Padron Green Peppers

Padron Green Peppers

Baked, Easy to make, Healthy

Spanish Version

There’s people important in your life and sometimes they are not aware of it, for me one of that people is Rafael, one of my best friends. A few weeks ago Rafa published on his Facebook his mother’s Padron Peppers picture and I compromise to him get the recipe and prepare them.

Padron green peppers are variety from the Capsicum annuum Peppers. It’s origin comes from the northwestern municipality La Coruña in Spain, being a variety their heat is from none to moderated and just a minor quantity ( approximately 20%) are particularly hot, this depends among other factors the quantity of water or sunlight during the growth process.

Rafael also it’s a believer of a healthy lifestyle, even he wrote the bookEn Buena Salud ” (which also was on the top 10 rank Amazon 2011 top books in spanish), thats why I decided to make this recipe two ways, traditional fried and on a reduced fat baked way.

INGREDIENTS

1/4 lb. Padron green Peppers (approximately 50 peppers)

1/2 cup. vegetable oil  (if frying)

2 Tbsp olive Oil (If Baking)

1/2 tsp de Sea Salt

 PREPARATION

Wash and dry the peppers

With a Paring Knife cut the tip of the peppers in half if small and in 4 the large ones

If you’re going to fry them:

Put the frying oil on a skillet to Medium High temperature.

Fry the peppers from one side and flip them over until slightly golden. (5 minutes aprox)

Remove from oil and place onmetal strainer lined with some paper towels, to absorb oil.

If you’re going to bake them:

Preheat Oven to 400 ºF

On a cup put the Olive oil and with a pastry brush paint each pepper on both sides.

Place each pepper on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes.

With thongs flip each pepper and bake 5 more minutes.

Remove from oven

Place the peppers on a plate and sprinkle the sea Salt.

Now, Just Enjoy!

The difference between both preparations is that, on the oven the flavor is deepest and smokey, meanwhile fried the cooking is faster and has a lighter taste.

NUTRITIONAL FACTS

Fried                  Baked
Calories              746                     407
Carbs                   36 g                    36 g
Fat                        71 g                    33 g
Proteíns                 6 g                      6 g
Sodium             936 mg                937 mg
Sugar                     0 g                     0 g

 

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Chicken patty

Ginger-Lemongrass Chicken Burger

Easy to make, Healthy

Spanish Version

To be in shape inside and out you need to have a healthy diet, even when the fat is important for the body functions, there has to be a balance, this recipe is ideal for a low fat but full of flavor lunch.

Lemongrass gives this recipe a fresh citrus, but not acidic, flavor and ginger puts some aroma and spice to it, also both ingredients are digestives and aid with the nutrients absorption.

So, prepare your taste buds and enjoy this quick, easy and delicious burger.

Yield: 4 burgers.

INGREDIENTS

2 skinless boneless chicken breast grounded.
1 lemongrass stalk finely chopped
1 ginger root piece finely chopped
2 Tbsp finely chopped onions
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground mixed peppers
1 Tbsp olive oil

For the burgers

4 whole grain burger buns
1 Caramelized large red onion
Watercress leaves
4 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

Special equipment: Slotted griddle or grill and a Meat Thermometer
(optional)

PREPARATION

Heat the griddle on mid-high temperature

Mix the chicken with all the ingredients but the oil until havering a very integrated mix

Separate the mix in four equal sized balls, cover them with the olive oil and shape them on a even disk shape.

Cook on a side until it separate easily from the griddle, flip over and cook on the other side until reach at least 165 °F of inner temperature or when pinched the liquid coming out from it is completely clear.

Once cooked the patties, assembly the burgers:

Cut the buns in half and take them to the griddle a few minutes to warm them.

Take the base bun and spread a tablespoon of Dijon mustard.

Put the patties over the mustard

Top the patties with watercress

A layer of Caramelized onions

And cover with the other bread. If you’re willing to use another sauces place them between the bun and the patty.

Now allow yourself a few minutes to enjoy this delicious burger.

Nutritional Content (Patty)

Calories 187
Carbs 5 g
Fat 8 g
Protein 26 g
Sodium 222 mg

Cocoa Rich Brownies

Brownies

Baked, Basics, Desserts, Easy to make

Spanish Version

I keep doing this trip down memory lane, another of my childhood recipes were brownies, a finger food dated to the beginnings of the 20th century in Chicago, a mix between cookie and cake. There are many brownies versions, my first contact with them were via a tv ad of Pilsbury’s Brownies, from that boxed brownies until today things have changed a little bit, this recipe I found it a couple of years ago, it’s low in sugar and rich in cocoa, it’s a shame that it can’t be low far too, so you have to eat them moderately.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3,5 to 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (85% Cocoa), melted and cooled
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened 100% Cacao Powder

Special Equipment: 13 x 9 in. Baking Pan

PREPARATION

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line the baking pan with foil paper and spray it with oil.

Place the softened butter in a large bowl, and whisk until it is pale yellow and light. Add the sugar  and whisk until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Whisk in the cooled chocolate, then add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition.

Whisk in the vanilla, then sift in the flour and cocoa, fold them in until combined.

Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan, smoothing it out   evenly, and bake in the center of the oven until the brownies have puffed slightly around the edges and are shiny on the surface, about 30 minutes. They will be very moist in the center. Remove from the oven and let cool before cutting into squares.

Cocoa and cardamom Sorbet

Cocoa and Cardamom Part 2

Desserts, Easy to make

Spanish Version

A few weeks ago I posted the Cocoa and Cardamom Ice Cream, now I decided to use the same flavor to make it a sorbet.

The difference between Ice cream and sorbet it’s the base, mean while the ice cream is made out with a custard base made of dairy cream and egg yolk the sorbet has a water base, which make it egg-free and dairy-free which makes it an ideal option for lactose intolerant diet.

Cardamom, as I said on the ice cream recipe is considered one of the most expensive spices in the world, and bring to the sorbet a fresh taste

The cocoa that i use for this recipe is Chocolate Tea and to be honest with you, I was concern to publish this because this blog’s main idea is to create recipes with ingredients easily to find anywhere, however I found it on Amazon. I discover Chocolate tea a few years ago on the supermarket and the name was pretty intriguing, it’s the roasted cocoa’s almond shell. it contains all the antioxidant benefits of cocoa and a natural chocolate flavor creating an infusion low fat and the rich chocolate taste.

Yield: 6 Ice cream Balls

INGREDIENTS

For Simple Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

For the Infusion
3 Cardamom pods mashed

2 Tbsp. Chocolate Tea
2 Cups of water

Special Equipment: Ice Cream Maker 

PREPARATION

Simple Syrup

On a sauce pan bring to boil water and sugar until the sugar crystals are completely disolved

Remove from burner and let it cool

Put it on the fridge for at least 3 to 4 hours

The Infusion

On a saucepan bring to boil water, cocoa and cardamom for 10 minutes aprox.

Remove form burner and let it cool

Pass the infusion over a strainer and discard all solids.

Refrigerate the infusion for at least 4 hours.

Sorbet

Mix the simple syrup and infusion, and freeze following the manufacturer’s instructions form your Ice Cream Maker.

Remove from machine and put on a covered container on the freezer for at least 3 hours

Nutritional Facts (per portion)

Calories 128
Carbs 33 g
Fat 0g
Protein 0 g
Sodium 0 mg
Sugar 33 g

Cold Rice

Cold Rice

Main Course, Memory Lane

Spanish Version

When I was a little kid on those school day-off, and when there were no other choice, I was left in charge of my grandma Lola, I love that, because I had the oportunity to change on my daily routine of food and everyday activities.

She used to go to the street markets up to three times per week to get the freshest products, and some of those days I joined her; that woman had a exquisite sense of taste, she could determine the ingredients of a preparation only with two bites.

Some of the different food off of my everyday diet was rice, because my mother has never been good at making rice, so it was very unusual. One of the things grandma Lola did was this cold rice recipe, not only I liked the result but the preparation itself was nice to watch.

INGREDIENTS

Rice
2 cups white rice
2 tablespoons diced onions
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups of water
Filling
1 medium onion diced
2 garlic cloves minced
4 aji dulce peppers
2 seedless bell pepper
1 lb. Ground beef with least than 10% fat
2 tablespoons raisins
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon of bell peeper filled olives, sliced
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon ketchup
2 tablespoon mustard brined vegetables
1/2 cup low sodium beef stock
1 teaspoon minced parsley
1/4 cup mayonnaise plus 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons petit pois
8 cook and peeled shrimp

PREPARATION

Rice

Sauté the diced onions in 2 tablespoons of corn oil (or any othe vegetable oil) until clear, add the rice and stir until the grains are covered with oil and make a little crackle.

Add water and salt and stir it until boiling, once bubbling reduce fire and simmer covered until the water is completely evaporated.

Pour cooked rice on a bowl and let it cool.

Filling

Mix onion and garlic with a tablespoon of oil on a frying pan until brown, add aji dulce and red pepper. Mix in the ground beef and brake it down while cooking.

Once the beef has changed color, add tomato, salt and pepper, stir in for a couple of minutes, add raisins, capers, olives, brined vegetables, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce mixing until everything is well spread.

Add water and cook covered until the beef is well cooked and the stew is soupy.

Uncover and let it sim, once off the burner add the minced parsley and let it cool for at least 30 minutes.

Assembly

Mix the cool rice with 1/4 cup of mayonnaise, and separate it in equal portions, in a serving deep dish place half of the rice and press it to compact it, add the meat filling and press it down again, then add the other portion of rice, pressing down and covering with mayonnaise, sprinkle the petit pois and place the shrimp as decoration.

Place it in the refirgerator at least one hour until serving.

Spinach Frittata

Spinach and Herbs Fritatta

Breakfast, Easy to make, Healthy

Spanish Version

During my teen years i loved cooking shows, by that Time TLC had a few and i remember some as “Biba’s Italian Kitchen”. I Also remember to be seated with a paper sheet every day and write in some sort of shorthand everything that happened there. One of the recipes I remember (as a concept) was the Frittata, I don’t remember the recipe at all (it must be rotten down somewhere) but the idea to use a skillet and then place it into the oven was so intriguing, mostly because i never had a real oven until I moved out, and if you add to this the aroma of fresh herbs it turns even better.

The following frittata is not Biba Caggiano’s, but it works marvels as a high fiber and protein healthy breakfast.  In the picture is served with Arepas to add a high glicemic index carb to your diet.

You may add some grated cheese but as im right now on a non dairy diet, there’s no cheese on this one.

INGREDIENTS

1 Small scallion chopped green and white parts
1 tbs. olive Oil
1 cup washed spinach leaves
1 Sprig of Oregano
1 Sprig of Thyme
4 Basil Leaves
4 Egg whites from large eggs
2 Egg Yolks from large eggs
Salt and Pepper

Special Equipment: A heavy ovenproof skillet

PREPARATION

Preheat the oven broiler on the higher temperature and align place the tray on the middle rack.

In an ovenproof skillet pour the oil, once hot sauté the scallions until the white turns clear.

Add the spinach, herbs and salt tossing it for a less than a minute so it doesn’t loose all the crispness.

Mix the egg whites and yolks and pour into the skillet.

Remove the skillet from the burner and place it in the oven until the top is golden brown (about 15 minutes)

Remove from oven using a protective mitten to avoid burning yourself, the frittata will be risen and it will be turning back down while it cools.

Put it on a plate and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

Calories 321 cal
Carbs 3g
Fat 17g
Protein 35g
Sodium 441 mg
Sugar 0g

Arepas on the griddle

Arepas

Easy to make, Venezuelan Food

Spanish Version

One of the main Venezuelan dishes is the arepa, a corn “bread”, done since prehistorical times by the natives, the history of the arepa date from the 800 to 400 b.C, some corn fossils and utensils used to make them has been found.

The original process require dried corn kernels, de hulled, cooked, milled and kneaded, which required a lot of cooking time, however, thanks to the industrial revolution in 1959 a group of visionaries simplified this process with the creation of the precooked corn flour, a product obtained from the corn flakes used for the brewing process.

There is versions of the arepas as homes in Venezuela, there are sweet and savory, empty and filled, this first recipe has the basic arepa dough.

Some of The benefits of the arepas are the high glycemic index, which keeps the blood sugar levels very stable, being a corn product is riched with tocopherols and phytosterols which helps to reduce cholesterol levels in blod, it’s a gluten free or low gluten, depending on the corn flour producers.

It can be found in over 32 countries around the world under the brand P.A.N. made out of two maize varieties yellow or white corn.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup of precooked corn flour
1 1/4 cups of water
1 teaspoon corn oil
1/8 teaspoon salt

PREPARATION

In a bowl dissolve the salt into the water.

Gradually add the flour and mix it with the fingers to dissolve any lumps, adding enough to make a soft dough that holds its shape without cracking when molded.

Leave to rest for 5 minutes, then add the oil and work it in with your hands, if needed add more corn flour or water to keep the dough to the proper consistency.

Divide the dough in two portions, shape them into a 4-inch diameter patties, about 1 inch thick. Transfer to a plate.

Lightly oil a large nonstick skillet or griddle and heat over medium heat.
In batches, place the arepas in the griddle. Cook until the underside is golden brown, about 4 minutes, the patties must be loose from the griddle. Turn and brown the other side.

When the arepas are browned, transfer them directly to the oven rack (without any baking sheet) and bake until the surfaces of the arepas have formed a taut skin, when they are done you can tap them with the fingers and hear a hollow sound. Return arepas to the plate and let them cool a little bit.

Serve warm and pick something to fill them like ham or cheese, and enjoy!

 

 

Marble Cake

Butter marble cake

Desserts

Spanish Version

One of the first cakes made from scratch is this home made butter marble poundcake, the recipe comes from an INDULAC’s recipe calendar from 1989, it asks for a few products produced by the company at that time as Milky brand milk or Rika butter, both brands far gone of the Venezuelan market. However the recipe is very usable, easy to do and has that delicious butter taste that I love, this recipe has some tweaks on a few ingredients to improve flavor and quality.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 tbsp baking powder

3 cups of all porpouse flour  

380 g salted butter 

2 cups of sugar

6 eggs

1 cup of milk 

6 tbsp pure cocoa powder 

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 350 °F

In a bowl sift the flour and the baking powder

In another bowl (it can be done with the electric mixer) cream the butter and sugar, keep whisking and add the eggs one by one, alternating with the milk and sifted flour.

In baking mold buttered and and floured pour half the preparation.

To the other half add the cocoa and mix to have an uniform color.

Pour this mix over the other and with the tip of a knife mix doing twirling movements.

Bake for approximately an hour to 350 °F and unmold before completely cool. 

 
Egg whites Omelette

Egg whites omelette

Breakfast, Easy to make, Healthy

Spanish Version

A classic of high protein diets is the egg whites omelette, because it’s a fast and easy way to obtain high quality protein. The egg white possess a great source of protein easy to obtain and dast to cook.

Now, to the taste the egg whites have a very plain, almost neutral, taste and it can be really annoying to have on a everyday basis. In my case when I do a whites omelette I mix it with a portion of vegetables or meat, the one on the picture has aji dulce, onion and garlic the idea is to enhance the flavor of what’s on it with the omelette.

In the market there are many options to get egg whites, you can get them from fresh eggs, pasteurized frozen or on UHT, even powder, mostly used on the industrial preparations. For me there’s nothing like the fresh ones, the processed products don’t have the same texture while cooking, I can use them as an ingredient for some other preparation but nos as the main protein.

INGREDIENTS

1 Tablespoon oil
4 egg whites from large eggs

PREPARATION

spray a small pan with oil and bring it to mid high temperature.

In a bowl pour the egg whites separating them from the yolk, and mix them with a whisk or a fork.

There is a few methods to separate the yolks.

Open the egg in half and pass the yolk from a side to the other of the shell until most of the white is separated, discard the yolk.

Make a medium sized hole (thick as a finger) on one of the sides and pour out the white on a bowl.

You can also pour the whole eggs on a bowl and remove the yolks picking them in between the fingers.

So, once the pan is hot, pour the whites and let them cook, moving the pan from the handle so it doesn’t stick.

Once cooked from a side, around 2 or 3 minutes flip over and cook for 10 seconds on the opposite side, if it’s to hard to flip it over, fold and cook until sealed.

Now just fill with sautéed vegetables, or meat, or just ham and cheese!

NUTRITION FACTS

Calories 270
Carbs 0
Fat 20 g
Protein 22 g
Sodium 117 mg
Sugar 0 g

Cocoa and cardamom Ice Cream

Cocoa and Cardamom

Desserts

Spanish Version

Cardamom is an spice originated from India, it has a strong, unique taste, with an intensely aromatic, resinous fragrance, in fact it’s one of the most expensive spices per gram, and for me, delicious.

It’s used to make infusions, as ingredient for rice and cous cous to aromatize coffee, as natural remedy for gastric aches and even it’s said that have some afrodisiac effect.

I made this recipe for some friends that came over, the rich chocolate taste it’s complemented perfectly with the freshness that the cardamom brings to it.

INGREDIENTS

1 2/3 cups heavy cream
4 cardamom pods, crushed
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar, divided
3 tablespoons 100% coca powder
4 large egg yolks

Special Equipment: an ice cream maker


PREPARATION

Bring cream and cardamon just to a simmer in a small heavy saucepan, then cover and let steep about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring milk, 1/2 cup sugar, cocoa and a pinch of salt to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring.

Whisk together yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a large bowl, then add milk mixture in a slow stream, whisking. Return mixture to medium saucepan and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until mixture coats back of spoon and registers 175°F on an instant-read thermometer (do not let boil). Immediately strain custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a metal bowl, then quick-chill by setting bowl in an ice bath and stirring occasionally until cool, about 15 minutes.

Strain cardamom cream through fine-mesh sieve into custard, pressing on solids. Continue to chill in ice bath until custard is very cold, then freeze in ice cream maker. Transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, about 1 hour.