Orangified Sand Dollar Pancakes

Never been much of a pancake eater, but I had the urge to have a real brunch the other day and sand dollar pancakes (with Nutella) are perfect! Instead of just plain boring ole pancakes, I added dehydrated orange rinds to give it a bitter-sweet kick.

DEHYDRATED ORANGE RINDS

Ingredients

  • oranges – as many as you want
  • 1 Tablespoon of sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons of boiling water

Cut off the rinds, then slice them into slim pieces.

Mix the sugar and boiling water completely.

Pour the cut rinds into the water and stir them around a bit to make sure that they get completely coated – I usually let them sit a few minutes, just to be extra certain.

Then on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil lay the rinds out – BE SURE TO PICK THEM OUT SEPARATELY, use a slotted spoon or something of the like.

Put the sheet in the oven, toaster oven at a medium temperature for 10 to 15 minutes – keep an eye on them! While slightly burnt is ok, completely charred is not yummy.

I always have these on hand to through them in salads or other recipes – after they have cooled down I put them in an airtight container.

SAND DOLLAR PANCAKES

Ingredients:

  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 TSP Salt
  • 4 TBS Sugar
  • 6 TBS of Butter (melted)
  • 5 TBS Baking Powder
  • 1 Cup of Flour
  • 1 1/2 Cups of Milk (I used Lactose-free skim milk)

First combine the liquid-like items: milk, butter, eggs

Then slowly stir (or whisk) in the dry ingredients: sugar, salt, baking powder, flour.

Heat a skillet or frying pan to about 350 F, and ladle in the mixture. Cook them about one minute on each side.

That’s It! Super simple.

Serve with something sweet (fruit preserves, Nutella …).

P.S. this recipe makes enough for 4 people (usually)


A Berry Balsamic Chicken

I’m back. I totally lied to all of you. Well, I didn’t completely lie. I really was cooking up a storm and taking pictures and what have you (btw, I really think that whathaveyou should be one word), but moving the blog – well that is a lot more work than I have time for at this moment. Hence, my plan is to continue to post here (yipeee) while working on the other site (the bilingual-ness of the site was the biggest time consumer). Then, one day, I will move everything and people of both Spanish and English will be happy. Read the rest of this entry »


Very Veggie Lasagna

I have a couple versions of this flavorful veggie lasagna. The following is with textured vegetable protein (TVP), so as to mimic ground beef. This recipe is by no means dairy-free or gluten-free (sorry, dad). Neither is this recipe to be made when feeling lazy – though feeling lazy while eating is permitted – it is labor intensive with around 2 hours for prep.

The lasagna I am familiar with uses ricotta cheese, which is difficult to find and ridiculously expensive here, so the “traditional” Chilean lasagna is made with two separate sauces and I wouldn’t suggest making the two sauces at once until you’ve got your rhythm well set.

The first sauce is a veggie bolognese sauce. Using the vegetable protein is easy, but I also throw in other veggies (corn, carrots, zucchini …) to add to the texture.

The second is a cream sauce, it helps if you thicken it with corn starch or flour so that is doesn’t come out too liquidy in the end.

Also, because this recipe is so labor intensive, I use pre-cooked lasagna noodles – gotta cheat somewhere. Buy yourself a package and they should last you through this recipe at least twice.

Besides the ingredients for the sauces, you will need:

  • Pre-cooked lasagna noodles.
  • Cheese – I know, so generic, but a mild flavored, easily meltable, light colored cheese. Here, Gouda or Chanco seem to be the cheeses of choice. Depends on how large your baking pan is for how much you  will need – it is only used to top at the end.
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Salt
  • Oregano
  • A lot of fresh basil

Sauce #1 – the tomato sauce:

  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Half a large yellow onion – chopped
  • One carrot finely diced (remember little cubes so that the texture sort of resembles ground beef)
  • 1/2 cup of fresh corn
  • 1 cup of TVP – ready to cook (already soaked)
  • Oregano
  • Two large beefsteak tomatoes – diced
  • 1/2 cup of red wine
  • Tomato paste
  • 2 Bay leaves

Sauce #2 – the cream sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • salt
  • fresh black pepper
  • merkén (or cayenne pepper)
  • 1 large garlic clove (thinly sliced)
  • Zucchini sliced in long wide strips (1 cm thick, the length of half the zucchini)
  • 400 ml of fresh cream
  • 1 teaspoon of ground fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tablespoons of flour or other thickening agent
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh basil leaves

Let’s start with the tomato sauce:

1. Place a large sauce pan on high fire, once the pan is hot, turn the heat to medium add 2 teaspoons of cumin and 1 teaspoon of whole fennel seeds, toasting until fragrant.

2. Once fragrant add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, mixing until fragrant. Then add the chopped onion.

3. Once well mixed and even more fragrant – add the carrots, corn, and TVP.

4. Season with salt, pepper, and oregano.

5. Now I add the wine and let it reduce because I want the flavors in the veggies, but you can add the wine after the tomatoes and paste, if you prefer. So like I said, add the wine, turn the heat up, and let it reduce by about a fourth then lower the heat.

7. Add the tomatoes and stir in the paste to thicken the sauce a bit, mix in the bay leaves, cover and simmer for 20 minutes – during which time you can start the cream sauce.

Cream sauce:

First, let me preface this with – this sauce – or, rather, layer – is really two layers.

Part 1:

1. Heat a sauce pan (on high), then add half of the butter, turn down the heat, throw in the garlic slices, and add a bit of salt, pepper, and merkén (or cayenne pepper).

2. Once fragrant add some of the zucchini slices – lightly cook both sides and remove when done.

3. Continue with the other slices, in the middle you may need to add more butter and seasoning, before continuing.

4. Set these aside for use during the layering part.

Part 2:

1. In the same pan, add the cream (I used the boxed cream and a box of water), and about 10 twists of fresh pepper, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of merkén (or cayenne pepper), and 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds – whisk together.

2. Once it starts to boil, whisk in the thickening agent, until creamy.

3. Lastly, stir in the whole basil leaves.

Finally we have reached the last step! Take out your baking pan, cheese, pre-cooked lasagna noodles, the rest of your basil (you are going to make an entire layer out of it), and fresh black pepper and oregano to finish it off before popping it in the oven.

1. Pre-heat the oven to 215ºC (420ºF).

2. It is time to layer! Start with the (1)tomato sauce, make a nice thin layer on the bottom, then put a layer of the (2)lasagna noodles on top. Now, place the (3)zucchini strips on top the noodles. Cover the zucchini with a layer of the (4)cream sauce, and top with a layer of (5)whole basil leaves. Another layer of (6) lasagna noodles. And, back to the tomato sauce layer (1). Continue this process until you reach the top of your baking pan – obviously if you run out of basil leaves or zucchini strips, just leave them out.

3. No matter what, you want one of the sauces (doesn’t matter which one) on the top layer. Place the slices of cheese on top to cover the lasagna and sprinkle with pepper and oregano before placing it in the oven.

4. Cook for 12-15 minutes – until the noodles are soft and things are “a bubblin'”.

This lasagna is great anytime of the year, but obviously easier to make when you have 3 hours to spare. If you have made it this far, I promise, you are in for a treat.

Be sure to let it cool so you don’t burn your tongue!


Basil Ceviche

Being that I am from the northern hemisphere, when it is warm out I forget that Valentine’s Day is around the corner. So, waiting until the last minute means that the restaurants we want to go to are all booked up. Instead we decided to have a nice romantic dinner at home. I decided to change up the traditional Peruvian ceviche ingredient of cilantro and used basil (and lots of it) instead, which gave an extra freshness to the recipe.

1 kilo of Reineta (Southern rays bream), filleted and chopped in bite-sized chunks

*reineta is a common and cheap fish in Chile that is also often used in sushi. If you don’t have access to reineta you can substitute it with any white fish.

2 teaspoons of finely chopped rocoto

2 ají verde (seeded and diced)

1 small yellow onion (finely sliced)

1/4 green pepper (finely sliced)

juice from 2 medium lemons

a splash of white vinegar

1 garlic clove (minced)

2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil

Mix everything together and put it in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

This dish is gluten-free, dairy-free, and the fish can be substituted with corn, zucchini, hearts of palm, tomatoes, avocados, cucumbers … to make it vegetarian and vegan. Enjoy!


Tangy Ginger Mustard Dressing

a dollop of Dijon mustard

juice from half a lemon

freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon of cumin

about one inch of ginger root

1 tablespoon of canola oil

You can use a blender or a mini-pimer. Blend everything except the oil, then add the oil slowly while blending.

another variation is the lemon juice with the dijon mustard and merken (kinda like ground cayenne pepper) – I just mix it all up.

These are refreshing and light with a kick!


Vietnamese Inspired Chicken

 

This can be made spicy to taste. I used a Peruvian rocoto pepper – and just a few skinny slices, at that! and the leftover sauce that used over my rice was potent!

There are different ways to make rice and different types of rice to make. With a dish this flavorful it is best to make steamed white rice, though plain brown rice would be nice as well. Yes “asian” rice exists in Santiago, but when you want to use what you have on hand in your house, the most common rice is long grain grade 2. Yet, with the proper prep, it can also be just as refreshing as the traditional kind. Skip ahead if you are a rice master.

You can google rice making online and find a bunch of different ways to make your steamed rice *without a rice maker*, but this is what has worked for me in every place that I have lived:

With rice in pot, rinse several times – swirling and cleaning – until the water is clear.

Pour in water not only to cover the rice, but make sure there is about 1 cm more of water.

Let it sit, preferably covered, for at least 20 minutes.

Add 1 cup of water (obviously if you are making a lot of rice you would need more) and turn the burner on high and heat uncovered until the water bubbles.

Cover and turn down the heat to low – if you have a gas stove top, I would also suggest placing a stove top toaster between the flame and the pot – and cover until you can smell the rice.

When you can smell it, or basically you can no longer see any water, turn the burner off and keep it covered.

I leave it like that until I am done cooking the entire meal.

Ok, back to the recipe at hand. You will need:

  • 2 chicken thighs (or whatever other part you may want)
  • 1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons of minced rocoto
  • 1/2 cup of tamarin water  *I explain below how to prepare this — lemon/lime juice may be used as a substitute
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup of water

Boil the water in a wok, or a deep sauce pan.

Once the water is boiling add the chicken. Turn down the heat, add the rocoto and ginger to the water, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes.

Add the tamarind water and honey. Mix well and continue to turn, paying close attention to keep the sauce even. You should cook the chicken for another 10-15 minutes. Eventually the sauce will become a glaze. I left mine a bit liquidy to top my rice, but that was a personal preference.

Slice some pretty fresh veggies, like green pepper and carrot, slim, and serve atop a bed of fresh greens.

*tamarind water* cut off about an inch of packaged tamarind pulp and let it sit in 1/2 cup of warm water for 15 minutes. Once it has cooled, run through a mesh strainer.


Greek Inspired Roasted Chicken ‘n Potatoes

I am feeling lazy; I don’t want to do much prep. I would much rather stick it in the oven and watch a movie, rather than slaving over a hot stove. As I’m downloading an Oscar pick, I do the prep:

2 chicken breasts (on the bone) or 2 thighs or any 2 pieces of chicken with some skin and bone to make it tastier.

several dollops of dried oregano

freshly ground pepper

kosher salt

5 cloves of garlic

juice from half an orange

juice from 1 lemon

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

several red bliss potatoes cut into eighths

and 1/2 cup of water

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

2. Rinse and pat dry the chicken.

3. Mix oregano, salt, pepper, orange juice, lemon juice, 1 minced garlic clove, and olive oil.

4. Place the chicken in a roasting pan, and pour some of the mixture over the breasts.

5. Place the potatoes and 4 whole garlic cloves (I halved them) around the chicken and add and extra dollup of oregano, salt, and pepper.

6. Pour the rest of the liquid over the chicken and potatoes and pour half the water in the pan.

7. Roast it, uncovered, in the oven for 50 minutes – baste periodically if desired.

8. Turn the chicken/potatoes, if needed add the remaining water.

9. Leave it in for another 50 minutes.

My movie has downloaded. As I let it cool, I watch the ending, and then dinner is served.