Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Homemade Hard Cider Chicken & Rice

I don't think drink alcoholic beverages , but I do like to use them in my cooking.
Today, we are using this Granny Smith Hard Cider instead of regular beer in my 
Chicken and Rice dish. 

I must share with you this dish turned out a winner. 

Because it was a try out I did not make a large pot. If you wish to serve a larger crowd just increase the ingredients. 

Let's get cooking!

Serves 2-4 


1 12 oz bottle of Amber Woodchuck Hard Cider
2 large garlic cloves
1/4 tsp dry oregano
1 dry bay leaf
1 chicken boullion envelope 
1 Sazon con achiote envelope
1 small onion diced
2 c long grain rice
1 c water
3 tbsp olive oil (separated 1 tbsp - 2 tbsp)
4 chicken thigh skinless 


Wash rice set aside. 

In a Dutch oven or a large pot on medium high heat add 1 tbsp olive oil and chicken. 

Cook and brown chicken for about 10-12 minutes. Thighs are with its bone so you want cook them nearly all the way. Add onion, garlic, chicken bouillon, Sazon with achiote, rice, bay leaf, oregano, the hard cider, water and 2 tbsp of olive oil. 

Stir and simmer till most the liquid has evaporated. Reduce heat to low and cover tightly.

Let cook undisturbed for about 20 minutes. Stir and fluff rice with fork.  

 * you may remove the thighs, if you left them whole  and shred them with two forks or you may leave them as I did and served whole. 

Plate and serve hot. 

A lovely tossed salad would be great to pair with this dish. 


Bon Apetit! 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Oven Fried Chicken Stuffer

1 Perdue oven stuffed roaster (of choice)
1/2 c black pepper
3 tbsp adobo
1/2 c bitter orange
2 tbsp fresh basil chopped
1 c diced onion
Zest of an orange
1/2 tsp of Bacon grease 

This is  9 lb fatty I cooked it close to 5 hours. Instruction said a little over 3 1/2 hours but I prefer my meat to be well cooked. 

Creating that basket helped create a vacuum to heat steam and cook this big boy. 


Preheat oven to 450.

I haven't purchased a roasting pan yet so I did my best with what I had at hand. 

I took a lasagna pan and top it with one of my cookie racks. And it worked beautifully. 

I placed this bad boy on top of the rack and lathered it bacon grease first then sprinkled the adobo, black pepper and bitter orange both inside and the outside of the bird. 

Inserted in the cavity of the bird the basil, orange zest and onions.

Took two large pieces of foil and shaped it like a tent over the bird (without touching the bird ). I did this to create a steam vent around the bird while in the oven. 

One hour and half through I rotated the bird to its other side and put back the steam vent foil on top. 

When an hour was left I removed the foil a from the sides of the pan switched the heat to high broil. Waited 20 minutes then removed the foil so it could brown nicely without burning. Left it this way for 10 minutes. 

Then removed the bird, turned it on its other side a just placed to the foil without grabbing to the sides of the pan. Waited 20 minutes then removed the foil and let brown golden for the ten minutes. 

Turn off oven. Remove your bird from the oven. Covering it with the foil so its juices may return before you cut and serve it. 

This tasty chicken is in credibility moist in the inside and crunchy on the outside. 

Perfect to top a salad, add it to your soups, chillies, tacos, porridge, rice dishes, sandwiches and burritos. The list is endless. 

I used some for dinner and froze the rest for days that I'm restricted on time. 



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Homemade Beef stew over rice

Another winter storm have arrived out by us. Freezing conditions and tons of snow. I love it. 

Living most my life in sunny, muggy south Florida helps me appreciate being back home.

Excellent weather for a bowl of hearty beef stew over a little rice to warm you right up. 

Here a share this delicious meal. 


2 lbs Beef chuck cubed
2 tbsp olive oil
2 celery stalks sliced
2 carrots sliced
2 medium potatoes cubed
1 small onion quartered
1/2 orange bell pepper
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 c red cooking wine
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp black pepper
Adobo seasoning
1/4 c bitter orange
3 cup of water
1 tbsp dried leafy oregano
1 tbsp fresh parsley
2 sprigs of Thyme
Dutch oven or large pot

2 c of long grain rice (or rice of choice)
Rice cooker


Rinse rice till clear and drain. 
Follow package instructions (if you don't know how to make rice.)

When the rice cooker bell rings you may know fluff your rice. Cover again until you are ready to serve. 

In a medium bowl rinse the beef under cool water and then season with the adobo, bitter orange and black pepper. Set aside. 

In a large pot or dutch oven on medium/high heat, add oil, butter and the marinated beef. Don't discard marinate.

Sprinkle the flour over the beef. Sear the meat for about 5- 7 minutes. Add garlic and onions. Stir with wooden spoon and pour the remaining marinate, thyme, tomato paste and oregano. 

No worrying about the marinate were the raw meat was in. It's ok to use it marinate because you are cooking it at high heat. 

Stir occasionally now add the water, wine and cover it. Lower the heat to medium/low. Simmer for about an hour. Checking periodically. 

After the hour uncover and add the celery, carrots and potatoes. Cook till potatoes are fork tender. 

If you want it more sauce more runny, you may add more water. If so , encourage taste as you go. You might have to add a bit more seasoning. We like ours a bit thick so this was perfect. 

Plate and serve over a bed of rice. 


Bon Appetit 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Roast beef & cheese on Challah bread & a bowl of tomato mushroom soup

A darling neighbor of ours brought some delicious freshly baked Challah bread for us. I nearly made a back flip. Have I mentioned bread is my weakness? 

Well yes it is, but I've been real good about it. The last time I had Challad bread was three years ago. 

So I received this wonderful gift with open arms. I thought soup & sandwich would be in order for tonight's meal. 

This is what I created. 


1 6 inch challah bread
Banana peppers
2 slices of low sodium Lorraine cheese
4 thinly sliced deli roast beef
Horseradish or mayonnaise  

1 16 oz can purée tomato 
1/2 cup of chopped button mushroom
1/8 tsp of dry oregano leaves
1/2 tsp of olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste 



In a medium pan add the oil and mushrooms. Stir gently and let mushroom sweat for about a minute.

Now add the tomato purée, oregano and salt and pepper. Let simmer for another 5 minutes. 


Cut open your challah bread and toast it in the oven or on the stove. Then set aside. 

Dress the inside of your challah bread with a little horseradish or mayo. Layer the roast beef and cheese. 

Transfer it back into the pre-heated oven so the cheese can melt. Then remove. 
Now add the banana peppers. 

Plate the sandwich, soup and serve. 


Bon Apetit. 

"Sancocho" - Dominican Beef Soup with plantain dumplings

It's chilly outside I know and you are craving for a delicious hearty meal. 
I thought of a warm "Sancocho" would be perfect for dinner. 

"Sancocho" meaning parboiled is a traditional hearty stew-like soup for Dominicans. 

There are several meats used when making this hearty meal.
Poultry like chicken (pollo) hen (gallina), or oxtail tail (rabo),beef (res), soup beef ribs, pork, domincan pork sauge (longaniza), as well as a "seven meat" (siete carnes) revision. 

However, for tonight will just be my simpler beef cubed one.

Tons of tropical starchy vegetables like cassava (yuca), corms (malanga,name,yautia), potato (papa), green plantains (platano verde)and yams (calabaza), corn on a cob (mazorca). 

Here is a picture of what corms look like. It looks a lot like cassava. Corms, cassava nor corn will not be added to tonight's version. 

On the left - Culantro (other names for this herb) Saw leaf herb, leafy coriander or recaito.
On the right - Cilantro (other names for this herb) Chinese parsley or coriander 

One more amazing ingredient is the Scotch Bonnet Pepper. These caribbean peppers are hot or mild. The hot one or as is usually called "Jamaican Pepper". We use a much milder one and stores label it as the sweet Caribbean pepper (cachucha pepper ). Remember to remove the stems and seeds. 

Let's get this yummy soup/stew started. 

Serves 3-4



1 green plantain
2 potatoes cubed
1 cup of fresh cubed yam
Saw leaf herb culantro 
3-4 Scotch Bonney sweet peppers (seeded/stemmed)
1 small onion peeled but kept whole
3 large grated garlic cloves
1/2 green pepper left whole 
1 chicken boullion envelope
Hot sauce *optional
Florida avocado (ready to eat)
Large pot


2 1/2 cup of cubed beef
Adobo for seasoning for taste
1/4 c of Goya Bitter Orange (Naranja Agria)
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp dried oregano
Medium bowl
Saran Wrap 

Soup dressing

2 plum tomatoes diced
Juice of half a lemon
3 Culantro leaves chopped
1 tbsp of chopped cilantro 
1 tbsp of ketchup
Small bowl
Saran Wrap
Florida avocado  


2 cups of white rice
Sea salt for taste
Medium bowl
Rice cooker


1 green plantain


Prepping Soup dressing

In a small bowl add diced tomatoes, chopped cilantro, chopped culantro, lemon juice and ketchup. Stir well, cover with Saran Wrap and refrigerate. 

Marinate beef:

Wash the cubed beef. Cut into smaller cubes if you like. In a medium bowl add beef, adobo, cumin, dried oregano and bitter orange. Stir to blend well. Cover with Saran Wrap and refrigerate till ready to add to the soup. 

Base for the Soup

In a large pot over high heat boil 4 cups of water adding the yams, sliced plantain, scotch peppers, culantro & cilantro. Boil till yams are fork tender. This may take 15-20 minutes. 

Retrieve marinated beef from the fridge and set aside.  

Once yams are fork tender transfer it and all the vegetables from in the pot (except the stock) to the blender. Pulse - blend until all is liquified. May spoon some stock in the mix if needed. 

In the meantime, add the marinated beef into the same pot. Stir and now add the liquid yam mix back to the pot. Stir and add more water. 

Let boil for about 10-15. Adding potatoes, pepper, onion, garlic, chicken bouillon. As you can see your soup is green or a slight orange if your yam was rich in color. Stir occasionally for as this soup gets thick. This helps avoid sticking to the bottom of your pot and burning. Which you do not want happening. 

While the soup simmers. Peel your plantain. 

In a small bowl grate the plantain. 

You may grate some garlic to the dumplings and even season it if you desire to. I kept mines plain. 

Using a teaspoon scoop some of the mushy plantain and carefully place into the soup. Do not stir for this will break up the raw dumplings. 

Lower heat to low/medium cover and cook till dumplings have cooked throughly and potatoes are fork 
tender. Usually this takes another 7-12 minutes. 

Uncover and stir gently. 

Five minutes before serving you may add fresh cilantro and culantro.


In a medium bowl add rice. Wash rice under cold water. Rinse till water is clear. Transfer washed rice to your rice cooker and salt to taste. Cover and let cook. 

When rice cooker rings wait another 2-3 minutes then uncover and fluff rice with fork. Careful you don't scratch the bottom of the pan. Cover. 

Remove soup dressing from fridge and set aside. Slice avocado and set aside. 

Plate and serve soup. Garnish with a tablespoon or two of rice, soup dressing, a slice of avocado and hot sauce of choice. 


Bon Apetit.