Cook’s Corner

We all scream for Azucar’s guava ice cream



Grilled Caesar Salad

1/4 pound finely grated Parmesan cheese (1 1/3 cups)

4 romaine hearts, rinsed and dried

1/2 cup Caesar salad dressing

Parmesan croutons for garnish

Make the crisps: Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon grated cheese on the parchment paper, making four 3-inch rounds about 1/4-inch thick, spaced 1 inch apart. Bake cheese until it bubbles and turns golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Lift the parchment from the baking sheet onto a wire rack and let cheese cool.

Heat grill to high. Leaving the romaine hearts intact, liberally brush each with some of the Caesar dressing. Gently separate the leaves so that you can brush the inner leaves, too. Set the remaining dressing aside. Place the whole hearts on the grill and cook, turning frequently, until the outer leaves are wilted and charred slightly, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and cut off the stem ends so the leaves separate. Arrange on a large platter. Sprinkle the croutons over the lettuce. Arrange the whole Parmesan crisps on the platter or break into bite-size pieces and sprinkle over the salad. Serve immediately with the remaining salad dressing on the side. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 263 calories (66 percent from fat), 14.4 g fat (6.5 g saturated, 2.4 g monounsaturated), 35 mg cholesterol, 13.5 g protein, 9.3 g carbohydrate, 2.6 g fiber, 663 mg.

Source: Adapted from “Earthbound Farm Organic Cookbook” by Myra Goodman.


Azucar’s Abuela Maria Ice Cream

2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 ounces guava paste

1 (3.5-ounce) sleeve Maria crackers

3 ounces cream cheese

1/2 cup guava jam or marmalade

Whisk the eggs and sugar in a medium bowl until pale in color; set aside. Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and set over medium heat, warming until the milk is hot and bubbles begin to form. Temper the eggs by slowly pouring 1/2 cup of the warmed milk into the eggs, whisking constantly until combined.

Return the warmed eggs to the pan with the remaining milk. Heat the custard over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Add the cream and vanilla. Cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

When the base if thoroughly chilled, pour into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While the ice cream is churning, cut the guava paste into tiny cubes, break the crackers into small bite-size pieces, and cut the cream cheese into small pieces. When the ice cream has finished churning, gently fold in the pieces of guava paste and crackers. Spoon a small layer of guava marmalade and cream cheese pieces into a freezer-safe container and lightly spoon a layer of ice cream on top. Continue to alternate layers of marmalade, cream cheese and ice cream until the container is full, gently swirling with a spoon. Top with guava marmalade. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours. Makes 1 quart.

Per serving: 477 calories (55 percent from fat), 30 g fat (17 g saturated, 9 g monounsaturated), 141 mg cholesterol, 5.4 g protein, 48.3 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 134 mg sodium.

Source: “Scoop Adventures” by Lindsay Clendaniel.


Summer Saffron Zucchini Soup

2 medium potatoes, cubed

5 large zucchini, diced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon saffron

10 cups vegetable stock

1 pound fresh or one 12-ounce package frozen spinach

Sauté the onions, leeks and shallots in butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat until they are translucent. Add the garlic, and cook while stirring for a few minutes until very fragrant. Pour in the wine and stir, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to medium. Add the saffron and continue to cook until it begins to release its color, about 3 minutes. Add the vegetable stock and potatoes and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add zucchini and cook just until it is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in spinach just until it wilts. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then puree in batches in a food processor or blender. Serve hot or cold. Makes 12 servings.

Per serving: 73 calories (19 percent from fat), 1.5g fat (0 g saturated, 0.8 g monounsaturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 4.0 g protein, 10 g carbohydrate, 1.7 g fiber, 509 mg sodium

Source: Adapted from chef Daniel Goldich of the JW Marriott Miami’s Trapiche Room.

As of Saturday, it’s officially summer. So if you’re screaming for ice cream, a great place to start is Scoop Adventures: The Best Ice Cream of the 50 States ( $20, Page Street Publishing).

Lindsay Clendaniel shares the recipes she collected during travels across the country sampling ice cream from specialty shops and restaurants for her blog, Scoop Adventures. The recipe here for Abuela Maria Ice Cream is from Miami’s Azucar Ice Cream Co. in Little Havana.

It’s a great uptake on the cream-cheese-and-guava flavor combo we love, whether in pastelitos or smeared on a Maria wafer. A caveat: Some of Clendaniel’s ice cream recipes leave me wondering — blueberry kale comes to mind — but there are many that beckon.

Restaurant Recipe Request

Q: I was quite taken by the vivid zucchini soup with beet foam at the Trapiche Room on Brickell. Can you get the recipe?

A: Chef Daniel Goldich kindly supplied the recipe for this delicate Mediterranean-inspired soup, shown here with the beet foam, which makes a beautiful presentation. I did not make the foam (I am not a fan of molecular gastronomy), but should you be inclined you’ll need 2 grams of soy lecithin powder, 15 grams of organic beet powder and 2 cups of water. Mix in a bowl and process with a stick blender until foam forms.

Grilled Caesar

Something new to try when you’re barbecuing, from Earth Bound Farms:

Give rinsed and dried romaine hearts a brief stint over the coals to gently wilt the outside, while the inner leaves remain crisp, with a nice smoky flavor throughout.

Brushing the leaves with a vinaigrette or Caesar dressing not only adds flavor but protects the tender leaves from the heat. You could just grate Parmesan over the warm lettuce, but try the recipe’s quick method for making melted cheese disks — they’re a great crispy-chewy change you could adopt to all kinds of salads.

Tried and New

My grandfather’s recipe for a crisp, deep-fried Italian cookie has never tasted as good since I abandoned his old method of using lard and shortening.

I’ve heard similar complaints from readers whose pie crusts aren’t as flaky, or fries aren’t as tasty, or cookies aren’t as crisp. Making recipes healthier often means a trade-off in flavor or texture.

I’ve been quite pleased with the results from a new twist on baking fats from Nutiva. It’s a trans-fat-free organic shortening made with coconut and red palm oils. It is vegan, contains no dairy or soy, plus is Fair Trade and Non-GMO Project verified.

Coconut oil, of course, is the new health food darling and the red palm (sourced from family farms in Ecuador in partnership with Natural Habitats so it does not contribute to deforestation or habitat destruction) contributes to the crispness and flakiness. $6.79 for a 15-ounce tub, online at, or at Whole Foods.

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

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