Sunday, November 15, 2015

Blog Challenge: Kitchen ABCs...Today: Achiote and Andouille

With the more contemplative winter months ahead, my focus shifts from the all-consuming but even-exciting food truck business to this blog and other food-related adventures.  And so, the question is: What goal or challenge can I set? How can I keep myself accountable for continuing to write at Be Food?

An ABC Kitchen Challenge!  Are you ready?

Several weeks ago, I saw this at my local grocery store.  I don't see this type of thing there very often, so naturally I picked up and put it in my cart.  Somewhere, someday, I would find a way to use this.

Achiote is a tree which produces seeds that, when ground, has a very distinct yellow-reddish hue.  Taste-wise, it's not terribly auspicious, which makes it perfect for the food processing industry, because achiote - a.k.a annatto - is a naturally occurring substance that provides a rich color (i.e. for dyeing) and does not alter flavor of the original product all that much.  Score for Kraft, et al.

After cleaning out the food truck for winter,  I had some avocados I needed to use up, and so upon searching the internets, I found an idea to make a citrus marinade for chicken breasts.  But, I'd also add this powdery, organic version of Yellow No. 5.  Top it with a black bean salsa and avocados?  Done!

I used to really, really love marinades.  I mean, I wanted to marinade everything under the sun.  Unfortunately, chicken marinades are an enigma I haven't cracked yet.  Even if the chicken marinates for a day or more, the flavor is only imparted a little.  Unless...I'm using something strong like soy sauce or teriyaki.  Which I'm not always going for.

So.  It's not a surprise the achiote doesn't do much for flavor.  But for color, yeah, annatto really does its job.  Notice the buffalo-Frank's Red Hot sauce color of the breasts, only soaking in the mess for about 8 hours.  I *might* have used too many Sazon packets.  But, you live, you learn. 

With the corn and bean relish and sliced avocado on top, this is a very fresh, light entree.

Very nom nom nom.

I feel incredibly bad talking about andouille sausage here.  Andouille is pronounced's French, or Creole, or Acadian.  Or all of those.  It's just really fun to say.

This is the "andoowee" I found at my local grocery store (same place I found the awesome achiote above).  No Fillers!...Oh wait, except for the Beef Added bit.

If you Google andouille, you will see what it really look like.  Because it doesn't look like this.  When I cut this up, it looked like kielbasa, summer sausage, or some other generic Johnsonville product.

So, when I did Paul Nanni's Andouille Mac and Cheese, I realized why Paul Nanni makes his own andouille sausage.  Because then, it's awesome and doesn't suck and is authentic.  Plus, another million reasons besides.  The idea is phenomenal, though, awesome French sausage in American Mac and Cheese.  It will be tried again, because even though I didn't like the fake, bland andouille sausage, my kids freaking inhaled it.

And that's the A of the Day.  Tomorrow, B ready for B.  Hahaha.

It's been a long week. I send major love to all who need it, and to any whose hearts are hurting, I send my sorries.

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