Strawberry Shortcake Day – June 14th

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“Strawberry shortcake parties became popular in the United States around 1850, as a celebration of the coming of summer .Probably the most popular berry back then, people talked of strawberry fever. The railroads became transcontinental and strawberries could be shipped from coast to coast surrounded with ice to keep them fresh. Advertisements and articles about strawberry shortcake, caused more and more demand.”

Forward the basic recipe of this special American treat :

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds strawberries, stemmed and quartered
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • Whipped Cream, recipe follows

Directions

Mix strawberries with 3 tablespoons sugar and refrigerate while juices develop, at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add heavy cream and mix until just combined. Place mixture in an ungreased 8-inch square pan and bake until golden, 18 to 20 minutes.

Remove shortcake from pan and place on a rack to cool slightly. Cut into 6 pieces and split each piece in half horizontally.

Spoon some of the strawberries with their juice onto each shortcake bottom. Top with a generous dollop of whipped cream and then the shortcake top. Spoon more strawberries over the top and serve.

Whipped Cream:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

Using a mixer, beat the heavy cream, sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest until soft peaks form, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

Enjoy !!!!!

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Belgian hot chocolate

This recipe serves four, I think the Belgians must have a high-tolerance for the amount of hot chocolate they can drink, and you might find it serves a few more than indicated. Leftover mix can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days, and re-warmed in a saucepan or microwave oven.

I use whole milk and belgian chocolate .

For more adult tastes, one could replace some of the liquid with strong coffee or add a hit of liqueur at the end, such as cognac or Chartreuse.

Recipe:

1 quart (1l) half-and-half or whole milk
8 ounces (230g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 ounces (115g) milk chocolate, finely chopped
tiny pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Warm about one-third of the half-and-half or milk, with the chopped chocolates and salt, stirring until the chocolate is melted.

2. Whisk in the remaining half-and-half or milk, heating until the mixture is warmed through. Add the cinnamon.

3. Use a hand-held blender, or a whisk, and mix the hot chocolate until it’s completely smooth. Serve very warm.

If you want to make it more spectacular ,serve with a poof of whipped cream and chocolate curls.

What is Unique about Belgian Chocolate ?

When it comes to chocolates, there are the everyday candy bars we consume every day, the more exotic Godiva or Ghirardelli-style chocolates found in coffee houses and specialty stores, and then there is Belgian chocolate. Belgian chocolate is considered to be the gourmet standard by which all other chocolate confections are measured. Even the Swiss, known for their own high quality chocolate, imported the basic recipe from French and Belgian chocolatiers.

What makes Belgian chocolate unique is the quality of ingredients and an almost fanatical adherence to Old World manufacturing techniques. Even in today’s world of automation and mass production, most Belgian chocolate is still made by hand in small shops using original equipment. In fact, these small chocolate outlets are a popular draw for tourists visiting Belgiumtoday. Much like wineries, tours of Belgian chocolate shops include tastings and exclusive souvenirs.

Belgian chocolate itself has been popular since the 18th century, but a new process created by Jean Neuhaus in 1912 increased its popularity ten-fold. Neuhaus used a special version ofchocolate called “couverteur” as a cold shell for what he called ‘pralines‘. These pralines are not the same as the sugary treats offered in American candy shops. Belgian chocolate pralines could be filled with a variety of flavored nougats or creams, such as coffee, hazelnut, fruit or morechocolate. Few other chocolatiers in Neuhaus’ day could duplicate the complex flavors of his pralines. Many of the Belgian chocolate praline companies are still in operation today- Leonidas, Neuhaus, Godiva and Nirvana are famous for their gourmet pralines.

One technical advantage Belgian chocolate has over other chocolatiers is the storage of couverteur before use. In the chocolate making process, the cocoa beans are ground and mixed with sugar and cocoa butter and then smoothed out through tempering (careful addition of heat). Most chocolate companies receive their chocolate in solid form, which means it must be reheated in order to be usable. Belgian chocolate companies often receive their couverteur in heated tanker trucks soon after the tempering process. Because the chocolate has not cooled, it retains much more of the aroma than the cooled varieties.

Belgian chocolate may be expensive, but those who have sampled it say that there is no comparison between a standard chocolate bar and a Belgian praline. As a gift or special indulgence, Belgian chocolate is one product which lives up to its reputation for quality.

 Just to have an idea , Godiva is the most famous brand of Belgian Chocolate  in the world and  the company has more than 75 years being the  the first Chocolatier to create the High Quality Chocolate concept  . One  kilo of  Godiva Chocolate  can  be sold for more than 250 euros !!

Foods that melt abdominal fat

We are posting a very interesting text from the site  Canadian Living ( http://www.canadianliving.com) which help us to find out some great ingredients that  help us to melt abdominal fat . Hope you  all enjoy these healthy tips :

“Are you sick of that extra layer of “muffin top” fat peeking over your pants? Do you always turn to the side when looking in the mirror to see if your stomach is bulging? If these scenarios sound familiar, you are among the millions of Canadian seeking a flatter tummy for bikini season. The good news is there are specific foods loaded with quality calories that can be the perfect answer to melting fat away from your mid-section permanently.

Here are the top four categories of foods that melt abdominal fat:

1.Thermogenic foods

Thermogenic foods are the ones your body uses maximum energy (in calories) to properly digest. Some of the most effective thermongenic, or fat burning, foods are lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, egg whites, fish and lean beef (on occasion). Cayenne pepper, mustard, apple cider vinegar, cabbage, broccoli, celery, chili powder and cinnamon also have thermogenic properties that help rev up your metabolic engine and narrow your waistline.

2.Low glycemic index foods

The glycemic index is a tool that measures the speed of entry of a carbohydrate into the bloodstream. In a nutshell, the higher the glycemic index rating, the more insulin is secreted in response, which can result in excess fat storage around the mid section. The categories of the glycemic index are: high (over 70), medium (55-70) and low (up to 55). Some high glycemic index foods to avoid include white bread, white rolls, baguettes, bagels, dried dates, instant and baked mashed potatoes, instant rice, soda crackers and a variety of cereals (Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies, Cheerios, puffed wheat, shredded wheat). Examples of low to medium glycemic index foods to incorporate in your diet are most vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy products, beans and lean meats.

3.Hydrating foods

Chronic mild to moderate dehydration can be the root cause of several health conditions such as faulty digestion, fatigue, achy joints, dry skin and inability to lose weight. The human body is comprised of about 70 per cent water. Simply put, next to air, water is the most vital substance our system needs to function properly. A fast and effective way to put pressure on your metabolism, lose weight and flatten your tummy is to drink a minimum of 8 glasses of fresh, clean water per day. If you are not a water lover and drinking feels more like a chore, try to incorporate water dense foods into your diet. Foods such as watermelon (made up of 92 per cent water), melons, celery, bok choy and soup broths are very hydrating and nourishing. In addition trying adding sliced lemons, limes or cucumbers to your water to enhance taste and for their natural astringent effect.

4.High fibre foods

One of my nutritional mottos is “you are only as healthy as your pipes”. In other words, you are only as healthy as what you are absorbing, digesting and eliminating. High fibre foods such as whole grain bread, apples, oat bran, ground flaxseed and vegetables are loaded with soluble and insoluble fibre that are beneficial for weight control and improving digestion. On average, women should aim to eat 25 grams of fibre per day while men should aim to eat approximately 30 grams of fibre per day. Fibre will both fill you up and flatten your mid-section. Alternative grains to experiment with include brown rice, kamut, spelt, quinoa and millet.

Of course, in addition to the food categories outlined above, regular abdominal crunches and/or Pilates will help you to strengthen your abdominal inner core making you feel taller and leaner around the mid section!”

 

**During the summer we are going to post some delicious recipes with these healthy ingredients !!!

Brazilian Carrot Cake

This is a super-easy cake, very moist and  tasty. It takes 15 minutes to make , and the kids are gonna love it !!
INGREDIENTS:
    • Cake:
    • 4 carrots
    • 4 eggs
      • 1/2 cup of canola oil
      • 2 cups of sugar
      • 2 1/2 cups of  all purpose flour
      • 1 tablespoon butter
      • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
      • 1/4 Teaspoon salt
  • Chocolate Frosting:
  •  4 tablespoon of chocolate powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 Teaspoon honey

HOW TO MAKE IT :

  • For the Cake:
    1. Prepare a 9×13 cake pan with butter and flour. Pre heat oven to 325 F
    2. Peel and roughly chop the carrots. Sift the dry ingredients together.
    3. In a blender mix the carrots, eggs, oil and sugar. Blend until its completely smooth.      Transfer the mixture to a bowl and fold in the dry.
    4. Bake for 40 min.
    For the chocolate frosting: Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Let it boil and cook for 5 min.  The cake should still be warm when you pour it over.

Merengue and Strawberries – Super easy!!

Ingredients 

1 box of strawberries

2 package of merengues

1 1/2 can of cold evaporated milk (or wipping cream )

How to make it 

1.Clean all the strawberries up and in a stemware , spread them ( you can cut in the middle if you wish)

2. Top them with the evaporated milk ( or whipping cream)

3. Spread the merengues.

And enjoy this super-easy dessert in our summer time !! 🙂

How To Keep Strawberries Fresh

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Everybody loves strawberries right? ( as well as all the other  amazing berries we have in British Columbia )

And sometimes we buy them and they don’t keep fresh . Here we have a good tip from the site  “The Frugal Girls”. Take note and you’ll see how it really works !!!

 

 “Since strawberries are starting to show up at the grocery stores, and will soon be at the Farmer’s Markets, I thought I would share a little trick that my good ol’ Mom told me about.

To keep the strawberries fresh longer in the refrigerator, use 1 Part White Vinegar to 10 Parts Water.  Soak the strawberries, leaves and all in the vinegar/water mixture for a few minutes.  Then drain the strawberries in a colander until they are completely dry.

Then I place my strawberries in an uncovered bowl in the refrigerator.  The vinegar/water mixture kills any mold spores on the strawberries and keeps them fresh longer.  The vinegar does not affect the taste.  This also works for all kinds of berries: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.  It really works!!”

Read more: http://thefrugalgirls.com/2012/04/how-to-keep-strawberries-fresh.html#ixzz1v8xZXGlR

Brazilian Barbecue – Do you know it??

Brazilian Barbecue

Grab your sword, light the fire and get grilling!!!

Barbecue   is part of the Brazil’s  Culture . Brazilians love to  gatther around the grill area  and wait for the perfect meat get ready.
I want to introduce you to our history , just to let you know some more  about this continental country that really loves to eat meat !!
More than 400 years ago cattle ranching was introduced to the Rio Grande do Sul, in the  South  region of Brazil.  The brazilian  “Cowboys”, called “Gauchos” herded these cattle, and like the cowboys of Texas created a new style of cooking. They called it “Churrasco”, which is Brazilian Barbecue. Though this style of Barbecue wasn’t based on smoke like that of the United States, it has all the traditions and elements of an American Barbecue. Churrasco started in the 16th and 17th centuries and spread throughout all of Brazil in the 1940’s as the Gauchos spread across the country.

Originally the standard formula for Brazilian style barbecue was to coat meats in coarse salt. The meat would then sit for about 30 minutes to absorb the salt and then was placed over the fire. Later a salt-water baste was used to keep meats moist during the cooking. Beef was typically never seasoned. Poultry and lamb, however are spiced with a rich marinade the night before cooking. Meats are places on long sword-like skewers and cooked over an open fire.

Churrasco is much more than a way of cooking in Brazil ; it’s a way of life. The Barbecue capital of Brazil is the city of Nova Brescia which has a statue of a man cooking barbecue in the central plaza. In the 1940’s this city had a population of about 150,000. Since then the population has dropped to about 30,000 due to the mass exodus of people leaving to open Barbecue restaurants across the country.

The popularity of Brazilian Barbecue has lead to the founding of dozens of restaurants, popping up all over the world. If you get the chance I whole-heartedly recommend that you give one a try. On the menu you will usually find prime rib, linguica (a Portuguese sausage), lamb kebabs, chicken legs, fish and a whole host of other dishes.

All meats are cooked on long skewers placed on racks over the fire with fattier items placed on top so that the juices will drip down and flavor the other cuts. When the meats are cooked waiters carry the skewers around table to table carving off pieces onto your plate. Without moving from your table you can experience virtually unlimited dishes until your stomach fails you and it’s time to lumber home. This is truly a great dining experience.

You can experience this at home. Kebabs are one of the easiest things to grill. And since the tradition is to place only one kind of meat on each skewer the problem of different cooking times is eliminated. The next time you have an army over try a good Brazilian Barbecue.

Following ,2 sites of good Brazilian Steak Houses in North America :

1- FOGO DE CHAO : http://www.fogodechao.com ( stores in many places in USA like Chicago, Las Vegas , Beverly Hills,  Dallas, Houston , Miami and many more )

2- GAUCHOS BRAZILIAN BARBECUE- http://www.brazilianbbq.ca- ( calgary and Kenmore )

Tuna Pie ( with bread and paté)

Ingredients :

1 package of sliced white ( or whole grain ) bread

2 cans of Tuna

2  table spoons of catchup

1  table spoon of mustard

6  table spoons of dressing sauce ( like Miracle Whip )

1 pinch of parsley

half  onion cutted in very small pieces

Milk to  soak the bread

How to make it 

1. Remove the bark of the bread slices

2. Mix all the ingredients together to  make the paté.

3. In a plate ,  you have to place 4 slices of bread , shaped in a square . With a spoon ,spill some milk over   the bread and cover it with paté.

4.. Over the paté  , place 4 more slices of bread , spill them with milk and cover the slices again with the paté .

5. Repeat this sequence until the last layer  is ready( it will be enough for 4 layers)

6. Cover the last layer with paté and the beside the pie you can finish the decoration with the dressing sauce

7. The decoration above the pie is according to your creativity( the photo is just a suggestion )

*Idea : eat the pie with a lovely green salad.Enjoy it !!

Fish Stew – “Moqueca “

This is a wonderful recipe from the Northwest of Brazil , specifically from the state  of Bahia. Easy to make, this meal is a real success !!

Fish Stew

2 lb  of  white fish fillets

2 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoon lime juice

½ teaspoon salt

1 chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

3 table spoons  of tomato sauce

2 tomatoes ( sliced )

1  big sliced onion

1 green pepper ( sliced )

1 red pepper (  sliced )

1 cup  of water

3 tablespoon parsley

½ cup coconut milk

Combine the fish with lime juice and salt in a bowl. Let it marinate while you
 prepare the sauté pan.

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and add the chopped onion and garlic.

Saute the ingredients until onion becomes limp.

Put the sliced onions  over  the sauté ingredients, and start to prepare the layers : sliced onions , sliced green pepper ,sliced red pepper, sliced tomato , and  2 or 3 fish fillets  and keep in this sequence  before  ¾  of the t pan’s board . Then  add water, tomato sauce  and  simmer for 
about 10 minutes in medium heat or until fish is done.

Mix in the coconut milk, parsley and
 simmer for additional 5 minutes.

SERVE: Serve directly from sauté pan with white rice.