La Lasaña de mi Casa – Tamara’s Lasagna

By |March 30th, 2011|

When we got married, I was determined that my husband would always have delicious, filling, homemade meals that welcomed him home after a long day of work.  Fast forward 10-plus years later, and the meal that normally awaits us both is either a bowl of cereal or tacos from the taquería across the street.  By the way, those are delicious.

So when we have time to cook, which is normally on Sunday nights, we make something that would lasts us for most of the week.  In that way, we don’t fill ourselves with unnecessary fats…  And leave those for the weekend.

We both are suckers for pasta, and more often than not, we ALWAYS crave lasagna.  The beautiful thing about lasagna in my opinion, is that you can make it anyway you want.  You can use meat or vegetables; use a tomato-based sauce or maybe just a white sauce, or both.  No-boil noodles is a no-brainer.  And c’mon.   Anything that has cheese – I’m sold!

While lasagna is not a native Ecuadorean meal, my mom used to make lasaña at least once a month.  After all, Ecuador has a large European influence, thanks to Cristóbal Colón.  I don’t necessarily know that he brought over the lasgana, but someone did.  So back to my mom and her lasaña.  Carne molida, a.k.a. ground beef, wasn’t too expensive, so we got to indulge in it.  My mom used to make her lasaña with Salsa Blanca, a white sauce made with a flour-butter roux.  For all of you my foodies, you know what this sauce is, no?  But of course, c’est Béchamel.  She would layer some Queso de Hoja, which is basically mozzarella cheese, and layer jamón – Virginia ham – in between the sauce and the meat.  That was her way of making it, and I will make that version in the future.  THIS is how we make it – la lasaña de MI casa.   I’ve always felt that as a family of husband + wife + tuna-eating cat, in addition to cherishing and maintaining traditions we both had growing up, we create our own.  Lasagna is a dish we love to make together, and it is a great way to bond and forget about the rat race our lives have become.  Do you have a special dish you love cooking with your loved one?

By the way, I have a few secrets I will share with you that will make a world of difference in YOUR lasagna.

Alright.  Let’s leave the cheese for the lasaña and get started.


Porchetta-Style Pork Loin with White and Cannellini Beans

By |January 25th, 2011|

El Hubs and I have our own magazines.  I have In Style and Lucky; he has Men’s Health and Men’s Journal.  Almost the same…   But not quite.  In his case, both mags have basically the same content: how to bulk up, what cool gadgets to get, sex tips and, oh yeah – more exercise moves and more sex.  I am not against any of the aforementioned subjects, just to be clear.  However, I have to give kudos to Men’s Health for their pretty freakin’ rad recipes.  WHO KNEW?!  It is not only sex, people!

Anyways, one of the recipes on the January/February 2011 issue caught El Hubs’ eye.  It was simple and healthy (well, uhm – it is Men’s Health after all).  Since I know El Hubs has a pretty good eye for good things (me – exhibit “A”! ), we gave it a go.  Behold Porchetta-Style Pork Loin with White and Cannellini Beans.

The great thing about this recipe is that perhaps with the exception of the pork loin, you most likely have everything else in your pantry.  Prep time is quick, although if you choose to let the pork marinade, it takes a bit longer.  My advice?  Let it marinade; it is well worth it.


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Prosciutto, Basil and Sundried Tomato Pizza

By |April 5th, 2010|

I tend to forget how easy it is to make pizza.  Shortly after El Hub and I got married and we were both in grad school, I would make pizza dough over the weekend, separate them into balls and freeze them.  During the week, I would thaw a ball the night before, and we would have some yummy pizza topped with cheese and pepperoni for dinner that night.

Well, since then I want to say that our tastes have evolved.  I mean, if you put a pepperoni pizza in front of me, I would inhale it in a second.  But it is more exotic when you say, “I had a prosciutto pizza for dinner”, isn’t it?

I am a huge fan of thin crust pizza; I love the crispiness and the simplicity of it.  However, I’ve had a bit of a tough time coming up with a good recipe for such type of crust.  I realized there was no need to reinvent the wheel when I came across this thin crust pizza recipe from Country Living.

Making the dough is very simple.  What is a bit time consuming is the fact that you have to wait for the dough to double – an hour.  Upon doubling, you have to punch the dough down and let it rise for an extra 30 minutes.  But let me tell ya, if you’d had a stressful day, punching this dough is a magical reliever.


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Caldo de Bolas de Verde: Green Plantain Dumpling Soup

By |January 1st, 2010|

Want a great way to beat the winter blues?  Warm up your tummy with this delicious and hearty Caldo de Bolas de Verde (CAHL-doh deh BOH-lahs deh VEHR-deh), a.k.a., green plantain dumpling in broth.  When I took a bite of a dumpling soaked in the soup, my eyes teared up.  The dumplings tasted exactly how I remembered – mission accomplished.  My husband was in awe of how good the dumplings and the soup were; needless to say, we had a good supper on a brutally cold day.

When I was a little girl, I looked forward to bolones.  While the sopa part of it didn’t thrill me that much, the way my nana made it for me was basically straining out all the vegetables, so that I would have a couple of dumplings in a broth.  I remember eating this soup with a side of white rice, which I would dump into the soup bowl.

The broth itself is delicious.  It is made with beef tail bones, beef stew meat, celery, carrots, yuca, and sweet corn.   Making the dumplings this time around required an experiment that turned out perfect.  I added one egg to the dumpling dough so that they would hold together and not disintegrate in the broth.  The bolones are made of both cooked and raw plantains, which also helps in keeping them together and adds a crunch element.  The dumpling filling is made with the beef stew meat that is chopped in tiny pieces and combined with the celery, carrots and yuca you fish out of the broth.  The filling normally has peas and chopped hard boiled eggs, but my husband is not a fan of either; you are more than welcome to use peas instead of celery.  Whatever filling you have left after making the dumplings is poured back in the broth for a thick, hearty soup.  Enjoy!


Sopa de Cebada con Carne de Res: Beef and Barley Soup

By |December 11th, 2009|

In my home, winter means, “Honey, when are you going to make the yummy soup?”  This yummy soup is beef and barley soup, my husband’s favorite and a crowd pleaser.  In the past, I have made this beef and barley soup with carrots and celery, and it is delicious that way.  This time, […]