Monday, June 01, 2020

Homemade Cream Cheese

_MG_8565

This recipe should have gone up a long time ago.

It is one of those homemade recipes that needs to be in your binder/folder/recipe box, because I'm pretty sure once you try it you may never go back to store bought cream cheese, again.

It takes but a few ingredients to turn a liter of milk into the creamiest, yummiest cream cheese you've ever tasted.

Let me show you.

_MG_8566

Homemade Cream Cheese

1 litre milk (I used Whole Milk)
4 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons butter
Salt to taste

Add the milk to a saucepan and bring to a boil, just when it starts to bubble up and form that skin on top.  Immediately remove from heat. 

Add the vinegar and stir well.

Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes until the curds start forming and separating from the liquid. 

Next, pour the mixture through a strainer until you get all the liquid out.  Use a spoon if you have to, to help push out all the liquid. 

Put the curds in a blender, add in the butter and salt to taste and blend for 1 to 2 minutes, until it becomes a thick creamy consistency.

Give it a good stir and pour into mason jars.  These will keep in your fridge for about 5 days, though I doubt they'll last that long.


_MG_8570

_MG_8572

I slathered the cream cheese on some fresh out of the oven sourdough bread.  It was divine!!!!

_MG_8573


Give it a go and let me know what you think.  I can tell you that for my family we are not interested in store bought any longer, this one is creamier and much tastier.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Beef filled Crepes

_MG_8345

I am so blessed to have a heritage that allows me, and my family, to enjoy a myriad of different dishes from different ethnic cuisines.

As you may know, I was born in Mozambique in the East coast of Africa.  When the independence happened in 1974, just a month after I was born, we temporarily moved to Rhodesia, now known as Zimbabwe, and then onto Portugal.  Mozambique was a Portuguese colony, so I am Portuguese but I also have Brazilian on my father's side, my great grandfather and grandmother and their ancestors, were all Brazilian.  Goodness!!!

_MG_8346

From Portugal, to South Africa where I spent most of my childhood and then I married my American husband and have lived in the States for the past 22 years.

_MG_8348

So as you see, I have a lot of influence of different cultures around me, which makes for a constant array of dishes from Portuguese, to Brazilian, South African and American.  Not to mention the Italian, Chinese and Mexican food which I love so much, so yes, a plethora of different food is at our disposal.

The recipe I bring you today is Brazilian.  Super easy to make and a dish I think your family will enjoy.

_MG_8344

Beef filled Crepes

Ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons tomato puree
1 tablespoon Garlic paste
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley
Media Crema

For the crepes:
2 eggs
1 cup of milk
4 tablespoons oil
1 and a half cups of flour
Salt to taste


Add a little drizzle of olive oil to a skillet.  Add in the garlic and onion and cook over medium heat until the onion is translucent.  Next, add in the ground beef and cook until brown.  Once the meat has released all it's liquid and starts to fry, add in your tomato, tomato puree and stir to combine.

Cook over medium heat for a few minutes, until tomato is tender.  You may need to add in a little water.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  I always add parsley, but if you don't like it you can omit it.

Next goes in a small can of Media Crema.   Mix well, and take off the heat.

For the crepes, you can use the recipe I'm giving you or your favorite crepe recipe.

Make the crepes, allowing 2 for each person.  As I make them, I set them on a plate and roll them up, to keep them warm.

When done, fill each crepe with a bit of the beef filling.

Put a little of the beef mixture on the bottom of a casserole dish.  Then as you fill the crepes, set them in the baking dish.  When done, take any leftover beef filling and spoon over the crepes.  Sprinkle on some shredded cheese and bake at 375 for 5 to 10 minutes until cheese is melted.

Serve immediately!!!

_MG_8347

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake

_MG_8317

Basically, I have a ton of bananas that I bought for baking.  Some of them are going to make some Banana Jam, and if you've never tried that you don't know what you're missing.  Go check out the recipe over here.

I didn't want to make banana bread, I think that's been done to death.  No offense to banana bread, but if there's one thing this quarantine time has taught me, is that everyone and their mother is currently eating and baking them, and I'm a bit sick of seeing it everywhere LOL

_MG_8322

My 17 year old son loves caramelized bananas, and any kind of banana cake, so I figured a caramelized banana cake would be the way to go.

I used the recipe for my grandfather's simple vanilla cake, and just made a quick caramel to hold the bananas in place.....if that makes sense.

Let's just bake and I'll show you.


_MG_8318

Caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake

Simple Vanilla Cake
Sliced bananas
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water


In a small saucepan, mix the water and the sugar until sugar is dissolved.  Turn the heat to low, and let the mixture turn into a syrup.  I don't stir it, I just let it sit until it starts turning a nice golden brown.  Don't turn the heat too high or it will crystallize.

Once done, pour into a spring form pan.  Mine was a 9 inch.  Take the sliced bananas and make a layer over the caramel.

Take the vanilla cake batter, and slowly pour over the bananas and caramel.  Bake at 350 for about 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Pull cake out of the oven, place over a cake plate and carefully invert.  Remove the side and bottom of pan.  If any bananas stick to the bottom, just scoop them out and pop them back on the cake.

That's it.  Simple, easy and soooo yummy.

_MG_8319

Monday, May 04, 2020

Homemade Strawberry Shortcake

_MG_8275

I was at the grocery store on Friday and the strawberries were pretty inexpensive, only $2.99 a punnet.  I grabbed two because not only do we love strawberries on their own, or sprinkled with some sugar and dipped in whipped cream, but strawberry shortcake is one of those simple desserts that is perfect for warm weather.

Usually I would buy the packs from the supermarket, you know the ones with the already made shortcake?  But here's the thing, homemade is always better and I find the ones from the store get a little rubbery and chewy over time.

_MG_8276

So I went on a hunt for a simple recipe that would produce flaky yummy shortcake, and as always, Sally's Baking Addiction came through.  I can't stress enough how much her website has changed my baking life.  There is not one single recipe that I have tried that didn't turn out right.

Now, let's make some shortcake.  I am only sharing the shortcake part of the recipe because that is all that I used.  But if you're wanting to make the full recipe including preparing the strawberries and making your own whipping cream, please head on over and check out the full recipe on Sally's site.

_MG_8277

Homemade Strawberry Shortcake
Adapted recipe from: Sally's Baking Addiction


3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour* (spoon and leveled)
1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons baking powder (yes, Tablespoons!)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (180g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 cup (240ml) cold buttermilk*
2 Tablespoons (30ml) heavy cream (or buttermilk)
coarse sugar, for sprinkling



Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Mix the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl or in a large food processor. Whisk or pulse until combined. Add the cubed butter and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or by pulsing several times in the processor. Pulse until coarse crumbs form. If you used a food processor, pour the mixture into a large bowl.

Pour buttermilk on top. Stir everything together until just about combined– do not overwork the dough. The dough will look like shreds and be very crumbly. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and gently mold it together in a ball using your hands. Gently flatten until it is evenly 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 3-inch circles. Re-roll any scraps until you have about 12 biscuits.

Arrange in a 10-inch cast iron skillet or close together on a lined baking sheet. (Make sure they’re touching.)

Brush the tops with 2 Tablespoons heavy cream (or buttermilk) and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for 15 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before assembling.


Slice the biscuits in half and layer with strawberries and whipped cream. Serve immediately.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Honey Butter Rolls

_MG_8015
If you're looking for a sweet, soft and amazingly fluffy dinner roll, then look no further.

After trying many dinner roll recipes, I have to say that this may just have become my families favorite.  The recipe once again comes from Sally's Baking Addiction.  That is two recipes now that I have tried from Sally's website, that have been a huge success.

Be sure to head on over to her site and check out her wonderful recipes.

The only change I made to Sally's recipe was that I used all purpose flour instead of bread flour.  I have struggled to find flour lately and bread flour is practically non existent at the moment.

Aside from that, followed it to a Tee and I'm glad I did.


_MG_8017

Honey Butter Rolls


1 cup (240ml) whole milk, warmed to about 110°F*
2 and 1/4 teaspoons Red Star® Platinum yeast
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/4 cup (84g) honey
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 and 1/2 cups (452g) bread flour (spoon and leveled)

Topping

1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, very soft
2 Tablespoons (42g) honey





Pour warm milk into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Or, if you do not own a stand mixer, a regular large mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar on top of the milk. Give it a light stir with a spoon and allow to sit for 5 minutes. The mixture should be frothy after 5 minutes. If not, start over with new yeast.

If you do not have a mixer, you can mix by hand in this step. With the stand mixer running on low speed, add the honey, egg, egg yolk, melted butter, salt, and 3 cups of flour. Beat on low speed for 1 minute, then add remaining 1/2 cup of flour. Beat on low speed for 1 minute as it all combines. The dough should be thick, yet soft. And only slightly sticky. It should pull away from the sides of the bowl as it mixes. When it does, it is ready to knead. If, however, the dough is too sticky to handle– add more flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time. Make sure you do not add too much extra flour; you want a soft, slightly sticky dough.

Form dough into a ball and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 2 minutes, then place into a greased bowl– I usually just use olive oil or nonstick spray. Turn the dough over to coat all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in a warm environment to rise until doubled, about 2 hours. For this warm environment, I preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C) then turn the oven off and place the bowl inside the warm-ish oven.

Once doubled in size, punch down the dough to release any air bubbles. Remove dough from the bowl and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Punch down again to release any more air bubbles if needed. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough in half. Cut each half into 8 equal pieces for a total of 16 pieces that are about 1/4 cup each– golfball size, give or take. They don’t need to be perfect! Shape into balls as best you can and arrange in a greased 9×13 baking pan. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size and puffy, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Bake the rolls for 18-21 minutes until the tops are golden brown and the edges of each roll look cooked. While the rolls bake, mix the topping ingredients together to make a creamy honey butter. Remove the rolls from the oven when they are done and brush or spread a generous amount of honey butter onto each warm roll. Serve with any remaining honey butter.

Cover leftovers and keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Warm up in a 300°F (149°C) oven for 10 minutes.