Wednesday, December 17, 2014

PEANUT BRITTLE

Peanut brittle just seems to go with Christmas, with its salty-sweet combination.
It is surprisingly easy to make and makes delightful little hostess gifts.



4 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 ½ cups light or golden corn syrup
¾ cup water
6 cups salted roasted peanuts with skins
8 T unsalted butter
1 T vanilla extract
1 T baking soda

In a heavy Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water.
Bring to a boil, mixing with a long wooden chopstick or spoon. 
Cover and boil 5 minutes.

Remove lid and add a candy thermometer and continue to boil until temperature reaches 275 degrees F.

Add peanuts and stir constantly until mixture reaches 300 degrees F, which takes about 12 to 15 minutes.  
At this point, the mixture should be a rich golden brown.
Immediately remove from heat and quickly add butter, vanilla, and baking soda.  
Stir until butter melts.
Pour down the center of 2 baking sheets and then spread evenly with an offset spatula.  Allow to cool 1 hour. 
Snap into shards and store in an airtight container.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

CUBAN BLACK BEAN SOUP & CUBAN SANDWICH

I have been in a Cuban food mood. Here is another delicious Cuban recipe and you use the pork from the Cuban Pork and Black Beans dinner for the sandwich. Start this soup in the morning by soaking the beans and let sit on the stove for 8 hours.



3 cups dried black beans
1 qt water

1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, cut into 2 or 3 pieces
1 jalapeno pepper, split and seeded
1 bunch of cilantro, long stems cut off

3 T extra-light olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 t dried oregano
¼ t ground allspice
2 T ground cumin
½ t ground coriander
½ t ground turmeric
2 bay leaves
1 small smoked ham hock
2 qts chicken broth

Sour cream
4 scallions, chopped
Lime wedges, for garnish
Cilantro sprigs, for garnish

Rinse and sort beans, discarding any foreign material. 
Combine beans and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil for 2 minutes.  
Cover and set aside for 8 hours. 

In a skillet, add the oil and sauté the onion, celery, garlic, and jalapeno for 10 minutes.
When cool, spoon into a food processor along with most of the cilantro, leaving some for garnish, and process.

Drain the beans and add to a large soup pot or Dutch oven.
Add the ham hock, chicken stock and processed vegetables.
Add the spices and simmer, partially covered, for 3 hours.

To serve, remove the bay leaves and ham hock.
Ladle the soup into warm soup bowls.

Place a dollop of sour cream on top of each bowl of soup. 
Garnish with some scallions, fresh cilantro, and a lime wedge on the side.

Cuban Sandwiches
1 loaf of Cuban or Italian bread
Dijon mustard
Deli ham slices
Swiss cheese slices
Dill pickles, sliced lengthwise
Cuban shredded pork

Cut bread in half and spread Dijon mustard on both sides.
Add a slice of cheese, 2 slices ham, some dill slices, shredded pork, and another slice of
Swiss cheese.

Grill in a panini grill or on a griddle with a cast iron skillet weighing it down.

Monday, November 17, 2014

CUBAN BLACK BEANS

Here is a recipe from south of the border . . . way south . . . all the way to Cuba.



3 cups dried black beans
1 qt water

3 T extra-light olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, cut into 2 or 3 pieces
1 jalapeno, split and seeded
1 bunch of cilantro, long stems cut off

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 t dried oregano
¼ t allspice
2 T ground cumin
½ t coriander
½ t turmeric
2 bay leaves
1 small smoked ham hock
2 qts chicken broth

Sour cream
4 scallions, chopped
Lime wedges, for garnish
Cilantro sprigs, for garnish

Rinse and sort beans, discarding any foreign material. 
Combine beans and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil for 2 minutes.  
Cover and set aside for at least 8 hours. You can also do this overnight.

In a skillet, add the oil and sauté the onion, celery, garlic, and jalapeno for 10 minutes.
When cool, spoon into a food processor along with most of the cilantro, leaving some for garnish, and process.

Drain the beans and discard the water. Add the beans to a large soup pot or Dutch oven.
Add the ham hock, chicken stock, and processed vegetables.
Add the spices and simmer, partially covered, for 3 hours.

To serve, remove the bay leaves and ham hock.
Ladle the soup into warm soup bowls.

Place a dollop of sour cream on top of each bowl of soup. 
Garnish with some scallions, fresh cilantro, and a lime wedge on the side.

Serves 4


Sunday, July 27, 2014

PICO DE GALLO

Pico de gallo (pronounced pee koh de gah yoh) translates to rooster's beak. It is an authentic fresh Mexican salsa, sometimes called salsa fresca. Nothing says summer like chicken or steaks on the grill and a bowl of Pico. It is also delicious with quesadillas.


6 plum tomatoes, most of seeds removed, and diced
½ sweet onion, diced
4 scallions, diced
½ English cucumber, diced
1 bunch radishes, diced

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
½ to 1 serrano pepper, seeded and minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen corn
1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
½ t sea salt
½ t fresh or freeze-dried oregano

Place all of the above ingredients in a bowl; gently toss and set aside for 30 minutes, for the flavors to develop.