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Pork with Zucchini and Corn Stew/Calabacitas Con Puerco y Elote

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Right now during the summertime, I’m taking as much advantage as I can of the seasonal vegetables available, like corn, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, and many herbs. This recipe can be slightly different from the version you’ve tried at tex-mex restaurants. What follows is just a basic recipe that I adjust depending on my mood or what ingredients I have on hand. For example, I might substitute serranos for jalapeños, or fresh corn for frozen corn (when not in season). Also, instead of stewing the meat, I might decide to brown it first and then slowly simmer it with the rest of the ingredients. It’s a great family meal that will please almost everyone.

This is a very beloved dish in many homes in Mexico, somehow this combination of pork with the vegetables makes for a memorable meal.  In Mexico, squash and zucchini are used in many soups, stews and other types of dishes. Either squash or zucchini will work fine for this recipe.The name in Spanish for this dish is “Calabacitas con Puerco y Elote”. You can also find it without the corn, and cooked in a green or red sauce.

It is usually served with a side of rice, and (obviously) a good amount of warm tortillas to scoop out the sauce with.

 MAKES 6 SERVINGS
INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 LB. Pork Roast or stew meat, trimmed of fat, cut in 1 in. cubes*
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil **
  • 1 cup white or red onion, diced (About 1/2 medium onion)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Jalapeno Peppers, diced
  • 1 cup of fresh corn kernels (1 fresh corn in the cob)
  • 2 cups of zucchini or squash, cut in 1/2 in cubes. (About 2 medium sizes)
  • 3 large tomatoes, diced.  (About 2 1/2 cups, diced)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 small branch of cilantro.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
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NOTES:
  • *You can substitute the pork meat for chicken in this recipe.
  • **If the pork meat renders some fat, use 2 tablespoons of that fat instead of the vegetable oil, and remove the excess.
  • Some cooks season this stew with oregano. Others will prefer Epazote or Mexican Mint instead of the cilantro.
DIRECTIONS:
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1. Place meat in a large skillet with one cup of water and the bay leaf. Cover and cook on medium heat for 20 minutes.

2. If there’s any broth left from the meat, set aside and reserve to add later on. Add 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil** and sauté the meat in medium-high heat until slight browned. Stir occasionally to keep it from sticking to the pan. About 3-4 minutes.

3. Add the onion, garlic and jalapeno pepper to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasional until they soften, for about 3 minutes. Add corn and cook for another 3 minutes. Add squash or zucchini, toss well, and cook for about 5 more minutes.

calabacitas con puerco10A 4. Stir in the tomatoes and any leftover cooking broth. Stir in the cilantro and ground cumin.

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5. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until pork and vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; serve with rice and warm tortillas.


What is your favorite childhood meal?



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Shrimp Cocktail with Habanero Sauce/Coctel de Camarones

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. Shrimp Cocktail Camaron1A
When you grow up in a seaport city, you know that seafood it going to be a big part of your life, and more so if you happen to live between the Navy Yard and a seafood packing warehouse. Believe it or not, I actually didn’t like eating fish and seafood as a child! I thought we ate it a little too often, especially that summer that my older brother took a job next door at the seafood warehouse. Almost every other day he would come home from work carrying a big bucket of shrimp. Fried shrimp, steamed shrimp, garlic shrimp, shrimp in sauce, shrimp cocktails, shrimp with rice… my Mom made it all. I felt like I was Bubba from Forrest Gump! I was eager for classes to start again, that way my brother could go back to high school and we could finally take a break from all that shrimp.
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Fruit Gazpacho with Homemade Chamoy Sauce +Giveaway!


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 This is a Sponsored Campaign by McCormick; the photos and opinions here are my own.
Celebrations are a big part of Mexican culture, from baptisms, quinceañeras, birthdays, graduations, or our soccer’s team last win, we use anything as an excuse to get together with friends and family. Food is obviously a big part of these celebrations, and the customs of the local region play a big part in what will be served at the table. Growing up in the northeastern part of Mexico, the food at children’s birthday parties were ham and cheese sandwiches, cake, and candy bags for the kids to take home. The piñata was (and still is) also one of the main events at birthday parties, to the point that some people still refer to a child’s birthday party as a “Piñata”, like in: “we’re going to a Piñata today”, instead of a birthday party.
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Vegetable Garden Soup/Sopa de Milpa

 Sopa de MilpaA.jpg I am one of those people that has mixed feelings about Summer. The one side of Summer that I love are the farmer’s markets with all the fruits and vegetables you can enjoy during this season. But there is that other side that I am not very fond of, and that is the heat. You know, those days when the thermometer reaches above 90 degrees with lots of humidity. When we have those hot days here in the East Coast, I keep myself indoors, or as my mom will say, “inside the fridge”, as if I were a ham that will spoil outside in the hot weather. But, I can’t complain; this year has been marvelous, let me say it again, marvelous. I am talking 60-65 degrees in the morning hours, feels more like spring. So far so good. But going back to the first reason of liking Summer, the many fruits and vegetables available. You find all kinds of vegetables showing up all at once at the market and you are tempted to take them all home. So, here is a recipe for you to enjoy several times this summer in a bowl.
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Crab Salpicon-Salpicon de Jaiba

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This simple-to-make but flavorful dish is a common staple found in the seafood restaurants of my hometown Tampico, in the State of Tamaulipas. Tamaulipas is located in the northeast part of the country, just south of the Texan border. Although the oil industry is a major part of the economy in Tampico, commercial and recreational fishing is an important part of the lives of its habitants. People born in Tampico are informally known as “Jaibas” (Crabs), and the crab is used as an emblem all around town. Tampico’s ideal location on the Gulf of Mexico, along the Panuco River and surrounded by lagoons, makes it an important player in the country’s fishing production, as well as in the international fishing tournaments. Shrimp, crayfish, oysters, and blue crabs are the common catches in the State of Tamaulipas; freshwater fish and tilapia are also abundant throughout the state.
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Carne Asada Recipe


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This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with Kikkoman and Latina Bloggers Connect

From time to time, I receive emails asking some common questions about the Carne Asada recipe, the first one being how to marinate the meat. I always give out the same answer: every cook or grill master has their own unique way of seasoning their meat. In Mexico, if you were using a high quality meat, like those from the State of Sonora, for example, you would just add salt, but there are other marinating techniques and customs that vary depending on the region of the country that you’re dealing with. For example, in the south and in the Gulf of Mexico where bitter orange (Seville Orange) is grown, cooks will add some of it’s juice to the meat; in other regions they will add lime juice, and in still others cooks will add a splash of beer while grilling or marinating the meat. Everyone has their own preference of beer, as well.


I decided to ask my friends and family all over Mexico for their preferred list of ingredients when marinating meat for grilling. The answers were just what I expected: just add salt, some bitter orange or lime juice, and a bit of your favorite beer. Other options include ground pepper and steak sauce. for more sophisticated palates, you can use herbs like rosemary, coarse sea salt, fresh or powder garlic, or prepared store-bought steak seasonings.
carne asada13d.jpg Now the second question I get is charcoal or gas, and the answer is obviously charcoal (or wood, if you can). Even though gas grills are growing in popularity, charcoal is still the main grilling method.
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The third question I get is about what to serve alongside carne asada. Usually it would be guacamole, some grilled green onions, a fresh made salsa, corn tortillas, and another dish that may vary with region. In Mexico, this could be grilled nopales (in central Mexico), small clay pots with the famous “queso fundido”, frijoles charros (common in the northern states) or baked potatoes and white onions, wrapped in aluminum foil and placed on the grill to cook. 
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Here in the United States, I’ve found Arrachera/Fajita to be a favorite among Tex-Mex and Mexican restaurants.

There are many different types of cuts for grilling in Mexico, and their quality is selected according to the amount of fat marbling that each cut has. The amount of fat will contribute to the taste, softness, and juiciness of the meat. Following are some common cuts for grilling:

Rib Eye, also known as “Bife Chorizo”, is one of the best cuts for grilling for its juiciness, and is sold in 3/4 inch steaks. It is also one of the most expensive cuts in the market. Then we have Porter House, also know as T-Bone, whose T-shaped bone helps retain heat and shorten cooking time on the grill. Sirloin, also known as “Churrasco” or “Aguayon”, is a clean cut with lower fat content; it is recommended to be bought in 3/4 inch steaks to preserve softness while grilling. Then we have the famous Fajita, or “Arrachera”. This cut is very common and is usually marinated before grilling. It is sold whole or in a specialty cut, which butchers call “fileteado”. Short Ribs are tender with a nice marbling, and are usually cut across the ribs, 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick. And finally we have a cut known as “Aguja Norteña”, or Chuck Steak, a very popular and low cost cut of meat. Sold with or without the bone, this cut becomes very flavorful and soft when grilled.

Now, you might be wondering: “Where is the recipe for Carne Asada?” “If Mexican cooks just add salt and a bit of lime, then what do they put in the Fajitas at the Mexican restaurant that makes them taste so good?”

Well, besides their own personal marinade, many of them have something special that they add to it. And that special ingredient is Soy Sauce. Yep. A long time ago, a foodie friend was telling me about her family Mexican Restaurant and I asked the same question about the Carne Asada. She told me that the secret is adding soy sauce, and right before the meat is going to be served at the table, it is placed on a very hot cast iron skillet when a few drops of soy sauce are added. That is why when the waiter is bringing your meat to the table the whole cast iron plate is sizzling and smelling so good.

For this recipe we’ll be using Kikkoman Soy Sauce, since it is a very versatile ingredient that can be used in many types of cuisines, and better yet, is readily available anywhere here in the US.
 
SERVES 4-6
INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 Pounds Flank Steak or Skirt Steak
  • 1 Orange, juiced
  • 2 Limes, juiced
  • 1/4 cup light beer
  • 2 Tabs. Kikkoman Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 Large white onion sliced (Optional)
  • Vegetable oil to brush the grill before grilling
TO SERVE:
  • Corn tortillas
  • Guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Lime wedges
  • Grilled green onions and Nopales or a Salad of your choice.
NOTES:
  • There’s no salt in this recipe, as the Kikkoman Sauce, besides being a flavor enhancer, takes the place of salt. By using 1/2 tsp of Kikkoman Soy Sauce in place of 1/2 tsp of regular table salt in your recipes, you will reduce the sodium content of the recipe by 1000mg. Of course, you can still add salt if your taste desires it. For more recipes using Kikkoman Soy Sauce, visit Kikkoman Sabor.
  • This recipe is my own, I hope you enjoy it.
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DIRECTIONS:
1. Place the Flank steak in a large baking dish and, if using the sliced onion, spread the slices over the meat.
2. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the orange juice, lime juice, light beer, Kikkoman Soy Sauce, Vegetable oil, and freshly ground black pepper.
3. Pour the marinate over the meat, cover with a plastic film, and refrigerated for at least one hour.
4. Light up you charcoal grill, or preheat your gas grill. You can also use a cast iron grill pan, the ones you use over the stove top. Brush your grill with a little vegetable oil, this will prevent the meat from sticking.
5. Remove meat from marinade, and pat dry. Place meat on the grill and cook for 8 to 10 minutes per side. Cooking time will depend on the meat thickness and your personal preferences, either medium or well done. Remove meat from grill and place on your cutting board. Slice and serve with corn tortillas and other garnishes mentioned above.
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6. If you would like to have the same effect as that of the Mexican American restaurant, place the cooked meat on a preheated cast iron pan, add a few drops of Kikkoman Soy Sauce, and serve immediately. Enjoy!
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It is best to enjoy a cut of roast meat that’s freshly cooked and served while still smoking.
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About Kikkoman: Kikkoman was started by a woman in a time when women didn’t start companies. The company has been governed for 19 generations, not by a corporate policy, but by a family philosophy – Isogaba maware, a Japanese axiom that translates into “Make Haste Slowly.” It means to advance and grow, but to do so with tremendous thought and care. From its meticulous six-month natural brewing process to a heritage that dates back to feudal Japan, Kikkoman has exemplified this philosophy since its humble beginnings in the seventeenth century. A family business to this day, Kikkoman’s growth has been inspired and guided by a family creed, a set of 16 articles passed down for nineteen generations. This creed speaks to the core values that have enabled Kikkoman to survive and thrive for more than 300 years. Follow Kikkoman on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about their products and special offers. #Ad #Sponsored
More ideas to use Kikkoman Soy Sauce:
  • Ponzu seasoned soy sauce is great on seafood, grilled meats and vegetables to add a splash of savory flavor Lime ponzu enhances the flavor of meat dishes like carne asada, carnitas and fajitas.
  • A splash of soy sauce can give anything from salsa fresca to carnitas an added boost of flavor.
  • Kikkoman lime or lemon ponzu acts as an all-in-one grilling marinade.
  • Brush Kikkoman Teriyaki on your meat before cooking to enhance flavor and add a tangy, savory flavor.
  • Kikkoman Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce features Asian spices and chili peppers, a hot sauce that adds a kick when used as a marinade for meat or as a condiment.
  • Kikkoman Rice Vinegar is ideal for emboldening flavor in salads, paella and soups. For more ideas visit: Kikkoman Sabor

What is your favorite way to use soy sauce?

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