If there is one food that means summer to me, it is a tomato sandwich. My Mom used to make me this sandwich almost everyday in the summer because its all I ever wanted to eat. Luckily for her, it is the easiest and cheapest sandwich to make in the whole world. I can’t wait until native tomatoes start growing around here, that is when this sandwich is really the best!
Three ingredients: Bread, Mayo and Tomatoes. (I added basil to this one)
Toast 2 slices of bread. Slice tomato into 1/4 inch slices. Put about a 1 tsp of mayo on each half of bread. Layer tomatoes in between.
Ensaladilla Rusa was one of my favorite tapas when I was in Spain. Almost every culture around the world has developed their own version of this russian salad, but the original salad originated in Russia. I made the mayonnaise homemade but you can use store bought. The recipe is similar to potato salad, it just has some extra ingredients such as tuna, carrot and peas and it is usually served on little crostinis. You will find this salad served all throughout Spain. My American were telling me to go easy on the mayo but my Spanish instincts were telling me to add more. I went for somewhere in the middle.
4 potatoes, peeled, diced and boiled until fork tender
4 carrots, diced large, boiled until fork tender
1 c. frozen peas, cooked
2 cans tuna, drained
1 c. Mayonnaise, more or less depending on what you like
1 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper
Stir all of the ingredients together and refrigerate until cold. Serve on little crostinis.
An easy, elegant, inexpensive soup that I make all the time, the key is a hint of orange zest. On a lazy Sunday, I usually take to cooking all day so that I can have meals ready for the whole week since I don’t actually have time during the week. I peel potatoes while rocking out to some Indie music and picture myself cooking in “Chopped”. Yep, Sundays are my favorite day of the week.
- 5 sweet potatoes, roughly diced
- 3 stick of celery, diced
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 leek, thinly sliced
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 tsp orange zest
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 tbsp heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
In a saucepan, cook the onions, garlic, leek, and celery in the 3 tbsp of oil until onions are opaque and getting soft. Add in the sweet potatoes, orange zest and broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to simmer and simmer until potatoes are tender, about a half hour.
Blend soup in a blender in two batches and return to a boil. Add in the maple syrup, cinnamon stick and cayenne pepper. Bring down to a simmer and simmer on low for about 10 minutes. Add in heavy cream. Stir and check for salt and pepper. It should need around 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Lovely!
This is a quick, easy, healthy vegetarian recipe that I make all the time when I have zucchinis around. Zucchinis are native to Latin America and were first cultivated around 10,000 years ago. They were part of the traditional diet of the Incas which was based on maize, beans and squashes. This recipe is a very traditional Mexican recipe that is easy, delicious and also inexpensive. This recipe comes from a cookbook that my boyfriend’s mother gave me that is all in Spanish and was printed in Mexico. I have changed the recipe around from the original just to match what I already had in the refrigerator.
Prep time: 15 minutes, Cook time: 30 minutes. Serves 4
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 4 zucchinis, cut into small squares
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 5 c. water
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp salt
In a large sauce pan or dutch oven, combine onion, carrot and celery in 1 tbsp olive oil. Cook for about 10 minutes until soft.
Meanwhile, add the tomato, garlic and 1 tbsp olive oil to the blender.
Blend until smooth and until it has turned a pretty pink color.
Add the zucchini to the rest of the vegetables in the pan and cook for 2 -3 minutes.
Add the tomato and garlic mixture to the pan.
Add in the water right after and bring to boil.
Let boil for 5 minutes and then add in the spices and salt. Reduce to simmer and let simmer for a half hour or until the vegetables are soft.
Serve with raw diced onion, cilantro and some shredded cheese or queso fresco if available!
Recipe and Resources:
Dolores, Myriam y De Luna Alonso, Oscar. La Cocina Mexicana Orientacion. Mexico DF 1989.
Lamb, cardamom, lentils and potatoes, what could be better? What you see on this plate is potatoes with cabbage on the left hand side, lentils in the back, lamb on the right side and yogurt. All of these portions are served on a piece of Injera bread, which is very typical to Ethiopia. You are supposed to use the bread as a utensil to eat your food with (which I did)!
The clarified butter (or ghee) that I made that was used in every dish and really made these dishes exceptionally flavorful! The lamb was also slow cooked and I also bought a very good quality boneless lamb leg from my local butcher. My father can be picky about lamb and he said he couldn’t even taste the game-y flavor at all. I got most of these recipes from one of my favorite cookbooks, “The Frugal Gourmet on Our Immigrant Ancestors” by Jeff Smith but I did change things around to suit my own tastes and what I had on hand.
Next time I make this recipe, I will start 3 days in advance to make the Injera bread. The bread recipe that I used called for whole wheat flour, water and club soda, but it just did not have the sourness that the Injera bread is supposed to have. Also, the bread is supposed to be made from teff flour, so I will be on a mission to find that next time as well. The recipe I will use next time will be a combination of both teff flour and whole flour mixed with water and left to ferment for 3 days. The dough will then be bubbly and sour, which is essential for this type of bread. Almost all grains were soaked and fermented until recently as this was believed to make the grains digestible. That is why almost all cultures have some type of soaked, fermented sourdough bread. Soaking grains reduces the phytic acid that is found in grains and can increase your ability to absorb iron. Wheat is the most important grain to soak but even cultures in Latin America had been soaking their corn for hundreds of years before the industrial age. In essence, it’s always a good idea to soak your grains if you have time, and I think its fun to watch food change overnight.
The first integral element to Ethiopian food is Spiced butter, which is essentially just clarified butter mixed with spices.
Ingredients for Spiced Butter*
- 3 tsp. grated fresh ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/8 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 4 sticks of butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- Cheesecloth for straining
Set 4 sticks of butter in saucepan to a light boil. Once butter is completely melted, reduce to simmer and add in all of the spices and other ingredients. Let cook for around 45 minutes and your should see the the milk solids separate from the butter. Strain through cheesecloth to catch all of the spices and the milk solids. What is left is called clarified butter and will last for 3 months. Pour into a mason jar and refrigerate (Can be refrigerated for up to 3 months). Since this butter no longer contains the milk solids, it will not spoil as fast which is important in hot climates.
The next essential element to make is called Berbere Sauce, which is a spicy Ethiopian sauce that is used in many dishes.
- 2 tsp whole cumin seeds
- 1 tsp cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 10 dried chile de arbol chiles, seeds removed
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 light olive oil or canola oil
- 1/2 c. red wine
- 1 boneless leg of lamb cut into small 1 inch cubes
- 3 peeled and thinly sliced onions
- 1/2 c. spiced butter
- 1/4 c. Berbere Sauce
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 red wine
- 1 c. water
- salt to taste
Cut the lamb into 1 inch chucks and get your dutch oven ready with 1 tbsp spiced butter. Bring the pan to medium high and add in the lamb in a few batches as you do not want to crowd the pan! If the pan is crowded, the lamb will steam and not brown. Here is the nicely browned lamb below!
Remove lamb from the pan and add in onions with a little more from the 1/2 c. spiced butter. Cook for 10 minutes stirring frequently.
Add the lamb back in and add the rest of the butter plus all of the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for around an hour and the lamb will be really tender. Add in some salt to taste if it needs it.
Ingredients for Ethiopian Potatoes with Cabbage
- 4 potatoes, peeled and cut into large wedges, sprinkled with salt and pepper
- 1 bag shredded cabbage, or shred it yourself
- 1 c. canola oil (for frying the potatoes)
- 2 onions, diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
- 1 tsp garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 1 c. water
- 2 cups lentils
- 6 cups water
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 onions, diced
- 1/4 c. spiced butter
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp Berbere Sauce
* Recipes provided by the Frugal Gourmet On Our Immigrant Ancestors. Jeff Smith. William Morrow and Company Inc. New York 1990.
I saw these cookies here and decided to make them for the super bowl! They are peanut butter cookies on the top and bottom and a brownie in the middle. I made the”ketchup” out of red icing and i made some lettuce out of shredded coconut with green food dye. The sesame seeds on the top make them real looking. I told my boyfriend that I made burgers, took a picture and showed him them. He got jealous that he wasn’t here to have any…little did he know these were cookies, not real burgers!
Aren’t they so cute?!
Real Mexican food made by Hernan’s aunts. The left hand corner is beans topped with rajas con queso, the right hand corner is cactus salad and the bottom is the best guacamole ever.
To make the guacamole:
4 ripe avocados
1 diced onion
1/4 c. lime juice
“Cook” the diced onion in the lime juice for about 10 minutes. (Literally just let the onion sit in the lime juice, it will cook the onion and the onion will become translucent.
In a separate bowl, smash the avocados until soft. Add in the onion, and a little of the lime juice that it was “cooking” in. Add salt to taste.