Another night, another dinner….hmmm what should I prepare?
We love to make our own burgers, dress them up with favorite toppings and surprise the burger with their sides every time. This morning I organized my kitchen drawers, finally and found bag of wooden skewers. That gave me brilliant idea. Beautiful green peppers, green onions, yellow and red juicy tomatoes and little yellow chillies for adults. Sea salt, pepper and sprinkle of extra virgin olive oil…. fabulous.
Trick is to soak wooden skewers in the water for an hour….that way they won’t burn in the oven.
While making the skewers preheat the oven to 400F. Wrap favorite baking pan with aluminum foil and lay down skewers, season them and bake for 20 minutes.
In the meantime grill burgers and dress them up with brie cheese slices and dijon mustard. They will be done in the same time ready to eat, nice, hot and crispy.
That’s it. Quick dinner idea, absolutely delicious.
Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page
Another night, another dinner….hmmm what should I prepare?
Pasta is definitely my favorite dish. We love bolognese and carbonara but leeks were so pretty and fresh this morning at the market that I just got an idea. Leeks and cabbage pasta.
Besides cold weather arrived here in South Ca, don’t get me wrong I know that all that snow and ice is overwhelming. I grow up in the four season city and climate….but when you get used to sunshine and rain starts to fall for days it becomes very chilly, calling for nice comfy pasta dish, jackets and heaters. It’s a big change. I had some bacon in fridge from yesterday, nicely grilled so I decided to add few slices for the additional smoky aroma. Also smoked paprika, imported from Spain wonderful smell and price, just $3.5 for medium tin package. I also start buying fresh pasta it makes such a huge difference. I would love to make my own in future.
So exciting….at least for me but I have to admit every time we have pasta for lunch there is extra happiness in the air.
1 pound fresh pasta – spaghetti
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove. nicely chopped
1 small cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 cup crisp grilled bacon, optional
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Slice the leeks lengthwise and wash to be sure all of the dirt is removed. Slice the leeks (white and light green parts only) about 1/2 inch thick.
Using large saute pan, heat the olive oil and add the leeks, cabbage, bacon, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika and sauté over medium low heat until tender.
Add chicken broth and cook on the low heat for 20 minutes.
In the meantime using large pasta pot, boil the water add salt and fresh pasta. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
When pasta is cooked, remove from pot, colander-drain.
Using pasta platter lay down spaghetti, add beautiful leek-cabbage sauce. Coat nicely with fresh Parmigiano -Reggiano.
It takes around 30 minutes for this dish to be made, fantastic.
Serve immediately and enjoy:)
I have to add that leeks and cabbage are fantastic veggies, especially combined with carbohydrate.
Leek is low in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol. High in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Manganese, Dietary Fiber, Vitamin B6, Iron and Magnesium. The nutritional value of leek makes it ideal for maintaining optimum health and weight loss same as cabbage.
Green cabbage is low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and high in dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Potassium, Manganese, Vitamin A, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium.
From time to time I like to update news from bookstores and library. There are so many wonderful new books for kids and adults which we can explore and learn from.
I chose few most interesting for today.
Currently, I am in love in The Art and Soul of Baking by Sindy Mushet and Sur La Table. It is amazing.
Sur La Table is a long-respected and well-known center and store of sincere and fabulous kitchen ware. Part of their evolution has been to have cooking/baking classes as well as accompanying books that their faithful customers have asked for over the years. This book is absolutely their best yet.
It is just packed with great information. It is 440 pages full of tips, instruction, gorgeous photographs and fabulous recipes. This cookbook covers everything from the basics to information even experienced bakers will find of use. The information and instruction is presented in a very approachable way. This cookbook covers yeast and quick breads, pastries, pies, cookies, cakes, tarts, fruit desserts, custards and puddings, plus souffles, cheesecakes and more. Wonderful.
For kids choice- smart and funny books.
Too Pickley by Jean Reidy, illustration by Genevieve Leloup
“Hip young picture book by this stylish duo-now tackling the trials and tribulations of the picky eater.”
Everything is something but at the end when tummy is rumbling food is good:)
How are you peeling by Saxton Freymann, Joost Elffers is the best-selling Play with Your Food, have been hailed as the Picasso of Pumpkins, the Rodin of Rutabagas, and the Calder of Cabbages. In this amazing new picture book, they team up once again to create food sculptures that embody emotions more fluidly than any human face could.
Fantastic illustrations discrabing moods through healthy fruits and vegetables.
So, next time when you find yourself in the bookstore or library check out these wonderful books, they are really amazing.
Happy Valentines Day everybody!
This is truly nice holiday to share little more love, warm smiles and few kisses.
Hearts are truly a theme & chocolate is the best ingredient ever.
This year I decided to make something from the heart to my hearts, homemade and delicious.
I love nice, good looking box of chocolates. That was my inspiration this year.
You will need:
I pack of marzipan paste
1/4 cup semi sweet dark chocolate
1/4 cup white chocolate chunks
2 egg whites
4 tea spoons powder sugar
decoration paste, optional
Meringues are optional too. I like to add them inside of the marzipan because they add little crunch to it.
Using standing mixer whip well egg whites on high for few minutes, add sugar and little lemon zest.
On the cookie sheet, place parchment paper and using spoon make little meringues.
Oven should be preheated to 320F. Then dry bake little shapes for 20 minutes.
Using your hands or cookie cutter, make shapes with marzipan paste. This is the same type of dough as play dough, so same as kids- best thing to do is to use imagination.
Making chocolate dip or bath is fun process too.
In the smaller saucepan on the low heat add chocolate, few drops of milk and tiny piece of butter for the shine.
Mix well till chocolate is creamy not to watery. You can repeat process with white chocolate too if you like.
When meringues are done and cooled down you can press little chunks in to the candy shapes and then dip them to the chocolate.
Lay them on the baking rack to cool down. Decoration is optional too, anything that you like and have in your pantry at the moment would work.
Leave chocolates for an hour or so to sit at the room temperature and then you can wrap them for the gift or just enjoy them:)
We all know the feeling of waking up in the middle of the week, thinking, is it Friday….and then realizing, no it’s Wednesday, which is just fine. I love Wednesdays, it’s walk to school day with my kids, day when I coach and day when my son has swimming classes. Last night I made something really nice just to make it even better morning.
Cappuccino Biscotti with Almonds and Chocolate. My first time making biscotti, very nice experience, slightly sweet with great aroma, delicious…. You just need to make fresh cappuccino or latte, they are great friends with biscotti:) and breakfast on the go is ready.
Now let me share the recipe with you.
Cappuccino Biscotti with Almonds and Chocolate
Makes 12 big biscotti
2 tablespoons espresso coffee-brewed
1 stick sweet cream butter, room temp.
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tea spoon organic vanilla sugar
2 cups whole wheat flour
sea salt, few drops
1 cup chopped almonds, toasted for aroma
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
orange zest from orange
Preheat oven to 350F.
Place the butter and brown sugar in the bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth and slightly light in color for few minutes. Add the espresso coffee and eggs, one at the time, beating well.
Add flour and salt. Turn the mixer to the lowest speed and blend slowly. Add almonds, chocolate and orange zest.
Remove bowl from mixer and form dough nicely with spatula.
Flour work surface just a little bit and work on the dough forming a log shape. Press down on the log , flattering slightly until log is nicely formed.
Place the parchment paper on the baking pan, place the log too and bake for 30 minutes.
Transfer the pan to cooling rack and let the log cool completely.
Using good knife cut the biscotti on the slight diagonal shapes.
Turn oven to 275F. Toast the cookies in the oven second time for additional 30 minutes.
Now, when biscotti are cooled down it’s time to enjoy them.
This is great recipe because they can stay up fresh in air tight container up to a week and you can always experimenting and adding different kinds of nuts or dry fruits whatever your heart desires.
With a nice cup of coffee chilled or hot, this biscotti is a true winner. Have a great rest of the week:)
We found ourselves few days ago at the Jons market which is very nicely stocked up with lots of imported foods and delicatessen.
You can find wonderful dry meats, feta cheeses from France, Hungary, Greece….fantastic variety of olives, etc. This time I chose to buy good looking jar of grape leaves.
I was thinking to stuff them with turkey & barley. They were really tasty….whole casserole left empty. …I was hoping for some leftover but I will have to make this again….wonderful warm lunch, light, still very nutritious and most importantly super delich.
1 jar grape leaves
1 pound white turkey, ground
1/3 cup barley
red onion, chopped
garlic cloves, chopped
Italian parsley, chopped
I stick celery, chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
1 cup chicken stock
1 can tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
juice from orange and zest
sea salt, pepper
To make stuffing, using medium sauce pan on the medium heat, roast onions, garlic and celery with touch of extra virgin olive oil till well browned. Add turkey. Roast till almost done. Don’t over dry the meat.
Season with salt, pepper, paprika, Italian parsley add barley, chicken stock and simmer for 5-8 minutes. Set aside.
Now the fun stuff. Rolling the leaves is very quick and easy process. If some leaves are broken you can use more to patch up the wholes.
Take a leaf in your left hand and grab a pinch of stuffing in the right hand, about a tablespoon and roll the stuffing a little in your fingers to shape it, then place it in the middle of the leaf by the stem.
Take one of the bottom edges and turn it in to the center, then the other bottom edge, then the same for the other two leaf parts, now place it on a hard surface to roll it up into the middle leaf.
Now, place them one by one in the casserole as you roll them, seam side down. You will have 2 levels if you’re making more then 16-20.
After you have finished rolling and setting, sprinkle lightly with sea salt over the top, orange juice, zest and tomato sauce.
Add enough chicken stock to cover the bottom layer. For the finishing touch I love to add graded parmesan cheese on top.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Bake uncovered for 20 minutes till cheese got slight brownish color and then cover the casserole. Low temperature to 350F and bake for additional 20-30 minutes.
Serve warm with non fat yogurt or sour cream on the side, optional:)
Wonderful if served with glass of red vine.
Intake of barley is very likely to help you maintain your overall health in the long term. These whole grains are rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and amino acids essential for our health. More importantly, barley is one of the richest sources of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Pancetta….what a wonderful ingredient that is. It will give fantastic aroma to the dish, crunch and protein that we all need for the day.
This recipe I love to make for the breakfast but it can be lovely brunch, lunch dinner side or anything in between. So light, fluffy and super tasty. For the cheese I chose goat, ultimate bacon companion , slowly baked and melted. Veggies, bell pepper and red onion, that is all you need and you will get super meal idea. This is another gluten free recipe. I hope foodies with allergies and sensitivities will find it very helpful and useful.
1 bell pepper
half red onion
4 egg whites
1 cup diced pancetta
1 small packet of Madame Chevre Goat cheese
Preheat oven to 400F.
Using stand mixer beat egg whites till frothy not to stiff.
On the medium heat using fry pan, grill onions, bell peper and bacon till nicely brown.
Season with little salt (bacon is already salted) and fresh ground pepper.
Set aside till completely cool down.
Using 6 cup muffin pan with silicon cups add chunk of goat cheese on the bottom of each cup.
Very carefully and easy combine one part of the egg whites with grilled mixture.
On the top pf every cup add additional egg whites and peace of cheese.
Bake for 16-19 minutes.
Serve immediately. Wonderful with chilled non fat yogurt on the side.