Sunday, October 19, 2014


A Norwegian favorite, this pastry is ubiquitous in the beautiful Nordic country's stores. A mildly sweet, cardamom-scented bun with a golden custard center, topped with coconut icing. In this particular case I omitted the icing, but it is a great addition for sweet-toothed people.

0.75 cup milk
0.25 cup water
1.5 tsp dry yeast
0.25 cup butter
0.25 cup sugar
1 tsp cardamom
3.25 cup all purpose flour

2 egg yolks
2 tbsp sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp milk
0.75 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp corn starch

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Melt the butter. Add the butter sugar and warm milk.
Add in the flour and the cardamom. Knead until the dough comes together, then knead until smooth. Add flour as necessary, the dough should be soft but not overly sticky. Allow to rise covered in a greased bowl until double in size.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the starch and sugar until white and frothy. Add in the milk and and vanilla extract. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 3-5 minutes, until thick. Set aside to cool.

Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Form each into a round, flat bun and place onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover and allow to rise for another 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400F.

When the dough finished rising, dimple the middle with the bottom of a tbsp measure. Spoon custard into each well.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until slightly browned. Allow to cool on wire rack.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Eggplant and chickpea salad

A filling salad with its quality highly dependent on the quality of tomatoes one manages to hunt down. I got these Roma tomatoes from a local farmer, so they were delicious.

0.5 cup wheat berries
0.5 cup raw chickpeas
1 large eggplant
1 tbsp olive oil
0.5 tsp ground cumin
0.5 tsp ground sumac
2 tomatoes
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley
0.25 lemon juice
2 tbsp za'atar spice blend
0.25 cup Feta cheese crumbled

Soak the chickpeas and the wheatberries in twice their volume of water in separate pots overnight. Rinse, drain and cook with a pinch of salt and pepper for an hour in opened pots. Check if soft.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the eggplant into 0.5-inch cubes. Place on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with 0.5 tsp sumac and 0.5 tsp cumin. Toss to coat. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown and soft.

Mix cooked chickpeas and wheatberries, diced tomatoes, eggplant minced parsley, olive oil, lemon juice and Za'atar. Sprinkle with Feta cheese right before serving. I enjoyed it at room temperature best.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Chicken thighs with cilantro sauce

This was a quick and easy delicious chicken dinner. Serve with colcannon.

2 chicken thighs
1/3 cup cilantro leaves
half an onion
juice of half a lime
0.25 tsp honey
0.25 tsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sriracha

Mince the cilantro and add the honey, lime juice, crushed garlic, soy sauce, sriracha and sesame oil. Season with some salt. Slice the onions.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Preheat a cast iron skillet on medium-high. Pat the chicken thighs dry and season with salt and pepper. Place into the skillet skin-side down. Sear for 5 minutes. Turn and sear the other side for 5 minutes as well. Place into the oven.

After 20 minutes, add the onions around the chicken thighs. Replace into the oven. Continue baking for another 30 minutes.

Add the onions to the cilantro sauce minced. Spread onto the chicken thighs. Serve.

Burrata and tomato salad

Burrata is an amazing Italian cheese. It's essentially a soft cheese with a mild flavor wrapped in a skin of fresh mozzarella. It's delicious with crostini.

8 oz burrata
4 medium tomatoes
1/3 cup basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic reduction
lemon pepper

Dice the tomatoes finely and salt. Place in a colander and allow to drain for 30 minutes. Spread out onto a paper towel to finish draining.

Mince the garlic and mix with the olive oil. Toss with the balsamic reduction and the tomatoes. Mix in the julienned basil.

Place the burrata onto two plates. Surround with tomato salad. Sprinkle with lemon pepper and serve with crostini. Delicious!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Poblano and onion quesadillas

Roasted poblanos have an amazing spicy and slightly bitter flavor. For this recipe, I caramelized the onions in some chicken fat in a cast iron skillet, after I roasted chicken thighs for another recipe. It was extra delicious. I served it with plain yogurt, and it was a surprisingly fitting topping.

4 flour torillas
4 medium poblano peppers
4 oz Monterey Jack cheese
1 large yellow onion
1 tbsp of vegetable oil

Wash the peppers, dry them and remove the seeds. Roast skin-side-up in a broiler oven for about 10 minutes, until skin blackens. Remove into a bowl with lid. Cover and set aside for 20 minutes. Peel and chop.

Slice the onion into 0.5-inch slices. Caramelize it with a small sprinkling of salt. Mix with pepper pieces.

Take two flour tortillas and sprinkle them with the pepper-onion mixture. Shred the cheese and sprinkle onto the two tortillas. Cover with the remaining two tortillas.

Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Spray it with oil and place one quesadilla in it. Cook until golden brown. Flip and cook the other side as well. Cool on a cookie rack. Cut into quarters. Serve.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Baked rigatoni with mushrooms

I was on a pasta binge and my husband requested rigatoni in some form. A baked version sounded enticing, and it turned out to be absolutely delightful with portobello mushrooms. The rigatoni have more of a texture than most other pastas. There is something to bite into on your fork, even if no meat is added.

1 clove garlic
2 tbsp minced onion
2 tbsp minced pepper
16 oz portobello mushrooms
8 oz rigatoni
12 oz marinara sauce
4 oz fresh mozzarella
2 oz shredded parmesan
1 tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a round, 9-inch pan with nonstick spray. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain.

Add the olive oil to a nonstick pan. Heat and add the minced garlic, onion and pepper for 30 seconds. Then add the sliced mushrooms and brown well. Pour in the marinara sauce, it is half a standard jar.

Mix the pasta into the sauce and arrange into the round Pyrex dish. Top with fresh mozzarella pieces and shredded parmesan.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove cover and broil until cheese is browned. Serve.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Artichoke one-pot pasta

I took all my random veggies from the fridge and tossed it into this pot. Zucchini, browned mushrooms, a can of artichokes, a sad bag of wilted spinach. This dish swallowed them and turned them into delicious!

4 cups chicken broth
1 cup white wine
12 oz linguine
8 oz mushrooms
14 oz artichokes
4 cloves garlic
1 onion
1 tsp oregano
0.5 tsp thyme leaves
0.5 tsp black pepper
8 oz spinach leaves
0.5 cup canned diced tomatoes
4 oz Parmesan

Brown the mushrooms, chop the spinach and artichokes. Chop the onion and mince the garlic. Break the linguine in half.

Add all ingredients to the pot, separate the pasta pieces with the other ingredients a bit to reduce the chance of sticking.

Pour in the broth and wine, cover with a lid and bring to a simmer over high heat. When it is boiling, stir the pot and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer with lid on for 10-15 minutes, until liquid forms a nice sauce and pasta is cooked. Stir every few minutes to prevent sticking.

Serve with grated Parmesan. The real stuff, not the boxed version!