Last month, my aunt told me about a beet soup my grandma had made a long time ago, but had lost the recipe. Of course I went and asked grandma about it, but all she could remember was that the recipe was “from Russia or something like that”. It had to be borscht! I found several recipes, and I decided to combine Ana’s and Chef John’s recipes to make my own! 🙂
Those who know me know that I have very strong opinions regarding vinegar (AKA: it’s not food, it’s a cleaning product!). This recipe has made me change my mind, at least temporarily! I try the soup with and without vinegar – it was much better with it! 😮
You will need:
3 cups beets, diced
2 medium-size carrots, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
½ white cabbage, sliced – I used ½ cabbage, because mine was a big one. If yours is small, use it all!
2 L meat stock – or vegetable stock, if you want a vegetarian/vegan recipe
2 Tbsp vinegar
1 bay leaf
Salt, pepper, paprika
Optional, but advisable:
Dill, chopped thinly – for the photo, I used parsley, because I had run out of dill!
This is a very easy recipe: start by chopping the beets, carrots, onion, celery, and cabbage. I julienned the beets, just because I thought it would look good – no fancy scientific explantation here! 😀
In the pan that you will use to cook the soup, place the onion, celery, and carrots with a little bit of butter (use olive oil to make it vegan!). Season with salt, pepper, and paprika and cook for about 5 minutes. When the onion has turned translucent, add the stock, the beets, and the cabbage.
Cover the pan. Cook over high heat just until it comes to a boil – then, cook over low heat for approximately 50 minutes, or until the beets are soft. Check the seasoning, add the vinegar and… THAT’S IT.
Serve with a generous Tbsp of sour cream (your vegan friend doesn’t get any, though!) and garnish with a little bit of chopped dill!
As it is almost tradition, the cold July weather calls for Soup Tertulias!
I love peas. LOVE. The ones that come in a can! (Pause for the “ewww!” faces). I’ll eat fresh peas, but I never find them to be as good as the canned ones… #freakalert But I had never tried split peas. Coming to think of it, I don’t think I had even seen split peas at the supermarket, but that is probably because Sky is the one who does the shopping, I only write the list! 😀
When I saw this recipe by Rita Lobo, which also called for bacon, I was sold! If you’re vegan/vegetarian, there’s no need to stop reading: follow Chef John’s tip and use shiitake mushrooms instead! If you’re omnivore, stop making that face, it’s a legitimate suggestion! 😀
The most entertaining part of the recipe was the side – instead of croutons or dinner rolls, popcorn! I was a bit skeptical, but it was pretty tasty!
For a relatively small soup, you’ll need:
250 g bacon, in cubes – the recipe called for only 100 g, hahahaha! As I said before, to veganize this recipe, you can use shiitake mushrooms!
1 medium-size onion, chopped
500 g split peas, soaked for 4 hours
1 bay leaf
2 L meat stock or vegetable stock, preferably homemade!
salt, pepper, and paprika
There is a very basic rule in cooking, which is to read the entire recipe before starting to cook. Everyone knows that. BASIC thing. Of course I didn’t do that and that sucked, because the peas had to soak! I was going to make the soup for lunch, but it had to be left for dinner… 😦
Rinse the peas, place them in a bowl and cover with 1.5 liters of water. Let it soak for at least 4 hours.
After the peas are soaked, drain the water and set aside. In the pan that you’ll cook the soup, cook the bacon, making sure the fat is nice and rendered. If you are using shiitake mushrooms instead, sear them with some olive oil! When the bacon/shiitake is cooked, remove it from the pan and set aside.
In the bacon great/olive oil, cook the onion on low heat. When the onion has turned gold and transparent, add the peas and cook them for one minute, just to coat them with the onions. Add the stock, season with one tsp of salt, as well as with some pepper and paprika. Cover the pan and let the stock boil. Cook on low heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring every now and then until the peas are soft.
Meanwhile, make the popcorn. Try not to eat it all before the soup is ready (it’s harder than it looks #truestory)
Transfer the soup into the blender. Rita Lobo advices holding the lid of the blender with a dishcloth, to prevent the vapor from opening the lid. Blend well. Another option is to do what I did, and use the immersion blender directly in the pan! 😀
Place the soup back in the pan (if you’re using an immersion blender, just smile and do nothing). Add the bacon/shiitake mushrooms and heat the soup back to boiling point – make sure you taste for salt!
To serve, place the soup in the bowls and only then add the popcorn!
OOOPS, we skipped a week! I went to a conference last week and I didn’t have time to schedule a post. :S
To end the Pie Tertulias, I decided to cook a recipe that I always wanted to try. It seemed easy (and it was), but I had a huge problem: I couldn’t buy decent puff pastry in Uruguay! The frozen ones never properly puffed, and they all had that wonderful (not) taste of hydrogenated fat! Gross! I took matters into my own hands and made my own puff pastry, following La Cucinetta’s recipe. It totally worked, and wasn’t even THAT hard! I didn’t photograph the process, but I will next time!
This is a great recipe for a casual dinner at home, a happy hour, or even Sunday lunch, why not?
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp vinegar – the original recipe called for red wine vinegar; I used rice vinegar because that’s what I had 😀
1 Tbsp thyme – I used the dried version, but if you have fresh thyme, use it!
Zests of 1 lemon – it’s not in the ingredient picture because I only remembered it when I was about to put the onions in the oven
Salt and pepper
2 red onions
2 yellow onions
400 g puff pastry – you can use the store-bought version! I would have 😛
100 g creamy goat’s cheese – I used one that was seasoned with herbs, it was great! You can use regular cream cheese, if you prefer a milder taste.
1 egg, beaten, to brush the dough
This is a ROASTED ONION pie, right? So we’ll start by roasting the onions! 😀 Thinly slice the onions – if you have a mandolin (which is currently on my wishlist), use it! Line a big baking sheet with parchment paper and place the whole onion slices on it – do not separate the slices into rings and, if possible, do not pile them on the sheet.
In a bowl, mix the olive oil, vinegar, thyme, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the onions and bake for approximately 25 minutes, until they are soft. Remove from the oven, but don’t turn it off! 🙂
Open the puff pastry into a 20 x 25 cm rectangle. If you’re using the homemade dough, line the baking sheet with parchment paper, so it absorbs some of the extra fat, leaving the dough crunchier.
With a sharp knife, score a 1-cm border on all sides of the rectangle of dough – don’t cut it all the way down. This will give your pie a nice, puffy edge! With a fork, prick the entire inside area. Spread the goat cheese inside the scored area and place the onion slices – feel free to pile them up a little bit 🙂
Brush the non-covered borders with the beaten eggs and bake for 20 minutes, or until the dough puffs and turns a lovely golden color. Eat!
On my last trip to Brasília, my aunt Paula gave me a wonderful gift: Gui Poulain’s Cartas Amarelas! The book is as beautiful as the autograph! Of course, I was dying to try one of the book’s recipes – to start our Pie Tertúlias, I chose his recipe for Quiche Lorraine, one of my favorite savory pies!
I followed the recipe ALMOST to a T – I changed the way to roll out the crust, because I didn’t want to make a mess on my counter! As expected, it was delicious. The best thing is that this pie is equally good hot and at room temperature. This recipe yielded six servings – lunch, dinner, and lunch again! Nobody complained of eating the same thing three meals in a row… 😉
For the crust
250 g flour
125 g cold unsalted butter
2 tsp salt – next time, I’ll use just one, as I thought the dough was a tad too salty
1 tsp sugar
1 egg yolk
50 mL water
For the filling
300 g bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
250 g heavy cream
salt, pepper, nutmeg
150 g gruyère, coarsely grated – I’m sure any melty cheese would work just fine, but gruyère and emmental are the traditional options
Start by making the crust. Whisk the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Add the butter and, with your fingertips or a pastry cutter, mix until you get a coarsely crumbly mixture. Add the yolk and the water and combine just until you can make a ball – don’t knead it, or else it will be too hard! Wrap this ball with some plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
Fry the bacon on low heat. Be patient, so that the bacon grease can render. When it’s all nicely fried, remove SOME of the grease, add the chopped onion and fry it until it’s golden. Set the bacon and onion aside, and try not to snack on it too much until it’s time to assemble the pie.
In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the heavy cream and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Remove the crust from the fridge. The normal way of rolling out the crust is by dusting your counter with flour. As I didn’t want to clean the flour mess, I cut two sheets of wax paper, placed the crust between the sheets, and rolled it out with a rolling pin. Then, I removed the top layer of paper, placed my 9-inch pie dish upside-down on top of it, flipped everything, and the crust just… fell into place beautifully. (And then, obviously, I removed the second layer of parchment paper)
Now comes the easy part: cover the bottom of the crust with the bacon and onions, then pour the egg and cream mix, and cover everything very well with the grated gruyère!
Bake on a preheated oven for about 40 minutes, give it or take, or until everything is golden brown and firm! You can eat it as soon as it comes out of the oven (which is what we did here) or you can wait and eat it at room temperature (which is also what we did here! 😀 )
I remember the very first thing I ate in England: a COLD pork pie, with a visible fat layer, together with a coffee that was also cold and yucky. To make things worse, it was expensive! To this day Sky, who was responsible for making that choice, is mocked! 😀
But there I also ate wonderful things, among them the famous fish and chips. The first time we ate that was at the only restaurant open after a long day of walking around. When we ordered a beer, the owner was almost insulted: we hadn’t realized that the restaurant was halal! To end the Sea Tertulias, I decided to make fish and chips – and had a good laugh when I realized Jaime Oliver’s recipe called for beer in the batter! 😀
250 g white fish fillets, deboned – we used corvina
½ tsp salt
pepper and paprika
225 g flour
250 ml COLD beer
3 tsp baking powder
Potatoes to fry – I must confess I cheated and bought frozen fries. I know, I know.
About 1 liter of oil to deep-fry
Start by heating the oil. Place some beers in the freezer. When the oil is hot enough, start frying the French fries. While they’re frying….
Season the fish fillets with salt, pepper, and paprika. As we wanted finger food, I cut the fish into medium-sized chunks, but traditionally this dish is made by frying the entire fillet. Set aside.
In a bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder. Add the beer, which must be very cold, in parts. The batter should be thick, almost like a cream – if it’s too liquid, it’ll make a mess of your oil!
Dip the fish pieces in the batter, making sure they are fully covered. Deep fry them for about 4 minutes, or until they are golden. Here, I served with garlic and herb mayonnaise – and beer, of course!
Ooops, we skipped a week! With all the fuss of Gabi’s graduation party (which was last Thursday, but we also celebrated on Friday and Saturday!), there really was no time to post! To make it up to you guys, today we continue the Sea Tertulias with a very easy and different recipe, great for having friends over!
The first time I ate coconut shrimp was at the only Chinese buffet that we know in Uruguay – and to think that there’s one on every corner in Brazil! The most traditional version of this recipe is deep-fried, but I decided to make something a little healthier, and I thought it was better than the original!
400 g deveined shrimp
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper – you can use paprika instead, if you prefer it less spicy
2 cups shredded coconut – I used regular shredded coconut, because that’s what I can find here. If you can find unsweetened flaked coconut, it’ll look a lot prettier! 🙂
3 egg whites
For the sauce:
Unsweetened orange marmalade
Did I mention how easy this recipe is?
Start by preparing your baking sheet: take a baking sheet and grease it with olive oil. End of the preparation! 😀
Spice the cornstarch with salt and cayenne pepper. Place the mixture on a plate and set aside. Quickly beat the egg whites with a fork and place on a separate plate. Set that aside as well. Place the coconut on a third plate and guess what? Set that aside too!
Now to the assembly: take one shrimp, dredge it on the cornstarch, then dip in the egg whites, then in the coconut. Place it on the baking sheet and repeat the process until you finish! As 400 g is quite a bit of shrimp, I recommend you do this process while watching a show or something! 😀
Bake in a pre-heated oven for 7 minutes. Then, flip the shrimp so they brown on the other side and bake for another 7 minutes.
While the shrimp are baking, make the sauce. In a small pan, place the marmalade and a couple Tbsp water, mixing on low heat until the marmalade is thinner. When it comes to a boil, turn off the stove, place the sauce in a nice little bowl, and serve!
Sky loves Mexican food. I like it quite a bit, but he absolutely loves it. Every now and then, he’d say “we need to make fish tacos.” And I always thought that was kind of odd – aren’t tacos made with ground beef? 😀
This recipe is very easy. In fact, it is so simple that I considered not posting it at all – but it’s such a tasty combination and such an easy solution for a weekend lunch/dinner, that I thought it’d be a great addition to our Sea Tertulias!
For two hungry people, you’ll need:
For the fish:
400 g boneless fish filets – we used corvina, but choose whichever fish you prefer!
Salt, lemon, pepper, and paprika, for seasoning
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Red onions, cut in thin half-moon slices
Pineapple, cut in small chunks
As I said before, this recipe is super easy! Season the fish filets with salt, lemon, pepper, and paprika. Set it aside for 15-20 minutes, and then fry them in a hot skillet with a couple Tbsp of oil – no need to deep fry it! When the fish is fried, chop it into medium-sized chunks and reserve.
While the fish is frying, heat up the tortillas on another skillet – make sure it’s nice and hot, and you won’t need any more than 40 seconds on each side!
When the fish is fried and the tortillas are warm, it’s time to assemble it all. Place one tortilla on a plate. In the middle of it, put some pieces of fish, a little bit of sour cream, salsa, onions, cherry tomatoes, pineapple, and the cilantro. Fold the tortilla in half and serve! 🙂
Better late than never! I didn’t publish this recipe on Friday, as usual, but I had my reasons: I was travelling to my sister’s graduation party!
To start the Sea Tertulias, I decided to finally test one of the countless video recipes I had saved on Facebook – do you guys also save thousands of links there and never remember to check it? Is there a support group, “Facebook link-savers anonymous”? I need it! 😀
In any case, I’m glad I finally decided to check my saved links. This is one of those super-easy, one-pot, no-fuss recipes, but it’s sure to make an impression!
For two people, you’ll need:
½ package of pasta – I used spaghetti, but I think a thicker-cut, such as linguine, would have been nicer. Or if you really want to impress, use fresh pasta!
8 generous Tbsp butter
250 g fresh shrimp, deveined
200 g baby spinach – I didn’t have it, so I used normal spinach
2 garlic cloves – as always, I used more
¼ cup grated parmesan
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 Tbsp oregano
Olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika
Start by cooking the pasta, following the cooking time in the package. While it cooks, sort the other ingredients, because the process is QUICK. When the pasta is al dente, drain the water. In the same pan that you cooked the pasta, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil and about 2 Tbsp butter. When the butter has melted, add the shrimp. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika. Fry the shrimp for about five minutes, stirring to ensure that they cook evenly. Add the garlic and fry for about a minute.
Now it’s time to put in the spinach, stirring well until it wilts. Add the pasta, the remaining butter, oregano, parsley, and parmesan, stirring well until all the butter has melted.
Serve right away!
A friend of mine has an Asian-inspired closed-door restaurant here in Punta. When I went there for the first time, I saw “spring rolls” on the menu and I ordered it, thinking I’d get the Chinese fried version. Instead, he brought pockets of raw vegetables. I tried them, skeptically, but I loved it! Very fresh and light!
To end our Summer Tertulias, I decided to make that recipe. It isn’t hard, but it takes a while to roll everything. It’s totally worth it, though, and they last a few days in the fridge – a healthy snack option. They are very versatile: you can fill them however you want. I made the vegan version, but you can add boiled shrimp, for example.
The rice paper used for these spring rolls can be found in health/Asian stores. Here in Uruguay, I found them on the gluten-free section of the supermarket (the celiac population here is surprisingly big: we had a gluten-free section before it was cool 😀 ).
The quantities listed here are simply a suggestion – adjust however you like!
1 packet of rice paper wraps
1 cucumber, julienned – I still haven’t mastered the cut, though…
1 carrot, julienned
1/3 green bell pepper, julienned
1/3 red bell pepper, julienned
1/3 yellow bell pepper, julienned
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 packet of bean sprouts – alfalfa sprouts work nicely too, but I didn’t find them in the market! 😀
4 Tbsp soy sauce – traditionally, fish sauce is used, but then the recipe is no longer vegan. I tested both and they are equally good.
1 Tbsp sugar
Juice of half a lemon
2 garlic cloves
1 cup of water
Start by prepping all the vegetables.
Then, set up your workstation: the veggies, the sprouts, the mint, the rice paper, a deep plate with water (to soften the rice paper), a clean dish towel, and a plate to place the finished rolls.
Place one wrap on the plate with water and let it sit for a minute. It will be quite soft! Carefully, remove the wrap from the plate and place it over your towel, trying to keep it from curling. The first few times it may be a little troublesome, but you’ll get the hang of it in no time!
Place the filling on the center of the wrap, being careful not to overfill. Fold the bottom part of the wrap over the filling, fold both sides into the center, making an envelope, and fold the top part over, closing the roll. Repeat until you run out of wraps or filling! 😀
Mix the sauce ingredients and serve!
For the second recipe of the Summer Tertúlias, I finally photographed one of my favorite recipes! This is a great thing to have on the fridge for a quick lunch – a simple salad or sandwich with a few slices of this salmon will get the job done. And what’s more, this recipe does not require a stove, which is ideal for the hot weather down here!
This must have been the first recipe I’ve watched from Chef John. Naturally, after testing it I became a fan! On Christmas, we served it with mini toasts and cream cheese, which I spiced with dill and pepper – it was a hit!
1 piece of salmon – mine was approximately 1 kg, but the size doesn’t really matter, as the brine is the same
For the brine:
2 1/2 cups cold water
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup salt
Start by removing the skin – or be smart and buy your salmon without the skin. With patience (and a sharp knife), the skin will come off.
Slice the salmon as if for sashimi – that is, 0.5 cm thick, give or take. It’s no big deal if your slices are thicker – all you have to do is leave them a little longer in the brine!
For the brine itself, you’ll need a bit of arm strength and faith: stir all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl until the liquid is once again clear. For the first two or three minutes of stirring, you’ll be thinking “this is never going to get clear,” but here’s where the faith (and arm strength) comes in: it WILL turn clear, just keep stirring! 🙂
Set up a little workstation on your counter: the sliced salmon, the brine bowl, a clean plate to place the salmon when it’s ready, a cooling rack, and your cell phone (or a kitchen timer, if you’re feeling fancy). If you don’t have a cooling rack, just place some paper towels on your counter to soak up the excess liquid.
Place a few pieces of salmon in the brine and set your timer for three minutes. Don’t overfill the bowl – a single layer will do. When your timer rings,
transfer the pieces to the cooling rack (or paper towel stack). Put a new batch of salmon in the brine and repeat the process.
As the salmon dries off a little, place the pieces on a place – they should be close together, but not stacked. Cover the plate tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 hours.
Serve with toast and cream cheese, or simply with some soy sauce!