It's getting to be that time of year again... the time of year when my friends start asking "Hey, Jen: Are you cooking?" Aaaah, it's like music to my ears, but also something I have learned to do on my own terms so that I don't turn something I am so passionate about into something that feels like work.
When I moved to the east coast nine years ago I realized in short order that one of the things I missed most about home (SoCal) was access to good Mexican food. There wasn't a taco shop in sight! Where was the tortilla section of the store!?! Back home the tortilla section is as big as the bread section! Where was the Herdez salsa? No Las Palmas enchilada sauce...I was starting to panic, when I heard a voice in my head- the humorously annoying voice of one of my old friends saying "Winners find a way Jen.". With that, I set about looking for the little family owned markets I knew had to be around here somewhere that might hold the keys to my Mexican foodie dreams. I found a few - one had always-ripe Haas avocados for half the price of the grocery store, one had oodles of all of the best brands of tortillas- the big ones for making burritos and three dozen packs of corn tortillas for tacos, taquitos and enchiladas! Once when my friend Marco missed his shipment of tortillas, his sister-in-law MADE me three dozen tortillas! Heaven.
I immediately set to work, determined to show my friends what Mexican food looks, tastes and feels like where I come from. I helped cater my new neighborhood's first Cinco de Mayo party. There were tacos, two kinds of enchiladas, carnitas, homemade rice and refried beans and, of course, fresh salsa and guacamole (now referred to as "Green Gold").
When I arrived with all the food my new friend said "I don't know what I was expecting, but this is phenomenal!" A huge compliment from a no BS girl from Queens.
A while later, I found myself making Mexican food for friends more frequently and West Coast Burrito Co. was born. I bought a special freezer and started filling it with love- er I mean trays of enchiladas and neatly arranged packages of burritos and taquitos.
These days it seems my little West Coast Burrito Co. has found its season, and that season is mostly during the Fall and Winter months. I make three different types of burritos, and chicken taquitos, which I sell in packages of thirty.
Recently someone on twitter (@tholmes14) asked me if I had any taco ideas, so I thought this would be the perfect recipe to share as you can use this traditionally prepared shredded chicken for lots of different Mexican dishes.
Hope you'll try and let me know what you think!
1 package boneless, skinless chicken breast (I like to rinse mine!)
1 clove fresh garlic (peeled & left whole)
1 small yellow onion (quartered)
1 bay leaf
4 tsp. Knorr Caldo de Pollo (Chicken flavor Bouillon)
Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
Retrieve your best deep pot with lid...like your Gram would have used (the one pictured here was my Gram's).
Lay chicken on bottom of pan and sprinkle with salt, a few cracks of pepper and bouillon powder.
Cover with COLD water to approx. an inch over chicken.
Add garlic clove, onion, and bay leaf.
Cover and cook over medium high heat until boiling. Then lower heat to simmer gently for 40 minutes.
After 40 minutes, remove from heat and let sit (lid on) for another 30 minutes - trust me :).
Meanwhile, ready your cutting board, two forks and a big bowl.
Remove chicken, one breast at a time to cutting board and shred with forks (go ahead, taste it!). It should be moist and tender. Doing this one at a time allows you to also pick out any little gristly things that you don't want to eat. I just push those aside.
After you've shredded the chicken, put it in the bowl and pour a little (1/4 cup?) of the broth into the bowl. This will keep your chicken moist and delicious.
This chicken can be used for tacos, taquitos, enchiladas and more.
I hope you'll try it and let me know what you think!
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
I have known Lisa Charleston (aka @CaringMom), Inventor of Night Helper Watches virtually for approximately one year. I have witnessed, and felt personally, her loyal support and words of kindness. This is my way of trying to help draw attention to her wonderful product and maybe, just maybe even attract an Angel Investor...
Lisa, along with her husband Carl, created and designed three specific styles of Night Helper. Two of the watches are designed for young children for the specific purpose of eliminating the fear and shame associated with bed-wetting. A third style is designed for adults dealing with incontinence, and also to aid in scheduling for tasks such as medication delivery or other timed medical procedures. Night Helper Watches will ultimately provide the wearer with confidence and a renewed sense of independence.
Having worked many years in the hospice and home care settings, Lisa grew to love her patients and cared for them as if they were family. Sadly, an injury took her away from the medical field.
While Lisa and her family have continued their journey to bring Night Helper Watches to the manufacturing stage, fees for production models have been quoted at $10,000. They have been the Night Helper Watches first monetary investors, and are now looking for an Angel Investor or other source of capital.
If you or someone you know may be able to help, please contact Lisa directly through her website http://nighthelperwatches.com
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Want fresh salsa fast? When there's no time for scoring, blanching, peeling and dicing ROTEL is my "go-to" staple. The beauty of combining these cans of muy deliciosoness with a few other fresh ingredients is that your salsa is perfectly seasoned when it's done.
You can literally throw this together, then sit back and smile a secret smile as your family, friends...even salsa aficionados are impressed! I can personally guarantee at least one "Did you make this?" - especially if you live on the East Coast :).
The recipe below will make a large batch of salsa you can share.
Ready, set, GO!
2 cans ROTEL Original
2 cans ROTEL Mexican Lime & Cilantro
1 large (deep green) Jalepeno
1 bunch scallions (6-8)
1 bunch cilantro
1 clove garlic (optional)
Thoroughly wash and rough chop (nothing fancy!) jalepeno, scallions, cilantro & garlic. In blender or large mixing bowl (you will need hand blender) combine all ingredients and puree! ROTEL's tomatoes are perfectly seasoned already, so no need to add extra salt!
Yes, that's it - Done. Fin. (No, I am not bi-lingual, I totally looked that one up.)
Now bust out your favorite tortilla chips and enjoy!
Let me know what you think!
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Gonna keep this short and sweet! Hope you'll all be listening in tonight at 8:00 p.m. EDT as the dynamic Angle Bush and I interview the Queen of the Grill & Shark Tamer Extraordinaire, Ms. Leslie Haywood - Owner, Founder Charmed Life Products http://www.grillcharms.com along with "The Henry Ford of Invention", Mr. George Davison, Owner, Founder Inventionland http://www.inventionland.com.
Have a question you'd like me to ask? Feel free to leave it below and I will be sure to ask! Can't listen live? Don't worry, you can listen later! The show will be recorded and saved.
I must also say a big Thank You! to Ms. Angle Bush & Ms. Tracy "Pitchwoman" Sanders for sharing this FUNtasticalicious opportunity with me!