Monday, August 22, 2011


My neighbor lent me her Estefan Kitchen Cuban cookbook by Emilio and Gloria Estefan.  It is always so cool to me to learn the customary differences between cuisines.  I was looking for a pork marinade for pork tacos.  I found a steal in the Mojo Criollo recipe.  They use this recipe in many of their dishes like the pork for Cuban Sandwiches.  I definitely plan on trying that out too!

Mojo Criollo
10 to 12 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 cup naranja agria (sour orange) - you can substitute 2 parts lemon juice with 1 part orange juice.
1/4 cup olive oil

In batches of 6 cloves, peel and mash the garlic using a mortar and pestle (or crush in a garlic press).

In a small bowl, combine the mashed garlic with the salt, pepper and oregano.

Stir in the naranja agria juice and olive oil.

I marinated pork in this for about four hours, pan fried it, and chopped it up for pork tacos with white onion and cilantro salsa.  AWESOME!!!!!!

Mesa new favorite restaurant I've never visited.

This last week I wanted some Southwestern cooking, so I broke Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill cookbook.  I am not a huge Bobby Flay fan.  I think he is loud, cocky and obnoxious.  His food is loud, flavorful and bold, which is PERFECT when we are talking about food, so I'll forgive him his shortcomings. :)

I wanted to make something unusual, but tasty and I found his recipe for Fry Bread Taquitos with Jerk Chicken, Red Cabbage-Jicama Slaw, and Mango Habanero Hot Sauce.  VERY unusual, but very TASTY!!!!

This recipe sounds time consuming, but I assure you, it isn't as bad as it sounds.  From start to finish this took me about an hour and a half.  So I guess if you think a 30 minute meal is time consuming, this might be too much for you.

Fry Bread Taquitos with Jerk Chicken, Red Cabbage-Jicama Slaw, and Mango Habanero Hot Sauce
Fry Bread Taquitos
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 Tablespoon dry milk powder
Kosher Salt
1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening or lard
2 cups canola oil

To make taquitos, combine the flour, baking powder, milk powder, and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl.  Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture is crumbly, add 3/4 cup cold water.  Place on a lightly floured surface and knead lightly until smooth.  Cover with a kitchen towel and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

Heat the oil in a large high sided saute pan until it reaches 360 F as measured on a deep-frying thermometer (or just wing it!  That's what I did).

Divide the dough into 8 pieces and roll out each piece into a four inch circle about 1/8 of an inch thick.  Fry the bread in batches in the oil until golden brown on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a sheet pan lined with paper towels and season with salt.

Jerk Rubbed Chicken Breasts:
2 tablespoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons ground ginger
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon habanero chile powder (I substituted guallio chile powder because I had it on hand)
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
4 8-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons canola oil

To make the jerk rub, combine the coriander, ginger, sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, habanero powder, black pepper, thyme, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves in a small bowl.  the rub will keep for up to 6 months in an air tight container.

Rub the top of each breast with 1 heaping tablespoon of the jerk rub.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Pace the chicken in the pan, rub side down, and cook until golden brown and the crust has formed, about 3 minutes.  Turn the breasts over and continue cooking until just cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before slicing each breast on the bias into 1/4 - in warm tacquitos, topped with red cabbage-jicama slaw and drizzled with mango-habenero hot sauce.

Red Cabbage-Jicama Slaw:
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder (I also substituted guallio here too)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground back pepper
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 small head of cabbage, thinly shredded
1 small jicama, peeled and thinly shredded
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Whisk together the lime juice, ancho powder, salt, pepper, honey, and oil in a large bowl.

Add the cabbage, jicama, and cilantro and toss well to combine.  Let sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes and up to 4 hours in the refrigerator before serving.

Mango Habanero Hot Sauce:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 small Spanish onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 habenero chile, chopped
2 to 4 tablespoons honey, depending on the sweetness of the mangoes
1 cup white wine vinegar (I used straight up whine vinegar)

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and cook until soft, 3-4 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add the mangoes, habanero, and 1 cup of water and cook stirring often, until the mangoes get very soft and the water evaporates, 8-10 minutes.  Add the honey and vinegar and cook over low heat until the mixture thickens slightly, 5-7 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth.  If the mixture is too thick to pour, add a few more tablespoons of water.  Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer set over a small bowl; season with salt.

This is what I have to say about this recipe and most Bobby Flay recipes I have come across: If you want rid your cabinets of spices, make one of his recipes!

The overall tastes of this recipe are out of this world when combined together.  I snatched a taste of the fry bread before everything else was finished and it was heavy on the oil because it has vegetable shortening in it. I did omit the milk powder because I didn't have any...I wonder if it would have made a difference? But with the chicken, slaw and mango habanero sauce it was divine!

I seeded the habanero for the sauce and I was kicking myself when it was all done.  I was so worried it would overheat the sauce.  Keep the habanero whole!

My husband was over the moon about this recipe!  He told me to add it to our guest repertoire.  So if you come to dinner at my house, you might get lucky enough to have this recipe!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Strawberry Muffins

I am a touch crazy when it comes to muffins.  I am constantly searching out new recipes for a muffin to dream about, crave and DEVOUR!  This recipe is pretty damn PERFECT!  The consistency of these muffins was not too dense, not too fluffy and got better as they cooled down.  The best part? They weren't flat!  They actually raised to have nice puffy tops at altitude. 

I have not made strawberry muffins before, but had some strawberries I needed to use up.  The recipe also claims you can use defrosted strawberries cut up too.  I know what I am doing with my Costco sized bag of frozen strawberries!!!  I have seriously been craving these babies since I made them.  The recipes makes 8-9 muffins, which I LOVE because it keeps me from eating too many!  Several people on suggested making a glaze for the top of the muffins so I tried it out (1/2 cup powdered sugar with 1/2 tsp vanilla).  HEAVEN!!!!!!  I suspect I'll be craving these babies the next time I'm pregnant!

Strawberry Muffins
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup white sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour1 cup chopped strawberries

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oil an 8 cup muffin tin, or use paper liners. 

In a small bowl, combine oil, milk, and egg. Beat lightly. In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Toss in chopped strawberries and stir to coat with flour. Pour in milk mixture and stir together.

Fill muffin cups. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 25 minutes, or until the tops bounce back from the touch. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pans.