Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Break

The Mixed Stew Crew is going on hiatus for some much needed rest and relaxation.  We will  be back on June 3, 2013 with new food recipes and ideas.  Happy Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thursday’s Side Dish: Quick Chicken Kelaguen

An island fave done in a pinch

Not in the mood to slave in the kitchen to make chicken kelaguen?  We suggest using store-bought baked chicken instead of starting with raw chicken.  Just make sure not to select baked chicken that’s been flavored with bbq sauce, rosemary, or too many pungent herbs and spices.   Choose the plain roast chicken then debone it to eliminate the extra hours in the kitchen and save on prep time.  You can also find frozen and prepackaged-grated coconut at HMart or Lotte Plaza if splitting and grating fresh coconut just isn’t your thing.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wednesday’s Helping: Alterations to Pernil Pork

Make it have more zing

If our recipe is still too plain for your tastes, we suggest adding a touch of liquid smoke to the paste-like marinade for more oomph.  Also, try making traditional gravy with the drippings and juices at the bottom of the pan once this roast is done baking for some extra yum that can be poured over every serving.  What else can be done?  Chop potatoes, carrots, and leaks to bake at the bottom of the roasting pan while the pork shoulder is roasting.  The extra effort amounts to an additional side dish of roasted veggies. Finally, remember that you can add more of the cayenne pepper and other warm seasonings to the marinade in order to take the end product in different flavor directions. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tuesday’s Cupful: Background on Pernil Pork

Well-seasoned Latin American fare

Look for several versions of this dish on the internet.  Most recipes link this meal item to Puerto Rico but you’ll also discover more than a few recipes that are Cuban in origin.  Warm seasonings, such as chili powder, ground cayenne pepper, and ground cumin, work well to enhance the pork shoulder’s natural flavors.  Minty oregano and coriander serve to round out a yummy recipe.  Meanwhile, a slow roasting time is paramount in producing tasty and tender cuts of meat.      

Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Puerto Rican Pernil Pork

A spicy and satisfying pork roast

Crave a different kind of pork roast?  The mixed Stew crew made this Puerto Rican favorite and loves it.  The combination of seasonings and spices really do make for a distinct roast.  Here’s the recipe:

What you will need:

1 blender
1 large bowl w/ lid
1 large metal roasting pan (must be able to hold standing water)
1 (7 ½ to 8 lbs) pork shoulder roast
1 metal roasting rack (must be able to keep roast above water)
1 large onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tbspns dried oregano
1 tbspn ground coriander
1 tspn ground cumin
1 tbspn chili powder
½ tbspn ground cayenne pepper
1 sprinkle cinnamon
1 tbspn white vinegar
1 tbspn salt
2 tspns freshly ground black pepper
½ cup olive oil

Cooking & Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Score skin side of roast in cross-hatch pattern.  Combine garlic, onion, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, chili powder, coriander, salt, pepper and olive oil in blender.  Pulse ingredients until a ingredients reach a paste-like consistency.  Blend in vinegar.  Rub spicy paste into sides of pork.  Work the paste into crevices then let the pork sit for at least 1 hour -- longer is probably better.  Set pork on rack in pan with about a half-inch of water below in preheated oven.  Let pork roast, skin side up, at 3 hours per 4lbs.  Check water in pan every hour to see if it needs replenishing. Pull out pork roast once baking time has elapsed.  Let roast rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving with lime wedges.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday's Last Spoonful: Food Surf

Do-it-yourself fruit canning, etc.

Food Surfing will feature fun food links from around the Blogosphere, including leads to hardcover helpers. These recommended links may give you other interesting ideas for making your life taste better. The Mixed Stew crew likes hunting through cookbooks for a good recipe or three.

Have you thought of preserving the fruits or veggies growing in your backyard?  Mother Earth News provides instructions on how to successfully can your own fruits and veggies.

Hobbyfarms also features information about do-it-yourself canning that you may find useful. 

Finally, TLC offers the “10 Best Items to keep onhand” on its site.  Everything from beans to canned tomatoes and fruit cocktail get a blurb in this fun piece.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thursday’s Side Dish: Embellish This Upside Down Cake

Go ahead and slice it up

How can you jazz up this cake?  We suggest serving slices of this cake with whipped cream topping or ice cream.  If those desert staples are not available, then drizzle this cake with sweetened condensed milk, chocolate syrup, or even chocolate shavings.  Also, try studding this cake with walnuts, raisins, or dried cranberries.  Finally, remember that you prepare this cake using other fresh fruits, such
as peaches, apples, or even canned fruit.        

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wednesday’s Helping: Bartlett Pears

Juicy bell-shaped fruits

The fruit we used in this week’s upside-down cake happen to be Bartlett pears (aka Williams pears or Barts).  This type of pear is very popular among consumers in Europe and the United States.  Bartlett pears, with their typical bell-shaped fruits, are native to Europe.  Enoch Bartlett brought the pear to the American colonies and began selling trees in the late 1700s.  Expect a very sweet and crisp flavor from a ripe Bartlett pear.  Farmers also use these pears in making canned pears.  Select fruit specimens with golden skin and an aromatic scent.  You can also purchase green Bartlett pears and then wait for them to ripen at home.  Remember that pears are a good source of fiber.         

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday’s Cupful: Background on Sweet Pear Upside Down Cake

A fancy yellow cake in a pinch

The beauty of this cake is that the end product tastes and feels like a cake that took hours to prepare.  This cake reminds the Mixed Stew crew of our buttery brojas cake.  Expect buttery sweetness combined with the natural flavors of thinly sliced pears in every piece of this upside down cake.  We recommend making this sweet treat as a suitable and satisfying alternative to the usual baked fruit pies or loaf-style tea breads.  Meanwhile, you can experiment with arranging and layering the sliced pears to create a a more or less aesthetically pleasing cake top. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Sweet Pear Upside Down Cake

A yummy and dense pear cake

The Mixed Stew crew decided to try and make this upside down yellow cake and really liked the results.  Here’s the recipe. 

What you will need:

1 baking spatula
1 (9 inch) round cake pan with deep sides
1 medium bowl
1 standing mixer w/ bowl
10 tbspns butter (1 ¼ whole stick), softened
3 - 4 pears cored and sliced thin
1 ½ cup flour
½ cup brown sugar
½ tspn salt
½ cup milk
1 ½ tspn baking powder
1 tspn cinnamon
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
½ tspn vanilla

Cooking and Directions:

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.  Grease bottom and all sides of cake pan with 2 tbspns butter.  Pour brown sugar on bottom of pan.  Spread brown sugar evenly.  Arrange and pile pear slices evenly on top of brown sugar layer.  Next, combine baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in medium-sized bowl.  Set aside.  Cream sugar and rest of butter in mixer until light and fluffy then add the eggs and vanilla until mixed well.  Now, add milk and flour to the batter in alternating intervals until ingredients run out.  Toss in cinnamon mixture and incorporate well.  Pour and spread the finished cake batter evenly over the pears.  Bake for 45 minutes to an hour.  Sides of cake will pull away from edge of pan while baking.  Pull out done cake and let it rest for 30 minutes.  Then quickly and carefully invert on to a serving plate.    

Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday's Last Spoonful: Food Surf

Three more good reads 

Food Surfing will feature fun food links from around the Blogosphere, including leads to hardcover helpers. These recommended links may give you other interesting ideas for making your life taste better. The Mixed Stew crew likes hunting through cookbooks for a good recipe or three.

We recommend 
A Farmer’s Daughter by Dawn Stoltzfus for food lovers looking for traditional dishes from Mennonite kitchens in the United States. Look for homey recipes, such as Chicken and Herb Dumplings, Baked Rosemary Chicken, and Golden Salmon Cakes. 

Rebecca Katz’s One Bite at a Time has yummy recipes for cancer survivors and their families. You’ll have everyone eating better with healthier renditions of Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies and Chicken Pot Pie.

Lastly, the folks at Gourmet present WEEKDAY All-Time Favorite recipes, which offers up a sampling of some of their best recipes through the years.   Take a bite out of their Pizza Margherita, Mussels in Lager, and Sophisto Joes.  

Note: If you order via the links above, The Mixed Stew creators will get a tiny referral fee. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thursday’s Side Dish: Dressing Leftover Chili

A second serving of spicy chili

Remember that you can dress this chili for a second meal.  We recommend serving leftover chili with al dente pasta, which makes it a hearty rendition of “chili mac.”  This will make it a hit with the kids.  Serve our chili with fresh veggies, such as carrots and cucumber, to make every bite more nutritious.  Try making a Mexican scramble for breakfast or lunch with spare chili.  Lastly, make a healthy spin on chili cheese fries by using blanched broccoli spears instead of fried potatoes.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wednesday’s Helping: Making This Chili Better

A healthier serving

How can you make this chili better for you?  We suggest substituting the ground beef for ground turkey or even ground chicken.  Otherwise, make sure to select leaner ground beef, which can be pricier so make sure to plan accordingly.  Also try adding a hearty portion of chopped veggies, such as bell peppers, carrots, zucchini, or tomatillos.  If you stay with original recipe, remove the rendered beef fat once the meat has had a chance to brown.  This means a little bit more time and effort but each serving will also contain less fat and calories.          

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tuesday’s Cupful: Background on Chili W/ Hominy

Hearty comfort food

What inspired our chili w/ hominy?  The notion of making another traditional pot of chili with beans made us cringe.  Also, hominy has subtle nutty flavors that we think enhance the combination of spicy chili powder and ground cumin.  The Mixed Stew crew also added some real beef soup bone pieces that give this dish a “slow cooked” taste and consistency.  Basically, our Chili w/ Hominy tastes like it’s been cooking for much longer than just 90 minutes.  Remember too that servings of hominy are a good source of fiber.   

Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Chili W/ Hominy

A spicy and rustic favorite

 We added hominy to this recipe of Beef Chili.  The gritty ingredient adds extra bite to each serving plus it’s a welcome change compared to beans.  Here’s the recipe:

What you will need:

1 large stock pot w/ lid
1 wooden spoon
1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped small
3 tbspns canola oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 ½ to 5 cups water
2 ½ - 3 lbs ground beef
1 lb beef shank, chopped small
1 (29 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (29 oz) can hominy, drained
1/2 tbspn chili powder
1/3 tbspn cumin
2 tspns dried oregano
ground cayenne pepper to taste  
Salt to taste

Cooking and Directions:

Heat large pot at medium-high heat.  Add oil, onion, and garlic once pot becomes hot enough.  Sautee ingredients until onion turns translucent.  Next, crumble in ground beef and beef shank meat.  Allow meat to brown (10-15 minutes).  Stir well.  Add water and crushed tomatoes then cover. Reduce heat to medium-low.  Let ingredients slowly simmer for 20 minutes.  Pour in hominy.  Sprinkle in dried ingredients and 
and cover.  Let ingredients simmer for another 25 to 30 minutes while occasionally stirring.  The chili is now finished.  

Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday’s Last Spoonful: Food Surf

Best bets on mustards

Food Surfing will feature fun food links from around the Blogosphere, including leads to other interesting sites. These recommended links may give you other interesting ideas for making your life taste better.

SLASH FOOD put 20 different brands and different varieties of bottled mustard to a taste test.  Here are the tasty and tangy results.  Yum.  Yum.

Meanwhile, serious eats sampled (Yes, really.) over 35 brands of bottled mustard in their own taste test.  What do you think of the outcome?

Finally, theKitchn features 6 different recipes for homemade mustard.  We recommend the Cognac and Seeded Agave flavors.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thursday’s Side Dish: Inglehoffer Mustards

Fancier mustards in a pinch

The Mixed Stew crew was able to pick up a small jar of Inglehoffer brand name mustard.  Don’t let the fancy packaging and foreign name fool you.  These premium mustards, which come in different flavors like Sweet Orange –N- Honey or Stone Ground, are produced and distributed by Beaverton Foods in Oregon.  Consumers can expect to pay $ 1.50 and up for a 4 oz. jar of this line of mustard.  That constitutes a pretty price hike compared to purchasing regular yellow mustard – French’s or otherwise.  We recommend selecting and serving Inglehoffer mustard on special occasions, such as office parties or holiday brunch parties.  Look for this food item at almost all major supermarkets.         

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wednesday’s Helping: Other Broccoli Salad Fixings

Some cool substitutions

Tweak our original rendition to keep a palette of rotating flavors for this dish.  If you’re out of imitation crab meat -- we suggest canned crab meat, canned shrimp, or diced (cooked) shrimp.  Meanwhile, we suggest substituting the crushed egg for 3/4 cup loose corn or blanched and chopped carrot pieces.  Wanna go completely vegetarian?  Substitute the seafood component for ½ cup sliced sundried tomatoes in that come bottled in olive oil.  Remember that 1/3 cup bacon bits or 1/3 cup minced olives can also add a savory flavor dimension to this salad.