Belarus 🇧🇾 Oreshki (Caramel walnut cookies)

My awesome friend, Katrin told me these cookies remind her of her childhood in Belarus. And then she lent me the special pan needed to make them! I’m a sucker for kitchen gadgets so I had to make these immediately. And look how cute!

They’re shaped like walnuts! And they’re filled with a dulce de Leche cream and of course, chopped walnuts. You’ll need this special skillet called an Oreshnitsa for these cookies, it looks like this:

Fun, right? Now grab a helper and let’s get to it!

*Naptime Tip: You can store the cookie shells in a zip top bag for up to 2 days before filling. And the extra cookie bits are awesome on ice cream!

Oreshki (Caramel walnut cookies)

Recipe from Olga’s Flavor Factory

Makes about 60 small cookies

For the dough-

1 large egg

3/4 cups granulated sugar

1 stick (8 Tbs.) butter, melted and slightly cooled

1 and 3/4 Tbs. mayonnaise

1/4 cup sour cream

1/2 tsp. baking soda dissolved in 1/2 tsp. vinegar

2 cups all-purpose flour

For the filling-

1 can dulce de leche (cooked sweetened condensed milk)

1 stick (8 Tbs.) butter room temp.

2 oz. cream cheese, room temp.

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup toasted and chopped walnuts


In a large bowl with a mixer, beat the egg and sugar together until pale yellow and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the melted butter, mayonnaise and sour cream until evenly mixed. Add the baking soda dissolved in vinegar and mix again.

Add the flour and mix, starting on low speed and gradually increasing the speed to medium, until all the flour is incorporated.

Shape the dough into little balls, slightly larger than marbles. Shape all of the dough, place on a sheet tray and cover.

Heat your Oreshnitsa on the stovetop over medium heat. Place a plate, a cutting board, 2 paring knives, and a bowl or basket nearby.

Once the Oreshnitsa is hot, quickly drop a cookie ball into each of the wells and close the lid. Squeeze the handles together and hold them tight the whole time the cookies cook, 1-3 minutes per side.

*WARNING!* If you over-fill the pan and the dough leaks out, it can start a fire on your stove! If dough starts to spill out, hold the pan over the plate and use a paring knife to trim it away before returning to the heat. Here’s the size of dough balls you’re going for:

If you peek in the pan and see that the cookie shells are lightly brown on both sides, they’re done! Grab your partner!

Open the pan and hold it over the cutting board and pop the shells out of the pan using a paring knife.

Now you (or your buddy) need to trim away the extra cookie bits until you have tidy little half shells. Put the shells in your bowl or basket and save the scrap bits for ice cream.

Return your Oreshnitsa to the stove to reheat before adding more dough marbles for subsequent batches.

We found it easiest and quickest to have one person cooking the shells and another helping to scrape them off the pan then trimming them.

Once all the shells are cooked and trimmed, make the filling.

Using a hand mixer in a medium bowl, combine the dulce de leche, butter, cream cheese and vanilla extract until smooth. Stir in the chopped, toasted walnuts.

Fill the inside of each half-shell with the dulce de leches cream. I recommend filling them not quite to the top so it doesn’t ooze out when you sandwich them. You want these really neat. Now pair up the halves (I tried to match baking colors) and squeeze them gently together to make a whole walnut!

Repeat until all of the cookies are assembled. You should have a total of 55-60 Oreshki. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. You can serve them immediately, but they will stay fresh for about 2 days.


France 🇫🇷 Alsatian Onion Tart

It’s Pi Day! And everyone knows that a pie is a tart and a tart is a pie, especially to the French. And this Alsatian onion tart is a pie to write home about.

Tarte à l’oignon, as it’s known, is from the Alsace region of France. It’s a buttery crust loaded with savory onions, topped with crispy bacon and just enough of a custard filling to hold it all together. It’s glorious! It makes a spectacular meal anytime of day, but we especially love it for a weekend brunch.

*Naptime Tip: If you need to divide up the process, the dough, bacon and onions can be made the day before. In fact, if you can line your tart shell with the dough the day before, you’ll minimize crust shrinkage.

Alsatian Onion Tart

Recipe adapted from The Art of French Pastry by Jacquy Pfeiffer


For the Pâte Brisée (crust)-

7 g salt

92 g cold water

222 g butter, room temp.

370 g All-purpose flour

For the filling-

150 g bacon, cut into 1/4″ lardons

450 g (1 lb.) yellow onions, cut into 1/2″ dice

50 g butter

50 g white grape juice


Black pepper

Freshly ground nutmeg

60 g whole eggs (1-2)

1 egg, divided

90 g heavy cream

90 g whole milk

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper


For the pâte brisée- In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, mix the salt with the water until the salt has dissolved.

Place softened butter and the flour in a large bowl and beat on low until well combined. Add the salt water and mix again until a dough comes together. Divide into two, shape into slightly flattened rounds and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to overnight. (You will only need one of the rounds for this recipe, save the other for another use. I know, I know, it’s a fussy French pastry thing.)

Once the dough has rested, remove one round from the fridge and allow it warm on the counter about 15 minutes. Roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it will fit a 9″ pie tin or tart case. Transfer the dough into the tin and lift gently to press it into the corners. Trim excess dough, dock the bottom every inch with a fork then place the tin in the freezer for at least 20 minutes or in the fridge, uncovered for up to two hours.

For the filling- While the dough is chilling in the tin, heat a wide, shallow sauté pan over medium heat for two minutes until hot. Add the bacon to the hot pan and sauté for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally until the lardons are almost done—slightly crispy, but still pretty chewy. (They’ll cook more in the oven.)Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, keeping the bacon grease in the pan. Set the bacon aside.

Add the onions and butter to the hot pan then turn the heat to medium low. Gently cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they’re translucent and shiny, about 20 minutes.Add the white grape juice and cook for another five minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Take the pan off the heat and set it aside to cool completely.

For the tart- Place a rack one row up from bottom of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.

Remove chilled pie crust from the fridge or freezer. Line the inside with parchment or foil then fill with pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes on lower rack, then remove weights and bake another 5-8 minutes until fully baked.

While the crust is baking, make the filling. In a large bowl, put in the 60 grams of eggs plus the yolk from the separated egg. (Put the white in a small bowl and set aside.) Add the heavy cream, milk and the cooled onion mixture to the large bowl and stir to combine. Season with more salt and pepper.

Once crust is baked, brush the bottom with the reserved egg white and return to the oven for 3-5 minutes. This seals the docked holes and insures a crisp crust.

Remove baked and sealed crust and pour in onion custard mixture. Sprinkle the top with bacon and place the tart on a sheet tray to catch any leaks.

Turn the oven down to 350°F and bake the tart for 30 minutes. If the bacon has not crisped enough after baking, broil the tart for 1-2 minutes to brown.

Cool 30 minutes before serving.

Ethiopia 🇪🇹 Doro Wat

I first tried Ethiopian food at an awesome restaurant in San Jose, California. It was reminiscent of Indian food with the flatbread and the stews/curries but the flavors and textures were new and exciting to me! By far my favorite stew was the Doro Wat. It’s a richly flavored, onion-based chicken stew with the traditional Berbere spice mix. It sometimes includes whole, hard-boiled eggs and is traditionally slow-cooked over three days!

My version is a bit quicker than that, but still just as flavorful. Ethiopian food is regularly served with injera which is like a spongy sourdough crepe made with teff flour. Making it at home has proven quite difficult, so I recommend buying it if you can.

Top your injera with a pile of rich Doro Wat and some other colorful stews and salads like roasted beets, yellow lentils, cabbage and green salad to create your own Ethiopian feast!

*Naptime tip: You can make the spice mix days in advance and just store it in an airtight container until ready to use. Start your stew in the afternoon (it simmers 2 1/2 to 3 hours) then it’ll be ready by dinnertime. Also, Doro Wat freezes great!

The Doro Wat is that luscious mound center stage. So good!

Doro Wat

Recipe adapted from Daring Gourmet

For the Berbere spice mix-

2 tsp. coriander seeds

1 tsp. cumin seeds

1/2 tsp. fenugreek seeds

1 tsp. black peppercorns

2 whole allspice berries

4 green cardamom pods

4 cloves

1-3 tsp. crushed red pepper

3 Tbs. sweet paprika

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ginger (dry if you plan to store it, freshly grated if you’re using it right away)

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. turmeric

For the Doro Wat-

3 lbs. bone-in, skinless chicken thighs

2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

5 Tbs. butter, divided

2 Tbs. Extra virgin olive oil

3 cups yellow onions, pulsed to a chunky puree in a food processor

1 Tbs. minced garlic

1 Tbs. minced ginger

1/4 cup berbere

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tbs. white wine vinegar

1 tsp. honey

1 1/2 cup chicken stock

Optional- 4 hard-boiled eggs, pierced all over with fork about ¼ inch deep


For the Berbere-

Toast all of the whole spices (coriander, cumin, fenugreek, black peppercorns, allspice and cloves) in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant. Pour into a spice grinder and allow them to cool for 5 minutes.

Cover and blitz into a powder.

Pour the powder into a bowl and add the remaining spices. Stir to combine. Keep in an airtight container until ready to use.

For the Doro Wat-

Place the chicken pieces in a bowl and pour lemon juice over. Let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Heat 3 Tbs. of butter along with the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the onions and saute, covered, over medium low heat for 45-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Liquid will evaporate and onions will start to caramelize.

Add the garlic, ginger, 1/4 cup berbere and the remaining 2 Tbs. of butter and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.

5 Add the chicken, broth, salt, honey and vinegar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Adjust the seasonings, adding more berbere according to heat preference. Add the boiled eggs, if using and simmer on low heat, covered, for another 10 minutes.

Remove the chicken bones and pull the meat into pieces. Quarter the eggs and arrange on the plates with the stew. Serve hot with injera or rice.

Belgium 🇧🇪 Liege Waffles & Frites w/sauce Andalouse

There’s an awesome shop called Bruges Waffles & Frites in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah that sells, what else?! Traditional Belgian waffles and fries. But these aren’t the fluffy, breakfasty waffles my dad made us growing up. These are decadent, Liege waffles with crispy, caramelized pearl sugar, topped with sweetened whipped crème fraiche and berries. Oh, sweet goodness…these are delicious!

Then of course, to honor Belgium, you have to have a cone of frites. Belgians like their fries with mayo and Bruges serves many flavors like curry mayo, classic garlicky aioli and the one I made, sauce andalouse.

It’s reminiscent of Utahn fry sauce with a little more class.

Serve these 2 Belgian delights with a lot of vegetables and a walk afterwards. They’re rich, but so worth it!

*Naptime tip: Start the waffle dough around dinnertime the night before. It has to rise for 3-4 hours before chilling overnight. You can also make the dipping sauce the day before.

Liege Waffles

Recipe complied from Ashlee Marie and Chef In Training. Makes 14 waffles


1 Tbs. active dry yeast

1 tsp granulated sugar

3/4 C whole milk warmed, 110-115 degrees

2 large eggs room temp, lightly beaten

1 1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbs. honey

1 1/2 Tbs. vanilla

1/2 tsp. salt

3 Tbs. brown sugar

1 cup butter, softened

4 cups bread flour

1½ cups Belgian pearl sugar (1 pkg. Lars)


In a large bowl, combine yeast, granulated sugar and milk. Stir to combine and let yeast sit and activate for 10 minutes.

Add in the eggs, honey, vanilla, salt and brown sugar. Stir.

Beat in the butter. It may look curdled at this point, that’s fine.

Add in the flour last and beat until a dough is formed. It’ll be soft and between bread and cookie dough in texture.

Scoop the dough out and form it into a ball. Grease your bowl, then pop the dough back in. Cover it tightly with plastic and let it rise about 3 hours or until doubled in size.

Once risen, punch the dough down and place it back in the bowl. Cover it again and place it in the fridge overnight.

The next day, scrape the cold, firm dough onto a slightly floured surface. Flatten the dough, sprinkle on some pearl sugar then fold it over, flatten and sprinkle again. Knead in ALL the Belgian sugar.

Next, roll the dough into a log and cut it into 14 even pieces. Roll into rough balls.

Place the balls on a greased sheet tray, cover, and let it warm up and soften 60-90 minutes.

Heat your waffle iron and grease thoroughly with cooking spray. Place dough in the back then press down, but do not clamp the iron shut. You want the waffles rounded and thick. Cook 3-4 minutes until browned and cooked through.

Use a utensil to remove the hot waffles, not your fingers, they’re coated in boiling sugar!

Give each waffle a few minutes to cool slightly before eating. Serve with a big dollop of sweetened crème fraiche or whipped cream and some fresh berries. *Also delicious with Nutella, Speculoos cookie butter and/or ice cream.

Sauce Andalouse

Recipe slightly adapted from All Recipes


1 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 tablespoons minced red onion

1 tablespoon minced green bell pepper

1 tablespoon minced red bell pepper

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce


Stir mayonnaise, tomato paste, red onion, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, lemon juice, and salt together in a bowl. Optional: Blitz with a stick blender for a totally smooth sauce. Cover the sauce with plastic wrap and refrigerate 8 hours to overnight.

Serve with freshly made frites (potato and/or sweet potato) like these. Enjoy!


Mexico 🇲🇽 Pork Tamales

The first time I made tamales was right after Christmas with my mother-in-law. When I told my sister our plan to make homemade tamales, she promptly invited herself over. But! She brought her own filling, so it was ok.

We ended up with some tamales filled with green chili pork, some with sweet Barbacoa chicken and a few with just cheese. They were all awesome! And I decided I would never again be upset if I had leftover taco meat or enchilada filling, because now I know what to do with it! Freeze it to make a variety of delicious tamales!

*Here’s one filling recipe I put together, but feel free to skip ahead if you already have a tamale filling you like.

*Naptime tip: The sauce can come together quickly during an afternoon nap, then the pork marinates and cooks overnight. Refrigerate both until ready to use.

I got the recipe for the dough from Plains Joy, the pulled pork comes from Kevin & Amanda and the sauce for the filling is America’s Test Kitchen recipe for enchilada sauce via Mom Advice

Pork Tamales

Makes 36


For the pork shoulder:

1 7-8 lbs. bone in pork shoulder (pork butt)

Dry rub-

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp ground pepper

1 tbsp paprika

1/2 cup brown sugar

Brine solution-

1/2 cup salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 qts cold water

3 tbsp dry rub mix

2 bay leaves

For the sauce-

1 Tbs. vegetable oil

1 onion, minced

½ tsp. salt

3 Tbs. chili powder

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. sugar

2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce

½ cup water

Pepper to taste

For the tamale dough and assembly-

3⁄4 cup solidified bacon grease

3⁄4 cup vegetable shortening (or use 1 1/2 cups lard and omit bacon grease)

6 cups masa harina (tamal)

1 1⁄2 tablespoons baking powder

4 cups warm chicken broth

1⁄2 cup warm water

Corn husks (36 for wrapping plus a few more to shred into ties), soak in hot water for about 30 minutes or until soft


For the pork shoulder-

Two nights before you want to eat tamales, start on the pork shoulder. First, mix together all of the ingredients for the dry rub. Set aside in an airtight container.

Now, in a large pitcher, whisk together the brine solution. Put the pork shoulder into a 2 gallon-sized plastic bag or a large plastic container and pour in the brine. Make sure the pork is submerged. Cover container or seal bag and refrigerate 24 hours.

The next night, heat your oven to 225°F. Dump the brine and put the pork shoulder, fat cap up, into a foil lined baking dish or foil roasting pan. Pat it dry with paper towels then rub all the sides thoroughly with the dry rub.

Insert a remote thermometer into the thickest part, not touching the bone. Set the alarm to ring once the meat registers 200°F. Bake uncovered in the low oven, overnight (mine took 7 hours.) When the alarm goes off, turn off the oven, but leave the pork in the oven to rest for 2 hours. (FYI: I put my roast in at 10pm, turned off the oven at 5am, then removed the pork at 7am)

Now you’re ready to shred! (And snack…)

Discard the fat cap then shred the rest of the roast using two forks. Use as much as you like for tamales, freeze the rest for another use.

For the sauce-

Heat the oil in a 12″ skillet over medium heat until shimmering.

Add the onion and salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the chili powder, garlic, cumin, and sugar. Cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds.

Stir in the tomato sauce and water. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Season with salt & pepper to taste. Stir together with as much shredded pork as you like then chill until ready to assemble tamales.

For the dough-

In a large bowl, combine bacon grease and shortening or lard and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes, or until evenly mixed and somewhat lightened. Scrape down the bowl and add the masa and baking powder. Mix on low speed to start then increase to medium until mixture resembles coarse sand.

With mixer running, slowly pour in warm broth and water, scraping down bowl as needed, until evenly mixed. Cover bowl with a moist towel.

For assembly-

Working with a partner, have one person spread 1/4 cup of dough on each corn husk. Pat it out into a 4×6″ rectangle about 1/4″ thick. The other person can top the dough with about 3 Tbs. of filling.

Fold the long side of the husk over, joining the two dough sides until meat is endlosed entirely. Fold narrow end up and roll, leaving top open. Secure either with a thin strip of husk tied around the packet or wrap the whole thing in aluminum foil. Set aside and cover with a moist towel until ready to steam.

To steam-

Arrange tamales in steamer basket set over a pot of water. Stand tamales on end with the open end up. If you wrapped your tamales in foil, you can stand them up or lay them down. Cover, bring the water to a boil, then steam for 25 minutes in batches or about 45 minutes to 1 hour if you have a pot to fit them all.

Remove husks (and foil) to eat and serve topped with salsa and sour cream. Freeze leftovers still in husks. You did it!

Samoa 🇼🇸 Palusami with Sapasui and Panipopo

I went to a real-deal luau while living in California. We were welcoming a Samoan branch into our church building, so naturally that meant digging a pit in the church’s backyard to roast a pig. One of the Samoan members even did fire dancing!

And the food was awesome. A massive cooler full of real fruit punch, delicious roasted pork, and endless sides. One of those sides was a foil packet of taro leaves steamed in coconut milk. At the time, I didn’t know exactly what it was but it was amazing! And thanks to this global food journey, I’ve finally discovered those foil packets were palusami! They’re fun to make and just as delicious as I remember.

I served the palusami with a vibrantly colored Sapasui (island-style chop suey that’s a super common Samoan dish), and Panipopo (coconut rolls) for dessert. Yum! Try them all, I know you’ll love them!

Sapasui (Samoan noodles)

Recipe adapted from I Love Coconut Cream

Serves 8


For the Sapasui-

250 grams Asian vermicelli noodles (aka bean thread, cellophane noodles)

Hot water

2 cloves garlic, grated or minced

1 tsp. of grated ginger

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup soy sauce

2 scallions, chopped, divided

6 tablespoons of oil, divided

1/2 onion finely chopped

500 grams ground pork or beef or sliced steak

1 cup shredded purple cabbage

2 carrots sliced into match-sticks

1/2 cup frozen peas

Cilantro, chopped to garnish


Place dry noodles in a large bowl and cover with hot tap water. Soak 5-10 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, ginger, 1/2 cup water, soy sauce, and 1/2 of the chopped scallions (reserve the other half for a garnish.)

Meanwhile, add 2 Tbs. of oil to a large skillet on medium high heat and stir fry the onions until softened and slightly browned, 3-5 minutes.

Add the meat and stir fry until brown. Add half of the soy sauce mixture to the meat and simmer 2-3 minutes until slightly reduced. Scrape into serving bowl.

Add 2 more Tbs. oil to the skillet and stir fry the carrots and cabbage until slightly softened. Add the peas and cook until warmed. Add to serving bowl.

Drain the noodles then use kitchen shears to cut them into about 6″ pieces.

Add the last 2 Tbs. of oil to the skillet. Toss in the noodles. Pour in the remaining soy sauce mixture. Cook about 3 minutes, stirring to evenly coat noodles. Then transfer to the serving bowl. Toss all of the ingredients together. Taste and add more soy sauce if needed.

Garnish with cilantro and remaining scallions. Serve.

Palusami (Coconut greens)


8 packed cups of fresh spinach (or taro leaves, if you can find them)

1 bunch collard greens (omit if using taro)

2 cups diced onion

1 can of coconut milk

2 1/2 tsp. Salt


Tear off 8 sheets of aluminum foil, at least 8″ long.

Set a pot of water on the stove with a steamer basket on top.

Cut the ribs out of all the collard greens, keeping the leaves as intact as possible.

Stir the salt into the coconut milk.

Pick up one sheet of foil and place one collard green on top. Bend the foil and the collard in your hand to make a bowl shape. Stuff in 1/2 cup of spinach. Add about 1/4 cup of diced onions on top of the spinach then spoon in 2-3 Tbs. of the coconut milk. Add another 1/2 cup of spinach on top. Carefully gather up the collard green and foil to make a parcel, keeping everything inside. Pinch the foil as needed to seal.

Repeat with remaining ingredients until you have 8 parcels.

Place your foil bundles in the steamer basket, cover, and turn your heat on high. Steam 20-30 minutes until completely tender. Serve in the foil, allowing each person to unwrap their own packet.

Panipopo (Sweet coconut rolls)

Recipe slightly adapted from Samoa Food Makes 12 rolls


For the dough-

2 and ¼ tsp. active dry yeast

1 cup warm water

¼ cup sugar

½ tsp. salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 1/2- 3 1/4 cups bread flour

For the sauce-

1 1/2 cans coconut milk

1 cup sugar


Put the yeast and water in a large bowl and leave for 10 minutes.

Add the sugar, salt, egg and oil and whisk to combine. Add 2 1/2 cups of flour and stir to form a soft, shaggy dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured counter. Knead the dough for 15-20 minutes, adding in the other 1/2- 3/4 cups of flour as needed until the dough is smooth and elastic. It should still be soft but not sticky.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and leave to double in volume, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Punch the dough down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out into a 12×24″ rectangle. Roll it up jelly-roll-style from the short end to the other short end. Use dental floss to neatly slice the log into 12, 1 inch rounds. Place in a greased baking tin. Cover and leave to rise until almost doubled.

Meanwhile, heat your oven to 350°F, and whisk together the coconut milk and sugar for the sauce.

When the buns have doubled in size, pour the sauce evenly over all of them. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and the sauce is bubbling up around the edges.

Cool 30 minutes then cut the rolls apart. Serve them upside down or right side up with plenty of sauce scooped up from the bottom.

Paraguay 🇵🇾 Carrot soup and Cornbread (Sopa Paraguaya)

This is a simple, beautifully colored soup with some hearty, flavorful cornbread. All gluten-free if that matters to you, but also totally delicious, which definitely matters. Serve these with a zesty salad and you’ve got a delicious meal.

Paraguayan Carrot Soup

Serves 4-5

Recipe slightly adapted from Genius Kitchen


1⁄2 cup (1 stick) butter

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces

1 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Sugar

3-4 cups hot water

4 ounces cheddar cheese, grated

Black pepper to taste


In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent.

Add salt, sugar and 3 cups hot water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and insert an immersion blender and process carefully until smooth. Alternatively, use a slotted spoon to lift all the veg into a blender. Ladle in some of the liquid then blend until smooth. Return the purée to the saucepan, still off heat.

Stir in the grated cheese until melted and combined. Add more hot water if needed to reach desired consistency. Taste for salt, season with more as needed. Finish with black pepper and serve.

Sopa Paraguaya (onion and cheese cornbread)

Recipe from Leelalicious Makes one 8×8″ pan, 9 large pieces


1 large onion, thinly sliced

¼ cup butter

1 cup (100 g) grated cheese, any mild variety (Monterey jack, cheddar, Muenster)

1 cup (230 g) cottage cheese

1 cup (250 ml) milk

5 eggs

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

2 cups (320 g) corn meal


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Line an 8×8″ pan with a foil sling then spray with cooking spray.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring regularly, until softened and slightly browned, about 5 minutes. Then set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the grated cheese, cottage cheese, milk and eggs.

Add the salt, baking powder and cornmeal. Stir in the onions and mix to combine.

Transfer the batter to the lined baking dish. Bake for 45-60 minutes until top is golden-brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before cutting into squares.

Italy 🇮🇹 Milk Braised Pork Shoulder

We LOVE Italian food around here! We’ve even had the great fortune to visit Italy several times, and enjoy it firsthand. And while we (and everybody else) loves real-deal pizza and pasta, this recipe is something totally different. But don’t fret, it still uses simple, quality ingredients to achieve delicious results, which is really the Italian way.

Cooking meat in milk sounds strange. But, when you heat it for a long time, the milk solids brown and turn into a rich, creamy, toasted gravy that you’ll dream about. Trust me.

*Naptime tip: Make this dish on a rainy, laundry day. That way you can stir occasionally through the moderately long cooking time and you’ll get a delicious Italian hug at the end.

Milk-braised Pork Shoulder

Recipe compiled from America’s Test Kitchen and Genius Kitchen


4 strips thick cut bacon, chopped

3 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

1 small bunch fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried

3 bay leaves

1 onion, peeled and quartered (top to bottom, so it holds together)

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut in 3 pieces

1 rib of celery, cut into 3 pieces

2 cloves garlic, lightly smashed

1/4 tsp. Freshly grated nutmeg

Salt and pepper

2 Tbs. vegetable oil

3-4 lbs. boneless pork shoulder

1/4 cup chicken stock


Heat a medium to large Dutch oven over medium low heat. Add the bacon and cook slowly until fully rendered and browned. Remove bacon. (You just need the fat, you can snack on the bacon.)

Turn the heat up to medium high.

Whisk in the milk and cream into Dutch oven. Add the thyme, bay leaves, onion, carrots, celery, garlic and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Simmer 60-90 minutes, stirring frequently, until sauce is peanut-colored and thick like heavy cream.

When the sauce is almost ready, preheat oven to 300°F.

Heat the veg oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

Pat the pork shoulder dry then season all over with salt and pepper. Sear on all sides in the skillet until well browned.

Once gravy is thickened, remove thyme, garlic and vegetables and discard.

Place the pork shoulder in the milk gravy. Deglaze the skillet with the chicken stock. Whisk to loosen the browned bits. Pour the liquid into the Dutch oven. Stir to combine.

Insert a remote thermometer into the thickest part of the roast. Braise the meat, covered in the oven until the center reaches 200°F, 2-3 hours.

Take the meat out and place on a carving board and tent with foil.

If the sauce looks curdled, blitz it with a stick blender until smooth.

Pour over roast, serving extra sauce on the side with mashed potatoes or polenta.

Haiti 🇭🇹 Griot and Pikliz

A friend of mine sent this recipe via a Facebook video. But don’t worry, I checked it out and it really is a traditional Haitian meal, and a tasty one at that!

It’s called Griot and Pikliz. Griot is the pork, and it’s crispy and savory. But the Pikliz is this bright, spicy slaw that, in my opinion, steals the show. Seriously, my new favorite slaw. Round it all out with some rice and beans, and fried plantains if you’ve got ’em…and you’ve got the whole Haitian package.

*Naptime tip: Technically this is a bedtime tip. Both the meat and the slaw have to marinate overnight so start chopping after the kids are in bed to give the flavors time to harmonize.

Griot and Pikliz

Recipe from Tasty for 6 servings


for the Griot (pork) –

3 lb pork shoulder, cut into large cubes

salt and pepper

1 onion, roughly chopped

2 shallots, chopped

5 scallions, chopped

1 bell pepper, sliced

10 cloves garlic (4 whole, 6 sliced)

1 tsp. Chicken base or bullion

4 cloves garlic

2 oranges, juiced

2 limes, juiced

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

10 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme

½ bunch fresh parsley

1 scotch bonnet or habanero pepper, sliced

2 cups water

4 cups oil, for frying

For the Pikliz-

2 cups cabbage, shredded

1 cup carrot, grated

1 bell pepper, sliced

1 onion, sliced

3 scallions, dliced

1 shallot, sliced

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

2 scotch bonnet or habanero peppers, finely diced

2 cups white wine vinegar


For the griot- Put the cubed pork shoulder into a large Dutch oven, off heat. Season with salt and pepper. Toss in the onion, shallots, scallions, bell pepper, whole and sliced garlic and the chicken base/bullion. Squeeze in the orange and lime juice. Add the white wine vinegar, thyme, parsley, and sliced Scotch bonnet peppers. Give everything a good stir, then cover and refrigerate overnight.

For the Pikliz- In a medium bowl, combine the cabbage, carrot, bell pepper, onion, scallions, shallot, and 2 Scotch bonnet or habanero peppers in a large bowl. Season with lots of salt and some freshly cracked black pepper. Stir thouroughly.

Pack the pikliz down into a quart-sized jar then pour in the vinegar. Put on the lid and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

1 1/2 to 2 hours before dinner time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

Remove the Dutch oven with the marinated pork from the fridge and put it on the stove. Add the 2 cups of water, and bring to a boil. Transfer the pork to the the oven to braise for 1½ hours or until cooked through and tender.

Pick out all the pieces of pork and place on a paper towel-lined tray lined with paper towel to dry. Discard the marinade. Pat down the surface of the pork to make sure there is no moisture.

Heat a pot of oil to 350°F.

Add the pork in batches and fry until deep golden brown color, about 5-7 minutes.

Transfer the pork to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Serve with rice, beans, fried plantains, and the pikliz.

Germany 🇩🇪 Roulladen

I love recipes from grandmas. They’re like hugs! And this is an old-school recipe from a real German grandma given to me by a real German friend. And on top of its authenticity, it’s delicious too!

Roulladen, as its name implies is a rolled piece of roast, filled with bacon, onions and a shmear of mustard…covered in gravy. It’s rich and savory just like a German Sunday supper should be.

We served ours with sweet and tangy red cabbage and heaps of mashed potatoes.

*Naptime tips: You can roll the meat earlier in the day, refrigerating it, covered, until you’re ready to sear and braise.


Recipe courtesy of Allyson Davidson and Omi. Serves 5-6 (plan on 2 rolls/person)


7-10 slices of bacon, sliced into 1/4″ pieces

1 medium round roast, beef sirloin or London broil, sliced into 1/4″ thick slices and tenderized (ask the butcher to do this for you)

3/4 cup Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper

1 small onion, finely sliced or chopped

1-2 Tbs. butter

3 cups hot water

3 bay leaves

1 Tbs. beef base or bullion

1-2 Tbs. flour

Lemon juice to taste

Equipment: Toothpicks or kitchen twine


Sauté the bacon in a large skillet, (oven-proof if possible) over medium heat until rendered and just crisp. Drain on paper towels. Pour the grease into a small heat-proof dish and reserve. Wipe out pan and set aside.

Lay a slice of meat flat on your board. Spread about 1 Tbs. of high-quality French mustard across the whole surface. Season lightly with salt and liberally with pepper. Sprinkle about 1 Tbs. of cooked bacon in a line near one end of the meat. Add about 1 Tbs. of sliced or chopped onion to the line.Roll the meat up tightly from one end to the other and fasten the roll together with a toothpick or kitchen twine.

Set on a plate then continue the filling and rolling process with the remaining slices of roast.

Turn oven to 350°F.

Heat 1 Tbs. of bacon grease and the butter in your large skillet over medium high heat. Sear all sides of the rolls, working in batches as necessary until all are browned. Add more butter and bacon grease if needed between batches.

If using an oven-safe skillet, leave seared rolls in the pan, then deglaze with hot water. If not, transfer rolls to a 9×13″ metal pan before deglazing the skillet. Add the bay leaves, beef base, and any leftover chopped onion. Still over medium high heat, whisk to loosen up browned bits. Once boiling, carefully pour liquid into 9×13″ pan (or leave in oven-proof skillet). Cover and place in the oven.

Braise meat in the oven for 30-60 minutes until tender.

Remove the pan from the oven and place Roulladen in your serving dish. Pour the braising liquid into a glass measuring cup or fat separator.

Pour 3 Tbs. of the fat into the now empty skillet set over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook 1-2 minutes. Whisk in remaining braising liquid and simmer until thickened into gravy. Taste and season with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon. Pour over Roulladen and serve.