As you think about soups for fall, put this one at the top of your list. It is a mellow, creamy comforting kind of soup. Continue reading
Disclaimer: For those that receive this in your email. Pop over to my blog to get a better idea of what’s been going on there- lot’s of good stuff you may have been missing out on and you can read this post there too. https://aroundtheworldin365.wordpress.com/
Girl gone green. These days I am looking for healthier and more exciting ways to cook traditionally heavy-laden fattening Latin American food. Now I know that along the coastal regions of the Latin Americas there are lots of freshly caught fish, just picked juicy mangoes, and garden sunset squash. Yet, the opposite is also true, there is also an abundance of cheesy saucy enchiladas, hot fried flautas, and smashingly tasty double-fried tostones.
So in search of green, vegetarian and healthy enter tonight’s feature-Chiles Rellenos with corn. Read how the traditionalists do it- stuff with cheese, meat with mild spices, raisins and sometimes nuts; coat the chiles in an egg batter and flour mixture and deep fry.
Enter the above-I stuffed dark green chiles with cheese, roasted corn, and scallions; dipped the chiles in milk and then bathed them in an egg wash and tossed the chiles into a cornmeal and bread crumb mixture- and baked them. And get this-the best part-ready? My husband a huge meat eater said of all the LA (Latin American) dishes I have made- he said it was the best one yet! What??!?!?
The recipe is from the Mexican tradition and comes from one of my LA cookbooks Healthy Latin Cooking by Steven Raichlen- He is a great resource for grilling and using this kind of cooking method in LA cooking. I’m not gonna lie- it’s messy (messier in the traditional method too) but at least you will not have to stand in front of a stove frying the things…so that helps.
Chiles Rellenos with Corn -Chiles Rellenos con elote
2 large or 3 medium ears corn, shucked
salt and pepper
8 poblano chile peppers (see tip)
1/2 cup grated queso fresco, sharp white cheddar or vegan shredded cheese as an another option
3 scallions, trimmed and minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup ( I used less) finely fresh cilantro or flat-leaf parsley
3 tablespoons currants or raisins (optional which I used and loved the flavors of this in the relleno)
1 cup unbleached flour
1/3 cup liquid egg substitute or 3 egg whites or egg replacer (vegan option), lightly beaten
3/4 cup unseasoned dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup stone-ground yellow or blue cornmeal (I used regular cornmeal)
Pre-heat a grill or broiler to high.
Coat the corn with non-stick spray (I just sprayed with water) and season with salt and pepper. Grill the corn or broil 4″ from the heat, turning occasionally for 2-3 minutes per side, or up to 12 minutes in all or until the kernels are well-browned. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool. When cool enough to handle, cut the kernels off the corn cobs and place in a medium bowl.
Meanwhile, roast the chile peppers over a flame, on the grill, under the broiler or stove top -turn every 3 minutes per side or until nicely charred. Transfer to a paper bag. Let cool for 15 minutes to loosen the skins. When cool enough to handle, transfer to a cutting board ad scrape off and discard the skin, using a paring knife (I did the best I could here as it was hard to scape off all of it). Wear plastic gloves when handling if you like. Set 6 of the chile peppers aside.
For the remaining 2 chile peppers, core, seed, and cut the flesh into 1/4″ pieces (wear plastic gloves when handling). Add to the corn kernels. Stir in the cheese, scallions, garlic, cilantro, or parsley and currants or raisins (if using). The mixture should be highly seasoned; taste and add more salt and pepper, if desired.
Carefully make a 2″ long lengthwise cut in each of the 6 reserved chile peppers, taking care not to tear the skin (wear plastic gloves when handling). Using a melon baller or spoon, scrape out the core and seeds, leaving the stem intact. Stuff each pepper with the corn mixture.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the flour in a shallow bowl, the egg substitute or egg whites or egg replacer in a second bowl, and the bread crumbs and corn meal in a third bowl (mix together the meal and crumbs with your fingertips). Dip each chile first in the flour, shaking off the excess, then in the egg, then in the crumb mixture. Place the chiles on a non-stick baking sheet. Generously coat the tops of the chiles with non-stick spray. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and the filling is hot.
My additions: When this was done, I personally added more queso fresco on top and shredded cheese and topped off with Salsa and served with a side of black beans!! Perfecto!!
Cooking Tip: Poblano chile peppers are triangular-shaped; dark green chile peppers that have a definite bite. Most large supermarkets carry them in the produce section. If unavailable or if or if you prefer a milder dish, use Anaheim chile peppers or green bell peppers work well too.
Check out some other chiles rellenos recipes- click links below:
It’s been a while since I have posted. I have taken a bit of a break to research and read all about French Cooking. I am looking forward to a new year learning technique in and cooking all things French.
But here’s the reason for this post. I saw this in my timeline in Facebook and got all giddy about this post called “Christmas Recipes From Around the World.” It is exactly what I love about international cooking and what gets me excited about cooking. Check it out and tell me what you think. For now the Puerto Rican Pernil Asado looks amazing and could be a menu item very, very soon (check out the link for this recipe below) and join me next year when I post about French Cooking.
- Day 14: Christmas traditions around the world (outdoorsy.gardenxl.com)
The cookbook Gran Cocina Latina is a portfolio showcasing Latin American cuisine. Don’t think spicy. Yes, there are some peppers, but think coconut milk, feta cheese, pumpkin seeds, avocado, Spanish olives, allspice berries, bacon, butternut squash- a lot of familiar tastes juxtaposed with new unfamiliar spices and edibles like epazote, guajillo chiles, pigeon peas which are all found easily in your nearby Latin American supermarket.
The author Maricel Presilla weaves stories of her own Cuban cooking traditions with food stories of Paraguay, El Salvador, Brazil, Columbia, Mexico, Peru, Nicaragua to name a few. She travels all of Latin America-from village to village, home to home, kitchen to kitchen gathering recipes, listening to family cooking traditions, collecting memories and imparts this food wisdom to the reader to excite and entice us.
Follow me as I crack wide open this 900 page cookbook to find my story to share around the table and bring us a little closer to our Latin American brothers and sisters. My goal is to cook most of the recipes and challenge the book’s effectiveness for the average kitchen cook. What I hope in the end is that I can understand a lot about Latin American cooking by reading, testing and tasting. So let’s begin our journey.
As we no longer have a large family living at home, I will reduce the amount of servings I make to not have waste- but I think it will all get eaten, regardless. Menu for the week:
- Paraguayan Meatballs in Broth and Paraguayan Corn Bread
- Nicaraguan Ground Beef and Baby Corn with White Rice
- Cuban Style Shrimp in Enchilado Sauce; Fried Green Plantains; White Rice
- Cuban Pineapple and Avocado Salad
- Venezuelan Pan Fried Shredded Beef; White Rice and Black Beans; Venezuelan Chunky Avocado Sauce
- My Father’s Very Soupy Chicken Soup
- Peruvian Chicken and White Bean Stew with Smoked Paprika and Garlic Sauce
- Gran Cocina Latina: the Food of Latin America, by Maricel E. Presilla (bfgb.wordpress.com)
- Cocina Latina (mysanantonio.com)
Easter, the most important principal holiday for Christians. Christians everywhere remember the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I, and millions of other Christians will meditate, pray, fast, remember and celebrate Christ’s life, death and resurrection.
As a cook of international food fare, I want to plan my own Easter Menu but I keep coming up empty, okay except for ham. So I got to thinking…dangerous, I know, but I do have some food cooking experiences in my suitcase of recipes.
Imagine celebrating Easter in Italy now, with the new Pope- Pope Francis. He will be leading a procession explaining the Passion of Christ. Of course, this Pope may or may not celebrate this ritual as other Popes have in the past. This few week old Pope does not do business as usual. I have read that he will be washing the feet of 12 young detainees instead of the ritual of washing priests feet.
In terms of Easter food, it is customary in Italy that a family makes a frittata, similar to our omelet. In addition to the frittata, try a Roasted Baby Lamb. Add eggs in everything and round out the menu with the very popular bread, we know here in America during the Christmas holiday, as Panetone- a rich feast sweet bread.
Roasted Baby Lamb, Frittata, Easter Eggs, and Panetone
How about Spain? Semana Santa or Holy Week and the most important occasion in all of Spain. Parades and Festivals enacting the Passion. Street rituals that include waving Palm branches, are significant because palms welcome Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, right before his death.
If you want to enact a traditional Spanish menu, you might want to include Garbanzos and Spinach, Cod, a Paella and if you like garlic, a garlic soup. Round it out with some rice pudding and a sweet bread called Torrijas, a bread similar to our french toast.
Spanish Easter Menu
Fish or Lamb, Garbanzos beans and Spinach, Garlic Soup, Rice Pudding, Torrijas
A few years back, our family was able to celebrate a traditional Russian Easter. Our Russian study happen to be perfectly dated so that we could share with neighbors and friends a Russian Easter meal. Eggs ARE the thing in Russia. My daughter and I decorated eggs with all sorts of beautiful vibrant colors and designs. I made blini (a mini pancake) with salmon and caviar atop and a wonderfully rich Easter cake (Kulich)- a sweet cake made with lots of eggs and butter and studded with raisins and fruit. I also worked hard on a Borsht- a beet and meat soup, and a beautifully decorated salad made with LOTS of eggs, radishes and cucumbers. It was a feast to culminate the ending of Lent and celebrate the entering of the Easter Season.
Russian Easter Menu
Borst, Russian Salad, Blini, Kulich, Easter Eggs, Champagne
Imagine with me for a moment, going to the third largest Carnival in the world, after Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival and New Orléans Carnival. Think about it, if you are in Mexico now, the work week shuts down and what follows are processions, festivities, and church masses. These rituals reign prominent as you remember the last supper, foot washing, tribunal, and death and resurrection of Christ. Then if one week is not enough, Mexicans take the 2nd week off to celebrate Easter week, going to beaches and vacation destinations.
All that festivity and processing will leave you very thirsty and hungry. Along the paths of the Carnivals are food booths selling carnival treats. So start with Aguas Frescas, a sweet fruity water drink laced with flavors like, pineapple, tamarind, or melon. Hungry? try an empanada-meat stuffed pastries or the sweet kind-fruit filled pastries.
Mexican Easter Menu
Arroz con Pollo (Chicken and Rice), Tamales, Rice and Beans, Horchata (a Rice Sugar Cold Milk Drink), Empanadas
So that leaves me with my traditional Christian Easter. We prepare for Easter starting with an Ash Wednesday service, the service that begins the season of Lent- a time of reflection, alms-giving to the poor and fasting. Holy Week is now. Tonight is a service of foot washing and the last supper.
Sunday will be Easter and we will celebrate with a very early sunrise service to follow with an Easter Breakfast with lots of eggs, egg casseroles and fruit. More services in the later morning to celebrate that Christ is Risen!
Now, the Easter meal. The typical Easter tradition includes lots of deviled eggs, ham, lamb, and Easter Eggs in our parts. But one thing is sure: we can throw down in the South. We can make the best ham and colored eggs anywhere. I am guessing you can say the same.
My Easter Menu
Ham, Hashbrown Casserole, Martha’s Corn, Broccoli Salad, Easter Eggs
Whatever the celebration, do it with passion! Have a wonderful Easter and will see you next week!
“Paring”-the nouveau term for culinary or wine enthusiasts. Here’s a popular one-paring a nice wine with your meal. Some others like – wine and cheese, chocolate and coffee, wine and chocolate. How about chocolate and turkey??!
I’ll get to that turkey/chocolate paring in a second, but here’s the scoop on food paring. It’s the idea that foods work well together when they share key flavor ingredients-like bacon and pretty much everything these days. Now to the turkey story. Chocolate is an ingredient used in some nice Mexican dishes-called mole- (not pronounced like “there’s a mole on your face” but sounds more like mo-lay). Here is a pairing I found most intriguing and quite the legend in Mexico:
“The most common version of the legend takes place at the Convent of Santa Rosa in Puebla sometime early in the colonial period. Upon hearing that the archbishop was going to visit, the convent nuns went into a panic because they were poor and had almost nothing to prepare. The nuns prayed and brought together the little bits of what they did have chili peppers, spices, day-old bread, nuts, and a little chocolate and more. They killed an old turkey they had, cooked it and put the sauce on top; the archbishop loved it.”(Wikipedia)
I am not saying cooking a turkey breast and melting chocolate on top will make a nice mole. Mole is quite complex and uses LOTS of ingredients. But here’s something a bit simpler that I have chewed on the last few days and weeks as I look into the world of buying/selling chocolate and chocolate pairings.
So these days here’s whats hot: chocolate and sea salt, chocolate and raspberries, chocolate and mint. How about some newer fusions – chocolate and mango, chocolate and ginger, chocolate and banana, or chocolate and cayenne.
One of the chocolates that is selling right now at Baker & Co is the new Antidote Chocolate Bar. An Ecuadorian chocolate paired with banana, or gooseberry, or lemon or ginger. The whole idea behind this concept is to have a treat with health benefits. Most chocolates at the grocery stores main filler is sugar and surprisingly little cocoa. With Antidote chocolates, it is a bean to bar concept; a nurturing as well as nourishing treat. I think this kind of pairing is worth trying. If you love a nice chocolate and really want to make it count, come by and see some of the chocolates in Graham at Bonnie Blue’s on Main.
But if you want turkey and chocolate…you might have to wait until Thanksgiving.
Have your chocolate and eat it too-
-with peanut butter
-with nothing at all.
Until next time, sweet wishes to you.
Simple, easy and fresh. Three of Mexico’s contributions to the culinary world: Zucchini, Corn and Tomatoes.
This recipe is old world style. Oaxacan style. Oaxaca-Mexico’s Culinary Capital is located in Southern Mexico along the Pacific. The biggest contribution to the country and quickly in the states is mole (pronounced moe -lay). Complex sauces which I will talk about in another post and a recipe that will take many times to make in order to get it better and better.
This vibrant and diverse vegetable dish is an example of using fresh food in a new way. My family loved it and I hope you do too. We made one change in the recipe. Instead of corn, which is a very common ingredient everywhere, I substituted carrots (because I did not have corn). The taste was incredible with a hint of sweetness. Make some for the 4th of July and get applauded. I did use Mexican Squash which is little fatter than zucchini, but a very similar taste and you can pick some up in any tienda, but you can use that zucchini that’s bountiful right this minute!!!
Check out our meal:This was one great Meatless Monday! Magnifico! The pic shows a Mexican potato fritter I made with Mexican cheese and the re-fried beans which were a gift from a real Mexican cook from Mexico. Thanks Amparro!
Calabacitas Picadas con Elote (Chopped Zucchini with Corn) from Mexico the Beautiful Cookbook
2 tablespoons oil
1 clove garlic
1/4 onion, chopped
1 1/2 lb zucchini, chopped, about 6 cups
kernels from 2 ears (cobs) of corn (about 1 cup)
2 tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
2 small sprigs of cilantro
1 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Heat oil in skillet, add the garlic and onion and saute over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the zucchini and corn and saute for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the tomatoes and cook over high heat until the mixture begins to bubble. Add the cilantro (I omitted, because I did not have, and I liked it better), salt and pepper, lower the heat and cover. Cook for 5 minutes or until zucchini is tender.
Variation: add strips of roasted chile poblanos and sprinkle with queso fresco or feta cheese before serving.
Hasta Luego~~See you later!!
Have you ever seen the movie V for Vendetta? It’s about bringing down an oppressive fascist government and how the people should be afraid of their government. Well the opposite perhaps should be more true: when the government fears their people, there is liberty. It’s a call to rebellion that entices us to question authority. Our family loved the movie. I guess because it has a bit of the “do not follow what everyone else is doing” kind of thing in it. We’ve always been anti-tradition on some issues and this month’s cooking comes on the heels of immigration matters regarding illegal aliens. Whatever you think about the border patrol, immigration, or illegal aliens, I challenge you not to follow “what -everyone- else- is- doing -kind -of -thing,” but rather, question the Veracity of it and who knows, you may have a bit of the vendetta thing in you! Voila~
Now on to cooking!! I love it. I have been cooking Mexican food for 3 weeks! (not blogging though). It is technically challenging and I love a good challenge. I am competitive by nature. No one knows it, but it’s a subtle attribute that at times comes out with veneration. In cooking mexican fare, I look at the recipe and attack it with a vengeance.
Veracruz, Mexico,a quiet port city on the Gulf of Mexico, is influenced heavily by Spanish, Caribbean,and African cultures. The food delightfully entices the palate with tropical fruits like pineapple and papaya. Although, Veracruz is not one of the most popular tourist seaside attractions, it rivals other coastal towns. It is making a subtle name for itself with Aquariums, reefs, palaces, and museums. Perhaps that is why I picked this place as the jumping off point to begin my journey: subtle and complex- due to the blend of cultures, – but with just enough admiration and stimulation to entice you to the culture, people and sea-side attractions.
For my first cooking venture in Mexico, I chose Vera Cruz Pork chops. With Caribbean influences, it is simply one of the best our family tasted as far as pork-chops are concerned. Made with fresh squeezed oranges and the delicate taste of ground mustard and bacon, it is AMAZING!! try it and taste the vivaciousness in it.
Pork Chops Veracruz -NY Times International Cookbook edited by Craig Clairborne
1/2 cup bacon fat
1 -2 cloves garlic, finely minced
6 thick cut pork chops
2 teaspoons dry mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions
2 green peppers, cored, seeded, and cut in strips ( I used 1 green pepper)
Heat the bacon fat ( I used bacon bits) and add the garlic. Cook stirring, but do not brown.
Smear the pork chops with the mustard and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brown on both sides in the bacon fat and add the white wine and orange juice. Cook over low heat until the sauce is slightly reduced. Add the onion slices and green peppers. Cover the pan. Continue cooking over low heat until the chops are tender, about 30 minutes- up to 1 hour. If desired, add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot with rice! Enjoy.
Hasta luego-see you later!