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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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Recetas/Recipes

Fried Shrimp and Crawfish Creamy Alfredo with Patton’s Hot Sausage Crumble

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I promise I will post more healthy recipes for Lenten Season in the coming weeks! I wanted to post this comfort food recipe that I made a couple of weeks ago before Lenten began. It was my last date with sin lol. Here is another pasta recipe to add to your collection that combines all of my favorite ingredients. It’s a little labor intensive but it is so worth it! Buen Provecho!

Ingredients: 

– 1 package of frozen crawfish (or lobster if crawfish is unavailable but if you can order crawfish online order it from www.cajungrocer.com)

– 1 box of good thin spaghetti

– 1 stick of salted butter

– 1 clove of minced garlic

– 1 cup of heavy cream

– 1 ½ cup of shredded Parmesan cheese

– ¼ cup of chopped parsley

– 1 pound of deveined fresh medium sized shrimp

– 1 cup of buttermilk

– Cajun seasoning

– 1 cup of flour

– Peanut oil or vegetable oil

– 1 Patton’s hot sausage patty or ½ link of chorizo

– Garlic Bread

 

Preparation:

Remove crawfish from package and rinse with cold water. Season with Cajun seasoning. Set aside. In a medium sized pot boil water and add spaghetti. Cook until al dente. Do not drain pasta. Meanwhile, sauté garlic and butter in a medium size stockpot on low medium heat. Add crawfish. Cook for two minutes. Add heavy cream. Season with a sprinkle of Cajun seasoning. Add the spaghetti to the pot with tongs. Make sure that you shake the excess water over the spaghetti pot as you grab a heaping of spaghetti with the tongs. Mix spaghetti with Alfredo sauce. Add Parmesan cheese and set aside. Chop parsley and set aside.

In one bowl add buttermilk and another add flour with 1 tbs. of Cajun seasoning. Heat pan with oil for frying. Dip shrimp in buttermilk. Remove excess and dip into flour. Fry shrimp until golden brown. Remove cooked shrimp from the pan and lay on a paper towel. In another pan, cook your hot sausage patty or chorizo link. Drain on a paper towel. Serve spaghetti with fried shrimp and hot sausage crumble over warm garlic bread.

 

 

 

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Soup

Mrs. Saundra’s Mardi Gras Gumbo

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It’s Mardi Gras in New Orleans. People from all over are flying, driving and catching trains to this magical city. Locals are finalizing their costumes for each of their favorite parades and marking their spots to camp out for Fat Tuesday. It is so unfortunate that many tourists don’t get to see the variety of the parades. Many tourists think that Mardi Gras is getting plastered, flashing your ta ta’s and maneuvering your way down Bourbon street with the massive crowd. Mardi Gras is so much more! It is for families. It is a torchbearer of traditions for the Mardi Gras Indians. It is a time where we all come together to see our friends and family parade in a krewe or in a school band. It is one of my favorite times of the year.

Even if you can’t be here for Mardi Gras or if you have never been, you can have your own Mardi Gras parade at home with friends. In some cities, they actually do try to re-create the look and feel of Mardi Gras which I think is awesome. New Orleans is contagious and spreads good karma throughout the world!

So you can’t be here, but you can make a pot of gumbo for Fat Tuesday and listen to music from Rebirth Brass Band, Kermit Ruffin or oldies like Fats Domino’s. Dress up! Wear your tu tu with pride and laugh until it hurts. It will give the neighbors something to talk about. 🙂 As my favorite movie character said, “Life is a banquet and too many poor sucka’s are starving to death! Live. Live. Live.”- Auntie Mame

I am sharing with you a recipe that was passed down to me by the sweetest Creole woman named Mrs. Saundra. Mrs. Saundra was a cooking teacher at the New Orleans Cooking School in the French Quarter. Every day she would come to work and teach tourists and some locals about the culinary history of New Orleans. She would present live cooking demos and include some of New Orleans most famous dishes- Jambalaya, Bananas Foster, New Orleans BBQ Shrimp, Bread Pudding and of course Gumbo! Mrs. Saundra would greet everyone with a sweet smile and a “Hey my babbby”. She was a doll. Miss Saundra was a mentor to me. She wasn’t a trained chef but she was a Creole grandmother and that deserves huge respect! Mrs. Saundra gave me her gumbo recipe and I want to share it with you. I kept up with Mrs. Saundra for quite some time. Even after her bout with breast cancer. I lost contact with her. I pray she is fully recovered, with her grandbabies, cooking a pot of gumbo and sharing New Orleans culinary tales. So as Mrs. Saundra would say, “Enjoy my babyy!” Happy Mardi Gras 2014 y’all!

Makes 10 servings

Ingredients:

2 pound cooked chicken (Thighs if available, bite size)

2 tsp. of Cajun/ Creole Seasoning

1 cup of oil (I prefer peanut oil)                                                     

1/4 cup of salted butter

½ teaspoon of fresh thyme

1 cup of flour (all purpose)

1 bay leaf (optional)

2 cups of finely chopped yellow onions

1 cup of finely chopped celery

1 cup of finely chopped seeded green bell pepper,

1 ½ pounds of sliced smoked sausage (Andouille if possible)

2 pounds of medium sized raw peeled (head removed) shrimp (Gulf Coast Shrimp preferably. It is sweeter and local)

8 cups chicken stock, hot

5 green onion stalks, chopped finely

3 minced garlic cloves

3 tablespoons of chopped parsley

Gumbo Filé powder, add at table

Cooked rice

*Now, if you are a meat lover and can get access to other types of Louisiana sausages. Add Creole Chaurice, a spicy hot sausage. (1 lb. cooked and sliced) and 1 smoked turkey neck.

Preparation:

Season chicken pieces with Cajun-Creole seasoning. Add ¼ cup water in pan. Bake in 350 degree oven until cooked. About 40 to 45 minutes. Save juice in bottom of pan. Heat oil in a heavy cast iron skillet until hot. Stir in flour to make roux.  Continue to cook, stirring constantly over medium heat until roux is dark brown. Add onions, celery, bell pepper and butter. Cook until the onions are translucent or clear. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Transfer to a large pot (Dutch Oven).

Add stock, thyme, and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Slice sausage and brown in a pan with a little oil. Add a little stock or water to deglaze the pan. That means to stir the brown bites in the bottom with liquid. Add chicken and sausage to the large pot. Add the liquid in the bottom of pan that you cooked the chicken in. Simmer for 1 ½ hours.

Turn the heat off, add shrimp and cover. This will prevent you from overcooking the shrimp. Let it sit covered for about ten minutes. The shrimp should turn a nice pink. Adjust seasonings to taste and skim fat before serving. Serve over hot rice. Garnish with green onion and parsley.  Add filé powder and your favorite hot sauce at the table. (Crystal is my favorite)

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Entree

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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Entree

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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Entree

Turkey Sausage with Savoury Basil Cilantro Thyme Tomato Salsa over Couscous

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My beloved grandmother used to always tell me to treat yourself as a guest. She would make sure that I sat at the table with a napkin in my lap, posture straight and a proper table setting. I used to think she was old fashioned but now I am so grateful that she taught me proper etiquette so when I eat at fine dining establishments I know what to do. I can still hear her say,”Elbows off the table!”

Tonight I’m just eating at home and a little tired from a long week but I still want to end my day by treating myself like a guest!

Ingredients:

5 turkey sausage links
2 cans of Spanish style tomato sauce
4 sprigs of thyme
1/3 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup of chopped fresh basil
1 minced clove of garlic
2 tbs. of coconut oil
1 tbs. of agave nectar
1 tsp. of fresh ground black pepper
2 boxes of herbed couscous

Preparation:

Grill turkey sausage. (George Foreman 🙂 ) Cut sausages into small pieces. Set aside. Sauté garlic and thyme in coconut oil in a medium size stockpot at medium low heat. Add tomato sauce and a half can of water. Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Add fresh herbs and sausages. Simmer on low medium heat for 30 minutes. Serve with herbed couscous. (Follow box instructions for herbed couscous) Buen Provecho!

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News

Thanks Louisiana Kitchen & Culture!!

Check out my recipe for Cuban Crawfish Croquettes with Creamy Salsa Verde in Louisiana Kitchen & Culture Magazine!!
http://louisiana.kitchenandculture.com/recipes/shrimp-and-crawfish-croquette-creamy-salsa-verde

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