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How to Spoil Dad on Father’s Day Breakfast By: George Duran

09_21_ImusaEggs_002Every year wives and kids around the world get ready to celebrate the man in their lives. It’s father’s day and the dreadful question of what do we get the guy that has everything comes into play.

Fortunately I know dad, because I am a dad. And I know that nothing makes me happier than a belly full of (fill-in-the-blank). Seriously, happiness for me is when someone else lovingly cooks what I crave. It’s the only day of the year (aside from Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, July 4th, Halloween and my birthday) that I should be allowed to eat anything I want. Therefore I’m here to give you a hand on what dad wants on his day.

The secret to my first recipe is to combine the best of all recipes and ingredients on his favorite list into one: Chocolate French Toast Bacon Paninis. If you’re worried about the calorie count, then you should be. I don’t know it. I don’t want to know it. And trust me, dad doesn’t want to know it either. Instead just make it by cooking your favorite French toast recipe and use that as the bread for a chocolate spread and cooked bacon Panini. The secret is to have a fantastic Panini maker (like IMUSA’s) that has a knob that controls the height of your panini. This way the sandwich doesn’t get smushed. Now watch your father’s/husband’s eyes fill with excitement when you serve this masterful piece of art work after he wakes up.

But I won’t leave you hanging with the heart-kicker Panini. If dad needs a break on his day without breaking his diet, then my egg-white quesadilla is the right dish to rise and dine with. Make his egg white scrambled eggs just like he would like them (I love tomatoes, feta and spinach in mine). Then place some shredded cheese on a tortilla on heated non-stick comal (yeah, IMUSA’s got one of those too). Once the cheese begins to melt, add the scrambled eggs and fold it like a book. Cut it in wedges, serve with salsa and dad won’t even know it’s a healthy breakfast.

No matter which dish you prepare, he’ll love it. And he’ll know that you love him too. Because not only did you take care of breakfast…you have to wash the dishes too!  

Happy Father’s Day!

By: George Duran

You can find more information about IMUSA’s Panini press by clicking Here

You can fnd more information about IMUSA’S Quesadilla Maker by clicking Here

 

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Ay Mamá By: Celebrity Chef Team

 

Mother’s Day is upon us once again. I know what you are thinking… No cooking on Mother’s Day!

Oh please! Don’t be so short sighted. What are you going to do? Pack the whole family in the car, argue about where to eat, and thenPanini_ 7040 settle upon an overpriced brunch with subpar food? Well before you start shoveling mini quiche into your mouth, consider this:

There are few better ways to show your family some love than by spending a day in the kitchen with them. It’s an opportunity to get your hands dirty, play with food, create something together, and then sit down and savor the fruits of your labor. Unless you’re my mother who would rather spend the day complaining about my brother and I not calling enough, the price of prescription drugs, a hang nail, the national deficit, and of course reminding us how EVERYTHING was better in Cuba, particularly whatever is on the menu that day. But, I digress….

Most families would relish a day hanging out in the kitchen experimenting and creating. All you need is a theme, some groceries, some willing participants, and a good disposition. Easy enough, right?

There are many easy themes that will work for everyone from the novice cook to the molecular gastronomy buff. A simple pasta party can be lots of fun if you have small kids. Making a big pot of fresh tomato sauce together while tasting and adjusting seasoning can be a lot of fun- of course, we all know that the tomatoes in this country are not like the ones in Cuba, but we’ll make due somehow. All you need are some steaming bowls of fun shaped pasta, a hunk of parmesan, a resident cheese grater (kids love this job), some crusty bread, and maybe a salad. Oh and wine, lots and lots of wine.

And if you’re concerned that the guys in the family won’t enjoy this little mommy fiesta- think again. Cooking together promotes teamwork, and what guy doesn’t like being part of a team?

Oh, and it doesn’t matter how large or small a kitchen is, it is still the heart of the home.  The flavors, sights, and sounds that come from the kitchen impact the senses more than any other room in the house. Well, for the most part ;-). But don’t limit the cooking party to your kitchen; sometimes you don’t even need a stove to cook together.

How about having a “Panini party”? It’s one of the easiest parties to throw – all you need is a good variety of sandwich ingredients, some sides, a Panini maker, and friends and family who are willing to get creative at the grill.

Begin your Panini assembly line with the sandwich foundation: the bread. Select a variety of good quality artisan breads. Make sure it’s pre-sliced to move things along quickly. The meat station should offer some variety too. Include meats like thinly sliced oven roasted turkey, black forest ham, prosciutto, salami, mortadella etc.

The cheese station is my favorite. It’s great if you have vegetarians in the family and it’s a great way to get creative with grilled cheese. Think double crème brie and fig jam between two slices of buttery and crunchy pumpernickel. Yum! Be sure to include everyone’s favorites like provolone, gruyere, cheddar, mozzarella, and goat cheese.

Finally add some goodies to make those sandwiches extra special. Remember the two slices of bread are a blank canvas. Get creative! Things like sundried tomatoes, avocado, roasted peppers, arugula, marinated artichokes, caramelized onions. The possibilities are endless!

No matter what you do this Mother’s Day, even if it is going to that overpriced brunch or sitting around your kitchen counter with a frozen pizza, let mom know how much you love and appreciate her, and most importantly enjoy each other’s company. Oh, and a drizzle of white truffle oil will make that frozen pizza delish!

Happy Mother’s day and Buen Provecho!

 

You can find more information about IMUSA’s Panini Maker by clicking Here

For delicious panini recipes Click Here

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Cinco De Mayo By: George Duran

FishTacos_036When your average joe hears the phrase “Cinco de Mayo”, chances are they are thinking of the classic Tex-Mex fare: Quesadillas, tacos and of course, tequila. But for me it’s a whole different story. 

First of all, if you want to look smart in front of your friends, make sure you understand that “Cinco de Mayo” is not Mexican Independence Day (that’s on September 16th). In fact, “Cinco de Mayo” is more commonly observed in the US and it’s mainly been a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. Yeah, there’s a lot more to it but let’s get back to the food (after all, that’s what I’m here for).

For me, Mexican food encompasses everything that Tex-Mex is not. Yes, I like my cheese slathered nachos once in a while, but true Mexican food has so much more depth and flavor. My go-to dinner menu is soft tacos. I’m talking corn tacos. You can conveniently purchase them in most supermarkets today actually. I like to toast them directly over an open flame for a few seconds on each side, then stuff them in a tortilla warmer (IMUSA makes an awesome one) and then prep the rest of the ingredients. But on the 5th of May I go a step above and make the soft tortillas from scratch! In fact, my chipotle tortillas are a treat in my house because you can actually smell the authenticity. And the beauty is that it’s so much easier to make than you think! You will need a tortilla press. In fact, the one from IMUSA is a cinch to use.

Once the tortillas are made, I focus on the fillings. My specialty lies in cornmeal crusted tilapia (you just can’t get enough corn on “Cinco de Mayo”!).  I make sure I have a great non-stick skillet and bread the tilapia slices in cornmeal or polenta and I sauté them until crispy. Put together a creamy slaw and some salsa and you’re good to go.

But wait…how could I have forgotten the guac’? That creamy herbed dip that always begs to be invited to my Mexican fiestas? My guac’ is as chunky as they get. And yeah, I load it up spicy with jalapenos, but that’s ok, because I’ve got a secret weapon (ok, ingredient) that can quench those hot peppers: granny smith apples. After I make my guacamole, I dice up some granny smith apples and fold them right in. Your guests won’t know what that crunchy-sweet-and-sour-ay-dios-mio ingredient is.  Authenticate it all with an awesome molcajete, a stone morter and pestle, and I guarantee you’ll feel like you’ve shown off your true Mexican pride. Of course, don’t forget the tequila! 

By: George Duran

You can find more information about IMUSA’s tortilla warmers by clicking Here and Here

You can find more information about IMUSA’s tortilla press by clicking Here

You can find more delicious Mexican recipes by clicking Here

 

 

 

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Easter Throughout the Latin World By: George Duran

09_21_ImusaBraisedShortRibs_020Easter has got to be one of my favorite holidays to celebrate with food, right after Christmas and Thanksgiving…and Halloween…and Cinco de Mayo.  Ok, I take most holidays and food quite seriously. But Easter does have a special meaning to Latinos at the Sunday table. Lent is over and that means it’s time to feast! From ham to lamb to the Easter bread, everything is fare game. Even though each culture has different traditions, every Easter table throughout Latin America has one thing in common which is about the abundance of food and the somewhat quirky traditions I adore.

In Mexico, for example, cascarones are made by using a pin pour the egg out of the shell, then once cleaned, it’s filled with confetti and a small toy and covered with tissue paper. Fun, right? You haven’t heard the best part. The cascarones are then broken over your loved one’s heads to bring good luck! Head down to San Antonio, Texas for the city-wide festival of Fiesta, and make sure to bring a helmet!

The Mexican food traditions are quite tasty too.  A popular recipe for lent is capirotada, a bread pudding that is mulled in whole cane sugar, cloves and cinnamon. More often than not it has dried fruits such as apples, dates, raisins and apricots. Add some nuts and you’re making a phenomenal bread pudding if you ask me. It’s a dish that is vegetarian, hence it’s served on Good Friday, however because of it’s immense popularity (and yeah, delicious flavor) you find it quite often on the Easter dinner table.

OK, let’s go a bit more south into Peru where you’ll find their Easter traditions, known as “Semana Santa” even more interesting. Throughout most of Peru the Easter feast is known as Doce Platos, which translates to twelve dishes. You guessed it, you’re pretty much getting twelve separate courses on that Sunday. Believe it or not, many of the dishes are full sized course, an interesting symbolic gesture to signify the end of Lent. A favorite is chiriuchu, a mishmash of dried corn and mixed meats, including roasted guinea pig, which Peruvians commonly wash down with chicha, a regional beer made from fermented maize.

Finally, in Chile you find Easter traditions that aren’t too different than the ones you find here in the United States. Yes, kids have their Easter egg hunt and Christians go to church. And once they come back home it’s time to enjoy a feast where they usually have an asado, or grilled meats.

No matter where you are in the Latin world, Easter is celebrated with the end of Lent. This is the end of the meal restrictions and the Sunday celebration with an abundance of food, family and love. Oh yeah..and Easter bunny!

By: George Duran

Let it Sizzle By: George Duran

FajitaSkillet_018

Every since I was a kid, I remember going with entire family to a local Mexican restaurant called Margarita’s in my home town. Now, for me authentic Mexican food has turned out to be something far from what Margarita’s used to serve. It was your typical Tex-Mex affair. From the saucy enchiladas to the insanely cheesy nachos. As a kid, it’s all you wanted (and probably still want!). What excited me most though was the “deafening” sound of the sizzling fajitas quickly carried by the waitresses to each table. It left a trail of heavenly steak-smoke, as we used to call it, and everyone in the restaurant stopped eating for a for a split second to see where it would land. When we would order it we’d be giddy about this searing cast iron skillet taking place on our table, filling our breathing space with the steak-smoke as we salivated for the first bite. The onions and peppers perfectly browned and the warm tortillas piled in the tortilla warmer brought it all together in perfect harmony.

When I first learned that I too could replicate that experience in my own home with IMUSA’s fajita skillet, I got excited (and yes, it watered my mouth!). There is a place for authentic Mexican fare on my kitchen table (like my mean chicken mole or crispy shrimp tacos), but sizzling Mexican foods are just something I can’t resist! It’s your senses being bombarded all at once: the sound of the sizzle, the savory aroma of the skirt steak, the bountiful layers of meat with the onions and peppers and even the warmth of the radiating heat that the cast iron skillet retains for over 10 minutes!

My secret is to have all of the ingredients ready on the table so I can carry out the sizzling meat onto the wooden plank. I start by making a fresh batch of my infamous Mango Guacamole and set it aside in an IMUSA Molcajete next to a bowl of some extra spicy salsa.  I then warm the tortillas with tongs directly on the gas burner, making sure not to char too much. I place them inside my IMUSA tortilla warmer (a must-have, as it keeps your tortillas warm for over half an hour!). It’s skillet time! I slice some red peppers and onions and some skirt steak. Heat up the IMUSA fajita skillet and add a little bit of canola oil to it. Once it starts smoking I pile up the meats and veggies. The secret is to let it sear for about a minute or two before mixing it. In about 5-6 minutes you have a sizzling masterpiece that you can place on the included wooden plank and, just like the waitress at Margarita’s, parade it through the dining room and set it in front of the awed guests.

The fajita skillet is one of my favorite culinary cookwares that gets the children in my house…ok, the adults in my house totally excited about Mexican dinner!

 

 By: George Duran