All posts by Alicia

Cracked Wheat, Feta, Mint and Pistachio Salad

Y’all.  I’m so excited!  We’re going to have a wedding!  Yes!  A wedding!  My niece, Elizabeth, the daughter of my sister, Cynthia, (you know! Remember on Cynthia’s birthday a few years back I wrote the recipe for Key Lime Pound Cake with Key Lime Cream Cheese Icing? Yes, her.). Well, anyway, Elizabeth is engaged.  Her darling boyfriend, Jinal, proposed to her about a week ago on the way to dinner in San Francisco where they both live and the whole family is beyond thrilled.  They were good friends before falling in love, having met in graduate school, and have a most solid foundation for their relationship.  I’m not losing a niece… not at all… I’m gaining another boy to spoil.  So, in their honor, I put together some of their favorite foods and came up with this brilliant dish.  Elizabeth and Jinal are not big beef people so I aimed for a salad that would be happy crowned with a filet of dolphin or several shrimp in addition to being a salad good enough to stand up alone and on its own.  And it is.  This salad a true flavor bomb, mixing bright, clean herbs such as mint and parsley with satisfying bulgur wheat and chick peas.  Sheep’s milk feta, red onion and pistachios add to the salad’s savory aspect while a sizeable amount of chopped cucumber amplifies the crunch factor.  This is a super salad to serve as an entrée or a side.  It’s great for parties as it feeds a crowd and is muy good-looking mounded on a platter.  The salad is easily refreshed a day or two later with a few spritzes of fresh lemon juice and a quick toss.  It’s cooling meal and a snap to put together when you’re fighting the heat of summer as well as substantial in cold weather when you want a salad with a bit of heft.  Salad girls know you can’t live on romaine leaves alone.  A pint of grape tomatoes halved are a lovely addition to this salad as are a handful of pomegranate seeds.  I’ve also added about 1/2 cup roughly chopped Greek olives for a “meatier” dinner.  Play around with this thing.  It’s a no-fail!

Aren’t they just precious?!

Cracked Wheat, Feta, Mint and Pistachio Salad

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 cup bulgur or cracked wheat
  • 1 cup water
  • zest of two lemons, from the lemons you’re going to juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup good quality olive oil plus more if needed
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 3/4 – 2 cups chopped cucumbers, the mini-cucumbers in a bag in your grocery’s produce section work great as they’re not really watery and I find them crunchier than conventional ones
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup sheep’s milk feta, crumbled by hand
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large bowl combine the cracked wheat, water, lemon juice and 1/4 cup of olive oil.  Stir, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 45  minutes or until the wheat has absorbed most of the liquid.
  2. When most of the liquid has been absorbed, fluff the wheat with a fork and add the garbanzo beans, cucumbers, mint and parsley and toss well.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients including the unused olive oil and toss well.
  4. Taste for any needed salt and pepper, cover and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes for all the flavors to marry:)
  5. Scatter any leftover mint and parsley over the mounded and serve.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com

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Blueberry Lemon Breakfast Cake

Hey, y’all.  I’m trying to bake around workmen in my kitchen and I’ve got way to much on my mind.  My cousin’s wife underwent her second surgery this morning continuing her battle with cancer.  Prayers, please.  Also, I learned earlier today that a dear, dear friend from our first college days suffered a major heart attack and is having major bypass and open heart surgery.  Both fabulous women are too young and healthy for this.  So I bake.  I listen to comfort music which, today, is Puerto Rican salsa, bomba and plena.  My mind wanders as I murmur the lyrics to the song streaming, one of my favorite songs ever, “En Mi Viejo San Juan”, In My Old San Juan.  It’s a terribly sad song but fits my mood.  I reassure myself with drifting thoughts of old neighbors who lived on my grandparent’s street close to the University of Puerto Rico.  Sonia, who lives catty-corner across the street, and hosted us for finger sandwiches and champagne.  Those were lovely afternoons spent in her gorgeous Spanish style villa laughing, gossiping and sharing our plans for the future.  Dona Angelita and Don Juan Orta lived next door to us and had Cynthia and me over for dinner often.  They were okay but the person in their household I adored was Tata, the housekeeper who was more like a servant considering the way they treated her.  I loved Tata!

My beloved Tata in her younger days.

She told me a story of a typical idyllic Caribbean morning which found her sweeping the Orta’s back courtyard, birds were singing and lemon yellow alamandas were in full bloom, rambling up the back wall of the cottage where she lived… she was lost in her thoughts.  Out of the blue she heard a small but happy voice from above singing and calling out, “Hiiiiii! Hiiiiii! Hiiiii!”.  Tata looked up to the second floor of our house and told me she saw two fat little hands stuck out of the window waving madly at her.  It was me.  In my crib.  And that’s when we fell in love.  She was the sweetest thing.  She always made certain I was included when all the little girls played fairies and witches.  When serving at the table, Tata always took care not to put any beans on my rice…just sauce and the only way I would eat them.   Her hugs were strong but gentle and I liked it when she sat down and allowed me to climb in her lap.  Today that gives me quiet comfort.  It’ll all be okay.  Everything will work out.  Joy comes in the morning.

 

 

 

This is a super easy breakfast cake that is truly forgiving.  Fresh or frozen blueberries may be used.  If y’all haven’t tried Costco brand frozen blueberries you’re in for a treat.  They’re harvested in Canada and they’re just like the blueberries you find in Maine… small, juicy nuggets bursting with fresh flavor.

Blueberry Lemon Breakfast Cake

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup Greek yoghurt, plain, full-fat (buy an individual serving cup if you don’t need a large container) or buttermilk, full fat
  • 2 cups blueberries, divided, fresh or frozen
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°.  Cover an 8X8-inch baking pan with non-stick spray.  Cover the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, spray paper and set pan aside.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together and set aside.
  3. In a medium size bowl add butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg,  vanilla, lemon juice and zest and beat until well combined.
  5. To the egg mixture add half the flour and mix until just combined scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  6. Add the yoghurt or buttermilk and stir in until combined.
  7. Add the remaining flour and stir until just combined.
  8. Gently spread 1/3 of batter over the bottom of the baking pan.
  9. Scatter 1 cup of blueberries evenly over batter.
  10. Gently spread remaining batter evenly in pan, making certain to cover corners.
  11. Scatter second cup of blueberries over the batter and, with the palm of your clean hand, gently press the berries into the batter.
  12. Bake 45-50 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean from the center of the cake.
  13. Cool on rack for 10-15 minutes.  Remove from baking pan and continue cooling on rack for 30-40 minutes.
  14. Cut in fat squares and serve warm, at room temperature or cold.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com

 

Country Captain or Southern Curried Chicken

This is one celebratory dish and after the magnificent wedding of the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex I strongly believe we need more dishes like this.  Don’t you think this world could use a few more celebrations?  Perhaps a bit more kindness and recognition of actual joy?  I guess it boils down to BEing NICE instead of just sporting the “be nice” bumper sticker on the back of your car.  I don’t long for days gone by as much as the respect, consideration and honesty which I grew up knowing and that now seem to have been thrown to the side of the road.  Kindness in the form of philanthropy is back “in”, as is Botswana, and I am thrilled.  I’m fully aware our world is still a troubled place and I will do my part to make this world a better place, however, I also crave celebrations of love and joy and peace and I kind of think the rest of the world does, too.  We were privy to some of the royal couple’s dating and engagement details showing us, in no uncertain terms, these are two people who want to be of use and come to the aid of those who have nothing.  I don’t mean to preach but, really, how hard is is to buy a deli-sandwich, a bag of chips and a jug of water for the homeless man with barely any teeth in his head standing outside the grocery store?  You’re about to buy food anyway, so how about helping someone who’s life is so fragile?  A bunch of wings and a jug of water could make an enormous difference in someone’s day.  Celebrate the joy and happiness you feel by spreading a little love to those who so desperately need it.  You may not BE a royal when you give but you certainly will feel royal.   Deli mac ‘n cheese never tasted so good!

Country Captain is  an easy dish, perfect to prepare for festive gatherings or Sunday dinner.  Served over fluffy, long grain rice, this chicken dish is also great prepared in advance and here’s some more good news.  The flavors really bloom and become full and mellow the following day so leftovers are a delight.  Country Captain is not a spicy dish but a perfectly seasoned one.  It hails from the South, specifically Georgia, and is a favorite throughout the state served often at brunch and on stately sideboards..  I suppose we can thank all the curry spices coming into the port of Savannah.  This aromatic one-pot stew is well-rounded and flavorful, dotted with green peppers, onion and garlic, bits of sweet tomato and fat raisins.  It is truly a delight.  I brown in butter both skinless boneless chicken breasts and thighs to add more of a rich flavor.  The thighs also add to the richness and, in the end, everyone seems to get the piece they want.  Country Captain can be prepared in a high-sided skillet or a heavy bottomed dutch oven.  I use both.  Either golden seedless or the common brown raisin may be used with excellent results and the recipe doubles easily.  I hope for your next gathering you’ll try this dish.  It’s quite the celebration!

Country Captain or Southern Curried Chicken

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, each half breast cut into thirds
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 generous tablespoons good quality curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes with juice
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
  • hot cooked rice, to serve
  1. Mix flour, salt and pepper together in a bowl and lightly dredge chicken, shaking off excess flour.  Set aside.
  2. In a high sided skillet of dutch oven melt the butter over medium high heat.  Add the vegetable oil.
  3. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, carefully add the chicken and brown on both sides but do not cook all the way through.
  4. Remove from the pan and add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, curry powder and nutmeg stirring well.  Cook about 3 minutes the vegetables are soft but not browned.
  5. Add the tomatoes and juice and stir well.
  6. Add the chicken and any juices plus the raisins to the pan covering the chicken with the sauce.
  7. Cover the pan, lower the heat and simmer for 45-60 minutes so the chicken becomes tender.
  8. Garnish with almonds and serve over hot, buttered rice.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com

Classic Yellow Cupcakes with Regal Buttercream Icing

Y’all, we’re ’bout to have a royal wedding this weekend and that warrants the best cupcakes with THE BEST icing known to man.  Every celebration merits them.  I made these cupcakes years ago for my son, James’, school bake sales.  They were legendary and sold in a flash…for big bucks.  I’ve always been a cake person, scraping off the icing and pushing it to the side of my plate or peeling off the cupcake liner, turning the cake upside down in the liner thereby avoiding the usual sickeningly sweet and way too fluffy frosting.  Doesn’t matter the flavor, I don’t want it.  Unless it’s this icing.  Mercy!  This icing is thick, with  the ample and generous flavors of vanilla and butter it delivers just the perfect amount of sweetness.  I couldn’t stop swiping teaspoon after teaspoon from the bowl as I crowned each cupcake.  The cupcake, as well, is equally astounding.  It falls somewhere between the crumb of a layer cake and a pound cake.  The flavor is of unadulterated, flawless butter.  It is the quintessential bake sale,  afternoon snack, birthday or wedding cupcake.  And when Prince Harry and Ms. Meagan Markle wed early this Saturday morning,  my bff, Andrea, and I will be celebrating with hot cups of freshly brewed coffee and these little royal fairy cakes.  Best of wishes to all the brides out there!

Classic Yellow Cupcakes

  • Servings: 16 cakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 5-ounce can evaporated milk, not reduced fat, divided
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350°.  Line muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs enough to break them up but not enough to whisk in air bubbles.
  3. Add 1/2 cup milk to eggs and vanilla and stir until completely combined.  Set aside and reserve remaining milk for icing.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar and baking powder until completely combined.
  5. Add the butter to the flour mixture and mix with an electric mixer until there are no large chunks of butter.
  6. Add 3/4 of the egg mixture to the butter-flour bowl and mix until just combined.
  7. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the remaining egg mixture and beat on high for 1 minute.
  8. Fill each cupcake liner 2/3 full and bake for 20-22 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  9. Cool cupcakes in tin for 10 minutes, remove from tin and cool cupcakes on cooling rack.
  10. Allow cakes to cool completely before icing.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com

TLA, True Love Always, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle!

Royal Buttercream Icing

  • Servings: 16 generously iced cupcakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 16-ounce bag confectioner’s sugar, SIFTED!
  • 1 tablespoon meringue powder
  • 1 tablespoon milk, if you made the above cupcakes you’ll have a tablespoon of milk remaining
  1. In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer, mix butter and vanilla until fluffy.
  2. Add meringue powder to confectioner’s sugar and mix the sugar into the butter in 3-4 increments beating well in between each addition.
  3. Add the milk and mix well for 3-4 minutes or until the icing is fluffy.
  4. Ice completely cooled cupcakes.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com

 

 

Bacon Gravy…omg!

This is the week before Mother’s Day and plans need to be made for all the glorious Moms out there!  My wonderful mother died three years ago and I’ve got to tell y’all, not a day goes by that I don’t think of her throughout the day.  She taught us so much beginning when we were small and instruction and advice ended the day she stopped speaking.  She was positively brilliant, wise, just, scrupulously honest and incredibly kind.  Even now, when I find myself in a pickle, I think to myself, “What would Mama do?”.  Funny, because I always know in my heart what she would have done.  To get her point across she would often tell me a story of something which happened when she was a girl on her father’s farm in Puerto Rico.  Growing up she lived in the country, outside of the town of Fajardo, with her parents, four sisters and five brothers.  My grandfather’s property sprawled down to the ocean, easily containing a cooling stream for the children to play and the boys to fish.  My grandmother had, I’ve been told, an exquisite rose garden.   My grandfather had horses and rode extensively to inspect his holdings.  The five boys all had horses and dogs but not the girls.  Oh my no! No.  The girls had china dolls, paints, smocks and easels, poetry…sigh.  That’s how it was in that household.  Anyway, Mama said when she was a little girl she was inside the house, standing next to an open window, simply looking out, longing to run free.  It was a glorious day.  The sun was shining brightly and fat bumblebees hovered over sweet meadow flowers giving Skipper, Swallowtail and Harlequin butterflies a run for their money.  Mama was stuck in the house with nothing fun to do while the boys were out having life altering adventures.  She stood quietly, staring out when, from around the corner of the house, came little Antonio, skipping along as happy as one could be.  Antonio was the youngest son of Pedro and Angelina, who lived on the farm.  Pedro drove my mother and her siblings to school and back everyday in my grandfather’s coach.  After dropping the children off, he continued into town with a list of items needed that my grandmother had drafted earlier in the morning.  Mama watched as her little friend pranced and hummed oblivious of any eyes on him.  He, too, was captivated by the beauty of the morning.  And then my mother thought, “Oh! I would give anything to be Antonio!”.  She watched as the boy disappeared into the meadow.  Minutes later she was still staring out of the window when she saw Angelina, Antonio’s mother, coming around the same corner of the house.  She, however, wasn’t happily ambling along.  No.  Oh, no.  She came angry and red in the face.  Her back was up and her blood was boiling.  In her hand Angelina slapped a brown leather belt while she bellowed, “Antonio!  Antonio!”.  Mama knew Antonio was going to get it and get it hard.  Her first thought was, “Oh, thank you, God, that I’m not Antonio! I don’t want to be anyone except myself!”.  And then Mama told me you never know what’s around the corner for other people, you never know what life is going to throw at you, be it good or bad  so be happy in your own self and with your life.  I’ve never forgotten that lesson, Mama, and I thank you for this one and so many others you’ve shared with us.  Happy Mother’s Day to all!

This is an old Southern recipe used when there’s no sausage to make gravy.  It’s heavenly!  Serve it over biscuit or country fried steak.  In the photos I made home fries topped with thick, broiled tomato slices.  There may have been fresh mozzarella melted on the tomatoes:)  Over the cheese I heaped flash sautéed fresh spinach, I covered the spinach with a fried egg and finished with a liberal pour of bacon gravy.  Sounds like Mother’s Day brunch to me!

Bacon Gravy

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 10 thick cut slices bacon
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion or 1 small onion
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  •  2 cup half and half plus extra if needed to thin out gravy
  • salt and black pepper
  1. Cook bacon until crispy.  Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain.  Reserve bacon drippings separately.
  2. To a heavy bottomed pan add two tablespoons of bacon drippings.
  3. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are soft.
  4. Add the flour and whisk thoroughly for a minute or two so the flour is cooked.
  5. Add 1/2 cup of half and half and continue whisking until the gravy has thickened.
  6. Continue adding the half and half in 1/2 cup increments until the gravy has thickened almost to the consistency you want.
  7. Crumble the bacon into the pan and whisk in.
  8. Continue whisking the gravy until it reaches the desired consistency.  Or if the gravy is too thick add a tablespoon or two of half and half and whisk in until the gravy is to your liking.
  9. Taste for salt and pepper and serve immediately.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com

Spicy Whipped Feta and Roasted Pepper Dip, Tirokafteri

This has been one busy weekend!  Not only was it Cinco de Mayo celebration and the Derby but, here in Fort Lauderdale, we also had our annual Air Show down on the beach.  The Air Show is great fun…especially if you don’t go.  We live close enough to the beach that we can see the planes make their passes.  In fact, if you stand in our pool and raise your arm you can just about high-five the pilots as they roar by!  Needless to say, our grocery and liquor stores are crazy busy.  The Friday heading into the weekend is when the madness begins.  Both the deli and the meat departments run out of wings.  Fried chicken, key lime pies and ice are long gone.  Even the least favorite of Solo cups, the yellow ones, fly off the shelves.  Hell, it’s just one big ol’ party out there.  By 9:00 in the morning smokers and grills are fired up, mostly by the men, while the women rattle around in the kitchen, set up around the pool (that translates to “make it pretty”), give the dog a last-minute walk and take a final inventory of the bar necessities:  tequila, bourbon and champagne.  I’m fully aware that last statement I made sounds awfully sexist but I know of no females, family, friends or otherwise, who seek to learn the intricacies and nuances of grilling in the steaming Florida heat while being kept company by mosquitos the size of small dogs.  No.  And I won’t even go into what our humidity does to that blow out you paid good money for and are trying to make last until Tuesday.  Nah.  My girls don’t flip burgers, lobster tails or ribeyes.  But what we WILL do is feed you some outstanding dishes.  This dip is one of those dishes.  I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat myself.  Because there are so few ingredients called for it is of paramount importance to use the best quality ingredients available to you.  The feta must be made of sheep’s milk otherwise it’s not even feta.  The cheese must be in block form.  Store bought crumbled feta is just…wrong.  It has no semblance to the real thing.  I don’t buy it…ever.  I purchase sheep’s milk feta in a block and crumble it myself and my recipes turn out as they’re supposed to.  Use whole milk thick Greek yoghurt or whole sour cream.  Even creme fraiche is okay in a pinch.  Regarding the heat in the spread, if you like a good kick then add the entire scotch bonnet pepper.  If you are uncertain no worries.  Discard the stem of the pepper and slice it in half from stem end to bottom.  Carefully cut out ribs and seeds and set them aside to add if you decide you want more heat.  I wear disposable cloves to protect my fingers from burning my eyes if I happen to rub them.  Easier than falling off a log.  Serve with assorted breads, crackers, crudite and pickled vegetables.  Try serving this dip with pickled okra…it’s not just for Bloodys anymore!

Spicy Whipped Feta and Roasted Pepper Dip, Tirokafteri

  • Servings: 3 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 16 ounces sheep’s milk feta cheese, drained and patted dry
  • 12 ounces jarred roasted red peppers, drained and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup good quality olive oil
  • 1/4 cup thick Greek yoghurt or whole sour cream
  • 1 ripe scotch bonnet pepper, halved, ribs and seeds set aside if needed, stem discarded
  1. Into the bowl of a food processor. crumble the feta cheese by hand.
  2. Add the roasted red peppers, olive oil, yoghurt and scotch bonnet pepper.  Process until smooth.
  3. Taste for heat adjustment and add some of the scotch bonnet seeds for additional heat.
  4. Cover and chill for 3-4 hours for the dip to firm up.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com

Sweet Guava and Cream Cheese Spread

Early mornings at my grandparent’s house in Puerto Rico were extraordinarily beguiling and captivating.  My older sister, Cynthia, and I awoke every morning in the soft, white-cloud canopy of mosquito nets hung from hooks embedded in lofty ceilings.  In the drowsy world of being not quite awake, as we stirred, not yet aware of sights and sounds, we felt like brides…or princesses.  As we lay in our beds savoring the last vestiges of morning coolness, we took pleasure in the cooing of doves outside our windows.  The gentle swish, swish, swish of slippers against old floor tiles signaled the house was coming to life and someone, thank you God!, was making coffee.  Even as little girls we always drank coffee.  Everyone did.  I remember my mother laughing as she told me the story of my Tio Roberto and coffee.  Mama said my uncle was a young boy of maybe five or six years old when my grandfather found him somewhat wistful and down in the mouth.  Tio Roberto was my grandfather’s favorite boy and couldn’t bear to see him unhappy.  “Mi nene, pero que te pasa”?  “My son, what’s wrong?”  In a low voice my uncle answered, “Aye, Papa!  I hate school!” “But why?”, asked my grandfather.  Tio Roberto answered, “I miss my 10:00 cafe con leche.”  That cracks me up every time I think about it.  His father replied, “Well, you don’t have to go to school.  Stay home and have your cafecito as long as you want.”  Can you imagine saying that to your kindergartener? And so my uncle did.  Everyday my mother, aunts and uncles would pile into the coach to be driven to school while my Tio Roberto stayed home…alone…with no one to play with.  No brothers to go fishing or ride together.  No brothers to climb trees with or sisters to tease.  That had to be hell.  That lasted two or three days, he gave up his mid-morning coffee and back to school he happily went.

Breakfast in Puerto Rico was always modest and light.  Don’t get me wrong, it was always enjoyable but never heavy with pancakes and meat and cheesy casseroles.  Breakfast typically consisted of strong Puerto Rican coffee laced with steamed whole milk and a generous spoonful of island sugar.  Oh, but it was good!  Alongside jugs of ice-cold water, one at each end of the table, were baskets of crackers to be eaten with a little local cheese or butter.  And there was, without fail, fresh fruit.  Luscious wheels of deep, coral-red papaya or sweet, golden pineapple beautifully carved and laid out on platters would complete the meal.  But if we were really lucky we would be served guava paste or guava spread.  Guava and cream cheese spread is sublime offered firm and cold from the refrigerator or warm and runny having been freshly made.  These days it’s a beautiful addition not only at breakfast or brunch but also at cocktail hour.  The addition of the cream cheese and sour cream in the recipe lends the spread the perfect balance of sweet and savory.  It’s beautiful at a shower, picnic or pool party and lasts forever covered in the refrigerator.  Here in Florida guava paste may be found on the bread aisle at Winn-Dixie and on the canned fruit aisle at Publix.  If you can’t find it just ask.  And last, I buy the guava paste cryovaced in block form made by Goya.  Buen provecho!

Sweet Guava and Cream Cheese Spread

  • Servings: 5 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 14 ounces guava paste
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  1. Place guava paste in a medium size bowl and on high heat soften 30 second increment until there are still lumps but you are able to stir the paste.  You don’t want it to become liquid.
  2. Add the softened cream cheese and sour cream and stir until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Serve with crackers, biscotti or fruit.  For a thicker, firmer consistency, cover and chill for several hours.

http://www.theirreverentkitchen.com