Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Super Special Turkey Recipe!

Thanksgiving time again, and everyone is very vero excited! This is our traditional turkey recipe, I wanted to share it with you!

For a giant turkey you will need lots and lots of herbs (thyme and rosemary)! Butter, garlic salt, pepper, some fresh garlic.

First pad dry the turkey with paper towels! Very important!

Get like 8 little boxes of the thyme and 6 of the rosemary, take out the steams of the middle and chopped very very finely, put in a bowl with fresh ground pepper and garlic salt. Then also chopped 6 - 8 garlic cloves and add in the bowl.

Leave 5 - 6 butter sticks out so they are nice and soft to be used, cut 1/2 an inch squares, one by one dip them in the spices until they are entirely covered and then with a knife go to the rear end of the turkey and cut the skin open, in a way that with your hands you can lift the skin and place the butter squares with spices ALL over the place! Top and bottom...

In a separate bowl melt half a butter stick and mix with some of the spice mix from the previous bowl and you use this to brush the outside of the WHOLE turkey.

Fill the turkey cavity with white onions, chopped celery, carrots, full thyme and rosemary, shallots, it gives aroma, flavor and prevents for the turkey to dry!

Preheat the oven at 350 degree and cover it while cooking for 3.5 hours!
NOTE: every hour you want to go back to the oven uncover the turkey and brush some more melted butter and spices over the skin...

Then uncover the turkey and cook for another 45 - 60 minutes... Make sure to keep an eye on it so the skin won't burn, you just want it nice and brown...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Cooking with Andy...

This past week my husband and I were in Arizona for an oil and gas conference, the committee surprised the wives of the attendants with a private cooking lesson with Chef Andy Broder! We were so excited about it, we certainly did not know what o expect, but the class was so much fun, we actually got to cook our food, we learned a lot a easy to apply tips for our daily cooking, and we got detailed recipe instructions to take home!

Andy graduated from law school, majored in literature and minored in psychology, after practicing for several years in the court room, he decided it was time to follow his true passion, cooking.

He enrolled in the Scottsdale Culinary Institute and graduated with a 4.0 GPA, then interned in Los Angeles Times as their food section editor and finally he decided to share with us his marvelous recipes! He specializes in giving group lessons at his studio located at:

7000 E Shea Blvd # 1740
Scottsdale, AZ 85254-5289
For more information you can contact them at (480) 951-2400

To find out more about Andy and how his private lessons click here, you'll enjoy their site!

Here are some pics from our amazing lunch: Guacamole with goat cheese, home made tortillas, Southwestern Chicken with lime, fish paddies and mixed green salad, and some Mexican chocolate cheesecake cups.

This is the amazing set up, we had all that we needed set up in stainless
steel prepping tables and enlarged step by step instructions to help
us follow each recipe

Chef Andy giving us some helpful tips to make our lives in the 
kitchen not only better but shorter too!

Our corporate group had sent us some vino to enjoy
with our fabulous meal!

I think all of us had an amazing afternoon cooking, talking, 
and learning a little more about Southwestern cuisine in a
very unique way.

Thank you so much Andy and all the wonderful staff for your time,
I will highly recommend anyone who stops by Scottsdale to try and 
visit the cooking studio, and set up a private lesson, it is soooooo worth it!

Thank you to all the wonderful ladies who gratefully allowed me to
take all this pictures of them while they cook and use them for my blog.
If anyone would like a printable copy of any of the pictures just send me 
an email to Veronica Schiller, I will gladly email you back!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dinner at RDG

Last night I had dinner for the first time since Cafe Annie became the new RDG, I have to tell you my first impression when we pulled into the valet was great environment! The decor was very modern, loved the long stairs with dim lights overlooking the wine cellar. One little detail though, the bathroom is tucked behind those two flights of stairs, hmmmm I don't know how that works after a couple of martinis!

We sat down at the patio area and we got our cocktails promptly, we put an order for some appetizers that came really quick, guacamole and homemade chips that was very fresh and flavorful. And we also ordered some crab and avocado tartar that was.. one word, AMAZING! So far so good, we enjoyed our appetizers over a glass of champagne, and after we were finished the empty plates sat in our table for almost 25 minutes... when we finally could flag a waiter over, we refilled our drinks and got our entrees ordered.

Because of the delay on placing our orders, we had to wait another 20 minutes before our entrees made it to our table. The food was nicely presented and perfectly cooked... but our waiter had trouble remembering who had what... I mean, we were only 3 people at the table! how hard can it be?
 don't they have to put numbers on every seat so they don't get confused? At this point we ordered some water for the table, that, well, never made it....

Anyways, I ordered the Grilled Red Fish with a lemon/butter sauce and steamed asparagus, it was delicious! We also had a couple of petite fillets topped with some crab meat that were very nicely seasoned. After we finished with our entrees we were ready for dessert, we placed our order and since we have been waiting for so long, we decided to get the check as well, we hand our credit card and start wrapping out the night. For dessert we ordered fresh strawberry cheese cake and an apple crisp with dulce de leche ice cream, they were really great!!! We were done with dessert after another 15 minuets or so, and we prolonged our conversation for a while, when we finally found someone to come attend to us, we ask for our check, and they bring the itemized receipt, we remind them that the waiter had already taken our card 20 minutes before, and they returned 10 minutes later with the copy for us to sign....

It was a nice gastronomical experience, but the fact that we never had any personalized service, and we had to flag waiters to come and get empty plates and new drink orders kind of takes the joy our of eating on a restaurant... I don't think I will go back, it was a wednesday night with not 100% occupancy, I can not even imagine how it would be on friday or saturday?!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Short Rib Lasagna

This is an amazing recipe I found on the September issue of Bon Appetit Magazine, it took me forever to prep for it, but the flavor of the finished product is just amazing! I could not get enough of it and neither my guests! This recipe makes 8 to 10 servings (Any leftover meat sauce can be spooned over pasta later in the week.) 
  • PREP: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • TOTAL: 5 hours (includes braising time)


Short Rib Sauce

5 fresh thyme sprigs plus 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 fresh parsley sprigs
1 Turkish bay leaf
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
4 pounds meaty beef short ribs
1 cup all purpose flour
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 medium carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup ruby Port
2 cups dry red wine (such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel)
2 1/2 cups low-salt beef broth
6 garlic cloves, peeled


5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
18 5 3/4x3 1/2-inch sheets no-bake lasagna noodles (from two 9-ounce packages)

Special Equipment

Ingredient Info 
Dried porcini mushrooms are available in the produce section of many supermarkets and at specialty foods stores and Italian markets.


Short Rib Sauce

Tie all herb sprigs and bay leaf in cheesecloth for bouquet garni; trim excess cheesecloth. Set bouquet garni aside. Place mushrooms in heatproof bowl. Add 1 cup boiling water; cover and let stand until mushrooms soften, about 20 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to work surface; chop. Reserve mushroom soaking liquid.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325°F. Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. Place flour in medium bowl. Dredge ribs in flour, shaking off excess; place on rimmed baking sheet. Reserve flour. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook ribs until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes per batch. Return ribs to baking sheet.

Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and onion; cook until softened, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Stir in chopped mushrooms. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon reserved flour over vegetables (discard remaining flour). Add tomato paste; stir until tomato paste begins to brown on bottom of pot, about 1 minute. Add Port and stir until almost all liquid is absorbed, scraping up any browned bits, about 1 minute. Add red wine. Pour in reserved mushroom soaking liquid, leaving any sediment behind. Bring to boil; simmer until reduced by about 1/3, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Add broth, garlic, and bouquet garni. Return to boil. Return ribs to pot, arranging meat side down in single layer. Cover pot; place in oven and braise ribs until very tender, about 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 hours.
Using tongs, transfer ribs from pot to rimmed baking sheet to cool. Discard bouquet garni. Shred beef; discard bones. Spoon off fat from top of sauce in pot; discard fat. Boil sauce until reduced to 51/2 cups, about 8 minutes. Return meat to sauce. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in chopped thyme. DO AHEAD Can be made 3 days ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled.


Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; whisk until smooth. Cook until light golden brown, whisking frequently, about 6 minutes. Add milk; bring to boil, whisking constantly. Boil 1 minute. Add nutmeg. Season béchamel to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly; cover and chill.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter 15x10x2-inch baking dish. Spoon 1 cup meat sauce over bottom of dish; spread in thin layer. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons cheese over. Arrange 6 lasagna noodles over to cover (noodles may overlap slightly). Drizzle 1 cup béchamel over noodles, spreading in even layer; sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over. Spread 2 cups meat sauce over. Repeat with noodles, béchamel, cheese, and meat sauce. Cover with remaining 6 noodles. Spread remaining béchamel over noodles. Sprinkle remaining cheese over.

Bake lasagna uncovered until edges are bubbling and top is golden brown in spots, about 45 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Spaghetti with Meat Balls

This past weekend we had to serve dinner for 12 people at the ranch, we were not sure what would be easy enough to cook in large quantities and also make sure the portions were enough so everyone could satisfy their appetites... So what better than italian food...

This is a dish you can prepare with the whole family, it takes a while to prep so you will be able to enjoy some wine and appetizers while you cook; and the flavor is so casual you would never order it in a restaurant ever again!

It takes a while to make so plan ahead and assume you'll spend between 3 - 3 1/2 hours in the kitchen, patiently waiting for the veggies and meat to be perfectly chopped and cooked!

Ingredients for the meatballs:

3 pounds of ground 80% leans beef
2 pounds of ground veal meat
1 large white onion
5 eggs
5 tbs of chopped fresh italian parsley
5 tbs of chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper
1 cup of italian style bread crumbs
4 pieces of white bread with no borders
7 garlic cloves
5 tbs of chopped oregano
2 shallots
Olive Oil

Meatballs Preparation:

In a large bowl mix the ground beef and veal with the eggs, chopped the onion as thinly as you can and introduce to the mix together with the chopped parsley and thyme, add 1/4 of a cup of salt and pepper, and keep mixing the meat with your hands; add the bread crumbs and the pieces of bread, make sure you break the bread into small pieces so people won't get chunks of bread in their meal.

In a small sauce pan drizzle some olive oil and heat it, add the chopped shallots, garlic and oregano and sautee for 5 minutes, then add to the bowl with the meat.

Preheat the oven @ 375 degrees.

After making sure that all the ingredients are perfectly mixed with the meats, get 2 baking sheets and make some medium size meatballs, rolling them with the palm of your hands. Once you are finished making approximately 36 - 40 meatballs place the baking sheets in the oven for 40 - 45 minutes.

(By the time the meatballs are baked, there should be a lot of juices in the baking sheets, let the meatballs cool down for a couple of minutes before mixing them with the tomato sauce)

Ingredients for the Tomato Sauce:

3 celery sticks
3 medium size carrots
1 medium white onion
6 garlic cloves
3 shallots
3 large cans of peeled tomatos
Salt and pepper
Olive Oil

Sauce Preparation:

Chop all the vegetables in very small pieces. In a large sauce pan drizzle some olive oil and cook the chopped garlic and shallots, make sure they don't burn. Add the celery, carrot, and onion to the heat and cook for approximately 15 minutes.

Open the canned tomatoes add the liquid on the heating pan and with your bare hands squeeze the tomatoes and brake them into pieces and then mix them with the cooking vegetables, bring to a boil then lower the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove the sauce from the heat, let it cool off and then using the mixer start blending the sauce, do it by batches you don't want to get burn by the sauce... Place the mixed sauce in a even larger sauce pan that could hold the meatballs as well.

In medium low heat cook for another 25 minutes the meatballs completely covered by the tomato sauce.

In a medium sauce pan boil some water and make some spaghetti with salted water and some olive oil. When done use a bowl to mix the cooked pasta with some tomato sauce before mixing the meatballs. Ready to serve, make sure you shave some parmesan cheese on top! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It's all about Pasta: Bell Peppers Cream Bacon Fettuccine

My husband and I came back home late and had no idea what we were going to do for dinner... It has been a while since we had dinner at home, we have had a very busy schedule for the last couple of weeks, so we feel like staying home and cooking something...

The problem is that it's 9 pm and we have limited availability of ingredients in our fridge, so I decided to make a vegetable pasta... and then I found some bacon and some cream! and voila, magic it's on it's way!

Makes 2 servings
Time: 40 -45 minutes


1/2 orange bell pepper
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 red onion
3/4 tomato
3 garlic cloves
4 strips of bacon
1/3 of a cup of heavy whipping cream
olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 a box of fettuccine pasta


Chop the bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, garlic and bacon and keep them aside. Turn the stove on with medium heat, add 1 tbs of olive oil and wait for it to heat, add the chopped bacon and cook for 5 - 7 minutes, do not let it get crunchy, you want it to be soft so it can mix well with the rest of the vegetables.

Add the chopped garlic and saute it for 3 - 4 minutes; then add the chopped red onions and saute for 4 more minutes; add the bell peppers and let them cook for 5 minutes, notice that the coloration of the vegetables start getting orangy. Finally mix the tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes; add a pinch of salt and another one of pepper, decrease the temperature to low and remain cooking for another 5 - 7 minutes before adding the heavy whipping cream, mix the sauce and let it cook for another 7 - 10 minutes.

In a medium sauce pan boil some water with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil, add the fettuccine,  approximately 13 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In a medium size bowl mix the pasta with the sauce and it is ready to serve! You can add some shaved Parmesan cheese as a garnish.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sherry and Red Wine, Tomato Soup

Yesterday my husband and I decided to enjoy the "cold" weather that Texas has been enjoying by cooking our traditional winter menu... tomato soup and sandwiches! It was sooo good, but to tell you the truth it needs to get colder for it!  It is super easy to make serves 4 - 6 people, it takes around an hour to make...


8 large tomatoes
salt and pepper
Olive Oil
12 - 15 thyme stalks
10 - 12 garlic cloves
1 shallot
1 medium red onion
1 tbs of chopped oregano
1 tbs of chopped basil
1/2 cups of chicken stock
1 shot of sherry
1 shot of red wine
1/2 small can of tomato paste


Pre heat the oven 350 degrees.
Cut the tomatoes and garlic cloves in big chunks, place them in a large sauce pan, drizzle with salt, pepper and olive oil. Also sprinkle the chopped herbs and mix, bake for 30 minutes.

In a separate medium frying pan chop the red onion and shallot, drizzle olive oil and saute for around 4 minutes, add a little bit of chopped thyme for flavor... when the onions are lightly brown remove from the heat and wait for the tomatoes to come out of the oven.

Add some of the chicken broth and the tomatoes in the big pan and stir while keeping it over medium heat. Let it simmer and add some more chicken broth, until the tomatoes star falling apart, add the sherry, wine and tomato paste, let it reduce for 20 minutes.

Place the mix in the blender and puree... serve hot in a bowl, with garlic croutons.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pan Seared Halibut with mushroom broth and Lemon Risotto

This was our dinner a few nights back, it was to die for!


1 pound of halibut, cut into 2 fillets
Salt and pepper
Olive Oil
1 shallot
1 garlic clove
1 box of dried porcini mushrooms
4 tbs of unsalted butter
3/4 of a cup of risotto rice
4 cups of free range chicken broth
1 medium white onion
1 lemon, juice and 1 teaspoon of the zest
1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup of heavy whipping cream


With a paper napkin pad dry the halibut fillets, sprinkle salt and pepper making sure you cover the whole fillet and drizzle olive oil over them, set aside, you can prep the fish a couple of hours in advance and leave them in the refrigerator.

Boil 1/2 cup of water and put the dehydrated mushrooms to soak in a covered container for at least 15 minutes, until the water turns brown and the mushrooms are soft, set aside.

30 minutes before cooking the fish add a couple of table spoons of the mushroom infusion on top of the halibut fillets.

In a medium size frying pan add the butter, chopped the garlic clove and the shallot into little squares and saute them over medium heat. When the shallots are clear add the halibut fillets with the meat side facing the pan and brown that side, should take around 4 - 5 minutes, turn them when you can see the meat getting a light brown coloration. Flip the fillets and add half of the broth into the frying pan, keep cooking for another 5 minutes. Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees, in a small baking sheet put the cooked fillets cover them with the remaining mushroom broth and bake for 10 - 12 minutes. Meanwhile use the same frying pan with the remaining shallots and garlic to saute the mushrooms; dice them, season them with salt and pepper, and add another 2 tbs of butter (4 - 5 minutes).

Remove the halibut fillets from the oven and let them sit for a couple of minutes so the juices would settle, they are ready to be served, use the mushrooms and shallots to create a nice topping for the fish.

Chop the onion in small cubes, in a medium size sauce pan using medium heat put some olive oil and the chopped onion and cook for 4 minutes approximately, until the onions turn clear. Add the risotto rice and mix, add 1 cup of chicken broth, lower the heat to medium.
Stir occasionally, not letting the rice get stuck in the bottom of the pan, you will notice the chicken broth gets absorbed by the rice, keep adding some more broth and keep stirring for approximately 15 - 20 minutes, adding broth whenever the rice seems to be drying up. The rice should puff up, when you notice there is a tiny white dot in the middle of the rice grains add the whipping cream and cook for another 5 minutes. Take off the heat, add the lemon juice and zest and stir.

Note: You don't have to use all the chicken broth. Also keep in mind that the risotto rice keeps cooking after being taken off the heat, so you want to take it out when it has a little crisp when you bite it.

Just delicious!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Whole Food's Shrimp Burger

I had never seen this tequila and lime shrimp burgers before at Whole Foods, but a lady next to me was ordering them and told me how fabulous they were.. So I grabbed one and brought it home to be cooked as an appetizer to share with my husband.

What I did is, I prepared a little salsa to use as a dressing, I like my shrimp with extra lemon, so I chopped half of a white onion, then I took 6 cherry tomatoes and cut them in four, put all the chopped veggies in a bowl with some olive oil, salt, pepper and I squeezed a whole lemon on top of it and let it rest while I cooked the burger.

In a medium size pan I seared 3 pieces of bacon, without discarding the bacon oil, I added a tiny bit of olive oil and in medium heat I placed the shrimp burger to cook.... I let it brown on each side ( 4 - 5 minutes) and then I baked them for 15 minutes on the oven at 350 degrees, you want those shrimp to be well cooked before you eat them!

I chopped the bacon, took the paddy out of the oven, topped it with the salsa and sprinkle bacon on top of that! It was sooooo good! The bacon adds so much flavor to the salsa and makes it less overpowering!

Chicken Soup, Grandma's Recipe

Yesterday my husband went and had sushi with some coworkers of his, before we went to bed he was running a 103 degrees fever, his boy was shaking and needless to say he got really really sick... After a whole night of drinking Pedialite, today I  made him my super special chicken soup, it is the best thing to boost your immune system and get you back on track!

For 4 servings, prep time 30 minutes, cooking time 1.5 - 2 hours


3 chicken breasts
1 white onion
8 fingerling potatoes
1/2 bag of pre cut broccoli and cauliflower
3 medium size carrots
5 celery sticks
6 - 8 branches of cilantro and/or parsley
2 garlic cloves
2 chicken bouillon cubes
3 tbs of season all or any seasoning salt
4 1/2 cups of water


In a large size boiling pan at medium high temperature, heat the water with the chicken bouillon cubes and the pealed garlic cloves, when the bouillon cubes are melted, chop the onion in four pieces and put it in the boiling water as well, lower the temperature to medium low.

Peal and chop the carrots, clean the broccoli and the cauliflower, and chop the celery sticks, add all the vegetables to the boiling water. With some twain put together in a bunch the cilantro and parsley and add to the boiling water. Let it seat for 15 minutes.

Clean the chicken breasts and cut it in cubes, add to the boiling water and cover for 25 minutes, so the juices of all the vegetables and the chicken can mix properly.

Note: You can add many other vegetables like green beans and zucchinis, also if you would like the soup with a little kick you may want to use Tony Chachere's for your seasoning salt!

Chop the potatoes and add them to the mix, let it cook for another 15 - 20 minutes, try the soup and add salt or pepper if needed.

Now after this step you need to take it out of the heat and let it cool down for a couple of minutes before serving! Hope you enjoy it!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Chicken Paillard with Baby Arugula and Cherry Tamatoes Salas

It is still very hot in Texas and last night my husband and I were feeling like eating some chicken... I was thinking of a summery but filling dinner plate we could prepare and remembered about an amazing Chicke Paillard I had tried a couple of weeks ago in Florida, but that I thought could use a good upgrade in the salad. So I put my little Vero touch on the salad and added artichoke hearts and capers, and also used two different kinds of tomatoes instead of just plain red ones... I hope you enjoy this, I had so much fun making it, and the flavor was outstanding!!!
Serves 4 hungry people
Time: It takes around 45 minutes to prep everything neatly, and then another 15 to cook.


4 chicken breasts with no skin
4 medium size lemons
1 large garlic clove
2 tbs of chopped parsley
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 bag of baby arugula
12 red cherry tomatoes
12 yellow cherry tomatoes
1 medium red onion
2 tbs of capers
1 can of artichoke hearts


Using a cutting board slice the onion in very thin layers, they need to be transparent, if they are too thick the olive oil and lemon would not maserate them. Place the onions in a small container, squeeze two lemons, add salt and pepper, and drizzle some olive oil (3 tbs) Leave aside to soak.

Proceed to chop the yellow and red chopped tomatoes in four pieces, place in a separate container, add salt, pepper, 2 tbs of olive oil and the capers, mix and set aside.

Open the can of artichokes and cut ¼ of the top of the hearts and then proceed to cut in halves, set in a separate bowl on the side.

Grab each chicken breast and slice them into 3 cutlets, they should be 1/3 of an inch of thickness, place all the cutlets in a baking pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. After you cut all the chicken breasts grab a meat tenderizer and some serain wrap. Place each cutlet individually on the board, cover it, and with the soft side evenly hit the cutlets until they become very thin.

Afterwards replace them in the baking sheet, add some love oil and sprinkle the chopped parsley over the breasts. Pre heat the oven on 275, and a big skillet over medium high heat, sautee the garlic with some olive oil, then place the cutlet of chicken for them to sizzle on each side. (4 -5 minutes preside, until they become lightly brown) As you are cooking the chicken, place the cooked breasts on a clean baking sheet, bake for 5 – 7 minutes to dry them a little bit.

While you wait for them to bake in a large bowl mix the arugula, the anions (with all the juice), the tomatoes with the capers and the artichoke hearts. 

Remove the chicken breasts from the oven and serve.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fabulous Strawberry Tarts

A few weeks ago I spoke with a good friend of mine about his new blog I was starting, I told her all about how much I love cooking and that I wanted to share my creations with people that need some ideas, inspirations or tips to use in their own kitchens; when it occur to me, that I should also share recipes from friends of mine that  they enjoy making! So she sent me one of her recipes and she even let me use her pictures of the last time she cooked it! By the way, if you can not tell already she is a professional photographer, enjoy the pictures, try the recipe and give us your feedback!

It serves 7 or more guests, it takes 15 minutes to prep!


1 quart fresh Strawberries
3/4 C sugar
3T cornstarch
juice of 1/2 lemon
8 ounces softened cream cheese


Wash and hull strawberries, mash 1/2 strawberries in food processor. Combine mashed strawberries with sugar, cornstarch, & lemon juice in saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer mixture until thick and clear, about 5-7 min, stirring constantly, remove from heat. Chop remaining strawberries in food processor or by hand  (small, about the size of corn kernels) add to warm strawberry
 mixture. Chill strawberry filling. Fill shells with chilled strawberry mixture, reserving 4T. Cream reserved 4T with softened cream cheese and pipe on tarts.

Fillo product:

Mini fillo shells

Cream Rigatoni with Red Onions, Peas and Bacon

My husband and I have some meats leftover from breakfast today, so we decided to reduce, reuse, recycle... Super easy lunch or dinner recipe, it takes maybe 30 minutes to make.


Rigatoni Pasta, I like to use Barilla.
1 medium size red onion
1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream
1/4 of a butter stick, unsalted
1 cup of shaved Parmesan cheese
4 strips of bacon (chopped)
1/2 cup of peas
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped parsley


In on small sauce pan boil water and make the pasta, you can take the pasta a little before it's ready, take it off the flame but leave it in the water so it remains hot while you are cooking the rest.

In a small pan sautee the onions with some olive oil until they become kind of yellowish and the white coloring to it have become more of a light brown.

For the sauce: Melt the butter in a medium size skillet, then add the cream, use medium heat, let it come to a boil, lower the heat to lox/medium and add the Parmesan cheese in batches, making sure you stir it while you are doing it. (5 minutes)
When you see the bubble become thicker lower the flame to low and add the chopped pieces of bacon, the peas, the red onions, and parsley, let is sit for a second, always remember to stir the sauce. (4 minutes)

In a bowl mix the sauce with the pasta,  little by little add some pasta and stir with some sauce to make sure the noodles get sauce all around them and also inside. Let it sit for 2 minutes so the pasta and the sauce solidify. It is ready to serve!

*Note: You can add grilled chicken to this recipe and make it even better!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Let's Rally for our Furry Friends

I have a puppy named Thomas, I absolutely love him, but I realize that there are millions of other puppies around the United States that do not have the same luck as Thomas. There are thousands of shelters that have no resources to feed and take care of all the abandoned puppies they have taken upon their care.

That's why I am writing this blog post 'cause Pedigree is donating a 20 pound bag of dry food to a shelter for every blog that post the following link http://www.facebook.com/Pedigree, plus for every person that actually likes the page on facebook they'll be donating a bowl of food as well.

So please join me in this effort and if you have a blog please take 5 minutes to write about this wonderful program.


Bacon Wrapped Prawns with Pesto Linguinni

Tonight it's pasta night, I decided to recreate my famous pesto sauce and bacon wrapped prawns. This recipe serves 2 hungry people, and it takes approximately 30 minutes to make.

Ingredients for the Shrimp:

Half a pound of large unpeeled shrimp, (6 or 8 shrimp)
Pinch of salt and pepper
1 package of thin cut bacon

Ingredients for the Pesto Sauce:

2 garlic cloves
Pinch of salt and pepper
Olive Oil
Small block of Parmigiana Regiano
10 -12 Walnuts
Small heavy whipping cream
1 package of thin cut bacon
1/2 pound of fresh green basil leaves


Grab the shrimp and peal them using your fingertips to penetrate the shell and pushing outward the skin will break easily. After cleaning all of the shrimp you need to devein them, bend the shrimp into a a medium arch and with a very sharp knife gently cut a straight line through the top section of the shrimp. Note: Do not go too deep on your cut, the vein is not even in the middle of the body, you don't want the shrimp to loose its' shape.

Put the shrimp in a bowl and sprinkle salt and pepper, not too much, just enough to give it a little bit of flavor, remember that the bacon is going to have enough saltiness by itself.

Extend the shrimp and grab a piece of bacon, start from the tail end of the shrimp and start wrapping it very very tightly overlapping between loops. You should not need toothpicks to hold the bacon in place, when the bacon is tight enough it will stick when cooking.

Heat a medium non sticky pan, medium high temperature should so it, no olive oil added, put the shrimp with the end of the bacon strip directly on the pan, and sear for about 7 minutes on each side and then stand them so the bottom would be cooked as well.

Meanwhile boil 1 cup of water with some olive oil and salt and make 1/2 a pack of linguinni, it takes around 9 minutes for the pasta to be aldente.

In a mixer put 1/3 of a cup of olive oil, 1/3 of a cup of cream, the garlic cloves, some salt and pepper, the walnuts, 2 small strips of Parmesan cheese and all the basil leaves (do not mix the steams or flowers) Mix until it gets a pasty texture. Try the mix and add more salt or pepper accordingly, if it is too thick you may want to add a tablespoon of water or a little bit more of olive oil.

In a bowl mix the pesto sauce with the cooked pasta. Then serve the pesto pasta in a plate and top it with the shrimp, shave some Parmesan on top.

Wine and Dine in Orlando, Part III

The best experience we had during our four days in Orlando was dinner at Bice at the Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Studios. Pulling into this amazing Italian Riviera inspired hotel gives you an amazing sense of class and romanticism.

You have to go through the hotel lobby to the outside patio overlooking a lake with gondolas, cafe seating around the lake and the most adorable Vespa look a likes all over the place. Very cute to take a stroll under the moonlight and take some cute pictures!

The restaurant is on the second floor of a building with a very nice exterior view, everyone in the establishment speaks Italian, they were very pleasant and before you can unfold your napkin they were already asking you about some cocktails! My lemon drop martini was great!

The menu is very traditional Italian, that included traditional beef carpaccio, minestrone, all sorts of pasta, chicken saltinbocca, and many many yummy things! We ordered the "fritto misto" for the table, for $19.00 we got slightly fried shrimps, zucchinis, calamari and mushrooms, the portion was very generous! Perfect to share in a table of six. We also ordered a beef carpaccio that came with a creamy caper sauce and truffle oil, very good, and some artichoke hearts to compliment it!

As our entrees we had a variety of things;
Lamb Chops with truffle oil and risotto, one word, AMAZING! For $38.00 you got nine ribs perfectly cooked!
I had the veal that was to die for! Very generous portions, it came with potatoes au gratin, $36.00
My sister had Chicken Saltinbocca, came with a huge tomato and arugula salad that was surprisingly tasty! $26.00
My dad had the farfale with mushrooms and peas that was unbelievable! $19.00
Mu husband had the tortellini filled with short rib in a creamy sauce with mushrooms and port reduction, very flavorful and surprisingly delicate. $30.00

I know the prices are a little bit high, but the whole experience was worth it! The wine was amazing as well, and don't forget the dessert, the tiramisu was the best I have tried in a while! The perfect ending for the perfect dinner! Cappuccinos and espressos were outstanding as well.

This was my FAVORITE restaurant in Orlando!

Wine and Dine in Orlando, Part II

You can never go wrong with a classic, Capital Grille - Orlando is located in the middle of the busiest street in town, International Drive. The environment is the same that has characterized the chain for many years, dark and sexy, lots of action around the bar, very elegant and sober in the dinning room.

We were received by our hostess that accommodated us in the bar while our table was set up, we had a martini and shortly after we were seated. The wine list is not extensive, but we could find something we liked the Casa  Lappostole Cuvee Alexander. A Chilean Wine that my father likes, very robust and heavy, he enjoys it with some nicely cooked steak and delicious sides like steamed asparagus, creamed spinach and sweet corn... They bottle is usually priced around $60 which is good cause it is not a cheap wine in stores, it goes from $30 - $35 in the shelves.

The attention was great at the restaurant, our waiter was very nice and friendly, not to mention this time around our cocktails very fabulous! And you get two waiters to make sure your experience is pleasurable.

The temperature of the steaks was great, and the desserts were very good as well, we thought the Creme Brulee was way better than the Chocolate/Hazelnut cake my parents ordered.

Overall we were happy with the environment, service and quality of the food at the Capital Grille, I would definitely recommend it to any of my friends visiting Orlando!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Wine and Dine in Orlando, Part I

I had never tried this wine before, but on Thursday we went to have dinner at Charlie's Original Steakhouse in Orlando, and I was surprised with the results... It is a little expensive, around $120 in the restaurant and you need to have it decant around 30 minutes before drinking it... But as it opens up, the rich scent and smokyness become very sutil and compliments spectacularly a nice medium rare cooked steak.

Here is a little information about the wine and where it comes from:

"Seña wine was established as a collaborative venture in Chile between Viña Errázuriz and Robert Mondavi. Since 2005 Seña is owned 100% by the Chadwick family, proprietors of Errázuriz, and is the personal project of Eduardo Chadwick. Eduardo's ambition is to create a Chilean icon wine, one which fully expresses the terroir (wine identity linked to local soil, aspect and climate) of the Aconcagua Valley north of Santiago. The inaugural vintage of Seña, which is Spanish for distinguishing mark or personal signature, was that of 1995. The wine is made from a blend of six of the classic red grape varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carmenère, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. The grapes for Seña are sourced from Seña Hillside vineyards within the Aconcagua Valley, in which vines are grown according to bio-dynamic principles. The wine is currently produced at Errázuriz's Don Maximiano Estate winery in the Aconcagua Valley.
Seña 2001 was amongst two Chilean wines to take first and second place in the Berlin Wine Tasting of 2004, a blind tasting of icon wines from France, Italy and Chile judged by 36 international wine experts." (Wikipedia)

There are several Charley's Steakhouse in Orlando, my family and I decided to celebrate my dad's 50th birthday at the Original Charley's on South Blossom Trail, I was kind of hesitant at first to make reservations cause I had driven by the other location on International Drive and the massive neon lights did not gave me a good vibe. Anyways we had gone to Capital Grille a few day before, and everything closes so early in Orlando that we did not had more choice...

After arriving to the place promptly at 9:45 pm, the staff was not too happy to see us, even the hostess was not very pleasant. She directed us to our table were she did not even handed out the menus, they were placed on the booth almost under the table, I had to reach over and distribute them to our party of  8 and waited 15 minutes for anyone to show up to take our cocktails order. After our cocktails came in another 15 minutes, our waitress disappeared, not to mention I had the worst mojito ever!

We have to flag he down to get our order, we all have steaks, and she lets me know that the 32 onz. strip I was sharing with my dad has a $5.00 extra charge for "sharing" ... I mean really? It is a almost $50 piece of meat and they charge $5.00 cause I can't eat it by myself!

They wine we chose to drink was amazing, the steaks came out and they were hit and miss in the temperatures.. They steaks were juicy and the flavor was ok, but they were not hot and that took a lot out of it.

Our waitress came to check on us after 30 minutes of our meal being served, she was not friendly at all, and it seemed she was upset to be held up for a little longer than all of her coworkers...

We left immediately after entrees... It is a shame because they have this restaurant as one of the top 10 steakhouses in America... Sadly I can not agree with that, I would not recommend it.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Daddy's 50th bday!

Today is my dad's 50th bday, we are going to cook something fabulous and enjoy it with my sister and close friends, not everyday we he turns 50!
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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Petite Petite

This is my new obsession, Petite Petite by Micheal David, the Shiraz from California that is affordable and amazing at the same time!

We picked up 6 bottles of it before driving to Toledo Bend on Thursday, I was amazed to find out that HEB (the supermarket in Houston) has it for $15.00 when Specs (the biggest wine distributor in Texas) sells it for $18.50... Anyway, we picked up the last bottles off the shelves and proceeded to put them in our cooler so they wont be exposed to the sun while we drove, after all, it is only 100+ degrees in Texas...

My husband and I, together with our friends have enjoyed the simplicity of this wine, so crisp and light that it has been paired with b.b.q ribs, crawfish etouffe and everything in between! But it is just so good that is hard not to break the rules on pairings!

We enjoy it a little cooler than usual, we leave it in  the refrigerator for around an hour before serving it... I hope you get a chance to try it!