Last week we had our 2nd KarmaFree Cooking class and our theme was Loving ourselves first thru our Food. Sometimes, we only cook nice things when we’re cooking for others. But why not cook something nice even if it’s just us in the house??
The recipes we shared are old and new KarmaFree Cooking recipes that work well made just for one person, for two or for a crowd. These are simple, quick and delicious recipes that work well to make just for you on a solo movie night at home and just the same are not much more effort making for a large dinner party.
Here was our class menu:
Pasta with Marinated Tomatoes over Brown Rice Pasta
Quinoa Pasta with Fresh Baby Spinach and Lemon Vinaigrette
Spinach Salad with Macerated Strawberries
Baked Sweet Plantains with Cinnamon and Vanilla
Poached Pears with Blue Cheese and Almond Praline
Even though these were all recipes we had shared in the blog before, it’s never the same reading and making them on your own as seeing how I make them, after I have made them over and over and over again. Your words… not mine.
The class is not only about sharing recipes and techniques. We also talked about alternative pastas… we talked about my favorite olive oils and vinegars. We also talked about microplanes and rasps to grate lemon zest and how I do not like to rinse pasta after I drain it. We also shared how the same ingredients for the Marinated Tomates can be used in a bruschetta as an appetizer or skewered to make for a fancier passed hors d’oeuvre.
I am so grateful for all of those who attended… we had a larger class this time around. Some repeats and some new students. I want to give a great shout out to Adriana from Great Food 360 who attended once again and contributed with the wonderful pictures. She rocks!!!
Again to my lovely assistants Angie and Mom… who help me with the little things that keep the class rolling smoothly.
Hope you can join us for the next installment… Late April. Mark your calendars – Recipes to celebrate Mom. I am already planning the menu.
Leslie is a new friend I run with in Boca Ratón… She is a salad lover like me.
I always end up talking food with everyone I meet and this is one of Leslie’s favorite salads to make. I hope you enjoy it as much as Leslie and I enjoy it.
SPINACH AND GOAT CHEESE SALAD
Baby Spinach leaves
Goat Cheese crumbles
Spiced Nuts – like almonds or pecans
Dress with Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
- Mix all the ingredients in a large salad bowl and dress with Balsamic Vinaigrette. Toss well to combine.
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste
- Mix all the ingredients in a small glass jar and shake well.
I firmly believe that God or the Universe, however you prefer to say it, puts the right people in our path for us to learn and grow… And Annie Mariel has been a real blessing in my life. It’s as if God, in his all-knowingness, understands and knows exactly the type of person you need in your life at a certain time in your life.
We got along almost immediately since we met each other about 5 yrs ago in a conversational French class. We have lots of things in common – we’re both consultants, we both enjoy anything French, we both enjoy to travel, we follow yoga and spiritual practices, we are both vegetarians… bueno, almost vegetarians because Annie Mariel still eats seafood and shellfish on occasion. But she gets my idiosyncrasies of being vegetarian. She has passed on to me her love of running and we even applied to run the Amazing Race together… (oh boy!!!)
Annie Mariel is a great supporter and fan of KarmaFree Cooking… and for my last supper of 2012 she wanted to contribute by bringing a salad. She knew I was going to cook pasta. She asked me to make it as light as possible, so I pleased her by making the sauce all tomato, instead of mixing it with some cream or half and half, like I like to do on other recipes. She told me she would surprise me with the salad… and that she did.
This salad had a little bit of everything… and it was delicious! I asked Annie Mariel if I could feature her salad in KarmaFree Cooking and she agreed. I hope I make her proud. Try it for yourself…
ANNIE MARIEL’S COMPOSED SALAD
Sliced Red Onions
Crumbled Blue Cheese
Toasted Almond Slices
Crispy Fried Onions
Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
- In a large bowl add all the ingredients. Toss lightly to combine
- Dress the salad with vinaigrette.
Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup extra virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Sal and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Place all the ingredients in a empty glass or mason jar. Shake well to combine. Let rest for 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to combine well.
- Serve on top of your favorite salad.
To be honest… I was not going to blog about this. This was just the salad I had for lunch yesterday.
This was the order of events…
I am proud to say, I am friends in FaceBook with Top Chef Master Suvir Saran. We have friends in common and once I confused him with someone else because his face was familiar to me. Hello!!!! The mutual friend made me come to my senses and instead of him taking offense with my confussion, he friended me. And we’ve been “FaceBook Friends” ever since.
Suvir shared a picture of a delectable Caprese Salad yesterday in his page and I was inspired to have a Caprese Salad for lunch too. I had some avocado I do not want to go to waste and I added some to my salad. That’s it… that’s how this dish came to be.
Photo Courtesy of Chef Suvir Saran
Today, I shared my pic in Facebook, emulating Suvir’s move and there are so many Likes and compliments that I was urged to share here with you all. People want to learn to make this salad… so, here’s the non-recipe:
CARIBBEAN CAPRESE SALAD
Romaine Lettuce – 3 leaves, cut thinly into strips
About 10 GrapeTomatoes, halved
3 slices of Fresh Mozzarella – ripped into smaller pieces
2 wedges of avocado, cut small
Balsamic Vinegar – the best aged one you can find
Salt and Pepper to taste
- Just assemble the veggies in a plate.
- Drizzle olive oil, balsamic vinegar over the veggies. Sprinkle with salt and pepper over salad.
- Toss to combine as you eat it.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. This was fresh, filling yet left me space to eat some mashed potatoes with broccoli. I know the combination sounds weird, but that’s my lunch menu for you.
Thanks Adela for encouraging me to share this… please, now PIN AWAY!!!! ;)
It’s the holidays… as you know, Puerto Rico has the longest holidays in the world, because they last until the Fiestas de San Sebastián, which is until the middle of January. And if you judge instead by the time people take off their Xmas lights, it could be until the beginning of February even.
I’ve been hosting a few get-togethers and been invited to some others and you never want to arrive with your hands empty. Especially qhen you’re vegetarian… because that “something” you bring with you can be your insurance policy to having something safe to eat that evening. My friends are already familiar with my veggie, red pepper or hummus dips, but every year I want to surprise them with something different. This was this year’s star appetizer…
1 8oz packet of white button mushrooms, sliced
2 tbs of butter
1 tbs of olive oil
Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
1 small sprig of thyme, just strip out the leaves
3 tbs of balsamic vinegar
- In a large skillet over medium high heat, heat up the butter and oil. When the butter/oil is very hot, add the sliced mushrooms. Toss a bit so the mushrooms are coated with the oil mixture on most sides. But don’t toss them continually; allow them to get brownish on one side for a few minutes before moving them again. Add the thyme.
- After about 10 minutes of cooking, the mushrooms will have shrunk in size and are golden brown. Now, add the salt and pepper and toss to combine.
- After another minute, add the balsamic vinegar. Be careful because it splatters a bit and the pungency of the smell can “hit you in the face”. Toss the mushrooms to combine and allow the balsamic to be absorbed by the mushrooms and evaporated a bit from the heat of the pan.
- Turn off the stove and allow continuing to cook with the residual heat that’s there.
I thoroughly enjoy these with peppered goat cheese balls on whole wheat crackers. It’s serves as a great appetizer for a small get-together dinner party or to serve at a night of wine and cheese.