16 Apr

Beans Health Benefits and Bean Stuffed Zucchinis

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Stuffed zucchinis with ayocote beans

I’m not a vegetarian, but it would be very easy to be one here in Mexico. Like I mentioned in this maize post, the diet of pre-Hispanic Mexican civilizations didn’t contain a lot of meat. Their main ingredients were maize, squash, chiles, amaranth, and wild greens among many others. One of the of most important ingredients was beans. When mixed with the other ingredients already mentioned they created a healthy and balanced diet that allowed civilizations to thrive for thousands of years. 

Cacahuate beans

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21 Oct

Chipotle Alfredo Pasta

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Chipotle Alfredo Pasta

There are a lot of things that I miss from Ohio, but when it comes to cooking there’s one that is almost driving me crazy, the tiny kitchen of the apartment I am sharing right now. Supposedly, it was just upgraded, and don’t get me wrong, the new cabinets and tile are gorgeous, but the person who planned the layout clearly is not a cook. It’s almost impossible to cook there, well, at least as much as I am used to cooking. And don’t even get me started with the “ecological” stove…

That’s why when I cook there I try to make very simple dishes that don’t require a lot of preparation of cooking. I decided that for more complicated dishes I will go to my parents’ house and use their kitchen. Besides, I’ve been cooking just for one, and that’s not a lot of fun, is it? Today I just prepared a very simple lunch that turned out to amazingly delicious. I will be making it for my parents soon to get the seal of approval. But I am sure they are going to love it.

Chipotle Alfredo Pasta

Chipotle and Rosemary Alfredo Pasta
Author: 
Recipe type: Lunch
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • •1 small package of spaghetti, cooked
  • •3 TBSP unsalted butter
  • •1/4 onion, finely chopped
  • •4 garlic cloves, minced
  • •2/3 cup sour cream
  • •1 or 2 chipotles adobados from a can
  • •1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • •1 TBSP rosemary, chopped
  • •1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • •salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a medium sauce pan melt butter over high heat. Add onion and sauté. Add garlic and sauté as well.
  2. Add sour cream and chipotle peppers and stir until it blends with the butter. Add rosemary.
  3. Reduce heat add ¼ cup of the Parmesan cheese. Stir until it melts and blends with the sauce.
  4. Add mushrooms, season to taste and let the sauce simmer for about 7 minutes.
  5. Turn heat off and add the rest of the cheese. Stir constantly until it melts.
  6. You can either serve the pasta on a plate and pour some of the sauce on top or add the pasta to the sauce pan and toss it together to coat it with the sauce.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

 

Chipotle Alfredo Pasta

¡Buen provecho!

This recipe is my entry for this week’s Presto Pasta Nights. This week’s hostess is Claire of Chez Cayene. Please check out the roundup tomorrow!

24 Jul

Strawberry BBQ Sauce

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Strawberry chipotle bbq sauce

[donotprint]Every year I promise myself that I am going to eat more locally grown produce, but for one reason or another I never take full advantage of the seasonal markets and produce. I am trying to change that little by little and this year I’ve been buying a lot of delicious locally grown berries. However, I sometimes have more than I can eat in my fruit salads and bombas (eating raw fruit is the best way to consume it for me. Their delicious natural sweetness has no comparison) so I have been trying to find new ways to eat them like this, this and this recent recipes.

I got a bunch of strawberries on sale last week and I needed to use them before they went bad and after the strawberry risotto I realized that strawberries go well in savory dishes so I decided to make a bbq sauce this time. The recipe is very simple. I used it for chicken, but I believe it would also pair perfectly with pork.[/donotprint]

Strawberry chipotle bbq sauce

The ingredients:

  • 2 cup strawberries, cleaned
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 chipotle adobado pepper
  • 2 TBSP dark sugar

The how-to:

  1. Blend strawberries, vinegar and pepper.
  2. Pour in a small sauce pan, add dark sugar and cook over medium heat until it starts to boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low and stir constantly until the sauce thickens.

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[donotprint]This is another sweet and spicy simple recipe for my lazy summer cooking. In the following weeks I’ll be experimenting with other fruits and berries. Fire up your grills and let the barbecue start.[/donotprint]

¡Buen provecho!

[donotprint]A lot of people were wondering how I made my pancakes fly on my last post. No, it wasn’t magic or a magician’s trick :p. I set my camera on a tripod, adjusted the apperture, shutter speed and flash. I then set the timer and hold the top pancake over the plate and let it go when the timer was up. It took several tries to get those shots and I still didn’t get the angle I was looking for. What I did accomplish was to confuse and intrigue my readers, right? LOL[/donotprint]

13 Jul

Spicy mayo and how to photograph steam

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Spicy mayo

I love corn on the cob. In the fairs and street markets in Mexico I would always eat elotes con mayonesa y queso, a classic street food down there. When you walk down the street and see a long line in front of lady (usually) standing next to a big steamer and a table with containers of mayonnaise, cheese and chili powder, then that’s the place to get your elotes.

Last summer I wanted to recreate that delicious street food from my memories, but when I was getting the ingredients ready I wondered how the mayo would turn out if I spiced it up a little. So I chopped one chipotle adobado pepper and mixed it with 1/2 cup of mayo. The result was delicious! For our camping trip last year I also added some Parmesan cheese and packed it in the cooler for easy transportation.

For a while I have been wanting to post this simple tip to make spicy mayonnaise. I finally decided to do it when I was reading an article online on how to photograph steam and realized that a picture of steamy corn would look great. I spent two and a half hours today playing with my food to capture the elusive and ghostly steam with the camera. And here I share with you what I learned:

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  1. First you need to realize that it would be almost impossible to photograph steamy food. I spent about 10 minutes setting up the lights,  props, and taking the test pictures. By the time I was ready to start taking the “real” pictures the corn would’ve been cold. Besides, mayo on hot corn would melt and look nasty so I used a clothe soaked in boiling water between the two cobs as my source of steam. Other options would be to use a cappuccino machine, a small piece of dry ice or steam chips sold at photography stores.
  2. My first test shots were taken against a white background, which didn’t work at all because, unlike other white subjects (eggs, for example), steam doesn’t have defined edges and therefore it will visually blend with the white background. That’s why you need to have a dark background.
  3. To photograph steam you will need a backlight. Without this, it will be very difficult to capture the true effect of steam. It’s the light coming through the steam that lights it up. For the first shot above I used 2 flashes. The master flash was attached to the camera with the head tilted at 90° to bounce the light off the ceiling. My backlight was a slave flash to the back and left of the subject shooting through a white umbrella. I also had a mirror to the right and front of the subject to reduce shadows in the front of the picture. Sadly, my slave flash died in the middle of the session so I had to change my strategy. My master flash became an off-camera flash shooting through a white umbrella from the left of the subject and I used a lamp on the right and a mirror in front of the subject to reduce shadows. As you can see in the picture below, the steam is not as prominent because of the lack of a backlight.

Spicy mayo

Somethings to keep in mind: The bigger the clothe the more steam you will get, but the more difficult it would be to hide it behind your food. Also, you will probably spend a lot of time setting the food and taking pictures, so you might want to keep a pot with boiling water on the stove in order to get fresh steam quickly. Be patient and try different settings and angles. Like I’ve always said, the best way to get the perfect shot is to get your camera out and play with it and your food as often as you can.

I still have a long way to capture steam like a pro, but I think this was a good start and there will be a lot more opportunities to practice, what do you think?

¡Buen provecho!