Category Archives: Cuisine-Latin

Grilled Chimichurri Chicken

I used my left over chimichurri as a marinade for chicken and it turned out awesome on the grill. The meat was packed full of flavor and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I bet pork and turkey would taste just as delicious with chimichurri as a marinade.

There are days that I am definitely troubled. What is the saying? If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.

Well I have been working towards that peace part of my life as a new years resolution. It takes a lot more effort than one would think, but I can definitely say that in the past 6-7 months I have made some good strides toward defining what I want out of this life.

I am breaking myself of a victim mentality. Sure there are days that I want to sit around all pitiful, feeling sorry for myself, but I can tell you that those days have been fewer and farther between. Being focused on myself today in this moment has made all of the difference in the world. I am making better decisions and receiving much more happiness and joy in my life. I guess I have finally stopped to smell those proverbial roses.

Grilled Chimichurri Chicken 

Grilled Chimichurri Chicken with Sauteed Broccoli and Squash
Grilled Chimichurri Chicken with Sauteed Broccoli and Squash

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Chimichurri

Chimichurri is the traditional accompaniment to South American grilled meats. Argentina is home of this pesto like sauce; however, it turns up as far north as Nicaragua and as far south as Chile, and in just about every Spanish speaking country in between.  No two chimichurri recipes are exactly alike, although the basic recipe contains four ingredients: parsley, garlic, olive oil, and salt.

Here is the version that we use at our house. It is highly flavorful and a lovely combination. Enjoy!

Chimichurri

Grilled Tri Tip topped with Chimichurri accompanied with Tomato Cucumber Salad and a Mixed Vegetable Rice
Grilled Tri Tip topped with Chimichurri accompanied with Tomato Cucumber Salad and a Mixed Vegetable Rice

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Guacamole

This weekend, my husband and I went to a food festival. We drove a ways to get there and when we arrived we realized that it was much smaller of an event than what was advertised. We stuck around for about an  hour and decided to hit some roadside stands we spotted on the way down. Fresh cherries, strawberries, peaches, avocados, artichokes, etc… The roadside stands were awesome. Placing our wares in the back of our car, we decided to take the long road home, driving up the coast to see all of the pretty vistas. A perfectly warm weekend. We got home and put some of avocados to use with this fresh tasting guacamole. Enjoy!

Guacamole

Guacamole
Guacamole

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Cuban Sandwich

Today I bring you a recipe for the Cuban sandwich. One of my favorite sandwiches of all time that is readily found all over Florida. If you have taken a vacation there, you have likely tried it. Perfect to use up the last of my Cuban style pork and beer basted ham in the freezer. Packed full of flavor, truly a beautiful sandwich.

Cuban Sandwich

Cuban Sandwich
Cuban Sandwich

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Argentinian Inspired Empanadas

I have had a pretty blah day. Nothing much happened except I watched a few movies that I recorded over the weekend. I pulled a muscle in yoga class the other day. Went too deep into a back bend, so I am out of commission until I re-cooperate.  It was stupid and I was foolishly trying to be too competitive with myself. I should have known when my yoga instructor said, “Wow, you are really going deep into your back” and my chest swelled with pride that that was a bad sign. It isn’t the first idiotic thing I have ever done and by far it is not the worst. A saying that we had at my last job was, “for every idiot proof system devised, a new improved idiot will arise and overcome it.” Oh well. So I bring you an empanada that I made last week to use up my Cuban style pork.

At one of the farmer’s markets that I frequent, one stall serves up Argentinian empanadas that are delicious. I wanted to recreate that flavor profile while also throwing in a few extra vegetables to round out the dish a little more. I had some puff pastry in the freezer that became my wrapper. Really it couldn’t get any simpler and the flavors are so strong from the spices that you could substitute most any meat and vegetable and have a wonderful little portable meal. Enjoy!

Argentinian Inspired Empanadas

Argentinian Inspired Empanada
Argentinian Inspired Empanada

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Cuban Style Pork

I am a girl who came from the land of county fairs, each unique for what they bring to the table such as rattlesnake round ups or peanut festivals, etc, but none did I cherish more than the pig jig. That’s right, if there is anything that I love more than cheese, my guilty pleasure in life is BBQ. Barbecue, meaning meat smoked over wood for long periods of time, not grilled. Please do not get me riled up over what is BBQ and what is not. I have eaten Memphis style BBQ, Carolina style BBQ, Alabama style BBQ, Georgia style BBQ, and Kansas style BBQ.  I have even tried the California tri-tip.Each having it’s unique and delicious traits. Though I have my favorites in my head, I can not make any true judgments on BBQ until I make it to Texas to try their BBQ. Then I will feel as though I have covered a good area of BBQ and could make a sound decision. What makes BBQ so good are the cheap cuts of meat cooked over the low slow smoky embers until the fat becomes fluid coating and basting the thing in its own deliciousness. Mmmmm….

I owned my own smoker, a nice mid range one, and once a year we would smoke about 40 lbs of pork butt. Notice I used the term owned. That’s right, when we made the decision to move out of our renovated Victorian to a tiny apartment across the United States, we had to give up the smoker. Sadness… My husband came up with a recipe using pork butt (shoulder) that appeals to that place in my brain for BBQ, its not BBQ, but is a very flavorful meat cooked slow and low and it gets a very nice bark on the outside. Very yummy and delicious. The perfect meat to slice and use in a Cuban sandwich or eat alone with a few sides. Enjoy!

Cuban Style Pork

Cuban Style Pork with squash casserole and applesauce
Cuban Style Pork with squash casserole and applesauce

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Puerto Rican Inspired Hash

Before I left for my trip down south last week, I utilized my leftover mojo marinated steak and sofrito to make this Puerto Rican inspired hash for breakfast. Now, I am not sure that there is any sort of traditional Puerto Rican dish like this, but the flavors gave me inspiration and I thought it was a delicious way to “use it up” and you guys know I am all about using it up. The bright flavors of the sofrito up front mixed with the highly spiced steak and the earthiness of the potatoes coated with the egg yolk sauce rounds it all out. Pour a little pique sauce on and your taste buds will be in over drive. Pure deliciousness.

Puerto Rican Inspired Hash

Puerto Rican Inspired Hash
Puerto Rican Inspired Hash

Serves 4

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Santa Fe Soup

After this week, with one of my grandmother’s passing, I am certainly in the comfort food state of mind. However, it won’t do me or anyone else any good if I do a double back flip into a sea of bad eating habits. Luckily, one of the most comforting meals for me is a nice bowl of soup and soup can easily be done in a healthy manner. This soup is one of those that my mother made me as a kid that I have adapted into my own recipe, substituting ground beef for grilled chicken and adding in loads more vegetables to boost the healthy benefits of the soup.  It is yummy and soothes the soul.

Santa Fe Soup

Santa Fe Soup
Santa Fe Soup

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Mojo Marinated Steak

Well it looks like I am going home for a few days, one of my Grandmothers passed away this morning from complications of COPD. Though she will be missed, it has been a long road for her and I know she is no longer suffering. Mainly I will miss her cooking and getting so caught up in her stories that she would look at me quizzically saying, “Baby, do you remember me salting that?” I am sure it will hit me harder when I sit with my family, one person missing, but I bid ado to you kind folks for a day or so sabbatical to celebrate the life of a wonderful woman and a wonderful cook. I leave with you a wonderful recipe for the weekend, Mojo Marinated Steak. The citrus flavors in the background mixed with earthy notes of cumin and annatto paste pulls the meal together.

From one cook to the other, “Life is so brief that we should not glance either too far backwards or forwards…therefore study how to fix our happiness in our glass and in our plate.”- Grimod de la Reynière

Mojo Marinated Steak

Mojo Marinated Steak with Puerto Rican Black Beans and Rice and Tostones
Mojo Marinated Steak with Puerto Rican Black Beans and Rice and Tostones

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Puerto Rican Rice and Beans

A few years ago, I met a very dear friend of mine through work. She and her family are from Puerto Rico and of course, have some very lovely food traditions. As a tribute to our friendship, I prepared some sofrito earlier this week and now  I will be using it in a lovely rice and beans dish. With it’s beautifully complex flavors, this rice and bean dish is perfect for eating on it’s own or as a side to any Latin inspired meal. Enjoy!

Puerto Rican Rice and Beans

Puerto Rican RIce and Beans with Mojo Marinated Steak and Tostones
Puerto Rican RIce and Beans with Mojo Marinated Steak and Tostones

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