Sunday, December 12, 2010

TAMALES, savory pork, rajas con queso and dulces!

Wow! Well, this was no easy feat. There was so much going on in the kitchen.

I arrived at mom's and she had already started everything. In fact, she was already assemling the tamales. This is definitely time consuming, but if you prep ahead of time, it doesn't have to be.

I'll start with the delicious pork filling first.


3 lbs. pork riblets, with or without bone
2 garlic cloves
8-10 dry chile guajillos, like the ones in the picture above. Soaked in warm water for 1 to 2 hours tomato
a handful of fresh oregano

Place pork in a pan, and fill the pan 1/2 way up with water. Cook in the water, add salt and garlic. Simmer until pork is cooked through.

Blend the soaked chiles, fresh oregano, garlic cloves with some of the juice from the chiles, and tomato.

Once the pork is cooked, drain some of the juices out, and add the salsa (drained). Simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Salt to taste.

Cooked pork.


(Makes about 6 dozen tamales)
10 lbs. of masa (you get this at a mexican food shop)
1 cup white rice
6 dozen corn husks, soak in very hot water for 1 hour prior to assembling tamales (you get this at mexican food shop). Refer to picture above.
Tortilla maker, it'll make things easier :)

Tamale masa

Soaking corn husks

Cook the white rice with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil then simmer for about 20 minutes, until water is evaporated. Mix the rice in with the prepared tamale masa in a deep bowl.

Assemble tamales:
Place a corn husk on the tortilla maker. Place a ball of masa in the center of the corn husk. Squeeze the tortilla maker down gently, ever so slightly. You may have to place a piece of plastic on the top portion of the tortilla maker so the masa doens't stick to it. Keep the plastic just a little moist with water.

Take the corn husk off the tortilla maker and onto a flat surface. Put the filling on it.

Then fold the right side toward the center and lay the masa over the filling. Open the leaf back toward the right. Fold the left side over toward the center, and leave it there. Fold the bottom portion of the corn husk toward the top. Then fold the right side over the left side, snugly.

Folding the bottom of husk toward the top

Folding snugly

Place the tamales in a steamer, standing. Fill the steamer with tamales. Make sure the bottom portion of the steamer has plenty of water.

Place a towl over the tamales and tuck into the sides of the steamer. Put the lid on the steamer and cook over medium heat for about 1 hour, or until masa is completely cooked.


We also made tamales de rajas con chile (chile and cheese tamales) and tamales de dulce (sweet tamales)
Tamales de Rajas con Chile filling:
Monterrey Jack cheese cut into sticks
Chile pasilla, roasted and cut into strips

To roast the chile place it right ove the stove fire and leave until every surface turns black. Once done place the chile in a plastic bag so it sweats and the peel comes off easily. After about 10 minutes, remove the chile from the bag and peel all the black off by sliding it off with your fingers. Then cut into strips, and remove seeds and stem. Cut enough strips to use one for each tamale.

Assemble the same as the pork tamales, but instead of adding pork filling to the corn husk, add a strip of cheese and a strip of chile. Fold the corn husk closed in the same manner and cooke for an hour, or until masa is completely cooked.

And now for the sweet tamales!!
Sweet tamale filling:
2 lbs. of prepared tamale masa
1/3 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of chopped fresh pineapple, or out of a can ;)
1/4 cup of raisins
Mix all of the above ingredients together.
To assemble the tamales, place a large dollop of sweet masa in the center of a corn husk. Then fold the right side to the center, followed by the left side of the husk toward the center, covering the masa. Then, take the bottom edge of the husk and fold up in half toward the top edge. Tie together with a strip of corn husk to keep it from opening. Place all tamales in a steamer and cook for an hour.

These are so delicious, I couldn't stop eating them today! Can't wait to make them again for Christmas!!
BUEN PROVECHO...enjoy. Let me know if you're brave enough to try them and how it all turns out.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Albondigas | Meatball Soup

Making mom's albondigas recipe couldn't have come on a better day. I woke up with a bit of a sore throat. The warmth of the ablondiga soup felt so good to my throat, it relaxed me and put me to sleep early. I love to make a large pot of albondigas so there's enough for the next day. My son Aidan loved it so much, he couldn't wait to have it for dinner the next day.

1.5 lbs. ground turkey
1 egg
1 tomato
1 onion
1/2 cup rice
3 potatoes cut into cubes
6 carrots in 1/2" slices
chopped mint (hierbabuena) or oregano

Blend tomato and onion. Add 1/2 the sauce to a bowl with ground turkey, raw egg, rice, salt and hierbabuena. Mix well and form into balls.

In the meantime, have water boiling with some salt and the other 1/2 of the tomato and onion sauce. Once the water is boiling, add meatballs to it along with carrots and potatoes. Just place them right above the water, they will sink to the bottom. It may even seem like they may just fall apart. But don't worry, I think the same thing everytime I make them and they always come out perfectly round and delicious. Lower the flame until the meat and vegetables cook.

Serve with a splash of lemon juice and warm tortillas. DE-LI-CIO-SO!!!!

This picture shows the albondigas rising to the surface...see, they didn't fall apart!
This recipe is super simple, and super delicious and comforting. Sometimes I double up the recipe just to have enough for days. So comforting on cold, rainy days.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pumpkin Empanadas...they're ready!

The minute I saw the beautiful, bright picture of the pumpkin wtih the empanadas next to it, I knew this was a recipe I had to try at home. A fellow blogger from Muy Bueno Cookbook posted it, it's a recipe she grew up making with her grandmother. So as soon as I had a chance over the weekend I got started.

Everyone absolutely loved these and they were gone in no time!!

I'm posting the recipe exactly as I found it on my fellow Latina's blog.

Makes 24-30 empanadas

Pumpkin Filling

2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed firmly
1 cup organic pumpkin, NOT pie filling
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar until it dissolves with the butter.

Stir in the pumpkin and the spices. Continue to stir over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Make sure the filling is not too watery; otherwise, let it cook for a couple more minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool down. After it's cooled off for about 15 minutes, put the filling in the refrigerator to help it set for 30 minutes or overnight.

You can make the Empanada Dough while the filling is cooling off.

Empanada Dough
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar

Mix the first 3 dry ingredients. Cut in the shortening with the dry ingredients. Works better if you use your hands. Add the eggs, milk and sugar. Continue to work in with your hands.

Split the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes. Take out one half of the dough and split it into 12-18 balls of dough. Depending on how small you want your empanadas.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. You can fill your empanadas with any preserves made ahead of time.

Roll out the dough into small round circles. Add a small dollop of filling on one half of the rolled out dough.

Wet the botton edge of the dough with water to help seal the two halves. Fold over the dough to seal. Seal off the edges with a fork by pressing down along the two edges. This also makes for a pretty pattern when baked.

Brush each empanada with egg whites, sprinkle with sugar and puncture each empanada with a fork to allow steam to escape while baking. Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray **I (Sonia) used a stoneware tray = no need for spraying**, place the empanadas on the cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes on medium rack in the oven. If after 15 minutes you notice the bottoms of the empanadas starting to brown, move the cookie sheet to the top rack and continue to bake for the last 5 minutes.

That's it. Let them cool and enjoy! The are the perfect size.

If you try them, please give me feedback.


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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pumpkin Empanadas anyone??? Sneak peak...

I found this pumpkin empanada recipe that just sounds absolutely delicious. I've made the pumpkin filling today. Will let it sit overnight in the fridge and make the empanadas tomorrow. Here's a sneak peak of pumpkin filling. If it's a success, I'll post the recipe.

Made my own pumpkin puree from scratch!!

And here is the pumpkin filling...tastes delicious so far.

I'll kee you posted.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


In Mexico we celebrate November 2nd, Dia de Los Muertos (day of the dead) with Pan de Muerto (bread of the dead). The custom is for people to setup altars to honor their loved ones. In these altars they make offerings including their favorite foods. One of these offerings is usually Pan de Muerto.

Although we had Pan de Muerto when we lived in Mexico City, it wasn't our family's tradition to setup altars or even bake it. We've decided to make it our family tradition to bake it.

I found an excellent recipe online at that was posted by Lola. Thank you Lola! Your recipe is simple, easy to follow and delicious.

So after driving around Sandy's neighborhood thanks to a faulty GPS (grrrr....) I finally arrived at my destination. I started the dough at home since it needs to sit and rise for a while. And being that I'm more into cooking than photography, I naturally forgot to take photos of the initial steps. But trust me, it's easy! Here we go...

1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons anise seed
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons orange zest
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 tablespoons white sugar

Heat the milk and the butter in a medium saucepan, until the butter melts. Remove from the heat and add the warm water. The mixture should be around 110 degrees F (43 degrees C).

In a large bowl combine 1 cup of the flour, yeast, salt, anise seed and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Beat in the warm milk mixture then add the eggs and orange zest and beat until well combined. Stir in 1/2 cup of flour and continue adding more flour until the dough is soft.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.

Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. This will take about 1 to 2 hours.

* This is when I hit the road from my place to Sandy's with "THE dough * Thanks to the GPS, I drove around in circles around her house for waaaay to long.

And that's where the next step came in handy :) ...
Punch the dough down...careful not to miss the don't want to hit the counter me...ouch!

Shape the dough into a large round loaf with a round knob on top, for a traditional look. Or, shape into the desired shape of your choice like skulls...get creative!
Place dough onto a baking sheet, loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until just about doubled in size.

Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Let cool slightly then brush with glaze.

To make glaze:

In a small saucepan combine 1/4 cup sugar, orange juice and orange zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 2 minutes.

Brush glaze over top of bread while still warm.

Sprinkle glazed bread with white sugar.


The result was way better than I expected. We all enjoyed even, even mom and dad were raving. I hope you enjoy it as much. Hasta pronto.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Caldo de Pollo / Chicken Soup

Caldo de Pollo

Hey ya'll, it's me, Sandy.  Are you ready for some healthy, wholesome goodness? (Say yes). Sweet, then let me share this nostalgic Mexican chicken soup with you all.  I remember eating this soup since I was a little girl-back when I didn't even like squash!  Mom brought some of this to my house in August when I got sick and I suspect it has healing powers.  
Anyways, this would have been a perfect dish during those few days when we had rain recently.  But we are providing you with this delicious and healthy recipe now-on this hot Inland Empire day- as preparation for the cold (or at least chilly) days ahead.   The recipe is very simple....we got it right the first time without any boo-boo's (besides cutting up too many veggies)!  

Here are the ingredients:

-3.5 lbs of chicken (with skin)
-2 tomatoes
-3 potatoes
-2 onions
-3 Mexican squash
-3 to 4 carrots
-3 tablespoons of oil
-oregano, just a pinch or two
-salt to taste

Cook the chicken in a big pot with enough water to cover it.  Use medium high heat.

Chop the onions and the tomatoes, then set aside.
Add a few chunks of the onion to the cooking chicken at this time.

Chop up the potatoes, carrots, and squash.
Chop! Chop! Chop!  Good job, Sonia... looking good! ;)

When the chicken is fully cooked, remove from the pot of water and remove the skin.  It should pretty much slide off.  Sonia used a knife and fork to do this so she didn't even get her hands dirty, she's a pro.

Place the chicken back in the pot along with the potatoes, carrots, and squash. Cook at medium heat.  Add a pinch or two of oregano and salt.

After letting the denser veggies cook for about 5 minutes, grill the onions and tomatoes with a bit of oil over medium heat.  As soon as they cook and smell yummy, add them to the pot.

Cook until the potatoes and carrots and just tender. Make sure you taste it and salt to your liking.

Serve hot with corn tortillas and sliced avocado.  Que rrrrrrico!

Please leave comments and questions.  We love the feedback!  Let us know how your caldo de pollo turned out and let us know how much you loved it!  Until next time....

Sandy y Sonia