Food for Friends

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Browsing Salads

Garden Vegetable Pasta


Garden Pasta 2This is more like a process than an exact recipe.  We have been lovingly tending our garden this Summer and we’re starting to get amazing results.  We harvested our first zucchini and a few tomatoes, along with many delicious herbs.  So I decided to make this pasta for dinner tonight.  It turned out delicious and very flavorful, but not heavy on your tummy like some of the heavier marinara type of sauces.  These are the ingredients I used, but you can switch it up depending on what you have around.


  • Pasta (I used Penne but bowties, oricchete or rotini will do)
  • 1 large zucchini diced
  • 1 bell pepper diced
  • Corn (about one ear’s worth cut off) but you can use a bit of frozen sweet corn
  • 2 medium tomatoes or about 4 small romas, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • Fresh herbs, chopped (I had basil, oregano and thyme, but you can use parsley or whatever you have, I put in lots)
  • A good squirt of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • White wine and reserved pasta water (about 1/2 cup of each as necessary)
  • Grated lemon peel
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


Garden PastaCook the pasta in a big pot.  While it’s cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet and cook the onion and garlic until very fragrant.  Add the rest of the veggies and saute for a little while until they start getting soft (but not too much),  add the butter, half of the Parmesan cheese grated, grated lemon peel, herbs and wine. Bring to a boil.  The pasta should be ready by now, drain (but reserve like one cup of the water) and put in the pan with the sauce.  Add a bit of the reserved pasta water.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with extra Parmesan shavings on top and a cold glass of white wine.

Chiles en Escabeche de la Tía Cristina


Chiles en EscabecheChiles en Escabeche are a Mexican staple, this recipe was assembled from some scribbles and notes while helping my aunt Cristina make a big pot of them to can for gifting.  It was a fun day in the kitchen… we made TONS and I had the “honor” of processing the onions, garlic cloves and chiles, hehehe, that’s what happens when you’re the “pinche”. These chiles are in many restaurants at the table and most people keep them at home.  You can add them to any savory dish, tortas, tacos, or just munch on the escabeche veggies as a snack.  This particular recipe has serrano chiles, and a lot of them, for a less “picante” version try seeding and deveining the chiles, or use Jalapeños.  You can also use less chiles and more veggies, a common practice because a lot of people LOVE the veggies, especially the carrots.  In some recipes they use more olive oil, or the spices and herbs are adjusted to taste depending on what you like.  Also, some recipes call for baby potatoes, quartered and blanched, that taste very very good but the starches tend to cloud the escabeche liquid.  Think of this recipe more as a set of guidelines and have fun… think green beans, bell peppers, zucchini, etc…  So yummy!


  • 15-20 Chiles Serranos sliced in half lengthwise
  • 2 Onions sliced into thin half-rounds
  • 2 heads of garlic, separated and peeled (I use 3 heads some times)
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced in rounds
  • 1 small cauliflower head, separated into florets
  • 2 tsp of mexican oregano (dry), or use a mix of fresh and dry
  • 1 tsp of thyme
  • 1/2 tsp of marjoram
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 5 pepper corns
  • 3 whole allspice corns
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 tbsp of salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 of a cup of olive oil
  • 3 cups of vinegar
  • 1 cup of water


  1. Blanch the carrots and cauliflower in plenty of water. Drain and set aside.
  2. In an enameled or stainless steel pot heat the olive oil, sauté the onions and garlic for a few minutes, then add all the herbs and spices, sauté for another minute or so.
  3. Add the chiles, carrots and cauliflower florets into the onion/garlic mix, and salt and sauté for a few minutes.
  4. Pour the vinegar and water into the pot and let it boil for 2-3 minutes, until the vinegar releases some of its alcohol.
  5. Put the escabeche in clean jars, wait until it has completely cooled off and refrigerate (use within a month), or can into sterilized jars and keep in the pantry for up to 6 months.
  6. The escabeche is much better after a week or so.


Chiles en EscabecheFor a less acidic recipe, use a bit more water and less vinegar, but I like mine with a “bite”.
Make sure you do the whole thing in a non-reactive pan because otherwise the vinegar with corrode it.
In my hometown (Ixtapan de la Sal, Mexico), they do whole jars of garlic cloves, or they use Manzano chiles, which are a bigger and slightly less picante version of habaneros (please note the ‘slightly’ part).  Lots of good memories of home…



    Delicious bowl of gazpacho with herbs.Gazpacho is one of my favorite “soups” in the world.  It’s best when you make it in the Summer, when the tomatoes are delicious and very ripe. Don’t skip the step of peeling and seeding the tomatoes, that will make the final product much sweeter and delicious.  I serve it in chilled bowls, just place them in the freezer for an hour or more and they will keep the “soup” nice and chill!


    • 1 1/2 pounds of tomatoes (ripe romas, vine ripened or heirloom will be good)
    • Tomato juice or clamato
    • 1 cucumber see ded and diced
    • 1 bell pepper seeded and diced
    • 1/2 onion dice d (red onion is good)
    • 1  jalapeño ch ile minced (you can seed it for less heat, not include it at all)
    • 2 garlic cloves minced
    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 lime, juiced
    • 1-2 tbsp of balsami c vinegar
    • Worcestershire sauce – a couple dashes to taste
    • 1/2 teaspoon toasted, ground cumin
    • 2 slices of day-old bread or about 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
    • salt & pepper to taste
    • chopped herbs (basil, thyme, oregano, parsley, whatever you have), don’t chop until right before serving


    Peel and seed the tomatoes.  The easy way to do this is to boil a pot of water.  With a sharp knife make an X shape on the tomato skin on the opposite side of the stem belly button.  Place them in the boiling water for 15-25 seconds depending on the size of the tomatoes.  Then put them in an ice-water bath or run them through very cold water.  They will be easy to peel then as the skin will just curl off.  Then cut them in half or quarters and squeeze the seeds out.  This is is an extra step but it will make a difference on the texture and flavor of your finished gazpacho.  I promise!

    Put the chopped veggies (onion, green pepper, cucumber and jalapeño) in a bowl and mix.

    In a blender or food processor put the tomatoes, half of the veggie mix from the previous step, tomato juice, garlic, olive oil, lime, vinegar,

    Place the tomato juice, oil, salt, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, cumin and the bread or breadcrumbs.  Puree all the ingredients into a smooth mix.  Pour this into the bowl with the other chopped vegetables.  Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour or overnight if making ahead. Before serving check for seasoning and adjust as necessary (salt, pepper, lime, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, etc… some times I even put in a couple dashes of tabasco if the jalapeño is not doing its job).

    Serve in chilled bowls with a swirl of olive oil and the chopped herbs sprinkled on top.   Serve and enjoy!

    Here are the recipes finally. This is something I have been wanting to do for a long time and never got around to it. Some of you know that I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen. There is a certain alchemy that has to happen in order to have the ingredients turn into delicious creations. There is no real secret behind it, just lots of fresh ingredients, time and patience to try things out and some creativity.

    Not everything I make turns out perfect on the first try. Most of the time, even when I follow recipes carefully, there are some adjustments that have to be made in order to make it exactly the way I like it. In some cases recipes have failed miserably and a last-minute plan B has been tackled, and in other cases I had to toss the first batch of something and repeat the steps until it works out.

    I hope these recipes bring a lot of magic to your meals, just as they have brought magic to mine. They have all been thoroughly tested and I will never post something I have not made myself. Some adjustments may have to be made for dietary preferences or limitations. Feel free to email me or drop me a note if you have any questions.