Mexican Tamales

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Authentic Mexican tamales recipe.

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Tamales, Mexican
Authentic Mexican tamale recipe
Course Breakfast, dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
Ingredients
Course Breakfast, dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place the roast in a large pan and cover it with water. Slice half a large onion and add it to the water, along with the bay leaves. Bring to a boil and simmer til the meat is very tender. Drain and reserve liquid.
  2. Stem and seed the peppers. Place in bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit until soft, about 15 minutes.
  3. Drain peppers and reserve the liquid. Put peppers in blender. Rough-chop the other half of the onion and add to blender. Add garlic cloves. Blend, adding salt to taste and part of the reserved liquid and/or meat stock by tablespoons in turns until the chili sauce is the consistency of thick tomato sauce. Set aside.
  4. Mix shortening or lard with masa harina and baking powder until light and airy. Add 2 cups of the reserved pepper liquid and/or meat stock. Knead until it forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  5. Add about 5 or so tablespoons of the chili pepper sauce to the masa mix in a food processor until the consistency is about like that of tomato paste and has a beautiful orangey-red color.
  6. Shred the cooked meat and put it in a skillet. Chop half the second onion and add to skillet, along with the chili sauce. Simmer about 10 or 15 minutes to marry the flavors and reduce to a thick consistency.
  7. Slice potatoes or carrots into 1/4-inch thick sticks. These will go inside the tamales.
  8. Soak dried corn husks in hot water in a flat pan held down with a plate or pot lid until they are soft and pliable.
  9. Assemble the tamales: spread a couple of tablespoons of the masa mix on a soaked corn husk. If the masa mixture is the right consistency, it will not stick to the corn husk. Another test is to drop a little ball of it into a cup of water. If it floats, it's the right consistency.
  10. Spoon on about 2 or 3 tablespoons of the meat mixture. Place an olive and a potato or carrot stick on top.
  11. Fold the corn husk over the filling. It's good if there is masa on the edge because it helps the tamale stay folded. Fold the narrow end of the tamale over the rest of it to make a neat pocket. Continue assembling the tamales until the filling is used up.
  12. Put a couple of inches of water in the bottom of a large pot and put a steamer rack over the water. Stand the tamales upright on the folded end on the rack. There should be enough tamales to fill the pot but not so many that they are packed tightly because they expand when they cook.
  13. Cover the pot with foil and the pot lid. You could also use the extra corn husks to cover them.
  14. Bring to a simmer and steam about 30 - 45 minutes. Masa should be the consistency of firm polenta and the potato/carrot sticks should be cooked and tender.
Recipe Notes

Cooking the meat, making the chili sauce, and even cooking the meat with the chili sauce can be done a day or so in advance.

Do not mix the dough until just before you fill the tamales.

If you want to get fancy, tie off the folded tamales with narrow strings pulled from the corn husks.

Leftover tamales are even better the next day, fried up in a skillet with some eggs for breakfast.

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Mexican Chilaquiles Recipe

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Chilaquiles has been called a simmered casserole. Made of tortilla chips simmered in salsa and topped with crema and cheese, this hearty Mexican breakfast dish is a favorite of many.

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Chilaquiles, Mexican Recipe
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Combine salsa and chicken broth in skillet.
  2. Submerge tortilla chips in mixture. Add chicken and epazote, if desired.
  3. Simmer over medium-low heat about 5 minutes until tortillas are soft but not mushy.
  4. Serve warm drizzled with Mexican crema and sprinkled with diced onions and crumbled queso fresco. Top with eggs cooked any style, or serve the cooked eggs on the side.
Recipe Notes

Caution: chilaquiles are easy to overcook, watch them closely while they simmer. It’s better to serve them slightly undercooked than overcooked.

You can substitute sour cream thinned with a little cream for the Mexican crema.

Instead of salsa verde, you can use red, tomato-based salsa.

Instead of queso fresco, use shredded Monterey Jack.

Additional toppings: sliced avocado, chopped cilantro, or pico de gallo.

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Salsa Verde Recipe, Mexican Green Salsa Made with Tomatillos

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Fresh Mexican salsa verde is green salsa made with tomatillos instead of tomatoes. Make it hot or mild. Either way, it's tangy and goes good on chips, in tacos, over tamales or as a sauce for any meat. It's suitable for vegans and vegetarians, too.

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Salsa Verde, Mexican Green Salsa with Tomatillos Recipe
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Servings
cups
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Peel, rinse and dry the tomatillos.
  2. Preheat a cast-iron skillet over high heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Dry-roast the tomatillos, peppers, unpeeled garlic cloves and onion pieces in the hot skillet, turning every 2 minutes with tongs to char on most of the surfaces. Do not allow to burn.
  4. Tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the stem from the peppers and slice in half. If desired, remove seeds and pith. Removing the seeds and pith reduces the spiciness and heat of the salsa verde. Leave the seeds and pith intact for a very hot salsa.
  6. Place the tomatillos, peppers and onions into the bowl of a food processor. Peel garlic and add to other ingredients. Pulse 2 to 4 times to chop.
  7. Add salt and cilantro to the food processor bowl.
  8. Pulse quickly 4 to 6 more times until a coarse puree forms.
  9. Transfer the salsa to a serving dish and serve immediately while still warm or refrigerate and serve chilled.
Recipe Notes

When buying, choose very firm tomatillos with the papery husk intact. They can range in size from very small, like cherry tomatoes, to extremely large, like beefsteak tomatoes. I tend toward the medium ones, but all of them will give you good results.

When you peel the satisfyingly crinkly paper covering off the tomatillos, your fingers and the tomatillos inside will be sticky, kind of like a tree-sap stickiness. But it rinses right off with water. Peel back the cover and yank the stem; the whole thing comes off at once. Then make this salsa. You won't regret it!

For raw vegan diets, skip the dry-roasting process. Salsa verde is good without the char as well.

Use any kind of chili pepper. Jalapenos are milder than serranos, but you can use poblanos, too.

Salsa verde will keep in the refrigerator for about 3 days if sealed tightly.

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Matzo Brei Recipe, a Jewish Passover Breakfast Dish

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Traditional matzoh brei recipe for Jewish Passover. Contains the basic recipe plus lots of variations for any taste, savory or sweet. Make it for breakfast or as a side to another main course.

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Matzo Brei Recipe, a Jewish Passover Breakfast Dish
Cuisine Jewish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Cuisine Jewish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Break up matzoh crackers into 1-inch pieces or smaller and soak in warm water or milk for no longer than 30 seconds. Drain well. Alternatively, put matzoh pieces in a colander and pour about a quart of hot water over them.
  2. Lightly beat the eggs in a separate bowl.
  3. Whisk in 4 teaspoons milk, salt and pepper.
  4. Add softened matzoh pieces and stir well to coat.
  5. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add butter or oil.
  6. Add the matzoh mixture. You can add it altogether and stir during cooking to make something like scrambled eggs. Or you could add the matzoh in separate half-cupfuls and cook them like pancakes. Or you can cook the whole batch at once without stirring, but turn halfway through to make a large, omelette-like disk. In any case, cook until eggs are just cooked through. Remove to serving dish or plates.
  7. Serve warm or cold.
Recipe Notes

There are endless variations to matzoh brei. You can make it savory, as above, or sweet.

Making different-sized batches is easy: one egg per each matzoh cracker and season to taste.

Variations for savory: in addition to the salt and pepper, add a pinch of dried parsley, thyme or rosemary, or even a mixture of sauteed onions, mushrooms and herbs. This flavorful savory version can be used as a side dish similar to stuffing.

For sweet variations, omit pepper and add a teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Serve with applesauce, a sprinkling of powdered sugar, grape jelly or some other kind of jam.

You could even go way off script and serve with hot sauce, though I don't think that's exactly traditional!

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Faschingskrapfen, German Filled Donut Recipe

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The traditional pastry for Germanys Mardi Gras, called Karneval or Fasching, is krapfen, or donuts. Made of yeast dough, they are fried and filled with apricot or rose hip jam. You can make them yourself with this recipe!

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Donuts, German Filled (Faschingskrapfen) for Karneval
Cuisine German
Servings
Ingredients
Cuisine German
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Proof the yeast by combining it with the lukewarm milk and about 2 tablespoons of sugar. Mix well and place in a warm spot for 20 minutes. The yeast should become active and foam up, becoming what is called a sponge.
  2. While the yeast is doing its thing, combine the rest of the ingredients and whip til fluffy. Combine the yeast sponge with the flour and mix up a little. Add the egg mixture and mix well. Knead by hand for about 10 minutes or use a mixer with dough hooks for 5 minutes.
  3. Form a ball with the dough and leave it in the bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and put in a warm place (about 85 degrees F) to rise for 20 minutes. If your kitchen is cold, warm the oven to 85 degrees F (30 C) and place the dough in there.
  4. Punch the dough down and knead by hand on floured board for about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with more flour and work it in by increments if dough sticks to your hand. Add milk by tablespoons if the dough is too dry and hard to knead.
  5. Form a ball and return the dough to the bowl. Cover with the towel and return to the warm spot for 60 minutes to rise a second time.
  6. Turn the dough onto a floured board and punch down again.
  7. Now there are two ways to proceed: One is to form balls with the dough that are about 2 inches in diameter. Roll the balls between your palms to eliminate any seams or folds. Seams and folds "bloom" in the oil and result in a misshapen Krapfen. Two is to press the dough into a flat sheet about 1/2 inch thick. Let it rest for about 10 minutes then use a cookie cutter or rim of a drinking glass to cut 4-inch disks. Reform leftover dough into a flat sheet and cut more disks until most of the dough is used up.
  8. Whether you form ball or disks, place the dough shapes on greased and floured sheets. Cover the dough with the kitchen towel and return to the warm place for another 30 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile bring a pot with 2-3 inches of oil, shortening or lard (old school, German style) to 338 degrees F (170 C). Carefully remove a ball or disk, whatever you decided, turn it over and place gently into the oil, bottom up.
  10. Fry 1-2 minutes then turn the donuts over and fry an equal amount of time on the other side. Properly risen dough should be so light that the donuts float, resulting in a white band around the middle. No white band means dense, overcooked donuts.
  11. Remove from oil to a plate lined with paper towels.
  12. There are two ways to glaze the Krapfen: One, roll the still-warm Krapfen in a plate of sugar. Two, sprinkle with powdered sugar, BUT WAIT UNTIL AFTER YOU FILL THEM.
  13. To fill: Load a baking syringe with jam and inject each donut with about 2 teaspoons of the sweet stuff. Then sprinkle with powdered sugar on both sides if you waited for that.
  14. Serve warm. Strong coffee goes well!
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Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins Recipe

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Light and sweet with the tang of lemon, these muffins make a great breakfast, brunch or dessert treat. Use Greek yogurt or buttermilk to enhance the flavor. No need to frost.

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Muffins, Lemon-Poppy Seed, Recipe
Cuisine American
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20-25 minutes
Passive Time 20-25 minutes
Servings
muffins
Ingredients
Cuisine American
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20-25 minutes
Passive Time 20-25 minutes
Servings
muffins
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175 C). Coat muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray or use paper cupcake cups.
  2. Add lemon zest to sugar and rub the zest into the sugar with your fingers. Set aside about 1 tablespoon (9-19 g) of this mixture for later.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together with a hand mixer until fluffy.
  4. Add the egg yolks, one at a time. Beat well after each.
  5. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients, including poppy seeds.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, alternating two times with the yogurt or buttermilk, then lemon juice, and then vanilla. Beat just until smooth.
  7. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold them into the muffin batter until blended.
  8. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, 3/4-full. Sprinkle the top with reserved sugar and lemon zest.
  9. Bake at 350°F (175 C) for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  10. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan.
Recipe Notes

There is no need to frost these muffins.

This recipe can also be baked in a large pan as a cake.

If you don’t have baking soda, which can be hard to find in Europe, just use more baking powder

Greek yogurt has the best flavor for this recipe.

If you don’t have vanilla extract, use a packet of vanilla sugar instead.

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Asiago Cheese Grits Recipe

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Rich and decadent Asiago cheese grits, perfect for a breakfast buffet side dish or as part of Cajun shrimp and grits combination. I like Better than Bouillon organic chicken base, but you can use any brand you prefer. Substitute cheddar for the Asiago for an amazing taste variation.

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Grits, Asiago Cheese Recipe
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to a rolling boil. Whisk in chicken base. Work quickly so the milk does not burn.
  2. Whisk in the grits in a slow stream, whisking rapidly and constantly to avoid lumps.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until the mixture thickens and is al dente. The time depends on the type of grits you are using; consult the package label for cooking time.
  4. Reduce heat to low. Add butter and the cream and stir well to loosen the mixture. Add more cream if necessary to get a thick yet flowing consistency.
  5. Add the cheese and pepper. Mix them into the grits, stirring until fully incorporated.
  6. Take the pan off the heat and cover until serving time.
  7. Add more cream if the mixture is too thick at serving time.
Recipe Notes

Always grate your own cheese for richer flavor, plus the ready-grated cheese in the supermarket dairy section has talcum or other agents added to keep the cheese from sticking together.

Substitute cheddar cheese for the Asiago in this recipe for a tasty switch.

These grits make great leftovers and will store in an airtight container in the fridge for several days. They are very fast to heat up in the microwave because of all the dairy. Be careful when handling the freshly-prepared or reheated grits; they are HOT!

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