SPANISH RICE AND MEXICAN FLAN

SPANISH RICE

You gotta have my Spanish rice recipe. Serve with hot enchiladas. Or you may want to stuff green bell peppers with Spanish rice too.

1 teaspoon oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 sachet Sazon Goya cilantro and achiote seasoning mix

pinch of dried oregano

1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth, about 1 3/4 cups

1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with green chilies

1 cup uncooked long grain rice salt and pepper to taste

Topping: cooked and crumbled Cacique pork (beef) chorizo or longaniza

In a wok or skillet, saute garlic and onions in hot oil until soft.  Add spices and seasonings.  Then pour in broth, canned tomatoes and rice to pan.  Bring to boil, then cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes or until rice is done and water is evaporated.  Transfer to platter and top with cooked chorizo or longaniza.

MEXICAN FLAN

For me, it’s leche flan meets cheesecake and it’s the only way to end a “Mexican-fiesta” meal.

Arnibal or caramel syrup:

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup water

Flan:

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

5 large eggs

1 tall can (12 oz) evaporated milk

Make caramel syrup by heating sugar in a small saucepan until liquid.  Slowly stir in water, continue boiling until syrup thickens slightly.  Pour syrup into molds (round pan, store-bought aluminum loaf pans, oven-safe custard cups or ramekins).  Set aside to cool.

In a blender (yes only blender can do the job!), blend until smooth condensed milk, cream cheese and vanilla.  Add to beaten eggs (you certainly can use a whisk, but I like to blend all flan ingredients by spatula). Divide flan among prepared molds.  Bake at 350 F in a water bath (bain marie using roasting pan) until sides are firmly set and center jiggles slightly when molds are shaken (cooking times vary so just be patient and keep checking).  Remove the flan from the water bath, allow to cool, then refrigerate until very cold, preferably overnight.  To serve, run a knife around sides of the flan and invert onto a serving platter, allowing the syrup to drizzle over the flan.  Super rich yet super delicioso (and a date with your treadmill is strongly recommended).

Got a special refrigerated package from Los Angeles via Fed Ex of  CACIQUE samples of cheeses, creams, chorizos/longanizas (neatly laid out in a beautiful basket).  That is simply “delicioso”, I really can now go “autentico” with really authentic hispanic quezo and cremas complementing my enchiladas y quesadillas, ole!  My special thanks to Renee Hewitt for introducing me to Cacique products.  And I had to ask Renee how Cacique is pronounced, and it was the right thing for me to do because I would have pronounced it differently.  Cacique, pronounced “ka seek kay” is the largest Hispanic cheese brand in the U.S. Check out Cacique products at Costco and WalMart. Also visit Cacique website for products and recipes: www.caciqueusa.com

“Ay, ay, ay, South of the Border, down Mexico way…”

(My diva-sis Marilou Dichosa belting out this South of the Border song in her recent singing stint at the Veranda Restaurant along Irving Park.  And the song just inspired me to go “South of the Border”.)   Ole!

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