Strawberry Mint Scones

We are a week into Spring and although the weather may have not gotten the memo yet, my kitchen sure has! Spring cooking makes me happy!

The slightly warmer weather and sunshine gives me so much inspiration and motivation to bake with light and bright ingredients.

My favorite ingredients around this time are fruit! From citrus fruit to berries, I love to incorporate them in any way I can. And for my first bake of Spring 2019, I chose scones! To tell you the truth, scones always looked very heavy and dense and I have never had the desire to eat one, not until I tried this recipe. With one bite, I was hooked! From the light and buttery dough to the strawberry and mint filling, they scream spring!

This recipe was taken and adapted from one of my absolute favorite magazines, Bake from Scratch where they use basil instead of mint. What's great about this recipe is how versatile it is, so if mint or basil aren't your favorite herbs, you can easily substitute with thyme, or rosemary, or leave it out entirely.

Bake up a batch and enjoy them with a lovely cup of coffee or tea.

my Portuguese Mother // Strawberry Mint Scones
my Portuguese Mother // Strawberry Mint Scones
my Portuguese Mother // Strawberry Mint Scones
My Portuguese Mother // Strawberry Mint Scones

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

  • ½ cup granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ¾ cup cold unsalted butter, grated

  • 1 cup diced fresh strawberries

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

  • ¾ cup whole milk

  • 2 large eggs, divided

  • 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream

  • Garnish: sanding sugar

Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add cold butter, tossing to coat. Cover and freeze for 15 minutes. Stir in strawberries and mint.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk together milk and 1 egg. Add milk mixture to flour mixture, stirring and folding just until moistened. Turn out dough onto a heavily floured surface. Using well-floured hands, knead dough 5 to 10 times, about 1 minute. Roll dough to ¾- to 1-inch thickness. Using a bench scraper, cut the dough into triangles or use 2¾-inch round cutter, cut dough, rerolling scraps only once. Place on prepared pan.

  4. In a small bowl, whisk together cream and remaining 1 egg. Brush egg wash onto scones. Sprinkle with sanding sugar, if desired.

  5. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

  6. Let cool slightly; serve warm.

    Recipe by Bake from Scratch


Mickey Mouse Vanilla Cupcakes

I made these adorable cupcakes for my friend nephew’s birthday! 

 From the fluffy texture of the cupcake to the cute decorations, this cupcake was a hit! And because the cupcake is not to sweet, this fluffy vanilla frosting is the perfect pairing!

 Vanilla mix, especially boxed ones, are usually overly sweet and full of artificial flavors. I'm not completely against boxed mixes; however, when it comes to baking for someone you love, I think it is essential to go that extra mile and make it from scratch. Not only they will taste good but your loved one will taste the love and care you have put into them.

 To make these Mickey Mouse themed cupcakes, I topped the frosting with two mini Oreos. And to complete Mickey’s outfit, I took a step further and added little yellow buttons (tiny pieces of paper) to the red cupcake liners.

For any other occasion, leave the Oreos out, and you will have the perfect Vanilla frosted cupcake!

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My Portuguese Mother // Vanilla Cupcakes MICKEY MOUSE
My Portuguese Mother // Vanilla Cupcakes MICKEY MOUSE
My Portuguese Mother // Vanilla Cupcakes MICKEY MOUSE

Ingredients

Vanilla Cupcake

  • 1/4 cup salted butter, softened

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature

  • 2 tsps vanilla extract

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 tsps of baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Vanilla Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 4 cups powdered sugar

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 2 to 4 tbsp heavy cream

  • Mini Oreos

Recipe

Vanilla Cupcake

  1. Preheat to 350 degrees F.  Prepare a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the baking powder, salt and flour. Set aside.

  3. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Beat in oil and vanilla. Turning the mixer on low, beat in the dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk, and beat again until the mixture is just combined.

  4. Using a small ice cream scoop, fill the liners half full.

  5. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool  in the pans on a wire rack.

Vanilla Frosting

  1. In an electric mixer, using the whisk attachment, beat butter and powdered sugar. Add the vanilla extract and heavy cream, mix until light and fluffy.

  2. Frost the cupcakes. Using Mini Oreos, place two on the frosting, side by side, to make it look like Mickey Mouse ears.


Buttermilk Pancakes

Happy National Pancake Day! Whether it is a Sunday or a Tuesday morning, pancakes are always the star on the breakfast table.

This year, National Pancake Day happens to fall on Fat Tuesday, so what better way to celebrate than to engorge on a delicious stack of pancakes!

Thick and fluffy, these Buttermilk Pancakes are quick to make and super delicious! They are also easy to freeze and thaw for those mornings you just don't have time to cook!

Whip up a patch this morning or enjoy them for dinner!

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My Portuguese Mother // Buttermilk Waffles
My Portuguese Mother // Buttermilk Waffles
My Portuguese Mother // Buttermilk Waffles

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • ½  tsp. ground cinnamon

  • 3 tbsp. sugar

  • 2  tsp. baking powder

  • ½ tsp. baking soda

  • ¼  tsp. salt

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk

  • 3 tbsp. butter, melted, plus more for serving

  • Maple syrup for serving

Recipe

  1. In a medium bowl whisk all the dry ingredients together.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter, buttermilk, and egg until combined. Add the dry ingredients into the large bowl and whisk until just combined, do not over mix.

  3. Heat a lightly oiled frying pan over medium high heat. Scoop ⅓ cup of the mix onto the pan. Cook until bubbles begin to form at the surface, flip and cook until the second side in slightly browned.

  4. Serve with a knob of butter, and maple syrup.

    *If not eaten right away, preheat your oven to 200 degree F. Set a rack in the oven, and place the pancakes there to keep warm.

    *Pancakes can be frozen up to 3 months. Allow them to cool completely, then transfer them to airtight plastic bag and place them in freezer.  To thaw, preheat a toaster oven, or a traditional oven and heat them until warm.

Heart Surprise Cupcakes

Valentine’s Day is only 5 days away and what a better way to show your sweetheart how much you love them than by making these cute cut out heart cupcakes.

I was inspired by the blog A Cozy Kitchen, which is one of my favorite blogs! Adrianna, not only makes the most delicious meals but also, photographs and presents them beautifully!

When I saw this cut-out heart cupcake, I knew I had to give it a try. I used her method and red velvet cupcake recipe for the cupcake.

I adapted it with my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe that is the ultimate go-to cupcake recipe! This vanilla batter creates a fluffy cupcake, that is an excellent pairing with the red velvet heart and of course, my favorite frosting of all time, cream cheese frosting.

The surprise heart will leave your loved ones speechless!

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Ingredients

Inside Heart

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 cup buttermilk shaken

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 8 drops food coloring, less if using gel

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Vanilla Cupcake

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 2 1/2 cups flour

  • 1 1/4 cups milk

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

  • 3 cups powdered sugar

  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Recipe

Inside Heart

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line the bottom of a sheet baking tray with parchment paper.

  2. In a medium bow, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

  3. In an electric stand-up mixer, with the paddle attachment, add the butter and sugar, beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Pour in the buttermilk, red food coloring and vanilla.

  4. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just combined.

  5. Pour the batter into the baking tray and spread the cake batter into an even layer. Transfer to the oven to bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.

  6. Allow to cool completely. Stamp out hearts using a 1 1/2-inch heart cookie cutter.

Vanilla Cupcake

  1. Preheat to 375 degrees F.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the baking powder, salt and flour. Set aside.

  3. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Turing the mixer on low, beat in the dry ingredients. Add the milk, and beat again until the mixer is just combined.

  4. Fill each cupcake tin with two tablespoons of batter, about halfway. Carefully, snuggle cut out hearts in the center of each cupcake batter, make sure to face them all the same way.

  5. Transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the white cake comes out clean. Cool in the pans on the wire rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese until combined. Carefully, add the powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and heavy cream. Beat again until all combined.

  2. Before frosting, it's important to give yourself an indicator to know which way to cut the cupcake. I lined them all in the same direction before frosting and then used a my sprinkle on top of the frosting to remind me which way to cut.

  3. Enjoy the surprise !


Adapted from A Cozy Kitchen


Braised Lamb Shanks & Creamy Polenta

First snowfall of the season and boy did it take us by surprise in New Jersey! 

There is probably nothing that I enjoy about the winter other than the excuse to stay in and cook! 

One of my ultimate favorite comfort foods are these beautiful Lamb Shanks. I think visually they seem a little daunting to people; however, this recipe is easy, foolproof and can make any beginner cook look like a master chef! 

The lamb shanks are rubbed with spices, and cooked in wine (oh yes), and served alongside creamy polenta.

The polenta is simmered to ensure a beautiful creamy and thick consistency that will absorb the sauce from the lamb.

If polenta is not your thing, egg noodles go exceptionally well with this dish!

Happy Weekend and Happy Cooking!

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Ingredients

Lamb Shanks

  • 3 medium lamb shanks

  • 4 medium onions, sliced

  • 6 garlic cloves

  • 4 tbsp of tomato paste

  • 3 tbsp of paprika

  • 1 bunch of parsley, coarsely chopped

  • 8 tbsp of butter, cut in small pieces

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil

  • 2 cups  white wine

  • ½ cup water + 2 tbsp

  • 3 tbsp of coarse salt & pepper

  • 3 bay leaves

Polenta

  • Kosher salt

  • 6 cups water

  • 1½ cups coarse polenta ( I used Bob’s Red Mills)

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter

  • ½ cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley

Recipe

Lamb Shanks

  1. Set the oven to 425 F

  2. In a mortar, grind garlic, parsley and salt into a paste. Mix in the paprika, pepper, tomato paste,  2 tbsp of water and olive oil.

  3. Rub the shanks with the mixture.

  4. Place the seasoned meat in a large roasting pan, top with sliced onions, bay leaves and butter.

  5. Pour in the wine and the rest of the water (½ cup) around the meat.

  6. Roast for 1 ½ hour , basting every half hour .

  7. Serve with Polenta.

Polenta

  1. In a large saucepan, bring 6 cups of salted water to a boil.

  2. Reduce heat to medium-low, whisking constantly, add in the polenta.

  3. Cook, and whisk often  until polenta is thick and smooth, 20–25 minutes.

  4. Season with salt and pepper. Add butter and ½ cup Parmesan to polenta and whisk until melted and incorporated.

  5. Serve warm, top with extra Parmesan.

Spiced Pumpkin Waffles

Fall is officially here! The crisp air, fallen leaves and the smell of warm spices are my favorite things about this season! Like a lot of people, my other favorite thing is pumpkin spiced everything!!

These waffles are packed with flavor, and are cooked into crispy golden brown squares that are fluffy and soft inside.

They will spice up any breakfast and are a great choice for a fall brunch!

They are also easy to make, and perfect for when you don't know what to do with that leftover canned pumpkin. They can easily be frozen which means you can have these pumpkin waffles for breakfast, or dinner and is perfect for those who are rushing to cook breakfast in the morning!

 
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Spiced pumpkin waffles .JPG
 
 
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Oliver is very photogenic, and is always up for a photoshoot.. only if it involves food!


Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • ¼ cup brown sugar

  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon

  • 1 tsp. ground ginginger

  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves

  • 1 tsp. Baking powder

  • ½ tsp. Baking soda

  • 1 tsp. Salt

  • 3 eggs

  • ½ cup canned pumpkin

  • 1 ¾ cups milk

  • ½ stick melted butter, plus more for serving

  • Maple syrup

Recipe

  1. Preheat waffle iron.

  2. In a medium bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients.

  3. In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter, canned pumpkin, eggs and milk until combined. Add the the flour mixture and mix until just combined.

  4. Lightly oil the waffle iron. Pour ⅓ - 1 cup of batter, depending on your waffle iron. Cook until waffles are golden brown.

  5. Top the waffles with the remaining butter and maple syrup

    *If not eaten right away, preheat your oven to 200 degree F. Set a rack in the oven, and place the waffles there to keep warm.

    *Waffles can be frozen up to 3 months. Allow them to cool completely, then transfer them to airtight plastic bag and place them in freezer.  To thaw, preheat a toaster oven, or a traditional oven and heat them until crispy.

Arroz de Grelos (Broccoli Rabe Rice)

There will always be those dishes that the slightest smell or taste brings you right back to childhood. While some might be as simple as a soup or sandwich, mine is Arroz de Grelos, (Broccoli rabe rice).

I know, not your first guess ,but this particular dish is one that from as far as i can remember my mom always made.

I think mostly the memories are so strong because as a kid I was not that big of a fan of this dish. I knew the moment my mom began to boil that broccoli rabe that I would not be happy with the dinner choice.

But of course, as you get older, your taste for certain foods change, and i'm happy to report that i am now a BIG broccoli rabe fan!

A little bit of background on broccoli rabe.. it is a member of the brassica family which is known for being a vegetable family that is packed with all sorts of nutrients, like zinc, potassium, calcium, folate and vitamins A, C and K. ( no wonder my mom made it so much)

The combination of the fluffy rice with the bitterness of the broccoli rabe pairs well with any meat or even a pan fried fish, which is what i grew up eating it with!

Arroz de Grelos (Broccoli Rabe Rice)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of white rice

  • 1 bunch of broccoli rabe

  • 1 large onion

  • ¼ cup of olive oil

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 3 cups of boiling water

  • Salt & Pepper

Recipe

  1. Wash the greens and roughly chop them. Peel the onion and garlic and chop finely.

  2. Heat a medium saucepan, saute the onion in the olive oil until translucent. Stir in the garlic and greens and cook until tender.

  3. Add the rice and mix well.

  4. Add the boiling water, season with salt and pepper and allow to boil again.

  5. Cover the pan, reduce the heat and simmer until the rice is cooked around 20 minutes.

Pasteis de Bacalhau (Cod fish fritters)

Pasteis de Bacalhau are one of the most popular foods in traditional portuguese cuisine. Pasteis de Bacalhau ( Cod Fritters), are usually eaten as a snack or an appetizer. they are made with salted cod, potato, onion and lots of parsley, and if that didn't convince you yet… its fried!

These very popular fritters are seen and sold in every cafe around portugal, and even the portuguese cafes in the united states!

While it might be easier to buy some, nothing beats homemade Pasteis de Bacalhau! They are very simple to make and i promise it's worth dealing with the smell of cod fish for a few days..

Pasteis de Bacalhau can be eaten as an accompaniment to a delicious plate of rice, like this one.

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Pasteis de Bacalhau

Ingredients

  • 20 oz. (600 g) salted cod fish

  • 30 oz. (800 g) potatoes

  • 4 medium eggs, seperated

  • ¼ cup (100ml) olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 pinch nutmeg

  • ½ cup chopped parsley

  • salt & pepper

  • Vegetable Oil for frying

Recipe

  1. In a bowl, cover the salted cod with cold water, and let it soak for 2 days, changing the water every 8 hours (about 4/5 times)

  2. Boil the potatoes in water with salt for about 20/ 25 minutes, drain and mash them well.

  3. In another pot, boil the cod until tender. Drain, let it cool and flake as small as you can with your hands, making sure all skin and bones are removed.

  4. On a large saucepan, sauté the onions and garlic in a little olive oil, just to sweat the onions, add the flaked cod and let it simmer for about 5 minutes, mixing it occasionally.

  5. Then add the mashed potatoes, nutmeg, parsley and mix it well. Check seasoning, add pepper & salt if needed. Add the yolks one by one.

  6. Beat the egg whites and add them to the potatoes / cod mixture and mix it well.

  7. Pour the oil in a deep heavy skillet or pot and place it on high heat.

  8. Dip 2 tablespoons into oil and shape the pasteis using 2 spoons as if you were making quenelles (egg shape). The mixture will be quite soft. (At this point you can freeze them up to a month.)

  9. Add the pasteis one by one, turning them over until golden brown about 2/3 minutes

  10. When done, remove and place them on a plate with a paper towel to drain any excess of oil.

  11. Makes about 25/30 pasteis

Apple Galette

 

Happy Fall!

Nothing screams Fall more than the smell of a nice apple dessert coming out of the oven! This apple galette is one of my go to recipe because of how delicious and effortless it is to make.

It's one of the simplest desserts to make, thanks to store bought puff pastry! During the holidays, we are all scrambling to make so many dishes that this recipe is a great substitute for when an apple pie is just too much to make!

From the golden pastry crust, to the warm spiced apples in the center, you won’t even think twice about the missing apple pie!

This galette is perfect to make when apples are in season ,but is also great when made with pears, and even stone fruit!

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Ingredients

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

  • 2 - 3 large apples, peeled and sliced

  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  • 2 tbsp. muscovado sugar

Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

  2. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry into a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a parchment paper lined sheet pan.

  3. In a medium sized bowl, toss the peeled, cored and sliced apples with lemon juice, flour, sugar, and spices. Toss until all the apples are coated.

  4. To assemble, arrange the apple slices evenly in the middle of the dough, leaving a border.

  5. Fold edges of dough over filling, tucking and overlapping as needed.

  6. Beat the egg, and brush the crust with the egg wash, and sprinkle the muscovado sugar over the egg wash.

  7. Bake for 25 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.

  8. Serve with ice cream

 

Herbed Roasted Chicken

Roasting a whole chicken may seem a little daunting , but this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa will take all your fears away!

I adapted Ina’s herbed roasted chicken by adding BUTTER! I mixed the butter with the herbs and rubbed it under and over the chicken. its cooked on top of thick country bread slices. The juices of the chicken soak into the bread and creates a beautiful dark, crusty and caramelized bread, that is also great to make croutons for a salad, or if you’re like me, eat it by itself. 

What I like most about this recipe is how easy it is to adapt, the herbs and lemon in this dish can be substituted for whatever flavor combination you prefer.

 
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Herbed Roasted Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken (4-4 ½ lb.)

  • ½ stick of softened butter

  • 4 sprigs of thyme

  • 2 large garlic cloves, smashed flat

  • 1 lemon, quartered

  • 2 tsp. sea salt, plus extra for serving

  • 1/2 tsp. ground pepper

  • 3 to 4 slice of country bread ( ¾-inch-thick)

  • Olive oil

Recipe

  1. First, preheat oven to 500 degrees F and position rack on the lower third rack in the oven.

  2. In a small bowl, mix the butter, herbs and salt and pepper.

  3. Using your fingers, gently loosen the skin from the breasts and thighs without breaking the skin. Pat the chicken dry and rub the butter over and under the chicken skin. Place the quartered lemon in the cavity. Season generously with salt and pepper. Let sit for 20 minutes.

  4. While the chicken sits, prepare the cast iron pan. Cut thick slices of bread, (3/4-inch-thick). Place the slices in the cast iron pan.

  5. Place the chicken breast side up on the bread and brush lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Tuck the wings under the body.

  6. Let the chicken roast for 30 minutes then flip the chicken over and cook for another 15-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the breast is at 165 F, and the thighs are around 170 F.

  7. Once the chicken is done, remove from oven, cover with aluminum foil and let the chicken rest for 30 minutes. ( It is important to allow the chicken rest to ensure a juicy chicken. The chicken will still be hot)

  8. When 30 minutes are up, remove the chicken from pan and carve how you desire. The bread will be very toasted, even burnt but that is supposed to happen as it has socken up all the juices of the chicken, and caramelized.

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa