Monday, January 23, 2012

Puebla Chicken and Potato Stew

In the grand scheme of things, nothing is important. I mean, sad stuff happens and good stuff happens and you take a lot of baths and eat a lot of stews and go to some weddings and drink a lot of coffee and have a lot of realized dreams and maybe some crushed dreams, and then you lose your socks and smoke a cigar and you pay massive library fines and you wash your face, and you vacuum your carpet and eat an apple with cheddar cheese.

And maybe you have an adventure and write down inspirational quotes in your inspirational quote book. And maybe you take some pictures of the people you love, or a tree that is beautiful. Or a cool pot hole cover that says:

And maybe you make a fool of yourself, as you are apt to do when you are 18 years old (almost 19) and a little too excited about most things in general. And maybe you make something good or maybe you make something bad, but at least you made something. And maybe you wear your favorite sweater and maybe you cry every now and then or maybe you don't and maybe you watch a good movie. And maybe you make a new friend completely unexpectedly or maybe you write a song or maybe you don't do any of that, you just do a lot of navel gazing. Or maybe you have conversations about things you don't really understand yet, but know you will someday, and that is weird and beautiful. 

Anyways, the point of all this is to say, despite all the strangeness and lunches and bananas and dirty laundry and phone calls and little tragedies and victories, stew will get you through all of it. 
That's what stew was meant to do. 

Puebla Chicken and Potato Stew
from Gourmet Today by Ruth Riechl

P.S. This is really lovely. 
P.P.S. Stew is really unphotogenic. Sorry. 


2 pounds chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry
1 large white onion, quartered
6 cups water
2 garlic cloves, left unpeeled
1 (14-15 ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice
4 teaspoons chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo
1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 link (1 1/2 ounces) mild Spanish chorizo (cured spicy pork sausages) finely chopped
1 pound boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch pieces
2 ounces queso fresco, or whatever cheese your heart desires

Combine chicken, 2 onion quarters, water and 1 teaspoon salt in a 4 to 5 quart pot and bring to a boil, covered, over moderately high heat. Boil for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and let stand, covered, until chicken is just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate; reserve broth with onion. 
Meanwhile, heat a dry small cast-iron skillet over moderate heat until hot. Add garlic and remaining 2 onion quarters and brown on all sides, turning occasionally with tongs, about 5 minutes. Peel garlic and transfer to a blender. Add browned onion quarters, tomatoes with juice, chiles and oregano and puree until smooth. 
When chicken is cool enough to handle, coarsely shred, discarding skin and bones. 
Heat oil in a deep 12-inch skillet over moderately high heat unitl hot but not smoking. Add chorizo and cook, stirring, until fat is rendered, about 2 minutes. Carefully add puree (it will spatter and steam) and cook, stirring frequently, until thick, about 10 minutes. 
Add potatoes and 1 teaspoon salt to reserved broth in pot, bring to a simmer, and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are almost tender, about 10 minutes. 
Add potatoes and onion to chorizo mixture, along with 2 cups broth (reserve remainder for another use, if desired). Stir in chicken and simmer for 10 minutes. 
Sprinkle stew with cheese and serve with avocado slice and corn tortillas, if you so desire. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lemon Bundt Cake

I am in love. 


Can you believe it?

Image of G A L L E R Y - Myriam

With a color.

Is that even possible?
Lemon Yellow, Tree photograph,  citrus, autumn leaves, Japanese, tree branches,  pale blue sky   "Ginkgo"  8x8

Pinned Image

In case you didn't guess, that color is lemon yellow. 

What sparked my love?
Who knows. 
But I am besotted with this color.
Maybe it was because I zested about a million lemons in order to make a lemon bundt cake for my father. Because he loves that sweet/tart magic. 
The cake disappeared so quickly that I didn't even get to take a picture. 
It's because it was a lemon cake. 
What's not to love?


Lemon Bundt Cake
From, who adapted from ‘Barefoot Contessa Parties!’

Yield: 2 loaf cakes (or one bundt)

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup plus 3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted.

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8 1/2-by-4 1/4-by-2 1/2-inch loaf pans, and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
2. Cream butter and 2 cups sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Mixing at medium speed, add eggs, one at a time, and lemon zest.
3. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, buttermilk and vanilla. Add flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to butter and sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Divide batter evenly between pans, smooth tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.
4. Combine 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan, and cook over low heat until sugar dissolves.
5. When cakes are done, let them cool 10 minutes. Invert them onto a rack set over a tray, and spoon lemon syrup over cakes. Let cakes cool completely.
6. For glaze, combine confectioners’ sugar and remaining 3 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a whisk until smooth. Pour over top of cakes, and allow glaze to drizzle down the sides.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Pasta with Bolognese Sauce

I want to tell you something.
You don't celebrate you enough.
I want to applaud you for your acts of ordinary bravery. For reaching out to someone. For reading a book. For sleeping. For doodling. For completing the crossword. For going for a walk. For trying to make a new friend. For belting along to the radio while you're driving alone. For clearing your clutter. For writing a letter. For giving yourself a break. For making a goal. 
I want to give you a big hug and warm meal, for being YOU.
Way to go!

To be more specific, I want to make you this meal:

I want to make you the most comfortable, cozy meal in the world,

Pasta with Bolognese Sauce. 

That's just how much I love you. Really truly. 

It will make your soul sing cozy songs. 

Not kidding. 

Pasta with Bolognese Sauce
from The Gourmet Cookbook by Ruth Reichl

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 pound ground beef, pork, veal or a combination of the three (I used beef)
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup dry white wine
1 (28 ounce) can tomatoes, diced or whole or whatever
1 pound dried pasta (I like fettuccine)

Heat oil and butter in a 6 to 8 quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until foam subsides. Add onion, garlic, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add meat and cook, stirring until meat is no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Add milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cook, stirring until most of milk has evaporated, about 8 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until all liquid has evaporated, about 8 minutes. 
Coarsely puree tomatoes, with their juice, in a blender or food processor. Stir tomatoes into pot. Cook sauce at a bare simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 1 1/4 hours (sauce will thicken). Season with salt and pepper. 
When sauce is almost done, cook pasta in a 6 to 8 ounce quart pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt per every four quarts water, not to be specific or anything) until al dente; drain. 
Immediately toss pasta with sauce in a large bowl. Serve with cheese. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Peace Through Pie

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 
Peace Through Pie

I've always wanted to be a mover and a shaker. The kind of person who gets out in the world and accomplishes, who fights for peace and justice and beauty and love. 

I think most people want to move and shake and fight for those things. 

About a year ago, an incredible woman named Luanne Stovall contacted me about a nonprofit organization she created called Peace Through Pie, which joyously celebrates Martin Luther Jr. Day with pie socials. People cook with love, but in particular people bake with love. Pie = love. 
There is something magical about pie. Pie is a uniter, a shared experience, an instant community, because everyone gets a slice. The goal of Peace Through Pie is to  create a more beautific, loving and peaceful society through this shared pie experience. 

So become a pie-o-neer for peace. Host a pie social of your own. Take a pie to work. Or the grocery store. Share, talk, make friends, spread the love. Become a mover and a shaker, and fight for peace with every bite.

Finally, I want to invite you to the 

4th Annual Sweet Home Peace Through Pie Social

Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church,

1725 West 11th Street,

Austin, TX

Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012 // 2:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Please join me and other peaceful pie-o-neers at this event, I'd love to meet you!

You can find more information at or find us at

peace and love

Sunday, January 1, 2012

happy new year

So I went to Buenos Aires. 
You know what is in Buenos Aires?
Lots of graffiti. 

                                                                        My favorite:

You know what else is in Buenos Aires? 
Really unbelievable food. 
 I have realized that I like beer. 
 But I have also realized something else about myself.  

I will never love beer as much as I love cheese. This antipasta platter was exquisite:

 The salami was not to be believed. It was rich and buttery, with a depth of flavor and texture that I didn't even know salami could have. And the olives. And the blue cheese and the ham with pistachios. It was gorgeous.

I would give so much to eat that cheese platter again.
The interior of the restaurant was also fabulous. It was straight out of a novel, or the 1920s.

I also loved this waiter. I loved his mustache.

Our table. The beer came in a huge glass bottle for the table. 

A spanish omelette, filled with soft pieces of potato. 

Beef carpaccio. I died.

This is what I ordered. I am not a huge meat eater, but apparently the above is an Argentinian speciality. The fries were wonderful, thick cut, round potatoes. I don't know what the cut of meat was, but it was quite tough and very thin, covered with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. It was very strange and wonderful.

My father's steak. 

My brother's ravioli. Exquisite. 

My brother and I. 

The restaurant, Lo de Jesus. 

It is so incredible when you eat something that makes you gasp with delight, because of the sheer goodness. I wanted to share this with you, because it was so, so unbelievably beautiful. 

Here's to more delightful eating experiences in 2012!