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En la Cocina con Maria Barakat

By Jade Arroyo

Maria is a young chef who owns her own business, Elemental Catering, a farm-to-table catering company based on the slow food philosophy and using fresh and local ingredients. Maria works with local farmers and providers to create beautiful food for events, parties and small weddings. Her tasty menu features different types of dishes, from appetizers, main dishes, salads and side dishes to desserts. We could mention seared scallops, mini basil BLTs, traditional Lebanese mezza and lavender crème brûlée or mini cupcakes. Maria shared with Atención readers her recipe for goat cheese and herb-stuffed squash blossoms. This recipe is a warm appetizer perfect for the spring days and really practical because you can get the squash blossoms all year round; it is fresh, delicious and a nice option for vegetarians. Maria can be contacted at or through the Facebook page Elemental Catering.

Stuffed squash blossoms
(10 pieces)
10 clean squash blossoms
1 cup of goat cheese
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary, basil and Serrano chili
1 tablespoon of chives
1 lemon skin finely chopped
Oil for frying
1 cup of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 egg
Basil Aioli:
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1 cup oil


Clean the squash blossoms first, removing the pistil, and set aside. Blend the cheese with the herbs, chives and lemon peel. Stuff the squash blossoms with the cheese, dip into the batter and carefully fry in a pan with abundant hot oil. Turn the blossoms until browned on all sides and lay them on paper towels to drain the excess oil. Serve hot with basil aioli as a dip.

For the batter:

Mix all ingredients except the beer. Slowly add beer (any kind) and mix until the batter is the consistency of pancake batter.

Basil Aioli:

First, chop the garlic in a food processor. Then add one egg yolk and lemon juice. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in oil of your choice and process until emulsified. Add salt to taste and chopped fresh basil or pre-made pesto at the end.


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