Sunday, April 13, 2014

Tamales de Rajas y Requeson (Roasted Poblano Tamales) #SundaySupper

Homemade Tamales de Rajas from scratch -

This week's #SundaySupper is Stuffed, Rolled, and Wrapped, hosted by kimchi MOM. Here in Mexico we have plenty of stuffed, rolled, and wrapped foods to choose from like tacos, gorditas, burritos, and enchiladas. The possibilities are endless. But honestly there was really only one thing I had in mind for this week's #SundaySupper theme...tamales! Tamales de Rajas con Requeson to be exact. Rajas are roasted poblano pepper strips, and requeson is like a Mexican ricotta cheese. Together they are a match made in heaven.

I know that the idea of making tamales from scratch can seem intimidating. If that's been the case for you, then this is the tamal recipe for you. Seriously, I don't think recipes for tamales can get any easier. (For easy to follow step-by-step instructions with photos on how to make tamales, see my recipe for Shredded Pork Tamales.) 

Tamales de Rajas con Requeson are a delicious meatless alternative for Lent.

Tamales de Rajas y Requeson -

Tamales de Rajas y Requeson

  • 12 to 15 fresh poblano peppers 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced 
  • 2 cups requeson or crumbled queso fresco
  • 4 cups masa harina (I use Maseca brand) 
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 cup manteca (lard or shortening) 
  • 3 cups chicken broth, warm 
  • 24 large dried corn husks 

Roast the poblano peppers on a comal or griddle, until the skin is completely charred. (You can also roast the peppers in your broiler.) Place the roasted poblano peppers in a plastic or paper bag; let set for 5 to 10 minutes. (This causes the peppers to sweat, making it much easier to remove the skin.) Remove the charred skin, seeds, and stems from the chiles. Cut into thin slices. 

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced onion and chiles and saute for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt. Set filling aside until ready to use. 

In a large bowl, cover the corn husks with boiling water.  Cover and let set for about an hour or until the corn husks are soft and pliable. Rinse the corn husks with cold water to remove any dirt and residue.  Pat the corn husks with a kitchen towel until completely dry.  (Masa doesn't stick to wet corn husks.) 

Prepare the masa by combining the masa harina, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream the manteca (lard) with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. (Light and fluffy manteca makes for light and fluffy tamales.)

With your electric mixer still on medium-high, beat in the masa harina, one cup at a time until no dry bits of masa harina are visible. (Mixture will be grainy.)  Reduce the electric mixer speed to low and stir in 3 cups of warm chicken broth until it has all been absorbed. Using your hands, press the mixture together to form a dough.

Spoon about 1/4 cup of masa (dough) onto each corn husk.  You could spread the masa with a spoon, but I think it's much easier to flatten it with your fingertips.  A good rule of thumb is to flatten the masa to about a 1/8-inch thickness across two-thirds of the corn husk, leaving a 1/4-inch space on one side and the top, and about a 3-inch space at the bottom. 

Spoon desired amount of roasted poblano strips and a heaping tablespoon of requeson (or queso fresco down the center of the masaStarting at the 1/4-inch edge, gently fold your tamal in thirds, then tuck in the ends. (This is the easiest way to wrap tamales. The process will get easier with each tamal you make. Practice makes perfect!)  Place the tamales seam-side down on a large plate, until you've finished with all of the tamales.  

Fill the bottom of an 8 to 10-quart vaporera (tamal steamer) just to the bottom of the ridge where the steamer insert rests.  Place the insert inside the tamal steamer and arrange the tamales loosely so the steam can circulate.  Cover and cook over high heat for 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer for 45 minute to an hour. (If you don't own a tamal steamer, don't worry.  You can cook your tamales in an 8 quart pot on the stove with enough water around the tamales that comes up about 1/3 of the way.) Remove from heat and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes, uncovered, before serving. 

To serve, remove corn husks from tamales. Drizzle tamales with Mexican crema and/or your favorite salsa. (I topped mine w/ Chile de Molcajete.) Enjoy!

Yields 24 tamales

How to make Tamales de Rajas from scratch -

For more Stuffed, Rolled, and Wrapped recipes check out this week's #SundaySupper line-up:

Starters and Snacks
Entrees and Mains
All things Sweet

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET.  Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Chipotle Ham, Cheese & Broccoli Biscuit Empanadas #WeekdaySupper

Ham & Cheese Biscuit Empanadas -

Even after having lived in Mexico for 13 years, every once in a while Hubby and I still get cravings for foods we ate when we lived in the US. Whenever that happens, I head into the kitchen and whip up a homemade version made from scratch that not only satisfies our craving, but also tastes a million times better than the original food we were craving. That is how today's recipe came to be. Hubby was craving Hot Pockets, which for those of you unfamiliar with them are savory turnovers sold in the frozen food section of the grocery store.

I first made these shortly after we moved to Mexico. I remember the first time I made them, I used my regular pie dough recipe for the crust. They were okay, but I wanted something flakier like a biscuit. After a couple of tries, I finally got it right. This biscuit empanada dough is buttery, tender and flaky. I make my biscuit dough from scratch, but for a quick and easy weeknight supper you could use refrigerated biscuit dough. (Oh how I miss the "pop" of those tubes.)

One of the things I love most about these savory biscuit empanadas is that you can stuff them with just about anything. This is a great way to use up any leftovers you have in the fridge. But the thing I love most about these empanadas is the Chipotle Cheese Sauce. Ay Dios mio! It's the perfect blend of creamy, cheesy, smoky, and spicy. I use this sauce for a number of recipes like scalloped potatoes, dip, and macaroni & cheese. It also makes for a delectable dipping sauce for the empanadas.

These empanadas are a great way to get your kiddies involved in the kitchen. They can help roll out the dough, add the filling, and seal the edges. You can serve them for lunch or dinner. Or you can prepare mini empanadas to serve as an appetizer at parties.

Homemade Ham, Cheese & Broccoli Biscuit Empanadas -

Chipotle Ham, Cheese & Broccoli Empanadas

Biscuit Empanada Dough:
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 cup butter

Empanada Filling:
  • 3/4 cup Mexican crema or sour cream 
  • 1-1/4 cups shredded Manchego, Chihuahua, or cheddar cheese, divided 
  • 1 to 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 oz. steamed broccoli, chopped
  • 8 oz. sliced ham, chopped
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten

Stir the white vinegar into the milk; set aside for 5 minutes to allow the milk to curdle. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender or potato masher add the butter into the flour. Stir in the curdled milk until dough forms a ball. If the dough is too sticky, knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth and soft. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for about 20 minutes. (This will make the dough easier to roll.)

Prepare the Chipotle Cheese Sauce for the filling by mixing together the Mexican crema, 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese, and the chipotle peppers in a food processor or blender; season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Divide dough into 12 equal parts and shape into balls. Roll out each ball of dough into a 6-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Spoon desired amounts of ham and broccoli onto center of each circle of dough, top with 1 tablespoon of Chipotle Cheese Sauce and 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese. Fold dough in half, making sure to completely cover the filling; pinch edges of dough to seal. Pierce each empanada with a fork. (This allows for steam to escape.) Arrange empanadas on a lightly greased cookie sheet and brush tops with beaten egg. Bake at 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Heat remaining chipotle cheese sauce in a small saucepan over low heat until heated through. Serve the empanadas with the remaining sauce. Enjoy!

*Yields 12 empanadas

Savory Chipotle Ham, Cheese & Broccoli Empanadas -

For more dinner ideas, check out this week's #WeekdaySupper menu:

Monday: Grilled Turkey Rachel - Cindy's Recipes & Writings 
Tuesday: Chipotle Ham, Cheese & Broccoli Biscuit Empanadas - La Cocina de Leslie 
Wednesday: Scrambled Egg Fajitas - Curious Cuisiniere
Thursday: Corned Beef & Cabbage Enchiladas - A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures 
Friday: Brown Sugar Glazed Cod Tacos - Family Foodie 

For more quick & easy Weekday Supper recipes, click HERE.  Also, check out the Weekday Supper Pinterest Board.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Menu Plan Monday #1

Once a week I sit down with my Hubby and kiddies, and sometimes even my suegro (father-in-law) to plan our menu for the coming week. (Read more about How I Plan My Weekly Menu here.) Those 10 to 15 minutes we take planning our menu each week make my life as a wife & mom so much easier. Not only does it save us money, because we only buy what we're going to need for the week, but it also saves me time since I already have what I need on hand and I don't have to spend any time at all wondering about what I'm going to make. Since menu planning is something I already do on a weekly basis, I thought it would be a great idea to share those menu plans here on the blog in hopes that it'll offer you some inspiration in planning your own weekly menu.

One thing about my weekly menu plan is that it doesn't always go according to plan. Things happen. Things like impromptu plans with friends and/or family, important graduation planning meetings that you just have to attend, or last-minute errands need to be run. But that's just life. So instead of sharing my menu plan for the upcoming week, which rarely goes according to plan, I'll be sharing our menu from the previous week of the foods we actually ate. I started to do something similar on YouTube with a couple of videos (What's for Dinner? Episodes 1 & 2), but I kept forgetting to film our daily meal. Posting our weekly menus here on the blog is much more doable for me. So without further ado, I present you with my very first Menu Plan Monday (hosted by Organized Junkie). Hope you like it. And don't forget to tune in next Monday for another installment.

Homemade Mexican Pizza & Hawaiian Pizza

Pollo Rostizado (Rotisserie Chicken) 

Mondays and I don't always get along. It was a crazy, hectic day for both Hubby and me, so it was just easier to pick up some take-out. 

Bistec Ranchero

Bistec Ranchero -

I had planned something totally diffferent for lunch, but being that it was the first of the month my suegro (father-in-law) insisted that we had to have something with meat (and not ham like I had planned). So I threw together this last-minute meal with some Mexican Rice on the side.

Cocido Rojo w/ Sopa de Fideo & Cooked Nopales (cactus paddles) 

Cocido Rojo -

Ham, Cheese & Broccoli Biscuit Empanadas (Recipe to be posted on Tuesday.)

Homemade Ham, Cheese & Broccoli Biscuit Empanadas -

Ceviche de Atun (tuna ceviche)

Ceviche de Atún (Tuna Ceviche) -

This was such a big hit two weeks ago, Hubby requested it for lunch again. It's quick, easy, and perfect for Lent Fridays.

Chicken Ceasar Salad

Hubby and the kiddies were at the ranch with the rest of the family cleaning up for our upcoming annual camping trip. I had work to do so I stayed home and ordered take-out. 

What's on the menu this week in your cocina

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Secret Recipe Club: Manchego Cheese Straws

Last month I participated in my first ever Secret Recipe Club and absolutely loved it. (My kiddies are still talking about how much they loved that Peanut Butter Fun Snack Cake.) For those of you unfamiliar with the Secret Recipe Club it's like a virtual recipe swap with another blogger, except I'm assigned a different blog each month, and the participants have no idea who is cooking something from their blog until reveal day. 

This month the blog I was assigned was Searching for Dessert, which is written by a former pastry chef. There are so many tempting, mouth-watering sweet treats to choose from, like Inside Out Cinnamon Rolls, Orange Creamsicle Rolls, and Banana Brownies w/ Peanut Butter Drizzle. But ultimately I went with a savory appetizer. Ashley's 6th grade graduation plans are underway and I'm trying out and looking for appetizer recipes to serve at the party.

These Manchego Cheese Straws were a huge hit. And you wouldn't believe how easy they are to make. I made some again today for our Sunday lunch with my in-laws and they disappeared within minutes. So clearly we have a keeper on our hands.

Manchego Cheese Straws -

Manchego Cheese Straws 
(Recipe from Searching for Dessert)

  • 1-1/2 cups flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup butter, chilled
  • 3 oz. manchego cheese
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons milk

Sift the flour, salt, and pepper into a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender or potato masher, add the butter until the mixture resembles peas. Mix in the cheese, egg yolks, and milk. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Divide dough in half. Roll out dough to 1/4 to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut dough into 1/2-inch strips. Twist strips 3 or 4 times before arranging on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Peanut Butter & Jelly Day!

No recipe today, just sharing a photo to wish you all a happy Peanut Butter & Jelly Day! (I ♥ food holidays!)

Peanut Butter & Jelly Marias Cookies Snack Sandwiches -

We love to eat PB&J on Galletas Marias. It's one of my kiddies' favorite afterschool snacks. What's your favorite way to enjoy peanut butter & jelly? And what's your favorite flavor jelly to pair with peanut butter?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

She Made/Ella Hace: Chicken Pipían Rojo

This month for She Made/Ella Hace my partner-in-crime girlichef and I chose Pipían as our theme, which couldn't be more perfect for me as I've had a bit of an obsession with pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) the last couple of weeks. I can't seem to resist stirring them into everthing and anything like salads, yogurt, cookies, homemade granola... The list goes on and on. But one of my favorite ways to enjoy pepitas is in Pipían.

Pipían is a traditional Mexican sauce that gets its distinct grainy texture from the pepitas. Pipían can be made in one of two ways: Pipían Verde made with tomatillos and roasted poblano peppers and Pipían Rojo made with tomatoes and dried ancho chiles. Pipían can be served over fish (girlichef made Salmon in Pipían Verde), shrimp, roasted pork, or chicken. Whether you choose to make Pipían Verde or Rojo, you'll love the nutty flavor the pepitas adds to this exquisite sauce.

Pipian Rojo Sauce made w/ Pepitas -

Chicken Pipían Rojo

  • 2 lbs. cut up skinless chicken (thighs, drumsticks, breasts, etc.) 
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half and divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, divided
  • Cilantro
  • 13 cups water, divided
  • 3 roma tomatoes, cut in quarters 
  • 3 dried ancho chiles 
  • 3/4 cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/4 cup masa harina (I use Maseca) 
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Place the chicken, 1/2 medium onion, 1 garlic clove, a couple of sprigs of cilantro in a dutch oven or large stockpot with 10 cups of water. Season with salt, cover and cook over medium-high heat until chicken is fully cooked. Remove from heat and set aside.

Bring the tomatoes and dried ancho chiles to a boil in a medium saucepan with 3 cups of water until the tomatoes are cooked through and the chilies have softened. Remove stems and seeds from chilies. Puree the tomatoes, dried chiles, the water they were cooked in, the remaining onion and garlic, 2 cups of the chicken broth, 1/4 cup masa harina, and the pepitas.

Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Pour the tomato and chile puree into the skillet, stirring with a wire whisk or wooden spoon to combine. Stir in 2 to 3 more cups of chicken broth until the Pipian sauce is desired consistency. Season with salt, black, pepper, ground cumin, and ground cloves. Reduce heat to low and add the cooked chicken; cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until heated through, stirring occasionally to prevent sauce from sticking. Serve with your favorite rice dish. I served it with Cilantro Rice Pilaf. (Recipe coming soon.) Enjoy!

Chicken Pipian Rojo -

Don't forget to visit girlichef's blog to check out her beautiful Salmon in Pipían Verde.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Creamed Corn a la Mexicana

If you were to ask my husband what his favorite food is, he wouldn't be able to answer you because he has no idea whatsoever what his favorite food is. Most of the time he'll just say, "Everything my wife makes," which is sweet and totally true. But I've been married to the man for 19 years and I know exactly what his favorite food really is. It's the one meal he requests week after week when we sit down to plan our weekly menu. Even the kiddies know what he's going to request before he utters a single word: BBQ Ribs with creamed corn and glazed carrots.

Creamed corn is another one of those canned foods that I grew up eating when I lived with my mom. I really loved me some creamed corn. But again, Hubby didn't care much for the canned stuff. So I had to figure out a way to please us both. Luckily I quickly found a way to change Hubby's mind about creamed corn. Now Creamed Corn a la Mexicana is the first side dish, followed by Piloncillo Caramelized Carrots (recipe on Que Rica Vida), Hubby requests when he wants BBQ Ribs.

Creamed Corn a la Mexicana is so much better than that canned stuff I grew up eating. This creamed corn has a little bit of everything: sweet golden corn kernels, spicy serrano chilies, and creamy Mexican crema.

Creamed Corn a la Mexicana -

Creamed Corn a la Mexicana

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 serrano chilies*, seeded and chopped
  • 1 (15 oz.) can golden corn kernels, drained
  • 3 roma tomatoes, chopped 
  • 1/2 cup Mexican crema 
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro (optional)  

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onion and serrano chilies; saute for about 2 minutes. Stir in the corn kernels, chopped tomato, and Mexican crema. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mash the corn kernels lightly with a potato masher. (This step is optional, but helps to thicken the creamed corn.) Remove from heat and stir in the chopped cilantro. Enjoy!

Mexican Creamed Corn -

*If serrano chilies are too spicy for you, you can substitute 1 green bell pepper, chopped.


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