December 23, 2013

Cranberry-White Chocolate Ricotta Christmas Cookies (Video)

*Entrada en español abajo*

English: Am I the only one who will be making Christmas treats tonight? I’m not usually one to procrastinate too much, but this holiday season seems to have flown by quicker than usual. Between finishing all of my projects and finals with grad school and just getting back from a really, really lovely trip to visit family in Louisiana, somehow my Christmas baking has been left to the side this year.

October 23, 2013

In Further "I'll Be Back" News...

Hey guys, just another update. I'm still here, still working on blogging.

I'm currently halfway through editing a brand new video plus a blog post for Halloween, so it should be up very, very soon. It'll be super cute and super spooky!

Also, thanks so much for sticking with me as I've been transitioning into grad school. I'm finally kind of getting an idea of my school schedule and should be finding a way to get back to regular blogging/YouTube-ing soon.

See ya soon!

P.S. You can now subscribe to this blog via e-mail! Check the sidebar >>>

September 19, 2013

I'll Be Back Soon!

English: Hi guys! I wanted to give you a quick update since there haven’t been any posts on my blog for a little while. I started graduate school a couple of weeks ago and am in the middle of starting a few big projects for the semester, which is why I haven’t been able to blog as much. However, once these projects are a little more under control—within a week or so—I should be posting some new stuff again. See ya then!

Español: ¡Hola chicos! Quería darles un poco de noticias ya como no hemos tenido ningunas entradas en mi blog por un ratito. Empecé la escuela de posgrado hace unas semanas y estoy a mitad de empezar algunos proyectos grandes para el semestre, que es por qué no he podido subir tantas cosas por el blog. Pero, cuando estos proyectos estén un poco más bajo control—dentro de una semana, más o menos—debo estar subiendo cosas nuevas de nuevo. ¡Hasta pronto!

August 15, 2013

Trader Joe’s Haul!

English (español por abajo)

I freely admit that I am just one of the already bazillions of food bloggers that have fallen in love with Trader Joe’s. That store has some sort of magical power over us. Everywhere you look there’s a brand new item or a (surprisingly) reasonably-priced specialty good that you’ve been dreaming of for months. It is, in short, perfect.

So it should come as absolutely no surprise to you guys that I’m doing another haul of super yummy, super cool groceries from this lovely store. As you can see above, it’s in video format, since I’ve been really enjoying my venture into YouTube (and I hope you’ve been enjoying it as well). Let me say, though, there’s still a lot of hiccups that I’m learning my way through. For instance, I thought that it would be easier to film this haul in English and just subtitle it in Spanish, since it’s more casual than a recipe video. Not so! I’m grateful for the experience with working on my subtitling skills, but it is a very long, very repetitive process. But at least I’m putting that Spanish degree to good use!

Which brings me to another piece of news—I’ve graduated! I mentioned it on my Twitter a week or so ago when it happened, but I thought it merited a quick announcement here as well. Yes, I’ve officially finished my Bachelor’s degree and let me tell you, I feel freeeeeee! It feels so wonderful to have my degree and finally have those four years of hard work pay off. But I’m actually not done yet. In just a week or two I’ll be starting graduate school! This paragraph has so many exclamation points! It makes me sound crazy! I’ll stop now!

Anyway, that’s an update on some of the fun changes going on in my life right now. Hope you enjoy the video! Also, be sure to let me know in the comments if you have any other favorites from Trader Joe’s!


Admito libremente que solamente soy una de los tropecientos blogueros que se han enamorado de Trader Joe’s. Esa tienda tiene algún poder mágico sobre nosotros. Por todos lados hay artículos nuevos o bienes especializados (sorprendentemente) razonablemente  valuados con los cuales has estado soñando desde hace meses. Es, en pocas palabras, perfecto.

Así que no les debe venir como ninguna sorpresa que esté haciendo otro <<haul>> de comestibles súper ricos y súper chéveres de esta tienda tan linda. Como pueden ver por arriba, está en formato video, como he estado disfrutando mucho de mi empresa con YouTube (y espero que hayan estado disfrutándolo ustedes también). Aunque déjenme decir que todavía hay muchos retos que estoy aprendiendo a superar. Por ejemplo, pensaba que sería más fácil grabar este haul; en inglés y simplemente ponerle subtítulos en español, como es más informal que un video de receta. ¡De ninguna manera! Aprecio la experienca de trabajar con mis habilidades con subtítulos, pero es un proceso muy largo y muy repetitivo. ¡Pero por lo menos estoy haciendo buen uso de esta licenciatura de español!

Y eso me trae a otro trocito de noticas—¡he graduado! Lo mencioné por mi Twitter hace más o menos una semana cuando pasó, pero creía que merecía un anuncio rápido por aquí también. Sí, oficialmente he terminado la licenciatura y déjenme decirles, ¡me siento libreeeeee! Es tan maravilloso tener mi título y por fin ver cómo valió la pena aquellos cuatro años de esfuerzo. Pero en verdad todavía no he terminado. ¡En unas dos semanas voy a empezar la escuela de posgrado! ¡Este párrafo tiene tantos signos de exclamación! ¡Ya voy a parar de hacerlo!

Bueno, esas son unas noticias de unos de los cambios divertidos que están pasando en mi vida hoy en día. ¡Espero que disfruten del video! ¡También, asegúrense de comentar en los comentarios si tengan otros favoritos de Trader Joe’s!

August 6, 2013

Quadruple Chocolate Loaf Cake

Chocolate Cake Text
I think this cake is by far the most chocolatey cake ever invented. It’s got a fudgy interior filled with cocoa powder and chocolate chips, plus more chocolate chips and homemade chocolate syrup drizzled on top. And after the past busy, busy, busy month of my life, every bit of that chocolate is necessary.

Let me make it clear that the past month was not a bad month at all, just an incredibly busy one. This past July was spent doing an interview, a capstone presentation, and a super hard final class—all in Spanish and all with the amazingly lovely reward of finishing my Bachelor’s degree! Definitely worth it but definitely time-consuming.

Chocolate Cake 5
I think my favorite thing about the cake—beyond the aforementioned choco-pocalypse (a word that clearly betrays that I’m writing this at 3 a.m.)—is the wording of the recipe itself. Although I’ve made some liberal adaptations to this recipe (namely, moar chocolate!), it originally comes from Nigella Lawson, who, incidentally has the cooking show of my dreams—it’s the lighting, you guys, I can’t imagine how to replicate it. Anyway, horribly-punctuated gushing aside, what I’m trying to say is that her wording of the recipe is like super flowery, poetic code. For instance, she informs readers,

June 30, 2013

Video: Blackberry Muffins

blackberry muffin 6
English: I think muffins are probably one of the greatest foods in the world. I say “foods” because I’m not entirely sure how to label them—breakfast, dessert, bread? We eat them for all the above, which I guess just highlights how multi-purpose and generally lovely they are. Especially when they’re full of yummy summer berries. To me, those are the best kind of muffins.

Español: Creo que los muffins, probablemente, son unos de los platos más deliciosos del mundo. Digo "platos" porque no estoy segura de cómo calificarlos—¿desayuno, postre, pan? Los comemos en todos aquellos momentos, y supongo que eso simplemente recalca lo multiuso y lindo que son. Especialmente cuando estén llenos de deliciosas bayas veraniegas. Para mí, así son los mejores tipos de muffins.

muffin butter spread

June 15, 2013

Grilled Mushroom Sliders

mini mushroom burger 3
I’m sure you’re familiar with the term “glamping,” in which one goes camping, but usually from the comfort of a hotel room with fluffy robes and round-the-clock meal deliveries. To some (read: me) that’s basically the only kind of camping that should exist. These burgers are basically the grilling version of glamping. You get to be super healthy and use baby portobello mushrooms instead of ground beef patties and cook them on a grill pan from the air-conditioned comfort of your own home, with nary a fly or ray of sun coming anywhere near you.

And if you are the legit grilling/camping sort of person and the above paragraph has offended your every sensibility of what is right and noble in this world, let me make it clear that I take off my hat to each and every one of you. As far as I’m concerned—I who slather SPF like there’s no tomorrow just to walk across a parking lot—you are fearless warriors, so let’s not have any misunderstandings on that score.

slider buns grill
grilling mushrooms
gouda grilling mushrooms
That’s smoked gouda cheese, by the way. It’s a whole ‘nother level of awesome and makes little mushrooms taste super meaty and umami-licious.

June 10, 2013

Blogiversary Winner!

Alrighty, I've plugged all the entries into ye olde random number generator and we have a winner for the $50 Sur la Table gift card! 

And the winner is...


Congratulations Ashley! I'll be sending you an e-mail soon to give you the details about your prize.

Thanks again to everyone that participated and here's to many more blogiversaries!

June 2, 2013

3rd Blogiversary Gift Card Giveaway!

Blog 2013 Collage 1 Labeled

**Update** The giveaway is now closed so no further entries will be accepted. The winner has been announced here.

Happy Blogiversary!

It was three years ago yesterday that I started writing La Kocinera and filling it up with recipes, anecdotes, and yummy food photography. The funny thing is, it feels like yesterday and a hundred years ago at the same time. Either way, these past three years with this blog and with you guys, my wonderful readers, have been a ton of fun and have really helped me grow in so many ways.

This year has been full of new things, but especially my brand new YouTube channel, which I hope to continue far into the future along with all my regular bloggy business. Just like when I first started this blog, I’ve got a long way to go before I really master the ins and outs of another creative medium, but I also think it will be a super fun challenge as I continue to hang out with you guys here on La Kocinera as well.

2013 Blogiversary Collage 2 Labelled

Now for the main event of this Blogiversary post—the annual Sur la Table gift card giveaway!* Like I’ve said many times before, I’m so grateful for each and every one of you, my readers, and for all of your comments, support, and encouragement that I like to take the time each year to offer a little gift to show my thanks. Like before, the prize is a $50 Sur la Table virtual gift card, delivered via e-mail, which can be used both online and in stores.

To Enter

(1) Leave a comment saying what you’d like to buy with a $50 Sur la Table gift card.

For Additional Entries

(2) Subscribe to La Kocinera via Google/Blogger and leave a separate comment saying you’ve done so
(3) Subscribe to my YouTube channel and leave a separate comment saying you’ve done so
(4) Follow La Kocinera on Facebook and leave a separate comment saying you’ve done so
(5) Follow me on Twitter and leave a separate comment saying you’ve done so
(6) Follow me on Pinterest and leave a separate comment saying you’ve done so
Each one of these extra comments will count as one (1) additional entry.

The giveaway will be open from today, Sunday, June 2nd to a week from today, Sunday June 9th at 11:59 p.m. Once the giveaway has ended, I’ll assign each entry a number and pick the winner using a random number generator. From there I’ll announce the winner on my blog as well as contact them via e-mail, so make sure that your e-mail address is available on whatever social network or blogging platform you use to comment so I can contact you if you win.

With that said, make sure to enter the giveaway and best of luck! Thanks again for being such wonderful readers!

*Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Sur la Table at all. This is a giveaway hosted solely by me, giving away a gift card purchased by me.

May 24, 2013

Bibimbap (비빔밥)

bibimbap with hangeul
This recipe definitely falls under my “favorites” category—along with soft baked cookies, funky cheeses, and anything coffee-flavored. Perhaps it’s because Bibimbap perfectly caters to my love of sampling a ton of delicious foods at once. Thanks to oodles of separately prepared, almost mini dishes, Bibimbap is extra full of flavor, plus it can be tailored however you like it.

Also, as you may know if you’ve seen any of my Monthly Language Reports on YouTube, I’m currently learning Korean and definitely one of my favorite things about Korea and Korean culture is the food. I think I’ve basically loved every Korean dish that I’ve tried, so it’s always fun to share another favorite here on La Kocinera.

May 10, 2013

Strawberry Peach Smoothie

strawberry peach smoothie 3
It’s really amazing what contentious issue a simple smoothie can be. Everybody has different ideas of what to put in them and when they taste just right. For some, it’s all leafy greens and powdery proteins. For others, it’s practically a milkshake. Any way you look at it, smoothies are a surprisingly individual creation. I especially discovered this simple truth while creating this recipe.

After toiling away in the kitchen for a whole five minutes to make this masterpiece, I headed into the living room to have my sister do a taste test. Personally, I already thought the smoothie tasted good. It had tons of fresh fruit flavor with an ever so slightly sour zing at the end, thanks to using Greek yogurt and orange juice. So, you can imagine my surprise when my sister totally didn’t like it! She thought it was too sour and there wasn’t enough peach flavor. After going back into the kitchen and adding a tablespoon or two more honey, she approved. Then I tasted it and thought it was awful.

Basically, I learned that it’s very hard to make a mutually agreeable smoothie. Not that it’s a big issue in the grand scheme of things, but it is an oddity. Hence, the recipe that I’m giving you today has two important characteristics…

(1) It makes one serving, so multiple people can tweak and tailor their version however they’d like.

(2) The ingredients are totally flexible. My sister actually thought it would be more refreshing with ice instead of yogurt, which I used to make it more of a filling breakfast smoothie. The amount of honey is also very negotiable.

So, without further ado, here’s a full step-by-step of my way to make a Strawberry Peach Smoothie.

First, frozen peaches.

frozen peaches

April 22, 2013

Puff Pastry Cinnamon Rolls (Video!)

cinnamon rolls 1
As I try to write this post and, more importantly, try to figure out how I went over a month without posting anything, I, along with you, find myself completely baffled. In my earlier days of blogging I never really understood how a blogger could just “end up” going a long stretch of time without posting. But of course when I began this blog I had just finished my first year of college and had a lot less responsibilities and grown-up concerns vying for my attention compared to now. Still, though, I can’t believe I’ve gone so long without so much as a peep. So, in order to sort out both your and my confusion, I present you with a pie chart…

Final Pie Chart
It’s truly surprising that these events managed to keep me away from blogging for the past month. Although I guess working on these videos and the recipe they contain still counts as active blogging, but still. All I can say in my defense is that this recipe is super duper awesome, not only because of its actual combination of flavors, but also because I’ve successfully found a way to get cinnamon rolls into your eager hands quicker than ever before.

March 7, 2013

Sole en Papillote

sole en papillote 1
Sometimes the easiest foods are the most delicious, wouldn’t you agree? Most of the time, I mean. Obviously not if we’re talking about microwave mac n’ cheese. Such exceptions excluded, something has to be said for the sweet, sweet taste of gaining a bit of free time here and there.

This lovely dish of delicate sole baked with juicy grape tomatoes and earthy olives gives us just that. It’s special and fancy enough that it feels like a treat, but still so beautifully quick and easy that you can make it for dinner tonight. Especially if you go the classy route and bake it in nonstick aluminum foil rather than folded parchment paper origami packets. Because, as the saying goes, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

February 26, 2013

Trader Joe’s Haul and Another Video

Haul Pic 2
English: There are few things that I love more than food shopping, especially when it’s in a store like Trader Joe’s, full of nothing but brand new foods I’ve never tried before. I’m seriously like a kid in a candy store. Plus, since this lovely establishment has only been in Texas for about a year, I’m still exploring a lot and finding tons of new favorite products. From their seriously gorgeous produce (with so much variety!) to their array of tempting chocolate-y treats to their impressive inventory of natural, organic products, I’m in love and I finally understand the blogging world’s obsession.

Español: Hay pocas cosas en el mundo que me encantan más que la compra de comida, especialmente cuando tiene lugar en una tienda como Trader Joe’s, llena de nada más que comestibles totalmente nuevas que nunca antes he probado. En serio, soy como "a kid in a candy store," o una niña en una confitería. Además, como este lindo establecimiento solo ha estado en Tejas por más o menos un año, todavía estoy explorándolo mucho y encontrando un montón de productos favoritos. Desde sus productos agrícolas bellísimas (¡con tanta variedad!) hasta sus chocolates tentadores hasta sus muchos productos naturales y orgánicos, me he enamorado y por fin entiendo la obsesión del mundo bloguero con esta tienda.

January 30, 2013

Tortilla Soup and More Videos!

Tortilla Soup 1 Watermarked
That’s right, more videos! In case you had been wondering about my somewhat sparse posting during the month of January, here’s the reason why. Over the past couple of weeks I have been brainstorming, testing, filming, and editing a brand new food video featuring one of my all-time favorite foods—Tortilla Soup. In between the video business I also went back to school for the spring semester as well as took on some more hours at work, hence such a rather inordinate time away from my dear blog.

Explanations aside, I’m really excited to have made another food video as well as start little side project on YouTube as part of my efforts to learn Korean. It’s called “Monthly Language Report” and it basically involves filming a video of yourself each month in the language you’re learning in order to track your progress and see your improvement as time goes on. Besides being a fun hobby for the new year, I especially wanted to participate in this project because it's affiliated with Talk To Me In Korean, the fantastic website where I have been doing the majority of my Korean studies. They’ve got such a great website and have built a wonderful, interesting community around it.

Tortilla Soup 2 Watermarked
So, whether you’d like to learn how to make what I consider to be the best Tortilla Soup recipe ever (not that I’m bragging or anything…) or whether you’d like to see a Monthly Language Report in action, check out the videos and recipes below!

January 7, 2013

Seared Salmon with Israeli Couscous Salad

salmon couscous 2
I’ve seen a big change in my personality over the past few winters. As a teenager I really enjoyed the winter, relishing its cold, cloudy days as a respite from the regular humidity and glaring sunshine that seemed swelteringly eternal. I liked the moodiness of the weather and the excuse to pile on layers of sweaters. My house felt like a dark, cozy cave for reading books and watching movies.

But now I’ve completely changed my mind. I find the early evenings and rainy atmosphere gloomy and stagnant. I no longer revel in the chilly gusts of wind nor the confinement of huge blankets. I miss the ability to comfortably step outside without a jacket. Not to mention all the beautiful seasonal produce like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. I’m so sick of hearty root vegetables it’s not even funny. But most of all, I miss the sun. Yes, I who used to have a borderline vampiric love of the dark am now obsessed with sunshine. I’m totally ready for the sun to set at 8pm again. This 4:30pm business is just poopy.

So, it’s from this total 180 of character that this recipe was born. Nothing says “I’m ready for spring and I’m ready for it now” like a colorful couscous salad and light, yummy salmon. Like a spring day, this dish is unpretentious, lovely, and natural. All you need to do is make a quick batch of Israeli couscous (amazingly delicious and delightfully chewy) and throw in a bunch of refreshing produce.

I say “produce” because I’m still not sure if tomatoes, avocadoes, and cucumbers are fruits or vegetables.

Personally, I consider all of them vegetables, despite Google’s attempts to tell me otherwise.
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