Sunday, July 26, 2009

Stuffed Tomatoes / Tomates Rellenos

This is a very summery chilean dish. It's very common to see it on a Sunday afternoon table or when you have company. There are so many ways you can stuff the tomatoes, but this is the most simple one. Hope you enjoy it!


4 leaf lettuce leaves
4 tomatoes (medium size)
1 cup frozen corn (or fresh)
2 Tbspn. Mayo
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 Basil leaves, chiffonade


Wash the tomatoes and cut the top of them. With the help of a spoon remove the inside and put it into a bowl. Cut the tomatoes inside parts and tops into little bites.

Cook the frozen corn according to package instructions. Rinse with cold water until it cools off. Add the cooled corn to the tomato chunks. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the mayo and mix well.

Fold the lettuce leave inside of each tomato making sure you leave some out as garnish. Fill the tomatoes up with the tomato - corn mix. Decorate with the chiffonade basil.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mini Brownie Cupcakes with Cream Cheese-Chocolate Frosting

This is a perfect treat to entertain crowds or to take to a birthday party. They are so chewy and decadent!


- For the mini cupcakes
6 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 Tbspn. unsalted butter
1 Tbspn. light corn syrup
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tspn. baking powder
2/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (I used pecans)

- For the frosting:
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup light corn syrup
4 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped


To make the cupcakes: Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a standard mini muffin tin. Stir the chocolate and butter in a small heavy saucepan over low heat until they melt and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the syrup and salt. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and eggs in a large bowl for 2 minutes or until the mixture is thick and light. Stir in the chocolate mixture. Add the flour and baking powder, and stir just until blended; then stir in the walnuts. Divide the batter equally among the mini muffins tin, filling them completely (about 18 of them). Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the cupcakes puff and crack on top and a skewer inserted into the center of one comes out with fudgy crumbs attached. Remove the cupcakes from the tin and let them cool completely on a wire rack.

To frost the cupcakes: Using a electric mixer, beat the cream cheese in a large bowl until it is light and smooth. Beat in the syrup. Place the chocolate in another bowl and set the bowl over a small pot of simmering water. Stir constantly until the chocolate melts. Add the melted chocolate to the cream cheese mixture and beat until blended and fluffy, stopping the machine and scraping the bottom of the bowl to ensure that the mixture is well blended. Spread the frosting generously over the cooled cupcakes. Serve.

Source: Adapted from Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone.

Strawberry Ice Cream

Summer is here and berries are ready to enjoy! This summer treat is full of flavor and richness.


3 cups fresh ripe strawberries, stemmed and sliced (My berries were too big, so I used 4 cups instead)
4 Tbspn. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 3/4 cups heavy cream ( I used 2 cups of heavy cream and 3/4 cup of evaporated milk)
1 1/2 tspn. pure vanilla extract.


In a small bowl, combine the strawberries with the lemon juice and 1/2 cup of sugar. Stir gently and allow the strawberries to macerate in the juices for 2 hours (I did it overnight). Strain the berries, reserving juices. Mash or puree half the berries.

In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed to combine the milk and remaining granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream, reserved strawberry juice, mashed strawberries and vanilla. Pour into your ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions. Churn for 20 to 25 minutes. Five minutes before mixing is completed, add the reserved sliced strawberries and let mix in completely. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If you desire a firmer consistency, transfer the ice cream to an air tight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

Source: Cuisinart Recipe Booklet

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Shrimp Etoufee

My husband loves New Orleans style food. So, I wanted to give it a try to this recipe for a while and finally I got to do it. It is very delicious and spicy. Hope you enjoy it!


6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped green bell peppers
2 cups chopped celery
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons Essence
1 quart shrimp stock (I used chicken broth + white wine, instead)
3 pounds medium shrimp (21 to 25 count per pound), peeled and deveined
1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
Steamed white rice, for serving
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion tops, for garnish


Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the flour and stir continuously to make a roux. Stir the roux over medium heat until the color of peanut butter, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the onions, bell peppers, celery, and garlic to the roux, and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes to the pot and season with the bay leaves, salt, cayenne, and 1 tablespoon of the Essence. Cook the tomatoes for 2 to 3 minutes and then whisk in the shrimp stock.

Bring the mixture to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook the etouffee, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. Season the shrimp with the remaining tablespoon of Essence and add them to the pot, stirring to evenly distribute. Cook the shrimp for 5 to 7 minutes, or until they are cooked through. Add the chopped parsley to the pot and stir to combine.

Serve immediately over steamed white rice and garnish with sliced green onion tops.

Source: Emeril Lagasse - Food Network

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Chocolate Velvety Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

This "experimental cake" turned to be a complete success! I wanted to make something different for a friend on his birthday, so I decided to combine two of his favorite flavors: chocolate and cream cheese icing. The result was beyond my expectations.. a very light and moist delicious cake.

I have to apologize for the pictures, but I only had a couple hours to make that cake!


- For the cake:

1 pkg Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Classic Yellow Cake Mix
1 1/3 cup of water (I substituted 1 cup of water for regular milk)
3 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil

- For the filling:

2 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks
6 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp corstarch, sifted
1/4 tsp salt
7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted
2 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces, at room temp

- For the icing:

1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese at room temperature
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


- For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease muffin pans or line with paper baking cups.

Combine cake mix, eggs, water and oil in large bowl. Beat at low speed with electric mixer until moistened. Beat at medium speed 2 minutes. Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full.

Bake at 350° F for 18 to 21 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pans 5 minutes. Remove to cooling racks. Cool completely.

- For the filling:

Bring the milk to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the egg yolk with the sugar, cornstarch and salt until thick and well blended. Whisking without stopping, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk-this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won't curdle-then, still whisking, add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream. Put the pan over meduim heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly and thoroughly (make sure to get into the edges of the pan), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1-2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

Whisk in the melted chocolate, and let stand for 5 minutes. Then whisk in the pieces of butter, stirring until they are fully incorporated and the chocolate cream is smooth and silky. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create and airtight seal and refrigerate the cream until chilled, or for up to 3 days. Or, if you want to coool the cream quickly, put the bowl with a cream into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water and stir the cream occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes.

- For the Cream Cheese Icing:

Combine the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mixing just until smooth.

- To Assemble the cake:

If the tops of the cake layers have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. Slice each layer horizontally in half. Place on layer cut side down on a cardboard cake round or on a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment.

Whisk each of the creams (filling and icing) vigorously to loosen and smooth them. With a long metal icing spatula, spread enough cream cheese icing (about 1 cup) over the cake layer to cover it completely. Top the cream with another cake layer, cut side up, and cover this layer with chocolate cream (filling), making the chocolate layer about the same thickness as the cream cheese layer. Cover with a third layer, cut side up, and cover with another cup or so of the cream cheese icing. Top with the final layer of cake, cut side down, and frost the sides with the remaining cream cheese icing. Pipe the top of the cake (all the border around) with cream cheese and pour the left over chocolate filling on top. Finish decorating with cream cheese and shaved chocolate if you desire.

Source: Adapted from Baking from my home to yours from Dorie Greenspan and Barefoot Contessa Show.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Fresh Potato Salad, chilean Style!


8 large idaho potatoes
1 large carrot
1 small bunch of cilantro
1/2 onion, minced
1 large lemon
3 boiled eggs, cut in chunks
1 cup mayo
Salt and Pepper to taste


Wash the potatoes and the carrot. Put them in a big pot with cold water and one tablespoon of salt under medium-high heat. Boil and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. This timing will vary depending on the size of the potatoes. So you might need to check them inserting a knife to check for the desired texture.

Once the potatoes are cooked, rinse them immediately with cold water and let them cool under it for a while. Peal them and cut into chunks. Peal the carrot and cut it into small chunks too.

In a big mixing bowl, put the potatoes and carrot. Add the minced cilantro, onion and eggs. Season with salt and pepper and the juice of the lemon. Add the mayo and stir everything very smoothly to prevent smashing the potatoes. Pour the salad onto a salad platter and let it chill until you serve.

Yields: 12 big portions

Oven Roasted Flank Steak

This is one of my favorite ways to eat Flank Steak. Especially because it is very easy to cook and the flavor and juices of the meat come together so well. If you decide to give it a try, here is the recipe!


4 pounds of flank steak (room temperature)
Salt and fresh ground pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 Tbspn. olive oil
1 Tbspn. balsamic vinegar (or a generous splash)


Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Grease the bottom a baking dish (wide enough to hold both pieces of meat without overlapping into each other). A baking cookie sheet would work too.

Season the meat with salt and pepper to taste on both sides. Rub the minced garlic and the fresh thyme all over the meat.

Place it on the pan/baking sheet and drizzle the olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes for medium rare. Take it out of the oven. Cover it with aluminum foil and let it rest for 10 minutes. Cut into pieces and serve.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Cookies

This cookies are so delicious I can hardly describe them with words! They absolutely rocked my world!

Here is the recipe:


1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tspn. baking soda
1/2 tspn. salt
1 cup natural chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
8 Tbspn. unsalted butter, at room temperature (1 stick)
2 Tbspn. honey
1 large egg
1 tspn. vanilla extract
5 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used morsels)
1/2 cup pine nuts (chopped and toasted)


Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 3 large heavy baking sheets with parchment paper.

Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, honey, egg and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended. Stir the dry ingredients into the peanut butter mixture in two additions. Stir in the chopped chocolate and pine nuts.

Scoop about 3 tablespoonsful of dough for each cookie onto the prepared baking sheets (I used a small ice cream scooper), spacing them 2 1/2 inches apart (I also shaped them like a ball). Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the cookies puff and begin to brown on top but are still very soft to the touch. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Then use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack. Enjoy the cookies warm or let them cool completely.

--If you want flat cookies, smash the balls a little bit before baking to help them spread better.

Source: Adapted from Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Mediterranean Crêpes

I tried this recipe last night. It was out of this world! The flavors were so well chosen and perfect combined together. I challenge you to try it. You won't regret it!


- For the crêpes:

1 cup/125 g all purpose flour, sifted
4 teaspoons/15 g granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups/325 ml whole milk
1/2 cup/115 ml heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon/15 g unsalted butter

- For the filling:

8 ounces/225 g white cheddar cheese, grated
8 ounces/225 g feta cheese, crumbled
3/4 cup/105 g oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained of excess oil and thinly sliced
3/4 cup/105 g kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
6 thin prosciutto slices, torn into bite-size pieces


- To make the crêpe batter:

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs and 1/2 cup/130 ml of the milk and whisk to form a soft paste.

Combine the remaining milk and cream in a measuring cup and slowly add to the flour mixture, whisking to form a smooth thin batter. Strain the batter into a medium bowl to remove any lumps. Cover the batter and set aside for 30 minutes. This will allow time for the flour to absorb all of the liquid.

- To cook the crêpes:

Preheat the oven to 200°F/95°C. Heat a crêpe pan or a heavy 7-inch-/18-cm-diameter, non-stick sauté pan over a medium to low heat. Dab some butter on a paper towel and wipe the pan with a little butter.

Pour 3 tablespoons/45 ml of batter into the pan and swirl to coat the bottom thinly. Cook until the edge of the crêpe is light brown, about 1 1/2 minutes. Loosen the edges gently with a spatula. Carefully turn the crêpe over.

Sprinkle some of the cheddar cheese, then the feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and prosciutto over half of the crêpe. Cook until the bottom begins to brown in spots and the cheddar cheese melts, about 1 minute.

Fold the uncovered side of the crêpe over the filling, then fold the crêpe in half again, forming a triangle. Transfer to a baking sheet and tent with foil. Place in the oven to keep warm while you make the remaining crêpes. Repeat with the remaining batter and fillings, wiping the pan with butter as needed, and forming 12 crêpes total.

Source: "Take home Chef" with Curtis Stone

Tuscan CousCous

I wanted to give an italian flavor to my Couscous, so I created this recipe. The flavors came really well together and provided such a earthy taste to it.


- For the pesto:

1 1/2 cup (not packed) fresh sweet basil leaves
2 oz. pine nuts
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

- For the Couscous:

1 can diced tomatoes (with its juice)
1 shallot
1/8 tspn. black ground pepper
1 cup Couscous
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 tspn. salt


In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade, add all the pesto ingredients but the olive oil. Pulse for a few minutes and add the oil in a steady stream until everything is well blended and emulsified. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan combine undrained diced tomatoes, shallot, pepper, water and salt. Bring to a boiling. Stir in Couscous. Cover; remove from heat and let stand for five minutes. Fluff with a fork and add the pesto mixture until well blended. (Do it gently or you'll end up with a mushy mess). Transfer to a serving bowl or platter and serve. (You can either serve it hot, room temperature or cold)

(I molded the couscous on a bowl lined with plastic wrap. Then, I flipped it over a round platter and decorated with lettuce leaves, stuffed olives, sun-dried tomatoes and toasted pine nuts)

Easy Turnovers

This morning I wanted to make something quick and easy to take to OP, so I decided to make these guys. They are so full of flavor and they look very pretty too.


1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough (at room temperature)
1 package cream cheese (8 oz) at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 splash vanilla extract
5 strawberries sliced
1 egg
1 Tbsp. cold water
1 Tbsp. sugar
Powder sugar to garnish


1. Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Line one baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla until smooth.

3. On a floured surface unfold the puff pastry dough, dust flour on both sides and roll it until you form a square of 12". Cut into nine 4" squares.

4. Spread about 3/4 of a tablespoon of cream cheese filling on the center of each square. Top with a few strawberry slices. Wet all the corners of the squares with water and start folding them into a triangle. (Grab the bottom right corner and press it against the top left one and seal or the sides with your fingers). At this point you would have nine turnovers done. Get a fork and press it against the sealed corners (it makes sure the filling won't get out of the dough and also provides a little design to the ends).

5. Line the turnovers on the prepared baking sheet and brush them with the egg wash (mix the egg and tablespoon of water). Sprinkle the sugar on top.

(*) At this point, I recommend to make a few cuts on top of the pastry dough, so steam can get out and won't make the turnovers explode inside of the oven --I learnt that the hard way :D.

6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (or until golden brown). Sprinkle the powder sugar on top and serve.