Category Archives: Everyday Talk with Chef Edie M

Puerto Rican Pasteles

Pasteles have a long history, but they are still extremely popular in modern-day Latin American cuisine. They are very common at festivals, family gatherings and parties. This is a very labor-intensive dish; the very same reason why most people buy their “pasteles” from someone who has the experience and the patience to make these, like myself. Puerto Rican pasteles are much more labor intensive than any other due to the masa mixture which consists of a combination of grated green banana, green plantain, taro, and calabazas (tropical pumpkins), and is seasoned with liquid from the meat mixture, milk, and annatto oil (annatto seeds infused with olive oil). The meat is prepared as a stew and usually contains the combination of pork shoulder, potatoes, chickpeas, olives, and capers seasoned with bay leaves, recaito, tomato sauce, sofrito, fresh garlic, and annatto oil. The pork shoulder can also be replaced with chicken.

Assembling a typical pasteles involves a large sheet of parchment paper, a strip of banana leaf that has been heated over an open flame to make it supple, and a little annatto oil on the leaf. The masa (dough) is then placed on banana leaf and stuffed with meat mixture. The paper is then folded and tied with kitchen string to form packets.

Once made, pasteles can either be cooked in boiling water or frozen for later use. Because they are so labor intensive, large Puerto Rican families often make anywhere from 50-200 or more at a time, especially around the months of November throughout January, “the holiday seasons”. They are usually served with rice and pigeon peas (arroz con gandules), roasted pork, and other holiday foods on the side.

Let’s make this happen…

Masa:
12 green bananas
4 plantains
2-3 lbs. yucca
1-2 lbs. white yautía
1 large calabazas
¾ cups milk
1 ½ tsp. salt
2 tbs sofrito
2 tbs annatto oil

Filling:
3-4 lbs. of shoulder pork, skinned and diced into small tiny pieces
3 small Idaho potato, diced into small pieces
1 ½ cup cooked chickpeas or garbanzo beans
½ cup sliced Spanish stuffed olives
½ cup of sofrito
3-4 bay leaves
2 cans of tomato sauce
1 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper

2 batches of parchment paper to roll pastels
Banana leaves – cut into rectangles of 10” x 8” approximately
Cotton kitchen soft twine (pasteles string)

Let’s make this happen…

Masa…

1. Peel all vegetables, diced into small pieces and shred them using a food processor or the old fashion way you can use a hand grated (which will take you all night).
2. Add the sofrito, salt, annatto oil and milk to the masa mixture. Mix it all well to create a homogenous smooth mixture. The annatto oil will provide a bright orange color to the mixture.
3. Add salt to taste, or Sazon Goya con cilantro y achiote, Sazon Goya con ajo y cebolla (Goya seasonings).

Filling…
1. In large stew pot fill half-way with water; add salt and add pork. Bring to boil, reduce heat and cook for an hour.
2. Rise to medium heat, add the rest of ingredients and cook for another ½ hour.
3. Once everything is cooked, add the olives.

Assembling…
1. Place a piece of banana leaf on top of the parchment paper (it’s similar to butcher’s paper).
2. Take a little bit of the sauce of the mixture and wet the banana leaf.
3. Take a large spoonful of masa in the center of the banana leaf. Using the spoon, form a well in the center of the mixture;
4. Place about 2 tablespoons of the mixture in the well. Carefully fold the leaf over, in order to cover the filling with masa on all sides.
5. Fold the paper like a letter and fold in the sides to create a compact package. Set aside and continue making/packing them. Repeat this procedure until all the masa mixture has been used. You can now freeze or cook them when you are ready.

Let’s tie them…
1. Take two packs placing them on top of each other (facing two large ends together) and start binding them together with cooking string. Don’t tie to tight (during cooking they will expand).

Cooking

1. In a large pot of water add 2-3 doubles sets of pasteles into water; bring to boil for about 45 minutes or until the masa is cooked; (if pasteles are frozen, place them directly from the freezer onto the boiling water and boil for about 1 hour).
2. Drain them well when you take them out of the water (place them onto a plate and let sit for a minute or two) cut sting and unwrap.
3. Serve over rice, side with pork and salad or just enjoy alone.

BTW: Pasteles can stay in the freezer for up to three months if well sealed and wrapped!!

Enjoy!

God’s Perfect Plan | Saving Your Life

Chef EdieM

I wrote and posted this article almost a year ago. Due to the strong contents and thinking of other people feelings I pulled it off immediately and being scared of rejection, unheard and misunderstood.  In recent weeks, I had given it some serious thoughts and realized in order to help others I need to help myself first.

…dedicated to all Adult Victims of Child Abuse…

To my friend Rose Discroll, who has given me the courage, confident and inner strength to express myself freely and to love myself again.

If you’re an adult who experienced sexual abuse as a child, know that you’re not alone. In the U.S. alone, 44% of sexual assault victims are under the age of 14, and 93% know their perpetrator. No matter what, the abuse was not your fault. It’s never too late to start healing from this experience.

Exposing Truth, those that have faith vary in their intensity of belief.  Some are so…

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Celery Stalk Healthy Benefits | Wasabi Bloody Mary

Chef EdieM

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…

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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

God’s Perfect Plan | Saving Your Life

I wrote and posted this article almost a year ago. Due to the strong contents and thinking of other people feelings I pulled it off immediately and being scared of rejection, unheard and misunderstood.  In recent weeks, I had given it some serious thoughts and realized in order to help others I need to help myself first.

…dedicated to all Adult Victims of Child Abuse…

To my friend Rose Discroll, who has given me the courage, confident and inner strength to express myself freely and to love myself again.

If you’re an adult who experienced sexual abuse as a child, know that you’re not alone. In the U.S. alone, 44% of sexual assault victims are under the age of 14, and 93% know their perpetrator. No matter what, the abuse was not your fault. It’s never too late to start healing from this experience.

Exposing Truth, those that have faith vary in their intensity of belief.  Some are so convinced of the goodness of what they have faith in that, no matter what happens to cast doubt on their beliefs, they are determined to hold onto their faith for as long as they live. For them there is no alternative, they have faith that what they believe to be true is, if truth exists at all, true. Others have a faith that may be weakened by the conflicting beliefs of friends, or by the influence of unexpected events.

You cannot have faith in something or someone simply because there is nothing better to believe in. Faith cannot be based on negative choices, but must be based on a real, strong, and sometimes total; desire that what you believe should be true actually is true. You must want what you have faith in to be true. Since nothing can be fully proved or disproved, unless truth has been somehow revealed, that which people have faith in is, for them, that which is true…

This past 18 months my life has taken many twists and turns that I cannot keep up with; there are chapters in my life that are closing and opening both at the same time; people are coming into and out of life so fast that I can’t even catch a break. This past month has been the hardest for me,   my family and dear friends who know me could relate to all my endures of many years seeking the truth and the answers that were never available to me; the admission of guilt from another that I long awaited for which will never happen; and the final resting of confirmation of shame.   But today, as I rested and watched a film called Simon Birch, about a young boy with a stunted growth is convinced that God has a great purpose for him and heroic aspiration decides to seek out his destiny with the help of his best friend, but soon begins to doubt his faith after his long journey.  I began to realize the story line was so much related to me.   Do I have a purpose for God and what is it? When will I know or has it happen already.  The movie interprets what is our faith in life, the truth and what you strongly believe in.

For 50 years of my life I have kept a hidden secret in fear that I thought I was responsible for and that I would suffer dearly with my life.  Some changes and current events in my life in the past 18 months I’ve come to realize the only way I can help myself is to speak the truth.  I am a survivor of childhood abuse.  My story is my own and not my siblings (for they have their own story to tell).

Why now? Many reasons which I truly believe God has a plan.  Maybe from the very first day it all started.  I don’t know, but whatever it is, it has taken me on a journey doubting my Faith and why I was left behind by God (so I thought).  I need to share this because the world has to realize that children are born totally innocent. Children are not property; they are not objects. The damage done to them is not imagined by the child and it is not and well ever be forgotten by the child. Even if the child blocks it out, the damage is there, lurking and festering and causing all sorts of problems and struggle for the person that it happened to.

Give me Strenght
Give me Strength

It is not okay because it happened “in the past”, it is not excusable.  The abusers are the ones who are accountable for that damage; the guilt and shame belong to them and the only way for an adult child who grew up with abuse to overcome the belief system that manifested because of that mistreatment is to realize that first of all, it really happened no matter how many times or years gone by.  Those two things set me on the right road to emotional healing.

And I needed to talk about it. I needed to be heard, but not by the abusers.

Is there a place to hide?
Is there a place to hide?

Being a survivor of childhood abuse had left an experience an array of overwhelming and intense feelings of fear, guilt, and shame which I had suffered for the past 50 years.  It made me a lonely woman for many years, not trusting in anyone and very little hope Faith in God.  My head was never the same, I was careless, and cold hearted and strayed away from my other siblings for years.  I just didn’t care about anyone or anything!

My abuser was known to tell me that it was my own fault at that time and almost twenty-one years ago my abuser said it never ever happened and I just made it all up while he laid in death bed.  Typical shifting the blame away from him, where it belongs and placing it on me; along with this, my abuser made many threats to me into not speaking up; convincing me that he will bring harm and even death to my other siblings if I ever spoke about it.

“Child abuse damages a person for life and that damage is in no way diminished by the ignorance of the perpetrator. It is only with the uncovering of the complete truth as it affects all those involved that a genuinely viable solution can be found to the dangers of child abuse”.

When I was “in the fog” for many years which means not understanding exactly why some of the details about these situations were wrong, but having this “feeling” or suspicion that they were wrong,  I could never put all these “facts” together and therefore I was never able to see the real truth. When I first started this blog I was afraid to share too much, I thought it would turn people off.  Don’t get me wrong, the opening of my blog does mention there would be allot of interesting blogs but  I was afraid that I would be seen as a “another victim story”, that I would be seen as someone who was “stuck in the past” and unable to “get over it” and that I was somehow deficient in putting the past behind me, even though I already knew that the way that I recovered was by facing the past, realizing the lies verses the truth and changing my false belief system, I was still scared of rejection and of being unheard and misunderstood.   I was afraid that I was “wrong” even though this truth was what set me free.

I was also afraid that people would write comments sticking up for the abusers.  I lived in a world for such a long time where the abusers were protected and the victims were to blame, that it took a long time to sort it all out.  I could not go against that deeply ingrained teaching especially when it came to my parents. I still feared the same consequences that I feared when I was a child.  I was pretty confused. It isn’t that we don’t live in that same world now but the difference is that I no longer believe that abusers should be protected and I no longer discount myself.  I do not acknowledge that false system anymore.   There is no excuse for devaluing a child; there is no excuse for mistreatment, there is no excuse for abuse.   I don’t want to live in that insanity anymore.

The final outcome:  Presently I am face to face once again with my abuser, after many years since we last spoke I was told I need to make amends with him and try to forgive him for his sins because he has terminal cancer! I have Faith in God, and pray everyday that my abuser will tell me to forgive him, I highly doubt it!

I have written this passage on one of my pass blogs, I just wanted to re-share again, I feel no matter what happened in the past I need to keep strong and focus.

“Peace and Mind”, more often than not, being an older woman I’ve faced my insecurities and fears head on, and have dealt with them to the best of my abilities. I have had enough life experiences to know what matters and what doesn’t. Consequently, I am above the petty nonsense. I have figured out what makes me look and feel good in the inside and out, and knows enough about relationships to not bother with feminine trivialities.  I am self-confidence that could only come from experience and the knowledge whatever life has given me.

I realized that what I had been missing all of these years was a meaningful relationship with people. I re-connected with my family again; I made more time for my friends.  Life was and is great.  People notice this; they can see when you are happy on the inside because it shines through on the outside, this all comes from having inner strength and you can only achieve this by going within yourself and adopting strong values”.

Please, don’t be afraid to share your thoughts and feelings, because someone out there is going through the same thing.

If you are an adult dealing with the effects of childhood sexual abuse, please remember that you are not responsible for the abuse and that you are not alone. You can overcome the effects the abuse may have on your life. Please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE) or visit the Online Hotline. It’s never too late to get help.

Chef EdieM

Chef EdieM

Why Do Restaurants Fail | The Common Mistakes

Closed

It is a fairly commonly known fact that the majority of restaurants that open will fail within three years or sooner.  However, some restaurants hype up their openings and then fail disastrously, which can be a lot more publicly humiliating. Restaurant failure is common among all types of restaurants, whether they are fast food joints, fine dining establishments, or everything in between. Most restaurants don’t fail because of just one problem. It usually a combination of problems that finally reach a head and the business can’t be saved.

Many people have the intention opening a restaurant and thinking they will hire a manager to run the front of the house and hire a chef to run the back of the house.  You feel everything will be taken care of and being there is not important.  Wrong, if you want to own a restaurant, but do not work in it, well then don’t expect to get paid!!  Restaurants can’t support that extra cost very long.  Besides weak management occurs when you hire someone who you think will be a great manager, since they have experience and excellent references. Then a few months down the road not only don’t they manage the restaurant, they alienate staff, drink away the profits and/or steal money. Who’s to blame? You!  Don’t ever trust anyone completely with your restaurant, money, and staff.  It’s your business reputation and you need to take care of your own business.

I’ve said it over and over again that a bad location is one of the biggest problem and reason a restaurant fails. It has poor visibility, no parking, no foot traffic, just a few of the problems associated with a bad location. Trust that’s not a good thing!

While I have your attention, lack of capital and negative perception of value is a huge problem when opening a restaurant.   Depending on the type of restaurant you want to open you will need at least $50K – $100K to start.   I’ve talked with many restaurant owners who have fallen into this trap.  Learn to be frugal with open credit and stop taking money you cannot pay back. Use your money as a savings and spent only in case of necessity.  The restaurant that runs out of working capital before it can start running to make a profit is doomed to failure.  So with that said, please by all means have enough cash in reserve for the first year to make sure that you have enough capital for all the uncertainties you‘re going to face in the initial period of operation. This is very important because in the first year you cannot predict the course of your financial operations.

One important issue concerning money is Taxes; both state and federal taxes come with hefty penalties, fees and other assorted fines when paid late. It can also cause the state or other local government to shut down a restaurant completely if taxes aren’t paid.

This is something that gets me upset, “The bad partnership relation”.  I’ve experience it, seen it with other associates and friends.  If you share ownership of the restaurant with a partner (s) especially if you are with your business partner in close friendship, kinship or had a romantic link.  You will share financial risks which can be very stressful.  Unfortunately, many restaurants fail because of the inability of partners to resolve their disputes.   Business partners must collaborate to resolve such issues. They need to objectively review the facts and analyze the situation. You should determine your common ground and value of the relationship for the sake of the business.  You must clearly recognize each party’s contributions to the restaurant business.  Functional roles should be clarify and distinct from equity ownership. It is increasingly important to separate these two concepts as the business grows.  The best solution is to formalize roles and duties or simply draw up a contract.

The restaurant business is tough, everyone in it knows it. Everyone looking to get in it ignores it. The cold fact of the matter is that opening up a restaurant may be one of the worst investments you could make with your money. That’s a horrible, sobering statement coming from someone like me, but it’s the truth.   Ugh! Why the hell would anyone want to get into this business with a failure rate like that?   Risk and reward my friend, risk and reward.

Take a look at the external issues that contributed to the failure and tackle those you can control, you can’t control the economy; you can control the people you hire.  Don’t blame other people – failure is an event, never a person, recognizes that failure is going to happen – if it doesn’t, it probably means you are not setting high enough standards or not taking enough risks.

Sorry, I failed!

Chef EdieM