In preparing for my move, I worked on paring down what I needed and what I did not. I went through my closet to determine what clothes I was wearing and what clothes I was not. I looked around my bathroom, and decided what items had outlived their utility. And naturally, I went around my kitchen, searching for redundancies, coordinating with Caitlin to ensure that we did not arrive with two or three of every useful kitchen device.
Beyond these steps, I also worked to use up my food. There was no need to stack my car with bags of flour and sugar. By the same token, there was no sense in throwing away perfectly good butter or eggs. The last few weeks saw a veritable flood of baking and cooking.
Among these items, Continue reading
Cornbread is a so-called quick bread, because it doesn’t contain yeast and doesn’t require any rising or kneading. All of which makes it ready to bake in a flash!
Another great thing about cornbread is that no two recipes need be alike. You can mix and match ingredients as you see fit. Play with the type of cornmeal (coarse or medium), the flour (whole wheat or not), the cheese (cheddar or monterey) and the acid (buttermilk, sour cream, or yogurt). Add corn or jalapeno slices . . . or both . . . or neither.
I made this particular recipe twice, Continue reading
Arepas may be the best dish I’d never heard of.
Arepas (ah-RAY-pahs) are half-inch thick corn cakes that are an absolute staple of Colombian and Venezuelan cuisine, their origins dating back to the original Indian inhabitants of the region.
Arepas are made from masarepa flour, sometimes called arepa harina. Unlike cornmeal, which is made from uncooked, ground corn, masarepa flour is made from precooked (preconcida) ground corn. As a result, you cannot use simple cornmeal to make arepas; you must use masarepa flour. I used Goya-brand yellow masarepa flour that I found at a Hispanic grocery store. Since then, though, I found that even the local Kroger carries PAN-brand white masarepa flour in its international section.
The beauty of arepas lies in their simplicity and adaptability. Arepas are Continue reading
When I first started my blog, my goals were modest to say the least. I hoped a few dozen people would visit my blog each day. I hoped my blog could be featured within the first few pages of a Google search. And above all, I hoped that someone I didn’t already know might leave an encouraging comment.
I’ve met each of my first two goals. According to the blog administrator, my blog receives over a hundred page views each day. The administrator also lists the search terms and hyperlinks that direct these individuals to the pages within my blog. When I keyed some of these terms into Google, sure enough, there was my blog – and on the first page no less!
I’ve also met my third goal – and in exciting fashion. For many months now, Continue reading
When Caitlin and I were in Santa Fe, several of the restaurants offered a bowl of posole as we waited.
Posole is a thick soup or stew, made from nixtamalized corn (corn that has been treated or soaked with lime and water, or calcium hydroxide). The nixtamalizing process improves the flavor and aroma of the corn, increases its nutritional value, and makes the corn easier to grind. Nixtamalized corn is also referred to as hominy. You may be able to find it in a local grocery store, though I went to a special Latin American grocery store to find mine. (where it was called pozole). It’s also available online.
Because corn was a sacred plant Continue reading
A few weeks back, Caitlin and I went to Santa Fe for her Spring Break.
Driving into Santa Fe, we were greeted by breathtaking scenery, snow-capped mountains rising in the distance, with parched tracts of desert-land and spotted cacti dotting the roadside. The city itself encapsulated this sense of beauty and wonder. The entire city burst with color. Every building in Santa Fe was built in the adobe style, and the pink hues created a stark contrast with the cloudless blue sky. Dragon-red chili peppers hung from nearly every veranda, tempting both your visual and olfactory senses. The city teemed with art – from the Georgia O’Keefe Museum to the record number of galleries to the Native American artists selling their craft in the open-air downtown square.
The cuisine was yet another form of art available in Santa Fe. New Mexico is justifiably famous Continue reading
Despite its relative utility, chemistry never held much sway. Instead of chemical compounds and balanced equations, I preferred studying the subjunctive tense for être and avoir, or drawing the shape of parabolic curves, or studying the machinations of medieval European princes. Even looking at plant cells seemed more interesting than mixing chemicals.
Admittedly, some of my classmates saw things differently. Walk into a French, Algebra, or History classroom, and the setting is sedate and similar: rows of desks, facing a blackboard. Walk into a chemistry classroom, and the mood is one of potential and excitement: Bunsen burners, microscopes, lab coats, test tubes, fire extinguishers, and an emergency chemical-bath. As one of the Chemistry teachers liked to boast, “You can’t die in English class.”
And yet, all I could muster up was a stifled yawn. Chemistry Continue reading
In addition to cranberry sauce, cornbread and turkey just seem like one of those perfect pairings.
Cornbread is a so-called quick bread, because it doesn’t contain yeast, and doesn’t require any rising or kneading. These traits make it perfect for Thanksgiving, when the number of dishes and burners going at once can be overwhelming. Beyond being quick and easy to prepare, its hearty, yet uncomplicated – requiring basic pantry staples.
Another advantage to cornbread is its adaptability. Cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt are a given, but beyond that, Continue reading