Sunday, May 10, 2020

Beef filled Crepes

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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!!!

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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.

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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.

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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!!!

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Thursday, May 07, 2020

Caramelized Banana Upside Down Cake

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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

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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.


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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.

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Monday, May 04, 2020

Homemade Strawberry Shortcake

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.


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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.

Friday, April 10, 2020

Hot Cross Buns with Orange Gaze

Hot Cross Buns

I don't know about you, but every year I look forward to Easter.  The main reason of course is because of what it represents, and as a Christian it is a huge celebration for myself and my family.

However, I have to be honest and admit that the other reason I look forward to Easter, is because of the Hot Cross Buns.  My word.

It's not like I can't make them any other time of the year, but truthfully, I don't.  I make them once a year and that's it, so we always look forward to them, my daughter especially who is a huge fan of any kinda of yeasty bread concoction.

Hot Cross Buns

Although I already have a recipe on the blog, there are so many out there, and I've tried quite a few.  Some I had great results, others not so much.  When I saw the recipe for these Hot Cross Buns with an Orange Glaze, I just knew I had to try them.  Sally's Baking Addiction didn't disappoint, the result is a super soft, perfectly spiced dough, and when you add in the orange glaze at the end, it takes it to another level.

Keep in mind, these are not very sweet at all, which is fine with me, but if you want a sweet dough you may need to adjust accordingly.

Now let me give you the recipe so that you have plenty of time to still whip up a batch for Easter Sunday.  Or Saturday, or Monday, or any day of the week, really.

I am already looking forward to a toasted hot cross bun slathered in butter and enjoyed with a hot cup of coffee, for breakfast.  Yum!

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns with Orange Glaze



3/4 cup (180ml) whole milk, warmed to about 110°F
2 and 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast or instant yeast (1 standard packet)
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
5 Tablespoons (70g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature and cut into 5 pieces
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3 and 1/2 cups (435g) all-purpose flour or bread flour (spoon & leveled)*
1 cup (140g) raisins or currants*

Flour Cross

1/2 cup (60g) all-purpose flour or bread flour
6–8 Tablespoons (90-120ml) water

Orange Icing

1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
3 Tablespoons (45ml) fresh or bottled orange juice (or use milk and a splash of vanilla extract for plain icing)



Prepare the dough: Whisk the warm milk, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar together in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or paddle attachment. Cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

Add the brown sugar, butter, vanilla extract, eggs, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and 1 cup (125g) flour. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then add the remaining flour and the raisins. Beat on medium speed until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. Dough should be a little sticky and soft. If it’s too sticky and not pulling away from the sides of the bowl, mix in additional flour 1 Tablespoon at a time. *If you do not own a mixer, you can mix this dough with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula. It will take a bit of arm muscle!*

Knead the dough: Keep the dough in the mixer and beat for an additional 2 minutes or knead by hand on a lightly floured surface for 2 minutes.

1st Rise: Lightly grease a large bowl with oil or nonstick spray. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to coat all sides in the oil. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rise in a relatively warm environment for 1-2 hours or until double in size. (I always let it rise on the counter. Takes about 2 hours.

Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan or two 9-inch square or round baking pans. You can also bake the rolls in a cast iron skillet or on a lined baking sheet.

Shape the rolls: When the dough is ready, punch it down to release the air. Divide the dough into 14-16 equal pieces. (Just eyeball it– doesn’t need to be perfect!) Shape each piece into a smooth ball, pinching it on the bottom to seal. I do this entirely in my hands and you can watch in the video tutorial for my dinner rolls. Arrange in prepared baking pan.

2nd Rise: Cover shaped rolls with aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or a clean kitchen towel. Allow to rise until puffy, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).

Add the cross: Whisk the cross ingredients together, starting with 6 Tablespoons of water. You want a thick paste that will pipe easily. Add remaining water if needed. Spoon paste into a piping bag or zipped-top bag. (No need to use a piping tip if using a piping bag.) Snip off a small piece at the corner. Pipe a line down the center of each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction to create crosses.

Bake the rolls: Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top, rotating the pan halfway through. If you notice the tops browning too quickly, loosely tent the pan with aluminum foil. Remove from the oven and allow rolls to cool for a few minutes as you prepare the icing.

Make the icing: Whisk the icing ingredients together, then drizzle or brush on warm rolls. Serve immediately.

Cover leftover rolls tightly and store at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Hot Cross Buns