Crispy Potatoes

There are 2 very important things you have to do with this dish to make sure it is a successful one.

1.) Slice the potato very thinly and

2.) Be patient. This dish takes two hours to make, there are no shortcuts.

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons of unsalted butter (melted)

4 tablespoons of Extra- Virgin Olive Oil

8-10 potatoes, peeled. I used Russet potatoes.

1/2  large yellow onion peeled and sliced thinly.  (Large yellow onions is what I had on hand I imagine you can use 1 small one)

Red Pepper Flakes (to taste)

Salt (to taste)

Pepper (to taste)

Seasoned salt (to taste)

4 sprigs of thyme

3 garlic cloves cut in half

A few suggestions:

I tried using a mandolin for the potatoes but the slices were not thin enough. I had to cut them by hand. A very sharp knife is a must.

Prior to peeling the potatoes you might want to place them on the dish you plan on using so that you know how many you should actually use.

Be generous with the butter-oil mixture. You need to cook the potatoes completely and do not want them to dry out.

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375.

In a bowl combine oil and  melted butter, set aside.

Brush the bottom of the baking dish generously with the butter-oil mixture.  Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper to the bottom of the dish as well.

Slice the potatoes super thin and arrange in your dish.  ( I used a round 9″ baking dish but I am sure you can use a square one as well. ), in between each section of sliced potato add in a sliced onion and 1/2 a garlic clove.

Pot 2

Once the potatoes are arranged brush with more  butter-oil mixture.

Pot 3

Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.

Bake at 375 for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and brush on more of the butter-oil mixture, sprinkle seasoned salt and tuck in the sprigs of thyme.

Place back in the oven for another 30 minutes.

Once done, remove the sprigs of thyme and garlic, serve hot.

Pot 5

Buen Provecho!

Chupe de Mariscos (Seafood Chowder)

This past holiday season for me was a chance for redemption. I felt the need to make up for the 2012 season. I was so overwhelmed and busy that I did not get to enjoy the holidays at all, worst of all my kids noticed that I was not my best. I don’t even remember what I cooked which is a big deal because… well I love to cook! This year I took time for my self and my family and planned each menu with love. For NYE I stepped away from our traditional roasted pork and rice and opted for Seafood. The Menu consisted of Ceviche, Paella, Scallops and Chupe de Mariscos.

This recipe is my take on Peruvian Seafood Chowder. I love Peruvian food. Who am I kidding? I love food period! I hope that you love this dish as much as my family and guests did.

Ingredients: 

10 Cups of Chicken Broth

1 lb of Shrimp

1 lb of White fish cut  (I like to use Red Snapper but you can use whatever white fish you like)

3 medium-sized potatoes cubed

1/2 cup of chopped carrots (bite size)

1 tablespoon of minced garlic

1 small onion (chopped)

2 tablespoons of Sofrito

1 cup of sweet peas

1 cup of sweet corn

1 tablespoon of tomato paste

2 cans of evaporated milk

6 eggs – *tempered* – See below for instructions

2 tablespoons of Oregano

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

1 teaspoon of Red Pepper Flakes

1/4 cup of Cilantro

2 tablespoons of butter

First you will set to boil the Chicken Stock. Salt the stock to taste. While this is going you will want to mince your garlic finely and chop your onion, potatoes, carrots and cilantro.

In a small pan you will melt the butter and saute the onions & garlic. Keep an eye on the garlic, do not let it burn.Image

Once the chicken stock boils add the sautéed onions. garlic. potatoes, carrots, tomato paste, oregano, pepper and sofrito.

Once the veggies are cooked through and soft you will add the fish and shrimp. Shrimp and Fish will take about 15 minutes to cook through. While this is happening you will want to start steaming the evaporated milk and tempering the eggs. (Instructions on this below). When the fish have been cooked halfway through you will add the milk with *tempered eggs, peas, corn and allow for the cooking process to be completed. Add more salt or pepper if needed.

Garnish with chopped cilantro!

Image

Buen Provecho!!

* Tempering an egg – To temper an egg, or multiple eggs, you need a large bowl and a whisk. Give the eggs a brief whisk in the bowl. Take your hot milk mixture and, working with just a few teaspoons at a time, pour it into the eggs as you whisk continuously. Adding the milk in this slowly prevents the eggs from being cooked instantly from exposure to heat. Keep adding the milk in very small increments until all of it has been added. Strain the egg mixture back into your saucepan, removing any bits of egg that might have gotten cooked, and proceed with your recipe as written.

Stewed Oxtails

Stewed Oxtails

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ pounds oxtails
  • 1 tablespoon of Adobo (You can make your own house seasoning, see below)
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion, cut into 8 big chunks/pieces
  • 3 medium sized red potatoes cut in quarters.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  1.   Sprinkle the oxtails liberally with Adobo on both sides.
  2.   Coat the bottom of a heavy oven-proof Dutch oven (or an oven proof heavy pot with a tight lid) with the vegetable oil. Once heated, add the oxtails and sear on all sides. Remove and set aside.
  3. Scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, minced garlic, basil, oregano, bay leaves, tomato sauce, and the reserved oxtails.
  4. Stir all ingredients together.
  5. Cover tightly, place in oven for 2 hours
  6. Remove from oven and bring to a simmer on stove top. Add the onion wedges and     potatoes. Reduce the oven temp to 300 degrees F.
  7. Cover and put back into the oven for another 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Serve oxtails with the vegetables over hot buttered rice.

Adobo (House seasoning)

  • 1 cup of salt
  • ¼ cup of pepper (white or black)
  • ¼ cup of garlic powder
  • ¼ cup of onion powder
  • ¼ cup of oregano

Mix all ingredients and put in containers that can be sealed. This can be stored for 4 months and used as your “go to” condiment on all meats, poultry and fish!

HEALTHY TIP: You can add mushrooms and carrots to make a heartier healthier stew. You can also serve over a bed of seasoned roasted cauliflower and broccoli!

Moves Like Jagger

Last night I attended a Maroon 5 concert. I have wanted to catch them live for quite some time now and was so excited when I found out that I had tickets. Adam happens to be on my “list”. (I will explain the “list some other day!) I have been so infatuated with that man along with millions of others I am sure… I put on the cutest thing I had in my closet and wore red lipstick! (Anyone who knows me knows I don’t wear red lipstick) Once I arrived at Union Station (where this said concert was to be held) I realized that it wasn’t going to be the most “comfy” of situations. There was no seating and after an hour my feet were screaming… take off the heels!!

I also came to find out that while we purchased our tickets more than half of the people there got them for free :/  In addition to that it was a promo concert for HarrisCasinos so it wasn’t really a “full ” concert is was more like half of a concert with other web casts from other cities holding the same kind of event. They had short films disguised as commercials, it was a whole shenanigans.

First Sara Barielles got on stage and that was an unexpected treat, it was hosted by Juliana Rancic and her husband but the reality is we were all there for MAROON 5… I was dying by hour 2 in my heels being pushed by girls half my age wearing questionable clothing all the while contemplating how many questionable things they should do to have the bouncer allow them in the back room (Ahem) 

The second they got on stage my feet forgot they were in pain! I forgot how annoyed I was, truth is they were ELECTRIFYING… they started with the first song which was Moves Like Jagger, 30 seconds into the song I started to tear up…Now let’s get this straight…I am not the girl who is so overwhelmed by an artist that she will begin to cry and scream and tear at her clothing. I quickly realized that I am about to look like the biggest doofus tearing up to Moves Like Jagger, I didn’t even want hubby catching on that I was this emotional. So I did what we all do when we are in this situation (or maybe it’s just me) I pretended to have caught debris in my eyes…both of them!

 You are probably reading this and wondering WTH is Carmen’s problem… who gets emotional over “Moves Like Jagger”??? Well let me explain.

A couple of years ago when the verdict from doctors in regards to my daughter was that she in fact had Aspergers and was also suffering from verbal apraxia it was devastating to us. They told us that she would struggle to speak and that it could quite literally take years for her to be able to verbally communicate effectively with us. We had speech therapists in and out of our home on a bi-daily basis and did all of the exercises, even on our own, when there was no professional around. We started to learn sign language as we did not know how bad it would be… We were all really expecting for the best but preparing for the worst. Her tongue seemed to “loosen” up with time and she would say words and phrases but not speak in full sentences. She is 5 now and still struggles a bit with truly communicating verbally. She understands what you have to say and knows what she wants to say but can’t get it all out. this also creates in her a form of self doubt and inhibition as she can feel that she is somehow missing the mark. So it definitely makes her self conscious and defensive.

We are very much a musical family and always have something musical happening in the home there’s either my husband who is prepping his music collection or listening to new tunes for the coming weekend play list (he’s a DJ) or someone is belting out a tune (usually me), playing an instrument or showing off a new dance step in the kitchen…you get the picture, so it made sense for it to become a natural form of expression for her as well. She started feeling comfort in this environment and let her guard down. This is when she truly allowed us to be silly with her and she would reciprocate the action, other than that she was pretty expressionless. She would sing some of the words to Justin Beiber songs or the Barney song, imitate dance steps but it wasn’t until she heard Moves Like Jagger that magic happened.

Every time the song would come on she would get quiet and tell everyone in the car shhhh….Until one day she belted out the song at the top of her lungs… THE ENTIRE SONG!

This is when true evolution in her verbal skills came full circle. I was so excited when she started saying more and using her expressive language in a more effective way that I never really pinpointed where it all began until last night. I stopped looking at Adam as a piece of meat and thought to myself… This guy has no clue that this song transformed my little girl! Transformed us!

Since the day she sang that song we haven’t stopped having the most wonderful of conversations!