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Guava Oatmeal Bars

HAPPY SUMMER IN SOUTH FLORIDA

I am writing my blog post a day early this week! Here is the gift of Guava. There are many things I will look back at, and say that I got from South Florida; one being, GUAVA. South Florida is obviously heavy on the latin culture. The Cuban culture is probably the most common place to see guava! I wanted to make something different then guava pastelitos so I came up with guava bars. These bars are SOOOOOOO buttery, flaky, sweet, and just plain yumminess. Now if your one of those special special rare people that do not like guava (AKA MY SISTERS BOYFRIEND), you can still do this bar with a preserves filling: APRICOT, BLACKBERRY, STRAWBERRY…ETC.

Guava History Lesson

Guava is a common tropical, or subtropical fruit. The common one we will see has a green skin, and a pink center. The texture is a little gritty, but the flavor is delicious!! Guava originally came from Mexico. Other Caribbean cultures, and Asian cultures adopted it.  They made hybrids with it that are common: Guava apple, guava pears, strawberry guava..etc. The tradition guava is the most common used though.  Guavas are low in calories, have high dietary fiber and vitamin C. So if you sick of oranges try something new like a guava! For this dessert bar I used a guava paste already ready for purchase. It is easily found at you nearest supermarket. CHECK THE LATIN ISLE!!

Guava Oatmeal Bars

Yield: 12 bars
Bake time: 350°F 30-45 minutes (golden brown)
INGREDIENTS:

CRUST:
1 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp Honey
1 Tsp Salt
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour or (Whole Wheat Flour)
1/4 Tsp Vanilla Extract

FILLING:
1-16oz Guava Paste Bar

TOPPING:
1 cup Old Fashion Oats
1/2 Cup Butter
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour or (Whole Wheat Flour)

DIRECTIONS:
CRUST:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 
2. Cream together the butter and sugar.
3. Add the Honey, vanilla. Scrape the bowl down.
4. Add the rest/dry ingredients: Flour, salt.
5. Grease a 8-10 Inch rectangle pan. 
6. Press the dough in the pan with your fingers. Evenly distribute it
   to 1 centimeter thick at the bottom of the pan.
FILLING:
1. Cut the Guava bar in strips 1/2 centimeter thick.
2. Place the Guava evenly on top of the crust dough about 1 
   centimeter apart.
TOPPING:
1. Cream together the butter and brown sugar.
2. Add the rest/dry ingredients. 
3. Mix until it is crumb like. 
4. Sprinkle onto the guava paste and crust.
5. Bake for 30-45min or until golden brown on the middle rack.
6. Let sit for 30 min before cutting into it.
-------------These are best eaten/served at room temp----------------
                             ENJOY!!!!

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Passion Fruit Lemon Squares

PASSION Is In The Air

It is our Summer season (technically a long one in south Florida)!!!! I like to highlight seasonal fruits when making my desserts. Passion fruit is a tart, but sweeter seeded fruit.  You do not have to use the seeds, you may strain it, and just use the juice. I like the way they look in the lemon square. If you would like to leave out the passion fruit juice, and just do lemon that is alright as well. These will have be buttery, sweet, tart, and salty!!!!

Different Lemon bar renditions:

Ginger, Lime, blueberry, or strawberry.

You can take a simple dessert and make it your own.

What are the benefits of Passion fruit?

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Passion fruit has the ability to prevent cancerous growth, stimulate digestion, boost immune function, improve eyesight, increase skin health, regulate fluid balance in the body, lower blood pressure, boost circulation, and improve bone mineral density. Furthermore, it reduces signs of premature aging, lessens inflammation, improves sleeping habits, and eliminates asthma. These all come from its nutrients, minerals, and the vitamin content of the fruit, which includes antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, fiber, and protein. (*)

Passion Fruit Lemon Squares/Bars

Yield:8-10
Bake: 350°F Crust: 15-25 min Custard: 15-20 Minutes(when the custard is set)
Ingredients:

Crust:
1/2 Cup Butter (cubed)
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/4 Cup Powder Sugar (Extra fro dusting at the end)
2 Lemon Zest
Dash Ginger Powder(less then a Pinch, and less then 1/4 Tsp)Optional

Filling:
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
1/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
3 Eggs
1/4 Tsp Salt
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
2 Passion Fruit (Fresh) Optional

Directions:
1. In a bowl mix by hand all the crust ingredients: Butter, Flour,
Powder Sugar, Lemon Zest, Ginger Powder. Meal the butter in-between 
the palms of your hand (like a biscuit method) until it forms a dough
2. Grease the pan. (10 inch round or rectangle)
3. Press the dough 1 centimeter thick at the bottom of the pan.
4. Bake at 350°F for 15-25 minutes.
5. Let cool for 15 minutes.
6. In another bowl mix together all the Filling ingredients with a 
whisk.
7. Pour the filling over the crust and bake for 15-20 minutes (until the custard is set).
8. Let cool for 30 minutes in the cooler before cutting them!
9. When ready to serve dust with powder sugar!!

Enjoy!! 

 Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY

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We all have our favorite holidays, and mine is not the most common one haha. 4TH OF July is one, if not my favorite holiday. I guess it has to do with the appreciation I have for this wonderful country, and how lucky and blessed we truly are. Also the family tradition and festivities growing up were always going to the park behind my high school with the WHOLE family. We would lay on a blanket while eating a bucket of KFC and CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES, listen to live music, play cards all day with my cousins, and then finally watch the 30 minute firework show!!! Then the best part would be us doing “legal” fireworks as a family in the drive way after the show that was in town. Sometimes I wish I could take a time capsule back to these moments.

History Lesson

Fourth of July is also known as Americas Independence Day! Our Independence Day is a Federal holiday that was established 241 years ago on July 4, 1776. It was a day, and written document declaring the original 13 colonies would break off from the British empire, and start a new nation. FUN FACT: The actual separation from the British Empire took place on July 2nd. It needed congressman’s approval (John Adams, & Thomas Jefferson..etc), and it was approved on July 4th!! America is a place founded for opportunity, and to be free in many forms that other countries aren’t blessed with. America is a melting pot of immigrants from all countries, we must love and respect what we have. My father said, “Freedom with intellectuality is okay babe, freedom with stupid is scary..”-Michael Pietrantonio (My daddy).

Lets get to baking shall we… Fun fact* – If the chocolate chip cookie recipe your using has baking powder its a no go!!! In my experience over the years the best are with out baking powder for the right texture!!! My niece Caramia is always my baking partner. She loves to help people, and she loves to cook/bake! Plus its a good way to get the kids more involved, and away from the technology! Its always a plus to teach them fundamentals on how to cook/bake! She tells me she wants to be a chef like me, so we are training her early ahah.

          Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield:12-14 Cookies
Bake: 350° F 10-14 min (golden on the outside, light in the center)
Ingredients:
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Tsp Honey 
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Egg
1 Stick Unsalted Butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 Cup Chocolate Chunks
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
2. Cream the butter,and sugars together (brown sugar and granulated  sugar).
3. Add the egg, honey, and vanilla and cream together.
4. Scrap the bowl down. Scale all dry ingredients in a bowl with out the chocolate chunks : Flour, salt, and baking soda. 
5. Add the dry to the wet butter mixture. Mix just until incorporated
6. Add the chocolate chunks. and mix until just incorporated!
7. Place bowl of cookie dough in the cooler for 10-15 minutes.
8. Spray or line a sheet pan with grease, aluminum, or parchment 
paper. 
9. Make hockey puck rounds with the cookie dough. The size is between a golf ball and tennis ball.
9. Bake for 10-14 min on the middle rack. I like to rotate the pan in the middle of baking also. The  cookie should be golden brown on  the outside, and lighter in the center. Don’t be scared that it is raw in the center. The cookie carries over, and bakes for 
another 3-4 minutes when its comes out of the oven and its cooling
down.
10. Enjoy your warm goowwwwyyyy cookies with a glass of milk :]!!

*(you may alter this cookie recipe to the filling of your choice and 
it will still work. Example: Oatmeal, white chocolate, nuts..etc.. if you have questions of a cookie idea, or measurements you know where 
to find me :])

    Happy 4th of July Everyone! Stay happy, blessed, and safe!

Smoothie Bowl

Happy Sunday!!! 

I always try to keep it happy, and healthy. I usually have a shake in the morning for breakfast, but thought it was time to switch things up a bit. I have seen the smoothie bowl start to get popular, so I decided to try one for myself. I tested one out for first time this week at a the FRESH FUSION CAFE in davie. Honestly that place was awesome, and delicious!! I went home, did some research, and came up with my own rendition.

The base of the smoothie is usually a frozen Acai berry pure or dragonfruit puree, some form of  fresh juice or coconut milk, frozen fruit, and some others add protein powders as well. It is illegal to sell Acai in the fresh form in the states. You can purchase the blended frozen pack in the frozen fruit section at whole foods. The topping to the bowl is your choice of chopped seasonal fruit, granola, honey, nuts, and I like to add bee pollen. Its adds a hidden sweetness, helps with your allegeries, the color is beautiful, and adds a crunchy texture. Just remember if your buying bee pollen to purchase it from a local source, because; your allergies are too things around you, not from pollen from other countries. Your nearest whole foods will carry two brands. One that is generic, and one that is local. The granola I like to make from scratch. For convince I understand to purchase it, but I like to make it form scratch! If you need help or a recipe just email me!!

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SMOOTHIE BOWL

YIELD:3 Smoothie bowls
INGREDIENTS:
BLENDER PART:
1 Packet Acai Berry
1-2 Cup Fresh Juice, Water, or Coconut Milk
2 Cups Assorted Frozen Fruit(peaches, all berries, bananas, kiwis, & mango)
TOPPING:
1/2 Cup Granola, (or Homemade granola just email me for a recipe if 
you need help!!)
1 Tsp Bee pollen
1 Cup Chopped Assorted Fresh Fruit
1 Tsp Honey
DIRECTIONS:
1. Blend, the Acai Berry packet, Frozen Fruit, and liquid of your 
choice to a thick smoothie paste. Serve one bowl, and the rest 
reserve in the freezer to have ready to eat for other days. Just pull it out and put it in the refrigerator the night before.   
2. Slice, or chop assorted fruit on top.
3. Sprinkle 1/2 Cup of Granola on top of the smoothie.
2. Sprinkle the top with honey, and bee pollen.

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Honestly these bowls are super filling, healthy, and yummy! You will not regret it!!

Japanese An Pan

First & Foremost Happy Fathers Day

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Happy Fathers Day to all the wonderful Daddy’s!! My father has a special place in mine, and everyone hearts really! He’s the most sweetest (well maybe bittersweet..haha), devoted, loving, and most hardworking person I know. He’s always pushing me to thrive for higher standards, and to chase my dreams. Thank you for everything you have done for me I love you, and am so appreciative that I got you to be my daddy!!!

I try to do something versatile, and different every week for my followers. This week I tried to implement one of my dads personal experiences in life with the pastry I choose to make this week.  My dad used to travel, and work in Japan on a monthly basis for years. This week I’m making An Pan, which is Japanese sweet red bean bread. Its a very soft, and sweet bun (almost steamed) with a blended sweet red bean paste inside. You can change the fillings, but this is the most traditional. They are delicious as a snack, or for breakfast with a cup of coffee/tea!! All my recipes are usually totally created from my own, with this one I used some help and tested it out and its awesome. I tweaked the recipe a tad bit. *Aeriskitchen is a Korean blog. It is where I first saw it!

An Pan 

Yield: 10-12
Bake: 350° 13-18 min
Ingredients:
3 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 1/2 Cups Red bean paste (local Asian store) (you can make it from   scratch as well, just email me to help you!)
2/3 Cup Lukewarm Water
2/3 Cup Lukewarm Milk
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Melted Butter (additional melted butter for brushing)
2 Tsp Fast Active Dry Yeast
2 Tsp Salt

Directions:
1. Mix all ingredients together with a dough hook, until incorporate.
2. Wrap and keep in the oven to Rise for 30min- 1 Hr. You want it to double in size.
3. Roll and cut 2 inch pieces. Round and let sit for 15 Minutes. 
4. Roll and flatten. Place one spoon full of red bean paste in the  
center. Close the dough and flatten (make a hockey puck)
5. Cut 3-4 slits in the doughs edges.
6. Brush melted butter on top, and bake for 13-18 minutes. Until      golden brown. 

Buttermilk Cheddar & Jalapeno Biscuits

This week I thought it would only be right to do something that is in the category of my favorite food, since it’s my BIRTHDAY THIS WEEK!!! BREAKFAST here we go!!! Im making Buttermilk Cheddar & Jalapeño Biscuits! You can spread numerous of yummy things on top: BUTTER, HONEY, JAM, GRAVY, OR EVEN MAKE AN EGG SANDWICH!!! If you really want to do something special and do a full spread, you can make the WHOLE WHEAT WAFFLES I made a couple of weeks ago!!! You can pair them with the biscuits and eggs, and you will have the best Sunday breakfast!! These specific biscuits are sweet, spicy, salty, flaky, and buttery all in one!!! If you do not like spicy things, use minced chives in place of the jalapeño!

I kind of despise the person that made breakfast food designated to a specific time…. it should be an all day everyday thing! I feel the best time to have breakfast is for dinner, or even better at midnight haha…

My family came in town for my birthday and were are making breakfast!!! We decided to spend the day at FROST SCIENCE MUSEUM IN MIAMI. Its beautiful, very interactive, and a great place to spend the day! I Hope you enjoy them!!!! Let me know what you think!!!

Biscuits

Yield: 10 Biscuits
Bake: 350°F 16-20 minutes 
Ingredients:
3 Cups All-Purpose Flour (Plus 1/4 cup for rolling)
2 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Sugar
1 1/4 Tsp Salt
3/4 Cup Unsalted Butter (Cubed) (+ 1/4 cup of melted butter to 
brush on the top of them before and after they are baked)
1 Cup Buttermilk (substitute: 1 Cup Milk with 1 Tbs Lemon Juice)
1/4 Cup Cream
1 Tsp Honey
1 Jalapeño or Chives (small diced)
1/2 Cup shredded Cheddar Cheese

Directions:
1. Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl with the cubed butter: 
Flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, jalapeño or chives,  
and cheese.
2. Cut in the butter using your hands or a biscuit cutter if you haveone. Make sure the flour is a mealy texture.
3. Knead in liquid ingredients just until incorporated: Buttermilk cream, and honey.
4. Roll out the dough to 1- 1 1/2 inch thick.( I prefer them thicker)
5. Cut round circles out with a cutter to the size of your liking. 
The size I did, will give you 9-11 large biscuits.
6. Brush melted butter on tops and bake for 16-20 minutes at 350°F or until golden brown.
7. Brush melted butter, right when they are pulled from the oven and done baking. 
8. Eat your biscuit fresh, warm, and yummy!!!

 

Baklava

Baklava

Baklava is a dessert that derived from the Middle East, and the eastern Mediterranean area. It is a battle on the set stapled country where baklava derived from. Turkey is where people would most likely say it was first created. All the countries that were pretty much in the Ottoman empire have their own rendition of it: Armenia, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, and the majority of the Arabic speaking countries. This is why it is referred to as an Ottoman dessert.

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Baklava is a sweet, light, rich, and flaky pastry. It is layered with thin crisp layers of filo dough, filled with a blended nut mixture, and soaked with a syrup of some sort. The syrup, how it is presented (the shape), and the texture of the baklava can change depended where it is from. Greeks tend to make the baklava with honey in the syrup, instead of a sugar/water lemon syrup. Arabic countries usually have a drier and flakier texture, instead of a really sticky wet texture like they have in Turkey.

My favorite rendition to be honest is the sticky/wet kind filled with only blended pistachios from Turkey. One day I will go to Istanbul, and try it fresh from the source. I have had the ones here from Turkish friends, and middle eastern bakeries. I love to go and explore new bakeries, and places on my day off to learn, and get inspiration. You always see crazy, new, fun stuff that you can not get in normal markets. Baklava is a very expensive dessert to make, and purchase. The time, money, and products that goes in it are expensive. Pistachio is my favorite, but I made it 50% pistachio blend, to 50% mixed nuts (pecans, walnuts, and almonds). All Pistachio will be more pricy, but well worth it if you are willing!!

The secret to keeping it light and crispy is cooking it low and slow (325°), using clarified butter, and when time to pour the syrup it needs to be the opposite temperature of the baklava. After the baklava is done cooking, the syrup needs to be cold from the cooler. You will hear it snap crackle and pop!!!!

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Yield: 1 8 inch square pan
Cook Temperature: 325°F 30-40 min
Ingredients:

Baklava:
1 Box Filo Dough (use only on sleeve)
1 Cup Of Melted Butter (2 sticks)
1 Cup Pistachios
1 Cup Mixed Nuts( 2 cups of one nut is fine if you have a preference)
(Mixed nuts: pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, and pistachios). 
1 Tsp Sugar
1/4 Tsp Cinnamon(optional)
1/4 Tsp Vanilla Extract

Syrup:
1 Lemon( or orange) Zest & Juice
1/2 Cup Water
1 Tbs Sugar
1/4 Cup Honey
Pinch Salt

Directions:

 

Enjoy!!!! It is addicting be careful!!! Let me know if you need any help, or have any special requests!!