Saturday, February 15, 2014

Catching up…

I have now the time and space to catch up with some good items.

New pressure cooker.
Back in September 2013 I acquired a pressure cooker, what a wonderful tool. I have been cooking since then a lot of beans and dishes that require a short period of time to become simply delicious!!!
My favourite recipe is to throw anything I want and to let it cook.

Mennonites’ cookies.
For $20 Mexican pesos you can get a little bag with delicious honey cookies. Where? Around the city of Merida, in spots like the corner of Home Depot (by the gas station).

Oh Dear!!!
Not the healthiest cookies but the sweetest and the ones that bring me good childhood memories…
Galletas de animalitos, $7-15 Mexican Pesos depending on the size of the bag.

Empanadas Argentinas.
You can find them on Avenida Aleman and you get ten empanadas for $100 Mexican Pesos… delicious…

Tacos PM.
If you are looking for a fancy option to eat tacos on Paseo Montejo, PM is the right place to go. However, a bit expensive and to my taste not the best in town, at least not my favourite place to eat tacos but an option. Good service, that is for sure.

Mucbi Pollo.
Someone would describe this dish as a large chicken/pork tamale pie. Our friend Fernando who knows about food and how to enjoy it, invited us to celebrate the Day of the Death with him and his employees and we ENJOYED the dish and the company so MUCH!!!
Let me tell you that Yucatecans only make this dish for this specific celebration and although some may go through the trouble of making it for another date most people are just waiting for the Day of the Death!!!

La Susana Internacional, Kanasin Yucatan. January 16th, 2014.
Located in Calle 21 #89-A entre 16 y 18 in the Centre of Kanasin, this place offers a variety of Yucatecan dishes at very reasonable prices and sizes. Fernando once again introduced us to this lovely spot.

Pizzeria Raffaello, Merida Yucatan. January 22nd, 2014.
This pizzeria was recommended to us by Mel and she was right. The owner offers a variety of combinations featuring fresh ingredients and I really mean fresh, you can see them on top of the pizza…
Address: Calle 60 por 49 y 47.
I loved it!!!

Tia’s food, Merida Yucatan. January 25th, 2014.
Tia is a good friend from San Diego and she is vegan. I love when someone has different eating habits than me and is able to share some of those habits. Tia’s food is fantastic and she went through the trouble of making Gnocchi for us. Here is her recipe…

“…I adapt it to make it vegan using tofu instead of ricotta cheese and I use pesto instead of the sauce they suggest, I also use kale or chard instead of spinach just because it stands up better and doesn't get as mushy s spinach when you cook it…” Adapted recipe below:

For Gnocchi-
1 cup tofu blended with one table spoon of olive oil, salt and garlic to taste ( this makes the tofu taste more like cheese)
3 pounds orange-flesh sweet potatoes ( I roast them, then blend them in a food processor with the cup of tofu mix). Note: putting all of that in your blender was a challenge because of the small base so be prepared to spend a long time getting it to a creamy consistency or invest in a food processor.
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (I use vegan parmesan)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
About 3 cups flour
**The Wetter the dough, the fluffier the gnocchi. The firmer the dough, the denser or chewier the gnocchi will be. I just add the flour until it just makes a very pasty wet dough and then use a heavily floured surface to hold it in shape.

For Assembly-
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup sliced shallots
1 pound mixed mushrooms such as chanterelle, cremini, king trumpet, matsutake, and oyster* (brown the mushrooms separately with garlic and salt and add them to the greens at the end with the pesto sauce). If the pesto isn't very oily then you will need to add some white wine, water or stock to the pesto in the pan with the greens to make it into a sauce.
12 ounces baby spinach leaves, kale, or other greens of your choice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For Pesto-
Any nut you like (I used pistachios)
Lots of basil (at least one whole plant )
Chili flakes
Salt, pepper
Olive oil and parmesan if you like.
**Add enough oil to make it the moistness and texture of pesto.

1. Make gnocchi.
2. In a large bowl, combine 3 cups sweet- potato purée and tofu or ricotta. Gently stir in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft dough forms.
3. Working on a floured surface, divide dough into 8 portions. Roll each portion with your hands into a 15in rope, then cut into 1in pieces, sprinkling dough with flour if it gets sticky. Transfer gnocchi to a rimmed tray lightly dusted with flour.
4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Working in batches of 15 to 20, drop gnocchi into water, stirring to prevent sticking, and cook until gnocchi are firm and float to top of water, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to a strainer and then to a lightly oiled rimmed pan to cool.
5. Assemble gnocchi: heat 2 tbsp. oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add gnocchi to pan and cook, stirring often, until browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a large serving dish (at your house I also added some pesto to this portion).
6. Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tbsp. oil in a second large frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook garlic and shallots until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add pesto spinach, salt, and pepper; cover and cook.
**Leave whole any soft mushrooms such as oysters and slice or quarter large, dense mushrooms like the cremini and king trumpets.

Make ahead: prepare through step 3. Cover and chill up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 weeks.

Maria’s dressing, no picture. Dzitya, Yucatan. February 1st, 2014.
This dressing is fantastic, I loved it.

Red pepper
Black pepper
White pepper
Avocado oil
Blackberry wine vinegar

I imagine we just mix everything together!!! Enjoy.

Glory Bowl, Merida Yucatan. February 3rd, 2013.
Thanks to Norma and Richard, our Canadian neighbours who invited us for dinner and shared the recipe with us. A lovely-healthy non-complex meal.
This hearty main is one of the most requested recipes from Whitewater Cooks (Whitecap, 2008) by B.C. chef Shelley Adams. Named after a favourite ski bowl at Whitewater Ski Resort in Nelson, B.C., it embodies healthy, fun West Kootenay living. This recipe makes more dressing than you need, but leftovers are excellent on chicken, rice, noodles or salad.
By Rheanna Kish and The Test Kitchen
Source: Canadian Living Magazine: July 2011
Portion size for 8

2tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil
2cups (500 mL) cubed extra-firm tofu
8cups (2 L) hot cooked brown rice
2 cups (500 mL) grated carrots
2 cups (500 mL) grated beets
2cups (500 mL) packed baby spinach
2cups (500 mL) slivered almonds, toasted

1/2 cup (125 mL) nutritional yeast flakes
1/3 cup (75 mL) Tamari or soy sauce
1/3 cup (75 mL) apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup (75 mL) water
2 tbsp (30 mL) tahini
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1-1/2 cups (375 mL) vegetable oil

In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; fry tofu, stirring often, until brown and crispy, 10 minutes. Drain on paper towel–lined plate.

In blender, purée together nutritional yeast flakes, tamari, vinegar, water, tahini and garlic. With motor running, add oil in slow, steady stream. Blend until smooth. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.)

To serve, divide rice among 8 bowls; drizzle each with 1 tbsp of the dressing. Top each with tofu, carrots, beets, spinach and almonds. Drizzle each with 3 tbsp of the dressing. You can also use chicken or beef or any other preferred meat.

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