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Sofrito

January 29, 2010

Sofrito is the base for all the major Cuban dishes. It is full-flavored and can be a base sauce for any meat, such as fish, pork, shrimp, chicken, and beef. When making the sauce, remember that you will not have any leftovers, because will be eaten up. Best served over white rice with fried platanos (plantains) and of course toasted Cuban bread.

1 can of tomato sauce

Goya Sazon

1 medium spanish onion (chopped)

1 medium green pepper (chopped)

3 garlic gloves (minced)

1 bay leaf

1 1/2 cups of vino seco (dry white cooking wine)

2 packets of Goya Sazón with Coriander, Azafrán, and Annatto seasoning

2 tbsp. Goya Adobo seasoning

1 tsp.  Garlic powder

2 tsp. Salt

2 tbsp. Cumino (Ground Cumin)

2 tbsp. Olive oil

1 cup of broth (kind depends on the meat used in dish)

In a large sauce pan, place olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions and peppers until they are slightly translucent. Add garlic, stir, and cook for about 2 more minutes.  Add the tomato sauce and bay leaf and simmer for about 3 minutes. Add cooking wine and the remainder of the spices and stir. Simmer for about 8 minutes while stirring occasionally. Add the broth of your choice and meat. Cover pot and let meat “stew” until the meat is thoroughly cooked. The good news about Sofrito is, the longer it cooks the better it tastes. So do not be afraid to cook several hours on med-lo heat if necessary. Just make sure to add any additional broth if needed. If you have added too much broth by accident, don”t fret. Just raise the temperature to reduce the sauce. If you choose, you can just make the sauce and store in the freezer (up to six months). Defrost the sauce at a later date and add any type of meat to make a simple and delicious meal in a jiffy…Enjoy!!

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Cajun-Creole Tilapia

January 8, 2010

This recipe is quick, easy and full of flavor. I have several friends that do not eat fish and once they tried this dish, they were hooked. Tilapia is a wonderful fish to use since it is a very mild and flaky white fish.  This recipe is not only delicious, but healthy as well. Goes great with rice pilaf and buttered spinach. Prep time 2 minutes. Cook time 10 minutes.

Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning

1 pound Tilapia filets

1 lemon

3 tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp Tony Chacheres Creole Seasoning

If you choose to broil the fish, set oven to 500, or you can opt to pan fry. Coat tilapia with drizzled olive oil on both sides. Now season both sides with the creole seasoning. If you choose to broil, place in a metal pan lined with foil (makes easier clean-up). Cook for about 10 minutes or until seasoning darkens and fish becomes flaky. If  you opt to pay fry, set range to med-hi heat and lightly coat pan with a little extra olive oil.  Sear for 5 minutes on both sides. The coloring should be a medium caramel color. After the fish is done, squeeze lemon over all the pieces. Enjoy!

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Southern Fried Catfish Nuggets

January 5, 2010

This is one of my family’s favorites with my mac and cheese and collard greens.  The trick is to first soak the catfish in milk. Milk is known to remove any fishy taste and smells from any fish the cook decides to use. Also, when using catfish, do not purchase the catfish nuggets already on display in the seafood department. Always ask for catfish filets and cut them into strips. The fish is of better quality and has a very little chance of bones.

SEASONED- Fish FRY 10-oz.

1 lb. of  Catfish filet ( cut into strips)

1 cup milk

2 eggs

1  10 oz package of Louisiana seasoned fish fry mix (avaiable at Publix in the seafood department)

1 tbsp. Lawry’s Seasoning Salt

1 Lemon

After unwrapping the catfish, rinse with water, pat dry. Cut the filets into strips and soak in a large bowl with milk for one hour.  In a small bowl scramble 2 eggs and get a large dish ready for the fish fry batter with seasoning salt mixed in. Remove the catfish from the milk and coat with the egg mixture. Then toss the “egged” catfish in the batter until well coated. Place on a clean plate and continue the process until all the catfish is battered. A very important key is to place the battered nuggets into the fridge to keep the fish chilled and help the batter to set. Do so for at least one hour.  To fry, one can use a deep fryer or a pan filled with 2 inches of vegetable oil. If pan frying, set range to med-hi and wait about 10 minutes or until oil is nice and hot. Test oil by dropping a little of the batter into the oil. If the batter immediately bubbles and rises to the surface, you can proceed to fry. It is important to fry in batches because if you put to much in at one time, the oil temperature will drop and not cook correctly (this can cause fried foods to be soaggy). Each pound of catfish should be divided up into three batches. Drop in a little at a time and cook for 8 minutes (keeping watch of color and making sure that the oil is cooking the top as well). The color should be a dark-golden color. Remove one piece to test, break open, and make sure that the fish is solid in color and texture. Set each batch on a plate with paper towels to soak up any extra oil draining off. After removing a batch and plating, squeeze lemon over fish. Serve with tartar sauce, hot sauce, or enjoy alone!

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Cucumber and Red Onion Salad With Rice Vinegar Dressing

December 30, 2009

This is one of my favorites, due to the taste that Nakano’s Rice Vinegar brings to the dish.

Nakano's Seasoned Rice Vinegar with Basil and Oregano

Not only is it healthy, but the flavor and texture has a complex appeal to the palate.

2 Cucumbers (peeled and sliced)

1/4 cup Red onion (sliced and chopped finely)

2 tsp. Dill

2 tbsp. Olive oil

1/2 Cup Nakano’s Rice Vinegar Seasoned with Basil and Oregano

1 cup Grape tomatoes (sliced in half, but adding tomatoes is optional)

In a small dish mix olive oil, dill, and the rice vinegar. In a large bowl combine cucumbers and red onion. Toss the cucumber mix with the dressing and place in the fridge to chill for two hours. This will allow the rice vinegar to tenderize and marinate the vegetables.  Remove from fridge and serve. Bon Appetit!

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Jamaican Jerk Chicken

December 29, 2009

Several years ago I came across this seasoning for Jerk. Walkerswood’s Jerk is the best seasoning by far. You may see others in the store, such as Ochos Rios, but don’t settle…they are not as good.

3 tbsp. Walkerwood’s Jerk seasoning (paste)

Walkerswood's Jerk seasoning

2 1/2  lbs. of chicken (skin on,bone-in, thigh are best)

1 Spanish onion (sliced in rings)

1 tsp. Sugar

3 tbsp. Salt

2 limes

1/4 cup Olive oil

In a bowl mix the jerk paste with sugar, salt, onions, olive oil, and the juice of the limes. When the marinade is fully incorporated, toss in the chicken (if you choose to use another meat, do so). Refrigerate for 24 hours. Within the 24 hours, mix the chicken to make sure it is evenly coated. Traditionally, jerk is grilled. If you choose to grill, do so on med heat and allow some of the flames to crisp the skin of the chicken. If you cannot grill, it can also be broiled in the oven. If you use the oven, put chicken and marinade in a large baking dish. Uncovered, broil at 500 degrees for 20 minutes (put do not place on top shelf in the oven, still place in the middle rack). After the 20 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and cook for 45 minutes. This will cause the tops of the chicken to crisp, while the marinade braises the meat.  Giving the chicken a more infused flavor throughout and a more juicy piece of meat (versus cooking on the grill where the marinade is typically only on the outside).  When chicken is done, discard the marinade and serve with lime slices on the side for additional flavor. Viola, The taste of the islands without leaving you kitchen!

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Grilled Creole and Lime Shrimp

December 29, 2009

This is my husband’s favorite. I made it by accident one day and hoped he would like it. His response, “Oh my…this is the best shrimp I have ever tasted!” The taste alone makes you only want shrimp prepared this way.

1 lb. large shrimp (peeled, and deveined)

1 lime

2 tbsp. Tony Chachare’s Cajun Creole Seasoning (can be found at Publix and Walmart Market

Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning

place)

1 tsp olive oil (optional)

After you have cleaned the shrimp, toss in the Creole seasoning. It can be best on a grill, but you can also fry on med-hi in a pan with a little bit of oil olive oil. Cook about 2 minutes on each side or until shrimp are solid in color. Squeeze lime juice over the whole dish. NOTE: Do not add the lime with the seasoning before cooking. This will cause the shrimp to start cooking itself due to the acidity. Also when the lime is added with the seasoning, it does not allow the creole seasoning to adhere.  Enjoy this hot, spicy, and well-rounded flavor that are presented in this dish!

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French Onion Beef Roast

December 27, 2009

3 1/2 pond rump roast

2 tbsp. Meat Tenderizer

2 packets Lipton Beef and Onion Soup Mix

2 cups Water

Wash roast and pierce heavily with a fork.  Sprinkle meat tenderizer and let it rest in the fridge for 24 hours.  Sprinkle one packet of Lipton’s soup mix at the bottom of a crockpot and place roast on top. Cover roast with second packet of soup mix and then add water around the roast. Place on low for slow-cooking for 8 hours or high for 4 hours (depending on how much time you have). 30 minutes before serving, slice roast and put back into the crockpot with the soup gravy. Served best with mashed potatoes and green beans. While this recipe is so easy, the taste makes your mouth explode with flavor.

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