Sunday, September 20, 2015


Well, this is not a cooking recipe.. I wanted to share with you our success with cucumbers this year. The picture above is our bounty from today. Pretty good!

Here is what we did this year. I planted 2 pots with 5 seeds each in June. I don't remember the day, but it was probably late that month. By July 10-20 all 10 seedlings had emerged and had grown a set of true leaves. At the time we planted them in 4 mounds with respectively 2, 3, 2, 3 seedlings. They got full afternoon sun and plenty of water. I think I have been watering them almost every day. We also feed them every couple of weeks or so with a slow release organic fertilizer. They were still small mid-august, but they grew quickly after that and started producing Sep. 1. Once grown make sure you pick the cukes daily because I missed one that grew so big it got stuck between the fence (see pic below). :))

Friday, September 18, 2015

Cornbread Muffins

I was craving some cornbread.. It tends to be sweeter almost like cake so I was looking for something with a bit less sugar. I adapted the following recipe:

I used homemade yogurt instead of buttermilk and probably 1/2 T less sugar. Baked in paper lined mini muffin pans for 10 mins at 375 F so I ended up with 24 muffins. They still looked pale when I took them out but were perfectly cooked. Note, while still warm they tended to stick to the paper liner, but I had no such problem on the next morning. The are buttery, crumbly, with the right amount of sweetness.
I also had these with maple butter, but I don't think it is quite necessary, although it makes them a bit more special I think. These would probably store well in the freezer, too, so you can enjoy a quick bite whenever you crave it. ;)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Pretzel Rolls

I was browsing through Epicurious and the following recipe for pretzel rolls caught my attention: I have made pretzels only once before and I found it a bit harder to keep them in good shape, so I thought rolls would make it much easier and it sure did. It didn't take too long to do, either. I mixed the dough in a bowl with electric mixer with dough attachments instead of using food processor to minimize the amount of dirty cookware. Other than that, I followed the recipe. I ended up with only 6 rolls, though, since we used the last two dough pieces for pizza. :) These were best while still warm, still good on the next day, and they were gone by day 3.
I think I would still make regular shaped pretzels next time, since they are better for dipping. ;)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Lemon Chicken Drumsticks over Israeli Couscous

We usually brine our chicken to add more flavor. This time I was looking for something a bit quicker and lemony. I found the recipe on Epicurious (you probably know by now I often cook recipes from that site :) ). Here is a link to the original recipe:

I served the chicken over israeli couscous that was cooked according to the package directions - with some sauteed onions, garlic and homemade chicken stock. I also added some of the juices from the pan where the drumstick was baked.

It was a really delicious dinner. Definitely a keeper!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Peach Crisp

After our recent move I now feel more comfortable in the new kitchen. It is right in the middle of summer here and given our love for peaches we had overabundance in the fridge. It didn't take long to find a great recipe for peach breakfast. Here is a link to the one I followed. I really loved it and even without vanilla ice cream it tasted great (we had drinkable plain goat yogurt instead). I forgot to take a picture of the plate, but as you can see there is not much left in the baking dish, so it must have been good. ;)

Note: I used 3 medium peached and baked in a good old glass 8x8 inch Pyrex dish uncovered for about 25 minutes, and another 5-10 minutes covered with foil.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Baked Whole Branzino

I had bought two whole branzinos from Whole Foods. The first I grilled on a pan and finished in the oven (based on a recipe not worth sharing). We found it bland and somewhat overcooked, so we hoped the second one would turn out better, so here is how we prepared it. The result was so tender and flavorful, so I just had to share it! We had sides of mashed potatoes and green salad. Yum!

Baked Whole Branzino
serves 2

1 whole branzino (about a pound)
1 lemon
lemon zest from the lemon half
1 small garlic clove, minced
2-3 T minced parsley
2-3 T dill
4-5 scallions (bottom to middle part), cut in 1 inch lengths (optional)
1 yellow onion, cut in circles
2-3 T olive oil
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. Generously grease the bottom of a pan (I used 9x13 pyrex one) with about 2T olive oil.
  3. Rinse and dry the fish and season with salt and pepper all over (inside and out).
  4. Mix the lemon zest, garlic, and parsley. Spread over the inside of the fish (if you have extra you can top it over the skin).
  5. Cut 3-4 lemon slices (half lemon) and stuff them along with the dill in the inside of the fish. Add a couple of the scallions if using.
  6. Place the fish in the pan and top with scallions.
  7. Spread the onion slices over the fish and its sides (it is supposed to keep the fish from drying out).
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  9. Serve with the remaining lemon half.
Note: If you like crispier skin you can broil the fish for the last 3-4 minutes. We skipped that and had the fish ready at the 22-23 minute mark.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Yeasted Buckwheat Waffles

I knew it was a while since the last time I've posted on the blog... There have been a lot of life changing events in my life. Some of you already know all about it. :)

Let me share with you another of my recent culinary discoveries - buckwheat waffles! I had purchased buckwheat flour on a whim so I can try it sometime. It is unusual since it is not really related to wheat. Given that I love the basic recipe for yeasted whole wheat waffles that came with my waffle maker booklet, I looked into having similar waffles with buckwheat. I can tell you the result is even lighter and crispier! Here is a link to the recipe I followed from Epicurious: Yeasted Buckwheat Waffles. The only change I made was to use homemade yogurt instead of the milk. Enjoy with maple syrup or honey! And don't be afraid to try something new. :)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Oatmeal Cranberry Bars

The long story short - I had some thick cranberry syrup/relish I wanted to use in a dessert. Then I remembered I have seen chefs do oatmeal bars with jam, so I looked this one up and found the following recipe: I followed the recipe using the same dry ingredients and butter but I baked it in 13x8 inch pan. I also raised the oven temperature halfway through cooking. I took it out probably in about 30 minutes when it was turning golden around the edges.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Cranberry Orange Cornbread

 I was looking for a recipe with fresh cranberries. Since they are in season I bought some extra to try something new. This was my first time baking with fresh cranberries and my first take on cornbread. Cornbread is often served at BBQ places, and I have found it quite nice. It is sweet - kind of like cake. Here is the recipe I followed: My only change was using milk with added vinegar in place of the buttermilk since I didn't have any. I thought it was just a touch more sweet but I enjoyed till the last slice. :)