Brisas Colombianas Bakery

It’s 9:30am on a sunny Monday morning and I’m sitting at my favorite Colombia Restaruant, Brisas Colombians Bakery. The restaurant was introduced to me by my best friend Gabriel Gonzalez a while back and have made sure I go once a month.

Did I mention that my little busy boy is in his highchair next to me, and is looking at everything at the wall, the hustling of the staff, and all the side conversations. He even knows how special this place is and he is only 10 months old. Liam starts to point at all the frames that hang from the wall as if he was trying to say “Daddy look at all the beautiful pictures of Colombia”. The pictures show off the beautiful landscapes of a country I once called home at an early age before I came to America.

Anyway let’s get you a clear picture of the place. It has a narrow entrance when you walk inside, but as soon as you walk in, the great smell jabs in you in the face. TOMA!!! To your right you see in the glass hot box: empanadas, chicharron, papas rellenas, to name a few of the treats. These are mostly for the hungry eaters that are in the rush to work.

We are quickly greeted with a “Que pasa papi” which is a very Colombian way. The owner quickly comes out to greet Liam and me. They already have a table for us in the back of the restaurant, which is the perfect seat to catch all the action.

Here you don’t miss a salsa beat; the fresh pastries from the bakery come out, the fresh food, and all the Colombianess that happens. FREAKING LOVE IT!!!! Why am I so excited, well this is the closest I get to being in Colombia.

The owner’s wife comes to our table to say hello and take our order. Before I get to my order I want to share something; before the order was placed, I was greeted by 4 different people and something that is vital to any restaurant, specially this one. Anyway here was my order: Huevos Pericos (a soft scramble with tomatoes and scallions), grilled chicken breast, corn patty with melted cheese (Arepas), a hot chocolate made from scratch, and café. Yup all of that, one must go all out when you come eat breakfast to fully experience it.

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The food arrives shortly after, hot, with lots of sazón, and most importantly love. Let’s not forget the little guy, he ate the flank steak and butternut squash stew I made for him at home. The food was amazing, service was perfect, and atmosphere…well it brought me back to Colombia. Thank you for letting me share this happy place with you. TOMA!!!!

Liam at 10,000 feet

So here I am into our third hour of our flight and going into our last 45 minutes as the Captain announces that we will begin our descend into Newark airport.  As he finishes with his announcement, that annoying tone goes off and so does Liam my 9-month-old son.  Drama begins people; so being the second time Liam flies and figuring that the first time was smooth, this one would be too. Boy was I wrong, the weather sucked and here he goes.  The crying begins, I begin to go through protocol. I take out the rattle toy “nada”, then the squeaky one “nada”, and the full proof toy the straw “nada”.

 

OH!!!! Did I mention we were in first class, so Liam is a good 5 minutes into his crying and beads of sweat have formed on my forehead.  Let me tell you, if looks could kill, especially from the lady in seat 6B.  I’m fighting not to tell all the overly serious United Elite members the following, “I know my son is crying, I know it is not the most pleasant sound in the world.  That I’m sweating as I try to figure out what is wrong with him.” 

 

So after my mind freak out, I get up, walk to the front of the plane and grab a glass of wine to chill out.  Liam is still crying at this point, so I ask myself what can I do to make his ears pop.

LIam

 

HAHA I know!!! Here is what I did, covering his nose and mouth with my mouth I blew real quick into them and TOMA problem solved.  After that Liam was the saint that he is.  As I returned to the cabin I wanted to tell the United Elite Members “Liam is quiet now and you may return to being boring”.  

 

The rest of the flight was great, but the moment I got home this Cuban made him self a nice mojito. Check out the video and recipe here on my youtube channel.  TOMA!!!

So who is Ronaldo?

Before we start, I want to introduce myself. My name is Ronaldo Linares, I am a Cuban-Colombian, salsa dancing, MMA fighting, crossfit training, classically trained chef, living his dream here in the United States of America. I first got here when I was 9 years old from Colombia.

Put it this way, I was there during the Cartel wars and saw too many deaths before I was like 5 or 6 years old.. So not too many good memories there. But my family has always been able to keep those bad memories at bay. However, being with the family and all that goodness that comes with it, made all the good shine through.

Anyway, so who am I? I’m a person that loves life, a person that loves food. A person that loves to eat, so I guess that’s why I’m a chef. But I don’t really like to classify myself as a chef I guess. I’m just someone that loves to create food — amazing food, for people to eat. And lately I’ve been on a journey on the last couple of years, focusing on health and brining back flavors to our Latin food, allowing the food to shine. You know, I’ve been seeing Latin food being added with too much fat, too much crap basically.

When I tell a lot of people, “Yo, Latin food is healthy and delicious.” They say, “Healthy??? No it’s not. It can’t be healthy. You can’t make Latin without frying or using too much grease”, which is I think is BS, bogus. Not cool at all. So I’ve been trying to change the traditional thinking of Latin food and bringing the health twist to it for the last couple of years and through this blog, I want to accomplish the same. I will talk about my sofrito, my seasonings, my blends, my techniques, my ways of cooking amazing food. You could find my easy to follow recipes on my YouTube channel, check it out: http://www.youtube.com/RonaldosCocina

So with that being said, I want to thank Mr. George Torres, aka Urban Jibaro for this opportunity to be able to share my thoughts in this platform and to all of you out there, please read it, love it, like it, share it, comment on it so I can keep doing this. This is something new for me, a new platform so with an open heart and your open heart you receive me so that we continue this journey together. Love you all and a lot more to come. We’ll be talking about family, food, and fitness. If you would like to try my food live here is where you could find here Martino’s Cuban Restaurant, Thank you.

Baked “Egg” Avocado|Tomato Citrus Salad

Serves: 2-4
Total Time: 35 minutes


INGREDIENTS:


1 Lg. Hass Avocado (Cut in Half, pit removed)
4 oz. Pancetta (See method below)
1 Roma tomato (Thinly Sliced)
¼ Medium Red Onion (Thinly Sliced)
2 eggs (At room temperature)
1 Tbsp. Cilantro (Minced)
Kosher Salt (To Taste)
Cracked Black Pepper (To Taste)
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
1 tbsp. Lemon Juice

 

METHOD:


Pre-heat oven to 400°F.

Pre-heat sauté pan, Add pancetta and cook on high for 2 minutes. Turn the heat to medium and cook until crisp. Tilt the pan to let the rendered fat run away from the pancetta and remove with spoon. Reserve rendered fat for another day. Set pancetta aside.

Crack the eggs into 2 separate bowls without breaking the yolk. Set aside.
Pour 2 small mounds of kosher salt onto a tray for baking. Place the two halves of avocado round side down. Add 1 egg to each of the avocados, this part has to be done with love. A trick is to take a tablespoon and scoop out the yolk, place it in the hole than add egg whites. Note: Not all the egg whites are going to fit in the whole. On to the easy part, place in the oven at 400°F for 25 minutes.
In a bowl add lemon juice, olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Whisk ingredients together to create the dressing.

In a separate bowl add tomatoes, onion, cilantro, 1 tbsp. of the dressing, and toss together. Place in fridge to let the flavor develop, kind of like a quick pickle.
Serve salad with the avocado and sprinkle pancetta over it.


 

Sopa de Calabaza (Pumpkin and butternut squash soup)

Serves: 4-6 people
Total Time: 40 min


INGREDIENTS:


2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion (diced)
1 roasted poblano pepper (diced)
1 lb peeled pumpkin (diced)
1 lb peeled butternut squash (diced)
8 cups of chicken stock
1 tbsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 dash of cumin (3 spice perfecta)
6 Small Carnival Pumpkins

Nutmeg cream topping


Dash of nutmeg
½ cup heavy cream
Dash of salt
2 tsp of sugar

METHOD:


In a heavy sauce pan, sauté olive oil and diced onions until translucent. Remember to lightly season with the 3 spice perfecta.

Add poblano peppers, pumpkin, and butternut squash. At this point, lightly season and mix ingredients together to let them “meet and greet” and to develop the “sabor” (flavor).
Once both the pumpkin and butternut squash are fork tender, place them (in batches) in food processor.
Add some stock to help puree smoother.
Once you a have a good smooth pure, pour in pan along with the remaining stock and turn oven to a low-med heat. Simmer for 10-15 min.

Carnival Pumpkin Bowls: (Pre-heat oven 350*)


Slice of the tip of the pumpkin, revealing the center and scoop out all seeds. This is where you take your paring knife and carve out some of the flesh to from a bowl. Careful not to go to deep, we don’t want to puncture the bottom or side of the bowl. Sprinkle the inside with cinnamon and sugar.
Place Carnival Pumpkin’s on two cookie sheet trays and roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until flesh is tender. Remove from oven and set aside.

Nutmeg cream topping


In a mixing bowl, pour in cream, salt, sugar, and nutmeg. Whip until the cream becomes semi-stiff.

To serve, use a ladle and pour soup in pumpkin bowls. Put about 1 tbsp. of nutmeg cream topping on top and serve. The end result should be a trip of goose bumps all over your body.

Pejesapo “Monkfish” Ceviche

Serves: 2
Total Time: 55 minutes


Ingredients:


1 Filet of Monkfish (Cleaned, Sliced at a bias)
2 tbsp. Fresh Shredded Coconut
3 Limes (Juiced)
1 tbsp. Lime Zest
1 Jalapeño (fire roasted, diced)
1 tbsp. Red Pepper (Diced)
1 tbsp. Fresh Ginger (Zested)
1 cup. Fresh Cilantro (Minced)
1 tsp. Soy Sauce
1 tsp. Fennel Seed
½ Cup. Coconut Milk
½ Medium Spanish Onion (Diced)
1 tsp. Curry Powder
Sea Salt (to taste)
Cracked Black Pepper (to taste)

Method:


Method in a bowl add monkfish, shredded coconut, coconut milk, lime juice, lime zest, ginger, cilantro, soy sauce, jalapeño, salt to taste, pepper to taste, fennel, coconut milk, onion, and curry. Mix well, tightly seal the bowl, and refrigerate for 40 minutes before eating. Before plating mix once more.