Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Nelly's SurpriseVirtual Bridal Shower! Chocolate Biscuit Cake!

I have known one of my closest friends, baker/writer Marnely Rodriguez for about 8 years now. We have been through ups and downs, high and lows, hot and cold and our friendship and love for each other is still going strong (my eyes are watering now).

When I learned that my  roommate, my partner, my sister, my friend Nelly got engaged I stood in complete shock smiling. I called her for a good 10 times 'till she woke up and answered the phone and told me every detail. I was happy, proud, sentimental all in one, but short after that the date was picked, and I went crazy (totally crying now).

This is why today I am more then happy to celebrate via my blog and twitter along with Marnelys blogger colleagues her marriage to  the most relax drinking partner I have ever had, an excellent cook and my new soon to be brother in law Brain Murray.
For this joyous occasion we are going to be making a chocolate biscuit cake. Prince William was so smart for choosing this delicious chocolaty and crunchy cake as his grooms cake.  I recently found the most perfect and delicious recipe of this cake at Brown Eyed Baker. So Marnely and Murray here goes your grooms cake! Congrats and God bless on this new and amazing journey!

1½ cups plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
30 ounces 60% bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
6 tablespoons  honey
2 7½-ounce packages lightly toasted butter biscuits coarsely chopped

For Glaze:
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup

1. Lightly coat a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Stir the butter and chocolate together in a large saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Stir in the cream and golden syrup (or honey). Remove from the heat and mix in the chopped biscuit pieces to evenly incorporate. Pour the chocolate mixture into prepared pan; smooth top. Cover and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours or overnight.
2. To make the glaze, put the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring the cream and corn syrup to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour over the chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Let cool slightly, stirring occasionally, until the glaze is slightly thickened but still pourable.
3. Wrap a warm, damp kitchen towel around the cake pan. Remove the pan sides. Invert the cake onto a wire rack set on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Remove the cake pan bottom and peel off the parchment paper. Pour glaze over the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides; spread as needed to cover the cake. Refrigerate until the glaze sets, about 30 minutes.

 I hope everybody enjoys  this recipe! Specially the soon to be newly weds!
Before I go, I want to sent out a special thanks to the master mind behind this Surprise Virtual Bridal Shower  Sanjee from, Heather from Farmgirlgourmet for creating an amazing logo fro this event and to Elizabeth Ann Qurino @mango_madness for keeping me in mind and inviting me to celebrate my friends special moment! Thank you all, Nelly is never going to forget this!

'Till next time

Thursday, September 29, 2011

If you thought I was away, well I was! But now I'm back and with great and exotic recipes you are going to love!! Next week la cocina is getting you right back in the kitchen!
Meanwhile be sure to check out my complete End of Summer Drink Series of guest post at cooking with books! See all the great drinks for you to welcome the cold season. You are going to love them all!

 Francys' End of Summer Series!

Adult Carrot Juice
Perfect for those hot days before fall really kicks in!

Vodka Tea
Warm spice Infuse Vodka with a hint of honey and mint served over ice....perfection!

Apple Kicking Cider
 Gin and Cider, two of my favorites in one delicious cocktail!

Eggless Guava Eggnog
My moms delicious no egg ponche, you have to try it!

Enjoy! And be sure to come back next week for our exotic fruits week!

'Till next time

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hi everybody!
Today run over to cooking with books and check out my first  ever guest post!!
I'm doing a End of Summer Drink Series every Thursday during the month of September starting today.
So go, fast go and get your end of summer drinking going!
Till next time

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sunday's Waffles

There is no better way to start a Sunday then  getting all the family together and making a delicious breakfast that satisfies all. 
And we all know nothing says Sunday breakfast or brunch like waffles do. It must be the crispy and golden outside and that delicious hot fluffy inside that drives everybody crazy.

A couple of  weeks ago my family was craving  exactly that, waffles! And even got a brand new waffle maker for the occasion.  But there was just one Mom doesn't eat eggs, so I decided to go ahead and make the best no-eggs waffles.

They were delicious! Fluffy, crispy and tasted as my nephew said "like pure cake heaven".

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk
1/3 cup soft butter,
1 teaspoon of amaretto liqueur
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and mix.
In a separate bowl mix and stir all the wet ingredients, milk, butter, amaretto and vanilla.
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ones while stirring until well combine.
Ladle batter into waffle iron and let cook.

Allow the waffles to  cook an extra minute so they can get a nice golden color.

This recipe turned out great, everybody loved the waffles and we even made another batch for a late afternoon "snack".

Two things to keep in mind is that they are going to be a little less crispy then regular waffles because of the lack of eggs but they still have enough crispness to get that bite and crunchy feeling you want. The other thing is that these waffles are sightly sweeter than your  basic recipe so go easy on the syrup.

In the afternoon batch  we went a little crazier and made the same recipe but modify it to make coconut milk waffles:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoons brown sugar
1  cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup soft butter

*If you want to make the recipes with eggs, just have to add two eggs to any of the recipes!

'till next time

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Summer's Best flower

One of summer's most special and beautiful edible flower is the squash blossoms, with  more than 20 varieties with different shapes and colors to choose from. We can enjoy this delicacy raw, pickled, sauteed, deep fryed or however we prefer it.

This warm season specialty can be easily found at farmer's markets, but if you have your own garden don't be afraid to pick them for your enjoyment. Just keep in mind there both  female and male squash blossoms and only the females turn into a squash. How to tell the difference? Females grow in the center of the future squash and male ones are the numerous flowers that grow from long stems.

When preparing them to be consumed, they are two important steps to follow:
- carefully check for any insects inside 
- with the help of tweezers remove pistil off the center of the flower

All this information is going to be very useful for the delicious treat I have for you today, as I just got a freshly picked batch of squash blossoms from my Dad's farm.

We are going to be stuffing them with ...wait for it....goat cheese! But not only that, we are also going to be making a delicious and very Hispanic escabeche to give it more flavor and color.

- squash blossoms
- goat cheese
- chives and epazote finely chopped
- hot chili pepper, chopped
-salt and pepper

For the escabeche you will need:
- olive oil
- white onion, julienned
- cubanelle pepper, julienned
- tomatoes, cubed medium size
- garlic glove, minced
- capers
-salt and pepper

With a damp towel clean the squash blossoms, making sure to check for bugs and carefully taking the pistil out and set  the blossoms aside.

In a bowl combine the goat cheese, chives, epazote. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
Carefully fill the squash blossoms and if needed secure with a wooden skewer. Save for later.

Next, we are going to make the escabeche. In a hot saute pan pour olive oil and saute onions, then add garlic and cubanelle pepper and let cook for a minute. Add the tomatoes and let cook. Remember to season with salt and pepper (you can even add a drizzle of lime juice to kick it up notch). Before removing from the heat add the capers.

Right before serving saute the already stuffed blossoms.  Serve over  the escabeche and surprise your guess with this treat.

You can serve it as an appetizer or as a side dish to a meal.

** I kept the recipe measurement free so you can adapt it to your liking!

'till next time

Monday, August 8, 2011

Guest Post: Marnely's Baklava!

Hello amigos!

Here at la cocina kitchen we are excitingly starting the week with a truly delicious sweet treat by one of my closest friends Marnely Rodriguez from cooking with books.

I don't even know how to introduce her, she is crazy by default (good happy crazy), funny (she should have her own stand up comedy show), talkative (talks like theres no tomorrow), pastry chef (runs in her genes), great writer (types like a 1960 secretary...NON STOP). Marnely is just a great friend, writer and pastry chef that pushed me start my blog, so for me is a true honor to have her do la cocina kitchen's first guest post ever.

I hope you all enjoy it and be sure to visit her awesome blog and then come back here for more.

Hello La Cocina Kitchen readers! As you know, I'm Nelly from over at Cooking with Books, almost like La Cocina Kitchen's sister! Francys and I have been friends for the past 7 years and our love of food is what has kept us together, cause God knows we've had our ups and downs! I came over here to share with you one of my favorite and very indulgent desserts: Baklava.

A sweet pastry made of delicate fillo sheets, melted clarified butter, nuts and sugar, a tiny piece of this will satisfy your sweet tooth perfectly. A great end to any meal, it's also a nice treat to bring along to dinner parties and get togethers (just be cautions of nut/gluten allergies).

Do I recommend you make your own fillo dough? No. Seriously, who does that? Raise your hand. If you do, than email me and I will send you praise and admiration. Making fillo dough takes time and a lot of effort, for something that is already done for you: perfectly cut, rolled out and packaged for you to use, why go through the trouble? You won't ever make it as perfect as the companies that sell it, so...what's the point? For the challenge? Oh well, than by all means, go challenge yourself!  I haven't seen, heard of, or worked at a bakery or restaurant were we had to make fillo dough. But I digress, here's the baklava!

1 fillo package (you'll use 1/4 of it, but save the rest for a rainy day!)
3 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup walnuts
1 cup almonds
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cup sugar

  1.  Make clarified butter: Place butter in saucepan and melt. Let sit and with the help of a spoon, skim the top. These are the dairy solids of the butter and you want to remove them. Keep skimming while slowly simmering the butter. Some solids will float to the bottom, so don't disturb the pan much. After you've done this, slowly strain through cheesecloth or a small strainer and reserve.
  2. In your food processor, pulse nuts, sugar, and cinnamon. About 5-7 pulses is enough; you're looking for small chunks, not a powder. Reserve.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  4. Cut fillo sheets to fit your mold. The sheets don't need to be perfect, you can play jigsaw puzzle and make a large sheet out of a few smaller sheets. 
  5. Dip a brush into your butter and brush the pan. Layer on fillo and brush each layer with butter; layer about 5 sheets and then sprinkle nut mixture evenly. 
  6. Repeat 5 more layers of fillo and butter; sprinkle more nuts. Do this until you run out of nuts! 
  7. With a sharp knife, cut through layers into squares or triangles before baking. Place in oven for about 30-40 minutes, until nice and golden brown.
  8. During the last few minutes of the baklava in the oven, make a syrup out of the water and sugar. For added flavor, steep cardamom pods or cinnamon sticks in the syrup.
  9. As the baklava comes out of the oven, re-cut where you previously had cut and drizzle syrup over it while still hot. This will allow it to absorb all the gorgeous syrup.
  • Use your favorite nuts!Pistachios, Hazelnuts or Pine Nuts; any of them work and would definitely put your signature touch on it.
  • Spice it up: with so many spices out there, you can add pretty much anything you love. Nutmeg or a scraping of vanilla bean in the nut mixture would be great.
  • Add a teaspoon of Rose Water or Orange Blossom Water to the syrup to infuse a new flavor!

Hope you enjoyed this recipe and you can come over to Cooking with Books for more recipes! Follow me on Twitter @nella22 or Like the Cooking with Books Facebook Page!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Braised Goat Meat

Hello friends!
This weekend Dominican Republic was celebrating fathers day, and the fam and I spent the weekend non stop cooking. Among all the delicious things we cooked  there was a special one that I brought to the table, one I had been wanting to cook for a while now...Goat meat!

Goat is a very traditional and loved dish by Dominicans, you can find different styles and recipes in every region of the country, all delicious in their own way.

I have been thinking about cooking goat meat for a while now, that's why I  recently joined Creative Culinary Goaterie goat challenge, which for me is not a challenge but a great opportunity for people all over America and the world to share their anything or everything goat recipes.

 Braised, salted or fried goat meat is a part of the dominican culture, so its not hard to find it here. You can go to the local markets to find fresh goat meat or simply go to the supermarket where they always have it, and if you are wise you would ask the days they get it fresh.
But is not always the same situation in other countries, my recommendations is to go to Latino or Jamaican markets and bodegas where I'm sure you would find it and if not they would tell you where they usually get it. Another helpful source to find out where you can buy goat meat locally is the internet, where you can find meat directories as Get your goat to find where to buy it near you or even buy it online and have it deliver to you door, as you can do at AGBASE.

How ever you get it, now you can prepare this delicious and easy Dominican style braised goat meat or as we say it in full dominican chivo guisao. Here it goes.

You can accompany this with rice, mash potatoes or sweet potatoes, a nice freshly made flat bread or even with mash plantains  "mangu" as we call it here. What ever you have it with I know you are going to love and enjoy this delicious, saucy and fork tender goat meat.

'till next time

2 pounds of goat
1 tablespoon of dry oregano
3 garlic cloves
1 medium white onion julienne
1 medium cubanelle pepper in strips
1 ripe tomato medium diced
1 teaspoon of Tabasco hot sauce (optional)

Clean and let water run through the meat (if the bones have marrow, try pushing it out and save). Season the goat meat with all the ingridients and work throroughly. Let marinate for 3 to 4 hours. 

Heat up a large sauce pot and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil. Start getting the meat in the pot slowly and over high heat. Make sure to reserve the vegatable and marinte juice.
The meat is going to release a lot of liquid. Let it cook in its own liquid until it reduces completely . After it reduces add more water, enough to cover the meat and let reduce completly again. Repeat this 2 to 3 more times until meat its tender. Let the last water you add reduce only half way and then add the vegetables, the bone marrow if you have it and the marinate juice. Let cook for 5 to 8 minutes more. You want the meat to be fork tender and for it to have a lot of sauce.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Perfect Summer Snack!

This summers hot hot weather and the suns intense rays make the perfect condition to sun dry vegetables and fruits.
I love dry fruits and veggies, and I’m always playing around sun drying my favorite ones.  But instead of using a dyhadrator or my oven I go a little "green" and do it old school.
Of all my tries so far, sun dried tomatoes are my favorites, they are perfect for just about any dish. But after visiting a friends mango farm and seeing how they dyhadrite mangoes, I decided to try sun drying mangoes myself.

It took me several tries and three days of sun drying but it was so worth it!
This is a delicious and healthy snack you can do yourself.

You just need:
-a ripe mango, peeled and cut into thick strips
- a sheet tray, lightly greased
- cheese cloth to cover

Simply set the mangoes on the sheet tray and cover well with cheese cloth to protect from insects.
Place them outside somewhere you know they are going to get intense sun all day. If  you want  you can  take them  inside at night time as I did.
It will take three days for them to dry. You want them to be dry but a little chewy in the middle.

I love this snack and I think you will too. And the best part of it is that you are not going to feel guilty after eating them!

Have a great weekend everybody!
´till next time

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Making Muffins! Bacon Cheddar Muffins!

How do you feel about muffins? How about a delicious bacon and cheddar cheese one!!
This was the recipe that my blogger friend Anuradha from BakerStreet gave us to try for her Muffin Monday special.
So to make this awesome recipe I invited my favorite baker Marnely Rodriguez from Cooking with books to my cocina.
Muffins are a great way to make small portions of your favorite sweets or savory baked goods. This bacon cheddar ones are a great option for breakfast or for a quick and delicious afternoon snack.

6 strips bacon cooked and chopped
1 cup shredded and aged cheddar
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/4 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and grease or paper line a 12 hole muffin pan
In small bowl, combine 1 tbsp of the chopped bacon and 2 tbsp of the Cheddar; set aside.
In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, pepper and salt ; stir in remaining bacon and Cheddar.
Whisk together milk, oil, sour cream and eggs; pour over dry ingredients. Stir together just until moistened. Do not overmix.
Spoon into greased or paper-lined muffin cups; sprinkle reserved bacon and Cheddar mixture on top.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until tops are firm to the touch and muffins are golden.

*This is a great recipe but nell and I made some slight changes to it.
We added a little bit more cheese and bacon then necessary because we are crazy!
We also added a little more salt then the recipe calls and 1/2 a medium dice onion and 2 garlic cloves minced to the bacon and cheddar mix.

Guys you are going to love the muffins! So let Monday Muffin start!

'Till next time

**Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Corn Sweet Corn

Corn is delicious boiled, grilled and roasted! But year after year I feel like I have seen and tasted the same old corn. We have forgotten about how versatile corn really is. This perfect for summer vegetable is a great option for a variety of gluten free sweet and savory refreshing dishes.

You can make delicious latin majarete pudding, corn pancakes for a summery breakfast, the old time favorite cornbread, a refreshing corn relish or a beautiful casserole and so much more!
So to breakout of the same old grilled/boiled corn routine I have prepare this simple and delicious corn fritters recipe that are going to make you keep trying more corn recipes as soon as possible!

1 Corn cob
1/2 Medium white onion, chopped
1/4 Bunchof cilantro leaves
1/3 Cup of Corn Meal
1 Yolk
The egg white of one egg
1/8 Teaspoon of baking powder

Place the corn knob vertically (thicker side down) over a cutting board and with the help of a knife cut the kernels off the corn.
In a food processor put the kernels, onion, cilantro, corn meal, yolk, baking powder, salt and pepper and pulse 2 to 3 times until everything is mixed well. Transfer into a bowl.
In another bowl whip the egg white by hand until you get soft peaks.
Now slowly mix together the whipped egg white with the corn. Mix by making a folding motion.
Heat up a small non stick pan on low heat with small amount of olive oil. Pour a medium ladle of the mix on the pan and let cook for 1 minute. Carefully turn and repeat on the uncooked side.

You can serve this delicious fritters with an avocado salad. Just take and avocado and 1/2 white onion and dice them. You can use cilantro too if wanted. Season with a little bit of lemon juice, salt and pepper and mix.

Your family and friends are going to love this tropical and delicious corn dish!

'till next time!

pssst! get ready to perfect your cuts because I am working on a knife skill post you are going to LOVE!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Keep the Pies Coming: Passion Fruit

Who doesn't love pies! and did I mention its one of the hottest food trend this year.
That's why today we are making a delicious passion fruit pie! with a secret ingredient COCONUT (sorry I couldn't help myself but  you can leave the guessing part for your family and friends) unless you're like me and go crazy decorating it with freshly grated dry coconut.

I've been thinking of making passion fruit bars for a long time now and while looking for ideas and recipes I came along with a recipe at makeandtake and really got inspire by it. Since I was invited to a pie party through facebook, I couldnt resist baking this lovely and oooh so tropical, perfect for summer pie.
This delicious crust has fresh coconut in it. And the filling is a easy to make curd made with fresh passion fruit pulp.

1 cup of unsalted butter, cubed
2 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
1/3 cup freshly grated dry coconut.
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 egg yolk
1 Tablespoon of milk

Pre heat oven to 325F
In a bowl mix flour, sugar, coconut, salt and cubed butter and mix by hand, trying to use your finger and not the palms of your hands as they are the warmer part of your hand, making butter melt faster. When everything is mixed together and looks crumbly add the yolk and milk to the mix and work the dough until is all mix together well. Fill free to sprinkle a little extra flour if need but watch the amount. Wrap it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 mins.

Sprinkle flour where you are planning to work the dough. With the help of a rolling pin roll out the dough and place it in an already buttered and floured 8 inch pie plate, making sure to cut the the excess around the edges. A quick way of doing this is rolling the pin around the plate edge.
Cover the crust with parchment paper and fill in with dry beans, this is going to prevent the dough from rising. Cook for 20- 30 minutes. Let cool

1 1/2 cup of fresh passion fruit pulp
1/3 cup of fresh orange juice
1 cup of sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup of flour

Pour into a blender the passion fruit, orange juice and sugar. Blend.
Pass the juice through a strainer. After add the eggs and whisk then slowly start adding the flour while whisking.
Pour the mixture into a sauce pot and cook in medium heat whisking constantly.
When the mixture starts thickening, pour into the pie crust and sprinkle grated coconut on top of the filling. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until the curd is firm.

This pie is simply spectacular, you are going to love it. You can make a merengue to decorate the top of your pie with it or like me use coconut on top, looks great and tastes delicious.

Have fun!
'till next time

Monday, July 4, 2011

Pie Party: Veggie Pot Pie!

Hi Everybody,
 It's a very rainy Monday here in DR, perfect to stay in and cook something delicious and warming. Also perfect to work on two of the years hottest food trends VEGETABLES and PIE! I think it's the first time veggies are the IT item and it was about time. And forget the cupcake fever cause pies are taking over this year, either savory or sweet pies are oooohh so in.

That means today we are making a delicious Veggie Pot Pie!  

This is my  own recipe, and I loved the reaction I got from my family, specially from my dad that kept coming back into the kitchen while I made it, eating almost all the filling and was eating it cold the morning after! And my granny too who called me to tell me that was the most delicious thing she had had in a long time! So here it goes.

1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter cubed
1/4 cup ice water (using as much as needed)

Pre heat oven to 325F.
Make the crust dough first so you can let it rest inside the refrigerator for 20 mins before rolling it out.
In a bowl get the flour, salt, cubed butter and mix together fast until it looks crumbly. Don't use the palm of your hands; they are warm and make the butter melt faster. Add the water slowly until dough comes together. You don't want it too dry or too wet, you are looking for the perfect dough to roll out.
Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator. Let rest.
Prepare a 8 inch pie plate rubbing butter and flouring it eliminating any excess.
Sprinkle flour over the space where you are going to work and roll out the dough.  Cover the pie plate with the dough, and cut the sides excess and save for top layer. Cover the pie with parchment paper and put dry beans so the crust doesn't rise. Par bake the crust for 15- 20 minutes.

1 medium onion, medium dice
2 garlic cloves, choped
1 medium carrot, medium dice
1 stalk of celery and leaves, small dice
A handful of green beans, cut in quarters
1/2 cup green peas
1/2 cup corn
1 medium potato, small dice
1 cup of dry shiitake mushrooms , hydrated (reserve water)
1/4 cup of milk
1 tablespoon of butter
1/2 tablespoon of flour

In a saute pan, melt a tablespoon of butter and saute onions until translucent; then add garlic, cook for a minute. Continue to add the potatoes, let cook for 2 minutes then add carrots again let cook for 2 more minutes and continue adding  mushrooms, celery, green beans, green peas and corn with 1/2 a minute in between adding every vegetable and seasoning with salt every time. *
Now let's make a roux, which is going to be our thickening agent. In the same saute pan where you have the veggies, melt a tablespoon of butter then add all the flour and mix very well and fast. This is going to make a paste, cook until flour doesn't taste grainy.
Add the milk and 1/2 cup of the mushroom water and season with salt and pepper. The filling should look creamy and not too thick
Now your filling is ready. Pour the filling into the par cooked pie crust. Roll out a top layer for the pie and make a X so steam can come out while cooking.
Bake for 25- 30 minutes.

*When cooking don't season at the end: it's ideal to season every time an item is added to what ever you are cooking.

This veggie pie is  truly delicious and easy to make. You can add your favorite vegetables or even stick to basic ones if you are in a hurry.
Hope you all make it and enjoy it.

'till next time

Friday, July 1, 2011

All BBQ (part Dos)

Welcome back to our 2 day all bbq blog posts series! Yesterday we talked about how to get your grill ready, best charcoal to use, how to manage the fire, and more fun tips. Today is all about what’s grilling!
All the best tips on how to achieve that perfect grilled ______!(fill in the blank with you favorite grilled item)
Here we go!


The perfect grilling cuts. Tender meat cuts are perfect for grilling, look for loin, rib or any top round cut. If grilling hanger or flank steak make sure they are thinly cut for better results. When it comes to fish, fatty fishes like salmon or cobia are the perfect choice.

Salt before grilling. This was a question asked by my friend Marnely last night via twitter and there are a lot of people that have their doubts about it. But adding a healthy amount of salt to your meat 20 to 10 mins before grilling it is going to draw out all the extra moisture allowing a beautiful seared and marked meat when grilled. At the same time is drawing out moisture salt is sinking into you meat, denaturalizing proteins making it juicer + tender at the end. Don’t forget to dry off all that moister before getting on the grill.

Sauce it after. No bbq is complete without delicious bbq sauce! Just be sure to add the sauce after the meat is done. Brushing the sauce before grilling or even while grilling is going to make a hot fiery mess, brush the sauce after the meat is completely done in the warm zone of your grill.

Wait. As hard as it is going to be, after meats are done wait a good 1 to 2 minutes before cutting into it, this is going to allow all the juices inside to redistribute and take their places for the delicious flavor symphony that is going to take place in your mouth.

Building flavor. Marinating and rubbing your meats the night before is going to spice up any meat or fish you are grilling. Try Asian flavor marinades for a juicy tender item or a Jamaican rub for a spicy and crunchy bite.

Its not all about meat. Every time we get grilling in my house my mom's AWESOME grilled vegetable salad is a must, get veggies like onions, zucchinis, eggplants, potatoes directly on the grill or wrap them with foil paper. Just choped them up when done at salt, pepper, lime and olive oil for the perfect side dish. Also try grilling fruits like apples, apricots, plums and strawberry for a delicious and very summery fruit salad.

Refreshments. Don’t forget the beverages, cause its going to be hot. Besides beer (a must have), surprise your friends with a delicious sangria and a special summery cucumber cocktail.

Well guys this is all I have for now, I really hope you enjoyed my all bbq series of posts! But what I really wish is for you to have an incredible fun and full of delicious grilling weekend! Follow these tips and you’ll be the weekend hero!

‘till next time

Thursday, June 30, 2011

All BBQ (part Uno)

Today I’m super excited and happy for various reasons, first my darling friend Marnely Rodriguez from cooking with books is celebrating her 100th blog post, so after you are done here check out her especial post by clicking her name!

And secondly, I’m excited because we are just a couple of days away from the 4th of July! And that could only mean one thing, BARBECUING baby!

And it doesn’t matter if you are celebrating independence day or not (so don’t get jealous my fellow Dominicans) it's all about enjoying this lovely weather and getting to soak up the sun while having your friends over and getting that grill going! So starting today I’m doing a 2 day post series of BBQ tips on how to get ready for the big day. So lets get started!


Charcoal. Make sure you get real natural coals that look like they came from an actual tree, they burn faster and last longer then those almost plastic self burning ones. You want your food to taste like it was grilled not like chemicals.

Smokey yummy flavor. If you are a smoked flavor lover like me get wood chips like mesquite, apple and other popular woods that are going to add a beautiful smoked flavor to your meats. You can also use herb stems to aromatize.

Condition it before using it. Take a minute and make sure your grill is clean. Take old ash out so it doesn’t come out flying off when you start a new fire, wash and scrape off the rods of your grill so there’s no old food residues. After it dries use a rolled up cloth soaked with oil and pass it trough the rods to lubricate them.
Also have in mind soaking wooden skewers if you are thinking of using them, this is going to prevent them from catching fire.

Get your tools out. Be sure to have: a long handle tong, platters, a big metal spatula, a brush; these are all must haves to be able to handle the grill.

Temp up. Lets face it, not all of us are grill masters, so be sure to get a thermometer to measure the right temp for the different meats and terms. Go to to learn about the right temps.

Grill up. Once the fire is on, make sure to identify your cooking zones. This means finding those really hot spots you can mark and sear your meats, and those less hot for slow cooking (or finishing cooking) meats as for holding them hot too.
Its also good to set zones for all the different types of meat you are grilling so they don’t carry undesirable flavors.

Heat it up. Once the fire is on let your grill get as hot as possible. The hotter the grill the less of the items you grill are going to stick to the rods. Already hot, separate the coals with the help of tongs to spread the fire around.

Well guys how are all these tips for starters! Although I wanted to given them all away today, I have to continue tomorrow.  In our 2nd part of this bbq series of posts, were we are going to talk about the best cuts of meat to use when grilling, best seasonings spices, marinated recipes, and more fun tips for you to have the best barbecue weekend ever!

I'll leave you with this one tip so you come back tomorrow looking for more!

Season up. When it comes to seasoning I am old school, I like using salt and pepper. Use coarse salt before and after meat is done. Fresh ground pepper is perfect to give that spicy and crunch bite to your favorite cuts of meat. Make sure you season your meat even if you marinaded them all night... but more about that tomorrow.

‘till next time

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ice Ice Baby

As summer started I quickly noticed a trend on food blogs and websites, every writer/cook was desperately searching to satisfy their readers need to cool down and beat the heat. They searched for an easy, homemade possible, refreshing item…Granitas.

This delicious ice is made out of natural juices and it can be complemented with different herbs and spices to enhance fruits natural flavor.

Frozen natural juices were first refined by the Italians in the 17 century, but it all started as way for the Arabic to beat the summer heat.

Today we are going to follow this summer trend by making an exotic and “hot” granita. What do you say about a passion fruit, basil, chili granita….yep I said YUM too!

You’ll be needing:
Fresh passion fruit pulp
Fresh basil leafs
A very small (tiny) piece of a hot green chili
**we are not looking for the granita to be spicy, we just want your palate to find it at the end of every spoonful


Put all the ingredients into a blender and mix. After, pass through a strainer and pour into a aluminum or any metal container and freeze. This is going to help the granita solidify faster as these materials transfer the cold temperature faster.
Every hour or so go back to your freezer and with the help of a fork break the ice that has formed, repeat until the granita has completely frozen. This last process is optional but important because its going to help break into smaller pieces the ice crystals that have form, making your granita easier to eat and enjoy at the end.


Now your granita is ready to be enjoyed. When serving, dare to decorate it with herbs used for savory dishes like I did in mine with cilantro. It makes it look different and tastes great!

As you start eating your granita you are going to notice that the spicy hint found in your mouth at the end is going to help prolong the cold sensation in your mouth! Exciting, right?!

Hope you all have a great weekend
‘till next time

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mango Madness!

Today I am celebrating summer and one of the seasons most delicious fruits, MANGO! A group of my blogger friends and I decided to make a mango madness celebration by posting recipes with mango as the main ingredient.

I have two mango trees in my backyard and I eat them everyday all summer long, so I couldn’t resist to make just one recipe. To follow the cooking basics needed to be posted, today we are making a delicious tropical mango dressing so that way we can learn about emulsions, but I am also sharing with you my mango relish recipe perfect for those grilled items we love during the summer season.

What is an emulsion? Well is the marriage between water and oil, two liquids that don’t mix together.
When you emulsify you are forcing together little drops of water and little molecules of oil by mixing or blending very fast. And this is exactly what we are doing for our mango dressing.

You’ll be needing:
1 big ripe mango
1 clove of garlic, peeled
½ cup of Olive Oil
Pepper to taste or if you are like me that loves everything spicy ½ a hot pepper

The first thing we need is mango juice as concentrated as possible, so if you have a juicer go ahead peel the mango and juice away. If you are using a blender peel and chop the mango and blend. Add water if needed but remember that we need the juice to be concentrated and thick. After pass it through a strainer so we end up with a nice and smooth dressing at the end.
Pour the juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender and blend. While still blending start adding the olive oil slowly. Feel free to add more olive oil, but just keep in mind that you are looking for dressing consistency.
Now your mango dressing is ready! Serve this with your favorite salad! I personally love sweet dressings like this one with a baby arugula and parmesan cheese salad! YUM! The sweetness of the mango goes great with the tartness of the arugula.

Now that we have the dressing ready lets continue with our mango madness party!


I loveee relishes they go perfectly with grilled meats, mixed up with rice, on top of crostinis and with just about all the foods we love to eat in spring and summer. Its because relishes are refreshing and fruity.
Today we are going to make one that is going to turn your summer around!

1 big NOT TOTALLY RIPE mango, peeled and small dice
1 small white onion, peeled and small dice
1 hot pepper, seeded and chopped
½ a bunch of cilantro, chopped
The juice of one lime
Olive Oil

This is easy and fast to make. Just mix all the ingredients together season with the lime juice and salt. Finish by drizzling olive oil. This relish is ready to be eaten!

Well guys I hope you had as much fun as I did today in our mango madness party!
If you are looking for more mango fun you definitely have to visit my blogger friends pages and sites. Trust me when I say you are going to LOVE IT! So go surf away!
Here are the names of my friends, just click on them so you can continue enjoying our mango madness party!




'till next time