Recipe Round-Up: 25 Most Beautiful Salad Recipes

25 Beautiful Salad Recipes Round-Up

My roommate from Sao Paulo, Lea, and I shared a similar love for bright, beautiful, colorful salads. Whenever we’d have potluck dinners or invite people over at our house, you could be sure we were on the salad making crew. We’d let our imaginations run wild and put anything that sparked our tastebuds and eyesight to make them look visually stunning and oh-so-tasty: arugula, cherry tomatoes, mango chunks, toasted almonds, figs, parmesan shavings, thinly sliced radishes and beets, bell pepper strips, sundried tomatoes, sautéed courgettes… And then as we would serve our plates, Lea would go “oh wow, the colors in this salad are amaaaazing” or plainly say “Just beautiful” with a sigh. I miss my salad buddy. Continue reading

Roasted Broccoli Tuna Salad

Roasted Broccoli Tuna Salad by My Little Jar of Spices

I think we food bloggers could all stand to be a little more transparent on the truth of what our lives are actually like (I mean, we don’t actually eat sweet potato fries out of newspaper cones or take a bite from a cookie and put it back on the cookie sheet like the photos say). I don’t actually eat small portions of salad on fancy rectangular restaurant plates like you see here. That’s just for good blogging decorum. I wouldn’t want you to see the actual tupperware I ate this HUGE salad out of. This little confession is coming from an e-mail exchange I had with another food blogger this week (Little Red Bird Kitchen, check her out!) about food photography. I told her I take 80% of my pictures on the floor because it makes it easier to get even lighting, block out background “noise” and get better shots from high up, and even though no one openly says it, I can’t be the only one to do that. Let’s be honest, you can see the wooden floorboards in more than half of the pictures on foodgawker 🙂 And since I’m in a truth-telling moment, I might as well say it flat out, my meals are not nearly as exciting as this blog might have you thinking. I’m a very routine person when it comes to food. On most days, I will eat exactly the same thing for lunch (omelet, avocado and salad), cook dinner twice or three times a week and eat leftovers on the other days. Most of the recipes you see here are recipes that I’ve tested and made for friends or family, for specific occasions, when I’m on vacation and don’t have much going on, almost always when there are other people around to try the food. You can be sure, if you see a muffin recipe on the blog, it’s because other people ate it and approved it. Recipe testing method. Continue reading

Basa Fish and Sweet Potato Curry

Fragrant Fish and Sweet Potato Curry by My Little Jar of Spices
I feel like I haven’t blogged in months but it’s only been two weeks or so. But I guess moving to a new country will make you feel like you’ve been that much farther away from the rest of the world. I’ve been in Peru for about a week and it has been a total change of scenery from the bustling, busy, ever-moving, traffic-jammed Sao Paulo. I’m in Cajamarca, in the Northern Andes of Peru, a town of about 200,000 also known for its local specialty of fried guinea pig, its booming Golden Berry farming (Golden Berry, also known as “Incan Berry” or “Pichuberry” was declared one of the superfoods of 2014 in the Huffington Post and withholds a wide range of nutritional benefits), its local dairy and its thermal springs installed in a gem of well-preserved Incan ruins. Not too bad, right? And people, it couldn’t get any more authentic, or “paleo” might I say, than this. Not that I’m living in prehistoric times, Cajamarca is a rather modern, albeit small and traditional, town. But it’s ironic how after talking about the benefits of a paleo diet and lifestyle for months, life put me in a place where I could actually walk the talk. Continue reading

Cappuccino Pots de Crème

Cappuccino Pots de Crème by My Little Jar of Spices

Well hello there January, my least favorite month of the year. People generally either hate January or September. Not very hard to understand why. Post-holiday blues, post-vacation stress, back to work, back to school, everyone’s all tired, the media are all talking about diets, there’s not much to look forward to for the next few months except maybe Valentine’s Day and that’s not even a real Holiday. And then there’s the pitiful weather, which is the worst whether you are in the Northern or Southern hemisphere. January in Brazil gets HOT. Not “ooh tropical breeze and sipping Mojitos under palm trees” kind of hot, no, more like “unsexy glistening face, I can’t even move my arms because it’s so freaking humid and tropical pouring rain” kind of hot. Bet that snowfall you’ve been having in the US almost sounds kind of nice now eh? Continue reading

Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Roasted Figs

Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Roasted Figs by My Little Jar of Spices

It’s the end of the year, so I thought I’d provide a recipe that’s a little more festive-looking: a delicious pork tenderloin prepared on the stovetop and in the oven served with juicy balsamic roasted figs and a generous sprinkle of thyme. Sounds scrumptious and fancy right? Well let me just say it right now, it’s easy as pie and requires very little effort, it could even easily be prepared as a weeknight meal. But it’s impressive and so tasty that you can also put it on a New Year’s Eve menu if you’re looking for a recipe that’s effortless and will surprise your guests. This time of year always makes me pause a little to reflect on past events and future endeavors. So before I get to the recipe, I figured I’d share some of my thoughts with you (and a small announcement of where I’m headed in 2014). Continue reading

Purple Cabbage Slaw with Hazelnuts and Pomegranate


Winter Red Cabbage Salad with Hazelnuts and Pomegranate by My Little Jar of Spices

This is my new favorite salad. I forgot how Hazelnuts made everything taste Christmassy (or is that just me?), and for the first time in my life, I deseeded a pomegranate. Actually I had given it a go once before but gave up quickly when realizing I was getting roughly ten seeds out per minute. This time I had a plan, thanks to GI 365 and her Pomegranates 101 crash course. We don’t stress this enough, but food blogging is like a constant flow of technology transfers. I have gained so much know-how thanks to the trials and errors of other people. So it’s my turn to give something back to the community, starting with what I have learned NOT TO DO when deseeding a pomegranate… and that is 1) never try to get the seeds out using a fork or a spoon – life WILL go on without you while you pursue this endless and impossible endeavor; 2) never, ever, EVER try to deseed a pomegranate facing a white wall… it will look like you butchered someone in your own kitchen. Continue reading

Ecuadorian Coconut Fish Stew (Encocado de Pescado)

Ecuadorian Coconut Fish Stew (Encocado de Pescado) by My Little Jar of Spices

Ecuador is undoubtedly a big part of my life. From the time that I lived there, I quickly developed a strong affection for this small yet unbelievably diverse South American country.  Even after having spent a year there and having traveled several times back, I have never ceased to be amazed by this country’s unmatched beauty and nature. Not to mention its incredibly friendly population and delicious cuisine. And although I have come to know the country rather well , I still feel I have so much to discover and am hoping to go back for a visit next year to travel in some regions I have not yet explored well. Among the many things I have yet to try in Ecuador, one of my top to-dos is to visit a cloud forest… Food-wise, I can never seem to get enough of the huge diversity of available and affordable fresh fruit and seafood you can find in Ecuador. One of my absolute favorite meals is the Viche de Pescado, a delicious and very fulfilling soup made with fish, sweet potatoes, plantain bananas, ground peanuts and lime juice. Continue reading

Moroccan Spiced Burgers with Pistachios

Moroccan Spiced Burgers by My Little Jar of Spices

It’s already the end of the year and I can’t frickin believe it! One year ago, though it seems like yesterday, I was starting research for my thesis here with gleaming eyes and high aspirations as I took my first steps in the unknown yet exciting world of academic research. I wanted to write a paper that would change the world and uncover some kind of shattering truth (as it so often happens when you study smallholder agriculture right?), go on the field and bring back ground-breaking data, roll up my sleeves and argue with top researchers, basically do all those crazy things that hot, glamorous academic scholars do. Twelve strenuous months later, the only ground-breaking truth I discovered is that probably no-one will have the slightest interest in reading 200 pages on how to create commitment in buyer-supplier relationships linking private multinationals to smallholder farmers in Brazil (I know, crazy!) and the only arguing I saw was a tepid discussion on the premises of game theory between a Danish scholar and an Argentinean economist. I also discovered the less than glamorous reality of “no-that-person-that-you-emailed-three-weeks-ago-and-who-is-a-key-informant-for-your-topic-does-not-give-a-rat’s-ass-about-your-research” and “it’s-been-a-month-since-you’ve-submitted-it-and-your-advisor-still-hasn’t-opened-your-thesis”. After all of that, and loving almost every second of it regardless, I am proud to say that I have finished my thesis, submitted it, defended it and been approved. Yay! I’m officially done with my master’s and it’s as much a relief as it is scary. There are so many things happening and changes coming, and I can’t wait to tell you about them, but I need to leave some suspense for future posts. Continue reading

Pumpkin Scones (grain-free, Paleo)

Pumpkin Scones by My Little Jar of Spices
Everyone’s celebrating Thanksgiving and making pumpkin pie and leftover Turkey sandwiches, getting into the Winter holidays spirit with mulled cider and hot cocoa, baking Christmas cookies and lighting their chimneys…. and I’m sleeping in the starfish position in my bed without the sheets on because it’s getting hotter and hotter around here. Aah yes, Summer is upon us in Brazil. And it just feels awkward when I’m strolling down São Paulo’s big Paulista Avenue with my flip flops and sunglasses on and there’s a gigantic inflated Snowman standing there with a scarf on and Santa Clause’s just cruising along with his reindeer pals. It just feels… wrong. Continue reading

Paleo Morning Porridge

Grain-Free Morning Porridge by My Little Jar of Spices

This is the recipe that I have wanted to post the most on this blog since the beginning because it is truly the first recipe that I appropriated and made my own after I eliminated gluten from my diet. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to post it. I’ve recommended it to many friends who have asked me advice on what to have for breakfast that was not eggs and bacon on a paleo diet. Since I myself am not much of an eggs and bacon kind of gal, this porridge recipe has been a go-to breakfast for me for the last year. I love oatmeal, especially the way my mom would make it for our lazy Sunday afternoon snacks when I was a kid: with raisins, a dash of cinnamon, and topped with a pat of butter that melts into the cooked oats and some maple syrup. Jeez louise goddammit. Sometimes, just sometimes, I wish I were 13 all over again when I think of those moments. Without the acne and awkward braces that is. Continue reading