Category Archives: Dressings and Sauces

Elotes and Pineapple Salad , Ensalada de Elotes con Piña

This is our favorite Summer Salad, Elotes Salad or Mexican Street corn Salad with pineapple. It’s basically Mexican Street Corn that you can eat with a spoon rather than digging into a whole corn on the cob covered with Cotija, paprika etc…which can be a challenge, except that I have added some grilled pineapple.
This is a great salad to serve at your next Barbeque, or as we like to do, add it to Tacos and even pile it high on Burgers. So SO good!
It’s very simple, you start by grilling corn and fresh pineapple and once they are cooled you cut off the kernels carefully with a sharp knife, then toss together with the pineapple chunks in a simple dressing.

Prep time : 15 min
Cooking time : 10 min
Serves : 6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 ears of Corn
  • 1/3- 1/2 of a fresh pineapple, peeled and sliced thick-ish (see note*)
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1 small red chili pepper, deseeded and chopped fine
  • ½ cup crumbled Cotija cheese (see note**)
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro, more for on top

Dressing:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup crème fraiche
  • Juice of 1 lime, or more according to taste
  • A few dashes of Tabasco ( or Franks hot sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, more for on top
  • Salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat (an outdoor) grill or grill pan to medium heat. Clean your corn if necessary and rub all over with a little oil. Place on the grill and cook for about 10 minutes, turning every few minutes. Do the same with the Pineapple slices. Remove them once cooked from the grill and let them cool.
Meanwhile mix mayonnaise, crème fraiche, lime juice, tabasco and paprika together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Cut the kernels off the cob, and cut the pineapple slices into bite-size pieces
Get out a pretty bowl and combine everything… the corn, pineapple, onion, scallions, chili peppers, Cotija cheese, cilantro, and dressing. Reserve some cilantro and Cotija to sprinkle on top.

Enjoy!

* Any left-over Pineapple is great grilled and then served with ice-cream as a dessert.
** If you can’t find Cotija, I think that Feta resembles it most, it has a similar texture and taste.

If you make this Elotes salad, be sure to leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you and if you love it, pin it. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! @thecookingspoonblog or hashtag it #thecookingspoonblog

Mexican Flavor Cubes


For lack of a beter name, Mexican flavor cubes is what I have named these little cubes. Concentrated Mexican “mole-like” flavor packed into little cubes to be added to any sauce or dish that needs a little “oomph”. These little cubes are full of Mexican flavor and really pack a punch. Lots of flavor in minutes without all the hassle.
I have these as part of my standard frozen staples. I’m a true believer in a well-stocked kitchen pantry/freezer as this will ensure you’re prepared, even if you don’t have time for a last minute shopping trip , so that you can make your favourite recipes and always have the basics at hand.
There are a ton of standard items in my freezer, that I make again and again as soon as they, or almost, run out. Such items are home made chicken stock, Napolitana sauce, and a roast pepper Napolitana version for myself, Pizza bases, Bread, Bagels etc… and of course these Mexican flavor cubes.
Let me explain how and why. We eat a lot of Mexican inspired dishes at home and I say inspired because I don’t want to offend anyone, I’m sure they are far from authentic, but they’re very tasty and that’s what it all about, for us. So basically what I do is, I soak some Mexican peppers that I buy online, add spices, cooked onion, garlic and some other flavourings, then blend it all up and freeze it in an ice cube tray. I happen to have a very large ice cube tray, that makes ¼ cup cubes, perfect for us but you can freeze it how it would work best for you. Don’t be put off by the long ingredient list, you’ll have most of the spices in your cupboard already, and it actually comes together very quickly.

INGREDIENTS:

• 3 dried Ancho peppers ( aka dried Poblano peppers) Scoville scale: 1,000 to 2,000 shu
• 3 Chipotles peppers (smoke-dried Jalapeño peppers) Scoville scale: 2,500 to 8,000 shu
• 3 Guajillo peppers (aka dried Mirasol peppers) Scoville scale : 2,500–5,000 shu
• 2 tbsp. neutral oil
• 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
• 4 garlic cloves, peeled and grated or crushed
• 2 roast peppers from a jar
• 2 chicken or beef stock cube
• 1 tsp. Mexican oregano
• 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
• 2 tsp. ground cumin
• 1 tsp. cinnamon
• ½ tsp. ground cloves
• ½ tsp. all spice
• 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
• 1 tsp. salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tsp. sugar or more to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

Put a large frying pan on medium high heat, place your peppers in the dry pan and toast gently all over until they begin to soften and change color. Remove from heat.
Add the oil to the pan and add the onion and garlic, cook gently while you clean the peppers.
Cut the peppers open with scissors and remove stems and seeds, place in a bowl and cover with 2 cups of very hot water (not boiling) and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
Once the onion is soft and golden add the smoked paprika, oregano, the ground cumin, cinnamon, ground cloves, all spice, salt and freshly ground pepper, just a few twists. Stir and let it become fragrant, turn of the heat after one or two minutes.
Once everything has cooled, place the hydrated peppers with liquid in the blender, with the onion-spice mixture, add the peppers from a jar, add the stock cubes, cocoa powder and sugar. Blend everything until you have a dark smooth puree, taste and season if necessary.
Pour into ice cube tray or other small containers and freeze.
I use these cubes to make fajitas, chili, enchiladas and all sorts of Mexican dishes. It gives everything a really authentic flavor without hours of cooking. Just make your regular recipes, and then add one of these cubes for a flavor explosion.
Enjoy.

Broccoli Salad

With Summer on its way, it’s great to have lots of salad recipes on hand. This Broccoli salad is so colorful and fun to make, and obviously fantastic to eat. The great thing about this particular salad is that you can even make it a day in advance, it holds up really well, making it perfect for Bbq’s and Picnics.

It’s very simple to make, start by soaking the cranberries in warm water.
Then you caramelize the pecan nuts with the butter and sugar.
As these cool, you steam the broccoli florets for just 3 minutes in the microwave. You rinse them under cold water and drain.
The rest of the ingredients are then added and tossed with the delicious simple dressing.


⏰ Prep time : 15 minutes
🍝 Cooking time : 15 minutes
🍴 Serves : 4 as a side dish or 2 as a main course


INGREDIENTS:

• 1 large head of Broccoli, cut into florets
• 1/2 cup of pecans
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 tablespoon butter
• pinch of salt
• 1/3 cup dried cranberries
• 1/3 cup pomegranate arils, reserve some to scatter on top before serving
• 4 oz. chopped cooked ham
• 4 oz. grated aged cheddar, coarsely grated or finely chopped
• 2 tbsp. chopped chives
• 2 tbsp. chopped parsley, (1 tbsp. goes in and the other on top)
• 1/2 cup sour cream
• 1/2 cup mayonnaise
• a good squeeze of lime juice
• 2-3 tbsp. milk
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Start by soaking the cranberries in warm water.
2. Then heat a small pan on medium heat and melt the butter. Add the Pecans, salt and the tablespoon of sugar.
3. Keep stirring until sugar is caramelizing and the nuts are golden.
4. Transfer to a plate lined with a piece of parchment paper and make sure to separate the nuts or they will form clusters.
5. Steam the broccoli florets for three minutes, rinse under cold water and drain very well.
6. For the dressing mix the sour cream, mayonnaise, milk, lime juice, sugar and season with salt and pepper.
7. Drain the cranberries and pat dry with kitchen paper.
8. Toss all the remaining ingredients over the broccoli and mix carefully.
9. Add the dressing and toss again.
10. Place all on top of some salad leafs on a big platter to serve.
11. Sprinkle with the pomegranate arils and some parsley.

ENJOY!
MYRA

Duck Breast with Cherry Sauce for two

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I kind of feel like I am having tiny Christmas dinners all throughout the month of December. And I gotta say, I’m lovin’ it.

This is one of those dinners. Simple as can be and festive as can be.

Duck goes really well with any kind of fruit and is usually paired with citrus, but it goes equally well with berries and darker fruits like plums or cherries.

The Duck breast has been treated in a different way because I really dislike the skin. I do like the skin when it’s crispy, but how long does the crispiness last , really? By the time dinner gets to the table and you actually start eating the crispyness is almost gone.
So, what I do and what may seem as a shocker to some of you, but I remove the skin and treat the breast more like a steak. Simply seasoned with salt and pepper and pan fried. I use a cast iron pan for this because it works best in my opinion.

Then I cut up the skin in tiny bits and render the fat, where I then pan roast the potatoes and finish them of in the oven. This gives you the best roast potatoes you can ever imagine, and you’ll be surprised to see how the skin disappears in the pan almost completely.

The cherry sauce goes so well with the duck, it’s a little bit sweet and a little bit sour, perfect against the intense duck flavour, and such a festive dish.

      

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Serves 2 – 3

Ingredients Duck Breasts:

  • 2 Duck breasts
  • salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Remove the Duck from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes prior to cooking.

Remove the skin and chop fine. Place in a cast iron skillet and render the fat over low heat, until all the skin has almost disappeared. You will end up with about 4 to 6 tbsp. fat.

Season the duck breast on both sides, heat a cast iron frying pan over high heat with three tablespoons of the duck fat.
Place both duck breasts in the pan and don’t move them for about 3 minutes then turn the over. Cook for another 3 minutes.
Remove to a plate and let sit covered with foil for about five minutes.
This is medium cooked, if you like it less done cook it for 5 minutes total. For completely done 7 to 8  minutes, it depends a little bit on the size of the duck breast and the thickness.

Slice and serve with the pan roast potatoes and cherry sauce.

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Ingredients Cherry Sauce:

  • 1/2 C. brown Sugar or sugar of choice
  • 1/2 C. Red wine Vinegar
  • 2 whole Star Anise
  • 1 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 3 C. frozen Cherries (no stones)
  • 1 tsp. corn starch
  • 1 tbsp water

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place the sugar, vinegar, star anise and cinnamon in a medium non-stick frying pan over high heat and bring to a simmer. Add the cherries and cook, turning occasionally, for 8–10 minutes or until just soft and the sauce has reduced a little. Make a slurry with the corn starch and water, add to the sauce and let thicken.

For the Roast Potatoes:
1/2 Lb., potatoes, peeled
2 tbsp. fat rendered from duck breasts.
salt

Instructions:

Pre heat oven to 220° C  / 428° F
Par boil the potatoes for about ten minutes, drain, and let them steam off.
Heat the (oven proof) pan with rendered duck fat and roast the potatoes until they start ro turn golden brown. Place the pan in the oven and roast for an other 20 25 minutes until crispy and golden all over, turning ocassionally. Season with salt.

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If you try this recipe let me know! Leave a comment below and don’t forget to snap a pic and tag it #thecookingspoonblog  on instagram! You’ll make my day.