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I have been wondering for a while now, if it was possible to make cuban “pastelitos” at home as good as the ones in the bakeries I’ve been to in Miami…

If you’ve ever been to one of those bakeries, you know what I’m talking about.
There’s really nothing like it anywhere else.  I’ve tried them in many other cities,
but they’re just not the same… sigh…

I thought I’d try making some just for fun.  I had locked myself out of my house a couple weeks ago and the neighbors took me in, so I wanted to say thank you.  I was cooking a meal for them and thought these pastelitos would be the perfect dessert.

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I’m so glad I did!  It was so much easier than I thought and they turned out pretty close to the famous Miami version.

You’ve got to try it!

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First thing you have to do is allow the Puff Pastry dough to thaw completely (but make sure it’s still cold).

Then make the simple syrup that will go on top by just boiling 1/2 cup of water with
1/2 cup of sugar then simmer for about 5-7 minutes.  Cool completely.

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I bought some Guava paste (not the jelly or jam) and sliced it into about 1/4 inch slices.
I did the same with an 8 oz block of softened cream cheese.

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After the Puff Pastry thaws, cut each section into four equal parts.
(I had rolled a little bit where the folds were so that they wouldn’t come apart while cooking.)

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Then brush the edges with egg wash,

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And lay a slice of guava and a slice of cream cheese like so…

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Fold dough over so that you form a triangle, using your fingers to “seal” the edges.

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Lay the triangles on a baking sheet and cut a slit on top with a sharp knife,
being careful not to cut all the way through to the bottom layer.

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Brush the tops with the beaten egg… be gentle, you want the dough to rise in those beautiful layers.

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Repeat with the other Puff Pastry section included in the package.

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Bake in a 400* oven for about 20-25 minutes.  Don’t go too far away.  Keep a close eye on these, especially towards the end of the baking time… they can burn very quickly.

Once they are golden, take them out and after cooling for about 3 minutes, brush some of that simple syrup glaze over them.

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They are delicious when they’re warm!

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See how easy that was?!!

I can’t wait to try making some more with different fillings that are traditional in cuban bakeries.  🙂

Enjoy!

Daisy

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Recipe for Cuban Pastelitos de Guayaba (Guava Pastries

1 package of frozen Puff Pastry
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 bar Guava Paste
1 8 oz cream cheese
1 egg, beaten

1. Thaw dough according to package directions.

2. Make simple syrup by combining 1/2 cup of water with 1/2 cup of sugar in a small saucepan.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Bring to a boil.  Lower temperature and allow to simmer for about 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.

3. Place one of the puff pastry sections on a floured surface and roll gently where the folds were so that the dough doesn’t break when you’re shaping it later.
Cut into four equal sections.

4.  Brush edges with beaten egg.  Place a slice of guava and a slice of cream cheese in the center of each square.  Fold over, matching corners in order to form a triangle, pinching edges with your fingers to seal them so that the filling won’t spill out.
Cut a slit on top, being careful not to go all the way to the bottom.
Brush with beaten egg.

5.  Place in a preheated 400* oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Keep your eyes on these so that they won’t burn towards the end of the baking time.
Cool for about 3 minutes, then brush each one gently with the simple syrup.

Enjoy them while they’re warm!

 

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I got to spend last week at a Youth Camp with a bunch of friends from our days (years) in Texas.  It was wonderful to be with them again, and I was reminded how much I missed them.

Every night after all our work was done, one of the ladies would cook and make some “real food” (as opposed to camp food)…

Everything was great, but the homemade salsa was the best!  I realized it had been a long time since I had made any, and decided I better make some as soon as I got back home.

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Today I went to the local Farmers Market and bought a bunch of fresh ingredients to make several kinds of salsa.  The first one I made was Salsa Verde.

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To make salsa verde, (literally means “green sauce”), you need tomatillos, which come wrapped in a soft almost fabric-like covering.

Remove these husks from the tomatillos…

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After removing the husks, wash the tomatillos thoroughly (I actually use a sponge with soap & water).  Some have dirt and other residue, and you want to be sure and get all that off.

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Rinse well and drain.

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I like to dry mine with a clean kitchen towel before I roast them.

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There’s several ways to make salsa verde.  You can either roast the ingredients or boil them.  I like to roast them because I think it adds more flavor.

Place about 2 lbs of tomatillos on a roasting pan.  I use a 12 inch pizza pan and put it in my toaster oven.  I find that it does the job quickly and easily.

Add about half a medium onion, two cloves of garlic with skin on, and 1-3 Serrano peppers.  How many peppers you add depend on how hot you like the salsa.  I added two but found they were too hot, so next time I only added one and it was perfect.

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Put under the broiler for about 10-12 minutes, until everything looks charred and a bit mushy.

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Place all the roasted veggies in the blender, along with about 1/4 cup of cilantro (more if you really love cilantro, less if you don’t care too much for it).  Add 1/2 tsp of salt, and a pinch of sugar.

Blend until desired consistency.  Some like it more chunky, but I like it well-mixed for a smooth consistency.

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It makes a great topping for grilled fish, tacos, fish tacos,
enchiladas, breakfast tacos, just about any dish.

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Give it a try,

I know you’ll love it!

Happy Cooking!

Daisy

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Recipe for Salsa Verde

1-2 lbs tomatillos, husks removed,
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic (skin on)
1-2 serrano peppers
1/4 cup cilantro
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch of sugar

Place first four ingredients in a roasting pan and broil for 10-12 minutes, until tomatillos are charred.

Place roasted veggies in blender.  Add cilantro, salt, and sugar.  Blend until desired consistency.

Serve along your favorite tacos or main dish.

Enjoy!

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Thank you all so much for the way you responded to my last post.  It’s funny (not in a humorous way, but a thought-provoking way) how through this “blog world” I have made some unexpected friendships that have been a real blessing to me.

I really didn’t expect a lot of response after not posting anything for six months!  But you guys have just made me feel as if I got a hug from each of you!  You didn’t have to do that, so it means all the more.

I’m so looking forward to reading through your blogs and catching up on all you’ve been doing, and what’s been going on in your lives.

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Now, about edible gifts…

We have several Christmas get-together with Pastors & their wives (with whom we work) in different regions so it gives me a chance to bake some special little things that are really only around at Christmas time.  (Not sure why!  They are good enough to eat all year round! 😊)

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s year I made three different things to go in the gift bags.  Mini Oreos, dipped in white chocolate and rolled in crushed peppermint candies.. Mini Swirl Cinnamon Bread loaves… and Fudge Brownies.

The mini Oreos are so easy. You just dip them in melted white chocolate then roll them in crushed peppermint candies. Place on a wax papered-covered baking sheet, and place in refrigerator (This will keep them crunchy). I was surprised how long they stayed fresh! They are a delicious treat!

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n came these mini Cinnamon Swirl loaves. Just use your favorite recipe, and you can add raisins, dates, or dried apricots – whatever you prefer.

The key is to bake them in paper loaves so you can just wrap them up in cellophane after they've baked and cool.

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last but certainly not least, are the fudge-y brownies, made with dark chocolate chips, if you like that extra chocolatey goodness. These are my favorite!!

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s always fun to bake something a little extra special for people that you know could use an encouraging word, letting them them know that they are appreciated, their work is not in vain, and that they're loved.

What are you baking today? Are you baking something sweet for someone special?

Have a wonderful Christmas season!

Hugs,

Daisy

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This dish reminds me so much of my childhood.

Sweet memories of my Mom, my aunt, and grandmother… this was something they loved to serve because it feeds a crowd.

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It’s kind of like a chicken casserole . . . But so much more!

It’s really Cuban comfort food.   I know you’ll love it!

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Here’s how I make it:

ARROZ CON POLLO

Marinade chicken overnight (if possible).  For the marinade I use:  the juice of 2 lemons (or limes), 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp of cumin, 1/2 tsp oregano, 2 Tb olive oil.  Mix in a glass jar, then pour over chicken.  Refrigerate overnight.  I use a large casserole dish to marinate the chicken, or a gallon-size zip-lock bag.  Just before cooking, remove chicken from the marinade and dispose of marinade – do not use the marinade in the arroz con pollo.  

To make the Arroz Con Pollo:   Rinse rice in strainer and drain well.  Heat a 3 quart pan over med-high heat.  Put 2 Tb of olive oil in the pan. Place rice in heated pan and stir frequently until it turns to a bright white color (about 5-10 mins).  It’s important you don’t step away from the stove at this point – the rice can burn easily & quickly.  Add 2 cups of chicken broth and 2 cups of cooking wine.  Add 1/2 tsp salt.  Stir and heat over med. high heat.

In a large skillet with a lid, or a big pot, heat 2 Tb of oil.  Add one finely chopped onion, 3 cloves of garlic, yellow & orange sweet peppers (diced).  Cook, stirring often, for about 3-5 min., then add 2 bay leaves, cumin, oregano, tomato paste, pinch of sugar, and cook for another 3 min.  Add chicken and cook until nicely browned and crusty.  I usually turn up the heat a little bit so that the chicken gets a nice color.  If necessary, add a Tb or two of olive oil so the chicken won’t stick or burn.  Cook for about 10 min., turning chicken to ensure even cooking.  

Add rice mixture to the large skillet (or large pot) with the chicken.  Stir gently until well-mixed.  Place chicken pieces over the rice.  Add green olives and the sweet red pepper strips.  Cover and cook until rice is done and chicken is cooked (About 30 min.).  Do not open or stir!  This will cause the rice to clump and not cook evenly.  

After 30 min, sprinkle green peas over rice (do not stir).  Cover, and cook an additional 5 mins.  Turn heat off and let it sit for about 5 min.

Serve with plantains or tostones.  A nice fresh salad also goes well here.

Note:  If you’re using chicken breasts, either increase the cooking time or cut into smaller pieces to ensure chicken is cooked all the way through.  

INGREDIENTS

     FOR MARINADE:

  • 2 lemons 
  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (I also added turmeric for color)
  • 1 whole chicken, cut up, OR a pack of drumsticks and thighs (I buy skinless)

     FOR RICE:

  • 2 cups rice
  • 4 Tb oil
  • 1/2 tsp of salt (you can add more if you like)
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 2 cups of cooking wine

     FOR CHICKEN:

  • (The chicken you hopefully remembered to marinade)
  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4-5 mini sweet peppers, yellow and orange, seeds and stems removed (you can also use regular size or just use green peppers)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 small can tomato paste (or 1 small can of tomato sauce)
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 of 7 oz.jar of green olives, stuffed with pimento
  • 1 sweet red pepper, sliced into strips (or pimento strips)
  • 1/2 cup green peas

I hope you’ll give it a try!

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Happy cooking,

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Daisy

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I’ve been experimenting with some basic ingredients and healthy foods…

This dish is surprisingly easy and light, but so tasty!

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Thinly slice 2 large potatoes, and half a small onion.  Fan out the slices of potatoes in a tart pan or pie shell.  (You can add 1/4 cup of water if you like).  Place the sliced onions over the top, and add a drizzle of olive oil over all.  Sprinkle some fresh chopped rosemary (or dried), salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Bake at 375 for 30-45 min, until potatoes are tender.

This is a delicious and light alternative to most potato dishes we see this time of year, (especially if you’re watching your fat or caloric intake).

You can easily customize this to fit your family and tastes – add more potatoes, more onion, or anything you fancy.

Enjoy,

and Happy Thanksgiving week!!

Daisy
xo

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Baking bread is just wonderful….

 

It’s therapeutic for me mixing, kneading, waiting for the dough to rise…

 

 

 

The house smells so good while the bread is baking…

 

 

 

And then you get to enjoy the bread – in my case, I’m giving it to a friend, along with jars of homemade preserves.

I have to say, I love giving homemade food gifts to friends – the look
on their faces,
I can just tell they appreciate it and I’ve brought some joy to their day.

That makes my day!

 

 

Here’s the recipe:

Italian Bread

In a bowl, stir:
1 cup warm water
1 Tb sugar
1 packet of active dry yeast
Let stand about five minutes, until it’s foamy.

In a large bowl, mix together:
2 cups bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
Add to the bowl:
the yeast mixture and
2 Tb olive oil
Stir with a wooden spoon
Add up to 1/2 cup of flour until it forms a dough.

Turn onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes.
Shape dough into a ball, place in an oiled bowl and turn to coat.
Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise for one hour, until doubled.

Head oven to 400 degrees F.
Lightly oil the surface of a baking sheet with olive oil.
On a lightly floured surface, punch down dough and begin to
shape dough, long and tapered as in photo above.
I finished shaping it on the baking sheet so it would be easier to move.
Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for about 20 minutes.

Use a serrated knife to make three slits in the surface of the loaf,
about 1/4 inch deep each.
Bake 20 minutes until golden brown.

Cool for a bit.
If you like warm bread, slice it while it’s still warm,
spread some butter and honey, or jam,
and Enjoy!

Have fun today.

Bake some bread. 😊

Daisy

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I went to the Farmers Market this week and found they had baskets of tomatoes for $1!

I bought three and went home excited about making tomato jam.

I had never tasted tomato jam until just last year, and I thought it was so delicious, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it before, or that it wasn’t everywhere, in every super market, next to strawberry jam or blueberry jelly!  I felt deprived…

So when I saw those tomatoes, I immediately thought, “I could make some jam!  I mean, how hard could it be?

 

 

Five hours later, after peeling five pounds of tomatoes, simmering & stirring the pot, checking the consistency countless times, I wondered if this “soup” was ever going to turn into “jam”.

I decided to go sit down, after all, I’d been standing in the kitchen for hours (I already had met my 10,000 steps quota and it was only 5pm!).  While I was checking my emails and Instagram, I fell asleep…

Next thing I know I smelled a hint of something burning… I jumped out of the chair and ran to the kitchen, exclaiming, “no, no, no…!”

I stirred the pot and realized the bottom was starting to stick, but it wasn’t burned!  I tasted it quickly, hoping there was no burnt taste…

Oh, I have to tell you, I breathed a sigh and was so thankful that it tasted fine!  It was still really, REALLY hot from those red chile flakes, but it was delicious.

I grabbed the jars and filled three of them with about four tablespoons left over.  That’s it!  Three pints from FIVE pounds of tomatoes!  I had to laugh…
 

 

I was so proud of myself.

For years, (since I first got married and went to college in a rural area), I’d wanted to try canning and I finally did it.

It only took a couple decades.

Now, the jars sit it on my kitchen shelves and I can’t wait until next week when I can go to the Farmers Market, buy whatever is in season, and try canning again!

I can almost see it…my kitchen shelves stocked with colorful jars, filled with all kinds of good food.

Of course, what will really happen is that I’ll end up giving these jars away in pretty gift baskets…

…But I love to do that, too!

So it’s a win/win situation 😊

Enjoy summer bounty,

Daisy

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