Showing posts with label Olive oil. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Olive oil. Show all posts

Saturday, October 19, 2013

How to Make your own Flavored Achiote Oil

Recently, I received a bottle of Olive Oil from Iberia. Iberia, is a manufacturer of packaged foods, specializing in Latin cuisine. Iberia offers a wide variety of food & beverage products (EVOO, olives, rice, beans) to specialty ‘foodie’ products (aioli, blended oils, paella packets) … the list goes on.

It is a such a pretty bottle design and packaging that I didn't want to just put it away in a cabinet. I instantly thought of the achiote oil that both my mom and my sister, although my sister more so always uses to make her food look and taste amazing. Achiote oil is commonly used in Puerto Rican cuisine and gives food a sweet but nutty peppery taste.

Historically it has been valued for its coloring properties and used for body paint and even a predecessor to lipstick. It's been also been used as traditional folk medicine and in addition to being high in antioxidants and  tocotrienols (belied to prevent cancer), it has antimicrobial properties. Of course, we all know that comsuming good quality olive oil on a daily basis, more commonly known as the Mediterranean diet has been shown to cut the risk of heart attacks and strokes by 30 percent.

DIY Achiote Oil

Chef Daisy Martinez has a pretty simple recipe here. You just heat up some achiote seeds (also referred to as annatto seeds) in the olive oil, watch carefully until the start to fizzle and then remove, cool and store. Your oil will turn an amazing reddish color and you can use it to make your rice yellow and your empanadas a golden brown.

Credit: Girliechef.com
My mom always uses a bit in her pasteles and her food is amazing. Rub a little of this on any meat you roast and it will come out looking Martha Stewart-worthy. Let me know what you think of it or if you use it.

Here's a fun video from Chef Don Davis walking you through Iberia products.


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 27, 2013

Meatless Monday Recipes: Salmon & Red Snapper

Today I want to share two of my favorite pescatarian dishes for your Meatless Mondays.

The first is a Nut-Crusted Salmon, which I adapted from a recipe I found online:

Almond basic crust for salmon
Almond basic crust for salmon (Photo: Gudlyf)
Marinade:
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup lemon juice (you may add fresh -squeezed orange or grapefruit juice too)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
4 (8 ounce) salmon fillets, skin on

 Crust:
1 cup finely chopped walnuts (you can substitute pine nuts or pecans, etc)
1 tablespoon chopped dill/cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped chives
2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Mix marinade ingredients in a baking pan. Add salmon, turn to coat, and marinate for at least 30 minutes to an hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

In a small bowl, mix walnuts, dill/cilantro, chives, olive oil, and lemon juice. Place on foil lined baking sheet, skin side up. Place in the broiler for 2 minutes until skin is seared and crispy. You can also grill. Remove and turn fish over and lightly brush with marinade. Sprinkle crust on top, skin side down. Bake for 4 to 8 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked to the desired doneness and the crust is golden.

***

The next recipe is Broiled Red Snapper adapted from Chef Daisy Martinez. Some people may be put off by serving a whole fish, head on but I promise you this dish will not only taste delish but will make you look like a pro.

Ingredients:
Two 1 ½-pound cleaned red snappers, left whole
Dry Adobo, homemade or store-bought
2 lemons, cut in half
Juice of  orange,
Mojito or Ajimojili for serving

Makes 4 servings

Sprinkle the fish inside and out very liberally with the adobo.
Line them up side by side in a baking dish large enough to hold them comfortably.
Squeeze the lemons over the inside and outside.
Cover and refrigerate the fish for up to an hour (longer and the lemon juice may start to cure the fish).

Broil the fish, turning once, until the meat along the backbone close to the head is opaque and firm, 15 to 20 minutes. The skin should be golden and crispy in spot. Serve whole.

To serve the fish, place whole on plate and top with aoili and lemon slices.

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!
 
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