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Blog Archives

Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja (Cuban Shredded Beef)

Ropa vieja (Spanish for “old clothes”) is one of the national dishes of Cuba, but is also popular in other areas of the Caribbean such as Puerto Rico and Panama. It consists of shredded or pulled stewed beef with vegetables. This was a dish we had in Havana in 2014. The beauty is that it is done in a slow cooker.

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You can omit the olives, but trust me on this one. Serve with your favorite rice or use it with fresh tortillas.

Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja (Cuban Beef)

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. beef flank steak (or substitute Mexican arrachera)
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste
  • 1 (14-oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1.5 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 small white onion diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced ( I used red for contrast)
  • 1 cup Spanish olives – green
  • 3 whole garlic cloves, peeled

Cooked yellow rice for serving*

Slow Cooker Size:4-quart or larger

Instructions

  1. Add the beef broth, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, turmeric and apple cider vinegar to the slow cooker. Stir.
  2. Add the flank steak and flip it around in the sauce so it gets coated. Add the bell pepper, onion, olives and garlic cloves, mix those items together to combine on top of the meat.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 9 hours on LOW without opening the lid during the cooking time. Shred the meat with 2 forks right in the slow cooker.

If you have been following me you know that our slow cooker cooks faster for some unknown reason. When I looked up cooking on HIGH (because I was short of time) it suggested 5 hours as the equivalent. Guess what? It was done in a little over 2.5 hours using an arrachera of 1.3 kilos.

LESSON—-dont let it cook while you are away at work unless you know your cooker very well. Keep checking  for doneness.

 

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Spanish Bean Soup (Potaje de Garbanzos)

Still got that hambone in the freezer since Christmas? I was keeping ours to make split pea and ham soup, since I really miss the Canadian brand, Habitant. Every store I checked never had split peas, so I decided to try canned garbanzos. The Internet turned up this recipe, which I modified as seen by the red lettering.

It was suggested on the site that one could go to Honey Baked Ham and get a bone if you don’t have one. I was thinking after, why not just buy a ham steak and chop it up?

Let me know how you like it…

Spanish Bean Soup (Potaje de garbanzos) adapted from www.thekitchn.com
1 pound dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas) (I used a can of garbanzos)
8 ounces good-quality bacon or salt pork, chopped
1 (6-8 ounce) leftover hambone or smoked ham hock OR one ham steak
8 ounces Spanish chorizo, sliced (you can omit)
1 small onion, chopped
1 ripe tomato, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped * I added a few more veggies like carrot and celery
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
Chicken stock or water, to cover (or mix of both)
Pinch of saffron threads
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed (canned will work)
Kosher salt and pepper
Wash garbanzo beans in cold water, discarding any beans with visible imperfections. Cover with 3 inches of salted water and soak overnight. Drain and rinse the beans thoroughly and set aside.
OR…use the canned ones to simplify your life and speed up the process
In a large Dutch oven, combine the bacon, ham bone, onion, tomato, green pepper, garlic, and bay leaf. Cover with two inches of chicken stock (or water) and bring to a boil, skimming off any foam as needed. Cover and lower heat to a gentle simmer.
Cook for 30 minutes, then add the reserved beans. Bring to a boil again, cover, and return to a simmer for another 30 minutes. Stir in the saffron and cook for an additional 30 minutes, or until the beans are tender but not overcooked. Remove the ham bones, shredding and returning any meat left on the bones.
Add the potatoes and season with salt. Cover and cook until the potatoes are cooked through, another 30 minutes or less if using canned potatoes Season to taste.

Roasted Corn and Sweet Pepper Toss

Summertime in southern Ontario means sweet corn is plentiful. Try something a little different and use it in a fresh salad, as my daughter did. It is an awesome side salad and worth the effort.

6 cobs of corn (or used a good quality canned corn)
1 T olive oil
2 red peppers
2 orange peppers
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
2 T fresh lime juice
3 T cider vinegar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 clove of garlic minced
pinch of sugar
salt and pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1’2 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
4 cups arugula leaves

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove husks from the corn and brush the cobs with oil. Place on a parchment paper lined cooking sheet. Cut the peppers into quarters and add to the corn. Roast for 45 minutes or until corn and peppers are golden. Leave to cool.

Scrape the kernels from the corn into a large bowl. Chop the peppers into bite sized pieces and add to the corn.

Whisk together the lime juice and zest, vinegar, paprika, garlic sugar and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil, whisking constantly. Pour the dressing over the corn and peppers and toss to coat. Add green onion and cilantro and toss again. Place arugula on a platter and pour corn mixture on top. Chill for 30 minutes.

NOTE: If you are an arugula lover, I would add chopped arugula to the salad and toss it all together.

Serves 6 to 8 people.

Shrimp and Artichoke Linguini

Always great to have dinner with longtime friends. Made even better by this great tasting dish! Know you will enjoy it. Test out some of the optional ingredients at the end…

Shrimp and Artichoke Linguini a la Chuck

This recipe is great for pasta and shrimp. I think I might even try the sauce over cooked chicken, served with rice!

500 grams linguini pasta

2 T olive oil

1 large onion chopped

4 cloves garlic crushed

1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined

 

Sauce:

1 can artichoke hearts

½ cup white wine

4 T lemon juice

4 tsp. lemon zest

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

½ cup chicken stock

Corn starch

4 T fresh chopped parsley

 

Optionals: 1 T capers and/or ¼ cup diced red peppers and/or 1 T Dijon mustard and/or crushed red pepper flakes

 

1.       Cook pasta in boiling water.

2.       Sauté onion and garlic (and red pepper) in oil for about 5 minutes while pasta is cooking. Remove to a bowl.

3.       Add shrimp to drippings and cook for about 3 minutes. Stir in artichoke hearts, wine, lemon juice, zest, salt, pepper and cooked onion and garlic. Heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer, cover for 4 minutes.

4.       Thicken with cornstarch.

5.       Toss with pasta and parsley. Serve immediately.

 

Asparagus and Corn Chowder (with chorizo sausage)

Another recipe as a result of a Costco Multi purchase of two packs…this time asparagus! Had to do some searching since I did not want to use potatoes since I had none…LOL

Asparagus and Corn Chowder

Found this recipe in  Pittsburgh Post Gazette dated July 2, 1945….. still works with a couple of modifications for today. Check out my options below the recipe!

 1 pound asparagus ( Cut off tops and set aside; cut remaining stalks into 1 inch pieces)

1 ½ tsp. salt

1 ½ cups water

 1 can of creamed corn

1 cup of milk

½ teaspoon sugar

1 small white onion chopped

¼ cup flour

2 Tablespoons melted butter

 

Preparation:

 Simmer asparagus STALKS in medium boiling salted water for 10 minutes.

Add asparagus tops and onion – continue to simmer for 5 minutes.

Add creamed corn, milk and sugar. Stir and reduce heat a bit.

 Mix melted butter with the flour and slowly add to the chowder mix until it begins to thicken.

Serve.

 OPTIONS:

 1.     While the asparagus is simmering away, chop up two chorizo sausages (Johnsonville Italian would also work) into slices and brown in a small frying pan. Add them to the chowder before adding the flour/butter mix.

2.     Consider adding some chopped red pepper when you add the asparagus tops…

 

Chinese Chicken Hoisin Pizza

I first came across this recipe several years ago. I have to admit that I love Hoisin Sauce which you will find in the Oriental section of any grocery store (even in Mexico). If you buy  some flatbread or a prepared crust and those precooked chicken strips, this recipe is K.I.S.S.  Cooking it on the BBQ keeps the kitchen from heating up!

VEGAN friends…you can substitute your favourite grilled tofu for the chicken!

Chinese Chicken Hoisin Pizza

  • Prepared pizza dough (or your favourite flatbread)
  • 2 T oil
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 grilled skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 onions finely sliced
  • 2/3 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/3 cup red pepper in paper thin strips
  • 1 cup mozzarella
make it
Roll out dough if using fresh. Brush with olive oil. Place directly in center of BBQ for 1-3 minutes. Flip over and spread hoisin sauce, chicken, onions, cilantro and pepper. Sprinkle cheese over top. Move off heat and grill 5-10 minutes with lid closed.
OR
Brush flatbread or prepared crust with oil and brown one side on BBQ. Flip over and spread ingredients. Close lid and grill until cheese melts.
Salt and pepper to taste.

Creamy Curried Pumpkin Soup

If you have never visited the Kraft Foods site on the Internet, you are missing alot! They  have now created a new APP for those who know what this is – iFood Assistant. iFood is voice activated so that you say what you are looking for and then they give you a variety of recipes. It even allows you to create a shopping list for that recipe.

Anyways…it is Fall or Autumn whatever you wish to call it. We love all of the root vegetables found in Canada and the US, BUT we cannot find many of them here in Mexico. At one time we could get spaghetti squash,  acorn squash and butternut. Those days are over, as the locals don’t usually eat any of the above. They do get pumpkins (sometimes pumpkin pie filling) and zucchini, but NO parsnips, turnips, etc. Occasionally we get patty pans at Costco or a small version of buttercup…. This is pretty much what we see locally –

Slim squash pickings

In my despair today I decided to use the last can of pumpkin and make soup! I was inspired by Larry buying a helmet squash (whatever that is in Spanish) which he baked and cut up to put in the freezer for WINTER! I thought if this recipe worked I could use his pumpkin/squash to make more… So here it is-

Creamy Curried Pumpkin Soup (Kraft Foods 2009)

1 Tbsp.  olive oil

1 small  onion, finely chopped

1 can  (29 oz.) pumpkin

1 can  (14 oz.) chicken broth

2 cups  water

3 Tbsp.  brown sugar

¾ tsp.  curry powder

½ tsp.  salt

4 oz.  (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, cubed

HEAT oil in large saucepan on medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir 3 min. or until crisp-tender.

STIR in remaining ingredients except cream cheese until well blended. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low.

ADD cream cheese; cook until cream cheese is completely melted and mixture is well blended, beating constantly with wire whisk.

Serve with freshly grated nutmeg.

*You know I can’t resist some suggestions, such as……maybe add a little corn OR saute some sliced carrots with the onions OR sauteed red pepper strips…you get the idea! Maybe slices of radishes sauteed with the onions….

By the way…it was great. We each had two bowls (the entire recipe)…

For more info on summer and winter squash, check out this site – http://whatscookingamerica.net/squash.htm

Balsamic Glazed Carrots/Maple Glazed Asparagus Bundles

Whether you use these as appetizers or side dishes is not important. We had both of these at our friends’  Sandy and Ted’s in KW and thoroughly enjoyed both. They are great Summer additions to any menu.

Balsamic-Glazed Carrots:

8 servings, 25 minutes prep and cook time.
10 carrots (1 1/4 lbs.) peeled, quartered lengthwise.
1/4 cup Kraft Calorie-wise Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (optional: 1-2 oz. augmentation of real balsamic vinegar)
3 Tbsp. brown sugar.
1 Tbsp. butter.
1 Tbsp. finely chopped Parsley.

Cook carrots in boiling for 4-6 min. or until crisp- tender.
Meanwhile, cook dressing, sugar and butter in small saucepan on low heat for 3-4 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Drain carrots, return to saucepan. Add sauce and stir. Cook 2-3 minutes until heated through and evenly coated with sauce.
Sprinkle with Parsley and serve.

Maple-Glazed Asparagus Bundles:

1 Large bunch Asparagus, 24 to 32 spears, trimmed.
1/2 Red Pepper, sliced into long thin strips.
8 Prosciutto Ham trimmed, 4oz.(125g.) thinly sliced.

1/3 cup (75 ml.)  Diana’s Sauce, (Maple flavour) OR real maple syrup
2 tsp coarsely cracked black pepper.
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp each, lemon juice and melted butter.
Optional: 2tsp. Balsamic vinegar added to the  sauce for basting the bundles on the grille.

Blanch the Asparagus in boiling salted water for 3 minutes.

Rinse under cold water until cool.  Drain and pat dry.
Divide asparagus into 8 bundles (I use 3 per bundle).

Add a few red pepper strips per bundle.
Lay out a prosciutto slice, lightly cover with sauce or syrup and  add 1 proportion of Asparagus and red pepper strips.

Roll the prosciutto tightly around the trimmed based asparagus bundles base, secure with toothpick(s). Repeat.
Cover bundles with sauce. Prepare grille to med-high heat.
Grille bundles for 2 minutes turn and brush with remaining sauce or syrup.

Grille additional 2 minutes. Turn as needed until vegetables are marked and ham is lightly crisped.
Remove toothpicks to serve. Makes 8 servings.