Saturday, April 7, 2018

Tacos Al Pastor made in NYC cooked sous vide and naturally Gluten Free

Oven Roasted Al Pastor Taco with grilled pineapple
was delicious too
but the sous vide version was better!!
corn tortillas were purchased from Tortilleria Nixtamal 

Tacos al Pastor scratch made gluten free
The cuisinEtc catering NYC team's continuing
quest for authentic Mexican flavors
on the East Coast of America.

sous vide and griddled Al Pastor Tacos
closeup below

notes: • Chef Andrew and I purchased already
thinly sliced pork shoulder from Mi Tierra Grocery Store on the famous Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC. 

Chef Andrew took out all the remaining bones and trimmed off the rind - reserving both for other uses.  It's such a treat to be able to find authentic ingredients and fresh ethnic produce right in our own backyard in Queens, NYC at stores like Mi Tierra.  Check out these fresh nopale catcus leaves they had on offer this week.

Grilled Nopale Salad 
would be amazing 
with these made from scratch al Pastor Tacos

Fun fact about Al Pastor Tacos - usually they are finished on the Rotisserie Spit which is similar to how gyros are made.

Not surprising since El Pastor tacos (Spanish for shepherd's style ) are a culinary cultural adaptation that the Christian Lebanese immigrants brought with them to Mexican during their immigration from Lebanon to central Mexico during the late 19th and early 20th century. Lebanon at that time was part of the Ottoman Empire and was heavily influenced by the Turks, who developed the donor kebab.
Grilling and charring a rotating vertical spit of stacked meat slices and cutting it off as it cooks was developed in the 19th century in Ottoman Turkey.  This is what is called doner kebab, and it was the origins of not only al pastor, but also middle Eastern shawarma and Greek Gyros.
(BTW, don't tell any of them that - they might dispute you or worse yet, do bodily harm.) 

Let's get to how to make Al Pastor Pork for Tacos
...even if you don't have a vertical rotisserie spit!

First step is to make achiote paste
from scratch for the marinade.
 ...Such wonderful aromatics!

Achiote Paste
(for up to 16-18 pounds of al pastor pork)
  •  1/4 cup annatto seeds 
  •  2 tablespoon coriander seeds 
  •  2 tablespoon dried oregano 
  •  2 teaspoon cumin seeds 
  •  1 teaspoon black peppercorns 
  •  2-3 whole spice cloves - 
  •  1 teaspoon salt 
  •  8-10 garlic cloves (peeled)
Note: don't mix up cloves with garlic cloves
like we almost did LOL !!
  •  1/4 cup frozen concentrated undiluted orange juice 
  •  1/4 cup Manhattan Key Lime juice 
  •  puree of 6 whole kumquats (about ¼ cup) 
  •  and puree of one peeled cara cara orange 
  • (no zest – as we had it already peeled) 

 whiz it all up in a bullet and set aside

either used pre-sliced pork
(recommended for consistency)
orslice a whole pork shoulder

use fresh dried whole chiles and
adjust to the spice level you are
comfortable with.  The amount of chiles
in this recipe do not make the meat
especially spicy - it is however,
very flavorful and
makes a wonderful al pastor marinade.

dried guajillo chiles 
  •  4 whole ancho chiles 
  •  2 whole guajillo chiles remove stem and seeds 

dried ancho chiles 
toast chiles in a hot dry pan until just blistered,
 a bit puffed and you can smell them,
 about 3-5 minutes on high heat

  •  add 1/4 - 1/2 cup chicken stock 
  • and let come to a quick boil.

Pour everything into an bowl and cover.
Let the chiles cool and soften while you
prepare the rest of the Al Pastor pork marinade.

 Wipe down the saute pan and add the following:
  •  2 heaping teaspoons whole cumin seed, 
toast first with other spices below
  • 1 small fresh Mexican bay leaf (optional) 
  • 1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick (optional) 
  • 2 spice cloves 
  • once toasted, add 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobe sauce 
  •  2-3 teaspoons of the adobe sauce 
  • 3 Tablespoons of housemade achiote paste from the recipe above 
  • add 1 cup white balsamic vinegar (or apple cider vinegar) 
  • 2-3 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt 
  • 2-3 teaspoons sugar 
 Combine the following in the bullet or blender
  • 1 cup key lime juice 
  • 1 medium onion grilled and roughly chopped 
  • 4 large cloves garlic
then  add chiles that you set aside earlier
and the toasted spices and such
puree marinade in bullet mixer until smooth
to finish marinade mixture.

 Steps to prepare and marinate the Al Pastor Pork
  •  8-10 # thinly sliced pork shoulder 
cut off rind/skin and cut out any bones – easy to do both.
 Set those aside for another use.

 rub slices of meat with about half of the prepared marinade (refrigerate the rest for another use)

 If you don't have a vertical rotisserie
options we suggest are either bake/roast
the al pastor pork in oven,
 or sous vide the marinated layered al pastor meat
 for the first part of the cooking procedure.


Chef Andrew of CuisinEtc Catering NYC
layering the marinated Al Pastor Pork 

Layer the Al Pastor Meat.
Start with some thin slices of pineapple
stack slices of meat neatly in a pile with some
bacon on the bottom and a scatter of raw bacon
in between some of the layers of meat.
Cover the top with a layer of raw bacon.
and another layer of thinly sliced raw pineapple

We used lower sodium bacon from Costco.

Note: We cooked half the meat in the oven and the other half was cooked sous vide in a water bath for 18 hours at 60 Celsius/140 Fahrenheit.  This was an experiment in which method produced more tender and flavorful results. The winner seemed to be the sous vide which retained more moisture during the cooking process. But both tasted amazing!

As you layer, lightly salt each layer of meat
with kosher salt before placing any bacon.
The bacon helps give the meat more fat,
as well as adding salt which helps the
final product stick/meld together especially
if using the rotisserie.  If oven cooking in pan,
be sure to drain the liquid that accumulates in
the pan and reserve for another use,
before refrigerating the baked meat overnight
to firm up before slicing.

Let the Al Pastor meat marinate 4-6 hours
and up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.

Package and cryovac half the meat (about 4-5 #)
in a airtight sealed bag and
after marinating in refrigerator overnight, sous vide
cook it for 18 hours @ 60 Celsius/140 Fahrenheit
in a large pot of water.  Cover the pot
to stop too much water from evaporating.

oven roasted Al Pastor
turned out of the roasting pan
The other half that we cooked in the oven, was layered into a quarter hotel pan starting with bacon lining the bottom then a layer of pineapple then stacked the meat, lightly salting each layer and ending with a layer of bacon and a top layer of pineapple.

This version was cooked in the oven at 275 F convection for 4 hours. When it is done, drained off the liquid – setting it aside for another purpose, and weigh the top with filled water bottles in another quarter pan and refrigerated overnight.

To test out both we cut various size slices and pan sautéed along with heating up already grilled pineapple and chopped raw onion and chopped raw cilantro (including stems)

The best results were cutting al Pastor slices about ¼ inch thick from the cooked stack. Using a dry sauté pan heat up slices of the al pastor – it worked best and tasted better when the slices were at least ¼ inch thick.

Mix up some of the heated grilled chopped fresh pineapple with the sautéed! and slightly blackened al pastor heat up some fresh corn tortillas from Tortilleria Nixtamal  and top with chopped raw onion and raw cilantro with a generous squeeze of fresh lime. DELICIOUS and gluten free! 

BTW, as far as I know, this is the only Tortilleria in NYC that makes their own masa from scratch.  We are lucky that they are literally in our backyard, less than a 10 minute drive!

It's fun to go watch the tortillas coming off the conveyor that they imported from Mexico.   Their website indicates that they are used by some of the finest caterers and restaurants in NYC.

mouthwatering finished product
Tacos Al Pastor from Scratch!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Garden of Eating - A springtime surprise birthday celebration in Larchmont

Planning a surprise birthday party for your wife?   Take a look at this lovely surprise birthday celebration event cuisinEtc recently had the honor of catering in Larchmont, Westchester, New York.

Imagine a lovely evening with warm breezes .... as the guests enter your charming home in the air wafts the aroma of delicious food and celebration to come in honor of your wife's special birthday.   

Our professional wait staff then begin circulating with whimsically presented array of tapas and hors d’oeuvres along with savory dinner food and grazing stations and with the option to conclude with sweet treats.

The following menu that our client hosted is one example that provides a composite of multi-ethnic nibbles, offering a diversity of exciting yet recognizable choices for you and your guests to enjoy in honor of your wife’s surprise birthday celebration. 

This is just one example, so bear in mind we work with you to discover what your needs and tastes are and that helps us create YOUR menu !!
Our menus are custom designed to what is suitable for your taste and style.  Call Lisa during normal business hours at 646-932-3496 to discuss your event or send an email 24/7.

Meanwhile, fair warning:  don't read while hungry!!!

A May birthday Bash Menu:
--> A Colorful Crudite Garden Palate of
Artisan Breads & International Spreads :  
vegetarian and vegan breads and spreads

…bee kissed kumquat & pistachio tartine
Mikes's hot honey, blood orange EVOO/NY state bee pollen sprinkled on house-made ricotta atop seeded low carb toast fingers layered with fresh kumquats + finished with Himalayan pink salt 

( low carb, vegetarian)

.....rondele garlic herb cheese torta layered with sundried tomato tapenade and fresh basil pesto  
(Vegetarian, LCHF, low carb, GF)


.....pecan cheddar 
mango chutney savory cheesecake   (gf, low carb, vegetarian)

offered with an array of crispy Gluten Free rice crackers 
(vegan, gluten free, LCHF)
great for low carb high fat dieters and still enjoyed by everyone else too!

cheddar mango chutney savory cheesecake

....pomegranite roasted eggplant tomato dip + fresh cut crudité.
              (vegan, gluten free, LCHF)

cuisinEtc crudites are the cat's meow 

it's all about fresh flavorful food -
the pomegranite and roasted eggplant dip served with the crudite had all the guests purring!!

It's been said, we eat with our eyes first...
Lisa Teiger,  cuisinEtc's culinary fashionista and event designer, planned the whimsical crudite garden to compliment our client's magnificent spring view of the flowering trees in Larchmont outside their beautiful home, while bringing the outdoors inside for the enjoyment and delight of their guests.

breads and spreads for grazing table  #1creative

.....edamame hummus sunflower display  with pita petals and black olive seeds  (vegan, LCHF)

according to Wikipedia "deviled eggs (US) or devilled eggs (UK), also known as stuffed eggs, Russian eggs, or dressed eggs are hard boiled eggs that have been shelled, cut in half and filled with a mixture made from the egg yolks mixed with other ingredients."    Our customers are enjoying these old school appetizers which have revived, renewed and even re-invented  themselves in the last few years!

the most popular version of deviled eggs that cuisinEtc caterers offer is our lemon scented deviled egg - pictured here garnished with edible spring flowers from our gardens and our signature nori butterflies... other amazing tastes that profile a variety of stuffed egg flavor profiles could included British curried devilled eggs, smoked salmon topped stuffed eggs, cheddar bacon deviled eggs, bbq pork stuffed eggs, buffalo blue cheese deviled eggs, evil genius candied pancetta devil eggs just to name a few...

.....a garden of whimsical edible butterflies  + edible flowers
perched a top lemon scented deviled stuffed eggs 
(vegetarian, low carb, gluten free)
mothers day, afternoon tea party, wedding and baby shower, catering nyc  caterer
 whimsical deviled egg displays

Peking chicken wonton bites
perfect one bite appetizer
guests mingled on the porch
enjoying cocktails and some stationary nibbles while waiting for the surprise birthday honoree to arrive

lovely litte short plates 

and fork friendly cocktail food offerings
easy to eat while sitting or standing...

.....shitake mushroom + gruyere  crustless quiche, dab of saffron aioli & edible spring flowers  (vegetarian, GF, LCHF)

how fun is this - pig candy corn pudding inspiration via our catering friends in Texas  - and added bonus - environmentally friendly corn husk wrappers... 
short plates, candied bacon
 .....candied bacon & corn pudding in real corn husks.

.....korean marinated filet of beef and hard boiled quail egg lettuce wrap with kimchi carrot nappa slaw  
(LCHF,  dairy free - light spice, low carb, gluten free)

our culinary team intently concentrate
on creating beautiful delicious hors d'oeuvres
while guests mill about the open plan kitchen
during a surprise birthday party
event in Larchmont, Westchester
Tray passed hors d'oeuvres and small bites:
.. caribbean doubles – a bite sized cocktail version of the traditional Trinidadian street food – a homemade quick bread round topped with lightly curried chickpeas, tamarind chutney, pickled cucumber  + grilled pineapple relish  (vegan, dairy free)   

…east meets south
bahn mi catfish po’boy 

with creole catfish
+ pickled veggies 

- a favorite with 
the Desi Bride &
Desi Groom smoked salmon, greens + wasabi crema
on house-made chevre + black sesame biscuit fusion moroccan lamb burger slider offered on soft potato bun 
or gluten free option
on veggie slice
 herb pickled red onions
+ minted chili jam
+ feta pistachio mint “pesto”
..offered gluten free 
at guests request..

the CuisinEtc culinary and catering team specialize 

in creating Indian Fusion cuisine menu options 
for our desi catering clients!

...buffalo chicken + waffles
- piped with gorgonzola cream cheese + chives

...peking chicken wonton bytes 
with thai basil and japanese cut scallion garnish

...bombay cocktail samosas with our signature coconut cilantro chutney
 (vegan, dairy free)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Breakfast for Dinner Event in NOHO at Astor WIne and Spirits

Another wonderful event in NOHO produced for one of cuisinEtc's favorite clients, the NOHO-Bowery Stakeholders Annual meeting at the Astor Center on Lafayette Street, NYC in the beautifully restored landmark building that also houses Astor Wine and Spirits.
NOHO Event Space at Astor Center caterer Cuisinetc catering NYC QUEENS BROOKLYN WESTCHESTER LONG ISLAND

This year the cuisinEtc catering team
designed the food stations and
vertical buffet menu offerings
with a theme of
Breakfast for Dinner
- because as many know,
breakfast is "one of American's favorite meals"
Judging by the reactions of the guests at this event, it was a welcome offering.

The cuisinEtc culinary and design team took into consideration the amazing venue space, and we employed tall displays and unique props that the soaring ceilings and beautiful rustic feel of the  Gallery at the Astor Center called for.   An amazing NOHO Event space housed in a landmark building as part of the Astor Wine and Spirits family, it's also a caterers dream, with great kitchen facilities and so many added value rentals and equipment included in the venue rental.  The full kitchen allowed us free culinary range to produce fresh delicious food and menu offerings on sight for the ultimate guest experience.  Imagine how fantastic hot from the professional convection ovens, chevre and chive biscuits taste!

For info on renting any of the Astor Center Spaces click here and tell Victoria we sent you.  She's terrific, professional and knows how to get things done.

In todays dietary climate our clients
appreciate that the menus
CuisinEtc Catering and Events produce
reflect a variety of offerings
including  gluten free, nut free, organic,
vegetarian, vegan and just plain
old fashioned delicious meats,
fish, seafood, cheese and vegetables
to satisfy a myriad of tastes
and special dietary needs.

grab a glass of wine from the bar to compliment and enjoy the feast below.
don't read while hungry!!
Breakfast for Dinner 

...always a winner!!

butler passed offering
Shrimp + Cheddar Grits 
in minis ceramic pans  
NOHO Event Space at Astor Center caterer Cuisinetc catering NYC QUEENS BROOKLYN WESTCHESTER LONG ISLAND
mini pans of creole shrimp and grits 

Which Came First 
... The Chicken or the Egg??
whimsically perched 
on our Red Chicken Vertical Station
Southern Style Lemony Devil Eggs 
garnished with spring pansies

Buffalo Chicken and Waffles   piped with 
gorgonzola cream cheese + drizzled with HOT honey glaze
unique catering displays
we work with your vision and venue
to create seamless creative events.

biscuit cutters NOT cookie cutter events!
NOHO Event Space at Astor Center caterer Cuisinetc catering NYC QUEENS BROOKLYN WESTCHESTER LONG ISLAND

NOHO Event Space at Astor Center caterer Cuisinetc catering NYC QUEENS BROOKLYN WESTCHESTER LONG ISLAND
Retro Biscuit and Radio Bar 
staged on old school radios, 
a 1950's tin toy oven, 
including a tree swaying 
with candied bacon
are a featured part 

of Breakfast for Dinner 
catering menus
breakfast for dinner, nyc caterer, wedding brunch, bat mitzvah tea party, chevre and chive biscuit
Get your goat on - Flaky Chevre and Chive Biscuits  
I yam what I yam 
- Southern Spiced Sweet Potato 
Texas Hill Country -  Corn Pudding baked in Corn Husks   

..just one  bite of the spectacular flaky chèvre and chive biscuits creates a food experience (or impression) that will have your guests begging on their knees for the recipe..

Whipped Butter Flower
Mango Chutney Cream Cheese  

peachy hot pepper jelly
New York  State maple syrup
carrot pinenut moustarda
zesty bacon jam

Hanging Candied Bacon Tree        because, apparently, 
bacon does grow on trees
breakfast for dinner, nyc caterer, wedding brunch, bat mitzvah tea party, pig candy
breakfast for dinner, nyc caterer, wedding brunch, bat mitzvah tea party
Pecan Mango Chutney Cream Cheese Torta

breakfast for dinner, nyc caterer, wedding brunch, bat mitzvah tea party
WOW - check the retro
1950's aqua blue tin toy stove
and authentic Zenith Radio!

breakfast for dinner, nyc caterer, wedding brunch, bat mitzvah tea party, unique wedding shower NYC QUEENS BROOKLYN LONG ISLAND WESTCHESTER
retro biscuit bar and bread bar
 fabulous #VintageRadios as risers..
small details
like our fab retro TV signage
are key to unique decor design
that have your guests talking 

about your fun and fresh event - 
We eat with our eyes first, 
followed by #getInMyTummyYummy tastes.
Bee Pollen Kissed Kumquat Pistachio
Honey & Orange EVOO Ricotta Tartines aka toast fingers for a 
"breakfast for dinner" 
hors d'oeuvre.
breakfast for dinner, nyc caterer, wedding brunch, bat mitzvah tea party, unique wedding shower NYC QUEENS BROOKLYN LONG ISLAND WESTCHESTER
breakfast for dinner, nyc caterer, wedding brunch, bat mitzvah tea party, unique wedding shower NYC QUEENS BROOKLYN LONG ISLAND WESTCHESTER
Breakfast for Dinner's always a good time
for warm from the oven biscuits and fixings
Puts a little south in your mouth.
NOHO Event Space at Astor Center caterer Cuisinetc catering NYC QUEENS BROOKLYN WESTCHESTER LONG ISLAND

Breakfast for Dinner 
Steak and Eggs
Meat -n- Potatoes

artfully arranged on 
our signature 
Trojan Horse Table

breakfast for dinner - NOHO Event Space at Astor Center caterer Cuisinetc catering NYC QUEENS BROOKLYN WESTCHESTER LONG ISLAND
steak and eggs   GLUTEN FREE -  LCHF     
petite  romaine lettuce wrap offered on stunning enamel flower plates
glazed filet of beef, Korean carrots + radish,  hard boiled quail egg, garnished w/black + green sesame seeds

crispy fresh from the fryer, tator tots tossed in Mendocino smoked EVOO - a wonderful vegan offering that no one can resist and everyone loves!!
Breakfast for dinner is always a winner!!

shitake, sage + swiss  frittata
 on mini china teapot plates, 
graced with golden saffron aioli, Union Square farmers market pansy flowers
fried sage leaf + farmers market watermelon beets
NOHO Event Space at Astor Center caterer Cuisinetc catering NYC QUEENS BROOKLYN WESTCHESTER LONG ISLAND

breakfast for dinner, nyc caterer, wedding brunch, bat mitzvah tea party
breakfast for dinner, nyc caterer, wedding brunch, bat mitzvah tea party
breakfast for dinner, nyc caterer, wedding brunch, bat mitzvah tea party
Life is too short dessert first
cuisinetc catering and events indian fusion wedding specialists++masala carrot cake muffins 
++chocolate marble strawberries
++grilled pineapple 
++salted caramel grapes   

++chocolate marble cream puffs  

menage a Trio of
Salted caramel,
nutella + banana
bread pudding layered
frangelico tiramisu and tia maria 
served in petit modern black espresso  cups
NOHO Event Space at Astor Center caterer Cuisinetc catering NYC QUEENS BROOKLYN WESTCHESTER LONG ISLAND

contact Lisa (pictured above) at 646..932..3496 or email us to start the process and GALLOP into successful event planning mode where your vision comes to life using our catering and event expertise.