Archive for ‘latin’

March 9, 2014

Homemade Tostones

I’m in the mood for something summery..

afterlight

INGREDIENTS

  • green plantains (firm or tostones will be mushy and fall apart)
  • salt
  • frying oil (peanut, avocado, high smoke pt oil)
  • garlic, minced
  • lime
  • olive oil for dipping

Garlic and Lime Dipping Sauce: Mix minced garlic, olive oil, a squeeze of lime juice, and a generous pinch of salt. Can be made ahead of time to let garlic flavor infuse the oil.

Image

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Peel and cut plantain in 2 inch thick pieces.
  2. Heat sauce pan on medium high. Add oil until ~ 2 cm deep, heat until shimmering. Test by dipping a corner of a plantain in the oil. It should immediately start bubbling. If not, the oil’s too cold. If the oil is smoking, it’s too hot. When you swirl the pan, the oil should seem less viscous than when it was cold, almost a water-like consistency.
  3. Reduce heat to medium.
  4. Add plantains one by one and avoid crowding. Fry in batches. Flip when underside is golden brown ~ 3-5 min each side. Adjust heat as needed. If the oil is no longer bubbling rapidly, increase heat. If the oil is bubbling too fiercely, slowly add more oil, introducing it into the side of the pot and not directly over the plantains.
  5. Remove when golden brown, one by one. Place on paper towel lined cutting board so that the plantain is standing upright. With flat side of a large butcher knife or chef’s knife, pound until evenly thin (I prefer 0.5cm thickness). The back of a baking pan will do in a pinch for pounding. Just place the flat surface on top face of the plantain, and with your palm or underside of your fist, pound.
  6. Once all plantains are fried and pounded, reheat oil as in step 2. Return flattened plantains to oil, one by one and quickly fry each side until deep golden brown. ~ 1 min each side.
  7. Set aside and drain.

Tostones

November 29, 2013

Nothing I’m more thankful for than Huevos Rancheros

huevos rancheros

It’s the morning after our Friendsgiving feast last night in Manhattan and feeling a bit homesick. One would think I’d want to curl up with a bowl of congee: light fare after a night of pigging out, food of my people and all. But nope. Jumped out of bed this morning with a inexplicably strong craving for huevos rancheros. R took one look at the heaping plate of chorizo, fried eggs, and warm tortillas and responded with “woa…bIG breakfast..”

You betcha.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 lb chorizo*, sliced
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ~ 3/4 can of diced tomatoes, in juice
  • 1/2 can black beans, with liquid
  • optional: 1/3 can of corn
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 1-2 tsp chili powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 white corn tortillas (these dont get soggy as fast as flour)
  • cheese (cotija if you have it, or shredded mexican blend)

*NOT cured chorizo, but uncooked chorizo sausage. Note packaging instructions if you have to remove the casing. I keep it on unless it’s plastic…The type that comes in plastic casing tends to be the ground meat type that breaks up. Either is fine.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Slice avocados. Squeeze over lime juice to keep it from oxidizing/browning.
  2. Toast tortillas in a single layer in toaster oven until they poof up. Start this while you begin cooking, remember to check on it from time to time so you don’t burn them.
  3. Heat pot over medium high heat. Add a bit of cooking oil, and cook sliced chorizos until browned and cooked through on both sides. Stir as needed. Remove and set aside.
  4. In remaining chorizo grease, add chopped onions and bell peppers. Season with chili powder. Salt generously and stir until soft, ~3 minutes. Add garlic. Stir until fragrant, 1-2 min.
  5. Add back beans with liquid in the can (this will help thicken the sauce), canned tomato, (and corn if you like corn). Salt to taste. Cover pot and simmer while you fry eggs.
  6. Fry eggs. In a 8-10” frying pan, heat on high. When pan is just smoking hot (or eggs WILL stick), add oil. Let oil heat to a shimmer, then bring heat down to medium/medium high. Crack three eggs into pan, spaced evenly. If you don’t like super runny eggs, carefully shimmy your spatula underneath each egg, then flip and let the top side just kiss the pan. Turn off heat. Salt and pepper tops of eggs.
  7. Plate tortillas, spoon over lots of tomato-y bean salsa. Top with a runny fried egg. Top with cheese. Squeeze over some lime juice. Add avocado and chorizo to the sides (or keep adding it to your tower if you’re brave.)
  8. EAT.

huevos rancheros 1

Side Notes:

  • I love Tortilla Factory tortillas. I’ve said this many times before. I keep packages of it in my freezer at all times. Great chewy texture.
  • AVOCADOS:
    • Buying: avocados should be tender and give slightly when you press firmly on them (grip the whole thing in your hand, dont just poke it or youll bruise it). Skin should be dark, almost black, but NOT wrinkly or dimpled in any way. When buying avocados, I always get varying degrees of un-ripeness. ‘Cause you don’t eat five avocados in one day…. so get some that are a few days a way from ripening, that way they’ll be perfect when you finally get to it.
    • Cutting: I rock the knife from tip to end of one side, then back up to the tip on the other side (the pit will obviously prevent you from simply chopping it in half). Firmly chop down on the seed, twist the knife, then pull the pit out. Wrap the pit in a paper towel and gently pull it off the knife (be careful). Peel the skin off. If it is properly ripe, it will come off in sheets. Then slice and squeeze lime juice over it to keep from browning. IF the skin does NOT simply peel off (it’s probably not ripe enough), carefully slice with skin side down, then try to spoon out the slices. Messier, but will suffice.

huevos rancheros 2

March 24, 2013

Healthy Cuban Spiced Chicken and Rice

I loooove this recipe. Have made it twice, still perfecting it. You kind of can’t go wrong with chicken and rice, though. My main problem is figuring out the right timing for brown rice. But use white rice if you want to simplify your life. Adapted from Bon Appetit 

Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 5.15.28 PM

MARINADE:

  • juice and zest from 1 lime
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 jalapeño, minced
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 pinch ground allspice
  • salt/black pepper

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2.5 lb chicken legs/thighs, bone in, skin on
  • 1/2 lb chorizo flavor seitan (1 pkg Upton’s)
  • 1/2 small bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cups brown rice, *soaked in water AT LEAST 1 hour*
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 15oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 15oz can of chicken broth
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric for color
  • 1 pinch chili pepper flakes
  • 1 Piquillo or pimiento pepper. chopped (I get these from the olive bar)
  • salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Generously salt/pepper chicken. Place in large ziplock bag. Add marinade ingredients. Shake to mix and coat evenly. Refrigerate 8 hours+ (morning of for dinner, or night before for lunch). Turn bag occasionally. Remove chicken and set aside, reserving marinade. 
  2. Heat 1 tbs oil in medium dutch oven on medium high heat. Brown chicken skin side down. Do not crowd. Do in batches as necessary. 5 min per side. Set chicken aside.
  3. Pour out excess fat from chicken. Add onions and saute until soft, 5 min. Salt generously. Add bell pepper and garlic, saute another 3 minutes or until just soft. Add chorizo, breaking it up in the pot.
  4. Drain and add brown rice. Stir in and mix. Stir in canned tomato, chicken broth, paprika, turmeric, chili pepper flakes and rest of the marinade. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, cook for ~20-30 min. Add more broth if rice dries out. (***Do NOT over stir rice. It’ll make it goopy).
  5. Salt rice generously and stir once. Place chicken skin side up on top and push into the rice. Reduce to simmer, cook 15 min.
  6. Add piquillo pepper on top of chicken. Cover and cook until rice is cooked through, 10 min or so.

Note: In this recipe, brown rice takes at least 45 min to an hour to cook, with the soak.

It’s worth the trouble to have brown rice and seitan instead of white rice and sausage! Just think of how many more servings you can have because of those changes? (I keep my chicken with skin for the flavor. thAT I’m not giving up (: )

July 17, 2012

Warm Taco Salad w/ Quinoa

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • cooking oil or butter
  • 1 lb ground beef or imitation meat*
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small poblano chili, diced
  • 1 tbs Mexene chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt to taste
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 lime
  • sour cream or greek yogurt mixed with lime juice
  • optional: fresh cilantro for garnish
  • optional: shrimp

*I’ve had the best results with Upton’s Naturals seitan

  1. In a small saucepan, add quinoa over high heat and toast, stirring frequently, until warm. Add chicken broth. Reduce heat to low and cover, stirring occasionally, until quinoa is cooked through.
  2. Mix chili powder, cumin, paprika. Set aside.
  3. In a separate frying pan, heat 1 tbs oil on medium high until shimmering and add soy crumbles. Season with salt and half of the seasonings. Break up crumbles and stir until heated through. Remove from pan and set aside in a large bowl.
  4. ]In remaining oil (or add more if needed) saute onions until soft and translucent ~5-10 minutes. Add poblano and continue to saute 10 min until soft and onions are just caramelized. Remove from heat.
  5. In large bowl with soy crumbles, mix in onions, poblanos, and cooked quinoa. Mix evenly.
  6. Serve with fresh diced tomatoes, avocados, a dollop of sour cream/greek yogurt, and cilantr.
  7. Optional: Top with shrimp sauted in butter and Tony Chachere’s seasoning.
May 4, 2012

Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Adapted from my hero, Alton Brown.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 whole pepper from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 tsp adobo sauce from the can
  • ~1 cup milk or cream
  • salt
  • 1 tsp+ dried chives (if using fresh, use 2 tsp)
  • 1/4 cup+ grated Parmesan

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Dice sweet potato uniformly into 1 inch cubes. Place in a microwave safe bowl. Cover with wet paper towels. Microwave for 6+ minutes or until fork tender.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add potatoes, minced pepper, adobo sauce, and butter. Add milk bit by bit as you mash, adding more until you reach the consistency of mash potato that you prefer.
  3. Fold in cheese and chives. Salt to taste.

Note: for some reason the potatoes I bought today had white flesh, not orange like your typical sweet potato o_O… had the texture of sweet potato, but it wasn’t nearly as pretty.

Served with sautéed spinach and pan seared scallops:

For a How-To on scallops, feel free to review my previous post!

March 1, 2012

Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas

Back in my college days, on a whim, I bought this dinky $20 griddle at Target. Turns out, it is all sorts of wonderful. I’ve made pancakes, steaks, fish, fajitas and veggies, “grilled” asparagus, list goes on. I’m just surprised that after six years of lugging this thing from apartment to apartment, I finally decided to make some quesadillas. So easy even R can slap one together. (No, really. He’s really lazy when it comes to preparing food.) Just keep a bowl of the cooked chicken in the fridge and you can have fresh quesadillas all week!


INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 pinch mexene chili powder
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs lime
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 package chicken tenders
  • 4 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 8-10 small tortillas
  • shredded cheese
  • mango salsa
  • sour cream or greek yogurt mixed with lime juice

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cut chicken into cubes. Marinate in oil, lime, salt, and spices in a large ziplock bag. Squeeze out all the air and set in fridge for 4+ hours or morning of. Grill and shred.
  2. Lightly butter 2 tortillas. Place on griddle and warm both sides (depending on the brand of tortilla, it should poof up).
  3. Saute spinach right on the griddle until just wilted.
  4. Flatten tortillas, then top one with cheese, spinach, shredded chicken. Top with more cheese and the other tortilla. Flatten with spatula.
  5. Cut into wedges and serve with sour cream and salsa.

February 16, 2012

Empanadas, Take 2

This recipe is much better than my first… Originally I had taken out the olives because somebody dislikes them, but even he admitted it tasted better with them. Adapted from epicurious:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 hard-boiled large eggs, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tsp Mexene chili powder
  • 3/4 pound ground beef chuck
  • 2-3 tablespoons golden raisins soaked in white wine
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped finely
  • salt
  • 1 package Goya frozen empanada pastry disks, thawed
  • About 4 cups vegetable oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cook onion in olive oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until softened. Add garlic, cumin, chili powder, and oregano and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in beef and cook, breaking up lumps with a fork, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add raisins, olives, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and tomatoes with reserved juice, then cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced but mixture is still moist, about 5 minutes. Spread on a plate to cool.
  3. Preheat oven to 200°F with rack in middle.
  4. Lay a large sheet of plastic wrap on a dampened work surface (to help keep plastic in place), then roll out an empanada disk on plastic wrap to measure about 6 inches. Place 3 tablespoons meat mixture on disk and top with 2 slices of egg. Moisten edges of disk with water and fold over to form a semicircle, then crimp with a fork. Make more empanadas in same manner.
  5. Heat 3/4 inch vegetable oil in a deep 12-inch skillet over medium heat until it registers 360°F on thermometer. Fry empanadas, 2 or 3 at a time, turning once, until crisp and golden, 4 to 6 minutes per batch.
  6. Transfer to a shallow baking pan and keep warm in oven. Return oil to 360°F between batches.

Not gonna lie, the fried empanadas are pretty darn good. You can always get the packages of dough that say Para Horno (for the oven), and it’s probably healthier, but a fried empanada every once in a while wont kill you. (:

January 5, 2012

Chorizo and Egg Breakfast Tacos

I promise I’m not under endorsement contracts, I just happen to be rather brand loyal. When I find something that works, I stick to it! Also, I promise I did not intend to create something with so many specific brands in the recipe, feel free to substitute. I just happen to particularly like the end result with this combination of flavors, so I’m including the brands for my own future reference.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 package of Upton’s Naturals Chorizo Seitan
  • 1 medium potato, diced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/4 medium bell pepper, diced finely
  • paprika
  • chili powder (Mexene is my favorite brand)
  • cayenne pepper
  • 8 mini tomatoes (2 buches, still on the vine. )
  • 1 small avocado
  • 1 lime
  • salt/pepper
  • olive oil
  • 9-10 small corn/wheat tortillas

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a skillet, heat plenty of olive oil on medium high. place tomatoes, still on the vine, flat on the skillet. Let them sit until charred on the bottom ~10 min. Flip and char other side.
  2. In a separate non-stick pan, heat another tbs or so of olive oil. Saute onions until soft ~5 min. Season with chili powder and a pinch of salt. Add bell peppers. Saute another 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  3. Add chorizo and break it up in the pan. Stir until heated through. Remove and set aside.
  4. Add another tbs of oil if needed, and brown potatoes, stirring frequently to avoid sticking. Season with a generous sprinkle of salt, lots of paprika, a pinch of cayenne, and another pinch of chili powder. OPTIONAL: add a dash of chicken stock and cover, letting the potatoes soften under the steam. This is my way of using less oil when the potatoes begin to dry out. Otherwise, add more oil and continue cooking until potatoes soften and brown on the outside. Remove and set aside.
  5. Toast tortillas.
  6. Beat eggs. Add onion/bell pepper mixture into eggs. Reduce heat to medium and pour eggs into pan and scramble. Set aside.
  7. Slice avocados and drizzle generously with lime to prevent browning.
  8. Serve everything in separate bowls/platters and let everyone make their own breakfast tacos.

I think the charred fresh tomatoes are rather paramount to this recipe. The taco is otherwise composed of rather dry ingredients. Other alterations to consider: keeping the eggs separate (or mixed with the potatoes) and making a sort of onion/bell pepper/tomato salsa. The reason i didn’t go with a salsa is because for some reason I had a very specific craving for charred tomatoes. On the vine. Drizzled in olive oil and with lots of black pepper. I think I’m gonna go open my left overs container now…

November 2, 2011

I <3 Peru: Lomo Saltado

I’ve lost count of how many times we had this dish when we visited Peru in the summer. It is SO good. And so simple! Not unlike a Chinese stir fry. Which might be part of why I took such a natural liking to Peruvian food. Apparently they are heavily influenced by Chinese cuisine. I am not sure why… If someone out there knows, enlighten me, please!

Here’s my attempt at recreating one of my favorite meals of the trip:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb skirt steak or fajita meat, sliced thin
  • ~2 tbs soy sauce
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • corn starch
  • 1 med sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 med red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 3 small red chili peppers, sliced (I used dried, chinese peppers)
  • 1 splash of red wine vinegar
  • 1 15oz can diced tomatos
  • 1+ tsp cumin
  • 1+ tsp paprika
  • salt
  • optional: cilantro
  • served with: rice and french fries

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Dissolve corn starch in ~2 tbs soy sauce (enough to coat meat). Marinate steak in thickened soy sauce and garlic for 3o min-2 hours.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over HIGH. Add meat and brown quickly on all sides, no need to cook through. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In remaining oil in the pan, saute onions and bell peppers until just soft, 5min. Season with cumin and paprika.
  4. Add 1 can off tomato and simmer until heated through. Salt to taste.
  5. Add meat and a splash of vinegar to tomato mixture, cover, and simmer on very low for 15-20 min or until meat is cooked through.

Traditionally served with rice and french fries, but I try to be healthy when I can so I used whole grain wild rice and roasted yams instead. (:

Dinner is served!

You know what ELSE tastes good in Peru? ALPACA. Yea. Those cute little furry things in the background. They are damn good.

Oh and seafood. Lots of good seafood in Lima.

Viva El Peru!

September 26, 2011

Mexican Baked Eggs

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 can diced tomatos
  • 1/2 can black beans
  • 2-3 tsp Mexene chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3 eggs
  • handful of shredded cheese, mexican blend
  • cilantro for garnish
  • salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Heat cast iron skillet on medium to high heat.
  2. Add a bit of oil and saute onions until translucent. ~3-5 min
  3. Add bell peppers and saute until soft. 2-3 min
  4. Add tomatoes and beans and heat through until it bubbles.
  5. Season and salt to taste.
  6. Crack 3 eggs on top and place in oven to broil for 5 minutes. Eggs should still look a bit runny.
  7. Sprinkle on cheese and return to broiler 1 min or until cheese melts.
  8. Remove from oven. Top with cilantro and serve with warm bread/tortillas.