Month: April 2014

Tortilla, a Spanish Word with Two Meanings

 

My Mexican friends and those from Spain may both speak Spanish, but they don’t mean the same when they say “Tortilla.” 🙂 In Spain ‘tortilla’ is a mix of beaten eggs and anyone of the following: Veggies, cold cuts, beef, chicken or even fish. You may think ‘omelet’ but Spain is very particular about Tortillas and they would rather have you not mistake them for omelets. They are delicious, by the way! On the other hand, corn and flour tortillas are at the heart of Mexican cuisine.

Here is my take on two recipes which may help explain (or so I hope.)

Spanish Tortilla (from Spain)

  • Ingredients:

1 egg per person, cooked potatoes cut in cubes, diced white onion (about 1/4), 1 diced tomato, 2 slices of ham, cubed. Salt to taste.

  • Directions

Start by adding 1 tsp of butter to a pan. Add the onions. When the onions are starting to turn clear, add the diced tomato. Cook for a minute and then add the potatoes, and the ham. Mix well and let it saute for about 3 minutes. Add the eggs. I like to experiment, so I add 1 whole egg and then I beat the other eggs before mixing them all in. 🙂

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In the end of this step, it should look like this:

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Turn when you see the eggs starting to cook completely

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Turn once again and serve! 🙂

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Spanish Tortilla or Tortilla de Patatas

My Mexican corn tortilla recipe is extremely easy to make and it is wonderful for breakfast, snack, light lunch or even dinner, accompanying a main dish. It can even be a dessert if you sprinkle the ending folded tortilla with brown sugar and cinnamon.

  • Ingredients

3 corn tortillas per person (they’ll want more…), cheese (you may use mozzarella, queso fresco, queso cotija or queso panela.) 2-4 TBSP canola oil. Salt.

  • Directions

Start by heating up the oil in a pan. Add the corn tortillas and let them stand against each other as shown in this image below. You will see them softening and at that point, you may add the cheese in the center.

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Fold them and let them continue frying.

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Turn them to make sure they’re golden brown on each side. Serve and enjoy! 🙂

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Mexican Quesadillas Fritas (made with corn tortillas)

Chicken with Rosemary Limoncello

 

 

As promised in my limoncello post from April 10 , here is my chicken limoncello recipe.

Recipe

  • Ingredients: 2 garlic cloves, 3 Sprigs of rosemary, 1/2 cup limoncello, chicken legs, salt, pepper.
  • Directions

 1. Here I am cutting some fresh rosemary sprigs from my garden to include in my recipe. Store-bought fresh rosemary will do fine. I am simply happy that I can get these from my herb garden.

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2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Set aside.

3. Add 2 cloves of garlic to a hot pan with oil.

4. Add the chicken,  rosemary and the limoncello

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5. Cover with a lid and let it cook until golden brown.

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You can choose to make the same recipe with chicken breast. It will be lighter but will still carry same delicious flavors.

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Soon I will be making a delicious limoncello cake and I will be sharing that recipe also. Limoncello continues to surprise me. Especially, since I am not a big liqueur fan. Limoncello has arrived to my kitchen and is quickly becoming the most versatile ingredient yet.

TIP: If you want to make this recipe and don’t have limoncello, you can replace the limoncello with lemon or lime and white cooking wine.

My Spring (Fruit) Garden

AppleTree

Blooming Apple Tree

My spring fruit garden is starting to wake up.  This is our blooming apple tree! It is absolutely fantastic. Nature comes back stronger each year, promising delicious, abundant harvests! A few years ago we planted two kinds of apple trees and the tags are nowhere to be found. I’ll need to see them growing back to remind myself to make a tag and attach them securely to the trees this year. 🙂

Apples are simple, elegant and light. They’re excellent ingredients for desserts. There are at least five apple recipes that come to mind. For example, quite a few lamb and pork recipes can easily make apples the stars of the show. Apples also have a way of turning any dull salad into an exciting adventure. The apples in the Cartagena Fishermen Salad give a sweet crispness to this delicious dish.

Here are a few more pictures from our Spring garden…

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Blooming Bush

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Blooming Flower Tree

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Rosemary

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Blooming Lilac

Those of us with ‘teen’ temperatures during winter truly learn to appreciate the Spring bright green. Perennial fruit gardens are especially a joy to watch! Hopefully soon I can pick some peaches, apples, grapes and blueberries and cook up some fun recipes. Spring is definitely my favorite season!  🙂

White Lasagna

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My family is the biggest fan of lasagna. So, I make it once a week. Normally I make enough so everyone can have seconds (if they want.) My dilemma is that they love it so much that they usually eat it all! Ergo, no leftovers! 😦 Last night, as we were cleaning up after our delicious lasagna dinner, I saw two pieces of chicken breast and some bechamel sauce left on some of my pots and pans. I immediately knew I had to make a small white lasagna (using this extremely easy recipe of my own.)

Recipe

Ingredients

2 pieces of oven ready lasagna; 9 thin slices of mozzarella cheese (optional), bechamel sauce (see first two steps in my skillet lasagna recipe ); 1 cooked chicken breast, 1 TBSP salt, pepper to taste, 1 tsp oregano

Preparation

1. Place some bechamel sauce to the bottom of the pan

2. Add (in the following order) bechamel sauce, cooked chicken (in pieces). cheese and some more bechamel sauce

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 3. Add the second layer of oven-ready lasagna

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3. Repeat step 2.

amyfoodstories.wordpress34. Add some pieces of butter to the top. Cover with foil paper and bake on an 375-F oven for 25 minutes

amyfoodstories.wordpress4This delicious dish proudly became next day’s lunch.. I was extremely thankful that I could think of something simple and delicious for that extra chicken! 🙂

Tips: 1) Let lasagna sit with foil paper on, for at least 5 minutes before serving or cutting. 2) Boil chicken breast in enough water with salt, pepper and oregano.

Bread – The Oldest Food and my Favorite Dining Companion

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Bread Variety

Bread is most likely humanity’s oldest prepared food item. Versatile, adaptable, resourceful, multifaceted, and multicultural too. The earliest recorded time reporting the presence of flour in Europe was 30,000 years ago.

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Sliced French Bread

Bread was part of the table service in medieval Europe. It was used as a trencher or plate charger, while it absorbed all the saucy components of the meal. At the end, it either ended up being consumed by the guest, by the poor, or given to the dogs. Wooden plates only surfaced around the 15th century. I think something from the trencher days remains today: Soup on a bread bowl. Delicious!

Often I wonder what would I do without bread. I have bread for breakfast almost every day. Sandwiches are my favorite light lunch option, regardless of  season or place in the planet. Finally, there is nothing better than a warm piece of fine bread to go with any beef cut or pasta. When I go shopping I find myself picking up at least 3 or 4 kinds of breads.

Here is my favorite: Pita bread with  black olives! 🙂 My Dad had his own version where he mashed all the black olives with a fork, ending up with a paste. He taught us to eat it by simply spreading over pita bread ‘for breakfast!’ We learned to love it. Why wouldn’t we? I am teaching my kids to eat it too.. So far, 2 thumbs up from them as well.

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Pita Bread and Black Olives