20 Oportunidades Culinarias Locales Que No Te Debes Perder

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Fried Cheesecake…? Cinco de Mayo

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Hello there! It’s been a while since my last post  “Guilty Pleasures”   .Truth is this blog was made as a requirement for my Blogging and Social Media Marketing course at my Haaga-Helia exchange BUT I’m planning on continuing with this journey and keep posting and sharing recipes and experiences with you, through this platform.

A week ago was Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican-American celebration that commemorates the Mexican winning Battle of Puebla over the French colonizers back in the days…

Batalla de Puebla Credit to: chioff.blogspot.com

 So if you’re a fan and lover of Mexican cuisine as I am, you will celebrate this day and will make delicious food to enjoy with friends and family.

Me, my flatmates and friends 🙂

As you know, I’m living in Helsinki now, so I indulged my flatmates with amazing food they haven’t tried before:
– Enchiladas
– Arroz Rojo
– Carnitas
-Choriza&Bean Nacho Casserole

Celebration!: Traditional Mexican Food

The international goodies: Pico de Gallo and Guacamole. The traditional Tres Leches, made by my friend and colleague Maralys Cedeño; and “Fried”cheesecakes made by me, which is the recipe I want to share with you today.

Goodies!

 

The fried cheesecake is a really really easy recipe. It calls for ingredients that most of you always have on hand because they are so versatile and that make them amazing. Ingredients that go from savory to indulgent and sweet in no time!

Flour tortillas, Creamcheese, sugar, Oranges, Vanilla and cinnamon.

For this you will combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and orange juice until desired sweetness. If for some reason the cream gets to liquid, add flour until you get the right consistency(that hold itself).
When assembling, sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the tortilla. Then put in the filling and roll it like you would to with a normal burrito.


When everything gets ready and people crave for dessert fry them. Is really important to fry them just before eating, because they can get soggy and you want the crispy outside.

 

Is really simple to put up! And they taste AMAZING. Believe me, I’m not fan of cream cheese at all, but this is a piece of heaven. The orange juice take it to the next level.

This is not traditional Mexican at all. Maybe modern Tex-Mex, but is so delicious I had to share! Hope you like it, hope you make them, you won’t regret it!

 

 

Text by: Jose S.M.
Pictures by: Phillip Ostendorf, Seong H. Kim, Jose S.M.

Guilty Pleasures

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Discussion: Have you ever eaten something so good that make you feel guilty? I mean, there’s people that thinks food can not make you feel guilty, but I have news for the,: Yes it can! and it does! 

     A Guilty Pleasure is something that you genuinely enjoy, but feel guilty for enjoy it! In food terms can be junk food, something fried, something exotic, a sweet or something weird. It really can be anything that you like but make you feel guilty. 
I did a little research between my peers, and some of their guilty pleasures are: 

  • Tuna with pineapple (… Mmm, yeah) 

  • Guacamole 

  • Chocolate ( in general terms) 

  • Nutella with salt (…  … …) 

  • French fries with Ice cream  (this is normal for me. McDonald’s fries with a Sunday, the best) 

  • Blood sausage with Lingonberry jam  (…  …  …   …   …) 

Some weird things, huh? Well, my guilty pleasure is a combination that has been gaining popularity lately: salty and sweet!. yes, that combination makes me feel guilty, because of the different elements that provide the combination. For example, the recipe I’m sharing with you today is the perfect, and most accurate, example of sweet & salty decadence: Pretzel & Bacon Brownies.

     This brownies recipe is very special because it has no cocoa powder; instead calls for chocolate drink powder (Nesquik, for example) So I tune it up a little by adding melted dark chocolate and some toppings. You can add chocolate chips, almonds, walnuts or any nut you like. Marshmallows can be an option too. In this occasion ( and every occasion for me) my toppings are salted pretzels and bacon bits. 

Ingredients

     This recipe is a regular creaming method recipe, when you cream the fat element with the sugars, etc… In this case we use oil, mix with sugar, egg and water, mix until fully combined, fluffy and light in color. Add sifted dry ingredients: All Purpose flour, chocolate powder, vanilla sugar, baking powder and salt.  
When the basic mixture is ready, melt chocolate in the microwave, checking it and stirring every 15 seconds until completely melted. Fold it in the brownie mixture, then add and fold  part of the pretzels.  

Creaming Method, Folding, Mix

Pour batter in the prepare pan and top with bacon bits and remaining crushed pretzels.  

Before going to the oven!! *drools*


Bake at 325 F/ 165 C checking after the first 30 minutes. When done, take them out and le it cool. Drizzle with more melted chocolate! 

Baked!! & drizzeled with chocolate… HEAVEN!

How can you not feel guilty with this? Is so decadent, luxurious and saucy! I’m lucky my flat mates also eat of it and most of it, ‘cuz I could eat it in less than a week! 

So what is your guilty pleasure? I dare you to tell me! Is weird? or expensive? Why does it make you feel guilty? Share your point of view with me! 

Comfort Food: Part 2

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Pastelón de Amarillos 

 

     Every person who is far from home, among all of the things you can miss the most, food is one of the most miss able. You can be a really good cooker, also have all the ingredients on hand, but will not taste the same. There are different aspects that makes a dish at home ( your country) be what it is.
At home, Puerto Rico, he have several dishes, some more special than others, but all of them delicious. So I’m always craving food from home, who doesn’t? The other day I was standing in my room, looking at two yellow plantains I bought days before in the African Market @ Hakaniemi. I saw them and a light turned on in my mind: Pastelón de Amarillos!

Pastelón de Amarillos

     Puerto Rican, and general Caribbean food, uses a lot of plantains. We use both, green and sweet (yellow) plantains for several dishes from sides to entrees. For example, we have “tostones” which are fried double fried plantains. Our most favorite is “mofongo” which is fried and mashed plantains with garlic and pork skin. Mofongo can be eaten as a side or as an entree, with shicken broth or filled with any type of meat or seafood. 
With the yellow plantain, or sweet plantain, we make “amarillos“, “amarillos en almíbar“, “canoas” o piononos“. Amarillos are fried slices of de sweet plantain, while “en almíbar” are the slices but in a simple syrup and cinnamon sticks; canoas are the whole sweet plantain baked and filled with ground meat and top cheese; while piononos are slices of the plantain form in a ball filled with meat and covered in beaten eggs, then fried.

Tostones, mofongo solo, Mofongo relleno. Amarillos, amarillos en almíbar. Canoas y Piononos. Credits to cocinacriolla.com google.com.pr/plantains

A “pastelón” is a lasagna type assembled dish with layers of fried sweet plantain and ground meat with green beans.  

     For the meat, you can use any type you want. I used ground pork and beef, because pork is generally cheaper but beef has more flavor. The meat is the real source of flavor here, so it needs to be heavily seasoned. Small diced peppers, onions and minced garlic are the base. Salt and pepper, obviously, also oregano ( which we used a lot at home). Is important you use fresh meat, never frozen. Frozen meat gets dry and tough. 
Saute the onions until translucent, then add peppers and garlic; cook until fragrant.  Add the meat and stir until cook through. When fully cooked adjust seasonings and add the green beans.

cooking ground meat>process.

     For the plantains you will trim both ends and slice the knife long side down, through the skin, so you can peel it off. When peeled, cut in half and make long slices. Then pan fry it until golden. Collocate the slices one next to each other until the bottom of the pan is covered. Top the first layer with the meat mixture, cover with remaining sweet plantain slices. Pour the beaten eggs all over the pastelón. The eggs will bend everything together so it don’t collapse when you serve it. You can top it with cheese if you want. Bake for 15 minutes at 300 F/150 C

Preparing, cutting and frying the sweet plantains.

Assembling the pastelón. 

     When out of the oven let it rest for a couple of minutes. You served it with salad or any other side. In Puerto Rico we eat with rice and beans (that is so so so Puerto Rican).

Pastelón, side view. with rice and beans

Pastelón: top view. Served with rice and beans.

I really think my grandmother would be proud! I satisfied my craving for comfort food! 

 So, comment and tell me: What is your go-to Comfort Food?

 

 

 

 

 

Comfort Food: Part 1

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     You guys know that student life ain’t easy! We always need to be counting our money, mostly us exchange students. If you live in a city like Helsinki, where I live now, money spending is something to be aware of. I must say that I wrote this post thinking that the term comfort food was food easy to make ( that’s why I made reference to students life and money) So, I love cooking but don’t feel in the mood to, all the time. Pasta is something that people around the world. It comes from Italy, but every country has it owns recipe with pasta; and for us, students, it makes our life really easy, right? 

     I was actually craving for something easy. I made “coditos con carne”, which is elbow pasta with meat sauce. Is something my mom makes very often. Is easy, she cook pretty well, but she doesn’t like it, she says is just another job! Anyways, I made them too, because I really miss her so much, it remind me of her, is one of those dishes tat you can eat and feel the love. 

     I’m the type of person that have things already cooked in the fridge. I prefer having some things cooked in advanced, like rice and ground meat. I hate freezing ground meat, it gets dry and lumpy when you cook it, so every time I buy it I cook it immediately. I add onion, garlic and peppers, season with salt & pepper, and oregano. Sometimes I don’t freeze because it last enough time  in the fridge and I use it often: for tacos, pasta or picadillo! 

Picadilla, Puerto Rican version. Ground meat cooked with beans(usually garbanzo) Hard boild eggs, and some veggies: corn, sweet peas, peppers and onion. you can also add potato, at least my mommy make it like that.

For this “coditos con carne” I already had my meat done. I reheat it with some peppers, garlic and  mixture of Passata and pasta sauce. Passata is a clean tomato puré, you can find it in every super market. I also added some jalapeño slices, to heat it up a little. 

Ingredients: cooked ground meat, passata/pasta sauce, pasta( elbows)

The pasta, elbows this time, need to be boiled as usual: al dente ( 8 minutes, usually). When done, add it to the sauce. Serve in your favorite plate and top with with Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs, or whatever you want.

Cooked elbows, added to meat sauce!

 

Plated! Delicious Coditos con Carne, topped with a little bit of Parmesan Cheese powder. COMFORTING!

 

If you crave for something delicious and easy to make, remember to fallow my blog to get more incredible recipes with perspectives. I challenge you to make this recipe, or any other of the ones I’ve been posting, and let me know with a picture! 😉

 

Recipe:  

Yield: 2-3 servings. 

  • Elbow pasta- 1 cup, 8 oz, 226gr 

  • Passata mixture- 3/4 cup, 6 oz, 200mL 

  • Ground meat – 3/4cup, 6oz, 170 gr

 

 

 

#NoMeatMonday

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Sometimes when I’m bored I tend to “navegate” through Instagram. I search for everything that comes up to my mind: #fashion, #newyork, #puertorico, #finland, #nachos, #rice; whatever that really comes to my mind. One day I was throught that adventure and, I don’t really remember what was I searching for, but in one picture there was a tag that really caught my eye, right away: #NoMeatMonday.

I did a little research and I found that is a propaganda launched by vegetarian and vegan people to those who are interested in begin a vegetarian lifestyle. They say that a good option to begin with such a big transition, like being a vegetarian, is turning your Mondays in a FreeMeat day. So I decided to make a #notmeatmonday. Not really because I’m interested in becoming a vegetarian, but because is a healthy option for you: physically and economically: you can save calories and money. In my culture we tend to eat meat: poultry, fish, pork, etc., in every of our meals; so it would be a challenge, maybe, not to eat meat for a whole day. Is important to know that there are other sources of protein, than actual meat, like: soy ( the obvious), beans, peas, quinoa, avocado and nuts, among others. I said that is healthier, and this is because meat does have a higher percentage of fats. Even lean meat, if compared to a vegetable or grain. Right now I’m doing an exchange program in Finland and here the meat is really expensive, no matter what type, so cutting meat from your menu, certain days a week, can help you to save some euros ( and dollars). So, Monday February 25 I made it a #NoMeatMonday. For breakfast I had nutella toasts with sliced bananas. Is really simple, but still delicious, and healthy. With bread( better if whole wheat), slightly toasted, 1 tsp of nutella per toast and three sliced bananas, and oula! That’s it!

Nutella & Banana toasts. #nomeatmonday

But the real recipe I want to share with you is a Cilantro Lima Pasta Salad. Is simple and really nutritious: just boil, chopped, mix and toss! This recipe have a lot of advantages, first, is pasta so make you feel full and that is familiar; when eating things like this you’ll always search to make it colorful and appealing, and colors=nutrients. It has beans, and they  give a “meaty” sensation, and the lime vinaigrette makes it fresh and deliciously light. For the ingredients you need: whole wheat pasta, green beans, corn(frozen), cherry tomatoes, onion, red bell pepper, garlic, pickled jalapeño peppers, beans, Dijon mustard, olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, sugar, salt and freshly ground black pepper.

ingredients for pasta salad

In boiling water, blanch the corn and green beans; then boil the pasta until fully cooked (you don’t want it over cooked, but not aldente, because is something you are going to consume cold). Chop the onion, bell pepper, garlic and jalapeños; cut cherry tomatoes and green peppers in halves. Put everything in a bowl, and add a whole canned of beans, drained and rinsed. Yu can use any beans of your choice, I used white beans( the little ones) because were the only one I found, but is okay black, pinto or pink beans. For the vinaigrette mix the mustard lime juice in a bowl, and olive oil ( or any neutral oil) until thickens up, season with sugar (so it balance the acidity) salt and freshly ground black pepper. Chopped cilantro and mix it in, tossed the salad and put it in the fridge so all the flavors are develop, one hour minimum.

Colors=Nutrients

Toss before serving, and enjoy!

You can see is a really colorful salad, it looks inviting and delicious. You can eat it by itself or use it as n side dish. Hope you enjoy it, and can make it someday. And tae the challenge, turns your mondays into #NoMeatMonday, it doesn’t hurt! 😉

Salad:

* Whole Wheat Pasta: 1½cups (360g)

* Onion: ½ ea

* Garlic: 2 cloves

* Red Bell Pepper: ½ ea

* Jalapeños: 3 slices

* Corn: ½ cup (120g)

* Green Beans: ½ cup (60g, weight)

* Cherry Tomatoes: 1 cup (125g, weight)

* White Beans: 1 can (14oz)

Vinaigrette:

* Dijon Mustard: 1 tsp (5mL)

* Lime juice: ¼ cup (60mL)

* Olive Oil: ⅓ cup (80mL)

* Sugar: TT

* Salt: TT

* Pepper: TT

Cilantro Lime Pasta

Text & Pictures by Jose S.M.

St. Valentine’s Day/ Flancocho!

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Last week, one Friday ago, was February 14 “Saint Valentine’s Day”. That’s a worldwide known date and I was pretty curious about see the Finnish perspective about it. Well, I was, not that surprised, that NOTHING was what I saw: no balloons, no chocolates, no couples, there was no “love-in-the-air”atmosphere.

I don’t know if you know, but I’m a PuertoRican and in my little island we celebrate EVERYTHING and Valentine’s Day is definitely not the exception. You start to see since January red and pink hearts in every store, you’ll see special discount for the day; restaurants offering special menus; and balloons, flowers, chocolate, couple and friends everywhere! Is amazing …

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Anyways, on this February 14 I was also “celebrating” one month of being here in Finland, so I wanted to do something special, something that would remind me of St. Valentine’s Day at Puerto Rico, and I decided to make a Flancocho!

It have a funny sound, right? FLANCOCHO! And maybe you’re asking yourself: what the hell is that? Well, Flancocho is the perfect combination of two classic desserts: vanilla cake and flan.
The flan is a vanilla baked custard with a caramelized sugar sauce. Flan is consumed all over latin america and nowadays you can add different flavors to give it a twist, like: pistachios, coconut, passion fruit, and others; but the originals are just vanilla, and cheese. I really prefer the cheese one, not because of the flavor per se, but because when adding cream cheese you ensure a really delicious creamy texture, almost like a mousse,  that is really hard to get when using just eggs. Sounds really good, right? Now, imagine that with a layer of vanilla spongy cake that has absorbed the sweet liquid caramel? Well, thats a Puerto Rican Flancocho!

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This is really easy to make, not expensive, and definitely worth it. For the flan you’ll need: sugar for the caramel, cream cheese, eggs, condensed sweet milk, evaporated milk and vanilla. Every ingredient must be at room temperature so everything will be easier to mix everything and you don’t have any cheese lumps. You mix it all together and put it on the fridge.
For the cake you can use any recipe of your choice, store-bought or from scratch. I used a Butter Cake recipe from: http://rasamalaysia.com/brownie-butter-cake/2/ . Is simple, really easy and delicious. You’ll need  9×13 rectangular cake mold that you’re going to place on top of a shallow sheet pan. For the caramel: in a saucepan you’ll add sugar and will add water to it until it looks like wet sand; cook it at medium temperature until it turns a light amber color. When done pour it immediately in the 9×13 cake pan. Set aside.

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Then you do the cake. If you’re using a box cake mix, follow the instructions in it. If you’re using the recipe in the link above, you’ll use the “creaming method” that is when you cream the fats ( butter and/or oil) with the sugar, emulsify with the eggs and then add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) in stages with the milk: beginning with flour and ending with flour (1 flour, 1 milk, 1 flour) . When the batter is ready pour it on the caramel, and top it with the custard (flan) mixture. And here is when occurs the interesting part… You do assemble it caramel>cake>flan, but you end up, before is unmold, with caramel>flan>cake! Which is Just Fantastic!

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Because it still a custard it needs two specific factors to be bake: low temperature and steam. You cannot bake a custard higher than 325ºF/ 163ºC because then it will curdle, basically it can turn into scrambled eggs; and you’ll need to create steam by pouring hot water in the sheet pan where the cake mold is lying. The water will evaporate while the custard is baking and it’ll create steam that helps in  resultant delicious, creamy, and soft flan. You do this with every custard: flan, Crème Brulèe, Pots de Crème, etc etc… The cooking time will depend on the cooking temperature, how big is the cake, and your oven. Check it every once in a while; a key to know if is done is when the sides are firm with it still a little wigley in the middle. When you take it out the oven it needs to go to the fridge IMMEDIATELY, it need to rest until is completely cool. I always make it the day before so it gets really rested and cool. Then you flipped it into a tray or a plate, and let it rest sometime more so the cake can absorbed a little bit of the caramel drippings.

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I really hope you can make this recipe, is so easy and delicious!! You can make anyone fall in love with you if you make this custard cake! Hehehe. My flatmates loved it, I had my piece of a Puerto Rican valentine’s nd I get te chance to share it with them! ❤

Recipe:

Flan:

– Cream Cheese: 8oz

– Eggs: 5 ea

– Condensed Milk: 1 can, 13/14oz

– Evaporated Milk: 1 can, 12oz

– Vanilla extract: 1 tsp

Caramel:

– Sugar: 1 ½ cups ( 360mL)

– Water: ¼ cup (60 mL)

Cake:

– Butter: ½ cup (120g)

– Sugar: ½ cup (120g)

– Eggs: 2 ea

– All-Purpose Flour/Plain Flour: 1 cup (240g)

– Baking Powder: ¼ tsp (5mL spoon)

– Salt: ¼ tsp (5mL spon)

– Vanilla: ½ tsp( 10mL spoon)

– Milk: 3 tbsp (45mL)