Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Yeah. Hi! I think I am back.

I think I must apologize to my imaginary readers, because I was gone for several months! Well, University took over me and I had troubles with two subjects that I must repeat next year, but I think I approved everything this term.

I was supposes to make a laboratory practice this semester, or this summer, but I was having doubts about whether I wanted to be a scientist or not. Then I started to read about a sea slug called Elysia chlorotica and now I am obsessed with that wonderful sea creature and I want to investigate it. My research lead me to discover that it was being investigated by a group in an University in U.S.A, and now I really want to go. It's like a need, but it really isn't. It's just that I am so amazed by that sea slug, so curious about it, that I feel I need to investigate it. I will talk to one of my tutors and ask him when I should go to study abroad. I remember him telling us the best time was for a PhD, but investigations don't last for ever and I have at least 3 years left to finish the Magister, and then I can go for a PhD. So I was thinking, go to Maine University and investigate this sea slug as my Magister thesis. So I need to consult that with a tutor. I will take his advice. I also want to ask him help on how to contact the person in charge of the investigation. I want to ask this person, in which area I should start focusing, since the wonderful thing about the sea slug is that it can make photosynthesis, as plants. Should I focus on algae, plants, mollusks?

I am a little worried, since their last publication was made on 2008. Maybe they already dropped that investigation line, and I would be left in a limbo, without knowing what to do, again. I really hope they haven't given up, because there are so many interesting things about this creature. Here is a website about it if you wish to know a little more http://sbe.umaine.edu/symbio/

And that is, really summarized, what has been going on with my life lately. I will come with more food soon.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mussels pasta sauce

I don't like seafood. It disgust me. I was able to eat shrimp until new years eve last year when I decided to help my mother to clean them for a sauce she was making and they started to disgust me as well. So now I don't eat sea food. Unless it is packed in a nice blanket of rice, dipped in tempura batter and finished in really hot oil to make a crispy shell... yum, I love warm sushi. Anyway, yes, I don't like seafood. I eat some kind of fishes, but after a class I took this semester about the Chilean seas I don't want to eat any kind of meat anymore. I haven't talked about it with my mother, I talked about it with my boyfriend, but he thinks vegetarians are stupid. But it is sad. It is so sad that fishes are taken out of water, killed and processed to make food for our food. Cows, pigs and chickens are fed with fish meal, as well as salmons and trouts. And it makes me sad that they are taking tons of fishes out of water just so they can feed some animals that then will be lost, because we throw away a lot of meat every day.

It made me think. It made me really consider becoming a vegetarian, and I am still thinking about it. Organic food is not easy to find in my city, and more expensive that in other countries. I would eat chickens from a farm with no problem, knowing they were fed with corn, or other seeds, and no fish. I would eat fish if I knew  people was responsible about them and wasn't using fishing methods hat affect other species beside the one they want. But things are not like that. And I love all the marine creatures so much. They are wonderful. I would like people could see how wonderful they are, but I talk to my classmates and they look at me like I am crazy. Most people don't understand my love for them, but they are so special.

Ok, sorry, now to the food. I've been talking about how I don't like seafood and here I am with a seafood dish. The thing is, my mom loves it. And she was going to her first job interview as a psychologist this morning, so I wanted to have something special for her, either to celebrate or comfort her. Gladly, the interview went well and they want her to star working in February. So mussels pasta to congratulate her! I just threw in the pan everything I found. The mussels where canned, so I used the juices from one can to cook everything, poured in some wine, lemon zest, lemon juice and ta-da! Then cooked the pasta and there I had it, smelling like holidays on the beach.


2 cans mussels in oil (380 gr)
1 small onion, finely diced.
1 medium zucchini, chopped in cubes.
1 medium tomato, cubed.
1 small garlic clove, minced.
1/4 cup white wine
1 lemon (zest and juice)
Salt to taste.


1. Pour the juices from one can of mussels in a pan over medium heat and add finely diced onion. Cook until it becomes translucent.
2. Add the zucchini and cook for about two minutes, then add the tomatoe and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, or until vegetables become soft, add salt and mix.
3. Add mussels and combine, then add the wine and let the alcohol evaporate (I cooked it for about 3 more minutes).
4. Turn off the heat and add lemon zest and juice. Adjust salt add to any pasta you like (I used spaghetti).

If you like seafood, I hope you try this!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chard, cheese and ham tart

I'm alive! Sorry, I was kidnapped by University. We returned to classes 2 weeks ago and I'm flooded in work already. We are growing tomatoes in a laboratory class, and today I went to see the sprouts. They are 5 days old. We were lucky there is no pollution in our growth, and that all the seeds germinated. Here is a picture of my babies:

 We need to check them again, make sure there is no pollution caused by spores, and measure the height of the sprouts. I hope we get nice tomatoes <3

About the recipe, I like challenges. I love when someone says "I don't like this ingredients" or "I can't eat this thing", etc. My mom is on a diet, and there are certain ingredients she is not able to eat, so she has been eating salad, because she doesn't know what else to cook. I decided I would try to make something interesting with the things she can eat. So I came up with this tarts.


1 1/2 cup multi cereal flour (contains whole wheat flour, whole corn flour, oat flour and flax seed flour).
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup + 1 tbs skim milk
1 egg yolk
2 tbs coriander (I wanted to use basil, but I hadn't. You can use whatever you want, and as much as you like)
salt to taste

1 cup chard, chopped.
4 tbs chopped ham (you can add as much as you like, this is just an approximation of how I made them)
2 tbsp cream
1 egg white
2 tbs shredded cheese
salt to taste
More cheese to top them.


1. Preheat oven to 180° C. Mix flour, salt and coriander. Make a well in the center.
2. Add olive oil, milk and egg yolk in the well you made to the flour mixture.
3. Mix with a fork at first, and then work the dough with your hands until it's soft.
4. Roll out the dough and put it in greased  a tart mold.
5. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Take them out and let them cool slightly while you make the filling.

1. Mix all the ingredients.
2. Fill the crust. Put some cheese on top.
3. Bake 15 minutes.

They aren't hard, they don't take much time, and they are healthy and delicious! I hope you try and enjoy them. I baked the crusts in my muffin pan, I got 12 shells, and a little dough left over, which I used to make some crackers.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Eggless, butterless, fat free muffins

 Yes, that sounds like fantasy, doesn't it? But they are real, and easy! I found this recipe a long, long time ago, and can't remember where, but I make them really often, as my house is always out of eggs and butter. For that same reason, I'm always looking for recipes that don't include those ingredients, as pie crust, cakes, muffins, puddings or curds, etc. They are also a little healthier and allergy safe. They do include milk, but I used lactose free milk, so they are ok for lactose intolerant people (as my dad and little sister). I topped them with two kinds of ganache I had made as filling for some no really photogenic chocolate bonbons I made Friday night. They were beautiful, shiny and delicious, but I tried hundred of shots and they didn't look right. I left some of them without topping, because I hadn't enough and because since the ganache has cream, my dad and sister can't eat it (not without feeling sick afterwards). Oh, the recipes calls for whole wheat pastry flour, but I used all purpose because I don't have whole wheat flour on hand.



1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour.
3/4 cup sugar.
1/3 unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup fat free plain or vanilla yogurt
3/4 skim milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

White chocolate and raspberry ganache

50 g whipping cream
50 g raspberry puree (I cooked the raspberries and sieved them to remove the seeds)
150 g white chocolate

Orange and bittersweet chocolate ganache

100 g orange and bittersweet chocolate bar.
100 g whipping cream.



1.Preheat oven to 200° C.
2.Mix dry ingredients.
3.Mix wet ingredients.
4. Make a well in the middle of dry ingredients mix and pour the wet mix as you stir.
5. Line a muffin pan with paper cups and pour the mix.
6. Bake for about 18-20 minutes, until a knife comes out completely clean when inserted on the center of the muffin.

 White chocolate and raspberry ganache

1. Chop white chocolate in small pieces.
2.Mix raspberry puree and cream in a saucepan over medium heat.
3. Remove cream from heat when it's starting to bubble.
4. Pour cream over chocolate and wait 5 minutes for the chocolate to melt. Then stir to mix everything.
5. Let cool 10 minutes on counter, cover and let in the fridge for at least 5 hours.
6. Get out of the fridge and beat on high speed with electric mixer, until is pale and fluffy.

Orange and bittersweet chocolate ganache

1. Chop chocolate in small pieces.
2. Put cream on saucepan over medium heat and remove when starts to bubble.
3. Pour cream over chocolate and 5 minutes for the chocolate to melt. Then stir to mix everything.
5. Let cool 10 minutes on counter, cover and let in the fridge for at least 5 hours.
6. Get out of the fridge and beat on high speed with electric mixer, until is pale and fluffy.

The orange bittersweet ganache will set more than the raspberry chocolate one.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Earl grey cookies

I love earl grey tea. I drunk it for the first time about 4 years ago, and I've loved since then. I would love to try Twinings or Celestial seasonings and compare it to Lipton, Akba, and Supremo (Chilean brand), but they are really expensive! I first saw a recipe for earl grey tea cakes, and thought if there would be any for cookies. Anyway, it is quite simple. You can use a cookie recipe you like and add as much tea as you want. The tea gives them a crunchy element that is quite nice, and I think the speckled aspect it gives to the cookies is beautiful.


175 gr butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp bergamot essential oil (I don't think this is sold in my country. I added 1 tsp of lime zest)
2 1/4 cups flour
3 bags earl grey tea


1. Preheat oven to 180° C.
2.Cream butter and sugar.
3. Add bergamot essential oil (or lime/lemon zest) and earl grey tea. Mix to incorporate.
4. Add flour and form the dough.
5. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
6. Roll out dough and cut in any shape you like.
7. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

I've been a bad blogger, I apologize for that. Sadly you'll have to get used to it, because tomorrow I go back to classes. I'm willing to post something every Saturday, no failing. I'll try to keep it as a promise.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Pastel de choclo

I'm Chilean, and proud of it. I don't like our society, but I love the country. It's really a beautiful pleace, with desert, forests, seas, mountains, and a huge variety of plants and animals. Rainy south, sunny north, a mix in this central valley our capital is. Sometimes it even snows, if winter is too cold. Our varied culture, product of immigrants comming from different parts of the world. In the south you can find tipical baked goods from Germany, in the center you can find a huge Hipanic influence, and here and there you may remember England, France or Italy. There have always been fights about the origin of our tipical dishes, and the one I'm presenting you now is no exception. All dishes that are tipical in my country have a version in other Latin American countries, and they also are tipical there. In Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, etc... they have their own versions of the dishes, and people is always fighting about where they were invented. Truth is that most of them are Hispanic, and people in our countries took them and added some ingredients from their lands.

Pastel de choclo is kind of a meat pie, but it doesn't have a pie crust, it has a layer of "mazamorra" that is mashed corn, sugar and salt (and basil, at least in my country) that then is cooked until it reaches different consistencies depending on what are you using it for. In my country it is used to make "porotos con mazamorra" (beans with mazamorra), "humitas" (they are similar to mexican tamales), and "pastel de choclo". In other countries it's ate as a dessert. I've always liked this dish, though it isn't popular with kids. I was cooking lunch because my mom had a doctor apointment, and since my little brother and sister don't like this dish I had to do some crazy multitasking as I was cooking mashed potatoes, sausages and the mazamorra at the same time. You'll see why it was crazy when you read the recipe.


Filling (called "pino"):

3 small onions, diced
1 garlic clove, diced
black pepper, cumin and dried red pepper  taste (I used a mix that is sold at supermarkets, ment to be used at making stews. If you can find that, I used 2 tsp)
500 gr grounded meat (I used 2 cups of hydrated textured soy protein. If you are using it, add 1 to 2 cups of water, since the juices from meat are missing, and the filling is meant to have some liquid)
32 Olives
4 hard boiled eggs
3 tbsp oil


2 kg corn, processed to get a paste.
6 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp chopped fresh basil
Extra sugar for sprinkle on top

For this, I used a paste that is sold ready to use in supermarkets.



1. Heat the oil in a deep pan. Add onions and cook until they get soft.
2. Add balck pepper, cumin, red pepper and garlic.
3. Add grounded meat and keep on the heat until it's cooked (it will take less time if it's textured soy protein, and don't forget to add the water).


 1. Mix everything in a deep pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes.


These are usually served in the clay pots you can see in the pictures, but you can make them in a square or rectangular pan, cut portions and serve it in dishes.

1. Preheat the oven at max. temperature.
2. Put about 3/4 of the filling in the pots.
3. Put half a hard boiled egg, sliced, and 4 olives in each pot (or as much as you want).
4. Cover the filling with mazamorra.
5. Sprinkle each pastel with about 2 tbsp of sugar.
6. Put into the oven until they are golden brown on top.

Here they are in the oven. For some reason this mix my mom bought didn't got golden. This recipe will give you about 8 servings.

I love eating it with tomatoes! It's really good with a salad made with tomatoes, onions and coriander, known here as "Ensalada a la chilena" (Chilean salad).

I hope you try and enjoy this! I want to show you more recipes from my country in the future.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Raspberry and lemon cream pudding mini tarts

First recipe, a simple one. I'm in the south hemisphere, so here is summer. A really hot summer. Perfect time to get loads of berries, which happen to be my favourite kind of fruit. Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, but above them all,  raspberries. I always find people selling them by the side of the roads, but never dare to buy, because I thought that first, they don't have them refrigerated, and second, they could mash on the bus as I get home. But one day I was with my boyfriend and saw a guy selling raspberries. They looked so beautiful! Their color, they shapes (they are all nearly same size, and big in comparison to the frozen ones I had bought before), they made me want to buy them. I passed trough and said to my boyfriend "I want those raspberries", and he replied "Then buy them". So I did. I don't regretted it. I am so happy with the beautiful little fruits. I eat really little each time, sometimes  a tablespoon with cereal and milk as breakfast, sometimes I put a few on a smoothie, but I'm making them last. I could eat them all in one day! But I want to really enjoy them.
I put this tarts together using a lemon cream pudding recipe posted by The alchemist. It is really subtle. Not too sweet, not too tart. Perfectly balanced. I used a Linzer cookie recipe for the crust. I intended to use lemon zests to give it flavor, instead of the vanilla extract the recipe called for, but as I made the dough I completely forgot about my plan. The crust is a good match anyway, buttery and just a little bit sweeter than the filling. I had thought making a meringue to top them, because the linzer cookie recipe asked for one egg yolk, so I would be left with one egg white. But there were no eggs in the house, and since I love baking at night I was not able of go buy some. I added milk to make up for the lacking moisture, and opted for the raspberries to top the tarts. I made 10 tarts and a dozen cookies. I had left over pudding, so I filled two glasses with it, and topped them with raspberries too, making a nice dessert.


Lemon cream pudding

2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest

Linzer cookies

2 cups flour
100 g butter (room temperature)
70 g powdered sugar
2 tsp white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk


Lemon cream pudding

1. Put cream and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently. 
2. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. 
3. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and lemon zest.
4. Stir and let it set for about 30 minutes. Stir again, pour on a mold, cups, glasses, etc... In this case you can put it in anything you want, no need to portion it, because then we will fill the tarts with it. In case you will use it as a dessert alone, you can pour it in nice ramekins. You need to let it cool on the fridge for at least 5 hours. I put mine away on the fridge as I made the tart shells and then poured it into them, to get them into the fridge to sit overnight.

Linzer cookies

1. Preheat oven at 170° C. Beat butter until creamy.
2. Add sugars and vanilla extract and beat until they are incorporated (really low speed at first or you and your kitchen will end up covered on powdered sugar).
3. Add the egg yolk and beat until incorporated (in this case I didn't add the yolk, but added 1/4 cup + 2 tsp milk).
4. Add flour and form a ball with the dought. Let is sit in the fridge at least 1 hour.
5. Roll out the dought and place it in the mini tart pans, or cut out as cookies.
6. Bake for about 8-10 minutes.

Put the tarts together:

Fill the crusts with lemon cram pudding and let them sit on the fridge for 5 hours or overnight. Put some raspberries and chocolate shavings on top and enojy!