Thursday, June 30, 2011

31 Days in My Cocina

Even as I sit down to write this post, I can't believe that I'm actually going to go through with it.  But it's something that I've wanted to do since the first time I tried it on my other blog, Motherhood in Mexico

I cook every day, two or three times a day, sometimes more.  So why not take pictures of what I'm cooking and post a new recipe every day for a month? 

This month.

July. 

I am going to post a new recipe (or food related article) every day in July!!!

All thirty-one of them.

Just because.

I even signed up with NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) as a way to hold myself accountable. 

Wish me luck! 

And tune in to La Cocina de Leslie every morning for the recipe of the day. 

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

My signature dish...Crema de Broccoli


It is said that every cook/chef should have a signature dish.  You know, that one dish that everyone loves and requests that you make it over and over again.

While my cakes, pies and yeast breads are the most requested by friends and family, and my roast chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy are a must for holidays, I recently learned that there is another dish that everyone considers to be my "signature" dish...My Crema de Brocoli (Cream of Broccoli soup).

My Hubby fell in love with Cream of Broccoli soup when we were dating.  He ordered it at every restaurant we visited.  Once we were married, I made it my mission to create the best Cream of Broccoli soup that we could enjoy at home.  My recipe has developed over the years and I have added a couple of special ingredients, like beer and manchego cheese, to make it even better.

What is your signature dish? 

 
Leslie's Best Ever Crema de Brocoli

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon (I use Knorr-Suiza)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 (325 ml) beer* (I recommend a light colored beer)
  • 1 cup manchego or mild cheddar cheese, cut in small cubes


Directions:
Place the broccoli florets, chopped onion and chicken bouillon in a medium (4 to 6 quart) stockpot with the 4 cups of water. Cover stockpot and cook over medium heat until the broccoli is tender.
 


Using a potato masher, break up the broccoli into very small pieces.  You could also use an immersion blender or puree the broccoli in a blender, but I like the texture of tiny pieces of broccoli in my soup.  Continue to cook over low heat.



While the broccoli is cooking, melt the butter over medium-low heat.



Add the flour to the melted butter.



Whisk until the butter and flour combine into a paste.  This is called a roux and is a great base to many delicious sauces, including gravy.  Whisk constantly and continue to cook the roux for a minute or two to let the flavors develop.  (You want to cook off the flour-y taste.)   



Gradually pour the milk into the roux, stirring constantly with a wire whisk to prevent lumps from forming.   Cook over medium heat until your sauce thickens.  Season with salt and black pepper.  (And don't forget to stir constantly!)   

Voila! You have made a Bechamel Sauce.


Whisk the beer into the sauce until well combined.  Let cook for a minute or two, letting the sauce thicken again slightly.



Pour the beer sauce into the larger stock pot with the cooked broccoli. 



Gently stir until both mixtures have blended together completely.  Let the soup simmer for 3 to 4 minutes over medium heat so the flavors have a chance to.  Season with more salt and pepper, if necessary.



Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese cubes.  I like to serve this soup before the cheese has a chance to melt.



 Enjoy!!!










*Note: For those of you in Mexico, I used a bottle of Barrilito beer.



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pico de Gallo



I'm not sure if I should blame it on the Summer Solstice or not, but I was really in the mood for something fresh and light to accompany my lunch today.  And what could be fresher than a delicious pico de gallo

Whether you call it a salsa or a side dish, pico de gallo is a flavorful accompaniment to any meal. And it's also the base to many recipes that you've already seen on La Cocina de Leslie, like my Easy Shrimp Ceviche and Chunky Avocado Salsa. (Just to name a few.)

I love pico de gallo atop carne asada, tacos, grilled chicken and even pizza.  Pico de gallo also makes a great dip for tortilla chips.  The possibilities are endless.

While traditionally, pico de gallo is prepared with vegetables representative of the colors of the Mexican flag, you can dress it up with chopped fresh mango, pineapple, oranges and even tunas (prickly pears).  
 


Pico de Gallo

Ingredients:

  • 3 large roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 to 2 serrano chilies
  • Cilantro



Directions: 
Chop the tomato, onion, serrano chilies and cilantro.  You'll need about 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro.



Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and season lightly with salt.  



Enjoy!!!  



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Saturday, June 18, 2011

My Blog Makeover

Oops!  I forgot to publish this post earlier this week!  So sorry!

For some time now, I have been working on a new look for La Cocina de Leslie.  There was nothing wrong with the "old" look, I just figured that it was time for a change. 

After searching and searching for a new background, I finally found one that I fell head over heels in love with.  It's the lemon background that you've seen here for the last month or so.  I LOVE lemons and limes and I think they fit in perfectly with my blog, especially since my last name is Limón, which is the Spanish word for lemon.

With the new background, I tried a number of different headers (the top part of the blog), but none of them felt right. Something was missing.  After talking with my good friend Chantilly, of Bicultural Mom and Multicultural Familia (where I am a contributor), she offered to design my new header. 

My new header!
 The design Chantilly came up with is just perfect!  I love the font.  I love that she included lemons and limes to match my background, along with photos of some of my favorite dishes, which I can change to reflect the season or my mood.  But my favorite detail has to be the chiles de arbol.  Yahualica, the small town where I live, is famous for having the best chiles de arbol in the world.

Chantilly also designed a new button to reflect the new look, that you can add to your blog.  You can grab the HTML code in the sidebar.



Thank you, Chantilly!  I love my new look!

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