What I've Been Cooking

Raquel StecherAbout Me
Blogger at Thoughtful Eating and Vintage Brand New. Please add my to your circles.

I've been trying to learn the recipes from my dad's culture (Portuguese) and from my mom's culture (Dominican). I attempted to make my very first Folar de Chaves which is a Chorizo and Prosciutto stuffed Brioche Loaf. It's very traditional to make around Easter and I'd like to get it right by the time the next holiday rolls around. My first try was a bit of a failure. I don't think I gave the yeast enough time to do it's thing in the milk before I added all the dry ingredients. Also the dough was really sticky and I didn't use enough flour so rolling it was very difficult. The dough is stuffed with slices of chorizo and prosciutto. You can also add bacon or pancetta but I chose to omit that. I stuffed the bread with chorizo and prosciutto, I rolled it the best I could and let is rise. I waited an hour and it NEVER ROSE! Ugh. After all that work, I baked it anyway. It was very thick and not light and airy like the bread I know. We ate it anyways.

While that bread was baking in the oven, I tried another Portuguese recipe: Chocolate Mousse. The Portuguese KNOW how to make chocolate mousse. They are experts and Portuguese Chocolate Mousse is like heaven in your mouth. My try tasted good but came out pretty terrible texture-wise.

To make this chocolate mousse you need to melt dark chocolate in a water bath, mix it with a yolk and coffee or rum, separately beat 2 egg whites until peaks form and whip cream until softer peaks form and mix everything together carefully. I did all of that but had some trouble with the egg whites. I over-beat them and they didn't form into peaks so I had to start over. I added the chocolate to the egg yolk and went to incorporate the egg white and cream. I didn't have a big enough bowl to add the chocolate so I dumped it into the bowl with the cream because that bowl was bigger. BIG MISTAKE! The chocolate cooled too quickly and formed chunks of chocolate. The mousse was dry not smooth and with chewy chunks of chocolate. Also, I forgot to add liquid coffee so I tried adding some instant coffee granules at the very last minute. Too little too late. Oh well. I'll master this eventually.

Then it was on to my mother's famous Dominican pink bean recipe!

My mom taught me all the steps in making her beans and boy with there a lot of steps. I took about 2 pages worth of notes and I'm more confused than ever. It's a 3 hour process and involves several pots and a pressure cooker. My mom makes them in big batches. In this batch she used 6 pounds of beans. Yes 6! She uses a lot of chicken bouillon and I'm hoping to be able to duplicate her recipe just using table salt and some other seasoning to replace the bouillon. These beans are so tasty! The sauce is what makes it.

I was feeling very adventurous over the break and was sick of sweet brunches so I decided to make Smitten Kitchen's Potato Pancakes. Ever since I heard about them on NPR I have been dying to make them. When you don't have a shredding attachment on your food processor, these are a BITCH to make. Holy crap. I shredded two large potatoes and two small onions and it took me forever to do by hand. When I was done, the shredded potatoes started to turn red which led me to believe that I might have shredded some skin and got blood all over them. Lucky for me this was not the case.

These were tasty but only while hot. I had to bring a hot potato pancake over to Carlos in bed to lure him out of the bedroom otherwise we were going to eat these cold! I'm not sure if these are worth it unless I had an easier way to shred the potatoes and onions.

What have you been cooking?


LĂȘ said...

Even being the great-granddaughter of a Portuguese, I didn't know that Chocolate Mousse was a recipe from Portugal's culture! I'm familiar with cod fish recipes and also ate sweet cakes that are Portuguese traditions.

Sweet y Salado said...

What kind of chorizo did you use? The Mexican kind?

Raquel Stecher said...

Le - Any desserts with eggs, the Portuguese have mastered! And pretty much anything Codfish too. Thank you for stopping by

Sweet y Saladao - I am only familiar with Spanish or Portuguses Chorizo. I didn't know there was a Mexican kind!

David said...

Sounds like some good experiments! Nice to have such strong culinary traditions to draw upon in your family.

Athens said...

The pics sure do look good!!! I love chocolate mousse and Im dying to make one also .. We should find a mousse making class! LOL

Have you considered using preshredded potatos? I know the flavor wont be the exact same, but it sure would save you time!!!

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