Thursday, January 31, 2008

INDEX FOR ALL RECIPES


Here is the updated index from beginning to today.

There are too many recipes without an index on this site because blogger isn't really set up for it. So I've decided to add an index of recipes at the end of each month. So far, there are over 100 recipes, and I'm hoping this will make it easier to find the recipes.





APPETIZER RECIPES:
Bbq Onion Steaks with Honey-Mustard Sauce
Cheese Souffle
Crunchy Chili Onion Rings
Fried Mozzarella with Puttanesca Dipping Sauce
Garlic Knots
Goat Cheese in Grape Leaves with Tomato and Olive Salad
Gouda and Feta Pizzettes
Pinto Beans cooked in Olive Oil - Pilaki
Stuffed Vine Leaves - Yaprak Dolma
Zucchini Fritters With Herbs And Cheese
Tarragon Pizza Bianca

SOUP RECIPES:
Brandied Onion Soup with Croque-Monsieur Croutons
French Onion Soup
Lentil Soup with a Curry Crema and Lentil Crackers
Spicy Tomato Soup

SALAD RECIPES:
Avocado and Tomato Salad
Beet And Goat Cheese Salad With Pistachios
Black-eyed Pea Salad
Cucumber Dill Salad
Cucumber, Mustard and Dill Salad

Frisee with Flaked Salmon and Cucumbers
Garlicky Eggplant Salad with Tomato Sauce
Lentil Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Lentil Salad With Tomato And Dill
Mesclun Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette
Mexican Chopped Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing
Mixed Lettuce Chiffonade with Gorgonzola-Herb Dressing
Orzo with Tomaotes, Feta, and Green Onions
Potato and Parmesan Salad
Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Bacon Dressing and Pine Nuts
Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Feta Cheese
Tabbouleh
Tomatoes Stuffed with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil
Veal Cutlets with Arugula and Tomato Salad
Warm Goat Cheese Salad with Grilled Olive Bread

VEGETABLE DISHES:
Baked Garden Tomatoes with Cheese
Brussel Sprouts with White Beans and Pecorino
Couscous with Spiced Zucchini
Eggplant, Zucchini, Onion, Tomato, And Feta Cheese Napoleons
Grilled Zucchini with Greek Spices and Feta Salad
Hand-Mashed Pinto Beans with Cheese
Pinto Beans cooked in Olive Oil - Pilaki
Roasted Eggplant Puree - Hunkar Begendi - Sultan's Delight
Rustic Porcini Onion Stuffing
"Soda Jerk" Beans
Spinach with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Toasted Parmesan Crumbs
Stuffed Vine Leaves - Yaprak Dolma

SANDWICH RECIPES:
Croissant Steak Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions and Horseradish Mayonnaise
Croque Monsieur
Eggplant and Smoked GoudaOpen-Faced Grilled Sandwiches
Grilled Ham and Gouda Sandwiches with Frisee and Caramelized Onions
Homemade Sandwich Bread
Made Up Toast Souffle
Roast Beef Sandwiches with Lemon-Basil Mayonnaise and Roasted Red Onions
Taverna Veggie Sandwiches

SAUCES/DIPS:
Cafe de Paris Sauce and Butter Recipes
Creamy Mustard Sauce
Cucumber Dill Sauce
Fresh Tomato Salsa
Gorgonzola Sauce
Guacamole
Guacamole with Fresh Corn and Chipotle
Herbed Mustard Sauce
Lemon Caramel Sauce and Candied Lemon Slices
Methods for Making Sour Cream
Puttanesca Dipping Sauce
Tzatziki Sauce
White Bean, Garlic, and Tomato Salsa

BEEF RECIPES:
Andouille Burgers with Grilled Sweet Onions and Creole Remoulade Sauce
Baked Meatballs and Potatoes - Firinda Kofte Ve Patates
Beef Stroganoff with Noodles
Cafe de Paris Sauce and Butter Recipes
Cumin-rubbed Rib-Eye Steaks with Two Salsas
Gyro Meat with Tzatziki Sauce
Herbed Lamb Chops with Pinot Noir Sauce
Kicked Up Breaded Pork Chops
Lady's Thigh Meatballs - Kadinbudu Kofte
Lamb Burgers with Feta Sauce
Meatloaf with Barbecue Sauce and Red Onions
Sliced Steak With Arugula
Sloppy Joes
Steak Diane
Stewed Kebabs in a Bowl - Tas Kebab
Veal Cutlets With Thyme Butter Sauce

FISH RECIPES:
Baked Halibut with Tomato, Capers, and Olive Vinaigrette
Frisee with Flaked Salmon and Cucumbers
Salmon Cooked in Parchment Paper

CHICKEN RECIPES:
Chicken Provencale
Grilled Chicken with Mustard Dill Sauce
Roasted Chicken Dinner
Wild Mushroom Chicken Basted in White Wine

POTATO RECIPES:
Baked Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan Cheese and Bread Crumbs
Basic Mashed Potatoes
Caramelized Onion-Potato Pancakes
Creamy Herbed Potatoes
Perfect French Fries
Potato Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Sauce
Potato Gratin with Goat Cheese and Garlic
Potato Gratin With Goat Cheese, Tomatoes, And Olives
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Roasted New Potatoes with Spring Herb Pesto
Roasted Potato Wedges With Rosemary Butter
Spotted Pig's Ricotta Gnudi
Warm New Potato Salad with Grainy Mustard

PASTA RECIPES:
Baked Pasta - Pasta Gratin
Castellane with Mascarpone and Roasted Grape Tomatoes
Farfalle with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cream
Fettuccine With Roasted Tomato Sauce And Parmesan
Pasta with Roasted Provencal Vegetable Sauce
Roasted Vegetable And Prosciutto Lasagna With Alfredo Sauce
Sausage, Cheese And Basil Lasagna
Spaghetti Carbonara
Tricolor Tomato Fettucine

RICE RECIPES:
Basil Risotto
Creole Vegetable Jambalaya
Rice Pilaf
Risotto Con Parmigiano-Reggiano

BREAKFAST RECIPES:
Chorizo and Scrambled Egg Breakfast Tacos

MISC RECIPES:
Basic Pizza Dough
Couscous with Spiced Zucchini
Flat Zucchini Omelet
Fried Carrots
Garlic Croutons
Crepes
Lentil Crackers
Parsley Oil
Parmesan Crisps
Parmesan Popovers
Salami Crisps with Sour Cream and Basil

DRINK RECIPES:
9 1/2 Weeks
Caffe Medici and Cappuccino Cream
Cosmopolitan
Frozen Margarita
Hemingway Daiquiri
Hummingbird
Hurricane
Limoncello
Strawberry-Banana Smoothie
Turkish Coffee

DESSERT RECIPES:
Almond-Plum Buckle
Chocolate Amaretti Peaches
Chocolate Fondue a La Chalet Suisse
Coconut Flan
Coffee Ice Cream and Mexican Chocolate Sundaes with Cinnamon-Sugar Tortilla Crisps
Dark Chocolate Souffles With Cardamom Creme Anglaise
Dark Chocolate Torte With Spiked Blackberry Coulis
Dark Molten Chocolate Cakes
Double Chocolate Orange Pudding
Fruit-And-Almond Gratins
Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate Chocolate Souffle with Grand Marnier Chocolate Sauce
Honey-Ginger Pineapple Crepes
Jumbo Black Bottom Coconut Macaroons
Lemon Creme Brulee With Fresh Berries
Limoncello Cheesecake Squares
Mosaic
Old-Fashioned New York-Style Cheesecake with Berry Coulis
Super Lemony Lemon Squares
Vanilla Lime Pineapple Skewers

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Farfalle with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cream

Another wonderful pasta with a sauce recipe. If I'm in a hurry to fix dinner, pasta is the dish that I go with. And it can't get easier and tastier than this when making pasta with a sauce. This Bon Appetit recipe really doesn't need any changes, but if you can have some additions to make it richer.

You can add sliced mushrooms to the sauce if you like them. You can also add some goat cheese to the pasta, which goes great with the creamy texture of the sauce. But other than these there is really not much you would want to change with this recipe.

If I don't have sausages handy I use ground beef. Any kind of ground beef, even turkey would work with this sauce.

Serve with some red wine and enjoy:))


FARFALLE WITH SAUSAGE, TOMATOES, AND CREAM

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with added puree
1/2 cup whipping cream

1 pound farfalle (bow-tie pasta)
1/2 cup (packed) chopped fresh basil
Freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Directions:
Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and crushed red pepper. Sauté until sausage is no longer pink, breaking up with back of fork, about 5 minutes. Add onion and garlic; sauté until onion is tender and sausage is browned, about 3 minutes longer. Add tomatoes and cream. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sausage mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta to same pot. Add sausage mixture and toss over medium-low heat until sauce coats pasta, adding reserved cooking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls if mixture is dry. Transfer pasta to serving dish. Sprinkle with basil. Serve, passing cheese separately.

Makes 6 servings.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Castellane with Mascarpone and Roasted Grape Tomatoes

I had found this recipe from Gourmet and of course I make some changes to it while preparing it:)

Brush a whisked mix of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, minced garlic, salt, & black ground pepper over the tomatoes before roasting.

For a more melted taste use mozzarella cheese at the top of the dish before putting it into the oven. Cover the dish with foil when you put it in the oven to prevent dryness, you can take it off during the last five minutes to have the mozzarella brown a bit.

If you can't find mascarpone, you can also try ricotta cheese. It actually is better for me as mascarpone become watery when melted and then the dish is too soggy. When you use mascarpone you might want to skip adding the pasta water.

Or you can use penne if you don't have castellane handy.


CASTELLANE WITH MASCARPONE AND ROASTED GRAPE TOMATOES

Ingredients:
2 pints grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 lb castellane pasta or medium (regular) shells
1 1/4 cups mascarpone cheese (from a 1-lb container)
2 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 cup)
1/4 cup minced fresh chives

Directions:
Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large shallow baking pan with foil and butter foil.

Arrange tomatoes, cut sides up, in pan and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Roast until slightly plumped, 15 to 20 minutes.

Cook pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 12 minutes. Reserve 1 1/2 cups pasta cooking water, then drain pasta well and transfer to a large bowl.

Add mascarpone and stir until melted. Add reserved cooking water, tomatoes, half of Parmesan, 3 tablespoons chives, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and toss well, then cool to warm.

Butter a 3-quart (13- by 9-inch) gratin or other shallow baking dish. Toss pasta mixture again, then spoon into gratin dish. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan over top. Bake pasta until golden and bubbly, 18 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon chives.

Makes 6 main-course servings.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Garlic Knots and Basic Pizza Dough

These are fun appetizers from Gourmet. And very easy to make.

It's a good idea to let the dough rise before baking it. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 30 minutes.

Pecorino cheese also works great. You can use both cheeses to hava a variety.

They are also fun as small bite size pieces. Instead of making knots just cut them into small pieces and wait for them to rise a bit.

Watch them after 15 minutes. 25 minutes would be too long. The more they stay in the oven the crunchier they become.

Just in case you prefer to prepare the pizza dough at home, I'm adding the recipe, which is from Emeril, below. I used store bought ready dough. Enjoy:)

GARLIC KNOTS

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil plus additional for greasing pan
2 lb frozen pizza dough, thawed
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated (1/2 cup)

Directions:
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil 2 large (17- by 13-inch) baking sheets.

Divide dough in half. Keep half of dough covered with a clean kitchen towel (not terry cloth). Gently roll out other half into a 10-inch square on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin. (Use your hands to pull corners. If dough is very elastic, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rest about 3 minutes.)

Cut square in half with a pizza wheel or a sharp heavy knife, then cut each half crosswise into 15 strips (about 2/3 inch wide). Cover strips with a clean kitchen towel.

Keeping remaining strips covered, gently tie each strip into a knot, pulling ends slightly to secure (if dough is sticky, dust lightly with flour) and arranging knots 1 inch apart in staggered rows on 1 baking sheet. Keep knots covered with clean kitchen towels.

Roll out and cut remaining dough, then form into knots, arranging 1 inch apart in staggered rows on second baking sheet. Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden, 20 to 25 minutes total.

While knots bake, mince garlic and mash to a paste with salt, then stir together with oil in a very large bowl. Immediately after baking, toss knots in garlic oil, then sprinkle with parsley and cheese and toss to coat. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Knots can be baked, but not coated, 2 hours ahead. Reheat knots on a large baking sheet in a preheated 350°F oven until hot, 3 to 5 minutes, then toss with garlic oil and sprinkle with parsley and cheese.

Makes about 5 dozen knots.

BASIC PIZZA DOUGH

Ingredients:
1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
1 (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Yellow cornmeal, for sprinkling the baking sheet

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, honey, and 1 tablespoon oil, stirring to combine. Let sit until the mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour and the salt, mixing by hand until it is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Continue adding the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, working the dough after each addition, until the dough is smooth but still slightly sticky. You may not need all of the flour. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth but still slightly tacky, 3 to 5 minutes.

Oil a large mixing bowl with remaining olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place, free from drafts until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

Yield: dough for 1 (15-inch) pizza

Variations:

Parmesan Pizza Dough:
Substitute 2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese for 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour. Use a pinch of salt instead of 1 teaspoon. Proceed as directed above.

Oregano Pizza Dough:
Stir 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano in with the flour and proceed as directed above.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Homemade Sandwich Bread

A friend of mine sent me this recipe saying it's easy, you need to try these. I thought as long as I don't have to knead dough, I'll give it a try. They turned out to be really easy to make and yummy.

Wheat flour doesn't work with this recipe, you have to use all purpose.

I'm thinking of adding sliced olive pieces to this bread next time. You would need to add it to the mixture before it's put in a bowl to rise.

You can actually decide how big and what shape you want your sandwiches. Just shape them according to how you would like them, they don't need to be made into rounds.

Although I use these to make sandwiches, they are great all by themselves:) Especially while they are warm. Enjoy:)


HOMEMADE SANDWICH BREAD

Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 package or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups warm milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup canola or light olive oil
1 egg yolk

Directions:
Whisk together dry ingredients except the sugar in a large bowl with a wooden spoon.

Meanwhile mix the sugar into the milk and warm it up. Don't boil.

Mix the milk mixture along with the oil to the dry mixture until just combined.

Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature, about 1 hour.

When the dough is ready, take fist size pieces and form into round balls.

Arrange on prepared baking sheets, spacing evenly.

Brush each with egg yolks.

Preheat oven to 150 degrees and wait until the dough rises again, about 20 - 30 minutes.

Raise the heat to 350 degrees. Bake until breads are golden, about 25-30 minutes.

Transfer to rack and cool completely.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Croque Monsieur

This sandwich is a favorite of mine. The recipe from Bon Appetit has upgraded it a bit with nutmeg, which you should try to use, it really tastes great with it. But if you don't have it, you can just skip it.

When you are making the sauce, if you don't want to have lumps make sure that the milk is warm. Warm it up before using, but do not boil it. And you can always strain the sauce.

Watch the sandwich while broiling, 2 minutes can be too much.

Some potato chips, some greens with tomatoes and white wine, and you are set:) Enjoy...


CROQUE-MONSIEUR

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1 bay leaf
4 slices firm white sandwich bread
4 ounces thinly sliced Black Forest ham
4 ounces sliced Gruyère cheese
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives

Directions:
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Add nutmeg and bay leaf. Increase heat to medium-high and boil until sauce thickens, whisking constantly, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat broiler. Place 2 bread slices on work surface. Top each with half of ham and sliced Gruyère. Top with remaining bread. Heat heavy large skillet over low heat.

Brush sandwiches with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Add to skillet and cook until deep golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to small baking sheet. Spoon sauce, then grated cheese over sandwiches. Broil until cheese begins to brown, about 2 minutes.

Makes 2 servings; can be doubled.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mixed Lettuce Chiffonade with Gorgonzola-Herb Dressing

Yet another simple salad recipe with a great dressing that you can use with other salads too. It's from Gourmet and you can also use the recipe as a dip for chicken wings or raw vegetables. It's just a wonderful sauce, and very very easy to make.

It's also great if you add a little bit garlic to the sauce. Enjoy:)


MIXED LETTUCE CHIFFONADE WITH GORGONZOLA-HERB DRESSING

Ingredients:
Sauce:
1/3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup Gorgonzola dolce or other soft blue cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

Salad:
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
1/2 head romaine, thinly sliced crosswise (5 cups)
1 small head radicchio, quartered and thinly sliced lengthwise (3 cups)
1 small head frisée, torn into bite-size pieces (3 cups)
2 Belgian endives, trimmed and thinly sliced lengthwise

Directions:
Blend parsley, cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise in a food processor until smooth.

Blend in buttermilk, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and stir in chives.

Toss lettuces together in a large bowl, then toss with a generous 1/2 cup dressing.

Dressing keeps 5 days, covered and chilled. Stir before using.

Makes 6 servings.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Lemon Caramel Sauce and Candied Lemon Slices

This sauce is great with crepes. I saw it at Martha Stewart magazine, and the picture looked so delicious.

And it is delicious. The only thing I do differently to the sauce is to add some lemon rind.

The recipe also had an addition of Candied Lemon Slices. I'm adding the recipe below. It takes some time to prepare it, but it's so easy to make.

I have served them with ice cream, and it gives such a fresh taste that you start craving it:) Yum.

LEMON-CARAMEL SAUCE

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon limoncello, (Italian lemon flavored liqueur; optional)
2 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Directions:
Heat sugar and 1/4 cup water in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved and syrup is clear. Continue to cook, without stirring, until syrup comes to a boil, occasionally washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming. Let syrup boil, gently swirling pan occasionally, until dark amber.

Remove from heat; whisk in lemon juice, liqueur (if desired), butter, and 2 tablespoons water. (Caramel will steam and spatter.) Serve warm.

The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to three days. Gently reheat it just before serving.

Makes about 1 1/4 cups

CANDIED LEMON SLICES

Ingredients:
1 large lemon
1 cup sugar

Directions:
Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside. Using a mandoline or sharp knife, cut lemon into 12 paper-thin slices; discard seeds and ends of rind.

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a rolling boil. Remove from heat, and add lemon slices; stir until softened, about 1 minute. Drain, and immediately plunge slices into ice-water bath. Drain.

Bring sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium skillet, swirling to dissolve sugar. When liquid is clear and bubbling, reduce heat to medium-low.

Add lemon slices, arranging them in one layer with tongs. Simmer (do not let boil) until rinds are translucent, about 1 hour. 4. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment.

Let stand until ready to serve.

Makes 1 dozen.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pasta with Roasted Provencal Vegetable Sauce

I actually use the sauce recipe as a base recipe for other recipes too. It's really tasty and healthy. It's a recipe from Bon Appetit and I do change the herbs according to what I feel like or have at home, they all seem to add to the sauce.

You can try basil instead of rosemary, oregano instead of thyme etc. Or if you want some heat, you can add some red pepper flakes. Experiment with it, you probably will like most of them.

Adding some black olives also works for me. It makes the sauce a little bit more salty which I love.

Or you can toss in some mushrooms, just add it at the end. Or red pepper if you like it.

Do sweat out the eggplant with some salt before roasting it. This also helps it cook faster for some reason.

Caramelize 1/2 can of tomato paste in a non-stick pan and add it to the tomatoes before adding them to the roasted veggies. This will add a terrific smoky flavor.


PASTA WITH ROASTED PROVENCAL VEGETABLE SAUCE

Ingredients:

1 16- to 18-ounce eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium zucchini, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 28-ounce can seasoned crushed tomatoes with Italian herbs
12 ounces penne pasta
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange eggplant and onion on large rimmed nonstick baking sheet. Drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables until beginning to brown, stirring occasionally, about 25 minutes.

Stir zucchini and garlic into vegetables; continue to roast until all vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes longer.

Stir crushed tomatoes into vegetables on baking sheet; roast until heated through, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Ladle 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid into small bowl; reserve. Drain pasta.

Return pasta to same pot. Add roasted vegetable sauce and all herbs to pasta and toss to blend. Gradually add enough reserved pasta cooking liquid to moisten as desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer pasta to bowl and serve.

Serves 6.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Perfect French Fries

Did you know there is a way to perfectly fry potatoes?:) I didn't, not until I watched Emeril and tried it. I had to. French fries are the only food that makes me give up on my diet, everything else I can say no to:) Well, maybe with the exception of ice cream:)

And they are perfect. Crunchy and golden, just like french fries are supposed to be.

One of the best things about this recipe is that you can prepare them and put them aside until you are ready to serve, and then all you need is another minute. This is great for me, because I always have a hard time timing the fries with the rest of the meal.

Peanut oil is the key here. I found out that peanut oil is better than olive oil when it comes to lowering cholesterol. It also doesn’t deteriorate as quickly as other oils which allows you to get multiple uses out of each batch. And it's especially great for frying because it has a high smoke point.

Go ahead, give it a try, you'll see how perfect they are:)


PERFECT FRENCH FRIES

Ingredients:
4 large russet or kinnebec potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4 by 1/4-inch thick batons
2 quarts peanut oil
Salt and pepper

Directions:
Rinse cut potatoes in a large bowl with lots of cold running water until water becomes clear. Cover with water by 1-inch and cover with ice. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days.

In a 5-quart pot or Dutch oven fitted with a candy or deep-frying thermometer, (or in an electric deep fryer), heat oil over medium-low heat until the thermometer registers 325 degrees F. Make sure that you have at least 3 inches of space between the top of the oil and the top of the pan, as fries will bubble up when they are added.

Drain ice water from cut fries and wrap potato pieces in a clean dishcloth or tea towel and thoroughly pat dry. Increase the heat to medium-high and add fries, a handful at a time, to the hot oil. Fry, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are soft and limp and begin to turn a blond color, about 6 to 8 minutes. Using a skimmer or a slotted spoon, carefully remove fries from the oil and set aside to drain on paper towels. Let rest for at least 10 minutes or up to 2 hours.

When ready to serve the French fries, reheat the oil to 350 degrees F. Transfer the blanched potatoes to the hot oil and fry again, stirring frequently, until golden brown and puffed, about 1 minute. Transfer to paper lined platter and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Lentil Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette


I have made some changes to the original Bon Appetit recipe. It is really a filling salad, so for me this is a one dish dinner which is really great and healthy:)

I'm adding the original recipe below, and here are the changes that I make:

I always add thinly sliced cucumbers. Sometimes I also add cherry tomatoes. I like the taste of chives and the way it looks in dishes, so I add a little bit of chives. I use much less parsley, to me the amount in the recipe is too overpowering. I skip the radicchio as a cup, but add it in thinly sliced, it adds crunch to the salad. I sometimes crumble feta cheese or goat cheese on top and add some black olives if I add the cheese.

I like this salad when it is warm, but it also makes great cold leftovers, so try it both ways and see which way you like best. Enjoy:)


LENTIL SALAD WITH BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE

Ingredients:
1 1-inch-thick slice red onion plus 1 cup chopped red onion
3 fresh parsley sprigs plus 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dried brown lentils

Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

8 radicchio leaves

Directions:
Bring medium saucepan of water to boil. Add onion slice, 3 parsley sprigs and 1 minced garlic clove and bring to boil. Stir in lentils. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until lentils are just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. Discard onion and parsley.

Stir oil, vinegar, mustard and remaining garlic in small saucepan over low heat until just warm (do not boil).

Place warm lentils in bowl. Add chopped onion, chopped parsley and warm vinaigrette; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon salad into radicchio leaves; place 2 leaves on each of 4 plates. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 4 servings.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

White Bean, Garlic, and Tomato Salsa

This is a great variation to the regular salsa if you like beans like I do:) It's an old healthy low fat recipe from Gourmet, and the only different thing I do is to add cilantro instead of basil. And you can try lime instead of lemon. I like it both ways.

What makes this recipe is the roasted garlic, so don't skip this step if you can help it. Before wrapping it in foil, cut the top off a little bit and add a dab of butter to the top of the garlic. The skins will come off much easier.



WHITE BEAN, GARLIC, AND TOMATO SALSA

Ingredients:
1 head garlic
a 16-ounce can small white beans such as navy or pinto beans
3 medium vine-ripened tomatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds)
1 small sweet onion such as Vidalia
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400°F.

Separate garlic head into cloves, discarding loose papery outer skin but keeping skin intact on cloves, and wrap in foil, crimping seams to seal tightly. Roast garlic in middle of oven 30 minutes, or until soft. Unwrap garlic and cool slightly.
Peel skins from each clove and in a bowl with a fork mash garlic pulp until smooth.

Rinse and drain enough beans to measure 1 cup, reserving remainder for another use, and add to garlic.

Cut 2 tomatoes into 1/4-inch dice and add to beans. Quarter remaining tomato and in a blender or food processor puree until smooth. Add puree to bean mixture.

Finely chop onion and basil and add to bean mixture with lemon juice, tossing to combine.

Season salsa with salt and pepper.

Salsa may be made 1 hour ahead and chilled, covered.

Makes about 4 cups.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Mexican Chopped Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing

I love salads as much as like steaks:) They are easy to make and almost always filling while they are fresh. So I have a lot of salad recipes. This one is a delicious healthy salad recipe from Self magazine.

It is easy to make and very tasty. However you can change the ingredients to your liking, the recipe makes a great base.

Use romaine lettuce in the salad bowl and then add scoop the salad into the leaves, it makes a great presentation.

MEXICAN CHOPPED SALAD WITH HONEY-LIME DRESSING

Ingredients:
Salad
2 1/2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 can (15.5 oz) black beans, rinsed and well drained
3/4 cup chopped seeded tomato
3/4 cup chopped peeled jicama
3/4 cup fresh corn kernels, uncooked (or frozen or canned)
3/4 cup thinly sliced radishes
Half a ripe avocado, diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese

Honey-Lime Dressing
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro (or more to taste)
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 tsp chopped jalapeño pepper (use canned for less heat)

Directions:
Toss all salad ingredients in a large bowl. In separate bowl, mix dressing ingredients.

Pour dressing over mixture and toss again. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 4 servings.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cafe de Paris Sauce and Butter Recipes


I love the Cafe de Paris sauce for steaks. It is decadent and fattening and it is really bad for you, but it tastes soooooo good, nothing can compare to it:)

When I started looking for the recipe I found out that it's a secret recipe. The original is served at the Paris restaurant called "Cafe de Paris" and they never give the recipe out.

So while looking for the recipe I found a lot of different ones. I'm adding some of the ones that I liked below. There is even a recipe with pork chops, which you can substitute for lamb chops. This sauce is just heavenly with meats.

I have cooked the first recipe, and it actually came out as close as it could get to the sauce I have tasted at the restaurant, so I was very happy with the result. I will be trying the others soon, but for now, let's just say that the first recipe is how I ended up seducing my husband:) I guess it's true about the men's heart via the stomach:))

Serve these with fries where they can be dunked in the sauce. That's how it is originally served and I think it should always be served that way:) Don't forget the wine:) Enjoy....

SAUCE FOR ENTRECOTE CAFÉ DE PARIS

If you do not have Madeira on hand, Sherry makes a fine substitute.

The sauce is prepared in the pan in which steaks are initially seared while the steaks are finishing in the oven in a separate pan or on a baking sheet.

Ingredients:
1 large shallot, minced (about 3 tbsp.)
1 cup Madeira
1 tablespoon anchovy paste or 2 anchovy fillets mashed into a paste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon juice from one lemon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
salt and ground black pepper

Directions:
After transferring the stakes to the oven, set the skillet over medium-low heat; and challenge and cook, stirring constantly, until softened, about one minute.

Add Madeira; increase heat to high, and scrape pan bottom with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Stir until liquid is reduced to about 1/3 cup, about six to eight minutes. (If steaks are not yet out of the oven, set skillet off heat and wait for steaks to come out of oven and rest for two minutes before proceeding.)

Add accumulated juices from baking sheet and reduce liquid one minute longer. Off heat, whisk in Anchovies, parsley, thyme, mustard, lemon juice, and butter until butter has melted and sauce is slightly thickened.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over steaks, and serve immediately.

Makes 2/3 cup, enough for four steaks.



FILLET STEAK IN CAFE DE PARIS SAUCE (Entrecôt Café de Paris)

Ingredients:
6 beef fillet steaks
2 tablespoon tomato concentrate
4 oz (1/2 cup) Port wine
salt and pepper
4 oz (1/2 cup) beef broth
1/2 tin minced anchovies (probably the small oval tin)
225 grams liquid cream (scant 1 cup)
50 grams butter (1/4 cup)
1/2 tablespoon each of the following:
- cornstarch
- parsley
- marjoram
- oregano
- tarragon
- chives
- mint
- sage
- basil

Directions:
Season meat with salt and pepper.

Melt butter and fry the meat in it according to the individual taste of each person.
Remove the meat and flame the port wine in the pan. Add the cornstarch and all the herbs at once.

Add the broth, the minced anchovies and the tomato concentrate.

Boil for a few minutes, then add the cream, check the seasoning and pour the sauce over the meat.

Accompany with potatoes au gratin, and carrots and green beans which have been sautéd in butter.




CAFE DE PARIS BUTTER

Ingredients:
1 lb. butter, soft when ready to use
1 oz. Ketchup
1/2 oz prepared hot mustard
1/2 oz. capers
2 oz. shallots, roughly chopped
1 oz. parsley, roughly chopped
1 oz. chives
1/2 teaspoon marjoram, dried
1/2 teaspoon dill weed, dried
1/2 teaspoon thyme, dried
10 tarragon leaves
pinch rosemary
1 clove garlic
4 anchovy fillets
1 tablespoon cognac
1 tablespoon Madeira
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon curry powder
4 grains black peppercorns
juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1/2 lemon
zest of 1/2 orange
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:
Combine all the ingredients (except the butter) into a bowl and let it stand in a warm place for 24 hours. Grind into a puree and fold into the soft butter.


GRILLED PORK CHOPS WITH CAFÉ DE PARIS SAUCE
(This recipe serves 6)

Ingredients (for the sauce):
11 ounces whipping cream
8 ounces butter
1/2 ounce brandy
1/2 ounce Madeira
a splash of Worcestershire
1/2 ounce ketchup
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 anchovies
1 teaspoon capers
dash of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
dash of curry
3 tablespoons chopped shallots
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 sprigs of parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped chives
2 sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped
1 sprig of fresh tarragon, chopped
1 sprig of fresh dill, chopped
10 black peppercorns, cracked
juice of one quarter of a lemon
a dash of chopped lemon and orange zest
salt to taste

Directions:
With the exception of the butter and cream, put the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and cover it. Leave the bowl in a warm place in the kitchen to ferment for 24 hours.

The next day, let the butter warm to room temperature. Then whip the butter until it becomes foamy.

Add the fermented ingredients and mix to combine. Return the butter to the refrigerator to cool.

When the butter's set, cut it into chips or pats.

To finish the sauce, put the cream in a saucepan and heat it until it reduces by about half then slowly whisk in the butter chips. Check and adjust the seasoning and keep warm until ready to serve.

Ingredients (for pork chops):
6 center-cut pork chops
3 heads of Belgian endive
3 ounces of butter
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Broil or grill chops on both sides.

Meanwhile, remove the leaves of the endive heads, cutting a small wedge out of the bottom end of each leaf to remove the white, tough portion.

Heat the butter in a large sauté pan and add the endive leaves. Sauté the endive leaves on each side until they take on a nice, brown color.

When done, arrange four or five endive leaves on each plate in a fan. Place a pork chop on top of the endive leaves and spoon the Café de Paris sauce on top and serve.


CAFE DE PARIS BUTTER

Ingredients:

225g Unsalted butter, softened
Touch tomato ketchup
1/2 teaspoon English mustard
2 Chopped shallots, very finely
2 tablespoons Chopped parsley
2 tablespoons Chopped tarragon
1 Clove of garlic crushed
1 tablespoon Brandy
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Dash Worcester sauce
Pinch curry powder
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly milled black pepper

Directions:
Mix all ingredients well and roll in cling film, chill well. Cut and remove the cling film and top the cooked steak.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Chorizo and Scrambled Egg Breakfast Tacos

I love tacos, burritos or anything that resembles them.:) So having them for breakfast is really fun for me. This recipe was from Bon Appetit and very easy to make.

If you can't find tortillas, use corn chips. Just line the dish with it and then add the rest on top. This is especially fun if you eat with your hands:)

Try not to skip the sour cream and the salsa, it definitely completes the meal.

If you can't find chorizo you can use andouille sausages to have some spice. And it's a good idea to pour the grease off the pan before adding the eggs, otherwise it becomes too fatty.

CHORIZO AND SCRAMBLED EGG BREAKFAST TACOS

Ingredients:

4 corn tortillas
1 cup grated extra-sharp white cheddar cheese
4 large eggs
4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided
7 ounces fresh chorizo sausage, casing removed if necessary
4 green onions, sliced
Sour cream (optional)
Hot sauce or salsa (optional)

Directions:
Brush large nonstick skillet with olive or vegetable oil. Char tortillas over gas flame or directly on electric burner until blackened in spots, turning with tongs.

Arrange tortillas in single layer in skillet. Sprinkle each tortilla with 1/4 cup grated cheese and set aside.

Whisk eggs and 2 tablespoons cilantro in medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Sauté chorizo sausage in heavy medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, breaking up with back of spoon, about 5 minutes. Add green onions and sauté 2 minutes. Add egg mixture and stir until very softly set, about 1 minute. Remove egg mixture from heat.

Cook tortillas in skillet over high heat until beginning to crisp on bottom, but still soft and pliable, about 1 minute. Divide egg mixture among tortillas and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro. Fold each tortilla in half. Serve with sour cream and hot sauce, if desired.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Garlicky Eggplant Salad with Tomato Sauce

This one is an easy appetizer/salad recipe from Food and Wine which tastes wonderful. I think it is a Moroccan recipe and I have made some Turkish changes to it:)

Instead of steaming the eggplant I char it on open flame on the gas burner. I like the smoky taste better, and I'm used to charring it. Use a pizza pan that has holes all around if you don't want to have a mess in your hands. It takes a little bit longer but it's much easier than cleaning the gas burner:) When it was done, I took the skin off and I just mashed it with a fork instead of cutting it into pieces.

If you don't have canned tomatoes, you can use fresh tomatoes instead. I actually prefer it that way. You can just add some canned plain tomato sauce. A small can (about 8 oz. should be enough).

Don't add the lemon all at once. Taste it as you add a bit at a time. To me, the recipe was too lemony. And taste it before you add the cilantro. I skip it, to me the dish tastes better without it.

GARLICKY EGGPLANT SALAD WITH TOMATO SAUCE

Ingredients:

2 pounds small eggplants, peeled and cut into eighths
6 medium garlic cloves, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil
one 28-ounce can peeled Italian plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped and juices reserved
1/2 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
In a large saucepan fitted with a large steamer basket, bring 1/2 inch of water to a simmer. Add the eggplant and garlic to the steamer. Cover the saucepan and steam the eggplant over moderate heat until tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped tomatoes and their juices along with the cilantro, cumin, paprika and crushed red pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes.

Drain the steamed eggplant and garlic in a colander, pressing gently to extract any excess water. Transfer to a bowl and finely mash the garlic and coarsely mash the eggplant with a fork, then scrape them both into the tomato sauce. Add the fresh lemon juice and simmer over moderate heat for 5 minutes, stirring a few times.

Season the eggplant with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve the eggplant salad at room temperature or lightly chilled.

Makes 6 servings.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Mesclun Salad with Shallot Vinaigrette

It doesn't get any easier than this:) I actually use this vinaigrette with a lot of different salads. It's an easy and tasty sauce to make. I'm just adding it to the blog so that I have it handy:)

If the shallot taste is too strong, add some more olive oil to balance the taste.


MESCLUN SALAD WITH SHALLOT VINAIGRETTE

Ingredients:

1/4 cup finely chopped shallot
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil (preferably French) or safflower oil
1 lb mesclun (mixed baby salad greens)

Directions:
Whisk together shallot, mustard, and vinegar. Add oil in a slow stream, whisking until emulsified, and season with salt and pepper. Just before serving, toss salad greens with just enough dressing to coat.

Makes 8 servings.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Brandied Onion Soup with Croque-Monsieur Croutons

I don't like many assortment of soups (Can I say this?:) ). I'm especially not crazy about soups made with a lot of vegetables. One of my favorite soups is onion soup. Basic, tasty, great for winter, or great for when you have company.:) And this recipe is really fun, you have soup and sandwich in one...

You don't have to do the croque-monsieur croutons and just use the onion soup part of this Bon Appetit recipe, but just as it is makes a great and different than regular onion soup. If you do skip the croque monsieur, don't forget to add some bread to the soup, and some cheese on top and broil it before serving. You have to have cheese with onion soup:)

You always need a heavy skillet or a crock pot to caramelize the onions, otherwise you will be spending a lot of time either waiting for it to get ready or burn it in the process. Slicing the onions really thin and cooking over medium heat will also help the caramelizing.

Here are some things to keep in mind. Try to use Vidalia onions, it makes a great difference in taste. Don't substitute beef broth with chicken broth, it doesn't work for onion soup; and if you can find low sodium organic etc, even better. Don't use margarine instead of butter. Use the best white wine you like drinking, and definitely use brandy, don't skip it.


BRANDIED ONION SOUP WITH CROQUE-MONSIEUR CROUTONS

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons butter
2 1/2 pounds onions, thinly sliced
4 14 1/2-ounce cans beef broth
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 to 2 tablespoons brandy
18 1/3-inch-thick slices of French bread baguette
2 cups grated Swiss cheese
1 cup coarsely chopped ham

Directions:
Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until dark brown but not burned, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Add broth, wine, and mustard and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until flavors blend, about 15 minutes.

Add brandy to taste and simmer 5 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Arrange bread on baking sheet. Broil until beginning to color, about 1 minute. Mound cheese and ham on bread; sprinkle with pepper. Broil until cheese melts, turning sheet for even cooking, about 2 minutes.

Ladle soup into deep bowls. Top each with 3 croutons and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Tarragon Pizza Bianca

You can make or buy the dough while making this pizza from Bon Appetit. But if you are like me, you can just buy the pizza crust ready from any grocery store:)

There are some changes that I have made to this recipe. I'm adding the original recipe below.

I roast the vegetables before adding it as a topping, and skip the fennel altogether. I add more herbs such as oregano or substitute to basil instead of tarragon. I use fresh buffalo mozzarella cheese, it makes a great difference to taste. And I use goat cheese instead of the brie.

You can add more vegetables if you like. Because this pizza doesn't have any tomato sauce it is great as a appetizer.


TARRAGON PIZZA BIANCA

Ingredients:

2 10-ounce tubes refrigerated pizza dough
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
1 1/3 cups (packed) grated whole-milk mozzarella cheese
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed, very thinly sliced
1 small zucchini, very thinly sliced
1 small yellow crookneck squash, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced shallot
4 ounces Brie, rind removed, cheese cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Directions:
Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 425°F.

Oil baking sheet. Unroll dough onto floured surface. Cut each rectangle in half. Roll each half to 7-inch round. Transfer rounds to prepared baking sheet.

Brush 1 tablespoon oil over each round; sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon tarragon. Top with mozzarella and vegetables. Brush rounds with remaining oil. Sprinkle with shallot, salt, and pepper. Top with Brie.

Bake until cheese is bubbling, about 14 minutes. Cut each into 6 wedges.

Makes 8 appetizer servings

Friday, January 11, 2008

Orzo with Tomaotes, Feta, and Green Onions

This healthy salad recipe is from Giada De Laurentiis. And there aren't that much change that you need to make. And it goes great with grilled meats.

The chicken stock taste can be overpowering, so cut it with some water.

Here are some things you can add to it. Green, yellow or red peppers. Black olives. Any kind of bean you like, pinto, black etc. You can also add some vegetables to it, such as carrots, peas, beets etc.

To the sauce, I add some garlic and some Parmesan. I also use a little bit more lemon as the orzo really absorbs it. But I don't add it to the dressing. After orzo cooks toss it with the dressing before adding the rest of the ingredients. At this point taste to see if you would like to add more lemon.
If so, you can add the lemon juice directly to make it a sharper taste.

ORZO WITH TOMATOES, FETA, AND GREEN ONIONS

Ingredients:
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup olive oil
6 cups chicken broth
1 pound orzo (or riso)
2 cups red and yellow teardrop or grape tomatoes, halved
1 7-ounce package feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

Directions:
Whisk vinegar, lemon juice, and honey in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.)

Bring broth to boil in large heavy saucepan. Stir in orzo, reduce heat to medium, cover partially, and boil until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Transfer to large wide bowl, tossing frequently until cool.

Mix tomatoes, feta, basil, and green onions into orzo. Add vinaigrette; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.) Add pine nuts; toss. Serve at room temperature.

Makes 8 servings.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Warm Goat Cheese Salad with Grilled Olive Bread

This one is an old and a favorite salad recipe from Bon Appetit. The sauce is great, which you can use with any other salad dressing, and the goat cheese turns out to be crunchy outside and silky inside. It is just yummy:)

Don't skip leaving the goat cheese in the fridge for at least an hour. It makes a big difference when you are cooking it. And use dental floss to cut it, it won't crumble or stick to anything, makes it very easy to cut into rounds.

You can make a lot of variations with this recipe. You can use cranberry or rosemary bread instead of olive bread; add prosciutto and make it a bigger meal; add sun dried tomatoes; use herbed breadcrumbs; add some white wine into the sauce. There is just no end to what you can do with this recipe.

Enjoy:)


WARM GOAT CHEESE SALAD WITH GRILLED OLIVE BREAD

Ingredients:

Vinaigrette
2 garlic cloves, peeled, halved
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons
Dijon mustard

Salad
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 4-ounce logs soft fresh goat cheese, each halved crosswise, halves pressed to 1/2-inch thickness
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten until foamy
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 3/4-inch-thick slices olive bread
Additional olive oil
2 5-ounce packages mixed baby greens

Directions:
For vinaigrette:
Place garlic and oil in small glass measuring cup or ramekin. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave 30 seconds. Transfer garlic to small bowl. Reserve oil.

Using fork, coarsely mash garlic. Add basil, vinegar, and mustard to mashed garlic. Whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk in reserved garlic oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand 1 hour at room temperature and re-whisk before using.)

For salad:
Mix first 6 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Dip each cheese round into egg whites, turning to coat. Coat each with breadcrumb mixture. Transfer coated cheese rounds to plate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add cheese rounds and cook until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to plate.

Brush bread slices on both sides with olive oil. Grill until beginning to toast, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to plate.

Place greens in large bowl and toss with all but 2 tablespoons vinaigrette; season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide salad among 6 plates. Top each with 1 cheese round and 1 slice grilled bread. Drizzle cheese rounds with remaining 2 tablespoons vinaigrette and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Coffee Ice Cream and Mexican Chocolate Sundaes with Cinnamon-Sugar Tortilla Crisps

This recipe from Bon Appetit uses store bought ice cream and just adds some extras to it.

You don't necessarily have to use coffee ice cream, but it does taste good with the crisps. And these crisps are really easy to put together and they make a great presentation.

The sauce is a lot, so if you want adjust the ingredients for it, or it makes great leftover sauce that you can use wherever you want to use chocolate sauce. I'm ok with the extra:)

Taste the sauce and see if you need extra cinnamon, I usually end up adding just a little bit more.


COFFEE ICE CREAM AND MEXICAN CHOCOLATE SUNDAES WITH CINNAMON-SUGAR TORTILLA CRISPS

Ingredients:
Sauce:
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup hot water
2 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Tortilla crisps:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 8-inch-diameter flour tortillas
1 1/2 quarts coffee ice cream Fresh mint sprigs (optional)

Directions:
For sauce:
Whisk cream, 1/4 cup hot water, and espresso powder in heavy small saucepan to blend. Bring to simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat.

Add chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Stir in cinnamon. (Sauce can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm sauce over low heat just until pourable before using.)

For tortilla crisps:
Mix butter, sugar, and cinnamon in small bowl to blend. Spread butter mixture evenly over tortillas. Cut each tortilla into 8 wedges. Place wedges on 2 baking sheets, buttered side up, spacing apart. (Can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Cover with foil; let stand at room temperature.)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake tortillas uncovered until crisp, puffed, and golden, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven.

Place large scoop of ice cream in each of 8 dessert glasses. Drizzle warm chocolate sauce over. Stand 4 tortilla crisps in each glass. Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired, and serve.

Makes 8 servings.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Turkish Coffee

Coffee for Turks is not simply a drink, but has its own history, its institutions (coffeehouses), its rituals, its own rules of when and how to drink it, and even a tradition of fortune-telling by reading the coffee grinds deposited at the bottom of a traditional Turkish coffee cup… Most Turks would find it superfluous to call it Turkish coffee: coffee is Turkish coffee. So I thought I'd better give a try to give some idea of how it is made, and how it is used for fortune telling:)

According to an old Turkish proverb, "coffee should be as black as hell, as strong as death, and as sweet as love."

Turkish coffee is coffee prepared by boiling finely powdered roast coffee beans in a pot, possibly with sugar, and serving it into a cup, where the dregs settle. And it’s not the kind of coffee you grab on the way to work. Turkish coffee is drunk slowly and is usually served with a glass of cold water (to freshen the mouth to better taste the coffee before sipping), though sometimes, especially after dinner, with a small glass of mint liqueur. In the Mediterranean and southeastern Turkey, it is also traditionally served with Turkish Delight.

The necessary equipment to prepare Turkish coffee consists of a narrow-topped small boiling pot called an ibrik (basically a tiny ewer), or cezve, a teaspoon and a heating apparatus. The ingredients are finely ground coffee, sometimes cardamon, cold water and (if desired) sugar. It is served in cups (fincan) similar in size to Italian espresso or Japanese sake cups.

A Turkish coffee pot is designed specifically to make Turkish coffee. The long handle is particularly useful to avoid burning hands, and the brim is designed to serve the coffee. The most important element in choosing the coffee pot is its size. You should neither use a too big nor a too small pot. Depending upon how many servings you need, you need to choose the appropriate size. Many Turkish households do have a variety of sizes for different occasions.

Traditionally, the pot is made of copper and has a wooden handle. But today stainless steel ones are used. The size of the pot is chosen to be close to the total volume of the cups to be prepared, since using too large a pot causes most of the precious foam to stick to the inside of it. Also, a certain depth of water is necessary in order for the coffee particles to sink. The teaspoon is used both for stirring and measuring the amount of coffee and sugar.

For heating, an ordinary stove burner is sufficient, but an overly strong heat source is undesirable, as the brewing time needs to be at least five minutes. Traditionally, the pot was placed in the hot sands of the Mediterranean for cooking. When the sand is hot, the coffee pot is placed in the sand. This allows for a more even and gentle heat transfer.

The best Turkish coffee is made from freshly roasted beans ground just before brewing. Beans for Turkish coffee are ground even finer than the grind used in pump-driven espresso makers; therefore, Turkish coffee should be powdery. It is the finest grind of coffee used in any style of coffee making.

For best results, the water must be cold. A well-prepared Turkish coffee has a thick foam at the top (köpük in Turkish), This can be achieved only if cold water and a low heat are used. Starting with warm water or a strong heat does not leave enough time for either the coffee to sink or the foam to form.

The first step in making delicious Turkish coffee is to make the right coffee bean choice. Turkish coffee is made by using beans of Coffee Arabica from a variety of coffee producing countries. Coffee beans are judged based on characteristics such flavor, aftertaste, aroma, taste balance and degree of sweetness. You should try different beans of Coffee Arabica from different countries and choose the one you like best. Ignore any consideration of taste with milk, as adding milk to Turkish coffee, under any circumstance, is a no-no.

Ingredients: (per person)
1 cup water (measured by the actual coffee cup being used)
1 teaspoon of extra finely ground coffee
Sugar (optional) and the amount varies according to how you like your coffee. In Turkey, four degrees of sweetness are used. The Turkish terms and approximate amounts are as follows: sade (plain; no sugar), az şekerli (little sugar; half a levelled teaspoon of sugar), orta şekerli (medium sugar; one levelled teaspoon), and çok şekerli (a lot of sugar; one and a half or two levelled teaspoons).

Directions:
The coffee and the sugar are usually added to water, rather than being put into the pot first.

The coffee and the desired amount of sugar are stirred until all coffee sinks and the sugar is dissolved. Following this, the spoon is removed and the pot is put on the fire. No stirring is done beyond this point, as it would dissolve the foam. Just as the coffee begins boiling, the pot is removed from the fire and the coffee is poured into the cups. Pour some (not all) of the coffee equally between the cups, filling each cup about a quarter to a third of the way. This will make sure that everybody gets a fair share of the foam forming on top of the pot, without which coffee loses much of its taste. Continue heating until coffee boils again (which will be very short now that it has already boiled). Then distribute the rest of the coffee between the cups. You can also allow the brew to boil, remove the pot from the heat source just prior to boiling over, allow it to settle, and then repeat the process two or three times. This results in even stronger and more concentrated coffee.

All the coffee in the pot is poured into cups, but not all of it is drunk. The thick layer of sludgy grounds at the bottom of the cup is left behind. After drinking the coffee, the cup is covered with the upside-down saucer and swirled three times in a clock-wise direction. Then it is allowed a few minutes for the coffee to settle and to cool, and then the patterns of the coffee grounds can be used for a kind of fortune telling called tasseography (Turkish: kahve falı), or tasseomancy. The drinker of the coffee cannot read his or her own cup.


Tasseography:
Many interpretations for symbols exist, but one common thread is the color of the symbols. Since most cups used are white or ivory and the grinds are dark, good contrast exists for the symbols. White is considered as a "good" symbol foretelling of generally positive things for the drinker, while the grinds are considered to form "bad" symbols.

Symbols can be many things including people, animals, and inanimate objects. Usually, the fortune teller will group nearby symbols together for a prediction.
Before proceeding with the reading there are a few simple rules to remember.

Positions of symbols seen in the cup:
The handle represents you (the 'querant').

Symbols positioned near the handle means something is about to happen near your home.

Symbols pointing to the handle - from the left or right - means something is approaching you (a letter, visitor etc).

Symbols pointing away from the handle - from left or right - means departure (someone or something will leave).

Symbols in a vertical, top to bottom or visa versa, position indicates a time span. Those near the top (the rim) are the future; mid-way represents the present; and bottom the past. But the actual circular very bottom is unlucky. Traditionally the querant is asked to crush the bottom symbol seen after it has been interpreted.

Symbols should never be interpreted in isolation. The overall picture combining all the symbols in relation to each other, with due consideration to the size, clarity and position of each symbol in the cup will give a much more rewarding reading.

Should you find it difficult to see anything in your coffee cup in the beginning don't worry. The images will not be like a photograph; in fact they may appear incomplete, blurry and downright unintelligible. Relax! Let your mind and imagination scan the cup once or twice, turn the cup, tip it toward you or away looking at the coffee grains as you do so. Soon you will make out one image then another and before you know it they'll be leaping out at you in their dozens:)

Here are some Symbols and their meanings:

Angel: Good news and happiness approaching.
Ant: Determination in an activity will bear fruit.
Baby or Cot: Minor worries will occupy you.
Ball: Someone known to you involved with sport or short periods of luck and misfortune.
Beans: Financial difficulties.
Bear: Facing handle - Think carefully about new decisions. Looking away from handle - You will go on an important journey.
Bee: You will make new friends and hear good news. Near handle - old Friends gathering. Going away from the handle - Old friends are seeking you. Swarm of bees - You will make an impact in a large gathering.
Beetle: A difficult task will test your mettle.
Bell: Surprising news. Near top of cup - Career advancement. Near bottom of cup - Upset, disappointment. Two bells - Heartfelt joy.
Candle: Another person will help you succeed. Knowledge and learning.
Cat: A quarrel will disrupt your life but only for a short time.
Chain: A legal union, a marriage or business partnership.
Chair: An unforeseen guest.
Circle: Success coming around. Circle with a dot near - A new addition to the family (baby). Circle with lines nearby - Your efforts are being hindered.
Claw: Enemy.
Devil or horns: Beware of influential people around you. Danger approaches.
Dog: Good, reliable friends. Faithful partner. Near bottom of cup - Friends needing help.
Eagle: Great improvements in your life.
Ear: Surprising news will reach you.
Egg: Wealth and success.
Eye: Envy, jealousy.
Face: Concern for you by a loved one.
Fish: Life will become richer, happier and more attractive to you.
Flag: Danger-in-wait.
Fruit: Prosperity in your endeavors.
Gate: Opportunities for success.
Hand: Friendship and family.
Heart: Love, faith and trust.
Horse: Strength, independence.
Key: Doors opening for you.
Knife: Enemies plotting. Danger ahead.
Letter: Good financial news coming.
Lines: Straight - Trouble free progress. Wavy - difficult progress - Slanting means failure.
Man: Near handle and distinct - visitor with dark hair. Blurred image - A fair haired visitor. Arm outstretched - he brings a gift.
Moon: Full - Love. Crescent - religious calling.
Owl: Disreputable person. Scandal.
Pear: Financial security.
Ring: Marriage. Broken ring - marriage in trouble.
Scissors: Arguments in the home.
Spider: Unexpected money on its way.
Sun: Power. Success.
Sword: Enemies will fall.
Tree: Changes for the better on their way.
Triangle: A change coming. Pointing up - change is good. Pointing down - bad.
Wheel: Fortunes will change.

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