Today marks Madeline's first full week outside the womb, and most aspects of our life have irreversibly changed. Cooking and eating together has been the one constant in this topsy turvy new world since we arrived home from the hospital. A food focus persisted during labor as I panted out a list of food requests in between contractions. Paul, both remembered every request and has been cheerfully cooking up a storm this last week. Yesterdays' creation was a yeasty sugar rush of homemade cinnamon rolls, but the vast majority of my requests have been for roasted aromatic meats like this Slow Roasted Mayan Pork with Garlic Salsa. This dish is a Paul invention, which means making use of some extraordinary homemade condiments (Xac spice mix and charred garlic salsa), the end result is transcendent.Read More
We have a daughter! It’s a surreal thing to say. We are blissfully happy to share that after weeks of on-and-off contractions and gestation in three countries, our beautiful baby girl, Madeline, was born at 1 am yesterday in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, weighing in at a healthy 7 pounds. Madeline is a lively little newborn, and both she and Rebecca are doing well. It’s hard to put words to the feeling of being parents for just a few short hours; joy, relief, shock and happiness. We have been finding ourselves bursting into giddy (exhausted) laughter quite a bit since little Madeline arrived. We will be taking the next month off from work to get to know our new daughter, and look forward to introducing her to her family (even if virtually in many cases), with her first introduction to both sets of grandparents when they arrive in Haiti in just a few weeks!Read More
We are both great lovers of butter in all its forms. Since butter is a luxury product in Haiti running around $12 a pound, we feel like it deserves special treatment and the addition of roasted garlic and the warm, sweetly spiced, and earthy flavors Yucatán Spice Rub, Xac, takes things to a whole different level. In this flavorful butter, a base of roasted garlic is mixed with the pungent flavors of Mexican cinnamon, oregano, allspice, pepper, cloves, bay and cumin. Slather this on garlic bread, meat, fish, roasted vegetables...we haven't found a medium yet that doesn't benefit from this punchy butter.Read More
Learning a new language is humbling. Learning a new language as a couple, is doubly so. Yes, you have someone to practice with, a fellow sufferer through grammar books, and a buddy to help you get back on your feet after a verbal face plant. But for me, a plodding language perfectionist, it can be uniquely frustrating when Rebecca's prodigious memory seems to churn out vocabulary while I'm still focused on properly conjugating "the." [...]Read More
Sometimes in the dead of winter, cooking needs a little extra oomph. Yucatán Dry Spice Rub, Xak, fits the bill. With a few minutes of work, your kitchen will soon be filled with warm, sweetly spiced, and earthy flavors. This easy and versatile spice rub stores well and provides a unique flavor boost to pork, poultry, fish, soups, veggies, or even garlic butter. Stay tuned for great new recipes in the next two weeks featuring Yucatán Dry Spice Rub to get you started. This spice rub recipe was inspired by Daniel Hoyer's book of Mayan cuisine.Read More
Paul and I approach desserts very differently. Paul is the give-me-a-challenge-dessert-maker. His enjoyment of the dessert making process appears to be directly correlated with the hours of prep and level of complication. Full disclosure, this is a great food type to be married to, all I have to do is casually mention a complicated dessert, note that it sounds amazing and nonchalantly question both Paul's ability and willingness to reproduce it. Then I settle in for a long wait, a complicated confectionery process (often involving candy thermometers and scales), and a stunning end result.
Spicy Maple Hazelnut Brittle was inspired by the a jar of maple syrup and bag of hazelnuts I found during our house packing and was loath to discard. While the recipe involves some tricky chemistry and the use of a candy thermometer, the result is spectacular: a crunchy sweet and spicy maple brittle loaded with tons of perfectly toasted (almost smokey) hazelnuts. A perfect winter treat!Read More
We're back from a relaxing Christmas in Jacmel, a historic town famous for its artists on Haiti's southern coast. It was a chance to get away and unwind after what has been a fairly uncomfortable third trimester for me, with pretty non-stop nausea and vomiting (sadly, a reprise of my 1st trimester). Thankfully, our little baby is resilient and has been doing well through it all, and we are just a few weeks away from meeting him/her. Paul has been an incredible support through my many nauseous mornings, afternoons and evenings, but it turns out that I didn't have the market cornered on stomach issues. Paul ended up driving the winding mountain roads from Port-au-Prince to Jacmel in the midst of malaria fevers and chills, interspersed with rounds of vomiting. After four hours driving stick with steep hairpin turns, I've never seen Paul so happy to get out of a car. Our first taste of salty ocean breezes and fresh seafood seemed to have done us well. Once we were feeling better, we perused Jacmel's famous paper mache artists, took in the historic architecture, and went swimming in the ocean. Below are a few pictures from our trip to share the flavor of the place.Read More
Looking back, 2015 has been a pivotal year for us, we've changed jobs, careers, houses, countries, and in just a few weeks, our two will become three. Throughout all these transitions, food has played an important role, from eagerly trying our hand at Haitian recipes in anticipation of our move, to the sometimes bizarre pendulum swing of my pregnancy cravings, to meals shared with family and friends, celebrating holidays and saying goodbye. We have loved watching our readership grow, and receiving your many emails, recipe pictures, comments and support through these many life changes, thank you.
To start off the New Year, we wanted to share our readers' favorite recipes from 2015 (click directly on the images above or recipe titles below):
Thanks for following along with our new adventures! We recently moved from Pittsburgh to Haiti where we are starting a 5 year volunteer assignment with a non-profit relief and development organization. We will be in transition for the next few months as we complete our in-country orientation, language study, spend time living with host families in both the countryside and capital... and lest we forget, have our first baby somewhere in there as well! Please bear with us as we will not have ready access to internet or a kitchen throughout this time. We will continue to share new recipes that we've prepared in advance, and updates on our new life in Haiti as often as we are able.
This Rustic French Greens & Buttermilk Soup is a simple, green, and earthy foil to the button-busting days of Christmas feasting. This recipe is inspired by a watercress soup Paul came across when we were on a French cooking binge, and we find that it adapts well to any hardy green you have on hand. A surprising hit with guests, this soup has a lovely mellow and subtle sweetness that is truly delicious.Read More
We are back in the capital, Port-au-Prince. We recently returned from a homestay with a family in the small farming community of Kristan, a 45 minute hike into the mountains from the town of Desarmes where MCC (the organization we are working with) has long-standing agroforestry projects. After busy days filled with Creole lessons and project visits, our host family would indulge our curiosity with many patient explanations, hikes to garden plots, and hands-on cooking lessons. There are some things you can learn by reading, but for others, there is no substitute for the sensory experience: crouching in cramped charcoal-smoke-filled kitchens; hearing the sound of a hoe's blade spark against rocks filling the small garden plots on which many subsist; feeling the welcome rush of a cold bucket bath after a hot walk up steep mountain paths; coming to terms with the humbling reality of clumsy tongues forming words in a new language. Below are a few pictures from our time to share the flavor of the place. We will be thinking of our family and friends far away this Christmas as we celebrate here in Haiti, Merry Christmas!Read More