Aug 16 2010 Published by under Food

This is a Mexican delicacy which has its mystic in its simplicity. You have three main ingredients, corn tortillas, salsa, and cheese. From this starting point, you can make infinite variations adding other ingredients such as chicken, beans, onions, or by changing the main salsa type. I will show you my recipe for the basic dish, and you can get creative afterwards.



Many people debate whether Chilaquiles should be soft or crunchy. Personally I like them more on the crunchy side, but my wife prefers them softer. The trick to getting crunchy Chilaquiles is starting up with fried corn tortillas. If they sell them like this in your store you will skip a step. If not you can fry them yourself. Don’t be tempted to use Tostitos, or Doritos or similar chips since they will not withstand the cooking process and you will end up with something that resembles mashed potatoes. You need real corn tortilla chips for Chilaquiles. It is also a good idea to make your favorite salsa ahead of time before starting the dish.

For Red Salsa for Chilaquiles

3 Tomatoes
1/2 Onion
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Serrano Chile (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
Pinch of Salt

Add all the ingredients to a blender. You can omit or add more chile according to your spicy tolerance. Add a 1/4 Cup of water. Blend until all the ingredients make a purée. The salsa will be bright red. Add to a frying pan. Turn the heat up to high heat and cook for 5 minutes or until the salsa changes from bright red to a darker richer color and the sauce becomes thicker. Let it rest for a while. Salsa tastes better when rested. You could even make the salsa the day before. Variations – You can experiment with other varieties of chiles, such as the jalapeño, chipotle, or serrano. You can also try the salsa with green tomatoes instead of red.

For Chilaquiles

4 Cups of Fried Corn Tortillas Chips or about 15 Corn Tortillas
Red Salsa for Chilaquiles (recipe above)
1 Cup Grated Mozzarella Cheese or Monterrey Jack Cheese
1/2 Cup Diced Onion
1 Cup Cooked Shredded Chicken Breast
Sour Cream (optional)
3 Tbsp of Olive Oil

Add the Olive Oil to a large Frying Pan on medium high heat. Start by cooking the diced onion until it is translucent. If you don’t have Fried Tortilla Chips, you can make the cutting regular corn tortillas into 1 Inch Squares (or strips) and fry them up until the become hard and crunchy. Add the Fried Tortilla Chips to the frying pan and mix in 1 Cup of Salsa. Cook for 3 minutes. The tortillas chips will start to get soft. You can add as much Salsa until you reach the desired Chilaquiles tenderness. Be careful to add Salsa slowly and in small amounts. Too much Salsa you will end up with soggy mess. Serve in plates, and top with chicken and cheese. Variations – My wife likes to add a spoonful of sour cream on the top. I also like to add a layer of fried beans on the bottom.

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Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

Jul 05 2010 Published by under Food

One of my favorite salads of all time, the Caesar Salad. If you have ordered one in a restaurant, it is one of those dishes that the chef walks up with the cart and makes a show of the preparation. It is a wonderful thing to see. The magic of this dish is the flavor complexity accomplished with the ingredient’s simplicity.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

Many people mistakingly believe that this salad was invented in the Caesar Palace. This common misconception is wrong. It was invented by an Italian-Mexican in Tijuana named Caesar Cardini. Another topic of debate surrounding this dish is one is the use of anchovies. The original recipes contained no anchovies according to its creator. For my preference I can go either way, depending if I want a stronger taste or a much lighter taste. It is customary to serve the romaine lettuce leaves whole, because originally the dish was meant to be served as bar finger food. The addition of grilled chicken is one of those variations that work very well with the dish.

For Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

2 Chicken Breast
1 Teaspoon Oregano
Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves
2 Limes
1 Egg
1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
4 Anchovies (optional)
4 Heads Romaine Lettuce
Parmesan Cheese
Black Pepper

Flatten the chicken breast with a kitchen hammer. Marinate the chicken breast with a dash of salt, a dash pepper, and oregano. Brush both sides with a little olive oil. Cook in a frying pan on high heat until golden brown on one side. Turn over, and cook until the other side is golden brown. Cover in aluminum foil and let them rest. In a bowl mash the garlic cloves and 1/2 teaspoon of salt until you form a uniform paste. If you are going to add the optional anchovies, blend into the paste at this moment. Add the juice of 2 limes, an egg and the worcestershire sauce. Mix. Slowly mix in 1/2 cup of olive oil. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Mix until the caesar dressing is emulsified. Slice the chicken breast into 1/2 inch pieces. Wash the heads of lettuce. Shred the lettuce into small 1 inch pieces. Add the lettuce to the plate. Add 2 to 4 Tablespoons of caesar dressing per plate. Add the chicken pieces. Grate parmesan cheese over the salad. Add the croutons. Optional – you can leave the lettuce leaves intact and serve them as finger foods.

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Spaghetti alla Bolognese

Jun 21 2010 Published by under Food

Spaghetti alla Bolognese could be quite simply Italy’s best know pasta dish. What is interesting about this is that this dish does not exist in Italy, since it is an American creation. In Bologna, you will find that they serve Ragu alla Bolognese, which resembles the meat sauce, but they will never serve over spaghetti. They will only serve it tagliatelle, which is a thicker pasta that is simillar to fetuccine.

Spaghetti alla Bolognese

Spaghetti alla Bolognese

As with the Americanization of many other favorite foods, this is a recipe that I have enjoyed since I was young. For me it doesn’t matter if they do not serve it in Italy, and even if the original idea has been changed around it still makes for a wonderful dish. I usually do not like to take shortcuts in my recipes, but for this one I will make an exception. I will use ready made spaghetti sauce. Since we are already breaking with the Bolognese tradition, lets Americanize this with full force. It also saves like 3 to 4 hours in making a real ragu. So in keeping with a new tradition, please enjoy my recipe for Spaghetti alla Bolognese.

For Spaghetti alla Bolognese

8 Ounces of Spaghetti pasta
1/2 Pound of Ground Beef
1 Cup of Spaghetti Sauce (Ragu brand is the one I use)
1/2 Cup Diced Onion
1/2 Teaspoon Oregano
1/2 Teaspoon Marjoram
1/4 Teaspoon of Black Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Parmesan Cheese

In a large stock pot, add 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta an cook for 10 minutes. Drain the pasta n a colander. While the pasta was cooking, add the olive oil to a 12 inch frying pan and set to medium heat. Dice the onion in a 1/4 inch dice. When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook for 1 minute. Add the ground beef and cook until the meat is brown, and the onions are semi transparent. Add the oregano, marjoram, salt, and black pepper and let it cook for 30 seconds and longer and you will burn the spices. Add the spaghetti sauces and about 1/4 cup of water. Cook until the sauce reduces a little. Serve the pasta in the plates, and top with the cooked spaghetti sauce. Garnish with as much grated parmesan as you like. Optional – Some people like to salt the water in which the pasta cooks, since it gives a better flavor and reduces the time water requires to boil. If you want to salt the water add 2 Tablespoons of salt to the stock pot water before adding the pasta to cook.

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Udon Noodle Soup in Broth

Jun 18 2010 Published by under Food

For sushi friday I am making Kake-Udon, or Udon Noodle Soup in Broth. This is surprisingly tasty broth with very simple ingredients. Not only does it have simple ingredients, but it is also super easy and quick to make. There is a common variation of this soup called Tempura Udon, which is basically the same preparation with the addition of a tempura shrimp piece or two.

Udon Noodle Soup in Broth

Udon Noodle Soup in Broth

There a basically two main flavor varieties of this soup. You have the darker broth which is prepared with dark soy sauce, which is of a stronger flavor.  It is more popular int the eastern parts of Japan. You also have the lighter broth which is prepared with light soy sauce, which is of a milder flavor. It is more popular in the eastern parts of Japan.  As you can see from the photo, I prefer the darker variety.

What amazes me is how many different flavors the Japanese can achieve in their dishes using the same main ingredients of Dashi, Mirin, Soy Sauce, and Rice Vinegar. You can see from my previous recipes, the Sunomono Dressing is made up of the same ingredients in different proportions, as the stock for Miso Soup.

There is a traditional technique for cooking the Udon noodles. It requires a boiling pot of water and adding the noodles. Then you add 1 cup of cold water to stop the boiling. When it comes to a rolling boil again, add another cup of  cold water. You repeat this 4 times until the noodles are done, which usually takes 12 minutes. I have done this procedure several times and always takes 12 minutes.  I am not sure wether it makes a difference, but to me it reminds me of some of my grandmothers techniques for cooking food when you don’t have timers or thermometers. I have done the preparation like cooking pasta with a timer, and have not noticed a difference. I just reduce the cooking time to 10 minutes.

For Udon Soup in Broth

3 Ounces of Dry Udon Noodles
4 Cups of Water
2 Teaspoons of Dashinomoto
2 Tablespoons of Dark Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon of Sugar
1 Tablespoon of Mirin
1 Sprig of Green Onions
Shimichi Togarashi (optional)

In a large  stock pot , bring about 2 liters of water to a boil. Cook the noodles either using the traditional technique (see above), or for ten minutes like if you were cooking pasta. Drain the noodles. Add 4 Cups of water in the pot and cook on medium heat. Dissolve the dashinomoto. Add the dark soy sauce, the sugar, and the mirin. When the sugar is dissolved the broth is done. For serving, I recommend that you combine the noodles and the broth just before you serve. If you do it ahead of time, the noodles will darken, and become very soft and gummy. Garnish with thinly chopped green onions, and if you like it spicy with some shimichi togarashi. Variations – If you want a milder flavor use light (regular) soy sauce instead of dark soy sauce. For Tempura Udon add one or two pieces of tempura shrimp as garnish.

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Spring Rolls

Jun 16 2010 Published by under Food

One thing that everybody wants when you have Chinese food, is the Spring Rolls. Usually when you have takeout, you never get enough Spring Rolls for all the guests in the table. It is first come, first serve. With my recipe I make sure that everyone that comes to have Spring Rolls for lunch gets his fair share of 2 to 3 Spring Rolls.

Spring Rolls

Spring Rolls

Spring Rolls can have a lot of different fillings. Some people like all vegetarian rolls. Others like them with pork, chicken, or shrimp. I personally like all flavors of Spring Rolls, but the pork flavored ones are the one I enjoy the best. Here is my recipe for Pork filled Spring Rolls, and I hope you enjoy it.

For Pork filled Spring Rolls

1/2 Cup Cabbage
1/2 Pound of Ground Pork
1/4 Cup of Bean Sprouts
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Small Carrot
2 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce
1 Teaspoon of Salt
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
10 Spring Roll Wrappers

Julian (cut in small strips) the carrots. Add the olive oil to a frying pan an bring to high heat. Add the carrots. Cut the cabbage into small match-like strips. Add cabbage to the frying pan. Finely Mince the garlic, and add to the frying pan. Add the pork, salt, and bean sprouts. Fry all the ingredientes until the meat is cooked. At the end add the soy sauce. Let it cool. Place the Spring Rolls wrappers as a diamond in front of you. Put 3 Tablespoons of fillings on 1/3 of the bottom part of the wrapper, in a line. Fold the bottom part of the wrapper to cover the filling. Fold the sides, and the continue to roll. Add some water at the end to make the dough stick. Fry at 350F for 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown. Serve with sweet and sour sauce, or thai hot sauce.

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Gyozas with Dipping Sauce

Jun 12 2010 Published by under Food

Gyoza is a Japanese dish that originated in China. They are basically dumplings, filled with a meat and vegetable fillings. When I go to a Japanese restaurant I usually order them as a side order. They are a tasty treat that is hard to just eat one of them.

Gyoza in Dipping Sauce

The main difference between Chinese and Japanese Gyozas is that the Japanese version uses much more garlic. I love garlic, so this is fine by me. Another recommendation is to serve them hot, as they do not taste as good when you reheat them. If you serve them over rice they could be offered as a main dish. I have also added them to an udon soup.

For Gyoza

20 Gyoza Wrappers
1/2 Pound of Ground Pork
1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil
1/4 Cup Cabbage
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Teaspoon grated Ginger
2 Chopped Green Onions
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Soy Sauce
Vegetable Oil

Shred the cabbage and blanch quickly in boiling water.  Mix the cabbage, pork, sesame oil, ginger,  garlic, green onions, salt, soy sauce in a large bowl. Add about 1 Teaspoon of filling per Gyoza wrapper. Fold the wrapper in half, sealing the edges. If you have trouble getting the edge to seal, add a little water to the edge. Fill all the Gyoza wrappers. Add vegetable oil to a frying pan. Place the Gyoza on one side and fry on that side only until golden brown. When golden brown, add 1/2 cup a water to the frying pan and cover. Steam the gyoza until the water is evaporated.

For dipping sauce
1/2 Cup of Water
1/2 Teaspoon of dashinomoto
3 Tablespoons of mirin
3 Soy Sauce

In hot water dissolve the dashinomoto. Add mirin and soy sauce. Can be serve on the plate with the Gyozas or on a separate dipping bowl.

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Baked Beans

Jun 09 2010 Published by under Food

A great accompaniment to any dish, beans have been regarded a staple in our everyday cooking. If cooked properly, beans can also be a main course. Baked beans is a curious name for the dish, because most baked beans are simmered in low heat, and are not baked. The name comes from the frontier days, where they were left in a dutch oven for several hours to cook slowly over a fireplace. Before the fast food restaurants, baked beans were the original fast food for early settlers.

Baked Beans

Baked Beans

Nutrition-wise, Baked beans are great source of many essential nutrients and vitamins. They are a good source of protein, and are naturally low fat. They have very high amounts of phosphorous, fiber, and folic acid. There is always a discussion that if you cook beans with salt, they will not soften. I believe this to be false. I hope you enjoy my recipe for Baked Beans.

For Baked Beans

2 Cups of Pinto or Navy Beans
3/4 Cups of Chopped Carrots
1/2 Cups of Diced Onion
1/2 Cup of Celery
4 Cups of Chicken Broth
2 Cloves of Garlic
1 Tablespoon of Salt
Fresh Parsley
Black Pepper

Leave the beans soaking in a large pot filled with 6 cups water overnight. Remove anything that floats. Drain. Add the chicken broth to the stock pot, and add the beans. Bring to a boil. After it is boiling adjust the temperature to a simmer. Add the carrots, onion, celery, garlic, parsley, and the salt. Cook for 2 hours, or until the beans are tender. Grind black pepper, and add more salt if needed.

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Greek Salad with Soft Goat’s Milk Cheese

Jun 08 2010 Published by under Food

When its summer time, you want to be outside. You want food that tastes refreshing and that does not weigh you down. Today I am making Greek Salad with Soft Goat’s Milk Cheese. It is a very refreshing salad, with a strong blend of flavors from the cheese, onion and garlic.

Greek Salad with Soft Goat's Milk Cheese

Greek Salad with Soft Goat's Milk Cheese

This is a simple dish to do, and I cant be created in at very short notice. The cheese I am using is a Soft Goat’s Milk Cheese, which should not be confused with Feta Cheese. It has a cream like consistency with an acidic taste. This balances all the flavors out , just like in my Apple Pecan Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette.

For the Salad
1 Head of Romaine Lettuce
1/2 Cucumber
10 Cherry Tomatos
1/4 Red Onion
1/4 Cup of Kalamata Olives
1/2 Cup of Salad Dressing

Wash the lettuce. Cut into small Pieces.  Serve directly in the plates. Peel and slice half a cucumber. Layer the cucumber over the lettuce. Dice 1/4 of red onions. Add over the cucumbers. Cut the Cherry Tomatoes in half. Add over the onions. Add the Kalamata Olives and the Goat’s Milk Cheese. Add 2 or 3 Tablespoons of  the salad dressing per plate.

For the Salad Dressing
4 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons of Red Wine Vinegar
2 Teaspoons of Oregano
2 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 Teaspoon of Black Pepper
Kosher Salt

Finely mince the cloves of garlic. Add the garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, and black pepper to a small mix bowl. Mix until you have incorporated all the ingredients. Add  kosher salt according to your taste.

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