Thursday, January 24, 2013

Coconut Bark Dulces

I have had the wonderful pleasure of having my family over during the holidays this past year. It was a different year this year for me because I am so used to having tons of food cooked...but for some reason all I bought was a ham and the ingredients for two different sides. Pretty simplistic this year. The weather played a big part in it and well who am I kidding...Who's got those kind of splurging finances anymore to dump into the holidays like the old days ;0)

Anyhow what I did do was try making something sweet. Now anyone who knows me well knows that I don't (can't) bake. It's is a science I find too complicating...(coming from a girl who used to find making flour tortillas easier than corn...and still smashes her frijoles with the bottom of a child's size cup!).

While watching one of my favorite chefs: Marcela Valladolid.
I have to admit my slight addiction to all of her amazing ways to innovate the recipes our abuelitas, tias, madres, y amigas have shared throughout years, even decades! Everything is always fresh and easy...really. easy!

So anyway I saw her make this simple candy and I thought..."C'mon! I can't possibly screw this up...".
So easy and well...EASY!

So here is the link of Chef Valladolid's recipe for exact measurements I did as she said and experimented...well, played around with food coloring :-)

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/marcela-valladolid/quick-and-easy-coconut-bark-cocada-recipe/index.html

All you will need is:

1 Bag of Shreaded Coconut Flakes
1 Can of Condensed Milk
1 Baking Dish
Cooking Spray
and your oven preheated at 350F
Food Color (optional)

So if you have ever walked into a Mexican Supermercado (supermarket) or even your local grocery store there is always an isle or two of either mexican spices and candies or condiments, and common items. So this little candy may look like something familiar:


It is delicious! Well, you will have fun with this real simple and non-complex way to make a scrumptious candy! I did two different batches. One with just the ingredients, another I played with the ingredients and added food coloring to imitate the candy pictured above. Here we go!

First lets empty your coconut flakes in a bowl and pour your one can of condensed milk in like so:



Once this is done all you want to do is mix up this mixture and place in a baking dish.



Or do as I did and devide up some of the mixture in seperate bowls and play with a few drops of food coloring (6-8 drops for pungent color). pictured below:



add desired colors:


Once this is complete you can place in your baking dish and arrange as you please:


The baking dish should have either a thin layer of butter to prevent any sticking or some non-stick cooking spray. We will bake at 350 degrees for approx.25-30 min. until you see a slight browning at the top. Let cool and cut up and enjoy....(or wrap tablespoonful size pieces, wrapped in wax paper)

Hmm Que Rrrico!





Saturday, January 12, 2013

Chocolate Abuelita

What is the very best hot chocolate? Well, Abuelita's chocolate of course! Literally...
.
This is the exact photo you will see on the box. Now they have boxes with packets and even individual packets for individual coffee cups... Anyhow when you take one of the (6) bars out of the octogon-like packed box. When you begin to make your hot chocolate you will want to decide about how much you want to make. In this case, I used 1 Whole bar. Recipe as follows:

You will need:
1 Abuelita Chocolate Bar
2- 21/2 Cups of Whole Milk 
(skim, 1%, 2%, soy, or even evaporated milk would be great)
1 Wooden Spoon
1 Whisk
2-21/2 Cups Boiling Water

Place your water in a pot to boil on Med to Med/High temp. Before you add any chocolate this is what your water should resemble.

When you open your bar of chocolate (choco-lat-eh) this is what you will see:


You will need a sharp knife for cutting. It is not pictured below but if you have a clean kitchen rag you will want to lay your chocolate bar on top and chop into small pieces as best as you can (this is not your usual chocolate).


I used whole milk in my drink but as I listed above you may use your choice of Milk. I wish I would have had some evaporated milk to use in mine giving it a smoother frothier taste.


When your water is good and boiling you can add your chocolate pieces and then lower the furnace to a low to med temp. This will allow your chocolate to melt in the water. You will NOT be adding your milk (leche in español) until the chocolate has completely dissolved as you can see in the process pictured below:


As it dissolves you will see it turn into a sauce like consistency like so:


When all your chocolate pieces are completely dissolved you can whisk in your milk while it is still on a low temperature.


You will see what is resembled in the picture above of the chocolate sauce mixed into the milk. It will look like chocolate milk for the first few minutes and as you whisk and stir it for approx. 5-10 min. You will witness the most beautiful thing happen. The creaminess of the chocolate begins to rise to the top as it has all had a moment to marry and have little wonderful chocolate love. This is time to drink and have nothing but happy thoughts :)


 You can serve nice and warm with a few sprinkles of cinnamon or a nice dab of whipped cream or over a glass of nice cold ice cubes for a nice Iced Chocolate dream. Endless possibilities! Enjoy!


Friday, January 11, 2013

Happy New Year!!

Wow! Has it really been 2 months since I have written a post?!?!
I. am. very, VERY disappointed in myself Y'all...
Well, hello 2013 lets get this ball rolling!

Please stay tuned I will be very hard at work with new posts for how to make a delicious recipe for:

Latin Coconut Bark
Esalada de Papa (potato salad)...
a few aquired recipes I decided to try out myself.

Aaand a few learned and dusted off my shelf along the way
(Chocolate Abuelita) many more to come...

Stay posted!
Have a wonderful Friday!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Squash Blossoms/ Flor de Calabaza


Flor de Calabaza, or Squash Blossoms. I dont know much about them. Only that they are eaten quite a bit around this time of year. I have always wanted to try them and I had heard of many ways they can be cooked. You can saute them with onions and tomatoes. You can fry them , fill with cheese, or boil into a soup...Since I dont have much of any experience and have never had the opportunity to eat one EVER. I did the unthinkable: I fried it. I know, I know...how in the world could I possibly know what to look for if i'd never tried one..?! 

I went to the farmer's market and since they are in season I was able to pick up a little baggy of some. Pardon some of the blurry pictures this time around, I was nervous!
Here they are:
 
As you can see, they are a little pricey. As I bought them the vendor told me they are dirty and that I would need to throughly wash them before I prepared them. I appreciated that! At first I couldnt understand why they wouldnt wash them but after understood they would soften up as lettuce does. So here is how I went about cleaning mine with a little youtube research and reading up on the process this is what I gathered.
(sorry this recipe will not have a list of ingredients rather a reading of my overall experience).

First, this is what the blossom looks like up close and personal:
a little dirt on the petals and delicate as a petal.


As you open the petals *very carefully*. You see the inside pollen vein (the word slipped my mind). This part is recommended to be removed for its possible bitterness. So removed I did, along with any other parts that may be sticking out.


It was a little tricky sticking a slim knife into the center to try to take out the inner stem but I did it and pierced off the outter pieces as pictured below.


The inside should look like the picture below and a gentle, but thorough rinse is necessary.


I laid mine out as gently as I could on a few paper towels so that they would be ready to egg and batter.


As they lay out to dry I got a few egg whites and beat them until I got a nice foam. 


I have in each bowl below (from left to right) wheat flour, egg whites (about 2), and Japanese style panko break crumbs.


Before anything, I gently re-dried my blossom and filled with some shreaded cheese as much and gently as I could trying to leave enough room to swist close the top portion of my blossom. Like so:


Once it is ready, I rolled in flour:


Then rolled in egg whites, and lastly in panko crumbs for a nice crunch:


When all ready I then placed in a frying pan with med to hot oil ready to fry:


I believe the bigger piece to the far left is a poblano chile relleno (so sorry but will post a lesson the next time I take better pictures). But I tried to fry one blossom with egg and flour alone, then the second blossom pictured below the above is the one with panko. You can tell which one was the crisper one by the color alone. In the end it was a great experience and they both tasted as if I had stuffed a piece of lettuce with cheese...it was tasteful.


 Hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did sharing. Happy Cooking!






Sunday, October 7, 2012

Saveur Magazine-October Issue

Last week in September I was reading one of my favorite blogs, www.thebittenword.com, and guess what I came across? It was a post titled: "The Super Awesome Cover-to-Cover Challenge"....Oh I was sooo excited I commented that I wanted to participate. So to my amazement I got the assignment! Goal is to cook one of the recipes featured in a list of Cooking Magazines. I was assigned a recipe from the Saveur Magazine and I figured, why not share it as a blog post too? It was a great learning experience, since I have no culinary background. And well, I felt very fortunate and special to be one of the MANY that signed up to participate as well.
Here is the featured posting of the project :0)
http://www.thebittenword.com/thebittenword/2012/09/the-october-project.html

And here is the link to Saveur's October Caeser Salad (my project assignement):
http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Classic-Caesar-Salad

(credit's to the picture and recipe below to Saveur's.com webpage as linked above)


Caesar SaladENLARGE IMAGECredit: Todd Coleman
SERVES 2 

INGREDIENTS


1½ cups olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
8 oz. stale crusty Italian or French white bread, cut into 1" cubes
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp. hot sauce, such as Tabasco
4 oil-packed anchovy filets, drained and roughly chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 oz. whole romaine lettuce leaves, inner leaves only
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup finely grated Parmesan

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Heat 1 cup oil and 1 clove garlic in a 12" skillet over medium heat. Add bread, and cook, tossing often, until golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain, and set aside.

2. Rub remaining garlic over inside of a large wooden serving bowl, and leave in bowl. Add juice, Worcestershire, hot sauce, anchovies, and salt and pepper, and whisk until anchovies are broken down. Add remaining oil, and whisk until just blended. Add lettuce leaves, and toss to coat in dressing; drizzle egg over leaves, and toss again until evenly coated. Add reserved croutons, Parmesan, and salt and pepper, and toss until evenly combined; serve immediately.


**Here are my pictures of the steps described above in it's order:
I have my one cup of oil ready to fry by french bread. I ended up getting a baguette, we dont keep much of it around so I only bought enough for this project.


...pieces frying...

I got a little preoccupied with all my ingredients and the instructions that I...that's right, burned it! :(


So I started over, with bigger pieces...


Then for the anchovies and all the ingredients to the sauce as instructed above... I did chose to use the Louisiana hot sauce anchovies  helped me skip the step in trying to find a particular hot sauce that I would prefer for this recipe.


Whisking well 


Poured over Romaine, drizzled with beaten egg, then tossed again...



added my parmesan cheese...


All ready to eat :0)


Plated.



Overall...this was a good salad when I first tasted the final. But....I felt it needed a little more salt that what was said on the recipe and well, needless to say...I must have put way too much! Because I ruined it. Boo....
But overall this was super fun and I would do it again any day!!
Thanks for reading!

Rice-Punched Meatball Soup...Caldo de Albondigas.

I had a relaxing weekend. Temperatures are dropping and its getting a little, "chilleh" outside. Did a project this evening and thought...what is good and quick...ah, a soup sounds real good right now!
Kids (and husband) were relaxing on couch watching our new trilogy of Dragon BallZ.... Soup to the rescue!!

Here is what you will need:
1-2lb of Lean Ground beef or turkey
1 handful of baby carrots (peeled and sliced in 4, lengthwise)
1 green squash
4 baby new potatoes
1/2 cup dry white rice
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. chili powder
1/8 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
diced red onion 1/8th of the onion
fresh cilantro
1-2 limes
1 med egg
few fresh thyme leaves or a shake or two of dried thyme
2 cams tomato sauce

Lots of ingredients but thats the hardest part :-)

First dice up potatoes, carrots and place in boiling pot of water...not too high, approx. medium to medium high. While the water is cooking potatoes and carrots we will prepare the meat.
In a large bowl, mix ground beef/turkey, with all the listed spices, thyme, and the egg. Mix all together with your hands then add the 1/2 cup uncooked rice and diced red onion (optional).


Once you have your mixture you will roll small balls into the palms of your and then drop one by one, meat balls of meat into the water. Try to drop away from one another as they cook.


There will be a little bit of brown foam form as the water boils...not sure why, but I was always told to remove this film so that it's not floating around in your soup ;0)

One by one the meatballs will begin to float and at this time you can add the squash and let this boil a bit longer until you see the rice within the meatball begin to turn transparent. Whole boiling time should only be 30 minutes...longer for bigger meatballs. I made mine as big as a mini cupcake size. Once you believe the soup is finished. Add the two cans of tomato soup and wah-lah! YUM-Oh!




~ Love every bit of fall and don't be afraid to stay home and cook!~

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Salsalita Verde

Oooh my life long stuggle to find the "perfect" salsa.... How many times do you think, "If I just had a really good salsa for those tacos", or " hmmm homemade tortillas? Oh man! a good salsa would just comeplete this!". Okay, Maybe not everyone, but everyone that eats homemade Mexican or Latin food knows...having salsa at the table during breakfast, lunch, almuerzo, and dinner is a must, next to corn or flour tortillas. Es Cultura/ It's culture one would say! Pues I have found my perfect blend to the salsa verde that I enjoy the most. This recipe will keep for almost 2 months in a mason jar in the refridgerator if not finished sooner.

This recipe calls for:

4-5 tomatillos (green-husked tomatoes)
1/4 yellow/white onion
2 garlic cloves
1 handful of fresh cilantro leaves
1 tbsp. salt
1 packet Goya (tomate flavor)
1 pinch cumin seeds (comino)
1/8 cup of tomato water (water from the boiled tomatoes)
3 small jalapeños

Green tomatillos come in these ugly greenish brown husks:

The husks need to be peeled off and there is a slightly sticky kinda wierd textrue to the tomato below the husk. The tomato needs to be washed throughly with a few drops of soap and plenty of cool water until the tomatoes are clean...as pictured below :0)

Once the tomatoes are washed. Fill a saucepan up with cool water, enough for the tomatoes to boil for about 25-30 minutes on medium low heat. Here is a before and after picture of the tomatoes color as it changes during the boiling process. They turn a darker greenish color and soften. No salt is needed for this process, just plain water.

BEFORE
 AFTER

Once the tomatoes have boiled in a blender you will add the onion, garlic, jalapeños and tomatoes. Then add the salt and seaonings along with cilantro. Before you blend add a capful or so of water just enough to get your blender going.  Blend on low to "liquify". Approx. 3-5 minutes. Depending on the type of blender.


Here you have it. A fresh table salsa verde. A simple kick to enhance any taco, breakfast, burrito, or even a wonderful add to any salad. Hmm Que Rico!!