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The Cuban Kitchen

15 Apr

As featured on NPR. Amazing photos from Ellen Silverman.


What I’ve been eating this week…

26 Feb

Stumptown’s French Roast and Girl Scout cookies: Tagalongs & Dulce De Leche… I ate the entire box of that one, sigh.

MIL’s chicken Banh Canh w/ shrimp

Snack alert! Gardettos and Chocolate Covered Gummy Bears purchased from the bulk food section at Winco.

Grilled Ham & Cheese sandwich with baby dill pickles. I like it lightly buttered and crispy.

House Cleaning

11 Feb

After my failed attempt of making Cook’s Illustrated’s Wine Braised Pork Chops, I decided to lay low on making complex dishes. Ben and I moved into our current home a year and a half ago. We have an (as much as I hate to admit it) abandoned blog over on Blogger that we started when we first moved in and documented our daily home improvements. Like most everyone else, we did it to share with family and friends. I took a peek at it again and I must say, we did a great job capturing all of those moments. I consider it a modern alternative to scrap-booking. We’ve started many little projects around the house but haven’t completed them. One of them being the kitchen but we’ll get to that later. Between work and everything else, our home can get majorly cluttered where at any given point a photo is snapped, it captures an eye-sore somewhere in there.

I decided to do something about it one corner at a time. I began with our main bookshelf in the living room. Here is the before shot:

It doesn’t look so bad in the picture but from the outside looking in, it looks scattered and unorganized.

This is what you see at eye level: books, a Swiffer duster, magazines, frames w/o real pictures, miscellaneous figurines, a light bulb, and DVD’s.

Lower level: Cords, camera, CD’s, pots, vases, stuffed animals, a toy car in a box, random large book on dogs.

My sorting method:

  • Moved all DVD’s, CD’s, chargers, cameras, and cords into the entertainment system drawer. To think that all this time we had an enormous empty drawer!
  • Self-help and “For Dummies” books went into the office… I need to clean the office, too.
  • Empty plant pots and vases to the garage.
  • Stuffed animals into the linen closet.
  • The blue fish figurine is now used as a rubberband keeper in a kitchen drawer.
  • Frames with random pictures also went into the entertainment drawer (for now).
  • I put the Swiffer duster away where it belongs- in the laundry room cleaning closet.
My organizing method:
  • Cookbooks and vibrant Travel books placed at eye level for easy access. Books are arranged by type and then by height.
  • Larger books and magazines lay horizontally for character.
  • Small sentimental figurines- wooden bench & a puppy (given by my biological mother & my parents at different times but coincidentally compliment each other very well!) were left on display as a nice change of scenery from the books.
  • Porcelain flying pig placed on the highest shelf, out of reach, and as a statement piece. It casts a really nice shadow, too.
  • Ben made the snowboarding figurine in a jewelry making class back in college. It was used as a filler piece for the lower shelf but he later moved it higher so that Ollie, our Doberman puppy, wouldn’t destroy it.
I don’t find it necessary to fill every inch of empty space. Especially since our living room is small and quaint. I like a good mix of simple, eclectic, and clean. Did you notice the iRobot charger at the very bottom? It’s my new best friend.


Something relaxing to look at.

Eye level

Ahhhhhhhhh so much better!

I’ve got a head start on spring cleaning already.

Food on NPR

8 Feb

Growing up, my dad always listened to NPR around the home and inside the car as he waited for my mother to finish her grocery shopping. And now, Ben listens to the station every time he’s driving- which is quite a lot. Even if you’re not interested initially, you can’t help but find yourself caught up in whatever topic is being discussed. I’ve discovered their wonderfully produced food segments and some of them sound completely soothing and real as if you’re in the kitchen right there beside them. I refuse to get out of the car until the program comes to an end. A lot can be learned from those stories and afterwards, you will find yourself a little bit more diversified in the food culture.

One of my favorites is on how to make a Scandinavian winter drink known as “Glogg.” Listen and just imagine yourself in the warm and cozy kitchen as it’s being made right under your nose. Amazing. I can’t get enough of these.

The Dirty Dozen

8 Feb

I follow the Huffington Post on Twitter and one day, this popped up in my feed:

Dirty Dozen: The 12 Fruits And Vegetables With The Most Pesticides

It really stood out amongst the other jibber jabber I normally get from TMZ, People, Forbes, Andrew Zimmern, Anthony Bourdain, Drunk Hulk, Shit Girls Say, OXO, Neil Patrick Harris, Kourtney Kardashian (don’t judge), Lil Wayne, Bon Appetit Magazine, Kelly Choi, Shit My Dad Says, etc… you get the point. I follow a wide array of people.

Anyways, I just had to click on it. The list was enough to convince me to go organic on whatever was on it. The top 12 fruits and vegetables most contaminated with pesticides are:

  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines
  7. Imported Grapes
  8. Sweet Bell Peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Domestic Blueberries
  11. Lettuce (most likely to retain pesticides. Eeeek!)
  12. Kale/Collard Greens

My MIL is big on fruit & veggies and always has a basket full of them waiting for us when we see her (love that woman). I know most of it usually isn’t organic but I can never say no to free produce! I’m not that snobby to reject fresh food from family for that reason. What I usually do is wash them with baking soda before consuming it. I’ve looked into produce wash that come in a spray bottle or concentrate but am a little skeptical that it comes that way to begin with…all formulated in a bottle ready to go… used to clean your produce. Something about that concept still bugs me. I might cave one day and go for it.

Sous Chef

29 Jan

Meet my sous chef, Ollie aka Ollie Wollie.