marinated baby vegetables

Serve as a side for roasted meat or fish, as an antipasto with salumi and breadsticks, or as an appetizer with crusty bread and goat cheese.

6 cups assorted trimmed baby vegetables (such as halved fingerling and purple potatoes, baby carrots, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, pearl onions, pattypan squash, and/or strips of large vegetables like bell peppers) also okra
1 cup olive oil or 1/2 cup
1/2 cup Champagne vinegar 1/4 c white vinegar
4 small bay leaves
2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

Steam all vegetables until potatoes are tender, about 8 minutes.
Transfer to large bowl.
Meanwhile, bring remaining ingredients to boil in medium saucepan, whisking until salt dissolves.
Pour over vegetables. Let marinate at least 15 minutes, tossing occasionally.
Serve warm or at room temperature.

my soupy beef pochero


Picture taken with cameraphone. Does not look so appetizing.

I made this soup today. Very good. And the eggplant salad side dish. Good as well. So homey. Nothing finely cut, julienned. It is a big, familiar warm embrace of a soup. All you do is wash, cut and boil everything for a few minutes and, tapos!, you have a hearty meal! Did I say I liked this soup already?

Next time I will remember to crack the peppercorns; it interferes with the eating otherwise.

For the soup:

1.5 to 2 lbs. beef short ribs
1 to 2 pcs. chorizo (de bilbao), sliced
water, about 6 cups
1 to 2 tbsps salt
1/2 a head of garlic
1 large onion, sliced
2-3 stalks green onions, sliced
1 tbsp. peppercorns, cracked
laurel leaves, 2-3
1/2 cabbage, chunky slices
2 potatoes
a can of chickpeas or garbanzos
1/2 lbs green beans
1 ripe sweet plantain, boiled, peeled and sliced

For the eggplant salad:

2 eggplants
salt and pepper
2-4 garlic cloves
white vinegar

1. Fill a pot with water. Add beef, chorizo, 1 tbsp salt, 1 tbsp peppercorn, laurel leaves, garlic, green onions and onion and bring to a boil.

2. After 20 minutes or when the meat has cooked, add cabbage, potatoes, chickpeas and green beans. Simmer until the vegetables are done. Add the boiled sweet plantains to soup.

To Make the eggplant salad: Grill eggplants. When they are cool enough to handle, scoop out or separate the meat from the skin and mash in a bowl. Mix in garlic, salt and pepper. Drizzle with vinegar. Refrigerate and serve cold.

my tomato & corn salad


This recipe is based on a Spanish side dish called pico de gallo (rooster’s beak) which is usually made up of chopped tomatoes, onions, chilis, lime juice & cilantro & other things such as avocados, cucumber & radish. The original recipe is a Simply Recipes post for “Fresh Tomato Salsa

Mix in a bowl:
2-3 medium-sized fresh tomatoes, diced
1 red onion, finely diced
2-4 chili pepper (stems, ribs, seeds removed), finely diced–I use bottled or canned pickled hot peppers & I leave some of the seeds in
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, chopped as finely as you can
a dash of apple cider vinegar
a box of frozen corn–I nuke the corn in the microwave first for about 3-4 minutes
Salt & pepper, to your taste–I use almost a tablespoon of salt. I like salt!

Refrigerate. Best served cold with roasted chicken, grilled meats.

I also like to eat it by itself.

my atsara

I love anything pickled: from the pink ginger of japanese cuisine, meditarreanean olives to the american bottled cucumber/vegetable ones. it is that sweet-sour taste i like. i share this love with my father. he would have bottled american pickled cucumber chips or olives with his meals, especially at lunch. i would snack on them. i still do.

so i made some this week. i started 6 days ago. this is my version of this atsara (pickled papaya) recipe from the kapampangan gourmet. the papaya is usually grated or julienned. i cut mine into chips.


1 medium-sized papaya cut into chips
1/2 cup salt
1 cup vinegar
2 small carrots
1 green & 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips, keep some of the seeds

pickling solution:
2 cups white vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 cup white refined sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tbsp. ginger, finely minced
1/2 cup finely minced shallots
10 cloves garlic, finely minced

Combine papaya & 1/2 cup salt and enough boiling water to cover mixture. Let stand for 2 minutes. Drain.

Soak papaya in 1 cup vinegar overnight. (mine stayed in the ‘frigde for 5 nights as it took me a while to find mason jars in my neighborhood: i found some at a houseware/hardware store near the 74th street/roosevelt ave. station).Drain papaya.

Combine all ingredients for pickling solution in a (stainless steel or pyrex) saucepan. Place over moderate heat, stir until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for a few minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Combine papaya with rest of ingredients.

Pack in sterilized jars and pour hot pickling solution over the vegetables. Let cool at room temperature. When cool, cover jars tightly and refrigerate.


roasted asparagus with caper dressing

This has two of my favorite foods: asparagus and capers. I make roasted asparagus with salt, pepper and olive oil as a side dish for grilled/roasted meat. This is a South Beach Diet recipe.

Serves 2

1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound)
2 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
3 tablespoons chopped shallot
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 450?F.

2. Trim tough ends from asparagus; place on a baking sheet. Drizzle the asparagus with 1 1/2 teaspoons oil, salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; toss to coat. Spread in a single layer and roast, turning once halfway through, until the asparagus begins to soften and brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter.

3. For the dressing: place shallot, parsley and capers on a cutting board and chop together to make a coarse mixture. Transfer to a small bowl and combine with vinegar, the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Serve the asparagus topped with the dressing.