December 19, 2012

Homemade Cheddar Cheese

1 comment:

OK, I can't wait any longer. I just have to share this. After two months of aging, I had to try this cheddar. The result was a delicious mild cheddar that I know is only going to improve with age. It went really well with some ham and popovers. Yum!


This cheddar recipe is no more difficult than the gouda recipe. There is only a little more time involved, and the aging is typically longer. However, fresh cheese is awesome, and there will likely be enough for you to age it as long as you like.


Have fun, and let me know if you have any questions. Enjoy!






Homemade Cheddar Cheese

Yield: 1 pound of cheddar
Ingredients
  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 2 ice cubes buttermilk
  • 1/2 tablet rennet
  • 1/4 teaspoon calcium chloride
  • 1 tablespoon non-iodized salt
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix the rennet in 1/4 cup / 50 ml of water. Mix the calcium chloride in 1/4 cup / 50 ml of water.
  2. Using a double boiler or in a pot, warm the milk and liquid calcium chloride to 90F / 32C.
  3. Add mesophilic starter culture and mix thoroughly with a whisk, the culture must be uniform throughout the milk.
  4. Allow the milk to ripen for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Slowly pour the diluted rennet into the milk, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir for 1 minute.
  6. Allow the milk to set for 30 minutes to 1 hour until a firm curd is set and a clean break can be obtained when the curd is cut.
  7. With a long knife or whisk, cut the curds into 1/4 inch cubes.
  8. Allow the curds to sit for 5-15 minutes to firm up.
  9. Slowly raise the temperature of the milk to 100-102F / 39C. It should take as long as 45 minutes to reach this temperature. During this time, gently stir the curds every few minutes so they don't mat together.
  10. Keep the curds at 100-102F / 39C for another 45 minutes. During this time, gently stir the curds every few minutes so they don't mat together. They are done when it holds together in your hand if squeezed.
  11. Drain the whey by pouring through a colander. Do this quickly and do not allow the curds to mat, turning with your hands to allow drainage. Save 1/3 of the whey in the pot.
  12. Suspend the colander with the curds over the double boiler or pot. Stir the curds to separate any particles that have matted.
  13. Heat the curds at 100-102F / 39C for 45 minutes to 1 hour, flipping every 10-15 minutes.
  14. Cut the slab into chunks and into strips. Add the tablespoon of salt and mix thoroughly with hands in 3 stages, waiting 1 minute between each.
  15. Carefully place the curds into your cheesecloth lined mold. Cover with cheesecloth.
  16. Press the cheese at about 20 lbs / 9 kg for 45 minutes.
  17. Remove the cheese from the press and flip it.
  18. Press the cheese at about 40 lbs /18 kg for 3 hours.
  19. Remove the cheese from the press and flip it.
  20. Press the cheese at about 50 lbs / 23 kg for 24 hours.
  21. Remove the cheese from the press. Place the cheese on a cheese board or bamboo mat and dry at room temperature for 1-5 days, until the cheese is dry to the touch.
  22. Wax the cheese and age it in your refrigerator for 3-24 months. The longer the cheese is aged the sharper the flavor it will develop. Be sure to flip the cheese every few days.

December 05, 2012

Homemade Gouda Cheese

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Homemade cheese is simple and fairly easy. With the right equipment (which can be bought on the cheap or made at home) and the right ingredients (which can be found online or at various home brew or similar stores), you'll have some delicious cheese in no time.


The types of cheese there are in the world run the gamut. There really is no end to the kind you can make. You might only be limited by your ability to get specific cultures to flavor your cheese. However, this Gouda cheese requires nothing more than regular cultured buttermilk.


The directions are long, but they are detailed. Please do not hesitate to ask me anything. Oh, and it is delicious raw and aged! Enjoy!



Homemade Gouda Cheese

Yield: 1 pound of gouda
Ingredients
  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 2 ice cubes buttermilk
  • 1/2 tablet rennet
  • 1/4 teaspoon calcium chloride
  • saturated brine
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix the rennet in 1/4 cup of water. Mix the calcium chloride in 1/4 cup of water.
  2. Warm the milk to 85-90F/29-32C in vat of your choice, i.e. double boiler or pot.
  3. Add Starter Culture and Calcium Chloride and mix thoroughly with a whisk to make uniform throughout the milk.
  4. Cover and let the culture ripen at same temperature for 15-45 minutes.
  5. Trickle in diluted rennet stirring constantly for 1 minute to evenly distribute, then stop swirl with ladle to enable better curd set.
  6. Cover and let the milk stand at your target temperature for 45+ minutes until a clean break is achieved.
  7. Cut the curds into 0.2-0.5 inch cubes.
  8. Allow the curds to sit and heal undisturbed for 5-10 minutes.
  9. Stir gently, intermittently for 15-25 minutes to ensure the curds don't mat together.
  10. Let the curds rest for 5 minutes to settle to bottom.
  11. Remove and discard 1/3 volume of whey from top of vat. Add same volume of hot water to reach target 95-102°F / 37-39°C. Normally, 130°F / 55°C water will work.
  12. Stir gently intermittently for 15-30 minutes, breaking any large lumps of curd.
  13. Let the curds rest for 5 minutes to settle to bottom.
  14. Pour the curds into a large strainer or colander and let drain for 5 minutes. If possible, place the strainer inside another pot or cover the curds in order to maintain the curd's temperature. The curds will press better if slightly warm.
  15. Place the curds into cheesecloth lined mold, pack curds down into mold by hand (try to minimize breakage of the curd pack). Place a thin 1 lb. weight on top of the follower and press for 15 minutes.
  16. Remove the cheese from the mold and cheesecloth, flip, replace in cheesecloth and mold and press again at ~2 pounds per US gallon or 0.5 kg per liter of milk used for 15 minutes.
  17. Remove the cheese from the mold and cheesecloth, flip, replace in cheesecloth and mold and press again at ~5 pounds per 1 US gallon / 1 kg per 1 liter of milk for about 1 hour.
  18. Remove the cheese from the mold and cheesecloth, flip, replace in cheesecloth and mold and press again at ~12 pounds per 1 US gallon / 1.5 kg per 1 liter of milk for final ~8-16 hours (i.e. overnight).
  19. Remove the cheese from the press and cheesecloth.
  20. Prepare a saturated brine for the cheese by combining ½ gallon water with 1 lb. cheese salt and bringing to a boil. Stir until salt is dissolved and remove from heat. Add 1 cup whey.
  21. Stir in ½ teaspoon of calcium chloride solution and 1 teaspoon of white vinegar. This will keep the rind from becoming gummy and bring the pH of the brine close to the pH of the cheese. Let the brine cool to room temperature before using. The temperature of the brine should be the same as the cheese.
  22. Place in saturated brine solution for 3-4 hours per pound or 0.5 kg of pressed curds. Sprinkle some salt on top, and be certain to turn the cheese a few times to ensure even rind development.
  23. Note, after brining the cheese will have lost ~5% weight and the outer surface will have become firmer and almost tough.
  24. Place the cheese on a drying mat. After 1-5 days the cheese should be dry to touch and then it can be waxed. Or it can continue to be aged with a natural rind.
  25. If natural rind, if unwanted molds appear on rind, clean with a low 2-3% brine and cloth or disposable paper towel. After cheese hardens, a brush can be used with brine.
  26. Turn cheese and replace mat if moist initially every 2 days then every week and eventually every month if age that long.
  27. Consume after 2 weeks to several years. Flavor changes with age.

November 21, 2012

Butternut Squash Soup

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Butternut Squash Soup

Total time: 1.5 hours
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 medium butternut squash, about 1 lb
  • canola oil spray
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • optional: 1 tablespoon ginger, freshly grated
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 granny smith apple, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water, as needed
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Arrange the halves cut side down in roasting pan that has been sprayed with oil spray. Bake squash for 40-45 minutes or until very tender.
  2. Set aside to cool. When squash is completely cool, scoop the flesh from the skin.
  3. While the squash is baking, cook the onion and the ginger in the oil in a saucepan over moderately low heat for 5 minutes or until the onion is softened. Then add the curry powder and apple, and cook for 2 more minutes.
  4. Add the broth and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes, covered.
  5. Add the squash pulp to the sauce pan. (Note: scoop 1/2 cup mixture out and use to garnish soup.) Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor, in batches, and puree until smooth. If needed, add enough water to achieve the desired consistency, then add salt and pepper to taste. Return the soup to the saucepan and cook over medium heat until it is hot.

November 07, 2012

Barley Mushroom Soup

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Barley Mushroom Soup

Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: 8 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup pearled barley, rinsed well
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • 3 cups white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup white onion, sliced
  • 1 cup leeks, sliced
  • 1/4 cup carrot, sliced
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • optional: 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • pinch salt
  • pinch pepper
  • pinch thyme
Cooking Directions
  1. Bring barley to a gentle boil in stock; cook until soft.
  2. Heat olive oil in saute pan. Caramelize onions in oil by cooking slowly on medium heat.
  3. Add leeks, mushrooms, celery, sea salt, black pepper, and thyme. Cook until veggies are softened and mushrooms are slightly reduced. Add barley and stock.
  4. Season with salt and pepper. Add soy sauce and garnish with carrot.

October 24, 2012

Peruvian Spicy Creamed Chicken - Aji de Gallina

1 comment:

If you, like us, have a friend bequeath you packets of aji pepper puree, you may be dumbfounded at first too. Well look no further because you've found the answer to your aji prayers!

By far the best Peruvian dish we have ever made. OK so it's also the only Peruvian dish we've ever made. Yet after devouring this Aji de Gallina I'm not sure I could force myself to make any other Peruvian cuisine - it's that good.

This is a beautifully simple, though perhaps time-consuming dish to make. But the great thing is that it makes a ton of food. Great for dinner parties.


Peruvian Spicy Creamed Chicken - Aji de Gallina

Yield: Serves 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 lb. chicken breast
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 packet aji pepper puree
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons walnuts, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 4 slices bread
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 4 yellow potatoes
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 10 black olives, halved
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup cooked rice
Cooking Directions
  1. Cook the yellow potatoes in salted water until tender when pierced with a fork. Let cool, peel, cut into quarters, and set aside.
  2. Place the bread in a small bowl and pour the evaporated milk over it to soak. Set aside.
  3. Place the chicken breasts in a pot with the chicken stock, and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until chicken is just barely cooked through. Set chicken aside to cool. Strain broth and reserve 2 cups.
  4. In a blender, process pepper puree with the oil until smooth. Saute the garlic and onions with the pureed peppers and oil, until the onions are soft and golden. Remove from heat and let cool.
  5. Shred the cooled chicken into bite-size pieces.
  6. In a blender or food processor, process the evaporated milk and bread mixture with the walnuts and Parmesan cheese until smooth. Add the cooked onion mixture and process briefly.
  7. Return onion mixture to pan, and add 1 1/2 cups of the reserved chicken stock. Bring to a low simmer, and stir in the chicken. Heat until warmed through, adding more chicken stock if sauce is too thick.
  8. Serve over rice, garnished with the yellow potatoes, slices of hard boiled egg, and black olives.

October 10, 2012

Slow Cooker Chocolate Cake

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Wow! This is so cool is so many ways. Cake in a slow cooker. Delicious cake in a slow cooker. Moist, chocolatey, rich cake in a slow cooker. Simple and amazingly easy.


I don't know if I can get over how flabbergasted I am that this turned out so gorgeously well. So warm and dark and moist - absolutely the best cake I've ever made. One of the best parts is that it's a cake without frosting (because I generally despise frosting). OK, I'm going to just hand you the recipe now, both so that you can make it yourself and so I can grab another piece. Enjoy!


Slow Cooker Chocolate Cake

Yield: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cups and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
Cooking Directions
  1. Spray crock of a 2 quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla until well combined. Whisk in the boiling water. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well.
  3. Pour the cake batter into the prepared slow cooker.
  4. Set slow cooker to low. Cook until cake has no wet spots on top and has pulled away from the sides of the crock, about 4 hours. DO NOT remove lid at any time, otherwise you'll lose moisture. Turn off slow cooker and allow cake to rest for 30 minutes before serving.

September 24, 2012

Bibimbap

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Traditionally (I think), Bibimbap was a great way to use up leftovers. Everything was already cooked or prepared and it was all placed neatly over rice and an egg was cracked on top. Add some sesame oil and a hot pepper paste called Gochujang, then everything was mixed up like mad by the happy and hungry diner, and the egg would get cooked that way.

Oh, the egg! That's really what separates this puppy from other leftover dishes around the world. Well that and the red pepper paste. If you're like many, you probably can't easily locate Gochujang, so try sriracha as the next best thing.

This can be a lot of work to make from scratch, but it's a lot of fun. Basically, just use whatever Asian-flavored foods you want, and you'll be golden. If you're weary about the egg, try poaching it. Still yums. Enjoy!


Bibimbap

Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • Cooked rice
  • 1 bunch spinach or greens
  • 2 small zucchinis
  • 5 shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 block tofu, cut and pressed
  • 1 small carrot
  • 4 eggs
  • soy sauce
  • hot pepper paste (Gochujang) or sriracha
  • garlic
  • sesame seeds
  • sesame oil
  • canola oil
Cooking Directions
  1. Prepare a large platter to put all your ingredients on. Rinse your bean sprouts 3 times and put them in a pot with a cup of water. Add 1 tsp of salt and cook for 20 minutes. Drain water and mix it with 1 clove of minced garlic, sesame oil, and a pinch of salt. Put it on the platter.
  2. Put your spinach or greens in a pot of boiling water and stir it for a minute. Then rinse it in cold water a few times and squeeze it lightly. Mix it with a pinch of salt, 1 tsp of soy sauce, 1 clove of minced garlic and sesame oil. Put it on the platter.
  3. Cut 2 small size zucchinis into thin strips, sprinkle them with a pinch of salt, and then mix them together. A few minutes later, saute them in a pan over high heat. When it's cooked, it will look a little translucent. Put it on the platter.
  4. Slice shiitake mushrooms thinly and saute with 1 tsp of canola oil. Add 2 tsp of soy sauce and 1 or 2 tsp of sugar and stir it for 2 minutes. Add some sesame oil, and put it on the platter.
  5. On a heated pan, put some oil and the pressed tofu and stir it. Add 4 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tbs of soy sauce and sesame oil. Put it on the platter.
  6. Cut a carrot into strips, saute it for 30 seconds and put it on the platter.
  7. Prepare eggs sunny side up.
  8. Put your rice in a big bowl, and attractively display all your vegetables and tofu over rice. Place the sunny side up egg on the center.
  9. Serve it with sesame oil and hot pepper paste or sriracha.
  10. Lastly, mix it up and eat!

August 27, 2012

Pear Gruyere Pie

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Remember the TV show called Pushing Daisies? One of TV's biggest regrets is losing that show. The vivid color and vibrant fantasies that passed by on the screen was a highlight in entertainment.


In remembrance, or just because I've always wanted to make one of the delicious pies they're constantly baking and eating (they do work at The Pie Hole after all), the Pear Gruyere Pie was born - completely and utterly inspired by Chuck, who bakes the Gruyere into the crust. Enjoy!


Pear Gruyere Pie

Yield: 1 pie
Ingredients
  • Gruyere Crust
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup ice water
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • Pear Filling
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 5 cups pear, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Dice the butter into 1/4 inch pieces. Place butter and the flour in a large zip lock bag, seal and roll over with a rolling pin until the butter is combined. Place the bag in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Pour the ingredients from the bag into a chilled mixing bowl and work together with a fork until the mixture becomes pebbly. Gradually drizzle the ice water over the mixture, blending with the fork. Add more water if necessary add a tablespoon at a time, until you achieve the right consistency.
  3. Form two discs out of the dough, working each in your palm. Wrap them each tightly with saran wrap and refrigerate.
  4. Combine sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in mixing bowl.
  5. Arrange pears in layers in a 9 inch pan on top of one of the crusts, sprinkling sugar mixture over each layer. Dot with butter. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Roll out remaining dough; cut slits for escape of steam. Moisten rim of bottom crust. Place top crust over filling. Fold edge under bottom crust, crimping to seal.
  6. Bake at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) for 10 minutes. Sprinkle Gruyere over the top. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and bake for an additional 35 to 40 minutes.

August 06, 2012

Chicken Mofongo

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Mofongo, a favorite of Dominican and Puerto Rican cuisine, is just about the best thing to happen to a plantain since, well, ever. I mean there's the ever-popular fried sweet plantains, the tostones, and just a plantain sans anything. But the richness of mofongo really outshines all of its brother and sister dishes.


A little mofongo goes a long way, and you won't catch me telling you it's healthy, so maybe don't eat just mofonog. But if this doesn't make you run out and leave your grocery store bare of plantins, then I don't know what will. Enjoy!

Chicken Mofongo

Yield: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 green plantains, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1/2 to 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chicken, cooked and shredded
  • salt, to taste
Cooking Directions
  1. Mash the garlic with the olive oil in a mortar and pestle or whatever you have on hand. Combine garlic mixture with the chicken in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat canola oil in a large pan. Fry the plantain chunks until golden and crispy, but not brown, about 15 minutes.
  3. Transfer the fried plantains into the bowl with the garlic mixture. Toss to coat. Mash the coated plantains until smooth. Season with salt.
  4. Roll the plantain mixture into two large balls or several small balls before serving.
  5. It can also be served with chicken broth over it.

July 23, 2012

Pasta and Eggs

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This was just phenomenal. Take pasta, take chicken, take frozen veggies, add egg at the end, and you have a hell of an unusual and surprisingly tasty dinner.

You might not think it if you look at it, but damn, that's one hell of a combination. Playing around in the experimental kitchen is one of my favorite things, and sometimes it even works out well! Enjoy!


Serves 2

Ingredients

2 servings cooked pasta, al dente
1 chicken breast, cubed and cooked
1 cup frozen veggies
2 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Combine chicken, pasta, and veggies in a pan on medium heat.

2. Once heated, add beaten egg, salt, and pepper, and scramble.

3. Turn heat to low and let sit after a minute. Scramble again until eggs are done. Add more salt and pepper as needed.

July 09, 2012

Yuca con Mojo

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Yucca (yuca, cassava) is a very rewarding root if it's prepared properly. When it's done horribly, it's like an overcooked plain baked potato. You just don't want to put it in your mouth. Dry and awful, really.


Luckily, many cultures have developed a host of wonderful ways to prepare yucca, including with a yummy garlic oil sauce. The mouthwatering smell is overwhelming, and you're likely to shove past kids and grandparents alike to get your hands on some.

To avoid all that, prepare it at home just for yourself. It's ok to be greedy sometimes. Enjoy!

Ingredients


1 1/2 lbs yucca root, halved and in chunks
1 lime
6 garlic cloves, mashed
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped

Directions


1. Place yucca in saucepan. Add salt and lime juice until yucca is just covered and bring to a boil.

2. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes.

3. Drain and keep warm.

4. Mash garlic cloves into salt or use food processor.

5. Add garlic, lemon juice, and onions to olive oil in a separate pan, heat until bubbling, then pour over yucca.

6. Toss yucca & sauce, gently cooking to saute over medium heat until light brown.

July 02, 2012

Salmon Burgers

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Made from scratch salmon burgers are a lot easier than I expected. I thought you'd have to cook them beforehand, then chop them up and then grill or bake them. Turns out that it's easier than that.

Just slice a filet up into whatever size pieces you want and form them into patties. Then grill or bake until tender. Add some spices, herbs, green onion, or even an egg. Make it your own. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 salmon filet, chopped
various spices
salt
pepper
optional: egg, green onoin, oil

Directions

In a bowl, mix the chopped salmon with the spices and seasonings and any optional ingredients.

Form into patties.

Bake in a 350 degree oven or in a pan on medium heat. Bake for 10-15 or grill for 5-10, until tender.

June 22, 2012

Fried Sweet Plantains

1 comment:

Have mercy! I am in love with practically all things plantains! Tostones, mofongo, maduros, you name it. Heck, even a raw black plantain makes my heart sing. But one of my favorite treats is frying up some sweet plantains. Once they've turned yellow or black, slice those puppies up and toss them in a skillet. Try experimenting with additional flavors like cinnamon too. Enjoy!


Ingredients

1 or 2 yellow to black plantains, peeled and cut into 1 inch slices
1 tablespoon oil
optional: sugar or brown sugar for extra caramelization

Directions

1. Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. If using sugar, toss sliced plantains in sugar then place in pan.
2. Fry until plantains begin to turn golden brown, then flip. It should be about 2 minutes per side.
3. Drain plantains on a paper towel before serving.

June 11, 2012

Japanese Umeboshi Rice Balls

2 comments:

Japanese Umeboshi (pickled plum) is a great salty, flavorful snack when paired with something more plain like rice. These are really simple, and so much fun to make. I can just imagine getting the kids involved and everyone getting their hands a little messy and having a great time.

They're perfect for on-the-go snacks, and you can fill them with whatever you want, really. Have fun with it. Enjoy!

Yields 4-8 rice balls

Ingredients

1 cup cooked white rice, cooled or mostly cooled
4-8 umeboshi (pickled plum), de-seeded
4-8 strips of dried seaweed
water for dipping your hands

Directions

1. Take 1/8 to 1/4 cup of rice, and starting forming it into a "ball." This is really more of a triangle shape traditionally, but make it however you want.

2. Pack around one umeboshi. Be sure to take the seed out first!

3. Fold the strip of dried seaweed on at the bottom for easy handling later. Use water if needed to help it stick.

May 31, 2012

Croatian Easter Breakfast

1 comment:

Happy Easter, all!

Remember when the Easter Bunny came around and hid eggs for you to find in your yard? And sometimes in your grandparent's yard? And sometimes the park? Man, that bunny can get around! Well that was practically the only tradition I had for Easter every year. I don't recall large family gatherings and lavish meals.

My better half, on the other hand, has grown up with Easter being a huge family get-together. Neither of us are around family this year, so in honor of one of the traditions that her family celebrates, we prepared a traditional Croatian Easter Breakfast...even though she's not Croatian (but her uncle-in-law is).

Honestly, I don't think a tradition could be any easier. 4 things make up breakfast. That's it. They all go hand-in-hand, yes they do. It's quick to prepare as well (unless you make one from scratch). Learn all about Croatian Easter Breakfast. Happy hopping!

Ingredients

Per Person:
1 hard-boiled egg
1 slice of ham
1 green onion
1 slice of raisin bread

Directions

1. Hard-boil an egg. Easy. Done.
2. Heat up a piece of ham (or not - either way works). Easy. Done.
3. Wash a green onion. Easy. Done.
4. Slice one piece of your favorite raisin bread. Easy. Done.
You've gotta love how absurdly simple that was. I did! Yet it tastes great. Most importantly, it brings a little tradition into the home for us to enjoy.

May 22, 2012

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

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A lovely Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread is the perfect way to lighten up your day.

With soft swirls of cinnamon, a light and springy interior, and raisins throughout, what more could you ask for?

The absolute true beauty of this is that it's not sugared down. You can taste the subtleties of the different ingredients, which compliments a nice spot of tea. Use in your own Croatian Easter Breakfast or any which way. Enjoy!
Yields 1 loaf

Ingredients

1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1 egg
1/6 cup white sugar
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/6 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup raisins
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Directions

1. Let milk warm to room temp.

2. Dissolve yeast in warm water, and set aside until yeast is frothy. Mix in eggs, sugar, butter or margarine, salt, and raisins. Stir in milk. Add the flour gradually to make a stiff dough.

3. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes. Place in a large, greased mixing bowl, and turn to grease the surface of the dough. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled.

4. Roll out on a lightly floured surface into a large rectangle 1/2 inch thick. Moisten dough with 2 tablespoons water. Mix together 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons cinnamon, and sprinkle mixture on top of the moistened dough. roll up tightly; the Roll should be about 3 inches in diameter. Tuck under ends and place loaf into well greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Lightly grease tops of loaf. Let rise again for 1 hour.

5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 35 minutes, or until loaf is lightly browned and sounds hollow. Remove loaf from pan. Let cool before slicing.

May 07, 2012

Ribollita

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I learned this from an excellent cooking class on gourmet soups taught by Chef Bernard Kinsella. Ribollita is Italian for awesome. OK, really, it's Italian for reboil, I believe. Anywho, it's essentially just boiling up a simple stew or soup of whatever vegetable you happen to have on hand. Something about the preparation method though really has a huge impact on the flavor. Enjoy!


Ingredients

1 onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 stalks of celery
2 carrots, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes (fresh is fine too)
3/4 lb of Swiss chard (or 1/2 head cabbage), chopped
1/2 pound cooked lentils or beans
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped (1/8 cup dried will work too)
4 cups vegetable stock (or water)
optional: 4 slices of stale bread, torn into bite-size pieces

Directions

1. Heat a large pot over medium low heat and add olive oil, onion, garlic, celery, salt, carrots, and zucchini. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes so that the veggies sweat out their flavors and do not brown.

2. Stir in the diced tomatoes. Cook for a few minutes.

3. Add the Swiss chard (or cabbage), lentils or beans, basil, and parsley. Stir and mash a few of the lentils/beans to thicken the soup. Cook for 10 minutes.

4. Add the vegetable stock (or water) and bring to a boil before lowering to a simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

5. If using bread, add and cook until it has broken down, about 10 minutes.

April 26, 2012

Blackened Catfish Po'Boy

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Blackened Catfish Po'Boys are simply amazing. I mean first of all, catfish is amazing. Second of all, po'boys are amazing. And third of all, it's all amazing together!

Simple, easy, carefree. I'm in! A bit of arugula on top and voila. Yum.



Ingredients

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons lemon pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
1 pound catfish fillets
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup arugula
1 baguette, sliced into 6 inch sections

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium baking dish.

In a shallow, medium bowl, mix cayenne pepper, lemon pepper, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

Brush both sides of catfish fillets with butter. Rub fillets with the cayenne pepper mixture on both sides.

Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until really hot. Add fillets, and fry approximately 2 minutes on each side, until slightly blackened.

Arrange blackened fillets in a single layer in the prepared baking dish. Bake 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until fish is easily flaked with a fork.

April 16, 2012

Orange Soy Herb Tuna Steak

2 comments:
If you can get the tuna to be just a tad pink right in the center, you'll discover a smoothness that silk wishes it could achieve. The longer the tuna marinates, the better this will be. Try overnight to 24 hours if you've got the time. Enjoy!


Ingredients

1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 (4 ounce) tuna steaks

Directions

1. In a large non-reactive dish, mix together the orange juice, soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, garlic, oregano, and pepper. Place the tuna steaks in the marinade and turn to coat. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
2. Preheat grill for high heat.
3. Lightly oil grill grate. Cook the tuna steaks for 5 to 6 minutes, then turn and baste with the marinade. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, or to desired doneness. Discard any remaining marinade.

April 07, 2012

Croatian Easter Breakfast

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Happy Easter, all!

Remember when the Easter Bunny came around and hid eggs for you to find in your yard? And sometimes in your grandparent's yard? And sometimes the park? Man, that bunny can get around! Well that was practically the only tradition I had for Easter every year. I don't recall large family gatherings and lavish meals.


My better half, on the other hand, has grown up with Easter being a huge family get-together. Neither of us are around family this year, so in honor of one of the traditions that her family celebrates, we prepared a traditional Croatian Easter Breakfast...even though she's not Croatian (but her uncle-in-law is).

Honestly, I don't think a tradition could be any easier. 4 things make up breakfast. That's it. They all go hand-in-hand, yes they do. It's quick to prepare as well (unless you make one from scratch). Learn all about Croatian Easter Breakfast. Happy hopping!

April 06, 2012

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

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A lovely Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread is the perfect way to lighten up your day.


With soft swirls of cinnamon, a light and springy interior, and raisins throughout, what more could you ask for?


The absolute true beauty of this is that it's not sugared down. You can taste the subtleties of the different ingredients, which compliments a nice spot of tea. Use in your own Croatian Easter Breakfast or any which way. Enjoy!

March 30, 2012

Chicken and Waffles

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Sometimes it's nice just to have a simple southern comfort creation. Sometimes you don't even have to do much of the difficult cooking yourself.

Take, for instance, this chicken and waffles dish here. The fried chicken is leftover from Popeye's, baked in a toaster oven to get it crispy, then served with some homemade waffles and a side of poached collard greens and garlic. It was delicious in its simplicity, and it was exactly what the doctor called for.

A fun way to treat those leftovers is always a bonus. Enjoy!

March 20, 2012

Multigrain Chicken Continental

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All right, folks, we've done it again! An even healthier version of that oh-so-delicious Chicken Continental. We made it healthier once, and now we've done it again with the addition of some multigrain goodness from some spent grain leftover from homebrewing plus a mix of veggies and mushrooms. Yowza! it's good.


Multigrain Chicken Continental

Yield: Serves 4-8
Ingredients
  • 1.5-2 lbs chicken breasts or tender (cut up, bite-size, or as strips)
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp McCormick Montreal chicken seasoning (instead of salt and pepper)
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • splash canola oil
  • 3 10 1/2 oz cans 98% fat-free cream of chicken soup
  • 2.5 tablespoons dried onion
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt
  • dash pepper
  • 2 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried celery flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 soup cans water
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups spent grain
  • 2 cups Minute Rice
Cooking Directions
  1. Cut chicken and coat the seasoning mix. (salt, pepper Montreal chicken seasoning) (You can dip the chicken in 1 beaten egg if you want.)
  2. Brown the coated chicken in the melted Smart Balance and oil. Set that aside but save the drippings for soup mix.
  3. In a separate pot combine the soup, seasonings, drippings, veggies (minus mushrooms), and water. Heat to a boil. Put 1/4 to 1/3 of the soup mix aside.
  4. Put dry Minute Rice, spent grain, and mushrooms in the larger soup mix and stir, then put that mixture in a 9 x 11 cake pan or a casserole dish.
  5. Top with chicken and pore the rest of soup mix on top.
  6. Bake, uncovered at 375 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top.