Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pumpkin Seed Candy- Jamoncillo de pepita

Jamoncillo is used to describe many different candies in Mexico, but most have a firm consistency on the outside with a soft center. This candy is often used, much like marzipan, to form figurines. Here's how to make it!


1 pound unsalted pumpkin seeds, shelled

3 1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon

food coloring, optional

sifted confectioners' sugar, for dusting


1. grind the pumpkin seeds in a food processor, adding water if necessary, until a fine paste is formed. Do not exceed 3/4 cup of water.

2. Combine the sugar and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook over medium heat until it reaches the thread stage (approximately 225°F).

3. Add the pumpkin seed paste and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the cinnamon.

4. Line your 8X8 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Divide the mixture into three batches and tint one with enough food coloring to make it a dark pink, green, red or other fun color. Lightly dust flat surface with a little confectioners' sugar and roll out the two uncolored batches, until they are about 1 inch thick.


6. Place the tinted sheet between the white sheets so they stick together( you can brush the sheets lightly with water if they do not stick on their own).

7. Put the candy sheets on the prepared baking pan and allow to dry for a few hours, until the surface is no longer feel sticky. Unmold the candy, remove the parchment paper, then slice it as desired and enjoy.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Masoor Dal- Cooked Red Lentils

Perhaps one of the most versatile, and often overlook vegetables in the American diet is the lentil. Although they are one of the worlds healthiest foods, they are often passed over as a result of a lack of exposure to their varied uses. Lentils contain high levels of proteins, and are an essential source of inexpensive protein in many parts of the world for those who adhere to a vegetarian diet. Throughout Africa, and the Middle East lentils are often one of the first solid foods given to newborns. The high level of Iron contained in lentils is a great way of preventing iron deficiency in adolescents, woman who are pregnant, and even those who suffer from Celiac disease. The recipe below pairs nicely with some grilled fish such as Snapper, or Grouper, so maybe it's time you give lentils a try.


2 Cups Red Lentils-Dried

1 1/2 teaspoons Garam Masala

1 1/2 teaspoons Turmeric

1 teaspoon Sea Salt

1/3 cup Ghee( Clarified Butter)

1 1/2 Onions, chopped

1 Bulb Garlic, separated, minced

1 small Ginger Root( 1"-inch piece), chopped

2 Jalapeno chiles, minced

2 Tomatoes, Diced

1 Bunch Cilantro, chopped

Water, As needed


1. Rinse Red Lentils thoroughly, until water is clear. In pot bring 1 quart water to boil. Add Lentils.

2. Cook half way, about 10 to 15 minutes, add 1/2 teaspoon garam masala, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and salt. As lentils cook, uncovered, water will evaporate and mixture will thicken.

3. Add more water to keep lentils loose. When lentils are softened, turn off heat, reserve. Heat ghee, or oil in wok. When oil is very hot, add onions and cook until onions are tender and translucent but not browned.

4. Add garlic, ginger and jalapenos. Continue to sauté until onions are golden. Add remaining 1 teaspoon each garam masala and turmeric.

5. Do not allow spices to burn. Keep stirring until mixture starts to stick. Add tomatoes and cilantro. Cook until tomato softens.

6. Pour in pot of lentils and simmer to blend flavors. season to taste with salt and freshly milled black pepper.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Chana Masala

It is no secret that the last Vegetarian inspired recipe we developed was for our Santa Cruz Island Steak Seasoning, but who could turn down such a request when a friend asks us to produce a few for the blog. Yeah this time we don't cook the Vegetarian, but it was a good friend that asked us so we had to comply. Did you know that Australia is the world's number 4 provider of Chickpeas....hurry to the market and pick some up for this great dish!

Chana masala is a popular Vegetarian dish in Indian cuisine. The main ingredient in this fairly dry and spicy dish is the chickpea. Chickpeas are high in protein and one of the earliest cultivated vegetables on record. While this dish is found served throughout South Asia, it is particularly popular in northern India and Pakistan. This dish is often served by street vendors with a side of grilled flatbread, and is notably served with the addition of diced potato added to the recipe by the many street vendors of Karachi, Pakistan.


1 cup dried chickpeas ( Garbanzo Beans)

1 tea bag or 1 tbsp black tea leaves tied in a cheesecloth

1 1/2 Tablespoon Ginger, Minced

2-3 Tablespoons Ghee( Clarified Butter)

2 Onions, chopped

2 teaspoons garlic, finely minced

2 green chilies, diced

3 Tomatoes( Medium Sized), diced

2 tsp Ground Coriander Seed

1 1/2 tsp Ground Cumin Seed

1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder

1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder

Salt To Taste

1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala


Finely chopped Cilantro( Coriander leaves)

Shredded Ginger


1. Soak Chickpeas in water overnight or for about 6 hr.

2. Cook the chickpeas with salt, teabag and enough water to cover for about 20 minutes or until soft.

3. Drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid.

4. Heat ghee and sauté onions till golden, then add garlic and chopped ginger and green chilies. Sauté for 5 minutes.

5. Add tomatoes, coriander, cumin, turmeric and chili powder and sauté over low heat until the butter separates.

6. Add chickpeas, the reserved cooking liquid, salt and half of the coriander leaves. Simmer, uncovered until the liquid has been absorbed.

7. Add a pinch of garam masala and serve chana sprinkled with the remaining garam masala, coriander leaves and shredded ginger.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mexican Foods

The street foods of Mexico that serve as the snacks we've all grown to love are known as Antojitos. Most Antojitos begin with the centuries-old ingredients of water and corn used to form a rustic Dough. This dough known as Masa. Masa is the basis of the quick flat bread the tortilla, the tortilla serves as both a plate, and spoon in Mexico so it's the perfect food to serve during those casual get togethers . You'll find Masa Harina readily available in your local grocery store, and is highly recommended that you pick up a bag to create homemade tortillas when serving Mexican foods.

Melted cheese with mushrooms and poblano chilies


1 poblano chili, roasted, peeled and cut into strips

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 ounces Crimini mushrooms, sliced

2 cups grated cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese

salt and pepper to taste


1. sauté the chili strips in 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

2. Sauté the mushrooms in the remaining unsalted butter until they begin to lose their juices. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

3. Lightly grease two small flame proof soufflé cups. In one, place half the cheese and half the chili strips.

4. In the second dish, place the remaining cheese and half the mushrooms.

5. Cover the soufflé dishes with aluminum foil and set over low heat until the cheese begins to melt, about three minutes. Uncover and cook another two minutes or until the cheese is completely melted.

6. Add the remaining mushrooms and chili strips to their respective soufflé dishes.

7. Serve hot with flour tortillas, and fresh salsa so the cheese can be used in preparing individual tacos.

Mexican Salsa

This fresh salsa is used to make the classic condiment that complements the foods served in every Mexican restaurant. Please note that the ingredients should be chopped by hand, and not puréed.


3 tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup onion, chopped

3 jalapeño peppers, seeds and stems removed, minced

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

2 tsp. lime juice

salt and black pepper to taste

1/4 teaspoon Santa Catalina Guacamole Seasoning


1. Combine the tomatoes, onion, chilies, cilantro, salt and lime juice in a small non-reactive dish. Stir well and adjust the seasonings to taste with Santa Catalina Guacamole Seasoning. Allowed to rest one hour in the refrigerator prior to service to allow the flavors to blend.

Tortillas made with Masa Harina

While fresh Masa is certainly available throughout the Southwest, many will find the only Masa available at the local supermarket will be a dried version known as Masa Harina. Masa Harina, a unique kind of flour, must be used when making tortillas. Please do not attempt to substitute corn flour, or cornmeal in this recipe.


2 cups of Masa Harina

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (approximately)


1. Place the Masa Harina in a large bowl and add the lukewarm water, mixing with your hands to incorporate the flour and form a ball. Cover with a cloth and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Heat a Comal, or cast iron skillet (ungreased). Need to go for 2 to 3 minutes, then form into a ball approximately 1 1/4 inch in diameter.

3. Cover your tortilla press with a sheet of plastic wrap and place a ball of dough in the center. Place another sheet of plastic wrap on top, lower the lid of the press and push down on the handle. The tortilla form should be porn a half to 5 inches in diameter.

4. Open tortilla press and remove the top sheet of plastic wrap from the tortilla. With the tortilla using the bottom sheet and turn it over onto your hand.

5. Peel off the bottom sheet of plastic wrap and place the tortilla on the hot Comal or skillet.

6. As soon as the edges of the tortilla start to dry out, approximately 30 seconds, turn it over.

7. The second side for approximately 20 seconds and turn the tortilla again. After cooking for about 20 seconds longer, remove the tortilla from the heat. Transfer to a cloth, or tortilla warmer so that the tortilla may remain covered.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Piña Colada Biscotti


4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups white sugar

3 eggs

2 tablespoons rum

2 tablespoons pineapple juice

1 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract

1 cup shelled pistachio nuts

1/2 cup chopped dried pineapple

1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut


1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 1 1/3 cups of sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one. Stir in the rum, pineapple juice and coconut extract until well blended. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir into the batter. Stir in the pistachio nuts, pineapple and coconut until evenly distributed. Cover and refrigerate for about 10 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two cookie sheets.

3. Divide the dough into four equal parts. Form each piece of dough into a 12 inch long log shape on a lightly floured surface. Place two logs onto each cookie sheet, and pat down until they are about 3 inches wide. There should be at least 2 inches of space between each log.

4. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until firm but not crisp. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.

5. Place the biscotti bars on a cutting board, and use a serrated knife to cut into 3/4 inch wide diagonal slices. Return the slices to the baking sheets cut side down. Return to the oven. Bake for 8 minutes, then turn the cookies over, and bake for an additional 8 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Cool completely, then store in an airtight container.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mango Nut Bread


2 cups all purpose flour, sifted

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon allspice

½ teaspoon salt

1½ cups sugar

3 eggs

½ cup vegetable oil

½ cup melted butter

2 cups mango, chopped fine

½ cup chopped macadamia nuts


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Grease and flour two loaf pans.

3. Combine all dry ingredients together, reserve.

4. Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl, or stand mixer.

5. Add oil and butter to the eggs and beat for approximately 2 minutes more.

6. Add dry ingredients and mangoes to the egg mixture .

7. Fold in the macadamia nuts.

8. Bake 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle come out clean.