Thyme, Honey & Dijon Glazed Chicken Drumsticks

Thyme, Honey & Dijon Glazed Chicken Drumsticks by My Little Jar of Spices

I had an interesting experience today. My yoga instructor and his wife invited me to spend the day with them and their kids. We went on a lovely hike in Otuzco, about twenty minutes outside of Cajamarca where there are beautiful ruins, a river and a couple of farms, and then back to their house for lunch. They are vegetarians. While I have nothing but profound respect for anyone’s dietary preferences and choices, vegetarianism is always problematic given my own diet choices. Case in point: on the menu – whole wheat soup, peppers stuffed with rice, sweet potatoes, corn cobs and fruit, homemade mango ice-cream and quinoa-oatmeal cookies for dessert. A seemingly perfectly healthy lunch, but the total absence of fat or protein and the abundance of carb-dense vegetables and grains took me aback. In fact, 100% of the food on the plate was carbs, and what’s more, I completely forgot that this is what almost all of my meals used to look like before. Aside from the wheat soup and cookies, I ate everything else. I steer clear of gluten as a non-negotiable principle because even very small amounts can prevent your gut lining from repairing and keep your symptoms going. But on the other hand, I’m at a place where I feel that my digestive health is good and I have a pretty squeaky clean paleo lifestyle the rest of the time that I don’t need to freak out about the occasional small portion of grains, sugar or dairy as much as I used to. There are moments when it just seems senseless to reject delicious food that people have prepared for you because you follow a grain-free diet, and one carb-dense vegetarian meal with whole grains will not kill you or “screw up” everything you’ve been following. I can completely feel the effects of eating a bit of rice and milk ice-cream on my body though, which confirms that this can only be on an exceptional basis. My stomach has not been in a happy place all afternoon, rumbling, struggling and grumbling and trying to recognize how the hell all this rice got here. It’s ok, it was a delightful day, and I realized I’m almost never around children so this was a pleasant change of routine. 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

Stuffed Collard Greens

Who would have guessed but collard greens are a staple food here in Brazil. Eating the traditional Brazilian Feijoada (meat and black bean stew) without a side of collard greens is just not right. Before coming here I didn’t even know what a collard green was. In fact, my only experience with leafy greens was limited to lettuce and spinach. But when I go to the farmer’s market we have by our house every Sunday morning, there’s always a huge stall with all kinds of cabbages, root vegetables and greens. Oh my. Mustard greens, beet greens, chard, dandelion greens, collard greens, spinach and so on. So many choices. It’s my favorite moment of the market, plus I think one of the sellers there has a little crush on me because he always insists on filling my order and digging up the greenest, leafiest collards for me. How I interpret a big leafy collard as code for flirt, I sometimes honestly wonder where I get these ideas. Continue reading

Perfect Espelette Chili Sirloin Steak

steak asparagus

Paris mon amour! It feels so wonderful to be back in France for one month, you really appreciate a place once you’ve been far away from it. And concerning French gastronomy, I feel like I’m discovering it for the first time. Or more accurately, I probably took most of the flavors in French cooking for granted and had never felt much curiousity towards them, but having lived in Brazil for one year, I suddenly realized all the ingredients that I really missed on a daily basis. Like raspberries, which believe it or not are impossible to find in Brazil, or good and inexpensive dark chocolate, or spices and condiments like Herbes de Provence, Dijon Mustard and Piment d’Espelette. Espelette Chili is a variety of chili pepper cultivated in the South of France in the Basque Region that I loved to use to flavor everything, from meats and dips to salad dressings and soups, because it’s spicy but not so hot to the point that it will numb your mouth and deprive you of actually enjoying the flavor of the food, and it’s delightful because it brings a slightly roasted flavor to anything you add it to.  Continue reading

Poached Tilapia in Creamy Coconut-Leek Reduction


I am so excited to share this recipe, because not only is it incredibly flavorful and healthy, it is also simple and takes 20 minutes to make. My roommate bought some fish for us at the market last Sunday, but since he didn’t have time to cook it, he entrusted me with that task. I guess having a food blog will do that. All of a sudden it’s “hey, plus this can be a post for your blog right?”. However, I was more than happy to give it a go since I have a rather poor repertoire in the fish and seafood section. He told me, “make it simple: a light pan-fried fish with some olive oil would be great”. I agreed. But then…

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Balsamic Roasted Chicken with Rosemary and Cherry Tomatoes


This story is about life transitions, not getting things done, and making flavorful meat (sounds interesting right?), and it starts with: So I bought some chicken on Saturday. It was a lovely, sunny, Saturday morning that made chicken feel in the perfect order of things. All of my roommates were out of town and I was looking forward to a nice afternoon of quiet working, blogging, and hair-salonning (it’s not a word, but it should be!) that would end with chicken-roasting. But life took its own course and decided otherwise. Continue reading