Thursday, April 29, 2010


TGB has requested that I make a "South Beach Diet friendly" recipe. I think this is it. I will let you know what TGB thinks of this dish later. It was really yummy and my daughter couldn't wait until dinner time to try it. She had a plate of the chicken (with no onions or peppers) while she waited for the rice to cook.

All you need is: chicken, salt, tomato sauce, onion, garlic, carrot, celery, olive oil, white wine, ground cumin, ground oregano, and a bay leaf.

First you need to boil the chicken, so you might as well make some chicken broth while you are at it. I roughly chopped one celery stalk, one carrot, and smashed and peeled 2 cloves of garlic.

I heated about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy pan.

I sprinkled some sea salt on the chicken and quickly seared it in the pot.

I poured 5 cups of water over the chicken and threw in the celery, carrot and garlic. I let it come up to a boil and then lowered the heat. I let the chicken simmer on low for about 1 1/2 hours. It will fall apart then.

When the chicken was almost done, I thinly sliced half an onion.

Then I sliced 1/2 a red bell pepper.

When the chicken is done, it should fall apart like this. Save the stock. I poured the stock into a bowl (and passed it through a fine sieve so that I wouldn't have any pieces of vegetables in the stock). You will have more stock than you need, which is a good thing. I will be making a tomato soup with the rest of my stock.

Heat up about 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet.

Throw in the onion, pepper, and about 1 tablespoon of minced garlic. I got lazy and used the garlic from the jar. You are now making a sofrito.

When the onion is becoming translucent add about a cup of tomato sauce. Let it cook for a few minutes so that the flavors can combine.

Add the following to your sofrito: the shredded chicken, a bay leaf, 1/8 teaspoon of ground oregano, 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin, a scant teaspoon of salt, 3/4 cup of your reserved chicken stock, 1/2 cup white cooking wine. Cover the skillet and let it cook over a low to medium low heat for about 15 minutes.

Enjoy it. I liked it with white rice. My daughter liked the aporreado over a plate of pasta.

  • 1 pound chicken breast, sprinkled with some salt
  • 5 cups of water
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped into quarters
  • 1 carrot, chopped into quarters
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup cooking white wine
  • 1 scant teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3/4 cup reserved chicken broth (made above)
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy bottom pot. Add the chicken and quickly sear.
  2. Add 5 cups of water, the carrot, celery, and garlic cloves and bring to a boil. Immediately lower the heat and let the chicken simmer in a covered pot for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Remove the chicken from the pot and shred the chicken breast with a fork.
  4. Strain the broth through a sieve and reserve the chicken broth. Discard the carrot, celery and garlic.
  5. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over high heat. Add the onion, red pepper, and minced garlic. You are making sofrito.
  6. When the onions are getting translucent, add the tomato sauce and cook for a couple of minutes.
  7. Add the following to the sofrito: the shredded chicken, bay leaf, ground cumin, ground oregano, salt (to taste), chicken broth, cooking white wine. Mix it all in, cover the skillet, and lower the heat to low to medium low. Let it cook for about 15 minutes so that the flavors can blend together.

Friday, April 23, 2010


I have wanted to try making a french yogurt cake for some time now. You probably have all the ingredients for the basic yogurt cake in your home so go ahead and try it this weekend. It was so delicious. I had to take a bite before I even had lunch today. It is so very light and not too sweet.

Here is what you need: all purpose flour, eggs, sugar, plain unsweetened yogurt, canola oil, vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda, and a pinch of see salt (not pictured).

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the eggs and the yogurt.

Add the sugar and whisk until combined.

This is what it will look like.

Add the vanilla extract. One of these days I will get around to making my own vanilla extract.

Add the canola oil and whisk until combined.

You should have a nice smooth consistency.

I didn't want to dirty another bowl, so I placed a fine mesh strainer over the bowl to sift the dry ingredients.
Place the all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and pinch of salt in the sieve and sift it directly onto the wet ingredients.

This is what is should look like when you are done sifting.

Whisk until just combined.

Pour the batter into a prepared spring form pan. I use the flour spray instead of buttering and flouring the pan. Place the pan in a preheated 350˚ oven and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, until the top of the cake is golden brown. I used a 10 inch spring form pan and my cake was ready in 33 minutes.

When the cake is ready, remove from the oven and let it cool.

I sifted some powdered sugar on top of the cake. You could eat it just like this, but if you want to make a strawberry coulis to pour on top keep reading.

Strawberry Coulis

Here is what you will need: about a cup of strawberries (I only had frozen), 1 tablespoon sugar.

Pour the strawberries and sugar into a saucepan over low heat. Cook the strawberries until they are tender and can be mashed with a wooden spoon. You may need to add a little water. I added less that 1/8 cup of water since I was using frozen strawberries. If you uses fresh strawberries you may have to add a little more.
When the strawberries are mushy, pass the fruit through a fine mess sieve.

You will end up with a sauce that looks like this.

I cut myself a slice of cake.

And poured a little bit of strawberry coulis over it. It was simply divine.


  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • a pinch of sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350˚. Grease and flour a spring form pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and yogurt.
  3. Add sugar and whisk until combined.
  4. Add vanilla and oil and whisk until combined.
  5. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt directly into the bowl with the wet ingredients and whisk until combined
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. You can serve it warm or at room temperature.



  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • about 1/8 cup water


  1. Place the strawberries, sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat.
  2. Cook until the strawberries are mushy.
  3. Pass the strawberries through a fine mesh sieve to get a sauce with a smooth consistency.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Anyone Can Cook!

My aunt is 55. To say that she discovered the joy of cooking late in life is an understatement. It was after watching the movie Tortilla Soup in 2001 that she decided that cooking for her family might be one of those things that she might like to do. Of course, by that time I was 29, my brother 28 and my cousin (her daughter) was 18. Better late than never. She still follows a recipe to make something and she does not substitute or tweak a recipe like I tend to do. My Tia will only make a substitution after consulting an "expert" first.
I am posting a picture of the lunch she made for us last Sunday. This is her famous fattoush salad. The fattoush salad has tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, onion, lemon juice, and olive oil. It is divine and absolutely simple to make. She replaces the traditional lamb with pork loin. I think she feels guilty about eating lamb. She has eaten lamb at my house, but I probably told her it was ground turkey. I absolutely love this salad, and I will post her recipe for the fattoush salad another day.
But I hope this post is proof that anyone can cook. And you are never too young or too old to cook.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bistec en Cazuela - Braised Steak

This dish was inspired by a recent dinner at my friend's Y's house. I made the original recipe, similar to what I ate growing up. You need to allow some time for the meat to marinate.

You will need: palomilla steaks, onions, sour orange juice, minced garlic, salt, cooking white wine, onion powder, garlic powder.

Place the steaks in a shallow dish. Place the sliced onions over the steaks. Combine the sour orange juice, cooking white wine, minced garlic, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder and pour over the steaks. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.

Heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Remove the steaks from the marinade and fry them until they are lightly browned.

Pour all the liquid and the onions over the steaks and lower the heat to low. I also added 1/4 cup tomato sauce at this point and a bit of water to cover the steaks. Cover the pot and cook the steaks slowly until the meat is very tender.

It will look like this after about half an hour. Remove the lid from the pot and raise the heat to medium to cook off some of the liquid.

Serve with some white rice. Fried sweet plantains would also be nice.
Next time I hope my friend shares her recipe with me so that we can try her version of bistec en cazuela. Hers included potatoes, raisins, and olives.
  • 1 lb palomilla steaks (or top round steaks, thinly sliced)
  • 1 onion, sliced into thin rings
  • 1/4 cup sour orange juice (or 1/8 cup orange juice and 1/8 cup lime juice)
  • 1/4 cup cooking white wine
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Place steaks in a shallow pan. Place the sliced onions over the steaks.
  2. Combine the sour orange juice, cooking white wine, minced garlic, salt, ground cumin and pour over the steaks. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
  3. Heat olive oil in a pot and fry the steaks until they are lightly browned..
  4. Pour all the liquid, the onions, and the tomato sauce over the steaks. Cover the pot and lower the heat. Cook slowly until the meat is very tender. Add a little water if necessary.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

This is my daughter's absolute favorite muffin. She will eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack if you let her. It is also one way that I sneak extra fruit into her diet. But maybe the stick of butter in this recipe outweighs the benefit of the bananas? Who cares, they are delicious.

Here is what you'll need: all purpose flour, sugar, really ripe bananas (the peel should be black), butter, chocolate chips, eggs, baking powder, baking soda, and salt (I forgot that one).

Mash up the bananas. I hate throwing away food, so whenever I have a banana that is super ripe and I won't eat it, I mash it up and put it in a container in the freezer. That way whenever I have about a cup of the mashed up bananas I make a batch of these muffins.

Put the flour and sugar in a mixing bowl.

Add 2 eggs.

Add the mashed bananas. 3 ripe bananas will give you a little more than a cup of banana.

Add 1 stick of softened butter.

Add the salt.

Add the baking soda.

Add the baking soda.

Mix it all together. You can do it by hand. Get a little exercise in there.

Add the chocolate chips.

Fill the muffing pan. My daughter likes the mini muffin pan. Can you tell she helped pour the batter.

Place in a preheated oven (350°) and bake for about 22 minutes. This is what you will be rewarded with when you are done.

Enjoy! My daughter and I like to eat a muffin shortly after we take them out of the oven so that the chocolate is still warm and melted.

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 ripe bananas, mashed (about 3 bananas)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips


  1. Heat oven to 350°.
  2. Line the muffin pan.
  3. In a large mixing bowl add flour, sugar, eggs, bananas, butter, baking powder, baking soda, salt and mix well.
  4. Add chocolate chips and mix until combined.
  5. Pour batter into the lined muffin pan.
  6. Bake for about 22-24 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool the muffins completely.