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

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Orange and thyme sablés and my love for herbs

Sablés de laranja e tomilho

 

One of the things I liked the most when I started cooking recipes from different new sources – books, magazines, foodblogs – was learning how to use fresh herbs: until then, I was used to parsley and chives, which are highly popular in Brazilian houses, but not much more than that. 

The first time I added basil to a tomato sauce it was a revelation: it was amazing how much more delicious it tasted! After basil, I became friends with rosemary, sage, mint, marjoram (which I love, even though is not super easy to find), oregano, cilantro, and my absolute favorite: thyme.

I sometimes hear people saying that it goes well with beef, or lamb, but I have used thyme in so many recipes, combined with so many different types of produce and ingredients, and it has worked wonderfully every time. I love it with roasted vegetables, tomato sauce, dishes with cheese and cream, chicken, fish, chickpeas… Really, the sky is the limit for me.

One of my favorite recipes with thyme is actually sweet: these melt-in-your-mouth sables are delicious and might turn you into a thyme-fan, if you are not one yet.

 

Orange and thyme sablés

own recipe


Dough: 

½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

finely grated zest of 2 large oranges

¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar

1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, room temp.

1 large egg, room temp.

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons Cointreau (optional)

2 ¾ cups (385g) all purpose flour

½ teaspoon table salt

 

To roll the dough log:

2 tablespoons granulated sugar – demerara works wonders here too

 

Place the thyme, orange zest and sugar in a mortar and pestle or a mini food processor and crush/grind until sugar is fragrant. Transfer mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer, add butter and cream until light and fluffy – scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally throughout the making of the recipe. Beat in the egg, beating well after the addition. Beat in the vanilla and the Cointreau (if using). In low speed, beat in the flour and salt and mix just until a dough forms – do not overmix.

Divide the dough into two equal parts. Place each on a large piece of parchment paper; shape dough into logs. Fold parchment over dough; using a ruler, roll and press into a 3.5 cm (1.4in) log – like Martha does here. Wrap in parchment. Chill in the fridge until very firm, about 3 hours (the dough logs can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days or stored in the freezer for up to 1 month.)

Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F; line two large baking sheets with baking paper.

Unwrap one log at a time (keep the other in the fridge) and roll it through the sugar, pressing ever so slightly to help adhere. Cut log into 5mm (about ¼in) thick rounds; space 5cm (2in) apart onto prepared sheets. Bake until golden brown around the edges, 12-15 minutes. Cool on the sheets for 5 minutes, then slide the paper with the cookies onto a wire rack and cool completely. Repeat the process with the remaining dough log.

Packed airtight, the cookies will keep for about 5 days at room temperature or in the freezer for a month.

Makes about 48 cookies

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Blueberry clafoutis

Clafoutis de mirtilo


On a blueberry state of mind after themuffins I posted last week, I bring you a delicious and simple to make clafoutis with these wonderful berries: if you are on the bottom half of the globe like I am, the temperature is perfect for warm desserts as this one. 

I am a sucker for clafoutis, both sweet and savory, for I believe it is such a versatile recipe that can be tailored to whatever you have at hand. A handful of ingredients, most of them staples of every kitchen, plus fruits or vegetables to boot – sounds perfect to me!

I love blueberries and cinnamon together, I think they are a perfect pair, but this clafoutis is also delicious with cardamom instead – freshly ground is best.


Blueberry clafoutis

own recipe

 

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup (66g) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

pinch of salt

pinch of ground cinnamon

¼ cup (60ml) whole milk, room temperature

¼ cup (60ml) heavy cream

¾ cup (100g) blueberries, fresh or frozen (unthawed)

1 tablespoon demerara sugar, for sprinkling


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Butter two 1-cup (240ml) capacity ovenproof shallow dishes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and granulated sugar until creamy and pale, like eggnog. Whisk in the vanilla. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour, salt and cinnamon, until mixture is smooth. Fold in mil and cream. Divide mixture between the prepared dishes and sprinkle with the blueberries. Sprinkle with the demerara sugar.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Serve immediately.


Serves 2

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Blueberry, coconut and white chocolate muffins

Muffins de coco, mirtilo e chocolate branco


From a very early age my mother taught me how wonderful fruits are: apples, oranges, watermelon, strawberries, pears… We were a modest family, but there were always different fruits over the counter or in the fridge – my favorites as a kid were strawberries.

Some fruits are kind of recent in my life, such as raspberries and blueberries – these have become popular and easier to find in Brazil over the past years. I love raspberries – went picking them once with a dear friend in Surrey, England, back in 2007 – but blueberries I believe benefit from heat: after being cooked or baked, for example, they become more flavorsome: it is like they turn into little pockets of jam.

Blueberries and white chocolate are beautiful together, the flavors complement each other in a perfect way. I wanted to give these muffins a bit of a tropical flair, therefore the double addition of coconut, both desiccated and in milk form. The muffins turned out delicious, moist and tender, and I found out that coconut and blueberries can be truly great friends too.

 

Blueberry, coconut and white chocolate muffins

own recipe

 

2 cups (280g) all purpose flour

¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar

¼ cup (25g) desiccated unsweetened coconut

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon table salt

½ cup (120ml) whole milk, room temperature

½ cup (120ml) coconut milk

½ cup (113g/1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup (140g) blueberries, fresh or frozen (unthawed)

2/3 cup (110g) white chocolate chips or small chunks

 

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a 12-cavity muffin pan with paper cups.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, coconut, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, coconut milk, butter, egg and vanilla. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and mix with a fork until ingredients are incorporated – do not overmix, or your muffins will turn out tough; muffin batter is lumpy, and not smooth like cake batter. Fork in the blueberries and the chocolate.

Divide the batter evenly among the paper cups (they will be rather full) and bake for about 20 minutes or until muffins are risen and golden, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan over a wire rack for 5 minutes, then carefully unmold onto the rack.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 12

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