Friday, January 30, 2015

Bagel and lox


I'm on a salmon binge over here. I love the texture of smoked salmon. And the flavor. And the smell. It brings forth cozy memories of weekends at my host family's house in Norway. My host dad used to catch and prepare their salmon and my host mum used to bake all of their breads. Sharing food truly unites.

Ingredients
bagel
smoked salmon
Neufchatel cheese
capers
red onion

Preparation
Slice the bagels in half and toast them. Allow the cream cheese to equilibrate to room temperature.

Spread the cheese on the bagels halves, sprinkle with capers, top with salmon and red onions. Soo, soo good.

Broiled salmon sandwich


Salmon is my favorite fish. I'm quite sure of it. At least for today. Maybe tomorrow I will switch to tuna. Fresh tuna. But today is salmon celebration day! This sandwich was unbelievably tasty. An amazing pescatarian  meal. And though vegetarians may find it fishy that under my vegetarian labels many fishy dishes appear...I will hold to my perspective that fish is just not meat.

Ingredients
2 rolls
2 tbsp mayo
2 cloves garlic
1 avocado
4 sweet tomato slices
4 lettuce leaves
0.5 tsp lemon pepper
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Sriracha hot sauce
8 oz salmon filet
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt


Preparation
Rinse the salmon and place into a plastic bag with the olive oil and 1 tbsp lemon juice. Allow to sit for 30 minutes. Preheat oven on broil, with rack 6-8 inches from the broiler. Place a cookie rack onto a baking sheet. Remove the salmon from the marinade and sprinkle with salt. Place skin-side-down onto the cookie rack and broil for 8 minutes. Flip and broil the other side as well. Be careful, the skin burns easily!

Cut the avocado in half and remove the seed. Mash the meat up with a clove of crushed garlic, salt, Sriracha and 2 tsp lemon juice. Set aside.


Take the lemon pepper and the other clove of crushed garlic. Mix well with the mayo and set aside.

Spread the bottom part of each roll with the garlic aioli. Place a lettuce leaf on top. Spread out the broiled salmon pieces on the lettuce. Top with the avocado spread.


Slice the tomatoes on top and add another lettuce leaf. Cover with the top of the roll. I actually prepared this also as an open-faced sandwich...it was delicious, albeit a little messy. If you need to reduce carbs, you may wish to try this.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Massaged kale salad


Kale is a delicious, hearty and hardy leafy green. It's one of the few that truly thrive in the cold and dark winter of the North East under the appropriate circumstances. However, without some TLC, its mouth-feel resembles particularly tough bat wings...or maybe the worn rubber sole of water-proof boots. But, like with most things, a little rubbing with some scented massage oil goes a long way to relax the tough little plant. With some effort, these scary leaves become rather tractable, almost sweet-natured.

Ingredients
4-6 cups kale leaves
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
0.25 tsp salt

Preparation
Wash the leaves and dry them in a salad-spinner. Fold them in half and cut out the stem. Chop into bite-sized pieces.

In a large bowl add in oil, vinegar and salt to the kale. Massage for 2 minutes. The leaves will collapse and become a vibrant green. They can now serve as a perfect base for a winter salad.

Olive bread

The King Arthur Flour Company is a great business. Visiting their store, almost everything is irresistibly tempting and unbelievably delicious. Before Christmas I purchased some cheater ingredients from them, and one of them was an artisan olive bread additive. 
Olives are delicious. No, not the black ones that come in a can and taste like shoe. Those are actually unripe olives artificially died the color of satan's hoof. I'm talking about real olives here. And if you don't happen to live in the Mediterranean, the least you can do is acquire Kalamata olives for a tasty olive bread. However, if you are lazy, like me...you may just trust the experts and tweak an old bread recipe to achieve the desired sublime flavors.

Ingredients
3 cups flour
0.5 cup KAF olive bread mix
0.5 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
1.5 cup warm water.

Preparation
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Pour in the water and mix well until no dry spots remain.

Cover bowl with foil and allow to rise at room temperature for 12-18 hours. Cut into 6-8 rolls and bake in a preheated 450F oven until golden brown. Cool on a cookie rack.

Grapefruit margarita


This is such a quick and easy drink. Sanpellegrino makes some of my favorite citrus sodas, and the grapefruit version is particularly delicious. It reminds me of my favorite European grapefruit beer I like to drink in the summer. Mixed with tequila and cointreau it's almost too sweet, though. Something to keep in mind.

Ingredients
4 ice cubes
1 can of grapefruit soda
2/3 cups of tequila
3 tbsp of Cointreau
2 lime wedges

Preparation
Distribute the ice cubes into two glasses. Add half of each of the ingredients to the glass. Mix well and serve with a lime wedge.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Mini Hungarian fruit tart

This is a emergency version, and a smaller one compared to the standard crust.

Just take two thirds of this recipe and pour the batter into the center of the pan. Push to the edges evenly and it will create a thinner crust.

I filled this one with canned fruits I found in the pantry: pineapples are the absolute requirement. They taste absolutely fabulous with the vanilla pudding.

Ingredients:
2 eggs
80 g of sugar
70 g flour
50 g unsalted butter
one instant or cooked vanilla pudding prepared according to the instructions on the box
fruits
one package of unflavored gelatin
100 mL cranberry juice

Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 320°F. Thoroughly butter and flour your cake shape of choice.

Mix the melted butter with the eggs and the sugar. Add in the flour gradually and mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the baking shape and spread evenly. Bake in the preheated oven until golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 1 minute in the shape, then flip out onto a plate.

Tres Bonne Cheeses

 I don't contribute to the blog in the form of recipes and cooking isn't my most favoritest activity, but eating good food is my forte. :)

Our local coop regularly offers a selection of small cheese chunks, perfectly sized for tasting. We've tasted a bunch of different cheeses and I realized we will forget which ones we liked. So I decided to scribble down a few notes from now on, whenever we try a memorable cheese. This weekend we tried real Italian provolone, Oka cheese from Quebec and a local Vermont cheese called Tres Bonne.

Our favorite was the local Tres Bonne. It's made in Enosburg Falls by a company called Boston Post Dairy (http://www.bostonpostdairy.com/cheese.html). It has a mild but bright flavor and is softer than the provolone.

The Oka and the provolone were good, as well. The Oka had a crunchy, salty outer layer and a soft, more pungent middle. 

In the second round of taste testing, we tried Invierno (aka winter) cheese from Vermont Shepherd. The cheese is made from mixed cow and sheep milk. It has a nice creamy, buttery taste. 

We also had cave-aged Swiss Gruyere cheese. Livia said it tasted like caveman feet. I quite liked it :) it definitely has a more pungent flavor than the other cheeses we tried. It's also harder than the Oka. 

In the third round of tasting we sampled English Huntsman cheese from England which is a Double Gloucester wrapped around Stilton. It was very good. The milder Gloucester offsets the sharper, saltier Stilton. 

We also had local Vermont blue cheese which fit perfectly with cubes of quince jam. The Stilton paired well with the quince as well. 

In addition, we sampled some Greek feta made from sheep milk. It was very mild but my Mediterranean taste buds liked it. The types I've tried in Macedonia have a more prominent tinge of the sheep milk flavor and are harder. 

The next batch of cheese tasting included a Mango & Ginger Stilton from England, and two local cheeses: Riley's goat and Ascutney Mountain. 

The Stilton was fruity and mild - there was hardly any cheese taste. The mango and ginger combo worked well. Not bad overall. A dessert cheese if there is such a thing. 

Riley's cheese and the ascutney mountain were both pretty mild. 




Cave aged farmhouse cheese from Orbweaver farm, New Haven, Vt
Semi soft cheese, not overly pungent but flavorful. It's tangy and slightly salty. 

Piave vecchio from Italy 
This was a hard cheese resembling Parmesan in texture but with a less strong flavor. 

Bianco sardo sheep milk cheese from Sardinia 
It's a hard cheese, relatively sweet with a distinct flavor of sheep milk. 

Idiazabal Spanish raw sheep milk cheese. Fairly bright flavor, you can tell it is sheep milk but in a good way. Delicious. 

Raclette French cheese. Saltier crunchier rind. Pungent in a good way. The idiazabal was better but the raclette was a solid choice (actually it's a somewhat soft cheese :) 

The Drunken Goat Cheese
I might have a soft spot for Spanish cheeses. This is a semi sweet cheese made of goat milk and "bathed" in red wine. The wine gives the ring a nice kick and the cheese itself is relatively mild. Tasty!

Butterwick from Twig Farm in Cornwall VT.  
Tangy flavor, and similar to blue cheese (a bit). Nicely creamy and buttery. 

Livia was in NJ recently and brought these from a cheese shop:
Mahon: Spanish cheese from cow milk. Soft and mild flavored. I quite liked it. Made by Cypress Grove.
Midnight moon: very delicious goat cheese. Semi hard and very delicious. 
Wild spitz: relatively creamy and tangy. 
Vintage Gouda: this one was pretty hard and salty. I think it reminded us of Parmesan more than Gouda :)

Blue ledge farm Lake's Edge Goat Cheese: nice goat cheese, slight blue cheese tangy ness. 

Consider Bardwell Farm - Toma style raw jersey cow milk cheese: semi hard, yellow, slightly nutty. Smooth and buttery. It's made in West Pawle, VT and it's very tasty. 

Toma de savoie cheese
This was not out favorite cheese. Sharp, earthy flavor with a bitter after taste. Maybe it was this particular batch. 

Tarentaise cheese from Spring Brook Farm in Vermont: delicious!  Creamy, rich taste (the cheese is actually semi hard). 

Manchego cheese from Spain: very good. Nutty, almost caramel flavor. Might have been a tad too salty. 

Von Trapp cheese - Mt. Alice, Vermont: Made with goat milk. Soft, creamy but not rich. The goat milk gives it a good flavor. I liked it quite a bit!