Archive | October, 2012

Pumpkins

31 Oct

Jack-O-Latern.

Happy pumpkin carving! Here’s a quick pumpkin carving food thought: instead of discarding all the pumpkin insides, keep the seeds and make a tasty pumpkin seed snack. Here’s how.

1. Clean the seeds thoroughly and remove any membrane.

2. Pat the seeds dry as much as possible.

3. Place in a single layer on a lined flat baking sheet.

4. Put into a preheated 375º degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes. The length of time will depend on how well the seeds were dried.

5. When done, sprinkle a bit of sea salt over the pumpkin seeds and enjoy.

Happy Halloween!

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Spinach Mushroom Pastries

23 Oct

Flaky tender pre-made pastries topped with homemade spinach and mushroom filling.

  • Tenderflake (pack of six)
  • ten cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced into thirds
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  •  4 handfuls baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsps unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tbsps flour
  • sea salt and pepper

1. Bake the Tenderflake pastries for half the recommended time.

2. Once ready, remove from oven and let cool for a couple of minutes before adding the filling.

3. After the pastries have been filled, they will continue baking for the remaining time.

Six Tenderflake pastries, baked for half the recommended time.

4. For the spinach mushroom filling, add to a hot pan the butter, oil and garlic.

5. Once the garlic is brown, add in the mushrooms and turn down to medium heat.

6. Sprinkle in a little salt over the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms begin to soften (about 3 minutes).

Cremini mushrooms with chopped garlic sauteing in olive oil and unsalted butters.

7. Add in the flour evenly over the mushrooms and cook the flour for a few seconds (this removes the raw taste of the flour), then pour in the milk.

Sauted mushrooms with flour and milk.

8. Once the milk begins to bubble, gradually add in the spinach.

9. Cook until the spinach has wilted and the mushrooms are completely soft.

10. Add salt and pepper to taste.

11. Remove from heat and let cool.

12. Once cooled add in the parmesan. Combine well.

Cremini mushrooms and baby spinach simmering in milk.

Once the mushrooms and spinach mixture is cool, add in the parmesan.

13. Drain as much liquid from the filling before placing onto the pastries.

14. Scope a generous amount of filling onto each pastry.

15. Place into the oven and bake for the remaining time as instructed on the package.

16. When finished, remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Tenderflake pastry topped with baby spinach and sliced cremini mushrooms.

*Alternatively, instead of using the spinach and mushroom filling as pastry toppings, toss the creamy mixture with some cooked  pasta and serve hot as a vegetarian friendly entree.

Plum Strudel

16 Oct

Fresh plums baked in phyllo sheets.

The following is a twist on the classic Pita od Visnja and was created by Lillian.

  • 8 to 10 sheets of phyllo pastry
  • 4 plums, cut into bit size pieces
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup carbonated water
  • 1/2 canola oil
  • 1/4 plain bread crumbs
  • 1 cup icing sugar

Phyllo and pieces of plum.

1. Lightly oil a 10 by 8 inch baking dish.

2. Fold one sheet of phyllo in half and place at the bottom of the baking dish.

3. Spread about ten pieces of plum over this layer.

4. Sprinkle 1 tbsp each of brown sugar, bread crumbs and oil evenly over the plums.

5. Repeat 3 more times and for the middle layer sprinkle 1 tbsp of carbonated water over this level.

Middle layer which in addition to the plums, bread crumbs and brown sugar, includes a light sprinkle of carbonated water.

6. Cover the top with a phyllo sheet, then drizzle with oil and carbonated water. The oil will help the pastry turn brown and crispy during baking and the water will help the pastry puff up.

7. If so desired, cut the phyllo almost to the bottom before baking. This will help separate the pieces during serving.

Plums and phyllo ready for the oven.

8. Bake in a preheated over for 400ºC for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

9. Immediately after removing from the oven, sprinkle a generous amount of icing sugar over the plum strudels.

10. Let cool for a few minutes before cutting and serving.

Plum strudel immediately out of the oven.

A generous dusting of icing sugar over the plum strudels.

Thin Brownies

9 Oct

Brownie.

The following recipe originates from Baker’s One Bowl Brownies. There’s no baking soda or powder so they come out of the oven very thin.  When finished, these brownies have a crunchy exterior and a soft fudgy interior. This recipe makes 9 small or 4 big rectangular brownies.

  • 2 ounces of unsweetened (2 squares) chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extra
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

1. Using a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter.

A heat proof bowl on top of a pot with steaming water. This is known as a double boiler and gently melts the chocolate and butter inside the bowl.

2. Once melted, remove from heat and add in brown sugar, white sugar and egg. Mix well.

3. Add in flour. Combine well.

Brownie batter.

4. Add in nuts. Mix well.

5. Pour brownie batter into a greased 5 by 6 inch baking dish.

6. Bake in a 350°C preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Test the doneness by piercing brownies with a bamboo skewer or fork. If the skewer or fork comes out clean, the brownies are ready.

The brownies are finished.

7. Cool completely before cutting and serving.

Vegetable Soup

2 Oct

Vegetable soup.

Serves 4 to 6.

  • 3 to 4 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • chicken or vegetable broth
  • water
  • a handful of noodles* (optional)

(Feel free to add other types of vegetables such as celery, flat leaf parsley, corn, potatoes*, etc. Vegetable soup is a good way of clearing the fridge of old or extra vegetables.)

1. Heat a large deep pot on high.

2. Add in oil and onions. When the onions are soft, add in the tomatoes.

3. Cook until the tomatoes are soft and begins to release its juices.

4. Add in the carrots, green peppers, garlic and seasoning (paprika, bay leaf, salt and pepper). Mix well.

5. Add enough broth to cover all the vegetables, then add in an equal amount of water as broth.

6. Once the liquids come to a boil, turn down heat to a gentle simmer.

7. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the carrots are soft.

8. Then add in the noodles and cook until noodles are soft. The soup is now ready to be served.

*Since noodles and potatoes are starchy, by adding them to the soup, it will thicken the soup and you may wish to add a little more broth or water.