Saturday, April 7, 2012

Chocolate Easter Eggs

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Chocolate eggs are a big Easter tradition in Brazil, and they are not so easy to find here,  so I have been making my own for the past two years. Typically you would wrap them in some sort of pretty cellophane or foil and decorate it with ribbons. It makes for a great Easter gift.

This is barely a recipe as there really isn’t much to it but melted chocolate that’s cooled in a egg mold. I found the plastic molds online.

I chose bittersweet chocolate that does not contain any dairy, but a combination of bittersweet and milk chocolate works well too.




Chocolate Easter Egg Recipe

this recipe makes one large full egg or two small ones

You will need:

1/2 lb. (500g) good quality chocolate*


Chop the chocolate.

Melt chocolate in the microwave or on a double boiler, whatever method works best for you.

Spread a thin layer of melted chocolate in the molds, just enough to cover it. Place molds in the fridge for about 10 minutes.

After that time, remove from fridge and apply another layer of chocolate. repeat this process until all the chocolate is gone, or until you reach the desired thickness for the eggs.

If you want the parts to melt together, heat a knife or metal spatula quickly under an open flame and pass it around the edges. Immediately join the parts, they should stick together.


* A note on chocolate: If you are using coverture chocolate, you can use it right away, but if using regular chocolate, it’s a good idea to temper it before putting it in the molds. There are several ways to temper chocolate and a wide range of articles and video tutorials online, so I won’t get too much into it here.




This year, I made two variations for Easter: Trail mix and goji berries eggs


Trail Mix Chocolate Egg



Make a plain chocolate egg as described above and let it firm up. Once firmed, fill the cavity of the eggs with a trail mix of choice:  dried fruits, mixed nuts, seeds, candied ginger, pretzels, etc.

Put  the two parts together and warp it with foil.

Keep refrigerated until ready to enjoy.




Goji Berry Chocolate Egg



Make a plain chocolate egg as described above, but sprinkle some chopped goji berries during the second layer while the chocolate is still soft. On the third layer, use the leftover chocolate to cover most of the berries that might be sticking out.

Close the two parts and warp in foil. Keep refrigerated until ready to enjoy.





You can use any other kind dried fruits you want. I like the contrast of the tart goji berries with the chocolate.






Happy Easter!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Tomato and Onion Salad

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tomato salad

It’s officially fall but I think because summer came so late for us here in Seattle, it kind of pushed the tomato season a few weeks forward. At  my local farmer’s market last week I saw loads of beautiful fresh heirloom tomatoes side by side with new crops of pumpkins and squashes. So I grabbed one of my last batches of tomatoes and made this beautiful salad.

When I first made this salad for Andrew I had no idea it would become one of his favourites. It’s such a simple salad, a staple on many Brazilian tables, especially during barbecues. When you finish this salad, make sure to have some bread to wipe your plate, I guarantee it will be delicious!

Brazilians would use either cilantro or parsley (cilantro seems to be more popular on the northern states), you can certainly use what you like best. I use either one, normally what’s on the fridge.

Tomato and Onion Salad – Barely a Recipe

You can dress it with just oil and vinegar or use a homemade vinaigrette, but try to keep it simple. The ratio of onions and tomatoes is totally up to you. For us there is no such thing as too much onions.

You will need:


Onions, preferably white

Cilantro or parsley, chopped

Red wine vinegar

Olive Oil

Salt and pepper

Slice the tomatoes about ¼ inch thick.

Slice the onions very thin (use a mandolin for that if you like). If you prefer a less pungent onion taste, soak it in cold water for about 15 minutes, then drain and pat dry with a paper towel.

Place tomatoes and onions on a platter, sprinkle with the cilantro or parsley and drizzle the salad with olive oil and vinegar. Season to taste and serve.

Enjoy it!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Rice Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

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rice stuffed zucchini


This part III of my ode to zucchini. After sharing my open face sandwiches and my zucchini blossom quinoa salad, I saved the best for last. I saw this recipe a long time ago, on a travel show on Greece. Zucchini blossoms were filled with rice and herbs, then simmered in olive oil. Sounded so delicious, and it really is.

So far this is my favourite way to eat these delicate blossoms. The olive oil permeates the little pockets of rice with so much flavour and silkiness and the soft and delicate zucchini petals make the perfect wrap for them. Use your best olive oil here.

These are meant to be eaten at room temperature or even cold, preferably with a cold glass of white wine (Albariño is wonderful). I’ll be making those again next season, and I hope you will too!


Rice Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms Recipe:

I only used a handful of blossoms for this recipe, but you can scale the recipe to make more. The only thing to keep in mind is that they must fit snuggly in one layer on whatever size pan you decide to use (just like the photo at the end of this post).

You will need:

6-7 large zucchini blossoms

1/4 cup uncooked white rice

1 tablespoon chopped shallot

1  teaspoon chopped garlic

1 teaspoon chopped dill

2 tablespoons chopped zucchini

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup water


Carefully clean the blossoms by removing the internal pistil and blowing out the pollen. Try not to tear the blossoms.

In a medium bowl, mix together rice, shallot, garlic, dill and zucchini. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Mix well.

Use a small spoon to fill each blossom with the rice mixture. Fold the leaves in order to close the blossoms and place them, fold side down, on a pan or skillet large enough just to hold them tightly in a single layer. 

Pour the water and the remaining olive oil in the pan.

Bring it to a boil, turn down the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, until rice is cooked, about 20-25 minutes.

Transfer the blossoms to a serving plate and let it cool before serving at room temperature.


rice stuffed blossoms

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Zucchini Blossom Quinoa Salad

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zucchini blossom quinoa salad

The blossom fest continues… After I shared with you my open face sandwiches, I now present my new favourite quinoa salad. The softness of the blossoms contrast with the crunch from the carrots and the zucchinis. I love making quinoa salads as they make great left overs for lunch, but on this case I would recommend serving it right away while the blossoms are fresh.

Zucchini Blossom Quinoa Salad Recipe:

If you don’t like chopping, try shredding the vegetables. Tomatoes can be added too, seeded and cut into small cubes. If you like cheese, some good feta would also be a nice addition to the salad.

You will need:

1 cup coked quinoa *

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1 cup chooped zucchini

1/2 cup basil leaves, sliced or hand thorn

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

20 zucchini blossoms, cleaned and cut into stripes

1 teaspoon lemon zest

For the dressing:

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon honey

1/4 cup chopped shallots

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Make the dressing by putting all ingredients in a jar, close it and shake well. Toss the salad with the dressing and serve.


* To cook quinoa, bring 1 part quinoa and 2 parts water to a boil. Reduce the heat, close the lid and simmer until all water is absorbed and quinoa has plumped up. Fluffy it with a fork. Cooked quinoa can be frozen in small portions in the freezer.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Zucchini Blossom Open Sandwiches

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zucchini blossom sandwich

The first time I had zucchini flowers was in Mexico City, where I first tasted a very popular Mexican dish: sopa de flor de calabaza, or zucchini flower soup. It was a wonderful experience and until then I had never thought of zucchini flowers as food. I probably never thought of zucchini flowers, period. But everything changed after that soup, and now I look forward to finding the perfect  blossoms every summer and making different dishes with them. The season for zucchini blossoms is very short, which only contributes to the excitement I get when I can cook with them.

This year, I tried a few new things. These open face sandwiches are the first of a short series of zucchini blossom recipes I will be posting – hope you all enjoy!

Zucchini Blossom Open Sandwiches

This is merely a recipe, and more  an idea, a source of inspiration for you to make your own sandwiches. The ingredients can be changed according to your taste, just keeping in mind that the blossoms are delicate in texture and flavor, so avoid overpowering ingredients.

Tomato, Goat Cheese and Blossom Sandwich Recipe:

Zucchinis come to season together with tomatoes, which is why we see so many recipes that call for both of them. I like using heirloom tomatoes in different colours to make it more interesting, but any tomato would work well here.


Goat cheese

Chopped fresh basil

Zucchini blossoms

Bread (it can  be sliced bread or a loaf of bread, sliced)

Garlic (optional)

Salt and pepper

Olive oil (extra virgin is better)

Slice the tomatoes thinly and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Combine the goat cheese with  chopped basil, season with salt and pepper to taste and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil, enough to flavour the cheese as well as make it more spreadable. Set aside.

To prepare the zucchinis like in the photo, cut of the stems and open each one of them flat, with the inside part facing up. Gently clean the inside of the flowers, removing most of the pollen with a wet paper or cloth towel.

If you would like to make a garlic toast, simply bake the bread slices quickly in the oven or in the grill, then rub a garlic clove on it. Do not overdo it or the garlic taste may overpower the sandwich.

To assemble the sandwiches, spread a layer of cheese, top with the seasoned tomatoes and finish with a layer of blossoms (the outside of the leaves facing up).zucchini flower sandwich

Zucchini, Ricotta, and Dill Blossom Sandwich Recipe:

If dill is not your thing, try using parsley. You can also add a few drops of lemon juice to the sandwich just before serving.


Fresh dill


Salt and pepper

Olive oil (extra virgin is better)

Zucchini, finely sliced

Zucchini flowers, cleaned and sliced into ribbons

Season the ricotta with salt, pepper, add a splash of olive oil and chopped dill to taste. Mix well.

Smear the slices of bread with ricotta, top with the sliced zucchini and the blossom ribbons.

zucchini blossom sandwiches

Friday, May 13, 2011

Double Chocolate Mint Cookie

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Most people I know would say that these cookies taste like Christmas. That’s because of the peppermint flavour, which is associated with the Holiday Season. I don’t really understand that association since I never heard anyone say that After Eight tastes like a Holiday candy, for example. I find that peppermint and chocolate is a match to be enjoyed anytime of the year.

These cookies are meant to stay soft inside, so keep an eye on them towards the final minutes of baking to make sure they don’t overcook. I think they go very nicely with a cup of black coffee.         


Double Chocolate Mint Cookie Recipe

makes about 36 small cookies


You will need:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

4 tablespoons sour cream

3/4 cup mint chocolate chips

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together flour, salt and baking soda over a bowl and set aside.

Beat butter and both sugars until it is light in colour and texture. Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat one more time. Reduce speed and mix in egg, vanilla and mint extracts until there is no trace of eggs and the mixture look smooth.

Add a third of the dry ingredients, then half of the sour cream. Stop the mixer, scrape the sides of bowl. Add another third of the dry ingredients, the sour cream and then the remaining dry ingredients.

Mix in the chocolate chips by hand.

Scoop the batter onto three baking sheets lined with parchment paper and bake it for 13 minutes.

Enjoy it!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Thinkfood Cookbook

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I was very pleased when I was asked to be  part of the Thinkfood Cookbook, an initiative by positscience. It was really rewarding to know that Pink Bites was spotted as a blog that features plenty of brain-foods. That was not intentional, but it shows that simple and honest cooking  using whole foods is indeed a good thing for you and your brain.

Thinkfood is a cookbook featuring 50 brain-healthy recipes from bloggers around the globe, including a delicious dessert from Pink Bites.  You can find out more about it here, and the book is also available at Amazon.



Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pear Croque Monsieur

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I have been MIA  for  a while, I know.  I apologize to anyone whom might be wishing for more, new recipes from here. Last year was a busy and tough one for me. Between adjusting to a new job, losing my grandma and a few other life hiccups, I ended up with little energy for blogging and sometimes even cooking. That’s how this blog was on the back burner for such a long time. Hopefully this is all behind now and I can return to cooking and posting new and interesting food here.

I start today with a recipe I made many times in different versions: croque monsieur. I just love this sandwich. For me a good croque monsieur is all about the cheese sauce. I use lots of gruyère cheese and dip the whole sandwich in the sauce in order to coat it well before baking it in the oven. It might be too much for some people, and you can certainly use less sauce and less cheese. I just never seem to be able to have  too much cheese:)

In the past I made this sandwich with vegetarian sliced meats for me and also with ham (the original version) for Andrew. This version is made with bosc pears, which are firm and go nicely with the Dijon mustard and the cheese.

pear croque monsier-2

Pear Croque Monsieur Recipe

makes one sandwich


You will need:

2 slices of country bread (day old bread is fine)

3/4 cup (150 ml) of  milk

1 tablespoon of butter, plus more for sandwich

1 tablespoon of flour

Salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste

3/4 cup grated gruyère cheese

Dijon mustard

1/2 bosc pear, sliced


Preheat oven to 425F.

Toast the brad slices either in a toaster or in the hot oven for a couple of minutes. Set aside.

Warm up milk in the microwave for 45 seconds. Set aside.

Melt butter in a pan over medium heat and add the flour. Stir it constantly until the flour gains a nice golden colour. Slowly add the warm milk , stirring with a wooden spoon until all milk is incorporated. Continue to stir (switch to a whisk if you feel that the sauce might have lumps) over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens and the spoon leaves a trace on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat, season with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.  Add 1/3 of the cheese (1/3 cup) and stir until the cheese melts into the sauce. Set the sauce aside.

Spread butter on one half of the bread and mustard on the other. Place sliced pears on top of the slice with mustard and season with sat. Cover it with some more cheese. Close the sandwich with the buttered slice and place it in the pan with the sauce. Move the sandwich around and turn it upside down a well, to cover it all with the sauce, being careful that the sandwich doesn’t open or fall apart.

Transfer sandwich to a baking sheet (line it with parchment for easy clean-up) and bake it in the preheated oven for about 6-7 minutes. Keep an eye on the sandwich to make sure it’s not burning too fast. If the top isn’t golden brown by the end of that time, turn on the broiler for about 2-3 minutes. The sandwich should be bubbly and the cheese melted with some brown spots.

Remove from the oven, transfer to a plate and let it rest for 5 minutes before you dig in!

Enjoy it!



Sunday, September 12, 2010

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

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 vanilla ice cream 2


I have been trying to make more ice cream at home and avoid the store-bought varieties. I made some very good ice creams in the past and although I prefer more interesting types of flavours, this time I decided to make a basic vanilla ice cream. The process of making good home made ice cream can take some time, it’s not something you can make in the afternoon and have it for dinner, but the efforts definitely pay off.

This recipe makes for a vey rich ice cream. I like ratio of two and half cups of cream to one and half cup of whole milk. You can choose to make it equal parts cream and milk or even swap the cream for half-and-half, but I think ice cream should be very creamy.

Most ice cream recipes call for tempering the egg custard with hot milk/cream while beating fast and constantly with  an egg beater. I find it much easy to do this is the bowl of a stand mixer. I mix the yolks and sugar in the mixer and later mix the hot milk into the yolks with the mixer on medium-low speed.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Recipe:

makes 1 quart


You will need:

2 1/2 cup of heavy cream

1 1/2 cup of whole milk

1 vanilla bean

1 cup sugar

9 egg yolks

a pinch of salt


Pour the heavy cream, milk and half of the sugar in a large heavy-bottomed pan. Cut the ends of the vanilla  bean and split it in half length wise. Scrape the seeds into the pot and add the whole bean as well.

Heat the pot until the liquid is just bellow simmering point. Do not let it boil. Stir eventually to dissolve the sugar. Set aside and let it steep on the pot (uncovered) for 20-30 minutes.

While the cream cools, prepare the yolks. Put the yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer and start beating with the whisk attachment on medium-low speed. Slowly add the remaining half cup of sugar, a tablespoon at the time. Stop the mixer, scrape the sides of the bow and make sure all the sugar has dissolved. If the sugar is not completely dissolved, the ice cream will leave a sort of residue on the spoon which is not very pleasant. Once the sugar is dissolved, increase the speed and whisk until the yolks are pale and slightly thick. Leave yolks in the mixer bowl for now.

Strain the milk mixture and discard the vanilla bean.

Return the pot with the strained milk to the stove, add a pinch of salt and heat again until bellow simmer. Turn on the mixer on medium-low speed  and slowly add the hot milk on a steady stream, decreasing the speed as the mixture cools down. Once all the liquid is incorporated with the yolks, pass it through a fine mesh sieve placed on top of a clean pot. Bring the pot to the stove and warm on medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and it can cover the back of a wooden spoon. Do not speed up this process, as the eggs might cook. This step might take anywhere between 10-20 minutes.

Once mixture is thick enough, pour it into a clean bowl set over a larger bowl with iced water. Once the custard is at room temperature, cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate it. The ice cream can be made until this point up to 2 days in advance and kept it refrigerated.

Remove the ice cream custard after 4 hours in the fridge (minimum) and churn in the ice cream maker for about 10 minutes, or according to the manufacture’s instructions.

Transfer to a container, close and freeze it until hard, 6 hours minimum.

Enjoy it!


vanilla ice cream

Monday, August 2, 2010

Summer Sauceless Pasta Salad

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pasta salad

It’s middle of summer here in Seattle and we are trying to enjoy as much outdoor meals as possible. I made this salad for a barbecue party the other day and it was a hit, so I decided to post the recipe here. I wanted to make a pasta salad that would be substantial enough to please vegetarians and meat eaters alike, but didn’t want that kind of mayonnaise-based pasta salad I often see at barbecue tables. I used fresh ingredients and herbs and seasoned it with a simple but always effective combination of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Nothing complicated. The lemon zest is in my opinion what makes this dish taste especially fresh. This salad is better the day it is made and I like to serve it at room temperature. In fact, this salad is never chilled. It is made and served at room temperature.

You can use fresh mushrooms, sautéed and cooled, instead of the jarred ones. The halloumi cheese can be replaced fresh mozzarella or feta cheese.


Summer Pasta Salad Recipe:

serves 8


You will need:

1 box of rotini (fusilli) pasta

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

6 fresh, ripe tomatoes

1 1/2 cup of halloumi cheese, crumbled or diced

1/4 cup of olives, pitted and chopped

4 oz of jarred button mushrooms, larger ones cut in half

1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley

1/2 cup of chopped fresh basil

1 generous teaspoon of lemon zest


Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil and cook the pasta for 6 to 7 minutes, until al dente. Drain the pasta, season it with half of the salt and pepper and add the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Mix well and set aside to cool to room temperature.

While the pasta cools, chop the tomatoes and place them in a large serving bowl. Season with remaining salt and pepper. Add the cheese, olives, mushrooms, parsley and basil. Mix well.

When the pasta is at room temperature, transfer it to the serving bowl, add the lemon zest and toss it well with the other ingredients.

Taste and re-season if necessary. Serve at room temperature.

Enjoy it!

pasta salad preppasta salad1