Tag Archives: Chef Edie m

Ethics | Relationships | Dating

Things I need to know. How many of you out there have had, or heard, horror stories from dating? Or, you may even be the one responsible for them! Yeah, I can’t believe I just said that ~ but it’s true!

I am asking you, because these past several weeks my personal life became unraveled because I lost control of my being. Lost control what I believe in….”dating” can be fun and yet it can have some hinder agendas’…

I, for one, am aghast at some of the things I encounter personally and know what’s out there: a date who spends the entire evening texting a friend; or a date that are, “Social Media Whores” who needs to reprise themselves constantly with a twice daily dose of selfies; and those dates who expects “payback” after three dinner dates; another who only calls at 3am – when they’re already outside your apartment; And of course, a million of those who don’t call when they say they would.

So, you all think you’re a decent person! Maybe and you probably are. So what about the people you dated? But if everyone is so good and ethical, where the hell do all these atrocities come from??!!! Why do generally good people treat their partners, however lengthy or temporary, with a completely different (or absent) set of ethical standards? Where are YOUR ethics when it comes to dating? I’m so confused!

My blog is meant to establish some bi-lateral standards of ethical dating, yes people Bi-lateral to include both men and women, in gay, straight or combination of relationships. Dating is a collaborative effort, and there should be a common set of standards within which we agree and operate. Would you do business with someone without signing terms and conditions? So why would you go out with someone without an agreement on ethical dating standards?

We all spend so much of our life dating, that it only makes sense for us to be more strategic about the process. All relationships go through that wonderful honeymoon phase, but what happens after good graces have faded? And it does! Many relationships may continue down that path of happiness and bliss, however, some couples’ bliss turns sour (worst than grapes) as they get to know each other on a more personal level. Trust me, been there!

Everyone has feelings!!! And everyone has hopes, dreams, ambitions, and passions. There is something deeper within all of us that totally begs for respect and honor no matter who we are. Being accountable for being honest with ourselves and one another about our contributions to both the problems and the solutions…it requires a deeper level of transparency . . . accountability starts with self, agreed?! . . .

Interacting through words and behaviors in a way that honors the other and respects difference, we are all human and respect is an honoring of the dignity and equality of all persons. It involves communicating with each other and behaving towards one another in ways that demonstrate the value of the other person.

We all have opinions, don’t we? I do, I believe there are dangerous warning signs of relationship issues such as having a hot tempered person can be admirable when they are is defending your honor, but a relationship with a person who has a short fuse can be dangerous. Abusive relationships are never worth staying in, however, unfortunately many women do not recognize – or ignore – the early warning signs in a relationship.

If your partner wants to know of your whereabouts at all times, their jealousy might be something in danger of spiraling out of control. It’s sweet when your partner is thinking about and wanting to be with you, however, it is unacceptable for your partner to expect you to punch a time clock all the time. Be wary of such possessive behavior, and don’t be afraid to ask others of their opinions. If your friends have not met your partner yet even though you’ve been dating for several months, this is another warning sign. Abusive relationships often start with a fair bit of antisocial behavior.

Can you figure out the “ending warning signs in your relationship”? I thought I did, but do you know sometimes, a warning sign you notice in a relationship has nothing to do with abuse or neediness, but rather quite the opposite as your significant other begins to “phase out” of the couple, wanting to move on to other things. While a lot of breakups are mutual and drama-free, there are some that get very ugly before reaching a conclusion. It happened to me not so long ago and it is important to show respect for each other when you are dating, however, when things get difficult, many couples forget this level of courtesy for one another.

Withdrawal and avoidance from activities you once enjoyed can be a first red flag. If your partner is simply unwilling to spend time with you like he once did, then you may begin to suspect he has either moved on or is seeing someone else. This can be a hurtful assumption, so be sure to have a basis for your accusation before making it, but know avoidance can definitely be the beginning of the end.

In general your partner do not want to spend a lot of time talking about their emotions, and when a relationship is turning sour, you will find they are making such a minimal effort it is as if they have already left. They may put off conversations or do their best to prevent them because in their minds they may already be planning a breakup.

If your partner is putting you down, this can be another sign of a waning relationship. Responding negatively toward you is a hurtful tactic sometimes used to push a significant other away when they are no longer wanted. It may, in your partner’s mind, be easier for your partner to hold you at a distance through causing the blame to fall on her/his shoulders than it is for her/him to outright say what she/he is feeling.

Many have difficulty expressing their feelings, and being cruel is one solution. Treating your passions as stupid, making fun of the way you look, or not allowing you to complete a thought out loud are just a few of the “put downs” that may take place if you are dating a disinterested person who no longer has any regard for your feelings.

Lastly, a couple may find that their biggest red flag in a relationship is due to a severe escalation in their amount of arguments. Suddenly they fight about anything and everything, making it difficult to function as a couple. Fortunately, most couples do not resort to verbal or physical abuse, but many breakups occur due to too much arguing. Couples drift, and this can cause their life ambitions to take off on divided paths, forcing them to leave a once valuable relationship behind. If your partner is being argumentative, try your best to open up the lines of communication. However, be prepared for a potentially disappointing response.

Warning signs in relationships are not always obvious, but when it is time for something to end, you will probably know it. Unfortunately many women act as if they do not know until things have escalated to such a point that leaving is a much more emotionally painful experience than what was probably necessary.

My advice to you, you have value and love to give, and it is a shame to waste it on someone who is just going to throw it away. Never stay in an abusive situation, regardless. Your life is too valuable, and somewhere out there is a decent person for you who will treat you right.

Keeping Love and Passion Alive. Just saying! Tell her you love her and tell her she’s beautiful and buy her flowers (you don’t need a special occasion) surprise her! Take her out on a date and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money! Cook for her; make it a romantic dinner, complete with candles, flowers and a nice bottle of wine. Have interests of your own!!! That’s right people! Don’t get it twisted but keep it real and do make time for her. Encourage her to follow her heart’s desire; do find a common hobby or interest. Listen with your ears and your heart. Let her know you’re paying attention. And by all means, ask her what she would like to make your relationship better. Be open to what she has to say. Follow up your words with actions, important!!! Give her space (we all need to it); and finally people, please communicate, listen with respect. Repeat what you heard her say. Validate her points. Validate her.

Chef EdieM

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!

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

Sweet Braided Loaves

“This recipe was handed down from my grandmother to my mother; my mother had told me stories that her mother made Sweet Braided Loaves during the winter months into early spring, because of cost efficiency and the loaves would last for days on. The Sweet Braided Loaves would be served with soups and stews. Back in the 50’s and 60’s living in “alphabet city”, known in Manhattan, NY that Sweet Braided Loaves were the common bread served with any dish. Throughout the years I made it for my son during the Easter Holiday changing the recipe from time to time.”

Read more: https://chefediem.wordpress.com

Ingredients:

1 PACKAGE ACTIVE DRY YEAST

1/4 CUP WARM WATER

1 CUP WARM 2% MILK

1/2 CUP SUGAR

1/2 CUP BUTTER, SOFTENED

3 EGGS, ROOM TEMPERATURE

1/2 TEASPOON SALT

5 1/2 CUPS ALL PURPOSE FLOUR

1 CUP GOLDEN RAISINS

Garnish:  2 Tablespoon sliced Almonds, 1 egg, lightly beaten

Let’s make this happen…

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, sugar, butter, eggs, salt and 3 cups flour; beat until smooth.  Stir in enough remaining flour to form soft an dough.  Stir in raisins.
  2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide dough into six portions.  Shape each into a 12-in. rope. Place three ropes on a greased baking sheet and braid; pinch ends to seal and tuck under.  Repeat with remaining ropes. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  4. Brush with egg; sprinkle with almonds. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on wire racks.
  5. Yield: 2 loaves (12 slices each).

Enjoy!

Sweet Bread

Chef EdieM

Comfort Food | Chicken Pot Pie

Wake up America – Comfort Food is calling you!  During these cold winter days and nights all I do is think about comfort food, how about you?  Comfort food is traditional food which often provides a nostalgic or sentimental feeling, and is often characterized by a high carbohydrate level and simple preparation.  After a long hard day, we automatically start looking forward to dinner. We know that however rough our day was there’s something to look forward to. We seek out these comfort foods in diners, at our stoves and in the company of friends or even alone. Look, in truth, there is no bad comfort food or is there? Help me on this one, if it gives you comfort, it’s good, right?  But does that mean we don’t have our own ideas about which comfort foods are the best? I mean, obviously you already know the answer to that. Needless to say, I do enjoy my comfort foods.

This past weekend (the 2015 Oscar’s) I had made several dishes and posted them onto my social media page. What a turnout I must say it was for me!  Thank you, thank you to all my supporters and friends because the winning dish unanimously, was the Chicken Pot Pie.  This goes out to Ms. Nelly Nelly, enjoy!

Chicken Pot Pie

This was the dish that my son and I shared for many years during cold winter nights when we both lived down by the Jersey Shores.  You know, I think there’s nothing that my son loves to eat than a homemade meal.  Let’s get started on this rich, delicious and beautiful dish.  This is simple and easy.

Ingredients
  • 2-4 pounds of clean, diced chicken breasts and thighs,  bones and skin removed, washed under cold water and patted dry
  • 2 ½ Kosher Salt (my preference, Olde Thompson Himalayan Pink Salt)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour,
  • ¼ teaspoon Baking Powder (my preference, Rumford reduced sodium and aluminum free)
  • ¼ cup Canola Oil
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons ice water
  • ½ cup fresh diced potatoes (steamed)
  • ½ cup fresh medium-diced carrots (steamed)
  • ½ cup fresh string beans (steamed)
  • ¼ cup yellow onions, chopped (steamed)
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 4 cups chicken stock, (from cooking the chicken)
Directions

Let’s make this happen…

  1. In a 4 quart stockpot, place the diced chicken breast and thighs in 4 cups of water. Add salt and pepper. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the chicken over medium heat until it is very tender, 50 minutes to an hour.  Cool to room temperature. Set aside for later.
  2. Sift together the flour, the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and the baking powder. Place in food processor.  Add the shortening and pulse until the shortening is completely incorporated.  Add the ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the mixture holds together into a ball.
  3. Divide the ball of dough in two, with one ball larger than the other. Roll out the smaller ball about 1/4/ inch thick and cut into strips.
  4. Lay half of the chicken in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Distribute half of the vegetables over the chicken.  Top with strips of unbaked dough. Top with the remaining of vegetables. Pour the broth into the casserole until reaches the top of the chicken.
  5. Dust top with minced fresh parsley leaves.
  6. Roll out the larger ball of dough about ¼ inch thick and place over the Chicken Pot Pie.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350F and place on a baking sheet to make it easier to transfer to and from the oven. Bake for 1 hour, until the crust begins to brown and the pie is bubbly.  Serve warm.

Chef EdieM Chicken Pot Pie

Pairing Wine:  Chardonnay

Chef EdieM

Enjoy!

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!