Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wednesday’s Helping: Alternate Ingredients for Mondongo

It’s appreciated ‘round Latin America

The hearty dish is more stew than soup.  The Mixed Stew added even more grit with the addition of red beans.  Omit the beans for a more traditional take on mondongo.  We suggest using shredded cabbage, napa cabbage, or chuy sum instead of baby bok choy.  Some variations use pork intestines, salted pork feet, or pig tails instead of beef tripe.  Note that Menudo is a close relative of mondongo.     

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tuesday’s Cupful: Background on Mondongo

Bite into tripe (or pork intestines)

What’s not to like in sopa de mondongo?  Well….the tripe takes an acquired taste so be patient when serving this dish to younger humans.  People from the Dominican Republic claim sole ownership of this soup made with the cow’s stomach.  Mondongo has all the trappings of a meal item from yesteryear.  Imagine a father or mother trying to stretch pantry and kitchen resources by making this rich soup from scratch.  The braising and long cooking time ensure the tender pieces of tripe feel like they’re melting on the tastebuds.  Look for different variations in Latin America, the Philippines, and the Caribbean.  Some recipes call for pork intestines instead of beef tripe.  The range of vegetables included in this soup also varies from region to region.      

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Mondongo

Serving up tripe, again

Mondongo is a rustic stew that you’ll never forget once you sample it.  The beef tripe within it lends an acquired but quite satisfying taste and texture to this dish.  We altered the traditional recipes to our liking.  Here’s the recipe:

What you will need:

1 large stock pot w/lid
3 cups water
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 yellow onion, chopped small

2 garlic cloves, diced
2 lbs beef tripe, sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 lb beef shank or ox tail (We used beef neck bones.)
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (16 oz.) pack red beans, pre-soaked
2 cups water
2 (14 oz.) cans beef broth
2 large carrots chopped into small cubes
1 tablespoon annatto/ achiote powder dissolved in 1 cup hot water
1 small to medium-sized zucchini, seeded then diced  
1 bunch baby bok choy, cleaned and cut into bite-sized pieces
¾ cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cooking & Directions:

Heat stock pot at medium-high heat.  Add cooking oil, pepper, salt, onion, and garlic. Sautee ingredients until onion turn translucent.  Add beef soup bone cuts.  Let the meat cuts brown.  Add beans, tripe, broth, and water.  Reduce heat to medium and cover with lid.  Let ingredients reach a constant simmer and cook for 30 minutes.  Next, stir in canned tomatoes, achiote mixture, and cherry tomatoes.  Return lid.  Lower heat to medium-low.  Let ingredient braise for another 40 to 45 minutes.  Mix in zucchini, and carrots then let pot simmer for another 25 minutes on low heat.  Throw in bok choy about 15 minutes before cooking time ends.  Serve warm or hot.  The tripe should be tender, too.           

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thursday’s Side Dish: Nature Valley Breakfast Biscuits

Breakfast on-the-go best

The Mixed Stew recommends this food item for anyone who that has a difficult time waking up in the morning.  Nature Valley brand name breakfast biscuits contain 26 grams whole grain in each crunchy serving of biscuits.  They come in blueberry and honey but watch out for the possibility of newer flavors being issued.  An 8.85 oz. box comes with 5 individual servings of 4 biscuits.  We purchased 1 box for $2.50 at our local Giant.  Look for them at your favorite grocery chain.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wednesday’s Helping: Alternative Ingredients for Burger Cheese Mac

No fancier cheeses means no problem

If you’re feeling a pinch in the wallet, then we suggest using less expensive cheese varieties compared to gouda and gruyere.  Regular American, cheddar, and even mozzarella don’t the pungent cheesy taste.  Pricier cheeses, such as asiago, may take some getting used to because of their pungent flavors.  Popular cheeses also come more readily available in low-fat and non-fat versions.   Using American and cheddar tends to be a favorite with the kids, too.  Substitute the heavy cream with light cream, sour cream, or even whole milk if you wanna lower the fat content.  Lastly, remember that the bacon can be eliminated to also lower the calorie count.     

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tuesday’s Cupful: Background on Cheeseburger Mac –N-Cheese

Oomph it up with melted cheese and beef

This dish is really two All-American staples in a casserole.  The Mixed Stew crew thought of our previous chili mac and macaroni and cheese offerings as we developed this recipe.  We recommend serving this instead of the same ol’ burgers and fries.  The quartet of gouda, gruyere, asiago, and parmesan cheeses melt then meld into ooey-gooey servings of a yummy mac –n-cheese.         

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Cheeseburger Mac –n- Cheese

It's beef-n-cheese time

This version of mac –n- cheese is one that we’ve wanted to share for some time.  It’s one cheesey dish to cut into that you’ll wanna add to your list of faves.  Here’s the recipe:

What you will need:

1 wooden spatula
1 large mixing bowl

1 large stockpot
Olive oil
Cooking oil spray
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 (12 oz.) packs of elbow macaroni, cooked al dente
4 slices bacon
1 cup gouda cheese, grated
1 cup gruyere cheese, shredded
1 aluminum baking pan
1 collander
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
1/2 cup asiago cheese, grated
1 onion, chopped small
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup milk
1 pint heavy cream
3 small chile peppers, minced
¼ Dijon mustard
1 lb ground beef, cooked and crumbled

Cooking and Directions:

Heat stock pot on medium-high heat.  Pour in olive oil, onion, garlic, and bacon.  Let ingredients sautee until onion turns translucent.  Gradually stir in all-purpose flour and milk.  Let the flour cook while constantly stirring.  This should form a slurry or rue.  Let the rue turn brown, which means the flour is cooked.  Add pepper, mustard, ground beef, and cream.  Continue to stir constantly.  Mix and pour in cheeses.  This should form a cheesey sauce.  Add the macaroni while tossing well.  Quickly remove pot from stove top.  Grease baking pan with cooking spray then add macaroni and cheese.  Spread out until level in pan.  Preheat oven at 350 degrees.  Pour bread crumbs over mac-n-cheese.  Place baking pan in heated for 30 minutes.  Let bread crumbs form golden crust.  Remove mac-n-cheese once ½ hour has elapsed.  Let cheesey mac rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.  Enjoy.         

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Wednesday’s Helping: Substitutes for Stuffed Peppers ala Mexico

Without Corno di Toro

The chili peppers lend heat and sweetness to our special recipe.  But what if you cannot find Italian Carmen peppers?  Remember that poblano, Anaheim chile, and even regular bell peppers can do instead.  We recommend farmers’ cheese or cottage cheese if you cannot find queso freco.  Meanwhile, substitute shrimp, canned salmon, or canned crab meat for the canned tuna for different twists on seafood flavors.  Lastly, eliminate the tuna all-together for real vegetarian fare.            

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tuesday’s Cupful: Background on Stuffed Peppers ala Mexico

A bit of Mexican enchilada

Slicing into one of these stuffed peppers is comfy, like meatloaf, but also spicy like hot tamales.  The carno di toro aka Carmen pepper provides a sweet and peppery skin that acts like a crust to seal in juices for this dish.  Look for the common “longhorn-shape” of these award-winning peppers that often grows longer than 8 inches in length.  We also need to mention that this recipe is a spin on our baked enchiladas recipe.  The green chile verde sauce does the trick in forming a binding ingredient for this rich meal. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Tuna Stuffed Chili Peppers ala Mexico

Spicy, cheesy, and seafoodie

We recommend this dish if you’re in the mood for some Mexican comfort food that’s spicy but also loaded with seafood flavor.  Here’s the recipe:

1 large mixing bowl
1 metal bowl
Aluminum foil
1 (28 oz.) can green chile enchilada sauce
1 pair metal tongs

1 baking pan
1 whole egg, beaten
2 (12 oz.) blocks, queso fresco, chopped into small cubes
8 – 12 Carmen (Corno di toro-type) peppers
2 (5 oz.) cans of tuna, drained
1 cup spinach, coarsely chopped
1 yellow onion, diced small
3 garlic toes, minced
Olive oil

Cooking and Directions:

Slightly roast peppers on stove-top with metal tongs.  Do not blacken.  Turn as needed.  Create blisters but do not char.  Place peppers in metal bowl and set aside.  Combine cheese, tuna, onion, garlic, and egg in mixing bowl.  Mix well.  Set aside.

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.  Make a lengthwise incision in each pepper.  Remove seeds.  Repeat until all peppers are clean.  Carefully stuff peppers with tuna mixture as shown.  Position stuffed peppers on foil-lined baking pan.  Drizzle tops of peppers with olive oil.  Finally, pour green chile verde enchilada sauce in pan and around peppers.  Place peppers in oven for 1 hour or until cheese starts to brown.  Serve immediately.     

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Thursday’s Side Dish: TruRoots Accents Sprouted Quinoa Trio

A trio of nutrition

The Mixed Stew crew recommends getting more quinoa into your diet.  We like this grain as a substitute for steamed rice.  Quinoa cooks up light and fluffy.  truRoots sprouted quinoa trio contain white, red, and black colored grains.  The spectrum of colors in this product results in a truly appetizing serving of quinoa.  This product features “sprouted quinoa” so you’ll sample a subtle difference in consistency compared to regular quinoa.  An 8 oz. pack of this premium product runs for $ 5.00 and up so shop around for the best price.  Expect approximately 6 servings if you follow the prep directions.     

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wednesday’s Helping: Mushy Peas Alternate Ingredients

Mush in Spice

What else can you do with this dish?  We suggest changing up the seasonings a bit.  For example, substitute the mint with basil, Thai basil, or cilantro.  Add garbanzo beans, black-eyed peas, or pigeon peas to break up the green monotony.  Remember that a dash or two of garlic powder can work instead of using fresh garlic.  Lastly, use low-fat butter to significantly cut the calories.   

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tuesday’s Cupful: Background on Minty Peas

British comfort food

This dish is a variant of “mushy peas,” which is a British staple.  The Mixed Stew was also inspired by Nando’s PERi-PERi Macho Peas.  It’s hard to mess up with this dish.  Presentation comes in second to taste and rustic charm.  Mashing the peas helps to infuse the green peas with spicy seasonings the off-set the natural sweetness of this green veggie.  We used cherry peppers that provide some extra grit without sacrificing peppery flavors.  DO NOT OVERMASH!  You want bruised peas but not a sludge or puree.  Remember that peas provide a great source of protein and dietary-fiber.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday’s Bread Bowl: Buttery Peas and Mint

Simple and yummy salad of peas

There’s no trick to this salad besides simplicity and fresh ingredients. Here’s the recipe:

What you will need:

1 wooden spoon
1 colander
1 metal whisk for mashing
1 sauce pan
½ stick of butter, softened

1 large glass bowl
2 (16 oz.) bags frozen peas
3 cherry peppers, seeded and minced
3 cups water
1 tablespoons fresh mint, coarsely chopped
3 garlic toes, minced
Pinch of salt

Cooking and Directions:

Heat water in saucepan at high heat.  Water should reach a rolling boil.  Drop bags of peas in boiling water.  Let water return to boil.  Let peas blanch (3 to 5 minutes after water returns to boil) but do not overcook them.  Pull sauce pan off stove and drain peas into colander.  Set aside and let them rest for 5 minutes.

Pour peas into glass bowl.  Stir in pepper, salt, and mint and garlic.  Mix well.  Mash peas with wire whisk but do not over mash or turn into a puree.  You want to break open the peas so that they’re seasoned with garlic and other ingredients.        

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Thursday’s Side Dish: TYJ Spring Roll Pastry Wrap

Ready - made convenience

Look for these in the frozen section at your favorite Asian foods grocery store, H-Mart, and Lotte Plaza.  TYJ Pastry , by Spring Home,wraps come in different sizes, too.  So, you can make smaller rolls for appetizers or larger ones.  It’s difficult to make spring roll wraps from scratch so the Mixed Stew crew recommends buying a frozen pack to save time on tedious effort in the kitchen. We bought an (8 oz.) pack of 50 wraps for under $2.00 so shop around for the best price.        

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wednesday’s Helping: Serving Up Spring Rolls

How you stuff’em and dip ‘em

There’s something about biting into one of these that rewards our tastebuds with yum yum.  You can make these savory and sweet.   They also make for great finger food, too.  If you prefer to go sweet and serve dessert rolls, roll some banana or mango slivers inside the light wraps.  Dip the pieces of fruit in some powdered sugar or brown sugar before rolling them inside to enhance the fruit’s natural sweetness.  Meanwhile, remember that you can always switch out the ground pork with chicken, beef, seafood, or crab meat.  Another simple filling can be made using blanched and julienned veggies, such as carrots and cabbage, which are finely cut lengthwise.  You can use a “stacking method” with julienned ingredients while rolling your spring rolls.  Lastly, spring rolls can be dipped in any sauce that compliments the stuffing’s ingredients.