Tuesday, December 13, 2011

PONCHE DE CREMA VENEZOLANO! ( VENEZUELAN EGG NOG)

I love this version of Egg Nog, is different and it does not contain eggs or the heavy taste of nutmeg. I always wanted to find a recipe that was easy to make and that will last a long time in the refrigerator. I hope you will give it a try and ENJOY.

Ingredients

  • 3 (14 ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg( optional)
  • 1  3 ounce box of instant Flan Spanish style custard( i like Jello use any brand you like)

Directions 

  1. Prepare the flan according to instruction let it set.
  2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer stir the condensed milk, evaporated milk, add the flan in small chunks and keep mixing.
  3. Stir in the rum and vanilla, and sprinkle with nutmeg. Pass through a sieve then transfer to sterilized bottle(s) and chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve over crushed ice. Keeps refrigerated for 2-3 weeks. 
  4. NOTE: if you would like it a little thicker feel free to use 2 boxes of the flan ( instead of 1). Usually these boxes come with a caramel bag, I like to add at least one to the punch gives it a little kick, but you can omit it if you prefer. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

BRAZILIAN CAKE!

This is the recipe i made for Roland Mesnier Competition. It's a delicious cake with pineapple and Coconut. Enjoy!







INGREDIENTS!
3 Cups Flour
1 Tablespoon of baking powder
3 Large eggs ( separated into whites and yolks)
2 Cups of sugar
1 can( 6oz) crushed pineapple with juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flaked, sweetened coconut; toasted for topping

FILLING:
1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk ( Arequipe Caramel Sauce)
8 seedless Prunes
4 Tablespoons rum

SAUCE:  Pouring over Baked Cake

1 can (14 oz)  Sweetened condensed milk
1 can ( 14oz) coconut milk
1/3 Cup pineapple juice.

Whipped Cream Frosting:

1 Package (8z) cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/8 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon of vanilla
1 1/2 Cups of heavy ( whipping) cream.

DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat oven 450 Degrees F. To make the caramel sauce, take the can of condensed milk and pour the contents into an oven safe corning ware dish. Cover and place the dish in a deep pan. Pour hot water into the pan (water bath) to the middle of the dish making sure no water gets into the corning ware dish. Bake for 45-50 minutes. While the milk is in the oven, crush/puree the prunes in a food processor. Add the 4 tablespoons of rum to the prunes and set aside to rest. When the timer goes off, take the caramel sauce out of the oven and the water bath and let it rest 30-45 minutes. Lover the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 by 3/12 inch pan. Sift together flour and baking powder.

2) Beat the egg white to soft peaks; continue beating slowly adding sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg yolks into the stiff whites until evenly mixed; fold the flour mixture alternately with the crushed pineapple and its juice. Pour batter into prepared pan.

3) Bake cake in the 350 degree oven until top has turned golden brown, and knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40-50 minutes.

4) When the cake is done, remove from the oven, and let it rest ( cool) completely about an hour or so. Take serrated knife and cut the cake in half, put aside. Pour the caramel into the prune mixture and mix for about 1 minute until smooth; set aside to rest.. With a hand whip take the second condensed milk and coconut milk and whip both of these contents together, set aside. Take the bottom of the cake, use a fork to poke holes into it; pour half the condensed milk and coconut milk mixture onto the bottom half of the cake. Take the entire prune mixture and with a knife or cake spoon spread the mixture onto the bottom of the cake. Replace the top half of the cake. With a fork poke the top half of the cake and pour more of the coconut milk mixture ( do not drench) onto the cake. You may or may not use the entire coconut mixture depends on the dryness of the cake. Cover the cake with plastic and place in refrigerator for about 3-4 hours (best if overnight).

5) In a large bowl, cream the cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth. In a small bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Take the cake out of the refrigerator and decorate it with the whipped cream, cream cheese mixture. Place the cake back into the refrigerator.

6) Toast 1 cup of coconut 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees F until is golden brown. Let the coconut cool completely and place on top of cake.

7) Cake keeps refrigerated up to 3 days.

SERVES: 12-14 people


Variation: Instead of using Toasted Coconut for the topping use 1 cup of Pineapple chunks for decoration..
or a combination of both....












































Saturday, October 8, 2011

BLACK BEAN AND CORN SALAD!

This is an excellent recipe to accompany a nice steak or pulled pork.



INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3  tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 jar of pickled mild red/yellow  peppers ( they come sliced or whole also come in hot if you prefer)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups of frozen corn
  • 1 cup of shredded or cubed feta cheese
Directions: In a bowl mix the black beans, corn and peppers. Add the oil, vinegar, cumin, black pepper, cilantro and salt stir. If the Corn is still frozen no problem it will keep the salad nice and cold. Feel free to taste if you need more oil or vinegar. Add the feta cheese when you are about to serve. ENJOY..Serves 4-5 people.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

CHICKEN WITH PEANUTS!

I enjoy making this dish is different and very filling not to mention delicious. ENJOY


INGREDIENTS:

2 whole medium chicken breasts ( 1 1/2 lbs)
1/4 cup hoisin sauce ( find it international section in your favorite supermarket).
1 Tablespoon of conrstarch
1/2 cup dry sherry
2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar or white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
6 ounces packaged capellini or vermicelli
2 tablespoons of peanut oil or cooking oil
1/2 cup of raw peanuts
3/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 clove garlic minced
1/3 cup of chopped green onions for garnish...

 Skin, halve lengthwise and bone chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.
In a small bowl stir together hoisin sauce and cornstarch, stir in dry sherry, vinegar and sugar. Set aside.

Cook capellini or vermicelli in boiling salted water till al dente. Immediately drain in a colander. Rinse with cold water; drain. Set aside.

Preheat a large skillet or wok over high heat; add peanut oil or cooking oil. Add Peanuts and stir fry for 1 minute. Add green pepper and stir fry about 2 minutes or till peanuts are lightly browned. Remove peanuts and green pepper; add more oil, if necessary. Add half of the chicken to the hot skillet or wok; stir fry for 2 minutes. Remove from skillet or wok. Stir fry remaining chicken and the garlic for 2 minutes. Return all chicken to skillet or wok. Stir hoisin sauce mixture into the chicken mixture and cook and stir till the mixture is thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.

Stir the peanuts, the chopped green pepper, and the cooked capellini or vermicelli into the chicken mixture in the skillet. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more or until the mixture is heated through. Garnish with green onions and serve immediately. ENJOY!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

SAMOSAS!


I am a big fan of Samosas, I have to admit there are some that i have tried that either too dry and the dough too thick and heavy. These are so good that you will bring them out on your next party. I love them with a nice Mango Chutney. ENJOY!

INGREDIENTS!

Box of Puff Pastry ( you can find it in the freezer section at your favorite supermarket)

FILLING
2 cups cooked potatoes, drained and cubed
3 tablespoons of butter
1 cup of diced onion
2 cloves or garlic, minced
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon of cumin, or to taste
1 cup of froze peas, thawed
1/2 teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce, to taste ( optional)
salt , pepper to taste
egg wash for brushing pastries

Prepare the filling, Melt the butter in a medium sized saute pan, add the onions and garlic, cooking for 2-3 minutes until the onions turn translucent. Take care not to burn the garlic. Add the curry powder and cumin and saute for an additional minute. Add the potatoes and turn to coat well in the spices. Cook and break up the potatoes for a few more minutes. You can mash the filling smooth at this time. or leave pieces of potato according to your preference.

Taste the filling for seasoning, adjust with salt and pepper and hot sauce if desired. Remove from the heat and stir in peas, taking care not to break them up too much. Allow to cool until barely warm.

When you are ready to roll the dough, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and line two half sheet pans with parchment paper.

Working with one sheet at a time, roll the chilled dough to 1/8" thick. Cut circles of dough with a sharp edged round 3" cutter. Place 2 tablespoons onto each round and fold the dough into half moons. Use touch of water to help seal the rounds if needed.

Use a fork to seal the edges of each samosa. Place the parchment lined sheet and brush the egg wash coat. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until deep and golden brown. Serve with Mango Chutney.

If you have left over filling. It can be frozen up to one month.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

PEACH STRUDEL WITH CREAM CHEESE FILLING!

I love strudel, I have to say Apple Strudel is the most known however I thought it should work with any other fruit and I love Peaches so this is my version. The original strudel does not have cream cheese filling so i decided to give a try I always find some strudels are so sweet that it takes away from the taste of the actual fruit with this one, the cream cheese filling gives it a nice sweetness and taste but you hardly know is there. ENJOY.

INGREDIENTS!
1 Box of Puff Pastry ( will make 2 strudels) room temperature ( overnight in refrigerator)
5 sliced peaches fresh peaches
1/2 teaspoon of cinammon
2 Tablespoons of Brown sugar
1 tablespoon of flour
1/2 cup of chopped pecans( toasted)
1/3 cup of raisins (more if you like and need them)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
pinch of salt

Cream Cheese filling:
1/4 cup of powdered sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 box of regular or light cream cheese ( room temperature)

for a nice caramel color on the strudel!
3 tablespoons of milk
2 tablespoons of sugar 



DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven 375 degrees

With an Electric beater, beat the cream cheese add the vanilla, almond extract and slowly add the powdered sugar. Beat until light and fluffy set aside.

In a bowl mix all ingredients the sliced peaches, cinnamon, sugar, flour, nutmeg, almond extract, lemon juice and pinch of salt set aside for 5 minutes.

On a light floured surfaced take the puff pastry and with rolling pin roll to 9 inches long approximately. Take the cream cheese filling with a spoon and spread throughout the whole puff pastry like you are spreading pasta sauce on pizza dough, then place the peaches in the middle of the dough, leave space so you can roll the top and bottom. On top of the peaches you will sprinkle with the pecans and raisins.  Place one end of the puff pastry on top of the peaches then do the same with the bottom part until it's completely covered use a little bit of milk to glue the dough together, Brush with the milk wash on top and sprinkle with regular sugar. Repeat process with the second puff pastry. Remember to take a knife and cut along the top of the strudel to let steam out while is baking. Bake for 40-42 minutes until is nice golden. Take out and enjoy warm if possible. It freezes well for about a week. ENJOY.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

MEAT ROLLS IN PUFF PASTRY ( ROLLOS DE CARNE)

This recipe comes from my grandmother. It's meant to be an appetizer however i come to enjoy it as an entree with a side of Arugula salad. The dish is so rich that you must have something fresh to go with it either a nice guava compote, or mango chutney, or a nice fresh fruit salad. I have to admit the original recipe is without the puff pastry i added it to make it a little bit more fancy. It can be cut into individual bite down pieces as an appetizer or a whole one as the main dish. ENJOY!

 INGREDIENTS!

1lb extra lean ground beef
1lb ground pork
1 cup of raisins ( or nicely cut pitted prunes is also an option and I try to use yellow raisins)
6 slices of bacon
1 cup of green olives with pimentos
salt and pepper for seasoning
1 teaspoon of paprika ( sweet paprika)
1  1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
2 eggs
box of puff pastry thawed over night in refrigerator take out fridge one hour before using ( it will have 2 sheets)

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a bowl mix the pork, ground beef season it it with the salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika and cumin mix well add the eggs to bind it ( make sure you are able to make a ball with it otherwise add another egg so you are able to manage the meat. Cut the meat in half this will make 2 rolls. Then take one half and with your hand flatten it on top a piece of foil( sprayed with oil)  into a square shape as best as possible. On top of the meat you will put half of the raisins, half of olives and 3 slices of the bacon. Roll into a sausage shape making sure none of the toppings come out. Use the foil to wrap it completely until the ends are nicely secured. Repeat process with the second roll. Place on a foiled cookie pan ( for easy clean up). Place in over for 40-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely.
Once the meat is cooled take one of the sheets of puff pastry and roll out on a lightly floured board make sure the puff pastry is large enough so that the meat roll will fit inside. The puff pastry will act as the foil the second time around. Remove the meat rolls from foil ( the meat should be slightly pink but not raw) place on the puff pastry and roll the dough around the meat roll until tightly secured. Repeat same process with the second meat roll and the second sheet of puff pastry.

Take a knife and make 3 cuts on top of  puff pastry meat roll to let out steam. Use a little bit of egg wash or milk to brush the top of the pastry. Place back in the over for another 15-25 minutes until the dough is nice and golden. Take out, let it cool for about 5-10 minutes and cut to your liking. ENJOY!
 








 





Sunday, August 28, 2011

FROZEN LIME-LEMON PIE!

I love key lime pie however is very hard to find real key limes so sometimes i just make it with regular limes. I wondered how this recipe would turn out if i changed it a little bit and boy is it good.  My recipe involves a mixture of limes and lemon and is absolutely delicious PUCKER UP! ENJOY!


INGREDIENTS!

Graham Cracker crust!
1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs ( 10 crackers)
1/4 cup of sugar
6 Tablespoons ( 3/4th stick) of unsalted butter, melted

Note: if you want to make it easier on yourself feel free to buy an already packaged graham cracker crust at the store makes sure is a 9 inch large crust, is already baked for you.

For the filling:

6 extra large egg yolks, they must be at room temperature
1 1/2-2  cans ( 14ounce) sweetened condensed milk ( use light condensed milk or fat free depends how sweet you want it. Remember you can always add but never take out.
1 tablespoon of lime zest
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3/4 Cup freshly squeezed lime-lemon juice ( about 3 limes-2 lemons) feel free to use just limes if you prefer or  just lemons. I happen to like the combination.

For the decoration:

1 cup (1/2 pint) cold heavy cream
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
thin line and lemon wedges for decoration!

if you are making the crust then Preheat the oven 350 degrees F

For the crust, combine the graham crackers crumbs, sugar and butter in bowl. Press into 9 inch pyrex pie pan, making sure the sides and the bottom are an even thickness. Bake for 10 minutes until firm and golden. Allow to cool completely.

For the filling, combine the egg yolks with 1/2 cup of the juice and place in a double boiler. Whisk constantly over medium heat until mixture reaches 140 degrees take off heat then add the condensed milk slowly and the zest and rest of the lime-lemon juice taste for sweetness.

Decoration, beat heavy cream oh high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk or use an electric whisk until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla and sugar and beat until firm. Spoon or pipe decoratively onto the pie and decorate with the lime-lemon wedges. Freeze for several hours or overnight.








 





















Monday, August 22, 2011

PAN DE JAMON ( Ham Bread)

This bread is for all Venezuelans who are not able to go home during the Christmas Holidays. This bread is very popular around the festivities and is commonly accompanied with HALLACAS. I will not post recipe for hallacas even though is one of my favorite Christmas dishes due to the fact that is a complicated dish to prepare and  in some cases it can take up to 3 days to make but Pan de Jamon can be prepared at any time.


Ingredients

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 lb sliced ham ( i like honey ham)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 lb of bacon ( cook bacon for 3 minutes in microwave needs to be half cooked to release some of fat, not all of it)
  • 1/2 cup of capers ( optional)
  • 1/2 cup black or green olives, drained and chopped

Directions

  1. In a small mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast mixture with the flour, egg, butter, sugar and salt; mix well. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth, about 8 minutes.
  3. Lightly oil a large mixing, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). 
  5. Deflate the dough, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll or pat the dough into a 10x14 inch rectangle. Make parallel cuts 3/4 inch wide and 2 inches long on the two long edges of the rectangle. Evenly place the sliced ham, bacon and rest of ingredients over the center of the rectangle. Fold the short ends of the rectangle over the filling. Starting from one of these ends, alternately stretch strips from the two sides across the filling so that the strips overlap diagonally. Transfer the loaf to a lightly greased baking sheet, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. For a nice golden color brush with some egg wash.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

COQ AU VIN!

I came into this recipe about 3 years ago. The original recipe was made popular by the legendary Julia Child. It's made in France with a very young ROOSTER however we all know how complicated it is to find it in some places in the U.S. I came across this new one done by Ina Garten of the Food Channel but once again i thought get a whole chicken cut him up i just wanted to make it easier on myself and so I did. The end result was just as delicious and less complicated. In my recipe i use MERLOT instead of Burgundy.

2 Tablespoons good olive oil
4 slices of good thick bacon ( i would use pancetta but it can be pricey).
3 lbs of Chicken Thighs with skin and bone ( will add more flavor).
Kosher salt and ground pepper
1/2 lbs of carrots, cut diagonally in 1-inch pieces
1 large spanish Onion sliced ( feel free to use red onions 1 or 2 if you have them instead of the white onion).
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/2 cup of Brandy ( use good Brandy makes a whole lot of difference or Cognac).
1/2 bottle of Merlot or use a good red dry wine.
1 cup of Chicken Stock ( if you can and you like to do that use homemade).
10 fresh Thyme sprigs.
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter at room temperature.
1 1/2 tablespoons of all purpose flour.
1/2 lb small whole onions ( get them frozen save yourself the peeling time but if you cant find them then peel away).
1/2 lb cremini mushrooms( i did it once with shitake and loved it).

The recipe calls for a DUTCH OVEN but if you don't have one use a regular ( deep soup pot) and put on low-medium heat. The last stage will go to simmer.

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in the dutch oven or ( soup pot). Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with kosher salt and pepper. When the bacon is removed brown the chicken pieces in batches in single layer( skin side down) for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to the plate with the bacon and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.

Add the carrots, onions, 2 tablespoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the cognac and put the bacon, chicken and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot, add the wine, chicken stock and thyme bring to a simmer. Cover the Dutch oven with the lid and place in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the chicken is not pink. If you don't have the dutch oven and are using the soup pot just leave it on low to simmer for about 1 hour same rules applies until chicken is not pink.

After 40 minutes or hour depending which method you are using, The Dutch oven needs to be removed from the oven.
Mash 1 tablespoon of butter and the flour together and stir into the stew. Add the frozen ( small) onions. In a medium saute pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and cook the mushrooms over medium low heat for 5-10 minutes, until browned. Add to the stew to a simmer for another 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot.

Suggestion: the dish is perfectly good by itself but i like to serve it on buttered egg noodles. ENJOY!























Tuesday, August 9, 2011

PASSION MARTINI

I have to say i am addicted to this drink. I prefer it over a basic martini. Is a great summer drink and if you can find real passion fruits i suggest you use the seeds ( frozen if possible) to garnish. ENJOY!


INGREDIENTS:
 2 shots of Vodka ( i like Grey Goose) use citrus if possible add another shot if you like it stronger (I do)
1 shot of Passion fruit liqueur or orange liqueur
1 shot of passion fruit juice ( concentrate if possible if it's too strong feel free to add another shot of juice)
1 lime (the juice) Optional
frozen passion fruit seeds for garnish

Directions:

Place place martini glasses in freezer for about 20-30 minutes they need to be really cold. In a martini shaker combine all ingredients with ice. Serve. Garnish with frozen passion fruit seeds if not then with orange peel.









Saturday, August 6, 2011

TEA CAKES!

I really enjoy these cookies, this recipe was given to me by a friend and I make them around Christmas time. I have come to know they are called Mexican tea cookies, Russian tea cookies and I am sure there are other names for them, all i know they are just delicious and easy to make.



INGREDIENTS:
1 Cup butter
1/2 Powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups of All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup finely chopped Pecans
1/4 teaspoon salt
DIRECTIONS:
Heat Oven to 400 F. Mix thoroughly butter, sugar and vanilla. Work in flour, salt and  nuts until dough holds together. Shape dough into 1 inch balls, Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until set, but not brown. while warm after 10 minutes of cooling time roll on powdered sugar. Cool completely then roll in sugar again. ENJOY.

NOTE: you can give them away as gifts around the holidays.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

TEQUENOS! ( FRIED CHEESE ROLLS)

There are many things i miss about Venezuela however these little guys are on the top of my list. When i go to Venezuela i look forward sitting down in a bakery or cafe with a nice cup of coffee and a plate full of them. I grew up having these, there is a joke within my circle of friends that when you go to a really big wedding you know when the party is over when they bring out these hot scrumptious little treats. It used to be that some wedding in Venezuela would end around 5-6 A.M. Tequenos are more popular around breakfast or brunch time. ENJOY!

Remember this recipe will make a lot is meant to be for a group of people!


INGREDIENTS:
8 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tsp of salt
1tsp of sugar
2 cups of white cheese ( do not use mozarella) it can be found in refrigerator is called queso blanco.

DIRECTIONS:

1) Combine the flour,oil,egg, salt and sugar in a bowl.
2) while kneeding ( on a lightly floured board) add a tablespoon or 2 of water.
3) It will be messy however keep kneading and you will see the dough will take shape.
4) keep kneading until it does not stick to your hands.
5) if you need to add more flour to your board until it does not stick to your hands.
6) Let the dough rest for about 1-3 hours.
7) while the dough is resting cut the cheese into strips they should be around 1/2 by 1/2 inch please don't make them too long or they will be difficult to use in the dough.
8) Once the dough is ready shape into balls slightly larger than your fist.
9) Roll them out until they are 1/4-0.125 inch thick.
10) cut the rolled out dough into strips that are 3/4" wide.
11) Wrap the cheese fingers with the dough strips.
12)Make sure all the cheese is covered with the dough otherwise the cheese will leak when you fry them.
13) Once they are wrapped dust them with flour and fry them in a deep fryer do not overcrowd at least 2-3 minutes until golden brown, place on paper towels to remove excess oil. ENJOY!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

SPANISH HOT CHOCOLATE!

I am extremely biased having a strong connection with Spain that is why i believe this hot chocolate is the best of all hot chocolates i have ever tried. If you go to Madrid, Barcelona into a PANADERIA ( bread shop) feel free to ask for hot chocolate and if you are lucky enough get it with churros or along side a nice crusty ham and cheese sandwich it will be an outstanding breakfast or why not? a good afternoon snack. Spaniards have really late dinners. I came up with this version and also the White hot chocolate which has become a favorite. ENJOY!


INGREDIENTS:
4 cups of whole milk ( or you can use 2 cups of half and half and 2 cups of whole milk)
1 can condensed milk ( add another half can if you wanted sweeter)
1 teaspoon GOOD vanilla extract
1 teaspoon corn starch

8 ounces of good semi sweet or unsweetened dark chocolate ( i like ghirardelli or Lindt try use one that has at least 70 percent cacao content).
whip cream for topping (optional).

WHITE HOT CHOCOLATE:
Same as above just use good white chocolate.
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
sprinkle with a little cinnamon ( optional)

dilute the corn start in 2-3 tablespoons of water set aside. Heat the milk on medium stirring constantly with a whisk add the vanilla extract and the condensed milk. Add the corn starch and keep stirring break the chocolate and add to milk content a little at a time until completely dissolved ( if using unsweetened chocolate check for sweetness) when the hot chocolate is nice and thick SERVE HOT.  ( serves 4-6 people).

NOTE: you can save remainder for another night keep refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Monday, July 25, 2011

TORREJAS ITALIANAS ( CRULLERS)

This recipe  reminds me of Churros. I remember growing up going to NONA'S house. She is an Italian friend of ours who is now almost 95 years old. She had these in a big Jar in the kitchen and would bring them out so we could have them with coffee. They are my next favorite thing after Churros. I believe there are a lot of recipes out there some people call them Crullers others European doughnuts I don't know where the recipe originated from  some think it is German because of the potato but who knows they are just delicious.

 INGREDIENTS:
1 potato, peeled and cut in 1 inch chunks
1 large egg
2 tablespoons of milk
1 1/4 cups of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon of orange zest
1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
2 quarts of vegetable oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

Place potato in a pot, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potato is tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potato then mash until smooth. Let cool completely, around 25-30 minutes.

Transfer 1/2 cup mashed potato to a medium bowl ( save the other half for another badge if you like). Beat the egg , milk 1/2 cup of sugar, and vanilla, orange zest until combined, Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture add the potato mixture. Stir to form a moist and sticky dough. On a heavily floured surface, roll the dough into a 18 by 14 inch rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough in half lengthwise, then cut each half crosswise until 1 1/2 inch wide strips. Make any shape you want, either twist it or leave it as it is. Transfer them to a flour baking sheet. Refrigerate until you are ready to fry. They can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.

Heat the oil in a dutch oven or fryer over medium heat until the temperature reaches 350 degrees. Very carefully lower 6 strips at a time into the hot oil ( do not overcrowd) maintaining temperature between 325-350 degrees, until they are crisp and brown on both sides around 4-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon transfer the torrejas to a plate lined with paper towels and let them drain for 3-4 minutes. Toss them while they are still warm with with the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar, transfer to a serving plate. Repeat the process. ENJOY!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

VENEZUELAN PASTICIO ( LASAGNA)

My grandmother made this dish growing up. I have to admit this recipe was taught to my grandmother from an Italian friend of hers, is a spin from the Greek pasticio. I remember when i first arrived to the United States  i heard the word lasagna therefore never knowing what it was until i tried it and immediately Pasticio came to my mind, americans have their version with ricotta cheese. In my house it's made with a rich Bechamel sauce that has cream cheese in it and all sorts of other meats BELIEVE me you will love it. ENJOY!


Ingredients

  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound of ham
  • 1 pound pepperoni
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese or more if needed
Bechamel sauce;
3 cups of scalding milk
package of light cream cheese
7 tablespoons of butter or margarine
2 tablespoons of flour
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Over low heat melt butter and  gradually add flour stir with a whisk cook for 2 to 3 minutes but don't let it get brown. add milk and cream cheese cook over medium hear stirring constantly until its thick and creamy. add spices and allow to cool slightly.

Directions

  1. In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  4. To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. spread with half the Bechamel sauce. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices, ham and pepperoni. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Friday, July 22, 2011

DULCE DE PLATANO ( BAKED PLANTAIN) WITH CHEESE

This dish is great to have with a nice steak barbecue. In Venezuela is eaten alongside black beans and meat something we call PABELLON. I find that is absolutely delicious just eaten by itself. ENJOY. It Serves 4.


Ingredients
2 very ripe Plantains (black skinned)
2 teasp Butter
¼ teasp Ground Allspice
4 tbsp finely Grated Cheese or thin slices of Mozarella cheese.
1 teasp Brown Sugar.

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 220C, 425F, Gas Mark 8 and grease a baking sheet.

2. Cut the plantains in half lengthways, place cut sides up ion the baking sheet then sprinkle with the allspice and sugar.

3. Dot with small knobs of butter, sprinkle the grated cheese over the top and bake for 35-44 minutes until the golden brown and tender. Best eaten HOT.

TWICE FRIED GREEN PLANTAINS " TOSTONES"

Plantains are a staple side dish for breakfast in Venezuela. I remember growing up we used to have it for breakfast with eggs, ham, and the tostones. I have found that there are a lot of recipes out there for this dish however this is the way we make them.



Ingredients:

  • 2 green plantains
  • Oil for frying
  • Salt
  • 6 mashed garlic cloves with olive oil ( make a paste)

Preparation:

  1. Heat the oil to 375 degrees.
  2. While the oil is heating up, peel the green plantains and then cut them into 3/4 inch slices.
  3. Fry the slices in the hot oil for 3 minutes. They should be a light golden color and semi-soft.
  4. Remove the plantain slices with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  5. Tip: Maintain the oil’s temperature.
  6. When the plantain slices are cool enough to handle (about 1 minute), smash them into flat rounds on small amount of the garlic paste.
  7. Fry the rounds in the hot oil for 3 minutes. They will turn crisp and golden brown.
  8. Remove the tostones with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt while they are still warm ( to taste) ENJOY!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

DULCE DE LECHOZA! (PAPAYAS)

This dessert has been a tradition in my family ever since i can remember. We have it every Christmas and I guarantee you it will become a favorite of yours as well. ENJOY.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups sugar
  • a 4-inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves ( optional but it adds a little kick).
  • 3 1/2 pounds firm papayas (lechoza), peeled, seeded, and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick strips

Instructions
In a heavy 3-quart saucepan spread 2/3 cup of the sugar, add the cinnamon stick, and top the sugar with half the papaya strips. Sprinkle 2/3 cup of the remaining sugar on top, add the remaining papaya strips, and top the strips with the remaining 2/3 cup sugar. Cook the mixture, covered, over moderately low heat, shaking the pan occasionally (do not stir), for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the sugar is dissolved completely. Simmer the papaya strips, uncovered, for 10 minutes, or until they begin to appear translucent. Let the mixture cool and chill it, covered, overnight. The papaya in cinnamon syrup keeps, covered and chilled, for 1 month.

NOTE: It can be eaten by itself on a dish with a tablespoon of cream cheese TRUST ME is outstanding. I find some people will eat it as a side dish to pork and it even works as a side dish to the turkey burgers.

TURKEY BURGERS!

I have never been a fan of turkey burgers, I always find they can either be too soggy or dry. I was in barbecue party at my brother's house and he is one of those people who finds healthier ways to eat comfort foods. I took my burger thinking it was your regular beef burger and boy was it delicious. I asked him what did you put in these puppies and he said MUSHROOMS it keep them nice and moist. I am now hooked. ENJOY!




 This recipe makes about 12 burgers. In the winter i use a skillet however they are perfectly delicious on the grill during the summer.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup italian bread crumbs
  • 1cup diced button mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon herb de provence ( or you can use fresh parsley if you don't have it)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix ground turkey,Italian bread crumbs, onion, egg whites, herb De Provence, garlic, salt, and pepper. Form into 12 patties.
  2. Cook the patties in a medium skillet over medium heat or grill, turning once, to an internal temperature of 180 degrees F (85 degrees C)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

ALFAJORES!

I was born and raise in Venezuela but i have to admit i love love this cookie from Peru. They are done throughout South America and i believe very popular around Christmas time. This recipe will be a nice addition to your afternoon tea party. ENJOY.




Ingredients:
  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons cognac
  • 2 1/2 cups cornstarch 
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Dulce de Leche ( see my dulce de leche recipe).
  • Grated coconut

Preparation:
To make cookie dough:
Cream the butter and sugar together, then mix in the remaining ingredients except the dulce de leche and coconut until well blended. Knead on a floured work surface until the dough is smooth and let rest for 15 minutes. Make the cookies:
Roll the dough out to a thickness of about 1/4 inch and cut into 2-inch rounds. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 300°F oven for 20 minutes. When cool, spread some dulce de leche on the bottom of half the cookies and press another cookie on top, allowing some of the dulce de leche to squeeze from the sides. Roll the sides in the coconut until the sides are covered.
Makes about 12 delicious cookies!

THEY ARE NOT LOW IN CALORIE

DULCE DE LECHE!

I always wonder why people go out and get dulce de leche when is so easy to prepare. I have a simple recipe that works every time.


INGREDIENTS:
1 14 oz can condensed milk
1 teaspoon ( good vanilla extract).

Directions;

Add the condensed milk to a baking dish. Bake at 450 degrees in a water bath for 40-45. Remove from the water bath and add the vanilla extract. Let cool at room temperature. Voila you have dulce de leche.

 

CHICKEN MAKLANI ( INDIAN BUTTER CHICKEN)

Chicken Makhani is one of my favorite Indian dishes. It is an outstanding dish that I have to share with you. Thank you allrecipes. Please serve with basmati rice and Naan bread. Enjoy.







Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/4 white onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  •  
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Saute shallot and onion until soft and translucent. Stir in butter, lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon garam masala, chili powder, cumin and bay leaf. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in half-and-half and yogurt. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat, and season with 1 teaspoon garam masala and cayenne. Stir in a few spoonfuls of sauce, and simmer until liquid has reduced, and chicken is no longer pink. Stir cooked chicken into sauce.
  3. Mix together cornstarch and water, then stir into the sauce. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until thickened.

Monday, July 11, 2011

TANGY PULLED PORK! " CROCK POT"

This recipe is "awesome" it's not only delicious but very easy to make. The slow cooker assures you will have tender pork but it will also be loaded with flavor, please make with my arepas. I guarantee this recipe will be a favorite of your family. I know children love it.


 INGREDIENTS:
1 pork tenderloin ( 1 pound).
1 cup of ketchup
2 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 teaspoons brown sugar.
2 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar.
1 tablespoon plus 1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard.
1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Arepas ( see my arepa recipe).

Cut the tenderloin in half, place in crock pot ( slow cooker). Combine the ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, worcestershire sauce, mustard and pepper, pour over pork.

Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until meat is tender. Remove meat and shred with two forks. Return to the slow cooker; heat through. Serve on Arepas.

ENJOY!

AREPAS!

This is our bread. In Venezuela you will see this patty on every table specially around breakfast time. I grew up having these with ham and cheese, Hamburger meat, with scrambled eggs and a little butter, you name it and these little patties can be stuffed with anything you heart desires. My favorite is stuffed with pulled pork. I will have a recipe on my blog later on. A Crock pot pulled pork recipe. I remember growing up as a child these would have to be grilled then put in the oven, these days you can buy an Arepa maker just about anywhere online.

 First Note: you can get the arepa flour in the international section of your supermarket. I will suggest "GOYA MASAREPA" however there are other kinds, just make sure is precooked is basically precooked corn meal flour.

INGREDIENTS:
2 Cups of Arepa Flour
1tsp salt
2 Cups warm water
butter.

1) In a bowl combine the arepa flour, salt, water, when dough is mixed , let it stand for 5 minutes.
2) form dough into patties 4-5 inches across and 1/2 inch thick.
3) Use a griddle or an arepa maker.
4) if using the arepa maker follow the instructions however if using the griddle put small amount of butter on medium heat. Cook arepas until browned on each side.
5) Transfer to 400 degree oven and continue cooking for about 10-15 minutes until nice and firm.

ENJOY!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

CROISSANT BREAD PUDDING!

I have never been a fan of bread puddings, I find they are either too soggy or dry. About 2 years ago i saw one on TV that just called my attention and it involved one of my favorite breakfast breads, the Croissant. I always prefer a good croissant over a biscuit especially if the croissant is with ham and cheese. I saw this pudding and it made sense to me; the croissant is nice and buttery and it will be tasty and moist so i gave it a try adding a few ingredients of my own and doing my own little thing with the them. The original recipe calls for too much half and half so i changed it to make it a little bit more figure friendly( a little bit, not much otherwise it does not make sense to make it  remember you only make it every now and then, so enjoy.)  The results were outstanding. I am asked for this recipe over and over again. I hope you like it.

INGREDIENTS:


3 Whole eggs
5 Egg Yolks
2 Cups of half and half
3 cups of whole Milk
1 tablespoon of vanilla
2 cans of condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup of raisins ( or dried cranberries would work as well).
6-12 Croissants depending on their size.
1/4 cup of Brandy ( optional but gives it a little kick) if you don't have brandy use clear rum.
1 cup of warm Butterscotch. ( optional)
Whip cream ( optional)

Soak the raisins or cranberries in the 1/4 cup of rum or brandy let them sit for at least and hour ( better overnight).
Combine wet ingredients, cut the croissants in half then layer them with raisins, pour the wet contents on top of croissants. Press the croissants so they will absorb the liquid let it soak for 5-10 minutes.

Cover the pan with foil put in hot water bath and bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes. Then take out uncover and put back for 15 minutes. Broil the last 1 minute.  Serve hot-warm.

Note: When you serve you can add either whipped cream or the hot butterscotch but i like it just the way it is. There are times that I use toasted slivered almonds as a topping.

ENJOY!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

ROSEMARY CHICKEN WITH BEER AND POTATOES! "CROCK POT"

I came up with this recipe few years back. My grandmother used to cook it on top of the stove for about 2-3 hours. It's a very delicious recipe that I decided to change up a bit. She adds a cup of white wine to her recipe i decided well Why don't I add BEER? and I did. The rest is history is another favorite. I used my crock pot to finish cooking the chicken.


2 tablespoons olive oil 
1 teaspoon chopped fresh garlic
1 tablespoon Paprika
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons , Rosemary  finely crushed( use fresh if possible, cut the 1/2 teaspoon if using dry).
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon Black pepper

1/2 teaspoon Garlic powder

10 bone-in chicken thighs ( skin removed)

1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, halved
1 can dark beer( light beer would work too will be a lighter taste)
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 red pepper sliced
1 green pepper sliced
1 red onion sliced

1) Season the chicken with salt, pepper and place aside.
2) Take a skillet and add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, brown the chicken on both sides 2 minutes or so on each side then remove and set aside. ( do not overcrowd with chicken otherwise it will steam not brown).
3) Add the peppers, the onion and garlic to the skillet until nice and caramelized remove from skillet.
4) Add the potatoes to the skillet along with the paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, salt, the sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of rosemary brown the potatoes, ( 2 minutes) then add  1/2 can of beer. Remember you are not cooking it all the way you just want create flavors. While you are doing this try to scrub bottom of pan as much as possible to remove the scrapings try not to break the potatoes.
4) Transfer the potatoes to the crock pot, place the chicken on top of the potatoes and the peppers and onions on top of the chicken along with juices from the skillet.
5) add the cup of chicken broth the rest of rosemary, the beer and tablespoon of Worcestershire.
6) cook on high for about 1 to 1 1/2 hour chicken will be falling of the bone.
7) Taste for seasonings


( the alcohol will evaporate leaving the nice depth of flavor from the beer).


Note: if you like you can use nice crusty bread to eat along side of it.






Wednesday, July 6, 2011

CREME CARAMEL! ( Dulce de Leche)

Hello Everyone, now who has not had a home made Creme Caramel? some people call it custard others call it FLAN. This recipe is especially a good one because it calls for YES, HERE IT GOES BOOZE! now people don't get excited it just has enough for people to say Hmmmm WHAT IS THAT? but obviously you wont tell them you will say I ADDED A PERSONAL TOUCH, or how i like to say jokingly with everything i make I MADE IT WITH LOTS OF LOVE!

1(14-ounce can fat free sweetened condensed milk.
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of water
cooking spray
2 cups skim milk or 2% reduced-fat milk
3 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brandy or rum ( optional and i prefer brandy).
1/4 cup toasted coconut for topping ( optional)

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2) Pour condensed milk into a 1 quart baking dish, cover and place in bottom of broiler pan. Add water to pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake at 425 for 45 minutes or until milk is thick and caramel colored. Remove dish from pan; uncover and cool to room temperature.
3) Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
4) Combine sugar and 1/4 cup of water in a small, heavy saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Continue cooking 5 minutes or until golden, stirring constantly. Immediately pour into a 9-inch round cake pan coated with cooking spray, tipping quickly until caramelized sugar coats bottom of pan.
5) Spoon condensed milk into a large bowl. Add the milk, eggs, egg whites, vanilla extract( use good vanilla makes a whole lot of difference) the Brandy if you decide to use it; stir with whisk until well blended. Strain the milk mixture through a fine sieve into prepared pan, and discard solids.
6) Place cake pan in bottom of broiler pan; add hot water to pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake at 325 for 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool the custard to room temperature in water bath ( this will make sure the custard does not crack). Remove cake pan from water bath, and cover and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight. Loosen edges of custard with a knife or rubber spatula. Place a plate upside down, on top of cake, invert custard onto plate. Drizzle any remaining caramelized syrup over custard. Decorate with toasted coconut ( if you like) Serves 8.

Note: I know is not a fast recipe but is well worth it, make it on the weekend. ENJOY!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

LAVA FLOW DRINK!

I have to say i am not a big fan of drinks with little umbrellas in it! I just find them too sweet and sometimes not enough alcohol in them. I prefer your regular martini. I decided to plan a trip to Honolulu and while i was working on what I was going to do there, sites to see, excursions to plan a friend told me about this drink. I have to admit with hesitation i tried it and AND boy am I a convert. This drink is packed with good rum and just enough sweetness to think you are having a non alcoholic drink, but don't let the sweetness FOOL YOU! it definitely packs a punch. I try to make it every now and then and just brings back memories wanting to be back in Hawaii. I hope you guys enjoy it.


1 1/4 oz. Bacardi white rum ( i suggest Bacardi but you can use your favorite rum).
1oz. Coco Lopes Cream of Coconut.
6oz. pineapple juice, plus a splash
1oz. strawberry puree ( you can puree frozen strawberries if you dont have fresh ones).
1wedge pineapple, to garnish
1 cherry to garnish( optional)

1) Blend the rum, Coco lopes and pineapple juice with ice
2) Pour the strawberry puree into a glass( a tall, stemmed glass).
3) Pour the cocunut blend on top, causing the strawberry to flow upward ( this creates the lava-flow effect).
4) Garnish with the wedge of pineapple and cherry

Enjoy and drink responsibly!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

COCONUT RICE PUDDING!

This is a recipe  goes back to my family for 90 years. My grandmother always makes it, her recipe is long but so worth the effort. She uses real coconuts. I remember as a child watching her take the cocunuts and bang them to the ground with a machete until they cracked open then she would take the meat out and shred it. I came up with this easier version it's sooooooooooo good i think you will make it over and over again.

I suggest to make it easier on yourself that you use a rice cooker and follow the instructions for long grain rice, cut the cooking time by 5 minutes the grains of rice must be undercooked.

1 1/2 cups cold unsalted cooked rice
4 cups whole milk
1 cup well-stirred canned unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 can condensed milk ( add more if you like it a little sweeter but remember you will use sweetened coconut).
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1 cinnamon stick
4 Allspice ( use whole not ground)
Prepare rice in rice cooker or as you would normally do. Remember to leave a little undercooked. Transfer to a heavy saucepan over low to medium heat, stirring frequently ( use a wooden spoon).
Add the 3 cups of whole milk, the coconut milk, the salt, the condensed milk, cinnamon stick and the allspice cook for about 40 minutes or so. Stir in vanilla and Shredded coconut the last 5 minutes. Serve hot-warm.
Note: Do you want a healthier version? use skim milk and fat free condensed milk.
optional: Use toasted coconut as a topping when you serve it.
ENJOY!



" PALMIERS"

Every now and then I will post a recipe that i love so much i just need to pass it along. I grew up eating these cookies, some people called them Palm trees others ANGEL WINGS, Elephant ears etc etc there are other names I am sure. This recipe is by one of my favorite chefs ANNE BURRELL from the FOOD NETWORK CHANNEL. I hope you guys enjoy them as much as I. Thank you Anne.




Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 (17.3-ounce) package (1 sheet) frozen puff pastry, thawed

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the sugar, cinnamon, and orange zest in a bowl. Sprinkle 1/2 the sugar mix on a clean work surface. Lay the puff pastry on top of the sugar and sprinkle the remaining sugar mix on top of the pastry.

Using a rolling pin, roll the sugar into the dough, and roll the dough into an even rectangle, about 1/8-inch thick.

Working from the short ends of the rectangle, roll up each end of the dough to meet in the middle. Lay the rolls on top of each other and gently press to secure. Wrap the dough in plastic and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Cut the dough into slices that are 1/4-inch thick. Lay the slices on 2 parchment paper or silpat-lined sheet trays and bake in the preheated oven for 12 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake for another 6 to 7 minutes. When done, the cookies should be golden brown.

Remove from the oven, and cool on a rack before serving.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

HEALTHIER BOLOGNESE SAUCE!



I am a big pasta eater ( does not show on my body weight though) name it and i eat it. I like pesto with fetuccine, I like macaroni and cheese well who doesn't and most importantly my grandmother's Spaghetti with meat sauce. I know all of you are asking yourselves, how can you make a healthier version? well I do, is all about the meats you use. I grew up eating this sauce my grandmother uses Veal, Ground Beef and Ground Pork and i have to say is to die for however it can get really expensive and just time consuming can you believe it has to simmer for about 5-6 hours? with that sauce you have to buy at least 10 lbs of tomatoes, boil them, remove the skins, then the seeds  who has the time? specially when you come home from work wanting to eat anything that is in sight! I came up with this recipe, once more the flavor is just as good but you cut the cooking time by adding a few store bought items and you maintain the quality by YES ( I know some of you guessed it) using your favorite wine that adds the flavor like is been cooking for hours.

The Recipe is as follows:

2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon of dry basil
1 teaspoon of dry oregano
2 Onions finely chopped
8 garlic cloves chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste
4 Carrots finely chopped
4 tomatoes finely chopped ( remove the seeds)
1 lb ground Turkey
1lb ground Chicken
1 teaspoon of salt
1teaspoon of pepper

1 cup of white wine
1 tablespoon of fresh basil for topping

1 cup of milk ( the milk is used to make the sauce stick to the pasta and richer you can use skim if you like)
1 jar of Bertolli Portobello mushroom sauce with merlot ( or use your favorite pasta sauce but please use a good one by adding this you cut the cooking time by about 5 hours believe it or not.)
Parmesan Cheese ( Pecorino or Reggiano cheese) use as much or as little as you like.

In a dutch oven cooker of pan of your choice add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil wait until is hot, then add the 2 onions with a pinch of salt, cook them until they are translucent add the carrots and the tomatoes saute them for about 5 minutes then add the 8 cloves of garlic and stir for one minute then add meats until they are completely brown add the teaspoon of salt and pepper keep stirring
once this is done add the tomato paste and the jar of pasta sauce, fill the jar with water and add to the sauce along with the dry basil and oregano and the cup of wine bring to a boil then to a  low heat  for about 1 hour  Taste it for seasonings, add more salt and pepper if needed. Add the milk the last 15 minutes of cooking time.

Start boiling the water for your favorite pasta ( I like penne) you can use whichever pasta you enjoy follow package instructions.


Serving suggestions:  1) you can either add the whole sauce to the pasta stir until well combined and serve on a plate ( this is if you have lots of guests they can serve themselves) 
2) take a plate put pasta then pour sauce on top then Parmesan cheese and top with the fresh basil, with this suggestion you can freeze the remaining sauce for about a month.

Note: if you want the richer version just use ground beef and pork is up to you.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

ADDICTIVE "BOOZE" CAKE

The following recipe is my spin on Tres Leches Cakes ( Milk Cake). I have made it for years and i decided to change it 3 years ago to make it more appealing for adults. I would omit the alcohol if children will be eating it but why would you want to? just give them ice cream. The original recipe calls for a heavy sponge cake that is packed with calories due to the amount of eggs as well as the whipping cream that is part of the liquid that is poured onto the cake. I was asked by friends to make this cake so i came up with a lower calorie version that requires YES wait for it " ANGEL FOOD CAKE" who does not  have a recipe for ANGEL FOOD CAKE? if anybody wants one i would be happy to add it to my blog however with this recipe you wont even have to come up with one.  This Recipe serves up to 6 people.





BOOZE CAKE!
2 Store bought Angel Food Cakes ( you can find them bakery section) or you can bake your own.
2 Cups of whole milk ( or skim milk if you want to lower the calories).
2 Cans of Condensed milk ( you can use fat free condensed milk).
2 Cans of Evaporated Milk ( you can use fat free as well).
1/4 cup of Rum plus 4 tablespoons more ( I use COCONUT RUM just makes it extra Yummy).
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract.
Strawberries or raspberries for decoration.

you can use a 9 x 13 pan deep pan ( I use a 4 inch deep white corning ware pan).

Cut the Angel food cake in slices and arrange in the pan.
Sprinkle the pieces of cake with the 4 tablespoons of Rum then set aside.
take an electric mixer or a whip and mix well the 2 cups of milk, the evaporated milk, the condensed milk and the teaspoon of vanilla. When these ingredients are mixed well, add the 1/4 cup of rum.
Taste it ( if you like it a little bit stronger feel free to add more rum).

Pour the contents over the cake pressing it  with a spoon until it gets completely absorbed.

Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

Decorate the cake with the strawberries or raspberries before serving. The cake will be soft and almost like a pudding. Feel free to pour the extra liquid over each slice when serving.

ENJOY!

Monday, June 27, 2011

EASY BLACK BEAN SOUP!




I grew up eating this soup back in Venezuela, I love its flavor, a very satisfying hearty soup that can be made in the summer but preferably in the Winter. My grandmother makes it from scratch but i find the recipe can be lengthy and little complicated to make. I came up with this version that can be made in a large crock pot. I hope you enjoy.The recipe makes for 3-6 people and is even better the next day ( feel free to freeze leftovers and thaw out and reheat when needed).

Ingredients:
4-5 16oz cans of low sodium black beans, washed and rinsed
2 large green peppers thinly sliced
2 large red peppers thinly sliced
( you can substitute these for orange or yellow peppers makes for a beautiful soup)
2 Tomatoes chopped
5-6 green onions sliced white and green part.
1-2lb or boneless pork ( cut in cubes). Omit the pork (Vegetarian Version)
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil
4-6 cups Low sodium Chicken or Vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste ( i always prefer Kosher salt)
1 1/2 tablespoon of Cumin
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic

place the cubed pork in a deep bowl and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and cumin set aside and let it sit for 5 minutes to 10 minutes.

In a large saute pan add the olive oil, when is nice and hot, saute the peppers, green onions with a pinch of salt and pepper ( stir for 1-2 minutes then add the tomatoes and chopped garlic. When the vegetables are nice and tender add the pork to the pan and brown it (5-6 minutes) keep stirring until pork is brown on all sides.

Transfer the contents to the crock pot add the black beans and broth. The beans need to be completely covered with the broth so add as needed.

Set the crock pot on HIGH for 2 1/2-3 hours and until the pork is nice and tender.

Alternative:
If you don't have a crock pot, use a large soup pan and place on stove at low heat for about 1 1/2 hours stirring sporadically and until the pork is nice and fork tender.

Enjoy with crackers or even better TORTILLA CHIPS.