Recipe of the week: Pica pau (quick-fried beef with pickles)

WRITTEN BY: NEWS DESK  –   The Caterer

by Andrew Montgomery

Pica pau means ‘woodpecker’, and you eat this dish with a cocktail stick, picking pieces up and gobbling them a bit like its namesake would. My version uses beef fillet; if you ask your butcher to give you the tail ends of the fillet it will be a lot cheaper, without compromising on flavour. I use Ibérico ham for its rich, sweet flavour. You could use other cured hams, but remember to check the salt 
content, since some types are saltier and less nutty than Ibérico. When I dream of this dish, which I often do, it always comes with an ice-cold draught beer.

Serves 4

For the pickled vegetables
600ml Japanese rice vinegar
600g caster sugar
50g fine sea salt
2 bay leaves
½tsp black peppercorns
1 small head cauliflower, 
cut into bite-sized florets
2 carrots, cut into 5mm slices
1 onion, cut into eighths

For the piri piri oil
5-7 fresh piri piri, malagueta 
or bird’s eye chillies
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1tsp fine sea salt
300ml olive oil
10 dried piri piri or 
malagueta chillies
2tbs brandy or aguardente velha
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1tbs lemon juice
1tbs white wine vinegar
3 bay leaves
A few black peppercorns

For the pica pau
1tbs good-quality pork fat
1tbs olive oil
1 garlic clove, smashed
1 small long red chilli, deseeded (optional) and halved lengthways
300g beef fillet, rump or sirloin, 
cut into bite-sized pieces
150g thick-cut cured ham, ideally Ibérico, Serrano or Parma ham, finely chopped
10 small gherkins, finely chopped
About 1tbs dry white wine, to taste
A small handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped
Lemon wedges, to serve
Piri piri oil, to serve (see above)
Sea salt flakes and ground 
white pepper

To make the pickled vegetables, put the rice vinegar, sugar, salt, bay leaves and peppercorns in
a pan with 600ml water. Place 
over a medium heat and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and bring it to the boil, then add the cauliflower, carrots and onion.

Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl to cool, along with the liquor. I like to make this the day before I use it. Stored in an airtight container, it should keep for two weeks in the fridge.

To make the piri piri oil, make a paste with the fresh chillies and sea salt using a pestle and mortar or a food processor. Heat the paste with 60ml of the oil in a small 
pan over a low heat. Add the remaining ingredients, except the remaining oil. Increase the heat to medium and cook for 3-4 minutes, to burn off the alcohol and lightly caramelise the garlic and chillies. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rest of the oil.

To make the pica pau, take a handful of the pickles, cut them into small pieces and then set aside.

Melt the pork fat and olive oil over a high heat in a large frying pan. When the fat starts to sizzle, add the garlic, chilli and beef and season with salt and pepper. Fry quickly for 2-3 minutes.

Stir in the ham, chopped pickles and gherkins, then add the white wine, starting with half a tablespoon and adding more to taste as required, along with a splash of pickle liquor if you like. Fry for another minute. Take the pan off the heat and stir through the parsley. Serve immediately, 
in the pan, with cocktail sticks. Lemon wedges and a drizzle of piri piri oil are nice additions.

Recipe taken from Lisboeta: Recipes from Portugal’s 
City of Light

by Andrew Montgomery

Jalapeño Popper Dip is Your Favorite New Make-Ahead Appetizer

BY: BESSIE MCDONALD-GUSSACK   –   Food Network Canada

Everything you love in a jalapeño popper is whirred into a cheesy, party-perfect dip. Spicy jalapeños, crispy bacon, cream cheese and a crunchy topping come together for a delicious, ultra-indulgent dip. Serve this up with veggies and tortilla chips at your next party for a crowd-pleasing riff on the new-classic appetizer.

Jalapeno Popper Dip

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Serves: 8 to 10

6 strips bacon
2 (250 g) pkgs cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
4 jalapeños, seeded and finely diced
3 green onions, minced
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
Sliced veggies or tortilla chips for serving

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon, turning occasionally, until crispy, about 10 min. Remove bacon to a paper-towel lined plate and reserve 2 Tbsp bacon grease in a medium heat-safe bowl. Once bacon is cool, chop or crumble into pieces.
3. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese until smooth. Gradually mix in mayonnaise until fully combined. To cream cheese and mayonnaise, add Cheddar, jalapenos, green onions and bacon pieces and mix to combine. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly into a 9-inch round ovenproof dish.

4. Stir panko into reserved bacon grease and sprinkle over cream cheese mixture. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until bubbling at the sides. Serve warm with tortilla chips or veggies for dipping.

Make-Ahead: You can make this dip ahead of time (without the panko topping, and prior to baking) and store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Warm refrigerated bacon renderings in the microwave until liquefied and stir in panko. Sprinkle cream cheese mixture with panko mixture and bake, adding 5 minutes to the cooking time (40 to 45 minutes instead of 35 to 40 minutes).

Nothing gets a crowd going like a good dip, so here are over 25 party-perfect options to dive into.

Bessie McDonald-Gussack

Bessie McDonald-Gussack is a Toronto based recipe developer and writer who absolutely lives for food and has always been interested in cooking, baking, food trends, restaurants and of course, eating. After having worked in the baking industry, Kraft Foods and interning in the test kitchens of Chatelaine and Canadian Living magazines, Bessie decided to go solo, working as a freelance recipe developer and culinary consultant. She’s created hundreds of recipes from the savory to the sweet and all delicious combos in-between.

You Don’t Need Fancy Tools To Clean Peppers

By Sam Bithoney   –   Skillet

Photos by Sam Bithoney

Peppers, of any variety, are a pain in the ass. Irregularly shaped, filled with bitter ribs and somewhere between 12 and 850,000 tiny seeds that make their way into the darker recesses of your kitchen, hoping to be found one day by anthropologists who proclaim “They were just like us!”

Mankind has come up with some interesting solutions for this problem, but it doesn’t apply universally—most of these tools are focused on Bell and Jalapeño varieties. There’s an easier way, and all you need is a thin, sharp knife.

Start by cutting off the top and bottom of the pepper, which will provide you a level surface on your cutting board. After that, peer into the pepper. You’ll be able to see the entire structure with ease, and from there just follow the inner walls with your knife, cutting opposing sides each time to maintain stability.

You’ll have uniform slices, perfect for cutting into matchsticks and dicing without those weird curly ends, as well as a rectangular prism filled with seeds that fits perfectly in the trash.


Jalapeño Cilantro Sauce

By Joanne — fifteen Spatulas

This is one of my “I want to put it on everything” sauces and it’s based off a wildly popular green sauce recipe from a Peruvian restaurant in NYC. It only takes 5-10 minutes to make, and is perfect with so many dishes!

Jalapeno Cilantro Sauce

Last week on my Instagram stories I shared a video of me making this sauce, and I put up a poll asking if people were interested in more simple sauce recipes on the blog.

The answer was a resounding YES!

As in, 97% said yes please. So here’s one of my favorites.

This Jalapeño Cilantro sauce is a riff on a green sauce that’s served at a chain of restaurants in NYC called Pio Pio.

The sauce has a bit of a cult following because it’s outrageously delicious, and many have tried to figure out their secret recipe to no avail.

Including me, ha.

When I was living in NYC I would order takeout of their sauce and try to figure it out. I also scoured the internet for clues and found this post from Serious Eats where they try to figure the sauce out as well.

They claimed that one of the secrets was a hot yellow chile paste from Peru, so I even ordered that from Amazon to try to nail the sauce.

But their copycat recipe wasn’t the same as Pio Pio, and not close. Shucks.

These days, I’ve settled down my sauce replicating ambitions and have accepted this sauce for the deliciousness that it is.

Because ordering a $10 jar of special Peruvian chile paste isn’t necessary here, and more isn’t always better.

This sauce is creamy, bright, and flavorful, and if you try it I really think you’ll LOVE it!

I find myself making it regularly and so far I haven’t tired of it, even after making it for the past couple years.

To make the sauce, place chopped jalapeños, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, mayonnaise, oil, salt, and pepper in a blender:

I like the sauce on the milder side, so I seeded and ribbed the jalapeños before chopping, but you can leave the seeds and ribs in if you prefer it spicy.

Blend it all up until the sauce is smooth and creamy:

Give it a taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Sometimes I prefer a little more lime.

I find the sauce tastes slightly better after it chills for a few hours, so it’s great to make ahead!

I actually keep a container of this stuff ready to go in the fridge, and it keeps for a good week.

This sauce is great drizzled on Crispy Smashed Potatoes, spooned onto Spice Rubbed Chicken, drizzled on veggies, and I even use it as a salad dressing sometimes. Enjoy!

Jalapeno Cilantro Sauce

This sauce is based off the Pio Pio green sauce recipe and is one of my “I want to put it on everything sauces.” It only takes 5-10 minutes to make.


  •  jalapeños
  •  bunch fresh cilantro (2oz)
  •  medium cloves garlic (1.5 tbsp)
  •  1/2 cup mayonnaise
  •  tbsp fresh lime juice
  •  tbsp avocado oil
  •  1/2 tsp sea salt
  •  1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper


  1. For a milder sauce, remove the seeds and ribs from the jalapeños, then roughly chop them. For a spicier sauce, leave the seeds and ribs in, and simply chop the jalapeños. You should have about 1 cup of chopped jalapeños.
  2. Place the jalapeños into a blender along with all the remaining ingredients (I even include the cilantro stems), and blend on high for at least 30 seconds, until the sauce is smooth and creamy.
  3. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Enjoy!

by Joanne Ozug

Nutrition Information Serves 6, makes a little over 1 cup of sauce     ADJUST SERVINGS
Amount per serving: Calories 183kcal Calories from fat 176 Total Fat 20g Saturated Fat 3gCholesterol 8mg Sodium 116mg Carbohydrate 2g Dietary Fiber 1g Sugars 0g Protein 0g

Venison Empanadas

These appetizers will be a hit at holiday parties

By JERRY DILSAVER   –   Carolina Sportsman

After their surfaces are brushed with egg wash, Empanadas should bake until golden brown.

As we approach the holidays, family gatherings, holiday dinners and all sorts of things involving food will arise, to which many sportsmen will generously share their fish and game. I enjoy this, but I suggest that you label any game or fish dish taken as such.

A surprising number of people still don’t care for game and fish. They generally don’t like the surprise of being told a dish they are complimenting is game or fish. Surprisingly, these realizations often bring on even more-stringent denials of the fine flavor and healthy aspects of wild fish and game. By labeling dishes, folks who appreciate your sharing can enjoy them, while others will be forewarned — and there might be leftovers to take home for snacks.

The first real brush with winter weather typically arrives in the Carolinas this month. Those cold days feel good in a duck blind or deer stand, listening to a pack of trailing dogs hot on the scent or following a pair of pointing dogs through the broom straw and brambles.

This recipe features venison sausage, but it could be made with regular ground venison or feral pig sausage. It can be made with domestic burger or sausage, too, if you get in a pinch or are told no game is allowed at a gathering you’ll be attending. It’s not as good, but it’s still better than most.

This is a good recipe to take to parties. I promise it won’t be like the five varieties of homemade pimiento cheese or multi-bean salads. This dish should be fairly unique. Once the word gets out it’s venison, your fellow sportsmen usually ensure that all you have to take home is an empty platter. You’ll probably get asked to make more for football bowl game parties later in the month, and that’s not a bad thing. You’ll get to enjoy them again.

Try Venison empanada appetizers

I like food with a little spice, and around Christmas, I try to present something that is tasty, yet unique, for parties around the holiday and college football bowl games to which many sportsmen receive invitations.

Empanadas are basically meat pies, and these are downsized to appetizer or finger food-size. They are tasty, and the biggest problem with them is overeating. I try to eat the leanest meats possible, and when it comes to sausage, that is game sausage.  These may be made with venison burger or sausage, feral pork or domestic burger or sausage. If you use feral or domestic pork, be sure to cook the meat fully.

My venison burger and sausage is mixed at 20-percent fat, so it cooks lean, with very little grease. In fact, I have to lightly spray non-stick cooking spray in the pan to keep it from sticking. If you use a higher percentage of fat in your venison or prepare this with domestic meat, take care to drain the fat as fully as possible so the bottom of the empanadas aren’t weak.

If you use domestic or venison burger, I would suggest considering using taco seasoning instead of fajita seasoning for more flavor. I try to reduce salt intake; numerous low-salt recipes for taco and fajita seasonings are available online. I haven’t found a commercial, low-salt fajita seasoning, but low-salt taco seasoning is available at many grocery stores.

Folks with milder palates might also consider substituting bell pepper for the jalapeno. I feel a single jalapeno is very mild, but some folks have suggested it adds too much heat. Others add a second or third jalapeno for a little kick. If you substitute bell peppers, the baby bells in assorted colors are usually milder and more tender than full-size bell peppers.

I cheat a little with these and use prepared biscuits rather than making dough. The concept of this column is easy cooking, and this makes it real easy. I would still suggest getting out the rolling pin and rolling the dough flat and thin. Otherwise, it rises too much and tries to open the empanadas. If you use Texas-sized biscuits, half of one will make a 3- to 4-bite empanada. However, it’s much easier to get the crust edge sealed with larger pieces of dough. The biscuits come in 10 packs, and this filling mixture will make three to four packages, depending on how full you stuff the empanadas.

Most folks like a dipping sauce with empanadas. I like them straight from the pan, too, but there are many simple options for adding dipping sauces. The simplest dipping sauces are sriracha and chipotle ranch salad dressings. Just pour some in a bowl and go. Mixing some Texas Pete Cha Sauce with a little mayonnaise makes a good sauce. Honey mustard, hot mustard and others are available to suit all tastes. If you have a favorite, give it a try.


Spicy Jalapeño Chicken

By Tre Wilcox   –   Today

Nathan Congleton / TODAY



Spicy jalapeños, herbaceous cilantro and zesty lime juice turn plain chicken into a flavorful sensation.


    • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • 3/4 cup olive oil
    • 3 jalapeño chiles
    • 12 cloves garlic
    • 3 shallots, peeled
    • 1 bunch cilantro, washed
    • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
    • 2 teaspoons lime juice
    • 2 teaspoons cracked black peppercorns
    • Kosher salt
    • Grape seed oil



Place the chicken breasts into a zip-top freezer bag. Place the olive oil, chiles, garlic, shallots, cilantro, cumin seeds, lime juice and black peppercorns into a blender. Blend on high till smooth. Pour marinade over the chicken. Seal and refrigerate overnight or at least four hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove chicken from marinade, season with salt.

Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add a drizzle of grape seed oil. Sear the chicken breasts on both sides, then place into oven and cook until cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165°F, about 10-15 minutes.

Recipe: Easy Fridge Dill Pickles

Reprinted from the San Antonio Express News

Photo: Juanito M. Garza /San Antonio Express-News

Dill pickles can be ready in less than a day with a simple recipe that involves pickling cucumbers, dill and white vinegar.

Makes 12 servings

8-10 smaller, firm pickling cucumbers

3 teaspoons kosher or pickling salt

2 tablespoons chopped dill

¾ cup white vinegar

Instructions: Slice cucumbers approximately ¼-inch thick and set aside.

Add salt, dill and vinegar to a 1-liter or equivalent lidded jar. Give it a good shake to mix ingredients. Add cucumber slices to fill jar just enough to still be able to close the lid.

The liquid level in the jar will look extremely low compared to the pickle pile, but don’t worry about it. The salt will draw the moisture from the cucumbers and wilt them, while the liquid becomes a perfectly balanced pickle brine and will rise.

Give the jar another good shake, and place near the front of the refrigerator to remind you to shake the jar every time you open the fridge. Pickles will become ideal after 8 hours. They will keep in the fridge, submerged in their brine, for as long as three weeks.

Per serving: 47 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 7 mg sodium, 11 g carbohydrates, 2 g dietary fiber, 5 g sugar, 2 g protein

Stuffing with White Castle or Krystal burgers? Yes, it’s a thing.

Hamburger chains White Castle and Krystal want to help you with your Thanksgiving dinner this year. Courtesy Krystal

NOVEMBER 22, 2017 11:16 AM

Recipe: Jalapeño cornbread with honey butter

The Thanksgiving classic with added spice

By    –   The Spectator

Jalapeno Cornbread – An all-American hero

Cornbread has become synonymous with traditional American fare, and is one of the few foods that spans both northern and southern American cooking; it sits on the table of virtually every Thanksgiving table in the country. But the use of corn in Native American cooking long predated the arrival of European settlers, and it was those Native Americans who taught the pilgrims how to make cornbread.

Native Americans would combine the cornmeal with water and animal fat and cook the mixture on rocks or garden hoes positioned near fires, which lent the corn patties their name: ‘hoe cakes’. As time passed, and wealth and facilities increased, additions were made through butters and sugars, enriching and sweetening the cornbread, turning it into a lusher, cakier product. The final part of cornbread’s journey came when chemical leavenings began to be used in American kitchens – baking powder and bicarbonate of soda – allowing the breads to rise without needing to prove, vastly shortening their preparation time.

Cornbread is the most comforting of dishes: warm, cakey, sweet and salty, baked until golden, puffed and proud, served with pools of butter. It is also one of the first things I ever learned to cook, and was one of the successes that paved firmer ground for my tentative baking steps. It was so simple to make: just a matter of pouring wet ingredients into dry and stirring. It was ready in half an hour and was a glorious, sunflower yellow, rich from the eggs and oil, but tender from the buttermilk. I crowed at my newly-found kitchen skills, and there is a photo of me, looking flushed with success, holding my freshly baked cornbread.

My recipe is a little different now to the one I used then, a hotchpotch of recipes I’ve tried and loved and collected. I like it not too sweet, so I’ve reduced the sugar, but spoon honey butter on while the bread is from the oven, so it pools around the edges and sinks ever so slightly into the crust. And my recipe still bears the marks of the first time I made it and couldn’t get hold of creamed corn, so blithely used normal tinned sweetcorn instead, which turned out to be an unexpected delight. It goes like this…

Jalapeño cornbread with honey butter

Makes: 16 squares
Takes: 5 minutes
Bakes: 20-25 minutes

150g cornmeal or polenta
150g plain flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
50g light brown sugar
2 large eggs
240 ml buttermilk
4 tbsp vegetable oil
200g tinned sweetcorn
A handful of jalapeño peppers, finely chopped
50g butter
1 tablespoon of runny honey

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C. This cornbread can be baked in a 20cm square baking tin, a large enamel dish or a large, oven-safe iron skillet. The exact size of your vessel will determine depth and baking time.
2. Sift all dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, sugar) together into a large bowl.
3. Beat the eggs, buttermilk and olive oil together in another mixing bowl.
4. Pour this wet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix together until just combined. Fold through the sweetcorn and jalapeños.
5. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Depending on your oven, you may need to cover with foil during the latter stages of cooking if it’s starting to look a bit toasty.
6. As soon as you’ve taken the cornbread out of the oven, melt the honey and the butter together in a small pan and drizzle over the still warm cornbread. Serve immediately.

Turkey Cigars with Jalapeno Pesto


Turkey Cigars with Jalapenos

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 small onions (peeled, minced)
  • 2 garlic cloves (peeled, minced)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (roughly chopped)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (toasted)
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese (crumbled)
  • 1/4 cup parsley leaves (finely chopped)
  • 6 Phyllo dough sheets
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 6 fresh jalapenos (cored, seeded)
  • 5 fresh serrano chiles (cored, seeded)
  • 6 cloves garlic (peeled, thinly sliced)
  • 1/2 medium red onion (peeled, 1/4-inch dice)
  • 1/2 cup sliced blanched almonds
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt (to taste)
  • For the Turkey Cigars: Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
  • In a large saute pan over medium-high heat add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the turkey. Cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes, breaking up with a wooden spoon or a potato masher. Then add the onions, garlic and season well with salt and pepper. Cook until the onions have softened, about 6-8 minutes. Remove mixture from heat and immediately stir in cranberries (they will re-hydrate as the mixture cools. Once cooled, remove mixture to a large bowl then add the pine nuts, goat cheese and parsley.
  • Lay out one sheet of phyllo dough and cut in half widthwise. Brush with melted butter and add some of the turkey mixture in a thin line down the side closest to you. Fold the phyllo over and roll up tightly into a long, thin cigar. Brush with additional butter and place the cigars on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining filling and phyllo, totaling 12 cigars. Place in the oven to bake until golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Leave the cigars whole and serve lined up on a platter with the cilantro pesto dipping sauce.
  • For the Pesto: In the bowl of a food processor add the jalapenos, serranos, garlic, onion, almonds, and olive oil and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.