Mint Lemon Agua Fresca

Mint Lemon Agua Fresca

Let’s suppose someone opened a Mason Jar and poured you a glass of Mint Lemon Agua Fresca. It’s refreshing, full of zest and sweet intensity from the coconut water, and if acidity can be thrilling, this recipe has it. Would you be surprised to learn this is a staple from my cookbook Latin Superfoods? I usually drink it right after exercise, or as soon as I wake up, on an empty stomach. It feels pretty awesome. And you can watch a video of this recipe on You Tube. Don’t forget to subscribe to the channel!

 

Mint Lemon Agua Fresca

Makes 2 Ball Mason Jars

 

6 sprigs fresh mint

10 thin slices of cucumber

1 lime, sliced thinly

4 cups coconut water

Ice cubes

 

  • Divide the mint, cucumber, and lime between the 2 Ball Mason Jars. Fill each with coconut water.
  • Close the jar and let it steep in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight. Add ice before serving.

 

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Pork Ramen Noddle

Pork Ramen Noddle

This is how I layer my Pork Ramen Noddle: I make the pork, mushrooms and broth separately. And then, it’s the layers of ingredients that make all the difference.

You can also watch a video of me and my daughter, Bianca, making this dish on You Tube.

 

Pork Ramen Noddle

Serves 4

 

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered

1 shallot, finely minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 pound pre-cooked pulled pork

1 onion, sliced

1 pound ramen noodles, cooked

2 scallions, white and green parts, cut ion the bias

2 hard-boiled eggs, cut in half

6 cups reduced sodium beef broth

2 radishes, cut into thin stripes

2 baby cucumbers, sliced

1 cup cilantro leaves (not chopped)

 

  • Prepare the mushrooms: heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan on high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, without stirring until it starts to release its oil, about 3 minutes. Add the shallots, and season with salt and pepper. Mix everything and cook until mushrooms are soft and tender, about 5 minutes all together. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
  • Prepare the Pork: using the same pan as the mushrooms, heat the remaining olive oil and add the sliced onions. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon until it soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the pulled pork and break it up in pieces, making sure pork is completely broken up into thin threads. Cook, stirring frequently until pork is completely flavored. Add about ¼ cup water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
  • Meanwhile, heat the beef broth and make sure it’s well seasoned.
  • To assemble the Ramen Soup, place some cooked noodles, about ¼ cup pulled pork and some mushrooms in a bowl. Ladle the broth on top, and garnish with the scallions, cucumbers, radish, eggs and cilantro. Serve immediately.

 

 

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Onion Gratin Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Onion Gratin Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Maybe it will happen tonight, or tomorrow. How many sandwiches are you eating during this quarantine?

I saw a recipe at the NY Times Cooking Section (by Ali Slagle) that inspired me. And oh boy, this Onion Gratin Grilled Cheese Sandwich is just as good as I thought it would be! I brought it up to quarantine cooking club and have been making this sandwich over and over again. It already became a regular in the weekly repertoire in my house.

Caramelizing onions does take a bit of time to prepare.  I usually prepare it when I’m cooking something else so that have it ready in the fridge, and then, when I crave for this sandwich, boom, it’s ready.

I usually like a small sandwich, so I always go for the end parts of the bread as they are smaller than the center cut of a loaf. But if you like a regular sized sandwich, be sure to center slices. I used Italian bread because that’s what I had at home at the time, but any country style or sourdough bread will make a damn good sandwich.

As for the cheese, traditionally, the classic French Onion Soup calls for Grueye cheese. I had cheddar in the fridge, that’s what I used. Feel free to use muenster, gruyere, cheddar or any other yellow cheese of your preference.

You can use a panini press machine, an iron camp cooker or just a simple plain skillet.

You can watch of video of this recipe on my YouTube Channel! And don’t forget to subscribe!

 

Onion Gratin Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Serves 2

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 pound onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted to mayonnaise point

1 center slices Italian bread

4 slices white cheddar cheese

1 raw garlic clove

 

Cook the onions: in a large skillet heat the olive oil over low heat and add the onions. Cook slowly, stirring frequently, until they caramelize into a deep amber caramel color, about 25 to 30 minutes. If you see some onions burning on the sides, add a tablespoon of water. Resist the temptation to turn up the heat; they need to caramelize over low heat or else they might burn too fast. Transfer to a plate or a container and keep refrigerated. You can make the onions up to 5 days ahead of time.

Pre-heat the panini press.

Spread melted butter on the outer parts of the bread.

Mound some onions, about 2-3 tablespoons on one side of the bread, top with the cheese, close the sandwich and take it to press until nice and golden-brown and the cheese is melted, about 4-5 minutes.

 

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Bean Broth

Bean Broth with Croutons

I used black eyes peas simply because that’s what was in my pantry. Feel free to use any kind of dried beans to make this delicious bean broth recipe and serve with croutons, parsley and Parmesan, or other garnishes that you might prefer. I used the ends of a loaf bread to make garlic croutons. It goes to show, in times of pandemic, nothing goes to waste! Inspired by the magazine Bon Appetit, this is another great one! You can watch a video of me cooking this recipe with my kids here. 

 

Bean Broth With Croutons

Serves 4 to 6 people

 

For the Black Beans:

1 pound dried black eyed beans, picked over and rinsed (but not soaked)

8 to 10 cups water

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 to 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and whole

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3 fresh bay leaves

 

For the Croutons:

2 end slices of any type of country bread

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

 

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Freshly chopped parsley

 

For the Beans:

Place the black beans in a pressure cooker and cover with tap water by 2 inches. (about 8 to 10 cups of water). Add the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and bay leaves. Lock the lid and bring to a boil. When you hear the sound of the pressure cooker in full gear, reduce the heat to medium- low (it is very important to maintain a constant gentle pressure because the pressure keeps increasing as the boiling point of the water increases). Check the beans after 20 to 25 minutes – they should be tender, showing no traces of starch, but not mushy. The water will be cloudy. Remove from the heat and set aside.

 

For the Croutons:

Tear the bread into small pieces or cut them with a serrated knife. In a large saute pan over medium heat, add the oil and butter. add the bread in a single layer. the oil and butter should be bubbling lightly. Adjust the heat as necessary and keep stirring the croutons as often as you can, to make sure they turn golden evenly all around. Cook until the croutons are crisp and a beautiful golden rich golden brown on all sides, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Let them cool completely. Once cooled they can be stored in the refrigerator and warmed back in a hot oven for 3 minutes to crisp up again.

To assemble, pour some of the beans into bowls and garnish with croutons, parmesan and parsley.

 

I’m so happy that you visited today! Thanks for reading and browsing my site!

If you like what you read, tell your friends about it!

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See you next time!

Leticia

 

 

Pasta Cacio E Pepe

Pasta Cacio E Pepe

Pasta Cacio E Pepe

Pepper in the beginning and in the end! That’s the spirit of this amazing, classic and delicious dish from Italy called Pasta Cacio E Pepe. As mentioned in the video (watch it on You Tube), saving some of the pasta water is the real secret to this recipe. Yes! That cloudy water, that everyone throws away! Now you know! Keep it. Save it. that water is full of flavor! You might not seed to save the whole thing, but save at least 2 cups. As you add the water to the pan, and it mixes with the peppery butter, it creates a starchy, creamy sauce that transform this dish from ordinary to extraordinary!

Pasta Cacio e Pepe

Serves 2

 

Kosher salt

6 oz long noodle pasta (such as bucatini, spaghetti, tagliolini or Fusilli lunghi—as used in this recipe)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

¾ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

 

Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a large pasta pot. Season with salt. Add pasta and cook stirring occasionally, until just al dente (take one minute off from package instructions). Drain and reserve about 2 cups of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add pepper and cook, swirling the pan, until the black pepper starts to release it aromas, about 1 minute.

Add about ½ cup of the reserved pasta water to skillet and bring to a simmer. Add the pasta and remaining butter. Reduce. Heat to low and add the cheese, stirring and tossing with tongs, until all melted. Remove the pan from the heat. Add more cheese, stirring and tossing, until the cheese melts, and the noodles are covered by a creamy, beautiful sauce. Feel free to add more pasta water if the sauce seems a little dry. Transfer pasta to warm bowls and serve immediately. I like to sprinkle even more cheese and more pepper at the end. Never enough!

 

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Tuna & Israeli Couscous Salad

Tuna & Israeli Couscous Salad

My daughter loves this recipe for Tuna & Israeli Couscous Salad! What I love about it, is that it’s great for batch cooking; we can make a batch and the family will eat throughout the week. Although, it’s so good that in just 2-3 days it’s over! Then we make it again, as it already became a staple in our home! Be sure to bring it to room temperature (but keep it covered until ready to serve) about one hour before serving. I made this salad with radish, celery and cherry tomatoes, because that’s what we had in the fridge; feel free to use scallions, ginger, capers, or any other condiments and vegetables (shallots!) you think might go well here. As long as they don’t overwhelm the flavors of the tuna and Israeli couscous, it’s all good. Also, I started with cooked couscous, and to do so, treat it as pasta; bring about 8 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Season with a large pinch of salt. Add the couscous and cook according to package instructions. Drain a colander and toss it with olive oil. You can watch a video of me cooking with my daughter Bianca here on You Tube. and don’t forget to subscribe to the channel!

Tuna & Israeli Couscous Salad

Tuna & Israeli Couscous Salad

Serves 4 to 6

 

1 ½ cup cooked Israeli couscous (I used the tri-color, but feel free to use the regular)

2 red radish, finely diced

2 stalks celery, peeled and finely diced

½ cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

One (5-ounce) can or jar Italian tuna, drained and flaked

¼ cup freshly chopped parsley

¼ cup freshly chopped cilantro

 

In a large bowl, combine the couscous, radish, celery, cherry tomatoes and tuna, and fold well with a rubber spatula. Add the tuna, lemon zest and olive oil. Try to preserve some of the large chunks of tuna. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the herbs to finish. Serve at room temperature.

 

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Pasta with Peas and Pancetta

Pasta With Peas And Pancetta

Pasta with Peas and Pancetta

 

Pasta with Peas & Pancetta

Serves 4

We first tried this recipe for Pasta with Peas & Pancetta at our neighbor’s house for dinner one night, and after that, we never stopped making it at home. Our neighbors are from Rome, Italy, so we get spoiled sometimes with a Parmesan cheese from Italy and other imported ingredients that we love to indulge. Don’t worry too much about the kind of pasta you use for this dish. We used orecchiette, because that’s what was in the pantry, but any other shape along the lines of penne, farfalle, or fusilli will go well here. This is what we call Quarantine Cooking Club! You can watch a video of me cooking this recipe with my kids, Thomas and Bianca on You Tube 

 

Ingredients:

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

6 ounces pancetta, diced

½ onion, minced

One 10-ounce package (about 2 cups) frozen peas, thawed

1-pound orecchiette (or other pasta shape mentioned above)

¼ cup fresh chopped parsley

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Coarsely ground pepper

 

Procedure:

Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a large pasta pot. Season with salt. Add pasta and cook stirring occasionally, until just al dente (take one minute off from package instructions). Drain and reserve about 2 cups of the cooking water.

Meanwhile, combine 2 tablespoons of the oil and the pancetta in a large skillet and cook over medium high heat stirring occasionally, until the pancetta has rendered some of its fats and it’s crispy, golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a plate.

Using the fat that’s in the pot, add the onion and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the peas, the pasta, the pancetta and a couple of tablespoons by eye to the pan, mixing everything together and making sure every ingredient is enrobed by the natural juices in the pan. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Finish with Parmesan cheese and serve in individual bowls.

 

 

I’m so happy that you visited today! Thanks for reading and browsing my site!

If you like what you read, tell your friends about it,

I’d love to connect with you! Please do send comments and suggestions,

If you prepare any of the recipes on the site, snap a photo and send it to me!

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Email Me

Order a copy of my newest cookbook Latin Superfoods

And remember always,

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See you next time!

Leticia

 

 

Latin Superfoods

My New Cookbook: Latin Superfoods!

Latin Superfoods

My New Cookbook Latin Superfoods is due out October 15th by Skyhorse Publishing! I can’t believe it!

In this book, I write recipes that are super healthy yet unapologetically delicious that help you eat better, make good food choices, and perform at your peak in all aspects of your life. And in every page there is more cooking, more photos, more recipes and more stories that inspire. They are made to be used and to be useful. Want a tease? How about Braised Chicken with Fennel and Oranges (photo below), featured in Latin Superfoods is just one of the many recipes that will have you signing in the kitchen! Oh yeah! We cook through life in the kitchen with a bit of singing and dancing allowed! If you want to see videos that inspire too, check out my YouTube Channel! 

Thank you so much for your support throughout the years! Pre-order your copy today on Amazon to get this recipe and many more!

Chicken with Fennel & Oranges

Braised Chicken with Fennel & Oranges

 

I’d love to connect with you! Please do send comments and suggestions,

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And remember always,

Cook at home! Body Up! Health up! Wise up!

See you next time!

Leticia

 

 

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