About Me

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Houston, TX
Just your atypical hispanic male living in the big city

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tomato Sauce - not all from scratch

Everybody loves Italian and I am one of those individuals that truly does love to make Italian. Making a great tomato sauce is rather important especially if you incorporate that sauce into some dish. Sometimes though, I don't want to go all out and get all the fresh ingredients that are required when making it.

2 tbsp basil, chopped                      2 tbsp oregano, chopped
4 tbsp minced garlic                        1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped                2 cans of tomato sauce
4 small cans of tomato sauce           2 cups white wine
1 tsp olive oil                                  salt and pepper to taste

When working with fresh veggies, I love to roast them. Toss the veggies with olive oil, salt and some pepper. Place them in a baking dish as the juices will drip down. Make sure the oven is in broil. This allows the veggies to broil and cook faster. Once you have roasted for at least 10 minutes, take the baking dish out and let cool for about 4 minutes.

While that is roasting, add oil to a large pot. Add the tomato sauce, white wine and small cans. Add salt and pepper to taste. After I have roasted the veggies, I puree the veggies. I add the puree to the tomato sauce into the pot. First, start to cook it to a boil stirring occasionally. Bring it down to a simmer continuing to stir for 4 hours. Taste to check if it may need additional salt or pepper. You will notice that it will get thick.

For today, I am making a baked penne with the tomato sauce that I made. It has seasoned meat (beef and italian pork sausage mixture) that has been cooked. Great with a side salad and some bread.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Asian Chicken Sandwich

Well it's Tuesday and I am taking out my chicken that I cooked on Sunday for Asian Chicken Sandwich. Some people might find it a little time consuming to make everything all on a Sunday, but its well worth it when you have a hectic work week. This week is no exception. Remember, this was cooked while I had the roast in the oven and other things cooking for the week.

1/2 cup soy
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp teriyaki sauce
1 tsp worchesterchire
1 pinch garlic powder
1 pinch onion powder
1 pinch curry powder
1 pinch ginger powder
pepper to taste
4 chicken breast thinly cut (or 2 large chicken breast, cut in half makes 4)
1 tsp oil OR use some of the bacon drippings
6 slices of bacon
1/2 cup chicken broth
iceberg lettuce
cucumber (sliced)
slices of bread (your choice, french bread is great or bolillos work)

Asian Mayo: (mix and let it set on the side in the refrig)
1/2 cup mayo
1 dash of garlic, onion, curry and ginger powders (1 ea)
1 dash of worchesterchire
1 tsp soy

Start with the marinade. Mix first 8 ingredients into a small mixing bowl. Add the chicken to the mixture making sure that it is completely covered with the marinade. Allow to sit for about 1/2 an hour. While that is marinating, cook the 6 slices of bacon until crisp. When it is done, use either the bacon drippings or oil to cook the chicken. Place your chicken breasts along with the marinade into the pan. Allow it to cook. Notice you will get a little caramelization. Add the chicken broth to give it some additional moisture, but it also helps in the cooking process especially if you didn't have alot of oil in your pan (or you didn't cook with oil at all).

Once you are ready to eat, get your bread sliced and toast them. Add your mayo that you prepared. Add some iceberg, cucumber, cilantro (or in my case, some avocado as well). Then you can add the bacon and chicken. Remember to reheat your chicken (especially if you cooked a couple of days in advance). Enjoy it with some curry chips! I sprinkled some ginger, cayenne and curry to my potato chips!

Roast anyone?

As I have said before, I learned many little things from my grandmother. One of those things was making a roast. Of course she always had her own mexican way of doing a roast and then she would use it for tacos and the like. I am sharing a simple roast that I typically use when its just for me and M. I just decided to make this along with mash taters, and squash.

3 tbsp worcestershire
1 cup red wine, cabernet is good
3 tbsp garlic, minced
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp paprika
1 bay leaf
2 tsp thyme
1 large onion, chopped
3 sprigs of rosemary
2 sprigs tarragon
2 cups beef broth
2 pats of butter
1 tsp olive oil
5 tbsp flour

Preheat the oven at 250. Keep in mind this is a day long affair and slow cooking the meat in this manner makes the meat very tender. I normally start it at 9am. Mix all the salt, pepper, paprika and mix with the meat making sure it is covered with the spices. Place into a baking dish. Add the wine and worcestershire to the meat. Add the onion on top of the meat. Cover with the sprigs of rosemary and tarragon. Cover with the foil and place into the oven. It will slowly cook and check the meat every 2 to 3 hours. It normally is done by 6 to 7 hrs. All depends on how you like your meat. Once it is done, take out of the oven and let it set for another 20 minutes.

Now if you like gravy, heat a sauce pan adding the olive oil and butter. Add your flour to the pan and brown the flour making it into a roux. Once you have it browned, add the leftover drippings from the meat and the beef broth. Continue to mix until the mixture becomes more thick like a gravy. Reduce the heat and continue to cook until it gets a good thick consistency.

For this week, I also made some chicken for salad and open faced sandwiches.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Diez y Seis de Septiembre (16th of September)

So its been a rather busy week, but we always need some down time and enjoy the small things in life. Today is no exception. As many of those who do keep up with Mexican History, today is the 16th of September. Most of Mexico truly recognize this day more than the 5th of May (ironically, the 5th of May was a battle and involved the French...but enough with the history). When I was a teacher, the bilingual teachers would do something for 5 de Mayo, but we also did something small for the 16th. I have continued this tradition where I currently work.

Today, I decided that I would bring in Mexican Sweet Bread from El Bolillo Bakery (http://elbolillo.com/). Luckily, they open at 5am so I was able to get what I needed. They have really good pastries as well as great Tres Leches. It is across from the Farmer's Market and it's always packed.

Then, I decided to get some tacos. Of course, no taqueria was open at 6 am, so I ended up going to Taco Cabana. At least they will be well fed for breakfast.

Let's enjoy this day today with a margarita and plenty of good food and camaraderie. ¡Qué viva México! ¡Qué viva la Independencia!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Chicken with your Leftover Salsa

Ever thought about what to do with leftover salsa? On Labor Day weekend, I made a rather healthy portion of homemade salsa. I love to use salsa in different ways and normally I make enough to use for multiple purposes. Most of the time I use it as a sauce sometimes to cook with meats and the like.

This week, I have planned 2 different salads, but I bought chicken to be cooked for the week. Here is a simple recipe that you can use:

3 chicken breasts
1tbsp olive oil
1 whole onion
1 medium bell pepper
3 tbsp Minced garlic
1 tsp cumin
Ground Pepper to taste
Salt to taste
1 cup Chicken Stock
Leftover Salsa (if you prefer to use it spicy, then use spicier salsa)

Dice onions and bellpepper. Also, cut breasts into strips. Heat up the pan and add the oil. Add the chicken, onions, minced garlic and bellpepper to the pan. Once it starts to cook, add the spices, salsa and chicken stock. Continue to cook the chicken. Lower the heat as the chicken stock will slowly dissipate. As you continue to cook the chicken, you will notice that the chicken is more tender.

What do I plan to do with this chicken? Well, I have planned to use some of the chicken for chalupas (a topper of a bean and cheese tostada). For another day, I plan to make quesadillas. Now to try to relax before the work week!

Friday, September 9, 2011

What's for Leftovers at work?

I have been known to think fast on my feet with whatever I have on hand especially when in the kitchen. At the place I work, we have been rather busy as its our "busy season". Yesterday, we had baked potatoes along with salad for those who were working late.

Today, after going to the gym at 4am this morning, I was rather hungry. I didn't want to spend any money going downstairs to the deli, so I decided to improvise.

Jason's Deli provided all that I needed and I came up with this. I just diced up the potato. I added pepper and had it reheated. I took it out and also added some bacon, cheese, VERY LITTLE SALT. Placed it back in the micro for another minute. Added some green onion and salsa. A good breakfast with coffee and toast. Abuelita would be proud!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mexican Cornbread

It's another day and I was recently asked for a recipe for Mexican Cornbread after talking about it for sometime. This recipe is great and, being Mexican American (sorta a food snob when it comes to mexican food), I truly have to give some big kudos to Lynnda Clayton for giving me a taste of this when I first met her quite sometime back.

I have to say that she is a very strong woman and I always do appreciate what she does. I have learned a lot from how she cooks and the fact that she loves food as equally as I do.

Well anyway, enjoy this recipe as I know we do!


Cast iron skillet or pan
1 lb Ground meat
Taco seasonings (cumin, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, some dried Mexican oregano)
Salt to taste
One onion medium chopped

1 cup Corn meal
Can of cream corn
1 cup milk
2 eggs
½ tsp baking soda
¾  tsp salt
½ cup oil or bacon drippings (bacon drippings are better for flavor)

¾ lb cheddar cheese
1 jalapeno chopped (opt)

Preheat oven to 375. In a separate skillet, brown the meat and the onion. Add seasonings to your taste. Everyone is different and adding your own seasonings to however spicy you like your meat. Add salt to your taste. You can add the jalapenos after you have poured the cornbread.

Mix corn meal, cream corn, milk, eggs, baking soda, salt. In the cast iron, pour (or spoon your bacon drippings) the oil into the pan and place into the oven. Make sure you spread the oil or bacon drippings throughout the pan. Let sit for 45 minutes.

Take cast iron pan out and pour out the oil/drippings. Whatever oil/drippings have been poured out, mix into the batter. Spread ½ of batter mixture into the cast iron/pan. Add the meat mixture.

Add the cheese after that and then add the other half of the cornbread mixture.

Place back into the oven and let cook for about 45 to an hour depending on your oven. Take out and let sit for another 45 minutes.

Serve with a salad...or if its really cold...some chili!

Monday, September 5, 2011

So...what's the plan for this week?

Well, as some of my closest friends know, my partner is about to leave in less than 5 days to San Antonio. This will be a struggle, but we will get through this for at least a year. After that, we will see. This whole weekend, we (more like I...since he has been working this whole weekend) have been packing. Busy Busy Busy!!!

So what am I planning to do this week considering that I have a very busy week ahead? Well, to start off. I always get my proteins. Luckily, yesterday Mike was the grill master and grilled me some chicken for today. I have some leftover beef as well. I also have some ground meat that I am going to use for burgers.

I always have at least 2 salads for the week. As you can tell, I love food, but I do need a little of a balance.

So, today I have made burgers (with onions, spices and stuffed with a slice of chipotle gouda). Along with that, I have made sliced beef with onions and mushrooms (in a beef stock, spices, balsamic vinegar and worcestershire redux sauce).

And for today's dinner, I made the grilled chicken with a white wine and raspberry chipotle BBQ sauce, mac and cheese (with velveeta, chipotle gouda and colby jack) and some french cut green beans.

Today has been rather busy. Will have some leftover cupcakes for dessert!


I always have been told that I was a good cook. I guess I would have to say that my grandmother really taught me some tough lessons, but she always knew that I had a good knack for learning how to cook...and this really started at an early age.

Since then, I continue to cook and be inspired by what I see, hear and taste when I go to those great restaurants here in Houston and other areas that I have traveled to. Well, let's see what happens with this blog...Enjoy!

 This was inspired by some friends who came over last night. I made some strawberry cupcakes. The cake batter had some fresh diced strawberries. It was great!

Today, decided to make breakfast as it was Labor Day. Especially since my partner is busy working away and I had to leave in a little bit to go to the gym.

Mushroom, onion and ham omelet with a side of wheat toast.

The only problem...Mike decides to always add potato toppers to the omelets I make...geesh.  :)