Barley Succotash

IMG_0425[1]It’s been hot here, although I think the temperature is finally going to break today. I know I shouldn’t complain about the weather. It’s only been in the high 20’s. Crazy I know what that means right? It’s about high 70’s, low 80’s.

You’re probably reading this thinking, um, Mariel, that’s not hot. I know – I know, I just moved from DC where it’s hotter than hell. In DC low 80’s would feel like a wonderful cold front because summer is usually 100° with about a million percent humidity. But the thing is, high 70’s is hot here because air conditioning isn’t so much a thing here. Our flat doesn’t have air conditioning, the library doesn’t have air conditioning, and when you walk down the street you never pass a store and feel the cold blast of AC. We got a fan and that helps a ton. Continue reading


Sweet and Tangy Wings

For me, chicken wings have sentimental value. That might sound like a stupid thing to say, but I think most people have at least one food that makes them feel happy, or nostalgic, or something gushy like that. Chicken wings are one of my happy foods.

Wings were a staple of my junior and senior year of college. Every Thursday, my friends and I would race to Cornerstone, our favorite local bar, to take advantage of 25¢ wings. The thing is, you had to arrive before 10pm to get the deal. If you couldn’t get there by 10, we would call in your order to one of our friends who was already there (and if you were first to arrive you usually had to order about half a dozen varieties of wings). But what made wing night so great, is that it was a standing date with my friends. We’d eat a ton, have a vodka cranberry (pretty much all of our drink of choice at the time), and then we’d dance all night. It was a blast, and today wings still remind me of happy times with my college buddies. Below are some college pictures, circa 2007.

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Rellenos de Papa (Stuffed Potato Fritters)

DSCN1293I love kitchen gadgets and accessories. Unfortunately, not all of my gadgets will get moved to London – you know space concerns, different outlet plugs, and such. So I want to use my gadgets before I put them in storage. The deep fryer is number one on that list. (My friends have even asked if I’ll have a deep fryer party).

Anyway, I’ve made today’s recipe before but I thought the deep fryer would take it up a notch. This recipe is a Puerto Rican recipe that is essentially seasoned ground beef, covered in potatoes, formed in to a ball, and then deep fried. Over the years, Ryan and I have made this recipe about a half a dozen times with mixed success. It always tastes good, but often the balls fall apart either while being formed or while in the oil. I thought using the deep fryer would help ensure good taste and good looks. Continue reading

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

noviceI have an ever-growing collection of wish-list recipes. I am constantly pinning recipes on Pinterest and ripping things out of Food & Wine magazine. I collect things that I think have lots of vegetables, that have a holiday theme, or that include my current ingredient obsession. There’s so much good stuff, but I think I only cook about 20% of what I collect. So, I’ve decided to make an effort and once a week attempt something from my vast collection.

I chose this recipe because it has some vegetables, good spice flavor, and ingredients already in my pantry. It’s an easy to make and very filling vegetarian dish. Also, this recipe makes a lot of servings. I’ve been eating it for lunch and breakfast for almost a week – which is fine because it’s tasty. Finally, it’s good both warm and cold so it’s a perfect on-the-go meal. Try it out, it’s yummy. Continue reading

Quinoa with tomatoes, olives, and feta

photo 1 (1)Earlier this week I went to Harrods to browse the fancy clothes, the gorgeous food displays, and the cute tourist wares. Harrods is a huge maze of a department store! I found an art gallery, many restaurants, an Egyptian themed escalator, furniture, amazing designer shoes, and a book store. I loved the book store and there were so many cookbooks! I was good and didn’t buy any, but I did thumb through. All those cookbooks made me long to have a real kitchen with more resources at my disposal. I can’t wait until we’re in a real apartment. What should I cook first when I’m back in a full kitchen? I’m taking suggestions. Continue reading

Cheddar Ranch Dip

It’s almost Christmas! I’m sure your menu is set, ingredients are in the fridge, and maybe some desserts are already made. If you need one more item to fill out your snack foods and hors d’oeuvres, might I suggest this dip? I’m kind of crazy about it and sort of have a two-decade long love-affair with it.

photo (3)Years ago, let’s estimate that I was ten-years-old, my Uncle Jose and Titi Lisa lived kind of near a Wegmans. They still live near Wegmans, but when our story begins there weren’t that many Wegmans locations so living kind of near a Wegmans was special. Anyway, one time my family went to visit them, and they served a cheddar ranch dip from Wegmans with some Wheat Thins. It was the best snack ever. I love cheese and crackers, and this just took it up a notch. It’s very cheesy and tangy. It was creamy, but also had a pleasing lumpy texture from the shredded cheese. We devoured it. And every time we visited after that, they bought it. I always looked forward to it. We’d arrive and give our kisses and hugs hello, then go about catching up. All the while, I knew that dip was waiting for us in the door of the fridge. But when would it be taken out?! Continue reading

Whole Cranberry Sauce

noviceThanksgiving is a week away, and I’m sure many of you are planning your menus or debating what to make. Me too. I still don’t know what I want to contribute, although my mom has requested last week’s key lime pie. But, if you’re  looking for something a bit simple that will also be a crowd favorite, might I suggest you consider homemade cranberry sauce?

Now, some of you might be saying, “Mariel are you crazy?! I love canned cranberry sauce and it is a Thanksgiving staple.” And I hear you. Canned cranberry sauces is sweet, predictable, and tastes pretty good. But let me give you four reasons to consider making it yourself. Continue reading