Wednesday, February 28, 2007


My favorite magazines are home decorating and cooking, where I get most of my recipes. Also, I like to test recipes from famous chefs, this time, I tried Tzatziki from executive chef Jim Botsacos, of Molyvos, a greek restaurant in New York City, whose recipe was also featured in the September 2004 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine.


1 large English cucumber (seedless), peeled
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 cups Mediterranean-style yogurt (greek yogurt or may substitute with strained conventional yogurt, method follows)
1 tbsp. mint, chopped
1 tbsp. dill, chopped
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Grate cucumbers into a mixing bowl using the medium-sized holes on a box grater. Combine with a pinch of salt, and transfer to a colander lined with cheesecloth. Place colander over a bowl, let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. With hand, squeeze and drain the juices.

Transfer cucumber to a mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and combine well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve with pita bread cut into points.

In place of greek yogurt, prepare your own, using plain yogurt:
Start with 4 cups to yield 2 cups for this recipe. Put the yogurt in cheesecloth-lined sieve over a deep bowl. Let it drain overnight. Discard the liquid and use the strained yogurt as directed.

Note: the bowl should support the strainer so it does not touch the bottom of the bowl.

I used 2 cups of honey-flavored yogurt to make 1 cup and the recipe tasted great!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Insalata Tricolore

Portuguese version: click here

Any italians around? I heard that all recipes with the word "tricolore" in the title denote the use of ingredients that make up the colors of the italian flag: red, green, and white. I used watercress, lettuce, beets, radish, tofu cheese, and as mangoes are found easily at this time of year, I added some slices. All organic! On the side, I had some sun-dried tomatoes and the salad was seasoned with olive oil, salt (fleur de sal) and black pepper.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Brazilian Flan - Condensed Milk Flan

Nostalgia... an event held by Kitchen Wench challenges food bloggers to go back in time and share recipes that evoke a sense of nostalgia... Here is my favorite... La Tartine Gourmande posted some time ago a 'Crème Renversée' and Simply Recipes has a Rose Petal Flan that reminded me so much of this recipe my mom still makes for us. Over the years I have tried this flan with several caramel recipes and it always turns out great. Raising a big family of seven kids, my mom needed quick and easy recipes, and this was our favorite. We call it "pudim de leite condensado" and mom always uses a ring mold to bake it. This can be done also in ramekins, just prepare your caramel and have them ready to pour the hot caramel before blending the flan itself. So, to my mom, here is her recipe:

Easy as 1.2.3... and a dessert that is out of this world!


1 can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk) - Eagle Brand
1 can regular milk (use the can to measure)
3 eggs
1 teaspoon cornstarch (optional)

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

1) Add 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water in a roasting pan. Place the pan in the oven and preheat to 350F degrees (about 180 C) to boil.

2) In a ring mold (approx. 7.5 in (20 cm) round):

Add 1 cup sugar and place the mold directly over medium heat. Hold the mold with an oven mitt and keep turning it until the sugar melts into a golden brown caramel. Add 1/4 cup water, boil for about five minutes. Let the mold cool.

3) In a blender:

Mix condensed milk, regular milk, corn starch, and eggs. Whip until smooth. Pour this mixture into the mold and place it in the center of the roasting pan with boiling water. Bake the flan for 45 minutes. It will turn golden brown on top and start separating from the sides of the mold. Let it cool to room temperature and place in refrigerator, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Just before serving, warm up the mold on medium heat for a few seconds and run the tip of a knife around the inside of the mold. Place a deep platter over the mold and invert: the flan should slide out easily. Spoon the caramel sauce on top and serve.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Homemade Pasta

Portuguese Version
It's so easy to make homemade pasta. No special equipment, only a food processor, a pizza cutter or a pasta cutter. It only takes about half an hour and a strong arm to roll the dough! But you will discover it is time well spent. Only three easy steps!

Homemade Pasta
(Source: Better Homes and Gardens magazine)

1 1/3 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
1/4 cup finely chopped, well-drained, cooked spinach
1/2 tsp. cooking olive or olive oil

2 tbsp. water (use the water in which you cooked your spinach) - add the water later.

1) Place steel blade in food processor bowl. Add flour, salt, egg, spinach and oil. Cover and process until mixture forms fine crumbs, like cornmeal. With the processor running, slowly pour water through the tube. Continue processing until it forms a ball.

2) Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface. Cover, let it rest for 10 minutes.

3) Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion into an 11-inch square (30 cm) and about 1/16 inch thick (1 mm). Let stand uncovered for about 20 minutes. With a knife, pizza cutter or pasta cutter, cut each portion into about 1/4-inch (0.5 cm) wide strips. Cook it for about 8 minutes in boiling water. Try the pasta with your favorite sauce.

My sauce:
Onions, garlic, paprika, parsley, green onions - cook until tender in oil or olive oil.
About 3 grated tomatoes - add and stir just a few seconds - do not cook.
Add cumin, pepper, coriander, red pepper, salt, and oregano to taste. Pour sauce over pasta.