Monday, March 26, 2012

Banana bread

This one is the real deal. Moist, not overly sweet, with a strong banana flavor.

Ingredients
4 ripe bananas
1 cup sugar
0.5 cup butter
1.5 cup flour
0.5 tsp baking soda
0.25 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
0.25 tsp cardamom
0.25 cup buttermilk

Preparation
Mash the bananas. Butter a 9x5 inch loaf pan, line the bottom with parchment paper.

Allow the butter, eggs and buttermilk to equilibrate to room temperature. Mix the flour, cardamom, baking soda and salt.

Beat the sugar and butter until fluffy and white. Add the eggs, beating them in slowly, one-by-one. Add the buttermilk and the vanilla.

Fold in the dry ingredients and bake at 350F for an hour. Remove onto a cookie rack and cool thoroughly before slicing.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Salmon rice wraps

From my perspective this dish is essentially a sweet chili delivery system. Not that the rest of it is not tasty, but the chili definitely trumps the rest. These can be fried to golden brown in hot oil, if one so desires. They must be served immediately, or the rice wrap soaks or dries out. I'm sure there are tricks to avoid this, but being a novice at rice wrapper usage, I'm oblivious to any tricks relating to their preparation.

Ingredients1 package rice sticks (180g)
1 pound teriyaki salmon
10-15 radishes
10 oz mushrooms
1-2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Sriracha hot sauce
4 tbsp sweet chili sauce + more for serving
2 tbsp capers
0.5 cup shredded cabbage
12 rice wraps
1 tbsp butter

Ingredients
Chop the mushrooms and saute in butter until slightly browned. Chop the radishes into sticks. Chop the capers.

Mix the radish, cabbage, mushrooms, capers. Add the spices and mix again.

Bring a pot of water to boil, then place the rice noodles in them. Turn off the heat and cover for 10 minutes to soften the noodles. Drain and chop roughly. Mix the noodles with the veggies.

Flake in the salmon and toss. Soak the rice wraps in a large baking sheet in warm water for about 20 seconds each, until they become pliable. Place onto a moist kitchen cloth.

Scoop filling in the lower third. Fold the wrap over, then fold in the sides and roll. Serve with sweet chili sauce.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Green mashed potatoes

This recipe is in the spirit of the 'eat more kale' movement. Green things are not my husband's favorite. This recipe is added to the list of greens that he will happily consume. There is a definite sharp kale flavor to this dish. It's very refreshing when served with smoked sausages.

Ingredients
8 medium Russet potatoes
10 leaves of kale
5-6 scallions
salt
3 tbsp butter
0.25 cup cream
freshly ground black pepper

Preparation
Peel the potatoes and cut into equal chunks. Cook in salted water until tender.

Meanwhile, clean the kale and scallions, chop the scallions and remove the kale leaves from their stalk.

Bring a pot of water to boil and simmer the kale leaves for 5 minutes. Add the scallions, 2 tbsp of room temperature butter and the kale leaves to a food processor. Process until smooth with small chunks.

Mash the boiled potatoes with the remaining butter. Mash in the blended greens and season to taste. Serve warm with sausages.

Buffalo chicken dip

This is not a light food, but as my husband calls it: it's perfect 'boyfood'. Greasy, spicy and full of protein, with the extra tang of blue cheese. Delicious with toast, crackers and celery.

Ingredients
2 large chicken breasts
16 oz cream cheese
1 cup of Frank's hot sauce
0.5 cup of blue cheese sauce
0.25 cup of blue cheese
4 oz pepper jack cheese
0.5 tsp old bay seasoning
0.5 tsp cayenne

Preparation
Bake the chicken breasts then dice them. Equilibrate the cream cheese to room temperature.

Mix all the ingredients above, reserving half a cup of shredded cheese. Distribute in a 9x11 inch glass dish.

Sprinkle the top with cheese.

Bake in a preheated 400F oven for 20 minutes, then broil to crisp the top.

Serve!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Arepas

Ever since Chef John posted about these I wanted to try them. They are essentially a medium-thick tortilla. Recently I got to try one at a friend's place, and they were very delicious. My attempts so far have not come near the quality of an expert's, but they are pretty good anyway :-)

Ingredients
1 cup masarepa
1-1.5 cup warm water
0.5 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
0.25 cup shredded cheddar

Preparation
Mix the salt with the masarepa and slowly add the water. Mix with your finger. Keep adding water until a smooth and slightly sticky dough forms. Mix in the cheese and the butter.

Allow to sit for 10 minutes covered. Meanwhile, heat a non-stick pan sprayed with oil on medium.

Pinch off golf ball sized pieces of the dough and press into 0.5-inch thick discs. Place into the hot oil and fry on both sides until light brown. Serve as a roll replacement, with butter, pulled pork, Mexican fish, bbq chicken, etc.

BTW, above my dough was too dry. It should not crack when shaped!

Chive butter

I bought a bunch of chives to prepare an herbed soft cheese and I wound up with a ton of leftovers. This was a quick and easy way to use up the herbs.

Ingredients
4 oz salted butter
1 bunch of chives

Preparation
Allow the butter to equilibrate to room temperature. Clean and mince the chives.

Using a fork, mash the chives into the butter. Place back into the fridge and serve on hot toast.

Mexican fish

This was surprisingly delicious. The fish taste is still there, but with the spicy veggies of the salsa and the melted cheese to go along: the fish is converted into a comfort food.

Ingredients
1 lb halibut or cod fillets
0.25-1/3 cup chunky organic salsa
0.5 cup grated pepperjack cheese

Preparation
Preheat the oven to 400F. Rinse the fish fillets and lay them down into a glass baking dish.

Spread enough salsa to cover the top of the fish.

Sprinkle with cheese and bake for about 15-20 minutes in the preheated oven. Serve with arepas, avocado slices and sour cream. Delicious!

Banana smoothie

I'm not a fan of plain yogurt, unless eaten with zelnik or some other savory dish. I can't just sit down and eat a cup for breakfast. Unfortunately my adventures with wisdom teeth forced me to eradicate a decent portion of my natural gut bacteria, so I need to eat probiotics. One morning I discovered that the otherwise boring plain yogurt tastes very good blended with a banana and a little bit of milk to adjust the viscosity.

Ingredients
1 banana
0.5 cup plain yogurt
0.5 tbsp sugar
2-4 tbsp milk

Preparation
Break the banana into 1-inch pieces. Add to a blender. Add milk, sugar and yogurt. Blend until completely smooth. Serve immediately.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Parmesan cheesy rolls

A twist on my standard Kaiser rolls. These are definitely for salty sandwiches. My husband loves them and they are his favorite rolls, currently...

Ingredients
0.25 cup water
0.75 tbsp yeast
2 tsp honey
1 egg
0.75 cup warm milk
0.25 cup melted butter
1.5 tsp salt
3.25 cup flour
1.5 oz Parmesan cheese
1.5 oz Monterey Jack cheese

PreparationBloom the yeast with the honey and the warm water. Mix in the melted butter, the beaten egg and warm milk. Add in the flour and salt mixture gradually, until elastic dough forms. Knead for 5-10 minutes

Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes on a floured surface, while you prepare a baking sheet. Cut dough into eight pieces, roll into tubes. Tie a knot on each tube, then fold the upper end under the knot and the lower end on the top. Tuck the ends in. Place onto the baking sheet.

Allow to rise covered with a clean kitchen towel in a warm oven (set to preheat for 2 minutes, then turn off). After 25 minutes brush the rolls with milk. Preheat the oven to 375F. When the oven preheated, brush with milk again. Grate the cheeses and mix them. Distribute the mixture on top of the rolls.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a cookie rack.

Meatballs

I had my wisdom teeth removed and I'm constantly craving meat. Petar made this for himself...I'm starving. It smells so amazing! Thank you ATK for the starting recipe :-)

Ingredients
1 pound of ground beef
0.5 pound of ground pork
0.75 tsp gelatin
1.5 tbsp water
1 cup breadcrumbs
0.75 cup buttermilk
2 small eggs
3 oz Prosciutto
2 oz Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp salt
0.25 tsp black pepper
0.5 onion

Preparation
Mix the gelatin with the water. Allow to bloom. Soak the breadcrumbs in the buttermilk. Add the meat to the soaked breadcrumbs, combine with the beaten eggs and the minced prosciutto.

Add the cheese, grated garlic, grated onion, chopped parsley and the gelatin. Add the salt and black pepper and mix until homogeneous, but not overmixed.

Using a quarter-cup measure scoop into balls and shape between your palms. Place onto a cookie rack set in a baking sheet. Roast in a 450F oven for 30 minutes.

Finish cooking in a tomato sauce. Serve over pasta.

Wheat Kaiser rolls

These are incredibly tasty and incorporate a decent amount of whole wheaty goodness. I use King Arthur flour for the best results.

Ingredients
0.25 cup water
0.75 tbsp yeast
1 tbsp honey
1 egg
0.75 cup warm milk
0.25 cup melted butter
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1.25 cup flour
2 cups whole wheat flour

Preparation
Bloom the yeast with 1 tbsp honey and the warm water. Mix in the melted butter, the remaining honey, beaten egg and warm milk. Add in the flour, sugar and salt mixture gradually, until elastic dough forms. Knead for 5-10 minutes

Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes on a floured surface, while you prepare a baking sheet. Cut dough into eight pieces, roll into tubes. Tie a knot on each tube, then fold the upper end under the knot and the lower end on the top. Tuck the ends in. Place onto the baking sheet.

Allow to rise covered with a clean kitchen towel in a warm oven (set to preheat for 2 minutes, then turn off). After 25 minutes brush the rolls with milk. Preheat the oven to 375F. When the oven preheated, brush with milk again. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a cookie rack.

I use a good quality parchment paper in the baking sheet to ensure that the rolls don't stick.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Silky cheddar mashed potatoes


I had my wisdom teeth removed. I was hoping this occasion would be less painful than previous dental tortures, but oral surgery remains oral surgery: painful and uncomfortable where I'm concerned. Not to mention, it takes all the fun out of eating for several days to follow.
After the sweetness of juices, smoothies and the softest ice creams no longer satisfies, one must turn to some version of real food. These cheddar-sour cream mashed potatoes were extremely delicious (for two days, then I had to switch to my squash soup).

Ingredients
2 large Russet potatoes
salt
3 tbsp sour cream
0.25 cup shredded cheddar cheese
milk

Preparation
Peel the potatoes and cut into quarters. Boil in salted water. Drain.

Mash and mix with sour cream, shredded cheese and some milk. Add to a food processor and process until completely silky smooth. Add more milk if your teeth demand it.