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.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hearty Cabbage Soup

Adapted from Cate's World Kitchen

Cabbage soup is the ultimate diet food. It is filling and cheap and low in calories. The potatoes and beans add a little more heft, but still this is a great way to stick to those new year's resolutions. My estimate is about 200 calories per bowl.

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, medium
3 potatoes, diced
4 cups stock
1 cup pinto beans
1/2 head cabbage, thinly sliced
3 carrots, julienned
1 tsp parsley
grated parmesan for a garnish (omit for vegan)

Heat oil in a large soup pot. Add garlic and onion and saute until onions are soft. Add the potatoes and 2 cups of stock along with a little salt and pepper. Bring the water to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes, covered. Once potatoes are very tender, carefully puree with and immersion blender until very smooth. (You may want to let the soup cool a bit!) Add 2 cups of stock and stir in cabbage, beans, parsley and carrots and bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes or until the cabbage is tender.
Serve hot and garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Ants Climbing on Branches

Adapted from First Look, Then Cook

After bingeing during Christmas I was feeling very lethargic and unhealthy and I wanted to try a few recipes that tasted good but were still fairly light. This is the carb friendly version to the Chinese food "Ants climbing on Trees" which is ground pork with thin noodles. Here the noodles are replaced with green beans, making it much lower in calories while still being delicious.

1 lb green beans
1/2 lb lean ground pork
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 Tbsp fresh garlic, minced
1 medium onion
1-2 chilies
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cashews

Heat oil and saute garlic, onion, spices together for a few minutes until fragrant. Then add pork and brown, then add beans and red pepper and cook for a couple of minutes until the beans are beginning to soften. Meanwhile in a small bowl combine broth, soy sauce, cornstarch, and whisk together until smooth. Stir broth mix into pork and cook until thickened. Top with cashews and serve with rice.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Karelian Stew

from Mandi

Karelian stew (Karjalanpaisti) is a traditional meat stew from Karelia, the eastern part of Finland where Ben's mother is originally from. It is hearty and uses tasty root vegetables found in Scandinavia. I would love to try this in a dutch oven sometime, it seems like perfect camp food.

Serves 4

1-2 lbs of beef, pork or lamb chunks
1 Tbsp butter
1 rutabaga, chopped
3-5 carrots, chopped
4 small onions, chopped roughly
4-5 cups water or beef broth (enough to cover food in the pot)
15 peppercorns
4 bay leaves
salt to taste
6-8 potatoes

Heat the oven to 275 F. Wash and chop all vegetables except potatoes (set them aside). Brown the meat in the butter in a sauce pan and layer meat cubes, onions, and vegetables in a lidded casserole dish. Pour water or beef broth over the meat and cover.
Bake in the oven, stirring occasionally until meat is tender (about 5 hours). While the stew is in the oven, boil the potatoes. Once 5 hours is up, take out the stew, remove bay leaves and peppercorns and serve over boiled potatoes.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Christmas Beet Salad

This is a traditional Finnish dish at Christmas time and goes well with ham, turkey or other meat dishes. It reflects the local produce available this time of year in Scandinavia. It is even better the next day so feel free to prepare it in advance.

2-3 potatoes
2-3 carrots
2-3 beets
2 pickles
1 apple
1 very small onion
1 cup sour cream

Peel and cook potatoes and carrots until soft, remove from heat and let cool. In a different pot, do the same with peeled beets, once soft reserve 1 tbsp of the water. Cut the potatoes, carrots, beets, apples and pickles into small cubes. Mince the onion and mix all of the vegetables together in a bowl. Cover the bowl and put in the refrigerator for the flavors to mingle together. Mix together sour cream and 1 tbsp beet water to dye it pink. Serve the cream on the side.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Spicy Spanish Bean Soup

I just can't get enough soup this winter! It has been so snowy and cold this week and this soup was perfect to cast off the chill.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
1 bunch cilantro
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1-2 chili peppers (depends on how much spice you want)
2 chorizo sausages, chopped into pieces
2 cups garbanzo beans
3 potatoes, cut into thin slices
1/2 cup olives, chopped
1 red pepper (I used the roasted kind that comes in a jar)
1 cup tomato sauce
3-4 cups chicken broth
cheese or sour cream to garnish (optional)

Saute the onion, garlic until beginning to soften. Then add oregano, cumin, paprika, chilies and sausages in a large soup pot. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately.