One Smart Chic

Delicious Food, Crafty Ideas and Rustic Living

Huevos Rancheros: my ultimate Sunday breakfast…

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Raspberry-Lemon Cheesecake Tart

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It’s been a while! I want to apologize to all my followers for not posting in 2 weeks. My life has been crazy busy! Lots of work, we had some construction going on in our house and my younger daughter Gigi has been so busy with dance rehearsals and competitions. I always say busy is good! It keeps me moving and being so active keeps me sane! Lol! And I’m happy to say that all the hard work has paid off. Everything is great with my job (I’m blessed to say I love what I do for living), Gigi had some awesome performances that made all of us so proud. She is really a shining star on stage, and I have a new rustic main bathroom that my husband was able to pull off in such a short period of time.
Now we are just getting ready for our bees to arrive, excited about our upcoming trip to Costa Rica in a week and of course looking forward to Easter.

With Easter around the corner I figured I share this very easy and tasty dessert recipe. This year we are going to spend the holiday with my husband’s family side and I’m in charge of desserts. By next Sunday I will have a wide variety since I always like to bring lots of options to please the crowd.

This recipe is so simple! You can have it done in half an hour and it really combines some nice flavors. When spring comes I always incorporate fruity and lemony flavors. It just goes so well with the season. The crunchiness of the puff dough that gets caramelized, the acidity of the lemon curd and the sweetness of the raspberries makes it a perfect combination.
No more delays! Here it is:
For the dough
1 sheet of puff dough
1 egg for egg wash
3 tbsp of granulated sugar
For the lemon cheesecake filling
8oz (1 pkg) cream cheese soften
2/3 cup of granulated sugar
2/3 cup of lemon curd
4 tbsp of heavy cream
Peel of one lemon
For the topping
Fresh raspberries
1/4 cup of raspberry jam
Powder sugar to sprinkle

Place the puff dough on a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Wet the rims with water and fold the dough towards the inside about half an inch. Poke holes with a fork in the middle of the dough (to avoid to raise so much when it cooks). Egg wash the dough and sprinkle the sugar. Cook for 20 min at 425 degrees. Take dough out of oven and if the center if dough puffed up press it down with a spoon. In a bowl mix well cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add heavy cream and mix well. Add lemon curd and lemon peel. Refrigerate for 15 min. This can be done while the puff is cooking to save time. Once dough cool down add this mixture on top without covering the borders. Add fresh raspberries as you see on the picture. Warm up on microwave the raspberry jam and pour on top. Add some powder sugar for a rustic look. Enjoy!

Mexican Fiesta! Holy chipotle shrimp tacos and Hibiscus lemon cocktail

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Prosciutto and Fig Flat Bread

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Asian chicken and veggie rolls

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Oreo Strawberry cups: surprise your loved ones this Valentine’s!

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Mini Italian Wontons

 

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I was looking the other day for something fun to make. I was craving fried stuffed wontons but I didn’t feel like stinking up my house with that frying smell (as horrible as it sounds :p).

I made pasta bolognese a few days before that and I had left over sauce from it. My husband always asks me to make extra sauce when I make pasta so I always have left over that I end up freezing. Usually I use that sauce in soup or other quick dish I come up with but this time I used it for my wonton craving. I know it sounds funny all these cravings I’ve been having lately but I’m NOT expecting…at least not yet. That’s a project we have for later on this year :)
But anyway…continuing with my story…I used the meat sauce in my wontons. Imagine the sauce, with the ricotta mix AND melted cheese from lasagna…yum! Well…I put it all together in a wonton. So easy!!! And they really came out delicious. Back in the day when my mom made lasagna for us she used wonton wrappers instead of the lasagna sheets (which ultimately works just as good if not better). The wonton wrappers are much thinner than lasagna sheets so you get to taste the sauces and filling more than just the pasta. I can’t wait to see my brother again and make this for him since he is a true lasagna lover! If you have a party or get together it’s a great bite size appetizer. Here is my recipe:

For the 48 wontons I used I just needed 2 cups of meat sauce so you will have left over. If you want to make them not in the mini cupcake pans but in the regular cupcake pan you can use the full recipe.

48 wonton wrappers
For the Meat sauce:
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 lb ground bee
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 medium onion chopped
1 bay leaf
32oz of crushed tomato sauce or homemade tomato sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Ricotta mix:
9oz container of ricotta mix
1 egg
3 tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of black pepper
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of dry basil
2 tbsp of fresh parsley

Shredded mozzarella cheese to sprinkle on top

You will need a cupcake pan so the wontons can be formed as a cup. I used a mini cupcake pan for 48 mini cupcakes. I place one wonton on each space making sure they adopt the mold shape. Then add a small tablespoon of meat sauce. For the meat sauce you sautéed the onion and garlic on oil, add the ground beef, spices, tomato sauce and let it simmer until it gets a nice consistency. After you add the tablespoon of meat sauce at room temperature you add a layer of the ricotta mix. For the ricotta mix you just mix all ingredients listed and you finish the wonton layers with a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella. Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Then enjoy;)

Back to basics: The creamiest Rice Pudding

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Rice Pudding is one of the staple desserts from my beautiful country Peru. It brings so many memories of my childhood.  I became a fan of this simple dessert when I was 12 years old. I remember going outside Lima (capital of Peru and the province I come from) for my cousins wedding.  We stayed at a local hotel in Chincha. (Chincha is south of Lima, about 2 1/2 hours).  Probably this was the biggest hotel in that small city filled with tradition and great food.  The name of the hotel was “El Sausal”.  I remember as if it was yesterday. I spent most of the afternoon playing in the pool with my cousin Ivan (my partner in crime and my buddy thru my entire childhood). My aunt Carmen (Ivan’s mother) bought us their homemade rice pudding.  It was the best rice pudding I had ever tried in my life! The creaminess and sweetness was incomparable! We had 3 rounds of rice pudding each…and we probably could have had more but we needed to get our acts together for the wedding :)

After that day all I wanted to do was be able to replicate that delicate recipe. And after years I was able to do it. I know you must be thinking rice pudding is really not a big deal. Many recipes, many variations, many flavor profiles…but I’m telling you once you try this one it will be a smile on every bite.  My sister in law Monica loves it with lemon peel since she was born and raised part of her life in Spain and for them it is a traditional with the lemon peel but in this recipe specifically I use orange peel. If you like a little more acidic flavor or to balance the sweetness a little more you can substitute my orange peel for lemon peel. Either way it will be delightful.

Sometimes I spend a lot of time trying to think outside the box,  creating new recipes or putting a twist on traditional ones but today my husband asked me to make one of his favorites and that’s why I’m sharing this rice pudding recipe with you.It is back to basics!
I love snow days like today…I get to relax, spend time with my family and I get dirty in the kitchen! I really hope you like this recipe as much as we do.

Carla’s Rice Pudding
1 cup of arborio rice
5 cups of water
2 cans of condensed milk
1 can of evaporated milk
1 tbsp of orange peel (or lemon)
2 tbsp of pure vanilla extract
3 cinnamon sticks
3 cloves
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup of raisins (previously soaked in water to get them soft)
Cinnamon powder
In a large pot put the 5 cups of water with the cinnamon sticks, cloves and citrus peel. Bring to a quick boil and add the arborio rice. Reduce heat to low and let the rice cook. When the rice has absorbed all the water it is ready. Please note that it has to cook at very low heat so it cooks all the way. You don’t want your rice “al dente” when it is about rice pudding ;)
Add the evaporated milk and bring to quick boil, add the 2 cans of condensed milk and start cooking at medium heat moving constantly with a wooden spoon to avoid sticking to the bottom of pot. Add the raisins and vanilla extract. Keep stirring. When the milks and everything starts getting together (about 5 minutes) add the beaten egg yolk. When you add it it has to be very slowly and the pit should be outside the heat to avoid the yolk to cook like scramble egg. The way I do it: I take a little of the milks from rice pudding cooking out to the bowl where I have the beaten egg yolk to temper the yolk. I whisk very fast until we’ll combined. Then I add that mixture to the entire rice pudding. The benefit doing this is that it’s easier to mix it and less risky. If your yolk cooked then it’s easier to replace it for a new one rather than make a whole new rice pudding, don’t you think?
The yolk is necessary because it is the element that makes the milks thicker and give consistency. After this process you just have to mix for another 5 minutes and it is done. Be devoted to your rice pudding…the string process is a main factor.
Enjoy!

French Macarons

 

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French Macarons!!! I know what you are thinking: “I’m not even going to attempt to make them because it’s too hard and risky”. Well…I felt the same way before and the first time I made them my meringue didn’t set, the second time they all cracked in the oven but after a while (and because I didn’t give up) I got the right recipe. I will walk you thru in detail and give you the secrets for the perfect french macaron. The airy, chewy meringue and almond flour are the protagonists for this delicate french cookie. I see them retailed from $2.00 all the way to $3.75 each depending on location. I think they cost so much not just because they need expensive ingredients but because people right away think they are so hard to make that they don’t mind paying. What a great idea for a girl party as a goodie bag, on the dessert table or simply as a centerpiece. I have shared the picture of my wedding where we had them as a rustic tree centerpiece for the dessert table. The best part is that you can use you imagination to change colors, flavors and fillings.

In the pictures you will see that I made a mint/chocolate ganache, raspberry with preserves, lemon/blueberry and lemon/lemon curd.
Here is the recipe:
3 egg whites (room temperature)
1/2 cup of powder sugar
1/4 cup of white sugar
1 1/2 cup of almond flour
1/4 tsp of vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
Beat the egg whites on medium speed until they start getting foamy. Add the salt and increase the speed. Add the white sugar little by little as the egg whites become fluffier. Add vanilla at the end. When they form soft peaks is when they are done. I actually turn my mixing bowl backwards and the whites should not fall. On a different bowl sift the almond flour and the powder sugar. Mix them together. Add 1/4 of the egg white mix to the dry ingredients and fold them together. Add the rest and fold them again until they are all well incorporated. If you are going to color and add flavor to them this is the time. Just a few drops of food coloring until you get the desire color and about 1/4 tsp of flavoring. Try to use extract instead of imitation flavoring because it makes a big difference. I find that you need to use just a little bit versus the imitation that you need to add a lot more and it can give your batter a bitter after taste. Put the batter in a piping bag. Make sure there are no air pockets in it. Use wax paper on top of an oven sheet pan. If you are not sure about getting all the macarons the same size you can always draw them on the wax paper with a pencil using a round mold. That way you have a guide. Here is the major secret and what you need to do to have perfect macarons: after they are all piped like in the picture you need to hit the pan against your counter or table to take any extra air out. Maybe about 5 times. Let the macarons sit out for about an hour to an hour and a half. That’s very important to avoid them from cracking. Bake them at 300F for 20 minutes. Let them cool off and fill them with jams, curd, ganache, dulce de leche or Nutella.

 

Buffalo chicken dip! Doesn’t get any better…

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