Banana Birthday Cake for My Mom

Today is Memorial Day, but it’s also my mother’s birthday.  While you’re all probably grilling and pie-making, I made a cake to celebrate a very special lady.

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My mom claims to not like cake and dessert, but really I know she’s just picky.  She loves certain desserts and she loves everything banana.  No crazy combinations here, because of her picky palate, I went the simple route.

I made a simple banana cake like the little banana cake I made before (recipe doubled for a full cake), but with a few changes to the filling

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I whipped up a ton of whipped cream with sugar and a touch of vanilla for filling and frosting, fried some bananas with rum and added some slivered almonds.

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and ta-da! A birthday cake just for my mother.  I added some fresh flowers for a pop of color.

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Happy Birthday Mom!

Is your mother picky about desserts like mine?  I feel like that’s one thing my children will never have to worry about.  I’ll pretty much enjoy anything.

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Guatemala Trip 2013

Like I mentioned last time, I was in Guatemala the last two weeks visiting family.  About 95% of my family lives in Guatemala.  The last time I went was in 2009, so it was nice to see everyone, especially my grandma.  The last time I saw her was back in 2011, when she came with my parents to visit me in Italy.

That was then, this is now:

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I went with my mom, sister (Laura) and nephew (Graham).  There weren’t too many outings, mostly just visiting people and eating lots of foods I love (i.e. beans and plantains every single day for breakfast).  Since this is a food blog, let me tell you about my trip through food…

The first few days were mainly spent at home.  On Sunday, the best cook in Guatemala came to my grandma’s house to make Pepian.

IMG_3093That’s Tere.  She makes the best Chile Rellenos, Tamales, Rellenitos and Pepian on the planet.  True story.  She made some Rellenitos that I froze and brought home with me.  This time, she taught me how to make Pollo en Crema con Loroco (Chicken in loroco cream sauce).  I’ll give that recipe a whirl then tell you about it as soon as I can.

No trip to Guatemala is complete without two things:

1. Pollo Campero

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Ok this is totally silly, but we had to introduce Graham to Pollo Campero.  It’s Guatemalan fast food that I’m totally obsessed with.  When I was little I remember having a birthday party in their huge play place (when I was little I spent most of my birthdays in Guatemala since we went every summer).  It’s basically fried chicken, but wayy more delicious than KFC (which also exists in Guatemala).  I also just realized I didn’t take a picture of the food… fail.

2. Obleas

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They used to sell these at the entrance of the grocery store (Paiz), but now they sell them in boxes of 8.  My sister bought like 6 boxes to take home with her.

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We broke one open while we were there.  The best way to describe obleas is like the Eucharist.  I’m not saying that as a joke.  But you know in church/mass when you receive the Eucharist and it’s like a dry, bread-like cracker?  That’s sort of what the oblea tastes like, but then you spread it with arequipe (what we call dulce de leche)

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and then you put another one on top and you get a delicious, crunchy snack

IMG_3278 IMG_3273Oh and honorable mention for things you have to eat in Guatemala…

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Pan Dulce (and no it’s not like the Mexican one you find here in the US, although if you’re in LA, I’m pretty sure my mom get pan dulce here, if you go get gusanos and champurradas.  You won’t be sorry.).

Surprisingly, I only had Pan Dulce once, at my mom’s cousin’s house in Escuintla.  Escuintla is about an hour from Guatemala City, and it’s basically where my mom’s whole family is from.

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We spent some time exploring, like the main church and plaza.  Then we headed to my mom’s cousin’s house which is on the land my mom’s family used to own.IMG_1134Very pretty and tropical and HOT.  But our time in Escuintla was pretty short.  We headed back to the city to spend more time with family.

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Overall, it was a great trip.  I’m glad my grandma got to meet Graham.

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And I’m glad I got to see all my family that I rarely get to see. I hope we can make it back soon to see everyone again.

I promises there are more awesome recipes coming up soon!  Hope you have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

 

Goats in Guatemala

Hi friends! I’ve been MIA a few days (almost 2 weeks?). I apologize. I’ve been in Guatemala visiting family. I’ll tell you more about it when I get back but first… Goats

This morning we heard the neighbors dogs barking like crazy. So I peeked outside to look and it was a bunch of goats.

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So I got some goats milk because 5 quetzales for a cup of fresh milk (less than US$ 1) seems like a good deal. Plus I’ve never had fresh goat milk, so why not.

The guy milked the goat right there in front of the door

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Then handed me a cup of milk

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Then I realized I should probably try it and for some reason that freaked me out…

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I took a sip, then thought about it

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Tried it again

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I won’t lie. It was tastier than cow milk, but the fact that it was warm and foamy was a little off putting.
But in the end, glad I tried it.
See you all when I get back!

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Chipotle Fish Tacos

Cinco de Mayo just happened.  You’re probably tired of Mexican food, but let’s be honest Corona and Guacamole don’t really qualify as Mexican food.  That doesn’t really qualify as food.  That’s a snack.

And it’s Tuesday.  Taco Tuesday.  How about some tacos?

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Trust me.  You need these tacos in your life.

I remember the first time I ate these tacos.  Jesse made them for me, pretty early on in our relationship, and I was skeptical.  But I swear it was love at first bite.  I’m talking about the tacos here.

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Ever since that first time, I’ve probably had them a dozen times with a million variations: shrimp, chicken, etc.

But these are the best.

Chipotle Fish Tacos

3 pieces of tilapia, cut into small pieces
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 an onion, diced
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro
Juice of 1/2 lime
salt and pepper
1-2 cups cabbage, thinly sliced
1 diced tomato
1/4 cup mayo
1 tbsp sriracha*
a few lime wedges
1 avocado sliced
6 tortillas

Heat oil in the pan.  Add 1/4 of onion (so you’ll have 1/4 of onion left for putting on the tacos) and cook for a few mins.   Add fish and chipotle (depending on how hot you want it use 1-2 or more, for less spice just use the adobo sauce, not the chile itself), cook for a few minutes until fish is no longer translucent.  Stir in juice of 1/2 lime, about a tablespoon of cilantro and season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

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Stir together sriracha and mayo.  Thin out with some lime juice or water.  Depending on how spicy you like it, the ratio of sriracha to mayo  might be different for you.  Add a bit, try it and add more if you’d like.

Now you can start assembling your tacos (this recipe will make about 6 tacos).  Heat up your tortillas.  Start by laying some fish in the center.

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Then you add your ingredients of choice.  We like to have it all on a plate at the table and assemble as we go.

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Lay on the cabbage, tomato, onion, cilantro and avocado.

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Then drizzle with sriracha mayo.  Squirt with a wedge of lime and devour.

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That’s exactly what I do.  I devour these, because they’re amazing.

Happy Taco Tuesday!  What’s your favorite kind of taco?

I love fish tacos, but I think shrimp tacos are my favorite.