Pilar Hernandez lovingly creates Chilean recipes on her blog, "En mi cocina hoy." Her goal? To introduce American readers to the roots of Latin cooking through easy, approachable recipes like the Chilean bean salad pictured here.

Pilar Hernandez lovingly creates Chilean recipes on her blog, “En mi cocina hoy.” Her goal? To introduce American readers to the roots of Latin cooking through easy, approachable recipes like the Chilean bean salad pictured here. (Photo/courtesy Pilar Hernandez)

Food blogs we love: Recipes from South America

Who’s blogging: My name is Pilar Hernandez,  born and raised in central Chile. I even graduated from medical school there. Love brought me to the USA in 2003, specifically to Houston, TX. In addition to learning English, I became a mother, a cook, a blogger and a gardener. Sustainable gardening is a particular passion of mine, which I now teach at school gardens. Upon moving to America I realized I didn’t how to cook most of the food I grew up eating. I was always welcome at my mother, grandmother and aunts’ kitchens, but I never actually cooked. I knew the flavors, but I’ve learned how to cook the food of my youth here, away from my country.

Explain your blog name: I wanted to be as straight forward as possible. I didn’t want a distinctive Chilean name, because since my husband has an Argentinian mother and in Chile we have a huge Peruvian immigrant population. As a result, those cuisines are very familiar to us and we love them. I hope my title conveys my focus on South America; thus the name, Recipes from South America.

Blogging since: My main blog is in Spanish and is called “En mi cocina hoy” or “Today, in my kitchen” and dates from 2008. It was a New Year’s resolution that grew into a big passion. My English blog came to life when I started to feel more comfortable with my English in May 2011.

Blogging from: From my house in Houston, Texas.  I love my city, which has an awesome food culture, but sadly not a single Chilean restaurant!

Food blogs we love: Recipes from South America pilar photo wordpress food NBC Latino News

Pilar Hernandez made her 2008 New Year’s resolution come true with the creation of her blog, which offers Argentinian and Peruvian recipes alongside those from her native Chile. (Photo/Courtesy Jorge Herskovic )

Most popular post: Most people find my blog looking for a recipe with dulce de leche, a huge flavor in South America. Our dulce de leche or manjar is very different from the Mexican cajeta; for starters, it is always made with cow’s milk and is very mellow. At this time my most popular post is Iced Coffee, Chilean style. I love this recipe because for as long as I can remember going out to eat this was my reward on the last day of school. More than an iced coffee, this is really a dessert with ice cream, whipped cream and usually served with cookies.

What you’ve learned about food while blogging: I learned that you should always keep trying! It’s a running joke how picky I was growing up and how now I beg my mother and aunts for recipes, especially for soups and stews that I refused to eat before. My tastes have change and my appreciation for family recipes has grown immensely. Also I’m always impressed how the old dishes from my country are so healthy: the meat used to be a treat and vegetables and grains were the food always at hand.

Where do you get inspiration for your posts?  Usually I get a craving for an old flavor and from there I start looking for the ingredients and call family to get the scoop on how to recreate the dish. I also read many Latino food blogs, Chilean magazines and we travel at least once a year back to Chile to see family and friends, visit old and new places and taste as much food as I can.

What have you learned from blogging? Through blogs, I’ve found many friends who cook alongside me. I’ve even become friends with ladies who have married a South American guy and want to surprise them with their comfort food.

Where else can we find you online? In English, a couple of my recipes had been featured at The Kitchn  and Where Woman Cook.  With the help of other South American bloggers – mostly Chilean – I’ve helped implement a custom search to help find tried and true recipes from our food heritage at BRBC.

What are your favorite food blogs?  One of my first loves was Homesick Texan, which has a clear Mexican influence. Eat Wine Blog is the best at showing the wine and food culture in South America with amazing pictures.  I also like Eating Chilean, written by an American living and eating in Chile. My favorite Spanish blogs include Mi diario de Cocina and En Guete.

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