Gambas al Ajillo Tapas – Shrimp in Garlic Sauce

Gambas al Ajillo Tapas – Shrimp in Garlic Sauce

Serving Tapas always remind me of my many trips to Barcelona.  One of my favorite tapas are Gambas al Ajillo or Shrimp in Garlic Sauce.  I love them with lots of crusty bread for dipping in that butter garlic sauce.

Tapas are small servings of Spanish foods.  They’re usually eaten with wine or cocktails in the evenings before dinner.  We enjoy them with a nice pitcher of Sangria.  They’re a great way to sample a variety of Spanish dishes.  I like to order a variety of Tapas and make a whole meal out of them.

Gambas al Ajillo are exactly like Shrimp Scampi.  They are delicious and best of all very easy to make!   I serve them hot off the stove on a mini cast iron skillet or a ceramic ramekin with lots of crusty baguette slices.  Here’s my recipe!



  • 20 medium shrimp (41/50 count) - peeled and de-veined with tail on
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1/4 stick Butter
  • 1 tbsp Finely Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 size Lemon Juice


  • Heat Olive Oil in small skillet.
  • Melt butter in hot oil.
  • Add garlic and cook until garlic starts to turn brown.  Stir constantly to keep garlic from burning.
  • Add shrimp and cook until shrimp turns pink.
  • Squeeze lemon juice over all.
  • Serve hot with crusty slices of bread.
Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas is a favorite Spanish Tapa.  Tapas of course are small portions of Spanish food that’s usually served with cocktails at bars or as appetizers.  Or several types of Tapas can be cobbled together to make a meal.  I love Tapas!  It’s a great way to sample different types of Spanish food in one sitting.

Patatas Bravas is one of my favorites.  It’s a simple dish of fried or baked potato wedges or cubes in a spicy sauce.  I always order it when we’re in Barcelona or any other Spanish town or city.  But traveling may prove to be difficult this year and we won’t be going on our usual Med Cruise or other European vacations.  That’s why I’ve been making some of our favorite foods at home.  After all eating local foods is a big part of traveling!

Lately I’ve been on a Spanish food kick and Patatas Bravas has been on top of my to make list.  Everyone in my house loves it that it’s now become a family favorite.  I serve it as an appetizer and as a side dish, either way it’s delicious!

Most places serve it with a mayonnaise based Garlic Aioli, but I like it without.  You can make a simple Aioli by mixing together mayo, garlic powder, and lemon juice.  Salt and pepper to taste and garnish with fresh chopped chives.

Patatas Bravas


  • 6-8 pcs Yukon Gold Potatoes peeled and cut into wedges
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Minced Garlic
  • 2 tbsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper flakes


  • Place potato wedges in a large pot and cover with water.
  • Bring water to boil and reduce heat.
  • Cook uncovered for about 8-10 minutes or until just tender. (you don't want them too soft, they will fall apart)
  • Drain and pat potatoes dry with paper towel.
  • Place in bowl.
  • Toss potatoes in Olive Oil and Garlic until evenly coated.
  • In a small bowl combine the rest of the spices and sprinkle over potatoes.
  • Toss potatoes in spice mix until evenly coated.
  • Place potatoes on a baking sheet, spread out in a single layer.
  • Bake in pre-heated 375 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until crispy.  Stir potatoes about half way thru baking time.


Serve warm with or with out Aioli. Patatas Bravas - Yukon Gold Potatoes (peeled and cut into wedges), Olive Oil, Minced Garlic, Smoked Paprika, Chili Powder, Ground Cumin, Salt, Ground Black Pepper, Crushed Red Pepper flakes, Spanish - Appetizers - Recipes - Patatas Bravas - Spanish Tapas - Tapas
Easy Beef Shawarma Wrap Recipe

Easy Beef Shawarma Wrap Recipe

Whenever we are in LA there’s this place we frequent, Zankou Chicken; although their specialty is the delicious rotisserie chicken they also serve beef and chicken kebobs and shawarma wraps.  We love the beef shawarma so much that we buy a dozen or so to take home with us.

Since there are no trips planned to LA anytime soon I decided to try my hand at making my own.  Shawarma is usually cooked on a spit and slow roasted as it turn, I don’t have one of those machines so I found a way to make it using just my oven and stove top.  To make the meat extra tender I used thinly sliced boneless beef short ribs with all the fat trimmed off. I adapted a chinese restaurant method used to tenderize their stir fry meat and it made my ribs very tender.  The secret to great shawarma is the spices used to marinate the meat.  So get out your spice rack to make this tasty recipe. We make it into wraps using either pita bread or nan.  Served with crunchy dill pickles and my sun dried tomato/roasted red pepper hummus and you’ve got a filling meal.  My family thinks my version is just as good as the shawarma we buy at Zankou!


Marinade Ingredients:

1 tbls. corn starch
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbls. garlic powder
1 tsp. Allspice
1 tsp. Cinnamon
2 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Cayenne Red Pepper
1 tsp. Oregano
1 tsp. Sea Salt
1 tsp. Turmeric
1 tsp. Corriander
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
1 lb. thin sliced boneless beef short ribs
Extra olive oil for sauteing
Extra spices for taste adjustment (optional)
Pita or Nan bread
Hummus spread (you can use my Sun dried tomato/Roasted red pepper hummus or any hummus you prefer)
Dill pickle spears
Lettuce, tomato, any other veggies you prefer – optional


Directions  for Marinade:

1.  Place all ingredients in a large ziplock bag
2.  Seal bag and knead until it’s well blended – break up any clumps of corn starch that may form so that it mixes in with the oil and spices.  You should end up with a cloudy thick liquid.
3.  Trim extra fat off the edges of the short ribs
4.  Place beef in to ziplock bag, seal bag, and knead bag so that the meat is covered with marinade on all sides.
5.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour; up to overnight.  Turn bag occasionally to evenly distribute marinade.  The longer it marinates in the oven the more flavorful the meat will be.

Cooking and assembling directions:

1.  Place meat on an ungreased baking sheet.
2.  Bake in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes
3.  Remove from baking sheet and slice into thin strips
4.  Heat some olive oil in large pan
5.  Add sliced meat into hot oil and saute – DO NOT SKIP this step, it’s what gives it the finish like it was roasted on a spit.
6.  If you feel you the meat needs more spices you can sprinkle more of the above spices as you saute.  I usually sprinkle a bit more garlic powder, cinnamon, cumin, and nutmeg at this stage.
7.  Spread one side of bread with hummus
8.  Layer on meat, pickles, and other veggies you prefer
9.  Fold sides over the filling and serve
10.  Enjoy!


Halloween Treats for ADULTS

Halloween Treats for ADULTS

Who says Halloween is just for kids?  After the kids have returned from Trick-or-Treating and they’ve wound down for the night put them to bed it’s time for some adult fun.

Whip up some adult treats ahead of time, hide them from the kids, and take them out for a bit of spooky fun with your friends, or snuggle up with your significant other for drinks and nibbles as you watch a scary movie.

Here are a few recipes for Halloween treats and drinks for adults.

Black CocktailThe Blackbeard cocktail from Honestly YUM is made with chocolate stout.  It looks lethally YUMMY!



Pumpkin cheese ballWhip up this Nacho Pumpkin Cheese Ball from Cincy Shopper, it’s creamy, crunchy, with a bit of spicy!

Recipe click here!

Spiderweb DipDip the nigh away with this zesty south-of-the-border dip from Mr.

Recipe click here!

Mummy BrieAdd a bit of sophistication to your Halloween with this Mummy Baked Brie found on

Recipe click here!


Smoking MartiniHere’s a lovey Smoking Martini created by Thomas Johnson from

Perfect for Halloween!
Recipe click here!


CocktailThe Grave Digger Cocktail is a concoction of hard cider, whiskey, and ginger ale designed by Boulder Locavore.

Recipe click here!  


Memorial Day Barbecue

Memorial Day Barbecue

Memorial Day is always the last Monday in May.  It is of course the day to remember all the brave men and women who gave their lives in service to this great nation.

But it is also marks the beginning of summer, Yay!

Traditionally it’s the first day one can wear white colored pants (remember back in the day when wearing white pants was only acceptable between Memorial and Labor Days?).  It’s a day of rest and relaxation; a day to spend with family and friends; and a day to barbecue!

A Memorial Day barbecue was something I always looked forward to growing up in New York.  It was the first day my dad would fire up the backyard grill and the women would bring out all sorts of meats to grill, tons of side dishes, and my favorite part all the dessert!  Yes Memorial Day was a big deal at our humble home in Queens.

I’m not too sure if it was a big deal  because my grandfather was a Captain in the Philippine/American Army led by General MacArthur during WWII, or that my great uncle survived the forced march to Corrigedor with his fellow soldiers (American and Filipino) during that same war, or if we were just a house full of first generation immigrants thankful for the welcome we received from our newly adopted country and all the opportunities it offered.  Whatever the reason my family took to celebrating Memorial Day (and all the other American holidays) with a gusto only grateful immigrants can muster.  So for us a Memorial Day barbecue was a definite must!

Now a Memorial Day barbecue doesn’t mean you’ll just throw some hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, although you can if you like, it can be so much more fun!  You can decorate using a patriotic theme, grill all sorts of meats, have all types of sides, and whatever desserts your heart desires.  Think of your Memorial Day Barbecue as a trial run for the big event…your 4th. of July Barbecue!  Here are some ideas and recipes to get you started!

Decorate the front door (or anywhere) with a basket of flags!

Just grab a bunch of small flags from Walmart or Target and fill up a small basket and tack it to your door.  Or if you prefer grab some larger flags and fill up a basket you can place on the table top or even on the ground.

You can even stick the flags in potted plants!


Wood Pallets

Paint wooden pallets of any size in patriotic colors.  You can add a wooden star, or not, or paint on the stars if you’re so inclined.

You can get small pallets at craft stores or even Walmart’s craft department.  They make great wall or door plaques.

You can find larger pallets at home improvement stores or ask your local stores if they have any from their deliveries.  They’ll more than likely be happy to give you a pallet or two just so they don’t have to throw them away.




Mason Jars

Paint mason jars in patriotic colors using acrylic paints.  They make great vases and utensil caddies for your table.



Painted Cans

You can also paint cans to use as utensil caddies, napkin holders, vases, centerpieces, etc.

This is a cute and inexpensive way to decorate for your Memorial Day Barbecue.





Colored Water Vases

Don’t want to paint?  No problem turn clear jars or bowls into patriotic vases with food coloring.  So simple yet so pretty!



Of course the most important part of any Memorial Day Barbecue is the food!  Here are some yummy recipes you can try for your Barbecue!


Butter Burgers

Try these Butter Burgers they are the best burgers ever!


Click here for the recipe!



Kalbi Beef Kebabs

Looking for something other than burgers and dogs?  Try these Kalbi Beef Kebabs, they are awesome!

You can even use them to fill small corn tortillas.  Add some shredded cabbage and sprinkle with chopped green onions and you’ve got the perfect Kalbi Street Tacos!  Click here for the recipe!



Chipotle Lime Corn On the Cob

No barbecue is complete without some corn on the cob.

Try these Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob, they are super delish!

Click here for the recipe!






Skillet Frozen Corn

Prefer your corn off the cob?  Try this Skillet Corn dish using frozen corn.

Use the same seasoned butter used in the Chipotle Lime Corn on the Cob (click here for that recipe)

Melt the seasoned butter in a cast iron skillet.

Add Frozen Corn

Sprinkle with 1 Tbs. Smoked Paprika and 1 Tbs. Chipotle Pepper Powder

Keep mixing the corn so it doesn’t burn and evenly distribute the seasoning.

When the corn is cooked sprinkle with chopped cilantro and squeeze the juice of 1/2 of a lime over all before serving.



Garlic Parmesan Asparagus Spears

Take advantage of summer veggies like asparagus.

These Garlic Parmesan Asparagus Spears are super easy to make in the oven.

Just take 2 lbs. spears with bottom ends cut off and arrange them in a baking pan.

Mix together: 1 Tbs. Lemon Pepper, 2 Tbs. Olive Oil, 1 Tbs. Minced Garlic and drizzle over asparagus spears.

Sprinkle with 1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake in 425º oven for 15 -20 minutes.

Click here for more Memorial Day Barbecue ideas and recipes!

Chinese New Year Dinner Ideas

Chinese New Year Dinner Ideas

Gung Hei Fat Choy!  Chinese New Year falls on February 5th. this year.  Why not ring in Year of the Pig with a Chinese themed dinner for your friends and family?

Chinese New Year also called the Lunar New Year or the Chinese Spring Festival is the most important Chinese festival of the year; it’s a time for merry making and also a time to go to temple to pray to the deities and honor the ancestors.  It’s a 15 day celebration filled with parades, lion and dragon dances, family reunions and parties, firecrackers and fireworks, gifts of money stuffed in red envelopes, wishes for a new year filled with joy, prosperity, and good fortune, and lots of wonderful Chinese food.

During Chinese New Year many of my friends head off to the Chinese restaurants for extravagant feasts of huge prawns, lobsters, dim sum, roast duck and pork, and other Chinese specialties.  I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited to some of these gatherings and believe me you walk away pleasantly stuffed!

2019’s Chinese New Year ushers in The Year of the Pig.  The Pig symbolizes wealth and affluence in Chinese astrology so what better way to celebrate Chinese New Year than sharing a Chinese themed meal with your loved ones.  You don’t have to be Chinese to honor this very important festival nor do you have to splurge on a 9 Course Meal at a fancy Chinese restaurant, although that would be a great treat!  You can celebrate Chinese New Year at home with a bit of creativity and preparations in the kitchen.

chinese new yearFirst off you can decorate with red the traditional color for Chinese New Year decorations.

Red paper lanterns are the least expensive way to go.  You can order a set from Amazon or buy some at your local party store.

Add in some paper fans and you’re good to go!

You can set the table with red lacquer rice bowls and bamboo chopsticks.

To complete the look set us a nice centerpiece that includes red flowers!

But the most important thing is the food!  So here are some of our favorite recipes that you can try for your Chinese New Year celebration dinner!


chinese new yearAsian Fried Chicken


Click here for the recipe!





chinese new year
Salt & Pepper Shrimp


Click here for the recipe!





chinese new year

Beef Broccoli

Click here for the recipe!






chinese new year

Honey Sesame Seed Shrimp


Click here for the recipe!





chinese new year

Sesame Tofu Side Dish


Click here for the recipe!





chinese new year

Sweet & Sour Fish

Click here for recipe!







Peking Duck

Click here for the recipe!