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Somewhere along the line I convinced myself that I cannot cook. When someone would ask why, I’d always mutter something about not enjoying it, or not being interested in learning. These weren’t lies exactly, but what it really boils down to is that I simply lacked confidence in my own abilities. I worry so much about the end result that I have trouble just relaxing and experimenting in the kitchen. Everything my mom cooks turns out beautifully, I would put so much pressure on myself to compare to her. I just never really tried. But I’ve changed in many ways over the past year. Having people to care for and nourish with healthy, strengthening meals helped me to push through this block I’d created within myself. So I’ve begun with simple recipes – soups, basic chicken and beef dishes. Then I branched out into baking. I made Robert’s mother’s banana cream pie, then a chocolate and fruit tart. And each time I’ve felt my confidence grow. Though I’m still a beginner, I’m having a hell of a lot of fun now. And so, every so often, I’ll share one of my adventures here.

When I woke up this morning I envisioned a steaming bowl of albondiga soup. And I couldn’t get it out of my head. My mom still hasn’t given me her recipe, but I did have a youtube link up my sleeve. Amelia Ceja, President and owner of Ceja Vineyards, posts video recipes for many of her favorite dishes online, and I’d been saving this one for over a year. Albondiga Stew with Amelia Ceja:

The recipe is quite simple and the ingredients are fairly inexpensive. I didn’t follow her recipe exactly – I left out the mint in the albondigas; in the soup I added a few dried basil leaves, substituted a can of El Pato sauce for the tomatoes, whole garlic and serrano chilies and omitted the corn (the only fresh corn at the grocery store was just too expensive).

Caldo de Albondigas

The end result: my test subjects loved it, and each had seconds. My craving sated, I sat back and enjoyed another glass of wine while the guys cleared the table. Success! I hope you give the recipe a shot – if you do, please let me know how it went. Salud!

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