Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Spinach Prosciutto

adapted from Prociutto Recipes

Well, the holiday season is almost over. And while I love eating all of the traditional dishes and special foods, I'm always ready to get back to my lighter regular fare. This is a great side dish with lots of flavor and fairly healthy too.

2 Tbsp olive oil
10 ounces spinach (one big bunch)
4 ounces prosciutto (about 125 grams) *You could substitute cooked bacon
1/2 cup roasted red peppers
1 cup artichoke hearts, roughly sliced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced into rings
parmesan cheese as a garnish

Heat oil in a skillet. Add garlic and onions and saute until softened. Then add artichoke hearts, spinach, red peppers and prosciutto. Cook 10 minutes or so, until heated through. Serve warm topped with parmesan cheese.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lime Chicken Soup

Adapted from Sea Salt with Food

This soup was so light and fresh tasting. An amazing soup if you are on a diet but want something special and filling. This will be a soup I'm going to make again and again!

Serves 6

For the Broth

2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded
8 cups chicken broth
2 limes, juiced
1/2 cup rice

For the Garnish
2-3 tomatoes, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 small cucumber, diced
2 jalepeno chilies, minced
4 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp salt

2-3 limes, cut into wedges

Bring the chicken broth to a boil, add rice, chicken, salt and lime juice and reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
In the meantime, chop up your garnish ingredients and mix together in a bowl.
Once the broth is done, ladle it into serving bowls and spoon a generous 1/2 cup of garnish on top. Season with lime wedges and top with cilantro.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Honey Gingerbread

adapted from Allrecipes

Well I looked and looked. Four different stores, many different people and no one could help me find molasses for gingerbread. The funny thing is, I see gingerbread everywhere here so I KNOW it's got to be around here somewhere in some form. This is the frustrating part of living in a foreign country, not being able to communicate what you want.
Anyway, after a long search I finally gave up and substituted the molasses with honey and it was a surprisingly nice little cookie. A little lighter perhaps, a slightly different flavor, but tasty nonetheless.

Makes approximately 24 cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 egg yolk
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Stir in honey and egg yolk. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and baking powder and all spices. Stir in the flour mixture with the wet butter mixture, cover and chill for at least one hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (175 C) and roll the dough out onto a flat floured surface. Cut out desired shapes and place the cookies about 2 inches (about 5 cm) on the cookie sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes if you want soft cookies, and around 10 if you want harder cookies. Let cool completely before frosting.

I used the Royal Icing recipe for a pretty sweet finish.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Royal Icing

Royal icing is wonderful. It dries quickly. It is smooth and matte and very hard. It can be used to decorate cookies or to stick walls of a gingerbread house together.
In the olden days, royal icing was made simply with raw egg whites and powdered sugar, with a little flavoring mixed in. But now, due to the risks of salmonella meringue powder is often substituted with very similar results.

Both recipes make about 3 cups of icing

Royal Icing using Egg Whites:
2 large egg whites (60 grams)
2 tsp lemon juice
3 cups (330 grams) confectioners sugar

This is perfect for items you will not be eating, like gingerbread houses. In a bowl, beat the egg whites for several minutes with the lemon juice mixed in. Then add the powdered sugar slowly, mixing until the icing is completely combined and smooth. Use immediately.

Royal Icing using Meringue powder:
4 cups confectioners sugar
3 Tbsp meringue powder
1/2 tsp flavor extract (lemon, vanilla, almond, etc...)
1/2 to 3/4 cup of warm water

Mix the confectioners sugar and meringue powder well. Add the water and beat until the mixture is very glossy and stiff peaks begin to form (about 5-7 minutes). You will know that your icing is the right consistency when you lift the beater, the ribbon of icing that falls back into the bowl remains on the surface of the icing for several seconds before disappearing.

It is important to keep this icing covered as much as possible, because it dries out very quickly. Feel free to add flavors and food coloring to your liking.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ricotta Pancakes

From Sparkling Ink

Whenever Ben goes out of town, I have breakfast for dinner. He hates breakfast food and it happens to be my favorite meal of the day. So I indulge myself whenever he isn't around. This time I tried out a recipe I spotted on one of my most favorite food blogs: Sparkling Ink. Her pictures there are always inspiring me to cook more!
Anyway, it was a nice twist to the classic pancake and one I hope to make again soon.

9 oz (250 g) ricotta cheese
2/3 cup milk
2 eggs, separated
3 1/2 ounces (100 g) flour
1 tsp baking powder
oil or butter for the pan

Separate egg yolks and whites. Mix together ricotta, milk and egg yolks. Whisk flour and baking powder together and combine with wet cheese mixture. Then gently fold in the egg whites until just combine. Spoon a dollop of batter onto a large skillet and cook both sides of the pancake until golden.

Serve warm with syrup, jam, fruit or whipped cream. For breakfast or dinner :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pesto Omelette

Adding pesto to your omelette adds a huge boost of flavor and a little variety to an easy breakfast (or dinner).

Serves 2

1 tsp butter or oil
3 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 Tbsp pesto
1 handful spinach leaves
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup gouda or other cheese, grated
1/4 tsp salt and pepper

Heat a small (about 7 inches or 18 cm) frying pan on the stove on medium, melt butter. Beat the eggs in a small bowl. Mix in milk, pesto and salt and pepper. Once the frying pan is hot, pour the egg mixture, sprinkle on the spinach leaves and cheese and let it cook. Once the center of the omelette is starting to set, lift the corner of the omelette and gently fold it in half. Let it rest for about 30 seconds or so and then slip it off the pan and onto a plate. Serve immediately.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

White Bean Hummus

I love hummus, but it is difficult to find here in Austria. So when I saw this recipe on my sister's site, I knew I had to try it. First of all, it was ridiculously easy. You literally just blend it all together and it's ready to go. It has great flavor and is a really healthy and filling snack. Hummus is traditionally made with garbanzo beans (chickpeas) but those are also difficult to find here, so I used white beans and it turned out great. So feel free to experiment.

Serves 4

1 clove garlic
1 can white beans
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp tahini
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
olive oil

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend away. Garnish with olive oil and serve with pita bread, carrot sticks or other vegetables.

Calories: 1/2 cup = 225 calories

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Orange Cake with Mascarpone

I love having people over because it gives me an excuse to make a big fancy dessert. This cake was lovely, it had a nice citrus flavor and the mascarpone frosting really made it sweet and creamy and delicious.

3/4 cup orange juice + zest from 2 oranges
113 g butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup orange marmalade (to put in between the layers)

1 1/2 cup mascarpone
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup mandarin oranges

Preheat oven to 350 (176 C)
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Then add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then blend in orange juice and orange zest. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients (baking powder, salt, and flour). Combine flour mixture with orange mixture and fold in coconut. Pour into a prepared 9 inch (22 cm) round cake pan and bake for about half an hour or until the center of the cake springs back when touched. Let it sit until cooled completely.

Once cool, use a sharp serrated knife and gently cut the cake in half. Spread a generous 1/2 cup of marmalade on the top of the bottom half of the cake, and gently replace the top of the cake, sandwiching the jam in between the two layers. Then mix the mascarpone with powdered sugar and spread it generously on the cake until it is completely covered. Garnish with mandarine oranges and keep in the fridge until ready to serve.

P.S. This cake is even better the next day!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Spinach Artichoke Pasta

adapted from Dianasaur Dishes

This dish is anything but healthy. But it is oh so good. Creamy, rich flavors that are hearty and so pleasing. It's easy to make and a real crowd pleaser. So ignore your waistline, invite people over as an excuse to make it, and give it a try.

Serves 4-6

4-6 servings Penne pasta
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup bacon, crumbled
1 small red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup mushrooms, diced
1 cup sliced artichoke hearts
3/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup cream
1 cup spinach
salt and pepper to taste

Boil your pasta according to the directions on the package. In a large skillet, saute garlic and onion in butter until softened, then add bacon, mushrooms and artichokes. After about two minutes add the wine. Cover and let simmer 5 minutes until it has reduced. Then add cream and seasonings and mix well. When you drain the pasta, add spinach while pasta is still very hot so it will wilt in the steam. Finally, pour sauce over noodles and garnish with parmesan. Serve warm.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Chicken Véronique

Ben made this for dinner the other night and it was AMAZING. So good I wanted to lick my plate clean! These pictures really don't do it justice. It's basically chicken in a white wine sauce, cooked with grapes and eaten over rice. The chicken is tangy and the grapes are sweet and juicy. It's an incredible combination.

serves 4

2 Tbsp butter
4 chicken breasts
1-2 cups green seedless grapes
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
2 tsp parsley
1 Tbsp dried rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium high heat. Season the chicken with salt, pepper and pepper and sear both sides until they are slightly browned. Then transfer the chicken to another plate.

2. Turn the heat down to medium and add the second tablespoon of butter to the skillet. Saute the shallots until they are translucent. Add the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping any bits off of the bottom, add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer until the volume of the liquid is reduced by half.

3. Add the cream, cornstarch (mix with a Tbsp wine so it will be smooth), and spices and let it remain on low heat until it has begun to thicken up, then return the chicken to the sauce. Poach the chicken until it is cooked through. (about 5-10 minutes)

4. Finally, add the grapes for just a few minutes before taking the pan off of the stove. Leave them in just long enough to become hot. Serve over rice.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Creamy Leek Soup

Adapted from Sister's Cafe

As a rule, I try to buy what is on sale (ie: in season) at the grocery store. It's generally cheaper and tastes better too so it's a win-win situation. And last week these long, green leeks were calling my name. I've never really cooked with leeks before, but when I saw this recipe on the blogs everything fell into place. This soup was warm and creamy and the flavor was wonderful.

Serves 4

1 Tbsp butter
6 potatoes, diced
2 leeks, washed and sliced, including the white and green parts
1 large onion, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
1 stalk of celery, sliced
2-3 garlic cloves
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
1 Tbsp parsley
1/2 cup cream
salt and pepper to taste

Cook leeks, onion, celery, salt and pepper in 1 tbsp butter over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until soft. Add potatoes along with wine, stock and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in parsley and simmer 5 additional minutes. Add cream and stir until smooth. Top with cheese or chives as a garnish.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Snickerdoodle Blondies

adapted from Fake Ginger

I make snickerdoodles often because they are distinctly American and I always seem to have all of the ingredients in my fridge. I made these for a church party and they were snapped up right away. They aren't too different from the cookie version, except they can be baked all at once in a pan like a sheet of brownies, so it is a little bit quicker to make. I ended up cutting them out with cookie cutters after they had cooled to make them look a little more interesting.

2 2/3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter (250 grams)
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla
cinnamon and sugar mixture for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350 (176 C). In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth, then add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Then add in the vanilla and set aside. Sift dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and then slowly add the dry mixture to the wet one, stirring until batter is smooth and consistent. Pour into a 9x13 inch baking dish and sprinkles cinnamon sugar on the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is turning golden brown and you can stick a toothpick in it and it comes out clean. Wait for them to cool before cutting into them.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Greek Burgers

adapted from Food-o del Mundo

I love Greek food. The flavors manage to balance sharp and creamy, salty and sweet in a way that is marvelous. So when I saw this recipe for Greek style hamburgers, I just had to try it. They were wonderful, needing very little garnish except for a slice of tomato and Tzatziki sauce.

Hamburger patties
17 oz ground pork (500 mg)
1 egg
1/2 cup of bread crumbs (or oats)
1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup minced Kalamata olives
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp dried parsley
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Tzatziki sauce
1 cup plain yogurt
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 finely chopped cucumber
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1-2 tsp dill

Hamburger buns
Tomato slices (for garnish)

Mix hamburger ingredients together well. Gently form 1/2 inch thick patties (1.25 cm), trying not to overwork the meat. Using a grill is optimal, but if that isn't available, just use a frying pan on the stove. Heat the stove very hot. Place the patty on the pan and let it sit. Do not push down on the burger, it lets all of the juices out. Fry on a hot stove, 7-9 minutes each side. Take off the pan and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Prepare the Tzatziki sauce by mixing all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Put the patty on a bun, with a layer of sauce and a tomato and enjoy!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Summer Peach Salad

I look forward to the day when you walk into a grocery store and peaches are on sale. I end up buying so many that peaches are part of every meal in order to eat them all before they spoil. This is an easy, versatile salad and a delicious way to say goodbye to summer.

3-4 large peaches, sliced
3-4 tomatoes, chopped and seeded
salad greens
mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup nuts

Fruity Vinaigrette
1/4 cup orange juice
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp mustard
2 tsp honey
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp poppy seeds

Chop up lettuce or other salad greens and put in a large bowl. Chop peaches and tomatoes, and add them to the bowl and toss. Grate mozzarella on top and garnish with nuts. Mix vinaigrette ingredients together in a small bowl and serve on the side.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Cranberry Brie Sandwich

I had this grilled cheese sandwich at a restaurant in Edinburgh called "Two Thin Laddies" and it blew my mind. So the first thing I did when I got home was recreate it. Easy and warm with such interesting flavors, perfect comfort food.

Quality bread
cranberry sauce (or any tart berry jam)
2 meduim onions, cut thinly
about 1 Tbsp butter
salt and sugar

Saute the onions on low for 10 minutes, add a sprinkle of salt and sugar and keep stirring until they begin to caramelize. Butter the bread and set a layer of brie, cranberry sauce and a scoop of the caramelized onions. Put the other bread on top and toast the sandwich on low heat until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted. Then be prepared to swoon.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Basil Chili

It's been cold since we moved to Austria. And I finally got a pot big enough to make soup in. So in celebration I made Ben and I a bowl of chili. And it was good.

Serves 4-6
1-2 tsp oil
2 medium onions, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup carrots, diced
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 cup tomato sauce
2 cups kidney beans
1 cup corn
1 cup mushrooms
1 lb ground beef
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne
2 cups beef broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
cheese (to garnish)

Saute garlic and onion in oil until starting to soften. Then add carrots and mushrooms and saute until carrots are starting to soften. Then add ground beef, stir occasionally until browned. Add in tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans, corn, chili powder, cayenne powder, half of the bunch of basil and beef broth. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve warm with cheese and fresh basil on top.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chocolate Popcorn

My dad always gets tons of flavored popcorn from his clients for Christmas, so for that reason fancy popcorn has a Christmas-y feeling to it. The chocolate covered popcorn is always my favorite, and it is so easy to make. I combined this with a batch of caramel popcorn to take to a party and it was a hit. This stuff is seriously addictive.

1 Tbsp oil (to make the popped corn)
1 cup popcorn kernels (unpopped)
2 Tbsp butter
12 oz (350 g) chocolate
splash milk
salt to taste

Make popcorn using a pot, or whirly pop or air pop machine.
Using a double boiler (or a glass bowl over boiling water) mix together the butter, chocolate, and milk. Stir until melted and smooth.
Pour the chocolate over the popcorn and stir with a wooden spoon until popcorn is fairly evenly covered, then spread out on a baking sheet or some waxed paper and sprinkle with salt.
Let cool for 3-4 hours for the chocolate to harden (can also put in the fridge or freezer to speed cooling process)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Caramel Nut Popcorn

from Taste

I love popcorn so much, but sometimes I get a little bored with the simple sprinkling of salt. This was a really easy way to make popcorn POP.

1 Tbsp oil
1 cup popcorn kernels (unpopped)
9 Tbsp (125 g) butter
3/4 c white sugar
2 Tbsp honey
1 cup nuts (I used almonds, but walnuts or pecans would also be great)
salt to taste

Using the oil and a pot or whirly pop or air pop machine, make the popcorn. Put in a bowl and set aside.

Combine butter sugar and honey in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 5-7 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil. Boil, uncovered, without stirring for 5-7 additional minutes (or until a light golden brown). Remove from heat and stir in nuts. Pour caramel mixture over popcorn and stir until the popcorn is coated fairly evenly. Spread on a baking sheet (lined with baking paper for easy clean up) and set aside to cool. Break into pieces and serve.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pineapple Black Bean Salsa

In an effort to eat a little healthier, I made this salsa to bring to a world cup party with some friends. It was great, spicy and sweet from the pineapple and combined with the salty chips it was wonderful.

1 cup pineapple, chopped into chunks
1 bell pepper, chopped roughly
1/2 red onion, finely minced
1-3 jalapeño, minced (Add according to your heat preference. Removing the seeds keeps it mild)
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 cup corn
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup orange juice (or pineapple juice if using canned pineapple)
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp ground chili
1/8 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Chop and combine all ingredients in a large bowl. I find that making it a few hours in advance helps the flavors to mingle a little better. Place in the fridge until you are ready to use. Serve with tortilla chips.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Black Bean and Garlic Meatballs

adapted from Vanilla Kitchen

These meatballs turned out to be a great dinner with a light asian twist.

3/4 lb ground pork
1/2 cup grated white onion
1 egg
3 cloves garlic, minced finely
1 tsp dried ginger (2 tsp fresh grated ginger)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 cup oatmeal or breadcrumbs

Garlic-Honey Black Bean Sauce
2 Tbsp honey
4 Tbsp black bean garlic sauce
4-5 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp cornstarch

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine meatball ingredients in a bowl, mix well and form balls about the size of a walnut. In a large frying pan, brown the meatballs and transfer them to a casserole dish and bake them for about 15 minutes. (Or until cooked through)
Now take the frying pan (without cleaning it) and start preparing the gravy. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mix them together. Then transfer them to the frying pan and stir frequently until the mixture is smooth and bubbly. Once the meatballs are done baking, pour the sauce on top and garnish with green onion.
Serve with rice and vegetables.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lime Coconut Chewies

adapted from My Baking Addiction

I made these for a party and they were great! The flavors are subtle and interesting, and a nice change from the usual cookie. I would love to try this with lemon flavor as well.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

1 cup butter (225 grams)
1 cup sugar + some for rolling the cookies in
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp lime juice
zest from one large lime
1/2 cup coconut, toasted but not sweetened

Preheat oven to 350 (176 C). Cream together butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla extract, lime juice and lime zest. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Slowly combine the dry ingredients with the wet, and then add in the coconut.

Roll rounded spoonfuls of dough into balls, roll them gently in sugar and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 1-2 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let stand on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes before removing to cool.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Chewy

From the Food Network

I had heard people on the blogosphere talk about Alton Brown's "The Chewy" but figured I would get around to it eventually. People often brag about having the BEST chocolate chip cookie recipe, but I have been disappointed so many times that I usually don't pay much attention when I see a new version.
But after trying the Chewy, I have to say that these were the best chocolate chip cookies. Ever.
They were beautiful. Soft and buttery, with big chunks of chocolate. They made me feel like a professional. And it's all about the technique. So try it out and see what you think.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

1 cup butter (225 grams)
2 1/4 cup bread flour (I used regular all purpose)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 Tbsp milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups chopped chocolate

Preheat the oven to 375
Melt the butter on medium heat, stirring frequently, until it begins to brown. Remove heat and let cool. In a medium sized bowl, sift together dry ingredients.

Once butter is cool, pour the melted butter in a mixer's bowl and cream together with the sugars. Then add the egg, yolk, milk, and vanilla and mix until well combined.
Slowly incorporate dry mixture until thoroughly mixed. Stir in chocolate chips.

Chill the dough for about an hour, then scoop (walnut sized) onto a prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, checking after 5 minutes. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thai Curry Soup

From Timo Lehto

This is such an amazing soup. The flavors are brilliant and my mouth is watering just thinking about it. It is spicy and creamy and feels wonderfully exotic. Extra bonus, it takes about 10 minutes to put together.

Serves 4

2 onions
1 chili (or 1 tsp chili powder)
3 Tbsp curry paste (red or green)
7 dl fish stock
1 cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp fish sauce
3 limes
linguine noodles
fresh cilantro

Saute onions, chili and curry paste until onions are soft. Add fish stock, coconut milk and boil for 2-3 minutes. Add noodles and fish sauce and just when the noodles are starting to soften, toss in the fish. Simmer until fish is cooked, then remove from heat and serve. Use lime juice and cilantro as a garnish.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Almond Tart

adapted from Bitchin' Camero

I have wanted to try this tart for a while now, and it was wonderful. Perfect for a brunch or light dessert, it was sweet and soft and looked very pretty coming out of the oven.

Serves 4-6

7 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup ground almonds
1 cup cream
1 cup sliced almonds, more for garnish
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 lemon, zest and juice
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
2-3 Tbsp powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 400.
Place the butter in a baking dish, and set it in the warming oven to melt. While it is melting, grab a large bowl, and whisk together all of the remaining ingredients except the powdered sugar. Pour the batter into melted butter and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the eggs are totally set and the edges are browned. Dust with powdered sugar and remaining sliced almonds and allow time to cool completely before serving.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

No Bake Cookies

These are so addicting, sweet and chocolatey and they can be thrown together in 15 minutes. Like the name says, these cookies aren't baked, but boiled! You have to be careful because if you let them boil for too long, they will harden in the pot and if you don't boil them enough, the wont set up properly. You can see that mine weren't boiled long enough so they were a little flat and gooey, but still delicious!

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup peanut butter (chunky or creamy)
3 1/2 cups oatmeal

First, measure out oats, peanut butter, salt and vanilla in a bowl. Mix well and set aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, cocoa, milk and butter. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, salt, peanut butter and oats. While still warm, quickly drop by rounded spoonfuls onto waxed paper. Allow the cookies to cool completely (about an hour) to become hard enough.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Kettle Corn

I LOVE kettle corn. It reminds me of my mom, who can't resist the stuff. Unfortunately I can't find it anywhere here, so I thought I would find a way to make it at home.

Let me warn you, this recipe took a few tries to get down. I burned the sugar a few times, and once was left with a lot of unpopped kernels. So be prepared for a learning curve. But it's a great recipe to learn and fun to experiment with. White sugar makes it taste like popcorn balls, brown sugar like caramel corn and powdered sugar is supposed to work as well, though I have never tried it. Also, I read that you can add food coloring to the oil to turn the popcorn different colors... So many possibilities!

Serves 4
1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
4 Tbsp oil
1/4 cup sugar
salt to taste

1. Take a large pot with a lid. Cover the bottom of the pot with the oil and put it on the stove on medium-high heat.

2. Place 3 kernels of popcorn in the pot and wait until these kernels pop. Once they do, the oil is hot enough. Pour the sugar into the kettle and once it has melted (it only takes a few seconds) quickly add the kernels on top. Place the lid on the pot.

3. Begin shaking the popcorn. Leave the pot on the stove for three seconds and then pick it up and shake it for three seconds so the sugar doesn't burn. Repeat until the popping slows considerably, then take it off heat and continue shaking for 30 seconds. It is very easy to burn this popcorn, so err on the side of more unpopped kernels than burned sugar. Dump it in a bowl and immediately add salt. Watch out, the sugar will be hot.

4. Let cool and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Healthier Fried Rice

adapted from Bella Eats

I love fried rice, but always feel bad eating it at restaurants because it feels so greasy. This recipe uses a little drop of oil, but the rest is a bit of egg, colorful veggies and rice so it doesn't feel heavy going down. This is also a perfect dish to whip up if you ever have a lot of leftover rice to use.

Serves 4

2 Tbsp peanut oil (I used rapeseed oil)
1-2 large carrots, peeled and chopped finely
1 red bell pepper, chopped finely
1 cup peas
2 Tbsp fresh chive or scallions, minced
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups steamed brown rice, cold
3/4 tsp salt
1-2 tsp Asian sesame oil (optional)

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Saute the carrot and bell pepper and peas until tender, then remove to a separate bowl and set aside.

Wipe the skillet clean and put back on the stove with the heat on high until it is hot enough to vaporize water upon contact. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp oil, swirling to coat evenly and heat until hot and just starting to smoke.

Add eggs, tilting pan and swirling eggs to form a thin and even layer and cook for about 30 seconds. Add rice and stir-fry, breaking up the eggs and letting rice rest for several seconds between stirs, until rice is hot (about 2-3 minutes).

Add the vegetables, chives, salt and sesame oil to taste, stir-frying until well combined. Serve warm.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Timo's Asian Salad

From Timo Lehto

We had this salad at our friends house one night and were blown away by its simplicity and flavor. It pairs nicely with any asian dish and is cheap and easy to put together.

2-3 carrots
3-4 cups cabbage
2 Tbsp green onion (or red), chopped into small pieces
1 cup pineapple chunks
sunflower seeds

4 Tbsp oil
4 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp lemon juice
1 chili, minced (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1 tsp sugar or honey
salt and pepper to taste

Chop the carrots in to matchsticks. Then chop the cabbage very finely to make about 3-4 cups. Mix together with onion, pineapple chunks and sunflower seeds. In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients and pour over salad. Toss until evenly coated and serve.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Carrot Salad

From Kari and Emmi Koivisto

Ok, this recipe is so simple, but I thought it deserved a post.
I love carrots, but had never enjoyed them like this before:

Finely grated, with pineapple, raisins or great with salad dressing.
Grating the carrots really brings out their sweet, juicy flavor. It is a perfect side dish for those nights where you don't have time to put a lot of time into dinner, but still want something healthy and delicious.

serves 4

5-6 large carrots
pineapple (or raisins)

Peel the carrots and finely grate them into a bowl. Toss in the pineapple (or raisins. or both) and serve.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Maple Pecan and Apple Salad

Adapted from Christie's Corner

I love interesting salads. And when I spotted this one that combined maple syrup, apples and nuts, I knew I had to try it. It was amazing! We ate the whole bowl without effort. You really can't go wrong with fruit, nuts and cheese.

Serves 4-6

1 medium bowl full of mixed leafy greens
2-3 apples, cored and diced (toss in lemon juice to prevent browning)
1/2 cup maple glazed pecans (*see instructions below)
1/2 cup crumbled chevre or feta

Maple Vinegar Dressing
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 Tbsp finely minced shallots
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

* Maple Glazed Pecans
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp brown sugar
dash os salt
dash or cayenne pepper
1 cup pecan halves

For the vinaigrette: Combine mustard, shallots, vinegar and maple syrup in a mall bowl. Whisk in oil until just combined, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

For the pecans:
Preheat the oven to 325 F (160 C). Combine maple syrup, brown sugar, salt and cayenne in a small bowl. Add pecans and toss until coated. Spread out nuts on a rimmed baking sheet lined with baking paper or foil. Toast for 10-15 minutes, or until nuts are golden and sugar is bubbling. Let cool completely, break apart and serve.

Place mixed greens and apples in a large serving bowl. Top with nuts and cheese and serve with dressing on the side.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tips: Preventing Flat Cookies

Here is the scenario:
You are craving a batch of cookies.
You pull out a recipe and start putting things together -- everything is going well and the batter looks great. They go in the oven and puff up and suddenly begin to spread out. Before you know it you have a sheet full of cookies as flat as pancakes. Like these:

Now, they still taste ok, but the texture is off. Sometimes they are too crunchy. And it can be frustrating. What went wrong?

Here are some strategies to help prevent this from happening:

1. When you cream your butter, be careful not to heat it too much. It should be pliable, but not weepy.

2. Chill your dough, and keep the batter in the fridge between batches. Some people even freeze their chocolate chips to help keep the cookie in better shape.

3. Mound your dough higher when putting it on your baking sheet

4. You could be over-mixing. It adds air, which causes them to puff up and deflate (like a souffle). It also causes the butter to melt more. So go easy on it.

5. Check the expiration date on your baking powder and baking soda. Also, baking soda can tend to make cookies flat, so try reducing that a little.

6. Use medium or large eggs (not extra large). Too much egg will flatten a cookie. If you are only making 1/2 a batch of cookies and there is an uneven number of eggs, use the egg yolk instead of a whole egg.

7. Try swapping 1/2 of the butter for shortening or crisco. Cookies using all butter will flatten out a bit more.

Baking is a science, with many factors to think about. Good Luck!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cowboy Cookies

These are the Texas Governor's mansion cookies. The first time I made them, I accidentally omitted the oatmeal... and they were good, but flattened in the oven and turned out pretty crunchy. The second time I did everything right and viola! Beautiful, and with such great flavors. They were good warm, but even better the next day.

makes about 3 dozen large cookies

3 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp baking soda
1 Tbsp cinnamon
tsp salt
1 1/2 cups butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla
3 cups rolled oats
3 cups chopped chocolate
2 cups sweetened flake coconut
2 cups chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 (176 C). In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until smooth and creamy. Then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then beat in vanilla. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Fold in chocolate, oats, pecans and coconut
Drop abou 1/4 cup of dough onto an ungreased baking sheet, about 3 inches apart. Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned (mine were done at 12 minutes!) Rotate the sheet halfway through for even baking.
Remove cookies to a rack to cool. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mujaddara (Middle Eastern Pilaf)

adapted from Avocado Bravado

In an effort to diversify my cooking repertoire, I took a baby step with this Middle Eastern rice pilaf and was pleasantly surprised. Served with a side of greens, it was a great easy dinner that was healthy and easy on the wallet. The caramelized onions are cooked slowly to give a sweet and spicy kick to the rice and lentils.

Serves 2-3

4 onions, sliced
3/4 cup lentils
3/4 cup rice
olive oil
1/2 Tbsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin

Heat oil and a dash of salt in a large non-stick skillet on medium low heat. Add onions, sugar and spices and stir every few minutes for half of an hour. At this point, the onions should be softening and turning a nice golden brown. Turn up the heat and cook the onions for an additional 15 minutes, being careful not to let them burn. Once done, set aside.

In the meantime, prepare the lentils and rice according to their package directions. (You can cook them together if you want, just add the lentils a little after the rice so they don't become too soft)

Mix together lentils, rice, most of the onions, salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm, garnished with remaining onions.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Paradise Tomato Pineapple Dip

from Paradise Bakery

I tried this dip at Paradise Bakery in Salt Lake and it was a flavor explosion. So I looked it up when I got home and whipped some up. It was simple and the unusual flavors really pop together. Be sure to pair it with a high quality baguette and bring it to your next party.

2-3 skinny baguettes, sliced

11 oz sundried tomatoes
3 cups canned pineapple
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp salt
3 oz garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp soy sauce
6 oz olive oil

Place all ingredients except the olive oil and bread in a food processor. Process until slightly chunky. Slowly add in the olive oil and stir until combined. Refrigerate until used.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Borscht (Beetroot Stew)

from Mandi

No offense to the Slavic language, but I think the word Borscht sounds pretty awful. So when my friend Mandi recommended this recipe, I was a bit nervous to try it out. In the end I was pleasantly surprised! I loved how in spite of how simple the ingredients were the taste was really rich and delicious. I used beef in my soup, but I think it would be great vegetarian as well.

8-10 beets, chopped into smallish pieces
2-3 carrots, chopped into larger pieces
3-4 potatoes, chopped into larger pieces
1/2 lb of ground beef or pork (meat chunks would also be good)
1 large onion, diced
1 cup diced cabbage
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
4-6 cups of stock or water
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp rosemary
Sour cream

Saute meat with onion and garlic and spices. Once cooked through, drain grease and add in beets and saute for several minutes. Then add carrot and potato pieces, saute for several minutes and throw the whole mixture into a large soup pot. Add cabbage, bring the water to a boil and then turn the heat down and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Grapefruit Cupcakes

Adapted from Crepes of Wrath

The first thing I noticed about these cupcakes is that they were beautiful. Really, the icing is a nice soft pink and the cake a cheerful golden color and they were so nice. Luckily they also taste great. The cake has a little fruity tang that is complemented by the icing.

Makes about 12 large cupcakes

1 1/2 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup yogurt
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
zest of 1-2 grapefruits
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup oil

1 cup confectioner's sugar
2-3 Tbsp grapefruit juice.

Preheat oven to 350 (176 C). Sift together dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, combine sugar and grapefruit zest and stir well, until the sugar takes on a nice light orange color. Then add eggs, vanilla and yogurt to the sugar/zest mixture. Beat well. Mix in the dry ingredients slowly, then fold in the vegetable oil. Line or grease muffin tins and fill each cup 3/4 full of batter. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when touched and are a lightly golden color.

While baking the cupcakes, create the icing by mixing together the sugar and grapefruit juice. Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, drizzle the icing on top and enjoy!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

7-Layer Dip

from my mom.

I love 7-layer dip! It is so tasty and easy to make. There are endless variations out there, some with ground beef or different types of beans (black, pinto or kidney) and cheeses. So feel free to add anything that could add to the mexican flavors. I'm sure you could make some healthier substitutions to make it a little lighter without sacrificing too much taste.

2 cups refried beans*
4-5 tomatoes, chopped
3/4 cup cheese, grated
1 jar black or Spanish olives, sliced
3-4 stalks of green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup sour cream
1 cup guacamole or 1-2 avocados, diced
1 bunch of cilantro, minced
*I also sprinkle a little chili powder or add jalepeños on top for some spice
1 bag of tortilla chips

In a large casserole dish, lay down a thick slab of refried beans until covering the bottom evenly. Then add the sour cream, guacamole, tomatoes, olives, green onions and cheese. Garnish with cilantro and sprinkle chili powder on top. Serve with tortilla chips on the side.

*In Europe it is difficult to find refried beans. SO, you can make your own by heating up 2 cans red kidney beans with 1 Tbsp butter and 1/3 cup salsa, then puree.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sundried Tomato Tilapia

This is a great mixture of my favorite flavors

2 white fish filets
1 Tbsp melted butter
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp basil
1 tsp garlic powder
lemon juice
1 onion, chopped
1/4 white wine
sundried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup Feta, crumbled

Preheat broiler. Mix together spices in a bowl. In a baking dish, melt butter and brush butter on fish and sprinkle on spices and arrange onion pieces all around. Broil for 7 minutes, flip fish and add more butter and wine. Sprinkle remaining spice mixture on the fish and broil 2-3 more minutes. Add tomato and cheese and broil for 2 more minutes.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Ben's Favorite Dark Chocolate Cake

adapted from Allrecipes

I am usually not a big cake person. If asked, I usually would much prefer brownies or a nice fruit pie. But this cake is an exception. It is my new go-to recipe for chocolate cake, so dark that it just might be sinful. It came out so moist and wonderful, and paired with the frosting it is absolutely divine.

2 cups boiling water
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter (about 225 grams)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup butter
2 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup milk

Preheat the oven 350 degrees (175 C). Grease and flour 3 nine-inch round pans (I used 2 nine-inch pans and used the rest of the batter to make cupcakes).

In a medium bowl, pour boiling water over cocoa and whisk until smooth. Let mixture cool. In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a third, large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time and stir in vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture. Spread batter evenly between the pans, filling them about 3/4 full.

Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. In a large bowl, mix butter until smooth and creamy. Then add sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Add milk in slowly, mixing constantly until frosting is of desired consistency. Allow cake to cool thoroughly before frosting.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cannellini Bean Dip

adapted from Jenn Cuisine

I have been having a love affair with beans. They taste so good and are so good for you and are so filling! Unfortunately they don't take a very good picture. This bean dip was terrific and very hearty, I served it with toast and salad and it was great. The recipe calls for tuna, but I think it would be better without it. I also think it would be great with some cheese mixed in and maybe even heated up... so experimentation is recommended.

4 cups white cannellini beans, canned (drained and rinsed) or already cooked
1/2 lemon, juiced (about 2-3 Tbsp)
olive oil, as needed (I used a little more than 1/4 cup, taken from the sundried tomatoes)
1/2 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
1/2 cup canned tuna
1 tsp basil
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp sage
salt and pepper to taste

Add beans and lemon juice to a food processor, and pulse until it is all smooth. If too thick, slowly pour in olive oil until it is the consistency of scoopable dip. Mix in tomatoes, tuna, herbs salt and pepper. Serve with pita bread or chopped vegetables.

Monday, March 1, 2010

White Bean and Lentil Stew

Adapted from Dana Treat

This was a great stew. It's vegan and healthy and so tasty. Pour it on top of brown rice and be prepared to feel good about your diet.

Olive oil
1 large onion
3 garlic cloves
3 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 cup dried lentils
1 15-oz (about 425 grams) garbanzo or white beans, rinsed and drained
3 carrots, peeled and chopped into matchsticks
1 Tbsp dried parsley
10 oz (about 275 grams) spinach
1/2 head cabbage, finely chopped
Lemon wedges
salt and pepper (to taste)

Heat a large pot, add oil and saute the onions and garlic until soft. Add tomato paste and spices and keep stirring until fragrant (about 1 minute). Stir in broth, water and lentils and increase the heat to bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let cook for about 15 minutes (or once the lentils are almost tender).

Add garbanzo beans, carrots, cabbage and parsley. Cover and simmer until the carrots are very tender. Stir in spinach slowly and allow for it to wilt. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls of rice and garnish with parsley and lemon.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

I made these for Ben to eat while I was on vacation and we ate them all before I even had a chance to leave. I have had a real thing for gingerbread lately and these blended flavors hit that and my chocolate craving all at once.

1/2 cup butter (about 113 grams)
1/2 cup molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp boiling water
1 heaping cup of semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white sugar (for rolling the cookies in)

Cream butter and sugars until soft. Sift together flour, cocoa powder and spices. In a small bowl, combine baking soda and boiling water. Then, taking turns, beat half of the flour mixture into the butter/sugar bowl, then add the baking soda/water mixture, then add the rest of the flour. Mix in the chocolate chips and turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat into a 1 inch log and refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours)

Preheat the oven to 325 F (163 C) Once chilled, slice the cookies into 1/2 inch rounds roll in granulated sugar and place on a cookie sheet. Bake until surfaces crack slightly, about 10-12 minutes. Let them cool slightly on the pan for a few minutes, then scoop them onto a wire rack to cool.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Brazilian Black Mango Soup

from Allrecipes

When I first saw this recipe I was pretty skeptical because of all the random ingredients. Mango in a stew? Are you crazy? But I really love mango. And black beans. And sweet potatoes. So I thought I would give it a try. So glad I did. And while I loved the ham, it would be great with out it as well.

1 Tbsp oil
1/4 lb chorizo sausage
1/3 lb cooked ham, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large bell pepper, chopped
2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with juice
1 hot chili pepper, finely minced (optional, add for heat)
1 1/2 cups stock
2 (16 oz) cans black beans
1 mango
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
salt to taste

First, heat oil in a big pot. Saute onion and garlic and once softened, toss in the chorizo and ham. Then add in the sweet potatoes, bell pepper, the cans of tomatoes with juice, minced chili pepper, and stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in beans and simmer for 5-10 more minutes. Lastly, mix in mango and cilantro, season with salt and serve.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Rainbow Birthday Cake

I made this cake for my nephew's first birthday and it was beautiful.

The frosting had some issues, but once you cut into the cake it was a lovely display of color.
And it was so easy! First, you make a simple white cake. (We used the boxed kind to save time) You split the batter into different bowls and add enough food coloring to get the primary and secondary colors:

Then you pour the batter into the cake pan, one a time, layering the colors on top of each other. Do not stir. Bake the cake as directed and let cool completely before frosting. Again, we used the store bought kind, but next time I think I would use a homemade cream cheese frosting... mmmmmm....


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mom's Carrot Cake

from my Mom

This is one of my very favorite cakes and my mom's recipe is my very favorite version.

1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
3 small jars carrot baby food
2 cups flour
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda

8 oz cream cheese
1/2 lb powdered sugar
1/2 cup (113 g) butter

Mix together oil, sugar, vanilla and salt in a large bowl. Then add eggs, beating well after each addition, and mix in the pureed baby food carrots. Sift together the flour, cinnamon and baking soda and add to the wet mixture. Bake in a 9 x 13 inch pan for 30-35 minutes (or until the center comes out clean when you pierce it with a toothpick). Cool well before frosting. Eat chilled.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sweet and Sour Green Beans and Onions

1 lb green beans, trimmed
1 Tbsp butter
2-3 large red onions
1 chili pepper (1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper)
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp dark brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Steam beans until just tender, about 5 minutes. Then transfer to a plate and set aside.
Melt butter in a lager heavy skillet at hight heat. Peel the onion, chop in half and chop again lengthwise leaving you with larger pieces of onion. Saute until onions begin to soften (3-4 minutes). Add vinegar and sugar and stir until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. Add in beans; toss to coat and heat through, about 1 additional minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Spinach Artichoke Twists

adapted from Sparkling Ink

This is an easy and pretty finger food I brought to a party. They were light and savory and disappeared in 20 minutes.

10 oz (280 g) frozen spinach
10 oz (280 g) canned artichokes
1/2 cup (1.2 dl) cream cheese
1/2 (1.2 dl) Parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper (to taste)
17 oz (480 g) frozen puff pastry

Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C).
Drain the spinach, chop the artichokes and combine together along with parmesan cheese, cream cheese, garlic and onion powders and salt and pepper.

Thaw the puff pastry as directed. Spread the spinach-artichoke filling generously on the sheets. Carefully roll them up and press the end to seal the seam. They should look like little burritos. Next, using a sharp knife, slice the rolls into 1/2 inch thick slices and place them on a baking sheet. (It may help to put the rolls into the freezer for 30 minutes to make the slicing easier) Bake at for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Twice Baked Potatoes

I love this dinner. It's cheap and delicious and so easy to make. With bacon and sour cream you can't go wrong. Definitely isn't the healthiest, but I'm confident substitutions could be made without affecting the taste too much.

12 large baking potatoes
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup cheese
1/4 cup chives, finely chopped
2 Tbsp butter
8 slices bacon, crumbled
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp paprika
1 ranch dressing packet
salt and pepper to taste
6 Tbsp Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (200 C). Bake potatoes for one hour or until soft. Meanwhile, fry bacon, drain grease, let cool and crumble.

Once potatoes are done allow them to cool for 10 minutes. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and carefully scoop out the flesh of the potato leaving about 1/4 of an inch of the potato attached to the skin. Set skins aside.

In a large bowl combine potato flesh, sour cream, bacon, green onions, milk, butter, 3/4 of the cheese, spices, salt and pepper. Mix until smooth and creamy and spoon back into the potato skins. Top with Parmesan and bake for an additional 15 minutes.