Sunday, March 28, 2010

Salmon and Green Beans Oven-Omlet

2 small salmon filets (250 g)
2 cups green beans
2 tbls butter
3 large eggs at room temperature
2/3 cup milk at room temperature
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp turmeric
Salt, pepper
Cast-iron skillet

Preheat oven to 450 F.
Melt butter in the iron skillet and add chopped salmon. Cook it for a few minutes then add green beans and cook it for few more minutes. Add half teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper. Remove from the heat.
Beat eggs with electric mixer until frothy; add milk, flour, ¼ teaspoon of salt and half teaspoon of turmeric. Batter will be thin. Pour it over the salmon mixture evenly and put into oven immediately. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden-brown.
Serve warm with a salad.

Rose-Water Candied Almond and Walnuts

I found this recipe at “Gourmet” magazine online recipes collection. Gourmet’s recipes are so perfect that I almost never change a single thing. However, with this one I just couldn’t resist trying it immediately and I didn’t have peanuts that it requires at home. So I put walnuts and almonds. In the magazine it said “Food editor Maggie Ruggiero was served rose-scented candied peanuts and mint tea on the rooftop of the home of a Toubkal local. It turned out to be one of the best-tasting snacks she’d ever had”. I can’t agree more with him.

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 3/4 cups almonds and walnuts (dry-roasted peanuts in original recipe)
1 1/2 teaspoons Middle Eastern rose water

Line a baking sheet with foil. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Stir in peanuts and boil, stirring frequently, until syrup thickens, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to moderately low and stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt. Continue cooking, stirring and scraping any bits of crystallized sugar from side of pan into mixture (it will become very gritty), until sugar is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes more. (Sugar will still be gritty.)
Remove from heat and stir in rose water. Spread nuts on foil to cool completely, about 20 minutes.
Nuts keep in an airtight container at room temperature 1 week.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Mashed potato:
4 medium sized potatoes (1,5 lb)
1 small sweet potato
3 tbls butter (or olive oil)
¼ cup milk (or soy milk)
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp salt

1 medium sized onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup chickpeas
1 cup peas (frozen)
1 cup chopped carrot
3 tbls olive oil
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp ground chili
½ tsp thyme
1 tsp basil
1 tsp salt
¾ cup water
2 tbls oats

2 tbls butter (or olive oil)
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Peel and cut potatoes into cubes. In a saucepan cover them with enough water. Cook the potatoes until soft. Drain them and mash with potato masher or fork. Add milk, butter, salt and nutmeg and mix well. Set aside. Preheat the oven at 350 F.

To prepare filling heat the oil in the skillet. To simplify the process use the oven-proof skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium-high heat for a few minutes. Add garlic, peas, chickpeas, carrot and all the seasonings. Cook for 10 minutes or until vegetables is tender. Add water and oats and cook it for few more minutes until thickened.

Cover the vegetable mixture evenly with mashed potatoes. Spread it gently as if frosting a cake, using a fork to get a nicely decorated surface. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle it with the Parmesan cheese.
Bake it for 30 minutes or until it is golden brown.
Serve immediately.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Middle East Inspired Dinner – Roasted Chicken Tights and Potato with Spinach Salad

Roasted Potato
6 medium sized potatoes
1 medium sized onion
2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
3 tbls olive oil

Preheat the oven at 450 F. Cut potatoes into spears. In a food processor mix chopped onion until you get a smooth puree. Add salt, cumin and paprika to puree. Put potato on a baking sheet and pour olive oil over it. Rub the onion mixture evenly over potato spears. Bake for about 45 minutes.

Marinated and Roasted Chicken Tights
6 chicken tights (2 lb)
1/3 cup yogurt
1 tbls mustard
2 tsp salt
1 tsp honey
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp lemon zest
3 cloves of garlic chopped

Make a marinade by mixing all the ingredients in a baking dish. Put the chicken tights into the marinade and coat it well. Leave the meat in the marinade for several hours in the fridge. Roast in the marinade at 450 F for half an hour and then lower the temperature to 250 F and bake for additional half an hour or until the marinade evaporates to a thick sauce and meat gets nice brown color.

You can roast the meat and potato at the same time. While roasting, prepare spinach salad.

Spinach Salad
A pack of young spinach leaves well washed and drained
1 tbls balsamic vinegar
1 tbls olive oil

In a salad bowl mix the spinach with vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.

Serves 4 – 6 people.

For vegetarian version use seitan instead of chicken. Marinade and roast for shorter time. You may also need less marinade.

Tumeric Tea Cakes

This recipe is from “Classic Lebanese Cuisine” cookbook written by Chef Kamal Al-Faqih. I couldn’t stick to the original recipe because I didn’t have all ingredients at home and I could not wait to try some of his inspiring recipes. I substituted dry milk with walnuts and Wondra flour with whole wheat flour. I also didn’t have pine nuts so I used sunflower seeds. As I usually do, I put less sugar (the original required 1 cup and 2 tbls sugar). I am sure the original recipe is delicious, but this was great too. I served it for breakfast with mint tea and we loved its yellow color and distinctive turmeric taste.
1 tbls tahini (butter will do)
1 ½ cup unbleached flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup grated walnuts
1 tbls turmeric
¾ cup brown sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup water
2 tbls sunflower seeds

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spread the tahini over the bottom and sides of a 9-inch cake pan.
In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center, and then add the olive oil and water. Mix the batter thoroughly, using flexible spatula.
Pour the batter into the cake pan. Rotate the pan, evenly distributing the batter around the sides of the pan. Lightly score the top of the batter into squares. Carefully press the seeds into place, do not submerge them. Work quickly.
Bake in the center of the oven for 30 – 35 minutes or until is golden brown. When cooled cut through the scored square shapes and remove pieces to a serving dish. Serve at room temperature.

Easy Cacao Oatmeal No-bakes with Sesame Seeds

3 cups quick oats
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup butter
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbls roasted sesame seeds

Lightly roast sesame seeds. Make sure they don’t burn. Combine butter, milk, cocoa, cinnamon and sugar in a saucepan and bring to boil. Remove from heat and add oats. Mix well. Immediately, spread the mixture on a piece of wax paper or foil and even with fingertips or spatula. Sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds and press them gently into the surface with fingers. When it is cool, cut in bite-sized cubes. Keep refrigerated for several days.

For vegetarian version, substitute butter with peanut butter or tahini and milk with soy milk.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Green Irish Soda Bread – St. Patrick’s Day

4 cups all purpose flour
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg
¼ cup butter
1 1/3 cup milk
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground fennel seeds
1 cup cooked and chopped spinach (or frozen spinach)
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease one baking sheet.
In food processor mix milk with spinach until you get smooth green mixture. Mix together all dry ingredients. Combine green milk, egg and butter and add it to flour mixture. Knead until you form a ball. Cover the ball with flour and place on baking sheet. With a heart cookie cutter form a shamrock on the loaf.

Bake the loaf for at least 1 hour or until the knife comes out clear. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sweet Potato Soup with White Miso

1 medium sized onion
2 large sweet potatoes
3 tbls olive oil
Slice of fresh ginger
3 1/2 cups water
½ tsp salt
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp coriander
½ tsp orange rind
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp ground cloves
2 tbls white miso

Chop onion and cut sweet potatoes into smaller pieces. In a soup pot, heat olive oil and sauté the onion. Add ginger, sweet potato and 2 cups of water. Simmer for 15 minutes or until sweet potato is tender. Add 1 cup of cold water and seasonings. Mix in the food processor until you get smooth cream soup. Dissolve miso in ½ cup of warm water and add it to the soup. Simmer for 3 more minutes. Serve the soup hot and garnish it with a slice of orange and chopped fresh herbs.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spinach Corn Muffins

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup yogurt
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped spinach, cooked and drained (frozen also works well in this recipe)
3/4 cup Cheddar cheese

Preheat the owen at 350 F.
In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. In another bowl, beat the egg, yogurt and oil; stir into dry ingredients until moistened. Gently fold in the spinach and cheese.
Grease muffin cups; fill them with batter. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 12 muffins.

Easy Tahini Halva

1 1/3 cup tahini
1/3 cup molasses (blackstrap or carob molasses)
1 tbls honey
1 tsp cinnamon

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. In a small saucepan mix all ingredients with wooden spatula. Melt it on medium heat.

Blend it well together and when it is hot, immediately, spread mixture into a baking pan. Allow to cool (not too much) and cut halva into small serving pieces.

Sardines Round Cake from Island Vis - Viška pogača

This is a great recipe form Croatian island Vis, one of the finest Mediterranean specialties. "Viška pogača" is a simple combination of two layers of bread dough and sardines filling within.

1 1/2 cup whole wealth flour
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp brown sugar
1 tbls olive oil
2 tsp dry east
1 1/2 – 2 cups water

In a large bowl combine all ingredients gradually adding water. Add just enough water to make a pizza-like dough. Form it into a ball and live it to rise, covered in the owen, or at a warm place. Let it rise for about an hour or until doubled in size.
In the meantime prepare filling.

1 can sardines
5 tbls olive oil
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
3 tbls tomato puree
1 tsp molasses or honey
1 tbls fresh parsley, chopped
5 large black olives chopped (you can omit this part or put green olives)

In a small bowl mix all filling ingredients, mashing them together.
Heat the owen at 400 F. Put the raised dough on a well floured surface. Divide the dough in half and form a ball of each. Grease a large baking pan and sprinkle it with flour. Take one ball of dough and flatten it with your hands, starting at the center and working outwards, use your fingertips to press the dough. Use your palm to flatten the edge of the dough where it is thicker. Carefully transfer the dough to the backing pan. Never mind if you get a hole or two, it will be tasty anyway. Evenly spoon the sardines filling on it. Flatten another ball of dough and cover the cake. Bake the cake for 10 – 12 minutes. It should get nice golden color, brownish at the edges. Put baked cake to cool a little bit on a wooden surface and serve warm with arugula salad. This is my favorite combination, but you can serve it with other salads and side dishes, but don’t forget a glass of red wine!

Falafel with Tahini Sauce

1 cup chickpeas, cooked and drained
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons flour

In a food processor combine all ingredients until you get a thick paste. Form the mixture into small balls. Fry in deep oil on each side. Serve with salads, pita bread and tahini sauce.

Tahini sauce
1/3 cup yogurt
1/3 cup tahini
2/3 tsp cumin
1/3 tsp salt
1 lemon juice
Minced garlic

Mix well all ingredients.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Corn Cake with Broccoli and Cheese

2 cups yogurt
2 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup cornmeal
½ tsp soda
½ tsp salt

2 cups broccoli florettes
1 cup grated cheese (cheddar)

2 tbls butter (for greasing a skillet)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and add them to wet ingredients. Mix well.

Melt butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet. Pour in the batter. Arrange broccoli florettes over the batter and sprinkle the cheese on top. Bake it for about 45 minutes. Serve it warm, sliced into wedges.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Home-made Tortillas

2 cups flour (white, whole wheat or corn flour)

1 tbls butter or oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
½ to ¾ (120 ml to 180 ml) warm water

In mixing bowl stir together dry ingredients. Add butter, ½ cup of water and mix by hand until the dough can be gathered into a ball, add more water only if needed (up to ¾ cup). Let it rest for 15 – 30 minutes.

Divide dough into 12 balls. On a floured surface roll each ball in a round. Cook in an ungreased skillet over medium heat from both sides. Put each finished tortilla on a plate and cover with wet kitchen towel. When you finished cooking, leave tortillas to rest under wet towel which will make them more flexible. When they are completely cool transfer them into the freezer bag and freeze. When you need to use tortillas take the desired amount and let them warm up for 15 minutes at the room temperature.

Useful tip: make double or triple amount, you will find them disappearing quickly from your freezer. Also, tortilla wraps are one of the easiest and quickest meals you can prepare and without food additives that are found in store bought tortillas, you can safely enjoy them! This recipe is from “A Matter of taste” cookbook by The Committee of American Women’s Club of Luxembourg with my addition of wet cloth to prevent dryness and cracking of tortillas.

Jamaican Sweet Potato Cake

Olive oil, sweet potato and oats to create one of the most delicious cakes you ever had? Yes, you have to try this recipe. There are many recipes and varieties of Jamaican Sweet Potato Cake but this version is so healthy and nutritious that you can serve it for your breakfast. I found several recipes on the internet but  I substituted or changed almost every ingredient of the original recipe to make it lighter and more nutritious – flour for oats, butter for olive oil etc. If you like carrot cake you will love this cake.

2 cups quick oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup olive oil
2 eggs
1 cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup honey
1 cup peeled and grated sweet potato (about one small to medium sweet potato)
1 cup grated coconut
1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup milk (or soy milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup grated coconut
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbls olive oil

Mix wet batter ingredients and add them to dry ingredients. Mix well with electric mixer.
Combine all the ingredients for topping in a small bowl.
Spoon the batter into greased and floured cake pan.
Sprinkle the cake with topping, preferably with fingers, evenly. Bake at 350 F for about an hour. This cake is quite thick and sticky in consistency, so knife or toothpick inserted in center does not have to come out clean. While backing, you will feel pretty strong olive oil fumes but do not worry; it will fade away and will be unnoticeable once the cake is baked.
Serve warm or cold. For breakfast, serve it with a glass of soy milk.