Tag Archives: onion

Colombian Breakfast Arepas

8 Sep

I’ve never been to Colombia…  YET.  But I have many Colombian friends who boast the deliciousness of their native cooking – Rubén, Andrew, Karina, Enrique, and my good friend, Dolly.  Whenever we visit our Yoga Center in Queens, she always wants to please our Guruji, and all of us who visit, with many of her Colombian favorite recipes.

Lately, she’s been making us her Colombian Arepas.   These arepas are made with yellow cornmeal and topped with your favorite veggie mixture.  We are busy yogis, so Dolly uses frozen pre-made arepas from La Venezolana, but there are many good brands out there.  Try to pick a brand that’s as natural as possible, with the least preservatives.

Here, I will share the recipe for the delicious topping…

Recipe by KarmaFree Cooking


4 corn arepas – the refrigerated kind

6 large white mushrooms, chopped finely

1/4 lb oyster mushrooms, chopped finely

1 yellow onion, chopped

½ red bell pepper, chopped

½ yellow bell pepper, chopped

2 roma tomatoes, chopped

2 tbs garlic and herb butter or use vegan butter if you prefer

2 sprigs of thyme, leaves only

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

2 tbs soy sauce

¼ cup wáter, if necessary to make a sauce

1 cup vegan shredded cheese – I used Trader’s Joe’s vegan cheddar/monterrey jack mix

Vegan mayonnaise

2 tbs Olive oil

Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. To thaw the arepas, place them in a 350F oven in a baking sheet covered with parchment paper… or place them on top of a griddle.  The oven is helpful because it can fit as many arepas as you want.  This recipe is good enough for 4 arepas, but it’s easily doubled if you need more for your crowd.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, drizzle a little bit of olive oil to the garlic/herb butter.  Add the mushrooms
  3. and toss them to coat them with the oil and butter.  Spread them out in the skillet so they can get browned.  Resist the urge to move them around.  Wait until the mushrooms start to give off the smell of a cooked steak…  I know…  I know…  but you’ll remember me when the smell hits your nose.  You might want to turn on the smoke extractor in your kitchen for this one…
  4. When you’re ready to move the mushrooms again, add the onions and peppers.  Season with salt and pepper and toss the whole contents of skillet so the onions and peppers cook.
  5. The arepas should be warm now in the oven… take them out, spread a generous schmear of vegan mayo and place about ¼ cup of shredded vegan cheese on top of each arepa.  Place back in the oven for a few minutes for the cheese to melt thoroughly.
  6. After a few minutes reduce the heat to medium, add the tomatoes and season with the thyme leaves.  After about 1-2 minutes, add the vinegar and soy sauce to start to create a sauce.  If the tomatoes do not give out too much liquid, add a little water to create a sauce.
  7. As soon as the cheese is melted and the mushrooms, onion, tomato mixture is cooked, you can assemble…  Place one arepa with melted cheese onto a plate and cover with a healthy helping, about ¼ of the mushroom mixture over it.  Serve alongside a simple green salad on the side.


I’ve had this dish originally as a hearty breakfast/brunch item… but I have also made it as a light dinner option.   Add a few slices of avocado, and you’ll be golden.  It’s easy to make and super filling.  Hope you enjoy ittoo…

Stewed Tofu

23 Jun

This is one of my mom’s signature dishes… she cooks it all the time, especially if we need to cook for a crowd.  We have cooked this recipe at the Yoga Center, when we’ve had to cook for yoga friends while traveling and even for my niece and nephew.  They love saucy tofu, especially when mixed into a nice helping of rice.

It’s a simple, kinda one-pot dish…  kinda, because my mom likes to sear the tofu in a skillet before adding to the stew.  This gives the tofu a chewy consistency that I find more palatable and interesting.   And again… think of tofu as a blank canvas.  It will taste just as good as the seasonings you use on it.

Tofu in Tomato Sauce with Onions and Peppers


1 block of extra-firm tofu
Garlic and Herbs Seasoning
2 large red skinned potatoes or Yukon Gold, cubed
1 large onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper , sliced
1 tablespoon of sofrito
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jar of stewed tomatoes or chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup of water – if needed
1 vegetable bouillon cube
Salt and pepper to taste
10 large olives or 2 tablespoons of capers
2 bay leaves
a large dash of paprika
a few splashes of apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil

  1. Slice each tofu block in 4 slices.  Place slices in a baking sheet lined with 2-3 paper towels.  Cover with 2-3 additional paper towels, top with an additional baking sheet and weigh with something heavy.  Drain weighed tofu slices for about 30-60 minutes.
  2. After tofu slices are drained, season liberally with Garlic and Herbs seasoning.   Cook tofu slices in a dry non-stick skillet.  After you’ve placed them on the skillet, leave them for a while without touching them.  The crust they will develop will prevent them from sticking to the skillet and make it easier to turn them.  Sear them on both sides.  Set aside to cool off.
  3. In a large pot over medium heat, pour olive oil. Mix in the onions, peppers and sofrito, and vegetable bouillon cube.   Add the garlic and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. When onions and peppers have softened, add in the potatoes. Stir a few times for them to start cooking a bit.
  5. Add the tomatoes, olives or capers, bay leaves and paprika. If there is not enough liquid for the potatoes to cook in, add some water, until the potatoes are covered. Add the vinegar.  Cover the pot and allow it to simmer to cook.
  6. Take the cooled tofu slices and slice them again into smaller pieces.  I slice each piece into 4 smaller pieces, which yield me about 32 tofu pieces total.  But if you feel you want the pieces larger or smaller, slice them to your desired size.  It’s your stew, your tofu…
  7. When the stew has cooked for about 20 minutes already, add the tofu pieces to warm up with the sauce and potatoes.  Simmer in the covered pot for about 10 more minutes, about 30 minutes total time or until potatoes are fork tender.

Serve over brown rice.

A new Salad to start 2014

18 Feb

This was a post I should have written to publish early in January. Well, it’s already early in February and this will have to do.

This salad was part of our first KarmaFree Cooking class last December. And what’s different about a salad you should ask… well, besides trying to instill into people’s minds the importance of eating a large green raw salad every day, we wanted to introduce some new and different ingredients people might not use raw in a salad. Can you pick them out in this picture here???

A New Salad

Scroll down to see if you guessed right…













Raw pumpkin and raw beets… They’re usually eaten cooked, but these are sweet and delicious additions to any salad.

I know that all you folks who are going thru winter might not crave something cold and raw like salad when it’s cold outside… but eating a healthy portion of raw veggies each day will certainly keep the cold and doctors away.

Here are the components of our Salad:

Green leaf lettuce
Baby Spinach
Alfalfa Sprouts
Yellow Bell Pepper
Shredded Pumpkin
Shredded Carrots
Shredded Beet
Sliced Red Onion

Toss all the ingredients in your desired proportions together in a salad bowl. Dress with your favorite dressing. May we suggest a healthy serving of our Parsley Garlic Dressing.


Parsley Dressing…. GONE!!!!!

May your winter be pleasant and your salad bowl is always full.

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…

Apple Onion Relish Panini with Gorgonzola

8 Feb

I was given a challenge… A Sandwich a Day wanted us to showcase our favorite sandwiches.

I’ve told you before how I could live on sandwiches alone possibly and how one of my most addictive sandwiches is my Avocado Tomato Sandwich. Sometimes I fail to come up with new ideas for sandwiches because I am so enthralled with this one still. I even dream about eating it sometimes.

But recently I have come to learn to love another sandwich… maybe not as fresh-tasting as the one above, but certainly very seasonal. Mixing apples, onions, thyme, almonds and blue cheese in between 2 pieces of bread might not seem very appealing, but oh, oh boy, how delicious it is. This has nothing to do with my Latin roots, but everything that I have learned to appreciate from my travels in the Northeastern part of the US.

Inspired by these crostini from Giada Di Laurentiis, this panino hits the spot on a cold winter night. I might even argue it works great for a nice cozy date in front of the fire. I think your date would be greatly impressed.



2 slices of 100% whole grain bread
Cream Cheese
Gorgonzola Cheese crumbles
Toasted Sliced Almonds
¼ cup of Apple Onion Relish
Butter – for the outside of the bread/sandwich
  1. Pre-heat your Panini maker, or in my case, my George Foreman Grill.
  2. Spread cream cheese on the inside of both bread slices. This will be part of the glue that makes the sandwich stay together.
  3. On one slice, add the apple onion relish. Try to keep it as dry as possible so the moisture won’t seep out of the sandwich. Layer the toasted almonds and finish with the blue cheese crumbles.
  4. Close the sandwich with the other slice of bread, cream cheese on top of the almonds/blue cheese.
  5. Butter the outside of the slices with some softened butter.
  6. Place on the Panini maker and press lightly without forcing it too much. The sandwich will flatten as it toasts in the Panini maker.
  7. After a few minutes, the cheeses will be melted and the bread toasted on the outside. Carefully, remove the sandwich from the panini grill and allow it to cool slightly. This will allow you to cut into the sandwich without the breads sliding all over the place.


Enjoy with you favorite sparkling cider or tea.


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