Tuesday, December 13, 2011

COUNT DOWN!!! 5 days till Christmas!
I personally love to spend time with my family.  Since the kids are big now, I try to incorporate some fun stuff with them during the holiday vacation.  Things that I know they love to do (even if it means dragging along a few of their friends (all of which I love), although I try not to let it interfere with their schedules.  I have a few things planned out for the next few weeks.  How many of them I will succeed in I'm not sure but will give it a try.  What I do know is that I will do my best to enjoy them.

As promised a couple of weeks ago, below are several recipes that I think will make entertaining during the holidays easier.  There is the Arroz Relleno with a Twist (all in one meal), Seafood Pot Pie and for those cool days, a warming Baked Potato Soup.  Of course what are the holidays without cocktails!

Arroz Relleno with a Twist
Congri de frijoles negros or Moros y Cristianos
3 cups dry black beans
4 cups of water
3 tsp. of Olive Oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
2 tsp.salt
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1/4 oregano
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
3 cups long grain rice
1 large onion, chopped
1 chorizo (spanish)
Preparation:Soak beans overnight before cooking
Cook beans in 4 cups of water (salt the water 2 tsp.) 15 minutes in pressure cooker.  Remove from heat and wait a few minutes till the pressure is released. Open lid and make sure beans are tender.  In a separate pot, place the olive oil, rice and stir until the rice grains get oily. This prevents the rice grains from sticking to another. Add chorizo chopped as small as possible, garlic, onion, bell pepper, cumin, bay leaf, oregano, black pepper, and salt. Sautee for approx. 3 minutes in medium-high heat.  Add beans with the water, bring to a boil, lower heat and cook covered with aluminum foil or lid to seal in the steam for approx. 15-20 minutes. If rice is still hard, add more water, a little at a time. Cook for an additional 4 to 5 minutes or until, rice is well done.   Remove from heat and let sit.  Fluff with fork to make sure it’s all loose and fluffy.

Pork Loin
2-1/2 lb. fresh pork loin
12 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 large onion chopped
1/2 cup sour orange juice (or 1/4 cup unsweetened orange juice & 1/4 cup lime juice)
2 cups water
1 cup pure Spanish olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 fresh onion sliced into rings
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin

Cut pork into 2 inch chunks. To prepare marinade: mix together garlic, chopped onion, orange juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, oregano, cumin and salt. Pour over pork chunks and marinate for at least 3 hours in the refrigerator.

Remove meat from marinade. Place in pot with two cups of water and 1/2 cup olive oil. Simmer, uncovered until all water boils away -- about 30 to 45 minutes. Brown the pork in the oil until crispy on the outside -- DO NOT overcook!
Once your pork is cooked and cooled off a bit, you’re going to shred apart with a fork.  Now, the good stuff!  In a casserole dish you are going to place the first layer of the rice & beans mix (moros y cristianos), then a layer of the shredded pork and another layer of the rice mix.  Top with slices of sauteed onions.

 All full meal in one dish!  Just add a nice tomato & watercress salad and it is DELICIOSO!

Seafood Pot Pie
½ cup butter
2 garlic cloves minced
1 cup russet potato cubed
½ cup diced carrots
½ cup peas
½ cup green onion
½ cup baby bella’s sliced
1 lb. medium size shrimp
1 lb. Scallops
1 fillet grouper, tilapia (whatever you can find)
1 cup half & half
½ cup chicken broth
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
1 (17.3-ounce) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed

In large skillet sauté onion & garlic with half the butter (med/low heat) 2 minutes, mix in potatoes, carrots, peas and mushrooms and ¼ of chicken broth.  Cook in medium/high heat for approx. 5 minutes until potatoes are tender.  Add in half & half, all the seafood and salt & pepper.  Cook in medium heat for approx. 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool.

Ladle seafood mixture into 4-6 oven proof soup bowls.  Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Cut pastry into circles, cutting the circles 1 inch larger than the mouth of the soup bowls. Whisk together egg yolk and 1 tablespoon water; brush underside of pastry edges with egg wash and place over bowls, pressing edges to seal. Brush tops with egg wash. Place bowls on baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 12 to 14 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. 

Baked Potato Soup
4 large baking potatoes
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup flour
6 cups milk
4 green onions, chopped
12 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 1/4 cups Cheddar cheese, shredded
8 ounces sour cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1. Bake potatoes until done. Cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out pulp and set aside.
2. Melt butter in heavy saucepan over low heat; add flour, stirring until smooth.
3. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk, stirring over medium heat until thick and
4. Add potato pulp, salt and pepper, 2 tablespoons of the green onion, 1/2 cup bacon and 1 cup
5. Cook until heated thoroughly and stir in sour cream. Add more milk if necessary (but it should
    be served thick).
6. Serve with remaining green onions, bacon and cheese on top.

  • 2 oz Midori
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1 tsp simple syrup
  • maraschino cherry for garnish
Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

La Vie en Rouge
  • 1 1/2 oz. Grand Marnier
  • 1 1/2 oz. cranberry juice
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • Fresh rosemary needles
In a tall mixing glass, muddle 10-12 rosemary needles lightly with simple syrup. Add remaining ingredients then add ice and shake vigorously. Strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with a rosemary sprig.


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