07 Apr

Pastel Azteca and Avocado Dinner Rolls


Pastel azteca

[donotprint]Pastel azteca is one of my all time favorite Mexican dishes. It is also Jon’s favorite dish and my friends and former roommates Jeff and Deon always ask for it when I cook for them. It is easy and quick to make (unless you make it from scratch like I usually do) and it never fails to impress at gatherings. That’s why I decided to include it in the menu for my friend John’s dinner last weekend.

I have posted the recipe for this pastel azteca before but I will repost it here with some changes and new and better pictures (wow I really didn’t have any food photography skills back then, did I? Not that I have any now) I have made other variations of this dish but the chicken version is definitely my favorite one. I served this dish with avocado dinner rolls, the recipe is also included in this post.[/donotprint]

Chicken Pastel Azteca
8-10 servings

The ingredients:

  • 1 chicken breast shredded
  • 1 lb tomatoes
  • 1 medium size onion
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1-2 chipotle adobado peppers
  • 16 ounces tortilla chips, you can either make your own by cutting in quarters approximately 24 corn tortillas and frying them or baking them or buy them made at the store
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 8 oz. Chihuahua cheese shredded 2 cups approx. or shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 red onion sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

The how-to:

  1. Blend together tomatoes, onion, garlic and adobado peppers using one cup of chicken broth.
  2. Pour the sauce into a sauce pan and add the rest of the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, season to taste and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  4. Place a layer of tortilla chips at the bottom of a 9”x13” baking dish using 1/2 of the tortillas.
  5. Add a second layer of shredded chicken, half of the shredded cheese and half of the red onion slices.
  6. Pour some of the tomato sauce into the pan.
  7. Add a final layer of tortilla chips and cheese and pour the rest of the sauce.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes, let it rest for 10 minutes before serving and garnish with sour cream, red onion and chopped parsley.

Avocado pull-out dinner rolls

The ingredients:

  • 1 package of dry yeast (2 1/4 tsps)
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar
  • 6 cups AP flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 avocados, mashed
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 egg yolk

The how-to:

  1. In a large bowl mix yeast and warm water and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  2. Add brown sugar and mix well. Add 3 cups of flour, one at a time, and mix well.
  3. Mix in salt, olive oil and avocados. Add the rest of the flour and mix until all the ingredients are blended.
  4. Turn dough onto a slightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Add more flour if the dough is too wet and sticky or more water if the dough is too dry.
  5. Form a ball and put into a greased container. Cover and let it rise until doubles in size, approximately 1 hour.
  6. Pre-heat oven to 350°F
  7. Punch the dough in the middle and fold it into itself to form a ball.
  8. Grease 2 round baking pans and form balls of dough of approximately 2″ and drop into the pans. Brush the top with egg yolk.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until it turns golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before unmolding.

The afterthoughts:

  • You can make as many variations of these two recipes as you can imagine. I want to try a vegetarian pastel azteca soon and maybe some spicy avocado dinner rolls. Aren’t the colors of these two dishes beautiful? Your guests will be impress if you serve these easy to make and delicious food at your next get together.


¡Buen provecho!

[donotprint]I am sending this recipes to the following events, please click on the badges to learn more about them:

This week’s roundup will be hosted by Laurie of Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska.[/donotprint]

06 Apr

For the Love of Food and Entertaining


Stuffed onions

[donotprint]Loving food and everything that involves it is great, but sharing it other people who also love food is even greater. I think I learned this lesson from my mom. She was always cooking, but when she did it to entertain she seemed to be surrounded by a bright aura of happiness. Many people pointed that out and her response was that it was the love for for food and entertaining. I don’t know if I have that same aura, but I do know that when I cook for friends and family I am the happiest cook in the whole world.

This past weekend I prepared a belated birthday dinner for my friend John and invited a bunch of friends to celebrate. The menu was a combination of Mexican and Italian flavors that was a big hit (unless they all lied to me in fear I’d stabbed them with the chef’s knife I was waving when I asked their opinion). It took me almost 2 days to prepare the banquet, almost everything was made from scratch, and I ended up tired but very satisfied and happy for having something to share with my friends.

Dinner April 4th, 2009

The menu was:

  • 1st course – Stuffed onions with homemade adobado queso fresco (recipe below)
  • 2nd course – Poblano risotto with garlic scallops (I will be making this again this week because I miscalculated and didn’t have enough for pics. Recipe will be coming soon).
  • 3rd course – Sauteed green and red bell peppers, onions and asparagus with avocado and lime (no recipe required, right?).
  • 4th course – Chicken pastel azteca (Aztec Cake, recipe coming soon)
  • 5th course – Salsa verde lasagna.
  • Avocado rolls on the side (recipe coming soon).
  • Dessert – Chocolate and strawberry tres leches cake.

Drinks and wine were provided by my friends. Usually the deal is that I provide the food and they provide the drinks. That is more than fair, isn’t it? I was so happy with how this dinner turned out that I am seriously thinking about starting my own catering business. I haven’t been involve in the food industry for a long time but I am convinced now that this is my call. After all, food and entertaining is what I love.[/donotprint]

Adobado Queso Fresco
Recipe type: Appetiser
Cuisine: Mexican
  • •1 gallon whole milk
  • •1/4 cup vinegar
  • •2 chipotle adobado peppers, finely chopped
  1. Heat milk to 180° F (82° C) stirring constantly. Be careful not to burn the milk.
  2. While mixing with a whisk, slowly add the white vinegar. You will notice the milk begins to curdle.
  3. Keep stirring for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Line a colander with a fine cheesecloth.
  5. Pour the curdled milk through the colander.
  6. Allow the curds to cool for about 20 minutes.
  7. Add the chipotle adobado peppers to the curls and mix well with your hand, at this point they should be cool enough to handle.
  8. Tie the four corners of the cheese cloth together and hang it to drain for about 5 - 7 hours (until it stops dripping).
  9. The cheese can be used to stuffed onions like the ones from this post. In this case I carved them, stuffed them with cheese, drizzled some olive oil on top and baked them for 25 minutes at 350° F (175° C).

¡Buen provecho!