6/30/08

Watermelon Salad

After another day of touring DC with Misha: I was hot, tired and thirsty. Watermelon salad sounded great, and I was looking forward to finally trying the purple ruffle basil plant I bought recently.

Salad: watermelon, feta, basil, olive oil, and pepper!

Unfortunately, the basil plant had some little white bugs underneath the leaves, and I was not about to eat that! Instead, I used cilantro: delicious!

6/27/08

They are back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TasteSpotting

When Life Gives You Lemons....

Technically, though, life gave me egg yolks. I was testing a recipe for Robyn Webb and had 5 egg yolks left: what to do? Well, lemon curd of course! Okay, the decision wasn't as fast as that, but that was the verdict. Plus, lemons were on sale!

Of course eating lemon curd by itself would be strange, so I had to come up with something...I had blueberries from testing a smoothie recipe and bought shortcakes at the store. Keep reading, or scroll down, to see the final two pictures to find out what I made :)

I found Alton Brown's recipe for lemon curd and went to town! (or to the grocery store, and then home, and then into my kitchen)

1) combine 5 egg yolks with 1 cup of sugar

2) Add 1/3 cup of lemon juice and lemon zest from 4 lemons
3) set the bowl on a pot of simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water) and whisk for about 8 minutes (mine took more like 12) until the mixutre is a lighter yellow color and coats a wooden spoon

4) take the bowl off the heat and mix in 1 stick of butter (!!!!) one piece at a time (I used salted because that was what I had)

What to do with lemon curd, blueberries and shortcake? Make dessert of course!
wow...that was soooooooo reach!

According to Alton Brown, lemon curd should last 2 weeks in the refrigerator covered first directly by a layer of plastic wrap.

Chicken Salad with a Twist

I'm going to NYC tomorrow, and tonight needed to clean out my fridge and make dinner at the same time. Creativity was necessary to achieve these both tasks. And so...

Chicken Salad with a Twist was born.

Ingredients and Directions
Combine in a bowl fresh corn, cut red pepper, chopped red onion, chopped cilantro, broiled chicken and hummus! Yep, hummus instead of a dressing: it was really good. And of course season with salt and pepper.

6/26/08

All You Need Is Juice

Facts:

1) unsweetened pineapple juice in the fridge at home
2) McDonald's was out of icecream
3) not too much time, but really want dessert

Idea: pineapple granita!!!

Directions: just pour pineapple juice, or any other kind of juice you like/have, into a Pyrex container (I used 9x13). Keep in the freezer for 30 minutes. Then every 15 minutes use a fork to scrape down the slushy that will start forming, until it reaches the consistency you want.

Serving suggestion: why not use fancy martini glasses? Really classes this up :)

If pineapple granita is not fancy enough, add some chocolate chips!

Ooh, A bit of Publicity

I was just reading DCFoodies blog and saw that they mentioned my blog in their Weekly Blog Round Up!!! So psyched :)

Awesome muffin

Last night I was testing a few recipes for Robyn Webb, and this carrot apricot power muffin was absolutely fantastic! The complete recipe will appear in the Diabetes Forecast next issue, but here's a sneak preview.

Some of the ingredients: carrots, dried apricots and sunflower seeds.
This is really great hot out of the oven, or cold the next morning. The muffin is moist, sweet, and flavorful. That's why I'm labeling it as both breakfast and dessert.

6/23/08

Asian Flavored Chicken Burgers

This recipe came about as many others from the availability of the ingredients mixed with my creativity.

For dinner I was making Mark Bittman's corn salad. What to go with it? Stacey suggested fish or shrimp or scallops, but the fish department of my grocery store stank!!! I decided to go with chicken. Ground chicken breast was on sale for $3.99/pound, and I put it in my cart. But then, I saw chicken breasts for $1.99/pound and ended up buying that.

My handy dandy food processor was able to "ground" the chicken breasts (I first cut the chicken breasts into cubes because did not want to overheat the motor).

To the chicken I added a minced garlic clove, a can of diced water chestnuts, an egg, a one inch piece of minced ginger, soy sauce, chopped cilantro and pepper.

I then divided the mixture into 6 equal parts to make 6 burgers.

It would have been ideal to taste the mixture, and I could have done it by cooking up a mini "meatball," but I was running out of time before going dancing. I cooked the chicken burgers uncovered for about 5 minutes per side, and then 3 more minutes covered.

Thoughts: the final product was pretty good, but needed more salt! I ended up dipping it in a bit of soy sauce mixed in with sweet pepper sauce.

6/21/08

Quilted Phyllo with Salmon and Brie

After submitting my Smoked Salmon with Brie and Roasted Peppers on a Ciabata sandwich to Marx Foods contest, I had some of the ingredients left over. What to do? A few days in a row I had smoked salmon with brie on Wasa crackers, but that got a bit old. I was then inspired by Phyllo Wrapped Salmon with Herbed Goat Cheese by Bella Lately and decided to recreate Bella's recipe using what I had on hand.

Unfortunately, my phyllo dough looked like a mess: it's been in the freezer for a while and I did not let it defrost in enough time (patience is not a word I'm familiar with). That's where the name quilted comes from (because I had to piece together broken phyllo)!

On a parchment paper, alternate 6 layers of phyllo with melted butter

Top the 6th layer of phyllo with smoked salmon

Spread roasted red pepper/caper concoction on top of the salmon (I made the spread for the original sandwich) and sprinkle with sliced green scallions

Top with slices of brie (I took the rind off)

Top with another 4 layers of phyllo alternating with melted butter

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, until the phyllo is golden brown.

As hard as it will be, let the final product stand for about 10 minutes before cutting and eating it, to make sure the brie will not ooze out and you will not burn yourself!


IMPORTANT: do NOT add any salt! There is plenty of salt in the smoked salmon, brie and capers. And I also used salted butter to brush the phyllo.

6/19/08

Rustic Bread Salad

What's for dinner? A quick salad using leftover sundried tomato ciabata and some fresh vegetables.

Ingredients
2 tomatoes, cubed
1 yellow pepper, cubed
2 green scallions, sliced
1/2 sundried ciabata, cubed, and toasted at 375 for 15 minutes
2 T capers
2 T chopped red onion
olive oil
red wine vinegar
salt & pepper

Directions
1) In a bowl combine tomatoes, yellow pepper and green scallions

2) In a small bowl mix together olive oil, red wine vinegar, capers and red onions

3) Add the dressing to the vegetables

4) Add ciabata cubes, mix everything and serve

Note on seasoning: because I used a sundried tomato ciabata, I did not need to add too much salt and pepper to my salad (ciabata itself was seasoned well with a variety of herbs). Depending on your bread, season as you go. Feel free to add fresh herbs! Other additions can be olives, cucumbers, and feta.

Note on bread: Usually this salad is made with a day old bread that you add into the salad without toasting. I followed Robyn Webb's suggestion and toasted mine first. It's a good contrast to softer tomatoes. However, by the time I had a second helping of the salad, the bread has softened, and gave the salad a more comforting feel: less chewing :)

6/18/08

Fat Free Sweetness

This is not really a recipe, but a quick idea for a sweet treat, that's not going to add any pounds to your (or my) thighs:

* one orange, peeled and segmented
* a handful of cherries, halved and seeds removed
* one cup of fat free plain yogurt

Combine and enjoy!

P.S. No picture of the final product, because once you mix it all together, things get lost :)

Chicken in Indian Marinade

I don't buy whole chickens or chicken thighs or legs (to my mom's disappointment). I really only buy chicken breasts. This week, split chicken breasts (with skin and bones) were on sale. I bought them and decided to try out an Indian-styled marinade.

Marinade: yogurt, curry powder, sliced white onion, minced garlic, minced jalapeno pepper, salt & pepper

Directions: remove the skin from the chicken and marinade for a day in the refrigerator. Heat oil in a pan and cook chicken breasts (void of any marinade) for 5 minutes on the first side (boneless) and 3 minutes on the second side. Bake chicken breasts in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes (time varies on the size of your chicken: use the thermometer to make sure the temperature reaches 165). Let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes before cutting.

Note: discard any remaining marinade!!! (This was really hard b/c it looked and smelled amazing.)

marinade

seared on both sides and ready for the oven

the final product

What can I say? I'm pretty impressed with myself. The chicken turned out super juicy, flavorful and it looks pretty darn good too!

Marx Foods Salmon Contest

Marx Foods is having a Salmon Recipe Contest. While at the grocery store yesterday I was suddenly inspired by smoked salmon on sale, and decided to submit my recipe.

I'm Jewish, and one of my favorite sandwiches is bagel with cream cheese and lox. For the contest, I decided to give this classic a bit of a twist.

Ingredients and Directions
1) In a food processor puree a roasted red pepper, a tablespoon of capers and a drizzle of olive oil
2) Split a sundried tomato ciabata in half and smear the roasted red pepper spread on the bottom
3) Top with thinly sliced red onion, layers of smoked salmon, slices of brie cheese, and top with the other half of ciabata

Enjoy! This could not have been easier.

Note: originally I was planning on using slices of roasted peppers instead of a puree, but Jenny thought the sandwich will not hold together. I thought that sounded reasonable, and went with the puree. Having done so, I think my original idea was better. Try it whichever way you like: the taste is fabulous!

FYI

I figured out that I can copy some of the recipes from my original blog to include them here! Including the pictures! Thus, for you who are new to this blog, you can scroll down and see some of the things I've cooked in the past.

For those of you who have been with me from the beginning, no need to scroll :)

6/17/08

Can you find me?

I submitted one of my food photos to Tartlette's Does My Blog Look Good in This content. Can you find mine in the gallery??

Good luck!

Brie, Cherries and Figs

Delicious snack: no cooking required.

Brie: $4.99/pound
Cherries: $2.99/pound
Figs: $0.79/each

Results: priceless!
Check out what was for dinner

Welcome

Welcome to my new blog! Here I will write about my adventures in the kitchen.

Jewelry making, shopping, travelling and occasional "say what?" stories will be accessible through my original Shopping, Crafts, Travel, etc blog; recipes from Mark Bittman are here.

Have I confused you enough!?

Happy cooking, eating, and blogging!

6/15/08

Eggs A La Edward

Edward (my boss at Sur La Table) loves Indian food. So do I. A while ago he taught me a super easy twist on a "normal" egg recipe:

1. In neutral oil, cook cumin seeds (be careful not to burn them)
2. Add minced ginger and garlic; cook for a few minutes until the aroma of the two ingredients comes out
3. Add chopped red onion and chopped tomatoes; cook for a few more minutes
4. Pour in a few beaten eggs, seasoned with salt and pepper
5. Once the eggs are set, so are you (ha, ha, funny).

This is a super easy and flavorful dish. Top the eggs with fresh cilantro, and you are ready for a breakfast with an Indian twist.

Confession: as soon as I started cooking, I realized I was out of ginger. It was too late to go to the grocery store: I made the same recipe without ginger and it was still great with the flavor from the cumin seeds.

6/10/08

Cold Beet Soup

After buying beets at the Dupont Farmers' Market, I was talking with my dad, and he suggested I make cold beet soup. He then put my mom on the phone, and she gave me directions. Thanks, parents!!!

Note: I am not providing the amounts, because everything depends on how many people you are feeding, and your preference for each of the ingredients: beets, beet greens, cucumbers, green onions, eggs, buttermilk and dill.

Do ahead: 1) peel, slice and cook beets in salted water
2) once the beets are almost tender, add sliced beet greens and cook for a few more minutes
3) let the mixture cool
4) separately hard-boil eggs, and let them cool too

Assembly:
1) Place cubed cucumbers and sliced green onions on the bottom of the bowl

2) Add cooked beets, beet greens, and some of the liquid
3) Add a few pieces of a hard boiled egg
4) Pour in some buttermilk
5) Mix everything, add dill, and season with salt & pepper

6/8/08

Before & After: Orzo Salad

Friday night I worked at Sur La Table’s Greek class. One of the recipes was an orzo salad with snow peas, dill and scallions. During the class I suggested adding lemon juice and lemon zest to the salad to brighten up the flavors: my suggestion was accepted!


Yesterday I updated the above recipe with sliced spicy green olives, thinly sliced red pepper and fresh watercress. You tell me which one you like better!


Note: I used the ingredients I had on hand. Some of the other additions could have been feta cheese, sundried tomatoes, zucchini and of course, my favorite, tomatoes.

This just shows that cooking is about using your imagination and what you have on hand! Don’t be afraid to improvise: unless you are baking, you don’t have to follow a recipe to a t.