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Mary Luz Mejia

Chocolate Orange Olive Oil Cake

Moist and delicious, this cake has a spiced orange flavor, reminiscent of an exquisite cup of tea. We used blood orange olive oil here, but you can use plain and add the zest of an organic orange if you can't find a good co-pressed olive oil. Enjoy with some whipped coconut cream or a scoop of refreshing fruit sorbet. 

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Coconut Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are not too sweet, decadent and (you've been warned), mildly addictive. Virgin coconut oil takes the place of butter, and shredded, unsweetened coconut gives the cookie an extra, tropical touch. Puffed amaranth adds to these nutrient dense ingredients, it's a cookie that's almost like a healthy snack. You're welcome!

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Smoky Nutella Chili con Carne 

This is a weekday quick fix (you can have dinner on the table in about 40 minutes or less), that's tasty, satisfying and, if you've got company coming, a casual way to break bread (or tortillas) together. You can customize if you like it hotter by adding more chipotle, or cool it down with wedges of avocado or some sour cream to dollop on top.

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Black Bean, Pepitas, and Nutella Spread

This multi-purpose dip or spread is nutty, slightly sweet, spicy and more complex than you'd think thanks to the addition of Nutella and raw cacao powder. You can enjoy it straight up with good, crunchy corn tortilla chips or use it in a tasty quesadilla. If you're feeling particularly festive, layer some Oaxaca cheese on top of your spread, broil until the cheese gets good and bubbly, and you've got a tasty iteration of queso fundido.

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Aji Panca Nutella Steak Sauce

We've found the perfect pair: chocolate and steak! In this steak sauce, choco-nutty Nutella balances the heat (with sweet) and lends the dish a whisper of sweetness and mystery and the sunny, citrusy flavor of the aji panca gives this steak sauce a layered nuance. Serve when hot and try not to lick your fingers. We dare you!

Cook’s note: You can increase the amount of steak as needed; the richness of the sauce means a little goes a long way and would comfortably complement two or two and half pounds of steak.

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Pastel de Tres Leches

The ubiquitous tres leches cake, is for many, an introduction to a Latin American classic that a few countries like to claim as theirs. There are a pantry-full of theories regarding how this pastel came to be- some say it was developed in Mexico. Others will tell you it was created in Central America and later adopted by the Cubans. You'll even hear the story of evaporated milk companies designing the recipe and including it on cans to get Latin American housewives to make the cake at home.

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Citrus Marinated Roasted Cod Con Vino Blanco

Around Easter, some families choose to celebrate the end of Lent with a special seafood dish. Firm, white fish fillets like red snapper or cod stand up to bold, Latin flavors. Here, we go with a garlic, cumin, oregano and paprika-spiked citrus marinade to up the sabor factor before roasting with vegetables and a little vino blanco. Serve with Colombian coconut rice, a few special sides and you've got a dinner party-worthy fiesta in no time.

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Colombian Style Arroz con Coco

This is the rice of choice on Colombia's Caribbean coast. It often accompanies a good fish dish, fried, grilled, baked or roasted. Subtly sweet with a kiss of tropical coconut, it's a great way to bring some warm weather food to a possibly still-chilly spring table.

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Mary Luz Mejia | The Latin Kitchen


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