Hopi Pasta

My mom originally had this dish at a restaurant in the Southwest. She remembered how well she liked it and recreated it with her own spin. The following is how we make it in our family. It’s an amalgam of wonderful flavors. (And it’s a great way to use leftover chicken.) This is one of my all-time favorite dishes.

Cook pasta.

Drain cooked black beans (canned are fine).

Heat chicken.

Sautee matchstick-sliced red peppers.

Make peanut sauce.

Peanut sauce: 1 large clove garlic, minced; cayenne pepper or pepper sauce to taste; 1/2 cup or more warm milk; 1/2 cup peanut butter; 2-3 Tbsp. honey; shake or mix well.

Slice scallions on the diagonal.

Once all of these things are done, we put each in separate bowls and everyone builds their own plate, thus:


  1. Pasta
  2. Beans
  3. Chicken
  4. Sauteed red peppers
  5. Peanut sauce
  6. Goat cheese
  7. Scallions or chives

Chocolate Yeast Cake and Chocolate Fluffy Frosting

Last weekend was my dad’s birthday and my mom and I decided that it was a special event, so we wanted to make a very special cake. This cake takes 2 days to make, so it’s really one for a special occasion. This is a recipe from my dad’s Great Aunt Helen and was passed down from her to my grandmother to my mom and now me. It’s been in our family for years and was first served by my grandmother as a birthday cake for my father when he was a teenager.

Here’s my version of the recipes for the cake and frosting:

Chocolate Yeast Cake

1 cup shortening
3 eggs
1 ½ packets or 4 ½ tsp. rapid rise or instant yeast
2 ¾ cups flour
3 T. hot water
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
2 cups sugar
3 squares chocolate – melted
¼ cup warm water
½ tsp. salt
½ cup milk
1 tsp. baking soda

Cream shortening, add sugar and cream well. Add beaten egg yolks, melted chocolate and yeast dissolved in warm water. Add flour and salt alternately with milk to creamed mixture. Cover and set aside overnight. Next morning, add baking soda dissolved in hot water and vanilla. Mix in well-beaten egg whites lightly. Bake in form pan (angel food cake pan) at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

Chocolate Fluffy Frosting

8 Tbsp. butter or ¼ lb. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
3 squares chocolate, melted
1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
2 beaten egg yolks (reserve egg whites for later)
¼ tsp. salt
Mix above together. Beat egg whites. Add additional 1 ½ cups conf. sugar to egg whites. Fold into chocolate mixture.

Note: I made a mistake with the frosting. If you follow this recipe, it should come out much fluffier than what you see in the photo.

P.S. I promise better and more photos in the future.

The Start of Stories: Savory and Sweet

My mom and I decided to start this blog as a result of a project I recently took on: transcribing, editing, rewriting, and adding to our old family cookbook. My mom put it together in the late 1980s as a way to preserve our family history and share recipes with family. In the last 20 years, the family has used this book over and over again to make favorite dishes and preserve family traditions. I’ve been wanting to update this cookbook for some time now and, after starting to transcribe, my mom got the bug to start cooking a lot of these recipes again and we decided to blog our experiences. We hope you’ll join us in our experience of delving into recipes and stories.

*Unless otherwise stated, all recipes are originals of our family or friends.