Mozzarella, tomato,and prosciutto frittata

Mozzarella, tomato,and prosciutto frittata

For a bigger breakfast or brunch this is one of our favourite frittatas. I found this recipe in the Canadian Living site and have cooked it several times. You can check it out here. The original recipe calls for a walnut pesto, which I normally don’t add, I find that the tomatoes, onions, cheese and prosciutto are salty and flavourful enough.

4 large servings

Ingredients:

4 tsp vegetable oil

1 onion, sliced

12 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1/4 tsp each salt and pepper

100 g fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

45 g thinly sliced prosciutto

2 or 3 cocktail tomatoes sliced

 Directions:

In 10-inch ovenproof nonstick or cast-iron skillet, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion, stirring occasionally, until tender and light golden, about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat together eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Pour over onion mixture in pan; reduce heat to mediumlow and cook until bottom and sides are set but top is still slightly runny, about 15 minutes.

Top with mozzarella and tomatoes, sprinkle some oregano. Broil until top is golden and set, 3 to 5 minutes. Arrange prosciutto over top; cut into wedges.

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Milk buns from Heaven

Milk buns from Heaven

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I found this recipe in the House & Home magazine, from chef Eric Vellend. I was planning to try the technique of baking bread with a steaming water tray in the bottom of the oven, to get the glossy brown crust for a while and had the opportunity to do so with this recipe.
Perfection! I couldn’t expect for a better result: moist, light, these buns melt in your mouth. As dinner rolls they stole all the attention from the main dish!

Milk buns
1 cup whole milk scalded and cooled
1 cup water at room temperature
3 tbs honey
3 tbs olive oil, plus more for greasing bowl
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast ( 1 envelope 8 g)
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more if needed

1 large egg at room temperature, beaten

Place milk, honey , water and oil in large mixing bowl. Stir to dissolve honey. Add yeast and salt. Gradually stir flour with a wooden spoon, until dough forms.
Transfer to floured surface. Gently knead, adding more flour if needed, until smooth, 5 minutes.
Oil bowl, large enough for the dough to double size and place dough in the bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it sit in warm spot until doubled in size, 1 hour.
Transfer dough to floured surface and briefly knead to knock out gas. Return to bowl, cover again and let or sit for 45 minutes.
Transfer dough yo the floured surface again and divide into portion the size of a tangerine ( 45 gr). Form each portion into a tight ball. Place 1/2 ” apart on parchment lined baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let sit in warm spot for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400F. Bring kettle of water to boil. Pour 1″ layer of water into a roasting pan and place pan on bottom shelf of oven.
Brush tops of buns with egg and bake in upper third of the oven until golden brown, 20 minutes.

The pan of hot water creates steam in the oven, which helps the buns rise better and form a glossy and brown crust.

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The magic of a crispy and fresh no knead bread

The magic of a crispy and fresh no knead bread

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I finally did it! I’ve been waiting for a long time to try a “no knead” bread recipe. I mean, a long time, years actually. I waited until I made one of my most precious kitchen investments and purchased my Le Creuset – Round French oven pan . I was persistent and lucky enough to find the pan, in my choice of color, at Home Sense – Winners at half price! It is the one I use every day, cast iron spreading the heat beautifully and evenly making my cooking faster and easier. I leave it on the stove since it is so pretty and colorful! Other than one frying pan and one sauce pan, I hardly use anything else in the kitchen pans department.

I had seen Laura Calder making this bread and found the exact same recipe The miracle boule on line. Followed her directions and voilà!

The simplicity of the ingredients, flour, water, yeast and salt makes one appreciate the mystical symbolism that bread has always had in the history of civilization, as one of the basics foods for human beings for centuries.

The exchange is quite simple too, no need to knead but you do need to wait. Start to make the night before, 5 minutes of super easy preparation to put the dough together and then forget about it. Next morning or afternoon it will be ready for the next step, one more raise.
Patience does pay off. It is so beautiful to see the yeast working its magic, no intervention needed, as many times we should behave in life, waiting for things to go its own way…

I just loved the whole process and I am now with 2 more doughs gently sitting on my counter top. Forgot to mention how delicious and indulgent was to have the fresh and still warm bread with butter. Simple and irresistible.

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I followed Laura Calder recipe completely. The only thing I would add is to cover the dough bowl with a wet cloth to avoid the dough of being dry. I read many other recipes and tips on the “no knead” bread and apparently you can get the same result with pans that are not cast iron like mine. There are some more information about it here.

Now, to the recipe:

No knead bread

3 cups or 375 g all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/2 cup water
Cornmeal, wheat bran or extra flour

Mix the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl. Stir in water to blend. What you’ll have is a wet, shaggy, sticky dough, but not so wet as to be batter. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let it rest in a warm place for at least 12 hours, and up to 24 hours. It’s ready for the next step when the surface is dotted with bubbles.
Flour a work surface and dump the dough out onto it. Sprinkle over a little more flour and fold it once or twice. Cover with the tea towel and let rest 15 minutes.
Using only enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers, shape the dough into a ball. Coat a cotton towel with cornmeal, wheat bran or flour and lay the dough on it, seam-side down. Dust with more cornmeal, wheat bran or flour. (You need quite a lot because you want to be sure the dough doesn’t stick to the towel). Cover and let rise for about 2 hours. When ready, the dough will be more than double in size.
Half an hour before the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F/230 degrees C. Put a 2-liter cast-iron pot or Dutch oven (cocotte) inside to heat.
When the dough is ready, remove the pot from the oven and turn the dough into it, seam-side up. (It will look messy, but this is OK.) Shake the pot to settle the bread evenly. Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake until the loaf is nicely browned, another 15 to 30 minutes. Cool on a rack.

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Perfect moist and light banana bread

Perfect moist and light banana bread

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Bananas are very abundant in Brazil, all shapes, many different types, found everywhere, a fruit that is commonly taken for granted, as so there is an expression to describe it: “as cheap as bananas”. You would think that banana bread would be a favorite there too but it is not.

There are plenty of banana cakes, banana pies, breads filled with banana and cream, tons of different types of banana desserts but nothing like the North America’s favorite, banana bread. I tried it for the first time still in Brazil, many years ago, in a friend’s house, who used to be a baker in Montreal and I fell in love since.
I never miss an opportunity to try a different one at any coffee shop and I am always experimenting with new recipes, like my Ultimate and fluffy banana bread, still looking for the perfect banana bread, that would remind me of that first one.
So it happened! I was flipping the pages of the last issue of Canadian Living magazine and found it! I had to try it right away and so far, this will be the one I will be baking, for ever!!
The original recipe is here.

The secret that makes it so special ? Let the mashed ripe bananas soak for 5 minutes with buttermilk and baking soda and the magic of fluffiness gets started!

Moist and light, no surprise that baking with brown sugar and real butter would bring the banana flavor very alive, but it was worth it! I substituted half of the flour with whole wheat flour and half of the brown sugar with sweetener to make it diabetes friendly.
If you like walnuts, chocolate chips or raisins, go ahead and add 1/2 to 1 cup of your favorite thing.

Perfect moist and light banana bread

1 loaf – 12 pieces

3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour (or half all-purpose and half whole wheat flour)
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Stir together bananas, buttermilk and baking soda. Let stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In large bowl, beat butter with brown sugar until combined; beat in egg, vanilla and banana mixture. Stir in flour mixture until combined; scrape into greased 9- x 5-inch loaf pan.

Bake in 350 F oven until cake tester inserted into centre comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack for 15 minutes. Turn out onto rack; let cool completely.

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

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Homemade healthy granola bars

Homemade healthy granola bars

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For the times when you’re craving something sweet and doesn’t really need that nasty chocolate bar to fulfill your desert desire, I have the healthy solution! These granola bars are sweet, nutty, crunchy and delicious. It is great as a snack, tucked in your purse for work, for kids in school and as a quick breakfast on the go. For me, it has the sweetness I normally miss in the cold nights of this never-ending winter, with my tea and I get the added benefit of being totally satisfied and craving-free.

I love all the ingredients in this recipe, specially the taste of coconut that goes so well with cranberries. Although the original recipe, from Ina Garten, calls for dates, I will replace it next time for a different dry fruit, probably raisins. I found dates were too sweet. It was my first time using wheat germ and I was very pleased with the result and the taste. Easy, fast, healthy and yummy, give it a try! You will never buy granola bars again!

Homemade healthy granola bars
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.
Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates, apricots, and cranberries and stir well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.
Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

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Large Cinnamon roll

Large Cinnamon roll

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Baking is magic!

And cinnamon buns are an ultimate indulgence! I had to bake something to bring for a reunion and decided it would be a good chance to make my ever favorite, my way. That means, a generous dough, lots of cinnamon but not too sweet and, very important, packed with raisins. For the icing, just a thin layer of confectioner sugar mixed with milk for a little shine and texture, again, not too sweet. It is a huge treat for me, one I don’t have too often, so I make sure to enjoy eating as much as preparing it. I love to see the dough rising, waiting for the house to be filled with the cinnamon smell and watching the beautiful golden color after is baked. Baking is truly magic!
If you like it richer and sweeter, be more generous with the brown sugar and butter before rolling it out.
I got this recipe from a cooking TV show. I just kept writing it down and baked it right after.

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Large cinnamon bun

Ingredients

2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (1 pouch)
4 oz warm water
1 tbs sugar

3 1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
1/3 cup unsalted butter melted with
3/4 cup milk at room temperature
3 tbs sugar
touch of vanilla
pinch of salt

1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tbs butter

For the filling
1/2 to 3/4 cup of melted butter
1/2 to 3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup raisins (optional)
lots of cinnamon

For the icing
For my light icing I just mix 1/2 cup of icing sugar with 2 tbs milk. But an optional way, actually more popular, is mixing: 4 oz cream cheese, 1 cup of whipping cream and 1 cup of icing sugar, blending it together with some vanilla.

Directions:

Start mixing yeast and the warm water with sugar and let it rest until a starts foaming. In the mean time gather all your ingredients.

Combine flour, eggs, melted butter, milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt mixing well. Add the yeast mixture and start kneading for at least 5 min., until the dough is nice and elastic. Let it rest in a bowl lightly greased with oil. Wait 45 min to 1 hour.

Flour a surface, take the dough out of the bowl and punch it out to get all the air out of the dough. Roll it out in an oval shape.
Brush the melted butter on the whole sheet of dough. Sprinkle brown sugar, raisins, cinnamon.

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Roll it up as tight as possible. Pinch at the end to seal it out. Now you have a long log.

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Brush more butter, more brown sugar and cinnamon on the top of the log. Roll up the log once more, tight.

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Melt the butter, brown sugar and maple syrup in a cake pan, mixing well. Place the roll in the center of this pan, cover and let it rise a second time for 45 min to 1 hour.

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At this point it can stay in the fridge until the next morning and you can bake it fresh for breakfast!

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Heat oven to 375 F. Bake for 30 min and then cover with foil and cook for more 20 to 25 min.

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Take out of the oven and spread your favorite icing on top. Enjoy!!!

My ever glorious morning glory muffin

My ever glorious morning glory muffin

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I found this recipe in an old issue of Canadian House & Garden magazine and since the first batch I baked, I could not stop thinking of these muffins every time I sip my coffee in a lazy and sunny Sunday morning. Or in any other day, actually. Perfection.

The story behind is that this recipe is one of the signature muffins from chef Debbie Parker at the High level Diner – Edmonton AB, Canada.

For me, the magic about this muffin is the perfect combination of fruity flavors: bananas, almonds, walnuts, coconut, my ever favorite, raisins and a hint of orange. It is an explosion of hearty goods baked with a smart mix of whole wheat flour, wheat bran and all-purpose flour, for a more than satisfying breakfast or snack. And yes, super healthy.

It has 2 layers, so the crunchy topping is quite the hit here. Not too sweet but sweet enough, dense but yet moist.

I did substitute sugars by sweeteners to make it diabetes friendly, as usual, for my husband, but the recipe below follows the original.

Great recipe to get us started in the cooling temperatures waiting for us in this fall!

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Orange nut Muffin

12 large muffins or 18 small ones

Muffins
1 cup natural wheat bran
2/3 whole wheat flour
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3 medium bananas, mashed
3 eggs, beaten
1 tbs molasses
1/2 cup melted butter
zest and juice from 1 large orange

Topping
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup silvered almonds
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
2 1/2 tbs raisins or currants
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Pre heat oven to 350 F. In a large mixing bowl combine wheat bran, flours, brown sugar and baking soda. Sir until well combined. Add bananas and mash well to remove any lumps. Add beaten eggs, molasses, butter, orange juice and zest and mix until batter is smooth and well combined.
In a medium size bowl, combine all topping ingredients except eggs and oil. Stir to combine. Add eggs and oil and stir again.
Pour batter evenly into the prepared baking cups (12 large or 18 small).
Top with nut mixture, spreading evenly among all muffins.
Bake for 30 min. Check after 5 min and push all fallen topping back onto the top of the muffins.

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

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