Where have I been? Since mid January we have had the fortune of having many guests with us here in Yucatan. Between touring, etc. there has been little time to add to the blog. As a matter of fact we just got back from 5 days in Mexico City… talk about great food!
For many years now I have been following Pati Jinich on PBS. She is originally from Mexico but now lives in Washington, D.C. Her TV program is called Pati’s Mexican Table. Her cookbook, available on Amazon, is incredible if you are interested in Mexican cooking.
Recently we were invited to a Canadian friend’s home her in Yucatan where we enjoyed some great chicken enchiladas. She was unable to find the real sauce but managed to prepare an adequate salsa verde to serve with her recipe. This led me to Pati’s cookbook to see how she prepared her sauce. FYI…this sauce is served on almost everything in Mexico in one version or another. Enchilada recipes are widely available, but take the time to serve it with Pati’s version of the salsa –
Pati Jinich’s Salsa Verde
- 1-pound tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed (little green tomatoes)
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 jalapeño or serrano chiles, or to taste
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped white onion
- 1 cup cilantro leaves and top part of stems
- 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste
- 3 teaspoons vegetable oil
Place the tomatillos, garlic, and chiles in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the tomatillos change from bright green to pale green and are soft but not falling apart, about 10 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatillos, garlic, and one of the chiles to a blender or food processor. Add the onion, cilantro, and salt and purée until smooth. Taste for heat, and add more chile if necessary until you have the desired amount of heat.
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Pour the salsa into the saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, 6 to 8 minutes. Serve hot or warm.
The sauce will keep a week in your refrigerator.
Our neighbours introduced us to Green Papaya Salad, a favourite Thai salad with crisp vegetables. Alas, no green papayas to be found. Why not Green Mango Salad? The green refers to the unripeness, not the outside colour. Stefano Faita, one of my fav Canadian chefs and CBC personality had published this recipe…great colour! FYI…you could use firm nectarines in place of the mango.
As always, my changes are shown in red.
Green Mango Salad
2 large to 3 small green or under ripe mangoes, julienned
1 carrot, julienned (substitute 3 red radishes)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup each mint leaves and Thai basil
1 tbsp. sweet spicy chili sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. fish sauce, or to taste
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
Mint or Thai Basil, for garnish (optional)
Add green mangoes, carrot or radishes, red onion, red pepper, mint, Thai basil and chili sauce to bowl. Toss to combine.
Combine lime juice, sugar, and fish sauce and vegetable oil in small bowl. Stir to combine. Toss with salad. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
A 2008 survey by Heinz shows that Brussels sprouts now take the most-hated prize for Americans in general, with eggplant faring slightly worse among kids. Brussels sprouts seem to be universally loathed, practically: They make it to the top five in surveys of the most-hated vegetables around the world. From Just Disgusting, by Andy Griffiths…. check out the following link – Brussels Sprouts
I happen to be a big fan of these little gems. A simple little meal is a bunch of Brussels sprouts in a bowl with a few drops of water, microwaved with a little salt, pepper and butter. This time I decided to take it up a notch and use them in a stir fry (Thanks again to Pinterest). As Mikey would say…Try it and you will like it!
Oriental cooking is all in the preparation…so lets get chopping!
Beef Stir Fry with Brussels Sprouts
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
- 8 ounces flank or skirt steak, thinly sliced against the grain
- Kosher salt
- 4 scallions, whites chopped, greens sliced (Substitute green onions if you like)
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped peeled ginger or fresh grated
- 2 medium carrots, peeled, thinly sliced on a diagonal
- 1 Fresno chile or jalapeño, sliced into rings OPTIONAL
- Steamed rice (for serving)
Whisk oyster sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, and 1/4 cup water in a small bowl; set sauce aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add Brussel sprouts and cook, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Cover and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate; wipe out skillet.
Season steak with salt. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over high heat until just beginning to smoke. Add steak in a single layer; cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook until nearly cooked through, about 30 seconds. Add to Brussel sprouts.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet. Add scallion whites, garlic, and ginger and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute, adjusting heat as needed. Add carrots and chile and cook, tossing occasionally, until carrots are slightly softened, about 2 minutes.
Return Brussel sprouts and steak to skillet and add reserved sauce. Cook, tossing occasionally, until sauce is thickened, about 3 minutes. Serve with steamed rice and garnish with scallion greens.
Thanks to all of you who follow and view my blog. As of today I have reached 13000 VIEWS and over 5400 Visitors!!! Hope you will continue to spread the word…hope you still have time to try this wonderful salad…
Today’s Caesar salad is tomorrows Mediterranean Caesar Salad if you have left over homemade dressing…which I always do. I just substituted the Parmesan and sliced mushrooms for feta cheese and black olives. You could even add a few garbanzo beans for added protein and texture. We actually liked it better tha the original Caesar!
Mediterranean Caesar Salad
The Dressing –
- 1 ½ teaspoons fish sauce or use the traditional anchovy paste (TIP)
- 3 or 4 crushed garlic cloves
- 1 T. Dijon mustard
- 1 T. lemon or lime juice
- 1 T. red wine vinegar
- 1 egg yolk
- ¾ cup oil (NOT olive oil) vegetable oil
Blend all ingredients in a shaker,. Shake and refrigerate until needed…
The Salad –
- Romaine lettuce torn in pieces
- 2 or 3 sliced green onions
- 3 or 4 strips crisp bacon crumbled
- Black olives halved (to taste)
- Feta cheese (to taste…I like lots)
- Caesar bread crouton
- mushrooms sliced
*For more protein throw in a few canned garbanzo beans
Gazpacho is a soup made of raw vegetables and served cold, usually with a tomato base, originating in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia. Gazpacho is widely eaten in Spain and neighbouring Portugal, (spelling gaspacho), particularly during the hot summers, as it is refreshing and cool.
Our friend Bev had us over for dinner a while back and served this wonderful WHITE gazpacho. It would make an incredible appetizer before your Easter dinner. Serve it very cold with the slivered almonds as indicated.
Spanish White Gazpacho Soup
6 slices hearty white sandwich bread, crusts removed
4 cups water
2 ½ cups (8 ¾ ounces) plus ⅓ cup sliced blanched almonds
1 garlic clove, peeled
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Kosher salt and pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
⅛ teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
6 ounces seedless green grapes, sliced thin
Instructions Serves 6 to 8
This rich soup is best when served in small portions (about 6 ounces).
1. Combine bread and water in bowl and let soak for 5 minutes. Process 2 1/2 cups almonds in blender until finely ground, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of blender jar as needed.
2. Using your hands, remove bread from water, squeeze it lightly, and transfer to blender with almonds. Measure 3 cups soaking water and set aside; transfer remaining soaking water to blender.
3. Add garlic, vinegar, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, and cayenne to blender and process until mixture has consistency of cake batter, 30 to 45 seconds. With blender running, add olive oil in thin, steady stream, about 30 seconds. Add reserved soaking water and process for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Strain soup through fine-mesh strainer set in bowl, pressing on solids to extract liquid. Discard solids.
4. Measure 1 tablespoon of soup into second bowl and stir in almond extract. Return 1 teaspoon of extract mixture to soup; discard remainder. Chill for at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.
5. Heat vegetable oil in 8-inch skillet over medium-high heat until oil begins to shimmer. Add remaining 1/3 cup almonds and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Immediately transfer to bowl and stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt.
6. Ladle soup into shallow bowls. Mound an equal amount of grapes in center of each bowl. Sprinkle cooled almonds over soup and drizzle with extra olive oil. Serve immediately.
My ex-wife and I have been making this simple salad for years! I have not thought about it much for several years until It came to me when I bought some nice English cucumbers in Mexico. Until today I never thought much about what the difference was between the different varieties besides the shape. This is what I found…
Definition: a variety of cucumber that is generally sweeter than the regular, common cucumber. It is longer, sometimes a bit thinner, and has very tiny seeds. In contrast, a regular cucumber has many large seeds, which can contribute to the bitter flavor.
As for Lee Hong…I have not a clue! Before summer ends, give this a try!
Heres the simple recipe DO NOT USE REGULAR CUCUMBERS!!!
Lee Hong’s Cucumbers
“I got this from the Best of Bridge cookbook. It is a real hit at BBQ’s as well as a side dish on a hot summer day. I make a big batch because people always want to take leftovers home! Tastes even better the next day, but the cucumber will be a bit wilted, but doesn’t affect the taste. Enjoy! Edited to include: You can also add some fresh dill weed to the dressing. It adds a nice flavor. Edited June 2011 to include: You can also try using Splenda in place of sugar. It doesn’t alter the taste too much. I have successfully used it in place of sugar. It depends on your taste buds.”
o 1 tablespoon salt
o 1 long English cucumber, sliced very thin ( do not use short green cucumbers)
o 6 tablespoons sugar
o 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
o 1 Spanish onion, thinly sliced
o 8 tablespoons white vinegar
o 6 tablespoons water
1. Slice cucumbers as thin as you can.
2. Arrange cucumber slices in a bowl in layers, salting between layers. Sprinkle the cukes with salt, don’t over salt them.
3. Let stand 2 hours.
4. Rinse with cold water until no salt remains. Make sure you rinse salt out of cukes extremely well or the salty taste will stay.
5. Drain well and pat dry.
6. Thinly slice red onions and break apart rings.
7. In a separate bowl, mix sugar and oil, then add vinegar and water.
8. Add more sugar or vinegar if not sweet or sour enough.
9. It should have a nice tangy taste.
10. Add onions and cucumber to vinegar dressing.
11. Mix well.
12. Cover and refrigerate for a couple hours, stirring frequently to blend flavors.
13. Serve with steak, chicken, at a BBQ or with a deli style sandwich!