Saturday, July 30, 2011

Madoya (Fried Bananas) Cowgirl's Way in Oklahoma

Hey gang, I just wanted to let everyone know that one of the most talented and creative cooks I know, Cowgirl of Cowgirl's Country Life fame, is cooking up Chamorro food in Oklahoma. That's right, a good ole country girl from Oklahoma is doing it island style. You have got to pay a visit to her blog site and check out all the fantastic stuff that she does. She is simply unbelievable. 

Cowgirl, whose blog site is continually voted one of the best BBQ blogs on the web, is multi-talented. She cooks great campfire meals, BBQ, seafood and veges. She holds fantastic BBQ gatherings and the food spreads that she puts out are unbelievable. She cooks whole hogs in the ground, above ground, in homemade pits. You name it, she has probably done it when it comes to cooking outdoors. And her array of homemade and commercial cookers and smokers will leave you shaking your head.

Well in this latest installment of Country Girl gone Island Girl, she cooks up a batch of our famous Guam Madoya, fried banana. Check it out here.

Don't forget to check out the rest of her mouth-watering recipes. After you do, you will be running outside to start your pits up.

Until next time....

Papaya!!!! The Natural Meat Tenderizer.....

There have been quite of few questions as of late regarding the use of Papaya for tenderizing meat. Well, quite frankly, it's the best!!!

On Guam, as well as anywhere else in the tropics, the papaya fruit is quite abundant. There are many varieties of papaya and quite a few grow in the wild. Here is a link to photos of different varieties of papaya.

Well how does papaya work? What makes it such a good tenderizer? Well I could give you the long or the short version answer to that question, but here is the short version.

Papaya has enzymes that break down the collagen and other connective tissues in meats. It's that simple. However the actual process is just a little bit more complicated. Go here for a more complete explanation.

How do we use papaya to tenderize. Here is one of the on-line versions. The following is how I do it....

First I go and pick a papaya off the tree.

It doesn't matter whether the fruit is ripe or green. Just as long as it is firm enough to grate.

Cut the papaya in half or even smaller, depending on the fruit size.

Close up of the fruit and seeds. Save the seeds, dry them out and plant them so that you can have you own papaya trees.

Seed the fruit.

Grate the papaya.

Now you have what you need for tenderizing.

Mix the papaya into your brine. My brine mix is a 2 to 1 ratio of brown sugar to Kosher salt into one gallon of water. Reduce mix accordingly depending on how much water you use.

Everything is in the pitcher. Pitchers fit better in the refer.

Of course I do not immediately place the marinated meat in the refrigerator. If you just store the meat with the papaya in the refrigerator, it will do nothing to tenderize meat.

The enzyme, papain, starts to become active at 140 °F, slows down at 170 °F, and dies at 185 °F. That's according to my research on the matter. But I am no expert on that. I just know what works for me. 

I leave the marinated meat out if I am going to cook within 4 hours. If not, I will refrigerate everything as normal and then remove the marinated meat long enough before I cook so that the papaya has an opportunity to tenderize the meat. That's usually about 3-4 hours. The temperature never gets close to 140 degrees F but at the outside temperature here on Guam, about 85-90 degrees F, it will really tenderize the heck out of the meat in just 3-4 hours. So you need to experiment with whatever meat you are tenderizing and see what works for you in your area. It all depends on the type and size of your meat and the outside temperature where you live.

I don't heat the brine up on the stove to speed up the heating process. That all just gets a little too complicated and starts to get into too many moving parts for me to have fun. Keeping it sinimple (my word for simpler than simple) seems to work for me and that's what counts.

Once you are ready to cook, take the meat out of the brine, rinse it off, rub it down and slap it on the grill. That's all there is to it. So again, marinate your meat with the papaya, rinse it off, rub it down and cook it. If your meat comes out like shoe leather, don't come crying to me. Just pay the extra for a better quality and more tender cut of meat.

Hey all kidding aside, have fun with this and I am sure you will love the results. As we say on Guam....sinimple!!!

Until next time....

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lupe's Smoked Yellow Fin Tuna Deviled Eggs

My wife Lupe loves smoked yellow fin tuna. So I try to keep her in stock by smoking tuna at least monthly. 

Lupe seems to always come up with a new way to mix in the smoked tuna with all kinds of other ingredients. She loves the smoked yellow fin tuna sandwiches, yellow fin tuna salad, yellow fin tuna dip and her newest creation, Smoked Yellow Fin Tuna Deviled Eggs. She outdid herself on this one. Simply fantastic!!!!

She starts out with boiling a half dozen eggs. Removes the egg yolks and sets the halved boiled egg whites aside. She mixes the yolks with the minced green onions and olives.

She then adds the mayonnaise and cream cheese (she uses Philadelphia brand). She uses equals parts mayo and cream cheese. She mixes until the consistency is nice and creamy.

You can salt to taste but remember the smoked yellow fin already is slightly salty.

The next step is to spoon the mixture back into the boiled halved eggs whites.

The smoked yellow fin tuna is chopped up very fine using a food processor or in our case the Magic Bullet blender. 

The tuna is then sprinkled very liberally over the eggs.

The last step is topping off the deviled eggs with a sprinkling of smoked paprika.

And that's it!!

Take it from me, you just gotta try out this recipe. These Deviled Eggs with Smoked Yellow Fin Tuna are simply awesome!!!

Until next time....