Braised Pork and Chorizo Stew

3 pounds pork butt, cut into 1-inch cubes

1/4 cup lard

1 pound Mexican chorizo, casing removed

1 white onion, diced fine

2 carrots, peeled and diced

1 1/2 pound can white hominy

1 pound fresh or frozen peas

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup red wine

6 – 8 cups chicken stock

3 branches thyme

1 bay leaf

1 dried avocado leaf

Rub the pork all over with the salt, pepper, and cumin and set aside. Heat lard in a Dutch oven over medium heat, add the pork and lightly brown on all sides. Remove pork from pan and add the chorizo, cooking until bubbling and separated about 5 minutes. Add the onions and carrots and cook until soft about 5 minutes. Add garlic and the pork back to the pan, stirring to combine and fragrant.

Add wine and reduce by half, followed by the chicken stock, 1 teaspoon salt, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a low boil, then reduce to a simmer. Partially cover and cook, turning the pork a few times, until tender, about 2 hours.

Stir in the hominy and continue to simmer, uncovered, about 1 more hour. Add peas during the last half hour of cooking. Remove the bay leaf and thyme branches. Light a dried avocado leaf on fire and stir the ashes into the stew.

Serve with assorted toppings like lettuce, lemon, avocado, radish, diced white onions, and radishes.



Screen Shot 2018-01-31 at 11.27.01 PM.png

My quest for the perfect brownie continues. This recipe is from Martha Stewart. Everyone loved them! I might try adding chunks of bittersweet chocolate next time.

Chewy Brownies

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for baking pan
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
7 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped (1 1/3 cups)
3 tablespoons safflower or coconut oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan. Line with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides; butter parchment.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt chocolate and butter with oil. Remove from heat. Add both sugars and whisk 10 seconds. Add eggs and whisk vigorously until glossy and smooth, 45 seconds. Using a rubber spatula, stir in dry ingredients. Pour batter evenly into prepared pan, smoothing top with a spatula.

Bake until set and a tester inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 20 minutes, then remove using parchment; let cool completely on a rack before cutting into squares. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container up to 2 days.



Screen Shot 2017-12-20 at 9.17.44 AM


Persimmon and Almond Galette

3 Fuyu Persimmons

Almond filling

7 ounces almond paste

4 teaspoons sugar

4 tablespoons butter, soft

2 eggs

1 tablespoon orange liqueur

Pinch of salt

2 Tablespoons flour

1 Recipe galette dough 

2 Tablespoons melted butter

2 Tablespoon sugar

In a mixer combine the almond paste, sugar and salt and beat in the butter until incorporated. Add the eggs and the liqueur and continue beating until smooth and fluffy. Stir in the flour.

Peel and slice the persimmons.

Preheat the over to 400*

Roll the galette dough into a 10-inch round. Spread 1/2 of the almond mixture onto the dough leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Place persimmons in decorative pattern on top of the almond mixture. Crimp the edges of the galette dough and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Brush the dough edges with melted butter and sprinkle the entire galette with the sugar.

Bake in the lower third of the over rotating occasionally for about 45 minutes.

Serves 8


Galette dough
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup ice water

In a bowl, mix the flour with the sugar and salt. Using a pastry blender cut in half of the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal, then cut in the remaining butter until the pieces are the size of peas. Drizzle the water over the dough and stir with a spoon until moistened. Gather up the dough and knead it on a floured surface until it comes together. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Pear and Cranberry Galette

⅔ cup dried cranberries
2 pounds Comice pears, ripe but not too soft, peeled, cored and cut in half – slice keeping its form
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of clove
1/3 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon raw brown sugar
1 egg white for egg wash
Sugar for dusting
1 Tablespoon butter

Combine the walnuts, flour and brown sugar in a food processor until smooth. In a bowl combine the lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and cloves. Peel and core the pears. Slice them anyway you want – I’ve chosen to keep them together at one end. Place them in the bowl with the lemon juice mixture and gentle toss.

Roll out your galette dough. Leaving 1 1/2-inches around the edge and sprinkle with the walnut mixture. This will help absorb the juices. Place the pears slices on top of the walnut mixture. Brush some of the egg white on the dough edges and fold the dough all around – overlapping where necessary. Refrigerate the galette for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400*

Top with cranberries. Brush the top edges of the dough with egg white and sprinkle generously with sugar. Dot with butter and bake in the lower half of the oven for about an hour.

Serve warm.

IMG_2209 copy.jpg


IMG_2987 (1)

Cranberry and quince compote

2 cups water
Juice of two tangerines
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
3-inch piece cinnamon stick
Rind of one tangerine
1 pound quince, peeled, cored and cut into little pieces
One 12-ounce bag cranberries
2 tablespoon St George Spiced Pear liqueur

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, tangerine juice, peel, 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Add the quince and cover with a piece of parchment paper and cook over low heat, until soft, about an hour. Add the cranberries and the rest of the sugar to the pan and bring to a simmer cooking until the compote is thick, about 20 – 30 minutes. Skim any foam that rises to the top (removing the foam helps to achieve the jewel-like color). Discard the cinnamon stick and peel. Let cool and stir in the spiced pear liqueur.

Makes 4 cups


Café Hacienda San Pedro, a trendy coffee shop in San Juan, is buzzing. A long line snakes through it. People are chatting; dogs sit snoozing. Everything looks normal.

But in a few months, it probably won’t.

After a 2 1/2-hour drive into the mountains, through denuded trees and winding roads cleared by chainsaws, it’s clear that this coffee company has been devastated at its source.

When Hurricane Maria hit nearly three weeks ago, it wiped out more than three-quarters of the island’s small agricultural sector overnight, by some estimates.

“I think that maybe 90 percent of the plantation was destroyed by the hurricane,” says Roberto Atienza, the third generation of his family to grow coffee on this land in central Puerto Rico. He has turned it into a specialty coffee company, with hand-picked beans that are dried in the sun.

Harvest season came late this year, he says. They had picked just 2 percent of the beans before Hurricane Maria blasted through. The ripple effects will continue — he expects the company, including the San Juan coffee shop, to run out of beans in December.

His daughter Rebecca Atienza owns the coffee shop, and she says they are trying to work out contingency plans, such as asking for waivers to sell coffee from outside Puerto Rico and working reduced hours.

She walks through mangled hillsides and broken coffee plants. Orange and plantain trees are crumpled, with fruit rotting on the ground.

“This was a beautiful place with a lot of trees,” she says. “It’s like a different place.”

Rebecca remembers first surveying the damage after the hurricane. “No words. Like — what are we going to do now? And we have so much to do, but we didn’t know where to start.”

They started with cleaning the family home, which was flooded by a river flowing through the property. Then, Rebecca says, they began the long, slow work of clearing the plantation of downed trees and branches.

Agriculture is traditionally important to Puerto Rico but is currently less than 1 percent of the economy. U.S. policy in the 1940s and ’50s pushed manufacturing on the island over farming.

In the mountainous, rural area of Jayuya, Hacienda San Pedro is one of the largest job providers. Roberto says it employs about 100 people during peak harvest times. Now fewer than two dozen are working.

The area was hit hard by the storm, and employees are dealing with rebuilding their homes. There also simply isn’t much coffee that can be harvested.

Roberto examines beans growing on a tree damaged at the roots. “This is OK, this is OK,” he says, pointing to a few mature beans that are pink and red. But, he adds, “really the percent of trees like this is very, very small.”

The coffee that remains on trees is not of the quality that this artisanal grower usually sells. And many of the plants are completely stripped bare, as on one hillside next to Tres Picachos, one of the tallest peaks on the island.

“From here to the top of the mountain, everything looks like this,” says Roberto, pointing to rows of what used to be full-fledged trees, reduced to spindly branches. “Those without leaves are coffee. No coffee, no bean, no nothing in some places.”

The Atienzas say that getting their plantation back to full capacity is likely to take years.

Roberto expects that it will take at least six months to receive new coffee plants from the Department of Agriculture that they can replant, because the nurseries supplying them were also devastated by the storm.

Finances are also going to slow the replanting process. The plantation has insurance, but Roberto says it won’t cover all of the damage. He will focus his immediate efforts on areas in relatively good condition, then move on to the rest of the plantation when he can afford it.

Roberto has a dollar figure for how much the damage will cost: “I think that the damage on coffee and crops and everything is more than $500,000.”

He expects the next good season will be in three years — as long as another hurricane doesn’t hit.


Article taken from NPR All Things Considered