Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Churros Cake

Churros Cake

Stop what you're doing, go into your kitchen, and get this cake baking in the oven.  I don't care what you go do for the next 40 to 50 minutes while it bakes, but you have to get this cake in the oven, like NOW.

I am always in the kitchen and usually have a cake baked every week, or some other type of sweet treat or dessert.  I just love having that special something for the kids, for the husband, or for me to enjoy on a lazy afternoon, with a cup of coffee.

The first time I made this cake, I was a little apprehensive, only because I wasn't quite sure how the whole condensed milk in the bottom of the cake pan, was going to work out.  But the minute that I inverted that cake into the cake platter, I got it, and you will too.

So, let's get going.  You don't need anything too out there, matter of fact, you should have all these ingredients in your pantry, and since we are all under quarantine anyway, it may just be the perfect moment to whip up something special for your family.

You won't regret it, and if you're anything like me, it may just become your favorite cake.

Sorry Tres Leches, but the Churros cake may have just surpassed you.

Churros Cake

Churros Cake

1 can condensed milk
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup oil
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder (I would actually suggest using 2 teaspoons instead, as the whole tablespoon sometimes makes the quite dense)

Preheat the oven to 350º F.

Grease a bundt cake pan with either butter and flour, or non stick spray.   Pour the can of condensed milk into the pan and then place in the fridge to chill, while you prepare the cake batter.

In a big bowl, mix the flour and baking powder, set aside.

In a blender, beat 1 cup sugar, 3 eggs, 3/4 cup oil, 1 cup milk and 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, for about 3 minutes.

Add the blender mixture into the flour mixture, stir.  Try not to over beat the batter, just mix until all ingredients are combined.

Remove the cake pan from the fridge, and then slowly and very carefully pour the cake batter in, being careful not to mix the batter into the condensed milk. 

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Remove from oven and let cool down for 5 minutes before inverting onto cake platter.

Churros Cake

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Roast Chicken Legs and Potatoes


I have quite a few recipes on the blog, showing you different ways to make roast chicken.  Each is delicious, each is different to the other, and I don't always make my roast chicken exactly the same way.

However, this is another way I make it and just wanted to share with you.  It's a quick way to get some delicious chicken on the table, and your family will no doubt thank you for a yummy, comfort home cooked meal.

Also, before I share the recipe, I wanted to share with you how I prepare my chicken.  This is for any kind of chicken cut you're using, whether it be a whole chicken, a cut up chicken, legs, thighs or breasts.  I use the same process no matter what kind of chicken I'm using.


So, what I do is place the chicken in a big bowl, cover it with water and then add about 2 or 3 tablespoons of white vinegar, depending on how much chicken I have.  Let sit for 10 minutes then rinse and proceed with recipe.

The reason I do this process, is because the vinegar pulls out all that slime that is usually between the meat and the skin, and it also helps to clean it, obviously.

Right, now that is out of the way, let's get that chicken roasting.

Roast Chicken Legs and Potatoes

Chicken legs (the amount really depends on you, but I used 2 pounds for this recipe)
4 garlic cloves, finely minced (I use 4 teaspoons from my garlic paste)
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons mustard (I use spicy brown mustard)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons Aromat (I use aromat, but obviously if you don't have it, omit it)
1 packet of Sazon, your choice flavor
Salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro and Parsley, chopped

Potatoes, cut into fourths (you can peel or leave the skin on)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Chili flakes to taste

Once you've cleaned your chicken.  Add all ingredients to a big bowl and using your hands, give it all a good mix.  You want the chicken to be completely coated in the seasoning.  Set aside to marinade for about 30 minutes.

In a separate bowl, add the potatoes, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika and chili flakes.  Mix well.

In a large baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and add the chicken legs, arrange the potatoes around and between the chicken, add remaining marinade from both chicken and potatoes.  Sprinkle with parsley and cilantro.

Bake at 400 degrees for an hour to an hour and a half, until chicken is cooked through and nice and crispy.

You can finish off with chopped green onion, if you wish.

Bolo de Milho (Brazilian Cornmeal Cake )


There is a special moment in every day life, when you're Portuguese that is, that you have this thing called "lanche".

It is typically in the afternoon between lunch and dinner, and is comprised of a cup of coffee or tea and a slice of cake, some fresh bread with butter, or a sandwich etc.

There really isn't a translation to the word and it's not something that I see many other countries doing, unless in Europe, or Brazil.  It is certainly not something done in America where I've lived for the last 21 years.

But, it is something I try to hold on to as part of my heritage, and really, who says no to a slice of yummy cake mid afternoon?

I try to make a cake every few days, my family has gotten used to it and almost expect it.  When one is finished, I start thinking about which to make next.

This cake that I'm sharing today is certainly one of my favorites, although not a fave or even liked by my son Nicholas, who can not stand cornbread or cornmeal of any kind.  To him, it's a texture thing, and I get that as corn does have that unique texture, almost grit to it, but I absolutely love it.


Typically you would add guava paste.  It is very similar to the Marmelada that we make with the Quince fruit, but using Guava instead.  You can find it at Walmart and local ethnic stores.

Basically you just cut it into small cubes and gently drop them into the cake batter before baking.  I didn't have any guava paste on hand, so I substituted with half teaspoon drops of raspberry jam.  It still turned out phenomenal.    This step is optional though, and you don't have to add anything to the corn cake, it is equally delicious without.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.


Bolo de Milho (Brazilian Cornmeal Cake)

1 cup flour
1 cup Corn Meal (I like using yellow, but you can use white corn meal too)
1 tbsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1cup sugar
2 eggs
½ cup Vegetable Oil
1 cup milk
Guava Paste cut into half inch cubes, or jam of your choice (optional)

Heat oven to 350°F.   Grease a cake pan, bundt or 13x9.  Set aside.

In a mixer bowl, beat eggs and sugar until creamy and pale yellow.  Add the oil and milk.

In a separate bowl, mix together flour, salt, corn meal and baking powder.  Add to egg mixture and mix until smooth.

Pour batter into greased cake pan.  If adding guava paste or jam, gently drop around the cake batter.  They will likely sink to the bottom, but that is ok.  Bake for about 30 minutes, until the cake starts pulling away from the sides, or a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.  If using bundt pan, invert cake onto plate.

Mexican Bolillos


A typical Portuguese breakfast for me, is a cup of coffee, a bread roll with butter or ham and cheese and then dipped into that hot coffee.  It may sound gross but I have always dipped my sandwiches into my coffee and it's something that when I do, takes me immediately back to my childhood in Portugal.

However, it is quite difficult for me to find proper bread rolls where I live, and the only ones that kind of come close, are the Mexican Bolillos.  I try to always have a bag of these on hand.  Although, does anything beat fresh bread bought early in the morning, from your local bakery?  I think not.

I've been searching for roll recipes for a while.  I have yet to find one that always turns out or is exactly like the much loved Portuguese rolls.  I do have a recipe here on the blog already, and you can certainly give those a go if you wish.

This recipe turned out pretty well, and I think I may use it when I'm in the mood for home baked bolillos, but I am still on the search for that one recipe that makes me go TA DA, that's it.  I'll let you know if and when I find it.


Mexican Bolillos

500 g unbleached all-purpose white flour (3 cups + 2 Tbsp)
10 g dry active yeast (1.5 tsp)
10 g Salt (1 tsp)
10 g sugar (1 tsp)
300 ml 110F hot water (43C, 1 1/4 cup)

Add dry ingredients to the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk on low until well combined.
Add hot water (I use the hottest water out of my faucet, as soon as it starts getting too hot for me to keep my hand under the hot running water, that tends to be just right).

Attach the dough hook to the stand mixer and knead the dough for about 15 minutes on low.
Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise to double its size. Depending on the room temperature this will take anywhere between 25-50 minutes.

Once the dough doubled in size, remove it from the bowl and place on a clean floured working surface to roll out, fold, roll out, fold, roll out etc. until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
Form a big ball and let rest for about 10 minutes.

In the meantime, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Now cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and roll into "bolillo form". Then place on lined baking sheet.
Once all bolillos are formed, slice about 1/2" deep in the middle with a sharp knife and spray or brush with water.

Cover the bolillos with a clean kitchen towel and let the dough rise a second time for about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 F (230C) at least 20 minutes before the rolls have to go in the oven.
Spray the bolillos a again with a little bit of water and put in the oven for 15 minutes.

Let cool for a couple of minutes only and enjoy warm.

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Sauteed Kabocha Squash


The past few weeks, I've been trying to add more vegetables to our meals.  My kids for the most part, eat every vegetable I give them, but there are some they either don't care for, have never tried or don't want to try.

As with any other kid, and I say lightly because my son is turning 17 next month and my daughter is turning 21 next month, as well, I sometimes need to push them to eat veggies.  In other words, if I don't make it, they won't ask for it.

Typically I always add at least a salad to every meal, but that becomes a bit boring, and the extent of my veggies used to be steamed broccoli or cauliflower, or mixed vegetables.


It became quite boring, so I've been on a mission to add different vegetables that I normally wouldn't serve.

One vegetable we all love, is squash.  I bought a Kabocha Squash when I went grocery shopping, and aside from roasting it in the oven, I hadn't made it any other way.  I decided to sautee it and threw in a little of this and a little of that.

The result?  Absolutely delicious, kids and hubby scarfed it down and my son even claimed it may just be his favorite now.


Sauteed Kabocha Squash

1 kabocha squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks (I use a potato peeler to peel the squash, you don't have to remove the skin completely, you can leave some behind)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
chili flakes, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped parsley and cilantro
1 teaspoon paprika
boiling water

Wash the kabocha squash, cut in half and remove all the seeds.  Using a potato peeler, peel as much of the skin as you can, but don't worry about getting it all as it is easily cooked and very tasty.   Be careful however, if you've never cut squash, it is extremely hard and quite difficult to cut through.
Cut into 1 inch chunks.

In a saucepan add oil and garlic.  Fry garlic for a few seconds, constantly stirring. 

Add the kabocha squash, and then season with the remaining ingredients.  Stir well to combine, and sautee for 3 to 5 minutes stirring often so it doesn't stick.  Add boiling water until it covers squash about an inch above.

Pop the lid on and cook for about 10 to 12 minutes, on medium heat, until fork tender. 

Copycat Starbucks Banana Bread


You're probably thinking "Another banana bread recipe?".

I know, it's a very common dessert to make, and I think everyone has their own favorite recipes.  I myself have made this numerous times, with numerous recipes and some have been great, others have been flops.  But, that is the way it goes when you bake, constantly trying, experimenting, failing and trying again until you find that one recipe you know will never fail you.

I came across this recipe in a youtube video and happened to have a bunch of bananas that had become overripe, which in my house means, no one will touch it, not even with a 10 foot pole.

After trying this recipe, I must say that it is one of the most delicious banana bread I've ever had, and hey, much cheaper than going to Starbucks and paying 4 dollars for a slice, right?

Quick note, the recipe calls for walnuts but I didn't have any on hand, the only thing I had was sliced almonds and that is what I used.  Still turned out very good.


Copycat Starbucks Banana Bread

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg
1⅛ cup sugar
½ cup vegetable or canola oil
2 tablespoons buttermilk or milk
½ teaspoon vanilla
3 bananas mashed very well
½ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Add flour, baking soda and salt to a small bowl and set aside. Mix egg, sugar and oil and stir until well combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir well. The mixture will be thick and dry. Next add milk, vanilla and bananas and stir until incorporated. Mix in walnuts and pour into a loaf pan.

Cook 50-75 minutes, checking regularly until a knife comes out clean.

Creamy Garlic Bread


Anytime we have pasta, garlic bread seems to be a must around here.  My family immediately expect it, and because I love them, I abide.

This is a very easy homemade garlic bread that you can quickly whip up.  I typically make it in the oven but it is also delicious on the grill.  (anyone else looking forward to summer and cook outs?)

The bread to use is really up to you, I prefer making it with bread rolls, and usually I have Bolillos on hand which I purchase from Walmart, but sometimes I don't and in that case I'll use hotdog buns or hoagie buns.  I don't recommend making these with sliced bread, it just doesn't turn out the same way.

I don't measure for this recipe, I eyeball it and I suggest you do the same, basically go with your own taste.  However, I am giving you measurements below for a typical mixture I make when preparing this bread, just adjust according to the amount you're making, adding more or less.

You can make a big batch ahead of time, and freeze them for later use.


Creamy Garlic Bread

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 oz. cream cheese, softened
Chopped garlic, about 5 cloves (I use my homemade garlic paste)
Oregano to taste
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (I also use cheddar or mozzarella sometimes)
2 tablespoons cilantro and parsley, mixed (I use my homemade Cheiro Verde)
8 bolillos or other bread roll

Mix all ingredients well to form a paste.

Slice your rolls vertically, making slices about an inch thick, but not cutting all the way down.  Spread the mixture onto each slice, carefully so as not to pull the bread apart.

Cover tightly in aluminum foil and bake at 400 F, for about 15 minutes until hot and the cheese is bubbly.

If you're doing it on the grill, just wrap tightly in foil and pop on the grill for about 5 minutes.  You can pull them off and unwrap to see if they're done.  I like to turn them over a few times to get them really nice and crispy.