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cuarentena 2020 – La Gourmandista

Cooking in progress...

Etiqueta: cuarentena 2020

Cantonese Style Chicken Lo Mein in Oyster Sauce

Since I arrived to live in the United States, I’ve been extremely lucky, since I’ve met people from half the planet. Today, among my friends, I find new destinations for trips in the future, since the more I learn about their countries, the more I want to win the lottery and just travel the World. But, since to date that hasn’t happened yet -I should probably start getting a lottery ticket, right?- it’s also true that we have made a pause to the speedy way of traveling thousands of miles to go from one Pole to the other. Hence, at least for now, I am traveling each time I sit at the table. Or at least that’s what I try.

About 18 months ago, one of these friends I was telling you about at the beginning of my text started to send emails and texts to encourage several of us to organize a cooking club. With a little bit of effort and commitment we got together about 10 different nationalities. It would be an awesome chance to discover new dishes and refresh our home menus, we thought. We all like to cook nice things. The decision had been made. We would get together once a month. The third Friday of each month we would block it for nothing else and we would get together to cook lunch. Tasting the delicacies prepared would be the cherry on top. We all chose our favorite dishes and we made requests as well. We wanted to learn specific stuff from other cuisines.

Cindy is Peruvian, but her family is Chinese. Also, know that her mother and her grandmother are known to be excellent cooks. When she hosted the group, she shared this dish, and while she was preparing it she insisted that the versatility of it was that even though there is a list of vegetables to include, one can add whatever is at hand. Now, I think that this is one of the reasons why everyone in the group has incorporated it into the family meals without hesitation. I think it has received the accolades as the big blockbuster of the season. I hope you enjoy it as much as we all do.

Now, because we are looking for this versatility and we don’t want to make trips to the grocery store for one or another ingredient, I am including my personal notes on what I did to make do and succeed at home at dinnertime.

Cantonese Style Chicken Lo Mein in Oyster Sauce

A dish that can be extremely varied depending on the protein and vegetables you choose to add. These noodles have become quite popular at home.

  • Chopping board
  • Chef's Knife
  • Pairing knife
  • Wok
  • Big pot
  • Colander
  • Kitchen Tongs
  • Small bowl
  • Spoon
  • 50 g Lo Mein noodles
  • 450 g chicken tenderloins cut in fajita style (I used ground turkey because it was what I had at hand and it worked really well )
  • 50 g shiitake mushrooms (finely sliced (we had none at home, so I used cremini))
  • 1 red bell pepper (in julienne)
  • 150 g snow peas
  • 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
  • Fresh ginger (finely chopped)
  • Baby corn (optional)
  • Broccoli (optional)
  • 2-3 scallions (in julienne (to decorate, but I made bigger cuts this time))
  • Cilantro leaves (to decorate at the end)
  • 1 tsp cornstarch (I used tapioca starch and it works equally well )
  • 120 ml chicken stock
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce (I use the low-sodium version)
  • 3 tbsp oyster sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Salt & white pepper
  1. Before anything else, prepare all the vegetables. Cut them up and set them aside.
  2. In a pot, have some water come up to a boil. Whenever you have a rolling boil, blanche the lo mein noodles, strain them and drizzle a little sesame oil. Just enough for them to not stick one another. Set them aside.
  3. In a bowl, season the chicken with salt and pepper, and add a little of the corn or tapioca starch.
  4. In a Wok or a medium-depth pot, drizzle a little sesame oil and start to fry the chicken. When ready, set it aside and start frying the vegetable, add the garlic and ginger.
  5. Lastly, add the chicken back, mix in the sauces, and the rest of the starch diluted into a little fresh water.
  6. Separately, lightly fry the noodles and serve on a platter. Incorporate the chicken with the vegetables on top and decorate with the scallions and cilantro leaves.
Main Course
Chinese food, Cooking Club, Lo Mein, lockdown2020, stay home

Recipe : Fresh salmon carpaccio

Having fish for breakfast was something I never thought I would do. As a child, it was not only weird, but I was repulsed by it, and since no one in my family had it, let’s just say it was easier to ignore when offered. Then, one day I went to one of those pompous ‘brunches’ for some festivity. I guess I must have grown up; I had become an adult. I can’t explain what happened. The smoked salmon tray suddenly seemed appealing to me at 10:30 AM. The way it was offered in this restaurant was quite traditional, nothing very creative, however, the idea started to make sense in my head. As the years passed by and I started acquiring my own manias, I began experimenting with it at home. It suddenly became part of the weekend breakfast menus, an appetizer at lunch time, and even an option for a light dinner during the summer. It’s something simple and delicious. I hope you enjoy it!

Salmon Carpaccio

Simple and super nutritious. It is prepared in a jiffy and it can be served practically at any time of day.

  • Chopping board
  • Chef's Knife
  • Lemon Juicer
  • 200 g smoked salmon (preferable wild)
  • ½ onion (finely diced)
  • ½ bunch chives (finely chopped)
  • 3 sprigs fresh dill (finely chopped)
  • 1 dash Olive or avocado oil
  • 1 Lemon (juice)
  • Salt & Pepper to season
  • 6-8 slices Ryvita or Wasa Crispbread (or toast)
  • 100 g Cream cheese
  • ½ avocado (optional)
  1. In a serving platter, arrange the finely sliced smoked salmon in one layer and top with the finely diced onion, the finely chopped chives, and a bit of the dill leaves.

  2. Drizzle the lemon juice and a little olive oil, however, should you feel the flavor of the olive oil is too strong, try with grapeseed oil.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and let marinate for 5 minutes.
  4. Once at the table, serve it with or on top of Ryvita, Wasa or toast with smeared cream cheese.
  5. Sometimes I add a little avocado.
Breakfast, Brunch, Dinner, Starter
breakfast, brunch, carpaccio, dinner, homey, lockdown2020, salmón, starter

Discover the Technique for Deliciously Crispy Fried Chicken

Talking about fried chicken in America is probably equally important, I’d like to think as talking about Enchiladas in Mexico or about tarts in France. Each region has their own version. They are all unique recipes, yet identifiable one by one. When I was a little girl, my mom made a her own version. Now, as I look at it, I know it was way simpler than what I have learnt how to prepare, but, I understand this was her Nana’s recipe, so ladies and gentlemen, my mama’s recipe shall remain untouchable. 

Now, at home we just called that recipe “Kentucky Chicken”, since we referred to it making reference to the fast food restaurant which today sells fried chicken in many countries around the World. Obviously, fried chicken wasn’t invented by the Colonel who wears the black bow tie, but he probably did make it popular outside the U.S.A. However, in this land, and as it can be seen in the history annals, fried chicken is a staple preparation of any southern family, especially spiced thanks to the flavors slaves brought into the country with them. So, the recipe I am sharing with you today is, adapted as per what I currently have available in my pantry and that we enjoy. It is one of the many versions loved by everyone, notwithstanding their age and which makes all go ‘yummy in the tummy’.

Fried Chicken

Who doesn't love fried chicken? I think that everyone does at one point or another. I thought with age I would stop loving it, but no, so, from time to time, I allow ourselves to enjoy this classic from the American South.

  • Big Bowl
  • 2 Medium bowls
  • Whisk
  • Plastic wrap
  • Medium pot or Dutch Oven
  • 2 Baking sheets
  • 2 Cooling racks
  • Deep-fry oil thermometer (if you have one, but highly recommended)
  • Tongs or Spider
  • Instant-read thermometer

For the marinade:

  • 1 chicken cut into 10 pieces (2 drumsticks, 2 thighs, 2 wings, and 2 breasts each one halved as well to have 4 white meat pieces)
  • 1 l buttermilk (I used homemade kéfir because it’s what I had available and it worked marvelously)
  • 10-12 thyme sprigs (leaves only)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 7 g paprika
  • 10 g garlic powder
  • 6 g onion powder
  • 5 g Cayenne pepper (optional if you want a little kick in the flavor)
  • Salt and Pepper

For the seasoned flour:

  • 270 g unbleached all-purpose white flour
  • 35 g sea salt
  • 5 g pepper (in this case I used allspice because it’s more aromatic than black pepper, but whatever you have at hand will work well)
  • 7 g paprika
  • 2 g dry oregano
  • 2 g dry sage

For the coating:

  • 250 ml buttermilk (again, I used my homemade kéfir)
  • 1 egg
  • 4 g baking powder
  • 2 g baking soda
  • Frying oil (I always use peanut oil, but you may use any other you prefer. However, choose something neutral such as safflower, sunflower, etc. I would recommend you avoid coconut, avocado, grapeseed, or olive oil, though.)
  1. In a deep enough bowl, mix in all the ingredients for the marinade well. Add the chicken in the end. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. However, it is ideal to let it rest overnight.
  2. Whenever you’re getting ready to deep fry your chicken, take it out of the refrigerator and place the pieces on a baking sheet and rack to drip the excess of the marinade.
  3. Separately, prepare the seasoned flour in a bowl by mixing all the ingredients. Equally, prepare a third bowl with the coating mixture.

  4. In a deep enough pot simulate a deep fryer. I use either a medium pot or Dutch Oven where I can put about three pieces per batch, and fill it half-way with the frying oil. If you have a clip deep-fry oil thermometer, the task will be much easier, since you will be monitoring the temperature of the oil at all times. Heat the oil to 350 °F (180 °C). Honestly, I think this is the most important secret for well-cooked crispy chicken, since you will avoid your oil from burning.

  5. When the oil is about to reach the desired temperature, take the first piece you have dripping and dredging it with the seasoned flour. Then, dredge in the bowl with coating and back into the seasoned flour. Finally, immerse the piece in the pot very carefully. Repeat this stage with each chicken piece being careful your pot or Dutch oven isn’t overcrowded to allow the pieces develop their crispiness. Be conscious and careful about your oil. Avoid it from being above the desired 350 °F (180 °C), so adjust the heat from the stove as needed.
  6. Whenever the chicken pieces reach 165 °F (75 °C) take them out of the pot and let them drip the excess oil on a baking sheet and rack. Whenever your chicken is ready and dripped, serve immediately so that you enjoy it crispy.
  7. Serve with onion rings, coleslaw, and biscuits with honey butter.
  • I generally leave my chicken pieces in the marinade about 12 hours, but be sure to at least leave them in there for 2. The longer, the more flavorful your dish will turn out.
  • When you deep-fry, be sure that the oil has arrived to the desired temperature, this will make a crispy batter and your chicken will not be soggy or fatty. 
  • To verify the temperature of the chicken and be sure the pieces are fully cooked through, use an instant-read thermometer. This is a tool that will definitely make the task much easier.
Main Course
chicken, fried chicken, Kentucky chicken, lockdown2020, stay home

Hibiscus Enchiladas in a Chipotle and Chile de Arbol Salsa

Anyone who knows me or who simply follows this blog either on the web or via social media can see that I am an omnivore and that most of my family is as well. However, I am conscious that global food trends are becoming more and more vegetal every day. Now, enchiladas have always been part of the Mexican diet, right? Well, a couple of years ago when I was visiting family and friends in Mexico City, I found a similar option in a menu at a restaurant where I went to have breakfast, and even though my choice was a different one, they stayed in my mind for a while. Months afterwards, I had made hibiscus agua fresca, but before disposing of them, I decided it was the best moment to try my own version of the dish. Here’s what I did:

Hibiscus Enchiladas in a Chipotle & Arbol Chili Salsa

When I was a child, enchiladas were normally stuffed with chicken. This vegetarian option is delicious and gives a second life to your hibiscus flowers after aromatizing your agua fresca.

  • Chopping board
  • Chef's Knife
  • Baking sheet
  • 2 Medium skillets
  • Blender
  • Turner or Rigid Spatula
  • Several spoons

For the sauce:

  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 árbol chili (hydrated)
  • 1 smoked chipotle chili
  • 60 ml vegetable stock (if necessary)
  • Kosher salt and allspice (to season)

For the stuffing:

  • 50 g hibiscus flowers (dehydrated)
  • ¼ onion (finely diced)
  • 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)

To assemble the enchiladas:

  • Frying oil
  • 12 Corn flowers
  • 100 g Mexican crema
  • 100 g Cotija cheese
  • ¼ onion (finely diced)
  1. The easiest way to make this salsa, I think, is to put the onion, the garlic clove, and tomatoes to roast in the oven at 350 °F (180 °C) with a drizzle of oil. Then, blend with the chipotle and the re-hydrated árbol chiles. Season with kosher salt and allspice and adjust the texture with a bit of vegetable stock. You don’t want your salsa to be excessively runny.
  2. Then, in a skillet with a little bit of oil, sweat the onion and then add the garlic and the hibiscus flowers as well as a couple spoonfuls of salsa to season the flowers.
  3. Warm your tortillas and then slightly fry them for a moment in a skillet with oil.
  4. Form your enchiladas by taking a bit of the flower stuffing and folding the tortilla by half.
  5. Bathe with the salsa and add a bit of the Mexican crema or crème fraîche, fresh finely diced onion and a bit of cotija cheese on top. If you want to omit the crema and the cotija you will have some delicious vegan enchiladas.
  • Hibiscus flowers generally come as the by-product that is left over after preparing a pitcher of agua fresca on the warmer days or tea on the colder ones. 
  • If Mexican crema is not available, substitute with crème fraîche. Avoid using sour cream.
Main Course
enchiladas, lockdown2020, Mexican food, stay home, Vegetarian

How to make a Delicious Italian Frittata

My mother used to say that the only way I wouldn’t eat eggs is raw. Nowadays I am actually not that sure that statement would be true though, since there are sauces and dressings which have raw egg or egg yolk in their ingredient list, and I enjoy them. Soy maybe this would be debatable. Of course, it is no secret that half the planet (just like me), likes having one way or another for breakfast or lunch an egg-based preparation, mainly chicken eggs.

Now, this recipe was prepared mainly while trying to find new things to taste during the quarantine that would allow us to not miss going out to restaurants. It is a good idea, I think, for a weekend breakfast. I have to say, however, that I prepared it in a cast iron pan because I like to start cooking a frittata in my stove top and finish it in the oven.


A recipe that can be easily adapted to the taste of the person having it by changing the veggie selection. This was my first version at home. Now, I do it with whatever I have available in my fridge.

  • Chopping board
  • Chef's Knife
  • Medium bowl
  • Whisk
  • Cast Iron pan or nonstick which can go into the oven
  • Spatula
  • 6 eggs
  • 30 ml whole milk (or heavy whipping cream)
  • 1 leek
  • ½ red onion
  • 250 g cremini mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 150 g mild cheddar
  • Herbs to decorate (parsley, chives, chervil)
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Finely slice the leeks, onion and mushrooms. Finely chop the garlic clove.
  2. In your cast iron pan (or a nonstick pan that may go into the oven), sautée your veggies using a little olive oil. Start with the onion, then add the leek, and finish with the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic to aromatize.
  3. Separately, in a bowl, mix the eggs, heavy cream or milk, and cheddar. You don’t need to whisk a lot, just mix the lot so that it becomes more or less homogeneous and incorporate into the pan.
  4. With the help of a silicone spatula mix everything so that the egg and the veggies are well incorporated. If you want to add additional cheese on top, this would be the time to do so.
  5. Leave your pan on the stovetop until the edges start to dry out. When said edges start to separate themselves slightly from the skillet, take it into the oven for about 9 minutes or as long as it takes for the eggs to become fluffy and look cooked all the way through.
  6. Take out of the oven, let the frittata cool down and decorate with the herbs roughly chopped.

Preheat your oven at 220°C (425°F)

Breakfast, Brunch
breakfast, brunch, lockdown2020, stay home

Salpicón: A Mexican Shredded Beef Salad

Even if the constant at home has always been cooking, since the beginning of the sanitary emergency that has us all with stress levels and somatized pathologies never seen before, I have tried to focus most of my energy in feeding us as varied, deliciously and healthy as possible. The variety is achieved almost on a daily basis, just as the deliciousness. The healthy, not always, but hey, sometimes one has a sweet craving, and the nutritionist cannot win every single battle. 

Then, sharing images of what I have been preparing in my kitchen there have been several requests, so now that we have made all the recipes shared by your mother, your grandmother, the neighbor and why not those of Massimo Bottura and Jamie Oliver, hold on to your horses, because here comes La Gourmandista®.

Most, if not all the recipes I prepare and share have their own little story, and the Beef Salpicon Salad is no exception. It reminds me of summer, when my mom left everything ready to just assemble it whenever we would get home after having been all morning long running and jumping at the summer camp we attended every year. This version, however, was what I prepared with whatever I found in my fridge during the quarantine, since I had to substitute the lime juice, since there were no more limes, then I had some spring onions I added since they were about to die on me. And honestly, who is to have food tossed away these days?

Now, if you don’t find or don’t have any of the ingredients suggested just like it happened to me, no worries at all. Just make whatever adjustment necessary. Also, take into consideration that the amounts are a bit rough, since there is no better judge than your eye when you’re putting together a salad.

Beef Salpicón (Salad)

A mixed salad I had forgotten about and which is very easily prepared at lunch time upon warm weather arrival.

  • Pressure cooker
  • Chopping board
  • Chef's Knife
  • Salad bowl
  • Salad serving utensils
  • Small bowl
  • Fork or small whisk
  • Salad spinner or colander
  • 500 g flank steak
  • 2 leaves bay
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 romaine (finely sliced)
  • ½ onion (finely diced)
  • 3 scallions (sliced)
  • 2 tomatoes (cubed)
  • 1 avocado, cubed (I only had ½, but it was lacking)
  • 5 radishes, sliced (I had bought them, but someone took them from the fridge before I did, so we hadn't any, and I skipped them)
  • Dry oregano
  • Salt and pepper (to season)
  • Olive oil
  • White wine vinegar
  • 1 Lime (juice) (I used Yuzu and worked marvelously)
  • Corn tostadas
  1. Sear the meat and cook it with the garlic, bay leaves, and thyme. It took 25 minutes in the pressure cooker.

  2. Whenever ready, let it cool down and shred it.
  3. In a salad bowl add the lettuce previously washed, rinsed and sliced, the onion, spring onions, tomato, shredded flank steak, radishes, and avocado.

  4. Separately, in a small bowl, prepare your vinaigrette with the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, and oregano. Don’t forget to season with salt and pepper. Try it, and make the necessary adjustments.
  5. Add your vinaigrette to the salad and mix the lot.
  6. Serve with corn tostadas.
lockdown2020, Salad, salpicón, stay home