Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘recipes’

Barrigas de Vieja means “the belly of an old lady”, because they are flabby, soft and without a consistent shape. I know its a funny name, but these sweet pumpkin fritters are truly delicious. They are also called “tortitas de calabaza”.  I grew up having these fritters sometimes as a snack or appetizer before dinner.  My mother and grandmother are experts making them.  You can make the batter the day before and refrigerate until ready to use.  Most recipes call for the pumpkin to be boiled, but I prefer to steam it in order to keep most of its nutrients and to avoid the pumpkin pieces to absorb too much liquid.  I find this method yields a better consistency. Wether  you call this fruit (has seeds inside and is the fruit of a flower) pumpkin, squash, calabaza, zapallo or auyama, you will find it is very versatile and can be used for sweet or savory recipes.  Here is my version of Barrigas de Vieja (Sweet Pumpkin Fritters).

Enjoy!

Barrigas de Vieja (Pumpkin Fritters)

Ingredients

4 cups cubed pumpkin (approx. 1×2 inch pieces which end up being about 2 cups once cooked and mashed)

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 egg (beaten)

about 1 cup of canola oil (to cover at least half of fritter)

Procedure


1.  Steam pumpkin until soft.  Puree with a potato masher or with fork. In a small bowl sift flour, cinnamon and salt, set aside.

2.  Add sugar and stir with a spoon. Add dry ingredients from bowl and vanilla. Continue to stir with spoon.

3.  At this point pumpkin mixture should no be too hot. Beat egg and add to mixture.  Stir until fully incorporated.

4.  Heat oil (med or med-hi depending on stove) in large frying pan.  Spoon pumpkin mixture (I use soup spoon) and turn once golden on each side (about 2 minutes each). Set aside in plate with paper towel to drain excess oil. Yields about 2 dozen units. Serve immediately as an appetizer or as a side dish.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Beans are a great source of protein, complex carbohydrates (the good carbs that give energy to brain and muscles) and dietary fiber.  Also, beans have the “good fat” your body needs and a low glycemic index, meaning they have the ability to give you energy over a sustained period of time by slowly releasing its nutrients into your blood stream. In Latin American and Caribbean dinner tables, beans are always present.  Most of the time they are stewed or refried.  I really like my version of three bean salad which is easy, healthy and full of flavor.   Also, beans are inexpensive and easy to store for long periods of time (canned or dry). I use organic canned beans when I find them. Serve this salad with your favorite lettuce, baby greens or over toasted bread as quick snack like a “bruschetta tre fagioli”.  They always taste better the next day when the flavors settle! Be mindful I add olive oil and not extra-virgin olive oil. My aunt Evamari makes a wicked three bean salad similar to this one.  Keeps in the fridge for about a week.

Enjoy!

Three Bean Salad

Ingredients

1 15.5 ounce canned black beans

1 15.5 ounce canned pink beans

1 15.5 ounce canned chickpeas

4 tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro

4 tbsp finely chopped red onion

2 fresh garlic cloves minced

2 tbsp finely chopped red bell pepper

2 tsp fine sea salt

pinch ground cumin

pinch smoked sweet paprika

2 cups of olive oil

pepper to taste

Procedure

1.  Open cans and drain beans in colander.  In a large bowl, mix all ingredients and refrigerate.  Serve with green salad, alone or over toasted bread.

Read Full Post »

I don’t know why it feels so good to get your hands dirty with soil and plant herbs in your home.  It can be done in apartments or houses and there is no doubt that dishes prepared with fresh herbs are more aromatic, colorful and savory.  I have had success stories as well as disasters with my gardening, but I keep going at it.

I have mentioned in previous posts that I have a fresh herb garden.  It was not very pretty, rather a bit wild, so last Monday I worked on it with my daughter to make it look appealing and more organized .   We transplanted the rosemary and oregano to pots and sowed new seeds for sweet basil, cilantro and italian parsley.   I have not been very lucky with my sweet basil, but have high hopes this time around.  I must tell you it is not an organic garden yet, but I am working on getting organic top soil and making compost in the near future when I start a bedding for my vegetable garden.

I was looking for a cool way to lable my herb garden when, tadah!!! Martha Stewart “personally” sent me an email with a great idea!  Ja, ja!!  So I went with the kids to my backyard and started looking for rocks approximately the size of the palm of their hands. We found really beautiful quarz-like smooth rocks that problably I had thrown away from a nice flower centerpiece I got as a present or something like that, because they where very different from the rest of the rocks in my backyard. Anyway, they were lovely,  so I took out a blue Sharpie and started to lable my herb garden. Turned out so nice and really pretty! Tomorrow Cristina and I will soil our hands to teach the girls in our Girl Scout Troop to pot and care for cherry tomatoes. By doing this, we will try to plant a seed in the hearts and minds of the next generation to love and care for our Planet and all living things.

Have a nice Earth Day!

Meet Rosemary. Ja! You can see Culantro (recao) in the back on the ground starting to spread its seeds.

Recao- Culantro

Sweet Basil starting to grow

Read Full Post »

This is a delicious easy alternative for a week day family dinner.  You can leave the pork tenderloins seasoned the night before. The brown sugar gives the tenderloin a sweet golden finish and helps make an amazing onion cream sauce.  It is different and tastes so good!  I use fresh rosemary from my herb garden but you can use dried if you want.  Just remember nothing beats the flavor of fresh herbs, with the exception of dried oregano in italian cooking. I make this dish for my family and always get outstanding reviews.  Great with homemade mashed potatoes or salad.

Enjoy!

Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients

2 pork tenderloins

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp fresh ground pepper

1 tbsp fresh rosemary

2 garlic cloves (mashed)

1/4 cup of brown sugar

1/4 cup of white wine

1 medium onion  sliced

1/2 cup of heavy cream

Procedure:


1.  Clean pork tenderloins from excess fat.

2.  Mash garlic cloves with a pinch of the salt in a mortar and pestle.  Mix with brown sugar, pepper, remaining salt and rosemary to create a paste and rub on tenderloins.

3.  In a heavy bottomed medium size casserole (caldero) or dutch oven,  heat extra virgin olive oil (med-hi heat).  Add pork tenderloins and brown on one side for about 5 -7minutes.

4.  Add white wine and flip to brown on the other side for about 5 minutes. Lower heat to med-low, cover and cook for about 15 minutes. Check for doneness.

5.  Remove tenderloins form pan and add onions to the meat-wine juices left in the pan.  Saute until onions caramelized and add heavy cream. Do not let juices to evaporate completely. If too high lower heat (stoves vary so use common sense).

6.  Meanwhile, cut tenderloin into medallions and add juices from your cutting plate to the onions in the pan.  Allow sauce to reduce until creamy in texture.

7.  Pour sauce over medallions.   Serve immediately with salad or vegetables.

Read Full Post »

Marinara Sauce

Marinara Sauce is mainly used for pasta, but it can also be used as the basis or complement for many other dishes like lasagna, vodka sauce, fried calamari and veal parmigiana among others.  Since making fresh marinara sauce is so easy, you have no excuse to make it homemade every time! Many of you might think I am crazy, but give it a try.  Its so light and tasty and fresh that I haven’t bought a commercial marinara sauce in years (well… maybe once. Ja!).

Marinara derives from the italian word “marinaio”  which means from the sea or sailor. From what I have read, it was often served to sailors in Naples with pasta as a welcome back meal from fishing or travel. Of course this was after the Spaniards had introduced tomatoes to the European diet from the New World. It does not necessarily include fruits of the sea, but you can serve with sauté shrimp or add anchovies if you like.   Sometimes, I like to add a few pinches of red pepper flakes (peperoncino) to make the spicy sauce for penne all’arrabiata (my favorite!!!!).  I always keep in my pantry canned whole peeled tomatoes so that I have at hand “in case of emergency”. They are so versatile! I like the sauce to be “chunky” so I crush the tomatoes with my hands, but if you want the sauce to be more liquid and uniform you can pureé the tomatoes in a blender before adding to the sauce pan.  With “chunky” sauces like this one or bolognese, I use penne pasta, bucatini or any pasta with texture and/or holes so that the ingredients in the sauce fill them up and you get an explosion of flavor in every bite. With white or creamy sauces I like to use flat and/or long pasta or filled pasta.  These are just suggestions and what I usually do, but nothing is written on stone; you can serve as you like.

Here is my recipe for Marinara Sauce.  Enjoy!

Marinara Sauce

This recipe is for about 1 pound of pasta (4 cups of penne) and serves approximately 6 persons.

Ingredients

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 large clove of garlic (minced)

1/4 cup of white or yellow onion (finely chopped)

1/4 cup of carrots (peeled and finely diced)

2 cans of whole peeled tomatoes (14.5 oz each)

1/2 tsp dried oregano

2 tsp of kosher salt

pepper to taste (for cooking the sauce and when serving)

4 or 5 fresh basil leaves (chopped)

Procedure


1.  In a medium saucepan, head extra virgin olive oil (med-low) and add onions and carrots. Sauté for about 5 minutes.

2.  Add garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes.

3.  Add hand crushed tomatoes (or puree tomatoes in a blender if you want the sauce more liquid than chunky), oregano, salt and pepper. Cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally.

4.  Add basil and cook uncovered for about 5 minutes or until desired consistency has been reached.  Add to pasta. Mix well and serve immediately with fresh grated parmesan cheese. (If preparing as a complement for another recipe, store in refrigerator until ready to use.)

Read Full Post »

Rice is one of the foods that most cultures around the world have in common.  The difference is the method each prepares or seasons the rice.  I like rice in any “way, shape or form”. Ja!  However, I make it only once or twice a week as opposed to almost every day like my mother used to while I was growing up.  As you can see… I like to mix things up a bit in the kitchen.

Jasmine Rice, a variety native to Thailand, is very aromatic and tastes delicious cooked just plain.  I also like to make it with vegetables as the main dish. It is a satisfying, flavorful and colorful dish.  Jasmine rice will cling but not stick too much due to a lower amount of starch in its grains compared to other varieties (of course when cooked properly).

Enjoy!

Jasmine Rice with Vegetables

Ingredients

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 carrot (chopped)

1/2 cup frozen green peas

1/4 cup yellow or white onion (chopped)

2 cups jasmine rice

1/4 tsp saffron threads

1 cup water

1 3/4 cupsvegetable broth

2 tsp kosher salt

Procedure

1.   Warm up water a bit in microwave.  Place saffron threads in water and allow to bloom.

2.  In a heavy sauce pan or “caldero” heat (medium) extra virgin olive oil and add carrots, onion and green peas.  Sauté for about 3 minutes until onion is translucent.

3.  Add rice and sauté for about 2 minutes over medium heat. Add water-saffron mixture, vegetable broth and salt.

4.  Allow water to evaporate and then stir.   Bring heat to low and cover until done.

Read Full Post »

Pear Bliss

Sometimes I open the fridge and start improvising with the ingredients and/or leftovers I happen to find. I don’t like to throw away food so I am very creative with my everyday cooking.  I can humbly say most of the time the outcome of my experiments are pretty good.  I got the inspiration to make this dessert when one day about one year ago, I looked at a large fruit bowl I have in my kitchen and had about 8 ripe green bartlett pears. What had happened was that I bought a box of these pears at Costco on an impulse the week before without realizing my family and I wouldn’t be able to eat all of them before they spoiled.   So I started skimming through my collection of food magazines and books and found a pear pie in an edition of Everyday Food.  I read the recipe and made my own version with the ingredients I had at hand.  The outcome was this delicious pear custard pie. I called it Pear Bliss because it is so light and I couldn’t figure out how to describe it because it is neither a cake, custard, flan or pie by definition, texture or appearance. It is easy and fast to make.  For a more decadent version make it “a la mode” with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and caramel syrup on top.

Pear Bliss

Ingredients

1/4 cup butter (melted) plus some for pie dish

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour

3 large eggs

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup evaporated milk

3 Bartlett, Comice or D’Anjou pears (quartered and cored)

confectioners sugar for dusting

Procedure


1.  Pre-heat oven at 350º f.  Butter 9 inch pie dish (I use a glass Pyrex round 9” pie dish)

2.  In a blender, process melted butter, granulated sugar, flour, vanilla extract, eggs and evaporated milk until completely blended.

3.  Slice pears about 1/4 inch thick lengthwise.

4.  Arrange sliced pears in greased pie dish in a circular pattern.  Once finished arranging the pear slices, press down with the palm of your hand to level.

5.  Pour batter over pears and place in oven for 50 minutes.

6.  Let cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Enjoy!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »