A Word On Food


Fish Head Soup

Nov 11, 2015


Norman Van Aken, © 2011

To make this into Fish Head Soup. Strain this and then cook fresh vegetables, chilies, herbs and potatoes as desired and top it with this stock. Garnish with one cooked well fish head if feeling sportyN.

Yield: 1 Gallon

5 pounds fish frames from non-oily fish (such as Snapper or Grouper)

1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 ounces whole Butter

1 head of roughly chopped fennel, all parts included

3 washed and roughly chopped leeks


Oct 31, 2015


Janet & Norman Van Aken, © 2013

Yield: 3 + Cups

1 Cup buttermilk

1 3/4 Cups Sour cream

2 Tablespoons mayonnaise

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 Tablespoons Champagne wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 large garlic clove minced

1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces good blue cheese, well crumbled

Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl or blend briefly.

Fish Cheeks

Oct 24, 2015


© 2015 All Rights Reserved by Norman & Janet Van Aken


Kecap Manis is a type of sweet soy sauce condiment similar to American ketchupbut of course not the same exactly either. It can be used in a broad number of sauces, marinades etc. and worth having in your home pantry.

Serves 2

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 habanero chile, stemmed and seeded

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 Tablespoons kecap manis


Oct 19, 2015


Norman Van Aken. Adapted from The New York Times 

Yield: 9 Pupusas

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 Cups masa harina

1 ½ Cups warm water

12 ounces mozzarella, grated (or a mix of mozzarella and queso blanco) 

canola oil, as needed

In a large bowl, mix the salt into the masa harina. Stir the water into the masa harina with your hands. Lay a foot-long square of plastic wrap on a work surface. 

Divide the cheese into 9 balls. 

Indonesian Food

Oct 5, 2015

Volcanic Flavor Land!


Copyright © by Norman Van Aken, 1999

Yield: (About 40) 1-ounce balls)

For the meatballs:

3 eggs

1 ¼ lbs. ground pork

1 teaspoon sugar

2 Cups grated coconut

Zest of lime

1 Scotch bonnet chile, stem and seeds discarded, minced

6 scallions, trimmed, white and most of the green, minced

6 cloves garlic, seeded and minced

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

1 Tablespoon grated ginger

Pan con Bistec

Sep 19, 2015


Norman & Janet Van Aken © 2015

Normally this is a non marinated thinly cut piece of beef. I wanted to make ours a bit… zestier.  You might know that is a pun if you listen to the “A Word On Food” show this goes with… Either way… it is a great flavor profile and I think you will make Mojo Rojo for many other reasons going forward.

Serves 1 Sandwich

“Mojo Rojo” (recipe below) as desired. Extra can be saved for another use.

5-6 ounces of Beef Tenderloin (Filet Mignon)


Sep 12, 2015


Copyright © by Norman Van Aken, 2013

Yield: 15-16 (3 inch) arepas


Arepas are rich, cheese-topped cornmeal cakes and wonderful in a rather hedonistic way, though you might not know it if your only prior experience of them comes from Latin American street fairs and carnivals. I adore these cakes and look for all manner of ways in which to use them. Try them with a lean bowl of chicken soup or Sopa de Pavo (page 71), or a bowl of chili.

Fried Shrimp

Sep 5, 2015


Croqueta Preparadas

Aug 29, 2015

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