Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Baking Desserts

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written but that doesn’t mean I stopped cooking, or eating for that matter. It’s been a busy life, let’s just say that.
The pictures I am sharing today are of desserts I baked in a mad afternoon, meaning a frenzied afternoon when I had the brilliant idea to test recipes; not one but four or five. I have so many cookbooks at home, I feel it is a waste to just let them sit on the shelf collecting dust, so I actually pulled out a bunch, leafed through them and found recipes that sounded promising. I made cookies, cakes and a pie. Probably the first pie I ever baked, come to think of it. Unfortunately it also tasted like the first pie I ever baked, so yes, it was not quite a success. Looked good though, despite the over-doneness.
The cookies were filled with dried cranberries, white chocolate and pecans, courtesy of a Nigella Lawson recipe. They were a big hit and I made them again after that, after much demand. The peach cake was humungous and tasted as if a cheesecake married a tub of custard, all to my delight, but apparently too exotic for the friends I called to taste-test. The almond syrup cake was yet another recipe by Nigella and was a big hit. It’s rare that I make something of hers and it’s not a big hit. I also like that her recipes are simple and easy to follow.
After I had a few more days of mad-woman baking, my husband figured it would be a good idea to give me a KitchenAid mixer for my birthday (I was so invested in my baking after all), and he was right. Probably one of the best presents I ever received and I put that sucker to good use for a good couple of weeks, then I gave birth to our first baby and baking has given way to lots and lots of diaper changes. Ah, the things I’ve traded lately….
The popular cookies
I could have survived all week just eating this peach cake
The driest pecan pie I could manage
Aladdin surely ate this almond cake soaked in rose/orange water syrup

Friday, December 27, 2013

Shrimp with Zucchini

I think I have posted a variation of this before so hang in there. This dish is super easy to make and you'll be done in probably less than 15 minutes. I buy shrimp that are already peeled and deveined, season them with salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika. They sauté in a pan with olive oil for about 5 minutes.
While that's happening, I chopped a couple of zucchini and half an onion, threw that into a separate pan with olive oil and minced garlic and after about 5 minutes, I added frozen corn kernels and peas. I seasoned the veggies with salt, pepper and dried thyme and cooked them for a couple more minutes until the frozen veggies defrosted.
Squirt some lemon over the shrimp if you have it and plate it all up and enjoy.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Salmon Melts

In a moment of genius, I came up with these salmon melts (think tuna melts), which are a cinch to make and a delight to eat. I used salmon salad instead of tuna salad since I happened to have salmon on hand, and topped that with dill-flavored Havarti cheese. The mixture went on crackers which were popped under the broiler for a couple of minutes. No longer, trust me. Made that mistake only once.
For the salmon salad, I mixed canned salmon with mayo, diced pickles and onion and some of the pickle juice. No need to add salt since the canned fish is already salty on its own. That along with the pickles.
These are great for entertaining, especially during the holiday season.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Chicken and Couscous

When all else fails, good old chicken is a reliable standby for dinner. In this case, chicken with couscous. You might be busy after work, cleaning, paying bills, working out, washing the kids, washing laundry, or maybe even yourself, but you still have time to cook dinner. No excuses. The meal pictured below took me no more than 15-20 minutes to prepare. No kidding. The couscous is a cinch. Equal parts water or broth/stock to couscous. You boil the water, add some butter and salt, turn off the heat and add the couscous. Cover with a lid and let sit for 5 minutes.
In the meantime, season the chicken (I used thighs) with salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder, heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat and sauté on both sides for about 4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the meat.
Fluff the couscous with a fork and serve with the chicken. Voila, dinner is done. And yes, for once, there is nothing green on the plate. Don't know how I managed to pull that off.

Monday, December 2, 2013

More Peas!

Because I apparently cannot get enough of these green things, I am pairing them with everything. Here they are pictured with chicken schnitzel, a thinly pounded breast or thigh, dunked in seasoned flour and pan fried to golden perfection. Yes, peas are a miracle food, they go with all sorts of crazy things. Especially soup, although if my husband sees another bowl of pureed green mush, he will throw it out the window, I'm sure. He has made threats like that.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sausage in Everything

Yes, the title is correct. I find myself throwing bits of cut up sausage in everything nowadays. From stews to veggies, bean soup to stir-fries. Because I'm crazy. And because it provides excellent flavor to the base of whatever you are making. Some use bacon, I use sausage. There are many different types and I don't discriminate. It's all good. The picture below shows garlic/feta/spinach sausage alongside greens, which if I remember correctly, consisted of bok choy, peas and onions. An unusual combination I have to admit but hey, it worked and dinner was done in a snap.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Snow Pea Stir-Fry

One of the easiest stir-fry dishes ever is this. Snow peas, zucchini, mushrooms and bacon (or pancetta in my case), chopped into bite-size pieces and sautéed together for 5-10 minutes on medium-high heat. Oil is not necessary since the bacon releases its fat but you do have to get that going first, before all the veggies. Add salt, pepper and maybe a bit of garlic or garlic powder, and bam, dinner is ready.