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