Friday, January 30, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
As soon as I scanned the ingredient list, I knew it was perfect for JJ and I. I love vegetarian meals, and especially soups with the whole garden in it, and this was one of them. JJ's not crazy about vegetarian meals, however white beans are his favorite, so he was happy! I love fennel seeds, and I only ever use them when making sausage and tomato sauce, so it was nice to have another place to use one of my favorite flavors.
As for the saffron, it's quite pricey. I found some at Trader Joes last time I was there, it was the cheapest I've ever seen, about $7 for a little glass bottle. However when I opened it, there were maybe 20 strands, so I've been very guarded with using it!
I asked Kristine, my sister, if Kelly sent her the recipe too, and she said yeah, but she thought it sounded gross because it was made with Guinea pig food (aka kale), which is where story time starts...
When I was in 5th grade, we had a class pet. A black guinea pig named Norman. I loved to sign up to bring him home over the weekends, and eventually talked my mom into letting me get my very own guinea pig. I talked her into letting me get 2, both girls named Lucy and Josephene. After about 2 weeks, Josie started to get bigger and more pear shaped. Eventually, the balls on the sides started rolling around. She was pregnant!
So she had two babies, a boy I named Stewart, and a girl I named Lila. Since Lila was albino, we were told she wouldn't live too long, so my mom let me keep Lila, and I had three pigs.
My mom told me when I got the pigs that she wanted me to really take care of them, and one thing I read was pigs should eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. My pigs absolutely loved Kale. It was by far their favorite food! Whenever anyone would open the fridge door and slide out the vegetable drawer, the pigs would start 'meeping' like crazy, and earned the nickname "the meepers".
I think the abundance of kale and oranges in their life is the reason they lived to be as old as they did. Even Lila, nicknamed el diablo by my sisters, who was supposed to only live to be maybe two, was a little over 5 when she died!
To any parents out there who have children asking for hamsters, gerbils, mice, bunnies, or pigs, I highly recommend guinea pigs. They're so sweet, so cute, and very gentle. They do take some time to warm up to you, they can be skiddish when you get them at the pet store, but every guinea pig I've ever had has been a sweetheart!
So anyway, when I was at kroger picking up kale (it was always 50 cents a bunch back then!) I couldn't help but remember my three little pigs :)
Now, on to the recipe... thanks so much, Kelly! I absolutely loved it!
1. Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic and fennel seeds, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add onion and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add potato, carrot and parsnip and cook, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes.
2. Add fresh or canned tomatoes. Pour in stock. Stir in bay leaves and oregano. Bring the mixture to a boil, then immediately reduce heat so it continues to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add the kale, beans and sun-dried tomatoes. Simmer until veggies are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove pot from heat; add safron, stir.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
One of my new readers, Michelle, asked me if I could make a list of my favorite cookbooks.
Most of the time when I cook, I don’t use cookbooks. In fact, I think I only own 3 or 4! Usually I see a recipe in a magazine or on TV, or take a classic recipe, and give it my twist.
However, I do check cookbooks out weekly to complete my country challenge, and of those, I do have a few favorites! So here they are, in no particular order…
The cookbooks I own:
- Moosewood – Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant and Low Fat Favorites (These I collected when I was a vegetarian, but I still use them often!
- Baking, From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan – I bought this when I joined Tuesdays with Dorie, and though I’m no longer baking with the group, this is my baking Bible. It is full of wonderful recipes, as well as information and each recipe has a few variations, so there are literally thousands of recipes!
- Tangy, Hot, Tart, and Sweet by Padma Lakshmi - My sister got this for my, autographed, for Christmas. I love how Padma has a great variety of recipes from around the world!
- The Irish Spirit by Margaret Johnson - I bought this book when I blogged about Ireland because I found so many delicious recipes and were all based around the alcohol of Ireland. It's a fun format, and each recipe is better than the next.
Here are a few that I've used in the past and love:
- The South American Table by Maria Baez Kijac - This is probably my absolute favorite book I've found so far. It has hundreds of recipes from all over South America, filled with classics and obscure recipes. It also is so informative about how the recipes reached a region, and the ingredients used. I have used this cookbook many times, and will most likely one day buy it!
- Sam Choy's Island Flavors and Sam Choy's Polynesian Kitchen - I absolutely love Sam Choy's recipes. I think the reason is because he takes ingredients with big flavor, and makes simple but delicious recipes. I also LOVE pairing sweet and savory, and his recipes (Mango Chicken - yum!!) often combine fruit with protein.
- Baja Cooking on the Edge by Deborah Schneider - This cookbook dives into my husbands favorite, tex-mex cooking. This cookbook is so colorful, and has tons of delicious recipes.
- Bobby Flay's Bold American Food - This cookbook is another one with beautiful photos, and some Bobby Flay classics, like yucatan chicken, and many of his delicious sauces and condiments. It's full of big flavor!
- Tuscany, The Beautiful - This cookbook is full of beautiful photos of the food, land, and people. It has many classics and really showcases the ingredients of the region.
Posted by Ashlee at 1/25/2009 09:05:00 PM
Last time Will and Allison were over, Will challenged me to make a Tres Leches cake. I surprised him tonight by taking on his challenge. He was skeptical, but I think I pulled it off pretty well! If I were to make this again, I would make a few slight changes. The cake puffed up along the edges, so most of the soaking liquid pooled in the middle, and the middle was very moist and dense, while the edges were a bit dry.
The cake itself is actually a dry cake, waiting to soak up all of the liquid. In order to make it happen, next time I think I would slice off the very top of the cake and then poke my holes in so the cake is more level, and the soaking liquid penetrates the cake better.
Overall though, I think it was a success - very rich and super delicious!
And Will looks happy, right?
Thursday, January 22, 2009
There will be one round of mailings for these, they’ll be made over the weekend of Feb. 7 and mailed Feb. 9. Again, priority mail, so packages should arrive by Thursday, February 12 at the latest!
Please have all orders and money to me by Thursday, February 5.
Valentine’s Cookie Packages
Price is $15 plus $10 flat rate shipping
Double the cookies/candy in 1 order is $20 plus $10 flat rate shipping
5 Sugar Cookies Iced as Conversation Hearts
(These can be personalized, please contact me with specifics, if not they’ll have standard conversation heart messages!)
4 Pink and Red M&M Cookies
4 Peanut Butter Chip Cookies
2 Chocolate Cherry Chunk Cookies
2 Cranberry White Chocolate Biscotti
2 Homemade Chocolate Covered Cherries
2 Bee Mine Honey Shortbread
2 Mint Chocolate Baileys Fudge Balls
The reason I decided to cook Hungarian food this week is because I was craving my Great Grandma's pierogi. We called her "Oh My Goodness Grandma" because whenever she saw my sisters and I, she would say Oh My Goodness, you've grown up so much!
I can remember visiting her, sitting at her kitchen table and eating pierogi. They were the best!
So I asked my mom for the recipe. She didn't have it, so she asked my Dad (it was his Grandma) if he knew who had it, and he didn't. Then my mom rembered her friend from church learned her mother in law's Polish pierogi recipe, and it gets rave reviews! So my mom asked Mrs. Hudak if she would give me the recipe and let me blog it, and she was more than happy to!
So here is the recipe Mrs. Hudak gave me. It is absolutely delicious! They are a little time consuming to make, but I think it's worth the effort.
Now when I looked at this recipe, I thought it seemed pretty rich, but I planned on making it as it was written. However, when I went to get the butter out of the fridge (something I rarely use) I was out! So I used chicken stock rather than butter. I also used skim milk in the dough, and light sour cream (even though she says not to, it's all I had!) So I think i was very sucessful at making this a bit lighter, but I would like to try the ultra rich version one day too!
I served my pierogi as my mom always did, with some sauteed onions and sour cream.
For the sides, I made red cabbage and creamed spinach (see next post)
I hope you have enjoyed Hungary, as I have loved every dish from the country!
Thank you very much for sharing your recipe, Mrs. Hudak!
5 Idaho potatoes
1 8 oz. bar extra sharp cheddar
1 8 oz. bag grated sharp cheddar (I only used cubed)
1/2 stick butter (I used 4 tbsp. chicken stock)
Peel and cube 5 potatoes.
Drain very well. Mash with an electric mixer.
Dough (40 pierogi):
1/4 cup milk (she likes to use half and half)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sour cream
2-2 1/2 cups flour
Whisk egg, milk, water, and sour cream in a small bowl.
When I decided to make pierogies tonight, I thought about some sides that would go well. I found a recipe in a Hungarian cookbook for Creamed Spinach, and it sounded great. It's really healthy, simple, and delicious!
2 c. milk
1 tsp. salt
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 piece white bread or a roll
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
3 tbsp. flour
1/3 c. water
1. Wash spinach, add to a large pot of boiling water. Cook for 1 minute
2. Soak bread in ½ c. milk
3. Drain spinach in a colander, press out water
4. Put spinach, bread, 1 ½ c. milk, and salt in a blender and blend on medium speed for 30 seconds, or until smooth. Pour into a large saucepan.
5. Prepare roux with crushed garlic – Add oil to sauce pan over low, add flour and stir, add water, stir in garlic. Whisk until smooth.
6. Add spinach, bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce to low and stir for 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Last weekend I tried out a low fat/sugar tiramisu, which was good, but not great. While making it though, I laced my vanilla pudding with marsala wine, and it was divine. I thought it would be great over some pound cake and berries.
However, if you follow my other blog, www.ashisfit.blogspot.com, you know that I’m well on my way to reaching my weight loss goal of 100 lbs., and pound cake is not going to help get me there… so that dessert escaped my mind.
I went grocery shopping over the weekend, and the coupon machine spat out a coupon for a free box of reduced sugar cake mix. I don’t like to use cake mix because I have the ingredients on hand, and I feel proud when I make a cake from scratch… but it’s free, so why not? Then I thought to myself, if I make the cake fat free, and it’s low sugar, I can make my marasla pudding and top chunks of cake with it. When I got this week’s Kroger ad, I saw strawberries were on sale! When I got to the store this morning, the berries looked juicy and dark red, and my dream dessert was really shaping up!
So I decided to give in to fate and go ahead with making the dessert. I am so glad I did! It was simple, delicious, and low fat/cal/sugar!
1 box of Pilsbury Reduced Sugar Classic Yellow Cake Mix
2 egg whites
¾ c. plain yogurt
1 c. water
1 envelope sugar free Vanilla instant pudding
2 c. skim milk
2 tbsp. dry marsala
1 c. sliced strawberries
Prepare cake according to package directions.
Prepare pudding according to package directions.
Cube cake, top with pudding and strawberries.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
6 tbsp. butter, melted
6 tbsp. powdered sugar
¼ c. raisins
½ c. warm water
4 tbsp. sugar
16 oz. small curd cottage cheese (I used light)
8 oz. cream cheese, softened (I used light)
1 tsp. lemon peel
4 tbsp. farina
1. Prepare filling – Soak raisins in warm water in a small bowl for 10 minutes. Drain.
2. Mix egg yolk with sugar until smooth, add cottage cheese, cream cheese, raisins, lemon peel and 2 tbsp. farina. Mix well.
3. In a small bowl, whip egg white until peaks form. Fold into cottage cheese mixture.
4. Set aside to prepare rolls
5. Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9x13 pan
6. Place a damp kitchen towel on the counter. Place 1 phyllo sheet over the towel. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Repeat with 2 sheets.
7. Place half the filling on the bottom, leaving 1” on each side.
8. Fold in the 2 sides and roll up. Place seam side down in pan. Brush with melted butter.
9. Continue with 3 more pieces of phyllo and remaining filling.
10. Bake for 25 minutes
**I ended up making 6 mini rolls because my phyllo was cracked in half and I couldn't form long rolls. The photo is of a mini roll sliced. I also used cooking spray and not butter in my layers.
For this week's Country Challenge, I chose Hungary. I've been craving Pierogies, and my Great-Grandma made the best! She was part Hungarian (we have some Hungarian Gypsy in my family tree!) and she always made them for us when we visited her... so rather than just make pierogies one night, I decided to do a whole week of Hungarian food.
Lerner Publications Company, Minneapolis: 1986.
Egyetemi Printing House, Budapest: 1956.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Even though it's been freezing cold here (actually, below freezing!) after the spicy chicken, I needed something to cool my mouth down. I found this simple recipe for guava sorbet in the African cookbook, and it sounded great!
I love guava juice, it has a flavor unlike any other, it's really bright and almost creamy. I love how the nectar has bits of guava still in it. I found cans of guava juice on the Mexican foods aisle in the grocery store. I hope you enjoy the last of my African cooking!
½ c. simple syrup
1 tbsp. lime juice
Lime slices for garnish
1. In a large bowl, mix nectar, 1 c. water, syrup and lime juice.
2. Chill mixture for 30 minutes, then pour into an ice cream maker.
3. Churn for 20 minutes, or until set.
4. Place back in the freezer until serving.
¼ c. plus 2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 ½ c. grits
2 tbsp. butter
1. Mix broth and tomato paste in a heavy saucepan. Heat until just beginning to boil.
2. Sprinkle grits over broth, stirring vigorously until absorbed. Cook over medium for 10 minutes, or until siff. Add ½ extra c. of water if necessary.
3. Remove from heat, add butter and mix well, use wet hands to mold into a smooth, rounded shape.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Fantail, New Hampshire: 1999.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I feel like I've been on a quest to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie for a long time. I think my M&M ones are probably my favorite, they're derived from the Levain Bakery's chocolate chip cookies.... but I still search and try new recipes.
I decided to try out Dorie's recipe and see how it did. Overall, not my favorite. They spread too much, and were too crispy (much like Bobby Flay's - see below for link). I looked up reviews by others, and it seems that I'm not the only one who feels this way about them. I think I'll stick with my other recipe for now... but here it is if you're interested!
As an aside, I always refrigerate my cc cookie dough for at least an hour before I make them (with my M&M dough, I refrigerate it overnight)
Here is a listing of my previously made Chocolate Chip Cookies:
M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies (my favorite)
Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Chocolate Chip Cookies
Bobby Flay's Throwdown Chocolate Chip Cookies
My Lowfat Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies
Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips or 2 cups store-bought chocolate chips or semisweet chocolate chunks
Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for about 1 minute, until smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes or so, until well-blended. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes inches Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated. On low speed, or by hand with a rubber spatula, mix in the chocolate and nuts.
Spoon the dough by slightly rounded tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between spoonfuls.
Bake the cookies- one sheet at a time and rotating the sheet at the midway point- for 10-12 minutes, or until they are brown at the edges and golden in the center; they may still be a little soft in the middle, and that's just fine. Pull the sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for 1 minute, then carefully, using a wide metal spatula, transfer them to racks to cool to room temperature.
Repeat with the remainder of the dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.
After making this cake a few times a few other ways, I decided to see what I could do to lighten it up a bit. I didn't want to change the integrity of the cake too much, but I did make some significant changes. It tastes great no matter what you put in it (fruit, nuts, spices, etc.) and it's a real crowd pleaser.
original by Dorie Greenspan (see link above)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 stick of light butter at room temp.
1 1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
2 large egg whites at room temp.
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 c. skim milk at room temp.
3 apples in a small dice
1/2 c. dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a bundt cake pan.
In a mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in egg whites and yogurt. Scrape down, add in vanilla.
Add in baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Mix in for 10 seconds.
Add in flour and milk, alternating starting and ending with flour. Mix until just combined.
Fold in apple pieces and cranberries with a spatula.
Pour into bundt cake pan. Bake for 50 minutes.
Cool for 60 minutes.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
All winter long, I like to cook soups and stews to warm us up and because they're so filling and I always seem hungrier in the winter. My husband loves having some kind of sandwich or dipper with his soup, so I did a tex mex soup and dipper tonight.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Well, the Germans said it was some of the best Italian food they’ve had, and the ONLY tiramisu they’ve ever had, and they loved it! I used Giada’s Chocolate Tiramisu.
Fast forward to last night… JJ and I went to dinner at an Italian restaurant and after dinner our waitress asked if we wanted dessert. I was eyeing up the tiramisu, but from having made it in the past, I knew it was diet suicide. All I could remember were egg yolks and heavy cream, sugar and lots of chocolate… I passed last night, but decided today I would dedicate my life to making a lighter version of tiramisu.
I thought about how I could recreate the layers without missing the flavor, but keeping it light. For the cream, I automatically jumped to sugar free pudding. It has a similar consistency, and it fat free and low in calories.
Now I am a chocolate girl, but JJ is a vanilla boy, so I decided to compromise our tastes and make one layer with a marsala laced vanilla pudding, and the other with Bailey’s laced chocolate pudding… which means yes, three times the liquor! Don’t worry, it’s in small quantities!
As for the lady fingers, you really can’t sub them. And they’re not terrible, however I decided since I was taking a short cut on the cream I’d make them from scratch. It’s much cheaper! Then to complete it, I admit it, I went with fat free cool whip over real whipped cream.
So the moral of the story is: I may have saved TONS of calories and grams of fat, but there is quite a bit of sugar substitute used, so if you’re opposed to splenda, use regular pudding and cool whip and you’ll still save some calories. Unfortunately there is no mascarpone flavor in this, but I think the other additions really compensate for that. The pudding did make it a bit mushy, it definitely didn’t hold it’s shape when cut like regular tiramisu.
Next time, I think I’d just leave it as is, and run an extra few miles the next day!
And as an aside, if you’re in a pinch for time and need a dessert, some chunks of pound cake topped with the marsala-vanilla pudding and some berries would be outstanding!
1/2 cup cake flour, sifted
3 large egg yolks, room temperature
5 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. To make the piping of the cookies easier, use a pencil and ruler to divide the parchment paper into three - 3 inch rows, with about 1 inch between rows. Have ready a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch round tip.
In your electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons white sugar on high speed for about 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes thick and pale yellow. (When you raise the beaters the batter should fall back into the bowl in a slow ribbon.) Beat in the vanilla extract. Sift the cake flour over the batter but do not fold in.
In a clean bowl, with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the 3 tablespoons white sugar and whip until stiff peaks form and the whites are glossy. Fold the whites into the egg yolk and flour mixture in three additions, mixing only until incorporated.
Transfer the batter to the pastry bag and, holding the bag at about a 45 degree angle to the baking sheet, pipe the batter into 3 inch long ladyfingers, using the lines drawn on the parchment paper as your guide. Pipe the batter leaving about a 1 inch space between the cookies.
When you have piped all the cookies, place the powdered sugar in a wire strainer, and lightly sift the sugar over the tops of the cookies. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the ladyfingers are firm but barely browned and are still spongy when pressed with a finger.
Remove the baking sheets from the oven and slide the parchment paper from the baking sheets onto a wire rack. Let the ladyfingers cool for a few minutes and release them from the parchment paper, with a flat spatula, while they are still warm. If you left them completely cool before removing them from the parchment they stick and hard to remove without breaking. Finish cooling the ladyfingers on the wire rack before using or storing. If you are not using the ladyfingers right away, freeze them. Ladyfingers stale very quickly unless they are soaked in a liquid. To store, place in a plastic bag between layers of wax or parchment paper and freeze up to 2 weeks.
1 c. cooled espresso
¼ c. kahluah
1 packet sugar free vanilla pudding
1 ¾ c. milk
¼ c. dry marsala
1 packed sugar free chocolate pudding
1 ¾ c. milk
¼ c. Bailey’s Irish Crème
Mini chocolate chips, cocoa powder, or shaved chocolate for garnish
Bake ladyfingers, set aside. (This can be done a day in advance)
In a shallow dish, combine espresso and kahluah.
Whisk puddings, milk and liquers in 2 separate bowls.
Place in the fridge.
Thaw cool whip. Stir in 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract. Set aside.
Dip half of the ladyfingers in the espresso mixture, place in a dish.
Top with the vanilla pudding mixture.
Dip the remaining ladyfingers, arrange on top in a layer.
Top with the chocolate pudding mixture.
Spread the coolwhip over the pudding mixture.
Sprinkle with chocolate or dust with cocoa powder.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
I love ginger and green beans, so I knew this recipe would be great along side my dan dan noodles. They're very clean and fresh tasting.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Growing up in New York, I ate, and learned how to make, lots of Jewish food. One of my favorites that is both German and Jewish is a potato pancake. My mom made these often with applesauce on the side. When I decided to make Reuben Salads rather than sandwiches, I decided to make the latkes since I was going bread-less. I made this recipe up based on the many recipes I've seen and my mom's. They're all very similar, and super delicious!