Mushroom Lentil Ragu

This recipe is a great option for Meatless Mondays or any other day for that matter. It’s budget friendly, quick and easy to make, and satisfying. I had most of the ingredients already from making Chunky Sausage Lentil Soup.

I also had some left over chipolte peppers in adobo sauce that I LOVE and didn’t want to waste. I love the smokey and spicy flavor. I was just thinking today that maybe I need to change the name of my blog to Spicy’n Spain since I seem to make a lot of spicy dishes. I also have come to think that Valencian’s are more heat/spicy tolerant. That would explain all the Mexican restaurants here, right?

We initially made this recipe when we were “flexitarians”. The Spruce Eats describes the term as “those who eat mostly vegetarian but occasionally eat meat. We like the idea of being more earth conscience and healthy. Now we’re way more “flex” than we are “itarians”.

Whether or not you are vegetarian, pescetarian, vegan, flexitarian, or carnivore doesn’t really matter. This recipe is all inclusive. Add or subtract as you would like. That’s what makes cooking fun. Make it your own. Experiment! Whatever you decide to do I hope that you will give this recipe a try.

Mushroom Lentil Ragu

Serves: 6

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 oz or 375 g button mushrooms,quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 can (28 oz or 800g) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup brown lentils, rinsed and picked through
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • spaghetti noodles

In a large saucepan, heat oil to medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, garlic, carrot, red bell pepper, and onion. Stirring frequently, saute vegetables until tender, and onion is translucent.

Stir in bay leaf, crushed tomatoes, water, lentils, oregano, salt, pepper, and chipotle. Heat to boiling, then reduce to a simmer using medium-low heat. Simmer until the lentils are tender, about 25 minutes, stir occasionally. Add more water, if ragu is too thick. Remove bay leaf.

Meanwhile, prepare spaghetti noodles according to package directions.

Serve ragu over cooked spaghetti noodles.

Let’s EAT.

Spicy Pepper Beef

Spicy Pepper Beef

We’ve had this dish a few times now and we like it. Lane loves Asian food and I enjoy it as well. This recipe has a great spicy deliciousness. I just wish it made a few more leftover servings. It makes about 4 all together. So, that’s just one night off before having to figure out what to make next.

I adapted this recipe from The Woks of Life’s Beef and Pepper Stir-fry recipe. I had a lot of fun on her site. I went through one rabbit whole to the next with her “ping backs”(? is that what they’re called?). And just now, I realized that her recipe has a helpful little widget where you can adjust the servings, SMH.

When I saw these at my local supermercado I instantly thought of this recipe. To be honest, I didn’t hold out much hope that these would be hot. It’s my understanding that in general the Spanish don’t like a lot of spiciness in their food. Maybe I should have been a little more cautious…they do look like a hottish kind of pepper, they’re labeled “picante”, and they’re from Green Giant (an American company)…

Picante Peppers julienned

Initially I didn’t detect any spiciness by the smell or on my hands…yes I julienned all of the peppers without any gloves. Psh, who needs gloves? An hour later my fingers and hands were on FIRE! I really wanted to soak them in some nice cold milk but I hate being wasteful. Takeaway – grab a pair of those cheap plastic gloves you find in the produce aisle (picking up produce naked handed is a no no) and wear while preparing your peppers.

These types of peppers can be anywhere from mild to super spicy. Luckily, the cooked dish itself didn’t taste too terribly spicy. I thought it had just the right amount. Lane thought it was pretty spicy. If you’re worried about the spiciness, you can substitute some of the picante peppers with some more mild type peppers.

Translation: 1 year old fillet/yearling

For the beef we used Filete 1 A de añojo which translates to 1 year old fillet or yearling (oh no 😕). Poor thing , I’m sorry. You were very tasty. Oh my gosh, I feel so bad while writing this. Thank you, little thing! May you rest in peace. Now that we’ve all said grace, it’s time to move along.

Spicy Pepper Beef

Serves 4

For the beef and marinade:

  • 12 oz (0,366 kg) filete 1 A de añojo or flank steak – cut into 3″ strips
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon crispy chili in oil
  • 1 slightly heaped tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

For the remainder of the dish:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 long hot peppers, deseeded and julienned into 3″ strips
  • 1 tablespoon wine (we used red but white would be fine too) (original recipe calls for Shaoxing Wine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • fresh ground black pepper, or white if you have it
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock , optional (if you want a little more sauce)

Slice the beef into 3 to 5 inch strips, depending on your preference. Place in a bowl. Mix all the marinade ingredients together, than add to sliced beef. Combine until the beef is nicely coated. Let the beef sit out at room temp for 30 minutes.

Mince the garlic. Deseed and julien hot peppers into 3 inch strips. Set aside until you’re ready to cook.

When you’re ready to cook, add oil to a large sauce pan (or wok) and place over high heat until it’s almost smoking. Sear the beef until it’s browned but still a little rare. Turn off the heat while you transfer the beef to a bowl. Leave any oil or fat in the pan.

Heat the pan back up to medium high heat and add the garlic and peppers. Stir-fry for 20 seconds, then spread the wine around to de-glaze it. Stir-fry for another 20 seconds and add the beef back to the pan, including any juices from bowl. Add salt, sugar, soy sauce and freshly ground pepper. Turn heat back to high and stir-fry an additional 1 to 2 minutes.

If you would like a little extra sauce, add the chicken stock to further de-glaze the pan and reduce the liquid slightly. The cornstarch from the marinade will help thicken it up. Serve immediately over rice.

Crispy Chili in Oil

I’ve also seen this product labeled as Crunchy Chili Oil and Spicy Chili Crisp .

This stuff is awesome and has a great back story. The pictured woman (yes, it’s a woman) is (was) a widow who came from humble beginnings, never finished school, and can’t read. But she knew how to make awesome sauce(s) and that’s how she was able to raise her two boys. Within 20 years she had built a world famous brand. Apparently the name Lao Gan Ma translates to “The Godmother”. Watch out Al Pacino.

Toast with butter and crispy chili oil

I love this stuff. I eat it most often on top of slices of french bread or toast and in my morning veggie egg scrambles.

Veggie egg scramble with a dollop of crispy chili oil

I also used it in place of sesame oil in the marinade for Spicy Pepper Beef.

Spicy Pepper Beef

I’ll basically try it in just about anything. When I googled “what to use crispy chili oil in, I found an article by someone who suggested it’s great as an ice cream topping. Err, what? I’m not so sure about that one.

You can find this “wherever you find Chinese people” says Lao Gan Ma proudly.

It’s available at the Hiper Asia store here in Valencia. It’s a good size store and they have a good selection of products, except their produce aisle is lacking. They also carry some interesting snacks and treats.

Crema Catalana

Before testing white granular vs brown turbinado sugars for caramelizing

This recipe was inspired by my friend Brent from SnackChatLive, who recently posted a story with a delicious looking Crema Catalana he had in Barcelona. I’ve had Creme Brulee on numerous occasions and enjoy it immensely, but I’ve never had the pleasure of Crema Catalana until now. Que Magnific!

The main differences between Crema Catalana and Creme Brulee are the types of milk and spices used. Crema Catalana is made with whole milk, cinnamon, and lemon peel (or orange peel, or both), whereas with Creme Brulee, it calls for heavy cream, vanilla bean, and is cooked in a water bath. Also Crema Catalana is traditionally a little more liquidy than it’s counterpart. It can all depend on the chef’s preference.

If you recall in my earlier post for Fried Milk, it also used whole milk, sugar, cornstarch, lemon peel, and cinnamon stick. I really liked how the lemon peel and cinnamon flavored the milk. I was looking forward to that flavor combination again.

My favorite part of Creme Brulee and/or Crema Catalana is the crunchy caramelized sugar topping. Am I right? Come on, who doesn’t enjoy cracking their spoon into that hard sugary crust? Today most people use hand-held kitchen torches to make the topping but traditionally a hot iron or stamp, also called a salamander, was used. As luck would have it, I was able to find (ie., borrow from a friend’s kitchen cabinet) a cute little heart-shaped ramekin set that included a heart-shaped iron. Perfect for Valentine’s day but there was no way I was waiting till then…

I tried both white granulated sugar and brown turbinado sugar for the topping and the turbinado was the clear winner.

After caramelized

Crema Catalana

Serves: 3 to 4

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 4 egg yolks **we buy small eggs, if you use large eggs you may just need 3 yolks**
  • 1 small heaping tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 long slice of lemon peel (with as little of the white pith as possible)
  • 1 long slice of orange peel (with as little of the white pith as possible)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • turbinado or raw sugar for caramelizing

Add the milk, cinnamon stick, lemon and orange peel to a small saucepan, preferable stainless steal. On medium-low heat, heat up milk to just beginning to boil. While milk is heating up, separate the egg yolks. In another bowl combine cornstarch in just enough water to dissolve it. Stir the sugar into the egg yolks than add the dissolved cornstarch, and stir until well combined.

When the milk is just beginning to boil, remove from heat and remove the cinnamon stick, lemon and orange peels. Place back on heat and slowly add the yolk mixture into the milk while continuously stirring. Stir continuously with energy until mixture gets to a slightly runny pudding consistency. It will thicken up a bit more once it cools down. Take off heat and pour into your ramekins. Let them sit out until they are room temp, than cover with plastic wrap to keep the moisture in. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, 4 hours is better, and overnight is the best.

Sprinkle a tablespoon of turbinado or raw sugar on top of each ramekin. Use a hand-held culinary torch or if you’re lucky enough to have an old-fashioned iron or know someone you can borrow one from, use that instead. I’ve read mixed reviews on using the broiler method, some mentioning it can cause lumping and others just discouraging that method. It’s usually served cold or at room temp.

**If you are using an iron, here are some notes from my experience using one. I realize that not all irons are the same so this is just what I’ve experienced. Firstly, it appears that the iron is only hot long enough to caramelize one ramekin at a time. Once you’ve caramelized one ramekin put the iron in a bowl with water. Once it has cooled down and the burnt sugar easily falls off iron, dab dry it and put iron back on burner until hot than caramelize the next ramekin. And so on.

Now go get your favorite spoon and get to crackin’.

Chunky Sausage Lentil Soup

This recipe has been the most asked for meal EVER in my household. It’s safe to say that this is my love’s all time favorite. It’s super tasty, easy, and filling. Definitely a great recipe to add to your list for fall and winter meals.

The original recipe came from Taste of Home. At first, I thought there were a few things about it that seemed a bit off. The first being the 2 medium onions. “Whoa!”, that seemed like a whole lat-tah onion.” Second was the 1 red potato . “That’s all? Just 1? Are you sure about that?”, it didn’t sound like enough. Thirdly was the optional salad croutons. “What the heck? Who ever heard of adding salad croutons to soup? ” Ok, ok, maybe it makes some sense. People do add crackers to their soup so I guess it’s not a huge leap. I’m not crazy about the idea so I’ve always left them out.

I’ll be honest, the first few times I made this I tried altering the amount of onion and potato. Eventually, I went ahead and made the recipe as written. It worked just fine. No adjustments needed, except those pesky croutons.

For the sausages, we would alternate between Spicy Italian Sausages and Sweet Italian Sausages, or do a combination of both. Here in Spain however I haven’t seen any Italian Turkey Sausages, which has led to trying some new sausage alternatives. One of those alternatives was Chistorra, which is a smokey sausage that originates from the Basque Country. I loved it! This time we tried something different. We used two different kinds of fresh sausages. Both of them are Longaniza, but was called Longaniza Rojo and was red in color (with paprika maybe?? package only said “spices”). They are both similar to chorizo and the Portuguese linguica. They worked great!

I’m still getting used to European measurements. Converting my recipes from home has been a bit of a learning curve. The packages of dried lentils here come in 1 kilogram bags. 1 kilogram equals 35 or so ounces, so I eyeballed half a bag. There was a bit more lentils and less broth than I would normally like but it was still really good. Maybe my eyeball was a little big this time. My suggestion is to trust your instincts. When you’re adding in the cooked lentils, if it looks like you may have too much, leave the rest out.

What’s most important is that this recipe was as good as expected. It will definitely continue to be on our fall/winter rotation. I hope you will give it a try and will enjoy it as much as we do!

Chunky Sausage Lentil Soup

Serves: 8 to 10, depending on how big a bowl you want

  • 8 cups water
  • 1 16 oz package (1/2 of a 1 kg bag) of dried lentils, rinsed
  • 1 19.5 oz (550 g) package Italian Sausage, Chistorra, or Longaniza , casings removed , if possible
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 43.5 oz (1.25 liters) reduced-sodium (if possible) beef broth
  • 28 oz (800 g) crushed (triturado) tomatoes
  • 1 medium red potato or a few new potatoes, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

In a large saucepan, bring water and lentils to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 18 to 22 minutes or until lentils are tender. Drain and set aside.

In a large saucepan, cook the sausages, onions, celery, and carrots over medium heat until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes longer.

Stir in the broth, tomatoes, potatoes, thyme and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, uncovered, for approximately 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in cooked lentils and heat through. Serve!

Carne Asada Burritos

I was born and raised in San Diego, California where Mexican food is front and center. Tacos, burritos, margaritas….you get it.

Carne Asada Burrito

Lots of people ask us what we miss the most from home. Besides the obvious family and friends, it would have to be Mexican Food. I mean, the kind you find in Southern California, like Carne Asada Burritos.

Ever since we arrived in Valencia we made it our mission to find a good Mexican Restaurant. Surprisingly, there are quite a few Mexican restaurants here. We’ve tried three so far. Two of them really stood out (Enchilame and Taqueria La Llorona).

Margarita On the Rocks

Enchilame had some tasty tacos and an interesting margarita on the rocks. Imagine a fresh, homemade margarita using freshly squeezed limes and a shot of tequila. No sugar. Served like a martini. Maybe someone forgot to make the simple syrup?? It was interesting. A little tart but interesting. They didn’t have anything like carne asada burritos but we really enjoyed their tacos.

Tacos from Enchilame

Taqueria La Llorona had some really good tacos too but no carne asada burritos. We would definitely go back to either place for tacos.

Tacos from Taqueria La Llorna

I’ve really been craving a good ‘ole Southern California Carne Asada Burrito. Sometimes you just need to take matters into your own hands. So this Southern Cali girl decided to make her own. I set out to Mercat Central where there are butchers and International food vendors. For flank steak go see Carnicas Maria Lloria and ask for Falda/Vacio. We got the chipotle in adobo sauce from Mr. Chipotle and right next door at Tropicalmente Herbasana we found fresh jalapeno, a large bunch of cilantro, and huge avocados. Now, I just needed to put it all together.

Carne Asada Marinade

Serves 6

  • 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder – optional
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs (1/2 kilo) flank steak (falda/vasio in Spain)
  • 6 Burrito sized tortillas
  • Pico de Gallo (see below)
  • Guacamole (see below)
  1. Combine orange, lemon, and lime juices in a large bowl along with the garlic, soy sauce, chipotle pepper, spices, and cilantro. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until well combined in marinade. Reserve 1/2 cup for use after the meat is cooked.
  2. Place the flank steak between heavy plastic or paper (zip-lock bag or butcher paper) on a solid surface. Firmly pound the stead with the smooth side of a meat mallet to a thickness of 1/4 inch. After pounding, poke steak all over with a fork. Add the meat to the marinade in the large bowl, cover, and marinade in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

The next day prepare the guacamole and pico de gallo salsa, before cooking the meat.

Guacamole

  • 2 medium or 1 large ripe avocado – cubed
  • 1 1/2 roma tomatoes – diced
  • 1/4 red onion – finely chopped
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeno – finely diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro – chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients, being careful not to over mix. You want it to be a little chunky.

Pico de Gallo

  • 1/4 red onion – finely diced
  • 1/2 fresh jalapeno – finely diced
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 roma tomatoes – finely diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro – finely diced

Combine the red onion, jalapeno, lime and salt. Let marinate while you dice the tomato and cilantro. This will combine the flavors a bit more. Add chopped tomatoes and cilantro, combine. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. Pico de gallo will be good for 4 days in the refrigerator. Serve with a slotted spoon or fork. You don’t want too much moisture from the lime juice and /or tomato juice when adding to your burrito.

Cook Meat

You want to cook your meat over a quick, high heat. You can:

  • Grill – approximately 4 to 8 minutes per side
  • Broil – approximately 4 to 8 minutes per side
  • On the stove – approximately 4 to 8 minutes per side

Cooking time can vary depending on the thickness of the meat. If you use an instant read thermometer you’ll want a reading of 130-140 F for medium rare. We like to cook to medium rare.

Lightly oil the cooking vessel you choose. Remove the steak from the marinade and grill to desired doneness. Discard used marinade. Remove meat from heat and slice across the grain. Than chop. Add reserved marinade to warm steak.

Warm up a tortilla, 30 seconds in microwave or stovetop (flipping over several times). Add about a half cup of meat into the middle of tortilla. Add about 2 tablespoons of pico de gallo, to taste and add about a 1/4 cup of guacamole. Fold in sides of tortilla and roll tortilla over filling.

What’s one of your favorite Mexican dishes or recipes?

Lemon Garlic Salmon over Rice

Lemon Garlic Salmon

I stumbled upon this recipe while searching for Lemon Rice. Long, long ago I had a recipe for a delicious lemon rice but I think it must have been in one of the cookbooks I gave away when we moved. So I went on an internet search, and found this little gem Lemon Garlic Salmon by 40 Aprons. Go check it out. She has some awesome pictures and nutritional/diet facts.

Basically I followed her recipe to the tee, except left out parsley and put some of the lemon garlic butter sauce (repeat slowly: lemon garlic butter sauce, lemon garlic butter sauce, lemon garlic butter sauce, it sounds soooooo good, doesn’t it? It is! Trust me!) over brown rice. So good!

A funny thing happened to my minced garlic after cooking the sauce. It turned a strange blue-ish green color. Apparently it’s not uncommon. Garlic has naturally occuring sulfer compounds that might react to a very small amount of copper. Sulfer compounds and copper make a copper compound which is a blue-green compound. Copper can come from the lemon juice or the butter. It’s also frequently found in normal water supplies too. Perfectly safe to eat.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter (please don’t use margarine, it just won’t be the same)
  • 6-8 garlic cloves , minced (only true garlic lovers need apply, lol)
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (I’m a firm believer that using fresh lemons, not bottled, is the best way to go, always)
  • Sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 salmon fillets about 6 oz each, patted dry
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • Fresh lemons, sliced for garnish
  • Rice

Remove salmon from the refrigerator 10-20 minutes before cooking. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. This is a good time to start the rice. We prefer brown rice, which can be found here as “Integral” Dacsa which is a long grain rice. The cooking time for our rice is 25 minutes, using the stove top method.

Make the lemon garlic butter sauce: In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Add in the chicken broth, lemon juice, and a few pinches of salt. Simmer until it’s reduced by 1/3 to 1/2. It will turn into a slightly more thicker sauce. Remove from heat and set aside.

Making the salmon in 3 easy steps:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until it’s shimmering (like a vampire in the sunlight, we don’t always have to be serious, right?)
  2. Carefully place salmon fillets skin side up and cook until lightly browned on the bottom, about 2-3 minutes or until crispy. Carefully flip, taking care not to flake off any meaty bits. Cook 3-4 minutes on second side or until crisp and flesh begins to feel firm to the touch. Remove at this point if you want a medium cooked salmon or continue to cook until the flesh easily flakes with a fork.
  3. Remove pan from heat and pour the lemon garlic butter sauce over. Arrange lemon slices over, if so desired. Remove the skin easily with a spoon. Place salmon over some cooked brown rice and add more lemon sauce over salmon and rice.

Que rico!

Fried Milk – Spanish Street Food

Did someone say dessert … somewhere miles and miles … away? I thought so. But it sounded like someone said “Fried Milk”. Did I hear that right? Yes?!! What the…Hallelujah!!

Photo: Flickr | Javier Lastras

When I first came across Fried Milk (Leche Frita) my jaw nearly dropped to the ground. I knew right away I had to try it. Have you ever had it or heard of it before? I don’t know, maybe it’s something that you can find at a fair of some sort , along with fried snickers or fried butter (??? ewwww) and I’m completely out of the loop. All I know is that it sounded AWESOME and I definitely needed to make it. Making the world a better place, one recipe at a time. Hahahaha!

Sometimes your first try ends in a large glass (or two) of “defeat”. Luckily, I had a nice chilled Ribeiro waiting for a moment just like this. No use crying over split milk. Again, I think I got a little over zealous and starting cooking before I was truly ready and prepared. I also needed to figure out if I had cornstarch or corn flour and/or are they one in the same. It’s hard to tell when your box labels it as both, in Spanish. Once I finished my little bit of research and wrote the steps down in an order that worked better for me, it was a cinch. The next day, my new batch went much, much better.

Hopefully, I’ve laid out the instructions nicely for you so you’ll have success the first time around. I hope you enjoy this delicious treat.

Fried Milk

  • 750 ml whole milk – divided
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • half the peel of 1 small lemon **see notes**
  • 1/2 cup fine corn flour
  • 3/4 cup of sugar – divided **see notes**
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • safflower oil, for frying, approximately 1/4 cup ** see notes**

Lightly grease a 8 x 8 inch container (or two 25 fl oz /0.75 l heavy square plastic containers) with soft butter. Set aside.

Mix 1/2 cup corn flour (maizena harina de maiz) with 120 ml room temp milk. Set aside.

Pour the rest of milk into pot, add cinnamon stick and lemon peel. Heat the milk to a boil, once it’s boiling add 1/2 cup sugar, and boil for 10 minutes, on low to medium heat (hot enough to keep a boil), stirring occasionally. After 10 minutes remove the cinnamon stick and lemon peel. Add corn flour mixture into boiling milk. Milk will start thickening, make sure to continuously stir at this point otherwise it will burn on the bottom of pot.

Once it thickens to a pudding consistency, transfer to the greased container, up to a depth of 3/4 inch. Let sit until at room temperature, than put it in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Prepare for frying: Add oil to a skillet , heat to medium-high. While oil is heating up, set up 3 separate bowls for dipping. 1) 1/4 cup flour, 2) one beaten egg, and 3) 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon mixed, set this one aside till the end.

Slide knife around sides of container so that it comes out easily, lay a plate on top and flip it over, tap bottom of container, and lift. Cut into 2 to 2 1/2 inch pieces.

First coat the pieces in flour, then coat with beaten egg, fry the pieces in oil on medium heat, fry till golden brown on all sides, transfer to paper towel lined plate to remove excess oil, coat with sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Serve.

Notes:

  • when peeling lemon, try to get as little of the white bit, the white part will cause your dish to be bitter
  • you want enough oil to cover the bottom of your skillet to a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch, no need to deep fry the pieces
  • for this recipe, I actually used brown sugar, because that is what we had on hand (waste not, want not) it gave it a nice caramel color but of course the original recipes calls for white sugar, either works just fine but I would recommend using white (if possible) at least for the cinnamon sugar

Is this your first time hearing about Fried Milk? Please leave me a comment and let me know either way.

Black Bean Soup with Codillo Jamon (ham knuckle)

If you read my previous post for Spanish Potato Salad with Tuna you’ll remember that finding black beans here is not so easy. But at last, I found some at a Carrefour hypermarket, kind of like a Target or Walmart Superstore, but smaller.

Black Bean Soup with Ham Knuckle

I love beans! My favorites are black, garbanzo, and lentils. I love them in soups, salads, and just about anything. Let’s not forget about desserts too, such as, Black Bean Brownies and Sweet Red Bean Paste. Yum!

Recently, I made a batch of pinto beans cooked with ham knuckle. It reminded me of my Mom’s beans, which I haven’t had in years. We poured them over brown rice. It was delicious and went perfectly with the summer storm we were having. I had never seen or used ham knuckle before that. It doesn’t have much meat, so if you like some meat in your beans, go ahead and add some chopped ham during the last 30 minutes of cooking. That’s what we did for the pinto beans but for the black beans I left the meat out.

You don’t see a lot of black bean recipes calling for ham hocks or knuckles , why is that? I thought I would give it a try.

Since I’m not always great at planning ahead, I used the quick soaking method to prepare the beans. Which is:

Quick soaking method: Place beans to a large pot, cover with at least 3 inches of water above the beans, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer uncovered for 2 minutes; turn off heat, cover pot, and let beans soak for an hour. Drain and rinse.

Now you’re ready to cook the beans.

Black Bean Soup with Ham Knuckles

Serves 4 to 5

  • 1 lb dry black beans, soaked (see instructions above)
  • 1 pkg (304kg or there about) ham knuckles/codillo jamon
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (we always have red on hand, so that’s what I used)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 15oz canned diced tomatoes, drained
  • freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • salt (to taste)

Optional: 1 1/2 cups cooked ham

To a large pot add: soaked beans, ham knuckles, bay leaves, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 1 1/2 hours.

While beans are cooking, prepare the vegetables. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in skillet. Add onion, carrot, celery, and red pepper. Toss to coat in oil and sweat vegetables on low-medium heat, stirring frequently for 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cumin by clearing a space in the middle of the pan, drizzling extra olive oil if needed. Cook until fragrant, about 45 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from pan and set aside.

Remove ham knuckles and bay leaf; add vegetable mixture and tomatoes to pot. Season generously with fresh ground pepper, but don’t add any salt at this point. Transfer 4 cups of soup to a bowl and puree with hand mixer (do this in 2 batches if necessary). Return to pot.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes (optional: this is when you would add the cooked ham if adding). As the soup simmers, you may see a bit of foam on the top. If so, skim it off and discard. Add lime juice and adjust seasoning with salt, as needed.

Ladle soup into bowls, top with a dollop of sour cream (or queso fresco batido), squeeze a little more lime if you’d like and garnish with cilantro. That’s it!

What are some of your favorite bean recipes?

Chorizo A La Sidra

Do you ever get over-excited about a recipe or a plate of food and start eating it before you get a picture (you know, to show all your friends how good you eat, hahaha)? That’s me! Most of the time.

Photo credit goes to Victor Bayon via Flickr CC

There are lots of different ways to make this recipe but I like the simple things in life, so I went the ultra simple path (see original recipe here: Cider Sausage). The magic happens with the quality of ingredients. Use the best ingredients possible.

I cooked the sausages whole and then sliced them afterwards. From my experience, if you slice, than cook, the slices tend to curl up and shrink.

The Asturias here in Spain are famous for their Sidra. I have to admit I was looking forward to a little taste test myself. After using almost the entire 70cl (700 ml) bottle, I had just enough for a few sips. It was great. It was less sweet than the typical US cider and a little dryer too. Salud!!

Chorizo A La Sidra

Serves 4 to 6 (as appetizer)

Ingredients:

  • 500 grams fresh or semi-cured chorizo
  • 70 cl (700 ml) hard cider
  • 2 bay leaves

Optional ingredients to add to sauce:

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon smokey paprika
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of beef boullion
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parsley or chives, chopped, to serve

Instructions:

Prick the sausages a few times with a fork or toothpick.

Place the sausage and bay leaves in a small pot and cover with cider.

Heat over high heat until it starts to boil, then let it simmer for half an hour.

Take out the sausages and slice.

If you would like to add a little more favor variety to sauce, then continue cooking sauce, and add optional ingredients. Cook for another 5 minutes until favors are combined.

Serve.

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