Brigadeiros are the most popular Brazilian candy, mandatory item at Birthday parties. I blogged about them here, and shared a coconut variation here. This recipe has been sitting on my Pinterest cooking  board ever since I saw it on Denise’s site, From Brazil to You, around Halloween.  You should definitely stop by her site to see how she shaped each one as a cute little pumpkin.  Knowing my limitations, I simply rolled them as traditional “brigadeiros” and coated them with the shimmer sugar Phil recently bought for me, adorable husband that he is.  And, by the way, in Portuguese, pumpkin brigadeiros = brigadeiros de abóbora.  if you want to say it as a native Brazilian, listen to yours truly by clicking this audio link

(slightly modified from Denise’s blog)

1 (14 oz or 396 g) can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Granulated sugar for rolling

Grease a dish with unsalted butter and set aside. Place about 1 cup of granulated sugar on another plate and set aside.

Mix the condensed milk, pumpkin puree, butter, and spices in a saucepan over medium heat. Non-stick is best.  Cook, stirring constantly in order to avoid burning, until thickened enough that the bottom of the pan shows through briefly when the mixture is stirred, and runs to the sides of the pan slowly if gathered in the center of the pan with a wooden or plastic spoon– this should usually take approximately 10-12 minutes, depending on your stove.

Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla, and pour mixture into the greased dish. Let cool. The brigadeiro dough can be refrigerated for about 20 minutes before rolling into balls if desired. Then wet your hands with cold water and shape the brigadeiros into balls, using a tablespoon as measure. Roll each one in sugar, and place in small paper cups.


to print the recipe, click here


Comments:  This was a delightful take on a Brazilian classic!  They are sweet with all the condensed milk, but the pumpkin offers a nice counterpart.  I took a batch for a potluck dessert party,  and lots of people asked me for the recipe, so I guarantee that whenever you make these babies, they will please your guests!

I bet  you cannot eat just one… 😉

Pumpkin Brigadeiros

ONE YEAR AGO: Pumpkin Espresso Loaf

TWO YEARS AGO: Caramelized Carrot Soup

THREE YEARS AGO: Miso-Grilled Shrimp

FOUR YEARS AGO: A Special Holiday Fruitcake


The traditional Shepherd’s Pie, a delicacy from Ireland, is a casserole type dish made with lamb and veggies covered with mashed potatoes and baked in the oven.  After our Thanksgiving meal this year, I decided to improvise on a version to use our leftover turkey, roasted sweet potatoes, and gravy.  It turned out much better than I expected, so I must share with you. Plus, it gives me a chance to show off our recent gift, the Le Creuset baking dish… gorgeous!

If you already used up your leftover turkey meat, ground turkey could work well too, but spice it up with more sage, maybe some sautéed mushrooms, and use some type of stock slightly thickened with a roux in place of gravy.


(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

leftover roast turkey, preferably dark meat, cut in small chunks
1 Tablespoon grapeseed oil (or olive oil)
1 shallot, diced
3 medium carrots, diced
1/2 cup frozen green peas
a few leaves of fresh sage, minced
salt and pepper
gravy from your Thanksgiving turkey
cooked sweet potatoes
veggie stock, amount variable
low-fat milk, amount variable

Cut enough leftover turkey meat to fully cover your baking dish. Give preference to dark meat, but a mixture of dark and breast works fine.  Reserve.

Sautee the shallot and diced carrots in olive oil until they start to get some color, and soften up slightly. Season with salt and pepper,  then add the turkey meat, the frozen peas, and the sage.  Mix gently until the peas defrost, add some gravy, enough to moisten the whole mixture.   Pour into a baking dish.

Prepare the potatoes by warming them slightly in a microwave, then mashing them with a little veggie stock and milk, also warmed up in a microwave.  Taste, and if necessary, adjust seasoning.   You need to add just enough liquid to be able to spread the mashed potatoes over the turkey.

Spoon the mashed sweet potatoes over the turkey & veggies, and place in a 375 F oven for 30 minutes or until all bubbly and hot.

Remove from the oven, let it rest for 15 minutes before serving.


to print the recipe, click here


Phil is always in charge of roasting our Thanksgiving turkey, which he does according to his family recipe. Our bird is stuffed with a mixture of bread, sausage, celery, green apples… absolutely delicious!   He also  makes the gravy, which ends up dark brown, thick and very flavorful. Usually, he is also in charge of coming up with leftover ideas, but this year I decided to explore this road on my own.

This was so good!  Comfort food indeed, but not overly heavy, sweet potatoes are less filling than regular ones.  I know that using ground turkey could work too, but honestly, this recipe is best if made with leftover roast turkey,  moistened with real gravy.  Phil and I enjoyed some of this “Twisted Shepherd’s Pie”  for our dinner, and the rest is in the freezer, waiting for one of my stepsons who will be visiting us soon.  I know he will love it!

plated1Dinner is served!

ONE YEAR AGO: Hail Caesar Sourdough

TWO YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, December 2011

THREE YEARS AGO: Festivus Dinner Rolls

FOUR YEARS AGO: 100% Sourdough Rye


December 14th will be forever tainted as one of the saddest days for the United States. Unspeakable tragedy, unbearable pain for all those involved in the shooting at Newtown. One full year has passed.  Very little improvement in gun laws has been made. This is not a politically oriented blog, so I’ll leave it at that.  But, it is up to each of us to never forget what happened and put pressure on Congress to act.

I would like to recommend a fantastic article from the Nicholas Kristof, “The Killer Who Supports Gun Control“.  Thank you, Farine, for bringing it to my attention.

One of the boys whose life was cut short was so fond of tacos that he hoped to one day work in a “taco factory”.  To celebrate his memory,  I am sharing a recipe for a simple, but tasty taco today.  This one is for you, Noah.


(adapted from Homesick Texan)

3 pounds of pork butt, with plenty of fat
1 cup of orange juice
juice of 1 lime
3 cups of water
2 teaspoons of salt

Cut pork into strips (three inches by one inch), add to a large pot with the liquids and salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered on low for 2 hours. Do not touch the meat.

After two hours, turn heat up to medium high, and continue to cook until all the liquid has evaporated and the pork fat has rendered (about 45 minutes). Stir a few times, to keep pork from sticking to bottom of pan.

When pork has browned on both sides, it’s ready (there will be liquid fat in the pan). Serve either cubed or shredded (pork will be tender enough that just touching it will cause it to fall apart).

Serve it over rice or use it as a filling for tacos with your favorite toppings.
Share it with someone you love…


If you want to learn more about the lives of the children and adults who lost their life in December 14th, 2012, visit “My Sandy Hook Family”.
The grown-up world has failed you horribly and still does. 
(from Farine, in her letter to Noah, June 2013)

(comments are shutdown for this post)


Where are the virtual fireworks when I need them? After months of neglect, my sourdough starter was brought back to the kitchen! I actually tried baking bread once a few weeks ago, but when I attempted to revive the sourdough “chips” I had prepared, the resulting starter refused to cooperate: it was sluggish, slow, not at all vibrant. This time I went back to my frozen little balls of starter and they jumped right back into action. For my first bread made in the Supernova, I chose a recipe from TxFarmer, who runs two blogs, one in Chinese and another at The Fresh Loaf Forum. She is very creative and always pushes the boundaries of sourdough baking. Without further ado, this is the first bread born in the confines of our new oven…

Orange Cumin Sourdough

(slightly adapted from TxFarmer’s recipe)

*Makes 1 X 700g loaf

68 g  dark rye flour
54 g water
4 g rye starter at 100% hydration

Mix and rise at room temp for 12 to 16 hours.

Final Dough
386 g bread flour
9 g salt
grated orange peel from 1 large orange
fresh orange juice from 1 orange plus water to 245 g
1/2 Tbsp cumin powder
122 g levain mixture

Mix everything except for salt, autolyse for 40 min.  Add salt and knead in a KitchenAid type mixer at medium speed for 4 minutes.

Bulk rise at room temp (~78F) for about 2.5hrs, with stretch and fold  at 30, 60, and 90 minutes.

Pre-shape into a ball, let the dough rest for 10  minutes, then shape and place in a floured banneton for the final rise.

Proof until the dough springs back slowly when pressed. It took me 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Bake at 450F for 40 to 45 minutes, the first 25 minutes with steam. Let it cool completely on a rack before slicing.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This is a bread that screams for a bowl of chili, and that is exactly what I made on a Sunday afternoon.  I used our favorite recipe that simmers on the stove top for hours, but we did not touch it until next day.  That chili is good on the day it is made, but it turns into spectacular the day after.  Plus, what can be better than arriving home from work on a chilly Monday, and have dinner basically ready and waiting for you?


TxFarmer description of this baby was spot on, by the way.  The orange gives it a slight hint of sweetness, but the sourdough character of this bread is there.  The cumin is the touch of genius that makes this loaf superb with a bowl of chili or any type of spicy stew.  I could not have chosen a better loaf to inaugurate our Supernova!

I am submitting this post to Susan’s Yeastspotting


ONE YEAR AGO: Homemade Calziones

TWO YEARS AGO: Plum-Glazed Duck Breasts

THREE YEARS AGO: Holiday Double-Decker

FOUR YEARS AGO: New York Deli Rye


This side dish is elegant and luscious. Perfect to pair with chicken, pork or a mild fish like cod or sea bass. But, if you prefer to walk the vegetarian path, enjoy it over farro, barley, or as we did, a colorful quinoa.  Add a hearty loaf of bread, and you will be all set…

Fennel with Tomato Saffron1

The recipe is published in  Vegetable Literacy  the latest cookbook from Deborah Madison. Lisa  from “Lisa is Cooking” wrote a great review about the book a few months ago, and shared a recipe from it, check it out by jumping here. Deborah Madison has the amazing ability of bringing the best out of the most humble vegetable. I do not own a copy of this particular book (bravely resisted so far), but her classic Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is part of our collection.

The recipe is available online, just click here.


Definitely the most important advice is to take the time to brown the fennel well, that will ensure a deeper flavor in the end.  I don’t recommend this dish for those who have issues with fennel, because its flavor is very prominent.  I crumbled goat cheese over the braise, allowing it to melt down in the liquid, and right before serving added the greens from the fennel, minced. As the recipe states, if your fennel bulbs came without the tops, use parsley instead. My main modification from the published recipe was to squeeze a little lemon juice all over, and reduce slightly the amount of tomato paste. I thought three tablespoons seemed excessive, so I added only two.  Capers and saffron are fantastic together, by the way.

Because we have nothing against a little meat with our veggie goodness,  a boneless, grilled chicken breast was part of our dinner too.  As far as looks are concerned, I suppose a fully white quinoa would have been better, but the bag of tricolor quinoa acquired months ago at a Trader Joe’s was winking at me from the pantry.  I spooned a little of the braising sauce over the chicken, so that it all got tied together in a beautiful caper & saffron glory!

platedDinner is served!

ONE YEAR AGO: Revenge of the Two Derelicts

TWO YEARS AGO: Grilling Ribbons

THREE YEARS AGO: Peppery Cashew Crunch

FOUR YEARS AGO: Baked Shrimp and Feta Pasta