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Pozole Verde a.k.a Pozolillo

Pozole-Verde_Pozolillo_ingredients~Yes,-more-please!

Pozole is a soup usually made with hominy, pork meat, spices and fresh garnishes that create a wonderful one bowl meal warm soup. Let’s say Pozole Is kind of the Mexican Pho. There are a couple of variations upon regions and availability of ingredients, red chiles , green tomatillos and poblanos, or just garlic and onion. There’s even not so traditional versions using chicken or turkey to make the soup a little lighter and healthier; even vegetarian versions using button mushrooms instead of meat, in my opinion all equally delicious in its own way.

Another variation on this dish would be the fresher version also known as ‘Pozolillo’, that uses fresh white corn in the cob kernels like in Michoacan and Guerrero. Which is the version I prepared.

The hominy used in Pozole is freshly made from dry kernels that are transformed into ‘nixtamal’ this process involves soaking the dry corn kernels  in water and limestone to burn and cook the skin. It is an intense preparation more commonly used in the South of Mexico, Sinaloa, Jalisco, Michoacan, Guerrero, State of Mexico and Distrito Federal. While in the norther mexican states like Sonora, Monterrey, Chihuahua, the proximity with the border has a not so preferred commodity, hominy on a can which to my taste is hard to equal the good flavor from the freshly made.

 Despite the regionalism, Pozole is a classic soup among mexican families, every family has its own recipe and a style; whether is white, red or green, a grandma, sister, mom or aunt who makes it; It is always a great comforting meal that brings family and friends together.

In my family, My Grandma, from my father’s side is my Pozole Guru. She will start to cook the Pozole two days in advance by soaking the dry corn-nixtamal with a bit of lime stone to lose the skins on the kernels, rinse it infinite times and slow cook it for a couple of hours. Grandma Mago used pork shoulder and very meaty pork cuts. Her Pozole was white, meaning she would not add any chiles to tint and flavor the broth, the flavor came from the cosmic union of the extremely well prepared artisanal hominy, tender pork, garlic and onion. Amazing, simply amazing.

On the other side of my family, the Pozole Guru is my Aunt Paloma, she makes the BEST Red Pozole. Absolutely delicious, she uses also pork and red chiles like ancho and guajillo which are very mild chiles that flavor the broth transforming it in this aromatic and savory broth you almost want to use a straw to drink it. Scrumptious.

As you can see I have a mayor task here, So far I’ve cooked both Pozole styles, white and red, I love them equally. And yes, it is the cook hand, what we call “sazon” that makes a dish your dish and the only way to exceed at it is practice,  practice and more practice my little grasshopper.

Pozole-Verde_Pozolillo~-Green-tomatillos-~-Yes,-more-please!Pozole-Verde_Pozolillo_warm-corn-mexican-soup~Yes,-more-please!

This time I’m attempted to recreate a Pozole Verde or Pozolillo. First time I had this green gem soup was at a friend’s house she was from Michoacan. I inmediatelly fell in love.
This Pozole Verde is made with white corn kernels instead of hominy and uses tomatillo, serrano and poblano peppers to flavor the broth. What is so special about it? the broth in this Pozole Verde It’s light, fragrant, almost has a herbaceous flavor, and the green tomatillo adds a bit of a thickness to the broth without making it heavy to the palette. The corn kernels make this Pozole a great fresh taste, really unique and very achievable if you lack of a mexican Grandma, Aunt or good quality hominy.

In this recipe, I used sweet corn. Why? Well, Ian is more familiar with the corn flavor than with the hominy. Not a lot of people likes hominy and I strongly believe is because what they have tried is from a can. So what you do? What did I do?..I used what I had freshest available. This week I ran into a good corn sale at the market, it was fresh and tasted sweet, juicy and crunchy good enough to make it into a soup.
Now, I know some people will crucify-me about using sweet yellow corn but, I have to say that the variation came out tasting really good.
Do your best with what you have, use what is freshest available to you, if you find white corn this will be my first option, and if you prefer Hominy, I will encourage you to find “Rancho Gordo hominy”.
This Rancho Gordo California farm grows heirloom beans and grains, the quality and flavor resembles a lot of the hominy you can find in Mexico. Sometimes I can find them at Whole foods or Traders Joe’s. If you plan ahead of time, order them on-line. absolutely divine. http://www.ranchogordo.com/index.htm

Last option will be Juanita’s Mexican style hominy. Yes this particular brand has the best texture, and 3 ingredients, water, hominy, lime stone. Making it the best option. If can is the only option you have, this will taste good.

I used chicken one of my favorite chickens from Smith & Smith Farms, I know chicken again!!! well I do not mind when the quality of it is so good In fact, every other weekend I’ve been buying a whole chicken from this farms, there are so good I crave chicken!.. ridiculous I know…

Any how, easy recipe, one pot wonder, it keeps really well, I have not attempted to make this Pozole Verde on a crock pot, I see no reason why not you could use it. Please, if you do, let me know how it goes.
Keep warm and EAT your SOUP, do not lick the bowl, use a straw!.

Pozole-Verde_Pozolillo~Yes,-more-please!

Pozole Verde a.k.a. Pozolillo

Serves 4 Mexicans 6-8 Green coats.

8 cups /2Lt. chicken stock
3.5-4 lbs. Whole chicken or the meat of a roasted chicken shredded.
6-8 ears of white corn preferable or yellow corn de-kernel
2lbs green tomatillos.
3 poblano peppers remove seeds and deveined.
2-3 serrano peppers
1 large bunch cilantro
½ teaspoon mexican dry oregano
1 medium white onion
1 small head of garlic
2 teaspoons Sea Salt.

Garnish with:

Iceberg Lettuce shredded
Radishes
White Onion finely chopped
1-2 Lime wedges
Mexican Crema
Avocado
Corn Tostadas

Salsa toasted chile de Arbol:

1/4 cup Corn, Sunflower or Vegetable oil
14-20 Dry chiles de Arbol- (remove stems, include seeds)
1-2 medium garlic cloves
1 pinch of sea salt.

Toast in Oil about 14-20 dry red chile de arbol, until they have this mahogany dark color, remove from heat, add 2 garlic cloves cut in half and a good pinch of sea salt. Blend all this until a coarse puree. Add a dash of dis paste when ready to eat.The heat in this sauce-paste is mild, due to the toasting of the chiles, it makes it smoky and mild heat.

Preparation:

If you are using the whole chicken:

1. In a large pot add 8 cups of water ½ medium onion, ½ teaspoon oregano, ½ head of garlic ½ bunch of cilantro, 2 bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme, 2 carrots, 1 sprig of celery, 2 teaspoons sea salt. Add the whole chicken, skin on, cut in pieces, for faster cooking. Bring to a slow simmer; with a ladle remove the white foam that forms as it cooks. Cook for about 35-45 minutes. Until chicken is tender.
2. Once the chicken is cooked, Remove the chicken, herbs, onion, garlic, sieve the broth.
3. Let the chicken to cool down until riches a comfortable temperature to remove the skin and shred the chicken meat. Set aside.

If you are using a Roasted Chicken:

1. Remove skin from roasted chicken and shred. Save the chicken carcasses and set aside.
2. In a large pot add 8 cups of chicken stock, ½ onion, ½ teaspoon oregano, ½ head of garlic ½ bunch of cilantro, 1-2 teaspoon salt and the chicken carcasses from the roasted chicken. Bring to a slow simmer; with a ladle remove the white foam that forms as it cooks. Cook for about 20-25 minutes. Until chicken is tender.
3. Once the chicken broth is seasoned and cooked, Remove the chicken carcasses, herbs, onion, garlic. sieve.

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4. Remove the tomatillo husk, wash them and cut in halves. Cut poblano peppers in half remove the green veins, and seeds. In a blender add the tomatillos, poblano peppers, the other ½ onion, 3-4 garlic cloves, the other ½ bunch cilantro, salt, 2-3 serrano peppers. Add one serrano at a time and taste in between blending so you can measure how spicy it is. The serranos in this recipe are used to add flavor not spice, they act like black pepper. Add a little of the chicken broth from the pot to help blend all this. Blend until is pureed.
5. On a large deep pot add 1 tablespoon sunflower oil until oil is hot. Add the tomatillo blended sauce to the oil and cook for 5 minutes (careful it will splatter). Now that the sauce is sautéed, add the 8 cups of chicken stock, along with corn kernels. Bring to a slow simmer. Cook for about 25-35 minutes.The broth will change color from emerald green to a bright sage green. At this point taste to adjust for salt. Add your shredded chicken to warm through.

Pozole-Verde_Pozolillo_ingredients-for-the-sauce~Yes,-more-please!Pozole-Verde_Pozolillo_Green-tomatillo-Sauce~Yes,-more-please!

7. Serve piping hot and garnish with shredded lettuce, chopped onions, slices of radishes, squeeze of lime and a dollop of crema. Enjoy!

Pozole-Verde_Pozolillo-Warm-delicious-soup!~Yes,-more-please!

Pozole Verde~Yes, more please!

 

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Roasted Vegetable Napoleon with Spicy Bolognese

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Roasted-Vegetable-&-Spicy-Bolognese-Napoleon_Bison-Chauvet-Cave,-France

What a crazy title! I think it took me more time to name this dish than to make it. What the title really should say is: Roasted Vegetables stacked with a Bison spicy Bolognese. The “napoleon “part is just a fancy name to say stacked, and this dish by any means is “fancy”…

Well, this was dinner yesterday. They say not to live in the past, always in the now, but memories are important and this meal was one of the memorable ones.

When our carnivorous crave knocks at our door: Lamb, Pork or Beef?… Bison!

Here in Texas that’s what every carnivore should be eating because its extremely remarkable in beef flavor due to its high Iron content. Bison has 80% less fat and 49% less calories than beef. Lets say Bison is the Better Red meat. Just make sure to look for the USDA approval triangle on the front label and look for 100 percent natural-grass feed-hormone free. Keep in mind that you’ll get what you pay for. Tender, flavorful bison costs more to raise, thus it costs a bit more, but one bite and you’ll never go back!… it is indeed a great option.

This is why: Bison spicy bolognese works great because it makes the bolognese sauce lighter yet richer in flavor. And because Bison cooks faster than beef, this 30 minutes spicy bolognese can change your life. You can make a double batch and freeze it for a fast pasta dinner during the week.
Half inch sliced vegetables, roasted at 475 F temperature for 25 minutes can be magical, all the flavor of the vegetables just seems to concentrate and develop their natural sweetness and caramelization.
All in all this is a great recipe, You can serve it with a green salad on the side, a piece of crusty bread, and a glass of wine… Enjoy!

Vegetarian & Vegan suggestions:

Now, I do think on my vegetarian friends and it is such an easy way to transform the recipe, using a combination of bottom and cremini mushrooms instead of meat.
Or if you are fan you can use texturized soy protein.
For the cheese, a walnut sauce is always a great substitution. Here is the link to a previous post where you can find the recipe.

Roasted-Vegetable-&-Spicy-Bolognese-Napoleon_raw-vegetables

Roasted-Vegetable-&-Spicy-Bolognese-Napoleon_roasted-vegetables

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Roasted Vegetable Napoleon with Spicy Bison Bolognese

Serves 2 with room sauce for 4 or you can freeze the rest of the sauce for another night.

1 egg plant
1 green zucchini
1 yellow squash
1 medium large portobello mushroom
3 sweet red peppers
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup Assiago
1/2 cup Fontina cheese shredded

For the Mirepoix:

1 cup chopped sweet onions
½ cup carrot small diced
½ cup celery small diced
3 garlic cloves
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the Spicy Bison Bolognese

1 pound of grass feed-hormone free-Ground Bison (or beef or turkey or texturized soy or cremini mushrooms)
2 cups Red wine (Cabernet-or a rich tempranillo)
1-12 oz. canned San Marzano tomatoes (this is my only exception to the rule on canned products)
1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Sriracha* the odd ingredient but it is so good!
Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons of butter optional*

Directions:

1.-

Start by making the sauce;
In a Medium- Large sauce pot, saute the mirepoix ingredients in 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil until onions and celery are translucent. Add the ground Bison saute for 3-4 minutes with the help of a wood spatula making sure you incorporate everything avoiding big lumps of meat. Add the wine and let the alcohol evaporate for about 3-5 minutes. Add the can of diced San Marzano tomatoes, the balsamic, Worcestershire sauce, Sriracha sauce, and adjust salt and pepper. Simmer the sauce for about 15-20 minutes or until the excess juices have evaporated. You want a slightly thick consistency. Cover with a lid and keep the sauce on low. At this point you can decide to add 1 or 2 tablespoon of butter this will round off the flavors on the sauce.

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2.-

Once the sauce is ready, preheat the oven at 450-475F  / 230-245 C
In a large Baking pan lined with parchment paper, arrange the vegetable slices in one single layer. Drizzle some Olive Oil seasoned with salt and pepper. Roast for about 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables have a golden -to dark brown on the edges.
In two oven Ramekins of Pyrex, start layering the vegetables alternating with the sauce and grated cheese. You can add some fresh herbs like basil, parsley or rosemary. Make sure the last layer is cheese and broil in the oven for about 5-6 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and melted. Serve placing the ramekins in a flat plate for safety.

Roasted-Vegetable-&-Spicy-Bolognese-Napoleon_Mise-en-place

Roasted-Vegetable-&-Spicy-Bolognese-Napoleon_How-to-make-a-vegetable-napoleon

Roasted-Vegetable-&-Spicy-Bolognese-Napoleon_gratin

 Roasted Vegetable & Spicy Bolognese Napoleon..ready to serve!

 

 

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Panzanella Melon Salad

Panzanella Melon Salad ~ ingredients, Yes, more please!
My mouth waters for this Tuscan Salad! If we go back to the 16th century the Italian poet Bronzino, he praises the onions with oil and vinegar served with toast. Later on, when the tomatoes arrived to Europe, they were incorporated into the salad with other ingredients like cucumbers and capers. I’m not a food historian but it is of great interest and curiosity to know where food comes from, and the origin of dishes throughout history. Knowing these facts can sometimes lead you through perfecting a recipe, or re-inventing it. In this case I need to reinforce it because bread, onions, oil and vinegar simply are not gonna do it for me.

Many different versions of this traditional Panzanella Italian Salad can be made. From the type of bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, capers, onions, and a simple vinaigrette. One of the keys is goods Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Red wine vinegar. Playing a little bit with the sweet and savory notes,  I added Cantaloupe melon for sweetness and some prosciutto for a salty meaty note.

This would be just the thing for a summer picnic; something to combine all the flavors of the season. I like this salad texture and contrast, and that every bite has a different flavor depending upon what you pick with your fork. All these flavors on your palette produce a very savory and mouth-watering experience. Imagine, the crusty bread cubes absorb the juices from the tomatoes and the vinaigrette; that combined with the crunch of the onions, salty olives, juicy tomatoes and sweet cantaloupe with cracked pepper… the result, I just want the shade of a tall tree to dine under and my bread to be older. I hope you like my version of my version of Panzanella Melon Salad…Enjoy!

Panzanella Melon Salad ~ served, Yes, more please!

Panzanella Melon Salad_perfect summer brunch!  ~ Yes, more please!

Panzanella Melon Salad

Serves 4

½ loaf day old Italian or French crusty bread.

1 cup cherry tomatoes

1-2 small tomatoes cut into cubes

1 cup English cucumber into cubes

1-2 cups Cantaloupe Melon cut into cubes

½ red onion cut into slivers.

½ cup green Castelvetrano olives.

Arugula (optional)

6-8 Basil leaves

1 cup of bite size (bocconcini) Mozzarella or regular size cut into bite size cubes.

6 -8 Prosciutto slices

1/3 cup good quality fresh extra virgin olive oil.

1/4 cup red wine vinegar.

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Method:

Start by cutting the bread into bite size cubes. If your bread is not a day old you can toast it in the oven at 350 F/175 C for 3-5 minutes. In a big salad bowl whisk the olive oil, red wine vinegar salt and pepper. Add the onions, tomatoes, cucumber, mozzarella olives and bread toss them lightly. Let the salad absorb the flavors for 15-30 minutes. Before serving, toss the salad and tear and sprinkle the basil leaves and prosciutto over the top. It’s best to serve this salad room temperature with a chilled glass of white wine…I hope you like it as much as I do.

When serving, drizzle some balsamic vinegar for sweetness.

*For a Vegan or Vegetarian Version, you can omit the prosciutto and mozzarella. Instead add some roasted red bell peppers it will be a great complement.

Panzanella Melon Salad _dicing bread-~ Yes, more please!

Panzanella Melon Salad-mouth watering flavors and textures!

Panzanella Melon Salad have some wine! ~ Yes, more please!

 Mouth watering Salad for the sumer…Enjoy!

 

 

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Heirloom Tomato Crostata

Heirloom-Tomatoe-Crostata-Yes,-more-please!

This is one of the recipes I being waiting to make with the gorgeous tomatoes from the market, Heirloom tomato Crostata!…Last time I went to Boggy Creek Farm,( my favorite urban farm here in Austin, TX.)  I bought about 5 different Kinds I could not resist!( honestly If you have 3-2 or even just one kind it will be good too) Looking at all this colors and shapes made me turn my sweet crostata dough into a savory one. I read about this tomato pie with Corn Meal, and honestly I’m not very fond of Pies, I love crostata because of the dough-filling ratio. In a pie usually you have thin crusted and lots of filling versus a crostata in which you have little more crust-less filling (which makes it lighter and balanced to eat. The exposed fruit or vegetables or in this case the tomatoes can get a little roasted and it adds lots of character to it.  I hope you like it. Enjoy!Heirloom-Tomatoes-Variety_Corn-Meal-Crostata_Yes,-more-please!

Tomatoe-Crostata_heirloom-tomatoes,-thyme,-great-fresh-seasonal-ingredients

Heirloom Tomato Crostata

Serves 6-8

For the Dough:

2 Cups of Unbleached All-purpose flour
¾ Cup Corn Meal (I used Larry’s Corn Meal from Boggy Creek Farm, I highly recommend to look for a good quality Organic no GMO coarse ground corn meal it really makes the difference!)
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes.
1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt
¼ to ½ cup iced water

How to make the crust:

Measure all your ingredients, and place all the dry ingredients on a bowl and mix. Place bowl in the freezer. Meantime cut your cold butter, and Iced water ready to measure. Remove the bowl of dry ingredients from freezer and add the butter. With a pastry Blender incorporate the butter and flour until the mixture resembles to a coarse meal, and the butter pieces are small like the size of a pea. Slowly add the cold water and carefully with your hands form a dough that just holds together. Do not work the dough.
Once that the dough barely holds together cut a piece of plastic wrap and place your dough. Wrap it and shape it into a disk.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, 4-6 is best.(see pictures )

Tomatoe-Crostata-how-to-make-the-dough-step-by-step!

How-Dough-Texture-should-look-like-for-a-Crostata,-galette-or-free-form-pie

When the dough is ready Preheat Oven at 400.
In clean work surface, dusted with flour unwrap the dough let sit for a couple of minutes and roll the dough into a 20-22” round and about 1/8 “ thick. Once is rolled place it into a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

Tomatoe-Crostata_Rolling-the-dough

For the Filling:

4 medium size heirloom tomatoes cut into ¼ inch tomato slices, from at least 2 kinds of heirloom tomatoes. I used green zebra, yellow oaxacan, prudence and cherokee. Use what ever is best fresh available at your farmers market.
1/2 cup cherry gold or cherry tomatoes

I used:
1/3 cup of goat cheese.
3 fresh sprigs of thyme.
Sea Salt, freshly ground pepper.
Small drizzle of Extra virgin Olive Oil.

Directions:

Spread ½ of the Goat cheese into the rolled dough, place the tomato slices, thyme, rest of the cheese, salt pepper and drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Fold the edges in creating a 2” border. You can brush the edges with and egg wash and sprinkle sea salt to add crispness to the edge. Bake at 400 F/ 200C for 35-45 minutes. Serve warm.

Heirloom-Tomato-Crostata_How-to-make-a-Crostata,-Gallete,-Free-form-savory-pie

Heirloom-Tomatoe-Crostata_Tomato-Season-Cornmealcrust

Heirloom Tomatoe Crostata

Music Pairing: Pink Martini- Hang on Little Tomatoe

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