Friday, June 3, 2011

Sausage with Cauliflower and Orecchiette

This is one of those hybrid recipes out of a book. You see a recipe, are all excited to make it, buy all the ingredients, and then by the end of the week one or two things are missing. Or you read the recipe again, and realize how in depth it is. Well, never fear, this takes approx 30-45 minutes to make. Orecchiette pasta is kinda hard to find in the supermarket, and if you can't get it use farfalle (butterfly) or small shells. What type of sausage doesn't really matter, I personally used basil because it was in the freezer, but an good Italian sausage would do.

Sausage with Cauliflower and Orecchiette
(serves about 4)
  • 2 Links or 1/2 lb of Sausage, Italian, basil, or any variant will do.Remove from casing (if applicable) and crumble the sausage into small bite-sized pieces. 
  • 1 chopped yellow onion
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 can or bottle of traditional tomato based pasta sauce (whatever you've got in the cupboard will do).
  • 1/2 pound of Orecchiette Pasta (Or amount to your liking, this is one of those pastas where less is more, its very filling).
  • 1/4 cup of slivered almonds
  • 2 tbsp of bread crumbs
  • chopped herbs to taste- I added about 2 tbsp of fresh oregano, thyme, basil and parsley.
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan 

Cut up Cauliflower into small pieces, and place in a medium sized pot, filling with water until the cauliflower is covered. Add a pinch of salt to the water. Boil until the vegetable is the desired softness; about 5-10 minutes. Drain, and set aside, putting the cauliflower water right back into the pot.
In a large saute pan, cook the onion in the olive oil on medium low heat. When the onions are starting to soften, bring the cauliflower water in the other pot to a boil , then add the orecchiette pasta. When the onions are starting to brown, add the sausage to the pan and turn the heat up a little, no more than medium. When the sausage is cooked through, add the cauliflower to the pan and mix well, letting it cook for a couple of minutes for the flavors to mix. Add the pasta sauce.
Meanwhile, check the pasta, making sure to drain it when it is al dente and again, saving the water used. When the sauce is bubbling, add the pasta to the pan. Add the slivered almonds, bread crumbs, chopped herbs, and salt and pepper. Stir in small amounts of pasta/cauliflower water until it is a desired consistency (don't want it too thick).
It is finished cooking when the sauce is bubbling. Serve with grated parmesan on top with a couple of turns of the peppermill.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sardines with Herbs and Preserved Lemon on Crackers

Try as I might to fancy the name up, people are still going to shy away from Sardines. Even though they're tasty and good for you. I guess its their look, or the fact that not many people grew up eating them. I remember my dad and I eating them on Saltine Crackers as a snack when I was younger, and I am always trying different additions to that combination. This is my latest experiment, and boy is it delicious.

Sardines with Herbs and Preserved Lemon on Crackers
Makes lunch for 1, or a snack for 2
  • A can of Sardines in olive oil
  • Saltine Crackers
  • Fresh herbs to sprinkle on the snack, chopped (I used dill, parsley, and chives)
  • 1/4 of a preserved lemon, rind only, diced into little pieces
  • garlic salt
  • pepper
  • hot sauce
Lay out as many crackers as you want, and put a fish on each (If you're making lunch, you might want less crackers and split up the rest of the sardines between the others). I use a fork to get the fish out of the tin, and be careful because they crumble easy. Sprinkle the herbs evenly over the crackers. Follow with garlic salt and pepper to taste. Lastly, dash a couple of squirts of hot sauce on each to taste. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Fish with Preserved Lemons and Olives

A couple of weeks ago I posted a recipe for Preserved Lemons. Well, they're finally finished 'fermenting' and are ready to enjoy. Besides enjoying them cut up in salads and Bloody Marys', I tried them in the following recipe, which is adapted from "Tunisian Fish with Preserved Lemons and Olives" from the book The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook by Nancy Harmon Jenkins. They add a slightly tangy, salty taste that is unlike anything else I've ever eaten. Enjoy!

Fish with Preserved Lemons and Olives
Makes 2 servings
  • 1 lb of thick white firm-textured fish fillets; I used cod.
  • sea salt and pepper
  • approx. 1/2 tsp. of saffron threads
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  •  1 medium tomato, finely chopped
  • a couple of dashes of hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp drained and coarsely chopped capers
  • 1/4 of a preserved lemon (rind only), rinsed, and cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup of pitted Kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • chopped parsley to top.

Rinse the fish fillets, pat dry with a paper towel, and dust salt, pepper, and crushed saffron onto both sides. leave on a plate while starting on the rest of the dish. In a skillet, combine olive oil, onion, and garlic. saute on medium low until just before it starts to brown. Add tomato, 1/4 cup of water, and hot sauce to pan; simmer until the sauce reduces by half. Add the pieces of fish to the pan, and cook about 5-7 minutes, or until cooked through. When fish is finished, remove from the pan to a warmed plate. To the pan, add the lemons, olives, and white wine vinegar. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Pour sauce over the fish, and sprinkle parsley on top to serve.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Corn on the Cob with Dill and Chives

I now have an herb garden at the new house. No longer do I miss my indoor herbs of ND; I now have healthy bountiful plants that I can leave outside. And because of the bountiful-ness of it, I have a need to come up with different ways of using the herbs. I have the following: Parsley, Chives, Dill, Cilantro, Mint, Thyme, Oregano, Basil, and a poor Rosemary plant that got sick (possibly mold when I had it inside) and is barely clinging to life. I also have a lemon tree and a lime tree, but those results won't be realized for quite a while.
Dill is a new flavor in my herb garden, and as such I don't really know what to do with it. I know it goes well with fish, and have had that meal come out beautifully. But the other day when I made corn on the cob, I thought, why not? It has a delicate enough flavor so that it won't overpower the sweetness of the corn, and it would pair well with chives. And so this recipe was made.

Corn on the Cob with Dill and Chives
  • A head of corn for each person to be served. 
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped dill per head of corn. (more or less depending on personal tastes)
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped chives per head of corn. (same as above)
  • butter or spread
  • garlic salt
  • pepper

Boil the corn until it is done, based on your preference. I like mine still crunchy. Remove it from the water onto a plate. Put sticks into both ends if you prefer. Butter them up, all the way around. Add salt and pepper to taste. Lastly mix the dill and chives together, and dust them all the way around the corn. Make sure to do all of the above when the corn is still hot, that way the herbs will wilt a little. Enjoy the corn!

Another way of doing it would be to butter, salt and pepper, and put the herbs on the corn before you cook it, wrap it in tin foil, and put it on the barbecue on low. I haven't tried it this way with herbs, but I'm sure it'll be good.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Preserved Lemons

I found this in a Mediterranean Cookbook that I have, and the first time I made it, I wasn't sure it would taste very good. I was expecting something super sour. Until, after a few weeks, I tried it. It was amazing! And had such an unusual taste. The weird thing is, you eat the rinds of the lemons. Moroccan dishes sometimes call for these, but once you've had them in a dish, I'm sure you'll find other recipes to include them in. They're really good as a compliment to Bloody Mary or Caesars.

Preserved Lemons
  • A Canning or Preserving jar with a tight lid (big or small- your choice, you can even use an old pickle jar)
  • Fresh Whole (Preferably Organic) Lemons. There isn't a hard fast number for them, because the number depends on how big your jar is. But I would get more than you think you need- you have to have enough for juice too.
  • 1 or 2 cups of Pickling, Kosher, or Sea Salt. 
Clean the lemons well. Fill your jar with boiling water, and let sit.Put the lid into a bowl, and put hot water over that as well. While that's sitting, cut up the lemons long-wise into quarters. Dump out the hot water from the Jar, and put salt into the bottom. Start packing in the lemons, adding plenty of salt as you go. Don't be afraid to squish them- that helps get the juice. When you can't put any more lemons into the jar, add a couple of tablespoons of salt. Squeeze some of the lemons that are left, and add the juice to the jar, until it is full to the top. Put on the lid. Put the jar aside (no refrigeration required while its pickling). Every couple of days, turn the jar upside down and leave it for a couple of days to distribute the salt juice. After about 3 weeks of pickling, you can try them. You can eat the whole Lemon (seeds excluded). The lemons will last for several months at least. This batch I'm also going to try to make lemon salt; let the left over salt sit in the sun to dry. This is the basic recipe; you can also add different spices to the lemons for the next batch.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Mmm Pierogies. I have fond memories of making millions of these little morsels at my families' deli, Valley Hungarian Sausage and Meat Co. Maybe not millions, but certainly a lot. The reason? People love 'em, but they take a looong time to make. So its usually just easier to buy them. But if you've got a free afternoon, and want to do a little baking . . . .
Potato and Cheese PierogiesIngredients for one batch (makes approx. 2 dozen)
  • 3 cups of all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 1-2 cups of cheese (medium cheddar works, but use any cheese you enjoy)
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pierogi maker- you can get it from a specialty kitchen supply store. If you can't get one, you can still make these by hand, it just takes longer. 
     Peel and dice the potatoes and put them in a pot of water to boil. As they're cooking, make your dough. In a large bowl or mixer, add the flour, eggs, and sour cream. Mix well. The dough will be a little 'thicker' than bread dough. After kneading for a couple of minutes, let it sit aside wrapped in plastic wrap.
     Grate your cheese, or buy pre-grated cheese from the store. When the potatoes are cooked and can be pierced very easily with a fork, drain and mash. Its so much easier if you have a potato ricer, but a fork will work as well. Sprinkle the cheese on the hot potatoes, and mix it all together until it is a nice orange (or whatever color your cheese is). If it doesn't mix easily, just heat the mixture in the microwave. Mix in salt and pepper to taste (my favorite part).Your filling is finished.
     Cut the dough in half- save the second in the plastic wrap. Roll out the remaining dough until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Using either a circular cookie cutter or the bottom of the pierogi maker, cut out little circles from the dough. Put a circle of dough onto the pierogi maker, and put about a tablespoon of filling on top. Using lukewarm water, wet a finger and moisten the outer edge of the dough (this makes it stick to the other side). Take the two handles and put them together. You have a pierogi!
     When you have used up all your dough and filling (or just a little before to be efficient), put a large pot of water up to boil. When it is at a rolling boil, add about 10 pierogies into the water. When they have all been floating at the top for about 3 minutes, they should be ready. Take them out of the water and onto a dry clean towel. Repeat, until all the pierogies have been boiled.
      Now you can either fry them up with a little bit of butter or margarine until they are golden brown on both sides, or put them into the freezer to fry at a later time (just make sure they defrost before you fry them). Enjoy!
Some tips; When you freeze them, put them onto a sheet of aluminum foil or wax paper, and make sure they don't touch each other. When they're frozen, take them out and put them into freezer bags. That way you can take out as many or little as you want. Not a fan of potato and cheese, or want some variety? You can stuff these things with just about anything. Some suggestions: Thick Jam, Polish Sausage Mushroom & Onion, and Sauerkraut.

Seashell Mosaic Picture Frames

I'm decorating the guest bathroom in the new house that we just moved into, and I wanted to go with a beachy-ocean theme. My mom had given me two wooden picture frames from Michael's craft store, and I thought they would go great in the bathroom with an ocean themed picture.

Seashell Mosaic Picture Frames
  • 2 wooden picture frames, size and shape doesn't matter.
  • 3 different colors of paint. (I used 3 types of blue)
  • Paint brush
  • Glue (all purpose works just fine)
  • Crushed seashells (can be found at your local craft store).
Paint the picture frames how you would like. I used all 3 paints interchangeably; and blended them together where they met. When they are dry, glue pieces of the shell to the frame. It doesn't matter how you do it, close together or far apart, its up to you. This part takes a little bit of time. When you are finished, your project is done. You could spray gloss on the frame to finish, but I am going to leave them without gloss because the shells are shiny enough.

Kelbaposzta Fozelek, or "Hungarian Beef and Cabbage Soup"

Going on my theme of  using unusual meats, here's another recipe from my Grandmother. She made it for me the last time I went home, and I asked her for the recipe. Then I proceed to go home and try to make it myself. It is delicious, and very simple to make. And inexpensive, because it definitely uses a cut of meat that I can honestly say not very many people use. I'm sure it goes back to historical roots, where they didn't have supermarkets and choice cuts of meats that we can easily get today. But its these 'unusual' cuts that sometimes have the best flavor and the most nutrition.By the way, the way it sounds when my Grandmother says it is: cal-kop-posta furz-a-leek.

Kelbaposzta Fozelek
Ingredients for 2 people
  • 1 medium head of green Savoy cabbage. (make sure its this kind- its the really wrinkled one at the grocery store).
  • 1 beef neck bone, cut into quarters. I found mine at a local butcher, but my mom said that you could find it at the local supermarket, just ask.
  • 1 small onion, peeled and diced.
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and diced.
  • 1 tbsp salt.
  • 1 tsp marjoram.
  • Flour and oil for thickener

Put the meat in a large pot, add water to cover. add onions, garlic and salt, bring to a boil and then simmer. Cook until the meat is falling off the bone, about 3-5 hours.
Add the potato and marjoram. While that is cooking, cut up the cabbage like you would for a salad (chunks, but not too large, remove the tough stem part). Add the cabbage to the pot.
Put 2 tbsp of oil into a frying pan, and add flour until it is not too thick. Cook it until it is a golden brown. Add a little bit of juice to the mixture, and then add it all to the soup. Stir, and the soup is finished.

Because the husband doesn't like bones ( I might make this for him sometime) I would take the bones out, remove the meat from them, and then stick it all back into the soup (that way he can easily scoop out the soup and not get any bones in his bowl). This soup is also great the next day; gives the flavors time to mix better. And lastly- be careful for little pieces of bone- if the butcher cut it up into smaller pieces.

Kocsonya, or "Hungarian Pig's Feet Soup"

Okay. Now I know most of you looking at this post are thinking "wow that's really gross" but I'm sincerely hoping that a few of you are thinking, "Hmm that's interesting." I love this stuff. My grandmother would make it usually once a year in the winter time, because you could leave it outside to cool. Yes that's right, this is a cold soup. And not only that, when it cools down it turns to gelatin. What do you think most gelatin foods are made from?
This is a very basic soup, the only thing is it takes hours to make. You have to let it cook to break down the feet to gel. I like to eat it usually for breakfast, but I can't eat the whole thing at once. I know I like weird food, but even this one weirds me out after about 20 minutes (Even though its delicious).

Ingredients (for approx 2 people)
  • 2 pigs feet. Ask your butcher to cut them in half lengthwise if it isn't already; you could even ask them to cut it into quarters lengthwise. Make sure there isn't any hair on it, and that it is thoroughly cleaned. 
  • 6 cloves of garlic, just cut in half. You don't want to cut them up any more, because they'll get really mushy anyways and you strain them out at the end. You can always add more or less to taste.
  • About 10 whole peppercorns. Keep them whole for sure. 
  • About 1 tablespoon of salt.

In a large pot, add the above ingredients. Fill with water until the feet are covered.  Set to boil. When it is boiling, turn the heat down to simmer, but still boiling. You will need to let it cook for around 4-6 hours. You might need to add a little bit of water during this time, to keep the feet under water. You can leave it covered or uncovered, I cooked it last time uncovered.
Periodically skim off the fat from the top of the soup (shouldn't be much). Make sure you well ventilate your house when you cook this! I'm not saying the smell is bad, its just not great, haha. When the meat is falling off the bone and you can easily stick a fork through it, the soup is ready.
With a strainer small enough to hold the pepercorns, Strain the juice into a bowl or shallow dish. Making sure no pepper or garlic tag along, add the meat (bones and all) to the juice. Stick this in the fridge (or outside if its cold enough) to gel. Ready to serve when gelled. To eat it use a spoon, but you'll probably be using hands as well when you get the meat off the bone.
Well if you were brave enough to cook this, bravo! I hope you enjoyed it :-)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Miso Soup with Vegetables

Miso soup is one of my favorite types of soups; it just has that interesting taste. Its also healthy and easy to make. A lot of the different ingredients for this soup can be found at the local Asian market, but I've noticed there are more and more unusual ingredients showing up at the local grocery store as well. This soup is usually made with Daikon, which is a white radish, but honestly you can put any type of veggies into it. In the picture I used green beans, cucumber, and mushrooms.

Miso Soup with Vegetables
Serves approx. 4
  • 1 cup daikon, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and sliced 1/8 inch (or carrots, or other root vegetable)
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 teaspoons instant dashi granules
  • 3 tablespoons miso
  • 8 green beans, cut into approx. 1 inch lengths
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  1. Place the water, dashi granuals and daikon into a saucepan over medium heat, and cook until the daikon softens, about 2 minutes. 
  2. Put the miso into a small bowl and ladle some of the hot stock over it. stir until the miso is dissolved, and pour the mixture back into the soup.
  3. Stir in the beans and soy sauce, and bring to a boil. As soon as it is boiling, remove from heat. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve. 
Pretty easy! You just have to have the ingredients, which could be a little difficult to find. You can also branch off of this easy recipe, including seaweed and other food to the soup. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Crunchy Garbanzo Beans

Louise, I'm addicted. Its true, these little morsels are soo good. I eat them like popcorn, hot and right out of the oven. They aren't the fastest snack, but definitely worth the wait. Any seasoning is fine- I used Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning until I ran out, and then started using seasoning salt with a dash of garlic. Some things I noticed- Don't use a glass dish to cook these in, because they won't get crispy. Base your cooking time on how crispy you want them; less time equals less crispy. I've dropped using an actual baking sheet; I just put a sort of boxed aluminum foil in the oven and pour the beans onto it. Oh and check out where I originally found this recipe: Basil Development.

Crunchy Garbanzo Beans
1 can of Garbanzo Beans
Approx. 2 tbsp of Olive Oil
Seasoning to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Open and Rinse Garbanzo Beans. In a bowl, combine Beans, Olive oil, and Seasoning; mix together. Dump the beans onto an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Shake some seasoning on the top for good measure. Make sure the beans aren't all bunched up and are spread out, and put into the oven. After 15 minutes, mix the beans so they cook evenly (not sure if this does much, but it at least gives me a chance to see how they're doing) and put back into oven. Should be ready after another 15 minutes, for a total of 30. Can leave in longer for added crunch. When done, take out and put into a wide mouth bowl, so the steam can escape. Enjoy!