Blog Posts by Lili's Latin Kitchen

  • Roasted Pumpkin Mash for Less Than $5

    By Liliana Moyano for Shine Latina

    Roasted pumpkin pureeRoasted pumpkin puree

    At a previous job, my co-workers and I would try to sample different cuisines each day of the week. Sushi on Monday, Cuban on Wednesday. On Fridays we were known to end up at Baires, a local Argentinean restaurant that offered a happy hour menu all day. One of my best wine discoveries at Baires was an inexpensive Malbec called Finca La Linda that's smooth with great body, and it goes perfectly with any kind of steak. I still go to Baires often, but the wine is not what really brings me back. It's the Chef's to-die-for roasted pumpkin mash! It is soft and sweet, and it's the perfect side for their churrasco. Every order is made from scratch and goes straight from the oven to the table. The texture of the mashed pumpkin brings out the flavors in the meat without overpowering the churrasco. Pumpkin with butter ready to roast

    Since pumpkin is in season, I made this mashed veggie recipe for my family, and- to my surprise- I didn't spend more than $5 on the ingredients! More money

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  • Sweet and Tangy Passionfruit Mousse

    By Liliana Moyano for Shine Latina

    Mouse de maracuyáMouse de maracuyá

    My nana (or nanny), Delfina, who has been a part of my family for over 30 years, took care of me and my sisters from the day we were born. Needless to say, she is a second mother to me. My father used to give her instructions on what to cook during the week, mainly because he was always trying a different diet. When he was too busy, though, and didn't pick our menu, my nana cooked whatever she felt like making. That usually meant an irresistible dessert. Sometimes she made torta de plátano, apple or carrot pie, and even sweet empanadas. My all-time favorite, though, is a mousse de maracuyá, (or passion fruit mousse); it's smooth and sweet, but not too sugary. The perfect end to any meal as far as I'm concerned!

    Unfortunately, she lives in Colombia and can't be here to make if for me in person. Luckily, she can (and did) give me precise instructions on how to make it myself. Simpler than I thought, it's similar to making a smoothie with

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  • Best Dressed Latinos of 2012

    Latin celebs proved to be a force to be reckoned with by showing the world how to wear high fashion in grand style. No wonder they were selected over and again to grace virtually every best dressed list this year.

  • Hallacas: Authentic Venezuelan Christmas

    By Liliana Moyano for Shine Latina

    Hallaca, the final product!Hallaca, the final product!

    My Latin friends are all holiday fanatics, and every one of our festivities comes with a great deal of pre-production. The first gathering of the year was Mari's Thanksgiving leftover party where everyone had to wear ugly Christmas sweaters, and decorate the tree. Next up is Tati's Venezuelan Christmas kick off party. Here, once again, we decorate the Christmas tree, and everyone cooks a traditional dish from Venezuela. Most importantly, this is the party where Boris gets to make hallacas. He claims to make the best ones in town.

    Guiso ready to cool down Guiso ready to cool down

    Hallacas are a kind of tamale (don't tell Venezuelans that!) made with corn-based dough, pork, chicken and meat- all wrapped in a plantain leaf and cooked slowly. This year I decided to document the preparation process from start to finish, only to realize how much work and patience making hallacas requires. On the other hand, I enjoyed taking that first bite with great appreciation.

    We started by meeting one day

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  • New Year's Morning Breakfast with a Latin Touch

    By Liliana Moyano for Shine Latina

     Scrambled eggs ready to eat! Scrambled eggs ready to eat!Breakfast really is one of the most important meals of the day; it raises your awareness, gets your metabolism going and gives you the energy to get started on your daily activities. Growing up, my all time favorite breakfast was my mom's huevos con mazorca (scrambled eggs with corn). It was the simplest recipe, and yet my mom never had to wake my sisters and I to get us to eat. As soon as we smelled the corn, we rushed to the kitchen to set up the table.

    Pan fry the bacon in its own oil.Pan fry the bacon in its own oil. Eventually, I learned how to make the dish and started experimenting by adding other ingredients in addition to the corn. Here's my take on my mom's classic dish, perfectly hearty and warm for the morning after New Year's with no stress after a night of cooking.

    Easy-to-make natilla

    Ingredients

    (1 serving)
    3 oz. smoked bacon, chopped
    1Ž4 cup corn, defrosted
    2 eggs
    2 tbsp. whole milk
    1 bread slice


    Beat the eggs with milkBeat the eggs with milkDirections

    Pan fry the bacon at medium heat until the fat is

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  • Bring a Latin Twist to the Holiday Table with a Bowl of Buñuelos

    By Liliana Moyano for Shine Latina

    Buñuelos ready to enjoy!Buñuelos ready to enjoy!

    Christmas in Latin America comes with an array of cultural festivities that can vary from country to country. In many families, the Novena de Aguinaldos (nine days of prayer preceding Christmas) has been a tradition for decades. During the Novena, we listen to parts of the Nativity story with songs and prayers alternating throughout the reading. Family members take turns hosting the Novena in their homes, and serve traditional holiday dishes after the reading.

    In my family, we gather around the Nativity scene, and each one of my sisters takes turns reading a prayer; this has been our ritual since we kids learned to read. When Grandma was with us, we had to make an enormous effort to keep calm and read each sentence correctly, because the moment one of us mispronounced a word, the rest of the sisters would burst out laughing during what should be a solemn moment. Once we'd calm down, we'd find Abuela staring right into our eyes.

    mixing the corn starch with the cheese mixing the corn starch with the cheese Christmas

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  • Easy-to-Make Natilla to Kick Off the Holidays

    By Liliana Moyano for Shine Latina

    Holiday NatillaHoliday Natilla

    In Colombia, we celebrate the holidays with a variety of festivities that officially begin on December 8th, or Día de las velitas (Day of the candles). Family and friends gather around to light candles as a sign of peace and harmony, but of course the celebration doesn't stop there. There will be celebrations, music and food. Lots of food. And more specifically- desserts.

    My family's choice dessert is natilla, a thick custard similar to flan or crème brûlée. I always thought it was a complicated dish to make, so I limited myself to eating instead of cooking it. A few weeks ago I found a natilla quick mix at the Latin supermarket, and gave it a try. It tasted just like the one we have back home, topped with a semi-sweet blackberry sauce just like abuela made. Now, I am ready for the holidays with a simple recipe that will bring great memories to the entire family.

    Try this recipe with my leftover turkey croquettes

    Holiday NatillaHoliday Natilla

    Ingredients
    (4

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  • The Ultimate Eggnog Recipe

    By Liliana Moyano for Shine Latina

    Colombian Eggnog Colombian Eggnog

    Mi nana was great in the kitchen and had some very unique recipes that the family requests on special occasions to this day. She was famous for her empanadas, bean soup and caspiroleta. Caspiroleta is a dairy based drink she made before bedtime; it was the perfect, warm treat before going to sleep.

    As we grew older, her version of caspiroleta became a holiday tradition when she decided to make it more festive by adding rum. The texture and flavor is similar to eggnog but not as sweet, spiced with cinnamon, brown sugar and a dash of flour to help thicken the mixture. Gearing up for the holidays, I got the recipe from my nana to recreate it this season. Enjoy it while chatting up your loved ones. ¡Salud!

    Nana's CaspiroletaNana's Caspiroleta

    Try this recipe with my plantain soup

    Ingredients

    (2 servings)
    2 cups milk
    2 tsp. brown sugar
    1 egg
    2 oz. dark rum

    Directions

    Nana's caspiroletaNana's caspiroleta

    Warm up the milk in a pot set at low heat. Gradually whisk in sugar to the milk.

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  • The Best South American Plantain "Lasagna"

    By Liliana Moyano for Shine Latina

    Pastelón or Torta de Plátano Pastelón or Torta de Plátano

    My Venezuelan friends are constantly bragging about their traditional food and how it's better than that of my hometown.Venezuela and Colombia share a number of similar dishes but with different names. For instance, they call passion fruit juice jugo de parchita, and we call it jugo de maracuyá. A beef stew with the same ingredients is called asado negro in Venezuela, and in Colombia we call it carne en posta. But the ultimate name change is what happened to a recipe featuring baked plantain and ground beef: we call it torta de plátano, and they call it pastelón.

    Pastelón or Torta de Plátano Pastelón or Torta de Plátano

    While Venezuelans claim their plantain dish is better, I had to prove them wrong by making a Colombian version. Hey, nothing like a little sibling rivalry, right? Whether you decide to go the Venezuelan or Colombian route, it's a must try dish, especially during the holidays.

    Espero que les guste...

    Ingredients
    (4 servings)
    8 tbsp. canola oil
    ½ onion, chopped
    ½ lb.

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  • Make-ahead Paella to Please a Crowd

    By Liliana Moyano for Shine Latina

    Paella for all the primos Paella for all the primos

    In Latin America, it is very common to have an extended family composed of close friends we like to call primos or cousins. In addition to biological cousins, primos are people we grew up with- neighbors, school mates, lifelong family friends. Growing up in Colombia, having four sisters in the family meant four times the number of cousins and friends to attend parties and family gathering. You can imagine my mom's difficulty when it came time to cook for everyone!

    One year for one of my sister's birthdays, mom decided to make two big pans of paella the night before. Then, the day of the party, all she had to do was heat the paella in the oven, and serve it with crusty French bread. All the primos loved the dish and helped themselves to multiple seconds. My mom was ecstatic to have found a formula that helped her feed the entire family, and at the same time allow her to enjoy the party out of the kitchen.

    Paella for all the primos Paella for all the primos This is a perfect recipe for Read More »from Make-ahead Paella to Please a Crowd

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