Sunday, February 21, 2010


Yes, these unbelievable New Orlean's style doughnuts that we crave some time to time! I have to be honest though... they are not exactly like the originals, but THEY ARE pretty darn close!


¾ cup warm water
½ package quick-rising active dry yeast (1 1/8 tspn)
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ tspn. salt
½ cup canned evaporated milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp. vegetable shortening
3 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil for deep frying
Powdered sugar for dusting


1. Sprinkle the yeast over the water in a small bowl and stir to dissolve. Let it stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

2. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, salt, evaporated milk, egg and shortening.

3. Stir in the yeast and mix well.

4. Gradually add the flour, about 1 ½ cups at a time, mixing until blended.

5. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Either refrigerate it several hours or overnight.

6. Heat vegetable oil in a deep fryer or heavy pot until approx. 360 degrees. (3 inches depth)

7. Pat or roll out the dough until ¼ inch...not too thin! Cut the dough into 2 x 3 inch rectangles with a sharp knife - or use square biscuit cutters. It's important to keep them relatively the same size though, so they will take about the same time to fry.

8. Drop them 3 at a time into the hot oil, turning a few times with tongs or a slotted spoon until golden brown on all sides. DO NOT LEAVE THE STOVE!!! THEY NEED TO BE WATCHED!!!

9. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Note: if they don't puff up they are either: too big, too thin or the temperature of the oil has decreased too much.

10. Sprinkle very generously with powdered sugar .

Source: ALL the credit to PENNY from

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cajun Jambalaya

My husband loves Louisiana's flavors. He asked me a few days ago if I could try to make Jambalaya. I agreed. After searching for several recipes, I opted for a simple one, but full of flavors. I was not disappointed. The only thing I would change next time I make it, is not to chop the shrimp and make bigger bites of chicken, just for better looks, not better taste!


12 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
4 ounces chicken, diced
1 tablespoon Creole seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
3/4 cup rice
3 cups chicken stock
5 ounces Andouille sausage, sliced
Salt and pepper


In a bowl combine shrimp, chicken and Creole seasoning, and work in seasoning well. In a large saucepan heat oil over high heat with onion, pepper and celery, 3 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauces. Stir in rice and slowly add broth. Reduce heat to medium and cook until rice absorbs liquid and becomes tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. When rice is just tender add shrimp and chicken mixture and sausage. Cook until meat is done, about 10 minutes more. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Creole seasoning.

Source: Food Network - Recipe Courtesy of Emeril Lagasse - The Essence of Emeril

Friday, February 19, 2010

Pork Wellington

I was pleasantly surprise by this recipe. It is as simple as it reads but it looks as sophisticated as you see in the pictures. It is one of those recipes that you love to make because it tastes divine and it seems like you've spent a whole day in the kitchen making it, but only took you a few minutes... isn't that wonderful?!?!


1 whole egg
1 tablespoon water
1-ounce dried apple rings
1 whole pork tenderloin, approximately 1 pound
4 1/2 ounces thinly slice prosciutto ham
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed completely
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard


Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and heat to 400 degrees F.

Whisk the egg and water in a small bowl and set aside. Place the apple rings into the bowl of a mini food processor and process for 30 to 45 seconds or until they are the size of a medium dice. Set aside.

Trim the pork tenderloin of any excess fat and silver skin. Slice the tenderloin down the middle lengthwise, creating 2 separate pieces. Lay the tenderloin pieces next to each other head to tail, so when laid back together they are the same size at the ends.

Lay out a 12 by 16-inch piece of parchment paper on the counter and arrange the pieces of prosciutto in the center, overlapping them enough to create solid layer that is as long as the tenderloin. Top with a second piece of parchment, and using a rolling pin, roll over the prosciutto to help adhere the pieces to each other. Remove the parchment paper and sprinkle the prosciutto with the salt, pepper, and thyme. Set the tenderloin down the middle of the prosciutto. Spread the dried apples in between the 2 pieces of tenderloin and push back together so the apples are held between them. Using the parchment paper to assist, wrap the prosciutto around the tenderloin to completely enclose in a package.

Sprinkle the counter with flour and roll out the pastry to 12 by 14 inches. Spread the mustard thinly in the center of pastry and lay the prosciutto wrapped tenderloin in the center of the pastry on the mustard. Fold the puff pastry up and over the top of the tenderloin, then roll to completely enclose, brushing the edges of the pastry with the egg wash in order to seal. Turn the tenderloin over so the side of the tenderloin with the double thickness of pastry is underneath. Pinch the ends of the pastry to seal.

Brush the entire pastry with the egg wash. Place the tenderloin on a parchment lined half sheet pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the pork reaches an internal temperature of at least 140 degrees F.

Remove the tenderloin from the oven, transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Source: Food Network - Recipe Courtesy of Alton Brown - 2009

Thursday, February 18, 2010

White Chocolate Mousse in Chocolate Meringue Shells with Raspberry Coulis

I made this lovely dessert for my family on our Valentine's celebration. It was a complete success! One little recommendation though, if where you live it is high in humidity, the meringue shells will have to be baked twice as long as the original recipe calls for.


- For the white chocolate mousse:

5 ounces good quality white chocolate (just slightly less than 1 cup)
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
*2 large eggs, separated
2 teaspoons Grand Marnier liqueur
3 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup cold heavy cream

- For the Raspberry Coulis:

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 water
2 cups fresh raspberries, rinsed and picked over (I used frozen)

- For the Chocolate Meringue Shells:

3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted

- For garnish (Optional):

1 large orange, segmented
1/2 pint fresh raspberries
Sprigs fresh mint
Shaved Bittersweet chocolate


For the White Chocolate Mousse: In the top of a double boiler or in a stainless steel bowl placed over a pot of barely simmering water, place the chocolate and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter. Add the egg yolks and whisk until smooth. (The high fat content of the mixture may cause it to separate, but continue whisking and it will come back together). Add the Grand Marnier and mix well.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whip the cream until stiff, and fold into the egg whites. Fold 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the chocolate to lighten, and then fold back into the egg white bowl until blended, being careful not to over mix.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the Raspberry Coulis:Combine the sugar and water in a medium heavy pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Add the raspberries and cook, stirring occasionally, until the syrup thickens and reduces by 3/4 in volume, about 5 minutes. (If you notice my picture, I ended my coulis here, only for a matter of time).Transfer to a blender or food processor, and puree on high speed. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, pressing down with a rubber spatula to extract as much juice as possible. If too thick, add water a teaspoon at a time to reach the desired consistency.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. (The coulis can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.)

For the Chocolate Meringue Shells:Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or non-stick mat, such as a silpat.

In a very clean large bowl, using very clean beaters, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until soft peaks form. Beating, gradually add the sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form and the mixture becomes glossy. Fold in the cocoa powder and transfer to a pastry bag with a plain tip. Pipe the meringue into large circles onto the prepared baking sheet, making the sides higher than the center to make a bowl-shape for holding the mousse and leaving 1-inch space between each. (Alternatively, drop the meringue with a spoon onto the baking sheet and form large circles, pressing with the back of the spoon to make indentations in the centers.) Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour. Turn off the heat and leave in the oven until the meringues are dry and the tops have slightly cracked, about 1 hour.

Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve at room temperature. (The meringues can be made in advance and kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.)

To assemble the dessert and serve: Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the raspberry coulis into the center of 4 dessert plates and top with a chocolate meringue shell. Divide the mousse between the four plates and drizzle some more raspberry coulis on top. For garnish, you can decoratively arrange the orange segments, raspberries and mint around the meringues and sprinkle the shaved chocolate on top. Serve immediately.

(*) The original recipe uses two meringue shells, but it was too big of a dessert for us. The original assembling was: Coulis - Meringue Shell - Mousse - fruits (oranges/raspberries) - meringue shell and mint.

Source: Food Network - Recipe Courtesy of Emeril Lagasse (Adapted)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Beef Stock

This stock has so much flavor that you won't choose to buy the canned stuff unless you're short of time!


7 pounds beef bones, sawed into 2-inch pieces
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
2 cups claret wine
20 peppercorns
5 garlic cloves, peeled
5 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried leaf thyme
1 1/2 gallons water


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the bones on a roasting pan and roast for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and brush with the tomato paste. Lay the vegetables over the bones. Return to the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Place the pan on the stove and deglaze with the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan for browned particles. Put this mixture in a large stock pot. Add the peppercorns, garlic, and herbs. Season with salt. Bring the liquid up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 4 hours. Remove from the heat and skim off any fat that has risen to the surface. Strain the liquid and discard the bones.

Source: Food Network - Recipe Courtesy of Emeril Lagassi

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tuscan Bean Soup

Talking about comfort foods, this is delicious! So full of flavor and different textures (it has three different types of beans and kale), and with a nice kick!


1/2 cup kidney beans soaked overnight or 1 (14-ounce) can store-bought beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup cannellini beans soaked overnight or 1 (14-ounce) can store-bought beans, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling on bread
1/2 pound diced pancetta
2 cups diced yellow onions
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
4 cloves garlic, sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14-ounce) can chick peas, drained and rinsed
2 quarts chicken stock, plus extra water if needed
2 sprigs rosemary
3 sprigs thyme
1 sprig oregano
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 heads Lacinata kale, stems removed and cut into bite size pieces
1 loaf Italian peasant bread, cut into thick slices
Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated, for serving


Place the kidney beans in a medium pot, add water to cover by 2-inches and bring to a boil. (If using canned kidney beans, skip this step.) Turn the heat down, let simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until just-tender. Use the same process for the cannellini beans.

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta, rendering the fat and cooking until slightly crispy about 3 minutes. Saute the onion, celery, carrot and garlic for 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Add the diced tomatoes, the cooked and drained kidney beans, cannellini beans, chick peas, and the chicken stock. Using kitchen twine, tie the herbs and the bay leaf into a bundle and add to the pot. Season with the red chili flakes, salt and pepper. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, then add the kale. Continue cooking until the beans are completely tender.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Drizzle olive oil over the slices of peasant bread, season with a little salt and pepper and toast in the oven. Serve the soup in large bowls with grated Parmesan and a slice of toast.

Source: Food Network, Recipe Courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, 2007

Monday, February 15, 2010

Italian Peasant Bread

We love bread in our family. I am continuously trying to look for new recipes. This particular bread was suggested to go with a Tuscan Bean Soup we made a few days ago (I'll post it soon!!), so I decided to try it. It was good comforting bread.


1 pkg. dry yeast
2 c. lukewarm water (105 to 110 degrees)
3 3/4 c. flour, divided
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt (I personally thought the bread was under seasoned, I will double this amount next time I'll make it)
Melted butter for brushing risen loaf


Sprinkle yeast over lukewarm water in a small bowl and stir to dissolve. Mix 3 1/2 cups of the flour, whole wheat flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Stir in yeast-and-water mix thoroughly with a large spoon. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 10 minutes, adding only enough of the remaining 1/4 cup flour to keep the dough from sticking, until smooth and springy. Shape the dough into a round loaf. Set loaf on a lightly floured baking sheet. Cover with
a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm place, out of drafts, for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Gently brush risen dough with melted butter. Wait for a minute or two and sprinkle lightly with flour. With a new, single-edge razor blade or the tip of a very sharp knife, make 3 or 4 long, shallow cuts in the top of the loaf in one direction; repeat in opposite direction to form a "checkerboard."

Bake for 10 minutes. Lower to heat to 400 degrees and continue to bake for about 20 minutes, or until bread is lightly browned and sounds hollow when the bottom or sides are tapped.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Empolvados - Chilean Pastry filled with Dulce de Leche

Empolvados are one of my favorite things from Chile. I remember growing up and eating this deliciousness and getting everything around me full of powder sugar :D . The dough is very cakey and soft, almost the consistency of a sponge cake. The richness of the manjar (dulce de leche) gives the perfect amount of moisture that this pastry needs.


4 large eggs
3/4 sifted powder sugar
1 cup sifted all purpose flour
1 tspn. baking powder
1 can Dulce de Leche - Nestle
Powder sugar to cover and dust the Empolvados.


Preheat oven to 400ºF and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Beat the egg yolks with half of the sugar until they are thicker and very pale in color. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft picks. Add the rest of the sugar until well combined.

In a separate bowl sift the flour and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the egg yolks with folding motions in three additions using the egg whites as a moisture agent. (Pour one third of the flour, incorporate to the egg yolks batter, add half of the egg whites, fold until combined, add another third of the flour folding until combined add the rest of the egg whites, fold, combine and finish with the rest of the flour)

Drop two tablespoons of the batter into the prepared baking sheet, making sure the drops are separated enough from one another. Sprinkle a soft layer of powder sugar on top. Bake for 7 minutes.

Let them cool on a cookie rack and once they've cooled join them by spooning a generous/hipping tablespoon of manjar/dulce de leche (on the flat side). Once you finished putting them together, pour like a cup of powder sugar on a bowl and roll each Empolvado until are completely covered with powder sugar. Once you are done, sprinkle some more powder sugar on top.



Friday, February 12, 2010

Palta Rellena - Stuffed Avocado

Avocados are so creamy, full of flavor and are the perfect date for Tuna Salad or even Chicken Salad. It's very common to see avocados get incorporated to several dishes too. Today, we're going to take on one of the most typical appetizer dishes (entrada) served around a Chilean table... "Palta Rellena"

(Serves 6)

- For the green salad

1 small green leaf lettuce (you can choose either kind you like)
Fresh squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
Salt and fresh ground pepper
Olive oil

- For the Stuffed Avocados:

3 medium avocados (ripe, but not too soft to the touch)
1 small sweet onion, finely diced
1 Tbspn. fresh cilantro leaves, chopped (If you don't like cilantro you can substitute it by flat leaf parsley)
2 cans Starkist Chunk Light Tuna in water (5 oz.)
3 Tbspn. mayo
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Lemon Juice of one small lemon


Wash and slice the lettuce. Drain well and transfer to a salad bowl. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil and the juice of one lemon. Toss to combine and set aside.

Open the cans of tuna, drain and rinse under fresh water (use a fine mesh). Drain again and toss it into a small bowl. Add the chopped onion (you can use shallots if you like it better) and cilantro leaves. Add the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the mayo and toss until well combined. Set aside.

Peel the avocados, cut in half and remove the seed. Season the inside with salt and drizzle a little bit of lemon juice. Set aside.

To assemble, lay some lettuce to cover the bottom of a plate. Set an avocado half on top and fill the cavity with lots of tuna salad. Add a little dollop of mayo on top and decorate with a cilantro leaf. You can splash some tabasco sauce on top, if desired.

You can also garnish the avocados with red bell pepper strips or olive slices. Enjoy!

(*) If you want to have this as a lunch plate, you can serve a whole avocado instead of a half.

Chocolate Torte with Coffee Cream and Caramelized Strawberries


1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
5 large egg yolks
3 large eggs
1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons coffee flavored liqueur
6 large strawberries with stems
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons chopped roasted marcona almonds
Cocoa powder, for dusting
Mint sprigs, for garnish


Preheat a convection oven to 375 degree F. If using a regular oven preheat to 400 degrees F.

Bring some water to a simmer in a medium pot over medium heat. Put 3/4 cup of the butter and 3/4 cup of the chocolate into a bowl that fits on top of the pot without the bottom of the bowl touching the water. Put the bowl onto the pot. When the butter and chocolate have melted, remove it from the heat and whisk in the powdered sugar.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and eggs over the simmering water to warm the eggs. Fold in the chocolate mixture, then fold in the cake flour.

Spray 6 (4-ounce) cake tins with nonstick cooking spray. Fill the tins to 1/2-inch from the top with the batter. Arrange the tins on a baking sheet and bake until they are set around the edges but are still liquid in the center, about 10 to 12 minutes. Check them after 10 minutes, don't overcook them or the center will not be liquid. Remove them from the oven and let them sit for 1 minute.

While the torte is baking, put the remaining 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup chocolate chips into a bowl, melt them as before, and keep it warm. Beat the heavy cream in a large bowl until it forms soft peaks. Quickly beat in the coffee liqueur and refrigerate until ready to use.

Slice the strawberries in half, leaving the stem on 1 half. Sprinkle the cut sides with sugar and caramelize them using a brulee torch.

Brush a wide stripe of the melted chocolate across each serving plate. Arrange the caramelized strawberries above the stripe. Unmold each torte on top of the stripe on 1 side. Put a dollop of the whipped cream on the other side of the stripe. Top the whipped cream with the chopped nuts and a light dusting of cocoa powder. Garnish with mint sprigs and serve.

Source: Food Network - Recipe courtesy Beau MacMillan - The Worst Cook in America - The final Test

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Alfajores - Chilean Pastry with Dulce de Leche

This is one of my favorite things from Chile. I love the light consistency of the egg dough with the silkiness of a delicious chilean manjar (dulce de leche) ... simply perfect!


5 Egg yolks
½ cup sifted all purpose flour
½ cup cornstarch
½ tspn. baking powder
2 Tbspn. Orange juice
1 can Dulce de Leche NESTLE


Preheat your oven to 400ºF.

In a bowl of a stand mixer, add the egg yolks and beat them with the whisk until very pale. In a separate bowl sift the flour, baking powder and cornstarch. Add the dry ingredients to the egg yolks in three parts, adding the orange juice in between. Once the dough is moisten change the whisk for the dough hook and kneed for a few minutes until soft and dry (no sticky).

If you're using a regular mixer, beat the egg yolks until pale. Add the dry ingredients alternating with the orange juice. Once everything has moistened, transfer the dough to a floured surface and kneed by hand until de dough is soft and no longer sticky.

Roll the dough very thin (1/8") but making sure it is always rolled on the same side (if you roll both sides of the dough, once you bake the disks they will not curl). Cut disks (you can choose the size, I usually use a medium biscuit cutter) and prickle with a fork. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper (or spray it with cooking spray) and bake the disks for 3 minutes. (make sure they stay pale and do not get gold)

Spoon Dulce de Leche generously over the inside of one disk and top it with the inside of another one. You can sprinkle the alfajores with powder sugar before serving (optional)

Source: - Recipe Courtesy of "La Cocina Nestle"

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sundried Tomato - Goat Cheese - Prosciutto Tart

If you are craving some mediterranean flavors, here is a recipe that you might enjoy. The other day I was checking what I had in the fridge that I needed to use and I spotted this goat cheese left over from another dish I made before. After searching for several recipes, I ended up mixing two from one of my favorite chefs: Ina Garten. So here we go!


1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted
Good olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (2 large onions)
3 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers (I minced)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus 2 ounces shaved with a vegetable peeler
10 1/2 ounces plain goat cheese
1 tspn. Herbs de Provence
1 cup heavy cream
3 extra-large eggs
6 sun-dried tomatoes julienned
2 slices prosciutto, julienned


Roll the dough on a well-floured board and fit it into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable sides, rolling the pin over the top to cut off the excess dough, with the help of a fork, prick the dough to avoid bubbles while baking. Once the dough is ready, sprinkle a tablespoon of grated Parmesan on top of it and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to low heat and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the wine, and thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Place the goat cheese in the bowl of the food processor and process until crumbly. Add the cream, rest of parmesan cheese, eggs, herbs de provence, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the pepper and process until blended.

Scatter the cooked onion mixture over the bottom of the tart shell. Pour the goat cheese mixture over it to fill the shell.

Arrange the sun-dried tomatoes and prosciutto strips on top of it and finish with some fresh parmesan slices. (I also sprinkled some dried oregano on top)

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tart is firm when shaken and the top is lightly browned. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and serve hot or at room temperature.

Source: Food Network - Recipe Courtesy of Ina Garten (Adapted from Back to Basics & Barefoot in Paris Cookbooks)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Pancutras (Pantrucas) - Chilean Soup with dumplings

This is one of the most comforting soups to have on a very cold day. My mom made it for us especially during winter. Since I live here now, it is hard to make it just like her... so here is my take on the most delicious chilean soup with dumplings!


- For the dumplings:

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbspn. olive oil
1/4 tspn. kosher salt
1/3 cup warm water or more (you only need some to get the dough together)

- For the soup:

2 quarts chicken stock, beef stock, or water.
Olive oil
1 regular sweet onion, sliced thinly
1 small sweet onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp. green bell pepper, diced
1 Lb. ground beef (good quality)
4 potatoes, pealed and diced
2 large carrot, cut into thin sticks
1/2 cup frozen peas
4 eggs
fresh flat-leaf parsley (chopped), for garnish


Place a medium saucepan over medium heat and drizzle olive oil into it. Add the minced onions, bell pepper and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook until is brown. Add the potatoes, carrot sticks and sliced onions for 2 minutes. Add the stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer slowly.

In the meantime, you can start working on the dumplings. Mound the flour on a medium size bowl and make a wide well in the middle. Sprinkle the salt and add the oil on the center. With a fork start combining the flour with the oil and salt. Add the warm water slowly until the dough is moist. Transfer to a floured surface and kneed until soft (a couple minutes). Roll the dough thinly (about 1/8") and cut into little squares (about 1").

Once the potatoes are cooked, add the frozen peas and let it cook for 2 minutes. Add the dumplings and cook for a couple minutes. Break the eggs (the idea is to keep the yolk intact) on top and fold gently. Let it simmer for 1 more minute and stop cooking. Let the soup rest for 10 minutes and serve. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Basic Chicken Stock

When I came to the US, I thought buying liquid chicken stock was so awesome. You just needed to go to a grocery store and grab a can ready to use... after being here for almost five years, I've come to a conclusion: still it is convenient to go and grab that chicken stock can/box at the grocery store... BUT if you can make it yourself at home... THAT IS AWESOME! I don't know if it is cheaper than the can thing, but I know for sure what I am adding to my dishes, and please there is no way to compare in flavor!

So, if you find to have a couple hours on a Sunday afternoon that you would like to give this one a try, then go and get your veggies, chicken and pot ready!


2 pounds chicken thighs and legs, skins removed
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, cut into 1-inch dice
2 ribs celery, cut into 1-inch dice
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 bay leaves
10 sprigs thyme


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place chicken thighs and legs on a sheet pan. Lightly coat with oil and roast until golden, about 35 to 45 minutes.

Coat a large, deep stock pot lightly with olive oil. Add the onions, celery, carrots and garlic to the pot and bring it to a medium high heat. Cook the vegetables stirring frequently until they start to get soft and are very aromatic, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the oven and add to the pot of vegetables along with the bay leaves and thyme. Fill the pot with water. Place the pot on a burner on high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Eventually a gray scum will form on the top of the water. Skim the scum and the fat off the top of the water. Simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Refill the water as it evaporates.

Strain stock and discard the chicken and veggies. Store the stock in smallish containers, plastic pint and quart containers from Chinese take out are perfect! Recycle! If not using right away freeze for later use.

Source: Food Network - Recipe courtesy of Ann Burrell

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ricotta-Taleggio Ravioli with Wild Mushroom Sauce

My good friend Paul gave me a Food Network Magazine subscription for my birthday. I got my first one this week. The recipe that follows is from it, and I highly recommend it for those pasta lovers!. It is a rustic wild mushroom sauce over these amazing three cheeses homemade ravioli... yummy!


- For the Dough:

1 pound all-purpose flour (about 33/4 cups), plus more for dusting
5 large eggs
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Semolina or polenta, for the baking sheet

- For the Filling:

2 cups sheep's milk ricotta cheese
1 cup diced taleggio cheese
3 large eggs
1/2 cup grated parmiggiano-reggiano cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Kosher salt

- For the Sauce:

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1/2 cup diced pancetta
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cup each shiitake, oyster and cremini mushrooms, sliced
Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives


Make the dough. Mound the flour on a large cutting board and make a wide well in the middle. Add the eggs and olive oil and season with salt. Beat the eggs with a fork, then use the fork to break the wall of the well and incorporate the flour into the eggs. Gather the dough into a ball; don't worry if there are lumps.

Knead the dough. Using the heels of your hands, push the dough away from you, then fold it back over itself and push again (put your whole body into it!). Continue kneading until the dough is smooth and supple, 10 to 15 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest at least 1 hour at room temperature.

Mix the filling. Mix the ricotta, taleggio, eggs, parmigiano and parsley in a bowl and season with salt. Transfer the filling to a large pastry bag and refrigerate.

Roll out the dough. Cut the dough into four pieces. Flatten one piece slightly, then run it through the widest setting on a pasta roller twice, dusting with flour in between if it feels sticky. Fold the length of dough into thirds and run it through the roller two to three more times. Continue running the dough through the roller, reducing the width setting between each run, until you reach the second-to-last setting and the dough is about 1/16 inch thick. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Layer half of the dough sheets between parchment paper, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 1 month (you'll only need half of the dough for the ravioli recipe).

Assemble the ravioli. Place the lengths of dough on a floured surface. Lightly brush the lower half of each strip (the part closest to you) with water. Snip the corner off the pastry bag; pipe 1-inch balls of filling, 2 inches apart, onto the lower half of each strip. Fold the dough over the filling to meet the bottom edge. Press around each ball of filling with your index fingers, making sure there are no air bubbles. Cut out the ravioli using a 2-to-3-inch round fluted cutter. Transfer to a baking sheet dusted with semolina.

Make the sauce. Drizzle olive oil into a large deep pan. Add the pancetta and garlic and place over medium-high heat. When the garlic is light brown and fragrant, discard it. When the pancetta is crisp, add the mushrooms, season with salt and saute until the mushrooms are soft and wilted, about 5 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock, season with salt and cook until the sauce is reduced by half. Add the butter and cook, shaking the pan, until the sauce thickens and looks velvety. Season with salt, if necessary.

Cook the ravioli. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil; add the ravioli and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer with a skimmer or slotted spoon to the pan with the sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil, shaking the pan. Sprinkle in the cheese and swirl to combine. Garnish with chives and more cheese.

Source: Recipe courtesy Ann Burrell for Food Network Magazine

Friday, February 5, 2010

Pasta Salad with Tuna

I make this dish at least once a month. It's so fresh and a good way to hide some veggies for the kiddos. You can double this recipe very easily too.


1/2 pound wide egg noodles
1 can Starkist Chunk Light Tuna in water (5 oz.)
1/2 sweet red onion, finely diced
1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped (You can use flat leaf parsley)
1 cup frozen carrots and peas
1/3 cup mayo
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Lemon Juice of one small lemon


Bring a pot to boil with salted water and cook pasta according to package instructions. One minute before the pasta is done, add the peas and carrots and cook. Drain the pasta and pour into a big salad bowl.

Open the can of tuna, drain and rinse under fresh water (use a fine mesh). Drain again and toss it into the bowl with the noodles.

Add the chopped onion (you can use shallots if you like it better) and cilantro leaves. Add the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the mayo and toss until well combined. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The perfect Marinara Sauce

I've tried several recipes for marinara sauce and finally I found this one that is really easy to make and has that beautiful and silky flavor, ideal for fresh pasta!


1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves


In a large casserole pot, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, and 1/2 teaspoon of each salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and bay leaves, and simmer uncovered over low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Season the sauce with more salt and pepper, to taste. (The sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium heat before using.)

Source: Food Network - Recipe Courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Vanilla Buttercream Icing

RIch, decadent, velvety... no much to add...

(Makes about 4 cups)

6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 sticks unsalted butter, cut into chunks and softened


Whip the egg yolks in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until slightly thickened and pale yellow, 4 to 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring the sugar and corn syrup to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar, about 3 minutes.

Without letting the hot sugar mixture cool off, turn the mixer to low and slowly pour the warm sugar syrup into the whipped egg yolks without hitting the side of the bowl or the beaters. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and whip the mixture until it is light and fluffy and the bowl is no longer warm, 5 to 10 minutes.

Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and add the vanilla and salt. Gradually add the butter, one piece at a time, until completely incorporated, about 2 minutes. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and whip the buttercream until smooth and silky, about 2 minutes. (If the mixture looks curdled, wrap a hot, wet towel around the bowl and continue to whip until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes).

Source: The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

Monday, February 1, 2010

Banana Bread with Walnuts

So moist, soft and full of flavor. Definitely one of my favorite recipes I've tried so far. Ideal for breakfast, brunch or just to snack on...


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 overripe bananas
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (Optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Mash 2 of the bananas with a fork in a small bowl so they still have a bit of texture. With an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, whip the remaining bananas and sugar together for a good 3 minutes; you want a light and fluffy banana cream. Add the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla; beat well and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated; no need to overly blend. Fold in the nuts and the mashed bananas with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Give the pan a good rap on the counter to get any air bubbles out.

Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Don't get nervous if the banana bread develops a crack down the center of the loaf; that's no mistake, it's typical. Rotate the pan periodically to ensure even browning.

Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes or so, and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Optional: Toast the slices of banana bread, dust with confectioners' sugar, and serve.

Source: Food Network - Recipe Courtesy of Tyler Florence