Wednesday, April 30, 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 200 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
Chickpea Fritters - Panelle
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 Aubergines with Rice
Stuffed Vine Leaves - Yaprak Dolma
Tomato Eggplant Spread
Zucchini Fritters With Herbs And Cheese
Tarragon Pizza Bianca
Wine and Ham Croquettes
White Bean Puree with Sun-dried Tomatoes

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

SALAD RECIPES:
Avocado and Tomato Salad
Beet And Goat Cheese Salad With Pistachios
Big Island Tomato and Maui Onion Salad with Maui Onion Dressing
Black-eyed Pea Salad
Bulgur Wheat Stuffed Tomato
Crisp Goat-Cheese Salad with Potatoes
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 Green Salad with Citrus Dressing
Mixed Lettuce Chiffonade with Gorgonzola-Herb Dressing
New Potato Salad with Sauteed Onion Vinaigrette
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:
Baby Brussels Sprouts with Buttered Pecans
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 Eggplant and Mozzarella Sandwiches
Grilled Ham and Gouda Sandwiches with Frisee and Caramelized Onions
Homemade Sandwich Bread
Made Up Toast Souffle
Muffuletta Sandwich on Sourdough Bread
Pocket Sandwiches
Roast Beef Sandwiches with Lemon-Basil Mayonnaise and Roasted Red Onions
Taverna Veggie Sandwiches

SAUCES/DRESSINGS/DIPS:
Aioli Sauce for French Fries/Frites
Basic Marinara Sauce
Cafe de Paris Sauce and Butter Recipes
Chimichurri Sauce
Citrus Dressing
Creamy Mustard Sauce
Creamy Oven-cooked Bacon Dip
Creole Olive Salad
Cucumber Dill Sauce
Eggplant Dip
Fresh Tomato Salsa
Gorgonzola Sauce
Guacamole
Guacamole with Fresh Corn and Chipotle
Haydari with Feta Cheese
Herbed Mustard Sauce
Lemon Caramel Sauce and Candied Lemon Slices
Methods for Making Sour Cream
Pesto Oil
Mustard-Cognac Sauce
Puttanesca Dipping Sauce
Puttanesca Sauce
Roasted Red Pepper with Feta Dip
Roasted Tomatillo 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
Beef Tenderloin Steaks with Mustard-Cognac Sauce
Cafe de Paris Sauce and Butter Recipes
Cider Glazed Lamb Chops
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 Au Poivre
Steak Diane
Stewed Kebabs in a Bowl - Tas Kebab
Veal Cutlets With Thyme Butter Sauce

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

CHICKEN RECIPES:
Chicken Provencale
Grilled Chicken with Mustard Dill Sauce
Roasted Chicken Dinner
Roasted Chicken with Dijon Sauce
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
Cheddar Stuffed Potatoes
Creamy Herbed Potatoes
Frites
Grilled New Potatoes with Parmesan and Herbs
Oven Fried Potato and Sweet Potato Chips
Perfect French Fries
Potato Gnocchi with Gorgonzola Sauce
Potato Gratin with Goat Cheese and Garlic
Potato Gratin With Goat Cheese, Tomatoes, And Olives
Potato Roesti
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
Baked Ravioli
Castellane with Mascarpone and Roasted Grape Tomatoes
Farfalle with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cream
Fettuccine With Roasted Tomato Sauce And Parmesan
Fried Ravioli
Greek Style Penne with Fresh Tomaotes, Feta, and Dill
Grilled Vegetable Lasagna with Puttanesca Sauce and Pesto Oil
Pappardelle Pasta with Olives, Thyme and Lemon
Pasta with Kalamata Olives and Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce
Pasta with Pancetta and Tomato Sauce
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
Bulgur and Green Lentil Pilaf
Creole Vegetable Jambalaya
Rice Pilaf
Risotto Con Parmigiano-Reggiano
Saffron Rice with Tomatoes and Fresh Oregano
Yellow Rice with Sofrito

BREAKFAST RECIPES:
Chorizo and Scrambled Egg Breakfast Tacos
Frittata with Potato and Prosciutto
Goat Cheese Quiche with Hash-Brown Crust

MISC RECIPES:
Black-Bean Tostados with Roasted Tomatillo Sauce and Tostadas
Basic Pizza Dough
Charred Red Onion and Balsamic Vinegar White Beans
Couscous with Spiced Zucchini
Crepes
Flat Zucchini Omelet
Fried Carrots
Garlic Croutons
Herb Pita Crisps
Lentil Crackers
Parsley Oil
Parmesan Crisps
Parmesan Popovers
Parmesan Toasts
Pita Crisps
Tostadas
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
Almond Thumbprint Cookies
Angel Food Cake
Chocolate Amaretti Peaches
Chocolate-Amaretti Tortes
Chocolate Fondue a La Chalet Suisse
Chocolate-Orange Pots de Creme with Candied Orange Peel
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
Dipped Strawberries
Double Chocolate Orange Pudding
Fruit-And-Almond Gratins
Grilled Pineapple with Nutella
Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate Chocolate Souffle with Grand Marnier Chocolate Sauce
Honey-Ginger Pineapple Crepes
Individual Peach Upside-Down Cake
Jumbo Black Bottom Coconut Macaroons
Lemon Creme Brulee With Fresh Berries
Lemon Spice Bread Pudding with Sauteed Peaches
Limoncello Cheesecake Squares
Mosaic
Old-Fashioned New York-Style Cheesecake with Berry Coulis
Puff Pastry Tart Filled with Almond Cream
Salep Ice Cream
Super Lemony Lemon Squares
Vanilla Lime Pineapple Skewers
Wine Soaked Berries

Monday, April 28, 2008

Chimichurri Sauce

I love Chimichurri. It's from Argentina and they use it for steaks which they are famous for. But you can also use it for chicken and fish. It really enhances the taste of any dish you use it with. It's actually great with sandwiches too. You can prepare this sauce and refrigerate it in a glass jar for about a week. You would finish it long before that anyway:)

You can use this sauce to marinade or for basting, or you can just serve it on the table. I love it with fresh bread. I can just eat that and skip a whole meal:)

I've put this recipe together after checking out several recipes out. The amounts can be changed according to your taste, to me this is the best one. If you like heat, you can add about 2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes.

If you like, you can also add cilantro instead of the oregano. It changes the taste a bit, but it's still wonderful.

Be careful not to overprocess. You are just trying to gently blend and just thicken the sauce.


CHIMICHURRI SAUCE

Ingredients:
1 bunch flat leaf parsley (about 1/2 cup)
8 cloves garlic, minced (about 5 tablespoons)
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 lemon wedge (juice of)
1 tablespoon diced red onions
1 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:
Pulse parsley in processor to chop.

Add remaining ingredients and blend.

Let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Makes about 6 servings.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Baked Ravioli

I've copied this basic recipe from Martha Stewart. According to the magazine baking pasta with cheese on top creates a chewy and crispy topping kids will love. But I love it too:)

You can assemble the dish ahead and refrigerate it, then bake it right before dinner.
Try this recipe with 1 pound of spaghetti (cook a few minutes less than the package instructions direct). Don't worry if it seems like there's too much sauce; it will be absorbed as the pasta bakes.

I substituted the herbs with basil because I like the taste with pasta, and it turned out to be great, give it a try:)

BAKED RAVIOLI

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme or oregano
1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
2 pounds store-bought ravioli
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425°.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add thyme and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, breaking up tomatoes with spoon, until sauce is thickened and reduced to about 5 1/2 cups, 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook ravioli in a large pot of boiling salted water just until they float to the top (pasta will continue to cook in oven). Drain pasta; return to pot.

Toss sauce with pasta. Pour pasta into a large gratin dish or 9-by-13-inch baking dish, and sprinkle with cheeses. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Baby Brussels Sprouts with Buttered Pecans

For years I didn't touch Brussels sprouts, and then one day I was served at a restaurant. It was a side vegetable and I thought I should give it a try. I have been eating them since. If you use baby Brussels, which is completely different than the regular ones, I'm sure you will like them too if you never liked them:)

This recipe is from Gourmet, easy to make and great presentation as a side dish next to anything that you are serving.

Don't use frozen sprouts if you can help it, and when buying fresh choose the smallest ones possible.

The pecans work great in this recipe, but you can also try almonds. It's a completely different taste, but works just as well.

I hope you like this recipe:)


BABY BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH BUTTERED PECANS

Ingredients:
1/2 cup pecan halves, cut crosswise into thirds
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 lb baby Brussels sprouts, trimmed
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Spread pecan pieces in 1 layer in a shallow baking pan and bake until fragrant and a few shades darker, about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/4 teaspoon salt to nuts and toss until butter is melted and nuts are coated.

While nuts bake, cook Brussels sprouts in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, until just tender, 5 to 6 minutes, then transfer to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking. Drain sprouts and pat dry.

Melt remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, then add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Increase heat to moderately high, then add sprouts and sauté, stirring occasionally, until browned in patches, about 5 minutes. Add lemon juice, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, then stir in pecans and serve.

• If you can't find baby Brussels sprouts, you can use 2 lb regular Brussels sprouts, quartered.
• Pecans can be toasted and buttered 1 day ahead and kept at room temperature, covered.
• Brussels sprouts can be boiled 1 day ahead and kept chilled in a sealed plastic bag with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mixed Green Salad with Citrus Dressing

I have been cleaning up my Martha Stewart collection, and I ran into this great dressing which you can use with any green salad that you like. It's a simple recipe, but from time to time, I need to be reminded what went into the dressing and how much. You can certainly change the amounts to see which combination you like best. To me the base recipe helps me get started with the experimenting:)

You can add to the ingredients, such as nuts, cheeses, radishes, meats etc and make this a much richer salad. To me, this is my tasty diet salad:)

MIXED GREEN SALAD WITH CITRUS DRESSING

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon minced shallot
2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch (8 ounces) arugula, stemmed (7 to 8 cups)
4 ounces frisée, torn into bite-size pieces (4 cups)
1 small head (4 ounces) radicchio, torn into bite-size pieces (4 cups)

Directions:
Combine juice, honey, shallot, and vinegar in a blender; season with salt and pepper. Purée until smooth. With motor running, add oil in a steady stream until emulsified.

In a large bowl, toss arugula, frisée, and radicchio with dressing; season with more salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings

Monday, April 21, 2008

Crisp Goat-Cheese Salad with Potatoes

I found this recipe at Martha Stewart. It makes a great potato salad with a twist. Delicious and very satisfying.

The goat-cheese disks can be prepared through step two up to a day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap, and keep in the refrigerator. Before cooking, brush disks with oil.

Freezing the goat-cheese log for several minutes makes it easier to slice, and use dental floss to slice, that way the cheese doesn't crumble. Amazingly this really works, and it is fun:)


CRISP GOAT-CHEESE SALAD WITH POTATOES

Ingredients:

1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for baking sheet
3 large red potatoes (about 1 pound)
1 large egg
Salt and pepper
1 1/2 cups plain breadcrumbs
1 12-ounce log fresh goat cheese
1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon grainy or Dijon mustard
8 ounces mesclun or mixed salad greens

Directions:
Heat the broiler. Brush a baking sheet with oil; set aside. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Simmer until fork-tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Rinse potatoes under cold water until cool enough to handle, and cut into 1-inch chunks.

In a shallow bowl, whisk egg with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Place breadcrumbs in another shallow bowl. Slice goat cheese into 8 rounds, and pat each into a disk about 1/2 inch thick. Dip disks in the egg and then in the breadcrumbs, coating evenly. Place on prepared baking sheet.

In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Slowly add 1/4 cup oil, whisking to emulsify. Set aside.

Brush disks lightly with remaining 1/4 cup oil, and broil until golden and crisp, about 5 minutes.

Toss mesclun and potatoes in the dressing. Spoon salads onto plates, and top each with two cheese disks.

Makes 4 servings

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Beef Tenderloin Steaks with Mustard-Cognac Sauce

This is an excellent recipe from Bon Appetit. And very easy to make. And it looks like a professional chef has cooked it, so it makes a great presentation meal.

Make sure you use sodium free or low sodium chicken broth. You can even mix chicken and beef broth. Otherwise the sauce will come out very salty.

If you like meat to be medium rare, you can use Jacques Pepin's method of grilling. Sear the steaks in the pan for a couple or three minutes on a side, then transfer them to a 250 degree (or less) oven; let gently cook through. This way you avoid that overcooked exterior and undercooked interior; so you end up with beautiful, even red meat across the width of the steak. Let stand before serving which allows the juices to spread out. You can go on preparing the sauce while the meat is cooking.

If you can, strain the sauce so that you don't have fresh herb bits and pieces to deal with in the sauce. And, try to use fresh herbs whenever you can, it changes the taste quite a bit.


BEEF TENDERLOIN STEAKS WITH MUSTARD-COGNAC SAUCE

Ingredients:
6 (7- to 8-ounce) beef tenderloin steaks (each about 1 1/2 inches thick)
Coarse kosher salt
Cracked black pepper
3 tablespoons canola oil
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, divided
4 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed
2 fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh rosemary sprigs

1 cup finely chopped shallots
1/2 cup Cognac or brandy
2 tablespoons tawny Port
3 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Directions:
Preheat oven to 250°F. Sprinkle steaks on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Add steaks and sear until brown, about 2 minutes per side.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Add 3 tablespoons butter, garlic, thyme, and rosemary to skillet. Cook steaks to desired doneness, turning occasionally and basting with pan juices, about 12 minutes for medium-rare.

Transfer steaks to small rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in oven.

Pour contents of skillet into small bowl. Return 3 tablespoons drippings from bowl to same skillet and place over high heat. Add shallots and sauté 2 minutes.

Add Cognac and Port and stir 1 minute, scraping up any browned bits. Add broth and boil until sauce is reduced to 1 cup, about 12 minutes.

Whisk in Dijon mustard, then remaining 3 tablespoons cold butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Arrange steaks on plates; whisk any accumulated juices from baking sheet into sauce. Spoon sauce over steaks and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Saffron Rice with Tomatoes and Fresh Oregano

I had copied this recipe from Martha Stewart, and one day, when I have access to saffron, I will be cooking it. But for now, I'm just adding it so that I don't lose the recipe. If you cook it before me, please let me know what you think.

Saffron is actually the dried stigmas of the crocus; each flower yields only three stigmas. Saffron is hand-picked and is the world's most expensive spice. It imparts a golden color to food. Use it very sparingly as a few threads go a long way. Toast the threads before grinding them, or steep whole threads in water, stock, or milk to release the flavor. Do not use wood utensils when cooking with saffron as wood absorbs the spice.

According to the magazine the rice needs to be tossed gently, or it will become gummy. And it is cooked almost like cooking pasta, so don't be surprised when you have water left over.


SAFFRON RICE WITH TOMATOES AND FRESH OREGANO

Ingredients:
1 saffron
2 tablespoons coarse salt, plus more to taste
1 1/2 cups jasmine or long-grain white rice
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
Freshly ground pepper
6 fresh oregano, leaves picked from stem

Directions:
Fill a medium saucepan with cold water. Add saffron and 2 tablespoons salt. Bring water to a boil. Stir in rice, and cook until rice is tender, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from heat, and drain rice well.

Place rice in a serving bowl. Add butter and tomatoes, and toss very gently. Season with salt, pepper, and fresh oregano leaves. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Stuffed Aubergines with Rice

Here is another wonderful Turkish appetizer recipe. Yalanci dolma, which means 'cheat’s dolmas' or 'imitation dolmas' - presumably because they are less fiddly to make than the classical dolmas in vine leaves - are a delicious cold first course. I don't remember where I copied the recipe from but it is very close to the recipe my mom uses.

Although the recipe uses only aubergines and bell peppers, we always use tomatoes too. Just use 2 tomatoes and scoop out the flesh and stuff them with the filling.

Additional tomatoes are used as lids for the peppers and aubergines and it's only for the sake of appearances, so if you want to you can easily skip using them.

When buying choose aubergines that feel heavy with smooth, taut, unblemished skin and fresh-looking unwithered green stalks/caps. When ripe, the flesh will give slightly under your thumb but bounce back when you release pressure.

Stuffed eggplants keep in the fridge for several days and, like most dishes made with olive oil, improve with time.

STUFFED AUBERGINES WITH RICE - YALANCI DOLMA

Ingredients:
4 medium aubergines
2 small bell peppers

Filling:
2 cups olive oil
6 onions
2 tablespoons pine kernels
2 cups rice (rinsed)
4 cups hot water
2 teaspoons dried mint leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons currants
3 tomatoes (optional)

Directions:
Wash the aubergines and remove the stalks. Halve crosswise, and without piercing the skin, use a corer to remove most of the flesh, leaving a thin layer all round on the inside. Reserve the flesh.

With a sharp knife, cut a circle round the core of the peppers. Twist and remove the core and the seeds, leaving the pepper itself intact. Rinse out any remaining seeds and drain upside down.

Heat the oil in a skillet or shallow pan. Wipe dry and fry the aubergine shells briefly on all sides. Remove with a skimmer and set aside to cool.

Chop the onions and the aubergine flesh finely. Plenty of onions is the secret of good dolmas.

Return the pan with the remaining oil to the heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and stir-fry until it reduces and is translucent. Stir in the pine kernels and the aubergine flesh and sauté until all turn golden. Finally add the rice, stir once and pour over two cups of hot water. Add the mint, dill, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the currants and cover. Bring to the boil and immediately turn the heat down to minimum to simmer.

When all the liquid is absorbed, remove the pan from the heat and transfer the filling to a shallow dish to cool.

When cool enough to handle, spoon the filling into the hollow aubergines and peppers, stuffing them without packing too tightly. Stand the dolmas upright in the pan, leaning against each other. For extra colour cut the tomatoes into quarters, scoop out the flesh (which can be saved for another dish) and use the outsides as lids for the dolmas. Make sure the edges of the tomato are tucked inside the aubergines and peppers. Slowly add two cups of hot water at the edge of the pan. Cover and simmer gently.

When the peppers are tender, the dolmas are cooked. Let them cool, covered, for several hours. Serve at room temperature garnished with fresh parsley leaves.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Grilled Eggplant and Mozzarella Sandwiches

This is a healthy, low fat sandwich recipe from Bon Appetit.

You don't really have to have the barbecue going, you can just as easily use a stove top grill or the broiler of your oven.

The ingredients are easy to interchange with any vegetables or cheeses you like. I actually use buffalo mozzarella, I think it melts wonderfully.

I like serving this with the roasted pepper feta dip and some vegetables such as tomatoes and carrots. Then it becomes a healthy and rich meal.

GRILLED EGGPLANT AND MOZZARELLA SANDWICHES

Ingredients:

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
8 1/2-inch-thick eggplant slices
4 1/4-inch-thick slices part-skim mozzarella cheese (4 ounces)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
4 large bunches arugula
2 large tomatoes, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

Directions:
Spray grill with oil spray and prepare barbecue (medium heat). Spray eggplant on both sides with oil spray; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until tender, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Place 1 cheese slice atop each of 4 eggplant slices; top with remaining eggplant slices. Grill until cheese melts, about 2 minutes.

Whisk oil, vinegar and garlic in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add arugula, tomatoes and basil; toss. Divide among 4 plates. Sprinkle with pine nuts. Top each with 1 eggplant sandwich.

Makes 4 servings

Monday, April 14, 2008

Potato Roesti

I've always wanted to learn to cook roesti from scratch, which is very similar to hash browns, only better.

Then I saw Alton Brown prepare it with ease and I have been cooking them from scratch ever since.

There's nothing that I change in this recipe. It's great with steaks, eggs, in sandwiches etc. Yum!

POTATO ROESTI

Ingredients:
1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, chilled and shredded
1/4 pound onions, shredded
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:
Combine potatoes and onions in a tea towel. Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the mixture. In a large mixing bowl, combine this mixture with the oil and divide into four equal parts.

In a 10-inch non-stick saute pan melt 1/2 a tablespoon of butter. Season one part of potato mixture with salt and pepper and spread into a thin layer in the pan. Brown for 5 to 7 minutes.

Invert the roesti onto pan lid and remove pan from heat. Add additional 1/2 tablespoon of butter to the preheated pan. Slide roesti into pan raw side down and brown for an additional 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove to a rack and hold in a warm oven. Repeat previous steps for remaining potato mixture.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fried Ravioli and Basic Marinara Sauce

Who even can think about frying Ravioli. Giada De Laurentiis is who:) And it is delicious.

And although her recipe has a store bought marinara sauce, it's easy to make, so I've added the basic recipe below also. It has 1 hour as simmering, which will bring the sauce together, but you don't have to simmer that long.

These make great appetizers if you don't burn the raviolis, which you need to pay attention to. If the oil is too hot, they will burn, and they will burn fast. So don't heat the oil up too much and watch them closely.

You should also try it with different fillings than just cheese, or even different sauces. Enjoy:)

FRIED RAVIOLI

Ingredients:
Olive oil, for frying
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups Italian-style bread crumbs
1 box store-bought cheese ravioli (about 24 ravioli)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 jar store bought marinara sauce, heated, for dipping (OR see recipe below)

Directions:
Pour enough olive oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 325 degrees F.

While the oil is heating, put the buttermilk and the bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Working in batches, dip ravioli in buttermilk to coat completely.

Allow the excess buttermilk to drip back into the bowl. Dredge ravioli in the bread crumbs. Place the ravioli on a baking sheet, and continue with the remaining ravioli.

When the oil is hot, fry the ravioli in batches, turning occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried ravioli to paper towels to drain.

Sprinkle the fried ravioli with Parmesan and serve with a bowl of warmed marinara sauce for dipping.

BASIC MARINARA SAUCE

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes in juice
1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Directions:
Heat olive oil in large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and cook, stirring, until tender, 5 to 6 minutes.

Add the Italian seasoning and cook for 30 seconds.

Add the diced tomatoes with juice, the tomato puree, and parsley. Stir to blend and reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 hour.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Haydari with Feta Cheese

Here is another wonderful Turkish meze that is served as an appetizer. It goes great with the national drink called "Raki". If you get a chance, give it a try.

It basically uses strained yogurt mixed with feta cheese. It is very tasty. You can almost use it as a dip, or a spread over some bread.

And it is easy and very quick to prepare. Enjoy:)

HAYDARI WITH FETA CHEESE

Ingredients:

1/2 cup creamy (strained) yogurt
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1-2 garlic cloves, smashed with salt
1 small cucumber, grated
2 tbsp dill, chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, optional
Salt

Directions:
Mix all the ingredients and place on a service plate. Pour some extra virgin olive oil all over.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Red Lentil and Mint Soup

I love almost all soup recipes made with red lentils. I found this wonderful recipe from a Turkish cooking blog site called Binnur's Turkish Cookbook, and had to try it.

It's a great cold winter soup type of recipe, which turned out wonderful. No changes that I could think of. Although I don't like the taste of mint too much, it complements this dish, so don't skip it.

I didn't use the blender as I like the texture, and instead used my handheld blender and gave it three of four pulses just to get some consistency of soup. Enjoy:)

RED LENTIL AND MINT SOUP

Ingredients:

1/2 cup red lentils, washed and drained
1/4 cup fine grain bulgur, washed and drained
1/4 cup rice, washed and drained
2 tbsp olive oil or butter
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 cup diced tomato, in a can
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 or 5 cups chicken stock
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tbsp dry mint
Salt Pepper
Garnish: 2 tbsp butter 1 tsp dry mint

Directions:
Saute the onion with olive oil for about 2 minutes, then add garlic and saute until you can smell of the garlic.

Add the diced tomatoes and saute for additional 10 minutes, until the tomatoes soften.

Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to boil, then turn the heat down to simmer.

Cook for about half an hour, stirring occasionally. If the soup is too thick, add a little bit more hot chicken stock or water.

Melt the butter in a small pan. Turn the heat off when butter begins to bubble. Add the dry mint and stir. Drizzle butter mixture onto the soup. Serve with lemon wedges.

Makes 4-6 servings

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Pasta with Pancetta and Tomato Sauce

Very easy and delicious pasta recipe from Gaida De Laurentiis. For me it's a base recipe that reminds me to use pancetta which is a great Italian bacon.

To me, it needed to have some herbs, so I've added thyme, which came out great. You can also try basil, or oregano. I'm sure they will all complement the meal. You can also add some red pepper flakes if you like heat in your sauce.

Cut the pancetta to really small pieces, the sauce turns out to be better if they are smaller.

I always let these kind of tomato sauces to simmer for about 30 minutes. The longer you let it simmer, the better the sauce becomes. Enjoy:)


PASTA WITH PANCETTA AND TOMATO SAUCE

Ingredients:

6 ounces pancetta, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
Sea salt
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
Pinch dried crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) can tomato puree
1 pound linguine
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano

Directions:
Add the pancetta to a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and saute until golden brown, about 8 minutes.

Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt.

Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the tomato puree. Simmer uncovered over medium-low heat until the sauce thickens slightly and the flavors blend, about 15 minutes. Season the sauce with
salt, to taste.

Meanwhile, boil the linguine in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Toss the linguine with the sauce in the skillet, adding some of the reserved cooking liquid until the pasta is moist but being careful not to dilute the sauce. Toss with the cheese. Season with salt, to taste.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Oven Fried Potato and Sweet Potato Chips with Creamy Oven-cooked Bacon Dip

Although I'm adding the whole recipe which was from Emeril, it's really not worth spending your time making the potatoes. The dip, on the other hand, is easy and heavenly.

If you don't cut the potatoes thin enough and don't use enough oil under them, on the pan, they will stick to the pan, so if you do decide to prepare them (because the herbs do give them a kick), make sure you have brushed enough oil under and over the potatoes.

If the dip comes out too dense, where it might even break the chips, add a little bit of sour cream to soften it up.


OVEN-FRIED POTATO AND SWEET POTATO CHIPS WITH CREAMY OVEN-COOKED BACON DIP

Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil
1 (6 to 8-ounce)medium Idaho potato
1 (6 to 8-ounce) medium sweet potato, peeled
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon very finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon very finely grated orange zest
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
Creamy Oven-Cooked Bacon Dip, recipe follows

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Using a pastry brush, lightly grease 2 large baking sheets with 1 teaspoon of oil each and set aside.

Using a mandoline slicer, or heavy, sharp knife, cut the potatoes and sweet potatoes as thinly as possible. On 1 baking sheet, arrange the cut potatoes in 1 layer. On the second sheet, arrange the cut sweet potatoes in 1 layer.

With a pastry brush, lightly coat the top side of both potatoes with the olive oil.

Bake until golden and crisp, rotating the pans halfway through the cooking time, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.

While the potatoes are cooking, In a small bowl, combine the salt, rosemary, lemon zest, and black pepper.

In another bowl, combine the cinnamon, orange zest, sugar, nutmeg, and ginger.
Remove the potatoes from the oven and transfer to paper towels. While still warm, sprinkle the potatoes with the lemon salt mixture, and the sweet potatoes with the cinnamon mixture. Serve warm or at room temperature with the Creamy Oven Cooked Bacon Dip.

CREAMY OVEN-COOKED BACON DIP

Ingredients:

8 slices bacon
6 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Hot pepper sauce, to taste

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Arrange the bacon in a layer on a broiler rack set over the broiler pan. Bake until crisp and brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and drain on paper towels. When cool enough to handle, crumble or chop into small pieces.

In a bowl, cream together the remaining ingredients. Add the crumbled bacon and mix. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

Serve with the oven baked potato chips.

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Grilled Pineapple with Nutella

Who doesn't love Nutella or haven't gobbled it when they were kids? Well, I know I gobbled it for sure:) So when I saw Giada De Laurentiis prepare this dessert, I had to try it. I'm glad I did:)

You don't have to use fresh pineapples, the canned kind works just as well. You can also try this with bananas, it also comes out great.

Try not to microwave the Nutella, but cook it over the stove, otherwise it might curdle.

You can also skip the mascarpone if you don't have it around, and use whipped cream instead. Heavenly!!!:)


GRILLED PINEAPPLE WITH NUTELLA

Ingredients:

2 pineapples, peeled, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices and core removed
2/3 cup mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread (recommended: Nutella)
6 tablespoons whipping cream
Olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped toasted hazelnuts

Directions:
Prepare the outdoor barbecue to medium-high heat. If you do not have a barbecue, you can use an indoor grill pan set to medium high heat. Lightly oil the grill. Grill the pineapple slices until heated through and beginning to brown, about 3 minutes per side. It's important to leave the pineapples on the grill, untouched so that you can create the grill marks.

While the pineapples are cooking, whisk the mascarpone and vanilla in a small bowl to blend. Set aside.

Combine the chocolate-hazelnut spread and cream in a small bowl and stir to combine. Place in a microwave on high for about 2 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds to blend well. Alternatively, you can combine the chocolate-hazelnut spread and cream in a small saucepan, set over low heat, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Heat until satiny smooth and easy to pour, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer the pineapple slices to a large platter. Drizzle the warm chocolate-hazelnut sauce over.

Dollop the mascarpone mixture atop. Sprinkle with the hazelnuts and serve.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Lemon Spice Bread Pudding with Sauteed Peaches

Even if you don't add the peaches this bread pudding recipe from Bon Appetit is awesome, even if you don't like bread pudding:)

Below you will also find the recipe for the Sauteed Peaches. But you don't have to limit yourself to just peaches. You can try pears, bananas, berries etc. Or you can have it all by itself, and it will still taste great.


LEMON-SPICE BREAD PUDDING WITH SAUTEED PEACHES

Ingredients:
6 cups 1-inch bread cubes from day-old rustic bread with crusts (about 11 ounces)
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 cups whole milk
1 cup whipping cream
4 cardamom pods, crushed
2 whole star anise*
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Sautéed Peaches (look below)
*Brown, star-shaped seedpods; available in the spice section of some supermarkets and at Asian markets and specialty foods stores.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Toss bread and melted butter on large rimmed baking sheet to coat. Place bread in oven and toast until golden, tossing occasionally, about 15 minutes. Cool.

Meanwhile, scrape seeds from vanilla bean into heavy medium saucepan; add bean. Add milk, cream, cardamom, star anise, and lemon peel to pan and bring to simmer. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep 30 minutes. Strain.

Whisk eggs, sugar, and salt in large bowl. Gradually whisk milk mixture into egg mixture. Add bread and toss gently to combine. Cover and let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours.

Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter 11x7x2-inch glass baking dish. Transfer bread mixture to prepared dish. Bake until just set, about 55 minutes. Cool pudding at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with sautéed peaches.

Makes 8 Servings.

SAUTEED PEACHES

Ingredients:
4 peaches, halved, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

Directions:
Place peaches, juice, and sugar in large bowl; toss to coat.

Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add peaches; cook until juices thicken slightly, stirring gently, about 3 minutes.

Makes 8 servings

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Frittata with Potato and Prosciutto

This recipe makes a great breakfast or a lunch sandwich, from Giada De Laurentiis who always makes these easy but ultimately very very tasty dishes.

Try not to switch the prosciutto which gives this egg dish a nice twist. But of course you can use ham or any other lunch meat that you like. This recipe is quite versatile, and will handle most any changes you make to it. Such as changing the meat or the cheeses. Or you can add more ingredients, such as mushrooms, green peppers etc.

If you wanted to you could skip the bread, and serve the frittata with some salad on the side and some red wine and you'd have a complete meal:)


FRITTATA WITH POTATO AND PROSCIUTTO

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 (7-ounce) potato, peeled, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 large eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 ounces sliced prosciutto, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 baguette, cut into 8 pieces
1/4 cup unsalted butter

Directions:
Heat the oil in a heavy 9 1/2-inch-diameter skillet over medium heat. Add the potato, onion, and garlic. Season the potato mixture with salt and pepper, to taste.

Saute over medium-low heat until the potato is golden and crisp on the outside, tender inside, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Preheat the broiler. Whisk the eggs, cream, Parmesan, prosciutto, and basil in a medium bowl to blend. Stir the egg mixture into the potato mixture in the skillet.

Cook over medium-low heat until the egg mixture is almost set but the top is still loose, about 3 minutes. Place the skillet under the broiler. Broil until the top is set and golden brown, about 4 minutes.

Using a rubber spatula, loosen the frittata from skillet and slide the frittata onto a cutting board. Cut the frittata into 12 wedges.

Split open each bread piece. Toast the bread on a grill pan until golden. You can also broil the bread cut side up until golden, about 1 to 2 minutes, keeping a careful watch on the bread since they can easily burn.

Butter the cut sides of the toasted bread. Arrange a frittata wedge on each bottom piece of bread. Cover with the bread tops and serve.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Angel Food Cake and Wine Soaked Berries

You can always buy boxed angel food cake, but after watching Alton Brown prepare it from scratch and seeing how easy it is, why bother buying?:)

If you want to change the taste a little bit, use vanilla instead of orange extract.

You can also add about 3 tablespoons of cocoa to it and have a chocolaty taste. Or you can throw in some cinnamon to add some spice to it. Or add some lemon zest and lemon. Or use almond extract etc. There is just no end to the variations you can come up with.

And then you can top it with berries mixed with a little bit of sugar. Or use Nutella next to it. Or add some chocolate syrup. Then add whipped cream to any of the toppings.

But I will add a recipe from Rachel Ray for "Wine Soaked Berries" which make this recipe really decadent. Enjoy:)

ANGEL FOOD CAKE

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cake flour, sifted
12 egg whites (the closer to room temperature the better)
1/3 cup warm water
1 teaspoon orange extract, or extract of your choice
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a food processor spin sugar about 2 minutes until it is superfine. Sift half of the sugar with the salt the cake flour, setting the remaining sugar aside.

In a large bowl, use a balloon whisk to thoroughly combine egg whites, water, orange extract, and cream of tartar. After 2 minutes, switch to a hand mixer.

Slowly sift the reserved sugar, beating continuously at medium speed. Once you have achieved medium peaks, sift enough of the flour mixture in to dust the top of the foam. Using a spatula fold in gently. Continue until all of the flour mixture is incorporated.

Carefully spoon mixture into an ungreased tube pan. Bake for 35 minutes before checking for doneness with a wooden skewer. (When inserted halfway between the inner and outer wall, the skewer should come out dry).

Cool upside down on cooling rack for at least an hour before removing from pan.

Cook's Note: Since they're easier to separate use the freshest eggs you can get.

WINE SOAKED BERRIES

Ingredients:
1/3 cup dry Italian red wine
3 tablespoons sugar
A few grinds black pepper
1/2 pint strawberries, sliced
1/2 pint black berries
Finely chopped fresh mint leaves or orange zest, for garnish

Directions:
Combine wine, sugar, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add berries and soak 20 minutes.

Cut the cake into thick slices. Serve wedges doused with wine soaked berries then garnish with whipped cream and fresh mint or orange zest.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Yellow Rice with Sofrito

I didn't know what sofrito means until I found this recipe at Gourmet. Sofrito is a Spanish word for a well cooked and fragrant sauce. And it's great with yellow rice. This recipe comes out great each and every time.

The amounts for the sofrito was not enough for me, so I doubled the amounts and it came out great. You can also use 1 cup rice to 2 cups of water which makes the measuring easier.:)

I didn't have turmeric handy, so I skipped it, and as far as I'm concerned it was fine without it. And I have been cooking it without it all the time. I keep thinking one day.....:)


YELLOW RICE WITH SOFRITO

Ingredients:
For sofrito:
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 tablespoon minced red or green bell pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander sprigs
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 cup long-grain rice
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:
Make sofrito:
In a 1 1/2-quart heavy saucepan cook onion, bell pepper, coriander, and garlic in oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.

Add turmeric and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Stir in rice, water, and salt and bring to a boil, uncovered.

Boil rice, uncovered, without stirring, until surface of rice is covered with steam holes and grains on top appear dry, 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to as low as possible and cook rice, tightly covered, 15 minutes more.

Remove pan from heat and let rice stand, covered, 5 minutes.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Eggplant Dip, Pita Crisps, Herb Pita Crisps

This is a very light and healthy recipe from Self. It makes a great dip, but I have made some changes to it.

Instead of roasting the eggplant in the oven, I roast it on the gas range by putting the eggplant directly on fire. When the skin is charred I turn it until all sides of it is charred. It gives a smoky flavor to the dip which is wonderful. But it can get pretty messy, so either use aluminum foil to cover your range or use a pizza sheet type of a pan which has holes, so that the fire can reach the eggplant. And not only it tastes better, it only takes a much shorter time to prepare the eggplant.

I also add 1 extra garlic. If I have the time, I roast the garlic in the oven before adding it to the dip. But keep in my that roasting the garlic brings the potency to a lower degree:)

I like serving with pita crisps, but if you want to stay healthy, go ahead and use any vegetable you like. So I'm adding two more recipes; one for regular pita crisps and one for herb pita crisps. Enjoy:)


EGGPLANT DIP

Ingredients:
1 1/2 large eggplants, halved
Olive oil cooking spray
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 spring onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 heirloom tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon hot paprika
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon plain lowfat yogurt
Coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon sliced basil

Directions:
Heat oven to 350°F. Coat eggplants with cooking spray. Roast 1 hour.

Scoop pulp into a sieve lined with cheesecloth; drain 1 hour.

Remove pulp; purée in food processor; transfer to a bowl.

Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Cook onion 5 minutes or until soft. Add garlic; cook 3 minutes or until soft.

Add tomatoes and paprika; cook 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool.

Stir yogurt into puree; add onion and tomatoes.

Season with salt and pepper.

Chill 30 minutes. Garnish with basil. Serve with raw vegetables and pita chips

Makes 4 servings.

PITA CRISPS

Ingredients:
8 pita rounds, (each 5 inches in diameter)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Pinch of salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper

Directions:
Split each pita horizontally. Cut each round into 4 wedges.

Toss wedges with oil, garlic, cayenne, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

Arrange pita wedges in a single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake until crisp and golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely.

Crisps can be stored in an airtight container up to 3 days.

HERB PITA CRISPS

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 pitas (each 3 1/2 inches), split
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Butter pitas and sprinkle with chives, salt, and pepper. Cut each into quarters.

Divide between two baking sheets. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool.

Store in an airtight container up to 1 day.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Steak Au Poivre with Frites

There are many steps in preparing this dish from Emeril, but it is well worth it. Especially if you have company coming. It always makes a great presentation.

There really isn't much that can be changed with this recipe, and there are a lot of Au Poivre recipes out there, but this one is the best by far. You might use Brandy if you don't have Cognac handy. You can also adjust the amount of cream while cooking to suit your taste, otherwise just follow the recipe.

There was even a perfect french fries recipe, which I'm adding, and a sauce to serve with the fries. Really really delicious. Bon Appetit!!!:)

STEAK AU POIVRE WITH FRITES

Ingredients:
1/2 cup whole peppercorn
2 tablespoons green peppercorn
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard plus 2 teaspoons
4 (12 to 14-ounce) New York strip steaks, trimmed of excess fat
4 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons olive oil
4 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon green peppercorns
Big splash Cognac
1/2 cup reduced veal stock or demi-glace

1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup cream French Fried Potatoes, recipe follows
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish

Directions:
Preheat sautepan to medium-high, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grind whole peppercorns in grinder until course. Brush 2 tablespoons of the mustard on the steaks, and season on each side with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and ground peppercorns.

Heat a large skillet until very hot. Add some oil and sear steaks until well browned and crisp on 1 side, about 4 to 5 minutes. Flip steaks and put the skillet in oven for about 5 to 7 minutes, for medium-rare. Remove steaks from the oven. Place steaks on a dish and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Place the skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the green peppercorns, then the Cognac and cook until almost all the liquor has evaporated.

Whisk in the remaining 2 teaspoons of mustard and veal stock and bring to a simmer.

Whisk in the cream. Spoon the sauce over the steaks and serve immediately with the Frites.

FRITES

Ingredients:
3 large Idaho potatoes, about 2 pounds, peeled and cut into matchstick slices
1/4-inch thick Canola oil, fry frying
Salt

Directions:
Place the potato slices in a bowl of water. Let stand 15 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again. Pat dry with towels.

Heat enough oil to come 4 inches up the sides of a large deep saucepan to 310 degrees F. Add the potatoes in batches and cook until just crisp but still yellow, about 4 minutes. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

Heat the oil to 350 degrees F. In batches again, add the fries until golden and crisp, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the steaks.

Yield: 4 servings

AIOLI

Ingredients:
1 egg*
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 pimentos, drained
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
In a food processor, combine the egg, tarragon, the mustard, pimentos, and puree until smooth. Serve with the frites.

* Be careful in consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs due to the slight risk of Salmonella or other food-borne illness. To reduce this risk, use only fresh, properly-refrigerated, clean, grade A or AA eggs with intact shells, and avoid contact between the yolks or whites and the shell.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Individual Peach Upside-Down Cake

This one is a great and easy to make recipe from Alton Brown.

You can make changes to this recipe and have different upside down cakes. Instead of using peaches, use apples and switch from ginger to cinnamon. Or you can use pears, depending on what fruit you have in season. They always come out great:)

If you can't find any crystallized ginger, sprinkle a little ground ginger over the fruit. And you can skip using it if you don't have any ginger. Try using cinnamon instead.

And if you don't have fresh fruit handy, and want to prepare these in a hurry, you can use canned peach slices, they do work:)

This is just a great versatile dessert recipe which has a great presentation, especially if you have ice cream handy:) Yum:)

INDIVIDUAL PEACH UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 medium peaches, peeled
1-ounce finely chopped crystallized ginger, approximately 3 tablespoons
2.5 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 1/2 cup
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whipped cream or ice cream, for serving, optional

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Divide 2 tablespoons of the butter between 4 (6-ounce) ramekins. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and set aside. Evenly divide the brown sugar between the ramekins; sprinkling it into the bottoms of the dishes.

Cut each peach into 12 to 14 pieces. Lay the peaches on top of the sugar; evenly dividing them between the dishes and sprinkle with the ginger. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl whisk together the sugar, buttermilk, vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of melted butter.

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir just until combine. Pour the batter over the peaches; dividing the mixture evenly between the dishes.

Place on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake reaches an internal temperature of 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.

Remove from the oven to a rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of each dish and turn upside down onto a serving plate. Repeat with each cake.

Serve immediately with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.

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