Sick as…

white14, originally uploaded by Frenchie01.

Yep. A dog. I’m dealing with The Terminator of allergy attacks, but hope I’ll soon say: I’ll be back.


Picture Wednesday

Here it is, another Wednesday, another shot. If you’re following my photo challenge, you’ll remember that all the shots for Shutterboo’s challenge are here.

This week was all about color. Here’s a tease, but to see the shot I submitted, you’ll have to go here or here.

See ya next time!


Medianoche & midnight turkey cravings

Wondering whatever you will do with all that leftover turkey? I know I am! I mean, as much as I enjoy the whole meal, I get tired of the original spread after a day of leftovers. I know lots of people enjoy making their leftover turkey into sandwiches, I’m not a big sandwich fan. Can’t tell you why, just not a fan. However, every now and then… something happens and I want one.

Medianoche literally means midnight in Spanish and that is the name given to this Cuban specialty. They say these came about as a snack offered to night club patrons in the wee hours of partying. I totally understand that. When I’m out late drinking and dancing (not that it has happened in a while), a need a little nibble of something. And, believe me, when you’re on the sofa watching a good movie later on, you’ll be so glad to see this beauty toasting up.

No recipe again, just the ingredients. I should mention that the Medianoche is pretty much the same thing as a Cuban sandwich, except for the type of bread used. If you have a bread that is eggy and slightly sweet, you’ll end up with a Medianoche. On the other hand, if you only have something like a baguette, it’ll be a Cuban sandwich. I used Hawaiian sweet rolls in lieu of a brioche, which aren’t readily available in Houston. The ham is a Boars Head Sweet ham, it wasn’t as sweet as the honey-roasted and worked beautifully. As for cheese, I went with a full-blood Swiss, I wanted to taste it in the sandwich.

Medianoche Sandwich

Turkey slices, thick slices
Sweet ham
Swiss cheese

Butter the bread slices, then layer with cheese, turkey, ham, pickles, and top with cheese. Put the other half on top.

If, like me, you don’t have a Panini press, add a bit of butter to a skillet and heat over medium low temperature. Place the layered sandwich in the skillet, then press down with another pan, weighing it down, if necessary.

Allow the sandwich to toast for about 3 minutes per side. Make sure the heat isn’t too high or you’ll end up with burnt toast.

Slice the sandwich in half diagonally before serving. For more shots, follow the link to the photostream.

Cookingly yours,

Home is where the heart is

And my heart is still in Panama, will probably always be. My love is in Houston and that is where I live. But, currently I’m still in Panama caring for my mom.

Time is limited right now, and rather than fail my promise to you, I decided to dig through my archives and bring attention to a few posts from the beginning days of this blog. These speak specifically to my cooking identity. If you’ve just found me, there’s a very good chance you’ve missed them. So here goes nothing.

This first one speaks to my cooking habits, those things I do as second nature as prepare a dish. Cooking Un-science.

The next one takes a look at my spice cabinet. I promise you it is much more exciting than my underwear drawer :). Spice Me Up, Scotty.

Finally, shortcuts. If you spend a good amount of time doing a task, you always develop shortcuts. Tricks of the trade. A way to minimize or expedite steps. Here are my Shortcuts.

That’s it. A little blast from the past.

Cookingly yours,

Leftover saga – Fried Rice

Leftovers are like Tuesdays, inevitable. Sometimes you have a full meal left behind, that one is easy. Next day’s lunch. Other times you end up with parts of the meal. For this recipe I’m referring to the former.

Remember that yummy ham I made? Well, we ate it for a couple of days, but it kept showing up. Add to that some cooked white rice and a new meal was born!

This time I will not give you a precise recipe. It isn’t necessary. Think about ingredients you like in fried rice, then raid your fridge and make happy. All you need is the rice, a meat, the veggies you like and soy sauce. Honestly, there’s no science to this one.

Ham Fried Rice

Cooked rice (I had about 4 cps)
Ham, chopped (about 2 cps of the protein you’ll use)
Bacon, diced (2 slices)
1 large onion, chopped
3 eggs, beaten
Soy sauce
Garlic powder
Most veggies you like will work here

To your wok or skillet, add the bacon and cook until lightly golden. If not using bacon, add oil to the wok and go to the next step.

Add the veggies–this time I only had onions and scallions.

Add the meat/protein you’re using and cook until heated through. Remove from wok and set aside.

Add a few drops of oil (if needed), then add eggs. Swirl eggs around the wok, scrape them around in the same way you would make an omelette. Mix into the meat/veggie mixture and set aside.

Make sure the wok is quite hot, add 1 tbsp oil then the rice. Fry and stir constantly to coat rice well. Add soy sauce, for this amount I used about 2-3 tbsps. Stir it in and continue to cook and allow the soy sauce to evaporate.

Sprinkle some garlic powder…this is where I channel the artful BeniHanna chefs, and this step is optional. Again, make sure to stir it all in and well.

Now add the meat/veggie mixture. Stir it in and serve.

Shot this!

No foodie entries today, sorry. Instead, take a look at some of my favorite shots. By ‘my’ I mean mine. Hope you like ’em!

This was at one of the main parks in Boston. I exaggerated the colors, but no real editing done here.

Boston, Mass

This was a color shot originally, I applied the b&w effect. I love leaves.

Somewhere in SF

 Somewhere along Hwy 1 around the SF coast. No editing at all.

 Multnomah Falls outside Portland, OR. Powerfully beautiful.

 This still is one of my favorite shots ever. Chairs in a Parisien subway station.

Rusty hardware on a gate in Puerto Rico.

Feel free to visit my photostream on Flickr. Good night, moon!

Cafe, coffee, kaffee

I’m a late coffee bloomer. I didn’t discover the deliciousness of this beverage until I was 18 and got my first real job. See, my parents weren’t coffee drinkers. My mom grew up drinking tea; my Gramy used to make a huge pot of black tea , she would then sweeten and add milk to it. It ended somewhere between  English and Indian tea.

On the other hand, my dad would drink Postum. Do you know what that is? At the time I just thought it was yuck, but thanks to Wiki, I now know it is a caffeine-free coffee SUBSTITUTE. Postum was made from wheat bran, wheat, molasses, and maltodextrin from corn–sheesh, that explains my utter disgust for it. Why even bother? I don’t even remember the coffee aroma which is THE closest thing to crack I can think of.

Anyway, I got my first real job with a law firm in Panama and one of the partners would have his pot brewed fresh, then disposed of after a certain amount of time. But the stuff was awesome! I got my first few cups for free and my dealer was set for life after that.

I’m not going to tell you I’m a coffee connoisseur, but I will admit to being a coffee snob. I like it strong. I like it fresh. I like it with REAL sugar and cream. I like the nice roasts, but I did have my  flavored period. I’m over that now, I can’t even smell the stuff .

So, now that I’ve unleashed my coffee snobbery on you, let me tell you about this little gem I found while visiting one of Houston’s many Asian markets. Delicious is what it is! If, like me,  you enjoy dark, rich, strong coffee, you should look for this one. The hubby and I are living happily ever after because of it.

When you open the bag– it is packaged in 2 air-tight baggies– you’re confronted by beautiful dark grounds that are so aromatic, you may think this is flavored coffee. And the flavor is just incredible. All bittersweet and chocolatey. Pound for pound, buck for buck, it’ll laugh that Starbucks stuff right out of your pantry. Time for another cup. Enjoy it!