Saturday, 11 July 2009

Summer Spaghetti

*great for summer picnics!*

1 pound of Angel Hair

5 ripe tomatoes cubed

1 pound of brie into pieces

1 cup fresh basil torn into strips

4 garlic cloves, finely minced

½ cup olive oil

1 tsp. Salt

Pepper to taste


Chop tomatoes, brie, basil, garlic, olive oil – put in serving bowl and let it sit for 2 hours

Boil pasta, drain it, toss it in tomato sauce

Garnish with parmasean cheese

Great cold! Also great with cold white wine!

Source: Tia Loli


4 eggs (separated)

4 cups of sugar

Mascarpone Cheese

Lady fingers


Grated baking chocolate

Separate eggs and mix yolks with sugar and mascarpone

Beat egg whites separately. When creamy, add to mascarpone mixture. Blend well.

Line pan with creamy mixture. Dip lady fingers individually in espresso and line up in rows over the cheese. Then add another level of mascarpone. Continue for as many levels as desired (usually 3 or 4).

Garnish top level generously with chocolate. Refrigerate.

Source: Marcela, our Italian chef in Tuscany, summer 2005

Arroz con Pollo


½ cup frozen chopped onions

Minced garlic

2 packs Sazon Goya con cilantro y achiote

1-2 tsps powdered chicken bouillon

1 8oz. can of tomato sauce

2/3 cup dry white wine

1-1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast (in strips)

1 cup of rice

1 2oz. jar of sliced red peppers in liquid

1 8.5 oz can of small early peas in water


In a ceramic pot, warm oil to a medium high heat.

Add , garlic, Sazon, bouillon, and tomato sauce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Add white wine and leave to simmer for about 5 minutes.

Season chicken with Adobo and add to pot.

Add 1 cup of white rice and stir.

Add 3 cups of water, red peppers (with liquid), and peas (with liquid).

Season to taste with garlic powder, garlic salt, salt and pepper.

When the mixture comes to a summer, reduce to medium-low heat. Cover and let sit until desired consistency (about 45 minutes).

Source: Amparo Miranda

Homemade Gravy

*If you don't have fresh chicken stock, you can use cubes - I used Bisto turkey granules for this on Thanksgiving 2008*

* 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
* 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion (2 onions)
* 1/4 cup flour
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* Defatted turkey drippings plus chicken stock to make 2 cups, heated
* 1 tablespoon Cognac or brandy
* 1 tablespoon white wine, optional
* 1 tablespoon heavy cream, optional


In a large (10 to 12-inch) saute pan, cook the butter and onions over medium-low heat for 12 to 15 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Don't rush this step; it makes all the difference when the onions are well-cooked.

Sprinkle the flour into the pan, whisk in, then add the salt and pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock mixture and Cognac, and cook uncovered for 4 to 5 minutes until thickened. Add the wine and cream, if desired. Season, to taste, and serve.

Source: Barefoot Contessa

Tortilla Espanola

1 1/2 cups oil
2 1/2 lb boiling potatoes, peeled and cut
into 1/3-inch dice
21/2 cups chopped onion
1 tablespoon coarse salt
10 large eggs

Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and add potatoes, onion, and half of salt. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender but not colored, about 45 minutes. Drain vegetables in a large colander set over a bowl and cool 5 minutes. Lightly beat eggs in a large bowl. Gently stir in vegetables with 1 tablespoon oil, salt, and pepper to taste.

Return 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and add mixture, pressing potatoes flush with eggs. Cook over low heat, covered, 12 to 15 minutes, or until almost set. Turn off heat and let stand, covered, 15 minutes. Shake skillet gently to make sure tortilla is set on bottom and not sticking to skillet. Invert tortilla onto a large flat plate and slide back into skillet, bottom side up. (Alternatively, especially if top is still loose at this point, slide tortilla onto plate first. Cover it with skillet and invert tortilla back into skillet.) Round edge with a rubber spatula and cook over low heat, covered, 15 minutes more, or until set. Slide tortilla onto a serving plate and serve warm or at room temperature.

Source: Gourmet

Corn Souffle

* I will just say that I've never met a person who does not love this recipe. If you're making this in London, you can find everything you need at Partridge's in Sloane Square*

2 boxes Jiffy cornbread or corn muffin mix
2 14.5 oz cans of creamed corn
4 eggs
16 oz carton of sour cream
2 sticks butter

Melt butter in 6" deep casserole(I usually melt in microwave and then pour into casserole dish)

Beat eggs and then mix all the rest of the ingredients into eggs.(You don't need a special mixer,mixing well with fork or spoon is sufficient)

Pour mixture into casserole dish.Do not stir.Butter will just pool up around sides and this is fine.

Bake at 350 for 45 min.When knife comes out clean from center,it is done.Enjoy!

Source: Tia Berta


--> My first flan!

*Always best to make the day before serving*

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 can condensed milk
1 small can evaporated milk
4 large eggs
1 container Philly cream cheese
1 tbsp maple syrup

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Make caramel first.....Pour 1 1/2 cups sugar in a pot and cook over medium high heat and stir constantly until sugar melts. It will start getting golden.. watch the color you do not want it too light or too brown. If it smells burnt start over.
Once you have it perfect pour it immediately into a metal bread pan Tilt the pan to coat all the side with the caramel. Be careful the caramel burns. The pots and spoons that you use will be sticky... just soak them in warm water.
3. Make the flan
4. Pour the mixture into the pan with the caramel in it. Sometimes the caramel fizzles etc.. it is ok it is just that the caramel is hot and the mixture cold...
5. Put pan inside a larger pan with water (bano Maria) and put in oven to cook.
After 30 minutes look at it.. once the top starts toasting... cover with aluminum foil so it doesn't burn.
6. Cook until firm not hard but the middle can't be watery.. In my oven it takes 1 hour to an hour and a half. Make sure the top is toasted but not burned..

Source: Aunt Rosy

Outrageous Brownies

*This is the dessert am consistently requested to make by all the men in my life! I usually forgo the nuts. Also, I usually cook these for longer, but they always end up being really gooey in the middle, so let them cool before serving*


* 1 pound unsalted butter
* 1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
* 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
* 6 extra-large eggs
* 3 tablespoons instant coffee powder
* 2 tablespoons real vanilla extract
* 2 1/4 cups sugar
* 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (1 cup for batter and 1/4 cup in the chips and nuts)
* 1 tablespoon baking powder
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 3 cups diced walnut pieces


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.

Melt together the butter, 1 pound chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. Cool slightly. Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.

Stir together 1 cup of the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips with 1/4 cup flour to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tester just comes out clean. Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Do not over-bake! Cool thoroughly, refrigerate well and cut into squares.

Source: Barefoot Contessa

Rocky Road

125g soft unsalted butter
300g best-quality dark chocolate, broken into pieces
3 tbsp golden syrup (I used maple syrup though)
200g rich tea biscuits
40g mini marshmallows
2 tsp icing sugar, to dust

1. Heat the butter, chocolate and golden syrup in a heavy-based saucepan over a gentle heat. Remove from the heat, scoop out about 125ml of the melted mixture and set aside in a bowl.
2. Place the biscuits into a plastic freezer bag and crush them with a rolling pin until some have turned to crumbs but there are still pieces of biscuit remaining.
3. Fold the biscuit pieces and crumbs into the melted chocolate mixture in the saucepan, then add the marshmallows.
4. Tip the mixture into a 24cm/9in square baking tin and smooth the top with a wet spatula.
5. Pour over the reserved 125ml of the melted chocolate mixture and smooth the top with a wet spatula.
5. Refrigerate for about two hours or overnight.
6. To serve, cut into 24 fingers and dust with icing sugar.

Source: super-intern Sarah Lai

Pumpkin Pie with Spiced Whipped Cream

Pie crust (see Paula Deen's for the best fresh one - graham cracker pie crust also works well)

1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 large eggs

3/4 cup chilled whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 400°F. Reshape crust edge to form high-standing rim. Bake crust until browned, pressing bottom and sides of crust occasionally with back of fork, about 14 minutes. Cool crust on rack. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

Whisk pumpkin, condensed milk, sour cream, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, vanilla, and allspice in large bowl to blend. Whisk in eggs. Pour into crust (some filling may be left over).

Bake pie until filling is puffed around sides and set in center, about 55 minutes. Cool pie on rack. (Can be made ahead. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours, or cover and chill overnight.)

Beat whipping cream, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon ginger in bowl until peaks form. Spoon large dollops around edge of pie and serve.

German Chocolate Cake

*Since Carlos doesn't like coconut, I'll sometimes make this cake with vanilla frosting, also delicious*

For cake
1/2 cup water
6 ounces Baker's German's Sweet Chocolate, chopped

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 large eggs, separated
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

For frosting
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
5 large egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 7-ounce package sweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Make cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Bring water to simmer in small saucepan. Reduce heat to low. Add chopped chocolate; whisk until smooth. Cool.

Sift flour, baking soda and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until blended. Beat in yolks 1 at a time. Beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla. Beat in dry ingredients alternately with buttermilk. Using clean dry beaters, beat whites in another large bowl until stiff but not dry. Fold into batter in 2 additions. Pour batter into prepared dish. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool cake in pan on rack.

Make frosting:
Combine first 5 ingredients in heavy large saucepan. Whisk over medium-high heat until mixture simmers, thickens and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, about 18 minutes. Mix in coconut and pecans. Spread warm frosting over cake. Immediately sprinkle 1/4 cup chocolate chips over. Let stand until frosting sets, about 2 hours.

Source: Bon Appetit

Conversion from

Degrees Fahrenheit Degrees Celsius Gas Mark

































Cod with Lime and Coconut


* 1 1/4-pound cod
* 4 teaspoons fresh lime juice, divided
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 1/2 cups chopped leek (white and pale green parts only; about 1 large)
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1/2 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
* 1 teaspoon (packed) grated lime peel
* 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper; place in 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Drizzle with 1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add leek and garlic; sauté 7 minutes. Add coconut milk and remaining lime juice; boil until thick, about 4 minutes. Stir in lime peel.

Spoon sauce over fish. Bake until fish is just opaque in center, about 20 minutes. Transfer to platter. Whisk juices in baking dish. Spoon around fish; top with cilantro.

Source: Bon Appetit

Super-Tuscan White Bean Soup


* Two cans of cannellini beans
* 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
* 1/2 yellow onion, quartered lengthwise
* 1 carrot, quartered crosswise
* 2 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
* 1 bay leaf
* 1/2 quart chicken stock
* Finely ground sea salt, preferably gray salt
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, optional


Rinse beans with cold water and drain.

Add the beans to a saucepan along with the prosciutto, onion, carrot, garlic, and bay leaf. Pour in the chicken stock and then add water as needed to cover the beans by 2 inches. Slowly bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. (If you heat them too fast, the skins may break.) Adjust the heat to maintain a bare simmer and cook, uncovered, until the beans are almost tender, 20 minutes or longer, depending on the age of the beans. Add salt, to taste, and continue cooking until the beans are tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes longer. Remove from the heat and let the beans cool in the liquid.

Strain the cooled beans and other solids through a sieve, reserving the liquid. In a food processor, puree the beans and solids in batches with 3 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Top with parmesan cheese to serve.

Source: Michael Chiarello

Paula's Perfect Pie Crust

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, cold (can replace with lard)
12 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup ice water

Makes two pie crusts

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt and sugar. Add the shortening and break it up with your hands as you start to coat it all up with the flour. Add the cold butter cubes and work it into the flour with your hands or a pastry cutter. Work it quickly, so the butter doesn't get too soft, until the mixture is crumbly, like very coarse cornmeal. Add the ice water, a little at a time, until the mixture comes together forming a dough. Bring the dough together into a ball.

When it comes together stop working it otherwise the dough will get over-worked and tough. Divide the dough in half and flatten it slightly to form a disk shape. Wrap each disk in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. On a floured surface roll each disk out into a 10 to 11-inch circle to make a 9-inch pie.

Watch the video

Source: Paula Deen

Zuppa Arcidossana

The video is available here.

This is a REALLY easy recipe, and you can do it just like he does in the video above, but I've made a few substitutions after some trial and error:

- I use halloumi instead of ricotta salata, only because I can't find the ricotta here. It keeps the same purpose though because it's salty and it doesn't melt to much.

- I boil the carrots for just five minutes after I peel and chop them but before adding them to the mix. This softens them for the soup, otherwise they stay a bit crunchy (which is fine if you like crunchy carrots in your soup)
- I use brioche instead of stale bread, it gets really soppy, but it's delicious.
- I use, as always, way more garlic than recommended. I also, in fact, use way more of all the ingredients. If I'm making for Carlos and I (plus several days of leftovers - it holds well), I'll use:

- 3 carrots
- 2 small onions
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 8 sausages (I try to use Lincolnshire, but doubt you can get that in the states)
- 6 mini brioches
- 1 halloumi square
- 2 100G bags of young spinach
- Salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste

Preparation - I do all the prep first because actually cooking the soup doesn't take very long, so it's easier to have everything chopped and not be rushed.
- Peel the carrots and onions and chop them into small pieces (as mentioned above, boil the carrots for about 5 minutes)
- Using the flat part of a large knife, smoosh and peel the garlic cloves
- Remove the sausage meat from its casings
- Chop the brioche and the halloumi into small pieces

- Cover the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and begin to fry the sausages on med-high heat. Break up the sausages with a spoon as they fry so they are in bite-sized chunks.
- After the sausages are cooked through, and a bit brown, add the onions, carrots, and garlic. Let them fry for 3-5 minutes.
- Add the bread, and mix it all together so the bread is coated in the oil and flavors of the sausage and vegetables. Just fry it for 1-2 minutes
- Add the spinach, mixing it until it shrinks
- Add boiling water, enough to cover the ingredients and then so. I usually add a full kettle, but it's up to you. Make sure it looks soupy.
- Add the halloumi in immediately
- Season with salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste and serve hot!

This is what Mark Bittman of the NY Times, had to say about it (24 April 2009)

WHEN you’ve gained enough experience cooking, you’re quite likely to "invent" a recipe that already exists in cuisines and even cookbooks. Especially if the ingredients are common, the techniques standard.
But not this recipe. The ingredients are fairly common, but their combination is not the kind of thing a non-Italian, or perhaps even a non-Tuscan, would put together while experimenting.
I found it in a restaurant, Antica Fattoria del Grottaione, in Montenero d’Orcia in Tuscany. This dish spoke to me. Named for the town in which it originated, Arcidosso, it’s dense, thick and dark, almost a stew. It makes fantastic use of stale bread, sausage, ricotta salata, carrots and spinach, somehow extracting the maximum flavor (and texture, especially in the case of the croutons) from each while blending them perfectly. It uses no stock, only water.
I had never eaten anything quite like it, and my chances of creating this combination in my kitchen are about the same as that monkey typing Shakespeare. Which, in my book, makes it a pretty valuable recipe.


4 bottles red wine
1/2 cup brandy
1/4 cup Cointreau
1 quarts orange juice
1 cups lemon juice
1/2 cup superfine sugar
12 to 16 ice cubes
1 chilled club soda
Chopped fruit (apples, oranges, lemons, strawberries, grapes)

Thoroughly chill all ingredients. Pour the wine, brandy and Cointreau into a large punch bowl. Stir orange and lemon juice with the sugar until sugar has dissolved. Then add to bowl and stir to blend. Add ice cubes and soda and garnish with fruit slices. Serve in 4-ounce punch glasses or wineglasses

Source: House and Garden Drink Guide, 1973

Miami Cuban-Style Steak with Mojo

1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
8 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced crosswise
1 teaspoon ground cumin
6 thin sirloin steaks (8 ounces each)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Vegetable oil, for the grill
2 sweet onions, sliced 1/4 inch thick


1. Mix the lime juice, water, orange juice, salt, oregano and pepper in a bowl.
2. Heat the olive oil in a deep saucepan over moderate heat. Add the garlic and cumin and cook until the garlic is fragrant and golden, about 2 minutes. Very carefully add the juice mixture and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let the mojo cool to room temperature.
3. Arrange the steaks in a large glass baking dish. Add the cilantro to the mojo and pour half of it over the steaks; turn several times to coat evenly. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours. Reserve the remaining mojo.
4. Light a grill. Lightly brush the grate with oil. Remove the steaks from the marinade and pat dry. Brush the onion slices with some of the reserved mojo. Grill the onion slices over the cooler part of the grill, until lightly charred and tender, about 4 minutes per side. Grill the steaks over high heat until medium rare, 2 minutes per side. Transfer the steaks and onions to a platter; spoon the remaining mojo on top and serve.

Source: Miami Spice

Miami Coconut Rice

2 tablespoons oil or butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice, preferably Uncle Ben's
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 cups water

1. Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant but not brown, about 1 minute. Add the rice and sauté until the individual grains are shiny, about 1 minute.
2. Add the coconut milk, water, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan, and cook the rice until all of the liquid is absorbed and the grains are tender, 18 to 20 minutes.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and let the rice stand, covered, for 1 minute. Fluff with a fork and serve at once.

Source: Miami Spice

Whole Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Fire and Spice

1 beef tenderloin (3.5 - 4lbs)
8 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped italian flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
2 tsps salt
2 tsps ground cumin
2 tsps ground coriander
2 tsps turmeric
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsps fresh lemon juice

1. Fold the tail back over the body of the tenderloin and tie it in place with butchers string
2. Prepare the fire and spice: pound the garlic, ginger, scallions, parsley, cilantro, salt, herbs, and spices to a coarse paste in a morter or grind in a food processor. Work in the olive oil and lemon juice. Correct the seasonings adding salt or lemon juice to taste
3. Using the tip of a paring knife, cut slits a half an inch deep and wide in the tenderloin spacing them about one inch apart. Stuff half the spice mixture into the slits, enlarging them with your fingertips as you stuff. Spread the remaining spice mixture over the surface of the tenderloin. Place the meat in a non-reactive roasting pan and let marinate covered in the fridge 6-8 hours turning occassionally during this time.
4. Grill or broil the tenderloin, turning several times and basting with any leftover marinade about 20 minutes for medium rare, 125F on a meat thermometer
5. Let the tenderloin rest for about five minutes before carving - meat can be served either hot or chilled!

Source: Miami Spice, and thanks to Jacquelyn for her reading skills.

Amparo's Risotto

2 cubes Chicken Bouillon (makes like 4 cups of broth)
Assorted vegetables (Onion, scallions, and carrots) chopped in large pieces
Olive Oil
Chopped Onions
3-4 cloves Pressed / crushed garlic
1 ½ cups Arborio Rice
White wine
Butter (a hunk)
Parmesan Cheese

For the Broth:

Bring water to a boil and add bouillon cubes and vegetables. Add salt and garlic salt. Keep the broth on low heat.

For the Risotto:

Heat stove to medium. In a large saucepan, add generous amount of olive oil, chopped onions and garlic.

When it starts to smell yummy, add rice to the pan. Follow immediately with a good size pouring of white wine.

Now the part where you make the risotto. Add broth, enough so it looks soupy. (Add it through a strainer – you don’t want to add the vegetables, just the broth). Then, constantly stir the risotto. When it starts to get less liquidy (more creamy) add more broth.

You must stir the rice constantly – it can not burn, get stuck to the bottom of the pan, or get too dry.

If you're making risotto with shrimp or other seafood, add 3-4 cups of broth, and then add the shrimp. Continue to stir.

You will use almost all, if not all of the broth. Taste the risotto constantly, when the rice is tender (but a little al dente – to taste), add a bit more broth, then stir until it’s at a good creamy consistency (it should be creamy, not liquidy).

Turn off the heat. Add a few tablespoons of butter or margarine and a generous helping of parmesan cheese.

Source: Amparo Miranda, mi suegra