I don’t know why this never ceases to surprise me, but most people I meet have never eaten Cuban food. Now, considering the sum total population of 11MM people on the island, you would think “hey, Damaris – that’s to be expected.” Now, whenever I meet someone, it feels like it is my mission from the universe to make sure they experience Cuban food, Thai food, Korean food, Japanese food, and Vietnamese food – at a minimum (and in that order). It isn’t always the simplest thing to quickly cook up some Cuban black bean stew or some ropa vieja – but gosh darn it, I will at least fry up some Cuban empanadas.
If you have experienced at least a simple (and incredibly, crazy delicious) street food from each of these places, I feel like my universe debt is paid. Because we need to cover our bases in order – we’ll start you off with Cuban. Empanadas were one of the first Cuban dishes I ever learned to make. My mom taught me, and this was one of our tag-team recipes, where she would prepare the filling, and then I would shape and close the empanada. If you have little ones of your own, you might find this is a great recipe for keeping those little hands busy without making a lot of mess.
There are so many different doughs and fillings you can use to make empanadas that this recipe is just the way to open a door to a world of creativity. You can go sweet, salty, gooey, crunchy. Our personal favorites use either picadillo, or guava paste and cream cheese. The Cuban kitchen is all about being resourceful – using what’s available, using up leftovers, making the most of everything. These are a great way to enjoy the heck out of some leftover meat, veggie, or rice dishes. Do me a favor – help me ease my debt to the universe, and go make yourself some empanadas. I promise this is one debt that’s actually very fun to repay.
Ok, so first things first – I’m back! In the last three months, just about everything has changed in my life. I started a new job, my husband and I are finally working in the same state (wooo!), and I have happily kissed the days of long-distance marriage goodbye. Forgiiiive me for how long I had to be gone. As it happens, packing and unpacking can take forever if you happen to be starting a new job at the same time (and let’s not even talk about what happens when the winter holidays begin in the middle of that). But, in order to christen this happy new time – my husband and I worked on this post together!
Here’s a question – have you ever had ramen noodles in a non-college setting? Better yet, have you had ramen noodles that are not microwaveable? If you have, it’s quite possible you know just how amazing they are. Seriously. Ramen is one of those things you can either whip up with a quick broth and a few additions, or go all out and make a broth that takes all day. But I think it’s fair to say – there’s no good ramen without good ramen noodles. This is the first in a series of trials we will do, testing which noodles are the best. For this recipe, we did three variations, each time with a slightly wetter dough. Since I’ve had these noodles three times since making them (no, really, I’ll take this one for the team), I can say that all three variations taste the same once cooked – so it’s a pretty forgiving recipe.
While this is the first ramen noodles post – this is far from the first recipe we’ve tested. There are some great aspects to this particular recipe: the noodle texture holds up well once cooked. Some ramen noodle recipes, while tasting great, will give a noodle that falls apart more quickly (as in – you better start eating as soon as the noodles hit the broth). It’s a great recipe for freezing in individual-size portions; it’s also fairly quick and inexpensive; and, lastly, it doesn’t have the same numb-your-mouth level of salt that other recipes have. Since ramen broths can be fairly salty to begin with, these noodles are a great compliment to any broth!
I’m sorry – I really wish I could say there wasn’t a catch. There’s definitely a catch. This recipe requires a pasta roller and an angel hair cutter. If you have to do your cutting by hand, ramen noodles can become a big time investment. I will, however, say that I definitely used to cut my ramen noodles by hand. So, to me, it was still worth it. If you’re feeling a little bit out of the box tonight – this might be your night to make ramen! I’d love to know how this recipe turns out for you and what tips or tricks you might have to make it better!
Here’s a short story for you, my friends. Once upon a time, there was a girl who searched to the ends of the Earth for a dinner roll recipe that would suit her needs. She found many different varieties…some buttery, some hard, some yeasty, some crusty. But no recipe in all the land gave her exactly what she wanted: long-lasting fluffiness and perfect texture, delicious flavor, and easy technique. One day, when this girl was supposed to be taking a break from blog recipes, she accidentally created a magical recipe that was everything she had ever hoped for. She tested it again, and again it came out perfect. “It can’t be!” she cried. And she proceeded to stuff her face with bread.
Guys. That was based on a true story. I may have never mentioned this before – but bread is one of my very favorite things on this planet. I am extremely picky about it, and it is very often my favorite part of the meal at restaurants. There is just nothing like bread fresh out of the oven. Nope. So, after years of looking for a rolls recipe that could be enjoyed for dinner, but then also enjoyed for the rest of the week with breakfast and lunch – I’ve found it. And, even though I was supposed to be taking a break… I just have to share it.
This recipe is very tweak-able. If you want sweet bread, add some more honey. If you want cheesy bread, add your favorite grated cheese. If you want herbs, add some herbs. Have a party with it! And let me know how your tweaks turned out! I’d love to hear about some variations on this recipe.