Monday, March 5, 2018

Arroz Con Gandules (Rice With Pigeon Peas)

Traditionally made for Christmas, we enjoy this flavorful rice whenever we have an excuse. This rice is typically made with sofrito, the most important ingredient in the Puerto Rican Kitchen. Since having left my country many years ago I always look for ways to bring Puerto Rican flavor to my table. If you are not able to find the ingredients for sofrito you can still enjoy this flavorful rice. The ingredients for the sofrito in this version are very easy to find at your local supermarket.


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 pound pork meat, large cubes

For the sofrito:

1/2 cup onion, small dice
1 red bell pepper, small dice
1/4 cup green pepper, small dice
1/4 cup celery, small dice
1/4 cup carrots, small dice
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped  
1 large clove of garlic, minced

1-12 oz. can unsalted tomato sauce
1/3 cup green olives
1-16 ounces can pigeon peas, drain  
2 cups long grain rice
3 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

In a medium pot over high heat, add the oil and pork. Sprinkle the pork with a pinch of black pepper and cook until sealed all sides. Using slotted spoon remove the pork from the pan and set aside in separated bowl.

Lower the heat to medium, add the onion and cook until
transparent. Add the red pepper, green peppers, carrots and celery and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the cilantro and garlic and cook just until fragrant for 30 seconds.  

Add the pork and mix well. 

Add the tomato sauce, green olives, ground black pepper and cook for 2 minutes. 

Stir in the rice and and cook for about 2 minutes stirring constantly. 

Pour in the chicken broth and mix well. Add the salt to taste if needed.

   Bring to a boil over a medium high heat.  Once it is boiling lower heat to medium and let the water reduce until it is  1 inch  over the rice. Lower the heat to low and cover the pot.  Cook for about 20 minutes or until tender. 


Stove temperatures are different, adjust the heat depending on the equipment you have. To keep rice from burning made sure to cook it at a lower temperature. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Potato salad

My daughter love to cook but with her busy schedule never have the time. Last week she had an extra day off from work and decide make dinner for the family. She surprise me with this appetizing potato salad and she serve with a moist succulent barbecue ribs. 

3 cups potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/2 inch., cubes
2 organic eggs, mash yolks, dice whites
1/2 cup celery, small dice
1/4 cup green onions, small dice
1/3 cup pickles, small dice
1/2 cup red onion,peeled and cut, small dice
1/2 cup red pepper, small dice

3/4 cup Organic mayonaise 
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

 Add water to a medium pot until is  3/4 up fill and bring to a boil over medium hight heat. Carefully using a slotted spoon transfer the potatoes to the pot. Cook the potatoes for 10 minutes and with a slotted spoon transfer the potatoes to a large bowl. Set aside for about 20 minutes to cool down.

Add the next 6 ingredients to the potatoes and mix until combine. 
In a small bowl combine the Mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard. Add to the potatoes and mix gently until combine. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Creamy Chicken Soup

A thanks to my daughter Stephanie for making this satisfying and delicious soup. She's always looking to create food to please her picky eater son and she was delighted when he ate a full bowl of it.

               Creamy chicken, potatoes and vegetable soup.


4 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup onion, small dice
1/4 cup carrot, small dice
1/4 cup celery, small dice

2 bay leaves

2 Idaho potatoes, medium dice
2 fresh basil leaves, minced

32 ounces organic chicken broth
1/4 cup of whipping cream

1 organic chicken breast
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
2 tablespoon olive oil

In a small bowl mix in the olive oil, salt, ground pepper and thyme. Season the chicken, place it in a roasting pan and bake at 375°F making sure to turn it halfway through the cooking process. Bake for about 30 minutes or until you insert a meat thermometer and the temperature reaches 160.

  Let the chicken rest at room temperature for 10 minutes to finish the cooking process, then slice the chicken into bite sized cubes.

While the chicken is cooking make the soup:

In a medium pot at a medium heat add the butter, onion, carrots and celery. Cook until vegetables are soft about 2 minutes.

Mix in the flour and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bay leaves then cook for 10 minutes. Skim the soup periodically to remove scum.

Add the potatoes and basil and cook for 10 minutes. Finally add the whipping cream and chicken then remove from the heat.

Serve the hot soup with garlic parmesan toasts.

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.