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Mexican Dessert Buffet Table and Calling Family and Friends

Mexican dessert buffet1 This week I had a great time participating at the Cricket Wireless Celebration for the Hispanic Heritage Month. As a member of the Hispanic Community in the Washington DC area, they invited me to feature some desserts from our Latin culture. To celebrate the Hispanic Heritage Month, Cricket Wireless was offering free international calls to the anyone who attended the event. We live in a multicultural community here in this area and we greeted people from Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, El Salvador, and other Latin American countries. It’s nice to see that more and more US companies are reaching out to the Hispanic community, learning and embracing our culture with promotional events like this one.
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Salsa Molcajeteada with Bird Peppers

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Salsa Molcajeteada means that the salsa is prepared and (most of the times) served in the Molcajete (Lava rock Mortar). The tomatoes and peppers, as well as some other of the salsa’s ingredients, will be grinded in the Molcajete. Some people like to roast the ingredients before using them in the salsa, while others like to boil them. Personally, I prefer to roast the peppers, tomatoes, and garlic when making this salsa. The pepper used in this recipe is a small pepper, from a variety that changes slightly from region to region, and is known by several names across the country. I know it as “Chile de Monte”, which means “field pepper”. It grows in the northern parts of Mexico, but similar peppers grow in the central and southern parts of the country, such as the Amashito, Piquin, Chiltepin, and Petin peppers. Although it is a small plant (around half a meter tall), it can grow peppers all year-round when in a good environment. This pepper is considered to be hotter than jalapeño peppers, and is usually eaten raw, although it can also be found in pickled form.
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Pastel de Tres Leches-Hispanic Heritage Month

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Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser have compensated this shop. All opinions are my own.

This month we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15th to October 15th. During this month, America celebrates the cultural and historical contributions of the people who came to this country from Mexico, Central and South America, and Spain. September 15 is a day of celebration in many Latin-American countries, since they declared their independence between the 15th and 18thof September. Some of these countries include Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador.

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As someone who was born and raised in Mexico, I've found that there aren't many differences in how people from other Latin-American countries were raised; our roots, customs, and traditions are very alike. It’s actually funny when you meet someone from another country and find out that you watched the same TV shows or ate the same snacks as kids.


At the end of the day, it’s the simple things that connect us the most, like enjoying a cup of coffee with our friends and family. When you invite someone over for a cup of coffee in Latin America, you know that hours of good conversation will follow. I remember that my mom would always offer visitors something cold to drink or a hot cup of coffee, depending on the weather. And when I say “coffee”, I don’t mean the kind that you grind and brew in a coffee machine. No, we were brought up drinking Nescafe. Yes, Nescafe, the granulated coffee that only needs hot water and “La Lechera” to make a good cup of “Café con Leche” almost instantaneously.

Even today, you can go to any Latin store and see people buying the exact same things that you’ve lived with for as long as you can remember, products like Chocolate Abuelita, Nescafe (instant coffee mix), and La Lechera (condensed milk). All these products are now readily available almost everywhere, starting from your local Wal-Mart store.

To celebrate the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, let’s make a cake, one that’s associated with birthday parties, graduations, baptisms, and all kind of celebrations (I guess we always have a good excuse to celebrate!). Many people love Pastel de Tres Leches. Some trace its origin to Nicaragua, others to Mexico, but I guess what matters is how good it tastes and how easy it is to make it!
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La Lechera”: that is the name of the condensed milk made by Nestle. “Lechera” means “milk lady”, and if you look at the picture on the can, you can see that there’s a lady holding a pot of milk on her head. #NuestroSabor #CollectiveBias

12 SERVINGS
INGREDIENTS:


Butter to grease the pan
1 ¼ cup All Purpose Flour, sifted (plus extra for dusting pan)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt*
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled (1 stick)
1 cup sugar
5 whole eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

FOR THE MILK MIXTURE

1 can condensed milk NESTLE LA LECHERA
1 can Evaporated milk CARNATION
1 cup of Heavy Cream or 1 can of “Media Crema Nestle”
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 Tablespoons rum or brandy (optional)

FROSTING
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
4 Tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

GARNISH:

Canned fruit like peaches, mangos or fresh fruit like strawberries and kiwis. If using fruit to decorate, add just before serving.

NOTES:

*If using salted butter, omit the 1/4-teaspoon of salt.

INSTRUCTIONS:


1. Turn oven at 325 degrees F. Make sure to adjust oven rack to middle position. Grease and flour a 13-by-9 inch pan and set aside.
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2. Place flour, baking powder and salt in a medium size bowl and whisk together to mix.

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3. With an electric mixer, beat the eggs one by one on a medium speed, for about 45-60 seconds, and slowly add the sugar as in a light dusting, until all sugar is incorporated. The egg mix will be very fluffy and turning a light yellow.

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4. Reduce speed of mixer, and slowly add the melted butter and then the vanilla. Keep the mixer running in low.
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5. Add the flour in batches and mix until combined. You can also do this step using an spatula and gently fold the flour into the egg batter. DO NOT OVER MIX.

6. Transfer batter to your prepared pan using a rubber spatula to help you spread the evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until cake looks light golden or a wooden toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the cake.

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7. Remove the cake and transfer to a wired rack to cool completely. Poke the top of the cake using a toothpick, skewer or fork all over.
MILK MIXTURE:

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8. Whisk condensed milk, evaporated milk and cream together with the vanilla and rum in a sauce pan, warm over low heat until completed mixed. Remove from heat and set aside.

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9. Once the cake has cool pour the milk mixture over the cake, cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerated for 4 hours or overnight.
FROSTING:
10. Place heavy cream, sugar and vanilla into a bowl and mix on medium speed until soft peaks form. This will take about 2. I usually place the mixer attachment in the freezer and the bowl in the fridge before making whipping cream. This trick always works to form a smooth and fluffy frosting.

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11. To assembly the cake, spread the whipped cream over the cake. Decorate with fruit as desired. Refrigerate to chill until ready to serve. Remember, if decorating with fruit, do not add until ready to serve.  Enjoy your cake with a cup of hot Chocolate Abuelita, almost every Walmart Store carries these products.

Please tell me if Nestle is part of your childhood memories.



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How to make Sopes & a Giveaway!

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From the many meals prepared with corn masa dough, sopes are one of the most popular in my country. There are many other ways to prepare meals using corn masa in Mexico; these are all called “antojitos” (little cravings).
Sopes are  medium-sized thick tortillas with a ridge around the edge, made by pinching the edges of the tortilla. This keeps the salsa and beans from falling down. It’s round or oval in shape. Some of the regular toppings include refried beans, salsa, lettuce, fresh cheese, shredded beef or chicken, or crumbled chorizo. Some extra toppings include steak, Mexican cream, avocado, diced or sliced tomatoes, radishes, and green cabbage. In some regions they may change the size or use different fillings, but they’re all delicious no matter how you prepare them.

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How drunk is your salsa?

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Yes, I know, you must be thinking… “drunk” what? Yes, salsa borracha or drunken salsa is a very famous salsa in Mexico City and the central states, usually served with a good portion of Lamb or goat barbacoa (steamed). The peppers used to make this salsa are called “Pasilla” peppers, they have dark colored skin  and wrinkles resembling those of dried plum-prunes, and, in Spanish, dried prunes are called “ciruelas pasas” hence the name pasilla. These peppers are not spicy, they are more like the mild  type of peppers. The Pasilla peppers are also used in Moles and stews. This salsa is more of a complement to enhance the flavors of grilled, broiled or baked meats and poultry instead of adding spiciness.
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Polvorones, one cookie with many faces

 
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This month is Child Cancer Awareness Month, and when I found out that OXO was inviting bloggers to participate in their Cookies for Kids Cancer Campaign, I sent them an email requesting to let me be a contributor to this worthy cause. Everyone knows how devastating this illness could be for  anyone, particularly for children. And I know this I have a nephew who was diagnosed with stomach cancer when he was 4-years old. Thanks to the care of doctors and family he is doing fine now, but it was a difficult time for the whole family.

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