Tag Archives: corn

Sopa Paraguaya

16 Aug

Every Wednesday, Serious Eats gives us readers a challenge for the weekend based on articles found in newspapers around the US.  This past weekend’s challenge was to create something delicious with CORN.

I’ve been meaning to learn my friend Rosani’s recipe for Sopa Paraguaya for some time now.  And just like I do every time – I gather the recipe, I gather the ingredients and then… something comes up and the ingredients stay in the cupboard indefinitely.  That’s why I was so glad to hear about this challenge because it would give me the chance to make this Sopa Paraguaya once and for all…

Sopa Paraguaya translates literally to Paraguayan Soup.  It’s not technically a soup – it’s more like a corn bread or a polenta… and about the Paraguayan part… well, it’s from Paraguay but if you’re ever there, don’t ask for a Sopa Paraguaya because these are known there as “chipa guazú”. 

UPDATE  11-03-2012:   If you indeed get to visit Paraguay like I did back in March, you’ll see that this version I learned originally is more like a hybrid of what they traditionally call a Sopa Paraguaya and a Chipaguazú.  Check out the distinctions between the 2 traditional dishes here.


½ packet (3/4 cup) cornmeal
8 oz (1 cup) frozen corn kernels – defrosted
1 large onion, chopped
2 tbs of butter
1 tbs olive oil
1 ½ cups evaporated milk
1 ½ cups regular or soy milk
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
½ tbs baking powder
2 links of Veggie Hot Dogs, sliced (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Canola oil Spray
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  2. In a large sauce pan over medium high heat, add the oil, butter and onion.  Add a little salt and pepper to help the onions release their juices.  Sautee until onions turn translucent.  Add the veggie dog slices and heat thru.
  3. Add the milks and let them warm through.  Add the cornmeal slowly while whisking to avoid creating lumps.  Keep on whisking once in a while until the mixture thickens.  Add the baking powder.  Add the corn kernels and shredded cheese.  Mix well so the corn kernels are evenly distributed within the mix and the cheese has melted.  Take off the stove.
  4. Transfer to an oven baking dish that has been sprayed with canola oil.
  5. Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown.  Let rest for about 15 minutes to allow it to set before cutting into it…

I have loved sopa paraguaya ever since I first had it at the Yoga Center… now, thanks to Rosani, I can make it anytime I crave it.   The veggie dogs are not necessary, but I think they add a nice touch to it.

Corn and Spinach Lasagna

28 May

This year’s Mother’s Day crept up on me very unexpectedly…   I had been traveling in India for about a month and when I was making myself at home… POOF! Mother’s Day is here!!!!!

For the last few years, I have been making a big part of our family lunch reunions – partly because I am the food blogger extraordinaire, creator of all recipes delicious, but most of all, because I am the one vegetarian with the least responsibility.  My mom is super busy taking care of my grandma and that consumes most of her day.  And if the vegetarians want to make sure they have something to eat besides salad, I need to take charge.  Besides, it’s Mother’s Day, how am I going to make my Mom or Aunt cook???   

I had to deal with what I had in the pantry and freezer – some lasagna noodles, frozen corn, frozen spinach, a few shredded cheeses, milk (thank God for UHT) and spices.  I was drawing a blank because I didn’t want to make just spinach lasagna again…  I had made one recently at Thanksgiving.  And here comes my friend, Giada Di Laurentiis, with a recipe for mini lasagnas made of sweet corn and mascarpone.  I took some inspiration from her recipe, a quick trip to the 24-hour supermarket, combined with my audacity to use up what I had available and make sure I had enough lasagna to feed 10 people, I came up with this recipe.  It looks like it has a lot of ingredients, but it’s actually super easy to make.  Check it out…



½ package of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 package of frozen corn, thawed
9 whole-wheat lasagna sheets
A whole recipe of White Sauce (recipe follows)
½ cup heavy cream
3 garlic cloves, chopped
8 ounces cream cheese, divided (we’ll use half for the corn mixture and half for the white sauce)
1 cup of grated pecorino romano cheese, divided (we’ll use part with the corn mixture and the rest for the lasagna assembly)
2 cups of grated Italian blend cheeses, divided (part for the white sauce and part for the lasagna assembly)
The zest and juice of 1 yellow lemon
About 25 fresh basil leaves, well washed and dried
¼ teaspoon of kosher salt
A few grinds of freshly cracked black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil spray for the casserole dish
For the White Sauce:
2 cups of milk
2 tbs of sofrito
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
The cheeses mentioned in the list above (the cream cheese and the Italian shredded cheese blend)
Salt and Pepper to taste


Note:  My apologies if I confused you with the ingredients list above…  I just want to let you know that for making this whole recipe you’ll need a bar of cream cheese, a tub of grated pecorino romano and a 2-cup bag of shredded cheese.  I just didn’t want YOU to do the math of how much ingredients you need in total when I already know it.  It’s easier to give you the whole amount for when you’re making your grocery list, even though you’ll use it in various applications within the same recipe.  Cool??  I hope so…

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the lasagna noodles and cook until tender, stirring occasionally to avoid any sticking, about 8-10 minutes. Drain.
  3. Meanwhile we make the white sauce…  In a medium saucepan over medium heat add a bit of olive oil and the sofrito.  Cook a few minutes to remove the raw taste.  Add the milk and 4 ounces of cream cheese (half of a cream cheese bar) and stir every so often to melt the cheese and start to thicken the sauce.  When the cream cheese is incorporated into the milk, add about 1 cup of the Italian shredded cheeses, the parmesan cheese and remove from heat.  Whisk all together to melt and blend the cheeses and thicken the sauce.  Set aside.
  4. In a food processor, blend the corn, spinach, cream and garlic. Add the rest of the cream cheese (you should have ½ a bar left), 2/3 cup of the Pecorino Romano cheese, the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth. Add the basil leaves last and pulse until just combined. Set aside.
  5. In a 9” x 13” glass baking dish sprayed with olive oil spray, place some ladles of the white sauce to prevent anything from sticking.  Place 3 lasagna noodles at the bottom.  Add ½ of the corn/spinach mixture, add a few ladles of white sauce to cover it all, sprinkle some of the shredded cheeses and some of the pecorino romano.  And we start over again, another layer of noodles, the rest of the corn/spinach mixture, more sauce, shredded cheeses and pecorino romano.  Lastly, top with the last layer of noodles, pour enough white sauce to cover the noodles and allow it to seep into the rest of the lasagna.  Finish off with the remaining shredded cheeses and pecorino romano you may have left.
  6. Place the glass dish on a baking sheet to prevent any spilling in the oven and bake for about 3o minutes, until the filling/sauce is bubbling and the top gets golden brown.  If the top takes too long to brown, just turn on the broiler for a few minutes to get the desired color on top.
  7. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before serving.


My aunt and uncle were raving all afternoon about this lasagna.  The funny thing is that you might believe the filling is sweet due to the corn, but its savory and delicious… with traces of corn flavor, but the piquancy of the lemon zest and basil.  It’s different and very, very delicious.

Meatless Spinach Lasagna

Rex Cream @ Isabela

9 Jul

A few weekends ago,  I went on a weekend trip with my friend Rosani to the beautiful town of Isabela, located in the northwest side of Puerto Rico.   Isabela is where my grandfather’s family is from. 

We loved visiting Isabela when I was younger – to visit the family and to go to the beach.  Isabela is a surfer town so there are beaches for everyone.  We stayed at a nice resort, but we are locals and do not like to be confined to resort world.  When we went into town, it was sooooooo hot that my body only craved cold things instead of lunch.  That’s when we discovered this little ice cream shoppe called Rex Cream.  The place is called and it’s located in a side street off the Plaza.  Their ice creams looked like gelatos, but they are all done with milk, cream or water.  None of them include eggs.  These were sooooooo good that we went there 2 days in a row.

Rosani ordered Coconut the first day and Corn the second.  Here’s a picture of the Corn ice cream.  Can you see the pieces of yellow corn?  They can garnish them with cinnamon if you like.  They tasted creamy, sweet and made of real stuff… none of that crappy artificial fillers.  We have a place in Lares that supposedly was where the corn ice cream was invented… Rosani’s palette says the Isabela version is way better.

I went for something tangier – Tamarind and Passion Fruit.  Mine were more like sorbets.  Super tangy, super refreshing…  I ordered Tamarind the first day but the second day I got a combo cup.

Every time we went, we walked over to the Plaza to sit on a shaded bench and eat our ice creams.  Unfortunately, the feeling was not too lasting because the heat would melt our ice creams really fast.  But they’re sooo good, it was all worth it.

If you’re ever in the Isabela area, stop by Rex Cream and have a delicious ice cream in my name…

Spinach and Asparagus Casserole

20 Apr

I mentioned I am trying to eat less cheese, right?  So here is one of the recipes I have come up with to feel satisfied without adding cheese to my food.  It’s hard, like getting rid of an addiction.  But with dishes like these, it is getting easier each day…




1 tbs sofrito
½ cube of vegetable bouillon
1 shallot, finely sliced
½ green or cubanelle pepper
½ cup frozen corn
1 ½ cup cooked brown rice
½ container cream of asparagus soup
½ cup buttermilk or sour cream
10 grape tomatoes, quartered
2 cups of fresh baby spinach, washed well and spun dry
1 tbs Extra virgin Olive oil
Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to taste
1 tbs sliced almonds


  1. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, pour the olive oil and add the sofrito.   After a few minutes, add the vegetable broth cube, add the shallot, pepper and corn and sauté. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cooked rice, sautéed vegetables, asparagus soup, buttermilk or sour cream, tomatoes, spinach.  Mix together well.  If the mixture is too dry, you can add extra sour cream, olive oil or even a little bit of soy milk to add some moisture.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and add the almonds on top.
  4. Bake in a 350 F degree oven for about 30-45 minutes so all the flavors meld together and the top is golden brown.

Let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.



This is a great dish to “clean out your fridge”… the ingredients I used were the little things I had left over from other dishes or little things I wanted to use up already.  So feel free to adapt this recipe to the things you want to clean out in your fridge.


Quick Lettuce, Tomato and Corn Salad

19 Feb

I had some leftover Sauteed Corn and Onions but not enough to eat by itself, so I created this quick salad.

I grew up eating canned corn…  I will out my mom and confess that when we were growing up, salad was many times opening up a can of corn or a can of string green beans.  I loved them, but now I know better.  One of my former secret indulgences were white rice with tuna,  ketchup and corn.  Mmmm!!!  My grandpa used to call this – Arroz Pio Pio. 

No need to heat up the corn, just take the chill off from the fridge and it’s good to go.



Romaine Lettuce
left over Sauteed Corn and Onions
Extra-virgin olive oil
the juice of 1/2 a lemon
Garlic salt
  1. Place the lettuce, tomatoes and corn in a salad bowl.
  2. Drizzle olive oil, lemon juice and garlic salt.
  3. Toss together and serve.
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