Monday, October 26, 2009

Tikvenik - Phyllo Dough Pumpkin Sweet


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


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.

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.


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.


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!


Monday, October 12, 2009

A very quick caviar appetizer


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

Preparation time:
5 min

1. Wash the cucumber and cut in circles.

2. Arrange the crackers on a plate and place a single ( very!) thin slice of butter.


3. Arrange the cucumbers on top of the butter.


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.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Baked Tilapia with lime dressing and herbs


Just a quick recipe before I go to bed!
I tasted for the first time Tilapia when I came to the States and I just fell in love with the delicate, buttery flavor of this fish! It's just so light, I couldn't believe that it was fish at all. I mean there is fish that really smells " fishy", but the tilapia is more " friendly" and mild in any way.

One of my favorite recipes is for baked tilapia with lime dressing and I wanted to share it with you.

You will need:

8 tilapia fillets
1 tbsp creole spice
fresh mint
salt, black pepper to taste

2 lime's juice
1 lime for garnish
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp raw walnuts
1 clove of garlic

Time schedule:
5 min to clean and prepare the dish
10 min to bake
5 min to garnish and serve
Total 20 min

1. Preheat the oven at 450F.

2. In a greased pan place the tilapia as you sprinkle the creole spice, salt and black pepper. Bake for 10 min or until done( you have to check on it often, because you don't want dry fish! It has to be juicy and light, not burnt and dry!)

* Note: Although baking the tilapia is more lean and healthy, you can pan fry it too and serve with the same dressing.

3. In a food processor combine the softened butter ( it has to be softened, not melted!)walnuts, garlic clove, salt and lime juice. Blend well.

4. When the fish is ready, serve in a hot serving plate with drizzled lime dressing on top and sprinkled with freshly chopped mint. Garnish with the lime.

This dish is perfect for nice and cold dry white wine and freshly baked french baguette. I recommend as a side dish risotto with fresh peppers and tomato.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Salmon with white wine sauce and vegetables


I love salmon! The nice, juicy, flaky red fish is one of my favorites and my kids prefer it than any other fish, so I cook salmon often.
One of my son's favorite recipes is salmon with white wine sauce ans vegetables.
I hope you like it! It's really easy to prepare and it takes no time at all!

You would need:

6 salmon fillets (with the skin!)
3 tbsp olive oil

3 cups wild mushrooms or baby bella mushrooms
2 cup celery
1 tbsp butter
3 tbsp lemon juice

1 cup white wine( dry)
1/2 tsp mixed pepper
creole spice
fresh mint

Serves: 6

Time schedule:
Wash, cut, prepare fish and vegetables: 10 min
Brown fish: 2 min
Bake fish and stir fry vegetables 10: min
Serve and garnish: 3 min
Total: 25 min

1. Preheat the oven at 350 F.


2. Wash and pat dry the salmon fillets. In a heavy non-stick pan preheat the 3 tbsp olive oil. Place the fillets skin side down in the hot pan and fry for a minute on each side, until the fish changes color. You have to be careful not to overcook it! Take a closer look at the picture, the fish is still raw in the middle! Sprinkle some salt and pepper, creole spice and place in a greased roasting pan.

3. Add the white wine on top of the fish and bake in the oven for 8-10 min. You have to check on the fish regularly, because if you overcook it, it would be dry and this is the worst thing that can happen to a salmon! You don't need it to be brown on top! You need to not see the pinkish color in the middle!


4. In a large non-stick pan stir fry with the butter the mushrooms and celery, salt, pepper and lemon juice.
* Note, if you want to make it more lean, you can use sesame seed oil instead of butter.

5. Serve the salmon garnished with freshly chopped mint leaves and add the vegetables as a side. As every fish, it combines great with white wine.


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