Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Creamy cucumber dip

This dip has a story behind it... it is about a 20-year friendship that started in choir class when I was an AFS exchange student. Karla and I became good friends, her parents treated me as a member of their family. We used to hang around a lot, we used to go "Hills" and to the mall. She also taught me a lot of slang words!

Anyway, we did keep in touch for a while after I returned home, writing long letters, then she moved, and I lost contact. One day I found her address on the internet! So I picked up the phone and called... Karla was speechless. Now we chat online almost everyday. Last time I saw her she had just had a baby, her youngest, and it was great to be together on such special occasion.

Karla learned so many recipes from her mother and this creamy cucumber dip she shared online with me one day we wanted to know what each other was having for dinner.

Creamy cucumber dip
1 cucumber, unpeeled, coarsely grated or diced
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt to taste
Black pepper

Soak cucumber in salt water for one hour, then rinse and pat dry. Add remaining ingredients. Serve with your favorite toasted bread, crackers, chips or toasted pita triangles.

If you like cucumber, try these:
Ginger Vinaigrette
Cucumber relish

Monday, October 13, 2008

Foodbuzz Publisher Community Launches

See the foodbuzz icons on my side bar?

From our home to yours is a featured publisher of Foodbuzz and today they are officially launching their blogger community with more than 1,000 blog partners! A global food blogging event and an online platform that captures the real-people, real-time power of food publishing in every corner of the world. At launch, the Foodbuzz community ranks as one of the top-10 Internet destinations for food and dining (Quantcast), with bloggers based in 45 countries and 863 cities serving up daily food content!

To read the complete press release, please go to Foodbuzz!

Congratulations Foodbuzz, I am proud to be buzzing!!!

About Foodbuzz, Inc.

Based in San Francisco, Foodbuzz, Inc., launched its beta Web site,, in 2007. In less than a year, and its community of over 1,000 exclusive partner food blogs have grown into an extended online property that reaches more than three million users.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Spanish caramel flan

I love to try new things and recipes for guests... We had a family gathering and when I told my mom I was going to make Spanish caramel flan, a flan without condensed milk I received fake smiles and nods from everyone in the kitchen... The reason? My mom makes the best Condensend milk flan I have ever tried, a traditional recipe in Brazil that is so easy to make that I think no one bothers to try a new recipe!

I had been willing to try a different flan recipe for quite some time... and on the way to my parents' house I bookmarked the Spanish flan from the book Perfect Desserts - a collection of over 100 essential recipes (Parragon Publishing) that I got from a friend. Well... the dessert turned out superb and no one was disappointed!

For the Custard
2 1/2 cups (500 ml) whole milk
1/2 orange with 2 long, thin pieces of rind removed
1 vanilla bean, split, or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks

For the caramel
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons water
a few drops of orange juice

1 5-cup flan dish (quiche dish), a round mould or 4 to 6 ramekins
1 large baking/roasting pan for the water bath

1) Pour the milk into a pan with the orange rind and vanilla bean and extract. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and stir in half cup of sugar. Set aside 30 minutes to infuse.

2) Meanwhile make the caramel: put 1/2 cup sugar and 4 tablespoons of water in a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves, then boil without stirring until the caramel turns deep golden brown. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and squeeze in a few drops of orange juice to stop the cooking. Pour into a lightly greased flan dish or ramekins and swirl to cover the base.

3) Return the pan of infused milk to the heat and bring to a simmer. Beat the whole eggs and egg yolks together in a heatproof bowl. Pour the warm milk into the eggs, whisking constantly. Strain into the flan dish.

4) Place the flan dish in a baking pan and fill with enough boiling water come halfway up the sides of the dish. Bake in a preheated oven 325° F/160° C for 60-75 minutes until set and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the flan dish from the baking pan and set aside to cool completely. Cover and let chill overnight. To serve, run a metal spatula round the flan, then invert onto a serving plate, shaking firmly to release.