Sunday, January 25, 2009

Banana Bread (Pan de Banana)

I am labeling it as American because this type of bread is well, easily found in American places, and I haven't seen it in other ethnic stores only in American, and it's usually sold pre-packaged and in plastic (like most American sweets) so I'm guessing it's American.

This is my version of banana bread. It is VERY SIMPLE and BASIC, I know there's people that add sour cream, or only use oil, etc. but I like to keep it simple and with bold flavors I like.

This recipe in my blog is MY recipe BUT it is from a recipe that I altered slightly to suit my families taste and preference. If you want to see the original recipe see below:

Anyways so here is my alteration and version


-2 cups all purpose flour
-1 tsp. ground cinnamon
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 tsp. salt
-2 1/3 cups mashed ripe bananas (it doesn't have to be exact I used like 7 small bananas, I'm sure 5 medium to large is fine to, also bananas can be black to, I just make banana bread whenever I have to many bananas and they are starting to get passed their prime haha)
-1 stick of butter (1/2 a cup)
-3/4's cup of dark brown sugar or "piloncillo" (unrefined raw cane sugar, if using Piloncillo I grind it in a mortar with a pestle made from lava rock, I didn't have any on hand so I used dark brown sugar which has a similar taste)
-2 whole eggs
-1/2- 1 cup chopped walnuts (I wish I had some they would've added wonderful texture, if you have them or have time to go get some do it and add it to the bread you won't regret it, unless of course you hate nuts or are allergic to them for some reason)

(1)Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees, grease and dust with flour a baking dish (like a loaf pan, if you don't have one use whatever you want)

(2)Sift flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon set aside in a large bowl.

(3)Mash bananas with whatever you have (I mashed it with a fork) set aside.

(4)In a seperate bowl beat butter and dark brown sugar until creamy, then beat in eggs, after incorporated beat in mashed bananas.

(5)Now add the banana mixture and walnuts (if using walnuts) to the flour mixture AND DO NOT I REPEAT DO NOT OVER BEAT!!! Gently fold it with a spatula quickly to get it incorporated. If you over beat it you will get a tough bread.

(6)Add batter to the baking dish, shake a bit so it sets evenly. Put in oven in the center and bake for about 60- 70 minutes (until center is not raw, peoples ovens vary so check it towards the end by inserting a knife in the center, if the knife comes out clean it's done)


The reason I used dark brown sugar or "piloncillo" and cinnamon as the only flavoring is because in my house we are used to eatng fruit in syrups made with piloncillo and cinnamon so it would appeal more to us.

I'm sure you can add a teaspoon of vanilla extract or even a small dash of rum or dry white wine.

Ginger and Garlic Tea

This recipe is a tea for when you are sick and have colds and flu symptoms (stuffy nose, sore throat, headache, fever, etc.)

It is not a tea you drink for "enjoyment" or because it "tastes good" you drink it because it's healthy and makes you feel better.

I learned to make this tea from my mother who was taught to make it by a Chinese acquaintance whom she use to work for who always prepared this when she was sick.

The reason this tea is good for you is because ginger root is anti-inflammatory thus reduces inflamation helping with congestion, stuffy nose and headaches. Plus ginger in Chinese hot and cold theory is considered a "hot food" which is good for colds. Garlic on the other hand is anti-bacterial and boosts immune system, good for blood circulation to.

You don't have to take my word for it you can do some research if you don't believe me :) I'm sick right now and to lazy to go look for sources.

So since I've been sick I've been drinking some ginger and garlic tea, some chicken soup with lots of veggies, and my over the counter medication. I need to get better soon I've only been sick since Friday afternoon.
-8 cups water
-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut in half lengh wise
-1 big thumb size piece fresh ginger root, peeled, thinly sliced into rounds then cut in half

(1)In a pot put water, ginger root, and garlic, bring to boil on high then leave on medium heat covered for 10 minutes boiling, the water will change color and be a cloudy light gold color? Kinda murkey.

(2)Serve in a cup, but be sure to strain it when serving you don't want pieces of ginger or garlic when your drinking it.

(3)Drink through out the day, and yeah that's it. That's what I do :) Just wanted to share. Also if it's cold it tastes stronger and terrible so have it hot or warm.


Lime and honey is also good for soar throat though I do not have a soar throat just fever, light coughing, and stuffy nose but it's getting better :)

Oh yeah this tea does stink throws strong ginger and garlic aroma... so yeah... if you can't stand it which I can't add a lot of freshly squeezed lime and honey to taste.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Jalapeños en Vinagre (Jalapeños in Vinegar)

In my house we love pickled, salty, pungent, spicy, and sour stuff (not something many have acquired a taste for) Pickled Jalapeño peppers are very common in Mexican cuisine as a condiment to enhance you experience eating other stuff, like it goes well with greasy and fried foods (like most acidic foods do) it helps cut through the richness and stimulates the tongue ;) It's also really healthy.

We use to buy the cans which are very popular our favorite brand for pre-made pickled Jalapeños is "GOYA- Jalapeños en Escabeche" we figured if we buy them so often and enjoy them we should just make our own in huge batches, it's cheaper, and you know exactly what quality of ingredients you used and what's in it, how old it is, etc. MUCH BETTER TO YOU HAVE CONTROL!

My mother likes to make this with other vegetables like cauliflower, carrot, garlic and onion in combination with Jalapeño Pepper. You could also add half cooked potatoes sliced into rounds very tasty in here when pickled.

-3 lbs. Jalapeño Peppers washed well
-1 lbs. Cauliflower washed seperated into medium florets
-1 lbs. carrots peeled cut into diagnol ovals
-3 big onions cut into rings (not to thin)
-1 head of garlic cloves peeled (not mashed or anything like that the garlic is optional)
-4-6 tablespoons of salt
-1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
-1 1/2 tablespoons dry oregano
-1-2 sticks of cinnamon (optional)
-1/4-1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
-1/2 white vinegar 1/2 clean drinking water (enough to fill containers I ended up using 6 cups
vinegar 5 cups water I wanted more acidic)

You will need:
-1 big jar or container and one medium one


(1)Bring in a large pot water to a boil, boil carrot until it changes color but not soft still crunchy, set aside and rinse with cold water to stop cooking, do the same thing to the cauliflower and set aside.

(2)Cut 1 pound of chiles in half this will help the pickled veggies get more spicy. The other 2 pounds leave whole with tail and all. Set chiles in a big bowl or pot, get each whole one and simply stab through it right in the center (not cut in half just one stab this is to let the vinegar flow into the chile)

(3)Heat olive oil on medium high heat in a big pan, add chiles in one layer and let it cook until the skin wrinkles nad blisters a bit on one side and the other side to DO NOT OVER COOK IT'S JUST TO LIGHTLY WRINKLE THEM! AND INFUSE THE OIL, do this in a couple batches.
(4)While frying the chiles also fry the cinnamon sticks together with the chiles to infuse the oil with cinnamon.

(6)Now put the chiles in 1 GIAGANTIC BOWL (or in 2 big bowls) and toss with carrot, cauliflower, garlic, onion, oregano, peppercorns, and salt.

(7)Put this mixture into the containers carefully.

(8)Mix vinegar, water, and oil used to fry chiles along with cinnamon stick mix well together.

(9)Pour this into the containers where you have chile mixture, seal and shake well, turn upside down and back up and shake it up, uncover taste vinegar in bottle if you think it needs more salt add more salt, cover and shake again to let salt incorporate well, if vinegar taste good and flavorful like it has enough salt then it's good, seal well and leave out 2-3 days then it's good for eating.

(10)You can leave at room temperature or in fridge it can last a couple months.


It is normal for the garlic to turn bluish after awhile.

Vinagre de Piña (Pineapple Vinegar)

THIS IS SOOOO COOOOOOL TO ME! (I know I'm an odd person). This is NOT A RECIPE!

I've been interested in making vinegar from scratch, particularily pinapple vinegar.
My aunt (Tia Licha) told me she knew how.

So I was excited to go visit her and learn, turns out it's a REAL LONG PROCESS.

First you have to make something my aunt calls "la madre" (the mother) it is the bacteria that makes the vinegar, IT'S ALIVE! She say's it takes like 1 year, you have to get cleaned pineapple skins put them in a container with "Piloncillo" (unrefined solid cane sugar) and let it form over the course of a year, she say's it will bubble, and foam and this thick jelly like thing will form that is called "the mother"

Afterwards you drain that, put "the mother" in a container with water again and more unrefined solid care sugar and seal it leave it for 1 month or 2 the bacteria will feed off the sugar and it will make pineapple vinegar.

When you have your vinegar you put it in another container and fill the container with the "mother cultures" again with sugar and water and the process starts all over again, while making vinegar they will keep reproducing and you end up with more and more to make more and more larger amounts of vinegar, give them away or throw them out.
Pretty COOL!

I was bummed that I would have to make the cultures/ bacteria "the mother" so my aunt said, "No te preoccupes aqui tengo unas madres pa'ti pa que impieses ya" meaning "Don't worry I already have a bunch of the bacteria stuff so you can start making the vinegar"

That is SOOO AWESOME AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH! I asked her what I can do with the vinegar she said I can use it like any other vinegar in marinades, salads, cooking, etc. I'M EXCITED!

I'm gonna get a pineapple and try to make the bacteria on my own, just for fun, but for the meanwhile I'll have the bacteria making me vinegar (the one she gave me) I'll update you guys on the results!.

My aunt say's in Mexico in her families ranch they had giant containers with huge amounts of the bacteria and vinegar, etc.

This vinegar can also be turned into "TEPACHE" (it doesn't need to be to fermented for that) a type of Pineapple Liqour (get's you drunk) I will ask her how to turn it into that later.

Here is pictures:
This is Piloncillo (unrefined solid cane sugar):

This is "la Madre" (the bacteria the mother of the vinegar)

Here it is in the water with the "Piloncillo"

Results in 1-2 month updated

Friday, January 16, 2009

Yuca Frita (Fried Cassava)

Hmmm what to do with leftover boiled Yuca that you used to make "Yuca Con Mojo", after you drained it and now it's all firm and cold, easy make some "Yuca Frita" and serve it with some Mojo, it is delicious and easy.

This is by far my favorite way to eat Yuca, it's like thick Yuca fries or chunks fried til golden with a tasty Mojo (garlic citrus sauce very pungent)

Again I posted this thinking of Nuria from Spanish Recipes because she asked me about Yuca (like I mentioned in my Yuca Con Mojo post) so this is the final dish I am guessing she might've had.

I only know of Yuca about the typical Cuban stuff), either boiled or boiled then fried served with mojo, or boiled mashed and stuffed with Picadillo (cuban ground beef hash) then rolled in egg and cracker meal then fried. I've seen restaurants that make there "Yuca Rellena" (stuffed Yuca) by just splitting Yuca almost in half, stuffing then frying I think that is lazy (because they don't want to go through the trouble of removing the hard parts from teh Yuca. mashing, and rolling in bread crumbs and egg)


-leftover boiled Yuca that is cold or at room temperature that hasn't been sitting in water
-oil to deep-fry or pan-fry (I use canola oil, peanut oil is good to as well as Sunflower oil so is lard and extra-light olive oil for frying they have a high smoking point and can resist high heat.)

For sauce see click on:

-Mojo recipe

(1)Cut cooked Yuca into thick sticks (like a thick Julienne)

(2)Heat oil on high heat crank it up until it is hot enough (I test it by dipping a chop stick in the oil if it bubbles/ sizzles it's ready sometimes I use a wooden spoon to) now add your Yuca and fry until golden brown on all sides. Drain and set aside. (remember oil should be hot because Yuca is cooked already you just want to make it golden and brown, if to low they will start overcooking and fall apart)

(3)Serve with Mojo sauce.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tangsuyuk (Korean style Sweet & Sour Pork or Beef)

I saw this recipe at:

Maangchi is a very talented Korean woman who as a hobby enjoys cooking and making videos. She is proffesional, has a sense of humour, and cute. Below her videos on her blog she includes the written recipe, I love watching her videos and they are very helpful (she's better than foodnetwork lol.) I love her taste in music, she always uses music in her videos as backround and intro's. Her cooking focuses on Korean Cuisine, she cooks very authentic home-style foods she learned from her family (I think grandmother) which I think is really cool.

I've tried several of her recipes before (her Kimchi and Kaktugi, Spicy Stir-fried Squid, Kimchi Fried Rice and Bulgogi, and Spinach Side dish are the recipe's I have tried so far not to forget the Tangsuyuk)

When I saw her video for Tangsuyuk it was very appealing, and then sometime last week a Korean online foodie buddy (can't think of another expression at the time) she told me that she loves Tangsuyuk and that I should try it because it's very delicious, I showed her Maangchi's video she gave it a thumbs up and urged me to try it and so I decided to make it today and she wanted pictorials lol. it was a hit in my house, my parents and little sister loved it.

So I decided to post it here how I made it with pictures I made it almost identical to Maangchi with very little differences.

Her recipe for Tangsuyuk uses ingredients that are available to anybody in the USA you don't need any special hard to find ingredients (except the wood ear mushrooms I can get them easily but decided to use cremini mushrooms because I had some in the fridge) I am lucky to have a Korean store really close as well as a Chinese store, Vietnamese, and Filipino store (so I have a lot of Asian stuff available and as you can probably tell by looking at my favorite blog list on my blog I enjoy a lot if different types of Asian food and cooking it at home very much, except I usually don't blog about it because well you can go check their blogs, but this one I did blog about because someone asked me to put a pictorial of Tangsuyuk in addition to them seeing the Tangsuyuk on Maangchi's page, plus this is a good way to send some traffic to Maangchi and express how much I like her blog)

Main Ingredients:
-1 1/2 lbs pork or beef thinly sliced and cut into strips
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Ingredients for batter

-2 cups cornstarch and 3-4 cups water (mix together, let sit 1-2 hours, drain, you will have a thick batter add 1 egg white and stir well incorporate)

For Sweet and Sour Sauce:
-1/2 a cucumber thinly sliced
-1/2 onion julienned
-2 small carrots cut into rounds
-1 red apple wedged (I think a sour pungent green apple would be tasty to)
-1 can pinapple in chunks drained
-1 small pack fresh button mushrooms
-2 cups water
-1 teaspoon soy sauce
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 cup dark brown sugar (you can use turbinado, white, or brown, whatever I used dark brown because I like the taste)
-4 tablespoon applecider vinegar (she used 3 but I like more acidity)
-2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoon water

Ingredients for dipping sauce:
-Equal soy sauce to apple cider vinegar (she uses 3 tablespoon soy sauce 2 of vinegar but again I like pungent flavors so I use equal amounts)

(1)So before you start make sure to soak the 2 cups cornstarch in generous amount of water in a bowl for 1-2 hours this will make the starch settle at bottom and be moist and thick, drain water, add egg white mix well. While batter is resting prepare the rest and do all your chopping, etc. prepare for what's ahead haha.

(2)Okay so now assuming you have the batter ready, etc. get the meat sliced into strips and season with salt and pepper, mix well, add to the batter and mix really well it should be gloppy.

(3)Heat oil in a wok or skillet on really high heat, add each strip of meat one by one and fry in batches 5 minutes each. Set aside.

(4)While meat is frying, etc. you can multi-task start making sauce, heat a little oil in a pan on high heat, add onions, carrot, and mushrooms sautee 1 minute, add 2 cups water bring to a boil add soy sauce, salt, and sugar, stir well, bring back to boil add pinapple, apple, and cucumber and cornstarch mixture slide gently with a big spoon until thickened, set aside.

(5)Now you may think this is crazy but it makes really crispy meat, before serving (you can do everything of the above in advance) you can deep-fry meat again for about 2 minutes in several batches, transfer to serving bowl, reheat sauce, pour over the meat and then serve with dipping sauce for the meat and I served it with rice and since I didn't have Kimchi I served it with a type of Mexican pickled Jalapeños with onion, cauliflower, carrot and garlic that is spicy and pickled. (I will show the recipe for those pickled veggies some other time) My mother made a delicious healthy papaya fruit drink very good for digestion and soothing on the stomach.

Yuca Con Mojo (Boiled Cassava Root with Garlic Citrus Sauce)

I am posting this recipe for Nuria from Spanish recipes, she told me she enjoyed having Yuca when she visited Cuba years ago but doesn't remember what she exactly had. My guess is she either had "Yuca Con Mojo"(boiled Cassava root in Garlic citrus sauce) or "Yuca Frita" (boiled then fried Cassava root) maybe served with "Chicharrones" (meaty fried pork rinds) or "Masitas de Puerco" (fried pork chunks)

Not sure what she had but I am posting the boiled Cassava with garlic citrus sauce and then later with the leftovers of this I'm posting "Yuca Frita" (fried cassava) I actually made this yesterday but didn't get to making Yuca Frita (I cooked other stuff so I guess I'll make it tomorrow)

I was really thinking about posting this or not because it is a super simple humble dish that is loved but is really easy since I've posted the recipe for the sauce which is the only thing you really need to know how to make, but I'm sure some will appreciate having a little explanation and pictorial for this :)

So without further delay this is how my grandmother taught me to make "Yuca Con Mojo"

Main Ingredients:
-2-4 lbs. Yuca (Cassava root) you can buy fresh or frozen, frozen gaurantee's you good looking Yuca, but I like fresh, but if you are lucky enough to live in a Cuban area with Cuban stores you may be able to find already cooked "canned Yuca" by the brand "Badia"
-water (enough to cover Yuca maybe 1 1/2 inches)
-salt (salt the water and taste it until you think it's right)

For the sauce:
-Mojo de Ajo (click on it and see the pictorial I posted in my blog previously on how to make it)
(1)Again I used fresh Yuca, so I had to cut it into large rounds, peel it with a knife, cut it in half, wash it, and then add it to salted water to boil. If you have frozen Yuca just dump it in the salted water and bring to a boil on high boil it until tender about 20-30 minutes on medium heat. To check for doness stab it with a fork.

(2)You don't want to cut your Yuca in small pieces just long big chunks (because you can cut the leftovers into big long strips to fry them if you have leftovers)

(3)Now while the Yuca is cooking prepare "Mojo de Ajo"

(4)After Yuca is cooked drain and spoon over Mojo sauce, that's all it takes serve hot as a side.

(5)If you are not serving this immediately leave the Yuca in the pot of water or else it will cool quicly and turn hard, but if serving soon just drain it, put it in a nice dish, spoon over a little mojo, bring it to the table and let everyone grab some and have more mojo on the side for those that want to add more to theirs.


This goes very well with Congri or Moros or even a non-traditional "Congri Con Coco", a salads (our favorite is "Ensalada de Aguacate" or a salad dressed like this "Simple Salad", and any Cuban meat dish. Fried plantains or tostones on the side wouldn't hurt but would be a little excessive.