Month: February 2017

Quick & Easy Bread Roll Pizza

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Back in my country, this delights are very popular and it’s easy to find them in any bakery. We call them “paninis”, which is a derivation of the italian word “panino”, meaning “sandwich”.

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Baguette bread is an everyday popular bread in Spain, and the reason why there’s always fresh paninis in any bakery is because it’s a wonderful way to do something tasty with the excess bread from the night before. You just cut it in half and use it as a base for a small pizza of your choice. In Spain it tends to be either cheese and ham, or tuna and olives, but I have seen many other flavors.

My husband loves pepperoni and I had never made paninis for him before, so I thought I could give it a try. He loved them, which in turn makes me a ridiculously happy person.

Let’s get them started!

Ingredients:

  • 1 soft bread roll
  • 3\4 cup tomato sauce (I used tomato passata, with a hint of basil)
  • 2 cups grated cheese
  • 10 slices pepperoni
  • 3 oz ground beef
  • sprinkle of grated parmesan
  • oregano
  • salt, pepper & garlic powder

 

 

Start by looking at your bread roll and tell it you love it. No, I am not kidding. How can you see that sweet, soft fluffy thing and not tell it you love it? Come on! It’s adorable!

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Slice the roll in half, trying to keep both sides even in thickness. If one of them is too thin, it will be hell to prepare, everything will spill, and will be very uncomfortable to eat too. I am also telling you that because it happened to me many times, so don’t fear, ’cause I judge you not.

This would be a good time to start cooking the beef. Season with salt, pepper and some garlic powder, and cook until almost brown. You don’t really need to brown it all the way, as it’s gonna be cooked more in the oven.

Now, look at your old second hand metal tray with shame, because it looks dirty even though it’s really not. Preheat the oven at 350, forget all the shame, let’s make something awesome.

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Spread the tomato sauce all over the roll. I normally season tomato sauce and let it simmer to thicken and sweeten it, but this one was perfect just as it was.

Also, we were kinda hungry too.

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Sprinkle the cheese on your paninis, about 1\2 cup each. You can absolutely put more cheese on those, but I didn’t because I was serving them with a side of cheesy broccoli.

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Next, add the pepperoni in one side, and the beef in the other.

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Top with the rest of the cheese. You can add some hot sauce in the beef panini, to make it more flavorful. We use Tapatio at home, but I also recommend Valentina very much.

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Finish with a sprinkle of powdered parmesan and some oregano.

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I know, right? That looks awesome!

Bake until the cheese melts and starts to get crispy. It will normally take 10 to 15 minutes.

And here you go! An easy, quick and filling dinner. Want to see what I served as a side dish for those? Some really nice broccoli with cheese and mashed potatoes! You can see that recipe here.

Enjoy, my friends!

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Basic Southern Style Marinated Chicken

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There are a lot of ways to marinate chicken. Chicken meat has a great capacity to absorb flavors, and responds very well to tenderizing agents (lemon, milk, vinegar…).

This specific marinade is one that I use for my husband’s salads. It is slightly spicy, very aromatic, and SO FULL OF COLOR. I just love it. It also works great served with some fries or mashed potatoes, and some roasted corn.

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Also, marinating chicken is a very easy and convenient way of flavoring. You can just leave it to marinate in a tupper or a ziploc bag. You can also freeze meat that you are marinating, so when you want to use it you just have to thaw it and cook it.

Ingredients

– 2 chicken thighs, cut
-6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
-1 tbsp paprika
-1 tbsp southern style seasoning (I used Mr Dash)
-1/2 tbsp garlic powder
-Juice of one lemon/3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
-Salt and pepper to taste

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Start by cutting the chicken into small pieces. The smaller the pieces, the more flavor it will absorb, and the less time you will need to cook it.

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IMPORTANT NOTE: Do NOT use a metal tray to make your marinade. Metals react to the acids in the marinade and will change the flavor. Glass or plastic are fine, just keep in mind that plastic is harder to clean.

Here I used a plastic tupper to store it. I have a thing for danger.

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Start by juicing your lemon. “But Lali!”, you must be thinking, “you are using a lime! How dare you lie to me in such a shameless fashion!?” Well, my friend, I was just too broke to pay 40 cents for a lemon.

Just don’t tell my husband I had to use lime, please. He kinda hates it. He doesn’t need to know.

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Next, add the olive oil, salt and pepper. Bask in the glory of the olive oil. Or don’t if you don’t fancy it, I just need those minutes of sacred contemplation myself.

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Add the rest of spices and mix well, so the oil and lime  lemon can absorb the flavors.

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Starting to look pretty, huh?

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Now the final, crucial, most difficult step of them all. Just mix it all together in the container of your choosing. I use small tupperwares because I like keeping them in the fridge and occasionally stirring them a little bit. I also may not have the funds for ziploc bags.

And I honestly just love opening the tupper and smelling the goodness. I know I’m weird. I have learned how to live with that.

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Refrigerate for up to two days (the longer it sits, the more flavor it absorbs), or freeze your ready-to-use marinade for up to six months. Don’t be afraid of experimenting with the spices and proportions, marinades can be adapted to your preferences in flavor with just a little more of this or a little less of that.

BONUS TRACK> You don’t need to use all the marinade when you are cooking the chicken: save most of it and combine with some sugar or honey for a ridiculously awesome salad dressing.

I hope you enjoy it!

Luscious Broccoli with Cheese on Mashed Potatoes

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This broccoli, friends. THIS BROCCOLI, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL LIVING CREATURES. This is heavenly perfection when it comes steaming right from the oven (and I am not saying that just because I made it, though it kinda is a good reason).

I swear, even though you can serve this as a side dish, just a good serving of this gift of the Gods is a very filling and satisfying dinner. It’s also very quick and easy to make, not to mention cheap. I buy frozen broccoli cuts at Redner’s Warehouse Market for 1 dollar a pound, and I use it shamelessly on a lot of my cooking.

Also, my husband also happens to love broccoli. But even if he didn’t, I would still use it shamelessly on a lot of my cooking. I love him, but I love broccoli too and I refuse to hide it.

ANYWAY, my friends, let’s make a broccoli so ridiculously great, after you eat it you will have very indecent dreams in which you’ll eat it again. I kid you not.

Ingredients

  • 1 big potato
  • 1/2 lb frozen broccoli
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 cup cheese of your choice (I used cheddar and mozzarella)
  • parmesan flakes
  • italian herbs
  • salt & pepper to taste

Now, please forgive me for not having pictures of the mashed potatoes, I was cooking this other lovely thing and… well, you know. Hungry husband, hungry cats, you get the picture.

Anyways, peel and cut the potato and boil until tender (15 min) in a pot with salted water. Drain and mash on a small bowl, with the butter and cream cheese. Salt and pepper to taste (a sprinkle of garlic powder also gives it a very nice hint!), mix well and reserve.

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In a large pan, saute the broccoli with a little bit of olive oil and enjoy the smell of happiness. Stir and let cook until golden. You can also change the olive oil for a little bit of butter, if that makes you happier. I just prefer the olive oil because, you know, I come from a place where we descend from Romans, and anything Mediterranean makes me cry tears of joy.

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Ah, the beauty of oil. Excuse me while I cry a little.

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In a small oven dish, make a nice layer with the mashed potatoes. Season with love.

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Next, throw in the veggie love. And the cheesy love. You know where I am going with this.

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Pretty, huh?

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Parmesan, baby. And herbs. You will thank yourself later and so will anyone who eats this. Trust me.

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Wait until it gets out of the oven!

And here you go! A lovely side for absolutely any dinner, easy to make, cheap and full of flavor. Now excuse us while we go devour this!

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About me

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Remember that kid who was too curious for their own good, like Alice in Wonderland? Or the kid that’s incapable of leaving you alone in the kitchen and gets on your nerves asking “why are you doing that?” or “so what do we do now?”. Yeah, that annoying kid, the one that wants to lick the spoon afterwards or eat the cookie dough raw.

Well, I was those kids. I was those kids big time. Like, seriously, I remember being 8
and fantasizing about how Twix candy bars were made. How did they keep the caramel
from spilling on the sides? How do they do that awesome wavy chocolate texture?
I know, I know. I should have known back then that I had a serious problem.

It got worse, though. With the passing of years, I actually learned how to cook. I made
my fair share of absolutely inedible, disgusting concoctions. I was proud enough to eat most of them, and wise enough not to eat the rest. And then someone had the crazy idea of actually hiring me to work on a kitchen.

Ah, fun times. Oh, and I got better, by the way. Now my food tastes delicious.

So here I am! For the first time in my life, I happen to have MY OWN KITCHEN. Yes, my very own kitchen, filled with the ingredients I want – or can find and afford, rather. The joy of having my kitchen and being able to do whatever I want in there is what I want to share with you all.

In other things I can tell you about me, I will say I am from the beautiful crazy city of Barcelona, Spain. I currently live in Pennsylvania with my husband, whom I adore and love to cook for, and two lovely kitties that enjoy being in the way of my cooking. A lot. That ranges from making me trip over and over when I move in the kitchen, to shedding anywhere, to jumping around when I serve my husband his food.

We are also pretty broke, too. That’s why my recipes are either very simple to make, or require just a little bit of a few things to work well. You will also see I use each ingredient in a lot of different recipes.

You will also see that I use a combat knife to cook, a shelf board to cut things on, and the bottom of a gallon bottle as a colander. Also, that my kitchen is kinda tiny and I recycle everything I possibly can. I have zero shame, my friends. I also have zero funds, which helps a lot with the shame thing.

I hope you enjoy my little Wonderland. Welcome to my crazy kitchen!

Welcome!

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Welcome to Cooking for Venus!

For the first time ever, I finally took the time to make my own cooking blog, featuring my very own kitchen! I don’t have the words to tell you how ridiculously excited I am. To start off, I just want to say a couple of things.

Why Cooking for Venus, anyway? Well, there is not a single thing that cook without love. Plus, Venus will always be one of my favourite goddesses. And I do have a Venus in my life! It’s the very first and very cute plant in our house, that my loving husband got for me. Isn’t she adorable?!

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That being said, I want to start my project by being thankful.

Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart, to all the people that have helped me get to this point in my life. Thanks to everyone that has had the patience to hear me talking endlessly about this project, about any crazy idea regarding food. Thank you for being so kind to lovingly try everything I’ve made, even when it didn’t look good… or just was not good. Thank you so much for that.

Thank you to all people that have helped me move from my home country to the United States to pursue my dreams. Thank you for the patience, for your love and your help.

Thank you to everyone that has ever stood beside me and believed in me. Thank you to everyone that has ever reassured me in my worth, thank you to everyone that once had love and kindness to offer me. Thank you to the ones that are not there anymore, but once were, and are never forgotten.

A special thanks to my loving husband, whose computer I am using right now. Thank you so much for your love and support.

And thanks to you, reader, for letting me share my passion with you. I hope you find something you like in my crazy kitchen.

Much love always,

Lali