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! 😀
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!
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!
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!
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.
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
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 😀
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!
For the third recipe of the Summer Tertulias, I decided to make the first drink of the blog! 🙂 While researching “summer recipes” on Pinterest, I came across “agua fresca,” a very refreshing Mexican drink – the middle point between juice and flavored water 😀
Among the several options of agua fresca, I decided on this Epicurious version, which has an interesting detail: homemade mint syrup. I had never made syrup before, and was surprised at how easy it is! The coolest thing is that you can use the same syrup to make pineapple agua fresca!
For a big pitcher of agua fresca, you’ll need:
5 cups of watermelon, seeded – I used half a medium-sized watermelon and decided that was 5 cups 😀 For the pineapple version, I used roughly 2 cups of fresh pineapple, chopped.
1/4 cup of lemon juice
A LOT OF ICE (I used two trays)
For the mint syrup:
1/4 cup mint leaves
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
In a small saucepan, place all the ingredients of the syrup and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring well to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and let it chill completely.
While the syrup cools down, remove the seeds of the watermelon and chop it. When I was done chopping, I remembered I had a pineapple that needed to be used as well. As I had doubled the syrup recipe, I decided to make pineapple agua fresca – the method was exactly the same, but I only used 2 cups of chopped pineapple.
Place the watermelon, the lemon juice, and the mint syrup in a blender and blend until smooth. Strain the contents directly over the pitcher. Add two cups of water, mix well, and add plenty of ice. Serve ice cold!
Freezer: Place the agua fresca in a popsicle mold and freeze – it will be a hit! 🙂
A very important part of moving is the massive clean-up – use everything you can, throw away useless stuff, so there are less boxes to carry! When it was time to clean up the fridge, I found half a can of tahini in there – certainly, a hummus leftover. I also had some frozen cooked chickpeas (we tend to avoid the cans, as they are pricey here!). The obvious thing would be to make hummus again, but I also had plenty of carrots in the fridge, so I was reminded of a gorgeous-looking recipe I had seen on smittenkitchen.
This was easily one of the best salads I’ve ever eaten! It’s also a complete meal in itself (who says that vegan food won’t keep you full?). I made the recipe below for lunch – we both ate until we were couldn’t possibly eat another bite, and there were leftovers!
I could talk for hours about how the tahini sauce goes perfectly with the carrots, how the warm and spicy chickpeas give this salad a comfort food status, etc… but I’ll stop.
To be amazed, you’ll need:
For the chickpeas:
1 can of chickpeas, drained – I used 2 cups of cooked chickpeas
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp smoked paprika – not in the original recipe, but I love paprika 🙂
½ tsp salt
For the salad itself:
450 g (1 pound) grated carrots
¼ cup chopped parsley – aka “a lot”
¼ cup pistachios, coarsely chopped – I don’t really like pistachios, so I didn’t use them.
For the dressing, the real hero of this story:
1 garlic clove, chopped – I used more. I always use more!
¼ cup lemon juice
3 (generous) Tbsp tahini – mix it well before measuring.
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
Start by coating the chickpeas with a mixture of the olive oil and seasonings, making sure they are well coated. Place them on a large baking sheet (but don’t pile them!), and bake in a pre-heated oven for 20-30 minutes, until they are golden brown and crunchy. During the bake time, shake the baking sheet every now and then, so that the chickpeas bake evenly.
With a whisk, mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Add the carrot and the parsley and set it aside.
When it’s time to serve, add the pistachios (if you’re using them) and the chickpeas. Dig in and wonder why you haven’t made this recipe sooner! 😀
Calories: zero. Do you see the words “vegetables” there? Everybody knows that vegetables = no calories. 😀
Collecting the ingredients: infinite.
Cooking: 2 ½ hours, on average
“Can’t I just use a bouillon cube?”
Of course you can. But it’s not good for you, too much sodium, MSG, etc. The homemade stock is very easy to make, and it’s practically free! The flavor is much better, and it also gives you a #hipster #grandma status, which is always cool.
We make this stock with SCRAPS. You know, the spinach stem? Potato peels? Broccoli stems? Instead of throwing them away, wash and dry them! Place them in a Ziploc bag, which will live in your freezer. Every time you make a salad, a soup, or a vegetable side dish, think about the things he would throw away. The stem of most herbs, the peel from that pumpkin you ate last night, almost everything can be used to make a nice stock!
The only things that you can’t use are onion and carrots peels, bitter scraps (such as cucumber peels), and, obviously, nothing that looks old and gross!
I never really follow a recipe for this – my stock is always “whatever I cooked this month”. The only thing that I always add is celery leaves, which make all the difference for me.
When your Ziplock bag is full, it’s time to make the stock. Get the biggest pan you own, place the frozen scraps, and cover with water. Simmer for 1 hour, then remove the scraps so your stock doesn’t get bitter
At this moment, it’s ready. What I usually do to save space in the freezer is to boil for another hour and half, to reduce. Let it cool in the pan, then divide them into your containers – make sure the lids fit! 😀
They will last in the freezer for up to six months. Every time you want to make a soup, just take a container, remove the frozen stock, and thaw it directly in the pan!