Sunday, May 25, 2014

Veggie cream cheese

There is a bagel shop in in my town that sells the most amazing bagels and donuts. They are made on site and their texture is amazing. Truly. The best I've had. Of all the possible toppings, the savory ones are most delicious with some veggie cream cheese and maybe a fried egg to top it off. While you may not have access to the best bagels ever, I'm sure this combination would improve any bagel.

8 oz Neufchatel cheese
1 carrot
0.5 red bell pepper
0.5 yellow onion

Mince the carrot, bell pepper and yellow onion.

Microwave cheese just to soften it. Mix in vegetable ingredients.

Cover and allow to rest in the fridge overnight. Spread on your toasted bagel in the morning.

Simple pina colada

When you are missing the sunshine and flavors of the Caribbean, this drink is an easy way to soothe your soul. Of course, it never tastes as good as consumed by the ocean on a lounge chair.

4 fl oz of cream of coconut
4 fl oz of pineapple juice
2.5 fl oz of rum
2 cups ice
pineapple for garnish

Shake the cream of coconut well. Measure into a blender. Crush ice separately if your blender is a weakling like mine.

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Garnish with pineapple. Serve immediately.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Mushroom risotto

I haven't had much experience with mushroom risotto before. In college I participated in the preparation with a group of students, but the outcome (prepared under the supervision of a self-proclaimed expert chef) was rather terrible. Since I believed that the dish was as it ought to be, I haven't ventured in that direction until now. Well, this iteration was rather different, and much, much more delicious.

3 cups chicken broth
1 cup arborio rice
1 tbsp butter
0.5 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp olive oil
0.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
16 oz mushrooms
0.5 onion
0.5 tsp freshly minced rosemary
0.25 tsp lemon pepper
0.5 cup ground parmesan

Heat the chicken broth over low heat. Cook mushrooms in evoo until soft and slightly browned. Remove from pan, set aside. Add remaining olive oil and diced onions. Cook for a minute. Add rice and cook until pale golden. Stir constantly, do not burn.

Add the wine and stir until fully absorbed. Add the chicken stock 0.5 cup at a time, stir each time until fully absorbed. Cook until rice is al dente.

Stir in mushrooms, butter, lemon pepper, rosemary and shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Bird food

Winter in the Northeast was grueling this year. I felt sorry for all the little birdies looking for food, so I improvised a bird feeder and some food for them.

sunflower seeds
pumpkin seeds

Cut off the top of the orange and carve out the inside.

In a bowl mix the seeds and enough halva to hold it together. Press into the hollow orange. Pierce with a skewer and tie onto a branch. 

Wait for birdies to come and find your colorful bird feeder. The seeds can be selected to attract particular birds.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Myeolchi bokkeum

What better than crispy dried anchovies used as a salt, heat and garlic delivery system. This dish is optimal when made with tiny anchovies (which I did not have), but it worked just final with the slightly larger ones too.

1 tbsp hot Korean pepper paste
1 tbsp sambal chili paste
1 tbsp sugar
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp water
1 cup small dried anchovies
1 tbsp olive oil

Heat the fish on medium-high for a minute in a hot pan. Add the oil and heat for another minute or two. 

Add the sauce to the center of the pan. Allow to come to a simmer and mix in with the fish. 

Cook until desired thickness is reached. Serve with rice or as a side on stir fry.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Baked cottage cheese noodles

A Hungarian-adopted dish from Steiermark (Stiriai metelt), using the quintessential cottage cheese (turo) of the country. Amazing when topped with apricot jam.

250g cottage cheese
1 tbsp sour cream
50g butter
150mL heavy cream
2 tbsp sugar
1 egg
0.25 tsp lemon juice
200g flour + extra

5 eggs
5+3 tbsp sugar
2 tsp starch
2 tbsp vanilla sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup sour cream
1 tbsp breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 400F. Mix all the noodle ingredients with the exception of the flour and cream in a bowl. Add the cream as well. Finally add the flour.

Bring a large pot of water to boil with a pinch of salt added. In three portions roll out the dough into a quarter-inch thick layer. Cut into 2 inch long, half-inch-wide strips. Scoop into the boiling water and boil each portion for 2 minutes. Remove and drain into a bowl.

Separate the eggs required for the cream. Whip the yolks until glossy white with 5 tbsp sugar. Add the sour cream, vanilla and starch. Mix well.

Beat the egg whites in the other bowl. When halfway done, add the lemon juice. Add the 3 tbsp of sugar spoon by spoon. The foam should be glossy and hard.

Mix the white foam with the yolk mixture. Fold in without deflating.

Take a 9x11 inch shape and butter well. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Add one third of the foamy mix. Then half the noodles. The other third of the foamy mix, then the rest of the noodles and finally the rest of the cream.

Bake for 5 minutes in the hot oven, then lower the heat to 350F. Bake for a further 30 minutes. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then serve.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Guinness chocolate pudding

A delightfully decadent dessert with the rich flavor of chocolate and tangy undertones of Guinness.

0.25 can of Guinness
1 cup and 2 tbsp heavy cream
4 oz 60% Ghiradelli chocolate
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar

Pour the Guinness and allow it to sit to stop foaming.

Mix the heavy cream with the Guinness. Heat until bubbles just start to foam. Add the chopped chocolate and let it melt. Stir it in.

Mix the egg yolks with the sugar and slowly temper the eggs with the Guinness mixture. Combine the two components.

Cook over low heat until it thickens to coat the back of the spoon. Blend in a blender for 1 minute then distribute into four glasses. Refrigerate. Serve with whipped cream.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Apricot prosciutto flatbread

This was a unique combination for me. The sweet/tangy apricots with the salty/umami flavors of prosciutto were a hit arrangement.

1 portion pita bread dough
8 oz prosciutto
8 oz fontina
1 cup canned apricot halves
2 cups arugula

Spread the apricot halves onto aluminum foil and bake at 400F until lightly browned and slightly dehydrated.

Roll out the pita dough into four thin discs. Brush lightly with oil. Spread the Fontina on top. Top with the apricot pieces and prosciutto slices.

Bake in a preheated 450F oven until edges are lightly brown. Add the cut arugula on top and bake for another 2-3 minutes. Serve warm!

Mexican rice

This was one of the tastiest rice dishes I ever had. Nothing really needs to be added, but it's delicious with this pork stew. The rice is rather spicy, so adjust the jalapeno portions to your desire.

1 large tomato
1 yellow onion
3 jalapenos
2 cups white rice
0.25 cup canola oil
4 cloves garlic
2 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp salt
0.5 cup cilantro leaves

Preheat oven to 350F, with rack in middle. Process tomatoes and onion in food processor until smoothly pureed. Measure out two cups of the mix.

Remove ribs and seeds from two jalapenos, dice and set aside. Dice third jalapeno with core, set aside in separate dish.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a metal sauce pan with a metal cover. Add rice and toast for 6 minutes, until lightly golden. Stir frequently.

Reduce heat to medium, add minced garlic and seeded jalapenos. Cook until fragrant. Stir in onions, pureed tomato, tomato paste, salt and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and transfer to preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. Stir well half way through cooking.

Mix in minced cilantro and remaining diced jalapeno at the end.

Tomatillo pork stew

This was a particularly tasty spicy pork dish. Of course, Boston butt roast (or shoulder blade roast) is a delicious meat prepared in any way.

2 lb Boston butt roast
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
14 oz tomatillo salsa
1 green bell pepper
2 jalapeno peppers
1 bunch cilantro
1 tsp dried oregano
black pepper

Add the oil to a large cast iron pan with a heavy lid. Heat on medium-high. Season the meat with salt and black pepper and sear the meat on all sides. Preheat oven to 300F.

Meanwhile, dice the onion, jalapeno with seeds in, and the bell pepper. 

When the roast is seared, set aside and add the diced vegetables, cook for 5 minutes, then add the garlic, salsa, oregano and half a cup of minced cilantro leaves.

Add meat juices, meat and pour in enough water to cover the pork halfway.

Cover and place into oven for about 3 hours, until meat is tender. Pull meat apart into stew with two forks. Top with half a cup of freshly minced cilantro. Serve with Mexican-style rice.