Empanadas, Quesitos, Paella and more…

Want to skip the traditional chips and salsa? Then you have to try this.

Platanutres (plantain chips) are a popular snack in Puerto Rico. They are known as mariquitas in Cuba, trompetas in the Dominican Republic, and chicharitos de plátano verde in Costa Rica. Versions also exist in India, where the chips are often cooked in coconut oil, and Southeast Asia, where it is common to rub them with turmeric and salt before frying.

Not to be confused with the popular rum cocktail, Mojito Isleño is a Puerto Rican sauce normally used as a topping for seafood dishes; specially grilled or fried fish such as the Red Snapper. It is also used as a side dipping sauce for tostones and platanutres. This sauce was originated in the southern town of Salinas which is known  as “La Cuna del Mojito Isleño” (the cradle of the islander dip).

There are hundreds of different recipes; however, the basic ingredients are the same. The main difference you will find it’s in the level of heat. Some people make it spicy, others don’t. Either way, it’s very tasty and very versatile. You can prepare it overnight and keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

Total time – 25 min

Yields – plenty of chips…

Ingredients

  • 4 green plantains
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 medium-large green bell peppers, seeded, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 8 teaspoons crushed garlic
  • 1 medium bunch cilantro, washed and chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups canned tomato sauce
  • Hot sauce of your choice to taste, optional
  • ½ cup chopped pimento-stuffed green olives.

Procedure

For the Mojito Isleño

Heat pan over medium heat, pour in oil and sauté bell pepper and onion until they begin to soften.

Add garlic and cilantro, salt and pepper. Cook five minutes over low heat.

Add tomato sauce and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add hot sauce, if desired.

Before removing from heat, add olives. Cool and refrigerate.

Serve in bowl

For the Platanutres

Trim off both ends from each of the plantains with a sharp knife, then make a few slits through the skin the length of each plantain. Push your thumb between the skin and the flesh and pry skin away from flesh. It will come off in pieces, like bark from a tree. Trim off any woody fiber stuck to plantains. Slice plantains crosswise into thin rounds.

Pour oil into a large heavy skillet to a depth of 1/2”, then heat to 350° on a candy thermometer over medium-high heat. Add plantain slices a few at a time to the oil to prevent them from sticking to one another, and fry them in batches until lightly golden and crisp, about 3 minutes.

Transfer plantain chips with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Season to taste with salt while still hot and serve them in a chip bowl next to the Mojito Isleño.

Buen Provecho!

For great party trays and dinner packages ideas visit us at www.piscolabiscatering.com

Scan me with your smartphone

Advertisements

Chimichurri is a delicious marinade that is typically used on beef, but its flavors make it outstanding on chicken or even fish. It biggest advantage is that you can prepare it well in advance as it can be refrigerated for long periods of time. As a matter of fact, the longer you let it sit, the more flavor you are going to get out of it. This is a great alternative for a last-minute meal. Grilling the chicken will bring out even more flavor to the dish.

Total time – 20 minutes

Yield – 6 servings

Serving suggestions – Make it a light meal by just adding your salad of choice or vegetable medley. Asparagus are a great option.

Ingredients

  •  6 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Thin-Sliced
  • 1/4 cup canola or olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the Chimichurri

  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 small hot pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sweet red pepper, ground
  • 2 bay leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Procedure

Season chicken with 1/4 cup of oil, salt and pepper.

Mix all the Chimichurri ingredients and set aside in a covered glass bowl. Let it sit for 12 hours, mixing occasionally to bring out the flavor and aroma of the ingredients.

In a saucepan or on a grill, brown the chicken breasts on both sides.

Spoon the Chimichurri on top of the chicken and serve.

Buen provecho!

For great party trays and dinner packages ideas visit us at www.piscolabiscatering.com

Scan me with your smart phone.

This is a great alternative to white rice and a perfect side dish for grilled steak, chicken or pork.

Total time – about 30 min

Yield – 4-5 servings

Serving suggestion – as a side dish

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized onion, peeled and diced,
  • 1 large red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon anniato oil (achiote)
  • 3 or 4 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 handful of string beans, diced
  • 1 or 2 carrots, diced 2 cups diced pumpkin
  • 1 lb uncooked rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste

Procedure

Saute the onion, pepper and garlic on the olive oil.

Add the water and cooking oil. Bring to a boil.

Add the remaining ingredients and simmer uncovered until the water evaporates. blend with a ladle, folding the rice from the bottom to the top and vice versa.

Cover and cook over low heat until the rice is tender.

Buen provecho!

For great party trays and dinner packages ideas visit us at www.piscolabiscatering.com

Scan me with your smartphone

.

Latin Pepper Steak

A variation of the Chinese dish with a latin twist.

Total time – 20 min

Yield – 4 servings

Serving suggestion – with white rice and tostones or ripped fried plantains on the side.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1lb. boneless sirloin or flank steak, cut into thin strips
  • 2 medium red and/or green bell peppers, sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 to 1-1/2 tsp. finely chopped seeded jalapeno pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 package Brown gravy mix
  • 1/2 tbsp cilantro

Procedure

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown beef.

Remove beef and set aside.

Add red peppers, onion and jalapeno pepper and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir in water, lime juice and Brown gravy mix.

Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is thickened, about 3 minutes.

Stir in beef and cilantro and simmer for about 5 min.

Buen Provecho!

For great party trays and dinners packages ideas visit us at www.piscolabiscatering.com

Scan me with your smartphone

Spring time cocktails

Backyard entertaining season is just around the corner. Margaritas it’s probably the first cocktail that comes to mind to go along with your backyard cookout. However, if you want to try something different this season, here are a couple of spring time pitcher size cocktails that will keep your crowd entertained.

Watermelon and Raspberry Punch

Note: Can be made ahead and can be refrigerated overnight.

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 3 sprigs fresh mint leaves
  • 1 seeded, cubed watermelon
  • 1 cup strawberry margarita mix
  • 1 cup coconut-flavored rum
  • 2 cups ice cubes
  • 8 mint sprigs to garnish

Puree raspberries and mint leaves in a blender until smooth. Strain into a serving pitcher. Puree the cubed watermelon until smooth, and strain the juice into the serving pitcher. Stir in the margarita mix, coconut rum, and ice cubes. Garnish each glass with mint sprigs.

Puerto Rican Rum Punch

Note: Can be made ahead and can be refrigerated overnight.

  • 2/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 cup gold rum (8 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup orange liqueur (2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup Grenadine (2 ounces)
  • One 750-ml bottle sparkling wine, such as Spanish cava, chilled
  • Fresh pineapple chunks, for garnish

In a large pitcher, combine the lime juice and sugar and stir briskly until the sugar is dissolved. Add the rum, orange liqueur and grenadine and chill the rum mixture for about 1 hour. Just before serving, add the sparkling wine and pineapple chunks and serve in punch glasses.

Caribbean Lemonade

  • 2 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup superfine sugar
  • 4 cups dry red wine
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced into rounds and seeded

In a large pitcher, combine the lemon juice and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the wine and chill for about 1 hour. Add the lemon slices and serve in punch glasses.

Caribbean Rum Zing

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups guava nectar
  • 1 cup amber rum, such as Mount Gay
  • 2 cups ice cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups cold ginger ale
  • Splash of grenadine
  • Freshly grated nutmeg

In a large pitcher, combine the orange juice with the guava nectar and rum. Add the ice and stir until cold; add the ginger ale. Pour into cocktail glasses, add the grenadine and nutmeg, and serve

Watermelon Sangria

Note: Can be made ahead and can be refrigerated overnight.

  • 12 cups cubed watermelon
  • 1 (750 ml) bottle dry white wine
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1/2 cup triple sec
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup
  • 3 cups cubed seeded watermelon
  • 1 medium lime, quartered
  • 1 orange, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Place 9 cups of watermelon cubes in a blender; blend on high until very smooth.  Strain juice through a mesh strainer into a large pitcher. Pour the wine, vodka, triple sec, and simple syrup into the pitcher. Stir to combine. Mix the remaining 3 cups of watermelon cubes, the lime quarters, orange sections, and blueberries into the sangria. Chill for 4 hours before serving.

Buen provecho!

For great backyard party trays and dinner packages visit us at www.piscolabiscatering.com

Pan de jamón is a traditional Venezuelan Christmas bread, but you can enjoy it any time of the year. A sweet, soft dough is rolled up around savory ham, sweet raisins and pimento-stuffed olives.

Total Time – About 3 hr including making the bread dough from scratch.

Yields – 1 loaf of bread

Serving suggestion – just by itself……..

Ingredients

  • Warm milk — 3/4 cup
  • Butter — 4 tablespoons
  • Sugar — 2 tablespoons
  • Salt — 1 teaspoon
  • Active dry yeast — 1 (1/4-ounce) package
  • Lukewarm (110°F) water — 1/4 cup
  • All purpose flour — 3 1/2 cups
  • Egg, beaten — 1
  • Butter, melted — 2 tablespoons
  • Ham, thinly sliced — 1/2 pound
  • Raisins — 1/2 cup
  • Pimento-stuffed olives — 1/2 cup
  • Egg yolks — 2

Procedure

Add the milk, 4 tablespoons butter, sugar and salt to a saucepan and heat, stirring until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to lukewarm.

Mix the warm water and yeast together in a small bowl and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes to activate the yeast.

Add 3 cups of the flour to large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the yeast mixture, warm milk and beaten egg. Stir with a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients and bring the dough together.

Remove the dough to a floured work surface and knead, adding extra flour as needed, until the dough is no longer sticking to your hands and is silky and elastic. Remove the dough to a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and set in a warm corner until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Remove the dough to a lightly floured work surface and punch it down with your fists to deflate it.  Roll the dough out into a rectangle about 12 inches wide and 15 inches long.

Brush the top surface of the dough with the 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Spread the ham, raisins and olives evenly over the dough, leaving a margin of about 1 inch around the edges. Starting from the bottom, roll the dough up into a loaf. Pinch the seam and fold under the ends to seal.

Place the loaf seam-side down on a baking sheet and cover it lightly with a clean towel. Set aside to rise for another 30 to 45 minutes.

Beat the egg yolks with a tablespoon of water. Brush the top of the loaf all over with the egg yolk wash. Place the bread in the oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown on top and has a hollow sound when you tap on it. Remove and cool before serving.

Variations and shortcuts

  • Add Swiss cheese to the filling
  • If you don’t want go thru the trouble of making the bread yourself, try using the Pillsbury® refrigerated French loaf dough. Also, talk to a local pizza place or bakery to see if they would sell you the dough.

Buen provecho!

For great party trays and dinner packages ideas visit us www.piscolabiscatering.com

Ropa Vieja Cubana

The Ropa Vieja (shredded beef in a tomato sauce base) is a Cuban dish from Spanish origin. Very popular in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, Colombia and Venezuela.  In some countries is known as carne mechada or pabellon.

Total time –  This recipe uses a slow cooking technique so it can take from 4-10 hrs depending on the cut of meat you use. In this case, we are using flank steak for easy shredding.

Yields – 6 servings

Serving suggestions – with white rice and red kidney or pink beans (stewed Caribbean style) and fried plantains on the side.

Ingredients

  • tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds beef flank steak
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

Procedure

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the flank steak on each side, about 4 minutes per side.

Transfer the flank steak to a slow cooker. Pour in the beef broth and tomato sauce, then add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, tomato paste, cumin, cilantro, olive oil and vinegar. Stir until well blended. Cover, and cook on High for 4 hours, or on Low for up to 10 hours.  At this point, the steak should have shredded by itself; if not, use two forks to shred steak apart.

Buen Provecho!

For great party trays and dinner packages ideas visit us at www.piscolabiscatering.com

%d bloggers like this: