Monday, May 9, 2011

Steamed Spinach (Microwave Version)

Steamed Spinach (Microwave Version)

I'm always trying to find shortcuts to cook vegetables. I have already tweeted about steaming spinach using the microwave. It's so easy and so delicious, I have to include this cooking method in my blog with photos. It's so simple and no need to wash a skillet or a steamer, utensils and no messy stove top to clean.

Measure 9 to 12 ounces of washed and spin-dried baby spinach into a 2-1/2-quart size microwavable dish with a lid. I'm using CorningWare French White Round Casserole dish that comes with a lid. Cover with the lid and place in the microwave (no need to add water). Cook for 2:30 (for 9 ounces spinach) to 3:00 minutes (for 12 ounces spinach) on high power. When done, it will look like the photo below:

Toss spinach with 1 tablespoon olive oil (or homemade Homemade Toasted Garlic Infused Oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Push spinach to one side of the bowl. Rest the bowl at a slant for about 5 minutes so that the liquid released from the spinach will drain to the empty side of the bowl. Do not press on the spinach. See the photo below:

Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds, if desired (photo below).

Yield 1 to 2 servings

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Homemade Adobo Seasoning

Homemade Adobo Seasoning

Adobo seasoning is a blend of Latin spices and herbs used as an all-purpose seasoning to marinade meats, poultry and seafood. You can also add this seasoning mix to any of your Latin dishes. I decided to make my own adobo seasonings since most of the adobo seasoning mix that is available in Latin markets contain MSG. This recipe makes a 2-cup quantity and is stored in your pantry for up to 6 months. I used this seasoning to marinate pork loin chops and it was very tasty. You don't need to add additional salt to the meat while cooking since there is already the perfect amount of salt in the seasoning mix. The aroma blooms when the seasoning is mixed with the oil and becomes more intense while the meat is marinating. This seasoning mix is amazing.

6 tablespoons table salt
6 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons onion powder
3 tablespoons ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dried crushed Mexican oregano
3 tablespoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons anchiote seed seasoning -
What is this?
1-1/2 tablespoons ground ancho chili powder
1-1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika (regular is OK if you don't have smoked)
1-1/2 tablespoons ground turmeric
1-1/2 tablespoons ground coriander

Mix all ingredients together with a whisk or fork. Transfer to an airtight container and store in your pantry for up to 6 months.

To use the seasoning mix as a marinade, I mix 2 tablespoons of the abobo seasoning with 3 tablespoons olive oil, using a fork or a small whisk. This amount can marinate about 2 pounds large cuts of meats, i.e., pork loin chops or chicken breasts. Double the amount of marinade if marinating smaller cuts of meats, i.e., chicken tenders, kabob or skewer sizes.

Yield about 2 cups seasoning mix

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sugar Snap Peas with Grape Tomatoes

Sugar Snap Peas with Grape Tomatoes

1 pound sugar snap peas, stringed
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme or Herbes de Provence
8 ounces grape tomatoes, cut in half vertically
1-2 large cloves garlic, minced (0.2 to 0.3 ounce)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. When skillet is very hot, add
1 tablespoon olive oil and swirl pan to coat as much of the bottom of the pan. Add the sugar snap peas and dried herbs, if using. Put a lid on the skillet to cover and reduce heat down to medium-low heat. Continue to cook, covered and stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add the grape tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper. Continue to cook, uncovered, for additional 1 minute, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and transfer to a serving dish.

Yields 4 servings