Saturday, July 22, 2017

Cannellini Beans and Chicken Soup

This comforting and satisfying soup is full of fresh vegetables with a taste the whole family will love. Puréeing some of the white beans and vegetables gives the soup a more interesting texture. You can serve this as a meal by itself or paired with a side salad.


When you take care of a grandson like my Logan you need time and imagination to make him eat. Everything for him is yucky or disgusting.

I developed this recipe looking for a way to make him eat some vegetables. I pureed his portion and served the chicken on the side,  and to my surprise he tried it and said it was yummy!  That made me smile.


1 pound organic chicken breast, cubed
5 cup low sodium, organic chicken broth

3 tablespoon, organic extra virgin olive  oil
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
Kosher salt, and ground black pepper to taste

1 small onion, small dice
1/2 cup celery, small dice
1/2 cup carrots, small dice
1/4 cup red bell pepper, small dice
1/4 cup cubanelle pepper, small dice(see photo)
1 medium bay leave
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon of cumin

2 large Idaho potatoes, small cubes

2 can 15 ounces Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Heat a medium pot over a high heat for 2 minutes, then add 2 tablespoons of Olive oil and the butter followed by the chicken. Cook the chicken for 2 minutes or until browned. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

 Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pot followed by the onions and cook until transparent. Add all the vegetables, bay leave, cumin, thyme, and cook for one minute.  Add the chicken and mix well. Add the broth and cook for about 15 minutes. Add the potatoes and the beans and cook for 10 minutes.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Hawaiian Pizza

By Maria Rivera

My family loves pizza, specially my grandson Logan. Fridays are his favorite day of the week, Pizza and appetizer night. He get very exited when he sees me start measuring the ingredients for the pizza. He steps on a chair and tries to help me make the dough. When the pizza is ready for the toppings he loves to help me:-) It is his best opportunity to eat some pepperoni.
On Fridays we can't make Logan eat anything else yet. For him grandma's pepperoni and cheese pizza is the only food he wants to eat, except for the dessert.


The pizza dough I'm sharing with you today is very simple to make, the recipe is a version of the one I learned in culinary school.
 Looking at the fresh pineapples at the Supermarket I decided it was time to share my favorite pizza recipe with you. 


10 ounces bread flour

1/4 ounce dry yeast
3/4 cup purified water, at room temperature

1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey

Organic store bought, Pizza sauce
Part skim milk Mozzarella cheese, shredded  
Honey ham 
Fresh pineapple, cut in small chunks

1 thin sheet pan sprinkled with 1 tablespoon semolina flour or fine yellow corn meal.

In the bowl of the stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in the water by squeezing it with your fingers or a rubber spatula. Let the yeast proof for about 10 minutes.

Mix in the sugar, salt, olive oil and honey.
Add the flour and knead with the dough hook until the dough has a smooth, elastic consistency, about 10 minutes.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turn to coat both sides with oil.   Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise until slightly less than doubled in volume, about 45 minutes. Then place the bowl into the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (this helps develop the flavor of the dough). Return to room temperature before proceeding.

Divide the dough in half. On a floured surface, roll and stretch the dough with your hands to make each piece into a circle, 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 cm).

Transfer the dough to a prepared sheet pan and reshape as needed.


 Spread a very thin layer of  pizza sauce  over the dough leaving 1/2- inch border around the edges. Top with a layer of mozzarella cheese, pineapple chunks and pieces of ham.

Place the sheet pan in the bottom of the oven closest to the heating element to allow the crust to brown on the bottom.

Bake in a preheated oven at 450°F(230°C) for 10 minutes. 

About the toppings:

The good thing about pizza is you can make it as simple or as fancy you like depending of the topping you choose. Classic pizza Margherita, mushroom and caramelized onions, italian sausage, BBQ chicken, prosciutto with fig and arugula, fruits and many others flavors. Just imagine any of your favorite things to eat over a pizza crust.  I will share with you some of my favorites in another post.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Classic Tomato Salsa

After a few months the appetizer night turned into a family tradition. Thursday night at the dinner table the conversation is about what's going to be on the menu the next day. I usually make pizza for my grandson because other than that he only wants to eat dessert.   But I always try to see if something else might make him curious.  
 I was looking for something fresh to finish our family appetizer night and this one with a few ingredients was perfect. At least Logan ate the chips!!!😊



3 tomatoes, peeled, seeds removed and diced
1 small red onion, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped 
the juice and zest of 1 lime  
1 small jalapeño, seeds removed and diced
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

In a medium bowl add all the ingredients and gently mix until combined.

Serving suggestion: 

With organic yellow corn chips.

Tomato Concasse

Tomato Concassé is the technique of peeling, seeding and chopping tomatoes for use in garnishes, sauces or salsas. 


In a small sauce pan over high heat bring the water to boil. Cut a cross in the base of the tomatoes. Place the tomatoes in boiling water for 10 seconds.

Lift them out using a slotted spoon and plunge them into an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Drain the tomatoes. 

The skins will have begun to peel back from the crosses. Remove the skins completely.

Cut the tomatoes in half, remove the seeds with a teaspoon, and cut the flesh in small dice.

Creole Sauce by my niece Karina

 Thanks to my niece Karina who took the time from her busy life as a professional chef to share this recipe with me. 

Last week I was making my menu for my Friday night appetizers and I decided to add my recipe for potato croquettes. Looking for a sauce to serve with the croquettes, my niece's creole sauce came to mind. I pureed the sauce and it was a perfect pairing. I served the sauce in its original form with chips and pureed for my potatoes croquettes.


The sauce is simple but very good! Check out the recipe in my blog and tell me what do you think.


1 small yellow onion, small diced
1 large tomato, small diced
1 red bell pepper, small diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
2 ounces of red wine

In a medium sauce pan add the oil. Turn the heat to medium, add the onion and cook for 1 minute. Add the rest of vegetables and a pinch of salt. Cook until the vegetables are tender but crisp. Add the tomato paste and cook another minute. Add wine and cook for 1 minute. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serving Suggestions:

This sauce can be served with fried plantains, plantain spiders, mofongo ( plantain mash).


The recipe for the mofongo (plantain mash) coming soon.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Garden Salad

Specially on Mondays after the weekend when you go out to eat there is nothing better than a simple #salad to make your body feel better. Serve beside roasted chicken breasts and oven baked French fries for a complete meal. 


I like to make my own dressing but when you are in hurry it is a good thing to have alternatives.  I found a good quality raspberry salad dressing in the local supermarket that goes great with this salad.


Romaine lettuce, torn  
Mini Marzano tomatoes, sliced
Red onion, sliced
1 Cucumber, seeded and sliced
1 Carrot, Julienne cut
1 small red bell pepper, Julienne cut

Homemade Seasoned croutons
Raspberry vinaigrette,  store bought

To make the croutons:

2 cups 1/2 in-diced 1 or 2 days old French bread
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley 
Salt and black ground pepper to taste

Set a medium skillet over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the olive oil, bread cubes, parsley and season with salt and pepper.  Cook tossing frequently until the bread starts to brown around the edges, 2 or 3 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook for a few seconds tossing well. Take special care not to burn the garlic. Transfer to a serving plate.

Arrange the salad in medium plates and pour over the salad dressing and the croutons.


You can use the croutons to garnish your favorite soup.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Potatoes and Bacon Croquettes

You can eat potatoes every day without getting tired because of the many ways they can be prepared. Double baked potatoes, Shepherd's pie, French fries, Mashed, Stewed and many others ways. 
 The recipe I want to share with you today is a very easy and tasty appetizer. Loaded with crispy bacon and parmesan cheese this recipe will keep your family asking for more. 


Since my daughter and I started with the idea of having appetizers and movie night on Fridays I started making some appetizers in advance and freezing then. These potato croquettes turn out really good regardless of being in the freezer for 3 or 4 days. I serve then with my niece creole sauce.


1 pound of Idaho potatoes, washed
peeled and cut in 4 pieces
water to cook potatoes
1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 tablespoon of butter (I used French salted butter)      
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup water of reserved potato cooking water 
8 ounces of bacon or more (I used Applewood Smoked)
salt to taste
 1 cup Panko bread crumb, mixed with
 1/4 of grated parmesan cheese
 1 large egg mix with one tablespoon of water
 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Canola oil to fry
1 baking sheet covered with plastic wrap
1 tablespoon ice cream scoop

Wash, pat dry and peel the potatoes. Cut the potatoes in 4 pieces and transfer to a medium pot. Cover the potatoes with water and cook the potatoes over medium high heat for 15 minutes or until tender. 

Transfer the potatoes to a medium bowl and reserve the water, keep warm.

Mash the potatoes with a potato ricer and add the butter. Add the warm water and mix well. Add the parmesan cheese and  mix well. Add the bacon and fold into the potatoes. Season with salt to taste if necessary.

In a large plate add the flour.
Add the egg mixture to a medium bowl.
In a medium shallow bowl add the bread crumbs and parmesan cheese mixture.

Using a 1 tablespoon ice cream scoop, put mashed potato on the palm of your hand and roll until it forms a small ball.   Dredge the croquette in flour, next in egg ending with the bread crumbs and cheese mixture. 

Transfer the croquettes to a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap. When finished making all the croquettes, cover with plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil and transfer to the freezer until ready to fry.

In a non stick skillet over a medium high heat add about 2 inches of oil. Add about 5 croquettes at the time and fry until golden. Drain over papel towels. 

Serve warm with creole sauce or store buy marinara sauce.