Author Archives: commentditon

french apple cake

1 stick (8 TBSPs) unsalted butter

1 1/2 lbs Granny Smith or other baking apples such as Jonagold, Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, or Fuji (peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4 inch slices)

1 lb should be Golden Delicious, Macintosh, Braeburn, or another apple that breaks down readily (peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4 inch slices)

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp table salt

12 TBSP sugar, divided

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 TBSP Calvados, cognac, or brandy (you may also use spiced rum, but omit the allspice if you use spiced rum)

2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking powder

cooking spray or butter, for coating the pan


  1. Heat the oven to 375ºF with a rack in the middle position. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with butter or cooking spray, dust evenly with flour, then tap out the excess. In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, melt the butter. Cook, swirling the pan frequently, until the milk solids at the bottom are golden brown and the butter has a nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Pour into a small heatproof bowl without scraping out the skillet. Stir the allspice into the butter and set aside.
  2. Add all of the apples, 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the salt to the still-hot skillet and set over medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all moisture released by the apples has evaporated and the slices are beginning to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the brandy and cook until evaporated, 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer to a large plate, spread in an even layer and refrigerate uncovered until cool to the touch, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and 9 tablespoons of the remaining sugar. Gradually whisk in the browned butter. Add the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until smooth; the batter will be very thick. Add the cooled apples and fold until evenly coated with batter. Transfer to the prepared pan, spread in an even layer and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
  4. Bake until deeply browned, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Run a knife around the inside of the pan and remove the sides before slicing.


feijoada (instapot)

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Soak Time: 4-8 hours or overnight — this is optional
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings


  • 6 ounces diced bacon
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 1 pound boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-2 inch chunks
  • 1 TBSP kosher salt
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound (approximately 2 1/4 cups) dried black beans, sorted and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (can be omitted if you pre-soak your beans for 4 hours – overnight)
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Brown the meats: Set your Instapot to sauté and cook the bacon until it is browned and has rendered most of the fat, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pot to a large bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving as much bacon fat behind as possible. Add the pork to the pot in a single layer, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Move the pork to the bacon bowl with a slotted spoon.
  2. Sauté the aromatics: Add the onion and garlic to the pot, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Let the onion cook for a minute to start releasing liquid, then scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen all the browned bits of meat into the onions. Keep sautéing the onions and garlic, occasionally scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits, until the onions soften, about 5 more minutes.
  3. OPTIONAL: Soak the beans: Unplug the Instapot. Add the beans, the chicken stock, the bowl full of meat and any juices, the smoked ham hock, and the bay leaves. Soak the beans for 4-8 hours. You should refrigerate the pot because the pork shoulder is not cooked through at this point.
  4. Pressure cook for 40 minutes with natural pressure release: If you didn’t soak the beans for at least 4 hours, stir in the dried beans, then the bowl full of meat and any juices. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and the baking soda, then pour in the broth and add the bay leaves. Lock the Instapot and cook on high pressure for 40 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally, about 20 minutes.
  5. Taste, season and serve: Carefully remove the lid – the steam will be hot – and discard the bay leaves. Taste the stew for seasoning; it will need pepper, but probably not any more salt. Serve over steamed white rice.

Adapted from Mike Vrobel’s Feijoada recipe.

one-pan orzo with spinach and feta


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 large scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces baby spinach leaves (8 cups), coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ¾ cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • ¾ cup crumbled feta (3 ounces), plus more for garnish
  • ½ cup frozen peas, thawed (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh dill or parsley
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted (optional)


  1. Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium, then melt butter, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in about three-quarters of the scallions (saving some of the green parts for garnish) and garlic, and cook until softened, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in spinach, adding in batches if it doesn’t all fit in the pan at once, and 1 teaspoon salt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in stock and bring to a simmer. Stir in orzo. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until orzo is nearly cooked through and most of the liquid is absorbed, 10 to 14 minutes, stirring once or twice.
  4. Stir in cheese, peas (if you like) cover the pan, and cook for another 1 minute, to finish cooking and warm the peas. To serve, sprinkle with fresh herbs, lemon zest, more cheese, and the reserved scallions.

yield: serves 4

time: 30 minutes

source: New York Times, Melissa Clark

saffron pasta with pork and tomato sauce

Posted on October 12, 2020 by enrlihn | Leave a commentingredients

  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 3 ounces pancetta or bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh sage
  • 12 ounces gnocchi-shaped pasta or orecchiette
  • 1 cup freshly grated pecorino Sardo or pecorino Romano cheese (about 3 ounces), divided

NOTE: When we first tried this all we had in hand was a block of Parmesan, and for pasta we used penne as that was the closest alternative in our pantry. preparation Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add pancetta and sauté until fat is rendered, about 3 minutes. Add onion and parsley; sauté until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add ground pork and sauté until brown, breaking up with back of fork, about 8 minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes, bay leaves, and sage. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce thickens and flavors blend, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. (can be made 2 days ahead. Chill uncovered for 1 hour, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm over low heat before using.) Cook pasta with saffron in large pot of boiling salted water until pasta is tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain; return to same pot. Add sauce and 1/2 cup of cheese; toss to blend. Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and serve. NOTE: We saved the pasta water and combined pasta with sauce in the sauce pan, so we could add pasta water as needed to prevent overly thick sauce. We also added extra pasta water to leftovers before refrigerating, as they will get drier when reheating. nutritional information n/a yield: 6-8 servings time: 45-60 minutes source: The Bon Appetit Cookbook, p.207

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fettuccine with prosciutto, peas, and lemon-chive sauce

Posted on October 2, 2020 by enrlihn | Leave a comment


  • 12 ounces fettuccine or other pasta
  • 2 cup frozen petite peas (about 4 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup fresh chopped chives
  • 6 TBSP. finely grated lemon peel
  • 3 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut crosswise into slivers


  1. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Add peas; cook 30 seconds.
  2. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta and peas to same pot.
  3. Add cream, chives, lemon juice, and lemon peel to pasta. Toss over medium heat until sauce coats pasta, adding reserved cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if pasta is fry, about 1 minute. Mix in prosciutto; season to taste with slat and pepper. Transfer pasta to bowl.

NOTE: Quantities in recipe didn’t quite work, so play around with them until right. When I tried it there was far too much cream and chives. Basically, go with your gut on how much of each to put in.

NOTE 2: Even though it says to add the prosciutto at the end, I actually threw it in the hot pan first for a minute to render a little of the fat into it and slightly cook the meat, then tossed the naked pasta with that before adding the other ingredients.

nutritional information


yield: 4 servings

time: 20 minutes

source: The Bon Appetit Cookbook, pp.203-4

chimichurri, two ways

Ingredients (option 1)
1 cup firmly packed fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves, (remove the thick stems)
3-4 garlic cloves
1 TBSP Uruguayan adobo*
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

* If you don’t have Uruguayan adobo, use 2 TBSPs fresh oregano leaves or 2 tsps dried oregano + 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Ingredients (option 2)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced shallots (about 2 medium)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Finely chop the parsley, garlic, (and if applicable, shallots and fresh oregano).  (Or process in a food processor for several pulses). Place in a small bowl.
  2. Stir in the olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs. Add your vinegar or lemon juice. Adjust seasonings.
  3. Serve immediately or refrigerate. If chilled, return to room temperature before serving. Can keep for a week or two.

earthquake cookies

earthquake cookies

These cookies are chewy and amazingly delicious. The granulated sugar absorbs moisture from the dough, which turns into syrup while baking, and creates fissures that look like faults, hence the name ‘earthquake’ cookies or chocolate crinkle cookies. A friend calls them the ‘chocogasm’ cookie. Whatever you call them, they will be gone really quickly.


  • 1 cup (5 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder (Hershey’s or Droste are recommended)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz) packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped (Hershey’s unsweetened baking bar is recommended)
  • 4 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) powdered sugar


  1. Adjust over rack to middle position and heat oven to 325F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl. (I measure into a fine sieve then whisk it through the sifter.)
  3. Whisk eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla together in a large bowl.
  4. Combine chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with saran wrap, and microwave at 50% power for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until melted.
  5. Whisk chocolate mixture into egg mixture until combined.
  6. Fold in flour mixture until no dry streaks remain.
  7. Let dough sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  8. Place granulated sugar and powdered sugar in separate shallow dishes. Scoop dough with a 2 TBSP (#30) measuring scoop, dropping dough into granulated sugar. Coat the ball with granulated sugar, then move to powdered sugar and coat evenly. place on cookie sheet and space evenly. (11 balls will bit on one sheet.)
  9. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until puffed and cracked and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft (they will look underdone/ raw in the cracks), approximately 12 minutes. Rotate sheets about halfway through baking. Let cool completely on sheet before serving.

Makes: 22 cookies.
Source: Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, Nov/Dec 2014 issue

instapot chicken ‘carnitas’

  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 TBSP oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup | 60 ml orange juice (or pineapple juice)
  • 1/4 cup | 60 ml lime juice
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)
  • 1 TBSP corn starch


  1. Add the olive oil to the Instant Pot. Press the “Sauté” button. Once the oil is warm add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is fragrant and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for another minute.
  2. Mix the cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and chili powder together.
  3. Stir in the orange juice, lime juice, chicken stock and spice blend. Mix to combine. Add the chicken to the pot and stir to coat.
  4. Press the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button to stop the sauté function. Secure the lid and make sure the steam valve is closed. Press ‘Manual’ and set the timer to 8 minutes.
  5. After the time is up the Instant Pot will automatically switch the keep warm. Let it keep warm for 10 minutes before releasing the steam valve.
  6. Remove the lid of the instant pot. Transfer the chicken to another container and shred with forks.
  7. Turn the Instant Pot to saute and bring the juices to a boil. Reduce by half.
  8. Stir cornstarch with cold water to make a slurry. Once combined, pour into sauce reduction and stir quickly to combine. Remove promptly and pour over shredded chicken.

Adapted from A Saucy Kitchen

beef empanadas

yield: ~18 empanadas
time: 60 min total



  • 1 lb ground beef
  • Olive oil, about 1-2 TBSP
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/4 yellow bell pepper, minced
  • 1/4 orange bell pepper, minced
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 10-12 small green Spanish olives, pitted, chopped (optional)
  • 2 TBSP Uruguayan Adobo* or about 1.5 TBSP dried oregano, 1 tsp dried parsley, 1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes (Uruguayan adobo is a mixture of oregano, parsley, red pepper flakes, and other herbs)
  • 2 tsp salt (and more, to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 egg yolk for painting
  • Empanada wrappers– the kind for baking, not frying (La Salteña** Hojaldradas para hornear are best)


A few hours before, take the empanada dough out of the freezer and let it come to room temperature. They should not be cold, because the dough is harder to work with when too stiff.

Cook ground beef over medium heat in a pan, breaking it up and stirring as it cooks. When it’s almost done, remove from burner. Strain to get rid of fat and juices. Set aside. Pour off the rendered beef fat and juices.

Put pan back on heat, add olive oil. When oil is hot, add chopped onion and saute until almost translucent. Add bell pepper and sauté until soft and onions are just beginning to brown. Add garlic and stir for about 30 seconds to a minute. When garlic becomes fragrant, toss ground meat back in the pan. Cook, stirring until meat is done cooking and everything is nicely mixed. Season with adobo, paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. Add tomato paste and stir. Taste again and adjust salt and pepper, if needed. Let cool.

Once lukewarm, toss in beaten egg and olives. Mix well.

Line 1 baking sheet with parchment paper.

Open empanada dough package. Take out one disc at a time. I like to hold the disc in the palm of my left hand, and using a tablespoon in my right hand, put about 1.5 TBSPs of filling onto the disc. (Leo prefers to lay out a bunch of the discs on a flat surface, and fill them. Whatever works for you is fine.) The amount you use can vary, just don’t overstuff the empanada or you won’t be able to seal it well. Leave about a 1/3- 1/2 inch border around edge. Moisten all around edge with water, then fold shell over filling. I seal my empanadas really quickly, like Chinese potstickers, but Leo uses the tines of a fork to press the edges all the way around. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat as many times as necessary. Pro tip — if your filling is super wet, you may want to cook your empanadas upright, like potstickers. If your filling is less juicy, place them on their sides.

Paint tops of empanadas with egg yolk. Place in 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes. When empanadas are golden and beginning to flake, remove. I lift the entire sheet of parchment and slide it onto a cooling rack. Enjoy carefully, as insides will be significantly hotter than outsides. These are also delicious at room temperature as a snack or meal.

* You can sometimes find Uruguayan adobo in Latin markets or on Amazon
**You can find La Salteña wrappers here in San Diego at Andrés Cuban Market on Morena, Tropical Star on Balboa Ave, or at North Park Produce in City Heights. They are Argentina’s best-selling empanada wrapper. My Uruguayan husband and I like them better than Goya brand for the flakiness of the dough and get consistently good results. We always buy the Hojaldradas para hornear as we do not have a deep fryer.

instapot beef stew

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Calories: 384kcal
Author: Nichole


  • 1 1/2 Pounds Beef Stew Meat
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Large Onion, Chopped
  • 1 16 Ounce Bag Baby Carrots, Cut Into Slices
  • 1 Pound Potatoes, Cubed
  • 2 1/2 Cups Beef Broth
  • 1 10 Ounce Can Tomato Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons Water


  • Add the olive oil to the instant pot and turn on the saute function. When the oil starts to sizzle add the meat and season with the salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
  • Cook the meat until Browned on all sides.
  • Add the beef broth to the instant pot and use a spoon to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the Worcestershire sauce, garlic, onion, carrots, potatoes, and tomato sauce.
  • Close the lid and steam valve on the instant pot.
  • Cook on high pressure for 35 minutes, then allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes before doing a quick release.
  • Mix together the cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl and stir into the stew until thickened.


Calories: 384kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 105mg | Sodium: 1333mg | Potassium: 1246mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 35IU | Vitamin C: 16.7mg | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 8.2mg

fig jam

fig jam with chevre

Fig jam with chevre

2 lb peeled figs (diced)
3/4 cup sugar
1/8- 1/3 cup lemon juice (I like mine to taste really bright, so I used 1/3)
1 stick cinnamon
3 whole cloves

Boil it all for 30 mins in a pot with a heavy/ thick bottom, stirring occasionally to ensure the bottom doesn’t scorch.

My jam was very light in color because I used Janice kadota figs (light green on the outside, pale pink on the inside).  If you use other varieties, your jam may be darker.

Instant Pot Chicken and Rice

Total: 52 minutes
Servings: 4 -6
Calories: 514
Author: Amy + Jacky

4-5 (511g) chicken thighs
2 cups (440g) Jasmine rice
2 (320g) tomatoes , quartered
1 (235g) onion , sliced
6 (16g) garlic cloves , minced
2 (190g) carrots , chopped
1 teaspoon (5.8g) tomato paste
1.5 tablespoons (22.5ml) regular soy sauce
2 cups (500ml) unsalted chicken stock
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano

2 stalks green onion , thinly sliced


  1. Brown Chicken Thighs in Instant Pot: Heat up Instant Pot using “Sauté More” function. Wait until it says “HOT” (~8 mins).
    Add 1 tbsp (15ml) olive oil in Instant Pot (ensure oil evenly covers the whole bottom).
    Season one side of the chicken generously with salt & black pepper. Add chicken thighs in Instant Pot, then brown each side for 5 minutes. While one side is browning, season the other side with more salt & black pepper.
  2. Saute Onion & Garlic: Set aside the browned chicken thighs. Add in sliced onions and 1 tsp (5.8g) tomato paste, then saute for two minutes. Add in a pinch of dried oregano and dried basil, then saute for another minute. Add in minced garlic cloves, then saute for another 30 seconds.
  3. Deglaze Instant Pot: Pour ½ cup (125ml) unsalted stock in Instant Pot, then deglaze by scrubbing all the flavorful brown bits off the bottom with a wooden spoon. Give it a quick mix.
  4. Pressure Cook Chicken and Rice: To prevent the “BURN” error, first layer browned chicken thighs and chopped carrots at the bottom. Add 1.5 tbsp (22.5ml) regular soy sauce and 2 cups (440g) Jasmine rice in Instant Pot. Pour in 1 ½ cups (375ml) unsalted chicken stock. Make sure the rice is fully submerged in the cooking liquid. Layer quartered tomatoes on top.
    With Venting Knob in Venting Position, close the lid, then turn Venting Knob to Sealing Position. Pressure Cook at High Pressure 7 minutes + Natural Release 12 minutes. Turn Venting Knob to Venting Position, then open the lid carefully.
  5. Season Chicken and Rice: Taste and season with more salt (for reference, we added 3 large pinches of salt).
    *Pro Tip: For this recipe, you’ll want to season with more salt as the flavor boost will be quite dramatic.
    Turn off the heat, then fluff the chicken and rice before serving.
  6. Serve: Garnish with thinly sliced green onion.