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Shakshooka is a dish made of tomatoes and eggs. It is a great breakfast dish since it has protein and vegetables. Use any tasty bread to dip into it.
Shakshooka in Hebrew comes from the verb "leshakshek" which means "to shake". The dish is basically eggs that have been shaken.


Recipe for 2:

2 tablespoons of oil
3 garlic cloves
Half an onion or 1 full onion diced
3 large tomatoes or 5-6 smaller ones cut into cubes
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of chili pepper or anything else that is spicy
4 eggs
Salt and pepper


1. Heat the oil and saute the onion with the garlic.
2. Add the tomatoes and cook on low heat, partially covered for 15 minutes.
3. Season with chili pepper, salt and pepper.
4. Add tomato paste and taste the seasoning (it should be spicy).
5. The egg part is very important. You have to make room for the eggs. Make holes
in the sauce and break the eggs inside each hole one at a time (You can break the eggs into another bowl first and then transfer them but make sure to do one at a time.)
6. Cook on low heat until eggs are stabilized. They should look like sunny side up eggs in tomato sauce.
7. Use your favorite bread to soak up egg mixture.

Note: You can also add a little cooked sausage or chorizo for extra flavor.

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1. Make your own croutons. All you have to do is cut day -old bread into cubes, toss with olive oil, season with salt and pepper or any other spices and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Keep checking every few minutes to make sure they don't burn
and mix them while you check.


2. Use every type of fruit can you can find, Pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, dried fruit or mandarins in a can. Just toss them in and you have a great salad.

3. Crunch is the key. Anything works; granola, All bran cereal or crushed crackers. Just make sure you get the crunch in there.

4. Yogurt. A little yogurt goes a long way. When you are not in the mood for lettuce but
you know that you need to eat some. Just pour some yogurt on top and mix it in. Top it with some Zaatar, a Mediterranean spice and you get an interesting salad.

5. Flavored Salts. Salts come in all flavors today. Get some truffle salt, some
Nicoise flavored salt or any other salt that can add that flavor you need. Try Secret Stash salts for a large variety of unique salts.

7. Go Nuts. Cashews, sunflower seeds, almonds or any other nut that you can find. They all add the protein and flavor you need.

8. Pickles. I know it sounds odd but chopped up pickles add a salty and wonderful touch to a salad.

9. Eggs. Hard boiled eggs chopped and added to a salad add a certain creaminess along with a nice serving of protein.

10, Cheese. Every cheese adds a different touch. Use a microplane grater to grate the cheese into a puffy topping. You will end up using less and tasting more. Ideas: Parmesan, Ricotta Salata, Blue Cheese, Goat Cheese or Cottage Cheese.

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After getting a little carried away slicing potatoes for making kettle chips we needed to do something with the left over slices. An easy follow-up was scalloped potatoes, which are easy to make and cook most effectively with uniform potato slices like the ones used for the chips. As I frequently mention, I'm allergic to dairy so I substituted 1/2 cup Silk creamer and 1/2 cup chicken broth for the 1 cup of cream in the recipe.

Scalloped Potatoes recipe

Scalloped Potatoes Ingredients
4-5 medium sized potatoes
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbl butter
2 Tbl flour
1 cup cream
1 cup shredded cheese
1/3 cup ham, cubed
1 tsp thyme

Preparation
1) Turn oven on to 375 degrees. Slice potatoes either by hand or to 3mm with a mandolin and keep in water until ready to layer in baking dish.
2) Saute diced onion and garlic in butter.
3) Add flour to butter and cook for 1-2 minutes
4) Add cream, stir to thicken
5) Grate cheese and add 1/2 cup to sauce. Add ham and thyme to sauce. Stir sauce until cheese melts.
6) Layer half potatoes on bottom of 1 1/2 quart baking dish. Pour half of sauce on the potato layer. Add rest of potatoes on top of sauce, then add the rest of the sauce on top of your second potato layer.
7) Top with the other 1/2 cup of cheese. Bake covered for approximately 30 minutes until bubbling. Remove cover, sprinkle breadcrumbs on the top and cook until the top has a golden brown crust of breadcrumbs and cheese.
1/4 cup bread crumbs

Serves 2-4

I'm a huge fan of the flavor combination of Brussels sprouts and bacon. This pasta dish, with the wide pappardelle noodles is a variation on that theme, substituting my love of American smoke-cured bacon with the flavorful salt-cured pancetta.

Pappardelle with Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta

Ingredients
Fresh dried papparadelle pasta - 8oz
Brussels sprouts trimmed and halved - 1 pound
Pancetta, thick sliced cut into small pieces 6oz
Fennel - 1 bulb, sliced
Garlic, 3 cloves, sliced
Leek, halved and sliced
3-4 sage leaves, julienned
2 sprigs thyme
Handful of parsley, chopped
1/2 lemon
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Red pepper flakes
White wine (Chardonnay or Chardonnay Blend)
4 Tbl Butter
2oz heavy cream
pinch of nutmeg, fresh grated
1-2oz Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Preparation
Start with a pot of water for boiling pasta. Add plenty of salt to the water. While waiting for the water to boil, trim Brussels sprouts and work through preparation of other ingredients. In a large saute pan on medium-high heat, add pancetta and a little olive oil, cooking until brown. Add Brussels sprouts and saute 2-3 minutes. Add fennel, leeks and thyme. Brown vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Add pasta to water at this stage. In the saute pan, add red pepper flakes and garlic. Toss saute pan several times, then add white wine and deglaze by scraping the bottom of the pan. Allow to reduce until liquid is almost gone. Add sage and parsley, along with butter, stirring until butter melts. Check pasta at this point (if not ready, turn down the saute pan and wait for the pasta), add the cream, salt & pepper to taste, allowing to bubble and thicken. Add pasta to saute pan and toss all to coat the pasta. Grate nutmeg and cheese into the saute pan. Squeeze lemon over the entire pan and serve.

Truffle Chex Mix

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Every time I open my freezer I get a whiff of the Truffle Salt that I bought a while back. I decided to use it make Truffle Chex Mix for a girls night out I hosted. The girls found it addictive and everyone was asking where I got it.

Truffle Chex Mix

6 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of Truffle Salt
3/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
9 cups of Chex Cereal
1 cup of mixed nuts
1 cup of pretzels
1 cup of vegetable chips(I used Terra Exotic Mediterranean chips)

1. Heat oven to 250 degrees.
2. Melt butter in microwave.
3. Stir seasonings in with butter.
4. Mix all ingredients together.
5. Bake for an hour, mixing every 15 minutes or so.

Comments:
It tasted nice but I felt like there should be more chips. Next time I will add more.
I am refraining from making this for myself because I will probably end up eating it all in one day. That's what guests are for.

Truffle Salt is from La Buona Tavola, 1524 Pike Place. 206-292-5555
Chips are from Whole Foods.

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With damp cool weather starting to kick in here in the Pacific Northwest, it's time to start making some of my favorite soups. I like a number of different ham and bean soups, but I think this particular recipe, which couples smoked ham hocks with cannellini and great northern white beans. A little Swiss chard added at the end adds a flavor like an intense spinach that tempers the comforting rich salty flavor of the soup.

Ham and White Bean Soup

Ingredients
1 medium onion (diced)
3 whole carrots (chopped)
3 celery stalks (chopped)
1 bunch thyme
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
3 Tbl olive oil
2 ham hocks
1 cup white wine
water
red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
2-3 Cans northern white beans or cannellini beans
Swiss chard

Preparation
Warm your stock pot to medium heat, then combine sweat diced onion, chopped carrots and celery, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, in olive oil. Add wine to sweated vegetables allowing it to reduce by half. Add water, ham hocks, bay leaves, and thyme. The water should cover the hocks in the pot. Simmer till ham hocks are falling apart, which will take several hours. Add cannellini and great northern beans, simmer an additional 20 minutes. Just before serving, add the chard to the pot allowing it to cook lightly. Finish by serving in bowls garnished with sour cream or plain goat yogurt and chives.

I got this recipe from a Hebrew Cookbook Called "The Treasure of Al Ha Shulchan" which means "The Treasure of On the Table". "On the Table" is a Hebrew food Magazine filled with recipes and ideas. The treasure is a book with all the most popular recipes from
the series.


Wonderful Sweet Salad with Feta, Pears and Walnuts in Baguette Cups

I adjusted the recipe quite a bit. Here is my version.

6 pears (peeled)
1/2 a cup of vinegar
1/2 a cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of salt
1/2 a cup of water
1 stick of cinnamon
A pinch of cardamom
6 slices of baguette.
1 endive (broken into pieces)
A few handfuls of lettuce (I used a regular mixed greens)
1 carrot (cut into strips)
120 grams of feta cheese
1/2 a cup of walnuts


1. Bring pears with vinegar, sugar, salt, water, cardamom and cinnamon to a boil.
Cook for about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool. Cut pears into sticks.
Keep sweet dressing for later.

2. Heat oven to 400 degrees.

3. Pull out the insides of baguette slices (the soft part) Toast in oven for 5 minutes.

4. Mix all the rest of the ingredients (including pears) except for the nuts and cheese. Pour 1/4 of a cup of dressing on top and mix.
5. Fill baguette cups with salad and top with feta and walnuts.

The recipe calls for pomegranate seeds as well. You can use some if you find them.
I didn't use them.

Note: I usually have extra salad left over and I just eat it with the leftover dressing.

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I've been nagging Robin to help me make a lasagna with sheep cheese for awhile, primarily because I have an allergy to dairy, which means a "real" lasagna is simply out of the question for me. Somewhere along the way this morphed into a recipe that was something closer to the whole sheep lasagna. We substituted ground lamb in place of the normal meats you would include in a lasagna and instead of spinach we used Marche, the greens also known as lamb's lettuce. The result was an outstanding dish that stacks up nicely against any of the more traditional lasagna recipes (just because I shouldn't eat dairy doesn't mean I don't sample on occasion).

Lamb Lasagna

Whole Sheep Lasagna Recipe

Ingredients

Lasagna Noodles

Meat
2lbs ground lamb (coarse if you can get it)
1 Tbl fennel
2 Tsp red pepper flakes
Salt & Pepper to taste

Sauce
28oz can Crushed Tomatoes (San Marzano)
1/2 yellow sweet onion (diced)
5 whole cloves garlic
1 Tsp red pepper flakes
1Tsp anchovy paste
3 Tbl EVOO
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 cup red wine (Sangiovese / Chianti)
1/4 cup total basil, oregano, thyme
1 pint grape tomatoes

Filling
16oz cubed soft sheep milk's cheese
1 cup grated pecorino romano
3-4oz Mache (lamb's lettuce) or sub spinach
1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves whole
2-3 cups sliced baby bella mushrooms

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven 375
  2. Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water until almost al dente. Remove from heat and set aside in a little water and olive oil
  3. While the noodles are boiling, use a medium saute pan to brown lamb and combine with ingredients for seasoning meat. At this time you can also start your sauce by sweating your onions and garlic in medium sized sauce pan, combing the onion and garlic with olive oil, anchovy paste, red pepper flakes, and salt & pepper.
  4. Once meat is brown set aside.
  5. Finish sauce by adding wine, cook to reduce till liquid is almost gone.
  6. Add crushed tomatoes to the sauce, simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes (this is a good place to sample the wine you purchased for dinner)
  7. Prepare your filling by picking basil, cubing soft cheeses, grating pecorino romano (reserve half cup of cheese for top). Combine all filling ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
  8. Slice mushrooms
  9. Add chopped herbs and grape tomatoes to sauce. Combine meat and sauce at this point.
  10. Using the saute pan from your meat add olive oil and saute mushrooms on medium high to high. Add salt, pepper, and thyme to mushrooms. Saute till browned. Add mushrooms to bowl with filling.
  11. Prepare lasagna 9x12 baking dish so you can start making layers.
  12. Coat the bottom of dish with a layer of sauce, followed by a layer of noodles, and then a layer of filling (veggies cheese and mushrooms).
  13. Repeat layers until you get to your last row of noodles, then finish with a layer of sauce and sprinkle the reserve cheese on the top.
  14. Cover with foil and place in oven for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Remove foil, change oven setting to broil. Cook lasagna until topping is golden brown and bubbly (5 minutes max). Don't walk away at this stage or the lasagna will burn.
  15. Remove from oven, allow to rest for 5-7 minutes before serving.
  16. Serve with bread, salad, and your favorite Italian wine.

3 Sheep Cheeses The three sheep cheeses used in this recipe are pecorino romano, pecorino di pienza, and brigante pecorino pinna. The pecorino romano is an excellent cheese for grating, the other two cheeses a much better for melting.

Peach Cake

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This cake takes just a few minutes to put together. It's great when the guests are on the way.It tastes great with warm with ice cream ( this I learned from one of my readers).

Peach mixture:

6-8 peaches

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 tablespoon of sugar

Flour mixture:

1 and 1/2 cups of flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1/4 of a teaspoon of salt

1 cup of sugar

3 eggs

1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

2/3 cup of oil

On top (makes a sugary crust)

1 tablespoon of sugar

a handful of pecans


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Chop the peaches into squares (size doesn't matter)
2. Put in bowl with 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, eggs, oil and 1/4 of a teaspoon of cinnamon
4. Oil a round baking pan and places peaches on bottom.
5. Pour the flour mixture on top.
6. Sprinkle pecans on top. Sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar evenly on cake.
7. Bake for 40 minutes or until ready.

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Bruschetta is one of those really easy things to make that just tastes so good. It is pronounced Brus- ket- Ta in Italian. I especially like the taste of ricotta salata, a mellow tasting cheese made from Sheep's milk. Ricotta Salata is dense and has a salty flavor. It is similar to feta but is a lot more mild. Be sure to use tomatoes that are okay to eat (any tomatoes will work fine). For a list of tainted tomatoes, click here
Bruschetta

Bread( enough for 8 slices)
6- 8 ripe tomatoes(diced)
4 garlic cloves
Olive Oil
Ricotta Salata cheese
Basil

1. Heat broiler. Place toasts on broiler.
2. Rub garlic on bread.
3. Place tomatoes and basil on bread and grate ricotta salata on top.
4. Drizzle olive oil and place under broiler again for a few seconds if desired.

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