Savoir Faire: mayo 2011

lunes, 30 de mayo de 2011

Blueberry Pancakes

Blueberries are one of our favorite berries. Blueberry season is coming and last Saturday we found the most amazing huge and sweet blueberries ever. 

domingo, 29 de mayo de 2011

Summer in Barcelona

Last two weeks have been pretty hectic. More than hectic, I would say. I volunteered for a fund raising in my home country and that kept me busy, busier than usual. The “big event” is today. So, yesterday I decided to celebrate by mixing these drinks, shooting the pictures and writing this post before sunset.

domingo, 22 de mayo de 2011

Mojito Farm

Spearmint (Mentha apicata)
Let me introduce you to my “mojito farm”. We call it mojito farm because here we grow five different varieties of mint, all used to make classic mojitos or colorful ones like the peach and peppermint or the blueberry and lavender. We also grow five varieties of basil, which we use to mix cutting edge mojitos, like the strawberry or the mango (and to make pesto, sauces and all kind of dishes, too!)

lunes, 16 de mayo de 2011

Cheesy Zucchini and Chorizo Frittata

Here is another frittata recipe, perfect for a spring lunch or light dinner. This time, it has sliced zucchini, flavored with tiny bits of Spanish chorizo, finely sliced green onions and a lot of shredded cheddar cheese mixed with the egg mixture and also broiled on the top.

domingo, 15 de mayo de 2011

The Perfect Carrot Cake and a Couple of Good Memories

I am always amazed about how I remember things and how one memory brings another one and so on… like a chain. I think the palate is a great catalyst for memories. Writing about mint juleps, memories from my Dad and my childhood came to my mind. Writing about cappuchinos memories from New York cafés came to me…
It was precisely during the summer of 1991, at The Violet, a café in the corner of Washington Square E and W 4th St, in the Greenwich Village, where I fell in love with carrot cake and made the decision to move to New York City, not only to eat carrot cake, but to go to grad school.
When I finally moved to Washington Square Village, in the summer of 1993, The Violet wasn’t there anymore, but I kept searching for the perfect not so sweet, moist carrot cake, with the perfect not so sweet cream cheese frosting.
In the winter of 1994, while I was attending SIPA (Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs), my little sister Andreína happened to be in NYC for the Holidays and, in the middle of the most ferocious snow storm, we decided to take the train to visit Yale University in New Haven, where a few years later she ended her post doc.
It was snowing and really windy. So, we went to a coffee shop for a cup of hot cocoa. Then, a miracle happened. In front of me, there was the most beautiful carrot cake ever. I ordered a piece, and had it calmly, enjoying every single bite. Perfect. The most perfect carrot cake ever.
A few years later, back in Caracas and always craving for a decent piece of carrot cake, I bought a book, just for the recipe. Useless. A big, epic fail. But I never gave up.
When I finally moved to Southern California, I found a cooking Bible: The Better Homes (and Gardens) New Cook Book, which happens to be America’s #1 Cookbook since 1930 and has everything you need to know not only to survive but to be happy in the kitchen.
To that book I owe this “best carrot cake ever” recipe.  I use brown sugar instead of white sugar and add some ground cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg.  A staple in my kitchen and one Mr. Bill’s favorite, this is the real stuff.
When I say real, I mean it. This time the carrots are from my kitchen garden. My first carrots ever.
Here is the recipe. I hope you like it.
Carrot Cake | Ingredients for 12 portions
2 cups of all purpose flour
2 cups of brown sugar
2 Tsp. of baking powder
½ Tsp. of baking soda
1 Tsp. of ground cinnamon
¼ Tsp. of freshly ground nutmeg
4 eggs lightly beaten
¾ cup of vegetable oil
3 cups of finely shredded carrots
Have all the ingredients at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-by-3-inch cake pan. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a mixing bowl and set aside. In another bowl, with a fork, mix the eggs, oil and carrots. Add the dry ingredients and mix well.  Divide the batter into the previously prepared cake pans and bake 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Transfer the pans to two wire racks and let them cool for 10 minutes. Unmold the cakes and let them completely cool down before frosting.
Cream Cheese frosting and toasted pecans
8-ounce package cream cheese
½ cup butter
2 Tsp. vanilla extract
5 to 6 cups of confectioner’s sugar
¾ cup of pecans

Put the pecans in a shallow baking pan, and bake them for 8 to 10 minutes, until fragrant. Chop the pecans and save some halves for decoration purposes.

In a bowl, soften the cream cheese by microwaving it for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Add the butter and vanilla extract and beat them with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, beating well until it gets the desired consistency.

Frost the top of one cake with cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with the chopped pecans. Put the other cake on top. Frost sides and top. Put some pecans halves on top. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.

To print the recipe click here.

martes, 10 de mayo de 2011

Homemade Cappuccino

While living in the Village, in New York City, I fell in love with cappuccinos. I used to go to Dean & Deluca, for my daily treat... of iced cappuccino and then, do homework… Even in the middle of the winter, no matter the snow or if it was raining, I ordered my skimmed milk iced cappuccino... Fifteen years later, every time I go back to the city, I stop by any Dean & Deluca to treat myself with my favorite iced coffee…

domingo, 8 de mayo de 2011

Buttermilk Pancakes with Berries and a Happy Mother’s Day!

Last Friday my twitter friend @karinavlg asked me about a nice breakfast to treat her mom and grandma on Mother’s Day. So, I asked Andrés Ignacio (9) and Tomás Eugenio (7) what they would cook for me on a day like today.

sábado, 7 de mayo de 2011

Mint Julep and a Toast to the Southern Way of Life!

Mint juleps are from the same cocktail family of smashes and my beloved mojitos. They are, like I said before, the quintessential American cocktail. Mixologists Jason Kosmas and Dusahn Zaric, authors of Speakeasy and owners of Employees Only in New York, said that “at the summit of cocktail Olympus,” mint juleps “sit next to the classics like the Martini, the Manhattan and the Sazerac.” I agree.

jueves, 5 de mayo de 2011

Pico de Gallo to celebrate Cinco de Mayo!

Living in Southern California, it is almost impossible not to be in tune with México. Take Cinco de Mayo (May fifth in Spanish), the Mexican civil holiday that commemorates the Battle of Puebla. It is celebrated mostly in Puebla, México but overall in the United States.

miércoles, 4 de mayo de 2011

1, 2, 3 Mint Syrup! (Getting Ready for the Kentucky Derby)

The quintessential American Cocktail, mint julep is also the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. It is all about bourbon, fresh mint and lots of ice. In Kentucky, home of the Derby, as well as in Virginia, they grow a variety of spearmint —menthe cordifolia spicata—, that is commonly known as "Kentucky Colonel Mint" and which is, of course, the most suitable to make mint juleps.

lunes, 2 de mayo de 2011

Lady Roseta

This is the most recent creation of Jim Wrigley, bartender and brand ambassador for Ron Santa Teresa in London. Lady Roseta, a perfectly balanced rum concoction, will be the official cocktail Santa Teresa will be pouring on May 17th at the cocktail extravaganza: The Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala, to be held at landmark New York City Public Library.
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