Rum-Soaked Golden Raisin and Walnut Knots

Viviana's Kitchen

Last month I spent a solid, good two consecutive weeks being Chef Viviana, plumping myself and my family up with sugary carb foods like what I’m about to share today, and enjoying the start of a new year in a relatively relaxed environment, on the precipice of starting Marie Kondo’s decluttering KonMari method in my life – which, by the way, is going somewhat slowly, and my room currently looks like a tornado blew through it.

PHEW. What a mouthful. ANYWAY – I’ve been following Thida Bevington on Instagram for a while, and her feed is a dessert lover’s dream, to be honest. In January I decide THAT’S IT. Her Nutella knots were so aesthetically pleasing, I thought to myself, I need to exercise my creativity one way or another, why not through something my mouth can enjoy?

I tried the knots with Nutella first, but I find that it sort of…evaporates? in the baking process. I did a couple more batches afterwards with my signature walnut-almond and rum-soaked white raisins, which I enjoyed much more.

Enjoy the recipes below:

Sweet Dough

250g milk
60g butter
500g white flour
120g sugar
15g fast action dry yeast
1 egg
10g salt

Walnut-Raisin mixture

3/4 to 1 cup golden raisins
1-2 cups walnuts, ground
1/2 cup almonds, ground
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup rum, cognac, or whiskey
water
A blender, but if you don’t have one you can smash them up in a bag with a kitchen hammer

Instructions

For the dough:
1. Warm the milk and butter to about body temperature, should feel lukewarm.
2. Place the flour, sugar, and yeast in a bowl (I use a stand mixer) and mix together.
3. Add milk and butter, egg, and salt and mix with a dough hook for 2 minute on low.
4. Increase speed and mix for another 5-6 mins, until well incorporated.
5. Lightly knead dough on a floured surface and form a ball. Place in a clean bowl and let rise in warm environment for 2 hours, it should double in size.

For the walnut mixture:
1. In a small bowl, soak your raisins in your choice of liquor (I use rum), while the dough is rising. I usually start this process before anything else, and you can even do it overnight.
2. Grind your walnut and almonds to a fine texture until you have about 4 cups worth.
3. Heat your honey in a small pot until it just start to bubble then add honey and raisins (with the liquor) to your nuts.
4. Add water by the tablespoon as needed if mixture is too dry.

How to put it all together:
1. On a well floured surface, roll out your dough into a big rectangle, something around the size of two baking pans, but make sure it’s not so thin it rips.
2. Spread half your nut mixture evenly on the middle third of your dough canvas, then fold over one third of your dough, and spread the remaining mixture on top of that, then fold the last third on top of that.
3. Gently roll out your dough until it is flatter, then cut it long ways into 8 strips.
4. Knot them up to your liking and in the meantime, pre-heat your oven to 355F.
5. Lightly beat 1 egg and egg wash your rolls before popping them in the oven for roughly 30-40 mins, or until they’re golden brown.

Please visit Thida’s Instagram for tutorials and visual step-by-steps of everything I’ve just written!

You can also follow me on Instagram riiiiiight here.

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A Cozy Gnocchi Soup for Rainy Days

Viviana's Kitchen

Hey fam.

It’s a windy, rainy day today and I have the weekend off, so I was feeling the cooking fire under my butt this morning and I made brunch (bacon, eggs, and cheese bites) and lunch/dinner – a gnocchi soup that’s so good, my friend Betsy has even made it. And the only reason I mention that is because we’re both stubborn people at times and it’s difficult to convince each other to do simple things like HEY WATCH THIS MOVIE. But HEY, she tried this soup and has added it to her cooking lineup, so that’s awesome, right?

Anyway, the original recipe is a vegan version – that I’ve made until Christmas and Easter lent. However, today I made it with reduced fat milk and it turned out just as well.

Here’s the link to the original recipe. And here’s the recipe breakdown if you don’t wanna move your eyes from the gorgeous photos I took of my soup.

Ingredients

2 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic diced
1/2 yellow onion diced
4-5 stalks celery diced
5 whole carrots diced
3 tbsp. cornstarch
4 tsp. Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base
4 cups + 3 tbsp. water separated
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 package gnocchi
pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, celery and carrots and sauté until veggies are softened (approx. 10 minutes).
  2. Dissolve cornstarch in 3 tbsp. water in a small bowl.
  3. Dissolve bouillon in 4 cups water to create “chicken” broth.
  4. Add cornstarch mixture, “chicken” broth and almond milk to veggies. Bring to a boil.
  5. Add gnocchi and spices and simmer on low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Taste to adjust seasonings and serve with fresh parsley.

Sauted Mushrooms

Viviana's Kitchen

I was avoiding posting this for a while because I couldn’t remember what I found the recipe, but I finally recalled that I watched a video for it – so thank God for Youtube history searcher!

I used a lot of mushrooms in my dishes during lent, and I had a lot of button mushrooms the day I made this side dish. It’s a relatively simple recipe and, even better, is you can visually follow along with the video. Enjoy!

P.S. Don’t forget you can follow me on Instagram for more photography! @vivianapodinaphotography

Buddha Bowls: The Easiest Meal Ever

Viviana's Kitchen

I don’t recall how I came across Buddha Bowls in the first place, but it was probably while browsing Pinterest a few months ago. I was immediately drawn to the rich colors of all the vegetables together and, since it was Lent season, the easiness of making them.

As for why they’re called Buddha Bowls, the best thing I could find was this article, where writer Rachel Tepper Paley delves into the composition of the bowls and interviews an Instagrammer. This part stuck out to me as the most “informative”, as far as informative goes for the title of the article.

At their core, Lein said, Buddha bowls are about “balancing the different types of food that you eat,” and not eating too much of any one thing.

Essentially, Buddha Bowls consist of one type of grain (quinoa, rice, bulgar, etc), greens (kale, spinach, lettuce, arugula, etc), healthy carbs (chickpeas, beans, etc) and veggies (carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, literally whatever). As you can imagine, the possibilities are basically endless.

I made a relatively simple version using Qrunch quinoa burgers and roasting chickpeas in turmeric. I will say that in these photos, I used broccoli, but I’ve also used thinly sliced red cabbage drizzled with EVOO and vinegar and it’s soooo good. I also made tzatziki sauce from scratch Recipe below!

Ingredients

1 Qrunch quinoa burger
1 fat carrot
1 handful broccoli
1 can chickpeas
turmeric powder
spray oil
salt and pepper

Directions

  1. In a pan, fry your quinoa burger until cooked through. Make sure to spray the pan beforehand to avoid sticking. Crush with a utensil once done and set in your bowl.
  2. In another pan, cook your chickpeas with turmeric powder, salt and pepper. Spray your chickpeas with spray oil so they don’t stick to your pan while they’re cooking.
  3. Steam your broccoli by boiling water in a pot, place your broccoli in a strainer, and cover with a pot lid. Let sit until your desired firmness. I like mine on the crunchier side. Plus, I like to not kill off all of the vitamins and minerals in my food.
  4. For the carrot, in the photos you can see I’ve chopped it, but grating your carrot will create a better texture contrast and be easy to eat. Grating your carrot will also allow its juice to come through and give the dish a little moisture.
  5. Assemble, eat!

Bonus: Tzatziki Recipe

4 tbsp Chobani plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup finely diced cucumber
handful fresh dill
juice from 1/4 of a lemon
3 cloves garlic, finely diced or grated
salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine all ingredients, refrigerate, serve.

P.S. Don’t forget you can follow me on Instagram for more photography! @vivianapodinaphotography

Vegetarian Tomato Mushroom Soup

Viviana's Kitchen

During Lent season, I found a bunch of recipes on Foodgawker for a multitude of vegetarian and vegan foods that fit my family’s lifestyle. This is one that I really enjoyed making and it was also quite easy.

I think everyone should know how to make at least one soup from scratch – cause then you know how make about a thousand different soups from scratch.

This particular recipe uses tomato concentrate; I don’t want to call it advanced, but it might require you going out of your way to get an extra ingredient or two.

Here’s the link to the recipe itself, or, if you’re lazy, check out my altered recipe below.

DSC_7546copy

Ingredients

1 medium onion, sliced
2 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced (I always add like 2-3)
16 oz. (about 4 c.) sliced fresh mushrooms
1-2 leek stalks, chopped
2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 (14.5 oz.) can veggie broth – OR – mix 1 tbsp Vegeta seasoning with 14 oz water
1 cup water
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar ( I used apple cider vinegar)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Directions

1. Chop up your onion, leek and carrots, mince the garlic. In a 2-quart saucepan or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat.
2. Add onion, leek, carrots, and garlic; saute for about 5 minutes until tender.
3. Add mushrooms. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Stir in veggie broth, water, tomato paste, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil.
5. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
6. Sprinkle each serving with parsley.