Category Archives: Side dishes

Zucchini Ceviche

Versão em português

Ceviche de Abobrinha

Mom, who was here for a short visit, opened the fridge, saw a few zucchinis there and told me that she had had zucchini ceviche at a restaurant somewhere, and that it was delicious. A ceviche without fish? Of course I had to try it!

I found a recipe that looked really interesting, but they left the zucchini strips whole. When making my own, I decided to cut these strips into smaller pieces, for better texture. Easy and tasty!
You’ll need:

3 medium-sized zucchinis
½ medium-sized onion, cut into thin rings – I forgot to add the onions to the ingredients picture! 😮
¼ red bell pepper, chopped into small cubes
½ Anaheim pepper or 2 ajíes dulces (optional)
½ bunch of cilantro, finely chopped
Juice of two lemons
Salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper, to taste.

Ceviche de Abobrinha

Cut the onion into veeeeery thin slices. Place them in a bowl, add the juice of one lemon, and set aside. This step helps to reduce the spicyness of the raw onion – I don’t usually do it, but the one I used was VERY spicy! 😀

Slice the zucchini veeeery thinly. If you have a mandolin, it’s time to use it! I didn’t use the core, as it’s all seeds anyway. After slicing the zucchinis, chop them into smaller pieces. Chop the bell pepper, the Anaheim pepper, and the cilantro.

In the serving bowl, mix the zucchini with the peppers, cilantro, and reserved onion. Add the juice of the remaining lemon, and season with salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Set aside for 15-20 minutes, to marinate, and serve as an appetizer or a side dish! 😀

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Broccoli Melts

Versão em português

Broccoli Melts

Yeah, I know. “Broccoli sandwich” doesn’t sound very appetizing. I was mildly intrigued when I read the recipe last year on Smitten Kitchen, but then I thought “hmm… no. This is a broccoli sandwich.” I left it at that.

Until last week. Sky bought I-don’t-know-how-many heads of broccoli, because they were on sale. I was sick of eating them steamed, with a dab of butter. Then I thought of this recipe. I read it again, decided it wasn’t that weird after all, and made it. I thought the eight slices would be too much, we’d have leftovers for sure. How naive of me! Sky tried one and said: you didn’t make enough. I tried it and had to agree with him – we almost had to fight for the last slice! 😀

This recipe immediately made the weekly menu, as the broccoli + lemon zest + cheese combo is really good!

To put your skepticism aside and make these, you’ll need:

500 g broccoli
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced – I used garlic flakes because I ran out of garlic #thehorror
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon – I zested the whole lemon
Salt and black pepper
1/2 cup parmesan, finely grated – I used a microplane
8 slices of bread
butter, if you want
8 thin slices of cheese

Broccoli Melts

Start by preparing the broccoli: chop the florets into medium-sized pieces (about 5 cm) and the stems, which are harder, into small-sized chunks (about 2 cm). In a small pan, boil about an inch of water. When the water boils, place the chopped broccoli, cover the pan, and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain well – the original recipe calls for patting the broccoli dry with paper towels, but I forgot and didn’t do it – and transfer to a cutting board.

Chop the broccoli once again, so that everything is in small chunks. Dry the pan you used to cook the broccoli and heat the olive oil for a minute, over medium heat. Add the red pepper flakes and the garlic and heat for another minute. Add the broccoli and stir well to coat the broccoli with the olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and cook for two minutes. Set aside.

Place the bread slices on your baking sheet – I used my toaster oven, because my regular oven doesn’t grill. Lightly toast the slices on both sides. I buttered both sides, just because.

When the bread is slightly toasted, get that pan with the broccoli and add the parmesan and the lemon zest and juice. Taste for salt.

Pile the broccoli mixture over each slice of bread. Place one slice of cheese over each, and bake until the cheese is melted. Eat without any semblance of guilt, because broccoli = healthy 😀

Honey Dinner Rolls

Versão em português

Pãezinhos de Mel

When I lived in Brasília, my friends from work and I would just say “screw this!” and have a nice long lunch at Texas Roadhouse Grill, where they had these lovely rolls. I would threaten to just eat the bread rolls (and drink beer, obviously) instead of ordering lunch! I’ve never got around to actually doing that, though. But I will someday!

To continue the Dinner Roll Tertulias, I decided to bake a recipe I had pinned on Pinterest. It didn’t look like a big deal: a soft roll, the end. Easy. When they came out of the oven, I brushed the honey butter over the top, grabbed a roll and gave one to Sky. We tried it and said, almost at the same time: “it’s the bread roll from Roadhouse!” 😀

You’ll need:

240 mL (1 cup) whole milk, lukewarm
2 1/4 tsp instant dry yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
80 g (1/4 cup) honey
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
60 g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 tsp salt
450 g (3 1/2 cups) bread flour – I used half bread flour, half all-purpose flour. I ended up adding another ¼ cup, because the weather was very humid. Start with the amount on the recipe and, if necessary, add more.

For the non-optional topping:

60 g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 Tbsp honey

Pãezinhos de Mel

In the bowl of your stand mixer (or simply in a big bowl), place the milk, yeast, and sugar. Mix and set aside. After five to ten minutes, the mix should be foamy, just like the top of a thick beer. If not, it means something went wrong: either your yeast is bad or the milk was too hot. In any case, discard the mixture and start over!

Add the honey, egg and egg yolk, melted butter, salt, and flour, and knead with the dough hook attachment (or with your hands) for about five minutes, until the dough is not-too-sticky and you can shape it into a ball. If you need to, add more flour, but beware: the dough is a little sticky, and we want to add as little flour as possible, so the rolls don’t get tough! 🙂 I ended up adding a ¼ cup one Tbsp at a time.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until it doubles in size. Here, it took 1 hour.

When the dough has doubled in size, gently punch it to deflate and transfer to a floured surface. I divided my dough in 32 pieces, to make mini rolls, but you can divide it into 12-16 portions for conventional-sized rolls. Shape the portions into balls and place them on a buttered (or simply covered with a Silpat) 9 x 13 inch baking sheet. This video shows the technique I use – it looks time-consuming, but when you get the hang of it, it’s pretty quick!

Loosely cover the pan with a plastic wrap or dish cloth (don’t use terrycloth!), and let them rise again, until they are doubled in size.

Meanwhile, prepare the topping: mix the butter and honey thoroughly, and set aside at room temperature, so it doesn’t harden.

Bake the rolls in a pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until they are golden brown and you hear a hollow sound when you tap the surface.

As soon as they come out of the oven, GENEROUSLY brush the sides and the top with the honey butter (I used over half of the mixture). Let them cool for a few minutes and serve with the leftover honey butter!

FREEZER: If you manage to have leftovers, place them in a Ziploc bag and freeze for up to 3 months.

Garlic Dinner Rolls

Versão em português

Pãezinhos de Alho

I don’t know if you’ve noticed that, but I’m a crazy garlic lady. I usually double the amount of garlic on every recipe I make, and complain that there’s not enough garlic… For these rolls, Jaime Oliver called for 1 head of garlic to 500 g butter, but we only use 125 g in this recipe. I didn’t see any reason to reduce the amount of garlic proportionally! 😀

When I read this recipe, I thought it was going to be tasty, but nothing too new. However, this recipe has a trick I had never used: the rolls are baked on a baking sheet that has been buttered with garlic butter and covered in breadcrumbs. This “bed” gives the rolls a very crunchy bottom that is simply amazing!

Here, we ate them with a soup, but I can totally see this going great with a big salad, chili, pasta, etc, etc…

You’ll need:

For the bread:

800 g bread flour – I used a mix of all-purpose and bread flours

7 g yeast

1 tsp salt

500 mL lukewarm water

Breadcrumbs, to cover the baking sheet

 

For the butter:

If you’re a normal person, 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped – I used almost an entire head

125 g butter, room temperature

Zests of 1 lemon

1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped

1 tsp cayenne pepper

If you’re using unsalted butter, 1 tsp salt

 

Pãezinhos de Alho

Start by making the dough: in a big bowl, mix the flour, the salt, and the yeast. Add the water, in increments, and knead (by hand or using the stand mixer with the hook attachment) for about 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball, place it back in the bowl and cover. Let it rise for 1 hour, or until it doubles in size.

Meanwhile, prepare the garlic butter: all you have to do is mix all the ingredients carefully! Set aside at room temperature, because we want it to be soft.

Spread 1/3 of the butter on a 10 x 14 inch baking sheet. Dust a generous amount of breadcrumbs, covering the entire surface of the sheet. Set aside.

When the dough doubles in size, portion it into 35 equal parts and shape them as rolls – yes, this is when you want to multitask, making those little rolls and watching a show… 😀 This video shows the technique I use – it looks time-consuming, but when you get the hang of it it’s pretty quick!

Place the rolls on the baking sheet, cover them, and let them rise again for another hour and a half, or until they double in size.

After this time, pre-heat the oven and brush the top and sides of all the rolls with 1/3 of the garlic butter. As it was a cold day, I had to warm the butter on the stovetop for a few seconds!

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until they are golden brown. As soon as the rolls come out of the oven, brush the remaining butter on them and, theoretically, let them cool down a bit before serving!

FREEZER: like most breads, these freeze pretty well – all you have to do is place the cooled rolls in a Ziploc bag!

Parmesan Dinner Rolls

Versão em português

Pãozinho de Parmesão

It’s COLD!!!! (Remember, I’m in the Southern Hemisphere). With this cold weather, any excuse to turn on the oven is valid and, let’s be honest, is there anything better than hot bread, fresh out of the oven?

To start the Dinner Roll Tertulias, I decided to photograph one of the first breads I’ve ever tried to bake! It’s important to use a GOOD parmesan – don’t use the pre-shredded one! Ideally, it should be grated on a Microplane (a great investment if you like to cook, especially if you like to add zests to everything! #notheydon’tsponsorme #unfortunately), but if you don’t have it, you can use the fine side of that box grater everybody has somewhere in their kitchen… 😀

This time, I shaped it into 12 balls, but next time I’ll shape it into 24, for a more delicate format. Or maybe I’ll shape it into 6, and use them as burger buns… #homekitchenproblems

You’ll need:
2 tsp active dried yeast
1 tsp honey or sugar – I used honey
160 mL (2/3 cup) whole milk, lukewarm
350 g (2 ½ cups) flour + 2 Tbsp, to sprinkle over the dough
50 g (1 ½ cups) of parmesan cheese, finely grated + some extra, for decoration – the original recipe called for 37 g, I went rogue and used 50 g 😀
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
70g (5 Tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg yolk, to brush the rolls

Pãozinho de Parmesão

In a large bowl (I used the stand mixer’s), combine the yeast, honey, and 1/3 cup of the lukewarm milk. Set aside until it foams – if it doesn’t foam in 10 minutes or so, it’s a sign that your yeast has gone bad (or that the milk was too hot). Discard and start over! :S

When it foams, add the flour, the cheese, the salt, and the remaining milk. Knead with the hook attachment of your stand mixer (or the heavy dough attachment of the hand mixer, or your hands!). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well. If you’re using a mixer, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl every now and then. Continue to knead until you have a soft dough – roughly 3 minutes on the mixer. Don’t get scared: this is a sticky dough. Bravely resist the temptation of add more flour, trust me. Add the butter, one Tbsp at a time, kneading well, and work the dough until it’s elastic – roughly 3 more minutes. Once again: don’t freak out; this is sticky, but it’ll work!

You won’t be able to shape this into a ball, but you can scrape down the sides of the bowl and place the batter in the center. Dust with the 2 Tbsp of flour, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise for 1 ½ hour, or until it doubles in volume.

When it’s doubled, butter an 8 x 12 inch baking pan, if it’s not non-stick. Lightly punch down the dough, so it de-inflates, and transfer to a lightly floured working surface. Divide the dough into 12 parts (or 24, or 6, you name it) and shape it into balls. This video shows the technique I use – it looks time-consuming, but when you get the hang of it it’s pretty quick!

Pãozinho de Parmesão

Place the balls in the baking pan, leaving some room between them. Cover with a clean dishcloth – don’t use the terrycloth ones! Let it rise again until it doubles in volume (here it took another 1 ½ hour, because it’s cold!)

Brush the rolls with the yolk and dust some more grated parmesan. Bake for 20-25 minutes – I always look at the bottom: if it’s golden-brown, it’s ready!

Let them cool in the baking pan for 5 minutes. Then, use a spatula to loosen the sides and remove the rolls from the pan. The right thing to do would be to let them cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes, but who does that? 😀

FREEZER: If you manage to have leftovers, place them in a Ziploc bag and freeze for up to 3 months.

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 😀