Crispy Charred Kale Salad

Here’s the gist: kale and scallions are cooked to a crisp in olive oil or ghee while lemon juice and salt marinate the remaining raw kale in a separate bowl. The trick to charring kale is making sure it is dry when it goes into the pan and leaving it alone for longer than you think you should before stirring it. After the kale in the skillet is plenty crisp, I add a healthy pour of maple syrup into the pan and let the liquid cook down and caramelize onto the leaves. The charred kale reduces to about half its original mass, and when it is added to the bowl with the lemony kale, the uncooked half is ever-so-slightly steamed by the hot kale, offering what looks like a smaller yield overall— a.k.a. the most flavorful way to put two times the kale into my body in just one sitting. A beautiful component to an easy weeknight meal.  

Lucky Collard Wraps with Black-eyed Peas

Making stewed black-eyed peas and collard greens for New Year’s this year slipped my mind until midday on the first of January when I realized we had no “good luck food” on the docket for the day. Too hungry to wait for a pot of beans to cook, I grabbed a can of Black-eyed peas from HEB and made a black-eyed pea avocado salsa to stuff into fresh collard wraps with quinoa, chicken, herbs and pecans. So this year we skirted the traditional beans and greens, but still managed to fit black-eyed peas and collards into a fast, good luck meal.

The World in a Pocket's Best of 2018

2018 marked our second year here on the internet. Whew! We took an exciting new direction last year, with a deeper commitment to looking at food history and culture through the lens of a pocket. Our mission at The World in a Pocket is to better understand the world through the lens of a dumpling (err, any pocket food!). Last April we met in Durham, N.C. to revisit our mission and keep us on track. It’s always a good idea--even (especially!) with passion projects--to check on your goals.

Pumpkin and Cajeta Empanadas | Empanadas de Calabaza y Cajeta

Pumpkin empanadas are a South Texas delicacy and finding them in the local panaderias in North Carolina is near impossible. This fall, I had an insatiable craving for empanadas de calabaza and my now not-so-secret dulce de leche pockets. With brisk autumn weather blowing in and holiday baking ideas swirling around in my head, pumpkin hand pies that you could serve for thanksgiving and empanadas de calabaza y cajeta that you can serve for merienda was my new recipe challenge.

The Beauty of the Blintz in Summer, by Ellen Gray

When I was in 6th grade, my grandmother, lured by the tropical climate and a gaggle of widowed friends, moved to Florida. For a number of summers, I joined Mama Min in her high-rise Hollywood apartment, traveling via Eastern Airlines to the land of palm trees and coconut patties. Her kitchen was compact, with just enough room for a slim café table and two chairs. We spent many afternoons sitting out on the shaded balcony, avoiding the blazing sun. The sound of the ocean in the distance was punctuated by the click-click of my grandmother’s knitting needles. It was during these warm weather holidays that I learned the joy of casual dinners and the beauty of the blintz.

Mama Min’s “Cheesecake” Blintzes

Ellen Gray’s recipe for blintzes stuffed with cheese and topped with cherries brings is inspired by summers spent in Florida with her grandma, “Mama Min”. The idea of cheesecake for dinner over a game of Mah Jong, after a day spent swimming on the beach, makes us yearn for simpler times.

Autumn Queen Peach & Cardamom Hand Pies

The weekend before I had bought a dozen Autumn Queen peaches from Costco. I tried my hardest to use them all up before they went bad, knowing peach hand pies photographed with a late summer color palette was the perfect distraction from the news. I wanted to add a nuanced layer of sweetness, so I dug into my homemade cardamom and vanilla simple syrup, a mainstay in my fridge for fancy coffee, tea, cocktails, and compotes.

Meet Monique Santua, Founder of Gastromonique in Austin, TX

Monique Santua was born in the Philippines, and moved to Hempstead, TX when she was 5. At 7, her family made the move from there to Houston, where she spent her childhood. While her mother paved the way for the Santua family here as a nurse to get them to the US, Monique has had the opportunity to feel out a couple of different career options before launching Gastromonique this year as a way to share her love of cooking with the people of Austin.

The Best Pupusas in Raleigh-Durham

We let our pocket-loving stomachs do the writing and put together a roundup of the best pupusas and El Salvadorean (also seen in many places as El Salvadoran or El Salvadorian) food in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. From pupusa trucks, sit-down pupuserias, and drive-thru eateries, the Triangle offers quite a few places to find some damn tasty pupusas. Are we missing your favorite pupuseria or El Salvadorean food spot? Let us know in the comments!