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 :)