Capirotada~Mexican Bread Pudding

My first job, fresh out of high school, was at a Mexican bakery, “El Mejor Pan,” owned by my best friend Angelica’s parents. I was introduced to the world of Mexican bread! But the first time I tried capirotada, was the following year, when I got a different job in the office of “La Poblana Tortilla Factory.” That, too, was owned by another of my best friend’s parents, Julie Villarreal. Thank goodness for my friend’s parents. They had no idea the inspiration they were instilling in me for everything that is Mexican. They had a very busy lunch counter at “La Poblana” and they would only make capirotada at Easter time and Christmastime. That was my first real experience with eating a real sweet, yet savory dish, that I never forgot! I would like to dedicate this post to my two best friends from my childhood, Angelica and Julissa. We had the best times!

Capirotada is a typical dish served in Mexico during the time of lent.
Capirotada is a typical dish served in Mexico during the time of lent.

Yields up to 12 servings 

Ingredients:

2 cups water
Juice and zest from 1 orange
1 cup dark brown sugar or piloncillo
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
1 teaspoon ground anise
1/3 cup raisins
3 ounces butter, plus more for greasing
15 to 20 slices of Mexican bolillos or French bread
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 toasted almonds, chopped
6 ounces monterey jack, shredded
6 ounces white sharp cheddar, shredded
Capirotada
Directions:1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Generously grease, with butter, a 9×13 oven dish, set aside.2. Heat the water, orange juice, zest, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and anise in a pan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add raisins and let simmer for 5 minutes without stirring.3. Spread the butter onto both sides of each slice of bread and arrange butter side up onto baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Turn over and bake the other side for 5 minutes.

4. Line the base of the ovenproof dish with half the toast. Sprinkle over half of the cheese and nuts. Remove and discard cinnamon sticks, spoon 1/2 of raisin mix over toast. Repeat another layer, bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Yields up to 12 servings.

Capirotada, Mexican Bread Pudding

Chile Lime Shrimp Pizza~ Easy and Fresh Pizza Dough

Fresh pizza dough prepared in your own kitchen in 60 minutes. I know it’s just as easy to frequent your local favorite pizza shop, but why not serve one fresh out of your own oven? When I think back how I used to rarely prepare pizza at home because only homemade dough would do. I can’t even remember where I found my first recipe for preparing pizza dough, but it seems like it took longer than I was willing to wait for it, lol! These days, I pop into my kitchen in between housework and blogging and in 20 minutes, more or less, my dough is ready for the 60 minute rise time. Check out my last pizza dough session. Fresh ingredients leads to delicious dishes!

 

Chile Lime Shrimp Pizza

Fresh pizza dough from scratch is so much easier than most people may think.
Fresh pizza dough from scratch is so much easier than most people may think.

Ingredients For Pizza

Olive oil
1 poblano pepper
1 jalapeño pepper
1 fresno pepper
*slice all the peppers into thin rings
salt and pepper
2 limes, 1 sliced into thin round slices and the other just sliced in half
6 large shrimp, cleaned and peeled
12 oz. pizza dough
1/3 cup pizza or pasta sauce
1 cup mozzarella, shredded
12 oz. pizza dough, recipe follows
chile limon seasoning, Tajin

The shrimp is poached in a salted lime water just until it turns pink.
The shrimp is poached in a salted lime water just until it turns pink.
Thank goodness for my stove top grill pan. But I can't wait to try this on the outdoor grill!
Thank goodness for my stove top grill pan. But I can’t wait to try this on the outdoor grill!

 

Directions

1. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet and heat to medium. Add all the peppers and season lightly with salt and pepper. Saute for 6 to 7 minutes, remove from heat and set aside.

2. In a small sauce pan, add 2 cups of water, 1 teaspoon of salt and juice of 1/2 a lime. Bring to a boil, drop fresh shrimp in and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or just until they turn pink. Remove from water and let cool.

3. I used my hands to form a 12 inch round pizza, brushed it with oilve oil and pre-cooked it on my stove top grill pan for 2 minutes per side. I did this so that when I cooked the pizza with shrimp topping would not overcook from being in the oven too long. You could also pre-bake it in the oven until golden.

4. Once you pre-cook your crust, add the toppings in this order. Sauce, cheese, thin lime slices, peppers and shrimp. Season the shrimp with a little chile limon powder before baking. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven just until cheese has melted. Garnish with fresh cilantro and lime juice. Yields 4 servings.

Go light on the toppings.
Go light on the toppings and the sauce.
After you prepare the fresh pizza dough, you could store it in the refrigerator for 2 days or freeze it for a couple of weeks.
After you prepare the fresh pizza dough, you could store it in the refrigerator for 2 days or freeze it for a couple of weeks.

 

Fresh Pizza Dough

Ingredients

1 packet active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105 to 110 degrees)
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 to 3 cups bread flour, sifted

Tips~ If you wanted to add a little more flavor the the dough, you could add 1/2 teaspoon each of garlic and onion powder. And for a little bite, 1 teaspoon red pepper or jalapeño pepper flakes.

The pizza dough above was infused with a few spices and some dried jalapeño pepper flakes.
The pizza dough above was infused with a few spices and some dried jalapeño pepper flakes.

 

Directions

1. In a large bowl, add the yeast, water and honey. Stir gently and let sit for 10 minutes.

2. While you are waiting, sift the flour and set aside. When ready, to the yeast mixture, add salt, olive oil and 1 cup of flour. Stir well to combine. Gradually add in enough flour until smooth, soft dough forms. Knead it on a flat surface for a few minutes. Transfer to a greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm spot for 40 minutes.

3. After the first hour, punch the dough down. Divide into 2 balls (12 ounces each). Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place a couple of toothpicks on each dough ball. Cover loosely with plastic wrap  and let rise for another 20 minutes. Pizza dough is ready to use or store in refrigerator for 2 days.

Extra! Extra! Stuffed Soft Pretzels! I had a little extra dough….Stuffed with sharp cheddar and pickled jalapeños.

A rustic finish, but tasty!
A rustic finish, but tasty!

1. For Stuffed Pretzels, take a 3 ounce pizza dough ball and shape into an oval shape. Then on  a lightly floured surface, roll out so it is about 12 inches long and 3 inches wide. You are going to place about 1/4 to 1/3 cup shredded cheese down the side closest to you. I also added some diced pickled jalapeños next to cheese.

2. Gently, roll it away from to to form a cigar like shape. Form into a pretzel shape and brush ends with egg wash so it sticks. When ready to bake,place on a lined baking sheet and brush surface with more egg wash, sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven until golden brown. You could cook it under the broiler for 30 seconds to brown even more.

Finely diced ingredients and shredded cheese work best for stuffing pretzels.
Finely diced ingredients and shredded cheese work best for stuffing pretzels.
Pizza dough, not just for pizza anymore....
Pizza dough, not just for pizza anymore….

Go Green! St. Patrick’s Day Inspired Recipes~

My first taste of anything that would be remotely Irish food was a Rueben, a corned beef sandwich.  Besides a good pastrami sandwich, the Rueben has to be one of my favorites. On today’s blog post I share with you a few of my favorite recipes inspired by St. Patrick’s Day. And of course you knew there would have to be  a little fusion cooking as well with my Corned Beef Machaca Tacos. For me St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect time to enjoy those hearty winter meals one last time and look forward to spring! Soup, stews, sandwiches and tacos.

Corned Beef with a Bacon Pickled Slaw

Corned Beef with Pickled Slaw

“The Rueben”, My Version…

For Spicy Cabbage w/ Bacon
3 slices thick cut bacon, diced
1 small white onion, diced
1 serrano pepper, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 head of green cabbage, finely shredded
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
Salt and pepper

For Homemade Thousand Island Dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
1/2 tablespoon horseradish
1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 small shallot, minced
Pinch of pepper
Salt to taste

Rueben, Corned Beef with Pickled Slaw

Directions

1. In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the dressing. Stir well to combine, taste for salt. Cover and chill until ready to use.

2. In a large skillet, preheat 1 teaspoon olive oil to medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Add the onions, serrano, and garlic, cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients, stir well to combine. Reduce heat slightly, taste for salt and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes, until liquid evaporates. Yields up to 6 servings

Notes: To make the sandwich, you will need some rye bread, swiss cheese, and thick cut slices of corned beef. Toast bread in skillet, add some dressing to bread slices, one slice of cheese to each slice of bread, top with corned beef and warm cabbage. Sandwich together and continue cooking until cheese melts.

 

 

Corned Beef Brisket

Corned Beef Brisket

Directions

Two pound corned beef brisket, can be boiled on stove top. Cover with water and cook on low overnight in the slow cooker or roasted in the oven. The corned beef pictured was cooked  in the oven for about 1 hour and 40 minutes at 350 degrees F.

 

Corned Beef Machaca

Corned Beef Machaca
Olive oil
1 small sweet onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 jalapeño, sliced
1 fresno, sliced
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/3 teaspoon crushed oregano
2 cups finely shredded cooked corned beef ( 1 pound)
Fresh cracked pepper
pinch of salt
Juice of 1/2 lime, reserve other half for garnish
Cilantro for garnish

* For the machaca, I cooked the corned beef brisket,covered with water on low, in the crock pot  overnight. Once cooled, I removed the excess fat.

Corned Beef Machaca

Directions

1. add 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet and heat to medium. Add the onions, garlic and peppers and saute for 5 to6 minutes. Add the cumin and oregano and saute for 1 more minute.

2. Move the onion/pepper mixture over to one half of pan. Add 1 more tablespoon of olive oil to empty side of pan. Add the corned beef and cook, tossing as needed, until beef starts to caramelize and turn brown in some spots. Mix beef and vegetables together. add fresh cracked pepper, salt to taste and lime juice. Toss to combine and serve right away.  Serve with warm corn tortillas. Garnish with cilantro, salsa  and lime.Yields 4 servings,

Corned Beef Machaca Tacos

 

Corned Beef and Vegetable Soup

Corned Beef and Vegetable Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of crushed red pepper
The top half of a bunch of celery(with celery leaves), chopped
3 large carrots, sliced
4 cups yukon gold potatoes, diced
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons sherry vinegar
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 pound cooked corned beef, shredded
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. In a large, heavy pot, preheat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat. After a few minutes, add the onions, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, thyme, and bay leaves. Cook for another few minutes.

2. Add the broth, sherry vinegar, and another pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, add the potatoes and cook until fork tender. Add the spinach and corned beef and cook just until warm. Taste for salt and pepper. Serve with crusty bread. Yields up to 6 servings.

Guinness Stout Beef Stew~ Variation

Guinness Stout Beef Stew
10 ounces baby bella mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


~~~~~~

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, sliced into 1 inch pieces
Salt and fresh cracked pepper
1 cup diced onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons flour
4 carrots, sliced
4 stalks celery, sliced
1 pound white or yellow potatoes, quartered
2 cups tomato sauce or 6 ounces of tomato paste
3 cups beef or chicken broth ( I use 1 1/2 cups of each)
12 oz Guinness Stout beer
2 tablespoons Maggi seasoning (liquid)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 tablespoon if using fresh
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Directions

1. In a skillet at medium heat, add the mushrooms, olive oil and butter. Saute until the mushrooms start to soften ans caramelize. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add balsamic vinegar and cook for a few more minutes, set aside.

2. In a large dutch oven pot, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and preheat to medium for 5 minutes. Add the beef,  season lightly with salt and pepper. Saute for 6 to 8 minutes until beef is nice and brown.

3. Add the onions and garlic and saute for 3 more minutes. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add all of the remaining ingredients in the order listed. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Taste for salt and pepper. Cover partially and continue cooking until beef is tender, stirring now and then. Low and slow for 2 hours…. Yields 6 servings.

My First Guinness Beef Stew

Guinness Beef Stew
2 pounds beef chuck short ribs
4 tablespoons of oil
4 tablespoons of flour
salt and freshly ground pepper
pinch of cayenne
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 oz. tomato sauce
4 oz. chile sauce (chile california)
12 oz. bottle of Guinness Beer
2 cups of largely diced carrots
1 tsp. dried thyme

*10 ounces sliced mushrooms, sauteed in a little olive oil and butter, seasoned with salt and pepper. The chile sauce is prepared by cooking 6 dried chile California or Guajillo peppers in some boiling water, then pureed with a little stock.

Guinness Beef Stew

1. Toss the beef in 2 tablespoons of oil. In a small bowl, season the flour with salt, pepper and cayenne. Toss meat with seasoned flour.

2. Heat remaining oil in large skillet over high heat. Brown the meat on all sides. Reduce the heat, add the onions, garlic,tomato sauce,chile paste to skillet, cover, and cook gently for 5 minutes.

3. Add the beer, bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the caramelized meat juices on the pan. Add the carrots and thyme. Stir and adjust seasonings. Cover and cook on low, stirring every now and then until beef is tender. I like to cook on low for at least 2 hours. I sauteed the mushrooms separately then added them in a few minutes before the stew was done.

Guinness Beef Stew

 

St. Patrick's Day Recipes