Saturday, May 26, 2012

Breakfast with Rick Bayless {Mango Stuffed French Toast}

When I first joined I Heart Cooking Clubs and signed on to cook with Rick Bayless once a week from April to September, I had a feeling that Rick and I would get along pretty well.  We both love Mexico, Mexican food, and all of the delicious ingredients Mexico has to offer.

As the weeks passed by, I found myself liking him more and more.   Then like turned into something else and I developed a bit of crush on Rick.  How could I not?  We've had drinks.  Flirted over a light lunch.  Shared a sweet moment.  And gotten a little more serious over dinner.  So I decided it was time to take our relationship to the next level, and invited Rick over for breakfast.

Oh. My. Goodness. Gracious!  Had me feeling a little like Meg Ryan in that deli scene in When Harry Met Sally.  And all because of a plate of French toast.  But not just any ordinary French toast.  Oh no!  This French toast was stuffed with cream cheese and mango.  (Sigh!) What an amazing combination of flavors! It was absolutely divine.

And now I'm pretty much head over heels in love with Rick.




Mango Stuffed French Toast
(recipe from RickBayless.com)

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 large mangoes, peeled and thinly sliced 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 
  • 12 oz. cream cheese (softened)
  • 12 to 18 slices sandwich bread* (I used white bread) 
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 can evaporated milk 
  • 1 cup regular milk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar 
  • Warm maple syrup

Directions:
Melt the butter in a large 12-inch skillet over medium heat.  Add the mango, 1/4 cup of the sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of the ground cinnamon and cook for about 10 minutes until the mango has cooked through.  (My mangoes were a little on the ripe side, so I ended up with more of a mango puree.  The results were still absolutely delicious.)



With an electric mixer on medium speed, whip the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar with the cream cheese until the sugar dissolves.



Spread the cream cheese on 12 slices of sandwich bread. Arrange 6 of the slices, cream cheese side UP, in the bottom of a generously buttered 9 x 13-inch baking dish.



Spoon a couple of tablespoons of the mango puree onto each slice of bread, making sure to spread it all the way to the edges.



Top with the remaining 6 slices of sandwich bread, cream cheese side DOWN.  *This is where Rick's recipe ends.  BUT...I still had half of the cream cheese mixture leftover and lots of mango puree, so I  decided to add another layer.  Spread more of the cream cheese on top of the bread slices.



Spoon the remaining mango puree on top of the cream cheese.  Spread the last of the cream cheese mixture on an additional 6 slices of sandwich bread.  Arrange the bread slices, cream cheese side DOWN on top of the mango puree.



In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs with the evaporated and regular milk, the ground cinnamon, and the vanilla extract until well combined.



Slowly pour the egg mixture over the bread.  Press down on the bread gently so that the top slices of bread absorb some of the egg mixture.  (Don't worry if some of the filling spills out.)



Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for 40 to 45 minutes or until the bread has turned a light golden brown and the egg custard no longer jiggles.




 Sprinkle the top of the Mango Stuffed French Toast with powdered sugar or drizzle with warm maple syrup.  Serve with a couple slices of bacon.  Enjoy!!!  





IHCC theme: Potluck

Also sharing this recipe with The Food of the Month Club.

Rick Bayless @IHCC button roundedLa Cocina de Leslie



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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pastel Azteca {She Made / Ella Hace}

For this month's She Made / Ella Hace, I asked my very good friend, Girlichef, if we could make one of my family's favorite meals...Pastel Azteca.  Of course Heather said yes, even though she hadn't heard of it before.  But I'm sure she's made some version of Pastel Azteca, she just didn't know that's what it's called.

That's what happened to me.  I made Pastel Azteca for years and years, without even realizing it.  I thought I was just making an Enchilada Casserole -- my quick and easy way to make enchiladas, without all of the fuss (and mess) of rolling the enchiladas.  My kiddies call it Mexican Lasagna, because of all the layers, especially when I make it with ground beef.   But it wasn't until we moved to Mexico that I learned that this dish is actually called Pastel Azteca.

Whatever you decide to call it, I'm sure it will quickly become a family favorite, with it's layers of golden corn tortillas, rich red enchilada sauce, tender pieces of chicken, and lots of bubbling melted cheese.




Pastel Azteca
(Enchilada Casserole / Mexican Lasagna)

Ingredients:

  • 3 Roma tomatoes, cut in halves
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 dried ancho chilies
  • 1 dried chipotle chile
  • 2 pounds boneless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • 16 Corn Tortillas
  • Vegetable Oil (for frying)
  • Queso Fresco
  • 1 cup Mexican Crema
  • 1 cup shredded Manchego cheese (or your favorite blend)


Directions:
If you haven't already done so, cook the boneless, skinless chicken breasts. (I cook mine in a 3-quart stockpot with 6 to 8 cups of water, 1/2 of a medium onion, a clove of garlic, a sprig of cilantro, and salt and pepper.)  Once the chicken is done, shred the chicken and set aside.

To prepare the sauce, place the tomato halves, the onion, garlic, and dried chilies in a medium saucepan.  Cover with water and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.  Remove the seeds and stems from the chilies.  Puree the tomatoes, onion, garlic, chilies and 1 cup of the cooking water until smooth.  Pour the sauce into a medium saucepan or bowl; season with salt.



Ladle enough sauce into a 9-inch square baking dish to cover the bottom; set aside.



Heat about 1/2 cup of vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Fry the corn tortillas, one at a time, for about 30 seconds per side.  Transfer the tortillas to a heatproof plate until you've finished frying all of the tortillas.



Arrange 4 of the fried corn tortillas in the bottom of the baking dish.  (The tortillas will overlap slightly.)  Ladle an additional 1/2 cup of the sauce on top of the tortillas, making sure the sauce makes it all the way to the edge, adding more sauce if necessary.



Top with shredded chicken, crumbled queso fresco and a couple of dollops of sour cream.  (To really jazz up this Pastel Azteca, you can add chopped onion, roasted poblano pepper slices, and golden kernels of corn to each layer!  That's how I like it, but Hubby and the kiddies prefer it simple.)  



Repeat for 2 additional layers, topping the third layer with the last of the fried tortillas.  Top the tortillas with more sauce, crumbled queso fresco, and shredded manchego cheese.



Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for 30 to 40 minutes until the cheese has melted and starts to turn a light golden brown.



Enjoy!!!



Be sure to visit Girlichef's blog to check out her Pastel Azteca with shredded pork, black beans, and smoky chipotle peppers!




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Monday, May 14, 2012

Lonche de Aguacate con Queso #amolosaguacates



If you love avocados as much as I do, then you're going to love the Aguacate Lindo y Querido Recipe Contest hosted by Avocados from Mexico.  The grand prize is $500 (US dollars) and a trip to Houston in September for private cooking classes with Mexico’s renowned Celebrity Chef Aquiles Chavez, at his new critically acclaimed restaurant, The Fisheria.  (Aquiles is a major culinary superstar here in Mexico and is the host of two of my favorite cooking shows: Aquilisimo and El Toque de Aquiles.)  You have until May 25th to enter the contest. 

Did you know that Mexico is the world leader in growing and eating avocados, where they have been an integral part of the culture for centuries?  

Avocados from Mexico are available year-round, with their peak of the season being from September though May – yes, they are truly a winter fruit!

I could eat avocados all day.  There's rarely a meal at our house that doesn't include avocados, whether it be a creamy guacamole or a couple of slices on top of a spicy taco.  But my all-time favorite way to eat avocados is in a golden crisp Lonche de Aguacate con Queso (Avocado & Cheese Sandwich).  

Lonches de Aguacate con Queso are very popular during Cuaresma (Lent) when we can't eat meat, but I love to eat them year round, for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner.  



Lonche de Aguacate con Queso
(Avocado & Cheese Sandwich)

Ingredients:
  • Bolillo Rolls
  • Butter
  • Mexican Crema
  • Queso Fresco
  • Avocados, sliced
  • Tomato, sliced
  • Red onion, sliced
  • Canned jalapeño peppers, sliced

Directions:
Slice bolillo rolls in half lengthwise.  Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Place the bolillo rolls, cut-side down in the skillet and toast for 1 to 2 minutes until light golden brown.  Flip over the bolillo halves and immediately spread the cut-side with Mexican crema.  Top one of the bolillo halves with slices of queso fresco.



Transfer the toasted bolillo halves to a plate.  Top the other bolillo half with slices of avocado.



Top with slices of tomato, onion, and canned jalapeño peppers.  Enjoy!!! 


*This is part of a sponsored campaign with Latina Mom Bloggers and Avocados From Mexico. However, all opinions expressed are my own.


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Friday, May 4, 2012

Sopa Azteca {Tortilla Soup}

Even after having lived in Mexico for 11 years, this Gringa still gets a little homesick for the U.S.  It happens mostly around the holidays.  Especially around the holidays that aren't celebrated in Mexico the same way as they are in the States.  Holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter, and Cinco de Mayo.

I can't tell you how heartbroken I was to learn that there weren't any big fiestas here in Mexico with mariachis and margaritas for Cinco de Mayo.  Don't get me wrong, Cinco de Mayo is a national holiday.  It's just not celebrated with the same enthusiasm.

That's why I was happy to learn that this week on I Heart Cooking Clubs we're celebrating Cinco de Mayo!  Because I'm always looking for an excuse to celebrate a fun holiday.

And what better way to celebrate than with a festive Sopa Azteca (Tortilla Soup)?  A spicy, flavorful soup, with tender pieces of chicken,  topped with cool Mexican crema, cheese that melts the instant it touches the steaming red broth, creamy melt-in-your-mouth-like-butter pieces of the avocado, and crispy fried tortillas.  It's a fiesta any time this soup comes to the table!




Sopa Azteca (Tortilla Soup)
(Recipe adapted from RickBayless.com)

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. bone-in chicken breast
  • Cilantro
  • 2 medium onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 dried ancho chilies
  • 4 large roma tomatoes, cut in wedges
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 cups chicken broth

Garnishes:
  • 1 cup Mexican crema
  • 8 oz. shredded asadero cheese (or Chihuahua cheese)
  • 3 large avocadoes, cut into bite-size pieces
  • Fried (or baked) Tortilla Strips
  • Limes, cut in wedges


Directions:
Place the bone-in chicken breasts in a 4-quart stockpot with 10 cups of water.  Add 1 of the medium onions, cut in half, 1 clove of garlic, and a couple of sprigs of fresh cilantro; season generously with salt and pepper.  Cover the stock pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the chicken is done cooking.  (About an hour.)  Let the chicken cool slightly.  Shred the chicken, or cut it into bite size pieces.

Once the chicken has finished cooking, toast the dried ancho chilies over an open flame for a few seconds on each side.  Soak the chilies in 1 cup of hot chicken broth or water.  Remove the stems and seeds from chilies, set aside.  Heat a comal, griddle or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Toast the tomatoes turn soft and black spots have started to form on the skin; set aside.


In a large 4-quart pot, heat the olive oil.  Slice the remaining medium onion into 1/4-inch slices.  Add the onions and garlic the pot and saute, stirring occasionally, until they just start to caramelize; remove from heat.


Transfer the onions, garlic, tomatoes, ancho chilies and the broth/water they were soaked in to a blender cup.  Puree until smooth.  Return the 4-quart pot to medium-high heat.  Carefully pour the puree into the pot.  Let the puree simmer until the color starts to darken and the sauce starts to thicken.  Stir in the remaining 7 cups of chicken broth and add the chicken.  (I used the broth the chicken was cooked in.)  Let simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes for the flavors to meld together.


Garnish with Mexican crema, shredded cheese, chopped avocado, and fried (or baked) tortilla strips.  Finish it off with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.  Enjoy!!!



IHCC theme: Cinco de Mayo



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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Food of the Month Club: May

This month's Food of the Month is one of my all-time favorite fruits.  On the outside, this fruit can vary in color from red, to green, to yellow, and orange.  But on the inside, the color is almost always the same....a deep golden yellow.

Dramatic drumroll, please.....

The Food of the Month for May is....MANGOES!!!



Now I realize that mangoes may not be in season everywhere, so it's perfectly acceptable if you use canned or frozen mangoes.

I tend to lean toward sweeter recipes when it comes to mangoes, but I've been wanting to experiment with more savory dishes.  What about you?  How do you like to use mangoes?

I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with.



How to participate:
  1. Cook up something delicious using Mangoes as one of the main ingredients.  
  2. Post the recipe(s) on your blog, making sure to link to this page in your blog post(s).  You can also add the Food of the Month Club badge to your post and/or sidebar.  (Grab the code for the badge here.) 
  3. Email your entries to me at leslielimon@lacocinadeleslie.com by May 30th.  (Current recipes only.) Be sure to  include:
*Your name 
*Your blog name 
*Permalink to your blog post 
*Photo of your recipe or permission to pull one from your post

       4.  Visit La Cocina de Leslie on May 31st for the Mango recipe round-up.  




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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Lime Recipe Round-Up {Food of the Month Club}

There's an old saying that says, "When life hands you a Limón, marry him!"

No, wait.  That's just the motto I live by.

The saying I'm thinking of goes, "When life hands you limones, make limonada!"  It's a great saying, and limonada is probably one of the best refreshing and delicious beverages around, but I think the saying could use a little tweaking.  I mean suggesting that limonada is the only thing you can make,  really puts a limit on the possibilities.  That's just completely unfair to all of the tart and juicy limones in the world.  That's why for this month's Food of the Month Club Recipe Round-Up, I'm changing that old saying to...
"When life hands you limones, look at all of the wonderful things you can make!"

To start things off, we have this creamy and dreamy Lime Zest Ice Cream from my foodie BFF, Girlichef.  I bet it's like a fiesta in your mouth!


FOTMC newcomer, Ckay from Sweet and That's It, prepared a creamy curd di Limetta (lime curd) and then turned it into these amazing chocolate-crusted tartlets with strawberries, dulce de leche and whipped cream.  How do you say insanely delicious in Italian?



Nicole from Presley's Pantry has two delicious recipes for us this month.  First up are these amazing Shrimp Tacos with Key Lime & Orange Love.  Ay. Dios. Mio!  These would be a great for a Cinco de Mayo party this weekend.



Next up, Nicole offers us this refreshing (and miraculous) Ginger Lime Tea that will cure pretty much everything that ails you.



Speaking of Cinco de Mayo, you can't have a party without margaritas.  For that we turn to my good friend, Vianney from Sweet Life, whom I like to call "la diosa de las margaritas".  How gorgeous is this Strawberry-Lime Margarita?



To satisfy your sweet tooth, our friends from Muy Bueno Cookbook have a cool and creamy Lemon-Lime Icebox Pie.



I also have two recipes to share this month.  The first recipe is a popular beer/lime juice cocktail called  Micheladas that has a spicy kick. 



The second recipe is a tangy Lime-Cilantro Vinagreta. 



To end things on a sweet note, we have this Sassy Pisco Sour & Coconut Tart from our good friends at Peru Delights.  Did you hear that?  I pretty sure I just heard this slice screaming my name!



A big thank you to all of my foodie friends for sharing their favorite lime recipes.  If you would like to be featured in the next Food of the Month Club Round-Up, tune in tomorrow (May 3rd) to find out what ingredient will be our next Food of the Month.

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