Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Quinoa Is Good For You!

Being a superfood, quinoa is totally good for you. The tricky part is getting it clean - I have to pick it over for rocks and other random debris, then soak it for a few minutes (skimming off any floaters), and rinse in a wire mesh colander. I also give it a bit of a scrub between my hands while soaking to get rid of any clinging saponin.

Double Broccoli Quinoa
adapted from 101 Cookbooks
  • 3/4 cup quinoa, cleaned
  • 3 cups broccoli, cut into small florets and steamed
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup parmesan
  • salt
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
After cleaning quinoa, bring to a boil with 1 1/2 cups water and a big pinch of salt, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes - it's done when you can see the curlicues. To make the broccoli pesto, puree 1 1/2 cups steamed broccoli with nuts, parmesan, salt, and lemon juice in a food processor. Drizzle in the olive oil and cream and pulse until smooth. Toss pesto and quinoa with the remaining florets. Add extra salt, lemon juice, or parmesan, as you prefer. I added a few dashes of Al Wok seasoning (brand is Indo Deli), which includes garlic, coriander, ginger, onion, and basil.

Quinoa with Black Beans
adapted from All Recipes

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • splash of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, cleaned
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup corn kernels
  • 1 1/2-2 cups cooked black beans
  • handful of chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic and saute until lightly browned - about 6 minutes. Add quinoa and cover with stock. Season with cumin, cayenne, and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in corn (if using frozen, simmer until heated through), beans and herb. Then, pat yourself on the back for making such a healthy meal and reward yourself with dessert.

Friday, October 15, 2010

¡La Fabrica del Taco!

Found: Amazing tacos just a short 3-hour* drive from my house to Palermo Viejo.

*Assuming there are no protests being held between here and there

La Fabrica del Taco serves by far the best Mexican food that I've tried in Argentina. The decor is Mexican kitsch and the lighting is jaundice just adds to the charm. Sure, I could spy on our table through a small keyhole from a stall in the ladies' room. So what? Better to keep an eye on all that guacamole.

And the drinks are refreshing - we tried la limonada and la michelada. Reasonably priced considering the neighborhood: Guacamole with nachos and salsa (which included mango among its delicious ingredients) was AR$21.

Mild, medium, and hot sauces are free...guess which are which:

Cheeky, aren't they? Tacos are on the small side - I had a vegetarian taco with cheese ($15) and Guille had two of these multiple-meat tacos ($13 ea) that came with a fresh slice of pineapple.

Road trip, anyone? ¡Andale Andale Arríba Arríba!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ree's Petite Vanilla Bean Scones

This recipe is delicious, in every way. I only wish that I had a bigger house so I could invite everyone over to share them. That's the problem with a tiny apartment - no room for entertaining. So, I ended up eating way too many of these tiny scones. And I'd rolled the dough out too thin so I had more than 24. Yikes.

Keep in mind that this recipe takes some time - the scones will need about 30 minutes to cool completely (and if you're working in batches like I had to, this time will be extended) and the glaze needs nearly an hour to set. Plus, if your vanilla bean is encased in a glass tube you'll need extra time to shriek about it.

I bought the one above at La Defensa, but I found them cheaper and in easier-to-open packaging at Rey de Copas (Rioja 1629).

Petite Vanilla Bean Scones

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 226 grams (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 vanilla beans (I only used one, so I added a teaspoon of vanilla extract)
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup whole milk (I used 2%)
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • dash of salt
Split two (I used one) vanilla beans down the middle lengthwise and scrape out the beans. Stir into cream. Set aside for 15 minutes (you can throw the rest of the scraped bean in the cream for additional flavor, but remove before using cream).

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut cold butter into pats, then use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles crumbs.

Mix vanilla cream with egg, then combine with flour mixture; stir gently with a fork just until it comes together. Turn dough onto a floured surface and lightly press it together until it forms a rough rectangle (mixture will be crumbly). Use a rolling pin to roll into a rectangle about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick. Use a knife to trim into a symmetrical rectangle (but save and bake the scraps for your husband to eat), then cut the rectangle into 12 symmetrical squares/rectangles. Next, cut each square in half diagonally to form two triangles.

Transfer to a parchment lined or non-stick cookie sheet and bake at 180C (350F) for 18 minutes, removing just before they start to turn golden. Allow to cool completely before adding glaze.

Split one vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the beans. Stir into milk and allow to sit for a while. Whisk powdered sugar with the vanilla milk until smooth. One at a time, dunk each scone into the glaze, turn over to coat the entire scone, remove and allow the excess glaze to drip back into bowl. Place on a cooling rack to set - takes about an hour.

Then, figure out how to fit more people into a studio apartment.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Overnight (or not) Cinnamon Rolls

There is a secret family recipe for my great-grandfather's famous cinnamon rolls but I am not privy to that information so I tried this recipe and was simply amazed. Amazed, I tell you!

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

  • 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 large whole egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons (85 grams) butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 4 cups AP flour, plus additional for dusting
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • oil or cooking spray
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons (21 grams) butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 ounces (1/4 cup) cream cheese, softened
  • 3 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
See Alton's recipe if you are so fortunate as to have a stand mixer (not that I'm bitter or anything). Otherwise, using a hand mixer, combine egg yolks, egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add about 2 cups of flour along with the yeast and salt. Turn dough out onto a well floured surface and knead by hand for 15-20 minutes kneading in all but 3/4 c. flour and adding more as necessary - dough should be soft and moist but not too sticky. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume 2 to 2.5 hours.

Combine brown sugar, cinnamon and salt; mix until well incorporated. Set aside.

Butter 9x13-inch baking dish. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface.

Gently shape dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush dough with melted butter, leaving 1/2 inch border along the top edge.

Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving 3/4 border along top edge (I left one all around but will remember not to next time); gently press filling into dough.

Beginning with the long side nearest you, roll dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness.

Using a serrated knife, slice into 1.5-inch rolls; yielding 12 rolls. Arrange cut side down in the baking dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator *overnight or up to 16 hours.

*I didn't have all night, so I covered with plastic wrap and left out at room temperature for 30 minutes. Remove rolls from refrigerator (or not) and place in an oven that is turned off. I ended up flipping over the end pieces so that the cut side faced up (opposite of the way they are shown in the picture below) and the gooey goodness would be less likely to ooze out of the roll).

Fill a shallow pan 2/3 full of boiling water and set on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven door and let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy; about 30 minutes (see pic below). Remove rolls and shallow pan of water from the oven. Cover rolls lightly with plastic wrap or damp towel. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).

When oven is ready, place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown. 25 minutes was enough for me. Keep an eye on them - some commenters that baked for 30 minutes said they were too dry. I misted the rolls with water while still in the oven at about 15 minutes into the cooking time.

While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by mixing cream cheese (with hand mixer, if that's what you've got) until creamy. Add milk and combine. Sift in powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.