I really love asparagus. My favorite way to cook it, so far, is roasted in olive oil with sliced shallots. This salad is another favorite of mine. I’ve made it many times. I like to serve it with Eggplant Parmesan. It’s based upon a recipe I found at cookingclassy.com.

  • Salad Ingredients (all measurements approximate — just eyeball things)
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed and sliced into 1″ pieces
  • 1/4 – 1/3 lb. grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Dressing Ingredients (all measures approximate — again, just eyeball it)
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • Small clove garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper

Toast the walnuts. I spread mine out on a pie tin and place it in the oven at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes. Don’t forget about it! Shake it around every few minutes until the walnuts are brown and smell toasted. Set aside. Let cool.

Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan or skillet. Add the asparagus pieces and set the timer for 4 or 5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain the asparagus. Let the asparagus run under cold water while you’re filling a small bowl with ice. Set your strainer in the ice bowl and add water until the asparagus is covered. Let it cool down quickly. Strain again.

Mix all the dressing ingredients together and whisk or shake until it is all incorporated.

To an appropriate-sized serving dish, add the walnuts, asparagus, and sliced tomatoes. Stir in the dressing. Just prior to serving, sprinkle on the feta cheese crumbles. Serves 4.

It’s Cobb Salad y’all! I do love it. I make this with any variety of things. Pictured is a 32-cup Tupperware bowl, so you can mentally figure my quantities. Can you see what’s in the bowl?

Today I used one whole chicken breast, boned and skinless, sliced into thin strips. I marinated it for a short while in about 3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. dried rosemary, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. I added salt and fresh-ground pepper as it was put into the saute pan. I stir-fried the chicken slices over very high heat in olive oil until it browned quite nicely. Then I let it cool down so as not to wilt the salad. I have also used lemon-pepper and another time I used a southwest seasoning and another time just salt and pepper to season the chicken. I do this differently every time I make it. Whatever you feel like doing at the time will be fine.

Also in this particular salad is a base of two small heads of torn romaine lettuce, a couple handfuls of baby spinach leaves, three hard-boiled eggs, five slices of crispy oven-fried thick bacon, sliced green onion, grated sharp cheddar cheese, pitted and sliced black Kalamata olives, three sliced mini sweet peppers, sliced grape tomatoes, sliced green onion, one and a half chopped avocado, and chopped cucumber. Just before I serving, I sprinkle on croutons. Where is the bleu cheese, you ask?

My dad gives me an entire round of Stilton every Christmas. I slice it into wedges, vacuum-seal the wedges, and freeze them for use throughout the year. I usually run out around early November. Bleu cheese dressing goes well on salads and sandwiches, so I make a lot of it. My Cobb Salad is always served with Bleu Cheese Dressing. Always.

  • Bleu Cheese Dressing
  • Mayonnaise
  • Buttermilk
  • Garlic powder
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Bleu cheese, crumbled

Stir the mayonnaise to get out any lumps, thin it to a dressing-like consistency with buttermilk. Stir in a dash of garlic powder and a splash of Worcestershire sauce. Stir in crumbled bleu cheese. Let it sit awhile, if you can wait.

This is a recipe that I make often. It’s not fussy and is low-carb. My house smells great while it is simmering all afternoon. It is gluten-free. It is based upon the recipe found at foodnetwork.com. On the day I took these photos, I served the Chile Verde with Spicy Sweet Potatoes and Corn Pudding.

  • Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 pounds tomatillos
  • Vegetable oil
  • 4 pounds pork roast (butt or shoulder is best, but I used a lean loin), trimmed of fat and cut into 2″ pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 onions, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 2 Anaheim or poblano chiles, seeded and chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 2-3 jalepeno peppers, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock

In prepping the tomatillos, this is what I do, but I’m sure there is a better, more flavorful way. I’m just going for the easy way. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by covering with foil. I do not oil or grease the foil. Peel off and discard the tomatillo husks. Rinse the tomatillos. Slice in half and place each half, skin side up on the prepared baking sheet. Roast until brown spots appear on the skins. Remove from oven and let cool. Turn off your oven, you’re done with it. Once the tomatillos are cool, chop them. This is sort of messy. Set the tomatillos aside.

Heat a very large cooking pot. Swazz a bit of vegetable oil into the bottom. Liberally salt and pepper the pork pieces. In batches (mine was 3 batches), over high heat, brown the pork cubes and then set aside. Add more oil as necessary.

In the same pot, add the onions and bell peppers. Saute until the onions are translucent. Add the chiles and the jalepenos. Saute awhile longer. Add the garlic and saute a little longer. Stir in the prepared tomatillos, oregano, cumin, coriander, bay leaves, and cilantro. Add the pork back into the pot. Add enough chicken stock to cover the meat. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer, uncovered, over low heat for 2-3 hours stirring occasionally until the meat is fork tender. Add chicken stock as needed. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Yields 6-8 servings.


Late last year I tried a modified version of a Texas Chili Con Carne recipe that used dried chiles. It was my first time working with dried chiles. I had seen them in the grocery store, but had not known what to do with them. The chili turned out really, REALLY good. The flavor was deep, smoky, and rich. Early this year I bought a couple more packages of dried chiles and yesterday thought I’d make a sauce to bind my pulled pork in the stuffing for Stuffed Poblanos. I make pulled pork quite often, but with only two of us, always have a lot left over. I confess that I do not have a crockpot. Nowhere to store it. I’ve got a big Dutch-oven style cooking pot so I use that at a low heat to make pulled pork in the oven.

Various ways I’ve used my pulled pork is to add sauce and make sandwiches, top baked sweet potatoes, fill sopes or enchiladas, and to stuff poblanos. The poblanos are a real low-carb option. If you’re unfamiliar with poblanos, they’re a large chile with a very mild flavor once they’re stemmed and seeded. Once in awhile I’ve had one that’s got a kick at the stem end. I use gloves to stem and seed them.

The basis for the enchilada sauce is from foodiecrush.com. Heidi at foodiecrush.com called for 2 oz. of dried guajillo chiles and 1 oz. of New Mexico chiles. I just happened to have a 6 oz. package of guajillos and a 3 oz. package of New Mexicos. Hmmm. Do the math. Because I find stemming and seeding dried chiles quite tedious, I decided to make a triple batch and freeze the unused sauce, so I wouldn’t have to do it again anytime soon.

I wore gloves to stem and seed the chiles. It took me about 50 minutes hunched over my garbage can to stem and seed them. Like I said, tedious.

I’m a lazy cook when it comes to presentation, so I don’t strain my sauce. I really don’t see what difference it makes since enchilada sauce is usually added over, under, or with stuffed tortillas. Who cares if it’s not smooth?

  • GF Enchilada Sauce
  • 6 oz. dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 3 oz. dried New Mexico chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 9 cups water
  • Olive oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped tomato (I used grape tomatoes)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1-1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cumin

In a very large cooking pot, place the dried chiles and water. Bring to a boil and then let simmer, covered, for thirty minutes. Remove from heat and strain the chiles out of the cooking water. SAVE THE COOKING WATER! Set aside the chiles and the water.

In a medium skillet over medium heat, swazz the olive oil and then add the onions. Let them cook until translucent. Add the tomatoes, garlic, salt, oregano, paprika, and cumin. Let it cook down until it’s thick and pasty.

Scrape the onion-tomato mixture into a very large food processor and add the chiles and a bit of the chile-cooking water. Let it process, adding chile-water as necessary to get a sauce consistency that is to your liking. I tried to get my consistency as smooth as possible in the processor because I didn’t want to strain it afterward. Don’t throw out the remaining chile water! More to come.

Pour the processed mixture back into the large cooking pot. I rinsed my skillet out with a little chile-water and added that to the cooking pot, too. Bring to a boil and then let simmer, uncovered, for ten or fifteen minutes. Add more chile-water as necessary. Don’t skip the cooking step, it really creates the flavor.

My yield was about 6-1/2 cups. I stirred 1/2 cup into my pulled pork at that time and then saved the sauce and the leftover chile-water in the refrigerator until the next morning. The next morning, the sauce had thickened a bit, so I stirred in more of the chilled chile-water. In the end I froze three 2-cup portions in vacuum-sealed bags. I discarded about 2 cups of remaining chile-water. Another note on this recipe: I’ve read that the flavor REALLY comes out if you roast your dried chiles on a skillet first, but that’s a step too far for me.

  • Stuffed Poblanos
  • 4 fresh poblano chiles
  • 2-1/2 cups spiced shredded pork or chicken
  • 1/2 cup enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the stem-end out of the poblano chiles and cut a slit down one side. Remove the seeds carefully. Place the chiles onto the baking sheet, slit side up.

Stir enchilada sauce into the meat and then stir in about 2/3 cup of the shredded cheese. All these quantities are approximate. I eyeballed the amount of shredded pork, sauce, and cheese that I would need. No worries, it’s a forgiving recipe, hard to go wrong.

Stuff the chiles. I use a fork and my hands to try to get filling all the way into the tips of the chiles.

Bake at 400 degrees for thirty minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle shredded cheese over each chile. Return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes.

Just so you know, I’ve made stuffed poblanos with all kinds of filling: ground turkey, ground beef, beans, shredded chicken, etc. It doesn’t really matter as long as it holds together. You can use tomato sauce, fresh tomatoes, refried beans, whatever you want as a binder. There are several recipes on Pinterest that give good ideas of various fillings you can use. There is no reason to pre-cook the chiles, just stuff and bake!

My husband LOVES cheesecake. We were in New York City in October (my first time) and every day he ordered cheesecake at a bakery in the subway terminal to take back to the hotel room. When we’re eating out, he always orders cheesecake for dessert. I have made varying kinds of cheesecake; chocolate, baked, unbaked, etc. and this recipe is the most authentic and best, in my opinion. It’s also a super simple recipe. I should make it more often, but it’s so, so rich! This recipe comes from The Frugal Gourmet: On Our Immigrant Ancestors by Jeff Smith (1990, William Morrow and Company, Inc.).

  • Ingredients
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar (for crust)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (for crust)
  • 1-1/2 cups sour cream (I used light sour cream)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (for filling)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla (I used vanilla paste, thus the specks of brown in the cheesecake)
  • 1 lb. cream cheese, broken into small pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter (for filling)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Mix together the graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup melted butter. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 8-inch or 9-inch springform pan. I use an 8.5″ pan (since my 9″ broke about fifteen years ago and I haven’t replaced it). [A side note: I cut a round of parchment paper and placed it in the bottom of my springform pan, then pressed in the crumbs mixture. At the end, I was able, using a very large spatula, to slide the entire cheesecake onto a plate while at the same time peeling off the parchment paper. This was really an unnecessary step, but I just wanted to get it out and off the springform bottom. It worked splendidly, but could have so easily gone awry.]

In a food processor, blend the sour cream, 1/2 cup sugar, 2 eggs, and vanilla until it is very smooth and well blended. Add the cream cheese and process until it is smooth, scraping down the bowl a time or two. While blending, pour the 2 Tbsp. melted butter through the top of the machine. Pour mixture over the top of the graham crust.

The flecks of brown are from using vanilla paste, which I really like to use better than vanilla extract.

Bake at 325 degrees F for 45-55 minutes. I give mine a little shake to see if the center is overly soft. It’s hard to tell, just do your best. Turn your broiler on and broil the cheesecake just until the top begins to have attractive spots of brown. I think I left mine a few seconds too long for “attractive.” Oh, well.

  • Optional Raspberry Sauce
  • 1-1/2 cups raspberry juice/pulp
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Boil together for about 5-10 minutes or until it’s slightly thickened, but not to jelly stage.

The cheesecake stands very well alone, but because I have a lot of frozen raspberries, I made a raspberry sauce to go with this deliciousness. I’m not a fan of raspberry seeds so I pressed my home-frozen package of thawed raspberries through a sieve and came up with 1-1/2 cups of juice/pulp. These type of sauces are not fussy so you can do your own thing regarding amounts. I was looking for something that would remain a semi-thick liquid when brought down to room temperature. I didn’t want a hot sauce to melt my cheesecake slices. At the same time I wanted the sauce to pour when I was ready for it. This worked very well. I gave the sauce a stir right before serving. I used a gravy boat to store and pour.

I have made these for many years. The recipe is based on one found in an old Bear Valley Elementary School cookbook: Bear Fare 1993-1994. The original recipe calls for a streusel topping, but I’ve never added that. Too much fuss. Mostly, I make these and toss them into the freezer to eat later. The other day I had about a cup of leftover sweet potatoes, a couple old wrinkled apples, and two leftover egg yolks. I’ll give you this substitute recipe at the end, but just know that’s what’s pictured here.

  • Ingredients
  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice (I used 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ground cloves, 1/4 tsp. allspice, 1/4 tsp. ground ginger, 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup cooked and mashed or solid-pack canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups peeled and finely chopped apples
  • Cinnamon for sprinkling (optional)

Prepare 18-24 muffin cups with paper liners or by greasing. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. In a smaller bowl combine the eggs, pumpkin, and vegetable oil. Add these liquid ingredients to the large bowl of dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Fold in the apples. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins. Sprinkle with cinnamon (optional). Bake 25-35 minutes until muffin tops spring back when lightly pressed with a finger.

Substituting sweet potatoes: I used approximately a cup of mashed sweet potato instead of pumpkin. I tried using 1 egg and 2 egg yolks, but the batter was not completely moistened, so I added a second whole egg. I’m not sure if this was because sweet potato is drier than pumpkin or what. Next time I’ll use 3 whole eggs.

Legs tired, we chose an outside table at a restaurant in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico and collapsed into chairs, ordering dos cervezas. It was a pleasant afternoon on the plaza, watching the world go by. We asked the waitress what was good to eat and she recommended Plantain Cups. They really hit the spot that day. Once home, I tried to recreate the dish because of how delicious they are. Plantains are readily available here, but I’ve never cooked with them before. I found a recipe at SimpleByClara on her Dominican Cooking website and used her basics of how to make the cups. They are really yummy and quite easy to make. I’m still not sure how to select a plantain at the grocery store and I suspect what I’m choosing are not as good as they could be, but it’s a work in progress.

  • Ingredients for Cups
  • 3 large (or 4 medium) ripe plantains, peeled
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Oil for basting

Cut the plantains in half and place into a large saucepan. Try to disabuse yourself of the notion that these are bananas. They’re not. They’re more like potatoes. Add water to cover and add salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer until plantains are soft, about 15 minutes. Remove plantains from water and let cool a little. Mash the plantains. I always end up using a food processor, which works well. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m not cooking them long enough or if they’re old plantains. In any event, mine are always too hard to mash by hand, but the food processor works great.

Prepare a muffin tin by spraying or greasing. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Mashed plantains are sticky, and so it’s easy to form the cups. Grab a handful of mashed plantain and press it into a muffin cup. Make them very compacted. I got 10 plantain cups last time. Brush oil lightly over each cup. I used olive oil, but any type of oil should work.

Bake at 425 degrees for about 18-20 minutes.

Remove from oven and fill with your favorite topping.

The ones we had in Puerto Rico were filled with little tidbits of spiced beef and a tasty sauce. Here is what and how I did what’s pictured (they were delicious), but I’ll probably never make these the same way twice.

I cut beef Tri-Tip Steak strips into 1″ cubes. I sprinkled taco seasoning over the meat. I preheated a skillet on high heat and added a bit of olive oil. I added the meat to the pan and seared it on all sides as well as possible. I removed the meat from the pan and set it aside. To the skillet I added diced onion, diced sweet mini peppers, and diced garlic. I let it saute until the onion was translucent, then I added some chopped jalepeno peppers. I stirred the beef back into the pan and cooked a bit longer. I scooped a little bit of the filling into each plantain cup, then sprinkled with Monterey Jack cheese. I baked at 425 degrees F for about 10 minutes. I served these topped with mashed avocado, fresh jalepeno slices, and salsa. Umm, umm, good!

Alternative fillings would be spiced chicken, cheddar cheese, beans and/or corn. Whatever you want to do will be great.

Another reason I like these is that it takes the place of wheat or gluten foods at dinner time. It’s something I can feed my relative with the wheat allergy.

I made this last week and there was none left after the meeting. Yummy! Since it is March now, I used previously frozen rhubarb. Last summer I picked rhubarb and froze only small, tender stalks. The bigger stalks I used while fresh and did not freeze. It seems to have made a difference for the frozen rhubarb. It baked well and was not stringy.

The recipe was based upon one from LizTheChef. My cake batter did not spill out of the cake pan, but it did puff up to the extent that the edges were not inside the pan. This made it a little tricky to get out. Also, I felt it could have stayed in the oven another five minutes for the center to be completely done. Not everyone who ate it agreed with that assessment. And like I said, it was gone . . . fast!

  • Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups ricotta, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract or paste
  • 1 tsp. grated orange peel
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped rhubarb, fresh or frozen and thawed (if using thawed, let it drain completely — do not press it)
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • Confectioner’s sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9″ cake pan by spraying or greasing, then laying a circle of parchment paper into the bottom of the pan. Spray lightly again.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl stir together the eggs, ricotta, vanilla, and orange peel. Fold into the dry ingredients until just blended. Stir in the melted butter. Stir in 1 cup of the rhubarb.

Pour into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/2 cup rhubarb, try to lightly press them into the batter. Sprinkle the top with 2 Tbsp. sugar. Bake 50-55 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes and then turn out onto rack, remove parchment, and invert so sugary crust is topside. Let cool completely then sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar. Serve. Prepare to be wowed.

This was a mish-mash of several different recipes. I served a spiral-sliced honey ham for my husband’s birthday a few days ago and had quite a bit leftover. I have a grinder attachment to my Kitchen Aid mixer and so I can easily make the ground ham. Another well-used appliance that I have is a commercial-style chamber vacuum sealer. I buy ground pork in bulk and then divide it into 1/2# and 1# packages to toss in the freezer. It works well for being prepared to make Egg Roll in a Bowl, Chorizo Burgers, Cold Pork Pie, and now these Baked Ham Balls.

  • Ingredients for Ham Balls
  • 2# ground fully-cooked ham
  • 1# ground pork
  • 2/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp. mustard powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • Ingredients for Sauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or spray a 9 x 13″ baking dish. Mix all ham ball ingredients together in a very large mixing bowl. Form into large balls, about 3″ diameter. You will get about 20-24 meatballs. Place meatballs into the prepared baking dish. They should all fit into the one pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

While the ham is baking the first time, mix the sauce ingredients together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Sugar should be dissolved. Remove from heat.

Remove ham balls from oven and pour sauce over them as evenly as possible. Return to oven and bake 30 minutes more.

Remove from oven and serve warm. Yield: 8-10 servings.

So, in December I purchased a tortilla press . . . and a tortilla warmer . . . and a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Masa Harina . . . and some parchment paper pre-cut into rounds. I realize I was purchasing my own Christmas present, but I’m quite happy with it. I try never to buy anything that only has one use and discourage others from buying them for me. I don’t know what got into me, but I’ve found a place to stow it so it’s all good. Both the recipes found below here are gluten-free. I guess I better say that the Sope recipe below does not require a press or any special equipment. I only used the press for tortillas.

There’s a grocery store in Palm Springs, California called Cardenas and it is like heaven on earth. You can smell the fresh tortillas from the in-store factory. I once filled up a large cooler with fresh produce purchased at Cardenas for about 17 USD and the same produce would have cost me around 100 USD here in Anchorage. Cardenas is a magical place. It reminds me of the big covered markets you see in Mexico full of sights and smells. It’s always hard for me to decide whether to get something they’ve already cooked at the Deli counter or buy the ingredients and make the dishes myself. I usually do both. It drives my mother crazy, “Why are these rice and beans in my refrigerator? What are you going to do with them?” I answer her that by the time I go back home, I’ll have eaten all of it.

My husband took this picture to show the joyous market called Cardenas.

Corn Tortillas

I used the recipe from Isabel Eats. Her tortillas get nice brown marks on them, but I couldn’t get mine to do that. My tortillas were still quite fabulous, so I’m thinking it doesn’t matter? The first two times I made these I used Bob’s Red Mill Golden Corn Flour Masa Harina. It’s very yellow with a grainy texture. The third time I made these, I ran about 1/2 cup short of Bob’s and made it up with Maseca Instant Corn Masa Flour. The color is white and the texture is fine, like cake flour. It threw me off, but I sallied forth and came up with a delicious product. A word about Masa Harina: it is ground corn that has been processed with lime (not lime fruit, but lime stone). According to web sources, ground corn is not the same and will not work the same. You need to use Masa Harina.

  • Ingredients
  • 2 cups Masa Harina
  • 1-1/2 cups hot water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Makes 12 tortillas, about 6″ diameter. Stir the ingredients together until it’s a smooth ball. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let sit for an hour. Divide the dough into twelve pieces (about 2″ in diameter) and roll each piece into a ball. Keep the dough balls covered with the damp kitchen cloth as much as possible.

As I said earlier, I use parchment paper rounds, top and bottom, to keep my dough from sticking to the press. Most people cut slits in two gallon-size plastic bags and put one bag on the top and one on the bottom. I haven’t tried that yet. Place a dough ball slightly off-center on the parchment on the press and place the second parchment round on it. Flatten the dough ball slightly with your hand and then lean on the body of the press to flatten more. Finish off by pressing on the handle. Be mindful not to break the shear pin that attaches the handle to the body. Pushing down on the body of the press should do most of the work.

I have an old non-stick griddle and heated it thoroughly over medium-high heat. I sprayed it with non-stick spray and carefully lay the tortilla to fry. I left it for about thirty seconds and then turned it over. I do not want crispy tortillas. I want them soft and easy to manipulate.

My process was to roll a piece into a ball, press it, and put it on the griddle. While that was cooking, I’d press the next one, etc. A dozen tortillas took me about 50 minutes. I’m usually trying to do too many things at once, so it probably could have gone much faster if this was all I had to do. As they were cooked, I put them into my tortilla warmer.

The first time I made these, I used them to make Shrimp Enchiladas. What a glorious flavor! Oh my, oh my! There is just no comparison to store-bought tortillas. My second tortilla-making venture I made tacos with leftover Cuban Pork Roast and grated cheese. The third time I did this, I used more of the leftover Cuban Pork Roast and made enchiladas.

Sopes

I had bought the Sopes from Cardenas one time, but I wouldn’t know where to purchase something like that here. That is to say I did know what my end-product was supposed to look like. This recipe comes from Kristin at Yellow Bliss Road. I looked all over the web and Pinterest and found a lot of Sopes recipes, but they all called for a lot of finagling. Most of them say to press the dough, lightly fry them, then turn up the edges and deep-fry them. Oh, please. No, thank you. It’s hard enough just cooking things once! Kristin’s recipe does not require a press and she only cooks them once. While I was doing this I thought I had made a huge mistake and I would never, ever make them again. I’d have a perfect disc with a lip and then it would stick to my hand and tear. Oy! Keep your hands as wet as possible. HOWEVER, once they were finished, I realized they were darn near perfect and incredibly delicious. I WILL make these again.

  • Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 cups Masa Harina
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Cooking oil (My skillet had about 3/4″ in it)
  • Toppings like refried beans, shredded or ground meat, cheese, salsa, lettuce, avocado, tomato, onion, sour cream (whatever strikes your fancy)

Makes about 9 Sopes, approximately 3″ diameter. Stir all ingredients, except cooking oil, together to form dough. Heat the cooking oil over medium high heat until a drop of water sizzles when it touches. Divide dough into golf-ball sized portions and roll into ball shapes. Keep remaining dough balls covered with a damp kitchen towel while working with the others. Using your hands, press each dough ball into a disc of about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick. Pinch the edges of the disc to form a lip.

If you keep your hands wet, you’ll have greater success forming the discs and the lips. Place the disc, lip side up, in the hot oil and let fry for a little while. Try to get a brown spot on the bottom. Carefully flip the disc over onto the lip and let fry a little longer. I thought this would be a huge mess and fall apart, but it hardens fairly quickly in the oil and becomes easy to get a spatula underneath. You could probably even use tongs. Your goal is to have a crispy edge, but a soft center. Remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain. I did three Sopes at a time in my frying pan and it didn’t take long at all.

These are now ready to serve, and if you’re using cold toppings like lettuce, sour cream, or tomato, you’re done. I spread a tablespoon of warm refried beans over the bottom of each Sope and then spread warm leftover Cuban Pork Roast over that and sprinkled with grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese on top. Then I popped them into the oven at 400 degrees for about 5-10 minutes until the cheese melted. These were heavenly delicious. I topped them with sliced fresh jalapenos and salsa. They were easy to eat by hand. I see this being a hearty game-day snack.