Thursday, April 17, 2008


Whilst discussing breakfast habits from all over the known world with my students, I started to consider my own, so unlike those of my country. It must have something to do withhow I grew up, or maybe my past history of dieting. Either way, THIS is how I love to jump start my mornings:

Papaya, banana, figs (and/or whatever other ripe fruit I have at hand), a spoonful of raisins, a couple spoons of müsli or oats and a small skimmed flavored yogurt. Honey is my favorite.
Who wants a bowl of energy to start off their day?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

*Sweet tooth cravings and a hell lot of heat*

First things first... I am a person who has cravings. And when a craving hits me, its usually like a ton of bricks. It won't get weaker, and it won't go away until I have indulged to whatever.
In this case, Mexican food.
To make matters worse, on Friday, while having lunch with my colleagues, I probably ate the blandest, most boring burrito. Ever. And the only way to take away a bad impression is doing things right.
So this was Saturday's lunch:

Chile con Carne. - 2 large servings

200 grs chopped/ground beef - I used sirloin
Jalapeno and other peppers to taste - I used 1 chili plus a dash of red pepper flakes and some paprika
4 cloves garlic - minced
salt and sugar to taste
1 small onion
1 small can tomato extract
2 large ripe tomatoes
2 cups water
Cheese to taste
Beans - optional. I didn't have any at hand, so I skipped.

Heat two tablespoons of vegetable oil in pan. Brown garlic and onions. Add meat and spices.
When the meat has a nice color, add the tomatoes, tomato extract and the water.
Let simmer until the sauce has thickened. Its supposed to be creamy.
Taste and adjust spices. Add cheese.
Pico de Gallo Salsa. Simple recipe, but with lots of heat.

In the background, my substitute for Sour Cream (which is hard to get by in Brazil and my Guacamole).


1 ripe avocado
1 small ripe tomato
1/2 small onion
fresh cilantro or parsley
Fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic
salt to taste

Spoon out the avocado into a bowl. Add the diced tomato, onion and garlic and mix well. Add the salt and lime (I enjoy a little olive oil as well) and the fresh spices.

Sour Cream Substitute

4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup milk cream
1 teaspoon mayo
2 teaspoons white vinegar
salt to taste

Mix well. Refrigerate so that the cream acquires the right consistency.

Spoon things as desired on tortillas. Store bought are practical (I'm a disaster at making tortillas). It was a simple and hearty lunch. Did I mention the heat?

Pancakes. I can't remember wanting pancakes as badly as I did this last time. Days and nights of taunting images and memories of my fathers pancakes on Sunday morning.
Monday night I made some. Brown sugar beauties with super sweet and ripe pineapple and melted milk chocolate. And strawberry jam. Few things are more comforting than breakfast for dinner after a busy day.

This is an adaptation of my dad's recipe.

American Style Pancakes - makes 8 small

1 cup flour - I used half a cup regular flour and half a cup oats
1/4 cup sugar - I used brown
1 egg
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup oil

Beat all ingredients together and scoop over a hot greased skillet. When it starts to bubble, gently flip and wait till both sides are evenly browned.

I still like my Dad's better.

Then there is the backlog of recipes I simply must try. That recipe that catches your attention, is saved into your recipes folder and whose ingredients are bought with great expectation. Then something happens and the recipe starts getting pushed back into oblivion in face of either more urgent things or sheer laziness.
Or maybe the time was just right. The perfect moment for sweetness. For candy. For a candy cupcake, actually.
The original recipe is for a loaf cake, which probably explains why my cupcakes were so... cakey. I had expected them to be a little moister in the middle, but they are just fine. Maybe next time I'll try them with my muffin base recipe, but this one works great too.

Gum drop Cupcakes - makes 6 servings

1/4 cup butter - softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg - beaten
1 1/8 cups flour
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
200 gr gumdrops, finely chopped

Chop up the gumdrops. Reserve 12 for decorating.
Cream butter, while adding sugar and the beaten egg.
Sift flour, salt and baking powder together.
Add vanilla to milk.
Mix everything together, adding gumdrops.
Scoop into muffin tins.

Bake on Medium Low heat for 25 minutes or until done.

White chocolate topping

1 bar white chocolate
1/2 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons milk cream

Melt the chocolate. Mix in the other ingredients till smooth. Top cupcakes with mixture, garnishing with gum drops.

I guess no candy craving can resist one of these. Now excuse me... I have a fantasy world to return to.