Recent Posts

Fresh Oysters With Asian Pear Salad And Ponzu-Sesame Sauce Recipe

When it comes to oysters, I like to eat them one way and one way only: raw, on the half shell. I never knew any other way as I grew up getting them fresh from the Caribbean Sea in Venezuela. So perhaps I am just biased.

This delicious recipe calls for raw oysters; however, I’ve provided instructions to steam them in sake, in case you prefer to consume them cooked. The Asian pear salad adds great texture to the oysters and perfectly compliments the flavors infused by the subtle ponzu-sesame sauce.

Oysters are one of the most popular aphrodisiacs and they’re known for packing amino acids, zinc, and iron. Some believe that you have to consume them raw in order to rip these benefits though. To me, they are the perfect Valentine’s Day food—sexy, healthy, and delicious!

Fresh Oysters With Asian Pear Salad And Ponzu-Sesame Sauce

Yield: 2 servings


  • 2 tbsp ponzu sauce
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp Asian pear, finely minced
  • 2 tsp shallot, finely minced
  • 2 tsp red jalapeño, finely minced
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 6 fresh oysters
  • 1 cup coarse salt for plating
  • 1 tbsp micro-greens or finely julienned scallions
  • Optional: 1/2 cup cooking sake


In a small bowl, whisk together ponzu sauce, sesame oil, and black pepper. Set aside.

In another small bowl, combine Asian pear, shallot, red jalapeño, and lemon juice.

Scrub oysters well with a brush. Place one by one, flat side up, on a folded towel and carefully loosen shell with a sharp knife. Slide knife under the muscle to loosen meat, making sure not to spill the oysters’ liquor (its own juices). Arrange over ice on a deep platter and serve within 1 hour.

Divide coarse salt in two plates and rest three oysters on each bed of salt.  Spoon salad over oysters and top with sauce. Garnish with micro-greens or scallions.

To steam oysters (optional)

Pour cooking sake on a small pot, set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, add oysters and cover pot with lid. Steam oysters for 2-3 minutes or until they just open.  Transfer to a plate immediately. Reserve liquid and discard unopened oysters. Cover platter loosely and chill for approximately 30 minutes, until oysters have cooled down.

Pour liquid through a fine mesh strainer and add a couple of tablespoons to ponzu-sesame sauce, if desired, to add flavor; discard the rest.

New York Strip Steak with Creamy Wild Mushrooms Recipe

I created this dish inspired by a tasty and rich Napa Valley Merlot. Wild mushrooms really complement the exquisite flavor of a grass-fed New York strip steak. This dish is so simple to make, yet so sophisticated and delicious. You should try it at home!

For this dish, I used hen-of-the-woods and oyster mushrooms. If you can’t find these, try to use other varieties of wild mushrooms at your farmer’s market or local store. Just don’t go after the white button mushrooms… flavor just won’t be the same.

New York Strip Steak with Creamy Wild Mushrooms


  • 2 grass-fed New York strip steaks (approx. 1 ½” thick)
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leafs pulled
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Grape seed oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp shallots, minced
  • 6 oz wild mushrooms (hen-of-the-woods, oysters, etc) carefully sliced
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 400 °F
  2. Pat steaks dry, rub with 1 tsp of grape seed oil, and sprinkle both sides with thyme, sea salt, and black pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. 
  3. In the meantime, heat large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Melt butter; add shallots and sauté for 2-3 minutes. 
  4. Add mushrooms to pan and season with salt and pepper; cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring frequently. 
  5. Reduce heat to medium; add cream and stir with wooden spoon, making sure to scrap any bits from the bottom of the pan. 
  6. Add lemon juice and adjust seasoning, if needed. Set aside.
  7. Heat large heavy oven-proof skillet over medium-high-high heat. Add a drizzle of grape seed oil and swirl to cover bottom of the skillet. Add sprigs of thyme. Sear steaks on one side for about 5 minutes*. 
  8. Turn steaks and immediately transfer to oven. Roast for 12-15 minutes (or until internal temperature reaches 135° for medium rare). Remove steaks from oven and let rest on a board for 3-4 minutes. Slice and serve topped with creamy wild mushrooms.

* I like to add large pieces of chopped onion to the skillet if too much surface area is exposed (i.e. not covered by the steak). Prevents the pan from burning and add a great flavor to the steaks.

Roasted Rainbow Fingerling Potatoes


  • 1 lb rainbow fingerling potatoes
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper


  1. Pre-heat the oven at 450°F Cut the potatoes in half and toss them in a large bowl with thyme leafs and a drizzle of olive oil; season with salt and pepper. 
  2. Arrange potatoes on a baking sheet, cut side down, and roast for 30-35 minutes.

Green Gazpacho Quick Recipe

Put your blender or vitamix to use! Get creative this summer and make red and green gazpachos in no time. They’re so easy to make and very refreshing! Gazpachos can be topped and served with a variety of ingredients like pico de gallo or even shrimp and lobster.

This recipe is so healthy and full of flavor–the avocado makes this gazpacho a little thicker than the average. It is a low-calorie option that will make you feel fuller and satisfied.

Green Gazpacho with Mango Pico de Gallo

Yield: 4 servings


Pico de Gallo

  • 1 cup fresh mango, diced
  • ½ cup English cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 tbsp red jalapeño, seeded, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp shallots, minced
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt


  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups English cucumber, coarsely chopped (peeled/seeded)
  • 2 Hass avocados, chopped
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 tbsp scallion greens, chopped
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp mint, chopped
  • 1 tbsp shallots, chopped
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup organic Greek yogurt


Pico de Gallo

In a small bowl mixed mango, cucumber, red jalapeño, shallot, and lime juice. Drizzle with olive oil (about a tbsp) and season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Toss to coat and set aside.


Using a food processor (or a blender), combine all ingredients and process until mixture is smooth, for 1-2 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning*. Transfer to a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap; set in the refrigerator for at least half hour.

*You may add water by the spoon if it is too thick and to reach desired consistency


Divide soup evenly among 4 chilled bowls and top each with the mango pico de gallo.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Tonight, we welcome the Fall season! To celebrate the ‘Autumnal Equinox’, I am sharing with you the recipe for one of my favorites–Roasted Butternut Squash Soup. The sweet taste of the squash goes perfectly with coconut milk and my Gingerlove Curry, which lends amazing flavors of ginger, coriander, and turmeric.

I usually roast butternut squash unpeeled and halved. The larger the squash, the more leftovers I have and I always like to save some to make soup, especially when the weather starts to cool down. I scrape every last bit from the peel, using a spoon, wrap it well, and refrigerate it for later use.

The recipe is paleo-friendly, gluten-free, and vegan.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup Easy Recipe


  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • ½ cup brown onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leafs
  • 1 tbsp Alejandra’s Gingerlove Curry
  • 2 cups of roasted butternut squash *
  • 1 can organic light coconut milk (~13 oz)


  1. Set large pot over medium-high heat; add coconut oil. Add onions and cook for about 6 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic, thyme, and Gingerlove Curry; stir and cook 2 minutes.
  2. Place onion mixture in blender, add with butternut squash and coconut milk. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Blend on high and return blended squash to pot.
  3. Heat and keep warm until ready to serve.

Roasted Butternut Squash


  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 4-lb butternut squash, halved
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper


  1. Pre-heat oven at 400° F.
  2. Rub coconut oil on the bottom of a baking tray. Season squash with coarse sea salt and pepper. Place squash halves on tray, flesh side down, and roast for 40-60 minutes, or until the flesh is tender when pierced with a fork.
  3. Allow cooling, then scoop out the flesh into a serving bowl. Serve with a fresh sprig of thyme!

Black and White Chili Easy Recipe – One Pot Meal

Whether I go for the crock pot, the dutch oven, or the pressure cooker, I LOVE one-pot meals. I’ve always said it–my favorite foods are stews and soups. A small batch recipe, this chili is very easy to make and most of the work is done by the stove.

If you’re not into spicy foods, this is your kind of chili! It has amazing, bold flavors without any heat. It is seasoned with “Nothing but Love”, one of my mild blends, which is infused with flavors of paprika, celery seeds, and white pepper. This is delicious and a well-balanced meal.

Black and White Chili Recipe

Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 lb organic, grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, greens reserved for another use, whites cut into thin rounds
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 large tomatoes, chopped*
  • 3 tbsp Alejandra’s Nothing but Love
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups organic chicken broth
  • 1 15-oz can organic black beans, strained
  • 1 15-oz can organic white beans (great northern or navy), strained
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 avocado, seeded, sliced thinly
  • 4 lime wedges

* I prefer to peel my tomatoes. I score them and blanch them in boiling water for a few seconds. But this is not necessary.


  1. Brown ground beef in a medium-sized Dutch oven or stockpot over medium-high heat, breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon. Strain and discard excess fat. Add onion, leek, garlic, tomatoes, Nothing but Love, and season with a little coarse sea salt and black pepper. Stir and sauté for a few minutes.
  2. Add chicken broth and all beans to the Dutch oven. Reduce heat to medium and cover with lid. Cook for 1 hour stirring to avoid chili from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Add fresh lime juice to pot and stir thoroughly. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
  3. Serve with avocado slices and lime wedge. Enjoy!

Nothing but Love "Black and White" chili

The Art Of the South African Braai & How to Braai The Perfect Steak

Braai isn’t just the South African word for barbeque. It is far more than that: a national institution, a cultural identity and a cooking method that has been brought to a fine art by the men of South Africa (while women can and do braai perfectly well, it’s generally their chance to let the men take charge of the cooking, while they relax and merely throw together a few salads and clear up after the men…!).

Where else but South Africa could a public holiday be dubbed National Braai Day, and the braai be so enthusiastically embraced that everyone has forgotten the original reason for the public holiday. It’s Heritage Day by the way, and how fitting that it should be dedicated to the braai – part of the cultural heritage of all South Africans whatever their race or background.

To understand a bit more how the braai in South Africa differs from the American barbecue or the Australian barbie we have to start with the fire. Only wood will do. Forget gas barbeques – you will be met by cries of derision from any braai experts in your midst. Charcoal or briquettes are also second best. It must be wood, preferably one of the alien invader species that South Africa is infested with, so that you feel good about your eco-friendly stance. Rooikrans is best, burning steadily and retaining the heat, but Port Jackson will do in a pinch, just build a bigger fire.

The fire size is important too. Even if you are just planning on braaiing a few steaks it is best to build a roaring inferno. You want plenty of hot coals to grill your meat to perfection. If the coals are too few or have burned down too much you won’t get that sizzling perfection that seals in the juices and caramelises the outsides. In fact many braaimasters light two fires: one to cook on first and the second to provide more coals as the first ones die down. This is especially handy if you are cooking several different things or for many people.

Part of the braai master’s expertise lies in judging the point when the coals are ready to cook on. Too hot and flames will spurt up again as soon as any fat drips onto the coals. Too cool and you know the story. It helps having a braai arrangement that allows you to raise and lower the grid. For some it is a simple matter of adding or removing bricks from their fire surround. Others have cleverly designed grid supports with notches to lower or raise the grids. Everyone has their own favourite design, but the main thing is that you can have the meat at the right distance from the coals so that it cooks quickly without burning to a cinder.

How To Braai The Perfect Steak

Good steak is a treat, something to splash out on for special occasions or to spoil the family with on a quiet weekend. So when you do spend money on a really good piece of steak you want to make sure you cook it to perfection. The only way to do that, especially if you are in South Africa, is to braai it.

Grilling steak over a bed of searing hot coals seals in the juices, caramelises the outside (caramelise, not carbonise!) and adds a gentle wood smoke flavour to complement the succulence of tender meat. When cooked properly you don’t even need to marinate the steaks, though you can if you want, as they will have plenty of flavour just with a light seasoning of salt and pepper.

So on to the tips on how to cook the perfect steak:

  1. Make sure that your steaks are at room temperature before you cook them. Take them out of the fridge at least an hour ahead of time and leave them covered in the shade to warm gradually. Defrost frozen meat the day before in the fridge and then bring slowly to room temperature.
  2. Build a big enough fire, bigger than you think. Even for a few steaks just to feed your family you want a good hot bed of coals, so don’t stint on the initial fire. Wood is best – stack it high and let it burn down to glowing red coals. If you have to use charcoal, use at least half a bag. Start cooking as soon as the coals are ready – red hot and glowing as the flames have died down.
  3. Get to know the height of your grid. About 10 cm is ideal but anything from 5-15 cm will work, you just have to adjust the times of cooking accordingly.
  4. The ideal timing for medium rare steaks cut to a thickness of 2.5-3cm (and medium rare is considered the only proper way to eat good steak in South Africa!) is 7 minutes over hot coals on a 10cm high grid. They should be turned three times, so that they have 2 minutes on each side first off, then another 1.5 minute s on each side. If your grid is higher than 10cm, cook for slightly longer, if lower for slightly less time. The same for steaks that are thicker or thinner than the ideal thickness.
  5. Season the meat after it has been turned once. You don’t want to add salt long before cooking as this will draw out the juices.
  6. Always use tongs rather than a fork to turn the steaks, so that you don’t pierce the meat and lose the juices.
  7. After cooking give the meat a few minutes to ‘rest’ before serving. The juices will settle. Keep the meat warm in a warmed pot or dish while it rests and don’t leave it too long – 5 minutes is plenty.