Pão de Queijo

24 Mar IMG_7985

Greetings from Brasil! I arrived in February and will be spending the next year in Lavras, Minas Gerais teaching English at Universidade Federal de Lavras, and doing research on food security!

Importantly, I’m researching food! And guess what, we’ve got some tasty treats from this wonderfully warm country. This pão de queijo is a naturally gluten-free cheese bread. It’s super soft, chewy and delicious. Everyone loves it, and for Brazilians its that wonderful thing that reminds them all of home, and its a native dish for the state I’m in, Minas Gerais. Lucky me, I ended up in the state known for its delicious food.

I made this tasty treat with the supervision of a native Brazilians who also translated the recipe below (thanks Samuel!) and used the kitchen of a friendly pal, Eduardo (thanks Eduardo!) and got to bake with my fellow Americans, Nakeisha and Molly (pictured here with me!).

So, although this cheese bread is anything but healthy, its incredibly easy compared to other breads, and its SUPER tasty. Hope you try this and enjoy!

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Cilantro-Lime Bean Salad

25 May photo 1

This is a great recipe for a salad that you can throw together and have for leftovers/lunches throughout the week. I made it for Victoria Day picnic here in Canada and it was a great hit.

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Paella with Mussels

20 May IMG_0476

Spain’s national dish, Paella, has no dearth of regional variations and recipes. From chorizo and chicken to shrimp and mussels, carrots and peas to olives and spices, the variants of this dish are endless. I usually use whatever I happen to have on hand when I make this, so accordingly I used mussels (cheap, easy to cook, full of iron), onions, red pepper, tomatoes, garlic, and peas. Feel free to put in what you like, its likely to turn out great.

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Bacon, Brie, and Basil Breakfast Galette

13 May IMG_0961

Every time I come home for a trip, my mom loves it when I make my galette recipe. It’s dynamic, makes great desserts, appetizers, and here, breakfasts, and you can throw in whatever you like! This time, we just had too much fun with alliteration and decided to use bacon, brie, and basil. It was yummy, and a lightened up version of our savory eggy breakfast dishes.

Traditionally I make my galettes on a board flat, but this one i put in a shallow pie dish so that it could keep form with the egg mixture. So, technically this was was kind of a quiche, but you could take it out of the pie dish and it didn’t lose its shape in the least.

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Chewy Ginger Snaps

20 Dec IMG_0895

I started making these ginger snaps last year as a request from my sister for her birthday. “Gingersnaps… but chewier” was the request, which at the time was a bit paradoxical, being that its characteristic hard texture is part of the cookie’s name.  Nevertheless, one party favor led to  another and I’ve become known for these soft gingersnaps, regardless of what time of the year it is. Gingersnaps in summer? Why not.

Luckily its the holidays, so now I can feel a bit more temporally justified in making gingersnaps to go along, perhaps, with some mulled wine. Really I just want to make the two of them together because in the film Amelie, her darling neighbor offers her gingersnaps and mulled wine, an endearing gesture and a fine culinary combination.

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IPA, Mustard, and Cheese Twist Bread

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Ohhhh so good. All my friends have been asking for this recipe and I’ve been quite lame and long to respond. But I am here nonetheless to post!

The original idea of the recipe comes from smittenkitchen.com, I’ve adapted the recipe a bit to make for a curious twist in the bread. Easier and quicker preparation.

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Mulligatawny… in a Slow Cooker!

6 Jun IMG_0088

This is an easy-peasy mulligatawny. Delicious as a soup served with some toast or as a dinner time meal or over a bed of rice and garnished with cilantro.

I was originally inspired to make this recipe for the blog spoonforkbacon.com but adapted the recipe and shaved some calories by not cooking the veggies in butter or oil, but just throwing them in the slow cooker and letting them infuse with fellow spices and flavors overnight. I’m also trying to steer clear of baking and cooking over the stove during this already horribly humid summer, so it was doubly rewarding to make this meal in a slow cooker! Slow cookers are great for that reason in the summer, and I would have no doubt that this would take great served cool on a hot summer day.

I’m really happy with how this came out. Vegan, low cal, gluten free, dairy free, and full of veggies, some fruit and spices, it’s easy to make, inexpensive, and tastes delicious. Directions are here too, but really all you do is chop everything up, put it in the slow cooker, put it on low, sleep, and wake up to delicious food. Amazing, right?

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 8-10 hours or overnight (on low) or 3-4 hours (on high)
  • Nutritional information: 264 calories per serving (without rice) More here.

You’ll need:

  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 2 whole carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 small apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1 green chili pepper, seeds removed, chopped
  • 1/2 C dry red lentils
  • 85 g coconut cream dissolved in 1 C water, or 1 C of coconut milk
  • 3 C chicken stock
  • 1 T freshly minced ginger
  • 1 T curry
  • 1 t turmeric
  • 2 t Garam Masala
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t sugar
  • dash of cinnamon
  • dash of cardamom
  • salt and pepper
  • OPTIONAL: Raisins and cilantro to garnish

Directions:

1. Chop up all the vegetables you will be using, and place them in the slow cooker.
2. Pour coconut milk and chicken stock on top.
3. Add spices and stir.
4. Set on low overnight or about 8 hours, or high for 3-4 hours.
5. Turn off slow cooker. Allow to cool.
6. Cream ingredients in food processor or using immersion blender.
7. Serve as soup, or over rice to make a hearty meal.
OPTIONAL: Garnish with cilantro and raisins.

Makes 4 generous 1-cup servings

TIP:

You may use onions, green onions, and tomatoes if you like. I happened to have leeks but did not have green onion or yellow onions, however, these would have been more traditional ingredients for Mulligatawny. A lot of recipes include tomatoes too. I actually just totally forgot about those vegetables. Put tomatoes in yours if you like!

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The Cookies Everyone Beg For

14 May

All my friends have been asking for my cookie recipe, you know, the one I use on a day-to-day basis, the easy and simple chocolate chip for everyone.

I have to admit to everyone that due to the high volume of cookies I make, I rarely do cook a full batch. Thus, I make a half batch. And when I make a half batch, it is never worth all the liquidity of an entire egg. So… I use liquor! I know it sounds strange, but it gives it a nice crispiness on the outside and a softness on the inside. So its my new favorite trick.

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 c brown sugar (100 g)
  • 1/2 c butter (115 g)
  • 1 t vanilla extract (5 ml)
  • 1-2 T liquor (rum, whiskey, a flavored something of your choice!) (15-30 ml)
  • 1 t salt (5 ml)
  • 1 t baking soda (5 ml)
  • 1 c flour (125 g)
  • 1 T corn starch (15 ml)
  • 1/2 c chopped up chocolate or chocolate chips (84 g)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325* F ( 160*C)
  2. Mix brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and liquor until creamy and well blended.
  3. Add salt, baking soda, and corn starch
  4. Add half of the flour and stir until incorporated. Add remaining flour.
  5. Add chocolate.
  6. Divide into round 2T dough balls and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or sprayed down with cooking oil.
  7. Bake for 8 minutes in preheated oven.
  8. Makes around 12-18 cookies.
  9. Enjoy!

Easy Variations:

Soft Gingersnap:

  • Use only 1/3 cup of brown sugar
  • Add a couple T of molasses
  • Add 1T freshly grated ginger
  • Add 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice and 1/2 t of cinnamon
  • Roll dough balls in sugar or sesame seeds before baking

White Chocolate and Crasin:

  • Substitute chocolate chips for equal amounts of White Chocolate chips and Crasins

Gluten Free Quinoa-Banana Pancakes

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These are really a delicious and hearty breakfast option. Even the lover of all carbs will be charmed by this number.

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You’ll need:

  • 1 banana, mashed (preferably one which is more ripe)
  • 1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa, prepared to package instructions (around 1 cup prepared quinoa)
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 or 2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 c corn starch
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • Maple Syrup for serving
  • optional: Almond milk

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk egg whites until frothy.
  2. Add sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, baking soda, and corn starch. Incorporate until smooth.
  3. Using a spoon or spatula, add all of the cooked quinoa and banana. Stir well. Batter should have same consistency of normal pancake batter. If too thick, add almond milk by the tablespoon. Too thin, add corn starch by the tablespoon.
  4. Heat a griddle on medium-high. Be sure to use a non-stick pan and grease before each pancake.
  5. Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle. Once bubbles form and pop on batter it is time to flip. Cook on both sides and serve with maple syrup.
  6. Make about 8 pancakes.

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Japanese Ginger-Carrot Salad

13 May OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Pardon me for my hiatus from food blogging. It has been a busy past couple months, and I’ve recently finished my undergraduate at the University of Toronto! Although I have been cooking and accumulating a great deal of photos to post, I haven’t quite gotten to the computer to document the magic.

I’ve been cooking up a fair share of Vegetarian and Vegan dishes lately. This one, is Vegan, Gluten Free, and Dairy Free, so invite all your friends and cook this up for a refreshing Spring/Summer meal!

You’ll Need:

For THE {Ginger-Carrot Dressing} SAUCE

  • Ginger, minced
  • half a lime,  juiced (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 2 T Soy Sauce
  • 2 t Sesame Oil
  • 3-4 t Apple Cider Vinegar (or Rice Vinegar if you have it!)
  • 5-6 Baby Carrots
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • Couple tablespoons of ketchup
  • 1 T sugar
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • Ingredients for the SAUCE

    Ingredients for the SAUCE

For The Salad:

  • Half of Napa Cabbage, shredded
  • Half of a cucumber, julliened
  • 5-6 radishes, cut into disks
  • Sesame seeds for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Get ready to blend your ingredients for the sauce together. Using a food processor, blend all your sauce ingredients.

    A fun trick: Cut your lime in half, and place in a low dish. Microwave for 30 seconds. This will help you get the most of the lime juice from your lime.

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2. Then, slide up your salad. Assemble with dressing (use it liberally!) and cover with sesame seeds.

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Enjoy!

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