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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Plăcintă cu brânză dulce (Romanian/Moldavian sweet cheese pie)

This is my mom's recipe for a classic sweet cheese pie, peasant-style, very often made in Romania and Moldova (both the Romanian side of Moldova and the other side). The dough is a softer version of crumbly shortcrust, made with yogurt, and the filling is fluffy with whipped egg whites to give it a foamier texture. 

The whole thing is baked until golden and delicious. It lasts wonderfully for a few days. Sometimes, raisins are added to the filling, but my mom skipped those. Enjoy.

Last year: Mangu with onions and salami (Dominican Republic).
Two years ago: Carrot, raisin and olive oil cake bars with eggnog and almond icing.
Three years ago: Minty crème brûlée.
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Friday, August 28, 2015

Brie, mushroom, chicken and cream pizza

A pizza to go nuts about if you're a fan of Brie on anything (especially pizza, as I proved to be) or the creamy cheese-chicken combination on pizza. :) 
With some added bell pepper strips and corn from the can for extra crunch and texture. Go easy on the veggie additions, the pizza is supposed to taste mainly like chicken and creamy melted cheese and Brie. Enjoy. :)

Last year: Classic blondies with white chocolate chunks (American).
Two years ago: King Bao Ji Ding (Kung Pao Chicken) (Chinese).
Three years ago: Spaghetti nests with dill cream and caviar.
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Roasted balsamic brussels sprouts (vegan)

Kind of plain for a main dish, but glorious for a side-dish, these little sprouts are baked with peppers and flavored with a balsamic vinaigrette just enough to make them tangier. A good dieting or detoxing idea.
We had them with a delicious saucy turkey main dish and they brought a touch of welcome freshness to the meal. :)
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten, via La Phemme Foodie.

Last year: Black bean chili tostadas with avocado salsa (Mexican) (vegan).
Two years ago: Mojito (cocktail) (Cuban) (vegan).
Three years ago: Tomato-basil creamy soup with caprese toast.
Four years ago: baby making and no cooking. :)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Lemony courgette and spinach salad (vegan)

A fresh and bright and green and zingy salad with lightly fried courgettes, lemon juice and zest, fresh baby spinach leaves, a touch of olive oil and plenty of freshly grated pepper. It was a quick and light meal and I loved it. :)
Recipe source a bit adapted from here.

Last year: Sopa de Habas (Mexican Fava Bean Soup) (vegan).
Two years ago: Spaghetti with broccoli cream pesto.
Three years ago: Spanish tomato bread with jamon serrano.
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking. :)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Atol de Elote (Sweet corn and milk drink)

This is the Mayan version of a warm milk drink, and though the combination with corn may sound weird, it's surprisingly good. 

It's a hugely popular drink everywhere where the Mayan legacy is still strong, but especially in Brazil, Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador.

I think it's very interesting to find hot sweet drinks that are cocoa-free, and I was willing to try this out just for this detail, but it was actually so yummy to make it worth it even beyond the whole "exploring world cuisine" value.
This drink is great to enjoy in the same context as any hot cocoa you normally have: at a social gathering, in chilly evenings and so on. Enjoy.
Recipe source: Saveur and 196flavors.

Last year: Cherry tomato and spinach bread.
Two years ago: Tiny German pancakes with strawberry filling.
Three years ago: Strawberry, banana and flax seed muffins.
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Calabacitas con Elote (Zucchini with Corn) (Mexican)

This is a typical Mexican side dish / main course, of corn kernels and zucchini (or courgette) bits fried together with onion and garlic, mixed with buttermilk and topped with freshly grated cheese. It's delicious and quite fast to throw together. Enjoy it as soon as you can, it's comfort food at its best.
Recipe source: Hispanic Kitchen

Last year: Spicy artichoke and cheese pasta souffle.
Two years ago: Avocado and green leaf salad (vegan).
Three years ago: Mushroom and broccoli filled omelet
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Chocolate chip blondies

Chewy blondies with a crisp texture on the outside and fudgy one on the inside. Studded with walnuts and dark chocolate chips. Made with brown sugar (and plenty of it) which caramelizes during baking creating something truly wonderful. These are slightly sweeter than the average brownie, so pairing them with tea is ideal. I made them for a little house party and they were a warm hit :). Enjoy.
Recipe adapted from Barefeet-in-the-kitchen. (I used dark chocolate chips and more of them).

Last year: Peanut butter, cauliflower and pea curry.
Two years ago: White bread croutons (vegan).
Three years ago: Chicken with light gorgonzola and mushroom sauce.
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Sunomono (Japanese cucumber salad) (raw vegan)

Meant as a side to main courses, this simple cucumber salad is dead-easy to make but at the same time not like any other cucumber salad that the Western taste is accustomed to. The sesame oil, sesame seeds and Japanese seasonings really make a difference. Whenever you're cooking Japanese food, do try to include this on the menu as well. It will only take a bit but it will complete everything harmoniously. :)
Recipe source: here.

Last year: East 62nd Street lemon cake (American).
Two years ago: Ciorbă de gulii (Romanian kohlrabi soup) (vegan).
Three years ago:  Smoked salmon carpaccio with sun-dried tomatoes (raw) (Swedish "Najad Lax").
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking. :)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Cacio e Pepe Pasta (Cheese and pepper pasta) (Italian)

A traditional dish from the region of Rome, very simple and with few ingredients, that really allows the flavors of cheese and freshly ground pepper to brightly shine through. The pepper is toasted in olive oil firsthand to enhance its flavor, and then grated cheese is added (ideally, a type of Italian cheese called "Cacio", but yellow cheddar works as a fine substitute) to create a velvety sauce in no time. The pasta used in this dish should be spaghetti (or at least linguine), as its shape fits the sauce's texture perfectly. 
Recipe source: Saveur

Last year: Tortellini tomato salad with pesto dressing + possible improvisations.
Two years ago: Pink raspberry lemonade (raw vegan).
Three years ago: Pain aux herbes de Provence (French) (vegan).
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking:).

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Baked salmon on fennel

This is an extremely light and simple dish that creates a delicious combination by using very few ingredients. It's basically salmon infused with fennel aromas lying on a fennel bed, everything oven-baked and spiced only with salt and pepper to allow the fennel and salmon's flavors to shine through better. Full of protein and fiber but very low on calories. Perfect for the main course in hot weather. Enjoy.

Last year: Café con leche (Spanish strong coffee with milk).
Two years ago: Peach and vanilla cream pie.
Three years ago: Lemon and artichoke spaghetti (vegan).
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Brie walnut spread (French-style)

I was thinking about Obazda, the delicious German spread based on Camembert and caraway and paprika, and decided I should try making a similar spread (God, don't we all just love cheese spreads! Perhaps a little more than we - I - should) with a French riff. And that, bien sûr, had to mean Brie and walnuts. :D
Well, since it all seemed pretty straight-forward and easy to accomplish, I got to it right away. The result was not only good, but way better than imagined initially, like in a greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts way :). Must try as soon as possible. Just take my word for it and you won't be sorry. Oh, and please don't replace the walnut oil with anything else. It's essential. You can thank me afterward. Go.

Last year: Pa amb tomàquet (Spanish/Catalan tomato bread) (vegan).
Two years ago: Field salad with parsley and breaded Camembert.
Three years ago: Gyeran-Jim (Korean fritata with green onion).
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

Monday, August 3, 2015

Pizza Pollo affumicato con Brie (Italian-American)

This particular pizza didn't look that great, as you can notice if you look at its irregular shape because I accidentally put in too much water in my dough and only realized how runny and sticky it was after it was already done rising and it was time to roll it. I decided against adding more flour to compensate for the extra moisture, because I didn't want to wait for yet another rising time, so I went on with it and rolled it the best I could, topped it with the rest of the stuff and baked it as it was. The result was just as delicious as any pizza, except for the rustic shape, to say the least :D.

The pizza recipe is an Italian-American classic, using smoked chicken breast and the lovely Brie cheese. Try it once and love it forever :)

Last year: Banana brownie cake.
Two years ago: Chickpea and ras-el-hanout cous cous (Moroccan-style) (vegan).
Three years ago: Raspberry-chocolate brownies.
Four years ago: baby making and no cooking :)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Coffee and brown butter banana bread with caramel coffee topping

This was truly marvelous. Take the well-known plain banana bread and add brown butter and coffee to it for extra richness and flavor. And as if that wasn't enough, make a coffee-flavored (slightly) salted caramel on the stove and generously pour it over the whole thing. Because you can. :D. 

Culinary arrogance at its best. For a posh and rich and grown-up breakfast, cake to make your mornings just a tad naughtier. 
Also, last but not least, this was my own creation. And proud of it. :) Enjoy!
P.S: When I made the recipe, I doubled it for 2 loaves. And they were both gone the next day. 

Last year: Drunken spaghetti (Italian-American).
Two years ago: Moules frites (Belgian and French).
Three years ago: Turmeric-fried chicken with three chili marinade and tomato raita.
Four years ago: Baby making and no cooking :).

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