One of the biggest factors
Originating from Peru during the colonial era, Ceviche has grown and developed over time into what we know it as today, but much of the tradition behind the dish has remained the same. Many regions of South and Central America have their own version of the dish, each adding their own regional flare. Ultimately, the base of fish in a tart juice stays the same wherever you are. My first experience with Ceviche was not on the coast in Lima like you would expect, but in the mountains, of Ayacucho. One Saturday my host mom, my little brother, and I were going to an open market to get groceries for the weekend. Before we went there we made a stop at a little Cevicheria in our neighborhood. When the waiter served us each a bowl brimming with marinated fish atop boiled potatoes, I was both nervous and excited to try this interesting dish. As I took my first bite, my mouth filled with saliva. It was spicy and tart, and the potatoes added a satisfying stability to an otherwise dynamic dish. I happily ate alongside my little brother, who ate his whole bowl in record time and even drank all of the extra liquid without even a second thought.
One of the most essential ingredients in nearly every Peruvian recipe is the aji pepper. There are many different types of aji peppers that Peruvians use on a daily basis to season countless dishes. These peppers are native to Peru and can be difficult to find if you are cooking outside of their native country. Try looking for these peppers in your local hispanic or South American food market or look online for purées or sauces that can be shipped to your home. If you have no other option, any type of chili pepper available can work. While it will not be an authentic Peruvian dish, it will get the job done and still be delicious. I also recommend using a white fish for is recipe. Look for sea bass, sole, or flounder in your local supermarket. You could also try the dish with shrimp or other types of seafood to add another dimension to the dish.
If you want to learn more about Peruvian cuisine and the culture behind it, I encourage you to order my cookbook, Buen Provecho! It is a collection of stories and recipes from the time I spent living and learning in Peru.
1 lb. of raw fish fillet
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 aji amarillo peppers, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 a cup lemon juice
1/2 a cup lime juice
1 Tbs. cilantro, chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes
2 medium yellow potatoes
salt and pepper to taste
Boil the potatoes until just tender and then set aside. Wash the fish thoroughly with water and chop into 1" cubes. Slice the onions and soak in a bowl of water. Finely mince the aji and garlic. Then add the salt to the aji and garlic and mash into a paste with the side of your knife. Combine the fresh fish, lime and lemon juice, aji paste, onions, cilantro, and pepper to taste. Allow to marinate for at least 10 minutes and serve on slices of the potatoes.
Growing up I was never a fussy eater.
Now that I'm older that still rings true. You would be hard pressed to find something that I will not eat. And even if you did happen to find something questionable, I won't knock it until I have tried it. All that is to say, I love me some vegetables; always have, always will! Besides the fact that they are healthy for you, if you prepare them correctly they can be very flavorful and exciting to eat. One of the best ways to make vegetables that much better is to roast them!
The process of roasting vegetables really highlights their natural flavors and the caramelization that happens when you cook vegetables at a high heat is wonderful. Roasted vegetables also happens to be a relatively simple thing to make, whether it is a side dish or the main course. All you have to do is chop them and put them on a pan and in a short while you have a great dish full of flavor! Especially during the summer when the vegetables are fresh and full of flavor, roasting them is a great option to elevate your simple vegetable.
The recipe I have here is my go to recipe for roasted vegetables, but this dish is so simple you can easily make it your own. It is so easy to add whatever vegetables happen to be in season! Peppers, onions, squash, snap peas, carrots; any combination of vegetables works well with this dish. Also you can play with the seasonings just a easily. Use Italian spices or maybe Indian or simplify them by only using salt and pepper to bring out the natural flavors of the vegetables. The possibilities are endless!
1 Red Pepper
1 Yellow Pepper
1 lb. Brussel Sprouts, stems removed and cut in half
3 Large Carrots, peeled
1 Medium Red Union
1 Head of Broccoli
1 Head of Cauliflower
3 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 Tbs. Italian Seasoning
1/2 Tbs. Paprika
1 Tbs. Garlic Salt
Black Pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Chop all of the vegetables to desired thickness (aim for each piece to be about 1 inch in thickness)
Put all of the vegetables on a large baking sheet.
Drizzle vegetables with olive oil.
Sprinkle the spices all over the vegetables, then mix everything together with your hands.
Spread the vegetables out in one even layer and place in the oven.
Roast the vegetable for 10 minutes.
Stir the vegetables around with a spatula and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes.
The vegetables are done once they are tender and the edges are browned and crispy.
Serve as a side to a main dish, or eat as a main dish on a bed of greens or with rice.
One of the best parts
The buttercream I made for both of these special occasions worked perfectly and has made me a bit of a family celebrity! The flavor is outstanding and now my family looks for any excuse for me to make something that has this amazing frosting on it. The recipe below is for the strawberry version of the buttercream frosting, but you could substitute the strawberries for any other fruit filling or other flavoring to fit your desires. I highly recommend using it for your own special events. Whether it is a birthday cake or an anniversary celebration, (or just a Friday night...no judgement) this buttercream frosting is a great choice and will really make your cake pop and leave your guests wanting more.
4 egg whites
1 cup of white sugar
1 lb. unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and room temperature
1/3 strawberry puree or jam
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Bring a medium saucepan with about 1 inch of water to a simmer.
In a large heatproof bowl add the egg whites and sugar and whisk together.
Place the bowl over the simmering water and whisk the egg mixture constantly until the mixture is hot to the touch, the sugar is dissolved and slightly airy.
Pour the egg mixture into a stand mixer bowl and whisk on medium speed for until the mixture has doubled in size and holds a medium peak.
Let the whipped eggs cool to room temperature, if not already.
Once cooled, turn the mixer on medium speed and drop several pieces of butter into the mixture at a time until completely incorporated. Continue to add butter chunks until all of the butter is used.
After all of the butter is added, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and turn the mixer up a bit and let it mix for a couple minutes until the buttercream is light and fluffy.
Add the strawberry puree and vanilla and start mixing on low and gradually turn up to high speed until completely incorporated.
I recommend making and using buttercream immediately. It is at its best consistency fresh. It can kept in the fridge for up to a week, but it must come completely to room temperature before you use it or the buttercream may separate.
The Cronut. The Sushi Burrito. The Turducken.
Each and every one of these crazy culinary concoctions will go down in history as one of the greatest food mashups of all time. But why are they created? Who invented these dishes and how?! Only those who have the creativity and brain capacity have the ability to create something so mind-blowingly delicious. Only a true culinary genius can create a dish that gets people all over the world ranting and raving. And I, Jonah Yoder, am up for the challenge!
In order to create a truly inspirational food mashup you have to take two seemingly incompatible dishes and smash them together on one plate. When you think about it the opportunities are as endless as your creativity. The most impactful mashups are the ones that bring together the most differing foods. So without further adieu, I present to you the Cheesecakeadilla!
Below you will find the recipes for both versions of the cheesecakeadilla. Feel free to be creative when you make them. Add your own layers or sauces! The excitement of making a dish your own, is one of the best parts of cooking! I highly recommend trying both and deciding for yourself which one is the better mashup. Good luck!
8 large flour tortillas
8 oz. cream cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
butter for pan frying
Put the cream cheese, heavy cream, vanilla and powdered sugar in a bowl and mix together until totally combined.
Take a flour tortilla and smear some of the cream cheese mixture on it, then top with the other tortilla.
In a hot skillet add about 1 tablespoon of butter and let it melt.
Add the prepared tortillas and pan fry on both sides until golden brown.
Top with cinnamon sugar or more powdered sugar and serve with a dipping sauce of your choice.
(caramel, strawberry, chocolate...really anything would go great!)
Cheesecakeadilla (Main Dish)
10 large flour tortillas
10 oz. can of refried beans
10 oz. can of corn
10 oz. can of black beans
10 oz. of sour cream
Begin by making the cheese quesadillas by pan frying 2 tortillas together with cheese in between them.
To form the cake take a round springform pan and lay 1 quesadilla in the bottom.
Take the refried beans and spread an even layer on top of the quesadilla.
Sprinkle some corn on top of the refried beans, then place the next quesadilla on top gently pressing down on the previous layer.
Next spread an even layer of salsa over the quesadilla layer.
Then sprinkle some black beans on top of the salsa, then place another quesadilla on top gently pressing down on the previous layers.
Then spread an even layer of guacamole over the quesadilla layer.
Top with another quesadilla and gently press down on the previous layers.
Repeat the steps until all of the quesadillas are used and the cake is formed.
Sprinkle some cheese over the top and place in the oven set to 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes so that everything sets and is melty.
Once the top is golden brown remove the cake from the oven and let it cool.
Once it is cool enough to touch, remove the siding of the pan.
Take the sour cream and carefully spread all over the cake so that everything is covered and smooth.
Garnish with salsa & guacamole and serve immediately with a side salad.
I had never been to Rachel's before, but I had heard really good things about the food, the atmosphere and the people who worked there. So, I arranged to spend the day with Rachel in her bakery. I had such a great time learning and talking in the kitchen all day! Rachel and her employees were very nice and shared their passion for positive hospitality and good food willingly. I enjoyed it there so much I became an employee a couple months later! That was four years ago now and I have grown so much since then and continue to learn by working at what is now called Anna's Bread (Rachel retired).
At Anna's Bread we pride ourselves on being a small, local bakery/café that still specializes in European style breads and pastries as well as serving daily breakfast and lunch options with international influences. Working at the bakery has taught me so much about food, and helped nurture my curiosity in the kitchen. Since beginning my work there I have learned to make French staples like pastry cream and lemon curd as well as entire cakes, soups & stews and so much more. The lessons I've learned from both Rachel & Anna have been invaluable in my development as not only a chef, but a human being as well. I have taken what they taught me and brought it all back home to my own kitchen. I love to experiment and try new recipes, no matter how daunting the task.
One of the things I have never attempted since working at the bakery is making my own bread. I know surprising, right?! I've seen probably thousands of loaves of bread come and go from Anna's and I have yet to try making my own...until today! I took this French Bread dough recipe from Rachel herself and decided to try my hand at making some loaves. Using the skills I learned from working at the bakery I was able to work out how long to let the bread rise, how best to shape the bread, how to get that crunchy exterior and how long to bake it all on my own. I am actually very happy with the way the loaves turned out. They were satisfyingly crusty on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. I am very proud of the growth I have made from working at the bakery and will cherish my time there forever.
I encourage everyone to try making their own bread. I know it may seem time consuming or a little daunting to take the steps necessary to make it, but I promise your hard work would be worth it when you take those loaves out of the oven and take your first bite! Happy baking!
2 1/2 cups warm water
4 tsp. yeast
2 tsp. salt
6 cups flour
Stir the yeast into the warm water and let sit for about 10 minutes, until the mixture is foamy.
Add 4 cups for flour and mix well until the flour is combined.
Dissolve the salt in 1 Tbs. of warm water and add to the dough. Mix well.
Add the remaining 2 cups of flour until the dough is no longer sticky.
Dump the dough onto a floured work surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic.
(about 10 minutes)
Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a damp cloth and let raise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Once the dough has doubled in size punch it down and dump onto a work surface.
Cut the dough in half and shape each piece into a round loaf.
To shape the dough, tuck the bottom edges of the loaf underneath while rotating the dough to create a smooth outer surface.
Place the finished loaves on a baking sheet covered in flour and lightly dust the top of the bread with flour.
Let the bread rise for another 45 minutes.
While you bread is rising, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and fill an 8x8 baking pan with water.
15 minutes before the bread goes in the oven, place the baking pan of water on the lowest rack of the oven. (The steam from the water is how the bread creates the crispy crust)
Once the bread is ready, place it in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove the baking pan of water and discard.
Let the bread bake for another 25-30 minutes until the outside is golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when you knock on the bottom if it.
Let the bread cool for 15 minutes and enjoy.
I must admit that I am no historian or Canadian delicacy expert so don't come for me if anything I say is inaccurate. According to several sources, poutine was invented in 1957 by a man named Fernand Lachance who was a restaurant owner in Quebec, Canada. One of his customers ordered French fries with cheese curds and gravy on them, and so poutine was created. Also, bonus fact, "poutine" is Quebec slang for "a mess" which definitely describes this wonderful dish. While I've never been to Canada and tasted authentic poutine for myself I have always been curious about how something so simple and hearty could become so iconic.
When I was in Peru I had something that could possibly be a distant South American cousin of poutine. Salchipapas is a unique street food found in Peru that consists of fried potatoes topped with any number of things from caramelized onions to chorizo sausage drizzled with various sauces like ketchup, mayonnaise, or gravy. As usual, I was very excited to sink my teeth into this very indulgent dish and I enjoyed every minute of it. The fries were perfectly crisp and salty and the sausage added a nice spice to the dish. The best part, however, was when the sauce soaked into the fries causing them to be a bit soggy. The whole thing was just the best kind of unhealthy and I savored every last bite.
The great thing about dishes like poutine is that they can be so versatile. The base of fries and gravy and cheese lends itself to experimentation. In the picture above I added chicken and curry spices to make Chicken Tikka Poutine and the possibilities are endless. The recipe below is just the simple base recipe, but I encourage you to be creative with your poutine. Add different spice combinations different proteins or vegetables to make it your own. Happy cooking!
4 Tbs. butter
1/4 minced onion
3 Tbs. flour
2 cup broth of your choice
Salt & Pepper to taste
In a heavy sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat.
Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sauté until the onion is translucent.
Sprinkle in the flour and stir continuously until the flour is toasty and slightly brown.
Carefully pour in the broth continuing to stir until the mixture thickens into a gravy.
Season with salt and pepper and set to the side.
Vegetable oil for frying
2 lbs. of russet potatoes
2 cups of cheese curds
Wash and scrub the potatoes and chop into 1/2 inch sticks.
Soak them in cold water until you're ready to fry them.
Heat up about 4 inches of oil in a big sauce pan until a piece of bread immediately begins to bubble and brown when dropped in.
Working in smaller batches fry the potatoes the first time for about 5 minutes.
Drain the potatoes on a baking sheet lined with paper towel and pat off excess oil.
Once you've fried all the potatoes, fry them again!
Turn up the heat of the oil so that they are flash fried for crispiness.
Fry them in batches until they are golden brown, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Place them on a fresh baking sheet lined with paper towels and immediately season with plenty of salt.
To assemble the poutine pile the fries on a platter then sprinkle the cheese curds all over the fries.
Take the gravy and pour generously over the entire platter.
Now that I have gotten your attention, here are a couple donuts that have, with out a doubt, changed my life. In no particular order:
I could go on and on but this post is already kind of long and I haven't even talked about this recipe yet! I found this recipe for cinnamon sugar donut holes in a cookbook I recently got for Christmas. While it is a little time consuming the work is definitely worth the reward. These little morsels of fried dough are perfectly crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. The caramel sauce on its own is out of this world and would be great on anything from ice cream to your finger. I hope you try these wonderful creations and share them with others (or not!)
3 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
3/4 cup & 1 Tbs. milk
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 tsp. yeast
1 egg & 1 egg yolk
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
5 Tbs. melted butter
2 Tbs. ground cinnamon
Vegetable oil for frying
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. salt
To make the donut holes, place the potatoes in a pot of boiling water and cook until they are fork tender. (about 20 minutes)
Once they are done drain and mash the potatoes until smooth.
In a small sauce pan combine 1/2 cup & 1 Tbs. of mashed potatoes and the milk and heat until warm to the touch.
Remove from the heat and stir in the 1/4 cup of sugar and yeast, let sit until foamy. (about 10 minutes)
In a stand mixer, add the yeast mixture and the egg and extra yolk. Mix to combine.
Add in the dry ingredients and stir until smooth dough forms.
Let the dough rest for 15 minutes, then add the melted butter.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it raise in a warm place for 1 hour.
Once it has doubled in size, remove the dough and divide into 24 equal pieces.
Using your hands roll each piece into a tight ball, with a smooth surface.
Place the finished dough balls on a greased baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for another hour.
In a separate bowl combine the cinnamon and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and set to the side.
In a large sauce pan heat about 4 inches of oil until a piece of bread fries immediately when dropped in.
Fry the donuts in small batches, flipping when needed, until they are golden brown. (4-5 minutes)
Drain finished donuts on some paper towel. Once they are a little cooler toss the balls in the cinnamon sugar mixture until they are thoroughly coated.
To make the caramel sauce, heat the brown sugar in a heavy bottomed sauce pan until it begins to caramelize.
Add in the butter and cream., stirring constantly until the butter is melted and the sauce is smooth and silky.
Season to taste with salt and serve along side the donuts.
One of the most coveted of her recipes is the one for her Oatmeal Molasses Cookies. Let me tell you; these cookies are synonymous with my grandma! I don't know how many times we would visit her house and there would be a plate of these cookies waiting for us. They are so delicious, and even better when they're fresh out of the oven. The molasses and cinnamon give them a warm and deep flavor and the nuts and raisins are like little nuggets of joy hidden throughout the cookie waiting to be found.
Some of my strongest memories of these cookies took place at our lake house that we shared with my grandparents. During the summer we would spend the weekends up at the lake, skiing, fishing, and enjoying the sun. There were countless times we went out on the lake to swim for hours and as we packed up and made our way back to the cabin, we could smell these cookies on the breeze. When we got back to the dock, we would hurriedly unpack all of our things and run inside eager to eat at least three or four of these delicious morsels as fast as we could.
One Christmas, my grandma gave me a recipe box filled with all of her best recipes, written on little note cards. I was so excited to finally have a chance to make these wonderful dishes! I made these cookies recently and the smell of them baking immediately brought so many childhood memories rushing back to me. These cookies are near and dear to my heart and I hope you enjoy them just as much as I do.
Oatmeal Drop Cookies
1/2 cup soften butter
1 1/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup dark molasses
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
1 cup raisins
Mix the butter, sugar, eggs, & dark molasses until smooth and well combined.
Add the flour, baking soda, salt, & cinnamon and mix well.
Fold in the oatmeal, nuts & raisins and stir until just combined.
Allow to dough to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before baking.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees,
Drop spoonfuls of the dough onto a lightly greased baking pan about 1" a part
Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes.
Let them cool on the pan for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
Some days are great and you feel productive and motivated, while others feel kind of empty and pointless. All that being said there are so many good things that this situation has given us. It forces us to appreciate our friends and family more. We take the time to video chat or call those we care about bring us together even when we are far apart. It also gives us the opportunity to work on things we may have been putting off. Home projects, hobbies, and decisions come to the foreground, giving us a chance to work on bettering ourselves and our environment.
With everything that is happening around us you can't help but notice the outpouring of support and compassion from all corners of the world that brings us all together under mutual understanding. The images of apartment buildings singing together and car parades celebrating a friend's birthday are everywhere, proving that we are all in this together.
Well, to be honest this is not where I saw this post going, but I guess this is on my mind today and that's the point of this blog so here you go...
My housemates and I decided to make our own soft pretzels recently as an afternoon project. It was a fun activity to do together and was a great way for us to spend the many hours together under one roof. We each shaped and seasoned our own pretzels and when they were done we stood around the kitchen counter and devoured them as fast as we possibly could.
They were perfectly fluffy and warm, and the different seasonings we used like, everything bagel seasoning, garlic Parmesan, and garam masala made these pretzels unique and extra exciting. I encourage you to make these with your family or friends (whoever you're "stuck" with) and spend the afternoon being creative and making great food. Good luck.
4 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
1 tsp. Sugar
1 1/4 cups Warm Water
5 cups of Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
1 1/2 tsp. Salt
1 Tbs. Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Baking Soda
4 cups Hot Water
Salt or other seasonings for topping
In a small dish combine the yeast, sugar and warm water. Set aside until foamy.
In a large mixing bowl add the flour, 1/2 cup of sugar, and salt and mix to combine.
Add the yeast and the oil and mix until a dough forms. If the dough it too wet add more flour, if too dry add a tablespoon of water.
Dump the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. (about 7-10 minutes)
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning the dough to cover it in oil.
Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place in a warm spot to raise for 1 hour.
Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 450 degrees and combine the hot water and baking soda in a bowl.
Dump out the dough and divide into 10 equal pieces.
Roll the dough into thin ropes, making sure to pop and air bubbles in the dough.
This is where you can be a little more creative. You can create the standard pretzel twist or you can make your own unique pretzel shapes like we did.
Once the dough has been shaped, dip it in the baking soda water and place on a baking sheet.
Sprinkle your desired seasoning on top and bake in the oven until they are golden brown (Approximately 8-10 minutes)
Eat immediately out of the oven for best texture and flavor.
Dip in your desired dipping sauce, or eat plain.
Lomo Saltado is hands down one of my favorite Peruvian dishes! Consisting of sauteed beef, tomatoes, onions, fried potatoes and rice, what isn’t there to like about it? I had the opportunity to enjoy this dish countless times throughout my SST adventures and it always made me, and my stomach, happy.
The first time I learned how to make this dish was in Lima with my host mother. She brought me into the kitchen and told me that we were going to cook dinner together! I was so excited to finally get the chance to make some of the food I had grown so quickly to love. I was in charge of the potatoes. I peeled and chopped them into sticks. Then I fried them in hot oil, while I watched her cook the beef, onions, and tomatoes. The whole time we were cooking, she and I would tease each other and talk about whatever came up. She loved to talk and tell stories about her childhood and her children when they were young. The amazing aromas of garlic, onions and fried potatoes lingered in the air for hours after we had finished cooking. Some of my favorite memories of my time in Peru were made in that kitchen with a woman I barely knew, making food.
I also had the opportunity to help my host mother in Ayacucho make Lomo Saltado while I was there for my service placement. It was really cool getting to share this time in the kitchen with these two amazing women. Even though they were hundreds of miles apart, the passion for food and sharing in their culture was so comforting. It just goes to show how universal cooking can be.
2 lbs. of steak, cut into 1” cubes
2 large tomatoes, chopped in wedges
2 medium red onions, chopped in wedges
6 cloves of minced garlic, divided
4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and sliced into lengths 1” thick
1/2 a of cup apple cider vinegar, divided
1/4 of a cup soy sauce
2 cups of white rice, cooked
salt and pepper to taste
Marinate the beef in a ¼ cup vinegar and salt, pepper and 3 cloves of garlic for about fifteen minutes. Pan fry potatoes in batches until golden brown. Season with salt and set aside to drain excess oil.
Sauté the beef in an oiled pan until cooked through and set aside.
In the same pan, fry the onions and remaining garlic until the onions are semi-transparent.
Add the tomatoes and cook until their skins burst.
Add in the beef.
Add the remaining ¼ cup of vinegar and the soy sauce.
Stir everything together and simmer for 5 minutes.
Pile the fries and beef over a bed of rice and enjoy.