Chilaquiles

Aug 16 2010 Published by under Food

This is a Mexican delicacy which has its mystic in its simplicity. You have three main ingredients, corn tortillas, salsa, and cheese. From this starting point, you can make infinite variations adding other ingredients such as chicken, beans, onions, or by changing the main salsa type. I will show you my recipe for the basic dish, and you can get creative afterwards.

Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles

Many people debate whether Chilaquiles should be soft or crunchy. Personally I like them more on the crunchy side, but my wife prefers them softer. The trick to getting crunchy Chilaquiles is starting up with fried corn tortillas. If they sell them like this in your store you will skip a step. If not you can fry them yourself. Don’t be tempted to use Tostitos, or Doritos or similar chips since they will not withstand the cooking process and you will end up with something that resembles mashed potatoes. You need real corn tortilla chips for Chilaquiles. It is also a good idea to make your favorite salsa ahead of time before starting the dish.

For Red Salsa for Chilaquiles

3 Tomatoes
1/2 Onion
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Serrano Chile (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
Pinch of Salt

Add all the ingredients to a blender. You can omit or add more chile according to your spicy tolerance. Add a 1/4 Cup of water. Blend until all the ingredients make a purée. The salsa will be bright red. Add to a frying pan. Turn the heat up to high heat and cook for 5 minutes or until the salsa changes from bright red to a darker richer color and the sauce becomes thicker. Let it rest for a while. Salsa tastes better when rested. You could even make the salsa the day before. Variations – You can experiment with other varieties of chiles, such as the jalapeño, chipotle, or serrano. You can also try the salsa with green tomatoes instead of red.

For Chilaquiles

4 Cups of Fried Corn Tortillas Chips or about 15 Corn Tortillas
Red Salsa for Chilaquiles (recipe above)
1 Cup Grated Mozzarella Cheese or Monterrey Jack Cheese
1/2 Cup Diced Onion
1 Cup Cooked Shredded Chicken Breast
Sour Cream (optional)
3 Tbsp of Olive Oil

Add the Olive Oil to a large Frying Pan on medium high heat. Start by cooking the diced onion until it is translucent. If you don’t have Fried Tortilla Chips, you can make the cutting regular corn tortillas into 1 Inch Squares (or strips) and fry them up until the become hard and crunchy. Add the Fried Tortilla Chips to the frying pan and mix in 1 Cup of Salsa. Cook for 3 minutes. The tortillas chips will start to get soft. You can add as much Salsa until you reach the desired Chilaquiles tenderness. Be careful to add Salsa slowly and in small amounts. Too much Salsa you will end up with soggy mess. Serve in plates, and top with chicken and cheese. Variations – My wife likes to add a spoonful of sour cream on the top. I also like to add a layer of fried beans on the bottom.

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Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

Jul 05 2010 Published by under Food

One of my favorite salads of all time, the Caesar Salad. If you have ordered one in a restaurant, it is one of those dishes that the chef walks up with the cart and makes a show of the preparation. It is a wonderful thing to see. The magic of this dish is the flavor complexity accomplished with the ingredient’s simplicity.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

Many people mistakingly believe that this salad was invented in the Caesar Palace. This common misconception is wrong. It was invented by an Italian-Mexican in Tijuana named Caesar Cardini. Another topic of debate surrounding this dish is one is the use of anchovies. The original recipes contained no anchovies according to its creator. For my preference I can go either way, depending if I want a stronger taste or a much lighter taste. It is customary to serve the romaine lettuce leaves whole, because originally the dish was meant to be served as bar finger food. The addition of grilled chicken is one of those variations that work very well with the dish.

For Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

2 Chicken Breast
1 Teaspoon Oregano
Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves
2 Limes
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
4 Anchovies (optional)
4 Heads Romaine Lettuce
Croutons
Parmesan Cheese
Salt
Black Pepper

Flatten the chicken breast with a kitchen hammer. Marinate the chicken breast with a dash of salt, a dash pepper, and oregano. Brush both sides with a little olive oil. Cook in a frying pan on high heat until golden brown on one side. Turn over, and cook until the other side is golden brown. Cover in aluminum foil and let them rest. In a bowl mash the garlic cloves and 1/2 teaspoon of salt until you form a uniform paste. If you are going to add the optional anchovies, blend into the paste at this moment. Add the juice of 2 limes, an egg and the worcestershire sauce. Mix. Slowly mix in 1/2 cup of olive oil. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Mix until the caesar dressing is emulsified. Slice the chicken breast into 1/2 inch pieces. Wash the heads of lettuce. Shred the lettuce into small 1 inch pieces. Add the lettuce to the plate. Add 2 to 4 Tablespoons of caesar dressing per plate. Add the chicken pieces. Grate parmesan cheese over the salad. Add the croutons. Optional – you can leave the lettuce leaves intact and serve them as finger foods.

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Spring Rolls

Jun 16 2010 Published by under Food

One thing that everybody wants when you have Chinese food, is the Spring Rolls. Usually when you have takeout, you never get enough Spring Rolls for all the guests in the table. It is first come, first serve. With my recipe I make sure that everyone that comes to have Spring Rolls for lunch gets his fair share of 2 to 3 Spring Rolls.

Spring Rolls

Spring Rolls

Spring Rolls can have a lot of different fillings. Some people like all vegetarian rolls. Others like them with pork, chicken, or shrimp. I personally like all flavors of Spring Rolls, but the pork flavored ones are the one I enjoy the best. Here is my recipe for Pork filled Spring Rolls, and I hope you enjoy it.

For Pork filled Spring Rolls

1/2 Cup Cabbage
1/2 Pound of Ground Pork
1/4 Cup of Bean Sprouts
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Small Carrot
2 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce
1 Teaspoon of Salt
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
10 Spring Roll Wrappers

Julian (cut in small strips) the carrots. Add the olive oil to a frying pan an bring to high heat. Add the carrots. Cut the cabbage into small match-like strips. Add cabbage to the frying pan. Finely Mince the garlic, and add to the frying pan. Add the pork, salt, and bean sprouts. Fry all the ingredientes until the meat is cooked. At the end add the soy sauce. Let it cool. Place the Spring Rolls wrappers as a diamond in front of you. Put 3 Tablespoons of fillings on 1/3 of the bottom part of the wrapper, in a line. Fold the bottom part of the wrapper to cover the filling. Fold the sides, and the continue to roll. Add some water at the end to make the dough stick. Fry at 350F for 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown. Serve with sweet and sour sauce, or thai hot sauce.

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Gyozas with Dipping Sauce

Jun 12 2010 Published by under Food

Gyoza is a Japanese dish that originated in China. They are basically dumplings, filled with a meat and vegetable fillings. When I go to a Japanese restaurant I usually order them as a side order. They are a tasty treat that is hard to just eat one of them.

Gyoza in Dipping Sauce

The main difference between Chinese and Japanese Gyozas is that the Japanese version uses much more garlic. I love garlic, so this is fine by me. Another recommendation is to serve them hot, as they do not taste as good when you reheat them. If you serve them over rice they could be offered as a main dish. I have also added them to an udon soup.

For Gyoza

20 Gyoza Wrappers
1/2 Pound of Ground Pork
1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
1/4 Cup Cabbage
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Teaspoon grated Ginger
2 Chopped Green Onions
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Soy Sauce
Vegetable Oil

Shred the cabbage and blanch quickly in boiling water.  Mix the cabbage, pork, sesame oil, ginger,  garlic, green onions, salt, soy sauce in a large bowl. Add about 1 Teaspoon of filling per Gyoza wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half, sealing the edges. If you have trouble getting the edge to seal, add a little water to the edge. Fill all the Gyoza wrappers. Add vegetable oil to a frying pan. Place the Gyoza on one side and fry on that side only until golden brown. When golden brown, add 1/2 cup a water to the frying pan and cover. Steam the gyoza until the water is evaporated.

For dipping sauce
1/2 Cup of Water
1/2 Teaspoon of dashinomoto
3 Tablespoons of mirin
3 Soy Sauce

In hot water dissolve the dashinomoto. Add mirin and soy sauce. Can be serve on the plate with the Gyozas or on a separate dipping bowl.

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Baked Beans

Jun 09 2010 Published by under Food

A great accompaniment to any dish, beans have been regarded a staple in our everyday cooking. If cooked properly, beans can also be a main course. Baked beans is a curious name for the dish, because most baked beans are simmered in low heat, and are not baked. The name comes from the frontier days, where they were left in a dutch oven for several hours to cook slowly over a fireplace. Before the fast food restaurants, baked beans were the original fast food for early settlers.

Baked Beans

Baked Beans

Nutrition-wise, Baked beans are great source of many essential nutrients and vitamins. They are a good source of protein, and are naturally low fat. They have very high amounts of phosphorous, fiber, and folic acid. There is always a discussion that if you cook beans with salt, they will not soften. I believe this to be false. I hope you enjoy my recipe for Baked Beans.

For Baked Beans

2 Cups of Pinto or Navy Beans
3/4 Cups of Chopped Carrots
1/2 Cups of Diced Onion
1/2 Cup of Celery
4 Cups of Chicken Broth
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Tablespoon of Salt
Fresh Parsley
Black Pepper

Leave the beans soaking in a large pot filled with 6 cups water overnight. Remove anything that floats. Drain. Add the chicken broth to the stock pot, and add the beans. Bring to a boil. After it is boiling adjust the temperature to a simmer. Add the carrots, onion, celery, garlic, parsley, and the salt. Cook for 2 hours, or until the beans are tender. Grind black pepper, and add more salt if needed.

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Greek Salad with Soft Goat’s Milk Cheese

Jun 08 2010 Published by under Food

When its summer time, you want to be outside. You want food that tastes refreshing and that does not weigh you down. Today I am making Greek Salad with Soft Goat’s Milk Cheese. It is a very refreshing salad, with a strong blend of flavors from the cheese, onion and garlic.

Greek Salad with Soft Goat's Milk Cheese

Greek Salad with Soft Goat's Milk Cheese

This is a simple dish to do, and I cant be created in at very short notice. The cheese I am using is a Soft Goat’s Milk Cheese, which should not be confused with Feta Cheese. It has a cream like consistency with an acidic taste. This balances all the flavors out , just like in my Apple Pecan Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette.

For the Salad
1 Head of Romaine Lettuce
1/2 Cucumber
10 Cherry Tomatos
1/4 Red Onion
1/4 Cup of Kalamata Olives
1/2 Cup of Salad Dressing

Wash the lettuce. Cut into small Pieces.  Serve directly in the plates. Peel and slice half a cucumber. Layer the cucumber over the lettuce. Dice 1/4 of red onions. Add over the cucumbers. Cut the Cherry Tomatoes in half. Add over the onions. Add the Kalamata Olives and the Goat’s Milk Cheese. Add 2 or 3 Tablespoons of  the salad dressing per plate.

For the Salad Dressing
4 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons of Red Wine Vinegar
2 Teaspoons of Oregano
2 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 Teaspoon of Black Pepper
Kosher Salt

Finely mince the cloves of garlic. Add the garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, and black pepper to a small mix bowl. Mix until you have incorporated all the ingredients. Add  kosher salt according to your taste.

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Crepes

Jun 03 2010 Published by under Food

Crepes are the original pancake but much thinner. They were largely forgotten in favor of the much thicker pancakes you enjoy today. They were reintroduced by the French with the famous Crepes Suzette. This dish is served with much flare as it usually prepared in front of dinning guest. The end of the preparation, the crepes suzette is set on fire to flame the alcohol and sugars. When this dish was invented this happened by accident.

Creamed Mushroom Crepes

Creamed Mushroom Crepes

Crepes are a very versatile dish. You can serve them with sweet or savory fillings. There are endless combination that can be made. This can make crepes the main dish, a breakfast item or a dessert. Today I am making Creamed Mushroom Crepes, and it is going to be my breakfast.

For Crepes

1 Cup of Flour
1 Cup Milk
1/2 Cup Water
2 Eggs
3 Tablespoons of Butter
1/2 Teaspoon of Salt

Mix all the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Leave the batter to rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Heat butter in non-stick pan. Pour two tablespoons of batter into the pan. Quickly rotate the pan in a circular motion to spread the batter all over the pan. If the batter is too thick, add a little more milk. Cook until the bottom side is golden brown. Carefully flip the crepe with a spatula. Cook until the second side is golden brown.

You can fill the crepes with all types of fillings. Here are sum suggestions:

Strawberry Marmalade
Penut butter and Bananas
Apple Sauce
Fresh Fruits and Cottage Cheese
Chocolate
Ice Cream
Cajeta
Ham and Spinach
Ham and Cheese
Creamed Mushroom

For Creamed Mushroom Filling

1/2 Large Onion
1 Cup of Mushrooms
3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon of Butter
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Cup of Cream
1 Teaspoon of Tarragon
1/2 Teaspoon of Thyme

Heat the butter and the oil in a saute pan. Dice the onion. Add to the pan and cook the onion until transparent, but not browned. Add the mushrooms to the pan, cook until soft. Add the finely minced garlic, cream, tarragon and thyme and cook on low heat for 1 minute. Salt according to taste. Serve over the crepes.

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New England Clam Chowder

Jun 02 2010 Published by under Food

Every time I have this chowder, I am reminded of the ocean. Clam Chowder has silky taste of the cream blended with the potatoes that is accentuated by the salty sea flavor of the clams. When I make this chowder my whole kitchen smells like I am just blocks away from the beach.

New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder is probably the world’s most recognized chowder. Chowders are usually considered soups. This is because commercial chowders you buy in restaurants are thin, flavorless and laking all heartiness. I believe that chowders are much more than a soup, a chowder is a complete meal.  A homemade hearty clam chowder can be served as the main course and none of my guests will leave with an empty stomach.

For New England Clam Chowder

4 Lbs Small Cherrystone Clams
1 Onion
2 Cloves of Garlic
3 Large Potatoes
5 Strips of Bacon
2 Tablespoons of Butter
1 Stalk of Celery
1 Teaspoon of Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
2 Cups of Cream
2 Tablespoons of Black Pepper
Parsley
Croutons

Wash the clams from dirt and mud. In a steamer, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, add the clams to the steamer and steam for 10 minutes. Remove the clams. The water will now contain clam juice. Reserver the clam juice for later. Remove the meat from the clams, discarding any unopened clams. Dice the bacon in a 1/4 inch die. Melt the butter in a large stock pot. Add the diced bacon. Cook until the bacon is crisp and brown. Meanwhile, dice  the onion into a 1/2 inch die. Cut the celery into 1/4 inch pieces. Remove all the fat from the cooking of the bacon and butter only leaving 1 Tablespoon. Add the onions and celery with the bacon, and cook until the onions are transparent. Peel the potatoes. Dice the potatoes into a 1/2 die. Add the clam juice, potatoes, thyme and the bay leaf. Cook for 10 on boiling or until the potatoes are tender, but not mushy. Remove from heat. Dice the clam meat. Add the cream and diced clam meat into the pot. Add the black pepper. Let it cool down and serve with garnish of celery and croutons.

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