Category Archives: Side dishes

Roasted Onion Pie

Versão em português

Torta de Cebolas Assadas

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?

You’ll need:

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

Torta de Cebolas Assadas

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!

Quiche Lorraine

Versão em Português

Quiche Lorraine

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
3 eggs
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

Quiche Lorraine

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! 😀 )

Goat Cheese Dip

Versão em Português

Patê de Queijo de Cabra

In Uruguay and in Brazil, we have a long weekend coming along: Carnival! Most people go out and celebrate, but we are just going to binge-watch Netflix and catch up with our reading! 😛

To finish the Dip Tertulias, I’ve chosen a very different recipe (adapted from Chef John’s) – when you read “goat cheese dip”, you might think of hours in the kitchen making something complicated, but all we need to do here is mix some ingredients in a big bowl! The easiest recipe in this series!

You’ll need:

200 g cream cheese
200 g mild goat cheese * − here, I used creamy goat cheese, but I’ve used hard cheese in the past. In that case, all you have to do is grate it coarsely.
1 clove of garlic − I used garlic flakes because it’s carnival! I was lazy!
¼ cup of chopped herbs – I used parsley and chives, but in the past I’ve used basil, dill… it’s a matter of taste (and of what’s in the fridge!)
Salt, pepper, and hot paprika to taste

* If your goat cheese is stronger-flavored, start by mixing just half of it. After the initial taste, you can decide if you want to add the rest!

Patê de Queijo de Cabra

* If your goat cheese is stronger-flavored, start by mixing just half of it. After the initial taste, you can decide if you want to add the rest!

The directions for this recipe are extremely appropriate for carnival: Place all ingredients in a bowl. With a silicone spatula, mix everything. Check that the seasoning is to your liking and that’s it! Done!

But hey, we can always fancy things up a bit! Place a large piece of plastic wrap on your counter. Put the dip on the plastic and shape it into a cylinder. Refrigerate for a couple of hours, until it’s nice and firm. To serve, remove the plastic (obviously!) and slice! 🙂

Tapenade

Versão em português

Tapenade

When I moved to Uruguay, one of the things I had to learn was to cook – no one can survive forever on pasta, cake, scrambled eggs, and tuna salad, right? (Seriously, that was basically all I could cook). I started by making simple, but different, things. One of those first recipes was tapenade, this French olive dip.

The recipe I used to make (I can’t remember where I found it!) called for equal amounts of green and black olives, garlic, salt, pepper, and basil. I would simply place everything on the food processor, pulse it, and there: a tasty dip. When I decided that February would be Dip Tertulias, I knew tapenade was going to be one of them. So, I tried to find the “original, authentic, yadda yadda yadda” recipe – but of course I couldn’t find it!

There seem to be a lot of different recipes, each of them adding/omitting an ingredient. Confused, I had to resort to Wikipedia, where I learned that the recipe calls for olives, capers, anchovies, and garlic! I found this recipe on The Guardian and decided to make it – well, adapt it. It was much tastier than the one I used to make!

It doesn’t yield a whole lot, which is fine: it’s pretty strong, so a little goes a long way!

Tapenade

You’ll need:

½ cup of pitted black olives
2 Tbsp capers
2 anchovies, drained – we always have some, for Caesar salad dressing… or pizza. 😀
3 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp oregano/thyme – I used ½ Tbsp of each
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Olive oil, salt, and pepper, to taste – I skipped the salt, as the anchovies/capers were salty enough

Not only did I try a “more authentic” recipe, but I also tested the most traditional method: the mortar and pestle!

Coarsely chop the olives, capers, anchovies, and garlic. Place them in the mortar, add the herbs, and crush and grind everything until you get a paste that isn’t too chunky. Add roughly 2 Tbsp olive oil and use the pestle to mix it in. Season with salt and pepper.

OOOOR….. place everything on the food processor, pulsing until you get a somewhat chunky paste! 😀

White Bean Beet Dip

Versão em Português

Patê de Beterraba e Feijão Branco

While looking for recipes to eat with bread that were different (and, if possible, vegan), I stumbled upon this one. As I had already made a white bean dip and a beet dip, I had no doubt that putting them together would be a hit! 🙂

Apart from the bright look, what really drew me to trying this recipe was the fact that it called for roasted beets – let’s face it, this is the best way of preparing them! After I learned that, I never went back to just boiling them! As the original recipe was a little mild for my taste, I upped the spices a bit.

You’ll need:

1 can white beans, drained – as I don’t buy canned beans here, I used 1 ½ cup cooked white beans
2 large beets – I used 1 large and 2 medium
1 garlic clove – of course I used more than that (six)! 😀
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt, pepper, and paprika, to taste – I used smoked and mild paprika

Patê de Beterraba e Feijão Branco

Cut the beets in cubes – as my baking sheet was reasonably big, I chopped a few more to add to another meal! 🙂

GENEROUSLY spice the beets with olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika, tossing it all well so that all the little cubes are well coated. Place some garlic cloves over the beets and bake for approximately 40 minutes, until the beets are nice and soft.

When they come out of the oven, place them in the blender, together with the white beans and one or two Tbsp water, just to help blend everything. As my blender broke (#RIP) and I haven’t bought a new one yet, I used a handheld mixer. It took a while, but it worked!

Then all you have to do is chill in the fridge for a while, then serve with some toast/chips 😀

Red Onion Dip

Versão em português

On the first weekend of February, we have Super Bowl. On the last, carnival – which we will celebrate with a Netflix binge-watch. These things call for a little snack, don’t they? 😉

To begin our Dip Tertulias, I (slightly) adapted this recipe by Rita Lobo, a fantastic Brazilian TV chef, because I was out of yellow onions. 🙂 I’ve made the original recipe, but truth be told, it’s much better with red onions!

You’ll need:

350 g sour cream or crème fraîche

2 large red onions (or 4 medium), sliced as thinly as you can

4 Tbsp of olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

Salt, pepper, and nutmeg, to taste

Start by slicing the onions. If you have a mandolin, here’s your chance to finally use it! 😀 As I don’t have one (yet), I used a very sharp knife to get the job done.

In a large skillet, heat two Tbsp olive oil on low heat and add the onions. Now it’s time to caramelize: stir the onions every now and then, until their texture changes considerably – they’ll be soft and the white part will be translucent. Here, this process took around 20 minutes. Rita Lobo said that “it’s no use turning up the heat: the onions will burn instead of caramelize,” so I obeyed!

In a bowl, mix the sour cream with the remaining olive oil, the lemon juice, and the seasonings. Set aside.
When the onions are nicely caramelized, set aside a small portion for garnish, and chop the rest REEEALLY thinly. Add the chopped onions to the seasoned sour cream. Cover and chill in the fridge. Serve with crackers or sliced carrots and cucumbers.

This is a good recipe for a game night (here, Cards Against Humanity), because it is not only tasty, but can also be made the day before!

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Versão em português

Rolinhos Primavera Vietnamitas

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! 😀

Mint leaves

Lettuce

Sauce

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

Rolinhos Primavera Vietnamitas

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!

Quick-cured Salmon

Versão em português

Salmão Chef John

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!

You’ll need:

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

Salmão Chef John

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!

Greek Salad

Versão em português

Salada grega

January in the Southern Hemisphere is always the same deal: it’s too hot, “this year I’ll eat healthier, I swear,” “did I mention it’s hot in here?,” etc. So, nothing better than starting the year with Summer Tertulias – a series of light recipes that go hand in hand with the hot weather! 😀

Today’s recipe is a very very tasty LETTUCE-FREE salad (I don’t really care for lettuce). The coolest thing is that you only get the cutting boards and the plates dirty, no need for a salad bowl! Deb’s original recipe called for feta, but I’ve never found it here in Uruguay – I used hard ricotta and it worked great. You can also use goat cheese, it’s excellent!

For two people, you’ll need:

1 cucumber
1/2 green bell pepper
1 cup of cherry/grape tomatoes
1/4 cup of black olives – you can skip it, if you want. I won’t understand it, but you can do it, it’s your salad after all!
1/2 medium-size red onion – mine was big, so I used 1/4.
Thick slices of feta, ricotta, goat cheese, or grilled tofu for a vegan version
juice of 1 lemon – I got carried away and used 2, but the original recipe calls for just one 😀
olive oil, salt, black pepper, oregano (fresh oregano would be the ideal thing here, but I only had dried leaves, so that’s what I used)

Salada grega

Assembling this salad is super easy.

If you think that raw onions are too strong, you can slice it thinly and let it soak in the lemon juice while you chop the rest of the ingredients. I love raw onions (mom will tell you all about how I used to steal raw onions from the fridge when I was five), so all I did was slice it thin! 😀

Cut the cucumber into medium-size bits, the bell pepper in small cubes, and the cherry tomatoes in half. I placed the ingredients on the plates as I chopped them, to spare one dish! #lazypeoplehack

Place the olives and the cheese slices on the salad, and dress it with the lemon juice (even if you’ve soaked your onions in it), olive oil, salt, pepper, and the oregano leaves.

Eat and feel virtuous that you are sticking to your new year’s resolution (for now…) 😀

Parmesan Muffins

Versão em português

Muffin de Parmesão

Have you checked out the new blog sections? 😉

To continue our Muffin Tertulias, it was time to try a special recipe I had found (by chance) on Pinterest! Theoriginal recipe said that this muffin was just like Starbucks’, but I disagree. Starbucks’ muffins are always too dry! 😀

These were an absolute hit – they disappeared as soon as they came out of the oven, and I had to “hide” these two for the picture!

For 12 muffins, you’ll need:

250 mL milk

10 g instant yeast

250 g all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp salt

Black pepper and oregano

200 g parmesan, coarsely grated – save a bit for decorating the top of the muffins

1 egg

100 g melted butter

Muffin de Parmesão

As this recipe calls for instant yeast, the process is a bit different than normal muffins. But it’s still quick! 🙂

Mix the yeast with the (warm) milk and let it foam. In a bowl, mix the flour with the salt, black pepper, and oregano.

Meanwhile, melt the butter and let it cool down a bit. When the butter has been cooled down, mix in the egg and the milk with yeast. Add the flour mix and most of the grated cheese. As always, the idea is to mix with a rubber spatula just until you can’t see any more flour – don’t knead! 🙂

Divide the dough into the cups, always filling only up to 3/4 of the capacity, and cover with the reserved grated cheese.

Now the process is different: as this is a yeasted dough, let it rest for 1 hour – it didn’t reeeeally rise much during that period, but I didn’t worry about it.

Bake in a pre-heated oven for 30 minutes, or until it turns golden and passes the toothpick test.

Cool it down a little bit and eat!

In the unlikely event of leftovers, just place them in a ziploc bag and freeze!