Sunday, June 28, 2009

Apple Galette

A galette is a french pastry that can be sweet or savory. They often have a rough country look, so don't fret too much about appearances. This one is topped with apples and would be fantastic with ice cream.

1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1/2 white and 1/2 whole wheat)
4-5 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp butter, chilled and cut into pieces
5 crisp apples
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup lemon juice

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine flour, 1 Tbsp sugar and salt, and cut butter into mix until it resembles course crumbs. Slowly add 3-4 Tbsp ice water until the dough just comes together. Gently press the dough into a disc and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

Peel, core and roughly chop 2 apples. Heat on medium the apples, 1 Tbsp sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and cook, stirring occasionally until the apples are tender and the mixture is the consistency of chunky applesauce (about 15 minutes). Add 1/4 cup of water if the pan gets too dry while the apple mixture is cooking. Take the mixture off the heat and cool. Once cool, stir in 3 Tbsp lemon juice and set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll chilled dough into a 12-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick. Sprinkle the dough with remaining tablespoon of sugar and prick the dough with a fork several times to prevent puffing. Pre-bake until dough is just starting to set, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Core remaining apples and cut them into slim, even slices. Toss the apple slices in a bowl with 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Spread dough with cooked apple mixture, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Arrange apple slices over mixture in a spiral pattern, slightly overlapping each piece. Sprinkle the top with 1-2 Tbsp sugar. Bake until crust is golden brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sugar Cookies

For some reason I have always had trouble making good sugar cookies. I found this recipe highly rated and tried it out for the midsummer party we were having with some friends. They were awesome, so soft and held together perfectly. You could do more interesting things with the glaze, but I was out of time and food coloring so we went with vanilla.

(makes about 30-40 cookies)

1 1/2 cup butter
2 1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
5 cups white flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and add dry ingredients to the mix. Cover and chill dough for at least 1 hour (to overnight)

Preheat oven to 400. Roll out dough on a floured (or sugared) surface to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes and place cookies 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes, cool completely. If desired, you can glaze them for a more polished look.

Cookie Glaze: (covers about 30-40 cookies)
2 cup confectioner's sugar
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
4 Tbsp water
food coloring (optional)
flavoring (I used 1/2 tsp vanilla)

Mix the glaze in a shallow bowl and dip the cookies face down, making sure the liquid reaches all parts of the cookie top. Allow excess to drip off the cookie, then set aside. The glaze will become smooth and hard as it dries (about 10 minutes).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Light Banana Nut Muffins

I haven't been in the mood to eat bananas lately and as a result I keep getting lovely black ones by the end of the week. I've been looking for some ways to use them, but it seems that so many banana bread recipes use a ton of sugar and white flour, which diminishes the healthy quality that I'm looking for. Anyway, these were easy and tasted quite good, especially with the nuts on top.

3 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
3-4 ripe bananas
1/2 cup applesauce (unsweetened if possible)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 cup white flour
1 Tbsp flaxseed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or almonds

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a muffin tin or line with paper cups. In a medium bowl, mash together applesauce, vanilla and bananas, then fold in egg whites. In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, oats, salt, sugar, flaxseed, baking soda, spices, and about 1/4 cup of nuts. Pour batter into prepared muffin tin and sprinkle remaining nuts on top of muffins. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cari Poulet

My sister Kate has lived on a small island off the coast of Madagascar for the past year and a half. The food on her island was a bizarre blend of French food, Creole, Malagasy and Indian cuisine. On her way home to the USA, she visited us here in Finland and we made this traditional creole dish:

Cari poulet is French for curry chicken, but everything sounds prettier in French, so cari poulet it is. The dish was great and it was fun to experiment with the local spices she picked up from the island. What really knocked it out of the park was the hot sauce and beans, so be sure to make the complete meal.

1-2 Tbsp oil
3-4 chicken legs (skinless)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
5-6 tomatoes, diced
1/2 tsp curcuma (Tumeric)
enough water so the chicken is mostly covered in the pot
salt and pepper to taste

Hot Sauce: (combine into a bowl)
1/2 onion, finely minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tsp salt
2-3 finely diced tomatoes
chili paste to taste (we used Pimo from Reunion island, use as much as desired...)

Beans: (Saute oil, onion and garlic in a pan until soft, add beans and cook until heated through)
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup kidney beans, drained but not rinsed

In a large pot, sear the chicken legs in olive oil on high until cooked. Then add minced garlic and diced onion, and stir until fragrant. Then add tomatoes, curcuma, enough water to cover the chicken and salt and pepper. Cook on medium-low for 45 minutes, then serve on rice accompanied with hot sauce and beans.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Yakitori Burgers

adapted from A Good Appetite

This is a delicious Japanese twist on hamburgers, and turned out beautifully.

Burger Patties:
225 grams ground pork (or turkey or other ground meat)
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 onion
1/2 tsp honey
1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 egg
1/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 cup Mirin, or pineapple juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 T brown sugar
2 tsp ginger
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp cold water

hamburger buns
pineapple rings (reserve juices)
1 medium onion, cut into rings
1/4 cup mayonnaise
chili sauce

In a small saucepan, bring the Mirin, soy sauce, maple syrup, brown sugar, ginger, and lemon juice to a boil. Mix the cornstarch and cold water together to dissolve the cornstarch. Stir into the boiling mixture. Let boil for about 15 minutes until thickened. Set aside to cool.

Mix all burger ingredients together with your hands and form into patties. Grill over medium-high heat for 3 minutes per side. Brush with glaze and flip. Grill for 2 more minutes each side, adding glaze to both sides.

When the burgers have about 5 minutes left, fry the onions on the grill and brush them with glaze. Cook until soft.

Mix mayonnaise with 2 Tbsp glaze. Put together burgers on a bun with mayonnaise mix, lettuce, onions, a pineapple ring, and chili sauce.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Berry Coffee Cake

Adapted from Sister's Cafe

I had to put together a quick dessert for a dinner party and with all the summer berries out right now, this was the perfect recipe. The cake was moist and the berries made it pretty and gave it enough tang to keep it interesting.

2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 cups fresh or frozen berries

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup butter

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x9x2 inch baking pan, set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

In another bowl, beat butter (softened) with sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, beat well. Then add flour mixture and milk alternately to butter/sugar mix, beating until smooth after each addition.

Spoon batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with berries. In another bowl, combine topping ingredients, cutting in the butter mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle topping over berries and bake for 50-60 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cabbage and Almond Salad

Adapted from Everybody Likes Sandwiches

I wanted a salad that was a little different from the lettuce/tomato/cucumber mode and I found this one that turned out great. I added toasted almonds and some red pepper for color and it was crunchy and delicious.

1/2 cabbage
1-2 red peppers, diced
1/2 cup toasted almond slivers
1 cup garbanzo beans

3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp Red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 Tbsp parsley
1 clove garlic, finely minced
salt and pepper to taste

Toast the almonds with a little oil and salt until lightly browned. Set aside. Dice the cabbage into small pieces and add in the red pepper and garbanzo beans and toss. Mix the dressing in a small bowl, pour desired amount onto the salad, and toss. Garnish with almonds and serve.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Tilapia Piccata

Adapted from Closet Cooking

This is a recipe that can be used with any white fish. Piccata refers to cooking with lemon, butter and spices. It is fresh and tangy, a perfect light dinner with lots of flavor.

(serves 2)

2 tilapia fillets (or other white fish)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 + 1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 lemon (juice)
1/2 lemon (cut into slices)
2 Tbsp capers
2 peperocini peppers (finely sliced)
1 Tbsp parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Season the fish with salt and pepper. Heat oil and 1 Tbsp butter in a pan, add the fish and fry until golden brown on both sides (about 2-3 minutes per side). Remove fish from heat and cover to keep warm.
In the same pan, pour in the chicken stock and deglaze the pan (stir up the pan scrapings). Add the lemon juice, lemon slices, capers and peperocinis and simmer to reduce the liquids by half. Stir in the butter and pour sauce over fish, garnish with parsley, and serve.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Baked Dijon Salmon

Adapted from Allrecipes

I love fish, but having grown up in land locked Utah I am a bit intimidated to make it. This recipe was so easy (perfect for a seafood novice) and had great flavor.

4 salmon filets
1/4 cup butter (100 grams) softened
3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 Tbsp honey
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
4 tsp fresh parsley (2 tsp dried)
2 tsp dill
salt and pepper
Lemon slices, for garnish (or sprinkle with lemon juice)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a small bowl, stir together butter, mustard, and honey and set aside. In another small bowl, mix spices, bread crumbs and pecans.

Put the salmon in an oven save dish. Drizzle each filet with honey mustard mixture, then sprinkle the tops with the bread crumb mix.

Bake salmon for 15 minutes in the oven, or until it flakes easily with a fork. Garnish with a wedge of lemon and serve.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sundried Tomato and Cottage Cheese Muffins

adapted from In Fine Fettle

I wanted something quick and tasty to serve alongside a salad I was making and stumbled upon this recipe. It is vegetarian, made without butter and full of flavor, coming out with a sort of a quiche-like texture.

1 cup plain cottage cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup basil, chopped (I used 1 Tbsp dried basil)
1 tsp dried dill
1/4 cup finely minced onion
1/4 cup water
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine the cottage cheese, all but 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese, flours, baking powder, sun-dried tomatoes, spices, water, eggs, and salt.
Fill each greased muffin cup 3/4 full with batter, sprinkle on the remaining Parmesan cheese and bake for 30-35 minutes (or until set, risen and golden brown). Serve warm or at room temperature

Monday, June 8, 2009

Tasty Three Bean Salad

adapted from Cooking Books

This is a quick side that is bursting with flavor and vitamins.

1 can (16 oz) chickpeas
1 can (16 oz) white beans
1 can (16 oz) kidney beans
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/3 cup chopped parsley (2 Tbsp dried)
1 tsp dried tarragon
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Drain and rinse beans, and gently toss in a bowl with remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Honey Balsamic Chicken

adapted from Home Cooking in Montana

I changed this recipe a tiny bit to bake whole chicken legs, but in the original recipe she used chicken pieces, skewered them, and cooked them in a frying pan. The marinade is very tasty and I'm sure it is great either way.

4-5 chicken thighs

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp oil

Extra honey for drizzling

Mix the marinade and pour over the chicken. Let rest in the fridge for several hours. Preheat oven to 350 and place chicken plus the marinade in a baking dish, covered with a lid or tin foil for 1 1/2 hours. Then take the foil off, drizzle honey on the legs and put them back in the oven for thirty more minutes, until the skin is golden.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

World Peace Cookies

adapted from Dorie Greenspan

I've seen these cookies on cooking blogs for a while now, always with rave reviews. They say if everyone were able to eat these cookies every day, world peace would be in our grasp. With that kind of praise, I had to break down and try them out.

The first batch I cut too thin and they turned into ugly (but delicious) hockey pucks. The second time around I was more generous with my slicing and they turned out soft with chocolaty amazingness. They really were a wonderful, rich cookie. I feel more peaceful already.

1 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
11 Tbsp unsalted butter (about 150 grams)
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp fleur de sel or 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup finely chopped dark chocolate

In a large bowl, beat the butter until soft then add sugars, salt and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy. In a small bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, and baking soda. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet and mix. It may look a bit crumbly, but don't be concerned. Toss in chocolate and mix until incorporated. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface, split it into two batches and gather each batch together forming them into logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours (until hard). They can also be kept in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Preheat oven to 325. Using a sharp knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch thick. Do not make them too thin, or they will become very flat when they bake. They may crack a bit when cutting them, just squeeze them back together. Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving 1 inch between them.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes (13 if they were fresh out of the freezer). Let them cool until room temperature and serve.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fruit and Feta Salad

This quick salad combines sweet and tangy, and is a great way to eat your fruits and veggies.

2 apples, diced
2 oranges, chopped
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup crumbled Feta

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp orange juice
1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp poppy seeds
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare salad ingredients and toss together. Mix up dressing and serve on the side.