Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Crema de brocoli & queso cheddar (Broccoli & Cheddar soup)


  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 1/2 cups old cheddar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 4 minutes. Slowly add heavy cream and the cornstarch dissolved in 1 cup cold water.

Add bay leaves and nutmeg, mix and cook for 5 minutes until it thickens a bit. Mix in 3 cups chicken stock, carrot and broccoli. Reduce temperature to low and let simmer until carrot and broccoli are tender, about 20 minutes.

Discard bay leaves and puree in a blender until smooth. Return to the pot and add Cheddar cheese. Whisk in until completely melted. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve hot with croutons.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sandwich de Pollo (Chicken Sandwich)

This sandwich brings back memories from my childhood. My grandmother used to make it for picnics and luncheons. It is traditionally made with Cuban bread which is a Latin american version of the french baguette. Crusty on the outside and hollow on the inside. Making the bread takes time, but it's worth.

Ingredients to make the bread:

For the starter

  • 3/4 teaspoon dry active yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup white all purpose flour
A day before making the bread, dissolve the yeast in the warm water, mix the flour in until forming a paste. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.

After 24 hours it should look like this:

Ingredients to make the dough:

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 3/4 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons shortening or lard
  • the yeast starter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Dissolve the yeast in 3 tablespoons of warm water and the sugar in the mixer's bowl. Let rise for about 10-15 minutes.
Add the shortening or lard, the remaining warm water and the starter prepared the day before.

Mix using the dough hook, and slowly add the flour and salt. 

Increase the speed and knead for 10 minutes until it forms a ball. Add a little more flour if the dough is too sticky.
Remove from the bowl, and spray with oil. Cover with a linen and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

After one hour, flour the working surface and knock the dough to release the air. Cut into 4 pieces and roll the baguettes.
Place the baguettes in a baking tray with wax paper and cover the baguettes with plastic wrap. Let rise for another hour.

Preheat the oven to 400F.
Remove carefully the plastic wrap. Sprinkle flour with the help of a sieve and make cuts with a very sharp knife. 

Once the oven has reached the temperature, using a spray bottle, sprays the walls of the oven with water. Closet the door and after a minute spray again to create steam. This will help to make the crust of the baguette.

Bake the bread for about 18 minutes until golden brown and and sound hollow when you tap with your fingers. Let cool in a rack at least for 1/2 hour before making the sandwiches.

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 2 chicken breast, deboned and cooked.
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • 4 steams celery chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ripe tomatoes cut into slices
  • lettuce
  • mayonnaise
In a food processor, place the chicken breast meat and process for 2 minutes.

Add salt and pepper, the celery and parsley and process for 3 minutes until forming a paste. Add the olive oil and pulse until well mixed.

Add more oil if you prefer a softer consistency.
Keep in the fridge until chilled.

Make the sandwiches, spreading mayonnaise on the bread, chicken paste, lettuce and tomatoes slices.  

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Green Plantain Soup (Sopa de Guineo)

This soup is very popular in Colombia and in general in all the Caribbean. This recipe is made with burro plantains which are a hybrid between bananas and plantains so they are starchier and sweeter than regular plantains.


  • 5 burro plantains
  • 1 1/2 pound pork short ribs
  • 4 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 4 scallion stalks, minced
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander, minced
  • 2 big russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inches
  • 1 ripe tomato, minced
  • 3  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Vegetable oil to deep fry
  • salt and pepper


Peel the plantains and cut them into 2 1/2 inches chunks as to make tostones.

Heat the frying oil to 350 and fry the plantains for about 8 minutes or until tender.

Drain over kitchen paper. 

On the work surface place a plastic sheet and put the pieces of fried plantain one at a time. Cover with another piece of plastic and using a pot lid or wood cutting board, press firmly until the become very thin and even. About 1/4 inch.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil at high temperature. Salt and pepper the ribs, and sear them in the hot oil. Add the minced onion, garlic and tomato and fry for 4 minutes. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce the temperature and simmer for 20 minutes covered. Add the potatoes, cumin, scallions and beef bouillon and cook until the potatoes and ribs are tender.

Add the tostones and simmer for 10 minutes. The soup should thicken a bit.

Turn off the stove, sprinkle the coriander and serve.

  • Photos taken with the HTC one smartphone

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Refried Beans (Frijoles Refritos)

Ingredients (make 12 cups)
  • 1 pound dry Pinto beans
  • 10 cups water
  • 2 medium onions finely minced
  • 5-8 Arbol chiles
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
  • Salt

Rinse the beans in water and remove dirt and small stones. Soak in water overnight.

Cook the beans in water. If cooking in a regular pot, add the beans and cover them with at least 3 inches of water. Bring to a boil and lower the temperature to simmer. Cook for about 2 1/2 hours covered until beans are soft and the skin begins to break open. Add more water if needed during cooking.

If cooking in a pressure cooker, add the beans and water to cover for 1 1/2 inch. Close the pressure cooker and cook for 30-35 minutes. (cooking time depends on the batch of beans you have)

You can replace the cooked beans for canned pinto beans however the flavor won't be the same.

Place the beans in a blender with the cooking water, and puree for 3 minutes. Depending on the size of your blender you will have to do this in batches.

The puree beans need to have a soupy consistency, as they will be cooked again, add more water if they are too dry.

In heavy bottom pot, heat the oil over medium heat (you can use pork lard for more flavor) add the Arbol chiles and fry for 3-4 minutes, be careful not to burn the chiles.

Add the minced onion and fry until translucent. About 5 minutes.

Lower the temperature and add the puree beans, season with salt. 

Cook for about 15 minutes stirring constantly so they don't burn at the bottom until they have a thicker consistency.

Remove the chiles, and serve hot.

Note: You can freeze the beans in portions up to 6 weeks. If freezing, keep the chiles in, they will give more flavor. Defrost and reheat before serving.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Ensalada de Remolacha y Queso Feta (Beets and Feta Cheese Salad)


  • 6 large beets
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • A pinch of dry oregano
  • 1/2 cup Feta Cheese crumbled
  • 3 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup minced green onions
  • Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Peel and wash the beets, cut them in 1/2 inch dices.

Place on a baking pan and drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil and the dry oregano.

Bake for 20 -25 minutes until the beets are tender.


In a bowl, mix the remaining olive oil, the vinegar and salt. Add the onions and crumbled Feta cheese. Toss beets in the mix.

Serve warm.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Chicha de Piña (Fermented Pineapple Drink)

This is very popular drink in the Valle del Cauca region in Colombia. It is very refreshing for those hot summer days and very easy to make.


  • The skin and core of one Pinneaple
  • 1/2 pound panela o piloncillo (raw sugar cane or brown sugar will work too)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 cups of water

Peel the pineapple and reserve the skin. Rinse in abundant water, cleaning all dirt. 

Place preferably in a clay pot the skin and the core, add the panela broken in chunks and the cinnamon sticks. Cover and let sit at room temperature at least for 2 days. It gets fizzier if you let it ferment longer.

Strain with a colander and drink cold.

Note: you can add more panela and water and reuse the skin for up to a week. it gets alcoholic if fermented for 2 or more weeks.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Flour-less Chocolate Cake (Pastel de Chocolate sin harina)

If you think that is impossible to indulge in a decadent chocolate cake without guilt, then think twice. This recipe bring a delicious chocolate cake without sugar and gluten without sacrificing the flavor. Believe me it is worth to try.


  • 1 can of black beans (19 ounces or 2 cups of cooked black beans)
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup honey (can be replaced by splenda or stevia)
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons cooking coconut oil at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda


Preheat the oven at 325 degrees and spray a 9 inches cake pan with olive or cooking oil. Dust some cocoa powder inside pan.

Drain and rinse the beans in a colander, removing excess water. Place the beans, 3 eggs, vanilla extract and salt into a blender. Blend on high until the mix is completely liquefied. 

In  small bowl combine, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder.

Beat the coconut oil with the honey until it is light and fluffy in a stand or hand mixer. Add the remaining 2 eggs one by one until well incorporated into the batter.

Add the cocoa powder and mix well. 

Incorporate the bean mix to the cake batter and mix for 4 minutes until it is homogeneous. Use a spatula if necessary to scrape the sides of the bowl. You can taste the batter and add more honey or Stevia if you like sweeter.

Pour the mix in the cake pan and smooth the top. Grip the pan firmly and rap it on the counter to pop any air bubbles.

Bake for 45-50 minutes until the top is rounded and firm to the touch.

Let the cake sit for 10 minutes then, turn it out from pan. Let it cool until room temperature. Cover it with plastic wrap.

Serve with fresh berries or sugar free jam.

Note: for better taste let it sit wrapped overnight.