Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Caldo de pollo

So today I felt like making a little caldo de pollo, and yet, I can't seem to master that *little* at all. So, here's today's lunch with a side of arroz and avocado slices.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Receta: Calabaza

So, I know; it's been forever! But I will try my best to get back to this.

Today, I have some work to get through, but not too much that would make it impossible for me to make lunch. And lucky me, look what I spotted at the store this morning.

Calabaza (calabasa) squash; sometimes called Mexican squash
I decided that I'd make one of my favorite dishes, calabasa con puerco. You can make it with chicken if you want, but I only ever recall having it with pork. This dish is easy to make; you can make it like a soup, which is how I prefer it, or you can make it a little less soupy.

So, here we go with today's dish. I didn't buy all of those squash, just seven (7) of them. I, of course, stocked up on my three colors as well. And I bought some boneless, center cut pork chops (about 1/2 a pound). If I was making this for the family--and not for me for the next few days--I'd probably up that pork to about 1 1/2 pounds, but I like the squash so much, I didn't want a ton of pork in it. It's up to you how you like; try it a couple of different ways--heck, even make it with chicken--to figure out what you like best.

So, I started with chopping everything up. I used half a field grown tomato, half a bell pepper, one-quarter of an onion, and about one-quarter cup of cilantro. These don't have to be finely chopped up, again depending on how you like your soup. And, of course the calabasas and pork--both in cubes.

Cut up vegetables
Calabasas, cut up
Pork chops, cut in cubes

Then it was time to work on my spices; if you don't recall how to do this, go here. For this, I used about 2 teaspoons of cumin, 2 gloves of garlic, and a few peppercorns and tossed those into my molcajete to grind up.

Spices in molcajete, ready to grind.
Spices, ground up

You'll need a large quart pot; I used my 10 or 12 quart. Then add a small amount of oil, to sparingly cover the bottom of the pot and toss the pork in to cook until browned on medium heat.

Pork in lightly oiled pot.

Pork chops, browned.

Now it's time to add your vegetables--not the calabasa--spices, salt (to taste), and about 3/4 cup of water to your pork.
Pork, vegetables, spices, and water.

Pork with bell pepper, onion, tomato, and cilantro

You'll want that to cook and blend the flavors, about 10 minutes and medium low heat. Then it's time to toss in the calabasa and a little bit of water--but not a lot, because calabasa, like many other vegetables and squashes, has a pretty high water content. So I added about 3/4 cup of water when I tossed in the calabasa. Stir, cover, and cook on medium low heat.

Mix with spices and water.
Add the calabasa 

As you see, as the calabasa cooks down, there is now more liquid to the pot.

Cooking down, on low medium heat.
Make sure you stir up the calabasa as it cooks down; you may find you'll need to add more water. I added another 1/2 cup at this point; as I said, I like it soupy.

Then there's just a few more things to do; I made the calabasa with arroz (rice) today, so I had some tomato sauce left over and I tossed that in the pot--totally not necessary, but I hate to throw it out once I've opened a can. And the other thing that you need to add--and this is a necessary--is a can of corn (or a frozen bag of corn or if you feel like shucking cutting fresh off the cob, you can do that, too. Drain the corn well and then toss it into the pot.
Can of corn
Corn added to the pot

After that, it's just a matter of continuing to cook down the calabasa (covered) until it's cooked soft and the "soupy" level you desire. Today's batch looked like this when I was done:

Today's calabasa
And as I said, I made arroz to go with it. Usually if the family is eating, I'll bust out with corn tortillas and some refried beans; but this was just for me and I don't need all that stuff when it comes to calabasa.

Just a serving
Let me know if you try this recipe and what you think!

¡Hasta la proxíma vez!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Poemas

Throwback in the sense that I wrote these almost seventeen years ago. Copyright of the poemas (poems), of course, belongs to me. Do not reproduce in *any* fashion without my express, written approval.

The Mariachi

Ay, ay, ay,
I sing every night.
"Mr. Mary-achee," says a little voice.
Señor Mariachi, I respond, fixing her español.
"Seenyor Maree-achee," (trying to sound like me--her papí)
"Can you play me a song?"
Sí, senorita. ¿What canción?
"America the Beautiful."
Chiquita, that's not a song for me. Tell me one that a mariachi sings.
"But I don't know any, Mr. Mary-achee."
Sí, yo sé hija. . . . I turned away, tears in my eyes, I know daughter. Yo sé.

The Mariachi, También: Hija
My papí--he's the mary-achee
He plays guitar and sings

He wears a big sombrero and pants--both black with pretty red and yellow
"Play me a song," everyone says.
So I did, too.
¿What canción?

A song--I thought and thought. Then I remembered the one from school, "America the Beautiful."
He cried and told me it's not a 
canción for him--a mary-achee.
I don't know why he cries. . . . I don't know a song for a mary-achee.

The Mariachi, Tercero
He plays me every night
Strumming his fingers over my strings
Plucking and picking, making the right sounds.
He sings, too.
A mariachi always does.
The beautiful music we make together, his hija does not know.
She sits and listens to the canciones, but still she does not know.
"America the Beautiful!"--he's never played that on my strings
Canciones--Celito Lindo, Alla en el Rancho Grande y El Rey . . . these are the songs of a mariachi
These canciones his hija does not know 

And with her proper English and poor español, she never will.

¡Hasta la proxíma vez! 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Abuelita or Schoolmarm?

I just can't stop myself on wordless Wednesday. 

I'm not sure who's abuelita this is, but she looks nothing like my grandmother. And as a matter of fact, she looks more like an old English schoolmarm than anything else. I mean look at that teacup . . . a teacup for hot chocolate . . . c'mon!

Maybe that's what happens when Nestlé conjures up the image of a grandma--silly Swiss (LoL)! You'll also note that this is a bar form. The kind we had as kids were in a hexagon shape and they were thick stacked bars. You can still find it in those bars, which I think are easier to use than this long bar because for starters they're individually wrapped. This is one whole bar and much harder to break apart.

Nonetheless Abuelita still makes some good hot chocolate, and now that it's getting colder, I'll have to whip some up and share the recipe soon!

¡Hasta la proxíma vez! 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Receta: Frijoles charros

Today's recipe is one of my favorite to make because it is so easy. It can be served as a side dish to accompany enchiladas or mole or can just be eaten by itself as a soup, which is one of my favorites, especially on a cool day.

To start with you need pinto beans. For this I used a one-pound bag of beans. Some stores have beans in a crate that you can measure and bag yourself, but those didn't look so good when I checked.

One-pound bag of pinto beans
Next you take the beans out of the bag, put them in a colander and rinse them well. You are removing traces of dirt and also looking for "bad" beans or other debris that may have found its way into the beans.

Rinsing the beans
Finding bad beans and debris (i.e., rock)
 Once you have thoroughly rinsed your beans and fished out all the bad beans, which look very wrinkled, are darker, or the skin comes off, you place the beans in a large pot or olla (sometimes called a jaro) and cover them with water. You put about twice as much water as there are beans. Then you put it on the stove, cover, and cook on low for about two hours, checking to see how your beans are progressing.

Beans in the pot, with twice as much water as beans.
Beans on the stove, covered, on low heat
Cooking beans

When the beans start to lose their markings and are still a little hard, it is time to add the rest of the ingredients.These include bacon, garlic, onion, tomato, and cilantro. Some people also add jalapenos to their beans, I don't care for them that way. But if you like your beans with a little kick, the beans can definitely be made that way.
Other add-ins

I suggest a good thick cut bacon for beans because it adds a good amount of flavor to the beans. You take about four slices, cut them up, and then cook them on the stove in a frying pan.

Cut up bacon
Frying up bacon
 While the bacon is frying, it is a good time to chop up the vegetables, about a 1/2 cup of onion, 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, and about two tomatoes.

Chopped up veggies
 When the bacon is about cooked, add both the onion and garlic to cook them up as well. 

Adding garlic and onion to the bacon to cook.
Then it's time to finish cutting up the tomatoes and cilantro.
Tomatoes and cilantro
 Add the bacon, garlic, onion, tomato, and cilantro to your beans, add salt--but be careful because the bacon does add some salt--to your beans. You may have to add a little more water to your beans, depending on how soupy you like them. Cover the pot and continue to cook for another hour or so on low heat until the beans are completely soft.

When you're done and served up, your frijoles charros should look something like this:

Ready to eat!

Let me know if you try this recipe or how you like to make your frijoles.

¡Hasta la proxíma vez!