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!