World Peace Chocolate Chip Cookies

World Peace Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ever had the strongest urge to eat something sweet and chocolatey, and absolutely nothing in the pantry or refrigerator fit the bill?

It would have been a LOT worse had there not been a bag of chocolate chips leftover from the holidays.  And a vacuum sealed bag of cocoa powder that hasn’t seen the light of day in over a year.

That also speaks of the cobwebs and dust piling up around here…

It’s not like the days magically grew an extra hour or two to accommodate the growing demands of the day job, running practice, the house and all the other curveballs life throws.

But you know, those cravings… they cover all the things we love and want to do, not just eat.  Sometimes you just have to plug in the stand mixer and start measuring. And sit down in front of the laptop, and let it flow out. Whatever it is.

World Peace Chocolate Chip Cookies

World Peace Cookies – a Dorie Greenspan classic – is a dark chocolate shortbread cookie laced with semisweet chocolate chips and sea salt.  As a group, we baked a version included in Around My French Table – the cocoa sablés.  After quickly flipping through my friend Liz’s blog – which hosts many incredible chocolate recipes – I realized this was not time to try a full new recipe.  My favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe got a quick makeover with cocoa powder and a smidge extra salt. Voilá: World Peace chocolate chip cookies!

World Peace Chocolate Chip Cookies

The original cookie recipe uses 1 1/4 cup of all purpose flour.  I swapped 1/4 cup for the cocoa powder and added an extra tablespoon of flour to the dry ingredients. On a whim, a teaspoon of powdered peanut butter made its way to the dough. It probably brought out the saltier notes in the cookie.  If you don’t have any powdered peanut butter, it’s not a big deal.  The cookies turn out crunchy after resting for an hour on a cooling rack.

World Peace Chocolate Chip Cookies

How to Make Mofongo

how to make mofongo

Mofongo is of Puerto Rico’s signature dishes.  It can be found in every corner of the island, from the humblest cafeteria to white tablecloth establishments.  This mash is traditionally prepared with green plantains, garlic, pork cracklings, and olive oil.  Although versions that feature ripe plantain, yuca, breadfruit or some combination of these are becoming more popular, the classic version will always be green plantain.  Plantains were brought over from Africa during the 16th century and were a staple of the slaves’ diet.  The mofongo we know today evolved from fufú, a root vegetable mash also from African origin.

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French Fridays with Dorie: Caramel-Topped Semolina Cake

caramel topped semolina cake flan de farina

Today’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe is not the Caramel Topped Semolina Cake.  There’s a little more backstory as to why I chose not to make Arman’s Caviar in Aspic, but the gist of it is that it is not a recipe I can pull off for breakfast on the same day the post is due.  I’m happy there are a few more recipes I can rationalize preparing and serving before the sun is fully up.

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FFwD Christmas Card Exchange: Almond Toffee Bark

almond toffee bark

I just had E snooping over at my laptop screen, and he noticed that I abbreviated the ‘French Fridays’ into our shorthand FFwD for this post’s title.

“FFwD… its Freaky Friday!”

“Uh-huh.”

“Freaky Friday!”

“Okay!”

“Freeaky Friiiday!”

And then it hit me.  It WAS Freaky Friday with Doristas!

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Green Pigeon Pea Escabeche (Gandules en Escabeche)

green pigeon pea escabeche

A Holiday Tradition

Gandules – also known in the rest of the Caribbean as guandules or just peas – are the traditional Puerto Rican legume of the holiday season.  I dare you to go to a Christmas party in Puerto Rico without arroz con gandules.  These days, I might even extend that dare to Thanksgiving meals in the island.  The minute you taste the sofrito laced rice and peas, you know it’s Christmas or you are reminded of the season.

Green pigeon peas can be found either canned or frozen, with fresh peas being a little harder to come by.  I was extremely lucky a few years ago.  I had a co-worker that grew them on her backyard.  When the holiday season was around the corner, she would start taking orders for her cosecha, the harvest.  Although there are few things better dishes than arroz con gandules made with fresh peas,  the convenience of canned gandules cannot be denied, especially for recipes like this one. Read More…

French Fridays with Dorie: Leek and Potato Soup

Leek and Potato Soup Dorie Greenspan

While the rest of the Doristas are showing today’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, Jerusalem artichoke soup with parsley coulis, I’m going playing catch-up with a classic leek and potato soup.  The group prepared this soup back in December of 2010.  Given the similarities between potatoes and sunchokes, I figured this throwback recipe would fit in nicely with the rest of the group’s soups.

Leek and potato soup is also known as potage Parmentier, after Antoine-Augustin Parmentier.  Parmentier was a French agronomist and scientist that championed for the use of potatoes in the French diet after subsisting on them as a POW in Prussia.  It’s hard to imagine French cuisine without potato gratins, mashed potatoes, and frites. Read More…

Thank you. And THE cookie recipe.

 

Some people leave their workplace quietly, without making much fuss.  Others are not granted the luxury to say goodbye to dear friends and colleagues when separated from their employment.  And many write a note, wishing everyone the best for their personal and professional lives.  Piecing together a letter in my head was easy.  I have nine years of lessons and friendships – sisterhood – under my belt and respect for the people I interacted with in a professional capacity. Read More…

Whole Wheat Rolls for Montaditos

Whole Wheat Rolls for Montaditos

One of my in-laws favorite spots to out and enjoy a fun meal in Miami is 100 Montaditos.  100 Montaditos is a chain hailing from Spain that sells small, inexpensive and tasty sandwiches filled with pretty much any combination of meat, cheeses, veggies and even tortilla española.  Their Wednesday specials are notorious – all sandwiches are priced at a dollar, and cañas  (small draft beers) sell for two.   The montaditos main draw is the tiny, crusty baguette they are served in.  These sandwiches can be finished in a couple of bites, allowing you to taste many different combinations in one sitting.  Their menu literally contains a hundred options. Read More…

Cassava Shepherd’s Pie (Pastelón de Yuca)

pastelon de yuca

Have you ever gotten so hooked on a recipe you’ve made it over and over in a very short period of time?   This holiday season I made not two but three pastelones de yuca.  A Caribbean interpretation of the shepherd’s pie, this pastelón is a layered casserole that combines yuca (cassava) and a savory filling – meat, soy, or veggies.   Pastelones are one of the most versatile pies that can be assembled.  The starches and the fillings are limited only by your imagination.  Any root vegetable or plantain that can be mashed into a soft but substantial puree can be used for pastelón.  Some of my favorites include ripe plantain (the classic!), malanga (taro), and potato.    Read More…

Gougères (de Queso del País)

Gougeres de queso del pais

Feliz día de Reyes!  Happy Epiphany Day!

One of my New Year’s blogging resolutions is to continue incorporating Puerto Rican ingredients into my posts.  While some times these flavors will be shown in their traditional preparations, it’s also fun to integrate them into dishes from other cuisines.  Today’s recipe, gougères, is a traditional French cream puff that can be enjoyed as as sweet treat or as a savory snack or appetizer.  Instead of using Gruyére or Cheddar cheese, I made these with queso del país – Puerto Rican white cheese. Read More…

Arborio Rice Pudding with Guava Sauce

Arborio Rice Pudding with Guava Sauce

Guava season is here!  A couple of weeks ago, I stopped at Freshmart, the local health food/market chain to pick up a few items on the way back home.  Once I stepped into the store, the smell of ripe guavas stopped me on my tracks. It’s no coincidence these sweet, fragrant fruits were placed right by the entrance… and that I fell prey to the supermarket’s logistics game.
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Boquerones (Marinated smelt)

Boquerones Marinated Smelt

My first trip to Spain was in 2005.   My family, including then-boyfriend E, traveled across el charco (the pond) to take a cruise around the Mediterranean.  We spent the days leading to and after the cruise in Barcelona and Madrid.  My sister had already lived in Spain for a summer, so she was well versed in the art of enjoying cañas (small draft beers) and tapas.  I tasted my first boquerones in vinegar marinated white anchovies, in Barcelona  under her tutelage.  Did she create a monster!  As soon as we made it back to the ship from the shore excursions, Eduardo and I would make a beeline to the tapas buffet and load up our plates with tasty marinated vegetables and ridiculous amounts of boquerones.  When we visit the Spanish/Cuban panaderías in the island, we sometimes order some.  They are definitely a treat: an order usually costs at least $1.00 per little fish.  I know now why! Read More…

Harina de Maiz – Breakfast Cornmeal Cereal

Harina de Maiz Breakfast Cereal

Back in the late eighties, before the Internet and Wikipedia, most facts and figures were collected in almanacs or books like the Guiness Book of World Records. Through one of these unforgettable book club flyers, I bought a copy of the Second Kids World Almanac when I was an impressionable nine year-old. I credit (blame?) that book for turning me into a trivia and general knowledge junkie. How did I know that this book was to be trusted as a veritable source for listings of popular haircuts, the true name of pop stars and the origins of unusual animals? In the food chapter, it featured popular breakfast foods around the world. Under Puerto Rico, the listing said something akin to “oatmeal or cooked cornmeal with milk poured over it, coffee”. Clearly these people knew what they were talking about.

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