Adding a bit of spice in my cooking is fun. It is a gradual process however, I am not that brave after all.

I always have frozen shrimps handy,  thanks to Pete at Personal Gourmet Foods.

Running out of ideas for dinner I decided to ask my son what he wanted, and he suggested couscous. What a great idea! Why not combine the two.

I love lemon and I use it everyday on anything I can. With this dish I decided at the last-minute to sprinkle some all over it, and it  really released the flavor of the butter beans and couscous.

TIP: Have all the ingredients ready when you start the couscous, as this dish will not take longer than 10 minutes to prepare and you do not want to eat it cold.

Bon Appetit!!




2/3 cup couscous (I use “Rice Select” – Couscous Original)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound shelled and deveined medium shrimps –

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 – 15 ounce can butter beans, drained and rinsed

2 tablespoons capers – rinsed

1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice + some to squeeze over the dish

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Salt and pepper

In a large heatproof bowl, stir the couscous with ¾ cup of boiling water. Cover with a lid and steam for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile in a nonstick skillet heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the shrimps and crushed red pepper and cook over medium high heat until golden, 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the butter to the skillet, then the beans, capers and lemon juice and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.

Fold the beans mixture, parsley and remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the couscous, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve topped with the shrimps, squeeze a drizzle of lemon juice over the entire dish.

Garlic lovers get ready to be swept off your feet. 12 whole garlic cloves softened while infusing the heavy cream, white wine and shallots, with a deep roasted garlic flavor I can only say: wow!! Blended to a puree and served alongside the pork chops… could just drink it all.

We love bone in chops. To get the pork chops to cook and yet stay tender, I always sear them first over high heat and then place them into the warm oven. . Make sure to pay attention to the smoke, if any, while cooking the chops in the oven.

This sauce could also be used over lamb.

Made mashed potatoes alongside.

Bon Appetit!!



1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter

1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped shallot

1/3 cup dry white wine

1 spring fresh thyme

Salt and Pepper

1 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup buttermilk

12 large garlic cloves, all about the same size, and peeled but left whole

4 bone in pork chops about 1 inch thick

2 tablespoon vegetables oil

Fresh thyme leaves

In a small sauce pan melt the butter over medium-low heat and cook the shallots until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add the wine, thyme and a generous ¼ teaspoon salt. Raise the heat to medium and simmer until the liquid is reduced to 2 tablespoons. Stir in the heavy cream and the buttermilk and all the garlic cloves.

Return to a bare simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is completely tender, 40 to 45 minutes.

Transfer the garlic mixture to a blender and puree until very smooth, about 1 minute. Return the garlic sauce to the saucepan. It should be thick enough to cover the back of a wooden spoon but easy to pour. Set aside covered to keep warm.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Salt and pepper generously the pork chops. In a large skillet over medium high heat add the oil. When hot add the chops and sear them on each side,  2 minutes  each sides.

Remove from the stove and place in the hot oven. Cook for 3 minutes at 375° then lower the heat to 300° for another 5 minutes. The chops need to be springy to the touch and golden brown on the outside.

Stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something new in the kitchen, I found it scary and exciting at the same time. As you all know by now, I love, I mean love, collecting cooks books. I also make it a point to prepare a recipe from each and every cookbook I own.

The recipe that I made last night is an adaptation from this absolute wonderful book: “Seasonal Southwest Cooking” by Barbara Pool Fenzl. All the recipes are easy to prepare, and to help you along, the photographs are just so inviting and mouth watering.

Never having worked with chiles, I must admit I was a bit nervous on the spicy heat level. To me and my family surprise, the guajillo chiles gave out this sweet heat. Blended with the cream… an absolute delicate sauce that I will make over and over.

I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did.

Bon Appetit!




2 guajillo chiles

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

Sal and pepper

1 ½ pound pork tenderloin, cut into 12 medallions

2 tablespoons red wine

1 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives

Stem and seed the guajillo chiles so they are flat. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. When hot add the chiles. Toast on each side until they are pliable and give off an aroma, about 1 minute per side.

Transfer the chiles to a bowl and cover with hot water. Allow to soak until soft, about 30 minutes. Transfer chiles to a mini-processor or food grinder with 1 tablespoon of the soaking liquid. Strain puree into a small bowl and discard the solid remains.

In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil. Salt and pepper the pork medallions. When butter stop foaming, add the pork tenderloin. Seat and cook them about 5 minutes per side.

Remove the meat from the pan to a warm plate.

Deglaze the skillet with the wine. Add the cream and chile puree and cook until reduced to the desired consistency. Stir in the chives.

Put the pork medallions back in the pan and cook until heated through. Place two medallion on each plate and spoon sauce over them.

Serve immediately.

I do not bake a lot, not because I do not like it, just never think of it. Last night it was not the case. My son had a school project that required bringing a dish from the country that he did his school paper on. Chile was what he selected and amongst all the pertaining information and papers that needed to be done, a recipe found its way to me, actually to the kitchen table. Recipe that needed to be prepared to bring to class on the day of the presentation. I was happy to oblige. Looking at the recipe a sad and happy feeling overcame me. The recipe was Chilean Cocadas or Coconut Macaroons. My dad favorite dessert. My dad not only love them, he made sure he always had some stashed in the house and Sunday morning some always found their way home from the Market.

You can imagine how I felt. Memories rushed back and time and space brought me back to my early years living in Paris.

The European recipes requires eggs the one from Chile does not. This was the first time I ever opened a can of condensed milk and I was surprise how dense the content is.

The assembly of the cookies took no longer than 15 minutes, with a 5 minutes wait required so all the ingredients could incorporate themselves.

Those cute little macaroons not only looked delicious, also were easy to enjoy. Two was my limit as they are very sweet.

I am not able to give the proper credit to the originator of this recipe as my son took it from the internet. When I searched for it, most all of them were credited to different persons and I was not able to trace this one back. May the original author forgive me.




3 ½ cups shredded sweetened coconut

¾ cups of sweetened condensed milk

2 ½ tablespoon of cornstarch

½ teaspoons of almond extract

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

¼ cup of confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 400°.

In a medium mixing bowl stir together the coconut, cornstarch, condensed milk, almond extract, and vanilla extract.

Let the mixture sit for 3 to 5 minutes

Using 2 tablespoons, drop the mixture by heaping rounded spoonful onto parchment lined cookie sheet about 1 inch apart

Watching the cocadas closely, bake them for 15 to 20 minutes until they are lightly golden brown.

Remove the cocadas from the oven and cool them on a wire rack.

Using a fine meshed sieve or sifter, dust the cocadas with confectioner’s sugar.

Store the cookies loosely covered until ready to use.

Throughout our travels we look for restaurants that are away from the touristic path, and venture out to where the locals enjoy great food, local flavors and great chefs that have fun and love what they do. A fun and delightful experience each and every time.

The base of this recipe started on a trip that we took years ago while we stopped at this quaint restaurant in Corpus Christi, Texas. Throughout the years we enjoyed it over and over on those busy late nights of homework and all sorts of after school activities.

Having a couple of extra minutes and seen that I just bought some fresh cod, I wanted to have fun with new flavors.

So here a new version of an old-time favorite. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did.

Bon Appetit!!



4 large Cod fillets

Salt and Pepper

All-purpose flour

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

¼ cup dry white wine

1 tsp. minced garlic

½ cup chicken broth

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp. capers, drained

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

½ cup marinated artichoke hearts

¼ cup marinated green olives, chopped

2 diced fresh tomatoes

Chopped fresh parsley

Season the cod fillets with salt and pepper, then dust with flour.

In a skillet add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter and heat over medium-high.

Sauté the cod fillets 2-3 minutes on one side. Flip the cod fillets over and sauté the other side 1-2 minutes. Transfer the cod fillets to a warmed platter; pour off the fat from the pan.

Deglaze pan with wine and add minced garlic. Cook until garlic is slightly brown and liquid is nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes.

Add broth, lemon juice, artichoke hearts, diced tomatoes, chopped olives and capers and cook until the juice is halved and tomatoes are soft.

Add the remaining butter and return cod fillets with any juices to pan and cook on each side for 1 minute.

Transfer to a warm plates and serve immediately.

Been gone all last week, coming home was so whole-hearted and wonderful.

After all the excitement, the little trinkets, delicious goodies that I brought back with me, were opened and enjoyed, the food requests came up. Pasta was on the agenda and no second choice was suggested.

I have this favorite recipe that I have been making for years now and each times I fall in love with the flavors. A delicious sauce with carrots, peas, shrimps, cream and white wine. I do happened to have frozen fresh shrimps at the house thanks to Pete at Personal Gourmets Foods and our evening dinner was prepared in less than 45 minutes.

The important part of this dish is to do all the prep work beforehand. The carrot ribbons take the longest to prepare and I strongly advise to start with that. Add more garlic to your likings as well as white wine.

Left overs are delicious… in case you are wondering.





¼ teaspoon crumbled saffron threads

1 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth, plus 1/3 cup

2/3 pound linguine pasta

4 teaspoons turmeric

4 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined

2 teaspoon minced garlic

1 cup chicken broth, low sodium

1 ½ cup heavy cream

4 medium carrots, cut into ribbon strands with a vegetable peeler, core discarded

1 cup frozen peas

In a small bowl let the saffron soak in the wine for 5 minutes.

In a large pot of boiling salted water cook the linguine with the turmeric until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet heat the olive oil over moderate heat until it is hot but not smoking and add the shrimps stirring for a 1 minute. Add the garlic, salt and pepper to taste.

Cook until the shrimp turn pink, and transfer with tongs to a plate. Add the saffron mixture to the skillet and boil the mixture until almost all the liquid is evaporated.

Add the broth, the cream and the carrots, peas and boil the mixture until the liquid is reduced by half. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if needed

Add the shrimp with any juices and the linguine well drained to the skillet.  Add the 1/3 of cup white wine and stir well together.

Serve piping hot.

It is always a treat to have some extra time to prepare a meal and leaving the hustle and bustle of the day behind and enjoying some fun time in the kitchen. Having a recipe that required to be cooked in the oven… well that is the ultimate dream for me.

Besides having more free time, I love the wonderful aroma that will welcome you and will linger in your house making you hungry for the meal to come.

I do love this recipe and I love how my family cannot wait to sit at the dining table. Not to mentions simple, delicious and great leftover tasting even better the day after.

TIP: You can add peas if you wish when you add the carrots. When selecting the red potatoes make sure that they are all the same size so they all will all cook the same. Insert a knife in the middle of the potatoes to make sure that they are cooked through and done.

Bon Appetit!!!


Pot Roast with Vegetables


1 tablespoon vegetables oil

1 4 pounds boneless chuck roast, rolled and tied

2 onions, chopped fine

4 garlic cloves, chopped fine

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes

¼ cup red-wine vinegar

1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar

1 bay leaf

1 pound carrots cut diagonally into 1 inch thick slices

1 ½ pounds small red potatoes, peeled

1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 ½ tablespoons cold water

Minced fresh parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 350°.

In a large heavy flameproof casserole heat the oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking and in it brown the beef, patted dry and seasoned with salt and pepper on all sides. Transfer the beef to a plate, add the onions and the garlic to the casserole, and cook the mixture over moderate heat, stirring, until the onions are soft and golden.

Stir in the tomatoes, the vinegar, the sugar, the bay leaf, and 2 ½ cups water, bring the mixture to a boil, and add the beef. Braise the beef, covered, in the oven for 1 hour, add the carrots, and braise the mixture covered for 30 minutes. Add the potatoes and braise the mixture, covered, for 30 minutes, or until the beef and the vegetables are tender.

Transfer the beef with slotted spoons to a cutting board and let it stand, covered with aluminum foil, for 10 minutes. Skim the fat from the top of the cooking mixture to a boil. Stir the cornstarch mixture and add enough of it to the boiling cooking mixture, stirring to thicken the gravy to the desired consistency.

Simmer the gravy mixture, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes, season it with salt and pepper, and discard the bay leaf.

Slice the beef, arrange it on a heated platter, and transfer the vegetables with a slotted spoon to the platter. Spoon some of the gravy over the beef and serve the remaining gravy on the side. Garnish with the parsley.


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