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23 Dec 20:45

Perfect Cheesecake

by Elise

It takes a bit of hubris to describe a recipe as “perfect”, especially for a recipe such as cheesecake, for which so many have their own personal favorite. But, this is simply the best, most wonderful cheesecake I have ever had, and have ever made. It is based on a master recipe, from the master of baking herself, Dorie Greenspan.

Continue reading "Perfect Cheesecake" »

20 Dec 19:30

Gay Iconography: Pee-Wee's Big Holiday Adventure

by Bobby Hankinson


If there’s a case to be made for nurture versus nature, I’d have to cop to Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special playing at least a small role in my personal little gay development. The primetime special, initially aired December 1988, is some of the greatest — and gayest — holiday TV of all time. Now, as of this week, the special (along with the rest of the Pee-Wee’s Playhouse series) is available on Netflix to delight a whole new generation.

For a children’s program, it was an incredibly unique world, blending retrofuturist glitz with absurdist humor, a richly diverse cast, and a touch of morality. “I’m just trying to illustrate that it's okay to be different — not that it's good, not that it's bad, but that it's all right,” Reubens told Rolling Stone about the series. “I’m trying to tell kids to have a good time and to encourage them to be creative and to question things.”

Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special, written by Paul Reubens and John Paragon, follows Pee-Wee (Reubens) as he preps the playhouse for the holidays. The special doesn’t find Pee-Wee visited by ghosts of Christmas past, present or future, but it does feature more gay icons than the last three New Now Next Awards combined. There are appearances from Annette Funicello, Grace Jones, k.d. lang, Dinah Shore, Oprah, Whoopi Goldberg, Cher, and many more alongside playhouse regulars like Laurence Fishburne (Cowboy Curtis) and S. Epatha Merkerson as Reba.

Don your gay apparel and relax with some of our favorite clips, AFTER THE JUMP


In lieu of a nativity set, more people should adorn their lawn with a figurine of Grace Jones popping out of a box in a breastplate.


Cher filmed this short cameo in only 25 minutes due to her busy schedule.


The late Joan Rivers brought her acerbic wit and a bit of Hollywood Squares style to the playhouse.


Just when you thought it couldn’t get more campy, there’s Charo.


My personal favorite scene involves Pee-Wee giving Little Richard an ice skating lesson.


For a complete list of special guests, check out the opening musical number, above.

Happy holidays! What’s your favorite holiday special?


20 Dec 18:11


by Elise

“I’ll make cioppino,” my brother John announced as the family discussed what to make one Christmas eve a few years back. “Great!” said my father and I, relieved that someone else would do the cooking that night. “Have you ever made cioppino before?” Dad wisely asked. “Uh, no, but it can’t be that hard, just make a tomato base and throw in some fish, clams and crab.” Okay. Relief short lived.

Continue reading "Cioppino" »

21 Dec 05:01

Scalloped Potatoes with Caramelized Onions and Gruyere

by Elise
Scalloped Potatoes with Caramelized Onions

A few years ago my father announced to his now very grown kids that he would no longer be participating in Christmas gift exchanges and encouraged us to follow his lead. As Scrooge-like as this may sound, it has turned out to be quite the blessing. Instead of racing around the week before Christmas stressing over buying presents for our grown family members, who quite frankly are in no need of additional material possessions, we focus on holiday meal planning instead. We love prime rib for Christmas dinner and seafood for Christmas eve. All the sides are open for discussion, as well as the desserts.

Continue reading "Scalloped Potatoes with Caramelized Onions and Gruyere" »

17 Dec 19:42

Cream of Mushroom Soup

by Elise
Cream of Mushroom Soup

Cream of mushroom soup has been a favorite of mine as long as I can remember. Of course when we were growing up it was Campbell’s and it came in a can. But even as an 8 year old I took great pride in heating my own soup, and discovered for myself how much better it was if you added milk instead of water, and how important it was to slowly add the milk while stirring so it wouldn’t form clumps.

Continue reading "Cream of Mushroom Soup" »

12 Dec 23:10

Prime Rib

by Elise
Prime Rib on Simply Recipes

Prime rib claims center stage during holiday season for a very good reason. It is the king of beef cuts. It’s called a standing rib roast because to cook it, you position the roast majestically on its rib bones in the roasting pan. Beautifully marbled with fat, this roast is rich, juicy, and tender—a feast for the eyes and the belly.

Continue reading "Prime Rib" »

02 Dec 22:07

Swedish Meatballs

by Elise
Swedish Meatballs

One of our most popular recipes around the holidays is this one—Swedish meatballs. They’re terrific over egg noodles for a main course, or served as individual appetizers.

Continue reading "Swedish Meatballs" »

18 Nov 13:59

Kmart: Jingle Bellies

by Joe Jervis

(Tipped by JMG reader Ken)
13 Nov 16:46

pretzel parker house rolls

by deb

pretzel parker house rolls

There are kitchen discoveries that lead to nothing but trouble. The first time I caramelized sugar, I knew I was ruined. Why would anyone want to eat drab white sugar if they could eat it cooked to a 100x as delicious toasty amber syrup? The first time I tried browned butter, I went on a butter-browning bender (cookies! breadcrumbs! crispy treats!) which, frankly, shows little sign of abating today. So, it should be no surprise that when I finally cracked the authentic pretzel-making code six months ago, I didn’t know where to stop. Everything comes up pretzel now! I’ve made pretzel scones and pretzel challahs. I’m dreaming of pretzel shortbread and popovers, pretzel bagels and grissini. I might need an intervention.

kneaded and doughy
a bored-of-watching-dough-rise selfie

But before you all gather round my canister of food-grade lye, my latex gloves and the onion goggles I really should have more shame about owning, and sit me down for a talk about where things are going, I think we need one more pretzel thing this year, and I’d like to believe I saved the best for last.

my unscientific way of dividing doughs

... Read the rest of pretzel parker house rolls on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to pretzel parker house rolls | 196 comments to date | see more: Appetizer, Bread, Photo, Side Dish, Thanksgiving

04 Nov 15:00

How to make orejas

by Maura Wall Hernandez

Instructions how to make orejas, also known as palmiers. This popular Mexican pan dulce has only three ingredients: puff pastry, cinnamon and sugar. Recipe on

Orejas, also known as palmiers, are a puff pastry cookie and kind of pan dulce commonly found in panaderías all over Mexico.

Pan dulce was made popular during the French occupation in the mid 1800s, and as Mexican President Porfirio Díaz was considered to be a Francophile, French influence on Mexico’s gastronomy was allowed to grow from the time Díaz first took control as president in 1880 and flourish into the early 1900s.

In 1911, Díaz left Mexico to live in exile in Paris when Madero became president; he would live there for four years before he died in 1915. And although Díaz died in exile, the French pastries and sweet breads adopted by Mexico morphed into uniquely Mexican creations, with a variety of shapes, textures and creative names that still exist today.

RELATED RECIPE: Cafe de olla

Pan dulce can encompass pastries, sweet breads and even cookies. Other popular kinds of pan dulce include conchas (circular sweet rolls with a sugary, crunchy, crumbly topping made of flour, confectioners’ sugar and butter or vegetable shortening, and shaped to resemble a seashell), sweet empanadas, mantecadas (similar to pound cake, and shaped like muffins or mini loaves), cuernitos (croissants), and puerquitos or marranitos (pig-shaped cookies). Of course, these are only a few of the most popular and common kinds of pan dulce. Some types have a directly translated name from the original French name, but others have more creative names in Spanish.  

Orejas are a staple at my house and I often make a batch to enjoy with a cup of coffee throughout the week, to take to work for a breakfast meeting, or when I need to drop off something easy for a bake sale or party. Some of my other favorite variations include churros, garibaldi, and rieles (mini strudels with a fruit or cheese filling and coarse-grain sanding sugar).

 RELATED RECIPE: Atole de vainilla

Orejas are made by spreading cinnamon sugar on both sides of a sheet of puff pastry, then rolling the puff pastry with a rolling pin to press the cinnamon sugar into the pastry. Then, the pastry is folded and sliced, and baked at a high temperature so the sugar caramelizes and creates a sort of glassy sugar glaze on the pastry dough.

Although every Mexican panadería is a little different, it’s guaranteed you’ll always find orejas. But you’ll feel like a fancy pastry chef and a little bit like a rock star when you make them on your own—and you’re likely to impress people who have no idea how easy they are to make!

How to make orejas

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 9 minutes

Yield: Yields 15-16 cookies

How to make orejas


  • 1 sheet Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, defrosted
  • ½ cup Zulka morena granulated cane sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Line a large cutting board with parchment paper and unfold the puff pastry sheet to defrost for about 45 minutes to an hour.
  2. When pastry is defrosted, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread about ¼ cup of the cinnamon sugar mixture on it, roughly in the shape of the puff pastry.
  4. Transfer the defrosted puff pastry to the baking sheet on top of the cinnamon sugar and peel the parchment paper off the other side. Spread the remaining ¼ cup of cinnamon sugar liberally over the top of the puff pastry.
  5. Use a rolling pin to gently roll out the puff pastry both horizontally and vertically, which will cement the sugar into the pastry.
  6. Fold the puff pastry inward from the edges to meet in the middle. Then fold again, in half. With a sharp knife, cut half-inch slices and transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  7. Bake at 425 degrees F for 5-7 minutes on one side, remove from oven and flip orejas with a spatula, and bake for another 3-4 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.


Recipe prep and cook time does not include 45-60 minutes of inactive prep to defrost frozen puff pastry sheets.


RELATED RECIPE: Tequila-infused raspberries with cinnamon sugar crema and orejas

The post How to make orejas appeared first on The Other Side of the Tortilla.

04 Nov 01:25

Santa Fe Pork and Black Bean Stew

by Elise
Pork and Black Bean Stew

Summer has finally decided to vacate the premises and the cool weather has set in here in Northern California. I don’t know about you, but I look forward to the cooler days, especially when they bring rain (which we desperately need right about now). Things slow down, not as much needs tending to, and I can curl up with a cup of hot chocolate and a blanket and read a book without any guilt over taking it easy.

Continue reading "Santa Fe Pork and Black Bean Stew" »

02 Nov 17:32

Spicy Fried Rice With Crab

by Angie Tee

This scrumptious fried rice is flavored with Spicy and Crispy Chili Paste and fresh crab meat.

Spicy Fried Rice With Crab


2 Tbsp Peanut Oil
120 grams Crab Meat
1/2 Yellow Onion, diced
2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
3 Bird’s Eye Chilies, chopped
2 Large Eggs
3 1/2 Cups Cooked Rice, cold or room temperature
4 Tbsp Spicy & Crispy Chili Paste
1 Tbsp Light Soy Sauce
Sea Salt, to taste
White Pepper
3 Scallions, chopped


Heat the wok over high heat. Add some peanut oil and swirl to coat the wok. Remove excess oil, you’ll need about 2 Tbsp of oil.

Add yellow onion, chill, and garlic. Fry until fragrant. Mix in the eggs, let it set, and gently move it around. Toss in the rice and stir frequently make sure the rice is coated with the eggs. Add the spicy and crispy chili paste, crab meat, and soy sauce. Then season the fried rice with salt and pepper. Serve warm with some chopped scallions. 

30 Oct 04:01

Coriander Chicken Thighs with Miso-Glazed Root Vegetables


Recipe from Epicurious

30 Oct 11:01

Chicken in a Creamy Parmesan and Sundried Tomato Sauce

by Kevin Lynch
Chicken in a Creamy Parmesan and Sundried Tomato Sauce
Everyone loves a quick, easy and tasty chicken dish and this chicken in a creamy parmesan and sundried tomato sauce fits the bill perfectly coming together in less than 30 minutes. This recipe could not be easier, you simply cook the chicken in the pan and then make the sauce in the same pan! The sauce is pretty simple and yet packed with flavour from the sun-dried tomatoes and parmesan and it is made in a base of chicken broth and cream. This chicken in a creamy parmesan and sundried tomato sauce is great by itself or served over rice, quinoa, etc. or you could even slice the chicken up and toss it and the sauce into a pasta like fettuccine.

Read the recipe »
23 Oct 12:30

Coffee Fixes Everything

22 Oct 04:01

Chicken and Dumplings with Mushrooms


Recipe from Bon Appétit

21 Oct 08:00

Tinga de pollo

by Maura Wall Hernandez

How to make tinga poblana, a Mexican dish with a tomato base and shredded chicken. Great for tostadas, tacos, served with rice, or as a quesadilla! This dish is also sometimes known as tinga de pollo or chicken tinga. Recipe via @MauraHernandez on The Other Side of The Tortilla.

This post is part of a compensated campaign in collaboration with Hunt’s and Latina Bloggers Connect. All opinions and the recipe are my own.

Tinga de pollo, also known as tinga poblana or chicken tinga, is a flavorful, authentic Mexican dish that you can get on the dinner table in less than an hour.

 There are a few key ingredients to this recipe that help you get it on the table quickly: Store-bought rotisserie chicken, tomato sauce and canned diced tomatoes. Like many traditional Mexican dishes, tomatoes are an important flavor as the base of this recipe. And if you shred the chicken in advance or have some help shredding it, you’ll really have dinner ready in no time!

This tangy, slightly spicy, stewed dish originally comes from the state of Puebla and is sometimes also made with shredded beef or pork instead of chicken. Ingredients in this dish can sometimes vary slightly from family to family, but most recipes have a tomato base, call for chorizo and fresh tomatillos—all of which, when combined, lend a little umami flavor and texture to this popular dish.


How to make tinga de pollo, a Mexican dish with a tomato base and shredded chicken. Great for tostadas, tacos, served with rice, or as a quesadilla! This dish is also sometimes known as tinga poblana or chicken tinga. Recipe via @MauraHernandez on The Other Side of The Tortilla.

Cooking with fresh, natural and quality ingredients to feed my family is very important to me and I know it’s important to you, too. I’ve used Hunt’s tomato sauce and canned tomatoes in my kitchen for several years because they’re grown in California, canned within hours of being picked, have no artificial preservatives and are 100 percent natural, so I feel good about feeding my family with healthy, natural ingredients in my recipes that call for tomatoes when they’re out of season or I don’t have time to make tomato sauce from scratch.

Paired with chipotles in adobo sauce and fresh onion, garlic, and spices you surely already keep in your pantry, this dish is sure to become a family favorite if it isn’t already a dish you eat regularly.

And the bonus? You really only need to dirty one pan to make it! 

Tinga is commonly served on top of tostadas with garnishes such as crema mexicana, avocado, shredded lettuce and queso fresco. Tinga can also be served on its own with a side of rice, as tacos or inside of a quesadilla (sometimes known as tingadillas).

RELATED RECIPE: Paella with Spanish chorizo, chicken and Brussels sprouts

Tinga de pollo

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

Tinga de pollo

Tinga de pollo is a Mexican dish from Puebla with a tomato base and shredded chicken, along with chorizo, tomatillos and spices. This dish is also commonly known as tinga poblana or chicken tinga.


  • 4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • ½ cup cooked chorizo (about 6-7 ounces uncooked depending on the brand)
  • ¾ cup white onion, diced (about half of a large onion)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 ¼ cups Hunt’s tomato sauce
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 6 tablespoons adobo sauce (from canned chipotles in adobo)
  • 1 cup Hunt’s petite diced tomatoes
  • 3 ½ ounces fresh tomatillos (about 4 small-to-medium sized tomatillos)
  • ¾ teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves


  1. Cook 6-7 ounces of chorizo in a frying pan. Drain grease from cooked chorizo on
  2. While the chorizo is cooking, hand-shred rotisserie chicken until you have four cups and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, combine cooked chorizo, diced white onion and garlic. Sautee until the onion starts to turn transparent, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. In a blender or a small food processor, add 1 ¼ cups Hunt’s tomato sauce, 2 chipotle chiles and 6 tablespoons of adobo sauce from the canned chipotles in adobo. Puree until completely smooth.
  5. Pour the tomato sauce mixture into the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Add 1 cup of Hunt’s petite diced tomatoes, Mexican oregano, thyme, marjoram, freshly ground pepper and tuck two bay leaves into the skillet so they’re submerged in the sauce. Stir to incorporate all ingredients.
  6. Add shredded chicken and fresh tomatillo wedges and stir to coat. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until chicken is completely heated through and the sauce has reduced slightly.
  7. Remove from heat and serve.


Serve on top of tostadas with crema mexicana and avocado (as pictured in this recipe); or with a side of rice, as tacos or inside of a quesadilla (known as tingadillas).


Get more recipes—in Spanish and English—from the Colección de recetas de Hunt’s y Kraft.

The post Tinga de pollo appeared first on The Other Side of the Tortilla.

20 Oct 16:27

homemade harissa

by deb

homemade harissa

One of my secret food shames is that I don’t love spicy foods as much as would probably make me cool these days. I’ve got no Thai chile-eating bravado, no Sichuan peppercorn count to throw around, and I never even once in college went to one of those Buffalo wings places where they make you sign a waiver (such as the delightfully named, late Cluck U Chicken near Rutgers University) and lived to brag about it, the way others might boast about how much they bench press or how fast they run a mile (nope, nothing to swagger about there either). My ideal hot sauce can’t be found among my husband’s collection of Tapatio, Cholula and Sriracha, but in this Mild Sauce for Hot People, one of the few little orange bottles that I feel really understands my appreciation of heat in food, but not so much that it overwhelms everything. I accept that this makes me culinarily a wuss.

the chiles I used
boiling water to soften dried chiles

Yet I adore harissa, a Northwest African chile pepper paste with red peppers and spices and herbs such as garlic, coriander, caraway. Of course, when a condiment is used everywhere from Tunisia and Libya to Algeria and Morocco, you’re bound to find as many versions of it as there likely are people who make it, so there are recipes with cumin, lemon juice or even smoked chiles. There’s no one correct way to make it.

a very roasted red pepper

... Read the rest of homemade harissa on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to homemade harissa | 117 comments to date | see more: North African, Peppers, Photo, Savory Sauces and Condiments, Vegan, Vegetarian

19 Oct 00:12

Garlic Butter Knots

by Angie Tee

My kids just love this Garlic Butter Knots. They are a great after school snacks or as a side dish for pasta. Made from scratch and flavored with the Crispy Garlic Butter Oil that I have posted earlier. I have a short video on how to make them. Make sure to check it out.

Garlic Butter Knots


1/3 Cup Crispy Garlic Butter Oil
1 tsp Dried Italian Herbs
1 tsp Sea Salt, or to taste

370 grams All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup Warm Water
2 Tbsp Sugar
2 tsp Active Yeast
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 Tbsp Crispy Garlic Butter Oil


Make the dough: Put the warm water into a bowl of a mixer. Add sugar, stir to dissolve and add the yeast. Stir to mix. Set aside for 10-15 minutes or until the yeast mixture is frothy.

Place the flour, baking powder, sea salt , and oil into the yeast mixture. Turn the mixture on low speed to moisten the flour and continue to mix the dough on medium speed for about 8 to 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap or kitchen towel and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in bulk.

Press the dough down and divide the dough into 12 to 14 pieces,. Lightly roll each piece of dough into a rope about 8 to 9 inches long; tie each rope into a knot, take the end lying underneath the knot and bring it over to the top and tuck it into the center and take the other end lying over the knot and tuck it underneath and into the center.

Place the knots on baking sheet lined with parchment paper an oiled baking dish. Brush the nots with some crispy garlic butter oil, sprinkle some italian herbs, if using and some sea salt. Let the knots rest for about 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400˚F.

Bake the knots for about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the knots from the oven, and brush with some crispy garlic butter oil and serve warm.
09 Oct 11:28

Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Double Smoked Bacon

by Kevin Lynch
Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Double Smoked Bacon
It's time for another side dish and this time it's one using one of my favourite fall green vegetables, brussels sprouts, in a parmesan roasted brussels sprouts dish. Ever since I discovered just how magical roasted brussels sprouts are I try to roast them every chance I get! Roasting the brussels sprouts brings out their flavour, mellows the slight bitterness and caramelizes the edges and those caramelized bits are the best part! This roasted brussels sprouts dish could not be easier to make, you simply slice or quarter the brussels sprouts (I prefer to slice so that there is more surface area to caramelize but quartering is quicker.), toss them in some oil along with chopped garlic, roast them, sprinkle on the parmesan and return them to the oven until the parmesan is all melted and good. Given my bacon addiction and how well bacon and brussels sprouts go together I almost always add bacon and a touch of lemon zest brightens things up a bit! In addition to being super easy to make, you can do most of the prep work a few days ahead of time and even roast the brussels sprout a few hours early and return them to the oven briefly to warm when ready to serve so this side dish is perfect for large meals like Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner!

Read the recipe »
09 Oct 16:12

better chocolate babka

by deb

new chocolate babkas + impatient kindergartener feet

Inadvertently, this has become Festivus week on Smitten Kitchen, wherein I air my grievances at past recipes and exhibit what I hope can be passed off as “feats of strength” in reformulating them for modern times. Still, nobody could more surprised than I am that of all the recipes in the archives, it’s Martha Stewart’s decadent chocolate babkas from seven years ago that have ended up in this queue, because at the time we found them beyond reproach: rich, buttery, crumbly and intensely chocolaty. They were precisely what we’d remembered getting from the store growing up, but better, I mean, I’d hope they’d be. Clocking in at 3/4 pound of semisweet chocolate and almost a cup of butter per loaf, the recipe in fact uses triple this (2.25 pounds of chocolate! 1.25 pounds of butter!) for three loaves. And not unlike the chicken pot pies, this, along with the messy, complicated prep, became the problem. Despite repeated requests from our families every holiday, I’ve probably only made it once since, if that. It’s all too much.

the dough, after overnighting in the fridge
rolling out chilled dough is easier

This high holiday season, however, I decided to audition a different chocolate babka — the stunning, twisty, glossy chocolate krantz cakes that I imagine have tempted anyone that’s opened Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook. Although I was curious, I knew there was no way they could be as good. How could they be, what with only 2 1/4 ounces of dark chocolate and just over 1/2 cup of butter per loaf? It was going to taste abstemious, and wrong. Abstemious chocolate babka is wrong, wrong on a moral-ethical level, as far as I’m concerned.

melted chocolate to make paste

... Read the rest of better chocolate babka on

© smitten kitchen 2006-2012. | permalink to better chocolate babka | 238 comments to date | see more: Cake, Chocolate, Jewish, Photo

13 Oct 19:27

Atole de vainilla

by Maura Wall Hernandez

How to make Mexican atole de vainilla. Recipe via @MauraHernandez on The Other Side of The Tortilla.

This post is part of a compensated campaign with Maseca, but all opinions and the recipe here are my own.

Atole de vainilla is a traditional masa-based beverage, often made with milk, and served hot. This hot beverage goes great with tamales, pastries or pan dulce and is also most popular around Day of the Dead and the holidays. 

Atoles date back to pre-Columbian times in Mexico and are well-documented as a form of sustenance amongst the Aztec and Mayan cultures. Historical texts tell us the drink was often flavored with fruits, spices or chiles. 

Vanilla, strawberry and chocolate are the most common flavors of atole nowadays, but you can sometimes also find mora (blackberry; one of my favorites), nuez (pecan), pineapple, elote (sweet corn), piñon (pine nut), and many other flavors. In some areas of Mexico, you can even find savory atoles—one made with with green chile is called chileatole.


This recipe also calls for Mexican vanilla beans, which have a smooth, creamy flavor and a unique, woody spice profile that you won’t find in other varieties of vanilla beans. Did you know Mexico is considered the birthplace of vanilla? The vanilla orchid flower was first cultivated by the Totonac Indians, who were then conquered by the Aztecs. For at least several centuries after the Spaniards conquered the Aztecs, and had already brought vanilla beans back to Spain for the rest of the world to try, vanilla was still exclusively cultivated in Mexico. If you don’t have access to Mexican vanilla beans or don’t want to buy them online, you can also substitute Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans or bottled pure Mexican vanilla extract, which is available in my store.

Atoles can be made with different kinds of corn, as well: white, yellow and even blue corn can be used. And in some recipes, water or nut milk can be substituted for dairy milk.

Many Mexican markets sell store-bought atole packets that are thickened with cornstarch and take just a few minutes to make, but making your own atole from scratch with Maseca instant corn flour is so easy you’ll never want to buy one of those store-bought envelopes again. This version gives you all of the taste of atole made from scratch without having to grind your own nixtamal and turn it into masa, and then dissolve it in cheesecloth.

RELATED RECIPE: Atole de fresa

A note: Real vanilla bean makes a world of difference in this atole de vainilla recipe, but if you can’t find one, you can also substitute one tablespoon of vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract. If substituting pure vanilla extract, add that to the saucepan in the last five minutes of cooking and whisk to incorporate.

Depending on how sweet you like the atole, you can add three to four ounces of piloncillo. If you find that four ounces is too sweet, you can dilute the atole with another half-cup of milk.

This recipe is gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly.

Atole de vainilla

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 3 cups (4 servings)

3/4 cup

Atole de vainilla

Atole de vainilla is a traditional masa-based hot beverage, popular during the holidays, and made with milk, piloncillo, vanilla bean and Mexican cinnamon.


  • 3-4 ounces piloncillo
  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 cups 2% milk
  • ½ cup Maseca
  • 1 Mexican vanilla bean, cut in half and both pieces split lengthwise* (see notes below for substitution)
  • 1 Mexican cinnamon stick


  1. In a saucepan over low heat, combine piloncillo and water and stir occasionally until piloncillo is completely melted.
  2. Whisk in milk, Maseca and vanilla bean until Maseca is dissolved and incorporated with the piloncillo mixture.
  3. Submerge a Mexican cinnamon stick. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue stirring frequently for 30-35 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and pour through a fine mesh sieve and serve in mugs.


To substitute real Mexican vanilla bean, you can use a Madagascar Bourbon vanilla bean, or bottled pure Mexican vanilla extract. I like the Nielsen-Massey brand extract.

To substitute for real vanilla bean, use one tablespoon of vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract. If substituting pure vanilla extract, add that to the saucepan in the last five minutes of cooking and whisk to incorporate.

*Gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly recipe.


RELATED RECIPE: Spicy Mexican hot chocolate

Get more ideas for recipes made with Maseca at

The post Atole de vainilla appeared first on The Other Side of the Tortilla.

10 Oct 19:00

Fideo seco

by Maura Wall Hernandez

Mexican fideo seco recipe via @MauraHernandez at The Other Side of The Tortilla

This post is part of a compensated campaign in collaboration with Barilla and Latina Bloggers Connect, but the recipe and all opinions here are my own.

Fideo seco is a Mexican pasta dish traditionally made with either chipotle chile alone, or a mix of three chiles: chipotle, guajillo and pasilla. When made with three chiles, the dish is known as fideo seco a los tres chiles. This simple version uses only chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, and requires minimal effort and easy cleanup.

What makes this dish different than any typical pasta dish is that the pasta is first fried, which brings out a somewhat nutty flavor in the pasta, and then is soaked in a tomato-chipotle puree to absorb the flavor. It’s cooked by baking in the oven, and when finished, the consistency is moist but not soupy.

RELATED RECIPE: Sopa de fideo

Fideo seco can sometimes be a spicy dish, but this recipe is not too spicy; if you prefer yours on the spicy side, you can add one additional chipotle and another tablespoon of adobo sauce. You should still remove seeds and veins from the chile if you decide to add one more, as the seeds and veins are where most of the chile’s heat comes from.

I’ve used Barilla’s fideo cut in this recipe, which is a cut familiar to any Mexican or Mexican-American family—it’s the same cut used in sopa de fideo, a tomato broth soup with noodles. Barilla’s superior quality pasta means your fideo won’t stick or clump, and has a flavor that complements this traditional Mexican dish.

The best garnishes for this dish include avocado and crumbled cotija or queso añejo. You can also add cilantro for a touch of color. Some people also like to garnish with crema mexicana or julienned chipotle chiles.

RELATED RECIPE: Tomato chipotle soup with star pasta

Fideo seco

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Fideo seco

Fideo seco is a Mexican pasta dish made with chipotle chile and a tomato base. The sauce soaks into the pasta, giving it a moist but not soupy consistency.


  • 5 large Roma tomatoes
  • 3 medium garlic cloves
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, seeds and veins removed
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon powdered chicken bouillon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound Barilla fideo cut spaghetti (1 box)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • For garnish: avocado slices and grated or crumbled cotija cheese


  1. Remove stems from tomatoes and cut in half lengthwise. Place cut-side down in a shallow roasting pan lined with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Under the broiler, roast the tomatoes and garlic until the tomatoes start to get dark spots.
  2. Remove from broiler and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  3. Add water, chipotle chiles, adobo sauce, powdered chicken bouillon, kosher salt, tomatoes and garlic to a blender and blend on high until completely smooth. Set aside.
  4. In a deep saute pan or stockpot, heat 3 tablespoons of canola oil over medium heat until hot. Add fideo to the oil to fry it for 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently until some of the noodles start to turn golden brown. When the noodles have turned color, turn off the heat but keep the pot on the burner.
  5. Gently pour the contents of the blender over the pasta and stir to coat all the pasta with the sauce. Allow the pasta to absorb the sauce for 15 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Spoon pasta into a casserole dish or individual serving size ramekins, cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes.
  8. Serve portions and garnish with avocado slices and a sprinkle of crumbled cotija cheese.


Prep time includes 15 minutes of inactive prep while the sauce soaks into the pasta before baking.


For more recipes and tips, visit or in Spanish at

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08 Oct 15:11

Hershey’s Candy Corn Chocolate Bars

by Rondal

We all know Halloween is about one thing: candy. Whether you’re 13 or 30, it’s not Halloween without those delicious bite-sized morsels of sugar. In recent years, it seems that a lot of these treats (cookies included) have fallen into the same trend of offering a “candy corn” variant. From Starburst to M&M’S, even Oreo’s has ridden the yellow, orange and white-stripe wave, it either tastes like candy corn or looks like it.

This year, I’m assuming this is new since I don’t recall seeing it last year, Hershey’s joins the bandwagon with their own “candy corn” chocolate bar. Well, technically the bag calls it “candy corn creme with candy bits,” but… come on, it’s white chocolate. Or is it? Apparently, the ingredients include stuff like “wax” and “resinous glaze.” Either way, it looks like white chocolate to me with tiny particles of candy corn-colored “stuff” sprinkled in—though the bits are so small you’ll barely notice them. The bigger question is: do these bars taste like candy corn?


No, not really. That’s not a terrible thing, though. Much like Candy Corn Oreo’s these have a pungently sweet taste to them similar to a “birthday cake/icing” flavor. They’ve definitely got a creamer taste than regular chocolate and the occasional clustering of the “bits” do provide a good crunch, but really it’s like eating icing in bar form. I definitely couldn’t eat more than 2-3 at a time (trust me, I tried) without getting a little nauseous. That’s probably isn’t the best pull quote for Hershey’s marketing folks, BUT I kept eating them so they’re not terrible… or I was just really hungry. Would I buy them again? Eh, probably not until next year.

halloween-countdown14-badgeThis article is part of the Countdown to Halloween blogathon, a month-long blogging marathon dedicated to honoring the Halloween season. For more information and a full list of participating sites, please visit
01 Oct 02:40

Wonton Noodles {Kon Lo Mee/Wantan Mee}

by Angie Tee

Wonton Noodles or Kon Lo Mee is a popular Chinese Malaysian noodle dish. This dry version noodle is flavored with pork lard oil, light and dark soy sauce. It’s served with pork and shrimp wonton, barbecued pork, mustard green, anchovy broth and some pickled green chilies. In addition to this dry version noodle, you can also serve the noodle with some anchovy soup with the same accompaniments.

Wonton Noodles {Kon Lo Mee/Wantan Mee}


480 to 500 grams Chinese Egg Noodles
4 Cups Anchovy Broth
1 Bunch of Choy Sum/Mustard Green, blanched
1 recipe of Pork & Shrimp Wonton
Chinese Barbecued Pork/Char Siu, sliced
1/4 Cup of Pickled Green Chilies

Seasoning (For one portion of noodles (about 120 grams))
2 to 3 tsp Pork Lard Oil or Shallot Oil
2 tsp Light Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp of Dark Soy Sauce
1 to 2 Tbsp Anchovy Broth
A few dashes of White Pepper

Barbecued Pork/Char Siu
600 grams Pork Belly, skinless
5 Tbsp Sugar
2 Cloves Garlic
1 Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
2 tsp Light Soy Sauce
A big Pinch of White Pepper

Marinate the pork with sugar, garlic, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, & a big pinch of pepper for about 5 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Let the pork come to a room temperature. Place the pork on the rack of a roasting pan. Roast the pork for about 20 minutes. Turn over the pork, add about 4 to 5 Tbsp of water in the pan. Roast for another 20 minutes.

Remove the meat from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.

For the Wonton Noodles: Bring water to a boil. Blanch some mustard greens for about 25 to 30 seconds. Remove and set aside. Then add the wonton into the boiling water, and a portion of egg noodles. Cook the noodles for about 40 to 50 seconds. Remove the noodles with a wire strainer, and plunge it into a bowl of cold water for a few seconds. Shake off any excess water, and return the noodles into the boiling water. Cook the noodles for another 20 but still al dente. Remove the noodles and shake off any excess water. Then remove the cooked wontons.

To serve the noodles: Place pork lard oil or shallot oil, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, white pepper, and some anchovy broth in a bowl. Toss in the noodles and mix well. Transfer the noodles into a bowl or plate and top with barbecued pork, wonton, mustard green, and sprinkle some scallions. Serve the noodles immediately with some anchovy broth and pickled green chilies.

Serves 4
01 Oct 16:40

Hugh Jackman Feels His Nuts For Charity: PHOTO

by Sean Mandell


No doubt hoping to capitalize on the success of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, organization Check One Two has created the Crotch Grab Challenge hoping to raise awareness about testicular cancer and encourage men to self-examine down below. Hugh Jackman decided to lend a hand to support the cause and tweeted out the above photo signalling his acceptance of the challenge. He then nominated Niel Patrick Harris, Michael Strahan and Ricky Gervais. Gervais has already accepted and nominated William Shatner.

See Gervais' crotch grab, AFTER THE JUMP...


29 Sep 05:51


29 Sep 05:53


18 Sep 01:20

Thai Green Curry With Chicken

by Angie Tee

This Green Curry With Chicken is a popular dish in Thai restaurant. It's spicy, luscious, aromatic, and slightly sweet with the coconut milk and palm sugar.

Thai Green Curry With Chicken


2 Pcs Chicken Breast (about 350grams) Boneless & Skinless
, cut into bite-size pieces
1 Tbsp Peanut Oil
3 Tbsp Green Curry Paste

1 Box (500 ml) Coconut Milk
¼ to ½ Cup Water
2 Tbsp Fish Sauce
1 Tbsp Palm Sugar
3 Fresh Kaffir Lime Leaves, torn
½ Cup Thai Baby Eggplants, trimmed
4 Green or Yellow Color Thai Eggplants, trimmed & quartered
A handful of Thai Basil Leaves
2 Red Chilies, sliced


Heat the oil in a saucepan or wok over moderate heat. Add the green curry paste and stir, cooking about 4 to 5 minutes until fragrant. Then add about 1 cup of coconut milk, reduce the heat and simmer until the oil surfaces, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Add in the chicken, remainder coconut milk, water, eggplants, and season fish sauce and palm sugar. Then bring it to a boil and when the chicken are cooked and eggplants are tender, stir in the lime leaves, chilies, and basil. Stir and mix well. Serve immediately with some steamed rice.

15 Sep 02:33

Homemade Thai Green Curry Paste

by Angie Tee

Making curry paste from scratch is well worth the effort and time. You can always adjust the level of spiciness to suit you, and they taste better too. I prefer to make the curry paste in a mortar and pestle as this slowly releases the flavours and aroma. However, If you decide to use a food processor, then make sure to grind the roasted spices separately until you have a fine powder before adding to the rest of the ingredients.

Homemade Thai Green Curry Paste


½ tsp Cumin Seeds, toasted
1 tsp Coriander Seeds, toasted
½ tsp White Peppercorns, toasted
1 Stalk Lemongrass, chopped
½ inch Piece Galangal, peeled and chopped
½ inch Piece Turmeric, peeled and chopped
3 Shallots, peeled and chopped
4 Cloves Garlic, peeled and chopped
10 Green Bird’s Eye Chilies, chopped
10 Large Green/Serrano Chilies, chopped
1 Kaffir Lime Peel
3 Kaffir Lime Leaves
1 tsp Roasted Shrimp Paste
3 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Coriander
1 tsp Sea Salt


Finely pound the toasted cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and peppercorns in a mortar and pestle. Then add galangal, lemongrass, turmeric, shallots, garlic, chilies, lime peel, lime leaves, fresh coriander, shrimp paste, and sea salt. *Make sure to pound each ingredient into a coarse paste before adding another one. Continue to pound into a fine paste. Then transfer to a bowl or jar.

Makes 1 ¼ Cups Green Curry Paste