Red Pepper Paste

Red Pepper Paste: My Secret Ingredient

Red Pepper Paste

I’m all fired up in the kitchen today! Got my #RedPepperPaste, got my energy, and I’m ready to work! It’s one my of secret ingredients in the kitchen. Something that I always have handy.

In Portuguese, it’s called Massa de Pimentão and there are many versions; some prepare with red bell peppers, some prepare with roasted bell peppers, but I love this version David Leite developed using two kids of paprika at his cookbook The New Portuguese Table. Throw at many recipes, use it as a condiment, a seasoning, and your cooking will improve a million points!

David Leite also wrote a beautiful memoir called Notes On a Banana, a candid, courageous and funny story about family, food, mental illness and sexual identity. I read it in about a week! Highly recommend!

 

Red Pepper Paste

Recipe adapted from The New Portuguese Table, from my dear friend and author David Leite.

Makes about 1 cup

 

2 tablespoons sweet paprika

2 tablespoons sweet smoked paprika

¼ cup dry red wine

8 to 10 garlic cloves

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoons tomato paste

1 ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice

7 sprigs fresh cilantro

5 sprigs fresh parsley

1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup olive oil

 

  • Dump both types of paprika, the wine, garlic, bay leaves, tomato paste, lemon juice, cilantro, parsley, salt and pepper, into a food processor or mini chop and pulse until the garlic and herbs are minced Scrape down any chunky bits from the sides of the bowl.
  • While the motor is running, pour in the olive oil and continue whirring until the paste is slick and homogeneous, 1 to 2 minutes. Use the mixture immediately, or spoon into a small glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate. The paste will keep for up to a month in the refrigerator.

 

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See you next time!

Leticia

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Biscuits

Thanksgiving Biscuits

Once a year I make these biscuits. I found this recipe at one of my favorite sources, The New York Times Cooking. Here on my blog, I take you step by step, action by action, and together we perfect this recipe to obtain the best results ever with these incredible recipe.

The great secret of this Biscuit recipe, moist on the inside and crunchy on the outside, is not to overwork the dough. You want to treat the dough just like puff pastry, turning over and over. The result shows; several layers form during baking time, making this recipe a mixture of bread and puff pastry like no other!

 

Yield: 3 dozen 2-inch biscuits

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups (480g) all-purpose flour, sifted (more to dust)

¼ cup (40g) baking powder

¼ cup (50g) sugar

½ teaspoon of salt

1 stick (120g) salted butter, cold and cut into pieces

3 sticks (360g) salted margarine, cold, cut into pieces

1¾ cups (420ml) buttermilk, cold

PROCEDURE:

1- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, put the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Turn the machine on and mix everything up for 15 seconds.

2- Add the butter, margarine, and buttermilk all at once. Turn the machine on at low speed and count to ten. This step goes very fast; you want to add the ingredients all at once and do not overwork the dough. You will have large pieces of butter and margarine quite visible—that’s ok.

3- Scrape the dough and pour over a generously sprinkled surface with flour. Warning: dough is soft and wet. With a roll, open the dough by making a vertical rectangle, about 2-inches thick. Work the dough as you work with puff pastry: fold the bottom of the dough bringing it to the center and then fold the top covering the bottom. Make a rotation of 90˚, and open the dough again, always dusting flour all over, and maintaining the same thickness, bringing the lower and upper part of the rectangle to the center. Continue repeating this process of opening, turning, and re-opening a few times ( at least 5 times) until the dough is drier, and margarine and butter begin to integrate more into the dough—but not completely. You will notice trails of butter and margarine even after opening the dough several times— it is normal.

4- Put a handful of flour in a small bowl. Using a 2-inch round biscuit cutter, dip cutter into the flour, then cut dough into rounds. It is important to make the movement only from top to bottom, without turning the round cutter, as we all tend to do. As you cut the rolls, gather the dough again, open with the same thickness, always being careful not to overwork the dough, and continue cutting more rolls.

Let's bake them!

5- Put them on a tray and freeze them. Once frozen (about 2 hours), transfer to a sealed plastic bag. Biscuits may be frozen for up to 2 months.

6- For baking, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Use muffin tins and place each bun inside a cavity. Let it thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature for 20 minutes before baking. In batches, bake until the crust is golden and beautiful, about 25 minutes. Remove from muffin tins and let them cool. Serve with butter and /or jelly.

Biscuits, nice and golden

 

Asparagus with Shallot and Parsley Sauce

Asparagus with Shallot and Parsley Sauce

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Simple recipe to take advantage of the last days of summer!

Treat asparagus like flowers, and keep them in a vase under water, covered with a loose plastic around them to protect the tips.

In this recipe I like to boil the asparagus, but you can also grill or roast them. You can serve this recipe either as an appetizer, or as a side dish.  And I always buy an extra bunch to add to my breakfast omelet the next day!

 

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 pound asparagus, about 1 bunch

3 tablespoons salt for boiling water

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 slice of bacon, finely chopped, about 2 tablespoons

2 small shallots, finely chopped, about 1/3 cup

1 cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

 

  • Cut the woody bottom off the asparagus and peel it, leaving the flower part intact.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the salt and baking soda. Submerge the asparagus in the water and cook until they just become soft. Immediately transfer them to an ice bath and then let them cool completely. Remove from the ice bath and let them dry on paper towels.
  • In a medium sauté pan, add the olive oil and bacon and cook over medium heat, until lightly crispy, about 2 minutes.
  • Lower the heat and add the shallots, stirring occasionally, being careful not to brown them, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the chicken stock and reduce by half, about 5 minutes.
  • Lift the saucepan a few inches above the heat and add the cold pieces of butter. Shake the pan back and forth until the butter is melted and incorporated into the sauce. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the asparagus to the pan and reheat over very low heat, being careful not to boil the sauce (if you boil a sauce that contains butter, the sauce will break). Add the parsley.
  • Transfer the asparagus and sauce to a plate and serve with the Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

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