Stir Fried Breakfast. A morning delight.

Who said you cannot eat vegetables in the morning? I love them.

Lately I have been watching a lot of food shows of people going to Asia and the Middle East and, quite frankly, the idea of eating vegetables for breakfast (and every other meal as a matter of fact) has imprinted very deep into my foodebelum (the part of the brain the makes you a foodie).

Anyhow, ultimately I have been adding plenty of vegetables to my breakfast. Sometimes I even skip the bread. I think it is a good way to fill up your days with plenty of energy. Now don’t get me wrong, I can eat as much meat as a belly can hold, and the same goes for bread, and the same goes for desserts, and the same goes for ice cream, and the same goes for… you get the idea, but having variety is a great way to stay healthy and at the same time expand your food experience, I mean, because it is not always about the proteins… Right?

Studying a really cool cook books to share with you later on.

Whaaaaaa, tomatot baby. Awesomeness in red!

Kimchi. My homemade kimchi. Because…. Kimchi!

Oh yes, another important vegetable… Luncheon meat.

Of course it has eggs! What did you expect? Come on, THAT is the most important vegetable!

Recipe fot stir fried vegetables with eggs and luncheon meat.

Now I am a big guy, who exercises every day, so this breakfast was for me and me alone. However,depending on how benevolent you feel, you cand share it with someone else.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of red cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 1 roma tomato, cut in four
  • 1/4 of white onion cut in julienne
  • 1/4 inch-thick slice of luncheon meat, diced
  • 1 cup of diced sweet plantain (1/4 inch dices)
  • 1/2 celery stalk, halved and then thinly sliced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp soy
  • 1 tbsp Shaoshing Rice cooking Wine
  • Sea salt to rast
  • Black ground pepper to taste
  • Garlic powder to taste
  • 2 tsp coconut oil

Process:

  1. In a wok or non-stick pan at high heat, put one tablespoon of the coconut oil and heat up until it starts smoking. (This is something I learned from a Chinese chef back when I was working as a cooking teacher at a high-end home Kitchen Store/Demo Kitchen/”Cooking Shcool?”. But more on that at another post.)
  2. Lower the fire to a medium heat and place in the luncheon meat, onions, sweet plantain, and the celery and start stiring of flipping, or both (Go the distance and get creative. Imagine you are in some asian province restaurant and you are the chef. Work it!). Cook for about two minutes.
  3. Add in the rest of the ingredients, except the eggs and the remaining spoon of oil, and cook for another two minutes (here you can crank up fire a bit more to add some good caramelization to the ingredients). Place on a plate, or two, depending on your desire to share with someone.
  4. In the same delisciously already seasoned wok add in the remaining coconut oil and crack in both eggs. Use a wooden spatula to scramble, and cook to your preference. Serve over the veggies.
  5. Buen probecho… It’s food o’clock!
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Bread Pudding. I am your Latin Lover

I will deem the lights for you, play some Bossa Nova on the box, and light some candles. I will cook for you with all my passion, and tell you a few words in Spanish. Cómo estás? La estás pasando bien? Te gusta la comida? Estás preciosa!

Oh my dear, I will feed you and sing to you at the same time. The smells of my kitchen will fill your soul, and the sounds of my cooking will get you on the mood. I will make you a dessert as sweet as your kisses, and I will serve a wine as mellow as you. Oh my dear… I am your Latin (Food) Lover.

Bread Pudding Ingredients:

  • 3 cups old hard bread made into fine crumbs
  • 2 cups of hard cookies (I used peanut butter cookies)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of creme of coconut
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 tbs of cinnamon

Process:

  1. Get a cake pan and oil or butter it pretty well. Place the bread crumbs in it (and any other thing you want to add in. Sometime I add almonds or chocolate chips).
  2. In a sauce pan, warm the milk at mediwm-low heat. Then add the coconut cream, the sugar, and the cinnamon. Stir or wisk untill sugar melts and all is well incorporated.
  3. Beat the eggs very well and with a cup or ladle pour in some of the milk mixture, and beat again (The milk should be warm. Otherwise it would cook the egg). Now pour the egg mixture into the milk. Stir and cook for another minute or so. Take off the fire and let cool for about five minutes.
  4. Pour the milk mixture over the bread crumbs carefully stiring with a spoon until everything is perfectly mixed.
  5. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes. Let completely cool before cutting it.

It was sold to the family. Here an image of an almost devoured budín de pan.

Maybe you can use chunks of bread instead of crumbs…, that’ll give it a different texture. You know, to give it a sexy crisp. I did it once and it was magnificent, awesome, yummy… oh baby good. Que rico!

Get creative and play with the recipe to see what comes out… for then, now, and always. It’s food o’clock.

High blood pleasure: The history of Morcilla. Recipe included.

Arroz con gadules, tostones, aguacate, y morcilla.

I remember the first time I tried it. It was kind of spongy and at the same time it had a crispy skin… and it was fried. Oh man, that first bite! It was like my mind couldn’t correlate what I was eating with such a delicious flavor.

I can vividly recall its unique flavor… the crisp, the rice, the spiciness… the bloodyness. I fell in love right away (I am such a sucker for food love).

I can still see the faces of my parents laughing while I was trying it, and at the same time, they were hoping that I liked the morcilla.

“Morcilla is one of those things that either you like or you like. I am one of those who think that if you don’t like morcilla there is something wrong with you”. -Me

A morcilla close up.

Now, before I continue I must add a necessary ingredient to this blog post…, some history.


The use and direct consumption of blood, although (in some cultures) socially related to vampires and demons or as the comsumption of the very soul of an animal as well as other metaphysical beliefs, has nothing to do with the actual use of an animal’s blood. In ancient times, when people hunted an animal and catched it, they literally needed to consume every single piece, bit, and drop of it, from the skin to the meat, from the fat to the bone, from the brains to the blood… they needed to take advantage of that opportunity, for that might have been their last meal for the next couple of days or even for the week. The consumption of blood was just a matter of nourishment… and survival.

With the passage of time people found ways to preserve blood and keep it as a source of food in times of scarcity. Later on, of course, when humans became more knowledgeable and technologically advanced, other ways to use the blood flourished up, such as the making of a type of blood sauge called morcilla.

There are references to blood sausage in Homer’s Odisey from the 800s B.C.

“As when a man besides a great fire has filled a sausage with fat and blood and turns it this way and that and is very eager to get it quickly roasted…”. -The Odisey

Many sources say that it was the Moores who brought blood sausage to the Romans and then to the Spaniards.

However the story might have been, it is a fact that the Spanish conquistadors brought it (the morcilla) with them to Puerto Rico, where my people adapted to their needs, likes, and resources.

Morcilla is tipically eaten in Puerto Rico during Christmas time, weddings, or any other special celebration. Some eat it with pique (a vinegar hot sauce), others with ketchup, and others plain. Me? I love them hot and picantes.

Oh! I love me some morcilla.

Here a recipe from the first Puerto Rican cook book ever written, El Cocinero Puerto-Riqueño from 1859.

Note: Understand that such an old recipe is not written the way we are accustomed to nowadays, and of course, being an old Puerto Rican recipe I needed to translate it to you from the colloquial Puero Rican Spanish. Also, the recipe in this post is a combination of steps from three different recipes in the book (two for the basics, which are used for all types of blood sauge in the book, and another for the specifics of the Morcilla Puertorriqueña). See images of the recipes.

Puerto Rican Morcilla

Ingredients and Process

1. Right after you kill the pig and bleed it into a deep pot, constantly stir the blood so it does not coagulate. Once completely bled, put the pan in the fire and season with salt. Let cook for some time and add some spices.

2. Take ten white onions and boil them a bit, and drain perfectly. Then fry them in four ounces of fat.

3. Cut some bacon and roasted chicken and mix with some bread crumbs, six egg yolks, salt, and six grains of black pepper. Now put it all along with the onions, and then mix everything with the blood.

4. Get the tripe ready and tied up on one end. Fill the tripe with the blood mixture and when full tied the other end.

5. Boil in salt water until fully cooked, then deep fry it.

Images from the book.

Just like you see in the first couple of images, you can enjoy morcilla with other delicious foods.

There are many recipes now days for Morcilla Puertorriqueña alone, each variation depending on family tradition, region of the island, and or resources.

If you haven’t tried Morcilla Puertorriqueña I encourage that you give it a try, and -for an even better experience- visit Puerto Rico and eat it at one of the local restaurants.

Then, now, and always… It’s food o’clock!

References:

– Book: El Cocinero Puerto-Riqueño

– Website: http://www.foodtimeline.org

– Website: http://www.bloodoudding.oeg

Confessions of an egg lover. (Non fiction and a recipe.)

How to start? Well, I guess from the beginning.

Hello, my name is Juan and I am an egg lover. I recon… it all started when I was a kid. Eggs were always there for us (for my family), whether there was money or not. It was one of those foods that mom and dad kept permanently in the grocery list. And whenever we ran ot of them, they would ask me or my brother, or either of my two sisters to walk to the corner store and get more…, that along with bread. “Toma, buscame una libra de pan y una docena de huevos” (“Here, go get me a pound of bread and a dozen eggs”), I remember them saying.

As I grew up, eggs became part of a necessity… Like the air we brathe. Even as an adult and becoming a PE teacher and a personal trainer (which is my actual profession) I never gave up on eggs. You know… every one was telling me that eggs raise the cholesterol, and this and that, but I never gave them up. I culd have been trying the latest diet, but I couldn’t miss my eggs. The point is that eggs are good and healthy… and I need them in my life.

Also, having been a cuisinier and learning to cook and serve eggs in a myriad of ways helped to solidify my relatioship with them. I love eggs. I… love… eggs. My name is Juan… and I am an egg lover!

Here is a recipe for you to enjoy.

Eggs in purgatory (my take on it):

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tbsp of butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 oz. of tomato sauce
  • 4 slices of tomato (any kind). The more colors the better.
  • 1/4 of an onion cut in julienne
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 asparagus spears (optional)
  • Olive oil, to drizzle (optional)

Process:

  1. In a pan at medium heat melt the butter. Once melted, put in the garlic and the onions and cook them until they are golden brown.
  2. Place in the tomato slices and pour in the sauce, then lower the heat to medium low. Cover and let cook for a minute.
  3. Now crack the eggs and place them over the mixture in the pan. Cover and let them cook until they are done just how you like them. In my case I wait intil the white is completely cooked but the yolk is still runny.
  4. Serve and place some grilled asparagus on top, and a roasted tortilla. Or you can get creative and make (or serve it) with bacon, some other vegetable, or toasted bread… your palate is the limit.

I broke my tortilla in a few pieces and used it to grab the food.

Well look at that… It’s food o’clock.

What the book are you talking about?

Say… imagine yourself submerged in a world full of cook books. Everything around you is covered by ancient, vintage, and new cook books. Wow, how impressive would that be? Recipes from the past, and present, and ideas of the future.

Ok, for a moment I left this world. I have to admit that books are another passion of mine, and when it comes to cook books it gets even worse. Worse to the point in which my wife has to bring me down to earth befor we go broke whenever I visit a thrift store, book store, or book fair.

I like cook books so much that, almost every week, I set aside some time to sit alone in my balcony with a nice bourbon or scotch, and one of my many books, just to look at the recipes and read the stories.

As a former full time cook and cooking teacher, I had to read so many recipes and create so many menus, that at some point I just started seeing cook book pages in my mind while cooking.

When someone asks me how do I come up with recipes I say, “reading cook books”. Here is a little secret about me… I never went to culinary school. I learned reading, and practicing at home.

I am an old soul, and by that I mean that I like to find recipes the old way… in the books, not in apps, not in websites, but in the books. There is something magical about it.

I love cook books so much that I want to start sharing with you, things from and about the all the cook books (and magazines) that I get my hands on. I have quite a few book. I also have some PDF version of some books to explore and share.

Stay tuned for my next blog post to see what books I be sharing with you. Untill then and always, It’s food o’clock!

Stress food. I need something for my brain! (Recipe included)

In times of stress and anxiety most people look for food to ease their minds and souls, and I am no different. Normally, in such moments, I gravitate towards super crappy food to make myself feel good, but today I had a coliflower head at home that I didn’t want to miss. But yes, there was junk food.

Recently a big part of the Caribbean (Including Puerto Rico, where I am from) have been literally destroyed by devastating hurricanes Irma, and Maria.

Being from the beutiful Isla del Encanto (Island of the Enchantment), having most of my friends and family there, and not being able to communicate with them is extremely hard for me.

On top of that, seeing images on the news, or pictures that my family sent of all the devastation that these hurricanes have caused, and not being able to get there and help them makes feel impotent, stressed, anxious. And when I get anxious, stressful, or angry I eat. Eat I’m telling ya…, and I cook too. Cooking is my fidgeting.

This morning (no picture) started with a flour tortilla, two fried eggs, bacon, cheese, a cup of coffe. And that is a normal breakfast for me, but as I ate it I started to listen to the news about Puerto Rico’s condition, and my family’s status, and my huger angered up.

After that I drove around and did I few things, and axiety knocked my mind again, and there was the hot dog place…

Then I got home and I was still hungry so I ate something else…

Then I prepared myself a Bloody Mary with Sake. No picture, but it was gooooood. And relaxing.

Then I felt the urge to cook. I took the whole coliflower head, a few cans of cream and made dinner out of it, along with some leftover stewed chicken from last night. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

1 coliflower head

2 cans of Creme of Chicken. I used one can of ‘Cream of Chicken with Herbs’, and another one of ‘Cream of Chicken with Mushrooms’

salt to taste

pepper to taste

1 1/2 cup of water

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tbs garlic powder

1/8 cup of Shaoshing Rice Cooking Wine (you can also use any other cooking wine)

1 tbs soy sauce

Process:

1. Break the coliflower into many little pieces. Cut the leafs and the stems, and throw them away.

2. Place it into a big pot (@ medium heat) with the olive oil and roast it for a minute or so. Just until you start seeing brown dots in the coliflower and most of it is covered by the oil.

3. Pour in the water, soy sauce, and the cooking wine. Stir it all and cover for about two minutes. Then, with a wooden spoon or even a potato masher, start breaking the coliflower into smaller pieces until it is almost all beoken down.

4. Add in the garlic powder and crack open the cans. Pour in the cream and start stiring until every little bit of coliflower is covered with it. If you feel like like it, you can add more water at this point, just to loosen up the cream. Keep cooking for a minute or two. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Note: By now the coliflower should start looking like a risotto. You can get creative and add some parmesan cheese and serve it with a great compliment.

5. Using a hand blender or a heat proof food processor, puree the concotion down to a creamy texture, and voila, ready to serve.

As I mentioned, I served mine with leftover stewed chicken. I also added some fresh corn and Pique, which is a Puerto Rican hot sauce.

After that, more news from the Island kept coming and I kept getting hungrier and hungrier. So I ate…

Upside down peach cake, for dessert.

Bread with peanut butter, banana, and honey for late night snack.

Well, I guess I was very anxious today. It’s food o’clock.

#itsfoodoclock

Scrambled eggs breakfast. I love you too. Recipe in a fiction.

She was sitting in the balcony with a cup of wine in her right hand. Her left thumb slowly swiped the posts on her Facebook account, which she was kind of looking on her phone. Her face looked sad.

Thoughts of being incomplete surfed her imagination. Something was missing. It was 8:00 a.m on a rainy Saturday. She was hungry.

———-

In a not so far distance he was putting things in their place. Knife in hand, Spanish music playing in his smartphone, and a smile in his face. An eudemonic pleasure happened upon his mind. He was hungry.

He took a bunch of green onions, fresh onions, some turkey bacon, and tomatoes… and sliced and diced with ease. Smells suddenly spreaded.

There was also French bread, black sesame butter, and spicy mayo.

———-

In her mind nothing was happening. Not even the funniest memes made her laugh. Only the red liquid in her right hand provided some sort of substance… emotional substance.

———-

He was in a good mood. At least one could see that on his face. But internally, things were a little gray. He was hungry too.

His hands, almost instinctively moving, produced six eggs from a basket. He was kind of dancing to the music of Joaquín Sabina as he performed his culinary flamenco.

In a swift movement all the ingredients we placed in a skillet with some olive oil, and cooked for a minute or so. And to the sound of a spanish guitar he beated, seasoned, and cooked the eggs on a separate pan.

The bread was heated and the butter spreaded over. And by the end of a song everything was put together. “Listo“, he said to himself as he clapped his hands like a pair of castañuelas.

———-

He opened the door and looked at her with an easy smile. She looked over her shoulder. “Breakfast“, he said. Plates in hand, smile in the face.

She looked at him and said…. “Breakfast. I love you too“.

#itsfoodoclock

Like a hurricane…

“Hit me like a hurricane”, says the country song. Daaaaam hurricane Irma, you’ve made me suffer. Not because of the waiting or trying to be Batman anticipating your every move, but for not being able to have access to my cooking stuff… but hey, in lack of bread you eat crackers. Right? Nope, I will eat bread anyways. So yes Irma, “Hit me like a hurricane!”

Well, let’s just say that I got on full cooking mode when we ran out of electricity, although we had some gas, I was anticipating the need for wood fire. We also had some charcoal but it wasn’t much, but we collected wood and started using everything in the fridge. Being a cook and having worked in restautans has prepared me for the worse. It tought me to be resourceful and ready at all times.

During the hurricane, and during the aftermath, I thought of all the possible ways that I could feed my family, in a delicious way. From the crackers with chicken and cream cheese dip, to hot dogs, chips, and some booze (not for the minors, of course), to scrambled eggs with cheese, fried eggs, to flat breads and fish, ramen noodles with pulled chicken/turkey/pork, and some other good stuff. Following, a few images of how my Hurricane Irma happened.

At my sister-in-law’s…

Hummus for better humor.

My wife holding some weird radioactive chips.

What looks like one thing, is actually another. Cold coffee with milk… and Frangelico. You know, to relax a little.

Boiled eggs are actually great for such situations. They last up to a week in a Ziploc bag and inside a cooler. And well, I am a total egg slutGreat right?

Some other radioactive-colored stuff that were actually radioactive. Churritos I think was the name. Uff, hot stuff!

A pile of rice mixed with corn and some pork to share among the tribe.

My little beast devouring a wild hurricane dog.

There is nothing like crackers and canned chicken dip.

At home…

Once at home I felt more… well, at home. Literally and figuratively. And like a fine grape that turns into an amazing wine, my best attributes blossomed. I was in my terroir. Still no electricity at this point.

I improvised a little kitchen over the dining table, using externals and catering equipment. The improv kitchen kept evolving despacito. Poquito a poquito. Suave suavecito…

Kampai! I had a whole bottle of sake. This was my antidepressant. My coolant.

Breakfast. Scrambled eggs with cheese. I mean, who wouldn’t want that after a hurricane!

Working on flat bread dough for dinner. By this time my wife (who had to go to work) had come home with a portable outdoors gas stove that a friend/coworker of hers had lend us. And I had already fed and boosted with yeast a sourdough mix I’ve been working on for a while, so the stove was the perfect tool to make some bread. Let’s just say that the images of dinner will say more than words…

Crispy salmon skin to bite before dinner.

Dinner at last! We all sat out on the balcony floor to enjoy the breeze, the colors of the day, and to have some good flavors. We talked about the hurricane, life, food, and about how much fun it is to eat on the floor with your bare hands. We broke some bread and ate.

(I encourage you to practice that: just get some food, and sit with your family or friends on the floor and eat with your hands. It is a very cool way to connect with everything and everyone.)

What did we had for dinner? A stir fry of vaggies, tilapia, and salmon. Some lime, and fresh cilantro. And all came perfectly with that delicious flat bread.

Breakfast again… in the outdoors. Pan fried eggs, toast, and turkey bacon. We also made cold brew coffee the day before, and it came out surprisingly good. (Cold brew coffe: Get a mason jar, fill it up with water, spoon in 4-5 tablespoons of your favorite coffee, cover and shake it up for a minute or so, leave alone until next day and boom… Café.)

Dinner: I always keep a few ponds of bones and loose pieces or meat, altogether, in the freezer, for when I have enough I can make a delicious stock, and use the residual meat for a rillette or a paté. It always comes out incredibly good. This time I had turkey, chicken, and a pork chop. There were also potatoes, sweet peppers, onion, garlic, and some chinese sausage.

Anyways, since we had to salvage as much food as possible from the freezer, I got all of that inside a pan and made a broth, then picked out the meat and mixed it with barbeque sauce. Then I boiled some ramen noodles and voila!BBQ pulled mixed meats, with ramen noodles, swimming in a pool of delicious broth. With Sriracha of course. And again, we dined outside (I am falling in love with it).

That night we went to sleep on a happy stomach, and in the middle of the night… the light came back.

It is said that during difficult times one should find a hobby in order to make it out sane, and it just so happens that mine is cooking. Hurricane or not… Always, #itsfoodoclock.

Kimchi. Fiction and a recipe.

image

(After a few weeks without any posts in my blog I hope you enjoy this new recipe.)

She walked down the path where the clay pots formed lines of ancient flavors. Where the ground was stuffed with fermenting goods, and the air was filled with hot smells. It was an open field in between cold mountains.

Approaching a small old cabin made out of wood, the young woman couldn’t help to think about the mysteries of the universe. About the strings that connect everything and anything. About that entanglement that kept her connected to her past, present, and future.

From that little building, an older woman came out. She possessed a long, and very soft white hair. As white as the clouds in a sunny day. Her skin was wrinkled, with lines of experience all over her body. She had a calming smile, and eyes with a gaze so deep that no one could ever know her deepest secrets. Her hands were strong, shaped by many years of hard work, they were stained in red, deep red.

The young woman extended her arms around the elder woman. They both smiled, and without saying a single word they had a really deep conversation. Secrets were exchanged, sorrows were revealed, and jokes were made. They both cried.

Their eyes were full of sparks, and emotions. Once their skin touched, magic happened. A connection, not just physical but spiritual, historical, cultural, and mental. A connection so strong, that simple words wouldn’t suffice to express. Only silence was enough.

And even though they both live worlds apart, they both lived together in their hearts.

The sky was gray on such a day, it was dawn, and the wind was strong enough to drag memories of an already forgotten time. They both smiled.

A drop of rain, a tear, an eyelash that fell without purpose, and a word that came out the younger lady’s voice… Kimchi!

image

Recipe for Kimchi.

Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish made out of fermented vegetables (normally cabbage, mixed with spices). There are many variations to it. You can even made kimchi with other foods such as seafood, cucumbers, and the list goes on.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tsp of salt. I used kosher salt.
  • 1 onion (quartered)
  • 1 big cabbage (cut in 1″ pieces). You can use Nappa Cabbage.
  • 1 bunch of spring onions (cut in 1″ pieces)
  • 3 slices, of about 1/4″ thick of fresh pineapple (diced)
  • 2 small cucumbers (halved, seeded, and sliced)
  • 2 tbs of aged soy sauce. Regular soy sauce works too.
  • 1/4 white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of Sriracha sauce
  • 4 oz of Sambal oeleke (Ground Fresh Chili Paste). Optional.
  • 1tbs of fish sauce. If you can find shrimp paste even better.
  • 1 tbs of garlic powder
  • 1 tbs of chili powder
  • 1 tbs of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  • 1 tsp of ginger powder

Process:

  1. Cut the cabbage as instructed and put in a big bowl. Put in the 3 tsps of salt and mix with your hands. Let stand for at least an hour, but you can do let it up to 3 hours.
  2. In the meantime create the hot sauce. In a blender, puree the pineapple and the onion, then mix in a separate bowl with the rest of the wet ingredients. Now mix in all the dry ingredients.
  3. After an hour, drain the water from the cabbage, wash it and drain (Let drain well).
  4. Using your hands, mix everything now (use gloves) and make sure that each piece of cabbage is covered with the sauce. Place the kimchi in a mason jar and fill it to the very top, pressing it with your hands every time you put some. Cover tightly and let stand in your counter for 24 hours before using.

Note: You can eat your kimchi right away after being done, but letting it ferment for a day will give it its peculiar flavor. Now you can put in over white rice, some Ramen noodles, Mac & Cheese, salad, or how about over a good hot dog, or…. Hey, get creative.

#itsfoodoclock