Sunday, August 28, 2011

Lemon-vanilla cream cheese braid

A light and fluffy pastry, not overly sweet.

140g flour
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp water
0.25 cup milk
1 small pinch of salt

4 oz cream cheese
0.5 tsp grated lemon zest
0.25 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp sugar
1 egg white

Bloom the yeast in the water with a little bit of sugar. Add the lukewarm milk, egg yolk, salt, flour and sugar. Cut in butter and knead until smooth and elastic. Oil lightly and cover in a bowl. Allow to double in a warm place.

Mix the ingredients for the filling. Roll out the dough into a 0.25 inch-thick rectangle. Distribute the filling onto the middle third and cut the edges into strips. Fold the strips over the top, alternating between the two sides. Brush with oil and allow to rise for 20-30 minutes covered with plastic wrap.

Preheat the oven to 350F, brush the top of the pastry with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for ~20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool, covered with a clean kitchen towel, on a cookie rack.


Limes are amazing around here this time of the year, and mint is an ever present weed in everyone's gardens. What to make of these two: mojitos!

10 mint leaves
0.5 lime
1.5 tbsp sugar
0.75 tbsp water
1.5 ounce white rum
seltzer water

Cut the lime in quarters. Prepare a syrup from the sugar and water, and allow to cool. Crush 8 large cubes of ice.

Cursh the mint leaves with one lime piece. Add the sugar syrup and two more pieces of lime, crush further. Add the ice and pour on the rum. Add the last lime piece and fill the glass to the top with seltzer water. Mix and serve with a straw (if you don't want to consume the floaty mint leaves, which taste pretty grassy when eaten straight).

Friday, August 26, 2011

Buttermilk pancakes

A quick and easy breakfast.

1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp sugar
1 egg
1 and 1/8 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp butter

Whisk the dry ingredients. Melt the butter and add to the dry mix. Add the buttermilk and egg as well. Whisk until moistened, but still clumpy.

Cook 1/3 cup portions in a nonstick pan on medium high heat. Serve with strawberry sauce.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Eggplant parmesan

My version is prepared lasagne-style, layered in a large glass dish.

2-3 large eggplants
6 plum tomatoes
1 pound mozzarella
1 cup grated parmesan
2-3 cups marinara sauce

for coating eggplant slices:
3 eggs
2 tbsp milk
3 cups bread crumbs
0.5 cup grated parmesan
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
olive oil spray

Slice the eggplants into 0.5 inch-thick slices. Salt lightly and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry. Slice tomatoes into thin slices (1/8 inch). Grate mozzarella.

Spray two large cookie sheets with olive oil. Preheat the oven to 425F. Whisk the eggs with the milk and a pinch of salt. Mix the breadcrumbs with the spices and the parmesan in a large bowl with a lid.

Dip the eggplant slices into the egg mixture, then toss into the breadcrumbs. When 10-15 slices accumulated, cover the bowl and shake until coated. Place layers onto oiled cookie sheet. Spray top with oil as well.

Bake in the preheated oven for 5-7 minutes, then turn and bake the other side as well.

Layer slices into a large casserole dish, starting with marinara sauce, the eggplant, marinara again, then sliced plum tomatoes and cheese. Repeat again, until all the eggplant is used. Top with marinara sauce and cheese. Bake in a 350F preheated oven until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serve with garlic toast.

Grilled veggies

This was simply amazing. Mushrooms, yellow squash and eggplant would be excellent additions.

2 small zucchinis
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 yellow onion

2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
1 clove garlic
black pepper
olive oil

Slice the peppers into 1 inch-wide strips. Cut the onion in quarters, then pull leaves apart. Slice the zucchinis into 1/6 inch-thick slices.

Brush the veggies with olive oil, then dust with black pepper and salt.

Grill on high heat until brown stripes form. Turn and grill the other side. (5-8 minutes per side, depending on your veggies and your grill).

Toss the grilled veggies with a dressing prepared from minced garlic, balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Marinade for 15 minutes, or overnight in the fridge. Serve!

Monday, August 22, 2011


No, not really. But it does resemble one :-)

1 package of beef hot dogs (8)
1.5 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
0.75 cup water
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp butter
1.25 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour

Bloom the yeast with the sugar in the water. Add in the flour, butter and salt. Knead until smooth and elastic.

Allow to double in size in a warm spot (about one hour). Roll out to 0.5inch-thick and cut strips into the bread dough.

Cut the hot dogs in half and thread the pieces through the bread dough. Brush with oil and allow to double in size again. Bake at 350F until light brown and hot dogs are done. Serve with mustard, ketchup and veggies.

Creamy beef taquitos

Simple and delicious. You can fill this with any meat of your choice.

4 flour tortillas
0.2 pounds of shredded beef
2.5 oz cream cheese
2 oz shredded jalapeno jack cheese
1 tsp Sriracha sauce

Mix the shredded beef with the cream cheese, spicy sauce and salt to taste. Roll up tightly into the flour tortillas.

Spray a baking sheet with oil, place the taquitos on it with the seam-side down. Spray their tops with oil as well. Bake in a preheated 400F oven until crispy. Serve with sour cream, salsa, guacamole and pico de gallo.

Pico de gallo

It's pico de gallo season in the Northern US. Well, at least we have locally grown tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro and onions available. I don't know where they bring the limes from, but those are quite amazing this time of the year as well.

2 jalapenos
0.5 yellow onion
2-3 riple plum tomatoes
1 juicy lime
15-20 stalks of cilantro

Wash the veggies, peel the onion, and dice the peppers, onion and tomatoes into small cubes. About 1/8 inch in size.

Collect the cilantro leaves off the stalks and mince. Mix veggies with cilantro.

Salt to taste and mix with the juice of one lime.

Serve as is with tortilla chips or your favorite Mexican dish, alternatively mix with a mashed avocado to make guacamole.

Flour tortillas

These are surprisingly easy. And if you look at the ingredients list of a supermarket tortilla, you will likely want to go with this. (Not to mention, these taste way better.)

8oz flour
0.75 tsp salt
0.25 tsp baking powder
0.25 cup shortening
0.5 cup hot water

Whisk the flour to combine with the salt and baking powder. Mix in the shortening by hand, until the mixture is crumbly.

Pour in the hot water (not boiling, but pretty hot). Mix immediately until it comes together, knead until smooth dough forms.

Cover with a bowl and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Cut into six pieces.

Roll each ball into a large circle. Cook in a medium-hot, preheated, dry skillet for 50 seconds on the first side and 25 seconds on the other. If you cook it longer, it dries out, and won't be soft.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Coconut cookies

These are European-style, light cookies.

130g flour
0.5 tsp baking powder
50g sugar
0.5tsp vanilla sugar
1 tiny pinch of salt
1 egg
70g butter
0.5 tsp grated lemon zest
40g coconut flakes (unsweetened)
10g sesame seeds
~25mL sour cream
chocolate chips to decorate

Mix together all dry ingredients. Add in egg, butter and crumble together.

Add enough sour cream to bring together.

Wrap with foil and rest in the fridge for one hour. Roll out on a well-floured surface into a 1/8 inch thick sheet. Cut out shapes.

Move onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Decorate with chocolate chips (dark is best!)

Bake at 350F until edges begin to turn brown. Move onto cookie racks, cool, serve.

Fresh tomato pasta topping

I actually prefer to eat this with bread. But I would choose bread over pasta any day.

5 Roma tomatoes
10 cloves of garlic
10 basil leaves
8 oz Feta cheese
0.25 cup olive oil

Dice the tomatoes, julienne the basil, mince the garlic and dice the Feta (you need the European, dicable kind, not the crumbly type).

Mix all in a bowl with the extra virgin olive oil and salt to taste. Serve over fresh pasta, or with a warm slice of crusty bread.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Caramelized onion cream sauce

This was a quickly improvised dinner, as I needed to use up some extra cream before it reached its expiration date. What a winner! My husband's new favorite pasta sauce.

1 large onion
1 large garlic clove
1 tbsp minced parsley
1 tbsp butter
2 oz sharp cheddar
1/3 cup cream
2 tbsp milk
black pepper
0.5 tbsp vegetable oil

Slice the onions into thicker slices. Mince the garlic, shred the cheddar.

Caramelize the lightly salted onions in the vegetable oil on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until golden brown. Remove them from the pan and dice into smaller chunks. Return to pan and add the butter and the minced garlic. Cook for 30 seconds, then add a little black pepper and the parsley. Stir together and cook for 10 seconds more.

Pour in the cream and the milk. Simmer until thick (~5 minutes). Melt the shredded cheddar into the sauce, salt to taste and serve with freshly cooked linguine.

Peach cobbler

This is Chef John's recipe (more or less). You have to use self-rising flour, or else you wind up with peach flavored wall paper glue. Trust me, I tried it. For some reason, the usual baking powder, etc replacement for self-rising flour doesn't work in this recipe.

3 large yellow peaches
1/8 tsp cinnamon
0.5 tsp lemon zest
0.5 cup water
0.5 cup sugar

0.25 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
0.75 cup self-rising flour
0.25 tsp salt
0.75 cup milk
0.25 tsp almond extract

Melt the butter in a 2-quart ceramic or glass baking dish. Peel the peaches and mix with cinnamon and lemon zest. Bring the water and sugar to a boil, add the peaches and simmer for 2 minutes. Set aside.

Mix the flour, sugar and salt. Add in the milk and whisk until well-blended. Mix in the almond extract.

Pour the batter into the melted butter in the baking dish. Scoop the peaches carefully on top. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 45-60 minutes. Serve somewhat cooled.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Simple tomato sauce

A tomato sauce that many food bloggers raved about. I found it kind of boring. Basically acceptable, just not very interesting. Kind of reminded me of Spaghetti-O sauce. There are better ones out there than this, but it's ok in a pinch.

28 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes
5 tbsp butter
1 medium sized onion

Pour the can of tomatoes, the butter and the onion cut in half into a heavy pan over medium heat.

Simmer for 45-50 minutes, salt to taste.

Crush or blend to the desired chunkiness. Serve.

Moussaka meatballs

These are amazing for pasta or in sandwiches. Must use a tomato-centric side with it.

1 large eggplant
1 small yellow onion
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp ketchup
0.5 tsp black pepper
0.5 tsp cumin
0.25 tsp cinnamon
0.25 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt

0.5 cup breadcrumbs
1 lb ground beef
1 egg

Mince the onion and garlic, dice the eggplant.

Fry the onion in oil, then add the garlic and 30 seconds later the diced eggplant and the spices. Cook on medium-high, mixing frequently, until most of the water content evaporated. Cool.

Mix the ground beef with the egg, breadcrumbs, eggplant mix, and salt. Form into small balls with wet hands.

Set the balls onto cookie sheets sprayed with oil. Spray the tops as well, then bake in a 350F preheated oven, until done (about 20-25 minutes).

Serve with pasta.

Or in a sandwich. Did I mention that I highly recommend taking most meals near waterfalls? Real ones.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mountain top sandwich

The best restaurants are on mountain tops.

2 whole wheat rolls
0.25 pound, thin-sliced, hard salami

Hike to the top of a mountain with great view.

Slice bread and spread with hummus. Add salami, Feta, and tomatoes. Serve! Oh, and don't be afraid to eat the pieces that fall, the rocks are washed clean frequently by rain :-)