Meat Stock

Versão em português

Caldo de Carne

On the early days of Tertúlias de Forno e Fogão (the Portuguese version of this blog), I posted on Facebook a recipe for vegetable stock – it’s funny to think of the time when this wasn’t even a blog! Veggie stock is a very easy recipe, any makes all the difference when making a soup, a risotto… much better than bouillon cubes!

Although I still make vegetable stock, the truth is I’ve been using meat stock for most of my soups lately. When I started photographing for the Soup Tertulias, Sky asked me if I had already translated the stock recipe − and was shocked to learn that I hadn’t even posted it! “But the stock is the star of your soups”. I took the hint and finally photographed the process. 🙂

There are several ways of making meat stock. I usually follow Chef John’s recipe (with some of the hints by Pat Feldman). It’s not a difficult process, but it takes a while: the stock needs to cook for at least 12 hours! I generally cook it for 24 hours, though. Then, I reduce it significantly, so I can freeze in single-use portions.

You will need:

Approximately 2.5 kg of meaty bones − Pat Feldman and Chef John List the kind of bones you should use, but to be honest I simply ask for meaty bones at the butcher’s and that’s it!

Celery leaves − you can use the stalks if you prefer, but it’d just be a waste of a perfect peanut butter dispenser!

One big onion, cutting into fours

Two carrots, peeled and cut into big chunks − when I was taking the pictures, there were no carrots in the house, so I didn’t use it this time! 😀

Accessories:

Baking sheet
Two big (and thick) pots, with lids − mine can hold up to six liters, but if you have a bigger pot, double the recipe and make more stock! 🙂
Sieve
Containers for freezing the stock − I prefer glass ones, with hermetic lids, as they are way easier to clean, but feel free to use plastic containers.

Caldo de Carne

Stock starts with a step that generally marks the end of a recipe: place all the bones on a baking sheet, and bake them in a preheated oven for 60 minutes, turning them every now and then, so they brown evenly. Be careful not to let them burn!

When the bones are browned, transfer them to a big, thick pot − if there’s anything stuck to the baking sheet, scrape and place it in the pot as well! Cover with COLD water, then add the celery, onion, and carrots. Cover the pan and bring it to a boil over high heat. I prefer to put the vegetables on top, so it’s easy to remove them later!

Once the water has started boiling, remove the foam with a spoon and place the pan over the lowest possible temperature in your stovetop. As the stock will cook all night, it should simmer, not boil, so that it doesn’t evaporate. Here, I put the pan on the smallest burner, at the lowest setting.

One or two hours after the stock has started simmering, I remove the vegetables. Chef John doesn’t do that, but since I use celery leaves rather than stalks, I think it’s better to remove it.

Throughout the entire cooking process, the bones should always be covered by water. If you using the thick pan, covered, and in the lowest possible heat, that shouldn’t be a problem. However, if it is, just add more water!

When the bones are clean (with no meat attached to them, and with the little holes where the marrow has leaked from), which usually takes about 12 to 15 hours of cooking, you can remove them from the pan. If you want to cook for longer, there’s no problem − and the flavor will be more intense! I generally cook for 24 hours.

Remove the bones from the pan − I always let them drain over the sieve, so I don’t waste any stock. After removing all the bones, strain the stock into the second pan – you want to make sure that there are no mini-chunks of meat, or anything other than pure stock! 🙂

Take the second pan back to the stove, to reduce the stock over high heat − “reduce” sounds like a fancy process, but it just means “make the water evaporate” 😛 I generally have about 3.5 L of stock at this point, which I reduced to 1.5 L − the more concentrated the stock, the less room it will take in my freezer! 😀

Let the stock cool in the pan. Then, transfer them to the containers. I usually divide into five containers of 300 mL each, which is the base for five big soups, as this is really concentrated!

When it’s fully cooled, you’ll notice a layer of grease over the surface of the stock. I usually freeze with this layer on, and I only remove it when it’s time to cook – it’s much easier that way!

The stock will last in the freezer for up to six months. For soups, I simply thaw it a little bit, remove the grease layer, and dump it in the pot, adding more water as necessary. For risottos, you need to dilute the stock first, as it needs to be heated first. A 300-mL container will yield about 2 L of stock!

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Sweet Potato Dinner Rolls

Versão em português

Pãezinhos de batata doce

 

Before I decided which would be the last recipe of the Dinner Rolls Tertulias, I was stumped, reading a bunch of recipes and not finding anything that screamed “bake me!”. This lasted for a while, until I decided I’d narrow my search to vegan breads. I found this recipe, I had a sweet potato in the fridge that hadn’t made its way into the last soup we made, so it was a no-brainer!

These were the easiest rolls to knead in the entire series. I almost always use the stand mixer, but by the time I finished kneading this one, I was thinking “AFFF, I should have kneaded that by hand, it’d be one less dish to wash!” 😀 I tried a roll as soon as they came out of the oven, and loved it. Later that day, I had them with cheese and started thinking about how they’d be great as a burger bun! As usual, I froze part of the recipe. Yesterday, we thawed the rolls and used them for sliders – they were perfect!

You’ll need:

For the sponge:

2 1/4 tsp dry instant yeast

1/2 cup water, lukewarm – as in “if you can stand to keep your fingers in there for 10 seconds, it’s good”

1/2 cup all purpose flour

 

For the dough:

1 cup cooked sweet potato, mashed

2 tbsp maple syrup – I used honey, as maple syrup is a treat here! Not to be used casually!

1 1/2 tsp salt

4 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp baking powder – yeah, I too thought it was weird to use both yeast and baking powder in the same recipe, but it worked! 🙂

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour – if you are making this recipe on a humid day, you may need a bit more flour. I didn’t have to add any!

Pãezinhos de batata doce

Start by making the sweet potato purée. Peel and cube a medium-size sweet potato, and boil it until soft. Then drain it, mash well, and set aside to cool.

While the sweet potato cools, make the sponge. Mix all sponge ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer (or in a big bowl, that you’ll also use to knead!), cover with a dish cloth, and let it rest for 20 minutes or so, until it bubbles.

To the sponge, add all the dough ingredients. Knead in a stand mixer with a hook attachment (or with your hands) for 5-7 minutes, until the dough doesn’t stick to your fingers. If you’re using a stand mixer, you’ll notice that the sides of the bowl become practically clean – you’ll still have to wash it, though. 😀

Now the method is the same as for all other rolls in this series: cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until it doubles in size. When the dough has doubled in size, gently punch it to deflate and transfer to a floured surface.

I divided my dough in 24 pieces, but you can divide it into 8 portions to make burger buns; I think this dough would be great for that! 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 almost doubled in size.

Now all you have to do is bake the rolls in a pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes (add a little more oven time if you’re making burger buns), or until they are golden brown and you hear a hollow sound when you tap the surface.

Let them cool on a wire rack and serve!

FREEZER: As with all the rolls in this series, these freeze beautifully. All you have to do is put them in a Ziploc bag once they are cooled!

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.

Magic Chocolate Custard Cake

Versão em português

Bolo Mágico de Chocolate

Better late than never! May is over, but this is such a different recipe that I didn’t want to save it for later! (Blame the Abrates conference for my delay in posting this! Hahahahah!)

To end the Chocolate Tertulias (and celebrate my birthday, which was on the 19th), I decided to make a cake I had seen at A Cozinha Coletiva, a blog I’ve been following for years, but had never tried a recipe from.

I must confess: halfway through the recipe, I was “man, this is not going to work…” But I persisted, and it was worth it! The texture is very unusual: it resembles a cake, but also a pudding, or maybe something else… and it’s delicious!

For an 8 x 8 inch cake, you’ll need

110 g (1 cup) unsalted butter
600 ml (2 and 1/2 cups) whole milk, lukewarm
115 g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
45 g (1/2 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
4 egg whites
4 drops white vinegar
4 egg yolks
210 g (1 and 3/4 cup) confectioner’s sugar
30 ml (2 Tbsp) prepared – and strong – coffee – you can also use espresso
1 tsp vanilla extract

For garnish (optional, but go ahead and do it):

Confectioner’s sugar
Berries – I looked all over town for raspberries, as it was my birthday! 😀

Bolo Mágico de Chocolate

Attention: Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius – yes, the lowest temperature!

Start by melting the butter and warming up the milk. Set them aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour and cocoa powder. I managed to BREAK my whisk while doing that! I still can’t figure out how I did that, but you’re (probably) a more normal person, so you won’t do that… 😀

Using the stand mixer, whisk the egg whites with the vinegar, which is there to help you reach hard peaks – have you seen that trick of turning the bowl upside-down and seeing if the egg whites will fall on your head? That’s it. If it doesn’t move, it’s ready.

In the third bowl, which should be large enough to fit all the ingredients, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until you get a light and pale cream – I had to use a FORK to whisk, can you imagine? In this bowl, add the melted (and cooled) butter, the coffee, and the vanilla. Whisk for two minutes, until combined.

Add the milk and mix well. This is when it looks as if it’s ruined, because it’s too liquid. Don’t worry, that’s how it’s supposed to be! 🙂

Add the whisked egg whites, one-third at a time, in a delicate folding motion.

Once again: don’t freak out, it is pretty liquid indeed, but it works! Pour the mix over a well-greased 8 x 8 baking pan, and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.

Ritchie’s description for how to know when the cake is ready was perfect: “bake until you notice that, when you wiggle the pan, the cake wiggles too, but more like jell-o than a liquid. It sounds like a weird description, but you’ll understand.” And you really will! 😀

Let it cool completely. When the cake is fully cooled, cut in squares, dust some confectioner’s sugar, decorate with some berries for extra frou-frou, and serve!

Chocolate Bread

Versão em português

Pão de Chocolate

When my mom bought a bread machine, in 2000 something, we were curious about one of the recipes in the booklet that came with it: chocolate bread. We made it, but it was only ok, so we never repeated it. Last month, when I found this recipe by David Lebovitz, I decided it was time to give the idea of chocolate bread a second chance.

Don’t fool yourself: this is not a cake. It’s not a fluffy bread with a hint of chocolate, either. This dense bread has a deep chocolate flavor, and it is wonderful when toasted, with a little bit of butter! It’s perfect for a special breakfast, say… a birthday breakfast! 😀

You’ll need:

55 g (4 Tbsp) butter

85 g dark chocolate – I used a 71% one

¾ cup whole milk, lukewarm

2 ¼ tsp instant dry yeast

75 g (6 Tbsp) sugar

1 ½ tsp instant coffee – optional, but highly recommended

1 egg

½ tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp salt

280 g (2 cups) all-purpose flour

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

90 g (3/4 cup) dark chocolate chips, or dark chocolate, chopped – I used chocolate chips, 50%

70 g (½ cup) walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts, chopped – also optional, also highly recommended! I used walnuts.

Pão de Chocolate

Start by melting the dark chocolate with the butter in a double boiler, or on very low heat. When it melts, remove from the heat and let it cool down.

In a big bowl, place the lukewarm milk, yeast, and one Tbsp of the sugar. Mix and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes. When the mixture has bubbled, with a layer that looks like beer foam, it’s time to add the rest of the sugar, instant coffee (if you’re using it), egg, vanilla, and salt.

As the cocoa powder tends to clump, sift half of it and half of the flour directly in the bowl. Mix with a silicone spatula. Add the melted chocolate, mix a little bit more, and sift the remainder cocoa powder and flour. Mix until it’s all incorporated.

If you have a stand mixer, use the hook attachment and knead for five minutes – the dough won’t stick to the side of the bowl for long, but keep kneading anyway! You can also knead by hand (the original recipe called for mixing vigorously with a spatula for five minutes), but resist the temptation to add more flour. The dough is a little wetter than that of normal bread!

Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for two hours in a warm place. After this, add the chocolate chips and the nuts. Place the dough in a buttered 9-inch loaf pan.

Cover the pan and let the dough rise for one hour. Bake in a pre-heated oven for approximately 40 minutes. The bread will be ready when the house smells of chocolate and you hear a hollow sound when you tap it.

Now comes the hard part: let the bread cool completely before slicing it!

The Browniest Cookies

Versão em português

Biscoitos Brownie

Have you ever read a recipe, thought it would be easy to make, knew it would be tasty, pinned it, aaaaand…… never remembered to do it? Always, right? 😀 To continue the Chocolate Tertulias, I decided to finally make these cookies, which are basically little round brownies!

These are not only delicious, they’re also very easy to make: you don’t need to soften the butter and you only use one pot! I didn’t have unsweetened chocolate, so I used a70% cocoa one. It was very tasty, but next time I’ll use one with 80% cocoa, or stronger. Even if you don’t like bitter chocolate, I don’t think this recipe would work with milk chocolate – it’d be way too sweet!

You’ll need:

115 g (½ cup) unsalted butter
115 g unsweetened chocolate, chopped
190 g (1 cup, packed) dark or light brown sugar
25 g (2 Tbsp) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp fine sea or table salt
45 g (½ cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
130 g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
115 g (2/3 cup) chocolate chips or chocolate, chopped into chunks

Biscoitos Brownie

In a pot that fits all ingredients, melt the butter and the chocolate. You can use a water bath, or do what I did and melt everything over the lowest heat on the smallest burner of the stove, stirring constantly and being careful not to let the chocolate burn.

With a silicone spatula, mix the two kinds of sugar into the melted chocolate. Add the eggs, one by one. Mix in the vanilla, salt, and baking soda. Sift the cocoa powder over the batter − yes, I do mean sift it! 😀 − and mix. Sift the flour over the batter and mix just until you don’t see any white specs. Now all you have to do is add the chocolate chips!

Cover the pot with plastic wrap and let it cool in the fridge for about half an hour. Use a cookie scoop or make small balls (mine were about 1 Tbsp of dough), place them on a lined baking sheet, leaving plenty of room between them, and bake in a preheated oven. The original recipe said to bake for 11 to 12 minutes, warning that they would be soft. I did this on the first batch, letting them cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. This gave the cookies a really brownie-like texture. On the second batch, I baked for 15 minutes, and found the texture to be closer to a normal cookie − and I liked them even better that way!

Freezer: As with most cookies, you can freeze the balls of dough in a plastic wrap-covered baking sheet. When they are fully frozen, transfer them into a Ziploc bag. To bake, take them straight from the freezer to the oven, baking for a couple extra minutes.

Devil’s Food Loaf

Versão em português

Devil's Food Loaf

I did some serious thinking before deciding on the theme for May: “I want to do chocolate, but then again, right after Easter, is it worth it?, etc…” until I realized: who gets sick of chocolate? 😀

To start off the Chocolate Tertulias, I decided to finally photograph my second favorite chocolate cake! My very favorite chocolate cake is the one my mom makes, but that is for another series 😛 Devil’s food loaf is similar to that cake, but the frosting is very different – and the best part of it!

You’ll need:
45g unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ tsp baking soda
100 ml boiling water
140g flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3 medium eggs
233g brown sugar
½ cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

Frosting:
60 g dark chocolate, chopped
14g unsalted butter
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbsp whole milk
½ Tbsp honey

Devil's Food Loaf

Start by preparing your loaf pan (mine was 8.5 x 9.5 inches): butter it, line it with parchment paper, making sure there’s an excess of paper so it’s easy to take the cake out of the pan, and then butter the parchment paper!

In a small bowl, whisk the cocoa with the boiling water. Mix in the baking soda and let it cool for 20 minutes.

In a medium bowl, thoroughly whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. In the stand mixer, mix the eggs, sugar, and oil, until you get a smooth cream. Add the vanilla. Mix in the flour mixture – at this stage, I prefer to use a rubber spatula, but that’s just me. Add the cocoa/water mix and combine well.

Pour the batter into the pan. Now, something different: tap the pan on the counter a few times, to remove air bubbles from the batter. I don’t know what horrible thing happens if you skip this step; I never did! 😀

Bake in a pre-heated oven until it passes the toothpick test – here, it took about 50 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before removing it – you’ll see how the parchment paper trick makes the process easy! Let the cake cool completely.

When it’s completely cooled, it’s time to make the frosting. Melt the chocolate and butter in a small pan, over a water bath. While the chocolate melts, mix the cocoa powder, milk, and honey in another small pan, stirring constantly over high heat until it simmers. Pass the contents of this second pan through a sieve over the chocolate and butter mixture, stirring well (I must confess: I sometimes just mix the contents of both pans, without fussing with the sieve). Spread the frosting over the cake – do this immediately, as it dries quickly.

Test your willpower by letting the frost set for a couple hours before serving!

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!