Sunday, October 27, 2013

Halloween Slime



How to make Halloween Slime (for playing, not eating) 


  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup cornstartch
  • food coloring
Boil 2 cups water in a medium saucepan.  Add cornstarch while stirring. After that is mixed well, add food coloring and stir.  Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.  Make sure kids play with it on a plastic covered surface.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Spooky Guacamole with Carrot Fingers

Halloween Parties! What costume are you going to wear? We had small Halloween Cooking Party with parents and kids. We all had so much fun. Check out what they made!

Recipe for Spooky Guacamole with Carrot Fingers


For Guacamole:
  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 6 cherry tomatoes,  halved or 1 ripe tomato diced
  •  juice of ¼ of lime
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced (optional)
  • ¼ cup diced red onion (optional)
  • ¼ cup diced jalapeno (optional)
  • pinch of ground cumin (optional)
For carrot fingers:
  • 5 Carrots, (knobby ones work best)
  • a little bit of peanut butter 
  • 5 sliced almonds (for finger nails)

Guacamole: Combine all ingredients in pilon (mortar and pestle) or bowl. Mash until desired consistency is achieved.

Carrot fingers: Take 4 long carrots and 1 shorter one (cut off carrot tops), with a sharp paring knife, carve a location for the almond  to sit (finger nail). Using peanut butter as glue, fasten the sliced almond onto the carrot finger. Insert all five fingers into the guacamole like a hand rising out. Serve immediately or chilled if preferred.

Coqui the Chef's Halloween Cooking Party Photos

What do you think Chef Chris Ackerman afro?
What do you think about Tania Lopez cat ears?

Kids mashing the ingredients for the guacamole.
Chef Chris demonstrating how to slice the avocado
Mom helping out her boys cut and slice the ingredients for the guacamole

Family time is always important and fun

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fighting Hunger at the Food Network NYC Wine and Food Festival

From the desk of Tania Lopez (Creator of Coqui the Chef)

I volunteered for Food Network New York City Wine and Food Festival. It ran from October 17-20, 2013. It is the only Festival in New York to bring together both legendary culinary icons from around the globe and America’s most beloved television chefs.

New York City Festival benefits the hunger-relief programs of Food Bank For New York City and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry® campaign. Having raised over $6 million to date, 100% of the net proceeds from the Festival go directly to these community-based organizations. Eat. Drink. End Hunger.

I had such a great time volunteering on Oct 19 for the Grand Tasting book signing event for celebrity/author chefs. Several volunteers had different jobs, mine was to take photos of the celebrity chefs with their fans.  I loved it!! I was the only one authorized to take the photos so a lot of fans handed me their smart phone and cameras. It was such an amazing experience to be so close to Rachel Ray (she is so lovely), Martha Stewart (has strange personality), Masaharu Marimoto (always said "sushi" with every photo taken), and Rick Bayless (has a great smile).  It was nice to see how these chef celebrities treat their fans. Unfortunately, I was not able to take photos with my smart phone because part of the volunteer rules are that we cannot take photos with celebrities during our shift but I took a memorable one. 

Did you  know?
Volunteering is a great way to make friends, contacts, increases your social and relationship skills, providing you with career experience and valuable job skills.  Most of all it is good for your mental and physical health.  Volunteering increases your self-confidence and helps you stay physically healthy.

What I learned from volunteering?
Two years ago, I suffered from depression.  I refused to take medication because I knew in my heart there was a way out of it.  That is when I started my community work and volunteering.  Through volunteering, I learned that if you just give a little of yourself, you will get a lot in return.  It's simple and worth it!

My most memorable picture
Coqui the Chef is always looking for volunteers to help with the kitchen and with junior chefs. If you are interested and want to make your resume look AWESOME.
Fill out this long yet simple form

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Coqui the Chef's Junior Chefs Graduate

Coqui the Chef's junior chefs graduated from the nutrition and culinary workshop "Building Healthy Habits" on October 18.  Sadly, it was our last workshop for the year.  We are going to miss them.  It was quite an experience for our junior chefs as they learned how to slice, cut and combine flavors to make an awesome salsa, smoothie and delicious apple donuts made out of slices of real apple with real fruit toppings. Oh! How can we forget! We also taught them about musical instrument like the maracas, bongos and saxophone.  At the end to celebrate their accomplishment, they received a certificate of completion, booklet with fun healthy advice, recipes, chef's hat and apron.

We are working hard to generate funds for more workshops next year therefore we need your help. We are accepting donations, sponsors, angel investors and grants.  Will you help us? Share, post, tell people you know who would love to help Coqui the Chef keep the workshops sustainable for the kids in the South Bronx. Visit our donation page 

Take a look at their smiling faces.  
Remember Children Who Learn How to Cook Are Hungrier for Healthy Food Choices!

Children Who Learn How to Cook Are Hungrier for Healthy Food Choices! - See more at:
Children Who Learn How to Cook Are Hungrier for Healthy Food Choices! - See more at:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Coqui the Chef met Murray from Sesame Street at the New York ComicCon

We went to the New York ComicCon 2013 for three days and had a blast! Apparently since I, Tania Lopez, can no longer wear the mascot costume. I thought of a silly but ingenious idea; why not carry Coqui the Chef puppet in a baby carrier so people can meet him? That is exactly what I did.  It was funny to see people's reaction and smiles but what was even more funnier how people made way for me in crowded places because they thought I had a real baby.  

In one of the panel discussions "Comics for Everyone" I met Joseph Mazzarino the voice actor for Murray from Sesame Street.  I took notes of all the advice he gave regarding what can make a character unique and funny. So my friends the future looks bright for Coqui the Chef puppet! YAY!!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

NOW OPEN...Coqui the Chef's Smoothie Bar!!

We wanted to teach our junior chefs how a restaurant works so we opened a pretend smoothie bar.  The ten junior chefs all had turns role playing as customers, waiters, and prep cooks. Their energy and willingness to learn was amazing.  The photos say it all...

Try Coqui the Chef's Tropical Sunset Smoothie Recipe...

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Suggested Vegetable Seasonings, Flavorings, and Combinations

Choosing fresh seasonal vegetables is great especially when they are from your local farmer but what seasonings, flavorings or combinations go well with the them?
Well here is a short list of what you can use to make the vegetable taste YUMMY!!!

  • Asparagus-- Lemon juice, brown butter, mustard sauce, Parmesan cheese; hard-cooked egg, peas, artichokes, mushrooms 
  • Beans, green-- Dill, basil, tarragon, oregano, garlic, brown butter, soy sauce; almonds, sesame seed, onion, tomato, celery, mushrooms, bacon 
  • Beans, Lima-- Oregano, sage, thyme, sour cream, cheddar cheese; corn, peas, onions, mushrooms, pimiento, bacon
  • Beets-- Lemon, allspice, caraway, cloves, dill, ginger, horseradish, bay leaf, orange, sour cream, onion
  • Broccoli-- Lemon, mustard sauce, almonds, buttered and toasted bread crumbs, hard-cooked egg
  • Brussels sprouts-- Caraway, dill, Parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, chestnuts
  • Cabbage-- Caraway, celery seed, dill, mustard, nutmeg, garlic; bacon, ham, carrots, onion
  • Carrots-- Parsley, dill, fennel, tarragon, ginger, nutmeg, bay leaves, caraway, mint, orange; celery, peas, zucchini
  • Cauliflower-- Dill, nutmeg, mustard, curry, cheese, tomato sauce; hard-cooked egg, peas, almonds
  • Celery-- Parsley, tarragon, onion, green or red pepper, potatoes
  • Corn-- Chili powder, mild cheddar or jack cheese, tomato, bacon, Lima beans
  • Cucumber-- Dill, garlic, mint, tarragon; peas 
  • Eggplant-- Garlic, marjoram, oregano, parsley, Parmesan cheese; tomato, chopped walnuts
  • Mushrooms-- Nutmeg, parsley, lemon, paprika, dill, sherry, Parmesan cheese, cayenne, heavy cream; peas, spinach, artichokes, green beans
  • Okra-- Garlic, coriander, sage; tomatoes, corn
  • Onions-- Nutmeg, sage, thyme, cheese sauce, sour cream; peas
  • Peas-- Mint, basil, dill, sage; mushrooms, pearl onions, turnips, potatoes, carrots, water chestnuts, Jerusalem artichokes
  • Spinach-- Nutmeg, garlic, heavy cream; mushrooms, hard-cooked egg, cheese
  • Squash, summer-- Cumin, basil, oregano, mustard seed, rosemary, garlic, Parmesan cheese, parsley; tomato, carrots (with zucchini), onion, (including zucchini) almonds, walnuts
  • Squash, winter-- Cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, ginger; apples, bacon, pecans
  • Sweet potatoes-- Allspice, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, brandy, orange; almonds, apples, bananas
  • Tomatoes-- Basil, bay leaf, garlic, celery seed, oregano, thyme, rosemary, chili powder; peppers, black olives
  • Turnips-- Parsley, chives, nutmeg; mushrooms, potatoes, peas