Garlic Shrimp- Camarones al ajillo


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 10 peeled garlic cloves
  • 1 pound raw, peeled and deveined large shrimp
  • 4 small dried chile de arbol or your favorite dry chile
  • 1/2 cup Sherry
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper

Heat olive oil.  Add garlic and sauté for a few minutes.  Do not let it brown or the garlic will become bitter.   Add the shrimp and the chili pepper.  Cook for 2 minutes then turn the shrimp over and cook another 2 minutes.  Pour in the Sherry and cook for a few more minutes.  Be careful not to over cook the shrimp.  Add the parsley and serve.  Make sure you have some good bread to soak up the yummy sauce.


Meat balls with 5 spice

It is always fun to entertain with just small plates or tapas.  It does not need to be Spanish in theme.  It can be an “eclectic” mixture of dishes.

meat ball

  • 1 pound of ground beef, chicken or lamb
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 5 green scallions chopped
  • 2 tablespoons 5 spice
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

Form into small balls about the size of walnuts.  Saute in a drizzle of oil until brown.  Place in a 300 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Serve with tomato sauce.

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomato paste
  • 1 large tomato peeled and finely chopped
  • salt and pepper

Mix together and place in a bowl.

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Blanched tomatoes

  • 15 ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 1/3 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
  • 3 ounces lump crab meat (check for shells)
  • salt and pepper

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Set up a bowl of ice water.  Cut a small X in the bottom of the tomatoes.  Blanch the tomatoes in the water for 10 seconds and then place in the ice water.  When they cool, slice off the tops remove the skin and hallow out the seeds.  Set aside.

hallowed out tomatoes

In a bowl combine the mustard, parsley, mayonnaise, olive oil, and  vinegar.  Fold in the crabmeat. Salt and pepper. Stuff the tomatoes with the crab mixture and serve.

stuffed tomato

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The best thing about Risotto is what you can do with the leftovers.  I’m not sure what I like better, the risotto or the arancini.  This is also known as Suppli al Telefono for the long strings of cheese the are evident when you cut them.

raw aranciniLeft over risotto (see previous post)                                                                                                                                               Mozzarella  cheese, cut into 1/2 inch dice                                                                                                                                            flour, beaten egg and dried bread crumbs for dredging

Form the risotto into walnut size balls.  Using your finger, make a hole in the ball and place the mozzarella.  Shape the ball around the cheese.  Dredge the balls first in the flour, then the egg and finally the bread crumbs.  Fry them in hot oil until browned.  If you don’t want the oil, you can bake them in the oven but they sure taste better fried.  Serve while still hot and the cheese is still melted.

cooked aranciniarancini and salad

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1 Pound ground beef (sirloin, round, chuck whatever is your choice)
Salt and Pepper
Everyone makes hamburgers differently.  You can add minced onions and garlic, egg
and bread crumbs.  But I prefer them with just salt and pepper and good quality of
Form the meat into medium sized hamburgers and heat a cast iron skillet.  Throw some
salt in the skillet and add the patties.  Let the burgers sear for about 3 minutes, then
After about 2 minutes, pour a full bottle of nice red wine.  Once again the question about
what kind of wine should one use comes up.  The dish is only as good as the
ingredients.  I know I can’t use a fine French 1st growth, but if you use bad wine the
meal will be bad.  Some how I can’t seem to make my vino enthusiast understand
why they must give me their wine bottle for my hamburgers….
Simmer the hamburgers for 15 minutes, then serve.  Some do not like herbs on their
food, but my mother always minced chives on top.
We always love mashed potatoes with this dish.  I think that it was really a vehicle
to enjoy the sauce.

Hamburgers in wine sauce

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Borscht is a staple of Eastern and Central Europe.  It can be served hot or cold, with meat or vegetarian.  Some can be smooth and some chunky.  In general beets are the foundation component in this soup, but not always.  Poland even has a white version that is served for Easter.  But the one standard is that it is a bit acidic.  The vinegar does give it a nice bite. Maybe I should make the different variations and post them.
But for now, I made the basic recipe that my mother made for us.  My husband says that I am missing the vodka, which may very well be true, but then again, we were children.
Beets Basic Borscht
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium onions chopped
4 leeks, only the white part chopped
1 celery rib, diced
1 medium turnip or potato
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 pound fresh trimmed or 3 1/4 pound drained canned beets diced
5 cups beef or vegetable broth
6 Tablespoons white wine vinegar, or to taste
salt and pepper
sour cream or yogurt

Melt the butter in a large stock pot and add the vegetables.  Cook until they are soft.  If you are using canned beets add them after the other vegetables are soft.  Add the broth, the vinegar and check seasoning.  Serve either hot or cold with sour cream or yogurt.


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tomatoes and parsley

Eggs can play various roles, but in an Omelet they really star.  Omelet’s can be great for breakfast, brunch and even supper.  You can add cheese, herbs, vegetables.  Pretty much what ever you like.

sauteing omelette

I like to use 2 eggs per person and I beat them with just a splash of milk and salt and pepper.  It is imperative to use a non stick pan and some butter or oil.  Add what ever other ingredients you prefer.  Once the eggs are set and the bottom is browned, fold over in half.  Serve while still hot.

Omelette foldOmelette and soup

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