Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ham and Cheese Croquettes

It was 93 degrees in my kitchen at 1 pm today. I don't know how I survived to write this. It was 91 degrees in my kitchen when I made Martha Stewart's Serrano Ham and Manchego Cheese croquettes. Well, let me be honest. I did use Serrano ham (sweet Serrano ham), but I used Swiss cheese because when I went to the supermarket to purchase the Manchego it would have cost me approximately $10 for the small amount I needed for the recipe.

You can pick up croquettes almost anywhere here in Miami. They can be found to be made from ham, cheese, chicken, and I have even seen them made from spinach. But if you eat them on the street and compare them to these you will taste the difference. Martha Stewart's recipe is absolutely fabulous and very simple. I was reading her website and saw a video where she prepared them with Antonio Banderas. He is so charming and easy on the eyes so I stopped to see what he did on the show and this just took me in.

The ingredients are items I keep around the house like onion, milk, flour, salt and pepper. I only went out to pick up the Serrano ham and the cheese (Swiss worked great).

This is the link:

Please make these, you won't be sorry. I know they are fried and everybody is the frying police and lard police, but the recipe only yields approximately 15 croquettes so invite people over. You can even play with the recipe, substitute cream cheese for the ham, or chicken or even any cooked meat you have on hand. Add spices and herbs.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Approximately one year ago I ordered a baby pitcher plant (nepenthes) from my favorite online greenhouse (Logees). It arrived in beautiful condition. I always order from this place because they are reliable and everything I've ordered is successful. This is no easy feat from someone who does not have a green thumb. I was ecstatic when I saw a tiny pitcher on my pitcher plant. I know, I know, I should not be surprised, after all, it is a pitcher plant. Every time I pick a fruit or a flower I can't help but feel that awful sin, pride (http://suburbanlifeinacollegetown.blogspot.com/). Sorry but I simply can't help it because only I know all the work and worry that went into that final satisfying moment. The pics are of my baby pitcher and a large pitcher plant that I had already purchased with some pitchers on them. I strategically placed the large pitcher plant near my sweet basil, Thai basil, lemon thyme and thyme plants to keep the bugs away. This is my attempt at some kind of natural gardening to keep pesticides away from my pets and me.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer Bounty

Summer here in SoFlo is, I must confess, mostly unbearable. The temps soar into the 90's with stifling humidity hovering at around 85% and it makes breathing difficult. There are a couple of things that this miserable weather produces, besides frizzy hair, skin cancer, oily skin, sweat stains on your clothes and violent tempers and that's beautiful mangos.
My trees aren't exactly producing a bumper crop like last year, but considering I don't use any kind of fertilizer or pesticide these lovely tress always give me some fab fruit. I also have an orange tree, fig tree, avocado tree, lychee tree, lemon tree, 2 dwarf banana trees and a sapodillo tree. The orange tree is busting out with beautiful green orbs that will be great big oranges in a couple of months.
The long skinny mangos in the picture are the cute little gems that fall in my yard from my neighbors tree. These skinny little yellow, banana-shaped mangos can't really be peeled and sliced because they are very fibrous so you just sort of bite right through the peel and suck them dry. The bigger ones are Hayden mangos and go from hard green-reddish to ripe yielding sunset toned fruit. These can be sliced and cubed and should be enjoyed really cold.

My fig tree is also producing fruit at this time. I don't really know when fig are in season because I always thought they were autumnal fruits. My tree loves to provide big fat purple figs the minute it gets hot. I keep the tree in a pot to prevent the rotting humidity and constant rains of summer from killing my dwarf fig tree.

So here is a shot of my first bounty of the summer season. I can't wait to dig in.