Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2014

Playing with Our Food: Crazy Egg Antics

No real recipe here, just some photos of Christmas presents that the boys received from their cousin Charley. These are FUN...and we like to play with our food. *This blog currently has a partnership with in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to and search for the book or item of your choice.


Ají is a sauce that can be found in practically every restaurant in Columbia, regardless of the region. I never found a recipe that showed proportions, so I made it up! Also, I believe that ají means habanero; mine doesn't have because I forgot to add it. Whoops. Still this was a hit. I think one of my guests actually drank the sauce from the bottom of the bowl! I served this on top of my pernil asado . Recipe to come for that... Ingredients 3 tomatoes, diced 1/2 C chopped fresh cilantro 1/2 C chopped white onion 4 green onions, thinkly sliced 1 anaheim pepper, diced 1 habanero pepper, diced (I forgot to add this) juice from 1 lemon 1 T vinegar freshly ground salt freshly ground pepper Procedure Stir all of the ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Let stand for 15 minutes so the flavors can meld.

Arroz con Coco

You can barely see the rice under that heap of beans, but since the rice was delicious, I'm sharing the recipe despite my lack of photos. Sorry! I don't know why I didn't take any in-progress shots. This process of preparing coconut rice comes from Colombia, and involves cooking the coconut milk until it separates and the coconut solids caramelize. The resulting toasted coconut flavor is then cooked into the rice, along with the delicious crispy bits of browned coconut. Raisins add a touch of sweetness, but this is definitely a savory rice. It was delicious with our red beans. Ingredients 1 can coconut milk (or approximately 1-1/2 C) 2 C rice (I used 1 C jasmine rice and 1C paella rice) 1/4 C raisins 1 cinnamon stick 3 C water 1 t salt 1 T organic granulated sugar Procedure Place coconut milk in a large pot and bring to a boil. Simmer until the coconut solids separate from the oil. Cook and stir constantly, until coconut solids are nic

Arepas de Queso con Morcilla

When I started planning my post-Christmas Columbian feast, arepas kept coming up in my search. I know this is inaccurate, but think of them as thick, stuffed tortillas; they are more like corn cakes, I suppose. We liked them so much, I've already made them again. In any case, I started with R's Handmade Corn Tortillas and went from there. We stuffed ours with queso fresco and topped them with crumbled morcilla , blood sausage. I had just picked some up from Boccalone in the Ferry Building. Ingredients makes 16 cakes 2 C masa harina 1 C hot water 1 C hot chicken stock 4 T butter, softened 2 egg yolk 1 C crumbled queso fresco butter or oil for cooking the arepas cooked blood sausage, crumbled, for serving fresh cilantro, for garnish crema Mexicana or sour cream, for garnish Procedure Place the masa harina in a large mixing bowl. Add the hot water and stock. Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until well-combined. Stir the egg yolk and butter

Plátanos Asados con Membrillo y Queso

To end our post-Christmas feast - of Columbian eats - I decided to make stuffed plantains.  Funny story: when I read the recipe -  Plátanos Asados con Bocadillo y Queso - I misinterpreted ' bocadillo ' as ' membrillo .' Eh...guava, quince. Whoops.  Maybe I was swayed by the stack of fresh quince at the market. I swooped in, grabbed a handful, and made Homemade Membrillo . Then I realized that I cooked the wrong fruit. Oh, well. I had no time to track down any guava. And this worked just as well. Ingredients makes 12 by cutting each plantain into thirds 4 ripe plantains 1 T melted butter queso fresco, cut into slices thin enough to stuff into your plantain Homemade Membrillo , for serving Procedures Preheat the oven to 400° F. Slice the plantains lengthwise, cutting through the skin and approximately 3/4 of the way through the fruit. You want the bottom of the boat intact. Gently part the plantain and stuff slices of cheese into the g

Membrillo (Quince Paste)

I've always bought my quince paste - despite my complete obsession with all things quince. I figured it was time to make my own. Besides I thought that the recipe I was making called for membrillo . Turns out, it used bocadillo which is made with guava. Whoops. Ingredients 4 C quince, peeled, cored, and diced 4 C water 1/2 C organic granulated sugar Procedure Place quince and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for an hour. Pour the poached quince, its poaching liquid, and sugar into a large, flat-bottom pan that will allow the liquid to evaporate more easily. Cook until the liquid thickens to a syrup, approximately 15 to 20 minutes, and is mostly evaporated. Let cool slightly and process in a blender until smooth. I used it at this stage, However, if you want the traditional texture of membrillo - which you can cut into slices and serve with manchego - spoon the paste into a parchment-lined baking dish and bake till dried.

Salted Chocolate Coconut Bites

I love that these don't involve any baking but they look phenomenal on a cookie platter. They are ridiculously easy to make, too. Ingredients 4 C organic shredded coconut (I used a finely shredded kind that's really between shreds and flour) 1 can sweetened, condensed milk 12 oz dark chocolate, chopped salt (I used a vanilla salt that I had gotten from Susan, The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen ) Procedure In a large bowl, stir together coconut and condensed milk; it will form a thick, sticky paste. Roll mixture into 1" balls - you should get about 3 dozen balls from this quantity. Place coconut balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Put the tray in the freezer form, at least, 30 minutes. While balls are chilling, temper your chocolate over a double boiler.  Using two toothpicks or forks, dip the coconut balls into the chocolate, covering evenly. Move the balls back to the tray and finish coating them completely. Sprinkle with salt.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I have had this on my to-do list for a ridiculously long time. But I never got around to it. I don't know why. I have vanilla; I have jars; and I, usually, have vodka. Still it took until we got this vanilla infusion kit at the family Christmas party this week for me to actually do it. Funny story: D picked this through the White Elephant Gift Exchange. My uncle tried to steal it from him. "I want that vodka," he declared. There's no vodka, I retorted. It's a homemade vanilla extract kit.  Later, when I looked in the bag and there actually was vodka. Whoops. I would have given him that vodka and kept the vanilla had I known. I opted to use Tito's Handmade Vodka out of Austin, Texas. My rule: I don't cook with anything that I wouldn't drink straight. Tito's is a great story and this is a great vodka. Thankfully, this recipe didn't use all of Tito's and I still have some for cocktails this week. Ingredients 3 vanilla

Spicy Peanut Butter Cookies

For another cookie tray offering for the guys at work, I was inspired by the Chocolate Chili Dipped Sriracha Peanut Butter Cookies that I received from Awesome with Sprinkles for the #FBCookieSwap this year. Click to read more about that event: here . D liked them so much that he asked if Heidi could send some for his birthday dinner party. But she did send the recipe. Mine is slightly adapted. I skipped the dipping and I used some hot sauce from my friend Belle. Ingredients makes approximately 30 cookies 1 stick (1/2 C) butter, softened 3/4 C creamy peanut butter 1 C organic granulated sugar 2 T hot sauce (homemade or some kind of Sriracha) 1 egg 1/2 t pure vanilla extract 1-1/2 C flour 1/2 t baking powder 3/4 t baking soda more organic granulated sugar, for rolling Procedure In a mixing bowl, cream together butter, peanut butter and sugar. Slowly add in hot sauce, egg, and vanillaextract. Beat until well-combined. In

Passionfruit Thumbprints

One of the guys at work nudged about their cookie trays. Okay, I'll make you cookies! So, for the Monday morning meeting last week, I whipped up a bunch of different cookies. Merry Christmas! Ingredients   makes approximately 30 3/4 C butter, at room temperature 3/4 C organic granulated sugar 2 egg yolks 2 C white whole wheat flour 1/2 C ground almonds zest from one lemon 1 t vodka 1 t cold water jam (I had some passionfruit jam) Procedure Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in the egg yolks until incorporated. Stir in the flour and ground almonds until a flaky dough is formed. Add in the zest, water, and vodka, gently working the dough until it forms a ball. Pinch off pieces of dough and form into small balls, about the size of a walnut in its shell. Place each ball onto the baking stone or baking sheet, pressing a "thumbprint" into the center of each and

Coffee Liqueur Crinkles for Santa

"Mom, we need to make cookies," declared the Precise Kitchen Elf. It was 9 o'clock on Christmas Eve. Outloud: What?!?'s bed time. Past bed time.  In my head: I have to wrap presents from Santa...and I don't want to be up past midnight. "But, Mom! We need to leave cookies for Santa." Note - leaving cookies out is not a tradition in our house. We leave carrots and celery in the klompens I wore as a child in Holland. D already put the carrots and celery out for the reindeer. "Santa doesn't eat those. He needs cookies. Mom, please," he begged.  Okay, what kind do you want? "Whatever is easiest." Small blessings... How about I make them? And you go to bed. "Deal." The little elf heard the conversation - "I think you need to make some cookies with coffee in them. It's a long night for Santa. He was in Indonesia this morning. And he only have about three hours to get to Cal

Pistachio Dukkah

I have seen this spelled a couple of different ways - dukkah , dakka , duqqa . However you spell it, you must try this versatile spice blend. I'm going to spell it the first way. Dukkah is an Egyptian spice blend, consisting of herbs, nuts - usually hazelnut -, and spices. The word is derived from the Arabic word for "to pound"; the mixture of spices and nuts are pounded together after being dry roasted. The actual ingredients of the spice mix vary from cook to cook though there are common ingredients, such as sesame, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper. I changed it up a little with some sweetness and used pistachios because I liked the color.   Ingredients makes about 1 cup 3 T coriander seeds 1 T black cumin seeds 1 t cardamom seeds 1/2 t green peppercorns 1/2 C shelled raw pistachio nuts 1/4 C white sesame seeds 3 T unsweetened shredded coconut 1 t sea salt Procedure Toast coriander, cumin, cardamom seeds, and green pepp

No Urchin Anywhere

D had planned to serve a sea urchin soup for his birthday dinner. Here's the original recipe for his Spiced Coconut-Sea Urchin Soup . Our usual go-to for urchin told us that their order comes in on Thursday and it wouldn't be good on Tuesday. But Ms. Shiho went out of her way to check with some fisherman friends of hers. No luck. I called a fish place on the commercial wharf that sometimes has it. No luck. So, our last resort was Monterey Abalone. I thought: we'll just clean two fresh ones and change the menu to "sea urchin- flecked soup." But those hopes were dashed, too, when they told us that there wouldn't have any available to January. D was so, so sad and very disappointed. But, always my sunny boy, he concluded, "it's okay, Mom, we just have to change the menu for tonight, but I'll make urchin soup for my friends in January."

Walking Chocolate Tour of San Francisco

As a pre-birthday celebration, I booked a chocolate tour for the littlest foodie in the family. So, on Sunday we drove up to the City for some sweet family time... The Good Our tour guide, Michelangelo, was very funny and very well-informed about chocolate history. And - best part! - he let me know about some other chocolate must-trys in the City that weren't included in the walk. I love locals' tips. We'll definitely head back up and check out those other spots another time. The Not-So-Good The first two stops on the tour itinerary were actually closed. I wasn't sure if it was because of the holiday - or because it was Sunday (and, perhaps, Michelangelo doesn't usually do Sundays), but our guide seemed genuinely surprised. Chocolate Tour of San Francisco Itinerary Fog City News : This was closed. NewTree : This was also closed. Spicely Organic Spices : This was our absolute favorite stop on the tour - so much so that D changed his planned

Nib-Flecked Chocolate Shortbread

We love shortbread. I love that it's shippable to friend and family far away. And it's so easy - and flexible - to make. The kids who were in my Spice it Up! class still talk about the Sage Shortbread ; I sent Matcha-Black Sesame Shortbread to my #FBCookieSwap recipients in 2013;  but I think my favorite has been the Salted Fennel Pollen Shortbread .  I realized that I have never made a chocolate shortbread. I had to fix that after our Chocolate Tour in The City yesterday afternoon. I added in raw cacao nibs and some instant espresso for even more decadence. Ingredients 10 T butter 1/2 C organic granulated sugar + some for rolling 2 t pure chocolate extract 1 T honey 1 T instant espresso powder 2 T raw cacao nibs 1 egg, beaten 1-1/2 C white whole wheat flour 1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder Procedure Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Stir in honey and espresso powder until well combined. Beat in the egg, then carefully fold