Berry Tartelettes

Sweet Pies and Tarts

Tarteletas de frutos

This is a very simple, delicious, fresh and summery dessert. I did not follow a specific recipe; I just made a sweetened pâte brisée, some crème pâtissière (custard filling) and topped it all with berries. When done, they are very cute and pretty.

 

Sweetened Pâte Brisée

Adapted from Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom by Julia Child

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cake flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ sticks (6 ounces) chilled butter, diced
  • 4 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening
  • ½ cup ice water

Directions:

  1. Drop the flours, salt, sugar and butter into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 5 or 6 times to break up the butter.
  2. Add the shortening, turn on the machine and immediately pour in the ice water, pulsing about 3 times. At this point, the dough should look like a mass of small lumps and it should just hold when you press a handful together. If it’s too dry, add a few more drops of water and pulse.
  3. Turn out the dough onto the counter and push blobs of dough with the heel of your hand in front of you. Gather the dough into a relatively smooth cake and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 400F (204C).
  5. Cut the chilled dough in half and keep one half wrapped and in the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll the other one into a circular shape about 1/8 inch thick or less. Now, you have to cut out circles for the base of the tartelettes. My tartelette kit comes with a cutter that is the right size for the mold. You can either use a tartelette pan or a muffin pan. If you use a muffin pan, you can use a round cookie cutter that will cut a round to fit the muffin mold. Place the rounds of dough into the greased molds and press the dough in place. You can make a design on the rim if you like. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork.
  6. Grease the shiny side of a piece of aluminum and tear smaller pieces to fit the tartelette molds. Press the lightly against the tartelette shells on the bottom and sides and pour in beans or pie weights so that the bottom doesn’t rise and the sides don’t collapse.
  7. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes in the lower-middle level of the preheated oven until the shells are set but still soft. Remove the foil and pie weights, prick the bottom again with a fork and return to the oven. Bake for about 4 minutes more, until lightly browned.
  8. Let cool and remove the shells from the molds.
  9. Repeat with the rest of the chilled dough.

 

Crème Pâtissière

Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 cups boiling milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Gradually beat the sugar into the egg yolks with a wire whisk or electric beater and continue beating for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is a pale yellow and forms the ribbon. (When you lift a bit of the mixture in the beater or whisk, it will fall back into the bowl forming a slowly dissolving ribbon on the surface.)
  2. Beat in the flour.
  3. Beating the yolk mixture, slowly pour on the boiling milk in a thin stream of droplets.
  4. Pour into a 2 ½ quart saucepan and set over medium high heat. Stir with a wire whisk. As sauce beings to boil, it will get lumpy but smoothens out as you beat it. When the boil is reached, reduce heat to medium low and beat for 2 to 3 minutes. Make sure the custard doesn’t scorch in the bottom.
  5. Remove from the heat and beat in the butter. Then beat in the vanilla.
  6. Use immediately.

 

Forming the Tartelettes

Ingredients:

  • Tartelette Shells (recipe above)
  • Crème pâtissière (recipe above)
  • Berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries…)

Directions:

  1. Pour spoonfuls of the crème pâtissière into the tartelette shells.
  2. Refrigerate overnight or until the custard is set and cold.
  3. Top the tartelettes with the berries of your choice.
  4. Serve cold.

 

Comments: These are quite easy to make but do take a while. They are fresh, light and not overwhelmingly sweet. I said to use the custard immediately because if you refrigerate it before doing so, the consistency will be more gelatinous and it will become harder to spread in the tartelette shells. If you wish, you can also make this one, large berry tart. You will only need one half of the chilled dough. Roll it out into a circular shape of 1/8 inch thickness and a few inches wider than your pie or tart mold. Proceed as stated above.

*You can eat any leftover crème pâtissière by itself like pudding or with fruits.

Chocolate and Cookie Layer Delight

Desserts

Pasteles de galletas y chocolate 3

Adapted and Translated from Semana Magazine

Every time I looked through my mom’s binder of cut-out recipes, I came across this delicious-looking dessert. I promised myself I would make it one day. Finally, some friends invited us over and I had to make dessert. They liked chocolate and I wanted to make something fresh. This was perfect. I give you a decadent dessert for the chocolate-lover’s soul.

Ingredients:

  • 125 g butter
  • 150 g chocolate
  • 5 tablespoons of sugar
  • 3 eggs, divided
  • 1 cup milk
  • 48 (about 372 g) Biscoff cookies or other rectangular, plain cookies of your choice

Chocolate topping:

  • 113+ g chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions:

  1. Line a 13×9 baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Place the chocolate on top of the butter in a microwavable bowl and melt together according to the directions on the chocolate wrapper. Mix in 3 tablespoons of sugar and the egg yolks one by one. Beat the 3 egg whites until stiff, shiny peaks form. Gently fold into the chocolate mixture.
  3. Mix together the milk and the rest of the sugar. Apply a layer of the chocolate mixture to the bottom of the pan and then top with a layer of cookies. Soak the cookies in the milk before adding to the pan. Continue with the rest of the chocolate mixture and cookies. I got 3 layers of each. In each cookie layer, I put 2 rows of 8 cookies. The final layer should consist of cookies.
  4. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. Melt the remaining 113 g of chocolate and the tablespoon of butter in the microwave according to the chocolate wrapper. Spread the chocolate over the dessert and make a wavy design with a fork.

 

Comments: At first, I was a bit hesitant about using Biscoff cookies because they have a pretty distinct flavor. However, their taste blended nicely with the chocolate. Depending on which cookies you use, you may need more or less (the original recipe calls for 200 g of cookies). Had I been in Argentina, I would have used galletitas Lincoln. In Spain, I would have used galletas Chiquilín. If you want to present your dessert on a nicer tray, you can lift it out of the baking pan with the parchment paper and then peel off the paper while sliding the dessert onto the tray. I recommend that you make this dessert the day before so that that the cookies and chocolate blend together. Remember to keep refrigerated!

Pasteles de galletas y chocolate

Layering the chocolate and cookies

Mi pastelito

Turkey Peppers with Couscous

Poultry

Turkey Peppers with Couscous

Adapted from Jennie-O

 Th recipe is not too hard to make and has a pretty big yield. It has a touch of Greek influence with a tasty blend of various flavors. Bonus: all food groups are represented.

Ingredients:

  • 4 bell peppers, mix of colors (I used red, orange, yellow and Green)
  • ½ cup chopped red inion
  • 20 ounces of ground turkey breast (1 Jennie-O package)
  • Fresh basil leaves, to taste
  • Ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 5.45 ounces couscous, prepared according to package
  • 6 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ¾ cup oats
  • Paprika, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F (190C).
  2. Cut bell peppers lengthwise through stems, keeping the stem halves intact. Cut the peppers in half again (quarters). Remove the seeds and veins. Cook in a pot of boiling water for 5 to 6 minutes. Drain them and place them cut side up in a 13×9 baking dish.
  3. Grease a large skillet with cooking spray and heat it over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the ground turkey and cook as specified on the package. Add the basil leaves and pepper and cook 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add diced tomatoes and the prepared couscous. Cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in the crumbled feta cheese and pine nuts.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the pepper quarters and make sure to press the mixture in to fill well. Sprinkle the oats and paprika over the filled peppers.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until the filling is hot and the peppers are tender.

 

Comments: These peppers are very good and nutritious. They reminded me of my wonderful trip to Greece. I had them with olives on the side, which might not be a bad addition to the filling. The original recipe calls for sun-dried tomato flavored couscous but I couldn’t find any and used whole-wheat couscous instead. You may also replace the oats for breadcrumbs like the original recipe. The Jennie-O turkey package said to cook the turkey for about 14-16 minutes but I cooked it a bit less for fear that it would become too dry. Make sure to use a large skillet to cook the filling because it really is a lot. I had a lot of leftover filling, which I froze; I think it would taste fine on its own but it might also taste delicious in a phyllo pie.

Turkey Peppers with Couscous 2

Salmon Meatballs

Fish

Albóndigas de salmón con salsa

Adapted from an HEB recipe card

I was waiting for the fish I had ordered at the supermarket when I saw all these recipe cards on the counter. One of them was for salmon meatballs. I didn’t have high expectations but they sounded interesting and I had never before eaten fish meatballs. They turned out to be delightfully tasty.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground salmon
  • ½ cup oats
  • Oregano, to taste
  • Dry parsley, to taste
  • Rosemary, to taste
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ cup of grated or shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (177C)
  2. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well.
  3. Roll into golf ball-sized balls and arrange on a greased baking sheet 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart.
  4. Bake for about 16 to 18 minutes.

 

Comments: This is a very fast and easy recipe, a perfect week night dinner. I meant to have them in a sandwich but they were just too good and ended up eating them without bread. I served them with a quick tomato sauce (tomato paste, 1 sautéed onion and spices). The recipe card suggests serving them with pasta but feel free to experiment with other sides and sauces. HEB, an American supermarket, sells ground salmon; however, I know many supermarkets don’t. You can always ask the fishmonger to ground it for you or buy the whole salmon filets and ground it at home with a food processor.

Albóndigas de salmón

Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges

Side Dishes

Spicy sweet potato wedges

 

Adapted from Health

This was a marvelous discovery. Before I didn’t like sweet potatoes but I knew they had good properties. So, I searched for recipes and this was definitely a keeper. They are a perfect blend of sweet and spicy. Now, I love all types of sweet potatoes, but this is definitely a keeper. Some healthy perks: one serving provides you with 100 DV of vitamin A and 1/3 DV of vitamin C. (Makes about 8 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 2 ¼ pounds sweet potatoes
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp of smoked paprika or cayenne pepper (depends on how spicy you want them)
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 500F (260C).
  2. Cut each sweet potato lengthwise into quarters.
  3. Place the wedges in a large bowl and coat them with cooking spray.
  4. Mix together the sugar, salt and peppers and sprinkle them over the potatoes. Toss well to coat.
  5. Arrange the wedges on a cookie sheet cut sides down. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, flip the wedges over and bake for 10 more minutes.

 

Comments: Like I said before, these are delicious and healthy. They are easy and quick to make. The outside browns and turns crispy but the inside is almost like sweet potato puré. They go well with meats, fish, the quinoa and white bean veggie burgers…anything you want.

Mis spicy sweet potato wedges

Quinoa and White Bean Veggie Burgers

Vegan, Veggie Burgers

Quinoa and white bean veggie burgers

Adapted from Meat Free Monday

This is another great vegan recipe for Meatless Mondays. They are spicy, delicious, filling and full of fiber and protein.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • ½ cup of corn (fresh, canned or frozen)
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, finely diced
  • ½ cup of red onion, finely diced
  • 1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup of oat flour (bought or homemade)
  • 2-3 tbsp water
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F (190C)
  2. In a medium pot, bring quinoa, water and thyme to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. When done, remove cover and let set for 10 minutes off heat.
  3. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the corn, red pepper and red onion. Dice the onion and red pepper so that they are about the size of the corn kernels.
  4. Mash ¾ of the beans, leaving ¼ whole.
  5. When the quinoa is ready, add the quinoa to the beans with the corn, red pepper, onion, oregano, paprika and lemon juice. Mix well.
  6. Add in the flour and water. Mix well. Season with salt and pepper and other spices if desired.
  7. Pat the mixture into the bowl and divide it into 4 using a knife, making a kind of cross. To form the burgers, take each section and pack it into a tight ball in the palm of your hands. Flatten it and place on a hard surface like a plate or clean countertop. Cup the edges with your hands and tighten them. Flatten the top to form the patty.
  8. To cook, arrange the burgers on a greased or parchment- lined cookie sheet. Cook in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, turning them halfway through.

 

Comments: Another successful meal at home. If you do not want to buy oat flour, you can pulse the 1/3 cup of oats in a food processor. I was happily surprised to find that these burgers, unlike most quinoa ones, hold well without falling apart. I made mine on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and was a bit afraid they would break if I turned them over. So, I cooked them for 30 minutes without flipping and they were still fine. You could also cook them in an oiled skillet over medium heat for 4-5 minutes per side. They would go great with sliced tomatoes, lettuce, mashed avocado and, of course, in a bun. I made mine with spicy sweet potato wedges, another recipe you can find on my blog. Enjoy!

Mi quinoa veggie burger

Mi plato 25:08:2014

Scones

5 O'Clock Tea
Hot out of the oven!

Hot out of the oven!

Adapted and Translated from Doña Lola: El arte de la mesa by Lola P. De Pietranera

Scones are a staple of the classic English tea. In my family, they mean Sunday high tea. We have been making these scones for as long as I can remember. They have just the right hint of sweetness for you to add the jam or topping you like. They are easy and pretty quick to make.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 tbsp of baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 150 g butter (cut into small squares for easier mixing)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (176C)
  2. Mix together the dry ingredients.
  3. Here comes the fun part: add the butter to the dry ingredients and mix them together by hand until well blended.
  4. Beat the egg with a wire whisk in the cup you used to measure the flour. Fill to the 1-cup mark with milk. Add the egg and milk to the previous mixture.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 1-centimeter thickness. With a 5-centimeter (2-inch) round cookie cutter, cut out scones (I get about 32). Arrange them on a greased cookie sheet. Leave some space between the scones.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes. They should be slightly golden; if they still seem pale, take them out of the oven and check for lightly browned bottoms.

 

Comments: These are best served hot out of the oven. To keep them warm, we have always wrapped them in a dishtowel in a basket. Traditionally, scones are eaten with butter or clotted cream and jam. However, in my sincere and very Argentine opinion, there is nothing better than scones (or crumpets, for that matter) with dulce de leche. (La Salamandra is the best dulce de leche brand, followed by San Ignacio. Don’t eat La Lechera, that isn’t the real stuff.)

Ready to bake

Ready to bake

Scone with dulce de leche

Scone with dulce de leche

Salmon Quenelles with Velouté Sauce

Fish

Quenelles de salmon con salsa velouté

 

Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

What exactly are quenelles? Well, in my opinion they are a bit like French gnocchi made with fish or meat. Back in the day, before food processors were invented, they were a staple of the haute cuisine. They took hours to make what with the pounding, mashing and sieving of the fish; all of this dirty work was done, of course, by the apprentice cooks at the restaurants. Thank God for technology! The traditional quenelles are made with pike but they are also made with veal or poultry. A pretty versatile dish, quenelles are accompanied with a great variety of sauces or even gratinéed. Julia Child’s suggestion for serving salmon quenelles is to make a velouté, or béchamel, sauce.

Quenelles

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 eggs whites
  • Mixing bowl with a tray of ice cubes and water to cover them
  • 2 cups canned salmon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 4 tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • Nutmeg, to taste

Directions:

  1. To make the pâte à choux, bring the water to a boil in a 1 ½ – or 2-quart saucepan with the salt and butter. Once the butter has melted, remove the saucepan from heat and beat in the flour at once with a wooden spoon. Next, beat over medium high heat for several minutes until the mixture forms a mass. Off the heat, beat in the eggs one by one and then the egg whites. Place the saucepan in the bowl with ice and water and stir for several minutes to cool. Leave the saucepan in the ice while you prepare the fish. The pâte à choux must be chilled before combining with the fish.
  2. Place the salmon in the bowl of a food processor. Add the chilled pâte à choux, salt, pepper, cream and tomato paste. Process for about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. If the mixture is stiff, add cream by the tablespoon but remember that the mixture must be able to hold its shape in a mass on a spoon. Mix in the nutmeg. If you are not going to use the mixture immediately, refrigerate.
  3. Have a cup of cold water ready with 2 dessert spoons and prepare a 12-inch pot or skillet with 4 inches of barely simmering salted water.
  4. Dip out a rounded mass of the quenelle paste with a wet spoon. Transfer the spoon to your left hand and smooth the top of the paste with the second wet spoon. Slip the bowl of the second spoon under the quenelle to loosen it and drop it into the barely simmering water. Form the quenelles with the rest of the paste. Poach them uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes. Make sure the water doesn’t come beyond a simmer. The quenelles are done when they are about double the original size and roll over easily. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a towel.

 

Velouté Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups of milk and ¼ tsp salt heated to the boil in a saucepan (again, I used almond milk)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Nutmeg

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Blend in the flour and cook slowly, stirring until the butter and flour froth together for 2 minutes without coloring. (This is called a white roux.)
  2. Remove the roux from heat. Once it has stopped bubbling, pour in the hot milk at once. Immediately beat vigorously with a wire whip to blend.
  3. Set the sauce over medium high heat and stir with the wire whip until the sauce comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring.
  4. Remove from heat and beat in salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  5. To serve, put the quenelles in a serving dish and pour the sauce over them.

 

Comments: Another delicious meal right from Julia Child’s kitchen. It was a great success at home. They have a light, gnocchi-like texture. I love pepper and nutmeg, and, in my opinion, these spices are an excellent addition to the quenelles, as you can see in my picture below.

If you make the sauce ahead of time, you should float a thin film of milk, stock or melted butter on top to prevent a skin from forming on the surface; you can probably cover with plastic film as well so that it is touching the surface. Keep it hot over simmering water or refrigerate.

Mis quenelles

Cheese Soufflé

Egg Cookery

Soufflés de queso

 

Adapted from Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom and Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child

I have made these soufflés several times and they are delicious. It is not a difficult recipe, and they are relatively quick to make. I love them!

Ingredients:

  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup boiling milk (I’ve used almond milk)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 5 egg whites
  • A pinch of salt
  • ¾ to 1 cup of grated Swiss cheese (my favorite is Gruyère but you can also use Emmental or even mix the Swiss with Parmesan cheese)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F (205C)
  2. Grease the inside of 4 4-inch ramekins and sprinkle with cheese.
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Cook over medium heat until butter and flour foam together for 2 minutes without browning. Remove from heat. Pour in all the boiling milk once the mixture has stopped bubbling. Beat with a wire whip to blend. Beat in the seasonings. Return over medium high heat and boil, stirring with the whip for 1 minute. It should become very thick.
  4. Remove from heat. Separate the eggs and drop the yolks into the center of the hot sauce. Beat the yolks with the wire whip one at a time.
  5. Beat the egg whites with the egg whites with an electric mixture until stiff, shiny peaks form. Stir in a quarter of the egg whites into the sauce. Stir in all but a tablespoon of the cheese. Fold in the rest of the eggs whites.
  6. Turn the soufflé mixture into the ramekins. Sprinkle them with the remaining cheese. Arrange the ramekins on a baking sheet and set on a rack in the middle level of the preheated oven. Immediately turn heat down to 375F (190C). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the soufflés have puffed several inches over the rim of the ramekins and are browned on top.

 

Comments:

The original recipe calls for a 6-cup soufflé mold but I like to make the individual soufflés. I find that one of the most frustrating things of the soufflé is having to fold in the egg whites. I can get pretty obsessive over having a smooth mixture but it is best to leave some unmixed patches than to overfold; if you do, the soufflés will not puff up. Another thing many people worry about when making soufflés is when they are ready; to check, you can use a skewer and plunge it through the side of the soufflé. If it comes out with a few traces, it will be creamy inside but will sag quickly. If the skewer comes out clean it will hold longer. Another tip, you should eat the soufflés immediately, but if you need a few more minutes before sitting down to enjoy, you can leave them in the turned-off oven and they will remain puffed. Finally, if 4 soufflés is too much, you can freeze the unbaked ones; before baking them, make sure to thaw them.

Soufflé de queso

Oven-Baked Falafel

Vegan

la foto 5

Adapted from Chocolate & Zucchini

I meant to make these on Monday, August 11, 2014 for Meatless Monday, but I forgot to soak the chickpeas the day before. Do not do as I did!

Ingredients:

  • 400 grams dried chickpeas
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground corainder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 bunch parsley, to taste

Directions:

  1. The day before, put the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover with fresh water by 5 cm (2 inches)
  2. The next day, rinse and drain and place in the bowl of a food processor along with the onion, garlic, flour, olive oil, salt and spices. Pulse, stirring regularly, until even. Fold in the parsley.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 360F (180C) and grease a baking sheet.
  5. Shape the mixture into balls and place them on the sheet. (I gota round 40)
  6. Insert into the oven and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden. Flip the falafel halfway through.

 

Comments: It is a very easy and simple recipe. It does take a while because you have to soak the chickpeas. We had them with pita bread. I meant to make hummus to go along with them but I didn’t get the chance to do it. Instead, we had them with sour cream, lettuce and julienned carrots.