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!

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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!

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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!


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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!

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