Vegetarian Queso Fundido

This post is part of a compensated campaign from Latina Bloggers Connect and Cacique but all opinions and this recipe are my own.

Queso fundido is an easy dish that even the most inexperienced home cook can make. I share this because with the holidays approaching, menu planning can be stressful and even if you’re great in the kitchen, you may have some helping hands that are not. This vegetarian queso fundido with rajas de chile poblano (roasted poblano pepper strips) and mushrooms is super easy and can be doubled, tripled or quadrupled depending on the amount of guests you need to serve. Alongside a basket of warm tortillas—your choice whether they’re corn tortillas or flour tortillas—this appetizer dish will definitely please the crowd. Especially if you’ve got vegetarians on the guest list, you’ll want to make this veggie version of queso fundido along with my queso fundido con chorizo recipe.

vegetarian queso fundido with rajas de chile poblano and mushrooms

If you’re ambitious and have a little extra time on your hands, you can even make your own homemade chorizo. For this vegetarian queso fundido, you’ll need to know how to roast poblano chiles in advance. … 

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Paella de chorizo, pollo y coles de Bruselas {Go4Gourmet Challenge}

I love cooking challenges, so I was completely floored to be asked to participate in the Go 4 Gourmet cooking challenge with McCormick Gourmet this month! The rules were simple: They’d ship me a box of ingredients and I would create a dish that included all the ingredients. Maybe I’ve been watching too many episodes of “Chopped,” but I couldn’t wait to get into the kitchen and create something. As soon as I found out the ingredients in the box would be paprika, chorizo and chicken stock and the requirement that I needed to also add fresh Brussels sprouts, I knew exactly what to make: A paella!

The Go4Gourmet McCormick Gourmet Challenge Box

Spanish influences in Mexican cuisine mean it’s not out of the ordinary to see different kinds of paella served in Mexico. This is a sponsored post and I received some of the ingredients from McCormick and was compensated for my time and talent to develop this recipe. I’ve written about eating paella in Mexico and shared my own paella recipe here before, along with tips for making paella (from the pan to the correct rice to use, and how to steep saffron).

Although one might not think of Brussels sprouts in a paella, this recipe is a riff off of a classic paella Valenciana that has rabbit and artichokes and I replaced the rabbit with chicken thighs (just because chicken is easier to find) and substituted Brussels sprouts for the artichokes. The earthy flavor of Brussels sprouts and spicy, salty chorizo is a perfect flavor combination as well. I knew I wanted the Brussels sprouts to retain a little crispness, so I decided to roast them with a little olive oil, paprika and kosher salt before putting them into the paella. The result: Brussels sprouts that still had a bite despite being submersed in chicken broth and rice. The chorizo also provides enough salt that aside from the kosher salt you’ll use to roast the Brussels sprouts, you likely won’t feel the need to cook with more salt.

Brussels sprouts roasted with paprika, olive oil and salt for a paella

Paella with Brussels sprouts, Spanish chorizo and chicken for the Go4Gourmet challenge with McCormick Gourmet

You can participate in this and other Go 4 Gourmet challenges at Go4Gourmet.McCormick.com! New challenges are announced every two weeks through December and you can enter your own recipes to win weekly prizes!

Paella de chorizo, pollo y coles de Bruselas

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

50 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Paella de chorizo, pollo y coles de Bruselas

Earthy Brussels sprouts, spicy and salty chorizo, and chicken thighs are an excellent flavor melding for a spin on a classic paella Valenciana. This is a sponsored recipe for the Go4Gourmet challenge with McCormick Gourmet.

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces baby brussel sprouts, cleaned and halved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (for tossing and roasting the brussel sprouts)
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick’s paprika
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 12 threads of saffron plus 1 1/2 tablespoons hot water
  • 7 oz chicken thigh, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (for browning the chicken)
  • 4 oz sliced Palacios Spanish chorizo
  • 1 tsp garlic (crushed in a garlic press or diced)
  • 1 1/2 tsp McCormick’s paprika
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste plus 6 tablespoons water (to make a tomato paste)
  • 1 1/4 cups Spanish rice
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 sprig of rosemary

Instructions

  1. Clean and halve 5 ounces of baby brussel sprouts.
  2. In a bowl, add brussel sprouts, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon McCormick’s paprika and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Toss until coated.
  3. In a shallow casserole dish, spread brussel sprouts out and cook under your broiler for about 5 minutes or until the brussel sprouts start to brown and crisp. Remove from the broiler and set aside.
  4. While the brussel sprouts are under the broiler, steep your saffron in a small dish with 1 1/2 tablespoons of hot water. Set aside.
  5. In your paella pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sear the chicken until it browns a bit.
  6. Add the garlic and stir for about a minute.
  7. Sprinkle the paprika over the chicken. Pour the tomato puree around the edge of the pan all the way around. Let it cook for a minute or two.
  8. Add the rice and chicken stock; stir gently until the rice is completely moist. Add the saffron and the little bit of water that you steeped it in. Stir gently.
  9. Add roasted brussel sprouts to the pan, tucking them into the rice and chicken stock. The brussel sprouts should be mostly covered. Allow it to cook for a few minutes until you see the rice rise, then tuck the sprig of rosemary into the rice.
  10. Turn the heat to medium low. After about 10 minutes, tuck the pieces of sliced chorizo into the rice.
  11. Continue cooking until the rice is soft and you can hear the socarrat forming along the bottom of the pan. You’ll know the socarrat is forming when you hear a little crackling noise. (Socarrat is the yummy, crunchy sort of caramelized rice that sticks to the bottom and is the prize of the paella party.) Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t able to achieve socarrat perfection on your first try; it takes some practice to get it right.
  12. Remove from the heat at let the pan rest for a few minutes before serving.

Notes

Be sure to use baby Brussels sprouts and hard, cured Spanish chorizo.

http://theothersideofthetortilla.com/2013/10/paella-chorizo-brussels-sprouts-chicken-go4gourmet-mccormick-gourmet/

My #ILoveAvocados Live Party with Avocados From Mexico

I recently hosted a fabulous party with Avocados From Mexico and Latina Bloggers Connect at my home. This is a sponsored #ILoveAvocados LBC Live Party post. All opinions and recipes are my own.

It’s no secret that I love avocados, and even if you’ve been reading The Other Side of The Tortilla for just a short time, you’ve probably seen plenty of avocado recipes here. From eating them plain with a squeeze of lime juice and a pinch of salt to turning them into a gourmet meal, I love avocados any which way you slice them. That’s why, when I was approached to host a live party at my home with Avocados From Mexico, I jumped at the chance to share some versatile avocado recipes with some of my favorite Latina bloggers. I demonstrated four recipes using avocados (all of them vegan or vegetarian-friendly, by the way) and sent my guests home with a surprise—a jar of my freshly made salsa verde con aguacate.

iloveavocados live party with Avocados From Mexico and Latina Bloggers Connect

Here’s a sneak peek into my party with video, photos and recipes! Enjoy!… 

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Avocado paletas

This post is part of a compensated campaign in collaboration with Latina Bloggers Connect and Avocados from Mexico but my love for avocados from Mexico is 100 percent authentic and the opinions and recipe in this post are my own. This post includes affiliate links to my Amazon aStore, El Mercadito, recommending products that I used to make this recipe.

paletas de aguacate | avocado popsicles

Summer means paleta time in my house. And though we like the traditional flavors, I also like to branch out and make flavors that are considered “normal” in Mexico, but that are not as common to see in the U.S., such as avocado. A few friends have looked at me sideways when I said I was working on a popsicle recipe with avocados, but I assure you that you’ll be won over by the creamy texture and pleasantly earthy, sweet taste.

I prefer to buy avocados from Mexico because of that distinctive, earthy taste due to the fertile volcanic soil in which they’re grown. They’re packed with nutrients and are a versatile ingredient that can be used in both savory and sweet dishes—but most people don’t think of using avocados in a sweet dish. The thing I especially love about this recipe is that the light coconut milk and sweetened condensed milk (also known as lechera) don’t overpower the natural flavor so you can still taste the earthiness of the avocado…. 

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Calabacitas con elote

Calabacitas con elote is a traditional Mexican side dish, typically baked in the oven in a casserole dish or olla de barro. But I’m giving it a summer makeover by cooking it in easy-to-make foil packets for the grill. We’re spending tons of time outside with family and friends now that summer grilling season is here and this is a great dish to take to any parillada!

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Latina Bloggers Connect and the California Milk Advisory Board.  The recipe and opinions are my own.

calabacitas_con_elote_TOSOTT

This vegetarian dish is one of my favorites for serving as a quick dinner side dish as well as for taking to parrilladas (barbeques) that are typically full of meats but lacking enough veggies. If I’m making it for just the two of us, I refrigerate half the recipe and grill it later in the week so that it’s fresh off the grill at dinnertime.

Now that we live in California and have such a variety of fresh, local dairy, produce and meats available to us year-round thanks to the climate, I’ve been consciously trying to eat more locally (and by that, I mean seeking out locally grown produce at the farmers markets and other foods made in my new home state). California is the country’s leading producer of Hispanic dairy products, which are sold nationally, and is the nation’s second largest producer of cheese. In fact, California produces more than 25 kinds of Hispanic cheeses and many other dairy products. A Real California Milk seal means your dairy products are made from 100 percent California milk.

This is what the calabacitas should look like inside the foil packet when it’s done or almost done cooking:

calabacitas_con_elote_grill_packet_TOSOTT… 

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Chorizo and avocado cups with chipotle cream

Posadas navideñas are one of my favorite times of year, but they can also be a stressful time with relatives and friends dropping by with short notice. These chorizo and avocado cups with chipotle cream are sure to please your crowd, even if you don’t have much time to prepare.

Since we typically head to Mexico for the holidays, it’s not as stressful for me because I usually don’t have to play hostess. But my family threw me a bit of a curve ball this year when they requested I bring a dish of some kind to the posada at my tía’s house the same day that I arrive. I immediately began to think about what I could make that would be simple but authentic and satisfying, and that I could whip up with only a few hours in between the airport and heading to the posada. I decided on this easy appetizer because it has only six ingredients and one of them can be bought already prepared.

Many families celebrate posadas like potluck dinners where everybody is responsible for bringing a dish. But in this case, everyone in our family is assigned with tasks ranging from bringing food to a piñata, being in charge of taking photos and so on. Everybody does their part so that the party runs smoothly, even down to the end when someone is responsible for helping clean up the dishes.

While this recipe isn’t a traditional one, like, say, an ensalada nochebuena, it’s an excellent savory appetizer that you can incorporate into your holiday traditions. I usually have most of the ingredients on hand, and I bet you do too. You can easily make this appetizer a bit healthier and vegetarian-friendly by swapping the chorizo for soy chorizo.

Chorizo and avocado cups with chipotle cream

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

30 minutes

Yield: 30 mini cups

3 cups per person

An easy appetizer for posadas and other holiday parties using Avocados from Mexico.

Ingredients

  • 2 boxes of mini phyllo shells (or a total of 30 mini phyllo shells)
  • 2 avocados
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 4 ounces of cooked chorizo
  • 1/2 cup crema Mexicana
  • 1 chipotle en adobo plus 1 1/2 teaspoons adobo sauce

Instructions

  1. Cook the chorizo, drain grease on paper towels and set aside.
  2. Prepare the crema in a mini food processor or blender by adding the crema, chipotle chile and adobo sauce and blend until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350º F, then bake the shells on a cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Remove them from the oven, add 1/2 teaspoon or so of chorizo into each cup and put back in the oven for 3-5 more minutes.
  5. Score the avocados two ways while still in the skin and scoop out into a bowl. Squeeze lime juice over the avocado and gently toss with a spoon to coat the avocados with the juice.
  6. Once the chorizo cups are out of the oven, spoon a little avocado over each cup, followed by a little crema.
  7. Transfer to a serving platter and serve.
http://theothersideofthetortilla.com/2012/12/chorizo-avocado-cups-chipotle-cream/

For more avocado recipes for posadas or avocado recipes for any time, visit Avocados from Mexico’s website. And check out the blog hop below for holiday recipes using Avocados from Mexico from other bloggers.


Disclosure: This is a sponsored post through Latina Bloggers Connect to promote Avocados from Mexico. We received compensation for writing this post, but all opinions and recipes are our own.
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