Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner

This is how our Thanksgiving meal looked like this year. :)
It took us about 7 hours to smoke the bird but it was well worth it.

Cranberry Relish

This one is a Thanksgiving classic. It goes so well with turkey. We don't like it too sweet, just perfect.

Cranberry Relish

12 oz fresh cranberries
3/4 cup orange juice
zest of 1 orange
2/3 cup sugar

  1. Rinse the cranberries.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan.
  3. Bring to boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. The berries will pop and the sauce with start to thicken.
  4. Let cool to room temperature. It will continue to thicken as it cools down.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Acorn Squash Barley Salad with Kale

I love pumpkin and squash in general. I like how its sweetness contrasts with the spiciness of the black pepper. The garlicky kales really elevates it. The recipe is adapted from one I found on Epicurious website:
I actually ate it for dinner, and the leftovers were still good reheated the next day.

Acorn Squash Barley Salad with Kale
makes two generous servings

1 small acorn squash
1 T butter
1 cup boiled pearl barley
2/3 bunch kale, leaves thorn in small piece (remove the tough centers)
1 T olive oil
4 T chopped onion
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 tsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice
  1. Reheat the oven to 375F 
  2. Peel the squash and dice in 1/2 inch cubes.
  3. Toss with the melted butter and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast for about 35 minutes or until fork tender and slightly caramelized around the edges. Stir midway through baking if needed.
  5. While the squash cools heat the olive oil and saute the onion for a couple of minutes.
  6. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds.
  7. Quickly saute the kale stirring frequently. It would take another couple of minutes at most.
  8. Season the kale with salt.
  9. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  10. Add vinegar (or lemon juice) and season with additional salt or olive oil if needed.
  11. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Lemon Ricotta Waffles

I can't believe I haven't posted any waffles yet. Today was actually the second time I make these. I found Joy's recipe when searching for ricotta waffles.  I knew I could trust her since I have made some of her other baking recipes. I had plenty of ricotta cheese and wanted to see if it truly lights up the texture. And indeed these are light and tasty. Not too sweet so you can add generous serving of honey or maple syrup on top.

I halved the recipe adding a little extra zest and poppy seeds, and ended up with 4 small waffles. Served with honey and orange juice.

Tip: If you have any leftover waffles you can freeze them individually wrapped and reheat for a minute in the microwave. They dry out a bit after reheating but they are certainly quick tasty midweek breakfast.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Jamie Oliver's Mushroom Soup

This soup is GOOD! I need to give credit to my hubby who came up with the idea when looking at all the mushrooms at Whole Foods. And I rarely get requests for soups.. With the exception of the occasional traditional meatball soup I often end up eating a pot of soup by myself.

I used half chanterelles and half shiitake mushrooms in the soup and substituted cream cheese for the mascarpone. Garnished with sauteed baby bella mushrooms and the suggested zesty lemon juice.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Cinnamon Babka

 I have to admit my cinnamon babka didn't turn out as I expected.
I was hoping to have some pumpkin flavour in the dough but I obviously didn't use enough pumpkin there. And I made one obvious mistake - I overlooked the cinnamon and used 2T in the filling instead of 2tsp which overpowered it. I still liked it, but it would be so much better with the intended amount. I will make this again with some extra adjustments (adding orange zest to the filling). The recipe is adapted from here

Cinnamon Babka
makes two loafs

1/2 cup warm milk
3 T pumpkin puree (optional)
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast 
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
7 Tbsp melted butter 2 cups all-purpose flour (add more if needed)

1 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp melted butter (unsalted)
1 large egg white, reserve yolk for brushing
2 tsp cinnamon 
1/8 tsp salt 
4-5 T chopped walnuts 

  1.  Proof the yeast in half the milk and a little sugar for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir all other wet dough ingredients and slowly add flour.
  3. Knead the though using a mixer if you have one, adding more flour if the dough is still wet.
  4. Let rest until it doubles in size.
  5. Mix the filling in a bowl.
  6. Grease 2 loaf pans (I used a single glass 8x8 square pan to hold both).
  7. Divide the dough in 2 equal pieces.
  8. Roll it as thin as possible in a rectangle shape.
  9. Spread half the filling over the dough and start rolling on both side.
  10. Repeat with the other one and place in the pan.
  11. Let the loaves double in size (I let them stay in the fridge overnight)
  12. Just before baking brush with reserved yolk and sprinkle a little sugar/cinnamon on top.
  13. Bake at 375F for about 35-45 minutes until golden brown.
  14. Let cool before slicing.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Homemade Flour Tortillas

These are best eaten warm as soon as they come out of the pan.
Have some fresh guacamole and/or a nice dip and you are good for a treat!

Flour Tortillas
makes 12 tortillas 

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
4 T cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup water

  1. Stir flour and salt.
  2. Cut in butter with the help of a fork and your fingertips until there are no longer lumps. (it should be close to a cornmeal consistency, but don't overwork it)
  3. Stir in water at once and mix it all in with a fork until it holds into a ball. It would look kind of dry.
  4. Wrap in plastic and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  5.  Cut in 12 equal pieces. Keep them wraped while rolling each one.
  6. Heat up a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
  7. Roll as thin as possible and cook tortillas as you continue to roll the others.
  8. Tortillas puff quite a bit. After you turn them over you can pat them down a little to help cook it evenly.
  9. Keep cooked tortillas covered with a towel.
  10. Enjoy within a couple of hours! These could be frozen as well but I rarely have leftovers.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Probably the most popular use for avocados.. I have made this recipe more than a dozen times.


3 ripe avocados
1 roma tomato, finely chopped
3 scallions, chopped
3-4 T cilantro leaves, chopped
1 small jalapeno pepper, minced
juice of 1/2 lime
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Peel and roughly chop avocados.
  2. Mix in all other ingredients except lime juice and mash it.
  3. Add lime juice to taste (could have some leftover).
You can enjoy the guacamole with homemade tortillas as we often

Note: Avocados brown easily so unless you can finish it in one sitting cover it with plastic wrap.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Walnut Meringue Cookies

I made these for a dinner party themed "Nuts about Nuts". I loved eating walnut cookies as a kid so this is the first thing that came to my mind. I like my cookies a touch less sweet and not as dry. These are somewhat fragile and sticky. The cookies on the picture are the last two left. They will probably not survive another day! Next time I can try making sandwich cookies with these, probably with light chocolate whipped cream...

Walnut Meringue Cookies
makes over a dozen cookies
about 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 egg whites
4 or 5 T granulated sugar
1 1/2 T honey (optional)
1/4 tsp cinnamon

  1. Beat the egg whites until they start to foam, doubling their volume.
  2. Continue beating the egg whites by gradually adding the sugar - tablespoon at a time. You can taste to make sure the meringue is sweet enough. You are shooting for stiff peaks. 
  3. Carefully stir in the honey, then the nuts. 
  4. Place about a tablespoon at a time on a silicon mat, or aluminium foil (no grease) 
  5. Bake at low oven (170 F or below) for about an hour or two, checking on them every 15 minutes. I even turned the oven a couple of times during the cooking. When done the centre of the cookie won't be feel soft to the touch. If you prefer your cookies drier, just bake them longer. Enjoy! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Chocolate Layer Cake

I haven't really baked much this summer. This one was worth the effort, and the extra heat. It is like chocolate heaven. Be warned however the cake is a bit dense (and moist). All you would need is a small slice to satisfy your chocolate cravings. :)
I pretty much followed the recipe from Food & Wine: Fudgy Chocolate Layer Cake. I scaled the recipe to make 2/3. Baked in a 13x9 pyrex glass pan. After it cooled down I cut it in equal pieces and made the ganache frosting. I accidentally put too much cream in the frosting and I was able to fix it by adding some cornstarch - and it worked! It took us a couple of days to devour this little cake.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Bulgarian Meatloaf (Rulo Stefani)

We have been pretty excited with our new outdoor grill. Adding smoky flavour to the traditional meatloaf really brings it up to the next level. This is a traditional recipe you could easily make in the oven as well. We served it with glazed carrots but mashed potatoes would have worked even better.

Bulgarian Meatloaf (Rulo Stefani)

1.2-1.5 lb ground meat (we used lamb here; mixture of pork and beef also works well)
3 T minced onion
3-4 T chopped parsley
3-4 T breadcrumbs, or 2 bread slices
1 egg
spices like summer savory, paprika, cumin
salt and pepper
1-2 T butter

2 boiled eggs
1-2 boiled carrots
2 pickles

  1. Preheat oven/grill to 300-350F.
  2. Mix all meatloaf ingredients in a bowl and adjust seasoning to taste.
  3. Spread meat mixture over greased aluminum foil in a rectangular shape about 1 cm thick.
  4. Arrange the filling along the center and roll along the long edge helping yourself with the foil to seal it well. Make sure the seal is in the bottom.
  5. Drizzle with hot butter.
  6. Optionally add a little water .
  7. Bake for about 30-40 minutes until done. We added some grated Kashkaval cheese during the last 5-10 minutes of baking.
  8. Let cool a bit, slice, and serve. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Bulgarian Shepherd's Salad

We had some extra smoked ham and roasted peppers when I remembered the old Bulgarian Shepherd's salad. Qualitly ingredients really make a difference here. We loved this one!

Bulgarian Shepherd's Salad

1 cucumber
2-3 tomatoes
2-3 T thinly sliced red onion (could use scallions)
1/4-1/3 cup marinated grilled mushrooms
1/4 cup smoked ham
2-3 roasted peppers
1/4 cup kashkaval cheese (could use mozzarella), cubed
some feta cheese
3 boiled eggs
handful olives for garnish (optional)
olive oil, wine vinegar, and salt for seasining

  1. Mix all the ingredients except the feta and eggs.
  2. Season with about 1-2 T oil and 1.5 tsp vinegar (more or less to taste)
  3. Divide in two big plates.
  4. Sprinkle the feta, and arrange the eggs along the edge of the plate. 
  5. Top with lives if using. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Lemon Cornmeal Cookies

I really like these lemon cookies. The recipe is adapted from Cooking Light May 2008 recipe I found online. It is easy to make as long as you are careful not to use too much baking soda. It is better to put less than more. There are still somewhat soft after 12 minutes of baking, but if you prefer them crisper just add a couple of minutes to the baking time. I will definitely make these again and again.

Lemon Cornmeal Cookies
makes about 20 small cookies
7 T all-purpose flour
4 T cornmeal
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger
5 T sugar
3 T butter, softened
1 egg white, room temperature
1 T grated lemon zest
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Mix the flour with the cornmeal, baking soda, salt and ginger.
  3. Beat the butter with the sugar until fluffy.
  4. Add the egg white and the zest. Mix well.
  5. Add the flour in two additions being careful to not overmix.
  6. Spoon over silicone mat and bake for 12 minutes.
  7. Let cool on the mat for another 5 minutes, then transfer in an airtight container.  

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Chocolate Babka

This is a recipe worth of a special occasion. It is rich, chocolaty, flaky sweet bread I can barely resist eating it all by myself. I followed the recipe from Epicurious: Chocolate Babka with only a few minor adjustments. I halved the recipe to make a single loaf and I didn't use a lot of butter in the filling, just enough to cover the dough. This is the second time I make it actually and I will make it again for sure.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ginger Molasses Cupcakes

I was in the mood for something with molasses. These mini cupcakes really hit the spot. I haven't baked much with molasses but I do like its rich flavor. I adapted a recipe I found on Epicurious. I will certainly keep this one handy because it was really easy, quick and the result is delicious! Next time I think I will double the amount and use one whole egg. A small amount of chopped walnuts or other nuts would be a nice addition giving a bit of a crunch.

Ginger Molasses Cupcakes
makes 15 mini cupcakes

3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 T butter, softened
3 T sugar
4 T robust molasses
4 T boiling water
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg yolk, with a small amount of the egg white
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. In a small bowl mix the flour with the spices (ginger and cinnamon).
  3. Beat the butter with the sugar until fluffy, set aside.
  4. Pour the hot water over the molasses and stir. Quickly add the baking powder and stir. It should bubble.
  5. Mix in the molasses mixture and flour to the butter in small additions, mixing well after each one.
  6. Finally mix in the egg yolk.
  7. Pour equally in 15 mini cupcake cups. It should be close to the brim.
  8. Bake for about 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Pineapple-Coconut-Banana Upside-Down Cake

I was looking forward to try my hands on an upside-down cake. Mine didn't caramelize much since I quickly removed it from the stovetop. Nevertheless, the cake along with the topping is really tasty - great flavor profile. This is a winner for using canned pineapples. The recipe is adapted from Cooking Light Dessert cookbook.

Pineapple-Coconut-Banana UpsideDown Case
2 T butter
1/2 cup brown sugar ( 7 T sugar + 1 tsp molasses)
1 (15 1/2 oz) can pineapple slices in juice
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup ripe banana, mashed
2 T oil (vegetable)
1 egg

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Melt butter in a cast iron skillet (preferably 9 inch), sprinkle brown sugar evenly and arrange drained pineapple slices on top. Cook for a minute or two on the stove top to get some caramelization going.
  3. Mix all dry ingredients (flour through salt) in one bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl stir reserved 1/2 cup pineapple juice, banana, oil, and egg.
  5. Pour the wet mixture over the flour and mix until just combined. Pour over the pineapple slices in the skillet, even it out if needed and bake for about 30 minutes.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

Ever since I learned how to make hummus I try to keep the main ingredients on hand. I was looking forward to try a new flavor and I came up with this one - roasted tomato hummus. I have made this more than a couple of times and I keep getting back to it.

Sundried Tomato Hummus

1 T oil-packed sun dried tomatoes, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 T tahini
1/2 lemon, juiced (or more to taste)
1 (15.5 oz) can chickpeas
  1. Chop the tomatoes and garlic in a blender.
  2. Add the drained chickpeas with 1-2 T of their liquid.
  3. Pour the tahini and lemon juice.
  4. Blend adding more of the chickpea liquid if it becomes too thick.
  5. Season with salt pepper and more lemon juice if needed.
  6. Transfer to a container/bowl and drizzle some of the tomato flavored olive oil.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Spent Grain Bread

If you happen to be like me and have a spouse or a close friend that brews you can easily try this recipe. I first did as an experiment since I was not sure what the result would be. I realized the grain softens in the bread and give it a little sweetness and nuttiness I love. So here I am making this again.

Making your own bread is easy. There are lots of great recipes out there. Some easier than others, of course. Most of them follow some general guidelines with regard to ingredients and technique. Like everything else you become better with practice.

Spent Grain Bread
makes 1 loaf

1 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/4 cup water, lukewarm
2 tsp kosher salt (about 1 tsp if using regular)
3 cups flour ( I like using some whole wheat and some white here)
3/4 cup spent grain
  1. Sprinkle the yeast over 1/4 cup of the water. Wait for about 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in some of the flour - about 1/2 cup. It would be thick but still somewhat liquid. Sprinkle a little more flour on top to prevent forming a crust. Cover and let rest at room temperature until you see it has doubled or more in size.
  3. Add the salt, remaining water, spent grain and stir. Add in the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time and stir.
  4. Once it becomes doughy you can start mixing/kneading it by hand. Depending on how moist the grain is you may need to add more flour here. The though should not feel too wet and sticky. It is better to be on the drier side.
  5. Knead for 5-10 minutes or use mixer with dough attachments for 3-5 minutes. You can do it even longer if you have patience. This step develops the gluten in the flour so the end result won't be crumbly.
  6. Sprinkle more flour to prevent crust forming on top. Let rest covered until doubled.
  7. Prepare the baking sheet with foil, greased and sprinkled with cornmeal or flour. I actually used a towel sprinkled with cornmeal since I baked my bread directly on a pizza stone.
  8. Punch the dough and form it into a ball. Place on the sheet seam side down, or if in a tower - with the seam side up. Sprinkle more cornmeal or flour on top.
  9. Wait another hour or so until it doubles in size.
  10. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees (with the pizza stone inside if you use it)
  11. If using pizza stone - invert the dough carefully over the hot stone.
  12. Make deep slashes on the top of the bread. This will help it rise even more while it bakes.
  13. Bake for 40-45 minutes.
  14. Try to resist slicing it for at least 5 minutes!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Roasted Pineapple Tartlets

I reallized I have never really cooked with fresh pineapple before. While I enjoy a good juicy one fresh as is I wanted to try something different. I found the recipe from the Epicurious web site which is a great source of recipes. It sounded exciting to combine the tropical flavors with a spicy caramel sauce and the result was well worth the effort. I used only 1 1/2 chillis without any seeds, and substituted vanilla extract for the bean. I think the best servng accompaniment for these tarts would be just plain whipped cream instead of the ice cream as these are pretty sweet already. I think next time I would make these even smaller so I get more nice crispy crust. Great flavor!

Sherried Sardine Toast

Canned fish may be boring sometimes, but this one is not! It is one of my favorites since it is easy, quick, and delicious. You won't be disappointed: 

The recipe comes from a classic food show I really liked watching: Good Eats. You could certainly learn a lot from it and some (even though not all) of Alton Brown's recipes are great.

Hint: For this recipe you could use a regular toaster and drizzle the oil after the bread slices are toasted instead.

We ate these along with a nice lettuce salad!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Brussels Sprouts Cockaigne

This is the best way to cook fresh brussel sprouts. They get caramelized and crispy on one side, while steaming. The result is nothing like the mushy sides you may have tasted to far. I like them with a little parmesan on top. They are a nice side for a steak, or good on their own as an appetizer. The recipe is adapted from the Joy of Cooking - a great cookbook I would whole-hearted recommend. Here is a link.

Brussels Sprouts Cockaigne
makes 2 appetizer servings
1 T butter
1 1/2 T olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves
12-14 brussel sprouts

You need a big enough saute pan with a lid that can hold all brussel sprouts.

  1.  Rinse and precut the brussel sprouts in half.
  2.  Heat the butter and oil on medium low.
  3.  Cut the garlic lengthwise and add to the pan.
  4.  Once the garlic is golden brown on both sides, take it out and turn down the heat to very low.
  5.  Add the brussel sprout cut side down and cover.
  6.  After 10-13 minutes they should be nicely browned, bt be careful not to overcook.
  7.  Season with salt and serve with a little grated parmesan. Enjoy while steam warm! 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cheesy Tomato Lasagna

Here is how I have been making lasagna for awhile. Since I started making my own dough I would never go back to buying lasagna sheets. The dough is easy to make and using a pasta machine makes it a breeze. There is no need to preboil the sheets when they are fresh and you can tell the difference in taste. I sometimes cheat and use ready-made marinara sauce but again if you make you own sauce it has much fresher taste.

The dough recipe is adapted from the recipe on the back of the Bob's Red Mill semolina package.

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup semolina
1/4 to 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk
4 tsp olive oil
4 tsp water
  1. Mix the dry ingredients and form a well in the middle.
  2. Add the egg and yolk and mix lightly.
  3. Drizzle the oil and the water and mix lightly again.
  4. Form into a bowl and start kneading, adding a little more water if the dough is too dry.
  5. Knead for 5-10 minutes. It should feel somewhat like play dough. 
  6. Let rest for 20 minutes and it is ready for use.
Tomato sauce

28oz canned tomatoes with juice
1 carrot, grated
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 gloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
3-4 T parsley, chopped
  1. Saute the vegetables in the olive oil.
  2. Add the chopped tomatoes with their juices and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  3. Add the parsley.

3 eggs
16 oz ricotta cheese
14 oz mozzarella cheese, grated
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Mix the eggs with the ricotta, and add salt to taste.
  3. Spread a thin layer of sauce in a 13x9 inch pan (I like Pyrex).
  4. Divide the pasta dough in 4 equal pices.
  5. Take one piece of the dough and cut in 3. Roll each one in a long sheet. Layer over sauce, slightly overlapping.
  6. Spread some ricotta mixture and a quarter of the mozzarella. Spoon over tomato sauce.
  7. Repeat the layers until you get to the last one. The forth layer should only have tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.
  8. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for another 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and started to turn golden.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Cream of Broccoli Soup

I like to cook soups once in a while. There is something really comforting in a warm bowl of soup on a winter day. This is probably the best broccoli soup I have made so far and I think DH agrees. :)

Cream of Broccoli Soup
makes 3 bowls

1 1/2 T butter
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
3 cups chicken stock (quail or duck would work well)
1/3 cup white wine
1 lb. frozen broccoli florets
1/3 cup boiled potato, cubed
1/3 cup milk
1-2 T potato starch (or corn starch)
a little nutmeg
freshly made croutons

  1. Melt the butter and saute the onions and garlic for 5 minutes or until soft but not brown.
  2. Add the stock and wine; bring to boil.
  3. Stir in the broccoli and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the chopped potato and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Stir in the cold milk mixed with the starch and continue to cook for a minute or two so it tickens.
  6. Reserve some of the broccoli frorets and blend the rest. It should have nice creamy consistency.
  7. Season with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg.
  8. Ladle in bowls and top with croutons and the reserved broccoli. Enjoy!
Note: For the croutons I cubed 3-4 slices of white bread and put in bowl. Mixed with some herbs like paprika, summer savory, oregano, garlic and 3-4 T olive oil. Baked at 440F for about 15 minutes or until they got nice golden brown color. Let cool before using.

Puff Pastry with Feta

 When I have leftover puff pastry I often make these. They make a good breakfast as well.

Puff Pastry with Feta 

puff pastry
feta cheese

Defrost the pastry according to package directions.
For every every 4-5 T cheese use 1 T egg mixture or less. The filling shoould still be somewhat firm not runny. Set aside.
Roll out a little bit and cut in squares or any other shape you like.
Spoon 1-2 tsp filling over each sqaure depending on size.
Lightly brush the edges with egg and close. I use a small fork to close the edges. Make sure you work quickly otherwise the dough would becode sticky.
Put in the fridge for 10-15 minutes or so to firm up.
Just before baking brush the top with the egg.
Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until golden brown like the picture below.

 Tip: I often use my fingers to brush pastries since I find the brush I bought from the store oo stiff.

Strawberry Banana Milkshake


I have always loved the combination of strawberries and banana.
Like most smoothies and milkshakes this is very easy and quick.
Next time I would add a some vanilla extract or maybe vanilla ice cream.

Strawberry Banana Milkshake
makes two glasses
3/4 cup strawberries in light simple syrup (these were previously  frozen)
3/4 cup milk
1/2 banana

Blend all ingredients and pour over ice. If it is too sweet add a little more milk. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Mushroom Pizza with Quail Eggs

Homemade pizza is much better than any frozen one. It is even better when you make it according to your tastes. Today we had some mushrooms and quail eggs laying around so this is what we made for dinner.

Mushroom Pizza with Quail Eggs

  • pizza dough
  • 1-2 handfuls of mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 6 Tbsp shredded mozzarella
  • thinly sliced tomato
  • 3-4 quail eggs
  • 1 Tbsp ggod olive oil
  • chopped fresh chives for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 450F with a pizza stone inside.
  2. Saute the mushrooms until they shrink in half or so. Do not skip this step unless you like your pizza soggy.
  3. Sprinkle half of the cheese, layer with mushrooms and tomatoes.
  4. Drizzle the olive oil on top and put on the pizza stone.
  5. After 5-6 minutes add the quail eggs and bake 2 more minute at which point it should be ready.
  6.  Sprinkle with fresh  herbs and enjoy!
Here is another picture:

Avocado Salad with Lettuce

This a quick salad I made after checking what we have on hand in the fridge.
It turned out great and DH liked it a lot. This is a keeper.

Avocado Salad with Lettuce
makes 2 salad bowls

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 small tomato, finely chopped
  • 5-6 lettuce leaves
  • 1 ripe avocado, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp chives (optional)
  • 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
Mix all ingredients. Add salt to taste and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tuna and Egg Tartlets

This recipe is adapted from a book I borrowed from the library: Tapas Fantasticas. Here is a link to the book. The tartlets turned out great. The filling was a bit more salty but still good. I will certainly come back to these again.

Tuna and Egg Tartlets

Basic Tartlet Pastry
3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
 4 T chilled unsalted butter, cubed
2-3 Tbs. chilled dry sherry or water (could use egg here)

one 6 oz can tuna, oil packed
1-2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
2 T capers, rinsed then chopped
1 T mustard such as horseradish or dijon
1 T mayonnaise
1 tsp anchovies, rinsed and minced
2 T chopped parsley
1 tsp chopped celery (optional)
1/2-1 tsp lemon juice
tomato slices for garnish
  1. Mix the flour and salt in a food processor.
  2. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. Add 2-3 T of the liquid and process briefly. Add more liquid if needed. Test the dough using your fingers. It should easily form into a ball. If too dry it would brake easily when rolled. If too wet it wouldn't hold its shape and won't puff well. For beginners it is best to err on the side of making it wetter.
  4. Take the dough out of the processor and plit it two. Flat them and regrigerate wrapped in plastic wrap for about an hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  6. Roll the dough to 1/8 inch thickness. And using a glass or cookie cutter cut circles.
  7. Refrigerate the dough to firm if it becomes too soft to work with.
  8. Grease the bottom a mini muffin pan and press the circles gently. Top with another mini muffin pan.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes with the top pan; then remove it and bake 2-3 more minutes.
  10. Once done, invert the tartlets and let cool on a wire rack. Then proceed with the filling.
  11. For the filling all you need is to mix everything well and taste as you go to avoid making it too salty. I topped these with fresh tomato slices since these were a bit dry on their own. Great appetizer!

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Since I was I a child I loved Kozunak, a challah like sweet bread we had in Bulgaria every Easter. Since I read about Makoviec bread I wanted to try it. This was the second time I used poppy seed filling and I liked the result much better than the first which were some Jewish butter cookies (Hamantaschen). I couldn't stop eating it. It is good for breakfast with tea or coffee. I have had it for dessert and afternoon snack, too.


  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • flour (2-3) cups


  • roughly 1/2 cup poppy seed filling
  • zest of 1/2 orange
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins, chopped
  1. Mix the yeast with a little warm water and let rest for 4-5 minutes.
  2. In a big bowl mix in the yogurt, flour, zest, and sugar and knead until it becomes springy. I used a hand mixer with a dough hook attachment. It took like 5-10 minutes.
  3. Let rest in a warm place covered with a towel until it doubles in size.
  4. Punch down. Divide in two balls. Roll each one to 1/4 inch thickness.
  5. Prepare the filling by mixing them in a small bowl. 
  6. Spread half of the filling over the dough and roll. Repeat with the other half.
  7. Put the two rolls in a greased 8x8in baking dish. (I used Pyrex here.)
  8. Rest until almost doubled in size.
  9. Preheat the oven to 375F. Glaze with yolk and some sugar.
  10. Bake for 25 minutes, then lower the heat to 345 and bake 15 more minutes.
    Let cool a bit and enjoy. It is still good the following day.