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.
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
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 😀
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
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
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!
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.
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!
Have you checked out the new blog sections? 😉
To continue our Muffin Tertulias, it was time to try a special recipe I had found (by chance) on Pinterest! Theoriginal recipe said that this muffin was just like Starbucks’, but I disagree. Starbucks’ muffins are always too dry! 😀
These were an absolute hit – they disappeared as soon as they came out of the oven, and I had to “hide” these two for the picture!
For 12 muffins, you’ll need:
250 mL milk
10 g instant yeast
250 g all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
Black pepper and oregano
200 g parmesan, coarsely grated – save a bit for decorating the top of the muffins
100 g melted butter
As this recipe calls for instant yeast, the process is a bit different than normal muffins. But it’s still quick! 🙂
Mix the yeast with the (warm) milk and let it foam. In a bowl, mix the flour with the salt, black pepper, and oregano.
Meanwhile, melt the butter and let it cool down a bit. When the butter has been cooled down, mix in the egg and the milk with yeast. Add the flour mix and most of the grated cheese. As always, the idea is to mix with a rubber spatula just until you can’t see any more flour – don’t knead! 🙂
Divide the dough into the cups, always filling only up to 3/4 of the capacity, and cover with the reserved grated cheese.
Now the process is different: as this is a yeasted dough, let it rest for 1 hour – it didn’t reeeeally rise much during that period, but I didn’t worry about it.
Bake in a pre-heated oven for 30 minutes, or until it turns golden and passes the toothpick test.
Cool it down a little bit and eat!
In the unlikely event of leftovers, just place them in a ziploc bag and freeze!