Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Feta yogurt dip and pita bread

I had a version of this dip at a great little greek restaurant last weekend so I decided to try to recreate it.  It turned out pretty tasty!

Feta Yogurt Dip
1 cup greek yogurt
1-1 1/3 cup feta cheese
juice half lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
olive oil (drizzle on top)

This is a pretty easy recipe that can be modified to your specific tastes.
Mix in food processor or by hand for a chunkier version.  Adjust lemon, garlic, s&p, and olive oil to your taste.  Chill for at least 30 mins. It's easy and delicious. 
It's best served with raw veggies and homemade pita bread (recipe found here).

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Bacon Avocado Deviled Eggs

Recently, my husband and I went to a great restaurant (Z Grille, in St Petersburg, FL) that has a daily deviled eggs special.  We tried a bacon avocado deviled egg that was out of this world good.  After returning home, I decided to try to replicate it.

My version is pretty good - not as good as the ones we had at Z Grille, but still good.

Bacon Avocado Deviled Eggs

6 eggs,  boiled and peeled (only three of the yolks)
1 ripe avocado
1 Tablespoon finely diced cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
a few drops of cooled bacon grease
1/2 small lemon, juiced
1 squirt deli mustard
healthy dash of paprika
3 slices of smokey bacon, diced and nicely browned

Dice bacon then cook over med heat until crisp.  Drain on paper towels.  After cooled, crumble.

In a mixing bowl, combine three of the cooled, cooked yolks, avocado, cilantro, garlic, bacon grease, lemon juice, mustard and paprika.  Use a fork to mash the avocado and yolks up until mostly smooth. Add in the crumbled bacon, leaving just a little aside to sprinkle on top.

Fill the eggs and then top with remaining bacon.  You can also decorate with extra cilantro and/or paprika.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Wine Tasting in Mendoza - Tapiz and Melipal

On our first day of wine tasting, we went to two vineyards -  Tapiz and Melipal. At Tapiz, we had a wonderful tour which included a horse-drawn carriage ride through the vineyard.  On the tour, we learned about all the wines of Tapiz, including  the two most well-known types of wine in Argentina - Torrentes and Malbec. The tour was interesting and the wine was great!

Next we headed to an amazing five course tasting lunch (with wine pairings) at Melipal.  It was such a great meal! It was probably the best meal that we had in Mendoza.
Mixed green salad with Granny Smith apples,  arugula, and a lemon cream emulsion

Yogurt marinated chicken, seasoned vegetables and a 'cachoecabra' chili reduction

Melted goat provolone cheese served over smoked red beets, hummus, and prune marmalade 

Filet with grilled vegetables, potatoes and a roasted carrot emulsion

Fresh  cheese and quince jelly cream, burnt spring oranges, and crunchy cereal crumble

I meant to take a picture of the wine but it kept disappearing

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Porter Beer Braised Pot Roast

I know pot roast isn't very cool or fancy but this recipe is fantastic!

3-4 lb roast (I used eye of round roast)
1 bottle of porter beer
5-6 cloves garlic, smashed
flour (for coating roast)
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, sliced
2 carrots, large chunks
2-3 potatoes, chunks
dry onion soup mix (optional)

Super easy!  Marinate the pot roast in the porter and garlic overnight.  Remove roast and pat dry.  Don't throw out the marinade, you'll need it in a few steps.
Liberally sprinkle the roast with salt and pepper.  Add enough flour to a plate to be able to coat the roast.  Coat the roast with the flour and shake to remove excess flour. Heat oil (high heat) and then add roast. Sear nicely on all sides (not just top and bottom).   Make sure you really get it nice and brown on all sides.  Add sliced onion to bottom of crockpot.  Place roast on top.  Measure out 1 cup of the beer from the marinade.  Pour it into the skillet and scrape with wooden spoon to deglaze the pan then pour over the roast. Sprinkle onion soup mix on top and let cook on low for 8-10 hours.  Around hour 5-6, add the potatoes and carrots and stir around a little to coat with the delicious broth.

Serve with some crusty bread and a nice green salad.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Samosas - golden fried deliciousness

I've made these a few times now and think I've perfected the recipe to my tastes  I hope you like them!


1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoon oil
1/4- 1/2 cup lukewarm water (start with 1/4c and add until it's wet enough)

2 large potatoes, boiled and diced (peels can be left on or removed)
2 tablespoons oil
2 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 red chili pepper, diced (seeds removed for less heat)
1 1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
1 1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 c lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2-3/4 cup frozen peas

To make the dough
Mix the flour, oil, salt and water together to form a dough. Start with 1/4 c water and add to it, as needed.
Knead the dough for 3-5 minutes.  Separate the dough into 8 small balls. Set aside and cover with damp cloth.  Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

For the filling
Dice and boil the potatoes (can be done in advance).  Heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the cumin, red chili, ginger paste, and coriander.  Stir frequently for a minute.  Add the green peas and let cook until the peas are tender.  Add the potatoes and mix well.  Allow to cook for 5 minutes.  Add the lime juice and salt and remove from heat.  Let filling cool to room temperature before proceeding.

Assembling the samosas
On a floured surface, roll a ball of dough into a thin circle.  Cut the circle in half.  Take one half of dough and form a cone shape (by folding the cut ends up). Seal the sides of the cone by pressing firmly along the seam.  Fill the cone with the potato mixture then seal the top of the triangle. Set aside. Repeat this step with all 8 balls of dough.

Heat enough oil in a pot to completely submerse the samosas (deep frying).  Add only a few at a time (depending on the size of your pot) and let fry.  Let them cook until they are a nice, deep golden brown color.  Move them to a paper towel lined plate.  Repeat until all samosas are fried.

You can also prepare extra and fry them for a few minutes, allow to cool, then freeze for future snacks.  Warning:  I have tried to do this but each time my husband convinces me that we need them all right now.   And he's right.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Baked Buffalo Wings (two sauces)

My husband requested wings for football Sunday.  Since he rarely makes any meal requests and I love wings and I love him, I happily complied.  I wanted to bake the wings so I could at least pretend I was being healthy, so after researching a lot of recipes, I decided to try them three different ways.  I also made two sauces because I wanted the buffalo wings to be spicy and my daughter can't handle a lot of heat.  So, I made a honey ginger glaze and a spicy buffalo sauce.  I also had to make some homemade blue cheese dressing because I couldn't find any here.

The sauces ( can make the day ahead or just before cooking wings)

Honey Ginger Glaze
1/2 c honey
4 Tablespoons soy sauce
6 cloves of garlic, minced
4 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
1/4c water

Combine all ingredients and heat to boiling, stirring frequently.  Reduce to simmer and reduce sauce for about 10 minutes. Let stand 15-30 minutes to thicken.

Buffalo Wing Sauce
3 oz unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients. Chill 30 mins.  Reheat before using.

Here are the different methods I used for baking the wings -
1. Steamed then cooled then baked (this was my favorite)
2. Floured and baked (second favorite)
3. Naked - tossed in a little oil, salt and pepper then baked at 400 for 45-50 minutes (good but not crispy)

Blue Cheese Dressing

1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 half of fresh lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup (or to taste) crumbled blue cheese
1 tablespoon chives

Mix everything (except blue cheese) together until smooth.  Add blue cheese and stir until combined.  Chill 30 minutes.
Also, if you don't have buttermilk (I never do), you can make it by adding a tablespoon of vinegar to a cup of milk and let it sit for 10 minutes.

I'm happy to report the wings were a huge success!  The blue cheese dressing was amazing!

It was a good day for wings and football.


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sao Pedro/Lumiar trip - a great weekend getaway

A few weekends ago, we drove to Lumiar and Sao Pedro in Novo Friburgo.  It is a lovely little mountain town area that is only about a 2 1/2 hour drive.  

We did go a longer route so that we could fit in a visit to the Geneve Goat Farm.  This goat farm supplies all the nice french restaurants with their goat cheese.  It was my favorite part of our trip!  There have a nature walk, a play area for children (or kids, ha!), a tour that includes feeding and petting the goats and watching them prepare the goat cheese.  

nature walk

feeding the goats

goat cheese!

We also had lunch at the restaurant there.  It was amazing!  Lots of goat cheese and the vegetables are grown right there on the farm.

duck breast with apple puree

filet mignon and mushroom risotto

vegetable crepe (with goat cheese of course)
After lunch it was on to Lumiar/Sao Pedro.  We loved this area!  It was beautiful and green and peaceful.  We hiked and walked around town.  We saw waterfalls and beautiful landscapes. We had some great food (and beer). It was just a great, relaxing family weekend.


We stayed at this amazing little pousda (inn) in Sao Pedro.  It is only about a year old so everything is new and wonderful.  The rooms are huge with a fireplace in each (ours had a big jacuzzi in it).  It also has a movie room, a game room, a very helpful, friendly staff, a good restaurant and there is a natural spring just next door to it.  
View from the breakfast room at our hotel

The last night, we walked into to the little town area for dinner.  It just so happened that there was a spring festival that night.  There was a clown/magician that put on an excellent show.  There was musicians playing on the street.  It seems as if the whole town came out for it.  It was just wonderful! 
live music at the spring festival

Waiting for the magic show to start

It is such a short distance and easy drive to this area.  It is perfect for a weekend away from Rio. I'd love to return for another weekend before we leave Brazil, but who knows?  So many places to visit and so little time!


All recipes are on Petitchef