Saturday, July 23, 2011

Easy lunch + dinner: Moroccan Chicken with Jasmin or Basmati Rice

Hello friends,

I found a version of this chicken recipe in one of Jillian Michaels' books. Not only is it flavorful, but it is super easy to make! The chicken comes out delicious and you can just add veggies or rice or anything else you have already as a side. Here is my version:

Skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Cooking spray

Combine all spices in a dish,  spray chicken with cooking spray to cover it with the herb mixture and let is sit for about 30 min. Then just grill. 
 While you are waiting for the chicken to absorb all of the herbs, go ahead and work on your side dish and put the rice on the stove. This time I just had a couple of bell peppers in the fridge so I just chopped them up, added salt and pepper, and grilled them.
For the rice I just used a brown jasmine variety because it is super easy to cook. Just throw it in the pot with water and wait. It is so flavorful and aromatic!
This recipe is really a time saver. The rice was cooking while the chicken and peppers were marinating. At that time I was just doing something else. Then after about 30 min I came back and put the chicken and pepper on the stove at the same time.
Here is the yummy end product!

The best idea is to box the left overs for lunch. It definitely beats any quick lunch you can get around the office, and it is much more healthier too! 

Bon Appétit

Monday, May 30, 2011

Very good LENTILS!!!

Dear all, please welcome me back from my [almost] six month blog hiatus. My intention was not to abandon you. However, sometimes a brilliant law student is faced with only two options. To balance a full course load - including her first real trial  - with a part-time job or to enjoy cooking and blogging. Clearly, I opted for the former.  Luckily, as all in life, that too, was temporary and here I am thinking of you as I explore vegetarian cooking. 

This recipe was originally posted by Martha Rose Shulman in The New York Times about a year ago. I tweaked it a little and here it is. 

  • 2 tbl of Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp of red pepper flakes
  • 1 can of grated tomatoes
  • 1 cup of lentils
  • water (obvious but just in case)
  • 1 small escarole
  • bouquet garni: bay leaves, thyme, cilantro, parmigiano romano rind
  • Heat oil in dutch oven (or any pot)
  • Add onions and carrots and cook for about five minutes
  • add garlic & red pepper flakes and stir for about about a minute or two
  • Stir in tomatoes and bring to a simmer (5-10 min)
  • Add lentils & simmer for a few minutes
  • Add bouquet garni and water
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat, add salt to taste (cover and simmer for half an hour)
  • Add escarole & bring back to simmer for about 15-20 min until escarole and lentils are tender. Add salt and pepper and remove bouquet garni.          
 Preparation in pictures
Tip: always a good idea to use a food processor (especially for onion and garlic). Organic canned tomatoes are just as good and they are already grated and seeded saving you time.

The recipe called for 1/4 teaspoon of pepper flakes but being Mexican I threw in about a teaspoon (or more).

Add tomatoes and it should look like this. Notice the Virgen of Guadalupe watching over me as I cook

Now the lentils.. yum yum yum but not yet...

This was the first time I used the garni and I felt somewhat official. Don't know how to explain but using it gave me some sense of legitimacy in the kitchen.
 Final Product looks like this:
Hmmm de-lish! The delightfully spicy aroma is filling my lungs with flavor (salivating already) hmmmmm Once again, I fell madly in love with myself. Ok gotta go eat now. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Steak and Potatoes with Mexican Salsa

A trip to Costco's meat department inspired this succulent recipe that reminded me of my typical meals growing up where beef and salsa were a MUST at the dinner table.

Arrachera cut is the best for this dish. I am not exactly sure if it is flank steak because it is not tough as flank steak is supposed to be yet the translations all have arrachera as flank. Here is what it looks like:
You can marinade this beef anyway you want it.  This time I just used salt and pepper because I knew my salsa would give it a lot more flavor later.

This recipe is so easy yet so great! First, dab a little oil with a napkin on the cast iron grill. 
 Then place the beef on the grill, turn it, and take it out when your heart desires. Simple as that.

Oh! Salsita hmmmm just even writing about it gets me excited. This is just one variation of the always welcomed Mexican salsa.

First boil three tomatoes and two jalapeños. Once they are boiled peel the tomatoes and remove the ends to both the chiles and tomatoes.
While the tomatoes and chiles boil, chop - I use a food processor for cutting - some cilantro and onion. Place it in the container where you will serve the salsa.  You can peel and cut an avocado as well but it is not necessary.
Puree the tomato and the japaleños in the food processor (or blender or even better use the molcajete) then pour into the container where you have the cilantro and onion.
Once the steak is ready just pour the salsa over the steak and enjoy!
This dinner was so good that I forgot to take a picture of the finished product. We just started enjoying the beef and potatoes without taking a picture. This is a snapshot half way through my steak.

We accompanied this mouthwatering meal with baked potatoes. Nina was in charge of the potatoes. Recipe will come shortly but in the meantime here are the pictures.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Moroccan Pizza by guest Chez Nina

This week we go from Casa de Vanessa to Chez Nina...  

Nina had the pleasure of collaborating on Vanessa's culinary adventure recently, and they enjoyed a dinner of pear/ham/arugula appetizers, pizza made from scratch, and salad.

For the appetizers, take two pears and cut each of them into 8 wedges.  In a large bowl, toss the pears wedges with 2 teaspoons (about 2 squeezes) of fresh lemon juice.  Layer a slice of pear, an arugula leaf, and a small piece of blue cheese onto a piece of prosciutto, and roll the prosciutto around the pear-arugula-cheese.  You can also use melon, peaches, and cantaloupe as a substitute for the pears.  The end product should look something like this:
The first step in making the pizza is to prepare the crust.  You can either use a readymade one or make your own.  Here is a link to a simple pizza crust recipe:

Put the crust in the oven for about 5-7 minutes before adding any toppings to it.  This will ensure that the pizza is cooked thoroughly.  Afterwards, add peeled tomatoes (you can buy these canned) and gently crush and spread them evenly on top of the crust.  Do not add the juice from the can though - this will create a soggy crust.  

Add toppings. We used: mozzarella di bufala slices, caramelized shallots (shallots sauteed in balsamic vinegar and a tiny bit of olive oil), and sausage slices.  Add seasonings to taste, such as salt, pepper, and oregano.  Cook until cheese is melted and browned slightly and crust is golden brown.

When the pizza is cooked, add fresh basil and crushed red pepper.

Serve pizza with a salad of arugula and romaine lettuce with shaved parmesan slices, and top it with black pepper and olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Picadillo Sonora Style

Hi all,

I had been craving my gramma's picadillo so I e-mailed her for the recipe.  Her response (below) was interesting but it got me Picadillo.  Picadillo is a traditional dish in many Latin American countries. It is usually with beef, tomatoes, and other ingredients that vary by region.  Cubans, however, make it with pork. It is typically served with rice and tortillas. The name comes from the Spanish word "picar," which means "to mince" or "to chop".

From the horse's mouth:
Se pone a cocer la carne
Puede ser arriachera o lomo ( te recomiendo arriachera )
Se pone a cocer con un pedazo de cebolla y 2 dientes de ajo, se le saca despues la cebolla y el ajo, se pone a desebrar.
Luego se pone a cocer chile rojo california "seco" ancho y se muele en la licuadora y lo cuelas en el colador.
Despues cortas la cebolla por mitad y cortas julianas (como lunas que se desgajan) las apartas
despues cortas tomatillo tambien como la cebolla ( en lunitas ), despues....
Guisas la cebolla junto con el tomatillo y luego le hechas la carne desebrada, despues.....
le hechas el chile, que lo disuelves con  el caldo donde cociste la carne, y despues se lo hechas al guisado segun lo quieras de caldudito. :)  fasil verdad?
Ah! y no se te olvide hacer arroz para acompanarlo, tambien unos frojolitos y a comer :)

Preparing the beef
A little simplicity and translation:

Beef (flank steak), onion, garlic, California chiles, tomatillo.
Method of preparation:
Boil the beef with 2 cloves of garlic and an onion. When its done shred the beef.
In the meantime boil the chile in another pot. Then blend it to make the sauce. Make sure to remove the ends so it won't be bitter.
Cut the onion and the tomatillo and sautee it. Add the beef to the sautee mix and slowly pour in the chile sauce.

Yeah, that's pretty much my gramma's recipe. No quantities given. But they are not necessary, a good cook's only measure should be plenty of love.

Picadillo ready to serve with rice and tortillas

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Genesis of this blog

Today is one of those days when I need an outlet; a conduit for expression to liberate this energy. 
So I create this blog to share. To share what has begun to bring me great joy, pleasure, and relaxation. Cooking is starting to become my therapy and my hobby. I want to share my adventures in the kitchen with you. Here are some pictures of what I've been cooking recently. 
Preparing Pozole: Chile and Hominy
Breaded fish for tacos & coctel de camaron.

Grilled Salmon
Shrimp Ceviche Tostadas
Chilaquiles for breakfast
Fajita style shrimp and Mexican rice
Fish tacos, fries, and white rice with chinese green stuff

My goal is to post the recipes to these and other delicious dishes here.
Please make your requests. I take great pleasure in cooking.
Good night.