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Atole – My Favorite Winter Breakfast


I know what you’re thinking, it’s May, why would I write about my favorite winter breakfast? On April 1st, my dad passed away while playing the congas. My father was a lot of things, an artist, a musician, a poet, but he was also a really great cook. My love for food has a lot do with him and his cooking. While he introduced me to so many dishes, it’s the memory of him making “atole” that I really hold dear. What’s atole? In the southern United States, you have grits. In Mexico and New Mexico, we have atole. It is usually made thick like a porridge or thin and drinkable. While you can make it using regular cornmeal, I grew up eating it made from blue cornmeal.

I am the youngest of 3 and by the time I was born, my mom was ready to go back to work, and my dad happily volunteered to be a stay-at-home dad. I was lucky to have this time with him. While I could go on for hours with memories and hilarious “dad-raising-daughters” mishaps (allowing me to dress myself – think polka dot shirts with contrasting striped pants and the ever present ” my dad did my hair” messy side ponytail) it is him making me atole that I will offer up today. After my sisters would go to school, my dad would make us breakfast and it was often our favorite – atole. No one else in the family liked it. My sisters were put off by the color, my mom didn’t like the flavor. My dad and I loved it, it was our thing. He would make it with milk, cinnamon and maple syrup (I would sneak extra sugar when he wasn’t looking).

As I grew up, he’d send me to school with a thermos of atole to drink until I graduated from high school. As time moves on, I find I am reflecting on “little” memories the most. The everyday moments we shared.

Every time I eat atole I will make a little extra for him.

So, here it is, an adaptation of my dad’s Atole:

Ingredients:

2 cups water
1 cups atole (blue corn meal)
2 cups milk (less for a thicker porridge style. I subbed almond milk because reg. milk doesn’t love me anymore)
Maple syrup and cinnamon to taste (you can sub honey, agave or sugar)

Bring your water to a boil in a saucepan. Slowly whisk the Atole in, avoiding clumping.
Bring to a boil and add the cinnamon and syrup; reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk in milk as desired (no more than ½ cup for porridge style Atole).

You can flavor this however you want. Add vanilla? Sure! Make it savory? Why not!

 

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My Favorite Granola Recipe 

Regardless of the season, this is one of my favorite, easy, go-to breakfasts. Not only is it comforting, but it’s so versatile – you can use any nuts you want, spice it to make it more season appropriate and add any fruit that you wish. I promise you, make this once and it will soon be a staple in your breakfast repertoire 😋.

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Combine the oats, pepitas, and chopped nuts

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Mix in the vanilla, maple syrup and melted coconut oil

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Top with salt and mix until combined. You have no idea how good this smells! Once it’s finished you can wait for it to cool or dig in when it’s warm and fresh from the oven.


I like to top mine with almond milk and pomegranates 😍

INGREDIENTS

2 Cups Whole Rolled Oats
1/4 Cup Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)
1/2 Cup Chopped Nuts ( I used Pecans)
2 Tbsp Melted Coconut Oil
2-3 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Large Pinch Fine Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 350 and bake for 10-15 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when you start to smell it.

Journey to the North – Salta

I had hoped to post as we went along our trip but, knowing that we would have limited access to the internet and, in an effort to pack lightly, I decided to forgo packing my laptop. An effort I failed miserably at BTW.  I was preparing for what I thought was going to be a blistering cold journey, and if I had to bundle up, I wanted to look cute doing it. That said, in the back of my mind, I knew I would end up wearing the same things anyway. The vanity, the vanity. . . Luckily for me, I didn’t have to carry my bag much.

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Anyway – after about a 23 hour bus ride we arrived in Salta – tired, needing a shower, and hungry. After having asked a few people were we should go to eat, we got a little excited when everyone mentioned the same place – Panadería del Chuña. With all this hype, how could we NOT try it out? So, we showered and marched our hungry asses in search of what seemed to be a legendary restaurant. And, legendary it was. . .

Just east of the plaza we came upon the restaurant and each of us just stopped and stared in . . . amazement. Was the building huge? Yes. Incredible architecture? Meh. Beautiful? Not particularly. So what was the big deal? The wall opposite the entrance was lit up by a huge curtain of Christmas lights that changed colors. -_-

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There was a small debate about whether we should find another and then we succumbed because A) we were starving and B) “well, when in Salta”.

The food was mediocre at best – the empanadas were the smallest I’ve ever seen, the meat was the worst that any of us have had in Argentina, and the wine list was limited. At one point we were drenched in a savory blue lighting followed by a light show sure to bring on an epileptic attack. All the while there was a mix of Folkclorico dancing, singing, ANND a video of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World which included (of course) Iguazu Falls. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good cultural event – I did major in Anthropology in college with a focus on Cultural Anthro, but this was too much, even for me.

The strange thing is, we seemed to be the only non-Argentines there. And everyone was LOVING IT. They were clapping, cheering and dancing along. It was all a bit awkward, to say the least. I am sure Salta has some wonderful restaurants but this is not one of them.

Maybe it was the long bus ride, maybe it was the lighting that made my food look like black ink,IMG_6989 or that this place was INSANELY over priced (I am serious you can eat 10x better in Buenos Aires for less, and that is saying something) – whatever the reason we were eager to finish our wine and get some sleep.

All of that said, we still had a great time and it was an experience. At the end of the day, what more can you ask for?

**** I have had issues with loading images this week, thus the delay in posting AND the lack of pictures. But don’t worry, I will be providing images as soon as I can ;).

“A Few of My Favorite Things” – Revisited

Alrighhhht I have officially been here for 2 months! Therefore, I think it’s only right to do a 2nd installment of “A Few of My Favorite Things”. I think I am going to add to this list every month to keep me grateful 🙂

OK so starting from where I left off –

12) Running around the park, in monsoon-like rain, at 4am.

13) Alfajores dipped in chocolate – an alfajor is an amazing little sandwich cookie that will traditionally have a dolce de leche center – but you can get them in a variety of flavors. These are my new guilty pleasure – as in I literally just ate one 😉 shh.

Different types of Alfajor candies

14) The fact that if one is on a bus, or say in line at the grocery store, if there is a pregnant woman everyone will give up their seat/ place in line so she can go first!

15) That I can buy 2 bife de chorizo cuts – aka a NY Strip or Sirloin depending – aka the most delicous cut of meat – for around 30 pesos!! Drool. I successfully cooked a steak for the first time last night and it was perfectly mid-rare… *pats self on back*.

Buenos Aires 2009 - Bife de chorizo no Restaur...

16) That there are “verdulerias” practically on every block. A verduleria is a vegetable stand. If you can’t find one on your block keep walking and you’re guaranteed to run into one. Their veggies are always fresh and they pick out the best ones for you, so there is no guess-work!

Verdulería.

17) That looking natural is “in”. I love that the women wear very little makeup here. I haven’t worn, foundation, blush, or eye shadow in a few weeks!

18) La Bomba del Tiempo! Every Monday in Abasto 17 percussionists get on stage at the Konex for an improvisational jam fest! It’s so much fun they play everything from samba to Latin and African beats, Salsa etc. This deserves its own blog posting, and it will have it, so watch for it in the future :).

La Bomba de Tiempo

OK, that is all for now!!!! Again feel free to suggest additions to this list!!!

Food, Glorious FOOD!

Nothing makes me happier than a full plate of delicious goodness. I love to eat, I don’t trust anyone that doesn’t. Eating is my favorite indulgence. I like to think that I’m an adventurous eater. I will try anything once – I’m not scared – BRING IT ON. There isn’t a lot that I don’t like, well that’s a lie. I am not a fan of tofu, however, shout out to my girl Daya – the girl can whip up some MEAN tofu. She is a rare exception.

OK, back to the food I love. Pig ears? If crispy, love ’em. Sweet breads? Love ’em. Veggies? Love ’em. Pastries? Love ’em. Seafood? Love …

You get the idea.

I am also a huge a meat lover. Ahhh I love meat!!

– Go ahead and giggle at the dirty joke that just ran through your mind – I don’t mind – I went there too, and my12 yr old self also thinks it’s hilarious. 😉

But, seriously, there is nothing funny about meat. My grandfather was a butcher so there is no way I could ever be a vegetarian.

– I think bacon is the candy of the meats.

– Duck makes me giddy.

– Lamb can bring tears to my eyes.

– I’m actually not a big fan of chicken, unless it’s fried – then I am ALL about it.

But, if I was only allowed to eat one type of meat/dish, I would choose steak. Ahh – mid-rare, (warm and red throughout) a bit of lime and salt. Omg I die. It’s for this reason I was sooo excited about coming to Argentina – the place is known for its beef. AKA it’s heaven. 🙂

Last night the housemates and I had an “Asado”. What is that? Why a barbecue/cookout of course! It is also considered the national dish :). So, we bought a whole bunch of steak and chorizo (sausage – this isn’t like the chorizo we are used to in NM – there is no spice – it’s just sausage).

Literally, stacks on stacks, on stacks of beef :)

Literally, stacks on stacks, on stacks of beef 🙂

Drool.

Don’t worry we also bought some veggies…

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Ramiro was kind of enough to man the parrilla (grill). Throw in a great salad, chimichurri, a few bottles of Malbec, and semi-violent winds and you are one step closer to being in a blissful food-coma.

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Between 9 people we couldn’t finish all of it. Annnd on that note, I am going to go do some work on the leftovers! Salud!!

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