Friday, December 28, 2012

Sausage and egg pizza


This one is insipred by chef John. A delicious pizza that I will be making egg-free in the future.

1 portion pizza dough
3 tbsp pizza sauce
4 oz fontina cheese
4 oz Courico Portuguese sausage
4 eggs
2 oz Parmesan
red pepper flakes
black pepper
balsamic vinegar
corn meal

Stretch the pizza dough into a 12-inch pizza shape sprinkled with corn meal. Brush dough with olive oil. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and oregano.

Distribute the tomato sauce on top. Sprinkle most of the grated fontina on top. Add the sausages to form four circles. Sprinkle the remaining fontina on top of the sausage slices.

Place pizza into preheated 475F oven. Crack the eggs into four ramekins. After the pizza baked for 12 minutes, add the four eggs into the center of each sausage circle. Sprinkle with Parmesan and black pepper. Bake until egg whites are just set (about 5-6 minutes).

Serve topped with arugula drizzled with olive oil and balsamic. Delicious!

Vegetable barley soup


This was very delicious. The new year is coming up and I'm planning on becoming a weekday-vegetarian for a few months in the spring. The idea is to lose some weight and eat healthy. We will see how it goes. Firstly I will need to create a "vegetarian" label on this site. That will be helpful.

1 cup barley
3 carrots
28 oz diced tomatoes
1 red bell pepper
1 large yellow onion
1 clove garlic
10 oz mushrooms
3 stalks celery
0.25 tsp cayenne
0.25 tsp paprika
black pepper
2 cups broth
1 tbsp olive oil

Brown the sliced mushrooms. Dice the onions and pepper, slice the carrots and the celery. Mince the garlic.

Boil the barley in salty water until just tender. Drain.

Add the onion to the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Add the celery and pepper and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic, cayenne and paprika and cook for 60 seconds.

Add the diced tomatoes with the juice, also the carrots. Pour in the broth. Simmer until carrots are slightly tender. Add the cooked barley.

Simmer for 5 minutes. Adjust heat, sweetness, salt and serve!

Gingerbread cookies

I've never built a gingerbread house. It's not something people did in Hungary. Nowadays many people do, just as they celebrate Halloween and mix Saint Nicholas into Christmas somehow.
The first few times I encountered ginger bread, I did not regret missing out on this holiday tradition at all. The cookies were rock hard and dry. Finally, I came across this recipe in my high school (traded it with a professor for a traditional Hungarian recipe). These gingerbread cookies are deliciously soft, even two days after baking. There were none left on the third day, so I do not have any datapoints to plot there :-)

0.5 cup lard
0.5 cup sugar
1 small egg
0.5 cup molasses
0.5 tbsp vinegar
2.5 cups sifted flour
0.75 tsp baking soda
0.25 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
0.5 tsp cinnamon
0.5 tsp cloves 

Cream lard and sugar. Beat in the egg, molasses and vinegar.

Sift together the dry ingredients and blend into creamed mixture.

Chill for three hours covered tightly in foil.

Roll dough on a lightly floured surface until 0.25-cm-thick. Cut into shapes and bake on parchment paper in a 375F preheated oven for 5-6 minutes. Do not overcook.

Cool on sheet pan briefly before transferring to a cookie rack. Makes about 30 pieces.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Lemon madeleine cookies

I've never been one for the cookies in the US. I admit, some of them taste very good (snickerdoodles come to mind), they are generally too sugary and buttery. This light and airy cookie with a hint of lemon and a slight sweet taste prevails in our household. Luckily, it was also found to be popular with others. Super-easy to prepare. Maybe its only disadvantage is that it is best fresh...though there is never any left to store.

1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
0.5 tsp vanilla extract
0.5 tsp grated fresh lemon peel
0.5 cup flour
0.25 tsp baking powder
5 tbsp butter
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375F, butter and flour madeleine shape (12 cookies).

Melt butter and allow to equilibrate back to room temperature.

Using electric mixer, beat the eggs and the sugar until white and frothy (about 5 minutes). Add the vanilla and lemon peel. Mix a small pinch of salt and the baking powder with the flour. Add to the egg mix.

Pour in butter slowly while mixing. Spoon into madeleine shapes, about one tbsp for each cookie.

Bake for about 10 minutes, until edges are just golden brown. Do not brown tops.

Remove from shape by tapping the pan upside-down against the counter. Cool cookies on a cookie rack. Dust lightly with powdered sugar before serving.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Chicken adobo

Also called "adobe chicken" :-)
This was a new flavor for me. It worked out very well and I would love to repeat it in the future. The sauce made rice taste unbelievably amazing.

4 chicken thighs
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion
7 cloves garlic
0.75 cup rice vinegar
0.25 cup brown sugar
1/3-0.5 cup soy sauce
1 cup chicken broth
2 tsp sambal chili sauce
4 bay leaves

Slice the onions, mince the garlic.

Season thighs with salt and black pepper. Brown the chicken in the vegetable oil. Set aside on a plate.

Add the slice onion and salt lightly. Cook on medium until it turns translucent. Add the chopped garlic and cook briefly, do not brown!

Add the rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, sambal, broth and bay leaves.

Bring back to a simmer and return chicken thighs into it. Cover and braise meat until tender.

Reduce sauce as necessary, serve over rice.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Coconut chocolate cake

There is a candy bar sold in Europe called "Bounty". It was my absolute favorite as a child. It's good dark chocolate filled with sweet, juicy coconut. Somewhat resembles Mounds, but I always thought it was better. The coconut in it is in larger chunks and it seems juicier. This cake was a somewhat failed experiment. I nicely cut out a circle of parchment paper to line the pan. Unfortunately, it decided to float up and cut the cake in half horizontally, with all the custard below the paper and all the coconut above it. Alas, in a rescue operation worthy of Julia Child, the cake was flipped, the paper removed and the cake reassembled. It tasted amazing, and one could not tell the difference.
In any case, this recipe contains the remedy for the parchment paper problem.

300 mL milk
50 g corn starch
400 g sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs
200 mL heavy cream
150 g coconut flakes

4 oz chocolate
1/3 cup heavy cream
0.25 tsp rum flavor

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a bowl whisk the starch to the milk. Add the condensed milk, the eggs, cream and the coconut. Mix well.

Line an 11-inch spring-form pan with parchment paper, pinching it into the sides and cutting the sheet around the outside. Coat with two layers of aluminum foil, to ensure that it is water proof. Set the baking shape into a large glass pan.

Pour in cake batter into the sprin-form pan. Fill up the outer pan with water, to about one inch. Make sure the water layer does not go above the aluminum foil.

Bake in the oven for one hour, or until set. Cool on a rack and remove the side of the pan only when cold. Flip onto a serving platter.

Dice the chocolate and add the heavy cream. Bring to a boil in the microwave, allow to sit then stir. Add the rum extract. Coat the cake. Chill overnight and serve.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Hash browns

Potato pancakes are one of my favorite things from my childhood. At some point I may post my grandmother's recipe here, it is a more decadent, greasier version. This one is crispy outside, soft inside and amazing topped with a fried egg.

2 medium russet potatoes
1 tbsp clarified butter
black pepper

Peel and shred the potatoes on the medium shredder. Soak in cold water. Rinse twice.

Squeeze out and dry on a paper towel.

Preheat a large skillet on medium heat with the butter.

Add the potatoes, season with salt and black pepper. Cook for 3 minutes, turn.

Keep cooking and turning until golden brown outside.

Trout spread

A delicious appetizer, but rather smelly. Be sure everyone in your company has some, so they can't complain about the smell :-)

10 oz smoked trout
8 oz cream cheese
1 small onion
2 tbsp capers
black pepper

Mince the onion. Add everything to a bowl. Blend with a handheld mixer. Serve on toast.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Pumpkin ravioli

This was an experiment. It failed for multiple reasons, but half of the product was eaten nevertheless. Eaten with great gusto, I should add.
I've been craving pumpkin ravioli for a while now, and no good came of it. The frozen versions I tried were overly salt (really, I could not taste anything but salt). So I finally resorted to making my own. I also had this nifty ravioli press on hand...which ended up being the major cause of failure. Apparently, I was supposed to have the common sense of flouring it liberally (which I did not do). Consequently, everything stayed stuck in the shape. Well, that portion went in the garbage.
The next round I did by hand and with a pizza cutter. They turned out much better. I think next time I may brown the ravioli in some butter in a skillet before adding the sauce.

250g flour
1 egg

0.5 cup pumpkin puree
3 tbsp grated parmesan
1 packet vanilla sugar
0.25 tsp almond extract
0.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice

0.5 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp butter
0.25 cup almond paste
2 tbsp sugar

Mix the flour with sufficient salt to ensure the sough is not 'flat'. Add the egg and enough water to bring to a soft, elastic dough. Knead until smooth, allow to rest for 15 minutes, covered.

Mix the pumpkin with the other ingredients for the fillling.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Roll out half of the dough to be 1-mm-thick, on a well-floured surface. Spoon half-tablespoon portions onto the dough, about an inch apart. Cover with other sheet of dough. Press together around mounds of filling.

Cut up using a pizza cutter. Boil until cooked, about 4-5 minutes. Remove into your choice of sauce. Serve immediately.

The above sauce can be prepared by pulsing the almond paste with the sugar in a food processor, then adding the heavy cream and the butter, plus salt to taste. The mix can then be brought to a simmer.

Hungarian potato biscuits

This is a traditional Hungarian recipe that I prepared frequently during my college years. It's poor people's food, but very delicious. The potatoes have to be riced to ensure a perfect creamy texture. The cheese has to be a flavorful, low-fat type. The same dough can also be used filled with jam. My grandmother used to make huge panfuls of these, and we would eat them in no time. They are best fresh, but can be frozen as well.

750 g flour
1 egg + egg wash
5 medium Russet potatoes
125 g butter
0.5 cup milk
2 tsp yeast
2 tbsp water
0.5 tsp sugar
1.5 tsp salt
1/3 cup sour cream

Peel and cook the potatoes in salty water. Press through a potato ricer.

Mix the potatoes with the flour and salt. Bloom the yeast with the sugar in the water. Mix in the room temperature egg. Pour onto the potato mix.

Add the warm milk and the room-temperature sour cream. Knead until supple dough forms.

Roll out on a well-floured surface to 1-inch thick. Criss-cross the top with a knife. Cut circles with a 2-inch cookie cutter. Place onto baking sheet. Brush with egg wash and allow to rise for 40 minutes. If desired, sprinkle with grated Parmesan.

Bake in a preheated 400F oven until light brown. Cool on a cookie rack.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Roast beef wrap

I've gotten addicted to veggie wraps. The ones with hummus (a good, creamy type), quick-pickled veggies, shredded carrots and all things fresh :-) To change up my wrap-diet, I picked up some roast beef, as I had just the kind of cheese at home for a delicious roast beef wrap.

4 oz Boursin cheese
4 oz roast beef
2 wraps

Distribute the cheese onto the two wraps, spread onto the lower third of each wrap. Layer the thin-sliced roast beef on top.

Wash the veggies and cut the cucumbers and tomatoes, distribute on top. Add onion slices and some jalapeno slices. Salt lightly. Wrap up and serve.

Balsamic vinaigrette

Most store-bought salad dressings are very artificial tasting after one tries out less processed foods. I used to love many of the pre-packed salad dressings, but my new favorite is this easy, home-made, light dressing.

2 tbsp minced yellow onion
0.25 tsp black pepper
0.25 tsp salt
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp maple syrup
2.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Add everything to a jar. Shake well and drizzle on your salad. Yum!