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.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Queso Fresco Empanaditas!!!

   My clients are constantly asking me for new or different things they can offer their guests at their parties as appetizers or hors d'ouvres. Here is a classic, with my healthy twist, a wholewheat pastry dough. I did not make this to cut down  the calories, wholewheat flour wont do that. It is the fiber and vitamins in the wholewheat that compliments the recipe, and I find the flavor to be wholesome. The queso fresco is delicious and makes these empanaditas great for any time of the day, from breakfast, brunch, tea times, and appetizers.

60 empanaditas
$ 25.00



Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chocolate Banana Smoothie...Healthy Choices!

     I consider my self a very healthy person, I don't drink or smoke, and I try to eat the right food. I have to be honest I do go on and off with exercise, and as you probably know by now, I have a terrible sweet tooth. So here I have figured out a very healthy way to not only contribute daily in an outstanding way to our health, but to have a sugar free sweet treat too: Chocolate Banana Smoothie...

Ingredients: 1 smoothie

1 ripe banana
2 teaspoons of unsweetened powdered cocoa
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 cup cold 2% milk or almond milk
1/4 cup of crushed ice

Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix, serve cold and enjoy!

Banana's Health Benefits:
  • Reduces Depression: Bananas have tryptophan, an amino acid that can be converted to serotonin, leading to improved mood
  • Figths Anemia because it contains iron.
  • Constipation: due to their content in fiber, they help restore a normal bowel function.
  • Diarrhea: restores electrolytes in the body such as  potassium. They also contain pectin, a soluble fiber (hydrocolloid) that can help normalize movement through the digestive tract.
  • Healthy Bones: Bananas are an exceptionally rich source of fructooligosaccharide, a compound that nourishes probiotic (friendly) bacteria in the colon, protecting us from unhealthy bacteria infections, and increasing our ability to absorb calcium.
  • Healthy Kidney: bananas are rich in antioxidant phenolic compounds necessary for effective detoxification of potential carcinogens. The frequent consumption of  bananas, cabbage and root vegetables, may reduce risk of kidney cancer.
  • Blood Pressure: Bananas are extremely high in potassium (about 4673mg), yet very low in sodium (1mg), thus having a perfect ratio for preventing high blood pressure.
  • Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.
  • Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood-sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness
  • Smoking: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. They contain vitamins B6 and B12 they contain, as well as potassium and magnesium: these substances help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.
  • Ulcers: This is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicle cases. It also helps reduce acidity and reduces irritation. Bananas stimulate the cells on the internal stomach lining to produce a thicker mucus (which protects against acid). Additionally, bananas contain protease inhibitors that help eliminate bacteria in the stomach that have been pinpointed as a primary cause of ulcers
  • Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that have been shows to improve nerve function
  • Mosquito Bites: Many people report that rubbing the inside of a banana peel on a mosquito bite is very effective in reducing itching and swelling
For more info on bananas go to

Health benefits of cocoa consumption

From Wikipedia....

Chocolate and cocoa contain a high level of flavonoids, specifically epicatechin, which may have beneficial cardiovascular effects on health.
Prolonged intake of flavanol-rich cocoa has been linked to cardiovascular health benefits, though it should be noted that this refers to raw cocoa and to a lesser extent, dark chocolate, since flavonoids degrade during cooking and alkalizing processes.  Studies have found short term benefits in LDL cholesterol levels from dark chocolate consumption. The addition of whole milk to milk chocolate reduces the overall cocoa content per ounce while increasing saturated fat levels, possibly negating some of cocoa's heart-healthy potential benefits. Milk powder does not influence the bioavailability of polyphenols from cocoa in humans.
Hollenberg and colleagues of Harvard Medical School studied the effects of cocoa and flavanols on Panama's Kuna Indian population, who are heavy consumers of cocoa. The researchers found that the Kuna Indians living on the islands had significantly lower rates of heart disease and cancer compared to those on the mainland who do not drink cocoa as on the islands. It is believed that the improved blood flow after consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa may help to achieve health benefits in hearts and other organs. In particular, the benefits may extend to the brain and have important implications for learning and memory. Foods rich in cocoa appear to reduce blood pressure but drinking green and black tea may not.

Remember you must eat 3 to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day!!! Keep it healthy,



Monday, January 10, 2011

Wholewheat Banana Nut Pancakes

     Today I woke up with a craving and decided to satisfy it in a healthy hearty way. I always keep frozen ripe bananas in stock to make my banana bread, this time I wanted pancakes. There is nothing like pancakes made from scratch with real maple syrup. You can really add anything you like to the batter such as chocolate chips, blueberries, granny smith apples, nuts, or Ricotta cheese. Baking soda is very important to get the spongy consistency.

Ingredients: 5 mini pancakes

1 egg
1/2 ripe banana
1/4 cup milk or more
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup wholewheat flour
1 tablespoon of chopped walnuts.
1 tsp butter

1. Mash the banana with a fork in a bowl, add the egg and whisk.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients except the butter and work the batter until there are no lumps.
3. Heat a pan on medium heat and add a pinch of butter and melt for each pancake. Cook until bubbles form and flip to toast on the other side.
4. Serve with maple syrup.



Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dog Cookies...

     As for today I've started a new line of baked goods, Gourmet Doggie Bags,  for our best friends in the whole world: dogs. As you probably know if you know me, I have a beautiful Chihuahua, Nina. She is such a picky eater, I get frustrated because she is only 3 pounds! I only like giving her dog food because I know is the best for her, but I feel like it must be so boring eating the same food every single day of your life! I read there are natural things such as honey and peanut butter that are actually good for her so I started giving her microscopic amounts in special occasions.

Nina smelling and checking out the cookies

I started doing some on line researching about dog food recipes and what ingredients there where in dog food, and decided to try some recipes my self. I came up with these bone shaped cookies that are the cutest thing ever, and tasted them myself when Nina first did her tasting. They are not sweet, but don't taste like paper. They are also not as hard as regular dog cookies, they have a much softer bite. I think Nina Thought she was having lobster or something because she was so happy, wagging her tail, following me for more... she is never like that with food.


           Nina having some cookies     Nina asking for more!!!!

I love cooking, and I love having my little dog around when I cook for my self. It was very sweet to have her hanging around this time, and actually being able to share the results with her with something healthy and good for her. Nina is such a special Chi.. she never barks for stupid reasons, she cries only when strictly necessary, she is super social, she is lovable and its not me, people tell me so. So if you also have wonderful things to say about your pup and want to treat him or her to some special bone shaped cookies feel free to contact me like 6 other dog lovers have done so in the past 24 hours since I mentioned I was baking these cookies.

100% homemade, natural ingredients: whole wheat, rice, water,  peanut butter, eggs, oatmeal, and honey.

gourmet doggie bag
12 bone cookies