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Monday, December 31, 2012

Tiramisu (Italian)

The one and only, the classical creamy Italian dessert with coffee and mascarpone. It needs no introductions. I think this is what I order most whenever I go out. Sometimes, when I have a lengthy paper to finish in too little time, I live on water, chewing gum and tiramisu (made in advance or, when things really get desperate time-wise, store bought). For days. Up to a week even (it's the maximum I can go on sweets without giving in to something salty). And as strange as it might seem, those days of eating the same thing and burying myself into books and writing are the best :)

Whatever your routine with tiramisu is, here's a simple and delicious way to make it. Enjoy and have a Happy New Year! :) 

Last year: Carrot and clementine cake with carrot-ginger marmalade, honey-cream cheese frosting and balsamic glaze
Two years ago: Spicy chicken and eggplant with mascarpone pasta

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Pumpernickel rounds with beef ham, mustard and cornichons

A simple idea for finger food using some basic things that go together well: grainy mustard, beef ham and dense, flavorful, dark pumpernickel bread. It could be handy for the party days ahead :)
Recipe idea from BBC's Good Food, forgot the exact issue or link.

Last year: Simple bundt cake with raisins (Romanian guguluf).
Two years ago: Pasta alla carbonara and Ginger-lemon chicken breast with honey and spice vegetable saute

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Prosciutto, chile and onion pizza

Very spicy. With three kind of chilies chopped and added to it. On a crispy home made pizza base. With red and yellow onion. And the best Italian prosciutto to top it off. The perfect thing to satisfy munching cravings on rainy afternoons when all you can think of is staying inside and watching movies.
Recipe idea inspired from Saveur

Last year: Raw winter salad in preserved peaches (Romanian)
Two years ago: Smoked salmon on lemon-herb butter toast.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Fennel, onion and Gouda quiche

We like to improvise new combinations based on the standard measurements of the most classic quiche of all (Quiche Lorraine). This time, we decided on a flavorful fennel, onion and Gouda cheese filling. A lovely vegetarian main course, and festive enough for the holidays ahead :). 

I like the first warm slice when it's just out of the oven almost as much as I love the cold slices served later. Enjoy :)

Last year: Simple tortellini soup.
Two years ago: Blackberry-almond breakfast treat and Orrecchiete with Parmesan cream, bell peppers and olives.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Easterner (cocktail)

What attracted us the most to the idea of this cocktail (besides the fact that it's sweetened with maple syrup which I love, of course) is... its name. Since we're easterners and all, you know ;).
Plus, it's a little rough, like a manly cocktail, since it has whiskey, but also bitter-sweet: it has quite a lot of grapefruit juice, the already mentioned maple syrup and grenadine syrup. So it's enjoyable for the ladies as well. Rough, bitter and sweet. Just like our Eastern side of Europe. :)
Recipe source: here.

Last year: Breakfast braided bread with cheese and ham filling.
Two years ago: Avocado stuffed with cheese and tomatoes and Mexican nachos with mixed dips (salsa, guacamole, garlic sauce and cheese fondue).

Monday, December 17, 2012

Amaretto chocolate truffles

Some of you may remember our first chocolate truffles, spiced with cardamom and cinnamon, or our whole truffle cake for that matter, or our raw vegan version of truffles. 
The point is, we may have a little addiction here, as you can see for yourself; and no matter in what form you make the truffles they'll always be delicious and keep you coming back for more.
But the other major passion we have about desserts is infusing them with all kinds of flavorful alcohol. So, this is what I did here also: combined the best of truffles with one of the best liquors out there: Amaretto (that gives a strong almond flavor to anything). 
You already have no excuse not to make these. But if you also add to the balance how easy they are to make and how fun it can get to get your fingers dirty, you really shouldn't postpone it. ;)
P.S: And they fit right into the Christmas cookie madness  :)

Last year: Vanillekipferln (Austrian vanilla crescents).
Two years ago: Spicy turkey fillet in tomato-coriander sauce and Butter and smoked salmon pasta.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Wood ear mushroom salad (Chinese) (raw vegan)

We've had this salad for the first time and also a lot of times after that at a lovely Chinese restaurant (where we also held our wedding party). 
It's easy as pie to make at home and it accompanies other Chinese dishes very well. In 2011, we served it at Christmas dinner alongside a crispy roast duck with five spices and fried rice with egg. If you can find dehydrated wood ear mushrooms (the Mu Erh variety are especially good for this), the salad is almost made. Enjoy :)

Last year: Bulgur pilaf with garlic.
Two years ago: Lebkuchen (German gingerbread) and Tarragon and white wine ragout (German).

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Crispy duck with five spices (Chinese)

This is what we had for Christmas dinner in 2011, and since the holidays are almost upon us, we decided this would be a good time to share the recipe. 
A whole duck, rubbed with Chinese spices, slowly baked in the oven on a grill so all the extra fat could drip away for the meat to get crispy, served alongside a lovely sweet-and sour sauce made with bitter cherry jam and wine.

I'm generally mad about duck meat (one of the healthiest out there) and have had it in various other forms, but I think this was my favorite recipe with it. Bogdan agrees :). It takes a while to make, but it's not that difficult once you put it in the oven. Honestly the waiting is the most difficult part :)
You should really try it as soon as possible. Enjoy :)
Recipe (barely) adapted from Crazy Mother Cooker

Last year: Tapenade, wild mushroom and red onion galette (vegan).
Two years ago: Moldavian Tochitura with polenta

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Upside-down pineapple cake (American)

Ever since pineapple started being available in its canned form, this cake has become a classic of the American cuisine. Found commonly in American homes throughout the twentieth century, it eventually leaked into the European cuisine as well.

We made it during a movie night with friends and it was fluffy and sweet and delicious, in a home-like and uncomplicated way. Cozy and nice :)
You can find more on the history of this dish here.
Recipe source we followed: here.

P.S: This actually reminds me a lot of a particular cake my mom made for me on my 6th birthday. It had pineapple rounds just like these on top, six of them, and a little birthday candle in the middle of each round. A total of six candles. For my little six-year old self. I seem to have a particular vivid memory of that birthday cake, since I can't remember the ones before or after. And today is again my birthday :)

Last year: Classic Pavlova (New Zealand and Australia)
Two years ago: Light and colorful field salad and Drink of the gods (Gottergetrank).

Monday, December 10, 2012

Chicken, rice and caraway soup (Asian-style)

This was a more unusual soup, but quite delicious. The caraway taste was pretty strong, the onions, ginger and spice paste that was fried on the bottom of the pot slowly infused everything and each serving bowl was topped with almond flakes. The yum was almost overwhelming, especially for a spice junkie like me.
The recipe was adapted from Radu Popovici and all credits for the loveliness should go to him. :)

Last year: Farfalle with cheddar cream, green apple and red onion.
Two years ago: German mustard cream pork chops and Apple and leeks winter salad (German).

Friday, December 7, 2012

Onion-Gouda-bacon fritters

We like vegetable fritters in almost any form - as you may have noticed - (Indian-style carrot fritters, Eggplant croquettes, Greek zucchini keftedes or Potato and cheese spicy fritters).
This time, we felt like letting the cheese and onion (which are almost all the time ingredients in the other various recipe of fritters) fully develop their full flavor unmatched by anything else. Just strong red roasted onion flavor with lovely aged Gouda. Well... and a little something else. What goes best with onion and cheese, besides wine? Yup, you guessed it. Bacon. Smoky, tiny, cubes of low-fat bacon (low-fat means more smoky, salty flavor). :)
With fresh veggie slices to top them for a nice extra crunch and a touch of watery cold freshness.
Fast to throw together and even faster to eat :). Enjoy.

Last year: Turkey fillet with chestnuts.
Two years ago: French onion soup with toast and oregano

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Grilled turkey breast with avocado-feta salsa

A light meal for detox time. Especially considering all the sweets people will have to deal with this month :). We grilled the turkey breast fast, chopped up fresh veggies for the salsa and enriched it with feta cheese and black-olives. The choice of ingredients and the overall taste were Mediterranean inspired. It was lovely. :)

P.S: No pictures of the making process though. Some camera trouble :(. But it's easy enough to make, you won't need extra pictures for the steps.

Last year: Quesadillas with cheddar, bacon and cherry tomatoes (Mexican).
Two years ago: Cheese-stuffed mushrooms and cheese fusilli with herbs and aioli and Swedish-style salmon with vegetables and white sauce.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Cocoa macarons with chocolate cream cheese filling + 2 year blog anniversary!

Today our blog is two years old! :) Therefore, we have a little surprise. For the first time in our little virtual kitchen, we proudly present these lovely macarons. 
The fanciest French cookie of all times! An epitome of French debauchery, as far as food goes! (And also the hardest to make - achieving victory when making these is a terribly important cultural milestone for any amateur chefs out there, so we might as well be proud too ;) ). Since it's our blog anniversary, we decided to post these rather than a cake, since it's such an important achievement for all the wannabees in the baking business ;).

The basic recipe we followed is here.
But the inspiration (and especially the encouragements we needed in order to dare) came from here. Thanks Andie! :). 

Last year: Classic Chocolate cream pie (American) + 1-year blog anniversary.
Two years ago: Complete-meal salad with basil and Simple fried bananas with cinnamon and honey. (A.k.a. our humble beginnings). :)

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