Recently, I visited my friends Dillon and Ashley Hargrave at their home in Tulsa, to experiment with some recipes using their line of locally-made hot sauces called Baby D's Bee Sting, which I've written about before.
I wanted each course of our meal to feature a different sauce. Here are some pics, and a couple of recipes using Sweet Stang, Yellow Jacket, Jallahellño, Original, and Okie Sunset.
Baby D's Sweet Stang - l'Arpege Egg (Hot and Cold Soft-boiled Egg)
This little gem from l'Arpege in Paris, has been a favorite appetizer of mine since I saw Alain Passard make it on Great Chefs of the World (recipe in external link) back when I was in college. In this version, I swapped out the maple syrup for Baby D's Sweet Stang. It gave it just a little kick, and may be my new go-to version.
There are many styles of egg-toppers. I don't personally care for the "scissor" variety, because they tend to leave a rough mess on the edges. I like this version from Rösle ($20).
Baby D's Yellow Jacket - Salad with pistachio and goat's milk cheese
Though I love the entire Baby D's lineup, Yellow Jacket takes the top spot for me. This salad combines the flavorful kick from the habanero, with tangy goat's cheese, pistachios, preserved lemon, and fresh greens. In my original version, I used a fresh chèvre. When I used this recipe for a chef event in Stillwater, I opted for a beautiful slice of Bermuda Triangle from Cypress Grove Chèvre in Arcata, CA.
4 Cups Mixed Greens
1/2 Cup Shelled Pistachios
1/4 cup Preserved Lemon, diced
4 slices Bermuda Triangle, or 4oz crumbled fresh goat's milk cheese
4oz Olive Oil
1/4 Cup White Balsamic Vinegar
1.5 teaspoon Baby D's Yellow Jacket
Salt and freshly cracked Pepper, to taste
Whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients, an adjust seasoning according to taste.
To assemble the salads, divide greens onto 4 plates. Garnish with pistachios and preserved lemon. Drizzle with vinaigrette, and top each with a slice of Bermuda Triangle, or crumbled goat's cheese.
Baby D's Jallahellño - Braised Short Rib Tacos
I love braised meat, and I love tacos. The combo seemed perfect for the clean and mild flavor of Baby D's Jallahellño.
Since I was running a bit short on time before it was time to head to Tulsa, I decided to cook the meat in my Instant Pot pressure cooker, rather than a traditional slow-braise on the stovetop or in the oven. In order to let the sauce stand out, I kept the seasoning on the meat simple.
FOR THE SHORT RIBS:
3.5# Beef Short Ribs
2 Tablespoons oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, sliced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 Bay Leaf
1 teaspoon mixed Peppercorns
1/2 tomato, skin, seeds, and all
Beef stock (or water) to cover
Baby D's Jallahellño
Corn Tortillas (warmed)
Cheese of your choice, suck as Queso Fresco, Cotija, or a basic Farmer's Cheese*
Quick-pickled Red Onion (RECIPE BELOW)
Pepitas, lightly toasted
Season the meat with sea salt.
Use the sauté setting on the Instant Pot to soften the onion, carrot, and garlic in the oil before adding in the meat to brown. When you've got some nice color, add the bay leaf, peppercorns, and tomato. I covered the meat about half way with some beef stock I'd made a couple of days before.
Set the pressure to high, for 30 minutes.
While the meat is cooking, prepare these quick pickled red onions.
1 red onion, thinly sliced, in a glass jar
1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 Teaspoon Allspice Berries
1 teaspoon Black Peppercorns
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
Gently heat the vinegar with the salt, sugar, peppercorns, and allspice. Whisk to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from heat, and pour over the onions. Allow to sit at least one hour. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.
When the meat has cooked, gently release the pressure. Remove the meat to a cutting board, and shred.
Build your tacos on warmed corn, with the shredded meat, cheese, shaved carrot, pickled red onion, pepitas, cilantro, and a couple of droppers of Jallahellño. Serve with lime wedges.
*Farmer's Cheese is a soft, fresh cheese made by coagulating fresh milk. I happened to have some Lomah milk in the fridge, so I made my own. All it takes is milk (not Ultra-Pasteurized), lemon juice or vinegar, salt, and cheesecloth.
If you strain the cooking liquid and remove the excess fat, leftover taco ingredients make a great soup amuse.
Baby D's Original - Roasted Chicken Thighs
One of my favorite quick and easy weeknight meals is a roasted chicken thigh (or 3). Of course, I am talking about the bone-in and skin-on variety. They cook up relatively quickly, can be seasoned so many ways, and oh that crispy skin!
6 Bone-in Chicken Thighs (with the skin on)
2 Tbsp. Olive or Grapeseed Oil
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 Tbsp. Baby D's Original
For this dish, I actually prefer not to marinate the meat before roasting. There will be plenty of heat at the end. Just a bit of oil and some salt is all the thighs need before going into a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of the thighs.
While the thighs are in the oven, stir the Baby D's Original into the softened butter (adjust the amount of sauce according to taste).
Remove from oven, and baste with the Baby D's Original Butter. Roast an additional 10 minutes, or until skin is crispy.
Baby D's Okie Sunset - Balsamic Strawberries
Speaking of quick and easy, balsamic macerated strawberries are one of the simplest desserts to throw together in a hurry. The sweetness from the strawberries and balsamic (especially if you use a good one) is perfect with the medium-hot kick from the Okie Sunset, which is a cross between the Yellow Jacket and Original. Served on top of some vanilla gelato, I could eat this for breakfast.
1 quart fresh strawberries, hulled and either halved, quartered, or sliced. Keep in mind that the smaller the cut, the quicker the berries will become soft in the vinegar.
3 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
1 teaspoon Baby D's Okie Sunset
2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
fleur de sel, for garnish
Vanilla Gelato for serving*
Place the vinegar and Okie Sunset in a medium sized non-reactive bowl, and whisk to combine. Add the berries and sprinkle with the sugar. Toss to coat. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes, more for larger cut berries.
Serve over gelato, and drizzle a bit of the balsamic mixture over the top. Finish with a pinch of fleur de sel.