Monday, April 16, 2012

Daring cooks April Challenge

Our April 2012 Daring Cooks challenge, was quite interesting.

We had to create our own recipe using 1 ingredient out of each of the following lists.

List 1: Parsnips, Eggplant (aubergine), Cauliflower

List 2: Balsamic Vinegar, Goat Cheese, Chipotle peppers

List 3: Maple Syrup, Instant Coffee, Bananas

I have to admit I had a blank when I saw the ingredients. First of all I've never seen

parsnips in Argentina or Maple Syrup; two ingredients: GONE
It was a beautiful warm fall day perfect for a BBQ.
I looked at my fridge and pantry and I had : Chipotles and instant coffee from the lists.
I also had chicken. I run to the store and got cauliflower.
Started the grill and mixed and all purpose rub with the instant coffee and some olive oil;
brushed all the chicken and let it marinade while the coals were getting red.
I blanched the cauliflower, then brushed it with olive oil  and sprinkled it with dry chipotle peppers.
I had all my three ingredients. All on the grill,...laid on the sun and waited.
Simple, really simple and so, so flavourful.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Super easy Thai salad

We had a BBQ this weekend and I had just a little chicken and  little beef  leftovers. Not enough to make a sandwich, plus, where is the creativity on making a chicken sandwich?
So, looking around in the pantry a found a few rice noodles; a had some veggies and tofu in the fridge and my leftovers became a bright and flavourful Thai salad.

For the dressing I adapted a recipe from :

1 1/2 tbs fresh lime juice
1 tbs sugar
1 tbs fish sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger

For the tofu I adapted a recipe from

1/4 block firm or extra firm tofu
6 tbsp flour
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup oil

And for the rest of the salad I used

left over chicken
leftover beef
rice noodles
1/2 red pepper
2 green onions
1 zucchini
a small bunch of dandelions
a few garlic chives
black and white sesame seeds.

I cut up the tofu into small cubes, put them in a baggie with the flour, garlic salt and pepper, shacked them and the fried them in the oil.

I soaked up the noodles, sauteed the red peppers, green onions and zucchini in separate batches.

Mixed all the dressing ingredients.

Separately I soaked the noodles in the dressing, also the tofu, beef and chicken.

Toasted the sesame seeds and assembled the plates by placing dandelions on the bottom, noodles in the middle and the rest of the ingredients all around the noodles.
Sprinkled with sesame seeds, a little extra sesame oil and decorated with the garlic chives and pour the rest of the dressing on top.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Dessert in a flash.

No time for baking or even thinking what to do for dessert?
Get some dates, cut them in halve, get the pit out and stuffed them with a walnut.
You can't stop eating them.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What to do with leftovers.

Getting recipes from books, magazines and the web is easy.
Transforming the left overs into something else, it's an art.
I am an artist.
I hate throwing food away. I save the smallest amounts of leftovers
and transform them into something else.

I had leftovers mashed pumpkin and potatoes from yesterday.
Today they became: Pumpkin agnolotti with Gorgonzola-sage cream sauce.

I used wonton wrappers; filled them with the mashed pumpkin/potato.
Added a very small cube of cheese and a little cut up sage. (from my garden)
Dipped the edges with water and closed them.

For the sauce, just heavy cream with some Gorgonzola and a touch of salt and pepper.

I boiled the agnolotti in salted water, just for a few minutes until the floated and the dough
turned a little transparent and you could see the orange filling.
Strained them and saved them for a few seconds while I sauteed some sage leaves in butter.

I warmed up the plates, cover them with the sauce, top the sauce with the agnolotti and
drizzled them with the sage butter.

That's it. Fast, affordable and delicious.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Veggie Garden

This year I started a veggie garden. I have to admit it is a sad veggie garden.
I had a late start, waiting for the gardener to do some pruning and fixing.
He said: ''I'll be there Thursday.''
He just forgot to mention WHAT Thursday.

I had started lots of tomatoes seedlings, which by the time I transplanted them, they were on the verge of dying, torture by the lack of space (30+ plants in 1 pot).
A big variety of peppers. Mostly seeds I collected after eating a new kind anywhere in the world.
Some herbs, the classic ones: oregano, basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, sage, a couple of different types of mint and Huacatay, a not so classic, from Perú.

After planting them I left for the summer to work on the coast, leaving my dear boyfriend in charge of the crop.
Dear boyfriend had never even watered a pot in his entire life, so by the tame I came back, two months later, I was pretty surprised that most of the plants where still alive. Except for Mr. Jalapeño, one of my favorite ones.
Ive been working for the past two weeks, putting some tutors to the tomato plants, fixing the soil, cleaning u dead leaves and slowly but surely I started to see a little improvement. We might be able to eat some home grown tomatoes after all.
What are doing wonderfully, are the herbs.
It's nice how some herbs can change a simple meal into something special.

Today for lunch we had some steak with mashed pumpkin and potatoes and I just chopped some mint, basil, thyme and oregano; mixed it with olive oil, kosher salt and a touch of balsamic and eat it with the meat. (and dipped some bread, couldn't help myself). Delicious!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tagliatelle with seafood/saffron croquettes on a cream sauce

I probably get more than 20 recipe newsletters a day. Love them all. Not always I have the time to read them all, actually 5 days out of 7 I delete them to keep my inbox on a manageable size.
The glorious days that I get to enjoy them, I usually save 2 or 3 recipes I would like to make.
I also have  hundreds of cooking magazines with sticky notes, cookbooks, pictures, Cd's, software,...napkins, papers, notes, clippings....out of control!
What should I cook first?? How can I  get organize?
That time will come...

But I have to say, I'm pretty proud of myself. Today I made a recipe that I saw only a couple of days ago (well, maybe 4 or 5 days ago). It was from Giallo Zafferano, an Italian website that I love. I have try several of their recipes and they were all keepers. The original name of this recipe is: Tagliatelle mimosa

For the tagliatelle:
  • flour, 300 gr
  • salt
  • 3 medium eggs

For the croquettes:

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 250 gr hake (or cod)
  • 80 gr bread crumbs
  • 50 gr grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Pepper
  • salt
  • 1egg
  • 1 packet saffron

For the sauce:
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 30 g butter
  • 2 Tbs Olive oil
  • 250 ml heavy cream
  • pepper
  • salt

  • Parsley

To prepare the pasta, mix eggs, flour and salt together: knead until smooth and let it rest covered for at least half an hour in a cool place. Then roll out the pastry and ass it through the pasta machine. (or you can cut them by hand) or....just buy fresh pasta.
Meanwhile, remove any bones in fish, cut into pieces  and chop it in a food processor. Pour into a bowl, add the garlic clove  crushed bread crumbs, Parmesan, egg, salt, pepper and saffron dissolved in a tablespoon of water;  mix well. You will get a bright yellow  mix.  Form it into very small balls.
 Put the oil, butter and two cloves of garlic  in a pan and  add the meatballs, sauté 2 minutes, then add the brandy, add the cream  season with salt and pepper and then turn off the heat. Cook the noodles in salted water and then, once drained, mix them in a pan with the sauce . Sauté for a couple of minutes, then serve dividing the meatballs in the various dishes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.