Sarah’s Recipes

The meals that Sarah prepared came from a myriad of recipes of recipes from Spain, France, Mexico, and the United States collected in a homemade cookbook that her mother Antonia had put together in a small three-ring binder.

Sarah uncovered her mother’s cookbook, a small three-ring binder that contained all of the recipes she’d collected over the years, a devoted collection of recipes she’d learned from Sarah’s nana—those they had advanced together, as well as the many they had invented. Over the years, they had improved upon them, and as a result, most recipes had little notes here and there as to what they had eliminated, added, or altered.

Now this precious homemade compilation has Sarah’s own notes and alterations and has become a three-generation cookbook that now incorporates Daniel’s creations into this book.

Enjoy!


 

RECIPE INDEX

 

Chapter 7

Sarah’s and Elisabeth French Meal

Appetizers from France

Tapèno Moderne (Modern Tapenade),

Flotteurs au Tapèno de Port-Salut avec Noyers (Port-Salut and Walnuts Tapenade Floats),

Coq au Vin au Gitan (Gypsy Chicken in Wine),

Pomme de Terre au Beurre (Buttered Potatoes) and

Poires Pochées avec La Crème Chantilly au Chocolat Vanillé (Pears in Chantilly Cream with Vanilla Chocolate)

Chapter 9

Daniel’s Italian Dinner

Osso Buco (Veal Shanks)Risotto

Meringhe di Cioccolata (Chocolate Meringues)

Chapter 11

Sarah’s Impromptu Family Dinner

Simply Tasty Beef Stew and Pineapple Tequila Mint Compote

Chapter 16

Elisabeth and Daniel’s First Dinner for Doc

Asparagus Soup, Beef and Asparagus Stir Fry,

Brown Sesame Rice and Mango Pudding

Chapter 18

Sarah’s Peace Offering

Spring Strawberry/Chocolate Pie

Chapter 21

Daniel and Elisabeth’s Second Meal for Doc

Lamb Steaks with Baby Greens, Parmesan Penne Pasta

and Lemon Yogurt Tartlets with Raspberries

Chapter 23

Sarah and Elisabeth’s Mexican Dinner

Tortilla Soup, Homemade Corn Tortillas,

Puntas en Salsa Colorada (Beef Tips in Red Sauce),

Arroz Blanco con Chícharos (White Rice with Peas) and Torta de Cielo (Heavenly Cake)

Chapter 28

Daniel’s Meal From Spain

Sarah’s homemade French baguette,

Tapa de Hongos al Alioli (Appetizer of Mushrooms on Garlic Mayonnaise),

Almejas en Salsa Verde (Clams in Green Sauce), Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding)

and Trufas al Coñac (Truffles in Cognac)


Sarah’s and Elisabeth French Meal

Appetizers from France

 A tapenade is a spread that originated in the Provence region of France. The word tapenade is a translation from tapèno, meaning capers, which originally were the common ingredient. Nowadays in the United States, most people think of tapenade as basically an olive spread, but you can find a number of tapenades that contain many more ingredients. The original spread contained capers, black olives, and anchovies, all of which were combined with olive oil.  

 

Tapèno Moderne (Modern Tapenade) 

Ingredients

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 ¾ cups whole, pitted Kalamata olives

1 (2oz) can of anchovy fillets, rinsed

2 tablespoons of capers

3 tablespoons of lemon juice

4 tablespoons of olive oil

 

Directions

Combine garlic, olives, anchovies, capers, and lemon juice in an electric blender. Slowly drip the olive oil into the blender while you are blending the ingredients together. Blend until a paste is formed.

Serve the spread with multi-grain crackers or toasted small and thin baguette slices.

Flotteurs au Tapèno de Port Salut avec Noyers (Floats with a Port Salut and Walnut Tapenade)

 

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Flotteurs au Tapèno de Port-Salut avec Noyers (Port-Salut and Walnuts Tapenade Floats)


Ingredients

1 French baguette, cut into thin slices

¼ cup butter, melted

4oz Port Salut cheese (remove the orange crust)

¼ of cup butter, softened

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

½ cup of chopped walnuts

½ cup of chopped fresh parsley (you will be using ½ tablespoon of finely chopped parsley in the mix itself)

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400°F (or 200°C).

Melt the butter and brush one side of each slice of bread with melted butter, and place—butter side up on a baking sheet. Bake for 7 minutes, or until lightly toasted.

In a small bowl, mix together the Port-Salut cheese, softened butter, and a teaspoon of fresh finely chopped parsley. Salt and pepper to taste.

Spread this mixture over the tops of the toasted bread slices then sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

Bake for 4-6 minutes or until the top has melted and is slightly bubbly.

Arrange the floats on a serving dish and sprinkle some fresh chopped parsley.


 

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Coq au Vin au Gitan (Gypsy Chicken in Wine)

 

Coq au Vin is a chicken stew, but with some delicious twists to make it more interesting and flavorful. Most French recipes call for lardons (small pieces of fat, typically pork fat) used in French cooking. Lardons add a noticeably a rich, salty flavor to any dish by contributing to its overall moisture. Many recipes use bacon instead of lardons, but Sarah’s grandmother’s note suggested another approach—the use a nice flavorful Portuguese sausage, so she renamed her recipe Gypsy Coq au Vin.

 

Ingredients (4-6 servings)

2 spicy Portuguese sausages chopped into small pieces (recommended: “Linguiça,” a hickory-smoked sausage that’s found most grocery stores)

4 medium skinless chicken breasts cut in half

4 medium skinless thighs cut in half

½ cup of flour

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 shallots, chopped

A full small bag of pearl onions peeled

2 cups of mushrooms halved

8 carrots cut in bite-sized pieces

6 celery ribs, chopped

¼ cup of cognac or brandy

1 bottle of Burgundy wine or Pinot Noir

1 cup of chicken broth (low sodium)

5 sprigs thyme

3 bay leaves

 

Directions

In a large, heavy skillet or heavy-bottomed casserole dish, sauté the sausage over medium heat until nicely crisp. Transfer sausage to a paper towel to drain, but leave the fat in pan.

Heat fat or oil in pan and add the chicken. Turn occasionally to brown nicely on all sides. Add the browned sausage back and combine it all together.

Add chopped garlic, the chopped onion, the chopped shallots, the chopped celery, and the bite-size carrots. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to your taste. Sauté for 2 minutes to soften.

Pour in the Cognac into a small glass. Remove the pan from the heat then pour the Cognac over the pan. Place the pan back on the flame and shake it a few seconds until bubbling hot. Flambé the chicken and vegetables by igniting the Cognac with a long match. Allow it to flame a minute so that it will burn off the alcohol. If the flames have not died down after a minute, you can extinguish them by covering the pan.

Add the thyme and the bay leaves.

Cover and cook slowly 10 minutes, turning once.

Uncover pan and sprinkle on the flour, turning the chicken and the vegetables so the flour is absorbed.

Gradually stir and swirl in the wine and the chicken bouillon to almost cover the chicken.

Bring back to a boil then reduce the heat, cover the pan, and simmer slowly for 30 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and the peeled pearl onions, cover it, and simmer for 10 minutes.

est the vegetables and the chicken— they should be all soft and well done. If not, cover and simmer until they are done.

Remove the cover and continue simmering until the sauce is reduced. The sauce should be just thick enough to coat chicken and vegetables lightly. If too thin, boil it down rapidly to concentrate; if too thick, thin it out by adding more bouillon.

Discard the bay leaves before serving.

 

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Pomme de Terre au Beurre (Buttered Potatoes)

 

This potato dish is usually used in French cuisine to accompany many meat dishes. It’s easy to make and adds a smooth texture to any dish, but particularly one with the strong flavors the coq au vin has.

 

Ingredients (4-6 servings)

4 large baking potatoes

2 medium golden onions

1cup of fresh parsley minced (discard the stems)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1½ cups of water

8 tablespoons of butter

 

Directions

In a pan, heat together the water and 6 tablespoons of butter until water boils and butter melts. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 475°F (or 245°C).

Wash the potatoes thoroughly since you are not going to peel them. Thinly slice them.

Peel the onions and slice them also quite thin. Separate them into rings.

Mince the parsley.

Use one tablespoon of butter to butter an average-size baking dish. Arrange the potatoes and onions in layers. Start with a layer of potatoes, top it with the onions then sprinkle each layer with parsley, salt and black pepper. Continue adding layers of potatoes, onions, parsley salt and pepper, until you use all the potatoes. Make sure your top layer has the onions, parsley, salt and pepper.

Pour the warm water and butter mix over the potatoes.

Bake in the preheated oven until potatoes are tender about 30 minutes. The top layer of potatoes should be dry.

Melt the remainder tablespoon of butter and drizzle over the top of the potatoes once you remove them from the oven.

 

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Poires Pochées avec La Crème Chantilly au Chocolat Vanillé (Pears in Chantilly Cream with Vanilla Chocolate)

 

Pears are used in desserts all over the world because of their sweetness and softness. This dessert is refreshing and delicious. The following recipe is for four servings but you can easily double as long as you calculate it based on the basis of four pears equals four guests.

 

Ingredients (4 servings)

4 pears

1 bottle of white dessert wine

3 tablespoons of clover honey

Juice of 1 lemon

A dash of finely ground fresh pepper

 

Ingredients for the Chocolate Vanilla Chantilly Cream

1 cup of heavy cream

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract (organic is tastier)

1 teaspoon of sugar (organic is tastier)

1 tablespoon of brandy

6oz of semi-sweet baking chocolate pieces

 

Directions for the Pears

Mix the bottle of wine, the honey, and pepper together in a pan, and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes

Peel the pears and squeeze the lemon juice over them until they are well covered.

Carefully add the pears into the wine mixture and let simmer for 15-20 minutes on a medium flame.

Stir the pears from time to time to make sure they don’t stick to one another.

Once cooked, remove pears from wine and let them cool off at room temperature.

Once cooled, cut each pear in half and discard the seeds and core.  Join each half and carefully place the halve pears in a covered dish in the refrigerator. You can also use place them on a plate and cover it with plastic wrap; just don’t tighten it too much— you don’t want the pears to loose their juice.

On a high flame, continue cooking the wine mixture and allow for the wine to reduce, until it becomes a thick syrup. Let it cool off at room temperature, and then place in the refrigerator.

 

Directions for the Chocolate Vanilla Chantilly Cream

In a pan, add the vanilla extract and sugar to the cream and bring to a gentle boil.

Over a low flame, add the brandy and the chocolate and stir until it’s well blended. Let it cool off at room temperature.

Pour some of the chocolate cream into four individual serving bowls, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Cover the remaining chocolate cream and refrigerate as well.

To serve, bring the ingredients out of the refrigerator when you begin serving the appetizers before dinner so that they will warm up at room temperature before serving. However, leave the serving bowls in the refrigerator so they remain chilled.

Once you’re ready to serve dessert, just place a pear in each of the chilled bowls on top of the chocolate cream and then top it with the wine syrup.

 

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Daniel’s Italian Dinner

Osso Buco (Veal Shanks)

 

Ossobuco alla Milanese originated in Milan, Italy. It’s a main dish that consists primarily of braised veal shanks. The name ossobuco comes from osso meaning bone and buco meaning hole or entire. Ossobuco, or “entire bone” is named as such because eating the bone marrow in the veal shanks’ bone is the principal appeal of the dish. In American restaurants it sometimes is spelled Osso Buco.

Ossobuco is usually served with gramolata which is a chopped herb condiment typically made of garlic, parsley, and lemon zest.
Ossobuco is also served with risotto enhanced with saffron threads. This combination is one of the few cases where a grain and a meat dish are served together in an Italian dish. If you don’t like saffron, you can make any other type of risotto as a side dish. The veal was initially prepared without tomatoes since they weren’t introduced in Milan until the 19th century. The version with tomatoes enhances the taste of the meat, and in modern Italy, it has been the preferred style for some time now.

 

Ingredients for the Ossobuco (4 servings)

4 pieces of veal shank with bone, cut 3 inches thick

½ cup of flour

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

3 tablespoons of virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons of butter

1 onion, chopped

1 cup of chopped celery

1 cup of chopped carrots chopped

4 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped

2 bay leaves

6 tablespoons fresh parsley finely chopped

1 cup of dry Marsala wine

2 ½ cups of chicken stock (you will be using the ½ cup at the end only if needed)

2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (you can used canned if you wish)

 

Directions

SIn a large shallow platter, season flour with salt and pepper. Coat the veal shanks in the mixture and shake off any excess.
In a large skillet over a medium flame heat the oil and butter.

Sear the shanks well to hold in the marrow. Remove the browned shanks and set aside.

Pour the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, bay leaves and parsley into the pan, season with salt and black pepper, and cook until softened.

Add the wine, raise the heat to high and deglaze the pan.

Return the shanks to the pan, drizzle with olive oil and add the chicken stock and the tomatoes.

Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 2 hours or until the meat is tender. Baste the meat a few times during cooking.

After 2 hours check the consistency of the sauce. If it’s too thick, add ½ cup of chicken stock, but if it’s too thin remove the cover and continue to simmer for 10 minutes to reduce the sauce. 

 

Ingredients for the Gramolata

Grated rind of 2 lemons

2 minced garlic cloves

2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

You can create lattice tops, decorative top crusts made with cutout shapes, braided edges, and other artistic touches with the second half of the dough. Just roll it out as you did for the bottom crust and create edible art. I sure did, and it is fun to do!

 

Directions for the Gramolata

Combine all ingredients together in a small bowl

 

Final Touches

Transfer the ossobuco to a serving dish and spread the gramolata over it.

 

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Parmesan Risotto

 

The Moors—who occupied Spain from the 8th to the 15th centuries—are more than likely the ones who introduce rice to both Spain and Italy—Sicily in particular. Rice was brought into the Po Valley in the northern part of Italy around the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries where it found the perfect environment and climate. Cultivation of rice surged so much during the centuries that followed that rice became a staple in that part of Italy.

Originally, risottos had one principal characteristic—the color yellow—provided by the saffron—a spice—also introduced in both Italy and Spain by the Moors.

Risotto was born out of the cooking of the rice into a porridge by boiling it in water, milk and broth, then adding sugar, spices and saffron (or egg-yolk) for coloring. It is not clear as to where the name risotto came from. What distinguishes this dish to any other rice dishes is the technique of cooking the rice slowly, adding the stock gradually, and turning the rice into a soft thick pulp.

The risotto in this recipe is prepared without the saffron, and instead is enhanced with Parmesan cheese.

 

Ingredients (4 servings)

4 cups of chicken broth

1 tablespoon of butter

1 tablespoon of olive oil

2 tablespoons of chopped onion

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 cup Arborio rice

1 cup of white wine

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Directions

In a saucepan, bring chicken broth to a simmer and keep warm over low heat.

In a separate pan, and over medium heat, melt butter and add the tablespoon of olive oil.
Sautee the onion and the garlic for a minute or so, then immediately add the rice and cook for a couple minutes, stirring to coat each grain.

Add 1 cup of the warm chicken broth and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice has absorbed the liquid.

Add the remaining broth, 1 cup at a time—1/3 of a cup at time— and continue to stir, allowing the rice to absorb each addition of broth before adding more.

Add the white wine—1/3 cup at a time—to the rice, stirring and simmering just as you did with the chicken broth. Test the rice for the perfect consistency— it should be al dente but creamy. If you need more liquid, add more white wine.

Remove the risotto from the stove then add the grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste.

 

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Meringhe di Frutta (Fruit Meringue)

 

The origin of meringue as a dessert is not known although legend has it that an Italian pastry chef who worked in Switzerland invented it. He invented a baked concoction of egg whites, sugar and cream, and named it Meiringen after the Swiss town that inspired him. Meiringen, is located at the foot of the Alpes and is famous for the spectacular Reichenbach Falls that were the setting for the presumed death of Sherlock Holmes—Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fictional character.

It is said that Louis XV took a liking to the creation whereupon the French name meringue took over. As such, France also claimed its invention, and not to be left behind so did England—as to why still remains a mystery. To improve upon the dessert, Australia and New Zealand gained fame for the creation of the Pavlova, a meringue-based dessert named in honor of the Russian dancer Ana Pavlova after she toured those countries in the 1920s.

Regardless of their origin, meringues are broadly used in Italy and are the perfect light and sweet dessert after a heavy meal.

 

Ingredients

4 large egg whites

1 cup of superfine sugar

½ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon of white vinegar

½ tablespoon of cornstarch

Topping:

1 cup of heavy whipping

1½ tablespoons of granulated white sugar

½ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

Sliced fresh fruit: kiwi, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, passion fruit, peaches, pineapple, or any fruit of your choice

 

Directions (Serves 6 to 8)

Preheat the oven to 250°F (or 130°C) and place rack in center of oven.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper cut into a 9-inch diameter circle. Turn the parchment paper over so the circle is on the reverse side.

Beat the egg whites on medium speed until they hold soft peaks.

Start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat at high speed, until the meringue holds very stiff peaks.

Make sure the sugar is fully dissolved by rubbing a little of the meringue between your thumb and index finger. The meringue should feel smooth, not gritty. If it feels gritty the sugar has not dissolved. Continue to beat it until it feels smooth.

Beat in the vanilla extract. Sprinkle the vinegar and cornstarch over the top of the meringue and, with a rubber spatula, gently fold them in.

Spread the meringue inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper and smooth the edges. Make sure the edges of the meringue are somewhat higher than the center given that you will place the cream and fruit in the center.

Bake for 60 to 75 minutes or until the outside is dry and shows in a pale cream color. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven. When ready, the outer circle (and thicker) part of the meringue should feel firm to the touch when gently pressed, but as it cools, you it will crack here and there and that the inside will softer and a bit gooey.

While the meringue cools off, cut the fruit into bite-size morsels.
Once the meringue has completely cooled off, take it out of the oven and gently remove the parchment paper, then place it on a serving dish.

If you need to store the meringue, it must be in a cool dry airtight container. It can last for a few days.

Just before serving gently place the meringue onto a serving plate.

Whip the cream and add the sugar and vanilla. Continue whipping until soft peaks form.

Mound the softly whipped cream into the center of the meringue.

Arrange the fruit randomly, or in a decorative pattern, on top of the cream.

Serve immediately as this dessert does not hold for more than a few hours.

 

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Sarah’s Impromptu Family Dinner

 

Simply Tasty Beef Stew

Sarah’s mother Antonia improved this recipe by making it simpler than her mother’s original haute cuisine dish from France known as boeuf bourguignon (beef bourguignon). In beef bourguignon, the meat is tenderized in Burgundy wine, and the sauce for it is quite elaborate. However, in this recipe the beef is not tenderized. What Sarah’s mother did instead was to cook the meet using chicken broth, making it not only more affordable, but tastier, since the combination of chicken broth and meat results in a nice crisp flavor. In addition, her mother suggested omitting the salt pork in order to diminish the amount of fat.

 

Ingredients (4 servings)

4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil

1½ tablespoons of all-purpose flour

2 to 3 pounds beef chuck shoulder roast, cut into 2-inch pieces

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 medium onions, chopped

1 cup of fresh parsley, chopped

12 sprigs of celery, chopped (plus ¼ of a cup of its leaves chopped)

2½ cups of chicken stock

9 small new potatoes, scrubbed clean and cut in 1/2

½ pound of carrots, peeled and sliced

8 oz. of garden peas frozen or fresh

8 oz. of green beans, chopped

2-3 medium zucchini, chopped

8 oz. of mushrooms cut in half

 

Directions

Season the cubed beef with some salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Preheat a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high. Once it’s hot, add the heat the oil and butter.

Add the beef chunks in a single layer to the hot pan, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Thoroughly brown all of the cubes on all sides.

Add onions, the garlic and the celery and toss. Let them cook together a couple of minutes turning the meat and vegetable so they don’t stick to the pan.

Add the chicken stock and bring up to a simmer. Scrape the bottom of the pan to make sure you loosen up all the meat and vegetable juices.

Once the chicken stock is hot, add the carrots and the potatoes, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Bring the mixture up to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and simmer on low heat for 2 ½ hours.

After 2 ½ hours add the peas, green beans, mushrooms, and zucchini. Cover and simmer for another ½ hour.

After the ½ hour, turn the heat up slightly and simmer then slowly sprinkle the flour—one tablespoon at a time over the stew. The best way to sprinkle the flour is drop the tablespoon of flour into a sieve and tap it gently over the stew. Stir the stew as you do this. As the stew thickens, add as much as needed of the second tablespoon. Let it simmer for another 15 minutes.

Let it sit for at least 30 minutes before serving, turning it occasionally, so that the flavors of the meat and vegetable settle well.

 

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Pineapple Tequila and Tuaca Mint Compote

After a strong flavored meat dish, Sarah’s family usually followed with a refreshing dessert. This recipe can be made with any type of alcohol or liqueur to enhance the flavor of the fruit. Tequila was one of Sarah’s father’s favorites since he was born in Monterrey, Mexico. The Tuaca—a delicious Italian liqueur—adds a nice sweet taste, which combined with the Tequila, brings out the crisp tanginess of the pineapple.

Ingredients

1 ripe pineapple

3 tablespoons of sugar

3 tablespoons of Tequila

2 tablespoons of Tuaca (a sweet and delicious Italian liqueur)

Juice of 1 lime

1 teaspoon of finely chopped mint leaves

 

Directions

Chopped the pineapple into bite sizes.

Sprinkle the sugar and mix well.

Add the lime juice, Tequila, and Tuaca then mix well.

Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

To serve add the mint leaves and mix well.

 

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Elisabeth and Daniel’s First Dinner for Doc

The name asparagus comes from Greek word asparagos. It is pictured as an offering on an Egyptian frieze dating to 3000 BC, and there’s evidence that the Greek and the Roman civilizations, as far back as 2000 years ago, cultivated asparagus and ate it both fresh and dried.

It’s believed that asparagus is native to the eastern Mediterranean and Asia Minor areas, and as such it’s freely used in both European and Asian cooking, but it cannot be definitively tracked to any one specific area of origin.

Elisabeth had bought a large amount of fresh asparagus, so Daniel suggested preparing a modern oriental-style meal.

 
 Asparagus Soup

 

Ingredients (6 servings)

4 tablespoons butter

10 green onions, thinly sliced, with about 2 to 3 inches of green

1 clove garlic, minced

1 pound of asparagus, cut into small pieces

2 cups of diced potatoes peeled

4 cups chicken broth

1 bay leaf

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup of heavy cream

1 tablesppon of fresh chopped parsley

½ cup of chopped cilantro

6 teaspoons of toasted sesame seeds

A few drops of Asian-style sesame oil

 

Directions

In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat.

Add the green onions and garlic and cook, stirring, for about 3-4 minutes.

Add the asparagus, potatoes and chicken broth, the bay leaf and salt and black pepper to taste. Stir thoroughly so the vegetables are well coated, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until potatoes are tender.

Let it cool for a few minutes then carefully, and in small batches, blend the cream into the hot mixture.

Simmer it until the soup is warm through and through.

As you serve each bowl, stir in a drop of sesame oil, sprinkle the chopped cilantro, and scatter a few sesame seeds. Offer a wedge of lime to squeeze on top.

 

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Beef and Asparagus Stir Fry

Stir-frying is a Chinese style of cooking that simply describes a fast technique in preparation. Buwei Yang Chao, in her book How to Cook and Eat in Chinese (1945), is credited to be the first to introduce the term stir-fry into the English language. There are two distinct styles of stir-frying—chao and bào. For connoisseurs of Chinese cooking, differentiating between these two cooking techniques is quite important given that they differ in their speed of execution, the amount of heat used, and the amount of tossing done to cook the food. However, for most aficionados, simply stirring and frying the food quickly is just as good. Both techniques use the traditional Chinese cooking pot—the wok—but you can also us a large non-sticking pan.

 

Ingredients (4 servings)

1-2 pounds of fresh asparagus

1-2 pounds of lean tenderloin

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon of sesame oil

1 large onion

1 teaspoon of cornstarch

¼ cup of dry sherry

3 tablespoons light soy sauce

½ a teaspoon sugar

 

Directions

Trim the meat by cutting the fat and connective tissue.

Heat a grill or a pan.

Sprinkle salt and pepper over the meat then grill the steak quickly searing it. The meat should be very rare. Remove the meat and slice it against grain in thin 1-inch strips.  Set it aside.

Slice the asparagus into three-inch pieces.

Quarter the onions then cut in thick but edible slices.

Warm a non-stick large pan or wok over medium heat. Drizzle the sesame oil and dry sherry. Add the onions and asparagus then stir thoroughly. Cover and cook 3-5 minutes. The vegetables should be cooked but remain crispy.

Wile the vegetables cook, combine the cornstarch, soy sauce, and sugar in a separate small bowl.

Add the cornstarch mixture to the skillet or wok then cook and stir until mixture thickens.

Add the steak and cook until heated through. The meat should be tender and the vegetables crunchy.

Serve with white or brown sesame rice.

 

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Brown Sesame Rice


Originally rice grew wild, but today it’s cultivated throughout the world. The most common rice used nowadays originates in the Far East at the foot of the Himalayas. The majority of the cultivated varieties belong to this species, which is characterized by its flexibility and great taste. There are, of course, other varieties of rice found in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, southern India, Korea, Japan, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Indonesia as well as West Africa. The Asian rice was adapted to farming in Mediterranean Europe when the Moors brought it to Spain and Italy sometime in the 8th century. The Spanish then introduced it in South America around in the 18th century.

The difference between white and brown rice comes from its production. After harvesting rice, the inedible outer hull of the rice is removed. In the production of white rice the individual grains are further stripped of bran and germ, and the grains are polished to be white and smooth. Brown rice, however, is left with these outer layers intact, and since the bulk of its nutrition is available in these layers, brown rice is usually a better choice.

The use of brown rice with this meal adds its deeper texture, which compliments the meat and asparagus.

 

Ingredients

1 cup of brown rice

1 cup of chicken broth

¾ cup of water

½ tablespoon of virgin olive oil

¼ of a teaspoon of sesame oil

½ onion finely chopped

Salt to taste

 

Directions

Warm a non-stick pan and add the oils.

Add the onion and cook it for 1-2 minutes.

Add the rice and stir till well coated then season with salt to taste.

Add the chicken broth and water stir and mix well.

Bring it to a boil, then cover and simmer in low heat, steaming it for 18-20 minutes. For the last five minutes uncover the pot and let the steam out.

 

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Mango Pudding

 
The term pudding in various modern East Asian languages denotes a gelatin-base dessert. Mango pudding is very a popular dessert in China, Singapore, Malaysia, and Macau. This is a delicious and very simple recipe that compliments the meal nicely.

 

Ingredients

2 packets of unflavored gelatin

1 cup of hot water

¾ of a cup of sugar (organic sugar is recommended)

3 cups of pureed fresh mangos

1 cup of evaporated milk

8-12 ice cubes

 

Directions

Bring the water to a boil then set aside.

Mix the gelatin and the sugar together then add the mixture to the hot water until it’s fully dissolved.

In a large bowl, mix the mango puree, the evaporated milk, and the ice cubes.

Pour the gelatin mixture into the bowl with the mangos and stir until the ice cubes melt.

Pour mixture into a jelly mold and chill until set for 3-4 hours.

To serve, dip the jelly mold briefly in hot water then turn the mango pudding out onto a platter, tapping the mold until the pudding drops.

 

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Sarah’s Peace Offering

 

Spring Strawberry/Chocolate Pie


Sarah wanted to prepare a dessert that would delight Sheriff Williams. She turned to her mother’s cookbook and found a recipe for a delectable pie that had originated in France. Over the years her Nana’s family had altered the recipe by adding this or changing that, and then Sarah’s mother improved it by adding a chocolate coat to the piecrust to keep the tart shell fresh for several days.

 

Ingredients for the Tart Shell

1½ cups of flour

½ teaspoon of salt

¼ cup of sugar

10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) of butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

3 to 4 tablespoons of ice water

2 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate (to spread on the bottom of the tart shell once it’s baked and cooled)

 

Directions for the Tart Shell

Place flour, salt and sugar into bowl and mix.

Add the cold butter and mix by hand crumbling the chunks of butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Add ice water and continue to mix just until the dough begins to come together.

Note: Sarah preferred to continue to use her hands to smooth the dough although you can also use a fork or a spatula.
Turn the dough out onto a cutting board or smooth surface and loosely cover it on both sides in wax paper of saran wrap.

Roll the dough and flatten it so it looks like a disc in the shape of the round pie pan you will be using later.

Wrap it in saran wrap and refrigerate the disc for at least a couple of hours.

Once you are ready to bake the tart crust, take out the dough from the refrigerator and let it soften at room temperature for a few minutes.

Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).

Remove the saran wrap and roll out dough on a lightly floured surface. Press lightly into the bottom and sides of a removable-bottom tart pan. Trim off excess dough so that it's even with the top of the pan, and then prick sides and bottom with a fork to allow the dough to breath while baking.

Place pie weights (dried beans or rice on a piece of foil or parchment paper) on the bottom of the pie shell to keep pastry flat while baking.

Place the pie shell in the oven and bake 10 to 15 minutes, or until crust is just golden.

Remove the pie weights and reduce oven temperature to 375°F (150°C). Continue baking until the pastry is completely dry on the bottom and golden brown, usually 8 to 10 minutes longer.

Set aside to let cool completely before using.

 

Directions for the Strawberry Filling

Wash the strawberries thoroughly in cold water. Pat them dry.

Set aside ¾ of strawberries to be placed in the baked pastry shell once the rest of the mixture is done. If the strawberries are too large you may want to halve them or quarter them so they’re easier to eat.

Crush the remainder ¼ of strawberries and add the water to that. Mix the sugar and cornstarch together and then sprinkle the mixture over the crushed strawberries and water as you stir to blend it in.

Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer mixture about 10 minutes, stirring constantly until your mixture is thick and translucent

 

Directions for the Chocolate Crust

Melt about 2 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave or on the stove over light-heat.

Brush a thin coat of the melted chocolate onto the bottom and sides of cooled piecrust.

After you brush the crust with the chocolate place it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes and let the chocolate set and cool before you fill the tart shell with the strawberry mix

 

Final Touches

Arrange the fresh strawberries in a circle directly onto the cooled chocolate covered crust.

Pour mixture over the strawberries.

Chill for several hours before serving.

Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Note: this same recipe works just as well with peaches, pears, raspberries, blueberries, or any other fresh fruit

 

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Daniel and Elisabeth’s Second Meal for Doc


Lamb Steaks with Baby Greens

 

For years, sheep have been a dietary staple as well as a textile source in Asia, Europe, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand. Spain is credited for bringing sheep to America in the 16th century. However, sheep—as commercial cattle herds in the western territories—caused social division, and it could be the reason why lamb didn’t become a mainstay of the American palate. The meat from a baby sheep is called lamb, and the meat from a sheep aged older than a year is called mutton. Lamb is most popular in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, European, South African, and Asian cuisine.

This recipe mixes South African and Middle Eastern cuisines with a simplification for the American palate.

 

Ingredients (4 servings)

4 (8-10oz each) center-cut lamb leg steaks, trimmed (one per person)

2 teaspoons of dried thyme

2 teaspoon of ground cumin

1 teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon of ground black pepper

1 medium red onion, chopped

2 cans (28oz total) of whole tomatoes, chopped

1 tablespoon of virgin olive oil

¼ cup of dried currants (you can use cranberries if you can’t find currants)

Pine nuts to taste (1 tablespoon per steak at minimum)

4 tablespoons of fresh parsley leaves, chopped

A bunch of baby greens for garnish

 

Directions

Start by creating the spice mixture by combining in a small bowl the thyme, cumin, salt, and pepper.

Wash and dry the baby greens that will be used for the garnish.

Place them in a serving dish so that they are ready once you have cooked the meat.

Drain the tomatoes—reserving ½ cup of the juice—then chop them.

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot then add the olive oil.

Once the oil heats up, add the onion and 2 teaspoons of the spice mixture, and cook a few minutes or until onion is slightly softened, stirring occasionally.

Add the chopped tomatoes, the reserved juice, and currants. Cook 5-8 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.

Stir 2 tablespoons of parsley then transfer the mixture to a separate bowl.

Coat the lamb steaks with remaining spice mixture (you don’t have to use the entire spice mixture, just enough to coat the steaks).

Heat the same skillet used to prepare the sauce, and cook the lamb chops over medium-high heat 8-10 minutes on each side for medium-rare or 10-15 minutes for well done. Turn each steak over only once.

To serve, place a lamb steak on top of the baby greens, spoon the tomato mixture over each, and sprinkle the pine nuts and the remaining tablespoons of parsley.

 

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 Parmesan Penne Pasta

 

Usually lamb is accompanied by a strong flavored side dish of pasta, rice, or potatoes. This pasta recipe is quite simple to prepare, and therefore, does not add more complexity to the overall preparation for the full meal. It also has a robust delicious flavor that compliments the lamb.

 

Ingredients

16oz package of penne pasta

3 tablespoons of virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons of butter

2 garlic cloves, chopped

16oz of chopped mushrooms

4 tablespoons of dry sherry

½ cup of chicken broth

½ cup of heavy cream

1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top to taste

 

Directions

In a small bowl melt the butter and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Crush the garlic and add the salt and pepper. Mix it well and let it stand while you prepare the pasta.

In a large pasta saucepan bring hot water to a boil. You can either add or omit a dash of olive oil and pinch of salt depending on the type of pasta you use—just follow the directions on the package on how to best prepare the pasta.

Drop the pasta in the boiling water, and cook for 8-9 minute or according of the label of the package. Make sure you cook the pasta “al dente”, which basically means not too soft which will eventually become mushy.

While the pasta cooks, add the mixture of oil, butter, and garlic to a non-stick skillet and cook over medium heat for ½ a minute.

Add the mushrooms, salt, pepper, and sherry. Cook for 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the chicken broth and the heavy cream then let it come to a simmer.

Slowly, add a bit of the grated Parmesan cheese making sure that it is well incorporated before you add more. Once you have poured in all the cheese, heat through stirring continually to combine. Turn off the heat.

Drain the pasta and pour it back into the saucepan you boiled it in then add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Stir the pasta until it is well coated by the oil.

Slowly add the cheese and mushroom sauce and stir until well coated.

Serve warm.

Offer some extra cheese at the table for your guests to sprinkle on top if they wish.

 

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Lemon Yogurt Tartelettes with Blueberries


This refreshing dessert is delicious and culminates the meal quite nicely. Daniel’s baking abilities were quite evident to Elisabeth and Doctor Lawrence, and they had little doubt that sometime in his past he had been a chef of some sort in different parts of the world.

 

Ingredients

1 cups of flour

½ teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon of sugar

½ cup of cold butter cut in small pieces

3-4 tablespoons of cold water

 

Directions

Stir the flour, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl.

Make sure you keep the butter and water cold until you need them (chilling will prevent the fat from clumping). Mix—or cut—the chilled butter into the dry ingredients by pinching the fat into the mixture with your hands. Do not handle the butter too long in your hands because you’ll warm it. Work fast. The resulting mixture should have fat lumps.

Once the butter is mixed, slowly add the cold water. Drizzle it in with a tablespoon so it drops slowly and doesn’t clump the flour. Mix it with the edge of a spatula or with a fork gently after each addition. Once you’re done, grab the dough with your hand and squeeze, if it holds together you have enough water. If it doesn’t, add a little more and mix quickly. The dough should be sticky.

Gently shape the dough into a ball. Handle the dough as little as possible —you don't want the warmth of your hands to melt the butter into the flour.

Flatten the balls a bit, and wrap them in saran wrap. Once the plastic covers the dough, roll the dough and shape it into a flat disc.

The dough needs to “rest” in the refrigerator. What happens when it rests is that, as it cools, the flour absorbs all of the liquid, and the dough then becomes more flexible.

Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Take out the dough and let it warm up to room temperature for about 10 minutes before you roll it so that it’s easier to handle.

Lightly flour the top of your working area and your rolling pin.

Note: You can either sprinkle flour as you roll and flip the dough over, or you can place the dough between waxed paper or plastic wrap to roll it and flip it to avoid adding more flour. It’s your choice.

Begin by rolling from center of disc out. Make sure you roll in one direction and turn the dough often. This also helps you avoid overworking the dough (which Sarah did on her first few tries, resulting in tough pastry). If the dough splits, just pinch it or push it back together. It doesn't need to be in a perfect circle.

Now that you have your crust rolled out, brush away any excess flour and you are ready to place your dough into the molds of a non-stick muffin pan. Cut 12 circles (using a glass or cup as guidance) and carefully pick each dough circle and without stretching it press it into the individual muffin molds. Leave a tiny overhang to make a decorative edge for each tart shell. If the dough cracks, pinch it back together with your fingers or patch the cracks with some leftover dough. Crimp the edges either with a fork or by pinching around the edge with your fingers.

 

Ingredients for the Filling

1 cup of whole milk yogurt

1 cup of sugar

1 egg

1 ounce of flour

1 tablespoons of lemon juice

Grated zest of 1 lemon

A dash of salt

2 tablespoons of melted butter

1 cup of fresh blueberries

 

Directions for the Filling

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

With an electric had mixer, blend the yogurt, sugar, eggs, flour, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt until well blended and smooth.

Slowly add the melted butter while you continue to blend the mixture.

Place a few fresh blueberries into the pre-baked tartelette shells.

Pour the yogurt mixture over the blueberries.

Bake for 25-35 minutes or until set.

As a final touch add one blueberry in the center of each tartelette.

Serve at room temperature.

 

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Sarah and Elizabeth’s Mexican Dinner

 

Tortilla Soup

Tortilla soup is a staple of Mexican cuisine making use of native ingredients, and, depending on how spicy you wish to make it, it can be a stimulating experience. This recipe turned out to be the perfect blend of Sarah’s mother’s cookbook savoir-faire and Daniel’s culinary skills.

 

Ingredients for the Soup (8 servings)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts halves and 2 boneless skinless thighs

3 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

1 white onion peeled, trimmed, and quartered

1 Magdalena pepper (also known as Anaheim or California), trimmed and seeded

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced celery

4 tablespoons of fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 large tomatoes peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped

¼ of a cup of chopped fresh cilantro

4 teaspoons of ground cumin

½ teaspoon of chili powder

½ teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper

1 quart (64oz) of chicken broth

2 cups of corn (frozen)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 corn tortillas cut into squares

 

Ingredients for the Garnish

4 corn tortillas

1 teaspoon of chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon of salt

4 ripe avocados (½ for each serving)

½ cup of chopped fresh cilantro leave

 

Directions for the Soup

Heat a frying pan. When the pan is hot, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and let it warm up.

Season the chicken with salt and freshly ground pepper and place on the frying pan and brown it on all sides. Remove from the pan, cut into bite sizes, and set aside.

Chop the garlic, onion, Magdalena pepper, carrots and celery.

Chop the tortillas into small triangles.

In a large soup pot, heat the remaining olive oil. Add the squares of tortillas and cook over low heat until they are slightly crisp. Stir in the chopped vegetables and mix well just until the vegetables are coated with the oil. Don’t brown them.

Add the chicken and stir.

Add the chicken broth, lime juice, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, and tomatoes.

Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the chicken is tender, 30-45 minutes.

Add the corn and the cilantro and continue to simmer over low heat until the soup is reduced by one third.

Let it cool for a bit so that you can safely proceed to the next step.

Puree the soup—in batches—in a blender or food processor until smooth and return to the pot.

Keep it warm over low heat while the garnish is being prepared.

 

Directions for the Garnish

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

Cut the tortillas into thin strips and arrange them on a baking dish. Bake until the strips are crisp (about 10 minutes).

Combine seasonings to coat the strips (chili powder, cayenne, and salt) in a Ziploc bag. Toss the warm tortilla strips with the seasoning in the bag until the strips are coated.

Peel and slice the avocado.

 

Serving the Soup

To serve, turn off the heat and ladle the soup into individual soup bowls, then garnish with the sliced avocado halves, the baked tortilla strips, and sprinkle some chopped cilantro.

Place the remaining tortilla strips and cilantro on the table for your guests to add to their soup if they wish.

 

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Homemade Corn Tortillas

 
Making homemade tortillas is not as difficult as people think. It does take time and patience, especially if you don’t have a tortilla press. The key to this recipe is to ensure your tortillas are not too thick. The scent and taste of homemade tortillas is unforgettable.

 

Ingredients

2 cups corn flour will yield 12 tortillas

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon of vegetable oil

1 ½ cups of water

 

Directions

In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Mix well.

In a separate pot boil the water and add the vegetable oil, stirring it until the oil blends in. Let the water and oil mix cool down for a couple of minutes.

Pour the water and oil mixture into the bowl of corn flour and mix with a fork.

Finish by mixing the dough with your hands. If the dough is dry, add hot water—one teaspoon at a time—until the dough stays together and doesn’t crumble apart.

The dough should be slightly wet. Form the dough into a smooth ball then divide it into 12 balls and place them on top of a piece of plastic so they don’t stick to the surface they’re resting on. Cover them with a moist towel to keep them from drying out.
Prepare and cook each tortilla at a time. Take a ball and with your hands slightly wet, “slap” (pat the dough in between your palms as if you were applauding) and shape the ball into a flat disc that fits in your palm. Place the ball in between a piece of saran wrap then using a rolling pin roll the dough out into a tortilla disc. To remove the pressed tortilla lift the top layer of the saran wrap then lift the bottom layer of the plastic and roll over the tortilla onto your hand. Now the tortilla is ready to be cooked.

Note: If you have a tortilla press, your tortillas will come out more evenly rounded, but you can still make delicious tortillas with a rolling pin even if the edges are uneven and they don’t look perfectly round as those you buy at the store. If you use the rolling pin and want perfectly rounded tortillas, you can place a small soup bowl over the dough before you cut the edges with a small knife.

In a medium non-stick skillet, over medium heat, brown the tortilla for 1 minute on each side. As this tortilla is cooking you can prepare the next one until you have made all 12.

Place the cooked tortilla in foil and cover with a clean kitchen towel to keep them warm, or in a tortilla basket or ceramic tortilla holder if you have one. Store tortillas in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

 

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Puntas en Salsa Colorada (Beef Tips in Red Sauce)

 

The northern states in Mexico, like Chihuahua and Sonora, are well known for the quality of their beef, and this recipe comes from that part of the country. Sarah’s father, Alfonso Salas, was born in Monterrey Mexico, and he was a strong contributor to this recipe.

 

Ingredients (8 servings)

4-5 pounds of trimmed tenderloin chopped into bite-size tips

5 large tomatoes

1 cup of chicken broth

1 good size onion

Pickled Jalapeño peppers to taste (optional)—substitute 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper

3 cloves of garlic peeled

1 teaspoon of cumin

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

½ of a cup of fresh chopped cilantro

3 tablespoons of virgin olive oil

 

Directions 

In a small bowl, crush the garlic then add crushed jalapeño peppers (use as many as you wish in relation to how spicy you wish to make the dish). You can substitute them with one tablespoon of cayenne pepper or omit them altogether. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil then add the cumin salt and pepper, ¼ of a cup of finely chopped cilantro and mix the paste well.

In a large plastic zip lock bag mix the paste with the beef tips and mix it well. Marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Chop the tomatoes then crush them or run them briefly through a blender—don’t puree them—they need to be a bit coarse. Add the cup of chicken stock to the crushed tomatoes and mix well.

Chop the onion.

Heat a large skillet then once hot add the oil and let it warm up at medium-high heat.

Add the onion and cook for about 3 minutes then add the beef tips. Keep cooking until the beef is browned.

Add the tomatoes and the cilantro. Cook for about 15 more minutes until sauce thickens and meat is tender.

 

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Arroz Blanco con Chícharos (White Rice with Peas)

 
White rice is used with many Mexican dishes, and peas—along with carrots and onions—are usually added to the rice. Sometimes the rice has a tomato base, and at times—as in this recipe—the rice is simply white, making for a nice accompaniment to the red meat dish. Sarah’s mother used chicken broth instead of water to give the rice its crispy flavor.

 

Ingredients 

1 cup of long grain rice

½  an onion finely chopped

1 clove of garlic

2 cups of chicken broth

1 tablespoon of virgin olive oil

1 cup of frozen peas

Sal and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

 

Directions

Chop the onion and the garlic.

Heat a medium sized pot then add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

Once the olive oil is warm, add the onions and cook them over medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning them, until they’re slightly translucent.

Add the garlic and cook briefly.

Add the rice and stir making sure the rice is fully coated by the oil.

Add the chicken broth and the cup of frozen peas and stir. Bring to a simmer. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Once it’s reaches a simmer, turn the heat to low, cover the pot, and cook for 15- 20 minutes.

 

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Torta de Cielo (Heavenly Cake)

Torta de Cielo is literally a heavenly delicious cake. It’s fresh and sweet, with a nice crunch to it due to the crumbed almonds. A scoop of vanilla ice cream can be used to accompany it, but it doesn’t need it.

 

Ingredients

8 oz. of raw almonds with skins

2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 eggs

1 pinch of salt

1 cup of granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

9 tablespoon of all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon of brandy

1 teaspoon of almond extract

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Powder sugar for dusting the cake when done

Silver roasted almond halves to garnish

 

Directions

Position oven rack to the middle, and preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). 

Lightly butter an 8-inch non-stick round cake-pan or tart-pan.

Pour the almonds in a food processor or blender and grind them to form a crumbly mixture. They should not be too coarse or too fine. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl beat together with an electric handheld blender the butter and the granulated sugar until smooth.

Add the eggs, brandy, and the almond and vanilla extracts until well blended.

Add the almonds and mix well.

Mix the flour, baking powder, and the salt together and, stir it gradually into the egg and butter mixture until the flour is just incorporated.

Spoon the batter into the greased pan and smooth the top surface.

Bake for 40 minutes or until the cake feels spongy when pressed in its center.

Let the cake completely cool off.

Remove the cake from the pan after it’s cold.

To serve place slivered toasted almonds on top, then through a fine mesh strainer dust the cake with powder sugar by tapping with a spoon so it sprinkles the sugar evenly on the top of the cake. 

Note: Don’t store it in the refrigerator.

 

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Daniel’s Meal From Spain
 

Daniel wished to honor Alexander and his long stay in Spain, while at the same time he wanted to impress Elisabeth and Sarah. He prepared a typical Spanish meal starting with a tasty appetizer or tapa. Tapas are the staple of Spanish meals, and appetizers make up the biggest portion of the menus of all restaurants. Spaniards like to gather at the bar of a restaurant and enjoy their tapas with a nice glass of wine or cocktail.

 

Pan Rustico Español (Spanish Rustic Bread)


Ingredients (makes 2 loafs)

¼ cup of milk

5 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

5 teaspoons butter

1 package active dry yeast

2 ½ to 3½ cups of unbleached flour (2 cups for the bread and the rest to roll the dough)

Cornstarch to prevent sticking

 

Directions

Pour the yeast into a mixing bowl and add a cup of warm water. Stir until there are no lumps in the yeast and it seems to bubble up.

Melt the butter, and then add it to the yeast, along with the milk, sugar, and salt. Stir.

Using an handheld electric mixer set on low, slowly add two cups of flour to the mix by adding about a ¼ of a cup at a time waiting to add more as soon as the previous one has been well integrated. As you stir the mix it will stick to the sides of the bowl, use a spatula to fold it in and keep stirring and adding flour until you have poured the two cups.

To knead the dough, start by sprinkling flour over the top of an area on the table where you’re going to work the dough until it’s lightly covered in flour. Take the dough ball out of the bowl (it’ll be sticky), and place on your working area.

Start kneading by smashing the dough down to flatten it, then after it’s flat folding it back up into a ball again, then flattening it again. You can also squeeze and twist the dough, then flatten it again. Do this for ten minutes and then shape the dough into a ball.

Coat the inside of a clean mixing bowl with cornstarch, and then put the ball of dough in the bowl. Place a cloth over the bowl and set it somewhere warm for an hour.

After an hour the dough should’ve risen and it should be roughly double the size that it was before.

Push the dough down (two or three good smacks will make it shrink back to normal), then put the dough on the floured area of your table and spread it out in the shape of two rectangles (one per loaf) with one side the length of the baking pan. As you do this you may need to put a bit more flour on the table to prevent your dough from sticking. Then, roll the rectangles out to the same size as the bread pan.

Coat the baking pans with cornstarch and place a loaf inside each pan. Cut slits on the upper part of the dough with a knife, diagonally ½ inch more or less.

Cover that loaf with the towel, and let it sit again in a somewhat warm environment for one hour to rise.
Heat the oven to (500°F or 260°C).

Note: Daniel placed a water container in the oven in order to create a wet atmosphere since the bread bakes better in that environment, and turns up a crispier crust.

After 10 to 15 minutes, turn down the heat to (400°F or 200°C). Place the bread in the oven and bake.

Baking time may vary depending on your oven, and it can range between 30 to 45 minutes. Keep a watchful eye after 30 minutes and you’ll find the right time for your oven.

When it’s done, check to see if it’s ready by tapping the underside of the loaf. If it sounds hollow, it’s done. Remove it from the pan to cool. Let it cool down completely before slicing.

 

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Tapa de Hongos al Alioli (Appetizer of Mushrooms on Garlic Mayonnaise)

 

Ingredients

6oz of mushrooms, sliced thin

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

A pinch of salt

1 tablespoon of sherry wine

Alioli (garlic mayonnaise)

French bread, sliced into rounds

 

Ingredients for the Alioli

3 fresh garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

½ teaspoon of salt

1 egg yolk, at room temperature

½ lemon juiced

½ cup of virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

 

Directions

Start by preparing the Alioli.

Place the garlic and salt and black pepper in a blender. Pulse for a few seconds.

Add the egg yolk and lemon juice, and pulse on and off until well blended.

Turn the blender on low and begin adding the olive oil in a thin stream until it reaches the consistency of mayonnaise. You may need to add more oil or less depending on your blender and its speed.

Once the alioli is done you’re ready to prepare the mushrooms. Heat the olive oil in a pan then add the mushrooms, salt and sherry. Cover, and lower the heat. Cook until the liquid is released from the mushrooms, 5-10 minutes. Drain, set aside, and let it cool off.

Cut a loaf of bread into small thin slices. Toast the slices and let them cool off.

Do not finalize this appetizer ahead of time. It must be served right before you’re ready to eat it, otherwise the toast will get soggy.

To serve spread a few toasted rounds with alioli and top with the mushrooms. Present the rest of the appetizer by placing the toasted rounds in a basket and allowing each guest to scoop the alioli and the mushrooms onto the toasted rounds. In this way the bread remains nice and crisp.

 

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Almejas en Salsa Verde (Clams in Green Sauce)

 

This dish is typical of many seaside towns in Spain, but has also been exported to the interior of the country. It’s easy to prepare, and without a doubt, will satisfy even the most discriminating palates.

 

Ingredients (4 servings)

3 pounds of steamer clams

3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

16 oz. of clam juice

4 tablespoons of finely chopped onion

3 cloves garlic, flattened with the side of a cleaver and peeled

½ cup of finely chopped parsley

1 cup white wine

3 medium-sized potatoes peeled and chopped in bite sizes

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Directions

Peal the potatoes and chop them into bite sizes chunks the put them in a pan with cold water to shed some of the starch.

You will need a large soup pot with a lid to cook the clams and potatoes.

Heat the olive oil in the soup pot, add the onion and garlic, and cook over medium for about a minute or so.

Add the parsley and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Drain the potatoes and then add them to the pot along with the clam juice and the wine.

Cover and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are done.

Once the potatoes are done, place ¾ of the mix in a blender and liquefy. Add the liquid back to the saucepan.

Scrub the clams with a brush under cold running water. After you scrub each clam place it in a colander. You must do it quickly and one clam at a time so you don’t kill them. You don’t want the clams under the tap water too long—after all they are saltwater creatures. Discard any clams with cracked shells or shells that fail to close when tapped.

Once cleaned, add the clams to the hot soup, tightly cover the pan, and cook over high heat until the clam open wide, about 10-15 minutes.

Stir the clams once or twice to give the shells on the bottom space to open. If some of the clams open sooner than the others, quickly remove them from the pot and set them aside so they don’t overcook while the others open.

Discard any clams that don’t open.

Serve with the rustic bread loaf.

Offer side bowls to discard the empty shells.

 

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Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding)

 

This dessert is typical of Spain and can be found practically in all restaurants. The key to its success is that although it appears to be similar to a rice pudding, its uniqueness stems from the fact that the rice doesn’t loose the crispness of each grain. In other words, it’s not a mushy pudding.
 

Ingredients

2 cups milk

1½ cups of medium grain white rice

½ cup granulated sugar (organic has more flavor)

½ stick of unsalted butter or margarine

The rind of ½ of a lemon

1 cinnamon stick

1-2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

 

Directions

Pour approximately 3 cups of water in a large pot and bring to a boil.

When it begins to boil, add the rice.

Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Turn off the heat and allow rice to sit with the remaining water in the pot.

Pour milk into another pot cook on low heat.

Add the sugar and stir until it is completely dissolved.

Bring the milk to a boil over medium heat.

Drain the water from the rice.

Once the milk boils, slowly add the drained rice, and mix well.

Add the butter, the cinnamon stick and the lemon rind.

Stir the mix and bring to a soft boil for about 15-20 minutes or until rice is soft.

Remove the rice from the heat.

Discard the cinnamon stick and the lemon peel and pour the rice pudding into a serving dish.

Sprinkle the top with ground cinnamon.

Allow the pudding to cool off for 20 minutes before serving.

Arroz con Leche can be served warm or cold, but most people prefer it cold. When serving it cold, allow the rice mixture to cool down for about 30 minutes, then refrigerate 1-2 hours.

 

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Trufas al Coñac (Brandy Truffles)

 
Daniel deiced to prepare a second dessert made of pure chocolate and a dash of cognac to contrast the Arroz con Leche. Since he had used potatoes in the main dish, he wanted to offer his guests a choice for dessert that didn’t add another starch. This is an easy recipe and the result is finger licking good.
 

Ingredients

1½ cups of chocolate baking chips

4 tablespoons of unsalted butter

6 tablespoons of heavy cream

7 tablespoons of powered sugar

3 tablespoons of brandy

7 tablespoons of cocoa powder

 

Directions

Melt the chocolate pieces on low heat in non-stick pot.

After the chocolate has melted completely remove it from heat.

Add the butter and cream to the melted chocolate and mix well.

Add the brandy and powder sugar and stir until it thickens.

Place the mixture in the fridge for half an hour.

Take out the mixture and form small balls out of it.

Lightly dust each ball with the cocoa powder and serve.

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