jueves, febrero 13, 2014

Cava de Marcelo

Touted as the only cheese vault latin america, La Cava de Marcelo is one of those new landmarks in the Ensenada municipality that you just have to visit. And with 4 generations of cheese making, they sure do know their stuff, and my, oh my! does the cheese ever taste great! 

It's about an hour and a half away from downtown Ensenada, towards the east, to be more precise and just past the town of Ojos Negros, if you've been to see the Baja1000/500 races, chances are, you've been around here at some point. A word to the wise though, there is a military checkpoint, so take care to not bring anything illegal and depending on the season, Ojos Negros is quite warm in the summer and cold (for our standards) in the winter.

This is what the way there might look like: (results may vary)

Of course, if, like those old California Cheese commercials you're in town just for ze cheese, really, your time may be well spent staying in town and getting the cheeses from Maria Luisa or some other market (no nation-wide brands carry it!!!). But, if you're into visiting cows like, we, of course, certainly are... you just have to make it out there! Ok, it's like most dairy farms, some calves of varying ages, the girls for milk, the boys... well, for slaughter.

A few milk-producing cows, some others that are on their resting periods out in the pasture.

And for 5 dollars you can get a tour of the premises that includes a glass of wine and a few tastings, when we went, we tried their ricotta, butter and 4 different aged cheeses; those last 4 are served inside the vault itself.

As you can see, their "machinery" is quite on the artisanal side.

The wine vault is humidity and temperature controlled by the ground around it, it's one floor down and they keep those glass doors closed and the light dimmed down low.

As far as photography goes, it poses a bit of a challenge, especially if you didn't bring your tripod! This is a ~25 second exposure for which I had to leave the camera on a table.

The smell in here is intoxicatingly wonderful!

Our cheese plate/flight, not pictured because of the "bad" lighting, consisted of a few nuts, half an apple, a bit of jam and 4 cheeses of varying ages: fresh, 3 month, 1 year and 2 years; needless to say, that 2 year old was punnnnngent! but very savory. It's not exactly a blue cheese, because I think it's not a penicillium fungus, but some other fungus that "invades" the cheeses, forcing the keepers of the vault to go in and turn theme every few months so the rind is even on all sides.

On our short trip we didn't get a chance to eat there, but the menu looked rather interesting with regional offerings that, as I understood it, were set up by one or two famous chefs.

martes, febrero 11, 2014

Chipotle-cranberry meatballs [recipes]

HA! This recipe is provided by heinz! although... their version is very ... em .. "practical" (<- note the double emphasis :P) but the original recipe came from reddit, where they use. the. same. heinz. recipe. Oh, but they (the blog to which they linked) are like ssoooooowww creatiiiive... ppff... lazy hipsters, if you ask me! what is this bullcrap about buying meatballs!? really? you call yourself a food blogger and you can't make meatballs? fo'shaaaame! Ok, I must admit that on this occasion I had considered buying frozen meatballs, but really? a pound for 4 dollars and change? hell no!, I made at least twice by buying real meat, sirloin, too! And it has the added benefit of being able to get pan drippings by deglazing the pan in which you cook them. We made these for a pre-Christmas eve reunion we were invited to, that time... big meatballs, good.. but not for noshing on toothpicks... so it depends on what you're serving them for, you might want to make them small if they're meant to be snacks (like for the superbowl) or a bit larger if they're meant to be the main course accopanied by some nice creamy mashed potatoes, oh damn! my mouth just waters from the thought! heck, I'm tempted to just make patties instead of meatballs next time!


For the meatballs

2 lb. ground beef
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp chipotle sauce
1 ~ 2 chipotles
1/2 tbsp mustard

For the sauce

1 bottle of heinz chili sauce
1 can cranberry sauce
1 ~ 2 chipotles
1/2 cup beer


Mix all meatball ingredients and .. make meatballs about 2 cm.

Sear in a pan, being careful not to overload it
Once golden brown and delicious, remove and set aside
Without returning the pan to the heat, add the beer to the pan to deglaze
Once deglazed, add chili and cranberry sauces
Of course, after cursing whoever decided that cans can only be opened from one side... remember, all you need is to open a hole large enough so ti replaces the air that the sauce block is leaving inside of the can, i. e. pierce with a corkscrew or other similar sharp object.
Once incorporated, return the meatballs to the sauce and let them cook a couple of hours.
Serve with toothpicks and hurry, because they fly off the plate!

domingo, febrero 02, 2014

Albóndigas con chipotle y arándanos [recetas]

JA! esta receta la provee heinz!! bueno, la versión de ellos es muy... em.. "práctica" (<-- nótese el doble énfasis :P) pero la receta originalmente la saqué de un post en reddit, donde usan la misma :| receta de Heinz... oh well.. pero ellos se creen taaaaan creativos!! 'ches goebones también.. cómo que con albóndigas compradas? bueno, debo admitir que para esta ocasión consideré comprar congeladas y hacer la receta tal como la indica Heinz.. pero.. nee, muy poquitas en el paquete y pues, un tanto caras.. haciéndolas en casa fácil hice como 3 veces más y como se obtienen los "restos" de donde se doran, la salsa queda más sabrosa. La primera vez que hice estas fue en Navidad que nos invitaron a la casa de unos amigos a pasar un rato con ellos antes de la cena de Nochebuena; esa vez lo que admito que me falló es que hice las albóndigas muy grandes y más que 


Para las albóndigas

2 lb carne molida
1/2 cebolla mediana finamente picada
1 cda salsa de chipotle
1 ~ 2 chipotles
1/2 cda mostaza
1 huevo

Para la salsa

1 botella de chili de heinz
1 lata de salsa de arándanos
1~2 chipotles
1/2 tz cerveza


Mezcla todos los ingredientes de las albóndigas y.. haz albóndigas de apróximadamente 2 cm.

Dóralas en un sartén, procurando no sobrecargarlo
Una vez doradas, retíralas
Sin regresar al  fuego, agrega la cerveza al sartén para deglasearlo
Una vez deglaseado, agrega la salsa de chiles y la de arándanos
Claro, después de mentársela a la lata moderna porque no se puede abrir de abajo para sacarle la salsa fácil... si, lo que haces es picarlas con algo... como un sacacorchos :P
Una vez incorporada la salsa, regresa las albóndigas a la salsa y déjalas terminar de cocerse un par de horas.
Sirve con picadientes y apúrale a comer, que se acaban!

sábado, febrero 01, 2014

La avioneta [Restaurants]

Trips have a learning effect on all of us, some more, some less, but in this most recent trip to our hometown of Ensenada, we.. learned.. a... lot!!! But, more importantly we had a few lessons in the culinary realm as well; one of them being this taco place/stand. I've taken the liberty of lumping this place with the rest of the restaurants we've visited over the years, but only for the reason that they have tables, from coca cola, sure, but a place to sit is a place to sit. And much like other taco places where you get a place to sit, you don't get a waiter, you order at the cart, add your goodies and sit back down to eat away. Once you're done, you get up and ask how much you owe them, usually you have to keep track of what you've eaten, and trust me, eat. you. will! ... just about the only thing I didn't like about this place is that there was some old dude playing guitar and asking for "any help"... or.. maybe it was just too damn early for a weekend+vacation day.

If you're in that neck of the woods, we highly recommend this place, you can find it's street address as: Calle 7a entre Rayon y Aldama #1840 Colonia Obrera, Ensenada, Baja California, 22840 they even have a facebook page!. Among other things, they have on offer:

Smoked marlin

Camarón a la diabla (Devil's shrimp sans cheese)

Camarón a la diabla (Devil's shrimp avec cheese)

Abalone chorizo and egg


Lobster (left) Devil's shrimp (right)

Breaded fish

La avioneta [Restaurantes]

Por lo regular los viajes nos brindan algún aprendizaje, el más reciente a Ensenada nos dejó muchos!... entre tantos, claro que tiene que haber unos de comida :D. Me atrevo a poner este post en la categoría de restaurantes porque aunque te sirven de una carreta, tienen amplio espacio, mesas y sillas, de coca cola, pero, mesas y sillas que a final de cuentas hace que sea una taquería donde se come sentado. Y vaya que uno quiere comer y comer y comer! El servicio es.. pues como en muchas otras taquerías, no hay mesero, tienes que ir a pedir tus tacos a la carreta, tu mismo te los preparas y... cuando llega el momento, te levantas, vas a la caja y les dices lo que te comiste. Lo único que no me gustó, pero mas bien es porque soy un amargado de primera, es que estaba un Don ahí tocando la guitarra y pidiendo "lo que guste cooperar".. bueno, también puede ser porque era muy temprano :P.

Si quieres ir, están en la Calle 7a entre Rayon y Aldama #1840 Colonia Obrera, Ensenada, Baja California, 22840 y hasta página de facebook tienen. Entre otras cosas, ofrecen:

Marlin ahumado

Camarón a la diabla (sin queso)

Camarón a la diabla CON queso

Chorizo de abulón


Langosta (izquierda) Camarón a la diabla(derecha)

Pescado empanizado