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It’s Lenten Season in New Orleans and here are some Latin recipes for Meatless Friday!

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My sister lives in Brooklyn and has been a vegetarian for years. I spend every Thanksgiving at her house and I really enjoy eating at some of the local New York vegetarian restaurants and eating some of her food. She is an awesome cook and never compromises flavor for her dietary beliefs. I was amazed by some of the meatless food I tried that taste just like chicken and beef while in New York. I remember eating meatless substitutes in the past that taste like cardboard. And if you live in New Orleans, it’s all about the flavor and we won’t compromise flavor for anyone! So I was amazed to taste meatless meat that I actually liked with my sister.

So like Thanksgiving in New York, I appreciate Lenten Season in New Orleans where I can cut back on all of the rich foods we eat. Recently, a friend of mine introduced me to Beyond Meat’s beef free crumble, a plant protein that taste like meat. I know there are so many meatless meats, however, I really like Beyond Meat.  So here are a few Latin recipes from my kitchen for Meatless Fridays and for any vegetarians out there. Buen Provecho!

Fully Loaded Avocado

(Use Florida ripe avocados. Available in any Latin grocery store. They are much larger but if you don’t have a Latin grocery store near you just buy the largest regular ripe avocado you can find. See image below)

Ingredients:

–     1 Florida ripe avocado

–       ½ cup of cooked meatless beef (Beyond meat preferably)

–       1/3 cup of minced Spanish yellow onion

–       1/3 cup of black beans

–       Goya Sazón Achiote packet (Now sold in the Latin section of most every grocery store in the U.S. if not available use a little Spanish paprika)

–       Sea salt and fresh black ground pepper

–       1 dollop of light sour cream or tofutti sour cream

–       Grated packaged Mexican cheese or alternative shredded cheese

–       1 sprig of chopped cilantro

 

Preparation:

Mince the onion. Saute the onion with the meat on low medium heat. Add the Sazón Goya packet for color and flavoring. Season with sea salt and fresh black ground pepper to taste. Add 1/3 cup of rinsed organic canned black beans. Cook for 8-10 minutes. Cut ripe Florida avocado in half and remove the pit. Scoop the bean and meat mixture on top of the avocado. Garnish with sour cream, cheese and chopped cilantro.

 

Sweet Plantain Canoes/ Canoas de Platanos Maduros

 

Ingredients:

 

–       3 ripe almost black plantains

–       1/3 cup of cooked meatless beef

–       1 minced small garlic clove

–       1/3 cup of Mexican shredded cheese or alternative shredded cheese

–        1 finely minced Roma tomato

–       1 sprig of chopped cilantro

–       Olive oil

–       Goya Sazón Achiote packet

–       Sea salt and fresh black ground pepper

 

Preparation:

 

Preheat oven to 400 F. Peel the ripe plantains and place them on a baking sheet and rub them with olive oil. Bake the plantains for 20 minutes and turn them and cook for another 15 minutes. The plantains should be golden brown. While the plantains are cooking, mince the garlic clove, tomato and cilantro. Sauté the garlic clove with the meat on low medium heat in a little bit of olive oil. Season with sea salt and fresh black ground pepper to taste. Remove the plantains from the oven and stuff with them with the meat mixture and cheese. Bake the stuffed plantains for 3-5 more minutes until the cheese is melted. Garnish with chopped tomato and cilantro. Serve while the plantains are still hot.

 

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Kitchen Witch Cookbook Shop Book Signing

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It was a rainy day in the French Quarter this past Sunday. The Krewe of Barkus was scheduled to parade their costumed dogs throughout the French Quarter. At Kitchen Witch Cookbook Shop on Toulouse Street, an eclectic bookstore that sells cookbooks, vinyl and homeade spices. I, the author of New Orleans con Sabor Latino: The History and Passion of Latino Cooking was scheduled to sign cookbooks and serve some of the dishes from my cookbook. I went earlier that morning to ‘make groceries’ at a Mid-City Latin grocery store on Broad Street called Ideal Market. A grocery store where many Hondurans, Haitians and day laborers frequent for a hot lunch or to shop for the family. I made my selections for my Cuban Chicken Soup and Garbanzos with Crawfish and Louisiana Smoked Sausage (Purchased the crawfish tails and Louisiana Smoked Sausage at Rouses) recipe and off to my kitchen to make two big pots of food. 

When I arrived at Kitchen Witch Cookbook Shop with my food wrapped, hot and ready for Philipe’s (the owner’s) crockpots, I was in heaven! I am a super nerd and I love antiques and anything vintage. Which is probably why I love New Orleans so much. It gets me and I get this city. The rain came tumbling down yet the Mardi Gras paraders kept on parading with their dogs while clutching their ‘to go’ cups. I was nervous. We reached out to everyone but its tough to host an event with no parking, in the middle of the parades and when its raining. However, thanks to the only Latina (Cuban) tour guide who was at my cookbook signing, she pulled people in from the streets and enticed them with the smell of my food, beer and wine. 

I met some really awesome people and I am so grateful that we sold most of my cookbooks. Everyone left with a full belly, a memorable experience of New Orleans that they will take back to the city they reside in and my cookbook – a new addition to their kitchen library. Sunday was a good day! Thanks Kitchen Witch Cookbook Shop. Support local bookstores!

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Mardi Gras Book Signing this Sunday!!!

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Sorry friends for not blogging. I promise I will post some awesome recipes next week. If you are in New Orleans this Sunday 2/23/14 come to my book signing at the Kitchen Witch Cookbook Shop 631 Toulouse Street in the French Quarter. We are serving mojitos, beer, wine and recipes from the cookbook. New Orleans con Sabor Latino: The History and Passion of Latino Cooking will also be for sale.

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Valentine’s Day

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Make something special for your loved one or give them the gift that keeps on giving! New Orleans con Sabor Latino: The History and Passion of Latino Cooking

http://www.amazon.com/Zella-Palmer-Cuadra/e/B00E7KSGVO

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Cuban Oxtails with Okra and Rice

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Give me a plate of oxtails and my face will light up like new year fireworks! It’s something about the tender flavored meat that gets me every time.

This is one of those dishes where you need a pressure cooker or a lazy Sunday to take time out to put some amor in your food. Here is my recipe for Cuban oxtails with okra and rice.

4lbs of disjointed oxtails (Hint: Purchase at your local butcher or Latin/Caribbean grocery store)
1/2 cup of dry red wine
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 tbs. of dried oregano
1 tsp. of sea salt
1 tsp. of ground cumin
1 tsp. of fresh black ground pepper
1 packet of Goya sazon with achiote
3 8oz. cans of Spanish Tomato Sauce (Goya)
1 minced large yellow onion
8 minced garlic cloves
1 minced roasted red bell pepper
2 bay leaves
2 cups of beef broth
1 lb. of fresh okra cut into bite sizes
Cooked white rice

Preparation:

You will need to marinate your oxtails overnight with wine and olive oil. Make sure you season your oxtails with oregano and sea salt. In a Dutch oven or pressure cooker brown your oxtails. Remove and set aside. Sauté onions, garlic and red bell peppers. Season with cumin, bay leaves, sazon packet and fresh black ground pepper. Add tomato sauce and beef broth. Bring to a boil on medium low heat and add oxtails.

If you have a pressure cooker add okra and cook for 45 minutes. If you have a Dutch oven pot you will cook the oxtails until fork tender for 2 1/2 to 3 hours and then add okra for another 30 minutes. Make sure you stir the meat occasionally so it won’t stick to the bottom of the pot. Serve with cooked white rice.

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Chicago Puerto Rican Jibarito (Plantain) Sandwich with Grillades

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Growing up in Chicago I ate jibarito sandwiches in the Humboldt Park neighborhood almost every weekend when visiting family and friends. The crispy fried plantain steak sandwich served with Puerto Rican arroz con gandules and a side of mojo sauce (garlic, lime and olive oil marinade) stayed in my memory after I officially became a New Orleanian.

For my cookbook, New Orleans con Sabor Latino: The History and Passion of Latino Cooking I made a jibarito sandwich with New Orleans Creole grillades. I wanted to combine my love for my two favorite cuisines; Latino and New Orleans cuisine. It is delicioso!!! If you have never tried a jibarito sandwich you need to!

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Isleños Paella

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I love paella! Every year the Isleños of Louisiana celebrate their culture and food in St. Bernard Parish. I try to attend every year to eat fresh charbroiled oysters, empanadas, Isleños plantains with wrapped bacon and of course paella. My friends, Mike and Donna Martin who are in my cookbook invite me every year. They have the most amazing story of triumph, love and family. Their recipes, stories, history of the Isleños and how they came to Louisiana are shared in my cookbook New Orleans con Sabor Latino: The History and Passion of Latino Cooking.

Update: I added two sneak peak pictures of Mike and Donna Martin’s Isleños gulf fish served with roasted potatoes and the most amazing arroz con leche I have tried!

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