Thursday, March 3, 2011

Weekday Dinner Shortcuts

So today was the most hectic day and I did not get home until nearly 6:30 pm. The whole drive home I kept thinking what will I make today that can be quick.  In the morning I had taken out ground beef so I knew I had to make something with ground beef. I thought hmmm....picadillo with rice - nah we already had rice twice this week, kibbeh (patties yucatan style) - nah  I didn't pickle the onions and don't have all I need to make them.  So my little guy says can we have taquitos? Ding ding ding - yes, that's it let's make taquitos. No mom, let's go to taco bell. What?!?! No way! We are making them - better yet, I'm making tostadas!

So off we went to the Mexican grocery store to buy refried beans (yup in the can - shortcut #1), ready made tostadas (shortcut #2), sour cream, and two roma tomatoes.

I quickly threw the ground beef into the pan with a bit of oil. Now if you buy fatty meat and you use a non-stick pan you won't need the oil. I added some garlic powder, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, and some chili powder. Once the meat started browning I diced up the tomatoes and an onion and threw that in with some more of the spices sprinkled on top and mixed it all up. This will cook quickly.

Meanwhile, I heated the beans according to the directions: place the can in a pot of boiling water and let it sit in the water bath for at least ten minutes - the longer the better. 

Finally, you are ready to assemble. Grab a tostada, put a layer of beans, a layer of meat, and a dollop of sour cream - viola, dinner is served! If you want tacos instead - well use tortillas :)

Sour Cream and Tostadas
Spices you will need (or use whatever you have on hand)

Ground beef cooking w/ tomatoes, spices, and onion
Canned black refried beans (feel free to substitute the kind you like)

Finished product

My little guy still wanted taquitos - so I made them w/ the little tortilla

Folded them over and he was happy - he ate four!

Happy Thursday! What did you create today?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Dinner = Panes con Gallina (not your ordinary Chicken Sandwich)

Sundays I usually like to cook things that I normally can't cook during the week because they take time to create.  Today I wanted to treat my family to Panes con Gallina. This traditionally a Salvadorean dish that can also be made with turkey (Panes con Chumpe). When I first learned to make these my husband told me they were as good as his moms - I guess they came out pretty good, even my picky teenager loves them. My middle child, my daughter, loves all things food and she is always ready for seconds of this - if I let her!

I must warn you that the Panes really are time consuming but the outcome is so worth it, so don't let the many ingredients or steps scare you.  Most of the ingredients you have in your pantry already.  The recipe I use I adapted from one I found on SF Gate for Panes con Chumpe.  As with anything I take some of the steps in the recipe and tweek them to fit what I have or to make it easier if at all possible.

Today I had the pleasure of having my niece watch and learn, too bad she left before it was ready!  But I am glad I finished and finally got to eat :)

Before you start anything pre-heat your oven to 350 to 375 degrees.

One whole chicken rinsed in cold water  (insides removed) and patted dry

You will need the juice of one lemon, 1/2 cup mustard, 4 tbls of butter
Pour the lemon juice over the entire chicken and in the cavity and pat dry again.
Mix the mustard and the melted butter (I melt it in the microwave to make it easier to spread)
Spread the butter/mustard mixture all over the chicken and the cavity. Season w/ salt and pepper.
Now place on a rack and in a roasting pan. Let it rest while you prepare the rest.
For the curtido you will need 1/2 head of cabbage
Slice the cabbage and set aside

One carrot
Shred carrot w/ peeler and set aside.
One onion
Slice and put aside.
Put a pot of water to boil.
Pour all the pre-cut veggies into the boiling water and blanch (cook) for 30 seconds.
Immediately remove the veggies.
Have an ice bath ready for the veggies.
Put veggies in the ice bath to stop the cooking process
Drain and place in a colander.
Put the veggies in a bowl add salt and oregano.
To the bowl add one cup of apple cider vinegar and one cup plain water.
Mix it all up and put in the refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight if you can.
For the basting sauce you will need about six large tomatoes and one onion and a half.
You will also need to roast some garlic - at least three cloves. I used pre-peeled so I put them in foil w/ some olive oil.

Put all the veggies in the preheated oven and leave in there until the tomato skins burst open and onion gets some color.
Here's your veggies ready.

Peel the tomatoes and set all veggies aside to cool before you blend.
While that cools you will toast the seeds. Remember to remove the chiles you won't need them.
Toast the seeds until....
They look like this (don't take you eyes off of them and keep stirring or they will burn)
Seeds up close and beautiful!
Grind the seeds in a coffee grinder if you have it - if not grind by hand the way our abuela's use to do it.
Seeds all ground up

Into the blender in batches you will put the roasted tomatoes, onions garlic, ground seeds, salt and pepper.  You will also need two 8oz cans of tomato sauce - just divide it up and pour in you batches.
Blend all those beautiful ingredients together and you will get this.
Pour the mixture into a pot and bring to a simmer.  Add two and a half cups of chicken stock  (you can make your own stock w/ the insides of the chicken - remember when you cleaned the cavity - just put them together with some water and let boil).  Simmer for about 10 minutes then add 1/2 cup of butter and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes. Re-season w/ salt and pepper if needed.
Pour one cup of the basting sauce in the bottom of the pan.
Next pour another cup over the entire chicken.  Place in the pre-heated oven.
Baste every 1/2 hour.
While the bird cooks slice up the traditional veggies that go with the sandwich - tomato, cucumber, radishes, and watercress. 
Finally when your chicken reads 165 degrees when you insert the thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh it is done! To avoid the overly dark tips you can put foil - I don't because it doesn't bother me.
To assemble - grab a bolillo (mexican bread) grab some of the chicken doused in sauce and put in the bottom of the bread, next add some curtido.
Finish off with some tomatoes, cucumber, radishes if you like them (I don't) and watercress.  

Enjoy the fruits of you hard work! You won't be sorry you took the time to make these and your family will love you for it! <3 Until next time ~

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Getting Started

Today is the first day of my blogging life. I hope to be able to post here often, but in reality most of my culinary creations take place on the weekend.  Check back soon to find an updated post.  Thanks for stopping by.