Sunday, August 31, 2008

Carne de Puerco Con Quimbombo (Pork and Okra)

I am gonna be honest, I am not fond of this dish, I do not like it much, and it is not that it "tastes" bad, it's that I don't like Okra or I simply prefer to eat another dish.

I saw some Okra in the farmers market, and I know there's Cuban dishes that utilize it, even though my grandmother never made any in my presence that I know of, so I decided to buy some Okra I gave my grandmother a call and asked her how can I make Okra and meat Cuban dish that she might know.

So she told me and now I'm making it, but I personally do not like the okra, my grandmother said she never cooked it because she HATES it, that she has bad memories from it every time she sees okra it reminds her of her abusive step mother in Cuba who would cook pork with okra and make it all gooey and nasty my grandma said she would make it all sloppy and gooey then she would lock my grandma up and starve her for sometimes up to 3 days until she would eat the Okra with Pork.

Anyways my grandmother gave me a recipe she said this one is how her Dad made it she recalls and that it was prepared good and not a sloppy gooey mess, that is not my favorite but it's still good if you like Okra so my suggestion, if you like okra make this if you don't skip it.


-1 pound pork meat cut into bite size cubes (I use pork butt also wash it really well)
-1 pound okra
-juice of 1 lime
-1 medium or small green bell pepper minced
-1/2 a large onion minced
-6 cloves of garlic finely minced
-3 fresh large tomatoes grated to a sauce or 1 can 8 oz. Tomato sauce
-1/3 cup or less dry white wine just a few splashes (optional)
-salt to taste
-black pepper to taste (optional I don't use it here)
-ground cumin about 1/2 teaspoon

Directions:(1) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, while waiting for it to boil prepare a seperate large bowl with ice cold water set aside, trim the ends of the okra and slice into thick pieces maybe 1 inch thick. Add to the boiling water and boil uncovered until bright green.

(2) Drain it, shock it in cold ice water, swoosh it around for a while,add lime juice, and set is aside.

(3) Now heat olive oil in a pan on medium high, brown the pork meat with salt and pepper, now add a little more oil and sautee onion and bell pepper until translucent about 5 minutes, add garlic sautee until fragrant about 30 seconds to 1 minute, now add a couple generous splashes of dry white wine, add the tomato sauce and about 1 cup of water, season with salt to taste again if necessary and add ground cumin, stir, bring to a boil and simmer on low about 1 hour until pork is tender.

(4) Uncover check if meat is tender with a fork, if so turn off heat and drain okra, pat dry, and fold into the dish your ready, serve with some white rice and maybe some fried plantains.
P.S. I was tired and lazy I didn't take all the pictures I needed for this recipe.

Tortilla Española (Spanish Frittata/ Omelette?)

I don't know how to say it in english, "Tortilla Española" is a thick frittata type egg cake you could call it, that is heavy on potatoes. The classical Spanish one is simply thin slices potatoes into rounds, deep-fried, folded into beaten eggs with salt, pepper and parsley then fried in a large pan into a thick egg pie thing...

But my grandmother does it different, I like to think of hers as "Tortilla Española" on steroids, and I am courageous enough to say it's way better than the simple potato one.

Oh yeah and even though this dish is originally Spanish, Cubans love Tortilla Española, ha ha some even call it "Tortilla Cubana", I have noticed that most Cubans cut the fried potatoes into cubes (we do in my house to) for this type of omelette, but I noticed Spanish cooks do it into rounds, well whatever here is my grandmothers AWESOME version.

-4 large or 8 small potatoes peeled and cubed into small pieces
-Canola, Sunflower or other oil to deep fry potatoes
-14 large eggs
-1 small green bell pepper minced
-1 small red bell pepper minced
-1 whole onion minced
-1 whole head of garlic peeled, finely minced (preferably mashed to a paste in a mortar or press)
-1/4 bunch of minced cilantro or parsley
-2 spanish chorizos (casing removed sliced into rounds)
-1 cup of pork ham chopped
-1/4- 1/2 cup thinly sliced pimiento stuffed Spanish Green Olives
-salt to taste (be careful many people tend to either over salt this dish or make it bland)
-Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (to fry the omelette?)

(1)Heat cooking oil enough to pan-fry/ deep-fry cubed potatoes, when oil is hot enough (test it with a wooden spoon if it bubbles around it's ready). Add your potatoes and fry them this may take 20 minutes, meanwhile you can prep everything while the potatoes fry. When potatoes are done set aside in a plate with paper towel on bottom, very lightly salt them.
(2)Now heat extra-virgin olive oil in a large pan on medium high, sautee minced onion and bell peppers until onion is translucent, if using parsley add the minced parsley to this (if using Cilantro don't it will wilt badly) and sautee together, now add garlic and sautee until fragrant.
(3)Now add the ham and the Spanish Chorizo and fry until everything gets infused (maybe a couple minutes)
(4)Turn of heat, now in a large bowl, crack all eggs into it, and beat until it foams, add some salt to this, now add all the contents you sauteed, and fried potatoes fold in, mix in sliced olives and fold some more. If using cilantro add it now (if you used parsley don't add cilantro)
(5)Now heat extra virgin olive oil in a large pan on medium high, not a lot just enough to lightly coat, add the egg mixture, don't touch it, gently push around a little every time the egg slightly cooks to allow it to cook sort of evenly, be patient, push in sides gently try to let the egg kinda flow and slowly cook but don't break into it, then set heat on medium and cover with a large plate, let it cook on medium to medium low for about 6-7 minutes, uncover, see if it settled a bit and is more firm but not fully cooked it so now do the following.
(6)Turn off heat, place plate over it, use a large towel to hole the plate onto the pan and grab the pan, flip it over so you flip the omelette on one side, now turn pan back on lightly oil with extra-virgin olive oil, gently slide it back in slowly, shake the pan a bit not the omelette, cover for 5 more minutes to fully cook on other side.
(7)Turn of heat, clean the large plate you used, now use it again to flip the omellete into it, or if your scared you can simple leave it in the pan and slice it and get it from there if your scared you'll break it, we never break it though it's experience ha ha.
(8)Serve by cutting big cake like slices and serve, it can stand alone it doesn't need any side dishes, it can be eaten for breakfast with a glass of milk and fresh seasonal fruit on the side or even alone with a cup of coffee or cafe cubano, you can have it as lunch by itself with a salad on the side and beverage of choice, or simply for dinner along with rice, beans and a salad at least that's how we eat it in my house, you can even have it as a late night snack cold from the fridge (I'm bad sneaking into my fridge at night tsk tsk,)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Tallarenes Verdes (Green Fusilli Pasta)

This is a popular Peruvian pasta dish, it is a type of pasta dish made with Fusilli pasta in a green sauce that is spinach and cheese based very tasty, served with a steak on top it's delicious, leftovers are great with 2 fried eggs on top yum. I learned how to make this from our families Peruvian friend, she cooks pretty yummy.

My mom first learned this from a random person in the store that she bumped into and somehow the conversation led to this dish, he taught her differently but I did it just like my mothers friend, because I was on the phone with her as I was making it.

I apologize in advance I did not measure anything I never do, I always approximate but for this dish I was doing to so fast and eyeballed I can roughly estimate.

Ingredients for pasta main dish:
-1 medium sized bag of Fussili pasta (I didn't check how much it was sorry use some common sense on how much you will you need)
-1-2 bunches of spinach well washed and chopped coarsely
-1 big handful of fresh basil washed
-1/4-1/2 pound fresh cheese about a 1 really large fist sized chunk? Maybe a little more (I use Mexican Queso Fresco) reserve an extra 1 cup crumbled for sprinkling over when eating
-1/2 cup toasted almonds ground (OPTIONAL my friend doesn't add it some do)
-evaporated milk or whole milk not a lot I'll specify in the instructions(optional)
-1/2-1 purple onion minced
-3 cloved garlic minced
-1 aji amarillo (a Yellow Peruvian Chili Pepper OPTIONAL some don't use it, you may sub another spicy chili pepper)
-salt to taste
-pepper to taste I use about 1/2- 1 teaspoon
-1/4 teaspoon monosodium glutamine "Ajinamoto" (optional)
-oil to cook
Ingredients for steak accompanying it:
-1 1/2 pounds thin sliced sirloin steak (any thing cut steak about 1/2 inch)
-1 teaspoon or more to taste salt
-1/4 teaspoon monosodium glutamine "Ajinamoto" (optional)
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-1/2- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Direction for pasta:
(1)Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil with generous salt, add pasta and cook according to package instructions, drain and set aside
(2)In a blender in small batches maybe in 2 or 4 blend spinach, basil, cheese, toasted almonds (optional), with enough water to completely blend to a smooth consistency like a creamy liquid kinda, you can stream in some whole milk or evaporated milk in place of some of the water to give it some more richness (this is optional)
(3)Now heat oil in a large pot, sautee purple onion minced, garlic minced, and minced "aji amarillo" (optional) until onions are translucent now pour in blended spinach and cheese mixture, stir and bring to a boil until kind of thickened, add the pasta and stir well and toss well for a while until kind saucy, turn off heat and leave uncovered
(4)Do not forget to set some crumbled cheese aside
Directions for steak:
(1)Season steak with all ingredients listed on the steak part of this post, then heat a lightly oiled griddle or pan on really high heat and brown on each side til well done.
(2)Serve over pasta
Please Note What I Am About To Say Isn't Probably "Authentic" or "Original" but I rather use whole milk in place of water to blend the cheese and the spinach along with the other stuff, and if it thickens to much I dilute with more whole milk but that is probably not the way it should be and way more fattening.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Potaje de Lentejas Con Hueso de Puerco (Lentil Pork Bone Stew)

Before I begin this is not my families recipe, but it is still a pretty good Cuban style Lentil Stew. This recipe is from a book called "Delicias de la Mesa - Manual de Cocina y Repostería" written by " Miss María Antonieta Reyes Gavilán and Moenck" edited in Havana, Cuba in 1925. I know pretty old I guess, it is displayed as close to it's original format in Spanish at (I love that website it is all in Spanish unfortunately for those whom don't comprehend it, but the website is dedicated to cultural and historical studies of Cuba in order to preserve the history of Cuba and share it with others, it is politically neutral and does not share opinions so yeah, but we all still know Castro sucks and he should rot in hell along with Cuba's communist government that destroyed the Island... anyways let's not get off subject)

So I decided to cook this because I had some pork bones sitting in the freezer that I had neglected to use, and when I bumped into the recipe I was like, awesome I have everything I need, and I need to make some Lentils haven't had those in awhile, plus I need something nutritious and filling so I'll make a big pot of this and tomorrow when I come from college I'll have something filling and strengthening to eat. So without further explanation here is the recipe...

-2 cups Lentils
-water (enough to submerge 2 inches)
-2 pounds pork bone (I used like 4 medium sized chunks of pork bone with fat and some meat)
-1 whole onion peeled and very finely minced
-1/2 a head of garlic (about 6 large cloves or 10 small ones) peeled mashed to a paste in a mortar or pestle or finely minced through a garlic press
-1/4 of a large bunch of parsley only the NO STEMS only the leafy parts, washed very finely mince
-2 carrots cut into rounds
-1 bay leaf
-1 teaspoons ground cumin
-1 teaspoon saffron toasted and ground to a powder (in a mortar) or you can use "Bijol" which is cheaper
-1 1/2 teaspoons salt more or less to taste
-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
-Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

(1)Wash pork bones, then wash lentils well and drain, place in a large pot with sliced carrot, add water, bring to a boil on high, stir, cover and simmer on low for about 40 minutes
(2)While lentils are boiling heat generous amount of olive oil in a medium pan, on medium high heat, when oil is hot enough add minced onions saute for 5 minutes until translucent, add parsley and garlic, stir and cook down for another 3 minutes, add the bay leaf, cumin, and saffron, stir well and cook another 1 minutes
(3)Now ladle into the pan some of the lentils with liquid and all, stir well bring to boil on high, and reduce and stir and mash with a large spoon the beans (this will help thicken the stew)
(4)Dump it all into the large pot, stir well, add salt and pepper to taste, stir in carrots, bring back to a boil and then cover and simmer on low 20 minutes until carrot is tender.
(5)Your done pretty basic and easy dish. We usually eat these stews with steamed white rice (usually steamed with a bit of olive oil and salt) and a raw salad or even some crusty bread instead of rice.

P.S. The original recipe posted in Spanish doesn't give measurements or anything like that it is written in a few sentences in paragraph form, Cuban cooking doesn't really use any science or measurement, you just use your own judgement and add things to taste and kinda know when it's just right, these are just the ratios I prefer but everything is eyeballed, a good Cuban cook just knows, it's like a grandmothers recipe she will be like "a little bit of this and a some of that" and my grandmother doesn't measure she just knows, same here with me ha ha.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Agua de Tamarindo (Tamarind Drink)

I don't know if "Tamarind" is common in other cultures. Tamarind is like a fruit pod that is long, it grows on trees, it is sort of sour. Mexicans and some other Hispanics/Latinos like to make Candies out of it or a simple drink called "Agua de Tamarindo" other cultures use it differently like Thai people use it to in dishes in combination with a sweetener to make a "sweet and sour flavor" and some Filipinos make Tamarind based soups I think it's called "Sinigang" but I'm not sure.

I learned how to make this today thanks to my mother who always makes beverages we almost never buy juices and drinks from the store my mom always makes drinks and has them in the fridge and she teaches me how to make them to (She makes fruit drinks from Melon, Papaya, Cantaloupe, Guava, Guanabana, Coconut whatever fruit is in season and when we make more hard to get fruit drinks it's usually from the frozen pulp sold by GOYA, she also like to make herbal teas and chill them usually from fresh Mint, Hibiscus flowers, Basil and Lemongrass)

Well today I will show you how to make this Tamarind based drink that is simple. Think of it as a different version of lemonade or lime aid because it is tangy kinda sour yet sweet.

-10-12 Whole tamarind pods (pods and all when buying tamarind make sure it's not hollow, the pulp has to be touching the shell and you should kind of feel it, it should be firm, and if possible it shouldn't be peeled)
-White Sugar to taste (you will need at least 1 cup then add more to taste)

(1)Soak tamarind pods in a medium container with water for 5 minutes until shells are softer than before then remove outside of pod and just leave the pulp and seeds, drain, now add clean water and soak at least 3 hours (I suggest soaking it over night)

(2)Add 1 cup of sugar to the container with the pods the next day or after 3 hours, rub and grind against each other for a bit to loosen it the sugar will help you loosen it.
(3)Have a container with lots of clean water on around or a pot with clean water.Now put it on a strainer and press and swish around roughly straining it through, adding water little by little to get all the pulp and flavor through, kind of like cleaning it. You want to do this over a large container or the pitcher using clean water.
(4)Now you should add it to the pitcher (if it's not already in there and keep adding water a little at a time until those seeds and tough parts are clean and you removed as much pulp as possible.
(5)Now add more sugar to taste stir well, add ice cubes if you want it colder. Chill in fridge. Until ready to serve

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bistec En Cazuela (Steak in Pan?)

Bistec En Cazuela literally means "Steak in Pan" it is a thin cut steak, simmered in a tomato based sauce.

It is pretty tasty, especially with some white rice on the side to soak the sauce and a little raw salad on the side.

Well I've seen many recipes for "Bistec En Cazuela" from many things I've seen no one cooks Cuban food as good and delicious as my grandmother ha ha (well just about any Cuban will say no one cooks Cuban food like my grandmother or mother well I'm just like that, there's is something
about my grandmas food that is so good to me, it is simple and flavorful)

-1 1/2 lbs. really thin cut steak (thinly cut sirloin or other thin cut steak)
6 cloves of garlic mashed to a paste in a mortar or through a garlic press
-juice of 1 green lime
-salt to taste
-1 can tomato sauce diluted with 1 cup water or 3 plump large tomatoes (cut in chunks, then blended in a blender with very little water just enough to blend well or you can grate it on the smallest part of the grater)
-1 green bell pepper minced
-1 onion cut into thin rings
-1 teaspoon of ground cumin
-1/4- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
-1/2 a bunch of cilantro or parsley washed and minced without stems
(1)Use half of the minced garlic, juice of 1 lime, and salt to season meat, rub it all over and set it aside, now do the rest.
(2)Heat olive oil on medium high heat for a little bit don't let it smoke, add minced bell pepper and onion, stir well, let it cook down for about 5 minutes then add minced garlic and sautéed 1-2 minutes.
(2)Add blended or grated tomato, stir well, add cumin and higher heat to high, let it cook uncovered for about 7 minutes to reduce a bit and turn a deeper red.
(3)Now add meat, submerge in, spoon over sauce and cover well. Bring to boil and let it cook covered 30 minutes until tender, uncover and allow to reduce if you want it thicker or add more water to make it thinner your choice. When done garnish with Cilantro or Parsley.

Please Note: You can cut the onion and the bell pepper all in julienne (long thin strips) I like it like that better but I did it just how my grandmother does it, or you can do it vice versa you finely mince the onion and then just julienne the bell pepper only.

Also if you do not have fresh tomato you can use 1 can 8 oz. of tomato sauce and dilute with 8 oz of water and use that in place.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ensalada de Aji Con Mojo (Fireroasted Bell Peppers in Mojo Sauce)

We love this in my house, it's sooo good, we devour it, it one of those things we don't make very often because bell peppers tend to be expensive here (well from a Californian stand point I know other states that are poorer in agriculture pay a fortune for all vegetation haha), but this week Green Bell Peppers where on sale for 2 pounds for 1 dollar! I was like HOLY CR@P lets make some "Ensalada de Aji"

You can use any color of bell peppers, or any mixture of colors. Typically it's red or green or a mix of both.

-4 large or medium bell peppers
-1/2 red onion, cut in half, thinly sliced julienned
-6 cloves of garlic
-juice of 1 fresh medium green lime
-1 teaspoon salt
-2-4 tablespoons olive oil more or less

1)On medium heat blacken bell peppers skin all over on direct heat turning carefully with your hands or some tongs.
(2)Put them in a plastic or paper bag closed wrapped in a cloth/ towel around bag for about 5-10 minutes.
(3)Meanwhile make a lighter "Mojo de Ajo" sauce, in a mortar with a pestle crush garlic to a paste with 1 teaspoon of salt, squeeze in lime juice and stir well, now whisk with a fork and stream in extra-virgin olive oil until it has as much or as little as you like just enough to change the color a bit and give some richness, set aside.
(4)Remove from bag and peel by rubbing with a napkin and taking skin off.
(5)Now simple cut in half, remove insides DO NOT RINSE OR IT WILL LOSE IT'S FLAVOR. Cut into strips.
(6)Now set on a plate nicely, put purple onion thinly sliced over it, spoon over "Mojo de Ajo" until all over it.
(7)Enjoy as a side dish, it is kind of spicy from the garlic and onion but it's very tasty.

Jose's Arroz Con Pollo (Jose's Cuban Chicken and RIce)

Oh this was amazing good, I love it, the Cuban version of Chicken and Rice is the BEST by far (maybe I am just very biased at times). I had never made a Cuban "Arroz Con Pollo" the way it's suppose to be.

This recipe is basically me calling up my grandmother, consulting with her how she would make the best arroz con pollo, then using the recipe from a blog called:

Arroz y Frijoles which I think the writers name is Jose. He has some nice post and his Arroz Con Pollo has some of the BEST TECHNIQUE I HAVE EVER SEEN IN A CUBAN KITCHEN, he has lots of patience to cook down the aromatics in this dish which makes a huge difference and makes this full of goodness.


I altered his recipe a bit (if interested in his recipe check here: Jose's Arroz Con Pollo, using some of my grandmas advice and touches as well as my personal taste in the Cuban kitchen (I have to have Cumin in most Cuban dishes to me it's a must for somethings)

So here's my version combining Jose's awesome technique and doing things like him for the most part with some of my touches and grandmas influence I guess

Ingredients for marinading Chicken in brine:
-2 chicken thighs and drumsticks (remove most of the skin leave bone, you can also use 1 whole chicken, divided into sections/ it's pieces as well, I suggest bone in for more "oomph)
-1 clove garlic (crushed/ mashed to a paste in mortar or if you can't use a garlic press)
-2 teaspoons salt
-Juice of 1 medium to large lime
-1 cup water

Ingredients for the rest:
-1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
-1 medium or small green bell pepper finely minced
-1 medium or small red bell pepper finely minced
-1 large spanish yellow onion finely minced
-6 cloves of garlic (mashed to paste using mortar or garlic press)
-1/2 small can tomato paste and 1/2 cup water to dilute it
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-1 teaspoon dried oregano
-2 dried bay leaves
-1 teaspoon "Bijol" (achiote seed powder google "Bijol" if you don't know what it is)
-2 1/2 cups Valencia rice (you can use Bomba, Calasparra, Japonica, or Calrose varieties similar to Alborio/ rissoto rice? Other medium-short grain rices)
-3 1/2 cups water
-1 cup chicken stock (I just dilute 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon in water by whisking well I use "MAGGI" brand or "KNORRS" the msg in it make it more tasty)
-1 bottle of beer anywhere from 8- 12 oz. use your favorite beer

Ingredients for garnish (garnish is optional but it looks prettier)
-1/4- 1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted just by rinsing real quick in cold water and draining
-1 red bell pepper (fireroasted, just blacken outside it all over with the fire on the stove top, put in a bag any kind for 5-10 minutes, carefully peel of skin with napkin by rubbing, cut in half, remove seeds DO NOT RINSE, cut into thick strips)

(1)Wash and clean chicken well.Rub chicken well with garlic, salt, and lime, now put in a large ziplock bag with 1 cup water. Seal well place on a plate and in the fridge 1-4 hours no longer than 4 is recommended.
(2)Remove chicken, from marinade, pat-dry, throw away the rest of leftover brine.
(3)Before you start the rest, rinse rice by swooshing in a pot with water and draining well do this like 6 times until water runs clear and not starchy, then leave the rice on a strainer over a bowl or something to make sure it doesn't retain any excess water
(4)Heat a large pot or dutch oven on medium high heat for about 5 minutes, pour in 1/4 cup olive oil, when heated add chicken brown on each side about 5-8 minutes be patient. Set aside on a plate and loosely cover with aluminum foil
(5)Now add more oil the other 1/4 cup and add minced bell pepper and onions cook down lowering heat to medium for about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Now add garlic and cook for another 4-5 minutes stirring occasionally.
(6)Add all the spices, cumin, bijol, bay leaves, oregano until it smells good about 1-2 minutes. Now add tomato paste mixed with 1/2 cup water. Cook it down until it becomes a pasty maybe 3 minutes.
(7)Now add chicken with any juices that came out on the plate, fold in well, now allow this to cook about 3-4 minutes.
(8)Set chicken aside again on plate (it'll make it easier to mix in rice)
(9)Now add rice (2 1/2 cups), and mix well for about 2 minutes, incorporate it well make sure every grain is coated with everything.
(10)Add chicken fold in, add now 3 1/2 cups water, and 1 cup of chicken stock/broth. Now bring to a boil UNCOVERED, when boiling stir well, scraping bottom making sure nothing gets stuck, now cover and lower heat AS LOW AS POSSIBLE, it may seem to low but leave as low as possible. DO NOT OPEN FOR 20-30 MINUTES DO NOT PEAK!!!!!!!!!! DO NOT LOOK!!!!!! LEAVE IT ALONE.
(11)20-30 minutes have passed open it, open you beer bottle, pour it in, mix it well, turn of heat YES YOU HEARD ME TURN OF HEAT! Now cover and rest it with heat turned of for 10 minutes DO NOT UNCOVER trust me here.
(12)Now to garnish just sprinkle peas all over the top not lots just sprinkles here and there, and then arrange the red bell pepper in the form of a flower.
(13)Your done enjoy, this is best served with only a salad on the side. I had it with a "Ensalada de Aji Con Mojo de Ajo"

You can use saffron it will make it more fragrant.
You can add some "Spanish Chorizo" (not Mexican but Spanish) to the sofrito for a special kick, like after browning chicken, you can render some of the chorizo fat with more olive oil until it infused then lower heat and continue your sofrito as it infused with the Chorizo.
Do the same thing as variation 2 but add a good quality ham cut into chunks to the sofrito
Not doing variation 2 and 3 and just simple rendering some bacon maybe like 4 after browning the chicken in the same oil, you can set aside bacon and then mix it in to cook together with everything.
I tend to go overboard on "Bijol" I dash like a maniac just how my grandmother does and get this strong dark yellow, maybe you might wanna use 1/2 teaspoon but I always use like 1 teaspoon instead hehe.
(6)Some people like it "a la Chorrera" which is a really sticky soupy version of the dish they add more liquid about 5 cups water and 2 cups chicken stock plus 12 oz. of beer. It's really tasty.
(7)Some people like it really "seco" just add 2 1/2 cups water and 1/2 cups and 2 tablespoons chicken broth.
(8)Some like it "Asopao" which means just a little wet and moist mine was a littel "Asopao" so just use the ratio in the recipe.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Ginataang Hipon (Shrimp in Coconut Milk)

This is a Filipino recipe. How did I learn it you ask, well I have a very kind and nice Filipino friend which I visit frequently. Her mother always makes very simple yet flavorful dishes.

A couple weeks ago when I visited on a Sunday her mother had made this delicous dish called, "Ginataang Hipon" it had shrimp and vegetables in a coconut milk based sauce.

I loved it so much, because I love coconut milk, seafood, and vegetables it was served with Jasmine Rice and I adore rice, so this was basically just a dish full of things I love. I liked the meal so much I insisted on her telling me how she makes it and here it is a couple weeks later I tried it at home and it was delicous, it was all verbally dictated to me but I memorized it.

-3/4's to 1 lbs. shrimp (any kind)
-1/2 a Kombucha Squash/ Calabaza peeled and cut into cubes (You can use any orange fleshed squash think)
-2-3 cups of string beans (cleaned, trimmed)
-1 bunch of spinach (very well washed coarsley chopped)
-1 can of coconut milk (which is about 2 cups or 2 cups and 1/2?)
-2 inch chunk of ginger, peeled, and sliced into thin rounds
-3-4 cloves garlic peeled and crushed whole or thinly sliced
-water (I'll tell you how much later)
-salt to taste
-ground black pepper to taste
-1 generous pinch of monosodium glutamine (MSG also branded as "Ajinamoto" optional)
(1)Here's some options, you can add the shrimp whole with everything just washed, or you can make an opening on the back remove the black line which is crap, and it's feet and head. But leave the shell attached to give the sauce flavor. Or you can peel them but your sauce won't be as tasty the shells give it good shrimp flavor.

(2)In a large pot add calabaza cubed, add the string beans and ginger as well as garlic, cover with water about enough to submerge about half of it, add a little salt and pepper, mix well. Bring to a boil on high, cover and simmer about 10-20 minutes on low heat until calabaza is tender and string beans to.
(3)Pour in coconut milk, stir, higher heat, bring it to a bubble/boil add a pinch of MSG, now add shrimp and fold in spinach and everything, when shrimp changes to cooked color and spinach wilts a bit it is done.
(4)Taste it add more salt if needed or pepper. DO NOT OVER DO THE MSG BECAUSE IT OVER POWERS IF OVERDONE. Leave uncovered for a bit so shrimp doesn't overcook until cooled. Also it may not seem that thick but once cooled it will thicken plenty, it is all personal preferance but I love it just the way it is.
(5)Serve over steamed plain white rice (preferably Jasmine because it's so fragrant and tasty)

See super simple and delicous, takes less than 30 minutes and you can cook rice at the same time and it will be done quickly. Also don't let coconut milk boil for to long it will become greasy and oily because it will start to seperate. I've seen other variations of this dish online but this one is very healthy and tasty.

I don't consider coconut fat to be unhealthy as some think, go do some research/ homework on it, if you believe it to be harmful, and research the "coconut oil controversy."

P.S. I'm sorry I had no Kombucha Squash so I ended up using acorn squash, and I had no string beans so I used green beans, but it was roughly the same.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lomo Saltado (Peruvian Beef Stirfry)

We know a really nice Peruvian family that we enjoy our friendship with. They introduced us to "Lomo Saltado" it is delicous. The recipe varies from person to person because I have tried her mothers, her husbands, and her own "Lomo Saltado". I have seen her mother and her cook it. I ask questions and stuff to learn it.

She told me it varies how they make it depending on the region they come from if they are from North, South, etc. wherever. This recipe I am making is based on my observation of her mothers (which I could've sworn she used some ginger but her daughter doesn't recall it) and of course hers which she verbally explained and I also watched.

We love "Lomo Saltado" in my house, it is one of those things we eat so happily and enjoy it lots. I even dare say it is one of my favorite meat dishes.

I love the Peruvian foods I have tried from that family,they have a very unique flavorful style.

-2 lbs. tender quick cooking cut of beef thinly sliced, cut into strips (you can use "beef flap steak", "tenderloin", thin cut "beef loin sirloin" another cut I know but I don't know the english name "Bistec de Espaldilla")
-2 peruvian "Aji Amarillo", de-seeded, cut into thin long strips (you can substitute it for any medium sized spicy chili pepper if you can't get where your at I buy them frozen imported from Peru because they don't grow here)
-1 green bell pepper, de-seeded, cleaned cut into strips (julienned)
-1 red bell pepper, de seeded, cleaned cut into strips (julienned)
-1 purple onion, cut in half, cut into thick strips
-1 large or 2 small tomatoes, wedged into not to large not to small long slices
-6 cloves of garlic mashed (mortar or garlic press)
-Salt to taste (not to much your using soy sauce_
-Soy Sauce to taste
-1 large pinch of Monosodium Glutamine (MSG also known as "Ajinamoto")
-A couple drizzles of white vinegar
-6-12 potatoes peeled and julienned cut into long not to thick not to thin strips or even more (it depends how much you wanna eat, they are really tastey we love them)
-Oil to stirfry and extra-oil for deep frying potatoes.

(1)Heat enough oil in a pan on medium high to fry the potatoes, you may need to fry them in batches, have a plate with a paper towel ready. Fry them until golden brown you may need to flip em around to cook all around (I use enough oil to pan-fry not deep fry I don't like wasting oil life is getting expensive and economy sucks right now here in USA). Set aside. This takes like 20 minutes depends. Be patient you can do prep work while they are frying
(2)Put cut meat in a bowl and season with some salt, pepper, a little soy sauce and MSG.Prep ALL YOUR INGREDIENTS BEFORE STIRFRYING, make sure everything is chopped and everything is on hand.
(3)Now heat wok or skillet on really high heat, the highest possible. Add oil and make sure oil is really hot, like you can see a small whiff of smoke (not like smoking but a very light airy effect I don't know use common sense). Now add meat in one layer, do not touch for atleast 2-4 minutes. Layer over it the garlic. DO not mix it in because it may burn It may start releasing it juices THAT IS OKAY don't panic this dish is like that, stir it until the liquid evaporates mostly.

(4)Now add "aji amarillo" (chili pepper), red bell pepper, green bell pepper, purple onion and sautee/ stirfry until the the veggies are cooked through and getting more tender. Season with soy sauce to taste (be careful don't over salt, taste it, drizzle soy sauce little by little measure it spoonful by spoonful if you can't eyeball it)
(5)Now add tomato and stir until tomato starts releasing some juices. Add a couple splashes of vinegar (1 or 2 tablespoons maybe more maybe less) Stir well until incorporated.

(6)Now stir in fried potatoes until well incorporated, so they can soak up some of the sauce and stuff, now turn off.
(7)Serve over a mountain of rice.

I only used 6 medium potatoes I think it needed more, I like equal potatotoes to everything else in it, so I like lots last time we made this at my Peruvian friends house we used 5 pounds of fried potatoes for 3 pounds of meat haha.

Also some people do not like to mix the fried potatoes with the stirfry. Some serve the potatoes as a side dish, others use the potatoes as a bed for the stirfry with rice on side.


You can do this with any meat you want usually beef is used and it's typical to use beef for this.

You may use chicken or pork instead, prepared the same way as the beef, some people add less bell pepper like 1 or 1/2 a bell pepper but we don't.