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

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!

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

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

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!

My Life in Boxes

AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND MEMOIRS OF CHEF EDIE M 11-18-87

These are series of short stories of my life, before and after my AVM surgery and recovery. Stories, from what I could remember for many years from notes to letters to myself; written on old Christmas wrapping paper used as scrap paper; paper towels, napkins and I even wrote on my clothing. I was strongly advised to write things down so I won’t forget. I’ve written notes during pre-op and post-op, part of my life story over twenty-eight years’ worth.  Silently I had put my life away in boxes for years, I never read nor looked at any my notes. I couldn’t, not until now.  old script

I am a mother, a sister, an aunt, a lover, an activist – violence against children. I am a woman who adores life, who loves to cooks and going on cooking auditions, always intrigued with the unknown, enjoys writing, have a passion for the arts, and helping those less unfortunate as much as possible. I had endured sexual abuse since the age five and it continued into my mid to late teens. I can be raw at times, however still keeping it real.  I have a serious cleaning disorder, I brush my teeth in the shower, I swear, I spit like man and I dislike rude people. I am not different than the average person, so what makes me stand out from the rest of the population, I am a survivor of a right temporal Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) on my cerebellum. I had a Craniotomy 27 years ago.

 

PART 1:  The AVM

During my pregnancy and going on my third trimester my AVM became full blown during an outing at a public art show in Manhattan, NY. My surgery took place at New York Presbyterian/Columbia. During my “AVM recovery” I had to learn to live all over again-literately!!! I had an abnormal tangle of blood vessels in the brain that can cause devastating effects and it began to bleed. Most likely the AVM had existed in my brain for many years, perhaps for most of my life. I was fortunate to have received superb health care from doctors at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia and from Dr. Robert A. Solomon, Clinic neurosurgeon affiliated with The New York-Presbyterian/Columbia – Neurological Surgery and University Hospital.

In the late summer of 1987 the AVM in my brain began to bleed, causing symptoms for the first time. I began experiencing headaches that, in retrospect, were more severe than ordinary headaches. I had a pounding sensation in the right side of head. I went to my doctor, and he thought I had a cold. I slept allot because I couldn’t take muscle relaxants for the pain due to my pregnancy, but it got worse.

Then, mid-September of 1987, Sunday; the internal bleeding increased and my symptoms escalated. “It was Art Show day, which I was really looking forward to. “I woke up with my head hurting really badly. As usually, my pregnancy didn’t allow me to take any medication only Tylenol; I drove myself into the city and while driving into the Holland Tunnel my head was pounding. I threw up in the car. I managed to clean up and parked the car in the village. Avoiding being negative, I remember saying to myself, “it’s the pregnancy don’t panic”. I met up with my friends, we walked for an hour, I drank allot of water because of the heat, then suddenly I felt really sick, I thought if I ate something it would go away. But it didn’t. While I was walking back to the vehicle I felt a pop on my right side than a burst of bright tiny dots appeared, than total silent was creeping on me. I decide to go home and rest. The following day, I called out sick from work, called my doctor explained all that transpired, I was advised to go to the emergency at a New Jersey Hospital. The hospital physicians ordered an MRI, which revealed that I was experiencing serious bleeding in the brain. The AVM, only one to two centimeters in diameter, was large enough to be life-threatening. I was then advised to abort my pregnancy and immediately needed to have surgery. Being confused scared and without knowledge of the AVM I immediately contacted a reliable sort, my sister–in-law, Marion Marin who strongly suggested New York-Presbyterian/Columbia.Immediately, calls were made and within days I was transferred to New York-Presbyterian/Columbia.

Doctors at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia stabilized me but decided that surgery on the AVM should be postponed after the cesarean section delivery. The risk of coma or death as a complication of surgery is much higher of brain the team wisely chose not to operate immediately after the hemorrhage occurred.

After spending three weeks in the hospital, I was able to go home. My doctor told me he was handing my case over to Dr. Solomon, a neurosurgeon who eventually would perform my surgery. I left with warm memories of New York-Presbyterian/Columbia.

I faced difficult adjustments in my day-to-day life. It was critical that no sudden movement cause the AVM to begin bleeding again. “When I was released from the hospital, they gave me information about what I could and couldn’t do,” “I wasn’t allowed to do anything that would cause my brain to be active. I couldn’t lift, couldn’t paint, or work out. It was torture. It was horrible.

On November 18, 1987, I was ready for surgery. Dr. Solomon, who directs the endovascular neurosurgery program at the New York-Presbyterian/Columbia, operated on me. Then, over a period of nine prolonged and difficult hours Dr. Solomon performed a Craniotomy procedure to remove the malformation.

Dr. Solomon told me that I wouldn’t have to worry about the AVM for now and that I should know since I already had suffered an AVM that I may suffer another in my lifetime, regardless the outcome. When I left the hospital it was kind of a shock; I was out in the real world where everyone wasn’t as nice. During this period I was working with a major trading firm down by the World Trade Center area and I lost my job after the surgery.

I personally felt left to battle the demons of the world by myself; my life as I knew it turned upside down. I was seen differently by people; couldn’t work and constantly being discriminated because of my seizures episodes caused by the surgery; memory loss, rudeness was the new for me! Rejections, loss of friends, and sadly some family members turned away from me because they could deal with me. I lost my faith and questioned it many times. I suffered serious disability- loss of memory, I had to learn to read and write; almost instantly become a single parent and surrounded by domestic abuse didn’t help; and finally I moved hundreds of miles away to fix my untamed life.

I learned over the years of recovery that it was up to me to grow, adapt to new beginnings and be able to look out of the box. Which I did, years later I briefly studied Paralegal while working for a law firm; I worked for the Government | Army and then decided to become a Surgical Technician. In the next few weeks will be taking my state board exam for my license and I will continue my education, enjoying my family and friends, cooking, writing, volunteering and eyeing a possible future in the field of nutrition, health. “I am so blessed to have my life back after 27 years.” life is good again not perfect but good!

Chef EdieM

cursive-script-handwritten-letters
Old Scripts Letters

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.

Puerto Rican Rice & Pigeon Peas | Arroz Con Gandules

YellowRicewithPigeonPeas
Arroz con Gandules

Rice and beans are a delicious staple in Latino community. If you have ever tasted Spanish rice and enjoyed it, than you will love this recipe. It’s a simple recipe that the whole family will enjoy. Make this flavorful dish at home with these easy steps.

Ingredients

1 medium chopped onion
½ cup sofrito
1 small can tomato sauce
1 medium can pigeon peas
1 tablespoon Manzanillo olives
1 teaspoon capers
1 cup of chicken broth
EVOL (extra virgin olive oil)
4 cups of extra long grain white rice
** 2 for 1 (2 cups of water for each cup of rice)
Garlic powder |salt |pepper to taste

Let’s make this happen:
1. In a saucepan add a bit of EVOL let heat.
2. Stir fry onions till tender.
3. Add sofrito for about 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Add tomato sauce, rinse and drain beans, the raw rice and chicken broth and stir well.
5. Add enough water to cover the rice, (2 for 1) or about 1 1/2 inch above rice line.
6. Let boil (uncovered) on medium high heat until water evaporates.
7. Lower heat to low and cover with aluminum foil and cook for about 35 to 45 minutes. Serve.

Tip: Using a sheet of aluminum foil to cover your rice pot before putting on the lid helps & is a secret so all the rice cooks quickly.

Serving Per Recipe: 6-8
Enjoy!
Chef EdieM

Philippine Festival | Jersey City, NJ

The Philippine Festival Saturday, September 25, 2014 – 11am to 6pm down Newark Avenue in Historic Downtown Jersey City! http://jcdowntown.org/

A festival is usually an event ordinarily staged by a community, centering on and celebrating some unique aspect of that community and its traditions, festivals often serve to meet specific purposes, especially in regard to commemoration. Festivals that focus on cultural or specifically ethnic topics also seek to inform members of their traditions and the involvement of community elders sharing stories and experience provides a means for unity among families.
Food is so vital to many festivals that often highlight the output of producers from a certain region. I spent my Saturday by eating, walking and celebrating Jersey City’s own Philippine Festival which was in the heart of downtown. It had all the traditional food, dancing, martial art demonstrations, kids’ activities, craft vendors and more!
Hundreds of people had attended this year’s Philippine Festival to see the many vendors, shops, art and music; it was FUN FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY!

OH MY VINTAGE, Kimvee owner

Snatch up vintage threads from OH MY VINTAGE, Kimvee owner. Kimvee offers a wide variety of unique vintage clothing, jewelry and accessories.

http://omvintage.etsy.com http://www.ohmyvintage.com http://ohmyvintage.blogspot.com http://twitter.com/ohmyvintage

OH MY VINTAGE, Kimvee owner

OH MY VINTAGE has extensive collection of vintage goodies that are hand selected, affordable and will go well with anything in your wardrobe.

 

 

Cool down with home-made Buon Antipasto by Frank and Ira (originally from the Bronx).  BuonAntipasto@aol.com or on Facebook: BuonAntipasto  Buon Antipasto by Frank and Ira

 
Chow down some homemade “Pulled Chicken Adobo” by Manila Girl for only $5  Facebook.com/manilagirlnycwww.manilagirlinc.com   @manilagirlinc #manilagirlnyc   Facebook.com/manilagirlnyc

 

 

 

 

Downtown Jersey City had a many events going on that day and unfortunately I could not attend all of them by the two I did was extremely enjoyable.

Philippine Festival, Downtown Jersey City, NJ 1734 1735 1736 1737 1738

 

Enjoy

Chef EdieM

 

 

 

 

Can’t wait for your arrival…

We haven’t met yet, but I want you to know that I think you’re going to be awesome, so I’m making great plans for you!

I don’t want to appear presumptuous, but just so you know, I’m intending to enjoy every single day and hope that you’ll be kind enough to appreciate my positive attitude.
I plan to endure any challenging moments with grace and dignity, and beg forgiveness in advance for all the mistakes I’ll doubtless make.

I’m grateful for the opportunities you will afford me and value the people who will accompany my journey. I hope that together we discover wisdom, and that love and happiness abound, please let me be a kinder, gentler, more patient and accepting version of myself, and help me to empower other souls to discover their beauty.  Let us learn whatever lessons we need to make the world a better place, and give us courage to take steps in the right direction.

I hope you will be a year that people remember fondly, as one that lit the imagination, inspired gallant action, promoted peace and integrity, and is associated with many happy memories.

Well, I’m looking forward to greeting you, but meanwhile I must bid farewell to 2012 in  just two short  months and there is so much to do in little time.

Enjoy your arrival to celebrations around the globe, and I’ll be waiting as the clock strikes 12 in the longitude of my abode.

Hope

With much Blessings, Love, and Smiles in anticipation!

How to Help the Homeless This Holiday Season

Give back to your community this holiday season by taking the time to help people in need Contact local homeless shelters, food banks and soup kitchens to find out what they need most.  Helpful tips and using caution.

  • Help a homeless family transition from a shelter to their own apartment by giving them pots and pans and other everyday necessities that they’ll need to get started.
  • Hire a homeless person to help you with chores around your house. Ask a shelter to recommend someone who is willing to work for pay.
  • Volunteer your time to read or play with children living at a shelter.

Important Steps:

  • Provide warm coats, blankets and clothes for people in need.
  • Purchase gifts made by residents in a shelter so they’ll receive the proceeds.
  • Help wrap gifts that have been donated to the shelter so residents can have the fun of unwrapping a holiday surprise.
  • Buy canned goods and other nonperishable items and deliver them to a soup kitchen or food bank.
  • Teach a homeless person new skills to help him or her get a job.
  • Purchase nonprescription medicines such as allergy and cold pills, adhesive bandages and aspirin for residents.
  • Donate paper goods such as toilet paper and paper towels to the shelter.
  • Help shelter residents get into the holiday spirit by providing a Christmas tree, menorah and other decorations to liven up the place.
  • Bring cookies and punch to a shelter for an impromptu holiday party.
  • Hand out food vouchers to people on the street so they can get something to eat.
  • Order an extra meal to go when you eat out, or bring your leftovers home, and offer the food to someone hungry who is living on the street.

Deadlines are Approaching.  

Thank you and warm wishes to everyone,

Chef EdieM

Christmas

Halloween | Fun Party Pops

Halloween

is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31. The word Halloween is a shortening of All Hallows’ Evening also known as Hallowe’en or All Hallows’ Eve.

HalloweenTraditional activities include trick-or-treating, bonfires, costume parties, visiting “haunted houses” and carving jack-o-lanterns. Irish and Scottish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America in the nineteenth century. Other western countries embraced the holiday in the late twentieth century including Ireland, the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom as well as of Australia and New Zealand.

Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced “sah-win”). The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. Samhain was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and prepare for winter. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops.

The festival would frequently involve bonfires. It is believed that the fires attracted insects to the area which attracted bats to the area. These are additional attributes of the history of Halloween.

Masks and costumes were worn in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or appease them.

Halloween

 

Halloween is one of my favorite fun past time, prep is super fun when you invite your little goblins to help decorate adorable cookies on sticks.

Halloween Fun Party Pops

What’s needed:

Ingredients
Cookies
1 roll Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookies
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
16 flat wooden sticks with round ends

White Frosting
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened

Chocolate Frosting
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa
1 to 2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened
A of assorted candies (gumdrops, candy corn and licorice)

Let’s make this happen…

1. In a large bowl, break up cookie dough. Stir or knead in flour until well blended. Reshape into log; wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze cookie dough 1 hour.
2. Heat oven to 350°F. Cut frozen dough into 16 (1/2-inch) slices; roll each into ball. On ungreased cookie sheets, arrange balls in circle, 3 inches apart and 2 inches from edges. Securely insert a stick into each ball with end pointing toward center of cookie sheet.
3. Bake 10 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.
4. In small bowl, stir white frosting ingredients until smooth. If necessary, add additional milk 1 drop at a time for desired consistency.
5. In another small bowl, stir together all chocolate frosting ingredients except assorted candies until smooth. If necessary, add additional milk 1 drop at a time for desired consistency.
6. Frost half of cookies with white frosting; frost remaining cookies with chocolate frosting. Arrange candies on frosted cookies to create jack-o’-lanterns, cats, owls or ghosts.

• In a large bowl, break up cookie dough. Stir or knead in flour until well blended. Reshape into log; wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze cookie dough 1 hour.
• Heat oven to 350°F. Cut frozen dough into 16 (1/2-inch) slices; roll each into ball. On ungreased cookie sheets, arrange balls in circle, 3 inches apart and 2 inches from edges. Securely insert a stick into each ball with end pointing toward center of cookie sheet.
• Bake 10 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.
• In small bowl, stir white frosting ingredients until smooth. If necessary, add additional milk 1 drop at a time for desired consistency.
• In another small bowl, stir together all chocolate frosting ingredients except assorted candies until smooth. If necessary, add additional milk 1 drop at a time for desired consistency.
• Frost half of cookies with white frosting; frost remaining cookies with chocolate frosting. Arrange candies on frosted cookies to create jack-o’-lanterns, cats, owls or ghosts.
Note:  To make Black Cat Cookie Pops, for each cookie, slice a large black gumdrop into 3 round pieces. Use small end for head; use largest piece for body. Cut ears and tail from third piece. Frost cookie with orange frosting. Arrange gumdrop pieces on frosted cookie to form cat.

Happy Halloween!

Enjoy Chef EdieM

Garlic Dipping Sauce | Mojito

This Garlic Dipping Sauce | Mojito is the recommended garlic dipping sauce to serve with tostones (twice fried green plantains) or aranita (shredded green plantain fritters). You can make the Mojito in advance, up to about 3 days, and keep it in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature about an hour before serving. Garlic

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

1 cup olive oil, warmed

1 whole head of garlic peeled, crushed and finely chopped

1 small onion, finely diced

3 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

Juice of 1 lime

Salt to taste

 

Let’s make this happen…

  1. Blend all the ingredients together in a nonreactive bowl. (A nonreactive bowl is one made of material that does not react chemically to the citrus acids.)
  2. In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium heat 2-1/2 to 3 minutes or until a thermometer reads 200°. Carefully add onion; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic; remove from heat.
  3. Transfer mixture to a medium mixing bowl.
  4. Cool for about 20 minutes.
  5. When room temperature, add zest and juice of limes and lemon.
  6. Mix until well combined.
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until serving.

Tip: Use a blender or food processor to mix the ingredients.

 

Enjoy Chef EdieM

Couples Preferences | Dinner Conversation & Sex

Summer is just around the corner and you know what that means … dinner parties…time to party! And when you’re kicking up your heels ladies at all of the warm weather cocktail parties you’ll attend this season,  please do remember … don’t forget to dust off your cocktail party etiquette.

Let's party!!!!
Let’s party!!!!

A party is where people go to have fun and enjoy themselves spending time with friends or family, as well as good conversation and great food always gets the party going in the right direction. Unfortunately, there are things that shouldn’t be discussed at the dinner party table or is it?  Dinner parties are always great, but you have to consider the many taboo topics that have been banned by all of society. They aren’t illegal topics and you may get away with bringing them up depending on who you are with, but in most cases, you should just leave these topics to another type of gathering so you thought!

Sex, whether discussing your own sexual relationship, that of one of the dinner party guests, or that of anyone else, This is just not a conversation that should be brought up at the dinner table during any dinner party. This is a raunchy subject for any dinner and can quickly sour anyone’s mood, especially if they are offensive in this sort of conversation. I think that by far most important part of a great dinner party is a relaxed, hospitable host, one who’s game for whatever the evening holds, ready to enjoy the people around the table, literally. Whether you’re spreading a feast or a simple dish and are feeling stressed or utterly at peace, your guests are here to spend time with you in your own household. Great dinner party warmth begins and ends with the spirit of the host.

Well, if I may say I’ve had some interesting discussions over a dinner party recently.  Conversations among the guests were fluent and easy going, I listened and yet as I nodded my head to agreement many times-not realizing that I was not really part taking in any conversations.  Boring right!

That’s when I decided to spice things up a bit . . 

“Would you have an extra partner in your bedroom to help out with your relationship”?

To my surprise  the participants, whose average age was 40’s plus, responded to the question and added about their sexual self-esteem and their relationships.

“The most taboo elements of society are also the most misunderstood, and sex is no exception”.

A hard fact sexual compatibility in relationships is hugely important especially in an open extramarital affair — possibly even more important than we give it credit for, because we are terrible at crediting the right things. Obviously relationships come in all stripes, but generally speaking, one of the primary factors that distinguishes romantic love from platonic love is whether or not you and your loved one touch each other on the junk.

Communication is important.  Mutual generosity is important. Men’s inner emotional lives are important. Women’s sexual boundaries are important. And vice versa on all counts, of course. But when talking about sex, female trauma is not subordinate to male frustration. Men not “getting” enough sex from their partners  (as though partners couldn’t possibly want sex, or be justified in not wanting it) has been our oversimplified narrative for generations.  Prioritizing men’s sexual issues over women’s is not a revolutionary.  Exploiting one couple’s very specific emotional trauma and dysfunction in order to support sweeping, regressive generalizations about the sexual function of entire genders is utterly fucked up.

If you read any sex advice at all, you’ve probably been told that the hottest, safest, and most mutually fulfilling sex requires honest and open dialogue. But some things are easier said than, done. Some of us grew up learning that sex was very bad and would definitely kill us, which doesn’t exactly make it easy to talk about.  Some people, especially women, get the message that what matters is pleasing your partner, and that speaking up for what you want somehow detracts from that. Some are just shy. And even those lucky enough to have experienced a sex-positive upbringing can use some specific pointers from time to time.

Getting comfortable with communicating about sex may translate to benefits in the bedroom — especially if the lines of communication are open during the act.

How people talk about sex is an important topic.  Communication is also key to having enjoyable sexual encounters.  By all means, is Venus closer to Mars or Mars to Venus whatever it takes to make the relationship to work, than yes!  Most married couples often find themselves in a love triangle, no matter how happy they can be in their marriage there is the third person standing by.  

So you are in love with another and feel confused about certain issues in your life.    All seems fine in your relationship but the the third person is at your side too.

“A mistake for sure!”

The third leg is the awkward one, the leg that has to be removed to balance out the table.  The heart is open to one person and the third person becomes the painful one.  Hearts break there is no lying about that, remember you can’t have that third person.

Before the third one came along all was just perfect in your relationship, but things are gradually changing.  You are committed but can’t fix the problem so easily, the thing is your current partner doesn’t fulfill your every need and the other person fills the void that your partner doesn’t fill in your heart.  You find pleasure in the third person’s company, it makes you feel great while your spouse is happy with you, sex and your relationship but fails to understand what is going on in your life.

The situation becomes problematic, and in time it can destroy the relationship. Usually it is two women and a man involved, and coping with the third person is mind blowing.  You are committed but can’t fix the problem so easily, the thing is your current partner doesn’t fulfill your every need and the other person fills the void that your partner doesn’t fill in your heart, this is my opinion.

“Sometimes it can feel right to you when making such decisions but the problem can worsen.  Will he or she become closer”?

People grow and change all the time accepting these changes in a marriage that is difficult.  I’m not an expert here, I believe that disappointed marriages can make these faults, married women or men want to have different partners and having your wife or husband to go through these changes can have many effects in a marriage.

“Would you tolerate these changes?  I couldn’t, but than that’s me”!

I was speaking with a couple who has been married well over 30 plus years, they both stated the following.

“There are three of you, the husband wife and the other person who disturbs your marriageThe other problem is to the third person who is often left out of the triangle.  Issues arise the third person is not going to find the love he wants in a relationship, he is just wasting his time, and would only dream of something he can’t have with this woman.  Loving another man’s wife is an experience he may never have again and he has over come the fear of meeting someone with these little moments.  

The third person in my opinion shouldn’t get involved in a couple’s relationship.  It is painful, fearful, and not fair to the couple.  Something one can only dream of but won’t get further than that.  One person has to move out of this relationship and that is the person who got in last the third one.

The husband trusts his wife and he knows she won’t cheat on him with the third person, when he sees the changes in her he can feel a bit insecure about certain behaviors noticed.  If he knows she is cheating he could try to look away from the problem.  Instead he would love her more and still put her on a pedestal.  Not every man would see the situation in the same way.  

Accepting such issues can be more of a problem to deal with than an acceptance.  Recommit may or may not work in a love triangle, whereby, in certain circumstances the husband agrees for the wife to be with another”.

The good,the bad and the beautiful!
The good,the bad and the beautiful!

Threesomes, both men and women can find themselves fantasizing on what it would be like to have an extra person in the bedroom.   Sure, it sounds fun and exciting, plus a great way to add some spice into your sex life, but could it actually be damaging to your relationship?

As to my  closing remarks, these are my opinions…..Let’s  be open minded here, are threesomes great for some relationships?   They will either bring you closer or show you all the reasons why you shouldn’t be together.  They are great eye openers!  Threesomes can be a source of fun and spice up a relationship that may be getting a bit boring.

However, I’ve heard some mixed opinions I wouldn’t say there is a right or wrong answer.   Some say it’s awesome and everyone should experience it at least once in their lifetime,  and others say it has caused their relationships and some good friendships to go down the drain.  I personally never have done it, yet!   It’s not my cup of tea!   But here’s a question for you –

Are you willing to share your lover/spouse with another person and take the risk of losing love?

Chef EdieM

Life and Sorrows

Sorrow

“There are things that we don’t want to happen but have to accept, things we don’t want to know but have to learn, and people we can’t live without but have to let go.”

 

LIFE AND SORROW

If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it.  Lyndon B. Johnson

“Your dexterous wit will haunt us long, wounding our grief with yesterday, your laughter is a broken song; and death has found you, kind and gay. We may forget those transient things, that made your charm and our delight, but loyal love has deathless wings, that rise and triumph out of the night. So, in the days to come, your name shall be as music that ascends, when honor turns a heart from shame…O heart of hearts! O friends of friends!”  Siegfried Sassoon

 
Pain
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. So, with each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it, can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy it will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.  Anonymous

Sorrow
Sorrow

 Chef EdieM

Essence | Life | You

Time Clocks 

Time | We only have so many hours in a day, days in a week, and so on. Once they’re gone, there is simply no way to get them back. Scary isn’t it. So we schedule and plan according to time. We make appointments and arrangements. We calculate travel time, meeting time, mealtime, bed time and wake up time. We use a schedule because the last thing we want to do is waste time. We even try to schedule some down time and vacation time.

What does all this scheduling say about the value of time? Well let’s see we even buy it and sell it as if it was the same as any other commodity, but it’s not. We can change how we use it and who we spend it with, but once we run out there is no way to get more. So we use our clocks and our watches to keep track of this precious and limited commodity. On the surface, it all seems very reasonable, especially from a productivity standpoint. However, the trouble is, time is more than productivity. Time is not just something we exchange for money and I think it is absolutely vital that we fully comprehend that.

Time is the essence of life | There are plenty of things you can get by without, but time is not one of them. You can live at a week without food and maybe days without water. But you cannot live for one second without time, and that’s the true no matter who you are or where you are.  No amount of influence, power or money can change the fact that, when your time is up, you are done.

Time is not limited to the productive side of life because everything in life requires some of our precious time. Relationships are built from time. Every experience represents a certain amount of time. Amazingly, we spend about a third of our total time allotment sleeping. Our humanity is all about how we spend our time.

Is time management according to the clock beneficial to our quality of life or does it have an adverse effect? These are great questions to ponder because we have all been convinced that the clock is our friend, even though it doesn’t always seem that way. It is true that the most financially productive people on the planet are generally strong proponents of time management. The results they produce seem to speak for themselves, don’t they?

What about all the other aspects of their lives? Things like their family life, recreational activities, health and fitness levels, and sense of enjoyment and satisfaction. Well, for the most part we don’t know about those things. We just know that they have made a lot of money. 

So obviously, time management has its place in a balanced life.  We would never want to assume that being financially successful means neglecting other important areas of life. Many times, the exact opposite is true. The skills that lead to a successful mindset can be applied across the board. A truly successful life includes all those other aspects.

I think it is healthy to allow room in our lives for a more casual view of time. We all have natural rhythms and cycles, and living by the clock can cause us to lose touch with this part of life.

  • Is it better to eat when we are hungry or when the clock says it’s time?  Sure, we can condition ourselves to be hungry at certain times, but is that really the healthiest way to live?
  • Do we know how much sleep is actually best for us personally, or does the clock control our sleeping patterns?  Eight hours may work for the majority, but what does that have to do with your needs as an individual?

Summer has more hours of daylight and this affects everything around us; it is a time of increased activity. The amount of daylight has an undeniable influence on the natural world.

Is it practical to think that we can completely break free of the clock and let nature take over? Probably not, but is there something we can do to get more in touch with our place in the natural rhythm of life? If you can make room for it, why not try this. One day a week try to avoid letting the clock run your life. On that day, don’t set the alarm or wear a watch, and don’t make a schedule. Wake up when you feel like it, eat when you get hungry, and let your day unfold at its own pace.

Try to spend extra time in meaningful conversation and contemplation. Avoid the temptation to crowd your day with activities. Instead, relax and let go. The rhythm of life will make itself felt if you choose to allow it.

Essence | Life | You
Essence | Life | You

Who are you
Although I’m trying really hard to resist, but who are you?

No, it’s not a trick question and I am not asking you for a date nor your marital status, or you life history.  “I don’t give a shit about the trick question,” because it’s not the whole truth.   People, I’m asking how well you actually know yourself as a person. In other words, who are you underneath all the trappings and titles, make-up, life’s mask?

Who Are You
Who Are You

“Ok”, now I have your attention. What do you see when you look at your very inner core?

Why most people are not in touch with their true self and some are? From a very young age we are asked: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I think the true question and emphasis should be more on “WHO” you want to be when you grow up. Come on, people am I right or what?

How can we align our life with our true self if we don’t really know who we are?   How can we harmonize our environment with our deepest values and passions if we have never discovered our innermost true self?  Our ability to find meaning and purpose in this journey we call life hinges on how well we actually know ourselves. Discovering our true self can open the door to a life that feel fulfilling and exciting.

Discover yourself

  • Values, these are the things that matter most to you on the deepest levels. What are your personal values and your priorities and your beliefs?
  • Strengths, what natural abilities do you possess and which ones do you want to cultivate and develop? It becomes your personal assets.
  • Passions, what are you passionate about? What is it that gets you excited or demands your undivided attention? Making sure that your passions align with your values and standards is vital when trying to create internal harmony.
  • Identify your tendencies; your tendencies often become habits, either good or bad. Knowing your habitual tendencies can help you to analyze areas that need some improvement. It can also help you identify which tendencies most contribute to your strengths and successes.
  • Acknowledge your limitations; you will never be the very best at everything. It’s better to know which skills or activities are beyond your ability for now. That way you can delegate those things to others while you focus your energy where it’s the most effective.
  • Set your goals, goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable, and realistic. Clarity is a key ingredient when it comes to setting your goals. Clarity leads to action, lack of clarity leads to confusion and inaction.
  • Establish your direction, once you understand your values, strengths, passions, tendencies, limitations and goals – you need to have a destination to move toward, a direction.

“Take the time to know yourself; you are a beautiful inside and out, you are unique ”.

Chef EdieM

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

Hello again….

image

Its great being back home, work and families schedules have kept me home bound. Painstakingly!
 
     Always remember “The future is yours for the taking!” is an often quoted expression of hope passed onto everyone.  Yet we all know that while some people grab life with enthusiasm and take control of their futures, such a grandiose promise doesn’t always pan out for everybody!!
     No matter where you are or what challenges you face, enjoy your life right now.  Because today is the only day we have. We can’t do anything about the past, and we don’t know what the future holds. But we can live at our full potential right now!

Miss you all,
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

Grace, Compassion and Facing Hard Times

I never understood the true meaning of the word humble; I personally have taken this word for granted, until this past week. I found out that it means insensitive or obtuse. I also found out that obtuse is to be slow in understanding and feeling; and insensitive means to be deficient in acuteness of feeling.

Humility is also defined as the condition of being humble. When I look for the word humble, it means not proud or arrogant; (2) feeling insignificant, inferior or subservient. Proud means overbearing, haughty. Arrogant means (1) making unwarrantable claims to superior importance; (2) haughty or overbearing. Haughty means disdainfully proud. And disdain is to look upon or threat as beneath oneself.

Now that we have a basic understanding of the intricacy for the meaning of the word humility, where am I getting at? My main concern is to try to find out and understand the best I can what God means when He speaks about being humble. His word already says that I can only know in part because of my finite mind.

Times like these require us to show compassion and altruism to others; exhibit patience; and provide “teachable moments” to ourselves, to others and our children. Even in the face of events which are often beyond our control. I don’t know about you or what’s happening in your world, but my world I’ve seen, hunger, loss of jobs, and homes and senseless death and illnesses. We must show our family, friends and children that we can remain strong, and if we can, how can we do so with compassion and grace? We need to: listen; remain optimistic and calm; protect them; and, if possible, try to maintain normalcy. We also need to outreach to them and teach them about those who have overcome obstacles.

I, for one, also need help from time to time. I believe strongly in prayer. I found some of the answers I was looking for from family members, friends and a few from total strangers. However, it all came down to the same answers to helping others in need, no matter what that “need” might be.

…Create safety. The most important thing you can do is offer the person a safe place to fall apart. Be trustworthy, be present, be available, and be soft. Give them the warmth of your touch, the comfort of your words, and the gift of your listening.

…Refrain from offering advice until you know they’re strong enough to receive it (and/or they’ve asked for it). When a person is feeling vulnerable and broken, unsolicited advice can make them feel like they’ve failed or they’re not as good as you are at handling difficult times. Your advice may be valuable, but don’t offer it if it will make them feel small.

…Withhold judgment. Nobody who’s going through a difficult journey wants to be judged for their weakness, their tears, their messy home, or their indecisiveness. Bite your tongue even if you think they’re being foolish or immature. Let them be weak if they need to be weak. There will be time for strength later.

… Be an active listener. Let the person suffering do most of the talking and be fully present for what they are saying. In the middle of the struggle, there is nothing quite as powerful as knowing that you are heard and seen. Don’t try to fill the silences with platitudes or solutions. Leave as much space as they need to share their stories and work through what they need someone to hear.

…Offer empathy, not sympathy. Empathy lets a person know they’re not alone, sympathy leaves them feeling inferior. Empathy builds bridges, sympathy builds walls. People who offer sympathy (“poor you”) instead of empathy are usually doing it because they feel some need to elevate themselves above the other person.

…Share your stories to make them feel less alone, but don’t overshadow their stories. Stories are really important in times of grief or stress, but the most important stories that need to be shared at that time are the ones that belong to the person going through the trouble. Offer your own stories in a respectable manner, but only after they’ve had a chance to share theirs.

…Do not pretend to know EXACTLY what they’re going through. You can’t possibly know just what they’re experiencing because you are a different person carrying different baggage. You may have been on a similar path and felt similar pain (and that’s worth sharing), but each person’s path is his/her own. Let them describe what they’re going through rather than assuming you know.

…Let them cry and cry with them if that is what emerges. In any means, do not try to end their grief or fix their pain. Sit with them in the middle of that field of grief and just let what is being done what it needs to be. Nobody can take a shortcut through pain, so don’t pretend you’ve found one. Watching a loved one cry feels excruciating and you really want to fix it for them, but to show them the kind of love they need, you need to let the tears flow and simply bear witness.

…Let them know that they are courageous, even if their courage only shows up in very small ways. When the road is hard, just putting one foot in front of takes courage. Sometimes getting out of bed in the morning takes courage. Help them discover their own basketful of courage stories – memories of the times when they have shown courage that will help them rise to the challenges ahead.

…to my closing remarks, I want to thank God everyday for my son, Peter. Thankful for another day to live and to share my thoughts! Thankful that I know the true meaning of being humble!…

Christmas, with my son Peter 1990.
Christmas, with my son Peter.
Sharing special moments 121212....
Sharing special moments….

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

Having the Weekend off…and then some

There are times when you just need to get away and do nothing but relax, maybe read a book, take a long walk, fall asleep for the day. No tours, no museums, no wondering where to eat each evening. Or, there are times when you need a change of scenery, when you want to be pampered, when you want to think about nothing but the next marvelous meal. What’s great about it when a friend offers the great weekend escape, just because you need it? My friend, Arlene extended her home and hospitality to me this past weekend. I’ve had a long week at work and not feeling fabulous didn’t help at all. I was looking forward for these three days to relax my stress away. I’ll admit at first I did have reservations and hesitation was settling in. Then I’ve decided and reconsidered going off the grid completely.

TGIF, my friend had made reservations at the Chart House at Lincoln Harbor, located on the Hudson River directly across from Manhattan. The spectacular panoramic view of the glittering New York City skyline and the exceptional service, from top-of-the-catch seafood to succulent steaks, while introducing a hint of the exotic (i.e. East Meets West Tuna) an appetizer made with a zesty tuna tartar drizzled with wasabi cream paired with seared peppered tuna & avocado, with kim chee slaw & plantain chips. The ambiance, decorations, and seating all are well-arranged for its purpose, to promote the panoramic view of NYC.

My friend and I both had the Mocha Martini from the beginning to wrapping things up. The slight bitterness of mocha and sweet taste of Martini and a slight of chocolate actually complements very well with its diversity of taste.

 

 

 

Saturday morning… Message at Massage Envy in New Brunswick provided the most relaxing, therapeutic massage experience I ever had.

Afterwards, we drove down to Asbury Park for the Zombie Walk and an early dinner at Stella’s.

 

Sunday…slept in late and it was the best night sleep of my life! I was awaken by the tunes of Esperanza Spalding, I know you Know! Then I heard Dinah Washington, Cassandra Wilson and Nina Simone. I was curious to find out where this music was coming from and being perplexed I decided to follow it.

The music was coming from Benson’s Barbecue tent. Which is a part of the Edison Farmer’s Market that sets up in a parking lot on 925 Amboy Avenue, beginning in July and ending in October every year? I spotted the big oil drum BBQ pit; I don’t particularly care for smoked ribs but I was getting a good feeling about things watching the patrons that were lined up.

I mean these folks were ordering double racks and raving about the sauce so I ordered a dinner with sides of potato and bean salads for my friend.

BBQ sauce made the ribs, however it was the salads that made this road side pit something to write about. I liked all the salads. Found out these guys got a following for their summer corn salad, a mix of corn, black-eyed peas, tomatoes, onions and peppers that was being brought by the pound.

 

Life, Owner of Benson’s Barbecue

 

They served ribs, chicken and pulled pork, which I tried before they shut down for the day, but do go for the salads. You got about 2 weeks left to catch them. Hours are from 8am to 2pm, Sunday only.  One of the many reasons for the popularity of Benson’s Barbecue style is its unique blend of the greatest barbecue traditions. Here you will find seasonings that are neither too sweet, nor too hot. Traditionally, ribs are smoked “dry”, meaning that only a dry rub is applied and the rich southern style wood smoke BBQ. I highly recommend Benson’s Barbecue to all.

Enjoy!

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

Personal Glimpse on the Single Life…

You’re Single.    Make the best of it.    It doesn’t mean you’re not good enough for anyone,   it means no one’s good enough for you!

______________________________________________________________________

 

 

When I left South Jersey a year ago I knew I had to make serious changes in my life.  Which including taking time off from dating and work on me! Best advice ever. Being single can be hard at some points and relatively lonely.   However, at this stage in my life, I have decided to put much needed energy and passion into my business, which sometimes I just don’t have the time to give to someone else.  Is it selfish of me, yes, but if I want Chef EdieM to be a success, it’s a sacrifice I will have to make. Don’t get me wrong I do go out on dates, try to have fun, and definitely keep an open mind.  Sometimes it’s hard especially when you deal with a lot of flakes and weirdo’s.  I do surprise myself at times; I cannot believe some of the things that I have dealt with.

…it really is magical…sometime we really don’t know how to slow down. We walk down the same blocks on a daily basis; use the same bus routes and buy cigarettes from the same bodega, and we can do this all on autopilot without absorbing anything that goes on around us. But when we’re on a date with someone we’re different. We suddenly become aware of hidden restaurants and alleyways we’re certain didn’t exist until five minutes ago. When you’re with someone new it feels like you’re seeing everything for the first time. In some ways, you are.

…is it really worth it…truth be told should a good date have a price tag on it? Well let’s break it down. It seems like a date that requires an exorbitant budget is typical!  Or is it? Only a shallow or boring person would think that an expensive dinner is “fun.”   But what about being on a date that makes you accidentally walk over the GW Bridge because you want to get closer to the moon; Being on beach getting cozy on brisk night sharing great conversations and wine.  Or even going to a dive bar and creating your own music together. Anyone worth dating knows this.

…to many singles…they all belong to one dating website or another, they’re out every night of the week, they’re going to the gym, and they’re sauntering up to you while you’re trying to get the bartender’s attention. Of course, this probably becomes discouraging and a bit sad when two decades have passed and the scene hasn’t changed.

…to busy nonsense… everyone is either busy, a flake, or both. Even people who don’t have jobs are busy. “Oh, can’t today. I’ve got a launch party in the city; Maybe next week? Thanks for understanding.” You will utter the words, “just busy” so many times that even you don’t believe it anymore. Hey by the same token, you’ll get a text while you’re rushing from work to post-work drinks, and you’ll read it and make a mental note to answer it later, and later comes, and then three days later comes, and you realize you totally flaked out on someone. This is the nature of the game; you are a bad, busy, flaky person. And so is everyone you date. Embrace it or die alone.

…moving to never land and then some…have you ever hit it off with someone who seemed like they moved specifically just for you; But when you finally look them up on Facebook the reality is much bleaker than that and you have 22 mutual friends and it just doesn’t end.  The incestuous nature of dating has several repercussions: First, you will run into this person at least twice a year or maybe every week. Secondly, you will hear stories about this person that will likely do nothing to nurture your fondness for them and lastly, you will date people in each other circles.  But needless to say do look forward to this cycle until you move to another town, where social networking isn’t so prevalent.  I recommend planet Mars.

…the “baggage”… common sense dictates that you cannot be single, and not have a significant amount of baggage. Like your ex’s, spouses, children, pending divorces, business pressures and financial obligations can often be part of the package.  You must be ready and willing to accept this reality if you are going to get romantically linked.

…slump-ville…than sometimes we get in a slump and date the first person that seems like they’re interested – and then, perhaps around on your third date, you meet “their friend”. The one we should’ve been with our entire lives! They are perfect and so remarkable hot. The person you’re dating is always friends with your future spouse.

…memory lane…Or how about when you have a favorite restaurant, or lounge, or neighborhood, it’s expected that you’ll share them with the person you’re dating. In turn, they’ll take you to their places. And you’ll create memories in those places. It’s all very romantic eventually, you’ll break up!

Peace and Mind ~ More often than not, being the woman that I’ve become 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 inside and out, and knows enough about relationships to not bother with feminine trivialities.  I know that  self confidence 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, and that 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.

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.

Can a Woman get a Break!

This past Labor Day weekend I was asked why a woman like me Blogs. At first I was taken back ‘than I decided to embrace the question.

Well people blog for different reasons and I personally just like writing. It is my retrospective diary, which I like to include many personal stories and experiences that I would not otherwise share with anyone or even mutter out loud. It is my calm after the storm.

In many ways being a blogger is like writing your life story, but thinking of it that way can be intimidating to others wondering if they are being included in my blogs! What will I write!? Should they be on their best behavior around me? For goodness sake, people please I am harmless.

OK, sure I would love to reach a popular audience to capture their hearts with my life experiences. Like anyone else. I enjoy the reaction and feedback. But ultimately, plain and simple I am doing this for me. I want to share with everyone that my life stories is no difference than theirs.

I have feelings, I hurt and cry. I am humble, open-minded and well grounded. I share heartaches like everyone else out there and I have my moments of drama.

With that said “Drama”, let me share with you what happened to me this past weekend about dating.

I was set up through a friend to meet someone and hopefully maybe get a date out of it. I was reluctant and defiantly! However, I caved in and exchanged numbers. Friday afternoon we spoke and I really had a great conversation. An invite for breakfast was extended to me. I was asked to call back before retiring for the night, which I did and no one answered. I received a text minutes later stating breakfast was cancelled. Yet in the text I was told to make it up we would be having dinner in the Tribeca area than a drink in my neighborhood lounge. OK, what the hell maybe something came up I thought and I need to be patient since I haven’t been in the dating scene in a while. When we date we tend to view our compatibility with others as obviously subjective: do we have similar lifestyles? Senses of humor? Are our schedules complimentary? I figure why not give the benefit of a doubt and respond back saying yes!

Saturday came and ended! I reached out by text and would you believe I just got dumped again and we never met! Ouch. That hurt. Now take a deep breath and get over yourself. We’ve all been dumped — and we’ve all dumped someone else — but really, can a woman get a break!  Ugh. Now you know why I blog!

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.

My Traditional Coquito Recipe

Image

Coquito as a Gift~Coquito  can be poured into glass bottles (wine bottles) and given as a gift to the host/hostess of a party. The bottle can be decorated with ribbons and bows or painted using glass paints or wrapped in pretty Christmas paper. Just remember to keep it cold.

This holiday season surprise your friends with something different by making some coquito.   The recipe is fairly simple and a bottle of coquito will keep well refrigerated for up to three weeks, at least.  Now the only thing left is a roasted Baby Pig, Pasteles, and Spanish rice with pigeon peas to make this a complete holiday feast.

Coquito, which literally means small coconut, is the Caribbean version of the American eggnog. Coquito is the typical Christmas drink in the Latino Community. It is similar to the American eggnog but can be made with or without eggs and with rum instead of cognac.

Let’s make this happen…

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon of Nutmeg Ground

2-15 oz can of cream of coconut (Goya)
1-12 oz can of evaporated milk, 1- 14oz sweetened condensed milk
6 cinnamon sticks
6-8 egg yolks, (discard the whites)
1/2 a fifth of dark or light rum (Bacardi Rum, add more to taste)

Preparation

1) Combine the creams of coconut, condensed sweetened milk in a bowl and set aside in the refrigerator.

2) In a sauce pan over medium heat, combine evaporated milk and cinnamon sticks, vanilla extract and nutmeg bring to a soft boil, and let simmer until the milk turns light brown, about 10 minutes. Remove it from the heat, and let cool to room temperature.

3) Using a wire whisk, whisk the yolks very well in a large bowl until they’re thoroughly mixed. Add the cream of coconut mixture, cooled cinnamon mixture and rum and mix well. Taste it and add more rum according to your liking.

4) Transfer or divide between cleaned empty wine bottles or design holiday bottles! Please refrigerate immediately. Before serving shake and serve chilled.

By Chef EdieM

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).

Image

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.

Image

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.

Image

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

Image

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.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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,

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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!

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!!!