Spaghetti Squash and Sweet Potato Gratin with Brie

January 13, 2017 by  
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Spaghetti Squash and Sweet Potato Gratin with Brie

 

I’ve been thinking long and hard about spaghetti squash lately. Long strands of amber, delicately tangled; the soft chew before it melts in my mouth. This daydream was all-consuming.

Soon thereafter, I began formulating the plan for turning my spaghetti squash fantasy into reality. I wanted to preserve its’ natural earthy flavor but also pair it with something mildly sweet, like red garnet potatoes. And, without argument, it would all bathe in a luscious, ambrosial liquid of cream and cheese. What I wanted, what I really wanted, was a gratin.

 

Spaghetti Squash and Sweet Potato Gratin with Brie

 

When everything was said and done I took a bite.

It was. Incredible.

The spaghetti squash was tender, yielding effortlessly beneath the weight of my spoon. Deeper still were the soft layers of potato– a duo of red and sweet, submerged in an herby cream sauce, a luxurious layer of sliced triple cream brie separating the two. I’m going to say this at the risk of sounding very cliché, but…it was an orchestra of flavors. I think I cried.

 

Spaghetti Squash and Sweet Potato Gratin with Brie

 

 

Spaghetti Squash and Sweet Potato Gratin with Brie

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 6 sides

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 pound spaghetti squash (about 4 cups spaghetti squash strands)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 pound red garnet sweet potato, peeled
  • 3/4 pound red potato, peeled
  • 8 ounces triple cream Brie cheese, rind removed, sliced

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Pierce the spaghetti squash all over and put on the baking sheet; bake for about 60-80 minutes or until fork tender. Let cool before cutting in half lengthwise and scooping out the seeds. Shred flesh with a fork to make strands.
  3. Butter a 9x13 baking dish.
  4. In a medium-sized saucepot set over medium-low heat, pour in the heavy cream, evaporated milk, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, butter, salt, and pepper.
  5. Using a mandolin set to 1/8" thickness or a knife, slice the potatoes thin and place into the saucepot with the cream. Let this come to a slight bubble; approximately 5-7 minutes.
  6. Layer the bottom of the baking dish with the sweet potatoes. Add half of the spaghetti squash. Scatter Brie slices all over. Add a layer of red potatoes, and then finish with last of spaghetti squash. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake in the oven for about 60-80 minutes, until sauce is bubbly, top is golden brown, and potatoes are super fork tender.
  8. Let stand about 5 minutes before serving. Add additional parsley, if desired.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Food Network and New York Times Cooking

If you choose, you can omit the evaporated milk and use all heavy cream or vice versa.

 

// More gratins, quiches, and tarts: 

 

Jalapeno Cheddar Potato Gratin // Fleming's Potatoes

Jalapeno Cheddar Potato Gratin // Fleming’s Potatoes

Here’s a deliciously creamy potato gratin with a kick from jalapenos! This is a recipe based on the potatoes sideView full post »

Forty Minutes Later // Ramp, Potato, Spinach Gratin with Raclette Cheese

This gratin celebrates the fresh spring flavors of ramps and spinach.View full post »

 

 

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Esquites (Mexican Corn Salad)

January 8, 2017 by  
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Esquites (Mexican Corn Salad)

 

I am fully prepared to receive any contempt for writing a recipe featuring corn in the dead of winter. And not just ordinary corn, but frozen corn. Am I digging myself into a deeper grave? *pauses shoveling*

Please hear me out.

I realize we are about 5 months beyond the pinnacle of fresh corn bounty, with its plump, sticky sweet kernels and messy strands of silk that we find irresistibly difficult to not throw into everything we eat in late summer. But.

I’m human. I have needs and desires. And sometimes, just sometimes, I bear a yearning for something that isn’t in season. That’s when I turn to frozen vegetables.

If you can find an excellent quality of frozen vegetable (hell, if you managed to freeze your own from summer’s harvest even better), and the recipe adapts to it, trust when I say the dish will turn out pretty fantastic regardless. Esquites, this Mexican corn salad, is a beautiful example.

Sometime last year I discovered that you can buy bags of frozen, fire-roasted corn at the grocery store. Since then, I’ve been buying them in bulk to stash in the freezer because they are absolutely terrific to toss in at a moment’s notice. They work wondrously for esquites– sweet and juicy with a definite bold, charred flavor.

I go crazy for elotes, Mexican corn on the cob slathered with garlicky, lime mayonnaise and rolled in Cotija cheese and chile powder. Esquites is basically that in salad, bowl form; it is less messy for sure (a good alternative for first dates because who really wants to exchange likes and dislikes with mayonnaise and corn kernels plastered on face…?) but no less delicious. The flavors in this thing are jolting in a great way.

The corn is tossed in a pungent garlic and lime laced mayonnaise sauce and then anchored together with the herby, bright flavors of cilantro and scallions. The morsels of queso fresco distributed throughout provide a welcoming delicate quality to the esquites that softens the bite some.

The flavors in this Mexican corn salad deepen and enhance the more it sits at room temperature, so restrain yourself from eating it for at least 30 minutes after preparing, difficult as it may be; the experience of tasting this will be worthwhile I promise you.

 

Esquites (Mexican Corn Salad)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 as a side, 2 as a meal

Ingredients

  • 1 - 1 pound bag frozen fire-roasted corn kernels, thawed
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise, preferable homemade
  • 2 medium garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons minced seeded and deveined serrano chile
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • Zest of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon New Mexico chile powder
  • 3 ounces queso fresco, crumbled

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, add the corn and mayonnaise. Mince the garlic with 1/4 teaspoon salt and crush with side of knife to make a garlicky paste. Add garlic paste, serrano chile, scallions, cilantro, lime zest and juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and chile powder to bowl; mix. Lastly, add queso fresco and combine gently. Let this sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes if you can help it as this helps develop the flavors even more.

Notes

Adapted from Serious Eats

When corn is in season, I'd use fresh, local corn and roast them myself on the grill. For this method, bank on using about 4 ears of corn.

 

// Other corny things:

 

Black Bean, Radish, Corn Salad with Cotija Cheese + Lime-Cilantro Dressing

Black Bean, Radish, Corn Salad with Cotija Cheese + Lime-Cilantro Dressing

A super simple, refreshing summer salad studded with bright radish, sweet corn, and black beans. An explosion of flavorView full post »

Grilled Corn with Garlicky Mayo + Queso Fresco (aka “Mexican Street Corn”)

Super yummy. Super good. Corn + garlic + mayo + cheese is exactly what you want right now.View full post »

An Oldie But Goodie: Corn Soup

A rich and warming soup that will make everything right in the world.View full post »

 

 

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A Healthy You in 2017 + Tropical Smoothie Cafe Giveaway

January 3, 2017 by  
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Tropical Smoothie Cafe Detoxing Smoothie

 

Well, it’s that time again my friends. With all the festivities, cookies, champagne, hangovers, crazy weird uncles, and pie behind us (well, for a short while at least), many of us are looking to make some serious adjustments to our diet as we kickstart 2017. I, for one am pledging to drink a little less and exercise a lot more.

Also, drink more smoothies.

I just scored a shiny new Vitamix blender for Christmas so when Tropical Smoothie Cafe was nice enough to share a special recipe for their Detoxing Smoothie with me, I couldn’t be more delighted.

I’ll be upfront with you. When I looked at some of the ingredients for their Detoxing Smoothie, I was hesitant. Kale. Avocado. Ginger. Celery?

But you know what? It was delicious. The sweetness of the green apple, the brightness of the lemon, and the butteriness of the avocado really balance everything together. It’s so surprisingly good and was pleasurable to drink. And I felt like I nourished my body with some pretty awesome things, too.

2017 will be only as good as we make it. Let’s focus on how we can make impacts– with other people, with ourselves. Health and fitness have played an important role in my life over the past several years, much of which has granted me happiness, physical strength, and confidence, just to name a few. Making a conscious effort to feed my body nutritious food has made a huge improvement in my overall health.

 

So with that in mind, and working towards shaping new and positive impacts on others, I’m giving away 2 – $25 gift cards to Tropical Smoothie Cafe*.

To enter this contest, share how you will work to better your health this year in the comments below. To increase your chance of winning, tweet this post and mention me @wokinglunges. Good luck!

*Contest open to U.S. residents only. Contest dates run from January 3 – January 5, 2017 11:59 pm EST. I will announce the winner on January 6, 2017. 

 

In the meantime, check out Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s newest line-up of smoothies:

Detox Island Green– spinach, kale, mango, pineapple, banana and fresh ginger

Chia Blueberry Max– roasted banana, chia seeds, blueberries, peanut butter, almonds, dates, coconut, cinnamon, whole grain oats and whey protein

Health Nut– blueberries, mango, banana, almonds and your choice of protein

Immune Blast– banana, orange, apple, and orange juice

 

 

Tropical Smoothie Cafe 2017 Promo

 

Tropical Smoothie Cafe's Detoxing Smoothie

 

Tropical Smoothie Cafe's Detoxing Smoothie

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 green apple, chopped
  • 1 inch piece ginger, peeled
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1/4 cup kale, ribs removed
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup peeled, chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1 1/2 cups ice

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients into a blender and give it a whir until smooth and bright green.

 

// More healthy treats: 

 

Blueberry, Banana + Almond Protein Shake // Pre- and post-workout fuel

Your eyes do not deceive you. This is indeed an actual post! It’s been what, maybe 5 months since my lastView full post »

Fudgy black bean + coconut protein brownies

A healthier alternative to traditional brownies, these black bean + coconut protein brownies are fudgy with an intenseView full post »

Easy Almond Granola Protein Bites

These are also referred to as “crack balls” in my house. Why? Because one is never enough– they’View full post »

 

 

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Papa a la Huancaina

December 28, 2016 by  
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Papa a la Huancaina

 

For me, food and family are intrinsically connected. Many of my most vivid memories as a child revolve around, you guessed it, eating. Born and raised in Peru, I really had no choice at all but to fall in love with food. Cooking and sharing meals with family and friends is central to our culture, and perhaps a reason why food blogging is a natural extension of myself. I may also just be extremely biased and think Peruvian food is the best ever and want you to eat a lot of it all the time forever. I am out of control.

I mentioned sharing. This potato salad you definitely need to share. I mean, look at it, it’s huge. Hey! Here’s another fun fact about Peruvians: we don’t know how to make only a little bit of something, only a whole lot of something, plus more just in case. Modesty is not in our nomenclature.

Papa a la huancaina is a cold potato salad often served as an appetizer or first course at parties. The potatoes are first boiled, peeled, and then sliced before being scattered over fresh lettuce leaves and doused with glorious, spicy, aji amarillo cream sauce. Hard-boiled eggs are cut into quarters and black olives are sliced in half before getting strewn on top. Papa a la huancaina is a delight to eat– it’s unbelievably creamy from the tenuity of the potatoes and the richness of the egg yolks; every bite yields readily in your mouth.

 

 

Papa a la Huancaina

 

Papa a la Huancaina

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 12

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 10 ounces queso fresco, crumbled
  • 7 hard-boiled eggs, separated
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 aji amarillo peppers (2 seeded, 1 whole)
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 8 red-skinned potatoes, boiled, peeled, cut into 3/4" slices
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Black olives, halved

Instructions

  1. Set a small frypan over medium heat and pour in the olive oil. Add the yellow onion, garlic, salt, and pepper and saute until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Let cool cool slightly.
  2. In a blender, add the onion and garlic mixture, queso fresco, 1 hard-boiled egg, 3/4 teaspoons salt, aji amarillo peppers, and evaporated milk. Puree until absolutely smooth, about 3-5 minutes. Taste for seasonings.
  3. To serve, arrange iceberg lettuce on bottom of platter. Scatter sliced potatoes over the lettuce and pour huancaina sauce all over. Dot with sliced hard-boiled eggs and black olives. Enjoy!

Notes

This is a little on the spicy side. If you'd prefer, you can leave out the seeds from the aji amarillo when you blend it up. Give it a taste and if you want to make it spicier, add some of the seeds in at that point and give it another whir. This way, you can adjust to your palate.

 

Papa a la Huancaina

 

// More Peruvian foodstuffs: 

 

Aji de gallina

Aji de Gallina

If the short ribs I posted earlier this week elicit romance, opulence, and proper decorum, then ají de gallinaView full post »

Ceviche

Ceviche

Nothing says Peru to me more, than ceviche. It is the quintessential party food for Peruvians. It gives me soView full post »

Choros a la chalaca

A Peruvian Summer Grillin’ Must // Choros a la Chalaca — Mussels with a Jalapeno + Corn Salsa

Spicy and delectable, choros a la chalaca, or mussels with jalapeno-corn salsa, are a Peruvian favorite at familyView full post »

 

 

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Sticky Banana Pudding Cake with Maple-Bourbon Syrup and Bourbon-Soaked Cherries

December 21, 2016 by  
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There comes a time in life where you have to accept the fact that you are an adult and need to make adult decisions. Case in point: embracing the decision to drink (and like!) bourbon. With the guidance of bourbon-aficionado friends, I gradually adopted the taste for it. It was a deliberate process– initially, adding water and ice to the bourbon to mellow it out, and then decreasing the amounts each time I imbibed until I became accustomed, and appreciated, the flavor of the bourbon itself. Tasting different varieties of bourbon and figuring out which ones I preferred was an adventure in and of itself (and continues to be!) during my introductory phase. I very quickly learned that I favored a dry, spicy bourbon as opposed to a sweeter one. I can now say in earnest that I love drinking bourbon and always have it stocked in my bar. Being an adult isn’t so bad after all.

 

 

 

Now that I’ve thoroughly divulged my regard for bourbon, it should come as no shock that I make a cake with it. This banana pudding cake is sticky. It’s luscious and sinful. The banana cake itself is delicious and custard-like but melts in your mouth. The real showstopper here is the maple-bourbon syrup that awaits you at the bottom. Warm and gooey, this pooled and drizzled over the cake is complete rapture. Serve it with ice cream (butter pecan, here) and powdered sugar and you’ll be one very happy adult.

 

 

 

// Sticky banana pudding cake with maple-bourbon syrup and bourbon-soaked cherries

 

Adapted from Food & Wine’s, maple-bourbon banana pudding cake

 

Serves 6

 

6 tablespoons Kerrygold unsalted butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1 ripe banana, mashed

1 large egg

1 cup vanilla almond milk

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

1/2 cup good maple syrup

1/4 cup molasses

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons bourbon

8 bourbon-soaked cherries, stemmed and halved

 

Butter pecan or vanilla ice cream, for serving

Powdered sugar, for serving

 

// Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a 2 1/2 quart baking dish, melt the butter in the microwave. Add the sugar and mashed banana; whisk to combine. Whisk in the egg and milk.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt; add flour mixture to the baking dish in batches, whisking to combine batter.

In a glass measuring cup, heat the maple syrup, molasses, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup hot water in the microwave until hot, about 1 minute. Pour in the bourbon. Drizzle this syrupy mixture over the batter. Do not stir, most of it will sink to the bottom. Scatter the bourbon-soaked cherries over the top.

Set the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes, until the top is golden; the middle will still jiggle like it’s not cooked but will set as it cools. Wait at least 10 minutes before serving with ice cream and powdered sugar on top.

 

 

// Other ooey gooey syrupy sweet things: 

 

Sticky Irish porridge with dark brown sugar + whiskey

Crema volteada– Peruvian flan

King’s Hawaiian vanilla bean bread pudding with spiced rum gooey sauce

 

A Peruvian Classic // Aji de Gallina

December 8, 2016 by  
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If the short ribs I posted earlier this week elicit romance, opulence, and proper decorum, then ají de gallina resides on the opposite spectrum for when I eat this, I want nothing more than to cozy up in my favorite, most slouchiest pajama bottoms and go at this with a ravenous, no-holds-bar hunger that I’m certain is terribly unattractive, disheveled and wide-eyed as I appear. I have my reasons for looking so savage, I can assure you.

*growls, hunkering down over my plate*

Oh, how can I explain this to you. Ají de gallina to Peruvians is like macaroni and cheese to Americans. It is the ultimate in home-cooked, ooey, gooey, cheesy, slop-it-on-my-plate-and-just-let-me-eat-it-now comfort food. You don’t mull over this. You inhale it.

Ají de gallina is a creamy, spicy, chicken stew. Or, as the child of one of my clients’ so aptly calls it: chicken goop. She is not wrong. The chicken, once shredded, is left to simmer in the peppery ají amarillo sauce until thickened. Ladled over white rice, it is a mound of gooey chickenstuff. But, as with many things, this is so much more than it appears.

The suppleness from the rotisserie chicken with the etherealness of the creamy, piquant sauce intertwine so harmoniously together the mouthfeel is something I find tremendously pleasing. The blanket of rice offers a nice toothsome quality to each bite, and the egg delivers an extra dose of heavenly awesomeness.

As I write this, I am overjoyed at the promise of eating this for dinner. And I can say with total confidence that I will wake up tomorrow morning, brighter-eyed and more bushier-tailed than normal because I’ll know what awaits me for breakfast. No, I don’t play by the rules.

 

 

 

// Ají de gallina

 

Ají amarillo peppers can be found in Latin American grocery stores– I favor using the bagged, frozen kind, but if you can’t find those, try using the ones found whole and jarred; just rinse them before using. These peppers aren’t super spicy so I like to use at least the seeds of one whole ají, but if you’d rather not use seeds at all that is an option, too. I also can’t stress enough the importance of using the juice from the rotisserie chicken– there is so much flavor there it would be blasphemy not to. 

 

Serves 6

 

1 rotisserie or roasted chicken, skinned and shredded; juices reserved

1/4 cup canola oil

4 tablespoons good butter, like Kerrygold

1 large yellow onion (use regular, not sweet), chopped

3 fat garlic cloves, chopped

3 ají amarillo peppers; 2 seeded, 1 whole with seeds

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup walnuts

5 slices white sandwich bread, crust removed and torn into little pieces

3/4 cup chicken stock (made with reserved juices + a good chicken stock base, like Better than Bouillon)

1 cup evaporated milk

2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

Steamed white rice, to serve

6 hard-boiled eggs, quartered, to serve

 

// Set a medium frypan on the stove and turn up the heat to medium-high. To this, add the canola oil, butter, onion, garlic, ají amarillo, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent and everything smells unbelievably fragrant; about 7 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes.

Toss the walnuts into a blender. Add in the onion and ají amarillo mixture, the torn bread pieces, and then pour the chicken stock over the bread to absorb. Blend this until totally smooth.

Pour this lovely, intoxicating sauce to a large saucepot and add the evaporated milk. Turn on the heat to medium-low and let this come to a slight simmer. Mix in the Parmesan cheese. Tumble in the shredded chicken and let everything thicken slightly; just a few minutes.

Serve this over white rice and top with sliced, hard-boiled eggs. Enjoy, amigos. This is the ultimate in Peruvian comfort food.

 

 

// More Peruvian comfort food type things

 

Peruvian-style pesto with spaghetti and albondigas

Butifarra sandwich– braised pork shoulder sandwich with red onion relish 

Chupe de camarones — spicy, shrimp soup

 

 

 

Chile and coconut-braised short ribs + creamy polenta

December 5, 2016 by  
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If you asked me what the perfect, most-romantic, make-my-heart-go-aflutter meal looks like, it would be this. Sumptuous short ribs, braised for hours in a coconut and chile infused sauce and perched atop a blanket of soft polenta is exactly what my mouth craves on cold, winter evenings. Paired with a bold, full-bodied glass of red wine it is absolute perfection.

This is seduction on a plate. I’ve oftentimes made this just for myself to enjoy for several days but it’s even better shared with someone you love. Turn on some sexy music, dim the lights, and celebrate life. Savor every morsel.

 

 

// Chile and coconut-braised short ribs

 

In her original recipe, Melissa Clark uses boneless beef short ribs. I’ve made this using both the boneless and bone-in variety. While they both yield delicious results, I always lean towards bone-in because I love the presentation as well as the boosted flavor and viscosity the bones provide for the sauce. If you opt to use boneless, you need only use 2 pounds of beef short ribs rather than the 3 1/2 pounds I have listed below. 

 

Adapted from Melissa Clark’s recipe in her cookbook: Cook This Now

 

Serves 4-6

 

3 1/2 pounds bone-in, beef short ribs

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 teaspoons chile powder (I love to use New Mexico chile powder)

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 jalapenos, deveined and deseeded, if desired, and minced (I like to keep about half the seeds)

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1 small shallot, minced

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 – 13.5 ounce can coconut milk

Zest and juice of 2 limes

Fresh cilantro, chopped, for serving

 

// Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Season the beef with the salt, chili powder, and black pepper. In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat the coconut oil. Add the beef and cook until browned on both sides, about 4-6 minutes; you may need to do this in two batches. Add the garlic, jalapenos, ginger, shallot, and cumin seeds and cook, stirring, until everything is intoxicatingly fragrant and golden, about 2 minutes.

Pour in the coconut milk, lime zest and juice, and 1/2 cup water; stir. Bring liquid to a simmer, then cover and transfer the pot to the oven. Cook the meat for an hour and then turn the meat over. Continue to cook for another 1 – 1 1/2 hours, or until the beef is very tender and begins to just fall off the bone. Serve over creamy polenta and garnish with freshly chopped cilantro. Devour with large glass of full-bodied red wine.

 

// Creamy polenta

 

This is my favorite recipe for polenta. It’s luxurious ladled beneath the chile and coconut-braised short ribs, and heavenly for breakfast the next day nestled under buttery, fried eggs. 

 

Adapted from Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes

 

Makes about 6 servings

 

4 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 cup medium-grain polenta (I love Bob’s Red Mill)

2 tablespoons good butter, like Kerrygold

8 ounces neufchatel cheese, room temperature

 

// In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, add the water and salt. Let this come to a boil and slowly add the polenta, stirring. Drop in the butter. Stir and lower the heat to a simmer. Let this cook for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and tumble in the neufchatel cheese; stir into the polenta. Taste for seasonings. Serve hot!

 

 

// Other cozy-up, wintery things

 

Creamy pumpkin and chorizo pasta bake, cheese tortellini, mascarpone-sage sauce, toasted hazelnuts

Chupe de camarones (Peruvian shrimp soup)

Braised green lentils with smoked kielbasa

 

sig3

A Peruvian Classic // Ceviche

December 2, 2016 by  
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Peruvian ceviche

 

Nothing says Peru to me more, than ceviche. It is the quintessential party food for Peruvians. It gives me so much joy to be sharing this recipe with you guys today because it truly is one of my favorites. To me, ceviche is symbolic of family and great moments spent together– things that we will always treasure in life.

Recently, my parents, sister and boyfriend came to visit for Thanksgiving. We spent most of our time in the kitchen of course– cooking, eating, and laughing. There may have also been some dancing involved.

Peruvian ceviche is fish marinated in lime juice and fresh chiles. Since the fish essentially gets cured and cooked from the acid in the lime juice, it’s really important you use the freshest fish you can find. Ceviche can be served with boiled sweet potatoes, Peruvian corn, and lettuce. Today, we opted to use niblets of Peruvian corn that offer a toothsome contrast to the silky softness of the ceviche.

 

Peruvian ceviche

Peruvian ceviche

Peruvian ceviche

 

// Ceviche

 

This is my dad’s original recipe for ceviche, and while I may be biased, it’s the best I’ve ever tasted. It’s super simple to make with minimal ingredients but because of that, it is imperative you use only the freshest fish available. Choose your fish from a local monger you trust! We were lucky to have scored a super fresh one from Whole Foods Market for this recipe. 

 

Serves 6-8 as an appetizer

 

1 3/4 pounds fresh firm, white fish like walleye, snapper, seabass; skinned

2 garlic cloves, minced

S + P, to taste

 

// Cut fish into thin, bite-size pieces and place in a shallow bowl. Toss with garlic and s + p. Cover with plastic wrap so it sits on the surface of the fish and then place a bag of ice on top. Let this sit on the counter for about 30 minutes.

 

1 medium red onion

4-6 juicy limes

1 serrano chile, seeded and deveined, minced

 

Thinly slice the red onion and put in a small bowl with cold water. Let this sit for about 20-30 minutes; this helps soften the bite of the red onion.

Add the lime juice and serrano chile to the fish; toss gently. You want enough lime juice so that the fish is submerged. Let this sit for another 20-25 minutes or until the fish is opaque (which means it has been “cooked” from the acid of the lime juice). Taste for seasoning.

To serve, top with red onion slices and open up a cold one! This is the perfect appetizer to kickstart a small get-together!

 

 

Peruvian ceviche

 

// More Peruvian party appetizer foodstuffs

 

Choros a la chalaca — mussels with jalapeno and corn salsa

Fried wontons stuffed with shrimp and pork

Chicken drumsticks with spicy aji amarillo dipping sauce

 

 

sig3

 

 

Maple sheet cake, Miss Jones Baking Co. + a Bake-it-Better Challenge

November 20, 2016 by  
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Maple sheet cake

 

There is something about the late, cooler months that reignites my desire to spend afternoons baking. The measured and methodical approach oftentimes associated with baking can be therapeutic and encourages me to slow down and breathe– a very important thing to do as we near the craziness of the holidays. Sifting, whisking, frosting are all great fun but let’s be honest and say our favorite part about baking is licking the batter off the spatula.

 

As pleasurable and satisfying as it is to bake something from scratch, I often seek ways to streamline recipes not only to make them approachable but also to simplify my life. And that’s where Miss Jones Baking Co. comes in. I was thrilled to find their products and even more so knowing they are from my hometown, The Bay Area.

 

Miss Jones Baking Co. cake mix and frosting

 

Miss Jones Baking Co. cake mix and frosting are certified organic, non-GMO, plant-based, responsibly sourced, and contains no artificial colors or flavors. [yusss!!!]

Miss Jones Baking Co. is hosting a Bake-it-Better Challenge this holiday season and will donate $1 to the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank for each entry into the contest. Once you submit your entry, you are eligible for the Grand Prize of over $1,000! Plus, the more treats you showcase, the more chances you have to win. Check out their contest page for the whole scoop.

 

Maple sheet cake

 

This maple sheet cake is a little slice of heaven and ridiculously easy to throw together. To the vanilla cake mix, I added cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger for warmth and spice. Instead of regular milk, I used evaporated milk for delectable richness. I dribbled in some maple extract to the vanilla frosting, spread it lavishly over the cake and scattered chopped chocolate toffee pieces on top. This tastes like a maple doughnut but better because sticky cake and toffee. So good.

 

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// Maple sheet cake

 

Serves 8-10

 

1 box of Miss Jones Baking Co. vanilla cake mix

3 extra large eggs

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1/2 cup melted, unsalted butter

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

 

1 container of Miss Jones Baking Co. vanilla frosting

1 teaspoon maple extract

 

Chocolate toffee candy, chopped roughly

 

// Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×13 rectangular cake pan and put a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom with overhang on the sides.

In a large bowl, combine Miss Jones. Baking Co. vanilla cake mix, eggs, evaporated milk, butter, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Pour cake batter into pan, smoothing the top. Bake for 23-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Set to cool in the pan over a wire rack. Carefully place cake on platter.

Put frosting, uncovered, into the microwave for 5-8 seconds to soften. Scoop out into a medium bowl and mix in the maple extract. Once cake has cooled, spread frosting on top. Sprinkle chopped chocolate toffee pieces to finish.

 

Maple sheet cake

 

More cake cake cake cake cake cake // 

 

my grandpa’s orange chiffon cake

peruvian cake roll with dulce de leche

 

 

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Crispy Parmesan Salmon Fish Sticks + Lemon Aioli

November 17, 2016 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

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When I was 12, I’d rush home from school to eat fried fish. It was piping hot, flaky, and delicious. And of course, I’d have it with a side of ranch dressing. [feigned surprise]

 

Maybe it’s the nostalgia of eating crunchy fish that excites me or maybe it’s the simple fact that these are just so good. Using salmon in place of your typical cod works magically in this recipe, resulting in a fish stick that is rich, bold, and full of flavor.

 

And because I can’t not dip things with things, I made a lovely lemon aioli to go along with. Super satisfying, healthy-ish, and pretty freakin’ awesome.

 

Baked panko fish sticks with parmesan + lemon aioli

 

// Crispy parmesan salmon fish sticks

 

Serves 3-4

 

Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis 

 

1 – 20 ounce salmon filet, skinned

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3 egg whites

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup panko

Olive oil, for drizzling

 

// Pat salmon dry. Cut salmon into 1/2″ slices lengthwise; if center cut slices look too wide, cut those in half.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Grab a large baking sheet and liberally oil with olive oil.

In a shallow plate, mix the flour with the salt and pepper. In a shallow bowl, whisk egg whites until frothy, about a minute. In another shallow plate, combine the Parmesan cheese and panko, seasoning with some salt and pepper.

Dip each fish stick into the flour until fully coated and then shake excess. Next, swish it into the egg whites; letting excess drip off. Last, dredge in Parmesan and panko mix until totally coated, pressing firmly. Arrange on oiled baking sheet. Drizzle all fish sticks with olive oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crispy. Serve with lemon aioli; recipe below.

 

// Lemon aioli

 

1 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1 lemon

1 small garlic clove

Salt

Black pepper

 

// In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon zest and juice. Roughly chop garlic with a pinch of salt and rub with side of knife to make a paste. Add this and a pinch of black pepper to the mayonnaise. Whisk together.

 

 

// other fishy things

 

panko-crusted catfish

pan-seared fish tacos with tomato-mango salsa + spicy aji amarillo sauce

cod-potato cakes and creamy lemon tarragon sauce

 

 

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