Thursday, September 29, 2016


Riboletta is a soup that is made the day before it is to be served.  At least a day.  Riboletta means reboiled in Italian.  I have made this soup before but a different list of ingredients.  I did really enjoy the Savoy cabbage in it.  You can use regular cabbage so dont be put off by that.  You can put your bread in to soak over night with the soup or you can serve it on top, as I did.  I have made it both ways.

I spent the better part of this morning shopping at two local farm markets, wahoo.  So after I have my tea, finish this post, I am going to get up and can some plums as my supply was low... well, gone.


1 1/2 cups dried lima beans
2 medium yellow onions, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste
4 slices bacon
6 garlic cloves, sliced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 cup red wine
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon oregano
2 bay leaves
1/2 head of Savoy cabbage, cut into 1-inch dice
6 cups cubed day-old Italian Bread, toasted
1 cup grated Asiago, shaved

Cook bacon in the soup pot.  After bacon is fried up to crispy, take it out and leave all but two tablespoons of fat in the pot.  If there is not enough grease add olive oil.  Saute the chopped onion and saute until translucent. Add the garlic, celery, and carrot and cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the red wine and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Break the bacon up into pieces and add that to the pot. Then add the bay leaves, basil, oregano and the beans, as well as their cooking liquid. Bring it up to a boil, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Stir in the cabbage, cover again, and cook an additional 10 minutes.

Serve the next day in soup bowls warmed in the oven with the bread and cheese sprinkled over top or from the soup pot directly into the bowl with toppings.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Eggplant Meatless Balls

I saw this recipe for eggplant meatballs. I had to try it.  Of course I changed a little, well, a lot.  I like them okay.  If I was a  vegetarian I would definitely put it on my rotation.   But honestly, its not meatballs and alas, that is what I prefer.  I don't really make meatballs all that much but when I do, I want the real thing.

Having said that, I might make them again because they are pretty healthy but I would change a few things. I probably would have added some more pecorino romano and some finely chopped walnuts or even finely chopped mushrooms.

Eggplant Meatless Balls

3 cups eggplant, roasted and pulsed in the food processor
2 eggs
1 cup TVP (textured vegetable protein)(You can definitely replace this with bread crumbs if you like)
1/4 cup bread crumbs or panko, give or take
1/4 cup of basil chopped finely
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
2 garlic cloves minced finely
1/4 cup heaping, parsley, chopped finely
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, grated

Mix everything together except the bread crumbs.  Let eh mixture sit for 30 minutes at least.  This will give the TVP time to absorb the liquids from the eggplant. After you let it sit, if the mixture is still very liquid like and you are unable to roll it in balls, then add some bread crumbs.  A little at a time.  Once you are able to form balls, roll them all up into balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake at 350F until they turn golden.  After that they are ready to take a bath in the sauce. Yeah!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


I usually buy this mix but this time, being low on money and rich in spices, I decided to put it all together myself.

I had everything but the fennel.  I mixed it all up and figured I would add it later.  By a stroke of luck, I found it growing in a garden along side the road where I was waiting at a red light.  It was hanging very close to my window and I decided I had to grab a few, just because it was like the Universe giving me a gift.  I took a small handful.  I came home and added it to my mix.  I think I still need to buy some and add it in. But for now, it will do.

What do we do with Herbes de Provence you might ask.  Well, my husband loves it in his tomato salad.  We all like it in quiche and I use it here and there for different recipes.


2 tablespoons dried, chopped or ground, rosemary
1 teaspoon fennel seed
2 tablespoons dried savory
2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons dried basil
2 tablespoons dried marjoram
2 tablespoons dried lavender flowers
2 tablespoons dried Italian parsley
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon bay powder (bay leaf in the spice grinder works very well)

Grind rosemary and fennel seed.  Mix all together. Store in glass jars

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Gingered Carrot Soup with Lemon

Carrots around here are pretty good all year round.  But there is something special about getting a bunch of fresh carrots, with their tops still on and a little dirt still on them.  Lovely!

There are recipes for the carrot tops if you are so inclined.

Gingered Carrot Soup with Lemon
Adapted from this recipe at Epicurious

2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped, peeled, fresh ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
4 cups medium carrots, peeled, chopped
2 cups Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
3 cups (or more) chicken stock or canned low-salt broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons sour cream

Saute onions in butter until translucent.  Add in ginger and garlic.  Cook another minute.  Add in the rest of the ingredients, except for sour cream.  Cook for 20 to 30 minutes.  Carrots should be nice and soft.  Blend with an immersion blender.  If you blend it in a blender, cool it a little, make sure you have a towel over the top of the blender.  It can spurt out.

Transfer to serving bowls and add a dollop of sour cream.  I added some fresh dill and garlic to my sour cream.

Friday, September 16, 2016


When the weather is cool, this is a great dish to have.  It's Puerto Rican comfort food. Many years ago a friend of mine prepared this for me. I will always remember her for this dish and something she said to me while I was pregnant with my first child.  There I was, about 8 months pregnant and she says, "I think you are going to have a girl."

I said, "Oh, yeah, why's that?"

She said, "Because your baby is stealing your mojo."

I said, "What?!"

She said, "Baby girls take away your beauty!"  Yes, she said that!  Yes, she said that when I was in the throws of emotions from pregnancy! Yes, she was a friend.  A friend with no filter that is!

Finally, yes, she was right about the baby girl.  As for the mojo...

Hello cilantro, sprinkled all over the top!
Look at all that rice, covered in deliciousness!
Go on now, make this for yourself, it is delicious.  Find pigeon peas in the Goya section here in the States.  You can find them canned or dried.  I found dried ones at out Public Market.


1 medium chopped onion
1/2 cup sofrito*
1 cup tomato sauce or some fresh tomatoes
2 cups pigeon peas, cooked
1/4 cup  Manzanillo olives
1 tablespoon capers
1 teaspoon Adobo
1 -12 ounce can chicken broth
1 pound white rice, long grain
granulated garlic, to taste
salt and pepper to taste

In a Dutch oven or caldero cook the bacon until crispy. Remove and chop in small pieces.  Take out any excess bacon fat.  You want about a tablespoon or two to fry the onions.  Add them and cook until tender. Add sofrito for about 2 to 3 minutes. When you start to really smell it then add the bacon back, tomato sauce, drained beans, rice, Adobo and chicken broth.  Stir gently but thoroughly.  Add enough water to cover the rice, about 1 inch above rice line. (I find Daisy Martinez's tip of sticking your index finger into the mixture and touching the rice just at the top.  The water should be at the first knuckle joint in your finger.)

Bring to a boil and lower heat to a gentle simmer.  Cover and cook for about 35 to 45 minutes.  All the liquid should be absorbed. Serve with fresh cilantro as desired.

*Make your own sofrito:
You can freeze it in small portions and it is a great starter for so many soups. Recipe from Serious Eats

2 medium Spanish onions, cut into large chunks (about 2 cups)
4 cubanelle peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into large chunks (about 2 cups)
18 medium cloves garlic, peeled
1 large bunch cilantro, washed and roughly chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
8 ajices dulces (if you can find it)
4 leaves of culantro (if you can find it)
4 ripe plum tomatoes, cored and cut into chunks (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and roughly chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
Kosher salt

Grind garlic cloves first, then peppers and then onion. I find that when you add more liquid or more ingredients the garlic is hard to chop fine in the processor.  

While it is running drop in the rest of the ingredients.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Zucchini Brownies

Swoon.  These are delicious.  Most delicious.

This recipe will not use up a ton of zucchini.  But it will be one of the BEST ways to use your zucchini.  Melt in your mouth goodness!  My kids gobbled them up.  And, at 170 calories, a piece, I had a few of them too.
Zucchini Brownies
Original recipe can be found here, at King Arthur Flour.  They have some nice tips to share.  I am not paid to say this but this is my favorite flour to use.
Yield 16 brownies.

8 ounces zucchini (about one 8" zucchini, trimmed, cut into chunks or 1 1/2 cups pushed down)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, Dutch-process cocoa preferred
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder, optional; for enhanced chocolate flavor
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream or 3 tablespoons milk

My chocolate (it was frozen) did not melt all the way that is why there are those little bumps.
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" square pan.
In a food processor process the zucchini with the butter until it is smooth.  Add in the eggs and vanilla next. Add the sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, salt, and flour; process briefly, just until well combined.

Pour into the prepared pan and sprinkle the chips evenly over top.

Bake the brownies for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs clinging to it; you shouldn't see any sign of wet batter. 

Cool on wire rack completely before frosting them.

frosting: Heat milk or cream in microwave and pour into chocolate chips to melt them.  If there are any unmelted portions, heat the mixture briefly in the microwave.

Spread the frosting on the brownies. Let set.
Yield: 16 brownies.

Thursday, September 8, 2016


"B" also made farofa, a popular Brazilian side dish.  It was delicious and I like her take on this classic of Brazilian cuisine.  She added olives, dried cranberries and mixed vegetables. It was a rainbow of color beneath that manioc flour.  Just beautiful, with lots of textures and flavors.  Sweet next to salty.
If you want a basic farofa recipe, go to the NY Times- Farofa.

I have been watching the kid Chef program from Food Network.  On the first episode, I believe it was, one of the kids made farofa.  How cool is that?  It's funny how once you hear about some things then you start hearing about it all over.

I like how they asked the kids, what is their cooking style?  I asked myself, what the heck is my cooking style?  How come these kids know what their cooking style is and I don't.  I should know that, right?  Well, in thinking about it.  I guess I kind of know that already but never really clarified it and thought about it specifically.  Now, if someone asks me I can say, ethnic, healthy and mostly from scratch.  How's that?


1/4 pound bacon
1 to 1 1/2 cups toasted manioc flour* (casava- you want the course kind- not the fine flour kind)
1 small to medium onion
1 cup mixed vegetables, frozen
1/4 cup dried fruit such as cranberries, cherries or raisins 
1/4 cup sliced green olives
4 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 - 2 tablespoons butter (if you are starting with the bacon already cooked.  Or if you need a bit more fat.)

If you have garlic paste (like on previous post) you can skip this step.  Finely chop the garlic on a cutting board, sprinkle salt over it.  Let sit while you begin the other steps.  Once the salt has pulled some of the moisture out of the garlic, run the blade of your knife at an angle over the top of it, mashing it as you go.  Do this a few times, until the garlic turns into a paste.

In a frying pan, saute bacon.  Add in the onion and garlic paste when the bacon is nearly done.  Saute onions until they are translucent.  Add in the vegetables and cook until they are heated through. Then, add the cranberries and olives. Heat until they are warmed.  Sprinkle in the manioc flour, evenly.  Keep stirring to mix it through everything else. Serve.

* Get the toasted variety if you can.  If not toast it until it is lightly golden in a dry frying pan. 

You can put in less manioc flour to the recipe if you like.  Its kind of a "do it to your taste" kind of thing.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Brazilian Food Flavor Base: Garlic Paste

Lucky me, I made a new friend and she is from Brazil.  How fortunate I am to find a friend who loves learning about nutrition and experimenting with different fruits and vegetables.  Who wants to learn about cooking and gets excited about it.

I am learning about Brazilian food, and now, I am going to pass along some new knowledge to you. Lucky you!

"B" has graciously shared her recipes with me and let me share them on the blog.  Yeah!

Let's start today with a really basic item that she uses in practically all her cooking.  It lays a flavor base to grow on.  I have a little jar of it myself and it is nearly gone because, WOW, it's awesome.  I am sure going to make more because I love to use it.
This bowl of collard greens started off in the frying pan with some of the garlic paste.  It was so delicious.

Garlic Paste (Tempero Caseiro)
Recipe adapted from a Taste of Brazil.  A very fabulous blog.  Since my friend doesn't really have a recipe per say, she just kind of puts it together by heart, she found a recipe that comes pretty close to explaining what she does.

1 large onion or three small
4 garlic cloves
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp salt
fresh or dried herbs, her favorite is fresh parsley

Peel and chop the onion into quarters. Peel the garlic cloves. Place all ingredients into a small food processor and blend until you have a fine paste. You could also use a mortar and pestle. If you want a more chunky paste, blend less. Pour the paste into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to one week. 

She adds that she makes hers and it lasts more than one week.  I have had mine now for about a month and am still using it.  There is a large salt content in it so I am sure that helps.  I recommend Kosher salt or sea salt (no iodine).

My friend was over and I was making her paste and she told me what to add as I was doing it.  She had originally given me the recipe above as a guideline.  That would work for one dish but if you want the paste like she makes, that lasts in your fridge, the following is the way to go.

A large head of garlic
a small onion about a 1/2 cup
1/3 cup minced parsley
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup Kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

Process in a food processor.  Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.  Use sparingly- lots of flavor but very salty.