One of the best restaurants here in Uruguay is La Huella, in José Ignacio. We don’t go there very often, but it’s great every time. Last year, on my birthday, we shared several starters, but one was really special: it was similar to ceviche, but with some very different flavors.
I was intrigued, of course. When we asked for the check, the waiter told us they had a recipe book. I asked the obvious question: “Is this recipe in the book?”. A few minutes later, he came back and said that the recipe was not in the book, but that the chef would happily teach me how to make it! Obviously, I accepted! As you would expect, she didn’t give me exact measurements, but a good idea of the proportions.
I was sure I would cook that the next week, but I ended up not doing it. In fact, I procrastinated so much that I only cooked this now, for Summer Tertulias! 😀
For a light lunch for 4 people, you’ll need:
Approximately 800 g white fish, deboned – she used sea bass, I used brótola, so you can choose whatever white (and firm) fish. If you’re cooking for less people, reduce the amount, as this is best served immediately after it’s made.
½ red onion, very finely chopped – don’t grate it!
1 bunch of chives, very finely chopped – you can also use mint
1 heaping Tbsp Dijon mustard – next time, I’ll double the amount
2 Tbsp capers
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
Olive oil – roughly the same volume as the lemon juice
Start by chopping the fish into small cubes – mine were a little too big! 😦 It’s supposed to be smaller than your regular ceviche cubes. Season the fish with salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Place it back in the fridge, so it won’t lose its consistency.
Chop the red onion as finely as you can – do not crush or shred: the goal is to have mini cubes here! Chop the chives and the capers very finely, too – the capers will turn almost into a paste, don’t worry. In a bowl, mix the onion, the chives, the capers, the lemon zest, and the Dijon mustard. Set aside.
In another bowl, emulsify the lemon juice and olive oil. This is how I did it: I placed the lemon juice in a bowl and poured the olive oil slowly, whisking well. That required a lot of elbow grease, of course. I later looked it up and it turns out you can do that with a hand mixer! I’ll try that next time! Set the emulsion aside.
When you’re ready to serve, all you have to do is combine the fish with the onion mix and this emulsion in a big bowl. Taste (and adjust the seasoning) and serve with a nice green salad!
Food nostalgia. It’s not often, but every now and then I miss some recipes I ate as a child and nobody (aka Mom/Grandma) has ever cooked them again.
This time, the feeling was quite odd: I was longing for a recipe that Mom must have cooked only once in her life AND I DIDN’T EVEN LIKE IT AT THE TIME! Ok, I know this might be a sign of madness. But there I was, thinking about stuffed peppers, so I decided to do something about it.
The idea for this recipe came, as usual, while I was procrastinating on Pinterest. I thought I’d follow this recipe to a T, but I ended up doing something different 😀
For two hungry people, you’ll need:
2 large bell peppers – choose your favorite color/the one that’s on sale 😀
400 g ground beef
¼ cup parmesan, thinly shredded – I used my microplane for that
1 onion, chopped into small cubes
Garlic, to taste – and my taste is a bunch!
½ bunch of chopped parsley
Salt, pepper, hot paprika, red pepper flakes, and powdered mustard
400 mL tomato sauce –
About 300 g of mozzarella
Start by cutting the bell peppers into thick slices, about 2 fingers-tall. I got three slices per pepper, give it or take. Set aside. Chop the leftover peppers into small cubes.
In a bowl, mix together the ground beef with the egg and the parmesan. Add the onions, chopped peppers, garlic, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper – as usual, I added paprika and other spices (this time, red pepper flakes and powdered mustard). Set aside.
Stuff the pepper rings with the ground beef mix. Do so gently, to avoid breaking the rings.
On a hot (cast-iron if you have it) pan, seal the stuffed rings for 3 minutes on each side.
Cover a baking sheet with the tomato sauce and place the sealed rings on it. Cover the rings with the mozzarella – I used slices, because that’s what I had, but I think it would melt better if I had used the shredded version.
Bake in a pre-heated oven for about 30 minutes and serve!
FREEZER: Freeze them before baking: cover a freezer/oven safe baking dish (I used a disposable one) with the tomato sauce, place the sealed rings, cover and freeze. When it’s time to use it, thaw, cover with cheese and bake as usual.
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!
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.
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! 😀
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!
OOOPS, we skipped a week! I went to a conference last week and I didn’t have time to schedule a post. :S
To end the Pie Tertulias, I decided to cook a recipe that I always wanted to try. It seemed easy (and it was), but I had a huge problem: I couldn’t buy decent puff pastry in Uruguay! The frozen ones never properly puffed, and they all had that wonderful (not) taste of hydrogenated fat! Gross! I took matters into my own hands and made my own puff pastry, following La Cucinetta’s recipe. It totally worked, and wasn’t even THAT hard! I didn’t photograph the process, but I will next time!
This is a great recipe for a casual dinner at home, a happy hour, or even Sunday lunch, why not?
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp vinegar – the original recipe called for red wine vinegar; I used rice vinegar because that’s what I had 😀
1 Tbsp thyme – I used the dried version, but if you have fresh thyme, use it!
Zests of 1 lemon – it’s not in the ingredient picture because I only remembered it when I was about to put the onions in the oven
Salt and pepper
2 red onions
2 yellow onions
400 g puff pastry – you can use the store-bought version! I would have 😛
100 g creamy goat’s cheese – I used one that was seasoned with herbs, it was great! You can use regular cream cheese, if you prefer a milder taste.
1 egg, beaten, to brush the dough
This is a ROASTED ONION pie, right? So we’ll start by roasting the onions! 😀 Thinly slice the onions – if you have a mandolin (which is currently on my wishlist), use it! Line a big baking sheet with parchment paper and place the whole onion slices on it – do not separate the slices into rings and, if possible, do not pile them on the sheet.
In a bowl, mix the olive oil, vinegar, thyme, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the onions and bake for approximately 25 minutes, until they are soft. Remove from the oven, but don’t turn it off! 🙂
Open the puff pastry into a 20 x 25 cm rectangle. If you’re using the homemade dough, line the baking sheet with parchment paper, so it absorbs some of the extra fat, leaving the dough crunchier.
With a sharp knife, score a 1-cm border on all sides of the rectangle of dough – don’t cut it all the way down. This will give your pie a nice, puffy edge! With a fork, prick the entire inside area. Spread the goat cheese inside the scored area and place the onion slices – feel free to pile them up a little bit 🙂
Brush the non-covered borders with the beaten eggs and bake for 20 minutes, or until the dough puffs and turns a lovely golden color. Eat!
On my last trip to Brasília, my aunt Paula gave me a wonderful gift: Gui Poulain’s Cartas Amarelas! The book is as beautiful as the autograph! Of course, I was dying to try one of the book’s recipes – to start our Pie Tertúlias, I chose his recipe for Quiche Lorraine, one of my favorite savory pies!
I followed the recipe ALMOST to a T – I changed the way to roll out the crust, because I didn’t want to make a mess on my counter! As expected, it was delicious. The best thing is that this pie is equally good hot and at room temperature. This recipe yielded six servings – lunch, dinner, and lunch again! Nobody complained of eating the same thing three meals in a row… 😉
For the crust
250 g flour
125 g cold unsalted butter
2 tsp salt – next time, I’ll use just one, as I thought the dough was a tad too salty
1 tsp sugar
1 egg yolk
50 mL water
For the filling
300 g bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
250 g heavy cream
salt, pepper, nutmeg
150 g gruyère, coarsely grated – I’m sure any melty cheese would work just fine, but gruyère and emmental are the traditional options
Start by making the crust. Whisk the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Add the butter and, with your fingertips or a pastry cutter, mix until you get a coarsely crumbly mixture. Add the yolk and the water and combine just until you can make a ball – don’t knead it, or else it will be too hard! Wrap this ball with some plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
Fry the bacon on low heat. Be patient, so that the bacon grease can render. When it’s all nicely fried, remove SOME of the grease, add the chopped onion and fry it until it’s golden. Set the bacon and onion aside, and try not to snack on it too much until it’s time to assemble the pie.
In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the heavy cream and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Remove the crust from the fridge. The normal way of rolling out the crust is by dusting your counter with flour. As I didn’t want to clean the flour mess, I cut two sheets of wax paper, placed the crust between the sheets, and rolled it out with a rolling pin. Then, I removed the top layer of paper, placed my 9-inch pie dish upside-down on top of it, flipped everything, and the crust just… fell into place beautifully. (And then, obviously, I removed the second layer of parchment paper)
Now comes the easy part: cover the bottom of the crust with the bacon and onions, then pour the egg and cream mix, and cover everything very well with the grated gruyère!
Bake on a preheated oven for about 40 minutes, give it or take, or until everything is golden brown and firm! You can eat it as soon as it comes out of the oven (which is what we did here) or you can wait and eat it at room temperature (which is also what we did here! 😀 )
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! 🙂
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!
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!
A friend of mine has an Asian-inspired closed-door restaurant here in Punta. When I went there for the first time, I saw “spring rolls” on the menu and I ordered it, thinking I’d get the Chinese fried version. Instead, he brought pockets of raw vegetables. I tried them, skeptically, but I loved it! Very fresh and light!
To end our Summer Tertulias, I decided to make that recipe. It isn’t hard, but it takes a while to roll everything. It’s totally worth it, though, and they last a few days in the fridge – a healthy snack option. They are very versatile: you can fill them however you want. I made the vegan version, but you can add boiled shrimp, for example.
The rice paper used for these spring rolls can be found in health/Asian stores. Here in Uruguay, I found them on the gluten-free section of the supermarket (the celiac population here is surprisingly big: we had a gluten-free section before it was cool 😀 ).
The quantities listed here are simply a suggestion – adjust however you like!
1 packet of rice paper wraps
1 cucumber, julienned – I still haven’t mastered the cut, though…
1 carrot, julienned
1/3 green bell pepper, julienned
1/3 red bell pepper, julienned
1/3 yellow bell pepper, julienned
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 packet of bean sprouts – alfalfa sprouts work nicely too, but I didn’t find them in the market! 😀
4 Tbsp soy sauce – traditionally, fish sauce is used, but then the recipe is no longer vegan. I tested both and they are equally good.
1 Tbsp sugar
Juice of half a lemon
2 garlic cloves
1 cup of water
Start by prepping all the vegetables.
Then, set up your workstation: the veggies, the sprouts, the mint, the rice paper, a deep plate with water (to soften the rice paper), a clean dish towel, and a plate to place the finished rolls.
Place one wrap on the plate with water and let it sit for a minute. It will be quite soft! Carefully, remove the wrap from the plate and place it over your towel, trying to keep it from curling. The first few times it may be a little troublesome, but you’ll get the hang of it in no time!
Place the filling on the center of the wrap, being careful not to overfill. Fold the bottom part of the wrap over the filling, fold both sides into the center, making an envelope, and fold the top part over, closing the roll. Repeat until you run out of wraps or filling! 😀
Mix the sauce ingredients and serve!
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:
1/2 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)
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…) 😀