Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tannita's delicate orange cardamom cookies

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My virtual friend blogger Tannita gave me a big surprise! She organized sort of a raffle on her blog, where we had to guess what her daughter wants for breakfast. My kids and I guessed most of the things and won the raffle. She sent me this beautiful round baking pan, that I just LOVE! I can't wait to show you all the recipes I have in mind for it!
Anyway, Tannita gave her permission to post her recipes I used for my Christmas cookies in English, and here is the first one-the delicate orange cardamom cookies you saw couple of days ago!

Ingredients
:
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup softened butter
1 egg
2 cup sifted flour
2 tsp orange zest
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground or crushed cardamom
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp salt

Extra sugar for rolling the cookies in.

Makes total 75 cookies

Preparation:
1. In a large bowl mix the sugar and powdered sugar with the softened butter. Add the egg slowly and beat on medium high until the mix is light and fluffy. Add the orange zest.

2. In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients- flour, baking powder, cardamom and salt. Add them to the cookie batter and mix until a very soft dough is formed.
* If you dough is too soft and sticky, you can add 2-3 tbsp flour, but have in mind that the dough has to be VERY soft and pliable!)

3. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap and leave it in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

4. Preheat the oven at 350F.
Make small balls with diameter 3/4 inch diameter and roll them in a bowl full of crystal sugar. Place them on a greased cookie sheet and press with the bottom of the glass or cup until they look like a thin biscuit.

5. Bake for 10-13 min or until golden on top. Do not over bake them! Wait a minute after you take them out of the oven and with the help of a kitchen spatula transfer them to a cooling rack.

The Recipe in Bulgarian/Рецептата може да прочетете на български тук.


Thank you Tannita for the awesome recipe!
I hope you all enjoy it as much as my family did!

Happy holidays everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Mini tarts with caramelized pear jam and pecans in 3 easy steps!

ChristmasCookies20090010

As I promised in my post yesterday, here is the recipe for the mini tarts I made for Christmas.
Very easy and less time consuming than most recipes for sweets.


You would need:

1 package of pie crust ( there are 2 crusts inside)
1 jar of jam ( I used caramelized pear jam but you can use any kind you want!)
1 cup walnuts
50-60 half cut pecans ( these you would need to put on top, so if you think you are going to make less than 60, buy less!)

Time schedule:
Rolling out and cutting pieces: 10 min
Mixing filling- 5 min
Baking: 15 aproximately.
Total: 30 min for 48 pieces ( you can get 60 pieces of 1 package of pie crusts)

Preparation:


1. Roll out the pie crusts a little bit thinner than what they are in the package. Cut a circular shape of the rolled out pie crust(It is best if you have a cookie cutter with round shape, I didn't and it slowed me a bit), then placed it in a greased mini muffin pan as you stretch it slightly with your fingers.
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2. In a large bowl mix together the jam and walnuts. With a small spoon place enough to fill the mini pie shells but not to the edge, since they can overflow if you do while baking. Add a half pecan on top of the jam.

3. Bake on 400 for 15 minutes or until the pie crust on the bottom is beige in color. Take them out of the pan immediately when they are done and place them on a cooling rack. Serve cold.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas cookies 2009

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I was thinking if I should name this post " Cookie baking from Hell", but then I thought it would be easier to find the posting later if I put only the " Christmas cookies". :-)

Long story short, I spent 8 straight hours baking sheet by sheet ( no, I don't have one of these nice wall mounted double convection ovens I dream about...sigh) 3 varieties of cookies. At the end of the 8 hours( 275 cookies) I was sure I don't want to see a cookie until the next Christmas. Well, that was a very short moment though, since when I tried one of the Orange Cardamom butter cookies...the whole mess in my kitchen ceased to exist!

This year due to many circumstances I am not as organized as last year, unfortunately. I made the cookies last minute and when I packed the presents for Kalin's school and for our friends and neighbors...I forgot to take pictures of the finished packaging. I made beautiful cards and paper bags with decoration and I was so mad at myself that I didn't remember to take pictures, but what is done is done, so here are the pictures of the actual cookies, I hope you like them.

So, this year I decided to try couple of new recipes and here they are:

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1. Tannita's Orange and Cardamom cookies
If I know one thing about Tannita it's that she knows cookies! Every single recipe I tried from her blog turned out amazing!
The cookies have a very delicate and very flavorful taste! I was cautious at first, because I haven't used cardamom before and I had no idea what kind or aroma it has, but I was very pleasantly surprised! The combination between orange and cardamom is heavenly!

The recipe in Bulgarian here/Ако искате да видите рецептата на български кликнете тук.

If you would like to read the recipe in English, click here.


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2. My second choice was again one of Tannita's recipes- Banana chocolate chip cookies. I made these for my birthday, but I did couple of alterations to the recipe. This recipe is so easy to make that even the kids were helping!
I love the banana flavor of the cookies and when you add the chocolate chip and the walnuts, it's a tasty explosion. Tannita improvised to substitute the pumpkin in her " Pumpkin cookies" recipe with banana, and it worked great! I know for a fact that couple of friends did try the recipe with other fruit too- apple sauce and mango and they said it was great.
The recipe in Bulgarian is here./Ако искате да видите рецептата на български кликнете тук.
Again, I will post the recipe in English as soon as I get Tannita's permission to do so.

ChristmasCookies20090010
3. The 3rd recipe is mine - Easy mini tarts with Caramelized pear jam and whole pecans. I had made tons of Caramelized pear jam and I was thinking what to do with it. The kids were not fond of it, I like it, but I can't eat that much and my husband refuses to eat sweets. So, I decided to make something with it. And I started thinking, it has to be filling, it would go very well with with walnuts or pecans...so why not mini tarts? Since I didn't have the time to actually make the dough for it, I decided to use a regular store bought pie crust.
They were a huge hit! Even my husband who didn't want to eat sweets couldn't resist, so the whole box disappeared in a day!
These "mini tarts" take less than 10 minutes to make, seriously! I'll post the recipe for you tomorrow!

So I packaged everything nice and neat for the TFN's ( teachers-friends-neighbors) and I was good to go!
These mini Christmas tins are awesome!
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Very convenient and clean!
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Merry Christmas to all of you!
See you tomorrow with the mini caramelized pear tarts recipe! :-)

Friday, December 18, 2009

The best (Saffron) Salmon soup

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I haven't made fish soup more than a year. I don't know why, probably because the kids prefer the baked/fried fish more, but it's a real shame because I have the best recipe for Salmon soup with saffron.
So, last week I wanted to cook something warm, like a soup, because it was such a chilly day ( -5F!!!), so I remembered I had one package of salmon and I decided to make my all time favourite Saffron salmon soup.

Ingredients:
4 pc wild salmon fillets
1 red onion
1 pearl onion
1 cup sliced baby bella mushrooms
5 red skin potatoes
1 red pepper
1 green bell pepper
4 small carrots
3 tbsp thin sliced parsnip
1 cup diced celery

1 tbsp minced parsley
1 tsp tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp saffron
salt and black pepper to taste
3 tbs olive oil

3 qt water (you can use vegetable of fish stock if you have, but do not use poultry or beef!)

Time schedule:
Preparation -15 min
Cooking- 35 min
Total- 50 min

1. Wash the salmon fillets and brown them for couple of minutes in a large pan with olive oil.
Simultaneously bring the 3 qt of water to a boil.

SalmonSoup2

2. When you've browned the fillets add them to the boiling water, add the bay leaves and the salt and pepper.

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3. Boil for 10 min, then take the fish out and place it in a plate. Leave it to cool down, you'll need it later.

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* Note: have in mind that you want the fish to be well cooked but in a whole piece! If you notice that the salmon is done before the 10 min are over, take it out immediately.

4. In a large frying pan or wok caramelize the onions, then add to the salmon stock. Add the red-skinned potatoes ( diced), the celery, the diced red and green pepper, the thin slices of carrot, the slices of parsnip and the saffron and stir well.
SalmonSoup8 SalmonSoup11

5. Approximately 10 min after you've added all the vegetables to the salmon stock add the sliced baby bella mushrooms, the tomato paste and the parsley. Boil for another 10 to 15 min or until the potatoes are cooked. Then add the lemon zest, put the lid on and take off the stove.
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6. Cut the salmon fillets to pieces large enough to cover 1/3 of the bowl you are going to serve it in. Decorate with lemon zest and/or dill. Serve hot!

* Note: because of the kids I don't dare use too much spices, but if you like spicy food crushed hot red pepper is an amazing addition to this soup!

Enjoy!

SalmonSoup15

SalmonSoup13

Bulgarian version/На български

Продукти:
4 филета сьомга ( за предпочитане дива)
1 червен лук
1 бял лук
1 ч.ч. портабела гъби на шайби
5 червенокожи картофи ( необелени, но трябва да изтъркате кожата с четка за целта!)
1 rчервена пиперка
1 зелена пиперка ( по-голяма)
4 малки моркова на шайби
3 с.л пащърнак на тънки ленти
1 ч.ч нарязани стъбла целина (ако не може да намерите и обикновена става. Ако имате корен целина намалете количеството наполовина

1 tс.л нарязан на ситно магданоз
1 ч.л доматено пюре
2 дафинови листа
1 tс.л настъргана лимонова кора
1/2 ч.л шафран
сол и черен пипер на вкус
3 с.л зехтин

3 литра вода (ако искате може да използвате зеленчуков бульон, не на прах разбира се, вместо водата, но не използвайте месен!)

Време на приготвяне
Подготовка на продуктите- 15 мин
Варене и задушаване- 35мин
Общо- 50 мин

1. Измийте филетата сьомга и ги запържете със зехтина до леко зачервяване в голям тиган. Имайте предвид, че не трябва да сготвяте рибата, а само да я запържите на много силен огън! Отвътре трябва да е сурова, затова се прави само за няколко минути. В същото време сложете на котлона в тенджера 3-те литра вода да заврат.

2. След като сте зачервили филетата от 2-те страни добавете ги във врящата вода заедо с дафиновия лист, солта и пипера.
3. Оставете да врат 10 минути, след това извадете рибата в чиния и я оставете да се охлади, ще я използвате по-късно.

* Забележка: Имайте предвид, че искате рибата да е добре сварена като я извадите, но да е на цяло парче! Ако забележите, че се е сварила преди 10-те минути да са изтекли извадете я веднага, за да не се развари!

4. IВ голям тиган или уок карамелизирайте лука, след това добавете към рибния бульон. Добавете червенокожите картофи нарязани на парчета, червения и зеления пипер нарязани на ситно, както и целината, морковите, пащърнака и шафрана и разбъркайте добре.

5. Около 10 мин след като сте добавили зеленчуците към бульона прибавете нарязаните на шайби гъби, доматеното пюре и магданоза. Оставете да ври още 10-15 мин или докато картофите не са напълно сварени. След тоа добавете лимоновота кора, сложете капака на супата и я дръпнете от котлона.
6. Нарежете сьомгата така, че едно парче да заема 1/3 от чинията, в която ще сервирате супата. Гарнирайте с лимонова кора и/или копър. Сервирайте гореща!

* Забележка: Заради децата избягвам да слагам твърде много силни ( лютиви) подправки, но ако вие обичате, счукан лют червен пипер е страхотна добавка към тази супа!

Да ви е сладко!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The 3 things you need for an awesome Thanksgiving dinner (Roasted chicken with mushrooms and onions)

You know how there are these lists of things you need to make your Christmas perfect?
Well, I have my 3 things you absolutely need to have a perfect Thanksgiving dinner: -Friends, Pie and Turkey!
If you lack even one, it's not the perfect Thanksgiving dinner.

This year I have more things than ever to be thankful for and I was sorry I was in no condition to make an actual turkey but the recipe that I improvised with was very well received and I think I will become regular, so I wanted to share it with you.

Try it out and let me know what you think!


ThanksgivingFeast9

You will need:
6 pieces of chicken ( you can use whatever part of the chicken you like, have in mind that the white meat will be more dry, so I would recommend using red chicken meat)
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
1 cup sliced red onions
1 cup sliced pearl onions
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry rosemary leaves
1/2 cup white wine
3 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp butter

Time schedule
15 min preparation time
30-35 min baking
Total 45-50 min

Preparation


1. Preheat the oven at 450 F.

2. In a greased baking pan place the 6 pieces of chicken skin side up, sprinkle half of the spices and place a piece of butter on top of each chicken piece.

3. In a large saute pan stir fry the onions with 3 tbsp sesame oil until golden, then add the sliced mushrooms. Have in mind that your pan should be very hot! You want to saute the mushrooms, not boil them or make them mushy! If your pan is overcrowded it can have the same effect- the mushrooms will get steamed and watery and you don't want that!

4. Add the rest of the spices in the pan with the mushrooms and stir well, then add the wine. Nest transfer the mushrooms and onions in the baking pan with the chicken.

5. Bake for 30-35 min ( or until your meat thermometer reads at least 180F) and the skin of the chicken is crispy.
If you bake too much, the chicken will get dry so it's always best to use meat thermometer. Serve warm!

You can use as a side dish fresh salad, potatoes,rice or roasted vegetables. It goes very well with cold white wine!

Enjoy! :-)

And for my Bulgarian friends, the recipe in Bulgarian.


Ще ви трябват:
6 парчета пилешко месо( може да използвате която част от пилето желаете, имайте предвид, че бялото месо е по-сухо, затова препоръчвам да използвате част от червеното пилешко месо-бутчета, плешки и т.н)
2 ч.ч нарязани на филийки печурки
1 ч.ч нарязан на шайби червен лук
1 ч.ч нарязан на шайби бял лук ( не жълт, а този който е с бели люспи)
1/2 ч.л червен пипер
1/8 ч.л черен пипер
1/8 ч.л сол
1/2 ч.л сух розмарин
1/2 ч.ч бяло вино
3 с.л сусамово олио
2 с.л масло ( неразтопено)

Време на приготвяне

15 мин подготовка
30-35 мин печене
Общо 45-50 мин

Приготовление:


1. Загрейте фурната на 230 градуса.

2. В намазнена тавичка поставете 6-те парчета пиле с кожата нагоре, като поръсите с половинатаот подправките и след това сложите парченце масло в/у всяко парче.

3. В голям незалепваш тиган загрейте 3-те лъжичи сусамово олио и запържете лукът, докато стане златист на цвят. След това добавете нарязаните на филийки гъби. Имайте предвид, че тиганът ви трябва да е много горещ, трябва да се работи бързо и да запържите гъбите, не да ги задушите, защото ще пуснат вода и ще се разварят. Добре е да не е твърде пълен тигана ви, колкото повече място да "дишат" имат гъбите и лука, толкова по-малък шанс да се разварят!

4. Добавете остатъка от подправките към гъбите и разбъркайте добре, след това добавете и виното и веднага изсипете в тавата при пилето.

5. Ястието се пече 30-35 мин ( или докато термометърът ви за месо отчете 82 градуса) и кожата на пилето стане зачервена и хрупкава.
Ако печете твърде много месото ще се изсуши, затова е най-добре да ползвате термометър за месо. Сервирайте топло!

Като гарнитури може да използвате зелена салата, картофи, ориз, печени зеленчуци и т.н. Перфектно ястие за студено бяло вино!

Да ви е сладко!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Kitchen Aid Black Friday deal on Amazon!!!

This is my second posting for today, but I just had to share as soon as I saw it!!!
Amazon is having a blow out sale of Kitchen Aid 600 Professional ( the same as mine) on this amazing price!

* Note that the price is a subject to a change, I have no idea what it would be tomorrow on the ad I am posting, but right now it's hell of a deal!




I have this mixer for 2 years and after all the heavy use that the poor thing went through, it's still my best friend in the kitchen!

Sorry guys, I'm not one to boast with equipment, but this has been one of the best purchases I ever made, and after I saw the rebate, I had to share! :-)

Thanksgiving Feast 2009

Very turbulent holiday we had yesterday, but overall it was a nice and warm evening that reminded us how important is to have your family around you, to love you, support you and help you though tough times.
So the thing I am thankful for this year is having the love of my family!

I wouldn't pretend that everything is all right now, because it's not, but on the other hand I don't want to spoil the interesting post I was about to post, so here it is, a sneak peak at our dinner table yesterday! (The recipes are going to be in the next post!)

1. As a first I had a nice winter salad with roasted peppers, purple cabbage, corn, celery, sprinkles with Monterrey Jack cheese and dressed with ricotta cheese, yogurt, walnuts, garlic and spices dressing.

Here it is without the dressing:
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And here it is with the dressing:
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2.As a second we had chicken soup with rice, linguine,pumpkin and fresh celery

ThanksgivingFeast10

For a closer look click on the picture bellow.
ThanksgivingFeast11


3. As a main course we had Roasted chicken with mushrooms and onions( no turkey this year, we are going to have the turkey next weekend because we don't eat that much meat and we are having friends over on 5th of December).
ThanksgivingFeast9

With a side dish of mashed potatoes with sour cream and topped with chicken gravy.
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4. The dessert was a rich and great tasting sweet potato pie! I have to admit I never made one before and I didn't use a recipe, because it so happened I didn't have Internet the whole day, so I couldn't check how one is done, but I came up with this super recipe that tasted unbelievable! I wrote down how I made it so I wouldn't forget, because it was exquisite taste and I'll share the recipe very soon with you!

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ThanksgivingFeast15

As a drink we had sour cherry and cranberry freshly boiled compote with fresh lemons and ice.

Wait for the recipes very very soon!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I am week 9 contest winner!!! :-)

I've posted 2 recipes in the Athens Food Phyllo Dough contest some time ago and imagine my surprise, when I just found out that I won week 9's prize!!!Isn't that amazing? I didn't even know! I totally forgot about it and here it is " Week 9 winner" title right next to my post! :-)

I am really happy! After a long, stresful and very busy week, that was a good thing for me to know before going to bed! :-)

I've posted my recipes for Zelnik and Tikvenik and the Zelnik recipe won. .

If you like this recipe, you can vote for it here, there would be a "Fan Favorite" prize, so you can help me win that too! :-)

I know you all missed me, I've taken couple of days off because of the spa craft show, that took out the best of me, but I'm back and I'm knocking on your door " Are you ready for me to blast you off your chair with more craft beauties, more cakes and more recipes?"
What are we waiting for then?? :-)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tikvenik - Phyllo Dough Pumpkin Sweet

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This is one of the things I've craved the most when I was pregnant with my daughter. Gosh, wash I glad when I finally found a ready made phyllo dough from the store! I love tikvenik made with home made phyllo dough, but it takes too much time, especially when you are as big as a blimp. :-)

Anyway,here is the recipe that I make, I hope you like it!

You will need:

1 package ready made Athens phyllo dough
3 cups mashed pumpkin ( I usually use one medium butter squash, cut and boil it, then mash it. If I have any left I cut it and store it in the freezer; if you don't want to bother with a real pumpkin, get 2 cans pumpkin pie filling, but have in mind the taste wouldn't be the same)
1 1/3cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup powdered sugar



Preparation:


1.Preheat the oven at 375F

2.Wash, cut and boil the pumpkin until ready. Mash with a potato masher, but leave some larger pieces in.

3. In a large pan place 1 tbsp vegetable oil and add the pumpkin, 1 cup of the sugar, the cinnamon and the walnuts. Stir well until the sugar is dissolved.

4. Open the package phyllo dough and spread it out. Heat the vegetable oil in a small pan and keep warm, so when you sprinkle some on top of the phyllo dough layer, it would sizzle. Be careful not to overheat it though, because it could burn and give unpleasant taste to the tikvenik.

5. On top of the phyllo layers sprinkle some vegetable oil ( not more than 1 tsp!), then spread 2-3 tablespoons of the pumpkin mixture evenly( so much as to cover slightly the surface, as on the picture), then sprinkle some of the leftover sugar.
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6. Roll 3 of the phyllo layers together, then sprinkle with some hot vegetable oil again, and roll in 2 more phyllo layers as shown in the pictures.
Tikvenik3 Tikvenik4

7. With a sharp knife cut even pieces and place them on a greased cookie sheet.
Tikvenik7 Tikvenik8

8. When you place all the pieces on the cookie sheet, sprinkle some hot vegetable oil and sugar crystals on top.
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Tikvenik13


9. Bake for 15-17 min or until crispy and golden on top. Take them out of the pan immediately after baking and let them cool. I recommend to place them in different plates while cooling down, not on 2 or more rows, because the ones on the bottom would not be crispy anymore. It's fine to pile them up once they are cold.

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10. Sift some powdered sugar on top and serve cold.

Once you taste the sugary crispiness of this pumpkin sweet, you would never want to prepare pumpkin any other way, I guarantee it!

Enjoy!

Monday, October 12, 2009

A very quick caviar appetizer

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In spite of all that glorifying of the black caviar, I just love the red one! Unfortunately I haven't seen it in the store for the longest time and the one Seafood store we have around here is very far, so I guess black caviar will do ;-)

It is very easy recipe and you don't need to cook anything. Just arranging tasteful bites for you to enjoy with good company and nice drink.

You will need:

1 jar black caviar
1 crispy fresh cucumber
1 stick unsalted butter
crackers

Preparation time:
5 min


1. Wash the cucumber and cut in circles.
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2. Arrange the crackers on a plate and place a single ( very!) thin slice of butter.

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3. Arrange the cucumbers on top of the butter.

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4. With a teaspoon ( never touch caviar with metal utensils- only glass, silver, plastic or wooden, because it gives unpleasant metallic taste to the caviar!) place a small amount of caviar on top of the cucumber.

5. Serve cold!

The caviar is a tasteful explosion by itself, so it does not need you to add, to the taste with complicated recipes and ingredients.
The simple, the better if you ask me.
Enjoy!

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