Trapped on a DESSERT island

I can say with almost 90% certainty that yesterday and today have been the most boring days of my life.  They are result of either poor planning or wealth gone wrong.  Long story short: I’m stranded.

I wish I could say I was stranded on a tropical, mysterious (ahem still know NOTHING about) island surrounded by sexy men.  Read:

Instead, I’m stuck in  my parents house on 2 acres (in the middle of nowhere) with no connection to civilization.  Read: No vehicle/transit in a place like this…

Beautiful place to live, great for parties, but sadly no where to go within walking distance.

As a result of the fact that I feel a little bit like this:

Desmond in the hatch

I’ve been trying to entertain myself in a few ways:

1.  Snacking pretty much all day, to the point where I literally feel ill.

2.  Watching many episodes of (as in 13 episodes in 1.5 days) of

Vampire Diaries.  Woah PRETTY men!  Definitely beat Edward Cullen in the hot factor.

Case in point:

Just plain pretty.  Show’s not bad either…

3.Taking long naps. Enough said.

4.  Taking random pictures of food:

Because that’s how I roll…

5.  Making things:  Creme Brulee

Sounds fancy and difficult… it’s really not.

When I walked into the house upon arriving, the first thing my dad did was show me the new ramekins only to ask “can you make creme brulee?”  Don’t have to ask me twice.  I’m a sucker for feeding people.

Creme Brulee

2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
5 egg yolks
sugar for the top


Preheat oven to 275.  Combine the cream, sugar, vanilla and egg yolks in a bowl.

Place ramekins into a deep pan (I used a roasting pan) so you can create a water bath.  Pour cream mixture into 4-6 ramekins.

Fill roasting pan with warm water to cover the ramekins about half way with water.

Bake for 45-60 mins or until cream doesn’t jiggle anymore.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours but recommend overnight.

Once it’s ready to serve, sprinkle with sugar (about a teaspoon or so) and using a small kitchen torch, burn the sugar.  If you don’t have a torch, you can also use your broiler!

Crack the top and enjoy like she does:

Basically, I feel like I’m trapped on a dessert, not a desert island.  I’m not sure how much more my tummy can handle.  Thankfully, this weekend I will make my way to the DESERT for some fun times in

Las Vegas

Only to make my way back to Ithaca next week.

Never thought I’d say this but I actually am ready (and maybe a bit anxious/excited) to go back to upstate NY.  Who am I?!?!

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Peruvian Ceviche

Ready for a super simple, super delicious fish recipe?

Here’s another recipe from my sister and her multi-cultural friends: Peruvian Ceviche. Apparently in Peru (according to my sister’s Peruvian friends), this is commonly eaten for breakfast!

If you make this, please make sure you use fresh fish!  But really you should do that anytime you eat fish.

Some of you might question the safety of this for a few reasons, but we made this for my parent’s birthday party, many people ate it and no one got sick.

Instead, everyone was so pleased, the ceviche was gone in less than 10 minutes!

Peruvian Ceviche

3 lbs raw tilapia, cut into small cubes
4 lbs of key limes (or enough juice to cover all the fish)
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
2 tsp yellow hot pepper paste (aji amarillo o chile guero)
1/2 tsp sazon (this is really just MSG, if it’s a huge issue for you, you can probably just use salt)
1 red onion, thinly sliced

Cut the tilapia into small bite sized pieces and place in a serving bowl with chopped celery.

This recipe requires a ton of key limes

A lemon/lime squeezer makes this a whole lot easier.  Press your key limes, you want enough juice to cover your fish completely.

Pour over fish, then mix in your yellow hot pepper paste (use more if you want it spicier) and sazon.

Lastly, top with thinly sliced red onions.  Refrigerate for half an hour and serve!

The citric acid in the limes cooks the fish!  Then you have a super quick and easy light dish!   I definitely recommend giving it a try.  My mom was apprehensive because she thought it was raw (even though it’s not) but ended up loving it!

Any foods scare you?

Tofu used to freak me out… still not a huge fan.

Sooo Tired

After a birthday party last night…

that ended up being for both Dad and Mom

(Laura, I didn’t crop you out this time)

and an impromptu trip to Disneyland/California Adventure today…

I’m pooped.

Didn’t even get to watch the final episode of Lost.  Don’t you dare tell me about it!

Be back tomorrow with a fun (and fishy) recipe!

Guatemalan Rellenitos

One of the best parts of being home is the food. I’ll be honest, my mom is a lovely woman, but she’s not much of a cooker. She most definitely can; she simply chooses not to. My aunt on the other hand loves to cook. Lucky me, she’s visiting!

So I’ve been following her around the kitchen the past few days trying to get some Guatemalan recipes to share with you all.

I guess the first warning is that a lot of these things are cooked to taste, so the measurements may vary but I’ll give estimates of what she used.

The first thing we made was rellenitos.

rellenitosedited

Rellenitos are mashed plantains stuffed with sweet black beans then fried to create tasty little dumpling type things.  They’re usually eaten as an afternoon snack or dessert.  They’re a little labor intensive but totally worth it.

Rellenitos

1/2 lb cooked black beans (cooked like the Guatemalan Black Bean recipe I posted before)
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
10 ripe plantains
1 cinnamon stick
oil for trying

This recipe will make a few dozen rellenitos, so adjust accordingly.  I know it sounds sort of weird but you start with salty beans cooked in garlic and onion.  Put them in the blender with cinnamon and sugar (you might have to do it in batches). Taste to make sure they’re sweet and not too cinnamony.

Then put the blended beans in a deep skillet with oil and bring to a boil.  Simmer for a few minutes then transfer to another container to cool (they’ll thicken as they cool).

You want your plantains to be ripe.  The riper they are, the sweeter they are but also harder to work with.

Cut your plantains into 2 inch pieces, leaving the skin on.  Put them in a large pot with cinnamon stick and fill about half way with water (plantains won’t be completely submerged).  Bring to a boil and simmer for a few minutes until plantains are starting to soften but not so soft that they fall apart.

Peel and put in a container to mash.  If you have a potato ricer or food mill this will be a whole lot easier, we had neither so we used a mug, some forks and a masher to get out all the clumps.

Now comes the shaping part.  Once the plantains have cooled.  Take a palm sized amount and shape it into a thick pancake/tortilla shape.

Place about a 1/2 tbsp to 1 tbsp sized amount of beans in the middle and close the pancake/tortilla shape.

Pinch the edges together and smooth with your fingers into a roundish egg shape.  Repeat until you run out of beans or plantains.

Heat oil in a skillet.  Place rellenitos in hot oil and fry all around.

Once they are golden brown all around (okay if a little burnt), place them on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.

Serve with sour cream and sprinkle with sugar.

Delish!  Definitely not the healthiest way to eat a plantain but probably one of the best.

If you made a ton don’t worry about finishing them all at once.  While chances are they will get eaten, if not you can wrap them in aluminum foil and freeze them and when you’re ready for a treat just unwrap them and microwave for a minute or two and ta-da! Ready to go!  My family actually brings them frozen from Guatemala since my mom isn’t big on cooking 🙂

Anyway, tonight we’re having a birthday party for my dad since he was in Guatemala on his actual birthday!  More fun recipes and hopefully pictures to come!

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

Tostones

Since I last posted… I’ve finished finals, packed some stuffed, said some sad goodbyes and flown across the country.  But before that, I went to a small potluck.  As I was trying to use up everything in my kitchen, I made tostones from 2 green plantains I had sitting in my kitchen.

Tostones are fried green plantains eaten throughout the Caribbean.  This recipe is courtesy of my sister who lived in the Dominican Republic for 3 years.

Tostones

2 green plantains
oil for frying
salt

Peel and slice your plantains into 3/4 inch-1 inch rounds.

Heat oil in a pan.  Fry rounds until golden

Transfer to a paper towel lined cutting board (or on the counter is fine, it’ll just get oily).

Cover with another paper towel or two and using your hand mash into a thin circle.  You can make them as thin or thick as you’d like.  I like them pretty thin.

Fry again.  Once they are golden transfer them to a paper towel lined plate and salt.

Serve on their own or with ketchup (or really any dipping sauce).

Fun, easy treat for a small gathering.

Coming up soon… another unhealthy way to eat a plantain!

Have a great night!

Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies

Summer is slowly starting to creep its way out into Ithaca, which means a variety of things:
1.  My apartment turns into an oven.
2. It’s humid outside.
3. I can wear dresses again.

Let’s talk about #3.  Before moving to Ithaca, I basically wore dresses all the time (as in I probably only owned 2 pairs of pants). Then winter in Ithaca happened and my body was confused so I broke down and bought some pants and snow boots.  Not a happy camper.

I was born to wear dresses.

Some women look amazing in short skirts, others in long straight legs jeans.

Me? I can rock a dress like no other.

So naturally when it was 80 degrees out for our department barbecue, I decided a dress was in order.  Silly me, I forgot about the fact that the barbecue was on the lake, meaning it would be colder and windier than around my house.  Despite being bummed that I was cold and worrying my dress would fly up at any moment pretty much the whole time, I had a fun time.

At the very least, I looked cute and brought tasty cookies to share.

Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies

adapted from Foodess Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (ish)chocolate chips
1 cup dried coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Pre-heat oven to 350.  Cream together butter, sugar, egg and vanilla.  Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Mix until combined.  Fold in chocolate chips, coconut and walnuts.  Drop tablespoon sized balls of dough onto a greased cookie sheet, bake for about 12 minutes.

Cool and serve with a (martini) glass of milk.

What were you born to wear?

Baking Break

It feels like Saturday in November.

It’s 43 degrees out, and I went to a bar last night.  That does not scream May in the middle of study week.  But don’t go thinking I’m some sort of hoodlum.  I managed to write a full draft of a 15 page paper on urban gardens and get through a poster session.  A gin and tonic or two was earned.

This morning, while I edited my paper and waited for the gym to open (1pm, seriously?), I decided baking was in order.  After all, what makes a cold study day better than a warm muffin?

Apple Muffins

1/2 cup almond butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour milk (or probably regular milk, juice, water, etc)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (unless your AB is salted)
3 small apples, peeled, cored and diced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine wet ingredients, add dry ingredients (minus apples) and combine.  Fold in apples.  Fill lined or greased muffin tin (almost full) and bake 20-22 minutes. Allow to cool and then give them away to all your studying (or hung over) friends!

Anyhoo… hope you’re all having a fantastic week.  Back to paper editing and studying!