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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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

Gluten Free Cardamom Crepes

Viviana's Kitchen

Heyyy.

So I have a few recipes up my sleeve that I tried in the past couple months and I wanted to share with you guys.

This first one is super easy and doesn’t actually have a real recipe per se.

I usually make pancakes on Sunday mornings, but I wanted to try making crepes instead, using Pamela’s Gluten Free Pancake flour that I always use. I actually have an additional recipe, straight from my great-aunt, from scratch, that I’ll be sharing later.

For now, though, this one is very simple and delicious. Check it:

Ingredients

(Makes ~8 crepes or pancakes)
1 cup Pamela’s Gluten Free Pancake Mix
1 egg
1 tbsp canola oil
3/4 cup water
cinnamon and cardamom to taste
Fruits, honey, whipped cream for toppings

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl
  2. Heat a non-stick pan on high (if you don’t have one, just use spray oil before every crepe) and pour your batter one scoop at a time. Swivel your pan to spread the batter as thinly as you can without breaking. You can also use your ladle to help you out with this if the batter is too thick.
  3. Chop your fruits. Optionally, you can mix them with your honey and set aside while you make the crepes. Stuff your crepes with fruits and roll up, then top with whipped cream or more honey and fruits.

 

Vegetarian Fettucine Alfredo

Viviana's Kitchen

It’s still Lent season, but this was not a Lent-friendly dish. However, it was a dish I made twice and one that had absolutely no leftovers, twice.

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Who knew fettucine alfredo was so easy to make? I mostly followed a video from Tasty on 4 ways to make fettucine and went with the second version in. But of course, I altered it.

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Here’s my version, a Vegetarian Fettucine Alfredo

Ingredients

  • 1 package fettucine pasta
  • 2 packages of baby bella mushrooms; or 1 pack of 4 portobellos, sliced
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • garlic cloves, minced (no number because I like a lot but some ppl only like a little)
  • half a bunch of spinach
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive or grapeseed oil

Directions

  1. Fill a large pot about 3/4 of the way up, add about 1 tbsp salt and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook until you’re satisfied with how cooked it is. A lot of people like their pasta “al dente” aka firm to the bite. I don’t because I think that’s stupid and undercooked, so I like mine to cook a little longer but not so long that it starts disintegrating.
  2. Drain your pasta and set aside.
  3. With medium-high heat on, in the pot you used to boil your pasta, add about 2-3 tbsp of oil, chopped onions and garlic. Cook until they JUST start to get translucent, then add your tomatoes and sliced mushrooms. Add salt and pepper.
  4. Once the mushrooms start to shrink, about 3-4 minutes, add in your spinach. After your spinach is no longer crisp, add in your heavy whipping cream, simmer for about 2-3 minutes then add in parsley and stir.
  5. Turn off the heat and add in your pasta, mix together well. Season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve!

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Tasty video for those who like cooking visuals like me:

Moroccan Veggie Stew with Turmeric Basmati Rice

Viviana's Kitchen

It’s Lent season at my house which means vegetarian food all day errday.

We don’t celebrate Lent for religious purposes in my house, but we do celebrate it for dietary purposes. My mom seems to strugglebus when it comes to cooking vegetarian sometimes, but I cook vegetarian like 85% of the time that I decide to make actual meals (not desserts), so of course it’s pretty easy for me to find exciting recipes to try out.

And of COURSE I got my ass on Foodgawker last night and this morning. Actual morning today because I got up at a semi-reasonable time. I was that excited about making rice.

I knew I wanted to make the rice before I knew what the “main dish” would be. But I found the perfect match  – I wanted to do something with chickpeas again, but a little different from straight up Channa Masala.

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So I found this great recipe for Moroccan Veggie Stew.  I didn’t have saffron because that shit is expensive. And if I had known that pitted dates tasted so good in this recipe, I would’ve added WAY more than the 4 it calls for. My tweaked recipe can be found below, and you can follow the link to see the original.

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Moroccan Veggie Stew

Ingredients

1 onion
3 carrots peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 baking or russet potatoes peeled and chopped
4 medjool dates, pitted and chopped (I recommend putting a fistful in there)
1 16 ounce can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 cup (or can) of tomato sauce
2 cups of water
1 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
1 pinch of ground cumin
1-2 pinches of ground coriander
1 teaspoons of smoked paprika
A pinch of saffron (optional)
Olive oil/Grapeseed for cooking
Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375
  2. Meanwhile, in a sauce pan (or dutch oven), saute the onions, carrots and celery on medium heat with some olive or grapeseed oil and a pinch of salt. Saute the vegetables until they start to soften – about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the potatoes, chickpeas, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, and saffron. Stir the ingredients and spices around for about a minute, being careful not to burn the spices.
  4. Add the tomato sauce with two cups of water. Stir in the garlic and the dates. Adjust the salt, cover the pot and bring to a simmer.
  5. Simmer the stew on the stovetop for about 10 minutes.
  6. Transfer to the stew to the preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes. I also transferred mine to a Pyrex bowl before I popped it in the oven. If you’re using a dutch oven with no plastic on it, you can leave it in your dutch oven pan.

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As for the turmeric Basmati rice, I followed this Jamie Oliver video for how to make perfect fluffy rice because I literally always fuck up rice when I cook it. But LO AND BEHOLD, following this video actually worked for me. And the rice turned out great. I did have to add extra salt after it was done because my “pinch” wasn’t enough when I seasoned it at the beginning.

Turmeric Basmati Rice

Ingredients

1 cup Basmati rice
2 cups water
3 pods of cardamom
10 pieces of whole cloves
1/2 stick of cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste

Directions

  1. Rinse rice in cold water to get rid of starch and imperfections.
  2. In a heated sauce pan, combine your rice, water, spices and salt.
  3. Cover and bring to a simmer-boil for 8-10 minutes (or until water is evaporated). Do NOT remove cover, but make sure the water doesn’t bubble over.
  4. Once all the water is evaporated, remove cover and remove cardamom pods and stick of cinnamon. Stir gently and serve.

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