Monday, July 30, 2007

Tomato, hearts of palm, olive and parmesan salad with basil dressing

Tomato, hearts of palm, olive and parmesan salad with basil dressing

Every time I visit Kalyn's blog - and I just won't do it on a daily basis in case I'm sick or loaded with work - I feel like cooking everything she posts! Her food has a healthy tone and looks delicious. Hard to resist.

This is my take on one of her recipes - I have made this salad several times already and even João likes it, even though he's not into tomatoes (crazy, I know).

I used parmesan shavings instead of feta because I couldn't find it where I live. I also changed the dressing a bit.

Make sure you check the original version - you'll be glad to!

Tomato, hearts of palm, olive and parmesan salad with basil dressing

4-6 small tomatoes, sliced
1 cup hearts of palm, sliced (or more)
½ cup black olives
½ cup parmesan shavings

Basil dressing:
1 cup fresh basil leaves (packed)
extra virgin olive oil, to taste – I didn’t use a lot because I wanted a low-calorie salad
lime juice
freshly ground black pepper

In salad bowl, layer tomatoes, hearts of palm, olives and parmesan.

Using a mortar and pestle, mash the basil leaves and salt together. Add the pepper, olive oil and lime juice, mix well.
Drizzle basil dressing over salad.

Serves 2

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

João's favorite dessert: Merengue (Eton mess)

Merengue (Eton mess)

João is not into sweets (how lucky is he?) but merengue is his favorite - he loves it and always asks for seconds, sometimes even thirds. :D

I know that for my foreign readers "merengue" would be something else - only one of the ingredients of this dessert, actually. I also believe that "Eton mess" is similar, if not equal, to this dessert.

There's not an actual recipe here, you just need place the following ingredients in layers:

- meringues;
- fresh strawberries;
- whipped cream (with sugar):

Merengue (Eton mess)

Refrigerate for a while and serve. Simple as that. :D

Merengue (Eton mess)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Grilled Tilapia with basil-chive butter and parmesan steak fries

Grilled Tilapia with basil-chive butter and parmesan steak fries

Yesterday Joao and I celebrated our 2 year and a half anniversary – I was (still am) recovering from a horrible flu that got me last week so we decided to stay in and celebrate it at home.
A nice meal made with love was mandatory!! :)

The recipe for the fish was taken from the July issue of Bon Appétit – I adapted some details. If you want to make it like the one in the magazine, use halibut instead of Saint Peter fish (Tilapia) and spring onions instead of chives.
I seasoned the fish with garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper and marinated the fillets for 2 hours, even though it’s not asked in the recipe.

The potatoes were taken from this book, and they were delicious – the only problem was that I used waxed paper instead of parchment paper and I had to peel the potato spears off the paper. Next time, a spritz of cooking spray will do the trick – thank you, Lydia, for the hint on the spray, I’ve been using it like crazy! :)

Grilled Tilapia with basil-chive butter
from Everyday Food: Great Food Fast and from Bon Appetit magazine

1 ½ cups (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves
4 tablespoons chopped chives
8 tablespoons (½ cup-112g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
6 x 170g (6-ounce) Tilapia fillets
extra virgin olive oil

Finely chop basil and chives in a mini food processor. Add butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, and process until blended, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides. Transfer to a small bowl, stir in lemon zest and season with salt – I used a little freshly ground black pepper, too.
Prepare barbecue (medium heat) or grilling pan.
Rub fish fillets on both sides with olive oil. Grill until fillets are just opaque in center, about 4 minutes per side.
Transfer fish to plates and immediately spread some basil butter over fish.
Serve, passing additional basil butter alongside.

Serves 6.

Parmesan steak fries

3 large egg whites – I think 2 would be enough
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 baking potatoes, 220 to 280g (8-10 ounces) each
1 ¼ cups (125g) grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF.
In a wide shallow bowl, whisk the egg whites with 1 teaspoon salt until frothy.
Cut each potato into 6 long spears; add to the egg whites and turn to coat.
One at a time, lift the spears out of the egg whites shaking off excess.
Working over a plate, sprinkle with the parmesan cheese until coated (do not shake the excess). Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake without turning until the potatoes are fork-tender and golden brown – about 30 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper before serving.

Serves 4

Monday, July 16, 2007

My dad's favorite dessert: Sweetened Condensed Milk Custard

Sweetened Condensed Milk Custard

Although we still are counting calories at home, I’ll take a break from the healthy/low fat posts and show you my dad’s favorite dessert: sweetened condensed milk custard.

Last Saturday we celebrated his 59th birthday and I cooked and baked for the party. Unfortunately, I didn’t get good photos of the food – not even of the cake. I think everything was OK, because there was nothing left. :)

This custard is extremely popular here in Brazil and loved by many of us. As fattening as it looks (and is), you should give it a try – I just ask you not to put the blame on me once you get hooked.

Sweetened Condensed Milk Custard

160g caster sugar
100ml boiling water

1 can sweetened condensed milk (395g)
2 cans of whole milk – use the condensed milk can to measure the milk amount
3 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC/390ºF.

For the caramel: place the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and cook until it begins to melt. Using a wooden spoon, stir it from time to time to make sure the melting process is even.
When the sugar turns into a dark brown syrup, add the water – carefully not to get burned – and cook it until there are no more sugar lumps.
Remove from heat and pour this caramel inside a 19cm ring pan, coating the sides well.
Set aside.

For the custard: place all the ingredients in a blender and blend for a couple of minutes. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Cover it with foil.
Place the prepared pan inside another pan and pour hot water until it comes half way the ring pan. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a skewer/small knife inserted comes out clean
Leave it to cool then refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
Unmold and serve.

Serves 10.

Sweetened Condensed Milk Custard

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Vegetable crepes with cottage filling (and my eternal hate for Channel Fox)

Vegetable crepes with cottage filling

That’s right, my dear readers. Channel Fox (Brazil) sucks, big time.
They have decided to air only dubbed movies and series - no more of my beloved original sound and subtitles that I decide to read whenever I want to.
I will never forgive Fox for making me watch the first episode of “Dexter” this way – btw, it is fantastic. I can’t wait to watch the next episode.

Back to food… These crepes are delicious! And they’re light – yep, healthy and NOT packed with thousands of calories. My type of food lately – so true that I had all 4 you see on the plate. :S

The batter is not thick as the usual crepe batter and I thought it would be difficult to transform it into crepes. Practice makes it perfect, though: my first crepe looked like a flower, there was nothing round about it… But after that first attempt I got to make the others without much trouble.

My opinion about the filling is that it’s OK, but the curry flavor is too overpowering (and I like curry). I liked the crepes so much that I have been thinking of making them again with a number of different fillings – use your imagination and you may end up liking this recipe as much as I did.

There were some crepes left and I had them later that day, cold, without filling. I told you I’d liked this recipe. :)


This is my entry for this Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by the sweet and dear Susan.

Vegetable crepes with cottage filling
Weight Watchers Brazil

2 eggs
½ cup non-fat milk
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup shredded/grated carrot
½ cup shredded/grated zucchini
4 tablespoons grated parmesan
freshly ground black pepper

¾ cup cottage cheese
½ teaspooon curry powder
1 tablespoon chopped chives
freshly ground black pepper

Make the crepes: place the eggs, milk and flour in a blender and blend well. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Heat a crepe pan over low heat until hot. Lightly coat with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Pour batter into the pan and tip to spread the batter to the edges. When bubbles form on the top and the edges are dry, flip over and cook until lightly browned on the other side and edges are golden. Repeat with remaining batter – you’ll have to get 8 crepes with this recipe. In order to achieve this number, I poured an almost full ¼ cup of batter into the pan.
Mix all the ingredients of the filling and spread small amounts of the mixture onto each crepe. Fold them as you wish and serve.

Serves 4.

Vegetable crepes with cottage filling

Monday, July 2, 2007

Trivial food - steak with herbs

A dear friend of mine, who happens to have a lovely blog written in Portuguese, asked the other bloggers about the trivial food they cook at home.

I have lunch close to work and my dinner is always the same, so I though I should share one dish that João loves - beef. I mean, steak - he'll gladly have it everyday.

To change things a little, once the steak is grilled, I remove it from the pan and add a bit of butter. When it's melted, I add a generous amount of chopped fresh herbs - I usually use parsley, chives and basil or rosemary. Once everything is well combined I pour it over the steak. I serve it with sliced onions browned in olive oil, rice and salad.

It's not an actual recipe but it's a hit with my picky husband! :)
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