A Lambie Christmas Summary

I truly thought I would have more time for blogging once I finished my degree, but getting used to our new schedule has been kind of well, hard.  So I apologize for my wayyyyyyyy late Christmas posting.

Last year, you might remember that my friend Marisol and her family came to our house….so this year it was our turn to visit them in Conshohocken, PA.  I love spending Christmas with my Goddaughter!

Through our Holiday time in Conshohocken, I was able to spend plenty of time with my beautiful ahijada Gabriela. See?

Gaby and Me preparing for an outing!

For example here we are in Merchantville, NJ a place with a lot of snow and beautiful Victorian homes, as well as, strangely, a Hispanic peluquería and a Latino Grocery where I was able to get all the fixings for our Cuban-Rican Nochebuena.

Gaby and Me in the snow!

After hanging out, it was time to get to the task at hand of preparing all the Nochebuena fixins’!  So I present to you the cooks of today – and the cook of tomorrow!

Marisol, Me & Gaby!

As I shared with all of you last year, our Nochebuena includes: lechon, arroz blanco, frijoles negros, arroz con gandules, morcillas, pasteles, tostones and yuca con mojo.  For dessert we always have a Flan de Queso.  This year’s Christmas celebration was particularly special since Marisol and Victor might be moving.  So it may have been our last one in Conshohocken!  Although I forgot to take a picture of what our plates looked like (I was too hungry!) I can show you what they looked like at the end.

Done!

So as you can see it was a success!!!!  Now tell me, how was your Christmas??

Cuban-Rican Christmas Part I

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

Ahhh, Nochebuena is upon us.

Although for us (Marisol and I) the work really starts the day before.  Whether she is coming over, or we are going over there (this year they are coming over) there are things that always must be done in advance.  No not the cleaning.

The Flan de Queso, adobar el Pernil Delantero and the Frijoles Negros.

I’ll share with you the Flan recipe.  The ingredients for the Flan:

  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 8oz bar of Philadelphia cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of sugar

huevos0001Start the oven at 35o Farenheit, and put in the pan with the water in which you will cook the flan.  Yes, it has to be a baño de María. While the oven and the water preheat, blend the eggs, condensed milk and evaporated milk.  Someone asked the other day about the difference between evaporated milk and condensed milk.  I like to kid around and say that evaporated milk is the fat that they took out of the condensed milk.

Evaporated and Condensed Milk

Evaporated and Condensed Milk

In reality, evaporated milk has a creamy taste and liquid texture.  Condensed milk is thick and sweet – think dulce de leche.  In any case, their cans are different too!

I usually soften the cream cheese by putting it on top of the range.  The heat from the oven softens it up nicely.  Then add the cheese and blend together.  You will see crumbles of cheese; that is normal.

Flan Mixture

Flan Mixture

Now to the caramelo part.  For this make sure you have at least 30 minutes to stand over the stove.  You have to make sure you don’t burn the caramelo otherwise, the flan is ruined.  Over very low heat, stir and melt the two cups of sugar until they have an amber/honey color and all the sugar is melted.  Then pour onto your Pyrex, and spread around the mold like this:caramelo0001

Wait a couple of minutes for the caramelo to cool; otherwise it will blend with the flan.  Once cooled pour the flan in and put in the baño de María you have going in the oven (haven’t you always wondered why it is called a baño de María?).  Depending on how deep your pyrex is, it will take anywhere from 55 minutes to an hour and fifteen.  You will know when its done with the cake test: insert a knife in the middle (deeper) part of the flan, if it comes out clean it is done.

Take the flan out and let it cool; then place in the fridge for at least 4-6 hours (even better if you can leave all day or overnight).  With a silicone spatula or a flat knife, loosen the flan from the edge of the pyrex.  I grab the knife and go all the way around; then to make sure I swish it around.  Grab a dish that is big enough to hold all the caramelo, put it on top of the pyrex and flip.  It will take some work, but eventually it will come off.  It is best if you let it soak in the caramelo for another 4-6 hours, or even better overnight.

flan0001Now forgive me, but I totally forgot to take a picture of the flan before we cut into it, so imagine the missing half when I tell you this is what it should look like!!!!!

Just make sure when you serve, you add enough of that caramelo to go with it!

ENJOY!!!

PS.  A second post is coming with the actual dinner