Thursday, February 28, 2013

Goat Cheese and Tomato Crostini

We recently had these goat cheese and tomato crostinis at a family get-together and insisted on the host's recipe. Not one person in the room resisted these elegant appetizers, not even Mr. P who is not very fond of tomatoes! Of course we changed the recipe up a bit to give it our special touch. We hope you and your guests enjoy them as much as we do!

1/2 pint of yellow grape tomatoes
5 ounces of goat cheese
4 ounces of cream cheese
Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
10 basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
1 french baguette

Kitchen Essentials:
2 mixing bowls
Citrus juicer or reamer
Measuring spoons
Cutting board
Cookie sheet
Serving platter

Take the cream cheese and goat cheese out of the refrigerator, so that it comes to room temperature and softens. This will make mixing a lot easier. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the grape tomatos in half or quarters and add to the bowl. Next, place your strainer over the bowl and juice one lemon. Add a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and some of the salt and pepper to taste. Lastly grab your basil leaves and stack them together. Roll them up and slice them into thin strips. Add the basil to the bowl and give the tomatoes a quick stir.

Grab your cream cheese and goat cheese and  place them in another mixing bowl. Using a spoon, mix the two cheeses until they are combined.

At this point, you can store both mixtures in the fridge for up to 2 days if you are not ready to make the crostini. This is great for entertaining at home because you can prep everything before and assemble later.

Slice the bread into thin slices - about a 1/4 to 1/2 inches. Align on a cookie sheet and give them a light drizzle of olive oil, this will help them crisp up. Place them in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 to 7 minutes or until crispy and golden.

The last thing to do is assemble your crostini! Grab your toasted bread and  give it a thin layer of the cheese mixture. Then put about 1 teaspoon of the tomato and basil mixture. Place the finished crostini's in a serving platter and you just made one easy, healthy and delicious appetizer!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Strawberry Lemonade

It's always summer in Miami, so for us, there is no better time than now to whip up some refreshing Strawberry Lemonade. You can join us on the fun no matter where you live or what the weather is like! This simple recipe will make any ordinary day seem a little more special. Lemonade a favorite for kids and adults alike. So sit down, relax and enjoy!

Kitchen Essentials:
Medium pan
Measuring cups
Cutting board
Wooden spoon
Small bowl
Citrus juicer or reamer

2 cups of sugar
6 cups of water
2 cups of fresh lemon juice
1 extra lemon for slices1/2 pint of fresh strawberries
Mint (optional)

Add the sugar and water to a medium saucepan and give it a quick stir. Place the mixture on the stove over medium heat an allow the mixture to come to a boil for about 5 minutes. This will create a simple syrup. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool.

Place the strainer over a bowl to catch the lemon seeds and begin to juice the lemons. Continue to juice your lemons until you have 2 cups of juice. Add the lemon juice to a pitcher and add the cooled simple syrup.

Remove the tops of the strawberries and cut the strawberries in slices. Add the sliced strawberries to the pitcher and place in the fridge. Allow the strawberry lemonade to get cold and keep in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.

Garnish your strawberry lemonade with a slice of lemon and a sprig of mint.

Note: This drink can be converted easily into an adult drink.  The strawberry lemonade goes perfectly with vodka. Add to taste! Enjoy!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

DIY Brick Columns

So we know that our blog is mostly about food, but every once in a while, we like to mix it up. Besides, we figure that people who are into cooking are usually homebodies like us who like to entertain, decorate and attempt some DYI projects. Recently, Mr. P spent a weekend giving our walkway a little facelift and we thought we'd share the details with our fans. We've always liked the way the brick columns looked in front of other houses, but we thought we would need to pay big bucks to have someone do it for us. After being inspired by this HGTV video, Mr. P decided to give it a shot even though he had no prior experience working with brick. Now, for less than $200, we have something unique in front of our home to be proud about. Best part is, we can always change the flowers and flower pot with the seasons.

180 brick pavers (4x6 size)
3 80lb bags of Quikrete Pro Finish Concrete Mix
2 60lb Quikrete Grey Mortar Mix
2 20x20 Concrete Stepping Stones
2 Pieces of 8 feet long 2x4 Lumber
16 Wood Nails (2 inches)
1 Wheelbarrow
1 shovel
2 Buckets
1 Brick trowel
1 Steel brick jointer
1 Level
1 Hammer
1 Tape Measurer
1 Flathead Screwdriver
1 Sponge
Liquid Nail
Tiled House Numbers
2 Planters
2 Decorative plants
2 Creeping Ficus

 Step 1: Begin by making the boxes for the concrete foundation of your brick columns. We had Lowes cut the lumber for us. We asked them to cut the 2x4 into eight pieces that were 22 inches long. Using a hammer carefully use two nails per joint. Once you have made both boxes, decide where you would like to place them.

 Step 2: Using the shovel, dig a hole big enough to place the boxes you created. You want the  top of the boxes to be  level with the ground and symmetrical to the walkway and sidewalk on both sides. Make sure that the boxes are level as this will be your foundation. Double and Triple Check this step! This is the step that took us the longest.

 Step 3: Mix the concrete in the wheelbarrow according to the instructions on the package. Fill your boxes with the concrete and smooth out using the brick trowel. Let the concrete dry over night.

 Step 4: In the morning, remove the wooden boxes. You will need to put the flathead screwdriver into the joints of the wood to loosen the nails and prey the box open. Now the fun begins, laying the brick. Mix the mortar according to the instructions. We worked with little at a time and we preferred it on the wetter side because we thought it was easier to work with.

 Step 5: Using the trowel, add mortar where you will be placing the bricks. Spread it out evenly and smoothly. You want to have about a 1/2 inch layer between each level of bricks. In the photo above, we had already placed six layers. One bucket had the prepared mortar and the other had water.

 Step: 6: Grab a brick and place it on the wet mortar.  Make sure it is flush with the side and front.

 Step 7: Grab the next brick and place mortar on the seam that will touch the brick you just laid. Place that brick and continue to work on that layer.

 Step 8: Another layer complete. Make sure to check that each layer is level and that the side of the columns are also level. This is very important! You don't want your columns to look crooked at the end.

As you see above, we are used two bricks for the left and right and one on the top and bottom.  This pattern is alternated in each layer. We decided to do it like this so our columns would be a 16x16 inch square and we did not have to make any cuts in the brick.

 Step 9: Once you finish a layer, grab some mortar with the trowel make sure that all the seam and gaps are filled with mortar. Scrap the excess and put it back in the bucket with the mortar, it can be reused.

 Step 10: Every 3 layers or so, give the column a good wipe down with water and a sponge.  Be very generous with the water. You want to clean the brick so that the mortar doesn't dry on them.

 Step 11: See how clean the column looks after a wipe down? Continue this process until you desired height. We gave our columns 15 layers of bricks. We though it was the perfect height for the look that we were going for.

 Step 12: Attach the concrete top with mortar as well. Make sure that the final product is level. Give it one last wipe down with water and the sponge. Using the brick jointer, run it along all the joints. This will give the bricks more definition and will help the water run off the brick.

Once finished, we attached our Mexican Talavera tile house numbers with liquid nail and secured them with tape, so they would not slide.

 Step 13: After 3 hours, we removed the tape and placed a terra-cotta planter on top of the columns. We replanted grass and planted a creeping ficus behind the column so that it grows on the column with time. Not bad for the first time ever working with brick!!

Joey inspecting our finished product.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tortilla Española (Spanish Potato Omelet)

 (Pictured Above: Tortilla Española with Chorizo, Potatoes and Onions)
  (Pictured Above: Tortilla Española with Potatoes and Onions)

Who says you can only have eggs for breakfast? In Spain, it is common to have tortilla at all times of the day - for breakfast, a mid-day snack, and even served as an appetizer in the evening. Our family loves this dish because it is very rustic and filling. With ingredients such as eggs, potatoes, onions and chorizo, you will be proud to serve it at your next party or take it to a friend's gathering. The traditional recipe is cooked on the stove, but we believe that cooking it in the oven is easier and better for beginners. We hope you enjoy our tortilla as much as we do!

Kitchen Essentials:
Large non-stick pan
Cutting board
Sharp knife
Potato peeler
Large bowl
Paper towel
Whisk or fork
Baking dish
Kitchen thongs
Wooden spoon

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 large onion
Chorizo sausage (optional)
2 large potatoes
4 large eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thinly slice the onions and potatoes. Set aside.

Tip: the thinner you slice, the quicker it cooks!

Coat the bottom of the non-stick pan with a thin layer of olive oil and turn on the stove to medium/low heat. When the oil is hot, begin cooking the potato slices by layering them side by side. Do not try to fit all the slices at once and do not layer them one on top of the other. Season with salt and pepper. Allow both sides to cook about 5 minutes, until the potatoes are a light golden brown and tender. It's okay to lift and turn them occasionally. Remove the slices and place on a clean plate. Add a little more oil if you need it and cook the rest of the potatoes, seasoning each new batch to taste. Once they are cooked, allow them to come to room temperature on the plate. Next, cook the onions and chorizo on the same pan. Do not add more oil because the chorizo will release some fat. Cook low and slow until the onions are soft. Place the onion and chorizo mixture in a bowl lined with paper towel. The paper will absorb the extra oil.

Crack the eggs and place in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Whisk until the eggs are slightly foamy. This will incorporate air into the eggs and make a fluffier tortilla. Spray the baking dish with cooking spray and place the first layer of potatoes on the bottom of the dish. Spread half of the onion mixture over the layer of potatoes. Next, add half of the egg mixture over the potatoes. Tilt the pan to the sides to make sure the egg spreads evenly throughout. Add another layer of potatoes and the rest of the onion mixture. Finally, pour the rest of the eggs over it. If you have any extra potato slices, feel free to layer them on top. 

Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes until the top is golden brown and the eggs have been cooked. This dish could be served warm or room temperature. Some people like to cut the tortilla in cubes and serve with toothpicks. 

Mr. & Mrs. P

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Red Velvet Pancakes

This recipe is what happens when a traditional pancake meets a trendy red velvet cupcake. We haven't met anyone who doesn't like either one, especially when they are served to them in bed on Valentine's Day! This year, why not surprise your sweetheart with these red velvet pancakes? We bet they've never had these before!

Recipe makes 12-14 pancakes.

1 1/2 cups of flour
1 egg
1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
1 tablespoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon on salt
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 1/2 cups of milk
3 tablespoons of butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of vinegar
2 teaspoons of red food coloring
Nonstick cooking spray
Maple syrup
Whipped Cream (optional)
Fruit or berries (optional)

Kitchen Essentials:
Nonstick pan
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Mixing bowl
2 small bowls

Begin adding the butter to a small bowl and heating for about 30 seconds in the microwave to melt. Set aside to cool. 

Measure out the wet ingredients: milk, vinegar, egg and vanilla extract. Then, place in a small bowl. 

In a mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Using the whisk, quickly mix the dry ingredients to incorporate. While whisking, slowly begin to add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Whisk for about a minute to ensure that there are no lumps in the pancake batter. Lastly, add the red flood coloring and cooled melted butter and give it one quick stir. (TIP: you may need to add a little more food color as each brand varies slightly.)

Place the nonstick pan over medium heat and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Make sure the pan is hot before you begin to cook the pancakes. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, fill it with pancake batter and pour it the middle of the nonstick pan. Let the batter cook for about a minute and you will begin to see bubbles form on the top. Using the spatula, gently slide it under the pancake and quickly flip. Allow the other side to cook. Remove the pancakes from the heat and stack them on a clean plate.  Repeat the process, spraying the nonstick pan with cooking spray each time. 

Serve the Red Velvet pancakes with a little bit of butter, whipped cream, maple syrup and your favorite fruit or berry. Enjoy! 

Mr. & Mrs. P

Monday, February 11, 2013

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork Burrito

Slow cooker recipes are all the rage now-a-days. There are so many recipes out there, but not many Mexican ones in our opinion. Being the Mexican food lovers that we are, we decided to reinvent our pulled pork slider recipe and turn it into a burrito! It was a great idea because the result was one outrageous burrito! This is great option if you had leftovers from our Pulled Pork Sliders recipe. You will not only love the pork, but will adore our sour cream sauce too! Enjoy and let us know if you make it. We love to hear from our followers!

Ingredients for the Pulled Pork:
1.5 - 2 pound boneless pork tenderloin
16 oz of tomato sauce
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
3 teaspoons of paprika
2 teaspoons of cumin
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
1  large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of white wine, red wine or champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
8 oz can of Coca Cola or Pepsi
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 cup of white wine or cooking wine 

Ingredients for the Burrito:
4 burrito-sized flour tortillas
1 can black or pinto beans
1 tomato, chopped
1 cup of shredded cheese
1 cup of sour cream
1 tablespoon of cilantro
1/2 lemon
2 cups of Cabbage or lettuce

Kitchen Essentials:
Slower Cooker
Saute pan
Medium pot
Wooden spoon
Kitchen tongs
Cutting board
2 forks
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Wine opener
Aluminum foil

Cook the pork in the slow cooker using the instructions from our previous post (Click here). Once the pork is ready all you have to do is assemble the burrito! How easy is that?

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Wrap the flour tortillas in aluminum foil and heat in the oven for about 5 minutes to soften them up and make then easier to work with. While the tortillas are heating, mix the sour cream, juice of 1/2 a lemon and the chopped cilantro in a bowl. This mixture has tons of flavor and is a perfect match for this burrito.

Lay the heated tortilla on a wood board and put about 2 tablespoons of the bbq pulled pork. Try to strain any sauce or liquid from the pulled pork to avoid the tortilla getting soggy. Add about 2 teaspoons of the beans of your choice, a small handful of cabbage or lettuce, a small handful of shredded cheese, a teaspoon of chopped tomatoes and lastly, a teaspoonful of the cilantro sour cream mixture. Try not to over fill you burrito, this will make it harder to close.

Fold the top and bottom of the flour tortilla inward (as pictured above). Next, begin to roll the burrito. Grab the right side of the tortilla and fold to the left. Continue to roll to burrito to the left, trying to make it as tight as possible. Don't get discouraged if it doesn't come out perfect the first time. It takes a few times to figure out how to make the perfect burrito.

Cut you burrito in half and serve with corn tortillas and spanish rice or a side salad! Enjoy! 
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