Sunday, September 26, 2010

Puerto Rican Bacalaitos (Crunchy Cod Fritters)

Tip: Read directions completely before preparing

1/4 lb bacalao (cod) filet
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon. baking powder
1/3 teaspoon. salt
3/4 cup bacalao (cod) broth
1teaspoon black pepper
3 cloves garlic
2 cilantro leaves (culantro)
1 envelope of Sazon seasoning (con Culantro Y Achiote)
1 cup vegetable oil

Make sure you get the soft bacalao (dried codfish) that has been deboned. Sometimes it comes in a wooden box or in plastics bags. Many grocers now carry bacalao.

To prepare the bacalao and remove the salt, rinse the bacalao and tear into smaller pieces.  Add 6 cups of water and bacalao (cod) to a 5 1/2 quart pot, bring to boil, lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or so. Discard water and add fresh water and repeat process, for another 20 minutes. Let it cool in the water and save the water. Remove the bacalao (cod) and drain in a metal drainer and wait for it to cool down (save the broth). Once cool to the touch, tear the pieces into smaller little tiny pieces and set it aside. If you hold it between your fingers it separates itself.

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sazon and pepper. In a mortar, crush the garlic and cilantro leaves. Add 3/4  cup broth to the mortar to remove garlic and cilantro and pour into the large bowl with dry ingredients and whisk. The mixture should look like pancake batter. Add the drained bacalao (cod) and whisk again. Batter should have the consistency of thin pancake batter. If too thick just add a bit more broth and whisk. If you put too much broth add more flour.

Begin heating the oil in a frying pan to 350 degree.

Ladle the batter into hot oil. They should be fried over high heat, turning only once, until golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels before serving. If they are getting too brown too fast lower heat a bit.

Any extra fish or batter may be refrigerated for a few days or frozen for later use.  Enjoy!

Servings: 10 Bacalaitos (Cod Fritters)

Tip: Bacalaitos are salt cod fritters, a traditional Puerto Rican snack.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Eggs Benedict with Homemade Hollandaise Sauce

Tip: Read directions completely before preparing.

1 English Muffin
1 slice Canadian Ham (other hams can be substituted)
1 poached egg
1 tablespoon Hollandaise Sauce (Click for recipe.)

First place half a buttered English muffin at the bottom, then topped firstly with Canadian style bacon, followed by a perfectly poached egg and lastly, drizzled with a tablespoon of Hollandaise sauce. The recipe is below.

Tip: I love to top off my Eggs Benedicts with Pico de Gallo! Enjoy!

"The original Eggs Benedict dates back to 1894 when, it's said, a hungover Wall Streeter named Lemuel Bendict made his way along the buffet table at the newly opened Waldorf-Astoria (Fifth Avenue and Thirty-foruth Street), slapping bacon and poached eggs on buttered toast, then topping the lot with Hollandaise. Later, the Waldorf's formidable maitre d'hotel, Oscar Tschirky, fine-tuned the recipe, substituting English muffins for toast and Canadian bacon for ham. A second legend attributes Eggs Benedict to Delmonico's and Mrs. LeGrand Benedict, a regular there. Finding nothing to her liking one day, Mrs. Benedict huddled with the maitre d'hotel, who concocted the combo now known as Eggs Benedict. Which story is true? No one knows. But by 1912 Eggs Benedict had become so famous Underwood Deviled Ham built an ad campaign around its own unorthodox version."
---American Century Cookbook, Jean Anderson (p. 344)

Hollandaise Sauce

Tip: Read directions completely before preparing.

2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon Dijon style mustard
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch teaspoon salt
fresh ground peppercorns

Whisk egg yolks, lemon juice and mustard in top of double boiler until smooth. If you do not have a double boiler, use a pot and fill it with water, then place a glass bowl over it.  Making sure that the lower portion of the bowl is immersed in the water but not over flowing.

Add 4 Tablespoons butter.

Cook over low heat stirring constantly until butter melts.

Add remaining butter.

Continue stirring until butter melts and sauce thickens.

Season with salt, cayenne pepper, and fresh ground peppercorns to your taste.  Enjoy!

Tip:  The original Hollandaise Sauce recipe originated in Normandy (a region famous for its butter and use of butter in cooking) and was first known as Sauce Isigny, after the town of Isigny in Normandy. The recipe can be found in recipe books dating from the 1800s.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Grands Flaky Garlic Biscuits

Tip: Read directions ccompletely before preparing.

1 teaspoon Garlic Bread Spice Blend (Click for Recipe)
1 1/2 tablespoons of butter
1 Grands Original Flaky biscuits, 5 count package

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Place biscuits in a dish, brush biscuits completely with melted butter and sprinkle with Garlic Bread Spice Blend, as shown below.

Place dish in oven and bake for 23 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!

Garlic Bread Spice Blend

2 teaspoon Dried Vegetables (red bell peppers, green bell Peppers, onions, carrots and celery)
2 teaspoons Garlic Powder Granulated
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

In a bowl mix the ingredients, and use on a variety of breads (or can be used on vegetables or fish). You can coat bread dough with melted butter then sprinkle with the spice blend, bake the bread at suggested time and temperature. Store in a plastic zip lock bag or any air tight container.

Tip: If you cannot find the dried vegetables at your local market, you can order them online from the link on the left hand side panel, My Spice Sage link.  Their prices are very very reasonable! You can find the Dried Vegetable mix.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chocolate Brownies with Whip Cream

Tip: Read instructions carefully before preparing.

1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
1 ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ½ cups of sugar
2 cups solid vegetable shortening
½ cup light corn syrup
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
6 large eggs
whipping cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Butter and flour a 17” x 11 ½ x 1 inch rimmed baking sheet. Mix flour and cocoa in a bowl. Using a mixer, beat sugar, corn syrup, vanilla extract, and salt in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs. Add the flour mixture and beat just to blend. Spread completely to the edges on baking sheet.

Bake 23 – 25 minutes, test with toothpick, inserting in center and should come out with a few crumbs. Cool completely using sheet rack, on baking sheet.

Once these brownies cooled I used a 2 1/2" wide circular deep cookie cutter to layer the brownies with whipped cream. I cut the brownies then inserted 1 brownie, added a layer of whip cream, another brownie, whipped cream, brownie and topped with a dollop of whipped cream.

Makes approximately 54 Brownies, if cut in squares! Yeah!

Arroz Verde (Green Rice)

Tip: Read instructions completely before preparing.

2 cups long grain rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup finely minced onion
2 clove garlic, minced
3 Anaheim chilies
1/2 cup firmly packed fresh cilantro sprigs (about 1/2 oz.)
1 cup firmly packed fresh stemmed spinach leaves (about 1-1/2 oz.)
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon

Roast and peel the chilies. You can use your broiler and broil the chilies for about 6 minutes on each side or until brown and toasted. Let cool and remove the skin, stems and seeds.

In a blender add chilies, cilantro, spinach, and broth and blend until puréed. Add the milk, salt, chicken bouillon and blend a bit more until well combined.

In a 5 1/2 quart heavy-based pot, over medium heat, heat the olive oil and butter. Wait until the butter is melted, then add the rice and sauté, stirring every 30 seconds, until it just begins to brown, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the onion and garlic and cook 1 minute, continuously stirring. Add the contents of the blender, stir well, turn the heat to high, bring to a boil, then lower the heat to low. Cover the pan. Cook for 10 minutes. Stir the rice slowly and carefully once, cover, and cook another 15 minutes. Serve hot.

Servings: 8

Tip: There are many versions of Arroz Verde (Green Rice) in Mexico. Many recipes call for Poblano chilies, which add speciness to the rice. You can use poblano if you like. This rice dish goes great with any Mexican dish!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Garlic Fried Rice

Tip: Read directions carefully before preparing.
2 cup rice cooked plain white rice
2 garlic glove, sliced
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
salt and pepper to taste

Slice the garlic and chop the green onion.

In a thick, heavy-bottomed skillet or wok and over medium-high, add the oil and let heat up, about 30 seconds. Add garlic and cook until pale gold (do not burn as garlic will be bitter!) and crispy, stirring frequently.

Add the green onion and stir.

Add the loosened rice and stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir to mix well.

Tip: This rice is excellent by itself or you can pair it with grilled pork chops, sliced tomatoes or a nice salad. You can also add scrambled eggs and bacon to make it a breakfast meal.  Experiment and Enjoy!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Scalloped Potatoes with Ham and Cheese

Tip: Read directions carefully before preparing.

1 large Buttery Gold potato, sliced thin
5 slices thin honey ham
1/3 cup shredded mild cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon butter

Using a mandolin or grater with slice side, slice potatoes thin as shown below.

Melt butter in a small 5"-6" pan, and then layer 1/2 the potatoes in the pan as shown below.

Layer 1/2 the potatoes in the pan.

Layer the ham on the potatoes.

Add the cheese.

Layer the other half of potatoes on top and let fry on low for 15 minutes. Watch to make sure it only brown's nicely and does not burn.

Once browned, place a plate upside down and flip the pan on the plate.  Slide the cake bake in the pan and let fry for 10 minutes.

Remove from pan and serve. You can top it with eggs, hot sauce or whatever you would like.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Some people prefer the chunky Gazpacho, but this recipe is for the smooth, which I prefer. You can leave it chunky by not processing it to a smooth consistency.

Tip: Read directions carefully before preparing.

3 medium sized ripe tomatoes, seeded and cut into chunks
1 large cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium size red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 whole scallion, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 small clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon of cilantro, stems remove and chopped
1 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup tomato juice
1 teaspoon Salt
freshly ground black pepper

Combine the tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, scallion, cilantro, garlic, and salt in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add the vinegar, olive oil and tomato juice and continue processing until thoroughly combined with the vegetable puree. Transfer the soup to a bowl and season with more salt, if needed only, your preference, and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Check the seasonings before serving. Serve in chilled bowls.

Servings: Makes 6 servings

Tip: Gazpacho is a cold Spanish tomato-based raw vegetable soup, originating in the southern region of Andalusia. Gazpacho is widely consumed throughout Spain, neighboring Portugal (where it is known as gaspacho) and parts of Latin America. Gazpacho is mostly consumed during the summer months, due to its cold temperature and acidic bite. wikipedia, 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pan Seared Chipolte Shrimp and Quesadillas

Tip: Read instructions completely before cooking.

1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, with tail
3 teaspoons Colavita Garlic Blend Oil
1/4 teaspoon ground chipolte chilie pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (regular salt is fine)
8 flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
4 green leaf lettuce leaves
4 slices of tomato
4 serrano peppers
1/4 cup white onion, thinly sliced
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
4 tablespoons sour cream

Rinse and place the shrimp in a large bowl, dry with paper towel to remove any moisture, but do not squeeze the shrimp, just pat dry.  Sprinkle with the chipolte pepper and salt. Add 1 teaspoon of the Colavita Garlic Blend oil and mix until shrimp is coated with oil and spices.

Heat a 9" - 10 " skillet, on medium high heat. Once hot, add 1 teaspoon Colavita Garlic oil.

When pan is barely smoky, add the shrimp in 2 batches. Sear the shrimps 3 minutes on each side or until curled and pink. Remove and place on a warm platter. Add another teaspoon of oil and repeat for the next batch.  Place on warm platter and now make the Quesadillas.

Simple Cheese Quesadillas

In large fry pan on low-medium heat, put 1 tortilla laid flat. Sprinkle approximately 1/4 cup cheese over tortilla. Turn quesadillas when bottoms are browned and cheese begins to melt. Brown on the other side. Place on warm platter. Repeat until you have 4 quesadillas.

To Serve and Plate:
On a large plate or large shallow bowl add 1 lettuce leaf, take one Quesadilla and cut in 4, place on plate, place shrimp on Quesadilla, add tomato, avocado, sliced onion, 1 serrano pepper and a tablespoon of sour cream. See photo. Spinkle with chives.  Enjoy!

Tip: Pan searing is a technique used to brown food quickly over high heat on the range top. Pan searing sets off a series of reactions between the sugars and proteins to caramelize the surface, producing a richer flavor and appetizing color and texture. You can apply this technique to other meats as well.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

San Salvador Pupusas

Tip: Read instructions completely before cooking.

1 pound corn flour, ground for tortillas
1 cup water
1/3 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons lard
1 onion, cut into small dice
8 ounces roasted pork, diced
8 ounces queso blanco, cheese grated

In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine corn flour, water, and butter. Mix until incorporated into dough. Let dough rest for 1/2 hour.

In a medium saute pan melt lard. Add onion and pork and cook until translucent, set aside and cool. Portion the dough in small balls, approximately 1 ounce, and flatten with hands.

Place approximately 1 tablespoon of the pork stuffing on top of each flattened dough and sprinkle with cheese. Cover with another flattened disk of dough and seal edges by pinching them together. Cook in electric flat top or cast iron griddle for approximately 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Serve with refried beans and Curtido. (Click for Recipe)

San Salvador Curtido

Tip: Read instructions completely before cooking.

1 medium head cabbage, chopped 
2 small carrots, grated
1 small onion, sliced 
1/2 teaspoon dried, red pepper (optional)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water

Blanch the cabbage with boiling water for 1 minute. Discard the water.

Place the cabbage in a large bowl and add grated carrots, sliced onion, red pepper, oregano, olive oil, salt, brown sugar, vinegar, and water.

Place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. Serve over Pupusas.

Tip: Curtido (pronounced coor-tee-doe) is a type of cabbage relish, lightly fermented. In Salvadoran cuisine, it resembles sauerkraut and is usually made with pickled cabbage, onions, carrots, and sometimes lemon juice. It is commonly served alongside pupusas, the national delicacy. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Homemade Chicken Stock

Tip: Read instructions carefully before preparing.

3 pounds chicken thighs
3 carrots
3 stalks celery
2 onions
1 tablespoons peppercorns, cracked
4 bay leaves
2 teaspoons salt
Water to cover, plus additional water as needed

Thoroughly wash carrots, celery and onions. Cut each vegetable in half to easier fit into the stock pot.

Rinse the chicken well with cold water.

Heat a large heavy-bottomed stock pot for searing (medium high), add 1/2 the chicken thighs, skin side down and sear until the browned, turn and sear other side. Remove from pot and sear the remaining chicken. Return all the chicken to the pot.

Add carrots, celery, onions, peppercorns, bay leaves and salt. Add enough water to cover the chicken stock ingredients.

Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, continuing to simmer and after 2 hours remove the chicken. Pull desired meat off of the bones carefully and return the bones to the simmering stock. Keep the shredded chicken for other recipes dishes, such as the Nuevo Leon Enchiladas.

Taste the stock after three hours total simmering time. If the stock is not rich enough, continue to simmer, tasting every 15 minutes. When stock has reached desired richness, turn off the heat and allow to cool for one hour.

Strain stock into storage containers.

Store chicken stock in refrigerator for up to one month or in the freezer for longer storage.

Tip: Homemade chicken stock has many uses. It can be used as the base for homemade chicken and noodles, rice soup or cream of vegetable soups, gravies, caldos. For a richer taste, use homemade chicken stock in place of water when preparing rice at home.

Ancho Tortilla Dipping Sauce

 Ancho Tortilla Dipping Sauce

The consistancy of this ancho sauce is thinner for dipping the tortillas in the Nuevo Leon Enchiladas. You can thicken it by using only 2 cups of chicken broth. Ancho sauce is a good all-purpose salsa. It's delicious with anything from scrambled eggs to tostadas.

Tip: Read instructions completely before cooking.

2 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock (Click for Recipe)
3 ancho chilies

Remove stems, veins and seeds from ancho chilies.  In a 2 1/2 quart pot add 2 1/2 cups of the homemade chicken stock and the Ancho chilies. If you do not have the homemade stock, you can use canned or water with chicken base.  But the flavor of homemade chicken stock really makes the flavor rich. Bring to boil, then lower the heat and simmer on low, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Pour into a blender and gently pulse until smooth. Puree for 5 seconds.

Tip: Mildly spicy dried chilies, such as ancho, guajillo, New Mexico, mulato and California chilies, are used to add moderate heat and a rich flavor to sauces, soups and stews. Find them in the produce section of large supermarkets

Monday, September 13, 2010

Roasted Tomatoes & Green Chilies Salsa

 Roasted Plum Tomatoes & Green Chilies Salsa

6 plum tomatoes, large
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 green chilies
2 jalapeño peppers
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Tip: Read complete directions first, before cooking.

Preheat broiler.

Place the tomatoes and green chilies on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil for 16 minutes, turning after 8 minutes. Cool and peel tomatoes and chilies.  Remove the stem and seeds from the green chilies after peeling. Cut off the stem end of the tomatoes, after peeling.

In a 2 1/2 quart pot, add 2 cups of water , then add tomatoes, green chilies, garlic, onion, cilantro, jalapeño and salt. Bring the water to boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Stirring occasionally. Take a fork and mash the ingredients until you have the consistency you want. I prefer chunkier salsa.

You can use this sauce on tacos, eggs, rice, beans, hamburgers, anything you desire! Enjoy!

Tip: If you do not want your salsa too spicy, you may just use 1 jalapeño or none. The green chilies do have some spiciness to them. Also, please be careful when handling the chilies and jalepeno. Wash your hands well, or use kitchen plastic gloves.  Do not touch your face in any area.

White Rice

 White Rice
4 oz salt pork, diced
2 cups rice, extra long grain
3 1/2 cups of water
Salt to taste

Wash rice under cold running water and drain, set aside.  Heat heavy bottomed pot and brown the diced salt pork in small pieces. Stir in rice and add the water.

Pork salts vary on who the producers are and how salty they are. Usually you do not need to add salt, but after adding the water, stir and see if it may need just a pinch of salt.
Bring to a boil, uncovered, on moderate heat until water is absorbed. (about 4-5 minutes). Cover tightly and lower the heat to simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off heat and let the rice sit for 10 minutes before serving.

The added bonus of this recipe is the “pegao” or crusted over rice that forms when grains of rice stick to the bottom of a heavy cast aluminum pot after it cooks. For many, it is the best part of this dish.