INCREDIBLY SIMPLE TIMES FOUR

Here I am to share with you not one, not two, but four recipes that are so simple you could make them in your sleep. Each delivers a lot more than you’d expect in flavor and you will find yourself making them again and again. Not necessarily in your sleep.

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From top to bottom, left to right, here they are:

CHEESE JALAPENO CRACKERS. Credit should go to Angela, from Divalicious Recipes.  Recently she composed a post with 50 ideas for low-carb appetizers very well-timed for a Super Bowl party.  These crackers are pure cheese, with a kick of Jalapeno. I made only eight for the two of us. There was a bit of an argument over the last one, we could not quite agree on who had the right to grab it. I won. Determination is everything.

crackerstutorial

My version, 50:50 Monterey-Cheddar & Parmigiano.
Baked at 350F for about 10 minutes.
Watched them like a hawk.

MARINATED CUCUMBER SALAD. I saw this recipe at FoodTV the other day, a show I don’t normally watch called Valerie’s Home Cooking. I admit to having a bit of a problem with Hollywood folks turned into FoodTV chefs. Maybe I should open my mind a little? Nah, I like my mind the way it is… Anyway, her recipe sounded great but I adapted on my second time around because she used too heavy a hand on the sesame oil. It pretty much overpowered the delicate cucumber.

cucumber

In a small bowl mix and whisk well:

1/2 cup rice vinegar (unseasoned)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil.

Slice one cucumber as thin as you can make it, a mandoline could be helpful. I used a Persian cucumber, so I did not remove the seeds, but if you only find regular ones, removing the seeds is a nice touch. Delicately mix the cucumber slices with the dressing, refrigerate for half an hour if you have the time, but it’s good right away too.
So refreshing!

FRIED EGG OVER LABNEH WITH ZA’TAR. This is unbelievably good!  I confess I’m addicted and have it several times each week for my lunch.  I know you will find the combination a bit odd, but trust me, it is to die for. Just smear some labneh or thick Greek yogurt on a plate. Squirt a bit of lemon juice and a little salt (no need for salt if using labneh). Sprinkle za’tar all over, use a heavy hand if you are a za’tar lover.  Fry an egg whichever way you prefer, for this concoction I like a little bit of a crisp edge. Rest the egg on top of the cold labneh or yogurt mixture. Swoon!

zataregg

I use different spices sometimes.  Sumac goes well, Ras El Hanout is superb, but za’tar is hard to beat. There’s something about the mixture of the runny egg yolk with the cold seasoned yogurt, I never tire of it.  I first saw this combination at Maureen’s beautiful blog, she also included in her cookbook Rose Water and Orange Blossoms, which I own.

BLUEBERRY CHIA PUDDING.  I am usually pretty slow to jump on fashionable ingredients, and most of my adventures with chia seeds have been unremarkable. Not this one. It turned out so good I would serve it for company without thinking twice. It is creamy, sweet and tangy at the same time, the coconut flavor so subtle it would not offend those who are not too fond of it.  All you need to do is remember to soak the chia seeds the day before, or at least a couple of hours in advance.  A minute in the blender, and there you have, Nirvana in a bowl.  You can find the recipe here, but I highly recommend you get the book My New Roots, where you’ll find this one and a multitude of other interesting recipes.

blueberry-chia

for the recipe, visit Les Petites Pestes

Sometimes simple is all we need…

four-simple-recipes-from-bewitching-kitchen

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ONE YEAR AGO: Raspberry Chocolate Truffles

TWO YEARS AGO: Red Velvet Cupcakes

THREE YEARS AGO: Valentine’s Day: The Finale

FOUR YEARS AGO: Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

FIVE YEARS AGO: Dan Dan Noodles

SIX YEARS AGO: Sophie Grigson’s Parmesan Cake

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Antibiotics and Food

IMPOSSIBLY CUTE BACON & EGG CUPS

Should I be embarrassed to blog about a “recipe” that is essentially two ingredients plus seasoning? Potentially, yes. But in reality I am not, because this non-recipe has a nice little unexpected twist to it: the bacon was pre-cooked sous-vide. WAIT!  Don’t run away, you can make it if you don’t have the Anova gadget sitting in your kitchen drawer. But I must say bacon cooked sous-vide and stored in the fridge waiting to shine in any recipe is a very nice item for the busy cook. Or any cook, actually, because this method gets quite a bit of the greasy “feel” of bacon out of the equation, and the texture will be superb.

bacon-egg-cups2

BACON AND EGG CUPS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

several slices of bacon, preferably cooked sous-vide
large eggs
salt
Aleppo pepper (or pepper of your choice)

If cooking the bacon sous-vide, place the slices in a bag and submerge in the water-bath set to 147 F (64 C) overnight. I left mine 12 hours, but you can do it longer if more convenient.  At the end of the cooking time, a lot of fat will have accumulated inside the bag. You can save it if you like to cook with it, or discard it.  Place the cooked slices of bacon over paper towels to dry them well. Store them in the fridge until ready to use. If not using sous-vide, cook the bacon on a skillet, but do not allow it to get too brown or crispy.  Drain them well in paper towels before assembling the cups.

Heat the oven to 375 F (175 C).

Cover the bottom of a muffin baking tin with bacon, making sure to come up all the way to the top. Gently break an egg and place it inside. Season with salt and pepper.  Bake according to your preference. I like the egg yolks to be runny, so 10 to 15 minutes maximum will be enough.  If you like your eggs fully cooked, go for 20 minutes, but pay close attention, you don’t want to over-dry the egg.

Remove to a serving dish, and dig in!

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I made this recipe for the first time in July, and since then we’ve been cooking bacon sous-vide on a regular basis. To me, it takes bacon to a whole new level, cutting some of the harshness I find overpowering. If you get your pan screaming hot, you can get by simply searing one side of the bacon slice, as the whole thing is already perfectly cooked to start with. But, even if you crisp up both sides, the texture will be perfect.

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These little cups are perfect for breakfast, or a light lunch.  Having the bacon waiting in the fridge makes this preparation a breeze. All you need to do is warm up your oven (we use the Breville that heats up super fast), grab the muffin tin, and you are less than 20 minutes away from a nice meal.   I also made those using prosciutto and ham.  Both work very well, but the sous-vide bacon is my favorite. Keep also in mind that if you’d like a vegetarian version, cooked spaghetti squash strands can be a nice receptacle for the egg. I intend to blog about that sometime. The secret is to  be assertive in the seasoning, otherwise it can be a bit bland.

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For those interested, this is low-carb, Paleo-friendly, Whole30-friendly, but above all, it’s very very tasty!

impossibly-cute-bacon-and-egg-cups-from-bewitching-kitchen

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ONE YEAR AGO: Pulling Under Pressure

TWO YEARS AGO: Cooking Sous-vide: Two takes on Chicken Thighs

THREE YEARS AGO: Miso Soup: A Japanese Classic

FOUR YEARS AGO: On my desk

FIVE YEARS AGO: A must-make veggie puree

SIX YEARS AGO: Vegetarian Lasagna

SEVEN YEARS AGO:  Brazilian Pão de Queijo

MANGO SALSA WITH VERJUS

If there was a folder with “non-recipes” in this site, this concoction would feel at home sitting inside. It is way too simple to qualify as a recipe. But it turned out so delicious, I must share and save it for my records.  If you have mangoes available at the grocery store, you should give this salsa a try. I used Verjus because I was anxious to try it, but don’t let that stop you if you don’t have a bottle in your pantry.  Lemon juice will work great too, a little more acidity never hurt a salsa, trust me on that.  Due to food sensitivities, this is an onion-less preparation.  I will include them as an option since most people consider salsa not be salsa unless loaded with onions. Honestly, I prefer it without.  However, you should go heavy on the cilantro.

mango-salsaMANGO SALSA WITH VERJUS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

2 juicy, small mangoes, diced
1 large cucumber, diced
2 large red tomatoes, Heirloom is possible, diced
1/2 large onion, diced (optional)
1/2 Serrano pepper, finely minced
cilantro leaves, minced
2 tablespoons avocado oil (or another oil of your choice)
1 tablespoon Verjus (or juice of half a lemon)
salt and pepper to taste

Add all the diced veggies to a bowl.   In a small bowl, whisk the avocado oil with the Verjus or lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Pour on the veggies, mix well, add the minced cilantro and toss gently to combine.  Keep in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.  Adjust seasoning and…

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

compositesalsa

Comments: I served this salsa over very simply grilled chicken breasts, and ended up eating a lot of salsa with a little bit of chicken for my meal that evening. Leftovers held very well in the fridge, and were amazing when added to mashed avocados for a tropical take on guacamole. I added a little more Serrano pepper just because.
Phil made a little quesadilla with Queso Fresco and a hearty spoonful of the salsa. As you can tell, this simple mixture of sweet mango and veggies is quite versatile and will brighten up many types of dishes. Next time around it will go over grilled salmon. I salivate just thinking about it…  Frozen mango slices are available, but I am not sure they would work here. I think nothing beats the fresh fruit at its peak in this type of preparation.

mango-salsa-from-bewitching-kitchen

ONE YEAR AGO: Raspberry Bittersweet Chocolate Chunk Brownies

TWO YEARS AGO: Scary Good Pork Burgers

THREE YEARS AGO: Review of exercise program Focus25

FOUR YEARS AGO: Celebrate Wednesday with a Thai Seafood Curry

FIVE YEARS AGO:  Post-workout Breakfast

SIX YEARS AGO: Semolina Barbecue Buns

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Lavash Crackers

 

 

PICKLED RED ONIONS

Those who follow my blog might notice that onions rarely appear in our recipes. But here I am to give them full attention in a simple but delicious preparation I saw over at Kelly’s Inspired Edibles. For unknown reasons, in the past few years I’ve developed a huge passion for pickled stuff. I’ve always enjoyed olives and capers, but now every time I see a recipe calling for pickled anything, I start anticipating that sharp bite on the back of the tongue that only the right amount of acid will cause.  Perhaps I developed a “pickled tooth?”  I do take liberties with the English language, but maybe that’s a bit much. At any rate, I loved the fuchsia color of the onions and the pickling liquid, and with each passing day it only got better. I enjoyed the full batch, from first to last slice, since Phil and onions do not get along well.  This recipe is ready in minutes, I hope you’ll give it a try.

Pickled Red Onions

PICKLED RED ONIONS
(from Inspired Edibles)

1 medium red onion, peeled quartered and sliced thin
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
8 or so peppercorns
a few sprigs of fresh thyme

Bring a kettle of water to boil. Place sliced onions in a colander or mesh sieve and hold over sink. Carefully pour boiling water over the onions to soften them, allowing the water to drain through. Set aside.

Whisk together the vinegar, sugar and salt in a clean pint size mason jar until sugar and salt are fully dissolved. Layer in the warm soft onions, thyme sprigs and peppercorns, making sure everything is submerged in the vinegar mixture. The jar will be quite full, you might have leftover onions, just save them for another purpose.

Place lid and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using. Leftover pickled onions will store for 10 days or so in the fridge.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Served

Comments: These onions go well on many types of food.  My favorite was spooned over ground chicken with Tex-Mex spices served with a corn tortilla, but I had it on salad greens, with grilled salmon, and… just to make sure Kelly was onto something, I munched on pieces standing in front of the fridge, fork in hand, smile on face. Yeap, she is right. It will curl your toes in every direction.. and that’s a good thing!  The pickling liquid is fantastic as the base of a vinaigrette, and I even enjoyed a little drizzle over avocado slices. Once again, this recipe proves that simplicity can be very good. I know there is a time and place for dressings that mix 17 spices, half of them roasted, juice of preserved lemons emulsified with first pressed pistachio oil, but… when you have something that awes your palate with only a few ingredients… it’s a gold mine. Make this, marvel at the color, the taste, and stop by Kelly’s site to say merci beaucoups!

Pickled Red Onions, from Bewitching Kitchen

ONE YEAR AGO: Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cake

TWO YEARS AGO: Mini-Chocolate Cheesecake Bites

THREE YEARS AGO: Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Grated Tomato Sauce

FOUR YEARS AGO: A Taste of Yellow to Honor Barbara

FIVE YEARS AGO: Gratin of Beefsteak Tomatoes

SIX YEARS AGO: Tour de France Final Stage: PARIS

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Snickerdoodles with a Twist

SECRET RECIPE CLUB: FALAFEL & A BONUS RECIPE

The Secret Recipe Club is an event that pairs two food bloggers in secret. Once we get our “assignment”, we have about 3 weeks to browse through the site, choose a recipe from it, cook and blog about it at midnight of Reveal Monday. I’ve been a member for a long time, but I still remember exactly how it felt when I joined. Those “newbie” feelings, never quite sure if your write-up, photos, chosen recipe were good enough. I got to know amazing food blogs through the SRC, and that is a bonus like no other. Long before I joined the club, I was a faithful follower of a very unique blog, called Chef in Disguise. At some point in the not too distant past, Sawsan, the hostess of that site, joined The Secret Recipe Club, and when I learned about that, my heart missed a beat, out of pure thrill. And then it missed another beat, from disappointment. Disappointment because she was not in my group. At that time there were four different groups. I was part of Group D, she was placed in Group A. Bummer. But it so happens that major changes took place, instead of four separate groups we now have three, bloggers moved around, and voilà: I found myself sitting in Group A.  But, what’s even better, today I have the greatest honor and pleasure of cooking from her site.  Those are incredibly big shoes to fill, Sawsan is an outstanding cook, photographer, and writer. But having interacted with her over many years through emails and comments I also know she is an amazing human being. Kind, generous, loving, devoted to her family, friends, profession, and culture. Through her blog, I learned so much more than cooking. Just to offer you a very small but representative example: in this post she explains Ramadan and does so in a beautiful, profound and touching way.  But that’s just one example. Sawsan’s mission is to open her kitchen and home to people all over the world. You’ll find stories of her family as she grew up, stories of her kids adventures in school or how they are all dealing with moving from Jordan to UAE.  You will also find recipes ranging from straightforward to incredibly sophisticated. There is simply nothing she won’t try and then excel at. You don’t believe me? Take a look at this cake she made for her son. Or this one for her daughter. And when she does this type of challenging projects, she makes sure that anyone can follow her steps, by writing very detailed tutorials.  These “how to” posts are amazing sources of information, a bit like having a teacher holding your hand.

As usual, I like to make a list of the recipes that I considered for this Reveal Day. From Chef in Disguise, my list was a mile long, but I will take a minimalist approach: Pão de Queijo (because I was thrilled to see her making a typical Brazilian concoction),  Date Bread Rings, Cheese and Anise Flat Bread,  Mille-feuille for home-made Napoleon, Braided Date Bread (almost made this one…), Lavender Chicken, Pavlova (always wanted to give this one a try), Kabsa (irresistible rice and meat concoction from the Arabian gulf).  But I also want to offer you four examples of tutorials that are a must-read: How to make Labneh Cheese How to make Feta Cheese…  How to make mozzarella and armenian string cheese… and another one very dear to my heart: Sourdough starter 101: how to create your sourdough starter from scratch.

So, what did I pick? For starters, Falafel. Not an easy choice, because a couple of years ago I had an epic disaster in the kitchen attempting to make them. Our dear friend Cindy had traveled all the way from Oklahoma to visit us and one of our goals was to make falafel together. Things seemed to be going well, but when we got to the part of frying them, they disintegrated in the oil, every single one of them!  It was a royal mess, we had to resort to a plan B for our dinner. I confess that when I have this type of problem with a recipe, I usually avoid attempting it again for a while (in Sally’s speak: for a while = forever).  But Sawsan’s post was my chance to do it right.  I was quite nervous about it, but here I am to report back: HUGE SUCCESS!  A personal culinary demon has been exorcised for good!

(Just when I finished editing and scheduling this post, Sawsan published a new article.
I won’t say a word about it. Because once again, she’s said it all).

served-3

 

FALAFEL
(slightly adapted from Sawsan’s Chef in Disguise)

This recipe makes 35 falafel patties

500 g soaked chickpeas (measured after soaking)
125 g soaked peeled fava beans (measured after soaking)
½ cup parsley leaves (remove stems)
½ cup cilantro leaves (remove stems)
1 medium shallot
¾ teaspoons salt
¾ teaspoons ground cumin
¾ teaspoons ground coriander
½ teaspoon all spice
½ teaspoon black pepper

to add 10 minutes before cooking
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda

for the tahini sauce:
2 Tablespoons of yogurt
1 tablespoon Tahini
1 teaspoon lemon juice
a dash of salt

Prepare the Falafel Mix: Soak the fava beans and the chickpeas in water in separate containers overnight. The following day drain the fava beans and the chickpeas, rinse them with fresh water. You should weigh them after soaking, and place the required amount in the bowl of a food processor. Process the grains together until smooth, remove from the processor and add the shallot, parsley, cilantro, salt, peppers, and spices to the empty processor. Process until a paste forms, add the grains back and process everything together until very smooth.  Scrape the sides of the bowl a couple of times so that  you’ll end up without large chunks of grains.  You can freeze the mixture at this point or place it in the fridge for a few days.

Ten minutes before frying, sprinkle baking soda and baking powder on the falafel mix, knead and let rest.

When ready heat 1 inch deep of cooking oil in the frying pan on medium heat. Scoop the falafel by using a specialized Falafel scoop, an ice cream scoop, or by using 2 spoons whereby you scoop the falafel paste in one, and press the other spoon against it to compact it into an oval shape. You can also use your hands to roll the falafel into balls. Drop the falafel gently into the frying pan. no more than 4-5 because if you add too many the oil will cool down and the falafel will fall apart Fry for a few minutes until the falafel turns brownish, flipping it once to brown both sides.  Take the falafel out and place it on a paper towel to get rid of excess oil.

Make the sauce: mix the Tahini sauce ingredients in a small bowl until you get the right texture, you can add a bit more water or lemon juice if necessary. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve as a dip or spoon some over the falafel on your plate.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe click here 

falagelcomp

Comments: To make this wonderful recipe, you’ll need two special items. First dried, peeled fava beans (although you could use all garbanzo beans if you cannot find fava). I will add a little note here. Sawsan once offered to send me a bag of dried favas straight from Jordan, so that I could have the best possible product to make falafel from scratch!  Can you imagine? I told you she is very kind… So, for this recipe I searched for the very best product I could find through amazon.com as far as reviews from customers go.  The second item, which is not mandatory, is a falafel maker. You can see what it looks like in the photo below  I advise you to buy a large one, because some available are way too small. The one I got is this model. It is described as extra-large. Trust me, you don’t want anything smaller. Of course, you can make falafel shaped with spoons or your hands, but I wanted to make sure I did a good job. Remember, it’s Sawsan’s blog I am talking about…

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I made the falafel mixture two days before actually frying them.  Kept the bowl in the fridge, then kneaded the baking powder and baking soda right before cooking them, as instructed by Sawsan. To my amazement, not a single one dissolved in the oil, and the taste… out of this world delicious! I used a heavy hand with the herbs, so mine turned out a bit more green than Sawsan’s.

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These tender, flavorful little morsels were perfect served with the tahini sauce…

Falafel, from Beiwtching Kitchen


BONUS RECIPE

And now that we got the Falafel talked about, I must share with you a bonus recipe. In part, I made it because I wanted to have a backup post in case the falafel turned into oily crumbs. But I am so glad I picked this salad, because it was one of the best things I cooked so far this year.  Grilled peaches ROCK!

Grilled Peach Salad with Lavender Dressing

GRILLED PEACH FETA SALAD WITH LAVENDER DRESSING
(slightly modified from Sawsan’s Chef in Disguise)

for the salad:
3 cups greens (I used a spring mix)
3 tablespoons of feta crumbled, or to taste
2 peaches cut into segments

for the lavender dressing:
4 tablespoons lemon juice
5 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon mustard
½ teaspoon dried lavender flowers
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (I used white balsamic)

Make the dressing: In a bowl add the lemon juice, salt, mustard ,lavender, and balsamic vinegar and whisk Slowly drizzle the olive oil while you continue whisking until you have added the entire amount.

Prepare the salad: On the grill or in a pan on the stove top, lightly grill the peach segments. In your serving plate, arrange the greens, topped with the grilled peach segments. Crumble the feta cheese on top.

Drizzle the dressing on the salad right before serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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Comments: What a wonderful salad this was!  I made the dressing one hour before dinner, because I wanted to make sure the lavender taste would sip through the dressing, and I think that was a good move… I coated the grill pan very lightly with a coconut oil spray, and the peaches were done in a couple of minutes, beautiful marks all around. I allowed the slices to come to room temperature before assembling the salad. A winner, all the way!  I am definitely incorporating grilled peaches in our diet, and might even be daring and grill some fresh apricots next time, use a mixture of the two fruits…


Grilled Peach Salad, from Bewitching Kitchen

Sawsan, I cannot tell you how happy I was to get your blog to cook from! Having been a reader for so long, your place feels like home in the blogosphere…  I hope you also enjoyed your assignment this month!  Happy Reveal Day!

I invite my readers to click on the blue frog. She will take you to the collection of recipes my virtual friends prepared this month. And of course, I wish everyone in the USA a Happy 4th of July!

 

ONE YEAR AGO: In My Kitchen, July 2015

TWO YEARS AGO: Sous-vide Pork Chops with Roasted Poblano Butter

THREE YEARS AGO: Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Sherbet

FOUR YEARS AGO: Amazing Ribs for the 4th of July!

FIVE YEARS AGO: Baby Back Ribs on the 4th of July

SIX YEARS AGO: Blueberry Muffins

SEVEN YEARS AGO: A Pie for your 4th of July

FAKEBBOULEH

Meet the lighter sibling of tabbouleh. Made with riced cauliflower instead of cracked wheat, it is every bit as delicious, but won’t make  you feel stuffed after going back for seconds. I don’t know about you, but I can never stop at one serving of tabbouleh. I always go back for another helping, or when dining at home just the two of us, I keep visiting the serving bowl with my own fork: a little mindless bit here, another there as we talk about life, the mysterious process of bacterial iron uptake, or which brand of shoes could prevent my ankle from saying nasty things to me during a longer run. You know, real important stuff.

fakebouleh

CAULIFLOWER A LA TABBOULEH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 head of cauliflower
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or olive oil)
salt and pepper
2 cucumbers, seeded, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, minced (or 1/2 teaspoon dried mint)
1/3 cup parsley leaves, minced (or amount to taste)
2 tablespoons olive oil
zest and juice 1/2 lemon

Rice the cauliflower florets in a food processor, blender, or grating box. Heat the coconut oil (or other fat of your choice) on a large skillet, preferably non-stick.  When the oil is hot, add the riced cauliflower, season lightly with salt and pepper, and move it around for a few minutes. Immediately remove from the heat and transfer to a dish to cool. I like to use a baking dish to get the cauli-rice well spread.

Add the cucumber, tomatoes and parsley to a bowl. Don’t be skimpy on the amount of parsley, and mince it very well. If using fresh mint, add it to the bowl too.

Make a quick and simple dressing with the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, add salt and pepper, dried mint if using it.

Add the cooled cauliflower rice to the veggies, pour the dressing on top and mix gently.  It gets better with a little time in the fridge.  Serve at room temperature.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

dinner

Comments: There are several ways to cook riced cauliflower, each with a slightly different outcome. When I enjoy it as I would real rice, I prefer to bake it. For this type of recipe, I’ve tried three ways: baked, microwaved, and sautéed in oil. I favored the third option because the texture was perfect to mimic cracked wheat.  Baked would be my second choice, the problem is that the grains of cauliflower shrink a lot more in the oven. You can of course use any method you like, just make sure it is all at room temperature when you mix the fakebbouleh. As to the parsley,  next time I will add more to my version. I love it and like my tabbouleh – fake or authentic – to be pretty “herbal.”

Next day leftovers were all I had for lunch. I did squirt a little more lemon juice on top because I believe there is never too much lemon on this type of preparation. It freshens up everything. One last thought before I leave you… I usually add a lot less dressing to salads than most recipes call for, so if you try this recipe, keep that in mind and consider doubling the amount. A touch of Maldon salt flakes right before indulging is not mandatory, but quite pleasant for the taste buds.

dinner-2

Dinner is served!  Grilled chicken breasts were perfect with my fakebbouleh…

ONE YEAR AGO: Yellow Squash Soup

TWO YEARS AGO: Grilled Chicken with Tamarind and Coconut Glaze

THREE YEARS AGO: Chicken-Apricot Skewers

FOUR YEARS AGO:  Asparagus Quiche

FIVE YEARS AGO: Two-stage Pea and Prosciutto Risotto

SIX YEARS AGO: Mellow Bakers: Corn Bread

 

 

 

 

 

TORTA DE LIQUIDIFICADOR

Come again? 

🙂


The best translation for this Brazilian recipe would be “Blender Pie.” First, let’s learn how to say it like a native. Repeat after me, three times:
.

Easy, right? I knew you could do it.

baked2
I have a sister in Brazil who is 16 years older than me. By the time I got into my teens she was already married, throwing parties, and pretty involved into cooking. One of the things she used to make was this blender pie, but her favorite filling was tuna with green peas, black olives and tomatoes. Being the mega picky girl I was, I never touched that kind, preferring instead more friendly (and austere) versions with ham and cheese, at most a touch of oregano. The basic process is always the same, a thick batter is made in the blender, half of it gets poured into a baking dish, the filling of choice scattered on top, and the rest of the batter spread all over. It is comfort food by default, or as we say in Portuguese, por definição. I won’t sugar coat the pill, it is a bit heavy. Accept it and move on. As an appetizer a couple of small squares will be enough for each guest. If you’d like to serve it as dinner with a salad on the side this full recipe feeds six hungry people.

Blender Pie

TORTA DE LIQUIDIFICADOR
(BLENDER PIE)
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the “dough”
1 cup oil (I used canola)
2 cups milk (full-fat)
3 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup shredded Parmigiano cheese
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

for the filling
caramelized onions
sautéed mushrooms
shredded mozzarella cheese
diced tomatoes
(or any other filling you like to use)

Heat the oven to 375 F. Lightly grease or spray with oil a baking dish (9 x 13 or slightly smaller is fine).

Make the dough: add to a powerful blender all the ingredients, and blend for 5 minutes until completely smooth. Stop the blender and clean its sides a couple of times during the process.

Pour half of the batter in the prepared dish, add all ingredients for the filling on top, pour the rest of the batter, spreading gently with an offset spatula to enclose all the filling.

Bake for 45 minutes or until all puffed up and golden on top. Let it cool until just warm before cutting in slices. It can be prepared a couple of days in advance, to re-heat use a low oven, microwave is not recommended.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

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The beauty of this recipe is its versatility. You can pretty much use any filling you imagine: shredded barbecued chicken, ground beef with taco seasonings, roasted veggies, maybe some grilled shrimp, all doable. One popular version in Brazil uses corn and peas, green and yellow like the colors of the country. I do think cheese is pretty much mandatory in any kind of blender pie. If using shrimp or roasted veggies I suppose a bit of crumbled feta would be a nice option. No need to measure anything, just cover the extension of the baking dish with a hearty amount of filling.

I made this particular version for a reception we hosted. Keep in mind that in the span of two weeks we hosted three receptions for faculty and one pizza-party for our whole lab. After the pizza party we had some toppings leftover, so this Brazilian concoction of my past was a perfect choice to use it all up. But to make it more special, I prepared a batch of  caramelized onions, following this recipe from my friend Elaine. She used a clever method that allows caramelization to be an almost hands-free process, by making them in a low oven. I added a smidgen of balsamic vinegar to the onions, together with salt, pepper and olive oil.

Here they are, in a before and after shot…
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I intended to add black olives to the filling too, but found the bowl with pitted Kalamata staring at me right after shutting down the oven door. Not the first time I pull this type of trick on myself, I believe it won’t be the last. Black olives would have been wonderful… (sigh)

The little pie squares are irresistibly gooey due to all the cheese…

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So there you have it, a Brazilian concoction from my teenage years finally featured in the Bewitching Kitchen. I hope I made my sister proud!  

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