Carnitas

Carnitas

8 lbs pork shoulder, cut into large chucks
8 lbs lard
3 tbsp salt dissolved in 1½ cups hot water
1 can evaporated milk
1 bottle Coca-Cola
2 oranges (minimum 1/2 cup juice)
2 bay leaves
10 cloves garlic
½ onion

Heat lard to 350° on medium heat; add pork.  Stir every 15 minutes until evenly brown and crispy (30-60 minutes).  Reduce to approx. 225°; add remaining ingredients and simmer until browned, crispy and fork tender.

Árbol and Serrano Salsa

Árbol and Serrano Salsa

4 árbol chilie
7 tomatillos
⅓ medium onion
1 roma tomato
2 serrano chilies
cilantro
1 clove garlic
1 tsp chicken & tomato boullion

Roast árbol chilies, being careful not to burn; place in blender.  Roast tomatillos, onion, serrano chilies.  Once the tomatillos begin to brown, add roma tomato and heat until contents are browned; add to blender.  Blend to desired consistency.

Meat Sauce

Meat Sauce

INGREDIENTS
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup (8-oz) onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground chuck beef
1 can (28-oz) crushed tomatoes
1 can (15-oz) tomato sauce
1 can (6-oz) tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
¼ – ½ cup dry white, or dry red wine (optional)
2 tsp fish sauce (optional)
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp dried ground fennel
¼ tsp dried thyme leaves
2 whole cloves, crushed
2 bay leaves
½ tsp fresh ground pepper to taste
1 tsp salt


DIRECTIONS
In a Dutch oven over medium heat, heat olive oil until shimmering; add onion and garlic and sauté until onion is translucent and tender.  Add meat and cook until no longer pink.

Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, chicken broth, wine (optional), and fish sauce (optional); add remaining herbs, spices & seasonings. Simmer covered on low heat for 30 minutes and uncovered for 15 minutes.

Remove bay leaves prior to serving.  Sauce is best when made a day more in advance and reheated. 

To serve, boil desired pasta as directed; drain retaining a some of the pasta water in a separate bowl.  Place enough warmed meat sauce to coat pasta in a serving bowl and stir in a small amount of pasta water; add pasta and stir to coat.  Serve topped with extra meat sauce and freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese (or both).

Quick Refried Beans

Quick Refried Beans

2 cups pinto beans
1 onion, diced (or 1 tbsp onion powder)
1 sachet ham bouillon
1 sachet sazón
⅛ tsp cumin
4½ cups water
2 tbsp butter


Rinse beans. Combine all ingredients except butter in Instant Pot. Cook at high pressure for 60 minutes. Release pressure to open; stir in butter.  Blend with emersion blender.

 

 

Chicken Nuggets

Chicken Nuggets

4-5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast

Marinade:
2 cups buttermilk
2 tsp salt
1 tsp MSG
1 egg, lightly beaten

Batter:
1 ½ cups flour
2 tbsp powdered sugar
3 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp MSG
½ tsp baking soda

Oil for deep frying


Combine marinade ingredients; stir in chicken.  Marinate for 30 minutes to 3 hours.

Heat oil to 350°.  Mix together batter ingredients.  Remove chicken from marinade an place in bowl with batter ingredients.  Stir to coat chicken.

Deep fry in small batches for 2-3 minutes.  Serve with Honey Mustard Sauce, Sweet and Sour Sauce, and Dr Pepper Barbecue Sauce.

Honey Mustard Sauce

Honey Mustard Sauce

1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup barbecue sauce
¼ cup prepared mustard
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
¼ cup sugar
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp chipotle chili powder
⅛ tsp MSG (optional)

Apple Barbecue Sauce

Apple Barbecue Sauce

36 oz Sidral Mundet (Apple Soda)
2 cups ketchup
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup honey
¼ cup white wine vinegar
2 tbsp burbon
2 tsp molasses
2 tsp hickory liquid smoke
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ancho chili powder
½ tsp mustard powder
¼ tsp ginger powder
¼ tsp galanga powder
¼ tsp fish sauce


Combine ingredients in saucepan; boil until desired thickness.

Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls

INGREDIENTS
Rolls:
1 cup water
1 cup milk
½ cup butter
2 tbsp yeast (instant)
½ cup sugar
2 tsp salt
4 eggs, room temperature and lightly beaten with fork
8-10 cups flour
butter, softened
brown sugar
cinnamon

Frosting:
1 pkg (8-oz) cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter, softened
⅛ tsp salt
1 ½  cups powdered sugar
1-2 tsp vanilla extract


DIRECTIONS
Rolls:
Combine water and milk to a saucepan and heat to near boiling.  Pour water/milk mixture into bowl of stand mixer; melt in butter.  Add sugar and salt; mix to dissolve.  Mix in 4 cups of flour; check temperature (should be approximately 99°).  Mix in yeast; add eggs.  Mix in 4-6 cups flour, until is elastic, and not sticky.  Knead for 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove dough to an oiled bowl.  Roll dough over to coat and cover with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray; allow to rise in a warm place until dough has doubled in size.  Punch down; divide in half.

Roll out two rectangles of dough to ⅓ to ½ inch in thickness.  Rub softened butter over dough; sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Roll and slice into rolls and place on large baking sheet lined with parchment, release foil, or silpat.  Let rise a second time covered with a plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  When doubled, bake at 350° for 15 minutes.

Frosting:
In a mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter.  Mix in salt, powdered sugar, and vanilla.

Soft Pretzels

Soft Pretzels

INGREDIENTS
1½ cups warm water
1 packet (2¼ tsp) active dry or instant yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp butter, melted and slightly cooled
3¾-4 cups all-purpose flour
coarse sea salt
½ cup baking soda
9 cups water


DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 400°.  Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Mix yeast into warm water. Allow to bloom for +/-1 minute. Stir in salt, sugar, and butter. Add 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon until dough is thick. Add additional flour until the dough is no longer sticky. If dough bounces back after being pressed, it is ready to knead.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface; knead for +/-3 minutes and shape into a ball. Cover lightly with a towel rest for 10 minutes.

Cut dough into sections, roll into a rope approximately 20″ long.  Twist into pretzel shape.

In a large pan, bring baking soda and water to a boil.  Drop pretzels, 1-2 at a time, into the boiling water for 20 seconds.  Remove pretzels from water and place on prepared baking sheet(s); sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Grandma Honey’s Cream Puffs

Grandma Honey’s Cream Puffs

PÂTE À CHOUX PASTRY
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
4 eggs

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 400º.  In saucepan, bring water and butter to a rolling boil.  Add flour in one installment; stir vigorously over medium heat until mixture no longer sticks to the side of the pan and forms a ball (about 1 minute).  Remove from heat.  By hand, beat in eggs, one at a time.  Beat until mixture is smooth and velvety.  Drop from spoon onto an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake until dry (approximately 45-50 minutes).  Allow to cool slowly.  Makes eight puffs.

Cut cooled pastries, fill with Custard Filling and ice with Chocolate Icing.


Custard Filling
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
4 egg yolks (or 2 eggs), beaten
2 tsp vanilla (or other flavoring)

In a saucepan, mix sugar, salt, and flour; stir in milk.  Stir over medium heat until mixture boils; boil 1 minute.  Remove from heat.  Stir a little more than half of this mixture into beaten egg yolks.  Blend into hot mixture and bring just to boiling point.  Cool and blend in vanilla.


Chocolate Icing
1 square unsweetened chocolate (1 oz)
1 tsp butter
1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
2 tbsp boiling water

Over a double boiler, melt together chocolate and butter.  Remove from double boiler; blend in sugar and water.  Stir until smooth but not stiff.


Chocolate Éclairs
Place dough mixture in a pastry bag and pipe 12 fingers approximately 1-inch wide and 4-inches long.  Bake as above; fill with custard and frost with chocolate icing.

Brown Sugar Blondies

Brown Sugar Blondies

INGREDIENTS
2 cups brown sugar
1 ⅔ cups flour
½ cup butter, melted
3 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt


DIRECTIONS
Combine all ingredients and spread evenly into a greased 9×13 baking dish.  Bake at 350º until the top is dry and edges begin to pull away from the sides (25 minutes).  Remove from oven and cool completely before slicing.

Ginger Cranberry Bars
½ tsp ginger powder
¼ cup crystallized ginger, chopped
¾ cup dried cranberries, chopped
8oz white chocolate chips

Grandma’s Lasagna

Grandma’s Lasagna

In the 1960s and 70s, most of our family parties included the Berg family.  Tom, Evie, and their daughter Donna were always there.  Their son Tommy was serving in the military, so we didn’t see him and his wife Linda as often, but all of the Bergs have always felt like a part of our family.  Grandma’s Lasagna recipe actually came from Donna Berg sometime in the 1970s.  Donna served this at a birthday party and it was such a hit that our family has since used this lasagna recipe exclusively.


INGREDIENTS
Lasagna:
⅓ cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground chuck beef
1 can (8-oz) tomato sauce
1 can (6-oz) tomato paste
1 cup water
½ tsp oregano
fresh ground pepper to taste
1 tsp salt
½ tsp basil
1 whole clove, crushed
2 cups ricotta or cottage cheese (or 1 cup of each)
½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
8 oz mozzarella cheese, sliced
8 oz lasagna noodles, prepared

Besciamella:
¼ cup butter
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
small pinch nutmeg


DIRECTIONS
Lasagna:
Sauté onion and garlic in oil until tender; add meat and brown.  Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, and seasonings and simmer covered for 30 minutes.

Place ½ of the cooked lasagna noodles in the bottom of a buttered 9×13 pan.  Spread ½ of the ricotta (and/or cottage cheese), Parmesan, and mozzarella cheese over lasagna,  Cover with ½ of the meat sauce.  Repeat layers.  Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.

Besciamella:
Thoroughly heat butter and flour.  Whisk in remaining ingredients; cook until thickened.

Slice and serve lasagna topped with besciamella.

Pork Chile Verde

Pork Chile Verde

INGREDIENTS
1 picnic pork shoulder
1 recipe salsa verde
cumin
salt
pepper


DIRECTIONS
Cut pork into 2-inch chunks.  Spread out and sprinkle liberally with cumin, salt, and pepper; massage into meat.  In large porcelain or stainless steel Dutch oven, brown pork in small batches so as not to overcrowd pan.  Return all pork to pan and cover with salsa verde.  Simmer until tender.

Serve with tortillas, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, sliced avocado, pickled jalapeños, refried beans, and cilantro lime rice.

Rick’s Salsa Verde – the Real Deal

Rick’s Salsa Verde – the Real Deal

Taquitos are high on the list of Huggins Family most loved foods. And, our favorites come from the little stand on Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles, Cielito Lindo, where taquitos were invented in the mid 1930s. Every trip home to Southern California includes a trek downtown for Combination #1: 3 Taquitos, Beans and Cheese. The taquitos are smothered in “guacamole”. Cielito Lindo’s version of guacamole is a delicious green salsa that you can’t help but dream about. This recipe is the closest I’ve come to replicating its flavor.


INGREDIENTS
1 can (28 oz) tomatillos
1 bottle (40 oz) roasted green chiles, mild
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1-2 avocados (optional)
½ onion, chopped
1 bunch cilantro
2 tsp salt


DIRECTIONS
Combine all ingredients and blend with emersion blender.  Serve with tacos, taquitos, or chips; or to make chile verde.


CIELITO LINDO’S HOME VERSION
After working for some time to recreate Cielito Lindo’s, I learned from Pam that Cielito Lindo published a home version of their guacamole.  The recipe is below, with some minor alterations.


INGREDIENTS
8 fresh chiles gueritos (yellow chiles), seeded and deveined
5 cloves garlic, chopped
15 medium tomatillos, peeled and halved
2 1/2 cups cilantro, chopped
6 cups water
2 medium avocados
4 tsp salt


DIRECTIONS
In a large pan, combine chiles, garlic, tomatillos, cilantro, and water; bring to boil.  Lower heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes. Remove mixture from water and place in blender; reserve water.  Add avocado and salt to blender.  Blend, adding water in small installments and blend until smooth.  Place in refrigerator overnight to allow flavors to meld.  Adjust salt, if necessary.

Dinner Rolls

Dinner Rolls

INGREDIENTS
2 cups water, near boiling (or 1 water, 1 milk)
½ cup butter
2 tbsp yeast (instant)
½ cup sugar
2 tsp salt
4 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten with fork
8-10 cups flour


DIRECTIONS
Pour water (or water/milk mixture) into bowl of stand mixer; melt in butter.  Add sugar and salt; mix to dissolve.  Mix in 4 cups of flour; check temperature (should be approximately 99°).  Mix in yeast; add eggs.  Mix in 4-6 cups flour, until is elastic, and not sticky.  Knead for 4 to 5 minutes.

Remove dough to an oiled bowl; roll dough over to coat and allow to rise in a warm place until dough has doubled in size.  Punch down, form rolls and let rise a second time in two 9×13 baking dishes covered with a moist cloth.  When doubled, bake at 365° for 10-15 minutes.  Rub tops with butter.

Chocolate Pecan Strata

Chocolate Pecan Strata

Crust
2 cubes butter, melted
1½ cups flour
1 cup pecans, chopped

Combine ingredients and spread in 9×13 cake pan; bake 20 minutes at 400º, cool.


1st layer
1 pkg (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup cool whip

Fold together and let set for a few minutes; spread carefully on crust.


2nd layer
1 pkg (6 oz) instant chocolate pudding
2 cups milk

Mix as per instructions on box. Be sure to use only 2 cups milk; spread on first layer.


3rd layer
1 pkg (6 oz) instant vanilla pudding
2 cups milk

Mix as per instructions on box. Be sure to use only 2 cups milk; spread on first layer.


4th layer
1 cup cool whip (or more)

Spread Cool Whip vanilla layer; top with shavings from Hershey’s chocolate bar. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours.

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

INGREDIENTS
Filling:
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese
4 tbsp butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 lg egg
2 tbsp flour
2 tsp vanilla

Cake:
1 pkg red velvet cake mix
1 pkg instant vanilla pudding
1 cup sour cream
4 eggs
½ cup water
½ cup oil

Frosting:
1 pkg (8-oz) cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter, softened
1 ½  cups powdered sugar
1-2 tsp vanilla extract


DIRECTIONS
In stand mixer, make cream cheese filling by beating cream cheese, butter and sugar until fluffy (+/- 2 minutes).  Mix in egg, flour and vanilla; beat until smooth and set aside.  Mix all cake ingredients.  Pour half of the cake batter into greased bundt cake pan.  Top with cream cheese filling, leaving about a 1″ cake border around the edge.  Pour remaining cake batter into bundt pan.  Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes (until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean).  Cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing from pan.  Combine frosting ingredients.  Drizzle over cake.

Cilantro Lime Rice

Cilantro Lime Rice

INGREDIENTS
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed
2 tsp olive oil
1¾ cups chicken broth
1 tbsp butter
Zest of 1 lime
1 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
Salt to taste


DIRECTIONS
Place rinsed rice to a hot sauté pan and sauté in olive oil until it begins to brown.  Place rice in rice cooker and combine with chicken broth.  Cook rice; unplug cooker when complete.  Leave rice undisturbed for 5 minutes.  Stir in remaining ingredients.