Monday, March 22, 2010

Tamales Recipe

The other day I made hot tamales!!! Some of you might not know what an amazing thing it is, specially when its your first time cooking them. Sooner or later I had to make them, as is one of my favourite Mexican foods!!.. Tamales are a very authentic Mexican dish made from a starchy corn-based dough, which is wrapped in husks and cooked through steaming. For the filling you can use a variety of things, such as meats, cheese, vegetables, chillies, refried beans, etc!

Tamales origin tracks back since 5000-8000 BC. They were discovered by the Spanish conquistadores when they first arrived to Mexico. Historians say that Aztecs and Mayan civilizations used tamales as a portable food often given to their armies or eaten by hunters and travelers.

I believe it tastes amazing and it has been made the same way for more than a 1000 years which is actually pretty cool. In Mexico we really love tamales and consider them one of the most traditional and authentic dishes out there. We love tamales so much that we have more than 500 different types of tamales available all around the country. Annual consumption is approx. about hundreds of millions!! I think those numbers are correct as I contributed to a big chunk of that just before moving to Canada!!..

Tamales are a favourite comfort food in Mexico eaten as both; breakfast and dinner. Some people like to eat them while drinking hot Atole or Champurrado which is a corn-based beverage. ME, 'nah' I prefer a good cup of hot Cocoa!! Tamales are sold everywhere, even street vendors can be seen in every corner serving them from huge, steaming, covered pots "tamaleras".

The most common fillings are pork and chicken, in either red or green salsa. And for dessert you can also have TAMALES, there is a sweet way of eating it!! And that is a "Tamal de Dulce" which is just pink colored sugar added to the corn mix and filled with raisins or other dried fruit.

Today I am sharing with you a recipe for tamal filling;

Pork in Red Salsa

1 1/2 lbs of pork tenderloin
1 onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp Cajun pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 red chillies seeded and chopped
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 tbsp of tomato paste
2 cups of pork stock
2 tbsp flour
Salt and Pepper


Place the Pork on an oven safe dish. Add the onion and 1 clove of garlic to the pork and cover it with water. Cook for 2 hours at 375F. When the pork tears apart super easily it means its ready. Let the pork cool until you are able to shred the pork with your hands. On a frying pan at medium high heat, drizzle the oil. Add the 3 remaining cloves of garlic and let it cook for 1 min. then add the shredded Pork, Paprika, Cajun Pepper, brown sugar, chillies, cumin, flour and cook for a couple of minutes until everything is mixed together. The add the tomato paste and cook again for another couple of minutes. Finally add the stock left on the dish where you cooked the pork. And let it simmer until its reduced by half.

To prepare pork with salsa verde just cook the pork the same way and instead of adding all the condiments when placing the shredded pork in the frying pan, just add flour, cook it for a couple of mins and Finally add salsa verde and a cup of the stock.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sage & Goat's Cheese Omelet

Do you need more brunch ideas??!!! Here is another amazing recipe!!
I discovered sage thanks to some of the recipes from my William's Sonoma cookbook. There is an amazing Omelet recipe there that I just tweaked a little to include 2 of my favourite things.. Sage and Goat's Cheese!!!

Sage & Goat's Cheese Omelet

1 shallot finely diced
4 eggs
3 tbsp cream (liquid cream)
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp olive oil
Goat's cheese
Arugula leaves
Pepper (Tip: Use no salt as goat's cheese is salty enough)


In a bowl mix together the eggs, cream, salt & pepper. Place a nonstick frying pan over medium high heat and add the olive oil and butter. When the butter has melted distribute it evenly in the pan. Add the shallots and cooked until tender. Pour the egg mixture through a sieve into the pan. After 30 sec. use the edge of a nonstick spatula to push the cooked edges carefully a little toward the center, while keeping the eggs in an even layer. The uncooked eggs will flow toward the edges, and the omelet will cook more evenly.
After 4 min when everything is cooked use the spatula to fold half of the omelet over to create a half circle. Remove from the pan, cut by half and add to each part the crumbled goat's cheese and arugula leaves.
Hope this recipe will brigthen your day in a cloudy morning like today!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Let's get Cracking!

For rainy mornings such as the ones we had last weekend, I particularly like a tasty omelet, as it provides lots of energy and can give me the push I need to get through the day!..

Ohhh yes!! Let's get cracking!...
I love weekends because it's the only free time I can find to prepare some good recipes in the morning. The rest of the week I only have time for a quick cereal breakfast. I bet most of you have the same problem, and let's be real, sometimes mornings can be very hectic!..

Anyways, for those of you who love eggs, let me share with you a couple of recipes that will brighten your weekend mornings!!..

Prosciutto and Roasted Tomato Omelet


250g cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
sea salt and cracked black pepper
4 rashers of bacon or prosciutto trimmed
4 eggs
1 tablespoon chopped chives
100g rocket (arugula) leaves


Preheat oven to 355ºF. Place the tomatoes, oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper in a baking dish and toss to coat. Roast for 10−12 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft.

Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook the prosciutto or bacon for 4−5 minutes each side or until crispy. Place the eggs and chives in a bowl and whisk to combine. Pour the egg mixture over the bacon and cook for 3-4 minutes or until set. Top the omelet with rocket and roasted tomatoes and serve with crunchy toast. Serves 2.
Tip: Don't use any salt as prosciutto is salty enough.

"Bollos con Chocolate & Vanilla"

A saturday night spent baking is very comforting, specially when the day is awfully rainy and windy. Your house ends up smelling like heaven and you can enjoy your last sweet bite of the day watching a favourite movie. But in my case I had major problems with my blog trying to fix a bunch of things, so it wasn't as relaxed as I wanted. Fortunately I had already finished my sweet bread treats, which made the whole process less painful.

As I was craving something sweet, I came up with the idea of combining two different recipes for mexican sweet bread. These little "bollos" which is they way I've been calling them as I don't really know if this actually exists, are a hybrid between "pan de muerto" or "bread of the dead" and "Conchas".

I love chocolate so I decided to make a chocolate coating instead of the regular sugar coating that conchas have and as I needed a contrasting flavour for the remaining half, I made a vanilla/cream cheese icing to go on top of them.

People I made a lot of them!!!.. so whoever wants to stop by for free "bollos" let me know!!!!

You are always welcome!...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Flavour of Lime (part 2)

I already shared with you a dessert recipe that uses lime...
Now, here is a savoury recipe.. perfect for a sunny afternoon!!..
Seared Tuna with Lime Crust


375g Tuna fillets
1 tbsp of grated lime rind
1/3 cup of lime juice
1/4 cup of finely chopped fresh dill
2 tbsp of chopped fresh parsley
2 small red chillies, seeded and chopped
2 tbsp of olive oil
salt and pepper
400g of spaghetti
some Arugula leaves

Place the tune in a shallow dish. Combine the lime rind, lime juice, dill, parsley, chilli, olive oil, salt and pepper and pour over the tuna to coat. Refrigerate for 15 mins. Meanwhile cook the pasta until al dente. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over high heat, then remove the tuna from the marinade and cook for one min. on each side until well seared. Then slice and place the tuna on top of the pasta, use some of the marinade to give it some flavour and top with the arugula leaves. Serves 4.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Dim Sum Dynasty

I just had my first encounter with Dim Sum last week, and I have to say I was pretty surprised!.. In a good way of course. The texture is very different from what I am used to eat, but the flavours inside those little balls are perfect.

Shrimp Dumpling
For those who are not very familiar with Dim Sum, let me explain: Traditional dim sum includes various types of steamed buns such as cha siu baau (Hanzi: 叉烧包, Pinyin: chāshāobāo), dumplings and rice noodle rolls (cheung fun), which contain a variety of ingredients, including beef, chicken, pork, shrimps or vegetables. Dim Sum can be steamed, which is very healthy as don't have fat, but if you want to add a little bit of richness you can also have fried dim sum!
Steamed Seafood Dumplings with Chives
Sticky Rice Wrapped in Lotus Leaf
Deep Fried Sesame Shrimp Rolls
Shrimp and Pork Dumplings
Crispy Spring Rolls with Chicken
Here in Toronto there is a great place at Bloor called Dynasty. This place is supposed to be one of the Best Dim Sum restaurants in the city, and I have to agree with that statement. I enjoyed the food there and although it wasn't cheap, the food was really worth it! Dinner for 2 was approx. $45.00 bucks, but we had a very good meal.
As Dim Sum is usually linked with the older tradition of Yum Cha (drinking tea), which has its roots in travellers on the ancient Silk Road needing a place to rest, I couldn't ignore the Green Tea aroma in the air and ended up helping myself with a cup of tea.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Flavour of Lime

I personally love the flavour of lime, it is so refreshing and versatile as it's great to use as a souring agent or a flavour enhancer. One of the best things about limes is that they are a great source of vitamin C which is actually very needed when you have to deal with the type of cold you can find in places like Canada. Lime for sure will help you stay healthy during the winter! It is a very common ingredient used in authentic Mexican food which is probably one of the reasons I adore it! Ohhh Delicious Lime... The floral aroma of it's zest can fill the room with freshness.

One of my favourite ways to use lime in the kitchen is in desserts. I have to say that even though I have quite a sweet tooth, sometimes you are just in the mood for something refreshing and not too sweet. Let me suggest Lime Tart! Yes, LIME, not Lemon tart....

Lime Tart


375g ready-prepared pastry

Lime Filling:

1 cup of superfine sugar

4 eggs

1 cup of cream

1 cup of fresh lime juice


Preheat the oven to 350F. Roll out the pastry and fit it into a 25 cm tart tin. Make some holes in the pastry with the help of a fork, then place a non stick baking paper on top of the pastry and then fill with rice and bake for 10 mins. Remove the rice and paper and bake for 10 mins more. This process is called blind baking and will keep the tart shell crisp when filled with a wet filling.

For the Filling:
Place the sugar, eggs, cream and lime juice in a bowl and mix to combine. Pour the mixture into the tart shell through a strainer and bake for 25 mins or until the mixture is just set. Refrigerate the tart until firm.

Serve with ice cream!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Good Morning Savoury Pancakes

There are some days that you just need a good kick start to your day!! Specially if you have a tough day ahead of you!!.. A good tip to have a quick breakfast is to prepare the batter the night before and save it in your fridge, that way you can quickly cook the cakes the next morning.

Delish Good Morning Salmon Cakes


2 large russet baking potatoes, washed and cut into large chunks
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 salmon filets
Salt and pepper
4 green onions, sliced thinly
1 bunch fresh dill, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten


First, steam potatoes in a stovetop steamer until tender when pierced with a fork. Meanwhile heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat and when it's hot, add oil. Using a potato masher, mash them together. Then, season salmon filets and sear on both sides until just cooked through. Place the potatoes into a large bowl and add salmon, salt and pepper. Add the green onions, dill, egg and mix well.
Form into 4 large patties. If the mixture seems a bit loose and won't form a well-packed cake, add some breadcrumbs until it binds well. Heat a large skillet and add oil. Add the salmon cakes and fry them until they are golden brown on each size and heated through.

Serve with smoked salmon on top and green onions.