Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Arugula, smoked cheese sread

This is so much better after it rests for an hour or two in the fridge. The garlic flavor may otherwise be sharp. I recommend this dip as an appetizer before visiting any ancient Transylvanian castles.

7 oz ricotta
8 oz smoked cheese
3 cups arugula
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
0.25 tsp black pepper

Add the garlic, ricotta, salt and black pepper to the food processor. Process until smooth. Add the smoked cheese in small chunks and the arugula in two portions. Process until just slightly chunky.

Serve with pita chips or with crusty, warm baguette slices and ripe tomatoes.

Arugula and smoked cheese pizza topping

I love the peppery flavor of arugula, and my introduction to it initiated my foray into enjoying a larger variety of flavorful greens than the usual lettuce and spinach available in restaurants. This is a really fun use of some arugula that was on its last legs. The flavors are quite delightful.

2 packed cups arugula
8 oz smoked gouda
0.5 cup ricotta cheese
3 cloves garlic
0.75 tsp salt
0.5 tsp black pepper
pizza dough from 3 cups of flour
cheery tomatoes

To a blender add the ricotta, garlic, salt and black pepper. Grind until well blended.

Add the shredded, smoked gouda and the arugula. Blend until a little chunky. 

Roll out the pizza dough into four circles, top with the arugula topping and add little tomato boats to it, from cherry tomatoes cut in half.

Bake in a preheated 475F oven until light brown. Serve warm!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Caramelized onion and bacon spread

This spread combines the magical flavors of sweet caramelized onions and smoky, salty bacon. It's a total hit on a crusty piece of crostini, but I have been known to add it to my breakfast egg and English muffin sandwiches as well.

12 oz bacon
1.5 lb yellow onion
1.5 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
black pepper
0.5 tsp+ salt
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
0.25 cup water

Slice the bacon into 0.5-inch strips. Add to a pot and turn heat on medium. Slowly begin to cook , stirring occasionally.
Cook until all fat is rendered and bacon grease is foamy. Drain fat into a cup and place bacon pieces onto a paper towel.

Add 2 tsp of fat back to the pot, don't wash the pot! The fond is tasty. Peel and dice the onions and add to the bacon fat. Stir in 0.5 tsp of salt. Cook until onions are translucent and squishy,

Add the brown sugar, vinegar, black pepper, cayenne and half of the thyme to the pot. Dice the crispy bacon into tiny pieces and add that as well, with the water. Stir well and cook stirring on medium heat until the texture is jam-like. The onions should be fairly well broken down.

Add the balsamic and the olive oil, with the remaining thyme leaves. Ladle into containers and serve with crusty bread.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Black forest rolls

The dough in this recipe was such a pleasure to work with, that I ended up making mini rolls and filling them with three different fillings. They were all delicious.

3.5 tbsp butter
0.5 cup milk
0.25 cup water
1 tsp yeast
2.25 cup flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
0.25 tsp salt

2 tbsp butter
2 tsp cocoa powder
20g powdered sugar
0.5 cup rummy sour cherries

2 tbsp apricot jammy bits
1 grated apple
2 tsp sugar

1 tsp cinnamon
0.5 tsp cardamom
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp sugar

Bloom the yeast with the warm water and a small pinch of sugar. Add the remaining 2 tbsp sugar and the melted 3.5 tbsp butter with the warm milk. Add the 2.25 cups of flour and the salt. Mix and knead for 5 minutes. Allow to rise covered in a warm spot for an hour.

Meanwhile, prepare the fillings. My mom always prepares rummy sour cherry preserves. I take half a cup of this and drain it well. In a separate dish, mix the cocoa powder, sugar and melted butter. Set aside.

Grate the apple and squeeze out juices. Mix with sugar.

Melt the butter and mix with sugar, cinnamon and cardamom.

After an hour passed, preheat oven to 200F for 1 minute. Then shut it off. Cut the dough into six equal pieces. Roll out into 8-inch by 12-inch rectangles. Spread the chocolate filling on two. Add the sour cherries and roll up. Place onto a baking sheet, seam-side-down.

To another two rolled out dough pieces add the grated apple and the apricot jammy bits. Roll up and add to baking sheet.

Finally, the last two pieces get the cinnamon filling before being added to the baking sheet. Move the baking sheet to the oven and allow the rolls to rise for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and preheat oven to 375F.

Cut the rolls and fan out slices as shown in picture. Brush with milk twice and bake for 10-15 minutes, until pieces are golden brown.

Cool on cookie rack.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Arepas with fish

This was such an amazing combo that I had to have repeats of it ten times.

1 cup masarepa
1-1.5 cup boiling water
0.5 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter
0.25 cup shredded cheddar
0.25 cup diced, pickled jalapenos

2 tilapia filets
1 tsp guava garlic salt

0.25 cup diced red onion
1 avocado
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Sriracha hot sauce

Mix the masarepa with the salt. Pour in the boiling water and stir in carefully. Add the diced jalapenos, cheese and the butter and mix in until blended. Allow to sit. Add more water if the dough feels dry.

Scoop out the avocado and mash with the garlic, lemon juice, salt and hot sauce. Set aside.

Sprinkle the fish with the garlic salt. Seat aside.

Heat a large skillet with a little bit of oil on high heat. Form the masarepa dough into four circular patties. Add them to the large skillet and brown on each side. Remove onto two plates.

Cook the fish in a hot pan with a little oil. Top the arepas with the avocado mash, add the fish pieces and sprinkle the top with red onion. Serve.

Curried carrot soup

A great, low-calorie soup to prepare from old carrots that lost their vitality. The soup was tasty and delicious with a piece of crusty bread.

2 pound of carrots
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1.5 tbsp curry powder
0.5 tsp cayenne
0.25 tsp sugar

Dice the onions. Peel and slice the carrots into chunks. Crush the garlic.

Saute the onions in the butter and oil until translucent. Add the garlic, cayenne and curry powder and cook for 10 seconds. 

Add the carrots, sugar and the stock with the water. Cook for 15 minutes, or until carrots are tender. Use a handheld blender to puree until smooth. Season with salt to taste. Serve warm.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Eating oranges

This trick may be ancient history for everyone reading this post, but admittedly, it was new to me. I usually don't get oranges, because I hate peeling them and pulling them into slices. Well, this strategy works amazingly.

Just wash the outside of the orange. Take a sharp knife and slice it into wedges. It is so easy to bite out the orange from the peel this way!