Friday, December 31, 2010

Eggnog Flan

As I was flipping through one of my mother's "Foodnetwork" magazines (Vol. 3 number 10) I bumped into a recipe for "Eggnog Flan" on page 102. There was a whole section of cooking with eggnog (because people tend to have leftover eggnog from holidays or it sits in the fridge because "it's too fattening" for the weight conscience hehe... i'm one of them, will have a small glass then ignore it forever)

Anyways, the recipe called for only eggs, the eggnog, and caramelized mold. I started preping my flan, and then tasted the batter I was like "it's kinda bland" so I added 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and then added some extra-sugar to taste it needed it, to mask the "egginess?". I made the caramel the way I always make it. And saw the instructions for the baking and was like "uummm I'll just do it my way 325 is too low I've made flan probably more times that the woman who wrote this has in her lifetime... n' I don't do it that way..." so pretty much I made the recipe my way and my own lolz.

The results... a rich, creamy, and dense eggnog custard, with hints of cinnamon, and exploding with that strong nutmeg fragrance and taste common in eggnog. Coated in the sinful caramel syrup that had adopted the taste of the eggnog. I will be making this again, not now, but next year ha ha. (I love flan, but my favorite is a version made with cream cheese which is what I almost always make, this adds a nice change or variety :)

Main Ingredients:

-5 large eggs
-3 heaping tablespoonfuls sugar
-4 cups eggnog (store bought, it can be spiked with rum, brandy, whiskey whatever you'd like that's optional, for my Mexican readers you can use "Rompope" and for my Cuban reader's you can use leftover "Creme de Vie" as an alternative)
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-1/2 tsp. cinnamon powder (optional)
For the caramel:
-1/2 cup sugar
-3 tablespoons water

(1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees with a oven pan/ mold bigger than the mold/ pan your gonna use for your flan. Add water enough to fill 1/2 way. Forget about it while making your flan.
(2) First thing is first, in a sauce pan put 2 tablespoons water and 1/2 cup sugar. Bring to a boil on high heat, mixing well, stir constantly, keeping an eye on it so it doesn't burn completely.

(3) When it turns into a golden color, pour into a mold, and move around in a motion that will make most of the bottom and surrounding area of the mold get covered with caramel. BE CAREFUL it is VERY HOT, and if you burn yourself with it... good luck... do not let your skin make contact with the caramel. Set aside.

Directions for the rest:
(1) Beat eggs with sugar and vanilla using whisk, until well incorporated, slowly stream in eggnog until everything is very well mixed and incorporated or your second option throw everything in the blender and blend on low then high for about 30 seconds.

(2) Pour into a mold, passing through a strainer (if you have one, but if you have one use it, I believe it get's rid of air bubbles and makes it more smooth). Sprinkle all over with cinnamon powder. Cover the mold tightly with aluminum foil or some type of lid. This is your "flan mold" you can call it with the "flan" inside.

(3) Place the flan mold in a bigger pan that has been heating in the oven with hot water, in the center of the oven. Cook for about 1 1/2 hours covered. This procedure of cooking we call it "baño maria" (in which something is placed in a hot water bath to cook),
uncover after 1 1/2 hrs. and let cook uncovered an additional20- 30 minutes. It should be completely set by now (I cooked this longer than some flans because it just took longer to set since I didn't use real thick condensed milk)

(4) Take out flan, allow to cool down, then let cool in fridge,
when ready to serve invert it onto a plate, and slice and serve, btw the brown specks aren't dirty stuff it's just specs from ground nutmeg that come already in the eggnog, I also cooked my syrup to a light brown as opposed to dark amber so that's why my flan came out real light. Just preference for this one time, I usually make it dark amber though, but I was craving a caramel sauce similar to my grand-aunts which is usually light :)

For some other flan recipes you might like check out the following:
(1) Chocoflan (Flan with a layer of Chocolate Cake)
(2) Flan de Queso (Cream Cheese Flan a mix of Cheese cake and Flan).... this one is my favorite flan...
(3) Flan de Coco (Coconut Flan)

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Jambalaya is a mixed rice dish, of meats usually chicken, sausage and sometimes seafood (shrimp, crawfish, etc.) this dish is featured in the Cuisine of the state of Louisiana (a state that is well known for it's food their cuisine is a blend of Spaniard, French, African, and Caribbean influences with American in the mix as well)

The dish is thought to have originated/ be related to the Spanish Paella, so what I understood it's a bunch of Spaniards trying to make Paella with what they could find in Louisiana he he. I can see the influence in the use of onions, garlic, bell peppers, tomato, smoked sausages, and in some recipes a combination of thyme, bay leaves, and paprika (very typical of Canary Islands)

However Jambalaya is it's own thing, some versions are soupy and sloppy, some the rice is cooked separate then mixed into the meats and cooked aromatics, etc.

So anyways now that you have a general idea, I researched the rice dish a bit (because I had chicken, sausages and shrimp in the fridge and was like hhmmm maybe I should try to make Jambalaya or gumbo) and came up with this recipe, I already have a lot of experience making mixed rice dishes (mostly Spaniard and Cuban yellow rice dishes) so I've come up with my own version of Jambalaya with the elements I've seen repeated in several recipes and what I think would taste awesome. I invited my bestie John to help me make it, and my whole family was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed it :)


-1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil or butter
-1 1/2 lbs. chicken meat (any breasts, thighs, bone in, skinless etc.) cut into bite size
-1/2 lbs shell on shrimp (you will use the shells and heads to make the stock)
-2 large smoked sausages cut into 1/4 inch rounds
-1/4 lbs. smoked ham (optional)
-1 onion minced
-1 green bell pepper minced
-2 stalks celery minced
-1/2 head garlic minced
-1 can 8 oz. tomato sauce
-4 1/2 cups shrimp stock (you will make it from the shells see directions)
-3 cups long grain rice (washed well, and drained, I used Mahatma brand)
-salt to taste
-black pepper to taste
-2 bay leaves
-1 tsp. dried thyme
-1 tsp. smoked paprika (I use bittersweet smoked Spanish paprika)
-1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
-orange juice of the shrimp heads (optional)

Directions to make stock:
(1) Remove shell and de-vein shrimp, use the shells and heads to make a stock, add water in a pot enough to submerge shells well and bring to a boil for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile prep everything else.
Directions for the rest of the dish:
(1) Heat large pot or paella pan on medium high heat, when pan is hot add olive oil or butter,
and brown the sliced smoked sausage all over, then remove and set aside, sautee shrimp seasoned with salt and pepper in same pan then set aside in same pan add chicken seasoned with salt and black pepper to taste brown all over, remove and set aside, now add diced ham and brown it and set aside.

(2) In same pot add minced onion, bell pepper and celery cook down 5-7 minutes until fragrant, add garlic and sautee another 2-3 minutes until fragrant, stir in thyme, bay leaves, paprika, and cayenne stir for about 30 seconds. Add shrimp head juice reduce it to nothing.
(3) Add in tomato sauce, cook it until it bubbles,
stir in chicken, sausage, and ham when coated add stock bring to a boil on high heat,
and add rice. Give a good stir cover and cook on low heat for 20 minutes.

(4) After 20- 25 minutes, add the cooked shrimp. Turn off heat, sprinkle all over with finely minced parsley and garnish with a lemon rose in the center.
(5) Enjoy as a stand alone dish, or serve with a nice salad and some fresh cornbread.

From experience of cooking mixed rice dishes for many years, I highly advice you to be careful with the amount of salt you add, too much can ruin a perfectly delicious rice dish, and too little will give you the blandest crap you've ever eaten. My suggestion is add about 2 tsp. salt, then taste it, if it tastes like... ocean water like... salt water... from ocean then it'll probably be ok... ha ha :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Potaje de Frijoles Colorados #5 (Red Bean Stew #5)

Yes this is another recipe for a Cuban style red bean stew ha ha. I wasn't gonna post it because I've already posted 4 different Cuban red bean stews, but when I cooked this variation my family LOVED IT!!! I got a lot of praises. One of my best friends Shantall came over that same day and had a bowl of this piping hot and was like "OMG I want you to share the recipe it's different from the usual stews you make" so this post is for her.

Smoked pork neck bones in combination with pork spareribs made a very flavorful stock, and... I do not know if for some Cubans this is "sacrilegious" but what made this one different and added a really nice touch was using smoked hot Louisiana hotlinks, a type of beef sausage that was flavored with spicy chili peppers, they come in hot and mild. They are very popular in Mexican stores down here in which the Spanish label for them is "Salchichas Picantes Ahumadas" which I used because they are inexpensive and readily available in any latin store I go to here, as opposed to having to drive a little further to the "Bodeguita" or ordering online and always having to pay a hefty price for smoked Spanish chorizo which isn't close to as good to what's available in Spain...

One of the things you guys might like about it, is that everything is thrown in one pot, and cooked together you won't have to cook the sautee the sofrito in a separate pan, and brown the chorizo's, everything in one pot with very good flavorful results here goes

-1 lb. dried red kidney beans
-water (enough to submerge beans 1 inch)
-1 lb. smoked pork neck bones (wash em under running water)
-1 1/2 lbs. pork spareribs (wash real well under running water, cut the meat you can into 1 1/2 inch chunks and the ribs seperate them into segments with a knife)
-1/2 red bell pepper minced
-1/2 green bell pepper minced
-1 onion minced
-1/2 head of garlic minced
-1 can 8 oz. tomato sauce
-1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
-3 small bay leaves
-2 tsp salt (atleast more to taste)
-1/2 tsp dried oregano
-1/2 tsp ground black pepper
-1 tsp ground cumin
-1 tsp. sweet smoked spanish paprika
-1 lb. banana squash or butternut or kabucha squash cut into 2 inch pieces
-3 potatoes cut into large 2 inch chunks
-3 medium louisiana hotlinks (smoked hot sausage/ salchichas ahumadas picantes) or spanish chorizo
-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

(1) In a large pot throw red kidney beans, wash them twice in running cold water, then cover them with water about 1-2 inches submerged. The next day they should have swelled and look like this
and you need to drain them and cover them with new water enough to submerge 1 inch.

(2) Bring the pot with the red kidney beans and water to a boil on high heat, skim off the white foam if it forms, add pork spare ribs, smoked pork neck bones, bring back to a boil and skim off any impurities that might form (don't stress just skim off what you can) add minced onion, garlic, bell pepper, tomato sauce, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and bay leaves and bring back to a boil. Cover and lower heat to medium low. After 1 hour it should look like this.
(3) While waiting for that 1 hour, you can use this time to prep your potatoes and calabaza, check your beans after 1 hour to see if they are tender, add oregano, black pepper, cumin, Sweet smoked Spanish paprika along with your calabaza, potatoes, and the whole lousiana sausages or spanish chorizo. Give a good shake or stir, bring to a boil on high, cover then lower to medium low to simmer 15- 20 minutes.
(4) After 15-20 minutes stab your calabaza and potatoes with a knife or fork to see if they are tender if it goes through, stir in vinegar, if you feel it's too water for your liking remove some calabaza like 2 pieces and a piece of potato mash it, and stir back in. (I like to mash 2 pieces of the sweet calabaza because it balances out the the vinegar). Remove sausages, slice them and add it back to the pot.
(5) Serve over white rice or bread in a bowl. Taste better after sitting a couple hours or the next day :)

Here's a link to other posts of red bean stews I've done and other's have made. I remember for a long time my family hated this musty hint they had, and I've experimented many ways with them and learned to make them pretty well :)