Monday, June 29, 2009

Sopa de Letras



Sopa de Letras Recipe - lacocinadeleslie.com


If one food could be described as true Mexican comfort food, it would definitely be Sopa de Pasta. It is one of the first "real" foods introduced to babies in most Mexican homes. My Grandmother used to prepare a different sopa de pasta every day of the week. I have no idea how many times I've made sopa for my hubby and kiddies. Sopa de pasta isn't just for kids, adults love it too.

Sopa de Pasta is known as just sopa, or sopa de fideo, sopa de letras, sopa de estrellitas, depending on what type of pasta is used. A wide variety of pastas can be used such as elbow macaroni, shells, alphabet, or stars. I suggest that you use the smaller sized pasta. The most popular Sopa de Pasta is Sopa de Fideo, which is prepared using vermicelli. (For this recipe I used alphabet pasta but substitute it for the pasta of your choice.)

Sopa (de Pasta)
Mexican Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 1/4 or 1/2 of a medium onion
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
  • 1 cup small dried pasta

Directions:
Puree tomatoes, onion and chicken bouillon with 3 cups of water: set aside. In medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat: add pasta and saute until pasta turns a light golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Carefully pour puree mixture into saucepan: season with a pinch of salt. (DO NOT STIR AFTER THIS POINT.) Once your sopa begins to boil, taste the tomato broth: season with more salt, if necessary. Cover saucepan and reduce heat to low. Let sopa simmer until all liquid has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve and Enjoy!!!

Sopa de Letras - lacocinadeleslie.com


*Sopa de pasta is great served on it's own or as a side dish!

With Love,
Leslie Limon

Friday, June 26, 2009

Camarones a la Diabla

Today I'm sharing what has to be my second favorite shrimp dish...Camarones a la Diabla (Mexican Deviled Shrimp).  Actually, whenever I make this dish I question why it's not my all-time favorite.  It's so incredibly delicious, and the sauce is finger lickin' good.  But then a couple of days later I'll make that other shrimp dish and remember exactly why it's my favorite.  But Camarones a la Diabla are a very close second favorite.  Maybe I should just say that they're tied for first.  It's like asking which of my children I love most.  That impossible!  I can't choose just one, because I love all four of them.  Same goes for Camarones a la Diabla.  

Camarones a la Diabla is shrimp cooked in a fiery red spicy salsa that some prefer to be hotter than Hades.  But the level of heat is totally up to you.  Not big on spice?  That's okay!  You can get away with adding just one dried chile de arbol just for a little flavor.  Or if you prefer something a lot hotter, add more chilies.  I like to add a couple of dried guajillos, which don't provide any heat of all, because they intensify the color of the salsa.

One of my favorite things about this recipe is that you don't have to peel the shrimp.  My suegra prepares her camarones a la diabla unpeeled and with the shrimp heads attached.  Sucking out the sauce from each individual shrimp is half of the fun of eating this dish.  Add some Arroz Blanco (white rice) and a salad and you've got yourself one delicious meal.


lacocinadeleslie.com

Camarones a la Diabla

Ingredients:
  • 4 to 6 roma tomatoes
  • Dried chiles de arbol 
  • 2 dried guajillo chilies 
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. shrimp, deveined

Directions:
Bring the tomatoes, 6 arbol chilies, and the guajillo chilies to a boil in a medium saucepan with 2 cups of water.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.  Remove stems from both chilies, and the seeds from the guajillo chile.  Puree the chilies and the tomatoes, along with the water they were cooked in, in a blender until smooth; season with salt and set aside. 

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onion and saute for about 1 minute.  Add the minced garlic and saute for an additional 30 seconds.  Add the shrimp and saute until fully cooked.  Reduce heat to low and pour the A La Diabla sauce over the shrimp and let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until the sauce reduces slightly.  Serve with Sopa de Arroz Blanco and accompany with crusty garlic bread or tostadas.  Enjoy!!!

lacocinadeleslie.com


You might also like these delicious Mexican shrimp dishes: 










Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pay de Queso {Mexican Cheese Cake}




Pay de queso means cheese pie. It is the Mexican version of the cheesecake. It's a very easy recipe, with very few ingredients. You will notice that this recipe calls for 6 to 8 ounces of cream cheese. This is because in Mexico, the largest package of cream cheese available is 190 grams, which is roughly about 6 ounces. For those of you in the States, use the 8 ounce package if you want.

I have encountered many variations of this recipe. Some were very dry and crumbly. Other's were too soggy. This is my version of the pay de queso.

I've also included my recipe for a graham cracker crust, using Maria's cookies, for those of you who may not have prepared graham cracker crusts on hand.

Pay de Queso
(Cream Cheese Pie)

Ingredients:

  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 6 to 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  • 1 prepared graham cracker crust

Directions:
Pour milks into blender cup; add cream cheese, eggs and vanilla. Puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour into prepared graham cracker crust. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 to 45 minutes or until center is set.

Remove pie from oven; let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate pie atleast 2 hours before serving. Enjoy!!!


Maria's Cookie Crust

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup melted butter (90 grams)
  • 1 package Maria's cookies

Directions:
Grind Maria's cookies in blender or food processor. (Or place cookies in large plastic bag and crush with rolling pin.) Stir in butter until well combined. Press mixture firmly onto bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.

With Love,
Leslie Limon

Monday, June 22, 2009

Guacamole

Back in the States, I was famous for my guacamole. Wherever we went, I was always asked to make and take my guacamole. This is one of many recipes, that I learned to make by myself, by trial and error.

My guacamole has one "secret" ingredient that I'm going to share with you. I discovered it through necessity. My grandparents would take me camping EVERY weekend to a small "members only" campground in Oak Glen, California. Every Friday evening at the campground, a potluck was held. My grandmother would always take her sopa de arroz (spanish rice). But one Friday in particular, my grandparents were asked to take some guacamole.

Well, my grandparents kindly left this task to me. But we only had a few avocados. It wasn't nearly enough guacamole for the potluck. I checked the very small refrigerator in our camper and all we had was a container of sour cream. (Pappy liked to put sour cream on everything.) So, I thought I'd add a bit of sour cream to my guacamole, to make it seem like we had more guacamole. Sure enough, this was a hit, and I've been making my guacamole this way ever since!

Feel free to add as little or as much sour cream as you like!

Guacamole

Ingredients:

  • 4 avocados
  • 1 roma tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • 4 tablespoons Mexican crema or sour cream

Directions:
Cut avocados in half lengthwise; remove seed. Spoon out avocado and place in medium bowl. Squeeze lime juice over avocado. (This helps prevent browning.)




Add remaining ingredients.



Mash with fork or potato masher until desired consistency. Season with a couple of pinches of salt. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!!!





With Love,
Leslie Limon

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Red and Green Salsas


I enjoy receiving and reading the comments that some of you leave on every post. Some of you have even sent me emails, which are also greatly appreciated. A couple of readers have requested the recipes for red and green salsas. I apologize for taking so long to post the recipes, but better late than never.

Red and green salsas are much like chile de molcajete, the only difference is that the tomatillos are boiled, not roasted. Aside from being made with the exact same ingredients, they are also staples in every Mexican kitchen and can be found at every taquería in Mexico. If you look online for these recipes, many call for onion and garlic, but I've been in many Mexican homes in Jalisco, Sonora, Chihuahua and Baja California and have yet to see anyone add onion and garlic to their salsa.

I make these salsas weekly and I usually prepare both salsas at the same time, mostly because my family loves having both salsas, plus its just convenient. As I have said before, for the red salsa, you can add as many chiles de arbol as you like. I only add a few, because I'm not very tolerant of spicy food. A friend from Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco, taught me a good rule of thumb which is one chile de arbol for every tomatillo! Talk about heat!

These salsas go with everything, from tacos to scrambled eggs. The possibilities are endless.

Red and Green Salsas

Ingredients:

  • 24 tomatillos
  • 6 arbol chilies

Directions:
Remove husks from tomatillos; rinse tomatillos with water. Place tomatillos and arbol chilies in a medium saucepan; cover with water. Bring tomatillos to a boil over medium-high heat. Immediately turn off the heat; let tomatillos and chilies cool slightly.

For the green salsa:
With a slotted spoon, remove 12 tomatillos from the saucepan and place in a blender cup. (Do NOT add any water.) Cover blender and puree until smooth. Pour into medium serving bowl. Season with a pinch or two of salt.

For the red salsa:
With a slotted spoon, remove the remaining tomatillos and the chilies from saucepan and place in blender cup. (Remove stems from chilies.) (Again, do NOT add any water!) Puree until smooth. Pour into medium serving bowl. Season with a pinch or two of salt. Enjoy!!!

With Love,
Leslie Limon

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Potato Enchiladas w/ Red Enchilada Sauce & Tomato Salsa

Yes, potato enchiladas. I had never heard of them until my hubby told me about them. This type of enchilada is very popular in this region of Mexico. My family really enjoys them and I like that this recipe is meat-free, great for making during Cuaresma (Lent)

I usually make these enchiladas with fresh Mexican cheese that is delivered to my house every Sunday. You could use cotija or Monterrey Jack cheese. Originally, these enchiladas are prepared by first dipping the tortillas in the enchilada sauce, then frying the tortilla in oil. I for one do not like the texture, nor the mess, so I've switched things up a bit. I've included the recipe for my enchilada sauce and tomato salsa. For those of you living in the States, you can use canned red enchilada sauce. And for the tomato salsa, you could use a can of stewed tomatoes. (Plain, not the Italian kind.)

Be sure to keep a roll of paper towels or a wet dish towel nearby, so you have something to clean your hands with, while assembling these enchiladas.

Potato Enchiladas

Ingredients:

  • 2 dozen corn tortillas
  • 4 medium potatoes, cooked, peeled and lightly mashed
  • Queso Fresco, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • Shredded Lettuce
  • Tomato Salsa (recipe follows)
  • Red Enchilada Sauce (recipe follows)

If you haven't cooked your potatoes, do so now. Let them cool slightly, then peel them and lightly mash them up with a fork; season the potatoes with salt. Use this time to chop the onion and the lettuce and to crumble or shred the cheese. Make sure everything is ready and nearby, so you can assemble these enchiladas with ease.

Pour red enchilada sauce into medium bowl; set aside. In large skillet, heat 1/4 cup vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Carefully, lay one corn tortilla in oil, fry it for about 30 seconds, then flip the tortilla over and fry it for another 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tortilla from the oil, letting the excess oil drip off back into the skillet.


Dip tortilla in the red enchilada sauce, making sure to cover both sides with sauce.  Place tortilla on plate.  Spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons of mashed potato and cheese onto center of tortilla.  Sprinkle with desired amount of chopped onion.


Fold tortilla in half, as you would with a taco or quesadilla. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling. Garnish enchiladas with shredded lettuce and top with tomato salsa. Sprinkle more cheese over the enchiladas. Enjoy!!!

Potato Enchiladas_Enchiladas de Papa



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Red Enchilada Sauce

Ingredients:
  • 4 to 5 dried ancho chilies
  • 2 cups water
Directions:
In small saucepan, bring water and chilies to a boil. Let cool slightly. Puree in blender until smooth. Strain in to bowl. Season with a couple of pinches of salt. Enjoy!


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Tomato Salsa

Ingedients:
  • 8 roma tomatoes
  • 3 cups of water
Directions:
In medium sauce pan, bring water and tomatoes to a boil. Let cool slightly. Puree in blender until smooth. Pour in to large bowl. Season with a couple of pinches of salt. The sauce should be a slightly thinner consistency than canned tomato sauce. If your salsa is too thick, stir in a little more water. Enjoy!

Tomato Salsa



Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ceviche de Soya

Ceviche is a very popular dish in Mexico. Most often, you will find ceviche made with fish, shrimp or crab. But another popular ceviche ingredient in Mexico is soya (soy meat). Soya is available dried or dehydrated in markets throughout Mexico. For those of you in the States, you might have to check your local health food store. If you're a fan of ceviche, you have to try this ceviche de soya.
Ceviche can be served as a main dish or as an appetizer at a party.

Ceviche de Soya


Ingredients:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 of an onion
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon (optional)
  • 3 cups dehydrated soy meat
  • 5 roma tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 serrano chilies, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt


Directions:
In medium saucepan, bring water and onion to boil; remove from heat and remove onion. Stir in bouillon and soy meat. Let set for 20 minutes. Strain excess water from soy. (Squeeze the soy to remove excess liquid.)

If you haven't chopped your veggies, do so now. This gives the soy extra time to cool down.


In large mixing bowl, combine soy, chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, chopped cilantro and chopped chilies. Mix until well combined. Stir in lemon juice and salt. Refrigerate 2 or more hours. (This is to let the lemon and veggies marinate the soy.)

To serve, spoon desired amount of ceviche on a tostada. Garnish with avocado slices. Enjoy!!!


With Love,
Leslie Limon

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