The holidays are all about family and delicious comida. Today I chatted with Chef Ema Quevedo to get us some great cooking tips for this holiday season.
Do you have a yummy twist for our typical Thanksgiving turkey recipe?
Ema Quevedo: I love to play around with the stuffing. One of my favorites is an Apple Pecan stuffing. It is so easy and quick to make. You simply have to melt all ingredients in a skillet over Country Crock® and their tastes blend beautifully. There are so many different versions of stuffing to choose from. You can be really creative. There are other delicious ideas on www.vivemejor.com.
Personally I am the eater in the family and my mother and aunts are the cookers. What’s an easy-to-do dish that “non-cookers” can donate to a dinner party?
Ema Quevedo: A delicious and real simple recipe to prepare for all those out there who don’t really enjoy cooking is a Roasted Eggplant dip. You simply roast your eggplants, place them in a food processor, add some lemon juice and Knorr® Cilantro Minicubes and you’re all set! Everyone will love this dip. It’s the perfect dish to take to any dinner party.
ROASTED EGGPLANT DIP
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 2 medium eggplants, peeled and diced
• 2 Knorr® Garlic MiniCubes, crumbled
• 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
• 1 Knorr® Cilantro MiniCube , crumbled
1. Preheat oven to 450°.
2. Arrange eggplant on an aluminum-foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over eggplant, then sprinkle with Knorr® Garlic MiniCubes; toss to coat. Roast for 30 minutes or until eggplant is very tender, stirring once.
3. Process eggplant with remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Serve with your favorite vegetable dippers or tortilla chips.
Can you share your favorite traditional holiday recipe?
Ema Quevedo: My family is Mexican, so we definitely include a lot of traditional foods like tamales. We all get together to help prepare them. Some of us fill the tamal while others wrap them up. It’s a must on our family menu. Plus, it’s quick and easy to prepare.
Can you share a recipe for yummy holiday leftovers?
Ema Quevedo: Absolutely! You can always go for the traditional left-over turkey sandwich, but if you want to spice things up a bit, you can try turkey wraps with chipotle mayo. You combine a couple of chipotle peppers, a green onion, lime juice and Hellmann’s® Mayonnaise. Add the turkey, cucumber, tomato and lettuce and wrap it up!
• 3 Tbsp. Hellmann’s® or Best Foods® Light Mayonnaise
• 1 green onion, finely chopped
• 1 Tbsp. chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
• 1 tsp. lime juice
Combine Hellmann’s® or Best Foods® Light Mayonnaise, green onion, chipotle peppers and lime juice in small bowl.
The holidays bring large crowds to our homes, any tips on cooking a large meal on a budget?
Ema Quevedo: As long as you have the basics: garlic, cilantro, onions, salt and pepper, I think you can make any dish flavorful without breaking your wallet. Sometimes recipes call for lots of ingredients, but you can always use a recipe as a guide and add your own twist. Also, buying in advance helps. Buying your turkey early can help you save money by finding good deals plus, you get a chance to marinate it beforehand, guaranteeing it will be full of flavor!
Ema first fell in love with cooking as a child growing up in McAllen, Texas. The chef, originally from Mexico, watched her mother for hours as she prepared delicious homemade meals. As the years went by, her passion for cooking continued to grow. After graduating with a degree in photography and education, she moved to New York to work for a non-profit organization. Preparing meals at the soup kitchen, she realized something was still missing in her life. This is when she decided to head back to school and become a chef. She enrolled in the Institute of Culinary Education in New York where she received her diploma in culinary arts.
She continued to expand her creativity and skills in the culinary world as a chef in PRIMEHOUSE NEW YORK working with pastries and hot appetizers. She then went on to work at Kibo as the pastry chef and most recently as the pastry chef at the Atlantic Grill. Today, Ema is the consultant for Unilever Kitchens. With her Latin background and culinary knowledge, she develops mouthwatering recipes with a Latin kick. Her formal and informal training in the kitchen are the key ingredients that have created the perfect recipe for creating elegant and authentic dishes.
In New York, Ema enjoys running through Central Park on her free time. She also enjoys exploring and discovering new restaurants in the city.