Saturday, August 30, 2014

Buttermilk cornbread

I had a craving for sweet corn bread and this recipe served well.

3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp flour
0.5 cup corn meal
1.5 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp sugar
0.75 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
0.25 tsp kosher salt
0.5 cup grated cheddar
2 tbsp butter
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix dry ingredients well.

Whisk egg, add the melted butter and the buttermilk. Combine wet and dry ingredients until no dry spots remain.

Pour into a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Bake for about 30 minutes, until just set. Cool on a cookie rack.

Apricot rolls

Apricots are my favorite fruit. Much like the Farseer Trilogy's Fool, I have a fondness for them for recalling sunshine and summer, encapsulating them into a sip of brandy, spoon of jam, or bite of fruit. Unfortunately, in the US I haven't had the pleasure of eating truly tasty, sweet and juicy apricots. I have tried to acquire them, occasionally for ridiculous prices, and the experience always let me down. The best version of apricots available are the soft, dried apricots. This bread awakens those apricots into a delicious, fruity dessert or breakfast.

500 g flour
300 mL milk
1 pinch salt
2 tbsp sugar
75 g butter
1 egg
2 tsp yeast
200 g dried apricots
1/3 cup sunflower seeds (optional)

Bloom the yeast with a small portion of the milk and sugar. Toast the sunflower seeds and dice the apricots.
Add the remaining sugar, milk and the egg to the bloomed yeast. Mix well and add sunflower seeds, apricots, flour and salt. Cut in the butter and knead into a soft dough.

Allow to rise for an hour in a warm place. Cut into eight pieces and shape into rolls. Place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with foil and allow to double again.

Bake in a preheated 350F oven. Cool on cookie racks.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Mushroom and asparagus fried rice

Another recipe to use up a variety of leftovers. It's slightly spicy, the mushrooms are flavorful due to the precooking and the asparagus remains fresh and crunchy as it is added at the end of the cooking time.

2 cups of white rice
1.5 tbsp soy sauce
1.5 tbsp fish sauce
0.5 tbsp brown sugar
0.5 tbsp molasses
1 red bell pepper
1 jalapeno
1 yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp sambal chili paste
1 bunch of asparagus
10 oz white mushrooms

Slice the mushrooms and brown on a little bit of oil. Preheat oven to 400F and roast the asparagus lightly sprayed with olive oil and salted, for 10 minutes. Cool and cut into bite-size pieces.

Cook the rice and cool spread out onto a baking shape. Mix the molasses, sugar, fish oil and soy sauce.

Heat a large skillet with a little oil. Blend together the peppers, onion and garlic. Add to the skillet and cook for 6 minutes, until thickened.

Add the rice and the molasses mixture. Cook stirring until evenly coated and completely reheated.

Add the mushrooms and the asparagus. Serve.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Green pea spread

A revival for old, dehydrated frozen veggies. Yes, I'm sure it would taste much better if made from fresh ingredients, but my household seems to need a recipe for forgotten gems every once in a while. This one is great for green peas.

10 oz frozen green peas
2 cloves garlic
3 tbsp olive oil
3 oz grated parmesan
black pepper
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves
lemon juice

Cook the green peas and pat dry. Add to a food processor. Add to it the olive oil and the crushed garlic.

Blend until smooth. Add the cheese and other ingredients and process until ready. Season with salt and black pepper. Freshen with a squeeze of lemon juice, if desired. Serve on crostini with bacon or radish slices.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Soft-boiled eggs

A childhood favorite of mine. Creamy, rich egg yolks with custardy pieces of egg white. A simple pleasure with toast, salt and no other seasoning are needed. It is imperative to use a timer for this recipe.

2 eggs

Brink a potful of water to a rolling boil. Lower the eggs into it and time 5 minutes. After 5 minutes passed, remove the eggs into a cold or ice water bath. Allow to cool.

Cut of the top of the eggs and spoon out the egg into a bowl. Season with salt and garnish with paprika or herbs. Serve with toast.

Deviled eggs

This is a very nice appetizer, definitely not low cholesterol...particularly if you have a plateful in one go. But they are addictive.

6 eggs
3 tbsp mayo
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
black pepper
paprika, bacon, basil, scallions to top

Add the eggs to cold water covering them by 2 cm. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Allow to rest covered for 12 minutes. Rinse with cold water and peel.

Cut in half and remove egg yolks. Mash yolks with the remaining ingredients. Fill back into the egg white halves. Garnish with paprika, bacon bits, scallions or other herbs to decorate.

Egg salad

Simple and satisfying. Eggs are always an easy go to when I crave protein (and fat), and don't wish to bother with cooking meat or fish. This egg salad is tangy due to one of my favorite ingredients: Dijon mustard.

3 eggs
2 tbsp mayo
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped scallions

Add eggs to a pot of cold water. Bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat (while still in the hot water). Allow to sit for 12 minutes. Cool eggs and peel them.

In a bowl mix all other ingredients. Then add the eggs and mash them with a fork into larger chunks. Serve at room temperature with toast (at least that is my preference).

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


A traditional dish from my home county. This local specialty is a comfort food of the best kind: mild but delicious flavors, a rich creme fraiche sauce and pure, creamy carbohydrate calories. Quick to prepare.

500g potatoes
250g flour
vegetable oil
2 large onions
1 cup creme fraiche
scallions, dill

Peel and dice the potatoes. Cover with water so it is just covered. Add a large pinch of salt.

Bring to a boil and simmer until soft. Blend potatoes with a handheld blender into the water until smooth. Replace to stove top. Add in the flour and stir until completely absorbed. You should get a bread dough consistency. Season with salt.

Peel and dice the onions. Cook them with a little bit of oil and some salt. Add half of the onions to the mashed potato mix. Set aside the other half.

With a spoon form small dumplings from the potato-onion-flour mix. Heat a large pan with a little oil. Add the dumplings and sear all sides. Add in the onions and heat together. Serve drizzled with sour cream and sprinkled with scallions or dill. Optionally, the dumplings can be cooked in fat rendered from bacon.