Showing posts with label Recipe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Recipe. 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.


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 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 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.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Grow your own: Avocado

Did you know?


An avocado tree as a houseplant
An avocado tree as a houseplant (Wikipedia)
The original Aztec name for the avocado is ahuacatl, meaning "testicle," an obvious reference to the shape of the fruit and was considered to possess aphrodisiac qualities. 

The early explorers had a hard time with the Aztec name and it was soon adapted by the Spaniards to ahuacate and aguacate, since it sounded like the early Spanish word avocado (now abogado), meaning lawyer. 

Now Go Grow a Pear

Now if your mom or grandmother was anything like mine, any time she used an aguacate, she saved the pit. Mostly, I recall that she planted them and grew her own little avocado trees. I had to smile when I came across Inhabitat's handy-dandy guide, complete with photos, on how to grow an avocado tree from seed. Who knew that mami and abuelita were eco DIY trendsetters?

And, if by any chance you're a guacamole fanatic like me, who knows you may even be making or enjoying some this weekend, here are 20 other surprising uses for that avocado seed/pit besides actually ingesting it.
Aguacate / Avocado


 
Web Analytics