheat flour and are similar in shape to an Italian pasta, namely spaghetti.  Lo Mein noodles can also be flat and wide resembling fettuccine pasta.  In Cantonese, lo mein means "stirred noodles", basically cooked in boiling water and then mixed with a sauce.  Chow mein noodles are stir fried, so tend to have a drier, crisp texture to the noodle.

Personally I have never tried making lo mein myself as I thought it was too complicated.  However, my mother had found lo mein noodles (the flat, wide type) in her local supermarket and sent me several packages.  Well I was now committed to making the attempt, as I didn't want to waste the product.   It was also another reason to break out the Wok and try something different.

There are so many recipes online for Lo Mein, balanced between extremely easy to very complicated; some with a few ingredients, some with too many to count.  I basically went with what I know we like to have in our Lo Mein whenever we order it at a Chinese restaurant.  I let my husband and son choose what protein they wanted; chicken, beef, pork or seafood.  They chose shrimp, but happily chimed in "Yes!" when I mentioned I had crab meat and scallops also available; so we combined all three.  I used chicken broth in the sauce, as I didn't have any fish or vegetable stock in the pantry; the taste was not compromised in any way.

While it was good, we all agreed that we would rather have had the noodle that resembled spaghetti.  The flat, wide noodles absorbed too much of the sauce; and were cumbersome to eat, so now we know better for next time.  The vegetables I used balanced well with the seafood, but I will probably add bok choy if using beef, since beef has a more overwhelming flavor than seafood.

All and all, another cooking adventure that I gladly shared with my family.  Enjoy!



Lo Mein

Ingredients:


1 lb lo mein noodles (thin or flat)
4 Tbsp peanut oil, divided in half
½ cup each thinly sliced bell peppers and onion
¼ cup green onion, cut at an angle
1 ½ cups bite sized pieces chicken, pork, beef, shrimp, scallops, crabmeat (or any combination)
1 cup stock (chicken, beef or vegetable depending on protein used)
6 Tbsp oyster sauce
6 Tbsp dark soy sauce
4 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp each minced ginger and garlic
½ tsp ground white pepper
1 cup straw mushrooms
1 cup bean sprouts

Preparation:

Cook lo mein noodles according to package directions; set aside, but keep warm.


In a large Wok or skillet, heat 2 Tbsp peanut oil; add bell peppers, onion and green onion; sauté till softened. Remove and set aside.


Add remaining 2 Tbsp peanut oil; sauté protein for 2 minutes before adding 2 Tbsp each of oyster and soy sauces; cook another minute, remove and set aside.



In same Wok or skillet, mix together 4 Tbsp each oyster and soy sauces, cornstarch, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and white pepper. Bring to a boil and let cook 2 minutes to thicken; add back sautéed vegetables and cooked protein; add mushrooms, sprouts and lo mein noodles. Mix together thoroughly and let cook together for 3 minutes; tossing frequently to coat and heat through.

Makes 6 servings.

Mary Cokenour

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Say Si Senor when in Farmington, New Mexico.


Si Senor

4015 East 30th
Farmington, New Mexico, 87402

(505) 324-9050

Website: http://sisenorrestaurants.com/ (Note: address is not listed on this website, but the menu is similiar with a few names changes)

Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Si-Se%C3%B1or-Restaurant/375288312413


Only a short distance from the Animas Valley Mall is Si Senor, a superior Mexican cuisine restaurant where dress can be from your Sunday best to the most comfortable casual. The interior is beautifully done with hanging ristras (arrangements of dried chile pods) and awards for their fine wines. The hostess is quick to greet you with a smile and seat you at one of their beautiful tables.


The centerpiece of the restaurant is a lovely white fountain surrounded by fine wooden tables and carved chairs. There is marble everywhere, including the restrooms, and you have the feeling of being in a fine hacienda. A waitress takes your drink order, giving you time to peruse their varied menu, and a listing of daily specials.


After giving our food order, we received a basket of fried tortilla chips with two condiments, a salsa and a divine jalapeno cream cheese dip which I suspect has sour cream in it to obtain its creaminess. Now here is a hint on the spice index for Si Senor; medium to hot. If you are one who likes your spice slim to none, Si Senor is not your type of place; then again, how can one eat Mexican without a little heat?

There were five of us dining together, so you'll get a good glimpse of what is available.



The Si Senor salad - Marinated chicken or beef, grilled with fresh onion, bell peppers and tomatoes, placed on a bed of fresh green lettuce, served with cheese, guacamole and sour cream.


Taco Platter - three tacos made with corn tortillas, chicken, shredded or ground beef; served with rice and refried beans. While the rice is spicy, the refried beans are creamy and absolutely delicious; both are basically served with every entree.

Many dishes are served with a choice of red or green chili sauce; tender chunks of pork are in the sauce; the green sauce is slightly sweeter than the red.



Combination #1 - chili rellano, taco and cheese enchilada.



Combination #2 - tamale, taco and cheese enchilada.



Combination #3 - flauta, taco and cheese enchilada.

For dessert we had Sopapillas (deep fried flatbread) with honey; a perfect light finish to one of Si Senor's meals.

So when in Farmington, New Mexico and you're craving Mexican food, just say "Si Senor!"

Mary Cokenour


SI Senor on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 1, 2012

Completely Grilled Dinner.

For the first barbecue of the season, I surprised my husband and son with a completely grilled dinner - potato, corn on the corn and New York Strip Steak; all cooked on the grill. Normally I would have baked the potato in the oven and cooked the corn in a pot of water on the stovetop, but I didn't want to deal. I went on line for advice, found closely related instructions and then worked it out with my grill, since I knew better how it acted.

The potatoes were large baking potatoes, simply seasoned with sea salt and olive oil; wrapped in aluminum foil. First I washed the potato, then slit it lengthwise first and halfway down to its center. On a rectangular piece of aluminum foil, I put one tablespoon of olive oil in the center of the foil and sprinkled on 1/4 teaspoon of fine sea salt. The potato went on top of the oil; another tablespoon of oil over the potato and another 1/4 teaspoon of salt sprinkled over it.

I folded the top and bottom of the foil over the potato and creased it the entire length of foil; basically making an envelope.

Lifting one side, I draped it over the potato and pressed it down. I then began rolling it, making sure to keep the creases together and rolling tightly. The oil would keep the pototo moist, add flavor, but the foil needed to be tight to keep the oil from leaking out onto the grill.


The complete package would be placed on the grill seam side up.


For the corn on the cob, I removed the husk and silk; giving it a light wash to make sure all the stray silk pieces were removed. The foil method was the same as for the baking potatoes, but the change was the fat used. I placed the cob on the aluminum foil, on either side I placed an ice cube and a half tablespoon of butter. The ice cube would melt, help steam the corn for tenderness and help the butter create a sauce. I lightly sprinkled ground black pepper, garlic powder, fine sea salt and crushed dried parsley over each cob. Then I wrapped each one up in the same manner as the potatoes.

Cooking time: now my grill has an upper shelf and that is where I placed both the potatoes and the corn. The potatoes would cook for one hour and 15 minutes, while the corn would take 45 minutes. I knew the steaks would take 12 minutes, so I had it all timed to finish together. The steaks were simply seasoned on both sides with a sprinkle of fine sea salt and ground black pepper each. The grill shelf over the burners was already sizzling hot, so I placed the steaks on, about 3 inches apart. Closed the lid, waited three minutes, then gave the steaks a half turn (no, I didn't flip them yet, just repositioned them); closed the lid again and waited another three minutes. Now I flipped them and repeated the process for the other side to get medium done steaks.

So there you have it, a complete dinner done on the grill without complicated prepping.

Mary Cokenour