Food

Ingredients Needed:

 This is a “Single Ladies” Serving Size (2 serving size)

Shrimp:

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Adobo to taste
  • A handful of medium-size shrimp, no shell and no tails (raw or pre-cooked is fine) (also clean shrimp in water and lemon juice)

Guacamole:

  • 1 large ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 1/4 a medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 mini peppers (any color) deseeded and chopped 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • (Optional) Jalapeño deseeded and chopped 

1 Green Plantain:

**Depending on the plantain size and how to cut the green plantain, one plantain can yield 6-8 pieces. After cutting the plantain into 1 inch pieces I soak them in salt water and rub off the starch film. Then remove water and pat dry with a paper towel. ** 

Directions

Step 1: Make Guacamole

Gently combine all the prepared ingredients for the guacamole. Set aside in the refrigerator. 

 Step 2: Cook Shrimp

Cook on medium to low heat for 2 minutes on each side. Shrimp will look like a “C” when cooked and an “O” when overcooked.  

Step 3: Dice shrimp and add to guacamole

Step 4: Cook Tostones

Fill a large, heavy-bottomed pot with 2 inches oil, and heat over high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 350 degrees. Working in batches, fry plantains until golden, about 4 minutes, flatten plantains with a Tostonera (Don’t have a Tostonera to flatten the tostones? Just use a saucer, a spatula, or the flat bottom surface of a glass cup) until very thin. Return oil to 350 degrees. Refry plantains until golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer tostones to a paper-towel-lined plate, and season a dash of salt.

Step 4: Divide and add shrimp guacamole on top of tostones

These are best eaten fresh. I believe cold or stale tostones are disgusting. So if you are making these as an appetizer, make don’t cook these too in advance. 

Besitos,

Melizza

I’ve always said I have a 1950’s Housewives trapped inside of me. Today, I’m suppressing her and sharing my quick orange cranberry pancake recipe. Many of the meals I’ve cooked I know how to make from scratch but the New Yorker in me prefers quick and delicious meal so I usually use short cuts. Work smarter not harder. 

One of my favorite weekend breakfasts is pancakes and when I’m short on time I use pancake mix. *GASP* I know I know. There’s nothing wrong with using the pancake mix. With a few extra ingredients to add much-needed flavor, your family or guests won’t even know you didn’t make it from scratch. If your inner Housewife is having a B.F., don’t worry. I’ve included my homemade orange cranberry maple syrup and pancake recipe below (30 minutes to complete and yields 4 servings). 

Orange Cranberry Pancakes

WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO MAKE MY QUICK ORANGE CRANBERRY PANCAKES:

 

**This is a “Single Ladies Serving”. Yields about 5 Pancakes. Double the measurements for more**

Buttermilk Complete Pancake Mix (1 cup) I use the Complete mix because you don’t have to use eggs. You can just add water. But I substitute the water for mix of whole milk and vanilla soy milk (as in the video).

Rolled Oats (1/2 Cup): Added for texture and to make pancakes more filing

Ground Cinnamon (1 Teaspoon): Added for flavor 

Dried Cranberries (1/4 Cup):  Cuts the time for chopping fresh or frozen cranberries

Vanilla Soy Milk (2 TBSP): I’ve found I like the texture of my pancakes and flavor when adding vanilla soy milk instead of water

Almond Extract (1/2 TSP): Added because we want FLAVORFUL pancakes to mask we’re using pancake mix. Also, I found that I use less syrup when the pancakes are already tasty!

Orange Juice ( 2 TBSP): Allows us to skip the orange zest if you don’t have fresh oranges available. 

Whole Milk (1 cup):  Used to substitute the water for the pancake mix

Melted Butter (2 TBSP):  Makes pancakes taste better. Other oils break down in high heat so butter is a “safe fat”. 

Directions:

  1. Combine the dry ingredients and dried cranberries  in a bowl
  2. Combine the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring just until everything is combined. Then let the batter rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Pour batter (about 1/3 of a cup) onto a greased hot pan or griddle. Cook for about 2 minutes before flipping them over, or until small bubbles form on top. Cook on the second side until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Repeat with all pancake batter. 
  4. Garnish with more cranberries.
  5. Serve with maple or agave syrup.

Homemade Cranberry Orange Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup cranberries, (fresh or frozen), roughly chopped in a food processor or blender
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup full-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoon orange zest, finely grated

Directions:

  1. Add the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl; whisk well to combine. Add in the cranberries and, mix until they’re covered in the dry ingredients. Set aside until needed.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl, add the eggs and lightly beat them. Add in the milk, ricotta cheese, and vanilla and beat until well combined.
  3. Combine the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring just until everything is combined. Then fold in the orange juice and zest, stirring until evenly combined. Be careful not to over mix the batter. Be gentle 😉
  4. Pour batter (about 1/3 of a cup) onto a greased hot pan or griddle. Cook for about 2 minutes before flipping them over, or until small bubbles form on top. Cook on the second side until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Repeat with all pancake batter. 
  5. Serve

Homemade Cranberry Maple Syrup:

  • 2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen ( If you’re using frozen, thawing is not necessary)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup

For the Cranberry Maple Syrup:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the cranberries, orange juice and sugar to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes, or until they cranberries are soft and can easily be smashed. Remove from heat and stir in the maple syrup. Spoon the mixture on top of the pancakes and serve at once.

Either recipes create delicious and filing pancakes. One is just faster and uses less ingredients than the other. You can let your inner 1950’s Housewife out or suppress her. It’s up to you! Enjoy!

Besitos,

Melizza 

Quick Juneteenth History Lesson

If you’re not familiar with Juneteenth, let me give you a quick history lesson. Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation into law on January 1, 1863. Lincoln said he intended to save the union rather than to abolish slavery in an open letter to New York Tribute editor Horace Greeley. Despite Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation into law, states like Texas didn’t inform slaves they were free until two years after the Proclamation! On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger finally read orders in Galveston, Texas, that all formerly enslaved people in Texas were pronounced free.

In 1866, the year after Granger’s order, African Americans celebrated their first Juneteenth anniversary. And in 1872, a group of former slaves put together $800 to purchase 10 acres of land in Houston, Texas, for the city’s annual Juneteenth celebrations. They named the space Emancipation Park and to this day Juneteenth celebrations are still held here. As of today only 45 states and D.C, recognize the day as a state holiday.

Juneteenth Strawberry Soda

So Traditionally, red drinks and red foods are a must at Juneteeth celebrations and barbecues, because red symbolizes resilience. Although I grew up in the Caribbean, I have family members in the South that celebrated Juneteenth and shared its history and Southern recipes with me. One of my favorite drinks is Juneteenth Strawberry Soda. I have substituted a few of their ingredients to better suit my taste. 

WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO MAKE MY JUNETEENTH STRAWBERRY SODA:

Fresh Strawberries (1lb)  I use sliced strawberries as a garnish for the drink. But my relatives use slice strawberries to make a quick and simple strawberry syrup. I’ll leave the recipe below.

 Simply Lemonade with Strawberry Juice (4 cups): My relatives used a strawberry lemonade mix to create this drink, but I prefer Simply Lemonade instead.

Lemon-lime Soda (1 cup) : I add Sprite for a little bit of bubbly. If you choose to use the strawberry lemonade mix, you can use water, strawberry soda, lemon-lime soda, or if you want to cut down on calories, use tonic water, seltzer, sparkling. Whatever floats your boat!

 Sprigs of Fresh Mint: There’s nothing like adding fresh mint! For one, it makes me feel fancy. It also brings a pop of color and also adds the refreshing kiss that mint brings to any drink.

 Liqueur (1.5 cups): It also You can use your favorite strawberry liqueur or vodka. I’m more of a rum gal so I use my favorite Cruzan Estate White Light Rum or Cruzan Strawberry Rum if I have it in stock. 

 

Juneteenth Strawberry Soda Ingredients

**Omit the rum if you want to make this family-friendly**

Juneteenth Strawberry Soda Directions

Traditional Juneteenth Recipe

JUNETEENTH STRAWBERRY SODA

Ingredients:

  • 1-liter lemon-lime or strawberry soda
  • 1 1/2 cups strawberry lemonade mix 
  • 1 cup homemade strawberry syrup
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, washed and sliced in half
  • fresh sprigs of mint

Directions:

  1. Make the strawberry lemonade by combining the strawberry lemonade mix with the strawberry soda or lemon-lime soda instead of water.
  2. Stir in the homemade strawberry syrup (see recipe below), fresh strawberries, and fresh sprigs of mint. 
  3. Taste and adjust sweetness to your liking.
  4. Pour and Serve over ice.

HOMEMADE STRAWBERRY SYRUP RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries cleaned and chopped into quarters
  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice 

Directions:

  1. Place a saucepan over medium heat and add water, sugar, chopped strawberries, and lemon juice.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil then mash the strawberries with a fork to release the juices.
  3. Allow the mixture to boil for an extra minute and remove from heat. 
  4. Cover your saucepan and let steep for 10 minutes. 
  5.  Strain the syrup into a Mason jar using a fine-mesh sieve.
  6. Store in the fridge for up to three days.  

Now my method definitely takes MAJOR shortcuts in comparison to the traditional recipe!! But, it is delicious and I believe in saving time to enjoy the company of my guests.

 Happy Juneteenth & #BLM,

Melizza 

Who doesn't enjoy a well seasoned salmon burger?!

Recently, I have seen many complaints that salmon burgers made from canned salmon were “lackluster and mushy.” I’ve made seasoned salmon burgers with both canned salmon and fresh salmon. Canned food can’t really be compared to fresh food…that’s unfair. Fresh food will always taste better. But, you can avoid making “lackluster and mushy” canned salmon burgers by following a few simple tips. 

Here’s what you’ll need!

Ingredients:

1 can of canned salmon

1 tsp of Old Bay

1 tsp of Adobo

1 tsp of black pepper

1 packet of Sazon

1/4 cup of chopped onions

1/4  cup of corn

1/3 cup of black beans

2 mini sweet peppers

2 tbsp of bread crumbs

Salt to taste

First and foremost, season your canned salmon well. I add a blend of Sazon (1 packet), Adobo (1 tsp), Black Pepper (1/2 tsp), and Old Bay (1 tsp) so each bite is full of flavor. Secondly, add fresh vegetables to change the texture and bread crumbs to make it more filling. Add sweet peppers, onions, corn, and black beans (bake to avoid mushiness) for much-needed pizzaz. Last but not least, cook your patties in olive oil. 

Follow these steps:
  1. Prepare the canned salmon in a bowl with seasonings
  2. Sauté veggies in a pan with salt and pepper to taste
  3. Add the sautéed veggies and the rest of the ingredients
  4. Mix the ingredients together and bind with 1 egg
  5. Form into patties
  6. Let patties set in the fridge for 10- 15 minutes
  7. Cook patties in olive oil 2-3 minutes on each side
  8. Serve on a salad or a bun

I serve my burgers over a simple balsamic vinegar salad with red onions and cherry tomatoes. You can serve them this way or follow the traditional way on a bun. When choosing the latter, I recommend a brioche bun, arugula, and spicy mayo (yes, I’m fancy like that). If you would like to use fresh salmon, follow one of my favorite recipes from Food Network’s Aaron McCargo Jr. Jammin’ Salmon Burger.

I would love to hear how your personal salmon burger recipes! Share your thoughts in the comments below or head over to my IG: @wwmelizzaw. 

 

Besitos,

Melizza

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