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!
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! 😀
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
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
* 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! 🙂
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!
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! 😀