Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy Late Christmas!

Hello Everyone!
I have been stranded in Boise with my family due to the weather in Portland and just got back home and into the swing of things! I will be up and blogging very soon (I forgot my camera on my trip, and didn't have my laptop, so no blogging!). Thanks for all the Christmas and New Years wishes!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Carne de Puerco con Chile

This dish was the star of our meal, as pork should always be! I love nothing better than really good, tender juicy pork carnitas, and this was the real thing. I usually don’t do well frying meat in lard, but I do have to admit this was really amazing! You can stop at that point if you want, but you can also infuse the meat with a lot of flavor after it’s cooked by braising it in sofrito, as this recipe shows. This recipe is really spicy, if you like a more mild dish, just reduce the amount of peppers, or remove the seeds.

Carne de Puerco con Chile

4 Pounds Pork Loin, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 Tablespoons Salt
¼ Cup Beef Stock
2 Cloves Garlic
¼ Onion
4 Jalapeno Peppers, charred and stems removed
2 Roma Tomatoes, halved
1 Cup Water
1 Pound Lard (For Frying)

Place the pork loin in a bowl and sprinkle with the salt, stir to coat and let sit for a couple of hours.
To make the sofrito, combine all remaining ingredients in a blender and puree.
Heat the lard in a very large wide deep pan and fry the meat over medium heat until very tender and just barely starting to brown, about 30 minutes. Remove the meat and drain on paper towels. Next pour lard from pan and wipe out, place meat back in, add sofrito and cook for one hour over low heat. Serve with tortillas and beans.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Frijoles de Loya (Pinto Beans)

I have never laughed over a dish more than this one. My friend Silvia that was telling me how to make the beans, so I was following her direction until it came to the cooking part. If you know me you know that I love to stir stuff while cooking, it just makes me feel better. I’ve even gotten in trouble at friends houses when I just automatically go over to the stove when they are cooking and give the dish a little stir. So Silvia had me put the beans on the heat and told me not to stir the beans, well this just killed me and two hours later, I was still not allowed to stir the dish! Finally she gave in and told me to give it a stir, so I was laughing and stirred the beans counter-clockwise, for bad luck and just to bug her. I think every time I make this dish I’m just going to laugh out loud!

Frijoles de Loya

1 Pound Pinto Beans
½ Onion, skin removed
2 Cloves Garlic, peeled
3 Cups Beef Stock
1 Tablespoon Salt
2 Strips Bacon, fried and cut into small pieces (optional)

Go through beans very thoroughly to ensure there are not any little pebbles in them, and wash thoroughly. Place beans, onion, garlic, salt, bacon, and beef stock into a large heavy stock pot (about 6 quarts, the beans really expand a ton). Add enough water to the pot to cover the beans by a couple inches. Place on stove and bring to a boil, turn heat down to a simmer and let cook until tender, about 3 hours. As beans are cooking just add more water to ensure they are covered. When beans are nice and tender strain and serve.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sopa de Fideo

My friend Silvia that lives in Bend came up to visit a couple weeks ago and prepared the most amazing Mexican Food! It was so much fun to learn some new recipes and not have to do all the cooking like usual. We had 8 people over for dinner and everyone left very fat and happy.
The menu included: Sopa de Fideo (Soup with Noodles), Carne de Puerco con Chile (Pork with Chile), Frijoles de Loya (Pinto Beans), two kinds of Salsa, Guacamole, and my home made Flour Tortillas. I will be posting all the other recipes very soon as well, except for the salsa, as it’s a “secret” recipe. I may share my version of her salsa though, as I wouldn’t want to keep everyone completely in the dark!
Thank you for sharing your recipes Silvia, and I sure wish you would let me share your Secret Salsa Recipe!

Sopa de Fideo

1 Bag Fideo Fino (Vermicelli) 6 ounces
¼ Yellow Onion
1 Clove Garlic
8 Ounces Tomato Sauce
3 Cups Water
1 Cup Beef Broth
1 Teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoons Lard (or Crisco)

In a large frying pan, heat the lard over medium high heat and fry the Fideo until golden brown, turning constantly as to not burn the noodles, remove and drain on a paper towel. In a large saucepan, combine the noodles and all other ingredients. Simmer for about 30 minutes, until reduced and thick and noodles are very tender. Remove the onion quarter and season to taste with more salt if needed.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sweet Potato Casserole

This is a dish that I only make for Thanksgiving and look forward to it every year. This is a Southern recipe and is always a hit at dinner. It’s creamy, sweet, and could almost be served as dessert. I like this so much better than the traditional baked sweet potatoes with butter, brown sugar, and marshmallows which I always ate growing up. I first had this recipe about 5 years ago when my friend Doug made it. I thought he was crazy going to so much work for a side dish, but now realize it is definitely worth it.
I like to use yams instead of sweet potatoes because of the beautiful orange color they add do the dish. If you like sweet potatoes better or can’t find yams, it will turn out just as good.

Sweet Potato Casserole

3 Medium Sweet Potatoes or Yams
¼ Cup Sugar
2 Eggs
½ Cup Evaporated Milk
¼ Cup Melted Butter

1 Cup Brown Sugar
½ Cup Flour
½ Cup Melted Butter
1 Cup Chopped Pecans

Peel and dice potatoes and place in a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking until very soft, about 20 minutes, drain well. Next mash the potatoes with a mixer or heavy duty whisk and add sugar, eggs, evaporated milk and melted butter, mix well. Place potato mixture into a medium sized casserole dish, set aside.
For the topping combine all ingredients and mix with hands to form a crumb mixture. Spread evenly over the potatoes. Bake in a 375 degree pre-heated oven until bubbling and top is just crisp, about 30 minutes. Let rest for a few minutes before serving.

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

If your not a huge sweet potato fan, you can always try out my Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes. I have been told that they are the best mashed potatoes people have ever had. Well, once you look at the ingredient list, I think you will understand why they are so amazing. I made a double batch of these for Thanksgiving as well and they were so good, I wish I had some to eat right now, just looking at the picture is making me hungry. Enjoy!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thai Coconut Curry with Squash & Chicken

I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving! I sure did, and feel about 10 pounds heavier because of it. Also, I got so tied up with work and eating this weekend I forgot that I didn’t have anything lined up to post, so sorry it’s been so long. I finally wasn’t in charge of the meal this year and went over to a friend’s house. We had 3 appetizers, turkey, 13 side dishes, and 3 desserts…a foodies dream come true, all I had to do was bring mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes (you think I’m from Idaho?) I will do a post about these a little later this week when I get all my pictures ready.
So onto the curry dish…I had an acorn squash hanging out on the counter this week and I thought I would throw it in a curry with some chicken and it was really good, I can’t wait to make this dish again. It’s really quick and with the exception of the cilantro, I had all the ingredients on hand. This is also a very quick dish to make, so it’s perfect to throw together after work. I like my curry dishes pretty spicy so I used a full (or rather heaping) tablespoon of curry paste, if you’re not a spice fan, you may want to cut back to a teaspoon or so and then add more to taste.

Thai Coconut Curry with Squash & Chicken

1 Acorn Squash, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
2 Shallots, chopped
1 Garlic Clove, chopped
1 Tablespoon Thai Green Curry Paste
1 Can Unsweetened Coconut Milk (reduced fat is fine in this dish!)
1 Teaspoon Fish Sauce, or more to taste
2 Teaspoons Dark Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Oil
1 Large Chicken Breast, cut into cubes
Cilantro, or Thai Basil, for garnish

Bring a medium sized pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the squash and boil until just tender. Drain and set aside.
In a small food processor or blender combine the shallots, garlic, curry paste coconut milk, fish sauce, brown sugar, and salt, process to form a smooth sauce.
In a medium sized pot, add the oil and sauté the chicken until just browned. Add the curry sauce and squash and cook until fragrant and squash is very tender, about 5 minutes. Serve over rice if desired with cilantro or basil for garnish.