Category Archives: Difficulty: Medium

Potato and Garbanzo Stew

It’s a very good version of a chickpea/garbanzo soup. But this is a stew. Our little one loves it.

  • 1 pound potatoes
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 pinches saffron (optional)
  • 2 large red peppers chipped
  • 1 yellow pepper in strips
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup medium-dry sherry
  • 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes with juice
  • 2 1/2 cups chickpeas
  • 3 cups chickpea broth
  • salt and pepper

Picada (makes 1/2 cup)

1/4 cup almonds at 350 F until pale gold (8-10 minutes). set aside. Fry one slice of country-style bread in 2 Tbs olive oil until golden. Grind bread, almonds, and 2 cloves garlic and a pinch of salt to make a crumbly paste.

Romesco Sauce:

  • 1 slice bread
  • olive oil for frying
  • 1/4 cup roasted almonds
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts, roasted
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • chile
  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 tbs parsley leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 roasted red pepper
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup spanish olive oil.

Fry bread. Grind bread, nuts, garlic, and chile. Add everything but vinegar and olil and process until smooth. with machine running, gradually pour in vinegar, then the oil. Taste for piquancy and salt.

Saute onions, schafran, garlic and potatoes, over medium heat. About 25 minutes. Potatoes should be tender and firm. Add paprika, parseley and pepper flakes, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add sherry (or any substitute, we for example used rice wine vinegar) until thick and sirope for 12 minutes. Add tomatoes, garbanzos and broth. Add salt and pepper. Covering cook on low heat, until potatoes are done.

Sprinkle the Picada and parsley at the end on top.


Pea and mint spread

We are on a roll. Sarah had this at a party and it was yummy. I ate it on toasted bread with a sprinkle of cheese. It was a big hit!

Pea Sauce with Fresh Mint

Fresh or frozen peas and fresh mint turn into a creamy (but cream-free) sauce for simply cooked meats. This sauce is especially good with grilled or roasted lamb chops, or flaky white fish. Serves four to six. Yields about 2 cups.

  • 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil (always choose the superior taste of Spain ūüôā
  • 1 cup chopped leek (white and some light-green parts, from 1/2 medium leek)
  • 1/2 cup to 1-1/4 cups lower-salt chicken broth depending on how thick you want it.
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • sea salt

Heat 1 Tbs. of the oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the leek and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the peas, return to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer until the peas are just tender, 2 to 3 minutes.

Pour the pea mixture into a blender. Add the mint and 3/4 tsp. salt and purée until smooth.

Drizzle each portion of sauce with some of the remaining olive oil upon serving. (The sauce may be made and refrigerated up to 1 day ahead.)
nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 90; Fat (g): 3.5; Fat Calories (kcal): 30; Saturated Fat (g): 0.5; Protein (g): 4; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 2.5; Carbohydrates (g): 11; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0; Sodium (mg): 200; Cholesterol (mg): 0; Fiber (g): 3;
by Ellie Krieger in Fine Cooking 105, pp. 35. May 6, 2010. Italics added

Goat cheese and steak sandwiches

We feel really bad. We have here in Berkeley for 6 months, with great fresh ingredients and we have not written not even one of our recipes. What a shame!

Anyways, we are going to copy and paste a recipe it looks really good. We have done something similar, but we can copy the original. It’s from the magazine Fine Cooking. We pasted here, just in case it dissapears.

Open-Face Steak Sandwiches with Herbed Goat Cheese and Tomatoes

For the goat cheese

  • 4 oz. fresh goat cheese (1/2 cup), at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the sandwiches

  • Four 1-inch-thick slices sourdough or Tuscan bread
  • 1 large clove garlic, cut in half
  • Olive oil (from Spain) for brushing and drizzling
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lb. heirloom tomatoes, preferably different colors (about 2 small or 1 large), sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1/2 lb. leftover grilled flank steak, thinly sliced, preferably at room temperature
  • 2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano, shaved

Make the herbed goat cheseIn a small bowl, combine the goat cheese, parsley, basil, lemon zest, and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Make the sandwichesPosition a rack 5 to 6 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler on high. Put the bread on a large baking sheet. Rub one side of each slice with the garlic halves, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toast under the broiler, 1 to 2 minutes per side.Spread equal amounts of the goat cheese on the slices of toast, oiled side up. Distribute the tomato slices among the sandwiches and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Distribute the steak among the sandwiches and drizzle with olive oil. Top each with some of the shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano. Broil until the sandwiches are bubbling and starting to brown, 2 to 3 minutes, lowering the rack if necessary to prevent burning. Serve.

Make Ahead Tips

You can make and refrigerate the goat cheese mixture up to 3 days ahead.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 530; Fat (g): 19; Fat Calories (kcal): 170; Saturated Fat (g): 9; Protein (g): 32; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7; Carbohydrates (g): 58; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1.5; Sodium (mg): 1190; Cholesterol (mg): 50; Fiber (g): 3;
From Fine Cooking 105, pp. 49 May 6, 2010


This is a very difficult recipe to mess up as Carlos can attest to. We have eaten this recipes a few times so I figured Carlos mostly knew how to make it. I briefly explained to him how to do it and he wrote down some pertinent¬†instructions. When I came back, I found many things had¬†mistakenly been altered– canned tomatoes had replaced pasta sauce,¬†ricotta had mistakenly been used instead of cottage cheese and¬†freshly grated parmesan had replaced cheddar/Monterey jack. Still, it really didn’t matter much taste wise, but the consistency was different.


This is made with three mixes. The tortilla one, the tomato one and the salsa verde one.

  • 1 big onion
  • corn tortillas (around 24-30)
  • chili powder (liberally)
  • oil

Mix it until soft.  If the pan you used to saute the tortillas is oven proof then cover the sides of the pan with tortillas and mix the following ingredients in a bowl:

  • Tomato sauce (like the ones for pasta in a glass jar)
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Oregano
  • Salt + Pepper

Put the tortilla mix, around an iron cast or lasagna pan. Then dump in the tomato mix.

Then add the top layer. 

  • Half bottle of sour cream (6 tablespoons)
  • Salsa verde (bought in the store, made out of tomatillos).
  • Grate¬†cheese (Monterrey¬†or Cheddar) yourself. ¬†

Cook it for 30 minutes in the oven.

This serves four.

White chicken lasagna

white lasagna

white lasagna

We had planned to make a meat and cheese lasagna but the rain kept us indoors last Saturday. We had chicken and a few other vegetables so made this new lasagna recipe. I don’t like a strong tomato flavor with chicken so we experimented with this new white lasagna. You could put a small amount of tomato sauce on the top to make it more liquid. Feel free to experiment with other vegetables. I imagine mushrooms and spinach would also be really good.

  • 1 pound (400+ gr.) chicken breast diced
  • 1 half cauliflower chopped
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 red pepper
  • lasagna noodles
  • half pound mozzarella cheese (250 gr)
  • cream sauce (800 gr)
  • diced dried tomatoes (optional)
  • salt/pepper

Saute onion and garlic in large frying pan. After 5 minutes add peppers and chicken. Chop cauliflower and add. Let cook for 15-20 minutes while you make the cream sauce and prepare the lasagna pan. Grease lasagna pan and layer with noodles. Add 1 layer of chicken mixture. Use the juice that has been accumulated. Add a layer of cream sauce. Repeat noodles and chicken. Add dried tomatoes if using and 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese. Add noodles and top with last of cream sauce and tomato sauce if using. Cook for 30-40 minutes covered with tin foil (or until noodles are done). Add remaining cheese and bake uncovered until melted.

Serve with a salad and garlic bread.

Corn and whole wheat flour tortillas

Here in Europe I can’t get corn tortillas so I have to make them. I use a 60/40 mix of corn and whole wheat flour for these tortillas. You get the elasticity of flour tortillas and some of the flavor of corn.¬† They are easy to make but are a bit time consuming from start to finish.

  • 3/4 cup yellow corn
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • (extra white flour for rolling)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup warm water (add more if necessary)
  • 1 tbs. oil

Mix dry ingredients with a fork. Add water and oil. Mix completely. You may need to use your hands for this. It should be dry enough that you can form it into 1 large ball with your hands. Add a bit more water or flour as needed.  Let rest covered in the fridge for 15-30 minutes.

Tear off dough into small balls and roll out on a floured  piece of wax paper. The wax paper keeps it from sticking as much as on a counter but make sure you use enough flour or it will stick. Add to a dry pan and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side.  You can make them up in advance and refrigerate or freeze.

Homemade Spring Rolls

spring rolls

Sarah made these spring rolls. I did not have too much faith she was going to do something so delicious. I think she was kind of “picada” (this in Spanish slang means kind of annoyed because of a competition, or being really into a competition), because a couple of weeks ago I bought some frozen spring rolls in a Thai store. She did not want me to buy them, but finally agreed. She showed me we can do it ourselves… and that are yummier, and probably way healthier.

  • Eggroll shells (in Europe usually come frozen in Asian stores, in the U.S. in big grocery stores)
  • 1/2 cabbage
  • 4 Carrots
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • bean sprouts
  • 250 gr. (1/2 pound) tofu

Sautte garlic and onion. Add carrots and cabbage. Cook for 10 minutes. Add sprouts and crumbled tofu. We also put a little bit of grounded beef. Salt and Pepper.

Then you put the mixture in the eggroll shells. Follow the pictures on the package to roll them ūüôā

Always fry in a small pan, so you save oil and energy. (That’s Carlos’ abuela advice). Serve with rice.

We also bought in the Thai shop, a great sweet&sour sauce. With a spicy kick, but good flavor. Sarah likes it with mustard. We used a french one, but in the U.S., the honey mustard is what you want. Carlos prefered the sweet&sour.