Saturday, January 12, 2008

Papusas - Guatemala City, Guatemala

With the assistance of my roommate, I discovered these wonderfully delicious treats when in Guatemala from the 3rd - 8th of December, 2007.

According to my roomie, she had papusas in Ecuador. I just had to try them, not only cause they were homemade compared to the Subway, Taco Bell, Quiznos, Dominoes and so on, available to us in the food court, but they were also inexpensive!

The woman was so delightful and patient, always making sure she had the order correct, since I was speaking in a second language.

They are more or less pancake-like. She started with a ball of dough, then pushed a hole into it in which the fillings were added. With only 3 choices of cheese (the fresh kind: think queso fresca), frijol (bean) and chicherrito (meat) filling. I opted for the beans and meat fillings either separately or combined (mixta).

They are then flattened and placed on the griddle to cook for 5-10 minutes. It's worth the wait. Believe me! These suckers filled me all day.

After served, you had your choice of toppings: a cabbage mixture, various spicy levels of salsa, guacamole and onions.

I ate these 3 days in a row. I loved coming here. I still crave these things to this day. I need this recipe for myself.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Fudgy Chocolate-Walnut Cookies (flourless)

Yes, indeedy! These cookies have no flour, but yessiree they are baked. According to the article, they are ideal for Passover baking. Apparently, this is one of the 1oo tastes to try in 2008.

These were salivated after by my mom, so much so that she called me up from work to tell me to me to bake more 'cause she couldn't stop thinking about them.

Here's the recipe:

2 3/4 cup walnut halves (9 oz.) - toasted, then chopped
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg whites at room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (I used the Bourbon kind from Madagascar)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Position 2 racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. (Parchment paper is very important here as I tried without and they were very hard to remove from the pans.)

In a large bowl, whisk the confectioners' sugar with the cocoa powder and salt. Whisk in the chopped walnuts. Add the egg whites and vanilla extract and beat just until batter is moistened (be careful not to overbeat or it will stiffen). Spoon the batter onto the baking sheets in 12 evenly spaced mounds.

Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes (shift the pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through), until the tops of the cookies are glossy and lightly cracked and feel firm to the touch.

Slide the parchment paper (with the cookies) onto 2 wire racks to cool completely before serving.

The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days (but it's highly unlikely they'll last that long).

Recipe by Francois Payard was found in the January 2008 issue of Food and Wine. (page 48)

Baba Ghanoush

With an extra eggplant lying around I thought I would give a go at making baba ghanoush as a former roomie, the H-ster, had so inspiringly made on many occasions in our old abode.

I used a recipe from, but modified it slightly as I usually do when I don't have the exact ingredients. Here's the recipe:

1 eggplant
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt & pepper to taste
8 oz. plain yogurt (I used a soy yogurt from Wild Woods)
1 clove garlic (I used 3 cause I love the stuff)

Bake eggplant at 350 degrees until soft, about 1/2 hour. Test with a toothpick. Cool, peel, and remove head. Chop or put in food processor, whichever texture is preferred (I blended it.) Add garlic and continue to process. Add lemon juice, yogurt, salt and pepper.

Tahini Sauce
1/2 cup tahini sauce
salt & pepper to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon
(I skipped the water and salt & pepper as I felt it was thin enough already)

Mix tahini sauce, salt, pepper and lemon juice separately in a mixer. Add a little water to thin. Mix with eggplant mixture.

Eat with pita bread and salad. Garnish with parsely.

Yummy, yummy! I love eating this with the baked pita chips from Trader Joe's. But it would also be nice over a cucumber, onion and tomato salad, too.