Empanadas, Quesitos, Paella and more…

Posts tagged ‘catering’

Arroz a la jardinera (rice with vegetables)

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

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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

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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

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

Adobo-rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Mango Mojo

This is modern variation of the popular Cuban dish; Puerco Adobado (adobo-rubbed) pork).

Total time – about 1 hr.

Yield – 6 servings

Serving suggestion –

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup achiote oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 6 sprigs cilantro, washed
  • 2 pork tenderloin, 12-14 ounces, trimmed

Procedure: To make marinade, place all ingredients (except pork) in a blender and pulse 3 times for 3 to 4 seconds. Place the tenderloin in a shallow pan, pour the marinade over it, and place in refrigerator for 3 hours or, better yet, 24 hours.

Mango Mojo

Ingredients:

  • 1 firm and ripe mango, skinned and diced
  • 3 tablespoons diced red onions
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, washed, picked, and roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced very finely
  • 3 ounces mango juice
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Preparation: In a bowl, mix all the mojo ingredients and let the flavors blend for about 1 hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. In a large skillet over high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of achiote oil. Add the tenderloin. Brown well on all sides, place the pan in the oven, and cook for 5 minutes more. Take the pan out of the oven and let the meat cool slightly before slicing. Serve with the mango mojo.

Buen provecho!

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

Ceviche de Camarones

This recipe it’s a variation of my original posting; Fish Ceviche.

Total time – about 1 hr including refrigeration time

Yield – 4-6 servings

Serving suggestion – as an appetizer

Ingredients

  • 1 pound medium-small shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 3/4 cup lime juice (juice from 4-6 limes)
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice (juice from 2-3 lemons)
  • 1 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 Serrano chile, ribs and seeds removed, minced
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cucumber, peeled diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 avocado, peeled, seed removed, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

Procedure

In a large pot, bring to a boil 4 quarts of water, salted with 2 Tbsp salt.  Add the shrimp and cook for 1 minute to 2 minutes max, depending on size of shrimp.  (Over-cooking the shrimp will turn it rubbery.)  Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon and place into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.

Drain the shrimp.  Cut each piece of shrimp in half, or into inch-long pieces.  Place shrimp in a glass or ceramic bowl.  Mix in the lime and lemon juice.  Cover and refrigerate for a half hour.

Mix in the chopped red onion and Serrano chile.  Refrigerate an additional half hour.

Right before serving, add the cilantro, cucumber, and avocado

Buen provecho!

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

Kitchen tools and golf.

Determining the most essential  kitchen tools to have reminds me when I decided to experiment with golf; almost 15 years ago. I remember going to a buddy of mine who at the time had a handicap of 4 for advice. “Don’t worry”, he said. “I’ll take care of you”.

The first thing he told me was to hold off the shopping spree and to just get a good beginner’s set of golf clubs with the essentials; a putter, a pitching wedge, a sand wedge (of course…) and a #7 iron . “And preferably second-handed; you know, just in case golf doesn’t work out for you”, he said.  And so I did. I went out and got me a second-handed, multi-branded, multi-colored beginner’s set. If I remember correctly, I didn’t spend more than $50 for the whole thing including the bag. Eventually I got into the sport and ended up buying a complete set. And guess what, my favorite clubs are the ones that I originally purchased; so now I have a couple of clubs I don’t need or use.

So why the story? Take a look at your kitchen drawer where you keep all your kitchen tools. Pretty full, isn’t?  Ok, to your defense, it’s probably not your fault as most of them were given to you as wedding gifts or you bought them for just in case you needed them some day. But think about it, how many of them you actually use.

Spring is around the corner, and besides of being the season of getting our landscape back into shape, it’s also that time for backyard cookouts and when we walk around the house collecting stuff we don’t use or need to move them to their new place; the garage or the attic. Or as we call it, Spring cleaning. Let me help you with your kitchen drawer.

In my opinion, these are some of the most essential tools your kitchen drawer most have. At the end, you and only you can determine which tools are best and most essential for you.

  • Knives – No need for a 30 piece knife set.  There are four basic knives that will get the job done. A 10-inch chef’s knife; the workhorse of the kitchen and good for just about anything.  A flexible boning knife, a paring knife for smaller jobs and a long, serrated knife. for cutting breads, cakes, and things that are at risk from crushing when using a conventional knife.
  • Kitchen shears – Not only to cut food but to handle any other cutting jobs where a knife it’s not enough.
  • Digital timer – Any experienced chef will tell you that timing is key to the success or failure to any recipe. And while you develop your time keeping skills, a digital timer is your best friend.
  • Meat thermometer – Success on grilling that perfect steak or baking the perfect  holiday turkey depends on two things; time and temperature. You already have the timing part with your digital timer; however, the meat thermometer will close the deal.  Probe thermometers are the most common ones. There are also digital and laser ones. If you go probe, go with the heavy-duty ones. I personally use one that’s a combination of all of them and I found it on-line for less than $100.
  • Measuring cups – Preferably in individual sizes; 1/8 cup 1/4 cup 1/3 cup 1/2 cup 2/3 cup 3/4 cup and 1 cup.
  • Measuring spoons – Because a “pinch” of salt can mean different things to different people….
  • Microplane grater (aka zesters) – For when the recipe calls for just the flavor of ginger, onion, or citrus fruits….
  • Scraper spatulas – For your baking projects.  A large and a small and made of silicone. They are more expensive but will last you more. I also use them instead of wooden spoons to brown ground beef. Wooden spoons can develop mold if not washed and dried properly.
  • Regular spatula – For that perfect pancake flip.
  • Whisks – For when using a mixer, blender or food processor is too much.
  • A High quality can opener – There are many options out there. For food safety reasons, I use one that opens the cans from the side instead of the top.
  • Tongs – A very versatile kitchen tool. I use them for everything, from blending salads to frying or for any task that requires a good grip

Unfortunately, I stopped playing golf some time ago after I started with my weekend catering business. So what happened to my golf clubs? Well, they are sitting somewhere in the attic next to a box labeled “Kitchen tools I don’t use”.

I hope your kitchen drawer looks much better now.

Happy cooking!

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

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