Thursday, September 17, 2020

Pizza flavored whole wheat waffles and very different vacations

Waffles integrais sabor pizza

I was on vacation for most of July and it was very different from all the other previous vacations I ever took: in quarantine, I stayed home all the time. I had plans to go back to NYC this year, but unfortunately had to postpone the trip to god knows when due to the pandemic. On my vacation there was no travelling, no walking around the city, no nothing. I saw one movie a day, some TV shows, cooked a lot. I organized my books and my closet, took naps after lunch and rested.

In one of the afternoons watching movies I felt like nibbling on something, and there was freshly baked cake, but I really wanted something savory. I adapted my recipe for orange olive oil waffles to make it flavored like pizza, with cheese and dried oregano, and also added a bit of whole wheat flour to make the waffles more interesting and nuttier in flavor. The waffles turned out delicious, therefore I share the recipe with you today.

 

Pizza flavored whole wheat waffles

own recipe

 

100g all purpose flour

75g whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

pinch of salt

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 large egg, room temperature

¼ cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil

¾ cup (180ml) whole milk, room temperature

1 cup (70g) coarsely grated yellow mozzarella*

2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan

 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, oregano and salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, olive oil and milk. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir just until incorporated – do not overmix. Stir in the cheeses.

Heat a waffle iron until very hot; lightly coat with nonstick spray – my waffle maker is nonstick, so I do not coat it.

Working in batches, cook waffles until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack set inside a baking sheet and keep warm in oven until ready to serve.

* the yellow mozzarella I used is not like fresh mozzarella balls, therefore it does not release too much liquid. Replace by cheddar or something similar texture wise.

Makes 5-6 waffles


Monday, September 14, 2020

Chocolate yogurt cake for busy days

Bolo de iogurte e chocolate

The past few weeks have been quite busy and I haven’t had much time to bake or write on the blog – lots going on at work, and this never ending quarantine makes most of my days emotionally exhausting. 

I want, however, to share this recipe with you, for I am sure that sometimes a slice of cake and a cup of tea can make the day a little bit better: again, I have used the Epicurious yogurt cake recipe, but this time I turned it into a chocolate cake. Easy to make, moist, tender and delicious, this might become your go-to chocolate cake for busy days, just like it has become mine.

The apple yogurt cake continues to be my favorite version of the Epicurious recipe, but there are times when only chocolate will do, right? :)

Bolo de iogurte e chocolate

Chocolate yogurt cake

once again, adapted from the Epicurious yogurt cake

 

1 ¼ cups (175g) all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (30g) Dutch processed cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon table salt

1 cup (200g) granulated sugar

¾ cup (180g) plain yogurt – I used sheep’s milk yogurt

½ cup (120ml) vegetable oil – I used canola

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Preheat oven to 180C/350°F. Lightly brush a 6-cup capacity loaf pan with oil, line it with baking paper and then brush the paper as well.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, yogurt, oil, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Fold in reserved dry ingredients – if batter is too lumpy, whisk for a few seconds – do not overmix or the cake will become tough.

Pour the batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a skewer or toothpick inserted into center of the cake comes out clean.

Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Carefully and using the paper as a guide, remove cake from pan and transfer to the rack to cool completely.

The cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

 

Serves 8

 

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Tangerine sour cream cake

Bolo de tangerina e creme azedo / Tangerine sour cream cake

After I started tweaking Epicuriou’s yogurt cake recipe for different cake flavors it took me a good while to make cake using butter again – every time I thought of it, I had to drop the idea for not having enough time for the butter to soften (I don’t have a microwave oven). 

The day came when I had to use up some heavy cream sitting on the fridge before it went bad, and ended up making a sour cream cake that called for butter. It turned out very tender, perfumed with tangerines – both zest and juice – and delicious. My husband loved the cake with the glaze on top. 

The cake is drenched in tangerine juice after being unmolded, which makes it wonderfully moist. Do try the recipe with oranges in case you don’t have tangerines around (the original recipe calls for lemon).

Bolo de tangerina e creme azedo / Tangerine sour cream cake

Tangerine sour cream cake

adapted from this recipe

 

Cake:

2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon table salt

1 ¼ cups (250g) granulated sugar

finely grated zest of 2 medium tangerines

180g unsalted butter, softened

3 large eggs, room temperature

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons Cointreau - optional

1 cup sour cream*

 

To brush the cake:

3 tablespoons tangerine juice

 

Glaze:

½ cup (70g) icing sugar

2 tablespoons tangerine juice

 

Start with the cake: preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Butter and flour an 8-cup capacity Bundt pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Place sugar and tangerine zest in the bowl of an electric mixer and rub them together with your fingertips until sugar is fragrant. Add the butter then beat until mixture is very light and fluffy – scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula several times throughout the making of the cake. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Beat in the vanilla and Cointreau (if using).

On low speed, beat in the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the sour cream in two additions. Beat until combined only – do not overmix.

Spoon into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the oven for 45-55 minutes or until golden and risen and a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan over a wire rack for 20 minutes, then carefully unmold onto the rack. Once cake is unmolded, brush it all over with the tangerine juice, until it is absorbed completely.

Make the glaze: gradually add the tangerine juice to the icing sugar, mixing until you get the desired consistency. Pour over the cooled cake.

*homemade sour cream: to make 1 cup of sour cream, mix 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream with 2-3 teaspoons lemon juice in a bowl. Whisk until it starts to thicken. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature for 1 hour or until thicker (I usually leave mine on the counter overnight – except on very warm nights – and it turns out thick and silky in the following morning; refrigerate for a creamier texture)

Serves 10-12

Monday, August 31, 2020

Roasted eggplant bacon pasta

Macarrão com berinjela assada e bacon / Roasted eggplant bacon pasta

Even though Joao and I are not vegans or vegetarians, most of our meals revolve around vegetables, and there are several occasions when we eat vegan or vegetarian lunches and dinners – it has been like this for many years now and it happened very naturally. We both love vegetables and I am always searching for new ways to prepare them.

I like pretty much all veggies except for sweet potatoes, and Joao does not like cauliflower, but he loved the cauliflower balls I made the other day. I guess it is just a matter of making vegetables interesting, instead of simply boiling them in water. Roasting is one of the cooking methods I use the most and it seems to make all vegetables delicious.

I still cook beef and chicken sometimes – once a week, tops – and I like to use a little bacon here and there, occasionally, for flavor, or to enhance a dish that is based on vegetables. This pasta has a very meaty texture because of the eggplant, and the bacon just makes it more interesting – the saltiness matches the roasted eggplant perfectly, and the tomato makes everything moist.

I made this recipe on a Saturday for lunch and we devoured it with some crusty bread – it is rather simple and does not call for many ingredients, but the result is very tasty.

 

Roasted eggplant bacon pasta

own recipe

 

1 medium eggplant (380g), diced in 2.5cm (1in) cubes

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground black pepper

180g fusilli or other short pasta of your preference

4 slices of bacon

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 large ripe tomato, deseeded and finely diced

2 tablespoons dry white wine

 

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil.

Place the eggplant on the foil, drizzle with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast for 15 minutes. Toss the pieces around, carefully not to pierce the foil, then roast for another 15 minutes.

In the meantime, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente.

Heat a large nonstick frying pan over high heat and add the bacon, cooking until crispy and the fat is rendered. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute – do not let it burn or it will turn bitter. Add the tomato, season with salt and pepper (go easy on the salt because of the bacon) and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes release their juices, 2-3 minutes. Add the wine and cook for 1 minute. Add the roasted eggplants and stir well.

Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the sauce and cook for 1 minute – if sauce is too thick or dry, add some of the reserved pasta water and stir – I did not have any fresh herbs at home, but do add fresh basil if you have some at hand.

Serve immediately.

Serves 2

Friday, August 28, 2020

Apple yogurt cake

Bolo de iogurte e maçã

I have been in love with Epicurious’ yogurt cake ever since quarantine started: versatile and delicious, easy to make – no need to wait for the butter to soften when you feel like baking! I have made this recipe in several different ways and all turned out wonderful: marble cake, orange with chocolate sprinkles, lime with poppy seeds, Rangpur lime with coconut…

When I found two small apples in my fridge that had been forgotten there for weeks I immediately knew I wanted to make cake with them, and I did not think twice to decide on which recipe I would use. A little bit of cinnamon, the classic pairing with apples, and the cake perfumed the entire apartment. The cake turned out moist, very tender and absolutely delicious.

My heart belongs to citrus flavors, as you know, but this apple cake won me over – of all the versions I have made, it was the tastier. My husband, who definitely does not have a sweet tooth, saw the cake cooling on the counter and asked me for a slice, while it was still hot from the oven – he told me he could not resist the smell. At that moment I knew this recipe was a winner and a keeper.

 

Apple yogurt cake

slightly adapted from Epicurious, again

 

1 ½ cups (210g) all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon table salt

1 cup (200g) granulated sugar

¾ cup (180g) plain yogurt – I used sheep’s milk yogurt

½ cup (120ml) vegetable oil – I used canola

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 small Gala apples (100g each, weighed before peeling and coring), peeled, cored and diced in 1cm pieces – I used two apples that had been completely forgotten in my fridge for weeks

 

Preheat oven to 180C/350°F. Lightly brush a 6-cup capacity loaf pan with oil, line it with baking paper and then brush the paper as well.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, yogurt, oil, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Fold in reserved dry ingredient – if batter is too lumpy, whisk for a few seconds – do not overmix or the cake will become tough. Stir in the apples.

Pour the batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a skewer or toothpick inserted into center of the cake comes out clean.

Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Carefully and using the paper as a guide, remove cake from pan and transfer to the rack to cool completely.

The cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

 

Serves 8

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