Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Roasted Tomato Salsa

For most of my cooking life, if I have needed tomatoes in any form for a recipe, I would purchase them canned ... canned tomatoes, canned tomato paste, canned tomato juice, canned tomato sauce ... if I bought fresh tomatoes, it was to eat them fresh in a salad or sandwich. Now, I find myself in a land where tomato based recipes are popular, and canned goods are not ... and every cook makes her own special brand of tomato sauce with her eyes closed. To work around my deficiency in tomato-sauce making skills, I have avoided most tomato based recipes for quite some time now ... a not really difficult feat since I'm also not that crazy about tomato based recipes. However, this one caught my eye when I realized that the vegies are oven-roasted. I wanted to try it as a salsa, but it has been weeks since the "specialty" story in Santa Elena has stocked nachos, so I decided to go with pasta instead. The flavor was wonderful, even with the substitution in chiles, although if using fresh jalapeno's again, I would use two instead of one. And here is the recipe:

Roasted Tomato Salsa
Recipe by: Heidi at 101

If you can't find a guajillo pepper, no worries - just leave it out of the recipe. The salsa will still taste delicious with just the roasted tomatoes and chipotles. You can also substitute another type of chile if you like. The reddish-brown guajillo are known for their strong, complex and earthy flavor, and medium heat. Feel free to experiment with more readily available chiles from your area until you find one you really like to play off the flavors of the chipotles and roasted tomatoes.

Two chipotles can be very spicy, consider yourself warned. Start with one, or even one-half a chipotle if you or your family are heat-sensitive, and work up from there.

-= Ingredients =-
2 pounds Roma tomatoes ; cut in half lengthwise
1 medium white onion ; cut into six wedges
1 large garlic clove ; halved (I used 3 small cloves and will use more the next time)
a ; couple pinches of finely ground sea salt
2 -3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium dried guajillo chile pepper ; soaked in boiling water until softened, and then drained
1 -2 chipotles in adobo sauce ; (canned) (I didn't have any dried chiles or chipotles in adobo sauce, so substituted 1 fresh red pepper and 1 fresh jalapeno pepper)
1/2 cup cilantro ; roughly chopped

-= Instructions =-
Heat oven to 400F degrees.

Now gently tossed the tomatoes, onions, garlic, and salt with the olive oil in a large bowl.
(I also cleaned and chopped the red pepper and the jalapeno pepper, and added them to the other vegies)

After they are nicely coated arrange in a single layer, tomatoes cut-side facing up, across a parchment-lined baking sheet.
(I added a step and an ingredient at this point by sprinking dried oregano over the vegetables.)

Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the tomatoes start to collapse and the onions begin to caramelize a bit. Remove from the oven. (It actually took more than 30 minutes ... probably 45 to 50 minutes ... to cook the vegetables as much as I wanted, but the oven wasn't high enough for the first 25 minutes)

Puree the chiles (both the guajillo and chipotles) with the roasted garlic and two roasted tomato halves.

(It doesn't say here specifically, and perhaps its not even necessary for those who are used to working with cooked tomatoes, but it is better to take off the skins of the remaining tomatoes before chopping or mashing them.)
Chop the remaining tomatoes by hand (once they've cooled a bit).

Chop and add the onions as well. (I put all of the peppers, onion, garlic and a couple of tomatoes into the blender ... everything except the remaining tomatoes ... and a couple of small pieces of onion that escaped the blender!)

Add chile/tomato mixture to chopped/mashed tomatoes

Season with salt and stir in the cilantro.

And its ready to use as either a sauce or a salsa

** This recipe can be pasted into BigOven without retyping. **
** Easy recipe software. Try it free at: **


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Aloo Paratha

Here is another dish that caught my eye some time ago ... a stuffed bread called Aloo Paratha. I had to improvise a bit in the recipe, which called for Ginger Paste (I used finely chopped ginger) and Green Chili Paste (I used 1/2 of a jalapeno pepper, finely chopped). The end result, which also included lots of chopped cilantro, was delicious, if not exactly traditional. We noted that one could open the layers after it is cooked to add other ingredients, like chopped cooked and seasoned chicken, or refried black beans with cheese.

Here is the recipe that I used as a base ... with my changes in brackets ...
Aloo Paratha

Whole Wheat parathas stuffed with a spicy potato stuffing.

Recipe By: Raaga of The Singing Chef
Serving Size: 0
Cuisine: Indian
Main Ingredient: Flour

-= Ingredients =-
For the dough:
1 cup Whole wheat flour (We can't buy whole wheat flour here, but I managed to talk one local store owner into bringing in "bran". Usually I mix it with my flour to create whole wheat items ... this time I used plain white flour)
1 tsp Oil
1/4 tsp Sugar
Salt ; to taste

For the stuffing:
2 Potatoes, boiled and mashed
1 tsp Ginger paste (Also not available, so I used chopped ginger)
1 tsp Green Chilli paste (For this I used chopped jalapeno pepper ... I only used half of it, and none of the seeds which I fed to the parrots, who love them! I thought it wasn't hot enough. Next time I want to make the actual green chile paste, which I discovered a recipe for)
1/4 cup Coriander Leaves ; chopped
Salt ; to Taste
Oil ; for frying
Flour ; for rolling

-= Instructions =-
Take a little water in a bowl. Add the salt, sugar and oil. Mix well until the sugar crystals dissolve. Add the flour and mix well. Knead the dough, adding a little water at a time as needed. Keep aside.

Mix all the ingredients for the stuffing.

Roll out small portions of the dough. Place a little bit of the stuffing in the centre and bring the edges together and seal. Roll these using a little flour taking care to ensure that the filling doesn't spill out. (Actually, the portions where it does spill out are tastier than the rest as the potato stuffing gets toasted directly on the tava. So, don't pay much attention to this one!)

Toast on a tawa on medium flame using a little oil for each paratha. Enjoy with tomato sauce or curd and pickle. I enjoy these parathas with the Gujarati Gorkeri pickle.

** This recipe can be pasted into BigOven without retyping. **
** Easy recipe software. Try it free at: **


White Chili with Chicken

This is a dish that I had made before, but didn't get to take photos before it disappeared. The recipe called for chicken broth, but we can't buy it here, so when I deboned the chicken breasts, I saved the bones and put them in on top of the beans and spices to flavor the mixture. I also used whole cloves instead of ground, and fished them out before serving. The flavor was superb, and I am thinking to make some without the added chicken breast chunks to have for breakfast. I served it with a sliced avocado topped with my yogurt/mayo/chive/cumin sauce and crunchy tostadas on the side. This dish is now ready to be added to the menu at Gringo Perdido

White Chili With Chicken

Recipe By: Southern U.S. Cuisine (crockpot collection)

-= Ingredients =-
1 pound dry white northern beans
5 cups chicken broth
2 garlic cloves ; minced
1 large white onion ; chopped
1 tablespoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 can diced green chilies - (7 oz) ; (or one diced fresh green chile)
5 cups diced cooked chicken breast
1 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon diced jalapeño pepper ; (optional)
Flour tortillas

~~ === CONDIMENTS === ~~
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Sliced black olives
Chunky salsa
Sour cream
Diced avocados

-= Instructions =-
Soak beans in water to cover for 24 hours then drain. (The recipe called for this step, but I usually just pick over, wash and cook in the pressure cooker for 25 minutes or so)

In crockpot or large kettle, combine beans, 5 1/4 cups chicken broth, garlic, onion, white pepper, salt, oregano, cumin, cloves. Simmer covered for at least 5 hours until beans are tender. Stir occasionally.

Stir in green chiles, chicken and 1 3/4 cups chicken broth. For hotter taste, add jalapeño. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Serve with flour tortillas and condiments. I used a sliced avocado topped with a sauce of yogurt, mayo, chopped chives (from my garden) and cilantro

** This recipe can be pasted into BigOven without retyping. **
** Easy recipe software. Try it free at: **


Friday, July 20, 2007

Foodie Blogroll

I was surfing through some food blogs, looking for interesting recipes, as well as interesting blogs, and I discovered the "Foodie Blogroll" ... a list of hundreds of blogs about food. You will find the links in the sidebar.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Chicken Satay

Satays are the other popular barbecue food in the e-zines, and I've just been waiting the right moment to try out a couple of recipes that I came across for the Satay Marinade and the Peanut Dipping Sauce. I made it all up yesterday, and left the chicken strips marinating for the night, then, when Bryan and his friend (they've recently arrived from Canada) came in this morning, we just hunted up some firewood and started up the barbecue. I served it with baked potatoes and steamed broccoli with chive sauce. The Peanut Dipping Sauce turned out quite spicy hot ... I thought at first that it would be too hot to eat, but all agreed that it was in the "addictive" range of heat.

Posted by Picasa


Most Popular Petenero Lunch

This is the lunch that was served by the Women's Group for the construction workers who were pouring cement for the floor in their new building (see for more on this). This type of lunch is, without question, the most popular lunch amongst the people who live in this area. It is made up of fried chicken, rice, a potato-vegetable salad (or, often, a cabbage salad) and tortillas. It is usually eaten by ripping chunks of chicken from the bone to wrap in the tortilla and eat with the rice and vegetables.
Posted by Picasa


Monday, July 9, 2007


It seems like every recipe-zine that I have received over the last couple of weeks is raving about "barbecue" and "rubs" so it was only a matter of time before I would have to experiment. Although I could (and have) done some grilling over a rack and 3 rocks, I decided to splurge and buy a real barbecue. There are several interesting designs in the market, and I eventually settled on this popular model made from a tire rim. The recipe for Moorish Pork Kabobs, had caught my eye, but there was not a single shoulder roast to be found in the market, so going with the flow, I picked up some juicy looking baby back ribs and later that same afternoon found a recipe for a rub and a sauce called Sticky Spicy Ribs. It was a lengthy process to produce a finished product, what with mixing, marinating, baking and barbecuing. I started first thing in the morning and they were finally ready to eat for dinner with, what else, baked potatoes!! The meat was a bit chewy, but the flavor was so great that it didn't matter!!
Posted by Picasa


Eggplant Parmigiano

I have been thinking for awhile that an good recipe for Eggplant Parmigiano would make an excellent vegetarian addition to the Gringo Perdido menu, so I read through several recipes and chose two to try. This was the first one. The eggplant was dredged in crumbs before being fried, then lathered with this excellent tomato/carrot sauce, and topped with grated mozzarella. They were good, but I want to try the other recipe, which is a bit different, before making a decision.
Posted by Picasa


Donut Muffins

I have tried to make donuts since I have lived here. I had phoned Mom for her recipe and any tips she could give me, since I've never perfected the art of deep fat frying, all to no avail ... after hours of preparation, they didn't become real donuts at all! So, when I came across this recipe for Donut Muffins the other day, I was anxious to give it a try and see if they actually tasted like donuts. They were delicious ... if not quite exactly like a real donut. They have a dry cake-like consistency with a crunchy cinamon-sugar coating and they taste great with coffee or chocolate.
Posted by Picasa


Good Old-Fashioned Meat Loaf

Since I bought 2 pounds of ground beef for the lasagna, and only used one, I decided to continue my walk down memory lane with a good old fashioned meat loaf. I loosely followed a couple of recipes that included lots of grated carrots and other vegies, as well as oatmeal (instead of bread or crackers). I gave it a bit of a Guatemalan twist with some chopped cilantro, which is my "herb of the month"! And topped it with some crushed potato chips. It was moist and flavorful and was perfectly accompanied by the traditional baked potato, and some not-so-traditional guisquil with a yogurt/chive sauce.
Posted by Picasa



For a variety of reasons, we seldom eat beef. However, I recently discovered that the Despensa (the local supermarket) is bringing in a quality beef product, so I occasionally splurge and cook a dish from the past. I haven't made a lasagna in more than 15 years ... and never here in Peten. I had already done a thorough recipe search, and had cobbled together about 4 different ones to get the tastiest bolognese, the tangiest ricotta filling, the ultimate bechamel topping and the ideal noodle. I used culinary licence to substitute several of the ingredients ... most notably the ricotta cheese for yogurt, which added the most delicious "back note", and will become a permanent change in the recipe. The noodles were the best lasagna noodles I ever ate. I only used half of the batch of noodles, so I froze the other half and will use them to try the dish with chicken the next time.
Posted by Picasa


Newer Posts Older Posts Home