9/25/12

Stonefire Naan: Flatbread with Shrimp, Mango & Yogurt Sauce


This past Friday I came home to a present from Stonefire Authentic Flatbreads: I received three samples of their product to play with in my kitchen. I was excited! I chose the Garlic Naan because although I love naan, I have no desire to make it from scratch at home. I was eager to see how this product measured up to the naan I order at Indian restaurants. 

I created a simple Flatbread with Shrimp, Mango & Yogurt Sauce.  Before I share my creation with you, here's a little information about the naan from the Stonefire:
  • Hand stretched, made with fire roasted garlic and cilantro
  • All-Natural Ingredients 
  • No Additives or Preservatives
  • Baked in a tandoor oven, at high heat 
  • Authentic look with large bubbles, smoky flavor and airy texture
  • 2 naan per package
  • Made with buttermilk and ghee (clarified butter) which provides great dairy notes
  • Can be frozen

{I really liked the taste of this Tandoor Baked Naan, but it's by no means a low carb or low calorie food!}


Let's get cooking!


Flatbread with Shrimp, Mango & Yogurt Sauce

Ingredients {use as much or as little of each as you wish}

Stonefire Garlic Naan, grilled, toasted, or heated in a panini grill
cumin and mustard seeds, toasted
Greek yogurt
chopped cilantro
shrimp, sauteed in olive oil with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes
mango, sliced
red onion, chopped
red pepper flakes
 

Directions

1. Make a yogurt sauce with the Greek yogurt, some of the toasted cumin and mustard seeds and cilantro.


2. Spread the sauce on toasted naan.

3. Add sauteed shrimp, sliced mango, chopped onions and cilantro and sprinkle with more toasted cumin and mustard seeds and red pepper flakes.

Serve right away!


You can slice the flatbread, or fold it like a pizza.


I have two more varieties of Stonefire Flatbreads in the freezer and can't wait to try them. 

Disclosure: I was sent three varieties of Stonefire Flatbreads free of charge and under no obligation to blog about it. I was not reimbursed for this post. All opinions are my own.

9/23/12

Baked Sweet Potato "Fries" and A Wusthof Cook's Knife Giveaway


Do you know what my favorite and most essential tool is in my kitchen? A chef's knife!! I've never wanted a big knife set. All I've ever wanted was a solid, sharp, and well balanced chef's knife.

I've had my last chef's knife for over 6 years. I bought it when I was a culinary school assistant at Sur La Table and it has served me well. But it's no longer as awesome as it used to be. It has been my great kitchen assistant through multiple private knife skills classes I've taught, several cooking demonstrations, and of course all the recipes I've made for this blog.

But it was time to get a better one. And what is it? It's this GORGEOUS Wusthof Cook's Knife (8").

Let me tell you just a few things I ♥ about this knife:

1) it has a gorgeous red handle!
2) it is very sharp
3) it feels solid, but is not too heavy
4) it feels balanced when I'm holding it and when I use it
5) it's made in Germany {when it comes to certain things, I prefer they are made in Germany}
6) it makes my time in the kitchen more efficient



If you don't trust my judgment, see what Wusthof experts have to say {by the way, make sure to check out their bad ass website!!!}:
  • No kitchen should be without this manual food processor.
  • It is the most essential of all knives used in the kitchen.
  • Slicing, mincing, dicing of all kind of food.
  • Perfectly balanced, an extension of your hand.
  • GRAND PRIX II Colour fulfills the HACCP requirements.
  • No bacterial cross-contamination.
  • No transfer of flavours or odours.
  • Greater safety and exemplary hygiene.
  • Coloured, ergonomic and non-slip handle.
  • Caution: cook´s knives purposely have been ground extra thin for the ultimate cutting performance. Chopping through bones will damage the fine edge.
To show you just how well this knife works, I decided to make Baked Sweet Potato "Fries."
Why? First, sweet potatoes are pretty hard to cut. Second, they have to be cut very evenly so that they'll cook evenly: this would be a great test for my new knife.

Baked Sweet Potato "Fries"

Ingredients

1 sweet potato, ends cut off and peeled

olive oil

1 tablespoon Southwestern spice

salt

1/2 cup full fat Greek yogurt

1 garlic clove, microplane'd

1 tablespoon lime juice

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro 










Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 425F.

2. Cut the sweet potato into thin planks. Stack a few planks at a time and cut across to make fries.

3. Place the fries into a bowl and drizzle with enough olive oil to lightly coat. Mix with the Southwestern spice and salt.

4. Oil a cooling rack and place on a cookie sheet. {Thanks, Anna for the idea.}

5. Place the fries in a single layer and bake for 20-25 minutes and then put under a broiler for a few minutes. Immediately sprinkle with a bit of salt.

6. Meanwhile, make a quick dip by mixing Greek yogurt, garlic, lime juice and chopped cilantro.

7. Serve dip with fries as soon as they are ready.







These "fries" were really good but they weren't crispy...just wanted to fess up :) But hey, I still liked them. Of course you can play with other spices.

And now for the giveaway:

Rules:
To win, leave a comment below with why you would like to win this knife and your current favorite kitchen tool/utensil. You must have a proper US address to win.


For additional chances to win, do one of the following and leave a comment for each:

1) Like
MangoTomato on FB 
2) Like
Wusthof on FB 
3) Tweet about this giveaway with my @MangoTomato and a link to this post 
4) Follow @MangoTomato
5) Follow @Wusthof
I will announce one winner on Tuesday, October 2nd: And the winner is Emily R!!! Congratulations!!!



Disclosure: Wusthof provided me with one Cook's knife for a review and will send the same knife to one winner. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

9/20/12

Honey Nut Date Cake Recipe: Bridal Shower for Megan & Belated L'Shana Tova


I've known Megan for at least three years now. We met virtually because of our love of food, blogging and tweeting ;) Luckily, we finally had a chance to meet in real life the last time I was in Boston. Even more lucky, we liked each other in real life and shared a wonderful evening of tapas.

When I was asked to participate in a virtual bridal shower for Megan, I said yes, but wasn't sure what to bake. After all, not only is Megan great at baking, but she actually used to work at a bakery!

Originally, I was thinking about making a Russian sour cream cake because I love it, but I wasn't too happy with my mom's directions {sorry, mom!}. So I kept on thinking.

Then I realized that the weekend I was planning to bake something for the virtual bridal shower was Rosh Hashana: Jewish New Year, and it all came together!

Megan is marrying Jeff, who is Jewish. Marriage is a start of a wonderful new happy journey and is a big celebration that includes a cake. So I decided to make a Honey Nut Date Cake from The Shiksa ;) Not only would it be perfect for my New Year Celebration dinner I was hosting for friends, but it would be very symbolic for Megan's shower.

Since I made the recipe as is, I'm not going to retype the exact ingredients and directions.

You basically combine cake flour, a few spices, brown sugar, honey, nuts, dates, oil and eggs together and bake. Easy enough, right?


I decided to make two versions of the cake: one exactly like The Shiksa's, another with my little twist: an addition of chocolate chips and orange zest.



{Note: here is the story behind the baking containers.}
Halfway through the baking process I realized that I forgot to add oil. OY! No one is perfect. The cakes without oil were edible, but obviously on the dry side. Luckily, I had enough ingredients to make one more cake. That's the one pictured below:


Here is a picture of my unintentionally oil-free cake with nuts, dates, honey, orange zest and chocolate chips:


And this is the super moist and rich cake with all the necessary ingredients:


Megan and Jeff, I wish you a wonderful wedding day filled with family, friends, food, music and laughter. May your marriage be as sweet as this cake.

xoxo,
Olga



PS I sliced the cake that was missing oil, toasted it and smeared it with butter: awesome results ;)
PPS see more of Megan's virtual bridal shower here.

9/18/12

Chiles En Nogada: Private Cooking Class at Casa Oaxaca in DC

This past Monday night I had a rare opportunity to take a private cooking class at Casa Oaxaca restaurant in DC. Can anyone do it? I doubt it :)

I'm lucky that way! My friend Sylvie got invited by Casa Oaxaca but was busy and sent me in her place. No, this is not the start of 50 Shades of Grey ;)

I was greeted by Joanna, Casa Oaxaca's marketing manager, handed a margarita and told the plan.

I would be learning how to make Chiles en Nogada from Casa Oaxaca's Executive Chef Alfio Blangiardo. Alfio was born in Tehuacan, Puebla and received a degree from Culinary Institute of Mexico in Puebla and then graduated from the French School of Culinary Arts with Masters in Management of Food and Beverage Industry. I was incredibly impressed by Alfio's knowledge, attention to detail, organizational skills and love of Mexican food.

Casa Oaxaca is currently celebrating Chiles Rellenos and Cazuelitas Festival to acknowledge the Mexican Independence and Hispanic Heritage month. If you want to try the special menu, you have until September 30th to make your reservations.



But let's chat about Chiles en Nogada.

According to Joanna, in 17th Century in Puebla, local Mexican produce was mixed together with the ingredients brought in by the Spaniards to create unique and delicious flavors.

Chiles en Nogada came just from such a combination. The dish was originally made for the first Mexican Emperor Agustin de Iturbide towards the end of the Independece movement in 1821 and is now considered to be Mexico's National Dish.

The dish resembles the Mexican flag: green is represented by the poblano peppers, white is represented by the nut sauce and red is represented by the pomegranate arils.

Are you ready for the list of ingredients??

Chiles en Nogada {recipe provided by Casa Oaxaca}
15 servings

(2 chiles per person)

For the stuffing


¼ cup of butter
½ cup of olive oil
7 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 red potatoes, finely chopped
1 large white onion, finely chopped
2 pounds ground pork, chicken or veal
½ cup golden raisins
1 cup dried pineapple, finely chopped {you can also use prunes, oranges or peaches}
2 fresh apples, cored and finely chopped
4 Mexican bay leaves
5 thyme sprigs
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 boiled plantain, finely chopped
2 pounds ripe red tomatoes

30 chiles poblanos medium size

For the Nogada sauce

Walnuts or pecans {In Mexico, Castilla walnuts are used which need to be peeled by hand to avoid making the sauce bitter. But pecans can be a good substitution if you can’t find peeled walnuts.}
peeled almonds
2 cups whole milk
1 ½ cups  heavy cream or cream cheese
1 cup regular Mexican sour cream
½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
½ cup Sherry or Brandy
3 teaspoons sugar if you want to make the sweeter
salt
1 teaspoon shredded onion (to add more texture to the sauce)

Garnish

2-3 cups pomegranate arils
1 handful of fresh parsley or cilantro

Serving suggestion
cooked rice

  

Directions

Stuffing:

1) In a large saucepan, heat the butter and olive oil. Add the garlic, the potatoes and carrots and saute until they are golden. Add the onions and cook until they are transparent. Add the ground
meat previously seasoned with salt and pepper. Add the golden raisins, dried fruit and fresh fruit.

2) Cook the mixture at low heat for 20 minutes stirring constantly. Continue incorporating the tomatoes, almonds, and herbs. Keep cooking on low heat until the mix has thickened.



  
Chiles:

1) Roast chiles directly on gas burners over medium high heat until skins are blistered and
slightly charred. Immediately transfer to a bowl and cover. Let stand for 10 minutes.

2) Remove the chiles from the bowl and carefully rub off the skins (you might want to wear plastic gloves or use a fork). Cut a slit lengthwise in each chile and carefully remove the seeds and veins.


   

For the sauce:

1) Grind the walnuts and almonds together and add the milk slowly to avoid making it too watery. 

2) Add the cheese and heavy cream and the rest of the ingredients. Pour the sauce into a bowl and add the shredded onions, cinnamon and Sherry. Refrigerate for two hours. The sauce should have a semi-thick consistency.

  

Presentation:

1) Stuff each chile with about 4 ounces of the filling mixture.
2) Place stuffed poblano chiles on top of rice and pour about an 2 ounces of the sauce on top.
3) Spread some pomegranate arils and parsley or cilantro leaves on the sides. Serve at room temperature.


This was a complex dish with an incredible combination of flavors. I seriously have never tasted anything like that. I bet that's not how most of you picture Mexican food.

I realize that the recipe is quite complicated, but I think you can take a few shortcuts and still have a delicious result.

Have you ever tried Chiles en Nogada? What are some of your favorite Mexican dishes?

BIG thank you to Joanna and Alfio for an educational, boozy and flavorful night.

9/16/12

Barilla Plus Bake with Mushrooms & Leeks: Lazy White Lasagna. Plus a Pasta Giveaway


Everyone knows that we are supposed to eat healthier, right? Well, sometimes it's easier said than done. I have a hard time ordering a salad when I'm eating out instead of getting a juicy burger or cheese filled mashed potatoes.

Some choices, however, are not that hard to make. What if you just substitute your regular white pasta with whole wheat pasta?



Recently, I got a chance to develop a recipe for Barilla with one of their Barilla Plus products, rich with protein and Omega-3.

I decide to create a version of a savory kugel: instead of egg noodles, I used Farfalle (bow tied pasta); instead of cottage cheese, I used ricotta. I also added leeks, mushrooms, thyme, cheese and red pepper flakes. Since I could not decide what to name this dish, the title is pretty long: Barilla Plus Bake with Mushrooms & Leeks: Lazy White Lasagna.


Make sure to read more to learn how you can win a $25 Visa gift card and 2 boxes of pasta to from Barilla! {I will announce one winner Monday, September 24}

And the winner is Dishing Delights!!!

Disclosure: Barilla US asked me to develop a recipe for them and provided me with a stipend. All opinions are my own.

9/13/12

My Version of Green Eggs & Ham: Easy Decadent Breakfast & Asparagus Pot


The weekend is almost here! Can you feel it? I sure can.

One of my favorite things to make on a Saturday or a Sunday morning is poached eggs. Poaching eggs is rather easy but there is a shortcut I often use: poach pods I have from my freelancing for Robyn Webb.

This recipe for an Easy Decadent Breakfast aka My Version of Green Eggs & Ham showcases another kitchen toy: 3.5 Quart Covered Asparagus Pot with Steamer from Circulon.

But wait! Why would you want a pot just for asparagus? You are right, you don't!

With a little imagination, however, you can think of quite a few extra ways to use this pot.

You can clearly use it for steaming or boiling asparagus, but you can use it just as well to steam artichokes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts or boil corn, potatoes, carrots, etc.

You get where I'm going with this, yes?

Plus, because this beautiful pot has a very small footprint, it comes handy when your stove's other burners are occupied with large pans and pots.

You can also use this pot to boil pasta!

Seriously, the possibilities are endless.

Other things I liked about the pot, other than that it's really modern looking, are:

1) It has heat proof handles
2) You can actually put it in the oven up to 400°F
3) The lid is clear, so you can see what is going on
4) The handle of the basket folds down for easier storage
5) The pot is made from hard-anodized aluminum and allows for even cooking



Should we talk about My Version of Green Eggs & Ham: Easy Decadent Breakfast now?

All you need to do is:

1) Steam asparagus
2) Make sorrel pesto: sorrel, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, salt & pepper {if you can't find sorrel, use spinach and a little bit of lemon}
3) Poach eggs
4) Cook a few strips of bacon until they are super crispy


Smear a bit of pesto on a plate, top with steamed asparagus, poached egg and crumbled bacon.

What else could you want? OK, maybe a mimosa and a cup of fresh coffee. And maybe someone to serve this to you and then do the dishes ;)


Disclaimer: I was provided with the Asparagus Pot for a preview but was under no obligation to write about it and received no compensation for this post.

9/11/12

Grown Up Spaghetti & Meatballs: Post to End Childhood Hunger



I was invited to create a dish to help out Romano's Macaroni Grill and their national campaign to end childhood hunger.  Did you know 1 in 5 children are hungry in America?

"Macaroni Grill, in partnership with Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, is doing something about it. Their goal is to connect kids to 1 Million Meals in the month of September – and they will do this with the help of bloggers nation wide."
If you would like to get involved, you can visit Romano's Macaroni Grill and donate $2, which will get you $5 off your next meal. You can also share a photo from Mac Grill Give on their Facebook  Gallery to connect a kid with 1 meal.
And now let's talk about Grown Up Spaghetti & Meatballs. What makes this a grown up dish? First, the meatballs are made from pork and have sorrel pesto*** in them. Second, the sauce starts with a can of tomatoes and then gets perked up by fresh ingredients. And finally, I used wholewheat spaghetti.

*** I made sorrel pesto by combining sorrel, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic and salt

Grown Up Spaghetti & Meatballs

Ingredients
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
28 ounces can crushed tomatoes
10 basil leaves, torn
optional: sugar
1 pound ground pork
1 egg
1/4 cup panko crumbs
3 tablespoon sorrel pesto {or whatever pesto you have}
salt & pepper
cooked wholewheat spaghetti
shaved Parmesan cheese {I just use a vegetable peeler for this. You can also just grate yours.}
fresh basil for garnish



Directions
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan. Add an onion, carrots and garlic and saute for five minutes.
2. Add tomatoes and torn basil and simmer covered for twenty minutes. Taste and adjust the flavor by adding sugar, salt, and/or pepper.
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine pork, egg, panko crumbs, pesto, salt & pepper. Make meatballs.
4. Brown meatballs in a separate pan in a bit of olive oil {I actually used bacon fat from the bacon I cooked earlier the day}.



5. Add browned meatballs to the tomato sauce and simmer covered for fifteen minutes.
6. Serve meatballs and the sauce over cooked spaghetti topped with Parmesan and fresh basil.


This is a mild flavored dish perfect for the upcoming cooler weather. The sauce is chunky because of the chopped onions and sliced carrots. If you prefer a smoother texture, you can puree the sauce before adding the meatballs to it.

This dish is perfect for leftovers: I've eaten it three times already and have leftovers for tomorrow's lunch.