Thursday, November 3, 2011

Arroz Verde - Green Rice

Hola amigos! How are you? I hope you've been enjoying my recipes as much as I've enjoyed making, tasting and sharing them with all of you! Today I bring another recipe, a very VERY easy one but the fact that is easy doesn't take anything away from its delicious flavor! Today I am sharing "Arroz Verde" (green rice) and it doesn't mean that the grain itself is green this rice is cooked in a sauce that makes it look green in the end.

We, Mexicans, eat a lot, A LOT of rice, I think only Asian people eat more rice than we do, we often call rice "sopa de arroz" (soup of rice or rice soup) we don't mean by this that it is soupy it's just the way we call it, any noodle or rice we call "sopa" (soup) even spaghetti we call "sopa" why? now I am wondering the same thing!

Anyway... Here is my recipe to make "Green Rice (with Vegetables)"

Note: Even when the rice uses poblano peppers it is not really hot or spicy because we remove all the seeds/veins of the peppers it has just a very mild kick to it. My 3 yr. old enjoys this rice so I assure you it is not very hot.

Arroz Verde (con Verduras)
Yields: 8-10 Servings
 Ingredients:
2 cups of white or jasmine rice* (I use and prefer jasmine)
6 tbsp. butter
2 Poblano peppers (stem, seeds and veins removed) -cut in quarters- (I use 1 poblano pepper per cup of rice)
1/4 white onion (cut into smaller wedges, it will go into the blender)
1 clove of garlic
1/2 cube of chicken bouillion (or use 2 cups of chicken stock instead of 2 of the cups of water)
*4 cups of hot water if you are using white rice or 3 1/2 cups if you are using jasmine like me.
1/2 cup of frozen mixed vegetables (optional)
Salt to taste (about 1.5 teaspoons)


Directions:
  •  First make your sauce. In the jar of your blender add the poblano peppers, white onion, clove of garlic, and about 1/2 the amount of water, blend until it's all completely mixed and there are no big pieces of poblano pepper, then add the chicken bouillion to it and blend for another minute. Set aside. (The poblano peppers make a lot of "foam" then they are blended, don't worry, that's normal).


  • In a big saucepan and at medium heat melt your butter. Once it has melted add the 2 cups of rice and start stirring preferably using a wooden spoon. Stir constantly until the rice has turned into a more opaque color and not as white anymore but don't let it really brown (about 4 mins.)

  • Add your poblano pepper sauce to your rice (carefully because it might "jump" a lot from the heat of the pan) stir once and then add the remaining water, your frozen vegetables if you are using them and season with salt (stir JUST once again). 

  • Once it starts boiling reduce the heat to low. Cover with a lid just leaving a tiny crack open (do not uncover often or stir at all again). let it cook until all the liquid is all gone (about 18 mins). Cover completely, remove from the heat and let it sit for about 5 mins. Fluff with a fork and serve.


I hope you like this simple and delicious recipe!If you do please do not forget to leave a comment, we, cooks, stay encouraged by the comments of people who enjoy our food!

Provecho!

Paloma.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Salsa verde! Picante! - Green Salsa! Hot!

Good day everybody! I thought it was about time for me to share another recipe! So, here I am! Sharing a very easy recipe to make a delicious (and authentic) Salsa Verde! This salsa is made with Green Tomatillos which are a staple in Mexican cuisine! You can find them pretty much in any Supermarket, they might look a little weird to you if you have never bought them before, they are usually covered by a very very thin yellow/brown/grayish layer of skin (it can be easily removed, it's almost like a layer of thin paper) so don't worry about that layer, it doesn't mean they are "bad" it just means that you discard that skin and use the tomatillo inside. The flavor of tomatillos is very distinct so you can't just use any kind of "tomato" as a substitute, if the recipe calls for tomatillos you have to use them. They are not expensive and they are really good.

Mexican Green Tomatillos
Salsa verde Mexicana
(Makes about 2 cups)

Ingredients:
  • 5 or 6 Tomatillos verdes (green tomatillos) (it depends on their size if they are too little you need more, this is already a small kind of 'tomato', about the size of a roma tomato -just rounder-)
  • 3 chiles serranos (serrano peppers) -stems removed-
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • salt to taste (I use 1 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 3 tbsp. chopped cilantro (fresh... you cannot use dry cilantro at all in this recipe, if you can't get or don't have cilantro is better to just not use anything else instead your salsa will still be good, cilantro just takes it to a whole new level of flavor!)

Directions:
- Place the tomatillos and peppers with about 2 quarts of water in a saucepan over medium heat until they boil and the tomatillos/chiles cook until the tomatillos change color and seem to start to peel (about 15 mins). Remove from the heat.
 
 - In a blender add the cooked tomatillos,peppers (without any additional liquid where they were cooked, the tomatillos absorbed liquid anyway while cooking and that will be enough for the salsa), garlic and salt and blend until they are completely mixed and the salsa looks like this:

- Then add your chopped cilantro and blend for about 5 seconds just so it incorporates to the salsa and transfer to a container where it can be stored. Let it cool until it's room temperature and enjoy! It might "smell" like it is a very hot/spicy salsa but once it's completely cooled down you will be able to taste it and see that it is not that hot at all! You can store it in the refrigerator up to 5 days! Trust me! If you have tortilla chips or "Tostitos" this salsa will not see a second day!


I hope you like it! Remember... if you try this recipe and enjoy it... please leave a comment, a cook is always encouraged to keep cooking by the praises to her/his food!

Paloma.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Albondigas Rellenas de Huevo - Meatballs stuffed with hard-boiled egg

Hello everyone! Here I am with a new (not so new if you are a Mexican) Mexican recipe and this time it's "meatballs" who doesn't like meatballs? They are so versatile! They can be "simple" or "fancy" and you can use pretty much any meat to make them! (turkey, beef, veal, lamb, pork... ANYTHING). This recipe is not uncommon in Mexico and it makes GREAT meatballs that go perfect next to white (buttered, YUM!) rice. It might sound a little weird to you (if you have never had them before) but these meatballs are stuffed with hard-boiled egg... Trust me... you have to try them! So... here is the recipe:

Albondigas rellenas de huevo / Meatballs stuffed hard-boiled egg

Yields: 8 Meatballs (4 servings)

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef
1 chipotle pepper (from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 white onion
6 roma tomatoes (or about 4 of the whole red tomatoes) - cut in quarters or big chunks -
3 hard-boiled eggs cut in quarters (you will probably only need 2 because we are making about 8 meatballs but cook 3 eggs just in case)
1/4 cup of white rice
1 cube of chicken bouillion
salt and pepper to taste (about 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. of black pepper... adjust to your taste)
about 1.5 tbsp. vegetable oil (or a little more if necessary)

Directions:
- In a middle sauce pan pour some water (fill it about half-way) and when the water starts boiling throw the 1/4 cup of white rice and let it boil for only 5 minutes, remove from the heat, drain the rice immediately and set aside (let it cool for about 5 minutes)

- Mix the ground beef with the rice, season with some salt and black pepper and mix it all well with your hands.
- With the meat start making "patties" (like hamburger patties) and wrapping the egg quarters with those patties (one quarter per each of the patties) Making sure the egg is completely wrapped by the mix of meat/rice. Do this with all the meat/rice mixture. You should have about 8 meatballs. Set aside.

- Put your tomatoes, garlic, chipotle pepper and about 1 cup of water in the blender. Blend it all until it makes a sauce (as smooth as possible)
- In an extended non-stick pan using medium-low heat add the oil and fry your 1/4 onion there (you can slice the onion if you want, it doesn't matter much but the onion will be removed) While the onion is frying and the oil is hot add your meatballs carefully so they don't open or fall apart, if you use medium or medium-high heat it might cause them to break so just be patient and seal your meatballs on all sides.

-Once they are browned on all sides (about 9-10 minutes) remove the oil and the oil excess. Add your sauce and chicken bouillion (you can add some salt at this point if necessary but wait until the sauce has been simmering for about 5 minutes to taste and adjust) once you add the sauce you can also add chopped potatoes if you want just to add something else, but I left it like that. Bring it all to a boil, cover, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for about 35 minutes and serve.




I hope you like this recipe! If you do please let me know! Comments are always a great encouragement to keep cooking/sharing.

Paloma.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Salpicon ... Mimi Style!

Today's recipe is not mine.... My friend Mimi! She is a wonderful Mexican cook! And I love her wittiness and style! I am so happy I found her blog! If you know how to speak Spanish I am sure you will love it too: Me gusta cocinar pero odio lavar los platos (I love cooking but I hate washing the dishes) and she actually repeatedly refers to herself as "The lazy cook" ... So anyway.... Don't get discouraged if you don't speak Spanish! I am here to translate! And that's exactly what I am doing today... I am bringing one of her recipes to all of you! in English!

Today it will be "Salpicon" and it's delicious! as I've already explained (probably with all my recipes) each Mexican dish has its original foundation and flavors... BUT EVERY SINGLE FAMILY has their own version of it! Recipes in Mexico are usually not very "precise" they are transmitted from the older generations to the younger ones based on experience and it's all about your senses... When your "abuelita" or "mamá" (granny or mom) tell you how to prepare a dish they usually use phrases like "When it looks like this, when it tastes like this, when it smells like this and even when it sounds like this or that" so... Mexican cooking is all about feeling and experiencing through your very own palate, hands, eyes and ears! not so much about 1/2 tsp. of this or that....

Of course, we, modern cooks and bloggers are trying to put it all in a way where most people would be able to reproduce it... So ... here goes Mimi's version of Salpicon! I hope you enjoy it:

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 pound skirt steak (cooked until tender in water with some salt and a big piece of onion and then thinly shred it with the help of a fork)
  • 1 carrot thinly sliced (julienne)
  • 1 potato cut into julienne
  • 1 serrano pepper (roasted directly over the fire on your top stove, on the grill or on a flat pan if you don't have "Fire on your stove" and it's electric) make sure the pepper gets slightly charred - then thinly slice it -
  • 1/2 white onion (sliced in circles)
  • a little bit of vinegar (here we go, you see? It all depends on your taste, it's just for dressing)
  • olive oil (once again, it's for dressing, so just eye ball it!)
  • dried oregano (remember it has a strong flavor so it won't be more than 1 tsp)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • The ingredients above MAKE the salpicon but to eat it you will also need:
  • Thinly sliced lettuce
  • tostadas
  • 1 avocado
Directions:
Mix the shredded meat, carrots, potatoes, serrano (green) pepper and the onion, mix the olive oil and vinegar separately (it would be about 1/3 cup) and add it to the meat and the other ingredients, season with a little bit of oregano, salt and black pepper to taste.

Then place it all over the tostadas and top it with lettuce and avocado (season again with a little bit of salt)

Enjoy!!!

Thank you for sharing this recipe with all of us Mimi!!!

Paloma.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Taquitos de Tortilla Roja - "Red Tortilla Tacos"

I love Red Tortillas! have you ever tried them? They are not made with "Red Corn" or anything like that... they do have some "colorant" in them to make them look red... but what I love the most about them is their very distinctive flavor... They are seasoned with different condiments that make these tortillas PERFECT for certain type of Mexican tacos.

One very easy way to use them is to basically warm them up and then pass them through some hot vegetable oil, after this you can just fill them with a mix of queso fresco and chopped white onions, there is no specific recipe on "how much queso fresco and onions you need, because it varies, some people like more or less onions so it basically depends on your very personal taste. Queso fresco can be found in many stores, just make sure it says "QUESO FRESCO" and not Mexican cheese, queso fresco is not the "melting kind of cheese" but it's a more crumbly one.
Always garnish your "Red Tortilla Tacos" with fresh raw cabbage... Trust me... The flavor of cabbage with the red tortilla tacos is SOOO GOOD! Much better than using lettuce with them.


You can also fill these tortillas with shredded skirt steak and or even some mashed potatoes seasoned with dried chile cascabel and chile ancho (The recipe to use these chilies is coming!)

So go visit a Hispanic supermarket and try to find RED TORTILLAS! Trust me... You'll love them!

Paloma