Spike's & Jamie's Recipe Collection & a Whole Lot More!

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Recipes from Spike & Jamie

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Contents Disk 231

How to use these pages:  Below is a list of the recipes on this page.  You can either scroll down the page and look at all of the recipes, or look at the titles.  When you find one that seems interesting, use your web browsers FIND function to take you directly to that recipe (on my IE browser it's Edit/Find (on this page)   or Ctrl - F on your keyboard).

ATOLE DE FRESAS 
AWARD WINNING GUACAMOLE 
BAKED BURRITOS 
BAKED MASA BOATS 
BEAN AND CORN SOUP 
BISCOCHITO CAKE 
BLACK BEAN STEW 
BRAISED ANCHO CHILI LAMB 
BREAKFAST FRUIT CHIMICHANGAS 
CARNE ASADA 
CARNE GUISADA 
CEVICE INFORMATION 
CHEESY REFRIED BEANS 
CHICHIS MILD SALSA 
CHICKEN SALAD SEVICHE 
CHORIZO WITH CLAMS AND BAY LEAF 
CHORIZOS 
CHRISTMAS SEASON IN MEXICO 
DINOSAUR CALZONES 
ECUADOREAN SHRIMP CEVICHE 
GARDEN PATCH SALSA 
HOMEMADE CHIPOTLES 
MOLE POBLANO 
MOLE VERDE 
OAXACAN HOT CHOCOLATE 
OAXACAN PIZZAS 
OLE FOR MOLE 
QUESO BLANCO DIP 
REVUELTOS DE CHORIZO 
ROASTED VEGGIE TACOS 
SALMON CEVICHE 
SALSA BORRACHA 
SALSA DE GUSANOS DE MAGUEY 
SEA SCALLOP CEVICHE 
SOUTHWESTERN HAM AND RICE SALAD 
SPICY BLACK BEAN STEW 
SWEET CORN TOMALITO 
TACO RANCH DIP 
TAMARIND CHICKEN WITH CILANTRO 
TORTILLAS LAYERED WITH GREEN SALSA 




ATOLE DE FRESAS

2 pounds strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced
2-1/2 cups water
3/4 cup cornstarch
4 cups milk
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla

In a blender, combine the strawberries and 1/2 cup of the water, and
process thoroughly. Set aside. In a large sauce pan, dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining 2 cups of the water and bring to a boil. When the mixture starts to thicken, add the milk and sugar. Continue cooking until the mixture thickens again.

Remove from the heat, add the strawberry puree, cream, and vanilla. Reheat
the atole until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Serve hot. 

AWARD WINNING GUACAMOLE

15 Ripe medium California Avocados, seeded and peeled
1 Large onion, chopped
3 Garlic cloves, crushed
2 Tomatoes, diced
1 lb Monterey Jack cheese, grated
5 Green chilies, diced (WEAR GLOVES)
1 cup Fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 cup Fresh lime juice
1 tbsp Lawry's seasoned salt

In a large mixing bowl, coarsely mash avocados, leaving some chunks. 
Add remaining ingredients and mix to blend.

Note: To store Guacamole, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the Guacamole and refrigerate.

BAKED BURRITOS

1 3/4 cups shredded cabbage
1/4 cup shredded carrot
2 cups shredded low-fat cheddar cheese -- or Mexican blend
2 cups salsa -- medium heat
1 cup red onions -- chopped
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped cilantro
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
30 ounces canned pinto beans -- drained and rinsed
4 1/2 ounces black olives -- sliced
12 fat-free flour tortillas
1 cup chopped green onions

Preheat oven to 425.
Combine the shredded cabbage and carrot, 1 cup cheese, salsa, and the next 
6 ingredients (salsa through olives) in a large bowl, and stir mixture until blended. Spread about 1 cup of mixture down the center of each tortilla and roll up. Place the burritos on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle burritos with 1 cup cheese and green onions. Bake at 425 for 13 minutes or until cheese melts.

BAKED MASA BOATS 
WITH CHEESE AND ROASTED POBLANOS
(Cazuelitas de Queso y Rajas) 
Makes 6 servings 

When we visited El Popocatepetl tortilleria in Chicago, owner Ernesto Avina offered this suggestion for enjoying the red tortillas that are flavored with guajillo chilies. Any flavored tortillas can be used. 

Olive oil 
1 16-ounce jar tomato salsa (divided) 
12 chili-flavored tortillas 
2 potatoes, peeled, cooked and diced 
1 chorizo sausage, crumbled, fried and drained (about 7 ounces) 
1 cup shredded Chihuahua or Monterey Jack cheese (4 ounces) 

Heat oven to 350 degrees. 

Grease a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with some of the oil and spread 1/2 of the jar of salsa on the bottom. 

Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat; add tortillas in batches. Warm about 20 to 30 seconds per side, turning once. Keep warm. 

Mix potatoes and chorizo in a medium bowl. Spoon the mixture down the center of each heated tortilla; roll up. Arrange tortillas, seam side down, in prepared baking dish. Spoon remaining 1/2 jar of salsa over the top. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Heat until hot and cheese is melted, 20 minutes. 




BEAN AND CORN SOUP 

1 can (15 oz/425 g) black beans 
1 can (15 oz/425 g) corn or 1 1/2 cups frozen corn 
2 cups cooked rice (brown or white) 
1 1/2 cups salsa 
4 - 6 cups veggie stock 
additional optional ingredients: grated soy cheddar, zucchini, mushrooms, onion, cumin, garlic, hot sauce, tomatoes, etc. 

1. Rinse and drain beans. 

2. Put with remaining ingredients in a large soup pot. Simmer until heated through. 

3. Serve. 

Note: this is just a bare outline of a really quick and easy soup that cries out for personalization: Add any of the ingredients from the options list as you see fit (if you're using raw veggies, sauté them briefly in the pot before adding all the other ingredients). Use pinto beans or kidney beans instead of black beans. Omit the rice. You get the idea. And the proportions are just an outline too--if you use less stock, for instance, this "soup" will be very thick and can be used as a dip for tortilla chips or as a filling for burritos, etc. Serves: about 4 

BISCOCHITO CAKE

1/3 cup Sour cream
1/4 cup Baking soda
3/4 cup All-purpose flour
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Anise seeds
1/8 tsp Salt
3 tbsp Unsalted butter
2 tbsp Solid vegetable shortening
1/3 cup Packed light brown sugar
1 large Egg
1 tbsp Brandy
1 tbsp Granulated sugar
1/4 tsp Cinnamon

Fruit Compote:
3 Large, ripe peaches
1 tbsp Granulated sugar, or more to taste
2 tsp Each: fresh lemon juice and brandy

Cake:
Pinch each: cinnamon, crushed anise seeds

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 inch round layer cake pan. Stir the sour cream and baking soda together; let stand while you begin the cake. Combine flour, baking powder, anise and salt in a bowl; set aside.

With an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter, shortening and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg, and mix 1 minutes. Lightly fold in sour cream mixture and brandy, then combined flour mixture.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth top with rubber spatula. Stir together granulated sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over top of cake. Bake until toothpick in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

While cake bakes, prepare peaches. Dice peaches and mix with granulated sugar, lemon juice, brandy, cinnamon and anise. Toss lightly and let stand at
least 15 minutes before serving.

Cool cake in pan for 5 minutes then loosen from sides with a small knife. Invert onto a serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature with the peaches.
Makes one 8-inch cake.

BLACK BEAN STEW 

2 1-lb. cans black beans 
1 1-lb. can chunky salsa or Mexican or chili style tomatoes 
2 large potatoes, diced 
2 carrots, sliced 
3 stalks celery, sliced 
1-1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn 
1 tsp. dried basil 
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin 
2 - 3 Tbsp. tomato paste 

Cook vegetables until barely soft by steaming or micro-waving. Add salt and pepper to taste if desired. Combine with black beans (not drained), tomatoes, and seasonings in a pot and simmer for 20 minutes or so until the flavors meld a bit. Add tomato paste as needed to thicken the stew. (Note: quantities are a bit approximate since I just throw all this together without measuring!) 

We like this because it's so fast and easy and we always have the ingredients around. Nice for when we get home from work tired and hungry! serves 6



BRAISED ANCHO CHILI LAMB 
WITH GOAT CHEESE POLENTA
Serves 4

4 lamb shanks
Salt and pepper to taste
4-5 Tbs. olive oil
4 sheets of banana leaves (cut whole leaf into sections about 18 inches long) 
4 Tbs. cilantro pesto, garnish (recipe below) 
Cilantro oil, garnish (recipe below) 

Spice Rub
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 Tbs. pasilla chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Ancho chili sauce
4-5 dried Ancho Chilies
3 Roma tomatoes, roasted
1/4 cup reserved ancho chili liquid (see below) 
1 quart water
4 Tbs. olive oil
2 large carrots, cut into medium dice
2 poblano chilies, seeded, and cut into medium dice
2 large yellow onions, cut into medium dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

To make the sauce: To roast the tomatoes, place them whole on a sauté pan or comal over high heat. Turn them as they begin to char on all sides. The tomatoes can also be charred under the broiler, turning once. When charred, remove from heat and set aside until cool. Peel the skin off the tomatoes with your hands or a paring knife. Once peeled, cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Set aside.

To prepare the Ancho chilies: Bring the water to a boil, cover, and remove from heat. Cut chilies in half with a knife and remove the seeds and veins. Wear latex gloves or plastic bags to protect your hands from the chili oils. After all the chilies have been cut in half, heat a sauté pan or comal over high heat and add the chilies to toast. Turn them about every 30 seconds, being careful not to let them burn. Continue to toast them for about 2-3 minutes more until they begin to smell toasted (the chili aroma will become noticeable). 

Add the dried, toasted chilies to the reserved hot water and allow them to soak and rehydrate for 10 minutes. Remove from the water and place the chilies, tomatoes, and reserved 1/4 cup rehydrating liquid into a blender. Blend until smooth and set aside. 

Add the olive oil to a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrots, poblano chilies, and onions. Cook for about 2 minutes and add the garlic. Continue to cook until the vegetables have softened, stirring occasionally. This will take about 10 minutes. Add the chili-tomato mixture and the chicken stock and stir well. Add the red pepper flakes, cumin, and coriander and stir well. Bring sauce up to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Let sauce simmer for at least 20 minutes. 

For the lamb: Combine the ingredients for the spice rub together in a bowl. Season the lamb shanks generously with salt and pepper and then coat with the spice rub. In a large pan, over high heat, add the olive oil and the lamb shanks. Sear the shanks well on all sides until well browned. Remove from the pan and set aside to rest. 

To prepare the banana leaves: Over an open flame, or on a large sauté pan on an electric stove, carefully pass the leaves over the heat for a few seconds so they become more flexible. Wipe them with a towel. On a large work surface, lay out the banana leaves. In the center of the leaf, place the seared lamb shank. Using a ladle add enough sauce to cover the lamb and then add a little extra (about 1 to 1 1/2 cups total). Carefully fold the top and bottom sides of the leaf over the shank and then fold over the remaining 2 sides to form a packet. Placing the seam side down, cover the lamb packet with plastic wrap, and finally cover it all with aluminum foil. Place directly on the center rack of the \oven and allow to braise for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. 

Remove from the oven and open up all the layers. Remove the meat from the banana leaf and serve on a bed of goat cheese polenta (recipe below). Garnish with a tablespoon of cilantro pesto and drizzle cilantro oil around dish. 


Cilantro Pesto
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

2 cups chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 Tbs. lime juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup olive oil

In a food processor, combine cilantro, cheese, pine nuts, garlic, lime juice and salt in food processor. Process until finely grated, then slowly add olive oil, for 1 minute or until almost smooth. 


Cilantro Oil
Makes 1 cup

2 cups cilantro leaves
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine cilantro and oil in a blender and blend until it turns bright green in color, about 30 seconds. Transfer oil to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Green Chili Goat Cheese Polenta

2 cups polenta
8 cups water or chicken stock
4 oz green chili goat cheese (can also use plain or herbed goat cheese) 
2 poblano chilies
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut poblano chilies in half and remove the seeds. Place cut side down on a cookie sheet or sheet pan and coat with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place under the broiler until the skins on the peppers are charred. Whole peppers may also be charred over an open flame on the stovetop. Remove from heat, and place peppers inside a thick plastic bag or in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. Allow the peppers to sweat for 15 minutes, or until cool to the touch. Remove from the bag and peel the charred skin off using a paper towel or the back of a knife. Cut peppers into 1/2-inch thick strips and set aside.

Bring water or stock to a boil in a large saucepan and slowly begin to add the polenta in a slow stream while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Continue to stir until mixture begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 15-20 minutes. If polenta seems too dry, add more water (about 2 Tbsp at a time).

Once polenta is cooked, add the goat cheese and poblano chilies. Stir until the cheese has combined with the polenta and serve. 


BREAKFAST FRUIT CHIMICHANGAS

Apricot Basting Sauce
8 oz Cream Cheese Softened
1/2 c Ricotta Cheese
1/4 c Sugar
1 ts Orange Peel, Grated
6 Flour Tortillas
1/4 c Apricot Preserves
1 lg Egg, Beaten
2 tb Butter, Softened
1 c Apricots, Sliced

Flour Tortillas should be 8-inches in diameter and be warm. Prepare apricot basting sauce; set aside. Heat oven to 500'F. Mix cream cheese, ricotta cheese, sugar, and orange peel thoroughly. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the mixture into the center of each tortilla; top with 1 Tbsp of preserves. Fold one end of the tortilla up about 1-inch over mixture; fold in the right and left sides over the folded end and then fold the remaining side to overlap the others. Brush the edges with egg to seal. Brush each with margarine. Place seam sides down on an ungreased jelly roll pan, 15 1/2 X 10 1/2 X 1-inch. Bake until chimichangas begin to brown and the filling is hot, 8 to 10 minutes. Serve with apricots and Apricot Basting Sauce.

CARNE ASADA 
1 20 oz top sirloin steak
2 tbsp Vegetable oil
1/2 tsp Dried leaf oregano, crushed
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Coarsely ground pepper
1/4 cup Orange juice
1 tbsp Lime juice
2 tsp Cider vinegar
2 Orange slices, 1/2" thick

Place steak in a shallow glass baking dish. Rub with oil on each side. Sprinkle with oregano, salt and pepper. Sprinkle orange juice, lime juice, and vinegar over the steak. Cover and refrigerate overnight for best flavor or several hours, turning occasionally. To cook, bring meat to room temperature. Prepare and preheat charcoal grill (or gas grill). Drain meat, reserving marinade. Place steak on grill. Top with orange slices. Occasionally spoon reserved marinade over steaks as they cook. Grill 3-4 minutes on each side, or until medium- rare. Cook longer if desired. Remove orange slices to turn steak. Replace orange slices on top of steak.


CARNE GUISADA
Carne Guisada is best described as a kind of Mexican stew that varies both in ingredients and in cooking methods, often depending upon region. This version relies upon slow oven roasting to produce a fall-apart-tender result.

2 lbs. Chuck roast, trimmed and cut in bite-size pieces
4 Tbsp Flour
2 Tbsp Canola oil
1 Large onion, chopped
1 Cup Chopped celery
3 or 4 Jalapeños, stems and seeds removed, chopped WEAR GLOVES
2-½ Cup Beef stock
2 Tbsp Tomato paste
½ tsp Ground cumin
2 tsp Chili powder

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the meat cubes in a paper or plastic bag. Sprinkle the flour over them, close the bag and shake to coat the meat lightly and evenly.

In a Dutch oven or heavy skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Add the meat and brown quickly. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat. Cover the Dutch oven or skillet and place in the oven. Roast for 2 hours. Makes 6 servings 

Notes: If you find the amount of jalapeños alarming, don't worry. The long, slow roasting process will mellow them quite a bit. Ancho chilies may be substituted for jalapenos.

CHEVICE INFORMATION
May 1, 2002 Posted: 07:45:09 AM PDT
By BEVERLY BUNDY, KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS 

Could it be that ceviche, the south-of-the-border sushi, is finally going to have its day in the sun? Long a staple at even the dustiest Mexican restaurants, the citrus-marinated fish has made an appearance on this year's esteemed James Beard Award list with the nomination of "Ceviche!" as best single-subject cookbook of the year. Chef and author Guillermo Pernot's Philadelphia restaurant Pasion! is a long way from the Gulf of Mexico in topography or spirit.

The word ceviche, also spelled seviche, is derived from the Latin "cibus" (food) by way of the Spanish "cebo" (fodder, food, bait) and "cebiche" (fish stew). The use of citrus was as much for preservation and safety as for flavor.

In ceviche, shellfish and-or fish is "cooked" in citric acid via lime or lemon juice. When fish is cooked by heat, its protein is denatured -- meaning that the protein bonds are unraveled and develop different textures. The citric acid has the same effect without unraveling those bonds, leaving the fish with a firmer texture.

CHEESY REFRIED BEANS

2 cans (16 ounces each) fat-free or regular refried beans
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (2 ounces)

(Double recipe or Halve recipe - either way, it works well)

1. Spread beans in ungreased 1 1/2-quart microwavable casserole. Cover and
microwave on High about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until hot.

2. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and microwave about 30 seconds longer or
until cheese is melted.

CHI CHI’S MILD SALSA

1 Can Stewed Tomatoes (14 Oz.) -- sliced
2 Large Green onions -- snipped*
1 Large Ripe Tomato -- cored and diced
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Dash Tabasco® Sauce -- or to taste

Cut up stewed tomatoes and combine in saucepan with onions, fresh tomato, salt and pepper. Bring just to a boil. Boil hard 1 minute and remove at once from heat. Put half of mixture through blender just to mince fine but not to puree. 
Return to remaining half of mixture. Cool and refrigerate in tightly covered container to use with a few weeks. Freezes well to use within 6 months. 
Note-For hot salsa, add 1 tsp canned green chopped chilies or to taste,
freezing unused chilies to use in other recipes. 

CHICKEN SALAD SEVICHE

For marinade:
Juice of 6 or 7 limes, about ¾ cup
¼ cup olive oil
½ red onion, peeled and chopped
1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
1 Anaheim chili, peeled and chopped and roasted

For salad:
2 whole cooked chickens, skinned and cut into think, lengthwise pieces, no
more than ½ inch thick.
1 large red pepper or yellow bell pepper, seeded and trimmed
2 ripe avocados
2 hearts romaine lettuce

In medium bowl, whisk marinade ingredients together. Set aside.

Place chicken in a shallow glass or ceramic dish. Pour marinade over chicken. cover and refrigerate 2-4 hours.

Cut pepper lengthwise into very thin slices. Peel avocados and cut lengthwise into thin slices. Arrange lettuce on serving platter. Using slotted spoon, lift chicken out of marinate, letting excess marinade fall back into dish. Arrange chicken over lettuce. Top with pepper and avocado; drizzle some with marinade. 

CHORIZO WITH CLAMS AND BAY LEAF 
Makes 4 appetizer servings 

2 pounds steamer or littleneck clams, scrubbed 
1/4 pound chorizo, thinly sliced, then cut crosswise into half-moons 
1 large shallot, thinly sliced 
1 bay leaf 
4 fresh mint leaves 
Dry white wine (about 1 cup) 
4 slices country bread, toasted and sprinkled with olive oil 
Coarse sea salt or kosher salt 

Place the clams in a pan large enough to fit them in a single layer. Sprinkle the chorizo, shallot, bay leaf and mint leaves on top. Pour in enough wine to coat the base of the pan (about 1/8 inch deep). Cover the pan, place over high heat and cook until the clams open and are just cooked. Discard any that do not open. Place a piece of toast in the center of each of four shallow bowls. Using a slotted spoon, divide the clams and chorizo among the bowls. Sprinkle with salt. Serve. Use tiny forks to eat the clams and chorizo. -- Adapted from Pico

CHORIZO SUBSTITUTE 

1 pound hot bulk pork sausage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons chili powder

Combine all ingredients; mix well. Yield: about 1-1/4 pounds 

CHORIZOS

2 lb lean ground pork or 1 lb each ground beef and pork
4 tbsp vinegar
1-2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp oregano, crushed
2 cloves garlic, mashed 
1/8 tsp crushed cumin seed
1/4 tsp allspice
2 small, hot red peppers, minced

Mix all ingredients well. Shape into several 1 inch rolls 2 inches in diameter, and wrap in aluminum foil. Store in refrigerator. Fry as needed, shaped into patties , balls or links of desired length. Spices should be given time to get acquainted before cooking.

BASIC CHORIZO MEAT MIXTURE

4 pounds boneless, skinless turkey breast
2 pounds boneless pork loin
2 tablespoons browning-and seasoning sauce
1 teaspoon salt

Position knife blade in food processor bowl; add half of turkey, pork, and seasonings. Process until smooth. Repeat procedure with remaining ingredients. 
Yield: 6 pounds 

CHORIZO

1 pound Basic Meat Mixture 
1/4 cup white vinegar 
1 tablespoon dry sherry 
2 teaspoons paprika 
2 teaspoons chili powder 
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin 
1/4 teaspoon pepper 
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves 
Pinch of ground coriander 
Pinch of ground ginger 
1/2 teaspoon browning-and seasoning sauce 
2 cloves garlic, crushed 
1 yard sausage casing 
1/2 cup water

Combine first 14 ingredients; divide into four (4-ounce) portions. Cut casing into four (8-inch) pieces; slip one end of each casing over sausage funnel tip. Force each portion through funnel into each casing; twist ends. Bring water to a boil in a nonstick skillet; add sausage. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Uncover and cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until browned, turning occasionally. Yield: 4 servings 

CHRISTMAS SEASON IN MEXICO

As a Christian country that really knows how to throw a party, Mexico pulls
out all the stops throughout the Christmas season. Many Mexicans actually
take a full two weeks off of work in order to celebrate properly!

The party begins with "Los Posadas" on December 16. From the 16th through
Christmas, Mexicans celebrate the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem.
Each of these nights, children reenact the trials of Mary and Joseph by
processing to three houses and asking for shelter. At the first two, they
are turned away. At the third house, they are offered a stable to sleep in.
Once they accept, the party begins in the third house with worship, warm
drinks and piñatas. On Christmas Eve, the Ave Maria includes an additional
verse to let Mary know it is time for her baby to enter the world.

At midnight on Christmas Eve, bells are blown, horns are tooted and
fireworks are lit to welcome the Christ Child. After midnight, a feast is
served. This feast often consists of menudo, tamales and atole. Other
traditional dishes include roast ham, turkey, pig, rice and chile rellenos.
A hot fruit punch (ponche) often accompanies the meal.

Christmas is dedicated to the birth of Christ. Most Mexicans will attend a
mass and celebrate, but the celebration is religious- there are not presents
exchanged (traditionally) as in many cultures. Most of the day is reserved
for siestas and leftovers!

December 28 is the Day of the Innocents. This commemorates the children
killed by Herod in his effort to murder the Christ Child. Today, jokes are
played on family and friends in an attempt to be able to call them "Fool
Saint."

Presents arrive on Three King's Day (January 6) when the celebration
includes Three King's Cake (Rosco de Reyes) and another party. A small
Christ figure is baked into the cake. The guest who received the figure in
their piece becomes the host of one last party before Día de Candelaría on
February 2nd. Candelmas honors Mary while celebrating the day Christ was
presented at Temple. This party often includes a regional mole. Candelmas
marks the official end of the Christmas season.



DINOSAUR CALZONES

1 pound Ground Beef, extra lean
1 medium Onion -- chopped (1/2 cup)
2/3 cup Pizza Sauce
5 cups Bisquick® baking mix -- or All Purpose Mix
3/4 cup Water
3 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 cup Cheddar Cheese -- shredded
1 Egg White
2 whole Peppercorns

Heat oven to 450 degrees F.
Cook ground beef in skillet over medium heat about 10 minutes, stirring often, until brown. Drain any fat from the browned beef. Stir in the chopped onion and pizza sauce, and set aside. 

Mix baking mix, water and vegetable oil in a large bowl to make a dough (using hands to shape into ball, if necessary). Cut off and save about 1/4 of the dough. Divide the rest of the dough in half. Sprinkle a clean surface (such as a kitchen counter or breadboard) with flour or baking mix and place dough on surface. Roll or pat each dough half into 12-inch circle. Put each circle on baking sheet. 

Top half of each circle with half of the shredded Cheddar cheese. Top cheese with beef mixture to within 1 inch of edge of dough. Fold dough over filling, then press edge with fork to seal. Beat egg white in small bowl with fork. Make fourteen 3/4-inch balls from some of the saved dough. Press 10 of the balls into triangle shapes. Press 5 triangles into sealed edge of each calzone for spikes on the backs of the dinosaurs, using egg white as glue. Roll the rest of the balls between your hands to make legs with feet. Press 2 legs into folded edge of each calzone, using egg white as glue. Divide the rest of the saved dough into 4 pieces. Roll pieces between your hands to make tails and heads with necks. Press into calzones, using egg white as glue. If you like, press 1 peppercorn into
each head for eye. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown (it may be 
necessary to cover small dough pieces with pieces of aluminum foil during the last few minutes of baking).

ECUADOREAN SHRIMP CEVICHE
Serves: 4

1 pound shrimp, peeled and cleaned
1 large tomato, roasted, peeled and seeded
2 jalapeno peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded wear gloves
2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled and seeded wear gloves
1/2 medium onion, roasted
3/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup tomato juice
Tabasco (to taste)
1 scant tablespoon sugar
Salt
Corn nuts and popcorn for garnish

Place cleaned shrimp into a pot of boiling water for approximately two minutes (no longer), then remove to an ice bath. Place all other ingredients in the blender and liquefy. Pour over the shrimp, mix and chill.

Garnish:
1 small whole red onion, sliced thin
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
2 tablespoons scallions, chopped
Several whole leaves cilantro
1 large tomato, chopped

Combine all garnish ingredients and toss with shrimp ceviche before serving.

To serve: Place shrimp ceviche on individual serving plates and randomly sprinkle corn nuts and popcorn around the plates.

GARDEN PATCH SALSA

6 tomatoes, peeled and diced
4 jalapeño peppers, de-veined, seeded, and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced more to taste
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup shredded zucchini
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 cup chopped yellow pepper
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup fresh chopped oregano or 1 tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp pickling salt

1. Place all ingredients into a large stainless steel pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to gentle boil for 30 minutes or until thickened.

2. Remove hot jars from canner and ladle salsa into jars to within a half-inch
of rim. Process for 20 minutes for half pint jars. makes about 5 1/2 cups


HOMEMADE CHIPOTLES 

Smoking Jalapeños, by Jessica Cuba 

The smoky spice of the chipotle makes them my favorite flavor addition to almost any dish. This obsession has lead to a quest for the perfect smoked jalapeño created at home. 

The ideal chipotle will start with a homegrown jalapeño fresh from the garden. Firm, ripe chilies are the best choice. If there are holes or soft spots in your jalapeños, save them for fresh uses where you can slice out the affected areas. Remove the stems before using the peppers. One pound of fresh peppers will end up as one tenth of a pound of chipotles. 

The first step in smoking is to thoroughly clean your smoker. While old smoke may give a good flavor to meat, the old meat will add an undesirable element to your chilies. I have thrown away whole batches because of this unsavory taste.

Once the smoker is clean, the flavor will come solely from the wood. In Mexico, pecan is most commonly used. If you do not have ready access to pecan wood, any wood from a fruit tree will make a good substitute. Try smoking with apple or pear wood. Hickory or oak may also be used. 

After washing your chilies and soaking your wood, you can start your smoking fire. Set this fire just as you would when smoking meat or fish. Lay your chilies side by side on your grill - do not stack them on top of each other. The goal of smoking peppers is a slow flavor infusion. With this in mind, use small fires and a small vent opening.

Check your peppers periodically throughout the smoking, and rotate their position in the smoker to maintain even smoking. I recommend letting the fires burn for 48 hours at this slow rate. Your chipotles are complete when they become ugly, shriveled, hard brown objects that don't look too appetizing. 

I keep my finished chipotles in small cleaned butter containers. This way you do not need to let air into all of them each time you open the container. The less often you use chipotles, the smaller your storage containers should be. Stored properly, you can keep your chipotles for one to two years.

MOLE POBLANO
Serves: 10

2 ounces each dried chilies (guajillo, negro, cascabel, pasilla, morita, New 
Mexico and California)
1 tablespoon dry-roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon raisins
1 tablespoon almonds (pieces or whole)
1 4-inch stick cinnamon
4 cups chicken broth
2 pieces toast (any type of bread), torn in pieces
2 ounces Mexican chocolate
5 chopped tomatillos
1-inch piece chopped ginger root
2 corn tortillas browned in oven and torn in pieces
5 black peppercorns
2 teaspoons salt
Olive oil
3 pounds boneless chicken breasts
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Pickled onions for garnish (optional)

Heat oil and sauté all ingredients except chicken, sesame seeds and onions. Take warm ingredients and place in blender. Mix in blender and strain. Discard pulp left in strainer. Cook strained sauce at medium temperature, bringing to a boil. When sauce thickens, it is done. Cut chicken breasts in 1/2-inch strips. Lightly coat with olive oil, then broil. To serve, pour the mole sauce over chicken and garnish with sesame seeds and pickled onions.

MOLE VERDE
Serves: 6

3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium white onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2 green poblano chilies, seeded and chopped wear gloves 
2 serrano chilies, chopped wear gloves
8 medium green tomatillos, chopped
1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
1/2 cup radish leaves, washed
10 cilantro sprigs, washed and chopped
2 cups chicken broth, approximately
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt or to taste

On a dry skillet over medium-high heat, toast the pumpkin seeds, stirring constantly until fragrant and they begin to change color. In the same skillet, quickly toast the sesame seeds until fragrant and golden brown.

Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in the skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion for one minute. Add the garlic and chilies and continue to cook for three more minutes. Add tomatillos to the mixture and cook for five more minutes.

In the blender jar, combine pumpkin and sesame seeds, garlic, onion, tomatillos, chili mixture, lettuce, radish leaves and cilantro. Grind at high speed with enough chicken stock to create a thick, smooth sauce. Grind sauce in two batches.

Heat the rest of the oil in the skillet over medium heat and sauté pumpkin seed sauce, stirring constantly, for about two minutes. Mix in the 1 1/2 teaspoons salt or to taste. Adjust consistency of sauce by adding chicken broth as needed. Simmer sauce for about 10 more minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally, adding more broth as necessary to end with a sauce that is thick like a gravy.

Serve warm with sautéed prawns, chicken breasts, pork or game. Garnish with cilantro, pumpkin seeds and halved chilies.

OAXACAN HOT CHOCOLATE 
Makes 4 servings 

5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa 
5 tablespoons granulated sugar 
2 tablespoons toasted slivered or ground almonds (see note) 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 ounces semisweet chocolate (preferably Mexican), finely chopped 
21/2 cups nonfat milk 
1 12-ounce can nonfat evaporated milk 
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1/4 teaspoon almond extract 
Dash of salt 

Place cocoa, sugar, almonds, cinnamon and cloves in food processor or spice mill and grind to a fine powder. Add chocolate and grind it in as well. 

Transfer mixture to heavy saucepan and whisk in about 1 cup of the nonfat milk (enough to make a paste). Turn heat to high and gradually add remaining nonfat milk, evaporated milk, vanilla, almond extract and salt and whisk well. Bring mixture to boil, whisking steadily. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 3 minutes. 

Strain chocolate into a pitcher and with a whisk, mix until frothy. Pour drink into cups and serve immediately. 

Note: To toast nuts, heat in a dry skillet over medium heat until they start to brown. Stir occasionally. Be careful not to scorch them. 
OAXACAN PIZZAS
Makes 4 servings 

Clayudas are the Oaxacan version of tostadas. Crisp flour tortillas are topped with beans, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, avocado and queso fresco cheese. The overall effect is rather like that of a pizza. Clayudas make a great snack and unusual appetizer.

4 8-inch flour tortillas 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
3/4 cup refried beans 
11/2 cups shredded lettuce 
1 large red ripe tomato, seeded and diced 
1/2 avocado, diced and tossed with 
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice 
1/4 cup diced white or red onion 
1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco or rinsed and drained feta cheese 

Brush tops of tortillas with oil and arrange on baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until just beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Let tortillas cool on baking sheet 2 minutes, then place them on plates. 

Spread refried beans on top of tortillas. Place lettuce, tomato, avocado and onion on top. Sprinkle with queso fresco and serve right away. 

Adapted from "High Flavor, Low Fat Mexican Cookbook" by Steven Raichlen 

OLE FOR MOLE
More to sauce than chocolate 
May 1, 2002 Posted: 07:45:10 AM PDT
By GWEN SCHOEN, THE SACRAMENTO BEE 

Agustin Gaytan moves like a blur in the kitchen. Chopping, stirring, tasting, frying. It all looks like one smooth motion as the chef quickly assembles the peppers, pumpkin seeds and tomatillos for making mole.

"Most people believe that mole is the national dish of Mexico," Gaytan says. "They also believe that all moles are made with chocolate. In fact, the most popular mole is poblano, from the Puebla region in Mexico.

"That type is made with chocolate; however, there are many other kinds of mole in red, yellow, white, green and brown, depending on the blends of spices, tomatoes, tomatillos and chilies."

Gaytan is a Mexican-born chef who learned to cook from his mother and honed his skills in several fine restaurants in Mexico. He is an instructor at Ramekins culinary school in Sonoma, specializing in authentic Mexican cuisine.

"Mexico is known for its sauces, especially mole," Gaytan says. "Almost everything is either cooked in a sauce or served with one. We eat sauce on tortillas, on beans, on rice, on fish, on grilled meat -- everything.

"Recipes for mole vary greatly among the various regions, but basically it is a mixture thickened and enriched with toasted and ground nuts, seeds or corn and sometimes bread or tortillas. Chilies are a major component of mole, along with the addition of herbs, spices and, depending on the region, sometimes a bit of chocolate."

The word "mole," pronounced MO-lay, comes from the Aztec word "molli," meaning concoction, stew or sauce.

The most famous mole, mole poblano, is traditionally made from turkey. It is a complex dish using dried chilies, nuts, seeds, vegetables, spices and chocolate.

"I prefer the mole verde," Gaytan says. "It has a very fresh flavor and it is not as complex or complicated to prepare, and it is wonderful with chicken and shrimp."

QUESO BLANCO DIP

White Beer Cheese Dip 

3 pounds Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (if going all out, use the Mexican 
Jack Cheese) regular not non fat
1 small onion, finely chopped 
1 teaspoon New Mexico Chili Powder
1 T. Tabasco sauce or other commercial hot sauce 
2 T. prepared horseradish 
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
1 bottle beer (Tecate would be fine) 

In crock pot, combine cheese, onion, chili powder, Tabasco sauce, horseradish, and garlic. Add enough beer for desired consistency of dip. Cook on low just until cheese is melted and warm. Serve with crackers or chips. 

White Cheese Dip

4oz Seven Seas Blue cheese salad dressing
1/4 to 1/2 cup minced green olives 
1/2 cup minced onion 
2 cups mayonnaise 
garlic powder to taste 

Do not blend in blender. Mix all ingredients with a whisk. Refrigerate over night. If mixture becomes too thick, thin it with a little buttermilk.

REVUELTOS DE CHORIZO 
Makes 2 servings 

11/2 ounces mild chorizo, thinly sliced, then cut crosswise into half-moons 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
6 eggs, cracked into a bowl 
Coarse sea salt or kosher salt 

Spread the sliced chorizo around the base of a large nonstick skillet and place over medium-high heat. When the chorizo begins to sizzle, add the olive oil to the pan. Pour in the eggs, then using a wooden spoon, very quickly stir the egg mixture, breaking the yolks and turning the eggs over and over again until just barely cooked, lifting the pan off the heat halfway through. It will take less than a minute. Pour onto a serving dish, sprinkle with salt and serve. 

Note: If you want to serve 4, it's best to repeat the recipe in the same pan, or use 2 pans at once. 

ROASTED VEGGIE TACOS
Makes 6 servings 

1 cup sliced red onion 
1 cup yellow squash 
1 cup sliced zucchini 
1 cup sliced red bell pepper 
1 cup sliced green bell pepper 
1 cup sliced yellow bell pepper 
1/4 cup vegetable oil 
1 (1.25 ounce) package ORTEGA ® Taco Seasoning Mix 
1 (16 ounce) can ORTEGA ® Refried Beans 
1/2 cup ORTEGA ® Thick & Chunky Salsa 
1 package (12) ORTEGA ® Taco Shells 
SARGENTO ® Natural Shredded Cheddar Cheese, for topping 

1 PREHEAT oven to 450 degrees F. Move oven rack to lowest position. 
2 TOSS vegetables with vegetable oil in large bowl. Stir in seasoning mix to coat. Spread onto baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. 
3 COMBINE beans and salsa in medium bowl. Fill taco shells with bean mixture. Bake for 1 to 2 minutes. 
4 FILL taco shells with 1/4 cup vegetable mixture. Top with cheese. 5. 

SALMON CEVICHE
Yields: 4 cups to serve 8 as appetizer

1 pound skinless salmon fillets, (about 1 1/4 pounds if the salmon has the skin), 
cut into 1/2-inch cubes or slightly smaller
2/3 cup fresh lime juice
2/3 cup fresh orange juice
1 medium red onion, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1 large fresh poblano chile wear gloves
2 large seedless oranges
2 tablespoons drained capers
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus some leaves for garnish
Salt
2 generous cups frisee lettuce
Thin slices toasted French bread or crackers for serving

Place the salmon in a 1 1/2-quart glass or stainless-steel bowl and stir in the lime and orange juices and onion. You'll need enough juice to cover the fish and allow it to float somewhat freely. Cover and refrigerate for two hours, until a piece of salmon looks "cooked" about halfway through -- it still will be translucent pink inside.

Drain off all but a little of the juice. Roast the poblano on an open flame or on a baking sheet four inches below a very hot broiler, turning until the skin is evenly blistered and blackened, about five minutes for an open flame, 10 minutes for the broiler. Cover with a kitchen towel and let stand for five minutes. Rub off the blackened skin, then pull or cut out the stem and the seed pod. Tear open and quickly rinse to remove stray seeds and bits of skin. Cut into 1/4-inch pieces and place in a large bowl.

Cut the tops and bottoms off both oranges. Then, standing each orange on your cutting board and working close to the flesh, cut away the rind and all the white pith. Cut out the all- orange, no-white-pith segments. With a small, sharp knife cut between the segment-dividing white membranes, releasing perfect little segments. Cut the segments in half and add to the bowl.

Stir in the capers, cilantro and marinated salmon (with the remaining juice). Taste and season with salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon, then cover and refrigerate if not serving immediately.

Divide the frisee among eight martini glasses or small decorative bowls.

Spoon the ceviche into the center of the lettuce and lay on a leaf or two of cilantro. Serve with toasted bread or crackers.
SALSA BORRACHA

Salsa Borracha, or "Drunken Sauce," is a wonderful sauce used in many dishes. But it goes especially well with insects. 

Chapulines, or grasshoppers, that have been dried and cured in lime juice are often served with it. So are Escamoles, or ant eggs, whose corn-like taste is set off by the complex flavors of the sauce.

6 ancho chilies, soaked, seeded, and deveined 
water to cover 
1 cup orange juice 
1-2 Tbsp cooking oil 
1 /2 small onion, chopped 
1/4 cup mescal or tequila 
salt and pepper -- to taste 
1-2 Tbsp queso fresco (fresh Mexican cheese) grated 

Escamoles (Ant eggs) served with salsa borracha. 

Soak chilies in water to cover until softened enough to puree. Remove seeds and veins. Place chilies in a blender or food processor together with orange juice. Process until smooth. 

Heat oil in a heavy skillet, add onion and sauté until transparent. Add chili-orange juice mixture and heat to boiling. Quickly reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Pour sauce into a serving dish and allow to cool. Stir in tequila or mescal. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving sprinkle grated cheese on sauce. Serve on side of a dish with dried grasshoppers. 

Gusanos de Maguey are especially good to eat and highly prized.

SALSA DE GUSANOS DE MAGUEY
(WORM SAUCE)

Ingredients for Mexican cuisine are now widely available throughout the United States and Canada. Many supermarkets now carry sauces and even chilies used in many dishes. Dried pasilla and ancho chilies might be available in packages. Asian markets also carry ingredients used in Mexican cookery, such as cilantro and some chilies. If you are lucky enough to live in an area where people of Mexican extraction live, then such exotic items such as gusanos de maguey or chapulines might be available. If you cannot find any of these ingredients, then a trip to Mexico is in order. 

In case you don't want to eat the delectable dried and cured caterpillars from century plants (gusanos de maguey) themselves, here is a sauce that gives their flavor to any dish. 

Insects were a major part of the Pre-Columbian diet. Mexicans were deficient in animal proteins because they had so few domesticated animals. Therefore, insects were an important food supplement. Insect-eating lives on in many parts of the country and it one of the ways by which Mexicans retain their traditions. 

5 pasilla chilies, soaked, seeded and deveined 
5 ancho chilies, soaked, seeded and deveined
water to cover 
4-6 large dried gusanos de maguey (caterpillars from the maguey plant), soaked 
in 1 cup hot water 
5 cloves garlic 
1 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon dried shrimp 

Soak the pasilla and ancho chilies in water. When soft enough to puree, seed and devein. Soak the gusanos in hot water until soft. Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth. Heat before serving. 

Goes well with any tortilla-based dish. 

Gusanos de maguey are hard to find in North America, so this recipe can be adapted to give some elements of their flavor. 

Simply substitute 1 large tomato for the gusanos and about 1 tbsp mescal, or to taste. If using tomato it is best to toast it on an open flame or in a broiler and then remove the skin. 

Blend everything together and serve it with chicken enchiladas. 

SEA SCALLOP CEVICHE
Serves: 4

1/2 pound fresh untreated sea scallops, trimmed of hard adductor muscle 
(see note)
3/4 cup basic ceviche marinade (recipe follows)
2 Ruby Red grapefruits
6 red radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon fine chiffonade of Thai basil (or sweet basil)
1 tablespoon fine chiffonade of fresh mint

Note: Scallops are sometimes treated with a liquid preservative to plump them. Avoid these scallops, as the preservative affects the flavor and texture of the seafood.

Cut each scallop in half, forming two thin rounds. In a medium, nonreactive (stainless-steel or enamel) bowl, toss scallops with ceviche marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Drain, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Using a sharp knife, cut away all of the skin and the thin outside layer of membrane enclosing the grapefruit sections. Cut out each section of fruit from between membranes on both sides. Cut radish slices into fine julienne.

In medium, nonreactive bowl, combine the lime juice, red pepper flakes, salt, basil and mint. Reserve half the mixture. Toss remaining lime juice mixture with the drained scallops. Toss radish julienne with reserved lime juice mixture.

Divide scallops into four equal portions and arrange each portion on one side of four natural scallop shells or small salad plates. Next to the scallops, arrange the grapefruit segments, all facing the same direction, in a row. Place a small haystack of radish julienne between the scallops and the grapefruit. Serve immediately.

BASIC CEVICHE MARINADE
Yields: 3/4 cup

1/2 cup lime juice
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a nonreactive bowl. Use to marinate seafood for ceviche from between 20 minutes (for very fresh, thinly sliced mild fish) to 24 hours (for stronger-tasting seafood such as sea scallops.)

SOUTHWESTERN HAM AND RICE SALAD

1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups cooked long-grain brown rice
1-1/4 cups diced lean ham (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced red onion
3 tablespoons chopped ripe olives

Combine first 6 ingredients in small bowl; stir well. Combine remaining
ingredients in large bowl; stir in mayonnaise mixture. Makes 4 servings.

SPICY BLACK BEAN STEW

1/4 cup water 
1 large onion, chopped (1.5 cups) 
2 medium red bell peppers (2 cups) 
2 tbs minced garlic 
1 stalk celery, diced 
1 cup diced carrots 
3 cups fresh or canned tomatoes 
1 cup V-8 or tomato juice 
15 oz. can black beans 
1/4 cup diced, canned green chilies 
3 tsp chili powder, or to taste 
1 tsp cumin 
1/2 tsp coriander 
Salt and pepper to taste 

In a skillet over medium high heat, bring water to simmering; add onions, bell pepper and garlic. Cover and steam 3 minutes. Spoon into slow cooker. 

Add remaining ingredients except salt and pepper. Cook on low 6 to 8 hours, or until stew is thick. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with rice or potatoes or in a tortilla.

SWEET CORN TOMALITO

5 Tbsp. margarine, softened
1/4 cup masa (corn flour)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen, thawed; divided use
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. milk

In a small mixing bowl, mix the margarine, masa, and sugar using an electric
mixer until light and fluffy. About 1 minute. In a blender container, blend
half of the corn kernels with the water until smooth. Combine this mixture
with the margarine mixture, stirring well. Add the remaining corn kernels,
corn meal, baking powder, salt, and milk and mix well. Pour the corn mixture
into an 8-inch square baking pan. Tightly cover with foil and steam by
setting atop a medium sauce pan of water on top of the stove. Bring water to
a boil and steam corn mixture for 50 minutes to one hour. (check to see
whether you might need to add more water) until a toothpick inserted in the
center comes out clean. Tomalito should have a smooth, moist texture.

Note: The pan must be tightly wrapped at all times.

TACO RANCH DIP 

1-1/2 cups Light Mayonnaise, such as Best Foods 
¾ cup fat free sour cream 
2 t. Light buttermilk 
1 (1.25 ounce) packet taco seasoning mix 
1 T. Ancho Chili Powder 
2 T. fresh lime juice 

For serving: carrot and celery sticks, tortilla chips 

Whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream buttermilk, seasoning and lime juice.
Can be prepared 1 day ahead and refrigerated, well sealed. Makes 2 1/2 cups.

TAMARIND CHICKEN WITH CILANTRO 
Makes 6 servings 

You can substitute 2 pounds extra-firm tofu for the chicken; just reduce the cooking time to 15 to 20 minutes. Two pounds of salmon or other fish also would work; reduce the cooking time to 10 minutes per inch of thickness. 

1/4 cup Laxmi tamarind concentrate (see note) 
1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro 
1/2 teaspoon chili paste (optional) 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
2 garlic cloves, minced 
3 pounds chicken drumsticks and thighs 

Heat oven to 475 degrees. In a small bowl, mix tamarind concentrate, oil, cilantro, chili paste if desired, salt and garlic. Add chicken, turning to coat. Set aside for 10 minutes. 

Spread chicken out on a baking sheet and place in oven. Roast 25 to 30 minutes, turning once. Chicken is done when juices run clear when meat is pierced with a knife. Serve hot or at room temperature. 

Note: Tamarind concentrate is available at Asian and Indian markets. 
TORTILLAS LAYERED WITH GREEN SALSA 
(Chilaquiles Verdes) 
Makes 8 servings 

Restaurateur Gloria Duarte serves this version for brunch at Las Bellas Artes, her Elmhurst, Ill., eatery. Some cooks in Mexico layer in shredded, cooked chicken; others garnish with rings of white onion. 

16 tomatillos, husked, washed and quartered (see note) 
3 jalapeno chilies, seeded and chopped WEAR GLOVES
1 quart water (4 cups) 
11/2 teaspoons salt 
1/4 cup vegetable oil (divided) 
12 corn tortillas, 6 inches in diameter, cut into eighths 
2 cups Chihuahua or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (8 ounces; divided) 
Sour cream 

Place tomatillos, jalapenos and water in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat 10 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon to blender container. Add 1/2 cup of the cooking water; puree. Season with salt. 

Heat oven to 350 degrees. 

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in large skillet; add some of the tortillas. Fry until crisp, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining oil and tortillas. Place half the fried tortillas in a greased 8-inch-square baking dish. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the tortillas. Add enough sauce to moisten. Add another layer of tortillas; moisten with sauce. Top with remaining cheese. Bake until hot throughout and the sauce has reduced, about 10 minutes. Top with dollops of sour cream. 

Note: Look for tomatillos (small green tomato-like fruit) in supermarkets or Mexican markets. 

 

SHALOM FROM SPIKE & JAMIE



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