Sunday, September 30, 2012

Peanut butter cereal bars

I was planning on calling these peanut butter nasties, they are such a sugary, unhealhty thing. But then I remembered, that they tasted pretty good, and that I do like rice I cant' rightfully malign this version of the super-sweet cereal bar.

1 cup sugar
1 cup white corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups cheerios

Bring sugar and syrup to a boil.

Remove from heat and add the peanut butter until homogenenous. Pour onto cereal.

Toss with cereal to coat evenly, spread into a large, 9 by 13 inch pan. Allow to cool at room temperature overnight. Slice and serve.

Blackberry clafoutis

Another flavor of this tasty, custardy goodness.

6 oz blackberries
2 eggs
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
0.75 cup and 1 tbsp milk
2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Take a 9-inch deep pie shape and butter it well. Distribute the washed raspberries onto it.

 To a blender add the eggs, the milk, salt and the vanilla. Mix the flour and sugar in a separate bowl before pouring it into the blender. This will help it not to clump.

 Blend the mixture until smooth. Carefully pour onto fruit. Bake in a preheated 425F oven for 15-20 minutes, or until it just sets.
This looks amazing and the texture turns out better in a smaller pan. Serve barely warm.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Coconut macaroons

This is a twist on the traditional version, developed by smitten kitchen. My husband made it, to use up some leftover sweetened coconut flakes. I actually prefer it with a lot fewer raspberries, and less sugar. But I'm not one for overly sweet desserts. This stores for a few days.

14 sweetened coconut flakes
0.5 cup granulated sugar
3 egg whites
0.25 tsp salt
0.5 tsp almond extract
8-10 raspberries

Preheat oven to 325F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a food processor, blend coconut for a minute. Add sugar, bland for one more minute. Add egg whites, salt, almond extract and blend for one more minute. Super easy!

Add raspberries and pulse a few times, do not prepare a homogeneous mix, just blend in the berries a bit.

Scoop one-inch mounds onto the baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned on top. Cool and serve.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Baked sweet buttercup squash

My new favorite is buttercup squash (the strange little green ones in front of the butternut squash among my new stash of winter squash here), none of the stringiness of the other squashes, and ten times the flavor of a butternut squash. Amazingly sweet, without any maple syrup added.
There is one caveat, its juices are extremely sticky and not washable from your hands. When they dry they peel off in one sheet. Very interesting.

Cut squash in half, remove seeds, place cut side-down onto a baking sheet. Bake for an hour in a 400F preheated oven. So delicious!

Happy first day of autumn to everyone! It is my favorite season :-)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Hungarian potato croquettes

If you love mashed potatoes and deep fried stuff, this is a food invented for you. Who wouldn't love deep-fried mashed potatoes? That's what these really are, and they are indeed amazing. If you get tempted to leave out the parsley, resist it. You need lots of delicious fresh parsley in this. That's what makes it amazing. Plus, you must serve it with a side of plain Greek yogurt. Yum!

300g cooked potatoes
100g flour
1 egg
0.25 cup fresh parsley leaves

for breading:
2 eggs
1/3 cup breadcrumbs

Press the potatoes through a potato ricer. Add the flour and mix.

 Add the egg and the parsley, salt to taste (as you would mashed potatoes). Mix until a soft dough forms.

 Roll out on a well-floured surface into a half-inch-thick layer. Cut into half-inch-thick strips, then cut into 2.5 inch long pieces.

 Roll each piece into a tubular shape.

Bread each piece by dipping it in whisked, salted egg and breadcrumbs. Deep fry until golden brown. Serve!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Gnocchi and chicken baked in sour cream

This was a quick and delicious dish, in particular since I cheated and used premade gnocchi from the pasta aisle. Next time I will try it with the home made stuff.

1 pound gnocchi
1.5 cup sour cream
0.25 cup water
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken meat
2 cloves garlic
0.25 cup shredded parmesan
0.5 cup chopped chives
black pepper
2 tbsp butter

Melt the butter in a skilled. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant.

Add the cooked chicken meat. I roasted chicken thighs for it, but chicken breast can be used as well.

Stir and mix in the sour cream, water and chives. Season with salt and black pepper. Pour into an oven-proof dish, Sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

 Bake at 400F in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Serve.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fresh tomato soup

You should only attempt this soup, if you have wonderful ripe garden tomatoes available. The tomato-like creatures found in supermarkets will simply not do here.

1 onion
4 cups diced tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
0.5 tsp ground cloves
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 bay leaf
0.25 cup chopped fresh basil
salt and black pepper to taste

Add the diced tomatoes, minced garlic, and diced onion to a pot. Add the spices (but not the basil) and the chicken broth. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes.

In a separate pan, melt butter and add the flour. Prepare a light golden roux. Pour into soup while stirring constantly. Puree with an immersion blender.

Adjust seasoning after adding the milk. Remove from heat and stir in fresh basil. Serve.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Raspberry clafoutis

This is a very delicious, custardy spin on tart fresh fruit. An amazing and quick breakfast.

6 oz raspberries
2 eggs
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
0.75 cup and 1 tbsp milk
2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Take a 9-inch deep pie shape and butter it well. Distribute the washed raspberries onto it.

To a blender add the eggs, the milk, salt and the vanilla. Mix the flour and sugar in a separate bowl before pouring it into the blender. This will help it not to clump.

Blend the mixture until smooth. Carefully pour onto fruit. Bake in a preheated 425F oven for 15-20 minutes, or until it just sets. Serve barely warm.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Coconut rice pudding

This was simply delicious, not too sweet, with a touch of coconut flavor. Amazingly tasty! Thanks to Chef John for the idea.

1.5 tbsp butter
2/3 cup arborio rice
1 can (400mL) coconut milk
4 cups + 0.25 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
0.25 tsp vanilla
1 egg yolk

Melt the butter in a pot on medium heat. In a separate pot, heat the 4 cups milk and the coconut milk nearly to its boiling point.

 Add the rice to the melted butter and cook for 1-2 minutes, until very lightly browned.

Scoop in about a quarter cup of milk into the rice, let it absorb, stirring constantly. Continue ladling in the milk until the rice is slightly softened, letting it absorb between every scoop. After about 10 minutes add the sugar. Keep cooking until the rice is the desired softness.

Mix the 0.25 cup milk with the egg yolk, add to the ready rice pudding, bring back to a simmer. Add the vanilla and a tiny pinch of salt. Ladle into 6 small ramekins. Cover with foil, pressing it into the top, to prevent membrane formation. Serve chilled.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Basil pesto

The king of all sauces out there.

4 cups basil leaves
5 large cloves of garlic
0.5 cup hazelnuts
1.3 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 cup freshly ground parmesan
black pepper

Wash and drain the basil leaves. Pat dry. Add to a food processor, along with the garlic and the nuts. Pulse until chopped.

Add 1 cup of oil, puree until smooth. Freeze at this point, topped with the remaining oil. If eating fresh, then add the cheese, remaining oil and season with salt and pepper.

Chili dogs

Ah, I do so love junk food. My husband is the voice of reason in our family, when it comes to deciding whether we should eat in McDonalds, Taco Bell, KFC or Pizza Hut. I have a weak spot for their carefully engineered, delicious, comforting flavors. I can't eat too much of their food, but I crave it every one in a while. Well, this chili dog was reasonably healthy, and it successfully supplanted my junk food fix for an evening.

4 Fearless Franks from the Niman Ranch
4 whole wheat sub rolls
1 cup of hot bean chili
2 jalapeno peppers
1 cubanelle pepper
1 tomato
1 onion

Mince peppers, tomato and onion. Heat chili and cook hot dogs (in a few tbsp of water that will evaporate in the cooking process). Toast buns.

Place the hot dogs on the bun, add a  quarter cup of chili on each. Sprinkle on a quarter of the veggies. Serve. Amazing, spicy, delicious!

Beet risotto

This was not as amazing as I expected, but I suspect that's my fault. I'm not a fan of risotto. This is the third time I had risotto (the other two times in restaurants), and while I can appreciate the flavor, the consistency is not for me. I love my rice pudding sweet...

3 medium-small beets
4 cups chicken stock

1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp butter
1 cup arborio rice
0.25 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
1 tsp balsamic
black pepper

Roast two beets for 60 minutes at 400F. (Wash, rub with oil, pierce in 2-3 places with a knife).

Chop the onion in a food processor. Chop the garlic. Shred the roasted beets, dice the raw one.

Heat the broth to nearly boiling. To a pot, add the butter and the onion, cook until soft. Add the rice and cook, stirring for 2 minutes (very lightly golden). Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the wine and cook until absorbed.

Ladle in the hot broth a third cup at a time, constantly stirring until it is absorbed. After 10 minutes of cooking, add the diced beets. Keep cooking and stirring, as you add the stock.

When the rice reaches the desired texture (about 30 minutes), add the shredded beet, balsamic vinegar and the parmesan. Season with salt and black pepper. Serve topped with goat cheese.

Spicy burger

This was an amazing and unusual burger, but we enjoyed it a great deal. The heat made us cry and cleared our sinuses thoroughly.

1 lb ground beef
1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
0.5 tsp cayenne
0.25 tsp hot pepper flakes
1 tsp hot Montreal steak spice
2 fefferoni peppers
4 oz goat cheese
French bread for 4
black pepper

Mix the cold beef with the chives, salt, cayenne, pepper flakes, seeded and minced fefferoni. Sprinkle a large plate with Montreal steak spice, form four patties on it.

Grill on 350F setting on electric grill. Grill French bread pieces for four.

Place the burger on the French bread, sprinkle with goat cheese, add a large tomato slice and serve. Delicious!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Nutella and banana crepes

This arrangement was done at Kuskus in Bitola, Macedonia. Beautiful and tasty!

2 crepes
2 tbsp Nutella
0.5 cup + 2 tbsp whipped cream
1 ripe banana

Mix the Nutella with 2 tbsp whipped cream to soften it. Fold it into the remaining whipped cream. Spread onto half of each of the crepes. Distribute banana slices on it. Fold over, and spread 1 tbsp of the mixture onto each crepe half, then fold into quarters. Decorate.

Peach cake

Peaches from the supermarket are invariably unimpressive in Northern stores. To store them for an extended period of time, they get refrigerated, which turns their texture mealy and dry. Unfortunately, they also lack in flavor. ATK uses peach schnapps to improve these issues. Their cake was a little too sweet for me, so here is a modified version.

2 lb peaches
5 tbsp peach schnapps
4 tsp lemon juice
0.5 cup and 2 tbsp sugar
1 cup flour
1.25 tsp baking powder
0.75 tsp salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
7 tbsp butter
0.25 cup sour cream
1.5 tsp vanilla
0.5 tsp almond extract
0.25 cup breadcrumbs

Wash and slice the peaches into 0.5-inch slices (unpeeled, the peel will bake nicely). Set aside 24 slices and add 2 tbsp schnapps, 2 tsp lemon juice and 1 tbsp sugar to them. Cut the remaining peaches into 0.5-inch chunks. Toss with 3 tbsp schnapps, 2 tsp lemon juice, and 2 tbsp sugar. Spread out onto a baking sheet and bake at 425F for 25 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.

Spray 9-inch pan with oil spray, coat bottom with nonstick baking paper. Cool oven to 350F.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together. Mix the eggs with quarter cup sugar and the brown sugar for 45 seconds. Whisk in melted and cooled butter. Add sour cream, vanilla, and 0.25 tsp almond extract. Mix. Whisk in flour mixture until just combined.

Pour half of the batter into the 9-inch springform pan. Toss with breadcrumbs and distribute the baked peaches on top.

Pour over the remaining batter, distribute gently on top. Arrange the peach wedges on top. Sprinkle with a mixture of 3 tbsp sugar and 0.25 tsp almond extract.

Bake in 350F oven for 50-60 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean from center.

Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove the sides and cool for 2-3 hours before serving with barely sweetened whipped cream.