I have a thing for sweet and salty. If I have something salty, I definitely need something sweet to chase it down. There’s something about the combination that is so incredibly satisfying. Our bodies are actually genetically programmed to crave sweet, salty, and fatty foods. When we eat (or smell) these foods, it triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter which releases a chemical signal to our brain. This dopamine signal is associated with “reward,” and gives us a positive association when released. It has been proposed that the sense of reward that we get from eating energy dense food (sugars, salts, and fats) developed as a survival mechanism for early humans who didn’t have ready access to food as we do now. I’m pretty sure that these chips elicit a massive dopamine burst in me. The best thing is that I get my salty-sweet fix in one sitting. Slightly crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. These are probably my favorite snack food to date.
When I think of Spanish food, I think of pimentón (smoked paprika) and saffron. I’m lucky to always have a pretty good stock of both because my uncle lives in Madrid. Every time he comes back to the States, he always has a new tin of pimentón and a case of saffron for me as saffron is infinitely cheaper in Spain. During my week of finals, about a month ago, I had a roasted red pepper, tomato, and saffron soup at Flour Bakery. It was unbelievable. If you are ever in Boston, I highly recommend a stop at one of their four locations in the city. Their desserts are unreal and feature a daily supply of homemade Oreos, Boston cream pie, and their famous banana bread. In addition, this bakery serves the seltzer from which I adapted my raspberry lime seltzer. Because I know saffron is expensive and not accessible to many people, I chose to add pimentón to this roasted red pepper and tomato soup to add a Spanish flair. I think it’s equally as good. Serve it with a thick slice of white crusty bread.
Our society loves options, and I admit, I do too. When I’m home in Maine for the summer, I love that I have 4 local ice cream parlors within a 3 mile radius from my house, have a variety of beaches to choose from, and have what seems to be an endless amount of options for day hikes available. I love to mix and match my exercise activities-maybe I’ll run, go for a long walk, swim, bike, or attempt to do yoga. I may switch from reading a book to a magazine to a newspaper in the same day. And, along with everything else, I like options with my food as well. This fruit and nut granola bar recipe, gives you full freedom with whatever dried fruits, nuts, seeds, or sweeteners you so choose. You don’t even have to keep them in bar form if you don’t want to. I often crumble them up into yogurt as granola. The point is, you have options with these bars; embrace them!
I get extremely jealous whenever anyone eats something delicious without me. Over Christmas, last year, my twin got a batch of Nutella-stuffed, sea salt, chocolate chip cookies, from work, and he ate them all before I made it home for Winter break. When I got home, he couldn’t stop talking about how good these chocolate chip cookies were. I knew that I would have to find a recipe and add these to our cookie repertoire for next Christmas. But, June came, and I found a jar of Nutella in our house, and then the rational person inside of me asked, why wait?
If you’re wondering if steamy pork buns are the same thing as steamed pork buns, they are. Steamy pork buns got their name when my boyfriend, Nathan, misread an email from me. He kept calling them this for a good 6 months before I corrected him, but the name stuck. Whatever you want to call them, there are fewer meals that are more fun for me to make or more frequently requested by Nathan (he captured the beautiful picture of the steamy buns above in return for two buns). It’s like creating a giant dumpling, involves making dough (which I love), and uses hoisin sauce (my asian kryptonite). Better yet, they freeze beautifully-just steam them straight from the freezer for a few extra minutes and you have dinner ready to go.
There’s nothing more satisfying then that warm, comfortable stretch when you eat a plate full of pasta, and this recipe is no exception. I added kale leaves to the pasta dough to make it slightly healthier and green. I say slightly because you will need to eat the entire 1 1/4 pounds of pasta to get one generous serving of vegetables. While time consuming, making your own pasta is infinitely better than buying it from the store (and I love store bought pasta). You can even customize it to your own likening: throw in some herbs like basil, thyme, or oregano or add some spices like saffron or turmeric. I love the pistachio pesto that’s paired with this recipe, but feel free to substitute store bought pesto or tomato sauce if you’re short on time.
Now that I’m heading to Arizona in just over a month, I’m trying to develop a recipe list of drinks, meals, and snacks to cool me down. I visited Nathan in Arizona, the summer after my freshman year at Hopkins, and it was over 100˚F, which coming from Maine, was hotter than anywhere I had been before.