I’m so excited and am really trying to get back in the swing of things. Being away for seven days in the height of cozy season is HARD. I have a bunch of work to catch up on and I’m oddly excited to dig in. I’m also super pumped about figuring out the last details for the kitchen. It’s coming along slowly but surely!
I’m posting another kitchen update soon because it’s been a super interesting learning experience for me. I’ve never gone through a renovation and it’s mostly been kinda fun? Is that a weird thing to say?
While we were in Italy, the dry wall was finished and the floors are currently being laid and finished. I think so far my least favorite part has been all the dust/dry wall. But honestly, it’s been pretty cool. I’ve been ok with the slower pace because I want us to make the right decisions. Anyway, I’ll talk more about that tomorrow!
I’m currently in Milan, eating SO much pasta and feeling so very full. I have a feeling that I might have to go on a bit of a pasta-cleanse upon my return. I also see lots of running with Amelia in my near future and I’m genuinely excited about it. I can’t wait to tell you more about my trip but right now I’m currently staring at these scones, hoping you have time this weekend to make them because they are so good.
This fall, I want earl grey everything. Fun fact is that my favorite tea to drink during the day is definitely earl grey tea. I love it with a splash of almond milk—it’s too good.
I wanted this recipe to be inspired by a big ol’ cup of tea and I think I did that. Even though it kinda doesn’t taste like so definitely eat it accompanied by a warm mug of tea.
For this almuerzo, Western Union engaged me to participate in their “On the Map with Western Union” program where they are exploring the inspiration and innovation that different heritages inspire. Western Union asked me to share my story about how my upbringing has influenced my cooking and how their mobile app is a super easy way to send money to different parts of the world. This almuerzo is going to focus on my heritage, stay tuned for more on the mobile app and how easy it is to use!
The first food I ever learned how to cook was Peruvian food. My mom is from Peru, a country I grew up learning about through her. My mom would play old Peruvian boleros (ballads) by Luchas Reyes (she’s like our Celia Cruz) while she’d simmer chicha on the stove and sing along and sometimes cry because her music is just so beautiful.
I remember having friends over and having to explain to them that the drink was made from purple corn. LOL. The looks I’d get! But they’d all love it because it’s a drink that is flavorful and perfectly spiced and just delicious.
My mom was a young mom and literally the only dishes she knew how to make (minus a chicken broccoli casserole she learned from a back of a soup can!) were all Peruvian. I now realize that the flavors of Peru absolutely shaped my palate.
If you’ve had Peruvian food, you know that it’s very spicy. My mom always cooked with heat. I was like 5 years old eating dishes with ají amarillo—which are bright yellow Peruvian peppers that are VERY spicy—in them. Peruvians put them in everything from sauces to soups to pastes. Ají amarillo paste sits on nearly every Peruvian table and is used as a condiment—it’s SO good.
And a lot of Peruvian food is very acidic (see: ceviche and causa). It’s food that has a lot of flavor and balance and pulls influences from Asia (there are a lot of Asians living in Peru), Africa and Spain, all while using indigenous, Peruvian ingredients.
Even now, in dishes that aren’t Peruvian, I find myself making sure that acidity is very prominent and always, always adding some form of heat. I love adding a dollop of ají amarillo to everything from salad dressings to marinades for chicken or fish (not traditional at all but such a good move!).
My mama was in town for a few weeks and I took advantage of having her here to make a little almuerzo (lunch). Growing up, Sunday almuerzo happened nearly every week and it was a big deal. There was cooking ALL day long and it was my favorite.
My mom and I tried to recreate a bit of that Sunday almuerzo nostalgia with this lunch. We made lomo saltado but veggie (she no longer eats meat); there was papa a la huancaína (my favorite!); pie de limón which looks like a normal lime/lemon pie but is so unique in texture and ease; and lastly, my mom’s chicha.
Today I’m sharing with you two recipes, one for pie de limón (my mama’s favorite!) and chicha (recipe straight from her).
The pie de limón is unlike a lot of other lemon pies. Traditionally this calls for Peruvian lemons which are much smaller than American lemons and are super acidic. So I made do and combined limes and lemons. We always did this growing up. Similar to how I add both limes and lemons to make the pie de limon, if we couldn’t find Peruvian peppers, we’d use jalapeños or habaneros as a substitute. The filling is super easy because it’s not a ton of ingredients and there’s no tempering the custard. The texture is SOOOO good.
This summer, I’ve made only sheet cakes and zero pies. I have no idea what’s gotten into me. I think I’m reserving my pie muscles for fall. I also think I’ve been super lazy (and really busy) this summer, and I haven’t had time to sit and braid pie dough for hours and hours. I’ve been into more quick and easy recipes with big payoff. Like sheet cakes…and this upside-down cake.
Upside down cakes are underutilized in my very humble opinion. For this post, I teamed up with ALDI, where I go for all of my baking needs. When you go there, be sure to stock up on all the high-quality flour and sugar and brown sugar that will fit into your cart. I always do (I get bags and bags of stuff), and I always use it. Click here to find the closest ALDI to you!
So I’m proably the last person on earth who is now watching The Good Wife but let me tell you, it’s pretty good!
I’m very into the whole situation where the wife isn’t all that “good” and divorces her husband because he sucks. I think that’s a great bang to begin a series with, to be honest. Who knows where it will go because I’m literally only on episode 3 but we shall see!
Another thing I’m very into right now are fluffy pancakes that taste like cornbread, speckled with little blueberries. GAH. Brunch dreams right now.
Let me tell you truly fluffy pancakes are a little hard to achieve. If you add too much leavening then you end up with fluffy pancakes that then fall. You want just the right amount of baking powder to liquid.
The ratios are really important! I think I got the perfect ones in this recipe. The pancakes taste like cornbread with honey and the blueberries are so deliciously sweet and tart. I’m going to miss them dearly come the end of summer.
I’m going through a walnut phase (which, I’ll admit, is a strange thing to say). I put them in everything. Smoothies, salads, cakes…everything.
I like ‘em because they’re soft and they really result in the most delicious, softest streusel ever.
I bought way too many peaches the other day because I have this bad habit of going to the grocery store hungry and then end up spending like a million dollars on groceries because I want to eat everything!
I needed to do something with this surplus of peaches and figured a lil’ cake that I can snack on would be just perfect.
I baked in this sorta fancy, Italian loaf pan I’d purchased but it kinda overflowed so definitely bake it in a bundt pan or round 9-inch square or round pan. Both will work great with zero overflow, zero oven drama.
Ayyyyeee! Last week I was sort of barely here on da blog and on social (even tho I’m always on the insta stories). I’ve been planning a fun lil’ thing that I’m excited to share with you. Hint: I can cook in it and I’m gonna make it look as pretty and functional as possible! MORE SOON!
In the meantime, I have a ton of new-to-you summer recipes to share. The past few weeks have been filled with lots of cooking and I took all of your suggestions into account.
You all asked for easy and sort of healthy weeknight dinners AND you asked for some desserts using blueberries, pies (coming soon!) and more cakes (you speakin’ my language).
This obviously falls into the blueberry category and not the healthy, weeknight dinner.
A few Saturdays ago, I flew up to Maryland (from Florida when I was visiting my mama) to visit Holterholm Farms, an Organic Valley co-op farm. They wanted to show me around to meet their cows and see how their dairy is produced.
I have never had a friendship with a cow but from the few farms I’ve visited prior to this, I knew that cows have strong personalities, much like dogs. The cows on this particular farm are Jersey cows and they are so beautiful, with the longest eyelashes and funniest expressions. A few of them kinda reminded me of Amelia because she is equally as expressive and dramatic.
The eighty or so cows that live on this farm, roam and eat ONLY grass and are milked twice a day. They’re moved every single day to ensure that each day they’re eating new, freshly grown grass. I wanted to hang out with them for hours and hours; my city-slicker self could totally see farm life as the best life.
When I was on the farm and I tasted the milk and cream, I instantly knew I wanted to take advantage of their 100% grass-fed milk by putting it into a dough. I knew it would make any dough-like thing even better, even softer.
These funfetti cinnamon rolls are the softest! Have you ever had a crunchy, not soft cinnamon roll? They’re not great. And usually, I judge a cinnamon roll on how soft the center is. The edges can be crispy because sometimes they’re touching a baking dish and what-not but the center? It’s gotta be soft and gooey.
The one thing I love to do with cinnamon rolls is add orange juice to the mix; it cuts the richness just a bit and adds a nice freshness and tartness to the dough.
These cinnamon rolls are laced with naturally colored sprinkles and topped with a a delicious, tart, vanilla-spiked glaze that is BOMB.
If you want to make them “overnight” rolls, which I highly recommend, you can do the following:
1. Make the dough the night before, let them rise their 1 hour, and then stick them in the fridge.
2. Make the filling, cover the bowl and leave butter on the counter overnight so it’s soft the next morning.
3. Make the glaze and stick it in the fridge.
Fun work always includes cooking. And people. And music blaring. Fun work is equally as exhausting as lame work but way more satisfying and fulfilling.
I’m ok with my feet hurting if the work I’m doing is fun.
Lame work is the annoying, petty shit I have to do to keep my stuff together like taxes and emails and paperwork and organizational things. I love for things to be organized but I’m not the best at keeping them that way. I’m bad at the maintenance part. That is for another post but I’m hopefully going to put some systems into place so I don’t have my prop closet overflowing with stuff.
Over the weekend, I shot a little Memorial Day content for you all, coming at the end of this week! And I shot some bomb cinnamon rolls that at first did not want to participate in this thing called life but I finally got the filling right…thank you, cinnamon roll gods!
I know that Memorial Day is this weekend and we’re supposed to be about that bbq-life and we are! So please consider this the breakfast thing you should eat before ribs.
My autocorrect likes to change “leches” (aka “milks”) to leeches. VERY DIFFERENT, OK. Leeches also remind me of that gross scene in “Stand By Me” when all the boys decide to go swimming in the pond and then…EW.
These are the opposite of those. I should’ve never even mentioned my autocorrect…because I’ve sort of grossed myself out. SO MOVING ON.
I’m currently on a flight to the east coast for a fun-filled weekend where I run around with my head cut off and (hopefully) pet some farm animals and hang out with my mamí and abuelita. Ideally, there will be baby farm animals. We shall see.
I’ve been trying to make these waffles for a while and finally did it! They’ve been on that list to-make for long long time. I love anything tres leches but I’m pretty certain that in order to “tres leches” something, you really need to make sure that it can stand up to liquid. The point is for it not to be soggy.
My typical go-to crispy Belgian-style waffles wouldn’t stand-up to the extra sauce. (I’ll share those one day!)
So I needed to find something that was thicker and tougher (not in a bad way!). I think I found it with this Leige-style waffle. Josh had been testing waffles a lot and he really loved this recipe from The Kitchn.