Hi Everyone!

Tacos put a pretty big smile on my face. They are so easy to make, and you can be creative with them. You must try this taco recipe! So delicious…

Makes 5 Tacos (You can play around with the ingredients)

Avocado Lime Sauce Ingredients

5 Chicken cutlets- Browned, then shredded

Shredded cabbage or iceberg lettuce

1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro

1 Shallot Minced

1 small green bell pepper

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Pinch Cumin, Cayenne Pepper, Salt, Pepper

2 Strips of Bacon Chopped

First make the Avocado Lime Sauce in a food processor and set aside. Cook chopped bacon, and set aside. Discard extra bacon fat. Season each side of the chicken cutlets with the cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Heat same pan over medium high heat with a tablespoon of olive oil.  Cook on both sides for about 3 minutes each until browned (my cutlets were pounded pretty thin).

Remove from heat and shred with two forks.

Cook shallots for 4 minutes over medium high heat. Add shredded chicken, chopped bell pepper, and cooked bacon. Cook together for about 4 minutes.

Fill your favorite heated taco tortillas with the avocado sauce, chicken mixture, and cabbage. Serve with a side of Bobby Flay’s Green Rice (Spicy!), and sweet mango.

Enjoy! Now, did that not sound so easy?! Yummmmmy 🙂 My boyfriend, our friend, and I cleared our plates a little too quickly.


My mother and I have kept a vegetable garden for as long as I can remember.  It has been full of fresh herbs, different bright vegetables, including my favorite…..tomatoes.! Every Summer day, I would keep a close eye on the tomatoes anxious for them to ripen. At night, quietly, I would bring a flashlight outside and check on them again. Excitement filled me as a little girl when the tomatoes that my mother and I planted began to grow. First, just a vine, to vine full of green tomatoes…and finally to a vine full of red-ripe tomatoes.

The truth is….when I go home to Long Island, I still check on those tomatoes frequently, anxious to eat them! Yesterday, when I got back to LI,  I was welcomed with a garden full of ripened tomatoes! Four to be exact, four pretty tomatoes. So I picked them along with some fresh basil!

Of course, I sliced one up for lunch. Topped it with some feta, fresh basil, olive oil and drizzle of red wine vinegar. So juicy and YUMMY!

So, I am taking two of yummy tomatoes back to the city with me (I will leave one for my mother to enjoy). I also packed myself a bag of basil, chives, and parsley.

Hmm….what shall I make with my fresh tomatoes and herbs?? Stay tuned!

Looks like another one will be ready to be picked again very, very soon! 🙂

Sometimes the best dishes are planned last minute. I just have so much fun as I search through my fridge and the cabinets, see the ingredients I have, and put my creative cap on. The other night, it was about 7:45 pm and I was looking at the ingredients that were available. I always have a bag of frozen shrimp from Whole Foods. Yes, I love fresh shrimp but do not always have time to run out and get it. But trust me, if frozen shrimp is thawed out the right way, and only cooked until pink,  it really tastes good. So I had the shrimp, then I saw the beautiful fennel bulb I bought, beets, bacon, and of course lemons. In only about 15 minutes, my boyfriend and I had a good looking bowl of shrimp. These ingredients married together beautifully.

This is what you need for two hearty bowls.

20 medium sized shrimp (deveined, tail off)

2 bacon strips chopped

1 lemon zest & juiced

1 fennel bulb chopped (only the bottom of fennel is used)

2 medium sized beets sliced or 1 can of beets

3 tbs Extra virgin olive oil

3 tbs sherry

1 pinch salt & pepper

parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 375

How to Thaw Frozen Shrimp: Place shrimp in a strainer in the sink. Put on the cold water and rinse until thawed. Be sure to move the shrimp around from time to time to be certain that cold water touches all shrimp. This takes about 10 minutes. When thawed, remove tails with fingers and dry shrimp with a paper towel.

As the shrimp are being thawed, put the sliced beets on a baking sheet  with 1 tbs of oil and put in the 375 oven to roast for about 10 minutes. At the same time, cook the chopped bacon in a pan. Do not add oil when cooking bacon (it already has enough fat). After bacon is cooked, remove from heat. Drain some of the excess oil. Add a tbs of oil and the chopped fennel in the same pan and cook until tender (5-8 minutes). Now, add the shrimp evenly on pan, be sure that all shrimp are leveled. Add the sherry, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Turn the shrimp when pink on the bottom.  Add the roasted beets, lemon zest and cook until both sides of shrimp are pink. Taste and adjust salt or pepper if needed. Serve in a bowl with the broth and top with parsley.

How easy does that sound? It was so simple,  pretty and delicious.

Cubana Cafe Soho

Tucked away in Soho is a little Cuban Restaurant, Cubana Cafe. As I walked on Thompson Street a few weeks ago I noticed this quaint blue basement restaurant. Cubana Cafe has been on my mind ever since. Finally this Friday, I had a chance to eat there with my girlfriends, Amanda and Nicole. This quaint spot  instantly put me in a relaxed-good feeling-Friday mood. Of course,  we started with a pitcher of sangria, which was delicious! I then ordered one of my favorite Simple Cuban dishes, Ropa Vieja. Even though it was difficult, I tried to eat it slowly to make it last! I failed, it did not last for long. It was just too good. Now I keep thinking about ropa vieja. It is difficult not to fall in love with a slow cooked steak that is cooked in sherry, tomatoes and peppers. It is so tender and juicy, you will all love it.  I will have to make it soon and share my recipe with all of you.

A side of avocado was ordered as well! Avocado with a squeeze of lime is one of my favorite sides.

And here are the sauces that were enjoyed by my friend Amanda often throughout this meal. The green sauce is one of my favorite simple traditional Cuban sauces, parsley pureed with garlic.

If you are ever walking on Thompson Street in Soho, keep your eyes peeled for Cubana Cafe. Trust me you will have a great experience. You will not only enjoy the atmosphere, sangria and the yummy food. You will throughly enjoy the inexpensive prices! But, they only accept cash- so go prepared, so that your friend (Amanda) does not have to pay for you. 🙂

Hi Everyone! I had a very exciting day. I got the chance to spend it at the Institute of Culinary Education. The amount of happiness that a kitchen brings me,  even on a beautiful NYC day is pretty humorous. Anyway, this fun day started with a meeting with the head chef. Here we went through the menu and discussed the ingredients. The menu consisted of  delicious Hors d’oeuvres. After the meeting, we broke up into groups to prep and cook. Look at how pretty the Hors d’oeuvres came out!  I am so proud. I will post all of the recipes sometime this weekend (My group made a few tweaks to the recipes). 🙂

Endive Leaves with Roasted Red Bell Pepper Salsa

Silver Dollar Crab Cakes 🙂

Lemon and Ginger Seared Shrimp

Zucchini Pancakes

Tuna Tartare in Cucumber Cups

Portobello Mushroom Herbed Croustade

Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto and Goat Cheese

No, these are not cookies! They are Pecan-Blue Cheese Crackers!

Guacamole Provencal with Crudites

My Plate!! 🙂

Look for the recipes this weekend!

As I shared last week, I want to expand my food horizons and start baking . Yes, I did bake that Blueberry Crumble the other day. But that was with my Mom’s help and with the use of her pantry. Here, I had a BIG problem , I did not have many of the ingredients that are needed to bake. So I took your suggestions went shopping! I went to Whole Foods and bought the ingredients that were missing from my “pantry”. Then I went next door to Bed Bath & Beyond and got a baking mat to use instead of parchment paper.I also got sucked into buying a “Environmentally Pastry Mat” for the counter…oh well, it was $4.99.  So..now I am all set!  Now the question is…what should I bake??

I have a few ideas. But of course, please share your thoughts.

I know that I posted this morning, but I needed to share this…..I took a leap and I baked bread sticks. 🙂

Parmesan-Chive Bread Sticks! I am so proud, how pretty do they look??

Full recipe will be posted tomorrow.:)

(Image from MAX’s website-No, I did not get to cook with the chefs. I wish. )

As my friends and family know..I have a long list of restaurants that I want to try. Slowly, new restaurants get checked off. Slowly…… because I often can’t resist the food at tasty places and go back. Last night, I finally tried a restaurant with my friend that has been on my list and…….I fell in love. Max-Tribeca is a cozy Italian restaurant with dim lighting, dark wood walls and floors.The beginning of this relationship between MAX and I began with bread that was served along side a bowl of olive oil with tomato sauce to dip in. For an appetizer we ate a very generous-crispy and fresh serving of bruschetta at $7.95.  Then it arrived…the Fettuccine Al Sugo Toscano (Fettuccine with MAX’s tomato meat sauce that I have been very anxious to try). It was just as I had imagined … simple yet ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS. The generous portion more than satisfied my palette at only $11.95. If you have not yet met MAX, please do and you will fall in love.

Bread with olive oil tomato sauce dip…yum!

Bruschetta…yum! I started to eat before taking a picture of the beautiful presentation..whoops!

There is it! The simple and delicious Fettuccine Al Sugo Toscano.