two skinny jenkins

130307 – Cilantro Pesto Pasta
130308, 1:05 pm
Filed under: DINNER | Tags: , , , , ,


I LOVE all the cheap, fresh herbs available here!  You can get huge bunches of just about everything for a little over a dollar.  Amazing.  It’s going to be hard to go home to my pantry full of dried herbs and spices after this.

As per usual, I’ve combined a bunch of recipes into one here.  One of the nicest things about this recipe is that it doesn’t have any cheese (and you really don’t miss it).  All the white pieces in the photo are toasted bits of blanched almonds.

[Serves 4]

  • 2 C cilantro, packed
  • 1/4 C blanched almonds*
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 C evoo
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 1/4 t red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  1. To blanch the almonds, place them in a small saucepan.  Bring a cup of water to a boil and pout it over the almonds.  Let them sit for a minute, then drain and rinse with cold water.  Wipe the skin off the almonds.
  2. * Optional: chop the blanched almonds in the food processor, then toast over medium heat in a skillet.  This enhances the flavor and makes them prettier.
  3. Mix up the pesto: Blend the almonds and garlic in a food processor until they’re nicely chopped up/ pulverized.
  4. Add cilantro and pulse until chopped down.  Then process remaining ingredients and season to taste.  You may need to add extra olive oil or lime juice.

130306 – Easy Corn and Tomato Soup
130307, 11:34 am
Filed under: DINNER, LUNCH, SIDE | Tags: , , , , ,

corn-tomato-soupI have finally used up our roasted chicken from the other night.  I was shocked at how much meat was there was.  I shredded it and slow baked it to make a nice, crispy, lightly salted garnish for our soup.  This soup is a combination of several recipes I perused online.  If I make it again, I’ll definitely blend it more.  The only food processor i have here in Guate is this tiny thing that barely chops stuff up enough for pesto.  Otherwise, I think the flavors were really good, especially with the garnish.

[Serves 4-6]


  • 4 corn cobs
  • 6-7 medium sized tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 jalapeno, halved and seeded
  • 3 T evoo


  • 3 T coarse chopped cilantro
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 1/2 C roasted chicken


  1. Husk the corn, chop off all the kernels and set them aside.  Place the cobs in a large pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil then remove from heat and let the cobs steep for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400F.  Arrange tomatoes and garlic so they’re spaced evenly apart on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to wrinkle.
  3. Once the corn stock is finished, strain it into a medium sized pot (or large if you have another large one).  Add tomatoes, onion, halved jalapeno, garlic and the extra evoo from cooking.  Simmer for 15 minutes, until vegetables are tender.  Then add reserved corn kernels and cook another minute or two.
  4. While the veggies are simmering, turn the oven down to 350F and bake the shredded chicken on the same baking sheet that the veggies were on for 20 minutes, stirring after 10.
  5. Working in batches, transfer soup to a food processor and pulse to desired consistency.  At this point I wanted to cook off more of the liquid, but you can also make the soup ahead of time and just refrigerate till you’re ready to serve.
  6. Garnish each bowl with a quarter of the avocado, chopped, crunchy chicken and cilantro.

130305 – Curried Chicken Salad
130306, 11:05 am
Filed under: DINNER, LUNCH | Tags: , , ,
chicken salad
Making use of our leftover chicken from last night, and the remaining curry powder from making this dish a few nights ago (one of our staples that I finally know by heart).  I won’t change a thing about the recipe below when I make it again.
[Serves 4]

  • 1/2 C plain, whole-milk yogurt
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 1/2 T freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • 1 T minced onion
  • 2 t curry powder
  • 2 t peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 2 C cooked, medium-dice roasted chicken
  • 1/2 C small-dice sweet apple, such as Fuji
  • 1/2 C toasted, unsweetened, shredded dried coconut
  • 1/4 C raisins
  • 3 T coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • flaky sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. Whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, curry powder, ginger, and onion in a medium bowl until smooth.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir until evenly combined.

130226 – Baba Ganoush
130227, 11:17 am
Filed under: APPETIZER, DINNER | Tags: , ,


Again!  So, whenever I make crostini, I have this problem where I can never make just one thing to go on them.  At least two toppings, with three being optimal.  If I wasn’t simultaneously making brownies, I would have liked to make some tapenade or tomato and avocado topping as well.  The avocados here are so cheap.  At our hotel in Antigua last weekend, the various courtyards had huge avocado trees in them that were heavy with ripe avocados.  It was tempting to climb up and pluck a few, but I resisted.

Anyway, I made up this Baba ganoush from memory and using the ingredients I had on hand in our little Guatemala City kitchen.

  • 1 medium eggplant, stabbed several times with a fork and halved
  • 2 T evoo, plus more for brushing the eggplant
  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lime, juiced (should have been lemon, but whatever)
  • 3 T tahini
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1/4 t ground pepper
  • 1/8 t red pepper flakes
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.  Brush the flesh of the eggplant halves generously with evoo and bake, skin side up for 30 minutes.  (or until fully cooked / the skin starts to deform).
  2. After the eggplant has cooled (about 15 minutes), scrape out the eggplant flesh with a spoon and discard the skin and stems.
  3. Roughly chop the eggplant so that there are no big chunks.  Stir in the remaining ingredients, adjusting juice and seasonings to taste.

130226 – Pesto & Radish Crostini
130227, 10:45 am
Filed under: APPETIZER, DINNER | Tags: , , ,


Still in Guatemala, so i  just made this up based on what I could find.  There is this really nice little grocery store on our block (a safe distance for me to walk alone) and I was struck by how cheap basil was – 18 Quetzals for a big, healthy bunch (about $2.30).   It was also the first time I had seen a good looking baguette in a grocery store here (VERY exciting).  So the crostini just kind of happened.   This pesto recipe is the result of working with extremely limited kitchen tools and supplies, but came out really well because the basil was so good.  The radish adds a nice crunch and pepper flavor.


  • 4 C basil leaves, washed super well
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 (?) C almonds
  • 1/4 C evoo
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 2 T Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1/4 t fresh ground pepper
  1. toast the almonds on the stove.  medium to medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes.  stir occasionally so as not to burn them!
  2. pulse toasted almonds in food processor until they are finely chopped.
  3. add whole garlic and process until the garlic is all chopped up.  Then add oil then basil and process until the basil is all chopped.
  4. stir in cheese and salt and pepper to taste.


  1. Set the oven to broiler.
  2. Slice  baguette into 1/4″ to 3/8″ slices and arrange as many as you can fit on a baking sheet.  Our oven is so tiny that I did batches on the little pan that comes in your toaster-oven.  Yeah.
  3. Brush with evoo.  Since of course I didn’t have a brush, I dipped a fork in a glass of evoo and spread that over the slices.  You really don’t want too much olive oil on the bread, just enough to make them golden.
  4. Toast in the oven for about 4 minutes.

* Optional – slice a clove of garlic in half and rub on the toasts, either before baking or right after they come out.  This is good if you like garlic as much as I do.


  • 5 – 6 radishes, thoroughly washed and sliced as thin as possible
  1. spread a tablespoon of pesto on each toast, then top with a few radish slices.  Done.

130126 – Pizza Revisited
130214, 8:49 pm
Filed under: DINNER | Tags: , ,

130126_Pizza_revisedA couple of things have made our pizzas of late better than they used to be.  1. We have a REAL oven now that gets up to 550 F.  2. I have started adding more water to the dough.

Now that I am back to bread-baking, I’ve realized that our old faithful recipe has yielded something like a ciabatta consistency dough.  It is important that the dough be just on the stickier side of the sticky / tacky spectrum.   It is tempting to add too much flour when kneading in order to make the dough easier to handle, but aim instead for a dough that is slightly sticky and pliable.  When we’re feeling really good about the dough, we make this sauce recipe with san marzano tomatoes.

I love looking back to see how far we’ve come with our pizza skills!

  • 3 cups bread flour, plus more for kneading
  • 2 t sugar
  • 1/2 t instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups ice water
  • 1 T vegetable oil, plus more for work surface
  • 1 1/2 t table salt
  1. In food processor fitted with metal blade, process flour, sugar, and yeast until combined, about 2 seconds. With machine running, slowly add water through feed tube; process until dough is just combined and no dry flour remains, about 10 seconds. Let dough stand 10 minutes.
  2. Add oil and salt to dough and process until dough forms satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of the bowl, 30 – 60 seconds. Remove dough from bowl and knead briefly on lightly oiled countertop until smooth, about 1 minute. Shape dough into tight ball and place in large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days.  (We aim to make the dough 2 days before using it for best results.)


130124 – Pan Seared Rosemary Tofu w/spinach and soba
130201, 3:28 pm
Filed under: DINNER


Recipe adapted from The Flexitarian Table.


Seasoning Mixture

  • 4 t finely chopped rosemary
  • 2 t finely chopped garlic
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • 1/8 t cayenne pepper


  • 1 14-16 oz. package extra firm tofu, pressed and cut into 4 slabs
  • 3/4 t sea or kosher salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 T canola or grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 C lemon juice


  1. Stir together seasoning mixture
  2. place tofu on a plate in a single layer.  cover with salt then rub all over with seasoning mixture.  cover with pastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  3. Take the tofu out of the refrigerator and use a paper towel to wick away moisture.  Season both sides with salt and pepper
  4. in a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until it shimmer.  add the tofu, increase the heat to medium high, and cook undisturbed for 4 minutes.
  5. once a golden crust has formed, flip the tofu and cook for another 4 minutes.  add the lemon juice to the pan and scrape up any caramelized bits.  remove from heat.

Stir-fry Veggies:

  • 1/2 C honey
  • 1/3 C soy sauce
  • 2 t finely grated, fresh ginger
  • 1/2 C water
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 1 lb burdock, scrubbed and cut into matchsticks (I didn’t use this at all)
  • 1 lg, 2 medium, or 3 small leeks (i did three small 🙂 white and tender green parts only, cut into matchsticks
  • sea salt or kosher salt
  • 8 oz. carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 2 T sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 scallions, white parts only
  1. in a small bowl, whisk together the honey, soy sauce, ginger and water.
  2. in a large heavy skillet, heat the oil over high.  add the burdock and cook, stirring, for two minutes.  add the leaks, pinch of salt and cook until the leeks wilt, about 2 minutes.  pour in the honey mixture and bring to a boil.  reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. stir in the carrots, cover the pan again, and simmer until the veggies are tender, 15 to 20 minutes longer.
  4. uncover the pan, reduce the heat and simmer until the juices have reduced into a glaze.

Sobo and spinach:

  • 8 oz. sobo noodles
  • 2 T toasted sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1.5 lb spinach
  1. cook sobo in a large pot of lightly salted water until al dente – about 6 minutes.  Drain, reserving 2 cups of cooking water.
  2. wipe the pot dry and set over medium heat.  add sesame oil and cook garlic for 30 seconds.  add the spinach, raise the heat and cook, stirring, until it’s wilted.
  3. return noodles and reserved cooking water to the pot.

Divide brothy noodles among 4 bowls, then veggies, and top with tofu.  sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and pass a bottle of soy sauce.