Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cream cheese pie

An open-faced cream cheese pie for breakfast or an easy dessert.

250g flour
2 tbsp butter
1 egg yolk
0.25 cup water
1 tsp yeast
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
1/3 cup milk
0.5 tsp lemon zest

8 oz cream cheese
1 egg
0.5 tbsp vanilla
1/3 cup sugar
0.5 cup blueberries

bloom yeast with a pinch of the sugar and the warm water. Add the flour, egg yolk, butter, lemon zest, vanilla, remaining sugar, salt and warm milk. Knead using a kitchen aid mixer until smooth, about 5 minutes. Set aside covered until doubled in size.

Mix the cream cheese with the egg, sugar and vanilla. Set aside.

Roll out the risen dough and place into a 9-by-11-inch nonstick pan sprayed with vegetable oil. Press up against the edges. Allow to rise for 15 minutes, then fill with cream cheese and sprinkle blueberries on top.

Bake in a preheated 375F oven until cheese filling is just set and edges are golden brown. Cool completely on cookie rack before serving.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mini blueberry pies

A simple little desert solution. Blueberry galettes reduced!

1 Pillsbury pie crust
3 cups blueberries
zest of one lemon
6 tbsp sugar
pinch of cinnamon
2 tbsp butter
whipped cream

Roll out pie crust and cut into 6 circles. Toss blueberries with sugar and lemon zest and cinnamon.

Distribute blueberries in pie crust, top with 1/3 tbs butter slivers.

Bake in a preheated 425F oven until edges are golden brown. Serve with ice cream.

Smokey garlic drumsticks

For a snack to serve at a party or a main meal with sides, these chicken drumsticks are delightfully easy to prepare.

10 chicken drumsticks
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp hot paprika
5 cloves garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp salt

Grate the garlic and mix with the paprikas, salt and olive oil.

Wash and dry the chicken legs and smear with the garlic-paprika paste. Place onto a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil and cookie racks. Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 500F. Bake the chicken legs for 30 minutes. Lower the temperature to 425F and bake the legs for another 20 minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then serve.

Apple and apricot stuffed sweet buns

This was a challenge my my husband. He had these delicious rolls on a work trip, and he wished me to try to recreate them. In some ways I found my attempt better, but in certain ways it definitely failed. The apple flavor in the original rolls was concentrated, suggesting that they used a dehydrator, not this osmotic water extraction method. Alas, I do not own a dehydrator, and I'm lazy to try to dehydrate slowly in the oven. This worked well enough, and the addition of the apricot "jammy bits" by King Arthur Flour improved the rolls.

250 g flour
0.25 cup water
1/3 cup milk
1 pinch salt
2 tbsp butter
1 egg yolk
1 tsp yeast
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla

1 apple
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
4 tbsp apricot jammy bits

Bloom the yeast with 1 tsp honey and the water in the bowl of a Kitchenaid mixer. Add the dough hook and mix in the warm milk, egg yolk, vanilla and remaining honey. Add the flour and the salt.

Knead dough for 5 minutes, slowly adding in the chunks of butter. Allow to double in size in a warm oven, covered with plastic foil.

Meanwhile, dice the apples and sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent browning. Add the sugar to dehydrate them. Squeeze them out after they sat for an hour and mix with cinnamon.

Cut the dough into eigth pieces. Roll out each and fill with one sixth of the apples and 0.5 tbsp jammy bits. Seal and place seam-side-down into a well-buttered muffin shape. Allow to rise for 30 minutes in a warm place.

Preheat oven to 350F. Brush rolls with egg white and bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on a cookie rack.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Empanada rolls

I don't really like the flaky, buttery crust of empanadas. That is, I don't like the extra calories of the fat and the effort of working with that type of dough. So I filled my leftover empanada fillings into bread crusts, and they were delicious. I would make them into sealed rolls next time.

12 oz chorizo
1 yellow onion
1 red bell pepper
1/3 cup Kalamata olives
0.25 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 boiled Russet potato
0.25 tsp cayenne
0.25 tsp smoked paprika

4 cups flour
2 cup water
0.5 tsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt

Mix the flour with the yeast and salt. Add the water and allow to rise for 10 hours in a warm place. Cut into twelve portions and shape into balls.
Cook the pepper and onion, add the sausage, spices and herbs. Cook until sausage is cooked. Drain off excess fat. Add the mashed boiled potato and the olives. Fill into dough pieces. Bake pizza-style or as closed empanada pockets at 400F.

Remove and cool on cookie racks. Freeze to store.


I have strong memory of a day in high school when a friend's mom came to visit and we made empanadas together. They were amazing, but then I remember almost all food that didn't come from the dining hall as a stunning culinary achievement.

1 package pillsbury pie crust
12 oz hot chorizo
1 yellow onion
1 red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic
0.5 tsp cayenne
0.5 tsp paprika
black pepper
0.25 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup chopped Kalamata olives
1 large russet potato

Cook the onions and peppers until softened. Add the cayenne and paprika. Add the garlic and the chorizo. Cook well.

Meanwhile, boil the potato and mash it. Add the chopped cilantro, olives and potato to the mix. Mix well.

Cut out circles from the pie crust and pinch the edges closed.

Crimp with a fork.

Preheat oven to 450F and bake the empanadas until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Roasted cauliflower

Breaded and deep-fried cauliflower used to be a family favorite when I was growing up. This is a healthier reminder to those weekend snacks.

1 head of cauliflower
olive oil
lemon juice
black pepper

Preheat oven to 500F.

Break cauliflower into florets and spread out onto an baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Spray with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic, lemon juice and black pepper. Roast for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with grated Parmesan while still hot. Serve immediately.

Cauliflower and cheese soup

A hearty soup with a cheesy zing.

1 medium cauliflower
2.5 cups water
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
0.25 tsp black pepper
2 cups milk
4 oz shredded sharp cheddar
1 tsp Sriracha sauce

Break the cauliflower into florets. Add to a pot and add the water. Bring to a boil and simmer until slightly softened, about 10 minutes from boiling.

In a nonstick pan melt the butter and cook the flour. Whisk in the cold milk and melt in the cheese.

Add cheese sauce to soup and bring to a boil. Season with salt and black pepper. Add spicy sauce.

To serve, decorate with some shredded cheese and hot sauce.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sport snack

I'm not a fan of chocolate or candy bars. As a child, this rum-chocolate flavored snack with low sugar content used to be my favorite. It delivers a huge calorie dose, and it's rather tasty. Also, super-easy to make.

500 g animal crackers
2 sticks of butter
200 mL milk
150 g sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp rum extract
1 tbsp vanilla powder
5 oz dark chocolate

Grind the animal crackers to a fine powder in the food processor. Mix the the sugar, vanilla sugar and a pinch of salt.

Line a 7-by-9 baking sheet with plastic foil.

Add the milk, butter and cocoa powder to a pot. Heat and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved and the cocoa cooks a little.

Pour the chocolaty milk into the animal cracker and sugar mix. Add in the rum extract and mix well. Press into the prepared baking sheet.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave and spread onto the top of the cookie crumb mix. Cover with another layer of plastic wrap.

Chill overnight, slice with a warm knife and serve.

Mushroom and arugula risotto

I had some leftover arugula and incorporated it into mushroom risotto. The outcome was delicious.

1 cup arborio rice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 yellow onion
16 oz mushrooms
3 cups chicken broth
0.5 cup white wine
0.5 tsp freshly minced rosemary
0.5 tsp lemon pepper
0.75 cup parmesan
1 cup arugula

Brown the mushrooms and set aside. Grate the Parmesan. Chop the arugula. Dice the onions and saute with the rice in the olive oil.

Meanwhile, heat the chicken broth in a separate pot. Add the wine to the golden brown onions and rice. Stir constantly.

Add broth in 1/3-cup portions, until all of it is absorbed. Stir constantly. Add in the butter, mushrooms, lemon pepper, rosemary, cheese and arugula. Cook until arugula is wilted and cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Curry pizza

This was a proper experimentally-developed dish. I tested three variables for the preparation of the curry oil, and the one shared here was the consensual favorite. The smoky sweetness of the BBQ chicken is perfect with the curry topping.

2 cups flour
1 cup water
0.25 tsp yeast
1 tsp salt
1 rotisserie chicken breast
1/3 cup BBQ sauce
1/3 cup red onion
0.5 cup shredded mozzarella
1 large yellow onion
1 tsp curry powder, plus extra for sprinkling
0.25 tsp cayenne
2 tbsp vegetable oil
0.5 tsp sugar
0.25 tsp salt
0.25 cup pizza sauce

Take the chicken breast and shred it. Mix it with the BBQ sauce and refrigerate.

Mix the flour with the yeast and 1 tsp salt. Add the water and mix well. Cover with foil and allow to rise at room temperature for 12 hours.

Dice the large yellow onion and add it to a nonstick pan heated at medium and sprayed with vegetable oil. Sprinkle with 0.25 tsp salt and the sugar. Caramelize until soft and light brown.

Add the curry and the cayenne to a small ramekin. Add 2 tbsp vegetable oil and bake in a preheated 275F oven for 30 minutes. Allow to cool. Mix the oil and about half of the seasonings into the caramelized onion.

Stretch out the pizza dough into two discs. Brush with curry-oily caramelized onion. Sprinkle lightly with more curry powder. Distribute the cheese and dollops of the BBQ chicken and sweet pizza sauce.

Sprinkle on the sliced red onion. Bake in a preheated 475F oven until golden brown.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sweet and sour cabbage soup

The ultimate diet food. High in fiber and water content, while low in calories. This soup warms the heart on cold winter days. Serve with a piece of crusty bread.

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 yellow onion
1 bell pepper
3 carrots
1 small head of cabbage
14 oz diced tomatoes
0.5 tsp ground caraway seeds
8 oz tomato paste
4 cups vegetable stock
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 bay leaves
1 tbsp Sriracha hot sauce

Saute onions and peppers in vegetable oil. Add paprika, caraway seeds and bay leaves. Cook for one minute.

Add tomato paste, 1 tsp sugar and hot sauce. Stir in and cook for a minute.

Shred cabbage in food processor. Add cabbage to pot. Pour in broth and sliced carrots and tomatoes. Add just enough water to cover veggies. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.

Season with salt, lemon juice and sugar. Remove bay leaves and serve.

Quick fajitas

I'm doing an eatdown in my house again. Meaning, I attempt to cook from ingredients accumulated in my house only, with the exception of buying fresh dairy, vegetables and fruits. So no meats, grains and other carbs allowed into the house. This is fun, as it usually results in unlocking some creative use of ingredients, and reducing my food expenses for the eatdown month. These fajitas were born from pork chops in the freezer, some leftover tortillas and an old avocado that was perfectly ripe.

4 flour tortillas
1 bell pepper
1 yellow onion
2 small pork chops
1 avocado
1 clove garlic
8 cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp Sriracha hot sauce
black pepper

Slice the meat into small strips. Mix with some salt, black pepper and cumin. Set aside. Slice the bell pepper into narrow strips. Slice the onion into strips.

Mash the avocado and add the crushed garlic, lemon juice and hot sauce. Season with salt after mixing well.

Preheat a large skillet on high. Spray with oil and add in the onions. Sautee until translucent and browned in parts. Add the peppers and continue cooking until peppers are softened. Remove from pan.

Wipe the pan dry and spray with oil. Heat on high heat, then add the meat. Cook until browned on outside and done inside (given that these are thin strips, the two will coincide). Add back the peppers and onions. Cook together for a minute.

Microwave the tortillas and distribute meat mix onto them. Spoon avocado mash on top. Cut cherry tomatoes in half and sprinkle onto filled tortillas. Serve fresh.