Amelia Ceja revisits her youth in Mexico by preparing one of her favorite breakfast dishes taught to her by her maternal grandmother, Mama Chepa. Arriba arroz con leche!
Arroz con Leche -- Rice with Milk
From Amelia Ceja's Kitchen
(serves 6 to 8)
I love arroz con leche for breakfast or as dessert after a meal. This is the easiest recipe prepared by my maternal grandmother Mamá Chepa while I was growing up in a small village in Mexico.
1 cup long grain white rice
2 cups water
3 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
Place the water, rice and the cinnamon stick in a medium size pot and bring to a boil -- reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed.
Add the milk and sugar and bring gently to a boil again -- reduce heat, simmer uncovered and stir continually until creamy about 15 minutes. Can be served hot or cold for breakfast or dessert -- it's yummy!
With origins from South East Asia, this tasty recipe pairs beautifully with our just released Ceja Vineyards Brut Sparkling Wine. The wine's crisp balanced acidity cuts through the spice component of the sauce accentuating the sweetness of the crab. ¡Salud!
Dungeness Crab in a Spicy Indonesian Style Sauce
From Amelia Morán Ceja's Kitchen
Suggested wine: Ceja Vineyards Brut Sparkling Wine
Our family favors this delicious main course for our Thanksgiving dinner when fresh Dungeness crabs are available. Some flavors seem made for each other, and tamarind salsa is one of those perfect culinary marriages. Here it is served over crab; perhaps the world's sweetest of all seafoods.
• 4 crabs separated, cleaned, and cracked
• 2 tamarind pods*
• 1 coarsely chopped wine onion
• 2 tablespoons minced Serrano peppers*
• 2 tablespoons minced garlic cloves
• 2 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 2 tablespoons corn starch
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• Crab reduction broth (please see instructions below)
*Tamarind pods and Serrano peppers are found at most grocery stores.
For the crab reduction sauce:
• In a saucepan, place the smallest crab legs (8 to 12) with 8 whole cloves of garlic, ½ an anion, 2 stalks of celery cut in half, 5 cups of water and 2 bay leafs. Gently simmer until the liquid is reduced to 2 cups.
For the Tamarind Salsa:
• Peel the tamarind's shell and soak in water. Discard seeds, and just keep the pulp.
• Sauté chopped onion, minced Serrano peppers, minced garlic and minced ginger in two tablespoons olive oil 5 to 6 minutes. Add the crab sauce and soy sauce and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
• In a blender or food processor, combine the sautéed ingredients with the crab sauce and tamarind pulp -- then process until smooth.
• Return the processed Indonesian sauce back to the pan and bring gently to a boil. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch with water and slowly add to sauce while stirring it. Simmer for 5 minutes until slightly thickened.
Steam the cracked crab pieces for five minutes then place in a large bowl. Next, add the tamarind sauce and coat well. Serve immediately. Make sure you have a bib and lots of napkins.
Just in time for the release of Ceja Vineyards' 2008 Dulce Beso (sweet kiss) late harvest white wine, Amelia prepares a decadent dessert of poached pears in a Sauvignon Blanc reduction sauce. Salud!
Ceja Poached Pears with Mascarpone Cheese and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Suggested wine: Ceja Dulce Beso (Sweet Kiss)
• 3 medium firm ripe pears
• 1 bottle Ceja Sauvignon Blanc
• 1 cup of granulated sugar
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 1 vanilla bean
• ½ cup mascarpone cheese
• 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
• 1 tsp brown sugar
• Pinch of cayenne pepper
• Splash of olive oil
Cut the pears in half and core. Place the pears, sugar, cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean and wine into a small pot. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove pears and let cool. Keep cooking the remaining liquid and reduce to one cup.
Mix mascarpone cheese with 2 tablespoons of the chilled poaching syrup until smooth.
Place the olive oil, pumpkin seeds, brown sugar and cayenne pepper in a small pan at medium heat, and toast for 2 minutes.
To serve, place a half of pear on a plate, add a tablespoon of mascarpone cheese over pear. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds over pear and drizzle 1 tablespoon of syrup.
Dalia Ceja rings in the new year with a fantastic recipe inspired by her trip throughout South America last year. She pairs fried plantain chips (tostones) with a savory and spicy aji salsa. Suggest Wine Pairing: Ceja Vineyards Carneros Chardonnay.
Nopales are a vegetable made from the young cladophyll (pad) segments of prickly pear, carefully peeled to remove the spines. Amelia demonstrates how to prepare a popular Mexican salad using these slightly tart and crisp veggies. Suggest Wine Pairing: Ceja Vineyards Sonoma Coast Sauvignon Blanc
Sometimes referred to as a Spanish doughnut, churros are fried-dough pastry-based snacks, sometimes made from potato dough, that originated in Spain. Dalia Ceja prepares her version of this satisfyingly delicious treat that has become hugely popular all over Latin America. Paired with Ceja Vineyards Cabernet chocolate sauce, these churros have something sweet for everyone. Suggested Wine Pairing: Ceja Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
From Mexico we bring you tortilla soup! Presented in a unique way by Dalia Ceja, this savory soup with spicy and smoky elements is a perfect accompaniment to any cold night.
Suggested wine pairing: Ceja Vineyards Carneros Pinot Noir
Chilaquiles recipes were originally created to use old and stale corn tortillas. These popular Mexican breakfast dishes vary from state-to-state. This is Amelia Ceja's favorite chilaquiles recipe that she pairs with Ceja Vineyards' Vino de Casa Red Blend -- it's a winning combination to enjoy often with family and friends. ¡Salud!
2 dozen corn tortillas, each tortilla cut into 8 wedges
10 beaten eggs
salt to taste
3 lbs tomatoes coarsely chopped
3 jalapeño peppers coarsely chopped
3 minced garlic cloves
3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium white or yellow onion coarsely chopped
Cotija cheese or queso fresco
Crema Mexicana or crème fraiche
Spicy Tomato Salsa
Place coarsely chopped tomatoes and jalapeño peppers into a saucepan – add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove cooked tomatoes, jalapeño peppers and the cooking liquid from saucepan into a blender. Add minced garlic cloves and pulse until blended but not puréed. Then, add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a medium hot sauté pan. Next, add the coarsely chopped onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add the contents from the blender and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes – season with salt and pepper to taste.
In a large sauté pan, coat pan generously with corn oil, (1/4 inch), heat to medium high to high. When the oil is quite hot, add ½ of the tortillas, and fry until golden brown. Remove tortillas to a paper towel lined plate to soak up excess oil. Repeat the procedure with the rest of the tortillas. Wipe pan clean of any browned bits of tortillas.
Add 3 tbsp olive oil to pan, bring to medium heat again. Add the fried tortillas – next pour the beaten eggs over the fried tortillas. Stir with a spatula to coat the tortillas with the beaten eggs and cook until eggs are set (about 5 minutes). Next add the spicy tomato salsa to the egg mixture and stir until most of the salsa is absorbed by the tortilla-egg mixture (about 5 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a few more minutes. Serve immediately and garnish with crumbled Cotija cheese or queso fresco, Crema Mexicana or crème fraiche, chopped cilantro and an avocado slice.
Derived from the Arabic 'al-bunduq' (meaning 'hazelnut'), albóndigas are thought to have originated as a Berber or Arab dish imported to Spain during the period of Muslim rule. From Spain, these tasty meatballs made their way into Mexican cuisine. Amelia Ceja prepares an albóndiga stew and pairs the savory dish with Ceja Vineyards' Carneros Merlot.