Pineapple Flowers ~ Flores de Abacaxi

Photos by Priscillakittycat, Recipe by LivforCake

Dad’s 80th Birthday Bash is on the horizon.  The theme is “Brazilian Nights”.

A caterer of Brazilian Churrasco (dad is carnivorous) will bring the giant grills to the house and they will do their thing.  On the dessert side, I get to do my thing.  I’ve been busy testing cake recipes and managed to narrow it down to two fancy options.  Just wait until you see them!  (Yes, I decided to make both).  Baking and decorating two cakes is nothing compared to what my dad does.  At 80, dad still wakes up in the middle of the night and drives to the hospital to deliver baby humans…

The flowers you see are paper-thin pineapple slices that have been dried in the oven.  More details after we party.


A festa dos 80 anos de pai acontecerá em poucas semanas. O tema: “Noites Brasileiras”.  Contratamos um churrasqueiro profissional que leva as churrasqueiras (pai adora carne) e faz o churrasco na hora.

No departamento dos doces…deu eu! Antes de escolher o bolo, testei algumas receitas e fiquei com duas opções.  Sim, vou fazer dois bolos!  Tranquilo…Isso não é nada comparado com o que o meu pai, aos 80 anos, faz.  Ele ainda dá plantão.  Quando chamam de madrugada, e dizem “ela está pronta” ele pega o carro e vai fazer o parto.  Ele tras bebezinhos (humanos) ao mundo.

Flores igual as da foto enfeitarão um dos bolos.  Como são feitas?  Muito simples: O abacaxi é cortado em rodelas bem finas e colocadas no forno durante quase 6 horas, primeiro com o forno ligado em temperatura baixa e depois com ele desligado.  Se os bolos fizerem sucesso postarei as fotos e as instruções mais detalhadas…depois da farra, claro.

 

 

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Brazilian Flag Cake ~ Bolo Bandeira do Brasil

Photos by Priscillakittycat, Cake Recipe by Paula Deen, Frosting Recipe by Belle of the Kitchen

Hooray!! Brazil won the Copa America Championship.  A great team deserves a great cake!  The cake is the usual favorite, Paula Deen’s Coconut Cake.  I borrowed the frosting recipe from the blog of Belle of the Kitchen.


Que felicidade!  O Brazil ganhou a Copa America. Um time fantastico merece um bolo fantastico!  Para o bolo usei a mesma receita de sempre, o Bolo de Coco da Paula Deen.  A receita da cobertura eu tomei emprestada do Blog, Belle of the Kitchen.

Ceviche

Hey, is it me or do you get sad, too, when a good game ends?  The Copa America Championship is almost over (this Sunday).  Brazil is in the final and I’m super excited about it.  But, I’m already thinking about life after the game ends.  Whether Brazil wins or loses, I just don’t want the games to end.  We are all children at heart, and children want to keep playing and having fun.  Speaking of playing…

I like to experiment when making Ceviche and 99% of the time, everyone loves the result.  After so much experimentation (practice makes perfect), I believe I’ve come up with THE recipe.  The ingredients are listed below.  Measurements will vary depending on the amount of fish you use.  Taste as you prepare, being sure not to double dip.  Use a non-reactive bowl.  Glass works well and makes for a pretty display.  You’ll notice the ceviche’s color isn’t milky white.  The color comes from the orange juice, soy sauce and turmeric.  Food looks pretty when it has color.  (Save the white for wedding cakes.)

Corvina or another fish suited to Ceviche
1 red onion, minced
1 generous bunch of cilantro, chopped
Low Sodium Soy Sauce
Fresh-squeezed orange juice
Juice from at least 12 fresh limes
Tabasco or fresh chili peppers
Turmeric

Add the fish (cut in to small cubes) to a non-reactive bowl.  Pour lime juice over the fish so that it is completely covered in juice.  Allow the fish to “cook” in the lime juice for about 5 minutes.  Add the onions and stir to combine.  Make sure that some (not all) of the onions are very finely chopped so that their juice is released.  Add Tabasco or mashed chili peppers to taste, one or two tablespoons soy sauce, two or three tablespoons fresh orange juice and turmeric.  Add the cilantro last.  If at any point you notice that the fish isn’t fully submerged in the lime juice, add more lime juice and adjust the other seasoning.


Você tambem acha ruim quando o jogo acaba?  O Brasil vai disputar a final da Copa Ámerica neste domingo.  Já não restam unhas para roer.  E mesmo com todo o estresse que assistir um jogo da seleção causa, a gente gosta.  Estamos aí, firme e forte.  Coisa boa é assim mesmo.  É igual quando as crianças brincam.  Ninguem quer deixar os amiguinhos.  Falando em brincar…

Eu gosto de experimentar coisas novas quando estou na cozinha.  Por exemplo, existem tantas versões de Ceviche.  Tenho experimentado e provado varios tipos de Ceviche.  Hoje posso dizer que tenho a minha propria receita de Ceviche, uma combinação ideal de ingredientes simples.  Compartilho com você abaixo.  A medida de cada ingrediente pode variar, dependendo da quantidade de peixe que for usar.

Corvina ou um peixe adequado para o Ceviche
1 cebola vermelha, picadinha
1 bando de coentro, picado
Shoyu lite
Suco de laranja natural
Suco natural de 12 (ou mais) limões
Tabasco ou pimenta malagueta fresca
Curcuma

Corte o peixe em cubos pequenos e coloque numa vasilha neutra/não reativa.  (Vasilha de vidro é uma boa opção.)  Despeje o suco dos limões por cima do peixe.  Deixe o peixe cozinhar, fora ou dentro da geladeira, durante uns 5 minutos.  Adicione a cebola.  Tenha em conta que a cebola deve ser picada finamente.  Isso ajuda a extrair o sabor da cebola. Acrescente o Tabasco ou as pimentas previamente amassadas com um garfo, duas colheres (sopa) de shoyu, tres colheres de sopa de suco de laranja e a curcuma (a gosto).  Por último adicione o coentro.  Se notar que o peixe não estiver completamente submerso no suco de limão, adicione mais suco e ajuste o tempero.

Lemon and Lavender Cake ~ Bolo de Limão e Lavanda

Photos by Priscillakittycat, Recipe by Food52

Brazil is playing well in the Copa America games.  Thursday’s match against Paraguay was a heart stopper.  It was a knotty match.  Just when a Brazilian would break away and head for the goal, the ref would blow his whistle.  The guy paused the game every few seconds.  It’s almost like he was intentionally halting our team’s momentum.

In a few minutes we will face Argentina.  No comment.

Unsalted butter, for the cake pan
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 tablespoon edible dried lavender
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup mild-flavored olive oil
Finely grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Confectioners’ sugar, to dust
Sprigs of fresh lavender, to serve (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter an 8-inch diameter, 2 1/2-inch deep cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

Put the granulated sugar and lavender into a food processor and whizz until the lavender has broken down. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a bowl. Stir in the lavender sugar. In a pitcher, mix the eggs with the yogurt and oil. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and gradually stir in the wet ingredients. Add the lemon zest and juice, but don’t over-mix. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the cake is coming away from the inside of the pan and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Turn it out, peel off the paper, and set on a wire rack until cold. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving and decorate with sprigs of fresh lavender.


O Brasil está jogando bem na Copa America.  Esse último jogo contra o Paraguai foi sofrido.  Achei que fosse ter uma parada cardiaca.  O Galvão falou certo, “Ooo time chato para jogar!”  Não foi fácil.  E o juíz não ajudou.  Apitava toda hora.  Não deixava o Brasil fazer uma jogada.

Na hora dos penalties eu não tive coragem para assistir.  As pernas ficaram bambas e o coração batia a cem por hora.  Tive de ir para a outra sala.  Depois, quando pai gritou que o time do Tite ganhou, veio a euphoria.

Daqui a pouco enfrentaremos a Argentina.  Sem comentarios.

Bolo de Lavanda a Limão

Manteiga sem sal, para untar a fôrma.
1 1/2 de açucar (eu diminui o açucar para um copo)
3/4 colher de sopa de lavanda seca comestível (eu usei quase 2 colheres)
1 1/2 copo de farinha de trigo
1/2 colher de bicarbonato
1/2 colher de chá pó royal (eu usei 1 colher enteira)
1/4 colher de chá sal
2 ovos grandes, levemente batidos
1 copo de iogurte
1/2 copo de azeite de oliva
Raspas (finamente raladas) de 1 limão amarelo e 1 colher de sopa de suco de limão

Aqueça o forno (350F).  Unte as fôrmas com manteiga e forre os fundos com papél pergaminho.  Coloque o açucar e a lavanda num processador e processe até a lavanda desmanchar.  Ponha a farinha com o pó royal, bicarbonato e sal numa tigela e peneire.  Adicione a lavanda e o açucar.  Misture os ovos, o iogurte e o azeite dentro de um jarro.  Faça um buraco no centro dos ingredientes secos e acrescente os ingredientes molhados pouco a pouco.  Adicione as raspas de limão mas não misture excessivamente. Despeje a massa nas fôrmas.  Asse por 45 a 50 minutos ou até o bolo começar a despregar das beiradas da fôrma ou até que um palito enfiado no meio saia limpo.  Tire das fôrmas e remova o papél.  Deixe o bolo esfriar.

Lemon Cupcakes ~ Cupcake de Limão

At a beach house.  I’m inside making lemon cupcakes.  Just about done piping the frosting on them and sprinkling them with yellow sugar sprinkles.  I hear the door open, salty air permeates, seagulls calling.  Footsteps on the hardwood floor.  I feel his warm body press against my back, the scent of coconut suntan oil.  He gently moves my hair to one side and touches his moist lips to my bare shoulder.  His bristly beard tickles my neck.  Goosebumps.  He reaches around my waist and takes a cupcake from the counter.  I let him lick off the frosting…Mmmmmm…

You like that short story, huh?  Me too.

Lemon Cupcakes

1/4 cup unsalted butter softened (56g)
1/4 cup canola oil (60ml)- I used vegetable oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar (150g)
2 Tablespoons lemon zest (finely grated)
2 large eggs lightly beaten, room temperature preferred
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 185g may substitute cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk 118ml
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup unsalted butter softened (113g)
8 oz cream cheese softened (brick-style, not spreadable) (226g)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract optional
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
4 cups powdered sugar (500g)

Lemon Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350F (175C) and line a 12-count muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.

Place butter in a large bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer) and use an electric mixer (or stand mixer) to beat until creamy.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add oil, sugar, and lemon zest and beat again until creamy and thoroughly combined.  Add eggs and vanilla extract and stir well until completely combined.

In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large measuring cup, briefly stir together buttermilk and lemon juice.

Using a spoon or spatula, gradually stir about a third of the flour mixture into wet ingredients until just-combined (don’t use an electric mixer here or you’ll be more likely to overmix the batter, resulting in dense/dry cupcakes). Add about half of the buttermilk mixture into the batter and stir until just combined. Repeat adding flour and buttermilk in this way until ingredients are completely combined, but don’t mix more than you need to. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl so all ingredients are combined.

Evenly divide batter into prepared cupcake tin, filling each liner 2/3 of the way full. Transfer to 350F/175C oven and bake for 17-18 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Allow to cool completely before topping with lemon cream cheese frosting.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Combine butter and cream cheese in a large bowl and use an electric mixer (or stand mixer) to beat until well-combined.

Add lemon zest, vanilla extract, lemon extract (if using), salt, and lemon juice and beat well.

Gradually, with mixer on low speed, add powdered sugar until completely combined. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl to make sure ingredients are well incorporated.

Once cupcakes have cooled, spread or pipe lemon cream cheese frosting over cupcakes.

**Hate to ruin the mood from above…but what really happened is this:  I caught my cat on the table, licking the frosting off a cupcake.  The end.


Cupcakes de Limão

56 g manteiga sem sal, temperatura ambiente
60 ml óleo vegetal
150 g açucar
1 colheres de sopa raspas de limão amarelo (finamente ralado)
2 ovos grandes batidos ligeiramente, temperatura ambiente
3/4 colher de chá de extrato de baunilha
185 g farinha de trigo ou farinha de bolo
1 1/2 colher de chá de pó royal
1/4 colhere chá de sal
1/2 copo de leitelho (118 g)
2 colheres de sopa de suco de limão fresco

Cobertura de Limão e Cream Cheese

113 g de manteiga sem sal, temperatura ambiente
226 g de cream cheese em barra, temperatura ambiente
1/2 colher de chá de extrato de baunilha
1/2 colher de sopa extrato de limão
1/4 colher de chá de sal
1 colher de sopa de suco de limão
2 colheres de chá de raspas de limão
500 g de açucar de confeiteiro

Cupcakes de Limão

Pre-aqueça o forno a 175C e coloque as forminhas de papel na forma para 12 cupcakes.

Coloque a manteiga numa tigela grande e bata até ficar cremoso.  Adicione o óleo, açucar e as raspas de limão até incorporar.
Adicione os ovos e a baunilha e misture até ficar homogeneo.

Numa tigela separada bata a farinha, o pó royal, e o sal.  Num copo grande misture o leitelho e o suco de limão.  Usando uma colher ou spatula, pouco a pouco, misture um terço da farinha de trigo com os ingredientes molhados apenas até incorporar (não usa a batedeira).  Adicione a metade da mistura de leite e limão.  Repita, adicionando a farinha e depois o leite, terminando com a farinha. (sempre respando os lados da tigela.

Divide a mistura igualmente entre as forminhas de cupcake, enchendo até 2/3 do topo (a massa cresce um pouco).  Leve para o forno e asse por 17 minutos ou até que um palito enfiado no meio saia com esfarelos úmidos.  Deixe esfriar e coloque a cobertura.

Cobertura de Limão e Cream Cheese

Junte a manteiga e o cream cheese numa tigela grande.  Use uma batedeira elétrica e bata até ficar bem incorporado.  Adicione as raspas de limão, extrato de baunilha, extrato de limão, sal, suco de limão e bata bem.  Diminua a velocidade da batedeira (velocidade baixa) e adicione o açucar de confeiteiro lentamente.  Raspe os lados da tigela para asegurar que os ingredientes incorporem.

Quando esfriarem os cupcakes, espalhe a cobertura de cream cheese.

 

Orange Salted Honey Cake ~ Bolo de Laranja com Mel Salgado

Unfiltered photo by Priscillakittycat, filtered photo by Priscillakittycat’s brother, Alex. Recipe by the Cake Blog.

For Father’s Day I had planned to bake a lemon-lavender cake (love both ingredients) but ditched the idea when I came across this recipe for Orange Salted Honey Cake.  The word “honey” caught me.  I love the word “honey” so much that I call the animals I care for (mostly cats) different combinations of the word, including “honey pie”, “honey bear”, “honey sweetie”, and “honey bunny”.  In case you didn’t know it, in my free time I am an animal rescuer, rehabilitator and foster mom.

The word “honey” in the recipe’s name was one influencer.  The other was a photograph image of the Honey Cake.  It looked so pretty in the Instagram photo of Style Sweet CA.  A few blogs and instagram accounts display the cake’s photo, but not the recipe.  It took forever to trace the original recipe to The Cake Blog.

Let me tell you that I put too much effort into baking and decorating this cake.  Not because Dad isn’t worth the effort, but because all that effort could have been used toward a better cake.  What I mean is the majority of recipes I share with you are for things I find amazing and easy to prepare.  While the appearance of the cake is lovely, the taste is far from a home run.  (Maybe makes it to 2nd base)  Salted caramel just isn’t my thing…and the filling for this cake reminds me of salted caramel.  Then there’s the icing problem.  The icing is way too buttery.  The icing contains 2 ½ cups of butter.  That’s insane.  I wish I had read the recipe more thoroughly before embarking on this baking mission.  Let me offer one positive comment.  By itself (no icing and no filling) the orange cake is really, really, good.  Even though I do have free time, I prefer to play with kittens than to write the recipe and translate it to Portuguese.  I assure you, you’re not missing much.  But if you like salted caramel and feel the need, please visit the Cake Blog.


Eu já estava com tudo pronto para fazer um bolo de limão com lavanda (adoro os dois ingredientes) no Dia dos Pais mas mudei de ideia quando ví a receita para este bolo de laranja com mel salgado.  Geralmente só compartilho as receitas boas e faceis.  Hoje vou fazer algumas criticas.  Sabe aquele negócio (que deve ser invenção dos gringos–kkkk) chamado Salted Caramel?  O recheio do bolo lembra um caramelo salgado.  A cobertura do bolo tem gosto de manteiga pura.  Olha que eu gosto de manteiga–mas esta cobertura é amanteigada demais.  Se tiver que fazer um comentário positivo, seria que o bolo de laranja (ele sozinho, sem recheio ou cobertura) é muito bom.  Prefiro brincar com os gatinhos que cuido do que passar o dia anotando a receita e traduzindo para o Português.  Se você quizer ver a receita, por favor visite o Cake Blog.

 

 

Pan-Seared Tuna Steaks with Ginger Vinaigrette ~ Filets de Atum na Chapa com Vinagrete de Gengibre

Photos by Priscillakittycat, Recipe by Food & Wine Magazine

I have been without a cell phone for almost two weeks.  Happy to report there’s nothing major to miss, or at least nothing that I’m aware of.  Hehehe. Long story about why I’m without a functioning cell phone…but I was quite worried at first.  What if someone needs to reach me (like to offer me a job that pays a million dollars) and I miss the opportunity?  Or, what if one of my cat lady friends calls to say there is a cat in need?  What if that person calls me to complain that I never answer my phone?  Yeh, well now I have the best excuse ever.

Seriously, though, this thing of not having a cell phone isn’t so bad.  I’m debating whether cell phones are even necessary.  At first you might feel anxious but that strange feeling subsides after a few days.  You will survive without a cell phone.  I encourage you to try it.  It’s nice to disconnect from the virtual world.  It means you have to spend time in your reality—good or bad.

A colleague went fishing with his buddies and brought back a bunch of tuna.  He filled our office freezer with zip-lock bags of the filets and said we could help ourselves.  The sauce recipe inserted below is nice because it doesn’t overpower the flavor of the fresh tuna.  Try it and you’ll agree!

5 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
5 tablespoons sake
2 1/2 tablespoons mirin
3 tablespoons minced shallot
1/2 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh
ginger
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Two 1-inch-thick yellowfin tuna steaks
2 teaspoons toasted white sesame seeds
Lemon wedges, for serving

In a small saucepan, simmer the soy sauce, sake, mirin and shallot until the liquid is slightly reduced, 3 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in the ginger. Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup of the oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Season the tuna with salt and pepper. Sear over high heat until golden brown but still rare within, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Slice against the grain and transfer to the plates. Drizzle with some of the vinaigrette and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Serve with lemon wedges and the remaining vinaigrette.


Estou sem celular a quase duas semanas.  No começo deu uma sensação estranha, como se faltasse alguma coisa na mão ou dentro da bolsa.  Mas depois a gente acostuma e não faz tanta falta.  Aconselho que todo mundo tente ficar sem usar o celular durante 2 ou 3 dias na semana.

A gente não tem ideia quanto tempo perdemos olhando para o celular, sem falar no estresse que causa.  O cerebro cansa de procesar tanta informação.  Dizem que devemos ficar sem olhar o celular ou computador pelo menos 3 horas antes de deitar na cama.  Está comprovado que a luz azul faz mal para os olhos e provoca ansiedade (hiperatividade cerebral).  A outra vantagem de ficar sem o celular é que ao inves de viver no universo virtual, a gente vive na nossa realidade.

Um colega encheu o freezer do escritório com os filets de atum que ele pescou junto aos amigos e falou para cada um nós levar o que quisessemos.  O molho que se encontra abaixo é bom porque ele complementa o atum fresco sem dominar.

1 1/2 copo mirin
3 cebolas da especie chalot (shallot, em inglês)
5 colheres de sopa de shoyu lite
5 colheres de sope de sake
1/2 colher de sopa de gengibre ralado
1/4 copo e mais 2 colheres de sopa de azeite de oliva extra virgem
Sal
4 filets de atum fresco
2 colheres de chá de sementes de gergelim
Limão

Coloque o shoyu, o sake, o mirin e a chalot numa panela pequena e deixe ferver até o liquido evaporar um pouco (uns 3 minutos).  Retire do fogo e misture o gengibre.  Acrescente o azeite pouco a pouco a bata lentamente com um batedor.  Tempere a gosto.

Numa frigideira grande esquente as duas colheres de azeite.  Tempere o atum com sal e pimenta.  Passe no fogo alto até ficar dourado mas crú por dentro.  (uns 2 minutos em cada lado, dependendo da grossura dos filets)  Transfira para um prato forrado de papel toalha para drenar.  Corte em fatias contra a linha e transfira para um prato.  Regue com o molho vinagrete e polvilhe com as sementes de sesamo.  Sirva com o limão.

Egg, Spinach, Onion, Red Pepper and Cheese Muffins ~ Muffins de Ovo, Espinafre, Cebola, Pimentão e Queijo

The last of the guests who attended my brother’s wedding were gone last week.  Yes, it was a beautiful week of festivities but it was also a very hectic several months leading up to the wedding.  After it was over, I would have totally sailed to a secluded island to re-center.  Unfortunately, we’re slammed at work…so R and R isn’t an option.

For the Key Largo wedding, my brother rented two large waterfront homes, one for the Russian family and the other for the Brazilians.  What do you get when you put 24 Brazilians together in a house for one week?  Well, when it’s all over you have a lot of stories to tell.  Like the night my mom walked into the bathroom and found someone sleeping in the bathtub.  Apparently, this character wanted a cool, quiet place to rest his alcohol-infused body and the bathtub looked inviting.  It would be improper to divulge most of the other stories on the worldwide web (lol).  Let’s just say the wedding was epic!

Here’s a little something that’s nice to prepare for breakfast guests.  Sorry about not giving credit to the blogger and for not including the exact measurements but I lost the link to the original webpage/blog.  Pretty sure the ingredients and steps are correct, though.

8 large eggs
2 cups Baby Spinach
½ cup chopped roasted pimentos (1/2 jar), chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
Cheese (Feta or your choice)
Olive Oil

Preheat oven 350F.  Heat two tablespoons oil and the onions in a sauté pan.  Cook for ten minutes until the onions are brown and fragrant.  Add the spinach and stir until it wilts.  Season with salt.  Turn off the heat and add the pimentos.  Stir to combine and set aside.

Spray a non-stick muffin pan with cooking spray. Beat the eggs and season with salt.  Divide the onion mixture into each of the muffin holes.  Pour the egg on top, filling ¾ of the way.  (The eggs will expand/rise)  Top with shredded cheese.  Bake for about 25 minutes.


Os últimos convidados se foram. Comemoramos o casamento de meu irmão em Key Largo com 120 amigos e familiares.  Foi espetacular.  Casamentos são ocasiões lindas, mas dão muito trabalho para organizar.  Nos meses antes do casamento o nível de estresse era alto.  Agora que acabou eu queria ir para uma ilha deserta.

As pessoas que perderam o casamento sabem o que perderam.  Foi fora de sério. O meu irmão alugou duas casas grandes em Key Largo. Uma casa para os Brasileiros e outra para os Russos.  Eram 24 pessoas dormindo na Casa Brasil…mas durante o dia a média era de 40 pessoas.  As comemorações geraram muitas histórias engraçadas.  Minha mãe acordou de madrugada para ir no banheiro e encontrou um dos hospedes dormindo na banheira.  Ele explicou que escolheu a banheira porque precisava de um lugar fresco e sossegado. Tem outros casos mas é melhor não compartilhar na net.

A receita que segue é uma boa para o café da manha.  Dá para fazer um monte de quichezinhos quando a casa esta cheia.  Desculpa que não coloquei o nome da blogeira e nem o link para o site mas é que esqueci onde foi que ví a receita.  Acho que é assim:

8 ovos grandes
2 copos de espinafre
1/2 copo de pimentão vermelho, picado (de lata)
1 cebola média picada
Queijo (feta ou qualquer outro)
Azeite de Oliva

Aqueça o forno a 350F.  Coloque duas colheres de azeite numa frigideira com a cebola picada.  Cozinhe até a cebola ficar corada e macia, aproximadamente 10 minutos.  Adicione o espinafre.  Tempere com sal. Cozinhe até murchar.  Desligue of fogo e acrescente o pimentão.

Coloque spray de untar numa fôrma de muffins.  Bata os ovos.  Divida a mistura de cebola entre as fôrminhas.  Acrescente o ovo (somente até 3/4 da altura da fôrma porque os óvos vão expandir).  Adicione o queijo ralado.

Asse no forno por aproximadamente 25 minutos.

 

 

 

 

 

Spanish Tortilla ~ Tortilha Espanhola

Recipe by Rosa Cocinera y Madre, Photo by Priscillakittycat

Time passes so quickly.  Here we are in June.  Maybe it’s time…

I read (or heard) somewhere that as we get older, time passes very quickly.  I never really believed this because time is precise.  A second is a second, today or tomorrow.  An hour will be the same tomorrow as it will be in ten years.  Maybe whoever said time passes more quickly might have meant that our perception of time changes as we age.  This I believe.

Ten years ago, I had all the time in the world to do nothing.  These days it’s difficult to accomplish all the things that need to be done, within the allotted time.  I used to be an 8 hours of sleep kind of gal, rarely you would see dark circles under these eyes.  Now I’m happy with 6 hours but often only get 5…then struggle to stay awake on the drive home from work.  Neither am I the type to hit the snooze button or one who lies idly in bed.  “Sleeping-in” doesn’t even attain fleeting-thought status.  I tell myself (mostly every night) that I’ll get to bed earlier to make up for lost sleep.  Uh-huh, sure.

Last Sunday night I had it all mapped out and I was on schedule to be in bed by 10:00 p.m. (miraculous).  I walked with a skip in my step and gave myself mental high-fives for being highly efficient during the day…until I reached the hallway near the laundry room and saw a committee of cats congregated in the area, curiously observing the destruction ahead.  I had accidentally left the laundry room faucet on…and flooded both the laundry room and an adjacent bathroom.  Dozens of beach towels later.  The clock struck midnight and I hadn’t even showered yet.

What’s with the obsession with time? Have you heard the song by Cyndi Lauper?  “All through the night.”  In her video, Cyndi motions her arm in a circle…as she says that the meter clicks and goes running all through the night.

We have no past, we won’t reach back
Keep with me forward all through the night
And once we start the meter clicks
And it goes running all through the night
Until it ends, there is no end

A more recent song that talks about the value of time.  “Maybe it’s time.”  In this song, a delicious Bradley Cooper says it’s time to let the old ways die.

I’m reminded of a recent encounter at work where I could have reacted the same way I always react.  That was until I realized, if I did, the other person would react the same way he/she always does.  So…I had to change.  Most often, people just keep repeating the same patterns of behavior time after time…and then they get upset because the outcome is the same.  Try something new and guess what?  That person who drives you nuts just might become your best friend.  Well, let’s not go that far.  But you get the picture.

Why waste time making the same mistakes?  “Maybe it’s time to let the old ways die”.

On a completely unrelated note, I’ve always wanted to learn how to make a good Spanish Tortilla.  YouTube is the best resource for recipes that involve proper technique.  I searched and found this vivacious Spaniard, “Rosa Cocinera y Madre”.  Her version and explanation of the technique are great.  Even if you don’t speak Spanish, you can still watch the video and make the tortilla.  Thanks to Rosa, I’m now an expert at making Spanish Tortillas.

6-8 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced as shown in the video (800 grams)
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced as shown in the video
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (lots of it)
8 eggs

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan (between 1-1.5 cups).  The oil should be hot, but the stove setting should be on medium (not high).  The objective is for the potatoes to poach in the oil, not fry.  Add the peeled and sliced potatoes and onions and cook for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes and onions are tender.  Meanwhile, beat the eggs with salt.  When the potatoes and onions are cooked, pour into a strainer that has a bowl underneath to capture the oil.  When the oil has drained, add the onions and potatoes to the eggs, add salt and stir to combine.

Add a bit of the leftover oil to a sauté pan and heat.  Pour in the eggs and potato mixture.  Cook, without stirring until the tortilla is formed and takes it’s shape.  During cooking, you can slip a spatula onto the sides of the tortilla to allow the egg mixture to fill in the spaces.  When the tortilla has taken a stable shape but is still soft, place a large plate over the sauté pan.  Turn the pan over with the plate.  Slide the tortilla off the plate and slide back into the pan.  Cook until the tortilla has it’s full form.

Notes:
-You will use a lot of olive oil to make a tortilla.  It’s worth making two in a row because the oil can be re-used.
-Some recipes suggest adding the potatoes to the oil first, then the onions after a few minutes.  It’s up to you. (Either method works)
-Be sure to weigh the potatoes.  You want to have the right amount of potatoes.


Nossa, como o tempo passa.  Já estamos no final de Maio!  Receitas e fotos não faltam.  Falta tempo.  Tem tanta coisa que quero fazer, mas não dá tempo.  Ahhh, como eu queria ser daquelas pessoas que acorda de manha e fica na cama, sem fazer nada.  Daquelas que bate no despertador dez vezes e não consegue levanter da cama.  Nunca fui!  O despertador toca, e estou de pé.  Existem centenas de músicas que falam sobre o tempo.  Tem aquela da Cyndi Lauper, “All through the night”.  A letra é muito interessante.  “Não temos passado, e nem tentaremos atingir o que ficou para trás.”

We have no past, we won’t reach back
Keep with me forward all through the night
And once we start the meter clicks
And it goes running all through the night
Until it ends, there is no end

É melhor olhar para frente.  A Clara Nunes canta uma música que eu gosto.  “O Amanha.”

Uma mais recente é daquele homem delicioso, Bradley Cooper.  “Maybe it’s time”.  A música propõe que devemos deixar os velhos costumes morrerem.  Concordo.  A pouco tempo, numa situação de trabalho eu quase reacionei da mesma forma de sempre ao deparar com certa pessoa.  Lembrei da música e resolvi fazer de forma diferente.  Sabe que funcionou!  Deixe o passado, não preocupe com o amanha…e viva no presente.

O YouTube é um recurso muito bom para quem quer aprender as tecnicas da culinaria.  A tortilha espanhola requer uma tecnica especial.  Os videos da “Rosa Cocinera y Madre” são ótimos.  Graças a Rosa virei craque na tortilla.

6-8 batatas (800 gr) descascadas e cortadas como mostra o video
1 cebola média, descascada e cortada como no video
Azeite de Oliva extra virgem (bastante)
8 ovos

Aqueça o azeite numa panela mas deixe o fogo em temperatura média.  O objetivo é de cozinhar as batatas e as cebolas, ao inves de fritar.  Adicione as batatas e a cebola, tampe a panela, e cozinhe por uns dez minutos, misturando poucas vezes.  Quando a batata amolescer, coe e deixe o azeite cair numa tigela.  Reserve.  Bata os ovos com sal e junte a batata e a cebola.  Tempere com sal e misture bem.
Coloque um pouco do azeite que sobrou numa frigideira e ligue o fogo.  Despeje a mistura do ovo, batata e a cebola na frigideira.  Não misture. Mas, se quizer, insira uma spatula nos cantos da frigideira e deixe o ovo escorrer pelos lados.

Quando a tortilha pegar a forma mas ainda estiver um pouco macia, coloque um prato por cima da tortilha.  Vire a panela para a tortilha cair no prato.  Devolva a tortilha para a panela e cozinhe até ficar firme.

Obs.

-O azeite pode ser re-usado.  Vale a pena fazer duas tortilhas para aproveitar o azeite.
-Algumas receitas para tortilha recomendam cozinhar a batata por alguns minutos antes de acrescentar a cebola.  Qualquer metodo funciona.
-Pese as batatas.  A quantidade certa deve ser usada.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strawberry Pavê ~ Pavê de Morango

Wanna know a secret?  Promise not to tell?  Okay, I trust you.  My brother is getting married in exactly two weeks in beautiful Key Largo.  I am one of the bridesmaids.  And, as is the case in most American-ish weddings, the bridesmaids wear dresses of the same color.  The styles can differ.  We (the bridesmaids) chose our size and style from a site called Brideside, and my brother’s fiancé ordered them according to our choices.

So…the lovely dress arrived on Wednesday of this week.  It’s a size 4 – the size I normally wear.  But, when I pulled it out of the bag…I saw a problem.  The dress looked more like a size 2.  I tried it on and…yikes, it wouldn’t zip!!

What now?  It’s too late to exchange for another size-the dresses took 5 months to be made and delivered.  And, I can’t tell the bride about this.  Brides have enough to worry about two weeks before their weddings.  I have to find a way to wear the dress.  The only way is to lose weight.  If I can lose 5 lbs, the dress will zip.  I’ll only be able to wear it for the time leading up to the ceremony (about an hour) and the ceremony (about 30 minutes).  Then I’ll have to change into something else.  I can lose the 5 lbs, but I won’t be able to breath or eat during those 1.5 hours.  LOL

Oh shoot, I just realized I have to lose more than 5 lbs…because…we’ll be in the Keys 4 days prior to the wedding.  I need a 5 lb cushion in case “we” gain weight during the pre-wedding celebrations.  That means I must lose 10 lbs from now until May 11.

I’m working hard at it, but only since yesterday.  It wasn’t possible to start sooner because on Thursday we had an ice cream social at work and on Friday we celebrated a co-worker’s birthday with breakfast—and someone brought 3 dozen Dunkin Donuts.  I tried to have just one but ended up having two and a half of those chocolate frosted evil things.

Yesterday I ran 8 miles and ate mostly protein and salad.  A friend said she lost 10 lbs in 9 days on the Atkins diet.  She said she was angry at the world and blowing fire through her nostrils.  Apparently dieting makes people moody.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  Or, if you see me wearing a lovely light blue dress on the wedding day, you’ll know the diet and exercise worked…and I’m probably about to faint in every picture.  Do guys do this kind of stuff, too, when preparing for a big event?  Curious to know.

The Strawberry Pavê is one of those desserts that you eat with the spoon upside down…so that the dessert touches your tongue before the spoon does.  You think about the strawberries and the chocolate and the cream and the whipped cream…separately and together…as you savor them.  They are so good apart but so good for each other when layered together.  I’m really hungry right now…as I chug from the bottle of water that will keep me alive for the next 10 days.

2 cups of milk
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 can condensed milk
2 cans table cream
100 g milk chocolate
100 g bittersweet chocolate
2 cartons of strawberries, sliced
2 packages lady finger cookies
300 ml whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar

Place the milk, egg yolks, corn starch and vanilla in a heavy pot and turn the heat to medium. Add the condensed milk and stir continuously until the cream thickens, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and add one can table cream. Stir until blended and set aside.

Melt both chocolates in Bain Marie. Turn off the heat and add one can of table cream. Stir well until blended. Set aside.

Prepare the whipped cream by whipping the heavy cream with one tablespoon of sugar. Set it aside. Place one layer of the vanilla cream on the bottom of a large pyrex. One by one, dip the lady fingers in milk and spread them on top of the cream. Add another layer of the vanilla cream. Layer the strawberries over the cream. Spread the chocolate cream over the layer of strawberries. Add another layer of lady fingers dipped in milk. Top with the whipped cream.


Você pode guardar um segredo?  Promete que não vai contar?  Okay, eu confio em você.  Faltam apenas duas semanas para o casamento de meu irmão.  A familia enteira está animada para comemorar o evento mais esperado de 2019.  Amigos e parentes virão do mundo enteiro (a noiva é Russa!).  Que delicia estarmos todos reunidos.

O casamento será celebrado em estilo meio Americano.  Por esta razão os vestidos das damas/padrinhos serão da mesma cor.  O pedido dos vestidos foi feito em Janeiro através de um site, Brideside.  Cada dama escolheu o seu modelo preferido e o tamanho.  O meu vestido chegou pelo correio nesta quarta feira.  Quase botei um ovo quando tirei o vestido da caixa.  Eu tinha pedido um tamanho 4 mas a cinturinha do vestido parecia muito menor.

E agora?  Como faço?  Não posso contar para a noiva.  Coitada, na véspera do casamento a noiva deve ter muitos problemas mais importantes para resolver.  A única solução é emagrecer.  Fiz os calculos e tenho que emagrecer 4 kilos.  Na verdade só preciso emagrecer 2 kilos…mas como vamos estar no local do casamento (Key Largo) quatro dias antes…e com certeza estaremos comendo e bebendo horrores…Preciso de um desconto de kilos.  Em inglês a gente fala um “cushion”.  Como é que se diz em Português?

Eu devia ter começado o regime na quinta feira, mas na quinta a empresa onde trabalho ofereceu uma festa de sorvetes.  E na sexta feira comemoramos o aniversário de uma colega.  Alguem levou tres duzias de Donuts da Dunkin Donuts.  Quem me conhece sabe que os Donuts são o meu ponto mais fraco.  Comi 2.5 donuts cobertos em chocolate.  Não me arrependo.  Valeu a pena.

Ontem (sabado) corri 8 milhas e só comi proteina (ovos) e salada…bebi muita agua e tomei apenas um copinho de sangria.  Me disseram que se eu comer só proteina e salada, posso emagrecer os 5 quilos em 10 dias.  Estou com fé que vai dar certo.  A prova estará nas fotos do casamento.  Se eu aparecer com o vestido da mesma cor e feito com o mesmo tecido das outras damas…é um sinal que tudo deu certo.

A sobremesa (Pavê de Morango) é tão boa.  Vou fazer para a familia quando formos para Key Largo.  A receita ja se encontra no blog, mas eu faço o favor e coloco aqui outra vez.  Já que não posso comer, vou escrever sobre comida.  Ahhh, que fome!

2 xícaras (chá) de leite
2 gemas
2 colheres de amido de milho
15 gotas de baunilha
1 lata de leite condensado
2 latas de creme de leite
100g de chocolate ao leite
100g de chocolate meio amargo
2 caixas de morango
100g de biscoito champagne
300ml de creme de leite fresco
1 colher de açúcar

Em uma panela, leve ao fogo o leite, as gemas, o amido de milho e a baunilha. Acrescente o leite condensado já com o fogo ligado e mexa sem parar, até engrossar. Depois de desligar o fogo, acrescente uma lata de creme de leite e misture bem. Reserve.

Derreta o chocolate ao leite e o chocolate amargo em banho maria. Com o fogo desligado, acrescente uma lata de creme de leite e misture bem. Reserve. Em uma batedeira, prepare o chantilly, batendo o creme de leite fresco com uma colher de açúcar. Reserve.

Em uma travessa, coloque uma camada do creme de baunilha. Adicione uma camada do biscoito champagne molhado no leite e, em seguida, mais uma de creme de baunilha. Depois, distribua os morangos picados e o creme de chocolate e, por cima, mais uma camada de biscoito molhado no leite. Termine com uma camada de chantilly. Decore com morangos inteiros. Leve à geladeira e sirva gelado.

 

 

Corn-Studded Corn Muffins ~ Muffins de Fubá e Milho Fresco

Recipe by Food & Wine Magazine, Photo by Priscillakittycat

People often consider Buddhists, yogis and meditators the same thing.  I suppose in some ways they are.  For example, each is based on the belief that we should let things come to us as they are instead of resisting what is here and now.  In yoga, the body is capable of certain things one day and other things another day.  You pay attention to the body and you do what you can, without stressing or straining.  Meditators let the mind go where it wishes, without trying to change thoughts or emotions because eventually they will pass.  Meditators are taught to be present for the thoughts and to accept them.  Buddhism also teaches that we should not resist or try to change the natural order of things that happen in our lives.  But even with some accumulated knowledge of and respect for the three practices, it isn’t easy to accept everything that happens in our world.

Environmental disasters are especially hard to accept.  A deep pain grips at my heart.  There is also some anger at the human race for ultimately being the source of environmental disasters.  Very recently, an environmental disaster occurred in Brazil.  A dam that held residue from an iron-ore mine in the state of Minas Gerais collapsed after heavy rains.  The collapse sent a river of mud through the mining area and facility.  Hundreds of mine employees and workers are missing.  Entire farms and ranches in the area were wiped out.  How do you accept something like this?  Impossible.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup finely ground cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
Kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from about 1 1/2 ears)
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons honey

Preheat the oven to 350° and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or foil liners. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and 1 teaspoon of salt. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the buttermilk and melted butter. Whisk in the dry ingredients, then fold in the corn kernels.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean. Let the corn muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

In a small bowl, whisk the mascarpone with the honey and a pinch of salt. Serve with the muffins.  (The corn muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.)


O Budismo ensina que devemos aceitar o que acontece ao nosso redor sem tentar resistir os eventos ou as emoções ruíns que surgem.  A prática de meditação ensina o mesmo.  E, a yoga é uma forma de meditação em que a pessoa aprende a se aceitar, aceitar o seu proprio corpo, do jeito que ele é, com todas as limitações.  Eu entendo e respeito muito as três praticas, mas tem coisa que não dá para aceitar.  A tragédia da Mina de Brumadinho.  Não é possível aceitar quando acontece uma coisa assim.  É um crime causado pelos homens contra a natureza, contra eles mesmo.  Não dá.

1 copo de farinha de trigo
1 copo de farinha de milho, extra fina
½ copo de açucar
1 colher de sopa de pó royal
sal
2 ovos grandes
1 copo de soro de leite (buttermilk), temperatura ambiente
1 copo de grãos de milho verde
½ copo de queijo mascarpone
1 ½ colheres de sopa de mel de abelha

Aqueça o forno e forre as fôrmas de muffin com fôrminhas de papél tipo as de cupcake.  Numa tigela bata a farinha, a farinha de milho, o açucar, o pó royal e uma colher de chá de sal.  Bata os ovos, o leite e a manteiga derretida numa tigela grande.  Incorpore os ingredientes secos e logo acrescente os grãos de milho (não bata a mistura depois de ter acrescentado os grãos.

Use uma colher para despejar a mistura nas fôrminhas.  Leve para assar durante 15-18 minutos.  Deixe os muffins na fôrma por 10 minutos e depois coloque numa grêlha para esfriarem.

Numa tigela pequena bata o mascarpone com o mel de abelha e uma pitada de sal.  Sirva com os muffins.  Os muffins podem ser conservados num Tupperware por até três dias.

Pain au Chocolat ~ Croissant de Chocolate

Recipe by King Arthur Flour Blog, Photo by Priscillakittycat

Oh là là!  I’m feeling so French!  Look at the photo and see how beautiful this croissant dough turned out.

Recently, all the stars aligned for me to prepare these treats.  It takes 3 days to make Pain au Chocolat.  Last Monday was a holiday, which means there was one extra day to bake.  And, today is a rainy day, which, as you can see from the length of the text for this recipe, is perfect for writing and translating.

Don’t be dissuaded when you scroll and see how long the recipe is.  Yes, there are various steps in the process and it’s important to pay attention to each step.  But, this recipe is straightforward and the steps are easy to follow. Pan au Chocolat is made with the same dough as the kind used for croissants.  Therefore, if you “crush it”, you can go out there and tell the world you make homemade croissants.

Dough
1 1/2 cups water, milk or a combination
1/4 cup sugar
4 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Butter
24 tablespoons (1 1/2 cups, 3 sticks) unsalted butter, cold

Assembly
16 or 32 Pain au Chocolat Sticks (depending on whether you want one or two sticks inside each roll)

Glaze
1 large egg beaten with a pinch of salt

To make the dough: In a large mixing bowl, stir together the water, sugar, 2 cups of the flour, yeast, salt, and butter. Mix until fairly evenly blended.

Add the remaining flour and stir until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. Turn the dough out and knead it until it just starts to smooth out. You don’t want to over-knead it at this point, since it’s going to spend a considerable amount of time rising.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise for about an hour, until puffy. (The dough can be prepared to this point in a bread machine with at least a 1 1/2 pound capacity. Simply place all of the ingredients in the bucket, select dough or manual, and press start.)

After an hour at room temperature, refrigerate the dough (in its covered bowl) for 8 to 16 hours; overnight is your best bet.

To prepare the butter: Just before the dough is ready to come out of the fridge, prepare the butter for rolling into the dough. Cut each of the three sticks in half lengthwise and place all six pieces on a floured piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Sprinkle flour on the top surface of the butter, cover with another piece of paper or plastic and gently pound it with a rolling pin until it becomes malleable. Then roll the butter out until it’s about 8″ x 8″.

To assemble the rolls: Remove the dough from the refrigerator, place it on a lightly floured surface and roll it into a 12″ square. Place the butter in the center of the dough at a 45° angle; it’ll look like a diamond inside the square. Fold the four flaps of dough into the center to enclose the butter, pinching them together as best you can.

Roll the dough into a 10″ x 20″ rectangle. Fold one third into the center, then the opposite third over the first, like you were folding a business letter; this is called a leter fold. Turn the dough 90°F, roll it into a 10″ x 20″ rectangle again, and do another letter fold.

Wrap the dough in lightly floured plastic wrap and refrigerate it again for an hour. Remove the dough from the fridge, and give it two more letter folds: rolling, folding, turning 90°, rolling, and folding. Wrap the dough in lightly floured plastic wrap and refrigerate it again for at least 8 hours (or up to 24 hours, until you’re ready to use it).

To finish your pain au chocolat, remove the dough from the refrigerator, cut it in half and return one half to the refrigerator.

Roll the other half out until it’s a generous 8″ x 24″. With a bench knife, cut the dough into eight 4″ x 6″ pieces.

Place one or two pieces of chocolate at one end of each piece and roll it up into a tube. Place, seam side down, on a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Press down on the tops of the rolls to flatten them into a rectangle shape. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place until they’re light and puffy looking, about an hour.

Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.

Just before baking, brush the egg/salt glaze over the tops of the rolls. Bake the rolls for 18 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool a bit before you bite into them; the structure needs a chance to set.

Store any leftover rolls, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.


Não é por nada não, mas gente, eu estou boazona…Na cozinha, é claro. No final de semana passado fiz Pain Au Chocolat.  Demora três dias porque a massa tem que descansar durante varios períodos.  A massa em si, é trabalhada muito pouco, mas o tempo de descanso é longo.  Dá para ver pelas fotos que eu acertei na consistência da massa.  Ficou muito linda.  No sabor nem se fala.  Pretendo repetir a receita logo e da próxima vez farei um recheio de crème de pistache.  Água na boca!

Massa
1 1/2 copo agua, leite ou uma mistura
1/4 copo açucar
4 1/2 copo farinha de trigo forte
2 1/2 colheres (chá) fermento em pó

2 1/2 colheres (chá) sal
4 colheres (sopa) manteiga sem sal, amolecida

Manteiga
24 colheres (sopa) de manteiga sem sal, fria

Montagem
16 ou 32 tacos de chocolate, dependendo de quantos quizer colocar em cada pão

1 ovo grande batido com um pouco de sal

Para preparar a massa:  Misture a água, o açucar, 2 copos da farinha, o fermento, sal e a manteiga até que os ingredientes estejam incorporados.  Adicione o restante da farinha e misture até que a massa começe a desgrudar dos lados da tigela.  Vire no counter e sove a massa até começar a ficar quase lisa.  Não sove muito a massa porque ela vai ficar um bom tempo descansando e crescendo.

Coloque a massa numa tigela que foi anteriormente untada com manteiga.  Cubra a tigela e deixe descansar durante uma hora (fora da geladeira), até ficar leve e fofa.

Depois de uma hora, coloque a massa dentro da geladeira (ainda na tigela coberta) durante 8 horas ou até 16 horas.

Para preparar a manteiga: Um pouquinho antes da hora de tirara a massa da geladeira prepare a manteiga para enrollar na massa.
Corte cada uma das barras de manteiga no sentido longitudinal.  Coloco os pedaços, lado a lado num pedaço de papel de sera.  Polvilhe farinha por cima da manteiga e cubra com outro pedaço de papel de cera e bata levemente com um rolo de massa até ficar maleável.  Abra a manteiga até atingir o tamanho de 8 x 8 polegadas.

Para montar os pães:  Retire a massa da geladeira e coloque no counter que foi previamente polvilhado com farinha de trigo.  Abra a massa em forma quadrada de 12 polegadas.  Coloque a manteiga no centro da massa num angulo de 45 graus.  Ficará parecendo um diamante no meio de um quadrado.  Dobre as quatro pontas para dentro para cubrir a manteiga.  Belisque a massa para fechar.

Abra a massa na medida de 10 x 20 polegadas.  Dobre um terço da massa para o centro, e depois o terço do lado oposto por cima do primeiro, com se fosse dobrar a folha de uma carta.  Vire a massa 90 graus e abra novamente na medida de 10 x 20 graus.  Mais uma vez, faça as dobras de carta.

Enrole a massa no papel plastico polvilhado com farinha de trigo.  Coloque na geladeira por uma hora.

Depois que passar uma hora, tire a massa da geladeira e abra outra vez, dobre como uma carta, vire 90 graus, abra.  Faça duas vezes.  Enrole a massa no papel de plastico e deixe na geladeira durante 8 horas ou até 24 horas, até o horário de fazer os pães.

Para fazer os pães, remova a massa da geladeira, corte na metade e devolva uma para a geladeira.

Abra a massa até ficar de um tamanho generoso de 8 x 24 polegadas.  Com uma faca corte a massa em pedaços de 4 x 6 polegadas.

Coloque uns pedaços de chocolate na ponta de um dos pedaços 4 x 6.  Enrole a massa em forma de um tubo.  Coloque num tabuleiro untado com o lado da bainha para baixo.  Repita com as outras massas.  Cubra e deixe crescer num ambiente morno até ficarem leves e fofos (mais ou menos uma hora).

Estando quase na hora de assar, aqueça o forno a 425 F ou 230 C.  Pouqinho antes de assar, pincele uma mistura do ovo batido com uma pitada sal por cima dos pães.  Asse durante 18 a 20 minutos, até que os pães fiquem marrom dorados.  Remova do forno e deixe esfriar um pouco.  A estrutura do pão precisa firmar.

Os pães que sobrarem podem ser guardados em temperatura ambiental, bem embrulhados.  Para guardar durante um periodo mais longo, congele.

Honey Lavender Hot Chocolate ~ Chocolate Quente com Mel e Lavanda

Recipe by FitFoodieFinds Blog, Photo by Priscillakittycat

Ooooooooo!  I just discovered something so great.  Okay, the discovery actually happened last November when I was in Asheville, NC.  First let me tell you how I ended up in Asheville.  I was there to deliver a very special sentient being named Harley to his new family.  I had helped rescue Harley (and another 9 cats) from a very scary situation in Miami and my good friend Jessy and her partner, Monica, offered to give Harley, a 16 year old kitty, a happy home to live out the rest of his life.  Elated to report that one year later, Harley, who they’ve named Little Buddy, stole the hearts of his family.  He receives so much love and affection.  Little Buddy has a kitty sister, Cutie.  They rule over the household and daily activities revolve around them.  If you’re reading this, “Thank you, Jess and Monica, for all the love you give to Little Buddy!”

Now that you know why I was in Asheville, let’s talk about the hot chocolate part of the story.  There’s this chocolate place called the French Broad in Asheville’s town center.  The name sounded funny and I became curious when the girls told me about it.  I imagined it would be owned by a French Broad or some rough or maybe eccentric red-haired woman with an interesting past.  (Remember, I like to make up my own stories).  Turns out, the history of the French Broad is so unrelated to the story I had come up with.  If you’re curious about the real story, ask Uncle Google.

While at the French Broad, I ordered a Honey Lavender Hot Chocolate.  You can choose to have yours with milk chocolate or dark chocolate.  I love dark chocolate and ohhh boy, do I love lavender.  It was divine!  When I returned to Miami I ordered a bag of Lavender flowers online…but never got around to reproducing the French Broad’s hot chocolate…until today.

Yeah, so what if the temperature in Miami is in the high 70s right now.  In these here parts you can’t wait for cold weather.  Besides, I really want to share this recipe with you…because everyone should have lavender honey simple syrup on hand.  You can use it to sweeten tea, lemonade or anything you’d like.  Make the simple syrup one night ahead of your hot chocolate party. Trust me on this one.  Lavender Honey Hot Chocolate is the cat’s meow!

For the Lavender-Infused Honey Simple Syrup

½ cup filtered water
½ cup all-natural honey
1 tablespoon dried lavender (I used 2 tablespoons)

For the Honey Lavender Hot Chocolate

2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 ounce 60% dark chocolate (i used high quality chocolate)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder (if you use high quality cocoa, which i did, then use only 2 tbsps)
3 tablespoons honey lavender simple syrup (i added a little more)

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and turn to medium/high heat.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to low and let simmer for 5 minutes. Stirring consistently until honey dissolves into water.

Place into a container and into the fridge. Let sit overnight or for at least 8 hours to let the lavender infuse even more. Strain lavender before serving.

Place 2 cups of almond milk and 1 ounce of dark chocolate in a small saucepan and turn to medium/high heat. Whisk until dissolved.  Add in cocoa powder and honey lavender simple syrup and whisk until dissolved. Continue whisking until hot cocoa comes to a simmer.


Ahhhhh, descobri algo maravilhoso!  Bem, a descoberta aconteceu na Carolina do Norte, nos EUA em novembro de 2017.  Vou explicar.  Eu fui para a Carolina do Norte para fazer uma entrega muito importante.  A entrega se chamava “Harley”.  Eu tinha resgatado o Harley e mais 8 gatos de uma situação muito perigosa em Miami.

A viagem até Asheville durou 13 horas.  Enquanto eu dirigia, o Harley, muito carinhoso, dormia no meu colo ou no banco do meu lado.  Demoramos mas chegamos bem.  Entregei o Harley, que hoje chama “Little Buddy”, para as novas mãs dele, a Jessica e a Monica.  Não tem nada melhor do que quando a gente encontra uma casa boa para um animal.  Hoje o Little Buddy tem uma irmã e vive como um rei.  Agradeço muito a Jessica e a Monica pelo amor que elas tem proporcionado a ele.

Agora que está explicado como fui parar na Carolina do Norte, podemos falar sobre o chocolate quente.  Na cidade de Asheville tem uma loja de chocolates chamada, “The French Broad”.  Eu logo imaginei que a dona do lugar fosse uma francesa velha, durona, porque o termo “broad” em inglês pode significar uma mulher desse tipo.  A história que inventei estava completamente errada.  Se você quizer saber o que é French Broad…pergunte para o Tio Google.

Okay, voltando ao assunto: chocolate quente.  Quando fomos ao French Broad pedi um chocolate quente com lavanda e mel.  Pense numa coisa dos deuses!  Quando voltei para Miami procurei a receita e comprei as flores de lavanda pela Amazon.  Isso faz tanto tempo.  Ainda bem que as flores de lavanda duram dois anos na embalagem.

Para a Calda de Mel e Lavanda

Esta calda pode ser usada para adoçicar limonada ou até suco de maracuja.  Faça a calda no dia antes ou varios dias antes de fazer o chocolate.
1/2 copo de agua filtrada
1/2 copo mel natural
1 colher de sopa flores de lavanda (eu usei 2 colheres)

Para o Chocolate Quente
2 copos de leite de amendoa sem açucar
1 oz (aproximadamente 30 gramas) de chocolate amargo (60 a 70%)
3 colheres de sopa pó de cacao (eu usei só 2 colheres porque o chocolate era de alta qualidade o que faz o sabor ser mais forte)
3 ou 4 colheres da calda de mel e lavanda

Para a calda de Mel e Lavanda
Coloque todos os ingredientes numa panela pequena e ligue o fogão para o fogo meio alto.  Deixe ferver, reduz o fogo e deixe fervilhar durante 5 minutos sempre mexendo até o mel dissolver na água.

Quando esfriar, transfira para uma jarrinha de vidro e leve para a geladeira durante pelo menos 8 horas.  A calda pode ficar na geladeira varias semanas.

Para o Chocolate Quente
Coloque 2 copos do leite de amendoa e 30 gramas de chocolate numa panela pequena.  Acenda o fogo (meio alto) Use o batedor (não a batedeira) para bater o chocolate no leite até o chocolate derreter.  Adicione o chocolate em pó e o mel (coado).  Bata com o batedor até o leite ferventar.

Spanish-style Mussels ~ Mexilhões à moda Espanhola

Photo by Priscillakittycat, Recipe by Rosa Cocinera y Madre

The Spaniards know how to prepare seafood.  Their recipes are simple and they conserve the taste of the seafood.  Uncle Google helped me find the recipe you see here.  Literally translated, the title of the accompanying YouTube video includes, in bold letters, the phrase: “to suck your fingers”.  I have to laugh at the way it sounds when you translate it literally…but I also agree with Rosa, the YouTube chef.  You could hear the slurping and sucking sounds as our guests ate these on New Year’s Eve.

1 kg mussels (cleaned and rinsed)
2 bay leaves
½ an onion, chopped (I used a whole one)
2 garlic cloves (I used 5 or more)
½ tablespoon of paprika (I used 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon flour (I used 2 tablespoons)
½ cup good quality white wine (I used a little more)
salt, olive oil
chopped flat-leaf parsley

Boil water in a large sauté pan.  Add the mussels and cover the pan.  Shake the pan around a bit, with the lid on, to distribute the heat.  When all of the mussels have opened (about 4-6 minutes), turn off the heat, drain the mussels and reserve the broth.  Separate the mussels by removing the side of the shell that doesn’t contain meat.  Set the meat-containing shells aside.

In the same large sauté pan, add a generous amount of olive oil.  Turn on the heat.  When the oil is heated, add the garlic and onions.  Stir occasionally until the garlic is golden and the onion is soft.  Add the paprika and stir for about one minute.  Add the flour and continue stirring.  Add the wine.  Continue stirring and allow the mixture to evaporate and thicken.  Add some of the mussels’ broth (about 1 cup, maybe more).  Stir and let thicken again.  Add most of the chopped parsley.  Add the mussels in their half-shell.  Stir well so that all the mussels soak in the sauce.  Pour into a nice serving dish and garnish with more parsley.

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Os espanhóis sabem preparar frutos do mar.  O que gosto das receitas espanholas é que elas são simples e conservam o sabor do fruto do mar.  O Tio Google me ajudou encontrar esta receita.  O titulo do vídeo é “Mejillones a la marinera…PARA CHUPARSE LOS DEDOS!!!” Ja gostei.  Também gostei que é uma dona de casa legitima que ensina preparar os mexilhões.  Acredite em mim quando digo que esta receita vale a pena guardar.

1 kilo de mexilhões
2 folhas de louro
1/2 cebola picada (usei uma enteira)
2 dentes de alho picados (usei 5)
1/2 colher de sopa de paprica (usei 2 colheres e poderia ter usado mais)
1 colher de copa de farinha de trigo
1/2 copo de vinho branco de boa qualidade
sal, azeite de oliva
salsinha picada

Coloque a água e as folhas de louro para ferver numa panela ou frigideira funda.  Quando ferver, coloque os mexilhões e tampe.  Aperte a tampa e chacoalhe algumas vezes.  Quando os mexilhões estiverem abertos, retire e reserve o caldo em que se cozinharam os mexilhões.  Remova o lado da casca que não tem a carne do mexilhão e reserve os lados que tem a carne.

Despeje o azeite (bastante) na mesma frigideira em que se cozinharam os mexilhões e ligue o fogo.  Adicione o alho e a cebola.  Deixe dourar.  Acrescente a paprica e misture bem durante um minuto.  Junte a farinha e misture.  Despeje o vinho e sal a gosto.  Misture até engrossar um pouco.  Acrescente o caldo dos mexilhões e deixe engrossar.  Adicione a salsinha picada.  Abaixe o fogo e adicione os mexilhoes.  Misture bem para incorporar o molho.  Despeje num prato de servir e enfeite com mais salsinha.

 

 

Winter Wonderland Snowman Cake ~ Bolo Boneco de Neve

Photos by Priscillakittycat, Recipe by Wilton

The New Year is upon us.  Reflecting on the past year, I am thankful for so much.  At the top of the list are friends of all kinds.  There are work friends, yogi friends, cat lady friends, animal friends, cooking friends, classmate friends, teacher friends, far-away friends, and forever friends.  I am thankful for family, good health, legs to run with, eyes to see and admire through, hands to caress and care for animals with, to draw, paint and cook with and a heart to love all sentient beings.

The mind is a gift, too.  It is where the compassion resides and grows.  It is a work in progress. If we train the mind, more compassion will flow through and the New Year will become beautiful, pure and white, like a snow-filled wonderland.

My wish for all humansk is that you be curious, explore and discover what makes your heart glow.  When you find the way, be assured the path will lead to light and love.  Happy New Year!

This Winter Wonderland Snowman Cake takes two days to prepare because the decorations (snowmen and trees) have to be made one day in advance of baking and icing the cake.

Meringue Cookies (Snowmen)

1/4 cup Meringue Powder
2 teaspoons Imitation Clear Vanilla Extract – 8 oz.
1/2 cup water
1-1/3 cups granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 250°F. Prepare cookie pans with parchment paper.

In large bowl, whip Meringue Powder and water with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. With mixer running, gradually add sugar. Whip until stiff peaks. Add vanilla and icing color and whip until well combined, scraping down bottom and sides of bowl as necessary.

Prepare 16 in. decorating bag with tip 2A and meringue batter.

Prepare cookie pan with parchment paper. Use straight side of “B”, “C”, “D” and “E” cut-outs (see Wilton online) to trace circles on back of parchment paper (trace two to three of each size). Additionally, draw two to three circles measuring 1½ in. in size (slightly smaller than “D” cut-out).

Pipe balls following outlines on parchment paper. Bake and cool following recipe instructions.

Bake 45-50 minutes or until outsides of meringues feel firm and crisp. Cool completely on pan. Peel cooled meringues off the parchment paper.

Prepare parchment bag with reserved royal icing.

Using royal icing, assemble snowmen pieces. For large snowman, combine “B” circle for body with “D” circle for head. For medium snowman, combine “C” circle for body with 1½ in. circle for head. For small snowman, combine “D” circle for body with “E” circle for head. You’ll have extra meringues to chose from, so select the best ones!

Using Black icing color, tint ¼ cup royal icing black.

Prepare parchment bag with tip 2 and black icing. Pipe eyes and buttons on snowmen. Using reserved white royal icing, attach jumbo orange nonpareils for noses.

Using decorating brush and Deep Pink Color Dust, brush on cheeks.

Royal Icing (Trees)

3 tablespoons 4 oz. Meringue Powder
4 cups (about 1 lb.) confectioners’ sugar
5 tablespoons warm water

Beat all ingredients together until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer).

Helpful Hints:

  • Keep all utensils completely grease-free for proper icing consistency.
  • For stiff icing: Use 1 tablespoon less water.
  • When using large countertop mixer or for stiffer icing, use 1 tablespoon less water.
  • For thin icing: To thin for pouring, add 1 teaspoon water per cup of royal icing. Use grease-free spoon or spatula to stir slowly. Add 1/2 teaspoon water at a time until you reach proper consistency.
  • Meringue Powder is a must for this recipe. Do not substitute with raw egg whites (which can be a food safety issue) or dried egg whites; neither will produce the same results as Meringue Powder.
  • To store: Store royal icing in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks. Before reusing, re-whip using a paddle attachment on low speed until it’s back to the correct consistency.Using serrated knife, cut four sugar cones ranging in height from 2½ in. to 4 in. high (leave remaining cone untrimmed).

Helpful Hint: Using a food-safe marker, mark cone at cut line. Dip bottom of cone to mark in hot water. Using a serrated knife, cut off bottom of cone.

Using tapered spatula, ice cones with royal icing. Use spatula to pull out icing from cone, making branches. Immediately sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar (use a sifter or tea strainer to dust trees); set aside to dry overnight. Reserve remaining royal icing.

Cake

Prepare cake batter following recipe instructions. I used a Dulce de Leche Layer Cake recipe for this cake, as it is white, fluffy and yummy.  You can use a chocolate cake recipe, too.  Bake and cool two cake layers. Level, fill and stack cake layers. Using spatula, ice cake, leaving spatula marks on top and on sides of cake.  Top cake with trees and snowmen. Sprinkle with remaining confectioners’ sugar.

Dulce de Leche Layer Cake

Filling

One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons nut-flavored liqueur, such as Frangelico or biscotti liqueur.  I used Disaronno.  Italian, of course.

Cake

2 1/2 cups cake flour 1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of salt 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups plus 6 tablespoons sugar
4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup milk

Frosting

4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons Frangelico or biscotti liqueur
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Submerge the unopened can of condensed milk in a large, deep pot of water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat for 2 hours, adding water as needed to keep the can completely submerged. Carefully remove the can and let cool slightly. Carefully open the can with tongs and transfer the dulce de leche to a bowl: It should resemble creamy caramel. Whisk until smooth, then gradually whisk in the nut liqueur. Let cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 350° and butter two 9-inch cake pans. Line with parchment paper and butter and flour the pans. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the 1 1/2 cups of sugar at medium speed until fluffy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat until smooth. Beat in the dry ingredients and the milk in 3 alternating batches, scraping down the side of the bowl occasionally.

In a clean bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 6 tablespoons of sugar and beat until glossy. Fold the egg whites into the batter.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pans. Bake in the center of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until the cakes are golden and a toothpick in the centers comes out clean. Transfer the cakes to a rack to cool slightly. Run the tip of a knife around the edges and invert the cakes onto the rack to cool completely. Using a serrated knife, split each layer horizontally in half.

In a clean bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil over high heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved and a candy thermometer in the syrup registers 235° for soft-ball stage. Remove from the heat and add the liqueur. With the mixer at medium speed, carefully drizzle the hot sugar syrup into the egg whites. Beat in the lime juice, then beat at high speed until the frosting is light and fluffy and slightly warm to the touch.

Place a cake layer on a large cake plate and top with one-third of the dulce de leche filling. Repeat with the remaining layers and filling, ending with a layer of cake. Spread the frosting all over the cake, swirling decoratively. Let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.