I am always surprised with the amount of visitors we get from all over the world… and the acceptance my recipes have on you, our readers.
I want to share with all the newcomers to KarmaFree Cooking, which have been the recipes published in 2010 that you’ve made most popular. This will give you an idea of what others are most interested in the KarmaFree Cooking world.
Red Bell Pepper Sauce
Better-than-Maggiano’s Stuffed Mushrooms
Tomato Basil Bruschetta Mix
Very Berry Sorbet
Avocado and Tomato Sandwich
White Truffle Mac and Cheese
Hash Brown Spinach Casserole
If one of your favorites is not listed here, please let us know about it in the COMMENTS section. We love to hear from you!!
For all of you that wanted to know more where you could find Membrillo Paste, here is an update…
I saw Membrillo Paste at the Cheese Section of Whole Foods. You could find it near the manchego cheeses. This picture was taken recently at the Whole Foods in Boca Raton FL.
There were several varieties to choose from. Enjoy!!
For every Encierro in San Fermín, the Encierro is not the beginning of the day but more really the culmination of a night of partying. Well, the almost culmination because before going to bed after the Encierro you must have breakfast.
Some people consider breakfast a spiked “zumo de naranja” or orange juice… as we can see with our Pamplona friends here. But for most Spaniards a sandwich or “bocadillo” or Churros con Chocolate are more fitting breakfast choices.
But a word of caution… if you order a Hot Chocolate or “Chocolate Caliente” in Spain you will get something closer to a hot chocolate pudding in a glass. If you want to drink something closer to what a hot chocolate is in America, you need to ask for a ColaCao with hot milk. ColaCao is the Spanish/European equivalent to Quik. But it’s important for you to know the difference so your expectations are met.
I am self-procalimed chocoholic, but I‘ve had to steer away from chocolate because of its caffeine content. That’s basically the reason why the vegetarianism I practice avoids chocolate. So when we had our churros the other day, my taste buds were craving something “chocolaty” to dunk the churros in… and the vegetarian alternative is Hot Carob.
Carob, available in both bar and powder form, makes a very delicious caffeine-free alternative to hot chocolate. And because carob is a bit bitter it resembles the bitter bar chocolate used to make hot chocolate from scratch. Here’s how…
¾ cup of evaporated milk – about ½ a container
¾ cup of water
1 tbs carob powder
2 tbs agave nectar
- In a small sauce pan over medium heat, add the evaporated milk, water and agave nectar. Whisk in the carob powder to avoid any lumps from forming.
- Heat up the mixture enough without bringing it to a boil. I like to keep whisking for a little while to prevent the carob powder to scorch at the bottom of the pan.
- Take away from heat and cover to maintain hot for a while.
Serve hot with a side of churros…
The evaporated milk gives it a creamier consistency as if you used regular milk, but you can certainly substitute the evaporated milk and water for equal parts of just milk.
My friend Angie’s mom, Doña Tina, is from Asturias. They were just visiting Asturias this past Easter. Angie came back with plenty ideas for us to make together. Among them, a CHURRERA… or a little machine contraption to make churros. We just had to try it for our Spanish-inspired dinner menu recently.
Mariana and Natalia were super excited to make churros… they were asking for them the whole night. Churros are sweet, crunchy and delicious. What’s not to like??
The recipe is super simple… just 3 ingredients – flour, water and butter. That’s it; Nothing to it. All you need is a little bit of muscle to work the Churrera. Or a second pair of hands is also very useful. If you do not have a churrera, don’t worry – a simple pastry bag with a star tip will also do the job.
We used spelt flour for the job… and it worked out extremely well.
1 cup spelt flour
1 cup water
2 tbs butter
a pinch of kosher salt
Canola oil for frying
Organic sugar for sprinkling on top
- In a medium saucepan bring the water and butter to a boil. Dump the flour into the water in one swoop and start mixing it all together very briskly using a wooden spoon.
- After mixing the dough around the pan for a little while, about 1-2 minutes, take the dough out of the pan to cool off.
- After the dough has cooled, insert it into a churrera or pastry bag with a star tip.
- In a large skillet, place about ½ inch of oil for frying the churros… traditionally olive oil is used, but I do not like to use olive oil for frying. Check the oil is at the right frying temperature by inserting a wooden spoon into the oil.
- Press the churros dough through the currera and into the hot oil. Try to use a circular motion going from the center of the pan and spiral outward. When you run out of space in the pan, cut the dough using kitchen shears. That’s the traditional way the Spanish do churros. If this is too complex, just draw some lines into the frying pan and cut the dough again using kitchen shears.
- Fry churros for about 10-15 minutes, until the dough is golden brown on all sides. Spelt flour is a little bit darker than traditional white flour, so it’ll take a few minutes of frying before you start seeing the change in color and doneness.
- Take the finished churros out of the oil and place in a paper towel to drain. Sprinkle with organic sugar on top.
These churros are spectacular and even more so with a cup of Hot Carob on the side.
I truly do not know if this is typical Spanish combination, but it definitely reminds me of my last trip to Spain…
Walter and I visited Bilbao during our last trip to Spain, and even though the Guggenheim Museum was on top of our list of places to see and visit, walking thru the city and eating well ranked a really closed second.
Guggenheim Bilbao Museum
We decided Bilbao was not as big and we would walk it out and during our walk we found the Plaza or the city market and we had to go in. There were the most awesome variety of Spanish produce and some gorgeous stained window treatments.
As a snack we wanted something we could carry around, would not spoil easily and that it was typical Spanish… Walter decided out of all the cheeses available he wanted manchego. Why?? I still do not know because you can get manchego super easily here in Puerto Rico, but he wanted manchego, so we bought manchego. So I decided to accompany that with something a bit more local and that is not readily available where we live – Membrillo paste.
Photo Courtesy of nami-nami.blogspot.com
Membrillo is known as quince in English… a sweet fruit that looks like a cross between a pear and a guava. Membrillo is not commonly eaten in Puerto Rico, so for the purposes of our Spanish-inspired dinner we had to make do with guava paste. Very delicious too, but not quite the same. I guess this would be the Spanish equivalent to the Cuban – guava paste and cream cheese I grew up eating.
MANCHEGO AND MEMBRILLO PASTE
Manchego Cheese – in slices or cubes
Membrillo Paste – in slices or cubes
- Just assemble them in a pretty way together and enjoy them in all one bite together…
It’s delicious as a snack or as a light dessert… YUM.