March 31, 2011

Comfort Food Classics: Pasta Bolognese

Comfort Food. Everybody loves them and everyone has their own favorites. One of my boyfriends favorites is Pasta Bolognese. I feel like every other time we eat at an Italian Restaurant, he's all over it. My own variation of it has all the components of a traditional meat sauce as well some very basic classic techniques. Sautee of a Mirepoix, and a very basic Wine Reduction are the one's we'll tackle today.

1/4 Cup Onion
2 Garlic Cloves
1/4 Cup Celery
1/4 Cup Carrots
1 Tsp. Olive Oil
1 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Onion Powder
Salt & Pepper (to taste)
3/4- 1lb. Ground Beef
1/4 Cup Red Wine
1 Large Can/Box of Tomato Sauce
1 Bay Leaf

Mirepoix Mixture-Sauteeing
 We start off with a basic mirepoix. Simply said it’s a mixture of Onion, Garlic, Celery and Onion all chopped to equal sizes, usually 1/4" squares, the Garlic is finely chopped. In most recipes when I use a mirepoix I use equal parts (with exception of the garlic!). Once the mixture has been sautéed in the olive oil, add the red pepper flakes. Cook through until the mixture starts leaving a little browning on the bottom of the pot. Add the ground beef and make sure to cook thoroughly salt and pepper to taste as well as the Garlic and Onion Powder, mix well into the beef mixture.

Please make sure not to use cooking wine, but a Red Wine you would actually drink and mix into the pot. Cook until it’s been reduced down (almost entirely evaporated), which essentially cooks out all the alcohol content from the wine, but leaves another layer of flavor. Finish off by adding the tomato sauce to it and let her simmer for at least 30 minutes. Keep tasting the mixture so it’s to your palate. (Add salt, pepper or even red pepper to your own taste!).
In a separate pot, add 4-6 cups of water, add some olive oil and a good amount of salt. Bring to a boil and add a packet of your favorite pasta. Cook until al dente, which is really just cooked thru but still has a bite to it. Drain and mix with the Bolognese sauce. Add freshly grated cheese of choice, I prefer Pecorino Romano, but feel free to use whatever you have at home.

March 25, 2011

Breakfast Appetizers: Mini Blueberry Muffins

A few weeks ago a few friends thought up the idea of a potluck brunch. Most called out that they would make the typical staples to any breakfast: eggs, bacon, bagels, fruit, french toast, pancakes, even sweet treats to end the meal; but oddly enough nobody mentioned something to snack on prior to the main event. I thought of making mini-muffins. They are perfect bite sized treats that can be easily served as a simple breakfast appetizer. 

2 Cups All Purpose Flour
4 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Softened Butter
1 Egg
1 Cup Milk
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1/2 Tsp Vanilla
1 Cup Blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Once butter has softened, mix into the dry mixture. In a separate bowl slightly beat the egg. Pour the milk into the same bowl with the egg and stir. Add the egg and milk mix slowly to the flour mixture, until it is just wet. Add in the Lemon juice and Vanilla and mix. Lightly fold in the blueberries.

Spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray. Spoon in the filling into each cup until almost full. Lightly sprinkle sugar on each filling prior to putting in oven. Bake for about 20 minutes until muffins are golden brown. Remove muffins from tin with spoon and let cool.

Serve warm or cold.


March 24, 2011


It's almost hard to believe that even though I lived in Miami for nearly 10 years, I never got around to making a Mojito. I've had them countless times and in all sorts of flavors, but never got around to making one myself.

I'm sure St. Patricks day is not necessarily synonymous with a typical Cuban rum drink, but I thought of making a "green cocktail" for a dinner we were hosting that evening. There was no other option to me than delicious Mojitos, slightly colored naturally by mint.

Ingredients (Per batch)
Mint Leaves 10-12
Crushed Ice (1/2 cup)
1 Tbsp Sugar
2 Oz. Rum
3 Oz. Soda Water
Fresh Lime Wedges for garnish

Place mint leaves and sugar at bottom of glass or shaker. Muddle together for about 15 seconds. Add crushed ice and continue muddling for about 1 minute or until ice and mint start mixing. Add Rum and soda water. Squeeze lime wedge  into glass and add as garnish.

I will most definitely be making these mojitos a staple in future cocktail parties. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

March 23, 2011

New Beginnings

It’s been a few months coming, but I’ve finally got it together and decided to start my blog.

In the next few days, I’ll start posting some of my basic go-to recipes, and will hopefully get more in the habit of documenting the cooking process for a blog. I’ve been writing recipes of different creations I’ve made for the last few months, particularly since we moved to NYC last fall, and I’ll be sharing those, as well as new cooking adventures with you.

Aside from my own cooking, I’m taking this opportunity as a teaching tool for some of my friends. I’ll incorporate some basic techniques I’ve learned, mainly from watching way too much Food Network; as well as basic tools and gadgets I could not live without.