Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Roasted Shrimp & Orzo Salad

This is a perfect dish to make in advance. The flavors get more incorporated and blended when you do it the day before. It is fresh. It's a guilty free pleasure and very easy to make, what else can you ask for?

Really, it is a very summery and easy dish. You should give it a try if you are a shrimp lover. If you don't do seafood, you can totally replace the shrimp by roasted chicken :)


Kosher salt
Good olive oil
3/4 pound orzo pasta (rice-shaped pasta)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds (16 to 18 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled, seeded, and medium-diced
1/2 cup small-diced red onion
3/4 pound good feta cheese, large diced


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and a splash of oil, and bring the water to a boil. Add the orzo and simmer for 9 to 11 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it's cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl.

Whisk together the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Pour over the hot pasta and stir well.

Meanwhile, place the shrimp on a sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and spread out in a single layer. Roast for 5 to 6 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through. Don't overcook!

Add the shrimp to the orzo and then add the scallions, dill, parsley, mint, cucumber, onion, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss well. Add the feta and stir carefully. Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight.

If refrigerated, taste again for seasonings and bring back to room temperature before serving.

Source: Recipe Courtesy of Food Network - Barefoot Contessa at Home (Adapted)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

This bread has won a place in our kitchen. It is very easy to make and very flavorful. It is not the regular whole wheat that you would buy at a store. It is heavier, but better. I promise.


1 cup warm whole milk (110 degrees)
1/3 cup warm water (110 degrees)
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for brushing.
3 Tbsp. honey
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
2 cups bread flour + 1/4 cup extra if needed
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 envelope instant or rapid-rise yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)
2 tsp. salt


1. Whisk the milk, water, butter, and honey together in a large liquid measuring cup.

2. Toast the wheat germ in a dry skillet until fragrant, about 5 minutes,

3. In the bowl of your electric mixer, fitted with the dough hook, combine the flours (bread and whole wheat), toasted wheat germ, yeast and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the milk mixture and mix until the dough comes together, about 2 minutes.

4. Increase the mixer speed to medium-low and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. If after 4 minutes more flour is needed, add the remaining 1/2 cup flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, until the dough clears the sides of the bowl but sticks to the bottom.

5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form a smooth round ball. Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

6. Grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and, gently press into a 9-inch square. Roll the dough into a tight cylinder and pinch the seam closed. Place the loaf seam side down, in the prepared pan. Mist the loaf with vegetable oil spray, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size and the dough barely springs back when poked with a knuckle, 45 to 75 minutes).

7. Adjust an over rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the loaf lightly with melted butter, then spray lightly with water. Bake until golden and the center of the bread registers 200 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 40 to 50 minutes, rotating the loaf halfway through baking. Cool the loaf in the pan for 15 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours before serving.


In step 5, do not let the dough rise, but refrigerate it overnight or up to 16 hours; let the dough sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, then continue with step 6.

Source: "The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book"

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


A couple days ago I was pleasantly surprised by a cyber/chilean friend. I got these two beautiful gifts from her. She has a wonderful blog (in Spanish), please go visit it, I highly recommend it! So many dishes that remind my childhood and life in my beloved Chile! Thank you, so much Angelica!!! You can visit her blog just clicking in here.

Now, the big challenge! Who do I give these beautiful awards? Lots of you out there read our blogs and get inspired with new flavors, new recipes, new stories, etc. I also want to thank you, my blogger buddies for the effort you put in every post. Sharing your talent with the cyber world!

So, here we go:

- Stefania. I've became her follower a few weeks ago. Even though her blog is in Italian, there is so much to learn!!! (Awesome, awesome pictures too!)

- Pilar. A chilean/cyber friend that I met through the blog and got to meet several of you! She has beautiful and delicious recipes. Her breads are amazing!

- Sol. Her recipes are so delicious and they always look so fresh!

- Annie. She is my hero! I follow her blog for a little bit more than a year. Her recipes are so good!!! Easy to make and look so fancy! She is amazing!

Thanks again, Angelica!!!! Te pasaste!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mac and Cheese, with the volume turned up!

I love Ina Garten's recipes, and this one especially didn't disappoint me. It was so creamy, with a nice crusty top and freshness provided by the tomatoes. The nuttiness added by the Gruyere cheese was amazing... you should try this one!


Kosher salt
Vegetable oil
1 pound elbow macaroni or cavatappi
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 pound fresh tomatoes (4 small)
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.

Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

Source: Food Network - Recipe Courtesy of Ina Garten - Barefoot Contessa Family Style.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tuscan Lemon Chicken

I've made this recipe many times, but always I made it in the oven instead of grill. This past weekend I decided to grill it, and it was the best decision ever!!! It was so delicious, full of flavor and with that smoky flavor that only you can get when you grill. If you happen to have a gas grill, like me, you'll have to adjust the cooking timing. (It grills more slowly than charcoal)


1 (3 1/2-pound) chicken, flattened
Kosher salt
1/3 cup good olive oil
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, halved


Sprinkle the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt on each side. Combine the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, and 2 teaspoons pepper in a small measuring cup. Place the chicken in a ceramic or glass dish just large enough to hold it flat. Pour the lemon marinade over the chicken, turning it in the dish. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. Turn the chicken 2 or 3 times while marinating.

When ready to grill, prepare a hot charcoal fire on 1 side of a grill (or turn a gas grill on low heat). Spread 1/4 of the coals across the other side of the grill. Place the chicken on the cooler side, skin side up, and weigh it down with the dish you used for marinating. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the underside is golden brown. Turn the chicken skin side down, weight again with the dish, and cook for another 12 to 15 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. Place the lemon halves on the cool side of the grill, cut side down for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Remove the chicken to a plate or cutting board, cover with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Cut in quarters, sprinkle with salt, and serve with the grilled lemon halves.


Source: Recipe Courtesy of Ina Garten - "Back to basics"

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Oven Roasted Garlic Gourmet Potatoes

This is a perfect side dish for any kind of protein. Full of flavor and delicious texture. If you are a fun of garlic, this is the recipe you need to try!


1 1/2 pounds fingerling/gourmet potatoes
4 tablespoons olive oil
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon freshly chopped Italian parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a casserole dish, put the potatoes in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the garlic cloves and drizzle with the olive oil. Roast for 20 minutes, toss them and keep baking for another extra 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Add the parsley leaves right before serving.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Stuffed Salmon, anyone?

I made this roasted stuffed salmon last night. It was a complete success! Full of flavor, juicy and succulent, perfectly baked and easy to make. Doesn't that sound like your kind of dish? If so, here is the recipe. Enjoy!


1 (10 pound) fresh salmon
5 cups sliced yellow onions, 1/4-inch thick (3 pounds)
5 cups sliced fennel bulbs, 1/4-inch thick (3 pounds)
1/2 cup good olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fennel fronds
1 orange, zested
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Have the fishmonger cut the head and tail off the salmon and butterfly it, removing all the bones. You should have about 7 pounds of salmon.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Saute the onions and fennel in the olive oil for 10 minutes on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Add the thyme leaves, fennel fronds, orange zest, orange juice, salt, and pepper and saute for 5 more minutes, until the onions and fennel are tender. Taste for salt and pepper.

Lay the salmon, skin side down, on a cutting board and sprinkle both sides generously with salt and pepper. Spread the fennel filling over half of the salmon. Pull the other half up and over the filling, enclosing it. Tie the salmon every 2 inches with kitchen string to secure the stuffing.

Place a sheet pan lined with parchment paper in the oven for 5 minutes to heat it. Carefully transfer the salmon to the hot sheet pan and bake it for exactly 30 minutes (10 minutes for each 1-inch of thickness). Do not overbake!

Allow to cool slightly, then remove the strings. To serve, cut into thick slices with a very sharp knife. This salmon is delicious hot or at room temperature.

Note: If you're making this in advance, be sure to cool the filling before stuffing the salmon. Refrigerate until ready to roast.

Source: Food Network - Recipe Courtesy of Ina Garten "Barefoot Contessa Cookbook - 1999"