Spontaneous Vacation/Pineapple Rice

We were at the grocery store the other day and I was perusing through the fresh produce when I noticed some delicious looking pineapples.

I’ve selected fresh pineapple before, but the truth is I didn’t know how to pick out a good one. As I stood there fondling the prickly fruit, my husband returned from the other side of the store with a gallon of milk in hand. He placed the milk in our cart and realized I was staring at pineapples.

“I love pineapples!” he said, seemingly reading my mind. “We should get one.”

He reached into the pineapple display and grabbed a more-yellow-than-green-or-brown pineapple, brought it close to his face and smelled it, and then gently tugged at the leaf at the fruit’s top center.

He explained – and I later googled his facts to verify – how to pick out a ripe pineapple.

You can tell a pineapple’s ripeness by its color, scent and by gently tugging on a leaf.

The closer to ripe the pineapple gets, the more robust the scent. An unripe pineapple’s scent is faint.

Also, the top center leaf will easily pull from the fruit when fully ripened.

So we brought home a good, ripe pineapple, and my excited husband cut it open as soon as we got home and began eating the sweet tropical delight.

But I had more in mind than simply eating the pineapple alone. I was thinking of my time in Southeast Asia, and a dish that quickly became a favorite – Pineapple Rice. Pineapple Rice is basically fried rice with pineapple and shrimp.

Pineapple Rice is known as a popular Thai dish, but something I found out firsthand is the fact that, though it’s popularity is not in question, it’s not actually a Thai dish; which really confused me because nearly every Thai restaurant I’ve ever been to serves the dish.

But during my travels, I spent time in Thailand, where locals told me that Pineapple Rice is not part of their diet, nor do they consider it an actual Thai dish. In fact, I only saw the dish in restaurants in touristic areas.

I first tried Pineapple Rice in Singapore, in Golden Mile Complex – the Thai market in the city. And I ate the dish often during my time in Asia.

When I think about the dish, I think of my dear friend Bere.

Several years ago, Bere and I traveled together to Indonesia on a whim for a several days, for a relaxing miniature birthday vacation.

I had just gotten back to Singapore from a long work trip and was at home when my friend, Bere, began texting me.

After our greetings, I told her I was back at home and asked what she was doing.

It was a random Monday for her, so it was strange that she was able to communicate with me during work hours.

“I took the week off work,” she told me.

I replied, saying, “We should go somewhere!”

She upped the ante with a suggestion: “We should go to the beach!”

It was the middle of December, and my birthday was only a couple of days away and I had been gone for work, so I was planning to take the rest of the week off, so I agreed.

And just like that, we decided to leave and go to the beach; Bere suggested Bintan Island in Indonesia, which was a two-hour ferry ride from Singapore.

Within an hour after texting, we met at the ferry terminal, bought tickets and headed to Indonesia.

On the way, Bere made hotel reservations, and we were set.

At the hotel where we stayed, there wasn’t much around, so most of our days were spent napping in the room or lying on the beach.

The beach was beautiful, with crystal clear waters and golden sands.

To this day, that trip remains one of the most relaxing times of my adult life.

We spent a couple of days resting and relaxing at one of the most beautiful beaches in that area. And I ate lots of Pineapple Rice.

Bere is a vegetarian, so she was able to eat the dish as well – she just picked the shrimp out.

I remember trying other foods during that trip, and wasn’t impressed; but the Pineapple Rice was a continual delight.

So now, when I think of Pineapple Rice, I think about Bere and our spontaneous trip to Indonesia and how she remains one of my best friends and favorite travel partners.


 

PINEAPPLE FRIED RICE

2 -3 People

(All the ingredients are approximation, add or change ingredients to taste)

 

1 Cup of cooked white rice (cold, or day old if possible) – Check how to make a better rice

10 Shrimp

1 egg

1/2 Yellow onion finely cut in small pieces

2 Green Onions chopped

1-2 Medium-sized Tomatoes, seeded and chopped in 1/2 inches pieces.

2/3 Cup Fresh Pineapple, cut into 1/2 inches pieces. (*If you can’t find fresh pineapple, use canned pineapple drying with a napkin as much juice as you can.)

1/2 Cup of roasted unsalted cashews

1 tsp Soy sauce

1 tsp Fish sauce

1 tsp Curry powder

1 tsp Sugar

1 Sliced Cucumber for garnish

1 dash of White Pepper

1 dash of Salt

2 tsp Cooking oil (vegetable, olive or whatever you regularly use in your kitchen)

 

PREPARATION

Before starting, mix all the dry ingredients (curry, sugar, white pepper, salt) in a small cup. Mix wet ingredients (Soy sauce and Fish sauce) in a separate small cup. Set aside.

(You are free to skip this step and serve direct while cooking.)

In a big frying pan, heat on medium-high and sear the shrimp until pink and on all sides. Once it is ready, take it out of the pan, and drain the excess oil and set a side.

Using the remaining oil (and adding a little more if necessary), add the egg and scramble. When the egg starts changing color (half way cooked) add the rice and stir until it is mixed (around 2 minutes).

Add onions and mix for approximately 2 minutes.

Add dry ingredients (curry, sugar, white pepper, salt) and half of the wet ingredient mix (soy sauce and fish sauce), keep stirring until the rice grains are separated, and the seasoning has covered all the dish (about 3 minutes).

Add pineapple, shrimp, cashews and the other half of the wet ingredient mix. Stir approximately 3 minutes.

Once the pineapple is darkened and the rice is dry, turn off heat. Add tomatoes and the green onions.

Serve the rice garnishing with the whole shrimp on top and cucumber on the side as garnish.

 

Vegetarian version:

Omit the shrimp and egg (vegan)

Use coconut oil and add spice it up with some garlic and fresh ginger.

 

Try this recipe and share with us through #johastable

Vámonos de Pinta / Elote Cocido

 

Hace un par de semanas compramos maíz fresco de un mercado local. Mi marido tenía la intención de cocinar algo con él – ya fuera el pan de maíz de su bisabuela, o grits, o algo más. Honestamente, no recuerdo lo que estaba planeando cocinar; Pero a medida que la semana progresaba y la vida siguió avanzando, el maíz permaneció sobre la mesa, sin cocer.

 

El otro día estaba viendo las mazorcas y decidí hacer un bocadillo que atañe a mis raíces mexicanas – Elote Cocido.

 

Elote cocido (maíz cocido) es una merienda que se puede comprar en las calles mexicanas. A menudo consumida durante las celebraciones patrias. Es el maíz hervido en una mezcla cremosa, con queso, picante, insertado en un palillo.

 

Mi decisión de hacer esta botanita (pasapalo) trajo a mi mente, un recuerdo particular que inundo mis pensamientos: Recordé la única vez que “me fui de pinta” (me jubile/falte a clases) – cuando estaba en octavo grado (Segundo de Secundaria).

 

Nunca fui mala estudiante durante la secundaria – no tuve malas calificaciones; Nunca reprobé alguna materia. Yo era social; me llevaba bien con mis compañeros y maestros; participe en actividades extracurriculares, e incluso inicie un grupo de música (tocaba el “cuatro venezolano,’ un instrumento de cuerda muy parecido al ukulele).

 

Fui estudiante un poquito arriba del promedio, pero, sobresaliente hasta mi ultimo año de secundaria (noveno grado), cuando mis calificaciones tuvieron una mejora muy notable.

 

Un día, mi amiga Paty y yo decidimos irnos de pinta. Nadie sospecharía de nuestro plan.

 

Tenía que ser perfecto. Así que tomamos una semana para planear y preparar.

 

Podrías estar preguntándote ahora mismo, “¿Por qué saltar escuela?”.

 

Yo era una chica de iglesia que se llevaba bien con todo el mundo y trataba de portarme bien… pero siempre me ha gustado aventurarme, y he disfrutado los desafíos. Yo sabía que esto, haría subir mi adrenalina.

 

Así que después de nuestra semana de preparación, llegó el viernes cuando haríamos nuestra huida a la libertad. Fue sólo unas pocas semanas antes de los finales, por lo que el año escolar estaba por terminar.

 

Aquella era la semana de la “Feria de Ciencias” – por lo que había muchas caras de estudiantes y maestros ausentes en las aulas de clases, así que sería difícil para los prefectos saber por qué no estábamos en la escuela.

 

Salimos de nuestras casas vestidas con los uniformes escolares y nos reunimos afuera de la escuela. Nos subimos a un autobús y tomamos el metro, dirigiéndonos al tradicional lugar donde los niños se iban de pinta en aquel tiempo (no se si ahora lo sigan haciendo): Chapultepec.

 

Chapultepec está en el centro de la Ciudad de México, y alberga un bosque, parques, un zoológico, un castillo en una colina, un lago, un museo – un montón de cosas divertidas que hacer mientras no estas en clases. A veces, es referido como los “pulmones de la ciudad”, debido a sus vastas zonas verdes.

 

Cuando llegamos, vimos a nuestro alrededor y nos dimos cuenta que muchos niños de otras escuelas tuvieron la misma idea que nosotras. Había un montón de niños, vestidos con uniformes de secundarias de todos los extremos de la ciudad.

 

Ciudad de México es la ciudad más grande del mundo, alrededor de 30 millones de personas viven allí, por lo que la probabilidad de que hubiera otros niños que decidieron saltar escuela ese mismo día era bastante alta.

 

Era un lugar fresco para simplemente ir a esconderse por un día.

 

Caminamos súper felices. Nos sentamos y tuvimos un picnic, comiendo lo que se suponía que era nuestros almuerzos para el desayuno.

 

Fuimos al zoológico y pasamos un par de horas ahí. Pasamos el tiempo simplemente caminando por el parque.

 

Después, llegamos al lago, y decidimos alquilar una canoa. Se veía divertido.

 

Pero alquilar una canoa resultó ser caro para nosotras.

 

Afortunadamente, mientras estábamos esperando que nos atendieran, empezamos a hablar con un grupo de muchachas que estaban formadas y venían de la parte sur de Ciudad de México. También se habían ido de pinta ese día.

 

Nos dijeron que necesitaban meter dos personas más en las dos canoas que ellas estaban alquilando, así que bien contentas saltamos dentro de su canoa!

 

Mientras estuvimos remando alrededor del lago con nuestras nuevas amigas, un grupo de niños de nuestra edad que venia en otra canoa nos vieron, y comenzaron a hablarnos.

 

Empezamos a bromear con ellos. Nuestras bromas eran inocentes y amistosas, y los muchachos nos preguntaron si queríamos cambiar de barco; algunas de nosotras entrar en su canoa, y algunos de ellos saltar a las nuestras.
La idea era que nuestro grupo se hiciera mas grande, y sumando a los chicos pasar el resto del día juntos con mas diversión.

 

Por alguna razón no me gustó esa idea. Yo era muy escéptica.

 

Eran buena onda (chéveres), pero yo no los conocía.

 

Así que yo, junto con algunas de las otras chicas, nos quedamos en nuestra canoa, mientras las chicas que querían mezclarse con ellos, se pasaron al otro bote. Nos pasaron sus mochilas, y otras pertenencias para hacer espacio, para la gente extra que estaría en su canoa. Paty era una de ellas.

 

Cuando los muchachos y las muchachas comenzaron a mezclarse en las canoas, un par de los chicos se pararon entre los dos botes y comenzaron a sacudir la canoa de las chicas.

 

Las otras chicas y yo vimos a una distancia segura, mientras su bote se sacudía y todas cayeron al lago. Incluyendo a mi amiga Paty!

 

El lago estaba asqueroso. El agua tenía un olor terrible, y una gruesa capa de algas verdes.

 

Después de que cayeron, tuvimos que rescatarlas. Las miradas de algunas de las caras de las chicas estaban llenas de devastación.

 

Yo no estaba tan devastada… Aunque fue feo para ellas, moría de risa!

 

Finalmente salieron del agua. Con un olor terrible… No pudimos rescatar su bote.

 

Encontramos algunos rociadores que se prendían automáticamente para regar los jardines alrededor del parque. En los que las chicas, incluyendo Paty, pudieron limpiarse un poco. Por suerte, Paty trajo una blusa extra ese día, y pudo al menos cambiarsela. Así, seguimos caminando un poco más, hasta encontrar algo de comida.

 

Teníamos mucha hambre, así que nos detuvimos en un puestecito para comprar elote cocido. Ese fue el aperitivo perfecto para terminar nuestro día en Chapultepec, y nos dirigimos a casa.

 

Por supuesto, en el camino a casa, pasamos a la Feria de Ciencias. Nos aseguramos de ser vistas por varios amigos y maestros, para así tener una coartada perfecta.

 

Fue un día divertido y memorable para mí. Y lo mejor de todo es que no nos cacharon!

 

Nuestro plan había funcionado, y tuvimos un día de libertad, hicimos nuevas amigas, tuvimos un montón de risas y una buena merienda.

 

Por desgracia, Paty tuvo una reacción alérgica grave en su piel, por la asquerosa agua del lago en la que cayo; por lo que no pudo salir de su casa por varios días.

 

Aun así, el recuerdo del día en que nos fuimos de pinta estará siempre en nuestros corazones.

 


 

ELOTE COCIDO

 

Esta botana es súper fácil de hacer. Estos son los sabores base de muchos platillos mexicanos, y hay muchas variaciones. Así que pruébalo, y se creativo!

 

Ingredientes:

 

Mazorcas de maíz.

 

Agua

 

Mantequilla

 

Mayonesa

 

Queso Fresco rallado (Si no puedes encontrar queso fresco, usa queso parmesano)

 

Chile en polvo (Chile piquín)

 

Limón

 

Sal

 

Pimienta

 

Palillos para brochetas (para insertar y sostener las mazorcas) – Yo no tenia palillos para brochetas, así que usé palillos chinos.

 

INSTRUCCIONES

 

Limpia el maíz

 

En una olla lo suficientemente grande en el que se puedan sumergir las mazorcas completamente en el agua. Hierva el maíz por cerca de 15 minutos, o hasta que el grano esté blando.

 

En un tazón o una bandeja, esparce el queso

 

Saca el maíz del agua con unas pinzas de cocina. Sostenlo con una toalla (para que no te quemes la mano) e inserta el palillo/brocheta en el centro de la mazorca.

 

Sosteniendo ahora por el palillo, extiende la mantequilla sobre el maíz y luego cúbrelo con una fina capa de mayonesa.

 

Coloca el maíz en el queso y ruédalo para cubrir todos los lados.

 

Sazona con sal, pimienta y chile piquín, al gusto.

 

Exprime el limón sobre el Elote y a disfrutar!

Created Curriculum/Fried Green Tomatoes

 

Just yesterday, I was telling a friend about this blog and they asked me what “Joha’s Table” means. Why name the blog that?

And my initial reaction was one of sarcasm and silliness – I wanted to snidely remark that my wife’s name in Joha and food is on a table. And as the words fell out of my mouth, I stopped and decided to answer in a different way.

“The table is about food, sure,” I remarked. “But it’s also a place where families sit and talk about their day. A place where friends share stories.”

So many things happen at the table. Many times, it’s where life is – and that’s really what this blog is supposed to be about. Not just food, but life.

When I was growing up, the dining room table was cleaned and removed of debris only a handful of times throughout the year – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, when important people came to visit. But most of the time it was full of schoolbooks, homework and projects in development.

The table was covered with these items because my older brother, my younger sister, and I were homeschooled.

Every morning, my father would venture off to work – as we owned a carpet cleaning business – and my mother would wake us up. We would go to the living room and have a daily devotion and prayer, we would eat breakfast, and then get to school work (sometimes still in our pajamas, but we usually got dressed).

My parents decided, even before my schooling had begun, that they wanted to homeschool us. They cite the fact that they wanted a controlled environment of learning where they could focus efforts on needed areas, and allow us to spread our academic wings in areas where we were advanced. They had done their research on curriculums for different subjects and what would best suit our individual needs.

People often tell me, when I tell them I was homeschooled from kindergarten through high school, that they can’t believe it because I “seem so normal,” or I “have people skills.”

I attribute that to the reason my parents chose to school us at home. It wasn’t for religious reasons. It wasn’t to keep us away from people or groups or “danger.” It was mostly for academic reasons (probably some financial reasons as well, as sending three kids to private school while owning your own small business doesn’t bode well on the pocketbook).

I maintained relationships with other children in my neighborhood, through extracurricular activities such as community sports, and my involvement is organizations like 4-H and my church and youth group.

I think if my mother were asked what was a great advantage of homeschooling, she would mention the fact that sometimes she could create a curriculum based on the state’s criteria for learning in a specific subject.

Like Home Economics. In schools all across Mississippi, students took Home Ec and learned about cooking and food and sewing and whatever they teach in those classes.

My mom used Home Ec as an opportunity to teach us about cooking – and then she’d make us cook dinner. As we got older, she worked less. Her curriculum began freeing up her time because our schooling was to cook and clean!

There’s got to be some kind of law against that, right?! haha

I remember we started a garden in our backyard. We started growing tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers, okra and several other vegetables. We watered and weeded and cared for the garden everyday and saw great harvests.

Those gardens were incorporated into a curriculum created by my mom, and they taught us so much. Those gardens taught us about preparation and planning – we had to till the ground and plan what to plant and where to plant it; planting , maintaining and overall responsibility – we had to put the seed in the ground and take care of each of them every single day by watering and removing weeds; failure and success – we had bountiful harvests many times, while other times things didn’t grow at all or died.

We learned a lot through those gardens.

Many times it was the garden itself that taught us lessons, other times mom dished out the knowledge. Like when the harvests began to flow, she showed us how to cook different vegetables.

There were years where we had so much coming from the garden, we began taking vegetables to church to give to other families – she taught us the importance of giving and generosity.

I remember growing zucchinis that measured out to be nearly two-feet in length. When these massive vegetables and great harvests would occur, my mother would plan meals with as many vegetables as possible. For a few years, I remember it seemed like everything had zucchini, squash and eggplant in it.

Spaghetti with zucchini, squash and eggplant. Soup with zucchini, squash and eggplant. Pizza with zucchini, squash and eggplant. Chicken with a side of fried zucchini, squash and eggplant.

But we learned to cook with these items, and learned to enjoy show creativity in the kitchen by cooking certain vegetables in a variety of ways.

Tomatoes were a mainstay in the garden, so we always made salads and often simply combined tomatoes and cucumbers in a bowl with vinegar, salt, pepper and herbs and had a healthy snack.

During those times when the tomatoes started growing, mom would pick some of the green tomatoes to fry them. Fried Green Tomatoes is somewhat of a popular southern (United States) dish. The unripe tomato slice stays intact while being fried, unlike a ripe tomato that would fall apart as it begins to heat up; and the sweet and sour flavor of the unripe fruit when fried is undeniably delicious to many palates.

In fact, the thought of my mother’s fried green tomatoes makes me hungry. I don’t have her specific recipe, but I cooked the dish and brought it to another level of southernry (I know it’s not a word, but you understand what I mean when I say it) with some pan-seared shrimp, all drizzled with a remoulade sauce.


 

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES (feeds 2)

 

2 Green tomatoes (Actually you can make more than 2 tomatoes with this amount of flour mixture)

1 egg

½ cup buttermilk

½ cup flour

½ cup cornmeal

1 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

½ tsp cumin

¼ tsp paprika

dash of oregano

dash of basil

vegetable oil

salt, to taste

 

Place vegetable oil in a skillet and heat to medium-high heat

Slice green tomatoes to desired thickness

In a bowl, mix egg and buttermilk.

In a separate shallow bowl or pan, combine all dry ingredients

 

Dip tomato slices in egg mixture (to double coat, which makes it more crispy, drudge tomatoes in all-purpose flour, then dip in egg mixture)

Transfer dipped tomato into flour/corn meal mixture and coat tomato slices.

Place slices in heated oil and cook for about 2 minutes on each side (4 minutes total), or until golden brown.

Remove tomato slice from oil and place on a paper towel-covered plate to catch dripping oil.

Sprinkle salt, to taste, on hot tomatoes.


 

REMOULADE SAUCE

 

½ cup Mayonaisse

1 TBSP brown mustard (whole grain is best)

1 TBSP ketchup

1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce

1 TBSP Lemon juice

1 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp garlic powder

2 stalks of freshly chopped parsley

1 strand of thinly sliced fresh green onion

½ tsp pepper

dash of your favorite hot sauce

 

combine all ingredients and chill for an hour for best results, but you can actually use the sauce right away.

 

Cooking in French – Coq Au Vin

I stood in my kitchen Sunday afternoon and began putting up washed dishes that had been left out overnight to dry. We had friends coming over for dinner later in the day and I wanted to make sure everything appeared to be in order.

My husband had just turned on the television in the living room and came into the kitchen to make a light snack to hold us over until our dinner guests arrived.

He rummaged through the refrigerator and found the remains of a log of Russian salami we had purchased about a week earlier at a European market we found in Baton Rouge. He then found an opened package of goat cheese before strolling over to the pantry to find some crackers.

File May 05, 12 35 34 AM

He thinly sliced the salami, clumped the cheese and set the crackers onto a Cambodian Vandywood cutting board turned into serving tray and asked if I wanted some before heading back into the living room for what would certainly end up being his Sunday nap. My husband needs a Sunday nap. Because apparently he is a child.

But as I peered at the lovely mini-charcuterie tray he had made, I remembered a time not too long ago, when my mother and I traveled through Spain, Italy and France on our way to visit some dear friends in the United Kingdom. It was in France that we discovered the essence of the wine and cheese tasting.

The trip was about two years ago, and I had procured a quaint hotel room for my mother and me in Paris.

The hotel was small – just big enough to have an elevator, though a very old one. When I booked our room, I chose the least expensive option because we were traveling on a budget, but once we arrived and the lovely staff saw us, they upgraded us to a room with a view of the Eiffel Tower. I think it was just something about seeing a mother and daughter traveling and exploring life together that made them feel more generous toward us.

The hotel offered a wine and cheese tasting every evening. Now, I’ve had wine and I’ve had cheese, but this was very different. The cheese was creamy and extremely tasty, and the wine, paired with the cheese, had flavors I had never taken notice of in wine before.

I always hear people describing wine – saying it’s acidic or fruity or nutty – but this was the first time I actually tasted those flavors for myself. Or maybe it was just the fact that I was in Paris, and the idea of wine, cheese and bread is romantic. And I’m a hopeless romantic.

In that time, I grew closer to my mom in an unexplainable way. We laughed together, learned about other cultures together, met new people together … and all on a trip I wasn’t supposed to be on.

My father was supposed to go with mom, but due to issues with his Venezuelan passport and a visa, he was unable to go, so I got his ticket J (and it’s a good thing too, because I am fluent in English and studied French and Italian in school.)

As I put the last of the dishes away, preparing for our dinner guests, I served myself another cracker with salami and goat cheese, and started remembering my first time cooking French cuisine – in college while studying French.

In the school I attended in Mexico City, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM), when studying a foreign language, we were thrust into the culture of that language. So, for French, we learned language skills among other things – like French cuisine.

Though my French language skills have crumbled from my memory (I’m working to try to get the language back now), I don’t think I’ll ever forget the meal my professor taught us to cook.

Coq au vin.

It may have been because it was so delicious, or, more likely, it could have been so memorable because of the laughter and fun involved in preparing that meal with my classmates, like when I found out that my friend/classmate had smuggled two bottles of wine into the classroom so we could make the meal.

As I started reminiscing about Coq Au Vin, the ingredients started coming back to my memory, and I decided to try to reconstruct the delicious French meal, without the smuggled-in wine.


 

File May 05, 12 35 19 AM

Coq Au Vin

(For 2 people)

(All measurements are simple approximations. I adjusted measures as I cooked

 

Ingredients

2 Chicken quarters with skin (thighs and legs with bone)

1 cup Red wine, traditionally Burgundy (We didn’t have Burgundy, so I used Merlot – but any dry red wine will do.)

3 pieces of Bacon cut in pieces (approx 1/2 inch pieces)

¼ pound Mushrooms, cut into halves

½ Yellow onion, chopped finely

1 tsp Olive oil

1 tsp dried Thyme (use a couple of stalks of fresh Thyme instead if you have it!!)

4 Tbsp Butter (half stick of butter)

1 Tbsp Flour

½ cup Chicken Stock

Pepper, to taste

Salt, to taste

 

Season chicken with salt and pepper and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

On stove top, cook bacon in large pan (pan must be oven safe, as it will be going into the oven later)

Remove bacon from pan, leaving bacon grease.

Place chicken in pan with bacon grease and cook on medium-high heat until golden and skin is crispy – don’t worry about cooking the chicken thoroughly on this step. It will be cooked more later. You’re just trying to get a certain color on the chicken.

Remove chicken and place to the side.

In the same oil, sauté onions until translucent.

Add mushrooms until slightly browned.

Add butter until melted and add flour. This step will thicken your sauce.

Once mixed very well, add wine while pan is on medium heat for about 5 minutes.

Add thyme and allow it to cook for another 5 minutes.

Add bacon that was set aside earlier, and then stir in chicken stock and allow to cook another 5 minutes after mixed well, stirring as needed.

Add chicken and raise to high heat and pan-baste (scoop liquid onto meat as dish cooks) for approx. 2 minutes. Taste it and add more salt or thyme if necessary.

Take pan off stove top and place pan in oven on 375 for about 45 minutes.

At the 30 minute mark, open oven and baste chicken, then close oven and finish the cook.

If you see the chicken is ready before the 45 minutes is completed, remove from oven – everybody’s ovens work differently!

Remove from oven and let it cool.

Prepare with fresh vegetables and Bon appetite!

Sopa de Pollo- Inspiración asiática

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Hay ocasiones en que sabes con exactitud que cocinar y buscas los ingredientes necesarios para preparar la comida. Otras, lo que sea que hay en el refrigerador (nevera) lo determina.

 

Eso me ha estado pasando mucho últimamente.

 

Hoy, abrí el refrigerador y chequee entre los compartimentos tratando de pensar en que cocinaría para la cena, de pronto, note que en el fondo de una de las repisas había dejado olvidado algo que compre la semana pasada en el mercado – una cabeza de “Bok Choy” (conocido también como Taisai, col china, repollo chino).

 

Inmediatamente, mis pensamientos se transportaron a Asia, en donde recuerdo que lo probé por primera vez; y particularmente en Malasia, en donde seguido comí esta verdura en sopas.

 

Hace unos siete años, estaba viviendo en Singapur y un día estaba fuera de casa en la noche, ya muy tarde, y fui a un “Hawker Centre” (un lugar de comida con muchas opciones). Tenia hambre, pero como era tarde, el único lugar abierto en la sección de comida era un sitio en el que servían sopas.

 

En este tipo de lugares, el cliente elige, coloca los vegetales y carnes que desea en una bandeja, creando así su propia versión. (Para aquellos en el nuevo mundo, es similar a los sitios en donde uno elige los ingredientes de su propio sándwich, pero en sopa).

 

Vi el estante lleno de vegetales – hermosos colores vibrantes y diferentes fragancias – Enseguida, me di cuenta de que la mayoría de los productos mostrados en ese estante no me eran familiares. De hecho, eran incómodamente muy poco familiares.

 

Así que hice lo que había aprendido a lo largo de mis pocos años como viajera – un truquito que sigo aplicando de vez en cuando, cuando me encuentro en lugares poco familiares – Simplemente, pido lo mismo que pidió la persona que esta adelante de mi en la fila.

 

No estaba segura de los nombres de los ingredientes de la sopa, aun en este momento no los se, pero recuerdo que tenia colores vibrantes: verde, blanco rosado, amarillo, morado y rojo.

 

Aunque no me acuerdo de todo lo que tenia esa primera sopa, recuerdo que me gusto en un 90 por ciento.

 

Fue hasta unos meses después, que una de mis mas queridas amigas en Singapur, Anne, me enseño que era cada uno de los vegetales/carnes que estaban en el aparador. Me dijo también cuales seleccionar para hacer una sopa deliciosa. Al final de su selección, mi sopa fue excelente.

 

Viajé a través del Sureste Asiático a lo largo de muchos años. Una vez, durante una visita a Malasia, vimos a una amiga quien cocino una cena para nosotros.

 

Me asombre en descubrir que la sopa que hizo era muy familiar en sabores a lo que recordaba de aquella experiencia con mi sopa en Singapur. Tenia brotes de soya (bean sprouts), espinacas, Bok Choy, huevos cocidos, un tipo de salchicha, albóndigas de pescado, tallarines, tofu, y otros ingredientes que ahora no recuerdo.

 

Por alguna razón, el sabor mas memorable de la sopa que hizo mi amiga fue el Bok Choy.

 

Y aunque la primera vez que lo probé fue en Singapur, Bok Choy es uno de los sabores que relaciono con Malasia.

 

Así que cuando abrí el refrigerador hoy, y encontré el Bok Choy, me sentí abrazada por aquel amor y cariño que me une a la gente de Malasia, que visité tan seguido durante mi tiempo allá.

 

Malasia es un país acogedor, del que me enamore casi inmediatamente. Su gente es amable, la comida es deliciosa y el malayo (su idioma), se pronuncia muy similar al español, que es mi lengua nativa.

 

Por todo esto, termine pasando mucho tiempo ahí, haciendo muchos amigos, comiendo mucha comida… en Malasia. De hecho, los amigos que hice allá se han convertido en mi familia a lo largo de los años.

 

Vi el Bok choy, y junto a el un par de zanahorias, una raíz de jengibre y un pollo desmenuzado – en ese momento supe que los ingredientes en mi nevera, y esa memoria latente de sabores, habían decidido que prepararía para la cena.

 


 

Sopa de Pollo- Inspiración asiática

(2 Personas)

3 Tazas de agua

2 Cucharas de raíz de jengibre fresco bien picadito.

2 Tallos de cebollines bien picaditos. (cebolla de cambray)

4 Tallos de Bok Choy picado (Tiras de alrededor de 3 cm de espesor)

2 Dientes de ajo

1 Cucharadita de Tahini (Pasta de sésamo) (Opcional)

½ Pechuga de Pollo

1 Zanahoria, pelada y cortada en finas tiritas

1 Paquete de Fideos de huevo (Tallarines)

Sal, al gusto

Pimienta, al gusto

Opcional: Salsa de soya y/o Sriracha (salsa picante). (Añádelo en los platos ya servidos). En lo personal me gusta con Sriracha. No me gusta con salsa de soya, porque siento que el sabor de la salsa de soya es muy fuerte y cubre todos los demás sabores del platillo

 

INSTRUCCIONES

 

Hierve el pollo en las 3 tazas de agua (o hasta que el pollo esté cubierto)

Retira el pollo para que se enfríe después de que esté cocido y desmenúzalo.

En el agua restante (que ahora es caldo de pollo), agrega el ajo, los cebollines, el jengibre y el Tahini, lleva a punto de ebullición.

Reduce el fuego a medio-bajo, tapa la olla y deja cocinar por 10 minutos.

En una olla separada, hierve agua para los tallarines/ fideos de huevo y cocínalos.

Pasados los 10 minutos, destapa la sopa. Agrega sal y pimienta.

Prueba. (Agrega más sal y pimienta si es necesario)

Retira la sopa del calor y cuidadosamente, usa un colador para retirar los pedacitos de jengibre, el ajo y la cebolla, dejando solo el caldo. Si te gustan los trozos de jengibre, ajo y cebolla verde en la sopa, puedes saltarte este paso con libertad y continuar con el resto de las instrucciones.

Después de colar el caldo, añade las zanahorias y Bok Choy.

Transferir los tallarines/fideos de huevo ya cocidos de su olla a la olla de sopa y dejar cocer a fuego lento 5 minutos.

La intención es cocer la sopa en esta ultima etapa para fusionar los sabores, pero no por mucho tiempo para que el Bok Choy no pierda sus propiedades crujientes, y su color verde vibrante.

Prueba. Si se necesita mas sal y pimienta, agrega.

Sirve la sopa en el tazón y agrega el pollo desmenuzado.

Añade Sriracha a un plato de sopa para añadir más sabor.

 

Nota: Si quieres cocinar esta receta con tofu. Sofríe los trocitos de tofu en un sartén hasta que esté dorado por todos los lados, agrega al caldo después de que lo colaste, y cocina durante 5 minutos, antes de añadir Bok Choy. Después de añadirlo, cocina a fuego lento 5 minutos más.

Asia-inspired Chicken Soup

Sometimes you know exactly what you want to cook and you get the right ingredients for that meal. Other times, the contents of your refrigerator dictate what your next meal will be.

That’s been happening to me quite a bit lately.

Today, I opened up my refrigerator door and browsed up and down the shelves wondering what would be our next dinner, and I took notice of something on the bottom shelf that I had nearly forgotten I had purchased a week earlier – a head of Bok Choy.

Immediately, my thoughts were transported to Asia, where I first tasted Bok Choy; and Malaysia in particular, where I would often eat the leafy-green in soups.

About seven years ago, I was living in Singapore and was out late one night at a Hawker Centre – or food court. I was hungry and, because it was late, there was only one restaurant opened at the food court. And they served only soup.

At this particular facility, patrons would choose their vegetables and meat, and a soup would be created to their taste (for those in the West, this premise is much like a sandwich shop, but with soup).

I looked down at the array of vegetables on display – the beautiful bright colors and fragrances – and saw a lot of items with which I was very unfamiliar. Uncomfortably unfamiliar.

So I did what I had learned to do in my few years as a world traveler – It’s a little trick I will still do from time-to-time, when I find myself in unfamiliar surroundings – I simply ordered the same thing as the person ahead of me. J

I wasn’t sure at the time, and I’m still unsure, of the names of each of the ingredients, but I can remember the soup I ordered was brightly colored with green, white, pink, yellow, purple and red contents.

And though I cannot recall everything my first soup had in it, I do remember that it was about 90 percent delicious.

It was months later that one of my dearest friends in Singapore, Anne, taught me what each of the vegetables and others items on display were. She showed me how to successfully order a great soup. And my soup orders grew tastier.

For several years I traveled throughout Southeast Asia. During a visit to Malaysia, I was visiting a friend who decided to cook a meal for me.

I was slightly dumbfounded to discover that the soup she made was extremely similar in flavors I remembered from my first soup experience in Singapore. It had Bean Sprouts, Spinach, Bok Choy, boiled eggs, sausage, noodles, fish balls, tofu, and a lot of other items that escape my memory at the moment.

And for some reason, in my friend’s soup, the flavor that stood out to me the most was the Bok Choy.

Even though I first tried it in Singapore, Bok Choy is a flavor I relate to Malaysia.

So when I opened my refrigerator today and found the Bok Choy, I got an overwhelming feeling of love and goodness that reminded me of the Malaysian people that I so often encountered during my time there.

Malaysia is an extremely welcoming country that I fell in love with almost right away. The people are friendly, the food is delightful, and the Malay language has pronunciations that are very similar to Spanish, my native tongue.

Albeit to say, I ended up spending lots of time, gaining lots of friends, and eating lots of food, in Malaysia. Actually, the friends I have there have become like family to me over the years.

As my eyes shifted from the Bok Choy, I spotted carrots, ginger root, shredded chicken – and I knew that the fridge’s ingredients and my flashing memories had just decided for me what was for dinner.


 

Asia-inspired chicken noodle soup

(2 People)

3 cups water

2 Tbsp finely chopped Fresh Ginger Root

2 Stalks chopped Green Onion

4 Leaves chopped (about ½ inch) Bok Choy

2 Cloves Garlic (whole)

1 tsp Tahini (optional)

½ chicken breast

1 Carrot, peeled and cut into fine strips

Egg Noodles

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Optional: Soy sauce and/or Sriracha (add in individual bowl). I personally like Sriracha, but not soy sauce. I thought soy sauce was overpowering to the dish.

 

  • Boil chicken in 3 cups of water (or until chicken is covered)
  • Remove chicken to cool after it is cooked through, and then shred chicken.
  • In remaining water (which is now chicken stock), add garlic, green onion, ginger and tahini and bring to boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot, and allow to cook for 10 minutes.
  • In separate pot, boil egg noodles in water
  • Uncover soup after 10 minutes has passed and add salt and pepper.
  • Taste. (Add more salt and pepper if needed)
  • Remove soup from heat and carefully strain to remove ginger, garlic and onion. This step will reduce your soup to a stock. If you like chunks of ginger, garlic and green onion, feel free to skip the straining step.
  • After straining, add carrots and Bok Choy.
  • Transfer cooked egg noodles from its pot to the pot of soup and allow to simmer 5 minutes.

You want to cook it, but not too long. If it’s cooked too long, the Bok Choy will lose its vibrant green color, flavor and crisp.

  • Taste. If salt and pepper is needed, add.
  • Ladle soup into bowl and add shredded chicken.

Add Sriracha to bowl of soup for added deliciousness.

Note: if you desire to use tofu, sauté the tofu until golden brown and add to broth after straining and cook 5 minutes, before adding Bok Choy and simmer 5 more minutes.