Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Caldo de Res

I want to dedicate this recipe to all of you, who like myself, don't have a mommy around to take care of you when you're sick. There is nothing that makes me feel better, like a bowl of my mom's hearty Caldo de Res (beef soup). We all know that when you're feeling under the weather, the go-to food is chicken soup, and I love me some chicken soup, but there is something about Caldo de Res that warms me up, fills my belly, and makes me feel like I can fight a swarm of ninjas (even if just for a minute). So, when my beautiful mom is not around, I peel myself out of bed and very pathetically crawl to the kitchen.

Caldo de Res starts with creating a flavorful beef broth, and then slowly adding vegetables and fresh herbs. While the recipe does take a few hours to make, it's not very complicated. It just requires patience and a bit of love (even if it is for yourself).

Caldo de Res
Serves 4-6


2 lbs beef shank, with bone
1 onion, cut into half
3 garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups of garbanzo beans (uncooked)
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
1 small bunch of cilantro
1 small bunch of mint
2 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 ears of corn, husked and cut into thirds
2 zucchinis, roughly chopped
1 medium cabbage, cored and cut into wedges
1/2 cup of rice (uncooked)
Salt and pepper


Fill a large soup pot about 1/2 way with water and boil. Once the water has boiled, add the meat, about 3 tbs of salt, 1 teaspoon of ground pepper, garlic, and garbanzos, continuously removing the foam that is brought to the top of the pot. Lower the heat to medium-low. Let cook for about 1 hour or until the meat is tender. Follow by adding carrots, potatoes, zucchini, corn, cabbage, mint, and onion. Cook for another hour and then add cilantro, and rice. At this point, you'll want to taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed, add salt and pepper. Cook for another 30-45 minutes. If at any point the broth gets too thick, add water and adjust seasoning.

Ladle into soup bowls and serve with warm corn tortillas, salsa, and a wedge of lime.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Thing about Tinga

Tinga is a dish I grew up eating at a potlucks and picnics. Now that I can cook it myself, I realize why it was such a common dish to bring, it's easy to make and delicious served warm, and maybe even more delicious served cold. Imagine a chicken salad that has been bathing in a broth of spices, tomatoes, onions, with just a hint of smokiness from chipotle peppers. That's Tinga. The other great thing about it, is that it's so versatile. You can eat it in taco, on a tostada, gorditas, sopes, or quesadillas (as pictured above). Tinga can also be made from shredded pork or beef, so feel free to make substitutions.

Tinga de Pollo
Serves 3-5


3 cups of cooked shredded chicken
1 tbs of vegetable oil
 2 large tomatoes, roughly diced
1/2 large yellow onion, sliced
1/2 tbs ground cumin
1/2 tbs dried Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chicken stock
1 canned chipotle pepper, roughly chopped
1-3 tbs of adobo sauce from the chipotles
Salt and pepper to taste


 Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the diced tomatoes and cook until they begin to soften and fall apart, about 5 minutes, stir occasionally. Add half of the chicken broth and let simmer for 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients (except the adobo sauce), chicken, cumin, oregano, thyme, chipotle, salt and pepper , and remaining chicken stock. Stir well, making sure everything mixes together. Stir in the adobo sauce, 1 tablespoon at a time. The more you add, the spicier it is. Taste and adjust any seasonings. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and let simmer for 20 minutes.

You can serve warm or cold. Some great topping suggestions are your usual suspects, sliced avocados, queso fresco, salsa, sour cream, radishes, diced onions and cilantro.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Carnitas are traditionally slowly fried in a large copper pot filled with (delicious) lard. Since most of us don't have access to such a huge amount of lard, a large copper pot, and the courage to sit around and stir a gigantic pot full of super hot lard, this is my version of Carnitas that you can cook right on your stove top.

When you make Carnitas the traditional way, you end up with chunks of meat that are fried on the outside, yet moist and juicy on the inside. This happens because you start frying them in lard at low heat, which prevents the juices of the meat from escaping, and only until the end do you turn up the heat to crisp the outside. You simply cannot mimic this technique by just slow roasting and have the same end results. What I have done with this recipe is to slow cook the pork in a broth (or braise) that will continuously add flavor and liquid during the cooking process, but also, I save the cooking liquid and add it at the end to add even more flavor and moisture. When you braise such a large piece of pork, you will not end up with any crispness. So, after the pork has been braising for hours, and you can pull the meat off the bones, I shred it and fry it in a pan with oil until some of the pork has crisped up to a golden brown.

I will flat out tell you that these are not like the Carnitas that I grew up with, but they are dammed tasty and come close to the ones my uncles used to make when I was a kid.

Serves 6-8


1 (4lb) pork shoulder roast
1 tbs salt
1 tbs pepper
1 tbs dried oregano
1 tbs garlic powder
2 bay leaves
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 orange (cut in half)


Mix together salt, pepper, oregano, and garlic powder. Coat pork with the mixture. Place the bay leaves in the bottom of a slow cooker or large pot and place the pork on top. Add the orange. Pour the chicken broth around the sides of the pork, being careful not to rinse off the spice mixture. Cover and cook on Low until the pork shreds easily with a fork, about 7 hours. Turn the meat after it has cooked for 3.5 hours.

When the pork is tender, remove from slow cooker, and shred with two forks.

 In a skillet, heat a table spoon of oil. Add the shredded pork to the oil and cook until the strips are lightly browned on the ends. Place all of the browned meat in a separate dish and use cooking liquid as needed to moisten the meat.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Review: Papacitos!

999 Manhattan Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11222

No, I'm not starting a new phase in my life where I'm going to start harassing men on the street and calling them "Papacitos!" Although, it's always been a fantasy of mine for the roles to be reversed and see how men like being cat-called. I kid. Papacitos isn't just something you call a hot piece-of-man, it's also a Mexican restaurant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

I'm noticing a trend in Greenpoint of really great Mexican restaurants (Calexico being another one of them). I heard that there are crazy levels of radiation in Greenpoint and maybe it's creating radiation-induced Superchefs? Ok, obviously not, but this is only adding to the jealousy I feel towards all of you Greenpointiacs (is what I calls ya) and your awesome neighborhood. Luckily, the gringo and I have really awesome friends that live in Greenpoint and visit them on a weekly basis. Our visits usually include us eating wings at The Habitat and eating way too much to the point that we no longer know the feeling of shame. Well, this last visit, we decided to give another restaurant a try. I'd heard so many great things about Papacitos, so I was really excited to finally give them a try. Although I would rather be giving you a review about my visit to the restaurant, this time all I can give you is the scoop on their delivery, which I think can be equally as important. I ordered a carne asada taco, a green chile burrito, and the gringo ordered a chorizo taco and chicken quesadilla. The food was moderately priced , $5 for two tacos, $9 for a burrito, and $9 for the quesadilla. I honestly can't say if the delivery was fast or not, it FELT like it came quickly, but to be honest, we were having a grand ol' time, so I couldn't tell if we were just distracted. When the food came, it was still warm though. Win! The delivery guy was super nice, too! The tacos are served in the traditional street style, two corn tortillas, meat, cilantro, onions, salsa. That's the way to serve a taco! No need for distracting frills, just simple ingredients that enhance and don't distract you from the flavor of the meat. The one thing that stood out to me were the tortillas. They reminded me of the freshly made stack of warm tortillas that my mom gets delivered to her in a beautiful embroidered napkin to her house in Mexico every morning. The tortillas were moist and actually tasted like corn, not chalky and dry like the horrible ones they sell at most bodegas. I really enjoyed the carne asada and the salsa had the perfect amount of heat for me. The chorizo taco was also really great and although it wasn't the traditional loose chorizo that I'm used to, it was more of a sausage, the spices were just right. I don't have anything to rave about the burrito, but then again, I usually don't. I think burritos have way too many ingredients in them and the flavors just sort of end up getting lost. The quesadilla was prepared perfectly, a crisp flour tortilla, gooey jack cheese and really well-seasoned chicken. 

Aside from really great food, I've heard that Papasitos has a Loteria night, or as they put it (for the gringos), Mexican Bingo. I'm really looking forward to actually going there and trying more of their food and hopefully playing some Loteria; I really hope they use frijoles (beans) as markers and not some fancy Bingo chips!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Shrimp Ceviche

I haven't posted a new recipe in a while. I don't have a good excuse, but what I do have for you is a good recipe to make up for my slacking.

With this ridiculous heat, I thought I'd give you guys something refreshing and easy to make. Shrimp ceviche is something I've always enjoyed making as a summer dish. Traditionally, ceviche is raw seafood that is "cooked" in lime, or other citrus juice, usually marinated overnight. However, this is my easier version that doesn't require hours of marinating. Instead, I pre-cook the shrimp and then marinate them in lime juice for only one hour. I feel like you get the same flavors in half the time, plus, you minimize the risk of food poisoning (yikes!).

Shrimp Ceviche
Serves 4-6


1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (save the shells)
2 tbs salt
1 3/4 cups fresh lime juice
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced tomatoes (remove pulp)
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1 tbs dried oregano
salt and pepper


In a large pot, add 4 quarts of water, 2 tbs of salt, the shells that you removed from the shrimp and bring to a boil. With a slotted spoon, remove the shells and discard. Now add the raw shrimp. The shrimp will take about 45 seconds to cook, so you'll have to watch them closely. As soon they turn pink and are no longer transparent, quickly remove them from the water with a slotted spoon.

Cut the shrimp in thirds. Place them in a bowl and add the lime juice. Cover and let marinade in the fridge for an hour.

Add the remaining ingredients and then place back in the fridge for another 30 minutes. After this, I like to taste the ceviche and adjust seasonings. Once everything is nice and tangy and perfectly seasoned, I plate the ceviche by using a slotted spoon to drain a bit of the lime juice. You don't want to drain it all, but you also don't want to serve it with all that juice.

I like serving ceviche with tostadas, sliced avocados, and some hot sauce (my favorite is Valentina). If you can't find tostadas, tortilla chips will also do the job. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Cinco de Mayo: A great excuse for a fiesta!

Yeah… yeah, Cinco de Mayo isn’t really a huge Mexican holiday, unless you live in Puebla. That isn’t to say that we can’t have fun and enjoy a day designated to celebrate our wonderful culture. So, let’s all drink margaritas, eat tacos, dance some zapateados and not remember any of it the next day.

Here are a few tips and some easy recipes for your fiestas!


  • Sautee diced onions, diced tomatoes, and diced jalapeños. Then, add your favorite meat (eggs or potatoes for vegetarian yumminess) for a quick “a la Mexicana” dish. 
  • If you’re going to use canned refried beans, make them even better by sautéing some fresh diced jalapeños in a tablespoon of oil and then add the beans. Sautee for a few minutes, until the peppers are evenly distributed.


Add some spice to your plain ol’ beer by adding a few ingredients.


Ice cold beer
1/2 tbs ground piquin pepper (substitute cayenne, but use less)
1 tbs Kosher salt (to coat rim of glass)
1 lime slice
Juice of 1.5 limes
2 dashes of “Maggi” seasoning sauce (substitute soy sauce)
2 dashes of Worschestire sauce
2 tsps hot sauce (I prefer Valentina brand)
Salt and pepper


Coat the rim of a glass with the slice of lime. Make a salt and piquin pepper mixture and place on a plate. Dip the rim of the glass into the mixture.

Add all of the ingredients except the beer to the glass. Slowly pour in the beer. Stir.


Nacho Sauce
Don’t use that weird cheese sauce for nachos, make your own. It’s worth it!


2 tbs unsalted butter
3 cups of milk
½ medium onion
4 garlic cloves (smashed)
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbs all-purpose flour
3 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 diced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper


Put the milk into a saucepan and add the onion, garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and cumin. Warm over medium low heat until the milk starts to steam, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the flavors infuse while you make a roux. In a large pot, over medium heat, add 2 tbs of butter and the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 2-3 minutes; don’t let the roux color. Strain the infused mil into the roux, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes until the sauce is thick (coats the back of a spoon). Remove from the heat and add the cheese, chipotle, and cayenne; stir until it is melted and smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Alternately, you can add ¼ cup diced pickled jalapeños or cooked chorizo after you add the cheese.

And for that sweet tooth...



1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1 tbs ground cinnamon
3/4 stick of margarine
1 cup water
1 tsp sal
1 cup granulated sugar
Canola or vegetable oil (for frying)


Boil water in a saucepan. Add the butter and salt and cook until butter melts. Add the flour and remove from heat. Mix the ingredients with a fork or whisk until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time and continue mixing.

Add the batter to a large pastry bag with a large star tip. In a medium skillet, heat about an inch-deep of oil over medium-high heat (350 degrees F). Squeeze out 4" long strips of the dough into the oil. Fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes each side. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel lined plate.

Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a plate. While the churros are still hot, roll them in the mixture.

Eat them as is or add some ice cream for a la mode!

Monday, April 30, 2012

My Alter Egos

Last weekend I took a break from my kitchen and went to Boston Comic Con. It was my very first time in Boston and I loved it! It was really beautiful and comic con was loads of fun. I'm not sure if you all know this, but when I'm not cooking, I like to run around pretending I'm a comic book character. For Boston, I brought out my favorite costume, 1960s TV Series Batgirl and threw together Danger Girl's Sydney Savage.

Here are a few pictures of my costumes.

 I even got a shoutout from the creator of Danger Girl, J. Scott Campbell!

 I'm back in the kitchen now, working on a Cinco de Mayo post for all of your fiestas!