Tortilla de Patatas

The first signs of life in the garden this year was brought to us by the pointy, green blades of chives reaching out for a whisper of crisp air. The plant has grown to 10″ tall leaves that keep multiplying.

Last year, we planted a baby chive that didn’t really do much other than figure out its new accommodation arrangements. This year, however, its power keeps me hoping it’s going to be a great garden year. This is the kind of plant I can stand behind, plant it once and enjoy it forever!

Chives Continue reading Tortilla de Patatas

Seeds: A Hurricane Force of Life + Pea Shoot Spring Salad

Seeds. Life. Future. Uncertainty.

It’s spring time. A time for new beginnings. A time to rethink a path, or to start a new one.
Like a seed. A little hard-shell housing a hurricane force of life. Ready to crack, to push, to fight for light.
The uncertainty of the season. Would the seeds sprout? Would they become a plant? A fruitful one? Would the past two years of hard work and dedication provide a fruitful future? Or will I be back at the same place?
Continue reading Seeds: A Hurricane Force of Life + Pea Shoot Spring Salad

A New Gardener + Vegetable Slaw

I’m not a gardener. I have never planted a tulip. Not once. I have a 99 percent orchid killing success rate. The 1 percent gracing the living room window has been the only one to last two years. The only one to escape the macabre touch of my dark digits. I do OK with indoor plants. A couple of palms for clean air {or so I heard} and a few bamboos for good luck, and just because they are pretty. Last year, I tended to our first vegetable garden. We bought baby plants, tomatoes, zucchini, basil, parsley, oregano, thyme, sage, chives, rosemary and purple beets. We followed the rule, “Don’t plant anything until after mother’s day.”
We finished the raised beds the weekend after mother’s day and planted all of our findings. Yes, raised beds. No weeding please. My lack of skill can only take plants we can actually eat.
It was all nice and dandy until one day. That one day. The day that started it all.
Continue reading A New Gardener + Vegetable Slaw

Fried Green Plantains

Cooking plantains was one of the first kitchen lessons I received, and an indispensable accompaniment to the Arroz con Pollo recipe.

My mother used to say:
1- Make sure the oil is not too hot or too cold. It’s like frying donuts, if the oil is too hot the donuts burn outside while undercooked inside. If it is not hot enough then they’ll be grease and heavy. Continue reading Fried Green Plantains

Colombian Arroz con Pollo: A Country’s Addiction to Rice

I’m addicted to rice, it’s time to admit it. I’m not looking for a recovery plan, although it would be interesting to go to rice rehab if it existed. It doesn’t, I looked it up.

I grew up eating rice everyday — yes everyday. Lunch, dinner, and sometimes breakfast if the meal consisted of leftovers, or calentado, as we call it in Colombia, which is leftover lentils or beans mixed with rice and topped with a fried egg, and sometimes slices of avocado. Rice is an important ingredient in the Colombian pantry and intricate part of life; in 2013, rice consumption per capital was 111.5lb.

colombian arroz con pollo and fried plantains

Continue reading Colombian Arroz con Pollo: A Country’s Addiction to Rice

Apple Dropped Scones + thoughts on living in the present

This weekend we had friends staying over for a night before they flew out to their new life in a land faraway. I’m terrible with goodbyes, ask you’ll see I’m not lying. Maybe I have learned over the years of loosing friends to ‘enchanting’ places like England, Jamaica, El Paso or Los Angeles, that friends are never lost, simply refiled. Yes, refiled. From ‘you lived next door to now you live across thousands of droplets of water, or millions of sand cubes.’

apple scones for breakfast Continue reading Apple Dropped Scones + thoughts on living in the present

Romanesco with Capers, Fennel and Peas

Finding new and fun ingredients opens up the door to new recipes and ideas for simple meals at home or when sharing with friends and family. I had seen romanesco before, sometimes called broccoflower, but had never dared to pick it up. I must admit its alien-like look had me a bit frightened. I could have been easily convinced that it belonged in a coral reef and it was made from neon-green fish poop.
Last week, I gathered enough courage and brought some home, where I began my search for recipes and the proper way to cook it. To my surprise most of the recipes treated this vegetable like a cauliflower, so any side-dish recipe for cauliflower will work great.

 

Continue reading Romanesco with Capers, Fennel and Peas

Vegetarian Sprouted Bean and Farro Soup

A couple of months ago, I found sprouted bean trio at the store, something I hadn’t seen before. The product is from tru Roots, which also carries quinoa and other nutritious grains, and it’s composed of mung beans, green lentils and adzuki beans.

I was curious to try different recipes with it and see what the difference between regular dried beans and sprouted dried beans was. Flavor-wise, I didn’t find any difference, however, the cooking time is much shorter, making it a great addition to the pantry for quick, healthy meals. Another big difference is the chemical changes in the beans after they sprout, which makes them easier to digest and allows the body to better absorb the nutrients. Continue reading Vegetarian Sprouted Bean and Farro Soup

Drowning My Colombian Sorrows in Cumin

I was 25 years old on my first encounter with snow. For a hot-weather creature snow is one of those mysterious phenomenons one wishes to experience, to play with, to go down on a sled; like in the movies where children are laughing and dogs are frolicking, and a feeling of joy seems to burst out of every pore. A dream!

Miserable fall from my big cloud of expectations.

A real tumble, when faced with the realities of snow. The stuff piles up like unwelcome confetti flying around the house after a kid’s party.  It falls and collects around the house like the fat in my muffin top.

Continue reading Drowning My Colombian Sorrows in Cumin

French Cassoulet and The Holiday Season

The living room feels empty, a funny idea since it is like that for eleven months out of the year. The tree is now gone, and with it left the holiday season. I love the holidays but I realized this year that I follow no traditions. Wait, let’s try that again, I don’t follow many traditions. Alright, try again. I follow just a few traditions for the holidays. The tree is my favorite one. I love taking the dusty box out of the basement and the multiple boxes of ornaments, I know what you are thinking “No real tree?” no, not here. tree ornamentsIn Colombia, where I grew up, the tree was a plastic apparatus kept in an attic, or if you were rich then a new one came every year carrying all the new decorations, like in fashion. But that is not the kind of tree I love. I love our tree, the one filled with memories of generations past, of places we have been lucky to visit, and of dear friends who have contributed with ornaments that tell who we were at the time and who we have become.  Continue reading French Cassoulet and The Holiday Season