Creamy Lemon-Pepper Orzo with Grilled Chicken

Creamy Lem-Pepper Orzo GrilledChickenI am super excited about my Creamy Lemon-Pepper Orzo with seasoned grill chicken. If you love risotto as much as I do, but want something quick, this easy and simple orzo takes only half the time. Not only is it yummy, rich cheese and cream are switched out for tangy Greek yogurt and goat cheese for equally satisfying creaminess (and keeping it healthy).  This dish is a true classic year round.  You can use any type of protein making this dish, and I like to use chicken tights or chicken sausages.

Ingredients

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup whole-wheat or other whole-grain orzo
  • 1 cup frozen petite peas
  • 2 ounces finely crumbled goat cheese
  • 4 tbs chopped fresh herbs, basil & tarragon
  • 1/4 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • Zest & juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 teaspoons EVOO
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon & Pepper Seasoning (Perfect Pinch by McCormick)

Let’s make this happen…

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil; prepare a grill or grill pan for medium heat.
  2. Whisk together the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of the oil and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper seasoning in a medium bowl until well combined.
  3. Rub the chicken thighs with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and sprinkle salt, pepper and Lemon & Pepper seasoning.  Season-Chicken-Thighs
  4. Grill until nicely marked and cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand for at least 5 minutes.
  5. Add the orzo to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions for al dente, stirring in the peas during the last-minute of cooking. Drain the orzo and peas, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
  6. Stir the orzo and peas into the yogurt mixture, along with the goat cheese, 3 tablespoons of the herbs and at least 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid, until well combined. Transfer to a platter.
  7. Thinly slice the chicken and arrange on top of the orzo. Sprinkle with the lemon zest and the remaining 1 tablespoon herbs.

 

 

PAIRING SUGGESTIONS

Chardonnay – White Burgundy | Chablis – this unoaked example of chardonnay will give you the highest acidity, best for super lemony dishes!  

Sauvignon Blanc – best with a grilled lemon chicken dish 

Riesling – if you want to go down this route, make sure you’re picking a completely dry example of Riesling, nothing sweet!

fork knive glass

Enjoy

Chef EdieM

Asian Style Chicken Lettuce Wraps

These Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps are one of my many favorite dinners.  Those who knows me and knows me well, I am always on the lookout for easy and fast dinners. This recipe is one that took me years of trial and error, and lots of fun taste-testing, to get it just right.  I’ve made a few versions in the past, but finally this is the best one because of its simplicity.  These Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps make the perfect easy dinner, but they’d also make an easy appetizer as well. I hope you love them as much as I do, enjoy!

chicken lettuce wraps

SUBSTITUTIONS | POTENTIAL 
Ground Chicken – finely diced chicken breasts are a great substitute for ground chicken
Peanut Oil – if you don’t have peanut oil or if anyone has a peanut allergy. Use Olive Oil or Avocado Oil
Soy Sauce – if you have a soy allergy you can substitute coconut amino(s) for the soy sauce
Peanut Butter – if you have a peanut (nuts) allergy; seed butter could work here

Let’s make this happen…

AsianChickLettWraps

Ingredients
¼ cup Hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 lb ground chicken
1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 scallions, whites and greens, chopped
1 large head of Japanese or Bibb Lettuce, leaves separated

 

 

Instructions
1. In a small bowl, combine the hoisin, soy sauce and ⅓ cup water.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and the chicken and cook, breaking up the chicken as it cooks, until browned, about 5 minutes.
3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the carrot and the remaining 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
4. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and the scallion whites and cook an additional minute.
5. Stir in the hoisin and continue to cook until the sauce thickens, another 1-2 minutes.

Be creative with your wraps!

 

Serve | Place some of the mixture in a lettuce leaf and top with some of the scallion greens.

Pear | Pinot Grigio: King Estate ‘Signature Collection’ Pinot Gris ~ $16 and/or Riesling: Red Tail Ridge Dry Riesling $17

Enjoy, Chef Edie M

Celery Stalk Healthy Benefits | Wasabi Bloody Mary

CELERY

Apples walk away with most health accolades, and spinach leads the healthy veggie brigade. Compared to them, celery is somewhat unsung, but once you read it’s incredible–and nearly endless–list of health benefits, you will quickly join its growing list of lovers.

  • Celery is a great choice if you are watching your weight. One large stalk contains only 10 calories! So, add celery to your shopping list and enjoy it in your salads, soups and stir-fries.
  • Celery reduces inflammation. If you are suffering from joint pains, lung infections, asthma, or acne, eating more celery will bring much-needed relief.
  • It helps you calm down: Celery for stress-relief? Oh yes! The minerals in celery, especially magnesium, and the essential oil in it, soothe the nervous system. If you enjoy a celery-based snack in the evening, you will sleep better.
  • It regulates the body’s alkaline balance, thus protecting you from problems such as acidity.
  • Celery aids digestion: some say celery tastes like “crunchy water,” and that is the reason it is so good for your digestive system. The high water content of celery, combined with the insoluble fiber in it, makes it a great tool for easy passage of stool. Note: because celery has diuretic and cleansing properties, those with diarrhea should avoid eating it.
  • It contains “good” salts. Yes, celery does contain sodium, but it is not the same thing as table salt. The salt in celery is organic, natural and essential for your health.
  • It cares for your eyes. One large stalk of celery can deliver up to 10 percent of your daily need for Vitamin A, a group of nutrients that protects the eyes and prevents age-related degeneration of vision.
  • Celery reduces “bad” cholesterol: There is a component in celery called butylphthalide. It gives the vegetable its flavor and scent. Guess what: this component also reduces bad cholesterol! A Chicago University research shows that just two stalks of celery a day can reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) by up to 7 points!
  • It lowers blood pressure: An active compound called phthalides in celery has been proven to boost circulatory health. Raw, whole celery reduces high blood pressure.
  • It can amp up your sex life: and this is not just hearsay. Dr. Alan R. Hirsch, Director of the Smeel and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, says two pheromones in celery–androstenone and androstenol–boost your arousal levels. They are released when you chew on a celery stalk.
  • Celery can combat cancer: Two studies at the University of Illinois show that a powerful flavonoid in celery, called luteolin, inhibits the growth of cancer cells, especially in the pancreas. Another study suggests that the regular intake of celery could significantly delay the formation of breast cancer cells.

Useful Tips: Choose celery with upright stalks that snap when bent. The leaves should be fresh and crisp. When selecting celery, remember this rule of thumb: The darker the color, the stronger the flavor. Freshly chopped celery retains its nutrients much better than if you chop and store it even for a few hours. Steamed celery not only retains its flavor, but also most of its nutrients–up to 99 percent of them, in fact!

Sake Bloody Mary
Sake Bloody Mary

Making new traditions for the past two years with my sister, Felicia. Day trips at the beach are among the most honored family traditions with my sister. Excitement, with very little stress, and over all fun times at the beach. Our day starts at our favorite spot Pop’s Garage on the boardwalk in Asbury Park down at the Jersey Shore. Felicia will have her Mimosa and I the Bloody Mary. By the way Asbury Park is a great place to shop, dine, stroll the boardwalk or enjoy the beach and surf. The city has a wonderful downtown mixed with restaurants, clubs with a mix of art galleries, antique and retail shops. After several hours in the sun, we head out to McLoone’s Asbury Grille for our afternoon drinks and lunch with it’s fine casual menu in a relaxed atmosphere with both indoor and outdoor seating. Great!!

Bloody Mary | Two of my favorites

Drinks

Wasabi Bloody Mary

  • 1 OZ SMIRNOFF PROOF VODKA
  • 3 OZ TOMATO JUICE
  • 6 DASH(ES) WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE
  • 3 DASH(ES) HOT SAUCE
  • 1 PINCH(ES) PEPPER
  • 1 SQUEEZE(S) WASABI
  • 1 Celery Stalk

Homemade Sake Bloody MarySake & Shōchū Bloody Mary

  • 3 cups tomato juice or V8
  • 1 1/2 cups Shōchū
  • 3 tablespoons Sake
  • 2 tablespoons Teriyaki sauce
  • 2 tablespoons pickled Ginger brine
  • 2 tablespoons Mso paste
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice from 1 lime
  • 2 teaspoons Wasabi powder, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Togarashi (red chili peppers Japanese condiment)
  • 6 lime wedges from 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup Kosher salt
  • 12 pieces pickled ginger
  1. In a large pitcher, combine tomato juice, sochu, sake, teriyaki sauce, ginger brine, miso paste, lime juice, wasabi powder, and 1 tablespoon togarashi. Stir well until miso paste is fully dissolved.
  2. On a small plate, combine salt and 1 tablespoon togarashi. Run a lime wedge around the rim of 6 tall beer or Collins glasses and coat edge with salt-togarashi mixture. Place a lime wedge on the edge of each glass and fill with ice.
  3. Pour cocktail into glasses and garnish with a cocktail skewer threaded with 2 pieces of pickled ginger.

Peace and Mind

Chef EdieM

Herring |Toast |Salted Cucumber |Horseradish

Herring is one of the best sources of vitamin D as well as other vitamins, proteins and minerals. Vitamin D plays a prominent role in the body’s absorption of phosphorus and calcium and in the formation of bones.

Herring & Toast

Like crisp bread and potatoes, numerous studies show that those who frequently eat fish are healthier. Herring, like salmon and other fatty fish, contains valuable Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids that promote a healthy heart, regulate blood pressure, reduce blood clotting and strengthen the immune system.  Maybe you are a big fan of Herring or maybe you’re not. But don’t judge because you never had it prepared right, however if you don’t appreciate Herring you miss a fish that’s good for you, Omega 3 source, Vitamin D, Vitamin D12 and  besides being good for your health and all that for a very cheap price.

Let’s make this happen,

A potent combination of fresh Herring, pungent horseradish and refreshing cucumber that’s a smashing start to any meal, here is what is needed to make it happen.  30 minutes to 1 hour preparation time | Serves 4

Ingredients:

½ Cucumbers, peeled, thinly sliced on a mandoline

4 tbsp Grated fresh horseradish

2 Heaped tablespoon crème fraîche

2 tsp English mustard powder

4 fresh Herring fillets

Salt | Freshly ground black pepper

1 Tsp butter

To serve:

4 Slices soda bread, toasted, buttered

1 Red onion, thinly sliced

1 Lemon

Preparation Method:

  1. For the salted cucumber and horseradish, place the cucumber slices into a colander and sprinkle with plenty of salt. Mix well and leave the contents to drain over the sink for half an hour.
  1. Rinse the salt off the cucumber with cold water, then leave to drain. Gently wring out any excess moisture from the cucumber with your hands, then set aside.
  1. In a clean bowl, mix the horseradish with the crème fraîche and mustard powder, making sure the mustard powder is well combined with no lumps. Set aside.
  1. Season the Herring fillets on their skin side with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  1. Heat the butter in a frying pan until it is foaming. Add the fillets skin-side down. Place a heat-proof plate onto the cooking fillets, as this will make sure they stay flat and cook evenly. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until nearly cooked through, then turn the fillets and cook for 30 seconds, or until just cooked through.
  1. To serve, place a small handful of the cucumber onto the toast. Place the cooked Herring fillets onto the cucumber. Place a dollop of the horseradish sauce on top and garnish with a little of the sliced red onion and a squeeze of lemon.

Chef  EdieM

Ensalada de Bacalao | Cod Fish Salad with Mojito

Puerto Rican Codfish Salad | Ensalada de Bacalao

Ensalada de Bacalao (Codfish Salad)

Ingredients
2 lbs, dry/salted bacalao, desalted
4 white potatoes, boiled and cubed
1 large red onion, peeled and sliced into rings
3 tomatoes, sliced
½ green bell pepper, thinly sliced
½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
3 hard boiled eggs, shelled cooled and sliced
4 Fresh garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 avocados, sliced
1 small jar of red pimientos, sliced
½ cup Spanish olives ½ cup olive oil 1 tbsp of white vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Let’s make this happen…

  1. Rinse codfish under warm running water to rinse off excess salt. Then add to a pot of boiling water, let it boil for about ½ hour. Drain the water, add fresh water and boil again for 20 minutes. Drain and let it cool.
  2. Shred or pull apart into bite size pieces using your fingers. Set aside to let drain and cool again.
  3. Clean, peel and dice potatoes into large cubes. Boil the potatoes for only 20 minutes. Let potatoes, sit and cool.
  4. Boil the eggs.
  5. Place the fish in the salad bowl as the first layer. Add the other ingredients except for the olive oil, vinegar & hard boiled eggs. Make other layers with the codfish and all the ingredients until all is used up., salt, and pepper. Combine vinegar & olive and drizzle over the salad. Gently toss until all ingredients are well coated with the dressing. Add sliced boiled eggs, & garnish with red pimientos.

Serves 6

Pairing: Ice Cold Mojito

Mojito Ingredients: Original recipe makes 1 cocktail Change Servings

10 Fresh mint leaves

½ Lime cut into 4 wedges

2 tablespoons white sugar, or to taste

1 cup ice cubes

1 ½ Ounces White Bacardi Rum

1/2 cup Club Soda

Let’s make this happen…

  1. Place mint leaves and 1 lime wedge into a sturdy glass. Use a muddler to crush the mint and lime to release the mint oils and lime juice.
  2. Add 2 more lime wedges and the sugar, and muddle again to release the lime juice. Do not strain the mixture.
  3. Fill the glass almost to the top with ice.
  4. Pour the rum over the ice, and fill the glass with carbonated water. Stir, taste, and add more sugar if desired.
  5. Garnish with the remaining lime wedge.

Note: If you’re going to muddle the mint leaves in the glass, add a little sugar to it too. The sugar is an abrasive and will grind up the leaves very well

Mojito Drinks

 

 

Enjoy Chef EdieM

Coconut Flan (Flan de Coco)

Let’s make this happen….

• ¾ cup white sugar
• 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
• 1 (12 fluid ounce) can coconut milk (Goya)
• 8 eggs
• 1/2 cup fresh shredded coconut
• 4 oz Philadelphia original cream cheese

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place 1 cup of the sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook gently, without stirring, but shaking occasionally until the sugar has melted. Continue cooking until the sugar has completely melted and turned golden brown; then add 2 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk. Pour into a large, glass baking dish. Spread the caramel evenly over the bottom of the dish, then set aside to cool for 15 minutes before proceeding.

3. Once the caramel has hardened, shred coconut over caramel.

4. Pour the condensed milk, coconut milk, cream cheese and eggs into a blender. Blend for 3-5 minutes until smooth. Pour into baking dish over the caramel.

5. Pour 2 cups of cold water into larger deep baking pan, then place glass baking dish into the larger baking pan. You want to prevent the burning of the caramel and helps keeps the flan from sinking. Bake in preheated oven for 45-60 minutes or until set. When done, remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the dish to separate the flan from the sides. Refrigerate overnight. Place flat dish over baking pan, flip and enjoy!

Latin Fusion for any Party

Latin Fusion for any Party

I’ve complied all the fixing you’ll need for a very special Latin Fusion Party!  Invite your family and friends over and impress them with a Bistro-Chic Style

Latin Fusion Dinner Party

Arroz con Leche/ Spanish Rice Pudding

Arroz con Gandules/Spainish Rice

Pasteles/Latin Savory Cakes

Pernil/ Roast  Garlic Pork

Yucca con Mojo/Yuca with Garlic Sauce

Pumpkin & Spanish Flan

Clam Soup with Garlic & Shrimp

Deep Fried Peppers Stuffed with Cod

Mini Meatball Sliders

Ginger Holiday Martini

whole roasted pork
Roast Pork

 

Growing up and being Latina….
I was completely unaware that I was an American Latino until maybe the fourth or fifth grade. I realized it more and more during my lunch time, and while some of my classmates carried brown paper bags with them to the cafeteria, others got in line for the free lunch or ate at the corner deli shop. As for me, I had to walk home every day with my sisters back and forth for my lunch.

First, we were strapped for money (coming from large family of seven at the time) so I needed to go home and also the food was great especially the left-overs (e.g.) arroz con frijoles (rice and beans) and if there were no leftovers it was Jamón y queso y pan con mayonesa (ham and cheese sandwiches with mayo).

As my journey through school continued, my parents couldn’t help me with my homework the way other parents could because my parents lacked education. I was totally on my own when it came to my education. I lacked talent on building friendships during school yet strictly paid attention in class to avoid the risk of being a failure. I also had to translate for my parents, not like English to Spanish, but translate what was being said so they can comprehend the English language and as a young confused girl, this was the worst thing you could ask me to do since I had no idea what was going on!

I was bullied in school and in the neighborhood, because the way I looked, having pale skin, reddish blonde hair and green eyes – features people don’t typically identify as Latina. I was constantly asked and questioned, “Where are you really from?”, or “Can you speak Spanish, right”? Or constantly questioned why I looked different from my other siblings whom had dark skin and dark hair.

Indeed it was painful and rough for me growing up and did I mention it affected me socially, too. I couldn’t do a lot of things my friends could, such as sleepover or movies. Strict Latino up bringing parents or just punishment.

In the end “Yes, I am Latina,” proud of it and it was different and difficult then, but much, much better now.

Jumbo Shrimp Stuffed with Cilantro & Hot Chile

stuffed shrimp
Stuffed Jumbo Shrimp with Cilantro & Chile

What you will need to make the awesome dish!

  • 8 – 10 jumbo shrimp, in the shell (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • fresh thyme, leaves stripped
  • Juice of 2 limes (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 large jalapeno, with seeds
  • 2 scallions (white and green parts)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

JumboShrimpStuffCilentro

Let’s make this happen

  1. Prepare an outdoor grill with a medium-high fire. Without removing the shells, slit about 3/4 of the way through the shrimp down the ridged back and devein that runs down the center.
  2. Rinse with lemon water (gives it that fresh taste) and pat dry shrimp. Whisk thyme leaves, lime juice, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and black pepper, to taste, in a shallow bowl.
  3. Lay the shrimp cut side down in the lime mixture, cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. In a food processor, pulse the garlic, jalapeno, scallions, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt to make a coarse paste. Add the cilantro ( I like allot of it, but than again that’s me) and pulse just enough to incorporate into the mixture. Spoon the mixture into the opening in the shrimp and close the shrimp.
  5. Grill the shrimp shell side down (to keep filling from falling out) for 3 minutes. Turn to the other shell side, cover, and grill another 2 minutes or until the shrimp turn pink and are slightly firm to the touch. Sprinkle with salt and serve.

 

Bon Appetit from Chef EdieM ~ Have a Corona on me, with a side salad of mango’s and greens mix.

Roast Pork | Pernil Asado

Roast Pork | Pernil Asado This traditional Puerto Rican roast pork recipe results in a tender and succulent, melt in your mouth entree for the dinner table.  Pernil Asado is pork leg, pork shoulder or Loin, marinated in a sauce made with beautiful spices and beer, onion, garlic, scallions, achiote and cumin, then slow roasted in the oven for hours. A few minutes at the end of the slow roasting time crisps up the skin and you will have a hard time deciding if you like the tender meat or the crackling skin better!

 

 Ingredients

 1 (10 to 12 pounds) pork leg or shoulder with bone-in (I prefer without bone)

1 large white onion, diced

8 scallions, chopped

10 cloves garlic, crushed

3 tablespoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon achiote powder

1 ½ teaspoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons white vinegar

6 cups dark beer

Kosher salt |freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 Let’s make this happen:

  1.  Place pork in a large roasting pan that fits in the fridge and your oven.
  2. To make the marinade: Place all ingredients in the blender or food processor. Process until well combined.   
  3.  Make deep incisions on both sides of pork and rub the marinade all over the pork. Cover pan with plastic wrap and let marinate for 24 hours in the fridge.   
  4.  Pour the beer and ground achiote over the pork leg and let it marinate for another 24 hours, turning the pork every 8 hours. When ready to cook, remove from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.   
  5.  Place the oven rack in the lowest position and preheat the oven to 325F. Cover roasting pan tightly with foil and roast for about 5 to 7 hours or until tender. To keep the pork from drying out you will need to bathe the pork with the pan sauces, using a soup ladle, about every 20 minutes.   
  6.  When the pork is tender remove foil from pan and let broil about 5 to 7 minutes or until skin is crisp and crackling.

 Serve with:  Puerto Rican Rice and Pigeon Peas (Arroz Con Gandules) and or salad; read blog for recipes.

 Enjoy!

Chef EdieM

Plantains | Plátano

Welcome! Jillian and Peter:

My lovely niece, Jillian is getting married this May.  My son, Peter gave his girlfriend, Lauren a ring this past winter.  I am very excited and blessed to have such a beautiful family.  Welcome!

A plantain to the untrained eye could easily be mistaken for a banana. It looks and smells like a banana, but if you ever bite into a raw plantain (plátano in Spanish), you’ll know it’s not.

Plantains are bigger than bananas, harder to peel (especially when green), and cannot be eaten raw. They must be cooked for consumption. So, why are they so popular in Latin cuisine? Plantains are very versatile. They are always ready for cooking no matter what stage of ripeness – green, yellow or black, and plantains are used in different dishes from appetizers to desserts.

Stages of Ripeness
A plantain is a fruit, but considered a vegetable. When green, they are bland and starchy, much like a yucca root or potato. Medium ripe plantains are yellow or yellow dappled with black, and they are slightly sweet. When the skins have turned almost black, the plantains are fully ripe, aromatic and sweet.

How to Peel a Plantain
Peeling a plantain can be tricky. Ripe plantains peel easily, like a banana. Green plantains are very difficult to peel.   Before you begin peeling a plantain, bring it to room temperature. If you’ve store your plantains in the refrigerator, the cold temperature can make it twice as hard to peel. One trick I use is to soak the plantains in hot tap water for a few minutes to warm them up.

  1. Slice off the ends
  2. Use a sharp knife to slit the skin from tip to tip.
  3. Peel under cold running water to keep your hands from becoming stained.
  4. Peel the skin sideways in one piece.
  5. Place the peeled fruit in salted water to keep it from discoloring before cooking.

Buying Plantains
Plantains are widely available throughout the U.S. and can usually be found in the produce section of your local supermarket. At the grocery store, look for firm plantains. Avoid shriveled, squishy, or moldy fruit. You can ripen plantains by storing them at room temperature and out of direct sunlight. Turn them daily. It will take seven to ten days for green plantains to fully ripen. If you aren’t ready to use them when they’ve reach the desired stage of ripeness, you can peel and freeze them for up to three months.

I like to buy a bunch of plantains while they are green. This way, I can enjoy them over several days and at each delicious stage of ripeness. When still green, I prepare tostones or plantain chips seasoned with salt and pepper.  They go well as a side dish with rice and beans.

Plantains are a staple in the Latin diet. They are prepared many different ways, but tostones is the quickest and easiest. It’s a perfect recipe for beginners. You can serve the tostones immediately while they’re warm as a side dish or as a snack with garlic dip.

Tostones or Plantain Chips 

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 6 minutes

Total Time: 11 minutes

Ingredients:  2 green plantains, Oil for frying, Salt to taste

 Preparation:  Heat the oil to 375 degrees.

1.  While the oil is heating up, peel the green plantains and then cut them into 3/4 inch slices.  Fry the slices in the hot oil for 3 minutes. They should be a light golden color and semi-soft.

2.  Remove the plantain slices with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Tip: Maintain the oil’s temperature.

3.  When the plantain slices are cool enough to handle (about 1 minute), smash them into flat rounds. 

4.  Fry the rounds in the hot oil for 3 minutes. They will turn crisp and golden brown.  Remove the tostones with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Salt to taste.

Serves: 3-4 people

 Garlic Dipping Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

 Ingredients:

1 cup olive oil, warmed

1 head of garlic peeled, crushed and finely chopped

3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

Juice of 1 lime

salt to taste

 Preparation:

1.  Use a blender or food processor to mix the ingredients; Blend all the ingredients together in a bowl.

Three Meat Chilli-Superbowl Weekend 2014

Three Meat Chilli is served with Nachos/Guacamole, Spanish Red Rice and paired with Pinot Noir

Let’s make this happen…

1lb diced pork
1lb diced chicken tight
1 lb ground beef
(((Skin and deboned)))
8 garlic cloves – leave whole
1 large white onion diced
1/3 cup of good red wine
2 tablespoons of Dijon Mustard
2 cups of fresh crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon gravy master
2 Cans of small kidney beans (drained)
EVOO
To taste:
Ground turmeric and cumin, salt, pepper,  dill, crushed red pepper,  onion and garlic powered.
1 cup grated Romano Parmesan cheese

1.  Salt and pepper the meats.  In a large ovenproof Dutch oven, saute the meats in the EVOO until it is browned. Remove meats from the Dutch oven and set aside.

2.  In the same Dutch oven, saute the onions and whole garlic until limp. Season with all the spices.  Add the crushed tomatoes.

3.  Return the meats to the Dutch oven, add remaining ingredients, stir and cover, and simmer for 1hour.

To the table please…..
Working quickly, sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese.  Place lid onto Dutch oven. Let sit for about 2-3 minutes on a rivet.

Served with sour cream.

image

The final outcome….

image

Enjoy,
Chef Edie M

Dinner and a Movie

Several weeks ago I ran into an old college friend while I was in the city for an article writing; I suggested that we head over to Union Square Café, for those who may not know its’ location – 21 E 16th Street, Union Square Cafe serves Chef Carmen Quagliata’s American cuisine with an Italian soul, using fresh ingredients from the local Greenmarket.  My friend and I had the Chickpea & Chicken Minestra (Escarole, Corn Flour Pasta, Pecorino Romano) and Sunny Side Up Knoll Crest Egg (Pork Butcher Polenta, Wild Mushrooms) to my surprise three hours has passed so I called it a day.

The weather was holding up perfectly! What more can a gal ask for, had a great lunch with an old friend and landed a catering job “A Dinner & Movie” for 100 people in Brooklyn. Nice!!! Filled with excitement I was following my heart to one of my many favorite places in the city, the old Meatpacking District. New York City has slowly been gaining a reputation as a bastion of food innovation. I have been dining in some of New York City’s best-kept secrets for many, many years now, and I must say it’s quite an experience. This so-called food revolution happening in the Meatpacking District has seen many of the country’s best new restaurants sprouting like mushrooms in this city. I’ve traveled back and forth for many years, finding myself back home again in the big easy!  And for those of you searching for a culinary experience like no other, look no further than Spice Market, 403 W 13th Street, NYC.

Nestled amid the lofts in the trendy Meatpacking District, Spice Market is the brainchild of Star Chef Jean-Georges and Executive Sous Chef Anthony Ricco. Though Jean-Georges is one of the world’s most famous chefs, his skills extend far beyond the kitchen. A savvy businessman and restaurateur, Jean-Georges is responsible for the operation and success of a constellation of three and four star restaurants worldwide.  Jean-Georges developed his love for the exotic and aromatic flavors of the East. His signature cuisine abandons the traditional use of meat stocks and creams and instead features the intense flavors and textures from vegetable juices, fruit essences, light broths, and herbal vinaigrette’s. Jean-Georges’ culinary vision has redefined industry standards and revolutionized the way we eat.

Executive Sous Chef Anthony Ricco
Executive Sous Chef Anthony Ricco

When Spice Market opened its doors in the fleetly evolving whirl of Manhattan’s meatpacking district in early 2004, it was something else, the structure of its menu and many of its dishes are pretty much unchanged from the early days. The restaurant transports you to Southeast Asia, touching down in Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and India. It envelops you in the flavors and perfumes of those lands — in lemon grass, ginger, coconut, Thai basil. And it celebrates the sweet heat of the region’s cooking.  The decor allows the simplistic beauty of the food to really shine, though beauty isn’t the only thing bringing folks to Spice Market. The restaurant buzzed with excited energy and was comfortably full with seemingly satisfied patrons.

One of my favor dishes, Crispy pork belly with tamarind herb salad and Thai chili sugar at Spice Market.
One of my favor dishes, Crispy pork belly with tamarind herb salad and Thai chili sugar at Spice Market.

Though I would love to be selfish and keep Spice Market all to myself, is too good to stay hidden for long. What defines a trendy restaurant?  Why don’t you ask all of the people who are waiting hopefully at the bar despite the slim chance that a table will open up?  New or old, these Big Apple restaurants consistently pack in a crowd and the food ain’t too shabby either. Whether you’re looking to impress some out-of-town guests with a cool New York scene or need a place to hit before you head to the club, drop by one of these trendy haunts – if you can get a reservation, that is.

Latest Updated: 1/26/13  I received a phone call last night from my college friend and due to the unpredictable forecast of snow the “Movie & Dinner Event” in Brooklyn was put on hold (for now).  However, last week I had made backup plans for my closet friends tonight, same menu but only for a party of five. Till then, Enjoy!

Dinner & A Movie
MENU

White Wine Sangria: The beauty of the simple White Wine Sangria recipe is that it is as delicious as it is easy, and it only gets better as you add your favorite fruits!

Let’s make this happen…
• 1 Bottle white wine (Riesling, Chablis, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc)
• 2/3 cup white sugar
• 3 oranges (sliced) or may substitute 1 cup of orange juice)
• 1 lemon (sliced)
• 1 lime (sliced)
• 2 oz. brandy (optional)
• 1/2 liter of ginger ale or club soda (ginger ale for those with a sweeter tooth!)

Preparation: Pour wine in the pitcher and squeeze the juice wedges from the orange, lemon and lime into the wine, add brandy if desired. Toss in the fruit wedges (leaving out seeds if possible) and add sugar. Chill overnight. Add ginger ale or club soda just before serving. If you’d like to serve right away, use chilled white wine and serve over lots of ice.

Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes
Let’s make this happen…
• 3 pounds boiling potatoes, peeled
• Kosher salt
• 1 1/2 cups milk
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1/2 cup sour cream
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• ½ tablespoon fresh chives

Directions
1. Cut the potatoes into 1-inch cubes and place them in a large pot. Cover the potatoes with cold water and add enough salt so the water tastes quite salty. Bring to a boil, and then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 to 12 minutes, until the potatoes fall apart easily when pierced with a fork.

2. Meanwhile, heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan, making sure it doesn’t boil. Set aside until the potatoes are done.

3. As soon as the potatoes are tender, drain them in a colander. Place a food mill fitted with a small disc/blade over a glass bowl. Process the potatoes through the food mill, turning the handle back and forth to force the potatoes through the disc. As soon as the potatoes are mashed, slowly whisk in enough of the hot milk/butter mixture to make the potatoes very creamy. Add 2 teaspoons of salt, chives and the sour cream and pepper and whisk to combine. Taste for seasoning and serve hot.

Beef, Pork & Veal Meatloaf
Let’s make this happen…
• 1 pound ground veal (preferably naturally raised)
• 1 pound ground pork (preferably naturally raised Berkshire)
• 1 pound ground beef (preferably naturally raised)
• 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh chives, plus 1 teaspoon for the sauce
• 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh thyme leaves, plus 1 teaspoon for the sauce
• 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh Italian parsley, plus 1 teaspoon for the sauce
• 3 large eggs (preferably organic)
• 1 1/3 cups finely ground Panko
• 2/3 cup whole milk (preferably hormone and antibiotic free)
• 2 tablespoons kosher salt
• 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
• Olive oil
• 2 stalks of celery, finely diced
• 1 large Spanish onion, finely diced
• 2 cups chicken or beef stock
• 8 to 10 cloves roasted garlic
• 3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
1. Place the veal, pork, beef, chives, thyme, parsley, eggs, Panko, milk, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.

2. Heat a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat and film it with extra-virgin olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the celery and onion to the pan and cook, stirring, until softened. Remove the celery and onion from the pan and let cool. When the mixture is cool, add it to the mixing bowl with the other ingredients.

3. Using clean hands mix the ingredients until well combined and everything is evenly distributed. Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan (it should have sides at least 1 1/2 inches high to prevent grease runoff from the pan). Place the meat on the sheet pan and pat it and punch it down to remove any air pockets. Shape the meat into a loaf (about 14 1/2 inches long by 5 inches wide by 2 inches high). Place the sheet pan in the oven and bake 40 to 50 minutes or until a meat thermometer indicates an internal temperature of 155 to 160 degrees. Remove the meatloaf from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, for the sauce, combine the broth, roasted garlic and butter over medium-high heat and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly thickened. Add 1 teaspoon of each of the chopped thyme, chives and parsley. Slice the meatloaf into serving portions and spoon the hot sauce over the meatloaf and serve.

Chef EdieM

Food & Clothing Drive for the Rabinowitz Family

Hurricane Sandy the Aftermath

On October 31 Lauryn Rabinowitz wrote on her Facebook wall,

“Today finally made it all real that I no longer have a house 😦 sorry for everyone else who has to go through the same thing”….

In the following days to come Lauryn wrote again on her Facebook wall,

…“Even though I no longer have a house or clothes or anything along those lines I’m so thankful to have my family and boyfriend and happy that we are all safe thank you everyone who has been there for us it really means a lot”….

The aftermath of Sandy has left many homeless and helpless, please I am asking my friends, family members and co-workers, and to those on the social network to join me and to help out the Rabinowitz Family.

Lauryn Rabinowitz and my son, Peter a month prior Hurricane Sandy in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

I am organizing a charity clothing drive for Lauryn Rabinowitz and her Family. I am collecting old, never used or gently used clothing from around the New Jersey area in hopes of helping the Rabinowitz Family. The Rabinowitz family lost everything; they had fled from their home during the storm with only the cloths on their back. The family includes both parents, three girls and a 24 month old baby boy.

Articles of clothing most needed are: Jeans, sweaters, undergarments, shoes, warm coats; shoes female 7 ½ – 9, male 10-11 ½, baby boy 24 months old. Blankets, sheets or anything that can keep them warm would be a great help also.

Food needed: I am gratefully accepting food donations also, any type of store cards (i.e. Target, Shop Rite, A&P, Kids R Us, CVS, and Walgreen). Dry and canned goods are best for the family; as for the baby I strongly recommend store food cards since I am not sure what the baby needs are at the moment (eating habits or needs).

The economy’s fragile condition has eliminated many jobs in the area, leaving more and more local families like the Rabinowitz to fall into financial ruin. Then this storm “Sandy” comes and has made it worse than ever. The small task of donating your unused or old clothing can go a long way in the lives of the Rabinowitz family.

Please Donate to the Rabinowitz Family

If you wish to make a donation of any kind, clothing, food or stores cards, please mail them directly to the following:

Iris Marin C/O Rabinowitz Family
224 71st Street, Ground Level Rear
Guttenberg, NJ 07093

Your contribution would be greatly appreciated. All donations of any kind must in before the next storm.  Pick up will be made by the Rabinowitz. If you have any further questions please contact me at ediem22@yahoo.com.

Chef EdieM

Fresh Pumpkin Soup

Hum…Autumn it’s a time when you can’t escape pumpkins even if you wanted to. You see them everywhere, at the farms stands, farmer’s markets, grocery stores, and even wholesale stores. There are giant sizes from miniature sizes, yellow, orange and green. You can make good use of pumpkins in delicious foods throughout the season such as breads, pies, ice-cream and soups. Yes, pumpkin soup its appealing fall flavors of just-picked pumpkins and tart apples…and is sure to warm you up on a crisp autumn day. I like to top the creamy puree with a sprinkling of toasted pumpkin seeds. Oh boy, I’m getting hungry. You can serve pumpkin soup with brown sweet bread (molasses, oatmeal, or grain), and a salad. If you need/want the protein you can make an open-faced turkey sandwiches with apples and Havarti (a really good combination).  All great fall flavors.

Let’s make this happens…

8 cups chopped fresh pumpkin (about 3 pounds)
4 cups chicken broth
3 small tart apples, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. In a 5-qt. slow cooker, combine the first eight ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until pumpkin and apples are tender.

2. Meanwhile, toss pumpkin seeds with oil and salt. Spread onto an ungreased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 250° for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside.

TOASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS:
1/2 cup fresh pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon canola oil
1/8 teaspoon salt

3. Cool soup slightly; process in batches in a blender. Transfer to a large saucepan; heat through. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds*To make pumpkin purée, cut a sugar pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, lie face down on a tin-foil lined baking pan. Bake at 350°F until soft, about 45 min to an hour. Cool, scoop out the flesh. Freeze whatever you don’t use for future use.

Salty & Sweet Apple-Citrus Salad

2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 of each lettuces (curly endive, arugula, spinach) rinsed well and torn into pieces
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and ½” dice
2 pears, cored and ½ “dice
4-6 oz. Blue cheese or Gorgonzola (crumbled)
2 ruby red grapefruits, peeled and sectioned
2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
½ cup Almonds (toasted optional)
½ sun-dried cranberries
1 bunch green onions, green portion only, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard and vinegar. Add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream and whisk until smooth and blended.

2. In a large bowl, combine the lettuces, apples, grapefruits, oranges, green onions, salt, pepper and half of the vinaigrette and toss to mix.

3. Divide the salad among chilled salad plates, add cheese. Drizzle a little of the remaining vinaigrette over each salad and serve immediately.

 

Lucy & Chef EdieM

 

 

 

Lucy & Chef EdieM

Japanese Clear Soup

Serves 4

4 cups well-flavored chicken stock
½ cup Mirin
1 tbsp Shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)
4 Shiitake mushrooms, finely sliced
1 small carrot, finely sliced
4 fresh chives, each folded in half and tied in a knot
4 very thin lemon slices

Let’s make this happen…

1. Put the stock in a large pan and bring to a boil.

2. Stir in the mirin and soy sauce, reduce the heat and let simmer for two minutes.

3. Add the mushrooms and carrot and let simmer for 2 minutes.

4. Ladle the soup into small bowls, float a knotted chive and a lemon slice on top, and serve hot.

If you have time, use a miniature decorative cutter to cut the carrot slices into attractive shapes.

Enjoy!

Sweet Chili Salmon Hand Rolls

Japanese cuisine is one of the healthiest, most varied and beautifully presented in the world. Its dishes are characterized by delicate flavors and fresh ingredients. These tenets are most important to the meals that accompany the tea ceremony, or cha-kaiseki, but are applied throughout Japanese cuisine. The use of hashi (chopsticks) dictates that many ingredients are cut into bite-size pieces. It is said that if food cannot be drunk from a bowl or eaten with chopsticks, then it is not Japanese.

Makes 6 pieces
1 skin-on Salmon fillet, about 5 ½ oz
1 tbsp EVOO
3 large sheets of toasted nori, halved
¼ quantity freshly cooked Sushi rice
2 Scallions, halved and shredded
4 tbsp Japanese mayonnaise
2 tbsp sweet chili sauce
Salt and pepper
Thin cucumber sticks to serve

Let’s make this happen…

1. Season the salmon with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Heat the oil in a skillet until very hot, add the salmon skin-side down, and cook for 2 minutes or until the skin is very crisp.

3. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Turn the salmon over and cook until it is cooked through.

4. Remove from skillet and let cool, then flake the salmon, keeping some pieces attached to the crispy skin.

5. Lay a piece of nori out on the counter and put some rice on the sheet and spread the rice out evenly so that it takes up the bottom two-thirds of the sheet.

6. Lay a sixth of the salmon, salmon skin and scallion of the rice, then drizzle over a little mayonnaise and dot on a tiny amount of the sweet chili sauce.

7. Roll the nori into a cone, folding the bottom corner in as you roll (you will have to paste the join together with a couple of crushed grains of rice).

8. Repeat the remaining ingredients.

Serve with thin cucumber sticks and the remaining sweet chili sauce.

Pea Soup with Mint

I am trying to adjust to this long weekend after Labor Day and the weather outside is wet and nasty!  The best thing to do on a rainy day is something productive. I’ve decided to make this rainy day dish recipe. One thing about this delicious recipe is has the ability to give you that warm, cozy feeling inside, no mater how badly it’s pouring outside.  This pea soup with mint is one of my favorite cool weather recipe that is light and soul-warming bowl of delicious goodness.

 

Let’s make this happen…

2 cups – shelled Green Peas*
½ – cup Fresh Mint Leaves
½ – cup Sugar
3 – Tablespoons Fine Sea Salt
½ – pint Heavy Cream
1 lb – Unsalted Butter

Note: You can use fresh or frozen peas. If you use frozen, reduce amount of sugar by half.

1) If using fresh peas, bring 6 cups of water to boil combined with 1/2 cup kosher salt in large pot. Add peas and boil/cook for 45 seconds. Strain out peas and place them directly into a bowl of ice water. If using
frozen peas, skip step 1.

2) Strain peas from ice water and place them in blender with mint, sugar, and sea salt. If using frozen peas, place them frozen directly into blender with the mint, sugar, and sea salt.
3) Cover peas by 2 inches with cold tap water. Cover blender, and blend on highest setting for 2 minutes or until mixture is super smooth. Strain through fine mesh strainer into a container large enough to hold that plus another few inches of liquid. When straining, make sure to press as much liquid out of the pea and mint pulp as possible. Put some muscle into it, it is worth it!!

4) Cut butter into small cubes.

5) Heat Cream in small sauce pot.

6) When it just reaches boil, add 1 cube of butter. Using a whisk, whisk quickly and continuously. When first piece of butter is totally incorporated, add another couple of cubes and continue to whisk. It is very important that you do not stop whisking. As the butter becomes incorporated keep adding more and whisking until it is totally emulsified into the cream. Make sure the heat has been turned down low. If the mixture comes to a boil at this point, the cream and butter will separate resulting in a greasy mess, which is not a good idea.

7) When all cubes of butter have been totally incorporated and no solid butter remains, this sauce is called Buerre Fondue. Add half of it to the pea/mint liquid and whisk to incorporate. Discard the remaining Buerre fondue. (You have to use a full pound of butter to achieve the right consistency, even though you are not using the whole amount in the soup.

You may make the soup up to 1 day before you serve it. To serve, heat soup over medium serve and enjoy.

End of summer

We all need to say farewell to the fresh flavors of Summer, the warm sand at the beaches and free movies in the park. But don’t let summer slip away without a proper send-off. The calendar tells us that the seasons change in mid-September, but we all know that the unofficial end to summer is Labor Day. So before the routines and formality of autumn set in, let’s enjoy one last summer party to say farewell to summer. Let’s all savor and stay out late to enjoy the final strains of summer’s nightly serenades, walks at the beach, BBQ at the parks and staying at home with good food, good spirits and great company!

Edie’s Orzo Clam & Shrimp Soup

…my signature dish, which I enjoy making during the End of Summer and throughout the winter! 

Lets make this happen…

3 Doz Little necks
2 Lb Chopped clams
2 Lbs Jumbo cleaned|deveined shrimp
½ Cup Clam juice
½ Cup Lemon juice
3 Cups Water
1 Lbs Butter
1¾ Cups Chicken stock
1 Cups White cooking wine
½ Cup Orzo
2 Tbsp Olive oil
1 Tbsp Flour
5 Cloves Garlic
Salt and pepper

1. In large soup kettle melt butter and add in olive oil.

2. Add garlic (chopped); cook gently 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.

3. Blend in flour, stirring constantly for about 1 minute. Let the flour absorb the oil.

4. Add all liquids bring to a boil; stirring constantly. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.

5. Add Orzo noodles, stirring occasionally cook for 5 minutes; shut off and let it stand for 5 minutes.

6. Wash and peel shrimp; clean and brush the little necks; rinse out fresh chopped clams.

7. Turn on soup to a medium heat and add the rest of the seafood. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cover, reduce low and simmer 5 minutes.

Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish with dill, if desired, and serve hot.

VARIATION: Add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or cilantro just before serving.
Can be served as a starter with French bread and a glass of wine!

Chicken Cacciatore

This weekend was a “working and fun weekend”, the breakdown, business traveled on Tuesday, worked Monday and Wednesday, Thursday and Friday was a nightmare at home for me! Awaken from a deep sleep from sounds that was coming from my bathroom; I walked into an inch of water that was backing up from the street mainline. Well, 20 hours later and three plumbers the problem was resolved.
That Friday afternoon I was on the road again to meet up with a friend, three hours later we’re in Atlantic City to meet with up with the girls for the Marc Anthony GIGANT3S concert.

After the concert, we had a quick dinner and after an hour on the slots we decided to return home.
Slept only four hours and that Saturday morning I started to head out to run errands, when a phone call was received for an invite to a BBQ.
It was crunch time for me; I needed to bring something to the BBQ. What was fast, simple and tasty? I decided to make two Coconut & Strawberry flans.
I did the jam for six hours at the BBQ and coming back home I was so exhausted that I crashed on the sofa.
Sunday, early part of the day was filled with a few more errands; I made brunch for three (which was not planned), cooked two dishes for the week for my friend (Chicken Cacciatore and Chicken Marsala) did some grocery shopping and had another late lunch…what a weekend!!

Let’s make this happen…

3/4 cup uncooked converted white rice
1 1/2 cups water
1 Tablespoon EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz small fresh mushrooms, quartered
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into large dice
3/4 t freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t dried oregano, crumbled
1/2 t dried tarragon, crumbled
1/8 t salt
1/4 cup Chardonnay
1 can (28 oz) tomatoes in puree, drained, reserving 1/2 cup of puree
2 T tomato paste
12 oz skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1) Combine rice and water in a medium saucepan and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes or until rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside, covered (rice will stay warm).

2) Meanwhile, in a large heavy non-stick skillet, warm the oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and garlic, stir to coat well with oil. Stir in the mushrooms, bell peppers, black pepper, oregano, tarragon and salt; sauté, tossing the vegetables, for 3 minutes or until they start to soften. Stir in the wine and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes longer, or until the vegetables are tender.

3) Coarsely chop the tomatoes, and add with their reserved puree and the tomato paste to the skillet. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Uncover the pot and simmer for 5 minutes longer.

4) Stir in the chicken and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes longer, or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve over rice.

Enjoy!

Lumpia (Filipino Egg Roll)

Let’s make this happen…

1 (20 count) package Lumpia skins

1/2 lb. ground beef

1/2 lb. ground pork

1 cup green onion, minced

1 cup carrot, minced

1 cup celery, minced

1 egg, beaten

4 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

 

Sealing: Seal wrappers with following mixture ¼ cup flour and ¼ cup water.

Directions:

1) Brown beef and pork, until almost completely cooked. Drain fat. Cool and process in food processor or chop up into fine pieces with fork.

2) Combine meats, vegetables, egg, sauces, and pepper in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 40-50 minutes for flavors to settle or better yet leave the filling in the refrigerator to marinate overnight.

3) Prepare wrapper (by separating) and place on a separate plate. Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of filling in the center of the wrapper.  Note: The wrapper packages usually have instructions for rolling tips.

4) Fold left edge over all the way, then bring down top and bottom, and then roll the rest of the way to the right, making a roll, (it will look like an egg roll when done, only thinner and longer).  Note: To seal use the flour and water mixture.

5) After you have assembled all the Lumpia, heat your oil to 375 degrees (deep fryer is OK, however a deep cast iron frying pan is the best) . Fry until golden brown, turning often, approximately 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels. 

6) Serve with sweet and sour sauce.

Distinct Cuisine

Spanish food consists of freshly prepared dishes made with locally produced and fresh ingredients such as extra virgin olive oils (EVOO), wines, cheeses, chick peas, rice almonds, garlic, saffron, and fresh fruit. Add to these more olive oil and wine, very fresh fish, seafood, game, cured hams, sausages like chorizo, chicken and fresh breads and you get a whole list of popular Spanish foods, mildly spiced yet full of flavors.

Spain has a rich and diverse cuisine, reflecting its extensive history and culture. It is a country where each of the 17 Autonomous Communities, valleys, and villages has a distinct cuisine of its own and takes pride in its way of preparing simple dishes that can provide you with the unique experience of consuming Mediterranean food.

The Paella’s, Tortilla Espanola de Patatas and Gazpacho’s dishes are Spain’s national food which is infused sometime with Chorizo (Spanish Pork Sausage).

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Paella de Marisco (Paella Seafood)  Originated in Valencia, where villagers mixed rice with snails or game and vegetables and cooked it in a large pot over an open fire. Today Paella is Spain’s most well-known national food, where shellfish, seafood, meats and vegetables may be used.

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Tortilla Espanola de Patatas (Spanish omelet) Here is no doubt about it, the Tortilla Espanola or Spanish Omelet of potatoes and onions is the most commonly served dish in Spain and it is served as a breakfast, a “tapas or appetizer or dinner in ever café, diner and Spanish home.

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Gazpacho (Cold Soup) This refreshing cold soup originated in the region of Andalucía, but is popular all over Spain, especially in summer.

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Chorizo (Spanish Pork Sausage) Spanish chorizo is a red, pork sausage seasoned with paprika and garlic. It is a staple of the Spanish diet and considered a Spanish national food. It comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from fresh and “soft” to semi-cured and even dry and cured.

…” I remembered as a child growing up in Hoboken, Carmen, my oldest sister had a friend from Spain who came to family outings once in a while.  I remembered her only dishes she would bring were Octopus Pies and Cochinillo Asado (roasted baby pig).  My tastes buds were not developed yet and I must confess to you all out there I threw away my share when no one else was looking.  I thought to myself, oh God how can anyone eat this poor little animal?  My sister pleaded with me to eat and enjoy the food. I think to myself now how I made a fool of myself by crying to avoid eating it all together.

Moving forward twenty years later I met someone who came from Spain to attended NYU; I was invited to one of her dinner parties; I had no idea what would be served, I thought maybe cheese, wine, fruits or lamb. I brought over a bottle of red wine and an empty stomach.  Her place was old, small and over crowed.  Yet, her table setting was elegant and food presentation, perfect.   I must say, the aroma was out of this world and the food tasted so good.  Two hours and four bottles of wine later I was told Octopus Pie and Cochinillo Asado was the main course. Go figure! Cochinillo Asado is one of the most typical dishes in the cuisine of Castilla, especially the city of Segovia. It is roast baby pig. Its fatty outside is crisp and perfect for those who like pork rind, while its meat is tender and juicy”…

Let’s make this happen…

  • 6 lb. suckling pig
  • 1/2 cup EVOO, 1/2 cup butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 medium carrots; 1 yellow onion

Preparation:  Heat the oven to 425 degrees.

1)  Season the piglet with salt and pepper, inside and out. Wrap the ear with aluminum foil to prevent them from burning. Then, place the piglet in a large, open roasting pan. Baste with EVOO and dab with butter all over.

2)  Place in oven and roast, basting often with the pan drippings for about 2 1/2 hours.

3)  While the piglet is roasting, peel the carrots and the onion. Slice the carrots into 4 pieces each. Coarsely chop the onion. About 10 minutes before removing the piglet from the oven, place the carrots and onion in the pan with the piglet.

4)  Remove the piglet from oven when it is fully cooked. (Check meat and make sure that the juice is clear and not bloody.) Remove the aluminum foil from ears and place on a serving dish. Keep warm in a warming drawer or under heat lamps.

5)  Pour juices from roasting pan into a sauce pan with the vegetables and heat over medium heat on stove. When the juices start to sizzle, skim fat off top. Add 2 cups of water. Increase heat to high and boil rapidly to thicken. Strain through a strainer or cheesecloth.

6)  Serve the piglet on a large platter with the warm gravy on the side, roast or fried potatoes and a simple green salad.

Octopus Pie Recipe – Ingredients for Pastry

  • 2 eggs
  • 7 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon melted lard
  • 7 tablespoons milk
  • 12 ounces flour

Mix together in a large bowl eggs, salt, milk, olive oil and lard.   Add the flour, little by little, so as to form soft dough.  You will know when it is right because the dough will no longer stick to your fingers, although it will still be quite moist. Knead the dough very little. Let it rest, rolled out, while you cook the octopus and prepare the rest of the pie filling (see below).

Making and baking the pie:

Filling Ingredients:

  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pound cleaned octopus, chopped
  • Salt
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 4 large peeled tomatoes (or 2 tomatoes and 1 tablespoon tomato puree)
  • 1/2 to 1 mild red pepper, seeded and chopped

Have a casserole with boiling water and 2 bay leaves in it.   Take a cleaned octopus by one end and lower it 3 or 4 times successively into the water, which must continue to boil hard, until the octopus curls. It will curled, leave it in the water to continue cooking for about half an hour. Towards the end of the cooking, add a little salt.

Remove the octopus, let it cool, and then cut it into small pieces. Meanwhile, chop onions and fry them very gently, covered, taking care that they do not brown. Add tomatoes and let them cook too. Add mild red pepper and the pieces of cooked octopus, and continue cooking for 10 to 15 minutes more.

Note: Let the mixture cool.

Divide the pastry dough into two.   Take a wide and shallow baking tin (round 11-12 inches) diameter or a rectangular one 9 X 13 inches. Roll out half the dough so that it will cover the bottom of the chosen tin.   Lightly oil the tin. Cover the bottom of it with the pastry dough, so that the dough comes up the sides and overlaps the edges.

Spread the filling over this. Roll out the rest of the dough to make the top of the pie, and put this in place, rolling the edges over and crimping them to make a tight seal all the way round.

Cook the pie in a moderate oven 350° for approximately 30 minutes, until it is a light golden-brown.

Chef EdieM

Señores y Señoras, Puerto Rican Rice & Beans

Here is a very tasty and simple good dish that is commonly made in every Latino  household any given day of the week. Traditional this dish is served with Pork Chops and a salad.  Do you know this actually tastes better after the beans have sat in the fridge for a day or two.  *NOTE: Your Pork Chops can be fired, baked or BBQ. Then placed them in a very lightly papered greased crock-pot using EVOO along with 1 cup water and 1 tbsp of the sofrito; cooked until the Pork Chops becomes tender; Served with Red Kidney Beans, White Rice and Salad.

Let’s make this happen,

1 (16 ounce) Goya bag of Red Kidney beans (rinse and boil for an hour, drain put aside until ready to use)  or for a quick fix you can use a  can of Red Kidney beans.

Use natural seasonings people, cumin, cilantro, sea salt, and peppercorn (Stay away from the adobo it is high in sodium).

1 tablespoon EVOO (extra virgin Olive oil)

½ can of Goya tomato sauce; 1 Peeled, diced potatoes

½ cup of slice cooked ham or ½ cup pork grinds (small cubed)

2 cloves of fresh crushed garlic; 1 (5 g) packet sazon con azafran seasoning (commonly used in the Latino kitchen, it has such good flavors)

1 to 2 tablespoons of sofrito (homemade~see receipt below) it also comes pre-made in freezer or jarred, a necessary ingredient in the Latino cooking community)

2 cups of white rice, uncooked

Directions:

1) Made by Goya products & brand can be found in the Spanish/Latin section of your grocery store; Cook white rice follow instructions on package.

2) In deep saucepan, place ham or pork grinds into low-medium heated olive oil.

3) Once it starts to sizzle, add the garlic and seasoning, simmer low.

4) Then add the potatoes, sofrito and sazon con Azafran seasoning, stir.

5) Next add red beans and add one cup of water into mixtures.

6) Let it cook for another ½ hour, serve over white rice and side it with Pork Chops and salad.

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Puerto Rican Sofrito

2 bunches Cilantro
2 bunches recao
1 head of garlic
3 large red onions
3 large green or red bell peppers
2 tbsp. crushed oregano
1 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)

Prepare the ingredients – peel, wash, and seeded and coarsely chop; place into food processor, chop for 2-3 minutes; Storage/Freezer: You can use old ice-cube trays (to be used for smaller dishes) or place into medium sized Tupperware. Leave one in your fridge for the week.

Enjoy,

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Dedicated to my friend, Silvy: It has been just a few short months, but feels like a lifetime of  infinity.   I just thought I’d write to let you know you’re an amazing friend and hope our memories will continue to grow. You lift my spirits when I am down and showed me you are always there when no else is.  You’re not afraid to speak your mind and let me do the same. You’re a fun person to have around and help keep my feet firmly on the ground…someone special in my past life had pasted this poem onto me and said someday I would do the same, so I am pasting this on to you my friend….

A friend is someone with whom, your thoughts,
dreams and secrets you can share.
And no matter what you say or do, you know
that they still care.

A friend is always ready to laugh
with you when you are glad.
But has shoulder for you to cry on
at those times when you are sad.

A friend always want the best for you
And they are not happy until you are too.

A friend is never jealous
of the things you may attain.
And if you are the winner you will
not hear them complain.

A friend is a person who could spend every day
with you, from beginning to end.

When you find someone like this they are more
than a friend they are a …BEST FRIEND

Putting together a Garden BBQ Menu

“Miss Silvy BBQ Party”

Salad
Golden apples, Walnuts, Fresh Baby Spinach, Heart of Romaine, Radicchio, Yellow Pepper, Sun Dried Cranberries and Sun Dried Tomatoes, Fresh Raspberry Red Wine Vinegar
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Orzo Salad

Tri Colored Orzo, Fresh Baby Spinach, Roasted Elephant Garlic, DiLusso Genoa Salami, Aged Provolone, Black & Green Olives
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Spring Lemon Chicken
Sautéed Panko Chicken Cutlets with Shiitake Mushrooms, Lemon, White Wine & Capers
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Ginger Honey BBQ Baby Back Ribs
Small Cuts of explosively flavored Ribs using seasoning such as Lemongrass, Jalapeno peppers, Honey, Ginger, and Fish Sauce.
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Photos/video to follow By: Chef Edie M

Grass-Roots and Sensitivity
There have been many people whose sensitivity and passion for their mission has motivated others to join them in their cause/fight to make a better world. These movements are often called grass-roots movements and often led by men/women whose sensitivity and passion attract others to their causes. In my adult lifetime, I can say I had many! Yes, many. Some had an impact on me and others have drifted away. We have had depressions, recessions and productivity slowdowns in this century, we still expects to grow, change and achieve. We all want to make a difference. Sensitivity has values to us all, it inspires us to become better whatever we do, it gives us pride and hope!

Spicy Dhal and Carrot Soup

This wonderful and nutritious soup includes a selection of spices to give it a kick, besides split red lentils and carrots as its two main ingredients.

What is Dhal?
Dhal is a dish made of long-cooked “pulses,” or lentils. These pulses are usually split and hulled and cooked with ghee and spices until they make a thick stew. Dhal is a main dish in India and Pakistan, and certainly one of the most popular. The dhal is then served with naan (flatbread) or over rice.

It can be a side dish or a main dish and is another ethnic food that can be adjusted to the cook’s tastes.
Dhal is often a main stay in vegetarian diets, because it is so versatile and such a good source of protein. It can be cooked with spinach, or coconut, with green peppers or cheese.

Lets get started and good luck!!!!

1/4 cup split red lentils, rinsed
5 cups fresh vegetable bouillon
3 cups sliced carrots
2 onions, chopped
1 cup canned chopped tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp vegetable ghee or oil (Ghee is a clarified butter used in Middle Eastern and Asian cooking. It is common in Indian cuisine, but you will find it in Middle Eastern recipes as well).
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 fresh green chile, seeded and chopped or 1 tsp minced chile
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt
1 1/4 cups skim milk
2 tbsps chopped fresh cilantro
plan yogurt, to serve

1. Place the lentils in a large pot with 2 1/2 cup of boulion, the carrots, onions, tomatoes, and garlic, then bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the vegies and lentils are tender.

2. Meanwhile, heat the ghee or oil in a small pot. Add the ground cumin and corriander, chile and turmeric and cook over low heat for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Season with salt to taste.

3. Process the soup in batches in a blender (I prefer the blender for texture) or food processor. Return the soup to the pot, add the spice mixture and the remaining bouilion, and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.

4. Add milk, taste, and adjust the seasoning, if needed. Stir in the chopped cilantro and reheat gently. Serve in warm deep soup bowls, garnished with a swirl of yogurt.

Total Calories 173
Always, always wash your hands after handling chiles because they contain volatile oils that can irritate the skin and make your eyes burn if you touch your face.

Bon Appetite from Chef EdieM