Category Archives: Recipes

Indian Cooking with Manjula!

India FlagWe love Indian food, though to be honest we do not make it as often as some other cuisines. However, that is something we are looking to change! We recently came across a recommendation to check out Manjula’s Kitchen for demystified Indian recipes. Manjula makes awesome, easy-to-follow recipe videos, using appliances and ingredients typical to an American kitchen (though of course you will need some special ingredients). Did you know that you could make a naan on a pizza stone if you do not have a tandoor oven? Now we do. Check out Manjula’s super simple recipe for naan below. We can’t decide what to try next – her YouTube channel is a treasure trove of recipes.

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Swedish Gooey Chocolate Cake – Kladdkaka

Kladdkaka.jpg

sweden_flagWho doesn’t love flourless chocolate cake? We certainly love it, and apparently the Swedish do as well. One of the more popular cakes in Sweden is Kladdkaka, which basically translates to “sticky/gooey chocolate cake.” The recipes for this cake seemed too easy NOT to try, and were uniformly beautiful, so on a whim we decided to whip up our first Kladdkaka last night. The cake we made really was a dream – that is, if you like chocolate (don’t talk to us if you don’t). We followed the Kladdkaka recipe on Call me Cupcake (as pictured above), which is flourless and gluten free, but other Kladdkaka recipes sometimes incorporate some flour, too. You probably already have all of the necessary ingredients in your fridge/pantry, so there is no excuse not to make this cake!

 

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Shepherd’s Pie in honor of David Bowie

united_kingdomDavid Bowie (1947 – 2016) was a brilliant tastemaker for decades in the world of Fashion, Music and Art (and their intersections), but it turns out his tastes for food were a little more traditional. Bowie’s favorite dish of all time was reported as a simple English Shepherd’s Pie, which his wife Iman would often whip up for the singer. Food and Wine has a series of recipes to choose from, so why not make a Shepard’s Pie in honor of Bowie this week?

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Pan de Muerto All Year Long

PandeMuertoShapes

Pan de Muerto!

Mexico FlagWe don’t have any Mexican bakeries near us anymore, unfortunately, so we have to turn to making our own treats for Dia de los Muertos. Key among these is the sweet Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead), with its signature crossed bone pattern and flavors of anise and orange blossom water. Today is All Souls’ Day so there is still time to enjoy this bread – but really – why not make it all year long? Bon Appetit has a new recipe for Pan de Muerto that begs that exact question (plus an instructional video on how to shape the bread). It’s not too late, why not give it a try?

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How to make Venezuelan sticky rolls: Golfeados

VenezuelaThere is nothing better than a pastry and some coffee in the morning – especially freshly made sticky buns! We have been getting more into Venezuelan food recently – and we were delighted to learn about a Venezuelan take on the sticky bun that even includes fresh cheese and a touch of anise flavor – the golfeado. Golfeados are native to the capital city of Venezuela, Caracas, where they are typically topped with a slice of queso de mano cheese. If you know how to make sticky buns you pretty much know how to make golfeados – and if you don’t – it’s not that hard to learn. This version from Miami employs piloncillo, which is called papelón in Venezuela, though versions with cinnamon are common, too. We might try to make some for brunch this weekend to combat the gloomy weather blues.

Golfeado

Golfeado by Juan Miguel Avalos

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A blog we love: Paper Plates

LoseHerWe have to share an awesome blog we came across recently, Paper Plates, which features two of our favorite things: food and books. Written by Chicago-based journalist, Amina Elahi, Paper Pates features recipes inspired by literature (new and old). We are impressed by the breadth of the books featured, the thoughtful reviews and – of course – the sumptuous recipes. We are looking forward to making the stuffed bread inspired by Junot Díaz’ “This is How You Lose Her.”

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A Nutella Round-Up for Nutella Day

NutellaCookie

Happy World Nutella Day! We have written about several Nutella-concept shops throughout the world, and in honor of Nutella Day we wanted to do a little update on a few of these locations. We are sad to report that the Nutellerias  in Germany and Bologna may have closed, while there is a new Nutelleria location in Leiria, Portugal. Additionally, the Nutella concept store in NYC, which we first reported on in Fall 2014, now named Nuteria, has opened one location, and will soon open another [update: they are also being sued by Nutella’s parent company…]. If you are in the mood for some Nutella closer to home, there are certainly a lot of great recipes to tempt you, including these salted dark chocolate Nutella sandwich cookies from Faux Martha (pictured above). Nutella in both the cookie and the filling – seems pretty appropriate for Nutella Day. Or how about a Nutella babka?

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Tourtière for New Years Eve in Quebec

quebec2014 is rapidly coming to a close, which means its time to reflect on the year gone by, drink some champagne and make some holiday food. One of the traditional Christmas season and New Year’s foods in Quebec is the Tourtière, a meat pie that is emblematic of Quebecois, and Canadian, cuisine. Tourtière has been around since the 1600s, and usually consists of ground pork in a pastry crust. The dish has since spread south into New England and into Louisiana with the Acadian communities, where the pie has been adapted over time to suit new locations and tastes. NPR’s the Salt has a brief history and a recipe and Chatelaine has updated the recipe with a new shape.

French-Canadian Tourtiere

French-Canadian Tourtière by Jack Letourneau

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How to Make a Festive Jamaican Sorrel Drink

Jamaican_FlagNeed an alternative holiday drink to eggnog or glögg? How about Sorrel, a spiced hibiscus drink from Jamaica, especially popular at Christmas? Sorrel, as it is called in Jamaica, is very similar to the drink called Jamaica, popular in Mexico. Confused yet? No worries, it’s easy enough to make. To make some proper sorrel you need hibiscus flowers, simmered with some sugar, ginger, pimento berries and spices (and maybe rum). I think we will make up a batch for New Year’s Eve!

Sorrel Drink

Holiday Sorrel Drink by Red Tail Panther

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A Giant Jelly Donut / Sufganiyot Cake for Hanukkah

israelHanukkah starts tomorrow – so it’s about time to start prepping some holiday treats. One Hanukkah treat we detailed in years’ past was sufganiyot, the Israeli jelly doughnut associated with Hanukkah. However this year we can do one better – how about a huge sufganiyot cake? Food 52 has an inspired recipe for the sweet Hanukkah treat that’s perfect for sharing with the whole family.

Sufganiyot cake by Food 52

Sufganiyot cake by Food 52

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Thanksgiving recipes for every state in the US

USA-flagThanksgiving is right around the corner in the US. Have you done your last minute planning and grocery shopping? We haven’t! There’s still time though, and plenty of inspiration out there for some tasty dishes. Though the traditional thanksgiving dinner is usually centered on turkey, you can really go outside the box, especially with sides. The New York Times recently posted a list of recipes, one for each state, inspired by local tastes and ingredients (purportedly). Some of the choices are pretty obvious like venison for Montana, through other choices have attracted some ridicule, like grape salad for Minnesota, which earned a slew of counter-articles. While the selection for pumpkin soup for Illinois is okay, we are personally eyeing the lobster mac n cheese from Maine. Annie’s Eats has a lovely recipe, pictured below, for another lobster mac option. Mac and Cheese itself is pretty all-American, given that its predecessor was first brought to the US by Thomas Jefferson. What do you think about the recipe choice for your state?

Lobster Mac and Cheese

Lobster Mac and Cheese by Annie

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How to make the “Courtesan Au Chocolat” pastry from The Grand Budapest Hotel

If you watched Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel you probably marveled at the extravagant (and significant to the plot) pastries produced by the fictional bakery, Mendl’s. However, even though the bakery is fictional, the pastries are not. This video, done in the the style of the movie, gives you a step-by-step of how to make Mendl’s signature dessert, the three-tiered “Courtesan Au Chocolat” (transcript of the video here). L.V. Anderson at Slate even gave the recipe a spin in real life.

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Day of the Dead / Dia De Los Muertos Recipes from Oaxaca

Mexico FlagDay of the Dead / Dia de Los Muertos always calls to mind the Mexican State of Oaxaca, where the traditions around the holiday are the strongest and most vibrant. The zocolo, or town square, in Oaxaca City is a festive celebration for weeks in advance, and the city’s main cemetery, Xoxocotlan, overflows with locals and visitors from October 31st to November 2nd. Oaxaca is known particularly for its cuisine, which we got of taste of first hand on our visit this summer. Epicurious has a nice menu of Oaxacan favorites including tamales and preserved pumpkin from Zarela Martínez that are perfect for Dia de Los Muertos. And if you really want to go all out, here is recipe for Mole Rojo made by Josefina Ruiz Vazquez in the Oaxacan town of Teotitlan del Valle. Complicated (and delicious) moles such as this are normally saved for special occasions like Dia de Los Muertos.

Food on a Dia de Los Muertos Altar in Oaxaca

Food on a Dia de Los Muertos Altar in Oaxaca by Jen Wilton

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Pumpkin Recipes for Dia de Los Muertos

Papel Picado Pumpkin

Papel Picado Pumpkin by Karen

Pumpkin spice lattes may get all the press this time of year, but pumpkins are also a major ingredient in Mexican recipes for Dia de Los Muertos / Day of the Dead. These pumpkin dishes may be either savory and sweet, and can be almost any part of the menu. If you are looking for some pumpkin flavor for Dia de Los Muertos (though of course you don’t have to stop at pumpkin), here are some great options:

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Sunken Apple Cake for Rosh Hashanah

One of the traditional desserts for Rosh Hashanah is apples and honey, symbolic of sweetness for the coming year. Why not take it one step further with a tasty apple and honey cake popular across Central Europe, Versunkener Apfelkuchen, “sunken apple cake” in German. Smitten Kitchen has a recipe for sunken apple cake, with apples literally sunk into the batter, for a pretty showstopping presentation.

Versunkener Apfelkuchen

Sunken Apple Cake, Versunkener Apfelkuchen, by Gormandise

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Povitica: Eastern European Sweet Bread

SlovenianFlagFlag_of_Croatia.svgWithin the past week, we have come across references to Povitica at least three times, which seems like quite a lot given the fact that until now we had NEVER heard of it at all. Povitica (aka Potica) is a sweet yeasted bread, rolled with fillings like sugar, poppyseeds, nuts and sometimes chocolate. You can see this especially when you get a swirly slice/cross-section of Povitica. It also known in the US simply, a perhaps a little boringly, as “nut roll.”  The name Povitica comes from a Slovenian word, poviti,  meaning “to wrap in,” though the bread or similar varieties are found throughout Central and Eastern Europe, especially in Croatia and Slovenia. Brownie Bites has a recipe for nutty Povitica, and Serious Eats has a recipe for Chocolate and Walnut Povitica, which seems especially delicious.

Povitica

Povitica by Tina Marie

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Reclaiming Ramen

JapanWhen the word “ramen” comes up, your first thought may be of the ten-for-a-dollar deals your local supermarket had on instant ramen in college. However, there is a lot more to it than that, and the traditional preparations of this Japanese soup dish are catching on in the US. Food and Wine has a profile of Ivan Orkin (with recipes) about how he and other chefs are reclaiming ramen’s good name. There are ramen shops popping up all over NYC and Chicago, and Serious Eats Chicago ranked suburban Mount Prospect’s Misoya as the top ramen in the area.

Ramen in Kyoto

Ramen in Kyoto by Claire Yuki

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Desserts in Tiny Cups: Brazilian Doces de Colher

brazilWe have talked before about one of our favorite Brazilian treats: brigadeiros. However, you can also get brigadeiros in another, slightly more liquid form. Known as doces de colher literally “spoon sweets,” these Brazilian treats come in little cups and are meant to be eaten with a spoon. Technicolor kitchen has recipes for some of the most popular spoon sweets: brigadeiro, beijinho and bicho-de-pé. Warning: these are definitely only for those who have a VERY sweet tooth.

Doces de Colher by Biana Bueno

Brigadeiro Doces de Colher by Bianca Bueno

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How to Make Sugar Skulls for Dia de Los Muertos

One of our favorite traditional foods for Dia de los Muertos is the sugar skull, which we have written about previouslyWe usually buy pre-made sugar skulls – and we even got new ones this year personalized with our names in Pilsen. However, we are stepping up our game this year. We picked up sugar skull molds at the Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC last week, and are excited to make sugar skulls of our own for the first time.  Once you have the skull-shaped molds, the process doesn’t seem too daunting. However, the recipe included with the molds called for something called meringue powder, which is nothing we’ve ever heard of. Fortunately, making a recipe with egg whites works just as well, as does a traditional recipe with egg white and cornstarch.

Sugar Skull for Dia de Los Muertos

Sugar Skull for Dia de Los Muertos at the Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC

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Refreshing Agua Fresca Recipes for Hot Weather

Mexico FlagIt may be September, but the thermometer in Chicago is still peaking in the 90s. One of our favorite remedies for a blisteringly hot day in any month is a nice batch of Aguas Frescas. Aguas Frecas (“Fresh Waters” in Spanish) are cold water-based drinks flavored with combinations of fruit, grains, herbs, sugar and spices popular in Mexico and the US. You can find Aguas Frescas sold by street vendors and in many restaurants and bodegas, often in large, iconic glass dispensers. The range of Agua Fresca flavors is almost infinite, but our two favorites are Sandia (Watermelon) and Jamaica (Hibiscus). It won’t be long before everyone is dipping into their hot Pumpkin Spice Lattes, so enjoy the Aguas Frescas while you can. We also think these combinations would make excellent paletas.

Aguas Frescas in San Jose, California

Aguas Frescas in San Jose, California by Lifeofpie

Agua Fresca Recipes:

New spins on the Agua Fresca classics:

Aguas Frescas for sale in Mexico City

Aguas Frescas for sale in Mexico City by Frankenschulz

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