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Monday, January 19, 2015

Lentil Soup - Sopa de Lentejas

I have finally sat down to type up this recipe many of you have asked me about. I apologize for such a long delay, but I promise to try and post recipes more often. This is one of the easiest and yummiest soups to make. It is vegetarian as are most of my dishes, and I hope that you will try it. It is high in fiber, and it's a great soup to have when the weather is cold and you want some good (but healthy) comfort food.
First, here is a list of ingredients:
2 cups green lentils
1.5 liters of vegetable broth
2 large carrots
3 celery stalks
2 garlic cloves
1/2 a medium white onion
1/4 tsp dried thyme, or 1 tsp fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small can diced tomatoes or 3 fresh tomatoes, diced and with their juices
For garnish I like to add more olive oil and some grated Parmesan cheese, but this is optional.
Start by chopping up all the vegetables (celery, carrots, onions, garlic)
Place a large soup pot on the stove and turn the heat on to medium. Add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and immediately also add the celery and carrots, sauté while stirring for about one minute and add the onion. Stir for another 2 minutes, and then add the garlic and thyme last.
Continue to stir and add the dry lentils, mix well with the vegetables, stir together for about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, and continue to stir for another minute or two.
Add the broth, stir well, and allow the soup to come to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low, the soup should now simmer slowly for about 30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft.
When soup is done, serve and top with a little olive oil and some Parmesan cheese. I like serving this with bread, but this is up to you.
Let me know how it goes! I do hope you try this :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Simple and quick, yummy and creamy tomato soup!

I made this soup today and realized that I haven't yet shared this recipe with you! I make it often because it's super easy to make, takes only a few minutes to put together, cooking time is only 25 minutes, then you blend, add cream, and eat! I hope you will try it. Make sure you have on hand some nice french bread to have with it!
2 carrots (peeled and chopped)
2 or 3 garlic cloves (minced)
olive oil
1 large can of diced tomatoes (28 oz)
1 ltr vegetable broth
1/2 cup cream (any cream, whipping cream, double cream, any really)
salt and pepper

Heat about a tbsp of olive oil in a small soup pot. Add the chopped carrots, and cook for about 2 or 3 minutes, then add the garlic. Cook for another 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes. Stir. Add broth and stir longer until well mixed. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let it simmer for about 25 minutes. Carefully blend and then return to pot. Add the cream and stir. Season with a little salt and pepper if you wish. Serve warm with some fresh french bread. :D

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Ratatouille is a dish I like to make often, as it goes well with so many things!
Very few ingredients are required, and it is so easy and quick to make. Add to any pasta, serve as your vegetable side dish, spread over french bread, serve over rice or couscous, or use on sandwiches and wraps.
Here's the ingredients:
1 eggplant
1 zucchini
2 tomatoes
1 long yellow squash
fresh or dry herbs such as oregano, basil, and thyme (ideal if you have all of these)
1/4 onion
1 (or two if you prefer)garlic clove
tomato puree or tomato sauce (about a cup and a half)
salt and pepper
olive oil (1 or 2 tablespoons)
parchment paper

Slice all vegetables (thinly, crosswise, chop onion, and dice garlic. If using fresh herbs, chop them up too.
In a glass or ceramic baking dish (this amount of ingredients is enough for a 9 1/2 in baking dish)pour tomato puree and sauce. Add onion and garlic, and add basil and oregano, but not the thyme. Add olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until all combined. Now, as you see in the photo, arrange the vegetables on top, and then sprinkle the thyme on top. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle a little more olive oil on it. Cover with a piece of parchment that fits exactly over the dish. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 35-40 minutes until it bubbles. Enjoy.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Rellenos de Pescado o Pescado Envuelto (Forrado) para Semana Santa

Ciao friends! I am making Rellenos de Pescado today, as is the tradition during this time of Semana Santa.

You will need the following ingredients:
Salted Cod (Bacalao)
2 Eggs
Flour (all purpose)
Canola or Vegetable Oil
1 can of Garbanzo Beans
2 Tomatoes, chopped in large chunks or wedges
1/2 Onion, finely chopped
1/2 Green Bell Pepper, finely chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
1 Cup Vegetable Broth
1 Tbsp Ground Achiote
2 Tbsp Tortilla Flour
2 Potatoes, peeled and cubed

First thing you need to (This is very important!!) is you will have to buy the salted cod a day ahead and soak it overnight. Change the water 2 or 3 times. You will continue to soak the fish until right before you are ready to cook it. Doing this is necessary in order to get rid of the excess salt.

I always make the Recaudo first ( this is the sauce) and to do this, you will need to add the onion, green pepper, and garlic, together with a cup or so of the broth, into a large, 2 inch deep, lidded pan. Let this simmer for at least 30 minutes while covered.
While this simmers, place the tomato wedges with about a cup of water, into the blender and blend until liquefied. Also, place the achiote into a small bowl, add water, and with your fingers help this dissolve into a sauce. After the 30 minutes, add the tortilla flour, and achiote to the sauce, and then add the tomatoes. Stir well. Cover and simmer for another 20 minutes. Now while this simmers, cook the potatoes to soften, use whatever cooking method you'd like, I like to braise them in a little broth, but even using a steamer basket will do the job, the goal is to soften them a little. After the 20 minutes, add the potatoes and the garbanzo beans, cover and cook for 10 more minutes. You're done with the sauce. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Now, beat the eggs until you create a thick foam. On a large plate, pour the all purpose flour and spread. Drain the water from the fish and dry it with a kitchen towel. Cut in medium sized portions. Heat the canola oil on high in a large deep frying pan. When Oil shimmers, it is hot enough. Coat each piece of fish with flour, then dip in egg, and immediately place in hot oil. Fry each side for about 3 or 4 minutes, always being careful not to burn yourself with the very hot oil and using spatulas to flip them, and to take them out. Once fried, start placing them in the pan with the sauce, and proceed to cook this again on low heat, just so everything will get warm again and the rellenos will get a chance to simmer in the sauce for a little bit to combine all the flavors. Serve warm with rice and tortillas.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Salvadoran Chilaquiles

We have our own version of chilaquiles in El Salvador, though I still find Mexican chilaquiles (especially the ones my sister Virginia makes)to be very delicious. I made the Salvadoran version the other day. They are heavier because our tortillas are thicker, but are still very tasty and really easy and quick to make.

Freshly made Salvadoran tortillas
Stringy cheese (whatever kind you are able to find) I used pepper jack the first time because it was all I had, but Salvadoran "quesillo" would be better though it's hard to get here.
Two or three eggs.
Some tomatoes and onion, a garlic clove and a bay leaf to make a sauce.

First make the sauce. Put everything in the blender with a little water, blend, then cook, simmering slowly and stirring occasionally until it is done, about 20 minutes. If you'd like, add a little sauce.
Next, cut each tortilla in half and then slice through each half to make a pocket (see photo). Stuff each pocket with the cheese. Heat a good amount of canola, safflower, or sunflower oil in a large, deep frying pan. While you heat the oil, use a hand mixer to beat the eggs in a bowl until very thick and put to the side. Now that the oil should be hot, coat each tortilla half one at a time with some beaten egg, then place in the frying pan and fry on each side, then remove and place in the pan which contains the sauce. Try and fit as many as you can in the sauce pot and then turn it on to a low temperature and simmer slowly. The purpose of this is to further cook each tortilla half and let it soak up a little bit of sauce. If you have too many chilaquiles and not enough sauce, you can save them, already fried, and later on make more sauce and cook or use the sauce left over from your first batch of chilaquiles.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Creamy Shrimp Soup

My friend Lily asked me to post this recipe, and it has taken me a little while to do it. This is the simplest and easiest recipe for Creamy Shrimp Soup or Sopa de Camaron, as we call it, and it is definitely El Salvador style soup. Here it is, for Lily, as well as for everybody else! I hope you will try it ;-)
-1 lb shrimp. It really depends on you, but if you have the shell, the tail, and even the head on the shrimp, it will be more flavorful.
-1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
-1 white onion, chopped
-1 large or two medium tomatoes, chopped
-a little fresh mint (not peppermint), you know, YerbaBuena, chopped
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 celery stalk and some leaves if possible, chopped.
-i cup or more of heavy cream or Salvadoran cream

Saute everything (except the shrimp)in some butter, in a soup pot, then add the shrimp, and saute a little more, making sure all the flavors are mixing together. Then add some water to cover it all, bring this to a boil. When it comes to a boil add a cup (or more if you want) of heavy cream (crema salvadorena is what I use) and simmer for a few more minutes while stirring. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. Enjoy with an ice cold beer.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cooked Greens and Queso Fresco Tacos

Unwilling to throw out the beet and radish greens I got today at the farmers market, I decided to make tacos with them. I used some queso fresco and taco sauce to add on top, and of course I used thin mexican tortillas that I warmed wrapped in a towel in the microwave.
For the greens I used the following:
-Beet and radish greens (wash them really well because there usually is a lot of dirt in them) chopped roughly
-Olive Oil
-1/2 a white or yellow onion (chopped)
-Garlic clove (minced)
-Red pepper flakes
-a little broth, or a bouillon and some water

Start by getting all your ingredients chopped and ready, once you start cooking it's only going to take about 10 minutes to complete the whole thing, so be ready. Heat the olive oil in a deep pan(you will need one with a lid). Add the chopped onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Saute for a little while, making sure the garlic doesn't burn. When the onion is soft and looks translucent, add the chopped greens and mix with the onion, watch as it all begins to wilt. Keep stirring for about 3 or 4 minutes and then add a little broth (maybe 1/4 cup) or 1 bouillon and a little water, stir again and the cover, let it cook on medium low heat for another 3 or 4 minutes. At this point, warm your tortillas, and get your cheese out. Place the tortillas on a plate, pile the greens mixture in the middle, then crumble cheese over this, and finish by adding some taco sauce on top. Eat right away because they taste better eaten warm.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Another Yummy Way to Grill Salmon

We grilled salmon with slices of lemon and orange and the result was fantastic! It gave the salmon just a hint of the citrus flavor and made it very moist. We also grilled asparagus, and some onion wedges. Serve with rice or couscous. You will need some grilling baskets as you will see in the photos. Be sure to put citrus slices on both sides of the fish. You can find the baskets at target, or any place that sells grilling supplies.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Make your own Potato Wedges

Hi everybody! Sorry I haven't posted much in a while...But here is something that takes very little effort to make and the result is delicious. I make these potato wedges all the time as they are a great compliment to many meals, and well, I just really like potatoes. Make sure to set your oven to 425 or 450 so that they don't go soggy.

You will need...
-Potatoes (Large Yukon Gold ones or Russet)
-Paprika powder
-Garlic powder
-Olive Oil
-Salt and Pepper

Scrub your potatoes well because you will be leaving the skins on. Then slice them lengthwise into large wedges. Place the wedges on a baking tray and sprikle with plenty of garlic powder and paprika, then pour some olive oil on them and mix everything well. To make sure you get each potato coated well with this mixture, do it with your hands. Now make sure and spread them out into a single layer on the baking tray, and put them in the oven to bake for about 30 minutes. If you can, take them out after the first 15 minutes and flip them onto the other side, then return them to the oven, that way they will cook evenly and get crispy on both sides.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Simple Bruschetta

This is super simple to make, but so delicious! I make bruschetta all the time, because I love tomatoes and bread. If you are for any reason trying to avoid bread, you can still enjoy the bruschetta on some whole wheat crackers, or another similar product.
For the bruschetta, you will only need:
fresh basil
olive oil
salt and pepper
To make the bread, I only use garlic and some more olive oil. The type of bread is french or ciabatta, cut crosswise or lengthwise, or any way you prefer.
Firs start boiling some water. Also, preheat your oven to 350. In the meantime, slice your bread and then rub a peeled clove of garlic on each slice. Then put a few drops of olive oil and arrange them on a baking sheet. Place in oven and toast for about 15 minutes, just until they are brown and toasty. During these 15 minutes, place the tomatoes on a bowl and pour the boiling water on them, let them stand for only about 1 1/2 minutes. Take the tomatoes out of the water, peel them and chop them up. Add torn pieces of fresh basil, add olive oil, and then salt and pepper to taste. If your tomatoes are sweet you dont want to ruin that wonderful flavor with a lot of salt, so only put a little bit. A bruschetta should not be salty. Take the bread out of the oven and serve next to the bruschetta, as you see here in my photo.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A few notes about the previous recipe...

I forgot to mention that I used Pink Grouper, but you can use any kind of grouper you can find. Also for the vegetables I made a dip as you can see in the photo. It was 3 tbsp. mayonnaise, 1 tsp. paprika, and the juice of one large lemon.
I am also including the rest of the photos here because I could not upload them all at once. Please leave comments, or email me with any questions.

Skewers of Grouper and Mixed Bell Peppers, plus Grilled Veggies, Yum!!

Even if you don't have an outside grill, or you don't even have an outside(like me) you can still make grilled meats and veggies indoors. A lot of us live in apartments, and the good news is, that as long as you have a grill pan, you can prepare the following recipe. Just make sure and open all your windows and maybe even the door (as I have to do) when you start grilling.
You will need:
1 lb grouper
3 bell peppers (one red, one green, and one yellow)
1 bunch scallions
1 pint cherry tomatoes
3 mexican or italian squash
1 bunch asparagus
Olive Oil, of course!
Garlic powder or garlic salt
Salt and Pepper
Oh yeah, and also a few skewers, about 8

Start by soaking the skewers in water for 20 minutes, or for however long it takes you to chop the vegetables. Cut up the squash and peppers into long slices. Remove the ends from the asparagus by snipping them off, and then cut each one in half crosswise. For the scallions, remove the wilted ends and also remove the roots. The cherry tomatoes should stay whole. Save some of each color pepper aside for the grouper skewers, and add the rest and all the other vegetables to a bowl. Then toss them all together with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and a little oregano. Set them aside. Then, cut up the grouper into big chunks or large cubes. (see photo). Cut small squares of the saved bell peppers and arrange them in the skewers as you see in the photo. Sprinkle them with garlic powder or garlic salt and some pepper. Then brush them with olive oil. Heat the grill pan and then start grilling! The fish should not take very long to cook, maybe just 5 minutes on each side.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Deviled Eggs

Eggs are a good source of protein,and though the yolk contains cholesterol, it is still something that can be enjoyed, once in a while, in moderation. This is a very simple way to make deviled eggs. It is the way I do it anyway, but you can add anything you want (that will compliment the egg flavor, of course) to the yolk mixture. Herbs like marjoram also go nicely with eggs, but this herb should be used sparingly, as its flavor is pretty strong. Another idea is to add a little bit of minced pickled cucumber (relish), or just try your own idea, it's just eggs, what could go wrong, right? Here's the recipe I use:
5 organic eggs
mayo and yellow mustard
salt and pepper

Boil the eggs for about 10 min. until they are hard. Then cover them in cool water and let them sit there while you chop the chives. Chop the chives very small, about half a bunch should be enough, put them in a bowl. Then start peeling the eggs. Cut each egg in half and remove the yolk and place in the bowl with the chives. Place the egg halves and arrange them in a plate or platter that you will serve them in. With a fork, start smashing the yolks and stirring them together with the chives.
Now add two tablespoons mayonaisse, and 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard, some pepper, a little bit of paprika, and a little bit of salt (please watch the salt here, it really needs very little!)Then mix everything together and you should get a sort of paste that you will now spoon into each egg as shown in the photo. Finally, sprinkle each egg with a little more paprika and you are done!