Saturday, October 3, 2009

Pebre (Chilean salsa)

Pebre is one of the salsas you can hardly stop eating because it is just so fresh and delicious. During Independence festivities it's the dish that has to be present for the homemade chilean bread and asado (chilean steak).


1 bunch of cilantro, washed and chopped finely
2 chopped white/yellow onions (finely)
Lemon juice from one lemon
1 Tbsp. red vinegar
3 garlic cloves minced
4 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 tomato chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Chili Sauce (creamy chilean paste) --optional


Mix all ingredients together and let it macerate for at least an hour. Enjoy!


Squash au gratin

This is a perfect side dish for a special dinner, or you can bake it in individual casseroles and have it as a main dish too!


Good olive oil, for frying
3/4 pound yellow squash, unpeeled, sliced 1/2-inch thick
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 extra-large egg
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup good bottled marinara sauce


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat about 1/8-inch of olive oil in a very large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is almost smoking, add several slices of squash and cook, turning once, until they are evenly browned on both sides and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Be careful, it splatters! Transfer the cooked squash slices to paper towels to drain. Add more oil, heat, and add more squash until all the slices are cooked.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, half-and-half, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

Place a layer of squash slices on the pan you'll be making the gratin, then sprinkle with Parmesan, salt and pepper and spoon 1/2 of the marinara sauce. Next, add a second layer of squash, more salt and pepper, half the ricotta mixture, and finally 1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan on top.

Place the gratin on a baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the custard sets and the top is browned. Serve warm.

Source: Adapted from Barefoot Contessa

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Texas Sheet Cake

If you feel like you have not much time to make a delicious dessert, or even to bring a cake to a party or potluck, here is a very good alternative. You only need between 45 to 50 minutes and you are done, yes... you are done!

In order to make it easier and faster the execution of this cake, I've separated the ingredients in three groups. Make sure you have all the ingredients ready and handy before starting working on the recipe.


Group 1:

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tspn. salt
1 tspn. baking soda

Group 2: (Heat it until boiling)

2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup water
4 Tbspn. cocoa (I used dark cocoa)

Group 3:

2 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tspn. vanilla

Chocolate Icing:

1 stick butter
4 Tbsp. cocoa
6 Tbsp. whole milk
1 tspn. vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar


Preheat your oven to 375ºF. Grease or line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Put group 3 into a bowl, beat it until mixed and set aside. Fit your mixer with the paddle attachment and pour group 1. Stir it for 30 seconds, then add group 2 to group 1. Mix well. Add group 3 until all combined.

Transfer the batter to the prepared sheet and bake it for 30 seconds.

While the cake is being baked for about 15 minutes, start working on the icing. Use a heavy bottom pot and bring it to a boil the following ingredients: butter, cocoa and milk. Transfer this mixture to the mixer bowl and add the powder sugar and vanilla extract. Beat until reaches a silky and smooth consistency.

Once the cake is baked, get it out of the oven and spread the icing on top, making sure it is smooth and nice. You can top the cake with some chopped walnuts. Let it cool at room temperature until the icing is set and cut it into squares.