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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pumpkin Roll

Very flavorful and not too pumpkin-ey in texture. Source.

Ingredients:

For the roll:
3/4 cup (100 g) flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves*
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg*
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup (150 g) pumpkin puree

* Recipe has 1/4 teaspoon allspice, but I find clove and nutmeg more suitable for pumpkin.

For the filling:

8 oz (226 g) cream cheese at room temperature
2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup (115 g) confectioners' (powdered, icing) sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C) and place oven rack in the center of the oven.
Oil a 15 inch x 10 inch (38 x 25 cm) baking pan, line it with parchment paper, and then butter and flour the parchment paper.
Sift (do sift!) flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt together.
In a separate bowl beat eggs with sugar on high speed until thick, pale yellow, and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
Beat in the vanilla extract and pumpkin puree.
*Gently* (by hand, no mixer!) fold in the sifted flour mixture.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and spread it evenly with the help of an offset spatula.
Bake for about 10 - 13 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the center of the cake springs back when lightly pressed.
Remove from the oven and immediately flip onto a clean dish towel that has been sprinkled with confectioners' sugar.
Carefully peel away the parchment paper, sprinkle lightly with confectioners' sugar, and roll up with the towel while the cake is still hot and pliable.
Place on a wire rack to cool.

Beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.
Add the sugar and beat until smooth.

Once the roll has cooled, unroll it, spread the filling, and reroll.
Cover and chill in the fridge.
Recipe says, and my experience confirms that chilling it for a few hours sets the filling and makes the roll easier to slice (and eat!)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Chicken Cacciatore

This dish kept coming up on "Everybody Loves Raymond," so I finally looked it up. I can't vouch for its originality, but it's really good. I mean, chicken, bell peppers, tomatoes and mushrooms - what's not to like :). Recipe from allrecipes.com.

Ingredients (for 2 servings):

1/2 cup flour for coating
1 lb chicken, cut into pieces
1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 onion, chopped
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3.5 oz canned diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup white wine
1 cup fresh mushrooms, quartered
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine the flour with a pinch of salt and pepper in a plastic bag.
Shake the chicken pieces in flour until coated.
Heat oil in a large skillet.
Brown chicken pieces. Remove from skillet.
Add the onion, garlic and bell pepper and saute until the onion is slightly browned.
Return the chicken to the skillet and add the tomatoes, oregano and wine.
Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer for 10 more minutes.
Sprinkle with basil and serve over pasta or rice.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ham and Cheddar Soup

Very delicious :). From here.

Ingredients:

2 cups cubed potatoes
1/2 cup sliced carrot
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup frozen peas
3 cups water
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup cubed ham
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Put carrots, potatoes, peas and water in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil and cook until vegetables are tender (10-15 minutes).
In a separate dish melt butter and whisk in the flour.
Stir in milk.
Bring to a boil, then simmer stirring continuously until the mix starts to thicken (about 2 minutes).
Add the grated cheese and stir until it melts.
Finally, add the ham and the vegetables with their water.
Bring to a boil again, then take off heat and enjoy.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Avocado pasta

A very easy, quick Italian-with-a-twist recipe.

Ingredients for 4 people:

400 grams of pasta, preferably linguine (though spaghetti and fusilli work as well).

4 ripe avocadoes.

150 mililiters of sour cream.

salt and pepper.

Boil the pasta for 8 mins, add 2 teaspoonfulls of salt during cooking. In the meantime, peel the avocadoes and mash them in a bowl with a fork. Mix sour cream. The whole thing should take a lovely lime green colour. Add the pasta. A great way to get the sauce to really seep into the pasta is, once you've taken the water out of course, to put the cooked pasta and the sauce back into the pan to mix them together. Add pepper if you want a bit of spice.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Eggplant Fan

For eggplant fans :). Source.

Ingredients (for one serving):

1 small eggplant
1 tomato
~ 100 g feta cheese
50 g oil
50 g water
thyme to taste

Directions:

Cut eggplant in 1 cm (1/2 inch) slices but don't cut it all the way:

Soak in salty water for about an hour. Take out and rinse.
Cut tomato in slices. Cut cheese in slices.
Put a slice of tomato and a slice of feta cheese (and a clove of garlic if you wish) into each cut.
Sprinkle thyme on top.

Pour water and oil in baking dish.
Cover and bake at 200 C/400 F for about an hour.
When eggplant is done, sprinkle some grated yellow cheese on top and bake it uncovered for additional 10 minutes.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Checkered Cake

It's big (you might want to halve the ingredients), easy and pretty much mistake-proof :). Source.

Ingredients:

For the cake:
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
400 g (a little less than 3 cups) sour cream or yogurt
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder

For the cream:
1 kg (7 cups) sour cream
1 cup sugar

For the icing:
100 g (7 tablespoons) butter
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F/180 C.
Beat eggs, sugar, flour, sour cream and baking powder together.
Split in two, add cocoa powder to one half.
Pour each half into a separate baking dish and bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.


In a large bowl stir sour cream and sugar together.
Break cake layers into bitesize pieces.
Dip each piece into sour cream mix, and arrange them on a serving plate in the form of a cake.
*or*
Drop all of them into bowl and stir well.


And flip on a plate:


For the icing:

Melt butter on low heat.
Mix in milk, sugar and cocoa and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Cool and pour on cake.

Refrigerate cake for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fake Sweet and Sour Pork

Sounds positively disgusting, and it's absolutely messy to eat but it's surprisingly good, especially considering the effort that goes into making it. The coke helps create a caramelly glaze and the vinegar in ketchup serves as a tenderizer.

Ingredients:

2 pork chops
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup coke

Directions:

Stir ketchup and coke together.
Poke steaks with a fork (or cut them into bitesize pieces), and cover with marinade.
Leave in fridge for about 2 hours.
Drain meat but reserve the marinade.
On high heat brown the meat for about 2 minutes per side.
Pour in the marinade, cover and simmer on low heat until meat is cooked through.
If you want more sauce, you can make more, just keep the ratio of coke to ketchup at 1:1.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ginger Beer Pork

Another invention of mine. Make sure you use real brewed-from-ginger beer, not the soda water with ginger flavouring that is passed off as ginger beer by some companies! I used Bundaberg Ginger Beer, but I don’t know whether this is available overseas.

This will appeal to anyone who enjoys fruity meat dishes such as apricot chicken and apple cider pork. It has a sweet, spicy tang to it.

Ingredients for one person:

120g pork fillet, cut into strips or squares
1/4 brown onion, finely sliced
125mL (1/2 metric cup) ginger beer
1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
Water

Instructions:

1. In a hot non-stick frypan, dry-fry the onion until it is turning brown and soft.

2. Add the diced pork fillet and fry, turning constantly, until meat is browned.

3. Turn the hotplate down to medium and add the ginger beer. Cover and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.

4. In a glass or cup, place the cornflour (cornstarch) followed by few tablespoons of water and stir firmly until it is completely dissolved.

4. After the 5 minutes are up turn the heat back up and bring the ginger beer to the boil. As soon as it is boiling add the dissolved cornflour and stir constantly until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat as soon as it is thick.

I served this with rice, green peas and corn kernels. It was very tasty!



Friday, October 3, 2008

Parmesan Crusted Cauliflower

A fast and easy side dish :).

Ingredients:

1 medium head of cauliflower
2 eggs
1 tablespoon grated parmesan
1 tablespoon flour

Directions:
Preheat oven to 500 F (260 C).
Separate cauliflower into fairly large florets and boil (or steam) them until soft but not mushy.
Beat egg with flour. Stir in parmesan.
Dip each cooked floret into the egg mix and arrange them on a baking pan.
Season to taste.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until golden.
And serve:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wheatbelt Casserole

This is my own recipe, a perfect hearty casserole for a cold day when you want something that is both easy and tasty. It brings together the tastes of the Western Australian wheatbelt and the surrounding bush (lamb and kangaroo, and wheat pasta), along with good old garden vegetables and herbs.

Of course, given that this is an international board, most of you won’t be able or inclined to cook with kangaroo meat (or, for that matter, with vegemite). Don’t worry, you can replace it with beef. But if you’re in Australia or can get hold of kangaroo where you live, I would thoroughly recommend it. It’s low in fat, low in kilojoules, high in iron and very tasty.

This much will feed two, three or four people depending on how hungry you are!

Ingredients:

200g lean kangaroo fillet (or beef fillet), cubed
150g lean lamb fillet, cubed
2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
375mL liquid stock (broth) – I used vegetable but beef would be fine
2x ~400g (1 pound) tins diced or crushed tomatoes
1 large brown onion, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
2 tsp mixed herbs (I used one tsp each of Lamb Herbs and Italian Herbs – just use whatever you like best!)
1 tsp vegemite (optional)
1 tsp red Tabasco sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

180g dry pasta (I used spirals; shells or any other medium-sized shaped pasta would be good too)

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 C (356 F)

2. In a large freezer bag (or sealable plastic container) place 2 tbsp cornflour, a dash each of salt and pepper, and the diced meat. Seal the bag / container and shake to coat all of the pieces of meat in the flour. Continue shaking until all flour is taken up.



3. Dry-fry the meat in a hot frypan until the flour is browned.



4. Place the meat in a casserole dish (I used a stoneware casserole with a lid – the dish must be coverable) and add all other ingredients except pasta, including salt and pepper to taste. Stir thoroughly until ingredients are spread evenly throughout.



5. Place covered casserole in the pre-heated oven and cook for one hour.

6. After one hour, remove casserole from the oven and add pasta. Stir thoroughly and return covered casserole to oven.

7. Cook for another hour, then it’s done!



Remember that this will be *very* hot when it first comes out of the oven. Don’t burn your mouth out of enthusiasm to taste it! I recommend that you dish out the casserole into bowls or plates and then let it sit out for 5 minutes before tucking in. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Plum Cake

Very delicious, especially if you like tart fruit in cakes. Recipe from here. Cup = a standard American cup that holds 250 ml liquid.

Ingredients (for a 9-inch cake):

~ 1 lb plums (10 big ones or 20 small ones), we like it best with tarter varieties but any sort will do.
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
150 g (5 oz, 3/4 cup) butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C)
Set aside 1/4 cup sugar and 50 g (1/4 cup) butter.
Beat rest of the sugar with rest of the butter, baking powder and vanilla.
Add the eggs, milk and flour and mix well.
Cut plums in half and discard pits.
Put your baking dish on the stove (yes, the stove), and melt the 50 g butter in it.
Stir the 1/4 cup sugar in to caramelize it: how to caramelize sugar.
Watch it carefully, as caramel burns fairly quickly. It also burns fingers badly, but I assume you know better than I do and won't try to touch it :).
Arrange the plum halves, cut side down, on the caramel.
Pour batter on top.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Once baked, cover cake with a clean towel and let it cool for 15 minutes.
Flip on a serving plate (the plums should be on top) and let it cool completely before cutting.

Home-made Pesto

It's cheaper and more delicious than the store-bought stuff. East to make too :) Recipe from somewhere on the internet, but I haven't written down the source.

Ingredients (for about 1 cup pesto):
~ 2 cups fresh basil leaves (one bouquet of store-bought basil)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts (or walnuts)
3 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil

Directions:

Separate basil leaves from stems.
Wash leaves in a collander under running cold water.
Put nuts, olive oil and garlic in food processor and chop them.
Add basil leaves, little by little and process them until you get a somewhat smooth paste.
Blend in the parmesan cheese.

You can store it in a glass jar in the fridge for 1-2 weeks (oil acts as a conservant), but better make as little as you need for one use.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mint Chicken Curry

This is a recipe that combines mint, yogurt and tomato flavors. It is not something I'd have every week, but it is definitely interesting. Recipe from my Indian recipe book.

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint*
1 tablespoon grated ginger
3 tablespoons ghee
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 lb (~ 750 g) boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
1/2 cup plain yogurt
6 oz (180 g) chopped tomatoes

*I cut up 4 peppermint teabags, which came up to about 4 tablespoons dried mint.

Directions:

Place onion, garlic, mint and ginger in a food processor and blend to a smooth paste.
In a saucepan heat the ghee and gently fry the paste for about 5 minutes.
Add the garam masala and chili powder and fry for 1 more minute.
Add chicken, toss to cover with spice mix and cook for further 5 minutes.
Add yogurt and tomatoes, stir well.
Simmer, covered for about 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
Remove the cover and simmer for 30 more minutes to thicken the sauce.
Serve with steamed rice (or loads of bread :).

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pitas With Veggies and Hummus

This was to die for. The original recipe is from a magazine, but I don't know which one. We find magazines when sorting, they come into the breakroom and then they disappear. This one disappeared before I could write the title down but thankfully not before I could get the recipe.

First, I made my own hummus using this recipe. Note: We used lime juice and extra garlic. It's by far the best hummus I've ever had.

Then the recipe:
Ingredients:
  • - 1 medium garlic clove
  • 2 1/2 tbs olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup hummus
  • 1 tbs. Parmesan
  • 1/8 tbs salt
  • 1 cup chickpeas (or garbanzo beans, they're the same thing)
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup cucumbers
  • 1/2 walnuts
  • 1/3 feta cheese
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
Instructions:
  • With food processor running, add garlic to proccessor. Then add 1 tbs of the oil. Add the hummus, cheese and salt, process.
  • Combine all remaining ingredients in meidum bowl Spread scant 3 tbs hummus in pita bread, then fill with veggie mixture.
AND YUM!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Baguettes

I like to make those occasionally - they are more time-consuming than regular bread but oh-so-delicious :). Recipe from here.

Ingredients:

1 cup (240 ml) water
2 1/2 cups (340 g) bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

Directions:

Place ingredients into bread machine pan in the order recommended by manufacturer.
Run the Dough cycle.
When the cycle has completed, place dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover, and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes, or until doubled.
* My machine has a french dough option, which takes care of the second rising too, so I just take out dough and proceed.

Split dough in half.
On a lightly floured surface, roll each half into a rectangle that is about 8x12 inches.
Roll up each rectangle along the longer side, making sure to roll it tightly and to pound out any air bubbles as you go.
Taper ends.
Place the two baguettes on a greased cookie sheet.
Place them at least 3 inches apart or separate them with a wall of aluminum foil so they don't merge into each other while proofing
Make deep diagonal slashes across loaves every 2 inches.
Cover, and proof in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes, or until doubled.
Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).
Mix 1 egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water; brush over tops of loaves.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Tomato Turmeric Rice

I made this to go with my dinner this evening, and it was rather yummy.

Ingredients:
1/4 metric cup white rice
3/4 metric cup leukwarm water
1 fresh whole tomato, diced
1 teaspoon turmeric (ground)


Method:
Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil on high, then turn right down and simmer on low for 15 minutes. The water should have completely evaporated.

I served this on top of a bed of lettuce with a couple of teaspoons of mayonnaise drizzled over it (you could use natural yoghurt instead), and with a 200g fillet of snapper on top. I coated the snapper in Masterfoods African Seasoning and dry-roasted inside foil in a 180 C oven for about 25 minutes.

Yum!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Nanaimo Bars

For serious sweet tooths (sweet teeth?) only :). This is a very easy, non-bake recipe, but it requires time (a total of about 3 hours) for the different layers to set. Recipe from my favorite Joy of Baking website.

Ingredients:

For the bottom layer:
1/2 cup (8 oz, 113 g) butter at room temperature
1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
1/3 cup (30 g) unsweetened cocoa
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (200 g) graham cracker crumbs
1 cup (65 g) coconut flakes
1/2 cup (50 g) walnuts, coarsely chopped

For the filling:
1/4 cup (4 oz, 56 g) butter at room temperature
2 - 3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons vanilla custard powder or vanilla pudding powder
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (230 grams) powdered (confectioners, icing) sugar

For the topping:
4 oz (115 g) semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon (14 g) butter

Directions:

For the bottom layer:

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat.
Stir in the sugar and cocoa powder and then gradually whisk in the beaten egg.
Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens (1 - 2 minutes).
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, crumbs, coconut, and chopped nuts.
Right away (otherwise it sticks to the pan) press the mixture evenly into a 9"x9" square pan.
Cover and refrigerate until firm.

For the filling:

Cream the butter.
Beat in sugar, pudding and vanilla.
Add the milk tablespoon by tablespoon until the mixture is thick, but spreadable. Be careful, as it is easy to make it too liquid.
Spread the filling over the bottom layer, cover, and once again refrigerate until firm.

For the top layer:

Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler if you have one or in a saucepan dipped into another saucepan filled with simmering water.
Spread over the filling and refrigerate.

To serve:
Recipe says to bring the squares to room temperature before cutting. I like to run a knife under hot water and carefully cut the squares straight from the fridge. You can skip both, but the chocolate will crack :).

* I didn't have any pudding powder this time, so I made my own pastry cream. And, of course, I misjudged the quantity, so there is much more cream in my version than there should be.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Daal Curry

This is, of course, vegetarian though my husband adds sausage on the side. Recipe from my favorite Indian recipe book.

Ingredients (for about 4 servings):

250 g (about 1 1/2 cups) red lentils
3 tablespoons ghee
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
1 chilli pepper
1 tablespoon ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons coriander (cilantro)
1 teaspoon salt
25 g (~ 3 tablespoons) coconut milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions:

In a saucepan heat ghee and sautee onion, garlic, chilli pepper, bay leaf, cumin, coriander for 30-40 seconds, stirring continuously.
Add lentils, rest of spices.
Add enough water to cover the lentils and cook until lentils are done (about 15-20 min).
Remove from heat and discard bay leaf and chilli pepper.
Stir in coconut milk (you can skip it, it makes the spices milder).
Before serving, stir in lemon juice.

Not that you haven't seen cooked lentils, but here's a pic:

Friday, August 15, 2008

Black Bottom Cupcakes

Those are chocolate cupcakes with a cream cheese middle - what's not to love about them :D. Recipe from the Joy of Baking website.

Ingredients (for 12):

For the cream cheese filling:
8 oz (227 g) cream cheese at room temperature
1/3 cup (65 g) white sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (essence)

For the chocolate cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups (210 g) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 cup (210 g) brown sugar
1/3 cup (30 g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed, and definitely not one of those hot cocoa mixes!)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (240 ml) water
1/3 cup (80 ml) unflavored vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).

For cream cheese filling:
Beat the cream cheese until smooth.
Add the sugar, egg, and vanilla extract and beat until creamy and smooth.
Set aside.

For chocolate batter:
In a large bowl sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate bowl mix the water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients until smooth.

Divide the chocolate batter evenly among 12 oiled muffin cups.
Spoon a few tablespoons of the cream cheese filling into the center of each cupcake.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until the cream cheese filling is a little brown and a toothpick inserted into the chocolate part of the cupcake comes out clean.

Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Boeuf Bourguignon

Or beef Burgundy style. I am going to write the original recipe, jacked from somewhere and my slow cooker version.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

3 lb (750 g) beef chuck, cut into large pieces
3.5 oz (100 g) bacon, cut into strips
2 medium onions
4 medium carrots
9 oz (250 g) mushrooms
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
salt, pepper, parsley to taste
~ 700 ml (1 bottle) full-bodied red wine, or enough to cover the beef*

* Or substitute half of the wine with beef broth

Directions:

Regular version:
In a saucepan brown the bacon.
Remove bacon strips, and use drippings to brown the beef.
When beef is browned, add enough wine to cover the meat.
Add garlic clove, onions and carrots.
Add tomato paste and all seasonings.
Stir flour into ~ 2 tablespoons of water and add it.
Return the bacon to the pan.
Bring everything to a boil (so any acidity of the wine evaporates), then lower the heat.
Cover and simmer for about 2 hours or until the meat is fork-tender.
Sautee mushrooms and add them to the beef just before serving.

Slow-cooker version ('cuz that's the only way I cook beef):
In a saucepan brown the beef and the bacon.
Layer carrots in slow cooker.
Add onions on top.
Add meat.
Stir tomato paste, wine (broth), flour and seasonings together.
Pour over meat.
Drop garlic clove in liquid.
Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours/high for 3 hours, or until the meat is fork tender.

In both versions sautee mushrooms and add them to the beef just before serving.
In both versions when the meat is done you can thicken the sauce with some more flour.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tatiana Cake

That's how the recipe is called - I am not sure why Tatiana exactly. But it's light and fluffy and incredibly easy. And delicious too :).

Ingredients:

For the cake:
5 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)

For the icing:
1 lb (450 g) sour cream
1 cup confectioners' sugar (or according to taste)

Directions:
Whisk all ingredients for the cake together. Whisk *by hand*, no mixer!
Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
* There is science that explains how the eggs, honey and the baking soda act together to create fluffiness, but I'll spare you that.

Pour 1/3 of the batter in a 9-inch buttered baking dish (or 1/2 of the batter for a 12-inch baking dish).
Bake at 350 F (180 C) for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry.

And repeat with rest of the batter. You should get 3 9-inch or 2 12-inch layers of cake.

Stir sour cream and confectioners' sugar together (I use about 1 cup sugar, but adjust sugar suit your taste).
Ice cooled cake layers with icing.
Decorate with chocolate shavings (or however else you wish :P)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Quiche

This is yet another dish I use for cleaning my fridge because there are very few things that can't be put into a quiche. If you want to stick to the authentic quiches, check the Wiki article for the ingredients that go into each type.

Ingredients for one 9-inch quiche (6 servings):

For the crust:
200 g flour
100 g soft (not melted) butter
3-4 tablespoons icy cold water
A pinch of salt

For the filling:
3 eggs
200 g sour cream
100 g grated hard yellow cheese like gruyere or emental
+ whatever else you feel like - more cheeses, spinach, mushrooms, bacon, sausage, tuna, chicken breast, etc. Even Roquefort and pears :).

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F).

For the crust:
With a fork or in a food processor mix butter and flour until they form a mix of buttery crumbs.
If mix is too dry, add water, tablespoon by tablespoon until it gets to the desired consistency.
Pour the mix into a 9-inch pie pan and press it to the bottom and sides with your palm.
Bake for about 10 minutes or until crust turns golden brown.

For the filling:
Beat eggs, sour cream and grated cheese together.
Add whatever other fillings you are using (cook all meat beforehand).
Pour into baked crust and bake for another 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Serve hot or cold, but cold is better!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Smoked Salmon Pasta

This is a light, tasty, Weight Watchers friendly meal I threw together on impulse yesterday, and it turned out rather nice. Unfortunately I didn't think to take a photo!

 

This amount serves one person.

 

Ingredients:

 

100g (3.5 oz) uncooked pasta (I used spaghetti, anything would work)

100g (3.5 oz) thinly sliced smoked salmon, sliced into strips

~8 grape tomatos or cherry tomatos, halved

1 whole spring onion (green onion / eschalot), chopped

1 metric (20mL) tablespoon light sour cream (I used the Weight Watchers branded sour cream)

 

Method:

1. Cook pasta according to instructions on packet.

2. While the pasta is cooking: in a non-stick frypan (or an ordinary frypan with a spray of cooking oil) fry the tomatos and the spring onion until the spring onion begins to brown and the skin is coming off the tomatos.

3. Add the smoked salmon and fry until the salmon turns opaque and separates into small bits. Remove from heat.

4. When the pasta is cooked, strain and discard water before returning cooked pasta to the saucepan.

5. Add the salmon fried mixture to the pasta in the saucepan and stir thoroughly until the pasta is coated with the salmon mixture.

6. Add a tablespoon of sour cream and stir until it forms a sauce with the salmon.

7. Garnish with a bit of fresh spring onion if you're feeling creative; otherwise, serve and enjoy!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Lemon Bars

Or, in my case, lemon wedges, as I don't have a square baking pan. Either way, they are good :). Recipe from I don't remember where :P.

Ingredients:

For the crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
113 g (4 oz, 1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 cup confectioners' (powdered) sugar

For the filling:
1 1/2 cup sugar
5 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
the juice and zest of two large lemons (~ 3/4 cup juice, 2 tablespoons finely grated zest)

Directions:

For the crust:
Preheat oven to 350 F/180 C.
Cut butter into slices.
In a food processor, or with a mixer on low speed, mix together flour, butter and sugar until they form a mix of buttery crumbs.
Pour mix in a 20 cm x 20 cm (8"x8") baking pan and flatten with your palm.
Bake for 8-9 min or until light brown.
Take out of the oven and let it cool.

For the filling:
Beat all ingredients together.
Pour on the cooled crust.
Put everything back in the oven and bake on 350 F/180 C for 20-25 min. Check doneness like with cheesecake - when you gently shake the pan, the middle should still wobble a little bit*.
Cool on a wire rack.
Once cooled, refrigerate for 2 hours. (Don't take it out of the baking pan yet, put the whole thing, pan and everything in the fridge).
Once it's chilled, take out of pan, cut into bars, triangles or squares and dust with confectioners' sugar.

*If you take them out on time, the squares have a light, creamy texture. If you overcook them, they become less creamy and more dense, but are still good.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Caprese Salad

We had that in Italy a few years ago and really liked it, so I make it once in a while when we get mozzarella on sale.

Ingredients (for 2 servings):

2 large tomatoes
~ 6 oz (120g) fresh mozzarella
2 teaspoons fresh chopped basil
olive oil

Directions:

Cut tomatoes into 1/2 inch (1 cm) slices.
Cut mozzarella into 1/2 inch (1 cm) slices.
Layer tomato slices and cover each with a mozzarella slice
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle basil on top.



Or go with the even lazier version, cherry tomatoes and cilengini:

Monday, July 21, 2008

Panna Cotta allo Yogurt

Or panna cotta with yogurt, but you knew that! An insanely easy but elegant light summer dessert.

Ingredients (for two portions):

200 ml heavy cream*
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sugar
7 g gelatin + 4 tablespoons cold water for dissolving it.
150 g yogurt

* Or substitute cream with half-and-half, or milk, or any combination of those.

Directions:

Dissolve gelatin in cold water.
In a saucepan on medium heat mix cream, vanilla and sugar, stirring continuously until sugar melts.
Add gelatin and stir until it dissolves.
In a separate bowl stir the yogurt to get rid of any lumps.
Slowly pour the hot cream mix into the yogurt, whisking constantly.
Pour mix into two glass bowls or ramekins or whatever suitable bowls you have.
Refrigerate for about 4 hours or until firm.

To serve:

Flip onto chilled plate, and garnish with warm raspberry preserves, or cranberry sauce or fresh fruit or any combination of those.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fruit Tart

I love fruit tarts - they are fun to make, look pretty and have a perfect summery taste. This recipe is from the Joy of Baking website.

Ingredients:

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups (210 g) all-purpose (plain) flour + a pinch of salt
1/2 cup (1 stick, 8 oz, 113 g) unsalted butter
1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
1 egg

For the cream:
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
1/8 cup (20 g) all-purpose (plain) flour
3 tablespoons (20 g) cornstarch (or wheat-, potato-, whatever- starch)
Optional: 3/4 tablespoon (10 ml) liqueur

For the glaze: (optional, but recommended)
1 tablespoon apricot jam or preserves
1 teaspoon liqueur or water or a combination of the two

For the topping:
2 - 3 cups fresh fruit, such as berries, kiwi, bananas, plums, pineapple, melon, peaches, or whatever else you think belongs on a fruit tart.

You also need a tart pan or a springform pan, or another pan with detachable sides.

Directions:

For the crust:

Sift or whisk together the flour and salt. Set aside.
Beat butter until softened. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
Add the egg, beating just until incorporated.
Dunk flour mixture all at once and mix just until it forms a ball of dough. Don't overwork or pastry will be hard when baked.
Flatten dough into disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 20 minutes or until firm.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into an 11 - 12 inch (28 - 30 cm) circle that is about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thick.

* So says the recipe. To avoid a floury mess, I like to cover both the rolling pin and the counter with plastic wrap, so the dough doesn't stick to either.

To make sure it is the right size, take your tart pan, flip it over, and place it on the rolled out pastry. The pastry should be about an inch larger than pan.
When the pastry is rolled to the desired size, lightly roll pastry around your rolling pin, dusting off any excess flour as you roll.
Unroll onto top of tart pan.
Gently lay in pan and lightly press pastry into bottom and up sides of pan.
Prick bottom of dough (this will prevent the dough from puffing up as it bakes).
Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes to chill the butter and to rest the gluten.

Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C)
Line unbaked pastry shell with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
Fill pastry shell with rice or beans, making sure the weights are to the top of the pan and evenly distributed over the entire surface.
Or, you know, use *proper* ceramic pie weights if you have them :).
Bake crust on the center rack for 20 to 25 minutes until it is dry and lightly golden brown.
Remove weights (or rice, beans, whatever) and cool crust on wire rack before filling.

For the cream:

In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar and eggs together
Sift the flour and cornstarch together and then add to the egg mixture, mixing until you get a smooth paste. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a saucepan combine the milk and vanilla and bring to a boil
Remove from heat and add slowly to egg mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling.
Place the egg mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly.
When mixture boils, whisk it constantly for another 30 - 60 seconds until it becomes very thick and hard to stir.
Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the liqueur (if using).
Pour into a clean bowl and cool.

For the glaze:

Heat the apricot jam or preserves and water in a small saucepan over medium heat until melted. Remove from heat and strain through a fine strainer to remove any fruit lumps.
If using, add the liqueur at this point.
Let glaze cool until it is only slightly warm.

Assembly:

Brush a thin layer of the glaze over the bottom and sides of the cooled pastry shell to prevent the crust from getting soggy.
Let the glaze dry 20 - 30 minutes.
Spoon the cream into the tart.

Wash and slice the fruit you are using.
Arrange fruit (in concentric circles or randomly) on top of the cream, making sure no cream is showing.
Rewarm glaze and lightly brush on fruit.
Chill and serve.

Store covered in the fridge.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Slow Cooker Green Beans

A quick and easy recipe for the summer nights.

Ingredients:

4 cups green beans
14.5 oz (410 g) canned diced tomatoes
1 lb (450 g) pork shoulder or another marbled cut, cut into cubes
2 bay leaves
a pinch (or more) of red pepper

Directions:

Wash beans and remove tops and tails. Cut in half, or leave them whole.
Put beans in slow cooker.
Layer meat cubes on top, and pour can of tomatoes over everything.
Add bay leaves and red pepper.
Cook on high for 3 1/2 hours / on low for about 7 hours, or until the beans are cooked.
Serve with french bread. Or beer. Or both :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Choc Berry Butter Cake

My twelve-year-old sister and I made this yesterday. It's based on a simple butter cake recipe with various innovations along the way.

Ingredients:

All tablespoons are 20mL metric tablespoons

8 ounces butter / margarine
8 ounces caster sugar (super fine sugar)
4 eggs
8 ounces self raising flour
2 heaped tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
1 or 2 ~400g / 1 pound tins of mixed berries in syrup (my tin had strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries) - strained and the syrup reserved
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180 C and grease and flour an approx 20cm x 20cm (8" x 8") square cake tin.

2. Cream margarine and caster sugar.

3. Add eggs one at a time and mix together thoroughly

4. Sieve (sift) in flour and cocoa and stir in until completely incorporated.

5. Add sweetened, condensed milk, 2 tablespoons of the berry syrup, and the vanilla essence one at a time and stir until completely incorporated.

6. Gently fold in the mixed berries. I used one tin of berries but the mixture could easily have taken another tin's worth so use your own judgement depending on how berry-filled you like your cakes!

7. Spoon the mixture into the greased and floured cake tin and place in pre-heated oven. bake for about 50 minutes (I cooked mine for an hour and it was just slightly burned on one corner, so check regularly!).

8. Once baked, turn onto a wire cooling rack and leave to cool.


Icing (Frosting):

I made this with the aim of trying to replicate a crystally, slightly crunchy icing I'd tasted on a cake at a school morning tea, but it didn't work very well. This is a modified recipe replacing the white sugar I originally used with more coconut.

Ingredients:

All tablespoons are 20mL metric tablespoons
All cups are 250mL metric cups

2/3 cup icing sugar (confectioner's sugar) - preferably the pure stuff not icing mixture
1/2 cup dessicated (shredded) coconut
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons of the syrup from the tinned berries
Red food colouring (can be ommitted if you don't mind the icing being a funny brownish colour)

Method:

1. In a bowl, combine sieved (sifted) icing sugar and coconut.

2. Add the melted margarine and stir thoroughly.

3. Add the sweetened condensed milk and the berry syrup and mix thoroughly until all ingredients are combined.

4. Add four drops of red food colouring to make a nice pastel pink - or more or less to your own tastes!

5. Using a flat implement, smooth onto the top and sides of the cake. You may need to refrigerate the mixture slightly to make it firm enough but don't leave it too long - this icing sets rock solid! Once the cake is iced, refrigerate overnight to set the icing.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Curried Rice and Vegetables

This is actually based on Ivayla's recipe, with a few alterations. It came about because X's family gave him a few pounds of chicken, so I found Ivayla's recipe. I made the curry half with veggies, half with chicken. We had left juice and left-over veggies, so I added two cups of rice to it. It turned into a fantastic side dish or light meal


Ingredients:
- Two cups cooked rice
- Vegetables (whatever you have on hand. We used leeks, potatoes, onions and carrots, I think.
2 cups plain yogurt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teasoon turmeric
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1.5 tsp. curry
2 tablespoons oil


Instructions:
- Mix yogurt, spices and garlic in bowl.
- Add the oil to large skillet, letting it heat. Add in a few extra cloves of garlic and then the onion.
- Sautee until onion is soft and slightly golden. Add in the rest of the veggies and yogurt mixture.
- Simmer on low for 10-15 minutes, depending on the veggies.
- Add in cooked rice and continue to simmer for five minutes.
It's really good and fairly easy.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Skillet Lasagna

I tried to look if I posted this already and couldn't find it, so if it's a repost, I'll delete it.

1 lb. ground beef
1 jar tomato sauce
half an onion
no-boil lasagna noodles
LOTS of grated parmesan
shredded mozzarella

Brown the beef and drain, add in the (chopped) onion until soft. Break up the noodles and layer all over the top of the meat, then top with tomato sauce. Cover and simmer for about five minutes. Stir and continue cooking if the noodles haven't softened yet. Remove from heat, stir in as much parmesan as you can stand, and top with mozzarella. Return to heat briefly to melt, and serve.

While this sounds like any other skillet Italian recipe, you really must use broken lasagna noodles and lots of parmesan. The noodles act like scoops for the meat and sauce, and the parm makes a thick sauce with the meat that's just amazing.

Zippy Tuna Salad

I know everyone likes their tuna salad particular, but here's my version.

1 can tuna
1/2 tsp. horseradish
1/2 tsp. pickle juice (trust me)
2 1/2 tsp mayonnaise
pepper

Drain tuna well, sprinkle liberally with pepper. Moisten with pickle juice, then stir in the horseradish and mayonnaise to coat. You can adjust the sauce portions according to taste and consistency. This is best served cold on a bed of lettuce or on a sandwich rather than heated with cheese and an English muffin the traditional "tuna melt" style.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Egg and Cheese Turnovers

Turnovers are my signature dish for potlucks. They are always very popular, if I do say so myself :).

Ingredients:

1 lb (450 g) puff pastry sheets
1 egg
200 g feta cheese

Directions:

Beat egg.
Crumble feta cheese into beaten egg.
Stir with a fork until you have a homogenous thick mixture.

Take out puff pastry sheet(s).
Cut pastry sheet into 12 2-inch x 4-inch (5 cm x 10 cm) rectangles.
Put one teaspoon of filling on one side of each recrangle.
Flip the other side of the rectangle over the filling and seal the edges with a little bit of water.
Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.
Arrange turnovers on cookie sheet. Bake at 375 F/190 C for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

The idea is the same as in sarmas, but those are much faster to make.

Ingredients (for 6 servings, so adjust accordingly):

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup rice
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 pound (500 g) ground (minced) meat
diced raisins, optional
diced mushrooms, optional
salt, pepper, thyme to taste
~ 6 large bell peppers or 12 small bell peppers

For the sauce:

1 cup yogurt
2 tablespoons flour
1 egg, beaten

You can skip the meat and make them vegetarian.

Directions:

In a skillet heat olive oil.
Saute onion, raisins and mushrooms.
Add ground meat and cook until it divides into crumbs and is no longer pink.
Add rice.
Cook for 5 more min until rice gets translucent.
Remove from heat, add spices.

Wash and deseed bell peppers.
Spoon rice/meat mix into each pepper. Do not fill them more than 3/4, as rice expands when it cooks.
Arrange stuffed peppers lying on one side in a baking dish.
Poke each pepper with a fork (so that any steam may escape).
Pour enough water to cover the bottom half of the peppers.
Bake on 350 F/175 C for 60 min or until rice is fully cooked.
To ensure even cooking, rotate peppers to expose a different side on top on the 15th, 30th and 45th minute.

For the sauce:

When peppers are done cooking, spoon the leftover water into a saucepan.
Put over medium heat.
Stir flour into yogurt and carefully pour into hot pepper broth.
*Slowly* pour beaten egg into mixture, stirring continuously.
Bring to a gentle boil and cook, stirring continously, for 2 more minutes or until the sauce reaches desired density.
Pour over peppers before serving.

* Or, skip the sauce and use plain yogurt :).

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pesto Pasta

Sort of a spin-off of Lael's pasta recipe. This is for one person, so just double or triple the recipe. I hate having to split recipes and having it call for somethin' like half an egg. So, without further ado...

1 c noodles (Spaghetti, egg noodles, Rotini, it doesn't care...)
1-2 T pesto (It's a matter of taste. Use less if you want.)
10 black olives (Chopped up. Use 20 if you're prone to snacking.)
1 T butter (Optional. I never use it.)
Salt (Optional. I sometimes forget it.)

Boil noodles until tender. Drain. Stir in pesto, olives, and butter. Sprinkle with salt. Put on a plate and serve hot. Or cold. Or room-temperature. Or use your imagination. I did...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A few recipes for you.

As I stated before I've switched to the Weight-Watchers Core Plan, which has made life both easier and more difficult. Last night we had Ivayla's Curried Chicken (except with veggies for me) and it was delicious. I served it with Apple and Potato Curry Soup (which mind you is a bit of an acquired taste!) and a Spinach Salad with this dressing:


Susan's Lite Goddess Dressing

Make this dressing more like the original by increasing the tahini a tablespoon at a time, until it tastes the way you like. Remember that the fat and calories go up as the tahini increases!

6 ounces lite firm silken tofu (1/2 pkg. of Mori-Nu)
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon tahini
2 green onions, white parts removed, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, packed
1 large clove garlic

A few things to keep in mind: I know a lot of you guys don't eat tofu. We don't do it on a regular basis ourselves, but we had some that needed to be used. You could use a base of canola oil if you wanted to...but realize that it's going to skyrocket the calories. You do not taste the tofu in this. Tofu - unless kept solid - merely works as a base for recipes. I make a mean Tofu Chocolate Mousse and get rave reviews on it. Also, we did not have Apple Cider Vinegar, so we used Red Wine Vinegar. You could probably use regular vinegar. We used olive oil mixed with sesame seeds to replace the sesame oil. While it was good we wanted it tangier, so we plan on increasing the vinegar and lemon juice. Overall, however, it was very, very good. The best part? All but the tahini is core and the overall points for the sauce (serving size 2tbs) is 1 weight-watchers point. So...YUM.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Homemade Pizza Crust

Yeah, yeah, there are places like Domino's, that deliver 24-7, and there are places like Little Caesars, that sell a large pizza for $5 but homemade pizza is always better :).

I don't remember where I jacked the recipe from but it's good! The crust is thin but firm enough to hold the toppings, and the work put in is no more than 10 minutes, though you do have to wait for it to rise.

Ingredients for one large crust:

2 cups (250 g) flour
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
1 egg
4 tablespoons oil
2/3 teaspoon yeast

Directions:

Stir the yeast and a pinch of sugar into the milk, beat the egg and mix it into the milk and yeast.
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix to form soft dough.
Cover with a towel and let dough rise in a warm spot for about 30 min.
*Or*
Use the pizza setting on your bread maker. Mine is 45 minutes long.

When dough is done, preheat oven to 500 F (250 C).
Put a dab of oil on your hands, form the dough ball into a flat disk, put it in onto a pizza pan and stretch it so it so it covers the whole pan.
Cover crust with your favorite pasta sauce (or spray it with oil), otherwise it gets too dry.
Layer your favorite ingredients.
Bake for 10 minutes.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Gardener's Skillet - aka Vegetarian Shepherd Pie

I am 100% addicted to this site

Utterly, completely, totally love. The site may scare you, as it's "Vegan" but it has fantastic recipes that are really easy to customize. I live with a non-Vegan and not once has he ever complained about the food from this site. We do customize - often times we'll use beef bullion instead of vegetable broth (because it's what we have), regular milk instead of dairy, eggs instead of egg substitutes. Still. it's good.

Anyway, to get to the point. I'm currently do the CORE plan on Weight-Watchers and therefore eating has gotten slightly more tricky. I found this recipe, decided to make it...and it was good. Beyond good. Delicious. Yummy. Fantastic. And I present for you. :-D

Skillet Gardener's Pie
(printer-friendly version)

I used kidney beans here because I like their flavor and texture in this dish. But feel free to substitute about 1- 1/2 cups of any cooked beans or lentils. Or, if faux meats are your thing, rehydrate some TVP, crumble up a couple of Boca burgers, or chop up some seitan and use it instead.

2 pounds Yukon gold or red potatoes
1/2 cup soy milk
salt and pepper, to taste
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced, leaves minced and reserved
8 ounces mushrooms, diced
2 cups fat-free vegetable broth
16 ounces kidney beans, cooked
2 cups green beans, cut in 1" pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced (or 1 tsp. dried)
1/4 teaspoon sage
2 cups baby spinach leaves, packed
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water (or veg. broth)
extra rosemary for garnish

Scrub the potatoes and cut them into cubes. (I leave mine unpeeled, but if you want you can peel them before dicing.) Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are tender. Reserve a cup of their cooking water, if possible, and drain. Place in a large bowl, add the soymilk, and mash until smooth, adding a little of the potato-cooking water if they seem too dry. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and set aside in a warm place.

While the potatoes are cooking, make the "pie" filling. Spray a large non-stick or cast iron skillet with canola oil. Heat it on a medium-high burner and add the onions. Sauté until onions are translucent. Add the garlic, carrots, celery, and mushrooms, and sauté for 3 more minutes.

Add the vegetable broth, kidney beans, green beans, and herbs. Simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes and all vegetables are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste (I added a little hickory smoke salt). There should still be some liquid in the pan, but if it has become too dry, add a little of the potato-cooking water. Add the spinach and stir until it's completely wilted. Mix the corn starch with the water until smooth, and add it to the pan. Cook, stirring, until mixture has thickened.

Spoon the potatoes evenly over the top of the filling and sprinkle with chopped rosemary. If potatoes have cooled, put the skillet under the broiler for a minute or two. Serve immediately while hot.

Things to keep in mind:
- Keep the heat lower to keep the juices in there
- Celery Leaves go in with the herbs (and make a huge difference. Don't forget them)

Enjoy!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mexican Rice

Vegetarian times had an entire Mexican meal spread in their March magazine (which I just got) and I went ahead and made it. Everything was good but the Mexican Rice was especially good. I thought I'd share it, plus it looked so pretty when it was done.

Ingredients:
1 tbs. olive oil
1 cup instant brown rice
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas
8 green onions, chopped (1/2 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 tbs.)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tbs. tomato paste
12 ounces or a can of black beans (optional but recommended.)

Instructions:
1. Heat oil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add rice and saute 3 to 4 minutes or until beginning to brown. Add corn, peas, green onions, garlic, cumin and oregano, saute 1 minute.
2. Spoon tomato paste in 2-cup measuring cup. Add enough boiling water to make 2 cups and stir to combine. Pour tomato paste mixture into rice and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, add black beans if desired and fluff with fork.

The rest of the meal can be found in these links. I recommend the tacos but warn that if the slaw is made...beware. It's beyond spicy. :-D

Chickpea Tacos
Spicy Orange Slaw - If you don't like spicy foods I recommend skipping the cayenne pepper altogether. It's really good but incredibly spicy.
In-a-pinch Profiteroles - fantastically good. Ice-cream with a coating and chocolate sauce.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Carrot Cake

The recipe is from here. The original recipe yields a two-layer cake, which would be too much for my two person household, one of whom is on a diet :), so my rendition is pretty much the original halved. It's still moist and flavorful and yummy!

Ingredients:

For the cake:
4 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup (110 g) brown sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup (150 g) white sugar
1/2 cup (125 ml) vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (essence)
1 1/2 cup (190 g) all-purpose (plain) flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

* Original recipe also uses 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, which I skipped because I didn't have the former and I dislike the latter.

For the cream cheese frosting (icing):
8 oz (220 g) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (55 g) butter, softened
1 cup (130 g) confectioners' (powdered) sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine grated carrots and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Set aside for 60 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350º F/175º C.
Grease and flour a 9-inch (23 cm) cake pan.
In a large bowl, beat eggs until light. Gradually beat in the white sugar, oil and vanilla.
Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, and stir into the wet mixture until absorbed.
Lastly, stir in the carrot mixture and the walnuts.
Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.
Remove and let cool on a cooling rack.
When completely cooled, frost with cream cheese frosting.

For the frosting:
Cream together the cream cheese and butter.
Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar.
Frost cooled cake.

* I only had 4 oz of cream cheese, so, as you can see, I was a little short on frosting:

Chicken Curry

Recipe from Indian Food and Folklore.

Ingredients:

2 cups plain yogurt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teasoon turmeric
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 lb (450 g) chicken pieces, skinned
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons oil

Directions:

Place yogurt, garlic and all spices in a large bowl and mix well.
Add the chicken pieces and toss to cover with yogurt mixture.
Cover and leave to marinade for at least 4 hours.

Heat the oil in a pan.
Add the onion and fry until golden.
Add the chicken and the marinade.
Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for about 30 minutes or until chicken is tender.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Cod Pakistani Style

A friend sent me this recipe with very high recommendations. We don't eat tilapia at home, but I tried it with cod. It turned out delicious just the same.

Ingredients:

1 lb (450 g) cod fillets
1/4 cup olive oil
14.5 oz (400 g) canned diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons ginger
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves (skinned)
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek seed
the juice of one small lemon
2 teaspoons salt
2 jalapeno peppers slit in half, length-wise. I used 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder instead - we cannot tolerate that much spiciness :).

Directions:

In a food processor blend tomatoes, garlic and ginger into a smooth paste. Add oil and pulse a few times.
Put the paste in a skillet and simmer on low heat, uncovered, for about 5 minutes or until the oil begins to separate from the liquid.
Add the bay leaves, cumin, turmeric, fenugreek seed, salt and the jalapenos.
Stir well and allow the mixture to cook for a few more minutes.
Poke a few holes in each cod fillet, and add them to the paste.
Add the juice of the lemon.
Simmer for 10 more minutes or until fish is cooked through.
Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve over white rice (or, with a lot of bread).

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Curry Couscous

I love curry, I love couscous... Yeah!

Put the amount of water your couscous package says to use for 2 servings into a small pot. Add:

1 1/2 tsp Curry Powder (I used 1 tsp Sweet Curry and 1/2 tsp Maharajah with saffron in it)
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Cumin
1/4 tsp Poultry Seasoning
Lemon pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder to taste

Finish couscous according to the directions and add 1 Tbsp butter. Serve as a side dish (I suggest with baked chicken).

Info on my spices:
Sweet Curry: http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/p-penzeyscurryswe.html
Maharajah Curry: http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/p-penzeysmaharajah.html
Poultry seasoning: http://www.penzeys.com/cgi-bin/penzeys/p-penzeyspoultryseas.html

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cottage Pie

Or rather, Ivayla's bastardized version of an English classic :). Ideas from here and here.

Ingredients for a 12-inch (30 cm) pie:

4 medium potatoes
milk, butter, salt to taste

~ 1 lb/500 g ground beef meat*
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 medim carrots, sliced
3 roasted peppers, cut into strips
7.5 oz/200 g canned green peas
7.5 oz/200 g canned chopped tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon thyme
salt, pepper to taste

* I had pot roast leftovers that I ground in the food processor, and since it was already seasoned, I skipped the spices.

Directions:

Boil the potatoes in water until soft.
Drain and mash with the butter and milk.
Season with salt and pepper

Heat some oil in a skillet.
Add the onion and carrots and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes until soft.
Add the ground beef and brown it.
Add the tomatoes, bay leaf and thyme.
Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink.
Add cornstarch.
Stir in peas.

Spread a thin layer of mashed potatoes on the bottom of an oiled pie pan.
Spoon the meat mixture on top.
Cover with strips of roasted pepper.
Top with the rest of the mashed potatoes.
Bake on 375 F/190 C for about 30 min or until golden brown.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Twice-baked Potatoes

I put the vegetarian (vegan?) and low-fat labels on it, because you can take out the bacon, add a little salt, and have no negative effects. But, since I'm a carnivore, there's bacon. :-P

Twice-baked Potatoes
Yield: 2 servings

1 Big honkin' baking potato
2 Strips bacon
2 1/2 Tablespoons pesto
2 Handfuls of fresh spinach, rinsed

Bake the potato on a 1 hr. at 425 F (220 C) on a baking sheet. Fry bacon and drain on a paper towel in a small bowl. Crumble them. When the potato is done, take it out and cut it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the meat into a medium-sized bowl and add the pesto and bacon. Stir until it is just brought together. Roughly chop spinach into smallish pieces and mix with the potato. Put the mixture evenly in the two potato skins. It won't look like it will fit, but it will (spinach shrinks). Put it back on the tray and bake in the oven for 30 min.

You can throw a handful of shredded Parmesan cheese in it if you so desire.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Chocolate Cake for Tiziri

This recipe was originally my Great Aunt's, but then I changed it a little (which is what ends up happening to just about every recipe I've ever made). I hope you like it!

1/2 c Butter
2 t Baking Soda
2 c Sugar
1 t Salt
2 Eggs
3/4 c Cocoa Powder
1 t Vanilla Extract
2 c Boiling Water
2 c All-purpose Flour
Strawberry or raspberry pie filling/syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs and vanilla. Sift together flour, soda, and salt in a separate bowl. In yet another bowl (that can hold 3+ cups), pour the boiling water over the cocoa and stir. Mix a little of the flour mixture with the butter, then a little cocoa/water, then a little flour... Repeat until all is combined. Bake for 30 minutes in a 9x13 pan. When cooled, pour a little too much of the pie filling or syrup over the top and spread it around. Let it soak in and serve.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Berry Pie

I've been eyeing this recipe for a while, especially since it's from a book that I am contemplating getting. I finally got a chance to make it - my first ever American pie, yay! It's delicious too :). The crust takes in from the filling and gets wonderfully juicy, but not soaked and it holds the filling beautifully. And the filling has this divine tartly sweet taste that cooked berries have. OK, enough with the self-promotion, on with the recipe :).

Ingredients for one two-crust 9-inch (23 cm) pie:

For the crust:
14 tablespoons (7 oz, 200 g) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups (320 g) all-purpose (plain) flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
5 to 7 tablespoons ice water*
1 tablespoon vinegar**

* Ice water = water with ice in it. I don't remember why the cold temperature is so important, but it is.

** The vinegar's purpose is to prevent the dough from forming tight gluten bonds and help it stay flaky. You can't taste it, so don't skip it. The recipe said cider vinegar, but I used wine vinegar. I assume any type will do.

For the filling:
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons (20 g) cornstarch (cornflour)
a pinch of salt
the zest of one lemon (about 2 teaspoons), finely grated
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 cups (about 1 lb, 500 g) berries. The recipe uses fresh blackberries, I used a mix of frozen raspberries, blueberries and marionberries.

Directions:

For the crust:

* The crust is not labor-intensive, but it takes a while to make, as it has to rest in the fridge a few times in increments of 1 hour, 30 min, and 1 hour, so a total of 2 and a half hours. The resting is important, as it allows the dough to settle, not shrink during baking and form the flakes that it should. If you don't care to wait, just use store-bought crust.

Divide the 14 tablespoons of butter into 2 portions: 9 tablespoons and 5 tablespoons (130 g and 70 g).
Refrigerate the 9 tablespoon portion and freeze the 5 tablespoon portion for at least 30 minutes.
Place the flour, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade. Process for a few seconds to combine.
Add the refrigerated butter, cut into 3/4 inch (2 cm) cubes, and process for about 20 seconds or until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
Add the frozen butter, cut into 3/4 inch (2 cm) cubes, and pulse until the frozen butter is the size of peas.
Add 5 tablespoons of ice water and the vinegar and pulse 6-7 times
Pinch a small amount of the mixture to see if it holds together.
If not, add another 1 tablespoon water and pulse 3 times.
Try pinching again to see if it holds together.
If not, add the final 1 tablespoon water and pulse 3 times.

At this point, my dough still looked like a mess of dry crumbs, but I am happy that I resisted my urge to add more water in it :).

Divide the dough in half. Wrap each portion with plastic wrap and flatten into discs. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

Remove one disc of pie dough from the fridge.
If it's too hard to roll, let it sit out for about 10 minutes.
Roll out the dough to about 1/8 inch (0.3 cm) thick and about 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter.

I always have trouble rolling buttery doughs, as they tend to stick to the counter and tear. So I cover the counter with plastic wrap, cover the rolling pin with plastic wrap and roll it like that. Easy to clean up too!

Carefully transfer to a 9-inch pie pan.
Trim the dough edge to about even with the edge of the pan.
Cover with plastic and let dough rest in fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.

For the filling:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, lemon zest.
Whisk in the lemon juice to make a slurry.
Add the berries and gently toss them to coat with the slurry.
Mine were frozen and easy to handle, but if you are using fresh, be careful not to crush them.
Let sit for about 15 minutes.

Assembling the pie:

Toss the berries once more and then pour the mixture into the bottom crust.
Roll out the remaining disk of dough to about 12 inches in diameter.
Moisten the edges of the bottom crust with water and gently place the top crust over the berries.
Tuck any overhang under the bottom crust and press down to seal the two crusts.
With the tip of a knife, cut 3-5 slits in the top crust to allow steam to vent.
Cover pie loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour before baking.

Set your oven rack to the lowest position, so that the bottom crust bakes well.
Preheat oven to 425F (220 C).
Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any juice.
Bake for 30-45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.
Check the pie after 20 minutes and protect the edges from over-browning (mine did!) with a ring of foil if necessary.
Allow pie to cool on a rack for at least 4 hours before serving. This is not only to protect you from burning your mouth :) but also to allow the filling to settle.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Quick bread recipe

This is the ultimate quick bread recipe, in my opinion. It's called "Zucchini Bread", but today I didn't have zucchini, so I decided to use applesauce instead. Figures I wouldn't have applesauce either, so I dug out some frozen mashed pears, peeled and chopped up a granny smith apple into it, and called it good enough. And it was good enough!

Oh, and your mouth will thank you to let the bread sit for a few minutes before devouring. Apple chunks get pretty hot... :-/

3 Eggs
1 c Vegetable Oil
2/3 c Sugar
2 c Grated zucchini (or whatever)
2 t Vanilla extract
1 t Salt
1/4 t Baking powder
3 c All-purpose flour
1 t Baking soda
3 t Ground cinnamon (optional, but strongly suggested)
Fresh-ground nutmeg (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 8X4 inch loaf pans. In a large bowl, beat eggs, oil, and sugar together. Stir in zucchini and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir into egg mixture. Divide the batter between the two pans. Bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few little crumbs left. Let cool as long as possible before you or a family member devour it.

You can ruin it with 1/2 c chopped walnuts if you absolutely must.

Sweet Chocolate Fruit Cake

I just invented this cake for the fun of it today, based on various other cakes, and it’s scrumptious – moist, sweet, chocolatey, fruity . . . oh, try it. It’s good.

This quantity makes a small cake in a loaf tin, but it’s easy to make it bigger.

Ingredients:

4 ounces (110g) margarine
4 ounces (110g) caster sugar
2 eggs
4 ounces (110g) self-raising flour
2 heaped tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons milk
½ cup (125mL) mixed dried fruit
Heaped ¼ cup (60mL+) desiccated coconut (shredded coconut)
Golden syrup

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 180 C (350 F) and grease a loaf tin (pan).

2. Cream margarine and sugar.

3. Add eggs to margarine and sugar, and mix until incorporated.

4. Sieve (sift) flour and cocoa and mix until incorporated.

5. Add milk, dried fruit and coconut and combine until mixture is even.

6. Place about half of the mixture in the loaf tin (pan) and spread it out evenly. Drizzle golden syrup (generously, but not completely covering the mixture) over the top of the mixture, then add the rest of the mixture, smooth out and repeat drizzling of golden syrup.

7. Bake in 180 C oven for half an hour.

8. After cooking, turn cake out onto cooling rack and immediately flip over so that the top of the cake is facing upwards. The top of the cake will be extremely soft and may stick and tear if allowed to cool onto the cooling rack.

9. The cake should be left to cool for a while as the hot fruit may burn the mouth, but it can be enjoyed warm once it has cooled a little – that’s what I did!

I have no plans to ice the cake but I’m sure it would be superb with a vanilla cream cheese icing or even just a drizzle of basic glacé icing.



Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Mediterrean Pasta

I had no idea what to call this, my friend introduced me to the preparation and given the ingredients I thought the name fit. :)

It's quite easy and very versatile. It makes a nice side or a hearty vegetarian lunch for two.

4 oz. whole wheat spaghetti (any pasta can be used, but spaghetti is best)
1/2 cup chopped broccoli OR zucchini (and/or onion) or both :D
enough EVOO to coat the spaghetti, about 2 tablespoons or so
(*optional 1 tablespoon EVOO and 1 tablespoon butter instead, I prefer straight oil, but I compensate for my husband)
to taste:
garlic powder
dried basil
parmesan

Do I even need to explain? *Grin* Cook spaghetti and vegetables, toss with oil (and/or butter) and spices. (You don't even need the veggies if you don't want, but really, why not?)

It's so easy but the taste is somewhat, I don't know, sophisticated? At least for this domestically-challenged girl. :D I adore basil so I use a lot. Normally I would recommend just cooking with fresh (or minced) garlic but the powder makes sure the flavor is evenly distributed and the texture is smooth instead of chunky, depending on how/if you do the veggies. You can use regular spaghetti but the slightly nutty taste of the WW makes it better, in my opinion.

Boring recipe, but I haven't posted in a while and I just made this tonight and wanted to share.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Leek and Potato Soup

I was looking for a recipe and I found a recipe for microwavable Leek and Potato Soup. I don't have any microwavable dishes. I didn't have the spices they were looking for. So I created my own version and it was delicious:


Leek and Potato Soup
- Four cups of vegtable broth (I used boullion)
- Two Bay Leaves
- Two Potatoes or Three Small Potatoes - roughly chopped
- 1 Small Onion - roughly chopped
- 6-7 Garlic Cloves
- 2 Leeks - roughly chopped
- 1 tbs. olive oil
- In a large stockpot heat vegtable broth until it boils. Add in potatoes once it's boiling, turn the heat to medium. Add in three cloves of garlic and bay leaves
- In a pan add olive oil, heat until it's spitting. Add in three cloves of garlic, sautee until fragnant, then add onions and leeks. Sautee until they become brown.
- Add onions and leeks to broth, turn down heat and simmer until potatoes are done. - Top with a sprinklilng of parsley

Monday, March 31, 2008

Spinach Salmon Roll

Yay, spinach is in season! The spinach, cream cheese and salmon flavors really complement each other. Recipe from here. Makes about 15 slices/7 servings.

Ingredients:

125 g spinach
4 eggs
50 g monterey jack, or other hard cheese, shredded
250 g smoked salmon (can also use chicken strips or ham)
150 g cream cheese + 50 g yogurt, stirred together*
parmesan cheese, salt, pepper to taste

*Recipe says 200 g Frischkäse which, as best as my palate can tell, is a light version of cream cheese. I imagine you can use straight cream cheese, but it would be heavier.

Directions:

Cook the spinach if you are using fresh.
Beat together eggs, shredded cheese, chopped cooked spinach and seasonings.
Oil a large baking pan - the larger, the better as the eggy part of the roll gets thinner. I used a 10" x 14" (25 cm x 35 cm).
You might also want to line it with parchment or baking paper, as the egg mix tends to stick.
Carefully pour the egg mix in the baking pan, spreading it evenly.
Bake at 200C/400F for 10 minutes.
Let it cool.
Once cooled, flip egg and spinach mix on a piece of foil.
Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top.
Put a layer of smoked salmon on top of the parmesan.
Stir cream cheese with yogurt (with a fork, not a mixer).
Finally, spread cream cheese mix on top of the salmon.
With the help of the foil and rolling along the longer side of the rectangle, form a tight roll.
Wrap with foil and leave in the fridge for at least 6 hours to tighten.

A slice (it looks huge because of the zoom, but is only about 2 inches/5 cm in diameter):