Casa Marcela by Marcela Valladolid

The third cookbook from Food Network personality, Marcela Valladolid, Casa Marcela: Recipes and Food Stories of My Life in the Californias, is by far my favorite of her titles. Her first two books, Fresh Mexico and Mexican Made Easy were both great books but here the author has hit her stride. 

Gorgeous photographs are plentiful throughout this book and recipes for Braised Beef Tongue Tacos in Green Salsa, Grilled Shrimp Burritos with Chile Peanut Butter, and Pork Shoulder in Morita-Hoisin Sauce will keep the experienced cook happy and content; while Ground Pork Patties in Tomatillo Salsa, Grilled Beef Strips, and Chocolate-Cajeta Brownie Pudding are perfect for the less experienced cook. All the recipes, however, are approachable with flavorful ingredients that should be easily accessible at major markets or Mexican grocers.

Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, we are able to share two recipes from Casa Marcella - Churro Cupcakes (make them for Mom this weekend) and Grilled Beef Strips (for Dad next month).  Head over to our contest page to enter the giveaway we have set up for this book.

CHURRO CUPCAKES

An easy recipe that combines two of my childhood favorites, this is a mashup of epic proportions, because there might be nothing better in the world than churros and cupcakes. My mom made cupcakes from boxed cake mix on the regular. Often they'd be breakfast before school. I used to cross the international border every day to go to school in San Diego, and you know what my mom would get us as a treat for waking up at 5:30 in the morning? A warm, brown bag of churros that would leave our homework papers drenched in grease and our uniforms sprinkled with sugar. Perfection.
 
MAKES 12 CUPCAKES
 
Cupcakes
 
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
 
Buttercream

6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1½ tablespoons whole milk
 
Churro Garnish

¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Vegetable oil, for frying
2 flour tortillas
 
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
For the cupcakes, in a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
 
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn down the speed to low and add the flour mixture. Blend until well combined, about 25 seconds.
 
Pour about 2½ tablespoons of the batter into each cupcake liner. Bake the cupcakes for 20 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Turn the cupcakes out of the pan and let cool on a wire rack.
 
For the buttercream, in the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, vanilla, and cinnamon until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. With the machine running on low speed, add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, alternating with the milk. Prepare a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and fill with the buttercream.
 
For the churro garnish, mix the sugar and cinnamon together on a large plate. Set aside.
 
In a heavy medium saucepan, add enough oil to come halfway up the sides of the pan. Heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer inserted into the oil reaches 350°F. (If you do not have a thermometer, test the oil with a piece of tortilla, which should sizzle when it touches the oil and brown in 2 to 3 minutes.)
Meanwhile, place the tortillas on a work surface and, using a cookie cutter, cut the tortilla into different shapes and/or letters. Fry the tortilla shapes until golden brown. With a slotted spoon, transfer the crisps to paper towels to drain. While still warm, transfer to the cinnamon-sugar mixture and turn to coat.
 
To assemble the cupcakes, make a swirl of buttercream on each cupcake and top with a tortilla crisp.
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GRILLED BEEF STRIPS
ASADO DE TIRA

The cut of beef for this recipe, also known as "flanken," refers to a strip of beef cut across the bone from the chuck end of the short ribs. The result is a thin strip of meat, 8 to 10 inches in length, lined with ½-inch-thick rib bones. The thin slices make for fast cooking on the grill. In Tijuana, these are usually brought to the table on a grill with other cuts of meat and accompanied by lime wedges, corn tortillas, and avocado slices.
 
SERVES 4 TO 6

5 pounds Korean-style short ribs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Mint and Cilantro Salsa Verde (see below)

Place the meat in a glass baking dish and drizzle with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, then add the oregano and lime juice. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 3 hours or up to overnight.
 
Preheat a grill pan over high heat and grill the ribs until lightly charred on the outside, about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer to platter and serve with Mint and Cilantro Salsa Verde.
 
Mint and Cilantro Salsa Verde 
 
This salsa screams fresh and is a perfect pairing for Tacobab al Pastor (page 17) or Apple-Mint Lamb Chops (page 80). Salsas are not always tomato based, and this is a great one to try with dishes that aren't perhaps traditionally Mexican. I always have both fresh mint and fresh cilantro in the garden (me and my perfect California weather), and that certainly makes a difference in the sauce. People ask me all the time what I recommend planting in a container if they have no space for an ample garden, and these two herbs are at the top of my list. In fact, once mint catches on, it grows like crazy, so I actually keep it in a large pot and not in one of the beds, as I'm afraid it will take over (which wouldn't be horrible because thousands of mojitos are never a bad thing).
 
MAKES 1½ CUPS
 
2 cups firmly packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 cup firmly packed fresh mint leaves
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup distilled white vinegar
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 fresh jalapeno chiles, stemmed
 
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and process until very smooth, about 1 minute. Serve immediately (if the salsa sits for too long, it will turn dark green because of the fresh herbs).

Churro Cupcakes and Grilled Beef Strips and the Mint and Cilantro Salsa Verde from  Casa Marcela by Marcela Valladolid and Coral Von Zumwalt. Copyright © 2017 by Marcela Valladolid and Coral Von Zumwalt. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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25 Comments

  • lgroom  on  5/9/2017 at 1:20 PM

    I have tried a few of her things when they have been published in Food Network Magazine.

  • kgmom  on  5/9/2017 at 1:20 PM

    Love this recipe from Marcella: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/marcela-valladolid/grilled-zucchini-and-bean-salad-recipe

  • jessmonkey  on  5/9/2017 at 1:23 PM

    The ceviche sounds amazing. I would love to try it.

  • jessmonkey  on  5/9/2017 at 1:29 PM

    I havent tried any of her recipes.

  • sgump  on  5/10/2017 at 12:46 PM

    Alas, I have yet to try any of Marcella's recipes.

  • t.t  on  5/13/2017 at 12:15 AM

    I haven't tried any of her recipes yet.

  • JenJoLa  on  5/13/2017 at 6:24 AM

    I haven't tried any of Marcela's recipes, but I intend to rectify that soon!

  • Mariarosa  on  5/13/2017 at 9:45 PM

    I've made several of her recipes from Food Network.

  • Siegal  on  5/14/2017 at 8:23 PM

    I never tried any of her recipes yet

  • tarae1204  on  5/15/2017 at 9:20 PM

    I haven't tried Marcela's recipes but I am interested after seeing an article in Better Homes & Gardens.

  • bstewart  on  5/19/2017 at 12:43 PM

    I've made a few of her recipes -- all turned out great.

  • cocecitycook  on  5/20/2017 at 4:34 AM

    I have never tried any of her recipes. Going to make her churro cupcakes this afternoon!

  • nomadchowwoman  on  5/23/2017 at 5:07 PM

    I idid not know of Chef Marcella, so, no, I have not tried any of her recipes, but she has my attention now: my mouth is watering after looking at this index.

  • PennyG  on  5/26/2017 at 4:49 PM

    I have not tried any of her recipes. Would love to though!

  • RSW  on  5/30/2017 at 11:20 AM

    No but they sound interesting

  • bakeswithlove2369  on  5/31/2017 at 6:59 AM

    I look forward to trying the GRILLED BEEF STRIPS ASADO DE TIRA..i love using this cut of beef....

  • bevie19  on  6/3/2017 at 12:52 AM

    I haven't tried any of her recipes but watch her on The Kitchen and have become more interested in her cooking.

  • Nancith  on  6/3/2017 at 11:40 AM

    I've not tried her recipes, but am always looking for real Mexican food!

  • kitchenclimbers  on  6/8/2017 at 1:44 PM

    I have not but they look good!

  • Uhmandanicole  on  6/11/2017 at 8:17 PM

    I have never tried any of Marcela's recipes...yet!

  • monique.potel  on  6/12/2017 at 5:18 AM

    would love to try some of Marcella's recipes

  • MeganGarcia  on  6/12/2017 at 6:43 PM

    I have her other cookbook and I watched all the episodes of her old cooking show. I love Marcela! I wish they'd bring her show back, but I'm glad she's got a new book coming out.

  • DarcyVaughn  on  6/12/2017 at 9:00 PM

    I've made her recipe for chilorio and the results were very tasty indeed!

  • camtncook  on  6/14/2017 at 9:09 AM

    I have not tried any of her recipes, but I think I should...

  • lebarron2001  on  6/14/2017 at 10:54 AM

    I have not tried any of her recipes yet.

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