Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentine's Day Truffles

During a cool event at work, which we called potato lover's day, a friend of mine took PB + potato chips truffles. At first I thought it sounded kind of gross but decide to take a bite. OH WHY DID I DO IT?! Now I'm addicted! MUST. HAVE. IT. Why not a Valentine's day truffle so I could enjoy it with my husband?

I haven't gotten the texture perfect, but promise to update when I do. In the meantime, these will work, they are just a really soft truffle! ;) Maybe I just didn't add as much sugar as I should have?

Make sure you use good quality chocolate (no crappy Hershey's bar, PLEASE!) and real butter!

Ingredients (makes 12 small truffles)

1 T cream cheese
1 T unsalted butter
3T Peanut Butter (creamy or crunchy will do)
3 T (full!) of potato chips crumbs + more for decoration
pinch of salt
4T of confectioners sugar
4 oz of chocolate (I used dark Baker's 66% cocoa)

Mix together PB, cream cheese and room temp softened butter and the sugar. Gently fold in the crumbs of potato chips (I used Lay's Wavy Original). Let it cool in the fridge for about 10 minutes so you can roll into balls. (Maybe if you use 6-7T of confectioners sugar you can skip this refrigeration step)
Put them on a wax paper lined plate and take it to the freezer for approximately 15 minutes.
Dip each truffle individually into the melted chocolate and sprinkle potato chips. Put the truffles back on the wax paper and let it stand in the fridge until you serve. You can store it in an air tight container once the shell hardens.

So creamy and yummy! It will sure make for a memorable Valentine's day!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Homemade Chocolate Amaretto Pudding

For less than 140Kcal a serving! Sounds dreamy? Tastes even dreamier and you only need 15 minutes to make it!

1 can of evaporated milk 2% (you may use whole or FF too, as you wish)
1/4 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
1/4 cup corn starch
1/3 cup of water
1/2 T unsalted butter
1 T half and half
2T Splenda blend Brown Sugar or equivalent of sweetener of your choice
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon almond flavor
cherries or almonds for garnish

In a medium bowl, mix all the dry ingredients with a whisk. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, add the water, almond extract and evaporated milk and disolve your dry mix into it while still cold. Keep pan in medium heat stirring until it starts to bubble and pudding is thick and creamy. No need to boil. Incorporate the butter and half and half. Give it a quick stir.

Pour into 4 little ramekins and garnish with the almonds or cherries. Let it chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours or so before serving.
Make it any flavor you'd like by adding different extracts or pieces! Vanilla, coconut, pumpkin spice, cinnamon...

Yum!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Bolo Pão de Mel Fofinho

Este bolo vale a pena ser feito pra degustar com um bom café ou uma xícara de cappuccino.
Um bolo simples mas  extremamente fofinho com gostinho de casa da vovó! Uma excelente opção pra um lanchinho da tarde!

A receita
(todas as medidas de especiarias são NIVELADAS a menos que especificado diferente

1 xícara (chá) de leite integral ou semi-desnatado de preferência, morno

Ingredientes secos
2 xics. niveladas de farinha de trigo
1 col (chá) de bicarbonato de sódio
1/2 col (chá) de fermento em pó químico
1/2 col (chá) de sal
1/2 col (sopa) cheia de canela
1/2 col (sopa) gengibre em pó
1/4 col (chá) rasa de cravo em pó
pitada de noz-moscada
raspas de 1 limão siciliano (opcional)

Fazer um creme com
2/3 xíc de manteiga sem sal
1/2 xíc (chá) de açucar mascavo
1/4 xíc (chá) açúcar refinado
2 ovos
1/2 xíc (chá) de mel

Misture os ingredientes secos em um bowl usando um fouet. Reserve.
Em uma batedeira em velocidade média faça um creme com a manteiga e os açúcares. Acrescente o mel e ovos aos poucos sem desligar a batedeira.

Com uma colher de pau, incorpore o creme de manteiga à mistura de pós intercalando com parte do leite morno (para o seu mel não endurecer) até que todos os ingredientes estejam misturados.

Coloque em assadeira untada quadrada (20 X 20 cm) e asse em forno pré aquecido a 175C por aproximadamente 40 minutos ou até que espetando um palito no centro do bolo este saia seco.

Cobertura:
- 2 col (sopa) cheias de cacau em pó
- 3 col (chá) de manteiga derretida
- 4 col (chá) de açúcar refinado
- 1/3 xíc (chá) de leite quente

Em um grau medidor, misture o cacau com a manteiga derretida. Acrescente o leite quente e o açúcar e mexa até dissolver usando uma colher ou garfo, aproximadamente 3 minutos.
Espalhe a cobertura sobre o bolo ainda quente depois de fazer furos generosos por toda a assadeira.

Nota: Para o efeito mesclado que vocês vêem na foto, coloque aproximadamente 2/3 da massa na assadeira e misture 2-3 col (sopa) de cacau em pó no restante da massa. Despeje a massa de cacau sobre a massa clara e faça redemoinhos de leve com um garfo, sem misturar as massas na assadeira e leve ao forno.

Delicinha!!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Empanadas Argentinas/Argentinian Empanadas

Nossos hermanos são caprichosos! Inventaram os tango e alfajores, são bons de bola e de churrasco (mas não melhores q os brasileiros! Hehehe) e, na minha opinião, fazem as melhores empanadas do mundo!
Aqui uma versão adaptada meio brazuca do calendário culinário da Nestlé de 2014 (adaptei pq não usei caldo Maggi picanha nem os 300g de carne moída da receita original.)

- Massa
500g farinha + extra para salpicar e abrir a massa
½ xícara de manteiga gelada
1 xícara de água ligeiramente morna (30s no microondas)

1 col (chá) sal
1 gema batida para pincelar

- Recheio
750g carne moída (não muito magra)
1 cebola picadinha
1 col (sopa) azeite
1 col (sopa) molho inglês
1 col (chá) Orégano seco (ou temperinho de chimichurri se vc tiver)
1/2 col (chá) páprika
1/2 col (chá) mostarda em pó (ou Dijon, se vc ñ tiver o pó)
Salsinha fresca
1/8 col (chá) cominho
Sal e pimenta do reino
2 col (sopa) farinha
2 col (chá) molho de pimenta (ajuste de acordo com o grau de picante desejado)
Pitada de pimenta calabresa seca
Azeitona picada a gosto (aprox 2 col de sopa)
Água para fazer um caldinho grosso (aproximadamente ¼ xícara. Vc tb pode usar caldo de carne, se preferir)


PREPARO

- Recheio
Em uma panela de fundo grosso, frite a cebola no azeite e doure a carne. Acrescente a farinha e misture bem. Adicione os temperos (exceto a salsinha)e a azeitona e cozinhe a carne por completo. Acrescente a água aos poucos só até formar um calsinho grossinho. Mexa bem e deixe cozinhar em fogo baixo por aproximadamente 8 minutos, mexendo de vez em quando, sem deixar a carne secar por completo. Acrescente a salsinha e misture.

Enquanto a carne esfria, faça a massa:

- Massa
Em um bowl grande coloque a farinha e a manteiga em pedaços. Misture grosseiramente e acrescente a água aos poucos. Misture bem com a mão e acrescente um pouco mais de farinha caso seja necessário. A massa deve desgrudar das mãos. Não é necessário sovar, aliás, melhor não sovar para não formar muito glúten e a massa não ficar elástica!
Abra a massa sem deixá-la muito fina. Corte as empanadas com um copo de boca larga ou um cortador de biscoito redondo de 25cm de diâmetro. Cada receita deve render entre 20-24 empanadas.

Recheie sem exagerar a metade de cada disco e feche-o dando o formato da empanada. Grude as bordinhas do disco e use um garfo para “selar”. Pincele cada empanada com a gema batida e leve ao forno (180C) por aproximadamente 20-25 minutos ou até que as empanadas fiquem ligeiramente douradas. Sirva com molho de pimenta!

Recipe in English:

Argentinian Empanadas

Dough
1.1lb all-purpose flour
1 cup lukewarm water
½ cup cold salted butter
½ teaspoon of salt
1 yolk, beaten (to brush each unit before baking)

Filling
1.5 lbs ground beef  (85/10 or 85/15)
1 small diced onion
1 T EVOO
2 T flour
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon dried mustard (or Dijon if you don’t have it)
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1 T Worcestershire sauce
A pinch of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Frank’s Red sauce
Approx. ¼ cup beef broth
S&P
A handful of Italian parsley chopped fine
2 T minced green olives

Sauté the onions in the olive oil and then add the ground beef. Let it brown. Add all the seasoning and flour (except for parsley). Mix in and cook completely, approximately 10 minutes on medium heat. Add the broth little by little just to thicken and make beef moist. Make sure not to add too much liquid.
Let it cook on low heat for 8 more minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.  Add the olives and parsley.
Make the dough while beef cools.

In a large bowl, add the flour and salt. Whisk together. Add the butter in pieces and the water little by little. Mix with hands until dough isn’t sticky and it comes off your fingers. Add a bit more flour if necessary. Don’t knead so empanadas aren’t chewy.
Sprinkle some flour on a surface and open the dough. Using a cookie cutter (12”) cut 20-24 empanadas. Careful not to make them too thin!
Stretch each disk a bit to make them slightly bigger and fill each half with a generous portion of the cooked, cooled beef mixture. Cover it by pulling the opposite half of the disk giving the empanadas a half-moon shape. Using a fork, seal the edges.
Brush the beaten egg yolk on each empanada and bake (preheated 375F) for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
Enjoy with a dash of hot sauce. I dare you to eat only one! My husband ate probably 8 at once and he wasn’t even “THAT” hungry!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Lemon & Almond flour cupcakes with blackberries buttercream frosting

Just a good recipe with a twist for lemon cupcakes.

The buttercream frosting with fruits is a show stopper even you're not a fan. It just has such a beautiful color! Make the buttercream as tart as you'd like by adjusting the amount of sugar. Add some slightly mashed blackberries for added texture and color if you don't mind the seeds.

I made a batch for a friend's b-day at the office and my husband stole one. He's not much a sweets kind of guy but all I know is that he came back upstairs and said he loved it! Made my day so I felt like this recipe was worth sharing.


For the cupcakes
1 stick (8 T) unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup (leveled, minus 1 T) sugar
1/2 T lemon extract
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs whole plus 1 yolk
1 cup milk
1 T lemon juice or vinegar
1 T half and half
1 cup cake flour (preferably)
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 T baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a stand mixer, cream the butter with the eggs and sugar. Add this last one little by little. While it's creaming, add the lemon zests and extracts (vanilla and lemon). Set aside.
In a measuring cup, stir the milk with half and half and lemon juice. You'll use it in a little bit.
In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients: cake flour, almond flour, salt and baking powder.
Turn the mixer back on on low speed and add the dry mix and liquid, alternating, finishing with liquid. About a third at a time.

For the frosting
1 stick of unsalted butter, room temp (= 8 tablespoons)
2-3 cups of confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 T pureed blackberries, seedless

In a little food blender or chopper, puree approximately 1/2 cup of blackberries. Transfer it to a sifter and push it through with a spoon.
In a large blender, cream the butter and add the confectioner's sugar little by little. Halfway through, add the blackberries puree and the vanilla extract. Add 2 cups for a softer frosting and 3 cups for extra hard, sweeter frosting according to taste. Also, the more sugar, the lighter your frosting will look if you follow the amount of blackberries here. You could probably add more blackberry puree with 3 cups of sugar and the consistency will still hold. I just haven't tried yet.
Fill a 24 in decorating bag and use a large cupcake decorating tip. Leave it in the fridge for an hour or longer.

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Bake the cupcakes into a 12 tin pan or 10 of those taller liners (mini cake) for approximately 15-20 minutes (depending on the liner size you're using) or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Let the cupcakes cool for an hour or 2 before decorating. Take the frosting out of the fridge 15 minutes before piping so it's softer and easier to decorate.

Make sure not to add too much sugar to the cakes since the frosting is already pretty sweet! Adjust sugar in the frosting to your taste!

Double the recipe if you also want to use this as filling!

Happy baking!

Tip

Cake flour is just an excuse the large flour producers found to charge you more for something extra cheap! All purpose flour is not the best for cakes, indeed, but all you need to do is replace each cup of flour from the recipe by 3/4 cup of flour + 1/4 cup of corn starch, leveled and sift before mixing in the recipe. Pretty easy! Fluffy cakes guaranteed! That's what my grandmother and my mother always did when baking cakes. Little did they know they had a secret in their hands!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Spanish Tortilla

Eggs are definitely my favorite ingredient to work with!
They are so versatile! They can be used for sweets and savory dishes, they give cakes structure and they last forever if kept in the fridge (as they should be here in the US since eggs are pre washed prior to going to stores and any minimum moisture left in an egg shell can serve as a growth medium as well as allow growing bacterias to get into your egg! UGH!)

Which reminds me of a very interesting article I once read (below) that explains different handling methodologies for eggs in the US versus Europe. Very interesting if you have time for the reading: http://www.forbes.com/sites/nadiaarumugam/2012/10/25/why-american-eggs-would-be-illegal-in-a-british-supermarket-and-vice-versa/


 
But anyway... Back to the recipe!

So I had to make a quick lunch today and realized I had no leftovers in my fridge and nothing to thaw in my freezer! Before I started to panic, I opened the fridge and saw the carton of eggs and half an onion. But I didn't want to eat a plain omelet... Then it hit me! A dish my mom used to make all the time when I was a kid: SPANISH TORTILLA! I didn't really like it back then, I'll be honest, as I'm not a huge fan of potatoes but then I realized I could sautee them first and make them crispy to help improve the flavor. I also had leftover cream and parmesan in my fridge so I knew any dish I decided upon couldn't taste bad. Grab that old potato there in the back of my pantry and voilà... A fast feast!

Spanish tortillas are basically a thick omelet  with potatoes and, as far as growing up where I did, some onions sometimes too. Feel free to skip these if you don't have any or if you don't like them. Sautée the potatoes and onions for extra flavor but don't feel guilty if you don't have time for this step as the dish will work just fine without it.

> Ingredients: (for 4)

1 large potato, steamed, diced small
4 eggs (any size!)
1/2 large onion diced small
1/2 T vegetable oil
1/2 T butter
1/8 teaspoon of paprika
salt & pepper to taste
3 T heavy cream (optional, I had in my fridge so I used it. Can be replaced by milk)
1 T Corn starch mixed with 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder (optional, only if you're using the milk or cream)

  1. Pre heat oven to 400F.
  2. Beat the eggs in a bowl with the paprika, salt and pepper. Add the cream (or milk) mixed with the corn starch and baking powder if you're using them. Set aside.
  3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil in high heat and sautée the diced onion and potato cubes. Let them form a nice crispy brown outside, sautee them (or stir) every now and then adding the butter halfway through.
  4. When they're golden brown and fragrant, about 5-8 minutes, lower the heat to medium, spread them roughly in the bottom of the pan, cover with the egg mixture and let the bottom cook for about 5 minutes.
  5. Throw the skillet in the preheated oven to finish baking, 5-10 more minutes at the most, depending on how much it cooked on the stove top. Use a knife or toothpick that when inserted in the dish comes out clean to make sure the center of the pan is fully cooked. If you have any cheese in your fridge, cover the mixture with it before taking the pan to the oven.
Let it cool for a couple of minutes before slicing it.

Serve with toasted slices of buttered bread or a salad if you're trying to take it easy on carbs (remember your fancy omelet has potatoes in it!)

Hint: I had a small piece of parmesan in my fridge that I grated and incorporated to the batter. It tasted really good!




Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Quinoa Cauliflower bites

Feeling creative and looking forward to a healthy meal disguised as a treat I came up with these yummy bites! Lots of people don't know what to do nor how to cook quinoa so this is a nice basic recipe for beginners and experts!


It's not 100% clean, I'll be honest, since it has parmesan and turkey sausage but it was healthy and clean enough for my dinner! Especially considering amounts of these items are very reasonable.

Adjust to what you have in the fridge. All you have is broccoli and some old slices of turkey breast? No problem! Leftover zucchini and a piece of swiss lingering in your fridge? I'm sure that will work too.

Try these as an afternoon snack or as a side for a nice meal.

Base ingredients:

1/2 cup of quinoa
1 cup of vegetable or chicken broth (optional)
1 small head of cauliflower, steamed, chopped tiny
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
2 extra large eggs, free range preferably
2 T of extra virgin olive oil
2 small shallots
1 handful of fresh herbs (parsley, chives, thyme, oregano...)
1/2 package of smoked turkey sausage (approx. 7oz), diced small
1/4 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
pinch of nutmeg
ground black pepper to taste

Cook 1/2 cup of quinoa by adding it to 1 cup of boiling liquid. I used chicken broth. As soon as it boils again, lower the heat and let it simmer covered. When water is absorbed and dries from surface, let quinoa finish cooking with the lid off until all water evaporates. A total of 20 minutes, approximately. Set aside.

Steam a head of cauliflower in a spaghetti pot for about 7 minutes or until vegetable is tender but still has a firm bite to it. Chop it carefully into small pieces after it cools. Do not let it cool inside the pot as it will keep cooking and form a puree! (Which, now that I think about, could work for this as well... )

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients. Fill a nonstick muffin tray with the mixture, flattening the surface of each one with a spoon to compact contents.

Cook in pre heated oven @385F for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Let it cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from tray.

NOTES

> If desired, you can top each muffin with more parmesan or any cheese and broil it for a few extra minutes.

> I pan fried the diced shallots with the sausage for extra flavor!

> The best olive oil for this is the Mild & Buttery by Olive Ranch California

> Try using 1 cup of cheddar instead of the parmesan for a more moist and compact bite. (a bit fatter, too!)

> If you don't let it cool, it will be very hard to get the muffins out of the tray without crumbling.  Plan ahead!

> Hubby said he would be ok if I replaced the turkey sausage with real bacon and fried the shallots in its grease. I was aiming for something a bit healthier but, hey... Whatever works for you! Give it try if you're anything like Justin! It does sound delicious!