Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mint Tea, Minty Cocktail too

I bought a small mint plant at the beginning of summer and of course, as mint does, it has developed into a happy, thriving monster. Because I have a finicky stomach, I rely on mint tea a great deal to keep me well. And so this post is dedicated to the wonderful herb that makes not only soothing tea, but also delicious cocktails as well. Here I share my simple home-brewed mint iced-tea recipe and also a twist on the classic mojito: spiced minty ginger lemon cocktail. First, fresh mint iced-tea: get mint leaves (lots of them), place them in (at least 4-cups) boiling hot water, boil for 5 minutes, turn heat off, cover and let it rest for at least 1-hour, then drain leaves using a colander, let mint tea cool off completely. When tea is totally cool, add honey or brown sugar, and place it in the fridge to cool overnight. For a refreshing drink add ice. 

Pictured here is a just-brewed blend of mint leaves and chamomile bags ready to be refrigerated over night.

Now for the cocktail: place ice in a cocktail glass, put one shot of gold or dark rum such as Barrilito, Barcadi or Brugal (another? your choice), then add 1/3 cup of ginger lemon sparkling water (such as Ayala's or another brand), fill the rest with fresh brewed mint iced-tea (add honey or brown sugar) and stir. This will surely quench your thirst while giving you a little buzz too. Perfect for the hot days of summer (and/or for the stormy days of summer too, like ones we have been having in New England lately).

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Wanda took these photos during our outing to Pawtucket's (RI) 4th of July firework extravaganza. It truly was a lesson in how "the people" in this area spend the night of 4th of July. There must have been 10,000 people in and around the baseball stadium, and even though we got there just as the pyrotechnic extravaganza was about to begin (we were stuck in traffic for sometime), we still found a nice spot from which to watch the sky with delight. As usual the fireworks light up the sky, exploded, glittered, made shapes in funky colors, and dissipated. As usual, we all had a smile on our face watching the magic of "fire engineering." There is something so beautiful and elemental in fire that we just can't seem to get enough of fire-related displays (think WaterFire).

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tortilla Española

Now that Khalil has started pre-school (and loves it! yayy!), the hubby and I, can (just like old times), grab a grown-up lunch on a whim if we so desire. And so the other day, we finally tried that little tapas restaurant Flan y Ajo, in downtown Providence. The food was very, very good. I had the tortilla española bocadillo: a fresh baguette to which the chef applied a top-notch olive oil (instead of butter), then added the tortilla on top, placed the bocadillo in the oven for a few minutes to warm it and served it to me. I was very satisfied.

With this tasty tortilla española in mind, I went to work at home on my own. The results, which I share here, were also quite satisfying. I made it to celebrate the arrival of my father-in-law, who is spending the week with us. He has both an extensive palate and a hearty appetite, I waited anxiously for his verdict: he approved. So with his seal of approval, I share the recipe here. 

4 small to medium potatoes
6 eggs 
1 carrot
1/2 red or yellow onion
1/4 cup of mixed and finely diced red. green & yellow pepper
1/4 cup of chives
1/4 cup manzanilla olives
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup diced mushrooms (any variety)
1 tspn red pepper flakes
1/2 tspn oregano
1/2 cup (quality) olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

What to do?
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Fill a small pot with water, salt and let it boil. Peel and cut the potatoes into small cubes, add them to boiling water, cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until soft but not crumbling. Chop the onions, peel and cut the carrot, finely chop the peppers and mushrooms, and crush the garlic cloves.
In a pan, heat 1/3 cup of olive oil and sauté the onion, carrot, mushrooms, peppers, garlic, add hot pepper flakes, oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Let it all come together for 8-10 minutes, until all is cooked golden brown. 
In another bowl, add the manzanilla olives and finely cut chives (these should not be sautéed), add the eggs and beat together, add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes then add the sautéed veggie mixture and the remaining olive oil. Add the potatoes to mixture and pour together in baking dish. Place in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. 

You can make this dish one-day before your scheduled brunch (like I did), and then simply warm it up before serving. It is truly a delight!



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Frannie's Mango Salsa in heavenly Cape Cod

The other night we had a wonderful meal at Frannie’s house in Eastham. Frannie (a good friend of our friend Wanda) is a Cape Cod native. Her family landed in that privileged place at least 10-generations ago! We stayed in what was her grandmother’s cottage, which was first built by her ancestors well over 100- years ago. There, late at night, we laid on the grass to gaze at the stars, the big dipper glared down on us. The night sky was so bright, so vivid it fell like we could touch it. I even saw a shooting star! At sunset we went swimming at the mouth of Bee’s River at Encounter Beach and a local man, named Rick, told us as he swam beside us: “my father learned to swim in this river, I learned to swim in this river, and my kids learned to swim in this river, and it is beautiful to see your son learning to swim in this river.” We caught the swelling tide and floated our way back to the river’s shore. We walked the sand dunes in P-Town, and later saw a seal swimming happily in the ocean, we also saw lots of birds and butterflies fluttering about. The hydrangeas (pink, purple, blue, a combination, and white ones too) are in full and glorious bloom. For me, the Cape is one of those spectacular and magical places that make it so hard to leave… but we’ll be back soon! 

Frannie's mango salsa (which is TRULY delicious!!!):
Ripe mangoes
Crushed garlic (1 clove)
Cayenne (just a bit)
Salt & Pepper (to taste)