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Ropa Vieja with Arepas Moving from Florida to Texas opens up a whole new world of barbeque and tex-mex, but we do miss the wonderful Cuban food from back at school. This classic dish of slow braised beef over masa arepas satisfies that craving and has become a regular on our recipe rotation. Cooking spray
2 (1-pound) flank steaks, trimmed or other cut of roast beef
3 cups thinly vertically sliced onion
2 cups red bell pepper strips (about 2 peppers)
2 cups green bell pepper strips (about 2 peppers)
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 tablespoons thinly sliced pitted green olives
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add 1 steak to pan; cook 2 1/2 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove steak from pan. Repeat procedure with cooking spray and remaining steak.

Reduce heat to medium. Add onion, bell peppers, and garlic to pan; cook 7 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Stir in olives and next 5 ingredients (through black pepper); cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Stir in vinegar, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook for 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in broth, tomato paste, and bay leaves. Add steaks; bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 1 1/2 hours or until steaks are very tender. Discard bay leaves.

Remove steaks from pan; shred with two forks. Stir shredded beef and cilantro into pan.

original recipe

Arepas

1 1/4 cup white or yellow arepa flour (masarepa)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups hot water
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, for frying

Stir salt into arepa flour. Add hot water and mix well with a wooden spoon. Stir in the melted butter. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rest 15 minutes.Separate dough into four pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball.
Place each ball in between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or two ziplock bags and flatten gently with the bottom of a pot. Arepas should be about 4 inches in diameter and almost an ¾ inch thick. Use your fingers to smooth out any cracks along the edges.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in cast iron skillet on medium heat.
Cook arepas about 5 minutes on each side until a slightly brown crust forms. They should look like an english muffin. If they are browning too fast, lower the heat. Add more butter or oil for subsequent batches as needed.
Place arepas on a cookie sheet and heat for 10 minutes in the oven to finish cooking.


Black Bean and Corn Salsa Easy, delicious, and the perfect side dish with Cuban or Mexican food. 1 can black beans 1 can corn 1 pepper, chopped 2 tomatoes, chopped 1 bunch chives (optional) 1 tbs. chopped jalapeno ½ tsp. cumin 1/3 c. fresh cilantro (optional) ¼ c. lime juice 1 tbs. olive oil salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients

1. Scrub your potatoes well.

2. Bring (heavily) salted water to a boil and drop in your potatoes. Cook until tender - do not over cook. You can rinse the cooked potatoes in ice water to halt cooking. Halve and quarter them.

3. There are two options now. You can chill your cooked potatoes first - then fold your ingredients directly into the potatoes and serve or chill. This prevents the mayo and other creamy ingredients from 'melting' into the hot potatoes. The other option is to simply toss all the ingredients into the warm potatoes - and then chill until ready to serve (this is what I did). The last option is to fold all the ingredients into the potatoes and serve warm.

4. Chill your salad until ready to be served - or serve warm. We served it wrap-style in grilled flatbread - highly recommended. Season to taste with salt and fresh black pepper over top.

Original recipe

Veggie Peanut Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Collard Greens A hearty, satisfying vegetarian curry with tons of vegetables - red pepper, potato, sweet potato, tomatoes, chickpeas, and (a new one for me) collard greens. All in a wonderful not-from-a-mix peanut curry sauce that tastes kind of Thai, kind of Indian. Can be served over rice or as a stew with pita or naan bread.

2 tsp. canola or vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
One 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated (optional: I omitted it)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. whole mustard seeds
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground tumeric
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, or more to taste
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 14-ounce can lite coconut milk, or more to taste
2 tbsp. smooth peanut butter
1 large bunch collard greens, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 14-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped


Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  When it's hot, add the onion and cook until softened and starting to brown, about 8 minutes.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add all the spices and cook for another minute, then add the red pepper, the potatoes, the sweet potato, and the tomatoes.  Cover and let simmer over medium-low, until the potatoes have cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Stir in the coconut milk and peanut butter.  Add the collard greens and the chickpeas and stir well to combine.  Cook until the collard greens have wilted down enough to be soft, about 15 minutes.  If the curry seems to thick, add more coconut milk or water to thin it. Great with: pita or naan.

Original recipe
roasted_salsa_mexican_casserole.jpgThis is definitely best Mexican casserole I have ever had. Fresh summer corn, zucchini, and red pepper are sauteed in green enchilada sauce with precooked shredded chicken, layered with corn tortillas and homemade smoky tomato salsa, then topped with a mix of cheeses and baked until the flavors meld. It is, however, also a lot of work - and although the casserole is well worth the effort, but I do advise planning ahead before tackling it. I think we ate at around 9:30pm the night I decided to make it. But it makes a ton - would be great for feeding a crowd, and has so many veggies that it doesn't leave you feeling greasy like most cheese and sour cream casseroles.

Salsa:
8  plum tomatoes, halved and seeded
3  garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1  small onion, peeled and chopped
1  seeded jalapeño pepper, quartered
Cooking spray
1/3  cup  chopped fresh cilantro
3  tablespoons  fresh lime juice
1/8  teaspoon  black pepper
Casserole:
1  cup  chopped onion
1  cup  fresh or frozen corn kernels
1  cup  diced zucchini
1  cup  chopped red bell pepper
3  cups  shredded cooked chicken breast
1  tablespoon  minced garlic
2  teaspoons  chili powder
1  teaspoon  ground cumin
1  (10-ounce) can green chile enchilada sauce
1  (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles
12  (6-inch) corn tortillas
1/2  cup  (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
1/2  cup  (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese or queso fresco

Preheat broiler.

To prepare salsa, combine first 4 ingredients on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Broil 20 minutes or until charred, stirring once. Remove from oven; cool slightly. Place tomato mixture in a food processor; add cilantro, lime juice, and pepper. Process until smooth. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare casserole, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly coat pan with cooking spray. Add 1 cup onion, corn, zucchini, and bell pepper; sauté 6 minutes or until tender. Add chicken and next 5 ingredients (through green chiles); sauté 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat.

Spread 1/2 cup salsa over the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange half of tortillas over salsa. Spoon 2 cups chicken mixture evenly over tortillas. Top with 3/4 cup salsa. Repeat layers, starting with remaining tortillas. Finally, sprinkle the cheeses on top. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes until bubbly

Original recipe

This is one of those recipes that is easy, delicious and can be done without a lot of forethought. I've started keeping cans of chickpeas and tomatoes around just so I can make this dish (and others like homemade falafel) when we run out of groceries and don't want to make another run. Of course that means that we usually make this when we don't have a lot of time. So even though I've made this at least twice, no pictures yet. But take my word for it - it's worth a try.

olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin seeds (or coriander seeds)
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp ground ginger (I usually omit)
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cardamon (or 3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed)
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
1 Tbs cilantro leaves, roughly torn, plus more for garnish
A pinch of cayenne, or to taste
2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6-8 Tbs plain yogurt, optional
A few lemon wedges, optional

Film the bottom of a large saucepan or Dutch oven--preferably not nonstick--with olive oil, and place the pan over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until it is deeply caramelized and even charred in some spots. Be patient. The more color, the more full-flavored the final dish will be.

Reduce the heat to low. Add the garlic, stirring, and add a bit more oil if the pan seems dry. Add the cumin seeds, coriander, ginger, garam masala, and cardamom pods, and fry them, stirring constantly, until fragrant and toasty, about 30 seconds. Add ¼ cup water, and stir to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the water has evaporated away completely. Pour in the juice from can of tomatoes, followed by the tomatoes themselves, using your hands to break them apart as you add them; alternatively, add them whole and crush them in the pot with a potato masher. Add the salt.

Raise the heat to medium, and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the cilantro and cayenne, and simmer the sauce gently, stirring occasionally, until it reduces a bit and begins to thicken. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Add the chickpeas, stirring well, and cook over low heat for about five minutes. Add 2 Tbs water, and cook for another five minutes. Add another 2 Tbs water, and cook until the water is absorbed, a few minutes more. This process of adding and cooking off water helps to concentrate the sauce's flavor and makes the chickpeas more tender and toothsome. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Stir in the yogurt, if you like, or garnish with lemon wedges and cilantro. Serve.

Yield: About four servings

Original Recipe

grilled_london_broil_with_chimichurri.jpgTender, juicy steak - cheap! through the wonders of pre-salting, frequent turning on the grill, and nice thin slices against the grain. Be careful not to overcook the steak - it really is best medium rare, and I'm usually a medium well type of girl. Bright and flavorful chimichurri with lots of fresh cilantro, herbs, and garlic is optional but highly recommended.

London Broil

2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 bottom round steak or 'london broil', 2 to 2 1/2 pounds and 1 1/2 inches thick
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Sprinkle both sides of steak evenly with salt; wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (steak can be salted and refrigerated for up to 24 hours).

About 20 minutes before grilling, ignite grill, turn all burners to high, close cover, and heat until very hot, about 15 minutes.

Unwrap steak; insert 3 metal skewers lengthwise through center of steak, spacing skewers about 1 inch apart. Brush both sides of steak with oil and sprinkle evenly with pepper. Place steak on hottest part of grill. Grill, flipping steak every 4 minutes, until instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meat registers 120 degrees for rare to medium-rare, 16 to 20 minutes.

Transfer steak to cutting board and let rest, tented with foil, about 10 minutes. Remove skewers. Holding thin slicing knife at 45-degree angle to meat, slice very thinly and serve.

From: Cooks Illustrated

Chimichurri

1 small jalapeno pepper
2 tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano, rosemary or thyme (or a combination)
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup (packed) fresh Italian parsley or cilantro (cilantro is recommended)
Salt and pepper

Heat the jalapeno pepper over the flame of your stove or in the broiler until the skin starts to blister and develop black spots, about 3-4 minutes. Set aside. When cool enough to handle, remove the stem and seeds. Chop pepper (skin and all) and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over a medium flame until bubbling slightly, not yet smoking. Remove from heat and add rest of ingredients. You will hear a sizzle.This partially cooks the garlic, mellowing the flavor

Allow to sit, covered at room temperature, for 2 hours before using (we didn't do this). If you do not plan to use sauce within a few hours, wait to add the parsley until you use the sauce.

Original recipe


white_chicken_chili.jpgThis southwestern chicken soup is spiced like chili but looks more like tortilla soup. Beans, corn, and the typical soup trio of onion, carrots, and celery round out the vegetables, and cilantro and sour cream help brighten the flavors. The recipe makes a ton, but it freezes well and is great to have on hand for cold lazy evenings.

1.5 lb. chicken breast (boneless, skinless), cubed small
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 cans shoepeg corn (drained)
1 can Rotel
2 cans navy (or northern) beans (1 can drained, 1 undrained)
2 c. low-sodium V8
4 c. chicken broth
1.5 tsp. chili powder
1.5 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp pepper
Garnish:
fresh cilantro
sour cream
Fresh jalapenos, minced
Saute onion, carrots, celery until onion is lightly browned. Add chicken, cook ~ 3 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer for at least 30 minutes. Freezes well.

From: David Sutton
 

picodegallo_sm.jpg

Simple fresh salsa, great on chicken tacos or enchiladas.

4 tomatoes chopped
½ of a large white onion chopped
1 jalapeno or Serrano pepper minced (discard seeds)
¼ cup of cilantro chopped
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
I lime, juiced
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients and let stand 10-15 minutes before serving.

Original recipe

falafel_sm.jpg

These homemade falafel made with canned chickpeas, onion, and fresh herbs are easy, delicious, and healthy. The mix can be made ahead of time, and the patties cook up quickly in a frying pan with a little oil or baked in the oven. Adjust the red pepper to taste: even 1/4 tsp was fairly spicy to me.

1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans
1 small onion, finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
pepper to taste

Serve with: pita bread, cucumber, hummus, lemon-yogurt sauce, lettuce and tomato

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans. Put in a medium sized bowl and smash with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Form into small balls, about 1 1/2″ in diameter and slightly flatten.

To bake: Place onto an oiled baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes on each side, until nicely browned (since it's baked, only the part actually touching the pan will be browned and crispy).

To saute: Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a large frying pan over med-high heat. Add falafel, cook until brown and crisp on both sides.

Makes about 18 patties.

Original recipe


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