Sunday, October 20, 2013

My very own Spanish Vegizo

One of the things I miss the most from my carnivore days are the sausages, especially chorizo.  However, I realized that what I really liked was the flavor and not so much the texture of the meat. A few months ago, I prepared a dish with soy veggie crumbles and one of the ingredients I used was "Pimentón de la Vera", which is nothing more than smoked paprika.  Oh boy, I thought I had hit the jackpot.  Instantly, I realized that the flavor was no other than the flavor I much loved of the Spanish chorizo.  I thought, "If only I could make vegetarian chorizo (vegizo)".  I know we can find vegetarian sausages in the market, but their sodium content is very high, and not to mention the artificial flavors and ingredients one cannot pronounce that makers use in order to preserve these particular items. No no, I want to make my own vegetarian sausages at home.

My quest began right there.  After a few tries I finally found a recipe online that could take me to where I wanted to go, and it did.  This is my first try, and it was a success.  The best part of this is that now, at home, I can make my own Italian, German, Mexican or Spanish vegetarian sausages.  I am very excited about this. 

This recipe gave me eight.


Ingredients:


  • 1/2 cup red beans
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsps. Tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsps. water
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1/4 cup yeast
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsps. Hungarian paprika
  • 3Tbsps. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. dry oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions:

     1.  In a bowl, mash the beans until they look like a puree. Add the broth, tomato paste, vinegar, olive oil, water, garlic and whisk well. 
     2.  With the help of a fork, stir in the gluten and blend it in well until a dough forms.  Add the yeast and combine it well.  Add now the herbs and spices and mix them in, knead the mixture like you do a pizza dough to blend everything together.  Give the dough a round shape and set aside.


 3. Cut eight pieces of foil paper and have them ready.  Section the dough until you get the amount of vegizos you desire.  Roll each section into a log and wrap into a piece of foil paper, twisting the ends like you would a hard candy.


     4.   Have a steamer basket with boiling water ready and add the foiled up vegizos to the basket.  Steam for 40 minutes.


  5.   Let it cool and voila, you have your wonderful vegizos. 

I will be making this very often.  Of course we will continue to buy chorizos because my hubby is not a vegetarian, buy I finally found what I had been looking for.

If you aren't a vegetarian but are looking to cut down on red meat, please make this recipe, you won't regret it.  And for my fellow vegetarians out there, we have hit the jackpot! 

Let me know what you think.

Buon Appetito!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Last weekend we went to my brother's place.  We love it there.  It is sort of our escape from the busy city.  Every time I go, I cook, especially on their recently renewed kitchen.  It is truly a delight to cook there.

I saw in the refrigerator four beautiful Portobello mushrooms, and instantly I decided to make something with them.  This vegetarian recipe is all mine. 

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms, ready to eat

Ingredients:
  • 4 large Portobello mushrooms
  • 2 cups od broccoli
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups of fresh spinach
  • 1/2 tbsp. dry oregano
  • 1tbsp. dry parsley
  • a little bit of red wine (this is optional)
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cups of Feta cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese to garnish
Mushrooms ready for the oven
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Clean mushroom with a damp paper towel. Carefully break off the stems. Season the mushrooms with pepper and place them in a previously greased baking sheet.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic until translucent and fragrant. Bring the broccoli, spices and wine in. Cook the broccoli, until softened but not mushy.  Set aside to cool.
  3. Bring the sauté broccoli mixture and spinach to the food processor.  Use the pulse button to  manage the desire consistency. You want the broccoli and spinach to be roughly chopped.
  4. In a bowl, mix the broccoli spinach mixture with the Feta cheese. Fill each mushroom cap with a generous amount of the stuffing.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes or until mushrooms are hot and liquid starts to form under the caps. 
These mushrooms were very delicious.  The greatness of this dish lies in its simplicity. Please make this recipe at home, and let me know what you think. 
Stuffed Portobello mushroom

Buon Appetito!

 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Balsamic Chicken

This is a typical Sunday lunch at my home.  It could be the same at your home as well. 

This is a simple yet very rich and delicious recipe for chicken.  Although this recipe is not new, I made my version of it.  My family enjoyed very much, I know yours will do too.

Balsamic Chicken
Ingredients:
  • 2 defrosted chicken breasts  
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dry oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dry rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dry basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dry parsley
  • Sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoon of unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar


Balsamic Chicken











Directions:

Balsamic Chicken
  1. Season the chicken breast with the dry ingredients.  Let flavors set for at least a couple of hours.  Understand that the longer you stay in this step, the more flavor your chicken will have.
  2. In a frying skillet, melt the butter on medium heat, cook chicken until brown on both sides 4-5 minutes each side. 
  3. Add sliced onion and cook until translucent. Lower the heat and stir in Balsamic vinegar and cook until onions are caramelized about 15 minutes.
  4. Slice chicken and serve over pasta or rice.

Balsamic Chicken



 served it over a delicious Cheese Tortellini. 


Balsamic chicken on a bed of Cheese Tortellini


Please do try this recipe at home, your family will thank you.  Let me know how it goes.

Buon Appetito!



Saturday, August 3, 2013

Spanakopitas

Spanakopita is a Greek spinach pastry.   Greek food is definitely in the "comfort food" category, at least for me. 

The way I prepared this dish is very easy and the best part low in calories.  I am trying to cut down but I refuse to sacrifice the food.  I substituted the phyllo dough for wonton wrappers. They came out beautiful and delicious.  I served them as tapas.
Spanakopitas



Ingredients:
  • 12 Wonton wraps
  • 5 oz chopped spinach -
  • 1/3 cup of reduced fat Feta cheese
  • 2 shallots- thinly chopped-
  • 1 garlic clove- minced-
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tsp Olive Oil - I always use extra virgin-
  • Cooking spray- I used canola-
Directions:
Spanakopitas ready for the oven
  1. Preheat oven to 380 degrees
  2. I bought a chopped spinach package at the supper market because this reduces the cooking time a great deal.  Please follow your package instructions.
  3. Heat olive oil over medium heat, add shallots and garlic and saute. Once it becomes fragrant, add the spinach, the cayenne pepper and saute some more. 
  4. Place spinach mixture in a bowl and add the feta cheese, mix well.  
  5. Spray with cooking spray a cookie tray and lay out the 12 wonton wraps. 
  6. Using a dessert spoon, place the spinach and pita mixture in the center of the wonton wrap. Wet the edges with warm water and fold over pressing down to close.  When finish assembling the 12 spanakopitas, spray lightly with the cooking spray.
  7. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until crispy. 
I hope you enjoy this delicious treat! Please share your thoughts.

Buon Appetito!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Swai Fish with Mango sauce on a bed of greens and avocado

Do you love mangoes?  I do.  I go from delicious smoothies and desserts to delicious meals, like the one I am going to show you today.

Swai Fish with Mango sauce on a bed of greens and avocado

My hubby said: "Eso gana cualquier concurso" which means that the dish could win any contest.  It was very delicious indeed. I used Swai fish but I am sure that it will be amazing with any fish.

Ingredients: 

Mango sauce
  • 3 Swai fillets -cut in 1 inch pieces-
  • turmeric 
  • ground mustard
  • cooking spray -I used Canola-
  • 1 medium onion -chopped-
  • 2 garlic cloves -minced-
  • 1 small yellow sweet pepper -chopped-
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 ripe mangoes- slice mango and spoon out the flesh, then cut in squares-
  • 1 avocado -in slices-
  • 2 bags of arugula - you can use any greens-
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions:

Swai Fish with Mango sauce
  1. After you have the fish cut, spray with the cooking spray and drench it with the turmeric and ground mustard and leave it a few minutes. 
  2. To prepare the sauce, on a medium heat, saute the onion and pepper for about 5 minutes or until translucent.  Stir in the garlic and mangoes and allow to cook until fragrant. 
  3. Stir in the fish and cook through.
  4. In a serving platter, arrange the arugula and avocado.  Once the fish is ready, place it over the bed of greens.  


This recipe, is not only delicious, it is also very healthy.  You can substitute the salad for rice or any other side dish.  I hope you make this at home. If you do, please share your thoughts.

Buon Appetito!



Saturday, July 13, 2013

Homemade Hummus

It is a fact that many people are afraid of making Hummus. I just don't understand why. It is surely easier than making, for example, a chicken stew or than making black beans Cuban style.
Homemade Hummus
 This is how I make it.
Ingredients:
  • 1 15.5 oz chick peas or garbanzo beans can -reserve 1/3 cup of the liquid-
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp of tahini - I make my own, it is very simple too-
  • 1/8 cup olive oil -a little more might be necessary
  • pepper to taste
  • *Smoked hot paprika
Directions:
  1. In the processor, put the garlic and garbanzo beans, process until creamy.  Then add the lemon juice, tahini, reserved liquid, pepper, half the olive oil and process some more. 
  2. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and garnish with the rest of the olive oil and this time I used smoked hot paprika, but you can use any toppings like olives and parsley.  Eat it with Pita bread or in sandwiches.
Please don't be afraid to make hummus, your taste buds will thank you.


Buon Appetito!


Friday, July 12, 2013

Potatoes and Broccoli Soup


There is nothing heartier than a bowl of soup. This one you can either have it warm or cold. Experimenting with different spices and ingredients has become the signature of my cooking. My hubby describes as "an explosion of flavors". This recipe is light and delicious.

Potatoes and Broccoli soup
Ingredients:
  • 4 golden potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cups of coarsely chopped broccoli ( I use everything)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp dry rosemary
  • 1 tsp dry parsley
  • 1 tsp dry basil
  • 1Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp butter
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/3 cup shredded Gouda cheese
  • 1/3 cup 6 Italian cheeses (a little extra for serving)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
  1. Boil the potatoes until they are tender.
  2. Meanwhile in a large heavy pan, saute the onion until it is translucent. Mix in the garlic and all the spices and cook until fragrant, don't forget to stir all the ingredients together.
  3. With a slotted spoon bring the potatoes into the pan and kind of roast them in the spices, garlic and onion mixture. You want them to absorb the wonderful flavors. Add the butter.
  4. Boil the broccoli in the potatoes' water for about three minutes. Then bring it to the pan and cook it with the potatoes and spices for a couple of minutes. Reserve the potatoes/broccoli water.
  5. Once the water has cool off a bit, place the potatoes and broccoli mixture in the blender, pour the water and blend. You might need to do this in batches. I did.
  6. In a medium sauce pan, over medium heat, pour the pure mixture, stir in the butter, cream and cheeses, cook for about five minutes or until all the cheeses are melted.
  7. Top each individual serving with the additional italian cheeses.
Let me know what you think, I hope you enjoy it like we did.
Buon Appetito!