Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Orzo salad

 Looks like rice, but made with pasta!

1.5 cup orzo
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
15 oz can chickpeas
1 yellow onion
2 large tomatoes
0.25 cup chopped basil
1 tsp dry mint

0.25 cup cider vinegar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp honey
1.25 tsp salt
0/5 tsp ground black pepper
0.5 cup extra virgin olive oil

Measure out the ingredients down from cider vinegar into a blender. Set aside.

Cook the orzo in the chicken broth and water. Add the pasta to the boiling liquid, boil for 8 minutes. Drain.

 Chop the tomatoes and onions. Wash the chickpeas. Mix with the orzo, basil and mint.

 Blend the sauce, add and mix. Store in fridge.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Strawberry panna cotta

This is a delightful summer dessert. Unbelievably easy to prepare.

1 pound strawberries
1.75 cup buttermilk
5 tbsp white sugar
2.5 tsp gelatin
0.25 cup milk
0.25 cup heavy cream

Mix the gelatin and the milk. Set aside to bloom for 15 minutes.

Add the strawberries, sugar and half the buttermilk to a blender. Blend until smooth. Add in the remaining buttermilk and mix.

 Strain out all seeds.

 Heat the cream to just boiling, remove from heat and add in the gelatin mix. Stir to dissolve and mix with the filtered strawberry extract.

 Pour into six 6-ounce ramekins. Cover with foil and cool overnight.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Mushroom udon

 This was an instant lunch creation and it tasted very good!

1 personal package of udon noodles
4-6 white button mushrooms
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 clove minced garlic
0.25 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp canola oil
2-4 tbsp water

Slice the mushrooms into 4 slices each. Mix the mirin, sugar and soy sauce, until sugar is dissolved.

Preheat a pan on medium-high, add the oil and the mushrooms. Do not crowd them. Brown the mushrooms.

Add the garlic and ginger, cook for 30 seconds. Add noodles and 2-4 tbsp water to loosen them. Add the mirin mixture and simmer on low until noodles absorb it all. Serve!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sweet and spicy chicken pasta salad

 Just a strange creation from various leftovers I'm trying to use up before traveling. It actually turned out quite nice.

1 lb chicken breast
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
1 tbsp soy sauce
3 cloves of minced garlic

4 oz spaghetti
0.5 cup sweet chili sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
mixed spring greens
black pepper

 Break the spaghetti into 1 inch pieces, cook according to box instructions to al dente. Meanwhile, cut the chicken breast into large chunks and pulse the chunks in a food processor ten times. This will result in something that's slightly rougher than ground chicken.

Mince the garlic. Preheat the oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and the ginger. Stir around for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the chicken pieces, season with a small pinch of salt and black pepper. Allow to brown, stirring occasionally.

 Add the soy sauce, the cooked noodles and the sweet chili sauce. Bring back to a simmer, then remove from the heat. Serve over fresh greens, which may be tossed with a light vinaigrette, if desired.

Summer strawberry dessert

 A quick improv resembling strawberry short cake.

1 pound strawberries
icing sugar to taste
0.5 box yellow cake, prepared per box instructions
whipped cream

Cut cake into slices. Slice cleaned strawberries and mix with icing sugar to taste. Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes.

Spoon strawberry mix onto cake. Serve with whipped cream.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Walnut-raisin bundt cake

 I never liked raisins in pastry. My brother and I always picked them out of every food, so after a while my mum stopped including them. Recently I had this idea that it's a texture issue, and that maybe if I mince the raisins or turn them into a paste, the flavor would be acceptable. I prepared the raisin paste in my food processor, and chose to use it as a thickening agent and sweetener in cinnamon rolls.

1 portion of this dough with 0.5 tsp cardamom
2 tbsp cinnamon
1 cup ground walnuts
1 cup golden raisins
0.25 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp sugar
confectioners sugar

Prepare the dough with the cardamom. Set aside egg whites for egg wash. Allow the dough to rise once, then punch down.

 In a food processor, process raisins, walnuts and half of the cinnamon until the raisins are finely chopped.

Roll out the dough. Spread the the melted butter, sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon and the brown sugar.

 Distribute the nut-raisin filling on top. Roll up like a jelly roll.

 Place into a Bundt shape sprayed with cooking spray, orienting the dough seam side-up. Brush with vegetable oil. Allow to double in size in a warm place.

 Brush with egg wash, sprinkle with one tbsp of white sugar.

Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 30-40 minutes, until lightly browned on top. Flip out onto a plate. Allow to cool completely, sprinkle with confectioners sugar, if so desired. Serve!

Tomato salad

 Yesterday I picked up a box of cherry tomatoes at the supermarket. I very skillfully proceeded to drop them on the floor. The tomatoes rolled all over and me and my husband scrambled to pick them up. The temptation to just return the box was huge, but I ended up purchasing them, with the intention of throwing them away at home. Who wants to eat tomatoes that rolled around the supermarket floor?

It turns out: me. None of the cherry tomatoes burst, so I just ended up spraying them with a dilute solution of peroxide, then rinsing them very thoroughly. I am eating them if no more posts appear here, you can conclude this wasn't such a good idea.

0.25 cup sour cream
1 tbsp mayo
3 oz cheddar cheese

Clean the tomatoes, if you are using large ones, slice them into wedges.

Mix the mayo with the sour cream, drizzle onto the tomatoes. Shred the cheese and sprinkle on top. Salt to taste.

Serve immediately, as part of the above Mediterranean platter, if you like.

Fried toast

 I was watching Julie and Julia while exercising, and the part where Julie makes tomato bruschetta inspired me to make this for a quick lunch.

slices of Eastern European white bread
olive oil

Heat a pan with a few teaspoonfuls of olive oil on medium high. Add the slices of toast when the oil is hot. Brown both sides lightly.

 Salt and rub with a garlic clove. Serve!

Rib eye steak

 I'm not one to eat large chunks of meat frequently, but I occasionally crave it. Due to multiple concerns relating to the meat industry, I try to buy meat from local farms. Not only does it taste better, but it is also healthier and ethically less problematic.

8 oz rib eye steaks
canola oil
black pepper

Preheat the oven to 450F, with a cast iron skillet in it. Pat the steaks dry and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper generously.

Remove the preheated skillet and place onto a burner preheated to medium-high. (My cast iron skillet does not allow high on an electric burner.)

Place the steak in the middle and sear for 3 minutes. Turn with a tongue and sear the other side as well.

 Finish baking in the preheated oven for 3 minutes, then flip and cook the other side for 3 minutes as well. Remove onto a plate and cover with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 2 minutes. Serve.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Raspberry walnut crepes

 It seems every time I got to TJMax, I wind up purchasing a new jar of jam. Some of my favorites are from Maine and Switzerland. Delicious jams are a crucial component of jam-crepes and an important topping on scones. Below is a quick crepe recipe I whipped up with one of my newest acquisitions.

2 crepes
3 tbsp raspberry jam
2 tbsp ground walnuts


Spread half of the jam on each of the crepes, covering the bottom two-thirds. Sprinkle with ground walnut. Roll up and serve.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Black bean soup

 Super spicy, though it will depend a lot on your batch of jalapenos. Extremely tasty with sour cream, and does not require any bread.

1 lb black beans
3 jalapeno peppers
6 cups water
2 bouillon cube
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp Sriracha hot sauce
2 bay leaves
 sour cream

Wash the beans and cover with water so that the water surface is an inch above the beans. Bring to a boil and turn off the heat. Allow to sit for 2 hours. Drain the beans.

 Add the water, bouillon, spices and mince jalapeno to the soup. Bring to a boil and simmer until beans are cooked. Blend using a handheld blender.
Serve with sour cream, cilantro and freshly chopped tomatoes. Delicious!