Monday, December 31, 2012

Top 12 Recipes from 2012





Can you believe today is the last day of 2012?  There were times this year that I felt that this year would never come to an end.  But for the most part, I can't believe that it's already over.   Like every year, 2012 had it's good things and bad things, but through it all we always had the love and support from our friends and family, and something delicious to eat on the table.  And for that I am truly grateful!

In keeping with my New Year's Eve tradition here on the blog, today I am counting down the top 12 recipes from my Cocina.

Top 12 Recipes from 2012: 


12.  Polvorones (Mexican Shortbread Cookies w/ Rainbow Sprinkles}


11.  Pollo a la Crema 



10.  Sopa de Fideo Seco 



9.  Atole de Camote (Sweet Potato Atole)


8.  Pollo Adobado con Papas (Adobo Chicken w/ Potatoes)


7.  Agua de Ciruela Amarilla (Yellow Plum Agua Fresca)



6.  Sopa Azteca (Tortilla Soup)



5. Horchata de Coco (Coconut Horchata)


4.  Lime-Cilantro Vinagreta 



3.  Breakfast Enchiladas 


2.  Frijoles Charros/Rancheros (Cowboy Beans)


1. My grandmother's Tamales de Puerco en Chile Colorado (Shredded Pork Tamales)


Did your favorite make the list?  What was your favorite recipe from 2012?  And what recipes would you like to see in my Cocina in 2013?

Thank you to all who continue to visit La Cocina de Leslie.  May the coming year be filled with love, laughter and lots of delicious food!

XOXO!

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Homemade Eggnog w/ Maizena {She Made/Ella Hace}






When I think of Christmas, visions of Santa Claus, Christmas trees, my grandmother's tamales, and Ponche de Manzana all dance in my head.  There used to be a time, back when we lived in the States, when those visions also included eggnog.   Eggnog was one of the rare American treats that my Mexican grandparents loved.  It was one of the things I looked forward to most each year during the holidays.  One of our family's holiday traditions was to sip on eggnog, while we decorated our tree, listening to my grandmother's Christmas album collection on the jolly old record player.  (Yes, I'm THAT old!)

The last time I had eggnog was the Christmas before we moved to Mexico...13 years ago!

I crave eggnog every year when we put our Christmas tree up, even though now I make a big pot of champurrado for all of us to enjoy!  My kiddies had never even heard of eggnog, so they had no idea what they were missing.  But thanks to my good friend Girlichef, who suggested we make Rompope/Eggnog this month for She Made/Ella Hace they finally got their chance to try it!   

I don't know why it never occurred to me before to make my own eggnog.  It's actually quite simple.  My plan was to find a recipe online to try,  but after describing eggnog to the kiddies as a thick and creamy atole chock full of spices that is served cold, I decided to make just that...a cold eggnog atole (of sorts) made with milk and a packet of vanilla flavored Maizena (cornstarch), plus a couple of eggs, a few spices, and lots of fluffy whipped cream.   

The results far exceeded my expectations!  This eggnog was better than the store-bought kind I remembered.  It was creamy and frothy and full of flavor from the nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves.   This recipe is definitely a keeper!


Homemade Eggnog


Custard base: 
  • 5 cups milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 packet vanilla flavored Maizena (cornstarch)  
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves  
Additional ingredients: 
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup of rum or brandy (optional) 

Directions:
In a large saucepan, whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla flavored Maizena, the ground nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves until well combined.


Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the custard begins to boil and has thickened.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.


Just look at all those gorgeous specks of spices!


Combine the whipping cream and powdered sugar in a large bowl.  Using an electric mixer on high speed, whip the whipping cream until thick and fluffy.


Gently fold the whipped cream into the eggnog custard.  Stir in the rum.  (If serving to kids, omit the alcohol!)


Chill the eggnog in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Enjoy!!!


Be sure to visit Girlichef's blog to check out her Rompope (Mexican Eggnog)!



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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Julie & Julia Round-Up {Food 'n Flix}



One of my favorite movies, that I never tire of watching, is Julie & Julia.  There is just so much for me to love about this movie like food, cooking, a food blogger, and an American expat living abroad.  That is why I chose as last month's selection for Food n' Flix.  And after seeing all of the dishes this movie inspired, I love the movie even more.  

Here are the recipes inspired by Julie & Julia...

Debra at Eliot Eats baked up these beautiful Brioche Rolls.


Inspired by one of my favorite scenes with Meryl Streep, Jane Lynch, and Stanley Tucci, Girlichef made this creamy, light, and frothy Beurre Blanc, with a slight tangy-ness.


Tina from Squirrel Head Manor had visions of butter, mushroom, and wine after watching Julia & Julia and turned them into Coq au Vin.


Speaking of Coq Au Vin, Elizabeth from The Law Student's Cookbook shares her recipe for a Slow Cooker Coq Au Vin and includes two ways to serve it.



Francesca from Burro e Zucchero teaches us how to make our own Mayonnaise, one of the first recipes Julia Child shared with her good friend Avis DeVoto.


Deb from Kahakai Kitchen made this delicious Garlic Soup flavored with saffron and potatoes.  


Because Julia proclaimed at her birthday party that Braised Cucumbers are a Revelation, Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla made Sole Meunière et Concombre au Beurre (with Braised Cucumbers).


I made French Onion Soup with a Mexican Twist (tequila!) after watching Julia Child chop a whole lotta onions.


For more Food 'n Flix fun, join us this month as we cook along with Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, hosted by Sarah at Well Dined.


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Sunday, December 2, 2012

French Onion Soup w/ a Mexican Twist {Food 'N Flix: Julie & Julia}


Last month (November) was my turn to host Food 'n Flix and I chose the movie Julie & Julia.  There are so many inspiring scenes and amazingly delicious dishes to choose from it was hard for me to decide where to let my inspiration take me.  I ended up making a traditional French Onion Soup with a Mexican twist, because of a scene of Julia Child chopping onions.  The scene takes place right after Julia Child's first day of cooking class at Le Cordon Bleu.  Julia comes home to practice her onion chopping skills until she's more adept at it than her male classmates.  She's chopped so many onions, that she has a huge pile of chopped onions that take over more than half of her kitchen table.  Julia is still chopping away, crying and sniffling from the smell of the onions when  her husband Paul gets home from work.  The smell is so strong, he isn't able to spend more than a few minutes in the kitchen.

I love that scene because I have a love-hate relationship with onions.  I love to eat onions!  Cooked, grilled, raw, baked, covered in batter and fried.  You name it, I'll eat it.  But...I don't like chopping them.  For as long as I can remember, chopping onions has made me cry.  As soon as I slice into an onion, my eyes start to sting and well up with tears.  Before you know it, the tears are streaming down my cheeks, and my mascara is running, making me look like something out of a telenovela.

My grandmother and aunts said that once I got older, I'd stop crying when chopping onions.  Well, I'm 38 years old and I still cry every time I chop an onion.  I've tried soaking the onions or rinsing them with cold water before chopping them.  I've tried balancing a large piece of onion on top of my head while chopping them.  I've worn large Jackie O style sunglasses while chopping onions.  And I've even bit down on a piece of onion while I chopped.  None of these tricks have worked.  But still, I continue to slice and chop onions because the flavor they add to any dish is well worth the tears.

Such is the case with this classic French Onion Soup.  Sweet caramelized onion in a golden broth topped with crispy slices of toasted bolillo roll and oodles of melted Manchego cheese.  The Mexican twist to this soup comes from a splash of tequila that I use in place of white wine, which is what is traditionally used.  This soup is so good it will bring tears to your eyes, even if you didn't cry while chopping the onions.    


French Onion Soup w/ a Mexican Twist
(recipe adapted from The Bonne Femme Cookbook)

Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-1/2 pounds onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup tequila
  • 2 bolillo rolls, cut in 1-1/2-inch slices
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup shredded Manchego cheese
Directions:

  1. In a large 3 to 4-quart stockpot, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat just until the butter melts.  Add the onions.  Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes or until softened, but not brown.  Season with salt and pepper.  
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook the onion, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden brown.  (About 30 to 40 minutes.) 
  3. Turn the heat up to medium.  Stir in the flour with a wire whisk.  Let cook for 1 minute.  Slowly pour in the chicken broth, then the tequila.  Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover stockpot, and let the soup simmer for about 15 minutes.  
  4. While the soup is simmering, preheat oven to 375F.  In a small bowl, mix together the softened butter with the finely chopped garlic until well combined.  Spread garlic butter on one side of each slice of bolillo.  Place bolillo slices, butter side up, on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Bake in oven for about 10 to 12 minutes until toasted and golden brown.  
  5. Top each slice of bolillo with shredded cheese.  Return to oven for a couple of minutes until the cheese has completely melted.  
  6. To serve, ladle soup into bowl.  Top with 2 slices of cheesy bolillo toast.  Enjoy!!! 



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