Sunday, June 19, 2016

Secret Recipe Club - Cocoa Spiced Almonds

It's Secret Recipe Club time of the month again. This month has been absolutely insane for me. In just two weeks (after this post) I'll be moving from Virginia to California. As I write this, we've already packed 14 boxes of books and other things. Our dressers are gone and hopefully some random craigslist folks will get our bookshelves and table soon. I won't be posting much in July (and I'm taking a break from SRC for that month also). It's an exciting wonderful adventure and I'm looking forward to posting some new recipes from Los Angeles. I'm glad to be moving back to California (not so glad that it's to LA, but I'm sure things will get better). It's scary and wonderful and I know things are going to be a great adventure. The only part that sucks is that my husband is going back to school, so we will be poor....very very poor...

This month, my blog was The Heritage Cook by Jane. I decided to make her Spicy Cocoa Pecans which I opted to substitute for almonds instead (you know, moving and using your non-perishable goods and all). I knew I wanted to make one of her "Chocolate Mondays" recipes (it is Monday after all) and these sounded not too sweet. These almonds really were wonderful. They were the perfect combination of salty and sweet. They satisfy every craving and are a great snack. 

I made a 1/3 recipe because I only had 2 pounds of almonds, but 6 lbs wouldn't be too many, especially for a family. These are that addictive.

Jane, thank you so much for this wonderful recipe! I will surely make it again and again


  • 2 lbs almonds
  • 10 oz sugar
  • 1/4 oz cocoa powder
  • .75 oz salt
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 oz egg white
  • .5 oz water


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix almonds with all other ingredients and pour onto a silpat mat
  2. Cook almonds for about 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or as needed until sugar has hardened. Let cool completely before separating and packing in airtight container.

One year ago: Almond Biscotti
Two years ago: Tofu Chocolate Pudding
Three years ago: Japanese Potato Salad
Four years ago: Mushroom Risotto

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Cuban Sandwiches

Life has been utterly insane these past few weeks. I apologize for my lack of posts on this blog. My husband and I are moving to California in the very near future and all of our free time has been spent seeing friends, packing boxes, eating the food in our freezer and worrying about where we will live and what job I will have.

It will be a wonderful, scary experience. My last day of work is coming up in one week (I can't believe it) and then it's time to go into panic mode.

At least this recipe used up a pork shoulder and the rest of a jar of pickles. Slow and steady!

  • 2 lbs pork shoulder
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp dry oregano
  • 5 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 arbol chilies 
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 3 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • Cuban or Vietnamese sandwich rolls
  • ham
  • Swiss cheese
  • dill pickles
  • yellow mustard
  • butter for toasting
  1. Season pork well with salt and pepper and brown on all sides in a large, heavy bottomed pot. 
  2. Place pork in crockpot with cumin, oregano, garlic, chilies, onion, chicken stock, orange uice, lime juice and bay leaves. Cook on low for 8 hours or until pork can be pulled apart
  3. Slice open your sandwich bread and spread both sides with yellow mustard. Add thin sliced deli ham, swiss cheese, thinly sliced dill pickles and your roast pork to the sandwich.
  4. Butter your panini press and grill sandwich until crunchy on the outside. Slice on a bias and serve.
Three years ago Japanese Potato Salad
Four years ago Sourdough Danishes

Monday, June 6, 2016

Strawberry Red Bean Mochi

These are some sweets that I remember from my childhood. My aunt used to make these great strawberry and red bean mochi (or sometimes peanut butter mochi) for special occasions. There was also a bakery near my house that would make excellent versions of these sweets too.

These are easy to make a very impressive looking. They're not for everyone, but if you like mochi you will surely like these. 

  • 8 oz sweet rice flour (like Mochiko)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • red bean paste
  • small strawberries
  • kinako flour or cornstarch
  1. Mix sugar, rice flour and water together in a heatproof glass bowl that will fit in your steamer. This should be liquid.
  2. Place bowl in steamer and steam until entire mixture is translucent and sticky. Stir every 5 minutes or so until done.
  3. Remove bowl from steamer and pour mixture out onto a cutting board or butcher paper dusted with cornstarch. Let cool a few minutes
  4. While mochi is cooling (or before), flatten some sweet read bean paste and wrap around strawberries.
  5. Cut small pieces of the mochi, flatten sightly with well dusted hands and wrap around strawberry and red bean paste. Let cool completely before eating.

One year ago: Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes
Two years ago: Pita Bread
Three years ago: Japanese Potato Salad
Four years ago: Sourdough Danishes
Five years ago: Almond Rochers
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