Appetizers and Snacks · Sides

Salsa Criolla

Specifically, this recipe goes with Pamploma de Puerco which will be published on Thursday, but it works as an appetizer with tortilla chips just as well.  Looking for a new topping for taco night?  Or maybe something different to go with your chimichangas? This will work for that too.

This is from chef Jose Garces via Tasting Table.

 

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Salsa Criolla

Salsa Criolla

2 Tablespoons finely diced white onion

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

salt, to taste

1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper

1/2 cup tomatoes, seeds removed and finely diced

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

In medium bowl, combine onion, vinegar and salt.  Let sit for about half an hour to soften the onion a bit.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Serve with grilled pork, chicken or beef, or just on its own with tortilla chips

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Appetizers and Snacks · Sides

Chimichurri Sauce

This a lively green sauce that goes well with nearly any beef, pork or even just drizzled on bread as an appetizer.   It is also a “must have” for the Tri-tip and Pamplona de Puerco,

This recipe is a compilation of about 20 different ones we have tried.  It makes just over a cup, which should be enough for 2 -4 people.

 

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Chimichurri Sauce

3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)

2 cups parsley, finely chopped

1 cup cilantro, finely chopped

1/2 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Serve.

Appetizers and Snacks · How To... · Sides

How to Make Sauerkraut or Kimchi

Over the past few years, I have developed an interest in fermented foods and their health benefits.

I could launch into a diatribe so much longer than you care to read and still only scratch the surface as to why we need more of these foods in our diets, but this is a cooking blog.  So, for more information on the benefits click on the highlighted areas.  People much smarter than me will give you more well researched information than I can begin to provide.  Aside from so many healthy reasons to eat fermented foods, the real reason our household eats them is simply because they taste good.

Sauerkraut is #3 on the list of good things to eat for your gut health.

It can be put together in about half an hour and demands very little attention once you have mixed it up.  Just a simple glance daily to confirm the process of fermentation is on track.  It does not require a starter, and if you choose to take a break from making it, you can do so without having to worry about taking care of the starter or mother during your break.    Making it fits in very easily with todays fast paced lifestyles.

Of all the websites I have visited, (and there have been several!) Holly Howe has the best instructional site to learn how to make this wonder food.

Her instructions are clear, easy to understand and, perhaps most importantly, very well photographed.  She offers trouble shooting advice if you are unsure of any part of the process and her resources page offers excellent advice on which are the best products available.  Her passion for sauerkraut and its myriad of variations is clear.

Here is the link to Holly Howes’ sauerkraut recipes, including Kimchi.

Enjoy!!

https://www.makesauerkraut.com/make-sauerkraut-101/

Appetizers and Snacks · Breakfast · eggs

Tortilla Española with Chorizo and Caramelized Onions

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Cut into small cubes and served at room temperature, this is a Spanish Tapa.   It is also makes a pretty good breakfast .

The time it takes to caramelize the onions is time well spent.  Caramelizing brings out the sweet side of the onion and takes the flavour to a whole new level.

Makes 36 appetizers or 4 breakfast servings.

 

Tortilla Española

with Chorizo and Caramelized Onions

 

3 yellow onions, peeled, cut in half and thinly sliced crosswise

2 Tablespoons cooking oil

2 chorizo sausages, cut into 1/2″ dice

6 eggs

salt and pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

In frying pan over medium-low heat, heat the oil and add the onions.  Cover and cook 10 minutes, until onion is translucent.  Reduce heat to very low, replace the cover and cook, stirring occasionally until onion is golden in colour and very soft, about 20 minutes more.   Transfer onions to bowl, set aside to cool.

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Spray a 9″ baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.

Add chorizo to same pan, increase heat to medium high and cook about 5 minutes, stirring often until caramelized and cooked through.  Transfer to bowl with onions to cool until cool enough to add to eggs without cooking them.

Beat the eggs until fluffy, season with salt and pepper.  Add the onions, chorizo and the chopped cilantro and mix well.

Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for 25 – 30 minutes, until cooked in the centre.

Let sit 15 minutes before cutting.

If serving as a tapa or appetizer, cut into squares or triangles and serve at room temperature.

If serving as a breakfast item, cut into 4 pieces and serve warm.

COOKS NOTE:   For a tapas party, this can be made a day in advance and refrigerated overnight.  Let stand about 30 minutes to bring to room temperature before serving.

Original Source: Tapas Faciles – Tortilla de Chorizo y Cebolla Caramelizada.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appetizers and Snacks · Desserts · Sides

Tostones

Plantains…we have all seen them in the stores, sometimes green, but more often yellow with black spots so large I used to think they were past their life expectancy.  The truth is, have paid little attention to them, mostly because their appearance put me off.

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But then, one evening, watching The Amazing Race, the contestants were in Ecuador, which piqued my attention because we have friend from that country.  Wouldn’t you know it, one of the challenges was to cook plantains!!  They were making twice-fried  plantains, called Tostones.  Finally, a clue, and basically, a how to video right there, on prime time television!

I was very happy to surprise our Ecuadorian friends with a batch of these the next time they came over.

The technique is the same regardless of the colour of the plantain.  Greener ones will be savoury and can be served as part of a meal.  Salt them and dip them in ketchup, like French fries.  The yellow and black ones are riper, and therefore sweeter.  They are great for breakfast or dessert.   I like these sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.

Unfortunately there are no photos of my finished product because I was lame and forgot, but if you google Tostones, you will find many examples.

This makes 4 servings, about 120 calories per serving (without toppings, of course).

 

Tostones

2 plantains

oil for frying

Heat oil in large skillet.  You can either deep fry or just pan fry in a bit of oil.  (I chose to deep-fry mine)

Peel plantains and cut into 2″ pieces.

Add plantain pieces to hot oil and fry until they soften and are golden on both sides.  About 5 minutes.

Place fried plantains on paper towel covered work surface and gently press with bottom of a heavy glass or aa frying pan , squishing them until they are about 1/2″ thick.

Return flattened pieces to hot oil and fry until crispy.  About 3 minutes per side.

Drain on paper towels, season with salt and pepper.  Serve.

 

Appetizers and Snacks · Sides

Ratatouille

Basically,  vegetables cooked in olive oil, but !Ratatouille! is so much more fun to say.

There are as many versions of Ratatouille as there are cookbooks, it seems.

This version is much quicker than some, but the flavours are great and you wont have to spend 3 hours in the kitchen.

Because the ingredients are added to the pot in the order they need to cook, there is also less clean up at the end.

Seasoning is key, be sure to salt (and taste!) as you add each veggie to the mix, or you will end up with a tasteless bowl of sad veggies.

Serve at room temperature, or just slightly warmed.    A bowl of this with a sliced  baguette, maybe a little cheese… makes a great appetizer or even a light lunch.  You can also serve it as a side to your favourite grilled meat or toss it with some cooked pasta for a quick weeknight meal.

This makes about 4 servings.  Can be made a day in advance, and best if eaten within 3 days.

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Ratatouille

1 eggplant, about 1/2 – 3/4 lb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)

5 tablespoons olive oil

1 large white or yellow onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 red bell pepper, chopped into bite size pieces

1 small zucchini, scrubbed, quartered lengthwise, and cut into thin slices

3/4 pound ripe tomatoes, chopped coarse (about 1 1/4 cups)

1 sprig fresh rosemary (optional)

2 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried, crumbled

salt & pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Toss eggplant with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large colander and let stand in sink 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop and prep all your other veggies.

In a large skillet cook the onion and the garlic in 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened.

Pat eggplant dry with paper towels.

Add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil increase heat to  moderately high and when oil is hot but not smoking, add the eggplant.   Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes, or until the eggplant is softened.  If mixture looks dry, add a bit more olive oil.

Stir in the zucchini,  bell pepper, thyme and rosemary sprigs.  Reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes and cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until all the vegetables are very tender and tomatoes are soft and have released their juices.

Taste for seasoning, add salt, and pepper to taste if needed.  Remove the thyme and rosemary sprigs.  Cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute.  Remove from heat, stir in the parsley and combine the mixture well.

Let cool to room temperature.  Spoon onto crusty bread or crostini and enjoy.

The ratatouille may be made 1 day in advance, kept covered and chilled.  Bring to room temperature or reheat  before serving.

 

Appetizers and Snacks · Sides

Green Chermoula

Great on Grilled Flatbread, but give it a try on pasta, shrimp or your next omelette as well.

This can be made using any combination of parsley, cilantro and mint.

 

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Green Chermoula Salsa

1 jalapeño, stem and seeds removed

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves

1/2 cup (loosely packed) fresh cilantro leaves

1/2 cup (loosely packed) fresh mint leaves

1/2 teaspoon chopped peeled ginger

1 clove garlic, crushed

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper