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December, 2013


Dulce de Leche Cheesecake

Dulce de Leche CheesecakePay de Queso con Dulce De Leche

Serves: 12

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Ingredients

For the crust:

1 1/2 cups finely ground Maria cookies, vanilla wafers or graham crackers

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan


For the cream cheese filling:

1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature

1 14-ounce can La Lechera sweetened condensed milk

3 large eggs, at room temperature


For the dulce de leche topping:

1 1/2 cups sour cream

1 14-ounce can La Lechera dulce de leche

1 cup chopped pecans

To Prepare

Butter a 9- to 10-inch springform pan and set aside.

To make the crust: In a large bowl combine the ground cookies and melted butter until thoroughly mixed. Turn the cookie mixture into the springform pan. With your fingers, pat it evenly around the bottom of the pan, gently pushing it up the sides to make a crust 1/2- to 1-inch tall. Refrigerate while you make the cream cheese filling and dulce de leche topping.

To make cream cheese filling: Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until smooth and light, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sweetened condensed milk and continue beating until well mixed, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, again scraping down the bowl as needed, and continue beating until the mixture is well blended and smooth, set aside.

To make the dulce de leche topping: In a medium bowl, mix the sour cream with the dulce de leche until combined.

Adjust the oven rack to the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350°F.

Remove the springform pan from the refrigerator. Gently spread the cream cheese filling evenly, trying not to distress the crust. Place the cheesecake in the oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until it is set and the top is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes before you add the dulce de leche topping.

Spoon the dulce de leche topping over the cream cheese filling, add the pecans all around the edge and place the pan back in the oven for 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cheesecake cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. It tastes even better if it chills overnight.

Before serving, run the tip of a wet knife around the edge of the pan to release the cheesecake. Remove the ring, then slice and serve the cake.

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Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo SalsaPico de Gallo

Serves: makes about 4 cups

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Ingredients

1 pound ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped (about 3 cups)

1/2 cup finely chopped white onion

1 jalapeño or serrano chile, finely chopped, or to taste

1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and top part of stems, or to taste

2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, or to taste

2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)

1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste

To Prepare

Place the tomatoes, onion, chile, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil (if using) and salt in a bowl and toss well. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes before serving. Store any leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator.

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Molletes

Grilled Cheese and Bean HeroesMolletes

Serves: 4 to 6

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Ingredients

4 teleras, bolillos, Portuguese buns, petite baguettes or large baguettes, cut into 5- to 6-inch pieces

2 cups refried beans, homemade or store-bought

2 cups shredded Oaxaca, mozzarella, Monterrey Jack or mild cheddar cheese (about 8 ounces)

Traditional tomato pico de gallo salsa, or other salsa of your choice

Optional extra toppings: crumbled and fried Mexican-style chorizo, crisp bacon, ham, turkey, sautéed mushrooms or avocado slices

To Prepare

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Slice the bread in half lengthwise. Spread each piece with 3 to 4 tablespoons of refried beans and top with 3 to 4 tablespoons of grated cheese. Arrange the molletes on a baking sheet as you make them. If you want to add more toppings like ham, turkey, bacon or chorizo, sprinkle them on top of the cheese.

When they are all assembled, bake until the cheese has melted and the bread has a nice toasted crust on the bottom and around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Eat while hot. Serve with pico de gallo, or your favorite salsa, on the side.

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Alphabet Soup

Alphabet SoupSopa de Letras

Serves: 6

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Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds fresh ripe tomatoes, quartered, or whole canned tomatoes, drained

1 garlic clove, peeled

1/4 cup coarsely chopped white onion

1 cup water

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cups alphabet-shaped pasta (12 ounces), or any other small-shaped pasta

1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or to taste

8 cups chicken or vegetable broth

To Prepare

Place the tomatoes, garlic, onion and water in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth.

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the pasta, stirring continuously. As you fry the pasta, it will change in color from a deep white to a deep brown. Take care not to burn it! You want to cook it until it smells toasty, but not bitter like burned toast, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Pour the tomato puree over the pasta, sprinkle in the salt, and stir. Be careful, as the puree will want to jump all over your burners, it’s a good idea to cover it partially with a lid. Let the tomato base cook and thicken for about 6 minutes, stirring often, until it becomes a deeper red and has thickened to the consistency of a thick puree. Keep on stirring, so the pasta doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. You will see the base of the pot as you stir, but the sauce will not be dried out. Cooking the tomato puree to this point will give the soup a really nice depth of flavor.

Pour in the broth, stir, and when it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for another 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning and serve.

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This episode is all about Pati’s boys — it’s time for a little mother/son bonding time. First, Pati takes Alan, Sami, and Juju to their favorite place to have fun, and then for lunch, the boys will pick their absolute favorite dishes that their mom makes. The only hitch? They have to give mom a hand as she prepares each dish.


orange vanilla flan

Orange Vanilla FlanFlan de Naranja con Vainilla

Serves: makes 10 individual flans

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Ingredients

1 cup granulated sugar

1 12-ounce can of evaporated milk

1 14-ounce can of La Lechera sweetened condensed milk

6 large eggs

2/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

Zest of 1 orange

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Orange sections or supremes, for garnish

To Prepare

In a medium saucepan, set over medium-low heat, heat sugar, stirring occasionally with a wooden spatula, for about 6 to 8 minutes, or until fully dissolved and caramel colored. Quickly pour onto bottom of individual ramekins, swirling around the bottom to coat each one.

Preheat oven to 350°F. In the jar of a blender, or in a mixing bowl stirring energetically with a whisk, combine evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, orange juice, orange zest and vanilla. Pour into prepared ramekins and place them in a large baking dish or roasting pan; fill the roasting pan with hot water to about 1-inch depth. Cover the roasting pan lightly with aluminum foil.

Bake for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the aluminum foil, and let cool. Remove each ramekin from the water bath, I use a pair of tongs to do so. Let the flans cool completely before covering with plastic wrap and placing in the refrigerator. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

When ready to eat, run a small knife around the edge of each flan. Invert dessert plate over ramekin, flip over and shake slightly to release. Leave the ramekin on top of the flan for a minute or so, so all of the caramel sauce can run over the flan. You may garnish with orange sections.

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Mexican Chocolate Donuts

Mexican Chocolate DonutsDonas de Chocolate Mexicano Rellenas

Serves: makes 12 mini donuts or 8 pancakes

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Ingredients

1 cup milk

2 Mexican chocolate bars (each about 3 ounces), cut into large chunks

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of kosher or coarse sea salt

3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan

1 large egg

Special equipment, optional – Ebleskiver filled pancake pan

Fillings, La Lechera dulce de leche or cajeta, chocolate and hazelnut spread, jams or preserves

Confectioners' sugar (optional, for dusting)

To Prepare

In a medium saucepan, heat milk over medium-low heat. Add chocolate chunks and stir occasionally until it has dissolved, a few minutes. Remove from heat and using a molinillo or whisk, emulsify or foam as much as you can. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour with the sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the melted butter to the dry ingredients as well as the beaten egg and start to mix with a spatula. Slowly, pour the Mexican chocolate milk, mixing fast so the egg will not cook (!) if the milk is still hot. Continue to combine until you get an even and homogeneous batter, just a minute or so. You should have a shiny and a bit runny batter. Taste it: it’s so good! Let it sit for a few minutes, it will fluff up a bit, which is what you want.

Meanwhile, heat your special pan or skillet over low to medium-low heat until very hot, about 4 or 5 minutes. Butter the pan and spoon batter into each hole, about 3/4 of the way up each cup. Once you can move the balloons around (like when pancakes are ready to flip), but the batter in the center can still be runny, you can add a half a teaspoon of a filling of your choice. Cover with a bit more batter to fill the cups just a tad beyond the rim. Using two spoons or two wooden skewers, flip the donuts to the other side. Give them a minute or two and remove from the pan. Dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired, (I always do!) and eat while hot.

If making normal pancakes, cook as regular pancakes. Heat the skillet over medium-low heat until very hot. Grease with unsalted butter and ladle batter into the pan. Flip once the top shows bubbles and the bottom is cooked enough to be released from the pan. Cook on the other side for a minute or two and serve. Add the fillings as toppings instead of as a filling.

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poblano, bacon and cheddar skillet cornbread

Poblano, Bacon and Cheddar Skillet Cornbread
Pan de Elote de Cazuela con Poblanos, Tocino y Queso Cheddar

Serves: 10

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Pan de Elote de Cazuela con Poblanos, Tocino y Queso Cheddar" />

Ingredients

3 poblano chiles, charred, sweated, peeled, seeded and diced

6 to 8 center cut bacon slices

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 eggs, well beaten

2 cups grated cheddar cheese

2 cups corn kernels, preferably fresh, or thawed from frozen

To Prepare

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

In a large cast-iron pan, over medium-high heat, add the bacon. Cook until crispy, about 3 minutes per side. Remove the bacon from the pan and turn off the heat.

In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the milk, cream and eggs. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry. Add the cheddar cheese, corn and poblano chiles. Crumble the bacon and toss it in. Pour in most of the bacon fat from the cast-iron pan into the batter, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the pan. Mix well.

Place the cast-iron pan with the remaining bacon drippings again over medium heat, pour the batter into the pan. Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cut into wedges and serve.

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Tex-Mex chili

Tex-Mex Chili

Serves: 8

Tex-Mex Chili

Ingredients

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus one tablespoon set aside

1 pound beef stew meat, cubed into 1-inch chunks

1 pound ground pork or beef

1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or more to taste

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste

1 white onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon chopped jalapeño, seeding optional

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon chili powder such as ancho or chipotle chile powder

1 tablespoon chipotles in adobo sauce, or more to taste

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

4 cups beef stock

2 15-ounce cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed (or about 4 cups homemade)


To garnish:

Sour cream

Chopped fresh cilantro

Shredded cheddar cheese

Tortilla chips

Green onions, sliced thin

To Prepare

In a Dutch oven or heavy bottom casserole, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef, and begin to brown on all sides. After 2 to 3 minutes, add the ground meat, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and let it brown along with the cubed meat for another 5 to 6 minutes. The juices of the ground meat should have come out and then dry out. Stir as the meat browns.

Make room in the center of the pan, add the extra tablespoon of oil and add the onions and peppers, cook for 5 more minutes or until they begin to soften. Make some room in the casserole again, add the garlic, red pepper flakes, cayenne, paprika, chili powder, chipotle sauce, cumin, oregano, stir well.

Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and vinegar, mix well and cook for 3 to 4 minutes stirring a couple times. The tomato paste should have dissolved and the sauce thickened a bit. Pour in the beef stock and once it comes to a strong simmer, reduce heat to medium. Add the beans and stir. Lower the heat to medium-low, it should have a low steady simmer, and cook uncovered for an hour, stir every once in awhile.

Serve the chili in bowls and let your guests garnish with sour cream, cilantro, shredded cheddar cheese, tortilla chips and green onions.

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Inspired by her years living in Texas, Pati creates a series of dishes that combine her passion for Mexican cuisine and her favorite foods of America’s Lone Star State. Her oldest son Alan, who was born in Texas and is fully Tex-Mex, joins her in the kitchen.

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