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

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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

Positive Start

God knows’ that I try every day to get a positive start by accomplishing couple of important tasks which I might have been putting off for sometime. But as usual, things just don’t turn out that way for me. For instant last night I had set my alarm for 5:00am so I can have enough of time to write a small passage for my blog. The alarm went off as planned, however my bed sheets were so ‘comfy’ which kept me in bed another forty-five minutes.
One of the problems when I keep postponing tasks that need to be done is that I get the ‘guilt’ feeling that I am shirking my responsibilities. This guilt brings in stress and fills me with negative feelings.
Needless to say to bring in positive energy into my day, I do a task that I’ve been putting off for quite some time as first task in the morning (that is my motto).

Think of things that make you feel positive. Add at least one such task to your daily routine. I am sure when you start a day in this manner you are likely to accomplish more in that day.

and by the way….
A Happy life consists of many happy days. So make each day count in your life. Stop dedicating your time on individuals that drain you. Wasting your time, thoughts and energy on people that don’t matter is just a huge negative in your life. Make room for the ones that DO matter!! Or to put it in a nutshell… people that will NOT cause problems in your life!! Sometimes, you have to do major “spring cleaning” not just in your home but in your personal life and clear out those people that are NOT pushing you forward in your life. Or that do NOT create a positive light in your journey!

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!

Somethings to Think About

 

“There’s a time when a woman needs to fight, and a time when she needs to accept that her destiny is lost…I live a simple life, I am nothing special, just a common woman with common thoughts, and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who’s ever lived: I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough.”

I question the reason for existence only when alone & feeling down, pondering a God that loves to be cruel, or a cruel universe without one. Death is likely the final ending – so its best to live life to the fullest, no matter the bruises you get along the way!

 

“Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul”

Chef EdieM

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

Goals and other things to be happy….Success & Inspiration

What does success look like and feel like to you? Inspiration for success in your career and life is here. Make money, have more time, invest your time and money in activities that bring you success. Find success and inspiration.

Setting goals is an integral component of career and life success. You don’t always need to write down the goals you set, although goal setting gurus say you should for best success. But, set firm goals in your mind so you always know where you are going and what you plan to achieve. I’ve always set goals and believe they’ve been a cornerstone for my accomplishments.

When we decide to set a particular goal most of us do so with the expectation and intention of achieving it!

Our enthusiasm and motivation to achieve our goal is usually very high. We may take the appropriate action to achieve our goal for a while… after a while, however, things change.

Setting goals is one thing… actually achieving them is something entirely different! We’ve all done it, we’ve all set goals and then at some point our goals are no longer our focus.

It is important to become aware of the reasons our goals become abandoned rather than allowing it to happen without much thought. Knowing why we let our goals go can often give us useful information for setting our goals in the future.

Smile a lot – If smiling is too hard for you, take a pencil and hold it with your teeth. There are enough smiling muscles involved for your brain to think you are smiling and start producing “happy” chemicals.

Sing! – Singing works just like smiling, causing your body to produce “feeling good” chemicals. Sing in the car, sing in the shower, sing when you prepare dinner and sing when you feel frustrated and notice how the negative feelings melt away.

Hang around positive people – Having happy people around you will make it easy to learn happiness. Happy people have fun around them and their ability to overcome challenges is higher than that of unhappy people who tend to lay blame and feel victimized. Choose the people you hang out with to suit your needs.

Laugh – Much like smiling, laughter is a great way to overcome physical and emotional challenges. If it does not happen naturally, try laughter therapy.

Get a move on
– Being physically active makes you happy. Find some activity you like to do and notice how it changes your mood: sex (yes, of course!), any kind of sport, dance and yoga. Make a habit of being active in any way you feel like.

Get creative – Creativity is a great way to find happiness. Think of creative things people do for a living or as hobby and notice how much happiness it gives them. Paint, draw, dance, sculpt, do some craft, invent a gadget, cook something new, write poetry or tend the garden. Tap into your creative abilities and find your “happy spot”, just as I did with my love for food!

Chef EdieM

Auditions….

Another day in the world of auditions….

 

Hi Everyone, Once again I am off for another open call!!! Yeah! Anthony Bourdain and Nigella Lawson have teamed up with Producer Kinetic Content for a brand new cooking show for ABC that will pit America’s most skilled cooks against one another in a show unlike any other.

 

Let’s see what happens!!!