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Sunday, April 27, 2014


The most famous type of Pesto is the Basil Pesto Recipe. Made with just a few inexpensive ingredients, one can enhance many dishes with a spoonful of this, such as Alfredo Sauce.



small bunch of fresh basil leaves
3 to 4 garlic cloves, peeled

generous splash of olive or pomace oil
handful of grated Romano cheese
handful of pine nuts

salt and pepper, to taste
6 to 8 ounces cooked pasta

splash of olive or pomace oil, and/or notch of butter


In a food processor put the Basil Leaves (discard stems), Garlic, splash of Olive or Pomace Oil, Romano and Pine Nuts and pulse till all mixed up.



In a saute pan, put Olive of Pomace Oil and/or notch of Butter, a large spoonful of Pesto, and a few more Pine Nuts and begin to saute. It will cook fast.


Top on Pasta and mix in, top with more Romano Cheese and serve.

Saturday, April 26, 2014


Here is a very simple TAMALES RECIPE, where you use Parchment paper INSTEAD of Corn Husks.
Parchment paper is cheaper, quicker to put the Tamale together, and it steams faster. Corn husks need to be soaked FOREVER in water before you use them.


Yield: about 10 Tamales
Prep Time: 30 min or so
Cook Time: about 1 hour 


2 cups masa harina (corn meal)
2 cups chicken broth (warmed up)
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 medium yellow onion, diced fine
1 stick butter (not margarine, but butter)

•handful Ground Sirloin, sauteed till brown in a DAB of Butter and dash of Oil
•2 boneless Chicken Breasts, boiled in water for about 10-15 min, until done; cooled down, then sliced
up, diced up into bits
•Some pulled Pork (preferrably WITHOUT BBQ sauce)
•handful of SHREDDED Chihuahua, Quesidilla, Mozzarella or Cheddar cheese

•small can of jalepeno peppers, sliced in half, remove seeds, then dice up into bits
•you can also make JUST cheese tamales, and use a variety of finely diced and shredded cheeses as the filling.

•thin slices of Mexican Farmer Cheese, Swiss, Mozzarella or Provolone cheese
•small can of (mild) Enchilada sauce

•Parchment paper (folded and cut into approx 6x6 or larger SQUARES) you'll need about 10 of these or so. Parchment paper is MUCH CHEAPER than soaking expensive corn husks in water for years and years, and easier too.
•Large Pot with lid
•Steamer basket or at least a metal colander
•Cake pan
•Tin Foil

1.Put corn meal, baking powder and a pinch of salt and pepper if you want into bowl.
2.Divide stick of butter in half
3.Put 1/2 stick butter and diced onions in saute pan, saute on medium flame till onions are soft. NOTE: To prevent butter from burning, add a dab or two of oil to this saute.

4.Take the other half stick of butter and cut up into slices, add to corn meal mixture
5.Take fork or potato masher and work butter into corn meal
6.Add sauteed onions WITH butter to the corn meal, stir in
7.Add a bit of Chicken Broth at a time to corn meal, mixing in. You want to get a "spreadable" PASTE mixture, not soupy.


8.Saute ground sirloin, or boil chicken breasts. Make sure it is cut up into small pieces
9.Take and practice with one square sheet of parchment paper. You'll want to take about 1/4 to 1/3 cup corn meal mix and press down till it's in a rectangle on the parchment paper, making it about 1/4 inch thick.
10.Put your filling choices in center


11.Take opposite corners of parchment paper and close up the corn meal mix to seal.
12.Wrap parchment paper around, then seal up the ends so they are on the same side. 


13.Pour water into pot, but don't let it go over the steamer basket
14.Place all tamales carefully on top of steamer basket
15.Cover and simmer/steam for about 1 hour
16.Half way thru, with tongs, remove a few tamales and make sure that the water has not boiled all away. Add a bit more water.
17.Remove tamales after about 1 hour, plate and let cool before unwrapping
18.Pour just a dab of enchilada sauce on the bottom of a tin foil lined cake pan, add a dab of water and swirl around. This will act as the base and prevent the tamales from sticking to the pan
19.Put the Tamales down in the pan
20.Top with more enchilada sauce
21.Top with cheese
22.Bake 350*F until cheese melts
23.remove with spatula, plate and serve with spanish rice, beans, etc
Butter is more healthy for you than cooking with lard. It makes these tamales moister, and "less plastic tasting than when made with Lard"
Wrapping them up in parchment paper is not only cheaper, but less time consuming than when using corn husks, and lessens the steaming/simmering process as well.
You can also freeze the still wrapped up tamales in a freezer bag once they have cooled down, then all you have to do is microwave them for a quick snack. 

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Friday, April 25, 2014

SALSA VERDE Mexican Green Sauce

Make a Green Sauce for dipping or enhance it a bit to top on Tamales, Enchillada's, Burrito's etc with the SALSA VERDE RECIPE.


Yield: about 1 Cup
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 5-10 min


1 serrano pepper
3 to 4 tomatillo's (outer skin removed)
1/2 onion slice
a few cloves of garlic, peeled
2 to 4 ripe limes, halved
A splash of chicken broth (optional)
1 handful of chopped up cilantro
2 to 3 pinches of salt (to taste)
some tin foil
To Make a "green sauce" for topping on enchillada's, tamales,:or wet burrito's
2 tablespoons of butter or margarine
1 small handful flour
1/2 cup or more of chicken broth
1/2 cup or more of salsa verde


On tin foil put the Garlic, Onion and Serrano Pepper, and BROIL for a few minutes till slightly charred. 


Remove, allow to cool. Dice Cilantro. Slice Limes.
Remove husk type skin from Tomatillo's and discard. Put Tomatillo's in pot of water to cover, bring to boil, simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, till softened. Place in bowl that is filled with ice water to cool down. Remove stems and discard.


Place all ingredients in food processor, squeeze in Lime juice from Limes, pulse till mixed. You can also add a splash of Chicken Broth if you want.

Melt Butter, add Flour and whisk. Add Chicken Broth and Salsa Verde and wisk on low flame till mixed in. Add more Broth or water if too thick. Keep warm and top on Echillada's, Burrito's etc. Top with Cheese's and nuke or bake till melted.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

BOUILLABAISSE (Zuppa di Pesce)

Bouillabaisse is basically a Seafood/Fish type of Soup/Main Course that can have a variety of different Seafood in it.
In this Bouillabaisse (Zuppa di Pesce) recipe, I used Mussels, Clams, Shrimp, Scallops, Crab Legs, Lobster, Oysters and Fish Fillet, that was made with my Homemade Seafood Broth recipe, and simmered in a light Tomato Broth.

For a simpler version, you can also make the Seafood Hot Pot recipe, which is basically a scaled down version of Bouillabaisse, that is simmered/steamed with small Red Potatoes and mini Corn on the Cob.

(All of these recipes are on the same page/website; it is rather lengthy and takes a bit of time, but very delish!!)



Whenever I eat out or serve at home Lobster and/or Crab, I save all the shells, and put them in a heavy duty zip lock freezer bag and freeze them for later.Then when I know I will be making Bouillabaisse, I just defrost them. I then wrap them up in Cheese cloth and put them in a large pot just covering it with water (about 4 inches.)
(A few onions, carrots and celery are optional, but not important.) If you have managed to save the ROE, which is the red egg sack from female lobsters, you can put this in your broth as well. Think of this as a Seafood Boullion cube. (you can freeze this, then just plop into the broth) I bring it to a boil, and then simmer for a good hour or two. Discard shells in cheesecloth. This gives you a GREAT seafood broth.You can skip this step, and just use prepackaged Seafood Broth, or Chicken or Vegetable Broth if you prefer. For this recipe you'll need at least 2 Cups of Broth.If you are making the seafood broth and have any left overs, you can freeze that as well for future use.

 When you purchase fresh Mussels and Clams, make SURE that their shells are all the way closed. This means that they are still alive. Those that are slightly opened are dieing. Of course you can tap them and see if they close, but it's a good all around point to just buy those that are firmly closed. If you are not going to cook with them the day you buy them, then make SURE to Rinse ALL, and store preferably in a metal bowl with ice and water for no more than 2 days, changing the water and ice about twice a day.
Beard the Mussels-- if they are wild caught they will have a type of hair on the outside of the shell. You need to use a short knife and pull both ways to get rid of the beard. If the Mussels are farm raised then there will be no beard. I only purchase FRESH Mussels. I haven't been too crazy with the frozen ones. BLECK
CLAMS: I like the very small VONGOLE clams as I think that they retain a lot more flavor than the larger ones and are easier to chew. They are not always available, so any size will do, but in my book, the smaller the better.
SHRIMP: You can buy these cooked and frozen, medium to large. They will already be peeled and deveined. For this recipe, it is ok to put the frozen shrimps into the sauce. If you buy raw shrimp, then remove shells, slice down the middle of the curved side of shrimp and remove the vein. Rinse. Boil or microwave with a bit of water to partially cook (almost white).
NOTES ON OTHER SEAFOOD:You can add Talapia, Flounder, Dover Sole, Red Snapper, Salmon (deboned) or Orange Roughy fillets. Generally speaking, when I do this, I partially bake. Most of the fillets can be baked with a bit of Butter and Olive Oil, some Lemon juice at 350*F for 5-10 min (or 1/2 the time required according to pkg directions), as it will continue to cook when you put them into the soup. With the exception of Salmon (which will be pink when fully cooked--about 15 min) all the other fillets will be a bright white when fully cooked, about 12 min. So keep your eye on it, you don't want to fully or over cook your fillets. As stated here, add the fish with its sauce & juices into the soup.
I feel it is somewhat important to get shell fish into this soup. The fillets, shucked or canned Oysters and canned Clams are basically fillers, and tasty, but you really get the flavor of Seafood if you also use FRESH shell fish (Mussels, Clams, Lobster Tails and/or Crab).
REGARDING CRAB LEGS: You'll want to get 5 or 4 UP legs, the number denotes how many "fingers" are per Crab section. Obviously the lower the number the thicker the leg. The higher the number, the thinner the leg. Snow Crab is thinner and more flakier than Alaskan King Crab. Snow Crab is also less expensive.

Regarding Tomato Puree: (you can also use whole peeled Tomatoes; cut them up and mash them with a potato masher, and use the liquid too!!) NOTE: I would stay away from Tomato sauce for this recipe. The Puree, Stewed or Whole Peeled Tomatoes really give this soup a light touch and doesn't overwhelm it like Tomato sauce could.
Regarding Saffron: Saffron is VERY expensive and sometimes hard to find. A little envelope not even the size of a business card costs more than a half tank of gas for your car!! However, I did find one product in the Mexican aisle of my supermarket (or in any Mexican store too I would imagine..) called: SAZON con AZAFRAN. I don't like to really promote products here, but in this case, considering the price of Saffron, I will, it is a valid alternative. If you can't afford Saffron nor find this product, it's okay.)
NOTE: About cooking with Wine or flambeing: Because of the high heat involving sauteeing, and when flambeeing, the alcohol IS burned off, thus the FLAME. Yes it is combustible and does actually burn. The point is to retain the flavor of the plant used to make the alcohol.Wine does not combust as it is low in volume of alcohol, but vodka, brandy, etc has a higher volume (thus it's proof). Don't be afraid of flambeeing, just be careful. You can always just as well buy teeny tiny bottles at a liquor store for a couple of dollars if you're not going to flambe a lot to save money.

1 very small Fennel bulb (aka Anise), a few slices diced up fine
1 small Leek, a few slices diced up fine
1 Scallot diced (optional)
1 very small Red Onion diced
A few cloves of Garlic, diced
About 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
1/2 can of Beer (optional)
About 1/2 Cup of DRY White Wine such as (Chardonnay)
At least 2 cups of Tomato Puree (per person)
1 pinch of Saffron (optional)
1 small can of minced Clams (with the juice)
1/2 pint shucked or small can of Oysters (with the juice)
Generous pinches of Salt and Pepper
1 shot of Vodka
about 1/2 stick of Butter
2 Cups Seafood Broth (see notes above)
4-6 oz of thick Pasta per person (optional)
about 1 & 1/2 lb Seafood per person; shell's weigh in so keep this in mind.
in addition, Below is for ONE person so purchase accordingly:
ONE 4-6 oz Lobster Tail
One Crab Leg cluster
1/2 lb. Mussels
1/2 lb. fresh Vongole Clams
1/4 to 1/2 lb Bay or Sea Scallops
1/4 to 1/2 lb Shrimp
One 4-6 oz or so of Fish Fillet


Get a few Lobster Tails, 1 per person. I usually buy the small 4-6 oz tails, if frozen, then I defrost. With a very sharp and large knife or with poultry sheers, cut through the very center of the top of the tail. This may take time, but work the scissors/knife through this tough shell. When you have accomplished your way almost to the very end of the tail, reach in with your fingers and separate the meat from the shell, gently pull it out and over the top of the shell so it is resting on top of the shell you just cut. It's a good idea to rinse thoroughly.Now you want to put this on top of a foil lined pie tin or cake pan. The foil will retain heat as it bakes. Put a touch of water underneath the shell so while it is baking, it will steam and cook the Lobster from underneath. I like to melt a bit of Butter with a dash of Tabasco (microwaved) to pour over the top of the exposed meat, and then holding my Paprika waaaayyyy up high, give it a little dash.You are going to want to bake this at 350*F for about 5-7 minutes, not really long. You don't want this baked all the way, as it will finish with the soup. Plate and set aside tails when done, retaining as much of the juices as possible.

If you have frozen Snow Crab Legs, thaw out for a bit. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add one can of Beer, and plop in your Crab Legs. NOTE: You'll want to get 5 or 4 UP legs, the number denotes how many "fingers"  are per Crab section. Obviously the lower the number the thicker the leg. The higher the number, the thinner the leg.You'll want to simmer the legs for about 5 min. Remove them, set aside and discard water.


OKAY, LET'S BEGIN....Depending on the size of the Clams tells one when to add the Mussels. If they are SMALL Clams, then add the Mussels at the same time. In this case, I have LARGE Clams, so I want to start them first. In a LARGE saute pan put the Clams, Fennel, (shallots), Red Onion & Leeks with Olive Oil, Garlic, Salt and Pepper. Saute high flame. After a few minutes the Clams will start to open.Then add the Mussels. 

 Continue to saute for a few min, then add the Wine. Clams and Mussels will begin to open. Add the shucked or canned Oysters & canned Clams WITH their juices, gently stir in, simmer for a few more min. Make sure your Shrimp is ready.

AND THEN Saute Bay Scallops in a notch of Butter in a medium saute pan. Flambe with Vodka. 

Set aside.

In a VERY large pot, put the Crab and Lobster. 

 Add the Tomato Puree and then add the broth. 


 Gently stir in all the remaining Seafood with it's sauces and juices. If you're adding partially baked Fillets, add them now too. Slightly cover and simmer on low for at least 20 min. gently stirring every few minutes. Last few minutes add the precooked Shrimp. 

 Before done, make large Pasta, plate Pasta and top with Seafood.


 A nice variation of this is to just take a small handful of
About a Cup Broth (see above) along with some water to thin out
One Crab Leg Cluster
One Small Lobster tail (cleaned as described above BUT not baked)
dash of Beer (optional)
A few small Red Potatoes
A few small Cob Corn Niblets (defrosted)
Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes
A few Tablespoons Olive Oil
Parsley or Cilantro diced up
To the almost boiling broth add the dash of Beer, Crab Leg, cleaned Lobster Tail, Potatoes and Corn Niblets. On medium flame (below boiling) simmer slightly covered 20 min until Potatoes are done.
In the meantime, saute the Mussels & Clams in Olive Oil with small pinches of Salt, Pepper & Red Pepper flakes. When they JUST begin to open, toss into
Seafood broth. If you have precooked frozen Shrimp, rinse and remove tails and toss into broth now. If they are uncooked, devein (see Shrimp notes above) and
saute in the Olive Oil mixture until done, turning over constantly (only a couple of minutes until they are white).
Top Broth mixture with Parsley or Cilantro.
Optional: squeeze in just a bit of Lime Juice. Serve warm.