Posted by: Zorymar | May 29, 2016

Granola

You will always find home-made granola in our house. It’s my son’s favorite breakfast, snack and/or dinner, depending on the mood and on whether he has it with milk, yogurt or just on its own. I have tried several wonderful recipes, but this one, based on America’s Test Kitchen’s granola recipe, is the one I’ve settled for because it is uncomplicated and delicious. I use less sugar than the original recipe calls for, and I don’t usually add the dried fruit, but that’s one of the advantages of this recipe, you can change it up using what you have in your pantry and, no matter what mix of nuts or dried fruit you add, it’s always good. Just make sure you use real maple syrup and real vanilla extract, and you can’t go wrong.

Ingredients:
5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups almonds (whole, chopped or sliced)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups dried fruit (raisins, chopped dried apricots, dried cherries, etc), optional

Preparation:
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine the oats and nuts; in a medium bowl whisk together the oil, maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla extract and salt until combined and emulsified. Pour wet mix into oats and nuts mix and fold until oats are fully coated. Transfer to prepared baking sheet spreading evenly, then press down with a spatula (or the bottom of your bowl) until well compacted. Bake for 35 minutes without stirring, rotating pan once at 20 minutes to allow for even cooking. Remove granola from oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least one hour. Once cooled, break granola into pieces, add the dried fruit (if using), and store in an air-tight container.

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Posted by: Zorymar | September 9, 2013

Halibut with a citric and spicy touch

One of the wonderful perks of living in Alaska is the fishing. Nothing compares to fresh salmon and fresh halibut… nothing! My better half was excited to go fishing for both types of fish during this first summer in Anchorage since we moved here last July. Needless to say we have a fair bit of fish in the freezer:

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and I am now looking for new ways of preparing it, so don’t be surprised if you find a few salmon and halibut recipes here in the near future. I am no expert when it comes to cooking fish, so it’s a great learning experience for me as well. Let’s start with this delicious, juicy halibut with a bit of a kick!

Ingredients:
A good-sized, fresh Halibut filet
The juice of one orange
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
A dash or two of red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like your food)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
More salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 425. Line a rimmed baking pan or Pyrex baking dish with aluminum foil (it just makes the cleaning up so much easier afterwards). Place the halibut filet, skin down, on the aluminum foil and season with salt and pepper to taste. In a separate small bowl combine the juice of the orange, olive oil, thyme leaves, pepper flakes, pepper and salt, then spoon over the fish and place in the oven for approximately 30 to 45 minutes depending on how thick the fillet is (I was working with a fairly thick one and it took 45 minutes). You’ll know it’s ready when it flakes easily in the thickest part when you put a fork to it. The skin comes off quite easily, so just plate and enjoy!

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Posted by: Zorymar | December 18, 2012

Pan de Jamon (Ham Bread)

Pan de Jamón, loosely translated as Ham Bread, is a typical Venezuelan dish specially enjoyed at Christmas time. This recipe yields one large loaf, and can be easily doubled. I used my Kitchenaid mixer but you can also knead by hand.

Ingredients:

For the dough:
1 and 1/4 cups of  milk
1/2 tablespoon of granulated yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg
50 grams of melted butter
500 grams of all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 egg, beaten, for brushing the bread

For the filling:
1 pound of ham, sliced thinly (I use Tavern Ham)
Raisins
Pimento-stuffed green olives
Bacon fat to brush the inside of the dough (I cook a couple of strips of bacon and use the fat that is left)

Preparation:
Add the sugar and granulated yeast to half a cup of warm milk, stir, cover and let it sit in a warm area for about 15 to 20 minutes, until you see a thick layer of foam on top. Pour this mix into the bowl of a stand-up mixer and incorporate the rest of the milk, the egg and the melted butter. Using the dough hook, begin mixing at the lowest speed. Combine the salt and flour and slowly add to the mix, kneading until the dough is smooth and starts to come clean off the edges. Stop the mixer, cover the bowl and set aside in a warm area for about 2 hours, until the dough has doubled in size.

Proceed to get the dough out of the bowl and place on a flour-coated surface, knead with your hands for a few minutes until the dough feels soft and doesn’t stick to your fingers. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Using a rolling-pin, roll out the dough, leaving it less than half a centimeter thick, and then cut into a large rectangle. Leaving about a 1 to 2 centimeter border, brush the dough with the bacon fat. Proceed to cover with the ham slices (making sure you leave that border). Then sprinkle the raisins on top of the ham, rinse and strain the olives and place them in a row on top (or two if you really like them), that way you make sure every slice will get at least one olive.

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Proceed to roll the dough, brushing the end with a bit of water to help seal it.

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Use your fingers to pinch the ends closed and use a fork to make indentations on the top of the bread. If you want, decorate your bread with the dough left over from cutting the rectangle (you can also make mini ham loaves depending on how much dough you have left), then brush it with the beaten egg and place it diagonally, with the sealed side down, onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

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Bake for about 50 minutes to an hour, checking regularly. Once done and golden brown, take out of the oven and let it cool a bit before slicing.

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Posted by: Zorymar | December 18, 2012

Tomato, Carrot and Petit Pois Salad

This is another one of those salads my grandma used to make on a regular basis, hope you try it!
The amount of ingredients will depend on how many people you need to feed.

Ingredients:
Tomatoes, sliced and/or cut in half-moons
Carrots, sliced and cooked in boiling water for about 5 minutes, just until tender
Petit pois (green peas), I use the ones that come in a can without salt added
For the dressing: ketchup and mayonnaise in equal amounts

Preparation:
In a serving platter place the tomato slices in a large circle, then place the sliced and cooked carrots in a circle inside the one formed by the tomatoes, finally place the petit pois in the center. Mix the ketchup and mayonnaise well until you have a pink-coloured sauce and drizzle over the salad.

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Posted by: Zorymar | October 3, 2012

Huevos Rancheros

This is by no means an original Mexican recipe, rather this is my grandma’s version which I remember filling our kitchen with delicious smells on special weekend mornings. I like this recipe because of its versatility, you can use what you have in hand and make a hearty breakfast that will not soon be forgotten. Below are quantities for a version I made for me and my hubby just this morning.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 green onions, thinly sliced (or 1/4 onion, chopped)
1/2 red pepper, chopped
5 slices of pepper salame, cut into thin strips (you can also use ham or bacon)
1 small can of diced tomatoes, strained (14.5 oz o 411 grams)
2 eggs
Parmesan cheese, grated (approximately 1/4 cup)
Mozzarella cheese, grated, or any other type of cheese you like and melts well (approximately 1/2 cup)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:
In a large skillet place the oil at medium heat, add the green onion (or onion) and red pepper, let cook for a couple of minutes. Then add the salame, ham or bacon, stir and let cook for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes, stir lower heat and cover, letting it cook for a few minutes until the tomatoes soften and the flavours combine. Proceed to crack the eggs on top of the sauce and cover, letting the eggs cook for a couple of minutes. Finally sprinkle the cheeses on top, let them melt and season with salt and pepper.

You can serve these huevos rancheros with some soft corn tortillas previously heated in the oven (wrapped in aluminum foil) or even with some toast. For this special version I cooked some pancetta slices in the oven until crispy to make it look pretty, ensuring the dish matches my beautiful new skillet, a gift from my good friend Lucy 😉

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