Monday, January 31, 2011

CHEESY LASAGNA and THREE AWARDS IN LAST 10 DAYS

In the last 10 days I got meself three awards from my foodie friends! My sincere thanks go to Sandra @Welcome to Sandra's Easy Cooking, Medeja @Cranberry Jam, and Brandie @The Country Cook. You can check the official appreciation @My Awards page.

From Sandra                        From Medeja and Brandie 

I already wrote how FoodBuzz is a wonderful community of food loving people who are willing to share their "secret" ingredients with everyone. Has anybody seen "The Kung-Fu Panda" animated movie? But of course you did, what a silly question!!! At the end of the movie, when Po looses all his confidence and hope to fulfill his destiny as the Dragon Warrior, his father, Mr. Ping- the noodle master, reveals to him that the secret is that there is no secret ingredient in making the special soup:
Mr. Ping: "The secret ingredient is... nothing! .... You heard me. Nothing! There is no secret ingredient. .... To make something special you just have to believe it's special."
So what there is, is a lot of dedication and lots and lots of love and imagination. Yes, imagination! For without imagination, there would be no Duchess Potatoes or Veggie and Parmesan Cake or Sandra's Monday breakfast. What can possibly transform milk, flour, and eggs into a delicious cake, pancake, or waffle... than the imagination of a foodie? Who sees a nice piece of raw meat, a potato spud, and broccoli floret, and immediately visions a plate with juicy steak laying beside some roasted potatoes, and steamed broccoli drizzled with lemon juice? So yes, in my opinion foodies are the artists who transform raw into delicious indulgent mouthwatering creations no one can resist!!!!!!!!!!!!  Foodies are really a nice bunch of creative imaginative generous people. Thank you again for the awards, for nice encouraging comments, and support!

And here we finally reached the cheesy lasagna! 
I don't remember anymore what the exact measurements were, because I forgot to write them down while cooking. But I do remember that it was super delicious. I cook this kind of food when my daughter and I are home alone. Just a loving gesture to show her how much I appreciate her being in my life!


Saturday, January 29, 2011

MY NOSTALGIC BAKLAVA

I was first introduced to baklava when I was very little. In my hometown, Ilirska Bistrica, Slovenia, we had just one pastry shop back then. This shop was owned by a Macedonian man. He came to my hometown after the second world war ended and my home town became his hometown, too. He was a very respected hardworking man. In his shop you could buy the best ice-cream ever! My favorite flavor was lemon. And in the winter he would make the winter ice-cream (marshmallow cream) topped with thin coating of chocolate swirled into an ice-cream cone. Unforgettable! There was a wide variety of pastries in his shop and among them baklava. Though the best piece of baklava I ever ate was in Istanbul, Turkey! As for the sweets made with both kinds of fillo dough, in my book, Syria wins the first place! And here it is, my nostalgic baklava!


My Nostalgic Baklava on FoodistaMy Nostalgic Baklava

Friday, January 28, 2011

LAMB LIVER with jerk spice and marjoram

I was lucky to find fresh lamb liver in my butcher’s shop. The easiest way to cook liver is to prepare it with onions and peppers, seasoned with jerk spice, marjoram, and Vegeta. Jerk spice has all sorts of spices inside: ginger, coriander, rosemary, thyme, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, and many other including salt and black pepper; and all together are playing the most divine symphony on our taste buds together with that distinct liver flavor. And if mashed potatoes are served on the side, well you can just close your eyes and imagine…

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

PITA BURGER

Not long ago I posted my home baked pita bread recipe. So with pita in the freezer I was set to make my pita burgers. Slightly different approach to a burger but since ground meat is involved I just named it "pita burger". It's easy, quick, crunchy, spicy, and delicious :)


Pita Burger on FoodistaPita Burger

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Valentine's Test Run II- BROCCOLI NESTS


It's time to test my appetizer recipe idea. This time with broccoli...real deal with shrimp in a creamy sauce or maybe just bake the nests, and later fill them with crab or shrimp salad or something similar.
Shredded fillo dough is so versatile. And you can go in both directions: sweet and savory.  Instead of using broccoli, you can use all kind of other fillings: meat, chicken, shrimp. You can also just bake the nests and later fill them with crab salad, fruit salad, instant pudding, ice-cream, .... possibilities are really endless!
Broccoli nests are also a perfect way to introduce youngsters to broccoli. Who can possibly resist the crunch?


Broccoli Nests on FoodistaBroccoli Nests

Thursday, January 20, 2011

SAVORY CAKE, CLEANING FAIRY, AND SIMPLE BAKED POTATO CHEESE

Something strange happened to me today that I decided to clean all my dinner wear. And the following is the only way I can explain why…..
Last nigh the cleaning fairy came to me and touched my forehead and said, “Darling, you shall clean all dinner wear tomorrow.” And so this morning I said to myself, “I am going to start my early spring cleaning. And for some strange reason I am going to clean all my dinner wear.”

But let us start with yesterday’s dinner. As usual I was buzzing all the beautiful recipes on FoodBuzz and I stumbled upon this interesting looking and sounding savory cake. So I checked it out, and decided and this is it! You know curiosity might have killed the cat, but that day it brought a wonderful dinner to our table. The recipe was posted by thatshowiroll. I didn’t have any Parmesan, savoy cabbage, or red onions on hand so I used sharp cheddar, cabbage, and yellow onions instead. My daughter snatched the a piece today to take to school. It was a successful hit between her friends and even some teachers. Here is a thumbs up for you my dear friend from all of them ^_^ You can find the recipe here.

 

Then the cleaning begun. Water, soap, and Clorox. Everything soaked for half an hour, rinsed, and then let to dry.

"CEVABUN's" DUCHESS POTATOES

I saw this recipe on Food Buzz posted by my foodie friend "cevabun", check out the profile here. First, the photo caught my eye and I said to myself, what beautiful cookies. Then I actually read the title and to my surprise they were potato cakes or Duchess Potatoes. What a wonderful idea as a side dish to my sautéed zucchini I was planning to cook for dinner that day. To my big surprise, the blog is in Romanian language and I had no clue what to do. But thanks to Google Translate the problem was quickly solved. I changed the recipe to my liking: I added some more spices and reduced butter and eggs. And although mine Duchess Potatoes don't look as half as pretty as the original does, but they were super delicious!!! For the original recipe click here.
Update: And yesterday I received a note that all the recipes @SomethingGood are now translated to English. Yeepee, for there are some pretty wonderful recipes posted on their site. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

RICE SOMEWHAT DIFFERENT

Rice is an often guest on our dinner table. But serving the rice in same way over and over again can get boring and uninviting. Mixing rice with other delicious ingredients and spices can make the rice eating experience new and exciting every time.
This rice with chickpeas and onions, cardamom and ginger, is rich and satisfying served just with a side of salad, but will nicely pair with chicken, meat or fish.


Rice Somewhat Different on FoodistaRice Somewhat Different

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Valenties' Day Test Run- BANANA PEACH CREAM PIE


It is less than a month till Valentine's Day, so I decided to do a test run of the dessert. I want something creamy, rich in flavor, easy to make, yet something that will stay on our taste buds memory for a long time! Cream pie was the first thing that popped in my mind. Store bought pie crust is already a shortcut. Than I can go two ways: either cook the pastry cream or just make store bought pudding pie filling. And there are so many decadent flavors to choose from.
For the test run I decided to cook vanilla and chocolate pastry cream and for the fruit, bananas and peaches. But for the real deal I will go with strawberry and coconut pastry cream; as for the fruit, bananas inside and fresh strawberries for decoration. Yea, the plan sounds perfect, will let you know how it went.
Let's get cooking! 


Valenties' Day Test Run- Banana Peach Cream Pie on FoodistaValenties' Day Test Run- Banana Peach Cream Pie

Friday, January 14, 2011

SWEET BREAD enhanced with golden rasins and walnut cream

So much food to blog about, yet so little time to put it all in writing. This Sweet Bread is waiting to be published since Christmas and it came out just magical. The dough was puffing and huffing and when baked it was as light as a feather! Cardamom seeds added a seductive aroma; although my husband didn't like the idea of biting into the kernels! (Note to myself: Next time use grounded cardamom!!!) And the nutty filling and the golden raisins just added some additional moistness to the sweet bread. All in all, it was a total success!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

VEGGIE POT PIE

Pot pie from scratch may seem like a lot of work, but since it is comfort food I really don’t mind spending some extra time in the kitchen. And the flavors are so divine: the contrast between the crunch of the crust and the creamy sauce, deep note of sage, the nutty tone of nutmeg, and then come all the bright flavors of the veggies…yea comfy indeed!

Of course there is a shortcut and you don’t even have to sacrifice the composed flavors of slow cooking. And believe me a perfect pot pie can be ready in as little as ½ an hour!
For a quick version of pot pie you just have to have ready to use puff pastry on hand and you are ready to roll. Cut a defrosted puff pastry to the size of your baking dish and bake until golden brown (see the package for baking directions). Meanwhile, prepare veggies and sauce. When cooking the creamy sauce, use 1 tbsp more flour, so that the sauce is a little thicker. Distribute the creamy sauce with veggies onto your serving vessel, and top with freshly baked puff pastry tops. Serve and enjoy!

This time I did the long version. It’s snow outside. Kids were home from school and I had company. My daughter is making plans for college, so we were chatting and discussing and having me and her time…ahhhh, they fly away too quick!

LET IT SNOW- SPLIT LENTILS SOUP

One of my first posts was about Split Mong Bean Soup and in that post I mentioned that possibilities for creamy bean soups are endless. Here is another hardy soup just screaming: "I will warm you upon a cold day like today is! Cook me!!!" And today I served it for my loved ones with crunchy gooey cheese steak style qesadeyas.



Let It Snow- Split Lentils Soup on FoodistaLet It Snow- Split Lentils Soup

Friday, January 7, 2011

MEATBALLS AND BURGER BUNS

Meatballs are that world ultimate dish that each country has different name for. While I was growing up, I enjoyed my meatballs as “polpette” that were first lightly fried in oil, added to tomato sauce, and served with a side of creamy mashed potatoes. My mom’s polpette weren’t round (balls), they were more like patties. Just delicious every single time! When I got married I started to enjoy my meatballs as “kofte”, cooked in oven as a casserole with sliced potatoes, either in tomato or tahini sauce, and always with a side of rice. As life road lead us to Sweden, my meatballs became “köttbullar”; there, meatballs are often served with mashed potatoes, “gräddsås” (a creamy gravy) and “lingonberry sylt” (cranberry jam). And now, in USA, I proudly enjoy them as meatballs over the pasta, with potatoes, in a sandwich… So my recipe is a mix of all recipes from countries I was blessed to call my home, but no matter what you call them, there is only one word that can describe meatballs: heavenly indulgence! Well, maybe two J

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Housewife Diary Contest Giveaway


I just got a message from my foodie friend Sarah about her giveaway! Check Sarah's blog



to win one of the January 2011 Giveaway prizes:

1st Place: $25.00 Gift Card to Red Lobster & Top 10 sandwich’s Sauces Recipes ebook
2nd Place: Top 10 sandwich’s Sauces Recipes ebook
3rd Place: Top 10 sandwich’s Sauces Recipes ebook
4th Place: Top 10 sandwich’s Sauces Recipes ebook
5th Place: Top 10 sandwich’s Sauces Recipes ebook

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Crepes filled with ganche- PALAČINKE

Crepes in my home country, Slovenia, are called palačinke (palachinke). So even my children don't use any other name for this delicious treat. I still make them just like I learned from my mother years and years ago.

When I was little, we usually had fish or veggie minestrone on Fridays. Palačinke, crepes, were the ultimate Friday dessert after a nice hot bowl of veggie minestrone. We filled them with home made plum jam or with Eurocrem (hazelnut and milk sweet spread). Palačinke are also the first dessert that my sister and I ever made on our own. I can’t really remember, but I think she was 12 and I was 10 at that time. And after that there was no stopping us! My children also appreciate palačinke very much and they are often a guest on our dessert table; especially when we have a quick urge for something delicious yet special.

This time we filled our palačinke with chocolate ganche and served them with a scoop of black berry cordial ice-cream.


Everybody in our family prefer palačinka to be rolled, because they are easier to handle that way: you just grab one and sink your teeth to indulge.

Monday, January 3, 2011

HOME BAKED PITA BREAD


“There’s nothing like the smell of fresh baked bread in the morning!” my husband always says that when I bake bread for breakfast. Well, as it was winter break, we kind of had brunch :D

As our bread, we always buy pita. In the past (maybe until a year ago) I baked all my bread at home, but somehow I got lazier and lazier, so we started buying our pita from Al Sanabil Bakery and Market on Thompson Lane, Nashville.
Have you ever tried to bake your own pita at home? Well, you should. It's not that hard and the taste is amazing!

The best pita is piping hot from the oven filled with some cheese that immediately melts!!! Just be careful while opening the just baked pita for it is full of hot steam.


Home Baked Pita Bread on FoodistaHome Baked Pita Bread