Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Walnut and pumkin pastry

Another invention I was tempted not to share. But then, it's so easy and nice to search my own recipes this way, that it's simply not worth the trouble. No one will find this here anyway :-)

0.25 cup warm water
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp yeast
0.5 tsp cardamom
0.25 tsp cloves
0.25 tsp cinnamon
1 egg yolk
1.25 cup flour
1 tbsp sugar
0.25 tsp salt

1/3 cup ground walnuts
3 tbsp brown sugar
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp vanilla sugar
1 egg white
2 tbsp butter
decorating sugar

Bloom the yeast with the sugar in the water. Add the room temperature pumpkin puree and the egg yolk, mix well.

 Mix the flour with the spices and salt.Cut in the butter. Pour in the wet ingredients and knead until a smooth dough forms. Add more flour if necessary, but be sure to make a soft, slightly sticky dough.

Coat a bowl with a little bit of oil. Add the dough, turn, cover and allow to double in size (about an hour).

Meanwhile, mix the walnut, sugar, spices and egg white for the filling.

Cut the dough into two unequal portions, one should be about twice as big as the other. Roll out on a floured surface. Spread softened butter on them, then distribute the filling. Roll one jelly-roll style and place onto the other. Fold up to inclose the first.

Place onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper, seem-side down. Brush with butter and allow to rise for about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F. Sprinkle top of dough with sugar.

Bake until light brown, about 30 minutes. Allow to cool on a cookie rack before cutting. The egg white in the filling mix will keep it very moist and delicious.

Chocolate biscotti

I'm not a fan of coffee, it makes me all jittery. As a consequence, I'm not a fan of biscotti either. But this one, well, lets just say you don't need any coffee to eat this with.

1 cup flour
6 tbsp cocoa powder
0.5 tsp baking soda
0.25 tsp table salt
2 eggs
0.5 cup sugar
0.5 tsp vanilla
a tiny drop of almond extract
0.5 cup chopped hazelnuts
1/3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

In a different bowl beat eggs, sugar, vanilla and almond extract.

Stir in dry ingredients, chocolate chips and chopped hazelnuts. Shape into a log and place onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper.

Bake for 25 minutes, until the dough feels firm. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes. Slice into half-inch slices. Lay the slices onto the lined baking sheetand bake another 15 minutes.

If you wish to, dip in melted chocolate and store in an airtight container.

Peppers and sausage pasta sauce

I think I have an absolute crush on the flavor of softened, sweet red bell peppers in pasta sauce. Add to this some spicy Italian sausage, and I'm in food bliss.

1 large red bell pepper
1 yellow onion
2 Italian sausages
1 jar marinara sauce
1 clove garlic
0.5 tsp oregano
0.5 tsp pepper flakes
1 tbsp olive oil  

Slice the pepper and onion. Cook in the olive oil until softened. Squeeze out the sausage from its skin and add little sausage balls to the pan. Cook without crushing them up. 

Add the minced garlic and the other spices. Cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomato sauce, rinse the jar with half a cup of water and add to the sauce. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until desired thickness is reached and flavors are nicely combined.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Apple craisin scones

 I love my standard almond scones. They are the most amazing scones ever. Or at least they were, until this variation came along. The apples in this one keep the scone even more moist, and the craisins add the occasional bite of tangy surprise. I guess this should be a harvest dish, because Macs are best in the fall, and these scones are amazing with tart, fresh Macintosh apples.

1.25 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 tbsp sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp baking soda
0.25 tsp salt
0.25 cup craisins
1 Macintosh apple
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 stick butter

Mix the dry ingredients. Peel and core the apple, cut into thin slices and cut each slice into thirds.

Add the craisins and apples to the flour mix. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter.

Mix the buttermilk and the vanilla. Pour in and quickly mix by hand until it just comes together. Pat out into an inch-thick layer on a well-floured surface. Cut into 8 pieces.

Brush top with buttermilk and bake at 375 F until light brown. Serve warm!

Zucchini and poppy seed bread

What to do with gigantic, overgrown zucchini? Well, my husband was not a fan of stuffed zucchini (neither was I, really), so we remain with zucchini bread options. Did you know that zucchini has one of the highest fiber to calorie ratios of all food stuffs? Well, you know now, so you should start eating some zucchini.

Poppy seeds are one of the quintessential foods in Hungary. Consequently, I always have some around. A big difference between our poppy seed consumption and that of Westerners is that we grind the seeds to release their flavor. You should try it sometime...

1 cup ground poppy seeds
0.5 cup flour
0.5 cup whole wheat flour
0.5 tsp salt
0.5 tsp baking soda
0.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp grated lemon zest
0.75 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups grated, squeezed zucchini
1/3 cup vegetable oil
0.25 cup buttermilk

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, with the exception of the sugar.

Mix the eggs, lemon zest and the sugar. Add the oils and zucchini, mix very well. Add the vanilla and buttermilk.

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Butter a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Cut a piece of baking paper to line the bottom.

Mix the dry ingredients into the moist ones. Do not overmix. Pour into the baking shape and bake for about an hour (until center is done). Remove from pan and allow to cool before serving.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Cauliflower cream soup

 A delicious cream soup with a delicate flavor. Super simple, very healthy.

2 heads of cauliflower
1 russet potato
1 yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
4 cups water
1 Bouillon cube
1 tsp lemon zest
0.5 cup cream
0.25 cup nutmeg

Saute the chopped onion for 5 minutes. Remove the leaves from the cauliflower heads and chop them roughly.

Add the garlic to the pot and cook for 30 seconds. Add the potato peeled and chopped in quarters, add the cauliflower.

Pour in the water and bring to a simmer. Add the Bouillon and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the potato is soft. Add the lemon zest and blend until very smooth with an immersion blender.

Add the cream and nutmeg. Season with salt and serve. This tastes better a day later.


I've never tried moussaka before, but I seem to like the cinnamon-seasoned beef sauces, so we gave this a shot. It did not disappoint. 

4 medium eggplants
0.25 cup olive oil
1 lb ground beef
1 cup roasted tomato marinara
0.25 tsp cinnamon
0.5 tsp nutmeg
0.25 tsp dried oregano
0.25 tsp dried mint
0.25 tsp dried basil
2 tbsp dried parsley
0.5 cup red wine
1 egg
3 tbsp flour
4 tbsp butter
2 cup milk
white pepper
1 cup Parmesan cheese

Peel and slice the eggplant into 0.5-inch slices. Salt lightly and allow to sit for 30 minutes on paper towels. Pat dry.

Preheat oven to 450F. Lay eggplant slices onto baking sheets, brush lightly with olive oil. Bake 10-15 minutes, until softened.

In a large skillet cook the beef. Tilt to the side to drain off excess fat. Season with cinnamon, 0.25 tsp nutmeg, herbs. Stir in tomato sauce and wine, simmer for 10 minutes. Allow to cool and mix in egg.

Melt 4 tbsp butter, add the 3 tbsp flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in 2 cups of cold milk. Bring back to a boil and allow to thicken.

Layer half the eggplant into a greased lasagne pan. Pour the beef sauce on top. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup grated Parmesan. Layer the second half of the eggplant on top. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup Parmesan. Pour on white sauce and distribute remaining Parmesan. Dust with 0.25 tsp nutmeg.

Bake in a preheated 350F oven for one hour. Serve warm (not hot).

Spinach quiche

Tasty and full of veggies.

3 lb spinach leaves
1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
6 eggs
1 pie crust
0.25 cup cream
4 oz cheddar cheese
0.5 tsp celery salt
0.25 tsp cayenne
black pepper
2 oz Parmesan

Preheat oven to 350F. Pulse the spinach in a food processor until finely chopped. Pulse the onion and garlic in a food processor until minced

Add spinach to a pot and cook on medium until most of the water has evaporated. Add 1 tbsp butter to a pan and cook the onion and garlic until translucent, do not brown.

Mix the spinach and garlic, cook for a minute and allow to cool. Beat the eggs and mix into the spinach. Season with celery salt, cayenne, black pepper and salt.

Add the shredded cheese and the heavy cream. Mix and pour into pie crust in a 9-inch deep pie pan. Top with Parmesan, may decorate with tomatoes or bacon bits.

Bake until just set, about 35-45 minutes.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fall fruit salad

This was my practice for preparing orange segments (supremes).

2 oranges
2 Macintosh apples
1 Asian pear
1 cup grapes

Cut off the ends of the oranges, then peel them all the way to the flesh. Slice out the meat without the membranes, going around the orange.

Peel the apples and cut into eight wedges, then half each wedge. Cut the Asian pear into half-inch pieces. Cut the grapes into half.

Toss the fruits and juice the orange pieces on top. Serve.

Pentavegetable cream soup

I had a bunch of greens and some other veggies on hand and with this unfortunate-looking but tasty soup I used them all up in one go. The unfortunate appearance was sue to the red of the beet greens, by the way. So, if you have kale or chard to use, this will come out a lot more visually appealing.

10 oz green peas
2 carrots
greens of 5 beets
10 oz broccoli
2 potatoes
1 yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp butter
4.5 cups chicken stock
0.5 cup heavy cream
8 oz cheddar cheese
black pepper

Saute the diced onion on the butter until soft. Add the garlic for 30 seconds, then add the stock and all the veggies chopped roughly. Cook for 20-30 minutes, until potatoes are soft. Blend until smooth.

Add the shredded cheddar cheese and the heavy cream. Stir and season with salt and black pepper. Serve warm with crusty bread.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Harvest tomato pie

This was amazing. I can state this in spite of the fact that I could barely taste it, due to severely stuffy sinuses. Even through all that, I could smell it. Plus, my husband's face expression gave it away. This must be repeated. Over and over. But only with the most delicious home-grown tomatoes. Anything less and this flops.

1 pie crust
2 large, home-grown heirloom tomatoes
3 tbsp home-made basil pesto
3 tsp dried oregano
4 oz Feta cheese
2 oz Parmesan cheese
3 oz Monterey jack cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Roll out the pie crust and place into a 10-inch tart shape.

Brush with home-made basil pesto. Spread the grated Parmesan and Monterey jack cheeses on top.

Slice the tomatoes into 0.5-inch slices and arrange in slightly overlapping layers over cheese. Sprinkle Feta on them and dust with the oregano. Fold edges on top slightly.

Bake at 425F for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 350F and bake for a further 20 minutes. It is done when cheese is browned on top.

Allow to rest for 5 minutes and serve still hot. This does not store well (it will get soggy).

Roasted broccoli

The best broccoli I've ever tried. The quick roasting gives it so much flavor, and using real lemon and lemon zest is a must. So delicious.

2 lb fresh broccoli
2 cloves garlic
olive oil
0.5 tsp salt
0.25 tsp black pepper
zest and juice of one lemon
0.25 cup freshly grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 425F. Cut broccoli into florets, leaving 1-1.5-inch stalks on them. Drizzle with olive oil and toss. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned.

Meanwhile, mix 1 tbsp olive oil, the lemon juice (about 1.5 tbsp), lemon zest and minced garlic. Preheat dressing in microwave.

Toss broccoli with mixed, hot dressing. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve immediately.

Split pea soup

Soup season has arrived to the Northeast, and I'm embracing it with complete enthusiasm. This amazing split pea soup was very easy to make, and a significant improvement over any other split pea soup I've ever had. Thanks ATK for the inspiration!

2 tbsp butter
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
6 cups water
12 oz ham steaks
5 slices of bacon
1 pound of split peas
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
black pepper

Heat the butter and saute the diced onions with 0.5 tsp salt until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the smashed garlic cloves and cook for 30 seconds.

Rinse the peas and add to the pot along with the water, ham steaks, bacon, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and simmer on low heat for 45 minutes.

Remove ham steaks and bacon and cook soup for another 30 minutes. Remove bay leaves and blend soup until smooth.

Dice bacon and ham and add back into the soup. Season with salt and black pepper.