Category Archives: Dressings and Sauces

Roasted red bell pepper jam

Get ready for the new sauce of Summer ’22.
The perfect sauce for Mexican Corn Jalapeño Burger, Jamaican Jerk Chicken Kebabs, Beef burger filled with Onions and Crispy Bacon, Madras Salmon Burger, etc etc… basically all kinds of hamburgers, grilled meats, salmon, fish and sandwiches.
The jam is sweet, a little tangy because there is a little vinegar in there, and a hint of spice in the form of chili flakes. You can adjust that to your liking of course, but for us, 1/2 teaspoon is enough. This sauce will keep for about two weeks in the refrigerator,  you can also process the jars (canning) for a longer shelve life, but do consult a canning website or source for that procedure.
This roasted red bell pepper sauce takes five minutes to make and is so easy. I used a jar of roasted peppers like I did in my 5 minute Romesco Sauce, cheats version because, why not? Sometimes it’s okay to take a shortcut.

Makes 1 jar

INGREDIENTS:


1 jar of fire roasted red peppers, drained
80 grams of special jam sugar/gelling sugar
1/4 cup plain vinegar
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1/4 teaspoon table salt

INSTRUCTIONS:


Place all the ingredients in a blender.
Puree until smooth and transfer to a large pot.
Cook for 5 to 7 minutes until bubbly and slightly thickened.
Pour into sterile jar, let cool a bit with the lid off, for an hour or so.
Then close with a lid and keep in the refrigerator. Like I said earlier,  it’s good on everything.


Enjoy!

5 minute Romesco Sauce, cheats version

Romesco Sauce is a Spanish pepper and tomato based sauce from the region of Cataluña, that dates back to the 15 th century, thanks to Christopher Columbus who brought back the Romesco peppers from his travels in the America’s which are the base for this sauce.
You can find Romesco sauce everywhere in Spain, it’s very popular and can be eaten with everything from just bread to grilled fish, grilled meat or vegetables.

The original version is with dried peppers, almonds, some times hazelnuts as well, bread, garlic etc…
I have come up with a cheats version that can be done in 5 minutes and it is addictively delicious.

INGREDIENTS:

6 tbsp. Olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 jar roasted red bell peppers (15 oz. jar / 500 ml), drained
1/4 cup almond butter (the roasted kind)
1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
1/3 cup parsley, roughly a handful
1-2 tsp. red wine vinegar
3/4 tsp. salt
fresh black pepper
1 tsp. smoked paprika (preferably the Spanish kind)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place the sun dried tomatoes in a bowl and cover with very hot water. Let sit for five minutes then drain.
On medium heat, fry onion and garlic in two tablespoons of oil, until light golden and just soft. Let cool a bit.

In a food processor, add the pepper, the onions and garlic, almond butter, drained sun dried tomatoes, parsley, vinegar, salt, pepper, paprika and the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil.
Turn on the food processor and blend until smooth. That’s it!

I use only one teaspoon of vinegar but you can add more depending on how acidic you like it.

The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for about five days in a glass container or jar, but I can assure you, you will be putting it on everything.

Enjoy!

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.