Thursday, April 29, 2010

Potato Croquettes ( Картофени кюфтета)

I love Potato Croquettes!
When they are freshly made, I love the smell of savory and onion in the mashed potato!

I love to eat them with everything! I make them as a main dish, I make them as a side dish, I make sandwiches and burgers with them, I make them in shapes ( like carrots for example with dill leaves). I fry them or bake them..they are still delicious! Even when they are cold and the taste changes, I still love the aroma of the spices and the dense texture of the potatoes!

I have been planing to post this recipe forever, but I never got to actually take pictures of the potato croquettes I made, or Kartofeni kiufteta as we call them in Bulgaria.
So, since I finally managed to take pictures, I want to share this delicious recipe with you!

potatocroquettes0009


INGREDIENTS

For the croquettes: 
2 lbs gold potatoes
1 large white onion
3 tbs Italian savory
1 egg

1 tbsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper


For the frying mixture:
3 eggs
1/2 cup lager beer
2 cups flour

1 cup vegetable oil for frying


* You can use also panko breadcrumbs or plain breadcrumbs too.


1. Boil the potatoes until they are cooked but not overcooked!
2. Mash the potatoes and add the egg and the spices, then add the onion. Mix well.

potatocroquettes0005

* Note: have in mind that this is the basic recipe! You can add carrots or other vegetables in the mixture, as well as cheese!

3.  Beat the eggs for the frying mixture in a large bowl, then add the beer and stir well. In a large plate place the flour ( and in another plate place the panko breadcrumbs or plain breadcrumbs. You can skip that if you want!)


4. With dry hands take a handful of potato mixture and shape in whatever shape you want ( I made them to look like burgers), then dip in the flour, dust off the excess set them aside.

5. When you made all have shaped all of your potato mixture,  heat a 10 inch pan with the vegetable oil on medium high then dip each croquette in the egg mixture.

* Note: you can dip them in the breadcrumbs or panko after this step if you want)

6. Fry until gold in color, then place on paper towels to rest for a couple of minutes.  Do not overcrowd your pan!


potatocroquettes0003

7. Serve warm with a salad and a dressing ( white or red).

potatocroquettes0006

* Note: I make a white dressing: cottage cheese, garlic, sour cream, paprika, black pepper and dill  and my kids love it! Plain old ketchup works too!

Enjoy!


Annie


P.S: In the first picture I've served with green salad and a tomato/avocado/fresh mozzarella/ Kalamata olives and Italian dressing starter.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Warm zucchini salad with a twist ( of lemon)

This salad is very easy ( and quick) to make and on top of that is very delicious if you like zucchini! We LOVE zucchini! I prepare them in so many ways and my family really enjoys them, but this salad since I started making it couple of months ago became a favorite very fast!

I came up with the recipe by accident! I had a whole bag of zucchini and no time to prepare them in any way I know, so I decided to try and make a warm salad of them.

Warm Zucchini salad0003

Here is the recipe, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

INGREDIENTS
You will need:

6-7 medium size zucchini
3 tbs  extra virgin olive oil
1 green pepper
8-9 garlic cloves
1 lemon
1 cup kalamata olives

 For the dressing:
1/2 cup chopped dill

the juice of 2 lemons
salt and pepper to taste

* Note: you can add jalapeno peppers to the dressing or the actual salad if you want! 


 PREPARATION 

1. In a large skillet stir-fry the zucchini on high.

2. When they change color ( around 5 minutes) add the green pepper and the garlic cloves. Stir well. The zucchini don't have to be raw but they don't have to be mushy either! There has to be crunchiness to the texture!
* Note: your pan has to be big enough so the ingredients are not overcrowded.

3. In 5 minutes  serve in a large platter and sprinkle with the dressing. 


4. Garnish with lemon and kalamata olives and serve warm.

*Note:  You can use that as a side dish, serve with wild rise as a main vegetarian dish or with mashed potatoes. Sometimes I add pine nuts, flax seed or walnuts too! Improvise!

Enjoy!

Annie








Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sunday lunch: Roasted leg of lamb

What is a better way to spend a rainy afternoon at home, than with your family?
What is a better way to have your family over than to have a nice lunch?
And what is a better way to have a family lunch than to serve warm comfort food made with lot of love?


Roasted leg of lamb0012
Roasted leg of lamb with mint and spinach stew

Ingredients

For the roasted lamb leg

1 boneless leg of lamb

5-6 baby carrots
5-6 garlic cloves
7-8 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
4 tbsp olive oil

4 tbs brandy

For the mint & spinach stew
 2 tbsp olive oil

1 lbs baby spinach
2 cups chopped fresh mint
3 cups chopped green onions
1/2 cup chopped garlic
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
1/2 cup cooking wine ( white!)

1 tbs salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tbsp paprika
3 tbsp flour

1. Preheat the oven at 400F.

2. Wash the leg of lamb and spread it on a cutting board skin down. Make couple of incisions on the inside of the meat and stuff the cloves in them. Place the carrots on top, ad 2 bay leaves and season well with salt and pepper.

3. Roll the meat so the carrots and cloves are going to stay on the inside ( like stuffing) and cover with a cooking net.

4. Place the rest of the bay leaves on top of the skin under the net and season well.
Roasted leg of lamb0002

5. In a large skillet place the olive oil and heat to medium high. Add the leg of lamb and sear.
Roasted leg of lamb0003
6. Remove the leg of lamb from the skillet and bake it in a greased pan with the 4 tbs brandy, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour on 350F or until the meat thermometer shows 160 F ( for well done!).
* for more information on cooking lamb, look at this. 

********************************************************************************
 7. In the mean time while waiting for the roasted leg to bake, wash and cut the vegetables for the stew.
In a frying pan place 2 tbsp olive oil and heat on medium high.

Roasted leg of lamb0004


8. Place the green peppers in the pan and stir well. After one minute add the chopped spinach, garlic and mint. Stir well again.  In 5 minutes add the cooking wine, salt and pepper and stir well.

9. In a separate bowl stir the 3 tbsp flour with the paprika with 1 cup water. It has to be liquid enough to pour it into the stew! Stir well and add it to the stew.

10. Stir for 5 minutes the stew and when the flour is well incorporated, place the stove to Low and cover with a lid. Leave it for 10-15 minutes or until done.

********************************************************************************
Roasted leg of lamb0005

11. When the lamb is done, remove the aluminum foil and broil it on normal for 5 minutes or until the desired crust color. Place the meat on a cutting board, remove the cooking net and let it rest for 10 minutes.

 Roasted leg of lamb0008

12. Cut the meat and serve warm! Garnish with the spinach and mint stew.

Roasted leg of lamb0010

*On the picture  I have served also with  green salad with spinach, dandelion and radishes and with stir fry rice with asparagus, mushrooms, caramelized onions and flax seed.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Food for the soul is not enough! - Magic Meatball Soup!

ClearMeatball soup with spinach0004

As I mentioned yesterday in my post " Food for the soul or food for the mouth", I prefer food for the soul, but that unfortunately is not enough, so here is a nice, warm "feel good" recipe for a meatball soup that I call "magic"!
Why magic? Because according to my kids, once you eat it, you feel better, no matter if you were sick or sad..:-)

Does it really work? Sure it does! It just need the right ingredients- a pinch of belief ,  a tablespoon of child emotion and  cup of love!

Enjoy!
"Magic Meatball soup"



ClearMeatball soup with spinach0002

Ingredients:
For the meatballs:
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin ( or spring savory, whichever you  prefer)
For the broth:
5 qt water
1/2 cup sliced, diced or string carrots
1/2 cup diced celery ( the stems)
1 cup diced red pepper
1 cup diced green pepper
1/4 cup crushed canned tomatoes ( or 1 cup fresh cherry tomatoes, sliced)

2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup noodles
4 cups fresh baby spinach
1 fresh root daikon
1 cup diced spring onions
salt and pepper to taste

ClearMeatball soup with spinach0001

1. Mix the ground meat with the spices and make large as a plum meatballs. Set them aside.
* Note: if you regularly wet your hands with water the meat won't stick to them, so it would be easier to make the meatballs.


2. In a large cooking pan ( mine is 12 qt, but you can use 6 qt too) bring to a boil 5 qt of water.When the water is boiling add the meatballs one at a time. Cook for 15 minutes on medium.


3. When the meatballs are almost done, add the carrots, celery, green and red pepper and the tomatoes. Cook for 10 more minutes then add the mushrooms and noodles and cook for 10 more minutes.


4. Add the sliced daikon and the green onions and cook for 5 more minutes, then add the spinach and turn the stove off.


6. Garnish with lemon and cut spring onions, serve hot. 

Enjoy!
ClearMeatball soup with spinach0005

Monday, April 5, 2010

Do you eat with your eyes or your mouth first?

Stuffed mushrooms with side0002


I love good food, what I love more is to see it well presented in the plate!
I can be compelled to try a recipe just by the look of the food! I respect very much people who can arrange beautifully the food in the plate, I respect even more the people who can take a good picture of it.
Unfortunatley, I am not very good at both,  mostly because I don't have the time to invest in reading and practicing. Of course this is only my fault but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate a nicely presented plate.

Eating with your eyes and mouth is so much satisfying than eating only with your mouth!

So, I really, really liked this recipe my favorite friend blogger Tannita presented:

I made some adjustments with the recipe and I made it for my guys at home and it was one of the most delicious things I've eaten!

You will need:
-  for the stuffing
1/4 cup
2  cup fresh spinach
2/3 cup feta cheese
1/2  cup cream cheese
1 cup blue cheese
3 tbsp butter
15-20 large mushrooms. 
4 tbsp parmesan cheese
5 garlic cloves 
4 tbsp bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
- for the topping 
breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese
Stufed mushrooms0001
Preparation
1. Preheat the oven at 400F.
In a large skillet stir fry the spinach and garlic. Then mix with the rest of the stuffing ingredients.
2. Grease a baking pan and palace the mushrooms with the opening up. Sprinkle some salt and pepper and bake for 10 min. 
3. Turn the mushrooms around with the opening down and bake for another 10 min. 
4. Fill the mushrooms with the stuffing, sprinkle some Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs on top and bake for another 10-15 min or until golden on top.
Serve warm!
* I served with plain rice, stir fried asparagus with flax seed and dandelion leaves salad. 
Enjoy!
I had a little bit of the stuffing left and I made asparagus and dip plate too:
Asparagus with dip0001

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter !


 Easter Eggs 20100002
 I only wanted to wish you Happy Easter everyone and head off to a birthday party!
While I am gon,e enjoy the sight of these amazingly yummy Easter crescents I made by the recipe of a friend of mine:
Easter Crescents20100001

The recipe you can check here:
http://tanitaang.blogspot.com/2010/04/blog-post.html

And if you like baking things but you don't have the time to knead and stuff, here is my present for you:  Breadmachines are one of the best things you can get for your family!
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=pe_77110_14704250_fe_txt_1/?ie=UTF8&rh=n%3A289917%2Cp_6%3AATVPDKIKX0DER%2Cp_8%3A2229032011

Happy Easter!!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter breads ( Kozunaci) 2010

This is what has been keeping me from posting yesterday!
You can see the recipe I use step by step here : 
Kozunaci ( Easter breads) the recipe

18 eggs, 6 lbs flour and  the result is 11 kozunaci ( Easter breads)!
At one point I thought I would never finish! I have a small, non-convection oven and it takes 3 times more time to bake them than in convection oven. But, after 8  hours straight baking, here they are:

Plain kozunaci with brandy soaked raisins and sugar/almond/sesame crust before baking 
Kozunaci( Easter bread)2010-0001

Here they are, already baked:
Kozunaci( Easter bread)2010-0009

A closer look:
Kozunaci( Easter bread)2010-0011

Second set of 3 with raisins:
Kozunaci( Easter bread)2010-0012

6 for good measure:
Kozunaci( Easter bread)2010-0015

I just realized that I didn't take a picture of the three I made with mixed fruit and walnuts( pineapple, papaya, cherries, raisins) . They were with topping only of sugar, no nuts on top, other than that they looked exactly the same as the others. I hope I can take a picture of the inside, we already ate one ( blush) and although I make these for a first time, they came out great!

Here is a small plain one with sesame and sugar crust:
Kozunaci( Easter bread)2010-0019

And here is a new style with chocolate chips that I tried for a first year. I got the idea from here Coronita cu ciocolata

- first you roll out the dough and sprinkle with chocolate chips
Kozunaci( Easter bread)2010-0003
- then you roll it in
Kozunaci( Easter bread)2010-0004

- then you cut thin slices
Kozunaci( Easter bread)2010-0005
- then you place it in the greased pan and bake the same as the other kozunaci:
Kozunaci( Easter bread)2010-0006 Kozunaci( Easter bread)2010-0007

- and here is the baked one:
Kozunaci( Easter bread)2010-0018

You can see the recipe I use step by step here :  
Kozunaci ( Easter breads) the recipe!

If you want to see my previous years kozunaci, take a look here( click)!

I am off to plan the egg painting for tomorrow! I plan on making some crescents with chocolate and Turkish delight, so stay tuned as they say :-) , there might be more to see tomorrow! 


Happy Easter everyone!


Annie






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