Category Archives: straight from my kitchen

Shrimp-Broccoli Pasta Salad


This is a simple but very satisfying meal, and I’m serving it for dinner tonight!

Here’s the recipe:


  • Farfalle (bow-tie pasta), 1/4 kilo
  • Fresh shrimps, 1/4 kilo
  • Broccoli florets, 1 large head
  • Large bell pepper, 1 piece
  • Medium-sized zucchini, 1 piece
  • Lemon, 1 piece
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional: Sun-dried tomatoes, 4 pieces (cut into strips)


  1. Cook the pasta as indicated in the package. Set aside in a strainer to cool and drain off excess water.
  2. Wash the shrimps thoroughly, peel and devein. Boil for 1 minute, then transfer to a strainer to drain off the excess water.
  3. Cut the broccoli head to separate the florets.
  4. Cut the bell pepper and the zucchini into cubes.
  5. Mix the broccoli florets, bell pepper and zucchini in a bowl. Add about 3 tablespoons of EVOO and sprinkle a dash of salt and pepper. Mix until the oil, salt and pepper are distributed evenly. Transfer the vegetables on a sheet of foil and grill in the oven at 100°C for 10 minutes. Take out of the oven and let cool.
  6. Put together the shrimps and the vegetables, squeeze fresh lemon juice and mix.
  7. Put in the pasta and mix well, adding EVOO, salt and pepper as desired.
  8. Sprinkle the sun-dried tomatoes on top (optional).
  9. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Makes 2 servings.

*Note: Every time I said “mix,” I meant with your hands. That always works best in distributing the flavor evenly 🙂



Shiitake Mushroom Recipes


I’m quite fond of shiitake mushrooms and can eat them grilled, stir-fried with anything, and even in sandwiches! One of my favorite recipes with this magical ingredient is a kind of chicken soup, which the hubby finds very comforting:

Chicken & Shiitake Mushroom Soup

1/2 kilo chicken breast, cut into small cubes
2 cups dried shiitake mushrooms
1 inch ginger, sliced thinly
2 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce (I use Kikkoman)
1 packet Splenda or similar sweetener
3 cups water

Boil the water and put in a bowl/small pot. Put in the mushrooms ensuring they are fully submerged; soak for at least 30 minutes. While waiting, put together in another bowl the ginger, soy sauce and sweetener. Put in the chicken and mix well.

After 30 minutes of soaking, remove the mushrooms from the water. Do not throw away the soaking water but strain out the grainy residue, then transfer to a pot. Slice the mushrooms thinly throwing away any remaining dry or tough parts. Mix the slice mushrooms in with the chicken marinade, and then put into the pot with the soaking water. Boil the whole mixture and simmer for at least 20 minutes.

I adapted this recipe from different ones that I found online. I’m also fond of experimenting, like this one time that I thought of putting together something using only my rice cooker:

Shiitake Mushroom Black Rice with Spanish Sardines

2 cups uncooked black rice
2 cups chopped ripe red tomatoes
1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tsp chili powder or cumin powder (optional)
Spanish sardines

Wash the black rice and soak in water for at least 30 minutes. While waiting, boil 3 cups of water and transfer to a bowl/pot. Soak the mushrooms fully in the water for 30 minutes. Afterward, remove the mushrooms and strain the grainy residue out of the soaking water.

Throw away the water used for soaking the rice and replace with the water used for soaking the mushrooms. Put in the tomatoes and mix well with the rice, then click the rice cooker on. As it starts boiling and while it simmers, stir the whole mixture occasionally to prevent any of it from sticking to the bottom. Put in spices as desired.

Put a couple of Spanish sardines on a plateful of the rice before serving.

The taste of the black rice may be too strong for you even with the tomatoes and the mushrooms, but black rice is very healthy; it contains lots of fiber and nutrients! You may also try using whichever-colored rice you prefer, except maybe white rice which is too bland and not very healthy 🙂

Happy cooking!

A Green and Orange Dinner

This is what we had tonight, prepared in half an hour:


Spaghetti in Pesto

Spaghetti noodles, 1/2 kilo
Fresh basil leaves, 1 cup
Garlic, 3 cloves
Cashew nuts, 1/8 cup
Extra virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup
Salt (optional)
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Cook the spaghetti following package instructions. While the pasta is boiling, put together the basil leaves, garlic, cashew nuts and olive oil in a food processor. Chop and blend to desired consistency, then transfer to a pan in low fire. (You may stir in up to a couple pinches of salt.) Put the cooked pasta in, mix well using a pasta ladle, and serve.
Makes 4-6 servings.

Creamy Squash Soup

Squash*, 3 cups (sliced or cubed)
Onion, 1 whole (chopped)
Skimmed milk, 1/2 cup
Olive oil, 1 tsp
Water, 1 cup

In a saucepan, saute the onion in oil for 2 minutes, then stir in the squash for another minute. Add the water, cover and bring to a boil. Continue boiling for for 5 minutes, then transfer to a blender. Puree until smooth. Transfer back to the saucepan and simmer for 1 minute in medium heat while stirring in the milk. Serve.
Makes 4 servings.

I actually don’t use the measurements I put here and in the other recipes I document; I just try to estimate them afterward as I write. In the kitchen I just use my senses, so I suggest you do the same so your finished products would be in accordance to your own taste 🙂

Enjoy experimenting!

*The quality of your squash soup will depend on the quality of your squash, so choose well.