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Whipped Potatoes with Olive Oil and Pesto

 

Whipped Potatoes with Olive Oil and Pesto

Countertop Ornaments

Storage space is a touchy subject in our kitchen.  While a cluttered countertop doesn’t bother me on most days, sometimes I wish I had enough storage space in the cupboards to stash the kitchen gadgets that are scattered around.  Even if I could, there are two larger pieces of equipment I definitely can’t fit in the cabinet.  One is the toaster oven, a key appliance when cooking for two.  I use it almost every day and it wouldn’t be practical to stash it away.  The other is the stand mixer.  Every time I see it, it begs to be used.  I usually take it out for a spin once or twice a month, but know I should be taking advantage of it for more ‘everyday’ cooking.  My favorite of those cooking tasks is whipping potatoes.  Nothing against the humble potato masher, but if in a minute or two I can have perfectly smooth potatoes ready for dinner… Read More…

October is World Vegetarian Month

October World Vegetarian Month

October is World Vegetarian Month!

October was declared World Vegetarian Awareness month by the North American Vegetarian Society in 1977.  The food holiday was adopted by its international counterpart in 1978.  As awareness of the benefits of plant based diets increases, so has the demand for delicious vegetarian and vegan fare. More and more restaurants are including meatless dishes in their menus.

Here are some of my favorite vegetarian and vegan recipes for World Vegetarian Month and beyond.  Feel free to link yours in the comments section.

Breakfast of Champions

Orange cinnamon oatmeal

Orange Cinnamon Oatmeal

Lunch Ideas

tomato mozzarella avocado salad

Tomato, Mozzarella and Avocado Salad

Roasted Asparagus Soup

Quick Veggie Stir Fry

Quick Veggie Stir Fry

Vegetarian Cocktail Hour

Garlic Sherry Mushrooms

Garlic Sherry Mushrooms

Green Bean and Scallion Crostini

Green Green Crostini

 Vegetarian Dinners

Vegan garbanzo stew

My Favorite Chickpea stew

Kale Sofrito Risotto

Kale Sofrito Risotto

Sweet Potatoes Stuffed with Lamb and Eggplant Picadillo

Picture courtesy of Lala López – a fashion and art blogger that should be in your radar!

I have a confession to make.

I live in Puerto Rico and I visited José Enrique’s flagship restaurant at la Placita de Santurce for the first time a month ago.  The restaurant has been operating non stop since 2007.  The lines have not thinned out since then.  It took friends visiting from Boston and the ‘it’s Tuesday, how bad can the wait be’ reasoning to get me to Calle Duffaut. Read More…

Salmon Rillettes with Cream Cheese and Scallions

The rain in Humacao stays mainly in the beach.  Do not be fooled by the bright blue sky!

When July arrives, Puerto Ricans flee the bustle of city life and make their way to one of the many strips of beach in our 100 x 35 mile island.   Salty air clears away the noise and staleness of the mundane. Be carefree, darned it – it almost screams at us.  It has been quite the breezy – if hot – weekend here at the Humacao beach where we try to spend most long weekends. The wind has cleared up many rain showers fairly fast, lulled us to nap, and given us a soundtrack to relax to. I will definitely miss it once we are back to daily grind.

Beach weekends call for meals that are easy to pull off, often prepared before heading to our destination.  The snacks concocted for taking to the beach or entertaining need to be simple enough to be prepared with basic kitchen equipment.  On previous visits to the Humacao apartment, I’ve hauled over my stick blender/mini food processor combo, and this time considered tossing in a microplane grater in my bag this time around.  I’m glad I didn’t.  Faux-grating lemon zest was not the arduous task that gadget marketers make it out to be. Read More…

Harissa Red Pepper Dip

Harissa Red Pepper Dip

Harissa is a Tunisian pepper paste or condiment that is used to season meats and vegetables or to bump up the flavor in soups and stews.    Although it is traditionally found and can be made at home in paste form, dry blends have been popping up in specialty grocery stress.  The dry blend I have on hand has paprika, caraway, chili pepper, cayenne pepper, coriander, cumin, garlic, and peppermint.  The jar suggests mixing it with oil to create a paste closer to the traditional preparation.  I’ve been using it lately as as substitute for Cajun seasoning, especially for blackening fish.  The fresher herbs give such a nice contrast to the fiery peppers.  Harissa is often combined with lemon, another essential ingredient in North African cuisine. Read More…

Operación Limón: Lemon Syrup

Operacion Limon Lemons

Yesterday I went shopping for groceries and made a stop at the warehouse club to buy a few essentials we were low on and to stock up on supplies for our annual Easter getaway.  Although I’m much, much better about making impulse buys, I could not resist grabbing a large bag of lemons.  Since there were at least fifteen large lemons in the bag, I figured it would be a great excuse to make a recipe series featuring this delicious and refreshing flavor.  Hence – drumroll – Operación Limón! Read More…

Brined Pork Tenderloin

brined pork tenderloin

While working on my last big project over at my former job, we would get a lot of catered meals.  It was the only way we could go about training/cleaning up data and make the most of the day.  We were lucky to have our delivery made most days from a delicious local company that ended up opening a restaurant right by the office.  That’s how much everyone loved them!  The only times I wrinkled my nose at the sight of the trays was on pork tenderloin day.

Dried out pork tenderloin is a sad thing.  It’s especially sad when it happens to you.  No amount of seasoning can cover that mishap up. Read More…

Thank you. And THE cookie recipe.

 

Some people leave their workplace quietly, without making much fuss.  Others are not granted the luxury to say goodbye to dear friends and colleagues when separated from their employment.  And many write a note, wishing everyone the best for their personal and professional lives.  Piecing together a letter in my head was easy.  I have nine years of lessons and friendships – sisterhood – under my belt and respect for the people I interacted with in a professional capacity. Read More…

Whole Wheat Rolls for Montaditos

Whole Wheat Rolls for Montaditos

One of my in-laws favorite spots to out and enjoy a fun meal in Miami is 100 Montaditos.  100 Montaditos is a chain hailing from Spain that sells small, inexpensive and tasty sandwiches filled with pretty much any combination of meat, cheeses, veggies and even tortilla española.  Their Wednesday specials are notorious – all sandwiches are priced at a dollar, and cañas  (small draft beers) sell for two.   The montaditos main draw is the tiny, crusty baguette they are served in.  These sandwiches can be finished in a couple of bites, allowing you to taste many different combinations in one sitting.  Their menu literally contains a hundred options. Read More…

The Perfect Fried Green Tomato Sandwich

The Perfect Fried Green Tomato Sandwich

One day, the stars aligned. The produce gods smiled upon me. Ten months later, I still have not been able to recreate the perfect fried green tomato sandwich.
Read More…

The (Yellow Brick) Road to IFBC 2013

Downtown Seattle

Seattle skyline. Photograph courtesy of Rafael Alcalá. All rights reserved.

On September 19th, I will arrive to the Emerald City to see the wizards… the wonderful wizards of food preparation, writing, photography, marketing and internet savvy. The 2013 edition of the International Food Bloggers Conference will take place in Seattle, Washington from September 20 through the 22nd. Three hundred and twenty bloggers will gather to learn, network, and taste their way through some of the city’s great food.  A steel flying house will take me there, perfectly timed to celebrate my third year of blogging.

Seattle will be the host city to IFBC 2013, and I couldn’t be more excited to get there with E.  The Pacific Northwest has been in my radar for visiting for a few years now.  The culture, the food, the wineries, and the legendary music scene draw us to this area.  We won’t need green-tinted glasses  to appreciate Seattle’s charms. Read More…

Quick Tip – Rescuing Spices

Rescuing Spices - Old Bay Seasoning

The Caribbean humidity and spices do not get along. Rust eats away tins, spice blends clump, and in the worst case scenario, mold might grow on any jar that wasn’t completely sealed off. Based on these experiences, I’ve gathered some tricks for saving money and rescuing spices that might have been affected by humidity. Read More…

Devil’s Food Cake

Devil's Food Cake

My siblings and I are all doted with very different artistic talents.  My brother is musically inclined.  He was selected at a very young age to sing in a prestigious choir in Puerto Rico and later learned to play guitar on his own.  My sister always excelled in all different type of visual art.  She could sketch, paint, and sculpt.  I was the bookish one, either reading and writing poems and stories that would now make me blush on how lame they were.  If there was ever a weekend when I needed to channel my sister’s ability to make pretty things, it should have been this one. Read More…

Vegetable Broth

I’m playing catch up with the French Fridays with Dorie crowd , and for some reason I decided to group my efforts by topic.  During the last few weeks I’ve made the three soups I missed writing about: the creamy cauliflower soup sans creamcheating on winter pea soup, and the orange scented lentil soup.  The backbone for all three soups was a homemade vegetable broth.  I usually just use the bouillon cubes whenever a recipe calls for vegetable broth, but I wanted to make my own stock for these soups.  Vegetable broth gets the ugly duckling treatment in most cookbooks and kitchen reference books I have around.  It’s usually ignored or mentioned in a little blurb away from its chicken, beef, and veal counteparts. Read More…

Arugula Chimichurri

Arugula Chimichurri

As much as I love chimichurri – the Argentinean condiment for meats and potatoes – I don’t make it as often as I should.  Skirt steak is in our dinner rotation at least every other week.  Most of the time it is sliced and used to top salads, but when I don’t there’s always roasted potatoes or some other starch involved.  In those occasions, it’s always nice to have some sauce on the side.  This is part of the lore on how chimichurri came to be an Argentinean and Uruguayan staple. Read More…

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