Monday, July 25, 2011

Keeping Cool with Los Cocos Fruit Ceviche

Summer heat is setting records in 2011
 The scorching sun has sent the summer temperatures well over 100 for more than 41 days, only considered cool in a "I survived that kind of way",  I'm all for prepping meals with little or no oven time right now. To heck with conventional cooking, please don't turn up the heat.  The Summer of 2011 could almost be considered the Summer of Ceviche for our family. We've had many endless variety in this popular Latin American dish. This fruity Ceviche version is named after one of my favorite Fruiteria stands in Monterrey Mexico. I've only had fruit cups there at Los Cocos but if they had a Ceviche with fruit it would taste  something like my version. Make a Ceviche with whatever seafood is on hand and be liberal with choice of fruits. Ceviche is typically made from fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juices & spiced with chili peppers. Our family enjoys Ceviche & it seems like the perfect way to cool things down at the end of a long hot day. Follow it with a crisp wine or cold Mexican beer & it's a meal. Salute!

Los Cocos Fruit Ceviche
1 pound medium-size raw shrimp, shelled and veined

1 red or yellow bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup diced yellow onion
1 jalapeno, minced
1/2cup lime juice, divided in half
3 tbsp ketchup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup melon, cubed
1 avocado, diced
2 kiwi fruit, skinned & diced
1 cup pineapple diced, juice reserved
1 orange, cut in sections and diced, juice reserved
Salt and pepper**


Blanch the shrimp in boiling water until no longer translucent, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain & quickly cool down in iced water. (Chill shrimp approx 30 min)

Combine the shrimp, red or yellow pepper, cilantro, jalapeno, and 1/4 c.lime juice in a large bowl. Refrigerate, covered, for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Drain off most of the liquid.

Whisk together the olive oil, ketchup, all citrus juice, and cilantro. Pour over shrimp and add diced avocado, melon, (add all fruits at this time), orange pieces &  pineapple. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.**Fruit juices are natural tenderizing agents so remember to prepare approx. what will be consumed in given meal.  The shrimp tend to keep tenderizing with the fruit juices & become mushy in more than 24 hrs.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tortilla Espanola, in Spain it's a Spanish Omelette~

In Mexico Tortillas are disks of either corn or flour flat bread to be served with food tucked into them.  In Spain a Tortilla is an entirely different matter. The Espanola is an egg dish filled with potatoes & served either hot or cold.  It may be served as an appetizer in a Tapas bar or a main dish at home.  My first education about the Spanish Tortilla was in a Miami Beach Tapas restaurant believe it or not. (at last count Miami has at least 8 Tapas restaurants) My husband had lived in Spain & was thrilled to find a Tapas restaurant & introduce the family to one of his favorite foods.  Since then I have been captivated by this easy mainstream dish from Spain. Tales of this dish differ on where the Tortilla Espanola originated however all seem to agree that it dates back to the early 1800's. Historically speaking it was said to gain popularity during wartime as a way to feed a crowd with few handy & wholesome ingredients. The dish is both easy & quick to put on the table.

Tortilla Espanola ~ Spanish Tortilla
6-7 medium potatoes, peeled
1 whole yellow onion, sliced
5-6 large eggs
1 cup Spanish Chorizo, sliced into rounds
3  cups loosely chopped Swiss Chard
2-3 cups of olive oil for pan frying
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cut the peeled potatoes in half lengthwise. Then, with the flat side on the cutting surface, slice the potato in pieces approximately 1/8" thick. If you slice them a bit thick, don’t worry – it will simply take a bit longer for them to cook.

Peel and chop the onion into 1/4" pieces. Put potatoes and onions into a bowl and mix them together. Salt the mixture.

In a large, heavy, non-stick frying pan, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Carefully place the potato and onion mixture into the frying pan, spreading them evenly over the surface. The oil should almost cover the potatoes. You may need to turn down the heat slightly, so the potatoes do not burn, next add chorizo slices & cook 3-4 more minutes or till sausage browns slightly.

Leave in pan until the potatoes are cooked. If you can poke a piece of potato with a spatula and it easily breaks in two, your potatoes are done. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon or spatula and allow oil to drain.

Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat by hand with a whisk or fork. Pour in the potato onion mixture. Mix together with a large spoon.

Pour 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil into a medium, frying pan (aprox. 9-10”) and heat on medium heat. When hot, stir the potato onion mixture once more and “pour” into the pan and spread out evenly. Allow the egg to cook around the edges. Then you can carefully lift up one side of the omelet to check if the egg has slightly “browned.” The inside of the mixture should not be completely cooked and the egg will still be runny.

When the mixture has browned on the bottom, you are ready to turn it over to cook the other side. Take the frying pan to a sink. Place a large dinner plate (12”) upside down over the frying pan. With one hand on the frying pan handle and the other on top of the plate to hold it steady, quickly turn the frying pan over and the omelet will “fall” onto the plate. Place the frying pan back on the range and put just enough oil to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. Let the pan warm for 30 seconds or so. Now slide the omelet into the frying pan. Add chopped swiss chard & use the spatula to shape the sides of the omelet. Let the omelet cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the tortilla sit in the pan for 2 minutes. If chard needs wilting more broil it for 1-2 minutes or till nicely wilted.

Slide the omelet onto a plate to serve. If eating as a main course, cut the omelet into 6-8 pieces like a pie. Serve a wedge of the Tortilla with sliced pickle, marinated mushrooms, fruit or a piece of crusty bread & a glass of wine.