Candied Pecans

You never know when you’re going to need candied pecans. They come in handy as a topping on ice cream or on top of yams for any holiday you’d like. This recipe isn’t hard to follow and results in delicious candied pecans.

Ingredients

  • 1 egg white
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 cups pecans

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F and line a baking sheet (or two) with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white until foamy.
  3. Add vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt to the egg white and whisk until well incorporated.
  4. Add the pecans and mix well, making sure each and every pecan is well coated.
  5. Using a fork, transfer the pecans onto the parchment-lined baking sheet, being sure not to transfer excess mixture with them. Also make sure the pecans are separated on the sheet and do not bunch together.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7. Allow them to cool completely, and serve at room temperature. Alternatively, store in a zip lock bag for months at a time.

Source: Judicial Peach

Borani Esfanaaj

Borani Esfanaaj is a Persian-style yogurt and spinach dip. Like many Persian dishes, this is a very simple dip that accompanies a number of other dishes wonderfully. We recommend eating it with some lavash and fresh herbs, but you can do whatever you like. In fact, there’s nothing wrong with eating this dip with just white rice.

Ingredients

  • ~12 oz baby spinach (regular spinach will do too, but it’s best to buy the pre-packaged spinach either way)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced and divided into two parts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small tubs (5.3 oz each) thick, drained yogurt, preferably Greek yogurt (do not use low fat yogurt if you can at all help it)
  • salt to taste
  • dried mint for garnish (don’t use fresh mint as a substitute)
  • handful of crushed or whole walnuts for garnish
  • olive oil for garnish

Directions

  1. Blanch your spinach.
  2. Drain your spinach well, removing all liquid, then chop the spinach fine.
  3. Sauté half of the garlic in 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat until fragrant then add the baby spinach.
  4. Add a pinch of salt and stir for a few minutes.
  5. Remove spinach from stove and allow to cool, then remove all excess liquid from the mixture.
  6. In a bowl, add the yogurt, remaining garlic, and baby spinach and stir gently. Add salt to taste.
  7. Transfer to the bowl you’ll be using for presentation and sprinkle with dried mint and crushed walnuts, then drizzle with olive oil.

Source: Food52

Greek-Style Roasted Lamb & Potatoes

Let me start by saying that lamb is an expensive, but delicious meat. Don’t expect to make this dish for cheap.

While this recipe is rather common and easy to make – found mostly in the villages of Greece – it tastes wonderful. If you ever find lamb on sale, I can’t imagine not buying it to make this delicious meal.

Ingredients

  • ½ leg of lamb, bone cut out and cut in portions
  • 2½ pounds of small- to medium-sized Yukon Gold potatoes (about eight)
  • 4 oz of crumbled feta cheese
  • 6 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • ½ teaspoon of oregano
  • ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups of water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 390°.
  2. Rinse the lamb portions and peel the potatoes.
  3. On a hard surface, wrap a potato in a cloth and crush it with a flat stone – I used a Dutch oven – but not completely. The potatoes should still retain most of their form.
  4. Place the lamb in the center of a Dutch oven, with the potatoes around it.
  5. Spread the garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper evenly over the entire dish.
  6. Add the olive oil.
  7. Add the water. (I’ve forgotten the water and had the dish turn out just fine.)
  8. Cover the dish with aluminum foil.
  9. Place in pre-heated oven for 1 hour.
  10. Remove from oven, turn both the lamb and potatoes over (plastic tongs work best for this) and remove foil.
  11. Spread the feta cheese evenly over the potatoes (optionally, spread it over the lamb as well).
  12. Put back into the oven for 30 minutes. It should color nicely.

Source: Authentic Greek Recipes

Salsa Roja

Salsa Roja is a salty and sweet salsa that’s native to El Salvador. Unlike many Mexican salsas, you won’t be blown away by the spice and will be surprised at how easy it is to consume. Many Salvadorans use this as a topping or dipping sauce for their pupusas and we recommend you do the same.

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped white or yellow onion
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • 1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 cups tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (about 3 large or 4 medium)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ chopped cilantro (optional)

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, garlic, and chile and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
  3. Stir in tomatoes and oregano and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool to around room temperature.
  5. Pureé entire mixture in a blender until smooth, adding water as needed. Mixture should be thin, not at all chunky.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste and top with cilantro if desired.

Source: Whats4Eats

Blanching Spinach

It turns out blanching spinach – like blanching anything – is a piece of cake. But just in case you aren’t sure (as I wasn’t at one time), here are some instructions to guide you.

Instructions

  1. Was and prepare your spinach as desired. For example, if you want to cut off the stems or chop the spinach down, do so now.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a bowl over high heat.
  3. Place a large handful of the spinach in the pot of bowling water.
  4. Wait about 30 seconds or until you see the spinach turning a deep green color.
  5. Using a large spoon or strainer, remove the spinach from the bowling water and place into a colander.
  6. Immediately run cold water over the spinach to stop the cooking process.
  7. Squeeze out any excess water in the spinach.

That’s it! Just keep repeating these directions for as much spinach as you have. Good luck!

Onion Burgers

Plain ‘ole beef hamburgers can get boring, but this recipe incorporates some onions as well as garlic salt to give the hamburgers an extra kick. I’ve tried these hamburgers a couple of times and were impress with their taste. Add on some delicious potato salad and watermelon and you’ve got a perfect summer meal!

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, grated or finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • garlic salt (about 1 tbsp, as you’d like)

Directions

  1. Preheat an outdoor grill on high heat or use an indoor skillet on medium heat.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients. You can use a spoon for this, but your hands work as well.
  3. Divide into eight balls of equal size.
  4. Pat down balls into patties, then push your thumb into the middle of each patty. This helps the patties to cook flat instead of bulging in the middle.
  5. Lightly oil the grate of your grill (or lightly oil your pan).
  6. Cook for about five minutes per side or until firm and no longer pink in the middle. On an indoor skillet, we recommend 8 minutes per side.
  7. Serve on toasted buns with whatever topping you like!

Source: Blogspot

The Search for Enjococado: The Best

Note: This is part of a four-part recipe series, the Search for Enjococado.

It was a hard road we went down, but there were things that seemed right from each of the enjococados I tried.

The first recipe was too red and too spicy, but the flavors seemed close, especially the added cinnamon and cumin.

The second recipe had hardly any spice at all and was way too heavy on the nuts. It tasted rather… nutty. But the nuttiness is something that I knew needed to be a part of any perfect enjococado. And the oranges helped give a slight citrus flavor which complemented the rest of the sauce.

The last recipe seemed to get the chile proportions right, but was clearly missing a number of important flavors.

And so, I combined these recipes to form what I think is as close as you can get to a perfect, La Fiesta-style – and Fiesta del Mar-style and La Fiesta Too-style – enjococado. Give it a try and experience Grandma’s Special at home.

Ingredients

  • 3 chicken breast halves
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 3 medium tomatillos
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 6 guajillos chiles (dried, devined, and seeded)
  • 2 de arbol chiles (dried, devined, and seeded)
  • 1 tsp oil
  • ¼ cup yellow onion, chopped fine
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 green onions, chopped fine
  • 1 strip of cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • 15 oz Mexican cream

Directions

  1. Salt both sides of the chicken breast as much as possible. Allow chicken to rest.
  2. Place tomatillos and tomatoes in a medium pot with water and allow to come to a boil.
  3. Remove from heat and add chiles (all of them), then cover and let stand for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, sauté 1 tsp oil, garlic, yellow onion, green onion, cinnamon, and cumin over medium heat until the onions soften soft, then add the slivered almonds and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Do not allow the onions or garlic to brown much, if at all. Remove from heat.
  5. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium heat and cook the chicken slightly (shouldn’t be fully cooked), no more than five minutes. Remove from pot and turn heat off.
  6. Drain the tomato/tomatillo/chile mixture, reserving liquid and place into a blender. Add 1 cup of the reserved liquid.
  7. Add the onion mixture to the blender and blend until smooth. There’s no such thing as overblending here, so feel free to continue to blend. I personally like to see small pieces of chiles in the final product, but you may not.
  8. When blended, add mixture to pot (or Dutch oven) and turn heat to medium-low. It’s important to do this when the pot is still warm. Stir well, scraping any chicken pieces off the bottom of the pot.
  9. Add chicken to the mixture and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  10. Add the Mexican cream and allow to cook for an additional 10 minutes over low heat until the cream is fully absorbed and the mixture is warm. Serve with Mexican rice and beans as well as tortillas.

The Search for Enjococado: A Bit Too Oily

Note: This is part of a four-part recipe series, the Search for Enjococado.

This final recipe I found is fairly close to the required spiciness, but misses the mark in a lot of different ways. For example, it doesn’t involve cooking the chicken inside the enjococado, but rather boiling the chicken and putting the enjococado on top. I know for sure that’s not how it should be done. So I modified the directions a bit to be more in line with what the other enjococados called for.

That resulted in an incredibly oily dish that had the right spice, but was missing the nutty flavor that’s needed. It also called for far too much Mexican cream – in the case of this recipe, it actually called for sour cream, which was weird.

Anyway, here’s a much simpler recipe to try that’s close in spiciness to what enjococado should be, but lacking in a bunch of other ways.

Ingredients

  • 3 chicken breast halves
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 5 guajillo chiles (dried, devined, and seeded)
  • 1 chile de arbol (dried, devined, and seeded)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 chicken broth cube, dissolved in hot water
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 15 oz Mexican cream

Directions

  1. Soak peppers for about 20 minutes in hot water, then drain, reserving 1 cup of liquid.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil over medium heat in a medium pot (or Dutch oven) and salt the chicken excessively.
  3. Cook the chicken in the pot until about half cooked, then remove from pot.
  4. Place peppers, garlic, chicken broth, cumin, and reserved liquid in blender and blend until smooth, but thick.
  5. Pour pepper mixture into the pot where you cooked the chicken and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot to get any chicken bits that might be stuck to the bottom.
  6. Add the chicken to the mixture and cook for about five minutes.
  7. Add the Mexican cream to the mixture and stir well, cooking for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the entire mixture starts bubbling to ensure it’s warm.

Source: cdkitchen

The Search for Enjococado: Nutty and Thick

Note: This is part of a four-part recipe series, the Search for Enjococado.

I’m not the only one who’s looking for the recipe to a delicious enjococado. A Google Answers thread outlines a recipe that was found on a website, years and years ago. I looked around for someone who had tried it before and followed as close as I could, changing a few things based on my experience with the previous enjococado recipe.

The flavor definitely came out nutty and wasn’t really spicy at all. However, there was something special from it and I appreciated the nuts in it somewhat, but they were too overpowering. This version also came out far too thick and chunky. Perhaps more water would help, or maybe more reserved liquid. Feel free to give that a try.

Of course, the entire recipe as found didn’t seem to follow the process that all other recipes followed (like blending!). That didn’t make sense to me, so I made the recipe my own. In my case, I made enchiladas instead of traditional enjococado.

Ingredients

  • 2 large oranges, juiced and zest from half
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped fine
  • 3 green onions, chopped fine
  • 3 red poblano chiles (can use chile ancho instead fresh red poblanos), stemmed and seeded
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 15 oz Mexican cream
  • 1 cup sliced (or slivered) almonds with skins removed
  • 3 chicken breast halves

Directions

  1. Fill a small pot with water and boil on high heat.
  2. Turn the heat off and place the chiles inside, covering. Let stand for 15 minutes.
  3. Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a large pot (or Dutch oven) over medium heat.
  4. Place chicken breasts oil and cook until about half done, taking chicken out of pot when it’s ready.
  5. Drain chiles from the pot, reserving 1 cup of liquid.
  6. Chop chiles into large pieces.
  7. Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet and fry the garlic, onions, almonds and chiles for about 10 minutes.
  8. Place mixture from skillet into blender, along with the reserved liquid from earlier.
  9. Add orange juice and zest to blender and blend until mixture becomes very fine.
  10. Pour mixture from blender into the large pot that the chicken was cooked in and cook on medium-low heat for five minutes. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pot with your spoon to remove any chicken pieces.
  11. Add chicken back to pot and cook for an additional ten minutes.
  12. Add Mexican cream to the pot, stirring well, and cook for ten minutes. Add salt as needed.

Source: Old Biddy Blogging

The Search for Enjococado: Spicy from Chicago

Note: This is part of a four-part recipe series, the Search for Enjococado.

I found this recipe from some googling and it was the first I made, mostly because it seemed like the closest. The flavors are quite wonderful and I was impressed, but something wasn’t quite right. It was clear to me that this recipe was some kind of enjococado, but not the kind I was looking for and definitely not the infamous one found at La Fiesta. It was also a bit too dark – too red – in color, something not hard to control, but I didn’t want to experiment too much the first time around.

This recipe is heavy on the chilies de arbol, causing a much redder color than the enjococado I’m used to. It also makes it quite a bit spicier than I’d like. One of the things I remember from visiting Fiesta Del Mar was its use of sliced almonds as a decoration on top. This recipe used no almonds at all.

Either way, I recommend you give this recipe a try. The flavor was good, albeit not quite what I was looking for.

Ingredients

  • 3 chicken breasts halves (about 1 pound)
  • salt
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 3 medium tomatillos
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 6 guajillo chiles (dried, devined, seeds removed)
  • 14 de arbol chiles (dried, devined, seeds removed)
  • ¼ tsp whole cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1 small strip Mexican cinnamon (1 cm width, 4 cm long)
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 15 oz container of Mexican cream
  • salt to taste

Directions

  1. Season the chicken generously with salt.
  2. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, add oil and heat to medium heat.
  3. Brown chicken pieces until they are about half cooked (in batches if needed).
  4. When chicken is cooked completely, remove from skillet and set aside.
  5. While chicken is browning, place tomatillos and tomatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil.
  6. Once done, remove from heat add chiles and cover until chiles are rehydrated and soft.
  7. Place cumin seed, onion, garlic, cinnamon strip, and oil in a small skillet and gently fry on medium heat for 3-5 minutes to release and combine flavors.
  8. When onions are soft, remove from heat and place spices and onions in blender jar. (If you used a regular cinnamon stick, remove from mixture and throw out.)
  9. While reserving liquid, drain tomatillos, tomatoes, and chiles and place in blender jar.
  10. Add about 1 cup of reserved liquid to the blender jar.
  11. Blend well until sauce is very smooth.
  12. While chicken skillet is still hot, pour in sauce and stir to release brown chicken bits at the bottom of the pan.
  13. Replace chicken in sauce, reduce to medium-low heat, and cover.
  14. Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, or until chicken is done. If sauce because too thick, add water or chicken broth in small amounts.
  15. Add Mexican cream and stir to combine.
  16. Simmer for 10 minutes to combine flavors and warm cream.
  17. Add salt as necessary.

 

Source: Examiner.com