Blog Posts by Lili's Latin Kitchen

  • Mandocas, a Typical Desayuno Zuliano to Enjoy on a Relaxed Weekend Morning

    By Liliana Moyano for Shine Latina

    Mandocas ready to enjoy!Mandocas ready to enjoy!

    A few months ago, my friends Tati, Mari and Catha invited me to have breakfast to a small Venezuelan place. They said I had to try the Mandocas; small fried bites filled with plantain, corn flour, panela, and cheese dipped in table cream. I have never been a fan of plantain but given their persistence I decided to give them a try. The waiter brought a tray of these beautiful bites with table cream on the side. I ate a few and liked them enough to order them again but I felt they were missing something.


    Mashed plantain Mashed plantain Immediately after, I came home and looked up a few recipes for mandocas and got ideas to make them myself. Last week, I invited my Venezuelan friends over to delight them with a typical desayuno Zuliano. The Zulia region is where the mandocas originated due to the plantain growth. I used the basic ingredients but instead of buying shredded cheese I bought the block of queso latino and grated it myself. I made the dough to perfection and fried

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  • Borrachitos: Adult Cupcakes for the Cool Season

    By Liliana Moyano

    Borrachito ready to enjoy!Borrachito ready to enjoy!My mother's recipe for borrachitos is simple: She uses any vanilla or yellow cake mix from the store and follows the instructions as stated.

    The difference is, before pouring the batter into a cupcake pan, she pours a bit of rum in each spot. Once the cakes are ready, she tops them with a little more rum.

    The borrachitos come out to be moist little cakes with the perfect kick of rum, which grants them their name. "Borrachito" translates to "little drunk," which is probably more-accurately taken "drunkie."

    So try these out for some good-natured fall fun time with friends.

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  • Arepitas con crema: Your new football-season snack

    By Liliana Moyano for Shine Latina

    Mini arepitas topped with crema LatinaMini arepitas topped with crema LatinaArepas are a common type of Latin tortilla. They are a typical dish in Colombian and Venezuelan cuisine. In some regions, they are made flat like a thick tortilla. In others, arepas are filled with meats and cheeses.


    For football season, I decided to replicate my mother's recipe for arepas, but turn them into appetizer-size arepitas topped with crema latina. Crema latina is a heavy, concentrated, unflavored cream that goes well with everything.



    Arepa poked ready to be filled with cheeseArepa poked ready to be filled with cheeseIngredients
    (10 arepitas)
    1 cup Masarepa, or any Latin flour to make arepas
    1.5 cups water, warm
    1 tbsp. sugar
    ½ tsp. salt
    1 tbsp. melted butter
    4 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
    Butter for grilling
    ¼ cup crema latina or table cream

    Try this dish with my crunchy chicharron

    Directions
    Mix the flour and half of the water in a deep

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  • Coca-Cola Pork Sandwiches with Fried Pickles

    By Liliana Moyano for Shine Latina

    Finished pulled pork sandwich in all its glory. Finished pulled pork sandwich in all its glory.

    My brother-in-law, David, makes a few trays of roasted pork for every major party, which eventually turn into amazing, pulled pork sandwiches. His recipe is simple and can easily be made a day or two in advance. He cooks the pork for six hours and then shreds the meat in its own cooking juices.

    I've taken David's famous pork and kicked it up by topping with fried pickles and braising in a Coca-Cola sauce. The vinegar of the pickle balances the sweetness of the pork and adds some crunch to the sandwich.

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  • Mimosas Inspired by Mojitos and Piña Coladas

    By Liliana Moyano for Shine Latina

    Mimosa three waysMimosa three ways The best way to kick-off a "Sunday Funday" is a nice brunch accompanied by the bubbles of a refreshing mimosa and good company. Traditionally, mid-morning menus offer bellinis (champagne topped with peach puree) and traditional mimosas (champagne topped with orange juice), but early cocktails at my house take on a fun, Latin twist that all guests will love.

    You can give your mimosa bar an upgrade beginning with my mojito-style cocktail, infused with refreshing mint and lime. Then, inspired by my Nana's traditional, passion fruit drink, I've shaken up a version with a hint of the tropical concentrate. Finally, I turned the beloved Piña Colada into a mimosa colada. Check out the recipes below for these fun recipes. You can't go wrong with a little bubbly, after all. ¡Salud!

    Try this with my chorizo hash browns for a complete breakfast

    MOJITO MIMOSA
    Mojito MimosaMojito MimosaIngredients
    1 lime, quartered
    1 tbsp. sugar
    5 mint leaves
    5 oz. champagne
    (Serves 1)

    Directions

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  • The Secret to Making Perfect White Rice

    By Liliana Moyano for Shine Latina

    Arroz blancoArroz blanco

    Growing up, abuelita was known for making the best arroz blanco. Her white rice was delicious by itself; it didn't need any beans or protein to go with it. You could tell the rice was ready by the aroma traveling from the kitchen to every room of the house. My father and I would sneak into the kitchen for a bowl before lunchtime, but my grandma quickly caught on and started hiding her coveted grains.

    Her secret to the perfect rice was very simple- she's add a couple of drops of lime juice before cooking. The lime coaxed the grain to open perfectly and absorb the flavor of garlic, onion and condiments. Another great tip? Adding seasoned water beforehand. This step adds flavor to every grain. Enjoy!

    Garlic, olive oil and an onion to cook the riceGarlic, olive oil and an onion to cook the rice

    Ingredients
    7 tbsp. olive oil
    4 garlic cloves, whole
    ½ white onion, chopped
    2 cups white rice
    2 ¼ cups water
    3 drops of lime juice
    1 tsp. salt
    1 tsp all purpose seasoning

    Try this dish with my quick and easy tuna ceviche

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  • Crispy guava-glazed chicken wings minus the calories

    By Liliana Moyano for Shine Latina

    Guava-glazed chicken wingsBest kept chicken secret: When you bake and glaze chicken wings, they turn out just as delicious as the fried ones but with a fraction of the calories. They cook in their natural oils, getting the benefits of a crunchy skin minus the grease factor. Even better- they're super easy to make! It's a perfect dish for parties, as you'll have no mess to clean up. Let your oven do all the work.

    I made this delicious dish glazed with guava and tamarind sauce for my family last weekend. The topping is as simple as boiling guava and tamarind juice in a small pot for 20 minutes. The cooking process turns the juices into a nice, thick sauce. Once done, top the wings with sesame seeds for added crunch and a lovely presentation.

    Enjoy!

    Glaze ingredientsIngredients
    1 ½ cups guava nectar
    ½ cup tamarind nectar
    10 chicken wings, skin on and cleaned
    All purpose seasoning
    Salt to taste
    1 tbsp. sesame seeds

    Directions
    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

    Mix the guava and tamarind

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  • The Ultimate Crunchy, Salty Party Appetizer

    By Liliana Moyano for Shine Latina

    Chicharrón served with green chile salsa to dip.Chicharrón served with green chile salsa to dip.My papito was a professional eater and a cooking aficionado, and I take after his genes. When we lived in Colombia, we enjoyed great, cooking parties regularly, but my favorite feasts had little to do with the actual meals. It would start when my mom asked my Dad to get more ice or beer. My father, then, would immediately call my name and ask me to come along; I knew exactly why. On the way to the store, we'd stop at the fritangueria (a place to get fried treats like pork, meat and sausages) and order chicharrón with sausage and green chile salsa. It was all about the fun of having to eat our goodies quickly and get back before my mom got suspicious.

    To this day, I am the biggest chicharrón fan, to the point that I learned how to make them and created the best, homemade chile verde dipping sauce to go along with them. It's a super simple recipe with few ingredients, and it makes for the perfect snack or party appetizer.

    Enjoy!

    Sizzling pork belly.Sizzling pork belly.

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  • Serve Up Valentine’s Day with This Healthy Dessert for Two

    By Liliana Moyano for Shine Latina

    Fruit ParfaitAnywhere you look in Colombia, you find someone selling mango, papaya, pineapple or a full fruit salad with table cream and queso. I am a fruit lover, so I generally stop at every corner tasting the different concoctions. In addition to the naturally sweet parfaits, I enjoy the experience of meeting the amazing people who sell these eats on the street, many of whom remember me from my annual visits to their stands.

    With Valentine's Day coming up, I wanted to take this creamy, street delicacy, and turn it into a sensual Valentine's morning dish to enjoy in bed with your honey. I chopped pineapple and strawberries into very fine pieces and served them in a champagne glass for some added glamour. It's a creamy, playful dessert topped with rich condensed milk and crunchy almonds. Perfect for sharing in bed while wearing that lingerie you have picked out!

    strawberries and pineappleIngredients
    (2 servings)
    3 tbsp. table cream (can be substituted for heavy cream or vanilla

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  • Comforting Colombian Cornbread

    By Liliana Moyano for Shine Latina

    Torta de maizTeatime has always been a must in many Latin families. We usually gather around the table in the afternoon to enjoy a cup of coffee with a snack in a ritual called onces. I always thought our version of teatime was meant for adults only, but in my family, while my parents worked, my sisters and I stayed home doing our homework under the care of our nana. At around 4:30, nana would ask us to take a break and come to the living room for onces. At the time, my four sisters and I (ranging in ages five to eleven) pretended to be adults sitting around the coffee table, talking like grownups while enjoying some of nana's torta de mazorca (or corn cake) with a glass of milk

    Every time I travel to Colombia, I call nana and ask her to make me onces. She already knows that what I'm really asking for is her delicious torta de mazorca. I finally wrote down her recipe to duplicate on my own. Here it is!

    Enjoy!

    Corn kernelsIngredients
    (6 servings)
    2 cups corn kernels
    ½ cup

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