Author Archives: Joanna

giving brussels sprouts a little lovin’

Oh, hello! Over the past few months, I have been camera-less and quite busy, and I have dearly missed sharing my cooking adventures with you. But now armed with a new camera and some much-appreciated time on my hands, I decided it was time to show mumble pie some love by cooking up a veggie that is often sadly relegated to people’s hate list: the Brussels sprout.

I love cooking with fresh ingredients, but as a college student with an unpredictable schedule and conservative budget, I often rely on bags of frozen veggies to ensure that I minimize waste and maximize my ability to cook healthy food fast. However, I have recently been challenging myself to use more fresh ingredients by buying one or two fresh vegetables per week and making a couple of dishes that will keep me well-fed for a few days. Knowing that I need to use the vegetables before they spoil motivates me to get in the kitchen and come up with inventive recipes.

This afternoon at the grocery store I had my eyes on the Brussels sprouts. Over winter break in Miami, I ate the most delicious ginger glazed Brussels sprouts from a food truck. They were caramelized and juicy and spicy and sweet and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about those heavenly little morsels! So, with a bag of Brussels in hand, I set out to use those flavors to make a delicious stir fry of Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, tofu, onions, brown rice, and lots of ginger.

I first sauteed the onions and ginger together, and then added the Brussels sprouts to get them caramelized. I then added in the mushrooms and tofu and let everything cook a little longer. Once everything had a nice golden color to it, I splashed in some soy sauce and sriracha, and added two generous spoonfuls of brown sugar. I popped a lid on the pan and let everything steam and soften a bit.

When the Brussels sprouts were fork tender and the tofu and mushrooms had soaked in all the sweet and spicy flavors, I added in some cooked brown rice, and voila! A heaping helping of gingery Brussels sprouts fried rice was served! Better yet, I have loads of leftovers in the fridge to last until at least the middle of the week, when I’ll tackle vegetable #2…

I hope to be better about updating my cooking adventures in the coming weeks. Until then, go take a stroll through the farmer’s market or produce department and see what inspires you!

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black beans & memories

Black beans are not only a favorite food of mine, but one that carries a slew of  fond memories.  Cuban black beans are my Abuela’s signature dish, and they steal the show away from the lechon (entire roasted pig) every Nochebuena.  My vegetarian roommate’s signature black beans are the dish I most request that she cooks for dinner.  And black bean dip was my Tio Armando’s famous appetizer, which was featured at every big family gathering and demolished the moment it hit the table.  It is with these three wonderful influences in my heart and in my palette that I created a black bean creation of my own.

This black bean dip has a spicy kick a squirt of sriracha and a sweet hint from a generous pour of sherry.  It is versatile, addictive, healthy, and as it becomes a staple in my kitchen, I foresee it becoming a component of many future memorable moments.

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summer solstice eve

On the eve of the summer solstice, I bring you a quintessential summer dessert:

Blueberry pie.

This dessert has been in my summer repertoire since middle school, when my best friend, Robyn, and I, spent a carefree afternoon experimenting in the kitchen with a couple pints of fresh berries and a roll of pie dough.  The result was better than we or any of our family members could have ever imagined, and it quickly became a summer staple. We’ve made pie in my kitchen, her kitchen, and hotel kitchens while on vacation.  Although today I was baking solo, I was still reminded of our years of pie baking, lattice crust decorating, and not-so-slick taste-testing before we served the warm pie to our families (is an entire chunk of crust missing really that noticeable?)

Today’s pie was made for Father’s Day. After a summery dinner, blueberry pie with vanilla ice cream was the perfect finish.  I’ll never cease being amazed by how hard indigo berries transform into plump, bubbly, amethyst gems while in the oven. I’ll never stop loving each contrasting bite of sweet, tart, crunchy, and creamy that the union of crust, fruit, and ice cream creates.  And I’ll never stop thinking how this oh-so-simple dessert equals summer perfection.

Make blueberry pie your new summer tradition. I promise you won’t regret it.

Happy Summer from mumblepie!

Blueberry pie recipe found here. Our one modification is to add the zest and juice of one lemon.

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wheatberries

I’ve scooped them up at salad bars. I’ve seen them in cooking magazines and blogs. And now, I can proudly say I’ve made them myself.

Wheatberries. All you really need to know is that these are delicious, nutty, half-chewy, half-crunchy kernels that pair just as beautifully with a dollop of yogurt and berries as they do with roasted veggies.  But if the origin of this tiny but mighty grain piques your curiosity, as it did mine, here’s the dish.

Wheatberries are the entire wheat kernel, except for the hull. If you were to grind them completely, you would make whole wheat flour. They are chock-full of iron, fiber, and protein, and surprisingly inexpensive (2 cups of wheatberries from the Whole Foods bulk bin were just $1 and made almost 5 cups of cooked grain).

For my inaugural wheatberry concoction, I made a roasted carrot salad with dried cherries, walnuts, pistachios, and goat cheese (cause goat makes everything better!) I was cooking on the fly, inspired by Moroccan spices but aiming to lighten up the flavor for the summer.  The result was an addictive salad with a diversity of textures and flavors that married quite happily. Best part was that this light yet hearty salad was enjoyed at one of mumblepie’s favorite destinations, Stiltsville.

It was the perfect midday snack on the water and continues to be the perfect lunch for the week. I can’t wait to continue experimenting with these great grains.

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my granola

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Today, I finally concocted a granola I can call my own. While I have made many batches of granola in the past, they’ve always come from recipes. My science-minded self craves structure, reliability, and accuracy. Therefore, before I set out to cook, I scour the cookbook shelf and the blogosphere for the golden ratio of ingredients. I realized that when it came to granola, this was quite hypocritical. Granola is a staple of the 1970’s, and it begs for free love. So this afternoon, I let myself go and mixed up my favorite ingredients to make the most delicious batch of granola that has ever emerged from my oven.

Inspired by a recent New York Times article, I used olive oil instead of the usual canola. This not only gave the granola a great golden color, but also imbued it with a fruity undertone. I had recently been given a giant jar of homemade honey from a farm in South Florida, and I used a generous pour to give the granola a rich sweetness. My nuts of choice were sliced almonds and bright green pumpkin seeds. I also added a healthy dose of ground flaxseed, shredded coconut, and a few grinds of sea salt.

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As the granola baked away, I realized I had forgotten to add the ingredient I was most excited about: orange zest. However, this turned into a delicious mistake. The instant the warm granola came out of the oven I grated the zest of an entire orange over it and let the warm oats and nuts drink up the bright orange oil. Once it had cooled completely I tossed in dried apricots and cranberries. I’ve already munched on quite a few handfuls, and I can’t wait to have it for breakfast with Greek yogurt. I hypothesize that the results of this kitchen experiment will be well received by all taste testers

Recipe after the jump.

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ice cream for the birthday girl

Complimentary truffles from DiLido Beach Club, Ritz Carlton South Beach

Complimentary truffles from the DiLido Beach Club

Last week was Erica’s birthday, but since it fell on a busy Monday, the family had a celebratory dinner Sunday night instead. As per the birthday girl’s request, we had chili-rubbed ribeyes with sweet corn and saffron mashed potatoes and a big salad. Papi also prepared some refreshing marlin ceviche, which he served with avocado and sweet potato cubes, as is customary in Peru. It was an all-around delicious meal!

But what would a birthday dinner be without a decadent dessert? 24 years of life deserve a special treat, and Erica and I spent the entire week leading up to her birthday tossing around ideas for the perfect birthday dessert. We quickly agreed that warm cake or cookie with ice cream would be the way to go, but it wasn’t until Saturday afternoon that we settled on the winning combination: warm Ghirardelli brownies (the only mix we ever use, and swear by) with homemade cherry ice cream with chocolate chunks.

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I spent Saturday night staining my fingers deep magenta as I pitted close to a pound of fresh cherries. The ice cream base was extremely easy to make, requiring no eggs and a quick whirr through the blender. Many ice cream recipes call for the addition of alcohol, because since the alcohol doesn’t freeze, the ice cream retains a softer texture. I used a combination of Frangelico (hazlenut) and Chambord (raspberry) liquors and together they provided a sweet and nutty background for the tart cherries. Although I believe that when it comes to chocolate, the darker the better, Erica is a milk girl, so for this occasion, I folded in some milk chocolate chips at the end.

The brownies, fresh out of the oven, were topped with scoops of the whimsy pink ice cream and sprinkled with crunchy toasted salted almond slivers. The humble quart I made disappeared as our sweet-toothed family members lined up for servings. It had been a while since I last made ice cream, but last night reminded me of how easy and popular of a summertime dessert this is. I can’t wait to experiment with some more fruits and flavors in the near future.

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I’m glad I was able to make Erica’s birthday that much sweeter. Happy Birthday, sista!

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shrimp enchiladas

We’ve had annual subscriptions to Bon Appetit and Gourmet magazines for as long as I can remember. Each time a new issue arrives, I eagerly flip through the pages, drooling over the food porn and bookmarking the five-course meals and sky high cakes that I plan on making. Unfortunately, my lofty culinary goals usually get cast into the ever-growing pile of magazines that adorns our living room. Soon thereafter, the next month’s issue arrives, and the delicious dishes I dreamed of cooking never come to fruition.

Today, Papi ended this vicious cycle.

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The cover of June’s Bon Appetit had been staring at us for weeks—artfully prepared shrimp enchiladas with salsa verde. Before we had even eaten breakfast, Papi resolutely declared that we were making these for dinner. We were so excited to finally bring a beloved cover to life that we spent all day shopping and preparing for the meal. As 5pm rolled around, smells of freshly chopped oregano and cilantro and caramelizing onions filled our house. After a couple hours of kitchen teamwork, we sat down to an amazing dinner.

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Papi attributes the incredibleness of this dish to all of the layers of flavor. The enchiladas were simply stuffed with sauteed shrimp, caramelized onions, and cotija cheese (a hard, crumbly Mexican cheese similar to feta), and layered with salsa verde (we took the easy way out and used Goya). But when served with creamy avocado, fresh sliced red onion, cilantro, lime, and crema (a liquidy Mexican sour cream), magic happened. The melange of textures, temperatures, and tastes melded perfectly. We served the enchiladas alongside Mom’s homemade black bean salad and roasted corn on the cob. It was a perfect meal for a leisurely summer night. Hopefully, the curse has been broken, and many more of our treasured magazines will be uncovered.

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