Watching a Red Lobster commercial and seeing those cheddar bay biscuits this weekend triggered a need for some cheesy bread. Then Jay brought up those amazing cheese puffs we’ve eaten at Brazilian steakhouses. We looked up a few recipes and it seemed surprisingly easy to make. Jay liked one recipe and I liked another one, so we had a bake off. Here is the winning recipe, which was adapted from Epicurious. It’s the one I chose of course! Hehe.
Pao de Quejio (Brazilian Cheese Puffs)
makes about 24 puffs
- 2 cups tapioca flour*
- 1 cup milk (reduced fat or whole)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 3/4 cup Queso Fresco, grated
- 2 eggs
* Tapioca Flour can be found at specialty markets such as Whole Foods (where we got ours, Bob’s Red Mill brand) or Asian markets and is also called manioc starch or tapioca starch.
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. In the meantime bring the milk, salt, and butter to a boil in a sauce pan while constantly stirring mixture.
3. Once boiling remove the mixture of milk, salt and butter from heat.
4. Slowly add tapioca flour, stirring constantly until thoroughly mixed
5. Add the cheese and eggs to mixture
6. Mix until smooth (dough will be gummy)
7. Use a mini muffin pan, and fill each cup all the way up
8. Bake until golden brown, usually about 20 minutes
Eat while hot. Cooked puffs can be stored, in the fridge as long as it’s kept covered and then warmed up on a low setting in a toaster oven. You can also save any unused dough for about 2 days in the fridge. Plus, these little babies are naturally gluten free!
These were so delicious! The little puffs tasted exactly like they did when we ate them at a restaurant. They are slightly crusty on the outside, and have a soft warm center. I could eat these babies all day. Unfortunately, Jay’s puffs (the one in the picture above on the left), were a little dry. He attributes my win to the butter content of course.
Well, not eating Indian food, but cooking it. The first time I ever had Indian food was on a date with Jay, probably around 3 years ago. I can’t believe it took me so long to try it! There are so many delicious flavors and spices in each dish… and Naan is addicting. We were feeling adventurous this past weekend and decided to try to make our favorite dish, Chicken Tikka Masala, with homemade Naan of course.
Chicken Tikka Masala
Adapted from Serious Eats
- 5 pounds bone-in chicken pieces (breasts, legs, or a mix), skin removed
- 3 tablespoons toasted ground cumin
- 3 tablespoons toasted paprika
- 2 tablespoons toasted ground coriander seed
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 12 cloves garlic, smashed through a garlic press or grated, divided
- 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated, divided
- 2 cups plain yogurt
- 2/3 cup fresh juice from 4 to 6 lemons, divided
- 4 tablespoons butter or ghee
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, roughly mashed
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Place the chicken pieces on a cutting board with the flesh-side up. Score deeply at 1-inch intervals with a sharp knife. Place in a large rimmed baking dish.
- Combine cumin, paprika, coriander, turmeric, garam masala and cayenne in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside 3 tablespoons of spice mixture. Combine remaining 6 tablespoons spice mixture, 8 cloves garlic garlic, 2 tablespoons ginger, yogurt, 1/2 cup lemon juice, and 1/4 cup salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Pour marinade all over chicken pieces, using hands to coat every surface. cover loosely and refrigerate. Refrigerate and allow to marinate for at least 4 hours and up to 8, turning occasionally.
- Meanwhile, heat butter or ghee in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until melted and foaming subsides. Add onions, remaining 4 tablespoons grated garlic, and remaining 2 tablespoons ginger. Cook, stirring frequently, until dark and beginning to char in spots, about 10 minutes. Add reserved spice mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and half of cilantro, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan with a spoon. Simmer for 15 minutes, then puree using a hand blender or by transferring to a tabletop blender in batches.
- Stir in cream and remaining lemon juice. Season to taste with salt, then set aside until chicken is cooked.
TO COOK ON THE GRILL: Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over half of coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover gill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Wipe excess marinade off chicken and place over hot side of grill, flesh-side-down. Grill without moving until well charred, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip chicken and cook until second side is charred, another 4 to 5 minutes. (Chicken will not be completely cooked through—this is ok). Transfer to cutting board and allow to rest 10 minutes.
TO COOK UNDER THE BROILER: Line a broiler pan with heavy duty aluminum foil and preheat the broiler to high with the rack set 6 inches below broiler element. Wipe excess marinade off chicken and place on foil-lined pan, flesh side up. Broil until charred and blackened on surface, about 8 minutes (chicken will not be completely cooked through—this is ok). Transfer to cutting board and allow to rest 10 minutes.
- Remove chicken from bone using a sharp knife and cut into rough bite-sized chunks. Transfer chicken chunks to pot of sauce. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro, then serve immediately.
Adapted from the Food Network
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons plain yogurt
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Melted butter for slathering on the finished naans
- Coarse sea salt for sprinkling
- In a large glass, dissolve the dry yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar with 3/4 cup warm water (about 100 degrees F). Let it sit on your counter until it’s frothy, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, sift the flour, salt, remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar and baking powder into a large, deep bowl.
- Once the yeast is frothy, add the yogurt and the olive oil into the glass, and stir to combine. Pour the yogurt mixture into the dry ingredients and gently mix the ingredients together with a fork. When the dough is about to come together, use your hands to mix. It will feel like there isn’t enough flour at first, but keep going until it transforms into a soft, slightly sticky and pliable dough. As soon as it comes together, stop kneading. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and let it sit in a warm, draft-free place for 2 to 4 hours.
- When you’re ready to roll, make sure you have two bowls on your counter: one with extra flour in it, and one with water. The dough will be extremely soft and sticky-this is good! Separate the dough into 6 equal portions and lightly roll each one in the bowl of extra flour to keep them from sticking to each other.
- Shape the naan. Using a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into a teardrop shape, narrower at the top than at the bottom. It should be 8 to 9-inches long, 4-inches wide at its widest point and about 1/4-inch thick. Once you’ve formed the general shape, you can also pick it up by one end and wiggle it; the dough’s own weight will stretch it out a little. Repeat this method with the rest of the dough.
- Warm a large cast-iron skillet over high heat until it’s nearly smoking. Make sure you have a lid large enough to fit the skillet and have a bowl of melted butter at the ready.
- Dampen your hands in the bowl of water and pick up one of your naans, flip-flopping it from one hand to the other to lightly dampen it. Gently lay it in the skillet and set your timer for 1 minute. The dough should start to bubble.
- After about 1 minute, flip the naan. It should be blistered and somewhat blackened, don’t worry – that’s typical of traditional naan! Cover the skillet with the lid and cook 30 seconds to 1 minute more.
- Remove the naan from the skillet, brush with a bit of butter and sprinkle with a little coarse sea salt. Place the naan in a tea towel-lined dish. Repeat with the rest of the naans and serve.
I know there are A LOT of steps to this, but it’s so worth it! We ate this for about 3 days, it was so delicious. The rice is just white Basmati made in the rice cooker. My tip is to cook the Naan right before you eat. There is nothing better than hot, fresh Naan to soak up all the goodness of the Tikka Masala.
… and Happy Valentine’s Day! Any special plans for tonight? Jay and I are going to chillax at home and catch up on Top Chef and the Office.
There is a plethora of excellent produce here in Modesto. That being said, I always buy way too much, especially strawberries. I also happened to buy zucchini. I was going to make Zucchini Boats for dinner one night, but we ended up going out that night instead. The strawberries were quickly deteriorating. Then I saw this recipe for Zucchini Blueberry Bread and wanted to change it up for what I had on hand. Here is my creation…
Zucchini Strawberry Walnut Bread
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup non fat plain Greek Yogurt
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 cups shredded zucchini (I peeled mine before shredding)
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 pint fresh strawberries, chopped
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 2 loaf pans.
- In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, yogurt, vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini. Beat in the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Gently fold in the strawberries and walnuts. Transfer to the prepared pans.
- Bake 50-60 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.
This recipe makes 2 loaves, perfect to gift one. You can also cut it into slices and freeze individually. I’m gonna toast some up this weekend and serve with mascarpone, yum!
Now I’m off to an exciting weekend ahead! Wine Festival tomorrow and Chocolate Festival on Sunday. What are your plans for the weekend?