Friday, December 30, 2011

Missy's Favorite Turkey Dressing

from Simply Recipes

I have made this recipe for every holiday party in the last three years and it is always my favorite! It's got a great blend of fall flavors and is so easy. It's a perfect side when you want to feed a lot of people.

Serves 8-12

1 loaf day old French bread, cut into 3/4 inch cubes (about 10-12 cups bread cubes)
1 cup walnuts (I have also used hazelnuts)
2 cups onion
2 cups celery
6 Tbsp butter
1 green apple, peeled, cored and chopped
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped olives (martini olives, the ones with the pimento)
1-2 cups turkey or chicken stock
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp ground sage
salt and pepper to taste

Toast the nuts on medium high heat until browned, about a minute or two. Let them cool and then chop them roughly.

Heat a large saute pan on medium heat. Melt 3 Tbsp (about half) of the butter in the pan and then pour in the bread cubes, coating them with melted butter. Let them toast; only turn them when they begin to turn brown. (It's best if the bread is already a bit dried out. If it's still moist, lay the cubes in a baking pan and put them in a hot oven for 10 minutes or your stuffing will turn out mushy.)

In a large pot, saute onions and celery on medium high heat with the other half of the butter (about 3 Tablespoons) until cooked through, about 5-10 minutes. Add the bread, chopped nuts, apple, raisins, olives and parsley. Add one cup of stock, the rest of the seasonings and salt and pepper.

Cover. Turn the heat to low and cook for an hour or until the apples are cooked through. Check every 10 minutes or so to add water if the stuffing starts to dry out and stick to the bottom of the pan.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Spanish Rice Bake

Adapted from Allrecipes

I don't know about you, but sometimes I get into a cooking rut. I get comfortable with a few recipes and after a month or so I stop and realize I have been eating the same 3 things for weeks! Anyway, I wanted something new and easy, with not too many strange ingredients that I would have to hunt around for. This was just the ticket. Familiar flavors, hearty and with a little hot sauce it really sings.

Plus, I imagine you could add all sorts of beans and veggies to this and even make it vegetarian if you so desired.

Makes enough for 4-6 people

1 lb lean ground beef
1 onion
2-3 bell peppers
1 can (14 oz or 400g) canned tomatoes
1 can corn
1 can kidney beans
1 cup water
1 cup rice
1/2 cup chile sauce (or salsa)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C)
Brown the meat and onion in a large skillet. Drain excess fat and stir in peppers, tomatoes, water, rice, chilie sauce, salt, sugar, and spices.
Let simmer for about 30 minutes covered, stirring occasionally. Check to see that the rice is cooked through, and if it is pour entire contents into a large casserole dish. (if not, wait a little longer, add water if needed and then pour it into the dish) Press down firmly and sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
Bake at for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Ben's Simple Pancakes

The kind of pancakes you can quickly throw together on a Saturday morning. There are no weird ingredients, and they are simple and easy.We probably make them 3 times a week and I would definitely consider this my go-to recipe.

Makes enough for 3 - 4

1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/4 cup milk (buttermilk if you can swing it)
1 egg
3 Tbsp butter, melted

Heat a skillet on the stove on medium heat.
Mix dry ingredients, then blend in milk and egg until just incorporated. Melt the butter and add it to the mix. Spoon out about 1/2 cup onto the skillet and wait until you begin to see tiny bubbles on the surface, then flip the pancake over with a spatula. Give it another minute or so and then remove and enjoy!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

How to make Pumpkin Puree

Instructions from Allrecipes

I now live in a place where it is difficult to buy canned pumpkin. And with the holiday pumpkin pies coming up I thought I would try making my own this year instead of getting it shipped from America (it makes for a rather expensive pie).

As usual, making it from home is very easy to do and it tastes better and of course is much cheaper. So here is how to do it:

1. Choose a small pie pumpkin, not more than 3-4 pound (the smaller ones tend to be sweeter)
2. Rinse the pumpkin well, removing any dirt or debris
3. Cut the pumpkin in half. Then scoop out all the seeds and guts. Set aside seeds for baking later!
4. Then lay the pumpkin pieces face down in a baking dish and add about a cup of water.

5. Bake at 350 F for 45-60 minutes, or until the flesh is soft and can be punctured easily with a fork.
6. Remove from the oven, and let cool. At this point, the rind should just peel right off, though you may have to do a little scraping to get some of the flesh off.
7. Puree it in a food processor until smooth. Now the pumpkin is ready to be used in a pie, muffin or soup! Anything that requires pumpkin puree. If you don't need it right away, feel free to freeze it until you need it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Blackberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

adapted slightly from Amanda's Cookin'

I made this last weekend and it was so incredibly good. A wonderful, moist coffee cake, plus a little soft cheese topping to make it feel just a little bit more decadent.

Cream Cheese Filling
1 8 oz package cream cheese (226 g)
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1 egg

Cake Batter
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, chilled (170 grams)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1 tsp almond extract
1 egg

1 cup blackberry preserves (any kind will probably do)
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 375 F (176 C). Either prepare a 12 cup muffin tin and a 9x9 square baking pan OR I just greased up a bundt cake pan.

Place cream cheese, sugar, flour and egg into a bowl, mix until smooth and set aside.

Combine flour and sugar together along with cinnamon and salt and cut in the butter, until you form coarse crumbs. Remove 1 cup of this mixture and set aside.  In a small bowl, combine sour cream, yogurt, almond extract and 1 egg. Combine wet egg mixture with the remaining crumbs along with the baking powder and baking soda.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking dish. Then on top of that, spread a layer of cream cheese filling. On top of the cream cheese, pour out 1 cup of blackberry preserves and lastly sprinkle the 1 cup of reserved butter crumbs on top. Garnish with sliced almonds and bake for 45 minutes. The cake will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and will be golden brown, preserves will be bubbly. Let cool before serving.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Gooseberry Crumb Cake

Adapted from Closet Cooking

I made this a couple of months ago, but just before going to the USA for a month in August my gooseberry bush just EXPLODED with berries. Now if you haven't had a gooseberry before (I hadn't) they look like a grape and taste a bit like a cranberry. They are very tart, and not easy to eat raw. So I had buckets of these berries on my hands and didn't know what to do with them. This was my first effort and it turned out quite good. Two cups of berries down, about 30 more to go...

2 cups gooseberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Cake Batter
1/2 cup softened butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Crumb Topping
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp salt
6 Tbsp butter, cut into pieces
1 cup flour

Preheat the oven to 325 F (162 C)
Rinse the gooseberries and toss with the sugar, cornstarch and ginger to coat. Set aside.

Cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs one at a time. Then mix in the sour cream and vanilla. Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Then add the dry ingredients to the wet ones a little at a time. Once mixed, pour all but 1/2 cup of batter into a greased 8x8 inch (20x20 cm) baking dish. Then pour out the gooseberry mixture on top, trying to get even coverage of berries. Top off with the remaining batter.

In a separate bowl, mix the brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, butter pieces and flour. Pinch together to make coarse crumbs. Sprinkle on top of batter and put in the oven to bake until the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Couscous Confetti Salad

I got this recipe from a friend and brought it to a barbecue this weekend because I hate showing up and all there is to eat are chips and cookies. At the end of the party, this salad was nearly gone, but there were several bags of sweets leftover and this got me thinking: Most adults I know are trying to maintain a healthy weight and have trouble sticking to their diets at parties. While I love a good cookie as much as the next person, I'm coming to firmly believe that you should bring healthy food to every party.

Healthy food makes everyone feel better!

2 cups cooked Couscous + vegetable bullion
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 red onions
1 red beans
1 cucumber
2 cups corn
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the couscous according to the box directions, including the bullion cube in the water for flavoring. Set aside. Cut cherry tomatoes into quarters, dice the onion thinly, chop up cucumber and mix altogether.  Combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix well with couscous. Enjoy!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Carrot and Red Pepper Soup

Fall is here! We had our very first cold snap of the season (complete with a mini snowstorm) and that prompted this delicious meal. The roasted peppers add a lot of flavor and this has tons of ingredients that I usually have around the house. Not only is this very healthy, but if you use soymilk instead of milk it can be completely vegan. Bring on the cold!

Serves 4-6

1 onion, chopped
10 carrots, sliced thin
2 cups vegetable stock
2 red bell peppers
2 cups milk
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp salt

Place onion and carrots into a pot with water or stock and simmer, covered, over medium heat until the carrots can be easily pierced with a fork. (about 20 minutes)

Roast bell peppers by placing them over an open gas flame or directly under the broiler until the skin is completely blackened. Place in a bowl, cover, and let stand for about 15 minutes. Once the peppers cool, slip the charred skin off with your fingers, then cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds.
Blend the carrot mixture along with the bell peppers in a blender in small batches. (Be very careful blending hot liquids!) Add some milk to aid the blending. Return soup to the pot and add in lemon juice, vinegar, salt and pepper. Heat until steamy and serve warm with fresh bread. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tangy Slow Roasted Pork

Adapted from Allrecipes

Slow cooker recipes are so great. They are so EASY that they are almost impossible to screw up, and the taste is amazing. I tried this new recipe because I was wanting some savory meat to put on crepes, but didn't necessarily want a barbecue flavor. I had all of these ingredients already on hand and the pork turned out tangy and delicious.

Serves 6-8

1 large onion
3-4 cloves garlic
2 1/2 lbs boneless pork loin (about 1 kilogram)
1 cup water
1/4 cup white sugar
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar (balsamic is also acceptable)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 cup tomato puree
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1 beef bullion cube
salt to taste
red pepper flakes, to taste
1 tsp cornstarch

Chop the onions and mince the garlic and put them in a large pot and place the roast on top. Then, in a bowl, mix the water, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, black pepper and beef bullion and pour mixture over the roast. Then keep adding water until the meat is just covered.

Put the lid on the pot and and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours. About 3/4 of the way through, open the pot and shred the meat with two forks, adding salt and red pepper to taste. Cook the remaining time, with the lid off if there is a substantial amount of liquid left so it can evaporate (keep the lid on if the liquid is nearly gone) and mix cornstarch with 1 Tbsp cold water and mix it in so the sauce can thicken up a bit.

This meat would be great on sandwiches, crepes, or tacos. Pretty much anything really. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sichuan Style Chicken

Adapted from Eating Well

I love Chinese food. And I love finding new ways of making it that don't involve a deep fryer. So this recipe from Eating Well was great and very healthy! My advice would be not to skimp on the sauce, it's definitely the best part.
Good Appetite! 

Sichuan Sauce
3 Tbsp reduced sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp rice vinegar (balsamic is also acceptable)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil (tahini is also acceptable)
1/4 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

Chicken Stir Fry
1 lb chicken, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tsp rice wine (or dry sherry)
1 tsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp garlic, minced
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced (dried is also ok)
2 cups zucchini (any vegetable really...string beans would be awesome)
1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts
1 scallion, minced for garnish

To prepare sauce: whisk broth, tomato past, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch and crushed red pepper to taste in a small bowl.

Put the chicken, rice wine, soy sauce, cornstarch and minced garlic in a bowl, set aside.

Chop zucchinis into large chunks and set aside. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes immediately. Swirl oil into the pan, add ginger and stir fry for 10 seconds. Carefully add the chicken mixture, spreading it out to cook. Cook until chicken begins to brown on all sides, stirring occasionally. Add vegetables and stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the Sichuan sauce, swirl it into the pan and cook until the chicken is just cooked through and the sauce has thickened and is slightly glossy (about a minute) Transfer to a platter and garnish with peanuts and scallions. Serve immediately with rice.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

German Pancakes

From the LeMons

As with German Chocolate Cake, these have very little to do with Germany. I have never seen these in Europe, but somehow the name sticks. Anyway, this is a great breakfast if you want something hot and sweet and feeds a lot of people, but without having to stand in front of a griddle or waffle iron all morning. You literally just whip it all together, put it in the oven and by the time everyone gets to the table, it's ready to go.

Serves 6

6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (about 200 C). Mix the eggs, milk, flour and salt in a bowl until smooth. Pour the melted butter into an ungreased 13x9 inch (about 23x33 cm) baking dish. Pour in the batter and bake, uncovered for 20 minutes.

The dish will puff up, like this:

But it deflates pretty quick, so serve immediately. Delicious with syrup or jam or whipped cream, or with some simple powdered sugar.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Basil Steak Marinade

adapted from

It's the height of summer and all of my herbs are overflowing right now. So I've been trying to use fresh herbs as often as possible. This basil marinade was amazing! So much flavor and easy to put together.

1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped into little pieces
1/2 cup worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp honey
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup minced scallions
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

4 steaks

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and whisk until evenly combined. Pour over steaks and let the meat marinate in the fridge for at least a few hours.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Roasted Turkey Breasts

I love turkey, but am not always in the mood to roast a whole bird. When turkey breasts came on sale a few weeks ago, I jumped at the chance to have a nice turkey dinner without all of the fuss.

Serves 6-8

1 whole turkey breast, bone in (thawed if frozen) about 4-5 lbs or 1.75- 2 kilos
1/2 cup butter (113 grams)
1/4 cup white wine or apple juice
2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp cold water

Preheat oven to 325 F (176 C). Place turkey, skin side up on a rack in a large, shallow roasting pan. Roast uncovered 1 hour.
Mix butter, wine, thyme, salt , paprika and garlic. Brush turkey with half of the butter mixture. Roast 30 minutes; brush with remaining butter mixture. Roast about an hour longer or until your meat thermometer reads 165 F (73 C). Remove turkey from the oven and let it stand for 15 minutes. In the meantime, take the pan drippings and skim the fat off of the top. Add enough water to drippings to measure out about 2 cups. Heat water and drippings in a saucepan until boiling. In a small cup, mix in cornstarch and 2 Tbsp cold water and once they are thoroughly mixed, add to the drippings. Boil and stir for 1 minute, serve gravy with turkey.

Friday, June 24, 2011


From my Mom

I have a serious weakness for brownies. Especially warm gooey ones like these. My mom has made these all growing up and even though the recipe is so simple, it is still my favorite. I made a rule long ago that I could only make these when we had friends over or else I end up taking a little sliver here and a piece there until the whole pan is gone. It's a very grave problem. But that is what happens when brownies are this good.

Makes enough for me! or 8-10 normal people.

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
10 Tbsp cocoa (unsweetened)
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup flour
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 F (176 C). Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time and then mix in flour and chocolate chips. Pour batter in a prepared 9x12 inch (23x30 cm) baking pan and bake for 15-18 minutes.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Chocolate Cherry Tart

from Hot Polka Dot

All of the cherry trees in my neighborhood are ripening right now. Deep red, lovely cherries everywhere you look. I have had to resist the urge many times to help myself to my neighbor's trees and last week I finally had to buy a box at the store. With so many to eat, I made this dessert one night on a whim. It was so divine that we had to fight over the leftovers the next day... so good that it's dangerous!

makes one 12 inch tart

1 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup ground hazelnuts
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
1 egg

12 ounces (350 grams) semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp unsalted butter

2-3 Tbsp chopped hazelnuts (I had to use walnuts, but it was still very good!)
1 cup sweet cherries, pitted

Mix together flour, cocoa, ground hazelnuts, powdered sugar and salt. Cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the egg a little bit at a time, mixing a little bit after each addition. The dough will appear granular at first and after a few mixes it should begin to clump together.

Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead it together gently until it begins to hold together. Try not to handle it as little as possible. Then wrap it in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for a few hours.

Once ready, butter a 12 inch round tart pan and set it aside. Sandwich the dough between 1 large sheets of wax paper and roll it out into a 15 inch circle. (Rolling it out with wax paper reduces cracks and mess and makes it easier to turn it over into the pan). Place the dough in the tart pan, firmly pressing into the corners of the pan. Pierce the dough a few times with a fork and put it in the freezer for half an hour.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 375 degrees (190 C) and butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil. When ready, fit the buttered side down tightly against the inside of the tart shell. Place the tart in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake it for an additional 10 minutes. Take it out and let it cool completely before filling.

To make the filling, put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it aside. In a small saucepan combine the cream and butter and heat it on medium until it just begins to boil. Then pour the mixture over the chocolate, cover it and let it sit for 3-5 minutes. Whisk in the chocolate unti lit all melts and you're left with a smooth pudding like consistency. Pour into the cooled tart shell and smooth it out with a spatula. Top with cherries and chopped nuts and put it in the fridge until ready to serve. I left mine in there for an hour or so and it really helped the filling firm up.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Pork Chops with Sour Cream Sauce

adapted from

We just got a grill. Hooray! It's just a little one and nothing fancy but it's so nice to cook and eat outside. Last night I wanted to try something a little different with grilled pork chops and this sauce was just the ticket. It had nice flavor, was simple to put together and tasted great with rice.

4 pork loin chops
1 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp salt
2 medium onions
1.5 cup beef stock
1 cup sour cream
3 Tbsp flour
1/8 tsp black pepper
parsley (fresh if you can get it!)

Combine sage, salt and pepper and rub the chops on both sides with the mixture. Grill until meat is cooked through.

In a saucepan grill onions until soft, then add beef stock and stir in the sour cream until smooth. Simmer for several minutes, add flour to thicken and sprinkle with parsley. Serve with rice or wide egg noodles.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Chicken Tikka Masala

adapted slightly from Jamie Oliver

I love Indian food but find it so intimidating! I guess I hate the fact that I never really know if I'm doing it right because it is so unfamiliar... So when my friend Janine wanted to try out this Tikki Masala recipe I thought it would be the perfect time to tackle the challenge. By the end of the hour the house smelled like a spice market and our mouths were all watering.

Serves 4-6

1/2 fresh red chili, deseeded (more if you want it hotter)
1 clove garlic,
1/2 oz (15 grams) fresh ginger
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 pinch paprika
1/2 Tbsp garam masala
1 tsp tomato puree
a bunch of fresh cilantro (coriander)
about 14 oz (400 grams) chicken breast, diced into pieces
1 small onion, peeled and sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped into pieces
1 green pepper, deseeded and chopped into pieces
1 pinch of ground cinnamon
1 pinch of ground coriander
1 pinch of turmeric
14 oz (400 grams) plum tomatoes
3.5 oz (100 ml) plain yogurt
3.5 oz (100 ml) sour cream

The day before: (or at least a few hours before)
Put the chili, garlic, ginger, vegetable oil, paprika, garam masala, tomato puree, and all of the cilantro stalks into the food processor and puree to form a paste. Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl, coat them with marinade and put them in the fridge over night.

When ready, add a little vegetable oil in a large wok or fry pan on medium heat. Fry the onion, peppers and remaining spices in a large saucepan. Cook gently for about 10 minutes, then add the can of tomatoes and yogurt. Finally, add the chicken pieces and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes until cooked through. Just before serving, stir through the double cream and chopped cilantro leaves.

Serve with fluffy rice and a leafy green salad.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

German Chocolate Cake

from Allrecipes

The ironic thing about German Chocolate Cake is that it is most certainly NOT German. Pecans aren't even grown over here and are actually quite difficult to find. That being said, this is a delicious, fancy looking cake.

1/2 cup water
4 oz (113 grams) chocolate
1 cup buter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs (separate yolks and whites)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups cake flour (all purpose is next best)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 cup white sugar
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup (70 grams) butter
3 egg yolks, beaten
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt

Chocolate Sauce:
2 ounces chocolate
1 Tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C). Grease and flour three 9" round pans (I used two 10" pans). Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set asidde. In a small saucepan, heat water and 4 ounces of chocolate until melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in 4 egg yolks one at a time. Blend in melted chocolate and vanilla, then add the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk, mixing just until incorporated (do not overmix!)

In a large glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into the batter, then quickly fold in the remaining whites until no streaks remain. Pour into your prepared bake pans and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before removing.

To make the filling, combine 1 cup of sugar, evaporated milk, 1/2 cup butter and 3 egg yolks. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat, stir in coconut, pecans and vanilla. Cool until thick enough to spread. Spread filling between layers and on top of the cake. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate together, stir until smooth and then drizzle down the sides of the cake.

Some people prefer to toast the pecans and coconut before adding them to the filling, but that is up to you.

Friday, May 6, 2011

How to Roast a Whole Chicken

While I love the convienience of bags of frozen chicken breasts, it's much more economical to buy the whole chicken and to roast it yourself. Plus, it makes the whole house smell great!

1 shallow pan
1 whole chicken

Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C)
Take the chicken out of the trappings, remove giblets, rinse thoroughly and pat completely dry with a paper towel. Then place the chicken in the center of an oiled baking dish. You can stuff the bird's cavity with a roughly chopped onion or garlic cloves if you like. Then, in a small bowl, mix spices together. Brush chicken with a thin layer of oil and sprinkle the spice mixture evenly all over the chicken.
Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until juices run clear. The cooking time really depends on the size of the bird; for anything over 3.5 pounds, cook for about 8-10 minutes per pound (about 8-10 minutes every 500 grams). To be completely sure it is baked through, you may want to use a meat thermometer and make sure the internal temperature gets to 165 F (73 C).

Let the chicken rest for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy Meal

Ben right now is in this cooking group at work, and he always comes home with these really interesting recipes from all over the world. This is one is from a colleague of his whose mom would make it back home and they called it "the happy meal" because it was so good. I was impressed with it because of the strange combination of savory and sweet, I would have never thought to mix bananas and bacon but it turned out quite delicious.

Serves 4

1 onion
14 oz turkey, cut into chunks (400 g)
3.5 ounces bacon (100 g)
1 cup of cream (250 ml)
1 Tbsp curry
1 beef bullion cube
1 banana
1 cup mandarin oranges
1 1/2 cup pineapple

Chop bacon and onion into small pieces and saute with strips of turkey in a large frying pan. Once they are cooked, add cream, beef bullion cube, curry and salt if needed. Last, drop in banana, pineapple and Mandarin oranges. Let them all simmer together for several minutes, and serve immediately with rice. Don't let the fruit simmer for too long, or the fruity flavors will overpower the meal (known from experience!).

Monday, April 18, 2011

Simple Greek Salad

This is one of my favorites, such great flavors all mingled together and it is so easy. It's perfect for summer.

Serves 4

5-6 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 cup olives
1 cucumber, chopped into small pieces
1 small red onion, sliced thinly
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1-2 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp basil

In a bowl, mix together tomatoes, olives, cucumber and onion. Mix well. Then toss in Feta, lemon juice, salt, pepper and basil. It's best if you make it a few hours before dinner so you have time for the flavors to mingle. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Nutella No-Bake Cookies

I love no-bake cookies. They are SO easy to make and use such basic ingredients that I never have to buy anything special to have them made. Plus when you have a sugar craving, they really hit the spot. The problem is, to make them one needs peanut butter and the only place I have found American peanut butter here is clear across town. So in desperation yesterday I used Nutella instead (which is found virtually everywhere here) and it was wonderful! Ben even loved them and he usually hates no-bake cookies.

makes about 2 dozen cookies

2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup Nutella
3 1/2 cups oats

Combine sugar, cocoa, butter and milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes. During this time measure out your oats and Nutella, then when the time is up, quickly mix them in to the hot mixture. Drop spoonfuls onto wax paper and let cool completely so they can harden before eating.

If your cookies turn out gooey and sticky, they didn't boil long enough. If they are crumbly, they boiled for too long. 2 minutes turned out perfectly for my stove, but experiment with your own stove to get the timing right.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sweet and Sour Baked Chicken

adapted slightly from Heat Oven to 350

It's so easy to get in a cooking rut. I looked at our menu last week and realized we had been eating meatballs and sandwiches for almost every meal and so I decided to try something new. This was a great meal; a healthy and delicious twist on the asian classic. I loved the tangy sauce and it was even better the next day! Feel free to experiment with different vegetables.

Serves 4-6

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
8 1/2 ounce pineapple chunks in their own juice
1/2 cup jellied cranberry sauce (I used lingonberry jam)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp rice vinegar or cider vinegar
2 Tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate (I used regular orange juice + 1/2 tsp orange concentrate)
1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp ground ginger
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp water
1 medium green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 medium zucchini, cut into thin slices

Heat the oven to 350 degrees (176 C). Pat chicken pieces dry with a paper towel, place them in a medium sized baking pan and set aside.

Drain juice from pinapple into a small saucepan and set pineapple asie. Put pan over medium heat and whisk in cranberry sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, orange juice concentrate soy sauce and ginger. Cook, stirring often until the cranberry sauce has melted and the sauce is warm. Put cornstarch in a cup or small bowl. Add water, whisking to dissolve. Whisk into juice mixture. Increase heat to medium-high and cook for about 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Add pineapple chunks and pour over chicken.

Bake, covered for 35 minutes. Add bell pepper and zucchini and baste the chicken with sauce. Bake uncovered for an additional 5 minutes. Serve over rice.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chocolate Cheesecake Kisses

From the genius Bakerella

I have been meaning to post this recipe for months now and am just now getting around to it. I made these for Valentines Day and they were a hit. I got the idea from one of my favorite food websites: Bakerella. If you have never been to her site, you should really go over and take a look, but I'm warning you it is not good for your diet! She is incredibly creative and always has fun dessert ideas to try out. Just don't say I didn't warn you about the diet thing.

Anyway, I was looking for a special Valentines Day recipe and decided tried this one out and loved it. It is very rich, with a cookie/cheesecake flavor and were really fun to make and eat!

1 package of oreos (18 ounces or 500 grams) of cream filled chocolate cookies
8 ounces (226 grams) cream cheese
1 1/2 cups chocolate bark (I used regular baking chocolate, you could use chips or whatever)

First, finely crush all but about 7 cookies in a ziplock bag, cream filled center and all. Try to get rid of all the big chunks. Stir in the cream cheese, using the back of a spoon to mash the two together. Roll the mixture into 1 inch (2.5 centimeter) balls and place the on a wax paper covered cookie sheet. Then, form the balls into the shape of a kiss (cone shaped) coming to a point at the top. Put the balls in the freezer for 20 minutes or so to harden them a little bit so they dont fall apart when you cover them with chocolate.

*mine turned out a little different from Bakerella because they don't have oreos often in Austria, so I used a vanilla/chocolate cookie. Hence the multicolored inside instead of the dark oreo brown.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (or very carefully in the microwave, stirring frequently) until you get about 1 1/2 cups of melted chocolate in a bowl. One at a time, dip the kisses one at a time into the chocolate, tap off the extra chocolate and slide them off onto the wax papered cookie sheet to dry. Once dry, refrigerate and enjoy!

To Decorate:
Write or type messages onto thin strips of paper. Cut out foil into 5 inch squares (about 13 centimeters), place a dry kiss in the center. Insert the message near the top and secure it as you wrap the kiss in the foil, covering it completely.

There you have it, homemade kisses for the one you love.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mom's Chicken Noodle Soup

from Mom

I remember my mom making this growing up, always from scratch and always telling us how simple it was to put together and haw much better homemade was compared to the canned stuff. How right she was! This soup is so delicious and comforting.

Serves 6-8

8-10 cups chicken broth
2 cups carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 onion, diced
2 cups cooked chicken, cut into chunks
1 package of egg noodles
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Cook chicken pieces through and set aside. In a large soup pot, boil vegetables in broth until they are just beginning to soften.

Meanwhile, in a separate pan create a light roux by melting the butter over low heat, and then gradually adding flour, mixing constantly until incorporated. Then slowly add milk, stirring to get rid of lumps. Once the mixture is smooth, pour into the soup. Add chicken to heat through, and just before serving add the noodles and let simmer until they are just soft. Don't let the noodles sit for too long or they will get mushy. Serve immediately with fresh bread.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ben's Favorite Salad

I'm blessed. I married a man who likes salad. Loves it really. Which makes eating healthy in our house much easier. Lately Ben has been on this tuna+avocado+balsamic vinegar kick and made this creation last week for me and I was in heaven.

2-4 servings

1 bowl of leafy greens, torn into pieces
1 ripe avocado, cut into chunks
2-3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 can high quality tuna (packed in water)
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup toasted almonds
Balsamic Vinegar
Olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare the greens and top with avocado, tomatoes, tuna, red onion. Drizzle with equal amounts of oil and vinegar and sprinkle on some salt and pepper to taste. Lets be honest here, you just toss it all together and eat. Perfect!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Angel Food Cake

adapted slightly from allrecipes

In Ben's family, the traditional birthday cake is a light fluffy cake with whipped cream and strawberries. Where my first instinct is to choose the darkest, densest chocolate cake possible, I have become fully converted to this lovely, chocolate-free treat. It is so light, and you feel so good after eating it! Anyway, this recipe was excellent and it turned out beautifully.

serves 20

12 eggs (1 1/2 cup egg whites)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar*
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F (176 C). Separate eggs; discard yolks. Place 1 1/2 cup egg whites in a mixing bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. (room temperature eggs whip better)

Meanwhile, sift confectioners' sugar and flour together and set aside. Add cream of tartar, extracts and salt to egg whites; beat on high speed. Gradually add sugar, beating until sugar is dissolved and stiff peaks form. Fold in flour mixture, 1/4 cup at a time. Gently spoon batter into an ungreased 10 inche tube pan. Cut through batter with a knife to remove air pockets. Bake at 350 F (176 C) for 40-45 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly touched. Immediately invert pan, cool completely before removing cake.

nutritional analysis: each serving (1/20 of the cake) is about 100 calories (before toppings)

*I can not for the life of me find cream of tartar here in Europe. I'm sure they have it somewhere, but it's under a different name or something and I'm sick of trying to describe it in broken German to the salesperson. Anyway, if you don't have cream of tartar, you can substitute it with 1 1/2 tsp of lemon juice or white vinegar.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Simple White Cake

adapted slightly from Allrecipes

It was late Sunday night, and not a drop of candy in the house. After dinner Ben turned to me and asked... should we make a cake?
We rushed to the kitchen and this delectable baby was born. A simple white cake, drizzled with chocolate sauce. Satisfies the sweet tooth every time.

serves 6-8

2 3/4 cup flour
4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
4 egg whites
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup butter (about 170 grams)
1 1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla flavoring
1 tsp almond flavoring

Cream butter until soft and gradually add sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt until will integrated. Add sifted ingredients alternately with milk into the butter/sugar mixture a small amount at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in flavorings.

In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites (not the yolks!) together until foamy. Add 1/2 cup sugar gradually and continue beating until the mixture begins to form soft peaks. Fold the meringue (whipped egg whites) into the batter until thoroughly combined.

Spread batter in a 15x10x1 inch pan (or two 9 inch rounds, or three 8 inch rounds) that has been lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 F (175 C) for 30-35 minutes. Cool cake in the pan for 10 minutes before removing it and transferring it to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Creamed Cabbage Soup

from Allrecipes

It's been cold! I know spring is just around the corner, but it still feels very far away. And the best way to warm up on a cold night is a nice bowl of soup. This recipe employs the hardy cabbage (a very underrated vegetable in my opinion) and a dash of creaminess to make it feel decadent.

Serves 6

2 cups chicken broth
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 medium head of cabbage, shredded
3 carrots, diced
1/4 cup butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cup whole milk
2 cups fully cooked ham, diced
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp parsley
salt and pepper to taste

In a large kettle, combine broth and vegetables, bring to a boil and then turn down the heat and let simmer until the vegetables are just starting to soften, about 15 minutes. While the vegetables are cooking, get a saucepan on medium heat and melt the butter. Then mix in the flour, until completely blended and gradually add milk creating a light roux. Cook and stir until thickened, and stir into soup. Add spices and ham and heat through. Garnish with parsley (fresh if you have it!) and serve warm.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Prosciutto Tart

Last week I bought a puff pastry to make an apple strudel, but then Ben ate all of the apples and I was left wondering what to do with the dough. So for dinner I made this savory tart with what I had in the fridge and it was delicious. A gone-within-the-hour kind of delicious. (And it was so easy to make, it's hard to resist!)

enough puff pastry sheets to line the bottom of a baking sheet
2 Tbsp pesto
1 zucchini, cut into thin slices
2 tomatoes, cut into thin slices
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Roll out the puff pastry onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Spread pesto in a thin layer on the pastry. Then add a layer of prosciutto, a layer of zucchini and a layer of tomato. Then top with cheese, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for about 20 minutes (or as directed for the puff pastry) or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve warm.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Carrot Soufflé

adapted from Simply Recipes

This is a very tasty side dish, easy to make and very interesting way to use carrots. I didn't read very carefully and accidentally made enough for a small army, but it was no bother. The leftovers were just as good.

serves 8

2 lbs carrots
1 cup whole milk
2 cups cracker crumbs
3/4 cup cheddar cheese
1/3 cup minced onion
1 Tbsp (13 grams) butter
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
salt to taste
3 eggs

Turn on the oven to 350 F (175 C). Butter a 2 quart baking dish and set aside.
In a large pot, bring water to a boil and let the carrots boil 10 min, or until soft. Then puree carrots until smooth with a blender.
In a bowl, slowly mix the carrots with the milk, stirring slowly between pours until smooth and even. Then stir in one cup of crackers, cheese, onion, butter and spices.
In a separate bowl, whip eggs to a froth, then whisk them into the carrot mixture. Spoon entire bowl into prepared baking dish, sprinkle one cup of cracker crumbs on top
Bake 40-45 minutes when the soufflé is puffed up and golden.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Tomato Artichoke Soup

adapted from A Couple Cooks

I once had a roommate that would bring home huge batches of her mom's homemade tomato soup. We were often threatened that if we swiped the soup from the freezer that we would have hell to pay.
Since then I have wondered: what in the world was in that soup? I have eaten many tomato soups with varying measures of enjoyment, but nothing to ever get possessive over. In my search to replicate this amazing tomato soup recipe, I have tried lots of recipes, and this one comes pretty close in my book. The artichokes provide a nice flavor and it is perfect for a cold night with some fresh bread. Enjoy!

1 Tbsp butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp parsley
2 cups fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 cup canned artichokes
1 cup water
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cream

Chop the onion and garlic and saute with butter and bay leaves in a large pot until the onions are translucent. Chop the artichokes into smallish pieces. Add the artichokes, tomatoes, 1 cup water and spices. Bring to a boil and turn down the heat, allowing the soup to simmer for about 10 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, carefully blend the soup to a smooth consistency. (You may have to do it in batches so you don't get splashed with hot liquid!) Add one cup of milk and 1/2 cup of cream and mix in until blended.
Top with croutons and parmesan and serve immediately.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Salmon Cream Cheese Crackers

I made these at Christmastime as an appetizer and they were great! I really came to love gravlax in Finland and I try to use it as often as I can. Be sure to use gourmet mustard, the plain old yellow kind will not suffice.

cream cheese
fresh dill (I had to use dried... boo.)
cured salmon gravlax
Mustard (must be artisan!)

Spread the crackers with a layer of cream cheese, add a dollop of mustard and put a slice of gravlax on top. Garnish with dill (fresh if you have it) and refrigerate until serving.