How To Make Puerto Rican Pasteles Local Style

Puerto Rican Pasteles

Puerto Rican Pasteles

So many dishes enjoyed in Hawaiʻi today can be traced back to the introduction of various cuisines and cultures during the plantation era.

Puerto Ricans were one of the migrant groups that came here in the early 1900s and with them they brought pasteles (known in Hawaiʻi as “pateles”).

Hawaiʻi, being a tropical environment like Puerto Rico, possessed many of the ingredients necessary to make these tamale-like treats. What couldn’t be found was easily replaced with similar substitutions.

Puerto Ricans use banana leaves to wrap their pasteles. Hawaiʻi had banana leaves and ti leaves which could both be used.

Puerto Ricans often put yautia in their masa. Hawaiʻi had taro.

Both places had plantains, squash, pork and bananas.

There are different variations of this recipe, commonly made during the Christmas holiday in large amounts. My recipe is a merging of many I have found online used with ingredients grown on Oʻahu.

I recommend spending a few days to put it together and enlisting the help of at least one friend. The process of making them is as much if not more rewarding than eating them.

Puerto Rican Pasteles

"Local Style" Puerto Rican Pasteles

On Oʻahu you can find many of these ingredients from local farms. Otherwise try your local Latin American market for ingredients such as banana leaves. I use ti leaves for my recipe because they are readily available in Hawaiʻi and make a great wrapper, but they are traditionally wrapped in banana leaves.

Suggested timeline for this project:

Day 1 - Source your ingredients

Day 2 - Debone the ti leaves, make soffrito and simmer the pork.

Day 3 - Stuff, wrap and cook the pasteles.

Course Main Dish
Keyword local style, puerto rican pasteles
Servings 18 pasteles


  • 18 each ti leaves deboned


  • 1 each chile chopped
  • 1/4 each green bell pepper chopped
  • 1/4 each red bell pepper chopped
  • 1/4 each yellow onion chopped
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro chopped


  • 2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 2 lbs pork shoulder diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup soffrito see here
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tsp oregano dried
  • 1 tsp cumin ground
  • 1/4 cup achiote paste
  • 12 oz tomato puree
  • 3 sprigs cilantro chopped
  • TT salt and pepper
  • 1 cup pimiento stuffed green olives sliced


  • 4 lbs plantains peeled
  • 1/2 lb russet potato peeled
  • 1/2 lb taro root peeled
  • 1/4 each kabocha squash peeled
  • 1/2 cup achiote oil
  • TT salt and pepper


  1. Watch the video below to learn how to debone a ti leaf.


  1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender with just enough water to get the motor running. Puree until finely chopped.


  1. Season the pork liberally with salt and pepper.

  2. In a large skillet heat the canola oil over high heat. Add the pork, and let sear until brown on one side before stirring. Stir and brown on each side. This may need to be done in a few batches depending on the size of your pan. Do not overcrowd your pan. This will cause the meat to steam rather than brown. Remove the meat and place onto a paper towel lined plate.

  3. Lower the heat to medium. Add the soffrito, garlic, oregano and cumin. Season with salt and pepper and saute for 2 minutes until fragrant.

  4. Add the achiote paste, tomato puree, cilantro and seared pork. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer uncovered on medium-low heat for about 1-1 1/2 hours until tender.


  1. Grate the ingredients and combine in a bowl.

  2. In a food processor combine half of the grated ingredients, 1/4 cup achiote oil and salt and pepper. Puree until chopped fine. Repeat once more with the remaining grated ingredients, oil and more salt and pepper. Afterward mix both batches together in a bowl adding more oil if necessary to ensure a cohesive "dough." It should stick together, but not be wet.

Assemble the pasteles

  1. Warm an electric burner on medium-high heat. Run the ti leaves quickly over it one by one to soften the leaves. Do not burn the leaves.

  2. Lay a ti leaf, horizontally and shiny side down on the counter. Brush the center where you will lay the masa with achiote oil. Slather a 1/2 cup of masa over the oil in a rectangle shape, spreading it evenly with the back of a spoon. Place 2-3 tablespoons of the braised pork in the middle of the masa and top with sliced olives. Fold the top of the leaf down, so that the masa folds over the filling. Fold the bottom of the leaf up to fully enclose the filling. Fold the right side of the leaf over, followed by the left side of the leaf to form an oblong packet. Reapeat with the rest of the ingredients.

  3. Cut the butcherʻs twine into 18 pieces about 2 feet long.

  4. Cut 18 pieces of parchment paper roughly 12 inches by 12 inches.

  5. Lay out a sheet of parchemnent and place a pastele in the center. Fold the top part of the paper over and scoot the pastele down until both ends of the paper meet. Fold both pieces of paper up 3 times to create a seal, then fold the rest of the paper back over the pastele. Fold each side of the paper in to create an oblong packet.

    Fold the string in half. Place it lengthwise on the counter in front of you with the loop side at the top. Place the packet in the center horizontally. Bring the bottom ends of the string up over the packet and through the loop of the top of the string and pull tight. Pull each strand of string to the middle of the packet and then pull outwards, one to the left, one to the right to tighten. Flip the packet over. Bring the strings around each side and tie them together at the center. (See link in the notes for a demo)

  6. Boil or steam the pasteles for one hour. Unwrap and enjoy while still warm with hot sauce and whatever other condiments you enjoy. I like making a fresh slaw with lime juice to go with. This is probably not traditional, but I also enjoy sour cream on the side too!

Recipe Notes

How to debone a ti leaf.

Skip to minute 6:34 of this video for a demo on how to wrap and tie your pasteles. 

You can purchase achiote paste here.

You can purchase achiote oil here. 

I sourced my achiote oil and ti leaves on Oʻahu from Kahumana Organic Farms

The pork shoulder I used is from Mountain View Dairy in Waiʻanae, purchased from Pono Pork.

Traditional Hawaiian Lau Lau

Hawaiian lau lau
Hawaiian lau lau
Hawaiian lau lau

On an overcast day, at the top of a hill in Kaimuki, I went to my first Hawaiian lau lau party.

I met one of the hosts last year attending my first yoga retreat. I think the fact that food dominated most of our conversations gave her the indication that I would be a good candidate for her lau lau assembly line, because the next time she planned her annual party I was on the invite list. An invitation I was quite honored to receive.

In the weeks leading up to an event like this there is preparation that needs to be done on everyone’s part. We were asked to bring ti leaves, pork or fish and a breakfast item or side dish to contribute. Along with that, guests are encouraged to bring alcoholic beverages of their choice. I mean this is a party, first and foremost, after all.

The ingredients that go into the preparation of lau lau are very specific and somewhat time consuming, so our host asked that most of them were prepped before we arrived.

Ti leaves

First, you have to have ti leaves. But not just any ti leaves, they can’t be too small and they can’t be too big either.

Hawaiian lau lau
Ti leaves

They also have to be, what the Hawaiians call “de-boned.” You do this by placing the leaf, shiny side down, on a table and making a little nick where the stem first starts to protrude at the top of the leaf. Then you pick up the leaf placing your forefinger behind the leaf, where the back of the stem is, and your thumb in front of the leaf to secure the leaf in place. Then with your other hand you gently peel back the top of the leaf which pops the stem out.

You continue with this motion all the way down, until you have stripped the entire stem from the leaf, but have left the leaf completely still intact. When you reach the bottom of the stem, split the stem in two, all the way up to the base of the leaf. I have to admit, this takes a little finesse.

Here’s an instructional video on how to do this…..

Ti leaves can be found all over the island and are usually foraged in people’s backyards. You can also buy them at flower shops that make leis. These leaves are for wrapping the lau lau, as a vessel to steam them in, they are not edible.

Taro leaves (also called luau leaves)

These can be bought at Wongs in 20 lb bags for I think $38. You can also find them at Foodland or often times at the Farmers Market––Ma’o Farms will sometimes have them in Kaka’ako on Saturdays.

Taro leaves
Taro leaves

With scissors, snip off the stems and cut the stems into one inch pieces. You will end up with a giant pile of leaves and a large bowl of cut up stems. Wash and dry them well. A group of 6 or 8 of us did this at the party before we started wrapping lau lau. An important note about taro leaves, they must be cooked before eaten. That is unless, you like the sensation of eating broken glass.

Taro leaves
Snip taro stems off with scissors and cut into 1 inch pieces
Taro leaves
Once stems are trimmed, wash and dry leaves and stems.

Pork shoulder (also called pork butt)

Purchase boneless pork shoulder. Do not remove or discard any fat. The more fat the better in this dish. It is what keeps the lau lau nice and moist and adds flavor. Dice it into one inch cubes.

Diced pork shoulder
Diced pork shoulder


You need to select fish that has a high oil content. Like the pork, the fattiness of the fish is what makes the lau lau rich and succulent. Although neither local, salmon or black cod (which is actually sable fish, but often called butterfish in Hawaii) are commonly used. We used both.

The salmon needs to be scaled, but you can leave the skin on and the bones in, since they are both delicate and will melt away in the cooking process.

For the black cod, however, the skin and bones should be removed and discarded.

Once your fish has been cleaned, dice it into 1 inch pieces.

Diced fish
Diced fish

Some recipes call for salting the fish ahead of time. We skipped this step and it came out just fine.


You will want to use a course sea salt for this dish, preferably Hawaiian Alaea salt, an unrefined local sea salt that has been mixed with red alae volcanic clay. You can find this on Amazon or in select markets on island (I’ve seen it at Foodland Farms).

I was told that “you cannot use too much salt” in this dish, so have more than you think you will need on hand.

Kiawe wood

Known on the mainland as mesquite, kiawe lends a nice smoky flavor and aroma to the lau lau when steaming it over an open fire.

This can be sourced by foraging around the island or from a local firewood business like Kiawe Hawaii.

Kiawe wood
Kiawe wood


You will need long prep tables, scissors, large steamer pots, cinder blocks (I’ll get to those in a minute), heavy heat-proof gloves and a refrigerator full of beer (to keep you entertained while the lau lau cooks). Tables and industrial sized pots can be purchased at a restaurant supply store like Chef Zone.

Stock pot with steamer insert
Stock pot with steamer insert
Steamer for lau lau
Heavy bottomed rondeau (or brazier) pot with steamer baskets (not pictured)

The big day

People started trickling into our host’s home around 8am. Coffee was offered, name tags were made, the breakfast buffet started coming together and mimosas were poured.

hawaiian lau lau

Around 9am my friend’s husband who co-hosts the party, Lau Lau Luna (luna is Hawaiian for boss), made a lovely toast to the occasion, honoring loved ones that were no longer with us and telling us the story of how he started this annual tradition over twenty years ago.

Breakfast buffet

After diving into a spread of fresh fruit harvested from the backyard, home-made pastries, banana bread, frittatas and quiches, we filed out into the garage to start wrapping lau lau.

The table of ingredients was set up assembly line style, but the process in which we prepared each lau lau was not. Each person was responsible for seeing their lau lau all the way through, beginning to end.

lau lau prep
the lau lau prep station

How to build a lau lau

The first thing you do is start with a pile of taro leaves stacked up in one hand. The number of leaves will depend on how big they are. You will want to fan them out and layer them, so that they make a spiral and create a base big enough to enclose a large handful of pork and fish.

step 1
Step 1 – Stack several taro leaves in one hand

Next you go down the line, adding first about 4 or 5 pieces of pork (again, depending on the size), 1-2 pieces of fish, a small handful of taro stems and a liberal sprinkling of sea salt.

Step 2
Step 2 – Add the pork
Step 3
Step 3 – Add fish, taro stems and salt

Finally, you wrap the whole bundle in ti leaves. You will need two leaves for this. Apparently, there are a couple of different ways you can do this, but here is how we wrapped ours….

Step 4
Step 4 – Wrap and tie the bundle in two ti leaves

First, lay one ti leaf on the table and place your bundle on top of the leaf, at the very top. Roll the bundle up in the leaf until you get almost to the bottom and stop. Lay a second ti leaf on the table, place the bundle on top turning it, so that the open ends are facing the length of the second ti leaf, roll it up until you get almost to the bottom of the leaf and stop. Take the split stems from the first leaf that are now sticking out, and tie a double knot around the pouch.

tying lau lau
tying lau lau

Secure it again, by then tying it with the split stems from the second leaf.

lau lau
Boss lady (a.k.a. Luna lady)

lau lau

lau lau

Here is a demo, from the Lau Lau Luna, on how to do this…

While the majority of the party is in the garage wrapping lau lau, two fires were being built in the yard to create two make-shift wood burning stoves, made out of cinder blocks and grill grates.

Fire for lau lau
Fires are built for the wood burning stoves while the lau lau are being prepped.

hawaiian lau lau

hawaiian lau lau
The steamer pots are filled approximately 4 inches high with water and brought to a boil.

When the lau lau were ready, we brought them out to the yard in large coolers and laundry baskets.

lau lau ready to be steamed
lau lau ready to be steamed

Lau Lau Luna and his sous chef, Luna Jr. were in charge of the cooking process. (They wore aprons with their titles sewn into them so we knew who was who.)

Boss man
Boss man (a.k.a. Lau Lau Luna)
Luna Jr.
…and his sous chef, Luna Jr.

Junior carefully stacked each lau lau tightly into two industrial sized pots with steamer baskets counting each one as he went. The pots needed to come to a full boil before the lau lau could be added. Once in, the pots were covered with lids and then weighed down with cinder blocks to keep steam from escaping. A timer was then set for exactly 3 ½ hours.

cooking lau lau
Luna Jr. stacks the lau lau tightly into the steamer pots

lau lau

hawaiian lau lau

Now that the lau lau was on and most of the work was complete we had time to hang out,  talk story (as the Hawaiians say) and drink beer. Yay!

hawaiian lau lau

hawaiian lau lau

As the day went on, more side dishes were delivered and prepared. By the time the 3 ½ hours was up we had ourselves a proper luau buffet, complete with chicken long rice, poke, potato-mac salad, poi, fried rice and musubi, along with some other tasty non-traditional salads and a couple of desserts.

It almost brought tears to my eyes when Lau Lau Luna offered me one of the first lau lau to come out of the pot. I grabbed a pair of chopsticks and dove in, tasting the first bite unadulterated before adding a splash of Hawaiian chile water on top. It was heavenly.

lau lau

lau lau

lau lau

The taro leaves cooked down and had a reminiscent flavor and texture of canned spinach, that reminded me of my childhood. The fatty pork and fish were tender, juicy and unctuous.

The flavor combination is addictive, and that chile water cuts the fattiness just enough to completely balance them out. It was like snuggling up with a warm fuzzy blanket on a cold day. Something we don’t do often in Hawaii,  but you get the idea.

proper luau plate
From left to right – Chinese long rice, poi, potato-mac salad, marlin poke, coleslaw and lau lau.

At the end of the event styrofoam boxes were spread out and guests were loaded up with the fruits of their labor to bring home with them. Photos were posted on Instagram and high fives, kisses on the cheek and hugs were given all around.

lau lau to-go
At the end of the day lau lau was packed up to-go for all guests

I was honored and humbled to not only have been so lucky enough to enjoy this feast, but to be accepted into the gathering and appreciated for my efforts as well. It was an experience of true aloha that I will always cherish.

Mahalo nui loa to everyone that was involved.

Especially our hosts, Lau Lau Luna and Luna lady…

Traditional Hawaiian Lau Lau

We made over 200 lau lau at our party. As I don't expect everyone will need that sort of volume I have scaled the recipe down to a more moderate size for a group of a dozen or so people. 

Cuisine Hawaiian
Servings 55 each


  • 110 each Ti leaves de-boned
  • 5 lbs Taro leaves Stems removed, cut into 1 inch pieces and reserved
  • 1 cup Hawaiian Alaea sea salt course
  • 10 lbs Pork shoulder boneless, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 4 lbs Salmon and/or black cod diced into 1 inch pieces
  • Kiawe wood Chopped to build a fire


See method described above.







Pozole Rojo

Pozole rojo
Pozole rojo
Pozole Rojo (Mexican pork and hominy stew with red chiles)

Pozole Rojo is one of those dishes that conjers up fond memories for me.

Working my way up through the ranks in the restaurant industry I learned a lot about various cuisines and how to cook them authentically. I cooked under some of the best Chefs in the bay area.

But as much as I enjoyed learning from these Chefs I learned just as much from my fellow cooks.

One of the most memorable meals I learned to make was not on the menu of any of the places I worked.

It was a dish that was made for staff meal one day.

In professional kitchens in San Francisco, and in a large portion of America, the staff is mostly made up of Latinos. For me, the times I really got to see these guys shine and show off their cooking chops was not during service but during those staff meals.

You might find a few cooks huddled around a blender or crouched down in a corner with a pot of meat and a bag of tortillas. Smiles on their faces generating sounds of laughter.

It was when they were cooking, sharing and enjoying the foods they grew up on that I saw them the happiest.

I was lucky because I was a part of that crew in the corner, dishing up tacos at eleven at night, after a long service. A skinny young white girl and a handful of Latino line cooks. I talked to them in my best spanglish and they talked back in their best broken english. But when it came to the food, there was no translation needed.

They were proud of that food. And I felt fortunate to learn how to cook it from them, instead of from a cookbook.

That most memorable meal, for me, was the first time a cook from Mexico taught me how to make pozole. Pozole is a stew made with slow cooked meat (usually chicken or pork), chiles and hominy.

He taught me how to make pozole rojo (red) and although there are 3 types of pozole – red, green and white, I always make red to this day.

It was a big deal the day we decided to make pozole. The anticipation in the kitchen was so strong, cooks could hardly focus on setting up their stations.

We came into work early, cut up large chunks of pork from every area of the pig, even from the head (which is the best part for this stew). We soaked dried chiles and blended them with whole cloves of garlic and their soaking liquid and then braised the pork in that liquid.

The pork simmered all day long until the meat fell from the bones and the fat and cartilage became one with the broth.

We added cooked hominy to the stew and prepared a large tray of chopped fresh vegetables which would be used later for garnish.

All lined up with soup bowls, we took turns filling them with the hot pork and hominy stew. They were all eager to show me how to sprinkle dried oregano, chopped onion, cabbage and radish on top of my portion along with a handful of tortilla chips for dipping.

I had never experienced Mexican Food like this before. The flavors were deep and rich and the broth was so fortified with gelatin from the pork that it stuck to my lips. It was pure bliss.

What made it even more special was that, for once, there were no conflicts, complaints or negative attitudes for an entire shift. Virtually unheard of in a restaurant kitchen. It wasn’t staff meal that day, it was family meal.

I later found out that pozole is a celebratory dish. Looking back now, it explains all the excitement that it stirred up that day. This was a special occasion meal.

I’ll never forget how that dish brought us all together.

It is hands down my favorite Mexican dish to this day.

Pozole Rojo

These days I often make this dish in a crock pot. Since it takes all day to cook, a crock pot makes it more accessible when you have to work during the day. I use pork shoulder in this recipe but you can also use ribs, trotters or any part of the head if you are lucky enough to have access to that.
Cuisine Dairy free, Gluten free
Servings 3 Quarts



  • 2 cups Water
  • 1/2 ounce Dried Guajillo Chiles (about 2 each), de-seeded, stems removed
  • 1 ounce Dried Ancho Chiles (about 2 each), de-seeded, stems removed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 pounds Pork shoulder cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 each Yellow onion large dice
  • 1 quart Chicken stock
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin ground
  • TT Salt & Pepper
  • 1 (25 oz.) can Hominy (drained and rinsed)


  • 1/2 head Green Cabbage shredded
  • 1 bunch Radishes sliced
  • 2 each Avocados sliced
  • 2 each Limes cut into wedges
  • 1/2 each Yellow onion diced
  • 1 bunch Cilantro roughly chopped
  • 1/2 bag Tortilla Chips


  1. Bring the 2 cups water to a boil. Place the chiles and garlic in a bowl, pour the boiling water over them, cover the bowl and let it sit 20 minutes.
  2. While the chiles are softening place the pork shoulder, yellow onion, chicken stock, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper in a crock pot and turn it on low.
  3. Place the soaked chiles, garlic and water in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour the mixture into the crock pot, give it a stir, cover and let cook 8 hours.
  4. Add the hominy to the crock pot and let cook 15 minutes more.
  5. Taste the stew to check for seasonings. Ladle it into bowls and top with garnishes to serve.


Simple Oven Roasted Chicken


One of the most satisfying and simplest things to cook, hands down, is an oven roasted chicken.

It doesn’t make a big mess, all you need is one pan, some seasoning and maybe a lemon or some fresh herbs, and even those are optional.

What I also love about a simple roasted chicken is how impressive it looks when you present it right out of the oven. People will think you are an amazing cook, when all you really did was make sure you didn’t burn the damn thing.

If you are thinking you can never do this, believe me you can. The recipe below is the most basic version of an oven roasted chicken that I can offer you. Feel free to embellish it.

My intention with this recipe is to present you with something you can make any night of the week and have it be your easy “go to”.

But I don’t know how to carve a chicken you say? So what? Fake it. And don’t forget to save the bones to make a nourishing chicken stock with afterward.

I highly recommend making your life easier by buying a basic meat thermometer. It takes all of the guess work out of knowing whether your bird is cooked through or not. And they’re like five bucks so you really don’t have any excuse.

Simple Oven Roasted Chicken

This recipe is so easy anyone can do it. I use salt and pepper here but, if you have a favorite spice blend, you can use that instead. Bust out a bunch of condiments and play around with whatever tastes good to you on your chicken. Or you can be a purest like me and just squeeze a little fresh lemon over the top.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 4 people


  • 1 each Whole chicken roughly 5 pounds
  • 2 tsp Sea salt
  • 1 tsp Black pepper ground


  • 1/2 each Lemon


  1. Pre-heat oven 425 degrees.
  2. While your oven is pre-heating. Place your whole chicken on a rack sitting on top of a sheet pan. Pat it dry all over with paper towels.
  3. Season the chicken evenly on both sides with salt and pepper.
  4. Let sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  5. Place the chicken (still on the rack and pan combo) in the oven and roast about 1 hour, 15 minutes to 1 hour, 30 minutes. Check on it after an hour to make sure the skin is not starting to get too dark. If it is, place a piece of foil loosely on top of the chicken and continue to cook covered.
  6. When the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees take it out of the oven and let it rest at room temperature for at least 10 minutes.
  7. Cut off chunks to serve and squeeze fresh lemon juice over the top if desired.
  8. Optionally, you can get all fancy and carve your chicken. Watch the video below if you would like instructions on how to do so.

Recipe Notes

Watch the infamous Jacques Pepin carve an oven roasted chicken here. You won't believe how easy it is!

Pot roast with root vegetables

pot roast

pot roast

Pot roast is more of a braise then a roast but rather than split hairs here lets focus on how incredibly delicious and rewarding this dish can be. Most braises will take you all day, and you could go that route with this recipe too if you wanted to, but for today lets go with a 3 hour braise. Long enough to break down the meat’s connective tissue and tendons creating that gelatinous silky mouthfeel but short enough where you could still knock out dinner in an evening.

Health bennies – Good for your soul.


Pot roast with root vegetables

**Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
Servings 4


  • 2 lbs Beef chuck boneless, cut into 2 in. by 2 in. pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons Grapeseed oil (or other high heat oil)
  • S&P
  • 6 Shallots whole, peeled
  • 2 ribs Celery large dice
  • 1/2 bulb Fennel large dice (save fennel fronds for garnish)
  • 3 cloves Garlic smashed
  • 1/2 bunch Thyme leaves only
  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup Red wine
  • 1 quart Beef Stock
  • 1 cup Tomato puree
  • 3 Turnips peeled, cut into wedges
  • 1 bunch Baby Carrots greens removed
  • 1/4 bunch Parsley chopped
  • 1 bunch Chard optional side dish


  1. Pre-heat oven 350 degrees.
  2. Season the beef with S&P on all sides. Heat a heavy bottom pot (dutch oven preferably) on high heat with the grapeseed oil.
    pot roast prep
  3. Sear the beef on all sides in 2 batches. Takes about 10 minutes total.
  4. Remove the beef from the pot and set aside.
    seared beef chuck
  5. Lower the heat to medium, add more grapeseed oil if needed and add the shallot, celery and fennel to the pot. Saute for 1 minute. Add the garlic, thyme and tomato paste and sauté 1 more minute.
    sautéed veg
  6. Deglaze with red wine, stirring with a wooden spoon to release any bits and pieces stuck to the bottom of the pot. Reduce the wine on high heat until almost gone.
  7. Add the beef back into the pot with the stock and tomato puree. Bring to a simmer, cover and place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours.
  8. Add the baby carrots and the turnips to the pot, recover, place back in the oven and cook 30 minutes more until tender.
  9. Remove the pot from the oven, remove the lid and let the meat rest in the sauce for 15 minutes. Add the chopped parsley and any chopped fennel fronds you have on hand. Give it a stir and serve. Serve with sautéed chard on the side if desired.

Recipe Notes

Need Grapeseed oil?  Try this!


Mexican style steak salad

mexican steak salad

mexican steak salad

Hola! This is one of my favorite salads to make for dinner on a warm night. All you have to do is grill or sear up a steak, wack up some veggies and toss it all together and you have a quick, delicious and healthy meal. Muy rica! I like mine a little spicy so I add thinly sliced jalapeños, you can omit those if you don’t want the heat. I also usually cook up some dried beans for this too but if you don’t have the time canned beans work perfect. Just make sure you rinse them well first.


Mexican style steak salad

**Use organic ingredients whenever possible.
Servings 2 entree salad


  • 1 each 12 oz. Grassfed Ribeye steak seasoned with S&P, dried oregano & granulated garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Grapeseed oil or other high heat oil
  • 1 large handful of Romaine lettuce chopped
  • 1 large handful of Green cabbage sliced thin
  • 1 each Scallion sliced thin
  • 2 each Radishes sliced thin
  • 6 Black Cerignola olives or any other type of black olive you can find
  • 4 Tablespoons Queso Fresco , crumbled Feta works really well here too
  • 1/2 each Jalapeño sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup Canned Black beans rinsed (or 1/4 cup dried beans, soaked overnight and then simmered about an hour until tender)
  • 1 large handful Cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/4 bunch Cilantro chopped
  • 1 each Avocado sliced
  • 1 each Lime juiced
  • a good drizzle of EVOO
  • TT S&P
  • TT Granulated garlic & dried oregano


  1. - Get a grill or saute pan hot over high heat and add about a tablespoon of grapeseed oil

  2. - Sear the steak 2-3 minutes on each side (turn heat down to med-high if pan starts to get to hot and steak starts to burn) until medium-rare.
  3. - Remove steak from the pan and let rest on a cutting board for 5 minutes.
  4. - Toss the rest of the ingredients together in a large bowl and then separate the salad on to two plates.
  5. - Thinly slice the steak and put half on each salad.

Recipe Notes

Need Grapeseed oil? Try this!
Need Black Cerignola olives? Try this!
Need Queso Fresco? Try this!


Miso Ramen with Pork, Soft-Cooked Egg and Kimchee

miso ramen

miso ramen

Ramen has been one of my favorite comfort foods since I was a kid. I practically lived off the 45 cent packs of supermarket ramen when I moved out and went to college. These days authentic ramen shops are everywhere to be found and deliver edible works of art. I like to max out the health benefits in my ramen when I make it at home. As you can see here I use a miso-kombu broth and add my home-made kimchee making this dish a digestion powerhouse.

Health bennies:

Kombu – Detoxifying, good source of trace minerals, helps with digestion, improves blood circulation, balances alkaline and acids in the body.

Miso – due to the fermentation process it enhances your body’s ability to extract nutrients from food and increases probiotics which improves the  digestive system and strengthens the immune system. Contains vitamins B2, E and K. Contains calcium, iron, potassium, choline and lecithin. High fiber and complete protein, high in polyunsaturated fats, high in antioxidants. Add it to your foods at the very end so you don’t cook out the probiotics.

Bonito Flakes – Made from skipjack tuna which has been dried, fermented and smoked has all of the benefits that miso has. High in probiotics, vitamins, minerals and protein.

Kimchee – Because of the fermentation process kimchee also has many of the same benefits that miso does, like containing probiotics and strengthening the immune system. High in vitamins A, B and C, fiber, antioxidants and essential amino acids. Low calorie.


Miso ramen with pork, soft-cooked egg and kimchee

*Please note this recipe is a 2-3 day process.
Servings 4



  • 2 quarts Water
  • Pork bones whatever you can get from your butcher or use a couple pork ribs
  • 1 each Yellow onion large dice
  • 1 in. piece Ginger smashed
  • 4 cloves Garlic smashed
  • Shiitake stems leftover
  • 2 sheets Kombu
  • 1 cup Bonito flakes
  • 3 Tablespoons organic Miso Paste white


  • 1 lb piece of Boneless pork shoulder
  • 2 Eggs
  • 14 each Shiitake mushrooms sliced thin
  • 2 each Scallions sliced thin
  • 3 each Radishes sliced thin
  • 1 package Mung bean sprouts
  • 9.5 oz.  Ramen noodles
  • As needed Chili oil
  • As needed Shichimi togarashi
  • 1 cup Kimchee home-made or store bought (make sure it doesn't contain preservatives)


Day 1 -

For the broth:

  1. - Place the water, pork bones, yellow onion, ginger, garlic, shiitake stems  and kombu in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook 1 hour.
  2. - Add the bonito flakes and simmer another 5 minutes.
  3. - Turn off heat and whisk in the miso paste until fully incorporated. Strain, cool and refrigerate until the next day.

For the pork:

  1. - Season pork both sides with salt and pepper, roll up tightly into a log and secure with butchers twine so that you have a cylinder. Refrigerate over night. (If the pork shoulder is too thick to roll, butterfly it open with a knife so that you have a longer thinner piece of meat to work with.

Day 2 -

For the pork:

  1. - Sear the pork in a hot pan with canola oil until brown on all sides. Place in a crock pot with the broth and cook on low for 6 hours. (If you do not have a crock pot you can do this stove top in a covered pot over low heat.) You want the pork to be tender but not falling apart.
  2. - Remove pork from the broth and cool. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap, making a couple of punctures in the plastic to let any residual heat out and chill until you are ready to use it. (This can be done overnight if you wish.)

For the eggs:

  1. - Place the eggs in a small pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and then remove from the heat and cover for 3 minutes. Remove eggs from the water and let cool enough to handle.  Remove the shell and slice the eggs in half lengthwise.

Recipe Notes

Need Kombu? Try this!
Need Bonito flakes? Try this!
Need Miso Paste, white? Try this!
Need Ramen noodles? Try this!
Need Shichimi togarashi? Try this!
Need store bought?  Try this!