Monday, May 21, 2012

Aliño de Teresita

What I present today is not a recipe for a side dish, or main course of anything like that, it's a condiment used to cook other food, and as a short cut in a lot of other recipes. Before I begin here's the background story :)

Teresita is a 92 year old lady that my mom is a care provider for. She is originally from Columbia, one of my mother's jobs is to cook for her and my since my mother has a love for the kitchen and learning new things, she was very quick to ask Teresita what she likes to eat, and how to recreate it.

One of the things essential in Teresitas kitchen is what she calls "Aliño", in her kitchen it's a very strong condiment  essentially a bunch of aromatics, herbs, as well as umami packing ingredients mixed together, simmered in generous olive oil, then bottled. used to flavor & cook other dishes, from stews, soups, sautee's, mixed into meatloafs, meat balls, etc. simply a tablespoon mixed into rice for flavor, or tossing shredded meats, steamed veggies etc. it's used as a base.

-2 bell peppers (red or green) finely chopped
-1 large onion finely chopped
-8 scallions (washed, split in half, and then finely chopped)
-20 roma tomatoes chopped
-1 head of garlic minced
-1 large bunch of cilantro chopped 
-1/3 cup dried oregano
-1/3 cup dried thyme
-1/4 cup soy sauce
-3 tablespoons lemon pepper
-3 packets of "Sazon Goya Con Azafran" or "Sazon Goya Culantro Con Achiote" (maybe not everyone can get ahold of these, I would substitute it for ground achiote/ annatto seeds like 2 tablespoons, saffron, or maybe 1 tablespoon turmeric)
-salt to taste (use atleast 2 teaspoons)
-1 1/2 cups of a good quality extra-virgin olive oil

(1) Mix all ingredients in a large pot or deep-pan (yes you heard right just throw EVERYTHING in the ingredient list in a pot or pan)

(2) Put it on the stove, mix well together with a spoon, and put on high heat, the tomato will start releasing it's juices, lower to medium high and allow mixture to cook for 10- 15 minutes.

(3) Allow to cool, and store in clean glass jars or containers, when fully cooled seal, and store in fridge (it can last up to 1 weeks in the fridge) if you want to store longer it can last for several months in the freezer. This recipe made about 4 jars, we store 2 in the fridge and 2 in the freezer.My family can go through a batch like this in like less than 2 weeks or so but it's because we are 4 people, and usually have guests and such, so we cook a lot :)

-In the future I will share some recipes using this condiment :) in the mean time if you decide to make it, feel free to be creative with it.
 -ALSO this is not meant to be eatin on it's on, or by the spoonfuls, it has a very strong flavor, and can be somewhat salty. So do not use it as a vegetable side or to eat on it's own.
-I don't have any specific recipes like I said before posted yet to share using this condiment but just some really brief uses you can: (1) Steam any vegetables and add a couple spoonfuls of it and toss them in that for flavoring, with maybe more salt to taste. (2) When you make a chicken soup, you can remove the chicken, shredd it, and toss it in some of this condiment, serve with rice, and the soup on the side. (3) Any meat can be boiled with just onion, garlic, oregano, then removed, shredded and tossed in some of the condiment (4) Mix about 1/2 cup of the mixture into 1 lbs or ground meat, 2 eggs, and fry the mixture like patties. etc. you guys get it :)
-Been using this condiment lately since I been pretty busy with school and it makes a lot of stuff quick to put together.