Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tinga Tostadas

Tinga is probably the easiest recipe I have in my entire repertoire.  It requires very little work and handful of ingredients.  And the results are absolutely delicious!

This recipe calls for chipotle chilies in adobo sauce.  I'm not one to eat very spicy food, but I can tolerate a couple of chipotles.  The smoky flavor of the chipotles is what adds that distinctive flavor to this dish.   If you like a spicier dish, feel free to add an extra chipotle or two.   For those of you who are worried about the spiciness, just start by adding a tablespoon of the adobo sauce the chipotles are packed in and continue on from there until you've reached the desired heat.

Tinga is traditionally served on tostada shells, but it also makes a very tasty filling for burritos and/or tacos.   I like to serve a tablespoon of  Tinga on top of round tortilla chips as an appetizer for a party or as a botana (snack) for a futbol game.

Chicken Tinga Tostadas


Tinga

Ingredients:
  • 2 bone-in chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 5 roma tomatoes
  • 2 to 3 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • shredded lettuce
  • Mexican crema or sour cream
  • Queso Fresco
Directions:
In small saucepan, cook the tomatoes in 1-1/2 cups of water; let cool slightly. Pour tomatoes and the cooking water into a blender cup and puree with the chipotle chilies; set aside.  In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and saute for 2 minutes. Carefully pour the puree into the skillet; season with salt.  Stir in the shredded chicken.  Cover skillet, reduce heat to low and let simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed.  (About 15 to 20 minutes.)

To serve, spoon a couple tablespoons of Tinga onto each tostada shell.  Top with shredded lettuce, Mexican crema and queso fresco.  Enjoy!!! 


Tinga Tostadas





Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pastel Helado



A popular dessert, atleast in our part of Mexico, is the pastel helado. It's an icebox cake, somewhat similar to a tiramisu, but completely different in flavor. The base for the cake is Maria's cookies. A very popular cookie throughout Mexico, and now available in the States.

My husband, introduced me to this dessert when we were dating. He would make it often for the potlucks at our church. Of course, all of the women would swoon, not only over the pastel helado, but also over my hubby for having such great culinary skills. No wonder I married him!

Pastel Helado

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 packages of Maria's Cookie
  • 1 can crushed pineapple (20 oz.), drained, reserve juice
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz.)
  • 3 sticks of butter, melted
  • 4 egg yolks
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Coarsely chopped pecans
  • Maraschino cherries

Directions:
In large bowl, combine the sweetened condensed milk, the melted butter, the egg yolks and the lemon juice. Beat on medium speed of an electric mixer for 2 minutes; set aside. Pour reserved juice from crushed pineapple into a shallow bowl. Dip Maria's cookies in pinapple juice, then place in a 9-inch baking dish, in a single layer. (This time I tried it in a springform pan.)

Spoon one-third of milk mixture over cookies. Top with crushed pineapple and chopped pecans. Repeat twice, ending with the crushed pineapple and chopped pecans. Garnish with maraschino cherries. Place in freezer and let set overnight.

*Note: I recommend keeping all your ingredients ready and close at hand.

Enjoy!
Leslie Limon

Friday, April 24, 2009

Horchata de Arroz {Rice Horchata}

With Cinco de Mayo, just around the corner, I thought I'd share an authentic Mexican Agua Fresca recipe that is sure to impress your family and friends at your next fiesta.  

Horchata is very popular all througtout Mexico and is part of what I like to call the Aguas Frescas trinity along with Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Flower Tea) and Agua de Tamarindo.  

Horchata is a creamy, rice based beverage that can be served at breakfast, lunch or dinner.  My Hubby and kiddies love it so much that I have to make it a couple of times a week. 

Horchata de Arroz 1

Horchata (de Arroz)
(Rice Horchata)

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup long grain rice, uncooked
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 10 to 12 cups water 

Directions:
In a medium bowl, soak the rice in 3 cups water for at least 30 minutes.

Horchata Prep

Pour the water and rice into a blender cup with the cinnamon stick and puree for 1 minute.  Strain pureed mixture into a 4-quart pitcher.  Stir in remaining the sweetened condensed milk and the sugar until the sugar has completely dissolved. Pour in enough water to fill pitcher. Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Serve with ice and sprinkle with ground cinnamon, if desired.  Enjoy!!!

Agua de Arroz









Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pizza Dough



I realize that my previous post was a yeast bread recipe, but I wanted to share with you one of the first recipes I prepared upon moving to Mexico.

I love pizza and so does the rest of my family. One of the first things that my husband and I noticed when moving to Mexico, was that the pizza wasn't up to our standards. Nothing that we tasted here came close to the pizza that we were used to back home in the States.

Then I remembered making pizza from scratch on a few occasions. All I had to do, was find my recipe for pizza dough and then head to the local bakery to buy some yeast. One of the panaderías (bakery) is owned by my husband's godfather, Don José. I had hoped to find packages of quick active dry yeast, because I had never used any other kind, but was told by Don José that his bakers only used fresh yeast. Don José reassured me that using fresh yeast was no different than using the quick active dry yeast, and that maybe, one day, I'd prefer using the fresh. Don José gave me (he refuses to charge us), the amount of fresh yeast that I would need for one kilo of flour. (One kilo is just a little over 2 pounds.)

Needless to say, we were able to enjoy a delicious pizza. And on a very happy note, packages of instant yeast are now readily available at one of the local cremerías (shops). Here is my recipe for pizza dough.

Pizza Dough


Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 envelope instant yeast*
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup very warm water (120ºF)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil


Directions:
In large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, undissolved yeast and salt.


Stir very warm water and olive oil into flour mixture.  Beat 2 minutes by hand or with an electric mixer on medium speed.



Stir in 1 cup of remaining flour; mix well. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.


Knead on lightly floured surface for 8 to 10 minutes, until dough feels smooth and elastic.


Place dough in a large bowl that has previously been sprayed with vegetable spray; turn greased side up. Cover with plastic wrap and let set 30 minutes or until dough has doubled in size.


Shape dough into smooth ball. Divide and roll dough to fit desired pan(s). Top pizza with your favorite toppings. Bake at 400ºF for 20 to 30 minutes.  Enjoy!!!


*Note: You can also use quick active dry yeast for this recipe.  Just dissolve it in the hot water and let it set for about 10 minutes before adding it to the flour.

With Love,
Leslie Limon


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Lemon-Pecan Cinnamon Rolls


Every so often, we take a day off and head to the ranch. My favorite thing about going to the ranch, is getting to use the rustic clay oven. Everytime we go, I prepare a yeast bread recipe. Our last outing, was on Easter Sunday, and I prepared these wonderful Lemon-Pecan Cinnamon Rolls.

Now, I know that a lot of people are afraid to make a yeast dough recipe, because they can be too complicated, especially since the liquid involved needs to be a certain temperature. But, fear not! In most cases, you can use hot tap water. If the liquid required involves milk and melted butter, just heat in a medium saucepan until the butter has melted, then remove from the heat. In the 15 years that I have been preparing yeast dough, I have never used a thermometer, and have never messed up a recipe. So, if I can do it, so can you!

Lemon-Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

For the dough
:

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 envelopes instant yeast*
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 eggs

For the filling:

  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Lemon Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, undissolved yeast and salt. Heat water, milk and butter, just until butter has melted. Gradually add to flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes, at medium speed with an electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add eggs and 1 cup flour; beat 2 minutes at high speed. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turn greased side up and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rest 45 minutes in a warm place.

Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a 20 x 10-inch rectangle; brush with half of the melted butter. In a small bowl, combine remaining filling ingredients; sprinkle half on dough. Beginning at shorter side*, roll up tightly, pinching seams to seal. (See picture)


*(Note: I rolled up the dough from the longer end just to yield more rolls.)

Cut each log into 10 equal pieces. Arrange loosely, cut side up, on greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Bake in a conventional oven at 375ºF for 20 to 25 minutes or until done. Remove from oven; drizzle with Lemon Glaze. Enjoy!!!

Lemon Glaze:
In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and lemon juice. Stir until smooth.

Yields 20 rolls

*Note: You can substitute quick active dry yeast for the instant yeast.  Just dissolve the yeast in the hot water and let set for 10 minutes before adding it to the flour mixture.

With Love,
Leslie Limon

My Passion

I love to cook!  When I am in the kitchen preparing a meal, I feel as if I'm creating a masterpiece.

Cooking relaxes me.

Cooking inspires me.

I haven't received any formal training.  Many of the Mexican dishes I prepare are ones that my grandparents made for me when I was a child.  Others, I have learned from my mother-in-law.  But most of my recipes are my version of some of my favorite foods.

Living in a small town in Mexico, where convenience foods aren't readily available, I have learned to make just about everything from scratch.

Join me on this journey, as I share recipes from my kitchen in the heart of Mexico.

With Love,
Leslie Limon

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