Thursday, December 3, 2009

BBQ Sauce with a touch of POM

The picture isn't so great, I know, but head over to Annie's Eats and you'll find a great photo of the BBQ Sauce she made, which was the base for the one I created. The sauce is made with both tomatoes and vinegars, which I really like. If you have not found her blog, you MUST visit! Her pictures alone are enough to keep you interested!
I added a bit of mustard to mine AND after looking around on My Year On the Grill I was inspired to add a couple tablespoons of POM, which I saw in one of his posts about BBQ Sauce. I still had quite a bit left from the shipment I received from POM Wonderful so I gave it a try. If you love to BBQ you should really check out the blog! The grilling that happens over there is not just your traditional ribs and burgers, he grills everything! I know I've seen many gadgets and grilling ideas I never thought to try, but now can't wait to!
The sauce came out great. The POM gave it a little twist, which I loved and my bf, who doesn't care for BBQ, really enjoyed it on the BBQ chicken and ribs we made that weekend.
Get on over to these great sites!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

MIA no longer!

I have been MIA for a while now... things got very busy, I got addicted to The Twilight Saga, and I got a costly virus on my computer! Everything has slowed down a bit and my computer is up and running!!! It's crazy how much we rely on technology! I'll start posting again and hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

POM Spritzer

I was watching Everyday Italian on Thursday. Giada was making healthy snacks and one of those was a Pomegranate/Cranberry Spritzer, which was a healthier alternative to soda. I immediately thought of the POM juice I have in my fridge that Kristen at POM Wonderful sent over. You MUST try the juice, and you must visit POM Wonderful !!!
The juice is terrific on its own, but truly amazing when added to drinks and recipes. The health benefits are endless and totally worth drinking something that also tastes great. I have MANY more to come.... the instant I got the e-mail, asking if I'd like to try some... the ideas swirled in my head...add to sauces, mix it with chocolate, and of course mixed into some cocktails!

POM Spritzer

Wedge of lime

I used 1 part POM to 3 parts Perrier with a squirt of Lime juice. So refreshing and so delicious! Of course serving in a Champagne glass makes it more festive!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Roasted Jalapeno "Popper" Wontons w/ POM dipping sauce

OM Jizzles as my bf's daughter would say! If you like jalapeno poppers, you will LOVE these too! My trips to the fried side usually happen late on a Friday night, well maybe I should say Saturday morning, after TOO MUCH TO DRINK! That's when craving for fries, burgers and poppers comes in strong and my conscience takes the back seat! When this idea came to me I could NOT make them fast enough. With Football Season underway, this was the perfect time to try it out!
When Kristen at POM Wonderful asked if I'd like to try POM I couldn't type fast enough to tell her "Yes!" "Yes!" "Yes!" It was like a confirmation that my blog is out there and people are reading! :) My mind was swirling with tons of ideas and I knew I'd want to make a dipping sauce. Stay tuned for more POM recipes to follow!
I'm telling you....these are delicious! I only made 4 (which I ate just as fast as they fried up) so I could adjust the seasoning and see how I liked the ratio of jalapeno to cheese. It was missing some heat, since I took out all the seeds and ribs and I think I could have left the pieces of jalapeno bigger. Super easy to put together and well worth it!

I started by slicing the tops of the eight jalapenos I had (I'd use a few more for the rest), then slicing them in half and taking all the seeds and membrane out. Leave some of the membrane if you like more heat.

Then I placed them skin side down on a well oiled baking sheet. I roasted them about 15 minutes at 400 degrees until the skins started to brown and blister.

Put the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Even though I have a "name brand" plastic wrap I had to cover it with foil because my plastic would not stick. I left the peppers for about twenty minutes before I peeled the skins off.

Once the cream cheese comes to room temperature. add the jalapenos (chopped), grated pepperjack, and a pinch of cayenne, paprika, cumin,salt, and black pepper. Mix until evenly combined. Take wonton wrappers out and place one teaspoon in center of each. Moisten edges with water and fold into desired shapes.

Deep fry until golden, let cool, and serve with your favorite dipping sauce! YUMMM!!!

I tried to take a picture of the inside, but I could not get my camera to focus! My favorite fold was the one below, with a big bite taken out of it! It had a good amount of crunch!

12 jalapenos
8 oz. cream cheese
grated pepper jack cheese
black pepper
wonton wrappers (square)
oil for frying

POM Dipping Sauce:

8 oz. POM
squeeze of honey
dash of mirin
pinch of black pepper
2 tspns raspberry preserves

Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until reduced by half. Chill before serving. I totally encourage ALL OF YOU to buy some POM and give it a try!! In my next post I'll include the link to POM Wonderful so you can see all the great health benefits!!!
*Can anyone tell me why I can't get two pictures to be side by side without messing up my text?!?!?!?* THANKS!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Kimchee Fried Rice (Kimchee Bokumbap)

I am obsessed with Kimchee Fried Rice. A few months ago, before the accident that sent my bf's ex into ICU for 3 months, we all met at Tiffany's. It's a Korean Bar and Grill that makes the best food I've had on the Island. Most of the people we were with are regulars there so they ordered what they thought were the best dishes. Mochiko chicken, steak bites, cake noodle, AND KIMCHEE FRIED RICE. When I took my first bite of this, YUM! It's crunchy, spicy, tangy, fresh. I love rice... and I love kimchee.
That was the first and last time I had the dish before yesterday. Just before Memorial Day I was preparing a menu full of the dishes we had just days before, everyone was going to come swim at the pool and drink a few beers by the BBQ. Well, plans changed when everyone ended up flying to Oahu when the accident happened and Memorial Day turned into a day to distract the kids from the chaos we hoped they wouldn't learn of.
Two weeks ago Mom came home and is doing great. Yesterday was the little ones 6th birthday, a gathering planned, and food ordered. Her mom ordered the same dishes we had that night 4 months ago. I picked the order up and decided to buy a tub of kimchee. Once home, I followed a quick recipe for Kimchee Fried Rice and can I just say. . . . . I am addicted and plan of having it for dinner several days this week!
Try it... super easy, flavorful, filling and inexpensive!

Kimchee Fried Rice
Vegetable oil
2 C cooked and cooled rice
3/4 cup Kimchee and liquid, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 T soy
1/2 - 1 t Sesame oil
onion (opt)
green onion

Heat oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. If adding onion (or other vegetables) add and saute until soft. Add kimchee and cook 2 minutes. Add rice. Cook as you would in a wok tossing rice with kimchee and kimchee liquid until fully coated. Add soy and sesame oil. Stir one minute more. Remove pan from the heat, add green onions and serve.
The Korean restaurants here serve this with a fried egg on top. This is similiar to the Puerto Rican dishes of left over rice and beans I am use to, but I was happy without the egg.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Vinegared beef and green beans with paprika and pine nuts

My boyfriend is not the best vegetable eater, but when I made these green beans he said he could eat them for his entire meal and be happy, that told me something! He is a hardcore meat and potatoes type of guy, but is always willing to try anything I make and is usually quite pleased.

This is a delicious and fairly simple meal to prepare. My dad is Puerto Rican and my mom is a “mix” but usually cooked Puerto Rican dishes for the family, which she learned from my dad’s brothers and sisters. Rice was most often the starch of choice eating it so many different ways.

The steak is marinated in vinegar, black peppercorns, oregano, salt and garlic. I made a pot of white rice, and green beans from a recipe I found in a Tapas book I have. DELICIOUS!

Steak with Onions

2 lbs. beef sliced thin
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 T salt
6 whole peppercorns
3 T white vinegar (recipe calls for white, but use what you prefer)
2 yellow onions, sliced thin

Crush and mix in a mortar all ingredients above, except beef and onions. Once thoroughly combined, add beef to marinade. Do not marinate beef too long, as vinegar will start to cook the meat, since it is sliced so thin. Heat oil in a skillet and cook onions until soft. Remove onions from pan and add the meat to the pan, reservin liquid. Cook about 3 minutes, or until cooked through. Add onions and reserved marinade. Cook a few minutes longer. Serve with white rice and green beans.

Green Beans
2 T olive oil
scant 1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 - 1 teaspoon paprika
1 lb. green beans, blanched for 3 minutes
1 small onion, finely chopped, I use less
1 garlic clove finely chopped
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper

Heat oil in pan and toast pine nuts until golden. Drain on paper towel, reserving oil in the pan, and toss with paprika. Saute onion 5-10 minutes, until softened and starts to brown. Add the garlic, cook 30 seconds. Add the green beans and cook 3-5 minutes, tossing together with the onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off skillet add the zest and juice of the lemon. Add pine nuts. Serve hot.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Steak Bites from Bethenny Frankel

My friend Amy just moved into a new home. She decided to celebrate with a housewarming / birthday party. It was an intimate gathering of about 5 couples, each of us bringing an appetizer while they prepared the main dishes. I have a stack of recipes I've been dying to try and this was one of them! It was a hit!
I added a bit more horseradish, but didn't spread it on the bread so I could afford a bit stronger flavor. I also did not have low fat mayo or multi grain bread, so I used the fattening stuff!

The recipe was featured in the Rachel Ray Magazine. I'll be making LOTS of finger foods in the next few months. It is football season after all!!!!

My camera is down right now so this picture is from the website! Enjoy!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Chocolate Chip Butter Bites from My Tasty Treasures

If you have not stopped over to My Tasty Treasures then you have been missing out on some delicious recipes and great humor!
Donna aka FFW (Fire Fighter Wife) was my very first follower and in honor of that I decided she'd be my first post tried from a fellow blogger. I made her Chocolate Chip Butter Bites and they were not only a snap to make, they were gone just as fast. Very good. They reminded me of a shortbread cookie. Of course these are much better having chocolate chips inside and a sweet sugary coating. How good does that sound? You can tell from my picture I did not let them cool before I dipped them in powdered sugar! You must try these!

Thanks to Donna for a great recipe! I can't wait to try another!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Growing up we often shopped in the little bodegas, or Spanish markets for special ingredients my mom would need to make the Puerto Rican dishes she'd serve. My sisters and I would always grab a bag... or two... or maybe three of merengue. Little clouds of delicious sugary whipped egg whites. How can something soo simple taste so good.

There are many different ways to make these heavenly pillows, with or without cream of tartar, powdered or granulated sugar, using a syrup or not, but I have found all the recipes I've tried produce mostly the same results.

Give them a try. Serve them plain, drizzled with chocolate, toasted coconut sprinkled on top, or sandwich them together.. yum!


Whisk some more... until soft peaks form, gradually adding sugar

Once stiff peaks form

Spoon onto sheet and bake


4 egg whites

pinch of salt

1/4 tspn. cream of tartar

1 1/3 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whip the egg whites with salt and cream of tartar until they hold soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar while whipping until stiff peaks form. Spoon by teaspoonfuls onto sheet and bake until merengue easily peel off, about 25 minutes.

The way I am used to making these is with a bit lower heat and much longer cooking time, but you may use the method above.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sofrito... A Spanish Seasoning Blend

If Spanish food appears in your kitchen often, this could be a great addition to your seasonings and quite the time saver! This is something my Tio (Uncle) showed my mom how to make when she married my dad, who is Puerto Rican. I've added some anheim chili peppers to give it my own spin. When all the peppers and onion, garlic and cilantro blend together the flavors become much more intense and therefore you only need a 1/4 - 1/2 cup when making something like Picadillo or yellow rice. Store this in the freezer in an ice cube tray or in the fridge, if you use it up quickly as I do. It is SUCH a time savor since you won't be chopping up all the ingredients for every dish!


2 bunches cilantro
1 green bell pepper
2 anheim chili peppers
1 ENTIRE head of garlic
1 large yellow onion
1/4 cup or so olive oil

Peel garlic cloves, chop peppers and onion in chunks just large enough for the blender to process. Puree all ingredients in the blender until smooth. Store in an airtight container in the fridge OR freeze in ice cube tray. Use desired amount to flavor dishes!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A delicious melty manchego sandwich and some HELP PLEASE!

This will be a quick little post. If anyone knows what I can do please help! All the blogs I follow have been removed from my dashboard! How did this happen and where did they go? Thanks to anyone who knows how to fix this IF at all possible!

A few months ago I discovered Manchego cheese! I love love love it! I discovered it around the time I decided I would find out as much as I could about the different cuisines from my ethnic background. My dad is Puerto Rican with family from Spain and my mom is Polish, English, Irish, French, and Austrian. That could take a while!

Manchego is a hard cheese, I find it at Costco believe it or not for half the price my local cheese store sells it for. I grate it on my eggs, add shavings to salads, but most of all I love it simply between slices of soft french bread and sprinkled with a few jarred pimientos and of course some serrano ham if you can find it! Prosciutto can be substituted, but I prefer to leave it out. Press it either on a sandwich press OR as I do it in a skillet with a cast iron on top! DELICIOUS and melted and crunchy and just yum! Try it!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Roast Citrus Chicken

There aren't many things more comforting that Roast Chicken. Growing up my mom would make Roast Chicken on any given day. Now, living far from home and being the cook in my kitchen, the smell of a roasting chicken in the oven is something that brings me back to those childhood days!
The chicken is stuffed with onion, garlic, lemon slices, orange slices, s-n-p, and oregano. The chicken sits on a bed of vegetables and roasts in the oven for about 21 minutes per pound.
Try this chicken... I know you'll love it!

Whole chicken
head of garlic
orange slices
lemon slices
adobo (a blend of spanish spices)
olive oil

Clean the chicken. Cut the head of garlic horizontally. Slice the onion. Drizzle the cavity of the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with s-n-p and oregano. Add some of the onion, a few orange and lemon slices and the entire head of garlic. Pull the skin away from the meat of the chicken with your hand, drizzle with olive oil salt and pepper a teaspoon or so of adobo and add a few slices of citrus to each side. Coat the outside of the chicken with olive oil to help brown the skin. Place the chicken on top of an assortment of your favorite vegetables that you've seasoned. Roast at 350 until a thermometer reads 165 degrees.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Easy Peasy Pasta

Pasta has to be one of those dishes that we all turn to when we don't have much time or energy. This dish was inspired by an episode of Everyday Italian I recently watched. I was in the mood for pasta and had no desire to cook, which does NOT happen often. This is all I had to do:
3/4 box pasta
salt for pasta water
bunch of basil
2 cloves of garlic
salt and pepper
good quality olive oil
pecorino or parmesean, grated
2 plum tomatoes
zest and juice of lemon
Add lots of salt to boiling water, add pasta and cook until al dente, according to package directions.
In the bottom of a large bowl drizzle olive oil. Grate or chop garlic depending on how strong you like the flavor, shred the basil, add salt, pepper, zest and juice of lemon. Once pasta is done add to the olive oil with tongs along with 1/2 cup of pasta water (this will combine with oil and cheese to make a creamy sauce). Add cheese and toss. Add tomatoes and toss until combined. Let sit until reaches room temperature for best taste.
I had some shrimp scampi in the fridge which I added since my bf loves it! I would have preferred the pasta without the shrimp.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

White Bean Dip

I have not been around to post the past two weeks. With 4 kids around, a friend here on vacation and computer problems in between... it's been a bit difficult.

The other day I made this White Bean Dip from Giada De Laurentis. I have her cookbooks and wanted to try something out. It was delicious. I served it at room temperature. It was much better once it sat for twenty minutes or so. The flavors came together. I used store bought pita chips. Since I didn't have the oregano on the chips, I added a sprinkle to the dip.
White Bean Dip:

1 can cannellini beans (aka white kidney beans), drained
1 clove of garlic, grated or finely chopped
2 T lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/3 cup good quality olive oil
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/2 t oregano
Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Spoon into a serving dish and serve with pita chips.
The picture is from Food Network, since I did not have my camera with me when I made the dip last minute.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Irish Soda Bread

Five minutes of prep time and 35 in the oven is all it takes to get a delicious loaf of authentic Irish Soda Bread.
I first made this bread around Saint Patrick's Day and it turned out great. You don't have to be a bread baking master to turn out a nice loaf of Soda Bread. The buttermilk gives the bread a nice tang. We consumed almost the entire loaf straight from the oven warm with butter.


3 1/2 C AP flour
1 1/2 t baking soda
3/4 t salt
1 1/2 C buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Slowly add buttermilk until the dough becomes moist and comes together. Knead for just about one minute. Form dough 6 inches by 2 inches and make cuts across the top. Brush with extra buttermilk and bake on a greased sheet for 30-35 minutes. The loaf should be brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Beef and Broccoli

It's been a week since I posted and I haven't been able to decide which dish to be my next. Beef and broccoli is very simple to make and very good to eat. There are many variations of the recipe. The one I have come up with combines a bit of several. My bf's kids are some tough critics and they love this dish!

Marinate the meat for 30 minutes

Prepare the marinade in a small bowl:

Have your broccoli ready. If you are using fresh, you must steam it first. I used frozen.

Heat vegetable oil in a wok or large skillet. Add the meat and cook until browned. Add the garlic and ginger, cook until fragrant. Add the sauce and stir to coat all the meat. Add the broccoli. Lower the heat and cook 15-20 minutes until the meat is completely cook and the sauce has thickened. Add chicken stock as needed to loosen up the sauce. Serve on white rice. Yum!

1 1/2 T Rice wine
1 T Water
1 T cornstarch
1 t sugar
1 T soy sauce

2 1/2 T oyster sauce
2 1/2 T Soy sauce
1 T water

3/4 lb. beef strips
1 lb. broccoli
1 clove garlic
small piece grated ginger

Friday, June 5, 2009

BBQ Ribs and Zucchini Gratin

This is my second go at this post. I had the entire thing finished and I somehow erased it when I tried to edit the pictures! So, if my pictures are not aligned right, I am not so sure I will change them! Ha!Here I go...

I have been craving BBQ for a while. I think my next craving is hitting the Chinese spot, but that's another post in itself. There is one BBQ joint near my house, but I've never made it there. Living in Maui and having a love for GOOD food do NOT go hand in hand. Ordering a pizza alone costs you 40 bucks with tax and tip! And it is nothing like a slice of East coast pizza. Anyway, I went to the grocery store planning on slurging for a rack of ribs. Guess what?

So I can deal with 15 bucks, but then I am walking out of the grocery store, checking my receipt, a habit I got from my mom and I see it.... $2.99! They only charged me $2.99 for the ribs. What a steal! Quite literally! Whoa hoo!

I take the ribs home, I clean them and coat them with a spice rub of paprika, sugar, black pepper, and garlic salt.

I wrapped them in foil, poured about two shots worth of beer in the bottom and baked at 250 degrees for 2 1/2 hours, until the meat pulls away from the bone when you bend them.

While the ribs cook the BBQ sauce can be made. I never follow a recipe to the T, unless of course I am baking, where there really isn't a choice. I found a few different BBQ sauce recipes and decided to use The Neely's BBQ Sauce for the base. I was not happy with the result and added some extras. I let it cook a bit longer and BAM! Great sauce!
The sauce starts out bright red from the tomatoes and ketchup and darkens as it cooks.

The end result was thick and dark in color, very yummy!

I have to be honest, I have never used the grill all by myself! Yes, I know, terrible, but yesterday I decided I was going to do it. My bf was not home in time to help me out so I grabbed the ribs, my tongs, the sauce and my side kick.

(She is hoping to get in on some of this!)

The ribs go on the grill for about 5 minutes on each side WITHOUT the sauce on medium high heat. Lower the heat on the grill to medium and baste with the BBQ sauce. Don't let them cook more than a few minutes on each side or they will BURN!

The ribs were so tender that the meat came right off the bones
This is the sauce I came up with:

1 C tomatoes, pureed
1 C ketchup
1 C water
3/4 C apple cider vinegar
5 T brown sugar
3 T sugar
1 T lemon juice
2 T worcestershire sauce
1/2 T black pepper
1/2 T ground mustard
1/2 T onion powder
2 T soy sauce
dash hot sauce
dash cayenne
2 t molasses

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cook 1 hour and 15 minutes, uncovered. Stir frequently.

I served the ribs with baked potatoes and zucchini gratin:

Chop the vegetables

Saute the shallot and garlic a few minutes over medium heat

Add the zucchini, salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook until tender. Add flour and cook a few minutes so the gratin does not have a pastey taste. Add the cheeses and milk. Cook until thickened, only a few minutes more. Pour into a prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with extra cheese and panko, and dot the top with butter. Bake 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees.

The top will be golden.

2 T butter
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
3 medium zucchini
sprinkle of thyme
2 T flour
mozzarella cheese
parmesean or pecorino cheese
1 C milk, warm