Monday, July 30, 2007

Another one from our backyard!

We are getting lots of these little cherry tomatoes from our plants these days and they are the best! Simple, sweet, and full of flavor. Soooo good!! Gotta love summer tomatoes!


Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Sister's Favorite!

Yes, I have been cooking, and baking, and having lots of fun too! My mom, sister and brother in law have been visiting us for the last 3 weeks and, although I have lots of recipes and pictures to share, I have used my time to enjoy every second of their stay here, as when we are happy times fly and when you realize it is time to say goodbye already.
They are leaving tomorrow, but I wanted to post an ice cream recipe that my sister requests every time she comes on the first day she lands feet in my house! (together with my "Esfihas", which we made yesterday and everybody enjoyed a lot!)
This one came from the Cooking Light Bulletin Boards, and was posted by Jewel. It is a delicious Peanut Butter Ice Cream she created to lighten up a recipe she liked and that became very popular among both the Bulletin Board and my family members!
Jewel's mentions using fat-free ingredients, but I prefer to use regular of everything (less chemicals in my opinion), and it always comes out perfect! Oh, and I also always use the peanut butter that you grind freshly at Natural grocery stores (simply ground roasted peanuts - again, as simple and pure as I can get).
You can add chocolate chips or even have crushed peanut butter cups mixed in (which we sometimes do to sort of mimic my Husband's previous favorite from B&J's - Yep, now he prefer this one!!!) - add them at the end of the churning process, during the last five minutes when the ice cream already holds its shape and will better incorporate the add ins.
This time I made it simple and everyone loved it! It is a fantastic recipe, simple and easy to make that everyone enjoy. Creamy, rich, and delicious! I am sure anyone who likes peanuts will love this one too, just as my sister does!
Yum!!!! Enjoy!

PS: Cinara, this one is for you too!!!

Jewel's Peanut Butter Ice Cream
(Adapted from Jewel's recipe posted at the CLBB)

1/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (natural)
1 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 cup Half & Half
1 tsp Vanilla

In a medium bowl beat the sugar into the eggs until slightly thickened; set aside. Bring the milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan over low heat. Slowly beat the hot milk into the eggs and sugar. Pour the entire mixture back into the pan and place over very low heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon or whisk until the custard thickens slightly. This process is very quick, do not let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble. Remove from the heat, pour custard through a sieve into a clean bowl and beat in the peanut butter with a whisk. Then whisk in the condensed milk, half & half and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until cold or overnight. Freeze in ice cream machine according to manufacturer instructions.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Doesn't it look pretty?!!!

It sure does, and it couldn't be another way, as the recipe came from a kitchen filled with awesome goodies: Eliana's "Sabores da Lica"! See, I told you it was from a great place!
Every recipe I made from Eliana's came out delicious, and this one was no exception. This kind of savory pie is very popular in Brazil, and this one couldn't be more typical, as it is filled with hearts of palm, which I absolutely love!
Until a few months ago I wasn't able to find decent hearts of palm here where I live, the canned ones I found at the grocery store were just not as good as the one we have in Brazil. But now, thanks to Trader Joe's store (which I also love!), I can find yummy hearts of palm, which are both organic and from Brazil!
So I bought a couple of cans for my pantry and a few days latter I spotted this beauty at Eliana's blog, I just had to make it! Even more since the dough had another ingredient I adore: yogurt! Which, although you can't taste much, made the dough so moist and delicious that we could not stop commenting on it.
The pie was perfect, it came out beautiful and tasted even better than how it looked! The filling was creamy and delicious, and the crust was more than good. It was tender on the bottom and the very topping of my crisscross pattern was not just golden brown and delicious, but light and flaky as well.
A definite keeper in my kitchen, it was approved by all of us, including my Mom and my Sister that are here visiting these days! (And that explains why I have been a little absent from the blog lately... but it is a good reason, right?!) They saw my post in the blog and asked if I could make it sometime while they were here. Of course I already made it and we are now planning on making it again with a chicken filling. Ohhhh, I just can't wait!!
Thanks Eliana for this delicious treat!! (For the recipe in Portuguese, take a look here.)

Savory Hearts of Palm Pie with Yogurt Crust

Pastry dough:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 stick butter (150 g), room temperature
3/4 cups plain yogurt (180 g)
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (220 g) hearts of palm, chopped (Trader Joe's has a great organic one, from Brazil!!)
1/3 cup chopped green olives (more or less to your taste)
1/2 cup frozen peas
180 grams cream cheese (I used 6 of those Laughing Cow triangles)
1/2 chopped parsley
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper to taste

To make the filling: heat olive oil in a large skillet, add onion, garlic and sautée for a few minutes until softened. Add the tomatoes and cook for another minute. Add the hearts of palm, peas, and olives. Taste, add salt and pepper as needed and et cook a couple minutes more. Add the cream cheese, the parsley and cook for another minute until all incorporated. Sprinkle the flour on the filling and stir until the filling is thick and creamy. Take off the heat, put filling in a big plate and let cool before using.

To make the dough: Put 2 cups of the flour, butter, yogurt, and salt in a bowl. Mix all together until it forms a smooth ball of dough. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour if necessary (I only needed 2 cups of flour both times I made the recipe...!), to make sure the dough is not too sticky.
Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for about 20 minutes.
Roll out half of dough into a circle between two sheets of plastic wrap. Cover the bottom and sides of a 9-inch (22 cm) pie pan with removable bottom. Add filling and spread it evenly.
Roll out remaining dough and cover the pie. Pinch the sides to it sticks together and doesn't open as it bake (you can also use egg whites as a glue to stick the two parts of dough together). Brush top with egg yolk and bake at 350 F for about 35 minutes, or until top is golden.

Note: for this pie I tried to make the pie as pretty as Eliana's, so I rolled out the second half of dough, cut into strips, and arranged them in a crisscross pattern. We really liked the result and I was proud with my pretty little pie!!
(This recipe was adapted from Eliana's post, which originally got the recipe from "Palmirinha Onofre").

Friday, July 06, 2007

From Our Backyard!

Yummy, sweet and plump blackberries, and one little yellow squash! But lots of squash blossoms and tons of Basil!!! I just love basil, it has the best flavor and wonderful smell!!
By the way, if anyone has great basil (besides pesto of course!) recipes I would be happy to test them here in my kitchen!
I am glad Matheus also loves my "green chicken" (chicken breast marinated in basil sauce) and hasn't gotten tired of it yet!