Thursday, March 17, 2011

For Japan With Love

For Japan with Love a movement started by Ever Ours and Utterly Engaged

Here is how you can help!

Visit For Japan with Love and donate. 
The donations will go straight to Shelter Box an organization working day and night in Japan to help the ones in need.

 Blogger’s day of Silence – Friday, March 18th, 2011!

The aim is just raise awareness and respect and acknowledge the devastation going on in Japan.
No post at all on your blog.

Tweet!

Tweet and Re-Tweet the shiznit out of the link to http://www.forjapanwithlove.com!

Help in whatever way you can!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chocolate Gelato

I am one of those crazy people that will tell you that I prefer ice cream over gelato.  It has to do with growing up in Sweden and the ice cream I remember was so creamy that i just got attached to it as a kid. The only ice cream I eat in the US is Häagen-Dazs since that is the only thing that comes as close to the creaminess I remember as a kid.  Not fat free, not low fat, not frozen yogurt, just the real stuff.   The other stuff just does not satisfy me. I do now and then find specialty shops here and there that make some great ice cream as well.  But gelato I never really enjoyed.

I am also one of those crazy people that will tell you if there was only one dessert that you can eat for the rest of your life it would choose ice cream.

Since I have been experimenting with ice cream at home I decided to experiment with gelato as well.

Well this recipe was a winner.  I think I might just like this chocolate gelato more than any other ice cream I have done at home.

I know that at the end this is not true gelato since gelato has to churn at a slower speed than ice cream and my ice cream maker only has one speed.  But gelato is made with a greater proportion of whole milk to cream (also less air but again I have this one speed ice cream maker and can’t control that).  But somehow with the ice cream maker the ratio of cream to milk this was just so smooth and creamy, not thick like ice cream but creamy enough and the flavor was out of this world.

I have made this ice cream a few times and used different kinds of chocolates and they all work great.  I think Ferrero Rocher was probably my favorite though.

I served this gelato at a dinner party, and the bowls were licked.

Chocolate Gelato

Adapted from Ina Garten

2¼ cups whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
¾ cup sugar, divided
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (Scharffen Bergen)
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (Scharffen Bergen 70%)
4 extra-large egg yolks
2 tbsp Bailey’s Irish Cream
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Large pinch of kosher salt
8 chocolates, roughly chopped (Baci, Toblerone or Ferrero Rocher)

Heat the milk, cream, and ½ cup sugar in a 2-quart saucepan, until the sugar dissolves and the milk starts to simmer. Add the cocoa powder and chocolate and whisk until smooth. Pour into a heat-proof measuring cup.

Place the egg yolks and the remaining ¼ cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high speed for 3-5 minutes, until light yellow and very thick. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour the hot chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Pour the egg and chocolate mixture back into the 2-quart saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. A candy thermometer will register about 180 degrees. Don’t allow the mixture to boil!

Pour the mixture through a sieve into a bowl and stir in the Bailey’s, vanilla, and salt. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard and chill completely.

Pour the custard into the bowl of an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s directions. Stir in the chocolates (Baci, Toblerone or Ferro Rocher), and freeze in quart containers. Allow the gelato to thaw slightly before serving.

Other Similar Recipes:

Honey Ice Cream
Peach Sorbet
Ice Cream Petite Fours
Chocolate Panna Cotta

Year Ago: Quiche

 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Garlic Shrimp

Ever walk by the seafood deli section in the store and see this delicious shrimp on sale but do not buy it just because you have no idea what to do with it?  Well, I have the perfect recipe for you.  It’s simple, quick, and delicious.  I would say this dish remind me a little of Thailand.  I love rice noodles and with some fresh garlic shrimp on it, it makes my mouth water.

Also when you do walk by that seafood deli section and buy that shrimp, buy the ones that have not bean cleaned.  The deli will charge you more for cleaned shrimp and it is so easy to clean it yourself.

What is your favorite shrimp recipe?

Garlic Shrimp

Yields: 4 servings | Prep Time: 15 minutes

1 lbs of shrimp (peeled)
6 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
1 shallot (finely chopped)
2 tbsp of fresh cilantro (finely chopped)
1 tbsp of fresh ginger (finely chopped)
1 tbsp of oyster sauce
1 tbsp of fish sauce
1 tbsp of soy sauce
2 tbsp of plum sauce (or honey or sugar)
1 tsp of black pepper
1 tsp of fresh lime juice
2 tbsp vegetable oil for frying

For Serving:
Rice Noodles
Cilantro
Lime Wedges
Prink Nam Pla

Peel the shrimp and chop up all the vegetables.  In a large bowl, combine shrimp, garlic, shallots, chopped cilantro, oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, plum sauce, lime and pepper.  Toss to combine.

Heat a wok or large skillet over medium high heat and add oil.  Add shrimp and stir fry for 3-4 minutes or until shrimp is cooked.

Serve over rice noodles and garnish with cilantro, lime wedges and Prik Nam Pla for the ones that want it spicier.

Other Similar Recipes:

Thai Curry Squash Soup
Thai Chicken with Plum Sauce
Fish Sauce with Thai Chilis – “Prik Nam Pla”
Fried Rice with Chicken

One Year Ago: Quiche

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Blueberry Quinoa Pecan Muffins

Folks I have a confession to for you, I do not cook and blog full time and it is not my career.  No seriously, I really wish it was, but not possible at this time.  I do have another career and day job.  I get up pretty early each morning to get ready for my other job and i am pretty much at my office at 7am due to the time difference with the folks I work with.  But because of this I create or pack my breakfast and lunch the night before.  I am always looking for great breakfasts and lunched for work so I am creating a new category for my creations and calling them “on the run.”  Sometimes I do not have much time to eat breakfast or lunch, sometime I have to eat them “on the run” or at my desk.  I bring my breakfast and lunch I can eat healthy and also keep my blood sugar stable during the day. I do not like to hit Starbucks to pick up a sugary scone or muffin in the morning that is 300+ calories and gives me a huge sugar spike and then makes me tired two hours later in search for some extra caffeine.  I really think there are many folks out there that have the same problem, and always looking for some good ideas.

There are a few things that are important here for me.  Breakfast needs to be easy, healthy, low in sugar, and filling.  Lunch need to be able to stay fresh from the making of the night before but also be healthy and not make me sleepy.  I hate when you over eat during lunch and one hour later you are ready for an afternoon nap at your desk or have to do a caffeine run.  Sound familiar?  For me that means no pasta or bread for lunch. But lunch also needs to be filling and keep me satisfied for most of the afternoon.

I have been doing this for a few years so I have lots “on the run” recipes and love to share them with you.  My first one in this category will be a healthy breakfast muffin.

This one includes Quinoa which has been all over the news recently.

Quinoa is commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. It is a recently rediscovered ancient “grain” once considered “the gold of the Incas” because they recognized its value in increasing the stamina of their warriors.  Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. Not only is quinoa’s amino acid profile well balanced, making it a good choice for vegans concerned about adequate protein intake, but quinoa is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. In addition to protein, quinoa features a host of other health-building nutrients. Because quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus, this “grain” may be especially valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis.

If you do a search on Quinoa on Google you will find all kinds of health benefits on it.  And I can tell you that these muffins are small but filling.  They are not sweet at all, the only sweetness you are basically tasting from these muffins are from the blueberries, otherwise these are moist and nutty.  And these muffins are less than 200 calories per muffin.

As usual I am eager to hear what other folks do “on the run.”

Blueberry Quinoa Pecan Muffins

Adapted from New York Times

Yields: 12 muffins | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Bake Time: 25 minutes

1 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour (You can make your own quinoa flour just by grinding quinoa, about 1/4 cup at a time, in a spice mill. Once ground, sift the flour, and then grind any whole quinoa that stays behind in the sifter.)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 large or extra large eggs
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup blueberries

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with a rack in the middle. Oil 12 muffin cups. Sift together whole-wheat flour, quinoa flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, maple syrup or agave nectar, buttermilk, canola oil and vanilla. Quickly whisk in the flour mixture, then fold in the cooked quinoa, pecans and blueberries. Combine well.

Spoon into muffin cups, filling each two-thirds full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then remove from the mold and cool on a rack.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Swedish Semla or Lent Buns

 

In Sweden we eat Semlor on Fat Tuesday which usually falls in February but this year it is on March 8th.  You ask what is Fat Tuesday?

Fat Tuesday is the last day before Lent, also called Shrove Tuesday.  Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday and it is all related to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lent season, which starts on Ash Wednesday.

I am sure folks have tons of traditions for this time of the year and I would love to hear about them.

The way I grew up is that we had to have Semlor.  Most of the Swedes i know do not care about fasting before Lent. Semlor are being made and sold from Christmas through Easter, and each Swede consumes an average of five bakery-produced Semlor a year. Add to that all those that are homemade!

 

 

The name semla is a loan word from German Semmel, originally deriving from the Latin semilia, which was the name used for the finest quality wheat flour or semolina.

A Semla is basically a sweet bun, spiced with cardamom, top is cut off, scraped out the insides of the bottom of the bun and stuffed with almond paste lost of whipped cream, and then the top is put back on and sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar.

Some folks put the semls in a bowl and pour walk milk over it.  I prefer the semla by itself. Also I am not a huge fan of almond paste I used to remove it as a kid and either eat it plain or stuff it with jam or you can even use coconut instead of almonds as you make your paste.

In some place you can find almond past in the store but if you cannot I have also attached a recipe at the bottom of how to do it at home.

 

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Semla

Yield: 16-20 buns

Total Time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

6 tbsp butter
1 cup milk
1 packet dry yeast or 50g of fresh yeast
1 pinch salt
3 tbsp sugar
3 cups wheat flour
1 tsp cardamom
2 eggs, beaten (one for brushing)

Filling:
10 oz. almond paste (recipe below)
1/2 cup milk (only if you are using almond paste that is store brought)
1 1/2 cup whipping cream
confection sugar

Almond paste:
4 oz or 3/4 cups almonds or 3/4 cups almond meal (you can get this at Trade Joes)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 sugar

Directions:

Melt the butter in a saucepan, pour in the milk and warm until lukewarm (99° F). Pour the yeast in a bowl (Crumble the yeast if using fresh yeast) and stir in a little of the warm butter-milk mixture until the yeast is completely dissolved. Add the rest of the butter/milk mixture, 1 egg, salt, sugar, cardamom and most of the flour (save some for kneading). Work the dough. It should loosen from the edges of the bowl.

Allow the dough to rise under a towel/cloth for 40 minutes. Sprinkle flour on the counter and place the dough there and kneed a few minutes, especially any air pockets. Roll the dough into one big roll. Divide into 16-20 pieces. Make each piece into a round ball and put them on a baking sheet with parchment paper and let them rise for additional 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 440° F.

Brush the buns with the beaten egg and bake them for about 10 minutes in the middle of the oven or until golden brown. Let them cool on an oven rack under a towel/cloth.

Once cooled cut off the very top of each bun. Take out part of the insides and put it in a bowl.

If you have not store bought the almost paste this is a good time to make it. Warm the milk and then pour the milk, the almonds/almond meal, sugar, and the insides of the roll into a food processor until a nice smooth paste. The warm milk will melt the sugar.

If you have store bought the almost paste then crumble it into a food processor, mix it with the insides of the rolls, and add the milk to a rather smooth paste.

Put this filling back into the buns. Whip the cream and put a large dollop in every bun. Put the tops back on and sift some confectioners’ sugar over the buns.

Eat as is or server them in a bowl with warm milk.

Enjoy!

Other Similar Recipes:

Swedish Easter Traditions Leg of Lamb and Gravy
Swedish Cinnamon Buns “Bullar”
Steamed chocolate Pudding
Swedish Pancakes “Pannkakor”

One Year Ago: Quiche

 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dog Treats

Today is my dog’s birthday.  His name is Cooper and he is turning 7.  Cooper is awesome and I love him. He is a labradoodle, half standard poodle and half labrador. The great things about labradoodles are that they have hair and do not shed. 

Cooper loves to play ball and can fetch for hours, he loves kids.  He also loves his stuffed animals but none of them have stuffing in them anymore.  It usually takes about 5 minutes before all the stuffing is out on the floor. 

For his birthday he usually gets a fresh bone with lots of bone marrow, it keeps him occupied for hours, and I am sure a sore jaw the day after.  But this time I decided to try to make my own dog treats for him, and he loved them. I have no idea how but he sat in the kitchen waiting for them, he knew they were for him.

I got this great recipe from Michelle from Big Black Dog blog who created this recipe. This makes about 25 dog treats but it depends on what size you make them, I made mine pretty large (2”x 1/5”).  Also depending on the size of your food processor you might not fit all the flour in there and have to use a bigger bowl to mix the rest of the ingredients.

Dog Treats

Recipe adapted from Big Black Dog

Yields: 25 treats | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Bake Time: 12 minutes

3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup oatmeal flakes
1 medium apple
1/3 cup peanut butter (or use 1/2 c. Chunky Peanut Butter)
1/2 c crushed peanuts (skip if you’re using Chunky Peanut Butter)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Turn oven to 400F.

You will be using a food processor for all the mixing.  Dice up apple. Don’t bother to peel the apple.

Add to a food processor, diced apple, peanut butter, oil, water, eggs and vanilla. Blend until apple is completely emulsified.

Add the cornmeal and oatmeal and blend. With the food processor running, gradually add the flour until completely incorporated.

Add nuts and pulse 2 or 3 times, just enough to mix nuts into the dough. Dough will be thick and sort of rubbery to the touch.

Remove dough to a small bowl.

Roll 1 tbsp of dough into a ball. Depending on the size of your dog, you may want to make a smaller sized ball.

Place each ball of dough on a parchment lined baking sheet and press down to form a flat disk. Dog treats do not rise when baked, so whatever size they are going into the oven, is the size they will be when baked.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 12 minutes. When treats are done, turn off oven and crack open oven door. Leave treats in oven overnight to dry out.

The treats do mold easily so freeze what you can’t use in 1-2 days. Then just thaw as needed.



Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chocolate Panna Cotta and Coconut Florentine Cookies

It is that time of the month again; here is the next Daring Bakers challenge.

The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies.

This is the first time I have made Panna Cotta and the only reason why I have not made it before then is because every time I have ordered it at a restaurant I have never liked it.  Could be because they put gelatin like things on top of it or the flavor is wrong.  I am not sure, I hate gelatin.  But now I love Panna Cotta.  This recipe here is fabulous.  It was just like a smooth and creamy chocolate pudding.  Delishhh!

Also Florentine Cookies are almost as these Swedish Oatmeal Wafers, but the difference is that in the Swedish version we use butter, egg, baking powder and very little flour.  So it makes them thinner and crispier.  Florentine cookies do not use butter, eggs, or baking power but instead milk and syrup and then a lot more flour so they are not as crispy but more chewy cookies.

I love both cookies, they are both very versatile you can add anything in between them chocolate, whipped cream etc.  Also very easy to shape as well, as soon as you get them out of the oven put them on any form and they will make the shape of the form.  If you make them half circle you can even fill them with things.

So after thinking of what would go with Chocolate Panna Cotta I decided that a great addition is coconut.  I decided to make a Plain chocolate Panna Cotta with coconut Florentine cookies.  Since I am a chocolate and coconut love to me this combination was heaven.

Chocolate Panna Cotta

Recipe adapted from Bob Appetit

Yields: 6-8 servings | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cooling: 4-6 hours

1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
1 tbsp unflavored powdered gelatin
2 cups (480 ml) whipping cream
½ cup (115 g) sugar
¾ cup (145 gm) bittersweet chocolate
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) vanilla extract

Pour milk into a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the top, set aside for 2-5 minutes. Make sure it is a think layer and no lumps.
Place a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir in cream, sugar and vanilla. Bring to a low boil.

Add chocolate and whisk until melted. Whisk the milk/gelatin mixture into chocolate cream mixture. Whisk until gelatin has dissolved.

Transfer to ramekins, or nice glasses for serving.

Cover and chill at least 4-6 hours, or overnight

If you would like to unmold your Panna Cotta from a ramekin simply run a knife along the edge, dip the ramekin in a bit of hot water, then invert onto your serving platter.

Coconut Florentine Cookies

Recipe from the cookbook “Nestle Classic Recipe

Yields: 40 cookies | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 6-8 minutes

2/3 cup (150 g) unsalted butter
2 cups (480 ml) quick or regular oats
1 cup (240 ml) granulated sugar
2/3 cup (160 ml) all purpose flour
1/4 cup (60 ml) dark corn syrup
1/4 cup (60 ml) whole milk
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1½ cups (360 ml) coconut flakes

Preheat oven to moderately hot 375°F (190°C).  Prepare your baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan, then remove from the heat.

To the melted butter add oats, sugar, flour, corn syrup, milk, vanilla, salt, and coconut. Mix well. Drop a tablespoon full, three inches (75 mm) apart, onto your prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with the back of your tablespoon, or use a spatula.

Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Cool completely on the baking sheets.

Peel the cookies from the silpat or parchment and place face down on a wire rack or form if you want to shape your cookies.

Other Similar Recipes:

Oatmeal Wafers with Nutella
Sesame Seed Snaps
Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse
Cow Patties

One Year Ago: Roasted Vegetables

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What’s Cooking in your Kitchen – Indian Simmer?

Today I will be going into the kitchen of Prerna from the Indian Simmer blog. I discovered Prerna’s blog a while ago while blog hopping and was instantly hooked, like many of us.  Prerna is from a small town in India but move to the US a few years ago and lives in Charlotte, NC.  During Prerna’s spare time she writes and teaches us about recipes and photography.  I love reading about her Indian background and all the Indian recipes she features, she makes them look so simple and amazing.  But that is not all,  her photography and styling is absolutely beautiful.  I am so excited to be in her kitchen today.

How long have you been cooking and who was the person who encouraged you to come into the kitchen and learn about food?

Food and cooking has always been a big part of my life and it has always intrigued me. In my family, kitchen was the center point of the house. Both my mom and dad are great cooks and growing up I saw everyone take turns in the kitchen making something for the rest of the crowd. So I always had some experienced hands holding mine while stirring a pot as a child. But then while running behind career and ambitions, I somehow drifted away from the kitchen!

Years and years later, after getting married and flying thousands of miles away from home, I found myself back in the kitchen. Now, my husband’s and my little 18-month-old’s satisfied faces after a meal encourage me to do better and learn more about food.

Why did you decide to start a food blog? And why do you love it?

After moving to the US, I got exposed to cuisines, cultures and people of the world for the first time. In turn, the move also helped me appreciate my own country’s cuisine and traditions even more. But there was one thing that surprised me every time I talked with someone about Indian cuisine. Most people felt that Indian food is all about curry and spicy food! And every time I thought to myself that there was so much more to this cuisine. One day I was sitting with my husband talking about it and in a very movie like way I said to him, “wish I could tell people about how varied, easy and ‘not so much about curry’ Indian food is” and he said “then why don’t you write a blog.”  And that’s how I started Indian Simmer!

Why I love it? It might take long to answer that question because I have SO many reasons for that! But if I could pick one thing then it has to be people. If it was not for this blog, I would have never realized how warm, appreciative and constructive people can be to someone who is almost a stranger. Well, stranger no more!

You are originally from India, tell us why you moved to the US?


I have to say that US was hardly ever on my life map. Until I met this guy who now I call my husband! He used to work in the US when we decided to get married. Next thing I knew I was here!

I am Swedish and know about moving from country to country and it is not always easy.  What was your hardest transition from India to the US?

To me, the hardest part in the transition comes from relationships – with people and culture. In India we are so used to being surrounded by people, even events and sounds. Not just friends and family but also everyone around you. Hawkers screaming on the streets, neighbors knocking on the door every evening for a cup of tea, sounds of temple bells when it’s time to pray – just a few of many that you grow up with. That’s what I missed the most when I moved here. I missed being surrounded by people and being involved in their lives all the time. Invited or not.

Is there any food or flavor you miss from India that you can’t get in the US?

Now the world has got so small that you can get anything and everything from one part of the globe in the other. Except one. That “real” taste of street food. Samosas and Pav Bhaji taste good only when they come from the tiny little corner shop at the end of the street. That’s what I miss the most.

Do you have a signature dish? What is it and how did you come up with it?

I can’t really call anything my signature dish but there are a few that my friends and family say I make, umm.. kinda best!


Aloo Gobhi


Matar Paneer


Falooda Kulfi (Indian style ice cream)

What are three things people don’t know about you?

My favorite kind of a vacation is spending time on the beach but I don’t know how to swim, so I can’t really get ‘in’ the water!

I have HATED the smell of milk for as long as I can remember! I cannot drink a glass of white milk. The smell continues to be a big turn off.

I remember as a child once packing my bags and leaving home just because my dad asked me to do something against my ‘principles’. I was may be 5-6 years old. I took my suitcase and walked all of fifteen steps to my neighbor’s house. By evening, my mom showed up with a bag full of samosas and bribed me to come back home. Anything for hot samosas in a brown bag!

Do you have a cooking trick or technique you use all the time and would like to tell us about it?

I was surprised to learn that people are not really accustomed to using pressure cookers here in the US. It was kind of “the” cooking technique that my mom taught me early on and I use it all the time in my kitchen.

What is your favorite kitchen gadget?

You’ll laugh but it has to be my mortar and pestle. We Indians are a bit too sensitive about our chai and to flavor it we use several different kinds of spices. From ginger to cardamom and many more and the more you crush them before adding to your tea, the more their flavors shine. I don’t know how my day would progress if I were to make tea without that mortar and pestle.

Name 3 thing you always have in your refrigerator.

Lemons, eggs and frozen green peas. I start to panic if I open my refrigerator and don’t find any one of these.

What is your favorite Holiday and why?

My favorite holiday has to be Diwali – the festival of lights. It’s a Hindu festival and as the name suggests, it is celebrated by illuminating your entire house with lights – big and small. Before you know, the entire town turns into a sea of lights. India is a country with people having different religious beliefs and backgrounds but this is one festival when people from all backgrounds come together and celebrate. I remember sitting at pooja (prayers) with my family and staring at bowls loaded with Gulab Jamuns, hoping that prayers would soon end and we can go out eat those Gulab Jamuns and get some fireworks going!

What advice would you give to other food bloggers?

Read other blogs, ask questions, reach out to people if you want some answers and try to make and maintain a good connection with your readers and people whose work you like. Network! Twitter and Facebook are really great tools to meet likeminded people.

Submit your work to as many public platforms as you can manage. Tastespotting, Foodgawker and FoodBuzz are good places where you can showcase your work and get attention.

Last but not the least, don’t lose the essence of what you are. Try to be as real as possible to your readers. I have realized that unless you have fun with what you are doing, others are equally less likely to enjoy your work!

I want to thank Prerna for letting me in her kitchen! Thank you!

** All images from this post are taken and copyrighted by Prerna from Indian Simmer. **

Monday, February 21, 2011

Oatmeal Crisps

For those that had a day off on Monday hope you had a good holiday, did you do anything exciting?  Unfortunately, I did not have the day off.  But the weekend in Seattle was gorgeous, bright sunny and all the mountains were out.  When the sun is out in Seattle it is a stunning city.

At one point I was craving oatmeal cookies but wanted something different.  Then I found this cookie recipe that I have saved from some old Swedish magazine.  This cookie is a cross between oatmeal wafer and a oatmeal cookie. Not as chewy as the oatmeal cookie but not as crisp at an oatmeal wafer.  If you are an oatmeal cookie fan I think you will love this.

The best part is that this recipe could not be easier to make.

Oatmeal Crisps

Yields: 25 cookies | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Bake Time: 15 minutes

9 tbsp (125g) butter
½ cup + 2 tbsp (1.5 dl) sugar
½ cup +2 tbsp (1.5 dl) all purpose flour
1 cup (2.5 dl) oatmeal
¼ cups (0.5 dl) raisins
1 tsp baking soda

Turn the oven to 350 F.

Mix all the ingredients together.  Once you have a big dough mixture make small balls and place them on a cookie sheet.  Then press on each ball to make it a little flat.

Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes.  Remove from cookie sheet and place on rack to cool.

Other Similar Recipes:

Oatmeal Wafers “Havreflarn” with Nutella
Swedish Chocolate Balls
No-Bake Chocolate, Peanut Butter & Oatmeal Cookies
Cranberry and White Chocolate Streusel bars

One year ago: Cheesecake

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spaghetti Bolognese

When I say I want spaghetti I mean a real bowl of Spaghetti Bolognese.  This dish is my comfort food.  I have been eating this ever since I was a little kid.  My dad cooked this sauce for my mom on their first date – that is how good this is.

I really think it is hard to find a good Spaghetti Bolognese out on the town.  Usually it never contains the balance between tomatoes, meat and spices.  This sauce is a meat sauce with tomato, it is not a tomato sauce with meat.  

Don’t get me wrong, there are so many variations of the Bolognese Sauce; everyone probably has some kind of recipe with a twist.  But the classic sauce as set forth in the archives of the Bologna chapter of the “L’Accademia Italiana della Cucina” is made with a mixture of minced or ground meats, tomatoes, tomato paste and milk or cream.

When I make this I usually make this on a Sunday in a large pot and have it for the week. This sauce gets better the longer you cook it.  Minimum is 1 1/2 hours but it gets better at 3 hours and the sauce is even better the day after you cook it.

There are many variations you can do to this recipe. Sometimes I add sausage to it and even jalapeno peppers to give it a little kick.  You can use turkey instead of meat; add mushrooms or other vegetables too. But the recipe below is always the same for the base. 

Spaghetti Bolognese

Yields: 4-6 people | Prep Time: 30 minutes | Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

 2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion – chopped
1 large carrot chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
1 parsnip
3 garlic cloves (minced)
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp paprika
2 bay leaves
1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1/2 lbs ground pork or veal
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup milk or cream
14 oz can tomatoes – chopped without the juice
1 cup beef broth
3 tbsp tomato paste

For Serving:
1 lbs Spaghetti
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a 12?noncorrosive skillet over medium heat.

Chop all the vegetable to your desired size, I prefer them small cubed.  Add vegetables (onion, carrots, celery, parsnip, and garlic) and sauté for at least 10 minutes until all vegetables are sweating. 

Add all spices (nutmeg, salt, pepper, basil, thyme, allspice, paprika, bay leaves.  Cook for 2 minutes.

Add all the meat, breaking up meat into fine pieces, just until meat loses its raw color, about 6 minutes.  Do NOT brown meat.

Stir in wine. Cook until wine is evaporated, 4 – 6 minutes.  Stir in milk and reduce heat to medium and cook until meat is evaporated, about 3 – 4 minutes.

Press tomatoes and their liquid through a sieve into a bowl. Discard seeds.  Stir sieved tomatoes, beef broth, tomato paste into meat mixture.

Heat to boiling, and then reduce heat to low.  Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid is evaporated and the sauce is thick, about 1 1/2 hours.  Remove and discard bay leafs.

Taste for more of any of the spices, especially salt. 

Just before serving time cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water just until al dente by following the instructions on the packaging. 

Ladle meat sauce over spaghetti in a bowl and sprinkle with cheese.

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One Year ago: Square Ladle

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