Monday, 31 March 2008

Berry Cream Cheese Almond Danishes

Berries above are dried cranberries
reconstituted overnight with a
sprinkling of sugar
1 sheet puff pastry, unthawed
8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp Almond Extract
2-3 Tbsp Sugar
1 1/2 cup Berries, fresh or frozen (cut into bite
   size pieces if need be) -- (you may
   sprinkle sugar on berries & leave overnight
   or not -- depending on your sweetness
   preferences)

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • On a lightly floured surface roll out thawed puff pastry into a 12x9" rectangle. 
  • Cut in half lengthwise, yielding 2 4-½" strips. Cut those two strips crosswise into thirds, to yield six 4x4 ½" pieces.
  • With a knife, score ½" border around the edge of each piece of puff pastry. 
  • Use a fork to make five or six pricks into the dough within the border of each piece. This will help keep the middle of each piece from rising.
  • In a bowl, stir together softened cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and almond extract.
  • Spoon about 2-3 heaping tablespoons of mixture into the middle of each piece of dough and spread around evenly, ensuring the mix stays within the borders. 
  • Into the middle of the cream cheese, add berries and press down into the cream cheese lightly so they set in place.
  • Fold edges over onto cream cheese/berry mixture.
  • Use a flipper to get each danish to the parchment lined pan.  
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown, on the middle rack.
  • Remove from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. 
  • Serve warm or room temperature. 

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

Softened butter for the pan and your hands
5 cups puffed rice cereal
1¾ cups salted peanuts
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons salt
4 ounces dark chocolate chips (or chopped
   good-quality chocolate)


  • Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper so that the paper overhangs the pan on two sides.
  • Place the cereal and peanuts in a large bowl and stir to combine.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar and corn syrup. Bring the mixture to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter, vanilla, and salt. Stir until the mixture is combined.
  • Pour the sugar mixture over the cereal mixture and use a spoon or spatula to combine the two mixtures until the cereal is totally coated with the peanut butter-sugar.
  • Now scrape the whole mixture out into the prepared pan. Grease your hands with some of the butter and press the mixture evenly into the pan.
  • Let the bars cool to room temperature.
  • Now melt the chocolate in the microwave or double boiler. Cover top of bars and allow the chocolate to set in the fridge.
  • Use the parchment to lift the bars out of the pan. 
  • Cut them into bars.


Chicken Parmesan Soup

3 garlic cloves, minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
14 1/2 ounces crushed
   tomatoes
1/2 pound raw boneless,
   skinless chicken breasts
3 cups chicken broth
1 small onion chopped
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan
   cheese, plus extra for garnish
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoons chopped fresh
   oregano
2/3 teaspoon red pepper flakes
   (or more if you like it spicy!)
4 ounces uncooked dry gemelli
   or penne pasta


  • In the slow cooker, stir together the garlic, bell pepper, crushed tomatoes, chicken, broth, onion, the cheese, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes.
  • Cook on high for 3 1/2 hours, or on low for 7 hours.
  • Transfer chicken breasts to a cutting board and coarsely shred them; return them to the slow cooker; stir in the pasta.
  • Cook on high for 30 minutes longer or until pasta is cooked al dente.

Friday, 28 March 2008

Spicy Chicken Bacon Bites

1 pound boneless-skinless
   chicken breast, cut into bite
   size pieces
garlic salt
pepper
1 pound bacon

Spicy Seasoning
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili flakes

Sweet & Sour Sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons red wine
   vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
   sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon water


  • Preheat the oven to 375 and place the rack into the middle position.
  • Line a large sheet pan with foil. Place a cooling rack (like for cookies) in the pan. Alternately, use a large broiler pan.
  • Mix the ingredients for the Spicy Seasoning in a smallish bowl.
  • Mix the Sweet & Sour Sauce together in a small bowl.
  • Cut the chicken into bite size and season liberally with the garlic salt and pepper.
  • Cut the whole pack of bacon into halfs.  
  • Take as many as will fit and place your chicken pieces in the Spicy Seasoning, coating on all sides.
  • Then wrap each piece of chicken with a bacon slice and place on the cooling rack seam side down.
  • When all pieces are on the rack, then using a pastry brush, brush each piece with the Sweet & Sour Sauce.
  • Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes, then place under the broiler for 5-7 minutes, turn the bacon chicken bites over and broil for another 5-8 minutes.


Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Cheesy Bacon Ranch Pull Apart Bread

2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
1¼ cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
¼ cup honey
1½ sticks (12 tablespoons) melted,
   divided
3 tablespoons ranch dressing, divided
½ teaspoon salt
3-3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 pound thick cut bacon, precooked
   and diced
5 ounces fresh shredded Parmesan
   cheese, divided


  • In the bowl add yeast, warm milk and honey.  
  • Swirl to dissolve the yeast.  
  • Allow to sit until the yeast starts to bubble and becomes aromatic, about 5 minutes. 
  • Using dough hook, add 4 Tbsp melted butter, 2 Tbsp ranch dressing and salt.
  • Mix on low until combined.  
  • Add 2 cups of flour, mix on low, until smooth.  
  • Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (about 1 additional cup).  
  • Add bacon.  
  • Knead on medium for about 5 minutes.  
  • You should have a ball of tacky dough at this point.  
  • Turn onto a floured counter top; knead a few turns.
  • Form dough into a ball.  
  • Cover with a dry towel and allow the dough to rest while you set up the butter mixture.  
  • In a large mixing bowl combine remaining 1 stick of melted butter, 1 tablespoon ranch dressing, and  ½ of the shredded cheese.  
  • Stir to combine.
  • Next, quarter the ball of dough. 
  • Roll each quarter into a fat log.  
  • Cut that into 3 parts.  
  • Roll each part into a log and cut into 4 pieces.  
  • When you are done you will have 48 pieces. 
  • Place pieces of cut dough into the butter mixture and stir to coat.
  • Continue adding pieces until all the dough pieces are in the butter mixture.  
  • Stir to coat completely.
  • Evenly spread dough balls out on a 9”x12” baking dish.  
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  
  • Cover with plastic and place in a warm location and allow dough to rise for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.  
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, check bread at 15 minutes if it is golden brown already, cover it with aluminum foil and bake for 5-10 minutes until all of the bread pieces are cooked through.


Vegetable Tempura with Ponzu Sauce

5 tablespoons flour
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sparkling water
1 lb. assorted vegetables
1/2 cup ponzu sauce*


  • In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 
  • Add the sparkling water and whisk until the batter is smooth. 
  • If the batter is too thick, add more sparkling water (gingerly!) to thin it out.
  • Cut the firm vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes into 1/8 inch slices. For softer vegetables, 1/4 inch will do.
  • Pour enough oil into a medium saucepan to measure about 2 inches. 
  • Attach a deep-fry thermometer to the pan and heat the oil to 350F. 
  • Line a plate with a double layer of paper towels.
  • Working in batches, drop a few slices of vegetables into the batter. Stir gently to coat.
  •  Using tongs or chopsticks, lift the food from the batter, allowing excess batter to drip back into the bowl. 
  • Carefully add a few pieces to the hot oil, making sure not to overcrowd the pot. 
  • Turn vegetables occasionally and fry until lightly golden on all sides, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes.   
  • Let temperature heat back up to 350F in between batches. 
  • Transfer tempura to paper towels. 
  • Season with salt and serve with ponzu sauce.


*Ponzu Sauce 

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon mirin (sweet rice wine)
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl. 
  • Cover and chill.



Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Potato Croquettes

leftover cooked mashed potatoes
leftover cooked vegetables (whatever)
mushrooms, ham, bacon, etc. all finely
   chopped
shredded cheese
onion or chives finely chopped
salt and pepper
flour
1 or 2 egg, lightly beaten to a foam
breadcrumbs
2 -3 tablespoons oil


  • Heat the oven to 200 degrees. 
  • Finely chop vegetables, meats, onions or chives and mix with grated cheese and mashed potatoes. 
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  • In 3 shallow bowls place flour in one, beat your egg(s) in another, and have your breadcrumbs in the third.
  • Roll the mixture into balls and then dip first in flour, then in the egg and finally roll in breadcrumbs. 
  • Croquettes must then be put in a baking dish, which has the oil spread around in it, and set in the oven for 10 minutes. 
  • Remove, turn the croquettes over and bake another 10 minutes.
  • Drain on paper towels.



Sunday, 23 March 2008

Coconut Ginger/Curry Chicken

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground
   turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2.5 pounds boneless, skinless
   chicken thighs, cut into bite
   size chunks
2 cans coconut milk, chilled
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 cups frozen mixed vegetables
   (broccoli, carrots, peppers,
   etc)
3 heaping teaspoons of Patak


  • In a frying pan, heat the olive oil and coconut oil.
  • Add the garlic, ginger and red onion.
  • Cook for 3-4 minutes, then add the pepper, cumin, turmeric and salt and mix in.
  • Add the chicken pieces and lightly brown it on all sides.
  • Allow the chicken to get coated with the spice mixture.
  • Place the chicken and spices in the bottom of a slow cooker. Pour the coconut milk overtop the chicken reserving a little to mix with the cornstarch.
  • Once mixed, add cornstarch mixture to the crockpot and stir thoroughly
  • Cover the crockpot and cook on low for 4 hours.
  • Add the vegetables and Patak at this time stir and then cook for an additional 2 hours or until the vegetables are tender.
  • Serve over rice.


Saturday, 22 March 2008

Bacon Crackers

36 thinish (width wize) crackers
about 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
   (or what have you cheese wise?)
about 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 pound bacon (not thick sliced)
Fruityish Hot Sauce
Cinnamon


  • Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  • Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and brown sugar on each cracker
  • Slice the bacon in half. Wrap each cracker with a half piece of bacon, tucking the end of the piece underneath the cracker. 
  • Experiment by adding shakes of Hot Sauces, cinnamon, pepper or other cheeses.
  • Lay the crackers on a rack set on a rimmed baking sheet. 
  • Bake them for about 2 hours. The bacon will cook slowly and start to wrap around the crackers. The bacon grease will drip off.

Honest!  ᕕ(ᐛ)ᕗ Surprisingly tasty! 



Friday, 21 March 2008

Quinoa-Veggie Burger

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (about 2 cups cooked)
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 cup coarsely grated or chopped mushrooms
1 cup coarsely grated zucchini
3/4 cup coarsely grated carrot
handful of green onion chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 egg, beaten
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper


  • Cook quinoa according to package directions, omitting salt, about 14 min. 
  • Heat a large, wide non-stick frying pan over medium. Add oil, then mushrooms, zucchini, carrot, green onion and garlic. Cook until soft, about 5 min. Add to quinoa. 
  • Break egg into small bowl/cup and stir in cornstarch, salt and cayenne.  Add this to the quinoa and vegetable mixture.
  • At this point, everything can be refrigerated until later that day or the next day.
  • When ready to eat, heat the non-stick frying pan over medium. 
  • Firmly press quinoa mixture into patties (this recipe makes about 5 larger patties).
  • Cook in pan with oil of your choice until golden on both sides and warmed through, about 4 min per side. 
  • Top with tahini sauce and roasted plum tomatoes or surprisingly good in a hamburger bun with lettuce, mayo, ketchup, and sliced tomatoes. 




Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Spicy Tuna Salad for Sandwiches



4 large roasted red peppers, patted dry
* (see roasting instructions below)
4 170-g cans flaked white tuna packed in water, drained very well

1/4-1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 tbsp olive oil

1 - 3 garlic cloves
1/4 - 1/2 tsp hot-red-chili flakes

1/8 - 1/4 tsp salt

1/4 - 1/2 cup crumbled feta

bibb lettuce


  • Place tin foil on a baking sheet and then uncut peppers on tin foil.  Bake 20 minutes at 350 F, then turn and 20 minutes more, than turn and 20 minutes more. 
  • Note:  This can be done the day before and then peppers refrigerated until the next day.
  • Break up Tuna in a bowl with a fork.
  • Remove stem insides of peppers and cut into quarters.  Pat dry.
  • Whirl the roasted peppers, pecans, oil, garlic, chili flakes, salt and feta in a food processor until smooth. 
  • Stir into tuna.
  • Top with lettuce in sandwich with preferred breads or buns.
  • Note:  This makes LOTS!  Terrific for a large picnic or gathering.  Place in bowl with lettuce in another bowl and let people make their own sandwiches.

Candy Bar Pie

For the crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour,
   plus more for dusting
1 Tbs. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into
   1/4-inch cubes
3 Tbs. very cold water, plus
   more as needed
For the filling:
6 oz. semisweet chocolate,
   melted and cooled slightly
3 cups assorted raw unsalted
   nuts, such as pistachios,
   almonds, peanuts, or walnuts
1/2 cup green pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup corn syrup
4 Tbs. butter, cut into cubes
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of kosher salt
Flake salt for sprinkling


  • To make the crust in a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and salt in the processor and pulse 2 or 3 times to mix evenly. 
  • Add the butter and pulse 8 to 10 times, until the butter pieces are the size of small peas. 
  • Add the water and pulse 10 to 12 times. 
  • Stop the machine and squeeze a piece of dough. If it crumbles, add more of the water, 1 Tbs. at a time, and pulse just until the dough holds together when pinched.
  • Transfer the dough to a work surface and shape into a disk. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Lightly flour a work surface, then flatten the disk with 6 to 8 gentle taps of the rolling pin. 
  • Lift the dough and give it a quarter turn. 
  • Lightly dust the top of the dough or the rolling pin with flour as needed, then roll out into a round at least 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick. 
  • Fit the dough round into a 9-inch deep-dish pie dish. 
  • Trim the overhang to 1/2 inch, fold the edge under itself, and decoratively flute or crimp. 
  • Freeze for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Line the crust with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights. 
  • Bake until lightly browned and dry to the touch, about 20 minutes. 
  • Remove the foil and weights and set on a wire rack to cool completely. 
  • Keep the oven set.
  • Spread the melted chocolate over the crust and let cool to room temperature.
  • Spread the nuts and pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet. 
  • Toast in the oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool. 
  • Leave the oven on.
  • In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the honey, sugar, cream and corn syrup. 
  • Stir occasionally until the mixture is slightly thickened and coats the back of the spoon, 2 to 4 minutes. 
  • Remove from the heat. 
  • Add the butter, vanilla and kosher salt and stir until the butter is melted. 
  • Stir in the nuts and pumpkin seeds. 
  • Pour the filling into the crust. 
  • Sprinkle with the flake salt.
  • Bake until the filling is set, about 30 minutes, covering the top with aluminum foil if the nuts brown too quickly. 
  • Let cool on a wire rack for at least 4 hours or up to overnight before serving.  

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Hummus, Shakshuka & Baked Sweet Potato Chips

Hummus
1 can cooked
   chickpeas/garbanzo beans
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup tahini (or peanut butter
  in a pinch)
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt, according to taste

  • Drain and rinse chickpeas and add to a high-speed food processor together with remaining ingredients and 1/4 cup lukewarm drinking water. 
  • Mix for a few minutes, until smooth. Taste and feel the consistency. 
  • Add more salt or water if desired.
  • Add a splash of olive oil for an extra rich hummus, if you like.
  • Mix for two more minutes. 
  • Cover with cling film if you are not eating it immediately.


Shakshuka
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 medium sized red bell pepper, cut into pieces
1 14 oz (400 g) cans whole tomatoes
salt, according to taste
2 eggs

  • Add olive oil to a medium-sized skillet on low/medium heat. 
  • When warm, add onion, garlic and cumin, and let sauté for two minutes. 
  • Add bell pepper and tomato puree and sauté for 5 minutes until softened and then add tomatoes and salt. 
  • Use the backside of a fork to mash the tomatoes or cut them up with a knife.
  • Cook for approximately 30 minutes. 
  • Taste it and add more salt if needed. 
  • Make small divots in the sauce and carefully crack the eggs into them. 
  • Cover the skillet with a lid and cook until the egg whites have set (this seems to take a really long time - in Ecuador at high altitude in any event). 


Baked Sweet Potato Chips
1 large sweet potato
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and cover baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Cut the sweet potato extremely thin slices - but with a knife, not a food processor.
  • Place the slices in a bowl, drizzle with oil and salt and toss until they are coated. 
  • Spread slices on a baking sheets and bake for about 25 minutes or until crispy, flip them halfway through. 
  • Serve together with hummus and shakshuka.


FYI:  This makes enough for 2 people, plus a bit left over, and is surprisingly filling ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Double the recipe (duh) for more people to enjoy -- but the you need to make 2 batches of the potato chips as only 1 sweet potato, sliced up, will fit on a cookie sheet. 


Russian Salad

1 cup french beans cut into bite size pieces
1 cup carrots cut into bite size pieces
1 cup green peas
1 large beet cut into bite size pieces
1 large yellow or orange pepper cut into
   bite size pieces
1 cup seedless grapes cup in half
1 small can pineapple slices cut into
   bite size pieces
2 apples cut into bite size pieces
3/4 cup mayonnaise
Splash of apple vinegar, salt, pepper
   & sugar to taste



  • Cut all the vegetables into bite size pieces and boil until softish, then drain thoroughly.
  • Chop the pepper, pineapple and apples.
  • Mix the fruits and vegetables, and add mayonnaise, salt and pepper, apple vinegar, and sugar.
  • Serve cold.
Once again... Honest!    ᕕ(ᐛ)ᕗ   Surprisingly tasty!   

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Salmon Cakes

2 strips bacon, cooked until crispy, crumbled, bacon fat reserved
1 small chopped red onion
1 egg
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons spicy mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 (14-ounce) can wild salmon,
   checked for large bones or
   equivalent amount of fresh
   frozen salmon
1 large baked or boiled russet
    potato, peeled, and flaked
    with a fork
1/4 - 1/2 cup bread crumbs
    (plus extra)
2 tablespoons or more of
    grated Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Note:  I like to do the first 3 steps on day one and then refrigerate everything until day 2 but this isn't necessary.  I just find it easier to work with cooled ingredients.

  1. Bake salmon if necessary for 1/2 hour in 350 F oven.  Cook bacon.  
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon fat in a small saute pan over low heat. 
  3. Add the onions and cook until translucent. 
  4. Mix the crumbled bacon, onion, egg, mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, lemon juice, salmon, and potato in a bowl.
  5. Form the mixture into small patties. If mixture seems too wet, then add necessary amount of bread crumbs so that parties are easily formed.
  6. In a shallow dish, combine the 1/4 - 1/2 cup of bread crumbs, Parmesan, and pepper, to taste. 
  7. Coat the patties in the bread crumb topping. 
  8. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat, and cook the salmon cakes in batches until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. 
  9. Add more oil, as necessary. 

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Spicy Meatballs

3 green onions, very thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons chili paste
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil, for
   pan-frying
Glaze
1/3 cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons chili paste
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce



  • Preheat oven to 350° F. 
  • In large bowl, combine all meatball ingredients except oil. The key to good meatballs is not to over mix them. Just gently combine the ingredients until everything is evenly distributed. 
  • Form the mixture into golf-ball sized meatballs. 
  • Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. In batches, brown the meatballs on all sides. 
  • Transfer meatballs to rimmed baking pan and transfer to oven. 
  • Bake 10 - 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160° F. 
  • Meanwhile, in small saucepan, combine all glaze ingredients. 
  • Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until mixture is slightly thickened. 
  • To serve, brush meatballs with glaze.


Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Tiramisu with Beignets & Chocolate Ganache

Beignet Ingredients:
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry
   yeast
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cups lukewarm water
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3-4 cups bread flour
canola oil, for deep-frying
powdered sugar, for sprinkling

Tiramisu Ingredients:
16 ounces mascarpone cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons kahlua
1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 cups strong brewed coffee
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

Ganache Ingredients:
4 1/2 ounces (about 3/4 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup canned coconut milk or heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
coconut or regular whipped cream


1. To make the Beignets, mix the yeast, sugar and water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Let sit for 10 minutes and allow the yeast to proof, it will foam up. Once the yeast is ready add the eggs, salt, heavy cream and melted butter.

2. Add 2 1/2 cups of flour and mix on medium until combined. Continue adding the remaining 1/2 cup of flour slowly until it’s all incorporated. Dough will be sticky. At this point begin adding a tablespoon of flour at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides and forms a smooth ball (about 4-6 minutes). If you don’t have a mixer or would rather knead the dough with you hands, place the dough on a floured surface and knead until smooth, adding a little more flour as needed (about 8-10 minutes). The dough may still be a bit sticky, but shouldn’t be overly so.

3. Spray a bowl with cooking spray and place the dough inside, cover with some plastic wrap on top. Let rise for 2 hours in a warm spot.

4. When the dough is ready place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out into a square or rectangle. Roll to 1/4 inch thick. Use a pizza cutter, knife or pastry cutter to cut into approximately 3×3 inch squares (about 25 squares & there's no magic to this - if you don't have perfect squares it's quite all right).

5. Place a deep, heavy bottom pot on the stove and add enough oil to fill the pot about 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep. Turn the burner to medium and preheat the oil to 350 degrees F.

6. Once the oil is ready, fry 3 - 6 at time depending on the size of your pot. Use a slotted spoon to flip them over every 30 seconds. Fry for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown on both sides. If they are taking longer than 3 minutes to brown you need to turn your burner up and make sure your oil is at the correct temperature. Remove with slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining squares. Dust the warm beignets with powdered sugar on both sides.

7. To assemble the tiramisu: combine the mascarpone, powdered sugar, kahlua and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute.

8. Add the heavy cream to a separate bowl and beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture, set aside.

9. To make the ganache: in a microwave safe bowl add the chocolate and coconut milk (or heavy cream). Microwave on high for 30 second intervals, stirring between each until melted. Once melted stir in the vanilla extract.

10. Add the coffee to a shallow bowl and dip about 18-20 of the beignets in the coffee, submerging them completely and then allow any excess coffee to drip back into the bowl. Chop the beignets into bite size squares.  You can also chop the beignets before hand and then dip, but be sure to drip off the excess coffee.  I often make the beignets a day or two ahead of time.

11. To assemble add a layer of coffee dipped beignets to the bottom of your serving glasses. Spread a layer of the mascarpone over the beignets and then a layer of the ganache. Sprinkle on the chopped chocolate. Repeat the layers until all the ingredients have been used.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.  I usually have left-overs of everything which I then layer into a tupperware container and freeze for a rainy day.

12. Garnish each individual tiramisu with a dollop of coconut (or regular) whipped cream and a beignet.


Grilled Chicken Breast with Pesto Burgers

4 chicken breast halves,
   skinless and boneless
salt, pepper, granulated garlic
   to taste
oil (to coat panini maker)
3 or 4 soft rolls
2 - 3 Tbsp prepared basil pesto
2 - 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
6 slices of cheese
6 slices of bacon, cooked to
   a crisp
1 avocado, sliced
tomato, sliced

  • Grill seasoned chicken breast in panini grill coated with oil until cooked through with nice grill marks; approx. 7-8 minutes.
  • While chicken is cooking, prepare the rolls by putting the basil pesto on one half and the mayonnaise on the other.
  • Place the avocado, then tomato slices, then cooked bacon, then cheese on the top half of the bun.
  • Place cooked chicken breasts on bottom halves of the rolls, squish rolls together pushing in any escaping ingredients and return to the panini maker until cheese is melted and the rolls have grill marks.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Tomato Olive Cake Appy

3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
100 ml. olive oil
2 cups of flour
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of rosemary
pepper to taste
2 tomatoes
100 g chopped ham
100 g of cheese
20 pitted olives

  • Beat eggs and mix with sour cream & olive oil.
  • Add flour and 1 tsp soda. 
  • Add rosemary & pepper for flavour
  • Stir until just mixed
  • Cut the tomatoes into cubes. Chop the ham, cheese and olives. 
  • Add all the above to dough and stir just until mixed
  • Pour the mixture into a parchment covered pan and bake in a preheated oven at 180 C/350 F degrees for about 45 minutes. 
  • Check the cake with a toothpick.


Carrot Spinach Soup

1 tsp low fat butter
1/4 or more cup chopped spinach
2 cups chopped carrots
1 cup onions, chopped
3 - 4 Cloves Garlic
1 tsp Curry Powder
1/4 tsp Onion Powder
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/8 tsp Oregano
Big splurch ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  Tomato
   Ketchup
salt to taste

  • Heat the butter and sauté the spinach for a while.
  • Put it in a blender and make a paste.
  • Combine Carrots, Onions and Garlic in a pot and add 5 cups of water.
  • Cook until vegetables are soft.
  • Allow to cool somewhat and add to blender mixture.
  • Liquify at high speed.
  • Put mixture back into pot.
  • Add Curry Powder, Garlic Powder, Oregano, Salt and Ketchup.
  • Cook on low heat for 20 minutes.
  • Serve hot.


Saturday, 8 March 2008

Slab Pie

Crust
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
3 sticks (340 grams) unsalted butter,
   very cold
3/4 cup very cold water

Filling
1 pound potatoes, cut into thinnish slices
10 ounces spinach
1 cup coarsely grated sharp cheddar
   cheese
Green onions cut into small pieces
10 - 12 large eggs with 1 large egg
   white separated
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

For this recipe especially, you should read the whole thing over 
before starting, as there are several alternatives to choose from.

Make pie crust:

  • Whisk together flour, and salt in the bottom of a large bowl. 
  • Using a pastry blender work the cold butter into the flour until the biggest pieces of butter are the size of tiny peas. 
  • Gently stir in the water with a rubber spatula, mixing it until a craggy mass forms. 
  • Hand knead it just two or three times to form a ball. 
  • Divide dough roughly in half.
  • Wrap each half in plastic wrap and flatten a bit, like a disc. 
  • Chill in fridge for at least an hour or up to two days (the longer the better).
  • Heat oven oven to 375 degrees F. 
  • Line bottom of 10x15x1-inch baking sheet or jellyroll pan with parchment paper.


Prepare filling:

  • Place sliced potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. 
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cooking for 7 to 10 minutes, until potatoes are tender but not falling apart. 
  • Drain.
  • Wash spinach but no need to dry it. 
  • Place wet spinach in hot skillet and cook until it just wilts. 
  • Consider alternatives below and pre-cook in skillet as well.  
  • Drain in a colander, pressing or squeezing out as much liquid as possible. 
  • You should have about 1 cup of spinach once wilted and squeezed. If spinach leaves were large, you might want to roughly chop the squeezed-out piles of spinach before adding it to the filling.


Assemble pie:

  • On a lightly floured surface, roll one of your dough halves into an 18-by-13-inch rectangle as best you can. Do your best to work quickly, keeping the dough as cold as possible and using just enough flour that it doesn’t stick to the counter. 
  • Transfer to your prepared baking sheet and gently drape some of the overhang in so that the dough fills out the inner edges and corners. Some pastry will still hang over the sides of the pan; trim this to 3/4-inch overhang.
  • Layer vegetables evenly over bottom pie crust ~ potatoes first ~ see filling above and alternatives below.
  • To start with beat 9 eggs plus 1 extra yolk (set white aside), and place in a container that pours easily. Depending on your fillers you may need to use more eggs but you do not want to fill the crust to the top with eggs.
  • Pour beaten eggs over filler, adding more if necessary. 
  • See alternatives below.
  • Sprinkle shredded cheese over pie.
  • Sprinkle with salt and black pepper.
  • Roll the second of your dough halves into a 16-by-11-inch rectangle. 
  • Drape over filling and fold the bottom crust’s overhang over the edges sealing them together. 
  • Cut only a couple tiny slits in the lid to act as vents — too many or too big, and the filling will want to leak out before the eggs set. 
  • Using set aside egg white, brush over lid.


Bake pie: Until crust is golden and filling is set, about 40 to 45 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack and cool a bit before cutting into squares.


Alternatives:

  • You can slip plastic-wrapped dough into a freezer bag and freeze for up to 2 months. To defrost, leave in fridge for 4 days. 
  • Baked slab pie will keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Squares can be reheated as needed. 
  • Vegetables can be prepped (spinach wilted, potato par-boiled, others pre-cooked, see below) and stored in the fridge for up to 2 days before using.  It's actually almost better to prep vegetables the day before as they then have an opportunity to leak more liquid (which should then be discarded before placing vegetables on pie).
  • Before adding cheese to the top, various additions, such as chopped pre-cooked tomatoes, pre-cooked sliced mushrooms, pre-cooked sliced zucchini, shredded cooked meats, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce (what do you like?) can also be sprinkled over the top.  Just don't pile things too too high.  
  • This recipe makes lots - 12 good sized portions, but it freezes well.  Thaw out, microwave and it's wonderful!  Great for a hearty breakfast, light lunch or as a pretty substantial side dish.  


Friday, 7 March 2008

Almond Cheddar Appetizers

1 cup mayonnais
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 small purple onion, chopped
3/4 cup slivered almonds, chopped
6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 loaf French bread
  • In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce; stir in cheese, onion, almonds and bacon.
  • Cut bread into 1/2-inch slices; spread with cheese mixture. Cut slices in half; place on an un-greased baking sheet. 
  • Place baking sheet flat in freezer for an hour or two until appetizers are frozen.  They can then be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
  • When ready to use, place un-thawed appetizers on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until bubbly.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Teriyaki Chicken with Zoodles

1 1/2 pounds of Chicken Breast
   or thigh meat, cut into bite size
   pieces
Teriyaki sauce
1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced
1 Green Bell Pepper, sliced
1 Onion, peeled and sliced

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a 13x9 inch pan, add chicken to the pan, and surround with sliced vegetables.
  • Pour Teriyaki sauce over the top. Place in oven and bake for 40 minutes.


Zoodles
2 Medium Zucchini
1 Red Bell Pepper, halved and seeded
2 tsp Salt - for wilting zucchini
1/2 c. Smooth Peanut Butter
1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp. Honey
4 Tbsp. White Wine
1 tsp. Rice Vinegar
1″ Ginger Root, finely minced
1 tsp. garlic, minced

  • With your mandoline, and/or spiralizer vegetable noodle maker slice zucchinis and red bell peppers into thin noodles.  
  • Places ribbons of zucchini and pepper into a mesh strainer over a bowl. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of salt. And place in the fridge. This will help extract additional moisture from the "noodles".
  • While the "noodles" are wilting (so to speak), whisk together the remaining (peanut butter, soy sauce, honey, etc.) ingredients together in a bowl to create the peanut sauce.
  • When the 30 minutes are up, remove the "noodles" from the fridge. Rinse the salt from the noodles with cold water and pat dry with a towel. 
  • Pour the noodles onto a flat pan sprayed with Pam and then pour the peanut sauce over the noodles.  
  • Cook for 20 - 30 minutes in a 350 oven.

NOTE:  I usually end up making the Teriyaki Chicken the day before, then heating it up to serve with the warm noodles the next day.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 


Sunday, 2 March 2008

Tuna Puffs

For the filling:

1 small onion
300+g canned tuna
1/4 cup of milk
Nutmeg (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
Salt (to taste)
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

For the dough:
350g of puff pastry (I buy mine ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )
An egg yolk



  • In a bowl dissolve the flour in 1/8 cup of milk.
  • In a pan pour the remaining milk, the nutmeg, the dissolved flour, chopped onion, pepper, salt and the butter.
  • Place the pan over low heat and stir with a wooden spoon until obtain a very creamy texture.
  • Turn off the heat, add the shredded tuna and stir well.
  • Extend the puff pastry over a table.
  • With the help of a knife cut squares with 10 to 12 centimetres or smaller if you want to use as appetizers.
  • Place portions of the filling on top of each piece of cut puffed pasty.
  • Brush the edges with beaten egg yolk, close them over the filling and brush the top with egg yolk.
  • Repeat this process until finish the dough.
  • Cook in over at 180°C about 20 minutes or until golden.