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Coquito – Victor Manuelle

Original recipe makes 10 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 (14 ounce) can cream of coconut
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup white rum
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

PREPARATION

  • In the top of a double boiler, combine egg yolks and evaporated milk. Stirring constantly, cook over lightly simmering water until mixture reaches a temperature of 160 degrees F (71 degrees C). The mixture should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Transfer mixture to a blender, and add cream of coconut, sweetened condensed milk, rum, water, cloves, cinnamon, and vanilla. Blend for about 30 seconds. Pour into glass bottles, and chill overnight.

Bunuelos – Carlos Vives

Makes about 24 buñuelos

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups grated white farmer's cheese or queso fresco
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1.5 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Preparation:

  • Make sure that the cheese is grated very finely. You can use a food processor for this.
  • Mix the cheese, corn starch, sugar, salt, and egg in a large bowl until well blended.
  • Shape the dough into 1 inch diameter balls.
  • Heat several inches of oil in a heavy pot to 350 degrees.
  • Add the buñuelos, a few at a time, and cook. They will sink to the bottom, then rise and expand. Cook for 3-4 minutes, turning them occasionally, until they are golden brown and very round.
  • Drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Dust with powdered sugar if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Lasagna – Royce

  • 6 whole-wheat lasagna noodles (about 4 ounces total), broken in half
  • 1 tablespoon(s) olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small (1 pound) eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 clove(s) garlic, minced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/2 pound(s) ground sirloin
  • 1 can(s) (10.75 ounces) tomato puree
  • 1 pint(s) (1 percent) cottage cheese (2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup(s) plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan (1 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup(s) shredded part-skim mozzarella (2 ounces)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place noodles in an 8-by-8-inch baking dish, and cover with hot tap water; set aside to soften.
  • In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion, eggplant, and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is very tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add sirloin, and cook, breaking up meat with a spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Add tomato puree, and cook until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Season meat sauce with salt and pepper.
  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine cottage cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan; season with salt and pepper. Remove noodles from baking dish, discarding water.
  • Spread about 1/4 cup meat sauce in bottom of dish, and top with 4 noodle halves. Layer with 1/3 cheese mixture, then 1/3 sauce. Repeat twice with remaining noodles, cheese mixture, and sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Bake until lasagna is bubbling and cheese topping is golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Tamales- PeeWee

Ingredients

  • 7 cups fresh corn kernels, from 7 ears
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup harina de maiz (dried corn flour)
  • 20 dried corn husks, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes

Directions

  • Working in batches, add the corn kernels to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale. Add the egg, salt, and baking powder. Mix to incorporate. Add the flour and pureed corn and mix until blended and forms a loose smooth dough.
  • Put a corn husk lengthwise in front of you with the wide side closest to you. Spread 3 tablespoons of the dough all over the bottom half (wide side) of the corn husk, leaving about a 1-inch-wide border on the left and right sides. Pick up the 2 long sides of the corn husk and bring them together. Roll both sides of the corn husks in the same direction over the filling.
  • Repeat with remaining corn husks and dough. Arrange the tamales, seam side down, in a steamer and add 1/2-inch of water. Cover with a tight fitting lid, bring to a simmer and steam for 1 hour, adding additional water, as needed to maintain 1/2-inch of water in the pan. Remove the tamales from the steamer to a serving platter and serve.
  • Thank you Food Network!

Hallacas – Ricardo Montaner

Yield: About 50 Hallacas

Ingredients for the stew:

  • 2-3 lb of finely chopped stew beef
  • 1-1½ lbs of finely chopped pork meat
  • 1 small jar of capers
  • 32 oz jar gardener’s pickled vegetables
  • 1 cup of raisins
  • 1 cup of green olives
  • 2 leeks, washed and dried
  • 2 bunch of green onions
  • 1 head of garlic, peeled
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
  • Bunch of parsley
  • Bunch of cilantro
  • 2 big onions
  • 2-3 chopped tomatoes
  • 2-3 cups of chicken broth
  • Hot peppers or ají (chile) to taste
  • Salt, seasoning cubes or chicken broth cubes to taste
  • Black pepper
  • Sugar
  • Sweet red wine
  • Olive oil

Directions

  • Chop the meats into very small bits, mixing in a portion of 2 parts beef, one part pork, and seasoned to taste. Cut all other ingredients, either in a food processor or by hand, combining all ingredients on the list from 3 to 12 and half of the onions. In a big, deep frying pan, heat olive oil to sear onions, tomatoes and ají until half cooked then start adding the meat and vegetable mixture in alternating lumps. Use the wine and broth to keep the mixture wet and saucy. Add salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle a bit of sugar too. Once the meat is cooked, turn off heat and let it cool. When possible, I like to mix the raw meat mixture with half the condiment mix, wine and seasoning, and keep it in therefrigerator overnight to be cooked as above the following day before assembly. The assembly process can last 6 hours or longer, depending on the experience and amount of helpers.
  • Ingredients for the dough and assembly:

    2 packages of pre-cooked corn flower used for arepas brand name PAN
  • 8-10 cups of chicken broth
  • 1-2 cups of vegetable cooking oil
  • 1 cup of annatto seeds
  • Salt
  • Thinly sliced red or green peppers (about 2 cups)
  • Sliced onions (about 2 cups)
  • 32 oz jar of olives – without pits
  • Raisins
  • Parsley leaves cut in small branches
  • White peeled almonds
  • 1-2 cans of cooked chickpeas (garbanzos)
  • Cooked chicken shredded into small size pieces – from cooking the broth
  • Plantain leaves, rinsed and dried with a cloth.
  • Twine to tie the plantain leaves wrapping the dough

Assembly of the hallacas

  • Once you're ready to proceed, there are 4 big steps to follow: cook the stew, make the dough, clean the leaves and assemble the hallacas. Once the stew is cooked, start on the dough. Heat the vegetable cooking oil with onoto (annatto/achiote) seeds until the oil turns deep orange/red from the annatto. Add 2/3 of that oil to half the chicken broth, and about 2 cups of water and 1 package of corn flour. Add salt to taste and keep adding more flour, broth, water and oil until achieving a soft consistency that can be molded easily. Separate the dough in fist-size balls and keep them covered with a damp cloth. Even if you have access to fresh plantains leaves, it is much better using frozen ones. These are usually available at the frozen food section of most supermarkets. Defrost them outside the refrigerator, rinsing them with a clean, damp cloth. Separate the covers by size since you will need to wrap them at least in two layers. Keep them moist by covering them with a damp cloth.
  • In different containers, place ingredients 6-15 from the assembly list. Arrange people helping with the hallacas to work in stations around these ingredients. In a clean plantain leaf, drop some annatto oil and spread the dough very thin, add a big spoonful of stew and a bit of each decorative ingredient from list 6-15; fold the dough with the help of the leaf. Close the hallaca; cover it with another leaf and tie it with several lines of string, finishing with a knot.
  • Once all hallacas are tied, bring them to boil in a big pan with water and salt for about 1 hour. Repeat as needed until all the dough and stew is used. Depending of the size of the leaves, dough and generosity of the assembly line workers, the result would be about 4 to 5 dozen hallacas.
  • When there is left over dough, is customary to combine some stew and other ingredients and make what is called “bollitos.” Everything is mixed together and wrapped into smaller hallaca size items, tied and boiled in water for about 45 minutes. Now the tradition is to open a few hallacas from the first batch to taste and try among the cooks, and to share some with those who helped making them, as well as with family and friends. ¡Felices Fiestas!

Paneton – Gilberto Santa Rosa

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup currants, soaked in warm water for 1 hour and drained
  • 2 oranges, zested
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Butter and flour an 8-inch round deep cake pan or panettone mold. In a mixer, cream the butter with the eggs and egg yolks until pale yellow, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Replace the beater with the dough hook attachment, and with the mixer running, add half of the flour. Add half the milk and mix for 1 minute. Add the remaining flour followed by the remaining milk and all of the sugar and mix well. Continue mixing and kneading with the dough hook until the dough becomes dry enough to handle. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and sprinkle with the currants, orange zest, cream of tartar, and baking soda. Knead by hand for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Place the dough in the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. The top will be quite cracked. Remove from the oven, invert onto a rack and cool. Slice into wedges to serve.

Rosca de Reyes – Elvis Crespo

Ingredients

  • 1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup dried figs, cut into strips, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup candied orange peel, cut into strips, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup candied lemon peel, cut into strips, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied cherries, plus more whole for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons light rum
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs, divided
  • Water
    • Directions

      • In a small bowl, combine the yeast and warm water; stir to blend. Let stand until the yeast comes alive and starts to foam, about 5 to 10 minutes.
      • Put all of the candied fruit in small bowl and drizzle the rum on top. Let stand for 15 minutes to 1 hour to infuse the flavor.
      • In a small pot, warm the milk over medium heat. Add the sugar, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.
      • In a large bowl, mix 3 1/2 cups flour, 2 eggs, yeast mixture, milk mixture, and the rum soaked candied fruits, mixing very well until the dough gathers into a ball. If the dough is too wet, Add additional flour, a little at a time, if needed to form a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it's smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Put the ball of dough back into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm spot to rise for 1 hour.
      • Remove the dough from the bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface. Using your palms, roll the dough into a long rope. Shape the coil into a ring, sealing the ends together. Insert a little doll or coin into the bread from the bottom, if desired. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray. Carefully transfer the dough ring to the prepared baking pan.
      • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
      • Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of water to make an egg wash, and brush the top of the bread. Decoratively garnish the top of the bread with more candied fruit and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the cake is golden.
      • Cool on a wire rack before slicing.
      • Cook's Note: Let your guests know there is a little doll or coin inserted inside.

Rosca de Reyes – Elvis Crespo

Ingredients

  • 1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup dried figs, cut into strips, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup candied orange peel, cut into strips, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup candied lemon peel, cut into strips, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied cherries, plus more whole for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons light rum
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs, divided
  • Water
    • Directions

      • In a small bowl, combine the yeast and warm water; stir to blend. Let stand until the yeast comes alive and starts to foam, about 5 to 10 minutes.
      • Put all of the candied fruit in small bowl and drizzle the rum on top. Let stand for 15 minutes to 1 hour to infuse the flavor.
      • In a small pot, warm the milk over medium heat. Add the sugar, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt.
      • In a large bowl, mix 3 1/2 cups flour, 2 eggs, yeast mixture, milk mixture, and the rum soaked candied fruits, mixing very well until the dough gathers into a ball. If the dough is too wet, Add additional flour, a little at a time, if needed to form a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it's smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Put the ball of dough back into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set aside in a warm spot to rise for 1 hour.
      • Remove the dough from the bowl and knead on a lightly floured surface. Using your palms, roll the dough into a long rope. Shape the coil into a ring, sealing the ends together. Insert a little doll or coin into the bread from the bottom, if desired. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray. Carefully transfer the dough ring to the prepared baking pan.
      • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
      • Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of water to make an egg wash, and brush the top of the bread. Decoratively garnish the top of the bread with more candied fruit and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the cake is golden.
      • Cool on a wire rack before slicing.
      • Cook's Note: Let your guests know there is a little doll or coin inserted inside.

Rabanada – Michel Telo

Yield: About 16 portions

Ingredients:

  • Large loaf of stale bread
  • 4 cups milk (or substitute red wine or port for all or part of the milk)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 eggs
  • Olive oil for frying
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar
  • Honey or maple syrup (optional)

Preparation:

  • Slice the bread into about 16 slices, each about 3/4 inch thick and ideally oval or round in shape. Place the bread slices in a shallow baking dish, in one layer if possible. If the bread is not very stale, let the sliced bread dry out in the open air overnight if possible.
  • Place the milk (and/or wine), cinnamon sticks, 1/2 cup sugar, and pinch of salt in a pot over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil and let mixture simmer for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Remove cinnamon sticks.
  • Pour milk mixture over the sliced bread, distributing the liquid evenly over all of the pieces. Let bread soak for 20-30 minutes, allowing it to soak up as much of the milk as possible.
  • Heat a couple of inches of olive oil in a large heavy skillet until oil is hot enough that it sizzles gently when a piece of bread is adding to it. Cover a large plate with a layer of paper towels. Whisk the eggs together in a medium bowl until very well mixed.
  • Use tongs to pick up a piece of the milk-soaked bread (handling it gently) and dip it into the egg, coating both sides with egg, and allowing the excess to drip back into the bowl. Place the bread into the oil, and cook until well-browned on one side. Flip the bread and cook until both sides are golden brown, the carefully transfer rabanada to the plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with remaining slices of bread, cooking several simultaneously if the skillet is large enough.
  • Mix the cinnamon with 3/4 cup sugar and sprinkle mixture over both sides of the cooked rabanadas. If you would like to also coat the rabanadas with a sugar syrup, heat equal parts honey or maple syrup with water and quickly dip each pastry into the hot sugar syrup.
  • Serve rabanadas warm or at room temperature, with extra honey.
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