Thursday, December 7, 2017

Quick cinnamon monkey bread

While I prefer homemaking my dough for monkey bread, this was an absolute hit with the children, and I am discovering that my cooking preferences take a backseat to their favorite eats.

36 oz refrigerated biscuit dough
3/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
0.5 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 10-inch Bundt pan.

Cut the biscuits into bite-sized pieces. 

Mix cinnamon with white sugar in a ziplock bag. Toss biscuit bites in it to coat.

In a pan melt the butter and boil with the brown sugar.

Toss the cinnamon-covered biscuit pieces in there. Pour brown sugar sauce over the biscuits.

Bake for about 35 minutes, then cool in pan for 10 minutes. Flip onto a plate and pull pieces off to eat.

Chocolate chip and banana bread

Bananas and chocolate are an absolutely delicious combo. Dark chocolate chips are a beautiful contrast to the sweet banana flavor in this moist, delicious bread.

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 large, ripe banans
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp cinnamon
0.5 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup dark chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

Mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Mash the bananas, and mix with the milk in a different bowl. Beat the softened butter and sugar in a third bowl. Add eggs to the light and fluffy butter mixture, blend in.

Mix the butter mix with the bananas. Add and blend in the flour mixture. Fold in the chocolate chunks, until just combined.

Pour into loaf pan. Bake until center is cooked (about an hour). Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then remove onto cookie rack.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Sweet and spicy chicken stir fry

A mildly sweet dish with a spicy zing. Delicious with brown rice, and not even that bad reheated.

2 tbsp grated ginger
4 cloves garlic
1/3 cup brown sugar
0.25 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup fish sauce
2 tsp hot sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
2 lb chicken meat
1 tbsp oil
0.5 cup fresh jalapeno pepper slices
0.5 cup diced red bell pepper
0.25 cup roasted peanuts
0.25 cup chopped cilantro
0.5 cup green onions

Mince garlic, grate ginger and mix with sugar, vinegar, hot sauce, fish sauce, and soy sauce.

Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. I prefer thighs for its more flavorful fatty portions.

Mix the chicken with the sauce. Set aside to marinade for 15-30 minutes.

Heat oil, and when it starts to smoke, add the well-drained chicken in a single layer. Cook until chicken pieces caramelize, stirring occasionally.

Add in jalapeno, peppers, green onions, and peanuts. Cook for one more minute. Stir in remaining sauce.

Remove from heat. Stir in freshly chopped cilantro leaves. Serve over rice.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Chicken Parmesan

A crispy, juicy chicken cutlet topped with a delicious homemade sauce and served with a side of flavorful pasta. Relatively simple to make, and absolutely delicious.

2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
0.25 tsp dried oregano
pinch pepper flakes
28 oz crushed tomatoes
0.25 tsp sugar
2 tbsp fresh basil

2 boneless chicken breasts
1 tsp salt
2 oz shredded mozzarella
2 oz shredded fontina
1 egg
1 tbsp flour
1.5 oz grated parmesan
0.5 cup panko bread crumbs
0.5 tsp garlic powder
0.25 tsp oregano
0.25 tsp pepper
1/3 cup vegetable oil
0.25 cup fresh basil

8 oz thin linguini

Crush the garlic. Half the chicken breasts horizontally and hammer into 0.5-inch thick cutlets. Sprinkle each side of the chicken with 1/8 tsp salt and let sit for 20 minutes at room temperature.

Heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat, add garlic, salt, oregano, pepper flakes. Cook for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and sugar. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 20 minutes, until thickened. Stir in fresh chopped basil, salt, pepper, and 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil.

Mix mozzarella and fontina. Set aside.
Adjust oven rack 4 inches  from broiler and preheat brolier on low.

Whisk egg and flour together. In a separate bowl combine panko, garlic powder, pepper, oregano and freshly-grated parmesan.

Pat chicken dry and drench in egg mix. Coat in Parmesan mix. Transfer to a large plate and repeat with others.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium high, until shimmering. Cook the cutlets two-by-two, until bottoms are crispy and golden. Turn and cook other side as well.

Transfer to paper towels , then onto a baking sheet with a cookie rack on it. Sprinkle tops with mozzarella mix. Broil until cheese is just browned and melted.Sprinkle with basil, top with sauce, and serve on top of cooked pasta tossed with the remaining sauce.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Blueberry ricotta cake

This was an incredibly delicious, fruity and fresh cake. It is moist, but not as dense as a traditional cheese cake.

3 eggs
0.5 cup sugar
6 tbsp melted butter
1 cup ricotta
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
0.75 cup flour
0.5 tsp salt
1.25 tsp baking powder
1.5 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
cinnamon sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8-inch springform pan, pinching some nonstick parchment paper to the bottom (for easy removal).

Beat eggs and sugar until smooth.

Add the melted butter, ricotta, sour cream, vanilla extract. Beat until well-combined.

Add the flour, salt, and baking powder. Stir or beat gently until combined. Pour the batter into the pan.

Sprinkle the berries evenly on the top. Bake the cake for 50 minutes, until tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Remove cake from oven, sprinkle top heavily with cinnamon sugar. Allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Serve warm.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Crispy roasted chicken with tarragon

Tarragon has become a rather popular herb Hungary-wide. To day, I have only ever tried it in soups. This recipe was the evidence that it's an amazing addition to roasted chicken as well. This dish is super easy and absolutely delicious.

1.5 lb small potatoes
1 yellow onion
2 tbsp olive oil
0.5 cup water
0.25 cup mayo
2 tbsp dijon mustard
4 chicken thighs
a few tbsp chopped tarragon

Preheat oven to 450F, with rack in the middle. Wash potatoes, slice onion into thin slices. Add potatoes, onion, oil and water to an oven-proof skillet with lid. Season with salt and pepper and toss together.

Mix the mayo and the mustard in a small bowl. Coat the chicken thigh with the mix. Place them on top of the potato mix. Sprinkle with salt.

Place the pan without a lid into the oven and cook for 45 minutes.

Sprinkle with tarragon and serve on a separate platter, removing potatoes and chicken from excess juices. Season with more salt as necessary.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Yogurt raita

Another version on the yogurt-cucumber salad so popular in many different cuisines. This one is Indian-style. The above picture is with an Indian-style relish replacing the fresh ingredients. It was also rather delicious.

1 cup yogurt
1 cup chopped, seeded cucumber
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp chopped green onions
0.25 tsp ground coriander
0.25 tsp ground cumin

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Chill until ready to serve.

Potato patties

A filling, low-calorie, vegetarian burger option. Delicious with spicy yogurt condiments.

2 lb russet potatoes
4 cups (full) finely-chopped spinach
1 jalapeno
0.25 cup cilantro
1 tsp garam masala
0.5 tsp cayenne pepper
0.5 tsp black pepper
about 1.5 tsp salt
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup panko bread crumbs
vegetable oil

Quarter the potatoes and boil them until just cooked. Drain thoroughly and allow to cool (and dry) a bit. Mash with a fork.

Mince pepper and cilantro.

Add all other ingredients, except the panko and the oil. Mix well, squeezing the ingredients together. Taste and adjust seasoning. 

Scoop out 0.5 cup portions of the mixture and form into 3-3.5-inch cakes. Coat with panko. Chill for an hour.

Heat oil over high heat, lower to medium when near smoking and cook patties until well-browned on both sides. Serve with salad and yogurt sauces.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Chicken and chickpea stew

A super-flavorful, tummy-warming dish. Easy to prepare, and delicious with some yogurt to top.

1 tbsp paprika
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp cardamom
0.25 tsp cinnamon
black pepper
1.5 lb chicken thighs
1 head garlic
2 tbsp butter
1 large onion
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 cups water
0.5 lb carrots
15 oz can chickpeas
3 oz spinach
1 cup fresh cilantro
3 tbsp lemon juice

Mix the paprika, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, 2 tsp salt, 0.5 tsp black pepper. Save half of the spice mix and toss the other half with the chicken thighs cut into 1-inch chunks.
Peel an entire had of garlic. Dice the onion. Cut the carrots lengthwise and cut into 0.5-inch pieces. Tear spinach into 1-2-inch pieces.

In a cast iron pot over medium high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook until lightly browned.

Add the tomato paste and the remaining spice mixture and cook for 1-minute, stirring well. Add the water and bring to a boil. Add the chicken and the garlic, with the cut part facing down. Cover and simmer on low heat for an hour.

Add the carrots and simmer for another 30 minutes. Stir in the drained chickpeas and the spinach.

Cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in chopped, fresh cilantro, the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Serve with yogurt.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Orange crush

I had the original orange crush near Assateague Island, in Ocean city, on a wonderful spring trip. It's a refreshing and delicious drink after a long day's beach walk.

1.5 oz Smirnoff orange twist
1.5 oz Triple sec
all juice from one orange
fill up with Sprite

Add ice to the cup and mix in all the liquids. Top off with Sprite. Drink!

Russian mule

A refreshing, spicy summer drink. Don't skip any of the ingredients, and get a real, flavorful, alcoholic ginger beer.

20 oz ginger beer
4 oz vodka
6 ice cubes
10 leaves fresh mint
1 tsp sugar
2 lime wedges

Add the ice and vodka to the cups.

Muddle the mint with the sugar. Squeeze in the fresh lime. Add to the cups. Pour in the ginger beer. Serve immediately.