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You are viewing blog entries tagged cookingdiva.

La Receta del Dia: Keki de Coco y Miel (de Panama) edit

...Bueno, bueno...ha llegado la hora en que finalmente les presento una receta que me piden muy a menudo mis lectores: "Keki de coco y Miel", muy similar al que tradicionalmente se vende en las panaderias y dulcerias de Panama (...quizas hasta mejor!). Todos (o casi todos) los que hemos tenido la dicha de vivir en este hermoso pais, tenemos memorias de cuando hemos devorado una de estas galletas con sabor profundo a miel de caña, señorial, maravilloso. Y del coco, que les digo: tostado es mejor por su aroma y sabor tropical...hmmm, que tiene matrimonio perfecto con el jengibre fresco, para no olvidar lo picoso.

El asunto es que de buscar y buscar me canse entre mis recetas. De preguntar a mis amigos y familia...a todo el mundo, quede exhausta tambien, triste, pues nadie me supo dar una tradicional receta para keki, keke, quequi, kequi, Queki...o como lo gusten llamar. Por lo que como toda una inventora, creativa de la cocina...me dispuse HOY a preparar Keki!

Entonces...sin mas preambulo, aqui les va:


Rinde: 18 galletas

8 onzas (1/2 libra) de mantequilla sin sal

1 taza de azucar

4 huevos grandes

16 onzas de harina (1 libra)

2 cucharaditas de polvo de hornear

1 cucharadita de canela molida

1 cucharadita de clavito de olor molido

1 pizca de sal

1 taza (8 onzas) de miel de caña (unsulphured molasses)

1 cucharadita de ralladura de jengibre fresco

1 taza y 1/2 de coco rallado seco, tostado


1. Batir la mantequilla con el azucar hasta que este cremoso. Incorporar los huevos uno a uno, batiendo bien despues de cada adicion.

2. Cernir la harina, polvo de hornear, sal, canela en polvo y clavito molido. Agregar poco a poco a la mezcla alternando con la miel de caña o molasses, batiendo bien despues de cada adicion.

3. Incorporar la ralladura de jengibre y el coco seco tostado. Batir hasta que este bien mezclado. Dejar enfriar en el congelador por 20 minutos.

4. Pre-calentar el horno a 350 por 10 minutos por lo menos.

5. Engrasar 2 bandejas (cookie sheets) con aceite en spray y retirar la masa de los kekis del congelador.

6. Con una cuchara grande o una cuchara para servir helados, sacar porciones de la masa de keki y poner en las bandejas bien separadas. Yo diria que unas 6 por bandeja.

7. Hornear por 15 minutos o hasta que los bordes esten doraditos (hay que estar muy pendientes). Remover del horno enseguida y dejar refrescar en la bandeja por 5 minutos. Luego, remover de la bandeja y colocar en una parrilla para terminar de enfriar por completo.

Chef M

  • by Chef Melissa
  • February 04, 2005
  • 7:07 pm

La Receta del Dia: Flan de Coco y Chocolate edit

Read the -Got Cacao?- story at TastyDesign!

Today I will share with you one of my favorite desserts: Flan. But, I have to tell you this is not -just a flan-, this is THE FLAN, ladies and gentlemen: get your taste buds ready to experience this unforgettable and delicious beauty.

Flan is a traditional Latin American custard type of dessert, in every country you will find variations. In Panama we have the traditional one, the flan with cheese and the coconut flan. Didn`t find a coconut-chocolate flan, so...why not design one! Enjoy this recipe and bring a little of the tropics to your kitchen at the same time smile You won`t regret it.



3/4 cup white fine sugar

1 can condensed milk (397 g)

3 large eggs

1-1/2 cups evaporated milk

1-1/2 cups water

1 cup dry coconut

2 tablespoons cocoa powder


1. Pre-heat the oven to 350º F.

2. Make the caramel melting the sugar, medium heat, without stirring. Cover evenly the bottom of your baking dish.

3. Beat the eggs, chocolate, condensed milk, evaporated milk an water until well combined. Add coconut and stir well.

4. Carefully pour mixture evenly into the baking dish or individual ramekins.

5. Place the baking dish or individual ramekins on a larger baking pan and put in the oven. Once in the oven, add carefully hot water to the large baking pan until it reaches approx. 1 inch. This is called -Baño Maria-. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes if you are baking it in just 1 large dish, OR bake for 45 minutes approx. if you are using small ramekins. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

6. Store in the fridge and unmold (use a knife to separate the edges) just before serving them.


Chef M

P.S. Do not forget read the -Got Cacao?- story at TastyDesign!

  • by Chef Melissa
  • February 13, 2005
  • 2:26 pm

La Receta del Dia: CEVICHE DE PESCADO, Panamanian style edit

This is a traditional summer appetizer and party food in Panama. We have such an abundance of marvelous superfresh fish, seafood, vegetables, fruits, and the always growing tendency of -fusion cuisine- finds interesting ways to transform this traditional, all time-favorite dish into a delicate or adventurous trip to the tropics. Welcome to my kitchen, my cyber friends. smile

The one recipe I am presenting today is the traditional, well loved -ceviche de corvina.  D
uring the following days I will share with you variations and new ways to prepare and dress up this delicious ceviche.

Corvina is one of our most common and highly rated fish for the quality of the meat, its white color and texture.

It is delicious just grilled with lime juice, served with some patacones (plantain chips)---hmmm, or arroz con coco (coconut rice), or arroz con porotos (beans and rice).

When you prepare ceviche, it is the lime (or lemon juice) that "cooks" the fish.

We are very proud of our internationally famous method of serving fish
tidbits. A mixed assortment can include squid, octopus, scallops, clams,
lobster, crab as well as longorones, a black shellfish similar to scallops. You can use what you have available or what you like the most...,
what insures a variety of textures and flavors.
Now the recipe:

Ceviche de Pescado

2 pounds FRESH white-fleshed skinless fish fillets such as seabass, sole,
cod, or corvina
1 cup fresh lime juice (about 12 limes)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 small clove garlic, chopped very fine
1 or 2 fresh aji chombo (Habanero pepper), seeded and chopped fine
1/4 cup celery stalks, diced
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
1 medium red onion, chopped fine (1/2 cup)
6 romain lettuce leaves (1 for each plate)
cherry tomatoes (optional)


1. Cut the fish into cubes 1/4 by 1/4 inches.
2. Soak the fish cubes in lightly salted water for 1 hour to tenderize. Drain well.
3. Put the fish in a bowl and fold in the lime juice carefully. Add the salt, garlic, aji chombo, cilantro, onion, celery and refrigerate for 24 hours.
4. To serve, line a bowl or large platter with the lettuce. Place the ceviche in the center and garnish with the cherry tomatoes, if using.

Serves 6

  • by Chef Melissa
  • March 13, 2005
  • 10:09 pm

La Receta del Dia: Mel`s Rum & Chocolate Cream edit

Si, es muy facil preparar sus propios licores...que tal una deliciosa crema de chocolate con ron de Panama al estilo de la Chef M?

La gran variedad de peculiares sabores disponibles en los licores, especialmente en los caseros, los hace que sean la seleccion predilecta en las fiestas y reuniones por ser unicos y festivos.

Algunos pueden ser muy costosos, por lo que prepararlos puede ser una solucion muy entretenida y deliciosa smile

Otros licores pueden tomar de uno a seis meses para madurar los sabores..., a diferencia de la receta que compartimos hoy con Uds., que esta listo para consumirse una vez terminada la preparacion y enfriado.

...que esperan, a cocinar!


  • 3 huevos (frescos, lavados con agua y jabon y sin rajaduras)
  • 2 cucharadas de sirope de chocolate
  • 1-1/2 cucharadita de extracto de almendras o vainilla
  • 1 lata de 14 onzas de leche condensada azucarada
  • 2 tazas de crema de leche (crema para batir)
  • 1-1/2 tazas de ron oscuro (preferiblemente de 5-7 años)


Colocar todos los ingredientes en la licuadora y procesar por 1 minuto hasta que este bien mezclado. Si lo de sea puede envasarlo en botellas decorativas y enfriar. Servir frio.

Que disfruten! Chef M/

  • by Chef Melissa
  • April 24, 2005
  • 8:31 pm

La Receta del Dia: Cake de Yuca al Chocolate y Coco (Mandioca-Chocolate and coconut cake with Vanill edit

Yuc You might know about this root by a different name. Does "mandioca", "cassava", "manioc" or "yuca" sound familiar? The root, very starchy food by all means, was used in the past as a starch for ironing at the Chinese dry cleaners in Panama City, Republic of Panama.

I also remember a home-made glue made from "almidon de yuca", or "cassava starch"....Thank God it was not toxic, because, ...to tell you the truth: I ATE it many times.

If by now it hasn't crossed your mind, well I have to confess one more thing: Yes, I was the one that always TASTED everything at the "chemistry lab", ...the one who preferred to burn her tongue, instead of saying "NO!" to the possibility of enjoying ONE more tasty earthly delicacy. Or, who knows -- those chemistry lab "things" -- where they came from smile

In Latin America "yuca" is dear to our heart,...because it is used to make delicious soups, breads, cookies and cakes, among other yummy things. My last scrumptious recipe using yuca was "Yuca Croquettes with Chorizo and Tamarind Sauce", and now it is time to share with you this fantastically exotic recipe to make "Cake de Yuca al Chocolate y Coco", or Mandioca-Chocolate cake with coconut milk. Once you try it , it will have secured a very special place in your recipe drawer. I Promise it!

yuca cassava mandioca tapioca recipe receta chef melissa panama cookbook recetario panamagourmet cooking diva cooking diva personal chef uspca uspci chocolate personal chef melissa de leon douglass restaurant restaurante
  • by Chef Melissa
  • November 19, 2005
  • 8:00 am

La Receta del Dia: Camarones al Ajillo (Shrimp in Garlic Sauce, Panamanian Style) edit

Aj_2 Today's QUESTION: "Why is True Love like STRANSKY Steel Ware? Visit Tasty Design to know the answer!

Now, lets talk garlic:

The use of garlic is just about as old as man himself. And the herb's medicinal properties have been known for about as long. Immigrants in the early part of the past century, and our ancestors from pioneer stock, where quite happy to eat a clove or two of garlic whenever they needed an energy boost or simply to fight off a cold.

If you look through the ancient stories from just about any part of the world, you will find garlic mentioned as a curative and tonic, able to help solve minor medical conditions and a few major ones as well.

Without doubt, garlic helps digestion and elimination. Country after country, story after story all relate to garlic's ability to soothe the stomach and cleanse the system. How else do you explain the same stories cropping up in Spain, in India, in Egypt, in Iceland, everywhere there are written records? These stories did not travel from one geographic region to another. Each was created in the country of origin, and was based on the simple, empirical fact that when you give people garlic they generally get better!

If you are a garlic lover like me, do not miss my previous post and recipe: "The Joy of Garlic: Olive Roasted Head of Garlic". Besides keeping you all healthy, you will keep vampires and mosquitos away. That comes really handy sometimes!

Now, the scrumptious recipe to prepare "Camarones al Ajillo, Panamanian Style!"


ajo ajos garlic recipe recipes receta panama cookingdiva chef melissa delicious gourmet personal panamagourmet
  • by Chef Melissa
  • November 25, 2005
  • 6:31 pm

Arrollado de Chocolate y Mango edit

6_2 Rinde 10-12 porciones

Ingredientes para el cake:

  • 6      claras de huevo
  • 6      yemas de huevo
  • 3/4  taza de azúcar
  • 1      cucharada de miel de abejas
  • 1      cucharada de café fuerte
  • 1      taza de harina, todo propósito
  • 1      cucharada de polvo de hornear
  • 2      cucharadas de cocoa en polvo


2_10 Pre-calentar el horno a 400 ° F por 10 minutos. Engrasar con aceite en spray (o mantequilla) una bandeja para hornear galletas (cookie sheet) de 30x40 cm. Forrar la bandeja con papel encerado y engrasar ligeramente nuevamente.

Separar los huevos y batir las claras a punto nieve.

En otro recipiente, batir las yemas con la miel de abejas y el azúcar hasta que el volumen se haya doblado y adquiera un color pálido. Agregar la cucharada de café y mezclar. Con mucho cuidado incorporar esta mezcla a las claras de huevo batidas a punto nieve.

Combinar los ingredientes secos (harina, polvo de hornear y chocolate en polvo). Con la ayuda de un colador seco y fino, cernir estos ingredientes sobre la mezcla de huevos. Envolver solamente hasta que la harina desaparezca. Es importante que en este punto no se bata demasiado, pues la mezcla   perderá volumen y el arrollado no quedará esponjoso. Verter la mezcla en la bandeja preparada y hornear por 10 minutos solamente. Remover del horno y dejar enfriar.

receta recetas recipe recipes panama gourmet panamagourmet chef melissa de leon douglass academia artes culinarias chef elena hernandez charlie collins panamagourmet cooking diva cookingdiva mango mangos mangoes tropical fruta frutas fruit fruits
  • by Chef Melissa
  • February 07, 2006
  • 10:21 am

Panama: Feria Nacional de Artesanias (2 Videos) edit

Dsc02735_1 Dearest friends and readers, I am leaving you now with two of my recent amateur videos. They are from the "Feria Nacional de Artesanias," and were taken yesterday. The first video is a folkloric Panamanian dance with a tasty Afro-Caribbean beat and a kind of tasty movements that we all have inherited from our ancestors. The performers were high school kids, as part of a cultural program to rescue our  traditions.

The second video is an interview with the only Panamanian wine makers: Vinos Tropicales, based in the Chiriqui province. Their raspberry dessert wine won the gold medal at a 2003 international wine expo. The interview is in Spanish. Tomorrow I'll post more photos and anecdotes from this colorful event.

If you are in Panama right now, do not miss this great opportunity to visit this national talent showcase. I am greatly surprised, AND will do my best to go one more time before Sunday 10 PM.

A big hug!

Un abrazo!



Let's celebrate BlogDay2006! It is going to be a fantastic event, do not miss it. The deadline: August 31, 2006. Hurry up---get ready grin

Do not forget to Visit:

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  • by Chef Melissa
  • July 28, 2006
  • 9:24 pm

Greetings from Argentina! edit

Meat_1 I know, I know, I have been bad. I went on vacation and I didn't even mention where was I going, right?  The good part is that although you didn't know about this trip, the Wine Tour to Argentina and Uruguay, I have been gathering great information, photography and videos that you will just love. I'll keep you posted.

During my stay in Buenos Aires, I had the fantastic opportunity to meet SaltShaker, the only food and wine blogger in Buenos Aires I know. I have been following his blog since the beginning of the year, so it was a surprise when he talked about his travels to Uruguay and the reviews he made on the top wineries. Coincidentally I will be visiting most of them during this trip too. How exiting!

I will write more later about my meeting with Dan Perlman, the talented writer and chef behind SaltShaker. For now, I invite you to visit his blog and Casa SaltShaker's website (his restaurant) for great info, menus and fotos. If you are in the area, give him a call to schedule a visit...you won't regret it.

Have a delicious day!


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  • by Chef Melissa
  • October 07, 2006
  • 7:14 am

Still Kickin’ - Divine Wine from South America edit


The confession: The popping noise gives me goose bumps. I have always loved wine, but now The Enthusiast woke up and life would never be the same. Being passionate about the world of wine makes my mission in life to search and purchase wine to enjoy with family and friends. If this requires traveling the world, then so be it.

Nothing gets my juices going like a wine tour in the most exotic of places, wearing, of course a t-shirt that proclaims me as the "Wine Diva." Nevertheless I am not afraid any more to spit and criticize or swirl and admire as a wine demands.

Now, I am finally back home from the Wine Tour.

Dsc03346_1 I missed you very much, but have to admit the Wine Tour was an unique and espectacular opportunity to explore my beloved Argentina and Uruguay in a new way. Loved to argue over a chardonnay and found the romance of corks irresistible.

Andres Rosberg, a fine gentleman that happens to be the President of the Argentinian Association of Sommeliers, traveled with our small group trough the top vineyards of his country and Uruguay. Winery after winery, I lost track of how many wines we tasted, but I sure remember the places we visited:

First, Cafayate in the Salta province. There we stayed at the Cafayate Wine Resort.  We visited Bodega El Esteco, and later we went to Bodega Laborum and vineyard. We had lunch at the home of the Laborum owner, Marcelo Romero, who is the brother of the governor of the province.

Dsc03183 October 8 was the perfect day to visit the Domingo Hermanos Winery. It was sunny with a refreshing breeze that accompany us through our journey. Thirty minutes away was the San Pedro de Yacochuya winery waiting for us. The delicious lunch was as good as their wine.

Then, Mendoza. What an unique place. We stayed at the Park Hyatt Hotel, and to tell you the truth I could NOT resist the temptation to nurture my wine-loving body with one of their beauty treatments with wine. Oh my! It was quite sticky, but I loved every second of it. Ahhh...

Tomorrow I will write about the places we visited in Mendoza, including a great video featuring "the making of empanadas in a rustic oven made of mud." Stay Tuned!

Dsc03185 Now, I leave you with a link to Asado Argentina, a very nice blog on Argentinian Asado. They have an array of recipes and tips to cook the perfect asado and side dishes to accompany such a delicacy.

AND, if you are in the mood for some Argentinian Empanadas and Chimichurri Sauce, check out this scrumptious recipe. You WON'T regret it.

Have a tasty afternoon!


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  • by Chef Melissa
  • October 20, 2006
  • 12:09 pm



Recetas Deliciosas

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