Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Chamorro Sausage

A homemade link to Guam

Many ethnic cuisines have their own variety of sausage. There is German bratwurst and Portuguese linguica. At nearby supermarkets we can find Mexican, Salvadoran, and Argentinian chorizos. And so, it comes as no surprise that a Pacific island where European seafarers landed has a sausage of its own. The explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, "discovered" Guam and its Chamorro people in 1521. The island was occupied by Spain until 1898. Chamorro sausage has a milder flavor than Spanish chorizo. Additionally, there are no minty or green herbs in Chamorro sausage. Less is more with garlic, paprika, and annatto (achiote) seasoning this yummy sausage. Katsons makes and sells packaged links. Look for Chamorro sausage in the freezer aisle at most of Guam’s grocery stores. Local restaurants may serve a loose meat Chamorro sausage. These restaurants usually serve Chamorro sausage with fried eggs and steamed rice. Here is our recipe for homemade Chamorro sausage:

What you will need:

1 medium-sized bowl
1 wooden spoon
2/3 cup datu puti (Filipino cane vinegar)*
3 lbs ground pork
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 small yellow onion, minced
3 teaspoons paprika
3 tablespoons annatto (achiote) seasoning
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
3 teaspoons garlic powder
3 teaspoons onion powder
3 teaspoons salt
Pinch of black pepper


Place all ingredients in bowl. Mix well. Next, chill seasoned meat in fridge for at least 48 hours. To prepare, heat frying pan on medium heat and coat with a bit of cooking oil, add sausage mixture and brown well. Otherwise, freeze in Ziploc bags for later use.

*Helpful hint: We get datu puti at a nearby Asian supermarket. Palm vinegar also is good for this recipe. In a pinch, apple cider vinegar would be better to use than regular, clear distilled vinegar.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday's Last Spoonful: Bean Salad Bonanza

Post from June 25, 2009

Kicking lettuce to the curb
No, we’re not saying get rid of lettuce all together. But, bean salads are a welcome break from the monotony of traditional leafy green mixes. Taste the difference with a blend of garbanzo, black-eyed peas, and butter beans. These can be canned or frozen. Add chopped bell pepper, onions, and green peas to sweeten and spice things up. For our particular mix, we used canned garbanzos and frozen black-eyed peas, butter beans, and green peas. A simple dressing can be made with ½ cup salad oil, ¼ cup water, ½ cup vinegar, 1 teaspoon paprika, a little Splenda, and a pinch of salt. Let the bean salad sit for at least one hour in the fridge to thoroughly marinate before serving. Kidney and black beans are also popular salad beans. Other alternative (non-bean) additions: corn, tofu, chopped apple, or chopped white radish.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gobble! Gobble! Gobble!

Happy Thanksgiving to all Mixed Stew readers. We hope you have a fun and filling holiday. CHEERS! Here is a fun site so turn up the volume and listen to the Muppets.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday's Helping: Sugarless Pumpkin Pie

Post from November 9, 2009

A luscious dessert with sweetness and spice
The rich, creamy, and very sweet flavor of a slice of homemade pumpkin pie might have high calorie levels and sugar content. We tried this rendition of sugarless pumpkin pie last Thanksgiving and were delighted with the results. Assemble all the right ingredients and follow the directions to a HungryGirl recipe. (Thanks,!) Our suggestion is to use a store-bought, reduced-fat, graham pie crust to save time. The proof is in the strong pumpkin flavor and rich texture of the “sugarless” pumpkin custard. We have to give HungryGirl kudos for this sweet and “sugarless” holiday pie.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday's Cupful: Quinoa

Post from Thursday, July 2, 2009

A grainy solution to avoid carbs

Cooked quinoa (keen-wa) absorbs flavors like rice does. Its texture helps carry and extend flavors. Use quinoa instead of macaroni in salad. Use it as a substitute for rice, potatoes, and pasta in your meals. I have cooked quinoa in an automatic rice cooker, and the method works. To give the grain some flavor, use a low-sodium chicken broth, some chopped onions and/or garlic in the cooker just as you might do with rice. The ratio of liquid to quinoa is about 3:1. Another possibility for the grain: Use cooked quinoa as a substitute for rice in Asian-style fried rice.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday's Bread Bowl: Collards and Smoked Turkey

The Mixed Stew is on hiatus for the holiday. We are serving up oldies but goodies (re-runs) for the whole week. Also, each one can serve as a Thanksgiving dinner dish. Happy Thanksgiving.

A healthy option to break with tradition

Count on this hearty veggie dish to satisfy comfort food cravings on cold autumn days. Collard greens simmered with smoked meats is familiar to Southern cooks. But to attempt a healthy angle on the traditional dish, use smoked turkey wings as the flavoring component instead of smoked ham. There is little sacrifice regarding taste. Smoked turkey wings are just as good as smoked pork in this particular dish. Serve as a side dish at dinner. This is real comfort food.

What you will need:

1 large pot with lid
1 wooden spoon1 smoked turkey wing, pulled apart
2lbs collard greens, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
4 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon vinegar

Cooking and Directions:
Wash collard greens and let drain. Heat pot on medium-high heat and pour oil in pot. Once pot is hot, toss in garlic, onions, pepper, turkey wing pieces, and salt to cook. Sautee and let onions turn translucent. Pour in water and bring to a rolling boil. Then place collard greens in boiling water. Once water returns to a boil, lower heat so that contents are at a simmer and then cover pot. After 15 minutes, add vinegar. Leave pot on medium-low heat for additional 30 minutes. Stir everything occasionally.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Tofurky & Gravy Soda

Pop! Pop! Fizz! Fizz!

That’s right. Jones produces a novelty soda that’s a bit off-the wall and just right for the holiday season -- for some folks, maybe. The Mixed Stew crew is still weighing if it's a winner. It’s a “Tofurky & Gravy Soda.” The label says, “We created this special soda for all you veg-heads out there.” The light caramel color even resembles gravy. Expect a slight licorice flavor that reminds drinkers of herb-seasoned turkey. The taste abruptly stops short of savory. The carbonation provides a refreshing experience. Try it out for a surprise this Thanksgiving. (If you dare.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday’s Side Dish: Baked Beans

A convenient fallback in the pantry
The sweet and tangy flavor of canned baked beans does great in a pinch as a side dish. Canned baked beans are usually made with Navy beans that have been stewed in a seasoned sauce. Boston baked beans call for a sauce containing bacon and molasses. The Massachusetts city is also known as Beantown because of the popular recipe. Bush’s variety of canned baked beans includes Boston, Honey, Maple Cured, and Vegetarian-Fat Free. B&M provides a diabetic-friendly option with No Sugar Added baked beans. Look for large 28-oz. oz cans that are convenient for family meals. Remember that beans are packed with fiber, protein, and antioxidants. Try topping beans with fresh veggies, and diced onion.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday’s Helping: Country-Style Ribs

Getting juiced up about this meat cut

We had heard of spare ribs and baby back ribs, but we were not familiar with country-style ribs while growing up. This specific cut of pork had everyone at the Mixed Stew baffled over its origins and real name in relation to the pig’s body. It’s labeled and sold as “country-style ribs” by most major supermarkets. Look for great marbling that’s just right for barbecuing or braising. These cuts are acquired from where the upper-shoulder and neck sections meet on the pig. This means that country-style ribs aren’t ribs at all. Country-style ribs are actually blade steaks or blade chops. Pieces of the upper rib bones may be included or pieces can come boneless. Do you have a favorite way of cooking this cut?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday's Cupful: Ketchup

This sauce carries a lot of weight
Americans consume more than $400 million worth of ketchup each year. The red sauce poured on hotdogs and hamburgers in America actually has a fascinating history, which dates back to the 1600s. The word ketchup comes from the Malaysian word for sauce. Traders were introduced to the many Asian sauces in their travels. Old recipes included mushrooms, nuts, and fish brine. The popularity of tomatoes in the 19th century America led to new recipes that included the red fruit. Heinz started producing a version of tomato ketchup in 1876. Modern ketchup, made mostly from tomatoes, didn’t appear until the early 20th century. Ketchup is also called catsup, catchup, tomato sauce, and red sauce. Ketchup is made from tomato paste, sugar, vinegar, and salt. Regulated production standards help ensure thickness, viscosity, and flavor. Health conscious varieties (like low-carb and no salt) have also popped up on shelves in recent years. Modern ketchup has a sweet and tangy tomato flavor that goes well with cooked meats and fried dishes. We have ketchup loyalists in our family. Most of us are fans of Heinz brand. What's your favorite brand of ketchup and why?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Tangy Pork Country Ribs

A flavor masterpiece for meat lovers

This braised pork dish reminds us of home since Mom would cook it often. It’s a fairly simple recipe, too. Braise pork country ribs until tender in a yummy sauce made from soy sauce and ketchup. This is sort of a rustic sweet and sour dish. Here is our recipe:

What you will need:

1 pot with lid
1 wooden spoon
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic gloves, chopped
1 ½ to 2lbs pork country ribs, in pieces
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
½ cup ketchup (Don't skimp here, a good ketchup makes a world of difference.)
1 and 1/2 cups water
Pinch of pepper and salt

Cooking and Directions:

Heat pot on medium-high heat. Add oil, then throw in onion. Allow onions to turn just about translucent and then add garlic. Be careful not to burn garlic. Place pork pieces in pot for several minutes to let them brown. Sprinkle pepper and salt onto browning pork. After 5-8 more minutes of cooking, pour in water and cover pot. Bring liquid to a boil before lowering heat to medium low. Simmer the pork for 40 minutes. Next, stir in soy sauce and ketchup. Cook for additional 10-15 minutes in sauce mixture. Serve immediately with white rice or steamed cabbage (for low-carb fans).

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Pumpkin Treats

Orange before green and red

Pumpkin is popping up everywhere in snacks and treats for fall. The Mixed Stew found pumpkin granola on a recent shopping trip to MOM. Restaurants are also placing pumpkin on the menu. Miss Shirley’s Café in Baltimore, for example, offers Pumpkin Cheesecake-Stuffed French Toast for customers in need of a fix. Also, look for pumpkin goodies (rolls, pies, cookies, . . . etc.) in the bakery department of most major grocery stores. The Mixed Stew crew has been eating pumpkin cookies and even pumpkin eggnog from Safeway. Again, we suggest having a sugarless pumpkin pie to lighten things up this Thanksgiving. Can you think of any other fruit used to celebrate a particular season?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday’s Side Dish: Pumpkin Dip

Digging into a tasty aspect of the season

We spotted this spicy dip on a recent trip to Wegmans. It’s available in the prepared foods bar. The store was gracious enough to also provide a recipe. The dip has a nice sweet and tangy flavor. It also has a tropical taste element with the addition of coconut milk. The Mixed Stew added minced cilantro for additional zing. Here is the recipe:

What you will need:

food processor
1 (29 oz) canned pumpkin
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
¼ cup white onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground white pepper

Optional ingredients:

¼ cup cilantro, diced
¼ teaspoon cumin

Combine all ingredients in food processor. Pulse everything until onion and garlic pieces are pulverized and pureed. There should be an even consistency to the dip. Chill dip in the fridge for at least 3 hours. Serve cold with pita chips, butter crackers, or fresh veggies.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday’s Helping: Pumpkin Pie Spice

Mystery ingredient blends right in

It’s the requisite in pie recipes, but what is it? Pumpkin pie spice is a mix of several different seasonings. The common ingredients included are ground cinnamon and ground ginger. McCormick’s, Trader Joe’s and Penzey’s are three major producers of pumpkin pie spice. Each producer adds other specific ingredients that can cause slightly different flavor outcomes in a baked pie so you may want to try each one and pick a favorite. Trader Joes, for example, adds lemon peel, cardamom, and cloves. Purchasing some pumpkin pie spice is a neat way to avoid buying excess amounts of (the at least four) different ingredients. Try sprinkling some pumpkin pie spice in coffee or hot tea.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday’s Cupful: Pumpkin

Bulbous, cheery visitors in the fall season

The fruits of a gourd-like vine, pumpkins are usually orange, yellow, or white in color when mature. Ridges or creases run from the stem to the bottom of each individual fruit. The plant is a member squash family (Cucurbitaceae), and pumpkins mature in late summer or early autumn. The word pumpkin comes from the Greek word meaning “large melon.” Pumpkins have a thick skin and a thick wall of flesh. The seeds and pulp (usually scooped out) are found in the center. Select a pumpkin that has an even color on all sides. Avoid pumpkins that have bruises, tender spots, or mold. The best place to buy a fresh pumpkin is right from the farmer and an open pumpkin patch. Some farmers allow customers to walk through and select pumpkins right off the vine. Or, purchase a pumpkin from a farmer’s stand or at a farmers’ market. Of course, pumpkins are also available at major grocery stores; however, these have been off the vine the longest. Canned pumpkin is available year around. Eat pumpkins for a healthy dose of antioxidants, such as carotenoids that help prevent cell damage. Pumpkins can be used in sweet and savory dishes. How about spinach-stuffed pumpkins?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Sugarless Pumpkin Pie

A luscious dessert with sweetness and spice

The rich, creamy, and very sweet flavor of a slice of homemade pumpkin pie might have high calorie levels and sugar content. We tried this rendition of sugarless pumpkin pie last Thanksgiving and were delighted with the results. Assemble all the right ingredients and follow the directions to a HungryGirl recipe. (Thanks,!) Our suggestion is to use a store-bought, reduced-fat, graham pie crust to save time. The proof is in the strong pumpkin flavor and rich texture of the “sugarless” pumpkin custard. We have to give HungryGirl kudos for this sweet and “sugarless” holiday pie.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday's Last Spoonful: Crema Mexicana

A more authentic topping to swap with sour cream

Leave the regular sour cream on the shelf and select crema Mexicana. It has a stronger flavor and richer texture that also make it pricier than sour cream. Also, don’t confuse crema Mexicana with creme fraiche, which is a French concoction. This ingredient has become popular and several different brands are available at the nearest supermarket in the Latino foods section of the refrigerated dairy section. Some brands offer different variants of this ingredient, such as one that’s for El Salvadoran dishes. Try crema on top of fresh fruit or jello. Mix equal parts crema Mexicana and a regular tomato pasta sauce (such as Ragu or Prego) to make a yummy cream pasta sauce.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thursday's Side Dish: Nachos

Jalapenos, melted cheese create the foundation

Did you know that someone is actually credited with inventing nachos? Ignacio Anaya called it Nachos Espaciales when he served it at a Mexican restaurant in 1943. It was made with tortilla chips covered in melted cheese and jalapeno peppers. Nachos have gone on to become an American favorite as an appetizer, party dish, whole meal, and snack. Our Mixed Stew recipe doesn’t cut any corners. It has the works and a healthy portion of refried beans. So eat up!

What you will need:

1 rectangle baking pan
1 bag restaurant-style tortilla chips
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup Jalapeno peppers, sliced
1 (16 oz) can refried beans
½ cup green onions, sliced (or 1 small yellow onion, chopped fine)
1 cup cooked taco meat or chili

Optional Toppings:
1 (16 oz) container sour cream
1 large tomato, diced
Salsa, on the side

Cooking and directions:

Preheat oven at 375 degrees. Line bottom of baking pan with tortilla chips. Next, layer beans, meat, onions, and jalapeno peppers on top of chips. Finally, sprinkle shredded cheddar to cover everything. Place baking pan in oven for 15 to 20 minutes or wait for the cheese to melt to your desired taste. Remove from oven and serve with optional toppings and additional chips.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wednesday’s Helping: Refried Beans

Getting all mushy over this dish
Despite the dubious paste-like appearance, a serving of refried beans comes loaded with fiber and proteins. Frijoles refritos in Spanish translates into well-fried beans. This is a staple of Tex-Mex and Mexican cuisines. Pinto beans are the most popular beans used for traditional refried beans. Less common alternatives include red kidney and black beans. The beans are soaked and then boiled or stewed until tender. A cook then mashes or purees the cooked beans. The mushy bean paste is then “fried” and seasoned with sautéed garlic and onions in cooking oil. Refried beans can be used as a side, a dip, or a layer in a casserole. Or make a burrito with them!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tuesday’s Cupful: Cumin

Filling up on an iron-rich spice

Beef chili calls for cumin to give each bite a distinct taste — one that separates chili from sloppy joe meat or Italian meat sauce. Cumin, a flavorful and aromatic spice, is a staple in Mexican, Indian, and Mediterranean cuisines. Think of these flavor tones: pungent, earthy and slightly bitter. The spice actually comes from the seeds of a plant (Cuminum Cyminum) that is related to parsley. Cumin is native to the Mediterranean Region and has been used since the time of the pharaohs in Egypt. Look for this spice sold as whole seeds or a ground powder. Cumin is a good source of iron, which helps the cardiovascular system. Essentially, cumin gives every bite more oomph. Cumin is a standard ingredient in most chili recipes. It’s also a vital ingredient in curry powder.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Beef Chili

A spicy hot dish that's worth chowing down

Football season mean it’s time for tailgating. Beef chili has the heat that’s just right for the game party. Serve a big pot of chili and have guests grab their own bowls to top with accompaniments, such as jalapenos, cheddar cheese, green onions, cilantro and sour cream. What else? Try finely diced seedless cucumbers for a change! Saltine crackers, steamed rice, or tortilla chips go with chili. Here is our recipe:

What you will need:

1 large pot with lid
1 long wooden spoon
2 tablespoons cooking oil
3 lbs ground beef
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (32 oz) package pinto beans, drained after soaking overnight
1 (28 oz) canned diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons corn meal mixed in 1/2 cup water
3 cups water
Salt and pepper

Cooking and Directions:

Heat pot on medium-high heat. Add cooking oil. Throw in onions and cook until almost translucent, then add garlic to cook until onions are translucent. Next, add ground beef and stir until meat is brown. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt and pepper. Add canned tomatoes, beans, and water. Bring everything to a boil and then lower heat. Next, mix in cumin, chili powder, and more salt and pepper if needed. Mix well, cover pot (leaving a small opening to vent), and let covered pot simmer for 1 hour or until beans are cooked. After an hour of simmering, if any excess grease has pooled at the top of the chili, use a metal spoon to remove some of that fat. Finally, stir in the corn meal liquid and simmer for 20 more minutes. Remove pot from heat. Serve hot.