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Lunar New Year!

February 8th, 2013

Hi there, that’s a second entree in less them a week but I am here just to honor my good friends who are getting ready for the Lunar New Year. One can tell, by their salivating mouth when describing the feast, food is a huge deal and central part of this big celebration.

So, if you live nearby, a good place to get a taste of that is the New Chinatown, Uptown Chicago (an alternative neighborhood for the traditional Chinatown on the south side). It features not just Chinese but different cuisines like Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian and Thai. A great place to shop for all Asian ingredients and food!

So, where were we? Oh, yeah, getting out of the chair right? Well, I never imagined a resolution would have such power.

Last week of January went like crazy, a billion things happening at once, barely no time to stay still. Shooting film, shooting digital, on location, at home, editing, developing, printing, getting work done. Busy, busy, busy with all things I love to do.

And I could not think of a better recipe to fit the mood than this spaghetti with sardines. It is basically a dish made from a box (spaghetti) and a can (sardines), requires almost no cooking and yet, caries all the good things a classic Italian is supposed to.

 Are you in the same pace? So this recipe is for you!

*The recipes are a bite different but for quantity purposes, I based mine on this one, by MARK BITTMAN Check it out in case you like capers.

Spaghetti with sardines and fennel

Yields 4 to 6 servings

1 pound spaghetti

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cup bread crumbs

1 onion, chopped

1 large fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, chopped

1 tbsp lemon zest

2 to 3 cans sardines packed in olive oil

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water and a pinch of salt to a boil.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add bread crumbs and toast, stirring, until golden. Transfer to a plate and reserve.

3. Add remaining oil to same skillet, add chopped onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 min.

4. Cook spaghetti in the boiling water until al dente. Drain reserving a cup of water, toss with olive oil and reserve.

5. Turn the heat under the onions to medium-high and add the lemon zest, chopped fennel (they should stay crunchy), and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

6. Add sardines to skillet with oil of one can and break it into big chunks. Cook until just heated through.

7. Add pasta, bread crumbs and toss well to combine.  Add some reserved water to moisten, adjust salt and serve immediately.

 

My last year

January 24th, 2013

First of all, happy 2013 to you! The year started almost a month ago and it is very likely you don’t remember how you spent the last holidays anymore… yet, I am here, starting 2013 and wishing you a good year.

I am totally late, I know. But I am late by choice, I’ve been postponing this post and avoiding this talk, I’ve been suffering in advance  because this is a year I did not want to come, this is a year I did not want to start…..but it came, it is here, MY LAST YEAR IN CHICAGO.

Yes, we are coming back to Brazil in December. It is still quite some time but things will happen in a lightning speed, I am sure! Anxiety got me really bad last Monday and that’s when I realized “NO, that’s my last year, it is meant to be good and not filled with anxiety”.

So, here is my resolution, I will look to my half FULL glass, to all the things I’ve been able to do and learn and will keep moving, I mean, really moving, get out of the chair and move forward.

2013 will be a good year. No, wait, it is being already!!

*A note about the photo above, my very first exposed photo from my very first developed negative from my first class on film photography. Uhuu! And coincidentally an empty chair.

More soon!

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Give Me Flour received a pretty neat Christmas gift last Thursday: an appearance on Goop! I want to thank you all, new friends that are discovering Give Me Flour and kindly stepping by.  I wish you an intense, light, honest and sweet Christmas as this cookie is.

I’m not going to tell you these are the world’s easiest cookies, because they do require some attention. But I will tell you that they’re outlandishly delicious, cause a lot of impression and can turn into a beautiful cake decoration. Plus, the dough is amazingly simple. You make it right in the saucepan! Great, right?

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Honey Florentines

2 tbsp unsalted butter

2 tbsp packed light brown sugar

1 1/5 tbsp honey

2 tbsp all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 375˚F. Melt butter, brown sugar and honey in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Remove the pan from the heat and place it in the sink to cool down a little. Whisk in flour and salt until smooth.

2. Working quickly, drop ½ teaspoons of batter into large baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing at least 3-inches apart. Bake cookies until they spread and are golden brown.

*The book doesn’t give you much details but the baking process for this cookie can be quite tricky. They bake very quickly and because of that you have to keep your eyes opened. At some point the edges will look like they are burning but don’t be fooled, bake ‘til the cookies are EVENLY golden.

3. Let it cool for 30 seconds or until they are hard enough to be handled but still soft to be shaped (they need to be warm to shape; so, if they get to cold, return them to the oven briefly until they are pliable). Using a small offset spatula, remove cookies one at a time and wrap around a rolling pin until set.

4.  Transfer to a wire rack and let them cool completely. Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 days.

 

 

 

Cider-glazed chicken thighs

November 29th, 2012

With a bit of delay this week but I am here. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and are not overwhelmed yet by all the party plans, shopping, Christmas decoration and recipe search for what kind of cookie to bake next (which I am).

If you are, well, here is an easy recipe to make your days go smoothly; just because there are a couple weeks ‘til Christmas and we still have to feed ourselves, right? And as a variation, you can replace chicken thighs for wings and get a great appetizer.

Don’t know why but I have a feeling you are going to try both! So, no more talk today, let’s go to the recipe!

 

Cider-glazed chicken thighs

Serve 4
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed

1 tbsp salt

4 garlic cloves

1 lime

½ tbsp freshly ground black pepper

3 medium scallions (more for garnishing)

2 tbsp oil

½ cup water

Glaze

3 cups apple cider

3 tbsp rice vinegar

3 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp finely grated ginger

 

1. Start with marinade. Blend together water, oil, garlic, scallions, salt and black pepper. Place chicken thighs in a glass bowl or zip bag and mix in the marinade. Let it stand in the fridge for at least 2 hours or up to two days.

2. For the glaze, boil all ingredients together in a medium saucepan until reduced to about a quarter or 2/3 cup. Reserve (keep in the fridge if you are planning to use it on the next day).

3. Position a rack about 7 inches from the broiler and heat the oven to 450°F on the broiler position. Lightly oil the top of a broiling pan (you can use a rack over a sheet pan as well – see the photos).

4. Arrange chicken thighs, skin side up, on the pan and roast until skin is crispy and slightly brown, about 8-10 minutes. Turn each piece and broil for 5-8 more minutes.

5. Remove chicken from oven and brush with half of glaze. Broil for 2 minutes. Turn chicken over again (skin up) and brush with remaining glaze. Broil for two more minutes or until skin is crispy and dark brown – don’t over broil).

6. Remove chicken from oven, toss with scallions and serve immediately.

 

 



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