Friday, April 29, 2016

Appetizer platter

This is a delicious, easy, and decadent appetizer platter, that can be split as a main dish between hungry adults. Basically, serve up a combo of cheeses, pickles, salami, pate, and warm pretzel bread.

1.5 cup warm water

1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp kosher salt
3 tsp dried yeast
22 ounces of flour
2 oz butter
0.25 cups water
3 tbsp baking soda
egg wash
blue cheese
goat cheese

Bloom the yeast with the sugar and a portion of the water in the bowl of a kitchenaid blender. Add the remaining water, flour, butter, and salt. Knead for 5 minutes on medium setting.

Allow to double in size in a greased bowl. Cut into eight pieces and roll each into balls. Cut in the middle, stretch out into a ring, and twist into a braid with one motion. Place onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Allow to double in size again.

Brush top with baking soda dissolved in water. Repeat when dried. Then brush with egg wash. Bake in a preheated 450F oven for about 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.

Serve with a platter of meats, cheeses, chutney, fruit, and pickles.

Salmon spread

Smoked salmon is delicious, but not especially cheap. It packs a strong punch as far as flavor is concerned, and it's quite healthy as far as meats go. In our local super market they sell salmon trim. which is basically the leftover corners and small torn pieces of smoked salmon. It is perfect for this delicious spread.

1 lb smoked salmon trim
16 oz Neufchatel cheese
zest of one lemon

Soften the cheese in the microwave and add to the bowl of a food processor.

Add the salmon pieces and the lemon zest and pulse until a pate forms. Freeze in small, foil-wrapped balls, or serve immediately with toasted bagels and thin-sliced red onions. Delicious!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Energy bars

These are the perfect, all-natural fuel after your daily exercise. Variations are easily acceptable, but this is a good starting point for a tasty set of bars.

1 cup rolled oats
0.25 cup chocolate chips
0.5 cup peanut butter
2 tbsp maple syrup
0.25 cup flax seeds
cranberry sauce

Pulse the oats in a food processor until tiny flakes are present only. Add the chocolate chips and pulse into small bits.

In a blender powder the flax seeds (for optimal release of nutrients). Add to the oat flakes and chocolate. Mix.

Add maple syrup, peanut butter, and 1-2 tbsp cranberry sauce. Blend and adjust consistency with more cranberry sauce and sweetness with maple syrup.

Pour into a loaf pan lined with foil. Press into every corner and cover.

Rest in the freezer for 10-15 minutes, then slice and wrap each slice in foil. I store these in the freezer until I'm ready to eat them.

Cabbage and bean stew

I was craving something simple and Eastern European for dinner. I have no idea is such a dish is prepared in any part of Europe, but it sounded good to me and it ended up tasting even better.

2x15 oz cans cannellini beans
1 small head of savoy cabbage
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp red pepper flakes
0.5 tsp paprika
1 cup of chicken broth
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1/3 cup shredded parmesan
black pepper

Drain and wash the canned beans. Core and shred the cabbage.

Heat the oil and the pepper flakes in a a large skillet on medium high for a minute to extract the spicy flavor. Add the beans, the paprika. and the crushed garlic. Stir and mix well. Cook for a minute or so.

Add in the chicken broth and the shredded cabbage. If necessary, add some water to nearly cover the cabbage. Bring to a simmer and cook until cabbage is somewhat tender (to taste).

Mix the shredded parmesan and the breadcrumbs with a pinch of black pepper. Top the dish with it and spray with vegetable oil. Broil until golden brown. Serve hot with a piece of crusty bread.