Archive | Mexican/South American/Spanish RSS feed for this section

Spicy Tomato Salsa

11 Sep

9 dried chili peppers

Hot water

12 cups diced cored peeled tomatoes (1/2 inch/1 cm dice) * See How to Peel Tomatoes.

3 cups chopped red onion

1 1/2 cups tightly packed, finely chopped cilantro

15  cloves garlic, finely chopped

6 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped * If you like your salsas extra spicy, leave in all or a portion of the seeds and membranes.

3/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 tbsp salt

3/4 tsp hot pepper flakes

1. In a heatproof glass or stainless steel bowl, combine dried chilies with hot water to cover.  Weigh chilies down with a bowl or a weight to ensure they remain submerged, and soak until softened, about 15 minutes.  Drain off half the water.  Transfer chilies and remaining water to a blender or a food processor fitted with a metal blade and puree until smooth.

2. Meanwhile, prepare canner, jars and lids.

3. In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine chili puree, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno peppers, vinegar, salt and hot pepper flakes.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

4. Ladle hot salsa into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding hot salsa.  Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.

5. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water.  Bring to a boil and process both 8-ounce and pint jars for 15 minutes.  Remove canner lid.  Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

Ball’s Complete Book of Home Preserving, Edited by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine.

I haven’t been able to stop talking and thinking about Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, which chronicles the year she and her family  committed to eating 100% local produce.  She talks about asparagus the way some men talk about women in fishnets; and I can tell you, I’ve been as excited to see asparagus in local markets after a long, food-dull winter as many are to see beer, nachos and Bears football today. Maybe the book has stuck with me because I share her utter excitement in juicy, sweet tomatoes after months of unripened, tasteless toms from god-knows-where at grocery stores, but really, it’s just that she makes it sound so incredibly easy and doable.  And it turns out, it is.

I don’t live on a farm and I share my yard with 6 other units (currently 11 people total) so although the City of Chicago does allow its residents to raise and keep both chickens and roosters on their property within city limits, I figured all 11 neighbors would not be welcoming to a little brood of chickens between the 3 grills,2 tables and my garden.  Space is tight as it is.  These were the sorts of things I thought immediately as she described ordering her little box of chickens and the variety of wild turkeys for her property.  Literally every can-not that I’ve come up with has been followed by a very easy solution in the city.  For example, Gene’s Sausage Shop and Delicatessen, which is 3 blocks from my house, sells free range, organic chickens from a farm in Wisconsin and there are nearly always local eggs and meat at the farmers markets (and there is a farmers market somewhere in this city every day of the week).  I haven’t fully boarded the all-local-bandwagon (it’s so hard to resist avocados in summer) but I would estimate that well over 80% of the items I’ve cooked at home this summer have been local.

So as fall is setting in, I’m contemplating how to continue supporting local farming and how to save the tastes of summer.  This weekend was momentous because I finally started jarring.  This was yet another task that I had found completely daunting, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how easy and, between you and me, fun it can be.  I started with this salsa recipe but I also made a peach salsa that I hope to post soon.  It’s so convenient to have homemade salsa available when you need it and each of the individual ingredients shine in the homemade salsa rather than condensing into a homogenous stew like many of the store-bought options.  If it seems like too much work for you alone, get friends together to split the jars (this recipe makes 12 8-oz jars).  And I happen to know the local Ace Hardware on Lincoln Avenue is having a sale on jars and canners through the end of the month.  I’m happy to burst your can-not bubble, but no excuses,  you can do it too.

Advertisements

Shrimp with Charred Lemon and Zucchini

12 Jul

16 jumbo shrimp, unpeeled, legs removed (about 1 3/4 pounds)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon grated peeled ginger1 teaspoon hot paprika
Sea or kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1 medium zucchini, cut into 2 1/2-by-1/2-inch sticks
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsleyToasted sourdough bread, for serving.

Preheat the broiler. Use a sharp knife to make a slit through the shell along the back of each shrimp. Remove the vein, leaving the shell intact. Rinse and pat dry, then transfer to a large bowl.

Whisk 1/4 cup olive oil, the ginger, paprika, 2 teaspoons salt, and pepper to taste in a bowl.

Add half of the dressing to the bowl with the shrimp and toss.  Add the lemon and zucchini to the remaining dressing  and toss, then spread on a large foil-lined baking sheet. Broil until the lemon and zucchini begin to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the shrimp and broil until the shells are pink, about 3 minutes. Turn the shrimp, lemon and zucchini and broil 3 to 4 more minutes.

Whisk the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, the parsley and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Divide the shrimp, lemon and zucchini among plates and drizzle with the parsley oil. Serve with bread.

Food Network Magazine, July 2010

After stuffing yourself with burgers, brats and loads of potato salad over the 4th of July weekend, this light dish may be just what the doctor ordered.  Rather than broiling, we wrapped the veggies in tin foil and tossed them on the grill so we could enjoy a hot summer night outside (rather than broiling ourselves to heat stroke in our un-air-conditioned apartment).  If you don’t have hot paprika on hand, you can substitute sweet paprika and a little cayenne pepper instead.  After cooking the zucchini/lemon toss for about 5-7 minutes, we added the shrimp to the foil packet and continued grilling until the shrimp turned its tell-tale pink.  We grilled slices of sourdough until lightly browned during the last few minutes of cooking and this was absolutely delicious.  Pairs perfectly with a nice dry white wine.   I also recommend starting with the Grape-Leaf Wrapped Goat Cheese.

Easy Summer Pico de Gallo

4 Jul

3 tomatoes, chopped

1 red onion, finely chopped

2 mangos, peeled, seeded and chopped

1-2 jalapenos (depending on your spice-tolerance/preference), seeded and finely chopped

3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

1 lime

2 avocados

1. Combine chopped tomatoes, red onion, mango, jalapeno and cilantro in a medium-sized bowl.  Add fresh-squeezed juice from 1 lime.  Stir to combine.  Add salt to taste.  Place mixture in the refrigerator until ready to serve, preferably overnight.

2. Before serving, add chopped avocados and stir to combine.  Serve with tortilla chips.

I have to give primary credit for this recipe to Mary McMullin who asked me to come up with a salsa to serve with simple grilled chicken breasts, using her 2 mangos, a few tomatoes and an avocado.  I insisted that we add onion and jalapeno to spice it up and have since added the lime which helps to preserve the ingredients and adds a nice citrusy splash.  I just served this on a camping trip in Michigan.  I divided the batch into two servings, tossed them in the cooler and added 1 avocado per serving to keep it fresh.  Great way to use those farmer’s market tomatoes and serve a big crowd.  You can also mix it up by adding different peppers such as any bell pepper or chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.

Fish Tostadas with Chili-Lime Cream

19 Jan

  • 1 lb.  fresh tilapia or cod fillets
  • 1/2 tsp.  chili powder
  • 1 lime, halved
  • 1/2 cup  sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp.  garlic powder
  • 8 6-inch  tostada shells
  • 2 cups  shredded cabbage mix
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled, and sliced (optional)
  • 1 cup  cherry tomatoes, quartered (optional)
  • Bottled hot pepper sauce (optional)

1. Preheat broiler. Sprinkle fish with 1/4 teaspoon of the chili powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. For chili-lime cream, in bowl squeeze 2 teaspoons juice from half the lime. Stir in sour cream, garlic powder, and remaining chili powder; set aside. Cut remaining lime half in wedges for serving.

2. Place fish on unheated greased broiler rack; tuck under thin edges. Place shells on baking sheet on lowest rack. Broil fish 4 inches from heat 4 to 6 minutes per 1/2-inch thickness, until fish flakes with fork. Break in chunks. Serve tostadas with cabbage, chili-lime cream, avocado, tomatoes, lime, and pepper sauce. Serves 4.

Better Homes & Gardens

I’ve been making this recipe at least once a month for nearly two years.  It takes no more than 15-20 minutes start to finish.  It’s incredibly flexible – you can spice up the sauce, make it a taco instead, sub in different kinds of fish (although I recommend sticking with a mild white variety), use different toppings.  The possibilities are literally endless, but this is a good starting point.   I strongly recommend this for those of you who love fish but are entertaining others who are weary of “fishy” flavors.  It demonstrates the wide variety of potential uses of fish while not overpowering its flavor.  I recommend serving with my Spanish Rice recipe.


Spanish Rice

15 Jan

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 chopped onion

1 1/2 cup uncooked white rice

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup pico de gallo

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Stir in onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

2. Mix rice into skillet, stirring regularly.  When rice begins to brown, stir in broth and salsa.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed and rice is the desired consistency.

Cheese and Shrimp-Stuffed Poblanos

15 Jan

  • 1  red bell pepper
  • 8  poblano peppers
  • 2  tablespoons  olive oil
  • 1  pound  peeled and deveined medium shrimp, chopped
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt, divided
  • 5  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground red pepper
  • 1/2  cup  half-and-half
  • 3/4  cup  fat-free milk, divided
  • 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) shredded Chihuahua cheese
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2  tablespoons  fresh lime juice

Preparation

1. Preheat broiler.

2. Cut bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place bell pepper halves, skin sides up, and whole poblanos on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 10 minutes or until blackened, turning poblanos to blacken all sides. Place peppers in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel. Finely chop bell peppers. Cut tops crosswise from poblanos; remove seeds.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle shrimp with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add shrimp to pan; cook 3 minutes or until done. Remove from pan.

4. Add garlic to pan; sauté 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Sprinkle with flour and ground red pepper; cook 1 minute. Slowly add half-and-half, stirring with a whisk. Stir in 1/2 cup milk; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; let stand 2 minutes. Add cheese and 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring until smooth. Place 1/3 cup cheese mixture in a large bowl; reserve remaining cheese mixture. Add bell pepper, shrimp mixture, cilantro, and juice to 1/3 cup cheese mixture in bowl; toss to coat. Stir 1/4 cup fat-free milk into reserved cheese mixture. Spoon 3 tablespoons cheese sauce onto each of 4 plates. Spoon 6 tablespoons shrimp mixture into each poblano. Place 2 stuffed poblanos and two tops on each plate.

Cooking Light, January 2010

This is one of my all-time favorites.  It is incredibly spicy, definitely not for the weak in tongue (or stomach).  I recommend serving over a plate of my Spanish Rice recipe.  The grains of the rice combined with the dairy in the shrimp/cheese blend tame the heat a little.  You could also serve as an appetizer for a special occasion (or no occasion at all – the best time for indulging).   This was the first recipe I made since I got back from California and an awesome way to jump back into cooking after a little reprieve.  It combines my favorite spanish flavors, reminding me of chile rellenos and ceviche all rolled up in one.  Note that the roasting and peeling of the peppers takes a little time and effort, but it is worth the wait.  I made it on a weeknight after work and went to a show after so it’s not too bad.  I recommend serving with a lighter ale (such as Floyd’s Gumball Head or Pride and Joy) or a dry white wine.  Great for company!

Golden Green Paella

15 Dec

2 tablespoons olive oil

8 ounces peel & deveined medium shrimp, coarsely chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup instant brown rice

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 14 ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth

8 ounces fresh sugar snap pea pods

1 large green sweet pepper, cut in 1/2 pieces

2 green onions, diagonally sliced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Better Homes & Gardens

1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat in skillet.  Add shrimp; sprinkle with half the salt and pepper.  Cook 2 minutes until shrimp are opaque, stirring occasionally.  Remove from skillet and set aside.

2. Add remaining oil to skillet.  Cook onion until almost tender.  Add garlic; cook 1 minute.  Stir in rice, oregano and turmeric; cook and stir 1 minute.  Add broth and remaining salt and pepper.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer, covered, 5 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.  Stir in peas and green pepper; cook 3 minutes.  Stir in green onions and shrimp.  Sprinkle with parsley.

I’ve been making this recipe for quite a while.  It’s quick and easy, yet every bite features a different flavor.  I love the crisp peas with the sweet shrimp.  A classic at my place.  I made this one for my boyfriend and my dad last night and my dad loved it (even though he is the pickiest eater in the world).   I never have instant rice around so I simply cook regular rice until almost tender and use that.  I also used organic vegetable broth and I didn’t think it made much difference.  I would recommend adding crushed red pepper flakes if you’re into the spicy stuff.

Potted Spanish Chicken

7 Dec

1 large dried ancho chile, stemmed and seeded

3 cups chicken stock

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup white rice

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 onions, chopped

2 ribs celery from the heart, chopped

3 cloves garlic, grated or chopped

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinches ground cloves

Salt & Pepper

One 28-ounce can diced or whole fire-roasted tomatoes

4 small pieces bone-in chicken breast, halved crosswise

4 small bone-in chicken drumsticks

1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. In a small saucepan, bring the ancho chile and 1 cup chicken stock to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer until softened, 10 minutes.

2. In a large saucepan, bring the remaining 2 cups stock and the butter to a boil.  Stir in the rice, cover and simmer for 18 minutes.  Remove from the heat; fluff with a fork.

3. In another large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, over medium heat.  Add the onions, celery, garlic, bay leaves, coriander, cumin, cinnamon and cloves; season with salt and pepper.  Cook until softened, 7 or 8 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes and heat for 5 minutes.  Transfer the sauce to a food processor, discarding the bay leaves.  Add the soaked ancho and its liquid and process until smooth.

4. Meanwhile, in a large skillet with a lid, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons, olive oil, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat.  Season the chicken with sat and pepper, add to the skillet skin side down and cook until browned, 7 to 8 minutes.  Flip over and add the reserved sauce.  Cove and cook the chicken through, 10 to 12 minutes.

5. Serve the chicken on therice and top with parsley.

Everyday with Rachel Ray, December 2009

This is one of my all-time favorites.  It’s hearty and spicy and boasts complex flavors.  It is fairly quick to make although I recommend cooking everything on lower heat to prevent panic while 4 things are cooking on the stove at once.  The only modification I suggest is using my (favorite kitchen tool) immersion blender rather than the food processor for blending the sauce under Step 3.  That way I don’t have to transfer the sauce twice, which always proves dangerous with my butterfingers.   I recommend serving this dish with a side salad or with roasted asparagus.

Be aware, you will use all of your pots (4) on this recipe (see below – me doing the dishes).