Havana Style: Huevos Habaneros

Bienvenida a Picante!

Fancy it up with Filet Mignon

Tonight, this chef is NOT starving!

Surf 'n' Turf Bites

Bring the best (and cheapest) of the land and sea to your table.

Here Comes Petter Cottontail

Hoppin' right on into your cupcakes!

Easter Egg Nests

These chow mein noodle nests are a fun play on a childhood favorite!

Apr 20, 2015

Rosemary & Dill Citrus Salmon

Something about the springtime awakens my taste buds and all I want to eat is stuff with a twang to it. 

The beautiful citrus smell that will waft through your home and out your open windows will literally make you drool - and my stomach grumbles now as I reflect upon it.

Rally up your taste buds for a flavor explosion. 

  • fresh salmon
  • lemon
  • lime
  • garlic
  • sugar
  • honey
  • springs of fresh rosemary
  • fresh cut dill
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • olive oil

Start by picking from the freshest supply of rosemary and dill you can find! Mine happens to be a few steps out onto my balcony, where I've amassed quite a collection of veggies and herbs. Take a moment to stop and smell the flowers too, it'll really enhance your overall experience.

Once your flowers have been sufficiently sniffed, combine the juice from the lemon and lime in a medium size bowl with the minced garlic, olive oil, honey, sugar, and rosemary. Crack in some fresh pepper and whisk a few times.

In a shallow pan, create two pouches in which to place your salmon filets. Pour the lemon-lime mix over the salmon and top with cracked pepper, salt, and dill.

I'll admit, I'm a sucker for a good lookin' filet of fish.

Fold in the edges of foil to create a pouch for the salmon, then pop into the oven while cool and bring to 375 F.

When your oven has preheated to 375 F, turn the oven off and let the salmon rest for about 20 minutes in the oven as it cools.

It should be just hot enough to cook the salmon perfectly - when it's still translucent and flakes when touched gently with a fork.

Top with fresh dill and serve with a simple salad and brussel sprouts.

Recipe TL;DR:
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 2

  • 1 lb fresh salmon
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 5 gloves of garlic, minced
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • springs of fresh rosemary
  • fresh cut dill
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
Here's How:
  1. In a small bowl, combine the fresh rosemary, lemon and lime juices, garlic, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Whisk together with the honey, sugar, and olive oil. 
  2. Using a shallow pan, create two foil pouches for the salmon filets. Pour half of the mix over each filet. Seal each pocket by folding the foil's edges together.
  3. Place into the oven while it's still cold, and preheat to 375 F. When the oven signals it has reached 375 F, turn it off and DO NOT OPEN the oven. Let the salmon rest in the cooling oven for 20 minutes. Filets will be ready when they flake when gently touched with a fork.
  4. Serve hot and enjoy!

Need a side?

Apr 19, 2015

Garlicky Potato Fries & Cilantro Lime Dipping Sauce

These potato fries have been a staple in my cooking adventures. Being one of the first recipes I can honestly say I've "mastered" in the last year. Don't believe me? Check out my post from two years ago. A lot has changed since then, but trust me when I say, I've cracked the code to this recipe's perfection.

In fact, I'd go as far as to say these potato fries are what won the stomach of my boyfriend, Nick, as this was his most frequently requested side for the first few years of our relationship. 

  • red skin potatoes
  • garlic
  • olive oil
  • spicy paprika
  • cornstarch
  • sour cream
  • limes
  • fresh cilantro
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Start by mincing your garlic then add 4 tablespoons of olive oil.

Now here's the secret to hacking this recipe: the microwave!

That's right! Instead of soaking your potatoes in cool water for an hour, just toss in a bowl with the garlic and oil until completely coated, then cover and place into the microwave for 5 minutes or until the potatoes are beginning to become translucent.

Sprinkle on the paprika, salt, pepper, and cornstarch and toss again to coat.

Then arrange the potatoes in a single layer and cook in the oven at 375 F for 40 minutes.

Be sure to flip the potatoes half way to get all sides nice and crispy on every side!

During the second round of cooking, once you've flipped the potatoes, make the cilantro lime dipping sauce by combining the juice of one lemon with the sour cream and chopped cilantro.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Recipe TL;DR:
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes + 20 minutes

Serves: 4-5

  • 4-5 medium red skin potatoes
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons spicy paprika
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 5 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • salt & pepper, to taste
Here's How:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Wash and then chop your potatoes into wedges about 1-2 inches in size.
  2. Mince the garlic then place into a glass (or microwave safe) bowl and cover with 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Microwave about 30 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant. Add the potatoes to the bowl and toss with the oil until coated. Microwave 5-6 minutes, covered, until the potatoes are turning translucent on the edges.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch, paprika, salt, and pepper then sprinkle onto the potatoes and toss gently to coat the potatoes evenly.
  4. Arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet and place into the oven for 20 minutes, then flip the potatoes, and cook for and additional 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.
  5. During the second half of the potatoes cooking time, prepare the cilantro lime dipping sauce by stirring together the sour cream, cilantro, and lime juice. (Be sure to stir the sour cream before adding the lime juice as not to curdle the sour cream.) Chill until the fries are ready, serve hot and enjoy!
Need a main course?

Try this amazingly fresh herb and citrus chicken or add some chorizo stuffed mushrooms alongside for a savory springtime dinner.

Or combine alongside some Rosemary & Dill Citrus Salmon.

Week 17: Herbs - Garden Herb & Citrus Chicken

One of the many things I love about spring is the natural boost in flavor our foods can get. Sure you can grow herbs year round, but there's something about that outdoor grown herb that I just can't get over.

Recently my local grocery stores have had awesome deals on herb seedlings, so I've just been picking up a couple here or there over the last few weeks they've been available. I've accumulated 7 or 8 different kinds to add to my collection. This particular combination includes: rosemary, lemon thyme, Italian oregano, sweet basil, and spicy globe basil.

I can't wait to have a nice enough weekend to truly get my garden going. Since my garden must be contained on a balcony, things get a little crazy, so when it doesn't look like the garden department of Home Depot exploded on my patio, I'll post some pics for you all to check out.

Just one of my many potted herbs.
Anyways, back to the recipe.

  • chicken breast, thin sliced or pounded 1/2 inch thick
  • lemons
  • oranges
  • onion
  • garden herbs - rosemary, lemon thyme, Italian oregano, and spicy globe basil (feel free to use whatever you already have growing!)
  • garlic
  • sugar
  • spicy paprika
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Start by slicing one of the lemons and one of the oranges. Juice the second lemon and orange. Overall, you should end up with about 1/2 cup of juice between the two. Then slice your onion into rings and set aside.

Thinly chop the garlic and combine in a small bowl with the orange and lemon juice. Destem and chop the herbs then stir in the oil, sugar, and paprika with the juices.

Pour the citrus marinade over the chicken, then pop into the fridge for about 30 minutes (or as long as you need) until chilled.

Lightly spray a 8x8 pan with cooking spray then line with the slices of lemon and orange. Place the chicken side-by-side in the pan, then arrange the rest of the slices of citrus and onions on top. Pour the remaining marinade over and drizzle with olive oil.

Pop into the oven at 375 F for 25-30 minutes or until the juices are bubbling and the chicken is cooked through.

The tang of the citrus combined with the robust flavor of the fresh herbs gives this dish a delightful pop that's perfect for a warm spring evening. Combine with a side of garlicky potato fries with a cilantro lime dipping sauce and chorizo stuffed mushrooms for an incredibly tasty picnic!

Recipe TL;DR:
Prep Time: 15 minutes + 30 minutes of marinating time
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Serves: 3-4

  • 1 lb chicken breast, thin sliced or pounded 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/4 cup garden herbs - rosemary, lemon thyme, Italian oregano, and spicy globe basil
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons spicy paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste
Here's How:
  1. Slice one lemon and one orange into 1/4 inch pieces, then juice the second lemon and orange. Thinly slice the garlic then wash and chop the fresh herbs.
  2. Combine the juices, garlic, and herbs into a small bowl. Add the sugar and paprika then whisk in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. 
  3. Pour the citrus mix over the chicken and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Spray a square pan with cooking oil then arrange half of the slices of lemon and orange along the bottom. Place the chicken breasts in a single layer across the slices, then top with the remaining slices of onion, lemon, and orange. Pour the rest of the marinade over the chicken.
  5. Cook for 25-30 minutes, or until the juices are bubbling and the chicken is tender and cooked through. Let rest for about 10 minutes, then serve and enjoy!
Need Some Sides?

Did you try this recipe? Let me know in the comments how it went!

Apr 14, 2015

Empanadas de Pollo

Empanadas son la vida. Empanadas son el amor.

 How do you like my high school level Spanish? Pretty great, right? Bueno!

I can literally feel all of the Spanish teachers and native speakers cringing right now. Lo siento.

This week's challenge was Cuban style, so naturally I took the opportunity to turn up the heat and make some amazing Huevos Habaneros. But of course, the heat in these eggs needed some balance and chicken empanadas empanadas de pollo fit the bill perfectly. And luckily, turned out to be pretty easy to make too.


Empanada Dough:

  • flour
  •  cream cheese, room temp
  • butter, room temp
  • baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 egg + 5 tablespoons water, for glaze
  • chicken breast, cubed
  • red onion, chopped
  • garlic
  • white wine
  • lime juice
  • lemon juice
  • cumin
  • cilantro leaves
  • chile peppers (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Ponámonos a trabajar, amigos!

Begin by bringing the cream cheese and butter to room temp then cream together the entire block of cream cheese and 1/2 stick of the buter in a large bowl with a hand mixer. 

Slowly add the flour 1/4 cup at a time until a crumbly dough forms.

Use your hands to blend in the last 1/2 stick of butter and knead until a soft dough forms. Use a little extra flour if the dough is super sticky. Then cover with foil and refrigerate for an hour (or if you're like me, just while you prepare the other ingredients and take pictures of them).

While your dough chills, start a sofrito by chopping your onions and garlic, and Chile peppers if you're daring! As you can see, I wasn't. Toss into a pan with a tablespoon of butter and saute until the onion is turning translucent. Remove from the pan and reserve oil left in pan.

Cube your chicken breast into tiny chunks and add to the pan. Cook for a few moments to get them browning, then add the cooking wine, spices, and lemon and lime juice.

Bring to a boil and add the onions.

Let simmer for a few minutes and soak in the savory sweet smell.

Reduce the heat and add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the filling has thickened.

Remove from heat entirely and let cool until room temperature.

Alright, time for my favorite part! Rolling out the dough! 

Begin by separating the single large dough ball into 2 halves. Then take each half and divide it down the middle so you have 4 small balls of dough. Repeat the division process to get 8 small dough balls. This method ensures that your dough will be evenly distributed and there won't be any leftover!

Flour a work surface and roll out each dough ball, one at a time.

Take about a tablespoon to a tablespoon and a half of the filling and place into the center of your flattened dough.

Fold your dough over the filling and secure the edges by pressing down. I did try using a fork and it definitely didn't work as well as using my hands. Trim with a pizza roller for smooth edges! 

Brush with the eggwash and then bake at 375 F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.


Prep Time: 30 minutes + 1 hour cooling times
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

Makes 8 empanadas

Empanada Dough:
  • 1/2 cups flour
  • 8oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 stick butter, room temp
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 egg + 5 tablespoons water, for glaze
  • 1 chicken breast, cubed
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 1/2 lime or 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 lemon or 5 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro leaves
  • 2 chile peppers (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Here's How:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Begin by forming your dough by creaming together the cream cheese and 1/2 stick of butter. Add flour slowly until crumbly dough forms, then use the remaining 1/2 stick of butter to create a soft dough. Refrigerate 1 hour.
  2. Chop the onions, garlic, and Chile peppers (if using), and toss in to a pan over medium high heat with a tablespoon of butter. Saute until the onion is turning translucent, then remove from the pan.
  3. In the same pan, add the cubed chicken and cook until just browning. Then add the white wine, cumin, cilantro, lemon and lime juices and bring to a boil.
  4. Add the onions and reduce the heat. Add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time to the mix to thicken it. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for an hour.
  5. Take the chilled dough and separate it into eighths. Dust a work surface with flour and use a rolling pin to flatten the balls to about 1/8 inch thick.
  6. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the filling onto the center of each flattened ball, then fold over the edges and press together. Use a pizza cutter to trim the edges. 
  7. Brush with the egg and water glaze, then pop into the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Enjoy!  
Need a main course? Why not Huevos Locos!?

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