Michael's cooking

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Background

I enjoy cooking and have posted some of my favorite recipes and food pictures. Remember, recipes are like Italian traffic signs -- mere suggestions of what you are supposed to do.


Botos family traditions

  • nachos ready to eatNachos

    These are not your typical restaurant appetizer nachos with a few toppings on a stack of tortilla chips and drizzled with liquid cheese! No!! these nachos are a meal in themselves. Each chip is spread with homemade well seasoned refried beans and then an assortment of toppings including real cheese.

    Just 34 easy steps!

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  • Maureen's dilled potato salad maureen_potato_salad

    Sonia's best friend, Maureen Bevelaqua, entered this recipe, which she constructed, back in July of 1989 in the Best Tasting Potato Salad Contest sponsored by Woman's Day magazine and Hellman's mayonnaise. She won first prize with this recipe, beating out the more than 10,000 other entries.

     

  • Spinach & cheese enchiladas - a.k.a. Greenies More accurately spinach, onion, and cheese enchiladas. These make a great vegetarian meal and with the spinach are mostly good for you!
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  • Guacamole
  • Makes a great appetizer, especially when serving Mexican food. Fresh ingredients and no preservatives provide a great taste experience.


Recent favorites

These are a couple of recipes that are moving up on our list of favorites. I've modified them from the original, so I am providing a link to the original recipe and my customizations.

  • Grilled shrimp

    An easy to make grilled shrimp recipe.

      

      

      

  • Bonefish Grill: Bang Bang Shrimp copycat
    Michael's mods: bang bang shrimp
    1. I like to use non-sweet chili sauce!
    2. Instead of spicing the sauce with 'hot chili', I add cayanne to the cornstarch when I batter the shrimp
    3. How long to fry the shrimp ?? -- easy if you remember the 'C' and 'O' method: See step #6 -- "Here is your general rule: straight shrimp are undercooked, shrimp that have just curled into a C-shape are perfectly cooked and shrimp that have twisted into an O-shape are terribly, irreparably overcooked. Overcooked shrimp are rubbery and sad."

    [photo credit: Sonia Botos]

     

  • Sausage stuffed portobello mushrooms
    Read the original recipe first, then come back and read the mods, they will make more sense.
    Michael's mods: I've heavily modified this recipe, but the original recipe is good background!
  • stuffed portobello mushrooms
    1. In place of all the sausage [I don't understand how he can stuff 24 ounces of sausage on 6 mushrooms -- that's a quarter pounder sitting on your mushroom!] I use one big [~3 ounces] link of chorizo for each two mushrooms
    2. I peel the casing off the chorizo then pat the cooked sausage with a paper towel to avoid some of the sausage grease -- replaced later with more generous amounts of olive oil
    3. Instead of mincing the garlic, just squeeze with thru a garlic press
    4. You can skip the food processor, unless you're a celebrity chef or have someone else clean up after you. Just cut stuff small by hand -- less to clean-up
    5. I don't bother to mix the 'Essence' separately. Just throw an appropriate amount into the main mix. The cayenne gives the natural chorizo spice a nice kick
    6. I use Italian bread crumbs rather than plain
    7. You are never going to get one cup of chopped mushroom from just the stems. Plan on an extra portobello to cut up for the stuffing!
    8. Question: What do you call a mushroom with a 9 inch stem?
      Answer: A fungi to be with!



Other Recipes

  • Amaretti cookies:amaretti cookie image A Christmas tradition and a great treat for any special occasion. Recipe handed down from Vienna Lamberti.
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  • Cream cheese / vegetable appetizers:cream cheese / vegetable appetizer -- gloria image An appetizer that can be varied by the season. This is the Christmas version, concentrating on mostly green and red veggies. The summer version can have a variety of other colored veggies.
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  • Hilo breeze: A little drink for summer time from our travels to Hawaii.
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  • Stuffed Jalapeno poppers:
    sausage stuffed jalapeno peppers

    Michael's mods:

    1. I like to use a little bit of 'aged' gouda in the cheese mix.

     

     

     

     

     

  • Farro salad with tomatoes and herbs

    This is the recipe I used, with some modifications. There are multiple variations of farro salad on the internet, but this is one of the simplest. You can pretty much vary what you put into it to suit your tastes and what you have on hand.

    Sonia's modifications:
    1. I used grape tomatoes cut in half instead of regular tomatoes, because I think its prettier that way, and less messy to prepare
    2. I skipped the chives, since I couldn't get out for one more shopping trip, and substituted an equivalent amount of fresh basil
    3. I used red onion instead of Wall Walla onion.
    4. I added black olives for color, and because I like them
    5. I added a peeled, seeded, chopped cucumber
    6. I used a full, 12oz. (the recipe calls for 10 ounces) package of Shoprite brand farro , cooked and drained according to package directions (you rinse the farro and dump it into a pot containing 3 cups water & a bit of salt. Let it come to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer 15 minutes. Taste for doneness, drain any excess water through a colander. Let it cool while you prepare the rest of the stuff to throw into it (optional- to add more flavor to the farro, throw in a celery rib, a carrot and some onion in with the cooking water, discard after the farro is cooked)


  • Grilled veggies
    Sonia's modifications:
    1. I didn't have Japanese eggplant, cremini mushrooms, or asparagus on hand, instead, I used red onions cut in rounds, Portobello mushroom caps, and more of the veggies I did have.


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