Summer Eggplant Parmigiana



The first days of summer are arriving in Texas, and with them an incredible vegetable abundance.
This weekend eggplants at the Farmer’s Market grabbed my attention in such a way that I bought too many!… That’s the the way my crave of cooking works, with my eyes. I’m a very visual person and I believe good, healthy, fresh vegetables have to look good and smell good. Being visually inspired at the farmers market helps me create and translate my cravings into recipes. When I saw these eggplants I immediately thought of eggplant parmigiana. I love eggplant parmigiana, although to be honest sometimes the delicate eggplant flavor gets lost in the breading, frying , melted cheese, and marinara sauce. Don’t get me wrong, I love all these components, but maybe in Autumn or winter…

With this memory of flavors in mind, I started to think of how could I transform a classic into a more simple and Summery version. I came up with this Summery eggplant parmigiana recipe. A lighter version in which instead of breading and frying the eggplant I cut them lengthwise and roast them in the oven. Eggplants when roasted this way, develop a buttery flavor almost like a vegetable custard contained in it’s own skin. That’s why Im skipping the melted cheese on these recipe. Believe me you have to try them, you will be enjoying the delicate eggplant flavor. To add texture and contrast to this custard I added a combination of panko bread crumbs and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. If you have a gluten allergy these can easily be replaced with ground pecans,or almonds instead of panko breadcrumbs which it will be equally or even more delicious.

Instead of the warm marinara sauce, I made a warm tomato salad with a garlic oil dressing combining the first sweetest cherry and sun gold tomatoes of the tomato season. These little tomato marbles are incredibly flavorful, I never feel like cook them I almost eat them like grapes, as a snack in the afternoon. That’s one of the reasons this simple warm salad enhance their great qualities.

This summer eggplant parmigiana version will warm your heart. It is easy to make, light, and comforting.

Welcome to the summer, and enjoy!


Summer Eggplant Parmigiana

Serves 4

2 large eggplants
1-2 glugs of grape seed oil
sea salt and Black pepper

For the topping:

1 cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese grated.
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-3 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil.
fresh cracked black pepper to taste.
A pinch of red flake peppers (optional)

For the warm tomato salad:

2 cups of a combination of cherry and sun gold tomatoes.
2-3 sprigs of fresh Basil
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 large garlic cloves thinly sliced
3 tablespoons Seasoned Rice Vinegar.
(Rice Vinegar goes so well with the sweetness of the tomatoes. Since this little tomatoes are so sweet, you need to balance the acidity , and the seasoned rice vinegar pairs fantastic , bringing all the notes together, sweet, salty and tangy.)
salt and fresh black pepper to taste.

Preparation method:

1. Preheat the oven 450F/ 230C
2. Cut the eggplants length wise and score them with a pairing knife.Rub the eggplants with some olive oil or grape seed oil, season them with salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
3. Place the eggplants on a baking sheet and roast them for about 15-18 minutes.

4. Mean time, in a bowl combine the Panko bread crumbs, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, red pepper flakes, olive oil, salt and pepper until well combined and the mixture resembles moist sand. Set a side.
5. Start making the warm tomato salad, by cutting the cherry and sun gold tomatoes into halves or quarters depending on size. Chifonade the basil. Combine them in a bowl, toss them with the rice vinegar, salt and pepper.
6. In a small pot add the extra virgin olive oil along with the thinly sliced garlic and using the lowest possible heat on the stove, start warming up the oil. This will infuse the oil with the garlic and the thin slices of garlics will start turning golden brown.


7. Check your Eggplant, take out of the oven top each half with a generous amount of the panko mixture. Place them into the oven for another 5 minutes until the topping is golden brown.

8. Mean time check your garlic and olive oil. Once the eggplants come out of the oven, remove the warm oil from the stove and add this to the cherry and sun gold tomato salad toss well.
The warm oil will gently warm up the tomatoes,the garlic chips will add flavor and aroma to the tomato salad it is a fantastic!


9. Once your eggplants are ready out of the oven transfer them onto a platter, and top with the warm tomato salad, grate a little extra Parmigiano-Reggiano and fresh basil. Enjoy!



Welcome the Summer!

Music Pairing: Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong – Summertime

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Grilled Cauliflower with Garlic + Cumin Rub


Chef Dan Barber was the creator of the famous Cauliflower steak. His original recipe uses the whole cauliflower head. He slices two thick cauliflower wedges and sears them in a cast iron pan until the cauliflower is caramelized but al dente. He cooks the rest of the cauliflower florets in milk to make a smooth and light mash. He serves the cauliflower steak over the light cauliflower mash. The contrast in textures and different cooking methods is what makes this dish outstanding.
Cauliflower to the square; a brilliant idea.

Chef Dan’s cauliflower approach inspired me to create this recipe. Instead of contrast in textures, I wanted a contrast in flavors but chose a spice that enhanced the grilled cauliflower. With Dan’s premise of simplicity in mind, I made a four ingredient paste as a rub with garlic, cumin seeds, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. I wish you could off been here with me when I was pressing the garlic and cumin seeds in the mortar, the smell was insanely good.  I must confess that prior this recipe I was not fond of cumin seed flavor and using cumin was totally out of my comfort zone.This recipe gave me a different outlook about it.

  I rubbed two cauliflower steaks and the rest of the loose florets with this pasty rub and grilled them. When the cauliflower was grilling the aromas were insanely good: smokey, lemony cumin and garlic.   It’s a savory aroma that squeezes your tongue from behind. I just can say that  I am converted now. These  two flavors work together so well that I see lots of cauliflower in my near feature…


Grilled Cauliflower with Garlic + Cumin Rub

Serves 2 as main dish, 4 if served as a side dish.

1 Medium fresh Cauliflower head.

For the rub:

2  teaspoons cumin seeds slightly toasted.
3 medium garlic cloves
2 teaspoons sea salt. (I used grey sea salt)
1/3 – ½ cup extra virgin Olive oil.

Serve with:

Tangy Bulgarian yogurt
Grilled pita bread
Sprigs of cilantro
Fresh cracked black pepper.

Grill and natural Charcoal.

Preparation method:

1. In a small skillet over low heat, toast the cumin seeds for 2-3 minutes.
2. Using a small mortar, place the toasted cumin seeds, garlic cloves and sea salt. Start smashing these ingredients with the pestle, until it looks like a paste.
3. At this point start adding the extra virgin olive oil little a the time, and keep mixing and smashing until each oil addition is incorporated.
4. With a silicone brush rub both sides of the cauliflower slices and the florets.
5. Fire up your grill.
6. Grill the Cauliflower steaks for about 4-5 minutes per side. They should look charred and with a fork check the center core for doneness.
7. Remove from grill and serve warm with some grilled pita bread, Bulgarian yogurt, fresh cilantro, a bit of fresh black pepper and a squeeze of lemon if desired. Enjoy!





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Grilled whole Red Snapper + Mint Lime Serrano Pesto


What a weekend we had of great cooking adventures!; On Sunday we visited one great Korean market here in Austin, recommended by my good friend Andrea. It was lots of fun. We found great ingredients and an awesome little food court with the most incredible Dolsot Bibimbap and the location of the Kin and Comfort . The menu looks divine, peppered beef tongue?, taro hush puppies!, mac and cheese with curry, coconut cabbage slaw… we have homework, but well that is a whole different episode, this post is all about the fish.

Our mission was to find a great whole fish to grill. And as soon as we entered the fish market area there he was waiting for us; a handsome fresh whole Red Snapper with gorgeous eyes looking at me. Sold! I saw it and I knew it was going to be great.

Now, how do you pick a good looking fish? I will share with you my must have fish shopping list. When I’m choosing whole fresh fish it must be odorless, must have plump clear shiny eyes, scales on, bright red gills, flesh that springs back and a perky tale. If the fish is missing one of these… I will be having pork chops instead. How big of a fish you should buy? If you go by weight, a whole Red Snapper wild yield in meat almost half of the weight. This weight  tip is a good point of reference to consider, when you are buying whole fish. We bought a 2 Lb. fish and it was good for two people.(in fact, the fish turned out so good that maybe next time I will get a 3 pounder for sure!) At the market, the fish monger cleaned our fish, removed scales, and butterflied it for us. It was clean and ready to cook when we arrived home.

Ian is the fire master at our house so he lit up the charcoal, while I was preparing the pesto. Red Snapper has great flavor and white flaky flesh. It is a little bony but if you follow the flesh grain it is easy to eat whole. For the preparation of this baby, I went for light fresh herbs to go with the freshness of the fish. I grabbed some mint, lime juice, garlic, olive oil, and a little serrano to add some kick and brighten up the flavor. The pumpkin seeds gave a nutty note and body to the pesto. this pesto paired perfect with the charred-grilled fish flavor.

Now, let’s talk about grilling. The grilling style that is close to my heart I inherited from an Argentinian chef, Francis Mallmann. I had the opportunity to meet him at a book signing here in Austin where I was helping to host his Seven Fires book presentation. I was amused by his premise about grilling. For Chef Mallmann it’s all about developing char. Char adds character and flavor to meats, poultry, fish, vegetables and fruit when grilled. I remember the first time we grilled following instructions from his book, and we were thinking all along we had burnt the dinner, and when we tried those charred vegetables it changed our grilling perspective. So since then, when we grill we use his technique.

For fish like Red Snapper when it’s grilled, it develops a delicious crusty salty and slightly fatty flavor, charred areas add deep of flavor and character to the fish it’s just utterly delicious.
If you never have had a whole grilled fish you are missing big time flavor, and a great cooking adventure from your cooking repertoire, I betcha 100% you’ll love fish even more after this recipe.


Grilled Whole Red Snapper + Mint Lime Pesto

Serves 2, recipe can easily be double or tripled if needed.

1 whole Red Snapper 2lbs. approximately.
1 Lemon
1 Lime
1-2 extra virgin olive oil glugs
Sea salt & Pepper to taste.

Serve with: Red quinoa, rice or couscous. Vegetables of your affection. In this case I grilled red onions, red tomatoes, broccolini, and cucumber slices, dressed with lime salt and pepper.

Natural charcoal
A large grill fish basket, with wood handle.
It is so easy to use one of these baskets and also is prevents your fish from sticking to the gill. You can flip it in a more secure manner with out tearing it apart and it cooks evenly and its safer to handle, a great inexpensive grill gear investment.


Mint Lime Serrano Pesto

1 packed cup fresh mint leaves or mexican hierba buena leaves
(about a medium size mint bunch will yield a packed cup of leaves)
1 small serrano or jalapeno if you prefer.
2 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons salted toasted pumpkin seeds
the juice of two limes
the zest of one lime
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt


Preparation Method:

1. First prepare the Pesto. Place every pesto ingredient in an immersion blender glass or food processor until pureed. The consistency should be like a loose paste. If too pasty add a bit more extra virgin olive oil and an extra squeeze of lime. Adjust salt and pepper if needed.
2. Prepare your fish. Rinse and wash your fish really well. With a paper towel path dry your fish inside out. With a knife make some slits on the skin of your fish so it cooks evenly.(See picture below)
3. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the pesto in the fish cavity, add some lime slices, and mint sprigs

4. Oil your fish basket with a bit of olive oil. Place the whole fish into the fish basket. Make sure to secure the lock.

5. Light up your charcoal. I always prefer to use natural charcoal because it adds great flavor to the grilling and it avoids the use of chemicals that in my opinion when used transfer an odd flavor to the food. The easiest way I found to start the natural charcoal is by using a charcoal chimney.
6. Once your charcoal is hot and ashed over place the fish on the grill. It will take about 6-7 minutes per side to cook depending on the size of your fish. For a salt water fish like red snapper thermometer should read between 110-120F when cooked.


7. Serve with vegetables of your affection, we grilled red onions, tomatoes, and broccolini.
Serve over tricolor quinoa. Drizzle more pesto on the fish when plated an extra squeeze of lime or lemon, eat with abandon…



Eat good, enjoy the ride!

Cooking Music Pairing: Ultra Lounge- Bossanova Ville

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Deviled Shrimp Camarones a la Diabla


Calling all the brave spicy souls! Are you there? … If you are one of them, keep reading because your ride to spicy heaven is here. Deviled Shrimp Camarones a la Diabla!
Why “a La Diabla” well because this recipe is *SPICY*, as in ~shzsshzzsshz~ that noise that your mouth makes when your mouth salivates, when your tongue tingle and sweats and you have rosy checks and almost start cursing HELL YES! Spicy shrimp It is a pleasurable torture… are you still with me?

This is a classic Mexican seafood dish. Where does it come from? Nobody knows. I’ve been Mexican all my life ~hehe~ and I do not know the origin of this dish. Go figure!. What I do know is that you can find Camarones a La Diabla on any menu of a seafront restaurant all along the coastal perimeter of the Mexican Republic. There are some rumors about the origin of this recipe comes from Sinaloa but it’s not unanimously agreed upon. Anyway, we Mexicans love any kind of spicy pledge.

In this recipe you are your own executioner as we say in Mexico. You “punish yourself” with the amount of spiciness you add. This recipe is for brave people, unless you want to end up eating tomato garlic sauce. Be brave-Be bold.

I balanced the spice by adding some orange juice to give a citrus background note and a more pleasurable spicy flavor. If you follow the recipe as it is written you will end up with spicy shrimp that makes you want more without being overwhelmed in fire. (I am brave, but I don’t want Ian to have a spicy comma, he almost has a Mexican palette when it comes to spicy foods…but still there’s some homework to do).

This recipe is one of my Mom’s favorite ~hi Mom!~ thinking of her wishing she was here on Mothers Day, sending her all the visual and shrimp love I can. This is for you Yoli!

She is one of the bravest women I know, I admire her and love her dearly. And oh my! spicy as she can be!..And sometimes like all Moms, a pleasurable torture!
I just love you so much shorty! Thank you for being such an awesome Lady, Happy Mother’s Day to all the spicy Moms out there.

Thinking of you Yoli…Enjoy!


Deviled Shrimp Camarones a la Diabla

Serves 4 spicy brave souls

2 lbs. Medium size Shrimp. I used Gulf shrimp, skin off, tale on and deveined.
6 tablespoons of butter
1 good glug of extra virgin olive oil
½ cup white onion finely diced
8-10 garlic cloves finely chopped
¼ cup tomato paste
1/2- ¾ cup freshly squeeze orange juice (approx 1 large juicy sweet orange, if your orange is to sweet, please add 1 teaspoon of white or rice vinegar)
1 teaspoon orange zest.
½ cup Cholula sauce
¼ cup Valentina or Huichol hot sauce
2 chiles chipotles in adobo sauce pureed
(you can buy the 2 oz little cans they work great for this recipe)
Salt and black pepper to taste.

* If you are not feeling so brave, reduce the Cholula sauce by half, omit the Valentina hot sauce, and use just one chipotle.

For the Garlic- Butter Rice:

White garlic rice
Serves 4 or 2 sailors.

1 cup white rice
2 tablespoons butter
1 glug of extra virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves cut in halves
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chicken stock or water

Preparation method:

In a medium size pot over medium heat melt butter and oil, add the rice, garlic cloves and bay leaf.
Stir constantly until the rice is to slightly toasted, (it will turn off white slightly golden) see picture below.

Add the 2 cups of water. Cover the pot with a lid until the water rich to a rolling boil.
At this point-set the temperature to low with the lid on. (my advise for good rice, do not look at it do not stir it, do not keep poking it or removing the lid. Rice is a lonely cooker. He likes to bloom in private. So set your timer at 20 minutes and go and peel the shrimp… hehehe)


* 25 min. later…Check your rice. Has the timer gone of? When it does just taste a little bit for doneness and make sure all the water has evaporated. If not give it 5 more minutes, then turn off the heat and leave the rice covered on the stove to keep it warm. Once you are ready to serve it, with a fork, please fluff the rice. It makes it airy and light…


Let’s talk about shrimp…

Skin on or skin of /head on head of.. that’s the dilemma!…
Is totally up to you! You are in charge of this decision. It’s up to which mood are you and flavor profile. Head on is a delicacy! makes the sauce a bit creamier and intense sea flavor. Also and most important,  the shrimp skins add tons off flavor to the sauce.With this said, not a lot of people likes this shrimp intensity and the heads can be a bit intimidating,  those big black shrimpy eyes looking at you, bring the sun glasses please!…In my opinion,  I find skin on is fun and messy, a whole different adventure. But again my friend, you decide on your mood an make your call.

This time I choose skin off and head off (since this recipe is thinking of you mom, I know this is the way you like them!)…so while my rice is cooking I started by peeling the shrimp.
I leave the tales on they look so good and devein them with a little pairing knife run it onto the back of the shrimp and remove the black vein under the running water.


Cooking the shrimp:

1. In a heavy bottom pot, over medium heat melt the butter, add a glug of extra virgin olive oil. Once the butter is bubbling add the finely chopped onions and garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes until a bit translucent.
Add shrimp and cook for about 3-4 minutes until they start to curl but still look a bit translucent. At this point take out the shrimp into a bowl, set a side.

2.At this point you will have some butter, olive oil, garlic, onions and some shrimp juices in the pot. Add the tomato paste cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the Orange juice, the zest and all the chilli sauces. Mix until well combined. Cook for 3-4 minutes, adjust for salt and black pepper. Taste for acidity. If is to sweet add a bit of vinegar. If is to spicy you are on the right track. this is the moment to adjust the sauce.

3. Add the shrimp to the sauce, until well combined and toss and cook for another 2-3 minutes. It really does not take longer for shrimp to cook, you do not want over cook, pasty, grainy shrimp…yikes!, so watch out!.


 I which you could smell this … insanely good, butter, garlic, spices, uff!

(Where are you Mom???!!!)



Time to Eat!, serve a generous amount of rice and your shrimp a la diabla on the side with

enough sauce to cover them, a green salad with a simple dressed with lemon salt and olive oil.



Be brave ~Shhz ha, Sshz ha shhzzha~ Enjoy!

Cooking Music Paring: Peggy Lee-Fever




Deviled Shrimp Camarones a la Diabla


A dreamy spicy shrimp, serve with fluffy garlic rice, and a green refreshing salad.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 little devils


  • 2 lbs. medium size Shrimp, I used Gulf shrimp, skin off, tale on and deveined.
  • 6 tablespoons Butter
  • 1 glug Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup white onion, diced
  • 8 large garlic cloves, finely choped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup Cholula hot sauce*
  • 1/4 cup Valentina or Huichol hot sauce
  • 2 chiles chipotles in adobo sauce pureed, you can buy the 2 oz little cans they work great for this recipe
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup freshly squeeze orange juice, about 1 large juicy orange, if your orange is too sweet add 1 teaspoon of vinegar.
  • 1 teaspoon orange zezt
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper, to taste

For the garlic-butter-rice:

  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-4 large garlic cloves, cut in halves
  • 1 medium bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chicken stock, or water


  1. Prepare the Rice:

    1. In a medium size pot over medium heat melt butter and oil, add the rice, garlic cloves and bay leaf. Stir constantly until the rice is to slightly toasted, it will turn off white slightly golden.

    2. Add the 2 cups of water. Cover the pot with a lid until the water rich to a rolling boil. At this point-set the temperature to low with the lid on. (my advise for good rice, do not look at it do not stir it, do not keep poking it or removing the lid. Rice is a lonely cooker. He likes to bloom in private. So set your timer at 20 minutes and go and peel the shrimp… hehehe)

    * 25 min. later…Check your rice. Has the timer gone of? When it does just taste a little bit for doneness and make sure all the water has evaporated. If not give it 5 more minutes, then turn off the heat and leave the rice covered on the stove to keep it warm. Once you are ready to serve it, with a fork, please fluff the rice. It makes it airy and light…

    Cooking the shrimp:

    1. In a heavy bottom pot, over medium heat melt the butter, add a glug of extra virgin olive oil. Once the butter is bubbling add the finely chopped onions and garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes until a bit translucent.

    2. Add shrimp and cook for about 3-4 minutes until they start to curl but still look a bit translucent. At this point take out the shrimp into a bowl, set a side.

    3. At this point you will have some butter, olive oil, garlic, onions and some shrimp juices in the pot. Add the tomato paste cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the Orange juice, the zest and the chilli sauce. Mix until well combined. Cook for 3-4 minutes, adjust for salt and black pepper. Taste for acidity. If is to sweet add a bit of vinegar. If is to spicy you are on the right track. this is the moment to adjust the sauce.

    4. Add the shrimp to the sauce, until well combined and toss and cook for another 2-3 minutes. It really does not take longer for shrimp to cook, you do not want over cook, pasty, grainy shrimp…yikes, so watch out!. Enjoy!

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Jalapeño and Bacon Meatloaf


If you are a meat lover, carnivore, bacon-ator, you just clicked on this post at the right moment and the right time. This is for you baby!…
As you know, every now and then, we do appreciate and love meat. Not too often, but when we do, we tend to go all-out; a big steak, a visit to Franklin’s BBQ, pork tacos. I’m telling you, Texas all the way. On this occasion, the meat craving translated into the form of meatloaf!

I asked Ian what would you like for dinner he answered: “not carrots”, so I said ‘be more specific’, he said “Meatloaf”.. Meatloaf it is!… I’ll do anything for love. (and please do not even relate to “that” Marvin Lee Aday song… I won’t do that.) I think this is the second time in my life that I’ve made meatloaf …and it was not too shabby, shall I say.

Meatloaf is pure comfort food, classic Americana recipe. There might be a million meatloaf recipes out there, the same as in Mexico for beans! Every family has their own recipe and spin, technique, breadcrumbs, no bread crumbs, beef, bison, ground turkey, ~ a mix ~ spices, ketchup, brown sugar, baked cover uncovered uff! lots of ways…

I did my research, and rescued the common thread of ingredients. I came up with a pretty good contender. This meatloaf put a big smile on Ian’s face.

Since we are just two I decided to make a small one, using my little cast iron pan. I fell in love with the way the meatloaf turned out. Crusty bottom and edges, caramelized top, really moist and great soft crumb.
I’ve learned that meatloaf left overs translate into meatloaf sandwiches and hey that sounds glorious… but we are trying to balance the act here. Maybe next time I will just make this mini meat loaf for the sake of sandwiches…are you still with me?…great!

For this baby Jalapeño and Bacon Meatloaf I used red onions, bottom mushrooms, panko breadcrumbs, and yes a dash of that “W”sauce. I used half ground lean turkey and half ground lean pork. My little spin: I added a bit of jalapeño pepper vinegar to the meat mixture and I topped it with bacon, slices of jalapeño, fresh cracked black pepper, and the classic ketchup-mustard-honey~instead of brown sugar~ and a little jalapeño vinegar to loosen up the glaze. I baked and served it all in the same little pan. The way this little pan is awesome! It works like a charm, bakes evenly gives the meatloaf a bit of crust on the edges and bottom and best of all it’s ready in 25-30 minutes… to die for… Meat it up!, Enjoy.


Jalapeño and Bacon Meatloaf

Serves 4 or two hungry caveman.

For the meatloaf:

8 oz of ground 85% lean pork
8 oz of ground 90% lean turkey
1 egg
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs or almond flour will work great for those GF souls.
¼ cup chopped red onions
1 cup chopped or sliced mushrooms up to preference.
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove grated
1 tablespoon jalapeño vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6-8 good cranks of freshly cracked black pepper

For the glaze:

1/3 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce.
1-2 teaspoon of honey

Toppings for the meatloaf:

Caramelized onions
2 slices thick bacon.
2 pickled jalapeños sliced in thick wheels
Fresh cracked pepper.


Preparation method:

1. Start by caramelizing the onions. Slice them about 1/8 inch or thicker, place them in a pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, a splash of apple cider vinegar and a pinch of salt over medium heat, toss and then lower the temperature until they look soft, but hold their shape, and they have a mahogany color just like this:


2. In a large bowl combine the 2 kinds of ground meat, egg, bread crumbs, chopped red onions, sliced mushrooms, ketchup, Dijon mustard, jalapeño vinegar, grated garlic, salt and black pepper. Mix until well combined and forms a ball. (look picture below)

3. Place the meat mixture into a 7″ cast iron pan , creating a slightly domed center.
4. Apply some of the glaze top with caramelized onions.
5. Cut the slices of bacon in half so you end with 4 short slices. Place one slice across the meatloaf and alternate with one row of the jalapeño slices, until your meatloaf is cover with all the bacon and jalapeño peppers. (see picture below)

6. Bake at 375 on the lower 1/3 of the oven, uncovered.
7. Check in 25 minutes and apply the rest of the glaze on top, bake for another 5 minutes.
8. At this point your meat loaf is cooked, you can broil the top for a couple of minutes to crisp up the bacon.
9. Using a trivet, take the meatloaf to the table and serve! Enjoy.



I served the meatloaf with this lemony mashed potatoes and peas  and a green salad on the side.

This was a great comforting meal, Enjoy!


Lemony mashed Potatoes and Peas

Serves 2

2 small potatoes, skin on, cut in cubes. I used yellow wax potatoes, I love how creamy they are when smashed.
1/2 cup peas
¼ cup milk or reserve water from the potatoes.
2 tablespoons olive oil + a little more to drizzle.
the zest of 1 lemon
Salt and fresh black pepper to taste.


1. In a pot with enough water, boil the potatoes until tender. Drain and smash.
2. Add olive oil, peas, lemon zest, milk salt and cracked pepper.
3. Mix until peas are bright green but snappy and warm through. sprinkle some lemon zest, extra virgin olive oil salt and pepper.
4. Serve immediately.



Music Pairing: Pixis – La la Love You

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Pizza Primavera


Pizza Primavera is a celebration of Spring! Using all the tender, sweet, crisp and fresh vegetables that the season gives us and inspired by all those beautiful shapes, colors, and textures this pizza has a refreshing taste of renewal. For me renewal translates as experimenting and trying ingredients and flavors that come with the new season.

Recently I’ve been experimenting with different gluten free flours, like oatmeal, brown rice, potato starch, tapioca, garbanzo, and quinoa. The fact that lately a lot of people have been diagnosed with a gluten intolerant condition means more are in need of extending their cooking horizons. Even if you don’t have gluten intolerance you should try this for its variation in flavor and texture.

Recently I baked an Irish Soda bread using 1/2-1/2 whole wheat and oat meal flour, which gave to the bread so much flavor than regular all purpose flour. That got me excited and I started to experiment with the not so easy task to come up with a gluten free pizza dough. For this pizza crust I experimented with different ratios, of brown rice flour, tapioca, potato and millet flour. The results were delicious and flavorful. However it ended up a bit overpriced for what a pizza dough should cost. I used 3-4 different types of flours each one had a mission to give the right texture to the crust, great achivement, but not very practical. So in my quest for a more reasonable option I stumbled upon a great mix, Bob Red Mill Gluten Free Organic Pizza Dough. I read the ingredients and to my surprise this mix is based on almost the same combination of 4 different flours I was trying to combine. The difference: I bought one bag. This simplifies the whole process for a fraction of the cost, and in my case pantry space. (I have a tiny pantry). 

Next, I gave myself the task to make this crust using this mix… and it was great!. Flavor and texture were spot on. When trying new things you have to see with new eyes, and tastebuds. The texture of a regular crust has a certain chewiness for which gluten is the responsible. When you have no gluten, other textures and flavor come to replace that chew factor. This crust has a lovely light texture, great flavor, and crunch, with a tender bite, making it easy to love. The tender light crusty and crunchy crust is the perfect canvas for the sweet delicate Spring vegetables. The mix is ready in 5 minutes and it does not requires kneading. Proofing time is 20 minutes and it bakes in 12 minutes total. It’s fun to make and I loved trying something new. This crust is a keeper!

For this Pizza Primavera, pre-roasting the vegetables is a must. They add extra flavor deep to the pizza. I love to leave the carrots al-dente, they add a bit extra crunch and texture to the pizza. Cheese?…my advice: go light on the cheese you want to be able to taste the vegetables. I chose a smoked provolone to balance the sweetness on the roasted vegetables. You must try this pizza, I assure you, you will fall in love with it. Give your self the chance to explore and renew your taste buds, perhaps for your next dinner party or get together… and have fun welcoming Spring!


Pizza Primavera

A pizza with spring vegetables and a delicious gluten free crust…

Makes 4 – 8”  pizzas


12-16 small spring carrots cut in half.

2-3 bunches thin sweet green beans cut on a bias.

2 cups Sliced Cauliflower florets.

½ cup fresh peas

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes halved

For the caramelized onions:

1 large red onion thinly sliced

a glug of extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

a pinch of salt and fresh cracked pepper.

For the sauce:

2 cups roasted crushed tomato sauce.

2 grated garlic

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste.

2-4 sprigs of fresh herbs, like oregano, rosemary or basil.


3 cups grated smoked provolone cheese or tofu for  a vegan option.

Grated parmigiano regiano cheese.

Pizza crust:

1 package of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free pizza Dough

(The mix includes an envelope of dry active yeast, how awesome is that!)

1-1/2 warm water

2 eggs or 2 tablespoons of flaxseeds and 8 tablespoons of water for vegan option.

Follow the instructions on the package.


Gadgets and utensils:

Pizza peel: It’s a must!, its so much fun to use and since it has a long handle keeps you safe from the oven heat. (I like this wood kind)

Pizza Stone or  Saltillo tile*

You can use a cookie sheet or a metal round pizza tray that will work too. I recommend, if you are a pizza lover, a pizza stone or the Saltillo tile, are a great investment. The crust gets a fantastic  color, and it gets crunchier when is cooked onto a stone surface.

*How or where to get a Saltillo tile? 
At your local home improvement store. You must make sure its and unglazed quarry tile.Usually the name is Saltillo tile, from the region in Mexico. They come in two sizes, I prefer the 11×11. Usually you can fit 4 into your oven, if you are planing to make a big pizza, For us 1 or 2 tiles are enough. A smaller size pizza like an 8” will cook great and evenly onto an 11x 11. The magic of these tiles is that you can use them in the oven and over the grill, if you feel like you want a grilled pizza, this works like a charm, price-wise we paid around 1-3 dollars per tile. This is a good solution if you don’t happen to have a pizza stone. And regarding durability: we’ve been using the same tile for six years!

To prepare the tiles for baking: Presoak them in water the day before, and let them air dry. Once they are totally dry they are ready to use. Be careful not to heat them wet to avoid cracking and of course let them cool before removing them from the oven or cleaning them.Pizza-utencils

Preparation Method:

Preheat your over at 450F/ 232C

Place your pizza stone or Saltillo tile into the oven to start warming up.

(This step is crucial, to get a great crusty crust, the hotter the surface the crustier it will get.)

Pizza dough:

Start by making your pizza dough. Follow the instructions on the package, I did not use the mixer, I used a wood spatula and kneaded by hand for a bout 2 minutes. Divide the dough in 4 equal parts, pre shape into 4 balls, cover with plastic wrap and let it proof at rom temperature for about 20 minutes.


While your dough is resting, prepare your toppings:

  1. In a sheet pan, lined with some parchment paper, place the carrots, cauliflower and green beans, drizzle with a bit of olive oil salt pepper and roast at 450 F for about 5-7 minutes. The vegetables should look not completely roasted, as they will continuously cook when placed on the pizza. You want the vegetables, tender with a bite.
  2. Meantime in a saute pan add a glug of extra virgin olive oil and the red onions and saute on medium heat for about 5 minutes, add some salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and add about 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Leave them on low heat tossing occasional for about 15 minutes or until tender and caramelized. (see picture below)
  3. Mix all your sauce ingredients, adjust salt and pepper, and warm for a few minutes to marry the flavors.
  4. Cut your tomatoes, grate the cheese, season your sauce, pre-roasted vegetables, have everything ready to have fun topping your pizza!


The making!

  1. Crank up the oven temperature to 500F. This gets the crust crunchy when it cooks on the hot pizza stone.
  2. Add a generous amount of corn meal onto the pizza peel. Apply some extra virgin olive oil in your hands and take one portion of pizza dough. Shape it into a disk and place it in the middle of the pizza peel. With the tip of your fingers, starting from the center out gently massage and start flatten and shape the dough into an 8-9” disk. (see picture below)
  3. Pizza-Primavera_-Shaping-the-pizza-dough
  4. Once you have the 8-9”round pizza dough, make sure its lose, by gently shaking the pizza peel in horizontal motion. The dough should scoot around easily.
  5. Place the pizza peel onto the pizza stone. Gently shake the wood peel back an gently forward to slide the pizza crust onto the pizza stone. See picture below. Be as quick as you can so the oven does not loose temperature.
  6. Immediately close oven door. And adjust oven temperature to 450.Bake crust for 5-7 minutes until slightly golden brown.
  7. Pizza-Primavera_-in-the-oven
  8. With the help of the pizza peel remove the crust from the oven and proceed to place the toppings.
  9. Start with a thin layer of tomato sauce, and place the roasted carrots and veggies along the radius of the pizza crust. Add the caramelized onions, top with grated cheese, and sprinkle fresh herbs.
  10. Place the pizza back into the oven for another 7-8 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and it has some color. With the help of the peel pull out the pizza into a wood board. Let it rest for 1-2 minutes, and proceed to cut. You can use a pizza cutter or a chef’s knife.
  11. Pizza-Primavera_Assambling-the-pizzaPizza-Primavera-sliced~Yes,-more-please!

Serve immediately.

 Top with arugula, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, squeeze of lemon salt and pepper…



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Warm Farro Asparagus and Poached Egg


Have you ever tried farro before? Farro is a handsome Italian whole grain with a great tan color, a nutty and slightly sweet flavor. Farro’s texture is firm with a bit of a chew.  An early variety of hard wheat, farro has been around for more than 10,000 years. It was originally grown in Tuscany, Italy and nowadays you can find great organic farms here in U.S that now cultivate this “ancient” new grain.

Farro has a number of nutritional advantages over other grains. It is a complex carb which makes it far more nutritious than white rice. It is higher in protein than regular durum wheat and higher in fiber in comparison to many other grains. It is rich in Vitamin B complex, A, C, E and rich in Magnesium. Due to it’s low gluten content is easier to digest and to make it even better:  it has a low glycemic index. As you can see Farro is not just a handsome whole grain. Farro is smart and a gentleman too.

I strongly believe that farro should be the new super grain. I would say I prefer farro over quinoa.  There are different varieties of farro and the one I recommend to try first is farro perlato. It cooks in the same way as white rice. 2:1 ratio, 2 cups of water, 1 cup of farro perlato and in 20-25 minutes is perfectly cooked a bit al-dente and each grain separated which it makes it fantastic to sprinkle on salads or as a whole dinner like in this recipe. If you have more time and you are craving more fiber, choose a wholesome farro, soak it overnight and it cooks for about 45-1 hour… (but not my favorite choice, look for perlato!)
For this recipe I cooked the farro with some garlic and tossed it with extra virgin olive oil, lemon salt and smokey hot paprika. To top it off… a poached egg… And that farro dinner was amazing. I know you will love it and I would love to hear some feedback after you have dinner with this Italian grain…This recipe is definitely comforting and effortless.
Warm Farro, asparagus and poach egg… makes a great brunch, lunch or dinner.

FARRO TextureWarm-Farro-Asparagus-and-Poached-egg-asparagus-ribbons-Warm-Farro-asparragus-and-poached-egg--~Yes,-more-please!

Warm Farro Asparagus and Poached Egg

Serves 2 with some left over farro to sprinkle over your next green salad.

1 Cup Farro Perlato (Bluebird Grain Farms, Bob’s Red Mill Natural foods)
2 cups water
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 glug of extra virgin olive oil
½-1 teaspoon Smoked Hot Spanish Paprika. (upon you preference, start with ½ , check on flavor)

8-12 asparagus (the thiner the better, pencil asparagus work great , they are tender and less fibrous)
1 glug of extra virgin olive oil
1 Lemon (the zest and the juice)
Salt and Pepper

2 Eggs room temperature

To garnish:

2 tablespoons toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped .
2-3 pinches Smoked Hot Spanish Paprika.

Preparation method:

1. In a medium size pot bring 2 cups of water to boil along with two garlic cloves. Add the Farro and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 20-25 minutes. Or follow directions on package otherwise.
2. Meantime, wash your asparagus, cut the ends, and with a vegetable peeler make thin ribbons. In a medium size bowl toss the asparagus with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil lemon zest and lemon juice.set aside.


3. When Farro is cooked, turn off the heat remove the garlic cloves and Season the Farro by adding a glug of extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, the Smoked Hot Spanish Paprika, lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice. Toss and cover with a lid to keep warm.


How To poach eggs:

It is certain that poached eggs take a bit of patience and timing, but I assure you that eggs meant to be poached. Practice helps, and if you follow this easy method you will be an expert poacher in no time. The reward makes it worth trying.

1.In a small pot bring about 6 cups of water into a simmer. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.
2. Crack one egg at a time onto a small ramekin or a small cup (this with help you to drop the egg into the water more easily)
3. With a Wooden spatula, create a water whirlpool and drop the egg into the center of the whirlpool. This will help to contain the shape of the egg-white into a pillowy egg goodness.
4. Turn down the heat to low
5. Let it swim into the water for about 2-3 minutes if the egg was room temperature. If the egg was in the refrigerator, it might take about 4-5 minutes.
4. With a slotted spoon carefully remove the egg from the water, and place it into a warm ramekin with a bit of tepid water, while you proceed to poach the next egg.Warm-farro-asparagus-and-poached-egg-how-to-poach-and-egg

Note: if you are not trilled about the poaching your eggs,  over easy eggs will work to!
There is no rules in here, this is just pure cooking inspiration!

5. Plate a generous amount of warm farro and top it with the asparagus ribbon salad.
6. Carefully Place the warm poached egg on top.
7. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle some toasted hazelnuts, sea salt, fresh cracked pepper and a pinch of Smoked Hot Spanish Paprika. Enjoy!


If you want to know more about Farro, check this articles:



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Root-a–touille a Ratatouille made with root vegetables


Because sometimes we need some silly in our lives, and because we must decide what to do with all the bountiful goodness of root vegetables currently in season, I decided to make Root–a-touille a Ratatouille made with root vegetables.

The star of this recipe, believe it or not, is the infamous rutabaga. You can smash, roast, make chips, soup… a rutabaga so many ways…and still not to be a great fan of it. I picked up some rutabagas from the Farmers market from the folks at Johnson’s Backyard Gardens. They have fantastic organic root vegetables. https://www.jbgorganic.com
Rutabaga has a very particular flavor, a cross between a radish and a potato (and some funk ca-baggey smell). This root vegetable is from Sweden and it is the result of crossing a cabbage and a turnip. But if you use this flavor profile in your favor it compliments and harmonize well with other roots. I thought about making a variation of ratatouille, using primarily roots. It was a success! In this particular dish the rutabagas bring the whole root clan together and the funky root smell cooks away. I really believe you are going to like rutabagas after eating them in this way.

Cooking your vegetables in this ratatouille-like style is gonna make you want to eat them more often. I even made my Grandma this recipe and she thought she would not like, and she loved it!… The only objection she had? Too much rosemary. I adjusted the recipe so no worries. I hope you enjoy the recipe. It is a warm and easy to prepare casserole that your whole family will enjoy.


Root-a- touille

Serves 4 or 2 hungry vegetarian for dinner.

1 rutabaga
1 sweet potato
1-2 green zucchini
(I use the light green zucchini or “mexican” zucchini as they call it here in austin)
2-3 small red potatoes

2 tomatoes diced
1 garlic clove
½ yellow onion small diced
1 glug of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

2-3 tablespoons of melted butter
1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
1 sprig of thyme and rosemary.
1 glug of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Salt and pepper to taste.

3-4 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese.


Preheat oven at 400F/200C

1. Using a Mandolin, thinly slice the rutabaga, sweet potato, zucchini, potatoes.
(I love this japanese mandolin is easy and fun  to use and clean up in a flash! next time I will make sure I have my gloves on!)

2. Quick saute in Extra Virgin Olive Oil the Onions, garlic, tomatoes, season with salt and pepper a pinch of the herbs de provence, fresh thyme and the sprig of rosemary.
3. Place this tomato saute in a gratin-stone ware or glass baking dish will work to.
4. Start layering the root slices, over the sauteed tomato-onion-garlic. Alternate the colors and different type of roots and zucchini (see photo below) and work all your way around.

5. Brush the top with the melted butter and herbs and sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese.

6. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, cover with foil for the first 15 minutes of baking, and remove for the last 10-15 minutes to achive a great gratin crust until golden brown.
7. Serve warm.
You can serve it as a side dish with fish, chicken or a simple soup and crusty bread for a vegetarian meal.Enjoy!



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