Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Holidays!!


Foodie Friends!!

It has been a long time since we've chatted! I wanted to first and foremost thank each and every one of you for all your support. It may not seem like a lot, but to have all of you who follow or just stop by to read my blog occasionally means the world to me! I want to wish all of you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year with many blessings! Speaking about blessings...I think this is a good time to tell all of you that my husband and I are expecting our first baby! I guess this can explain why I haven’t blogged in a while. The slightly-annoying morning sickness has really made everything smell and taste like garbage these last few weeks, but I am starting to feel better and know that in no time I’ll be back to blogging full force! Enjoy your holidays!!



With love,

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Everyone and their ‘mom’ loves Sweet,Spicy,and Sassy!




Word on the street is that everyone and their mom is lovin’ Sweet,Spicy,and Sassy! Ok, maybe not every single person in this world, but my followers and The DailyBuzz’ Moms seem to be showin’ some love for sure! I am so excited to share that the post “Green Eggs and Ham” has been featured in The DailyBuzz’ Moms Top 9 section. I still cannot believe they picked this post from my blog. And what makes this even more special is that it was written by my guest food blogger, my sister Michelle! So excited to share this news with you all, but even more excited to be featured on such an awesome site like The DailyBuzz’ Moms Top 9 section! Check it out!!

Sweet and Savory Empanadas



 One thing I truly love, in addition to my tabloid magazines and Housewives’ episodes, of course, is going out to dinner with my husband. Some of the greatest memories I have when we first started dating was our adventurous and fabulous dinner dates. My husband and I would take turns in picking restaurants we had found, or that were recommended to us and would hit up these local hot spots to see what the talk was all about. Some of our early eating adventures were sushi, Spanish tapas, Columbian arepas, and Argentinean cuisine. Before I get into the recipe I am sharing with you today, I wanted to take the time to tell you where I got my inspiration for this post. One of our favorite places to eat back home is this tiny Argentinean restaurant that is tucked away in the city of Chicago. This restaurant is so small it must only sit about 100 people. The tables are so close you could probably be part of the conversation with the couple next to you. There is something about the ambiance of this restaurant that is so modern and European, yet very romantic. Could it be the flamenco music playing in the background, the modern display of Argentinean art, or the candle lit lighting at each table? Or even better, the option to bring your own favorite bottle of wine which is iced for you at your table. But what makes this restaurant so awesome is hands down their food. This restaurant is proof that taking simple ingredients really can create fabulous dishes. Considering that currently this restaurant is very far away from my house and my selection for great restaurants in my area are……very limited, I decided to make my favorite dish from this restaurant, which are empanadas. These little pockets of deliciousness are actually turnovers stuffed either sweet or savory fillings. The day I decided to make these empanadas, I ended up making four different kinds of filling to stuff them with! I guess you can say I was on a roll. Today, I am sharing two different types of filling along with two sauces to accompany them. One of the empanadas is stuffed with a traditional Argentinean beef mix that includes chopped green olives, hard boiled eggs, and raisins. Chimichurri sauce, a delicious yet tangy concoction of garlic, chopped parsley, and olive oil is what is normally served with traditional beef empanadas. The pumpkin empanada is a super simple pumpkin turnover paired with an easy sugar glaze dipping sauce. I totally encourage you to come up with sweet and savory fillings for these delicious turnovers and even better, creative and delicious sauces to pair them with. And if you do, please share with me! I will say…I was one happy girl the day I made these empanadas. I may have not been at this particular restaurant, but I did have my empanadas, glass of wine, and my sweetie next to me on the couch. Enjoy!
Beef Empanadas
Serves 4-5 as an appetizer

Dough Recipe
Ingredients:
3 cups all purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
1 cup unsalted cold butter
1/3 cup cold water
                    
Directions:
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine 3 cups all purpose baking flour, salt, baking powder, and butter with a pastry cutter.
  2. Slowly add in the ice cold water and continue to use pastry cutter to mix all ingredients. Once all ingredients have been mixed, use hands to combine any little pieces that have not formed into the dough
  3. Cover and set aside for 20 minutes
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to ¼ of an inch thick and use a biscuit cutter to cut out circles
Note: Did you mess up making the dough recipe? Don’t worry, I did too! Puff pastry can also be used to make these delicious turnovers. Thaw puff pastry for 20 minutes before use and cook at the same time and temp as you would for the dough recipe.

Beef Filling
Ingredients:
1 lb ground beef (80/20)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon cumin
½ tsp. black pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
½ tsp. salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ onion, finely chopped
¼ cup rasins
¼ cup green olives, finely chopped
1 egg, boiled and finely chopped
1 egg beaten

Directions:
  1. In a preheated pot, pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add ground beef
  2. Add in cumin, black pepper, chili powder, and salt to ground beef and continue to cook
  3. Add chopped onion and garlic to beef mix and continue to brown ground beef
  4. Once beef has cooked, spoon out about 90% of the fat and remove from heat
  5. Mix in rasins, green olives, and chopped boiled egg into beef, cover the pot and set aside for ten minutes
  6. Once beef mix has slightly cooled, spoon about 1 tablespoon of beef mix onto pre-cut dough and fold into a half moon
  7. Using a fork, press down the edges to seal shut the empanadas
  8. Take egg wash and brush the top of empanadas.
  9. Preheat oven to 400 and bake empanadas for 25 minutes.
 Chimichurri Sauce
 Ingredients:
½ cup finely chopped parsley
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 jalapeño ,chopped
½ tsp. dry oregano
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup white wine vinegar
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients and set aside until ready to use.



Pumpkin Empanadas
Serves 4-5 as a dessert
(use same dough recipe mentioned above)

 Pumpkin Filling
Ingredients:
1 can pumpkin puree
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup brown sugar

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients and set aside until ready to use.

Sugar Glaze
Ingredients:
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
Splash of vanilla

Directions:
1.Combine all ingredients and set aside until read to use. 

Source: L.Chavez, inspired by my favorite meal at Tango Sur, in Chicago, Illinois
(Chimichurri sauce, is from simplyrecipes.com and slightly modified. 




Monday, September 17, 2012

Shrimp Ceviche



I can’t believe that summer is almost over. Personally, I love this time of year because it’s not too hot, yet still warm enough to enjoy being outside. And the end of summer only means that fall, my favorite season of the year, is only days away! Within the last couple of weeks, I noticed that I have grilled a lot and have kept dinner pretty light. One of my favorite summer recipes happens to be shrimp ceviche. Ceviche is a dish that uses fresh seafood (either fish or shrimp) and cooked in fresh lime juice and salt. There are a million ceviche recipes that are found all over the world. I know that in certain countries ceviche is simply fish and raw onions cooked in lime juice and salt. I have had the opportunity to eat ceviche made out of raw ahi tuna and ceviche made out of tilapia as well. The recipe I am sharing today uses shrimp and a variety of chopped fresh vegetables. I love this recipe because it’s a really simple recipe packed with big flavor. I love making it on days that I’m outside grilling because it’s not only a great appetizer, but it is also very versatile where it can be served with any meat or fish that you’re cookin’ up on the grill. And may I add this dish taste even better with my guacamole salsa ! So why not whip up this recipe, grab a beer, and sit outside and enjoy our last few days of summer.

Shrimp Ceviche
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 lb raw shrimp, cleaned and deveined
½ onion, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, and chopped
1 small tomato, chopped
1 jalapeño, chopped ( remove seeds for a mild taste)
7 limes total
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tablespoon of salt total
¼ tsp black pepper

Directions:
  1. Begin by cleaning shrimp. Remove shell and remove the sandy vein that is on both sides of the shrimp. Chop into small bite size pieces and place into a flat glass baking dish.
  2. Add ½ of the onion the recipe calls for into glass dish along with the juice of 5 limes, ½ tsp salt, and pepper. Refrigerate the shrimp for at least 2 hours or once the shrimp have turned from gray to an orange color.
  3. In a separate bowl combine chopped cucumber, tomato, cilantro and remaining onion, lime juice of 2 limes, and remaining salt.
  4. Once the shrimp has fully turned color and cooked in the lime juice, remove from baking dish using a slotted spoon and pour into the bowl with the other chopped vegetables.
  5. Mix all ingredients and serve with tortilla chips.

Note: It is extremely important to cut shrimp into small pieces so that it cooks well in the lime juice. Also, using a baking dish with a flat surface will allow for all shrimp pieces to cook evenly. If you would like for the ceviche to have a slightly spicy taste, use ½ of the seeds of the jalapeño. For best taste use fresh lime juice rather than any bottled lime juice.

 Source: J.Chavez

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Greetings From Cloud 9


Foodie Friends!

It has been a while since we have last talked! Please forgive me, but the love of my life is finally home and we have been out and about enjoying life! Even though I have not posted anything in a couple of weeks, I have cooked some of the delicious recipes I have shared here with you guys for my husband and he has loved each and every one of them! It is crazy to think that this whole time that I have been blogging with you guys that he’s been gone for work and is finally home to taste my delicious creations! I will be taking one more week of vacation, but I promise when I get back, I’ll have recipes lined up and ready for ya’ll. Trust me. I have still been doin’ my cooking homework. I want to take a minute and thank http://phyllo.com/phyllo-posts/ for their support and linking back my Cannoli Cups’ recipe on their site. I truly enjoyed looking through their site and have been inspired even more to create more recipes using phyllo dough. If you guys have a minute, check them out!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Potato-Crusted Quiche



So I made my weekly trip to Barnes and Noble (definitely not name-dropin’ here) to do some writing and look through cooking magazines for recipes for my blog and came across this Potato-Crusted Quiche recipe. I’ll admit. I don’t feel that having this blog means that I have to ‘create’ recipes all the time. I truly enjoy looking through magazines and cookbooks and sharing recipes that I find with you guys. I feel that these are mini-treasures I am sharing with you. J However, the recipes I share have to pass my test, which means: they have to be tried and liked by me: they must be semi-unique: and they must be approachable for all everyday cooks’. When I saw this recipe I was taken back to my Thanksgiving dinner. Now… I am not quite ready to share my Thanksgiving dinner story. You’ll have to wait for that one. But what I can say for now is that for Thanksgiving I had made a potato au gratin/ quiche dish that did not necessarily…turn out that way. I looked at the original picture in the magazine and noticed that it did look quite pretty. I also looked at the ingredients used in this recipe and remembered using similar ingredients in my first disaster. What was different about this recipe vs. the previous one was the cooking method. This recipe called for baking the slices of potato on a baking sheet first before eventually baking them in a pie plate with the rest of the ingredients. I decided to give this recipe another chance because it used a different cooking approach that I was willing to try and I wanted to see if what I made would end up actually tasting delicious. In addition, part of having this blog is to overcome cooking challenges. Just because this dish didn’t turn out the first time, doesn’t mean that I can’t try cooking it again! I made this recipe last week for a lunch date I had with my friend and it turned out quite beautifully and delicious! This recipe really was super simple. I have to say that baking the potato slices on a sheet pan before baking them off really made the difference. The potato slices this time around were cooked through and had a crispy texture to them. I only have one suggestion. The recipe calls for using fontina cheese, which I paid almost $7.00 for (hopefully my husband isn’t reading), but you can swap out fontina cheese for Swiss cheese as well. This dish is perfect for breakfast, brunch, or even better… breakfast for dinner! Enjoy!

Potato-Crusted Quiche

Serves 6

Ingredients:

2 medium russet potatoes, peeled
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
3 large eggs plus 3 egg yolks
2 cups half-and-half
¾ cup chopped fresh chives
1 ½ cups grated fontina or gruyere cheese

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 450. Slice potatoes lengthwise into thin ovals (use mandoline if you have one). Toss with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper, then arrange in a single layer on 2 baking sheets. Bake until tender and pliable but not brown, 10-15 minutes. Line the side of a 9-inch pie plate with overlapping potato slices so they stick out above the rim: line the bottom with the remaining slices.
  2. Whisk the eggs and egg yolks, half-and-half, chives, nutmeg, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in a bowl: stir in 1 cup cheese. Pour into the potato-lined pie plate and scatter the remaining ½ cup cheese on top. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 and bake the quiche until just set in the center, 40-50 minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes before slicing. 

Source: Food Network Magazine, June 2012 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cannoli Cups



Not too long ago, I was at work when one of my students came into my classroom and asked if I wanted to participate in my coworker’s birthday celebration. I walked over to my coworker’s classroom and saw her cake and immediately was taken back to my childhood birthday celebrations. One of my coworker’s students had gotten her this beautiful cake that reminded me of the cakes my mother would buy for birthday celebrations from this Italian bakery, in little Italy, in Chicago. All of a sudden I got flashbacks of these beautiful cakes decorated with colorful flowers piped out of frosting and coated with what seemed like toasted coconut. But most importantly, these cakes were well known for their cannoli that was layered in between angel food cake and topped with a thin layer of fresh strawberries. Personally, as a child I did not appreciate the actual taste of the cake. In reality, all I wanted was one of the colorful frosting flowers, or better yet, a Barbie cake. I am not going to lie. Seeing my coworker’s cake really made me think of my birthday celebrations as well as miss my home town. I guess you can say that this moment was my inspiration for the recipe I am sharing with you today. Yes, I am sure you are looking at the picture and saying, “Well, where is the cannoli shell?” But I have no problem admitting to you all that I am not quite that talented, at least not yet. I decided to take the major ingredients of a cannoli and use them in a much simpler way.  As I type this post I am laughing at all the challenges that came my way when I made this recipe the other day. Although I have melted chocolate before, using the various methods to do so, I ended up burning the chocolate the first time. And I have no idea what I did the second time considering that the “melted chocolate” looked like a weird lookin’ paste. Uhm let see.. I spooned my mascarpone mix into a “small” zip lock bag and as I was piping the mix the bag busted open, due to not cutting a large enough tip to allow mini-chocolate chips pass through. At one point I was like, “Mother…. of Pearl!” is anything going to go right today?! So with that being said, I plan on returning to this recipe and challenging myself to make the cannoli shells, but for now, these little bite size pieces of goodness are hitting the spot just fine!

Cannoli Cups

Serves about 24

Ingredients:

¾ cup of an 8 oz package of mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup ricotta cheese, at room temperature
½ cup powdered sugar
¼ tsp. vanilla extract.
½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 boxes of mini fillo-dough cups
½ cup strawberries, rinsed, and thinly sliced
½ cup regular size semi-sweet chocolate chips
Splash of milk or cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with fillo-dough cups. Bake cups for 5-8 mins and set aside when done. In a small bowl combine mascarpone, ricotta, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and mix together. Once cheese mix is well combined, fold in mini semi-sweet chocolate chips. Put mix into a large zip lock bag and store in the fridge until ready to use.
  2. In a small glass bowl combine regular size semi-sweet chocolate chips and splash of milk and heat in the microwave for about 40 seconds. Stir chocolate and see if it needs to be melted down more. If so, add an additional splash of milk. You want the chocolate to be really melted down, but be careful not to burn the chocolate. Set aside when ready.
  3. Take zip lock bag and cut off the tip of one corner. (Remember big enough to let mini chocolate chips through). Take one of the cups and fill it with mascarpone mix and garnish with sliced strawberries. Repeat step until all cups are filled and topped with strawberries.
  4. Take a fork and dip it into melted chocolate mix and drizzle chocolate over all cups. 

Me with my siblings at my 3rd birthday party. 
Look at the cake!

Source: L.Chavez. Sweet,Spicy, and Sassy original. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Green Eggs and Ham


Foodie Friends!

I am so excited to introduce my first guest blogger to you all. She is a fantastic mom of 3, cook, and....she's my big sister!
Enjoy!

LC


First of all, I would like to thank my sister for inviting me to guest blog.  When she asked me to blog about something delicious and original to inspire the everyday cook, I couldn’t help but think about what inspires me, as a cook, and that would be my kids.  I almost always make meals with them in mind.  They are finicky and picky eaters, but I refuse to make separate meals for them and I am not a fan of highly processed foods, either.  I took a page (metaphorically) from Jessica Seinfeld’s book, Deceptively Delicious, in which she incorporates pureed fruits and vegetables into everyday recipes to sneak those vitamins and minerals into picky eaters.  While I am still a proponent of exposing children to whole fruits and vegetables on their plate, let’s face it, if your kids are anything like my kids, they’ll nibble on it and call it a day.  I am fascinated with the concept of swapping out artificial colors and flavors with all-natural pureed foods.  While Jessica Seinfeld has many ideas for incorporating purees into food, my Green Eggs and Ham with pureed broccoli is original to me.  When my son, Devin, turned 3, he wanted a Dr. Seuss breakfast birthday party.  Instead of adding food coloring to the eggs, I added pureed spinach. I even added it to the deviled eggs.  But sshhhh, it’s our little secret.  Not even the adults were aware.  Today, I added pureed broccoli to the eggs.  You get the same effect with pureed spinach, broccoli or zucchini.  For a more full Dr. Seuss effect, mix and match plates, napkins and table cloth in black, red and white.  You can even add some of the pureed vegetable over the Canadian bacon to make it green, too.  This is a festive and healthy way to enjoy breakfast. 

Green Eggs and Ham

 Ingredients:
Serves 1

2 eggs
1/4 cup pureed broccoli (spinach and zucchini work, as well)
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tb oil
3 slices of Canadian bacon

Directions:
First, puree either broccoli, spinach or zucchini, your choice (see special pureeing instructions below). Oil the pan or skillet.  Beat two eggs in a bowl. Add the puree, salt and pepper, and continue beating until well incorporated. Scramble eggs on a skillet as usual. Place Canadian bacon on a pan or skillet to heat through. Serve eggs and bacon with toast or other favorite breakfast side dish.


Pureeing vegetables

vegetable
Broccoli
spinach
zucchini
preparation
Cut into florets
None if you purchase the kind that is triple washed from the bag
Trim off the ends and cut into 1-inch pieces
Steaming process
Steam for 6-7 minutes.  Florets should be tender but still bright green.
Steam for 30-60 seconds or cook in a skillet with 1 Tb of water for about  90 seconds or until wilted
Steam for 6-8 minutes
puree
In a food processor or blender for about 2 minutes. Add a few teaspoons of water if needed.
In a food processor or blender for about 2 minutes
In a food processor or blender for about 2 minutes.
Store
In freezer zip bag in ¼ or ½ cup amounts. Refrigerate if using within a few days or freeze for longer storage.
In freezer zip bag in ¼ or ½ cup amounts. Refrigerate if using within a few days or freeze for longer storage.
In freezer zip bag in ¼ or ½ cup amounts. Refrigerate if using within a few days or freeze for longer storage.





Source: M. De la Vega, inspired by Jessica Seinfeld's Deceptively Delicious

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Summer Pineapple Cake


Based on the hot and sunny weather outside, I guess it’s safe to say that summer is officially here! One thing I love about summer is getting together with friends and family for cookouts! Now, I can’t necessarily say I love cookouts or the sake of playing a good game of bags, because lord knows I am horrible at it. But I love them for the simple fact that there is always a variety of phenomenal foods to sample from. I get it. Sometimes, after a long day in the sun and being full from sampling various dips and pasta salads, dessert may not be on everyone’s mind. I personally think the best summer desserts are always the ones that incorporate fresh fruits; think of tarts with cream or custard and fresh fruit or yogurt and cream cheese dips that perfectly paired with seasonal fruit. Additionally, anything that can be kept cool like uh…..ICE CREAM is always a winner! This summer pineapple cake recipe I am sharing with you today is simple, delicious, and refreshing to eat after a hot summer day. I ‘borrowed’ this recipe from my mother and made some minor changes to it, considering that I wanted it to be approachable for all everyday cooks. What I love about this recipe is that it starts off with baking a simple yellow cake, but in the end the taste is everything but plain and boring. I know some of you may be hesitant to try a frosting that is made out of sour cream, but I can assure you after trying just once that you’ll be hooked! Keep in mind this dessert must be refrigerated so that the pineapple cake stays moist and the frosting stays cool and at a certain consistency. Next time you attend or host a cookout, bring this summer dessert. I am sure it will turn out to be a crowd favorite!

Summer Pineapple Cake

Serves 12

Ingredients:

1 box yellow cake mix
1 16 oz of sour cream (at room temperature)
1 4 oz. can of crushed pineapple, plus juice
¼ tsp.vanilla extract
1 cup sugar


Directions:
  1. Cook cake mix according to the box and pour batter into a greased 9x13 cake pan or two 9 inch round cake pans.
  2. Let cake cool completely. In a small bowl mix sour cream, vanilla extract, and sugar and set aside. (note: sour cream will change consistency. It should look like a thick glaze).
  3. Using a toothpick, prick small holes all over cake.
  4. Pour crushed pineapple and juice through a strainer and into a bowl. Squeeze as much of the pineapple juice out of the crushed pineapple as possible. Keep crushed pineapple in a separate bowl.
  5. Using a small spoon, slowly pour all of the pineapple juice over cake and refrigerate for about 15 minutes.
  6. Pour sweetened sour cream frosting over cake. Use a spoon to spread frosting if needed.
  7. Refrigerate for 10 minutes before serving. 


Note: To bake pineapple cake in mason jars follow the cake box recipe and fill each mason jar ½ way. Bake for the same amount of time you would for a regular cake pan. After it has baked and cooled, prick holes all over cake and pour pineapple juice over cake. Let the cake cool completely before adding frosting and crushed pineapple on top.


Source: Adapted from original cook, E.Martinez   

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Jicama Salad with Cilantro-Orange Vinaigrette



I got the idea for this next recipe from my father. My father is really big on eating fruta fresca which means fresh fruit in Spanish. Various fresh fruits and vegetables like oranges, mangos, watermelon, papaya, cucumbers, and jicama are cut up into bite size pieces and dressed with lime, salt, and chile powder. I know for some of you, it may seem odd to eat fruit and certain vegetables like this, but it really is delicious. Considering that I am no longer in Chicago, I often find myself trying to recreate certain foods that I miss. Believe it or not, something I really miss is the fresh fruit cups that the street vendors sell on the city corners. These sweet, spicy, and refreshing fruit cups are quite satisfying, especially on a hot summer day. Couple days ago while grocery shopping; I came across a jicama and decided to buy it in order to recreate one of these delicious fruit cups. However, when I got home I was starving, due to going to the grocery store on an empty stomach (bad idea), and decided to make myself a quick salad. I was so anxious to cut open this jicama that I decided to include it in my salad and add other fruits and vegetables that I knew would go well together. For those of you who are not familiar with what jicama (pronounced Hee-ka-ma) is and looks like, it is a crisp and sweet vegetable that resembles a large odd shaped potato. It goes well with any lime or citrus flavors and is sometimes pickled as well. Mixing this sweet vegetable with the orange segments and cucumbers really created a light and crisp salad. And not to mention that this cilantro-orange vinaigrette really gives a sweet and tangy taste to each bite! It’s interesting how you can create a new dish off of ingredients you enjoy in another. In this case, I was able to have my fruit cup and eat it too. 

 Jicama Salad with Cilantro and Orange Vinaigrette
Serves 4
Ingredients:

1 Jicama (about 1 lb)
1 ½ oranges
1 medium size cucumber, sliced
1 large lime
2 small heads of romaine lettuce
½ cup feta cheese

Cilantro-Orange Vinaigrette:
Juice of 1 ½ oranges

½ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. honey
¼ tsp. salt

Directions:
  1. Wash all vegetables and oranges and set aside. Roughly chop romaine lettuce and cucumbers and place inside salad bowl.
  2. Take two of the oranges and cut the top and bottom off of both to create a flat surface. Cut down and around the orange to remove the skin. Repeat this step until all the skin has been removed. Using a pairing knife cut out segments of the orange and mix with cucumbers and lettuce.
  3. Carefully cut the bottom and top off of the jicama. Cut down and around the jicama to remove outer layer. Repeat this step until the outer layer is removed. Cut the jicama in half, cut into batons, and add into salad bowl with other ingredients.
  4. Squeeze one lime over salad and season salad with a pinch of salt.
  5. For the dressing, add the juice of 1 ½ oranges, white wine vinegar, honey, salt, and chopped cilantro. Slowly whisk in ½ cup of olive oil.
  6.  Pour salad dressing over salad and top with feta cheese.

Note: Queso fresco can be used instead of feta cheese. 

Source: L.Chavez. Sweet,Spicy, and Sassy Original. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cucumber Salad Stuffed Tomatoes



Couple of weeks and I will finally be cooking for two again. And I cannot wait!! But until then, I am still cookin’ up small and simple dinners for myself. On the few days that I cook red meat, I like pairing it with either a zucchini boat or some roasted vegetables. However, I noticed that my basil plant was growing like wildfire and figured I should use it in one of my dishes for dinner. I looked in my fridge and noticed I also had tomatoes. My first thought was, “I’ll make a caprese salad!” But the last episode of Bethenny Ever After was about to play off of my DVR and was not in the mood to run out to the store to buy fresh mozzarella. This was one of those moments that I was determined to use what I had in my fridge. I combined tomatoes, a cumber, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, and basil together to create a cucumber and tomato salad. I added in olive oil and balsamic vinegar at the end to create a simple dressing for the salad and was pleasantly surprised at the final product. What I love about this dish is the fresh taste of the tomatoes and cucumbers with the salty taste of the Kalamata olives. Plus, who doesn’t love feta cheese!? After I made this salad, I thought it would be cute and creative to stuff the tomatoes with this salad. If you have the time or have special guests coming for dinner, stuffing the tomatoes with this salad is an alternative way to serve up this side dish. However, this salad is just as delicious if it is chopped up and mixed all together in a bowl. Enjoy!  


Cucumber Salad Stuffed Tomatoes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

6 red, round tomatoes ( use 2 for the stuffing)
1 medium size cucumber
½ cup Kalamata olives, chopped
2 tsps.fresh basil, chopped
¼ cup feta cheese
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Pinch of salt
¼ tsp. black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Cut off a small piece off the bottom of tomato and remove the core. Remove as much of the seeds as you can by gently squeezing the tomato over the sink. Using a small pairing knife, gently hollow out the inside of the tomato. Salt and pepper inside of tomato and set aside. Repeat step for other tomatoes.
  2. Chop the two tomatoes plus what was hollowed out from the other four tomatoes and set aside in a bowl. Peel and cut cucumber lengthwise and spoon out seeds. Chop cucumber and add it to the bowl with the tomatoes.
  3. Chop the basil and Kalamata olives and add it to the tomato mix along with the feta cheese.
  4. Add in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper to the tomatoes and mix all ingredients together.
  5. Stuff tomato and cucumber mix into tomatoes and top with additional feta cheese.      
Source: L.Chavez. Sweet, Spicy, and Sassy Original

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Creamy Caramel Flan



Creamy little cup of pure deliciousness is the best way I can describe this dessert. Flan is a custard type of dessert that is not necessarily a Mexican dessert, but a dessert known all over the world. This sweet little concoction is quite popular in a sense that it has a million and one recipes under its name, yet all create a sweet, creamy, and delicious dessert. Some flan recipes call for using cream cheese, condensed or evaporated milk, and sometimes half-half which all give a different texture to the dessert. Also, depending on what ingredients you are working with, the recipe will call for cooking the dessert in a certain way such as: cooking the flan in a microwave: baking the flan in a water bath: and cooking flan as you would gelatin. But before you think that this little dessert only comes in one flavor, think again. Flan can be given a different flavor by adding various extracts like vanilla, almond, lemon, rum, or by even adding canned pumpkin. I have had the privilege of trying many flan recipes and find them all great for their delicious taste. But of course, I truly enjoy my mother’s flan recipe the most. Her flan recipe creates this sweet and lemony dessert with a semi-firmer texture. It is really perfection! Although I love her recipe, I decided to cover this version because my husband and I were in search of a recipe that created a flan with a creamy and soft texture. And I do believe this recipe has ended my search. Enjoy!

 Creamy Caramel Flan

Serves 4

Ingredients:
½ cup sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups half-half or light cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Ground cinnamon (optional)

Directions:
  1. To caramelize sugar, in an 8-inch heavy skillet cook ½ cup sugar over medium-high heat until sugar starts to melt, shaking skillet occasionally. Once sugar starts to melt, reduce heat to low. Cook about 5 minutes or until sugar is syrupy and golden, stirring as needed with a wooden spoon. Divide the caramelized sugar among four 6-once custard cups or ramekins; tilt dishes to coat bottoms. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325 F. In a medium bowl combine eggs, half-half, 1/3 cup sugar, and vanilla. Place custard cups in a 2-quart square baking dish. Divide egg mixture among custard cups. If desired, sprinkle with cinnamon.
  3. Place baking dish on an oven rack. Pour boiling water into baking dish around custard cups to a depth of 1 inch. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until a knife inserted near centers comes out clean.
  4. Remove custard cups from water. Cool completely on a wire rack. Using a knife, loosen flans from sides of dishes and invert onto four dessert plates. Spoon any caramelized sugar remaining in custard cups onto flans.                                                                                                                                
Source: Better Homes. Our Best Desserts 2012 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Artichoke-Avocado De-light!



I am totally enjoying this spring weather! I don’t know why but this warm weather really puts me in a good mood and in the mood to eat fresh vegetables. I think I have mentioned this before, but I buy fresh vegetables each week. I purposely buy them so that I can either roast or sauté vegetables, or create phenomenal salads with my meals. Before you put salad in the boring category, try experimenting with different vegetables, fruits, nuts, and other ingredients that could give your salad excellent taste and texture. Also, rather than buying salad dressing from the store, I recommend trying to experiment with different ingredients in your kitchen. Within the last two months I have learned that olive oil, red or white wine vinegar, honey Dijon mustard, honey, lime and lemon juice, freshly squeezed, different herbs, and salt and pepper can create a variety of great tasting salad dressings. Trust me. You’ll never go back to bottled salad dressing again. The recipe I am sharing today is a perfect example of a simple salad with great taste. I originally was introduced to this recipe by one of my sisters a long time ago. I remember having this salad for the first time and tasting the fresh crisp vegetables, soft and salty artichoke hearts, firm boiled egg, creamy avocado, and the light and tangy dressing. I’ll admit. It was love at first bite. I love this salad because it’s really light, yet so satisfying. It really is the perfect salad to have for a light lunch or a great side dish for any type of grilled meat or fish. Next time you’re in the kitchen tryin’ to chop up a salad, give this salad a try. I guarantee you’ll be delightfully surprised…and wanting more!

Artichoke-Avocado De-light!
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 head Romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
1 small red pepper, sliced
1 small yellow pepper, sliced
1 can (14 oz or smaller) artichoke hearts
1 avocado, sliced
3 boiled eggs, cut into quarters.

Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing

1 cup olive oil
½ cup red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon (one squeeze) honey

Directions:

  1. Wisk olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and honey in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Arrange Romaine lettuce on a large flat salad dish. Begin to arrange red and yellow peppers followed by the remaining ingredients. Arrange them however you’d like. Be creative!
  3. Pour red wine vinaigrette dressing all over salad and serve. 

Source: M. De la Vega


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hibiscus-Citrus Tea



It’s funny how things change. I remember throughout my childhood my parents making different types of beverages, also known as ‘agua fresca,’ using fresh fruits, different types of tea, and even rice. I always thought, “Why can’t we be like everyone else and have cool-aid?” Back then, I was definitely not appreciative of these homemade drinks and thought they were nothing spectacular compared to an ice cold Coca Cola. Couple months ago, I was at a book store and ordered a drink to have while I caught up on all my celebrity gossip. The more I drank this tea; I wondered where I had this drink before, considering that the smell and taste of the tea seemed so familiar. I soon realized that the tea I had just purchased was in fact the same hibiscus tea my parents made all these years which they referred to as ‘agua de jamaica. I’ll admit. I was slightly disappointed at that point, because not only did I just pay about 3 dollars for this drink, but I also knew the simple recipe to this drink.
For those who are not too familiar with hibiscus tea, it is literally made from hibiscus flower pedals. The flower pedals are dried and packaged for use. That is why it is important to rinse the hibiscus pedals before use as well as to use a strainer when pouring the tea into a pitcher. Otherwise, you will get a lot of the dirt and dust that naturally is on the hibiscus pedals in your tea. Yuck! Hibiscus tea has a tart taste like cranberry juice and has a really beautiful crimson red color. Although I love this tea as it is, I wanted to recreate this recipe and add additional flavors. I figure if I flavor iced tea with lemons and sometimes peaches, why not add some sort of fruit to this hibiscus tea as well. I may have not liked this drink as a child, but as an adult I have grown to love it for its original and great taste. 



Hibiscus Citrus Tea

Ingredients:

8 cups water, plus 1 for simple syrup
1 cup dry hibiscus flowers (tea)
1 cup sugar
3 oranges

Directions:


  1. Using a strainer, wash hibiscus tea under cold water and pour into a pot with 8 cups of water and bring to a boil (about 15 minutes.)
  2. In a separate small pot, combine 1 cup of sugar, zest of 1 orange and juice of 2 oranges and bring to a boil. Set aside to cool when done.
  3. Once hibiscus tea comes to a boil, set aside to cool. Pour tea into a pitcher using a strainer.
  4. Pour in simple syrup to pitcher. Use as much simple syrup as you’d like. Usually, I use the entire cup. Serve over ice. 
Source: L.Chavez. Sweet,Spicy,and Sassy Original. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Guacamole Salsa



Guacamole is an excellent appetizer/side dish to serve especially once the warm weather comes around. I think what makes this dish so popular is that it’s easy to prepare and made with fresh ingredients. And may I add the perfect pair to an ice cold beer. JI know I have said this before, but it’s amazing what simple and fresh ingredients can create! The last couple of weeks, I have played around with a couple of guacamole recipes. Although I plan on sharing the other two, this ‘guacamole salsa recipe’ is in the lead for being my favorite! There are three things I love about this recipe: For one, there are two steps to making this recipe and then it’s ready to serve. Also, this guacamole salsa can be served with chips, over tacos, and even as a topping on your favorite burger. Additionally, while traditional guacamole can brown quite quickly, this recipe holds up pretty well for a couple of days. Blending the avocados with romaine lettuce leaves not only gives the guacamole awesome color, but texture. Personally, had I had spinach leaves in my fridge at the time, I would have thrown that in there too! Can you imagine the color and all the nutrients you’d get from adding spinach?! I hate to admit this, but I ate this guacamole all week. And I was quite disappointed when it was all gone. It was that good!

Guacamole Salsa
Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 large avocados
1 garlic clove
1 jalapeño pepper, cut length wise and remove seeds
½ teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 lime
2 romaine lettuce leaves
1 7oz can green pickled jalapeños
½ teaspoon olive oil

Directions:
  1. Cut and remove the seed from both avocados. Also, spoon out avocados into blender.
  2. Add in garlic clove, jalapeño, salt, lime juice, lettuce leaves, and olive oil into the blender. Slowly add in half of the liquid from the 7oz can of green pickled jalapeños into the blender.  Blend for 4 minutes, or until ingredients are well blended together. 
 Tip: When choosing avocados, pick them semi-hard and place them inside a paper bag. Leave the avocados inside the paper bag and outside of the refrigerator for 2 days, 3 days max, before use.

Source: L.Chavez. Sweet,Spicy, and Sassy Original.


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mascarpone Mushroom Tart



I got the idea for creating this next recipe from one of my favorite pasta dishes. I figured I love the combination of mushrooms and caramelized onions in pasta; why not find a way to use them in another dish?! As I was cooking with these ingredients, a variety of other dishes using the same ingredients came to mind. And there is no need to worry because I have jotted these ideas in my cooking journal and plan on sharing them soon! For this recipe, I used mascarpone cheese, an Italian cheese compared to a cream cheese, mushrooms, onions, parmesan cheese, and puff pastry to create a simple yet flavorful dish. Personally, I would serve this tart with a salad or as an appetizer and warm for best taste. Even though I’m sure your guests will love this dish, it’s filled with very rich ingredients; therefore, serving it in smaller portions will allow you and your guests to enjoy without having that feeling of overindulging. I hope you have been inspired to not only re-create this recipe, but some of your very own. And if you do, please be sure to come back and share!

 
 
Mascarpone Mushroom Tart
Serves 5, as a side dish

Ingredients:
1 sheet puff pastry
8 oz mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese, leave ¼ cup aside
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ lbs white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
½  an onion, sliced
½  teaspoon salt
¼  teaspoon black pepper
¼  teaspoon parsley flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add in the onions to
cook. Cook the onions until they start to caramelize then add the
mushrooms, parsley, and garlic to the pan. (add a splash of olive oil if needed)
3. Roll out puff pastry onto parchment-lined cookie sheet and prick
all over with a fork. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Set
aside to cool when done.
4. In a bowl, mix mascarpone cheese with shredded parmesan cheese and
a pinch of salt. Set aside.
5. Once puff pastry has completely cooled, take mascarpone mix and spread all over puff pastry.
6. Spoon mushroom mix onto puff pastry. Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup of parmesan cheese over tart and bake for 15 minutes.




Source: L.Chavez. Sweet,Spicy,and Sassy Original.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cucumber Water

I guarantee after today you will never look at cucumbers the same way.  For most of us, cucumbers are used in a variety of dishes or eaten as snacks. However, what I have for you today is not a dish, but a delicious drink. In Mexican cuisine, various fruits and vegetables are blended with water to create what is known in Spanish as, Agua Fresca. I originally was inspired to create my own recipe for this refreshing drink from my older sister, Lorena, and my mother-in-law. My sister makes a drink very similar to this one by making limeade and adding in chopped cucumbers. However, my mother-in-law doesn’t make a limeade base, but simply blends cucumbers together for color and flavor. Personally, I like both drinks, but I wanted to create my own recipe. The first time I made this drink, it was delicious, but I couldn’t taste the flavor from the ten million limes I felt I squeezed in. Then a light bulb went off inside my head and I thought, “make a simple syrup.” I ended up making a simple syrup and added in the zest of the lime to infuse it with lime flavor, which ended up giving my drink the flavor I was looking for. This drink is perfect to serve on a hot day. It’s delicious, sweet, and refreshing. Now….I am not only giving you this recipe for a great spring/summer beverage, but giving you a tip on how to turn it into a great cocktail as well. The idea of this cocktail came to me this morning, which is weird because I don’t normally think of drinking or creating cocktails at ten in the morning, and I must say….. it’s pretty frikin’ good! This drink is filled with sweet and refreshing flavors from the cucumber water, yet the salty flavor that lingers on the palate is quite enjoyable too. Next time you make this beverage, you too will be asking yourself if it’s five o’clock somewhere!

Cucumber Water
Source: L.Chavez. Inspired by L.Armenta and H.Sandoval.
Serves 4

Ingredients:
2 cumbers, washed and sliced
9 cups water total, set one aside
1 cup sugar
Juice of 3 limes
Zest of 1 lime

Directions:
  1. In a small pot, bring together one cup of water, sugar, and the zest of one lime. Let ingredients come to a simmer and turn off.
  2. Meanwhile, fill blender with 4 cups of water and 1 of the 2 cucumbers and blend for 2 minutes. Pour liquid through a strainer into a pitcher. Repeat step with second cucumber.
  3. Once all ingredients have been blended, strained, and poured into the pitcher, add in lime juice and lime flavored simple syrup.  Add in as much simple syrup as you’d like. (I added in about ¾ of syrup into the pitcher I prepared.)
  4. Serve drink with ice.




Southern Chavez

Ingredients:
6 ounces of cucumber water
Juice of 1 lime
½-1 shot of any white tequila
Margarita salt for rim

Directions:
  1. Rim a rocks glass with lime and dip into margarita salt.
  2. Pour ice into rocks glass.
  3. In a shaker, combine cucumber water, lime juice, and tequila. Shake and pour drink into rimmed rocks glass.
  4. Garnish with lime
Source: L.Chavez. Sweet,Spicy, and Sassy Original.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Chipotle Citrus Chicken



I came up with the following recipe after having one of my mother’s pork tenderloin recipes. Although I loved her dinner, I knew I had to modify her recipe because I don’t cook pork often in my home. I figured I would use chicken instead of pork and create a sauce that would be sweet, savory, and spicy. Sound familiar?! Prior to getting down to business in my kitchen, I wrote down a list of ingredients that I could possibly mix together. Let me tell you….experimenting in the kitchen can turn out to be exspensive! But after all said and done, I feel that I created what is a kickin’ sauce! You’re going to love this sauce for two reasons: for one, the sauce can be made and frozen for later use and this dish is even better the second time around. Imagine that! A dish so good, it’s even better as leftovers!! And may I add that it presents itself quite beautifully. Enjoy!


Chipotle Citrus Chicken
Serves 4

1 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 red pepper, sliced
½ onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dry parsley
1 teaspoon organic chicken broth seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 chicken breasts
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
3 carrots, peeled and cut on an angle

Directions:

  1. In a blender, combine orange juice, ketchup, parsley, chicken broth seasoning, salt, and chipotle pepper and blend for 3 minutes. (Sauce should taste sweet and savory. If sauce is too spicy, add in a little more orange juice.) Set sauce aside.
  2. Preheat olive oil in a medium size pot over medium heat. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper. Brown chicken breast for about 2 minutes on each side and remove from heat.
  3. In the same pot cook the sliced onions until a light brown color. Add in the minced garlic and the sliced red pepper and cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Place chicken breast back into pot and pour sauce over all over. Cover and turn heat down to low and simmer for an hour.
  5.  Add in potatoes and carrots to the pot after the chicken has cooked for an hour. Cover and simmer for an extra 30 minutes, or until chicken is fork tender.


Note:  Dish can also be cooked in the oven. Place seasoned chicken breast, onion and pepper slices, potatoes, carrots, and sauce in a baking dish. Cover baking dish with foil and bake at 375 for an hour and a half.
Place remaining chipotle peppers in small zip lock bags and freeze for later use.

Source: L.Chavez. Inspired by E.Martinez

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Chocolate Creme Brulee

Is it really possible to go crazy over a dessert? I think it is. And frankly, it’s quite normal too. Crème brûlée is one of those desserts that I am bananas about! I knew the moment I was going to go through with this blog that crème brûlée would be one of recipes mentioned here. There is something about this dessert that sounds so fancy. Perhaps it’s the French name, or the misconception that it’s a dessert to be eaten at an expensive restaurant. Kinda’ crazy, but I’ve read that, at one point, crème brûlée was also known as burnt cream. Can you imagine being at a nice restaurant and ordering the burnt cream? Hell, I’d still eat it!  Believe it or not, I was very intimidated about making this dessert in my kitchen. I mean, I’ve heard my friends on the Food Network warn me about whisking in very warm ingredients into egg yolks because they’ll scramble. “Great,” I thought, “this will definitely happen to me.” However, this all changed when I flipped through the pages of a magazine and found this recipe for crème brûlée. I noticed, then and there, that the recipe for this dessert is really not that complicated and that it was time to put on my cooking apron on and overcome my fear. Making this dessert really was easy! Although I did follow the recipe, I will admit that after the whipping cream mixture was done boiling, I let it cool down longer than the 15 minutes suggested on the recipe. After all, I was determined to not mess this recipe up by having the mixture turn into scrambled eggs! I know I’ve already mentioned how crazy I am for this dessert and am happy I get to scratch it off my ‘cooking bucket list’. But this recipe has more of a special meaning to it considering that I made this especially for my husband’s Birthday, which happens to be today. Happy Birthday to ‘my everything,’ the person who always lets me eat the caramelized sugar off of our crème brûlée.


Chocolate Crème Brûlée
Serves 10
1 ¾ cups whipping cream
½  cup sugar
¼ cup half-and-half or light cream
½ of a vanilla bean, split lengthwise (you can substitute 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract for vanilla bean)
6 egg yolks
¼ cup sugar
1/3 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon of milk


  1. Preheat oven to 300. In a medium saucepan combine whipping cream, ½ cup of sugar, and half-and-half. Additionally, scrape out seeds from vanilla bean or pour in the 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract into saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat just until mixture comes to boiling. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes to infuse cream mixture with vanilla flavor. Remove vanilla pod; discard or reserve for another use. Also, in a microwave-safe bowl warm chocolate chips with milk for about 30 seconds and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk egg yolks until combined. Gradually whisk warm cream mixture into egg yolks. After, mix in the melted chocolate into mix.
  3. Place ten 2-ounce ramekins in a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Divide cream mixture evenly among ramekins. Place baking pan on an oven rack. Pour hot water into baking pan around ramekins to reach a depth of ¾ inch.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until centers appear set when gently shaken. Remove ramekins from water; cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours.
  5. To serve, sprinkle ¼ cup sugar evenly over tops of custards. Using a culinary blow torch, heat sugar until a bubbly brown crust forms.


Shrimp-A la Diabla

If spicy is what you like, then this recipe is definitely for you! The sauce known as A la Diabla, is a red, sweet, and spicy concoction poured over grilled shrimp. What I enjoy about making this sauce is that I can make it as spicy as I want it to be. Plus, other than possibly having to buy a bag of chiles needed for the recipe, most of the other ingredients I guarantee are already in my kitchen. Now I’ve had this sauce at well known restaurants before, but it doesn’t compare to this sauce. Yup, I will say it again, “this recipe for A la Diabla sauce is by far the best I’ve ever had!” In addition to being a simple dish to prepare, it can be served with different sides. White rice, avocado slices, lime wedges, and tostada chips are commonly paired with this dish. However, on the days when I’m feeling like a ‘bad ass cook’ I whip up a quick guacamole, because paired with the shrimp they make a phenomenal combination. Once, I even turned this dish semi-Italian by pouring the shrimp and sauce over angel hair pasta. (That’s called improvising, or realizing after the dish was made that you have run out of rice to cook.J) Once you have made this sauce with shrimp, feel free to explore and pair it with other seafood. You’ll be amazed at how delightfully tasty this ‘devilish’ sauce really is!



Shrimp- A la Diabla
Serves 3-4

1 ½ lbs of raw or cooked frozen medium sized shrimp
1 large tomato
2 large garlic cloves peeled
2-4 Chiles de Arbol (Use one chile pepper for mild sauce)
½ cup of ketchup
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 tsp of salt, divided in two
½ tsp of black pepper

Directions:

1.Create an X on the top of the tomato and place in a pot of water. Let this boil for about 15 mins or so on high, or until the skin of the tomato starts to peel off.

 2.Next, if you are using raw shrimp, peel and clean shrimp, but leave the tail on. Make sure you clean both sides of the shrimp. Shrimp have a vein on each side that should be removed. If you are using frozen shrimp, follow thawing directions on the bag which normally consists of running shrimp under cold water in a colander.

 3. Heat the 2 tablespoons of Olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Take the 2-4 chiles you will be using and toast them in the Olive oil ( literally 2 minutes) and remove from oil. Once the tomato is cooked, drain water, let cool, and then peel the skin off of the tomato.
3. Take the tomato, 2 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon of salt, ½ cup of ketchup, and your chiles (at this time remove the stems) and blend all together for 2 minutes or until well blend together.
 4.At this point, go ahead and reheat the pan with the Olive oil and cook shrimp. Season shrimp with salt and pepper to taste.
4.Cook shrimp for about 3-4 minutes, or until they have turned color.

5.Pour the sauce in the pan with the shrimp and simmer for about 10  mins on low. If sauce is too thick or spicy add in a little ketchup.
Serve this dish with white rice, avocado slices, and tostadas/chips.

Adapted from original cook, H. Sandoval