Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mushroom bisque

 An extremely tasty vegetarian or meatless soup. Amazing with a slice of crusty bread.

20 oz of fresh mushrooms
4 cups vegetable of chicken stock
1 yellow onion
1 small garlic clove
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
1 bay leaf
0.5 tsp white pepper
1 tsp Sriracha hot sauce
0.5 tsp paprika

Slice the mushrooms and dice the onions.  Mince the garlic. Saute the onions until translucent. Add the mushrooms. Cook on medium-low until browned. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.

Mix in the broth and spices. Simmer for 30 minutes.

In a separate dish, heat the butter and add the flour. Prepare a roux, then add in a quarter cup of cold milk, followed by another quarter cup. Pour into the mushroom soup. Simmer for 15 minutes, adjust thickness with more milk if necessary. Adjust salt level to taste. Add in Sriracha for the last few minutes.

Remove the bay leaf. Reserve half of the mushrooms. Chop mushrooms into smaller pieces. Blend soup with a stick mixer until smooth. Add back mushroom pieces. Serve!

Salmon bisque

 A tasty and hearty soup. Every ingredient has its say, so please don't leave them out for this one.

1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 small yellow onions
1 cup chopped celery
4 cups chopped Russet potatoes
0.25 cup chopped parsley
0.25 cup spinach leaves
1 tsp ground white pepper
 28 oz chicken stock
0.25 cup dry white wine
12 oz evaporated milk
 1 tsp lemon juice
1 pound salmon fillets
parsley and salt

In a pot heat the oil with the chopped onion and celery. Cook for 10 minutes.

 Add the chicken stock, potatotes, parsley, and pepper. Cook until potatoes are tender. Add spinach leaves for the last few minutes, just until wilted. This will improve the color of the soup.

Blend until smooth. Stir in wine and milk. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Add in the salmon cut into half-inch pieces.

Cook for 10 minutes, until fish is cooked through.

 Salt to taste, garnish with parsley. Serve.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Buffalo chicken wraps

 This was a fun and successful experiment. When I worked in the dining hall, one of my jobs was helping out with the preparation of hundreds of wraps for the lunch menu. They were varied and tasty. On this occasion I was planning on preparing a salad, but I saw these soft tomato-basil wraps in the supermarket and I couldn't resist. The outcome was delicious, albeit slightly different from the wraps I was used to. I needed to convert my salad to a wrap, and I succeeded in wrapping an entire portion of leafy greens in each wrap.My husband's verdict: "I can eat greens this way, they are not very noticeable".

 2 tomato-basil wraps
3 breaded, fried chicken tenders
3-4 tbsp Frank's hot sauce
3 tbsp ranch sauce
3 cups of spring greens
10 cherry tomatoes
3 tbsp crumbled blue cheese

Mix the greens with the ranch. Chop the chicken and mix with the hot sauce. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half.

On the bottom third of the wraps, pile the saucy chicken, sprinkle on the blue cheese, add on the tomatoes and the salad.

Fold up the wraps and cut in half. Serve. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pickled beets

My favorite way to eat beet root. And it's not even hard to make. A small warning: your pee may be red after eating this...don't freak out.

3 medium beets
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 small yellow onion
0.5 cup vinegar
0.5 tsp salt
0.25 cup sugar
0.5 cup water
1 bay leaf

Wash the beets and rub surface with oil. Pierce with a knife in 3-4 different places. Roast for 40 minutes in a 400F preheated oven. Peel and slice.

French the onion and layer with the beet slices into a glass jar.

Bring the vinegar, salt, sugar and water mixture to a boil. Pour into the jar. Seal and store in the fridge for 3-4 days before serving.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Easter ham

Back home we didn't buy ham, my dad used to buy the appropriate cut of pork, then he smoked it and cooked it. I haven't tried to cook my own ham before this. It turns out it's not even difficult. First off, in Hungary we use smoked meat without any sweet glazes and serve it with fresh bread and super-spicy horseradish, and some home made, spicy smoked sausage on the side.

1 bone-in ham
2 cups of water

Place the ham in a 9x11 inch baking shape bone-side down. Pour the water around the ham. Covert tightly with aluminum foil.

Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 25 minutes per pound of ham. Remove onto a cutting board and cool covered for 15 minutes. Slice and serve immediately or store in the fridge. I prefer it cold!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Steamed corn pudding

My favorite food in the Chevy's near Princeton. They used to give only a small scoop and I always wanted more.

10 oz frozen corn kernels
4 tbsp butter
0.25 to 0.34 cup sugar
0.5 cup water
0.75 cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp salt
4 tbsp milk

Beat the softened butter with 0.25 cup cornmeal and the sugar until fluffy.

Mix 1 cup of the corn kernels with the water and the remaining corn meal in a food processor. Blend until smooth.

Combine the first and the second mixtures with the salt, baking powder and milk. Mix in the rest of the corn kernels. Pour into a pyrex dish. Cover.

Microwave covered at 30% power for 8 minutes, stir then continue at 100% for 4 more minutes, until cooked. Add more milk if necessary. Serve warm.

Roasted eggplant spread

I enjoy well-spiced roasted eggplant, and roasted red peppers with garlic provide the perfect added flavor. This dish smells like lecso, but tastes somewhat different. Next time I will toss in a spicy pepper in addition to the sweet ones.

1 eggplant
2 red bell peppers
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves
3 tbsp olive oil
1.5 tsp Kosher salt
0.5 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp tomato paste
pieces of a habanero pepper


Peel the eggplant partially, peel the onions and garlic. Wash the peppers and remove the seeds.

Mince the garlic. Cut the rest of the veggies in 1-inch pieces. Toss with the olive oil and spices.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Roast for 25 minutes then turn with a spatula. Roast for an additional 20 minutes.

Blend in a food processor with the tomato paste, pulsing 4-5 times. Serve with fresh, crusty bread.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ricotta crepe cake

To date I haven't found a good substitute for Hungarian-style cottage cheese for baking purposes. Ricotta comes close, so when I bought two pounds of it discounted, I thought I should experiment with it in a Hungarian-inspired recipe. Turo rudi is my favorite cottage cheese dessert back home: it is a dark chocolate-coated cylinder of lemon and vanilla flavored cottage cheese. Only slightly sweet. Must be refrigerated and cannot be shipped :-(

I attempted to reproduce the Turo rudi flavor in a crepe cake. So this is really a turo rudi palacsinta torta. It turned out amazingly tasty.

11 large (11-inch) cinnamon crepes
32 oz ricotta
0.5 cup icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla
grated zest of two lemons
4 oz Ghirardelli semi sweet chocolate
0.25 cup cream

Mix the ricotta with the sugar, lemon zest and vanilla.

Prepare the crepes and as you remove them from the pan, layer them with the cream.

When all the cream is used up, finish with a layer of crepe. Put in the fridge to cool for an hour.

Chop the chocolate and add the cream. Microwave until just melted. Mix together until smooth and glossy.

Allow it to cool down a little, while stirring. Pour onto the center of the cake slowly. If its viscosity is too low, wait for it to cool more.

Refrigerate cake for at least an hour.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pineapple salad

I have recently come to appreciate fruit in savory salads. Pineapples and berries fit particularly well, due to their tart, only slightly sweet flavor. This salad fit amazingly well with BBQ dishes.

1 package spring greens
1 pineapple
10-15 cherry tomatoes
0.25 cup purple onion
raspberry vinaigrette

Toss the greens and onions with the dressing. Top with the tomatoes halves and the pineapple chunks.

Serve immediately!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Eastern European white bread

I was just playing with dough, and my experiment yielded a bread that my husband claims is better than the breads from back home. Well, it definitely tasted good with ajvar, but that is my ajvar-addiction speaking.

1.25 cup water
2 tsp yeast
1.5 tsp honey
3 cups flour
1.5 tsp salt
oil spray

Bloom the yeast with the honey in quarter cup of water.

Add the remaining water and 2.5 cups of flour. Mix until well blended. Cover with foil and allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.

The dough will become incredibly stretchy and puffy. Sprinkle in the salt and another quarter to half a cup of flour. Work it in well.

Cover the dough and allow it to rise, folding it with an oiled spatula every 20-30 minutes. Repeat this twice. Pour the dough out onto a baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape and brush with oil. Allow to rise for 25 minutes (up to an hour for an airy crumb).

Preheat the oven to 500F. Turn it down to 450F right before placing the bread inside. Spray the bread with water and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on a cookie rack. Serve with ajvar (if you have any :-).

Spinach and mushroom calzone

This was a quick vegetarian alternative to my favorite BBQ chicken calzone. It apparently turned out well.

5 oz frozen spinach leaves
4 oz mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp minced onion
0.5 tsp pepper flakes
0.25 cup ricotta
1 tbsp hot sauce
0.5 portion pizza dough
2 oz mozzarella
olive oil
garlic powder
oregano salt

IngredientsSaute the minced onion in oil until translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft and slightly browned. Add the thawed, chopped spinach and heat through.

Salt to taste and mix in one grated garlic clove and some pepper flakes. Mix the ricotta with the other grated garlic clove and the spicy sauce. Salt lightly.

Roll out the dough. Brush with olive oil, but not all the way to the edge. Add in the veggies and the ricotta. Sprinkle small mozzarella cubes on top. Fold the top of the dough over. Pierce with a fork and brush with olive oil. Bake in a preheated 425F oven until golden brown.

Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with oregano and a little bit of garlic powder. Serve.

Chicken parmesan sandwich

For me bread dominates all the starches. Potatoes, rice, pasta...they all fall far behind a good slice of bread. French fries can compete, but only in certain settings. So it is no wonder that I much prefer to eat this alternative to chicken parmesan.

fried chicken
parmesan cheese
garlic bread

Heat the tomato sauce. Bake the garlic bread.

Top the fried chicken with the hot tomato sauce, sprinkle with parmesan. Serve on a piece of freshly baked garlic bread. Unbelievable!

Chicken parmesan

An alternative version of this traditional favorite. The changes are due to my current obsession with curly pasta. This one was a curly macaroni.

breaded chicken
tomato sauce
Parmesan cheese

Cook the pasta and toss with the tomato sauce. Freshly fry the chicken.

Top the breaded chicken piece with tomato sauce.

Sprinkle it all with Parmesan cheese. Serve!

Turkey and bacon panini

I order this in the dining hall at every opportunity I get. Best panini I've had, but then, it has amazing ingredients: bacon, cheese, banana peppers for some spice.

2 slices of bread
3 slices of turkey ham
2 slices of crisp bacon
2 slices of purple onion
2 tbsp banana peppers
1 tbsp mayo
2 slices of pepper jack cheese

Spread the mayo on the slices of bread, diving it equally between the two pieces.

Add the turkey, bacon, onions and banana peppers to one side. Top with the cheese and the other bread piece.

Toast until golden brown. Serve!

Radish and pea salad

I had an earlier version of this up here, but this version is far superior. The scallions are excluded and replaced with pickles, which makes a huge difference.

10 oz green peaks
10-12 radishes
5 slices of bread and butter pickles
0.25 cup sour cream
2 tbsp mayo

Cook the peas and drain them. Allow to cool in cold water.

Slice the radishes and salt them. Allow to sit in the salt. Do not drain off liquid. Dice the pickle slices into small pieces.

Mix all the remaining ingredients. Allow to cool in fridge overnight. Serve at room temperature.