Red beans chili con carne

Red beans chili con carne

Spring Spring….

This past Tuesday I had a dentist appointment in Manhattan and decided to walk to the Upper East Side from Penn Station.  The weather for the first time in months was beautiful; finally the grays days of winter are falling away.  I shared a cup of cappuccino and a small prosciutto/cheese Panini with a couple of friends in Bottega Del Vino an Italian Restaurant with a cheap menu if you sit by the counter bar; and with a Park Plaza view. I spent $11 dollars – just the right amount for my lunch and a view of the plaza, central park and a walk in a city that although dirty (with the winter-to-spring dirt and sand), busy and over populated, I continue to love.

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Vegetable stock

Vegetable stock

 

The magic of simmering stock

Why bother making stocks when you can buy it? A valid argument is that a homemade stock does not contain added substances or additives.  This alone is enough reason and honestly the main reason why I make it at home. And trust me once you make your own it is really hard to go back to buying it again.

I tell you one more thing once the stock is done; finishing soups and other food preparations is very easy.

Besides it is so easy to make. Combine water, mirepoix (chop vegetables), a bouquet garni (herbs wrap in cheesecloth) and a good simmer, that’s all.

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Pasta e fagioli soup

Pasta e fagioli soup

 

A pot of soup

Wow what a winter- it has struck us brutally this year. With the cruelness of this cold weather and with everything covered with snow there has been lots of staying at home. The blanket, the battle of wine, hot drinks and this heart- warming soup “pasta e fagioli” are apparently our best friends these days. Of course with the company of a good movie or a good book if you have the time; then there come the family and my little one wanting attention.

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Molten Chocolate Cake

Molten Chocolate Cake

For this was Saint Valentine’s Day,
when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.
Geoffrey ChaucerParlement of Foules (1382).                                       

Saint Valentine’s Day – Cupid or not Cupid is the question for this month.

You know I have celebrated this day all my life, ” el día del Amor y la Amistad” or (Day of Love and Friendship) as we called it in the DR, but yet until today when I sat to write this post I realized that I have never given Valentine’s day a thought before. Have I taken it for granted? Perhaps I have just been comfortable with what has been a familiar celebration. Anyways, who is this Valentine that many talk about? Where is he from? I know the day has been redesigned by corporations to pump business up that is a fact we all know that, however, it is not this part of this day that interest me but its origin.  The history behind this day is quite interesting and after a few snooping around-at Wikipedia of course the history goes like this.

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White rice with roasted cauliflower

By From Scratch Latin Kitchen

By From Scratch Latin Kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear friends I confessed that I have become addicted to cauliflower.  Hard to believe as I was never a fan of cauliflower until recently when I made a stew of the vegetable with chick peas (recipe soon to be posted) and from there on I have not been able to stop cooking nor eating it.

 White rice with roasted cauliflower

By From Scratch Latin Kitchen

 

 

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Rigatoni with Zucchini-tomatoes in a garlicky Sauce

By From Scratch Latin Kitchen

By From Scratch Latin Kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know, I know… another pasta dish. I made this dish this past summer after a visit to my local market and as always I get a little carried away when I see all those beautiful vegetables….and of course the greens.  It is really a crazy moment of euphoria which I love. But yet, I know there are lots of people like my husband and child that don’t like this wonderful creation of vegetable “zucchini”.  So I soon realized that I have to come up with a menu plan to make these two men eat all the zucchini before they spoil.

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French apple tart

By From Scratch Latin Kitchen

By From Scratch Latin Kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Happiness is the settling of the soul into its most appropriate spot.”  - Aristotle-

Happy New Year Amigos! May happiness be in your soul and love in your heart forever.

For those of you without a New Year resolution yet (just like me) I invite you to warm up your soul with a delicious apple tart.  But, if you still insist on keeping out desserts I still insist that you make this tart- it will be hard to keep your New Year Resolutions with my influences- the fact of the matter is that most New Year’s resolutions are unsuccessful and unrealistic.  Every day is a fresh day and a good one to set goals and aspirations.  We all deserve to eat a little bit of a good thing and this tart is good so make it for your family or friends and in the way have a least a bite of it.  It is really a sweet way to receive the new year…..we all know that one of the best way to end dinner is with A dessert.  Although, I suppose coffee or tea are also fine things to have, but with apple tart to accompany them.   Seriously, this apple tart won’t get you in too much trouble as it is very lite.

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Moro De Guandules con Coco

By From Scratch Latin Kitchen

By From Scratch Latin Kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This dish takes me back to the good memories of my childhood. To what we were, but we sometimes forget.  It takes me to those formative years that mark a whole life.  What we eat in our childhood is carried on with us despite of any gastronomical experience gained over the years.  It does not matter how fancy or sophisticated our palate has become today. The truth is that the food we ate in our childhood is the one that impacts us the most.

Food is not only part of our subsistence, but it is also a social, cultural and psychological phenomena – a patron that grows within us from our experiences accumulated throughout our lives.

And today one more time I go back to the way I ate with this simple dish of my childhood, a “moro”. For this recipe I am using guandules-gandules, a Dominican Christmas classic and a favorite among my family.  In the DR the guandules are always fresh, but here in the USA we can only get them frozen or canned. Fresh are always better, but without any other option I opted for the canned. Guandules if fresh cook quite quickly so no hassle there.

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Celery Root – Garlic Confit Mashed Potatoes

By From Scratch Latin Kitchen

By From Scratch Latin Kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Potatoes are one of the last things to disappear, in time of war, which is probably why they should not be forgotten in times of peace”  M.F.K. Fisher

 

Regardless of what you serve in your thanksgiving dinners mashed potatoes is always a fine option.  A starch worthy of all the troubles; a few extra pounds, the broken diet- all our guiltiness are then of little consequence next to the pleasure we all have when this needed starched side is served.  Without introduction then along comes the mashed potatoes - creamy, buttery mashed potatoes for today or your any times dinners.                                                                                                                                                    Continue reading Celery Root – Garlic Confit Mashed Potatoes

Arugula-Basil-Kale Pesto Sauce with Thin Spaghettis

By from scratch Latin Kitchen

By from scratch Latin Kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arugula-Basil-Kale Pesto Sauce with Thin Spaghettis

Here in the United State Kale is a familiar veggie, a hard one to sell perhaps, but well known all around.  It is thought to be the vegetable of the moment and the healthiest vegetable in the world.  So no need to ask you if you know of kale – if you live in the USA most likely you do.

By from scratch Latin Kitchen

By from scratch Latin Kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But, why am I talking about kale when this posting is about the pesto sauce? When I first started experimenting with pesto sauce I started with the traditional version (basil and only basil) until one day I ran out of basil and I made a combination of spinach and basil.  Then I combined basil and arugula and the more combinations I made the more I realized my appeal for my non-traditional combination pesto.  I find the combination basil – other green leaves pesto version to be better or politically said, better for my taste. So how does kale come into the picture? It was until recently that I started juicing for breakfast and soon found out that kale is not only the new veggie leaves, but that kale is the new super vegetable; and a member of the cabbage family.  It is tough and a little bit bitterer than the cabbage, similar in appearance to other dark greens such as chard and collard greens but with a wilder sort of green look and texture.                                                                                    Continue reading Arugula-Basil-Kale Pesto Sauce with Thin Spaghettis