Category Archives: events

Paris je t´aime

So here we are again, it´s Daring Baker time, but for this challenge, you´ll only need a handful of ingredients, one of them being patience of course, because this month we are making French bread!

the good life

French bread

I was very glad when I saw what Sara and Mary had chosen for us this month… though I have to admit the thought of using the oven in the middle of summer wasn´t particularly appealing, but it was a bread I hadn´t tried before and by someone who seems to be a legend between US bloggers: Julia Child.

No, we didn´t grow up watching Julia Child cook around here, we had our very own Doña Petrona, who seems to have had the same grandmotherly feel to her. You know, the type of books you go back to again and again. And that´s why I was interested in trying a recipe by Julia Child, someone as beloved and classic as that couldn´t steer me in the wrong direction.

But she could give directions, tons and tons of them, 8 pages in this recipe alone! But it´s the sort of recipe that´s good for someone who hasn´t made bread before and might be a little freaked out by the whole thing, so I won´t blame her for it.


French bread

The recipe itself was quite easy (but beware that you have to find a way to enjoy sticky hands if you are doing all the kneading by hand like me). Oh, and I did sort of make it twice since the first time when I was about to give the dough its first rise I realized the flour I was using had long passed its sell-by date, which meant quickly throwing it in the trash, and when I took out the trash the next night, I had a huge monster dough that had been happily fermenting away, yuck!

So anyways, while I waited for the (second and not rotten) dough to rise I turned to Peter Reinhart to find some photos of different bread shapes I could play with. And I settled for a baghette (which I can´t really call that since my cuts and the shape itself needs some work), an epi (sheaf of wheat), a tabatiere (pouch), and a dinner roll with a spiky top made with sharp scissors.

French bread, second proofing

As for the veredict: the bread was delicious and the texture was quite impressive, so I´m planning on making it again during the winter. I served it quite simply with good olive oil, homegrown tomatoes and basil, and some smoked ham. Sometimes it doesn´t take expensive or exotic ingredients to create a remarkable meal, give me simple Mediterranean any day!

French bread



Filed under bread, Daring bakers, events, food

How to do acid…

…well, using lemon of course. Even though this isn´t really the best season for lemon desserts here, I have always been a sucker for lemon meringue pie, so when Jen chose it for our January challenge I was delighted. Yes, the lemons wouldn´t be the most lemony they can be, but it was the first challenge with something I had made before, so I must admit deep inside a little voice said “hell, yeah, something easy!”

lemon meringue pies

But then I started reading comments by other Daring Bakers in our blog crying over liquidy lemon curds and I started to worry a little bit, maybe 15 minutes in the oven after the curd had set were a bit too much… I didn´t really fancy the idea of lemon-meringue soup.

lemon meringue pies

lemon meringue pie

Yet luckily, it all turned out fine, except for the fact that the meringue started “weeping” after a few hours, which was very annoying and made a mess, and ended up with one sticky Phoebe… though that should teach her not to be around begging for food when I´m unmolding a tart!

The curd wasn´t my favorite either, but that could be the weaker lemons anyway. As for the meringue and the weeping-shrinking problem, I´ll go back to my usual French meringue or Italian meringue recipe and that should fix it (French meringue requiring you to heat up the whites with the sugar a little bit and then whisking the meringue, and Italian meringue using a hot water-sugar syrup instead of granulated sugar: what you want to do is cook the egg whites so that the meringue sets better and has a better staying power.)

lemon pie

As for the decoration, there wasn´t really much going on except for the variation I did using lemon curd topped with softened guava paste I had laying around and wanted to use somewhere. Oh, and I do use cherries to decorate EVERYTHING these days, can´t help it!

lemon meringue pie

lemon meringue pie

Check out Jen´s blog for the recipe, and the other DBs takes on the recipe, it´s bound to be hilarious with all the mixed reactions to the recipe and the disaster stories!


Filed under Daring bakers, events, food, sweet

You say potato…

Oh yeah, here we go again, it´s Daring Bakers time… you are thinking butter and sugar by the pound, right? But no, no, no, never assume we are going to do the same old thing.

This time, we are using no sugar and just a spoonful of butter, which as you know, in Daring Baker terms, is pretty much non existent. Not only that, we are going savory!

potato bread

My hips, for one, are releasing a big sigh of relief… but they might have celebrating too soon, because it´s not as if we are doing salads or anything, we are doing bread, potato bread to be more specific, which happens to be a vegetable, so I think it´s all good (stop laughing, don´t argue with my logic!).

potato bread

Anyways, on to the recipe. Our amazing hostess, Tanna, chose a wonderfully flexible potato bread recipe and gave us tons of room to be creative, including toppings and flavorings, and the choice of using from 6-16 ounces of mashed potatoes depending on our bread-baking experience. I used around 14 ounces and boy was it sticky, especially after I added chopped onions to the dough, but nothing some flour and patient kneading can´t fix.

potato bread

And the end result was definitely worth it: very moist bread with a nice crumb, which was good plain as a sandwich bread or for breakfast, and awesome as a blank canvas to go crazy with toppings and flavorings.

My choices: 1 loaf plain topped with sesame and sunflower seeds, and 2 loaves with chopped onions (chopped a bit earlier and squeezed), parmesan cheese and chopped basil inside and topped with a nice layer of parmesan cheese.

That´s breakfast for you

And that´s another great thing about the recipe, you get tons and tons of bread you can use as a focaccia, dinner rolls or whatever you want, so you can slice your leftovers and freeze them like I did, so the kneading definitely pays off since in my world, nothing beats homemade bread… and with summer approaching, that´s going to get hard, even for bread junkies like myself.

Potato bread

But before putting on your cutest apron and getting up to your elbows in wet dough, check out the amazing creations of my fellow Daring Bakers (I know, we are a tiny group!), and check out the recipe at Tanna´s blog.


Filed under bread, Daring bakers, events, food, savory, vegetables

Cinnamon buns… second helpings

Just when you thought you had seen all there was to be seen in terms of cinnamon rolls, Lis comes to the rescue with a knock-off of the famous Cinnabon rolls.

cinnamon rolls part II

You know, just in case we needed an extra bit of butter and sugar… and of course I was ready, summer just around the corner and all. And I have to say, I don´t regret it for a single minute.

First of all, chatting to the girls on yahoo while we did a bakeathon around the world was hilarious, even though some of the gals couldn´t make it (the whole group was comprised of Lis, Helene, Sara, Kelly, Laura Rebecca, Chris and Mary). I mean, it isn´t every day that you get to compare notes in real time with bakers all over the world… with different confidences and even curses towards yeast thrown in for good measure.

cinnamon rolls part II

And the recipe itself was quite easy (except for the frosting I didn´t really get right, I blame it on being Argentinian, which means I hadn´t tried or made a cream cheese frosting before), and the rolls were even yummier than Reinhart´s… I know, I didn´t think it was possible either! I´m so sorry, Peter, I did cheat on you. But you see, they did tempt me with brown sugar, a generous amount of cinnamon and a profusion of butter… what was I to do???

If you want to do a comparison yourself just in time for Christmas prepping, here´s Reinhart´s recipe and Lis has the recipe for the cinnabon knockoff.

cinnamon rolls part II

See you on Monday with the Daring Bakers challenge.


Filed under bread, Daring bakers, events, sweet


Tarts are definitely one of my favorite dishes. They are just so versatile! And they marry two of my biggest food loves: doughs and veggies, oh and cheese, so that makes 3.


So when I heard this moth´s Waiter, there´s something in my… was going to be about topless tarts, I was good to go, since it gave me the perfect excuse to try a brioche-like tart dough I had seen on tv and use up some broccoli I had in the fridge.


Now, this dough is just awesome, but it has quite a bit of butter for a savory tart dough, so it´s something for a special occasion, like movie nights with the girls (a weekly get together with some of my friends I was hosting last week, the link is the blog Sole put together with the movies we see, reviews and such.) It´s way easier to disregard a bit of butter when you are chitchatting! I also made an addicting peach cake with cardamom, but more on that later.


As for this tart, I loved it, all of it, the tender yet crunchy dough and the broccoli-rosemary-cheese filling I invented. Plus, it looked adorable, kinda like a little forest.


So I hope you give it a try, either to the whole thing or to one of the components. And check out the roundup of Waiter… next week to get tons of ideas of what to do with a bit of dough and some filling.

I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend! (but check back soon because I´ll be posting something tomorrow and we have the Daring Bakers challenge on Monday).



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Filed under events, food, savory, vegetables

Milanesas, reloaded

Some people are a very bad influence on me… like food bloggers leading me to hell in a path of gulletry, and my younger brother, who does just that but in person, which is even more dangerous.

mmmm crunchy

Case in point, his genius idea of making a pizza stuffed (yes, stuffed) with milanesas, which happen to be one of our national food obsessions, but are actually breaded slices of beef.

pizza stuffed with milanesas

It´s like a giant pizza sandwich filled with milanesas, mozarella, parmesan cheese and tomato sauce. He got this idea from something similar he had in a bar and he needed my help making his dream come true. And who am I to deny him? you know, I´m just selflessly trying to make people happy… stop snickering, I´m telling you, there was nothing in it for me… no, of course I don´t like pizza!

pizza stuffed with milanesas

Sometimes, when you make over-the-top dishes, you can feel a bit guilty, but that so wasn´t the case here. If anything, it made me happy and completely proud of our fattening concoction. In fact, I´m adding this dish to my rotation for dinners with friends or family gatherings because this one is a real crowd pleaser, and it´s not even that time consuming if you already have your milanesas ready to be cooked in the freezer.


And since I think no one in their right mind would resist to a slice of this pizza (even though the night pictures don´t show it in all its glory), I´m gonna be taking this dish to Peabody´s housewarming party, since I´m sure it´s going to be full of sugar-ladden treats, and there needs to be something savory to start with. If this doesn´t make a good house-warming gift, Peabody, I don´t know what will!

(Recipe after the jump)

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Filed under Argentina, bread, events, food, savory

Repaying in kind

In another chapter of voyeuristic blogging, I´m about to show the world… my aprons! But, before you start thinking I have a strong exhibitionist streak, this one is Ilva´s fault, since she was curious about people´s aprons and the story behind them, so she created an event around them.

I have to confess that I rarely use aprons while I cook. And it´s not because I shouldn´t given my clumsy ways, it´s just that I usually forget, that is, unless I´m making bread and the flying flour sends a clear put-on-your-apron message.

So I “only” have three aprons: two were given as gifts and one I bought from El Gourmet because I thought it was cool. Obviously, I´m going to talk about the two gifts.


This first apron was a gift from María Teresa, a fellow translator from Panama I met through and quickly grew attached to. It´s really funny how some people just seem familiar to you pretty much instantly, she certainly was one of those rare cases. She came to Buenos Aires for a translation conference last year, so we met there and I invited her to my house for a round of facturas. What I didn´t know is that she had brought me an amazing apron all the way from Panama. She told me the handiwork was very typical of a native tribe there, and being the clutz that I am, I obviously forgot the name of the tribe. But either way, this apron reminds me of her and just how nice and good-natured the world can seem at times… if only world politics were that easy!

apron Panama

Now, on to the second apron. This one was given to me by someone you probably know… none other than Helene from Tartelette. This one has a long story behind it, part of which would be weird for me to share, so let´s just say that I sent a care package to Helene a couple of months ago because she was going through a true ordeal and there´s just something special about her… I can´t quite put my finger on it, but I feel this weird connection with her, considering I´ve never met her. So, anyway, I don´t want to get all mushy and lose my street cred (yes, people, we are assuming I have street cred), so as I was saying, I sent her a dulce de leche jar and some salted butter caramels a while ago, and then Helene asked me for my address so she could send me a thank you note. (As an aside, thank you notes are a foreign concept to us in Argentina, so it did seem strange when she asked for my address, but I figured it was an American thing to do. Yes, she is French, but she could have Americanized after all these years.)


Last week, Helene told me to be on the look-out for the mailman because she had sent me a little something. Of course, my mind went into overdrive mode trying to figure out what it could be. And this is what I got in the mail:

apron Helene 2

How posh is this apron? I mean, it´s a bit too cute to cook with. I should just put it on before guests arrive so I look like a Stepford wife or Martha Stewart… cooking a full meal without breaking a sweat or getting dirty… as if!



Filed under events, rambling

We won´t go down without a fight

It seems that most of us are constantly struggling against our bodies… for some reason, hips and tighs refuse to support our cooking endeavours properly, those rebelious bastards! But, not to panick, Lisa and Kelly devised a foodie event to help us all called Salad Stravaganza.

Basically, any sort of salad would do, so the possibilities were pretty much endless. But I didn´t have to think for too long: good old caponata salad was perfect for this. It has tuna, tomatoes, olives, anchovies, peppers and a special type of cracker called “galleta marinera” here, that looks something like this:

galletas marineras

galletas marineras 2

I´m sure you can use other types of crackers, just make sure it´s quite tough, kind of like very crisp breadstick.

You add the crackers a couple of hours before serving to let them soak in the salad juices so it lends a crunch, but not too much of a crunch that it gets in the way of the other flavors and textures. (The original recipe put the crackers at the beginning, but I found the crackers get too soggy for my liking that way.)


It´s really easy to assemble and has to be made at least 12 hours ahead of time to let the flavors meld together, so it´s perfect for a dinner party (with some meat if your guests are into meat, I just made this along with a Caesar´s salad and my guests were perfectly happy.)


Being an Italian salad, there´s no fancy dressing, just a clever combination of ingredients to bring out the best flavor. Oh, and sorry for the bad bad pictures, the light wasn´t cooperating and I was in the midst of a cooking frenzy, so pictures weren´t high up on my list of priorities.

caponata 2

caponata 3

Well, that´s it, that´s all I can do to fight the expanding nature of hips and tighs, hope it helps, though I have the feeling they will win in the end.

 Caponata (adapted and translated from Cocina Básica, by Blanca Cotta)

Eggs, 3

Anchovies, 6

Green pepper, half

Red pepper, half

Green olives, 100 grams

Black olives, 100 grams (Here I just used a big bunch of green olives because I´m not much of a fan of black olives.)

Tuna, canned with water (The original recipe called for tuna in oil, but I hate it with a passion, I´d rather add some good olive oil later on.)

Crackers, called “galletas marineras”, or similar, 4 big ones or 8 small ones

Garlic, 3 big cloves

Tomatoes, 4

Scallions, 2 tablespoons (optional)

Olive oil


Capers, 2 tablespoons (the original recipe called for picked cucumbers, so you can use that instead if you´d like)

Salt and pepper

1. Boil the eggs for 8 minutes (after the water has started boiling, that is). Peel them once they are cold.

2. Cut the tomatoes and the scallions and put them in the bottom of the bowl you want to serve the salad in. Add a bit of salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar at this point.

3. Then add the tuna, the capers (or pickled cucumbers), the boiled eggs (chopped), the olives (chopped), the anchovies (yes, also chopped, in this case, very finely so that the flavor spreads out), and the peppers, chopped into thin strips. At this point, you should season the salad again (keep in mind that the anchovies and the olives are quite salty, though).

4. Cover with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for at least 12 hours (I like it better around 24 hours after it´s made).

5. About 2 hours before you plan to serve it, peel the garlic cloves. Using a fork, scrape the garlic cloves against the crackers to get them all nice and garlicky. Once you are done, break the crackers into medium-sized pieces and mix them into the salad.

6. Take the salad out of the fridge about an hour before you plan to serve it to allow the flavors to come out more clearly. Enjoy!


Filed under events, savory, vegetables

A taste of yellow: lemon pie in a cup

Being the procrastinator that I am, I am pretty late for this event, but I want to post my contribution anyway because this event isn´t just about cooking something fun… it´s about cancer, and unfortunately, I´ve come to know the disease since I was little. As I mentioned in my previous entry, I lost 2 of my grandparents to cancer (pancreas and uterus) in just one year when I was 8-9 years old. It certainly changed my outlook on life in general and brought me face to face with the idea of death.

a taste of yellow

Throughout the years, I´ve met people who´ve both lost and won their battles against cancer. And, as we all know, prevention and early detection are key in tilting the scale towards the winning side. Which is why events to raise awareness such as A Taste of Yellow, organized by the incredible Barbara of Winos and Foodies as part of LIVESTRONG Day, held on May 16th, are so very important.

a taste of yellow 2

My contribution is very very simple, which doesn´t make it any less delicious: a  lemon curd over a base of ladyfingers cut losely but hand and refrigerated. I served it on some gorgeous cups my grandma Vanda (the one that´s still with us) gave me as a sort of family heirloom. Don´t they look pretty?

a taste of yellow 3

Anyway, thank you, Barbara, for organizing such a fantastic event, and I make a lemony toast for all of those battling the disease right now and for the doctors treating patients and investigating a cure for cancer… may the future be brighter for all of us!


Filed under events, food, sweet

Germans got it right

I have a shocking confession to make: I don´t like beer. In fact, not only do I not like it, I really can´t stand that bitterness.

But I never throw away things… well, I might ocassionally, but only if there´s no other possible solution. So when friends come over and leave leftover beer behind, I hate throwing it away, as in really hate it.

So when my friend Maite came over the other night and left behind almost a full bottle of beer, I just knew I had to do something about it… and that something couldn´t possibly be to drink it, or even give it to the dog so she´d drink it!… luckily inspiration hit me, which rarely happens, and I recalled having read about a German bread with beer in my bread cookbook… oh, yes, problem solved indeed.

German bread

What I wasn´t anticipating was finding such a lovely crumb thanks to my loathed beer. It has to be something to do with carbonization, not sure, but this dough is so damn tender I could eat it 4 times a day and be a happy camper.

The added sugar balances the bitterness of the beer and the crumb is oh so very moist (now if only my camera was able to do proper closeups).

German bread 2

The buns remind me of Heidi´s… anyone remember Heidi?… you know, the Swiss girl living on the mountains with her grandpa… somehow I remember the shape of the bread she ate in the cartoonish Japanese version… no, I´m not that old, I´m only 25, but my memory has a funny way of picking and choosing which ridiculous facts to remember, sort of like a weird food trivia game.

German bread 3

Anyway, if it´s any measure of this bread´s quality, I´ve made this recipe twice in the last 10 days. And  it took me like 2 hours from start to finish… not bad at all. And it´s really easy to make, so I´d recommend it to beginner bread-makers.

German bread 4

German bread (translated from 145 Recetas de panes y facturas by Marcelo Vallejo)

Fresh yeast, 20 grams (I used a tablespoon of dry yeast instead)

Water, lukewarm, 100cc

Lager beer, 200cc

Sugar, 60g

Powdered milk, 2 tablespoons

Butter, 60 grams

All purpose flour, 500 grams

Salt, 1/2 tablespoon

Melted butter, to paint the bread

Yields around 12 little breads.

1. Disolve the yeast in the lukewarm water. Add the beer (I try not to use it too cold so as not to slow down the rising of the bread), the sugar, the powdered milk, and the softened butter. Mix slightly.

2. Add the flour and the salt. Knead until you get a homogenous dough.

3. Form a ball of dough, cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 20 minutes.

4. Divide the dough into 12 or more pieces and give them a slighly oval shape.

5. Place them on buttered pans and make two sharp cuts on top of each bread. Cover and let them double their size.

6. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

7. Cook the bread for around 20 minutes.

8. Pain the loaves with some melted butter as soon as you take them out of the oven. Enjoy!

This is my entry to this month´s Waiter, there´s something in my… bread, being hosted by Andrew of Spitoon Extra. 


Filed under bread, events, food