Sunday, May 1, 2016

Pasta with greens and sausage

I was craving pasta but wished to incorporate something green, something vegetably, something with fiber and vitamins in it. An entire range of weird Hungarian-ish pasta dishes were born from my craving.

1 lb pasta of your choice
0.5 lb hot Italian sausage
10 oz spinach or 16 oz Brussels sprouts
0.5 tsp hot pepper flakes
1 clove garlic
0.25 tsp fennel seeds
0.5 tbsp vegetable oil
16 oz pasta sauce

Add the oil to a skillet and heat for 30 seconds on medium. Add the crushed garlic and the pepper flakes. Cook for 30 seconds.

Add the sausage in small bite-sized pieces. Mix in the fennel. Cook until browned.

Add the vegetable of your choice and cook until tender, this should not take much time if you like to start with frozen vegetables (as I do).

Add the pasta sauce and simmer. Meanwhile, cook the pasta. Stir the pasta into the sauce and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Serve. Shred some Parmesan on top, for good measure.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Appetizer platter

This is a delicious, easy, and decadent appetizer platter, that can be split as a main dish between hungry adults. Basically, serve up a combo of cheeses, pickles, salami, pate, and warm pretzel bread.

1.5 cup warm water

1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
3 tsp dried yeast
22 ounces of flour
2 oz butter
0.25 cups water
3 tbsp baking soda
egg wash
salamipateblue cheesepicklesgoat cheesechutney


Bloom the yeast with the sugar and a portion of the water in the bowl of a kitchenaid blender. Add the remaining water, flour, butter, and salt. Knead for 5 minutes on medium setting.

Allow to double in size in a greased bowl. Cut into eight pieces and roll each into balls. Cut in the middle, stretch out into a ring, and twist into a braid with one motion. Place onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Allow to double in size again.

Brush top with baking soda dissolved in water. Repeat when dried. Then brush with egg wash. Bake in a preheated 450F oven for about 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.

Serve with a platter of meats, cheeses, chutney, fruit, and pickles.

Salmon spread

Smoked salmon is delicious, but not especially cheap. It packs a strong punch as far as flavor is concerned, and it's quite healthy as far as meats go. In our local super market they sell salmon trim. which is basically the leftover corners and small torn pieces of smoked salmon. It is perfect for this delicious spread.

1 lb smoked salmon trim
16 oz Neufchatel cheese
zest of one lemon

Soften the cheese in the microwave and add to the bowl of a food processor.

Add the salmon pieces and the lemon zest and pulse until a pate forms. Freeze in small, foil-wrapped balls, or serve immediately with toasted bagels and thin-sliced red onions. Delicious!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Energy bars

These are the perfect, all-natural fuel after your daily exercise. Variations are easily acceptable, but this is a good starting point for a tasty set of bars.

1 cup rolled oats
0.25 cup chocolate chips
0.5 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp maple syrup
0.25 cup flax seeds
cranberry sauce

Pulse the oats in a food processor until tiny flakes are present only. Add the chocolate chips and pulse into small bits.

In a blender powder the flax seeds (for optimal release of nutrients). Add to the oat flakes and chocolate. Mix.

Add maple syrup, peanut butter, and 1-2 tbsp cranberry sauce. Blend and adjust consistency with more cranberry sauce and sweetness with maple syrup.

Pour into a loaf pan lined with foil. Press into every corner and cover.

Rest in the freezer for 10-15 minutes, then slice and wrap each slice in foil. I store these in the freezer until I'm ready to eat them.

Cabbage and bean stew

I was craving something simple and Eastern European for dinner. I have no idea is such a dish is prepared in any part of Europe, but it sounded good to me and it ended up tasting even better.

2x15 oz cans cannellini beans
1 small head of savoy cabbage
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp red pepper flakes
0.5 tsp paprika
1 cup of chicken broth
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1/3 cup shredded parmesan
black pepper

Drain and wash the canned beans. Core and shred the cabbage.

Heat the oil and the pepper flakes in a a large skillet on medium high for a minute to extract the spicy flavor. Add the beans, the paprika. and the crushed garlic. Stir and mix well. Cook for a minute or so.

Add in the chicken broth and the shredded cabbage. If necessary, add some water to nearly cover the cabbage. Bring to a simmer and cook until cabbage is somewhat tender (to taste).

Mix the shredded parmesan and the breadcrumbs with a pinch of black pepper. Top the dish with it and spray with vegetable oil. Broil until golden brown. Serve hot with a piece of crusty bread.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Pizza rolls

I had some ancient sundried tomatoes in my fridge, and quickly invented a use for them. These turned out so amazingly tasty, that I have prepared them several times since their conception.

2 tsp yeast
1.5 tsp sugar
10 sundried tomatoes
1.25 cup water
1 tbsp basil pesto
3 tbsp Sriracha ketchup
1.5 tsp salt
3-3.5 cups of flour
6 oz cheese

Bloom the yeast with the sugar and quarter cup of warm water. Add the remaining warm water, 3 cups of flour, the basil pesto and the salt.

Mince the sundried tomatoes and add them as well. Knead and add more flour as necessary. Bring together into a slightly sticky dough.

Cover in an oiled bowl and allow to double in size in a warm place. Roll out into a 0.5-inch thick sheet about 12 inch by 12 inch in area (yes, make it a square, unlike mine above). Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 380F.

Shred the cheese and sprinkle most of it onto the dough. Roll up like a jelly roll. Cut into eight pieces and lay onto parchment paper. Top each roll with about a tablespoon of shredded cheese. Allow to double in size again.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until cheese is slightly browned. Cool on a cookie rack and serve.

Avocado toast

This was a filling and fulfilling dinner, made with two amazingly ripe avocados that I had on hand, and Panera's new multigrain bread. A great combo!

4 slices of multigrain bread
2 avocados
3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp of lemon juice
2 tsp pepper flakes
0.5 tsp Sriracha

Cut the avocados in half and remove flesh into a bowl. Mash with a tiny pinch of salt, a little lemon juice, and some Sriracha.

Toast the bread slices until very dark.

Spread half an avocado onto each bread slice. Sprinkle with salt, then drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice.

Top with pepper flakes. Cut diagonally and serve.