Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Green bean, tomato, feta and cannellini bean salad

Salada de vagem, tomate, feta e feijão branco / Green bean, tomato, feta and cannellini bean salad


It is super cold in Sao Paulo today – it is the winter after all – and I have been trying to keep myself warm with lots of clothes and buckets of hot tea (I might make soup for dinner to boot).

However, I know that many of you reading me on the top half of the planet are having a very intense summer, including devastating effects in some places due to extreme heat and storms. I do hope you are well and safe, and that things get back to normal soon.

I will share with you today one of my favorite salads, one that I have made several times and that I like specially to take to the office for lunch. It is not even a recipe to be honest: I start by grilling the green beans in a hot nonstick frying pan with a little bit of olive oil and half a clove of garlic, some salt and pepper (I later discard the garlic – it is only to perfume the beans).

When it is cool, I add halved cherry tomatoes, diced feta cheese and cannellini beans from a can.

The dressing is a very simple vinaigrette made with olive oil, lime or lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper: everything added to an empty jar and shaken until creamy. When I take this salad to work for lunch, I pack the dressing separately and add it to the salad minutes before eating.

A fresh, colorful meal, made in minutes and without using the stove too much – I hope you like it. xx

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Lemon pistachio yogurt cake - yes, cake again :)

Bolo de iogurte, pistache e limão siciliano

Here I am once again with cake. :) 

Days have been pretty busy around here, lots of work, back at the office twice a week, but all in all everything is fine. I took my first vaccine shot two weeks ago and I felt something I hadn’t felt in quite a long time: hope.

It was quite an emotional moment for me, when a mix of feelings emerged: happiness and relief, and at the same time anger because of all the people who have died because the psychopath who is the president of my country refused to buy vaccines, because he wanted to make money out of it – corruption in its most disgusting shape.

One thing I have not changed on my weeks is baking a cake to snack on in the afternoons: my husband and I got completely hooked on that. The Epicurious yogurt cake recipe continues to be a hit in my house, and I have made it so many times since quarantine started that I have lost track of it. So easy to put together, so adaptable. 

This version I made with lemon and pistachio and it turned out amazing – very tender and sort of marzipany in taste, even though I used pistachios instead of almonds. My favorite take on this recipe, tied with the apple version.

 

Bolo de iogurte, pistache e limão siciliano



Lemon pistachio yogurt cake

adapted from the Epicurious recipe, once again


Cake:

1 ¼ cups (175g) all-purpose flour

½ cup (50g) pistachio flour (finely ground hazelnuts)

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon table salt

1 cup (200g) granulated sugar

finely grated zest of 2 lemons

¾ cup (180g) plain yogurt

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

2 large eggs, room temperature

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons Cointreau (optional)

 

To sprinkle to cake:

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

 

Preheat oven to 180C/350°F. Brush with oil a 6-cup capacity loaf pan (22x11cm/8.5x4.5in), line with baking paper leaving an overhang in the two longer sides and brush the paper as well.

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

In a large bowl, rub sugar and lemon zest with your fingertips until sugar is fragrant. Whisk in yogurt, oil, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and Cointreau (if using) 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. Sprinkle with the sugar. 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 4 days.

Serves 8

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Rangpur lime cake

Bolo de limão cravo / Rangpur lime cake


When I first started cooking from foreign books, magazines and food blogs, I was amazed to find out so many new ingredients – and until some point in time, I was not able to find some of them in Brazil.

Almond extract was one of them – I could only find the synthetic stuff here, so when I first went to New York, in 2012, I brought home a small bottle of Nielsen-Massey’s almond extract. To my surprise, when I tried it and baked it for the first time, I found it… weird. It was not what I expected – to me, it still felt artificial. So after that I went back to using Amaretto to replace almond extract in recipes, as I had been doing before my trip with great success.

When I saw Claire Saffitz making her almond poppy seed cake on YouTube I was immediately interested in the recipe – since I wanted to bake something but did not have much butter in the fridge – plus my good friend Ellen had told me the cake was truly wonderful.

First I thought of making the cake using Amaretto instead, but then I decided to tweak Claire’s recipe just a little to flavor the cake with the lovely Rangpur limes I had brought from the farmers’ market – the cake turned out tender and absolutely delicious, perfumed with the limes and the smell took over the apartment while the cake was in the oven - it smelled so good it was very hard to wait for the cake to cool to slice it. 😊

If Rangpur limes are not easy to find where you live, go ahead and use lemons or limes instead.  

 

Rangpur lime cake

slightly adapted from Claire Saffitz’s almond poppy seed cake

 

Cake:

1 cup (200g) granulated sugar

finely grated zest of 2 large Rangpur limes (about 60g each lime)

1 ½ cups (210g) all purpose flour

¾ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup (180ml) whole milk, room temperature

2/3 cup (160ml) canola oil

1 large egg, room temperature

1 large egg yolk, room temperature

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ teaspoons Rangpur lime juice

1 tablespoon Cointreau (optional)

 

Glaze:

1/3 cup (46g) icing sugar

½ tablespoon (7g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3 teaspoons Rangpur lime juice

 

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Brush with oil a 6-cup capacity loaf pan (22x11cm/8.5x4.5in), line with baking paper leaving an overhang in the two longer sides and brush the paper as well.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, rub together sugar and zest with your fingertips until sugar is fragrant. Add flour, baking powder, salt, and whisk. Set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk well the milk, oil, egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract, lime juice and Cointreau (if using). Pour over dry ingredients and then mix in high speed for 1 minute or until batter is smooth.

Transfer to prepared pan and bake for about 80 minutes, or until risen and golden and a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool in the pan over a wire rack for 15 minutes, then carefully unmold using paper as guide.

In the meantime, make the glaze: sift the icing sugar into a small bowl, add the remaining ingredients and whisk well until you get a pourable consistency (add more juice if necessary).

After unmolding the cake, peel off the paper from the sides of the cake (only the sides at this point, since the cake will still be very fragile to be turned around) and pierce the cake all around with a toothpick. Brush with the glaze on top and sides, until all the glaze is absorbed. Cool completely before serving.

Cake can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Serves 8-10 slices

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Orange and olive oil granola

Granola de laranja e azeite de oliva - v.2


I told you the other day that once I started making my own granola I never went back to store bought – not only I can control the amount of sugar and fat in the recipe, I can also vary the flavors and create new types of granola depending on my own taste. 

My chocolate granola is an absolute favorite – it is so delicious I have to refrain myself from eating the whole batch while it cools on the counter. But the granola I bring you today is also wonderful: perfumed with orange zest and juice, flecked with tart cranberries, full of good-for-you sesame seeds and quinoa flakes. You can use honey or make the granola vegan by replacing honey with agave.

This granola is a hit with my dear friend Tania Pereyra, who lives in NY and is a very special woman, who I adore and admire. Let me know if you give it a try too.

 

Orange and olive oil granola

own recipe

 

250g jumbo oats

50g quinoa flakes

50g de flaked almonds

3 tablespoons sesame seeds

finely grated zest of 2 small oranges

¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon table salt

1/3 cup (80ml) honey or agave

1 tablespoon light brown sugar, packed

1/3 cup (80ml) freshly squeezed orange juice

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

½ cup (65g) dried cranberries, cut in half if too large

 

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, quinoa flakes, almond, sesame seeds, orange zest, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine honey/agave, brown sugar, orange juice and olive oil and whisk over medium heat until melted and sugar is dissolved.

Remove from the heat and pour over dry ingredients. Stir well to coat. Spread mixture evenly over prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Stir the granola around with a rubber spatula (careful not to tear the foil), spread it evenly again and bake for another 15 minutes – the granola will still be soft and will get crunchy once cooled.

Remove from the oven and stir the granola around again. Let cool completely, then stir in the cranberries.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Serves 10-12 

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Cocoa waffles with caramelized bananas

Waffles de cacau com bananas caramelizadas

Sometimes I think about how many times we change our minds throughout different phases of life, ages, etc. I always say that I don’t get a tattoo because I am not able to like something forever – I would probably regret the tattoo right after getting inked.

When I was younger I thought that breakfast in bed was oh, so cool: the romcoms I watched as a teenager gave me the impression that having breakfast in bed was truly romantic. Now, at the age of 42, I don’t want to eat anything in bed – dirty sheets, crumbs prickling me at night? Thanks, but no thanks. :)

So I would rather have my breakfast on the table, and for the weekend, when I have more time, waffles go really well: I love this recipe for I believe chocolate and bananas are a match made in heaven. And of course you can serve these waffles as dessert, too.

 

Cocoa waffles with caramelized bananas

own recipe

 

Waffles:

1 cup (140g) all purpose flour

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

pinch of table salt

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

¼ cup (56g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled – for crispier waffles, replace butter with olive oil or canola oil

1 cup (240ml) buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Caramelized bananas:

2 ½ tablespoons - 35g – unsalted butter

1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 medium bananas, sliced in coins

1 ½ tablespoons whisky, Marsala, rum or water (if you don’t want to use booze)

 

In a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, butter, buttermilk and vanilla. Pour over the dry ingredients and fold until incorporated – batter will be sort of lumpy, that is OK.

Heat a waffle iron. Add about 1/3 cup of batter per waffle (adjust the amount of batter depending on the size of your machine), then cook following the manufacturer's instructions, until the waffles are golden brown.

While the waffles cook, prepare the bananas: melt butter in a large nonstick frying pan over high heat. Add the sugar and the cinnamon and mix with a spatula until sugar starts to melt. Add the bananas and cook them ever so slightly on both sides until golden. Add the booze (if using) carefully not to get burned. Mix to dissolve the caramel in the frying pan and cook for another minute. Remove from the heat and serve immediately with the waffles.

Serves 4

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