Friday, May 28, 2010

Entomatadas {Tomato Enchiladas}


Earlier this week, a truck drove through my neighborhood, offering 3 kilos of these gorgeous tomatoes for 20 pesos.  (6 pounds of tomatoes for $1.50 U.S.)  Now you all know that I can't resist these mobile vendors, so of course, I bought a few.  But, that's a whole lot of tomatoes.  What's a girl to do?

The first thing I made was BLT's.  I must say, these were some of the tastiest tomatoes that I have found in Mexico.  Then Hubby requested that I make Tostadas de Lomo.  The large tomato slices looked beautiful atop the tostadas.

But I still had a bunch of tomatoes.

So I decided to make one of my grandfather's favorite dishes...Entomatadas. (The milder cousin of the spicy Enchilada.)  This is a comfort food classic from my childhood. 

Entomatadas

Ingredients:

  • 4 large tomatoes, cut in quarters
  • Corn Tortillas
  • 8 oz. Queso Fresco, grated (or your favorite Mexican blend of cheese)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • Vegetable oil for frying


Directions:
Place the tomato chunks in a large saucepan; fill the saucepan with enough water to cover the tomatoes.  Cook over medium heat until the tomatoes are soft.  Let cool slightly.



Puree the tomato chunks, along with 1 cup of the water they were cooked in, until smooth. 



Pour the tomato puree into the same saucepan.  (Discard the cooking liquid before you do.)   Season the tomato salsa with salt and simmer over low heat until heated thoroughly. 



While the tomato salsa is simmering, heat about 1/2 cup of vegetable oil in a medium skillet until very hot.  Fry the corn tortillas, one at a time, in the hot oil for about 30 seconds on each side.



Dip the tortillas in the tomato salsa, then transfer to a plate.



Top each tortilla with 2 to 3 tablespoons of grated Queso Fresco and a little (or a lot of) chopped onion.  Fold the tortilla in half as you would for a taco and transfer to a serving platter.



To serve, ladle a little more of the tomato salsa over the entomatadas and garnish with more Queso Fresco.  Serve with Mexican Rice and Refried BeansEnjoy!!!



With Love,

Friday, May 21, 2010

Just Like Mom Used to Make {Lime-Pepper Maseca-Crusted Tilapia}


Some of my fondest childhood memories are of when I used to go fishing with my mom.  I loved everything about it!  I had my own fishing pole and a cute little tackle box.  We would spend hours sitting by the lake waiting for the fish to bite.  At the end of the day, my mom would fire up the grill and cook our catch of the day.

My mom made the best cornmeal-crusted fried fish, and she topped it with lots of lemon and black pepper.  She didn't use recipes, she just added everything (and anything) she liked.  Years later, I came up with a recipe that was almost identical to what my mom would make. 

So simple with delicious results.



Lime-Pepper Maseca-Crusted Tilapia

Ingredients:

  • 4 to 6 tilapia steaks, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 cups Maseca (masa harina)
  • 1 tablespoon lime or lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (for frying)
  • Lime wedges (for garnish)


Directions:
In a medium bowl or plate, mix together the Maseca, ground black pepper and lime zest.  Season with salt.



Season the tilapia with salt and pepper.  Set aside.  Pour the milk into a bowl and soak the tilapia in the milk for 10 minutes.  (This is a great trick to remove some of the "fishy" taste and smell of any type of fish!)



Coat the tilapia strips with the Maseca mixture.  (If you want it extra crispy, re-dip the tilapia in the milk and Maseca.)




Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Fry the tilapia until it turns golden brown on both sides.  Season with more salt, if necessary.  (Sorry about the blurry picture.  It was the best of the bunch!)




Enjoy!!!  (For an even more intense lemon flavor, be sure to squeeze some fresh lime juice over the tilapia strips.)



With Love,

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Baker's Delight {Lemon-Cream Cheese Braid}

When I grow up, I want to be a baker!  But not just any baker, I want to bake beautiful yeast breads, both sweet and savory.

While "professional baker" might not be in my immediate future, I still like to pretend that I'm one whenever we visit El Rancho Have I mentioned the wonderful clay oven? 

I'm always searching for the next yummy yeast bread recipe to wow friends and family with at the ranch.  One recipe that immediately caught my eye was the Braided Lemon Bread filled with Cream Cheese and Lemon Curd, that I found on the King Arthur Flour blog, Baker's Banter.

I really love all things lemon, so this was the bread for me.  The recipe called for store-bought lemon curd, but I was going to have to make my own.  Not a problem.  There's an easy recipe for Lemon Curd in my Southern Cakes cookbook!  

I have yet to find a yellow lemon in Mexico, but Mexican limones (limes) work just as well with this recipe.  And don't worry if you have any leftover lemon curd.  You can use it to fill layer cakes or cupcakes.  Or what about Lemon Curd Empanadas?  One of my favorite ways to use lemon curd is swirling it into a cheesecake just before baking!

And just a note, if you're making the Lemon Curd for the Braided Lemon Bread, do it a day or two ahead.  Trust me on this one!   

Lemon-Curd Recipe (from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott)

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter


Directions:
Bring about 3 inches of water to a simmer in the bottom of a double boiler or a medium saucepan.  Meanwhile, combine the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest in the top of the double boiler or in a glass jar or another saucepan that will fit snugly over the other saucepan.



Cook the egg/lemon mixture over the simmering water, whisking and stirring constantly.



Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until the mixture has thickened.



Remove from the heat and stir in the butter.  Cool to room temperature.  Store any leftover Lemon Curd in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. 





Enjoy!!!



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

Now on to the fun part...the bread!

The directions on the King Arthur flour blog, included mixing the dough in a bread maker.  I don't have one of those, so I did it the old-fashioned way.

The only substitution I made, besides using homemade Lemon Curd, was using Mexican Crema instead of yogurt. 

This recipe yields 2 large braids, so it will definitely feed a crowd. 

Braided Lemon Bread 
(from King Arthur Flour)

Sponge:

  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour







 
Dough:

  • All of the sponge
  • 3/4 cup Mexican crema or plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • egg wash for brushing braid
  • sparkling white sugar for sprinkling on braid


Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 2/3 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup prepared lemon curd


Directions:
In a small bowl, combine all of the sponge ingredients, except the warm water.



Add the warm water, stirring to combine.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let set 10 to 15 minutes.



Your sponge should look like this.  I love all of those little air bubbles!



Add the dough ingredients to the sponge.  Mix by hand, just until the dough forms a ball.



Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 5 to 8 minutes.



Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl.  Cover and let rest until double in size. 



While the dough is proofing, prepare the cream cheese filling.



In a medium bowl, beat together all of the ingredients for the cream cheese filling until creamy.  Set aside until ready to use.



Look at how my dough doubled in size!



Divide the dough into 2 equal parts.  Roll each half into a 10 x 15-inch rectangle. 



Transfer the rectangle to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  (I didn't use the parchment paper, but I wish I had!)



Spread half of the cream cheese filling down the middle third of the dough. 



Spread 1 cup of lemon curd over the cream cheese.  (The recipe only calls for 1/2 cup, but I wanted more lemon filling!)



Using kitchen scissors, cut the sides of the dough into 1-inch strips.  Fold the strips over the filling.  Cover the braids with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let set for 45 minutes.



Brush the loaves with egg wash and top with sparkling sugar.  (I used regular granulated sugar!) 



Bake the braids in a preheated oven at 375 F for 25 to 30 minutes or until a light golden brown.  Cover with aluminum foil and let set for about 15 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!!!




With Love,



Printable Version

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day Treat {Buttermilk-Strawberry Shortcake Cake}

As you know, some of my favorite recipes are those that start out as one thing, but turn into something completely different.

I started making the Buttermilk Cake with Old-Time Fudge Icing from my Southern Cakes cookbook.


But...

Our local strawberry vendor paid a visit while my cake layers were in the oven.  Now, who can refuse a kilo of organic strawberries for 20 pesos?  That's a little over 2 pounds of strawberries for less than $1.50!

My Hubby bought 2 kilos, then turned to me and said that he wanted me to make him the cake that is on the cover of my Sky High Cakes cookbook.


Since I already had the Buttermilk cake in the oven, I decided to turn it into a Buttermilk Strawberry Shortcake.

Sigh!

It was AMAZING!  Heaven on a plate!  The cake itself was moist and tender.  The strawberries were the perfect balance between sweet and tart.  And the billowy layers of whipped cream were light and airy.

This cake would make a great Mother's Day gift!  (Hint, hint!)

Buttermilk Strawberry Shortcake 
(Buttermilk cake recipe courtesy of Southern Cakes cookbook by Nancie McDermott)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 pounds strawberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sweetened Whipped Cream or Whipped Topping


Directions:
*If you don't have buttermilk, add a teaspoon of either white vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk.  Let stand for 10 minutes before using.



Preheat your oven to 350 F.  Grease and flour two 9-inch round pans.  (Or three 8-inch round pans.)    In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; stir with a fork to mix well.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the softened butter and the sugar; beat with a  mixer on high speed until very light and fluffy. (About 6 to 8 minutes.)



Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.



Add about a third of the flour mixture; beat at low speed just until the flour disappears.



Add half of the milk; beat at low speed just until milk disappears.  Mix in another third of the flour, followed by the rest of the milk and then the rest of the flour in the same way.



Stir in the vanilla.



Divide the batter among the prepared pans.



Bake at 350 F for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cakes are golden brown and spring back when touched lightly in the center.  Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes.  Remove cakes from pan and continue to cool until room temperature.



While the cake layers are cooling, hull and slice the strawberries.



Toss the strawberries with the 1 cup of sugar, ground cinnamon and vanilla.  Set aside for 10 to 15 minutes.



Place one of the cake layers top-side down on a cake plate.  Spoon half of the sliced strawberries and their juices over the cake.



Top strawberries with whipped topping.  Place the other cake top-side down over whipped topping.  Top with the remaining strawberries and whipped topping.




Enjoy!!!



With Love,



Linking up with Gooseberry Patch Strawberry Recipe Round-Up

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