Category Archives: events

miracles sometimes happen… a fat-free, all-natural ice cream

I´m a bit of a sceptic at heart… you know the drill, atheist, doesn´t always see the good in all people, doesn´t buy easily into things that seem too good to be true.

So miracles are definitely not something I´m prone to believe in, but I can´t really think of a better way to label this discovery: a creamy, fat and sugar free ice cream that´s 100% natural and has just a few calories.

yum!

I know, I know, it sounds like one of those late night ads on the shopping network, but it´s not! Just bear with me for a while and keep reading.

I happened to be watching a cooking show today that´s called “Good Food” because it´s about healthy food that actually tastes very good (notice the use of “healthy”, meaning not always low on calories, but good for you). The show was about to end but the woman on tv was saying something about ice cream so my attention was on immediately.

She was showing how the ice cream she had prepared had turned out and saying that it had no cream or fat in it. I was like “no way”, but I kept watching anyway. There is a recap section when the show is over, and she was actually right!

look at that dripping dulce de leche

She had simply taken some bananas, sliced them roughly, frozen the slices for at least 5 hours and processed them, then on to the freezer for at least 15 minutes and that´s it, a creamy banana ice cream.

Of course, as soon as I turned off the tv, I grabbed the 2 bananas we had here and started the process. This happened at 5 pm, by 10.30pm, I was eating one of the best banana ice creams I´ve ever tasted, I´m still in awe.

oh so creamy

I´m gonna write down the “recipe” below just to make it more user-friendly, but there´s really nothing to it, except for the pure genius of whoever discovered this.

Now this time I´m begging you, grab some bananas and make this right now, you´ll be forever grateful.

the best banana ice cream ever

Miracle banana ice cream (original idea by Juliana López May)

4 big bananas

Serves 4

1. Peel and slice the bananas roughly (my slices were about 2 cm thick).

2. Place them in a freezer-safe container one next to the other, but without touching each other so they don´t stick together when frozen. (I put a plastic sheet below so they wouldn´t stick to the tupper).

3. Freeze them for 5 hours.

4. Put the frozen slices in your food processor and process until you get a very smooth cream.

5. Put the mixture in a bowl and freeze again for 15 minutes or more.

(It doesn´t keep more than a few days in the freezer since it obviously doesn´t have any preservatives)

Extras

I served my ice cream with a simple dulce de leche sauce (dulce de leche heated in the microwave with a touch of milk), a bit of toasted coconut and half a nut. It really couldn´t be better. I´ll be making this again and again.

This is my entry for Heart of the matter, the blogging event created by Ilva and Joanna to expand our number of delicious recipes that are heart-friendly.

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Filed under events, food, sweet

rolls of delight, part II

tomato-arugula rolls 2

You see, I was trying NOT to write about bread this time around, but apparently, it won´t be possible. I seem to be obsessed with breads lately (not helped by the purchase of a cookbook focused solely on bread). I´ve been reading about all sorts of breads, dreaming of attending a bread-making class (without going broke), drooling over bread pictures on the web, and imagining all the breads I´m going to make this fall-winter (summer wasn´t working with me and my bread making period). In fact, I plan on making every slice of bread I eat this year… don´t think I´m completely nuts, my freezer is my very best friend!

tomato-arugula rolls 3

I was planning of discussing a nice dessert, a good vegetable dish, or something along those lines, but looking at the food pictures I had lined up to discuss, these bread pictures were definitely the ones that inspired me the most. To make matters worse, the flavor combination of this particular recipe is very very Italian, as usual. Could I be any more predictable?

tomato-arugula rolls

But this bread is just way too good to wait to post it and then forget all the tiny details of the cooking- and eating- process. In fact, it´s so good that it was the main element of our dinner that night, just the bread and a generous salad.

Since the preparation took place at my parents´s house, I must admit that I was only a side-kick in the making of the bread because my mom was the one in charge of cooking, but I can still attest that it was quite easy to prepare… and, most importantly, I can swear on my life that it tasted just as good as it looks, if not better.

raw tomato-arugula rolls

When reading the recipe, you might wonder why it calls for an alternation of liquids and dry ingredients, instead of just mixing the dry ingredients, making a hole in the middle and adding the liquids there. Well, we did too, and while I don´t have an answer as to the whys of that particular method (I´d be very grateful if someone can enlighten me about it), I´m sure there is an explanation for it, and the result was fantastic, so I´m not one to argue after a victory.

tomato-arugula roll

(Check out the recipe after the jump, and do yourself a favor and make this fantastic bread, you can thank me later 😉

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the seemingly endless dulce de leche saga continues… this time, it´s cheesecake

When I read that Peabody was hosting this month´s Hay Hay it´s Donna Day and she had chosen cheesecake as the theme, I knew I had to participate. You see, I´ve only done a cheesecake once in my life, it turned out a bit too heavy and I promised myself I would try again with another recipe.

But, as usual, the deadline for this event was approaching and apparently I´m not too good with deadlines… which probably has to do with the fact that I´m running after deadlines every day at work, so more deadlines involving a computer screen just don´t suit me too well, which explains my lack of participation in most of the amazing food-blogging events going on at all times.

Anyway, back to the cheesecake, I started thinking in twists to make to the regular cheesecake (cheeky, I know, considering I hadn´t really mastered cheesecakes to begin with). But I wasn´t going to present something completely run-of-the-mill in an event like that.

So once again I channeled my inner Argentine, and the surprising result was (you guessed it) dulce de leche!

dulce de leche

Now dulce de leche works well with many ingredients, but one of my favorite combinations is dulce de leche and coconut… I guess I had my cheesecake recipe after all.

So I used a ricotta cheesecake recipe as the base, added some grated coconut (and some cream to counter act the dryness of the coconut), spread dulce de leche over the base and voilá, dulce de leche and cocunut cheesecake.

fresh ricotta

Actually, that “voilá” might be an exaggeration on my part since the process wasn´t particularly smooth, especially the cooking part.

You see, I had the perfect excuse to make this cheesecake, the family reunion for my birthday. For once, I wasn´t going to have to freeze half of what I cooked! So it was Saturday afternoon and there I was, preparing my cheesecake. What I wasn´t counting on was the looooooooong cooking time (if you do a waterbath) and the lengthy cooling process. To sum things up, I started with a waterbath, then freaked out as it was already 7 o´clock and people would be coming over at around 9 (that´s dinners in Argentina for you). So after an hour or so I took it out of the waterbath and cooked it au-natural for 10 more minutes, then 10 more minutes… “it´s still all woobly, WTF!”

finished product, cracks included

Turns out, I should have just trusted my guts and kept it in the waterbath for 1 hour and 20 minutes, let it rest for a while and then to the freezer, but I ended up with a great cheesecake in terms of flavor, but a bit on the dry side (no surprise there), with two little cracks and not cold enough.

coconut dulce de leche cheesecake

Well, at least I learned my lesson, next time, it´s woobly all the way!

coconut dulce de leche cheesecake 2

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Filed under Argentina, events, food, sweet

behind the apron

Those of us who write about food often forget about ourselves in the process, that´s why Christiane/Fiber from 28 cooks created Behind the apron. Basically, she encourages food bloggers to share some pictures of themselves so that readers can see who is behind all that yummy food. It is quite a scary thought to post a big picture of myself for all to see, but then I realize how much closer I feel to the bloggers I have seen in pictures, I see that it is worth it, because, cliche as it might be, it is nice to put a face to a… blog.
In my case, I do have a tiny pic on my profile, but it doesn´t really say much. So I tried to gather some courage, and found it in my tiny golden puppies… an evil plan was born: I would post a picture with the puppies, that way, everyone would be too distracted to focus on me muahaha I know, I´m soooooo clever, I´m definitely proud of myself.
I´m new at blogging, so it´s not as if this is a big revelation after years of mystery, but it is quite weird for me anyway, hopefully all weirdos will be away from the computer today hahaha
Let´s hope this becomes a regular event so that more and more food bloggers “come out of the closet”.
I promise that in my next post, I´ll finally talk about the famous World Peace Cookies 🙂

behind the apron

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Filed under events, rambling

A twist on gnocchi… or How to avoid being compared to your Italian grandma

gnocci-roller

One of the biggest traditions in my family is Sunday lunch at my grandma´s. My nonna, true to her Italian origin, always makes us some sort of pasta (with the exceptional rabbit dish, but no other deviations from the rule). She makes a killer lasagna, exceptional taggliatele, lovely canelloni… but the dish she is best known for is her potato gnocchi.
All of my closest friends have come to a Sunday lunch at some point to try a plate of Vanda´s famous gnocchi, and none has ever left disappointed… or hungry. Because my grandma is very Italian in that respect as well, her biggest concern is always that someone will end up hungry, she just wouldn´t be able to tolerate that. I mean, it is a very Italian frame of mind, but at least in her case, it also has to do with the hardships she suffered back in Italy, WWII and all.
She shouldn´t have anything to worry about because everyone ends up both well-fed and totally satisfied after a great meal every single time.
But her gnocchi fame can be overwhelming for the rest of us mortals. My mom never makes gnocchi, how could she bear to be measured up to my grandma´s legendary gnocchi-making abilities? And I certainly don´t blame her. Even though my grandma has always shared the secrets of gnocchi-making with us, it´s just hard to just go for it with such a legacy.
That´s why I hadn´t tried my hand at gnocchi before. But lately I´ve been thinking it was time. Besides, I got a brilliant idea: I would invite some friends over, friends who hadn´t tasted my grandma´s gnocchi, that way, they would love them whatever the results (I know, my intelligence is out of this world, ha!).
What also spurred me was another recipe by my beloved Narda Lepes. You see, hers were no regular potato gnocchi, but yam gnocchi with sage, which promised a whole new spectrum of taste experiences.

raw gnocci

I cannot begin to tell you how easy it was to make them and how lovely they turned out. The flavor of the yams is complemented exquisitely by the sage and the butter (and the parmessan of course). What I did add to the recipe was some echallotes (I had some dried ones I bought at ChinaTown) and some parmessan in the dough itself.
I might have overdone the not-too-much flour principle because they were a bit too soft to handle comfortably, but I cooked the second batch a little less and it was perfect (I didn´t use the full amount specified in the recipe, so I think using the full amount would be perfect).

gnocci

I´m certainly no expert on the matter, but here are some things I did that worked and might work as tips:
*Steam the potatoes/yams instead of boiling them, that way, they don´t have as much humidity and absorb less water.
*Mash the potatoes/yams as soon as you finish steaming them (I used an immersion blender)
*Incorporate the rest of the ingredients when the yams are still quite hot (that´s something my grandma does and it seems to work really well).
*Do not skip the rolling into gnocci-like shape step because it is precisely that shape which allows you to cook the gnocchi properly (otherwise, it´s very hard to cook the center).

Yams-sage gnocchi (adapted from a recipe by Narda Lepes)

yams (750 grams/1.6 pounds)
butter (30 grams/1 ounce)
egg yolk (1)
salt and pepper
all-purpose flour (225 grams/1/2 a pound)
grated parmessan cheese (1/2 a cup)
sauteed onions (1). I used a bit dried echalottes, dried onions could work as well.

For the sauce:
butter (around 30 grams/3 tablespoons, it really depends on what you want)
grated parmessan cheese (1/2 a cup)
fresh sage leaves (20 leaves), if you use dried sage leaves, you might need quite a bit more.
garlic (1 clove)

1. Peel and chop the yams into medium-size squares.
2. Steam them until they are tender and mash them right away, making sure they are no lumps.
3. Add the butter to the hot puree, then salt and pepper. Incorporate the yolk whisking fast so you don´t end up with scrambled eggs. Add the grated parmessan and the onion, dried echallotes or any other flavor you like at this point.
4. Mix well to incorporate all the ingredients. Then incorporate the flour slowly until you get a tender dough. Let the dough rest for a while. Do not overdo the kneading because you don´t want the gluten to develop.
5. Separate the dough in smaller balls and roll them into cylinders. Cut the gnocci in the desired size.
6. Shape the gnocchi by rolling them through a gnocchi-roller (or whatever you guys call it in English). You can also use a fork, but they don´t turn out as well.
7. Boil them in salted water until they rise to the surface.

For the sauce:
1. Melt the butter in a skillet, add the chopped garlic clove and the sage. Let everything cook for a while, but make sure the butter doesn´t burn. Tip: to prevent the butter from burning as easily, you can replace half the butter with olive oil, which will rise the burning temperature of the butter.
2. Add the gnocchi to the butter and mix everything for a little while (don´t let it there for over a minute or the gnocchi will start to break).
3. Serve it quickly with the grated parmessan sprinkled on top.

gnocci 2

This is my entry for Weekend herb blogging, hosted this week by Scott at The real epicurean.

Si alguien necesita la receta en español, escríbame a mi dirección de correo electrónico y yo se la mando.

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Filed under events, food, savory