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German Style Kielbasa and Sauerkraut

This fast approaching traditional Oktoberfest in many German communities, I searched Pinterest for a great Oktoberfest recipe to go with great German beer. Usually I just fry up some kielbasa, throw in the sauerkraut and red wine vinegar and serve. I needed to up my game. This recipe fits the bill! Sorry, no pics as we ate it all up! Indeed, it turned out perfect. (Too bad we dont usually drink beer…LOL)

German Style Kielbasa and Sauerkraut

Ingredients

  • 1-pound Kielbasa, Sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon Oil
  • 1 whole Large Onion, Chopped
  • 1 whole Large Apple, Cored and Diced
  • 1-quart Sauerkraut, Rinsed and Drained
  • 1 cup Apple Juice
  • ½ cups Brown Sugar OPTIONAL (as the juice adds enough sweetness for us)

Preparation

Brown kielbasa in oil in Dutch oven over medium heat.

Add chopped onion and sauté until onion is translucent.

Add apples and sauté for a minute until they start to soften.

Add rinsed and drained sauerkraut, apple juice and brown sugar, stir to combine.

Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Butternut Squash Coconut Curry

Imagine my surprise at finding more butternut squash at our Favourite supermarket, Superama, here in Mexico. It is highly unusual, so much so that I bought all seven of them! They were hidden among the pumpkins which had just arrived. Those of you who live in northern climates will easily find these everywhere this time of year. Pinterest to the rescue with this recipe…

Butternut Squash Coconut Curry

Ingredients

  • 4 cups butternut squash, peeled, deseed and diced
  • 1-2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 cup vegetable broth, or 1 vegetable bouillon plus 1 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves

Instructions

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium-high. Add onion, garlic and ginger.

2. Cook until onion is soft, about 3 minutes.

3. Stir in curry powder, paprika and thyme. Cook for 1 minute.

4. Stir in squash, coconut milk, vegetable broth.

5. Bring to boil, Cover and reduce to a simmer on low heat.

6. Cook for 15 minutes until squash cubes are tender but not mushy

7. Stir in pepper, salt and cilantro.

Delicious served with rice.

Brown Sugar Carnitas

Carnitas, literally meaning “little meats”, is a dish of Mexican cuisine that originated in the state of Michoacán. Carnitas are made by braising or simmering pork in oil or preferably lard until tender. The process takes three to four hours, and the result is very tender and juicy meat, which is then typically served with chopped coriander leaves (cilantro), diced onion, salsa, guacamole, tortillas, and refried beans (frijoles refritos).

Pork carnitas are traditionally made using the heavily marbled, rich boston butt or picnic ham cuts of pork. The 6–16 lb (3–7 kg) sections are usually cut down to a workable (6–10 lb) size and seasoned heavily before slow braising or deep frying.

The traditional way to cook carnitas is in a copper pot (or any thick-bottomed pot), which disperses the heat evenly in a process similar to confit. Lard is used to cover the dish in proportion to the amount of meat being cooked. Once the lard has melted, pork and flavorings are added (usually salt, chili, cumin, oregano or Mexican oregano, marjoram, thyme, bay leaf, and crushed garlic cloves). Traditional carnitas are then made by a process of simmering the meat in the lard until tender over a very low heat. Once appropriate tenderness is achieved, the heat is turned up and the outside of the pork begins to crisp. At this stage, the collagen in the meat has broken down sufficiently to allow it to be pulled apart by hand or fork or chopped with a cleaver. (WIKIPEDIA)

Having read that, you are probably thinking TOO MUCH WORK! Indeed, my spouse made carnitas the traditional way, complete with the copper pan we bought in Quiroga when we visited that area of Mexico. It took hours and was incredible BUT….too time consuming and messy!

One of my favorite Mexican TV cooks is Pati Jinich, who has a program on PBS and on YouTube (Pati’s Mexican Table). The following recipe is her version and done on the stovetop in a Dutch oven. It was PERFECT and a lot less onerous.

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Brown Sugar Carnitas

Ingredients

  • 1 cup lard, vegetable shortening, or oil (I used oil)
  • 3 to 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder or butt, fat on, cut into 3” chunks
  • 4 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups milk, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar or brown sugar substitute.

Heat the lard in a large Dutch oven or heavy casserole over medium-high heat. Season the meat with 2 teaspoons of the salt and the black pepper. Once the lard has melted, add the meat, brown on all sides, stirring and flipping as it does, for about 10 to 12 minutes.

In the jar of a blender, pour 1 ½ cups of the milk and add the garlic, onion and remaining 2 teaspoons of salt. Puree until smooth. Pour over the meat and let it come to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low, drop in the bay leaves, and cover. Cook covered for 1 hour and 15 minutes, flipping the chunks of meat a couple times in between.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining ½ cup milk with the sugar. Pour over the carnitas, stir, and let them continue to cook, uncovered, for another 4 to 5 minutes.

Turn off the heat.

With a slotted spoon, remove the meat and place in a bowl. Shred with a couple forks, add a couple tablespoons of the seasoned fat remaining in the casserole and toss.

This is normally eaten in  tacos with toppings like sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo salsa, etc. As you can see we skipped the tacos/tortillas and simply plated it with some rice and green beans.

Mexican Chicken Mole (mollay)

If you have ever eaten in a Mexican restaurant, then this dish was certainly on the menu! This particular mole sauce is made with chicken as the base and is loaded with different kinds of chilies, nuts, seeds, spices, dried fruit, and chocolate. The taste is best described as somewhat spicy, and bittersweet with earthy undertones. In fact, there are at least seven different types of mole depending on what state you are visiting. Personally, I prefer Oaxacan moles. Starting from scratch can take hours to perfect these sauces. The simplest way to enjoy mole is using a packaged sauce under the Dona Maria brand.  A small box is enough to try the first time, by following the directions below. Once your sauce is ready, pour it over your  boiled chicken.

Chicken Mole

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. chicken pieces (boiled)
  • 1 box Mole sauce
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 6 to 8 pieces bay leaves
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Place chicken and onion in a large pot and add enough water to cover the chicken. Bring it to a boil.

After the water comes to a boil and the release the scum, remove the scum with a ladle.

Add bay leaves and salt. Cover and let cook for 30 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.

To prepare the Mole sauce, open the can carefully as the mole will stain your clothes. Use a sharp knife to cut a ‘X’ into the mole so that you can get the mole out easily. Sometimes, the mole can be rather hard.

Cut up the mole into smaller pieces.

Add water or chicken stock (from pot where the chicken is cooking) to the mole in the ratio of 4 parts of liquid to 1 part of mole. If you intend to store the mole in the refrigerator for a few days, then you should just use water.

Use a potato masher to mash the mole so that it dissolves in the liquid.

Once the mole has dissolved completely, add the peanut butter and mix well. The addition of peanut butter is Rosa’s twist in the recipe. The peanut butter makes the sauce nuttier and thicker. Place the sauce on the stove and cook on medium heat until the sauce thickens. You have to constantly stir the sauce while cooking to prevent burning.

Serve the sauce over the chicken with Spanish rice.

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Zucchini Lasagna

Quite a while back I had posted a KETO lasagna recipe using zucchini zoodles. Now that we are Keto Conscious I have given myself a little more leeway with what we eat. But…this recipe is really still Keto but assembled in a little different manner, for those who do not own a spiralizer! It was great with a few different ingredients.

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Oven Ready in 9 x 13 pan

Zucchini Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 3 large zucchinis
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1-pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup onion finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic minced
  • 24-ounce jar marinara or Bolognese sauce
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cooking spray
  • fresh basil garnish
  1. Trim both ends off the zucchini.
  2. Use a mandolin to cut the zucchini into 1/8-inch slices. Sprinkle salt over the zucchini slices, then lay them out on a layer of paper towels to drain. Let sit for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Pat the tops of the zucchini slices with paper towels until dry.
  4. While the zucchini is resting, prepare the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  5. Add the ground beef and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Cook for 5-6 minutes, breaking the meat up with a spatula, until beef is browned and cooked through.
  7. Add the onion and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  8. Add the marinara sauce and bring to a simmer; cook for 5 minutes.
  9. Place the ricotta cheese, chopped spinach, Italian seasoning, egg, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix until well combined.
  10. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 2- or 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
  11. Place 1/4 of the sauce in the bottom of the dish. Add 1/3 of the zucchini slices on top. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the zucchini then top with 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layers, ending with the mozzarella cheese.
  12. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley, then let stand for 5-7 minutes. Cut into slices, then serve.

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Larry’s Meatloaf (My spouse)

Some unknown person is always tinkering with my recipes? This time I made that someone (?) write down what he did. It was incredible and very moist! What can I say??? This was supposed our takeout and movie night vicariously with friends, during COVID-19, but we stayed in and he cooked. With these garlicky green beans the meal was awesome.

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LARRY’S MEATLOAF

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds of ground beef and pork
  • 3 strips of bacon for topping the meatloaf
  • ¼ cup of tomato pesto for topping the meat loaf
  • 3/4 cup of crushed pork rinds

 

  • ½ medium white onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp thyme

 Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 – 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce (I use Weber hickory)
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Lightly spray a 5 x 9-inch loaf pan with oil and line with parchment.
  2. Add 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp of water to a small fry pan, add in the onion and garlic and caramelize over low heat. When caramelized, add in the herbs. Set aside.
  3. Place the meat in large bowl. Set aside.
  4. Mix the sauce ingredients well and then stir in the caramelized onion mix and the crushed pork rinds.
  5. Pour mixture over the meat and blend well using your fingers.
  6. Put into loaf pan and pat down.
  7. Cut bacon into short pieces and place on top, then add the tomato pesto over the loaf.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F, covering lightly with foil after 45 minutes. Meat thermometer should register 165 degrees F. (about 1 hr. to 1 hr. 15 min).
  9. When meat is done, juices will be clear. Drain any fat and let sit about 10 minutes before slicing.

 

Salmon Loaf

Ok…here’s another salmon recipe just because we got a fresh supply of canned wild sockeye salmon from our Canadian visitors. Wild sockeye from the west coast is quite different from Atlantic salmon in colour and taste.

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And since our friend is both gluten and lactose intolerant, this recipe from Pinterest was a great choice. We served it with some fresh steamed Brussel sprouts and a great yellow rice. Hope you will give it a try!

Salmon Loaf

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (coconut or macadamia oil are also great)
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 large celery stick, finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely grated (or 2 smaller carrots)
  • 2/3 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 large clove of garlic, finely diced
  • 600 g of canned salmon (3 x 213 g / 7.5 oz cans, drained with larger bones removed)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons almond flour
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 175 C/ 350 F.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the onion and celery. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring once, and then add the grated carrots. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring a few times. Add a couple of tablespoons of water when it feels like the oil has dried up. Finally add the garlic and cook together for another minute or two.

In the meantime, drain the salmon and remove any visible large bones. Don’t worry too much about the smaller bones or the skin as it will blend in just fine. Add the fish to a mixing bowl and flake with a fork or your fingers.

Add the cooked vegetables to the salmon. Grate some lemon zest, add the eggs and almond flour and mix everything together with a fork. Make sure the egg is well incorporated.

Grease a medium loaf tin with a little coconut oil (make sure to brush all sides with oil). Transfer the loaf mixture to the tin and press down until well compacted and even on the top. I like to bang the tin against the bench a couple of times to get rid of any air pockets inside the mix. Then place in the oven, middle shelf, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

 

Crustless Quiche with Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese

Have a friend visiting who is Gluten Free and Lactose Intolerant, except for goat cheese! Since we had smoked salmon on hand, Pinterest was the perfect place to look for dinner! It never fails me. This is a great recipe with lots of flavour. Serve it up with a nice green salad. It would also be great for a brunch.

Crustless Quiche with Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8- 10 eggs depending on size
  • ¾ cup full-fat milk (or coconut milk)
  • 6 ounces wild caught smoked salmon, chopped
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh dill, (divided)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Capers, for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300ºF. Grease a 8 x 10 Pyrex baking dish very well with olive oil. Set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized heavy bottom pan heat the olive oil over a medium high heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the onion slices and stir to coat the onions with the oil. Spread the onions out evenly over the pan and let cook, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium or medium low if the onions begin to brown too quickly. Don’t stir too often, let them brown. Continue to cook until the onions are caramelized and lightly golden brown. About 15-20 minutes.
  3. Arrange the onions in a single even layer in the greased sheet pan.
  4. In a large-bowl beat the eggs. Add the milk and a small amount of each the smoked salmon and goat cheese and all but 1 tablespoon of the fresh dill. Season with black pepper and just a little pinch of sea salt. Combine.
  5. Pour the mixture over the onions in the prepared sheet pan. Arrange the remaining smoked salmon and goat cheese evenly on top and place in the center of the oven.
  6. Bake until the eggs are set, about 30 minutes. Check if it needs more time. Let cool 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Serve with the remaining fresh dill as well as capers.

 

Salsa Verde (Mexican)

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

Ingredients

  • 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.

 

Spanish Chicken and Chorizo Bake

Too many Argentinian chorizos…My best friend, Pinterest, shared this recipe! Fortunately I had some chicken thighs, cherry tomatoes and black olives…

Spanish Chicken and Chorizo Traybake

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Spanish Chicken & Chorizo Traybake

Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo, Specific Carbohydrate Diet Legal, Whole30

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow bell pepper deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 red onion cut into wedges
  • 1 white onion cut into wedges
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (or 4 chicken breasts)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup chopped chorizo
  • 1/2 cup black olives
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (390F)
  2. In a large pyrex baking dish add the chopped bell peppers, onions, cherry, chorizo, tomatoes and olive.
  3. In a bowl whisk together the olive oil, crushed garlic, paprika, oregano, vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour 2/3 of the sauce over the veggies and toss with your hands to ensure everything is well coated. Place the chicken pieces on top of the veggies and brush with the remaining sauce.
  4. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, remove from the oven half way through cooking and spoon some of the sauce from the bottom of the dish over the chicken and veggies before returning back to the oven to bake.
  5. Check the chicken to ensure it’s no longer pink. Sprinkle the veggies with chopped parsley before serving.