Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I will be visiting my family for the next month, so I won't be able to blog for a while, but 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 250 recipes, and I'm hoping this will make it easier to find the recipes.

Bbq Onion Steaks with Honey-Mustard Sauce
Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion Squares
Cheese Souffle
Chickpea Fritters - Panelle
Crunchy Chili Onion Rings
Eggplant Rolls with Spicy Tomato Sauce
Fried Mozzarella with Puttanesca Dipping Sauce
Fried Zucchini
Garlic Knots
Goat Cheese in Grape Leaves with Tomato and Olive Salad
Gouda and Feta Pizzettes
Mushroom Pesto Crostini
Pinto Beans cooked in Olive Oil - Pilaki
Stuffed Aubergines with Rice
Stuffed Vine Leaves - Yaprak Dolma
Tomato Eggplant Spread
Tomato Ricotta Tart
Zucchini Fritters With Herbs And Cheese
Tarragon Pizza Bianca
Wine and Ham Croquettes
White Bean Puree with Sun-dried Tomatoes

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

Avocado and Tomato Salad
Baby Greens Tossed with a Chardonnay Hazelnut Vinaigrette, Roasted Hazelnuts and Goat Cheese
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
Chervil Shallot Potato Salad
Crisp Goat-Cheese Salad with Potatoes
Cucumber Dill Salad
Cucumber, Mustard and Dill Salad
Eggplant, Lentil and Bulgur Salad
Frisee with Flaked Salmon and Cucumbers
Garlicky Eggplant Salad with Tomato Sauce
Grilled Zucchini Ribbon Salad
Lentil Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Lentil Salad With Tomato And Dill
Marinated Zucchini and Radicchio Salad
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
Orzo, Feta and Tomato Salad with Marjoram Vinaigrette
Potato and Parmesan Salad
Potato and Pea Salad with Chive Aioli
Ratatouille Salad
Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Bacon Dressing and Pine Nuts
Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Feta Cheese
Tomatoes Stuffed with Fresh Mozzarella and Basil
Veal Cutlets with Arugula and Tomato Salad
Warm Goat Cheese Salad with Grilled Olive Bread

Baby Brussels Sprouts with Buttered Pecans
Baked Garden Tomatoes with Cheese
Brussel Sprouts with White Beans and Pecorino
Butternut Squash and Creamed-Spinach Gratin
Couscous with Spiced Zucchini
Eggplant, Zucchini, Onion, Tomato, And Feta Cheese Napoleons
Greek Style Stuffed Eggplant
Grilled Zucchini with Greek Spices and Feta Salad
Hand-Mashed Pinto Beans with Cheese
Imam Bayildi - The Imam Fainted
Naples Style Marinated Zucchini
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
Stuffed Zucchini

Croissant Steak Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions and Horseradish Mayonnaise
Croque Monsieur
Eggplant and Smoked GoudaOpen-Faced Grilled Sandwiches
Falafel with Tahini Sauce
Grilled Eggplant and Mozzarella Sandwiches
Grilled Ham and Gouda Sandwiches with Frisee and Caramelized Onions
Grilled Prosciutto, Soppressata and Mozzarella Panini
Steak Sandwiches with Chimichurri Sauce and Bell Peppers
Homemade Sandwich Bread
Made Up Toast Souffle
Monte Cristo
Muffuletta Sandwich on Sourdough Bread
Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich
Pocket Sandwiches
Roast Beef Sandwiches with Lemon-Basil Mayonnaise and Roasted Red Onions
Taverna Veggie Sandwiches
Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Aioli Sauce for French Fries/Frites
Basic Marinara Sauce
Basic Tomato Sauce
Cafe de Paris Sauce and Butter Recipes
Caramelized Onion Dip
Chimichurri Sauce
Citrus Dressing
Creamy Mustard Sauce
Creamy Oven-cooked Bacon Dip
Creamy Tomato Sauce
Creole Olive Salad
Cucumber Dill Sauce
Eggplant Dip
Fresh Tomato Salsa
Gorgonzola Sauce
Grilled Eggplant Spread
Guacamole with Fresh Corn and Chipotle
Haydari with Feta Cheese
Herbed Mustard Sauce
Homemade Steak Sauce
Lemon Caramel Sauce and Candied Lemon Slices
Methods for Making Sour Cream
Mushroom Pesto Crostini
Pesto Oil
Mustard-Cognac Sauce
Pasta Sauce with Chicken and Peppers
Puttanesca Dipping Sauce
Puttanesca Sauce
Raspberry-Lime Vodka Sauce
Roasted Red Pepper with Feta Dip
Roasted Tomatillo Sauce
Tahini Sauce and Tahini Paste
Tzatziki Sauce
White Bean, Garlic, and Tomato Salsa

Andouille Burgers with Grilled Sweet Onions and Creole Remoulade Sauce
Antep Kebab
Baked Meatballs and Potatoes - Firinda Kofte Ve Patates
Beef Braised in Red Wine (Beouf Vigneronne)
Beef Stroganoff with Noodles
Beef Tenderloin Steaks with Mustard-Cognac Sauce
Beef Tenderloin with Chanterelle 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
Hasanpasa Meatballs
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
Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich
Red Wine Pot Roast with Porcini Mushrooms
Sliced Steak With Arugula
Sloppy Joes
Steak Au Poivre
Steak Diane
Steak Pizzaiola
Stewed Kebabs in a Bowl - Tas Kebab
Veal Cutlets With Thyme Butter Sauce

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

Chicken Provencale
Grilled Chicken with Mustard Dill Sauce
Pasta Sauce with Chicken and Peppers
Roasted Chicken Dinner
Roasted Chicken with Dijon Sauce
Wild Mushroom Chicken Basted in White Wine

Baked Mashed Potatoes with Parmesan Cheese and Bread Crumbs
Basic Mashed Potatoes
Caramelized Onion-Potato Pancakes
Caramelized Shallot and Sage Mashed Potatoes
Cheddar Stuffed Potatoes
Creamy Herbed Potatoes
Grilled New Potatoes with Parmesan and Herbs
Oven Fried Potato and Sweet Potato Chips
Perfect French Fries
Potato and Red Pepper Frittata
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

Bucatini Carbonara with Zucchini
Baked Pasta - Pasta Gratin
Baked Ravioli
Castellane with Mascarpone and Roasted Grape Tomatoes
Cheese Tortellini and Creamy Tomato Sauce
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
Handmade Pasta with Pancetta, Cherry Tomatoes and Herbs
Herbed Spaghetti with Butter
Pappardelle Pasta with Olives, Thyme and Lemon
Pasta with Chicken and Pepper Sauce
Pasta with Kalamata Olives and Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce
Pasta with Pancetta and Tomato Sauce
Pasta with Roasted Provencal Vegetable Sauce
Penne with Roasted Tomato Sauce
Roasted Vegetable And Prosciutto Lasagna With Alfredo Sauce
Sausage, Cheese And Basil Lasagna
Spaghetti Carbonara
Tricolor Tomato Fettucine

Basil Risotto
Bulgur and Green Lentil Pilaf
Creole Vegetable Jambalaya
Rice Pilaf
Risotto Con Parmigiano-Reggiano
Roasted Tomato Risotto
Saffron Rice with Tomatoes and Fresh Oregano
Yellow Rice with Sofrito

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

Black-Bean Tostados with Roasted Tomatillo Sauce and Tostadas
Basic Pizza Dough
Caramelized Shallots
Charred Red Onion and Balsamic Vinegar White Beans
Cilantro Garlic Pita Crisps
Couscous with Spiced Zucchini
Dominican Beans
Flat Zucchini Omelet
Fried Carrots
Garlic Croutons
Herb Pita Crisps
Lemon Vodka Whipped Cream
Lentil Crackers
Parsley Oil
Parmesan Crisps
Parmesan Popovers
Parmesan Toasts
Pesto Oil
Pinto Bean and Feta Cheese Quesadillas
Pita Crisps
Ricotta Squash Gnocchi
Spiced Pita Toasts
Salami Crisps with Sour Cream and Basil

9 1/2 Weeks
Caffe Medici and Cappuccino Cream
Cucumber Gimlet
target="_blank">Electric Blue Margarita
Frozen Margarita
Italian Lemonade
Hemingway Daiquiri
Lemon Peel Vodka
Magnificent Melon
Orange Peel Vodka
Peach Margarita
Peach Passion
Pomegranate Martini
Simple Syrup
Strawberry-Banana Smoothie
Strawberry Caipirinha
Turkish Coffee
Vanilla Simple Syrup
Vanilla Vodka
Wild Berry Caipiroska
Wild Berries Splash

Almond Plum Buckle
Almond Thumbprint Cookies
Angel Food Cake
Bourbon Balls
Caramelized Clementines
Chocolate Amaretti Peaches
Chocolate-Amaretti Tortes
Chocolate Fondue a La Chalet Suisse
Chocolate-Orange Pots de Creme with Candied Orange Peel
Coconut Flan
Coconut Pecan Bars
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
Deep Dark Chocolate Cheesecake
Dipped Strawberries
Double Chocolate Orange Pudding
Espresso Sambuca Tapioca Pudding
Figs with Balsamic Vinegar, Mascarpone and Walnuts
Fruit-And-Almond Gratins
Grand Chocolate Brownie Wedges with Chocolate Sauce
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
Le Bete Noire
Lemon Creme Brulee With Fresh Berries
Lemon Spice Bread Pudding with Sauteed Peaches
Limoncello Cheesecake Squares
Meyer Lemon Budino
Old-Fashioned New York-Style Cheesecake with Berry Coulis
Puff Pastry Tart Filled with Almond Cream
Raspberry Tiramisu
Russian Toast with Bananas Flambe & Raspberry-Lime Vodka Sauce
Salep Ice Cream
Super Lemony Lemon Squares
Vanilla Lime Pineapple Skewers
Vodka Berries Romanoff
Wine Soaked Berries

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Eggplant, Lentil and Bulgur Salad

According to Food and Wine Magazine, this is a two salads in one type of a recipe. I think it is a wonderful and very easy recipe. And somehow the flavors complement each other. I would have not thought of putting these ingredients together. I've tried it with zucchini instead of eggplant and it really didn't work for me.

And they recommend a rich, jammy red wine, thick with fruit and lush on the palate, is just what is called for here. Try an Australian shiraz or cabernet-sauvignon and shiraz blend.



1 cup lentils
5 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup bulgur
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 eggplant, peeled, quartered, and sliced thin
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
4 scallions, white bulbs only, sliced
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and diced
1 tomato, diced

In a medium saucepan, combine the lentils, 3 1/2 cups of the water, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes. Stir in the bulgur and continue cooking, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and bulgur are just done, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, partially covered, for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large nonstick frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the eggplant and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and the remaining 1 1/2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is very tender and no liquid remains in the pan, about 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir the lentil mixture, Tabasco, scallions, and half the parsley into the eggplant.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining parsley with the cucumber and tomato. Serve the lentils over the cucumber salad.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hasanpasa Meatballs

I love this meatball recipe. It is an authentic Turkish recipe where meat and potatoes are used to make a complete meal that looks and tastes yummy!

It does take some time to prepare, but it isn't difficult and it's well worth it.

In Turkey we use a cheese called Kashkaval which is the tastiest cheeses around and you can find it in Middle Eastern markets. I use the Greek version which is a little bit sharper, although not as sharp as you would find it in Turkey. If you don't have it, you can use Parmesan, or even Mozzarella depending on how strong you want the cheese taste to be. Parmesan would be quite sharp which is what I like, but Mozzarella would melt wonderfully. Try and see which one you like best.




For Meatballs:
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 eggs
2 slices of stale bread, discard outer ring OR 1/2 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of olive oil

For mashed potatoes:
5-6 potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons of Kashkaval, or Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup water

For Meatballs:
In a large bowl add meat, onion, eggs and breadcrumbs and remaining salt/pepper and blend with your hands until just combined well (do not overmix). Form mixture into walnut-size balls and push the center with thumb to make a depression. You will be adding mashed potatoes to the depressed hollow space. Arrange on large baking sheets.

Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook in 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes. Do not overcook as it will dry the meatballs.

For mashed potatoes:
Peel potatoes and cut into 2-inch pieces. Cover potatoes with salted cold water by 1 inch in a 5-quart pot, then simmer, uncovered, until tender, about 18 minutes.

Drain potatoes well in a colander, then return to pot along with egg, butter, salt, and pepper and mash with a potato masher until combined well.

Add milk slowly and blend well forming the mashed potatoes. Add desired cheese.

After the meatballs and the mashed potatoes are ready prepare tomato sauce by blending the tomato paste in the cup of water.

Add mashed potatoes to the hollows of the meatballs. Pour prepared tomato paste mixture over the tomatoes lightly and return to oven. Bake until golden, about 15-20 minutes.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Caramelized Clementines

Very easy and good looking dessert from Self. It's a healthy and tasty substitute to higher calorie desserts and it hits the spot.

I have tried using mandarins or grapefruit, but oranges work best.

I can find pomegranate seeds ready to be used at Trader Joes which makes preparing this very easy, but you can use fresh pomegranates. Just be careful while cutting them, they can get pretty messy and will stain. Here is one way to prepare them which is a little bit less messy: Cut off the flowery end of the pomegranate. Score into sections. Place in a bowl of water. Allow fruit to soak for 5 minutes. Break the sections of the fruit open in the bowl of water. Allow the seed kernels to separate from the rind and sink to the bottom. Discard the rind and drain the kernels.



12 clementines, peeled
1/4 cup orange-flavored liqueur (or dark rum)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Loosen segments of each clementine from the top without detaching from the stem end. Place in a bowl. Sprinkle on liqueur. Cover; refrigerate 30 minutes.

To start the sauce, bring 1/3 cup sugar, lemon juice and 1/3 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer, stirring, until liquid is clear. Remove from heat; set aside. Line baking sheet with foil.

To make the shards, stir remaining 2/3 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar is moistened. Bring to a boil, washing down sides of pan with a brush dipped in cold water, until syrup turns a golden caramel color. Remove from heat. Pour half the caramel onto baking sheet; set aside about 30 minutes to harden.

To finish the sauce, add sugar-lemon syrup to remaining caramel in pan. Simmer, stirring often, until caramel dissolves. Transfer to a bowl; cool 15 minutes.

Pour over clementines. Cover; refrigerate at least 2 hours. Break hardened caramel into shards; store in an airtight container until ready to serve. Before serving, garnish fruit with caramel shards and pomegranate seeds.

Makes 6 servings.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Pinto Bean and Feta Cheese Quesadillas

I use this Bon Appetit recipe as a base recipe and make changes according to what I have on hand.

You can use almost any kind of beans you like, including black beans.

Instead of feta cheese, use jack cheese, or any other favorite cheese.

I like serving it with guacamole, I think it completes the dish which always hits the spot:)



1 1/2 15- to 16-ounce cans pinto beans, drained, rinsed
3/4 cup chopped red onion
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 jalapeño chilies, seeded, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

8 whole wheat flour tortillas (about 8-inch diameter)
8 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese (about 4 ounces)
Vegetable oil

Combine first 6 ingredients in processor. Using on/off turns, process until very chunky puree forms. Transfer to bowl. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Place 1 tortilla on work surface. Spread with 1/4 of bean mixture. Top with 2 tablespoons cheese, then another tortilla. Heat heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Brush with oil. Add quesadilla; cook until beans are heated and tortillas are brown, about 4 minutes per side.

Transfer to warm plate and cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining tortillas, bean mixture and cheese. Cut each quesadilla into 8 wedges and serve.

Makes 8 Servings

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Eggplant Rolls with Spicy Tomato Sauce

Very easy recipe from Gourmet. Although it's supposed to be a main dish, it really is an appetizer which goes great with a salad.

You can broil the eggplant in the oven instead of using a grill. But make sure you don't cut the eggplant into too thin, they will come apart when you try to roll it.

I like adding basil along with the ricotta.



1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
7 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 lb plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 (1 1/4-lb) eggplant
12 1/2 oz ricotta (preferably fresh; 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Special equipment: a well-seasoned ridged grill pan or a gas grill (see cooks' note, below)

Make sauce:
Cook garlic and red pepper flakes in 1 tablespoon oil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring, until garlic is golden, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes.

Grill eggplant while sauce cooks:
Heat grill pan over high heat until hot.

Peel 2-inch-wide strips of skin from opposite sides of eggplant and discard. Holding a knife parallel to a peeled side, cut eggplant lengthwise into 8 (1/3-inch-thick) slices. Brush both sides of slices with 3 tablespoons oil (total), then season with salt and pepper.

Grill slices in batches, turning over once and brushing grilled sides with some of remaining oil, until golden brown and tender, about 4 minutes, then transfer to a tray.

Assemble eggplant rolls:
Stir together cheeses, 2 tablespoons basil, pepper, and remaining salt. Divide cheese mixture among slices (3 to 4 tablespoons per slice), leaving an 1/8-inch border along edge. Roll up each slice, beginning with a short end, and serve rolls topped with sauce and sprinkled with remaining basil.

Cooks' note:
• Eggplant can be grilled using a gas grill. Preheat all burners on high, covered, 10 minutes, then reduce heat to medium. Grill eggplant on lightly oiled grill rack, covered with lid, turning over once, until tender and grill marks appear, 4 to 5 minutes total.

• If you want you can also layer this and bake in the oven just before serving.

Makes 4 main-course or 8 first-course servings.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Baby Greens Tossed with a Chardonnay Hazelnut Vinaigrette, Roasted Hazelnuts and Goat Cheese

An Emeril recipe that I needed to post so that I don't lose it.

It's one of the tastiest dressings that I have ever tasted. Hazelnut oil is the key here.

It's a bit expensive and it's usually found in gourmet shops, although some supermarkets may have a supply. You can also find it at amazon.com.

It's very popular in French cooking and it must be stored in the refrigerator after opening. It does not go solid, and the expiration is about 1 year beyond the purchase date.




1/2 cup hazelnut oil
1/4 cup Chardonnay wine
1/4 pound (about 1/2 cup) finely chopped hazelnuts
4 cups baby greens
8 ounces Goat Cheese, crumbled
1/4 pound whole roasted hazelnuts
Salt and black pepper

In a mixing bowl, whisk the oil and wine together. Add the hazelnuts. Season with salt and pepper. Toss the greens with the dressing. Mound the greens in the center of the platter. Crumble the cheese over the greens. Sprinkle the hazelnuts around the greens. Garnish with black pepper.

Makes 4 servings

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Figs with Balsamic Vinegar, Mascarpone and Walnuts

Figs are such wonderful fruit, I can't wait for them to be in season. And they are also very versatile. This recipe is easy and very quick to prepare.

I took the recipe is from Gourmet and I have used it more than a couple of times. The presentation is also wonderful.

Instead of mascarpone, I like using ice cream. See if you like it better that way.

You can also try to use different nuts, but for me the walnuts are the way to go.

And the balsamic makes it rich, rich, rich. This is truly a tasty dessert.



1 cup dry red wine
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 lb dried Mission figs, stems discarded
3/4 cup walnut pieces (2 oz), toasted
1/2 cup mascarpone

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

Bring wine, vinegar, and sugar to a boil in a 3-quart heavy nonreactive saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then add figs and gently simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes.

Pour figs with liquid into a 2-quart shallow glass or ceramic baking dish and sprinkle with walnuts. Bake, uncovered, until figs are softened and have absorbed about two thirds of liquid, about 30 minutes. Cool slightly, about 15 minutes.

Serve warm figs with sauce and a dollop of mascarpone.

Makes 6 servings

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Grilled Steak Sandwiches with Chimichurri Sauce and Bell Peppers

I used to order extra chimichurri sauce until I found this recipe from Bon Appetit. Now, I prepare it at home:) It is very very tasty.

I grill my steak in a pan, and although it's not barbecued it still comes out great because of the sauce.

I also grill onions and add it to the sandwiches. To me onions are a must with any steak sandwich.

The only thing I do different is to double the sauce, everything else stays as is:) Enjoy....


Chimichurri is an Argentine parsley sauce with bright flavors and a kick from crushed red pepper. To save time: Prepare the fresh parsley and cilantro for the processor by simply cutting off the tops of the bunches and discarding the bottom stems.

1 cup (packed) fresh Italian parsley
1 cup (packed) fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup olive oil
2 large bell peppers (preferably 1 red and 1 yellow), cut into 3/4-inch-wide strips
2 12-ounce rib-eye steaks
4 sourdough demi-baguettes, halved horizontally

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Combine first 6 ingredients in processor; add 2/3 cup oil and puree until almost smooth. Season chimichurri with salt and pepper.

Brush pepper strips, steaks, and cut side of bread with remaining 1/4 cup oil. Sprinkle peppers and steaks with salt and pepper. Grill peppers until tender, about 5 minutes per side. Grill steaks to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare.

Grill bread, cut side down, until beginning to brown lightly, about 2 minutes. Thinly slice steaks crosswise; divide among bread bottoms. Spoon chimichurri over steak (about 1/4 cup per sandwich), then top with pepper strips. Cover with bread tops and serve.

Recipe Remix:
Toss any remaining chimichurri sauce with potato wedges and roast in 400°F oven until just tender, about 40 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Bucatini Carbonara with Zucchini

I had copied this recipe from Bon Appetit a long time ago. It's rich and delicious, and not heavy at all. And very easy to make.

You can add cooked chicken breast pieces or shrimp to make it a more complete meal.

If you like your pasta with a lot of sauce you need to to use twice the cream and cheese. For me the recipe is enough, which barely coats the pasta.

You can also add a bit of white wine to the cream sauce which gives it a nice bite.



6 ounces sliced pancetta or bacon, cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds zucchini, thinly sliced

1 pound bucatini or spaghetti

3 large eggs
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pancetta in medium skillet over medium heat until brown, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels; drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons drippings from skillet. Add cream, garlic, and crushed pepper to drippings in skillet; bring to boil. Set aside.

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini; sauté until tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Transfer to large plate. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Pancetta, cream mixture, and zucchini can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain well. Return pasta to pot.

Meanwhile, place eggs in their shell in small bowl. Add enough hot water to cover. Let stand 5 minutes. Crack eggs into large bowl and whisk to blend. Bring cream mixture to boil in skillet. Gradually whisk hot cream mixture into eggs. Mix in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.

Add sauce to pasta and toss over medium heat until sauce coats pasta (do not boil). Add pancetta and zucchini and toss to heat through. Season with salt and pepper. Serve, passing remaining cheese.

Makes 6 servings.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Grand Chocolate Brownie Wedges with Chocolate Sauce

I copied this easy and fast recipe from Nestle's recipe site and have been using it for my brownie recipe.

It is very rich, so you should cut the pieces smaller than usual:) You could say that one of the reasons that this one is my favorite is because of how rich it is. It hits the spot:)

I actually skip the chocolate sauce and just go for the brownie. But, I do use some whipped cream on top, especially if I have some strawberries to go with them.

There is really no changes that can be made to this recipe, it is just perfection. Enjoy:)



1 2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ CHOCOLATIER™ 62% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Morsels, divided
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons water
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 325º F. Line 8-inch-square baking pan with foil; grease. Set aside 3 tablespoons morsels for chocolate sauce.

Heat 1 cup morsels, sugar, butter and water in small, heavy-duty saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until morsels and butter are melted. Pour into medium bowl. Stir in eggs, one at a time, until mixed in. Stir in vanilla extract. Add flour and salt; stir well. Stir in remaining morsels (except sauce morsels) and nuts, if desired. Pour into prepared baking pan.

Bake for 33 to 35 minutes until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool in pan on wire rack. Lift brownie from pan with foil to cutting board. Carefully remove foil. Cut brownie square into half. Cut each half into thirds, for a total of 6 pieces. Cut each piece in half diagonally to form triangles for a total of 12.

Place cream in small, uncovered, microwave-safe dish. . Microwave on high (100%) power for 25 to 30 seconds. Add reserved 3 tablespoons of morsels; stir until smooth. (Sauce will thicken as it cools.) Place wedge on serving plate; top or drizzle with a teaspoon of sauce. Top with whipped cream, if desired.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Antep Kebab

This is a kebab recipe that is authentic to the Antep city in Turkey. It isn't grilled kebabs as we are used to, but it's cooked in the oven. I love all the ingredients in this recipe, so it's one of my favorites:)

Basically you are preparing Turkish meatballs and cooking it with eggplants.

I use less olive oil in the meatballs, and I don't miss it. And it comes out much better if you can rest the mixture in the fridge overnight. If you don't have the time, let it rest in the fridge while you are preparing the vegetables, and form them just before you start preparing the eggplant. So eggplant should be the last ingredient you prepare because once you cut it, it can start going dark which doesn't look nice.



For meatballs:
1 lb. ground beef
1 egg
2 slices of stale bread, discard outer ring or 1/2 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
1 bunch parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

For vegetables:
4 Japanese eggplants
8-10 green peppers, (if you want, you can choose hot ones, I use ones that have no heat)
5-6 tomatoes
20-25 small onions or shallots
1 garlic
1/4 cup olive oil

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Blend with your hands until just combined well (do not overmix). Form mixture into walnut-size balls

Prepare the green peppers by discarding the seeds. Slice the tomatoes into rounds. Peel the onions and the garlic.

Peel 1/2 inch wide strips of skin from opposite sides of eggplant and discard. Cut eggplant into 1/3 inch thick rounds.

In a large baking dish arrange the meatball and eggplant rounds in rows. Add the green peppers, onions and garlic on top. Arrange tomatoes on top and add the olive oil all over the dish.

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Move the rack to the lowest possible level. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake about 60 minutes, until the meatballs and the eggplant is cooked. Remove the aluminum foil the last 5 minutes to get a nice golden color

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Mushroom Pesto Crostini

A very easy to make and delicious appetizer recipe from Giada De Laurentiis. And I love trying different pesto recipes, so I had to give this one a try. You can actually make a dip out of it by adding extra olive oil.

Although the recipe uses 2 kinds of mushrooms, you can use just as many or as little kinds of mushrooms as you want. And sauteing them beforehand intensifies the taste wonderfully. You can also saute the walnuts a bit.

I like adding a little bit more garlic to this recipe. To me, it wasn't enough.

You can also add some chives or green onions that are chopped finely on top of the crostinis, because although the taste is great, the color is not all that appetizing. And it can turn darker as it waits around. I will try to add a couple of drops of lemon next time, that should help with the browning.

You can use the leftovers as a part of a sauce for a pasta dish. Just add some to cream and Parmesan, and then add to pasta.



1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
8 ounces white button mushrooms, quartered
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups fresh Italian parsley leaves
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
36 slices (1/2-inch-thick) baguette bread

Place the porcini mushrooms in a bowl of hot water; press to submerge. Let stand until the mushrooms are tender, about 15 minutes. Scoop out mushrooms, being carefully not to stir any dirt that may have sunk to the bottom of the water. Discard mushroom water.

Combine the porcini mushrooms, button mushrooms, walnuts, garlic, and parsley in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. With the machine running, gradually add 1/2 cup of the oil, blending just until the mushrooms are finely chopped.

Transfer the mushroom mixture to a medium bowl. Stir in the Parmesan. Season the pesto with salt and pepper, to taste. If not using mushroom pesto right away, cover tightly with plastic wrap to prevent possible discoloration of mushrooms.

Preheat a grill pan to medium-high heat. Arrange the bread slices on pan, cut-side down. Brush the remaining 1/4 cup of oil over the bread slices. Cook until pale golden and crisp, about 5 minutes.

Alternatively, you can toast the bread in the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Arrange the bread slices on 2 heavy large baking sheet. Brush the remaining 1/4 cup of oil over the bread slices. Bake until pale golden and crisp, about 15 minutes.

Spread the mushroom pesto over the crostini. Arrange the crostini on a platter and serve.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Raspberry Tiramisu

I watched Giada De Laurentiis prepare this recipe on TV, and since I love tiramisu and have never seen it prepared with raspberries I had to give it a try.

This is very fast to make and has a great presentation. It's also a heavenly dessert, and here are some pointers.

Use soft ladyfingers, the hard ones would need to be soaked. And it takes some time for the ladyfingers to absorb the flavors, so prepare it about 6-7 hours ahead. It can stay overnight.

But it doesn't make great leftovers, they can get too soggy. So you can halve the recipe if you don't need to prepare it for 8, and they do look great if you put them in individual bowls.

The taste of Grand Marnier can be overpowering, so you can use less alcohol if you prefer. You can also use Chambord instead of the Grand Marnier.

You can also use strawberries instead of raspberries, the taste is completely different, but it's still superb.



1 cup seedless raspberry jam
6 tablespoons orange liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)
1 pound mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
28 soft ladyfingers or 2 (12-ounce) pound cakes, cut into 3 by 1 by 1 1/2-inch pieces
3 (1/2 dry pint) baskets fresh raspberries (about 3 3/4 cups total)
Confectioners' sugar, for serving

Stir the jam and 4 tablespoons of the orange liqueur in a small bowl to blend.

Combine the mascarpone and remaining 2 tablespoons of orange liqueur in a large bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream, sugar, and vanilla in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Using a large rubber spatula, stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture to lighten. Fold the remaining whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture.

Line the bottom of a13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish or other decorative serving dish with half of the ladyfingers. Spread half of the jam mixture over the ladyfingers. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture over the jam mixture, then cover with half of the fresh raspberries. Repeat layering with the remaining ladyfingers, jam mixture, mascarpone mixture and raspberries. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.

Dust with the confectioners' sugar and serve.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Biba's Ricotta Squash Gnocchi

I found this wonderful gnocchi recipe which I love at Martha Stewart. I don't know who she is but according to Martha Stewart this recipe was passed down to chef Biba Caggiano from her mother. Thank God for that:)

It's a little time consuming, but you can prepare it a day ahead and cook it later on.

I love the fact that this is a gnocchi that uses a vegetable instead of traditional potatoes or just flour. It is really delicious.

There is really nothing to change or add to this recipe. Just grab a glass of white wine and enjoy:)


For the gnocchi:
2 pounds butternut squash
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup whole-milk ricotta
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
5 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/3 to 1 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

For the sauce:
3 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 fresh sage leaves, torn
Coarse salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving

Preheat oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Place on prepared baking sheet, cut side down. Cover with parchment paper and aluminum foil. Bake until tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Let cool slightly; remove and discard the seeds, and scrape the pulp from the skin. Place the pulp in a large kitchen towel (not terrycloth), wrap it around the squash, and squeeze out approximately 3/4 cup of the juices.

In a large bowl, combine the squash pulp, egg, ricotta, Parmigiano, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 1/3 cups flour. Mix with a wooden spoon or your hands until thoroughly blended together. Transfer the mixture to a lightly floured wooden board, and, with your hands, work gently into a dough, gradually adding a little more flour if the dough sticks too much to your hands and to the board. Dust the dough lightly with flour, and place in a bowl. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel, and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

To form the gnocchi, cut off a piece of dough about the size of an orange. Flour your hands lightly. Using both hands, roll out the piece of dough with a light back-and-forth motion into a rope about the thickness of your index finger. Cut the rope into 1-inch pieces. Hold a fork with the tines against the work surface, the curved part of the fork facing away. Starting from the bottom of the tines of the fork, press each piece of dough with your index finger firmly upward along the length of the tines, then let the gnocchi fall back onto the work surface. Repeat with the remaining dough until all the gnocchi have been formed. Transfer gnocchi to a lightly floured platter or baking sheet. The gnocchi can be cooked immediately or refrigerated, uncovered, overnight.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add remaining tablespoon salt and gnocchi. Cover pot, and cook until water returns to a boil. Uncover, and cook until the gnocchi rise to the surface, 1 to 2 minutes. Let cook for just 20 to 30 seconds more.

While the gnocchi are cooking, make the sauce: Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When it begins to foam, add sage, and stir a few times.

Remove the gnocchi from the pot with a slotted spoon or a skimmer, draining the excess water back into the pot, and place in the skillet. Season lightly with salt, and add a small handful of the Parmigiano. Stir over medium heat until the gnocchi are well coated with butter. Taste, adjust for seasoning, and serve immediately with a sprinkling of Parmigiano.

Makes 4 servings

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Red Wine Pot Roast with Porcini Mushrooms

Wonderful pot roast recipe from Bon Appetit, which takes some time to cook. But because of the cooking time the meat comes out wonderfully soft, and almost shreds into pieces.

There aren't much you would change about this recipe, but there are some additions that I like

During the last 1,5 hours of cooking, add carrots or baby carrots. You can even add potatoes. It makes a complete meal.

The mushrooms almost disappear in the sauce because of the cooking time, so if you want to be able to see mushrooms, add half in the beginning and the rest the last half hour.

I also like adding pearl onions during the last hour. I like the way they look in the dish, and some more onion never hurts with this recipe:)

This is a great company dish. One of the reasons is that you can prepare it in advance. And the smell of this dish is divine. But if you are cooking for 2, just use less beef, but keep the sauce amount about the same. The cooking time also stays the same.

I like using thyme instead of marjoram. You can also go for herbs de provence. It gives great depth to the sauce. If you don't have fresh marjoram, dried also works.

The wine is important, because it really comes through, so choose it carefully. And you don't really need to boil the wine or the broth as they do boil down in the oven with all that cooking time.

I skip the celery, because I don't like celery, and I don't miss it in the recipe. So if you don't like it also, just skip it:)


1 cup low-salt chicken broth or beef broth
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 4-pound boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 celery stalks with some leaves, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram plus sprigs for garnish
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
1 cup dry red wine

Preheat oven to 300°F. Bring broth to simmer in saucepan. Remove from heat; add mushrooms, cover, and let stand until soft, about 15 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to cutting board. Chop coarsely. Reserve mushrooms and broth separately.

Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. Heat oil in heavy large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook until brown on all sides, about 15 minutes total. Transfer beef to large plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon drippings from pot.

Place pot over medium heat. Add onion and celery. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté until beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, chopped marjoram, and reserved porcini mushrooms; sauté 1 minute.

Using hands, crush tomatoes, 1 at a time, into pot. Cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently and scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot. Add wine; boil 5 minutes. Add reserved mushroom broth, leaving any sediment behind. Boil 5 minutes.

Return beef and any accumulated juices to pot. Cover; transfer to oven. Cook 1 1/2 hours. Turn beef and continue cooking until tender, about 1 1/2 hours longer. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Refrigerate uncovered until cool. Cover and keep refrigerated.)

Transfer beef to cutting board; tent with foil. Spoon fat from surface of juices in pot. Bring juices to boil; cook until liquid is reduced to 4 cups, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut beef into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Transfer to platter. Spoon juices over, garnish with marjoram sprigs, and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Fried Zucchini

I took this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis, but when I tried it, it didn't turn out to be as crunchy as I thought it would be. So I made changes.

Panko is really great, but it doesn't adhere, so I used flour before the egg mixture. I have also heard that cornstarch does a great job, instead of flour. It comes out even crunchier with the cornstarch.

I serve it with a garlic yogurt sauce, which is very similar to tzatziki, but without the cucumbers. Actually I like it with cucumbers and use it in the sauce. You can prepare the sauce and see if you want to add them.




Olive oil, for frying
1 3/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan
1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3 medium zucchini, cut into 3-inch long by 1/2-inch wide strips

Pour enough 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 350 degrees F.

Stir 1 1/2 cups Parmesan, the panko, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Whisk the eggs in another medium bowl to blend. Working in batches, dip the zucchini in the eggs to coat completely and allow the excess egg to drip back into the bowl.

Coat the zucchini in the panko mixture, patting to adhere and coat completely. Place the zucchini strips on a baking sheet.

When the oil is hot, working in batches, fry the zucchini sticks until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried zucchini to paper towels and drain.

Arrange the fried zucchini on a platter. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan and serve.

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