12/19/2015



Back to Basics.

You notice at a glance, the joy on people’s faces as you walk on the streets of my country. The triumph of democracy, the people finally left fear behind and they helped us, we who year after year worked very hard without fear to restore the path of progress, law and freedom in this beautiful country. THANKS MY DEAR LORD
But 17 years of destruction do not end so simply, the damage was immense, at all levels so the crisis will continue for a while, but there is a whole people who learned from their mistakes and will work to get ahead.
Our recipe is only instructions more than a traditional recipe with a list o ingredienta an instruccion, as traditional precooked corn flour to make our Venezuelan arepa bread is not available in the markets, I, like many others chose to buy maize and work the way my beloved grandmother Ramona worked the maize to make flour or dough long ago, she used to mill or pound  corn or rice with a huge log mortar and wooden pestle that is called Pilón in my country, thanks to the few producers who refused to disappear I buy corn (white or yellow corn) that is ready to use.
So I just have to clean it of any pebble or other object, wash it and let it rest in clean water overnight. The next morning, I cook the corn in clean water until soft but not too soft (it would be difficult to handle the dough), then I grind the corn it should be smooth.
The texture of the dough is just like the commercial flour, if you take a ball of dough in your hands and press it to flatten and edges cracks  you have to add a little water and knead until smooth, then you add salt to taste and make your arepas, place them on a Budare (a griddle) I have a budare but used a frying pan  with lid instead, brushed it with oil and place the arepas and cover with the lid, cook the arepas on both sides (called faces) on slow  to medium heat, to test if one side is already cooked with care not to burn and not distort the arepa  grab it with a clean  kitchen towel and lift it with a knife then  tap with your fingers, it has to sound hollow, if so, turn and cook the arepa on the other side doing the same test to see if it is fully cooked. DO NOT OVER COOK; remember the corn is already cooked, they may become dry
I always like to stuff my arepa with grated fresh cheese, but the stuffing is whatever you want
And remember Arepas are Venezuelan and we are proud that it has become a favorite around the world












9/08/2015


A Different Pumpkin or…
Taking the Bull by the Horns


Cooking in Venezuela today, is not easy, believe me ….. But a challenge to serve a dish that is at least tasty and nutritious that might be very cheap in other countries but here, it is very expensive here, Can you believe that 250 grams of cheese costs 400 BsF (400.000 Bs they took out three ceros so people could handle those amounts…)
Well, when I was cooking yesterday, I thought fried chicken, yellow rice and plantain were not enough and I decided to add pumpkin…boiled pumpkin maybe with butter and white cheese, traditional but ugh! So I took what I had at home and made this and to be honest it is so good and easy to make that I will not go for traditional pumpkin style again …nope
You may not know that I am celiac (although I still cook with gluten for others :’( ), and I had to make a béchamel or white sauce for this dish so I could not go for the one part butter, one part flour ratio (for a cup of milk one tablespoon butter and one tablespoon wheat flour) so what I did was using corn starch instead of wheat flour and used a very different technique, not the traditional roux, I like this method better because it is less work and the texture of the sauce is very smooth and silky. Corn starch is not as strong as wheat flour so I had to change the proportion according to my needs; I wanted a lighter sauce because I was adding cheese …







Ingredents:

1 cup milk plus three tablespoons, room temperature
3 Tablespoons corn starch
1 tablespoon butter
200 grams of muenster cheese, cut in very small cubes
A pinch o grated nutmeg
A pinch of smoked paprika
A pinch of grated black pepper
Boiled pumpkin (not too soft)
1-      Heat the cup of milk plus butter.
2-      In a small bowl add  the rest of the milk and the corn starch stir well and add  to the milk butter mixture stir constantly until it thickens
3-      Then add the cheese and keep stirring until t is melted
4-      Add the pinch o nutmeg or to taste stir well
5-      Place the pumpkin in a tray and add the cheese sauce on top the sprinkle the paprika and pepper on top and bake with broiler function

Note:  I could have added grated parmesan cheese on top but Can you believe no one is selling it  in my town?, I added chopped cheese on top … didn’t like how it looks hehehehe

6/15/2014


Dough.
I don’t know how to call this recipe.

This dough can be used with some stuffing, sweet or savory or plain like I did, it is very easy to make. Well let’s see how my English goes, after so much time I think I forgot how to post and write heheheh




Ingredients.
200 gr self-rising wheat flour.
2 ½ tablespoons oil.
1 teaspoon vodka
¼ teaspoon white vinegar.
1 teaspoon baking powder .
1 pinch salt.
1 tablespoon sugar.
½ cup minus 1 tablespoon water.

1-      In a bowl, place all dry ingredients and mix well.
2-      Add the vinegar to the water.
3-      Add half of the water/vinegar solution to the flour and begging mixing adding water until you have kind of a rustic dough, then add the oil and knead until the dough absorbs all the oil, at this point it is a soft silky dough,  put the dough in an oiled plastic bag and let rest for 30 minutes in a cold place.
Roll the dough and use it as an empanada wrap (Venezuelan pastel or pastelito) or as fried “bread”… 

5/14/2013

Gluten Free “Flour” Empanadas


Gluten Free “Flour” Empanadas

This is a recipe I found on youtube that I want to share with you all; the recipe is in Brazilian Portuguese. I say “flour” empanadas because in Venezuela we have to kinds of empanada one is made with corn flour (masa flour or cornmeal) and the other is made of wheat flour but as this is gluten free I say “flour” empanadas so you know this is the gluten free version for the wheat ones
Ingredients
2 cups super fine rice flour
2 cups corn starch
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon vodka
10 to 20 tablespoon water
1-      Mix all dry ingredients
2-      Mix all wet ingredient
3-      Mix step one and two and knead until the dough is smooth, let rest covered with a plastic wrap
4-      Then make the empanadas as seen on the video and then fry them in hot oil
PS. As I said in a previous post I am not posting my own recipes due the political situation in my country




5/13/2013

New post

For those who have a strong character and can watch strong images I leave the link for this video about Venezuela during the days after election and how we were treated by the regime
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UDAFBtSq5I

Hello!, after so much time, I will post again to keep this blog “alive” and because I told a friend I will post again, but it will not be a recipe I will post how are we doing here in Venezuela, because due to the communism that ILEGALLY rules this country I cannot buy some items that I need to make what I used to do on this blog: Bake, share my experiments in the kitchen, I feel so powerless, I feel so frustrated, I feel SO angry but I as many other Venezuelans are doing what we can to free our country from this regime that comes from cuba, Food shops in Venezuela are under stocked, food is sparse  the typical corn flour that we use to make the traditional Venezuelan arepas does not exist but the government is trying to blame and tell the world it is due to the only independent company that produces this flour is hoarding this and other products….this company can only produce the 48% of the corn flour of the country demand the other 52% is in hands of expropriated companies that are now in hands of the government but these companies are broken not producing not even a gram of flour and like this ALL the other expropriated companies like toillet paper, edible oil, coffee, sugar, milk, butter, margarine or shortening, wheat flour, rice, MEDICINES and many other goods that we do not have now, the worse is you have the money to buy goods but when you go shopping you find nothing on the store’s shelves the places of the Venezuelans regular diet products are now filled with: ketchup, Kellogg’s corn flakes, jams, plastic items, paper napkins (but not toilet paper that is produced by the same company that produce the paper napkins), soda pops, canned sardines of a very bad quality  oh and do not try to buy chicken because this is an extinct bird in this country…I cannot keep writing because I am furious more when I think that Venezuela is crying for help but the countries are blind and deaf as long as they are given cheap or even free petroleum they do not care for democracy here, the whole world knows as well as we all know Capriles won the elections but our vote, our will was robbed … But World you should pay attention as power and corruption are so sweet words to some people and they spread so fast that other nations are not immune to this that is happening here.
I will, at least, post videos of other people cooking until all this finishes as I am sure all this will pass and we will be a democratic and prosperous nation again WE THE VENEZUELANS (almost 8 millions)  are working on that 

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6/27/2012

Battenberg Cake


The Daring Bakers' June Challenge:
Battenberg Cake

Thanks Mandy  I ad hours of fun with this challenge, well here is my challenge and I made two gluten free pound cakes, one chocolate and one strawberry, they are soft and delicious, the “glue” for the cake and fondant is peach jam, I don’t know if this cake is decorated like this one but I got creative and wanted to use lots of glitter and gold…kind of gluten free Liberace…Gosh it is difficult 







Not easy to apply gold when it gets lumpy

4/28/2012


Daring Bakers' April Challenge:
American Nutmeg Cake

Sorry I’m late…yes again, but I don’t know what is happening to me, if I was a believer in witchcraft I’d cry out loud that someone put a spell on me,  I’m not going into details (for fear of writing too many mistakes as my English is vanishing…) but I had another accident (four in three weeks), this time my right index finger, I thought it was broken thanks God it is not, but it looks like an Italian sausage, it hurts like he…well it hurts A LOT; So I only made half of my challenge,  I changed wheat flour for  gluten free flour and peanuts because we are not in nut season (they are imported )
For the original recipe visit this wonderful blog, thans Jason






4/19/2012

Gluten Free Empanada Wrappers

Gluten Free Empanada Wrappers

These are really good, once you cut this beautiful dough you can fry, bake or freeze your dough discs, you can stuff them with cheese, meat, vegetables….

To get a beautiful dough, we need to make a tapioca gel that should be added in no more than two minutes after cooking it or it might turn into a very sticky monster…like the Blob






First step: We make the “flour”
1-      150 gr corn starch
2-      150 gr tapioca starch
3-      150 gr skimed powder milk
4-      1 teaspoon xanthan gum
Mix all the ingredients very well in a big bowl
Second step: We whisk together, in a small bowl:
1-      2 eggs
2-      4 tablespoons corn oil (not a drop more, measure well)
3-      ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
And finally: We cook the tapioca gel
1-      150 ml water room temperature
2-      4 tablespoons tapioca starch
Mix both ingredients in saucepan, grab a wooden spoon and cook over medium heat, never stop stirring, until it becomes something sticky and translucent…I mean it loses the initial milky color, then stir two or three times out of the flame. At this point we have the mise en place ready so let’s work fast.
1-      Pour the liquids and tapioca gel over the flour, stir with the wooden spoon until it is difficult to work with it, then knead with your hands over the table until all the ingredients are well incorporated and the dough is smooth.
2-      Now we make a log with the dough and divide into four pieces and cover with a plastic wrap.
3-      Roll each piece of dough (not too thin) and cut circles, the size you want, if you want to freeze them, they should be place over individual plastic wraps so they don’t stick to each other and place them in a zip lock bag
4-      I stuffed my dough discs with grated cheese and fried most of them, for the others I bushed them with  egg wash (1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon milk  and a pinch of salt) and baked 200°C until golden brown
I hope you like this recipe ;) 

3/31/2012

Dutch crunch bread or Tiger Bread

The Daring Bakers March Challnge:
Dutch Crunch Bread

Finally my stove is installed (the way it should be) and my challenge is up, it was so much fun to make these bread buns, I was feeling the same excitement like when I made my first bread and it was ok in every stage of the process. Thanks so much  Sara and Erica from baking JDs  for this challenge and thanks Lisa.  Recipe here









Sara and Erica of Baking JDs were our March 2012 Daring Baker hostesses! Sara & Erica challenged us to make Dutch Crunch bread, a delicious sandwich bread with a unique, crunchy topping. Sara and Erica also challenged us to create a one of a kind sandwich with our bread!