Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Apricot Cheese Crescents!

These Christmas-y bite-size turnovers are sure to be a hit no matter what time of year you serve them! They take a bit of prep time but in the end its worth it, and the sky is the limit with what you can fill them with. For this recipe, apricot is the fruit of choice. I got this recipe from a book I recently bought and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.


2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter
1 cup cottage cheese

6 ounces dried apricots (yes they must be dried)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar (I used less but it is up to your tastes)

3/4 cup finely chopped nuts (any kind)
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg white, lightly beaten


In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Using your hands, cut in your butter to form crumbly bits.

Add the cottage cheese and mix well. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place in a container and refrigerate overnight if possible.

To make the filling, combine the dried apricots and water in a saucepan and simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cool for 10 minutes. Using a food processor or blender, process until you get a 'jam-like' consistency. Stir in the sugar, cover and refrigerate.

For the topping, combine the nuts and sugar in a bowl and set aside.

Once your dough has been chilled overnight, it is ready to work with. On a floured surface, roll the little balls into 2 1/2 inch circles. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of filling into the center of the dough.

Fold the dough over the filling and press the edges to seal them. If they come apart, use a little bit of water to help the union.

If you have a fondant roller or a knife, you can remove the excess dough from the edges but make sure to leave a little bit. They should come out looking something like small raviolis

Brush the top of your ravioli with some egg whites and then sprinkle with the nut/sugar mixture.

Now you can place them onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes or until they look toasted and slightly brown on the top.

Remove from the oven and place onto wire racks to cool. A word to the wise don't try to eat these before they have completely cooled, my husband learned the hard way that hot jam burns haha

Good luck with this recipe and I hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chocolate Hazelnut Macaroons

It's been a long while since I last posted but just in time (and I mean JUST in time) I decided to post a couple of recipes that I recently made for myself this holiday season. To start off, these chocolate macaroons! These are extremely easy to make and I am sure you will agree taste great too.


2 cups flaked coconut (if you get the sweetened kind, add less sugar to the recipe)
1/2 cup finely chopped Hazelnuts (or any other nut you choose)
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
pinch of salt
2 egg whites, beaten
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 squares (4 ounces) semisweet chocolate


In a large bowl combine the coconut, nuts, sugar, cocoa, flour and salt. Add the egg whites, corn syrup and vanilla. Mix well.

Using a small ice cream scoop, or tablespoon, drop mixture onto greased baking sheets. You can afford to put them close together as they don't expand much. Bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes.

Don't overcook these or they will become hard. Once finished, cool for 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool.

While these are cooling take a double boiler and melt your chocolate. Dip the top of each macaroon with chocolate and let the excess drip off. You can also dip the bottoms if you prefer rather than the tops.

Place them back onto your wire rack to dry. If you decided to dip the bottoms, place them onto wax paper to dry instead.

This recipe should yeild about 1 1/2 dozen.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Chivito Canadiense!

Chivito Canadiense is a special dish found in Uruguay that can most easily be described as a 'steak sandwhich' Uruguayan style.  Literally translated, a chivito is (from what I understand) a baby goat, Canadian style.  I have read many stories as to where the origins of it come from and most point to a blackout, an Argentinian looking for a meal reminiscent of home at a local Montevidian restuarant and what they produced for her instead.  This became known as el Chivito.  There are endless variations to preparing the chivito but I have chosen a simple version.  I beleive the reason they decided to name it after my country of my birth is probably because of the use of Canadian bacon / ham.  Since I hate ham however, I chose bacon for this post. ;)

What you will need:

Bread (either a hard roll or hamburger style bread)
Beef cut into 1/4 cut steaks (filet mingon, or for you Uruguayans you need a couple churrascos.)
Bacon strips
Tomatoes, sliced
Onions, chopped
Red Bell Peppers, chopped
Mozzarella cheese, sliced thinly
Sliced Pickles
Mayonnaise, to taste


First things first, you want to cut your bread in half so it will be ready to house your meat and veggies.  Second take a frying pan and start to cook your bacon, sliced onions and chopped red peppers.

If the peppers or onions need more time you should be able to remove the bacon and continue cooking the rest in the remaining bacon fat.  Once the veggies are cooked to your taste (onions should be golden brown) then you can use the remaining grease to cook the Churrascos.  Once they are about half way cooked to your liking, salt them on each side and place your mozzarella on top so it can start melting. 

Now comes the fun part!  Place your churrasco onto the sliced bread followed by your bacon, onions, red peppers, tomatoes, pickles and lettuce.  On the other side of your bread you can spread some mayonnaise and close it up!  Slice it in the middle and you are ready to serve!

If you want to make this a complete meal, traditionally you would serve this with french fries or potato salad.  Hopefully you enjoy this guy!  As I mentioned earlier, you can put several variations onto this depending on your tastes, from a fried egg to pickled beets.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Light tent tests and updates!

As you may have noticed, I haven't updated the blog recently.  I was swamped with work for 2 months and then promptly took a two week vacation, however I haven't forgotten about my blog!  I have been trying to think of ways to make the blog a little easier on the eyes.  Particularly in terms of my picture taking abilities!  Previously I was using a point and shoot Canon camera, but I decided to upgrade since that one was getting quite old.  No, no, I didn't get a digital SLR or anything fancy like that, but instead another another point and shoot style Canon (the newest edition).

The other thing I got was a brand new light tent!  The reason for that was just to try and improve lighting conditions, etc, in my pictures.  My kitchen (in case you haven't noticed) has absolutely TERRIBLE lighting in it.  Honestly I haven't really figured out how I am gonna showcase any of my process shots using the light tent but we'll see.  I did a couple of very quick tests with my new camera and tent and it gave me the opportunity to showcase the new (old) books my father got for me in Uruguay.  It is quite obvious that I need to steam the carpets that come with the tent but this was just a quick test.  Ironically, I am using the WORST lights I could have ever stolen from work. ;)  They are absolutely terrible, but worked for the test.   See below! 

Oh also, I have made a little page on facebook for the blog, if your interested, please 'Like' it !  It is of course called 'I Cook!'.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Thats right Chimichurri!  (Chi - mi - chu - rri)  If you have enjoyed bar-b-que Uruguayan style, then there is a good chance you have also had the pleasure of trying Chimichurri.  Typically it is used as a sort of 'spread' on your juicy bar-b-qued meat to give it an extra little kick!  In most cases however it is a mix of parsley, garlic, oil and vinegar, but what I am gonna show you now, is a little bit different.  It is a must try if you are doing your own asado at home!

1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cup red wine vinegar (I ended up using Balsamic for my pictures)
2 tbsp hot paprika or 1 tsp cayenne pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch of fresh parsley leaves, minced
1 tsp crushed black peppercorns
2 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1 tsp salt

Find yourself a large jar and combine the oil, vinegar, paprika, garlic, parsley, peppercorns, oregano, bay leaves and salt.  

Cover the jar and shake well until the ingredients have mixed thoroughly.  Refrigerate the Chimichurri until you are ready to use it.  Now the next time you have an asado, you can liberally brush some on your cooked meat and enjoy!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Hello again!  This is somewhat of a continuation of my last post about Dulce de Leche.  Alfajores aren't easy to find (at least here in Canada) unless you go to a specialty store.  So for those of you that haven't had the chance to try them, they are essentially two shortbread cookies with Dulce de Leche in between them and lined with coconut.  Sometimes you can get them chocolate dipped - which is my personal favourite.  For this post however, well do it the original way with no chocolate.

1 3/4 cups sifted flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 pound butter, softened
1 tsp lemon zest
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup dulce de leche
1 cup grated coconut

Combine the flour, salt, sugar and baking soda in a bowl.  Cut in and combine the butter and lemon zest.  Next mix in the egg yolks and vanilla.  Once combined, place dough in the fridge for 2 hour.

Preheat your oven to 325F.  On a floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness.  Using a small glass or other mold, cut out 2 inch diameter circles.  Transfer them to a wax papered baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until they look done.  They should not be brown, but should be dry.  I don't like mine to be too hard, so I take them out a bit earlier.

Once the cookies are cool, spread about a 1/4 inch thick layer of dulce de leche on one cookie and top with another.  Then you can roll the edges in the coconut.

And your done!  I hope you enjoy these, they are not everyones favourite, but I like them!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Dulce De Leche

Here is another recipe for you all that I got from my new book on Argentine cooking.  I am sure many of you have tried Dulce de Leche in one form or another.  It has become quite popular in the last couple of years with companies coming out with lattes and ice creams of that flavour.  Most of the time it doesn't seem to taste quite right though.  At least in my opinion of course ;)  Either way, it was and still is one of my favourite sweet indulgences.

There are two basic ways to make Dulce de Leche.  One way is using condensed milk and the other is this way I am going to show you now.  Either way works, although I must say that the condensed milk produces a bit of a better dulce to work with.  I will eventually post how to make it that way as well.

Oh and just a warning - making Dulce de Leche is a timely process.  So don't attempt to make this if you need it quickly or have to go out.  No matter how you make it, with condensed milk or otherwise, it can take several hours.

This recipe should make roughly 1 cup of dulce.

2 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
dash baking soda

Combine the milk, sugar and baking soda in a small saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil.  Lower the heat and keep the mixture to barely a simmer for about 2 1/2 hours while stirring occasionally.

Eventually over time your mixture will begin to take on a golden color like this:

Once it starts to gets to a thick and spreadable consistency (something like peanut butter) you can add the vanilla and let it cool.  This is what mine looked like just before I removed it from the heat.


As I was saying before, this is only one way of cooking this.  Hopefully soon I can post the other way of doing it and you can decide which tastes better.  Worth a try either way! Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


It's been a while since I posted but i've FINALLY got something new to share.  I recently got my hands on a book about Argentinian cooking.  This is the first recipe I was able to try out from it, and I must say it turned out pretty good!  I hope you guys can try it out too!


4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup lard or 3/4 cup lard and 3/4 butter

1/2 cup chopped onions
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup water
1 pound boneless steak cut into 1/4 inch cubes or ground beef
1 tsp chili powder
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 salt
2 hard boiled eggs, cut into small pieces
handful of green olives
1 egg beaten with 1/2 tsp water
pepper to taste


First were going to make the dough.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Make sure the fat you are using is room temperature, otherwise cut it into small peices and with your fingers, form a course meal.

Incorporate the lard or butter into the dough, you can add water to help moisten it up.  The dough will be stiff, but not dry.  Now roll it into a ball, wrap it with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 1 hour.

Now you can start making the filling.  In a pan place your onions, olive oil and water.  You can turn the stove to high heat and boil out the water.  Once it has all evaporated, add the meat and brown on all sides.  If you are using ground beef, drain out the excess fat.  Next stir in the chili, garlic, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper.  Now you can set it aside to cool.

 You should be able to start using your dough now.  Remove it from the fridge and start to roll it out until its about 1/8inch thick.  Make sure your surface has been floured to prevent sticking.  Using a bowl or other object that is about 4 or 5 inches in diameter, start cutting circles into the dough, until you've got about 16 or 17 circles.

Preheat your oven to 400F.

You can begin to fill the dough in now.  Use about 2 tbsp of meat in each one.  After you've put the meat in the center of the circle, place 2 small pieces of egg and 1-2 olives on top.

Moisten the edges of the circle with some of the beaten egg mixture to help seal it, and fold it over.

Make sure you press the two ends together very well making sure the meat mixture is in a tight pocket.  Seal the empanada by folding or twisting the dough onto itself.  If you can't get the hang of that, you can also use a fork and press the edges that way.  Either way works well.

Once your done with all the empanadas, place them on a greased cookie sheet.  Using the left over egg mixture from before, lightly brush each empanada to help brown them.

The empanadas should go into the oven for 10 minutes and then bring down the temperature to 350F and keep cooking for 30 more minutes.  Let them cool a bit and they are ready to eat!!