Monday, January 30, 2012
Our baby still isn't here but she should arrive any day now. We're both enthusiastic and anxious and a bit tired (me) and as soon as it happens we may take a little break from cooking but not from posting (we have goodies documented in advance and some guest-posts from some of our friends are also scheduled to arrive). Keep a happy thought for us during these days and meanwhile maybe try this lovely Japanese dessert. Enjoy :)
"Dagaiku imo" literally means "university potatoes", because they're a staple student food around Japanese campuses. The really special thing about them is the sesame flavor from the oil and the seeds sprinkled on top, and the crunchy layer of caramelized honey that coats each piece, creating a crispy exterior and a creamy interior. We loved them and we're sure you will too if you try them.
Recipe source: Mark.
Last year: Winter wheat berries soup and Endive and bacon pasta.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
If you're a fan of potato salads, this is a creamy dressed one (and I mean with a real creamy and delicious, full mouth-feel) which is also incredibly light. With a Mediterranean taste from the artichokes and the raw red onion and olives, you'll surely like it. I'm quite proud of this creation.
First made it for greeting my folks when they came over for Christmas (I needed something I could make in advance because I also wanted to be able to pick them up in person from the airport and not just send Bogdan to get them :). ) A nice meal for having guests over or for your day-to-day dinner. Enjoy.
Last year: Bacon and eggs breakfast with a fresh touch and Vegetable stock.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
This is such a classical pasta dish you probably already know it. But just in case you don't, let's talk about its history a little. The name means.. well, basically "whore's pasta" :)). Apparently the Italian ladies of the night had some restrictions on going to the marketplace in broad daylight, so pasta made with not-so-fresh ingredients (from the can) was a easier (and cheaper) way to feed their clients. The name could also come from the salty and robust taste of the dish, say some culinary historians. Anyway, they're pretty delicious and very laziness-friendly. You can just throw it together with whatever stuff you have lying around in the pantry when you don't feel like going out of the house to shop.
Here we made the classical take on it, with the only mention that we used herring instead of anchovies (we don't really like them). Enjoy your naughty pasta :)
Last year: Red pepper and pesto pasta with smoked salmon and Fig salad with feta, rucola and cherry tomatoes.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
This is our favorite kind of dinner for weeknights. Lean chicken meat marinated in a tandoori sauce, then seared on a hot grill, served with crispy warm flat-bread and field salad with cherry tomatoes. And a lovely lemon raita (Indian dipping sauce for spicy foods) to go with it all :).
If you want to make a classic tandoori chicken (not on skewers), follow this link. :)
P.S: We're also enlisting this recipe in January's Sweet Romania challenge (2012), which focused on the keywords "detox" and "citrus". We found this to be the perfect example of a main course that embodied them both :).
Last year: Ricotta and cinnamon pancakes with raspberry sauce and pomegranate and Bavarian-style white radish salad with lemon vinaigrette.
If you feel like having a slice of cheesecake in no time, here's how you can make mini-cheesecakes in your ramekins (we usually just make two when we feel like a quick sugar fix).
For this version here, we felt like recreating a classic childhood winter taste, of hot tea with honey and lemon in it, served next to a piece of cheese pie. If you like honey and lemon in your tea, you'll love the combination here. Oh, and unlike classic cheesecakes, we recommend these to be served warm (for the above-mentioned nostalgia reasons), although chilled they're just as good.
P.S: We're sending this to January 2012's Sweet Romania challenge, which had "detox" and "citrus" as keywords. We can think of no better way to have some light dessert (with lemony taste) during detoxing :).
Last year: Easy Spanish tapas and Greek Zucchini fritters (Kolokitho Keftedes) with Tzatziki sauce.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
We like onion soup in its classic French version, but the addition of onions to any kind of broth makes us happy as well, especially in the cold season. Here we took a more oriental approach to the onion soup and paired it with an oven-baked baguette stuffed with a herb butter spread. It sure is warming to dunk a crispy freshly out-of-the-oven baguette in a light and airy soup :).
And don't worry about unpleasant smells (if you haven't had onion soup before), the cooking takes it all away and leaves behind only a delicious flavorful sweetness. Not to mention you're probably not going to catch any cold for a while. Enjoy. :)
Last year: Tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelet) with parsley and fennel and Red wine pears and Camembert.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
If you were wondering what else could you make using the delicious dukkah blend, here's an idea. We like coating chicken or turkey strips with it and baking them till they're crispy, then using them in a warm crunchy wrap alongside fresh salad and a creamy dressing (like guacamole, mayonnaise or even hummus if you want to keep the Middle-Eastern themed flavors).
The nicest thing about this is that it's very fast to make, easy to pack up and thus ideal to be prepared as a office snack. Just make it the evening before and take it with you in a box, it keeps so well you'll enjoy it as if freshly made :)
Last year: Sweet pumpkin roast and Simple wellness salad with potatoes, apple, feta and egg.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
The dukkah (or duqqa) is a spice mix used in the Middle East, especially in Egypt, as a side-dish or starter. Paper cones filled with this coarse ground mixture are sold as a popular street food, and the buyer dips his pita bread in the vendor's bowl of olive oil and then in the dukkah. This is just the way we recommend you to serve it too (and so did we):
But the dukkah can be used for various other cooking feats: as a topping for pasta and cream soups, as a coating for meat or vegetables before roasting them etc. After you make it, store it in a airtight jar and use it within a month or two. Get creative :)
Last year: Simple chicken stock and Risotto with chicken strips and bell pepper.
Friday, January 13, 2012
If you like tuna spreads this is how you can have it home-made, healthier and yummier. Usually given a tang by adding lemon juice, we gave it a more tropical-tang using clementines :). Also infused with Mediterranean herbs and flavors, it made for a very satisfying starter (and whole meal actually).
Inspired from here (but adapted it with the clementine twist).
Last year: My mom's Romanian Bird's Milk.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
These little snail-shaped fluffy-crunchy bread rolls filled with a delicious olive paste are one of our go-to snacks using the magic dough we seem to be making so often (from the breakfast braided bread). The tapenade paste is basically made from black olives mashed together and optionally spiced with herbs or other additions. It is often made and considered a delicacy in Provence. We usually use it as a dip for tortilla chips, as a spread for pies or pizzas, and now also as a delicious filling in bread rolls.
Last year: Tabbouleh (Middle Eastern parsley-bulgur salad) and Simple wellness salad (with endives, feta, clementines and pumpkin seeds).
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Slightly sweeter than the original British version, these scones (tea cookies) are suitable to serve on their own as well, without any addition of cream and jam, but not that sweet to make such an addition unwelcome :D
Packed full of warm fall and winter flavors (tangy fresh cranberries, crunchy walnuts, orange peel, golden saffron and cinnamon, they make a lovely snack, breakfast, treat and so on. Enjoy.
We had some extra fresh cranberries on hand and were out of desserts, so we wanted something easy to make and fast and this opportunity presented itself right on time (especially given the fact that lately, overfed with the whole cupcake drama, I've been quite passionate about the noble scones' history). :)
Recipe slightly adapted from here.
Last year: Zucchini and caraway salad with parsley and lemon cream salad.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Although you may think that these are heavy (given that are fried in oil), trust me, they only seem so. The moist interior and the bread crumbs create such a texture that absorbs almost no oil at all and makes the final product soft and yummy inside with a crunchy crust on the outside. Try them when you're in the mood for a tasty yet light vegetarian main or a nice snack to nibble on while waiting for a heartier main. They also make for great party appetizers ;)
Recipe adapted from here.
Last year: Fast baby pasta with creamy Parmesan and pea sauce and Simple tomato sauce pasta (pasta con pomodoro).
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
This Italian chicken stew takes a while to make, but it's quite a relaxed cooking session and the way all the flavors come together in the end is amazing. It's very light, but tastes hearty and intense from all the veggies, olives, white wine, fresh mushrooms, capers and so on. We had it with a Italian-style polenta, which we recommend as the ideal side-dish for this.
Adapted mainly from here.
Happy New Year and good luck keeping up with all your new plans, resolutions and projects!
Last year: Moldavian fried carp with mamaliga (polenta) and mujdei (garlic sauce).