The Broken Bread

Calabaza de Tacha


Whether it be a sweet bread, beer, ice cream, or even a latte, I’m 100% sure that if there’s pumpkin in it, I’ll eat it. There has to be about a million ways to incorporate the wonderful flavor of this gourd into any kind of meal, drink, or dessert. So, I thought why not give you just one more idea on how to enjoy that pumpkin you just picked up from the store? Today I am sharing with you my recipe for Calabza de tacha, or as others may call it, candied pumpkin. This is a very popular dessert that is commonly prepared for Día de los Muertos, and one that I grew up enjoying each fall with my family.

This dessert is filled with flavors of cinnamon, anise, orange, and brown sugar. The main idea behind this dish is poaching pumpkin slices to perfection in a sugar and water mixture. Once the pumpkin is cooked, you reduce the remaining liquid until you are left with a flavorful syrup to drizzle over your tender pumpkin. Traditionally, this dessert is made with piloncillo, which is an unrefined Mexican sugar that has been pressed into a cone-like shape. Piloncillo isn’t always the easiest to source, which (thankfully) wasn’t a problem for me because I had a big ol’ bag of Zulka’s brown sugar on hand. What’s great is that Zulka’s sugar doesn’t undergo a conventional refining process, so that means you are left with a product that tastes as close to fresh sugar cane as possible. And for this recipe, that’s exactly what you want.


Once your syrup is ready, you have a few different choices on how to enjoy your candied pumpkin. You can simply drizzle the syrup over the top, and enjoy your pumpkin slices as is, but my personal opinion is that this dish tastes best when a little warmed milk is added into the mix. In the recipe you’ll see that I also suggest using coconut milk as an alternative, and honestly that just isn’t for those who can’t have dairy. I really like the added flavor that the coconut milk brings to this dish. It might not be the most traditional suggestion, but it tastes darn delicious, so I say do it!


With Día de los Muretos celebrations beginning this Saturday, now is the time to start thinking of what delicious treats you’ll want to make to celebrate the lives of your loved ones. If you need a bit more inspiration be sure to check out my recipe for a classic Atole de Vainilla, or if your craving something flaky and buttery, be sure to check out these Pumpkin & Cream Cheese Empanadas.

For the recipe, Read more here »

Pumpkin & Cream Cheese Empanadas


With Día de Los Muertos just around the corner, I wanted to share with you another recipe that is dear to my heart. There are seriously SO many wonderful and delicious recipes that are traditionally made for this holiday, so I actually had a hard time picking only three to share with you. If you missed my first recipe, be sure to check it out here. Now, for my second recipe I made empanadas filled with a spiced pumpkin and cream cheese filling. Sounds good, right? But I mean, seriously, who doesn’t just love empanadas? The only way I could image someone not liking these is if they never tried one before, in which case I say you should head into the kitchen now and whip up a batch because they really are that delicious. To give you an idea, empanadas are basically theses buttery and ever-so flaky pastry pockets, which are traditionally stuffed with either a sweet or savory filling. My memories of my first empanada takes me back to when I was a little girl. My mom and I were in Mexico, and I was begging her for some candy, and instead of giving me what I wanted, she handed me my first empanada, and I have been hooked on these things ever since.



These empanadas are filled with the flavors of Fall; pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a healthy serving of tangy cream cheese. Eating one of these pretty much tastes like you are biting into fall; so if that sounds good to you, then you have to make these. I ended up using 2 types of Zulka sugar for this recipe. I used the pure cane sugar for the crust and the brown sugar for the filling. I love that Zulka has a few different choices when it comes to sugar, because each types plays a different role when used in this recipe. In addition to that, since Zulka’s sugar in unrefined, it means their sugar is more flavorful than refined sugar, which means better tasting baked goods. So next time you’re in the market, I highly suggest you grab a bag and taste the difference for yourself.


Keep in mind that you can essentially fill these empanadas with whatever you like, so if this is a holiday you celebrate, I hope you can use this recipe in a way that honors your loved ones in your own special way.

Read more here »

Atole de Vanilla


The arrival of October brings about the first of a long string of holidays, all beginning with the ever-so popular Halloween. But did you know that there’s another holiday that also begins on the same day? It’s called Dia De Los Muertos, a popular three-day Mexican holiday that celebrates the lives of those who have passed away. Those who celebrate this holiday traditionally build small altars for their loved ones, either at their home or at a local cemetery. These altars are constructed and adorned with vibrant flowers and family pictures, and even the favorite meals, drinks, or desserts of those commemorated. The tone of this holiday can take many forms for different people, but most importantly it is a time to celebrate the lives of their dearly departed.


Being of Mexican descent, I am quite familiar with this holiday, even though my immediate family doesn’t always celebrate it. When I was little, we took many trips to Mexico to visit my mother’s side of the family and I actually remember being there during this holiday. I was able to see many of the shrines in the local cemetery, all of which were wonderfully dressed with candles, flowers, and food. Many of the meals prepared for this holiday are very traditional, much like those my grandmother Ramona would make, so I found it especially fun to try to re-create some of my family recipes for this upcoming holiday. Preparing this recipe was actually a bittersweet experience for me, as my grandmother recently passed away. But I found a lovely sense of comfort in making it in her honor.


In the next two weeks I will be sharing two more recipes with you that are perfect for Día De Los Muertos, the first of which being this very popular hot drink called atole. During the colder months my grandmother would make this from time to time, so it naturally awakens many pleasant memories. It is traditionally made from masa (corn flour), water or milk, piloncillo, and other flavors, like vanilla, chocolate, etc. You may or may not be familiar with piloncillo, but it’s basically pure, unrefined sugar cane. It’s honestly quite difficult to source, so I used Zulka’s brown sugar which worked perfectly.

I’m not sure if you have heard about Zulka before, but I absolutely love their sugar. Using the highest quality sugar is very important to me as a baker, and Zulka has some of the best you can find. Their practices and cultivation methods are also impressive; they offer 100% pure, freshly harvested, never refined, non-GMO sugar. That’s about everything I want my sugar to be.


Now, this drink just resonates with comfort to me, but I realize that a lot of people probably haven’t tried it before. So just to give you an idea, this drink is served hot and the texture is slightly thick, almost like an eggnog. Its flavor is a lovely mash up of corn, vanilla, and brown sugar. I add a little bit of cinnamon for garnish to provide some extra flavor, but it tastes just as good without it. Stay tuned for the next two recipes in celebration of Día De Los Muertos!

For the recipe, Read more here »

Italian Plum Compote


These past few days have felt extremely fall-ish to me. The sun is starting to set much earlier, and the forest which flows throughout our neighborhood is beginning to shift in color. Trees that were once graced with bright green leaves are now adorned with splashes of vibrant yellow and fiery red. And now the evenings are finally getting cold enough for me to rescue my winter jackets from the tiny suitcases they have been living in for the past year. Boots, sweaters, beanies; Fall, I’m ready for you. What excites me most about the change of the seasons are all of the upcoming holidays. My birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas; this is the time of year where many cozy indoor dinners and celebrations shall be had with friends and family. Oh, and not to mention that pie-baking will soon become a weekly routine in our home. Ah! I’m already getting way too excited just thinking about it all of it. But let’s talk about these tasty Italian plums, shall we? I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but when John and I first moved into our current house, we did so only on the basis of a few Craigslist photos and a trusted word from our friends who checked it out. So imagine my surprise when we arrived and found, among many other great things, a beautiful Italian plum tree right smack in the middle of our backyard. Luckily for me, I already love these plums, so having a huge tree to feast on this summer was such a blessing.



I noticed my plum tree was getting a bit thin last week, so I ended up climbing it and picked as many plums as I could. Well, at least whatever plums the neighborhood squirrels hadn’t gotten to yet. I typically eat these plums as a snack, but I one morning I really had the urge to jazz up my bowl of yogurt, so I ended up making this plum compote. You can use brown or white sugar for this recipe, but I found that using good quality maple syrup tastes the best. I was lucky enough to get my hands on what I believe is the best maple syrup I have ever tasted. I have the people at  Hatchery to thank for that. They have such an amazing selection of culinary items, so if you are looking for some new products to add to your kitchen arsenal, then just click here. This particular maple syrup is made by a husband and wife who live in Weston, Vermont, and they make this syrup from the trees that reside on their very own property. After tasting this maple syrup, I feel as if I can envision how beautiful their trees must look and smell like because their maple syrup has such a distinct and unique flavor. I am always eager to use products that are made by people who are truly passionate about their craft, and this maple syrup is proof of this couples’ dedication to just that.


This compote is incredibly easy to make, and tastes amazing when spooned over just about anything. Yogurt, waffles, pancakes, ice cream, the options are endless. I ended up adding a hearty amount to my yogurt the other day, and topped it off with some granola I had on hand. Toasted nuts would work just as well, but keep it simple and use whatever you have on hand and enjoy.



For recipe, Read more here »

Desserts Book Release

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I am thrilled to announce that one of the books I was working on last year is officially here!!! I had the wonderful opportunity to co-author a comprehensive baking book that is filled with 68 classic desserts from around the world with step-by-step photography and ideas for variations. This book is not only beautiful, but it’s also packed with over 400 delicious recipes. It can be purchased online, or wherever books are sold.

To celebrate this release, I wanted to share a video that John and I made featuring a classic apple & blackberry cobbler recipe that can be found in this book. Hope you enjoy it!


Jalapeño, Cheddar & Onion Buttermilk Biscuits


When I was little I loved helping my mom prepare dinner. I would often beg her to let my do anything that would be considered dangerous for a girl my age, like using her food processor, or chopping vegetables. Luckily my mom was fully aware of my desperation to help, so she would usually find something for me to do that obviously had a very low threshold of danger, like making biscuits. The funny thing was that these “homemade” biscuits I would make came from a long tube – you know the kind where you pull the tab and the container pops open? I seriously loved opening those things. I’ve stayed pretty committed to those tubes of dough until I finally tried my hand at making some from scratch a few years ago, and boy do I wish I would’ve done that sooner.


I love the fact that biscuits are pretty easy to make, and the lovely people at King Authur Flour are making it even easier with their super convenient self-rising flour. This flour will make your biscuits light and fluffy, and since it’s self rising, you are pretty much guaranteed a perfect biscuit every time. There are a few extra tips that King Authur shared with me to make my biscuits even better and I included them below because I wanted to share them with you too!

Be Gentle: Once the liquid is added to the dough, be sure to avoid overworking it.

Chill Out: Make sure that whatever fat you use in your recipe is very, very cold. This will help make your biscuits even flakier.

Use a biscuit cutter: Keep you cuts clean! Dip your biscuit cutter in flour between cuts, this will help the biscuits rise higher.

Freeze before baking: Freeze your biscuits ups to 20 minutes before baking, the will improve texture and rise.

I hope these tips help you as much as they helped me! Now you are only 6 ingredients away from making a batch of savory biscuits that will knock your socks off!


For the recipe, Read more here »

Blackberry, Mint & Cucumber Gin Spritzer



Can you believe there are only a few weeks of Summer left? That means now is the time to squeeze in as many of your favorite summer activities before Fall is officially here. I still have a pretty long list of things that I want to do this summer, but to be honest I just want to eat as many peaches and plums as I can before they are out of season. You might already be thinking of the different ways you plan on enjoying your last days of summer. Maybe you want to take one last trip to that lake you love? Or how about that hike you have been wanting to go on? I am sure the options are endless, but may I humbly suggest carving out a night where you and your friends get together, make a fleet of summery drinks, and watch the sunset. Sounds pretty good, huh?


Summer cocktails are the best, aren’t they? I mean a margarita tastes great anytime of the year, but a frosty margarita on a hot summer day? Perfection. So you might already by thinking, “oh yeah, a cocktail sounds great right now, but I don’t know what to make”. Well my friend, you are in luck!  The lovely ladies Sherrie, from With Food + Love and Renee from Will Frolic for Food have gotten a group of incredible bloggers together who have each created a delicious seasonal drink for you to make and enjoy. There are so many summery drinks for you to choose from, so find one that tickles your fancy, make it, and enjoy each sip while you enjoy a warm and pleasant evening. To check out all these recipes, simply click on the links above and you will find a list of over 30 creations from fellow bloggers that will show you how to make the drink of your dreams.


For my contribution to this virtual cocktail party I present to you this ever-so refreshing blackberry, cucumber & mint gin spritzer. What’s great about this drink is that it tastes just as good without the liquor, but you know you want that gin in there.



Remember this is the time to enjoy that sun and #drinkthesummer!

For the recipe,  Read more here »

Blackberry & Peach Cornbread Buckle


Since I grew up in California I was never in fear of a time where the sun wouldn’t show its face, but as I got older I quickly realized that I took many of those warm sunny days for granted. I kind of regret that now because California, although sometimes a bit too hot for me, is really such a lovely and wonderful place to live. I really do miss it. Since moving back to Seattle I am fully aware of the fact that summer won’t last forever, so I am doing my best to enjoy every minute of it. There are so many wonderful things to do in this state, so John and I often find ourselves acting like tourists, trying to make the most of each day because we both don’t want to take one day of this gorgeous weather for granted. If we only have time for a short walk around the lake, we’ll do it. Or, if we need some time to relax and wind down from the day we try to head down to a waterfront bar were we can grab a drink and watch the sunset. We made a promise to each other to be outside as much as we can and we are going to try our best to do just that.


Another way I’ve been enjoying the Seattle summer is by eating all of the wonderful produce that’s in season! Berries, stone fruits, tomatoes, I swear everything I love is in season right at this very moment. With berries taking over my refrigerator as of late, I have been making my share of cobblers and crisps, but I wanted to try something different. I began searching for other ways to use my insane amount of fruit and I eventually found a few recipes like crumbles, grumps, and buckles. What the heck is a gump you ask? Well, check out The Huffington Post because they explain it all.


The one recipe that caught my eye was a berry buckle, which is a cake with a bunch of berries dumped right in the middle. Sounds amazing doesn’t it? There so many versions out there, some with a streusel topping, others with the berries mixed in as opposed to dumped in the middle. Of course I wanted to put my own spin on this classic treat so I made a batter using both all purpose flour and cornmeal. The added texture and flavor of the cornmeal really makes this a cake/cornbread hybrid, which I am really into. I would say that this recipe leans more towards the cake side than cornbread side in terms of flavor, so if you prefer more of a cornbread vibe then simply swap out 1 tablespoon of flour for cornmeal and you will be well on your way to a slice of comfort.


Feel free to use any berries you have on hand for this recipe; I am sure blueberries and raspberries would taste just as delicious. I hope you are all having a lovely summer!

For the recipe,

Read more here »

Coconut Panna Cotta


Can you believe August is just around the corner? I can’t. Time seriously needs to slow down because I am entirely prepared to enjoy this gorgeous summer weather for a few more months. It’s kind of crazy, but since my last post John and I finally made our big move back to Seattle! It was such a long process to get up here, with a few, okay, a ton of hiccups along the way, but we endured it all and I finally get to say that we are back in the city we love! Being in Seattle has felt like a dream. You know, those dreams that you are totally aware of and don’t want to wake up from. I mean, spending time with old friends, exploring new restaurants, having picnics in the park, oh, and enjoying a back yard (a luxury not readily available in L.A.)! It has all been so perfect, and my heart is overflowing with joy.




Since being back, I have had the pleasure of reconnecting with the ever so lovely Sasha Swerdloff. We met briefly before I moved to California a year ago, and thankfully our love for food and photography has kept us connected ever since. After chatting a bit, we both felt a collaboration was in the cards for us, and I couldn’t think of a better person with whom to do one. Over the years I have realized that an odd aspect of blogging is that I spend a lot of time alone, so creating a recipe and shooting it with someone as sweet as Sasha was so much fun.


Photo by Sasha Swerdloff




We wanted to create a refreshing dessert that would make use of all those blueberries filling up the markets, so we came up with this coconut panna cotta topped with a balsamic blueberry compote. The flavor combination in this dessert is insane, and it’s seriously such a delicious treat to enjoy on a summer day. This recipe has two parts, so in order to get the recipe for the compote, head over to Sasha’s incredibly beautiful blog, Tending the Table.



For the recipe,  Read more here »

Chamomile Tea Loaf


Walking through my mother’s garden proves to be a constant reminder that Spring is in full swing. Many of her trees are just a few weeks shy of letting me raid them of all their fruits, and her wild flowers seem to be sprouting up in every nook and cranny possible. Last week, I went deep into her garden and found a small shady spot where I was able to take a much needed break. I just sat there for a while, watching all of the humming birds and monarch butterflies enjoy a quick meal all because of my mother’s hard work. I appreciate the effort she puts into her garden, I know it’s not an easy hobby, but she loves it so much. And let’s be honest, I have nothing but support for her since she always lets me walk out the door with an armful of fresh flowers and produce. Just the other day I realized she had some chamomile growing in a corner of her garden. I cut a few blossoms and threw them into some hot water to make some tea, and as the flowers were steeping, I starting dreaming of other ways I could use chamomile. There are so many ways to implement the flavors of tea into a recipe, so after a bit of debating, I decided to infuse the wonderful flavor of chamomile straight into this tea loaf.

So how does one infuse tea into a baked good you might ask? Well, as I was doing a bit of research I came across this blog that broke down the different ways to get the most tea flavor into whatever you are baking. All of Stefani’s helpful tips come from Robert Wemischner (author of Cooking with Tea). He tried grinding tea and mixing that directly into the batter, steeping tea bags in hot milk (if recipe called for milk), or simply steeping tea bags in butter. All of these methods didn’t work out too well, but what did work, was steeping the actual tea leaves in melted butter, and I couldn’t agree more.


Making a infused butter might take an extra step or two, but the result is an utterly fragrant, and delicious tea infused baked treat, like this chamomile tea loaf. Moist on the inside and a little crisp on the outside, this loaf is so good. It’s sweet enough to be enjoyed on its own, but I also included a recipe for a minneola & honey whipped cream, which adds even more flavor. I made this loaf the other day and took it to my mom, where we each enjoyed a slice while siting in her garden. It was such a peaceful moment, and I couldn’t have been more thankful for it.



On another note I am SO happy to announce that my blog was nominated by Saveur magazine for Best Designed Blog. This nomination is such an honor, and I am so incredibly thankful to be nominated amongst such freaking talented people. Voting ends in 5 days, so if you have time, I would LOVE it if you would cast a vote in my favor. Click here to vote.

Thank you so much for all the love and support. Hope you have a lovely weekend!


For the recipe, Read more here »