quinta-feira, 27 de maio de 2010

The Amazing Bulgur

Simple and quick. These are the two words that best describe the recipe below. I love cooking brown rice and bulgur, sometimes both together - even measures.
So, what is bulgur? For those not familiar with this cereal food, bulgur is a whole grain made from several different species of wheat, but most often from durum wheat. Because it contains more fiber, vitamins and minerals, it is more nutritious than white rice and couscous. It is a common ingredient in Assyrian, Kurdish, Turkish, Middle-Eastern, Indian and Mediterrean cuisines.
You can pre-cook it by leaving it in seasoned water for 2-3 hrs or cook it just like rice. The hot dog sauce can be used for mostly anything, from the conventional hot dog served in buns, to pasta (egg noodles, fusilli, spaghetti, orzo), rice, quesadillas, tacos, polenta. This week, I tried a combination that I hadn't tried before and the result was DELECTABLE! Enjoy!

Bulgur with V8 Hot Dog Sauce

1 package turkey franks
1 can tomato sauce
1 can V8 vegetable juice
1 tomato, diced
3 halves colored bell peppers (red, yellow, green), sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1 tbsp garlic
1 cup bulgur
1 1/2 cup hot water
Salt and pepper

Start by adding bulgur to pan. Add water and seasoning. High temperature until water starts to boil. Lower temperature until there is no more water. Let it rest in the oven.
Sauté onions for one minute. Add garlic. One minute later add tomatoes. Then add tomato sauce, vegetable juice, bell peppers, and seasoning. Let it cook until bell peppers are tender. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with bulgur and green salad.

You can add corn and sweet peas for more color and taste too!

terça-feira, 25 de maio de 2010

Old-Fashioned Split Pea Soup

May 24th, 2010. I woke up at 7-ish am and what was my surprise when I looked thru the window and saw that IT WAS ACTUALLY SNOWING! Temperatures had dropped from mid 60s to low 30s.
This phenomenon could only happen in Salt Lake City, I guess.
Since there is nothing I can do to change what goes on outside my window, at least I know I have full control of what happens on the inside of my apartment.
More precisely, in the kitchen area.
And split pea soup on a cold spring day it is.
This was the first time I tried out split pea soup with corn and loved the crunchiness it added to the soup.

Old-Fashioned Split Pea Soup
1 package dry split peas
1 package ham in cubes
1 small onion, diced
1 can corn
2 bouillons feijoada or casseroles
4 cups of water
Salt and pepper to taste
Add ingredients in this order to your slow cooker. Let it cook for 3 (high) to 4 1/2 hours (slow).


Macarronada pra Pri

My dear friend and former co-worker and roommate Pri pointed out that there were very few pasta recipes posted on my blog.

So here is another one just for you, Pri!

A couple of Christmases ago, mom and I got stranded at Wal-Mart during a snowstorm on Christmas day. We ended up arriving home much later than we expected and having little time to prepare our Christmas supper. So we decided to be practical and cooked one of my favorite pasta recipes: Pasta di Verona, a recipe we first tried while in Verona, Italy many years ago.

Pasta di Verona

1 package noodles
Frozen peas
4 eggs
Parmezan Cheese

Cook pasta according to package instructions. In a separate pan, sauté onion. When brown, add bacon. When bacon is almost fully cooked, add peas and eggs. Add pasta, mix and serve with parmesan cheese on top and olive oil.

So easy even Santa Claus could make it!

Catarina de Queijo e Presunto

I guess Sundays are the most creative days for me... in the kitchen, I mean.
This past Sunday I made one of my favorite bread-slash-pizza recipes: a catarina, or Katherine in English.
In Brazil, this bread is also called Pão Franciscano since it looks like a sandal wore by Franciscan monks.

Dough - in the bread machine in this order: 9 oz. water - 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable or olive oil - 1 tsp salt - 1 tbspoon Italian seasoning - 1 1/4 cup white flour - 1 cup dark rye/semolina/whole wheat flour - 2 tbsp brown sugar - 1 1/2 tsp yeast. Select 'dough'. Let dough rise for at least 3 hrs. Set oven for 400.

Open dough using a rolling pin. Cut out edges to make one big rectangle. Cut fringes into the dough from lateral edges toward the center about 1-2 inches. Don't cut the center.

Add ingredients to the center: tomato sauce, cheese, ham, tomatoes, onions, oregano leaves, olive oil.

Close dough one lateral fringe at a time, right and left then right and then left again, placing on fringe on top of the other slightly diagonal - see picture.

Sprinkle parmesan chesse. Put it in the oven at 350 for approx. 30 minutes.
Ir you have a baking stone, use it! The stone makes the baking process much faster, let it bake for approx. 20 minutes.

Serve with... salad, of course!

Other ideas for the toppings are: tuna, pepperoni, turkey franks in hot dog sauce, chicken in pesto or bbq sauce. You can turn this into a dessert too by adding vanilla essence to the dough instead of italian seasoning. Sprikle cinnamon on top and confectioner's sugar before serving. Play with it as you wish! Let me know what the result is... and send pictures too!!!

Meat and Potatoes with BBQ Sauce

Last week my dear friend Amy Ellsworth spent a week in SLC and stayed with me for a few days.
As usual, it was great to have her at home and spend time with her at Heritage Park - This is the Place, Cafe Rio, the Tabernacle Choir and The Aviary with her sweet parents, Glenn and Ethel.
Sunday, of course, called for a special dinner for Amy. And this is a great recipe for Sunday dinner! Maravilha!
A couple of weeks ago I made this dish using my slow-cooker and ended up keeping it in the freezer. The reason why I made it in the first place was that I had to use the potatoes I had at home. I don't think they would have lasted another couple of days.
Both the meat and the potatoes freeze and thaw really well.
Here is the menu:
- Meat and Potatoes with BBQ Sauce
- Whole-Wheat Egg Noodles
- Homemade Dark Rye Rolls
- Salad with Cranberry Sauce
- Dessert: Brigadeiro Pudding with Fresh Strawberries

Here is the recipe #1:

Meat and Potatoes with Whole Wheat Egg Noodles

In the slow cooker (in this order):
- half chopped onion
- one tray of beef stew meat
- 2 yellow potatoes, sliced
- 2 sweet potatoes, sliced
- 1 meat bouillon cube
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup bbq sauce
- 2 to 3 cups of water
- pepper

Slow cooker on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.

Serve with pasta, noodles, rice and/or rolls.

And here is recipe #2:

Homemade Dark Rye Rolls

In the bread machine (in this order):
- 9 oz. lukewarm water
- 2 tablespoons canola oil, vegetable oil or low-fat butter/margarine
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp onion or garlic seasoning or flakes
- 1 cup white flour
- 1 cup dark rye flour
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar, caster sugar or honey
- 1 1/2 tsp active yeast

Select dough and press start. Coat tray with oil and flour. Wait until kneading - don't let dough rest yet - and transfer small balls of dough to tray. Let it rest at warm temperature for dough to rise for approx. 3 hrs. Set oven to 375 and let tray on top of stove while it warms up - this is a trick to make the dough rise a little bit more before baking. Put it in the oven at 325 for 30-40 minutes or until top is brown. Serve with honey butter.

And dessert...

Gotta love weekends!

quarta-feira, 12 de maio de 2010

Adapted Alaskan Frittata

My good friend, big brother Muri gave me one of the best brithday gifts I got this year: an Alaskan Cooking Book. Having visited Alaska a number of times, Muri always brings me a special something. The cooking book is amazing, full of recipes using trout, salmon, scallops and shrimp. So I decided to try one recipe but of course, I had to adapt it! Lol. The original recipe was Garden Vegetable Shrimp Quiche, which I changed to Garden Vegetable (aka left-overs) Albacore Frittata. Muri, I promise you I will make an entire recipe without any adaptations... in the near future... maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow...

Garden Vegetable Albacore Frittata

6 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Sazon seasoning
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 cup frozen vegatables - corn, green beans and carrots
1/4 celery, diced
6 brussel sprouts, chopped
2 cans albacore in water
A pinch of pepper

Pre-heat oven at 375-400.
Add onion to large skillet coated with cooking spray. Sauté onions until tender. Add vegetables and salt. When vegetables are thawed, add albacore. Add seasoning and pepper. Set aside.
In a bowl, whisk eggs - the use of an electric beater is highly recommended - for about a minute.
Add vegetagle mix to a baking pan not larger than 9''. Pour eggs mix over vegetables. Sprinkle paprika as desired.
Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.
Serves 2-3.
Serve with brown rice, soup or green salad.

A wonderful and delightful way to bring you a little closer to Alaska.

segunda-feira, 10 de maio de 2010

The best treat for weddings and baby showers

One wedding reception, one baby shower, one bakery, one amazing breakfast, three family gatherings. All in two days. If I were a judge at a cooking competition, I would vote for 'Mexican wedding cookies' (or pastelitos de bodas) as the best reat to be served at wedding receptions, bridal and baby showers, as well as any other kind of social event. They are easy, tasty, sweet without being too sweet, small, can be easily eaten, carried and stored and always look good. Made with walnuts, pecans, or almonds, they're a sweet way to thank guests for sharing the day.

And here's a suggestion I found on the web: To give as favors, tuck two into a tiny clear box along with a note imprinted with a fitting sentiment or your wedding date. Type on a computer, print on colored vellum, then cut the messages into tiny strips.

1 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons water
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1.In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Stir in vanilla and water. Add the flour and almonds, mix until blended. Cover and chill for 3 hours.
2.Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
3.Shape dough into balls or crescents. Place on an unprepared cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from pan to cool on wire racks. When cookies are cool, roll in confectioners' sugar. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Nutritional Information:
Amount Per Serving Calories: 207 - total fat: 13g - cholesterol: 28mg
Good food, great mingling and amazing friends make up for a Mother's Day without my mom... oh well, barely...

segunda-feira, 3 de maio de 2010

Happy Cinco de Mayo... with Quesadillas!

Seguindo o tema de festividades regionais, resolvi este final de semana fazer um prato à la mexicana em comemoração ao Cinco de Mayo. Nada complicado, muito pelo contrário. Uma ótima idéia para encontros entre amigos, jantar com as crianças ou até mesmo algo mais íntimo e romântico a dois.

Mas antes de apetecer nosso paladar, aqui vai um pouco de cultura sobre uma data tão especial... nos Estados Unidos, porém!

The holiday of Cinco De Mayo is primarily a regional holiday celebrated in the Mexican state capital city of Puebla and throughout the state of Puebla. Even though it has some limited recognition in other parts of Mexico, The 5th Of May is largely celebrated throughout the cities in the U.S. with a significant Mexican population. The date commemorates the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at The Battle Of Puebla back in 1862.

This is just to set aside diversions and clarify the thousands of comments I hear every year about this holiday being celebrated in the U.S. and not in Mexico.

Setting diversions aside, let's focus on what really matters. Today's recipe.

Easy Quesadillas

1 bag of whole wheat tortillas (12)
1 package baked ham
1 package mild salami
1 package shredded cheese
1 can black beans
1 cup celery cut in half
1 cup carrot chips
Pico de Gallo
Sour cream
Italian seasoning

Place one quesadilla on a plate. Add salsa and/or pico de gallo, cheese and ham or salami. Place another quesadilla on top and put it on the quesdilla maker. Wait till light turns green and it is ready to eat. Serve with black beans, sour cream and guacamole. Serves 3-4.

WHAT??? So, you DON'T have a quesadilla maker??? Oh well, if you don't have one, you can use any frying pan or even prepare all quesadillas at the same time and put them in the oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes.