Lifestyle and food blogger, Alana Yazzie, pairs her Navajo heritage and extravagant identity to make delicious recipes.
Alana Yazzie, a “fancy” Diné (Navajo) life-style and foods blogger elevates her childhood recipes from New Mexico and places a twist on custom with new recipes on her website, TheFancyNavajo.com. Yazzie is acknowledged for her recipes that include blue corn, like her blue corn cookies, blue corn stuffing, and additional. She also shares Native-manufactured solutions and firms to continue to emphasize and assist community communities. Yazzie answers some concerns for us and shares her Blue Corn Cupcake recipe.
Cowboys & Indians: Why did you start off your meals web site, and what acquired you into food and cooking?
Yazzie: It took place by incident when I established an Instagram in 2014. There was a fantastic interest in what I was sharing, which largely revolved all around foodstuff and manner. At the time Instagram was confined in its solutions, and there weren’t a lot of Indigenous American food stuff bloggers. So, I developed TheFancyNavajo.com as a way to share more with my audience.
Foodstuff and cooking have normally been a massive part of my lifestyle. I grew up in a household that loves to cook dinner, bake, and host functions. At a young age, I realized how food items delivers absolutely everyone collectively, and at a youthful age, my family members involved me in the cooking system. As I grew more mature, I took a greater interest in mastering about Indigenous meals and how to prepare dinner them soon after transferring away from residence to go to faculty. Now I am focused on getting new means to make Indigenous foods and with each and every new development, I like including a “Fancy Navajo” twist.
C&I: What is your favorite recipe to make?
Yazzie: My most loved recipes are the most simple and versatile recipes like Fancy Navajo Magic Bread, which will make tortillas, fry bread, and biscuits. It’s like magic! It was also 1 of the to start with recipes I acquired to make as a child, so it is a very nostalgic recipe.
C&I: Do you like to cook or bake?
Yazzie: I am surely much more of a baker than a cook dinner. Baking is one particular of my beloved issues to do. I love building muffins, scones, and cupcakes. I like baking simply because you can alter up the ingredients close to the transforming seasons.
C&I: What is your system for building a new recipe — cooking and baking?
Yazzie: It truly depends on what form of recipe I am creating. If I am sharing a new Native recipe, that necessitates a ton of tests because I am generating a new recipe from scratch. So, it normally takes a whole lot of demo and error to determine out the ideal elements in a format that is straightforward to replicate. Other periods recipes are basic staples that I have made numerous times and normally are recipes in which I really don’t at any time produce down measurements. For those recipes, they are a little bit easier to build because I have designed them various moments in advance of.
C&I: What are some recipes that come from your Navajo upbringing? Why is blue corn prevalent in your recipes?
Yazzie: A ton of the recipes I share are relatives recipes that I grew up having like Extravagant Navajo Mutton Stew and Fancy Navajo Magic Bread. However, a large amount of the blue corn recipes are new recipes that I made. Blue corn is a well known ingredient in a lot of Indigenous and Indigenous cultures. I grew up getting blue cornmeal in mush or pancakes that we ate for breakfast. There have been only a few of strategies I experienced noticed it ready. A large amount of the blue corn baking recipes are new recipes that I made to show other methods to prepare this staple. Making use of blue cornmeal has come to be a well-known ingredient on TheFancyNavajo.com and in the past years, we have shared a wide range of methods to use the ingredient these kinds of as Extravagant Navajo Blue Corn Cupcakes and Fancy Navajo Blue Cornbread Stuffing. It’s a person of all those elements that receives everyone energized and is an component that can easily be incorporated into day to day food items.
C&I: Why is it vital to you to spotlight other Native American-created solutions, not just in the culinary business?
Yazzie: I personally assume it is significant to aid regional communities. We generally never hear a great deal about Indigenous American-produced merchandise but they are out there. Via social media, I have discovered there is a terrific curiosity in others seeking to help Indigenous American company but really do not know in which to order these objects. There are so numerous Indigenous enterprises and they are all generating so several amazing solutions and products and services. By means of social media, I am in a position to introduce and share authentic Indigenous American-made products that are not only meals-relevant but each day items.
C&I: How have you adapted your weblog and material above the several years?
Yazzie: The enjoyment detail about obtaining a life style/foods web site is that you can adapt the articles to your shifting lifestyle. About the several years I have protected a variety of matters from style to vacation and recipes. There is a ton of flexibility in what I can share. It has been remarkable to see how TheFancyNavajo.com has grown from an Instagram/blog site to contain hosting in-individual and on line occasions these kinds of as cooking/baking demonstrations.
C&I: What are you seeking ahead to in the coming a long time for your website?
Yazzie: I am on the lookout forward to additional in-person gatherings. We slowed down a little bit by the pandemic and set a several matters on hold, 1 being baking/cooking lessons. I am hoping to get that begun before long and share The Fancy Navajo magic with absolutely everyone. We also are normally searching forward to sharing far more recipes that incorporate Native foodstuff.
Extravagant Navajo Blue Corn Cupcakes
Yields: 16 Cupcakes
Blue Corn Cupcakes
1 cup all-intent flour
1 cup roasted blue cornmeal (I use the Navajo Pleasure manufacturer. Shima of Navajoland and Tamaya Blue provide this on line, but I have viewed blue cornmeal in some specialty grocery retailers.)
1/4 cup white sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2 eggs, overwhelmed
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 levels F. Line cupcake pan with cupcake liners. Sift all dry ingredients (flour, blue cornmeal, baking powder, salt) with each other in a massive bowl. In a different bowl, whip room temperature unsalted butter and sugar collectively till fluffy. Then incorporate eggs, milk, and vanilla until finally blended. Gradually stir in the damp combination into the dry substances and blend right up until easy. Scoop the batter into cupcake liners 3/4 from the best using a spoon or ice product scoop. Bake for 20 – 22 minutes or right until tops are a mild golden brown and a toothpick can be inserted in the centre and be taken out clear. Allow interesting for 10 minutes.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup of cold unsalted butter
3 cups powdered sugar
2 – 4 tablespoons of large cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Whip butter and salt jointly on medium-substantial until gentle and fluffy. Bit by bit insert in powdered sugar until finally the combination starts off to clump up. Add in major cream and go on to include powdered sugar until finally ideal frosting regularity (if the frosting is as well thick, incorporate in a lot more heavy cream). Frost your lovely blue corn cupcakes. Optional, best with a piñon.
Discover far more recipes, lifestyle blogs, and Indigenous-built items at thefancynavajo.com and on Instagram at @thefancynavajo
Recipe: courtesy Alana Yazzie of TheFancyNavajo.com
Pictures: (All photographs) courtesy Alana Yazzie, Jennifer Hubbell, and Hannah Manuelito