Monthly Archives: February 2013
Small Business Superstars- Tienda Latina
I like to think that a food blog can be so much more than ignorant reviews of restaurants, and posting delicious homemade recipes. With that in mind, today’s post will be the first in a series focusing on some of the small business superstars that I enjoy and frequent on a regular basis.
I get asked often where to find certain ingredients, and when the question comes to Mexican/ Latin ingredients, the business I recommend most is Tienda Latina.
Located in a small strip mall at 99st and Argyll rd, Tienda Latina has been my go-to shop for everything from frozen corn tortillas, hard to find dried chilis, and the delicious Jarritos soft drinks (cola is my favourite).*
The owners, Bernardo, Carlos, and Israel, are a shining example of what customer service is supposed to be. Helpful, friendly, and always ready to offer advice on the brands and products they sell. There really is nothing like having a knowledgeable, friendly, source of information to help take the confusion out of products that you’re not overly familiar with.
Tamales, masa, queso fresco, and corn husks are but a few things you will find at Tienda Latina, but what I really love is the selection of canned and jarred staples.
Canned tomatillos, prepared mole sauces, and every variation of salsa that you can think of find their way into my pantry, and I’ve been finding ways to incorporate them into everyday dishes to spice things up a bit.
The next time you’re feeling a little spicy, try Tienda Latina yourself, and I’m sure you’ll find yourself recommending it to your friends just like I do.
9844 63 avenue
*click the link above, then click the mango soda on the far right. Hilarious!
Oven Roasted Creole Baby Back Ribs
I may have tried making ribs at home before, but I can’t even hear the words Baby Back Ribs without thinking about this…
As usual, when making something for the first time, I decided to stick to my comfort zone. In this case, that means spices that I know kick ass with pork. I wish I could tell you that I developed some uber-technical recipe and super complicated cooking method, but it really wasn’t required. What can I say? You really just need meat, seasoning, and heat.
Sometimes simple is the way to go.
Besides, what am I going to do, go to some restaurant where the “chef” is going to boil your ribs and slather them in some nasty neon sauce so I can’t even taste the meat anymore? I don’t think so.
I used a blend of 1 part creole seasoning mixed with 1 part brown sugar. I rubbed the ribs liberally (around 3-4 tbsp) with the mix and wrapped in tin foil. I baked them on a sheet pan at 275 degrees for 3 hours. Then I removed the foil, set the oven to broil, and let them go until browned (about 10 min).
After pulling the ribs out to rest, I basted with the juices from the foil pack. Some of that juice absorbed back into the meat and made the ribs nice and moist.
The result? Although I’d probably up the sugar content of the rub a bit next time, I got juicy, spicy, tender ribs with a nice spice bark at a fraction of restaurant prices. Give them a try.
Salted Caramel Sauce
Who doesn’t like salted caramel?
Weird people, that’s who.
Ever since Carmen got me addicted to the amazing Salted Caramel Ice Cream at Village Ice Cream, I’ve wanted to make this gooey caramel myself at home.
It’s not as hard as you might think. Pro’s would probably use a candy thermometer, but I found just melting the sugar until a nice golden brown. worked just fine for me. Rules be damned.
Here’s how you do it.
– 1 cup white sugar
– 6 tbsp butter, cubed
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-1/2 tbsp fleur de sel
Heat the sugar in a heavy pot over medium heat, and whisk occasionally until lumps begin to form.
Stop whisking, and let the sugar melt completely. Swirl pan gently once or twice to melt evenly.
When the sugar is completely melted and has reached a rich, golden brown, add the butter quickly and swirl to melt. If you wait even a few seconds too long to toss in the butter, your caramel will be a smokey, smelly, disaster.
Trust me on this one.*
Whisk in your salt and cream at this point. The sticky, messy sugar will turn into delicious, silky caramel right before your eyes.
P.S. This stuff makes a pretty kick-ass caramel popcorn. Just be sure to invite me over when you make it.
* It’s very important to be quick here when the right colour is achieved. I burned my second batch and the whole house filled with smoke and smelled worse than Willie Nelsons headband.