Sunday, February 11, 2018

Improved avocado BLT


To get perfect avocados, pick them up unripe, and ripen them next to a banana. For a quicker process, place in a paper bag with the ripe banana for a day.

Ingredients
4 slices sourdough
2 tbsp mayo
2 cloves garlic
8 slices thick-cut bacon
1 avocado
lettuce leaves
1 large tomato
0.5 tsp lemon juice
salt
pepper

Preparation
Cook the bacon slices and pat away grease with a paper towel. Set aside.

Toast the sourdough bread.

Crush the garlic and mix with a pinch of salt. Add the mayo and the lemon juice. Mix well. Spread onto bread slices.

Add bacon slices, tomato slices, lettuce leaves, avocado slices. Cover with the second slice of sourdough (which was also coated with garlic mayo).


Thursday, February 8, 2018

Shakshuka


A dish originating from North-Africa, shakshuka makes an excellent lunch or dinner, but adventurous eaters up for some spice in the morning will enjoy it for breakfast as well. The sauce can be made ahead, and the final assembly is relatively quick and easy enough to allow for morning preparations to take place in parallel. The warm spices in this made it a perfect snow day lunch.

Ingredients
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
1 bell pepper
28 oz diced tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
0.25 tsp cayenne
1 tsp salt
0.25 tsp black pepper
4 eggs
3 oz Feta cheese
handful of spinach

Preparation
Slice the onion into thin slices, after cutting it in half. Slice the bell pepper into thin slices.

Heat a large skillet on medium-low with the olive oil, and sautee the onions and peppers until soft (about 20 minutes).

Add the crushed garlic and cook for another minute. Add the spices and cook for three minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes with the juices from the cans. Add the salt and black pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 375 F. Scoop sauce into four ramekins (microwave sauce for quicker prep).

Stir in handfuls of spinach and the crumbled Feta. Prepare a little dip in the middle and add an egg to each ramekin. Season the eggs. Bake until eggs are just set.

Serve with naan bread.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Pumpkin cinnamon buns


I had half a can of leftover pumpkin puree... many good things come out of using leftovers!

Ingredients
7 oz pumpkin puree
3 cups flour
6 tbsp sugar
2 tsp dried yeast
0.25 cup water
2 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp butter
0.5 tsp salt
Swedish pearl sugar

Preparation
Microwave the pumpkin puree so it is lukewarm. Preheat oven for 2 minutes to prepare good rising conditions for the bread.

Dissolve 1 tbsp sugar in the warm water. Sprinkle in the yeast. Allow to bloom.

Mix frothy yeast with warmed pumpkin puree. Add 2 tbsp of sugar. Sift in the flour and the salt and knead together. Add more water as necessary, to form a sticky dough. Coat with oil lightly and transfer to a covered bowl into the warm oven. Allow to rise for an hour.


Roll out to a 0.5-inch rectangle. Coat with melted butter and sprinkle with 3 tbsp sugar and the cinnamon. Roll up and cut into 10-12 pieces. Place into a 9-inch cakepan and allow to rise in the warm oven again for about 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F. Sprinkle top of rolls with pearl sugar. Return to preheated oven and bake until golden brown (about 15-20 minutes). Cool in pan for 2-3 minutes, then cool on cookie rack. Serve warm.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Eggplant dip with yogurt


A simple and healthy dinner, complemented with flatbread baked from a slow-rise, no-knead bread dough. Eggplant is a relatively high-fiber food, and this recipe does not call for its frying. Consequently, the dip remains fresh and intensely flavorful. The added extra virgin olive oil completes it with healthy fats.

Ingredients
1 lb eggplant
salt
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp greek yogurt
oilve oil
za'atar

Preparation
Preheat oven to 425F.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Prick the eggplant with a fork in 4-5 places. Roast for 45 minutes, until skin is black. Turn halfway through roasting.


Cut the eggplant half and scoop out the insides into a food processor.


Add 0.5 tsp salt, tahini, yogurt, lemon juice. Pulse to combine.


Transfer into two or three serving bowls and top with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with za'atar and more salt if desired. Serve with flatbread.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Verdens beste


A Norwegian dessert humbly known by the name "world's best". Indeed, this dessert is delicious with its layers of vanilla custard, berries, and fluffy sponge cake. Some also add toasted almond slivers to it.

Ingredients
10 tbsp butter
130 g sugar
5 egg yolks
150 g cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla sugar
100 mL milk

vanilla pastry cream from 0.5 L milk

5 egg whites
0.25 tsp cream of tartar
250 g sugar

Preparation
Line an 8x12-inch baking sheet with nonstick parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350F.

Beat the butter with the 130g sugar until fluffy and creamy, beat in the egg yolks. Add the vanilla sugar, flour, baking powder and mix well. 

Add the milk slowly and mix well.


Scrape batter into baking pan. In a separate bowl beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and 250g sugar until soft peaks. Spread onto cake layer.


Bake for 30-35 minutes, until meringue is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into half and fill with pastry cream and sliced berries.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Cheesy grits


I've always been a fan of sweet corn, and sweet cornmeal products. I guess I associate corn with sweet flavors mostly. So I usually prepare grits with maple syrup (an amazing meeting of north and south). But these cheesy grits were delicious, and I formed the cold leftovers into cakes to sear in a pan and eat the next day.

Ingredients
2 cups milk
2 cups water
1.5 tsp salt
1 cup grits
black pepper
4 tbsp unsalted butter
4 oz shredded sharp cheddar

Preparation
Bring water, milk, and salt to a boil in a large pot.

Once it's boiling, add the cornmeal and continue whisking. Cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes, on low heat.


Remove from heat, add butter and stir in. Add the cheese and season with black pepper. Serve immediately.

Peposo


An Italian beef stew, rich with red wine, thyme, and pepper. This was a wonderful, flavorful dish, with tender meat. It was even better served cold on homemade bread, with pickles and fresh onions (all Eastern European-style).

Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
3 lb lean beef
4 cloves garlic
1.67 cups red wine
3 cups chicken stock
15 oz petite diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
0.5 tsp sugar
2 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
salt

Preparation
Cut the beef into 0.5-inch cubes. Peel and smash the garlic.

Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet. Salt and pepper the beef and sear all on all sides in portions of one pound. (Three portions). Remove onto a plate. Sear the garlic cloves with the last round. 


Return all beef to the pan and heat on high heat. Add one cup of red wine and remove the fond from the pan. Simmer for 2 minutes to reduce slightly.


Add the broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme, and bay leaves. Return to a boil.


Simmer for 2 hours, until beef is tender. Add the remaining 0.667 cups of wine. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for another 30 minutes, reducing the sauce to the desired consistency.


Remove the bay leaves, mash the garlic.


Rest overnight and serve the next day. Cold with bread. Warm with noodles, grits, potatoes, etc...