Cuimin scented black beans



Sometimes when I come home from cooking all day for clients, I am not thrilled about cooking lot’s of complicated things.  Some people are horrified when the find out that for dinner, I warmed up beans out of a can.  I think people can get over the fact that chefs also should be able to have the freedom to used canned items.  This one is no exception.  I always use the Iberia brand because it is not seasoned and the beans will be flavored with what ever seasonings I have on hand. I enjoy coming in pulling out the cans from the cupboard, chopping what I need to chop and then letting it simmer while I change into my evening shorts or sweat pants.  All in all no one complains when they eat these beans.  I scent them with cumin seeds and dried oregano.  If you eat beans like I do, you can make a big batch and then take what you need each night.  You can make a big batch on Sunday night and enjoy the beans until Wednesday.  This was a small party I had and all I needed to make was the salad and the Picadillo.  Simple, flavorful and delicious.  You can use other cans of beans just make sure that the ingredient list has nothing except for water and salt.  If it has garlic and onion powder etc…then it has been flavored for you, which is good as well.

2 15.5 oz cans unseasoned black beans such as Iberia

4 tablespoons of olive oil

2 tablespoons dried oregano

3 garlic cloves chopped

1 tablespoon of cumin seeds

2 tablespoons of soy sauce


Over medium-low  heat, place the cumin seeds and the olive oil in a sauce pan.  Cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant. add the oregano and the garlic and cook over low heat for 4 minutes.  Add the soy sauce and canned beans bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.


You can top these or any black beans with the oven roasted tomatoes.  The acidity and color makes the dish even better!


Kitchen Notes:

  • You can make a big batch of beans for a party 3-4 days ahead.
  • If you don’t have cumin seeds you can use dried cumin about 1 tablespoon.
  • You can also add one small chopped onion to the dish when you are adding the oregano and garlic.
  • Because this dish has amino acids aka (soy sauce) the flavors will multiply as it sits in the refrigerator.

These are pictures of how you can use black beans.

Oven roasted tomatoes


Some times its easier than it seems to find things in your kitchen and do something with them that enhances other dishes you are making.  This simple oven roasted tomatoes can be made 3-4 days ahead, covered with plastic and placed in the refrigerator.  The acidity in the tomatoes actually are a nice addition to any sandwich or even in soups.  It is great spread over salmon or on toasted French bread but also goes well with black beans.



Serves 4 people

4 pints of cherry tomatoes cut in half

¼ cup of olive oil

1 teaspoon of Kosher Salt

1/8 teaspoon of sugar

1 tablespoon of dried thyme

1 small onion chopped ( about one cup)


Pre-heat your oven to 450 Degrees F.

Toss the tomatoes, onion , thyme with the oil in a sheet pan.  Sprinkle with the Kosher salt.  Roast for 20- 25 minutes or until you see the tomatoes becoming dark and caramelized.  Open oven and sprinkle the sugar over the tomatoes and toss.  Cook for additional 5-8 minutes.  Remove from the oven and immediately add the balsamic vinegar stir with a wooden spoon and set aside.  Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper.


These tomatoes go great on top of Cuban black beans.


Braised cabbage,bacon and Granny Smith apples


This dish is a staple in my kitchen.  One year at our farm, we had a pretty large harvest of cabbage.  I made a lot of recipes our of cabbage that year, some that were good and some that were not that good.  This one is a favorite with my entire family.  It is easy to make since I have almost all the ingredients in my pantry.  This is can be as mouth puckering or as sweet as you want it by adding a little more vinegar or adding sugar or honey.  My father has sugar issues so since he likes his sweet I opt for using a little artificial sweetner such as Splenda on his portion.



Serves 4-6 people

5 strips of bacon chopped

2 tablespoon of olive oil

3 medium onions chopped

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

2 Granny Smith apples cored and chopped

1 medium red cabbage shredded on a mandolin about 1/8th thick (about 8 cups)

1 ½ teaspoon of salt

4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

4 tablespoons of red wine


In  medium sauté pan, cook the bacon over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until bacon is crispy remove it and set aside.  ( If pan starts to smoke lower the heat.)   Add the olive oil, salt, apples and onions to the bacon fat in the pan.  Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat.  Add the garlic and red cabbage and cook an additional 5 minutes making sure to stir the cabbage.  Add the red wine and cook until the wine has evaporated.  Add the balsamic vinegar and cook until it has evaporated.  Remove from the heat and add more salt and fresh black pepper to taste.  You may add a little sugar or honey to sweeten the dish.


This dish goes well with the Pork and thyme dish.

French Macarons from the Hot Chocolatier




I have an actor friend is staying with me for several months, while she works on her show called, The Waffle Palace!  She  gave me a box of French macarons  from a place near her home called the Hot Chocolatier.







A macaron is a wonderful treat!  It’s not the same as an American Macaroon which is made with coconut.  These are a little more delicate and basically made with egg whites and almond.  They are piped into disks then dried in an oven.  They then take one disk and fill it with jams or ganaches.  This one was filled with a raspberry jam.


This one is filled with a banana cream.






She also brought me several pieces of truffles which went great with my wine too!












The colors French Macaron’s  are bright and deliver just enough sweetness after dinner or even with your afternoon coffee.



Most of the pictures are from my trip to Paris a year ago.  I hope you enjoy them and start eating macarons.


Corn on the cobb with Vanilla butter

Quick and easy pizza dough