Cook’s Corner

Give mom this cookbook for Mother’s Day


Side dish

Aguacates Rellenos (Seafood-Stuffed Avocados)

1/2 pound medium shrimp, cleaned, cooked and coarsely chopped

1/2 pound crab meat, picked over for shells

4 green onions, finely chopped

1 large hard-boiled egg, chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped green olives

1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 teaspoon lime juice

1/4 teaspoon paprika

2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped

Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

2 large avocados

Salad greens

In a large bowl, combine shrimp, crab, onion, egg and olives. In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, ketchup, lime juice, paprika and parsley. Pour dressing over the seafood mixture, toss lightly to mix, season to taste with salt and pepper, cover and chill thoroughly.

At serving time, slice the rinsed avocados in half lengthwise and remove the pit but leave the skin on. Make a bed of salad greens on four plates, add an avocado half to each and mound the centers with seafood salad. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 326 calories (50 percent from fat), 18.6 g fat (3.8 g saturated, 9.7 g monounsaturated), 173 mg cholesterol, 25.0 g protein, 18.0g carbohydrate, 7.9 g fiber, 686 mg sodium.


The Phoenician’s Chicken Salad

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 tablespoons olive oil

Juice of 1 lime

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

1 small onion, diced fine

1 rib celery, diced fine

1 jicama (about 1/4 pound), peeled and diced fine

4 large dates, pitted and chopped

1/4 cup pecans, roasted slightly and chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup mayonnaise

Place cubed chicken in a glass bowl and toss with olive oil, lime juice, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into a baking pan and bake 15 minutes at 375 degrees, until chicken is cooked through. Place chicken in refrigerator to cool, then add remaining ingredients, toss well to incorporate and serve. Serves 4.

Per serving: 526 calories (60 percent from fat), 35.6g fat (5.3 g saturated, 13 g monounsaturated), 94mg cholesterol, 28.0 g protein, 25.8g carbohydrate, 4.6 g fiber, 237 mg sodium.

Side dish

Make-Ahead Pimiento Cheese Soufflé

4 slices day-old bread

1 (7-ounce) jar pimientos

3/4 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

3 eggs, beaten

1 3/4 cups whole milk

2 teaspoons brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup minced green onions

1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Remove crusts from bread and reserve. Cut bread into small cubes. Place about half into a buttered 1-quart baking dish. Chop the pimientos into small pieces, reserving about a teaspoon for the topping. Place remaining pimientos in a bowl and combine with cheese, eggs, milk, brown sugar, onions, mustard, salt and pepper and Worcestershire. Pour mixture into the baking dish, then add other half of the bread cubes. Crumble reserved crusts in a blender or food processor, then sprinkle on top of the mixture in the baking dish. Top with reserved pimientos. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 8 and up to 24 hours. Bake 1 hour at 300 degrees. Serves 4.

Per serving: 550 calories (59 percent from fat), 36 g fat (21.3 g saturated, 10.4 g monounsaturated), 240 mg cholesterol, 32 g protein, 23 g carbohydrate, 1.8 g fiber, 808 mg sodium.

Part memoir, part Latino cookbook, To Cook is to Love (Langdon Street Press, $50) is a charming book any mother would appreciate this Mother’s Day.

I was most lured by the stories of Mami Aida, a woman who emigrated to Miami from rural 1950s Cuba.

Mami Aida is full of both cooking and life lessons that she loved to pass along: Her version of the motto “God helps those who help themselves” is a tale of three fishermen who were caught in a tempest at sea.

They prayed to the Virgin Mary to save them. She helped — but she also told them, “Row!”

The author is John Verlinden, Mami Aida’s son-in-law and former chef-owner at Boston’s sadly missed Mucho Gusto Café, which specialized in Cuban recipes made healthier.

Mucho Gusto was an outgrowth of Verlinden’s lessons on Cuban cooking from Mami Aida, and his book includes recipes both traditional and nuevo Latino.

The cookbook not only has very basic Cuban cooking — right down to how to make a café con leche — but also has Verlinden’s lighter take.

If you have a long memory, Mami Aida (Aida Luisa Gonzalez de Mondejar) had a restaurant in mid-1960s Miami, before moving to Boston, called El Paraiso.

The recipe here for stuffed avocados is from the cookbook. The traditional recipe would have called for mayonnaise rather than the yogurt, and for more hard-boiled egg.

Reader responses Top 10

I’m enjoying reading the responses to my list of 10 favorite Cook’s Corner recipes, and revisiting some of the memorable recipes.

Reader Dorothy nominated an easy and delicious chicken salad recipe, snagged from the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz., in 1990.

“I once made it with water chestnuts when I couldn’t find jicama,” she wrote, “but it wasn’t nearly as good. The sweetness of the jicama makes a difference.”

Pimiento cheese soufflé

Lucy Marie Houghton lost a beloved recipe for a “no-fail” soufflé made a day ahead of serving time, and turned to Cook’s Corner sleuths for help. Glenda R. of Coral Gables recognized the dish right away:

“This was my mother’s favorite Friday night supper back in the days when you didn’t eat meat then. I grew to hate it since we had it so often, but now it is one of my own favorite comfort foods. It reminds me of long ago times and of my mom.”

Sleuth’s Corner

Q: I am in search of a recipe from a restaurant no longer in business, La Glacier. They offered on their menu a Chicken Milanese which was a lightly breaded thin chicken cutlet which was fried and crispy. It was very much like a schnitzel.

What made it unique was the sauce they served on the side. It was reddish-brownish in color and had the most wonderful flavor. I have tried for years to determine what kind of sauce it was so that I could attempt to duplicate it. It may have been a tangy wine sauce but I don’t know for certain. Any information is much appreciated!


Send questions and responses to or Food, Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172. Replies cannot be guaranteed.

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