Showing posts with label Cook. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cook. Show all posts

Sunday, May 25, 2014

DIY: Dulce de Ajonjoli / Sesame Seed Candy (Recipe Inside)

When I was very little my mother found endless way to entertain us even when the refrigerator and pantry were less than full. One of her special treats were dulces de ajonjoli and nothing cheered me up more than eating candy made by my very own mom.

Here's a quick and pretty easy way to make your own Sesame Seed Candy at home:

* Sandra has one here, it's in Spanish but just use Google to translate the page.

 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mami's Beef Stew (A Tale of Puerto Rican Carne Guisada & Yearning)

I've been working on restoring my blogroll, an index of all my favorite sites and blogs, happily rejoicing at the tenacity of some which I've been following for years and others whom I had thought had stopped.

Lately, I am uncertain if it's the autumnal change or what, but I've been feeling melancholic and craving time with my mother and siblings. Longing for simpler times when life was less hectic and perhaps, I am romancing the stone a bit but I've been missing times when I worried less and enjoyed more freely.

Sometimes I yearn for dishes that I can only taste in my memories, made by my Mother's hand and therefore, unreplicable. Dishes like Gazpacho de Bacalao with a loaf of fresh Italian baked bread, or Patitas de Cerdo con Garbanzos, or Gandinga, that cannot be ordered from a restaurant or entrusted to just anyone.

The other day, searching for a Carne Guisada (Puerto Rican Beef Stew) recipe that seemed similar to my Mom's, I came across an old blog favorite, Platanos, Mangoes and Me. Norma dedicates the post to her mom and you can clearly feel the love and loss in this post. It's interesting how a food or an olfactory sensation can trigger such powerful memories and feelings.

I started making the recipe and from the instant I started seasoning the cubed meat to let it marinate, I was taken back to my mom's kitchen, sights and sounds.

Instantly, I was sitting on the counter in our old tenement, East Harlem apartment kitchen, legs so short, they dangled off the counter, watching my mom, carefully adding, tasting and stirring - Every once in a while, giving me a taste or having me help with a small task. That's how I learned to cook, watching my mom, make ordinary things into spectacular dishes that often spellbound even our neighbors. My mom's cooking was and still is legendary.

I called her up to ask if it was okay to substitute sweet potato instead of potatoes or yautia and had a good chuckle when she told me, "no way." I happily trekked off to the supermarket wound the corner and came back to work on my stew. Once I browned the meat, I threw the rest of the ingredients in and just left the frozen peas and carrots out till the end. I simmered it for 3 hours all the time, captivated by the smell wafting through the house. It was like I had conjured, literally conjured my mom's spirit and brought her to me.

When my boyfriend came home, he was elated the minute he walked through the door and exclaimed how good it smelled. I felt my heart swell because I, too, remember vividly, coming in from the cold walk back from school and being engulfed by the lovely, decadent smell of my Mami's cooking.

The stew which I served with steamed multi-grain rice was delicious, according to my boyfriend and official taste tester, who went back for seconds. I thought so too.

Here's the recipe I used and a photo below.


Wednesday, October 02, 2013

So Saucy! 7 Favorite Latino Sauces (Recipes)

From Mexico to Argentina, Latinos use a variety of sauces to add spice and sazón to our favorite dishes. But these sauces just wouldn’t be the same without the chile peppers and spices that give them their distinct flavor.

Here are seven great sauces for you to pair with your next meal, I dare you! Who's up for the challenge?

Sauce and Pepper: 7 of our Favorite Latino Sauces
Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.

Colombian Aji Picante via SkinnyTaste
 Servings: 20 • Size: 1 tbsp Calories: 3.2 • Fat: 0 g • Protein: 0.2 g • Carb: 0.8 g • Fiber: 0.2 g

 Ingredients:
 4 large scallions
1 tomato
1-2 small habanero pepper (scotch bonnet pepper would work)
1/2 bunch cilantro
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp vinegar
1 oz water
salt and fresh pepper

Directions: Place all ingredients in a small food processor and pulse a few times.

 Salsa a la Huancaína altered from South American Food

 Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 20 minutes

 Ingredients:
 4 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
3-4 yellow aji amarillo chile peppers (frozen is fine), or 1/2 cup jarred aji amarillo paste
2 cloves garlic, mashed
2 cups white farmer's cheese (queso freso)
4 (low sodium) saltine crackers
3/4 cup almond milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Arbol Chile Salsa
Salsa de Chile de Arbol via Rick Bayless

akes about 1 3/4 cups

Recipe from Season 6 of Mexico - One Plate at a Time

INGREDIENTS
1/2 ounce (about 16) chile de arbol
6 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 pound (10 to 12 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
Salt
Sugar, about 1/2 teaspoon (optional)

DIRECTIONS
1.  Toast and roast.  In an ungreased skillet set over medium heat, toast the chiles, stirring them around for a minute or so until they are very aromatic (some will have slightly darkened spots on them). Cover with hot tap water and let rehydrate for 30 minutes.

In the same skillet, roast the garlic, turning regularly, until soft and blotchy-dark in places, about 15 minutes. Cool and slip off the papery skin.

Roast the tomatillos on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler until darkly roasted, even blackened in spots, about 5 minutes. Flip them over and roast the other side - 4 or 5 minutes more will give you splotchy-black and blistered tomatillos. Cool, then transfer the contents of the baking sheet (including any juices) to a blender or food processor.

2.  Finish the salsa.  Drain the chiles and add them to the tomatillos along with the garlic. Puree, then scrape into a serving dish. Stir in enough water to give the salsa a spoonable consistency, usually about 1/4 cup. Season with salt, usually a scant teaspoon, and the sugar. Refrigerated, the salsa keeps for several days.

Spicy Chilean Pebre Recipe via Cheap Recipe Blog
For a knock-your-socks-off, extra-spicy sauce, use two jalapeños with seeds. If you're not fond of spicy foods, use half of a jalapeño or less, or substitute green pepper.

ingredients:
1 cup tightly packed cilantro leaves
1 to 2 jalapeños (see note above)
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
Juice from one lime
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

directions:
Place all ingredients except for olive oil in a blender or food processor. Pulse until smooth. Stream in olive oil.
Serve chilled (see serving suggestions above).

Molho Apimentado (Malagueta Hot Sauce) via Fiery Foods

Makes 1 cup
1 red onion, minced
2 medium ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded, white membrane removed, minced
¼ cup sherry vinegar
¼ cup olive (or coconut) oil
2 (or more to taste) malagueta peppers or green bird chies, stems and seeds removed, minced

Place all ingredients in a good food processor or blender and puree. Add water if necessary to adjust the consistency.

George Duran's Guasacaca Recipe via Venezuelan food and drinks

Ingredients:
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 green sweet peppers, seeded, deveined, and roughly chopped
2 ripe avocados, peeled and seeded
2 cloves garlic
Half a bunch of fresh parsley leaves
Half a bunch fresh cilantro leaves
A third cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
Pinch of black pepper
1 cup olive (or coconut) oil

Preparation:
Put everything except the olive oil into a food processor and process until mostly smooth. Add the olive oil in a stream with the processor running and process until smooth. Let stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour for the flavors to blend. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve sauce at room temperature with meats, fish, or vegetable chips. If made in advance, store, covered, in the refrigerator, but bring to room temperature before serving.

Chimichurri

SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS
1 packed cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
¾ packed cup fresh cilantro leaves
¼ packed cup fresh oregano leaves
¼ cup red wine vinegar
6 cloves garlic
½ jalapeño, stemmed
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
½ cup plus 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive (or coconut) oil

In a food processor, combine the parsley, cilantro, oregano, vinegar, garlic, jalapeño, 2 tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper. While pulsing the food processor, drizzle in ½ cup of the oil until the mixture becomes a creamy yet slightly coarse sauce.

Let me know how many of these you try and which you like the best in the comments below

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Hispanic Heritage Month Giveaway: Cuban/ Caribbean Foodie Gift Box

IMUSA and McCormick have been kind enough to offer one of my blog readers a chance at winning a Cuban/ Caribbean Foodie gift box filled with the following items:

1 IMUSA’s Wood Mortar and Pestle
1 IMUSA's Tostonera,
1 McCormick’s Black Pepper,
1 McCormick’s Garlic Salt,
1 McCormick’s Curry Powder,
1 McCormick’s Paprika,
1 McCormick’s Cinnamon,
1 McCormick’s Oregano,
1 McCormick’s Black Peppercorn Grinder,
1 packet of McCormick’s Chicken Bag ‘n Season,
1 Box of McCormick’s Black Beans & Rice Mix
1 Box of McCormick’s Paella Rice Mix

Enter to win below.

I received a package to review myself, see photo below, andwant to share the following easy baked tostones recipe to make and enjoy once you win your own tostonera and restock your kitchen. A very special thanks to our sponsors.


Baked Tostones altered from Skinnytaste
Servings: 4   Cook Time: 30 minutes
3 medium (3 cups) green plantains
2 tsp coconut oil
salt
Pam spray

Preheat the oven to 400°. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Peel plantains and slice into 1/2 thick slices. Place in a bowl and toss with oil and salt. Arrange slices on the baking sheet. Lightly coat with a little more oil spray on top and bake for 10 minutes or until slightly brown on the bottom. Remove from oven. 

Using a tostonera (a press), slightly mash each piece to about a quarter of an inch thick. If a tostonera is not available, insert the pieces between a folded piece of brown-paper and press down using a saucer or the bottom of a glass jar. Lightly re-spray the baking sheet and place the plantains brown side up onto the baking sheet. Lightly spray the top and bake for another 15 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Mojo

Garlic Dipping Sauce

 A pungent dipping sauce with garlic, cumin, oregano and sour orange juice or a combination of orange and lime juices. A little goes a long way.

Servings: 4 • Calories: 30.1

1/3 cup sour orange juice (or 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice + 1 tbsp lime juice)
2 tsp olive oil
1 large clove garlic, mashed
pinch oregano pinch
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp cumin

Heat a small sauce pan on low flame, when hot add oil. Saute garlic on low for about 2 minutes, do not brown. Add sour orange, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper and let it come to a boil. Shut off and set aside to cool to room temperature.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Aromatic Water: Rose Recipes & Agua Florida

Last week, I saw a post for 20 Unusual Uses for Rose Water and it reminded me of the recipes in Like Water for Chocolate by Mexican novelist Laura Esquivel, and also of the Agua Florida that my aunts splashed around the house (and everything else) back in the day - which my mom detested.

Cover of "Like Water for Chocolate"

Recipe: Rose Petal Sauce for Hens

* Makes 6 servings

12 red or pink organic roses' petals
1 cup chopped walnuts 
3 cups chicken broth, or as needed (I use the No Sodium, organic type)
2 tablespoons honey, or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I switched to Coconut Oil)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground anise seed
3 prickly pears (cactus fruit, Nopal), peeled and chopped (tasted like Watermelon)

Directions

- Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add garlic, and saute until fragrant, 2 or 3 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and anise, and cook for another minute to blend the flavors.
- In the container of a blender or food processor, combine the prickly pears, rose petals (reserving a few for garnish) and walnuts. Pour in just enough broth to cover. Cover, and process until smooth.
- Pour the rose petal mixture into the saucepan with the garlic. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring gently. If the sauce is too thick, add more broth as needed. Mix in the honey, then taste and adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper or anise if desired. Serve poured over poultry, garnishing with a few rose petals.

Via AllRecipes

THE ONE AND ONLY: Agua de Florida - Murray y L...
 (Photo : youflavio)
For those of you not familiar with Agua Florida or Florida Water, I found this guide very interesting.

It's been around since 1808 and has been used for spiritual cleansing in addition to being used as fragrance just as long.

Do remember this in your house?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Healthy & Yummy Recipe: Turkey & Rainbow Chard Empanadas

You may recall I've posted in the past about my Urban Organics organic produce, my new slow food health kick and a call for healthier alternatives to traditional favorites.

Yesterday, I had planned on using some of the GOYA® Puff Pastry Dough for Turnovers I had bought to test out so I took them out and put this dish together. It was so delicious, I think you should try it.

Healthy & Yummy Recipe: Turkey & Rainbow Chard Empanadas

Ingredients:


  • 1 pack of lean ground Turkey
  • 1 bunch of rainbow chard, washed/chopped
  • 1 Tbsp of fresh sofrito (my mom makes mine from scratch. You can buy it frozen or try to make your own, recipe here
  • 1 tsp Kirkland's Organic No-Salt Seasoning 
  • 1 Yellow onion diced 
  • 2 garlic cloves 
  • 3/4 Jar of Marina Sauce 
  • 1 tsp Olive oil Fresh grated Parmesan
Servings: 12 open-faced empanadas

I started off by heating up a Dutch Oven pot or olla and adding a teeny bit of olive oil, once I got that hot I added the turkey meat, sofrito, garlic and chopped onion. I seared the meat on one side and mashed it with a fork to separate it and spread out. Next I added the seasoning, this seasoning has replaced my store-bought Adobo and Sazon and is a good alternative to those if you don't DIY. I also added a 1/2 tsp of turmeric, cumin, basil and paprika in addition to the seasoning. 

I covered the meat with a lid to get a thorough cook and chopped and soaked the rainbow chard to get all the soil and sand out. Then I threw that into the pot and cooked it down for about 10 minutes, stirring it about 1x. When the meat looked pretty done, I added 3/4 of a jar of marinara sauce, put the heat on low, and let it simmer for about 40 minutes covered.

I actually left this on the stove for about 1.5 hrs while I washed my hair and relaxed. Then I came back and took out 2 muffin tins, which I lightly sprayed with cooking spray. I inserted one piece of puff pastry into each opening making a little open pocket and cupping them as necessary.

Into each I added about 1 large tablespoon of the meat mixture and then grated fresh parmesan over them. Once I was finished I wet a paper towel with a bit of olive oil and dabbed the portruding ends of the dough to get them to crisp and brown. 

I cooked these in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. They browned beautifully and the meat was really tasty and tender.

My boyfriend added hot sauce and sour cream to his and couldn't stop himself from literally eating about half a dozen - that's how good they were.

Things I would've done differently

I would love to find some whole wheat pastry and some organic marina sauce - next time I am in Trader's Joes, I will have to remember this, if you know of any, let me know.

Also if you have left over chili or meatloaf you can easily turn it into another dish by simply filling the pastries in. Next time, I am going to try using some canned salmon.









Thursday, June 20, 2013

Recipe: Baked Macaroni & Cheese

Growing up in a Puerto Rican household, the only Macaroni & Cheese I was familiar with was Kraft Mac & Cheese from the box that my mom reluctantly served us when she had little other option. Even then she added a bit of Adobo seasoning, garlic powder, basil and oregano leaves to the bland neon orange mix. She usually served it with a juicy chuleta Pork Chop.

As I got older and more familiar with the Southern, Soul, baked version, I was floored by the amazing difference in creaminess and richness. When I began cooking on my own, the recipe below was my favorite. The hint of mustard makes this a wonderful, sophisticated version that will amaze all who consume it. I think it came from an old Saveur Magazine:

Southern-Style Macaroni and Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese

MAKES:4 to 6 servings
PREP: 15 minutes
COOK: 40 minutes

1 (8-ounce) package dried elbow macaroni or favorite pasta (about 2 1/4 cups,uncooked)
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
1 (8-ounce) package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (optional)
Toppings (optional):
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan over low heat; add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn heat to medium; gradually whisk in milk, and cook over medium heat, stirring or whisking constantly until thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in pasta, mustard, and next 4 ingredients, stirring just until cheese begins to melt.
3. Pour pasta mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano or more Cheddar. If desired, top with fresh breadcrumbs, and drizzle evenly with melted butter.
4. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

However, cut from the same cloth as my mother, I amended the recipe and made it my own, grating onions and garlic into it, adding a dash of Worcestershire and other herbs and spices. It's been years since I've made it though because it's a lot of work to make and also because of the carb and fat content.

Recently, I ran a contest and asked you all to tell me what you would like to see more of posted here and the general consensus was Italian and Latin recipes so I am sharing this one with everyone but I would like to amend it to show you how to make a healthier version.

Updated Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe - The healthier, Tastier version:

1 (8-ounce) package dried whole wheat pasta (about 2 1/4 cups, uncooked)
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup low fat or non fat Greek Yogurt
1 cup plain almond milk
1 tablespoon whole-grain organic Dijon mustard
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon Sriracha
1/4 Worcertershire
1/2 cup grated onion & garlic
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil and oregano
1 (8-ounce) shredded reduced fat sharp Cheddar cheese (about 2 cups)
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Heat up olive oil in a large heavy saucepan over low heat; add onion, garlic, basil and oregano in a teeny bit of oil. Once the onions seem soft and have been sweated down, add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. This is a roux, the basic thickener in soups and sauces.

Turn heat to medium; gradually whisk in milk & yogurt, and cook over medium heat, stirring or whisking constantly until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add more oil or flour, if needed until you get the right thick consistency. Your arm will ache from stirring but you will get the satisfaction of knowing you just made a cheese sauce from scratch. Booyah! Stir in pasta, mustard, and rest of the ingredients, stirring just until cheese begins to melt.

3. Pour pasta mixture into a lightly greased (Use Canola or Olive Oil on a paper towel, not butter, to grease) 13- x 9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano or more Cheddar.

4. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Healthy Eats: Lemon Chicken & Soba Noodles in Peanut Butter Sauce

This past weekend I moved in with my boyfriend of over a year. We're both food enthusiasts and in the time we've been dating we invented a game called Broke-A$$ Chopped. As fans of the Food Network's Chopped, our own iteration came about from my skills in the kitchen and his previously unstocked, sad (read: Frat House-ish) pantry. I had fun devising up good foods with meager accouterments and a lack of (proper) pots and pans but those days are NOW over.

My Lemon Chicken & Soba Noodles in Peanut Butter Sauce
We have begun a health kick together and in spite of the hectic Labor Day weekend move, I managed to cook on Saturday. Inspired by Pinterest too, I want to share this Lemon Chicken & Soba Noodles in Peanut Butter Sauce recipe that I put together with you.

I've taken to cleaning, seasoning and bagging my meats right after I get back from the market. I usually then freeze them and they taste so amazing after they have had time to absorb and the flavors of the rubs/marinades. I usually do different batches so we can have some variety.

Lemon Chicken & Soba Noodles in Peanut Butter Sauce

Chicken

For this healthy recipe for two, I used 3-4 pieces of organic chicken cutlets, which I seasoned with 1/2 teaspoon of Mrs. Dash's lemon pepper, 1 teaspoon of white wine and 1 of olive oil, half a packet of Sazon, a dusting of Goya Adobo Light and garlic powder.

After seasoning, I froze the cutlets in a Ziploc and then defrosted them in the refrigerator when I was ready to cook them on Saturday. I simply seared them in a non-stick frying pan, misted lightly with canola oil and once golden, I covered them and lowered the flame to continue the slow cook until the chicken was cooked thoroughly. I usually just peek inside the thickest cut of the meat with a fork every 5-10 minutes until the chicken is completely white, keep watch, because you don't want dry chicken or pink, raw, inedible chicken.

Noodles

If you've aren't familiar with Soba Noodles, they hail from Japan and can be eaten cold or hot. They are made with  buckwheat (most brands are Gluten-free but please read the label) and have almost less than half the calories and carbs of white flour pasta. I found some in my local dollar store and stocked up.

They were very easy to cook. I just added them to boiling hot water, stirred and removed after three minutes. I went online to look for an easy peanut butter sauce to make because the last time I attempted to make this sauce, the recipe I used had a bazillion Asian ingredients that I had to go out and buy and the sauce still didn't taste authentic.

Sauce

This is the Peanut Butter Sauce recipe I found that I slightly altered:

1/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup warm water
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbs cider or rice vinegar, or fresh lime juice
4 tsps sugar 
Optional: 2 tsp red pepper flakes
              1 tbs finely grated/minced ginger

I added 2 tabls of red balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon of Siracha, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, skipped the pepper flakes, and warmed this sauce over the stove with a piece of fresh ginger, which I removed once the sauce was completely melted/mixed together. It was really easy to make and tasted like the real thing.

Update: I also added some 1 chopped clove of garlic.

I let the sauce cool down and mixed it in with the noodles. They weren't exactly beautiful - I messed them up on the first try. In fact, they looked a little bit like brown mush (his puddy ugly brown plates didn't help - ergo, we're donating those) but once served with the chicken, which I butterflied for faster cooking (look at that perfect heart shape), the whole dish was scrumptious and the perfect meal for ravenous and exhausted movers & shakers.

This was His portion so it's a bigger ration. (Yes, I gave him my heart.)

My Lemon Chicken & Soba Noodles in Peanut Butter Sauce
My recommendations: Use low sodium, fresh, organic ingredients when you can otherwise this dish will be really, really salty, don't overcook the noodles or they will turn to mush. For color, top off with chopped scallions or chives. This flavorful dish can be served hot or cold paired with a sweet/dry white wine.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cuchifrito Rotisserie Chicken Recipe

English: Rotisserie Chicken (pollo rostizado i...
Rotisserie Chicken (pollo rostizado in Mexico) cooking at a take-out shop in the Obrera neighborhood of Mexico City. (Photo: Wikipedia)
If you ever wondered how exactly the rotisserie chicken from the cuchifrito spot ends up tasting so sweet and tasty and beautifully toasted - here's the recipe:

1/2 tb garlic powder
1 tb plus
1 ts ground cumin
4 tb white vinegar
2 1/2 tb paprika
2 ts freshly ground black pepper
3 tb white wine
3 tb soya or canola oil
3/4 ts salt
1 chicken, 3-4 pound
1 lemon, juice of,
mixed with:1 qt cold water

Instructions:
In medium-size bowl, mix first eight ingredients. Wash the chickens thoroughly with lemon water and remove excess fat from inside chickens. With a large carving fork, poke deep holes all over chicken, including under wings.

Rub the marinade thoroughly inside and outside the chicken. Seal the chicken in a large plastic bag and marinate for at least 2 hours (but preferably up to 24 hours) in refrigerator. Remove chicken from bag and dilute marinade left behind in bag with a tablespoon of water.

Place the chicken on a rotisserie spit, and roast at medium heat for 45 to 55 minutes. If broiling, cut chicken in half lengthwise and broil for 30 to 40 minutes, basting with marinade every 10 minutes.

Update: I first tried this with some chicken legs and I didn't baste them. They came out very pale and a bit bland. The next time I tried it on an oven roaster and I seasoned the chicken a bit more with adobo, garlic and herbs and I basted every 30 minutes. It came out much better.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Flan v. Tembleque

I am reading Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell in preparation to see the Julie and Julia movie next month.

For those of you, who aren't familiar with the book, it's based on a blog created by Julie Powell.

The book is sumptuous; it's written superbly, intelligent and funny. While reading about Powell's fear of eggs (sorry, you will have to read the book) it reminded me of my dislike of Flan.

Flan, "Crème caramel, or caramel custard is a rich custard dessert with a layer of soft caramel on top, as opposed to crème brûlée, which is custard with a hard caramel top."



Some might consider this Latina blasphemy, but the runny texture makes my stomach flop.

I prefer coconut pudding or Tembleque as Puerto Ricans call the light coconut custard that shakes like Jell-O. Jiggle it, baby!




Here's an easy recipe: www.recipezaar.com/Tembleque

If you like to follow food blogs, here's a lovely one with awesome recipes and photos:
Laylita.com

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Latina Cooking: The Healthy & Low Fat Version

Many of Mami's recipes are tried and true and extremely delicious but it's with a heavy heart (literally) that I often look inside her kitchen and see the stuff she is using to make them.

Here are my suggestions to make the same dishes (only healthier, lower fat, carbohydrate, sodium and caloric versions)

* most of this applies to any ethnic diet

- Ditch the manteca/lard! (seriously, I can't believe people still use this stuff)

- Read the labels! If you use Achotina to flavor your food, you should know it contains lard.

- When you start reading labels you will notice the high amounts of sodium in some of our favorite keystone products; like adobo, bouillon, etc. Either buy the lower sodium versions or make your own and don't add any salt to your dishes. Also rinse your canned beans.

- Cook with canola or olive oil only or a use a mister. They are much healthier for you and remember not to use so much, a tablespoon will do.

- Rice, we love it don't we? If you have to eat white rice, serve yourself a cup (the size of your fist - well, my fist - I have little hands) not a half-plate full. If you want to really go healthy, try using brown rice. I usually make mine with some homemade sofrito and boil it with some low sodium chicken broth.

- Make your own condiments when you can. First off they taste so much better fresh and you can completely keep track of what is going in there. Make your own mojo, sofrito, salsas, dry adobo, flavored oils, vinaigrette, etc., I like to drop a couple of achiote seeds into a separate jar with oil to make very reddish and paprika flavored oil - great for yellow rice.

- Use lean meats, clean and trim the fat.

- Eat fish at least once a week (and not fried).

- Instead of frying; try broiling/grilling, steaming or sauteing.

- Use butter/margerine sparringly - in most cases olive oil and/or cooking spray will substitute.

- Use turkey sausage and bacon as a replacement for fattier pork versions. For even healthier versions, make your own turkey sausages.

- Use low fat dairy and cheeses or use soy products instead.

- Reverse your daily intake of food. If you were brought up like me, then a typical breakfast at home was a piece of bread or crackers with a piece of cheese and cafecito. Lunch was something filling enough to send you to bed and dinner was sort of in between. This cultural phenomenon worked well when we left for the fields at the rooster's crow and could take siestas but that isn't the case anymore.

Begin your day with a full blown breakfast. It's going to power your day! Fruit, protein, fiber should all be components. Coffee is actually fine too. It actually helps your metabolism. Lunch should be your big meal, if your are eating carbs, this is when you should eat them so your body has time to digest them and use up the sugars. Dinner should be really light. Some protein and some veggies or a salad.

- Make your own delicious fruit and low fat smoothies for breakfast and snacks.

- Don't eat after 7 pm. I know most of us are not even home by then but you should eat your last meal at least three hours before you turn in. And if, you need a midnight snack, cereal or a yogurt is good.

- Ditch the white bread. Look for whole wheat breads and if you like to bake your own look for diabetic bread/biscuit recipes.

- Ditch the soda (sorry cola champagne). You don't need it. Drink lots of water. Be cautious with the fruit juices too - they have tons of sugar and calories. You can cut down on the juice by adding seltzer water (plain carbonated water) to half a glass of juice to fool your self into drinking more water and less sugars.

- Be on the lookout for low-carb, baked versions of your favorite snacks. You can find low-carb wheat tortillas in many places as well as baked tortilla chips. You can also make your own.

- Sweet potatoes are healthier than regular potatoes and if you want to ditch the potatoes all together cauliflower is a good substitute for mashing.

- There are many low-starch/carbohydrate veggies to use more of : squash, chiles, quelites, nopales, jicama, yucca, tomatillos, and chayotes.

- Accompany your meals with some veggies and nice green salad daily. Go heavy on the greens and light on the carbs.

Have fun and be creative! You can easily make any meal healthier.

Want to make some empanadas? Just like Mami's but so much better for you. Instead of ground beef try ground turkey and instead of frying them try baking them. Yes, baking them. You can see a recipe here: weight-watchers-points-recipes. Just use turkey instead of beef.

You can still eat your tostones, just don't deep fry them. Instead fry in a bit of canola oil and drain off the extra oil. Or how about some Oven Fried Yucca?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Latina Thanksgiving Dinner

I often like to take dishes and put a latin spin on them.

My mom's turkey stuffing, which is delectable and I try to make it the same way, includes chayote and sazon. This Thanksgiving I found some fantastic recipes to help spread this idea and I'd like to share those with you:

Adobo Turkey with Red-Chile Gravy via Epicurious

Pumpkin-Coconut Pie via Latina

Turkey with Southwest Stuffing (*Not my mom's recipe, I'm keeping that a secret)


Some more ideas:

Caribbean Thanksgiving Menu

Coquito - Rum Eggnog

Pumpkin Flan

Mofongo Stuffing

Adobo Dry Rub & Sofrito with Culantro for the turkey
 
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