Nana’s Hot Chocolate

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Mexican

MEXICAN HOT CHOCOLATE

My Nana (Grandmother) used to make Mexican hot chocolate for my cousins and I during Christmas time.  The taste and smell really take me back to childhood.  It’s a cherished memory.  We have had our fair share of cold and rainy nights this year in California.  These rainy nights are perfect for pajamas and Mexican hot chocolate.  Find a cozy, quiet spot in your house and enjoy a silky smooth cup of chocolate.  It’s easy to make, and I will show you how to fancy-it up.

Time-10 minutes

Servings-2

Ingredients

2 cups of milk (whole/lowfat), 1 block of Abuelita/Ibarra chocolate, 1/2 cup of milk for frothing, hersheys milk chocolate for design.

Preparation of Mexican Hot Chocolate

On medium-high heat add milk in an aluminum pitcher or deep pot.  Warm milk to almost boiling.

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The chocolate is already scored for you.  Cut into triangle pieces for easier melting.

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Add chocolate into warm milk and use whisk or the traditional Molinillo to whip the chocolate milk for 5 minutes to thicken and make the chocolate smooth.  While chocolate is melting place your extra milk into frother.  Once chocolate looks slightly thick and smooth pour into cups.

fullsizeoutput_c917Add frothed milk to hot chocolate.  It should sit right on top leaving a little edge of chocolate on the perimeter.fullsizeoutput_c918With hershey’s syrup you can make a zig zag pattern or circular pattern.

fullsizeoutput_c911Using a toothpick run it perpendicular to the zig zag pattern.  For the circular pattern take the toothpick from the outside of the circle and bring it to the center most part to create a flower design.

fullsizeoutput_c914Enjoy!

Cook’s Note:

  1. This blog is dedicated to my Nana who passed away 2 years ago today.
  2. Milk is not a liquid you can walk away from when on the stovetop.  When it hits it’s boiling point it rises and spills over very quickly.
  3. See foodie field trips tab at top of my blog to find where you can find a restaurant that does it right.
  4. Mexican hot chocolate is different because it is infused with cinnamon.

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Breakfast Nachos

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Breakfast / Mexican

dsc_2506Chilaquiles with Salsa Verde

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals of the day.  Having a well stocked refrigerator makes life easy when you want something quick and delicious.  This breakfast was ready in less than 10 minutes.  I had left over refried beans and salsa verde.  I try to keep homemade red or green sauce in my refrigerator because it’s healthy, and it adds so much flavor to just about anything.

Time-10 minutes with left overs

Servings-1

Ingredients 

1 1/2 cup of salsa verde, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup refried beans, handful of store bought thick tortilla chips,1 TBS of cotija cheese, 1TBS of cilantro, a few slivers of jalapeños for garnish, 1 tsp of oil for eggs, drizzle of cream and salt to taste over eggs.

Salsa Verde recipe from previous blog Are you ready for a throw down? 6 Anaheim Chiles, 2 Poblanos, 8-10 tomatillos, 1 white onion sliced 1/2 thick, 1 garlic head sliced, 1 cup of water.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Place Anahiem/Poblano chile peppers, tomatillos, onions, and garlic on a cookie sheet. The flesh of the garlic should be exposed and foil wrapped around the garlic shells to prevent burning. Drizzle a dab of olive oil over exposed garlic to prevent dryness.   Each of these vegetables finish roasting at different times. The tomatillos will be done in 20 minutes. The onions and garlic will finish in 30 minutes. The chiles will be ready in 40 minutes. When they are done roasting, place the tomatillos, onions, and garlic in a blender. Place the roasted chiles in a sealed, gallon size, ziploc bag. Allow the chiles to sweat in the ziploc bag for 20 minutes. Remove the stems, skin, and seeds from the chiles. Add the chiles and cup of water to the same blender and blend all ingredients until smooth.  Season with 1/2 tsp of salt.

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The variety of peppers is your discretion, add poblanos or jalapeños.  Just fill up the cookie sheet.

Refried Beans recipe from previous blog Back to Basics a Mexican Kitchen

1 lb of pinto beans, 7 cups of water, 1 tsp salt, and 1 bay leaf (optional).  Refried 1/2 cup of shredded jack cheese and charred Serrano pepper.

Spread all the beans on a tabletop and check for rocks. Beans are a product of the earth and when harvested rocks are often mistaken as beans. Place beans in crockpot and throw away rocks. Add water and bay leaf to crock pot but do not salt until beans are cooked. Cook on high with lid on and beans should take 3 hours. Cook on low for 6 hours of cooking time.  When the beans are done fish out bay leaf and season with salt. The beans will be perfect with some queso fresco crumbled on top and served as is.  If you would like to refry them you have a few options. You can sauté some onions in oil and then add cooked beans and use a potato masher and smash until desired consistency. You can add lard or 1/2 cup of shredded jack cheese and mash until refried.  In my household we commonly use cheese and lard on special occasions. I like to char a serrano pepper and dice it up into my beans with some queso fresco.

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Preparation of Chilaquiles

In a 12″ skillet add salsa verde on medium-high heat.  Once salsa is warm add the tortilla chips.

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Soften and coat tortillas chips for 2-3 minutes.  The key with chilaquiles is the chips should be in between crisp and soggy.  The chip should have some bite to it.  The thicker the tortilla chip the easier it is to find the middle.

Plate the chips and add the refried beans.

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Fry your eggs in the style you enjoy them.  Finish with eggs, creama, cotija cheese, and cilantro.

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Enjoy!

Back to Basics a Mexican Kitchen

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Mexican

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Refried Beans and Mexican Rice

Beans and rice are a staple in a Mexican household.  Beans alone are welcome in any meal.  Every family has their own special way of preparing beans and rice.  I find a lot of people do not take the time to make homemade beans.  I completely understand because I used to find cooking beans a little burdensome.  Cooking beans in a pot filled with water often times kept you tied to the stovetop making sure the beans aren’t burning, and wondering if they need more water.  When you are short on time the easiest way to make beans is in a crockpot.  Cooking beans in a crockpot gives you the freedom to move about and not worry about water levels on the stovetop.  There are a couple ways to enjoy beans.  Frijoles de la olla, which translates as “beans in a pot,” are not refried.  They are cooked in their own juices to release a caldo, or soup.  The beans sit in a slightly thick bean juice if you will.  Frijoles de la olla are the healthiest way, and in my opinion the most delicious way, to eat beans.  To make the beans spread for family gatherings you can refry them.  Refried beans are the most common way you will see them in restaurants.   To refry them you have to add a fat.  The fat is the cooks choice varying from lard, oil, or cheese.

Every Mexican will tell you that their Mom makes the best rice.  So it should be no surprise when I say my Mom holds the crown.  Mom’s rice is perfect and no matter how hard I try or how many times I’ve watched her, I can not make it as good.  She doesn’t measure anything.  It’s just pure expertise.  This recipe is my best effort to imitate her rice.  In a restaurant you will find drier flakier rice but in a home preparation it’s a little wetter and slightly overcooked on purpose.  Some will add corn and peas in the rice, or simply toss with a little cilantro.

Time-3 hours for Beans 20 minutes for Rice

Servings-6 servings

Ingredients for Beans

1 lb of pinto beans, 7 cups of water, 1 tsp salt, and 1 bay leaf (optional).

Refried 1/2 cup of shredded jack cheese and charred Serrano pepper.

Ingredients for Rice

1 cup of high quality long grain rice, 1 TBS olive oil, 1 8 ounce can of tomato sauce, 1 1/2 tsp of kosher salt, 1 1/2 tsp of granulated garlic, 1 tsp of Mexican oregano, 1/4 tsp of cumin, 2 cups of water,  and cilantro for garnish.

Preparation of Beans

Spread all the beans on a tabletop and check for rocks.  Beans are a product of the earth and when harvested rocks are often mistaken as beans.  Place beans in crockpot and throw away rocks.

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Rocks to the left

Add water and bay leaf to crock pot but do not salt until beans are cooked.  Cook on high with lid on and beans should take 3 hours.  Cook on low for 6 hours of cooking time.

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When the beans are done fish out bay leaf and season with salt.  The beans will be perfect with some queso fresco crumbled on top and served as is.

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If you would like to refry them you have a few options.  You can sauté some onions in oil and then add cooked beans and use a potato masher and smash until desired consistency.  You can add lard or 1/2 cup of shredded jack cheese and mash until refried.

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In my household we commonly use cheese and lard on special occasions.  I like to char a serrano pepper and dice it up into my beans with some queso fresco.

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Preparation of Mexican Rice

In a skillet on medium heat add oil and brown rice.  Browning will take rice from bright white to cream colored.  This may take about 2-3 minutes.

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Add the tomato sauce and reduce until liquid is gone.  Careful tomato sauce may splatter a bit.

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When tomato sauce has evaporated and looks like the picture above add water.  Place burner on high and season with salt, garlic, cumin and oregano.  Mexican oregano needs to be placed in the palm of your hand and rubbed together to wake up and crush it down to size when adding to the rice.

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When rice comes to a boil place lid on skillet and reduce burner to low.  Set kitchen timer for 12 minutes and rice will be ready.

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You can enjoy rice as it is or add any vegetables or herbs to jazz it up.  I like to garnish with micro cilantro.

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Enjoy!

Cook’s Note:

  1.  Jasmine Rice works well if you don’t have long grain rice.
  2. If you prefer to add some heat to the beans add a chile pepper while cooking.
  3. You don’t need to soak beans the night before for this recipe.  However, soaking beans does help with gas associated with the consumption of beans.
  4. If you are soaking your beans, soak for 8 hours.  Discard the soaking water before cooking the beans
  5. Beans freeze really well.  I store them in two cup containers so they are ready when I need them.  You can freeze them up to 8 months.  They can be refrigerated for 3-5 days if covered.

 

Don’t tell anyone I told you this secret!

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Appetizer / Mexican

RED AND GREEN SALSA

Want to impress your friends and tell them that you made your own salsa? After tasting this salsa your friends will think you should open your own Mexican restaurant.  All the ingredients are in your pantry and refrigerator.  The blender does all the work and the salsa will be ready in five minutes.   On a 104 degree day, like today in California, you will be thankful not to need your stove.  This salsa is delicious over eggs, tacos, quesadillas, burritos, or simply with tortilla chips.  Will the salsa taste better if you boiled the tomatillos and roasted the tomato or chiles yourself? Yes! Will your friends who do not make salsa be able to tell the difference? No.  Don’t tell them you used canned products.  Your secret is safe with me.  We slaved all day in the kitchen,  right?

Time-5 minutes

Servings-4-6

Ingredients for Green Salsa

1 12 ounce can of whole tomatillos, 1 4 ounce can of diced green chiles hot, palmful of fresh cilantro, 1/4 cup of chopped white onions, 1/2 tsp of garlic powder, and 1/2 tsp of salt.

Ingredients for Red Salsa

1 14.5 ounce can of stewed tomatoes, 1 4 ounce can of diced green chiles hot, palmful of fresh cilantro, 1/4 cup of chopped white onions, 1/2 tsp of garlic powder, and 1/2 tsp of salt.

Green Salsa Preparation

Simply add tomatillos juices drained, green chiles, cilantro, onions, garlic powder, and salt into blender and blend until smooth.  Add 1 tablespoon of water if salsa is a little chunky.

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Any brand will be fine just be sure to drain the juice that the tomatillos are in.  The green chiles come in hot, medium and mild.

Red Salsa Preparation

Simply add stewed tomatoes, chiles, cilantro, onions, garlic powder, and salt into blender and blend until smooth.  Add 1 tablespoon of water if salsa is a little chunky.

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This is what a palmful of cilantro looks like.

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When buying stewed tomatoes you will find Mexican and Italian stewed.  I try an avoid a pre-seasoned tomato.  I want to be able to control where the flavor goes.  Enjoy!

Cook’s note:

  1.  This is just a basic recipe you can experiment with different chiles and varying degrees of heat.
  2. I’ve gotten some feedback from friends that my recipes can be a little complicated.  I wanted to show you that I take shortcuts like anyone else.  An authentic salsa recipe will eventually turn up on my blog.  However, this is a great place to start.
  3. The tomatoes and shredded lettuce in the cover photo is not part of this recipe.  I made tacos tonight while blogging.  Salsa was good with the tacos!

Go Big or Go Home!

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Sandwich

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FRIED CHICKEN SANDWICH WITH A SRIRACHA MAYO AND ASIAN COLESLAW BETWEEN A BUTTERED BRIOCHE BUN

It’s Super Bowl time and you will be a winner with this recipe.  This sandwich is the undisputed winner of all sandwiches.  It’s crunchy, juicy and unapologetically scrumptious.  Go big or go home with a delicious fried chicken sandwich.

Time-3o minutes

Servings-6

Ingredients for Fried Chicken

6 chicken cutlets, 1 1/2 cups of flour, 2 eggs beaten, 2 cups of panko bread crumbs, salted room temperature butter, 6 Brioche buns, 1 cup of non-hydrogenated lard,  1 TBS of cayenne pepper, 1 tsp of Kosher salt.

Ingredients for Asian Coleslaw

One large handful of shredded white cabbage about 2 cups, one large handful of shredded red cabbage,  1/2 cup of chopped cilantro, 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, 3-4 tsp seasoned rice wine vinegar.

Ingredients for Sriracha Mayo

1/2 cup mayonnaise, 3-4 tsp of Sriracha sauce, 3 drops of Maggi Seasoning

Preparation of Sandwich

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.   Butter the inside of the Brioche Buns and toast on medium-low heat in your cast iron skillet. Toasting buns

Buns should be lightly toasted then set aside.

Toasted brioche buns

Create breading station with flour, eggs and breadcrumbs.  Season flour with cayenne pepper and salt.

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Add lard to cast iron skillet at medium-high heat.  If your using an oil thermometer get the oil to 350 degrees.  Take chicken cutlet and dredge it on both sides starting with flour then eggs then breadcrumbs.  Before frying the chicken be sure the oil is hot.  If you add the chicken before oil is ready you will not get a crunchy exterior.  This is a shallow fry that will be finished in the oven.

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You will fry chicken until golden brown on both sides.  This usually takes about 2-3 minutes per side.  Rest chicken on an oven safe cooling rack.

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Once all chicken is cooked place in oven for 10-15 minutes.

Preparation of Coleslaw

While the chicken is in the oven.  Add cabbage, cilantro, mayonnaise, seasoned rice wine vinegar to a mixing bowl and stir until everything is incorporated.

Preparation of Sriracha Mayo

In a smaller bowl combine mayonnaise, Sriracha, and Maggi seasoning and mix until well incorporated.

Building of Sandwich

Put a dollop of Sriracha Mayo on the bottom half of the bun.  Place the fried chicken on top of mayo and finish with coleslaw.  It’s game day so enjoy your sandwich with a crisp and refreshing drink. Cheers!

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Cook’s Note

  1.  Lard is the best lipid to use when frying chicken.  I do care about my health so I use Leaf lard.  I have to order it online but it keeps in the refrigerator for 6 months so it’s there when I need it.  It’s non-hydrogenated which means no trans fats.

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