Holy Frijoles!

Last month I spent 10 days in Medellin, Colombia. From the moment I got there all I kept hearing was how amazing their Frijoles were. I was like… “how good can beans be?”, I mean they’re beans…right?  We ate out often and I refused to order Frijoles-  why in the world would I go to another country to eat a bowl of beans?

We came upon this little town at the top of a steep hill that has been preserved as a museum. It is called Pueblo Paisa. In this town there was a restaurant where we decided to have a very traditional lunch, I finally gave in and ordered the bowl of Frijoles. Can I just say… OHHHH MYYYYY GOSSHHHH!!!

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YO! This was not a bowl of beans, it was an experience. First of all the beans were beyond amazing cooked to perfection, they were buttery and seasoned oh so well. The consistency was that between a stew and a chili. They also top it off like we would chili. It was covered with wonderfully ripe Avocados, perfectly fried pork cracklings, sweet corn and French Fry POTATO CHIPS!!  Who the hell thought of this? The bowl of beans was also accompanied  with a side of perfectly cooked fluffy white rice, sour cream, ahogado (these are tomatoes and onions diced and sweated out over butter) and Aji (this is the Colombian’s version of hot sauce ). Moral of this story! When in Rome do as the Romans do – Eat the Beans!

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For my mother in law’s birthday I decided to recreate this dish…of course A La Carmen. So I present to you Frijoles, according to carmen. I hope you enjoy as much as I enjoyed making it for my mother in law and my family.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of Dry Red Kidney Beans
  • 1 medium sized carrots cleaned, peeled and grated
  • 1 medium sized onion grated
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes diced in small cubes.
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of Sofrito
  • Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  • 3 teaspoons of Cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 whole cloves of garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 chicken bouillon packets
  • Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Green Plantain, peeled and cut in 1/2 inches.

Directions:

  • Wash your beans. Cover the beans in water and allow them to soak overnight.
  • Drain the beans, rinse through one more time and cover the beans with water in a pot. Be sure to use a pot with a lid.
  • Add the bay leaves, garlic, onion, tomato, chicken bouillon packets/cubes, carrots, sofrito, cumin and red pepper flakes.
  • You will place covered pot over medium high heat for 2 hours.
  • At this point your liquid will have evaporated some. Stir in some water as you do not want your beans to dry out. Make sure the beans are always just covered with liquid.
  • Add the green plantains and salt to taste. Cover for an additional hour on medium heat.

Condiments:

Just like Chili you can really top this dish off with whatever floats your boat. Below are the items I used.

  • Pork Rinds – Traditionally this is covered with home made pork crackling but I  did a Sandra Lee on this and went semi-homemade so I had my hubby pick up a bag of pork rinds. It was not the same but it was still yummy.
  • French Fry Potato Chips
  • Diced Avocado
  • Sweet Corn – I’d like to tell you that I picked corn in a field and stripped the kernels but no such luck, I opened a can, drained and rinsed. It was still amazing.

 

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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!

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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!