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Posts Tagged ‘cilantro’

Beans are a great source of protein, complex carbohydrates (the good carbs that give energy to brain and muscles) and dietary fiber.  Also, beans have the “good fat” your body needs and a low glycemic index, meaning they have the ability to give you energy over a sustained period of time by slowly releasing its nutrients into your blood stream. In Latin American and Caribbean dinner tables, beans are always present.  Most of the time they are stewed or refried.  I really like my version of three bean salad which is easy, healthy and full of flavor.   Also, beans are inexpensive and easy to store for long periods of time (canned or dry). I use organic canned beans when I find them. Serve this salad with your favorite lettuce, baby greens or over toasted bread as quick snack like a “bruschetta tre fagioli”.  They always taste better the next day when the flavors settle! Be mindful I add olive oil and not extra-virgin olive oil. My aunt Evamari makes a wicked three bean salad similar to this one.  Keeps in the fridge for about a week.

Enjoy!

Three Bean Salad

Ingredients

1 15.5 ounce canned black beans

1 15.5 ounce canned pink beans

1 15.5 ounce canned chickpeas

4 tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro

4 tbsp finely chopped red onion

2 fresh garlic cloves minced

2 tbsp finely chopped red bell pepper

2 tsp fine sea salt

pinch ground cumin

pinch smoked sweet paprika

2 cups of olive oil

pepper to taste

Procedure

1.  Open cans and drain beans in colander.  In a large bowl, mix all ingredients and refrigerate.  Serve with green salad, alone or over toasted bread.

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One of the best investments I have made for my “batterie de cuisine” is buying a good mandoline.  A mandoline is a kitchen utensil used for slicing, julienne or crinkle cut vegetables. One of the many advantages is the speed and uniformity in the thickness in which slicing can be done with very little effort.  I like to use mine to thinly slice cucumbers to make these refreshing and crunchy finger sandwiches. I bring them to a friend’s house for a ladies luncheon, school events and a few days ago made them for a league tennis match.  Always a big success!  Don’t forget to place a damp paper towel on bottom and on top of the tray in order to keep them moist and fresh.  I am only mentioning ingredients and procedure without quantities because it all depends on how many people you will be feeding.

Enjoy!

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

Ingredients

whole wheat club sandwich bread

thinly sliced fresh cucumber

mayonnaise

finely chopped fresh cilantro

Procedure


1.  With a serrated bread knife, neatly cut club bread’s crust.

2.  Cut cucumber very, very thin with a mandoline.

3.  Spread mayonnaise on two pieces of bread and cover one side with two layers of cucumbers and the other with finely chopped cilantro.

4. Place pieces of bread together and cut into 3 “sticks”. Keep refrigerated.

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Arroz con Amarillos is nothing more than my Arroz con Cilantro recipe with fried sweet plantains, but boy, what a difference they make! YUMMY! Savory and sweet in every bite!  Plantains can be cooked green or ripe. Amarillos (what ripe plantains are called in Puerto Rico) or plátanos maduros (like they are called in other latin american countries)  are a staple dish in most tropical countries around the world.  They can be steamed, boiled, baked, grilled or fried. Nowadays,  fried plantains (green or ripe) come frozen and ready to eat, but of course, it is much better if you find fresh ripe sweet plantains. In order for the plantain to be sweet it must be yellow with black patches on the outside.  Green plantains, used for tostones, mofongo (mashed) or chips (mariquitas or platanutres), are “starchy” like potatoes and seasoned with salt, bacon, onions or broth.  On the other hand, sweet plantains, used for piononos and pastelón,  are naturally sweet and need no seasoning and go great to accompany savory/salty meals. When I use the frozen kind to make this rice, I thaw them and saute in a skillet with a bit of butter. If I make it with fresh ripe plantains I don’t add the butter since they are coated with the vegetable oil in which they have been fried.  When I make  this rice dish people always come back for more. My friend Alexandra loves this kind of rice! I have offered it to our guests in Thanksgiving with our traditional whole fried turkey as well as with Filet Mignon, Prime Rib or New York Strip.  Also, great with a side salad or sauteed veggies.

Enjoy!

Arroz con Amarillos

Ingredients

Arroz con Cilantro Recipe

3 ripe sweet plantains or 2 boxes of frozen Goya sweet plantains (11 ounce each)

Procedure


1.  If using frozen plantains, thaw and saute in about 2 tbsp of butter over med-hi heat.  If using fresh ripe plantains, slice very ripe plantains about 1/2 inch thick and fry over med-hi heat in canola or vegetable oil until golden brown.

2.  Cube fried plantains and stir into cooked rice.

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I’m back!!!! As you may have noticed, I like all kinds of rice.  When I started to make this recipe a long time ago for a Mother’s Day Celebration in my house, I chose to make it with parboiled rice because it is the best rice to use when cooking for a large group of people.  This rice dish is tasty, fragrant and easy.  It goes well with stir fry veggies, stews, braised or roasted beef, chicken or barbequed meats or seafood.  I also use it as my base rice for my “Arroz con Amarillos” recipe.

I want to know… how many of you know what parboiled rice is? All I knew was that when I cooked it, it took a bit longer to cook than white rice and that it was fool proof when cooking large amounts because it never became clingy or sticky. So I set out to find out what it really is and here are the facts according to http://www.rice-trade.com and wikipedia.

Parboiled rice is rice that has been partially boiled in its husk.  This procedure makes parboiled rice richer in nutritional value than processed white rice because the steaming seals most of the nutrients in (about 80% nutrients of brown rice).

Parboiled Rice is produced by a process of soaking, pressure steaming and drying prior to milling. Parboiling is a patented process. It changes the nutrients of the rice kernel. After undergoing this process and proper milling, the rice obtains a light yellow or amber color although the color largely fades after cooking. It cooks up fluffy and separate. It forms the main course of the meals for millions of people in Asia and else where. Many processed food such as popped or puffed rice products are produced from brown rice or parboiled rice for use as breakfast cereals and snack foods.

Process of Making Parboiled Rice

While in the paddy form, the rice is soaked and then steam cooked. This process does not allow the kernel to swell during the cooking and the moisture level does not exceed 40%. The starch granule is cooked (technically gelatinized), but not allowed to swell. The rice is then dried while still in the paddy form and then passed through a standard milling process to remove the hull and bran. This process has been going on for centuries in many countries and is believed to have started in ancient India.

Usage of Parboiled Rice

  • Parboiled rice has a higher vitamin content than raw milled rice.
  • Parboiled rice is quite nutritious, being an excellent source of niacin, a good source of thiamine and magnesium and a moderate source of protein, iron and zinc. Levels of vitamins and minerals fall between white rice and brown rice.
  • Parboiled rice is widely used in the catering industry as it is less sticky when cooked.
  • It is good in salads and retains its flavour and quality when kept hot for serving large numbers of people.
  • All rice comes from the field with insect eggs in the germ of the rice. These eggs hatch when the temperature is warm and moisture is available. The high temperatures occurring during parboiling kill any insect eggs in the rice and essentially sterilize it.
  • Parboiling also mends the cracks in the rice , that is, it glues broken rice back together and dramatically improves the milling yield of whole kernels in the rice.
  • Parboiling changes the texture of the rice. It becomes firmer and less sticky.
  • It is a much more durable kernel.
  • It takes just as long to cook (actually a little longer) as white rice, but is much easier to cook.
  • It can be overcooked without being mushy or losing its grain shape.
  • It is the only type of rice that can withstand the harsh treatment of most industrial processes that involve cooking and then freezing, canning, or drying.

Enjoy!

Arroz con Cilantro (Rice with Cilantro)

about 5-6 moderate sevings

Ingredients

1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil

1 small onion finely chopped

2 cups parboiled long grain rice

1 tsp kosher salt

1/4 cup of finely chopped cilantro

3 cups organic chicken broth

Procedure



1.  In a small-med caldero or heavy bottom saucepan, heat oil (medium) and sauté finely chopped onions until translucent.

2.  Add parboiled rice, cilantro and salt and sauté for about 1 minute.  Then add chicken broth (lower heat a a bit under medium to prevent rice from sticking to bottom of pan).  Allow liquids to dry up and then stir rice.

3.  Cover to finish cooking in low heat until rice is fully cooked.

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Guava (guayaba) is a tropical fruit mostly found in Central America, northern South America, South East Asia and the Caribbean.  It has also been naturalized in Hawaii, India and Tropical Africa.  Guava trees give 2 crops a year.  One of the reasons I loved going to Mami Chelo and Papi Bartolo’s (my grandparents on my father side) house as a little girl was because they had a guava tree.  They lived in a two story house with the living areas in the top floor and a garage and a small apartment in the first floor. After my grandparents became “empty nesters”  they decided to rent the apartment  and for many years they had a tenant in the first floor.  Her name was Doña Estefania, a sweet, old, petitte Spanish lady. At the time, I think she was in her late seventies, a widow and lived by herself.  Almost every Sunday, we went to visit my grandparents and the moment Doña Estefanía heard my voice she immediately came out to to say hello and gave me a fruit, most of the time it was a guava fruit from their tree. I loved the smell, the taste and color. The skin was green-yellow, soft when very ripe, a bit bitter at first and the inside dark pink and sweet with hard seeds which I ate too. It is hard to find guavas in the supermarket because they bruise easily and are highly perishable once they reach their ripeness, that’s why not many people have the chance of eating “the real thing”. What most people are used to is guava juice (which I love!) and guava paste which are much sweeter than the actual fruit.

I like to use this sauce as a bbq sauce for baby back ribs, its a nice and sweet contrast as a dipping sauce for the salty gouda cheese balls (see recipe under appetizers) or as a glaze for bbq pork chops. Use your imagination…

Guava and cilantro sauce

Ingredients

10 oz. guava paste (cut into large cubes)

1/4 cup white distilled vinegar

1/3 cup water

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro (cilantrillo)

Procedure

1.  Put all ingredients together in a sauce pan and stir constantly over medium-hi heat.

2. Stop stirring once guava paste is melted and incorporated with the liquids.

Enjoy!

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