Gambas al Ajillio

Gambas Al Ajillio
Gambas Al Ajillio

Gambas al Ajillio – Sizzling Garlic Shrimp
A truly classic tapa, Gambas al Ajillio, a splash of brandy or sherry gives it a nice aromatic flavor. Top with crush pepper flakes gives a nice bite at the end. This is a quick and easy dish to make that will have your guests begging for more. What more can you ask for !

1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon paprika
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons dry sherry or lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped Italian flat leaf parsley

Directions
Heat olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and paprika in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot and the garlic has turned golden brown, increase heat to high and add the shrimp. Cook until the shrimp turn pink and opaque, about 3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with sherry or lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with chopped parsley

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Mayan Spice Truffles

MAYAN SPICE TRUFFLES
MAYAN SPICE TRUFFLES

Recipe:
1 Bag of Chocolate Chips
1 Can of Condensed Milk
2 Tablespoons of Mayan Spice Blend*
( See Recipe for Details)

Condiments for Coating:
Use 1 cup of Cocoa Powder, and Nuts
Nuts can be anything Sesame Seeds to Almonds, Pistachios

Instructions:

1.Melt 1 Bag of Semi- Sweet Chocolate Chips over Bain Marie ( Water Bath)
2.Add 1 Cup of Condensed Milk mix until smooth and creamy
3.Set aside and Let cool.
4.When the chocolate mixture is room temperature,Put in Fridge in large 8 x 10 baking dish for 1 hour minimum.
5.Take out fridge and with gloves, roll Chocolate into Mini Balls the size of a small ball
6.Set aside
7.Get Large Plate and spread with nut mixture
8. Get Chocolate Balls and swirl in mixture
9.put on Clean Plate
10.Put in Gift Boxes or store in fridge with a lid. They should keep for up to 1 week.

Your Truffles are ready now and make excellent gifts or treats to keep in fridge and pop in your mouth.
You can make all kinds of Truffles and get really creative. More later on this in Sabrina’s Latin Kitchen.

Spicy Turkey Paella

Spicy Turkey Paella

INGREDIENTS
12 ounces spicy smoked sausage (such as linguiça, andouille, or hot links), cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/4 cup garlic-flavored olive oil
2 large yellow onions, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups long-grain white rice
1/4 teaspoon saffron
4 cups low-salt chicken broth
4 large plum tomatoes, quartered
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 1/2 cups cooked leftover turkey, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup frozen peas
PREPARATION
View Step-by-Step Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Brown sausage in large skillet over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Heat olive oil in 6 1/2-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until golden, stirring often, about 12 minutes. Add bell pepper; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in rice and saffron, then next 5 ingredients. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook 15 minutes. Add sausage, turkey, and peas to rice mixture. Bake paella 10 minutes and serve.
Test-kitchen tip: If you can’t find garlic-flavored olive oil, simply add a clove of minced garlic when you stir in the rice.

Part 1: History of Chocolate: Ancient Civilizations and the Cacao Bean

The divine drink, which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. A cup of this precious drink [cocoa] permits a man to walk for a whole day without food.” Montezuma II (1502-1520)

Cacao Bean before it gets processed into Chocolate
Cacao Bean before it gets processed into Chocolate

In the book,The True History of Chocolate, authors Sophie and  Michael Coe make a case that the earliest linguistic evidence of chocolate consumption stretches back three or even four millennia. The history of chocolate begins in MesoamericaChocolate, the fermented, roasted, and ground beans of the Theobroma cacao,can be traced to the Mokayaand other pre- Olmecpeoples,with evidence of cacao beverages dating back to to 1900 BC.

Near the beginning of the 16th century, the Aztecs were believed to first make chocolate, although it goes back much farther. The Mayans wrote about cacao ( Ka-Kow) a Mayan word on their pottery as early as 500 A.D., but some believe chocolate dates back to a much older time during Olmec civilization, which preceded the Mayans.The Mesoamerican civilization’s chocolate a bitter drink made from a variety of local ingredients mixed with ground cacao beans.

An officer serving with Cortes observed Motecuhzoma, who was the ruler of the Aztecs.  They found that Montezuma was drinking 50 flagons of chocolate every day. This beverage, which was sometimes made with wine or water, could be seasoned with chili pepper, vanilla, and pimiento.  It was known to cure diarrhea and dysentery.  It also was believed to be an aphrodisiac.  Cortez is known to have tried the beverage, but he found it too bitter.  However he did write to King Carlos the first of Spain, calling “xocoatl” a “beverage that builds up resistance and fights fatigue.” Etymologists trace the origin of the word “chocolate” to the Aztec word “xocoatl,” which referred to a bitter drink brewed from cacao beans. The Latin name for the cacao tree, Theobroma cacao, means “food of the gods.”

Bean of the gods
Bean of the gods

For several centuries in pre-modern Latin America, cacao beans were considered valuable enough to use as currency. One bean could be traded for a tamale, while 100 beans could purchase a good turkey hen, according to a 16th-century Aztec document.

Both the Mayans and Aztecs believed the cacao bean had magical, or even divine, properties, suitable for use in the most sacred rituals of birth, marriage and death. According to Chloe Doutre-Roussel’s book The Chocolate Connoisseur, Aztec sacrifice victims who felt too melancholy to join in ritual dancing before their death were often given a gourd of chocolate (tinged with the blood of previous victims) to cheer them up.
cacao10
Roasted Cacao Beans

Sweetened chocolate didn’t appear until Europeans discovered the Americas and sampled the native cuisine. Legend has it that the Aztec king Montezuma welcomed the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortes with a banquet that included drinking chocolate, having tragically mistaken him for a reincarnated deity instead of a conquering invader. Chocolate didn’t suit the foreigners’ taste buds at first –one described it in his writings as “a bitter drink for pigs” – but once mixed with honey or cane sugar, it quickly became popular throughout Spain.

Both the Mayans and Aztecs believed the cacao bean had magical, or even divine, properties, suitable for use in the most sacred rituals of birth, marriage and death. According to Chloe Doutre-Roussel’s book The Chocolate Connoisseur, Aztec sacrifice victims who felt too melancholy to join in ritual dancing before their death were often given a gourd of chocolate (tinged with the blood of previous victims) to cheer them up.

Chocolate after Colonialization
By the 17th century, chocolate was a fashionable drink throughout Europe, believed to have nutritious, medicinal and even aphrodisiac properties (it’s rumored that Casanova was especially fond of the stuff).But it remained largely a privilege of the rich until the invention of the steam engine made mass production possible in the late 1700s.

Bibliography:
  •  “The True History of Chocolate”, authors Sophie and Michael Coe
  • “The Chocolate Connoisseur” Chloe Doutre- Roussel.
  •  “Traités nouveaux & curieux du café du thé et du chocolate”, by Philippe Sylvestre Dufour, 1685.

 More about the History of Chocolate and Chocolate Recipes in Mexican Cuisine in next installment  of Sabrina’s Latin Kitchen.

Chicken Mole –

Mole con Arroz
Mole con Arroz

This recipe was made with my homemade mole. Go to the Mole Recipe on how to do it properly.

Here is what you need to do for 4 people:
3 cups mole sauce
2 cups shredded chicken or 8 cooked chicken thighs or legs
3 TBS sesame seeds
Place the chicken and the sauce in a pan. Bring it to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, dry toast the sesame seeds for about 6 minutes.
Sprinkle the seeds over the cooked chicken and serve with white rice. Enjoy!

Mayan Spice Blend

Mayan Spice Blend
Mayan Spice Blend

    To  Make Mayan Spice Blend, you will need authentic spices, a molcajete,  a 4oz Ball Jar with a lid.

Here are the spices you will need, since people’s tastes vary, you can add more or less, Cayenne Pepper to your liking. Cayenne Pepper has Capsaicin which has many medicinal properties, it helps circulation, cardiovascular function, and has even been told to relief people when they are having a heart attack.

Molcajete or Mexican Mortar
Stone Molcajete

3 Tblspn. Cinnamon

1 1/2 Tspn. of Anise

1 1/2 Tspns of Allspice

1 1/2 Tspns of Nutmeg ( optional, since Allspice has Nutmeg)

1 Tspn Clove

1 Tspn of Cayenne

 

I always try to try a little bit on my hand, you will feel a sweetness and then the biting sting of the Cayenne on the back of your tongue.

Mayan Spice Blend
Mayan Spice Blend-

This Spice Blend can be prepared in advance for when you want to add it to Mayan Hot Chocolate, Mayan Truffles, Mayan Brownies. For Mayan Spice Brownies, stay tuned. I will be posting something soon!

Enjoy ! Bueno Provecho !

 

Butternut Squash Soup

 

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This is simple soup is delicious on cold winter nights and Butternut Squash is packed with Beta Carotene. This is a simple recipe with a few ingredients: Butternut Squash,  Coconut Milk and Curry.The Coconut and Curry combination makes this an exotic twist to a simple recipe that makes it very warming and delicious.

 

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Instructions:

1. Adding Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper and Olive Oil or  Coconut Oil on Squash.
2.  Bake Squash in a pan for 30 -40 minutes at 350 degrees.

3. Set aside and let cool, when cool scoop out flesh with big spoon, seeds can be used and eaten later.

4. Add enough squash to fill a blender 3/4 the way full

4. Add 3/4 to 1 can of Light Coconut Milk. ( I get mine from Trader Joe’s)

5. Add Curry to Taste.  Start out with 1 TBLSPN

6. When it’s a creamy rich consistency put in a pot reheat.

7. Put in beautiful bowls and Garnish with Coriander or Cilantro leaves

Note: You may have to do it in batches, since not all the Squash can fit at once in the blender. Keep tasting soup, add more or less Curry as you like. Soup can be freezed and last up to 3 months in Freezer. I like to freeze these soups and have them on hand when I’m hungry it’s a nice way to fill up on all these gorgeous vitamins and nutrients. Enjoy with some nice Ciabatta bread !

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