Saturday, February 15, 2014

What do you wish for in 2014?

Hello Blogger Friends,

I realize it is now February and I should have asked this question a month and a half ago.  What do you wish for in 2014?  I imagine you want world peace right!  Don't we all.  As for me I have been thinking about this for a few months now.  I started thinking about it last July when I had a "milestone" birthday (I will let you figure that one out).  I know we are suppose to get wiser with age but it seems that I may have lost some focus.  What do I want to do?  What do I want to share?  What do I want to finish?  What do I want to start?  Whew......So I decided for starters I need FOCUS.  I mean if you look at this blog for instance...last entry was January 2012 - really!  That was two years and I....well you get it....I strayed.  Anyway, so here we go...  Happy Belated New Year's I truly hope you get want you wish for in 2014 and I do have hope for World Peace.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Those who take eat well.....those who give sleep well.

I am a bit frustrated today by the cost of food at the different eateries.  Is it a sign of the times or are restaurants just getting a bit greedy?  Is making 60-70% profit on food items not enough?  Do you really need to make 90% on every single item? Are you gonna really break the bank if you don't charges for add-ons like a slice of cheese, 4 thin slices of avacado, 4 little slices of chicken/beef)?  Why can't you have a choice between plain or fizzy water for free - I mean how many glasses of water does a customer drink?  I think most of us are pretty conscientious of our spending these days, but come on eateries!  - If you make a good product at a reasonable price and make your customers feel like they are getting bang for their buck.....they will come!   Which brings me to I do have a point.

I was channel surfing and landed on the Cooking Channel and came across Eddie Huang (this is the point).  He is a writer, chef and restaurant owner and now t.v personality  He has an eatery in good old NYC (one of the most expensive cities to dine) and he gets it.  His place is called BaoHausNYC  His approach is full flavored good food at a "cheap" price - and he is not the only one.  Check out the show on the Cooking Channel called Cheap Eats and see what I am talking about.

I am not naive.  I understand that the cost of running an eatery is not cheap, however I think that owners don't get that you can make $ from the masses.  That charging top dollar for a little bit of food is not gonna get you a full house unless you are Thomas Keller.  It would be nice to eat a "cheap" meal sitting down and not from a drive-thru or standing in front of a truck. Maybe not have linen, but white butcher paper or a clean table is not outrageous.  It seems that restaurant owners forget that it's not horrible to give a little something - lets face it after adding tax and tip your meal just jumped another 20% at least.  In fact the return on making someone feel like they really got a great deal is....well lets just say " a good nights sleep."

Monday, January 9, 2012

you say potato and i say bake them....

If you like crunchy and savory you will like these crispy potatoes.  They are super simple to make and can be used as a side or just a snack.  We use to make these at the bistro that I worked at and we munched on them all night....beware they are addicting.  And yes they are baked!

1.  Preheat oven to 375.  If you have a convection oven use it just adjust cooking time.
2.  Slice 3 medium size potato 1/8" thick.  This is when a slicer or mandoline come in handy - although a sharp knife can to the trick too.

3.  Dry slices between paper towels or cloth towels - the drier the better.
4.  Add olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
5.  Lay the potatoes on a baking sheet or baking stone (I love to use this).

6.  Bake them until they start browning on the edges - about 10-12 minutes.  Pull tray out very carefully and turn  them over with a spatula.  You don't have to re-arrange them perfectly, but just spread them out and keep them in a single layer.  Place them back in the oven and continue to bake for about 5 minutes.
7.  Slice a lemon thinly and chop some Kalamata olives.  Spread on top of potatoes and finish baking for another 10 minutes or until crispy.

What happens is that the potatoes get infused with the lemon and the olives.  They simply delicious!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

new year - new name.

I have had this blog since December 2008 and was never quite happy with the name "And then I  said.....".  Even though it made sense in my head, it just never inspired me much.  I think a tittle is so important for so many reasons.  It has to be short and sweet, catchy, have a nice ring and it needs to have personality.  After much thought I think I came up with a good one.  I simply asked myself...."Maria what makes you happy?"  The answer is very and chocolate.  So here I am again.  I hope to bring you great recipes, practical information and just fun thoughts.

I truly hope this year brings you everything you want.  Laughs, Love and lots of Cafe con Chocolate!

Happy New Year!

Monday, November 28, 2011

fish tacos!

So its the Monday after Thanksgiving and we are soooo turkey'd out!  What can I make for dinner?  I thought about it at the gym and could not come up with anything.  I looked through some cookbooks and nope...nothing.  I wanted something that was not poultry or meat (we had carne asada yesterday) - nachos you ask?.....had them yesterday too - ugh!  I finally turned on the T.V and caught some recorded episodes of my new favorite guy.....Chuck Hughes and that's when it hit.  He has a series Chuck's Week Off and he is hitting Mexico.  He visited Cabo San Lucas and had some delicious fish tacos.  My mouth started watering right away and to my surprise I actually had all the ingredients to make this meal. I topped my tacos with a cabbage slaw and paired them with some cilantro/lime rice and a Bohemia......delicioso!

Okay here we go......(don't forget to put on some music).

1. Fish: Four Tilapia filets.  Tilapia is my preferred fish for this because of its mild flavor and it cooks super fast.  Season filets with salt and pepper and make sure they are nice and dry.  Dust them with flour (this will help the batter adhere to the fish) and set it aside.
2. Cabbage Slaw:  Shred some cabbage and set aside.  In a small bowl mix the following:
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • a pinch of cumin
  • a pinch of salt and pepper
  • squeeze 1 lime
  • refrigerate
Combine with cabbage right before serving.

3. Oil:  In a heavy bottom skillet heat 1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil on low - I use a Lodge cast iron skillet (my very favorite).  Do this before you start working on the batter.  
4. Batter: I made a beer batter (it was an excuse to open the first bottle of Bohemia), but if you don't have beer or don't want to use beer feel free to use some fizzy water instead.  However, the beer gives the batter nice flavor.  
  • 1  cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbs cornstarch
  • 1 egg white - soft peaks
  • 3/4 cup beer or fizzy water
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
Mix flour, cornstarch, oregano, salt and pepper in a bowl - add beer.  Whisk egg white and fold it into flour mixture.  

4. Fry: Bring your heat up to medium.  Working quickly and very carefully  dip the fish in the batter and slide it into the oil. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side until golden.  Make sure that you let the oil come back up to temperature between batches and do not crowd the fish as this will result in a soggy and greasy fish instead of crispy.  Pull fish out from oil and lay on paper towels.

Serve on warm corn tortillas and top with the cabbage slaw and some good salsa.  Buen provecho!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

bring on the nachos.....

Super easy, super fast and super yum. This is my fall back meal and it works every time.

1. Preheat oven at 375

2. Layer chips, refried beans (canned), cheese (cheddar, colby jack or mozzerella) chopped onion, chopped tomato and shreded cooked chicken, steak or sausage.

3. Put in oven until cheese melts about 10-15 minutes.

I use a pizza stone, but you can use a cookie sheet. I also like to add some garnishes when I serve them. Some chopped cilantro, a little sour cream and some jalapenos. Listo!