Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A caramalized onion, bacon, vegetable, and 2 cheese tart

Last week, I unexpectedly recieved a 20 dollar bill. Well, a 200 peso bill to be exact. It came from a friend who all of a sudden remembered that I had lent her 200 pesos a couple months ago. I told her there was no need to pay me back, but she insisted, and in times like these, I can really use all the money I can get. Except, instead of using it to give to my boyfriend to cover my half of the expenses of the $500 dollar stove he put on his credit card, I was browsing Wal-mart and found some cherry tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes are hard to come by in central Mexico, so I thought ok, I have to pick these up. While continuing to browse, I was thinking about what I could use these little guys for, when I found myself in the cheese section. I picked up a hunk of parmesan and looked at the price tag. $120 pesos...about $10.50. "Hmm," I thought as I set it in the cart, "120 pesos + 30 pesos for the cherry tomatoes leaves me $50 pesos. I think I'll pick up some bacon while I'm at it." The bacon cost $30, leaving me with $20. I thought I did good, because I hadn't spent all of themoney. And then I got to the checkout counter and couldnt resist buying a couple packs of peanut m&ms. I know, I know...I'm awful with money, but at least the tart I made was so delicious that I felt a little less guilty ;)

layer 1...a basic savory pie crust

layer 2...carmalized onion, crumbled bacon, sauteed zucchini

layer 3...mozzarella and tomato slices

layer 4...grated parmesan and cherry tomatoes

bake at 375 until crust is done (about 25-30 minutes for me)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

salad with figs, jamon serrano and bleu cheese dressing

I made this delicious salad the other day when I was stuck with no food in the house (the day I made the pumpkin spice smoothie in the post below) and it was really really good. The neighbor has a fig tree that hangs in my yard and I cut a couple off (with permission of course), chopped up some black olives and washed some lettuce and mixed it all together with a bleu cheese dressing. My boyfriend was apprehensive at first to try it ("fruit? in salad??") but I added some jamon serrano to his salad as an incentive and he ate it right up. I even got a compliment out of him on how good the "fruit" was in salad.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Yesterday I was stuck in my house all day with hardly any food ( i havent been shopping in 2 weeks!) and I was really craving something sweet. I rummaged through my fridge and in the freezer i found some frozen bananas (i freeze them to use them in banana bread or smoothies). i had somemilk i needed to use up, so i thought "ok, I'll just make a banana smoothie" but then my eye caught something in the verrrry back of my freezer. A tupperware of pumpkin puree! I talked about pumpkin puree in my pumpkin bread post (here) and i had been saving the leftover puree from the bread to make a pumpkin pie. However, over the last week or so, I have seen so many pumpkin recipes i want to try, and walmart (the only place i can buy pumpkins here in Mexico) is all out and the produce manager told me they probably wouldnt be stocking anymore. I was faced with a difficult decision...save the puree for a pie, or try delicious-looking pumpkin bar recipe... In the end, the pie won. I've been craving pumpkin pie for over a year now, and so into the freezer it was for my pumpkin puree.

But yesterday, when I saw that puree sitting in the back of the freezer, I decided that taking just a tablespoon or two wouldnt matter.
Pumpkin Smoothie

  • 1.5 c milk
  • 1/2 small banana cut in thin rounds (you could leave this out if you wanted to)
  • about 2-3 tbsp pumpkin puree (I just threw mine in frozen)
  • 1tbsp sugar (more or less to taste)
  • pinch or 2 of cinnamon, nutmeg and any other spices you like in your pumpkin pie
Blend all ingredients together and enjoy.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Homemade pumpkin puree

I won't lie. Making pumpkin puree from a real pumpkin is a lot of work. First you have to scoop out all the guts. You have to do a really good job of this, because who wants stringy stuff in their delicious pumpkin treats?? (set the seeds aside to roast later.)After its cleaned, you have to cut the pumpkin in large chunks (since mine was small as I only bought half a pumpkin from the store, I just cut it in half again.) Then, you have to roast it for about an hour. When it cools, you have to scoop out all the flesh and puree it ( I used a blender because I don't have a food processor.) When all that is taken care of, if you used a small pumpkin like me, you're left with about 6 cups of pumpkin puree, which means of course, that you have to make pumpkin bread.

For my pumpkin bread, I used this as a base recipe, but tweaked it a little. Also I halved the recipe, to make just 1 loaf )

for 1 loaf:
  • about 1 1/2 c pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk (or milk mixed with vinegar ...3 parts milk to 1 part vinegar)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease loaf pan
  1. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, milk, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
  2. Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Monday, September 28, 2009

a gift from Italy....

This gorgeous hunk of pecorino was given to us by out Italian neighbors who just returned from their latest trip back home to visit their grandson. As I type this Im eating a huge chunk and its amazing! Pecorino has always been my favorite cheese, and Im already thinking of all the ways I can use this. Any suggestions on what to pair it with are welcome ;)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

chile manzano

Let me introduce you all to the chile manzano. This little guy may be tiny, but he packs a lot of heat. With a rating of about 30,000 on the Scoville heat scale, the manzano chile makes even my boyfriend (lover of all things spicy) break a sweat. He claims it doesnt, but last night when he ate it in a stirfry I made, I saw him wipe his brow when he thought I wasnt looking.

An interesting fact about the chile manzano: it has black seeds. At first, I thought my boyfriend's aunt had given me rotting chiles, but after some research online, I was assured that they are supposed to be black.

Monday, September 21, 2009

French toast sandwiches..a good late night snack

For the past couple of weeks, I have really been craving French toast...but I didnt have any maple syrup to put on top. I kept forgetting and forgetting to get it everytime I went to the store. Then finally last night I jsut couldnt take it anymore and made my boyfriend take me to the store just to get it so i could make my French toast.
He complained a bit about having to go out at 9:30 pm ust to get some maple syrup, but when all was said and done, he didnt regret taking me, and he raved about his banana-cream cheese stuffed French toast "sandwich."

This was really easy. You just make basic French toast in a skillet and then spread the filling between to slices. For the filling I mixed some cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and sliced bananas. Top with maple syrup and powdered sugar.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The best biscuits and gravy I've ever had!

Ok so my gravy I'm sure wasn't the greatest ever, but to me, after about a year of not having biscuits and gravy, it tasted pretty damn amazing.

Here in Mexico we dont have anything like bisquik. I had never found refrigerated biscuits either....until last Monday. Last Monday I actually had time to leisurely browse through all the aisles of the new Walmart here, and in the refrigerated section, hidden behind tubs of margerine, I found a lone tube of buttermilk biscuits. I freaked! The poor people in Walmart probably thought I was crazy, but I was so happy. I told my bf that I had to buy them, even though they were kind of pricey (I mean $4 for a tube of biscuits??? come on...). But I had to have them.

I know what you're thinking. Refrigerated biscuits?? Why when you could just make your own? I know, I know. I dont buy many pre-packaged things for a couple reasons. Homemade just tastes better, and also in Mexico there arent nearly as many pre-packed foods as in America. Well, none that I want to make, anyway.

However, when it comes to biscuits, I'm lazy. I dont know why, but I just dont like to make them. I'd prefer to buy tubes.

Anyways, I love biscuits and gravy, so I knew I would have to use the biscuits for that. Besides, my boyfriend had never had it, and I really wanted him to try it.

I made a quick bacon gravy with some turkey bacon that I needed to use up. The biscuits and gravy tasted wonderful! Exactly what I had been craving, and my boyfriend loved it as well.

And im awful at posting recipes on here because I never really measure anything, but I'll try to give correct measurements.

  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • 2-3 tbsp flour
  • 1 c milk ( mixed it with half a cube of chicken buillon)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. cook bacon until crispy. drain on paper towels.
  2. melt 2 or 3 tbsp butter in the same skillet you used for bacon.
  3. whisk in 2 or 3 tbsp flour (depends on how thick you want your gravy. Remember you can always add extra milk if its too thick).
  4. When flour and butter have cooked about 1 minutes, add milk and salt and pepper.
  5. Crumble a few slices of the bacon into the mixture.
  6. Simmer till it reaches desired thickness.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

lime pomegranate bars

My FIL brought home a huge bag of pomegranates yesterday (called granadas here in Mexico) and my MIL gave me a few to take home. Since after about 1 pomegranate I'm sick of them, I browsed Tastespotting for a bread or something to put them in to use them up. I came across NoFearEntertaining's lemon pomegranate bars. In Mexico I have yet to see a yellow lemon, so I had to use key limes, but the bars still turned out amazing!

Monday, September 7, 2009

baked zucchini chips

I started another diet today, and wanted a healthy side for my chicken breast, so I made some baked zucchini chips.

they're totally easy and totally scrumptious.

  • 2-3 zucchinis, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds (or thinner if you want them crispier)
  • 3/4 c bread crumbs (you can use seasoned ones or add your own seasongs. I add salt, pepper, and cheese)
  • 2 egg whites
  1. Preheat oven to 450ºf
  2. Dip zucchini slices in eggwhites and then into bread crumbs.
  3. Put slices on a greased baking sheet.
  4. Bake 15-20 minutes, turning over half way through.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

layers, layers and more layers...

I have these neighbors here in Mexico. The husband is Italian and the wife is Romanian. The man, Giuseppe, is a really good suit maker (I'm sure that has a name), and travels all over the world working in factories that make men's clothes, and abotu 4 years ago, they ended up here in Pachuca. They've lived in Italy, Korea, Portugal and alot more places that I cant recall at the moment, and that makes for a really hard time understanding the man talk. He mixes Portugese, Italian, Spanish and English, and I'm lucky if I understand half of what he says. The wife speaks Spanish pretty well, so I can understand her. Anyways, they are the nicest people and they have us over to dinner alot. The lady, Mariana, is an AMAZING cook! She makes all kinds of delicious Romanian and Italian food for us.
A couple weeks ago, we had a dinner to celebrate Giuseppe's birthday and Mariana made an overwhelming amount of food. She sent us home with huge plates of left overs, and this was what I ate for breakfast the next day:

The first layer is a delicious, flaky, homemade puff pastry. The second, a layer of thick cut bacon.
For the third layer, we have shredded carrots and leek. And right in the middle, we have juicy, mouthwatering pork loin.
Man, was this good. I cant even begin to explain how good. I have yet to get the full recipe from my neighbor, but i have the basic idea of how she makes it. She just basically wraps everything in the puff pastry she makes and then bakes it till the pork loin is done. She also makes something similar with a baguette. She hollows out the baguette, wraps the pork loin in bacon, and then stuffs it into the bread and bakes it until the pork is done.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

calabazas asadas/ grilled zukes and an explanation.

So i've been away awhile.
I was in training for three weeks to get a job as an english teacher at a school here in Pachuca. It was a very rigorous training as they have their own methhodology of teaching, and i barely had enough time to do anything else, especially cook. but after 3 weeks of this training, i began to realize that they were making a lot of false promises, and to make a long story short, I will not be working there. I will stick to teaching the Korean children that ive been teaching for the last 3 years.

anyways, on a brighter note, I was given more zucchinis by MIL and my FIL taught me a great new way to prepare them:

Just drizzle on some olive oil, sprinkle with S&P, throw them on a hot comal till they char, and voila! Delicious grilled zukes!

I think Ive mentioned comals before. They are basically a removable iron plate that come on stoves here in Mexico. They are used to warm tortillas, grill tomatoes for salsa, and to heat various other things.

big zucchini, baby zucchini

zukes on the comal

zukes in all their grilled goodness...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Long time no blog!!!!!

sorry about that!

ive had a lot on my plate right now. i got a new job as an english teacher at a school but my visa has expired so im trying to figure out what i need to d0 to fix that. plus ive been in training everyday for 3 weeks for the new job, but that ends soon.

So regular posting should begin again soon!!!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

forgotten cookies

Yesterday, my boyfriend and I celebrated our 3 year anniversary. man, these 3 years have gone by so fast. He took me to a Brasilian restaurant to celebrate. I ate so much that I never want to see meat again.

I made forgotten cookies the other day but didnt get to post them, because a friend had a baby (!) and I was with her all day.
my boyfriend and the baby

I got the recipe for forgotten cookies from my roomie when I was studying in Guadalajara. She had to make something American to take to her Spanish class, and she decided on these. They were sooo hard to make because we had no electric mixer and had to take turns mixing the egg whites by hand. And then, when we went to take the cookies of they tray the next day, we realized we hadnt greased it. We had to use a knife to get them off, and our host mom got really mad when she saw the tray because it was all scratched up. oops...

  • 2 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add sugar, continuing to beat until whites form stiff peaks. Fold in the vanilla and chocolate chips. Spoon onto the prepared cookie sheets.
  3. Put the cookies into the preheated oven, shut the door and turn off the oven . Let cookies sit in the turned off oven for 5 to 6 hours or overnight.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

BBQ...and the end of a diet :(

Well, I'm sad to say that my boyfriend's diet lasted all of 12 hours.

He got home from work Monday and pulled out another one of those giant tortas that i posted about the other day from his lap top case and dug in. He about 3/4 of it and washed it down with 2 glasses of sprite.

Yesterday I made some pulled chicken BBQ sandwiches with zucchini chips and a lite apple crisp in hopes that all that would fill him up, but it didnt. A couple hours later his parents invited us over because some friends of the family dropped by, and my bf chowed down on about 10 chalupas. A chalupa is fried corn dough toppd with lettuce, salsa, chicken, and radish.

But anyways! Sorry for the rant. I really dont know what to do about him. I guess it's just a decision he will have to make for himself, but in the mean time i can continue to cook healthy meals for him. sigh.

You can find my BBQ recipe here. The buns were homemade, but nothing to write home about, so I wont bore you with the recipe.

Monday, August 3, 2009

swiss chard with wild mushrooms

My mother in law gave me some weird looking mushrooms the other day. Anyone have any idea what kind they are??

I dont like mushrooms, as I have previously stated, but in light of my boyfriend's new diet, I decided to put them to good use. I had some swiss chard (called acelgas here in Mexico) that I needed to use up, so i just sauteed that with some garlic, salt and the mushrooms. My boy friend loved it!

Swiss chard with Wild Mushrooms (for 1):

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp oil
  • a couple handfuls of swiss chard
  • about a cup of sliced mushrooms
  1. sautee garlic and musrooms in oil.
  2. add in swiss chard and sautee until wilted

Stuffed peppers...the start of a diet!

Today, my boyfriend finally agreed to start a diet with me. I've been trying to get him to eat better for a long time. It's not that he eats alot of bad stuff. He eats relatively good foods, he just eats so much. He's a big guy (6'2'', 220 lbs) and I like how he looks, but its his health I'm concerned about.

But so far so good. Today was the first day in 3 years that I saw him eat meal without 4 slices of bread! I just hope he sticks with this diet.

I knew I had to make something healthy and filling, so I decided on stuffed bell peppers. They filled him up all right!

Stuffed Bell Peppers (for 2):
  • 2 big bell peppers (whatever color you like)
  • 1.5 - 2 c cooked rice (depends on how big your peppers are) I cooked my rice with tomatoes to give it a nice flavor
  • 4-5 slices turkey bacon
  • .5 c black beans
  • diced onion and minced garlic (however much you want)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Cut peppers either in half or cut the tops off. I cut mine in half length-wise.
  2. Devein peppers.
  3. Sautee onions, garlic, and bacon a few minutes. Add beans and cooked rice, and sautee a couple minutes more. Season with Salt and pepper.
  4. fill peppers and pop in the oven at 375ºf for 25-30 minutes. ( you can add cheese on top if you are so inclined)

Friday, July 31, 2009

apple scones

Its been about a week since I've baked anything sweet, and I was going through withdrawls. I havent been shopping this week, so the only fruit I had on hand were some bananas and a green apple. I bake alot with bananas and I wanted something different so I knew I had to do something with the apple.
But what could I bake with jsut one apple??
Cinnamon Apple Scones of course! With one apple I could get 12 delicious, moist scones!
These were great!

Cinnamon Apple Scones:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 + 1/8c sugar ( i add the extra sugar to cut some of the baking powderish salty-ness)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, chopped in small cubes
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon ( I always add more)
  • 1 green apple, peeled, cored, and diced

  1. Mix dry ingredients, then cut in butter till mixture is crumby.
  2. Add milk and apple and stir until you have a moist dough.
  3. knead gently and separate the dough in two parts. On a greased baking sheet, pat the dough into circles.
  4. Cut each circle into six parts.
  5. Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle on extra cinnamon and sugar

What is this monstrous thing?

its a torta de la central.
In other words, its an enormous sandwich my boyfriend bought at the bus station (central) this mornig at 4 am after a night at the bar. He only ate half of it, and said I could have the other half. I asked him what it had on it, and he said he didnt know, but that it was called a niña rica. I disected it this morning and found that it contains in no particular order:
  1. mayo
  2. milanesa- a breaded, fried meat fillet
  3. avocado
  4. sachicha- hot dogs
  5. some other kind of thin red meat that tasted a little like pepperoni...
  6. queso oaxaca
  7. onions
  8. tomato
I took a bite of it (minus the hot dogs and mayo...eww) and was surprised that it was delicious. One bite turned into another and another until I had finished the darn thing. :\

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

pork and zucchini soup in a boule bread bowl

Here in Pachuca, we've been having ridiculous weather...no surprise there. Yesterday, at noon, it was about 87°f and sunny. Then out of nowhere, by 3 pm, it had cooled down to 50°f and it was pouring rain. My boyfriend has been feeling a little under the weather due to these crazy changes, so in anticipation that today would also be cold, I decided to surprise him with something he had never even heard of before...soup in a bread bowl.

Then it was 85 all day.

But it didnt matter; he appreciated the soup, it was delicious, and the bread turned out great.

Since i didnt have days to make sourdough, i settled on the master boule from Artisan Bread. Considering I had about 4 hours to make it, i was worried it wouldnt rise enough, but it did, and was yummy, although a little flatter than i would've liked. Oh well, it still worked for the bread bowl. The only changes I made were adding some basil and thyme, and since I dont have a pizza stone, I baked it on a plain old cookie tray.

The soup I made was a delicious pork-zucchini (I still have zucchini from my father-in-law coming out of my ears!).


boule again

bread bowl

pork soup in bread bowl

a simple salad of red lettuce and mustard vinaigrette

Pork Zucchini Soup (for 3-4)
Note--these are all estimates. I never really measure. Add more or less to taste:

  • 3/4 - 1 pound pork meat, cut in chunks (the cut I used said pulpa pernil...i dont know what that is in spanish or english... I assume its from the back part of the pig) but basically you just need stew meat.
  • 2 zucchinis (sliced .5 inch thick)
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped ( i like chunks)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded and minced (optional. i didnt seed the pepper and it was pretty spicy)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp cream
  • 1/4 c milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Dredge pork in flour (i season my flour with s&p and basil)
  2. brown in stock pot. remove from pot.
  3. to pot, add 1.5 tbsp oil and sautee onion, garlic, and chile. return pork to pot and add zucchini and bell pepper. Sautee a couple minutes.
  4. Meanwhile heat stock, milk, cream and cornstarch. When warm, add to pot. Simmer about an hour, until meat is tender.
  5. Season to taste.