Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mom's Poppyseed Bread

From my lovely Mom

This recipe always reminds me of my mom. This bread is sweet and soft and irresistible. The glaze makes a nice citrus touch which helps the flavor pop.

Makes 2 loaves

1 1/8 cups oil
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 tsp butter flavoring
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp butter flavoring

Preheat the oven to 350 (176 C). Combine oil, sugar, poppy seeds and flavoring. Beat in the eggs. Then sift together flour and baking powder and add alternately with milk. Once smooth, pour into prepared bread pans and bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until the center comes out clean when pierced with a toothpick.

While baking, mix together the glaze ingredients. (You may not need all of it!) Once the bread is done, stab the top of the warm loaves while still in their pans and pour the glaze on top. Allow to cool completely and serve.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

White Chocolate Gingerbread Blondies

adapted from Every Last Cookie

I wanted to make a Christmas cookie and this was perfect. They were good warm and even better the next day.

Makes about 4 dozen 2-inch squares

2 3/4 cups plus 1 Tbsp flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 sticks (20 Tbsp or 260 grams) butter
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
3 eggs
1 1/4 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup molasses
10 oz white chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350 (176 C). Line a rimmed cookie sheet with baking paper.
Cream together butter and sugars until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then beat in the vanilla and molasses. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves and add slowly to the wet mixture until just combined. Fold in white chocolate.
Pour batter into baking sheet and spread around until even. Bake until edges are golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ground Pork Curry

Adapted from Chow Times

I am always nervous about curries. I don't have much of a background in Indian food, and I often question if I am doing things correctly. This was perfect for a beginner like myself, and Ben liked it so much that he ate the whole pot. It was spicy and so easy to make. I would be interested in trying it with chicken, and varying the heat levels, but it was great as is.

1 lb lean ground pork
2 onions, finely chopped
4 medium potatoes, cubed
3 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin seeds, roughly crushed
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 1/4 cup vegetable stock
1 large bunch spinach
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onions, garlic, pork, and spices together in a pot. Cook until onions are soft and meat is browned. Then add potatoes and tomatoes, once warm add stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once 20 minutes have passed, add spinach and allow to heat through for a couple of minutes, just enough to wilt it.

Serve immediately with rice.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Honey Mustard Vegetables with Feta

adapted from Luna Cafe

Here's a light dinner that can help offset those heavy holiday foods. You can use whatever fresh vegetables you have on hand. Just toss it all together and throw it in the oven!

3-4 potatoes
1/2 squash
3-4 carrots
3-4 beets
1 bell pepper
green beans
1 tsp rosemary (1 Tbsp if fresh)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette:
9 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 (176 C). Chop all of the vegetables into bite sized pieces and put them in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix together rosemary, garlic, oil and salt and pepper, toss vegetables with the oil mixture and arrange vegetables on an edged baking sheet. Try not to overlap.
Roast for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and beginning to caramelize. Remove from the oven and let cool. Sprinkle the Feta cheese over the vegetables.
Prepare the vinaigrette by combining all ingredients and mixing them together well.
Toss the vegetables with the vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Orange Dream Jello Salad

From Grandma Ilez

This is from Ben's Grandma Ilez, and where I am from having at least a couple of jello recipes handy is basically mandatory. The orange and whipped cream blends flawlessly and provides a light, sweet side to any casual dinner.

2 cups whipped cream
2 boxes orange jello
2 cans mandarin oranges

The day before (or at least several hours before) prepare the two boxes of jello according to the directions on the box. Just before serving, mix together the prepared jello, whipped cream and gently fold in the mandarin oranges. Keep cold until serving.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rosemary Chicken and Potatoes

adapted from impurrfections

This is an easy way to throw together dinner. I loved the combination of rosemary and chicken and the potatoes were a perfect side.

4 chicken breasts or thighs
4-6 medium red potatoes, cut into wedges
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary (2 tsp dried)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 (176 C) and prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss potatoes and chicken with olive oil and arrange on the baking sheet. In a small bowl mix together rosemary, oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper and sprinkle liberally on potatoes and chicken.

Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes, then use a brush to baste the chicken in some of the pan juices. Bake for an additional 15 minutes and serve.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bread

adapted from Have Cake Will Travel

This was a fun recipe that encapsulates the qualities of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in one glorious bread. It was a bit crumbly but would be perfect for breakfast or a quick snack.

Makes one loaf

1 cup milk
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp all fruit berry or orange jam
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups oats, finely ground
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup berries

Preheat oven to 350 (176 C) and prepare a 8x4 inche loaf pan with spray.
In a medium bowl, combine milk, vinegar, peanut butter, jam, salt and vanilla. The peanut butter may not mix smoothly but that is ok.
In a large bowl, combine oats, sugar, flour, baking powder and baking soda. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ones, being careful not to over-mix. The batter may be thick, depending on the type of peanut butter you use.
Pour into prepared pan, cover with tin foil and bake for 70 minutes (or when a toothpick comes out clean). Pull the foil off after about 40 minutes to ensure that it turns a golden brown.
Let cool in the pan for 30 minutes.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

African Peanut Soup

Adapted from Show Me Vegan

I had seen this recipe on several blogs and finally had to try it out. It was excellent. The flavors were warm and different than the palate that I usually cook with. It was spicy and sweet and so easy that I will be making it again soon!

1 Tbsp oil
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp fresh ginger (1 tsp dried)
cayenne pepper to taste
salt and pepper to taste
6 cups vegetable stock
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 can of tomatoes (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 cans red beans (about 2 cups)
1/2 pound cabbage, thinly sliced (kale or spinach would also work)
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup brown sugar

Heat the oil and saute the onion, garlic, and ginger for 5 minutes. Then add 1/2 cup peanuts, cayenne, salt and pepper and saute for about 30 seconds. Then add broth, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and red beans, bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Add cabbage and simmer for about 20 minutes, then add peanut butter and brown sugar and simmer an additional 10 minutes. Serve immediately

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Pomegranate and Feta Salad

adapted from Gimme Some Oven

This salad was just gorgeous! The cinnamon in the dressing combined with the bright colors made it perfect for the Christmas season.

6-7 cups spinach (or other green salad)
seeds from one pomegranate
1/2 cup pecans, candied
1/2 cup crumbled Feta

6 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp apple vinegar
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste

Combine salad ingredients. Mix together dressing ingredients and serve on the side.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Zuppa di Funghi (Mushroom Soup)

adapted from Bell' Alimento

I love mushrooms. They are such a weird little food and so versatile. This is a mushroom based soup with a very rich taste. I added peas because I had some, but it would have been fine without.

1 Tbsp butter
1-2 clove garlic, minced
8 shallots, minced
1 lb mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup tomato sauce
5 cups broth
2 eggs
4 Tbsp Parmesan, grated
1 Tbsp parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp whipping cream
salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, saute butter and garlic, once melted add minced shallots and cook until translucent. Then add tomato sauce and 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes.

While this is cooking, clean and slice mushrooms. Once the 10 minutes has passed, add the mushrooms to the mixture, lower heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Then pour in the broth and bring the mixture to a boil, lower heat again and simmer for about 10 minutes.

While this is cooking, whisk together eggs, salt and pepper, parsley, cheese and cream until thoroughly combined. Turn off the heat of the soup and gradually whisk in the egg mixture until it's combined well.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Caramel Apples

From Allrecipes

We wanted to bring something very American to a Finnish Halloween party this year and finally decided on caramel apples. The caramel was a little hard to find, but once they were finished it was well worth it. The nuts added a nice saltiness that complemented the sweet sugar and tart apple beautifully. I have to admit that these were the best caramel apples I have ever had, and something I plan on making a Halloween tradition in our house.

6 tart apples
14 ounces of caramel (about 400 grams)
2 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup salted nuts, chopped

Stick the sticks (we used plastic forks...) into the top of the apples about 3/4 of the way through. In a small saucepan, heat the caramels, water and vanilla on low, stirring frequently. Once the caramels are melted and soft, dip the apples into the caramel and carefully scrape off the excess using the side of the pan. Roll the apples in the nuts and place on wax paper to cool. Allow at least 30 minutes for the caramel to harden.