Thursday, February 25, 2016

Roasted tri tip with coarse salt crust

February is almost over and I haven't posted any recipes yet!! 

Let's fix this with an amazing roast beef! So easy but looks and tastes very much the opposite! Even if you can't cook, you can make this one! It's made with an awesome premium cut of beef widely used in my country known as picanha. In the US, theclosest cut would be a tri tip and I find it at Trader Joe's! It's a cut they normally carry, so nothing special or "seasonal", and it's at a friendly $7.99/lb! Another benefit is that they only carry the fully trimmed version so it's not fatty at all, but since it has some marbling, it's still very flavorful and juicy for this prep. Go for it!

All you need is the following:

  • 10-12 oz coarse sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp of egg whites (or whites from 2 extra large eggs)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • thyme or rosemary sprigs (optional)
  • 1/2 Tbsp butter at room temperature
  • tri tip (about 2-2.5lbs at most)

Cover a large baking sheet or pyrex with aluminmum foil, make a salt bed with 1/4 of the coarse salt. Place the beef on it with the fattiest part on top, if any fat on your cut.
In a medium bowl, mix the rest of the salt with the flour and egg whites. It will feel thick, like wet sand.
Spread the butter on top of the meat. You can skip this step if you have fat on yours.
Cover the picanha in that mix, it doesn't have to be too thick of a layer. Make it stay in place by gently pressing with your hands or a wooden spoon. If the meat is too wet, you may pat dry it with a paper towel before hand.
Cover with the sprigs of herbs if you're using.
Bake in pre heated oven @405F for about 40 minutes. It will depend on the size of your beef cut. I used a meat thermometer and took it out of the oven between 135 and 140F because I like it medium rare, like in the picture. 145-150 if you prefer just pink in the center and about 160-165 if you like it well done.
After taking it out of the oven, cover with some aluminum foil and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
To serve, remove the crust, slice the sides as thin or as thick as you'd like. If the core is still too red, put the crust back on and put it in the oven for 10 more minutes or so.

I served mine with a big salad made from all kinds of mixed greens, cucumber, tomatoes and radishes and also some steamed asparagus. Goes really well with a side of wild rice or spaghetti tossed in butter and parmesan too!

The inspiration for this dinner came from my mom since she gave me the idea when I told her I had a tri tip in the fridge and wasn't sure what to do with it! The original recipe I adapted mine from is here (sorry! It's in portuguese!) - 

Makes for a tasty weeknight dinner! Leftovers aren't bad either: just slice everytjhing really thin for your doggy bag! Happy cooking!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Bolo tipo Cuca de Maçã, Banana & Canela

Esse bolinho é jogo rápido! Super fácil e prático. Ótimo pra usar aquela última banana da fruteira e aquela maçã que ninguém vai comer tão cedo! 

Essa receita dá um bolo pequenininho, ótimo pra tomar com café ou chá! A farofinha crocante em cima deixa esse bolo super especial!

Ingredientes - rende 9 pedaços grandes

1 maçã descascada, picada
1 banana, picada
1/4 xíc (chá) + 1 col (sopa) de manteiga sem sal amolecida
1/2 xíc (chá) açúcar mascavo claro
3/4 xíc (chá) de farinha
1/4 xíc (chá) de amido de milho
1 col (chá) de bicarbonato de sódio, cheia
1/4 col (chá) de sal
1 col (chá) de canela, cheia
2 col (chá) de extrato de baunilha
1/2 xíc (chá) leite 
1 ovo

1/4 xíc (chá) açúcar mascavo
3 col (sopa) manteiga sem sal gelada
2 col (chá) de canela
1/4 xíc (chá) de farinha
1/2 xíc (chá) de nozes ou castanha do Pará picadas

Preparando o bolo:
Em uma tigela média misture o açúcar com a manteiga. Se preferir, forme um creme fofo usando uma batedeira em velocidade alta por 3 minutinhos. Acrescente o leite, ovo, a canela e a baunilha e continue batendo. Desligue a batedeira se estiver usando. Adicione os ingredientes secos e as frutas. misture com uma colher de pau.

Para a farofa:
Usando um garfo, misture a manteiga com os demais ingredientes, exceto as castanhas. Forme uma farofa seca e incorpore as nozes.

Prepare uma assadeira quadrada de 20X20cm untando-a com manteiga e farinha. Despeja a massa, e nivele com a ajuda da colher de pau ou de uma espátula. Cubra com a farofa e leve ao forno pré aquecido a 180C. Asse por aproximadamente 35-40 minutos ou até que espetando um palito, este saia seco.

Sirva morno ou guarde em um pyrex com tampa após esfriar. Fica bem gostoso por mais uns 2-3 dias.

Essa cuca fica super fofinha!! Delícia!! 


- Se vc só tiver maçãs, use 2 frutas
- Aumente ou diminua a canela conforme o seu gosto
- Vc pode usar manteiga salgada mas não se esqueça de não acrescentar sal na massa
- As frutas podem ser de qualquer tamanho. 
- Dobre a receita para uma forma retangular.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Colorful Quinoa Salad

Trying to ealt healthier - like every beginning of year (sigh!) - I came up with a colorful and very tasty quinoa salad. Quinoa is a great way to introduce low glycemic index carb and high protein to your dish, it has good carbs and a ton of vitamins, minerals and fibers!

You can adjust this recipe to pretty much anything that you have in your fridge, which is how I made mine. It turned out delicious!

1 cup quinoa
1 medium onion, diced
1 bell pepper (any color), diced
1 handful grape tomatoes, not too ripe
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 small persian cucumber, diced - add it only right before eating to avoid it getting soggy and maybe sour
1/2 cup broccoli slaw mix
4 T olive oil
juice of 1/2 meyer lemon (or any kind of lemon)
chopped italian parsley & green onions
1 teaspoon dried herbs
salt & pepper to taste

Cook the cup of quinoa w/1 teaspoon of salt in 2 cups of water (you can also use chicken broth if you'd like). Bring to a boil then reduce heat. Let it simmer covered until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Let if finish cooking partially covered, until the water from the bottom of the pan is gone. Reserve.
Dice all the vegetables. Add the chopped onion to a measuring cup and add boiling water to blanch it and remove the strong onion flavor. Drain and rinse in cold water to keep it crunchy.
Mix all diced vegetables (except for the cucumber!) and the coleslaw mix to the cooled, cooked quinoa. Incorporate them gently to avoid pureeing. Season with more salt, the pepper, lemon juice, herbs and olive oil. Add the cucumber right before serving for an extra crunch.

Also delicious sprinkled with walnuts and/or pieces of olives! 

You can serve with grilled chicken or a fish fillet to boost the protein content.

This salad is really healthy especially if you use high quality extra virgin olive oil. It may be a bit more expensive, but considering how bad the regular olive oil can be due to adulteration (even the european ones!), it's definitely worth it! I always use California Olive Ranch, any kind. Nowadays they even sell it at Target and Jewel at really good prices, like $8 or
9 a bottle (500mL). And it tastes so much better too!! Definitely worth the investment! 

Happy cooking!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Justin & Flavia’s Healthy (and yummy!) Chili

Chili is such a hearty dish! If prepared with lean meat it's also a healthy meal packed with protein and lots of other nutrients! I also think this happens to be the best dish to “hide” nutritious veggies that kids (or some adults!) won’t eat.

Every family has their own secret recipe for chili but mine is no secret and it only needs about 30 minutes to make! Here’s all you need:

  • 2 lbs cooked beans (or 2 cans of chili beans, I use 1 red and 1 kidney, mild)
  • 1 lb ground beef, lean or extra lean
  • 34oz diced tomatoes (1 use a 26oz container of diced tomatoes with onions, carrots and celery in it + 1 10oz jar of diced tomatoes with chilies)
  • 1 large bell pepper, any color, diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pureed
  • 1-2T of dry chili powder (to taste. I use 1 but think 2 would be ok as well if you like the flavor)
  • ½ T tomato paste (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Frank’s red sauce original
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ T olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of water or broth (beef or vegetable I feel are more suitable, if you must, but it’s not necessary)

In a medium stockpot, sautée the bell pepper, tomato paste, onion and garlic using the olive oil, until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add ground beef, mixing well to avoid chunks and let it brown. That’s what’s going to give it the best flavor!

Once the beef is browned, add all the other ingredients. Cook on medium heat until it starts to bubble; stirring frequently then let it simmer on low heat for another 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If you don’t have lean ground beef, you may want to brown it first so you can drain the unhealthy fat.

To pack nutrients, consider adding an extra bell pepper, a couple stalks of celery and 2 small diced carrots. I also chop spinach and/or kale and add to the bottom of my bowl for extra healthy stuff! The fact that you won’t overcook the greens but will still warm them up will ensure lots of vitamins to be delivered with your meal!

I serve my chili bowl topped with low fat sour cream, fresh parsley and green onions. Feel free to add regular or 2% milk shredded cheddar, too. Also, add the level of spiciness to your taste. I do not like spicy food so if you do, you may think this needs a kick. Try adding a couple diced jalapeños, more chili powder and some extra hot sauce.

Voilá! I guarantee you will think you’re indulging and you’ll want to go for seconds! A great meal, easy enough for week nights! A bonus: it will freeze amazingly!

Happy new year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Bolo de Cenoura à base de manteiga

Bolo de cenoura é sempre uma delícia! Ainda assim eu sempre acho que fica uma textura pesada e um gostinho oleoso. Com manteiga, achei que fosse ficar diferente e acho que acertei! Ainda vou dar uma aprimorada mas essa receita ficou bem gostosa!
Acompanha cobertura de chocolate da vovó ou um brigadeiro mole com creme de leite sem soro.

Anota aí!

2 xíc (chá) farinha de trigo
1/2 xíc (chá) amido de milho
1 1/2 xíc (chá) açúcar + 1 col (sopa)
2 col (sopa) leite
4 ovos grandes
2/3 (xíc) chá de manteiga
1 col (sopa) cheia de fermentó em pó
3 cenouras grandes (320g)
1/4 col (chá) sal
1/2 col (chá) extrato de baunilha

1 col (sopa) manteiga com ou sem sal
1 lata leite condensado
1 lata de creme de leite sem soro
100g chocolate meio-amargo
(ou 2 col [sopa] cacau em pó)


Para o bolo:
Bata 2 ovos, 1 xíc de açúcar e a manteiga amolecida em velocidade alta na batedeira até formar um creme fofo. Reserve.
Em um bowl, misture com um fouet a farinha, o amido, o sal e o fermento. Reserve.
No liquidificador, bata as cenouras picadas com 2 ovos e o resto do açúcar. Misture com o creme da batedeira e incorpore a mistura de farinha sem mexer muito, com a ajuda de uma colher de pau.
Asse em forma de buraco (grande, 12-16 xícaras de capacidade) em forno pré aquecido a 180C por 45 minutos ou até que espetando um palito este saia seco.
Desenforme o bolo ainda quente.
Enquanto o bolo esfria, faça um brigadeiro mole e depois misture o creme de leite. Cubra o bolo.
Se desejar, faça uma calda com 100mL de leite, 1 col (sopa) de açúcar e 1 col (sopa) de cacau em pó a regue depois de fazer furos por todo o bolo.

Vai muito bem com um cafezinho sem açúcar!

Bom apetite!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cinnamon Rolls

Simple and simply delicious, these are super easy and quick to make!
Follow the instructions to the T and in less than an hour you will have a tray of treats out of the oven!

3 to 4 cups of flour
2 packets of dry yeast (I used instant)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk + 1/4 cup water, warm (~130F)
1/2 cup (= 1 stick) unsalted BUTTER, melted

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

ICING (optional)
1.5 cup confectioner's sugar
1 T unsalted butter
3 teaspoons hot water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pre heat oven to 375F.

Making the dough:
Mix 2 cups of the flour with the sugar, salt, yeast, melted butter and warm milk + water mixture. Mix well with a wooden spoon or your Kitchen Aid bread hook. (I used the latter!)
Once it's a homogeneous paste, add the egg and another cup of flour. Mix well. Keep adding flour little by little until an elastic dough ball forms. Knead for 5 minutes or so, put it back in the bowl, cover and let it rest for 20 minutes.

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl using a spatula forming a spread.

Once the dough is ready, roll it out in a rectangle about 1/4" thick. Spread the filling leaving the edges. Roll it tight like a jelly roll.
Using a serrated bread knife cut the roll into 12-15 discs. Set them spread apart in a 9X13 pan lined with non stick aluminum foil or parchment paper.
Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until golden on the top and filling is bubbly.

Serve immediately with a huge cup of black coffee and try not to eat the whole tray!!
Keep in air tight container for up to 3 days (otherwise it starts drying).
Microwave for 20s if not eating straight from the oven!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Really Moist & Really Rich Chocolate Cake

I’m always searching for the perfect chocolate cake recipe. I do have some really good ones (like the one I always use for my Almond Joy cakes) but this one wins!  It’s REALLY moist! If you don’t want to moisten it with liquid after baked you don’t even have to. It’s also fluffy, not too dense and it makes the perfect combination with any frosting or filling.  I found it on the internet but can't remember where! Modified a bit as usual so I guess I'm not copying, right!? ;)

Note this is NOT for those who don’t love chocolate! Feel free to go sweet on the filling and/or frosting as this batter will be really dark, rich and not overly sweet.

My filling of choice, as usual is coconut cream made from condensed milk and organig shredded coconut; and the frosting, semi-sweet ganache. But you can do whatever you want: chocolate buttercream, strawberries and vanilla cream...

1 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ cup corn starch
2 cups granulated sugar
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon  good quality instant coffee
1 cup of milk (any kind)
1 cup boiling water
½ cup olive oil (or any vegetable oil)
2 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract

In a  small bowl, lightly beat the eggs with vanilla. Reserve.
In a large bowl whisk together all dry ingredients. Add milk and fold in. Add oil and fold in. Add beaten eggs and incorporate well without beating or stirring too much. Mix in boiling water. 
I like to make my cakes by hand so they are as fluffy as possible.
Divide batter into 2 - 9” round pans (spray with baking PAM or grease the pans and spread cocoa powder),  and bake in preheated oven @350 degrees F for 30 minutes. 

Batter will be very liquid, but do not fear!

  • You can use the proportion I recommend of flour and starch but if no starch is available, feel free to use 2 cups of flour only. Corn starch helps with fluffiness.
  • Instead of instant coffee + boiling water, you can add 1 cup of hot coffee.
  • Feel free to substitute buttermilk for the milk. (or milk + 1T vinegar).
  • Careful to really incorporate the egg in the batter before adding the boiling water as you don’t want pieces of scrambled eggs in your batter. UGH!
  • Take cakes off the mold 5-10 minutes after baking is done and let them cool. If you’re really handy, this cake is tall enough for you to cut each one in half and make it with 3 layers of filling!
  • If the cake is for the day after you bake it, make sure to keep it covered so it doesn’t lose moisture. Some press and seal will do. Keep it in the mold or at least with the ring on if you're using a spring form pan to help maintain shape.
  • If transporting, like I was, wrap the cake in kit kats and a nice bow. For this one I used 10 or 11 white kit kat bars I purchased on Amazon.

I’m dreaming about making this cake replacing the cup of water with a cup of Guinness or other dark beer! Maybe that will be the cake for my husband’s bday!!