Brian Higgs’ love of gardening is almost as strong as his love of cooking, and when not working at his job in marketing and communications for a large engineering procurement and construction company, you may find him in the garden or in the kitchen.
While he grew up in East Texas, he has lived in the Kansas City area for over 30 years, and now, he and his husband live in Leawood.
Q: How did you learn to cook?
A: I love to cook and entertain and am always cooking something. My mother was my inspiration and I think she could cook anything. She always worked outside of our home but put on her apron as soon as she came in the door. She was fearless in the kitchen. Whether it was an exotic ingredient, a quick, 30-minute meal after a long day or a traditional sit-down feast for Sunday lunch after church or on holidays, she always made it seem like second nature. Her energy in the kitchen is boundless.
Growing up and watching her attempt anything in the kitchen probably resulted in my own belief that I could prepare any meal and should never be intimidated by a lengthy recipe or a long list of ingredients. She would always say, “Come see how this is done,” or “Come taste.” She frequently quoted Julia Child who said, “If you can read, you can cook.”
Q: Does your husband like to cook?
A: Yes, he loves to cook and is great cook. It works really well for us if we each take a separate task and divide the kitchen into work stations so we can cook at the same time.
Q: What tips would you share with someone learning to cook?
A: If you can measure ingredients and follow directions, you can cook. Also, be patient and it will come together.
Q:What recipes are you sharing today?
A: This Lime Cilantro Roast is one of my favorite dishes and I always serve Bunuelos, which are Spanish cheese biscuits, with it. It is great to serve when entertaining as it is a tasty, comforting dish.
The Cilantro Lime Roast is ideal to serve all year long and is perfect to take to potluck dinners or to serve when tailgating. You can cook the meat in a slow cooker so it doesn’t heat up the kitchen in the summer.
I clipped the recipe many years ago, and then tweaked the flavor and meat cut so it is more to our liking. I always use a rolled beef rump roast. I find that good meat makes a big flavor difference, so I purchase all my meat at a local store that has full-service butchers and is known for quality meat. You need to plan ahead, as the meat marinates for at least 8 to 24 hours, and I think it is even better if you marinate a little longer, even up to 36 hours.
Roxanne Wyss and Kathy Moore are cookbook authors and food consultants that make up The Electrified Cooks. They have published over fourteen cookbooks and thousands of recipes. They are members of Les Dames d’Escoffier and blog at pluggedintocooking.com. Email them at KCComeIntoMyKitchen@gmail.com
Lime Cilantro Roast
Makes 12 to 16 servings
9 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
¼ cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (4 to 5-pound) rolled beef rump roast
Garnishes of your choice, such as finely chopped cilantro, lime wedges, salsa, sour cream, tortillas, optional
Place the garlic, jalapeno pepper, cilantro, lime juice, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, kosher salt and olive oil in the work bowl of food processor. Process until it forms a thick paste.
The rolled beef rump roast is often tied with string in about 4 places. If your roast is tied, remove the string, but try to keep the fat on the roast. Using a sharp knife, make 3 or 4 deep cuts in each side of the roast. Fill each slit with the cilantro paste. Wrap the seasoned roast tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the roast 8 to 24 hours.
To cook in the oven: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Remove the plastic wrap and place the roast in a covered pan. Roast 3 hours and 15 minutes or until the meat is very tender.
Alternately, to cook in a slow cooker: Remove the plastic wrap and place the roast in a large slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 5 to 6 hours or until the meat is very tender.
Carefully transfer the meat to a carving board. Discard the fat. Shred the meat using two forks. Serve the shredded meat in a warm tortilla with sour cream, salsa, chopped cilantro and a lime wedge.
Tip: To warm the tortillas, it is great to heat them one at a time in a hot cast iron skillet, turning to warm evenly.
Bunuelos (Spanish Cheese Biscuits)
Makes about 1 dozen
2 whole large eggs
1 large egg yolk
¼ cup butter, cut into small pieces
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup shredded Manchego cheese
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Lightly beat together the eggs and egg yolk; set aside.
Place the butter, salt and water in a saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until the water is boiling.
While the water heats, sift the flour onto a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper.
Add the flour, all at once, into the boiling water and immediately stir with a wooden spoon. As soon as the flour is incorporated, transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl.
Using the wooden spoon, stir in the beaten eggs, the mustard, cayenne pepper and cheese. Drop spoonfuls of the batter on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm.