Sunday, September 9, 2007

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

adapted from "Barefoot Contessa Parties" by Ina Garten

For 90 small cookies

Butter, room temperature - 170 g
Brown sugar, packed - 1 1/2 cups
Granulated sugar - 3/4 cups
Eggs, room temperature - 2 large
Vanilla extract - 2 teaspoons
Smoothe peanut butter - 1 cup
Flour - 2 cups + maybe 1/2 cup
Baking powder - 1 teaspoon
Salt - 1 teaspoon
Chocolate chips - about 2 cups (300 g) or to taste

- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Cream the butter and two sugars until light and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time, and mix well.
- Add the peanut butter and mix.
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt and add to the butter. Mixing only until combined.
- Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Frop the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper abour 3-4 cm apart.
- Dampen your hands and flatten the dough slightly.
- Bake for about 17 minutes for small cookies or 15 minutes for big cookies. The cookies will seem underdone.
- Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack to cool.

- Original recipe called for 226 g of butter and 2 1/2 cups of flour. I reduced the butter to 170 g, but forgot to reduce the flour and put all 2 1/2 cups in. The dough was quite stiff, but it tasted great. I think that the flour can be reduced to about 2 cups safely, with maybe more if the fough is too thin.
- I used a really small ice cream scoop and got 90 cookies out of it.

Maple-Roasted Bacon

adapted from "Barefoot Contessa at Home" by Ina Garten

Maple Syrup

- Preheat the oven to 400F(200C).
- Place a rack onto a baking sheet.
- Put the bacon slices onto the rack and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the bacon slices start to brown.
- Get the rack out of the oven and brush the bacon slices with some Maple Syrup.
- Return the bacon back into the oven and bake for another 5 minutes.
- Serve warm.

- This is an AMAZING recipe!!
- After we tried it for the first time, we had 3(!) times in 24 hours, it's that good and addictive!

Broccoli with Cheese Sauce

I don't have the exact measurings for this recipe, but I don't think you need them.

For 2 portions

Broccoli - enough for 2 people
Sour Cream - 2-4 tablespoons
Mustard - 2-4 teaspoons
Milk - 1-2 tablespoons
Cheese, grated - 80-100 grams + more for the top
Salt, pepper

- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Boil the broccoli for 2-3 minutes in salted water, until it's tender but still crisp.
- In a separate bowl make the sauce: combine the sour cream, mustard and cheese. If the mixture is too thick, add some milk. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Put the boiled broccoli into a baking dish, pour the sauce over it, sprinkle with more cheese.
- Bake for about 10-13 minutes until the sauce is thick and the cheese on top melted and started to brown.

- The sauce is the same as in Fish baked with Tomatoes in Cheese Sauce, but the dish is completely different.
- It's really easy to make and tastes great!

Fish baked with Tomatoes in Cheese Sauce

adapted from

For 2 portions

Filet of Sole (or any other light white fish) - 2 pieces
Tomatoes, sliced - 2 medium
Sour Cream - 2-4 tablespoons
Mustard - 2-4 teaspoons
Milk - 1-2 tablespoons
Cheese - 80-100 grams
Salt, pepper

- Preheat the oven to 426F (220C).
- Put the filets in a baking dish, salt and pepper to taste.
- Put the tomato slices on the fish.
- In a separate bowl make the sauce: combine sour cream, mustard and cheese. If the mixture is too thick, add some milk.
- Pour the sauce over tomatoes.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the fish is ready.

- I taste the sauce, if it's too plain, I add more mustard, if it's too spicy, I add more sour cream. So, number of spoons in the ingredients list is only a guidline.
- I also grate some cheese over the sauce.
- It's a really easy and tasty dish, very helpful on busy nights!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Chocolate Chip Cookies

adapted from "Barefoot Contessa Parties" by Ina Garten

For 55-60 small cookies or 45-50 big cookies

Unsalted butter, room temperature - 170 g
Light brown sugar, packed - 1 cup
Granulated sugar - 1/2 cup
Vanilla exctract - 2 teaspoons
Eggs, room temperature - 2 large
All-purpose flour - 2 cups
Baking soda - 1 teaspoon
Salt - 1 teaspoon
Chocolate chips - to taste, about 2-3 cups

- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Cream the butter and two sugars until light and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time, and mix well.
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt and add to the butter. Mixing only until combined.
- Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Frop the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper abour 3-4 cm apart.
- Dampen your hands and flatten the dough slightly.
- Bake for about 10-12 minutes for small cookies or 15 minutes for big cookies. The cookies will seem underdone.
- Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack to cool.

- The original recipe called for 226 grams of butter!!!! I took a chance and reduced it to 170, cookies turned out just perfect. I would actually maybe reduce it even more to 150 grams!!!
- The more you bake the cookies, the harder they get, so for a chewier, softer cookie, bake less.
- I add the chocolate chips just by hand and I am not sure how many cups there were.
- If you decide to omit the chips, add some extra sugar as the dough is not too sweet.
- Also, the original recipe called for walnuts and although I love nuts in my cookies, I decided against it this time.
- All in all, it's a really good recipe, I actually liked the cookies more the next day!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Fresh Sweet Corn and Potato Chowder

adapted from

Bacon, chopped into bite size pieces - 4 strips
Onion, diced - 1 medium
Sweet corn kernels - 3 cups (about 4 cobs)
Garlic, finely minces - 4 cloves
Chicken or vegetable stock - 2 cups
Milk 2% - 1 cup
Potato, chopped into 3 cm pieces - 220g (about 1 medium potato)
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
Pepper - 1/4 teaspoon
Cayenne pepper to taste

- In a pot, saute the bacon pieces until they are crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Add the chopped onion to the bacon fat and saute on low-medium heat for about 8 minutes, until the onion is soft and caramelized.
- Add the garlic and corn to the pot and saute for 30 seconds, constantly stirring.
- Add the stock, milk, and potato. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes on low heat until the potato is ready.
- Pour 2 cups of the soup into a blender and puree it.
- Transfer the pureed soup back to the chunky soup, mix, add the spices and reheat.
- Serve hot with crispy bacon bits for garnish.

- This soup can be made without bacon and with vegetable stock, so it will be suitable for vegetarians. Just saute the onions in some olive oil and serve it with some garlic croutons.
- This is my first try with corn. I've never cooked with it before and it turned out amazing.
- This is a very good soup!!! I was impressed!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Shrimp in Chocolate Sauce

adapted from

Shrimps - about 8 tiger shrimps or 24 small shrimps
Garlic, minced - 3 cloves
Chili pepper, finely minced - 1 small
Walnut oil - 2 tablespoons
Orange juice - 1 orange
Orange zest - 1/2 orange
Lemon juice - to taste (if orange is too sweet)
Dark chocolate (85% or 99%), chopped - 15 g
White wine - 3 tablespoons

- In a small pot, heat the orange juice, orange zest and wine. Do not boil. When it is hot, add the chocolate and remove from heat. Whisk the mixture to melt the chocolate. Add some lemon juice if the sauce is too sweet.
- In a skillet, heat the oil and add garlic and chili. Saute for a minute, remove garlic and chili from oil, save the garlic mixture.
- In the same skillet, add the shrimp to oil and saute till the shrimp is done.
- Pour the chocolate sauce into the skillet over the shrimp, add garlic and chili, saute until the sauce thickens a little bit. Serve immediately.

- I recently purchased a spicy apple wine with peppercorns, so I used that and omitted the chili pepper.
- It is an unusual combination, but it works! I had 85% chocolate and 99% would work much better I think.

Chocolate Ricotta Ravioli with Garlic Sauce

adapted from "Cooking with Chocolate" by Avner Laskin

For the dough:

Flour - 1 1/2 cups
Cocoa powder, unsweetened - 1 tablespoon
Eggs - 2
Olive oil - 1 tablespoons
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon

For the filling:

Egg - 1
Ricotta cheese - 1/2 cup
Parmesan cheese, grated - 1/4 cup
Hazelnuts, ground - 1/2 cup
Nutmeg, ground - 1/4 teaspoon
Garlic, chopped - 2 cloves
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon

For the sauce:

Oil - 1 tablespoon
Garlic, finely minced - 2 cloves
Chicken stock - 1/2 cup
Cold butter - 1 tablespoon
Cilantro, chopped - to taste
Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper

- For the dough: Place all the ingredients for the dough in a food processor, and process until the ingredients form a ball of dough.
- Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- While the dough is chilling, prepare the filling. Place all the ingredients for the filling into a bowl and mix well until the mixture is uniform.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and transfer to a floured work surface. Roll out the dough as thin as possible. Cut into two equal portions.
- Place spoonfuls of the filling 3-4 cm apart on one half of the dough.
- Brush a thin layer of water on the dough around each spoonful of filling.
- Place the other half of the dough on top of the first half. Press the dough around each filling to seal.
- Using a cookie cutter or a knife, cut around each pocket of filling.
- In a large pot, boil water with a generous amount of salt. When the water is boiling, drop the ravioli in the water and cook for 6-8 minutes. Strain.
- For the sauce: In a small pot, heat some oil and add minced garlic to it. Saute for about 1 minute on medium heat. Make sure that the garlic does not burn.
- Add the chicken stock and let boil for a minute.
- Add the butter, reduce the heat to medium-low and let the sauce bubble for a few minutes until it thickens a little bit.
- Add the chopped cilantro.
- Pour the sauce over the ravioli and serve immediately.

- Cocoa only gives the dough colour, it does not effect the taste much.
- Do not over mix the dough or it will become tough.
- Make sure the dough is rolled very thinly.
- The original sauce called for 1/2 cup of butter and some sage leaves which I didn't have. This sauce is really really tasty and not as fattening. I had to make a double batch of the sauce it was soooo good!

Rum Balls

For 12 walnut size rum balls

Plain sponge cake - 60 g
Butter, melted - 2 tablespoons
Cocoa powder, unsweetened - 4 teaspoons
Milk - 4 teaspoons
Rum - 4 teaspoons
Icing sugar - to taste

- Process the sponge cake in a food processor to get cake crumbs.
- Add all other ingredients and mix well.
- If the mixture can't be rolled into a ball, then add some more melted butter (or milk, or rum).
- Roll the mixture into 12 walnut size balls and roll them in cocoa powder or ground nuts.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Chicken Gizzards and Hearts a la Stroganoff

Chicken gizzards (stomachs) - 200 g
Chicken hearts - 250 g
Onion - 200 g (about 2 medium)
Mushrooms - 227 g (1/2 pound)
Sour cream - 250 g
Salt, pepper, spices, oil for sauteing

- Wash the gizzards and hearts.
- Boil the gizzards in a pot with a couple of bay leaves, some salt and peppercorns for about 40 minutes.
- After 40 minutes add the hearts and boil for another 5-8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, dice the onions and saute them in some oil on medium heat until they start to change colour.
- Add the slice mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms reduced by half, about 5-8 minutes.
- Add the sour cream, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes.
- Add some salt, pepper and favourite spices to taste.
- Add boiled hearts and gizzards to the sauce and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the gizzards are very tender. Add more sour cream if needed.
- Serve with mushed potatoes, egg noodles, rice or buckwheat.

- Chicken gizzards are very tough, so 40 minutes of boiling might not be enough, try them.
- Chicken hearts, on the other hand, are very tender, so 5-8 minutes are enough.
- The stock is quite tasty as well, you can freeze it in an ice-cube tray and use it later for some sauces.

Freshly-Salted Cucumbers

my grandmother's recipe

For the brine:

- For each 1 liter of water, take 1.75 tablespoons of salt.
- Boil the water, add the salt and let it cool completely.

For the jar:

- Put some currant leaves, dill heads, garlic cloves, horseradish root on the bottom of the jar.
- Put the cucumbers very close to each other.
- Put another layer of currant leaves, dill heads, garlic cloves and horseradish.
- Repeat until there is no more space in the jar, always finish with the leaves.
- Pour the cooled brine on top of the cucumbers.
- Put the jar onto a plate (the brine might bubble out of the jar in the next couple of days), loosely cover the top with some muslin to keep the dust away.
- Let stand for about 48 hours, then put it into the fridge.
- It is going to keep for 1-2 weeks.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Chocolate Decadent Cake

Adapted from a George Brown College course - Art of Cakes

For 1 23cm (9") cake

Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped - 450 g
Butter, room temperature - 140 g
Eggs, separated - 5
Cream of Tartar - 1/8 teaspoon (1/2 g)
Sugar - 50 g
Flour - 10 g - Optional!!! Can be substituted with rice flour, cornstarch or omitted!!

- Line the baking pan with parchment paper and spray the paper with some oil.
- Place the chocolate and butter into a bowl and heat over a water bath until melted.
- Place the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar into a mixing bowl, whip until medium soft peaks. Make sure not to whip to hard peaks.
- Fold the flour (if using) into the egg whites. Be careful not to deflate the egg whites.
- Whisk the egg yolks into the chocolate until blended.
- Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture 1/3 at a time. Mix just until incorporated. Do not over mix!!
- Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly.
- Bake at 400F/200C for 20-25 minutes until the sides are set but the center is still a little bit liquid.
- Cool the cake completely to room temperature before serving.

- This cake is much better when served at room temperature and it reminds more of a chocolate cream than of a cake.
- Original recipe called for a chocolate glaze, but I find it too much. This cake is very rich without it.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Chocolate Ice Cream

adapted from "The Perfect Scoop" by David Lebovitz

For 1 liter of ice cream

Whipping cream (35%) - 500 ml
Unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder - 21 g
Semisweet chocolate chips - 140 g
Whole milk - 250 ml
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Salt - a pinch
Large egg yolks - 5
Vanilla extract - 1/4 teaspoon

- Warm 250 ml of cream with the cocoa powder in a saucepan, whisking to combine. Bring to boil, remove from heat and add the chocolate chips. Stir until smooth, then stir in the remaining 250 ml of cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl.
- Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a saucepan. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan.
- Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the mixture thickens and coats a spatula.
- Pour the above mixture (custard) through a strainer into the chocolate-cream mixture and stir until smooth.
- Put the chocolate mixture into a fridge to cool completely for a few hours.
- Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Put the bowl with the completely cooled mixture into a freezer for 1.5-2 hours.
- Take out and mix thoroughly with a hand mixer, make sure to scrape the walls of the bowl. Put it back into the freezer for another hour.
- Repeat 3-4 times until the mixture is very thick. Pour it into a container and freeze.

- I don't have an ice cream maker, so I did it with my hand mixer.
- Make sure to use full fat milk and not a 2% milk like I had. It separated into milk parts and water, even when it cooled in the fridge I had pools of water on the surface. Although, the final product didn't suffer from it.
- I used Hershey's semi-sweet chocolate chips and I found that the ice cream is a bit too sweet, so I would reduce the amount of sugar the next time.
- It's a super-chocolate ice cream. Very very rich!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Ricotta Bagels

Flour - 300 g (might need a couple of teaspoons more)
Baking powder - 3 teaspoons
Sugar - 100 g
Ricotta - 140 g
Egg - 1, separated
Milk - 80 ml
Grape seed oil (or any other oil with no taste) - 20 ml

- Mix egg white and sugar, add ricotta, oil, milk and mix until everything is incorporated.
- Sift flour and baking powder add it to the ricotta mixture.
- Mix to get a nice soft dough, if it is too sticky, add some more flour.
- Divide the dough into 6 parts and divide each part into 3 more parts.
- Roll each part into a very long log, put three of them together and make a braid, then make bagels out of the braids.
- Mix the egg yolk with a tablespoon of milk and brush the bagels with it.
- Sprinkle some sugar on top of the bagels and bake at 200C for 20 minutes (if it's too pale after 20 minutes, then put the grill on for a couple more minutes to get some colour).

- I just realized that I put only 1 teaspoon of baking powder in my dough and the bagels turned out really good. I guess 3 teaspoons would make them a bit more puffy.
- I ended up using more flour because my dough was too sticky at the end.
- They are really good and not too fattening.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Multigrain Harvest Loaf

adapted from "The BIG Book of Bread"

White bread flour - 1 cup
Multi-grain flour - 1+1/3 (+1/3 maybe) cups
Rye flour - 1/3 cup
Salt - 1 teaspoon
Butter, diced - 1 tablespoon (14 g)
Dried yeast - 3.5 g
Rolled oats - 1/4 cup
Poppy seeds and sesame seeds - 1/6 cup
Malt - 1 tablespoon
Brown sugar - 1/2 teaspoon
Molasses - 1/2 teaspoon
Half and Half (10%) cream, warm - 1/3 cup
Water, warm - 3/4 cup

- Combine water, cream, sugar, malt and molasses in a bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes.
- Slowly add flours, seeds, oats and mix a soft dough.
- Add the salt and butter, mix. If the dough is too sticky, add extra 1/3 cup of multigrain flour.
- Kneed the dough for 15 minutes, put it into an oiled bowl, cover and let rise for about 1.5 hours until doubled in size.
- Shape the dough into a loaf, cover and let stand for another 30-40 minutes until doubled in size.
- Bake the loaf for 15 minutes at 220C/425F, then reduce the oven temperature to 190C/375F and bake for another 15-20 minutes.

- It turned really nice. I wish I added some more poppy seeds and I forgot to sprinkle them on top for decoration.
- In my opinion it needs a little more sweetness. I would add maybe 2 teaspoons of brown sugar instead of just 1/2.
- It tastes very good with orange marmalade and in My Gazpacho.

My Gazpacho

2 portions

Tomatoes - 2 big
Yellow bell pepper - 1/2
Orange bell pepper - 1/2
Red onion - 1/4
Garlic - 2 large cloves
Bread - 1 big slice
Lemon juice - 1/4 lemon
Vinaigrette - 3 teaspoons
Salt, pepper, cayenne pepper to taste

- Finely dice a little bit of both peppers and red onion, set aside for decoration.
- Place all the vegetables, bread, lemon juice, vinaigrette into a blender and process until the desired consistency.
- Check for seasoning, add more lemon juice if desired.
- Serve chilled in martini glasses with diced peppers and onion on top.

- It is not a classic gazpacho, but it tastes really good.
- I used a slice of my Multigrain Harvest Loaf and left-over Vinaigrette from the Avocado and Grapefruit Salad.
- Very nice and easy to make soup, perfect for a hot summer night!

Avocado and Grapefruit Salad

adapted from "Barefoot in Paris" by Ina Garten

1 portion

Mustard with garlic - 1/3 teaspoon
Lemon juice - 1/4 lemon
Olive oil - 3 tablespoons
Salt, pepper to taste
Avocado - 3/4 of 1
Red grapefruit - 1

- Place mustard, lemon juice in a small bowl, whisk in the olive oil until the vinigrette is emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste. (maybe add some more lemon juice or olive oil). There's going to be left-over dressing, which can be used in My Gazpacho.

- Slice the peel off the grapefruit, be sure to remove all the white pith. Then cut between the membranes to release the grapefruit segments.
- Cut the avocado in half, remove the seed and peel off the skin. Cut the avocado in wedges.
- Arrange the grapefruit segments and avocado wedges on a plate. Spoon a little vinigrette on top and serve.

- Really light and refreshing salad. Avocado goes very well with grapefruit!

Strawberry Meringue Pie

Sorry for the picture, I was in a hurry

Eggs - 3 large, separated
Butter, room temperature - 200 g
Sugar - 3/4 cups and 1/2 cup
Flour - 2 cups
Baking powder - 1 teaspoon
Salt - a pinch
Strawberries - about 500-600 g

- In a bowl of electric mixer, mix the egg yolks and 3/4 cup of sugar.
- Add soft butter, salt, flour and baking powder.
- Mix until well combined to get a soft sticky dough.
- Divide the dough into two parts, one smaller than the other. Wrap the small part of dough in a plastic wrap and put it in a freezer.
- Spread the other dough into the bottom of a baking dish (about 32cmx22cm).
- Slice the strawberries and spread layer them on top of the dough.
- Whip the egg whites with 1/2 cup of sugar until hard peaks, like for meringue.
- Spread the meringue on top of the strawberries.
- Grate the frozen dough on top of the meringue.

- Bake for 1 hour at 350F/180C.
- Let cool completely in the baking dish and cut into diamond shape pieces.

- This pie is to die for. Sweet meringue and slightly sour strawberries are amazing together.
- The dough is a cross of sponge cake and pie dough.
- Strawberries can be substituted with sliced sour apples.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Baguettes - Épi de Blé

Adapted from "Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads" by Richard Bertinet

For 2 baguettes

Dried yeast - 3/4 teaspoon
Bread flour - 1 3/4 to 2 cups
Salt - 1 teaspoon
Golden syrup - 1 teaspoon
Malt - 1/2 teaspon
Warm water - 190 ml

- Combine the yeast, golden syrup, malt and warm water in a bowl, mix and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Slowly add the flour to mix a nice soft dough, add salt at the end.
- Kneed for 15 minutes to get a very elastic dough.
- Put the dough into an oild bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it prood in a warm spot for 1.5-2 hours, until it is doubled in size.
- Divide the dough into 2 parts. Form each into a baguette and let proof for another 40-60 minutes, until they are doubled in size.
- Then you can make this Épi de Blé shape or you can bake it as it is. I found a very nice blog post on how to make this shape.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes at 475F (250C)

It's a very very good recipe. Chewy inside, crunchy outside and the taste is fantastic. I highly recommend this recipe!!!

- After I kneeded the dough and put it in an oil bowl, I put it in the fridge for about 4-5 hours. I took it out of the fridge and it doubled in size almost instantly (about 30-45 minutes), then I followed the above instructions.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Banana Bread

Adapted from "How to be a Domestic Goddess" by Nigella Lawson

Raisins - 65 g
Dried apricots - 35 g
Dark rum - 75 ml
All-purpose flour - 100 g
Bread flour - 75 g
Baking powder - 2 teaspoons
Baking soda - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
Unsalted butter, melted - 113 g (1 stick)
Sugar - 150 g
Eggs, large - 2
Ripe bananas, mashed - 300 g (about 3 large)
Pecans, chopped - 90 g
Vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon

- Line a 23x13x7 cm loaf pan with baking paper.
- Put the raisins, dried apricots and rum into a small saucepan, bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, cover and leave for an hour, or until the raisins and apricots have absorbed most of the liquid, then drain.
- Cut the dried apricots into small raisin size pieces .
- Preheat the oven to 170C.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix.
- In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar until combined. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the mashed bananas.
- Mix in the pecans, drained fruit and vanilla extract.
- Add the flour mixture, a third at a time, stirring well after each bit.
- Scrape the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 75-90 minutes. An inserted toothpick should come out clean.

Filo Triangles

Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried Tomato Filo Triangles

Filo Dough, thawed
Butter, melted
Goat cheese, softened
Sun-dried tomatoes, drained

- Cut the whole stack of thawed filo lengthwise into quarters.
- Working with 1 filo strip at a time and keeping the others covered with a barely damp towel, place the filo strip on a dry work surface.
- Brush it lightly with the melted butter.
- Place about 1 tablespoon of softened goat cheese 2.5 cm from the bottom edge. Place a piece of sun-dried tomato on top.
- Fold the lower right corner of the pastry up and over the filling, forming a triangle.
- Roll the triangle straight forward, then again on a diagonal.
- Continue folding, forming a triangle each time, until you reach the end of the strip.
- Transfer to a prepared baking sheet and brush the top of the triangle with a little more butter.
- Repeat with the other strips.
- Bake them for 20 minutes at 180C/350F.
- The triangles can be frozen, then baked straight from the freezer, adding about 5 extra minutes.

Cherry Filo Triangles

Same as the above, but with pitted cherries tossed with some sugar.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake ( one 9-inch/23-cm cake)

Eggs - 6
Sugar - 180 g
Salt - 2.5 g (a pinch)
Lemon juice - 25 g
Rum - 25 g (or more)
Vanilla - 2.5 g
Ground carrots - 375 g
Bread flour - 50 g
Baking powder - 7.5 g
Cinnamon - 5 g
Bread crumbs - 100 g
Ground almonds - 150 g

- Place the eggs, sugar, and salt into a mixing bowl and heat over a water bath to blood temperature until the sugar is dissolved. Stir constantly, so that eggs won't curdle.
- Whip the eggs on high speed for about 10 minutes until firm peeks.
- Add the lemon juice, run, and vanilla to the egg mixture and mix just until blended.
- Fold in the ground carrots to the above mix by hand
- Sift the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon together. Add the bread crumbs and ground almonds. Mix.
- Gently fold the dry ingredients to the egg mixture just until blended.
- Butter and line a baking pan with a parchment paper.
- Pour the batter into a baking pan.
- Bake at 350F for about 45-60 (depending on the oven) minutes until the cake springs back when touched.
- Let the cake cool slightly then remove from the pan


Cream cheese at room temperature - 250 g
Icing sugar - 100 g
Lemon juice - 25 g
Whipping cream 35% - 250 ml
- Whip the cream to medium-hard peaks.
- Place the cream cheese in a separate bowl and mix it for a few minutes on medium speed until there are no lumps.
- Sift the icing sugar and add it to the cream cheese. Mix just until blended. Scrape the bowl.
- Add the lemon juice to the cream cheese and mix until incorporated.
- Add 1/3 of the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture and mix until incorporated.
- Continue adding the rest of the whipped cream in stages and mix after each addition just until blended.

Cake Assembly

- Cut a completely cooled cake horizontally into 2 or 3 layers.
- Place the bottom one on a cake board and cover the top with a thin layer of icing.
- Place the second layer on top of the icing and cover it with more icing. (Repeat with the third layer if cake is cut into three)
- Mask the cake with cream cheese Icing and decorate with Marzipan carrots (lightly dusted in cocoa powder to simulate dirt)

- This cake has no oil or butter, but the bread crumbs come from my Brioche bread with some butter in it.
- The taste is very well balanced and it's one of the best cakes I've ever tasted!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Amaretti Cookies

Egg whites - 2
Sugar - 1/3 + 1/3 cup less a couple of teaspoons
Almond extract - 2 teaspoons
Flour - 1 tablespoon
Cornstarch - 1 tablespoon
Ground almonds - 1 cup (90g)

- Preheat the oven to 160C, line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Whip the egg whites to hard peaks slowly adding 1/3 cup of sugar.
- Sift the flour and cornstarch, add the other 1/3 cup of sugar and ground almonds, mix.
- Add almond extract to the whipped egg whites and fold it in.
- Add the dry ingredients to the egg whites and slowly fold them in with a rubber spatula. Do not overmix.
- Put the egg whites into a piping bag fitted with a round nozle.
- Pipe small rounds onto a baking tray.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the cookies cool in the oven.

- I usually put a little bit less sugar, only a few teaspoons less.
- I whip the egg whites with a dash of cream of tartar.
- If you leave the cookies to cool in the oven, they'll be very crisp, but if you take the cookies out, then they'll be nice and chewy. I like them both ways!!!

Grapefruit Banana Smoothie

Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice - 1 and 1/2 cups (1.5 grapefruits)
Strawberries, cut in half and tops removed - just over 1 cup
Ripe bananas - 2
Icing sugar - 1 or 2 teaspoons, to taste, depending on how sour the grapefruits are

- Put the grapefruit juice, strawberries, and bananas into a blender and process until smooth.
- Check the sweetness and add 1 or 2 teaspoons of icing sugar, pulse for 30 seconds.
- Chill and serve

Guacamole Salad

Adapted from "Barefoot Contessa at Home" by Ina Garten

For 2 dinner portions

Grape heirloom tomatoes, halved - 225 g
Orange pepper, seeded and 1-cm diced - 1/2
Canned black beans, rinsed and drained - 220g/ half a can
Red onion, diced - 1/4 of a medium onion
Small red chilli peppers, seeded and minced - 3
Cillantro, roughly chopped - 3-4 tablespoons
Lemon zest - half a lemon
Lemon juice - 1 lemon or less to taste
Olive oil - 2-3 tablespoons
Salt, pepper to taste
Avocado, seeded and 1.5-cmdiced - 2

- Place the tomatoes, orange pepper, beans, red onion, chillies, cillantro, and lemon zest into a large bowl.
- Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and pour over the vegetables. Toss well.
- Just before serving, fold the avocados into the salad.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Herbed Goat Cheese Sandwiches

Adapted from "Barefoot Contessa Parties" by Ina Garten
Green onion cream cheese at room temperature - 125 g
Mild goat cheese at room temperature - 175 g
Minced garlic - 2 small cloves
Minced fresh parsley - 2 tablespoons
Milk - 3-4 tablespoons
Salt, pepper to taste

Half Brioche Loaf
Cucumber - a few slices

For the spread
- place the cream cheese, goat cheese, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper in a bowl and mix.
- add a few tablespoons of milk to get the spread to the right consistency.

For the sandwiches
- spread each slice of bread with the goat cheese spread
- slice the cucumber in thin rounds and arrange on half the bread slices
- top with the remaining bread
- cut the sandwiches


- I didn't measure any of the ingredients for the spread, just put everything to taste, it turned out very good.
- Cucumber is a really nice touch because it cools the pungency of the spread.

Brioche Loaves

Adapted from "Barefoot in Paris" by Ina Garten

Unfortunately, pictures didn't turn out well at all...

Warm water - 1/2 cup
Dried yeast - 7 g
Sugar - 5 tablespoons
Eggs - 6 large at room temperature
Bread flour - 5 cups
Salt - 2 teaspoons
Unsalted butter at room temperature - 226g (2 sticks)
Milk - 2 tablespoons for glazing

- Combine the water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; let stand for 5 minutes.
- Add the eggs and beat on medium speed for 1 minute, until mixed.
- With the mixer on low speed, add 2 cups of the flour and the salt and mix for 5 minutes.
- With the mixer still on low, add 2 more cups of flour and mix for another 5 minutes.
- Still on low speed, add the soft butter in chunks and mix for 2 minutes.
- With the mixer still running, add another cup of flour.
Switch the paddle attachment to a dough hook and mix on low speed for 2 minutes.
- Scrape the dough into a large buttered bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, bring the dough to room temperature.
- Grease two 22x12 cm loaf pans.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and cut in half.
- Pat each portion into a 15x20 cm rectangle, then roll them into a loaf.
- Place each, loaf seam side down, into a greased pan, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Brush the loaves with milk and bake for 45-50 minutes.

- I know how to bake breads. I baked a lot of breads in the last year. I know how the bread dough looks, feels, behaves... This one was the strangest bread dough that I've ever seen and I've never heard of anything like this. It didn't look (or felt) like a regular bread dough. It was very very soft. The recipe called for 4+1/4 cups of flour, but after that amount it was... almost liquid. So I added another 3/4 of a cup of flour. The next day the dough felt like a playdough, it didn't spring back when touched.
- The loaves turned out to be very good. Make sure that you butter the pans well, otherwise it will stick!!! (I learned the hard way)
- I am not sure if I make it again, too much butter and eggs, but it tasted very well, especially toasted!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Cherry Brownies

For 9-inch (23cm) square form

Semisweet chocolate, chopped - 200 g
Unsalted butter - 125 g
Dash of salt
Sugar - 200 g
Rum - 3 teaspoons
Eggs - 4
Flour - 1 1/2 cups
Frozen pitted cherries - 2 cups

- Preheat the oven to 330F
- Line the baking dish with parchment paper
- In a double boiler melt the chocolate and butter, let cool a little bit
- Add the sugar and salt to the chocolate, mix
- Add the eggs, rum and mix well
- Add the flour and mix just until combined
- Add the cherries

- Bake for 45-60 minutes. When tested with a cake tester, it should have a few crumbs.
- Let cool for 15 minutes and remove from the dish

- I added 1/4 teaspoon of Natural Cherry Flavour

California BLT

Adapted from "Barefoot Contessa at Home" by Ina Garten

For two sandwiches

Bacon - 4 slices
Dark Rye bred - 4 slices
Mayonnaise - 2 tablespoons
Mixed greens - to taste
Avocado - 1
Lemon juice
Tomato - 1
Salt, pepper to taste

- Toast the bread slices
- Grill the bacon slices until they are crispy
- Slice the avocado and drizzle with some lemon juice
- Slice the tomato
- Spread half a tablespoon of mayo on each slice of bread
- Cover two bread slices with mixed greens, layer with 2 pieces of bacon, tomato and avocado, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with the other bread slices, mayo side down.