Something to try on a cold winter’s night…

My brother-in-law introduced this to me during the holidays and is rather quite good:

Ingredients

  • 1 quart milk (skim, 2 percent or whole) or half-and-half
  • 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (recommended: Scharffenberger)
  • 9 ounces peppermint schnapps
  • Whipped cream, for serving
  • 6 peppermint sticks, for serving

Directions

Heat 1 cup of the milk in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add chocolate, stirring constantly, until melted. When the chocolate has melted, increase heat to medium and add the remainder of the milk while whisking rapidly. Do not allow to boil.

Serve in small cups fortified with a jigger (1 1/2 ounces) of peppermint schnapps and a dollop of whipped cream. Add a peppermint stick to stir.

If transporting in a thermos, heat thermos up with hot water to get it warm for 1 minute. Pour water out and fill with hot chocolate.

source

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It’s like drinking a yummy liquid peppermint patty………….mmmmmm…………delicioso!

New diet tomorrow

I am endeavoring to eat healthier so tonight is going to be a sinful pizza and cinnamon pie (courtesy of Papa John’s) before I really dig down and seriously look at a better diet.

Now bring on the pizza!

No on Señor Pop’s

Unfortunately :^( when we arrived at the location it was closed for

"Sheer heaven baby!"

"Sheer heaven baby!"

r.e.n.o.v.a.t.i.o.n.  Personally, I think Mr. Pop’s choose an unsuitable place for such a restaurant of my grand genetic heritage.  I would have preferred it at the more northern end of Grand Avenue. Let’s just say the location they chose was questionable.  Oh well, went ahead and took mom and the kid to a Persian restaurant and we had our fill.  Would have loved to try some PR cuisine…considering how long it has been since I tasted something so utterly and heavenly delicious….(I need to practice more with my own culinary skills)……….

My mother stated she could almost taste the mofongo (pictured here) and frankly so could I.  GOD! Seems like this blogger is going to have to make the recipe herself. I really miss my abuela’s cooking. I remember as a child standing by her in the kitchen (literally with tears in my eyes) because I wanted to eat her food so bad. Mind you I was just a meer child and the delectable smell of the arroz con pollo was simply overwhelming to my young senses.

If you would like to try your hand at mofongo go right ahead!:

Ingredients:
(Plaintains with Pork Rinds)
3 green plaintains
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 lb. Crisp fried pork rinds
4 cups water
3 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon olive oil
Optional: fried bacon, lard or vegetable oil

 Directions:

1. Peel plaintains. Cut into one inch slices. Soak for 15 minutes in salt and water. Drain well.

2. Heat fat or oil(350 degrees if you are using a deep fryer). Add plaintain slices and fry for 15 minutes but do not brown. Drain on paper towel.

3. In a mortar(for pounding), crush garlic cloves and sprinkle with salt, add olive oil to the mixture and keep pounding.

4. Crush a portion of the fried plaintains slices and the pork. Add some of the garlic and olive oil mixture and keep pounding.

5. Spoon the mixture and shape into two inch balls. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you use all the ingredients.

6.Place in oven pan and keep warm until you are ready to serve.
Suggestions: Prepare chicken brothand pour over mofongo, so it will be juicy. Enjoy

Señor Pop’s

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Taking mom out today to Señor Pop’s before she heads back to Indiana tomorrow.

I always loved Puerto Rican cuisine and not just because it’s in my DNA…the flavors when it hits your palette is simply indescribable. I have waited patiently (I might add) for something other than Mexican when it comes to Hispanic cuisine:

See more of the review here

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Señor Pop’s opened late last year at the corner of South Grand Boulevard and Gasconade Street in Dutchtown. Those who visited the previous occupant of this space, the Persian restaurant Grand Mediterranean Kabob Café, will recall a small, spare operation. The ice machine sits in a corner of the dining room. You enter directly into the bar, which doubles as the smoking section and, when busy, offers the dim, smoky, noisy ambiance of a hundred other south-city bars. The new owners have added some color to the dining room, painting its walls in pastel shades of green and yellow and draping the tables with red cloths. (For those keeping score, the former owner of Grand Mediterranean now operates Hot & Sour, in Chesterfield.)

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Like many Caribbean nations, Puerto Rico draws its cuisine from Spanish, African and indigenous traditions. You’ll encounter dishes you’ve seen in other cuisines across the Caribbean and Latin American spectrum, like empanadillas, triangular pastry shells stuffed with beef and then fried to a golden brown. Others you might encounter for the first time: Like alcapurrias, which look like giant plump cheese sticks but are in fact fritters made from mashed green banana and stuffed with the ground-beef mixture known as picadillo. Though the mildly spicy picadillo is the main flavor, you can taste the banana.

Which isn’t to say that nothing at Señor Pop’s was distinctive. Quite the contrary: I’ve never eaten anything quite like the Puerto Rican culinary staple known as mofongo. This arrives at your table in a tall deep bowl. The bowl is so deep, in fact, that none of its contents peek out over its rim. Look inside and you’ll find a generous serving of the meat of your choice sitting atop an even more generous serving of mashed plantain. On the side is a small dish of chopped garlic in oil meant to be poured over the meat and plantains. (What I plan on having-mmmm)

Man friendly receipes from Pioneer Woman

They are making this woman hungry!

Cowboy Food Archives

Persian Style Rice (CHÉLO)

I am going to “experiment” making this style of rice during the upcoming weekend…gives me plenty of time to take my time. I remember watching my abuela make a rice simliar to this one and it was soooo good!:

Persian Style Rice  (CHÉLO)

Drained  and  Steamed  Method

 

Prelude:   These instruction are not a “recipe”, but rather a method of preparation that yields a separate and firm texture that is wonderful by itself as a plain rice (“chélo”) also be incorporated with many varieties of your favorite ingredients to make pilafs (“polo”).
This method involves soaking, boiling, draining, rinsing, re-potting and steaming (re-cooking). It is sort of like boiling and draining pasta “al dente” and then further rinsing and cooking to perfection.

 

PREPARATION
 

WASH     the rice in lukewarm water (1 cup will yield 3/4-cups) at least 3 times until the water is clear, not cloudy. Each time stir and gently rub the rice with your palms.
SOAK     the rice now in cool water for about 30-minutes to 2-hours (not overnight). Let the water stand about 1-inch above whatever amount of rice you are soaking. Mix in some salt so the water tastes slightly salty.

BOIL     a large pot of water (such as a pasta pot). Add salt to this so it also tastes moderately salty. Pour the soaking rice in when your large pot comes to a rolling boil. You can dip the soaking pot directly in so all rice gets in quickly. Stir the rice immediately, gently and briefly with a perforated rice spatula.

Wait until the water comes to a boil again, about 3-5 minutes, depending upon volume. Keep heat to highest and do not cover. Watch carefully the elongation and development of the grains at this point. This takes 1-3 minutes. Do Not Walk Away. Stir the rice gently and briefly but not constantly.

IMPORTANT:
Each variety of rice, each brand of the same variety, even different crops of the same brand will behave differently at this stage of cooking.

     American extra long grain rice developes to a kind of chubby shape
     Basmati rice developes into a shape more elongated and thin
     Thai jasmine rice is somewhere in between.

The important thing is to PIN POINT the moment the rice reaches it OPTIMUM development for the purpose of making this style of rice. This optimum point is when it is still FIRM, but not hard in the core of each grain (a moment later it will get even longer or larger, but will no longer be firm in the core).

“A strong rice (which is desirable) is the one which withstands the boiling stress long enough ‘to reach its near maximum elongation without getting soft in the core'” “RICE STRENGTH INDEX”

So, each time you gently stir your BOILING rice, bring some rice to the surface and visually appraise it. When you observe the rice is ALMOST long enough, then pick a few grains up with your fingers and examine it with your front teeth. As soon as you feel it is firm and not hard, that is your optimum point. STOP THE COOKING IMMEDIATELY!

DUMP     the boiling rice in a large enough colander with fine perforations (already set up in your clean sink). You may also use a pasta strainer for this purpose. SPLASH plenty of cool water over your rice and gently toss the colander so you bring the hot rice that is still at the bottom, to the surface

DO NOT use a narrow stream of water, such as a faucet to rinse the rice. The force of the water will break the grains. Let the rice drain well, so no water is dripping.

POTTING AND STEAMING THE RICE     Your rice is now ready to be cooked to perfection in a variety of ways and for different purposes, such as:

     plain rice “chélo” with saffron
     Pilafs “
polo, plau”: rice cooked with cooked and seasoned meats, legumes, vegetables, etc…
     to stuff vegetables along with other stuffing ingredients

Use a quality aluminum clad pot, large enough for your rice (i.e. about 2-inches above the rice). Your pot should also have a properly fitting lid.

PREPARING BOTTOM OF POT FOR A GOURMET DELICACY     Since this method involves cooking rice in an essentially waterless pot, the heat required for this process can scorch the rice in the bottom and even make the end product unpleasantly smoked.

     “Not dealing with this challenge, could have been the reason the rest of the world chose to cook their rice the other usual method”

To deal with this challenge we have to control the essential factors in this process: Heat, Moisture and Time. The we will be rewarded not only with a wonderful, fluffy rice, but as a bonus, a fabulous crust in the bottom of the pot “tàh deeg” (literally: bottom of the pot).
Aim a stream of unflavored vegetable oil in the center of your pot. As soon as the oil reaches the side wall, stop. This is the amount of oil you need, no matter how big your pot is.

Now you can line the bottom of the pot with something you want to enjoy as the crust “tàh deeg”, such as

     Slices of bread (i.e. stale white, pita, dampened flour tortilla)
     Slices of raw potato, chip sed.
     Slices of raw onion, cabbage, etc.
     Left over rice (moisten with a few spoonfuls of water)

FOR PLAIN RICE, “CHÉLO”     Using a rice spatula, pile rice to the top, forming a cone. (The cone avoids the sides of the pot and saves the rice from scorching.)

FOR PILAF     Alternate rice with layer of: sprinkled herbs dry or freshly chopped dill, parsley flakes, frozen lima beans, grated, sautéed and sweetened carrots, sautéed and seasoned spinach, caramelized slivered onion, cooked chick peas, cumin seeds, curry powder and many creations of your own imagination!

COVER THE POT     Put a thin kitchen towel or a few layers of paper towels over the pot and fit the lid snugly.

Cook your rice starting on a medium-high flame or electric burner for about 10-15 minutes. Then reduce the heat to medium for another 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of your rice. You will observe some wetness around the towel and upon lifting the lid you will see plenty of steam building. At this time stick a fork inside the rice cone about 1-2 inches. If the rice is cooked the fork will feel slightly sticky. If not, it will move more freely. Taste a few grains, it should taste cooked through.

Sprinkle some vegetable oil evenly over and thru your rice spatula on the hot rice. You may also stick a few pats of butter over the rice. Let it cools 5-minutes, fluff the rice with a fork and dish it out with your spatula.

At this time you can flavor the rice with a solution of finely ground saffron in hot water and butter. Mix this solution with a cup of plain rice. To achieve an intense saffron color, then add 2 more cups of rice to this to have a glorious array of white and golden grains. Sprinkle liberally over the rest of your rice. CELEBRATE YOUR TRIUMPH!

OH, HOW ABOUT THE “TAH DEEG”?     You should be looking at a 1/2-inch crust that will come out easily with a spoon. It is a glorious golden to dark brown piece and enjoy it by itself, with homemade yogurt sauce and other sauces that you will discover when you visit Café Natasha’s Kabob International!

Detox with Tea

My stomach was bothering me a little and decided to try the Triple Leaf Detox tea  (cleansing and revitalizing). I began drinking tea regularly about 10 years ago.  And it really has a calming effect on your stomach if you suffer from cramps or any type of abdominal pain:

For thousands of years, the Chinese have been using herbs to clear away toxins.* Today, we are exposed  to increasing levels of environmental pollutants, smoke, caffeine, food toxins, etc.* More than twenty potent Chinese purification herbs have been used to create our Detox Tea.* Traditionally, these herbs were used to support the healthy function of the liver, kidneys, lungs and blood, and to cleanse the body of toxins.* They were considered to help promote clear, healthy skin, increase the flow of energy (chi) to the body and mind, and promote calmer, more positive and peaceful emotions.* Treat yourself to our delicious and effective revitalizing tea on a regular basis.* Make periodic cleansings and daily purification a normal part of your regime.* 

Making 1 casserole a week

Bought this nifty casserole recipe book you can actually cut out each individual recipe (will buy a recipe box down the road) and am going to hone my culinary skills by reproducing (crossing fingers) a weekly casserole so that my daughter doesn’t complain about what’s for dinner (and yes I make her cook also)……..

If it turns out ok will post a picture of it….if not…will think about posting THAT……….

Which Foods Contain the Most Collagen?

I decided with my progression towards a healthier lifestyle to look up info about food sources containing collagen.

What is collagen?

Deriving its name from the Greek word kolla, collagen is indeed a vital element that helps to keep the body functioning.

Collagen is also a wonderful source for a more “youthful” appearance. (So sue me, I want to look good!)  :^P

Soy products such as soymilk and cheese contain an element known as genistein. The presence of genistein gives soy products their collagen production qualities, as well as helping to block enzymes that tend to break down and age the skin. Just about any soy product contains enough genistein to be helpful, including soy products that have been developed as substitutes for meat products.

For more information on this topic, see:

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Healthy living means a better quality of life, more energy, and feeling good inside AND out!

Another lifestyle change for me!

Always up to try something new

I gathered some ingredients to make a traditional Arabian dish called Kepsa. It’s similar to arroz con pollo which is rice with chicken. Mom and my abuela used to make it.

Mmmmm(que rico!!)

I love the aroma of spices, the way it wafts through my home….utter deliciousness:

Ingredients: (The following for 5 people)

Chicken enough for 5 people
5 cups of Biryani Rice (or any long, thin rice) [one cup of rice is recommended for each person to have enough for his fill, but usually this will create leftovers, so you can make adjustments in this amount)
2 Tomatoes
1 Onion (Yellow or white, as you prefer)
Spices (Curry, Cumin, Arabic Spices, Salt, Pepper, at times ginger is really good)
Black Lemon (optional, but can also use yellow lemons)
3-5 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
9 cups of Water

Procedure

1.Chop the onions and tomatoes separately. Chop them small because later they will form a part into the rice.

2. In a large pressurized cooking pot, pour enough oil to cover the bottom of the pot on medium-high heat.

3. Drop the onions in, and sautee. Once they are yellowed or browned enough to your taste, add the tomatoes. Mix the tomatoes and onions together, the tomatoes will begin to melt.

4. As the tomato and onion mixture is melting add the following, about a teaspoon of salt, and teaspoon of curry. Of course, you can flavor it as much as you desire.

5. Place your defrosted chicken into the mix at the bottom of the pot, Now cook the chicken until it turns white all the way through. Mix in more spices. Keep stirring, to evenly cook the chicken, and watch so the bottom of the cooker so that it doesn’t burn. (About 15-20 minutes depending on the chicken cutlets). (this is the time to be creative, Sometimes I add a small amount of tomato paste, sometimes plain yogurt or evaporated milk, sometimes I grind almonds and put it in, sometimes I add a teaspoon of honey, these are secret ingredients to make it better than anyone else).

6. Next, take the chicken piecesout from the tomato and onion mixture. Put it into an oven tray with a cover, you will now place it into a preheated oven at 450 degrees Farenheit.

7. Now you will take the 5 cups of rice, and 9 cups of water and place them together in the same pot. This will create a soup-like mixture. Time to add more salt and spices, enough to season the soup mixture. Mix it, and taste to make sure it is to your taste. Bring the water to boil.

8. Seal the lid and turn the heat to medium, after 10 minutes turn to low heat and wait another 10 minutes.

9. By this time the Kebsa rice should be finished. Empty the rice on to a very large dish or two large dishes. Everyone eats from the same dish.

10. From the oven, take the chicken that has been baking and place this on top in the middle of the dish of rice.

11. Cut some lemons on the side for the guests to squeeze on top of their servings, and some prefer to eat the kepsa with some plain yogurt.

Approximate Preparation Time: 1 hour

 

For more delicious Arabian recipes please go to this link.

Siempre con sabor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

:^)