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The Lenten season is a very special time in my home. Not only is it a time to reflect spiritually but also a time to step back, take a deep breath and hold those loved ones around us a little tighter. One of my main goals this year was for me to work smarter in order to have more time to spend with my family. It’s been a tough journey so far but I am definitely less stressed, happier and more organized.
As always, the best times are spent around the dinner table, at least that’s what I think. So I decided to create a quaint little spread for my family this season for all of us to gather and make memories. With essential and traditional ingredients like La Morena chipotle peppers in adobo an pickled jalapeños, my meatless feast is full of flavor, savory spice and tang. The best flavor profiles to make any meal complete.
Living in Southern California, La Morena Brand Chile Peppers are readily available at your local supermarket. I usually stock up with a few cans at my local Ralph’s. They are great to keep a good amount in your pantry for last minute meal enhancing.
As part of my Lent spread, I re-created three season-appropriate recipes from my childhood. The main course from the spread is crab chirmol. A smoky spread with crab meat made with ancho chile, ground up tostadas, achiote, pepitas and enhanced with a extra chipotle pepper in adobo to give it an extra kick. The “spread” can be watered down by adding more roasted tomato until it resembles a thick stew. Both are delicious with a slight tweak to its consistency. In this case, I kept it as a spread because it was served on tostadas.
As a starchy side, I decided to make Yadra. A combination of white rice, lentils with strips of pickled jalapeños. Yadra can be enjoyed with a soupy consistency or as a drier side dish. I opted for preparing it as a side to accompany my crab chirmol tostadas.
My last recipe is a very versatile one. This pickled jalapeño and cucumber salad can be considered a salsa, pico de gallo or a refreshing salad to enjoy as part of the meal. With the tangy carrots in La Morena’s pickled jalapeños cans, the salad was tasty and very colorful.
Remember, Lent doesn’t have to be boring and tasteless. There are endless possibilities with traditional ingredients that can set your creativity into high gear. La Morena brand is one of those ingredients that can inspire so many favorite dishes from your very own kitchen.
I’ve shared my holiday traditions with you. I’d love to hear about yours! Leave a comment sharing your family traditions.
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 2 Roma tomatoes, quartered
- 1 cup raw pepitas, hulled (reserve 1 tablespoons for garnish)
- 2 ancho chiles, seeds and stems removed
- 11/2 tablespoon achiote paste
- 10 4 1/2" round corn tostadas, divided
- 1 cup water, divide
- 1 La Morena Brand chipotle chile in adobo
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound premium crab meat
- 2 tablespoons red onion, chopped
- cilantro sprigs for garnish
- 2 cups white rice, cooked
- 1 cup lentils, cooked
- 1/3 cup La Morena jalapeño strips
- 3 mini cucumbers or 1 large hot house cucumber or 1 large garden cucumber, chopped
- 2 tablespoons La Morena pickled jalapeños with carrots, chopped
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
- In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic cloves, onion, tomato, pepitas and ancho chiles. Stir until onion is slighly roasted and tomatoes have started to release their juice.
- Add achiote paste and 2 broken up corn tostadas. Stir and add 1/2 cup water. Continue to cook for 10 minutes.
- Transfer mixture to a blender container. Add the rest of the water and chipotle chile. Blend until smooth.
- Return mixture to saute pan. Season with salt and fold in crab meat. Cook for 10 minutes or until a spreadable consistency. Serve on remaining corn tostadas. Garnish with red onion, pepitas and cilantro sprigs.
- In a large saute pan over low medium heat, combine rice, lentils and jalapeño strips. Fold in ingredients until thoroughly combined and heated. Serve as a side dish to crab chirmol tostadas.
- In a large glass bowl, combine cucumber, jalapeños with carrots and lime juice. Stir until all ingredients are combined. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.