Last week I took part in a bake sale to benefit the ACLU along with so many inspiring lady cooks, bakers and makers. I’m still pinching myself that I got to be involved in such a beautiful event with so many women in the food community that I admire. I wanted to make a cookie that celebrated my Puerto Rican heritage. If you’ve never had polvorones, they are pretty much identical to Mexican wedding cookies or Russian tea cakes. They are buttery, crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth perfection. I knew I had to step up my game a little, since so many of my idols (like Victoria and Yossy!) were going to be eating them. These cookies can verge on obscenely sweet due to the powdered sugar coating, so I thought earthy buckwheat flour and bitter cacao nibs would offset that a bit. The combination of the two with the toasted pecans was pretty sublime if I do say so myself. To see more from the event and drool over all the yummies search #hungryforliberty on Instagram.
I’m super excited to share this recipe that I developed for my sweet friend’s blog. Ana is the mother of two spunky and whip smart little girls, Edith and Lilah, and she blogs about their adventures in Brooklyn with her husband Aaron over on Lucky Penny. They are pretty much the cutest family ever, and those little girls have better style than I could ever achieve. Go and give her blog a read, and you’ll see what I mean! First up in my recipe series for her is a spin on tostones (fried plantains), a childhood favorite of mine.
Immigrants have enriched American food culture for so long that it’s hard to imagine what our dinner plates would look like without them. When I started this blog, I knew I wanted to use food as my lens to remind others of our shared humanity with these communities. Their struggles are our struggles. Immigrant food is American food. If fear stems from misunderstanding, what better way to unite than by eating the foods of these vibrant and diverse populations? What better way to learn their stories? All I want for this blog is to make you hungry. Hungry for some flavors you might have not tried before or some ingredient you might not be that familiar with.
I personally feel like the pros of having a fresh loaf of homemade bread outweigh the cons of having to actually make said bread. Yes, it takes time. And patience. And if there’s one thing I’m not patient about it’s waiting for the dough to go from the oven to my mouth. Enter soda bread. It’s super quick and doesn’t require yeast, kneading or even a bread pan. I just baked this thing in my cast iron. Plus it’s nice and dense (in a good way) and plenty full of delicious craggies that are just begging to be slathered with butter and honey. This specific recipe was adapted from this one by Ruby Tandoh, who is so very awesome by the way. It’s got rye flour and chunks of apple inside, a really great combo. Tastes amazing with some melted cheddar on top too.
I’m feeling really good about December so far. For the first time ever I’m not going home for Christmas. My family is coming to me! In Brooklyn! I’m doing everything possible to make sure my apartment is the perfect combination of tacky festive and Anthropologie holiday catalog. It’s a pretty difficult feat. As for my December diet, it’s approximately 60% gourds and 40% cakes and cookies thus far. I went a little crazy at the market the other day and bought so many acorn and delicata beauties in case of a squashpocalypse. I was trying to think of something new to do with acorn squash and suddenly it hit me. I love eggs and you know what would fit ever so snugly inside an acorn squash? An egg. It’s like that time everyone was baking eggs inside avocados, but that didn’t really make sense because hot avocados are just not as good as hot squash. And hot squash with rosemary-infused brown butter? No contest.
The Carpenters Christmas album is on heavy rotation, my stockings are hung, tree is up and that can only mean one thing. It’s officially cake month. With that said, I have a serious quandary. The problem is this: There are only 31 days in December and at least 15 cakes I want to bake. I better get to it and STAT. I’m kicking things off with a flourless chocolate cake topped with maple-roasted chestnuts. The cake lasts 5 days in the fridge and reheats beautifully so it’s perfect for making ahead of time for your holiday fête. I got the idea for the chestnuts en papillote from Food 52 but flavored them with cinnamon and cardamom instead. The recipe makes a lot of chestnut topping, but the leftovers are pretty dreamy reheated and served on yogurt or oatmeal.
I finally made a thing! Four things actually. Four big fat scones to eat all by myself while I curl up with a book and the temperature drops to below freezing (not really but feels like it). If you like coffee and chocolate (who doesn’t?) you will love them. There’s also some shredded carrot in there which you can’t really taste, but it sure does look pretty. I always like to get a serving of vegetables delivered to my face via breakfast pastry, don’t you?
It’s been over two weeks since my last post which is much longer than I ever intended to go without posting, but that is life. Like most of you, I’m still in total and utter disbelief over the results of the presidential election. It was a heartbreak like that I’ve never experienced, and I haven’t had the spirits to get back in the kitchen no matter how positive I try to be. Well, that, and my fridge and freezer died last week so I’m actually incapable of grocery shopping while I wait for repairs. That, paired with the seasonal affective disorder that usually strikes around this time of year (why so dark so early??), and I could really use some hugs. Additionally, I want to hug all of you. All of you who fought the good fight, and still are fighting for women, immigrants, people of color, LGBTQ people and human beings in general. I’m inspired by all of you to stop sulking and start being louder and prouder. Kinder and wiser. So today I made a happy list because first things first it’s time to stop being so sad. Here’s a bunch of stuff that makes me grin uncontrollably.
Happy Halloween! This year I went as a recluse, aka I’m in my pajamas on the couch watching Gilmore Girls at 7:30. In other more exciting news, I’m going home to Florida at the end of the week and couldn’t be more excited to see my friends and family and get a short respite from the chilly weather. I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather and craving warm comfort foods. Shakshuka is one of my all time favorite dishes, especially with warm, fluffy pita for dipping. Maybe next year I will dress up as warm, fluffy pita. I’ve got a bit of a hummsession (that’s a hummus obsession) as you all know, which is why this humshuka (that’s shakshuka on top of hummus) is my new favorite meal.