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Asturian Tomato Salad

3 Aug

This is another recipe I learned from chef José Andrés from his show Made in Spain.  This is one of my Spanish Delicacies series…  we started by celebrating San Fermín, but there are so many Spanish recipes I love that we’ll continue building this catalog for you all to enjoy.

I guess this is a tribute to Doña Tina… my friend Angie’s mom.  She’s a sweetheart and she’s currently visiting her native Asturias.  She is bringing some equipment for Angie and me to try some recipes for the blog, so in appreciation I dedicate this recipe to her. 

It originally includes Afuega’l Pitu cheese, but I have never seen that cheese here in Puerto Rico.  I’ll include it in my TO EAT list when I return to Spain to do the Camino de Santiago.

 Ensalada Tomates Asturiana - KFC


6-7 cherry tomatoes, washed and cut into quarters
1 tbs apple cider vinegar
2-3 tbs Spanish olive oil
A drizzle of honey
2 small sprigs of thyme leaves
About 1/8 tsp of salt
About 1 cup of arugula lettuce – optional


  1. In a measuring cup, mix together the vinegar, honey, olive oil, and thyme leaves.
  2. Place tomatoes in plate, alone or over a bed of arugula lettuce if using, and sprinkle with salt.  Drizzle dressing over the tomatoes.   


The sweetness of the honey plays super well with the thyme flavor.   Really nice refreshing dressing…

Mini Tomatoes

28 Jul

I’ve always thought of eating tomatoes just like eating an apple…  but for some reason I have never done it.

But with these mini tomatoes from my CSA box, I’ve been eating tomatoes just like I eat candy…  they’re so small and so cute, the only thing you really want to do is pop them in your mouth.  It’s nature’s candy…

Mini Tomates - KFC

Caprese Pasta Salad

23 Jul

A while ago, I was shopping in Plaza las Américas with my friend Annie Mariel.  We decided to grab something light to eat at a restaurant there called La Patisserie.  She had her usual salmon fillet over lentils and I decided to have a pasta salad with tomatoes, pesto and fresh mozzarella.  That’s what the menu said – FRESH MOZZARELLA.

When I received my pasta salad… it was nothing like I had expected.  The pasta was overcooked, the mozzarella was certainly not fresh, the pesto tasted from a bottle and the cheese was added when the pasta was hot, so the pieces had melted into a strange goo.  Yuck…  I was not a happy camper.

 When I started making strange faces about my dissatisfaction with my entrée, Annie Mariel said:  “I am sure you can make a 200% better version of that pasta salad.  Go for it.” 

So this is it… my better version of a Caprese Pasta Salad… let me know if you like it too.


 Caprese Pasta Salad


½ pound of whole grain pasta – brown rice or whole wheat spirals, macaroni or penne will all do
1 cup of tomatoes, diced
¼ cup of sun dried or oven roasted tomatoes, diced or sliced
About 1/3 cup of olive oil, plus more to dress the salad
Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper to taste
1 clove of garlic, smashed once
3-4 large fresh basil leaves
3-4 thick slices of fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
  1. In a large bowl marinate the tomatoes – add the fresh tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, basil, garlic, salt and pepper.  Mix well all the ingredients together and let the fresh tomatoes break down and the dried ones plump up with the juices released from the fresh ones.  Let it sit for about 30 minutes mixing it well a few times throughout.
  2. In a medium pot filled with boiling salted water, cook the pasta about 3 minutes shy of what the package directions say.  You want them a bit undercooked from al dente… 
  3. Drain the pasta, rinse a bit with filtered cold water and add to the marinated tomatoes. Mix it all well carefully so you don’t break the pasta.   Make sure you remove the garlic clove before mixing the pasta… nobody will like to bite into a raw piece of garlic.  The pasta will absorb the juices of the tomatoes while it cools off.  Add more olive oil if you feel the pasta is too dry.
  4. After the pasta has cooled off, add the mozzarella cubes and mix well again.  You can serve room temperature or place it in the cooler before serving.


21 Jul

I am not a bean lover, but funny enough I love hummus.  I have shared with you already my basic hummus recipe when I shared my Hummus Sandwich recipe.  I love that it’s lemonier than versions you usually get in a Middle Eastern restaurant.

When we go to these Middle Eastern restaurants people assume that if you like hummus, you must like babaganoush too.  NOT!!!  I like eggplant, but I have given babaganoush many, many, many tries and I just can’t seem to enjoy it.  I have learned with time that I need to be in the mood to eat eggplant and babaganoush is simply not my thing.

So, apparently we are in eggplant season.  I’ve been receiving baby Japanese eggplants in my CSA box for weeks now.  I had 2 great specimens in my fridge before my retreat and I was afraid they would spoil before I would get back… so I decided to mix it in with my traditional (which is really non-traditional in the middle Eastern sense) and see how that played up.

The result??? 

  Babaga-hummus 2


2 small Japanese eggplants, halved
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
About ¼ cup of parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp paprika
The juice of 1 lime or criollo lemon – but if it’s not lemony enough I sometimes use 2
About 1 tsp salt – but I really eye-ball it…
About 5 cranks of the pepper mill
About ½ cup of olive oil


  1. Brush the eggplant halves with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place in a grill (I use my George Foreman grill) for about 10 minutes until you get nice grilled marks and the eggplants begins to soften.  Take the out of the grill and set aside for a little while.  The eggplant will continue to cook and soften somewhat.
  2. Grilled Eggplants 2
  3. In a large food processor mix the hummus ingredients – the chickpeas, parmesan cheese, paprika, lime juice, salt, and pepper.
  4. Scrape the flesh of the eggplant and add that to the hummus mixture… leave the eggplant skin behind.
  5. Process the whole mix and thru the cover chute, drizzle the olive oil until the mixture gains a creamy consistency.  Check for seasonings and pulse a few times more if you need to add anything else.


Serve this with whole grain pita bread or pita chips. 


I brought this to a pool party at my friend’s Ana Yolanda and everyone loved it, especially Valerie who’s only 3 years old.  Which proves my point that if you expose kids to different flavors early on, they’ll grow to develop great eating habits.

I’ve been receiving so many eggplants in my CSA box, that this has become my new version of hummus for picnics or get-togethers…  it’s a nice twist on my original recipe, with a tad of smokiness from the grilled eggplants.  I did it recently to participate in the Serious Eats Picnic Food roundup… 

Hope you enjoy it as much as Valerie did…

Oven-Roasted Tomatoes

18 Jul

With the plethora of tomatoes I’ve been receiving from my CSA box, I needed a way to use them up in quantities before they went bad – because in a week’s time I would be receiving another huge batch.

Organic Tomatoes

I have been a fan of sun-dried tomatoes for a while now… it was my first “foodie” grocery purchase about 10 yrs ago.  I remember we went to this gourmet store called Domenico’s, which is no longer in operation.  I went to buy sun-dried tomatoes, but left with my first piece of Gruyere cheese too.  It was a good day.

So I decided how it would be if I made my very own version of sun-dried tomatoes… they’ll not completely dry, but the flavor is definitely intensified by roasting them low and slow. 


        oven roasted tomatoes 1


As many tomatoes as you can fit in a baking sheet – halved and seeded
A drizzle of olive oil – about 1 tbs for the whole thing
A sprinkling of Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste
About ½ tbs of balsamic vinegar
A few leaves of thyme – optional


  1. Place the halved and seeded tomatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Sprinkle the salt, pepper and thyme leaves if using.  Drizzle a very small amount of olive oil and the balsamic vinegar.
  2. oven roasted tomatoes - prep
  3. Mix all the tomatoes to make sure they’re evenly coated with all the ingredients we added.  Make sure they’re all cut side up before placing them in the oven.
  4. Roast slowly in a 250F oven for about 1 ½ to 2 hours.  Don’t let the tomatoes burn too much or they’ll taste bitter.


Use them in your favorite tomato application… they’ll impart an intense tomato flavor to pastas, salads and sandwiches.

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