Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Slow-Roasted Cauliflower with Pounded Anchovies


In my household, we love everything that has some sort of seafood in it so when I found Brett's recipe I was delighted. The cauliflower's intense flavor is amazing and matches perfectly with the anchovie sauce. I have made it so many times now that I even take the liberty to skip salt from sauce and change it a little here and there, like this time, for instance, when I completely forgot the bread topping. Sorry, Brett.

Slow-Roasted Cauliflower with Pounded Anchovies

For the cauliflower:
1 head of cauliflower
Extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper
Sea salt
Parsley, chopped

For the breadcrumbs:
1 slice country bread, crusts removed
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

For the anchovy sauce
¼ clove of garlic
1 tsp lemon juice
2 anchovy fillets
3 TB extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350˚F (175˚C). Remove green leaves from cauliflower. Place head of cauliflower stem side down on a cutting board and slice it into ¾-inch (2 cm) thick slices through the stem and all. Toss cauliflower slices in a bowl with the oil and generous amounts of salt and a few grindings of pepper. Lay out in one layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place pan in oven and bake for 1 hour, turning the pieces every 10 minutes. The cauliflower will turn deep golden brown, become extremely tender and fall apart easily. It might appear ready after 40 minutes, but it's better to wait. Some smaller bits will turn dark brown and crispy. Do not discard them. While the cauliflower is roasting, tear the bread into tiny pieces. Place in shallow pan and drizzle with the oil. Place it in oven next to cauliflower. Bake until toasted and crisp, about 10-15 minutes. Make the anchovy sauce. Mash the piece of garlic with a pestle in a mortar or something like that. Pour lemon juice over it and let sit for 10 minutes. Chop the anchovy fillets, add them to the mortar and pound to a paste. Drizzle in the olive oil while stirring with the pestle until a thick, pourable sauce is formed. Drizzle over the cauliflower, sprinkle with chopped parsley and breadcrumbs, and serve, either warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Avocado Basil Pasta


I had some left over avocados and wanted to use them up. I remembered I had a recipe I had copied from an old magazine in the library and it would be great for that. It's actually a hot salad. My husband like it so much that requested me to make it again tomorrow.


Avocado and Basil Pasta

8 ounces dried pasta
1 medium avocado, coarsely chopped
3 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
4 slices bacon, crisp cooked and crumbled
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBspoons lemon juice
Olive oil
Fresh basil, chopped
Ground black pepper
Queijo pecorino ou parmesão ralado.
Finely shredded Pecorino Romano cheese

Combine the avocado, tomatoes, bacon, basil, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, pepper and salt. Reserve. Cook pasta. Add hot pasta to reserved mixture and toss to combine. Serve with cheese.

Source: BHG magazine

Monday, February 5, 2007

Finger Food

The weekend went by very fast and so did my pretty "coxinhas". I had been planning on making them for a while but was scared of failing. But then, I wanted to eat them so bad that I finally overcame the fear and tried the recipe. It was really easy.

I like the filling to be simple with just a touch of heat.

"Coxinha" (Little Thighs)
2 cups milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cube chicken bouillon
5 Tablespoons olive oil

1 boneless chicken breast 1 medium onion, chopped
1 cube chicken bouillon
4 garlic cloves, chopped and minced
Salt to taste (if necessary)
Ground black pepper to taste
Flat leaf parsley to taste
Other seasoning of your preference, such as cayenne pepper
Bread crumbs

Prepare filling: Cook chicken in small amount of water, seasoned with the chicken bouillon, until all water evaporates). Finely shred chicken breast to make the filling. Heat olive oil, saute garlic and onion. Add shredded chicken breast, salt, ground pepper. Keep stiring for about 5 minutes and add chopped parsley. Turn off heat and allow it to cool.

Make the dough: Bring the milk, oil and bouillon to a boil. Add flour (turn off heat) and stir vigorously with a wood spoon for about 1 minute until it becomes dough. Take it out of pan. After it cools off, knead dough in your hands until it becomes smooth. Flatten small disks of dough in your palm, place a small amount of chicken filling previously prepared, according to the size of the dough disk in your palm. Fold and close it trying to shape it like a chicken thigh or a drumstick. Repeat this procedure until all the dough is used. Dip the shaped "coxinhas" in a mixture of water and flour and bread them on the breadcrumbs. Deep fry until lightly golden. Place on paper towels. Then serve.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Wish List

kA mango

I have been keeping on eye on it for a while now. The only thing preventing me from bringing it home is the understanding that there is a difference between need and desire. The latter is urgent while the other one can wait for the best opportunity. I will, then, wait until my dream comes true.

Friday, February 2, 2007

White & Blue


On February 2nd, in Salvador, Bahia, people celebrate the day of Yemanjá. Fishermen believe that by offering gifts to the Queen of the Sea, they will have good luck in return. Coincidentally, on Fridays, many people wear white clothes for good fortune, like on New Year's eve. On Feb. 2nd, though, some choose to wear blue, the color of the Mother of the Sea. On Fridays, Catholics eat seafood and white rice also.

In many cultures offering food is a way to thank, to share good fortune and abundance. Indian people believe that by offering food they are sharing their best. If I remember correctly, once a year, in São Paulo, Brazil, Italians give away pasta and sweets around their neighborhood. Their Japanese counterparts prepare a rice cake called moti, given away and eaten on New Year's. Thinking about all these things I got my inspiration for today's post. White, rice, as a symbol of abundance, purity and offering. Nothing better to illustrate it than the beautiful, elegant and sophisticated Basmati rice.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Avocado Smoothie

Yesterday, while visiting Chucrute com Salsicha, I learned that Fer is looking for new ideas to use avocados. Coincidentally, I had bought a whole bunch of them and the first thing I made was a rich and delicious smoothie. It is a simple concoction with very few ingredients, just avocado, milk and sugar. Mixed it all up in the blender and voilà.

Our secret to giving it a milkshake consistency is adding some powdered milk to it. Someone has suggested using condensed milk to sweeten it up, which is not at all a bad idea. When we were little, we used to freeze leftovers in the ice cube tray to make popsicles or to use as ice in the smoothie the following morning.