Sunday, June 24, 2012

We like our food green

 I have been looking for different recipes here and there because we always seem to be eating the same things over and over again. So, since we had a broccoli in the fridge, I decided to try these fritters from Smitten kitchen. They were really easy, healthy, delicious and they turned out perfect if I do say so myself.
 In other news, the other day in the Asian supermarket I was able to find Pandan pasta/essence. (It is the same stuff that made this cake so fantastically green).  I was so happy, because that meant I could make these pandan coconut sandwich cookies, that are more like a buttery shortbread with a sweet coconut filling. Rasberri cupcakes is my new favorite baking blog, I find the photos beautiful, the recipes fun, and Steph, the writer is an Australian-Malay girl making the magic from her own kitchen. What I love the most is the honesty with which she tell us about her experiments, making the reader feel that you too can try and it's ok, if something does not come out quite right. So, what better thing to do than bake cookies on a Sunday morning?
I think I want a better camera... no matter how hard I tried I could not manage to capture the real "greenness" of these.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Zucchini and Gruyère Soufflés

 ...or, how to enjoy fancy dinners in the comfort or your own home. You see, I think it is quite clear how much I enjoy cooking, and well, given how much the boy enjoys eating the stuff I make (even though sometimes that means waiting a bit longer than usual) it is a perfect match. Last week I wanted to try something different as we always end up eating sautéed vegetables in soy or cheese cream, pasta, leek with tomatoes, omelettes and some equally fast to make recipes. So I decided to attempt mini soufflés.
 I used this recipe (that I will translate below). At first I was not sure it was going to work, and I was so eager to see them grow and become fluffy airy balls, that  I was anxious during most of the 20 min wait. But the magic happened and what's more they really were good. So here goes the recipe, try it at home, it is a lot easier than it would seem.
What you'll need (these are the amounts I used as I was only making the soufflés for the two of us)
1 zucchini (summer squash)
50  gr butter
50  gr flour
30 ml. of the water in which the zucchinis  were cooked
1 cup grated gruyère cheese
2 eggs, separate the yolks and whites.
a little bit (half a cup maybe) grated Parmesan cheese.
salt, pepper, nutmeg.
butter

What to do
Preheat oven to 180ºC. Butter your ramequins (I am thinking you could also use a muffin pan) and add grated Parmesan cheese as if you were "flouring" them. Cut the zucchinis in rounds and cook them in salted boiling water until they are soft but not mushy. Strain them, setting aside some of the cooking water, and crush them in a bowl a bit (you do not want purée, just little pieces).  In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Remove the pan from heat and add the flour. Mix to obtain a sort of cream and put back in the heat source. Add the water from the zucchinis, while stirring. Set aside from the heat and add the egg yolks, one by one. Next add the zucchinis and the Gruyere and mix well. Now beat the egg whites until stiff and carefully fold them into the egg-zucchini-cheese mix. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg. Fill your ramequins to 2/3 (it is really important not to overfill them, otherwise they would spill while cooking). Set in the oven and bake for 20 min. You should not, at any point, open the door of the oven or the soufflés will deflate. Serve warm with salad as soon as they come out of the oven, as with time, they will also deflate. Enjoy !

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Gratitude

I have been kind of quiet lately because I want this to be a happy place and if I have to be honest I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed by this sadness in me (I fight hard not to let it win). Between the I-don't have-a-career-and-I'm-not-going-anywhere stuff and the things that I seem to have no control over (no matter what I do, or not do), some days I just feel like a zombie, walking in the dark, with no power to change things and so completely helpless (because I am exhausted from having already tried every option that we've thought of).
wild cute rabbits
So I try to focus on the bright lights, on the moments that truly make life worth it. Like finding wild little bunnies on during one of our walks in the park. Being very much aware that I have the best and most understanding husband ever. Who will pick me up from work on a Friday night and tell me that, surprise, we are staying for the night in the city, have sushi and noodles for dinner, and a perfect breakfast in a french bakery.
From here
 And let's not forget baking, that makes me oh so happy. Like a little child, playing, experimenting, waiting, and hoping, and then tasting and seeing how people enjoy what I've made. So I grasp this moments and I am grateful for these little things, and realize, as it is, how incredibly lucky we are.
The best cheesecake ever, recipe by The celebration girl (and checkout her pretty new blog design too)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The summer came and ¿went?

 A week and a half ago we had a full week of sunny, summer weather. I am not talking here about those blue- sky-bright days where the sun shines through but there is still a chilly breeze that means you have to get a sweater or else you risk to get pneumonia, yet again. No, no, we had a full week of 26º to 30º C degrees to enjoy. It was so nice. I got to wear summer dresses in Holland, since... a year and a half (our last "good" summer as they refer to them here).
It's that time of the year where poppies grow everywhere, it is a red party!
 But now I am wondering if that was it. We are back to rainy, windy, gray. At least the days are long and full of light, and by that I mean often the sun does not go down until after 22h. Something I never ever saw in Mexico. It is amazing how the light gives you energy, how you just want to be up doing things. Whereas in the winter, by 17h when it's dark, I just feel like laying in the couch and sleeping. Anyway the Dutch do love their orange stuff, and just as if they didn't have enough of it on Queen's day, now that the Eurocup started they decided to go all out and there are flags, wigs, t-shirts, cake, streamers, confetti and every other orange dingetje (little thing) that you can imagine. So here's hoping you're having a great weekend and that the summer does come back to the Low lands.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Apple crumble

 Last week we had a few sad apples lying lonely in our fruit bowl, so I thought I'd make something out of them. It wasn't long before I decided to make an apple crumble, it brings memories from my aunt who taught me how to make it. It is actually very easy and you can make it with apricot, prunes or red fruits as well. I knew the recipe more or les by heart so the quantities are approximative. Once you get the hang of it you can also "eye" the ingredients (a "ojo de buen cubero").

You will need 
3 or 4 apples, peeled and cut in cubes.
200 gr flour
200 gr butter (cold and cut in cubes)
200 gr sugar (or less if you don't have such a sweet tooth)
cinammon, ginger and nutmeg (powdered)

Here's what to do
Preheat oven to 180ºC. In a pan with a little bit of water (just a thin layer) cook the apple cubes until they soften a bit (not very much, since they will also spend a while in the oven). If you like, you can add a branch of cinammon and some sugar to the pan where you'll simmer the apples. In the meantime, put the flour and the cubes of cold butter together in a bowl and rub in the butter in the flour using your hands. (Here is a video explaining how tu rub butter in flour). Once the butter-flour mixture resembles bread crumbs add the sugar, sprinkle the cinammon, ginger and nutmeg to your taste and mix. Butter an oven dish, put the apple in the bottom and top it with the crumble mixture. Put in the oven for 40-45 min, or until the top is golden brown and you see the fruit bubbling from the sides. You can also use the broiler for the last minute or two to get a nice color. And voilà. Enjoy with clotted cream, or even better, ice-cream.
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