guava cheese flan

oh MAN have i missed the delicious exotic groceries that i can buy in miami. guava paste? YES PLEASE! flan pans? get outta here kitty cat!

auditory pairing: foster the people - pumped up kicks (and thanks to kara nolting for posting this dubstep remix)

guava cheese flan
yields 2 flan pans

1 c sugar
1/4 c water
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
5 eggs
1/2 c guava paste
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tbsp vanilla extract

1. preheat oven to 350 F
2. place sugar and water in a pan, and cook on medium heat 10-15 mins, until sugar turns golden
3. immediately pour into 2 flan pans and swirl pans to coat bottom and sides of each pan
4. let pans cool to let harden
5. in a blender, place sweetened condensed and evaporated milks, eggs, guava paste, cream cheese, and vanilla extract
6. blend until smooth
7. pour into the two flan pans and cover with foil
8. place a large shallow baking pan in the oven, and place the 2 flan pans on top
9. pour hot water into the shallow baking pan so that it is about halfway up the flan pans
10. bake 1 hour until knife inserted in middle comes out clean
11. remove flan pans from wire rack, run a knife around the sides of the pans
12. cover and refrigerate 3 hrs until chilled
13. to unmold, invert pan onto a dish and tap until flan pops down


plantain cupcakes with cinnamon buttercream frosting

these lil diddies were made in preparation for my return to my hometown of miami (pronounced "my-jammy"). last i left, this was going on. let's hope that's still happening so i can make fun of the 305 in all its glory...out of love of course.

plantain cupcakes with cinnamon buttercream frosting
adapted from here and here
yields 12 cupcakes

plantain cupcakes:
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 very ripe plantains
3/4 c white sugar
1 egg
1/3 c butter, softened
1 tbsp brown sugar
olive oil, for drizzling

cinnamon buttercream frosting:
6 tbsp unsalted butter
2 c confectioner's sugar, sifted
2 tsp cinnamon (or less if you please)
pinch of salt
2 tbsp milk or cream

for plantain cupcakes:
1. preheat oven to 350 F
2. peel the plantains and slice into 1/2" slices, place on a microwave-safe plate in one layer
3. drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with brown sugar, microwave on high for a few minutes until the brown sugar bubbles
4. mash with a fork and set aside
5. sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt; set aside
6. cream butter and white sugar, add plantain mash and egg
7. fold in flour mixture until smooth
8. divide evenly among lined muffin pan and bake 20-25 mins. (check with a toothpick)
9. place on a rack to cool

for buttercream frosting:
10. using a hand-held electric mixer, beat butter on medium until smooth
11. add the confectioner's sugar, cinnamon, and salt, mix on low until just combined
12. increase speed to medium and mix until smooth
13. add the milk or cream and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 mins
14. spread onto plantain cupcakes


lebanese green bean stew (loobyeh)

this was one of my dad's favorite foods, and one of my favorite foods to steal the meat out of as a kid. i'd be in my room, minding my own business, when i would hear in a thick lebanese accent, "YASMEEN! WHY YOU TAKE THE DAMN MEAT OUT AGAIN FROM THA LOOBYEH?!" i would slyly walk over to the kitchen, blame my brother (which never worked because he hated red meat), and proceed to steal more meat while my dad was too busy making kibbe nayyeh. don't get me wrong, the green beans are effing delicious in this, but c'mon....we're talking about 12 year old fatty yasmeen here.

this dish is in honor of baba, my anti samira whom i used to break green beans with, and carmen's jiddu. nothing like some lebanese love.

auditory pairing: thievery corporation - lebanese blond

oh him? just riding a horse in front of some pyramids while in vet school, yknow...the usual

lebanese green bean stew (loobyeh)
6 servings

1 lb stewing beef, cubed
2 lb green beans
4 tbsp butter (or olive oil if you wish)
1/2 c onions, chopped
2 c tomato sauce
4 c water
4-5 pieces cardamom
salt, pepper
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed in mortar and pestle with some salt

1. pinch off both ends of each bean, then snap in half
2. on medium heat, fry beef with onions in butter until meat is lightly browned and onions are translucent
3. add beans and turn a few times, fry a few minutes
4. add tomato sauce, water, salt n pepper, cardamom, and garlic
5. bring to boil, then cover and simmer slowly
6. cook until meat is tender and beans well done, about 1-1.5 hrs
7. remove cardamom pods and serve with lebanese-style rice


easy potato curry

seriously guys, don't make me doubt your commitment to sparkle motion! you should totally make this easy indian-style curry recipe that can be catered to your spice desires by increasing or decreasing the amounts. 

auditory pairing: paul simon - the afterlife (he is STILL relevant, how?!)

easy potato curry
yields 4 servings
from Vegetarian

4 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 lb waxy potatoes, cut into large chunks
2 onions, quartered
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1 inch piece fresh ginger, grated
1 fresh red chili, chopped
8oz cauliflower florets
4 tomatoes, peeled and quarted
3/4 c frozen peas
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 1/4 c vegetable stock
shredded cilantro, for garnish

1. heat the veggie oil in a large heavy-based saucepan/skillet
2. add potato chunks, onion, and garlic and fry over low heat, stirring frequently for 3-5min
3. add garam masala, cumin, coriander, ginger, and chili. fry over a low heat stirring constantly 2min
4. add cauliflower, tomatoes, peas, chopped cilantro, and veggie stock
5. cook over a low heat for 35-40mins, or until potatoes are tender and completely cooked through
6. garnish potato curry with fresh cilantro & serve with some rice or naan


pear gingerbread cakes

these li'l cakes of goodness make strangers say, "please, sit on my faaaaaaaaaaaace!" the moist cake paired with the pear (zing!) is akin to flying spaghetti monster tears.

auditory pairing: beirut - santa fe (wait for the end of the video, WAIT FOR IT!)

a new bowl from a favorite!

 spraying measuring cup with cooking spray before adding molasses helps tons

pear gingerbread cakes
yields 8 cakes

1 1/3c all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temp
1/3 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c molasses
1 egg
1/2 milk, room temp
2 pears

1. preheat oven to 350 and line 8 muffin pans with parchment paper squares
2. whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon in a bowl
3. put the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth
4. add the brown sugar, beat until light and fluffy
5. pour in the molasses, beat until smooth
6. add egg, mix until incorporated
7. on medium-low, alternately add the flour mixture and the milk, beginning and ending with flour
8. beat until smooth at medium speed
9. divide each pear lengthwise into quarters and remove seeds
10. divide the batter among the 8 parchment liners and place one pear piece into each, sinking it in a little
11. fill the empty muffin cavities halfway with water
12. bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean
13. cool in the pan for 5 mins, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely
(or not, i ate them hot and they were MONEY BABY)


grilled veggie sandwiches with a balsamic reduction

'round these parts, i'm known as the rain goddess. ask my neighbor. after all, he coined the term. see, last year i left for lebanon twice. each time was over 2 weeks. during each of those 2 weeks, richmond had not one drop of rain. each time i got back? RAIN! ergo,  vis-a-vis, concordantly, i am THE RAIN GODDESS. today as i was making these, i summoned the rain to come just as i was finishing up on the grill. damn it feels good to be a gangsta.

auditory pairing: miike snow - animal

grilled veggie and mozzarella ciabatta sandwiches with a balsamic reduction
yields 4-5 sandwiches

4-5 ciabatta rolls
1 large zucchini
1 medium eggplant
2 red bell peppers
1 ball fresh mozzarella, sliced
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c plus extra balsamic vinegar
salt, pepper

1. slice zucchini (along the oblique axis), and eggplant into 1/4" slices
2. de-seed and slice the bell peppers into quarters
3. add veggies to a large ziploc and add enough oil and vinegar to coat
4. season with salt and pepper
5. place on a preheated grill on medium heat, after a few minutes flip, and grill for a few minutes longer
6. meanwhile, add about 1/2 c balsamic vinegar to a small pan and simmer on medium-low heat until reduced (it's ready when it coats the back of a spoon), take off heat
7. remove veggies from grill and place sliced ciabatta rolls face down on grill to crisp up a bit
8. flip over and brush balsamic reduction on the inside
9. layer eggplant, zucchini, and bell peppers to your liking 
10. add sliced mozzarella, and close the sandwich, leave on grill with top closed until mozza melts (under a minute)

and EAT! (ps, it's still raining)


poached egg salad with citrus dressing

okok. so, since i forgot how to use all kitchen appliances after the hurricane...i thought i would start off with boiling water. BABY STEPS people, baby steps. this salad is so refreshing, and once the poached egg is popped, it mixes so well with the rest of the salad. are you ready? it starts right now!

auditory pairing: caveman - a country's king of dreams (free download from BrooklynVegan)

poached egg salad with citrus dressing
yields 4 servings
adapted from ReadyMade magazine

3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 tsp orange zest
1 tbsp tarragon, finely chopped
1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
salt, ground pepper
1 tbsp vinegar (sherry, rice wine, etc)
4 eggs
4 c arugula
1 c watercress sprigs
handful grape tomatoes

1. whisk together lemon juice, orange juice, orange zest, and tarragon
2. slowly add olive oil to the mixture, whisking constantly until combined. add salt and pepper to taste
3. in a shallow saucepan filled with 2 inches of water, add the vinegar and bring to a gentle boil
4. lower the heat until water is no longer boiling
5. crack the eggs one at a time into a small bowl/cup. slip each egg into the water
6. poach eggs for around 3 minutes, until whites become opaque and firm to the touch
7. remove with a slotted spoon onto a towel-lined dish
8. toss the arugula, watercress, and tomatoes with the vinaigrette
9. divide into 4 plates, top each with poached egg, and season with salt, pepper


caprese skewers

HOLY CRAP guys! hurricane irene left me without power for seven days. in those seven days i reverted back to human's natural state. i ate a few of our puppies for sustenance, raw of course. i studied by candle light. and i completely forgot how to use all appliances in our kitchen. this here (non)recipe is all i remember how to make. YOU'RE WELCOME.

auditory pairing: human highway - the sound

caprese skewers
yields any amount you wish

grape tomatoes
fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes
extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar (i know, not supposed to be made with this. whu-eva)
fresh ground pepper

1. thread a tomato, a piece of basil, and a cube of mozza onto a toothpick and place onto a lipped plate
2. repeat for as many as you like
3. drizzle balsamic, and olive oil
4. sprinkle with salt and peppa

and SERVE!