Monday, August 27, 2012

Chorizo and Potato Tacos

Chorizo and Potato Tacos
Serves: 4-6

Yum yum yum!

Whoever says that chorizo isn't delish is a crazy person! These tacos are something you would find at a street side stand somewhere in Mexico, they are authentic, tasty and easy as pie!


2 packages mexican style chorizo (Spanish style is cured and hard like a pepperoni, Mexican comes in a plastic tube and is soft)
6-8 small Yukon gold potatoes (or any other potato you like, these cool fast and have thin skin)
1 package of Mexican oaxaca cheese (if you can't find, substitute for a block of low moisture mozzarella)
Corn tortillas
Mexican crema (sour cream)
Salsa, guacamole or anything else for dipping.

Serve with refried beans and rice.


Place your raw chorizo in a large non-stick skillet heated to medium high. Break it up with a wooden spoon and cook until crumbly. Oil will form out of the chorizo, but that's what favors the potatoes so don't worry.

Boil your potatoes, skin on, until a fork slides easily in. Then chop into bite sized pieces. I used a half moon shape so it fit inside a taco well.

Add to chorizo mixture, stirring lightly to avoid mashing potoato. Drain off excess grease if there is a lot.

Next, take a moist paper towel, and wrap corn tortillas, microwaving for 3-4 minutes to soften.

Cut your block of cheese into what resembles a string cheese but cut in half.

Preheat clean skillet with 2-3 inches of olive oil in pan... Now time to assemble, take a hot corn tortilla, add a spoonful of the chorizo/potato mixture and cheese and fold in half, using toothpicks to secure closed.
Set in pan, on its side, and let it fry for 2-3 minutes until golden brown, then flip and repeat.

Set on wire rack to drain excess oil, and sprinkle with salt.
Boom! That's it! Tasty, and like a said- easy! Great for entertaining or a quick weeknight meal! Chorizo isn't especially spicy so it's okay for kids too!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

El Salvadorian Food - Pupusas

One dish that happens to be Josh's favorite, and national dish of his homeland, is the Pupusa. It is similar to what a Mexican would call a gordita, it is a thick corn tortilla stuffed with fillings and then seared on a skillet.

If you ever find yourself near a restaruant that serves El Salvadorian Pupusas then you must stop in and give them a try. They are delicious, and because they are homemade you know you are eating the best El Salvador has to offer. Josh and I often introduce friends and family to this cuisine, as we have found a few hidden gem restaurants around town that offer a delicious pupusa. 

The types of fillings we often find are a quesillo cheese pupusa stuffed with a native edible flowering plant known as loroco. It is amazing, and I would describe it as a cross between artichoke and asparagus. The other is a bean and pork mixture they refer to as chicharron. 
Pupusas are almost always accompanied with two staples, one is a light tomato sauce, and the other is a slightly fermented cabbage and carrot slaw known as Curtido.  I've made both from scratch before, they are easy as pie, and the curtido is a super healthy fermented food that aids with digestion and boosts the immune system. 

The way I've been taught to eat a pupusa is to pile it with both the curtido and the tomato sauce and then eat the whole thing together, it offers a variation of textures, flavors and temperatures that are pleasing and satisfying. 

Another common dish that we often order to accompany our pupusa is the El Salvadorian Tamale. It is wrapped in a banana leaf rather than a corn husk, which results in the smoothest, softest and most moist tamale you ever dreamed was possible. If I ever make my own tamales from scratch banana leaves are truely the ONLY way to go. I can't describe how amazing it is, you just need to have one for yourself.

Typically we order two different types of tamales, one is filled with shredded chicken and potatoes, which is my favorite, and they also have a tamale that is slightly sweetened and contains just the corn masa, no interior filling, which is also delicious, but very filling. They are always served with Crema, a latin style sour cream that is richer and tangier than american style sour creams, closer to a Creme Fraiche. I've adopted this sour cream to the only one I keep in my house.

Maybe one day I will make this glorious meal from scratch, but I have a hard time believing it would be cost or time effective for me, considering these babies go for under $2 a piece at most restaurants, and are far to convenient to just pick up on the way home... But nonetheless I felt the need to share this delicious meal with you all in hopes that you will try it!

Arroz Con Pollo (Chicken and Rice)

Arroz Con Pollo (Chicken and Rice)
Serves: 4

My fiance Josh often misses the motherland (El Salvador), he also misses his Mother, and her great cooking. There is a difference between the kinds of Mexican foods we cook at home, and the kinds of dishes that Josh grew up eating in El Salvador and Florida, so I know that he craves different dishes I don't cook often. Tonight he was missing a latin staple, Arroz Con Pollo. 

This dish is one of those staples that every latin family makes, and they each have their own recipe and technique. You can add whatever ingredients you have on hand, but in our case, we added ingredients Josh remembers his Mom adding. 

Its one of those one pot dishes, which makes for easy clean-up, easy serving and easy to store left overs! I wish that I could take the credit for this one, but I acted as photographer and occasional pot-stirrer for this one, Josh made this dish on this own!

  • Ingredients:

    3 Tbsp olive oil
    4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
    1/2 cup of flour for dredging (omit if going gluten free)
    Salt and pepper
    2 bay leaves
    1/2 medium onion, chopped
    1-3 garlic cloves, minced
    1 cup of long-grain white rice
    2 cups chicken stock
    2 tablespoons tomato paste
    One diced roma tomato
    1/2 a roasted red pepper - chopped
    1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
    10 small green pimento stuffed olives
    Fresh Cilantro or Pico De Gallo to serve with

Heat 3 Tbsp olive oil in a large oven safe skillet or dutch oven, that has a cover, on medium high heat. 
Put the flour in a bowl, mix in a generous sprinkling of salt, pepper, and paprika. Also season chicken pieces directly with salt, pepper and paprika. 
Dredge the chicken pieces lightly in the flour mixture and put in the pan to brown. 

Cook a few minutes on each side, just enough so that the chicken has browned. 

Use tongs to remove from pan and set aside.

Add the rice to the pan to brown. Add a little more olive oil if necessary. Stir first to coat the rice with the olive oil in the pan.  Let it brown slightly. 
Then add the onion, bell pepper, tomato, bay leaves, and garlic. Cook the mixture, stirring frequently, until the onions have softened, about 4 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix together the stock, tomato, salt, and oregano. Pour the stock mixture over the rice and add the olives.
Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, then Place the chicken pieces, skin-side up, on top of the rice and cover.
Let cook for 20 minutes, then add peas. 
Cook for another 10-15 minutes depending on the doneness of the rice and fluff the rice with a fork. 

Serve with chopped fresh cilantro as a garnish, or top with fresh pico de gallo.

Roasted Garlic

Roasted Garlic

I love a good roasted garlic clove, you can use it in just about anything. I is sweet, sticky and as soft as butter, unlike the harsh powerful raw version of garlic. 
I like to use roasted garlic for recipes where I can't cook the garlic, or recipes where a softer and sweeter version of garlic would taste best (such as my quiche recipe coming soon, be on the lookout!)
Anyways - buying roasted garlic has like a bazillion percent markup - and making it seriously couldn't be any easier...

2 full garlic bulbs
small glass jar with lid
Olive oil to cover in jar and drizzle over bulbs.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Take two squares of tin foil, one for each bulb.
Cut the top of the garlic bulbs off, exposing the cloves. Discard tops.
Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Gather tin foil around bulbs and place directly on rack in oven.

 Cook for an hour - or so in the oven - checking after about 45 minutes to see if the garlic has caramelized and a knife tip slides in easily all the way through a clove.

Let it cool completely, then using your fingers (kind of a sticky mess but worth it) squeeze the cloves out of the paper. They are caramelized, soft and beautiful!

Place the cloves into a small glass jar and then top the cloves with olive oil. Double bonus the olive oil is infused with the roasted garlic flavor and can be added to dishes to punch up the garlic flavor!

Place in the fridge, it should last a few weeks, although it shouldn't cause you'll use it so quickly. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Homemade Limoncello

Yields: 9 250ml bottles
Time: 3 months

Have you ever tried limoncello? Its a sweet, but strong lemon flavored liqueur, originating from Italy.
It is used for everything from dessert to after dinner drinks, but if you've ever seen a bottle at the local liquor aisle, it is not cheap. Essentially its just sweetened lemon infused grain alcohol, nothing difficult, so I decided that I wanted to make some for myself.

I researched recipes online, and came up with a combination of a few that I thought sounded best.


15 organic lemons. I used a mixture of regular and Meyer lemons since they were in season. You're relying on the peel of the lemon- so spring for the organic variety- otherwise you'll be infusing your booze with chemicals.
1 750ml bottle of everclear 90proof
1 750ml bottle of vodka
4 cups of sugar
4 cups of water


Carefully peel the yellow part of the lemon off, with a vegetable peeler, taking care not to peel the pith (white part) off with it, as it is bitter.

Place peels into a large glass container with tight fitting lid. I used a jug that is used for making small batch beer, but any gallon sized glass jar would do.

Then pour over the peels both bottles of liquor. Shake it up a bit.

Now the long and anxious wait begins. 40 days, at least. Once a week or so give it a good swirl, and keep it in a dark cool place.

At 40 days open her up and take a piece of lemon peel out. It should snap like a potato chip, and be nearly colorless. If not - put it back for another week and try again. You really want all the essential oils to infuse the liquor.

Once its ready, strain the lemon peels from the liquor using a fine mesh strainer lined with paper towels, or cheesecloth.

Heat up 4 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar to a boil, and the sugar has dissolved. Let it cool completely. Add it to the lemon liquor in the original glass jar. I'm impatient - so I used an ice bath.

When you add the simple syrup to the infused liquor it becomes the solid yellow - almost orange juice in appearance, limoncello you are probably more familiar with. It is beautiful.  

It will need to age and mellow with the simple syrup mixture for 40 more days. I know more waiting.... Thats why you'll want to have multiple batches going to always have some available.

After the 40 days the limoncello has mellowed enough for bottling. I purchased these cute 250 ml (8.5oz) bottles from for $20 a case to bottle my limoncello. Then it can be gifted, or I can store a bottle in the freezer without taking up too much room.
I should also note: many of the recipes that I read stated that additional aging is necessary to create the best tasting limoncello, and aging for up to 6 additional months is recommended.

Thats it! You can also try this recipe using any citrus fruit - lime, grapefruit, oranges... a combination of citrus...the possibilities are endless!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Eggs Benedict with Quick Homemade Hollandaise

Eggs Benedict
Serves: 1
Serves: 2

Eggs benedict is my all time favorite breakfast. I eat it every single time that we go out for breakfast, no exceptions. Even if something else sounds amazing, I can't resist my all time fav. I enjoy all kinds of variations, with different breads, such as croissants, and different meats, such as smoked salmon instead of ham.

1 egg yolk
1/2 stick of butter
pinch of salt
pinch of cayenne
juice of half a lemon


Place egg yolk, salt, cayenne and lemon juice in blender.
Melt butter in microwave until liquid.
Slowly pour butter into blender while running until all butter has been added.
Whip for a few seconds until mixture is light in color and thickened.
Pour into dish to reserve.

Eggs Benedict:

1 roll, bread or croissant. In my case, I have these rolls called bolillo's that are from Central America, but taste like a small french bread roll. Croissants or english muffins are also good choices.

2 eggs
2 slices canadian bacon - or meat of choice


Split and Toast bolillo 
Heat ham slices
Take a small sauce pan and fill 1/4 with water, and add 2-3 tablespoons white vinegar.
Heat until bubbles form but do not break the surface.

Crack egg into small dish to make it easier to add to pan completely. Next, take a large open slot spoon and begin to stir water until it forms a whirlpool. 

Add egg to whirlpool, so that the white of the egg will actually wrap itself around the yolk, creating your poached egg.

 Let poach in warm water for 3 minutes, until whites of egg look completely cooked, but careful not to cook the yolk. Use the same slotted spoon to remove poached egg. Place on plate to allow the water to run off and cool slightly. Repeat process with second egg.

Assemble your eggs benedict. Pour reserved hollandaise sauce over the top and enjoy. I usually eat with hash browns or some other tasty potato side, they taste amazing with some of the hollandaise sauce.