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Thursday, August 30, 2012

I just wanted to let everyone know that I am at the end of my busy season at work and taking this weekend to go on a much needed vacation to San Juan with my dear friend Sandi. Hope to enjoy some amazing food while we are there. I will take some food shots and share when I return.

With all that said. I will be able to get back into the kitchen to create once again!! New posts will be arriving soon! : )
I hope everyone had a lovely summer! xoxo

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cabbage & Fennel Slaw

  This is a great summer side dish. Very refreshing and quick and easy to make.
I served this along side my Italian roast beef sandwiches. Nice combination. Enjoy!!  : )

           (For those who do not like fennel...I know a few of you!! You can omit this).

2 fresh fennel bulbs, trimmed, halved, cored, very thinly sliced
1 small cabbage, quartered, cored, very thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 very large carrot, peeled, shredded
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dill weed1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
kosher salt and black pepper to taste



Combine cabbage, fennel, onion, and carrot in large bowl. Whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, sugar, dill weed and hot sauce in medium bowl to blend. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Add dressing to cabbage and fennel mixture; toss to coat. Season slaw to taste with kosher salt and pepper. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours, tossing occasionally. Transfer to serving bowl.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Italian Roast Beef Sandwiches

It felt good to spend the day in the kitchen, I have been busy with traveling and working a lot of overtime. Here is one of three recipes I actually had time to pull together. This is a great Sunday dinner recipe. It takes a bit of time but well worth the wait. You may never buy roast beef from the deli again!


3 lbs chuck roast
8 garlic cloves (remove the skins and slice in slivers)

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoon dried Italian herb blend (use a good quality)
2 teaspoon dried onion flakes
Pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
1 bay leaf
2 cups beef stock
Italian rolls

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix all dry ingredients together.  Make slices all over the roast with a sharp paring knife and insert the slices of garlic in the slits. Rub half of the dry mixture all over the roast and place in a large roasting pan and set in the oven. Roast for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 250 degrees. Cook for another 20 minutes.

 After the 20 minutes, add the rest of the spice mixture to the beef stock. Pour the mixture into the roasting pan. Cook between 45 min to 1 hour or until internal temperature of meat reaches 130 degrees at center of roast.

 Remove the meat and set aside on a platter to cool. Remove the garlic slices and add to the roasting pan with the juices. Set the roasting pan on the burners and turn the heat to medium high. Scrape up any bits that have stuck on the bottom. Reduce mixture slightly for a few minutes. Then turn off the heat and let the mixture cool. Once the liquid is cooled place in a sealed container into the fridge.


Wrap roast tightly in aluminum foil and place into the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour. Place roast in freezer for 1 hour until rather firm (this helps with the slicing process). Slice the roast with a very sharp knife, as thin as possible.

Assembly of the sandwich!
Warm a portion of the liquid, just to a simmer in a skillet and place chosen portion sizes of sliced beef into the juice’s. Cook for about 2 minutes.

Cut the rolls half way down still leaving a good amount of uncut bread at the base or the sandwich, grab meat and move quickly to bun so meat juices can soak into bread.

I decided I wanted to garnish mine with provolone cheese and a large slice of tomato drizzled with an aged balsamic vinegar.

*Normal garnish is giardiniera (Giardiniera is an Italian or Italian-American relish of pickled vegetables in vinegar or oil)*

                      Served with a Fennel Slaw, which will be the next post to come.
          And for dessert, I made Lemon & Honey cookies, that will be the third post.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Coconut Key Lime Muffins

I normally do not post any of my muffin recipes but I made a choice to share this one with all of you! I was walking through the market trying to decide what muffin flavor to go with my "muffin of the week" for the local bookstore and I stumbled across Key Limes! That was it I thought and with the weather being so beautiful I felt it would be great to make something a bit tropical! I already had coconut and coconut milk in the pantry so I was all set and off to the kitchen I went. This is a first run recipe and I hope everyone will try it and let me know if it is a keeper.

Coconut Key Lime Muffins
(makes 12 jumbo muffins)


4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 stick butter, at room temperature
3 eggs
1 cup coconut cream
Zest of 12 key limes (reserve 2 tablespoons for sprinkling sugar)
3 tbsp Key lime juice
1 cup whole milk
2 cups shredded coconut (toasted)


 For Sprinkling:4 tbsp sugar
2 tablespoons of key lime zest

For the glaze:Remainder of the coconut cream
1 tbsp of the sprinkling sugar


Preheat the oven at 375 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and spread the shredded coconut. Place in the preheated oven and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from oven when the edges start to turn brown, then toss the coconut together and let cool.

Zest all 12 key limes and juice. (takes a little while because they are small and not as easy to handle as a regular lime….And these little babies have seeds, so when juicing them put over a small strainer).


Meanwhile, Stir together flour, baking powder and baking soda; set aside.
In large mixing bowl, beat 1 ½ cups granulated sugar and butter. Add eggs; beat 1 minute.

Slowly add flour mixture, coconut milk and whole milk, alternately to butter mixture; add lime juice and key lime zest. Beat on low speed until smooth (do not over beat). Add half of the toasted coconut and mix gently into the batter.
Grease muffin tins with butter and fill each muffin cup three-fourths full with batter.

Mix together the sugar and lime zest and sprinkle evenly on top of each muffin (reserve 1 tablespoon for glaze) and bake for approximately 30 min. (Jumbo Muffins), if using smaller muffin tins cook for about 20 minutes. Just check and see if the muffin top is set.

Meanwhile add the remainder of the coconut milk in a sauce pan with a tablespoon of the key lime and sugar mixture. Heat until it comes to a soft boil. Drizzle over the muffin tops then sprinkle with toasted coconut.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Roasted Apricot BBQ Chicken w/ bbq dry rub


                                    This recipe is a must try!!  : )

I was so happy with the results, it is sweet, smokey and a bit of heat. It took a while to get it just right for my taste and this is it! Please give this one a try and leave a comment about what you like or even dislike about it. Honesty is the best policy and that makes me strive to do better!


10 pieces of chicken, thighs and legs

Dry Rub:
½ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
½ tbsp Hungarian sweet paprika
½ tbsp dried thyme
½ tbsp steak rub
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper

Apricot BBQ Sauce:
½ cup apricot preserves
½ cup ketchup
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp brown grain mustard
1 tbsp sriracha chili sauce
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp black pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Wash chicken in cold water and then pat dry with paper towel.
In either a large bowl or a large zip lock bag, add the dry rub ingredients and mix together well.
Sprinkle dry rub on all sides of the chicken. Be generous but not overzealous.
Place chicken, skin side up, on large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Cook for 1 hour.

Meanwhile: In a large sauce pan add all the apricot bbq ingredients and whisk together. Simmer on a medium low heat for 45 minutes or until thick and bubbly. The sauce will be pretty dark and rich in color.
Pull the chicken out of the oven at 1 hour and glaze with the apricot bbq sauce.
Place back in the oven for 15 minutes. Then take out of the oven and let it rest for
10 minutes.

Serve with your favorite side dish. I served with it red skin boiled potato’s tossed in butter, fresh parsley, kosher salt and pepper. Also, fresh green beans.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Pastelillo de Carne

“Pastelillo” which is similar to an empanada, except the dough is a little different.  The dough for a pastelillo is thin and flaky, most empanadas are a little more dense. 

I am really excited to share this recipe with you. I made this in honor of one my oldest and dearest friends, Thomas Colon. We have been friends for 30 years! Wow...that just made me feel a bit old! haha.  This is one of his family dishes, from Puerto Rico. So Thomas...Please let me know how I did??
On a side note...this normally has olives in it, but I do not like them, so it was omitted for my tasting purposes. Certainly add whatever type of olive you like!  I have also included the dough recipe, however you can use the Goya Discos
 (turnover dough). 

I hope everyone enjoys this!   


1 ½ lbs beef tips, diced small 
2 potatoes, diced very small
1 onion, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tbsp. sofrito
2 envelopes of Sazón
olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 cup water
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
4 whole cloves

Heat skillet at med-high, drizzle with olive oil. Sauté onions, garlic and sofrito until onions are translucent.
Drizzle beef with olive oil and season with kosher salt and pepper. Add beef, potatoes, cloves, bay leaves, Sazon’ and water to skillet, stir and cover. Simmer on a medium heat. After 20 minutes, remove the cloves. The mixture should cook for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until meat is tender and the liquid has turned into almost like a thick gravy.


3 1/2 cups of flour
2 1/2 tsp of salt
2 tsp of baking powder
3 1/2 Tbs. of canola oil, chilled
1 egg, slightly beaten
3/4 cup of water (more or less)
canola oil for frying

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade add the flour, baking powder, salt and chilled canola oil. Pulse to cut in the canola oil into the flour mixture. Add the egg and pulse until blended. Add the water a little at a time, until the dough forms a ball. Dust a workspace with flour, collect all of your dough. Knead the dough using your palms. Knead until the dough is soft and smooth. Form into a ball, cover with a cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Roll dough out into a rope about 15 inches long. (I roll, pull and squeeze) Once rolled out cut off disks about 3/4 of an inch think. Dust your rolling pin and workspace and roll out into a thin paper circles.

Make sure you get the oil nice and hot, you need the oil to be a least 1 ½” inch deep. Take your disk of rolled out dough, and fill with 1 spoonful of filling.
Wet the edges of the dough with water. Fold over to make a half moon, Trim the edges if you need to make them even. Pinch the dough together using your fingers, then go over it, pressing it with the teeth of a fork. You now have a pastelillo!!

Take your pastelillo and carefully drop into the oil. You should almost immediately begin to puff and float, cook on each side about 2 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.
Drain on a plate with paper towel, let cool and enjoy. I like to dip them in sour cream!! YUMMY!

Served with Pea Jag...recipe was previously posted.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Roasted Tomato and Chicken Soup with Broiled Aged Swiss & Fresh Mozzarella

Here is my first recipe for the Tomato Throwdown between Edible Love and Just for Cooking. Both Mary Kay and I have a joint page on Facebook!! It is called:

Just for Cooking & Edible Love (Two Smart Women - Two Delicious Blogs!)


(If you have not seen it, please stop by and "Like" our community page) 


This is a great recipe and is along the lines of french onion soup....MMMM!!



3 pounds plum tomatoes, about 8 large, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small garlic bulb, unpeeled

1/2 large yellow onion, cut in a small dice
2 tbsp. torn fresh basil leaves
1 tsp. of sugar
3 cups beef stock
1 cup of red wine (merlot or pinot noir)

pinch of dried crushed red pepper
4 large chicken thighs

kosher salt
black pepper

Crouton and Cheese

4 1-inch slices of crusty Ciabatta bread, toasted until hard and lightly buttered on one side
Aged Swiss cheese (you can also use grated gruyere)
Fresh mozzarella



Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap garlic bulb in foil. Place tomatoes, cut side up, on large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle generously with kosher salt and pepper. Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil. Add garlic package to the baking sheet. Roast until tomatoes are brown and tender, about 1 hour. Cool slightly.
At the same time season the chicken generously with kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Roast for 1 hour. Let cool and then remove the skin and discard (it’s all fat) then remove all the meat from the bone in chunks and put aside.
Unwrap garlic packet and slice off the top and squeeze out the garlic. Put the garlic, tomatoes and any accumulated juices in the food processor. Pulse the machine until tomatoes are a chunky puree (if you prefer it smooth pulse a few more times, to your desired consistency). In a medium stock pot add a tbsp of olive oil and onion and cook until tender about 2 minutes. Transfer the pureed tomatoes to the pot and add chicken, basil, crushed red pepper, sugar, stock and wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and adjust seasonings to taste.

Preheat your broiler. Arrange four ovenproof soup bowls on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place toast slices in each bowl, buttered side up. Place a slice of fresh mozzarella on top of the toast, then 2 to 3 slices of aged swiss (let the slices hang over the edge). Place soups under the heating element for a minute or two or until the cheese is melted and golden bubbly.