Monday, December 21, 2009

More Finger Food Recipes

Just because it's Christmas I'll share with you another finger food recipe!!..

This one is tricky, as you have to be really careful with the savoury profiteroles. But don't get scared it's just a matter of paying attention.
Here it goes!..
Savoury Profiteroles

6 tbsp butter
1 cup of chicken stock
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to season
pinch of paprika
1 cup of flour
3 large eggs
4 ounces of Gruyere cheese coarsely grated
milk for brushing


Heat the oven to 375°F. Put the butter in a heavy saucepan, then add the stock, salt, pepper and paprika. Bring to a boil and then pull from heat. Dump the flour in all at once and beat until smooth with a wooden spoon. Put the pan back on low heat and beat for 1 min. to cook the dough.. Remove from the heat and let cool about 3 mins, then add the eggs one at a time, beating vigorously with a wooden spoon after adding each one of them. The dough should be smooth, soft and glossy.

After getting that consistency stir in the cheese. Drop the mixture by spoonfuls forming a 2.5 cm balls onto a buttered baking sheet. Brush with milk so they'll get shiny when baked. Bake until puffed at 375°F for 35 mins. approx, or until nicely browned and feather light when you pick one up. Let them cool in a rack for a couple of mins.

Cut the top of each one and fill the profiteroles with what ever you happen to like (cream cheese with green onions, goats cheese with pesto, blue cheese and walnuts, etc). Then put the little tap on.

This recipe is very good and the best thing is that you can adapt it to whatever your likes are. Add your favourite toppings and make it your own.

Finger Food!

With all the festivities coming up it's very important to have some quick and easy recipes so you can entertain your guests!!...
We had my Chaparrito's Bday Party a couple of weeks ago and I decided that instead of cooking lots of food I was going to do something simple and tiny, but yummy at the same time..

A couple of friends also brought some yummy creations!!... They owe me the recipes!! Mike I want that pork recipe ASAP!... hahahaha ... Anyways .. knowing some of you have probably lots of Christmas parties coming up, I will share with you a couple of recipes so you can make finger food a real delight!..

Smoked Salmon on a cracker


16 slices of smoked salmon
1/2 cup of cream cheese or goat's cheese
1 tbsp of mustard or if using goat's cheese you can use a tbsp of honey
2 green onions (thinly sliced)


On your work surface lay out an approx. 45 x 30 cm plastic wrap and on top of it overlap the salmon slices to form a rectangle.

On a food processor toss the remaining smoked salmon, cheese, mustard, green onions and puree until smooth. Spread the mixture in an even layer on top of the smoked salmon slices.

Roll the smoked salmon into a tight log similar as making a roll of sushi. Use the plastic wrap to help you roll the salmon tightly. Pinch the plastic wrap on both ends and then roll the log until it tightens and forms a cylinder.

Freeze for a couple of hours to help it firm. When it's firm enough to cut, slice it into even rounds and place each one on top of the cracker.

And voilà!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Spicy Garlic Shrimp or should I say .... "Camarones al Ajillo"?

The extreme Canadian COLD is just around the corner, and for me, it's inevitable to envy all those people who are just now in a pair of flip flops just chilling at the beach!!!!. Anyways, my philosophy is that if you can't go to the beach ... you have to bring the beach to you!.. Period.

So the other day I was just in the mood for a tropical Mexican dish. Every time I go to the beach, and most of the times it happened to be in Mexico..... I always, always have to eat Camarones al Ajillo (spicy garlic shrimp). It's one of my favourite seafood dishes. The spiciness, the shrimp, the garlic... I don't know what it is, but the mix of all those flavours together are a delight!!..

So I will share my beach day with you guys!!!
Camarones al Ajillo


3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
3 dry red chiles or chili flakes
1 pound of shrimps
the juice of 1 lemon
sea salt
2 tbsp of Paprika (add more if you like)
steamed white rice

In a large sautee pan, add the olive oil, garlic and chiles. Let it cook for 3 mins in high heat until you start smelling the garlic. Bring the pan to medium high heat, add the shrimps and sautee until pink.

Remove the pan from the heat, add the lemon juice, salt and paprika. Mix everything together until it gets an even coating.

Serve immediately while it's super hot, on top of the steamed white rice or any other thing you like.. I happen to love spinach so ...


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Celebrating the day of the dead!

So, Halloween came and went in an instant and soon Christmas will be here.... Life goes by pretty quickly and Mexicans know how to joke and have a good laugh from it. One of the festivities I love the most from the Mexican culture is the way people celebrate the Day of the Dead on Nov 1st all Saints' Day and Nov 2nd All Souls' Day. Traditions include building altars for friends and family members who have died.

There are lots of details in those altars; people cook the favourite food of the departed, light candles to guide them on their way back and place glasses with water so they don't get thirsty when they come down to visit us. The intent is to encourage visits by the souls, so that the souls will hear the prayers and the comments of the living directed to them. Families visit the cemeteries where their loved ones are buried and decorate their graves with ofrendas (offerings), which often include orange marigolds called xempoalxochitl. These flowers are thought to attract souls of the dead to the offerings. Toys are brought for dead children, and bottles of tequila, mezcal, pulque or jars of atole for adults. Pillows and blankets are left out so that the deceased can rest after their long journey. Is part of the tradition to write creative and fun poems as well, called "calaveras" (skulls), mocking epitaphs of friends or funny anecdotes.

One of the best things from this celebration is that you get to eat lots and lots of "Pan de Muerto" or Bread of the Dead which is a type of sweet bread that is very yummy. I was really worried that I wouldn't get the chance to taste it this year ...So I decided to bake "Pan de Muerto". Why not?!.. I mean, I do love to cook. I started looking for online recipes and found really crappy ones BUT.. ended up finding one from a Mexican baker which was great. It has been the most complicated recipe I have ever made! I spent a whole day working on the bread and kneading the dough for almost 45 mins.... it's not an easy task. But I did it!! I made Pan de Muerto and it was great!!!!...

Even though I am not in Mexico we had the chance to celebrate this festivity at Harbourfront Centre. Every year the Mexican embassy organizes it. We heard mariachi, saw great costumes and enjoy the Day of the Dead in Canada.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Meeting my favourite CHEF!

Last Wednesday I met my favourite Food Network Chef!!..

Not only he is one of the best Canadian Chefs, but he is also one of the tallest guys I've ever met!!.. I have to say he has inspired me to become a better cook!..

Now I have his new book specially autographed and I can't wait to start cooking, all recipes look so yummy !!..

One of the things I loved about the book is that he gives freestyle variations in every recipe, and that is a great way to start getting creative!

And as he said in his interview at Indigo last week, "It doesn't really matter what you end up with, when you've decided to cook, you've done it, you've succeeded! Cheers!"

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thanksgiving my Way!

It's the second year we welcome the thanksgiving festivity in our Mexican home!.. But as Thanksgiving means lots of food and basically enjoyment.. it really doesn't matter what you have for dinner as long as you fully enjoy it. My thinking is, if you are thankful it should be because you are having a hell of a dinner... am I right?? .. Turkey for my isn't that important, what's important for me is to prepare what my audience is asking for.. and in this case the ask was for some Homemade Pizza and Apple Pie.

I suppose this time is all about sharing so .. here it goes ..
Salmon Pizza
Pizza Dough
1 cup lukewarm water
1 tsp sugar
1 envelope yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 cups flour, more if needed
2 cups milk
1 x bay leaf
1 piece of onion
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1 tin crab, about 4-1/2 ounces, drained
1 cup goat cheese
6 ounces hot-smoked salmon, cut into small, bite-sized pieces
2 x slices cold-smoked salmon (optional)
About 5 green onions, chopped

For the Pizza Dough
Sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the water in a large bowl and let sit 10 minutes. Add the oil, salt, and half the flour. Beat smooth. Knead in the remaining flour, more as needed, to create a soft dough that doesn’t stick to the hands. Cover in a bowl and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Punch down the dough and stretch it out to fit on a pizza sheet.
While the dough is rising, make the béchamel: Bring the milk to a boil in a saucepan with the bay leaf and onion. Turn off the heat, cover, and leave to infuse 15 minutes. Melt the butter in another saucepan, then whisk in the flour, and keep whisking on the heat for a full minute to cook out the flour taste. Slowly whisk in the milk, until smooth, and cook, stirring until thick, 3 minutes. Stir in the crab, and half the goat cheese.
Heat the oven to 400ºF/200ºC. Distribute pieces of hot-smoked salmon over the pizza crust. Spoon the sauce over top (this will protect it from overcooking). Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and the chopped white part of the green onions, reserving the chopped green for garnish later. Bake 25 minutes until the crust is crisp. Scatter the green of the onions over. To finish it, lay on a few slivers of cold-smoked salmon for extra colour and extra flavour.


Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Canadians + Pozole = Amazing birthday celebration!

I can't believe I'm 25 already!.. It hit me when I was answering a survey yesterday and had to choose my age range... it wasn't in the (18-24 range) anymore.
Let me tell you that back in Mexico I often had crappy birthdays, mainly because it is on the same weekend as our Independence celebration and obviously the main focus is around that and the fact that we get a day off. This means less people in the city and fewer friends to party with .... luckily these Canadians aren't that familiar with our Mexican celebrations.
So, on that weekend, I decided to invite my great Canadian friends to taste a very Mexican dish, "Pozole", and celebrate my birthday.
I started cooking early Saturday and by mid day it was all done!.. People started arriving and they even brought me gifts!! A colourful sombrero piñata full of zombie eyeballs and skull shaped rings (I am pretty sure candy was recycled from last year's halloween) was the first one to arrived followed by a beautiful orchid which is staring at me right now from the heights.

We had an amazing time.. we started with the Guacamole, later on, to my surprise, everyone seemed to enjoyed the Pozole.. even Hailey!!!.. and for dessert, Ms. Chow brought Baklavas .... I ate 4!!!.. I am such a Pig!.. Allison was in charge of the mojitos!!!.. which were specially made with sparkling wine!.. and a couple of yummy salads were also part of the menu!..
I really enjoyed cooking for my friends!!.. and just because one of them asked for the recipe.. here it is!!..


2 tbsp canola oil
500 g shredded chicken
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 minced garlic cloves
1 1/2 tbsp chili powder (I use a brand called Tajin you can find it in Kensington Market).
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3 cups of chicken stock
1 can (around 450g) of tomatoes
1 can (around 450g) of hominy (you can find it in Loblaws).
1 jalapeño chile, seeded and diced (In case you like it hot).
Salt & pepper
Avocado slices
Green onions
For more garnish you can add a tsp of sour cream.


In a soup pot heat the oil, working in batches to avoid crowding, brown the chicken. Transfer the chicken to a bowl and set aside.

Add the onion to the pot and sauté for 3-5 mins. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Stir to blend the spices evenly. Add the stock, tomatoes, hominy, jalapeño and browned chicken with any juices. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to low heat and cover. Check the chicken is fully cooked and everything is warm and nice.

To serve, ladle the soup into soup bowls and garnish with the avocado slices, green onions and cream.


Friday, September 18, 2009

My precious carrot cake recipe!

Since I started writing my blog I have received a bunch of requests of not only writing about my experiences with food but also sharing my learnt recipes, so I figure maybe sharing one of my most loved recipes will inspire you all. I have to say I am a dessert person even though I cannot allow myself having guilty pleasures as often as I would like to. But anyways.. one of my favourite desserts is Carrot Cake. Before trying it I couldn't believe carrot would make such a lovely dessert but once I tried it I couldn't deny the beautiful flavour any more.

It is a very easy recipe to follow and was one on my first master pieces. I have to say the pineapple pieces and the ginger gives it nice quick. And the Icing... ohhh god!.. sooo good I am thinking of baking a carrot cake NOW!..

Ok so here it goes!!!..

Carrot Cake


3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup golden brown sugar
3 eggs
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups grated carrot
1 cup diced or crushed pineapple, fresh or tinned (drained)


1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease an 8-inch square pan. Whisk together oil, brown sugar, eggs, maple syrup and grated ginger. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and stir into wet mixture to blend.

Stir in carrot and pineapple and pour into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 to 30 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely before icing.
To prepare frosting, beat cream cheese and butter together. Beat in icing sugar until smooth and stir in vanilla. Spread over cooled cake and store chilled until ready to serve.

Hope you all enjoy this recipe because it is very very very GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!

Dedicated to my good friend Melissa who begged for this recipe

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Getting In Loooove With Flavours

When I first got here I didn't really have an interest in food and flavours, I mean, I just liked eating it, but not cooking it. It was my 6 months of staying home that made me become a food fan, if there is such thing.
Being new to a NEW country it's quite hard, you have to get used to all these new things that are happening around you; one of them is trying to find food that you are familiar with. Now a days with all the "Globalization theme" you can find almost everything, everywhere..... "Yes, of Course you can find everything" but trying to stay with your normal diet might become quite expensive, specially if you are coming from a far away country. So, the best way to handle things, is just to ADAPT to what is available to you now. The only thing standing in your way is that you Don't Know how to cook all this new ingredients.
Back in my country we do have a lot of different flavours, but certainly not as Toronto does. The mix of cultures deliver an incredibly complex range of flavours. I've never had Thai food or Real Chinese food before, believe it or not.... BUT, that is another story. Today I am trying to share with you the way I discovered my interest in food.
So, as I was saying, it's hard trying to understand how to cook ingredients you have never worked with before, and if you are not a good cook, How would you know?. Right? Well I started to understand that either I kept eating the way I always did or I will have to add new things to my diet.

By that time, my Mom was visiting. She definitely loves cooking even though she might not be the best at it, but I have to say she has a couple of great recipes. So, anyways, she is always watching these cooking TV shows, and that's how we discovered The Food Network At first I didn't pay a lot of attention to it (in fact, I was telling my mom to change the channel), BUT, 2 of the hosts captured my attention.

The first thing was that both were Canadian chefs, so .. I figured, these cooks will teach me how to find the right mix in all the different ingredients found in Canada.
The second thing was that the food they were preparing just looked AMAZING...

I started waking up every morning at 9 AM just to watch my new friends. "French Food at Home" was the first show I watched in the morning

Laura Calder is just amazing, if you have seen her show, you will know what I am talking about. By focusing in perfectionism and flavourness she gives a feminine touch to all her creations. Later on I found some of her recipes being really easy and some of them not so, you just have to find the right ones for you. "Chef at Home" was the second show I watched, and I just have to say, Michael Smith is brilliant!
He just became my New BEST Friend without him even knowing it. He was the one that taught me how to cook, and enjoy it. Because, let's be honest, I was not as good as I thought. In fact I was actually pretty bad, my poor hubby whom I call Chaparrito, can tell you about it. The good thing about him is that he will actually eat rocks if I give them to him.

My first creation was a success!.. I cooked one of my good friend's recipes. Michael Smith makes it soooooo easy that anyone looking to prepare a delicious dinner can do it. Following the recipe was really simple and I was surprised of how much I was enjoying it!!.. After almost 1 hour, I had cooked a great dinner!

I prepared a colourful and delicious salad, 1 big tomato tart and for Dessert a very Purple Berry Smoothie!!..

For someone that was simply an amateur, the food was really good!!!
That's when I realized I was beginning to taste Toronto!