Tag Archives: party

Grilling Vegetarian on the 4th of July…

4 Jul

I should have posted this a few days back… but now that we have a few extra days free on our weekend in when I am ready to share some grilling tips with you all.

Judging by the amount of grills and BBQs on the beach, you would believe July 4th is National Grill Day more so than Independence Day.  I am headed myself to a pool party/BBQ party hosted by my good friend Annie Mariel.  She mentioned she will have vegetarian treats for us all…  but particularly me.

This reminds me of a few years back when my good friends Ana and Rafa invited me to a backyard BBQ/pool party and they set up a separate grill just for the vegetarian fare – vegetable kebabs, corn on the cob and asparagus.

Ana y Rafa Pool Party



Ana's Grill

I am planning ahead this time just in case and I am bringing a few of my favorite grilling foods to make sure there’s plenty of veggie-full celebrations this year:

Portobello Burger

To me, the best veggie burger alternative there is.  Season heavily and no one will miss the meat.


Veggie Hot Dogs

I serve them open faced and split in half so they get a blistered and charred exterior.


Albóndiga Sandwich

These are more fried than grilled, but a soy-albóndiga sandwich will make a great addition to your vegeterian BBQ spread.

Meat Ball Sandwich 2

Veggie Party Dip

Never arrive empty-handed to any BBQ you’re invited to…  bring along this great dip with some crackers or totrilla chips and everyone will ask you for the recipe.



Guacamole Verde

1 Jul

You know I am not a cilantro fan… When a recipe calls for cilantro I usually substitute with flat-leaf parsley or I just omit it at all.

But there is something I have learned about cilantro in the last few years… I can tolerate it, even enjoy it, when I use only the leaves and not the stems of the cilantro plant. The stems remind me too much of the taste of recao. It’s too strong for me and gives me acid reflux. I know… not pretty. I noticed this once when I was cooking the now-famous veggie sancocho recipe after a retreat. I did like Ina Garten and shaved the leaves off the stems of the cilantro and used only that to “season” the sancocho. The other “more experienced” cooks were appalled at my “waste” of perfectly good cilantro stems. But many of the soup eaters thanked me afterwards because the cilantro flavor was subtle and not over powering at all after a few days of fasting.

Fast forward to the other day when I wanted to make something to bring to a party and I had an over abundance of avocados in my hands. I decided to make an avocado without tomatoes so it would stay as creamy as possible without the watery residue tomatoes sometimes leave atop guacamole. At the store there was no flat-leaf parsley so I went with the traditional and very much cheaper cilantro.

This guacamole was an absolute hit… People were asking me for the recipe all night. I wished I had posted this recipe already so I would not have to repeat myself so many times that night.

Guacamole Verde


1 large avocado, cut into small pieces
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
The juice of 1 green lime
A generous handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
A drizzle of olive oil – about 1 tbs
Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Mash everything together in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Let it stand in the fridge for a few hours so the flavors meld together.

You can make this with fresh avocados, but it also works with frozen avocados. Just defrost them and get rid of any water that separates from the pulp when the avocado is thawing.

Oscars-Inspired Party…

25 Feb

I love movies, but I have been a bit behind in my movie viewing lately… This Sunday is the Academy Awards and I have only seen one of the movies nominated for Best Picture – Toy Story 3. Isn’t that awful!!!

Even though I have not seen the movies, I still love to watch the red carpet and the ceremony. I have a friend who religiously celebrates an Oscar watching party every year… So if you’re also into watching the Oscars and would like to nibble something inspired by this year’s nominees, here are a few ideas from the Karma Free Cooking repertoire:

Black Swan

Spinach Pinwheels to emulate the ballerina pirouettes…



Leonardo Di Caprio’s character takes ideas from people’s subconscious… and with these Better-than- Maggiano’s Stuffed Mushrooms I have taken a recipe idea from a restaurant’s menu and made it truly vegetarian.


The Kids are All-Right

A modern family with an alternative lifestyle… just like these Eggless Frittatas, a delicious alternative that does not need to contain eggs to be enjoyed by everyone.


127 Hours

A movie about a hiker’s struggle for 127 hours… and these Rosemary Almonds are the closest thing to a trail mix.


The King’s Speech

Tuno Antipasto served over Tostones is my answer to the traditional English staple “fish and chips”…


The Social Network

When I think of Silicon Valley and technology I think of SanFranciso, where I had the most wonderful avocado sandwich @ Boudin on Fisherman’s Wharf. Here is my version of an Avocado Tomato Sandwich


Toy Story 3

This is a tried and tre favorite for kids… just like my Veggie Party Sandwiches. They’re the most loved by my nieces…


True Grit

A tale set in the Wild West and my BBQ Roasted Potatoes fit that smoky flavor of the outdoors.


Winter’s Bone

I don’t even think I have seen this movie at the local movie theaters… but inspired by the title, let’s celebrate it with a Vanilla Ice Cream topped with Strawberry Sauce.


The Fighter

It was hard to select a recipe to go with The Fighter… but I decided to HONOR my work-horse recipe. The recipe that is my “sure thing” – it’s an appetizer, it’s a sauce, it’s a condiment – my Tomato Basil Bruschetta mix, which has new life when served over pasta as my Marinated Tomatoes Pasta.


Hope you enjoy the Academy Awards celebration this weekend… and may your favorite movies win.

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