Treat of the Month – Bizcochitos

biscochitos

These cookies are delightful and I always love discovering regional American recipes and often wonder why some the good stuff never makes it across state borders.  For example, why is loco moco not available in at more breakfast/brunch places across the United States?  There could a whole separate blog on “A Little Yumminess Around the USA”, so we can learn more about regional/state specialties.

We first heard about these cookies on a trip to Santa Fe and before I could get round to learning more about them, Stacie had already tried them.  I bet they taste better with lard, but we stuck to good ol’ butter.  This Spanish influenced cookie was developed by people living in New Mexico over the centuries.  It is typically served during the holidays (Christmas in particular) and special occasions such as weddings and baptisms.  It’s lovely with a cup of strong coffee, or for the kiddos with some milk.  This is a neat one to make with kids (they are the “State Cookies” of New Mexico) and talk about the unique regional recipes of our country.

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2014 Summer Camp Registration is Live

We had so much fun cooking and traveling the world with our tummies last summer that we’re doing it again! Registration for our 2014 A Little Yumminess Around the World is now live. Space is limited and tickets are going fast, so if you’re interested it’s a really great idea to sign up right away. Read on for more details or jump over to our summer camp page for the registration links. And if your little ones can’t join us this summer, we also have some other exciting family and kids’ programs in the works…. so please stay tuned!A Little Yumminess Around the World_Collage Image_2014_web

This summer  in addition to cooking, eating, tasting and learning about cuisines of the world with our campers — everything from Indian paranthas,  Argentinian empanadas to Thai curries — we are thrilled to announce a partnership with a wonderful children’s writing teacher named Tessa White who will lead two writing-focused days each camp week. We found that our kids had so much enthusiasm for what they were learning about, and so much to say, that we thought that they would love the chance to wash their hands, pick up a pen and write about their experience. Tessa does wonderfully imaginative projects in her afterschool program called The Writing Club and we absolutely can’t wait for the party and reading by campers which will conclude the fun each week on the Friday of each session. (Please take note: we had to increase the age of campers by a year –entering 2nd through 4th grades in fall 2014– to make sure the writing component would work well.)

We’re totally excited about the venues this year, too. First we’re taking over the kitchen at Marin Preparatory School in the Castro and then we’re back at one of our favorite foodie places in all of SF, 18 Reasons:

As we’ve been planning all the details over the past several months we keep finding ourselves saying, “Boy, we wish there had been a camp like this when we were kids!”

Fun with Flavor: A Winter Orange Tasting

Winter orange Tasting_A Little Yumminess.jpg

Fun with Flavor_Winter Orange Tasting

The food-related thing that we’re talking about most at my house lately is a little impromptu orange tasting we did after dinner the other night. I sliced up a few different varieties of oranges  that we had on hand and we took a few minutes to really look at them, smell them and taste them and then capture our thoughts. Beyond just being an easy and fun thing to do, it sparked some interesting conversation and it has made us all want to taste more and more more things which, it turns out, is quite different than just eating them. You could do this with just about anything carrots, jelly beans, cheese, tomatoes, soy sauce, chocolate…… would make a fun kitchen play date activity too. Continue reading

Malaysian Pineapple Tarts for Chinese New Year

Malaysian Pineapple Tarts by A Little Yumminess

Pineapple tarts are little pockets of crumbly, buttery, pineapple-jammy goodness…… the quintessential Lunar New Year’s sweet treat in Malaysia and Taiwan. Making these cookies is a tasty little way to bring a little lunar new year celebration into your kitchen and makes for a fun collaborative cooking project to do with kids or friends. It’s true that they’re a bit time consuming to put together since you have to make pineapple jam in addition to the cookie dough, but all in all none of the steps are particularly difficult.  Just make the jam and dough ahead of time and then gather your helpers for a cookie assembly party.  Luca, who is 6 was able to assemble the cookies with only very little help from me — thanks to our trusty tortilla press. My little guy loved brushing the cookies with eggwash before they went into the oven.

Having delved into the world of pineapple tarts over the past weeks, I have learned that there are a variety of styles (Malaysian, Taiwanese, different shapes and decorations, filled, open face)….. which means with the basic dough and jam, you can experiment with making the shape and size that appeal to you. The kids and I started off making ovals (more of the traditional pineapple shape), but somehow decided we liked the look of round balls with pineapple-ish slashes on top, glazed with an eggwash enhanced with sweetened condensed milk to make the cookies super golden and shiny.

After making a small test batch of these, I brought some over to Simran and her family for a taste. I didn’t get nervous until I thought about the fact that Simran and her parents lived in Singapore for many years, are total foodies and  would most definitely be familiar with this signature holiday treat…and I should probably also mention that they’re not afraid to call out sub-standard food when it crosses their path! So it was a bit like going in the lions den with this one. Luckily, they gave their thumbs up which means that you can feel free to make this recipe with a bit of street cred and that you really should bake some the next time you need to cheer up a homesick friend from Malaysia.

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Cooking with Kiddos: Finger-lickin’ Good Superbowl Wings

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We have tried many a wing recipe in the past, but these ones by Emeril kind of win.  I may be suffering from a bout of the “recency effect”, but we are definitely making these again for Superbowl Sunday.  The best part is they are so easy, that my little one may be able to make them almost entirely by herself.  I am sure someone will pry themselves away from the TV and help her out with getting the wings “in-and-out of the oven”.  Lining the pan with foil is a must – otherwise scrubbing the sheet pan will be a total drag.

We had these for dinner and Ria and her friend who was over ended up having a kitchen playdate.  You always run the risk that when you come to our house you will be “coerced” into cooking dinner with us.  Plus, the kids get quizzed on how to scale recipes – and hence a free math lesson!  We enjoyed these with fried rice and given how simple this recipe is, it is going to be added to our regular rotation for sure.
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Slow-Cooker Yumminess: Soy-Simmered Chicken

soychicken

I am generally not a fan of the slow cooker, unless I am using it to “slow-finish” dishes I have started on the stove-top.  That way I get the caramelization from the high heat and the benefit of a long-”slow cook”.  Very few dishes work, cooked almost entirely in the slow-cooker, but this one does. One can dump it in the slow-cooker and then forget about it.  You can pan-fry the chicken pieces if you want to, but omitting that step is totally OK too.  This dish can be made on the stove top as well, but the slow cooker just makes it easier and the chicken comes out super fork-tender.

The potatoes I added to our dish were a super hit and everyone was fighting over them.  Just because I always like a bit of heat, we also added about a tablespoon of Sriracha.  And we prefer thighs over chicken breast, though the recipe allows for both.  Enjoy with some fluffy white or brown rice and a big side of your favorite vegetables.

Our little ones are fans of this dish and Stacie and I had a great time tweaking this recipe for our bi-weekly San Jose Mercury article.
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Upcoming Class – Flavors of India: Pooris & Punjabi-Style Curries @ 18 Reasons

punjabi thali

We are totally excited to share our upcoming class highlighting the flavors of Northern India.  Mom has been teaching us family recipes and both of us have been diligently learning, recording, writing and practicing.  I already knew most of the recipes, but the process of documenting family recipes is a tremendous feeling of connection with family, food, community and tradition. And Stacie is becoming quite the poori maker and how many “self-described born and bred San Francisco Hapa girls” can do that? :)

Come join us for a unique date night, girls night out, friends night out or even come by yourself – I assure you, you will enjoy the meal and community.  Plus, if you have not checked out 18 Reasons – it is a wonderful opportunity to do so.

Learn about essential Indian spices, special ingredients and unique cooking techniques, while we make some of my favorite family recipes. Together we’ll cook an Indian feast: golden, puffed pooris, a trio of vegetarian curries, and some classic accompaniments. When served together, the dishes on this menu would be a typical Sunday family lunch in Northern India’s Punjab region, but each of the dishes on their own makes a wonderful addition to your home cooking repertoire.  This meal is suitable for vegetarians and even vegans.  For the carnivores out there, it makes you forget the “need for meat” – even if it is just for one meal.

MENU

  • Ruby Mami’s Aloo
  • Bodi Bhua’s Chana Masala
  • Mom’s Shahi Paneer
  • Kachumber and Simple Onion Pickle
  • Mint Raita
  • Pooris

Friday, February 28, 6-9pm at 18 Reasons in San Francisco (click here to register)
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