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!



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) 

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)!


A day of remembrance...


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.


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)

  • 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

  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!!! 


Silver Dollar Potato Patties w/ Tomato-Chipotle Salsa #SundaySupper

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, I'm still not sure what all I'll be making this year.  My menu changes from year to year.  Well, mostly just the side dishes, because there are a few recurring dishes that make an appearance at our Thanksgiving table each year; roast chicken instead of turkey (because turkeys are hard to come by in Small Town, Mexico), pumpkin pie, Cajeta Pecan Pie, and of course, mashed potatoes.  Lots and lots of fluffy, buttery mashed potatoes.  Hubby, the kiddies, and I all love mashed potatoes, so I always make sure to make extra, because the leftovers can be used to create some of my family's favorite dishes like Potato Enchiladas and Tacos Dorados de Papa (fried potato tacos).

But when I was a little girl, the one thing I looked forward to most was the day after Thanksgiving breakfast, because my grandpa always made Tortitas de Papa (potato patties) with the leftover mashed potatoes.  Little golden fried, cheesy potato patties topped with a tomato salsa.  I remember sneaking a couple of Tortitas de Papa while Pappy was cooking because I could never wait until he was finished frying all of the potato patties.  Then I'd sneak a few more after breakfast, because they were just too good to resist.

What's on the menu in your Cocina for Thanksgiving?  And what do you do with the leftovers?

Silver Dollar Potato Patties w/ Tomato-Chipotle Salsa
(Tortitas de Papa) 


  • 3 large roma tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
  • 2 to 3 cups cold mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup of your favorite cheese, shredded (I used manchego) 
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt


In a small saucepan, bring the tomatoes to a boil with 2 cups of water.  Remove from heat; let cool to room temperature.  Puree the tomatoes with 1 to 2 chipotle chilies in a blender until smooth; season with salt and set aside.

Combine the cold, leftover mashed potatoes with the shredded cheese, stirring to combine well.

Scoop 1/8 cup of mashed potatoes and shape into balls; flatten slightly.  Once all of the patties have been formed, refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until very firm.

Break the egg in to a small bowl and beat slightly to break the yolk.  Combine the flour and seasoning salt in a separate bowl.  Dip each potato patty in the egg, making sure both sides are completely covered.

Transfer the potato patties to the flour, turning to make sure both sides are evenly coated.  Gently dust off the excess flour.

Heat 1/4 cup vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Fry the potato patties until golden brown on both sides.  The potato patties can be enjoyed plain or topped with leftover cranberry sauce for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

But my favorite way to eat Tortitas de Papa is topped with the tomato-chipotle salsa.  It makes for a delicious breakfast served with a slice of ham and a fried egg.


What do you do with your leftovers?  For more Thanksgiving leftovers ideas be sure to check out what my #SundaySupper friends have cooked up for you this week.

Breakfast & Brunch

Main Course

Soups, Salads, Sides & Starters

Sweets & Desserts

Wine Pairings for the Recipes Featured

Please join on us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper on November 18.  In the evening we will meet at 7pm EST for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat.
All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag or you can follow us through TweetChat.
We’d also love to feature your recipe for Thanksgiving Leftovers on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board to share them with all of our followers, too.