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Try This: Mojo Marinade

September12

Here’s your ticket to Cuba: Mojo marinade.  (Pronounced, Mo-HO, not Mo-JOE!)Seville orange

Mojito sauce, as it is called on the island, is bright and intriguing with strong, complex flavors… just like Cuba. Seville oranges, also known as bitter oranges, are the marinade’s “secret” ingredient.

These oranges grow everywhere across Cuba and the Caribbean (and in southern Spain!), but they’re often hard to find elsewhere. My recipe offers a great substitution.

Mojo’s citrus base pairs naturally with fish, shellfish, chicken, pork or vegetables. Heck, I even use it as a salad dressing because I love the tart taste. It also offers an unexpected twist for a grilling marinade.

I’ve included oil in this recipe, but if you’re marinating a pork roast, you really don’t need it… the pig’s got enough fat on its own! This recipe can be doubled. Or tripled.

So here’s your trip to Cuba… without packing a bag!

Cuban Fruit Stand

Rolled Pork Roast Marinated in Mojo

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Try This: Gabriel’s Marinara Tomato Sauce

August29

Really wished I had the time (and patience) to can all those lusciously plump tomatoes I’m seeing everywhere. I have this daydream about whipping up a homemade marinara sauce in the dead of winter to remind me of summer.

Not going to happen.Gabriel's All Natural Marinara Tomato Sauce

But here’s the next best thing: Gabriel’s All Natural Marinara Tomato Sauce.

There are shelves and shelves and shelves of different marinara sauces in the supermarket. Most of them taste the same: sweet (that’s the sugar), a little tangy (could be the sodium or vinegar) and, oh yes, vaguely tomatoey.

Gabriel’s tastes like what you’d want YOUR homemade marinara to taste like: full of tomato flavor, a hint of onion and garlic with just enough basil and spices to add a little interest.

This sauce is slow kettle cooked, just like you would do. It’s made with only 6 ingredients, this IS your homemade marinara sauce.

Here’s something else: it is gluten free and vegan… the way a marinara should be.

I found Gabriel’s in a small specialty food shop, but if you go to their Facebook Page, you can find out where to buy it in your area. Oh, and 10% of their profits go to different charities. I like that.

So don’t obsess about not canning all those tomatoes… you’ve got better things to do. And with Gabriel’s around, no one needs to know it isn’t homemade.

 

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Try This: Cranberry Beans

August22

In the food world, cranberry beans are Cinderella-at-the-Ball-until-Midnight.

(Indulge me, you know how much I love drawing analogies between food and storybook, movie or television characters).

Shelly Bean

You have to appreciate the fleeting magenta-speckled loveliness of cranberry beans because, sadly, after you cook them, the streaky reddish-pink color disappears. Vanishes. But, just like Cinderella, it’s what’s on the inside that really counts.

Cranberry beans (aka Supremo, borlotti or shelly beans) are packed with fiber: a half-cup serving will give you almost 40% of your daily need! They’re also loaded with protein, have few calories and NO fat.

Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?Cranberry Beans, Shelly Beans, Borlotti Beans, Supremo Beans

If you find these beans in the farmers market, they should have a soft leathery pod. Inside, the pod should be moist and the bean tender.

They’ve got a very subtle chestnut flavor and won’t overpower a dish. In fact, they’ll add a nice creamy succulence whether served hot or cold. I cook them up for 30 minutes or so, cool them down and then serve them with a drizzle of olive oil and a splash of lemon on top of heirloom tomatoes. Yes.

The one downside to these beans is that you have to shell them (hence the name shelly beans), and that can be time-consuming. But, sit your kids down… tell them about Cinderella, and that midnight is approaching. Challenge them to shell as many as possible in 15 minutes… before the spell is broken.

And watch the fun begin…

 

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Try This: Purple Cauliflower

August15

How many purple vegetables can you name? My most recent discovery? Purple Cauliflower.

Purple Cauliflower in FM

Unlike so many other purple vegetables, say… green beans and bell peppers… the beautiful bright color doesn’t fade when sautéed or blanched. Cook it quickly and you’ll keep the vibrant color and the tender crispness.

All cauliflower is high in fiber and low in calories and, the best natural source of vitamin C next to citrus (bet you didn’t know that!). And, how about this? Cauliflower may also contain a phytonutrient that helps block cancer growth.

Cauliflower is also one of those vegetables that intimidates a lot of people… don’t be one of them!

Break the head into bite-size florets and sauté in a little olive oil, garlic and lemon juice… then spoon on top of cooked gnocchi and sprinkle with a little Parmesan cheese.

Purple Cauliflower and Gnocchi 1

I’ve never purple cauliflower in the regular supermarket, only in a farmers’ market or specialty food store. If you come across it, Try It!

So, how many purple vegetables did you come up with? Here’s what I’ve got so far:

1. Eggplant
2. Purple potatoes
3. Purple Corn
4. Purple Bell Peppers
5. Purple Carrots
6. Purple Green Beans

What am I missing?

Purple Vegetable Collage

 

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Hi…
I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: mamashighstrung@gmail.com