Oven Roasted Onions

Oven Roasted Onions

What’s better than caramelized onions? Oven Roasted Onions, caramelized with chicken stock, heavy cream and rosemary!

Inspired by an old recipe I pulled from the pages of Saveur Magazine more than 15 years ago, this recipe became a classic in my repertoire. I make this with my eyes closed. And after your first time, you will too. It’s so easy and so delicious, you’ll be cooking again and again!

 

Oven Roasted Onions

Oven Roasted Onions

Serves 6

 

Ingredients:

6 large yellow onions, skin on

2 cups beef stock (or chicken)

3 tablespoon extra -virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

4 rosemary sprigs

½ cup heavy cream

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400˚F. Cut about 1/4-inch off the bottoms and tops of the onions so that they can sit upright when cut in half. Next, slice the onions in half horizontally. Arrange them cut side up in a large baking dish (enough to fit all of the onions).
  • Pour the beef stock over and around the onions, drizzle olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Scatter rosemary over the onions and into the stock in the baking dish.
  • Roast in the oven, basting often with the stock, until the onions are soft when pierced with the tip of a pairing-knife, and the stock has been reduced but not completely dried out. This should take about 1 hour.
  • Remove the baking dish from the oven and pour the cream over the onions. Return the dish to the oven, and roast again, until pan juices have thickened slightly, and the tops of the onions have browned, about 20 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.

 

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Orange Coconut Shake

Orange Coconut Shake

I’m not always in the mood for a mocktail, but that doesn’t mean I just want water. Consider this Orange Coconut Shake, a refreshing drink made with orange juice and coconut milk. Think of it as a nonalcoholic drink that uses simple ingredients that you probably have on hand. It can be a menu addition to your small family gathering in times of Covid. Especially if this means you get to have a chic adult cocktail without any alcohol.

 

Orange Coconut Shake

Makes 4 small shakes

 

1 tablespoon cardamom pods

¼ cup (50g) organic cane sugar

1 cup coconut milk

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

¼ cup sour cream

½ cup crushed ice

 

  • In a small skillet over high heat, toast the cardamom pods lightly until they are fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Let it cool completely. Reserve 3 pods for garnish.
  • Place the cardamom, sugar and coconut milk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Let it cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes.
  • Strain the coconut milk mixture directly into a blender, along with the orange juice, sour cream, and ice. Blend until smooth. Pour into 4 tall thin glasses (or champagne glasses) and grade a little bit of cardamom on top as garnish. Serve immediately.

 

 

 

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Pork Ramen Noddle

Pork Ramen Noddle

This is how I layer my Pork Ramen Noddle: I make the pork, mushrooms and broth separately. And then, it’s the layers of ingredients that make all the difference.

You can also watch a video of me and my daughter, Bianca, making this dish on You Tube.

 

Pork Ramen Noddle

Serves 4

 

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered

1 shallot, finely minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 pound pre-cooked pulled pork

1 onion, sliced

1 pound ramen noodles, cooked

2 scallions, white and green parts, cut ion the bias

2 hard-boiled eggs, cut in half

6 cups reduced sodium beef broth

2 radishes, cut into thin stripes

2 baby cucumbers, sliced

1 cup cilantro leaves (not chopped)

 

  • Prepare the mushrooms: heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan on high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, without stirring until it starts to release its oil, about 3 minutes. Add the shallots, and season with salt and pepper. Mix everything and cook until mushrooms are soft and tender, about 5 minutes all together. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
  • Prepare the Pork: using the same pan as the mushrooms, heat the remaining olive oil and add the sliced onions. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon until it soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the pulled pork and break it up in pieces, making sure pork is completely broken up into thin threads. Cook, stirring frequently until pork is completely flavored. Add about ¼ cup water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
  • Meanwhile, heat the beef broth and make sure it’s well seasoned.
  • To assemble the Ramen Soup, place some cooked noodles, about ¼ cup pulled pork and some mushrooms in a bowl. Ladle the broth on top, and garnish with the scallions, cucumbers, radish, eggs and cilantro. Serve immediately.

 

 

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Onion Gratin Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Onion Gratin Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Maybe it will happen tonight, or tomorrow. How many sandwiches are you eating during this quarantine?

I saw a recipe at the NY Times Cooking Section (by Ali Slagle) that inspired me. And oh boy, this Onion Gratin Grilled Cheese Sandwich is just as good as I thought it would be! I brought it up to quarantine cooking club and have been making this sandwich over and over again. It already became a regular in the weekly repertoire in my house.

Caramelizing onions does take a bit of time to prepare.  I usually prepare it when I’m cooking something else so that have it ready in the fridge, and then, when I crave for this sandwich, boom, it’s ready.

I usually like a small sandwich, so I always go for the end parts of the bread as they are smaller than the center cut of a loaf. But if you like a regular sized sandwich, be sure to center slices. I used Italian bread because that’s what I had at home at the time, but any country style or sourdough bread will make a damn good sandwich.

As for the cheese, traditionally, the classic French Onion Soup calls for Grueye cheese. I had cheddar in the fridge, that’s what I used. Feel free to use muenster, gruyere, cheddar or any other yellow cheese of your preference.

You can use a panini press machine, an iron camp cooker or just a simple plain skillet.

You can watch of video of this recipe on my YouTube Channel! And don’t forget to subscribe!

 

Onion Gratin Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Serves 2

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 pound onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted to mayonnaise point

1 center slices Italian bread

4 slices white cheddar cheese

1 raw garlic clove

 

Cook the onions: in a large skillet heat the olive oil over low heat and add the onions. Cook slowly, stirring frequently, until they caramelize into a deep amber caramel color, about 25 to 30 minutes. If you see some onions burning on the sides, add a tablespoon of water. Resist the temptation to turn up the heat; they need to caramelize over low heat or else they might burn too fast. Transfer to a plate or a container and keep refrigerated. You can make the onions up to 5 days ahead of time.

Pre-heat the panini press.

Spread melted butter on the outer parts of the bread.

Mound some onions, about 2-3 tablespoons on one side of the bread, top with the cheese, close the sandwich and take it to press until nice and golden-brown and the cheese is melted, about 4-5 minutes.

 

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Quentão Brazilian Drink

Quentão, Brazilian Drink

I wasn’t exactly in a cozy room when I tried Quentão, a Brazilian spiced tea made with chachaça, but I quickly immersed myself in the excitement of this rich drink while sitting in a snack bar in Teresópolis, a mountain town about one-hour away from Rio de Janeiro.

Teresópolis allows us, Cariocas (people born in Rio), a fake-winter excuse to wear warm sweatshirts and boots, while sitting by the fireplace with a coffee cup, as the local weather is at least some 20 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than Rio itself.

In Portuguese the word quente means hot (quentão=super hot). By tradition, the tea is prepared with flavorful spices such as cinnamon stick, lemongrass, ginger, cloves, star anis, and some sugar, and finished with cachaça.

As I taste the rusticity of this Brazilian cider-like-alcoholic-tea, hints of ginger, cinnamon and lemongrass filled my mouth with warm sensations, with a slight undertone of pepper from the cachaça.

If quentão promotes cozy feelings in the mild winters of Teresopolis, imagine what fantasies it would promote during a snowstorm in the American northeast? Its warmth, balanced by a lingering peppery sweetness surely promises happy endings, or at least, to ease the winter blues.

 

Quentão

 

Serves 4

 

1 L (4 cups) water

1 large piece of fresh ginger (about ¼ lb), peeled and roughly chopped

2 limes cut into 4 pieces

3 to 4 cinnamon sticks

1 lemongrass, roughly chopped

6 cloves

3 star-anise

1 cup sugar

I bottle (750 ml, or about 3 cups) cachaça

 

Place all the ingredients except the cachaça in a large sauce-pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil turn off the heat and cover the pan with a tight lid. Let it steep for 20 minutes. Add the cachaça, mix well, and strain the liquid. Serve hot. Keep the left over in a plastic container in the fridge and re-heat before serving.

 

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Gislaine Murgia’s Best Honey Cake

Gislaine Murgia

Gislaine Murgia

 

Gislaine Murgia came to the U.S. 11 years ago. Her kitchen in Queens, New York is strongly connected to her homeland—and mine— from the cakes and snacks like empadinhas (empanadas) and coxinhas (chicken fritters), to brigadeiros and other confections from Brazil. But the sweet she craves the most is pão de mel, or honey cake. And so she decided to give life to the recipe, here in New York City.

Contrary to what the name indicates, there is nothing bready about pão de mel(pão means bread in Portuguese). Gislaine’s honey cake is based on her mother’s recipe, baked in a sheet pan, soaked in syrup, cut into small squares, and dipped in chocolate.

Gislaine was born and raised in São Paulo and immigrated to the U.S. following the footsteps of her mother, who had done the same 20 years ago. Determined to restart her life after becoming pregnant with a baby daughter, Gislaine left a drug addict and alcoholic husband behind, losing 75 pounds in the process.

In Brazil, Gislaine worked as a sales associate in different home décor stores, but when her family bought a pizzeria, she joined the party and acquired a liking for cooking.

Since Gislaine arrived in New York, she has been taking a step-by-step approach to life, not afraid of knocking on people’s door offering her delicious confections. “Everyone who tries my honey cake (pão de mel), wants to buy more”, she says happily.

Mercifully, this style of classic Brazilian pastries has proven remarkably resistant over the decades, and because tolerance is such a strong Brazilian trait—for good and bad—it also got carried over food. Brazilians became so immune to dried versions of pão de mel, that a good one has become an emblem of a particular culinary skill. If one can make a marvelous pão de mel, then one can truly cook.

Gislaine’s pão de mel, moist and perfumed with cinnamon and cloves, reveals the prefect balance between sugar and spicy, chocolate and honey. It caught me by surprise since I wasn’t expecting to find a version as good as this, in New York City, of all places.

Honey Cake

This is just one of the reasons why I love to meet Brazilians who live here. We are immigrants, and we are here not by birth, but by choice. Behind every recipe, there are beautiful story, and the more recipes I discover, the more I realize how strong Brazilian people really are.

Back in Brazil, pão de melis frozen in the past; at best it is home-made classic, at worst, and most often, it is dried cake, overly coated with hydrogenated chocolate. Gislaine’s pão de melrepresents the past at its best. Even thousands of miles away from home, it brought me back to Brazil, and reminded me of my own past and childhood, sweet and unforgettable.

To know more about Gislaine’s work, visit her facebook page

To order Gislaine’s honey cake and other treats, please get in touch with her: [email protected]

Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

A Pie from the Sky: Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

In praise of summer, this Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart is the dessert of now!

it’s a pie in the sky, adapted from Nick Malgieri’s cookbook Bake! (Kyle Books 2010)

Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

 

Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart

Makes a 10-inch or 8 to 10 servings

The dough is enough for 2 tarts

Cookie Dough Tart Crust

¼ cup (52g) slivered almonds

¾ cup (108g) confection sugar

2 ½ cups (405g) all-purpose flour

pinch salt

2 sticks (227g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Almond Crumb Topping

1 ¼ cup (190g) all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (65g) organic sugar

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch salt

¼ cup (35g) slivered almonds

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

 

Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling

1 lb (454g) cream cheese, softened

1 cup confection sugar (more for garnish)

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 lb strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and halved (or quartered if large)

 

  • Prepare the Dough:Combine the almonds and confection sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse repeatedly until finely ground, about 1 minute. No visible pieces of almond should remain. Use a spatula to scrape the bowl.
  • Add the flour and salt and pulse a couple of times to mix. Add the butter and pulse well. Add the yolks and vanilla and pulse until the dough form a a ball.
  • Invert the dough onto a floured surface. Shape the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, or at least 1 minute. You can prepare the dough u to 5 days ahead.
  • Bring the dough to room temperature at least 20 minutes before handling. Flour the surface and dough and use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a round disk, adding pinches of flour under and on top of the dough as needed.
  • Warp the dough on the rolling pin, lift it onto the tart pan, and unwrap. Fit the dough into the pan, making sure it’s flat against the bottom and sides of the pan. Trim away the excess.
  • Plate the tart pan in the refrigerator and chill for at least 20 minutes before blind baking.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F. Line the crust, bottom and sides with a parchment paper and fill with dry beans. Bake until the crust is dry and looking set, about 10 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and return the tart to bake until the crust is evenly lightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Cool the crust on a rack.
  • Prepare the Almond Crumb:In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the almonds and butter. Let the mixture stand for a few minutes then use your fingers to break the mixture into ¼ – to – 1/2-inch crumbs. Spread the crumbs onto a sheet pan and bake in the oven until deep golden brown.
  • Prepare the Cream Cheese Filling:Place the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the confection sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla and continue beating until lightened, about 1 minute.
  • Assemble the Tart:Spread half of the cream cheese filling on the bottom of the tart crust and arrange the berries on it, cut side down. Spread the remaining filling over the berries. Scatter the crumb topping over the filling. Right before serving, dust the top with confection sugar.
  • Unmold the tart and slide it off the pan base to a platter and serve.

Dulce de Leche and Coconut Roulade

rocambole

Dulce de Leche is present in all of cuisines of Latin America. From Chile to Venezuela, Argentina to Brazil. In fact, there is an unofficial rivalry between who invented dulce de leche: Argentineans from the region of La Paila claim the glory, and we Brazilians, also fight for the title. It is true, especially to the state of Minas Gerais, in the heart of Brazil’s dairy country. As I am from Rio, I never paid that much attention. Perhaps, this kind of competition matters very little to most cooks—myself included—as it is what you can do with dulce de leche that matters most. Like this Roulade! Indulge!

Serves 6 to 8

For the Cake:

5 eggs, separated

Pinch salt

¾ cup (105g) flour, sifted

½ cup + 1 tablespoon (125g) sugar

 

To Soak the Cake:

1 cup coconut milk, heated and cooled (to soak the cake)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

For the Filling:

2 cups (600g) store bought dulce de letche

½ cup (40g) unsweetened grated coconut

 

For the Glaze:

½ cup heavy cream

5.3 oz (150g) (about ½ cup) dulce de leche

 

Equipment: 12X18X1 inch sheet cake pan greased with butter, lined with parchment paper and greased again (do not let the paper go up the sides of the pan). Have a clean kitchen towel and sugar handy.

 

  • Prepare the Cake: Pre-heat the oven to 350˚F. Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add a pinch of salt and start beating until the whites start to foam and rise. Gradually add the sugar and beat until they become a firm meringue reaching soft peaks, about 4 minutes.
  • In another bowl, lightly whisk the yolks together. Gently scoop one third of the meringue and fold with the yolks. Now scrape the lightened yolks onto the meringue, and fold everything together using a large rubber spatula. Mix in the flour, and fold carefully, rubbing the sides and the bottom center of the mold, making sure there are no pockets of flour. The cake will deflate a little—that’s normal, but it should still look fluffily.
  • Pour the cake batter onto the prepared sheet pan, and spread out evenly with an off set spatula. Bake in the oven until it looks very lightly golden brown, and uniformly puffed, about 12-16 minutes. (Attention: If you over bake, even by a few minutes, the cake will dry out and become un-rollable.)
  • Meanwhile, Prepare the Coconut Milk: In a small saucepan bring the coconut milk to a low boil then let it cool completely. Whisk in the vanilla extract.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and let it rest 2 minutes inside the pan while you prepare the wet towel: wet a kitchen towel completely, twist, and remove excess water. Stretch on a clean counter. Invert the cake onto the towel, remove the pan, and carefully peel off the parchment paper. If the edges are slightly dry, trim it. Let it cool at room temperature.
  • Soak the Cake: Brush the cake with coconut milk.
  • Spread the Filling: In a bowl, mix together the dulce de leche with the coconut.
  • Using an off set spatula, spread the filling across the entire cake.
  • Roll the Cake: Using the towel to help you, gently lift and roll the cake, starting with the long side farthest from you and finish so that the seam is on the bottom. Trim the two outer sides to make a clean cut. Transfer to a rack.
  • Glaze the Cake: Put the dulce de leche in a bowl. In a medium saucepan heat the heavy cream; pour onto the dulce de leche and whisk well. Pour over the rolled cake and carefully transfer to a rectangular plate. Serve at room temperature.

rocambole

 

Step by Step Chicken-Stuffed Beef Roulade

Step by Step Chicken-Stuffed Beef Roulade

 

Chicken Stuffed-Beef Roulade

Chicken Stuffed-Beef Roulade

Meat stuffed with chicken, a specialty from Goias. Wait. What? At first, it seems like an odd combination but when you taste, you’ll love it! The roulade is slowly roasted and presents a spectrum of textures: crusty and flaky meat around the edges and moist ground chicken stuffing packed with aromatic flavors in the center, this roulade is succulent and rich.

Truth be told: this is not the easiest of dishes, and it needs to rest in the refrigerator for a day. Yet, it is my kind of dish. There is some work and technique involved, especially when it comes to butterflying and tying the meat. I must confess I have never mastered the butcher’s way of using twine, and the two endings of this meat log always suffer from my poor tying skills (I am working on it!). Even though I don’t make the most perfect embroidery, once roasted, it looks gorgeous and tastes sublime.

 

Serves 6 to 8

 

1 flank steak (around 1 ½ pounds)

3/4 pound ground chicken (mixed from white and dark)

2 scallions (white and green parts), finely chopped (about ¼ cup)

1 stalk celery, finely chopped (about ¼ cup)

Half red onion, chopped (about ½ cup)

Half yellow bell pepper, finely chopped (about ½ cup)

Half red bell pepper, finely chopped (about ½ cup)

1 small carrot, finely diced (about 1/3 cup)

4 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 chicken bouillon cube, grated into powder

2 teaspoons Kosher salt

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. Using a boning knife or a very sharp paring knife, trim any excess fat and silver skin from the flank steak. Carefully butterfly the meat, working across the grain and trying not to tear it. Start through one of the long edges and slowly cut deeper into the meat. Keeping the meat flat and the knife blade horizontal at all times will help with the job. When you reach the center, stop and open the meat as if it was a book (If you know a good butcher, don’t be shy to ask him to do it for you). Season both sides liberally with salt and pepper. Set aside while you prepare the filling.
  2. Place the ground chicken in a large bowl. Stir in the scallions, celery, red onion, bell peppers, carrot, garlic, parsley, one tablespoon of the olive oil, the soy sauce, and bouillon cube. Mix well. To check the seasoning, pinch off an egg-size piece and cook it in a hot skillet with a dash of oil. Season the rest of the filling with salt and pepper as necessary.
  3.  Place the ground meat mixture inside the opened flank steak, cut side up, and spread throughout the surface of the meat. Make sure to leave a 2-inch edge on all sides. The amount of stuffing may vary slightly, depending on the size of your flank steak.beef chicken roulade
  4. Carefully roll the flank steak making sure to fold some meat over the ends to avoid ground meat from escaping.chick beef roulade
  5. Tie the roulade with a string, making a knot in 5 to 6 places. Don’t worry if the ends are a little messy; as long as you tie it well, the dish will hold its shape.  Wrap the roulade in plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator for 1 day (or up to 2 days) so that the flavors have a chance to blend. Make sure to bring it to room temperature at least 30 minutes before proceeding.img_1509img_5523
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 225˚F.
  7. Warm the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium to high heat. Add the roulade and cook, rotating every 2 minutes until it forms a nice brown crust all over, about 8 minutes.
  8. Transfer to a cutting board and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
  9. Wrap the roulade in aluminum foil and seal the edges very tightly. Place seam side up pm a baking sheet on the center rack of the oven. Cook for about 2 hours, until you reach a 155˚F internal temperature. Save any juices that render and accumulate.
  10. Remove from the oven and let rest with the foil wrap closed, for about 15 minutes.
  11. Open the foil, pour any juices into a bowl, and place the meat onto a cutting board. Using a serrated knife cut ¾ -inch thick slices. Serve with the juices drizzled on top.
Asparagus with Shallot and Parsley Sauce

Asparagus with Shallot and Parsley Sauce

img_9080  

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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