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Caldo de Camarón

12 Apr Caldo de Camarron

Can any two words be more delicious than Shrimp Soup? Now take that simply delicious shrimp soup and add a little Mexican flavor and you have the classic Caldo de Camarón.

Caldo de Camarón

Caldo de Camarón

Among all the tacos, tostadas, enchiladas, and tamales, Mexico also has a very large repertoire of soups, especially seafood based soups. Among those is the classic Caldo de Camarón. This hearty, slightly spicy soup is built upon a base of chile guajillo, a delicious shrimp broth, chunks of potatoes and carrots, and finished with fresh peeled shrimp. Luckily, I was able to find some fresh native shrimp at the local fishmonger, so this was a welcome treat to our Easter Sunday brunch!

In Mexico, this soup is often given complimentary in many restaurants, served in little shot glasses! It is a very delicious way to welcome you to their restaurant…

So as you welcome those special guests to your table, just remember to serve it very hot and always have fresh limes ready to be squeezed in the soup!

Buen Provecho!!!

Caldo de Camarón

  • 4 Red Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch cubes
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch cubes
  • 8-10 Chile Guajillo
  • 1.0 lbs. Shrimp.
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste
  1. Peel and devein shrimp under cold running water, reserving peels and shrimp separately; set shrimp aside.
  2. Take shells, the onion, 2 cloves of unpeeled garlic, and ½ tsp of salt put in a stockpot and add about 3 quarts of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 30-40 minutes.
  3. Strain broth and put liquid back into a stockpot and keep warm.
  4. Toast the chiles on a comal and then soak in hot water for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the stems and seeds and place in a blender with 1 clove of garlic, a peel of onion, and about 2 cups of soaking liquid. Blend to a puree.
  5. In another stockpot, heat about a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat, Strain the puree over the oil and then simmer for 8 to 10 minutes over medium-high heat, allowing the puree to season and thicken.
  6. Add the shrimp broth that you had set aside, add the carrots, potatoes.
  7. Bring broth back to a simmer, and simmer  for 5 minutes.
  8. Turn heat to high, add shrimp, bring to a boil, and simmer briefly until shrimp are done.
  9. Add the chopped cilantro and add salt to taste.
  10. Ladle soup into large soup bowls, and serve with lime wedges.

    Caldo de Camarron

    Caldo de Camarron

Turkey Chili and Savory Chipotle-Jack Scones

6 Mar Spicy Turkey Chili

This week we had the first snowstorm of the year in New England! Yes, you read that correctly, here it is the beginning of March and we have only had ONE real snowstorm this year. In fact, my little town of Berwick, received about 14 inches of the white stuff. It snowed continuously for almost 2 days. We then had cold rain and sleet to follow it up. I can tell you that I did not miss it one little bit. If global warming means that New England will have warmer winter weather and less snow, then I am all for it!

All that cold and wet weather made for a perfect time to cook up a batch of some energy packed Turkey Chili. My turkey chili is made with lean ground turkey breast. The other thing that I love from my recipe is that once you prep all the ingredients, you can be sitting down to eat in 40 minutes. This chili requires none of the long stewing that some meat based recipes require.

Turkey Chili

Turkey Chili

When I usually make this chili, I setup a mise en place and then commence with the cooking. I found that this gives me complete focus on the cooking, rather than having to worry about cooking AND prepping at the same time. This recipe also has an added bonus of using beer, so feel free to consume while you are cooking!

I accompanied the chili with a savory scone recipe that I wanted to test out. I absolutely cannot eat chili without bread, or cornbread, or some other type of chili-sopping food item. This time I wanted to do something a bit different, so what could be more different than a savory scone? The first flavor combination that popped into my head was chipotle and cheese. So I went about researching recipes for various types of scones, I settled upon a lighter version from Cooking Light. The only variation that I made was that I added bit more chipotle and used monterry jack cheese instead of cheddar.

Chipotle Jack Scones

Chipotle Jack Scones

Grab a Corona, serve yourself up a bowl of turkey chili, grab a chipotle-jack scone, and enjoy!

So what are your traditional recipes for Chili? What would you suggest to make this recipe even better?


Turkey Chili

  • 1 pkg (1.3 lbs)  Ground Turkey Breast
  • 2 ½  tblsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp dried epazote
  • 1 28oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 3 chiles poblano
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of pinto beans
  • 1 can white hominy (pozole)
  • 1 yellow onion (for this recipe I used a vidalia)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 chipotles in adodo
  • 1 tblsp. sauce from the adobo can
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • About 1 cup of beer
  • About 1 cup of water

Mise en place all the ingredients:

  • Chop the onions and mince the garlic and place in a small bowl.
  • Combine the chili powder, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and paprika in another bowl.
  • Roast, peel, seed, and devine the chili poblanos, chop and place in another small bowl.
  • Remove the seeds from the chipotles and place with the adobo sauce in another small bowl.
  • Rinse the beans well and place together in a small bowl together with the epazote.
  • Rinse the hominy, then remove the seeds from each kernel, place in a small bowl.
  • In a large bowl, take the tomatoes and crush through your fingers to make a nice pulp.

Now that you have all the ingredients ready, we can start to cook!

  1. Heat the olive oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat
  2. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the ground turkey and with your mixing spoon, break the ground turkey up really well.
  4. Once you have broken it up, add the bowl with the spices. Mix well to combine and cook for about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the beer and continue to cook until the ground turkey mixture is reduced to more than half, about 8 minutes
  6. Now add the chili poblano and mix well to combine.
  7. Next add the tomatoes. Once it comes back to a boil, reduce heat to medium and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring regularly.
  8. After 20 minutes, add the beans with the epazote and mix well to combine.
  9. Add the hominy, again, mix well to combine.
  10. At this point you can add the 1 cup of water if you desire a more soupy consistency.
  11. Simmer for another 20 minutes on medium-low heat.
  12. Serve with those delicious chipotle-jack scones and some more beer!

    Spicy Turkey Chili

    Spicy Turkey Chili

Chipotle-Jack Scones

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp cold butter, cut into chunks
  • 3/4 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded monterry jack cheese
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 2 tbsp. chopped chipotles in adobo (about 3 large chipotles)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and butter in a large mixing bowl and mix with a pastry blender until well combined and crumbly.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well with a wooden spoon (I used some damp hands!) until the dough is well formed and just a tad sticky.
  4. Lightly grease a cookie sheet with some cooking spray and divide the dough in two halves and place on the baking sheet.
  5. Form each ball of dough into a circle just about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick.
  6. Then with a sharp knife or a pastry knife, divide into 6 triangles by cutting each circle in half, then making an “X”.
  7. Place some parchment paper a spread the triangles out on the tray about 1 inch or more apart as they will rise during baking.
  8. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, halfway through I rotated the sheets in the oven to ensure even baking.

    Chipotle Jack Scones

    Chipotle Jack Scones

Mole de Olla

10 Feb Molle de Olla

Although this has been a very mild winter in the Northeast, Winter still has New England firmly in its grasp. I cannot think of a better way to warm one’s soul than some delicious, comforting, beef stew. Not just your average, everyday beef stew, but an authentic Mexican stew made in a broth of chile pasilla that originates from the state of Oaxaca. Mole de Olla!

Mole de Olla

Mole de Olla

This is a recipe that my wife taught me when we first married and I have used ever since. This recipe has a unique ingredient that many of you may not have heard of. It is called Epazote. Epazote is a herb used in many dishes in Mexico. It adds a unique flavor to dishes, but its best quality is its ability to control  intestinal gas! In Mexico, they use fresh epazote branches in Mole de Olla, but since we do not have any here, I have to use dried epazote. A good rule of thumb is to use 1 teaspoon of dried epazote for each fresh branch of epazote. You can source dried epazote here!

Mole de Olla is rather simple to prepare. The only thing to be mindful of is the order that you cook the vegetables in, which will ensure they are all the proper tenderness at the same time. We start by slowly simmering the beef short ribs and the beef. My recipe uses short ribs as well because I like the added flavor that the beef bones bring to the stock. Just be sure to de-bone the beef after it is cooked! After the beef is pretty much done, we start adding the vegetables. First we add the corn and potatoes, then the beans and the carrots. We add the chile pasilla puree, simmer until all the vegetables are the desired tenderness, serve in large bowls with fresh limes and fresh corn tortillas and maybe a delicious Malbec! 

Mole de Olla

  • 1 lb beef short ribs
  • 1 lb lean beef, cut into small chunks
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10-12 cilantro stems, tied with butchers twine
  • 2 teaspoons dried epazote
  • 2 corn cobs
  • ½ white onion
  • 1/2 head of garlic
  • 1/2 lb. green beans
  • 6 medium red potatoes, quartered
  • 2 large carrots sliced quarters
  • 5 chiles pasillas
  • salt to taste
  1. Cook the all the beef in about 3 quarts of water, along the onion, the garlic, salt, bay leaf, and cilantro stems on low heat for 30 minutes.
  2. Cut the corn cobs into 1 inch slices, wash the potatoes and quarter them. Slice each of the green beans in half, then quarter the carrots.
  3. Once the meat is cooked, add the corn and potatoes.
  4. About five minutes later, add the carrots, the beans, and the epazote.
  5. While this is all simmering away, toast the chiles on a comal, then soak them in water for about 20 minutes.
  6. Remove the seeds and veins, then add the chiles to the blender with about ½ cup of the stock, a slice of white onion, and a clove of garlic.
  7. Blend this to a nice puree, then strain into the pot through a medium mesh sieve.
  8. Simmer until all the vegetables are tender, about another 30 minutes.
  9. Remove the beef short ribs and de-bone the beef and put the beef back into the pot.
  10. Serve in large bowls with lime slices and fresh corn tortillas!

    Mole de Olla

    Mole de Olla

Mushroom Soup

31 Jan

I am a sucker for soups and this one is from Sandra & Kathy’s Corner and it will be one that I will be making very soon!

Sandra & Kathy's Corners

The whispers of mushroom soup were calling to me. Indeed, a hot bowl of soup sounded good as a starter. I was envisioning a thick puréed soup. Since I’m not a fan of potato laden soups, the heartiness from the mushrooms and onion were going to give me the satisfaction without the addition of any other filler.

Mushrooms are great to have on hand. Each month, mushrooms always seem to make their way into my grocery cart. I usually pick up three to four different types varying from shiitake, maitake, bunashimeji, enoki, king oyster or oyster – mostly the commonplace Asian varieties rather than the familiarly cultivated brown or white. I stow them away in the fridge in deli meat drawer to be used for quick and easy dishes. I think they are a fantastic substitute for meat.

In the pantry, I also keep dried porcini and shiitake in air…

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Test Kitchen #2

3 Nov Lobster Ceviche Veracruz

You ever have one of those days where everything you were doing just did not turn out right? Well, Test Kitchen #2, in many ways, turned into one of those days. It all started with the Epic 2011 Halloween Nor’easter.  For those of you who do not have the pleasure of living in New England in the winter, a Nor’easter is a brutal type of winter snowstorm.  This storm knocked out power to more than 160,000 in Maine, including my home. Then on Monday morning, on my way to work, a miracle occurred; Power had also been knocked out to the Rochester Electronics facilities in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Test Kitchen Sunday suddenly became Test Kitchen Monday!

My agenda for Test Kitchen #2 was as follows:

  1. Test out a Oaxacan inspired ceviche based on an original recipe from Rick Bayless, but adding my own twist by substituting pilloncillo for chocolate Abuelita (a sweetened Mexican chocolate).
  2. Test out a Yucatan inspired ceviche with Coconut, Mint, and Mango.
  3. Recreate the Veracruz version of ceviche.
  4. Plate all three together in a “tour” of ceviche. That is have about 4 ounces of ceviche from three different regions in Mexico.
  5. Of course, take pictures and document my day.

So early Monday morning (around 11:00AM) I headed off to obtain my supplies. I went out to Golden Harvest once again.  I then headed to Taylor Lobster to get my fresh lobsters. This time, I wanted to give you a little bit more about my friendly nieghborhood fish monger, so I took some photos inside the store. Those pictures will be posted on the Facebook page for this food blog  So having my fresh produce, and my fresh lobsters, I headed home to create!

Taylor Lobster

Taylor Lobster in Kittery, Maine

I prepared my lobsters once again by placing them in the freezer for about 20 minutes to put them to “sleep” while I boiled my pot of salted water. I added the aromatics to the pot, and covered it. Once the pot came to a boil, I placed three lobsters in the pot, turned off the heat, and set the timer for 8 minutes.  Once the 8 minutes were up, I took out each lobster and placed in an ice bath for 2 minutes or so to: 1. To immediately stop the cooking and 2. To cool the lobsters faster so I could remove the meat. Once the lobsters were cool, I took the claws and the tails and removed the meat. The three lobsters yielded about 12 ounces of lobster meat (about 4 ounces each).  I chopped up the lobster meat and placed it in a covered glass container in the refrigerator while I prepared the marinades.


Mmmmm Lobster!

To cut to the chase, the Oaxacan ceviche was a total disaster.  The combination of the grapefruit juice, chocolate, and chile pasilla just did not work at all. The bittersweet flavor of the chocolate, together with the tart acidic grapefruit juice did not balance well with the chile pasilla. I did not have much lobster to test out the original recipe so I moved on to the Yucatan ceviche. This was not nearly such a disaster, the flavors balanced well, but it still needed something, like cilantro. The problem with that was I was already featuring cilantro in another ceviche and did not want to repeat ingredients.

After one complete failure, and the other miss with the Yucatan ceviche, my trio was suddenly becoming a solo act. I instantly thought of an episode of “Iron Chef” that I once watched. One of the challengers put up a trio of some dish for judging (I do not remember what the “secret ingredient” was).  It was quite ambitious and it looked beautiful. Unfortunately, one of the trio fell short, so the judges blasted the entire dish. One of the judges mentioned that when you present a trio, they compete against each other rather than compete against the other chef’s single plate. When presenting a trio, all three better be spot on or the whole dish risks judgment on each individual serving. Having that thought clearly in my mind, I switched gears and focused on my original dish.

So the safe bet was to make the Lobster Ceviche Veracruz in a chilled avocado soup (Ceviche de Langosta Veracruzano en sopa fria de aquacate). So I took another 4 ounces of the lobster meat and marinated it for 30 minutes in the juice of 2 limes, 1 lemon, and 1 orange.  While this was marinating, I minced my red onion, tomato, chile serrano, cilantro. After 30 minutes, I drained the citrus well, then I mixed in the rest of the ingredients. 

The Citrus

Citrus is Cool!

For the avocado soup, I chopped up ½ of a yellow onion and sautéed the onion in 1 tablespoon of corn oil and 1 tablespoon of butter until the onion became translucent and began to darken slightly on the edges. I then added about ¼ cup of cilantro. I let the cilantro cook until it just began to wilt, then I placed the entire contents of the pan into a blender with 6 cups of warm chicken stock (make sure the fat has been completely been separated from the stock!).  At this point, cut up and scoop out the flesh from 3 Haas avocados and put in the blender.  Then carefully pulse the blender to puree setting and puree until smooth.  To ensure that your avocado soup does not oxidize and turn from its delicious green to a ugly brown color, squeeze in the juice from 1 lime. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to cool completely.


Sweating Onions


Adding the Cilantro

Adding the cilantro to the onions

Once the soup was chilled, I took a shallow bowl, took out my food mold, and placed it in the center of the bowl. I scooped the ceviche into the food mold and filled it to the top. I then poured the avocado soup around the ceviche with the mold still in place. Once I had about ½ inch or so of soup in the bowl, I carefully removed the mold, then I placed a cilantro leaf and a tortilla chip in the ceviche and the dish was ready to serve! Although I failed to accomplish my objectives, I did end up with a result. A beautiful, professional dish to serve at my MasterChef audition on Saturday. There are a few adjustments that I need to make, adding a pinch more salt, using the juice of only 1 lime, and adding a bit more chile to give it some kick to contrast the cool, refreshing avocado soup, but overall it was a delicious dish!

Lobster Ceviche Veracruz

Ceviche de Langosta Veracruzano en Sopa Fria de Aguacate

Ceviche de Langosta Veracruzano

  • 8 to 10 ounces of lobster meat (partially cooked. 2 one and a quarter pound lobsters will yield approx. 8 ounces)
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice(Valencia or Navel)
  • ¼ red onion, diced
  • 1 Chile Serrano, seeded and membranes removed, diced
  • ½ cup of fresh cilantro, loosely packed, chopped fine
  • Pinch of salt to taste (al gusto)
  1. Bring 1 large stockpot filled with water, 2 tablespoons salt, 2 bay leaves, and 4 sprigs of thyme to a boil.
  2. Once the water boils, add up to two lobsters at a time, turn off heat and cover.  Blanche lobsters for about 6-8 minutes.
  3. After 6-8 minutes, remove the lobsters and quickly shock in an ice bath to stop the cooking. After a few minutes in the ice-cold water, remove them from the ice bath.
  4. Go about removing the meat from the lobster.
  5. Once you have removed the meat from the tails and the claws, you can press out the leg meat.  Chop the lobster meat into bit size pieces.
  6. Combine the citrus in a non-reactive bowl (preferably glass or stainless) with the lobster and place covered in a refrigerator for about 30 – 45 minutes.
  7. While the lobster “cooks” in the citrus, prepare and combine all the other ingredients in bowl.
  8. Once the lobster has soaked for no more than 45 minutes, take it from the refrigerator and mix with the other ingredients.
  9. Plate immediately and serve with a slice of avocado, some saltine crackers, tortilla chips, or tostadas.

Chilled Avocado Soup

  • ½ of a yellow onion, diced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, stems removed
  • 1 tablespoon of corn oil
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • 3  Haas Avocados
  • 6 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 lime
  • Salt (al Gusto)
  1. Chop the onion and place in a hot sauté pan with the corn oil and the melted butter. Cook until the onion becomes translucent and just begins to brown on the edges.
  2. Add the cilantro and cook until the cilantro wilts.
  3. Put the onions and cilantro into a blender with 6 cups of chicken stock.
  4. Scoop out the flesh of 3 avocados and place into the blender.
  5. Carefully puree to a smooth consistency and place in a covered glass container or bowl in the refrigerator. Once it is chilled, it is ready to serve.