Easy Mexican Cuisine with Help from La Tortilla Factory

 

Looking to simplify your Mexican meals at home? The woman to turn to is Jenny Tamayo. As a 3rd generation proprietor and marketing specialist, Jenny is promoting her family’s traditions and recipes for La Tortilla Factory, which was started by her grandparents in 1977.

The reason La Tortilla Factory has remained relevant for decades, is first and foremost their loyal dedication to traditional Mexican flavors. They also keep current with contemporary twists such as hatch chili tortillas and by offering products that align with healthy lifestyle choices. La Tortilla Factory tortillas are thicker, stronger and hold up to a variety of applications without breaking. Try these plump tortillas in dishes such as, Hatch Enchladas Suizas. The recipe below was designed by Chef Marco Zapien of Zapien’s Salsa Grill, voted best Mexican Restaurant on LA’s Hot List for 9 consecutive years. Go Chef Marco!

Hatch Enchiladas Suizas by Chef Marco Zapien of Zapien’s Salsa Grill

2 lbs. Grilled chicken breast diced
2 TB Olive Oil
½ lb. tomatillos
1 clove chopped garlic
½ Diced Yellow Onion
½ each Green Bell pepper
½ bunch cilantro
3 Diced roasted hot hatch chiles
2 ½ cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
½ cup heavy cream
Salt and Pepper to Taste
6 – La Tortilla Factory yellow corn and wheat tortillas
6 – La Tortilla Factory original flour Tortillas
6 – La Tortilla Factory smokey chipotle chile tortillas
2 cups shredded jack cheese
1 cup salad oil

Directions:
In a saucepan, heat the olive oil and sauté the tomatillos, garlic, onion, bell pepper, cilantro, and hatch chilies.
Add the chicken broth and cook until vegetables are tender.
In a blender, blend the vegetables until smooth. Return the sauce to the saucepot and bring to a simmer.
Add heavy cream and allow to reduce for 5 minutes
Finish with sour cream and season with salt and pepper.
Heat the salad oil in a sauté pan. Soak the tortillas to soften.
Fill the tortillas with diced chicken and roll.
In a baking dish place the rolled enchiladas. Top with Sauce and cheese. Place in 350 degree oven and heat for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and serve.

Yield – 4 cups

You can also stuff the soft, warmed tortillas with your favorite fillings and a protein or vegetable made in one of La Tortillas super easy Sauce Starters available at Ralph’s, Gelson’s, Vons, Pavilions and Albertsons. These easy-to-prepare sauces and marinades take all the guess work out of conjuring traditional Mexican elements.

La Tortilla Factory also originated a line of crisps, which are a high intensity alternative to tortilla chips. Available in a a variety of flavors, be sure not to miss the churro crisp which adds a new dimension of joy to ending a meal.

The savory La Tortilla Crisps pair exceptionally well with Melissa’s Hatch Salsa, which is available through Amazon.

A Mexican meal is incomplete without a refreshing beverage. Dragon Fruit Agua Fresca adds an exciting new spin on the concept with its stunning blend of tangy citrus and sweet dragon fruit flesh. The recipe, designed by Chef Savannah Munoz of Melissa’s Produce  is super simple.

Dragon Fruit Mocktail

4 Melissa’s Dragon Fruit, peeled; rough chopped
2 cups of Your Favorite Lemonade
2 1/2 quarts of Your Favorite Lemonade
1 cup Fresh Mint Leaves

Place the dragon fruit and 2 cups of lemonade in a blender and purée. Transfer the mix to a 4 liter pitcher and add the 2 1/2 quarts of lemonade.

Bruise the mint leaves with the back of a knife or mortar and pestal, then add to the pitcher. Stir well and refrigerate overnight.

Strain out the mint leaves and stir. Serve over ice and garnish with fresh mint leaves. Makes 4 liters.

For a memorable finale, heat a can of dulce de leche (a caramel flavored dessert sauce available in most Latin markets or at Smart & Final) in a sauce pan, stir in fresh raspberries, let cool and serve as a smashingly unique fruit dip.

Thanks to Melissa’s Produce, Melissa’s staff and chefs, La Tortilla Factory and Chef Marco Zapien for the delicious recipes provided.

 

Easy Fresh Bowls of Plenty

Meals in a bowl are all the rage.  It’s the new fast food model dedicated to filling a vessel with guests choice of their favorite ingredients for a personalized, satisfying mix that can be as healthy as one sees fit. Here in LA, it seems there’s a new poke bowl or ethnic bowl establishment on every corner. That makes Carolynn Carreno’s latest book, Bowls of Plenty right on point.  And if you’re a fan of this strongly established eating style, you can cut out the middle man and take charge right in your own kitchen.

Carolynn is a James Beard Award winning food writer and co-author of over a dozen acclaimed cookbooks. And now she has pulled together a collection of grain bowls that are completely customizable to suit ones taste, while being just as delightful straight from the undeviated page.

Chapters start with Equipment, Tools and Gadgets and evolve into an undeniably thorough exploration of grains, giving home cooks the basic information necessary to proceed with complete confidence. Starting with Breakfast Bowls, Carolynn delves into unique offerings such as Japanese breakfast or Pastrami and Rye Berry Hash, always showcasing as much diversity possible. What follows are salad bowls, main bowls and finally, yes, even dessert bowls,

We were treated to a buffet which allowed each diner to carefully choose their ingredients and we have to say we found it such a fun, with lots of suitable options for everyone. For those who don’t feel inclined to clean that many dishes, its absolutely acceptable to serve the bowls already assembled.

The key of course is fresh, quality ingredients prepared with care and love. And Ms. Carreno provides encouraging advice with that as well.

Bowls of Plenty is the book for bowl lovers and anyone who wants to simplify meal preparation.  Click through the red link above to go straight to Amazon. Bowl Appetite.

The Perfect Blend Is Just That

Tess Masters, also known as The Blender Girl, always delivers an engaging wealth of information on eating healthy.  So it’s no surprise that her new book, The Perfect Blend, keeps up the tradition with one hundred blender recipes designed to energize and revitalize.

One of our favorite dishes from her stunning, image-rich book is, Gentle Lentils. This sensational soup is impossible to put down. The addicting qualities radiating from the bowl are due in part to the incorporation of her Basil-Is-The-Bomb sauce, which helps forward this transcendent pairing. Try this soup!

Tess puts a new spin on everything. The book is broken into chapters titled for what they can do for you instead of a more traditional organization. You can look up instruction that will help promote detox, energy, immunity, weight loss, probiotic formation, and so on. We love knowing how our meals are benefiting us. Bravo Tess.

Raw Broccoli Brilliance, transforms raw broccoli florets into a panoply of textures that complement the bright, tangy, sweet and spicy flavors of her dressing. You’ll find this one in the protein chapter. Be sure to check out the chart on page 2 of the introduction to discover which categories ingredients fall under. Produce, spices, herbs, seeds and nuts all play into a number of benefits and readers are introduced to a basic understanding of how each supports stellar health.

Cauliflower rice is a base which can be doused with a vegetable rich melange, featuring sweet potatoes, Swiss chard and roasted almond butter in Sustenance Stew. Supremely satisfying.

Tess believes that the blender is the greatest tool we have for making delicious, beautiful, healthy, fast food. This book enables home chefs at every level of expertise to easily incorporate plant power and body revitalization into everyday meals. Look for lots of unique produce like Melissa’s fresh coconut water, where the sweet, natural nectar runs circles around bottled alternatives.

There are also treats, from Classic Cheesecake to Chocolate Mint Mania, lest you think eating healthy is out of alignment with a sweet tooth. The two come together beautifully.

The Perfect Blend, dishes out practical step by step guidance and health benefits of blending, combining and cooking hero foods. Be prepared for a focus on eating well and having fun. What’s not to love about that? The Perfect Blend can be purchased on Amazon through the title links in red. It is definitely time to dust off the blender and enjoy mother nature’s delicious bounty.

 

Mango Season Is Upon Us

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Mango season is here and Keitt Mangos are sweet, juicy, silky and ready to be used in a myriad of ways.

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The challenges of peeling mangos are minimized when cut into slices or in half and then run over the edge of a glass.  We put our glass inside a bowl to catch any  juice that may run down the sides during the process.  The skin can be scraped over the lip numerous times to make sure we get every last morsel.

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We eat the slices straight, add them to salads and blend them into smoothies.

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We love Karoun Yogurt from Jon’s Market for its thick richness which makes super creamy smoothies and mango lassi.

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Our recipe calls for one large mango, 1 cup yogurt and 8 ice cubes blended until smooth.  The result is approximately 3 ice cold, large glasses of mildly sweet, tart refreshment. Many recipes call for sugar but we don’t find it necessary.  A little fresh squeezed lime and some cardamom are exciting additions although we usually drink it straight.

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For fiber free mangos and the best smoothies and lassi, we strongly recommend Keitt mangos which are ripe and ready to go when they are soft, with a little give and very fragrant.

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To order Melissa’s Green Keitt Mangoes, go to http://www.melissas.com/Keitt-Mango-p/713.htm and use the coupon code KEITT15 to take 15% off Melissa’s Green Keitt Mangoes only. Coupon Expires Sept 18th 2016.