Month: May 2014

Fish and Shrimp Tacos with Pinapple and Mango

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These Fish and Shrimp Tacos with Mango and Pineapple are so exquisite that we could not eat just one! Everyone at home had to have seconds (and some had even more.)

A Mexican friend gave me the recipe to share in my blog, so I will go straight to the point. Here it is. 🙂

To read this recipe in Spanish click here.

Recipe

Ingredients: Fish (I used tilapia), shrimp, lemon or lime, (1) avocado, shredded cabbage, shredded lettuce, 1 tomato, 1/2 red onion, 1 beer, cornmeal, flour, Panko, 1 pineapple, 1 mango, flour and corn tortillas, red or green salsas, “crema” (Mexican cream), cilantro (optional.)

1. Start by cleaning the fish and the shrimp very well, making sure shrimp is deveined and without the shell.

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The shrimp and the fish will be breaded next. Dip the shrimp and fish in beer. Season the beer with salt and pepper (adding the amount of your preference but 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of pepper worked fine for me.) Use the beer of your preference. They all do a great job! 🙂

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Next  I used cornmeal for texture on some. Then I divided the rest in two batches for fun. One was breaded with Panko and the other with regular flour (simply to experiment.) 🙂

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From here to the frying pan…

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Get them out when they turn brown on both sides. Set them on paper towels or napkins to remove excess oil.

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Repeat the above same process for the fish.

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Cut all the rest of the ingredients in small chunks and place them in a large tray or in separate bowl each.

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Heat up the tortillas so they are warm before getting them to the table. Assemble the taco by adding the ingredients and topping it with salsa and crema.

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These Fish and Shrimp Tacos with Pineapple and Mango became our favorite recipe at home! 🙂

Jello Mosaic Dessert

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The first time I saw this Jello Mosaic dessert I was captivated. I was 10 ( maybe ) and I had been invited to a birthday party. Our friend’s Mom served this dessert and it all became magical: The texture, the flavors, the colors, its brightness.. Considering the temperature was the usual Cartagena-90 degrees, together with the humid weather, it was perfect! Those vivid memories have remained in me. However, the process was extremely intriguing. How can they put it all together?  Being too young to try to ask, too young to think about any thing other than YUM, that was as far as I went.

Many years later ( last night ) I ventured out to experiment making it for the first time. Somehow the recipe projected a great sense of respect that was mesmerizing. Certainly, that can help explain why I waited so long to try. Here is how it went.. I loved it! 🙂

To see this post in Spanish go here.

Recipe

1. Start by making 2, 3 or 4 flavors of Jello (each of a different flavor/color) per package instructions and move to the refrigerator in separate containers each to set. In this recipe I made one of each: Mango, blueberry, cherry and lime. Once set, take the 4 containers out of the refrigerator and take each out to cut them out (pieces can be of size similar to those in the image below.)

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2. Place the cut out jello pieces in a glass container or topper-ware of your choice.

At this point, mix of condensed milk and unflavored gelatin: Prepare 2 packets of unflavored gelatin by following package instructions. Once mixed and before setting, add the 2 cans of condensed milk. Set aside.

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3. Add the mix of condensed milk and unflavored gelatin over the cut jello pieces.

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Using a wooden spoon, carefully arrange the pieces so the condensed milk can be evenly distributed in the container.

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4. Let it sit to harden in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or overnight (recommended.)

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Jello Mosaic

When ready, cut and serve.

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During the Christmas season this dessert can be the center of the sweets table, if you include only red (cherry) and green (lime) jello in the preparation. Oh My! Jello Mosaic  is surely my favorite cold, no-bake dessert! 🙂

Fried Eggs and What My Mom Used to Say..

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Fried Eggs

Growing up, our Mom used to say: “That girl doesn’t even know how to fry an egg.” That is actually a popular expression in Colombia to refer to novice home cooks. So as I grew up I often wondered, what is it about fried eggs? As I met unwanted challenges in the kitchen, I remember intentionally “not” making fried eggs; I would make: Scrambled eggs, omelets, boiled eggs; Never fried eggs. Time has passed. I have forgotten that fateful phrase and freed myself from the memory. Now my Mom and her saying just put a grin on my face. If you have ever been intimidated by any saying {or recipe} in the past, I hope this entry has helped some.

Fried Egg Recipe

Tips:

  • For best results when frying eggs, start with cold oil or butter. Let the oil or butter heat up as it cooks the egg. That tip has saved me from sticky eggs every time.
  • The other easy trick that is really the simplest is: Always make fried eggs in a non-stick pan. This will make the amount of oil or butter irrelevant, and you will always have the same great results.

Recipe: Add oil or butter to the pan. Crack the egg and add it to the pan. Flip the egg when you see it hardening. Add a pinch of salt at the end. Serve and enjoy. How many minutes you leave the egg cooking will impact how hard or soft it will be. I usually like my fried eggs to cook for 6-8 minutes.

Variations of this recipe:

  • Add some ham to the oil or butter before adding the egg.
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Cooking Ham before Adding the Egg

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Add 2 eggs if you want, or if you are hungrier than usual. 🙂

 

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Two Fried Eggs

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Egg after Turning on the Pan

 

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Fried Egg on the Plate

In the end I came to terms with fried eggs; I can say my fear of Fried Eggs has been conquered and “This girl does know how to fry an egg.” 🙂

Sweets from “El Portal de los Dulces” in Cartagena

 

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El Portal de los Dulces, Cartagena

They look very relaxed. This is the atmosphere in Cartagena. Locals come and go, catch a shade and get a relief from Cartagena’s usual year-round 90 degree weather. While there, they may grab a sweet to eat. This picture shows the cobbles or “adoquines” from the Colonial times. Cartagena’s old city streets are closed to vehicles. It’s quite charming. After walking for the first two blocks, you realize it makes sense!

Each arch in “El Portal de los Dulces” has a sweets station and each one is independently owned. Some owners are young and others not so much. Some are 70, 80 and even 90! Here you can check out the owners simply relaxing on their plastic colored chairs. If you stick around long enough, they may share a story or two about their own lives too! Fun!

This place brings wonderful memories of my parents and my siblings. Back in the 60’s and 70’s horse-drawn carriages would take pedestrians from the “Portal de Los Dulces” square to the movie theaters located across a boulevard called “Camellon de Los Martires.” Today the movie theaters are gone, only abandoned buildings remain. Movie theaters are now in fancy malls in various places around Cartagena. Horse-drawn carriages are still there though.. They can take you for a ride inside or outside the walled city. They can take you for a ride at sunset and you may enjoy this view..

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This is the outside of the “El Portal de Los Dulces”, called “Puerta del Reloj” (The Clock Door.)

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Torre del Reloj, Cartagena

If the “Cochero” (horse carriage rider) happens to take you around the old Historic town at night, then he may point out the many beautifully illuminated church towers. In the old city you will find a Catholic Church every two blocks.

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San Pedro Claver Church, Cartagena

If it is by day, then he’ll point out the beautiful balconies.

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Balconies in Cartagena

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Balconies in Cartagena

Often I want to make my favorite sweet from “El Portal de Los Dulces” at home. They sell home-made “Dulce de leche”,  “Cocadas de Ajonjoli y Anis” (sesame and anise seeds brittle), Cocadas de Ajonjoli (Sesame seed brittle), “Dulce de Guayaba” (Guava Candy), “Dulce de Coco” (Coconut brittle), and more.  

 
So here it is: Sesame seeds Brittle.

Recipe

Ingredients:  1 Cup raw sesame seeds, 1/4 cup honey, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tsp butter, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp baking soda, a pinch of salt. For this recipe you can optionally add 1/2 cup sesame seeds and 1/2 cup anise seeds.

1. Add the sugar to a pan on medium

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2. Add honey, salt, nutmeg and water. Mix.

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3. Add Sesame seeds.

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4. Mix and let it cook for 5-10 minutes. Remove from pan and add vanilla and butter.

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5. Mix. Add baking soda.

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6. Mix well and pour over a pan covered with lining paper.

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7. Let the mix cool completely. It will harden and then you can cut out the Sesame Seed Brittle pieces.

 

Happy Mother’s Day

 

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Heart Shaped Chocolate Chip Cookie Right out of the Oven

This morning I was surprised with a wonderful Mother’s Day gift: Breakfast and a Cookie! 🙂 They made everything and considering they are ages 9-12, that is a quite a treat for me! Dad helped some (of course) but I loved every minute of it. Here is the picture of the cookie they served right out of the oven! I also ate it all out of the baking pan. Yum!

Happy Mother’s Day to Moms visiting and following!