An End to this Experiment – I’m Moving!

Hello dear readers,

I tried using wordpress but I missed blogger. So back I go to my old address. If you wish to continue reading, you can find me at From Kirsten’s Kitchen to Yours.

Happy trails!

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Castilian Almond Soup

Castilian Almond Soup (from The Taste of Spain Cookbook) 

1/2 lb almonds (maracona if possible)
1 clove garlic, whole
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
8 slices multigrain bread, stale
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin, ground
1/2 teaspoon saffron
2 pints stock
1/2 cup milk

Fry almonds, garlic, parsley and four slices of the bread in 1/3 cup of olive oil until golden. Remove to blender and puree with cumin, saffron and 2 tablespoons of stock. Pour into sauce pan and return to stove top and add remaining stock and milk and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Fry remaining bread slices in olive oil until golden and crisp. Turn soup up to boil and add bread slices. Cover, remove from heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving. Season with salt and pepper and serve.


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Bean and Chile Pupusas

I lived in Washington, D.C. for six years, three of which were in Mount Pleasant, a small neighborhood home to many of the Central American political refugees who arrived in the nation’s Capitol in the early 1980s. True of many recent immigrant communities, they simply recreated their culture where they landed. Although Mount Pleasant street is only about eight blocks long, stepping onto it off of Columbia Road was like walking into a Latin American country. Latino men sat along the sidewalks all hours of the day, discussing anyone passing by, the weather, politics, or whatever took their fancy. In the little square towards the north end of the street it was not unusual to hear a trio or quartet playing guitar and singing traditional songs from whatever homeland from which they were estranged. Bodegas and restaurants doted the street and fresh fruit vendors hawked cut papayas, pineapple and mangos throughout the seasons. It was on this street that I first ate pupusas.

Quintessential street food, pupusas are little pockets of masa wrapped around refried beans and cheese or slow cooked pork, fried golden and crispy. Masa is the lime-cooked cornmeal that is the staple of so many latino cuisines, central to making tamales and fresh made corn tortillas. And trust me when I tell you nothing compares to homemade. Having purchased some masa recently I decided to try my hand at making my own.

I tried the traditional stuffing of refried beans since there were some leftovers from my recent batch of tostadas which were sensational. But another love that is still going strong is roasting peppers and using them in various incarnations, traditional and non. With two extremely large jalapenos waiting in the crisper bin I decided to roast them and use them for pupusas filling. Genius! Just enough spice to wake up my taste buds coupled with some cheese and my dinner and tomorrow’s lunch were made.

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Refried Bean Tostadas

I have met people who will not eat Mexican food because they claim it’s too messy. While that sounds like a silly reason for refusing a whole cuisine, I have to agree that tostadas certainly are a case in point: pile a fried corn tortilla high with beans, salsa, avocado, onions, cilantro and whatever else you fancy and take a bite. Pretty much guaranteed that something will not make it into your mouth!

But for me that is all the fun. First you get a taste of this open-faced delight and as some parts fall onto your plate you get to scoop up some more with your fork or a fried corn chip, reminding you of just how fun this meal is.

An additional bonus is that this can be a pantry meal – canned beans, salsa, guacamole – and that makes dinner super fast. On the other hand, with a bit of planning you can make your own homemade refried beans and feel pretty satisfied with your Mexican cooking know-how.

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Chipotle Kale Pasta

What do you make when hunger hits you over the head and you are too lazy to go any further than your pantry? For me pasta is almost always the answer.

For this quick pantry dish I fished out some locally smoked jalapenos AKA chipotles, rehydrated them and sauteed them with a healthy dose of garlic and kale. The smokiness of the peppers was soothingly comforting on a chilly night and the heat – yup, they’re still jalapenos! – warmed my bones on a deeper level.

I had some whole wheat spaghetti that needed to be used, so it was the pasta companion. But shells or rotini might have been better suited to catch the kale and chipotles and capture them into perfect bites on your fork.

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Posted in Pasta, Presto Pasta Night, Quick, Spicy, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Soy-rizo – Vegan Chorizo

Have you ever made a dish that you haven’t made in ages but you remember as the most amazing food ever, only to find that time has not been kind and that your memories are much rosier than reality?

Not the case here!

This Soyrizo (soy chorizo) was one of my favorites years ago and when I made it again recently I feel in love all over again. Big happy sigh…I love it when that happens!

From The Best 125 Meatless Mexican Dishes, it is simple and almost a pantry dish, as long as you have dried ancho peppers in your pantry. After trying this, you will make it a point to never be without them! Ancho peppers are dried and smoked poblano peppers, dark red with a smoky flavor and just a bit of heat, they are the heart of this dish. You can find them in any latino grocery store or good spice store like Penzey’s Spices.

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Maple Buttermilk Pie

Buttermilk waiting to be used up in the fridge?       Check.

Maple syrup looking a tad old?                         Check.

Easy as pie recipe?                                  Check.

Enter Maple Buttermilk Pie from 101 Cookbooks. So simple, so delicious, and if you bought the crust, a snap to make!

Of course being the DIY Queen that I am, the crust was homemade, and vegan at that! Chocolate and Zucchini featured a olive oil crust a while back and I have been waiting for the perfect time to make it. Ok, really, I have been putting it off, but when I finally did get around to it, I was sold! Really easy, so much less fat than a butter crust, and it is good both with a savory tart as well as this sweet treat. I am launching a new blog entitled “DIY Queen” to chronicle all of my DIY adventures, including this crust. Stay tuned to this space for the release date.

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Refried Bean Enchiladas

During my adventurous cooking years – that would be my 7 years of poverty as a grad student – homemade refried beans were a staple. Once I discovered a recipe in New Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant, I was hooked. Their secret ingredient was soy sauce and it just makes them sing! Cooking up a batch of dried beans always makes me smug – pennies for such good food – and I love the smell of beans simmering on the stove. It has been a while since I made them and so when I had a hankering for bean enchiladas it reminded me that it was time to make a batch.

Being the DIYer I am, I also made the enchilada sauce, which was simple and shockingly easy. Pulling a few items from the pantry – tomato paste, chipotle in adobo (homemade sitting the frig) and some spices, I whipped up a delicious sauce in no time. My motto is why buy it when you can make it! I just have such a hard time spending money for someone else’s labor. Of course, I just love the satisfaction of making it myself, so don’t let me peculiarities get the way, buy sauce if you like!

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Rosemary and Juniper Brined Pork Chops

Growing up, pork chops were in the regular rotation of my mother’s go-to meals. They were definitely one of my favorites but I have no idea how she made them or why they were so good (she doesn’t remember doing anything particularly special…it’s a mystery!) But as I began eating meat again 3 years ago after a 15 year hiatus, today’s pork chops were not meeting the rosy memories of my childhood. Until I discovered brine and marinades.

Pork may be the other white meat, but like the original white meat it generally needs some doctoring to boost its flavor. Marinades can provide lots of flavor like my  Miracle Marinade but I was looking for a more porkier tasting chop. That’s where brine comes to the rescue. A simple brine of salt water and a few herbs ensures that your chop stays moist when you cook it and highlights the pork flavor. Delicious!

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Kale and Slow Roasted Tomato Fusili

Someone on the Food Network has a show that is all about “five ingredients or less.” While I”m a fan of short and easy recipes, there are plenty of dishes that are well worth the intimidation factor when it comes to a long list of ingredients. Fortunately for those who want short and sweet, this is the dish for you.

This was another quick and easy meal that uses the Slow-Roasted Tomatoes that I stashed in the freezer – thanks again to Eve of Garden of Eating for turning me on to this method. Of course sun-dried tomatoes would make a decent substitute, as long as they are well rehydrated. But the slow roasted tomatoes are just this side of dried, still soft and slightly plump but with that sweetness that sun-dried ones have. Preserved lemon adds some zip and zing but again is not necessary; substitute some fresh lemon zest after tossing all of the ingredients and you will get the same effect.

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Posted in Entree, Pasta, Presto Pasta Night, Quick, Vegan | 3 Comments