AdSense Full Screen test

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Salted Cabbage (Sauerkraut)

Cabbage, salt and water - super healthy and tasty
Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 2 (out of 5)
Source: Trial and error

Ingredients:

- 1 small-medium green cabbage (3-4 lbs)
- 2 tbsp salt
- 2 litres of boiled water cooled to room temperature

Directions:
1. Wash the cabbage, the hands, a 4l (1 gallon) glass jar and a large bowl.
2. Finely shred the cabbage (in a food processor or by hand)
3. In a large bawl, add salt to shredded cabbage and mix with your hands, gently squeezing the cabbage. It should soften, but not get too runny.
4. Transfer the cabbage into the glass jar, and add chilled boiled water, just enough to cover the cabbage. You will probably need much less than 2 litres.
5. Loosely cover the jar with the lid, but don't tighten it, you need air flow in the jar.
6. Leave the jar outside at room temperature.
7. Every day, open the jar, use a wooden spatula with a long handle to poke wholes in the cabbage to let the gasses from the bottom escape. Press the cabbage so that it stays submerged under the water and loosely cover with the lid again.
8. Taste your sauerkraut every day, until it reaches the level of doneness that you like. In my case it took 2 days, but it would depend on the temperature in your house.
9. Once the sauerkraut is ready, tighten the lid and keep it in the fridge.

Afterthoughts:
Many recipes use vinegar, oil, sugar or other spices. I think with salt alone it turns out the best, not only calorie and health-wise, but primarily taste-wise.

To Recipe...

Simple Fruit Cake

Only 5 minutes to make, and 45 to bake
Taste: 4 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 1 (out of 5)
Source: My mom

Ingredients:
- 100 g sugar
- 125 g margarine (+ a pinch of salt if using unsalted margarine or unsalted butter)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup (160 g) all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3 granny smith apple, peeled and sliced
Serves 8

Directions:
1. Beat margarine with sugar with a whisk or in a mixer.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
3. Grease a 9 inch pie pan, and spread the dough.
4. Add the fruit on top and gently press them in, just a little. In my case I added Granny Smith apples, but you can use plums, peaches apricots or other fruit.
5. Sprinkle the top with 1 tbsp of sugar. You can also add cinnamon or use vanilla sugar.
6. Bake in an oven preheated to 350F for 40-50 minutes. Check readiness with a toothpick.

Afterthoughts:
The top should be light golden, don't wait for golden brown - the cake might get too dry.

To Recipe...

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Mochi Cake

Cake from mochiko - if making real mochi is too intimidating

Taste: 4 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 1 (out of 5)

Ingredients:
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 13.5 oz can of coconut milk
- 3 cups mochiko flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Topping: ½ cup Toasted unsweetened coconut, tossed with 1 tbsp sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Coat a 9x13 inch baking sheet with cooking spray
2. Whisk together sugar, eggs, coconut oil, vanilla and coconut milk until combined. Add mocha flour and baking powder and fold using using a rubber spatula. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish.
3. Bake for 35 minutes, until lightly golden at the top and cool in the pan.
4. After the first 20 minutes, remove the cake from the oven and sprinkle the sugared coconut on top of the cake. Keep baking for 15 more minutes until fully cooked.
5. After bars are slight cooled, add a dusting of coconut flakes on top.

To Recipe...

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Uzbek Plov, Beef and rice stew

Rich and delicious beef pilaf with garlic
Taste: 4 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 3 (out of 5)
Source: Inspired by varied sources, mostly by Video Culinary

Ingredients:
- 1 kg stewing beef, cut into 5 cm cubes
- 1 kg basmati rice
- 1 kg carrots, cut into 1/2 cm thick strips
- 1/2 kg of onions, sliced into half rings
- 2 heads of garlic, whole, outer loose skin peeled off
- 200 ml cooking oil
- 1 l cold water
- 2 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- up to 1 l of boiling water
Serves 10.

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, rinse the rice with cold water to wash away the starch. This will help keep the rice grains separate in the final product. You might have to rinse the rice 3-5 times, until the water is clear. Cover the rice with more cold water so that the water reaches about 3 cm above the rice and let soak for 2-3 hours. Do not empty the water until you are ready to cook the rice, or the rice might get brittle.
2. In a large Dutch oven heat the oil on very high heat until it simmers and white smoke appears above the pot. Slowly (to prevent oil from splashing) place the meat into the oil. Sprinkle meat with salt as soon as all the meat is in the pot. This is supposed to make it tender. Cook on high heat, stirring, until the meat is golden brown and a crust forms.
3. Add the onions to the meat and cook, stirring, until the onions are golden brown.
4. Add the carrots, stir, add the salt and the spices, and stir more. Add 1 liter of cold water to the pot, stir to make sure all the meat is submerged. Bring the water to a boil on high heat. Reduce the heat to the lowest possible while maintaining the simmer, and simmer for 2 hours, stirring several times throughout. At the end of the 2 hours taste the liquid for salt and spices. It should be just a little too salty, to account for the addition of the rice. Add the garlic to the stew, root side down, and let it float close to the surface, don’t submerge.
5. Boil a kettle of water. Pour the water out from the bowl of soaking rice and transfer the rice into the pot on top of the meat-carrot layer. Flatten the top of the rice carefully. Slowly add enough boiling water to the rice so that it covers the rice by 1.5-2 cm. Increase the heat to high and cook until all the water evaporates. Do not stir.
6. When there is no more water to be seen, gather the rice into a dome shape in the center of the pot. Be careful not to mix the rice with carrots and meat. With a long wooden spoon poke 5-6 holes in the rice all the way to the bottom of the pot. Cook more until the water from around the rice dome and from the holes evaporates too.
7. Reduce the heat to low. Wrap the lid in a kitchen towel or place a paper towel between the lid and the pot and cook covered for 30-40 minutes. The towel will soak in the vapor and prevent it from dripping back into the rice.
8. When the plov is cooked remove it from the heat and let stand covered for another 10 minutes. Remove the lid, carefully open up the rice layer to extract the garlic heads. Carefully mix the layers of the rice and the meat and serve with the cooked garlic on the side.

Afterthoughts:
This plov takes 3 hours to cook with a lot of steps, and contains humongous amounts of oil, but the final result is really rich and delicious. Worth the time and the calories on a cold winter night.

To Recipe...

Monday, October 14, 2019

Buttermilk Pie Bars

Custardy, light and super easy to make
Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 2 (out of 5)

Source: adapted from here and there

Ingredients:
For the crust
- 150 g animal crackers
- 1/3 cup (70 g) butter, melted
For the filling
- 4 Tbsp flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp orange extract (or lemon extract, or omit)

Instructions:
1. Grease a 5'x7' pyrex pan and preheat the oven to 350F
2. Place the crackers in a food processor and pulse until you have fine crumbs
3. Pour melted butter into cracker crumbs, mix well, and spread to cover the bottom of the pyrex pan
4. Mix all the filling ingredients and pour over the crumb base
5. Bake for 55 minutes or until the top is light golden and the pie is still soft but no longer liquid.

Afterthoughts:
- This was a really easy recipe and worked very well the first time around. But I used 1 1/2 cups of sugar and the aftertaste in the mouth was a bit too sweet. So I will cut the sugar to 1 cup next time.
- Might be wise to check the pie after 40 minutes or so depending on the oven.

To Recipe...

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Salted Cucumber Pickles (NO Vinegar)

If you don't like the taste of vinegar in your pickles 
Taste: 4 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 1 (out of 5)
Source: trial and error

Ingredients:
- 1 kg / 2 lbs of cucumbers
- 1 liter / 4 cups of boiling water
- 2 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp dill flakes
- 1 tbsp whole mustard seeds or 1/2 tbsp mustard powder
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
- a dash of cayenne
- 4-5 bay leaves

Instructions:
1. Leave cucumbers in cold water for 1-2 hours (this is supposed to keep them crispy).
2. Boil 1 liter of water and mix in all spices except bay leaves. While cucumbers are soaked in cold water, let the boiled water with spices cool down.
3. Cut off the tips of the cucumbers. Place cucumbers in a 2 liter / half gallon glass jar and pour the chilled water with spices over them so that all cucumbers are covered. Place bay leaves on top.
4. Loosely cover the jar with the lid and Let ferment for 1 to 3 days at room temperature. Taste the cucumbers at the end of each day. The longer they stay out the saltier they become. For me one day is usually enough.
5. When the cucumbers reach desired degree of saltiness, close the lid and refrigerate. They will keep in the fridge for months.

To Recipe...

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Bok Choy Soup

Delicious, healthy, easy and practically calorie free

Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 1 (out of 5)
Source: trial and error (actually, success the first time around)

Ingredients:
- 2 lbs bok choy
- 2 liters / 8 cups water
- 1 tbsp miso paste
- 1 tbsp Better than Bouillon Beef soup base (or another soup base, or another tbsp of miso)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- yogurt to add to the finished soup as desired (optional)

Directions:
1. Wash the bok choy, add to a big pot with cold water and bring to a boil.
2. Place the softened bok choy with some of the water, the miso, the soup base and the spices into a blender and blend until uniform. (I actually don't add turmeric to the blender to avoid coloring the blender. I add turmeric once I return the pureed bok choy to the pot).
3. Return the bok choy to the pot (add the turmeric, if you haven't yet), bring to boil and keep simmering on medium high heat for another 10-15 minutes.
4. Serve with yogurt (1 tbsp for 2 cups of soup feels perfect to me).
5. Additional serving options: croutons, bacon, crumbled dried seaweed, sesame seeds, or whatever you like adding to your soup.

Afterthoughts:
I am not a big fan of soups or of bok choy. This soup was first made on a cold winter detox day to save calories (because bok choy has only 13 calories per 100 g). But it turned out surprisingly tasty. I made it many times since. It turns out bok choy is some kind of underappreciated super food with lots of nutrients. You can google it to feel even better about using it in your recipes. But this recipe does not really need external motivation - it simply tastes great!

To Recipe...

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Sirloin Tip Roast

Super easy and just right
Taste: 5 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 1 (out of 5)
Source: trial and error

Ingredients:
- 3 lbs sirloin tip
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 4 garlic cloves, halved

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 425F (450F in my oven - the thermostat is off) and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and parchment paper.
2. Make 8 cuts in the roast and insert the garlic.
3. Coat the roast with salt and pepper on all sides.
4. Roast the meat at 425F for 20 minutes, then at 350F (375F in my oven) for 30 minutes, then at 300F (325F in my oven) for another 30 minutes.
5. Check roast temperature in several places. If it's around 145F - good for you, if not, turn the oven off and leave the roast in the switched off oven for another 15 minutes. At that point the temperature reached 148F and the roast was just perfect.

To Recipe...

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Duck Breast

The best duck breast I've made so far 
Taste: 4 out of 5
Difficulty: 2 out of 5
Source: Dorie Greenspan

Ingredients:
• 2 duck breasts, at room temperature
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
• 1 tbsp honey
• juice of 1 lime

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 250F.
2. Using the point of a sharp knife, score the duck skin in a crosshatch pattern. Cut the fat layer, but try not to touch the meat. Season both sides salt and pepper.
3. Preheat a deep cooking pan or a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Using a deep pan is better because the fat will splatter. When the pan is hot, place the breasts skin side down. Cook for 8 minutes, until the skin is brown and crisp. Turn the pieces skin side up and cook for 3 minutes more.
4. Transfer the breasts to aluminum foil, wrap loosely and place on a baking sheet, Bake for 5 minutes.
5. In the meantime, pour off almost all the fat from the pot, leaving about 1-2 teaspoons in the pot. (Preserve the fat for baking potato wedges.) (you should have just a teaspoon or 2 left in the pot). Stir in the vinegar, honey and lime juice and cook for about 1 minute on medium heat.
6. When the breasts are out of the oven, add the juices from the aluminum foil to the pot, mix. Add the breasts and cook for about 30 seconds on each side.
7. Remove the breasts from the heat, slice into 1/2 inch diagonal slices, drizzle with the sauce and serve.

Afterthoughts:
• It’s better to cook in a non-stick pot, otherwise the duck skin sticks to the pan and the fat splatters even more.
• When adding the honey / syrup to duck fat for the sauce, watch the pot, otherwise the sauce burns very quickly.

To Recipe...

Monday, April 30, 2018

Chilean Corn Beef Pie - Pastel de Choclo

Definition of Comfort Food
Source: Adopted from En Mi Cocina Hoy
Taste: 4 (out of 5)
Difficulty: 4 (out of 5)

Ingredients:
For the beef:
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 kg / 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 cup water or beef broth
- 3 onions, diced
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1/2 tbsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp flour
For the corn mixture:
- 2 tbsp butter
- 10 cups or 1 3/4 kg frozen corn
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup cold milk or water
- 10 basil leaves or 1 tbsp basil paste
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1/4 tbsp black pepper
- 1/2 tbsp parprika
Other:
- 4 hard boiled eggs, peeled, cut into quarters
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, pulled with fork
- 10 olives halved
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
Serves: 8-10 people

Directions:
For the beef (to be prepared at least one day before serving):
1. Preheat the oil in a large frying pan and saute the onions until golden brown, stirring from time to time. About 10 minutes. Remove the onions from the pan, and leave to cool.
2. In the same pan saute the beef for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the spices, the salt ant the pepper and stir for another 2 minutes.
3. Add the water and simmer for about 20-30 minutes, stirring. After the first 10 minutes add the onions. If someone in your household does not like the cooked onion texture, grind the cooled onions before adding them to the beef).
4. Remove from the heat, adjust the seasoning as needed, stir in the flour and leave to cool.
5. Cover and refrigerate or freeze if you don't plan to use it within the next day or two.

For the corn:
6. In a large pot with a thick bottom, melt the butter over medium-high heat, add the frozen corn, cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
7. Add milk, basil, salt, pepper, and paprika and continue to cook for 10 more minutes, stirring.
8. With a hand blender, blend the corn trying to not to go uniform, leave some chunky parts. Add the dissolved cornstarch and continue cooking over medium heat for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. It will thicken slightly.

To assemble the pie:
9. Greeze a 13x9 inch baking dish
10. Spread the beef on the bottom of the dish. On top of the beef add chicken. Above the chicken layer add the eggs and the olives. You can also add raisins.
11. Pour the corn mixture on the very top. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and bake at 400F in a preheated oven for 45-60 minutes until the top is golden and bubbling. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Afterthoughts:
- This is a traditional Chilean dish. In Chile it is usually baked in clay pots, but if you don't have a large enough clay pot, a pyrex will do.
- This pie is really hearty and flavorful. It's perfect for a dinner on a colder night, but in Chile they eat it for lunch in the middle of the hot summer day, so I suppose it works for any time of day and year. Traditionally served with a salad of lettuce, onions and tomatoes.
- You can prepare all the dish in one go, it will probably take you about 1 hour, just the prep, plus one more hour to bake. But you can also prepare the different parts in advance, for example, you can prepare the meat mixture and freeze until the day of serving.

To Recipe...