quinta-feira, 29 de abril de 2010

The Pampered Chef

tr.v., -pered, -per·ing, -pers.
1.To treat with excessive indulgence: pampered their child.
2.To give in to; gratify: He pampered his ambition for wealth and fame.
3. Archaic. To indulge with rich food; glut.
Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Last Sunday was a hectic one. Meeting in the morning. Relief Society lesson. Another meeting in the evening. But one thing is true, always true: I can get by with a little help from my friends... I get high with a little help from my friends... Nothing better than being pampered (1), pampered (2) and pampered (3) by my best friend who cooked an amazing and delicious breakfast... for dinner!

Adam's Frittata
6-8 eggs
1/2 a package of turkey or ham deli meat
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup fresh spinach coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Add ingredients to a big bowl in the order above. Coat pan with cooking oil spray. Add mixture once oil is hot. Cover the pan. When frittata is brown, fold in half. Make sure both sides are brown and cooked and serve it hot!
Serve  with:
Biscuits with butter
Pancakes with Strawberries and Whipped Cream

The perfect recipe to end the weekend com chave de ouro... Amo! 

quarta-feira, 28 de abril de 2010

Hot'n'Spicy Szechuan Pork

The Other White Meat. That's how magazine 'Family Circle' called pork meat in an article about heart-healthy meats. So, following my desire to promote a healthy lifestyle and healthy meals, here is a wonderful Chinese recipe I cooked over the weekend using pork meat and some 'party' leftovers. It's easy and doesn't take more than 30 minutes to prepare. You can serve this dish over white rice as they do in China and even noodles. I loooove to cook brown rice and bulgur together - in equal measures, just so you know. It is satisfying and very healthy - again! Serve with a green salad and a tray of celery and carrots and mild salsa or any dip of your preference.

Hot'n'Spicy Szechuan Pork

1 tray pork meat
1 package hot'n'spicy Szechuan seasoning mix
2 cups ginger ale
1 onion (chopped)
1 1/2 cups celery (chopped)
1 1/2 cups carrots (chopped)
1 red bell pepper
salt to taste

In a large bowl, add the mix to ginger ale and marinate the pork meat overnight. Coat your wok or stir-fry pan with cooking oil or spray and let it on the burner until the oil is hot - but not too hot! Add the onion and cook until brown. Add celery, carrots, bell pepper and one teaspoon of salt. Cook until celery and bell pepper start to become tender. Add pork with gingerale-szechuan mix. Cook until most of the liquid mix has evaporated and pork meat is tender. Add salt if necessary - shouldn't be since the seasoning mix is pretty spicy!

Bulgur and Brown Rice Side Dish

1 1/2 cup bulgur
1 1/2 cup brown rice
1 package Sazon or rice seasoning mix
Pinch of salt

Coat pan with cooking spray. Add bulgur and brown rice to pan and cook them for no more than a minute. Add 4 cups of hot water and seasoning,. Cook it just like regular rice. Check the bottom and once there is no more or little water left, put it in the oven - oven is turned off - for a few minutes or wrap pan in kitchen cloth. It will help rice be fluffy and loose instead of clumping up into one hard block.

This should be enough food for 2 to 3 people.

Mànmàn Chī! Bom apetite!

terça-feira, 27 de abril de 2010

Girl's Book Club and Recipe Exchange - vol. 1

O tempo passa, o tempo voa... Time flies. And so it did last week. After an excruciatingly busy week, only now am I updating my e-Book of Recipes with some delicious recipes my girlfriends brought to our book club meeting last Saturday.

Luciana's Pasta Salad
Ingredients: 1 package cooked pasta - spinach - strawberries - oranges or tangerines - almonds - bacon bits - cranberry vinagrette.
Let the pasta cool and add all the ingredients above. Easy and sassy!

Janiece's 1-hour bread
Ingrdients: 5 1/4 cup bread flour - 1/4 cup sugar - 1/2 tsp salt - 1 1/2 rounded T Saf-Instant Yeast - 1 1/2 tsp liquid lecithin/oil - 2 to 2 1/2 cups hot tap water
Mix dry ingredients in a mixer with a dough hook or flat beater (or mix by hand). Add lecithin/oil and 2 cups of hot water. Mix for about 1 minute. Add more water if dough is too dry. Mix for 5 minutes - don't add anything. Spray counter and pans with cooking spray. Shape loaves and cover with towel. Let raise for 25 minutes then bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Makes 2 loaves.
For pizza roll out dough, don't let rise. Add toppings and bake at 400-425 for 15 minutes.
Janiece's loaves of bread looked awesome and tasted delicious! My home smelled like a bakery when she walked in!!!!!!

Randa's Moroccan-Style Lentil Soup
Ingredients: 1 package of dried lentils - 1 can garbanzo beans - 1 can pinto beans - 1 onion (chopped) - 1 garlic cloves (smashed and chopped) - 1/2 cup chopped celery - 1/2 cup chopped carrots - 1 large bell papper (chopped) - 4 cups vegetable broth - 1 1/2 tbsp curry powder - 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper - 1/2 tsp cummin - 1/4 tsp nutmeg - 1/4 tsp cinnamon - salt to taste.
Add all ingredients to your slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours. The longer it cooks, the better it tastes. Serve with sour cream and paprika. Life doesn't get any better than this!

Paula's Basic Dough
Ingredients: 1 tbsp active dry yeast or 1oz (25gr) brewe's yeast - 1 1/2 cup (375 ml) warm water - 3 1/2 cup (500 gr) flour - 1 tbsp olive oil - Pinch of salt.
In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast on thw arm water, and stir to dissolve it. Set aside until the yeast starts forming bubbles in about 5 minutes. In another bowl, sift the flour. Mold the flour in a mound shape with a hole in the center. Pour in the center the yeats mix, olive oil and salt. Mix with your hands to form a dough. Sprinkle some flour on the work surface. Place the dough on the floured surface. Knead the dough until it takes in all the flour. Spread some olive oil inside the bowl and transfer the dough into it. Coverthe bowl with a kitchen cloth and set aside for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until the dough soubles volume. Use it as you wish.
Paula used the dough to make little pizza rolls with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and oregano. Delectable!

Mellanie's Chocolate Chip Cookies
125g (4oz) butter - 1 1/2 (280g/9oz) brown sugar - 2 tsp vanilla essence - 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda - 2 1/2 cups (310g/ 3/4oz) plain flour - 150g (4 3/4oz) dark choc bits - optional: 150g white choc bits, chopped almond, cranberries.
Preheat oven to 180 C/350F/gas 4. Brush two oven trays with melted butter or oil. Line with baking paper. Using an electric beater and a small bowl, beat butter, suggar and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs gradually and transfer to a large bowl. Using a metal spoon, fold soda, sufted flour and choc bits into creamed mixture. Mix until smooth. Drop level tbsp of mixture onto trays, allowing for spreading. Flatten mixture slightly. Bake 12-15 minutes or until lightly brown. Transferto wire rack to cool.
These cookies looked puffed and tasted light and delicious!A great treat to gather the kids together or to offer to guests!

Good books, good friends and good food! What a wonderful combination!

Thanks to Suelen, Lorena, Paula, Darlei, Janiece, Mellanie and Luciana - Happy Bday, Lu!

segunda-feira, 26 de abril de 2010

My Mom’s Amazingly Delicious and Easy Pizza dough

I am part Italian - my grandma's dad was Italian, Tito Begni - which means I grew up eating lots of pasta. And not just the kind of pasta that you buy at the supermarket, but homemade pasta. One of my mom's best recipes is her amanzingly delicious and easy pizza dough - that's how I call it because it is indeed AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS & EASY! I could keep it as a family secret but what's the point... so I might was well share it with you, my beloved friends and bloggers!

Here is the recipe for the dough in small and large batches. The small batch can be used for up to three pizzas if you let the dough rise for at least 6 hours. The large batch can serve for 6 pizzas - once I used it for eight small ones!!! Let it rise, let it rise!

Small batch                  Ingredients                   Large Batch

½ cup                          water                          1 cup

1 large                         egg(s)                          2

1 tbsp                          butter/olive oil              ¼ cup

1 tsp                            salt                              2 tsp

2 cups                         all purpose white flour  4 cups

¼ cup                         sugar                            ½ cup

1-1/2                          skim milk powder         3 tbsp

1 tsp                           quick-rise yeast            2 tsp

Bread machine – put all ingredients in the bread machine bucket in the order above. Make a whole before adding the yeast. Select dough. Approx. 1h 30min. Let dough rest. If dough won’t be used until the next day, put it in the refrigerator. Good for 3 to 4 days.
Hand made – beat all ingredients together until you have a smooth and hard ball of dough. Let it rest for approx. 2 hours.
Tips – use olive oil with Italian seasoning or add grated parmesan cheese to the mix - substitute 1 to 2 cups of white flour for semolina flour or whole wheat flour or rye flour.

You can use the dough as you wish. Not just for pizzas but also calzoni (see picture), smaller treats and even bread. Last week I made a gigantic calzone with pastrami.

Here are the ingredients in the right order: tomato sauce, muzzarella cheese, pastrami, bell peppers (chopped), onion (chopped or sliced), oregano leaves and olive oil.

And here's the result:

I served the calzone with green leaf salad and broccoli soup (all you need here is any kind of soup and then just add the broccoli and let it cook according to the soup package instructions).

All this reminds me of an Italian restaurant back home in Itaipava called Farfarello. La vera pasta asciutta.

Let me know how YOUR recipe turns out!

ps: I love you... mom! And love your recipes too!


quarta-feira, 14 de abril de 2010

Janiece's Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

Thank you so much for being the first one to contribute to my blog, Janiece!
I will try this recipe out on the weekend and let you know how it turned out.
You are all encouraged to try out Janiece's recipe as well!

Pie Crust:

Use a 9x9x2in pan

2/3 Cup + 2 T shortening
2 C all purpose flour
1 t salt
4-5 T water
Cut shortening into flour and salt until lumps are pea sized. Sprinkle in water 1 T at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost cleans side of bowl. Gather pastry into a ball and make pie shell, there should be enough for the top and the bottom of the pie.

Pie Filling:

1/3 C margarine/butter
1/3 C all purpose flour
1/2 t salt, 1/4 t pepper
1 3/4C chicken broth
2/3 C milk
2 C cooked cut up chicken
1 package (10 oz) frozen peas and carrots.
Melt margarine, blend in the flour, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat stirring constantly until smooth and bubbly. Take off heat and stir in broth and milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Stir in chicken and veggies. Fill Pie crust and cover with top crust. Make vent holes.

Bake at 425* for 30-35 min.

Mi piace. That's all I can say!

segunda-feira, 12 de abril de 2010

Soup, Pão-de-queijo, Brownie and Homemade Whole Wheat Bread with Cranberries and Flax Seeds

Oh me, oh my! Can one be sad and glad at the same time that the weekend is over? YES! And this some 'one' is ME. It was one busy but extremely joyous weekend filled with good moments. And by good moments I also mean good healthy food.
Let's start with the menu on Saturday: cheese soup, Brazilian cheese bread (pão-de-queijo), fruits and dessert. Even though this combination didn't really require advanced cooking skills or any specific ingredients, it was light and satisfying (Errr... I thing Adam would disagree with the last part... lol!).

Cheese soup and Brazilian cheese bread or Pão-de-queijo

1 package of cheese soup

All you need here is water (0.5 L) and milk (0.5 L). I always add black pepper to the soup when its ready. Wonderful aroma! One great idea is to sauté onion and cubes of ham or bacon and add to the soup when it is ready. It adds color and flavor... and sustenance too! (see picture 1)

Approx. 10 minutes - Serves 2-3  

1 package of cheese bread mix

Again, all you need here is 2 eggs and 1 cup of milk. Follow the instructions on the back of the package and bake them for approx. 30 min. Serve with butter (by far my favorite!), mayonese, tomato sauce or even jam (see picture 2). Grapes and strawberries are great to nibble on while at the table and add color to the ensemble (see picture 4).

Approx. 40 minutes - Serves 2

Weekends are also great because it's when I make dessert. This time I chose something equally easy. The Ghirardelly Ultimate Fudge Brownie mix is splendid!!! (Thinking of you, MOM!) But remember: do not open the oven before brownie has been in there for at least 30 minutes. That's why mine looks flat. But still DELECTABLE! (see picture 3)

And then, Sunday came! And there is nothing better than fresh baked bread on a cold Sunday afternoon... ok, maybe there is, but it is pretty good anyway! The last picture is a delicious homemade bread made with the help of one my best pals, my amazing and wonderful bread machine - I love you so much! (see picture 5)

Whole Wheat Bread with Cranberries and Flax Seeds

 Add the following ingredients in this order into your bread machine:
9 oz. lukewarm water
2 tbs canola oil
1 ts salt
2 ts almond essence
8 oz. white flour
8 oz. whole wheat flour
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup flax seeds
1 tbs set of honey
2 1/2 ts fast-action yeast (for bread machine)

1. Close your breadmachine and select dough.
2. Press start.
(Keep an eye on the dough. You might have to add some water (if the mix is too dry and wont form a ball) or white flour (if the dough is too smooshy and keeps sticking to the bucket walls).
3. Let is rest for the remaining time acording to the timer of your bread machine.
4. Set oven to 350 F.
After that you can play with the dough and shape it into whatever shape you want it (I will post some nice and easy shapes in the near future. I promise!!!) or put it in a bread tray. Whatever tray you use, coat it with oil or butter and flour.  
4. Bake it for approx. 30 min at 325-350 F.

You can play with this bread recipe as you wish. You can use dark rye flour, for example, instead of whole wheat. Try other dried fruit instead of cranberries, nuts or trail mix, even chocolate chips. Try also other essences such as banana, orange, lemon. And sesame seeds or poppy seeds instead of flax seeds.

Bom apetite!

sexta-feira, 9 de abril de 2010

Frittata a la Begni

1 bag of frozen vegetables
1 small onion
2 large franks
6 eggs
1 cup of shredded cheese of your preference
Tempero Arisco (seasoning) or salt

1. Heat oven to 350°F.
2. Cook and stir the onion (chopped), garlic (crushed), sliced franks and vegetables on medium-high heat 3 min. or until crisp-tender. 
3. Beat eggs and seasoning/salt in medium bowl with whisk until well blended.
4. Add franks and vegetables to 10-inch ovenproof skillet or pan.
5. Add egg mixture.
6. Cover egg, franks and vegetables mixture with cheese.
7. Sprinkle paprika over mixture for better taste and color.
8. Bake 20-30 min. or until frittata is puffed and golden brown.

Serves 3-4 - Approx. 270 calories per serving (4) - Suggestion: serve with fresh green salad and tomatoes and toasts.

I cooked this dish on Wednesday for dinner and it was pretty easy and tasty. Truly delectable, I might add! Great to finish up with some left overs I had in the fridge too! 
I have always been skeptical of recipes that call for more than 4 eggs. I don't know why, but that's why I have never had the guts to make a Brazilian delectacy called 'quindim' that usually calls for 8-12 eggs!!!!!! But I gave it a shot and it was great! As a side dish, I suggest cutting small loaves or slices of bread or rolls in half, placing them on a baking tray, then you pour olive oil on each cut half of the roll, add some italian seasoning and put it in the oven with the frittata (see picture 2). Back to the frittata, one thing I noticed was that as the cheese melted and gratinated, it created a layer over the eggs making the frittata hard to fully cook (see picture 1). After about 20 minutes it was in the oven, I had to make small wholes in the cheese to allow the frittata to fully bake and voilá, it was ready and juicy, not dry, in another 10 minutes or so (see picutre 3). Enjoy!

Any ideas? Suggestions? Remarks? Please, let me know!

quinta-feira, 8 de abril de 2010


Welcome to my blog or as I'd rather call it: my new project!

The idea here is to use this space to try out and share recipes from and with friends from the four corners of the world - a concept I am sure Nicolas Copernicus would strongly disagree with!

This is how this works. I find recipes, make them and post them here with pictures so that you know how the meal looks like. Feel free to try it out, change ingredients, add spices, and then I encourage you to report your findings here.

I am not a chef and don't intend to become one, I am neither Meryl Streep nor Amy Adams, nor aspire to write a book. Food equals entertainment and this is what it is: pure entertainment for my friends, family and myself.

Enjoy! Or, as the French say, Bon Appétit!