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Roasted chickpeas

These roasted chickpeas make a great healthy snack. You’ll be surprised how tasty they are. Thanks to my colleagues at #digitaledu for passing along the link!

Caldo verde

This is the classic Portuguese wedding soup, also known as Portuguese kale soup when the collard greens are replaced by kale.Embed from Getty Images

What you need

  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 of a chorizo
  • 5 large potatoes
  • 1 bunch of fresh collard greens
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste

How to make it

Bring about 10 cups of water to boil in a pot with the onion, garlic, potatoes, and chorizo. Let boil for approximately 20 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked. When you pierce them easily with a fork, they are cooked.

Meanwhile, rinse the collard greens well an cut into very thin strips with a sharp knife. In order to cut the collards efficiently, lay a series of leaves on top of one another and roll up into a tight bundle. Slice the roll into very thin strips – as thin as you can. It is believed that the thinner the collard pieces, the more elegant the soup looks. Set aside the cut collards.

Remove the pot from the heat and remove the chorizo from the mixture.  Using a hand-held blender, blend the contents of the pot until smooth.

Cut the chorizo in thin slices and toss back into the soup mixture. Turn the heat to medium and toss in the collard greens. Add salt to taste. Mix and let the soup come to a boil, uncovered. This should take 5-7 minutes. The thickness of the collard greens will dictate how long you need it to boil as the collards need to cook.

Pour into desired soup bowl and add a drizzle of olive oil to taste.

Enjoy!

Pecan Sour Cream Cake

This is a Christmas classic in my family. It has great presentation value as you can be creative with the ganache and pecan topping. Enjoy!

What you need

Dry ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Wet ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Also, you will need

  •  baker’s grade bittersweet chocolate
  •  2 tbsp. sour cream

Ganache topping

  • 1 square of baker’s grade semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp. milk

How to make it

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees farenheit.

Mix the dry ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients together. Combine the two in one bowl. Grate some bittersweet chocolate into the batter (not too much!). Add the sour cream by folding the batter over it. Do not mix it with the batter.

Pour batter into a greased bundt pan. Bake for one hour. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR during this time. Baking times will vary by 1-2 minutes depending on the bundt pan you are using. For instance, the bundt pan in the featured image above requires only 57 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool. Turn over onto  a plate of your choice.

While the cake is cooling, prepare a bain marie to make the ganache topping. Start by melting the butter and chocolate first. Add the icing sugar. I recommend that the icing sugar be sifted first to avoid large bumps in your ganache. Add milk. Mix until uniform.

Pour over cake and decorate with pecans to taste.

TIP: I do not recommend any substitutions for this recipe. I have tried and was largely unsuccessful because the batter seems to be quite sensitive. This is great for one of those indulgent moments. Everyone’s entitled to a treat, right?

Peach Iced Tea

This is a wonderfully refreshing drink. It’s a healthier juice alternative as you control the sugar content. You can make this in a caffeinated or caffeine-free form. Great for summer barbecues, or any weeknight dinner.

What you need

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2-3 sliced fresh peaches
  • 3 loose leaf tea bags
  • 6 cups water
  • strawberries (optional)

How to make it

Bring the one cup water, sugar, and peaches to a boil. Reserve some peach slices to decorate. Reduce heat to medium. Using a wooden spoon, crush the peach slices as you stir the mixture. This will help dissolve the sugar and release peach flavour. Turn off heat, cover, and let stand for 30 minutes.

Boil water and brew the tea of your choice. Steep the tea bags for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and refrigerate.

Strain syrup to remove any torn fruit pieces. Add this syrup over the cooled tea. Add additional peach slices and strawberries to decorate. Add ice. Stir and serve.

TIP: I would recommend a tea that is light in colour as this lends itself to a more aesthetic presentation with the fruit inside. I have used chamomile, and green teas before and they worked well.

 

Photo credit: Pixabay.com

Maple Vinaigrette Salad

You can’t go wrong with this salad. Use it as a side to my codfish soufflé or alone for a quick meal. Simple and delicious!

What you need

Salad  ingredients

  •  1 small box of mixed greens
  • 1 small box of baby spinach
  • 1 package of pecans
  • 1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small carrot grated
  • 1 apple (mcintosh is my favourite)
  • bocconcini cheese optional
  • cherry tomatoes optional

Maple vinaigrette ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • salt and black pepper to taste

How to make it

For the dressing: whisk together oil, vinegar, maple syrup, and mustard. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For the salad: combine mixed greens, spinach, onions, cucumber, and red pepper. Break pecans into pieces with your hands and toss them into the salad. Top with grated carrot.

Slice apple into thin slices right before serving and toss into salad.  Pour dressing onto salad and serve.

Enjoy!

 

Photo credit: Pixabay.com

 

Codfish soufflé

This is a sophisticated way of cooking codfish, one of the indisputable ingredients of Portuguese cooking. This requires more prep time so I wouldn’t recommend this for a week night.

What you need

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. margarine
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • chopped cilantro
  • white pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1.35 kg salted cod that has been de-salted
  • 4 tbsp. enriched white flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 10 eggs

How to make it

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees farenheit.

Saute the onion, garlic, margarine, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Boil the cod in a separate pot for about 7 minutes. Like many fish, this cooks quickly and you don’t want to overcook it. When the cod is cooked, drain and place onto a plate to cool. Pull apart the fish using a fork and knife to leave it in small shreds. Set aside.

Separate the eggs into two bowls – whites in one and yolks in the other. Beat the egg whites until they form sharp white peaks.

Starting with the onion base you created in the first step, add the flour, baking powder, milk, egg yolks and mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add the flaked cod and mix well. Add the egg whites and incorporate gently.

Pour onto a greased baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. The soufflé is ready when the top is golden.

I recommend that this be served with my Maple Vinaigrette Salad.

Bom apetit!

Photo credit. Pixabay.com

 

Butternut Squash Soup

This soup will leave your guests with a serious dilemma – go back for seconds, or leave room for the next course!

What you need:

  • 5 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium sweet onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves of California garlic, minced
  • 2 small zucchinis, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium butternut squash (approx. 4 lbs), peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 tbsp. ginger root, peeled and grated
  • Flor de sal
  • olive oil to garnish
  • black better, freshly ground

How to make it:

You will need one stock pot for the soup and one sauté pan. Fill the stock pot with the chopped carrots, potatoes, zucchini, and butternut squash and water. Fill the pot with water until the vegetables are just about covered. Boil covered for about 35 minutes.

While that is coming to a boil, sauté the onion and garlic in the pan with one tablespoon of olive oil. Use medium to high heat. The idea is to caramelize the onions and garlic. Add salt generously. Toss the onions frequently to avoid burning. Set aside to cool.

When the vegetable mix has softened, combine the sautéed onions and garlic. Puree the soup with a hand-held blender. At this point you should taste the soup as it may need to be salted further. Peel a small piece of ginger root and add the grated ginger root to the soup mixture. This is what gives this soup a unique kick. Keep the pot over low heat for another 15 minutes.

Pour into your favourite bowl. Garnish with fresh black pepper and a dash of olive oil.

Enjoy!

 

Spiked Fig Biscotti

The secret to these treats is to soak dried figs in “aguardente” one week before. Aguardente is a generic term for alcohol that contains between 20-60% alcohol. The word is a combination of water and fire. Any good brandy will do the trick.

What you need

  • 5 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups of enriched white flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup oil
  • 3/4cup of dried figs
  • 1/2 cup brandy or aguardente, if available

TIP:  The original recipe called for one full cup of sugar but I have cut that in half and they are still great. You may also substitute half of the oil for applesauce.

How to make it

One week prior, chop the dried figs into small pieces and place in a small dish with the alcohol. refrigerate for one week, or a few days before you decide to make the biscotti.

Combine the eggs, flower, baking powder, oil, sugar. When the ingredients are well incorporated, add the figs. Leave out the excess alcohol juice and discard it.  Pour the batter in logs of 4″ by 8″ on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. This should yield three logs.

Bake for approximately 35 minutes at 350 degrees farenheit.

Remove from oven and while hot, slice each piece to create your biscotti. Lay the sliced biscotti on the same cookie sheet (parchment is optional now) and return to the oven a second time. This will dry the dough further, giving you a nice crisp biscotti. The timing for this last step is subjective. Remove from oven when the biscotti is golden, or browned to taste.

Enjoy responsibly 🙂