Thursday, April 28, 2011


Michelada is a cocktail from mexico made with beer and lime. The name comes from the slang word "Chela" meaning "Beer" and "helada" meaning iced cold, so it literally translates "My iced cold beer". It is very easy to make and it's perfect for spring and summer barbecues.

Ingredients for 1 glass

1 light beer (mexican beer preferably but any light will do)
1 lime, squeezed
a few drops of Tabasco sauce
a few drops of Worcestershire sauce
a pint glass

Place the glass(es) in the freezer at least 30 minutes before preparing. Place coarse salt in a plate, and using the lime cut in half, rim the glass with enough salt. Add ice and squeeze the lime. Pour the beer  and season with the drops of Tabasco and Worcestershire to taste. Mix with a spoon and enjoy.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Chuzos de Cerdo con arepa (pork skewer with arepa)

With the barbecue season approaching as the weather warms up, we need to start thinking about delicious grilled recipes and these pork skewers are not exception. These are normally sold in Colombia, in food trucks or mobile grills on the streets and outside the Stadiums before and after an event and grilled over coals. They are always served with a little arepa on top (arepa recipe at the bottom of the page).

  • 1/2 pound pork tenderloin cut in cubes
  • 1 big onion cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 6 crimini mushrooms

  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sour orange marinade
  • 1/4 cup beer
  • 2 scallions
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon annato or achiote powder (coloring)
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 thyme springs
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • a pinch chili flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Wash and dry the pork cubes and rub with salt and pepper, place in a non reactive bowl or a plastic bag. In a blender mix all the marinade ingredients and blend for 2 minutes. Add the marinade to the bowl or bag, cover with plastic wrap or seal the bag and refrigerate overnight or at least 3 hours.

Soak the skewers in water ahead of time, so they don't burn when grilling. Preheat the grill to medium high. Ensemble the skewers placing cubes of meat, onion and one mushroom. Sear the skewers on all side and cook for 10 -12 more minutes brushing with the marinade and turning frequently so the meat is cooked all way through.

Serve hot with an arepa on top.

Ingredients for the Arepitas

1 cup precooked white cornmeal
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon room temperature butter
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a bowl mix all ingredients and work with you hands until all the ingredients are well incorporated and the dough is soft and doesn't stick. Divide the dough into 6 portions and form little balls with your hands flatten the surface a little bit.

Heat a "Parrilla" wire grill to medium heat, and place the arepas over the heat of element. Cook for 5 minutes on each side or until they're lightly golden brown. These arepas are served with fried chicken, Roasted chicken, carne asada, and many other Colombian dishes.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hojaldras (Dough Fritters)

Hojaldras are a typical dish made for Christmas. They are served as a snack for the "novenas" along with Buñuelos and Natilla. In some regions of Colombia they are also made only with salt and are eaten all year round as a snack. This recipe is for the sweet Hojaldras, they make a perfect dessert served with ice cream. If you want the salty version, just omit the sugar and orange zest, replace the orange juice for water and make them a bigger.

Makes 12 small hojaldras

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoonful butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 orange (juice and zest)
1/4 cup icing sugar
Vegetable oil for frying

In a bowl ix the dry ingredients: flour, salt, and sugar, mix with a fork. Add the butter or margarine and incorporate with the fork. Add 3 tablespoons orange juice and 1/2 teaspoon orange zest, add 1 tablespoon of water and mix vigorously with the fork until all ingredients are well incorporated. Using your hands work the dough, it will be a little sticky at the beginning, sprinkle a little flour if needed. Knead the dough for 3 minutes until having a soft and firm dough.

Form a ball and wrap it with plastic. Let it set for 15 minutes. Heat the oil in a heavy pot to 350 F.

Using a rolling pin, over a flour surface, roll it to 1/4 inch thickness and using a knife cut it into strips 1 inch wide, they can have different forms and sizes. Take each piece and roll it again to 1/8 thick. Take each piece with you hand and stretch it to the maximum without breaking it, place into the hot oil and fry for 1 1/2 minute until puffy and golden brown.

Drain over kitchen paper, Sprinkle icing sugar and serve.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Southern Biscuits (Bizcochos Sureños)

These biscuits are a classic in the Southern Cuisine of the United States. They are the perfect to have with Fried Chicken or just with Maple Syrup or Jam for breakfast.

Ingredients for 12

2 cups all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons butter, chilled
1 cup cold buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Using your hands mix the butter into the dry ingredients until forming crumbs, we don't want the butter to melt. Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk. Stir until forming a very sticky dough.

Preheat oven to 450 F.

Flour the working surface and the top of the dough. Using a rolling pin, fold dough over itself 6 times. Extent to a 1 inch. Cut out biscuits to a 2 inches with a cutter or ramekin, making sure to press down through the dough. Fold the remaining dough and cut some more biscuits.

Place the biscuits in a baking sheet or cast iron skillet. Brush with the egg and bake for 15 - 20 minutes until the biscuits puff and are golden brown.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Black Beans (Frijoles negros)

By now you must know I love beans being black beans one of my favorites.They're perfect over rice or with a good loaf of bread. Normally they're cook with pork, but as I'm trying to reduce the fat on my food, I try this recipe that delivered the same flavors without any meat.

Ingredients for 6 servings

1 pound dry black beans
1 chicken bouillon cube
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 big white onion halved
4 gloves garlic
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 chipotle chili in adobo plus 1 tablespoon of the adobo
1 dried chili
1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
4 tablespoons sherry vinegar or cooking red wine
 Salt and pepper to taste

Place the beans in a bowl wash with abundant water, remove any dirt. Cover with enough water and let soak overnight.

In a pressure cooker place the olive oil and heat at medium heat, place the garlic cloves, onion, chicken bouillon, bay leaves, cumin and paprika and chili. Cook stiring for 2-3 minutes. Add the beans with the soaking water. Approximately 4 cups or enough to cover them. Seal the pressure cooker and cook at medium heat for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to minimum.

Release the pressure and open the pressure cooker. (you can cook the beans in a stock pot for about 2 hours if you don't want to use a pressure cooker but you will need to add more liquid like chicken broth). Remove the onions, garlic cloves, chili, and place in a blender with 4 tablespoons of the liquid and some of the cooked beans, add the chipotle chili with 2 tablespoons of adobo, if you don't want them too spicy add less chipotle. Blend for 2 minutes until you have a consistent paste alike mix. Add the paste to the beans and the sherry vinegar or wine. If you didn't use enough chipotle and want the smokiness of it, add the liquid smoke. Simmer in low heat for 10 minutes or until it thickens to the desire consistency.

Remove the bay leaves and discard. Serve hot over white rice or with bread or corn tortillas on the side.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tortilla Primaveral (Spring Omelette)

Spring is here and nothing beats a breakfast with a juicy flavorful Omelette. This is a very easy recipe full of healthy vegetables, flavor and texture.

Ingredients 4 portions

6 eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped spinach
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium ripe tomatoes, diced
1 cup porcini mushrooms sliced length-wise
1/2 thin sliced Spanish chorizo (cured)
1 teaspoon corn-starch
4  tablespoons cold milk
5 corn tortillas
non-stick cooking spray (canola oil)
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan reggiano cheese, coarsely grated
chopped chives to garnish.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut the corn tortillas into 2 inches squares, lay on a tray covered with foil paper. Spray with canola oil. Bake for 7-10 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Remove from the oven and set aside. You can use tortilla chips and skip this step.

In a cast iron skillet or non stick pan that does not have a plastic handle, heat the olive oil at medium heat. Add the sliced chorizo and saute for 3 minutes. Add the diced onion and cook for 3 minutes.Add the spinach, diced tomatoes and mushroom, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Place in a bowl and set aside.

In a medium bowl dissolve the corn starch in the cold milk. Beat the eggs in and mix until well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.

Wipe the skillet with towel paper, and spray generously with canola oil. Place on the stove at medium heat. Add half of the eggs mixture and immediately add the sauteed vegetables and chorizo placing evenly. Top with the tortilla chips and add the remaining egg mixture over the chips. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the eggs are lightly cooked.

Sprinkle the Parmesan reggiano and place in the oven to finish the omelette to your desire consistency.

Cut into portions and garnish with the chopped chives and more Parmesan cheese.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Pollo Frito (Fried Chicken)

When you think about friend chicken, it comes to mind the South of the U.S but this delicious dish has its origins in Europe back to the medieval times. In Italy it was called "pollo fritto". When it was introduced to the United States by Scottish immigrants it became a staple which was perfectioned by the African slaves in the southern plantations by adding different spices. In Colombia we have 2 national chains of fried chicken restaurants which have a distinctive flavor: Kokoriko and Frisby: They serve the chicken with small fried arepas and honey and give you disposable plastic gloves, so you can eat it with your hands without getting your hands all messy.

Recipe 8- 10  pieces

1 whole chicken, about 3 1/2 or 4 pounds. Cut into 8-10 pieces
2 cups of buttermilk (suero)
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon annatto (achiote)
1/2 teaspoon spicy sauce (sriracha)
2 teaspoons sea salt (plus more for tasting)
1 teaspoon freshly grounded black pepper


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly grounded black pepper

3 cups solid shortening or lard (you can replace for a healthier option like canola oil)

Wash and dry the chicken pieces over paper towel, season lightly with salt and pepper rubbing the skin. In a bowl, mix the buttermilk, mustard, annato, spicy sauce, salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the mix making sure all the pieces are covered. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight ( 3 hours before frying will do).

In a paper or plastic bag, mix all the breading ingredients. put the chicken pieces one by one and shake until they are coated wit the breading mixture. Place the coated pieces on a rack and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.

In the meantime in a large cast iron pot or fryer, heat the shortening or oil to 350F. Place the pieces of chicken one by one into the hot oil skin side down. Adjust the burner or fryer to maintain a temperature of 300-325F and fry the chicken until golden brown and cooked through. It will take approximately 12-15 minutes. If your pot or fryer is not big enough, fry in batches, repeating the process for the remaining pieces, bringing the temperature to 350F at first and then reducing to 300-325F.

Drain the chicken over towel paper and season with a pinch of salt. Serve hot with honey on the side.