meatless monday: pizza dough recipe

On this #meatlessmonday I’m sharing my favorite, super easy, quick and pretty healthy pizza dough recipe.

You’ll need:

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  • 2 cups of all purpose flour (you can mix 1 cup all purpose and 3/4¬†cup whole grain, so the¬†dough will have more fiber).
  • 2 teaspoons dried instant yeast.
  • 1 cup of warm water.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  • 1/2 tsp salt

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Dissolve the instant yeast in the warm water and then put it with the rest of the ingredients in your mixer and knead it for about 8 minutes. Marco is a great little helper with this recipe!

Note: You can also just add all the ingredients to your mixing bowl and let it knead until it integrates. This recipe is for a super-busy cook¬†ūüôā¬†

Once it looks like an integrated dough, let it rest cover with a kitchen cloth for a minimum of 30 minutes.

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In the meantime, we can prepare the sauce. You’ll need one can of organic diced tomatoes and one clove of garlic.

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Blend the tomatoes and put the tomato purée, the garlic (cut it in half and remove the sprout, first), salt and a pinch of sugar in a sauce-pan. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to minimum and let it cook for 5 minutes.

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Turn the oven to 350F. Prepare a non-stick cookie pan.

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I don’t use oil on the pan because it’s non-stick, but if you need you can spray some oil on it to prevent the dough to adhere to the pan. If you don’t have a rolling pin, try to flat the dough with your hands, use extra flour if you need (but not much!)

I like thicker pizzas and my husband likes thiner pizzas. We vary from time to time so everyone gets what we want.

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Extend the dough thru the cookie pan and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

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The pizza dough is now ready.¬†At this point you can also let it cool and freeze it if you’d like to. This dough lasts 3 months in your freezer.

Add the sauce, organic mozzarella cheese and everything you’d like on top of it.¬†I made mine with just plain organic mozzarella and other with asparagus and some brie cheese.

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Bake the pizza for 6 more minutes.

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You can also bake it a little longer (8-10 minutes) and broil it for 2 -4 minutes for an extra golden look.

IMG_5383Thin Pizza РPortuguese Sausage Version (Linguiça, for other recipes with linguiça click here)

For extra flavor: in a small bowl mixed 1 tbsp or dried oregano, 1/2 cup olive oil and 1 crushed garlic. Add drops of these flavored oil all around your pizza 3 minutes before taking it our of the oven… No one will resist!

IMG_1676I bought a new round pizza bakeware! Pepperoni and Tomato & Mozzarella

Enjoy!

meatless monday: spinach knödel

I was born and raised in Argentina.

That means, that I used to get my proteins from meat mostly everyday of the week. Specially, beef. Why? Because Argentina is a country where grass-fed cows was one of its mains commodities (unfortunately, feed-lots are now also being used but not as much as in the US; also MGO grains like soya is one of the main products that Argentina is producing).

But nutrition was not a issue that worried me while I was a young adult, until I got to a class of Neurophysiology during my psychology studies in the early 2000s.

You might be wondering: what has Neurophysiology to do with Nutrition? Well, on that class, the¬†professor was talking about a particular process that takes place in the brain when suddenly he said: “(…) then a Calcium molecull has to access¬†the¬†cell in order so this can¬†happen (…)”

And that was when the lighting hit me.

Calcium? Calcium… and how does that Calcium gets in there? And¬†in any case, how¬†does everything that we need come from? Of what we eat, of course!
Since that moment on, my life changed.

I started reading more about nutrition, I’ve started also to read nutritional labels and ingredients, I’ve even begin¬†to learn how to cook better.

On that path, I’ve discovered that it wasn’t only cooking, but what comes first… I had to learn how, where and when to buy. I’ve learnt why eating local and seasonly is important.

I also did some courses.¬†One of them was Child Nutrition and Cooking by ¬†Dr.¬†Maya Adam from¬†Stanford¬†University, it’s free and online and¬†I deeply recommend it. Not only if you have kids or live in the US, because the food industry is becoming global and the same process is¬†also taking place in¬†in other countries.

So, as part of this path that I’ve started so many years ago, I’ve been trying¬†to eat less meat¬†by trying a #meatlesssmonday at home.

That’s why I’m sharing with you a recipe for this very special monday. It’s a family recipe from my german great-grandmother, on my mother side. So, it’s a very special one as well ūüôā

Spinat Knödel (feeds 4)

You’ll need:

  • 6oz organic spinach (1 package of Trader Joe’s baby spinach is about 6 oz).
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 15 tablespoons of all purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup organic milk
  • salt

Combine the spinach, egg, olive oil, milk and salt in a bowl and using a blender integrate all the ingredients together. Once that it started to mix, add the flour.

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Mix it until you a get a batter with a similar consistency to the one of the pancakes, but more dense.

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Bring water to a boil on a pan. Prepare two spoons.

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Use the spoons to grab the batter and put it on the boiling water. Do it carefully but as quick as you can so all the dumplings will cook at the same time.

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Let it boil for 6 minutes.

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Drain and serve with butter and parmesan cheese or the sauce that you prefer.

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This recipe was one of my favorites as a kid and now my toddler also loves it ūüôā

Enjoy!

PS: If you want to know more about the #meatlessmonday movement, click here.

thanksgiving 2014

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, friends!

Since my kid (and husband) are Americans, we’ve decided to celebrate this holiday preparing a traditional American meal. Then on Christmas, we can cook some delicious and traditional¬†Venezuelan recipes and on New Year’s eve we can prepare some traditional Argentinian dishes. In that way, the culinary cultural heritage of each member of this family can be¬†present on¬†a special holiday.

It was fun to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family and one of our dear friends, Lorena. She also happens to be a great Bay Area photographer, you can see more of her work at ByLorena Photography. In fact, all the pictures featured on this post were taken by Lorena so I also want to say a big thank you to my friend who kindly shared with us these beautiful pics!

Now, let’s talk about recipes.

Deviled Eggs. For this appetizer I used one recipe that I’ve found at¬†HelloTruelove, Katie’s cute, lovely and inspiring blog about city life, travel and cooking.¬†¬†The recipe is¬†delicious as it but I added a little bit of Valentina sauce, just to make it spicy and hot, so this is¬†optional ūüėČ

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I used this recipe for the sweet dinner rolls but since I don’t have a bread machine I just kneaded all the ingredients¬†together using my Kitchen Aid. Once the dough doubled in size,¬†I shaped them as buns and left¬†them cover on a non-stick cookie pan for another 30 minutes. Then, I¬†baked the buns for 30′ at 350F.

In fact, they were so good that I used the leftovers buns the day after for some Benedict Eggs that I made for breakfast (I threw them in the toaster for a few seconds just before serving).

20141128_Thanksgiving_byLorena_13 Specially delicious if you serve them warm.

Being honest,¬†I didn’t want to risk too much with the main dish¬†so I bought an already Stuffed Turkey Breast from Trader Joe’s. I just baked it and it turn out fine. I added a tablespoon of butter and a teaspoon of maple syrup on¬†the last 5 minutes of oven to get a nice golden color and taste.

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Israeli Couscous. Ok, this side dish has nothing of traditional on this day but it still was a great¬†one. I cooked¬†the couscous¬†as directed on the package (I got it at TJs) then,¬†I mixed it with roasted¬†brussels sprouts, dried cranberries, braised¬†fennel and onions. I made a vinaigrette using apple vinegar, olive oil, salt pepper and a little bit of honey… It was delicious!

20141128_Thanksgiving_byLorena_6Hey you! On the right bottom corner… You’re not traditional! What are you doing here, Israeli Couscous? ūüėõ

Now,¬†I have to tell you something about the¬†Pumpkin Pie. I’ve never ever tasted a Pumpkin Pie before in my life but anyway I tried to make one.

I headed to AllRecipes and looked for the recipe with most reviews… and¬†I made a few changes. I used organic sweet condensed milk (available at Trader Joe’s) and a¬†frozen crust¬†that I got at the same grocery store and that I baked for 8 minutes before filling it.

I didn’t use cream to garnish it because, as you now may already know, I am not a fan of heavy cream but anyway, the pie turned out quite good.

Do you remember the jars that I used on Halloween on my coffee table? Well, they found a new role on my dining table. This time, I¬†used some (popcorn) corn that I had, a candle and a new message on the chalkboard tags: “Give Thanks” and “With a Grateful Heart“.

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We haven’t bought new glass cups after moving from¬†Brooklyn, so we¬†used¬†plastic ones. Marco enjoyed so much using the same cup that we did that I think this issue turned out great! (Of course, as the¬†neurotic mom I am,¬†I still kept the sippy cup on the table “just in case” he made a mess!)

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I’m so grateful for my family, I’m the happiest person I’ve ever been. I love Victor with all my heart. I love being a mom and I love my son so much that words are not enough!

I’m grateful for my friends. Moving to the other side of the country and already have some friends there, makes¬†the new life much easier and comforting.

Even-though this is a non-religious holiday, as a person of faith, I cannot pass it without feeling and saying thanks to God for everything in my life.

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Our plates and hearts full. Give Thanks… With a Grateful Heart.

PS: You can also follow Lorena on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

key lime pie recipe

Ok, finally I got to a GREAT recipe. This will be my Key Lime Pie recipe from here to the end of my days…!  

It’s a delicious and easy recipe… Yeap, the “healthy” word it’s out of the equation for this time!

You’ll need:

  • 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust (here’s a recipe for the crust or you can buy one ready from your local grocery market).
  • 1 can of organic sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup key lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest

As any other time that you’re going to prepare a dessert or a bakery specialty you need to have your oven ready, so preheat it to 350 degrees F. 

 In a bowl, stir the sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, lime juice and lime zest until everythings it’s integrated. 

Pour mixture it into the graham cracker crust. 

Bake in preheated oven ONLY for 5 to 8 minutes, you’ll notice some tiny bubbles burst on the surface of pie. Beware of the time, you don’t want it to get brown.

 

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Take out the pie and let it rest for one hour.

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Put in the refrigerator and let it chill before serving, 12 to 24 hours it’s a good time.

Use heavy whipping cream ore meringue on top to decorate. 

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The pie shown here was made with twice all the ingredients because I didn’t want to use meringue or heavy cream on top of the pie. 

I have to tell you, this pie doesn’t need any cream or meringue because , it’s delicious as it. 

For this version, you’ll need:

  • 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust     
  • 2 cans of organic sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup key lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons lime zest

Follow the same directions as for half of ingredients. 

 
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Enjoy it!

pork tenderloin roast recipe

Today I’m sharing a recipe with pork. Since the pork tenderloin can be¬†a little dry sometimes, ¬†low heat for a long time and ¬†a sauce can help to avoid it. Result:¬†it was delicious.

Basically I used this recipe¬†but made a few adjustments. So, this is what you’ll need for the adjusted recipe:

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (I used 2 small branches)
  • 1 pork tenderloin (1 lb)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/8 cup turbinado brown¬†sugar (you can also use white or brown)
  • 1/8 cup vinegar (white or rice vinegar)
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Rub the crashed garlic, oregano, salt and pepper all over the pork tenderloin. 

Place pork in an uncovered roasting pan on the middle oven rack and bake it for 1.15 hours.

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In a small saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, water, and soy sauce. Heat it on minimun, stirring continuously, until mixture begins to bubble and thicken.

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Use this glaze to brush the roast 2 or 3 times during the last half hour of cooking,

IMG_7358First glaze brush.

IMG_7361Second glaze brush.

When it’s done, serve it with a salad on the side. I made the one in the picture with organic baby spinach, dried cranberries¬†and¬†gorgonzola cheese.

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Enjoy it!

homemade chirashi sushi

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Chirashi sushi is one easy recipe, yummy and pretty healthy. You can use a variety of fresh, raw fish and the veggies that you have at home. What’s key in this recipe is the rice.

After trying several recipes for the sushi rice, I’ve arrived¬†to this one that everyone in my family loves (yes, toddler¬†-approved!)

1 cup sushi rice (I use Nishiki or Kokuho Rose)

1 1/2 cup water

1/8 cup rice vinegar

1/8 cup organic sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

First, you’ll need to rinse the rice well in cold water about 3 times until the water is no longer milky white. Drain it.

Add 1 1/2 cup of water and take it to a boil. When the water of the rice starts to boil, reduce the heat to minimum and cover the pot with a lid. Let it cook for 15 minutes.

Remove it from heat and use a clean cotton cloth to cover the rice. Cover it also with the lid. Allow it to stand for 5 minutes.

In the meantime, mix together the vinegar, salt and sugar on a small pot. Bring it to a low heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are dissolved the turn off the heat and let it cool.

Put the rice on a bowl. Stir in the vinegar mix and stir with a bamboo spoon until it’s incorporated. Any wooden spoon but it’s better to keep one just for the rice.¬†Let it cool.

For my chirashi sushi, I used slices of fresh salmon and slices of an organic avocado over the rice. I decorated my plate with some seaweed and sesame seeds as garments.

IMG_3315Enjoy it!

chipas recipe

As many of you know, I was born in Posadas, the capital of Misiones, in the north east of Argentina.

The most traditional¬†snack from¬†my homeland is “Chipa“.¬†This is a¬†little cheese-roll¬†made with tapioca flour and it’s also a traditional snack¬†in Paraguay and in the south of Brazil (with some differences).

Today, I’m super happy to share with you my family recipe for this yummy gluten-free delicacy.

You’ll need:

  • 4 1/2 cups tapioca flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups gouda cheese (cut in little pieces or crumbles)
  • 8 tbsp unsalted organic butter
  • 3/4 cup organic milk
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp aniseed (Optional)

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Make a crown with the flour.

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Add the eggs, cheese, salt, baking powder, butter (which should be at room temperature), milk in the middle of the crown and the aniseed (optional).

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Start making a dough.

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Tapioca flour doesn’t have gluten so it will resemble to corn meal in the beginning because it’ll be crumbly and it will be a little bit difficult to create an homogeneous¬†dough. But keep going, it’ ll be good at the end.

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After 5 to 8 minutes you’ll have a dough like this. If it’s still too crumbly, add a little more milk. Try adding 1/2 tablespoon first.

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Once you have an uniform dough, separate the dough and create 4 rolls. Use a knife to create a thin line thru the roll (it will help to cook the inside).

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Chipas can¬†be storage raw in your freezer for up to 3 months. You don’t need to defrost the dough before baking; just put them straight to the oven at 375F for 25 minutes… Isn’t that great?

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If you’re going to bake them without freezing them, then set your oven at  350F  and bake them for 30-40 minutes. Serve them warm!

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… And enjoy!

***If using a Kitchen aid:

1. Add dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) to the bowl and stir.

2. Add cheese crumbles, soft butter, eggs slighted beaten and milk. Mix until it becomes a homogenous dough.  Then follow steps to create rolls and cut the little pieces.

organic raspberry jam

Today I want to share with you a super easy and quick raspberry jam recipe that I’ve tried last week and it turned out great.

This recipe has less sugar than most of the recipes you’ll find on the web ūüėČ

You’ll need 3 cups of organic raspberries and 2 cups of organic sugar.

First, rinse the raspberries. Put the berries and the sugar in a medium saucepan. Mash a little bit the fruit using a potato masher  but not too much if you like to find pieces of fruit in your jam.

Bring the mixture to a boil and remove constantly using a wooden spoon.¬†A¬†good advice, buy ¬†2 wooden spoons, one for sweet dishes and the other one for savory and sauces, so you don’t contaminate the flavor of your dessert with onion or garlic flavor.

Continue to boil until mixture thickens, about 10 to 12 minutes on medium to minimum and remove from the heat.

Fill empty and sterilized jars while the jam and the jars are still hot. Then let it cools.

**How to sterilize empty jars? Wash and rinse your empty jars. Fill with water a large saucepan with your jars and lids inside of it until they are completely covered. Bring the water to a boil. Let it boil for 10 minutes. Remove the jar and let it dry on a rack for a few seconds. Fill the jar with the jam while is it still hot // If you’re using the¬†Quattro Stagioni jars, you can follow their instructions to pasteurize your product and make it last for months!

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When the jam is cool, you can put it on your refrigerator and use it for your next breakfast.

Quick and easy right? And also healthier than most of the jams that you can buy at the grocery store!

Enjoy!

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black smelt

Now that we’re living in California I started to buy the local catch of the week.

Some moths ago I had to manage to cook somethingvery rare for me and new: Black Smelt. They look like this:

First, I wash them with tap cold water and dried them with paper towels. Then, I cut the heads off  but you can use the whole fish as well (actually now I always use the whole fish!).

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Then, put them in a ziploc bag with flour and garlic salt or just regular salt and pepper (for 1LB of fish you’ll need 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt).

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Shake the bag until you can see that they are all covered with flour.

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Fry them on a regular pan with sunflower or canola oil until they are golden brown.

I also fried some plantains (I loved them very dark brown). You can complete the meal with some white rice and a cucumber salad.

This recipe was very easy and it turned out great that even my toddler ate it! You can also use little buckets for the presentation, I think it would look nice!

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The day after, I used some of the leftovers and made a yummy sandwich with some spinach and mayo on whole grain bread. It was a delicious lunch!

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my favorite challah recipe

After experimenting with¬†a lot of challah recipes, this is my favorite.¬†You’ll need:

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  • 4¬†cups unbleached all purpose flour*
  • 1 ¬†1/4 cup of warm water
  • 1 package dry active yeast
  • 1/2 tbsp¬†salt
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
  • optional: 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds¬†
  • optional: quickly beaten egg for brushing

In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle yeast over barely warm water. Add honey, oil, 1 egg, and salt. Add the flour one cup at a time, using the kitchen aid at medium speed.

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Knead until¬†it become a smooth and elastic dough but no longer sticky. It will take around 15′ using the Kitchen Aid Mixer.

 

Cover the bowl with a cloth. Let the dough rest at room temperature for 1.30 hours.

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Separate the dough in 3 pieces, flatten a little bit and make a braid. Cover the dough with a clean¬†cloth and let it rest for 45′¬†more minutes.

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After the resting time, you can either use a slightly beaten egg to brush it or just sprinkle the sesame seeds.

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Bake it at 350F for 30′ minutes or until the bread is¬†golden brown. Remove it from the¬†oven and let it cool.¬†The result is impressive and delicious!

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Enjoy it!

mini quiche

This recipe is pretty easy and it takes less time since I always buy the phyllo dough already made.

I used the frozen one from Trader Joe‚Äôs, you‚Äôll find it in the ‚Äúfrozen‚ÄĚ aisle, next to the ice-creams and desserts.

For 12 mini quiche you’ll need:

-Phyllo dough (1/2 a package frozen dough from Trader Joe’s)

-Melted unsalted butter (3/4 cup)

-Large eggs (4)

-Heavy cream (1/2 cup)

-Whole Milk (1/2 cup)

-Leeks (1 cup)

-Spinach (1 cup)

-Parmesan Cheese (1 cup)

First of all, turn on the oven to 375 F.

If you use the frozen dough, you can take it out of the freezer 1 hour before start cooking.

If you‚Äôre like me and have a toddler demanding your attention, a key lime pie in the oven, lunch time coming up, etc‚Ķ If you don‚Äôt have that ‚Äúextra‚ÄĚ hour, you can use it as soon as you bought it or just out of the freezer. It will tear, but don‚Äôt worry that it‚Äôll still work (only maybe they will not be so pretty at the end, they will look like the one on my picture).

You have to cut squares of the dough (4‚ÄĚx4‚ÄĚ). Then, using a pastry brush (or just your fingers if you keep forgetting to buy that stupid and so useful brush!), spread some of the melted butter and put another layer of the dough over the first one. Do the same 3 or 4 layers, one over the other. Afterwards, fit each square into a cupcake baking cup or directly to the cupcake pan (use some butter on the pan first if you don‚Äôt use cupcake baking cups).

Once you finished that, send it to the oven for 5 minutes on the lowest rack of your oven. After those 5 minutes, you’ll notice they’ve lost that raw aspect.

In the meantime, grab a bowl and mix the eggs, cream, milk, salt and pepper. Quick manual mix, 3 minutes.

Once the phyllo dough is ready, put a spoon of spinach, I used organic chopped spinach from TJs and leeks for others. You can use raw spinach but if you use leeks, scallions, onions, bacon, mushrooms, etc., you’ll need to sauté them first in a frying pan with some olive oil and salt.

Then you’ll pour some of the mix (it will be like 1/4 cup approximately) over the spinach.

After finishing filling the 12 quiches, you’ll put them on the oven for 40 minutes. This time use the highest rack and turn the oven to 350F.

This recipe is good also for brunch. You can do it with one day of anticipation and save it in the fridge.

Enjoy it!

key lime pie

Hi there!

I want to share with you a key lime pie recipe that I took from this website.

Some tips:

-I didn’t use sugar for the crust. The cookies are already sweet enough.

-I didn’t use cream at the moment of the presentation and it worked well anyway.

-I did it one day before the party. I wouldn’t do it with more than 1 day of anticipation because it can get extremely firm and very difficult to cut it.

Key lime pie was a great choice for Victor’s birthday since it was kind of a summer day.

//

¬°Hola!

Quiero compartir con ustedes una receta de ‚ÄúKey Lime Pie‚ÄĚ que tom√© de este sitio.

Algunos datos:

-No us√© az√ļcar para la base. Las galletitas son lo suficientemente dulces.

-No usé crema al momento de servirla y quedó bien de todos modos.

-La hice un día antes de la fiesta. No la haría con más de un día de anticipación ya que quedaría muy dura y sería difícil de cortar.

Esta tarta fue una buena opci√≥n para el cumplea√Īos de Victor ya que fue un d√≠a c√°lido como de verano.