Bacon, zucchini and chocolate

Some of what I’ve been eating lately, mostly using up ingredients I have too many of.

Tomato, bacon, bleu cheese salad (this was mostly an excuse to use up a bunch of cherry tomatoes and eat bacon at the same time)

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Sorry for the crappy photos- it was 8pm at night and my camera sucks.

  • Approx. 2 lbs tomatoes (I used cherry because I have too many of them)
  • Some bacon (cooked, duh), chopped finely
  • Some bleu cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup basil- ripped, slivered, however you like it
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon vinegar
  • Herbes de provence (I didn’t have any so I just used thyme, marjoram, rosemary, and some dried sage)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all together, enjoy! I ate this as a salad on top of lettuce and Alvi came home starving, so he made some angel hair pasta and added this to the pasta and LOVED IT.

Zucchini / carrot bread

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You can see what my kitchen looks like! I want to see all of your kitchens too.

I usually improvise while baking the same way I do during cooking, but it never works out as well because obviously baking is much more chemistry than cooking. You’d think I’d learn, but I rarely do. I think the reason that I haven’t learned is because I almost always substitute half of the oil/butter in most recipes for plain yogurt, and it weirdly seems to work out most of the time- you’d really think this would be something that would throw off most baking recipes, but I’ve had huge successes! I do this regardless of the item- cookies, breads, brownies, whatever. I took a basic zucchini bread recipe and improvised, it turned out really yummy!  The recipe calls for:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 cup white, 1/2 cup whole wheat)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (they only sell “polvo para hornear” here which is a mix of both, so I used used 2 tsp of that)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (I’m not pumpkin spiced-out yet, so I substituted the cinnamon for 3 tsp of my homemade pumpkin pie spice I made last Thanksgiving)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup canola oil (I did 1/4 cup coconut oil + 1/4 cup plain, non-Greek yogurt)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (I did 2/3 cup panela which is an unprocessed cane sugar product that’s common here)
  • I added a mashed, small banana for some sweetness because panela isn’t as sweet as sugar, and I needed to use it up.
  • 1 3/4 grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup grated carrot (I did approx 1 1/2 cup grated carrot and 1 cup grated zucchini because I didn’t have as many zucchinis as I thought)

Mix dry ingredients together, whisk wet ingredients together separately. Mix in the veggies, mix in the dry ingredients, put in greased loaf pan in relatively hot oven (the recipe says 350 F but my oven is gas and doesn’t have a thermometer, so I just guess) for anywhere between 40 mins to 1 hour.

Brigadeiros

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(photo not mine, from: http://streetsmartbrazil.com/blog/20100215/learn-how-cook-brigadeiros)

Finally, a friend came over and taught me how to make brigadeiros- they are a traditional Brazilian chocolate truffle thing. They’re really easy! Here’s a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, but my friend’s method was easier. We used:

  • 1 can condensed milk
  • A few scoops (good quality! easy to find here in Ecuador) cocoa powder
  • Tiny sliver of butter
  • Items to coat the truffles- we used non-sweetened shredded coconut and sprinkles

Add the condensed milk, sliver of butter and cocoa powder to a pan over medium low heat. The amount of cocoa powder depends on how chocolatey you want the truffles to be- we probably used about 1/2 cup. Stir the mixture over med-low heat for a while with a spatula- probably about 15 minutes, until it’s thick and doesn’t move much when you stir it around (it shouldn’t refill the line where you stir with your spatula). Be careful not to burn the mixture, and stir constantly. When it’s done, pour the mix into a bowl, and let it cool. (We let it cool approximately 30 seconds before moving on to the next step.) Take a small spoon (these are really rich, so you want a small spoon to make small balls), and scoop up some mixture- approximately 1 tsp. Using your clean fingers, push the mix off the teaspoon and into whatever you’re going to coat the truffle with (we used coconut and sprinkles, I bet a slightly sweetened hot chocolate powder would be good too). (I used my index finger to push the mix off the spoon, if that helps with the logistics.) Roll the chocolate around in the mix to coat it, and form a ball with the mixture. Put the balls on a baking sheet. Once you have all of your truffles, place them in the freezer to chill even more. Enjoy! They look really pretty and dainty, and there’s the added benefit of being able to bring them to a party and impressing everyone with the worldliness of your Brazilian treat. Invent a Brazilian friend and say that they taught you! This all took us about 30 minutes between the two of us to make a LOT of brigadeiros!

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