Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sweet Potato Soup

If Fall (the season) and India (the country) got married and had a soup baby, this would be their love child. This is a very hearty recipe and has a nice sweet and tangy flavor.

4 cups Stock (chicken or vegetable)
2 lbs Sweet Potatoes, cubed
1 medium Yellow Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Curry
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1/2 cup Rice
1 cup Plain Yogurt
Mint (garnish)

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil. Once soft add stock, and spices and bring to a boil. Then add Sweet potatoes, and let simmer for 20 minutes until soft. Mash potatoes (or puree in batches until smooth) and the soup will take a thicker quality. Add rice and simmer 20 more minutes or until rices is cooked. When serving, add a dollop of plain yogurt and garnish with mint.

Serves 4

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Finnish Meatballs

from Helena

Meatballs are a classic Scandinavian dish that has variations from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland.  It is made with a meat of choice, a filler, and sometimes a sauce.  The differences in recipes are based on family preference as well as what ingredients were at hand in each area.  There are many possibilities, but this is the basic meatball recipe that I got from a Finnish Grandmother and you can play with it how you will.  

Basic Meatball

1 lb ground beef 
1 Egg
1/2 cup milk, cream or water
1/4 cup oats (or flour, bread crumbs etc...)
1 medium Onion, minced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

There are other recipes that use nutmeg, mustard, thyme, allspice, white pepper.  Feel free to experiment.

Saute onion in olive oil.  Blend all ingredients together.  Form meat into little balls (because that is what they are... balls of meat...) They can vary in size, but these should be about the size of a golf ball.  Then you have two options:

Option 1.  Heat a skillet with a little olive oil.  Fill the skillet with meatballs and fry for about 5 minutes, then turn them over.  Keep them on until they are cooked through (about 5 more minutes).  Once browned, let them cool and drain a bit and keep them warm until served.  This way is less healthy, but tastes better.    

Option 2.  Use an ungreased baking dish, plop all meatballs inside (make sure they have a little breathing room so they don't get stuck together into one conglomerate mutant meatball)  

Serves 4... unless you have a eating machine like Ben, and then it only serves two.  Whatever.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Braised Kale

Adapted from Emeril's New New Orleans Cooking

This dish looks much more complicated to make than it is.  When you are finished it looks beautiful and tastes great.  Plus Kale is very good for you, which means you can have extra dessert.  

1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 medium Onion, sliced into slivers
1 Red Pepper, sliced into slivers
2 Tbsp minced Garlic
4 cups torn and stemmed Kale pieces
2 cups Stock
1 splash of Cider Vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Heat oil in large skillet over high heat.  Add onions, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper, and stir fry for 2 minutes.  Next add the stock and kale and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes.  Splash on a little vinegar and cook for one last minute.  Remove from heat, drain excess fluid and serve immediately.  

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Farfalle with Zucchini

adapted from Pioneer Woman Cooks

1 lb Farfalle (bowtie) pasta
1 medium Onion, diced
3-4 regular sized Zucchini, diced
1 pint Cherry Tomatoes (or 4-5 regular tomatoes, diced)
1-2 cloves of Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 cup white wine -or- stock
1/2 cup cream
2 tsp Basil
2 tsp Chives (optional)
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice or Lemon Thyme

Boil pasta until it is al dente.  Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil and stir in zucchini until brown, then remove.  Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and saute garlic and mushrooms.  Next, lower heat to medium and add tomatoes, stock, and cream.  Finally, add cooked zucchini.  Stir gently to combine, and turn off the heat.  Add salt to taste, as well as pepper, basil, chives and lemon juice.  Pour mixture over cooked pasta, top with parmesan and serve.  

I love pasta, and this creamy dish is wonderful and easy.  Plus you can finally use all of your leftover zucchini!  

Dilly Bread

From Ashlee Stettler

This bread is moist and has tons of flavor.  It is SO good.  

2 1/2 tsp Yeast
1/4 Cup Warm Water
1 Cup Cottage Cheese
2 Tbsp Sugar
1 tsp minced onion
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Dill seed -or- 2 tsp Dill
2 1/4 Cup Flour

Combine water and yeast.  In a separate bowl, combine all ingredients except flour.  Add yeast and water to ingredients and slowly add flour until mixed.  Knead on a floured surface, and set aside in a warm spot to let rise until double in size (give it about an hour).
Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes

Sorry this picture isn't great, we ate the whole loaf before I could get a good picture!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Piparkakut -or- Finnish Ginger Cookies

This is a traditional Finnish cookie that is spicy and delicious.  It is usually made around Christmas time and cut into little boys, girls and pigs.  Why pigs?  I have no idea.    

1 1/2 cups Butter
1 cup Brown Sugar
3/4 cup Molasses or Dark Syrup
3 tsp Cinnamon
3 tsp Ginger
1 1/2 tsp Cloves
1/2 tsp Allspice
3 tsp Orange Zest
2 Eggs
2 tsp Baking Soda
5 cups Flour

Combine butter, sugar, syrup and spices in a saucepan.  Stir constantly until almost to a boil, then transfer to a mixing bowl.  Allow to cool to room temperature (stirring helps) then stir in eggs, sifted dry ingredients and mix well.  Chill in fridge overnight.  On a prepared floured surface roll out dough 1/4 of an inch thick, cut into shapes (I just made circles and pressed them with a fork.  Boring!) and bake at 350 until lightly browned (mine took about 8 minutes, but the recipe to wait 10-12)  They taste great alone but feel free to frost them when cool!
Makes about 24 cookies

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Woodsy Brie Pasta

adapted from Dinner on a Dime

This dish is so creamy and delicious, it's hard to stop at just one bowl!  

Thick handful of Spaghetti (or other Pasta)
8 oz Brie cut into small chunks
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 small Onion
1 clove Garlic
3-4 Chicken Breasts, cooked and cubed
3 Tbsp Butter
3 Tbsp Lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste

Toasted Pine Nuts
Red Pepper

Boil pasta to al dente.  Saute onions, garlic, other vegetables until soft and add cooked chicken.  Drain noodles and pour saute mix on top.  Add butter, mix well and let melt.   Then add Brie, once pasta has cooled a little so the Brie gets soft, but does not melt entirely.  Add lemon juice and garnish with lemons.   

Friday, October 17, 2008

Amazing No-Knead Bread

This bread was so good the first time I made it, that Ben ate the whole loaf and got a stomachache.

*Attention. You will need to start this bread the day before. So plan ahead!

3 cups of flour (I usually use half white, half wheat)
1/4 tsp yeast
1 and 1/4 tsp salt
1 and 1/2 cup warm water
1 pinch of sugar

Pour warm water, sugar and yeast in a bowl and sit for 5 minutes until foamy. Combine dry ingredients and mix with yeast and water until blended. Dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with wrap for 12-18 hours (overnight). Dough is ready when surface is covered with tiny bubbles.

Lightly flour a work surface and sprinkle dough with a little more flour. Fold in on itself several times. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest 15 minutes.
Using enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to work surface or onto your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Cover a towel with cornmeal and place on a piece of wax paper. Sprinkle flour on the top and cover with another towel and let rise for 2 more hours.

Preheat oven to 450. Place in a oven-friendly pot or baking pan (something with a lid. If you don't have one with a lid, just use a bread pan and tin foil) and bake for 30 minutes covered and 20 minutes uncovered. Let cool and enjoy!

Greek Peasant Bread

This bread is hearty and so simple to make!  It comes out a thick mound and is perfect to go with soup.   

2 and 1/4 tsp yeast
2 cups warm water
1 TBSP sugar
4 cups flour (I use 1/2 white and 1/2 wheat)
1 tsp salt

Place yeast, water and sugar in a large bowl and stir until dissolved.  Slowly add flour until fullly blended.  Do not knead!  Cover and let rise one hour.  Pick up dough, split into two rounds and place on a well greased cookie sheet or baking paper.  Lightly flour top of rounds, cover and rise for one more hour.  Bake at 425 for 10 minutes and reduce to 375 for 15 minutes more.  Serve warm.    

Minestrone Soup

From Dinner on a Dime

I made this for the missionaries when they came over and it was a huge hit! The soup had a very hearty flavor and was filled with lots of healthy goodness. It had a lot of ingredients, and I had to stay near the pot while it was cooking, but this is definitely a soup I will be making again.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion
2-3 carrots sliced into thin pennies
2-3 celery stalks, sliced into thin pennies
2 cans of tomatoes (feel free to use flavored or fresh!)
2 cans stock
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp parsley
1 tsp salt
1 can beans (kidney or white)
1-2 cups of cabbage sliced thin
1/2 cup elbow macaroni

Saute onion, garlic, carrots, celery in the bottom of your soup pot. (Fewer dishes to clean later) Then add tomatoes, broth, spices and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add beans and 2 cups of cabbage. Simmer for 10 more minutes. Stir in thinly sliced zucchini and 1/2 cup of macaroni. Simmer 10 more minutes, and serve. Top with Parmesan or other hard cheese. Great with fresh bread!