Toma bites!


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...

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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...

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Ronaldo Linares

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,...

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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...

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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...

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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....

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