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TheGrubDaily:

I have made this classic herb-roasted turkey for the past three years, and I have never been disappointed with the outcome! Forget the complications of brining your bird, and keep it simple with this herb-roasted and citrus infused, roasted turkey recipe.

Originally posted on TheGrubDaily:

I can officially do anything.

This is the exact thought that ran through my mind as I pulled my perfectly roasted 16-pound turkey out of the oven today. Of course I’m exaggerating slightly—I don’t think that I can solve poverty in India, or bring peace between North and South Korea (or North Korea and the rest of the world for that matter) but in terms of the culinary world, I have conquered my biggest fear and feel ready to take on any challenge.

I decided to take on the daunting task of cooking “the bird” because I simply got too impatient to wait another week for thanksgiving food. Once Starbucks starts playing Christmas music and Sarah Lee pumpkin pies hit the shelves at the supermarkets, my internal clock starts counting down for turkey and stuffing. So I sent out a facebook message to 13 of my girlfriends inviting them…

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Holy Cow: A Photo Diary of Argentina’s Best Beef!!!

{ Asado in Mendoza }

{ Asado at Estancia Cina Cina – San Antonio de Areco}

{ La Brigada - San Telmo }

Bife de Lomo in Peppercorn Sauce

Provoleta

Bife de Lomo in Peppercorn Sauce with Batatas a Gratinada

Baby Beef with Papas Fritas Provencial

{ Las Cabras – Palermo }

Bife de Chorizo with Puree de Batatas and Papas Fritas

Provoleta con Cebollas y Morrones

{ Asado in Buenos Aires }

{ La Cabrera – Palermo }

Asado las tiras

Ojo de Bife

Bife de Lomo

Beef Empanadas with Salsa Criollo and Chimichurri

Assortment of Side Dishes

{ La Esquina de Merti – San Antonio de Areco }

Ojo de Bife and Chorizo a la Parrilla

Provoleta and herbs

 { Cabana las Lilas – Puerto Madero }

Complimentary Appetizer Plate

Asador cooking the meat inside

Ojo de Bife with Broccoli, Mixed Veggies, and Provoleta

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{ Truffle-Infused Deviled Eggs }

Deviled eggs at a potluck are as predictable as the sun rising in the East–someone is bringing them! And the the rest of the dinner party will inevitably pass some sort of judgement on that person (along with the person that brings box-made brownies for dessert, of course). One guest will remark how outdated deviled eggs are (like shag carpets and green bean casseroles), another will comment on the lack of creativity and/or effort. But wouldn’t you know that at the end of the night, not one of those bad boys is left on the buffet table. People can hate on the notion of deviled eggs all they want, but everyone’s got a secret soft spot for that fluffy, mayo-whipped, goodness. And what else are you supposed to do with all those hard boiled eggs after Easter!?!

Anyways, with the holiday seasons now in full swing, I thought it would be an appropriate time to give my readers a more “modern” and “contemporary” deviled egg recipe that they can surprise guests with at their impending potluck dinner parties. Owning a cool deviled egg tray from the 1970′s gets you a bonus point, pipping the yolk into the eggs earns you a little more, but putting truffle oil into your egg mixture will really wow your guests.

I like to dust the tops of my eggs with a little paprika, minced truffles, parsley, and capers (not all on one course, but in alternation!)

{ Ingredients }

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon truffle oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped black truffle peelings
  • Chopped parsley, capers, and paprika for garnish

{ To Make Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs } Place the eggs in a large pot and cover with room temperature water. Bring the pot of water to a boil, and then remove from heat. Cover the pot with lid and allow to sit for 12-13 minutes.

Remove the eggs from the pot and place into a prepared ice bath with cold water (this prevents them from cooking further!).

{ To Make the Deviled Eggs } Peel the eggs under cold running water (this helps to remove the shells easier), and cut in half lengthwise.

Remove the yolks with a spoon, placing them into a large mixing bowl.

Add the mayonnaise, truffle oil, dijon mustard, cayenne pepper, and truffle peelings, and combine with an electric mixer on medium speed.

Continue whipping until the mixture is light and fluffy. Taste the mixture and add more truffle oil if desired.

Put the egg yolk mixture into a plastic pipping bag and pipe the filling into the egg white halves. Top with the garnish of your choice and serve!

If you really want to impress your guests and challenge your culinary skills, then try making these heart shaped deviled eggs (click here for full instructions). I haven’t yet attempted it myself, but I plan to this Easter!

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{ Turkey Meatballs with Simple Tomato Sauce }

Being that I am half Italian, my idea of comfort food is classic spaghetti and meatballs. When I am sick I crave my mother’s chicken noodle soup, and when I am away from home for long periods of time I crave her homemade pasta dishes. Unfortunately, I won’t be putting my mother’s meatball recipe on my blog anytime soon (as that is my trump card to winning over a man’s heart…aka top secret stuff), but I do highly recommend these turkey meatballs by Giada De Laurentiis. Not only are they significantly healthier than the average meatball, but they are also very easy to make and taste quite delicious (most people don’t even suspect that they are turkey meat!). For those of you that have her cookbook or have seen this recipe online, you will notice that she pairs the meatballs with a quick tomato sauce containing peas (the sauce seen in my photographs below). I gave this sauce a shot, but could not find anything enjoyable about it. I tried adding extra garlic, extra salt, even mushrooms…but there was just no remedy. So I have offered my own simple tomato sauce recipe to serve with the meatballs, which I use as the base for several pasta dishes. If you are looking for a lower carb meal, then serve the meatballs in a bowl with fresh lemon wedges and a generous sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese. Whether atop pasta or served alone, these meatballs are fantastic.

NOTE: If you wish to freeze the remaining meatballs, place them into a one gallon ziplock bag with a few ladles of tomato sauce. I find that the sauce helps to keep them moist.

{ Ingredients for Meatballs }

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ounces pancetta, finely diced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 pound ground turkey (I used extra lean)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grate Romano cheese
  • 1/4 fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup plain bread crumbs (I use Panko)
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

{ To Make the Meatballs } Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium flame. Add the pancetta and cook for about 2 minutes, to render out some of the fat. Add the onion and continue to cook until pancetta is crisp and the onion is translucent (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the pancetta/onion mixture with the remaining meatball ingredients and mix with hands to combine.

Form the turkey mixture into balls, about 2 inches in diameter. Place onto a foil lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Now make the pasta and sauce.

{ Ingredients for Simple Sauce

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (28 ounce) can of whole San Marzano tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 2 whole garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, finely chopped

{ To Make Simple Sauce } Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium flame. Sautee the onion for about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute or two (do not burn the garlic). Add the salt, pepper, parsley, and tomatoes. NOTE: If you like your tomato sauce spicy, then add some crushed red pepper flakes at this time! Cook for 10 minutes, then add meatballs to sauce and continue to heat until warm throughout.

{ To Serve } Laddle tomato sauce over cooked out pasta (I use linguine) and top with 2-3 meatballs. Sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley over the dish, and enjoy!

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Bombay Darbar *****

Channa Masala – Chickpeas cooked in tomato sauce with onions and Indian Spices

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I love curry. No, seriously, I love curry. I honestly think it might have some of the same chemical properties as crack, because I literally get the feeling that I am addicted to it. Unfortunately, it is so unique and specific in flavor that when the curry craving hits, there is nothing else that can satisfy it. This is a problem living in Miami, because although there is an abundance of fabulous Latin American “cafeterias,” there is quite a shortage of good Indian restaurants. Thus, I usually resort to cooking my own curried chickpeas at home to get my fix (authentic recipe courtesy of my former Indian neighbor!).

But tonight I finally had the opportunity to try a little Indian restaurant located in Coconut Grove, called Bombay Darbar. I’ve walked past this little hole-in-the-wall spot almost every day for the past three years, yet have never been. And although the couple of tables located outside of the restaurant are always full, they don’t really grab your attention. However, after recently hearing several great reviews about the food, I decided that it was finally time to go and check it out! And I am so glad that I did, because the food was hands down the best Indian cuisine that I have ever had!! I went with low expectations and was absolutely blown away by the quality of the food, the cleanliness of the restaurant, and the accommodating service (which is often infrequent at Indian restaurants).

To start, we got an order of Garlic Naan, which is Indian flatbread made in a clay oven, topped with cilantro, garlic, and drizzling of olive oil. The naan was warm, soft, and simply incredible! The garlic flavor was a bit intense, but I’d breathe fire and sacrifice kissing any day to enjoy this stuff! It was accompanied by Mint Chutney and Tamarind Sauce for dipping, but I also recommend ordering a side of Riata, which is sauce made with yogurt, cucumber, tomato, cilantro, and boiled potato. Many Indian restaurants will give you this for free, but there is a $3.25 charge here…typical Miami.

Garlic Naan with Cilantro, Garlic, and Olive Oil Drizzle

Next, we ordered the Vegetable Samosas, which are crispy fried pastries stuffed with curried-seasoned potatoes and green peas. The appetizer came with two samosas, and a generous serving tamarind sauce. The flavors were awesome and the samosas were surprisingly light. They tend to be rich and heavy because of the oil used for frying and the starch from the potatoes, but these felt rather light and delicate to my surprise. Most of the oil had been absorbed and the potatoes seemed whipped rather than dense. If you do choose to order the riata, it will also taste fabulous on these samosas!

Vegetable Samosa – Crispy fried pastry, curried potatoes, and green peas

For the main course, we ordered two different entrees and one side dish. We got the Tandoori Chicken Tikka, which is succulent pieces of marinated boneless chicken breast grilled in a clay oven and served over sautéed onions. This is a very traditional form of Indian cooking produced by a high temperature clay oven (known as a Tandoor), which makes the meat crispy on the exterior while keeping the interior succulent and juicy. The meat takes on a very reddish orange hue, due to the tumeric and cayenne pepper, which are used to season the meat in addition to yogurt marinade. I have tasted a lot of different Chicken Tandoori (as it is the most common thing to order at an Indian restaurant), but this was undoubtedly the best! It came out piping hot, served on a sizzling iron skillet over a bed of sautéed onions.

Tandoori Chicken Tikka – Marinated pieces of chicken cooked in clay oven, served over sauteed onions

Next, we dug into the Chicken Tikka Masala, which is boneless chicken breast cooked in a creamy tomato sauce, with onions and bell pepper served with a side of basmati rice. Just like the Tandoori Chicken Tikka, this too was incredibly delicious. The cream in the sauce cut down on the acidity of the tomato and the curry and spices used had the perfect balance of spicy and sweet.

Chicken Tikka Masala – Boneless chicken cooked in tomato cream sauce with bell peppers, onions, and Indian spices

As an accompaniment to our chicken entrees we also had an order of Channa Masala, which is garbanzo beans cooked in gravy with onions, tomato, ginger, garlic, and traditional Indian spices served with basmati rice (Photographed at top!). These are very similar to the chickpeas that I make at home, except these were obviously better and didn’t stink up my house.

I would definitely recommend Bombay Darbar, and will be going back myself….a lot!

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Comida a la Finca

My favorite room in the ranch…obviously, the dining room!

The more time I spend in Colombia, the more I fall in love with the country, the people, the food, and the way of life. Colombians don’t live to work, instead, they work to live. They do what they need to do to get by and then they enjoy life without excess. While driving through the mountain towns to get to the farm, I noticed that there was not one window or door of a house that did not have someone hanging out of it. There was not one street corner that did not have a group of kids standing around and chatting. There was not one front stoop or front yard that did not have an elderly woman cooking or selling something, at the very least. People socialize the old-school way in Colombia—in person. They aren’t chatting via their blackberrys, I-phones, facebooks, twitters, or any of the other million ways Americans have found to talk without being in each other’s physical company. Instead, they are gathering at cafes, neighbor’s houses, street corners, tiendas, and parks to enjoy the simple aspects of life that American’s so frequently overlook.

In lieu of this observation, I have made it my mission while on this trip to live in the moment and enjoy every experience to the fullest. My complete disconnection from technology (ie…laptop, blackberry, I-pod, facebook), has certainly helped! For example, as I rode a mule 3 miles down the Andes Mountains today (for a beer….ohhh, what I wouldn’t do for a Pilsen right now!), I was able to take in the breath-taking views without any distraction. I wasn’t tweeting “mule ride down the Andes,” or making it my fb status, or mobile uploading a pic. I was just enjoying the experience for myself, rather than attempting to share it with the rest of the world. I did of course snap a few photos with my camera though, and here’s what I look like as a ranchera (cowgirl):

Me on a Mule…my new favorite mode of transportation!

 

The man’s arm in the photo is Don Jairo, and he is as real a ranchero as they come. He did physical labor from sunrise to sunset…lassoing horses, bathing sheep, raking the yard, gathering plantains, catching fish, and fixing fences. By the end of the weekend, we collectively agreed that if Don Jairo was shot at, homeboy would catch the bullet between his teeth and continue right on with his work. He was also married to Marta (one of the women that prepared the food for us throughout the weekend).

And I guess that now would be a good transition back to food, as I have gone off on quite a bit of a tangent! As I mentioned in my previous blog post, all of the food was prepared daily by Colombian natives, Marta y Maria. These two women spent the entire day in the kitchen. They would prep, cook, serve, and clean one meal and then begin the process all over again for the next meal.

 

Marta y Maria in the Kitchen

Today we got started with Pastellitos for breakfast, which is a soft corn-meal dough filled with shredded chicken, mashed yucca, and diced tomatoes. I also added some salsa picante to mine, which is shown on the plate and a little bit of queso blanco. They were so incredible. I am used to picking up pastellitos from the prepared food section of Sedanos (Latin-American supermarket chain in Miami), but they were nothing compared to these homemade delicacies. The dough was soft, despite being fried and the mashed yucca was a perfect complimentary texture to the shredded chicken. My favorite part about breakfast though was the assortment of drinks! I kept switching between gulps of coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice (out of this world), and Colombian drinking chocolate, which is my new obsession. The drinking chocolate is served hot like American hot cocoa, but it is water based and much sweeter than regular hot chocolate. I have already purchased a huge bag for my apartment when I go home!

Pastellito filled with Shredded Chicken and Mashed Yucca served with Salsa Picante

Queso Blanco

For lunch, we were served Ajiaco, which is a traditional Colombian potato soup from the Bogota region. The soup is a chicken stock with pieces of shredded chicken, large chunks of corn on the cob, and two or three different types of potatoes. The broth gets its distinct flavor from the aromatic herb known as Guasca, which I have never tasted before, but fell in love with this afternoon. The soup is then topped off with some capers and heavy cream just before serving. This soup is just an explosion of flavors and textures in your mouth. The corn is sweet and the capers are salty, and the chicken is tender and pulled into perfect little pieces. I loved the addition of the heavy cream at the end, which pulled everything together and complimented the nutty flavor of the parmesan cheese, which I also put on my bowl. This soup was the definition of hearty comfort food. It puts American chicken noodle soup to shame. I had a generous two bowls, and Marta y Maria began to refer to me as the “chica dos porcion” (two-serving girl)!! When they would come to the table to pick up everyone else’s dishes at the end of the meal, they would bring out an extra serving for me instead!

Ajiaco – Colombian Potato Soup with Shredded Chicken, Corn on the Cobb, Capers, Heavy cream, and 3 Varieties of Potato

Ajiaco being made in a pot large enough to feed an army

For dinner, we ate light and fresh. We had Grilled Churrasco, which is thinly sliced steak and Salchichas, which are small sausages. The Salchichas were served on skewers and dipped into spicy mayo sauce, which was delicious and homemade, of course. We then had Spanish Rice topped with Fresh Pico de Gallo, which is similar to a chunky salsa consisting of; diced tomatoes, Spanish onion, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, and salt. It seems really simple but the flavors are so extreme and it tastes much more complex than a few basic ingredients. I mixed my rice and Pico de Gallo together and it tasted like Chipotle, except a million times better!

Spanish Rice with Fresh Pico de Gallo

A Milder Alternative to Salsa Picante

Freshly Picked Watermelon served with Dinner

 

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