11/21/2011

Being Thankful & a Pumpkin Flan with Walnut Crumble Crust





Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, is just around the corner. There is something so amazing to me about a day consumed with  family, friends and food. There are no costumes, no gifts, no stress. It is just a day, focused on the blessings of life and being thankful for all of them.

Ever since becoming a mom, I feel like I have been so much more awareness of the blessings in my  life. My knowledge of how fragile life is has become much more intense. I take no person, thing or moment for granted. I am grateful everyday for my bubbly, happy, energetic 3 year-old diva,who started out in this world a 2lbs 15oz preemie and spent the first two  months of life in a neonatal crib. I'm thankful for my boyfriend/partner/baby-daddy, who has loved me for seven years and is the most present, caring, supportive person in this world. I am thankful for my mom and dad for their unconditional love and support in all I do in life. I'm thankful for amazing  friendships that I've had for many years and new ones that I continue to make everyday. I'm thankful for the talent and passion for cooking. And, I'm thankful for my blog, where I can share this passion with you all. I am thankful for so much, and what I've just shared with you is just a small fraction of it. I am grateful for these things in my life everyday,  but I love that on the same evening most people in this country will take a moment to acknowledge their blessings.

As a token of my appreciation for you, my readers, I wanted to share one of  my new  favorite recipe for Thanksgiving. Last year, I shared with you all my family's traditional American-Brazilian Thanksgiving dinner. On the menu for the first time, was my pumpkin flan with walnut crust. It is my Latin twist on the all-time Thanksgiving favorite pumpkin pie.  So, if you want to spice up your menu on Thursday, this is definitely it!

I wish you all a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner. This year, my family and I will be cooking something totally different! We are roasting a 37lbs. suckling pig! And, yes, I will be taking lots of pictures and sharing it with you guys. Now tell me, what is on your menu this year? Are you trying something new? Or sticking with your usual traditional dishes? Who's invited? Please share!

Pumpin Flan with Walnut Crumbe Crust

Flan:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
15oz can pumpkin puree
2 - 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
3large eggs
1 ½ cup whole
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp vanilla extract

Crust:
2 cups chopped walnuts
2 tbsp butter
½  cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Flan:
To prepare caramel, add sugar in a heavy saucepan and cook over low heat. Cook until the caramel turns a medium amber. Pour into a " round cake pan, generously coating bottom  and set aside.
In a food processor bowl, process all ingredients until well incorporated.
Pour mixture into the prepared cake pan.
Place pan inside  large roastig pan and pour hot tap water into the pan so that it comes halfway up the sides of the cake pan.
Bake for about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, or until center is slightly jiggly but not wavy. Cool to room temperature. Evenly pour the walnut crumble crust on top and cover with plastic wrap.
Refrigirate for at least 3 hours.

Crust:
In a saute pan, over medium heat, combine all ingredients. Cook until brown sugar melts, about 3 minutes.

To unmold, run a knife around the inside edges to loosen it. Invert a round platter over the dish and turn them both over together.

11/14/2011

Caldo Verde Cremoso - A Creamy, Lactose-Free Soup



 Have I mentioned to you all how much I am loving my culinary school experience? Seriously, for me to wake up at 7am and go to school for six hours all with a big smile on my face is incredible! And I don’t think I’ve ever aced every single test I’ve been given. EVER! It makes me super happy to know that I’ve made the right decision and am following a path that was destined for me. I also know that I am blessed to have made this discovery at such a young age.


Today when I came home from school I was in a mood for a creamy soup. I remembered a soup my mom used to make called caldo verde. Caldo verde is a traditional Portuguese soup made with collard greens, potato, and linguiça (Portuguese sausage). The soup is simple and has great flavors, but is really thin and brothy. Being that I was in the mood for something with a little more body and creaminess, I had the bright idea of making it a caldo verde cremoso—creamy caldo verde.


 
 



Since regular milk has been upsetting my stomach lately and I have family members that are lactose-intolerant, I chose to use Lactaid whole milk in my caldo. It transformed the usually thin soup into creamy, thick heaven—sans the upset stomach!




For my Caldo Verde Cremoso recipe and othe lactose-free recipes visit Moovision.