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Thursday, December 3, 2009

My Pasta Primavera

Pasta Primavera is made with fresh vegetables. Whatever vegetables that you like and you are able to find will work here. This dish is usually made with marinara or tomato sauce but i actually like without that, and prefer to simply enjoy it with the juices that the vegetables produce together with the oil, after roasting. I used the following ingredients:
-angel hair pasta (or use any pasta you like)

-portabella mushrooms or brown mushrooms - 8 oz.
-2 small green zucchini

-2 small yellow summer squash
-onion - any kind you like - use a handful chopped or sliced

-1 bunch asparagus

-1 pint cherry tomatoes (red, or yellow, or a combination of both)

-garlic powder 1/4 tsp, onion powder 1/4 tsp, dried basil 1/2 tbsp, dried oregano 1/2 tbsp, dried dill 1/4 tsp, salt and pepper

-olive oil and a little red wine vinegar

-crumbled cow's feta, or use grated Parmesan if you don't like feta

Preheat the oven to 425. Cut the vegetables to bite-size pieces. Place all vegetables except the tomatoes in a large shallow baking pan and pour herbs, salt and pepper, olive oil, and a little vinegar on them. Toss to combine. Place in oven for about 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes add the tomatoes and roast for another 10 minutes. Cook the pasta according to package instructions while the vegetables are in the oven. When the vegetables are ready combine with the drained pasta and add the crumbled feta (or Parmesan) and toss to combine. Done.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Cauliflower Stuffed Green Bell Peppers

Delicious and healthy, the two main ingredients in this recipe are full of nutrients our body needs. Green bell peppers are full of fiber, folate, and Vitamin K, while cauliflower contains lots of Vitamin C. Here's the list of ingredients you will need:

-1 small head cauliflower (cut in pieces and steamed a little)

-3 or 4 medium-sized green bell peppers

-shredded cheddar or another kind of good melting cheese like monterrey jack is fine

-salt and pepper

First, cut the green bell peppers in half and place (cut side down and in a single layer) under broiler inside oven for about 15 minutes until skin is charred all around. Steam the cauliflower pieces for a few minutes only and when ready put in a bowl together with the cheese and some salt and pepper. Remove the peppers from the oven and then peel the skin off. ( I place them in a glass bowl and cover them with saran wrap or put them inside a ziploc bag for a few minutes so that the steam will help the skin come off). Now place the peppers again on a baking tray cut side up and fill them with the cauliflower mixture. Add a little extra cheese on top of each one and place back in the oven, baking this time at around 400 for about 12 more minutes. I used a tomato sauce that you can make if you feel like it with just tomatoes and oregano, and placed them on top. This is great with, again...rice. I love rice!

Quick and Crunchy Side Salad

This is a salad I just love to make because it goes well with a lot of the things I eat since it is very creamy. You can of course add less mayo if you want. Basically if you have some tomatoes, celery, and carrots, you can make this salad. Those are the only ingredients required, and the mayonnaise. Chop everything up in small pieces and add the mayo. I eat it with a variety of foods including rice and "chicken" nuggets, and it's also great to have with a sandwich.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I previously posted a recipe for roasted potatoes. For this recipe I changed a couple of ingredients and the rest is the same. I used garlic powder instead of fresh chopped garlic and I also used grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled over the potatoes before baking them. I like them better this way, but you decide which of the two YOU like best!
P.S. Also, I used chopped fresh rosemary this time (can't remember what I used last time)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Broccoli and "Chicken" stir-fry

By now you are all aware that i do not eat chicken. I often use vegetarian "meats", which are full of vegetable protein, to substitute for the real thing. They are quite tasty and I am used to them. I use one such product in this recipe, but of course if you eat real chicken, you may use it here and it will taste just as great.

This is a very simple stir-fry. Only two main ingredients are used. Please feel free to add/change any additional vegetable ingredients that you fancy at the moment you are going to cook this.

This is what I used:

-broccoli florets

-1 bag Quorn chicken tenders

-1 or 2 garlic cloves, peeled

-vegetable stock (chicken stock may be used of course, if you are not vegetarian)

-garlic powder

-szechwan seasoning

-olive oil

-salt and pepper

I would like to first say that the szechuan seasoning will probably be something you do not already have in your pantry. I would recommend that you buy it, though, because there is lots of ways you can use it and it will therefore be a good investment. It should cost no more than $5.

I start by heating some olive oil in a wok or any other large frying pan you may have. Then i add the "chicken" and I stir constantly so it begins to brown on all sides. Next i add the broccoli florets, stirring again and then add the garlic cloves almost at the same time. Add all the other ingredients (except for stock) at this point and just keep stirring and letting it all brown all over without letting it stick to the wok/pan, for about 5 minutes. Then add the stock, raise the heat a little and cover for a couple of minutes, make sure it does not stick to wok/pan, and when all liquid has evaporated, about 4 minutes, it is done. Goes wonderful with fried or regular rice. And sake (just kidding) Though cooking is a great reason to feel festive and celebrate with a drink, don't you think?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Insalata Caprese

This is a very quick and easy salad to make. You basically only need to assemble a few ingredients together, it's that simple. You will need the following:

-fresh ripe tomatoes

-fresh mozzarella (you can use cow or bufala, both taste great but mozzarella di bufala is more expensive)

-fresh basil

-mixed greens salad (Optional)

-balsamic vinegar and olive oil

-salt and pepper

All you do is slice the tomatoes and mozzarella, then arrange over the salad greens, placing the slices of tomato first and then the mozzarella on top as you see in the photo, last you place a basil leaf on top of each little stack. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper and then add a few swigs of balsamic vinegar and then olive oil. Don't add the vinegar until you are almost ready to eat because it would make the salad greens soggy, but if you are not using them it is advisable to add the vinegar and oil and then to cover up the salad and keep refrigerated or at least keep at cool temperature for up to an hour so it will marinate. I do it both ways. When i add the salad greens I end up with more salad to go around so this might be good to do if you are feeding a large number of friends/family. The other way (without the greens) is the more traditional way and is wonderful with some nice crusty bread. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cherry Tomato and Red Bell Pepper Bruschetta on Cheesy Bread

I just came up with the idea to the bread like that the other day when i was trying to figure out what to do with my left over Fontina from the frittata. They sell a blocks that are too big for my regular sized frittatas and i usually only use half. So i bought some french baguette (you also can use ciabatta, or any other crusty bread like it) and i cut it and sliced it in half, brushed with some Olive oil and added a little garlic powder. You can also toast the bread first with the oil only and then when you take it out to add the cheese but before you add the cheese, rub each piece with a fresh peeled garlic clove. So you put your bread in a baking sheet or shallow pan or whatever you can find and bake a 450 for about 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes, check it, it should be golden brown especially on the edges. The fontina cheese should have been shredded and now should be added on top of each piece of bread. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Before you do this though, you need to work on the peppers and tomatoes. Sorry, i am going backwards. But here is what you do: Cherry tomatoes only need to be washed. Peppers (i used one red and one orange, but two red are OK, you can even use a yellow one, but make sure there's at least one red) should be washed, seeded and then sliced into strips. One onion of any kind will do here. Use your favorite, if you like sweeter use red, if you like strong use white. I used white. Peel it, cut it in half and then slice both halves thinly. You will also need Olive Oil, some dried oregano, and a little tomato paste to thicken it. OK, first, heat the oil in a pan that has a lid, add peppers and some salt and pepper, stir and then lower the temperature. They should cook for about twenty minutes, slowly like this to help their flavors come out and caramelize them. Check them every now and then and stir them a bit to make sure they are not sticking. Next add the onion, tomatoes, and basil, let it all cook slowly too for about another 10 minutes. Now add a little tomato paste and also check the seasoning, if needed add more salt and/or pepper. Cook a final 5 minutes. Enjoy on top of your cheesy breads. Even though I wrote this in a different order, you must get started on the peppers and tomatoes first because they take longer, ideally you want to have both ready at about the same time and be ready to eat it than too so that you can enjoy it while it's warm.


Frittatas com from Italy and they are in fact like a sort of Italian Omelet. The ingredients you can use in them vary from meats to cheeses and vegetables. I love using onions in almost all of my frittatas and what I do is saute them in oil or butter until they are soft and then add my other ingredients. One of my favorite things to add after this is potatoes which I of course cube and cook first and this I do with some tomato and some oil, once they are soft you can add them too. If you eat meat, adding a good amount of sliced deli ham cut up in pieces is a great compliment to this. Last you would add the eggs, 6 or 8, depending on how big your frying pan is and how big you want to make our frittata. I use a medium sized pan and for that I only use 6 eggs. The eggs should have previously been beaten with a whisk or fork in a mixing bowl, and to this you can add cheese if you are using, grated or shredded. I usually add Parmesan cheese here to the egg mixture and then once I pour the mixture into the pan, i add some Fontina cheese that I have cut up in cubes, just add them on top and spread evenly on top of the mixture. To the egg mixture you also can add any herbs that you think might go well with whatever ingredients you have chosen, for example, if you are using tomatoes and red pepper and maybe even asparagus, some dried basil would go well, so add a tsp. of it to your egg mixture. And don't forget to add salt and pepper to it. It should cook on low heat for about 8 to 10 minutes and when you feel that almost all is cooked except for the top part, put inside an oven under the broiler for a few minutes but be very careful, it will only take a few minutes to cook and begin to brown on top. A little golden color is beautiful but make sure it does not burn. I leave the oven door open while I do this and I bring it out to check it every 15 or 20 seconds to ensure that nothing goes wrong with my frittata. It is a great brunch item, but wonderful for lunch too with a green salad on the side. The photo here is of one I made with onions, tomatoes, asparagus, and fontina cheese. If you need help or suggestions about ingredients, please leave me a comment and I will post suggestions as soon as I can. I have lots of ideas!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ground Veggie Meat with Vegetables

In case I haven't mentioned it before, I don't eat meat or chicken. It's a personal choice and I am not against others eating it. In fact, I might in the future post a recipe for a wonderful and quick roast chicken that I have made before and was told tastes delicious.
I still eat a healthy diet and obtain all the necessary nutrients my body needs. It takes a little more effort but it is not at all difficult. On of the things I make sure I include often is vegetarian protein or "soy meats". For those allergic to soy there are other options as well. In El Salvador, the dish I am going to write about is enjoyed with rice and tortillas. It is delicious and thanks to this veggie ground meat I use, there was no need for me to stop eating it when I became a pescetarian.
-1 package veggie ground by St.Yves. Morning Star also makes a great one that is just as good. And if you cannot use soy, try the Quorn brand which is made from a different micro protein. And of course if you eat meat, just get regular ground beef.
-2 carrots-chopped
-1 onion-chopped
-1 handful green beans-chopped
-2 potatoes-chopped
-2 stock cubes or bouillon
-some tomato paste
-1 lrg. tomato or two medium
-olive oil
You should already have everything when you get started, so start by heating some oil in a deep skillet that has a cover (lid) because you will need to cover it later. Add the tomatoes and onion to this and saute for about 2 or 3 minutes until everything is soft. Then add the chopped vegetables and saute a little over medium-high heat for about 3-4 minutes, once they are turning brighter in color add the stock cubes, some tomato paste (about 2 tbsp), stir and distribute this all over the vegetables and finally add some water, just enough to cover the vegetables halfway. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Let the vegetables cook with the steam for about 10 minutes. Uncover and make sure the vegetables are tender but not too soft, then add the veggie meat* and stir, cover again and cook for about another 5 minutes. If it looks like there's no water and the vegetables might stick to the bottom of the skillet, just add a little more water. Then, uncover and let the rest of the liquid evaporate and you are done! Eat with some rice and tortillas. Yum!
*If you are using real meat, cook it first in the oil and then add the vegetables. This is done so because real meat needs longer to cook than veggie meat.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Yuca Frita!

Well, there's no actual recipe i can give you for cooking the yuca, because all you do is cut it in big chunks, peel the chunks, and then boil them in enough water to cover each piece and throw in a peeled clove of garlic. It's done whenever it is soft, and i can't say how long that takes because it will all depend on the yuca you buy. Sometimes it will get soft quickly and other times it will take twice the amount of time, you just have to keep checking by piercing it with a fork. Then when it's done you can fry it in some oil so it will get brown and crispy, or you can simply eat it boiled. Make some curtido to go with it, by adding some chopped tomato to shredded cabbage, lime and salt, that's it. It's easy and oh so delicious.

Simple Side Dishes

A couple of very simple side dishes i like to make often, because they are easy and inexpensive, are roasted asparagus with lemon juice and Parmesan cheese and roasted potatoes with rosemary or thyme. The roasted asparagus take only about 10 minutes. The potatoes take about 30 minutes because they take longer to cook on the inside and get crispy. For the asparagus, all you need is 1 or 2 bunches of asparagus (depending of how many people you are cooking for) some lemon juice, some dry white wine, salt and pepper, olive oil, and if you have or want to use, some Parmesan cheese. First wash the asparagus and break off the ends. They will snap at just the right place if you slightly bend them to the side. Then place in a baking pan that is not too deep, and arrange so that they are all in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, add 1 tbsp dry white wine, 2 tbsp olive oil (add more of both if using two bunches) and mix it all up so that all the asparagus are coated with oil and wine. Put under broiler for about 7 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle with lemon juice. Finally, add the Parmesan cheese (either shaved or shredded) if you are using. For the potatoes, use about a pound of either red or Yukon gold potatoes. Cut them into bite size pieces and place in a baking tray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, about 4 tbsp olive oil, and some chopped fresh rosemary or thyme ( just use dry if you don't have fresh) . Mix everything up in the pan, making sure all the potatoes are coated with oil and then place in a 425 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Then remove from the oven and garnish with some chopped parsley (this is optional, i use the parsley for color and not for flavor in this case) Enjoy! If you choose to do both side dishes, i recommend doing the potatoes first, so you can work on the other things while they are in the oven.

Monday, November 2, 2009

We Grilled Shrimp and Salmon for Halloween!

Since we had to be outside to greet all the trick or treaters, we decided to grill some tiger prawns and salmon at the front yard of my aunt's house. It was fun and delicious!

Here's what we did:

It was very easy really, I only had to prepare a marinade for the shrimp because the salmon only needed salt, pepper and a little oil. I used melted butter, about a cup and then added chopped jalapeno peppers, chopped cilantro, chopped garlic, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and a little paprika. I melted the butter in the microwave, added everything else, a little salt, pepper and the juice of two limes. I mixed it up and poured it over the shrimp which i then put back in the fridge, covered, for about two hours. Then we simply grilled them on skewers for about 3 minutes on each side. We grilled the salmon as well for about 4 or 5 minutes on each side. We also grilled some green and red bell peppers. It was so easy!

The Simplest but Tastiest Fish Soup!

Hi everyone, thanks for visiting. I am going to start by sharing my recipe for fish soup. It's very easy and quick to make. I love it because it is the kind of soup i grew up eating in El Salvador, but also because it is delicious! Here we go:
-4 Catfish fillets
-Fresh parsley
-1 Lrg tomato or 2 medium ones
-1 onion (yellow or white)

-1/2 green bell pepper


-1 garlic clove, minced (optional)

-Fish, shrimp, or vegetable stock cubes (between 5 and 7)



You will be using a large soup pot(about 5 or 6 gallons), 2/3 full of water

Start by washing and chopping all the vegetable ingredients. For the celery and the parsley use as much or little as you want, but do use some because it contributes greatly to the flavor, i like it a lot so i use 4 or 5 celery stalks and half a bunch of parsley or the whole bunch if it's small. The photo above shows what all the vegetables should look like. Throw all the vegetables in the pot with water. Crumble the stock cubes with your fingers as you add them as well. Use 5 if you like less salty food and up to 7 or even 8 if you don't mind the salt. Don't use more than 8. Also, do not add any salt, you may find that you don't even need it in the end, so wait until you are done with the soup to decide whether or not you'd like it a little saltier. Cook over high heat until it comes to a boil, and at that point cover and reduce the heat to medium, then cook for about 15 or 20 minutes. When all the vegetables are soft and the soup is tasty and colorful (it also should smell wonderful all over your kitchen), add the fish in big chunks, cover again and cook for another 10 minutes. You are done now. Enjoy with a cold beer (or at least that's the way we do it in El Salvador!)