Pupusas are El Salvadorian stuffed corn cakes served with curtido. This pupusa recipe, you see pictured, has them filled with melty cheese, pickled jalapeño and roasted squash, but the sky is the limit!
Today I am doing the very difficult and labor-intensive work to tell you How to Build a Fall/Winter Cheese Board!
I’m not trying to brag but I have been invited to two holiday parties already and we haven’t the true Holiday season. This is going to be a very fun time for me! I’m excited. My neighborhood is very into the holiday spirit; each and every single house on the block already has lights up. In order to fit in with the Jones’, we spent the weekend trying to get our lives together, i.e., getting rid of the squirrel-eaten pumpkins.
Let’s dive in:
– Pick your cheeses: Harvarti, Gouda, Alpine (gruyére) – I cubed up Havarti and Gouda for easy consumption. I am all for keeping cheese in their wedge-form but it’s also great to cube up easy-to-eat cheese like these. This way people can use a toothpick and keep it moving.
My mama is one of the healthiest people I know. In fact, she’s the one who inspired me to start working out regularly and eating a wee bit healthier. She eats the cleanest diet known to man and works out almost everyday. She loves Zumba, which means she knows more Pitbull and Drake songs than I do!
I figured I’d skip the perfume this year (though this scent subscription box thingy sounds awesome!) and give her something that is half homemade, half purchased and super cute. Enter: Breakfast In a Box!
Mailing food can be tough so I opted to go with this grain-free granola. Right after I made my first batch, I freaked out because I loved it so much and called my mom. She loooves granola, so I made some to include in this basket.
The granola was enough to fill this Weck Jar. As for the label, I took a piece of an index card, painted on a messy circle with some watercolors, waited for it to dry and wrote “Grain-less Granola.” Couldn’t be easier. I swear watercolors are my jam.
To secure it I sprayed it with a spray adhesive (my favorite thing ever) but some double-stick scotch tape would do the trick too!
I found this very local honey called Buzzed Honeys and included a jar so my mom can pour a little on top of her granola that she’ll probably eat with cold almond milk. (I know her well!)
I also figured she’d need a cute linen to wipe her mouth with. I picked this one up from Anthropologie.
Josh recently bought this bag of coffee from Bows and Arrows and I was stoked to see that it was from Peru. This was actually the first time I’ve tried Peruvian coffee. Since my mom is Peruvian, I thought it would be fitting to buy her a bag.
Another hobby my mom and I share is ceramics. She took it for years and when I’d call her with my gripes about not being able to center, trim properly, etc., she’d always give me a few tips and pointers that really helped. I buy her fancy ceramics sometimes because I know she loves it so.
I’ve been eyeing Ben Medansky’s ceramics for a very loooong time. I think this pink ceramic mug is pretty cute and perfect for Mother’s Day.
It’s actually so cute that I wish I could keep it for myself.
And since my mom is the cutest (yours is too), I included a little card from Ashkan.
What I love about this basket is that you can make it your own. I splurged a bit but you can definitely find a super cute mug that costs less, coffee from your local coffee shop and good-quality honey from the grocery store. I say make it your own, think about what your mama loves to eat for breakfast. I hope she likes it. I think she will.
(And here’s last year’s Mother’s Day post. My mama really is the best.)
Wooden crate (The one pictured was purchased from Michael’s)
Weck 26-ounce Jar
“You’re Cute” Cards
Ben Medansky Mug
Jar of Buzzed Honey
Pretty succulent in a pot I painted
Bows and Arrows Coffee
Basket stuffed with raffia (and then I lined with a piece of linen I had)
Pie is my love language. And this week I’ll be serenading you with butter and caramel and fruit. It’s PIE WEEK!
Each day I’ll be bringing you a new pie. Some will be classics with small twists; other’s will be new-to-me (and you, hopefully) combinations.
Thanksgiving is next week and if you’ve worked it right, you’ve got the savory stuff down. You have your turkey reserved and situated. Dessert, though, might still be up in the air. If so, I urge you to make a lil’ pie. What’s great is that all of these pies can be made the night before and then served the next day. They all keep well.
I’ll admit that the first time I made pie, years ago, it was a complete disaster. I blame myself for being a terrible reader of instructions AND pies aren’t “easy as pie.” (That might be the most inaccurate, idiotic idiom I’ve ever heard.)
Pie has its challenges, though it’s definitely not impossible. Hopefully these tips and photos will help make you successful at da pie-a-makin’.
INGREDIENTS: Freeze your butter. Start with frozen butter. I generally freeze the butter for about an hour or so prior to starting.
Step 1: Possible obvious advice: Careful when measuring out your dry ingredients. I always weigh out my dry ingredients (because I actually find it easier than dirtying up cup measures). If you do use cup measures, make sure to fluff the flour, scoop it and then level it off with a butter knife.
Step 2: Use a box grater to cut up the butter. I find this WAY easier than breaking it up using a pastry cutter. Just shred the frozen butter atop the mixed dry ingredients. The end goal when making pie dough is to get the butter to resemble pea-sized bits; well, if you use a box grater, you’re already there. This makes it so you handle the flour mixture less, which will result in a tender pie crust.
Step 3: The key to good pie crust is everything should be cold, cold, COLD! This includes the water. I usually drop a few ice cubes into the water so the water is chilly.
Step 4: I usually add about 50% of the water I need to the dry ingredients, mix it together, AND then add more water a tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together. Knead the dough a good ten times and form it into one cohesive ball. If it’s a bit shaggy, no biggie. When the dough rests in the fridge, the moisture will disburse throughout.
Step 5: This is a double-crust, so I slice it in half and reshape the dough into two discs. You should see the butter striated throughout the dough, creating layers of butter and flour.
Step 6: Let the dough rest. Resting the dough for an hour usually does the trick, but ideally it should be kept overnight. Have you ever had problems with your pie crust shrinking in the oven? This usually happens because there’s too much water in the dough and/or the gluten in the flour hasn’t had enough time to relax. Overnight is always better.
Step 7: Have you ever started rolling, only to find out the pie dough starts to crack on you?! Very frustrating. Allow the dough to sit on a floured work surface for about 10 minutes. This way it’ll shake off its chill, making it easier to roll out.
Step 8: Flour everything. Everything!! Press your rolling pin and roll outward. Give it one push, then rotate the disc a quarter turn, and repeat the process until the pie dough has reached about a 13-inch circle. Keep flouring, too. If the dough seems like it’s sticking to your counter, lift it and sprinkle a little flour underneath.
Step 9: The transfer. I like to do it grandma style by rolling the dough onto the rolling pin and then laying it over my pie pan. Some people like to fold it like a business letter and then transfer it. Both work fine.
Step 10: Trim the dough, leaving about a 1/2-inch overhang. There will be a bit of shrinkage, so just prepare for it.
Step 11: Crimp, if you like! Or braid it. You can also take a fork and create little indentations. Place the pie pan in the freezer for 20 minutes. This is also a good time to preheat your oven. If you’re filling it with fruit, do it post-freezer trip.
Here’s what I like and why.
1. Pie Pan – Glass. I like this Pyrex one. I love vintage-y pie pans I find at yard sales, but they heat unevenly and get way too hot. I like that the Pyrex ones are inexpensive and see-through so I can see how the crust is doing.
3. Box grater. See above for my long-winded, very passionate reason why I use a box grater! Another thing that would work is a food processor with the cheese grater attachment. But do we really want to clean a food processor? Not really.
Let’s make some pasta! I was pretty excited to learn how to make chocolate pasta. I came home with a few tricks that I’d like to share because I’m an over sharer and I like you.
I’ve made pasta in the past by just rolling the dough using a rolling pin, so I know it can be done, but your arm might fall off. A pasta maker makes life sooo much easier. I used this one.
The pasta begins with mixing caputo flour, cocoa powder and salt. I’d like to discuss flours for a second. Caputo flour is finer in grind compared to all-purpose. It’s actually kind of similar to cake flour in its consistency, though its protein level (about 10-12%) is similar to all-purpose flour. And since it’s made of durum wheat, it means you’ll end up with a strong pasta that isn’t very elastic-like. It’s worth seeking out for this pasta, but if you can’t find caputo flour, all-purpose will work.