Saturday, October 6, 2012

Butternut squash soup.

I love fall. The change of color in leaves, the beautiful mums on every body's doorsteps, the cooler weather, and most especially the food! Apples, spinach, cauliflower and the variety of squashes are at their peaks right now.

Butternut squash is a comforting fall/winter soup and is one of my favorites. I love it's sweetness, it's velvety texture. I have found winter squash to be so versatile and can be use in risottos, soups, pasta sauce, and while searching the blogosphere found recipes of ice cream, crisps and even smoothies!!!!

You will need, one big leek, 3 garlic cloves smashed, 1 tbsp of fresh ginger chopped, one big butternut squash and 2 medium size potatoes.

Heat olive oil and a little knob of butter (I didn't say it was a skinny soup!!!) over medium heat, add leek, garlic and ginger and saute for 3/4 minutes.

Add squash and potatoes, salt and stir everything together,

cover with water, or half water half chicken (or vegetable) broth, bring to boil . Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until the potato and squash are tender when poked with a fork.

Using a blender, puree in batch until mixture is very smooth

A this stage if serving right away add in a dollop or 2 of heavy cream...

...and serve with a sprinkle of bacon bits (real ones, of course!!) and toasted bread.

Ingredients :

2 T. extra virgin olive oil
5 c. [1 1/2 lbs] of butternut squash peeled and cubed
2  potatoes, cubed
1 large leek, washed and sliced
3 garlic cloves smashed
1 tbsp of fresh ginger chopped
 salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 to 10 cups of water or half water, half chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you prefer)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pumpkin and chocolate chip muffins

Today for the first time I decided to try baking with pumpkin. I wasn't really sure if I was going to like anything made out of canned pumpkin, but those muffins are the tastiest muffins ever!!!! Moist, sweet just like they should be, and....they have chocolate, now what not to like!!!!! Can you believe that even my oldest son and my hubby tried them and liked them!!!!

  • 1 2/3 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup Sugar (I don't think it needs more, but you can adjust the quantity as your liking)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Tb Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted or 1/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup of buttermilk for a lighter version
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper baking liners.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and pumpkin spice. Set aside.
In another medium bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin, and melted butter. Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry mixture. Stir until just moistened (batter may be a little lumpy). Fold in chocolate chips.
Spoon batter into the muffin cups and bake for about 20 minutes.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Zucchini tart

One of the things I enjoy the most in the summer, besides the warm weather, vacation and lazy diners, is my vegetable garden. I planted it 2 years ago just to show the kids how vegetables grow, then I got hooked and just love to go in my garden and pick whatever is ready. I try to squeeze in as much plants as I can in my little patch, tomatoes, green beans, peas, carrots, eggplants, peppers, herbs and zucchinis.
This year we had so mamy zucchinis I didn't know what to do with them (beside giving some to friends). So I started looking for recipes on the web...well the choices are incredible !!!! Yummy recipes after yummy recipes. I also came up with few of my own and they are the one I would like to share with you.
this is the only picture I could find, the better ones are on my phone....and I am no geek tech!!!

You will need 2 medium size zucchinis sliced, 2 small tomatoes (you can use 1 small can of diced tomatoes) 1 small chopped onion, 2 garlic gloves minced and half a red pepper sliced.

Fry everything in 2 tbsp of olive oil until the vegetables are lightly colored, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile beat together 3 eggs with salt and pepper,

add the vegetables,

and fresh mozzarella and chopped fresh basil, mix everything carefully.

Line a pan (I used a quiche pan) with parchement paper top with your favorite dough, line again with parchment paper, and cover the bottom with pie weighs (I use chickpeas). Bake at 375F until the dough looks firm and dry about 15 minutes.

Remove the weight and parchment and continue baling for another 10 minutes. Pour all that loveliness into the dough line pie pan. Bake until the cheese is melting and the egg mixture is cooked.

Enjoy your tart with a nice salad in summer or a warm soup in winter!!

Recipe :

2 medium size zucchini sliced
1 small onion chopped
2 small tomatoes chopped
Half a red pepper sliced
2 garlic cloves minced
3 eggs
3/4 cup (or more if you like) of diced mozzarella
8 to 10 basil leaves (I like a lot of basil!!!!)
Salt and pepper

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Mediterranean salmon salad

O.M.G I can not believe I've been M.I.A for so long!!!!!! And I don't even have a good excuse beside been too lazy to upload pictures for the recipes and take the time to type the recipe...But at last here I am.

Today I would like to share with you one of my favorite summer salad. This Mediterranean salmon salad is packed with flavors and so delicious it became one of my family's favorite dish, if you don't count my daughter picking at the veggies to catch only the salmon and pasta!!!

The first step is to make the recipe for  the dressing. Make it about an hour before dinner so the flavors have time to blend. You will need,

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • Whisk all ingredients together and mix into salad just before serving
    Then preheat the broiler and sprinkle the salmon with salt, pepper, & oregano. Place under broiler for 10-15 minutes, or until center is cooked.

    Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta and place in a deep casserole dish. Pour 1/4 cup of dressing over pasta and gently toss.

    Chopped up the onion, peppers, artichokes, olives & crumble the feta.

    Add to the cooked orzo,

    to it add the arugula (love, love, love arugula!!!)...

    and the salmon flaked using two forks,

    & serve with dressing on the side

    See nothing to it and worth the little effort put into it!!!! Hope you'll enjoy this delicious recipe with your family and friends.

    Ingredients :

  • 3/4 lb salmon filet
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup red bell peppers (chopped)
  • 1/4 chopped red onions
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 14oz can artichoke hearts (quartered)
  • 2 cups arugula

  • Dressing (see above)

    Monday, April 30, 2012

    Blackberry-Apple Upside Down Cake

    Hello, I'm baaaack !!! I've been neglecting my blog for far too long, but each time I log in to post a recipe all hell brakes loose in my house, and then I forget about it. My children know when to start fights or in need of help when I start something, you know like when you're on the phone, and they start asking you questions or say something strange that the other person can hear and make you turn red!!!!
    Anyway none of that today, so I wanted to share with you this beautiful and easy blackberry-apple upside down cake. It is a nice change from it's pineapple sister and it really has a nice little WOW effect !!

    It all start with start with the fruitmance (you know a fruit romance !!! I know it's far fetch) of the blackberry and the apple..

    Preheat oven to 350°. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a lightly greased 9-inch round cake pan (with sides that are at least 2 inches high) over low heat. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with brown sugar; drizzle honey over brown sugar. Arrange apple slices in concentric circles over brown sugar mixture, overlapping as needed; sprinkle with blackberries.

    Beat granulated sugar and remaining 1/2 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.

     Sift together flour and baking powder. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

    Stir in vanilla. Spoon batter over blackberries in pan.

    Bake at 350° for 45 to 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of cake to loosen. Invert cake onto a serving plate, spooning any topping in pan over cake.

    Serve it just as is, or with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream if you like. Enjoy!!!!

    Ingredients :

    3/4 cup butter, softened and divided
    1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
    1/4 cup honey
    2 large Gala apples, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
    1 cup fresh blackberries (cranberries would work too)
    1 cup granulated sugar
    2 large eggs
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 cup milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Wednesday, February 29, 2012

    Beef curry

    To continue on the comfort food trail, here's a recipe that screams comfort to me (and no potaotes involved!!!). This beef curry recipe is so easy to make and so full of flavours it will knock your socks of !! Although my very good friend Y. who makes the most delicious pakistani dishes might not say the same...but she's the queen of curries, so let's not compare.

    Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan, when hot, brown the beef stirring occasionally. Add 3 chopped onions and 1/4 teaspoon of crushed pepper flakes (to give it some bite) and continue to fry. When well browned add 1 heaping tablespoon of curry powder, 1 teaspoon of cumin powder, 1 1/2 teaspoon of tumeric powder, 3 garlic cloves chopped, 1 tablespoon (or more) of grated ginger and 3 cardamome pods. Let all the spices cook for a minute until fragrant then add a 14 oz can of crushed tomatoes and 2 BIG tablespoons of plain yogurt. Let cook until meat is tender (I cook mine in my pressure cooker and it takes only 20 minutes). At the end add hopped fresh coriander and serve with basmati rice and naans.

    See nothing hard there, but the dish is awesome and very tasty. Bon appetit..

    Beef Curry

    1/2 lbs of beef (cut of your choice)
    3 medium onions chopped
    1/4 tsp of crushed pepper flakes
    3 garlic cloves chopped
    1 tbsp of curry powder
    1 tsp of cumin powder
    1 1/2 tsp of tumeric powder
    1 tbsp of grated ginger
    3 cardamome pods
    1 14oz can of crushed tomatoes
    2 tbsp of plain yogurt
    chopped cilantro

    Sunday, January 29, 2012

    Comfort food

    As you all know in winter there is nothing more comforting than a big ol' bowl of steaming soup or a big plate of hearty stew with a thick slice of bread. In my house everybody knows 2 things about me 1) I am a chocolate lover and 2) I am a meat and potato gal, any combo will do, beef and mashed potatoes, chicken and scalloped potatoes, Shepperd name it and I will like it, and if cheese is involved it's even better !!! This next recipe had all the right ingredients and made it our new favorite family meal.

    Stoved chicken   

    Ingredients :

    I doubled the recipe since I have to feed 3 children and a bottomless stomach husband!!

    2 lbs potatoes cut into into1/4 in slices
    2 large onions, thinly sliced
    1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
    1/4 stick of butter
    1 tbsp olive oil
    2 large bacon strips chopped, I used pancetta.
    4 large chicken joints, halved
    2 1/2 cups of chicken stock
    1 bay leaf
    salt and ground black pepper

    Preheat the oven 300F

    Make a thick layer of half the potato slices int the base of a large, heavy casserole, then cover with half the onion. Sprinkle with half the thyme and salt and ground black pepper.

    Heat the butter and the oil in a large frying pan, then brown the bacon and chicken. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken and bacon to the casserole. Reserve the fat in the pan. When cool, store in the fridge and use another time for roasting potatoes (yummy more potatoes!!!)

    Tuck the bay leaf in between the chicken pieces. Sprinkle the remaining thyme over, then cover with remaining onion, followed by a layer of overlapping potato slices. Season.

    pour the stock into the casserole. Brush the top layer of the sliced potatoes with the reserved fat from the frying pan, then cover tightly and cook in preheated oven for 2 hours, until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and tender.

    Preheat the broiler to high. Uncover the casserole, place under the grill and cook until the slices or potato are beginning to brown and crisp. Serve hot.

    Bon appetit.

    Wednesday, January 25, 2012

    cheesecake chocolate chips bars, and a mini makeover...

    Hello everyone !! Well it's been a little while since my last post. So let's not wait another moment and go right to it. I made my next recipe at a GNO last week and I had a lot of demands for the recipe so here we go. Those bars come with a warning though, they are highly addictive and highly high in calories !!!! So make then at your own risks.

    Preheat oven to 325°. Butter a 9″-square baking pan. Line pan with parchment paper, leaving enough to extend over the sides. Butter the parchment paper.

    To prepare the crust combine graham cracker crumbs and butter until crumbs are moistened. Stir in the mini-chocolate chips. Press crust mixture into bottom of pan and 1 inch up sides. Bake for 6 minutes. Set pan on wire rack to cool.

    Next, prepare the cookie dough. Using an electric mixer, mix butter, brown sugar, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract at medium speed until smooth.Decrease mixer speed to low and add flour. Mix just until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Set aside.

    To prepare the filling, using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar just until smooth. Add egg and vanilla extract, beating just until blended. Pour batter into baked crust.

    Drop cookie dough by teaspoonfuls over the top of the filling.  

    Bake about 30 minutes, or until set. Transfer to wire rack.

    To decorate with drizzled chocolate, place chocolate in a microwave safe dish and microwave in 30 second intervals moving the chocolate around between. Then use a spoon to drizzle the melted chocolate over the cake.

    Using the edges of the parchment paper, remove bars from pan. Cut into bars and serve. These bars are served best straight from the refrigerator, after cooled.

    Now WHO can resist this and only eat one, I had to stop myself after 3 and had some more again that evening, evil, I'm telling you, evil !!!!!

    Ingredients :
    1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
    5 Tablespoons butter, melted
    2/3 cup miniature chocolate chips

    Cheesecake Filling

    10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    1 large egg, at room temperature
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Cookie Dough Topping
    5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
    3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

    Mini makeover

    On to the makeover part. Now I don't for you but I always find myself rearranging or redecorating  rooms and what not in my house. My kitchen cupboards are my latest victims. I discovered a passion for open shelving in kitchen, but since I can not find the shelves I like (I am still looking!! hint, hint, for help!!) I decided for now to just open up the cupboards by taking down some of the doors, I know it's not perfect but it really gives another look, and feel in to kitchen.

    Here's what it looked like before, nothing wrong with it, but nothing fantastic either, almost boring.

    Full of the kids cookies and chocolate, well, and mine too!! and all sort of other baking things and my kitchen towels.

    And this is what it looks like now, I removed one shelf and put some of my cooking books, and put the towels in a basket, which looks neater and cuter!! I played a little bit with the back of the cupboard and put toile tissue paper I had in my basement, just to see the effect, and I have to say I kind of like it. Now I have to find a proper paper for that, but tissue paper will have to do for now.