Merecumbé...

Merecumbé is my trademark, I chose it back at culinary arts school when I was working on my final project, creating a restarurant. It means a musical rythm, a fusion between Colombian Cumbia and the Merengue of the Caribbean. In Panama, my country, it has different connotations, usually referring to things that are a mess, but work well together... like jazz. A Merecumbé is likely to start before a bigger problem. In my culinary world everything is possible as long as it remains ordained by tecnique and discipline. It is by those two pilars that I support having the craziness around.







Friday, October 29, 2010

The Perfect Xmas Gift: Assorted Cupcake Sixpacks

Plan your Christmas Gifts... Give Delicious Cupcake Boxes!!!

Planifica tus Regalitos para estas Navidades... Regala unas Deliciosas Cajitas de Cupcakes!!!


Brownie and Smores Cupcake

Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese Frosting Cupcake


Red Velvet




Box Size/Tamaño de la Cajita: 6 pack
2 each flavor/ 2 de cada sabor
price/precio $12.00

order 3 days in advance
ordenar con 3 dias de antelación

contact:

(507) 64309559

xoxo,

Carolina

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

These Holidays Be a Professional Chef: Private Cooking Classes

   

    Have you ever dreamed of making your own Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years menu from A to Z? I have a solution, schedule a private cooking class with me and will custom make your menu and practice ahead one on one. Here are some ideas....

Menu #1
Coctel de Pixbae
Tamales
Jamon con Glaze de Guayaba
Rum Cake

Menu #2
Ceviche de Corvina
Arroz con Coco y Guandu
Pavo
Mini Pecan Pies
...................................................................................................
Alguna vez has soñado con hacer tu propio menu de accion de gracias, navidad o año nuevo de la A a la Z? Tengo la solución, programa una clase de cocina privada conmigo y haremos un menu a tu medida y practicaremos desde antes mano a mano, arriba, algunas de mis sugerencias.



Contact:

chefcarolinagarcia@gmail.com
(507) 64309559

A Girl In Love With Chocolate

     If there is something you need to know about me as a person, chef, friend, lover, that is... I have a passionate affair with chocolate. It started when I lived in Spain by myself and I discovered what being alone was really all about. Chocolate was always there for me. Our first date was ¨pain au chocolat¨, that is croissants rolled with a dark chocolate bar inside and then sprinkled with chocolate, that my friend would be breakfast. Our second date for breakfast or lets be honest any time of the day I would walk by that lovely patisseria catalana (Catalonian bakery) with an actual artisan production and come in, would be a black and white chocolate napoleon... oh dear!!! And these are only baked goods...
    At my school, Escuela de Hosteleria Hofmann Barcelona, they would make the most wonderful chocolate truffles and chocolate fondant that off course were not part of the students menu, but the pastry chefs and students were well aware of my chocoholic situation, and whenever possible a transaction was made. Now before you think I was a pig back in college let me tell you my life was pretty hectic so I could afford spending all the calories chocolate treats have!!!
    As for chocolate bars I used to be a Milka junkie, that is the brand I used to buy off the supermarket, eigther the milk chocolate or the one with hazelnuts. And as for chocolate boutiques I would stop by them and try different flavors, but when you have a real chocolate craving there is nothing better than a piece of really good quality dark chocolate. Did you now our body is at 32° C and that chocolate starts melting at 25°C? I once read that contrast of temperatures gives a cold sensation that relieves anxiety immediately, and don't forget chocolate is an antidepressant and an afordisiac. That's why I came up with this cake!



Chocolate Secrets
     One layer of dark chocolate brownie, dulce de leche, one layer of white chocolate blondie, nutella ganache, piroulines, white chocolate frosting. 

To order

 chefcarolinagarcia@gmail.com
(507) 64309559

mua

Carolina

Sea Bass Ceviche, Great for Cocktail Parties

     Ceviche de Corvina is a traditional sea food appetizer in Panama and many Latin American cultures, the recipes and techniques vary a lot, and it can be made from different ingredients. Here is a safe recipe that can be made with one day in advance. It is perfect for get togethers where you want to serve an appetizer or an hors d'oeuvres. Serve it very cold with crackers or melba toasts.



Ceviche de Corvina Panameño: 10 servings

Ingredients

2.5 pounds cleaned sea bass
4 tablespoons salt
1 Habannero pepper or Aji Chombo
2 cups of lime juice
2 red onions
1 bunch of cilantro minced
pepper to taste

1. Cut the sea bass into small dices. Immerse in water with 1 tablespoon of salt and ice for one hour.

2. Mince the Habbanero pepper (be careful not to touch your face, eyes, mouth, or nose after, preferably use latex gloves).

3 Cut the onion into small dice, mix in a crystal bowl with the Habbanero, 3 tablespoons of salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Add the fish, drained and pop in the refrigerator covered  for 4 to 12 hours. Eat within the next 48 hours


Tip:

If you want to add some freshness to your Ceviche try adding some fresh Mango!!!



     If you don't like the acidity of the Ceviche and you want to make it fancy or try something different here is a twist. Try draining all the liquid and adding mayonnaise or cream cheese to taste, a little mustard is great too. I love adding some toasted almonds, grapes, granny smith apples, and why not? bacon!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

An All Time Favorite... Banana Bread

     Today I revealed my  recipe of Banana Bread to my student Aida. This recipe has been with me for over 10 years. It came out by mistake, I was following a recipe and I will tell you this... I used brown sugar instead of white, baking soda instead of baking powder and almonds instead of walnuts. Everyone liked it so I've been improving it ever since, and now everyone begs for it. This recipe is going to be part of a possible business idea, so until I don't make it worth a couple of hundred thousands of dollars,  the secret remains a secret;  unless of course you are a lovely student of mine that happens to inquire to learn how to make banana bread. If you are desperate to try it,  feel free to contact me and I will be happy to satisfy your order for some monetary exchange!!!






Be that as it may, here are a few tips for making a Banana Bread:
  • Always use super ripe bananas. They should be dark on the outside and very soft to the touch on the inside, this way they are sweeter and give greater taste and texture to your cake.
  • When your cake is cold, wrap it in plastic wrap and let it mature overnight inside a plastic container outside the refrigerator. This will enhance the flavors and improve the consistency.
mua

Carolina

Friday, October 22, 2010

Baba Ganoush, an Afrodisiac Favorite

    Ok so now I am sharing one of my best soul food recipes, Baba Ganoush! this is... a Smoked Egg Plant Dip!!! I made it yesterday for my friend Mayi's birthday party along with other banging dishes. I am writing about this one because its the one that really woke up my taste buds. The secret is in toasting the eggplant's skins a little bit to give it a smokey flavor that combined with the spices, the tahini, the garlic and the lemon its just to die for. To dip in, I´ve chosen wholewheat pita bread soaked in a herbed olive oil and toasted in the oven.. Here is how it goes, you will thank me for it... and really, you just need a kithchen stove, an oven, and a food processor or blender... so come on! Not only its easy and deliciuous, here is another secret... it's an afrodisiac... but shhh, lets keep it between us, who rock it inside and outside the kitchen =)


Preheat the oven at 300°F

Baba Ganoush
Ingredients:
4 large eggplants
4 tablespoons of tahini
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1 garlic clove
juice of 1 lemon

1. Pass the eggplants directly over the stove top fire  to burn the skin just until it changes color, do not over burn or it will taste bitter. Use thongs.
2. Put all the eggplants in a baking dish and brush with olive oil  and add salt. Bake until they are tender.
3. Cut lenght wise and with a spoon scoop the pulp discarding the skin.
4. Put all the pulp and the remaining ingredients in the food processor and mix.
5. Serve in a bowl with the pita bread.

Pita Bread Toasts:
2 packs of wholewheat pita bread
1 tray of fresh rosemary
1 tray of fresh thyme
1 tray of fresh oregano
1/2 cup of olive oil
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 pinch of freshly ground pepper

1. Process all the ingredients together
2. Cut all the pita bread into triangles
3. Dip the bread into the oil and place in a baking sheet.
4. Toast in the oven and serve.

Icebox Key Lime Pie

    I´ve been making this recipe for nine years and its a winner. Its my little sister Veronica´s favorite, and she always gets mad at me whenever I eat it all and leave no trace of it for her, I promised her with the last one I was never doing that again and I haven't. One of the things I love about this pie is that you can make it ahead and pop it in the freezer and  not worry about making dessert at the last moment. It is also really easy to make and the list of ingredients isn't very long. Key Lime Pie is originally from Florida,  it was not baked or frozen. Pies were made in the afternoon and left overnight to chill when the temperature was lower, there was no refrigeration at the time. So the acidity of the limes will curdle the condensed milk and egg yolks by changing the protein structures. You would off course have to use super extra fresh eggs since lime would not cook or kill any bacteria. It is typically served with whipped cream or meringue. In this recipe we cook the crust first and then the whole pie with the meringue, i just love the taste of it when its a little toasted.



Preheat the oven to 350°F

Ingredients:

Crust:
3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup unsalted butter melted

1. In a bowl mix the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter to form a paste like dough.

2. Press unto a 9 inch pie mold

3. Bake for 5 minutes, cool. 

Filling:
1 can condensed milk
1/3 cup lime juice
1 egg yolk

1. In a bowl whisk together all the ingredients.

2. Pour into prepared molds.

Meringue:
6 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar

1. Whisk the egg whites until they are foamy

2. Add the cream of tartar and vanilla, continue whisking. Gradually add the sugar without stopping and continue whisking until you reach soft peaks.

3. With a rubber spatula mound a fair amount of meringue in the center of the pie and cover the entire pie. It is important to seal it all the way to the edges so the meringue will not float.

4. Bake in the center of the oven for about 10 minutes or until its a little golden.

5. Cool completely and freeze.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cancer Awareness Southern Pink Velvet Cupcakes

     One of my best friends in the whole world is also my favorite artist and an inspiration. Her name is Mayi Carles, she is a painter, blogger and makes the most beautiful handmade accessories with organic felt, she has an amazing studio at her house and a lovely kitchen where I have given her private classes and where we also hang out and cook for fun. She has a web http://www.mayicarles.com/ were you can find her work and her not to miss blog, http://www.heartmade.com/; and also access her incredible online store. We got together and decided we wanted to make something pink to support breast cancer and I came up with this pink velvet cupcake recipe.  I chose to use wholewheat flour, but trust me on this one, it really rounds up the flavor and texture and  the cupcake is still super moist and tangy.   


        

Here are a couple of tips while making cupcakes:

  • Always use paper cups they allow your cupcakes to rise easily, if you don't use them and decide to grease your muffin tins only or use foil paper cups, the batter will not rise as well.
  • The average amount of batter you need to pour in your molds to get a good size cupcake is about 3/4 parts.
  • Never ice or frost your cupcakes while they are still warm.


Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Felt Flag Toppers available at http://www.heartmade.com/




Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Breakfast for Dinner: Hearty Wholewheat French Toasts with Oranges

     Ever since I was a kid I loved when my nanny made me pancakes, french toasts or cinnamon toasts for dinner. Today I decided I was going to eat small portions in every meal because I honestly need to loose some weight. I have a very sweet tooth and I am constantly craving for the good stuff. So I decided to make hearty, low sugar, but flavorful french toasts. I took a look at my pantry and found some whole wheat loaf bread and Valencia oranges, I just love adding orange or lemon peel to my french toast batter, it gives it a tangy flavor that mingles like bread and butter with the cinnamon. This recipe is made with substitute ingredients to reduce calories.


Ingredients for two french toasts:

2 slices of wholewheat bread
1 egg
1 pinch o salt
2 splendas
1 pinch cinnamon
1 pinch orange peel
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
PAM

1. Whisk together all the ingredients. Soak the bread for 30 seconds on each side on the batter.

2. Heat a pan a spray with pam, cook each toast about a minute each side on medium heat.

3. Serve with some orange wedges, they are delicious when they are a little warm, and sprinkle with some walnuts and low calorie syrup. 

Oatmeal Cookies with White Chocolate and Hazelnuts

     I came up with this recipe on a Sunday while brainstorming in my kitchen with my favorite company, Nina, my Chihuahua. I decided to use some organic hazelnuts my aunt Virginia gave me from her backyard from Oregon, Portland. Yesterday I was browsing through some recipes and I read that tapping the cookies with a spatula half way through their cooking time on the top, makes them a little bit more flat and chewy. I hope you enjoy them!!! My family did... Here is a tip.. You can replace the white chocolate for any other type of chocolate or dried fruits such as raisins, cranberries, dried cherries, apricots... and you can also change the hazelnuts for any other type of nuts.


Ingredients:   

1/2 cup of unsalted butter
3/4 cup of sugar
1 1/4 cup of packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups oats
1 1/2 cups oat flour
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
1 cup white chocolate chips

1. Preheat the over to 350°F. Line to baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a a  mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter. Add one egg at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla.

3. In another bowl, combine cinnamon, flour, salt, and balking soda. Add to the egg mixture until it blends. Add hazelnuts, chocolate chips, oats, and oat flout, mix until it blends without over mixing.

4. Drop cookies using two spoons on the baking sheet two inches apart form each other. Bake in the center of the oven from 12 to 14 minutes, or until they are golden, but still tender to the touch. Store cool in a airtight container.
xoxo
Carolina

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Welcome to my blog

I am a professional chef in pursuit of more success. I have currently decided to start a blog to share my culinary world, imagination and creativity and find some order. I would love to transmit what I teach to my students to my possible followers on line. Having set some goals, I will start to cook and write about it. There is always someone to share my food with if I intend to.

I recently wanted to open up a restaurant, but things didn't turn out as I expected, so I guess that project is on hold for a while. I decided to study culinary arts and wanted to go to Europe so I went to Barcelona, Spain. It was the greatest  experience ever, and after I graduated I stayed for a couple more years working. So my cuisine is very much influenced by the Spanish, specially the one from Catalonia. Although I love Panamanian food which is a fusion of Spanish, Indigenous, Caribbean and African; I always find my self giving local a Mediterranean twist.

I am currently dedicating my time to teaching. I do it as a private chef, which means I go over to my students houses and cook with them. It is so much better than working in a cooking school, which I did. I mean in private lessons I really get to transmit as much as I want and can. Sometimes I even forget about the time (not if there is something baking) and go on and let the class go for 5 hours, and believe me my students do not complain, they love it. I can also have bigger groups, but I think its the warmth of being home, with recipes your clients have chosen and you have custom made that makes it so special and fun.

xoxo
Carolina