A Wonderful Mexican Market
La Pradera is a small franchise of a Mexican grocery market. What is wonderfully unique about them is if you want to prepare authentic Mexican food at home for a reasonable cost - this is where you need to go. The meat market portion of the market has an extensive selection. What I like to buy is the marinated, boneless chicken breast seasoned in a citrus marinade with various chilis at $1.79 lb. is what I paid last time. The marinated carne asada (thinly sliced flank steak for barbecuing) is also very good at $3.97 lb. The store provides premade guacamole and fresh salsas - a good variety and very reasonable. Produce section had hard to find chilis, tomatillos and other vegetables that you would not normally find in a regular market.
Azusa Store - 651 E. Arrow Highway, Azusa, CA 91702 (626) 339-3000
El Monte Store - 3218 Santa Anita Ave., El Monte, CA 91733 (626) 579-2517
This is where I live
"Convenient location with access to major freeways"
West Covina is east of Los Angeles and I find it a convenient place to live. The beach is about 45 minutes away, the mountains 90 minutes away, major venues - Staple Center, The Pond, Greek Theater, Pantages Theater, Hollywood Bowl, Angel Stadium, Rose Bowl & California Speedway are all about 1 hour away. There is no significant ethic group living here which makes everyone feel comfortable in this town. By no means is it a tourist town - no historic stuff here or famous museums. It's not as conjested as some of the cities in the Los Angeles area and for the most part - is a safe place to live.
This is where I actually live...
Although I have Los Angeles as my hometown, I actually live here. Its a pretty decent city. Its in LA county and thats why I consider Los Angeles as my home town. If you've never been to West Covina, its got a large Asian and Hispanic population.
Christmas at Home 2007
I always look forward to Christmas! I love the celebration during the entire month starting with sending out the holiday cards, purchasing the tree, decorating the house, buying the right gifts, wrapping, parties, meal planning and then the actual day. This is quite a ritual for us. It starts on Christmas eve with my parents and my brother. This year we did it up with a hefty 4 course meal. A pastry dish appetizer with Italian sausage, mushrooms, pine nuts, onions, mandarin oranges and martini olives with a pumpkin cream sauce. Second course was cream of broccoli soup. Main course of beef tenderloin with a red wine reduction sauce (see recipe to follow), smoked black cod, red pepper roasted potatoes, steam rice (my parents need to have rice), asparagus dressed with fennel and parsley, a four layer chocolate cake with chocolate mouse filling and a chocolate ganache. Ummm, ummm! Everyone was stuffed!
Time to open the presents. Gifts from my mother are always unpredictable. My daughter and I dread this because it's inevitable we will get a gift that we really won't like or cannot use. My mother means well but sometimes her taste in gift purchases is absurd. So, each year, we try to tell my mother "exactly" what we would like. My request was a red microfiber robe from Macy's. She explained what she wanted but they indicated they didn't have it. So, my mother bought what she thought I would like. A red robe, not microfiber but a velour (that was okay) with little black scotty dogs all over it! Amy and I laughed and laughed because when Amy was little, my mother would buy her all kinds of clothing with scotty dogs. Scotty dogs on socks, sweaters, scarves, etc. So, I guess it's my turn. I told my mom, I don't like scotty dogs and that just because she likes them, she shouldn't buy them for us. But, that's okay, it's just a robe, not like I'm going to where it out and about. It was a very comfortable robe and warm but I laugh when I put it on. Then, it was my daughter's turn. My mother gave her a pair of underwear. Ha!ha!ha! They seemed slightly BIG! Oh my gosh, we couldn't stop laughing. Then something was written on them, 2000 Year of Love with the zeros in 2000 in the shape of hearts. Hmmm, so how old were these underwear since this year is 2007? Anyway, it gave us such a laugh! My boyfriend thinks we're cruel but I know my mother doesn't get her feelings hurt. She knows what we think about her gift purchases for us.
I enjoy cooking and this was an easy meat to prepare. A beef tenderloin roast of 2-4 pounds. Salt and pepper the roast. Usually, there are some parts of the roast that come away from the main part of it. Tie it up so it stays tubular. I poured some Worcestershire sauce on the roast and sprinkled some Majoram on it and let it sit for an hour before putting it into the oven. Place roast on a baking sheet. Initial temperature should be 500 degrees F for 10 minutes. Then reduce temperature to 350 degrees F for another 30-40 minutes. This seems like a long time but it's okay. I like my meat medium rare and it was perfect at 30 minutes. Maybe a little too rare for my guests. Internal roast temperature should be 140 degrees F for medium rare and 160 degrees F for medium. Never serve a beef tenderloin roast well done - it's a waste of money and the meat is not very good. After pulling the roast out of the oven, let it rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving. This keeps all the juice inside the meat.
Red Wine Reduction. 1 Cup of red wine (Rule for what kind of red wine: if you could drink it then you can cook with it!) in a sauce pan, cook until the wine is reduced to half the amount. This will take some time. Then add one 12 ounce can of beef broth. Salt and pepper to taste. About 1/4 Cup of chopped flat leaf parsley. By the time the meat is ready, the sauce should be ready. Add 1 tablespoon of corn starch to 2 tablespoons of room temperature water and mix until completely dissolved. Add this to the pot of sauce. Increase heat on the sauce to thicken and once it's thick, it's done.