Tag Archives: garlic

Quinoa Pasta with Baby Spinach

14 Jan

I love pastas… and when trying to do gluten-free for a few weeks, I crave it more and more each day.

We found this new pasta over at Costco – QUINOA PASTA!! I was skeptical at first, but it’s awesome! Cooks just the same and even better, I might add, than Tinkyada Rice Pasta, which for years has been my gluten-free pasta of choice. It withstands being left in hot water better than rice pasta.

This is a great recipe that combines pasta and salad all rolled into one… it’s basically pasta, salad and vinaigrette. It’s easy to make, delicious to eat, fast as it takes as long as the pasta takes cooking and even works great for company. I am planning to make this for someone new I’ve been seeing lately. Shhhhhh!!!! But, that’s just between you and me, OK??

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QUINOA PASTA WITH BABY SPINACH

2 heaping cups of dry quinoa pasta
4-5 large handful baby spinach
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2-3 tbs of olive oil
The zest of 1 lemon
The juice of ½ of that same lemon
¼ cup parmesan cheese, optional
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and cook pasta according to the package directions. I usually boil the pasta for about 7-8 minutes, kill the heat, cover the pot and allow the pasta to continue cooking in the hot water.
  2. In a skillet over mdium-low heat, add about 2tbs of olive oil and the 2 garlic cloves. The garlic will infuse the oil with its taste. Allow the garlic to cook a bit in the hot oil, but don’t fry it, cook it just until it starts to change colors. Take the garlic pieces out and discard them. Turn off the heat and add the lemon zest, the juice and season with salt and pepper. Mix together and keep in hold until the pasta is done.
  3. Drain the pasta and return to the same pot. Add the baby spinach and the olive oil/lemon mixture. Toss well to combine. The heat of the pot and the pasta will start to wilt a bit the spinach. It’s possible you may need to add the spinach in batches, but that’s ok. I like that some of the spinach wilts more than others.
  4. Add an additional drizzle of olive oil and the parmesan cheese, if using. Toss one last time to combine and serve immediately.

Cuban Mojo Onions

13 Nov

I was born and raised in Puerto Rico… but I am Cuban at heart.

To my friends in Puerto Rico… I am almost Cuban. To my family in Miami, I am 100% Puertorra. I live in both worlds simultaneously and to me, it’s all just part of being the daughter of a Puerto Rican mom and a Cuban Dad Kinda like “café con leche”.

Many of the flavors and foods I love so much, I learned from my Dad. He taught me to eat guava paste with cream cheese, croquetas, Medianoches and Cuban Sandwiches, rice with black beans, tamales en hoja and in cazuela, guava pastelillos, patelillitos de carne, frutabomba and mamey milkshakes… and yuca with Cuban mojo, amongst many other things.

Whenever I boil some viandas, the local way we refer to root vegetables and tubers, I like to eat them with a side of onions that taste like Cuban mojo. The reason I don’t go out and make mojo from scratch is because it takes a lot of olive oil for just me in one serving. So I came up with this simplified version that hits all the flavor notes of Cuban mojo in a simple, perfect for one person’s serving.

Cuban Mojo Onions

Cuban Mojo Onions

1 medium sized onion, it could be white or yellow, sliced to your desired preference
About 2tbs Olive Oil
2 cloves of garlic
The juice of 1 lime
Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. In a small sauté pan over medium high heat, add the olive oil and the sliced onions. I like to slice them thick, as if you were making onion rings. Sauté them to soften them more than for them to acquire some color. So when the pan starts to sizzle, I usually turn down the heat level to medium. Add some salt and pepper to season and draw out the moisture and soften the onions.
  2. Peel the garlic cloves and mash them a bit with the side of your knife. Add them to the pan like that. The purpose is for the onions to get the garlicky flavor without having to do a lot of work. Stir everything together to continue to soften the onions and garlic together.
  3. When the onions have become soft, add the juice of the lime directly in the pan. It’ll sizzle… at this time, you can turn the heat off and leave in the pan. The onions will not brown after you add the lime juice and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Serve over boiled potatoes, yuca, malanga, yautía, taro root, or anything else you want to give some Cuban flair to. This is a very easy side dish that will leave you wanting more…

Parsley Dressing

27 Sep

There’s more to curly parsley than just a chain restaurant garnish…  Just like there’s more to my friend Tania than meets the eye.

Perejil y Ajo

This is a recipe I learned from her. Tania is a hair stylist but, every time you go to her salon, you get your hair done and your tummy full. The last time I was there she fed me lunch… and as any typical yogi would do, half the plate she gave me was salad. But this salad was special… it had a special dressing.

Tania tells me this parsley dressing is her go-to salad dressing at home. It’s super easy to make and she always has a bottle of it on top of her kitchen counter. I bragged so much about it to another friend in our running group that Tania had to make a dressing batch just for this other friend to try.

I have been dreaming of making salads with this dressing for a while now… and this is my homage to Tania’s Parsley Dressing. I hope I make it justice. A bottle of this is standing on my kitchen counter as I type!!

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PARSLEY DRESSING

1 bunch of curly parsley, thicker stems removed and coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove
½ tbs kosher salt
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup water

This is the time to take out your immersion blender… I first used my food processor, but just a bunch of parsley is too small to use a large processor. Tania makes it in her Vitamix blender…

  1. In a glass measuring cup measure the olive oil and the water. Add the garlic clove, salt and the coarsely chopped parsley to the large measuring cup. Start pureeing with the immersion blender until the oil emulsifies and turns creamy.
  2. The measuring cup is nice because the spout will help you decant it into a bottle where you can keep the dressing for future use.

The dressing is chunky… but it’s super flavorful. Pour it over a green salad or even boiled potatoes or rice. It’s very, very versatile.

This is a great use of all that curly parsley that goes on sale frequently. I tend to prefer flat-leaf parsley in recipes, but for this preparation, curly works just fine.

Thyme Rosemary Scalloped Potatoes

27 Feb

I loooooove potatoes and I love cheese too… But sometimes I want to take a break from cheese. Hey… don’t shoot me for saying this, but as the saying goes, “todos los extremos son malos” or all extremes have a dark side. And for me, eating too much cheese on a consistent basis does a number on me.

After I finish retreats, I try to avoid eating too much cheese. I seek recipes in my arsenal that do not rely on cheese. There are some, but not many. I must confess (*hangs head down in shame)…

I found this recipe by a daily email I receive from Cooking.com. It’s a Food & Wine recipe which they adapted from Daniel Boloud. So by me now adapting it once again, who knows if we’re either come full circle to the original recipe or taking it into a whole different place where chef Boloud never ever intended… either way, this recipe is a real keeper IMHO.

As you’ll read in the directions, I did it in a spring form pan. Some of the liquid seeps out, but the end result is really good still. Next time, I will make them individually in muffin tins and they will look cute and the liquid will stay with the potatoes. I will show you pics of that soon enough. OK??

scalloped potatoes

THYME ROSEMARY SCALLOPED POTATOES

1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
1 small onion, minced
1 clove of garlic, smashed
1 tsp chopped thyme
1/2 tsp chopped rosemary
1 cup mushroom broth… left over from rehydrating some morels
½ vegetable bouillon cube
1 large Yukon Gold potato, very thinly sliced with a mandolin
Salt and Freshly ground pepper

 

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic clove and vegetable cube and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the thyme and rosemary and cook for 1 minute. Add the mushroom broth and bring to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 10-15 minutes.

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3.  Preheat the oven to 400° and oil a round cake pan. I did it on my spring form pan, but make sure you wrap it tightly in foil to prevent leakages. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and oil the paper.

4.  Arrange an overlapping layer of potato slices in the bottom of the pan. Season lightly with salt and pepper and spoon a small amount of the reduced broth on top. Repeat the layering with the remaining potatoes and reduced broth, seasoning each layer lightly. Pour any remaining broth on top. Cover the pan with a sheet of oiled parchment paper and then a sheet of foil and place in a sheet tray to catch any liquid.

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5.  Bake the potatoes until they are very tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the foil and paper and bake until the top is dry, about 10 minutes longer.

6.  Turn the broiler on. Remove the potatoes from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Take out of the spring form pan and broil it until the surface is lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

7.  Cut into wedges and serve.

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Mojito Criollo

19 Apr

When I’m on a hurry to eat but without any time to actually cook anything… I boil potatoes. I boil them by themselves or with any other root vegetable I have in my fridge – yautías, malangas, batatas (sweet potatoes), etc.

But potatoes by themselves are kinda boring, no?? But with a Mojito Criollo… not so much.

I like to eat my yuccas with a Cuban-style mojito. But in Puerto Rico, people prefer their mojitos with some tomato in it. And we’re not talking the alcoholic drink mojito… we’re talking something you use to “mojar” or dip your potatoes in. It’s a super versatile sauce. This is how I make it…

 

MOJITO CRIOLLO

2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 green bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 yellow onion, sliced into strips
1 red onion, sliced into strips
2-3 garlic cloves, smashed
Olive oil – about 2 tbs
Salt to taste
Garlic & Herbs Seasoning
The juice of 2 limes
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-hi heat, pour the oil and add the onions, peppers and garlic cloves. Sautee for a few minutes until everything starts wilting a bit. Season with some salt to help that wilting process.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes. Season with additional salt and the garlic & herb seasoning. Mix well to combine. The moisture in the tomatoes will start to create the sauce. Cover the sauce pan and lower the heat to medium-low. Allow the mixture to cook and the flavors to meld together for about 10 minutes.
  3. When you feel the onions, pepper and tomatoes look cooked and “saucy”. Turn the heat off. Add the juice of the lime juice and mix well together. Let it rest for a few minutes before you serve over your favorite “vianda”.

This is the best way to eat potatoes or other boiled root vegetables when preparing for a fast or when coming out of one.

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