Tag Archives: cilantro

India… {Potluck!}

Saturday, April 6 –

There was SO MUCH FOOD. Oh my gosh. We had lamb korma, two types of chicken tikka, matar paneer, raita, gluten-free naan, gluten-free onion fritters, mango lassi, rice, gulab jamun, chutney, samosas, and a potato dish photo(8)that I missed the name of. There was a ton of people and we all ate so well there was much groaning and belly patting. I can’t even tell you how much fun it was to have so many cooks participate. Thank you, again, to everyone that cooked, ate, drank, and participated in the India potluck. Thank you to RubsWithLove and SirVJ for hosting this dinner!

Let me admit that this dinner was hard for me because I was having an allergy attack so bad that I couldn’t smell or taste anything. Ugh. I don’t recommend it. Four allergy pills and an air purifier later, I finally enjoyed the dinner.

I made the matar paneer recipe as it was written (however, I did not really measure the spices very well at all) but when I was all done it just didn’t look like the matar paneer that I was used to at restaurants. So I added coconut milk to it. But that watered down the flavor so much that it didn’t taste like anything other than coconut milk and a spicy-heat punch to the tongue. Not so good. So I kept adding the spices that the recipe called for trying to fix it. That worked… a little bit. I ended up dumping in curry powder and it fixed it just fine. I know I probably shouldn’t have messed with it, but it did not look like the photo – not one bit! In the end it turned out ok. Not my favorite, but ok.

The raita was easy to make and pretty much vanished because of how many spicy dishes we had. I am super glad that I made a double batch. Everything else was so good that I wanted to eat seconds (I didn’t, but I wanted to!). I definitely recommend Indian food as a great potluck idea for parties! Just make sure to have mints on hand after everyone is done eating.

India
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at:  www.sailusfood.com and www.epicurious.com)

Matar Paneer Recipe

  • 1/4 kg paneer – cube and saute in a tsp of ghee till lightly browned
  • small cup fresh green peas
  • 1 large onion, finely chop
  • ginger-green chilli paste (1″ ginger piece+3 green chillis)
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3/4 tsp red chilli pwd
  • pinch of turmeric pwd
  • 1 1/4 tsps coriander pwd
  • 1/2 tsp kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
  • pinch of garam masala pwd
  • 1 tsp Kitchen King masala pwd
  • 1 tsp malai, top of milk
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp oil

1 Heat oil in a cooking vessel, add the onions and sauté, approx 4-5 mts. Add ginger-green chilli paste, coriander pwd, turmeric pwd, red chilli pwd and combine. Add few tbsps water and saute for a mt.
2 Add tomatoes and cook for 4-5 mts. Turn off heat and cool. Make a coarse paste.
3 Return this paste to the vessel, add a cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce flame, add the green peas and cook for 6 mts. Add the paneer and malai and simmer for 7-8 mts. Add salt. Simmer for a few more mts.
4 Stir in malai, garam masala pwd, Kitchen King masala and kasuri methi and combine, cook for a mt. Turn off flame.
5 Let it sit for a while before serving. The gravy thickens, so at the time of serving, add a little milk and combine. Serve hot with rotis or naan.

Traditional Indian Raita

  •     1/2 cup plain yogurt
  •     1/2 cup chopped seeded English hothouse cucumber
  •     2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  •     2 teaspoons chopped green onions
  •     1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  •     1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Preparation: Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Season to taste with salt. Chill raita, covered, until ready to serve.

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Honduras…

Saturday, March 16 –

For this dinner we had: BestestFianceEver, Bestie Extraordinaire (wine), Mistress Whiskey (wine), Hot Momma (wine), Mr. Hero (baleadas), BabyBear, GrandpaBear, LittleBigBrother, ChinUp (mango, avocado photosalsa and chips), and MyBuddy (banana milkshakes). Later in the evening we also had LightsOn and WingWoman show up to hang out and drink some wine.

I started by adding oil to a pan and cooking the onion and bell pepper until they were just starting to brown. Then I added the garlic and let that heat up. While the veggies were cooking on the stove I added the rest of the ingredients to the crockpot. Once the veggies were done I added them in, stirred to mix, and let it simmer for a couple of hours. I did not use the sherry and I substituted a seeded habanero for the yellow pepper, which made it really, really spicy. Almost too spicy, really (which is really weird for me to say). After a few hours I blended the soup with an immersion blender and let it continue to simmer until everyone was ready to eat.

The sweet potato I substituted for a yam because I like their flavor better. Steamed, drained, crisped in hot oil, then drained. Put on a bed of baby arugula (which is what I had in the fridge) and feta, then tossed. I added the dressing in on top, made exactly as the recipe says, and gave that a good toss too.

ChinUp and MyBuddy had the salsa and chips out. Mr. Hero made the baleadas with all the toppings (basically tacos on soft corn tortillas), including beef, beans, onion, cheese, sour cream, and avocado. The wine was flowing freely, and dinner was served!

The soup was ok. I think I would have liked it better unblended. It was spicy but not terribly flavorful. Maybe it needed some ham or something to go with it? I’m not sure. The salad was good, the dressing was tangy and delightful. The beleadas were good and a great compliment to the other dishes. And the mango, avocado salsa was a perfect topping to chips and to all the rest of the food. Last we get to the milkshakes. They were good… and then they added rum. Banana rum milkshakes are pretty darn delicious. And dangerous, because you don’t really notice the rum!

Honduras
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: http://sidewalkmystic.com)

Bahia Black Bean Soup

  • 1 Onion
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, finely diced
  • 2 garlic minced garlic cloves
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 3 15-oz cans black beans, drained
  • 2 C stock
  • 1 1/2 t. oregano
  • 1 yellow chili, seeded and chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (brave souls leave the seeds)
  • 1 15-oz can whole tomatoes with liquid or 18-oz can sauce
  • 1/2 lime, squeezed for juice (critical)
  • 1/4 c. sherry (I use red wine)
  • fresh cilantro (1 1/2 t. if fresh isn’t available)

Directions:  [The website author says: my adjustments to the recipe include adding a smoked ham hock for flavor.  As well, if you find the soup too heavily favored by the tomatoes, merely back down on the amount of tomato and increase the stock proportionately]. Saute onion; bell pepper and garlic in oil until onion is translucent. Add beans, stock and oregano. Heat thoroughly. Seed and chop yellow and jalapeno chilies and put into blender. Add lime juice and tomato. Puree to finely mince the chilies. Add black bean mixture to blender (in batches) and puree. When everything is pureed, return it to the soup pot. Simmer at least 1.5 hours. Add wine and fresh cilantro to taste.

Garnishes: Rice, grated cheeses, diced onion, salsa, sour cream, plain yogurt, grilled sausages.

Mixed Greens with Sweet Potatoes and Feta Cheese

  • ¾ lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼ to ½ inch dice
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T fresh lime juice
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar (don’t pinch; buy the top shelf stuff)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • ½ t of Dijon mustard
  • ¼ C of buttermilk (you can use regular milk; just let it stand with a T of regular vinegar in it)
  • 8-10 oz of fresh greens (we use spinach and escarole – small slices of red cabbage add to the esthetic appeal)
  • 4 oz fresh feta cheese (I have used blue cheese when I make a fresh blue cheese dressing to accompany the salad)

Directions:  Steam the sweet potato for 5-8 minutes.  Just tender.  Remove and drain on paper towels.  Get the steamed potatoes very dry. Heat 2 t of olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat.  Add potatoes, shaking pan often for 15 minutes.  Remove when crisp and drain again on paper towels.  Mix together the lime juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic, mustard, salt pepper, and remaining olive oil and buttermilk.  Whisk in a blender (start to drool). Place greens and cheese in a salad bowl and toss with the dressing.  Top the salad with the sweet potatoes, serve, and call me.  Serve with tortillas.


Guatemala…

Friday, February 1 –

Quite a few of my wonderful friends came to this dinner, people missing from these dinners for quite a while. We got to welcome back: BestieExtraordinaire (guacamole, chips) , Mistress Whiskey (wine), photo(3)WingWoman (chocolate coffee mousse dessert), LightsOn (wine), RubsWithLove, and Sir VJ (salad).

I made the rice, chicken drumsticks, and the Jocón recipe below. When I put the rice into the rice cooker I used half water and half chicken broth. I also added cilantro and onion to it before it was cooked. For the drumsticks I melted butter and added chopped garlic, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and chili powder. I brushed the mix across the drumsticks and baked them in the oven at 375* for about 35 minutes.

For the Guatemalan chicken recipe I cheated just a little bit – I used a slow-roasted chicken from the grocery store. BestestFianceEver helped get all of the meat off the bones and shredded into the pan. Then I took all of the veggies and sauce ingredients (using all sesame seeds instead of half pumpkin seeds) and threw them all into my food processor. After everything was perfectly chopped and blended I dumped the sauce over the chicken and let simmer on low for about 20 minutes.

While everyone was waiting on the chicken to be done, we snacked on the guacamole and chips, which was supposed to be turned into a salad but because we already had a salad we kept it as a dip. Then dinner was served with the salad, the dressing for the salad that we didn’t quite make, the chicken with sauce over the rice, and drumsticks on the side. The salad was bright and flavorful with mango and avocado. The rice was a great complement to the sauce on the chicken. Because I used four whole jalapenos in the sauce it had a little kick, but not too much. And the drumsticks on the side were just a fun addition. All in all I vote this dinner a success. photo(4)

The dessert was supposed to be a mousse, but because of a few substitutions that WingWoman made it ended up more like delicious chocolate soup with fresh blueberries on top. Not quite what the recipe meant, but yummy anyway!

Only a few more G countries left – hope to see more potluck bloggers soon!

Guatemala
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.whats4eats.com)

Jocón (Guatemalan chicken in tomatillo-cilantro sauce)

  • Chicken, cut into serving pieces — 2 1/2 to 3 pounds
  • Water — 4 cups
  • Salt — 2 teaspoons
  • Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) — 1/4 cupphoto(5)
  • Sesame seeds — 1/4 cup
  • Corn tortillas, chopped, soaked in water, drained — 2
  • Tomatillos, hulled and chopped — 1 cup
  • Cilantro, chopped — 1 bunch
  • Scallions, chopped — 1 bunch
  • Jalapeño or serrano chile pepper, chopped — from 1 to 5
  • Rice to serve

Method:

Place the chicken, water and salt into a large pot over medium-high flame. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove the chicken to a bowl and strain and set aside the broth. Let chicken cool, then remove the meat from the bones and shred it with your fingers. Set aside.

Heat a dry skillet over medium flame. Add the pumpkin and sesame seeds and toast, stirring, until lightly browned. Remove to a coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder.photo(6)

Add the sesame and pumpkin seeds, tortillas, tomatillos, cilantro, scallions and chile peppers to a food processor or blender. Add 1 cup of the reserved broth and process until smooth. If using a blender you may have to do this step in batches.

Return the chicken to the pot. Pour over pureed sauce and add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the remaining broth to give it a sauce-like consistency.

Heat over medium-low flame and simmer for an additional 15-25 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve.

Jocon Variations:

Leave the chicken pieces whole if you prefer.

If you can’t find pumpkin seeds, simply use 1/2 cup of sesame seeds. And if finding sesame seeds is a problem, you can substitute a slightly smaller amount of tahini.

Cubed pork can be substituted for the chicken. There is no need to shred the pork, but you may need to simmer it longer for it to become tender.

Use any remaining broth to make rice to accompany the meal.


Grenada…

Monday, January 14 –

This dinner definitely won a place in my top ten dinners from this project. BestestFianceEver even agreed with me, which makes it super, extra delicious times two. If you like pork loin, you will love this recipe.photo(12)

I started with the pork roasting part of the recipe by chopping the shallots, dumping them into a mixing bowl, then throwing all of the spices on top. I put the two tenderloins (that came in one 2-3/4 pound package) into the bowl and moved them around to coat with the mixture. Most everything stuck to them without much effort. Then I put the spiced pork onto a roasting rack and put it in the oven at 450*.

Next was the sauce – mince the ginger and throw it all into a pan, let simmer. I let it simmer almost the whole time the pork was baking so that it was nice and gingery.

Finally, the salad. I threw the black beans and frozen corn into a colander and rinsed it all at the same time. Then the corn and black beans were put into a mixing bowl and I added the rest of the recipe, mixing well.

For plate presentation I put a pile of spinach leaves (torn into more bite-sized pieces) in the middle, scooped the salad on top, placed slices of avocado onto the top of the salad, then the sliced pork. It did take longer for the pork to reach 155* in the middle than the recipe said, so it is important to check it before you cut into it. Also, remember to let your cooked meat rest for a few minutes so that the juices all stay inside the meat. Slice, then serve. Drizzled over the top of the whole thing was the orange-ginger sauce. Dinner was served!

The meat was juicy, the sauce was perfectly gingery, the salad was a nice counter flavor – all in all it was amazing. I will be making this dinner and variations of it much more often now. Please, do try this at home!

Grenada
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.caribbeanchoice.com)

Roast Pork with Black Bean, Heart of Palm, and Corn Salad

Roast Pork:

  • 3 shallots, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 3/4-pound pork tenderloins

Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/8 teaspoon ground allspice

Also:

  • Fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 avocados, peeled, pitted, sliced crosswise
  • Minced fresh parsley

Black Bean, Heart of Palm, and Corn Salad:

  • 1 16-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 10-ounce package frozen corn, thawed, drained
  • 1 7 1/2-ounce can hearts of palm, drained, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

METHOD / DIRECTIONS:

For Roast Pork: Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine shallots, bay leaves, salt, allspice and ginger in small bowl. Add generous amount of pepper. Rub mixture into pork. Set on rack in roasting pan, Roast pork until thermometer inserted into centers registers 150°F., about 25 minutes. Cool slightly. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Bring pork to room temperature before serving.)

For Sauce: Combine first 6 ingredients in heavy small saucepan. Season with pepper. Simmer until slightly syrupy, about 10 minutes. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

For Salad: Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Season salad to taste with salt and pepper. (Salad can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Line platter with spinach. Mound black bean salad in center. Slice pork. Alternate pork and avocado slices around salad. Discard bay leaves from sauce and drizzle sauce over pork and avocado. Sprinkle with parsley.


Georgia…

Sunday, December 2 –

This was one of those dinners that went from four people to fifteen people really, really quickly. Good thing I had already picked a recipe that made a lot of food! We had: BestestFianceEver, Hot Momma (lots of wine), Mr. Hero, photo(5)BabyBear, RamblingMan, WingWoman (gluten-free baklava), LightsOn, ChinUp, MyBuddy (lamb stew), DangerD (plates, cups, rum, coke), CreepShow (Chikhirtma – Fresh Coriander-Onion Soup), Kodiak, RubsWithLove, Sir VJ (dumplings), and yours truly (Chanakhi – Braised Lamb).

The dish I made was extremely simple, so I doubled it to accommodate so many guests. I chopped some eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, onion,and green beans and layered them all into different glass baking dishes. Then I spread out chopped lamb meat, salt, pepper, and (of course, even though it wasn’t in the recipe originally) garlic. I changed the water to chicken broth, hoping that would add more flavor and character. Wrapped in aluminum foil they went into the oven at 325* for an hour, and when checked the potatoes weren’t quite done so I did 20 more minutes at 400*.

On the side I also made a tomato and cucumber salad brightened with lemon, mint, salt, and olive oil. I also made a huge pot of rice for something to scoop the juices onto. The table also had a bowl of cilantro to put on whatever people wanted and the dumplings, sauce, stew, and soup. People dished up as much or as little of each thing as they wanted.

The braised lamb that I made wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t very good either. The veggies were pretty good but the lamb was pretty tough and flavorless when it was done. The dumplings were amazing and the sauce on top was incredible. The tomato salad was a perfect bright spot on the plate. The stew was amazing and flavorful and I instantly wanted more. The soup was… well… loud. The flavors of it were amazing but it had been allowed to sit and get stronger for several hours so when we finally got to eat it, it was very intense. The baklava was about as you expect baklava to be (buttery and nutty), just less flaky.

Overall I would count this dinner as a success, but not one of my favorites. I can’t wait for the Germany potluck on Saturday!

Georgiaphoto(4)
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.russian.recipes-recipies.com)

Chanakhi, Braised Lamb (Georgian manner)

  • 500 g lamb (1+ lb)
  • 750 g potatoes (1 – 2/3 lb)
  • 200 g tomatoes (2/5 lb)
  • 300 g eggplant (2/3 lb)
  • 200 g string beans (2/5 lb)
  • 1 onion
  • Salt, pepper
  • Parsley or kindza (coriander)

Wash the meat and cut into pieces (2 or 3 per portion). If available, use a 2 or 3 liter stoneware casserole. Add finely chopped onion, chunks of potatoes, tomatoes cut in half, string beans from which the strings have been removed, diced eggplant, parsley greens or kindza. Season with salt and pepper. Add two cupful of water. Cover with a lid and bake for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Serve in the casserole.


Fiji…

Friday, October 5 –

Fiji turned into a house full of friends, an entire kitchen full of food, and lots of empty wine bottles by the end of the night. We had: BestestFianceEver, Bestie Extraordinaire, Mistress Whiskey, MoneyShot, RubsWithLove, Sir VJ, GingerNuts, NoPoots, ChinUp, and MyBuddy. Bestie Extraordinaire and Mistress Whiskey made squash and chana dhal, MoneyShot brought a salad and wine, RubsWithLove made a ceviche, Sir VJ made crabby patties and a remoulade, GingerNuts and NoPoots brought wine and bread, ChinUp and MyBuddy made ginger fish and brought wine, and I made Fijian raita, chicken palau, and rice and brought wine. Holy goodness, it was a lot of food and wine!

I started by making the raita so that the flavors could sit and blend a little in the fridge. I grated the cucumber and lightly salted it and let it sit in a colander while I grated the carrot and chopped the jalapeno. Blended altogether in the yogurt it turned a pale orange color from the carrot juices. I wrapped it up and let it chill while I started on the chicken.

Starting the chicken dish I chopped an onion, the cloves of garlic, the jalapenos (keeping the seeds), and the chicken and set them separately in bowls. I also chopped half an onion and the cilantro for the rice. With the pan hot I put in the oil, then the onion and garlic, then the spices (using curry powder instead of curry leaves, but everything else as it is listed below). Once the onion was translucent and starting to brown I put in the rest of the spices and the jalapenos. In went the chicken and the salt. Left to simmer I moved on to the rice.

I changed up the rice so that I sauteed the onion, spices, and rice but then I dumped it all into my rice cooker. I knew I had someone that was coming over that doesn’t like to eat chicken and I wanted the rice available as a side without being tainted, so I kept them as separate dishes.

Did I mention there was a lot of food? Delicious, aromatic, mouth-watering food. The crabby patties with the remoulade were everything you ever wanted out of a crab cake. The squash and chana dhal was flavorful without being too spicy. It had a good, not-too-gooey texture. The chicken palau was spicy but a little dry. It could have been cooked for much less time. The ginger fish was moist, flaky, and simple in flavor, which worked really well with the rest of the dishes on the plate. The rice went with everything. The salad added a good crunch. And last but not least, the ceviche was so good that I can’t even properly explain it. Wrapped in butter lettuce with tender fish and a tangy sauce, it was perfect.

There might have been 11 of us, but we were all well fed that night. Three cheers to Fiji and their exceptional food!

Fiji
(recipes borrowed from the cooks at: www.angelfire.com and www.fijibure.com)

Fijian Raita

  • 2 cups light sour cream or yogurt
  • 1 cucumber, grated
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 green chili such as Serrano or jalapeno, seeds and stem removed, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt to taste

In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Allow to sit for an hour to blend the flavors. Yield: 6 servings. Heat Scale: Medium

Chicken Palau (Pulao)

  • 1 whole chicken (cut in curry pieces)
  • oil 4 tablespoons
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • curry leaves – 6
  • cumin seeds (jeera) 1 teaspoon
  • mustard seeds (sarson) – 1 teaspoon
  • fenugreek seeds (methi) – 1/2 teaspoon
  • cardamom pods – 3
  • cloves – 3
  • cinnamon stick – 1 small piece
  • Palau masala or garam masala – 2 teaspoons
  • 3 chilies – chopped
  • salt to taste

For rice

  • water – 6 cups
  • rice – 3 cups, washed and drained well
  • ghee or oil 3 tablespoons
  • 1 onion
  • cardamom pods – 3
  • cloves – 3
  • cinnamon stick – 1 small piece
  • 1/4 chopped fresh coriander leaves (dhania)

Method:  Heat up a fairly large pot, add oil, then onion, garlic, curry leaves, cumin, mustard, fenugreek, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon stick. Cook for stir for approximately 5 minutes. You may add a little more oil if it sticks to pan. Add palau masala or garam masala and chili. Stir for a minute then add chicken. Stir for a couple of minutes. Add salt. Let cook for 45 minutes on slow/medium heat. Add 1/4 cup water if it sticks. On another burner heat up ghee [clarified butter]. Add onion, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Add rice and fry for approximately 5 minutes. You may add a little oil if it sticks to pan. Add water and let cook for ten minutes. Add cooked chicken. Stir all together and let cook for a further 10 to 15 minutes on low heat without opening lid. Lastly add coriander, stir and switch off burner. Adjust salt. Serve and enjoy.

Ginger Fish

  • 2-3 pounds of snapper, grouper or cod — or any firm white fish
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 cup corn oil
  • 3/4 cups white wine
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp grated fresh ginger root
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • parsley, coriander or slivered ginger root for garnish

Rinse & dry fish well. Cut lemon in half and squeeze, rubbing juice into fish, inside & out. Refrigerate for about an hour then rub with vegetable oil and place in a shallow baking dish. In a blender, mix thoroughly soy sauce, corn oil, white wine, garlic, sugar and ginger. Pour over fish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes until the fish flakes easily and juices are opaque. Baste frequently with sauce. Garnish & serve. Yields 6 portions.

Squash and Chana Dhal

  •   1 cup channa dhal (yellow split peas)
  • 1 small yellow squash, peeled and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil or clarified butter
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1½ teaspoons red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • ½ teaspoon crushed garlic
  • ½ teaspoon minced ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
Wash the split peas thoroughly and place in a pan with four cups of lightly salted water. Boil, uncovered, until the peas are soft, about 20 minutes. Add the squash and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the squash is soft. While the squash is simmering, heat the oil in a saucepan and saute the onions for three minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, except the lime juice, and stir well. Continue to saute for 5 minutes.

El Salvador…

Wednesday, August 22 –

Slow. Cooked. Pork. Need I say more? Yum.

This dinner we had BestestFianceEver, Bestie Extraordinaire (salad and wine), Hot Momma, Mr. Hero (wine, mead, and tortillas), BabyBear, and LightsOn (wine). It was still nice enough to eat outside, but not so imagehot that it was miserable to cook dinner. Win all around.

I started with pork early in the morning. I put 3.6 pounds of pork shoulder (the only good pork cut I could find at the late-night hour I was out shopping at the night before) into the crock pot and poured on top one can of pureed tomato sauce. Then I sprinkled the salt and pepper and the teaspoon of cumin. Set on 6 hours on low, I left for work and let it simmer all day. When I got home I shredded the pork and left it to simmer on warm.

Next I made the flan, which was something that I had never made before. I made it exactly as it’s written – and ended up baking it for about 1 hour and 25 minutes. I tried testing it with a knife like it says, but custard sticks to a knife anyway, so I switched to the toothpick test and had much better luck.

While that was baking I made the salsa, which simmer on the stove for a while and then I blended it with an immersion blender. I set that aside while I finished the rest. I put the rice in the rice cooker without anything fancy in it. I made the veggie and bean mix in a separate pot and then mixed it altogether in the rice cooker to serve.

We plated the salad and dressing on the side, then piled the pork, rice and beans, and salsa into fresh-made tortillas from the store. The pork was absolutely heavenly. Theimage mix together as a burrito was pretty delicious, and overall the food disappeared quickly. The flan was good, the texture was good, but it wasn’t everyone’s favorite dessert. Apparently flan is “no cheesecake!”

Successful dinner and I’m happy everyone could join us!

 

El Salvador
(recipe borrowed from the cooks at: www.catholicreview.orgsouthamericanfood.about.com, and www.whats4eats.com)

Salvadorian-style Chicharrón – Chicharrón Salvadoreño

  • 3-5 pound pork butt
  • 1-2 cups salsa
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon saltimage
  • Black pepper
  • tortillas to serve

Preparation:  Cut the pork into several large pieces and place the meat in the slow cooker with 1 cup salsa, the cumin, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook on low for 6-8 hours (or 4 hours on high) or until pork is fork tender. Remove pork from slow cooker, reserving liquid, and shred finely with fork or using a food processor (fitted with the plastic blade). Place shredded pork and reserved liquid in a large skillet and saute until liquid evaporates and pork starts to brown slightly. Stir in remaining salsa until desired consistency. For making pupusas, add pork and salsa back to food processor, fitted with metal blade, and process with short pulses until finely ground.

Casamiento

  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can black beans, drained, liquid reserved
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups cooked rice

Directions:  Heat oil in a large pot. Add the onions, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté for two to three minutes, until tender. Stir in the drained beans, some of the bean liquid, and salt and pepper. Cook at medium-low until heated through. Add rice and stir until cooked through. Adjust seasoning and add a little more bean liquid if necessary. Serve hot.

Salsa Roja

  •     Olive oil — 3 tablespoons
  •     Onion, chopped — 1/4 cup
  •     Garlic, chopped — 1 clove
  •     Serrano or jalapeño chile pepper, chopped — 1
  •     Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped — 2 cups
  •     Dried oregano — 2 teaspoons
  •     Salt and pepper — to taste
  •     Cilantro (optional), chopped — 1/4 cup

Method:
Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium flame. Add the onion, garlic and chile and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
Stir in the tomatoes and oregano and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool a bit.
Puree the tomato sauce in a blender until smooth, adding a little water if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste, stir in cilantro if using and serve.

Flan de Leche (Latin caramel custard)

  • Sugar — 1 cup
  • Water — 1/4 cup
  • Eggs, beaten — 4
  • Sweetened, condensed milk — 1 (14-ounce) can
  • Whole milk or water — 2 cups
  • Vanilla — 1/2 teaspoon
  • Sugar — 1/2 cup

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the 1 cup sugar and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir to dissolve the sugar. Place over medium heat and boil the sugar, without stirring, until it just starts to turn a honey brown, around 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove the caramelized sugar from heat and pour into a 9-inch cake pan or in equal amounts into each of 6 individual ramekins, swirling to coat the bottom. You may not need all the sugar. Place the cake pan or ramekins in a baking pan large enough to hold them without touching.
  • In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, condensed milk, whole milk or water, vanilla and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Pour into the cake pan or into each of the ramekins.
  • Fill the baking pan with enough warm water to come about 2/3 of the way up sides of the containers. Place in the oven and cook until a knife inserted into the center of the custard comes out clean, anywhere from 45 minutes to over an hour. Do not overcook your flan or it may curdle.
  • Remove the custard(s) from the water bath and chill well. Run a knife around the edges of the custard, invert over a serving dish and serve.

Variations

  • Flan de Café (Coffee flan): add 3-4 teaspoons of instant coffee granules to the milk-egg mixture.
  • Flan de Coco (Coconut flan): substitute 2 cups of coconut milk for the sweetened condensed milk. Or simply stir 1/2 cup shredded coconut into the milk and egg mixture.
  • Flan de Piña (Pineapple flan): Makes 4 servings. Caramelize the sugar and pour into containers as above. For the liquid, boil one cup of pineapple juice with 1 cup of sugar until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is reduced to about 1 cup. Allow the the juice to cool, then beat in 4 eggs until smooth. Pour into individual ramekins and proceed with the recipe. Popular in Puerto Rico.
  • Pumpkin Flan: increase to 5 eggs and add 1 cup pureed pumpkin, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger.
  • The basic ratio for a custard is 1 egg to 1 cup liquid with sugar added to taste. The liquid used in most recipes varies widely and can be heavy cream, half-and-half, whole milk, sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk or coconut milk. Mixing these liquids in different amounts is also common. Experiment to find the flavor and richness you like best.
  • For a richer, thicker flan, substitute one of the eggs with two egg yolks.
  • In Argentina, flan is often accompanied by dulce de leche.