Thursday, April 2, 2009

Goulash Meets Caldereta...

Photography by Donna Samonte

Simply "beef stew" to all of us! Every country have their own version of beef stew, I've noticed that it would only be 1-2 herb and spice difference from one to the other. In some countries in Europe, it is called "goulash". I had my first taste of their dish in Budapest, Hungary. The spice sweet taste and aroma is almost the same with our "caldereta".

My family loves this dish, and I have created my own version. I made this for dinner last night.

Beef Stew ala Donne

2 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck,
1/2 cup liver spread or liver pate
1 small can tomato sauce
1/2 cup seeded fresh tomato
4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 large onion, chopped
1/8 tsp Hungarian paprika
2 pcs bay leaf
10 pcs peppercorn
2 tbs canola oil
2 cups of homemade beef stock
2 medium carrots, cut into cubes
3 medium potatoes, quartered
1 large green bell pepper, quartered
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese

Optional Ingredients:
1/4 cup pancetta, cut into cubes
1/2 cup pitted olives
1/4 button mushrooms

Saute garlic until golden brown then add onions and soften. Add beef and pancetta (optional) continue sauteing until a little brown then add paprika and liver spread, let it simmer uncovered for 2 mins. Then add peppercorn, bay leaves, tomatoes, tomato sauce and beef stock. Cook in medium heat for about an hour or until meat is almost tender. Then add carrots, potatoes, bell peppers and other optional ingredients. Simmer for about 5 mins then add grated cheese. Season to taste.

Best serve with rice.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Photography by Donna Samonte

I once cooked this recipe for a catered lunch and a lady asked me, how I cooked the fish and what I seasoned it with... answer - salt, pepper and a dash of paprika. When cooking fish, it's very important to get a fresh one, nothing beats a good fresh fish!!

Broiled Salmon

1 lb Salmon Fillet (2 pcs @ 1/2 each)
Sweet Paprika

Wash and pat dry the fish and set aside. Combine equal amounts of salt, pepper and paprika then rub it on the salmon fillet.

Heat griddle/grill/broil under high heat and cook each side for 3 or 4 minutes. Serve hot and garnish with chopped scallions.

Best served with steam vegetables.

Tip: Leftover broiled salmon can be used for salads too.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Yum..yum..Vaca Frita!!

Photography by Donna Samonte

Last February in one of my weekend get-aways in Miami, my friends brought me to dinner in an authentic Cuban restaurant (I can't remember the name) somewhere in Coconut Grove.

What in the world is vaca frita? Literally translates to "Fried Cow", it's yummy....addictive!!! This Cuban Shredded Beef recipe is simply a flank steak boiled with an onion, a bay leaf, peppercorn and sherry until tender, then shredded and sauteed with onions, lime juice and orange juice until crispy ( as far as I recall the taste of it).

It is usually served with rice, black bean soup and plantain...and here's my version.

Vaca Frita (Stir-Fried Beef)


2 lbs Flank Steak
2 pcs Bay Leaf
10 Black Peppercorns
2 tbs Dry Sherry
1 Onion (Large-sliced)

2 tbs Olive Oil
1 Bell Pepper (Medium-diced)

1/2tbs Oregano

Seasoning rub:

2 tbs Lime Juice

2 tbs Lemon Juice

3 gloves Garlic (Finely minced)

½ tsp Ground Pepper
1 tsp Ground Onion Powder

1/2 tsp Ground Cumin

2 tsp Salt

*1 Onion (Small-sliced) for sauteing


In a covered pot, place all ingredients at the bottom of the steak. Boil the steak in a covered pot with 3 cups of water. Simmer until tender for about an hour. When cooked, allow steak to cool down and once cooled place meat in a glass bowl and add seasoning rub.

Mix all the ingredients and rub it on the steak. Then after, cut into 2-inch chunks, shred it using your fingers and fork, and place in a glass bowl. Allow to marinate and set aside for at least 1 hour to overnight.

Remove the meat from the marinade and squeeze out the excess liquid. Heat the olive oil in a skillet or griddle in heat the oil over medium-high heat until fragrant and cook the beef shreds, add the onions and cook until the beef is crisp.

Sprinkle with the parsley, serve over white rice and black beans.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Fish Me Oh Fish Me

Photography by Donna Samonte

One of my fave fish dishes, easy to prepare and tasty....light in the stomach too, great for those watching their weight!! ;D

Arctic Char in Pearl Onion and Sun-dried Tomato Saute

1 lb Arctic Char Fillet
2tsp lemon juice
2tbs Olive Oil
2 gloves minced Garlic
1/c pearl white onions, peeled
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (preferably oil-packed), drained and diced
1 tbs fresh ground basil
salt and pepper

Wash fish and pat dry. Rub lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Broil on high heat for 5mins or until top is golden brown.

While broiling, in a sauce pan, saute garlic until golden brown then add pearl onion, stir occasionally until onions slightly cooked. Add sun-dried tomatoes, basil then dash salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange/pour in sauce in a platter, put broiled fish on top and garnish with parsley and caramelized onions.

Best served with Steamed Broccoli.