Saturday, February 27, 2010

Huevos Rancheros

Not all Mexican food is alike.

For example, Huevos Rancheros (Ranch-style eggs).  When I was a kid, my grandmother prepared Huevos Rancheros by topping scrambled eggs with a jar of tomato salsa.   Which I thought was delicious!

But my favorite way, which also happens to be my all-time favorite breakfast, is how they are prepared at a local restaurant.  Two eggs, sunny-side up, served atop two deep-fried corn tortillas and topped with lots and lots of spicy tomatillo salsa. 

While the restaurant version can be a little greasy, I make a better version at home.  I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do!

Huevos Rancheros

Ingredients:

  • 12 to 15 tomatillos, husks removed
  • Arbol Chilies, stems removed
  • Eggs
  • Corn Tortillas


Directions:
Place the tomatillos and arbol chilies in a saucepan; cover with water.  Cook over medium heat until the tomatillos are very tender.



Using a slotted spoon, remove the tomatillos and chilie peppers to a blender cup. Puree until smooth.  Pour salsa into a heatproof bowl and season with salt.  Set aside.



Cook 2 eggs at a time, to your liking.  I like sunny side up, but scrambled eggs work well too!



While the eggs are cooking, heat 2 tortillas on a lightly greased comal or griddle.



To serve, place the warm corn tortillas on a plate.



Top the tortillas with the eggs.



Spoon the tomatillo salsa over the eggs.  Serve with Refried Beans Enjoy!!!



With Love,

Friday, February 26, 2010

Vegetarian Tacos Dorados

The closest thing I've seen in Mexico that resembles the crunchy American taco is Tacos Dorados.

Tacos Dorados are made with corn tortillas stuffed with a variety of fillings like: ground meat, potatoes, refried beans, brains and requeson con rajas.  The tacos are then threaded on to a ring of string and fried in a large cazo filled with hot lard. 

My favorites are the ones filled with requeson con rajasRequeson is a fresh cheese that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.  If you can't find requeson, you can use ricotta cheese.  Just be sure to taste the filling before seasoning with salt.

My Hubby loves his tacos dorados filled with potatoes.  So today's recipe includes both kinds.

Potato Tacos (Tacos Dorados de Papa) - lacocinadeleslie.com

Tacos Dorados Vegetarianos

Ingredients:

  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in cubes
  • 8 oz. requeson or ricotta cheese
  • 10 to 12 roma tomatoes
  • 2 dozen corn tortillas
  • 1 cup vegetable oil


Directions:
Place the potatoes in a small saucepan; cover with 1 cup of water.  Cook over medium heat until tender.

While the potatoes are cooking, roast the poblano peppers on a comal or griddle until the skin is completely charred.

Also place the tomatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with water.  Cook over medium heat until completely cooked.

Drain the water from the potatoes.  Season the potatoes with salt and pepper.  Mash the potatoes completely.  Set aside.

Wrap the roasted poblano peppers in a plastic baggie.  Let set for 5 to 10 minutes.  (This causes the chilies to sweat, making it much easier to remove the skin.)  Remove the skin and seeds from the chilies; chop the chilies.

Stir the chopped chilies into the requeson.  Season with salt. Spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of the requeson and poblano pepper mixture on half of a warmed corn tortilla. Fold the tortilla in half and set aside. Do the same with the mashed potato filling. Fold in half and set aside.

Puree the cooked tomatoes with 1 cup of the cooking liquid.  Pour into a heatproof bowl.  Season with salt; set aside.

Heat 1 cup of vegetable oil in a large skillet over high heat.  Fry tacos in oil, 3 to 4 at a time, until golden brown on both sides.  Place tacos on a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil. Top with shredded lettuce and spoon sauce over tacos.  Serve with Refried Beans and/or Mexican RiceEnjoy!!! 

Tacos Dorados de Papa (Potato Tacos) - lacocinadeleslie.com

With Love,
 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Arroz con Pollo Soup

The Sun is finally shining, but it's been pretty windy here the last couple of days.  Why not make another delicious soup to help take the chill off?

Spicy Chicken & Rice Soup is one that my grandfather prepared often.  It's very similar to my Caldo de Pollo recipe, with the addition of two very simple ingredients.  One is rice and the other is Salsa El Pato.


Salsa El Pato is a cross between a salsa and a tomato sauce.  Not too spicy and so full of flavor.  It helps turn an ordinary soup into something extraordinary!

Spicy Chicken & Rice Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in large chunks
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Cilantro
  • 1 can Salsa El Pato
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 2 zucchini, cut in large chunks
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
  • 1/3 cup long-grain rice, uncooked


Directions:
Place the chicken, water, onion, garlic and a sprig of cilantro in 3-quart stockpot.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook over medium-high heat for 30 minutes.

 


Pour in the can of Salsa El Pato.

  


Add the vegetables and chicken bouillon.  Season with more salt and pepper.  Continue to cook over medium-high heat for 30 to 40 minutes.

 


Add the uncooked rice and let cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the rice is completely cooked.



Serve with plenty of warm corn tortillas or Maseca Corn BreadEnjoy!!!

 

With Love,

More delicious soups you might love: 
Caldo de Pollo for the Soul (Chicken Soup)
Cocido Rojo (Mexican Beef Stew)
Mole de Olla 



Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Homemade Strawberry Jam & Strawberry Empanadas

Today, I am going to share with you one of my all-time favorite sweet treats...Empanadas.  But these aren't just any ordinary empanadas; these are my very berry best Strawberry Empanadas!  I make them all the time!  They're like my signature empanada, with an irresistible flaky cream cheese crust.  

But before we get to the empanada recipe, let's talk about the filling...Homemade Strawberry Jam, made with fresh strawberries and a surprise ingredient...ground cinnamon.  I think the ground cinnamon really enhances the flavor of the strawberries.  

If you've never made your own jam, freaketh not!  It's very simple.  All you need is strawberries and sugar.  (And a dash of my surprise ingredient!)  This recipe yields enough for about 1 cup of jam, which is the perfect amount for making Strawberry Empanadas, so no complicated canning is necessary.


Mermelada de Fresa
(Homemade Strawberry Jam)

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Directions:
Combine the strawberries, sugar and ground cinnamon in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium-low heat just until the sugar begins to melt.  Reduce heat to low and simmer the jam for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened.  Cool slightly and pour into a heatproof bowl or measuring cup; cool completely.  Spread on toast, use as part of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or use as a filling for the Strawberry Empanada recipe below.  Enjoy!!! 



-----------------------------------------------------------

And now for the Strawberry Empanadas...

My Hubby and kiddies think they're the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Sweet homemade strawberry jam wrapped inside tender, flaky crust made with tart and tangy cream cheese...goodness gracious!  Strawberries & Cream Cheese are one of those flavor combinations that are a match made in Heaven.  And these Strawberry Empanadas are just heavenly! 

But don't take my word for it.  These Strawberry Empanadas are so easy to put together, making them just that more divine.


Strawberry Empanadas

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • Homemade Strawberry Jam
  • 1/2 cup sugar


Directions:
Place the flour, cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl.



Using a pastry blender, potato masher or your hands, cut the cream cheese and butter into the flour until no large pieces are visible.

  


Continue combining the ingredients with your hands until the dough forms a ball.  (This can be done in a food processor as well.)  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

  


Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness.



Cut out circles of dough using a 3 or 4-inch round cutter.  Or one of these handy-dandy empanada makers!

 


Spoon a scant teaspoon of strawberry jam in center of each circle.



Fold dough in half,  pinch the edges with a fork to seal. (You don't want the filling to spill out!) 



If you have the empanada makers, just fold it in half to seal.




Place empanadas on a lightly greased baking pan.  Bake in a preheated 350ºF oven for 15 minutes.



While the empanadas are baking, place the 1/2 cup of sugar in a medium bowl.



When the empanadas are done baking, gently coat both sides with sugar.



Enjoy!!!




Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mississippi Mud Cake

 
It's Cake Slice Baker's time again.

I am so happy to report that I had all of the ingredients AND my oven was working!  Woo-hoo!

This month's cake is a Mississippi Mud Cake.  A thin chocolate cake, covered with marshmallows and topped with a sweet chocolate frosting.  Yum!

The Mississippi Mud Cake caught my eye the first time I looked through my Southern Cakes cookbook.  My hubby has an aunt who loves chocolate covered marshmallows and I knew this would be the perfect cake for her.  I was so very happy to learn that it would be February's cake, because Aunt Nina's birthday is on Valentine's Day.

Of all the cakes I have made from this cookbook, the Mississippi Mud Cake has been the easiest to put together.

My hubby and four kiddies LOVED this cake.  As did Aunt Nina and the rest of the family.

I really liked this cake.  My only problem was that I thought the actual cake was a bit dry.  I've made many a Mississippi Mud Cake before and they have all been much moister.  But my hubby insists that I am being too critical.  And he's probably right, because the taste truly was fantastic and I hope you will try it.

And be sure to check out the rest of the Cake Slice Bakers.

Mississippi Mud Cake
(From Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott)

For the cake:
1 cup butter, cut into big chunks
1/2 cup cocoa
4 eggs, beaten well
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans

For the frosting:
3-2/3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup milk or evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups mini-marshmallows or 3 cups marshmallows, quartered

Directions:
Heat the oven to 350ºF.  Grease and flour a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.



In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and the cocoa and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the butter has melted and the mixture is well blended.

 


Stir in the beaten eggs, vanilla, sugar, flour, salt and pecans.  Mix with a wooden spoon until smooth.

  


Quickly pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350ºF for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly touched in the center.

  


While the cake is baking in the oven, prepare the frosting so it will be ready to pour over the hot cake.  

In a medium bowl, combine the powdered sugar and the cocoa; stir to mix them well.
  


Add the melted butter, milk and vanilla; stir until well combined.  Set aside.



Remove the cake from the oven and scatter the marshmallows over the top. 
  


Return the cake to the hot oven for about 3 minutes to soften the marshmallows.

  


Place the cake, still in the pan, on a wire rack or on a folded dish towel.  Pour the frosting all over the marshmallow-dotted cake.  Cool to room temperature.  Cut into small squares and serve.  Enjoy!!!

 


With Love,



Printable Version

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fish Tacos with Creamy Chipotle Sauce

Fish tacos!  (Sigh)  I cannot find the words to express how much I love Fish Tacos.

It was love at first bite, one summer in Ensenada, many years ago.

The fish wasn't coated with a heavy batter.  It had a light, crispy coating.  And the salsa, wasn't a salsa at all.  It was a simple mixture of Mexican crema and canned chipotle peppers.   There was also a delicious Pico de Gallo in the colors of the Mexican flag, that offered a cool texture and even more flavor to the tacos.

Whenever I make these tacos, I am reminded of that summer vacation.  (Sigh!) 

Pico de Gallo

Ingredients:
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 to 2 serrano chilies, chopped

Directions:
Place all of the ingredients in a small bowl.

 


Mix until well combined.  Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.

 


Crema de Chipotle

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce

Directions:
Place sour cream and chipotles in a blender cup.

 


Puree until smooth.  Pour into a small serving bowl and set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.

 


Tacos de Pescado
(Fish Tacos) 

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 tilapia steaks, cut in strips
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Shredded Lettuce or Cabbage
  • Lime wedges
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Crema de Chipotle

Directions:
Pour milk into a small bowl; season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.
  


Place flour on  a plate; season with salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Set aside.
  


Season tilapia strips with salt and pepper.
  


Dip tilapia strips in milk.
  


Coat tilapia strips with flour.
  


Brown tilapia in a skillet with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil.
  


Cook until golden brown on both sides.
  


To serve, place 1 to 2 strips of tilapia in center of a warm corn tortilla.  Squeeze lime juice over tilapia.
 


Garnish with shredded lettuce, Pico de Gallo and Crema de Chipotle.  Enjoy!!!
 


 With Love,

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