Monday, April 30, 2012

Mango smoothie, because it's just one of those days

There are some days where even though you spend the whole day cooking, actually eating just doesn't come into it, I don't feel like looking for something new to make, and honestly the simpler the better, so go is fruit smoothie. 
The one great trick to smoothies, the freezer, and it's frozen fruitiness. Frozen fruit is much more affordable than the fresh variety, and it add body without taking away from flavor. Never use ice in your fruity smoothies again, 

Mango Smoothie

1 cup frozen mango
1/4 cup milk
1 tbsp sugar or honey

Blend together, add extra milk, if things don't move around enough, though I've found shaking the machine often moves things around again.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fried Mint and Yogurt Soup, if you can get it hot, it's done.

Yogurt Soup, is the Chicken soup for Yogurt Lovers, it's my go to on cold night, it's what I asked for when I was sick growing up, it's a quick appetizer, or with an add in, it's a meal.
Takes almost no time to prepare, really depends on how hot your stove top runs. I love this soup with some curdles in it, I think of them as little creamy bits, but that has a lot to do with how my mom makes, If you're like most people and not a fan of the curdle, just keep stirring.

Yogurt Soup
1 tbsp dried mint
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups yogurt, (if thin, less if it's on the thick side)
1 cube chicken bouillon, (or 1 tbsp better than bouillon)
2 cups boiling water
1 egg
1/3 cup oatmeal, or cooked rice
aleppo pepper

Mix yogurt and an egg, I usually just use the half eaten yogurt container for this.
Heat oil in a medium pot, add mint. When it's dark green and fragrant, add the yogurt, and start stirring.
Add boiling water and chicken bouillon, keep mixing.
Add oatmeal or cooked rice.
Add salt to taste.
Serve with sumac and aleppo pepper.

To make it a meal, there are a few options, one is buying from the middle eastern grocery store buying manti (as shown above) They can be baked and added at the last moment, Manti is a tiny meatball cradled in a crunchy dough. Or you can boil some kufte in water with a little lemon, and then add it to the soup, as shown below. One day, I show you how to make manti, (long, complicated, requires recruits) but as a third option, plain meatballs can be used, Or if you're feeling adventurous, try baking meat fill ravioli, til crispy, and add them instead.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Book Review Fridays: Lady in the Lake

Rating: PG
Genre: Detective Novel
Summary: A rich man's wife was thought to have run away with a young playboy, but looks like it's not that simple. 
Author: Raymond Chandler
Grade: A
Length: 272 pages

There are some books that just seem to have a voice of their own, this definitely does, a flim noir in your head, you're there, they're charmed you into 1940s Los Angeles, with all the scents and sites. Half a chapter at a time was enough, once sucked in, it's hard to stop. My favorite kind of book. 
The mystery itself throws you so many times, some of my theories panned out, but by that point I had had so many, I could make no claims of insight. Everyone is a suspect, no one comes off as trust worthy, there are no flat characters Marlowe understands human character and through his observations so do you. Wit and chill, the perfect mystery. 

Recommend to others: Yes, it was a pleasure to read, I had more fun with this book than I've had with any other in months. Pick this one up it's worth it.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Never pass on the peas

So I bought ground, convinced I was going to make dolma, I already had a new jar of grape leaves and apparently a very mistaken idea of my parsley situation, then I lost interest, it would mean a lot of work, and time, and I would have to try and recreate my grandmother's simmering sauce from memory, something I'm not sure I pull off on palate memory alone. So I passed on the dolma and looking through what had come from the last veg delivery. Peas, so much less work, and so often undervalued.
Peas are often served as an after thought, a tiny portion of a meal, either mixed in with other veg, or served rather plainly and simply on their own, and while quite delicious (most of the time) they can come and be the star at stage center.  And so, Pea Stew.
Almost all food begins with an onion, cooked until quite beautiful, golden brown,
Then garlic steps in and tries to take over, meat is added, another power player, I add pepper paste, the more fun loving cousin of tomato paste, salt, pepper, and canned whole tomatoes, (I love whole for some unknown reason, just seems so much more hearty, in some ways we have to stick to our old-fashioned guns)

1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 lb ground beef or sub cubed
2 tbsp pepper paste
Huge bag of fresh peas (or 1 bag frozen)
1 8 oz can whole tomatoes

Heat oil in pan, add onions, cook til golden
Add garlic, cook 30 sec
Add beef, cook til browned
Add pepper paste, peas, tomatoes, salt and pepper
Cook til tomatoes are falling apart and peas are cooked through but not too mushy.

Serve with rice.

Cost Plus is dangerous, it may lead to overwhelming spring cleaning

I was wandering the aisles, with no intention of buying anything, other than perhaps an imported box of something carb based. But I was first enchanted by all the pretty cloth napkins, I've been trying to take more photos not showing my kitchen tile and have been limited to just a couple choices.  Then, oh no, under ten dollars for a nice looking mini muffin tray? I don't own a mini muffin tray. so I brought it home, it live with me now, I'll have to make room in my own for it, I have to throw out something to do so. Probably the roasting rack that came with the oven and I have never used, mainly because I always place veg under anything I roast.
I hope this doesn't lead to some great big spring cleaning, which will go very wrong when I remember I no longer donate to the easy nearby donation center because I discovered they support center groups I do not.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Getting a little creative with leftovers Greek Mac & Cheese

I had cheese mixture leftover from making buregs yesterday, so I decided baked spinach with the cheese, only, after the spinach cooked, there was a lot more cheese. So I added chopped mushrooms, but turns out, didn't have enough mushrooms either, so I added some pasta shells and voila, Greek Mac & Cheese was created. It's like spanakopita, without the sweat and tears of dealing with filo, which I avoid at almost all costs.

1 onion 
1 bunch baby spinach
1 egg 
1 cup shredded akawi cheese (or jack or mozzarella)
1/2 cup feta 
1 tsp dried mint
1 pkg crimini mushrooms, chopped 
1/2 pkg pasta shells 

Saute onions til golden
 Add spinach
Cook til soft. 

Make cheese mixture with cheeses, egg, and mint 
Boil pasta til al dente, around 8 minutes 
Mix with spinach, cheese mixture and mushrooms. 
Place in a greased oven proof dish, top with Parmesan 

Bake at 350  for around 30 minutes until slightly golden. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cheese + Dough = Bureg Love

Is there anything better than cheese stuffed bread? Perhaps cheese-stuffed puff pastry?
Buregs are turnovers, and they come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors but nothing is a crowd pleaser like the basic cheese.
First buy puff pastry, there are lots of brands, but most stores only carry one variety, try to find a place that carries more than one, a middle eastern store is a good place to go to, most of the time the simpler packaging, is the better product, Some people opt for filo dough, but that's not zombie friendly and doesn't add enough in texture for the opt in, in my opinion.
Nest you'll need great feta, something creamy and not rubber is best, bought at the counter and usually not vacuum packed, Also a rubbery cheese that will melt well, I used a middle eastern akawi cheese, but mozzarella or jack works as well. Don't buy fresh mozzarella, it will release way too much liquid and you'll lose texture.

Cheese Bureg
1 pkg puff pastry
i block feta, something around 2x3x5
2/3 block akawi, (or small bag shredded jack of mozzarella)
2 eggs
2 tsp mint
sesame seeds
nigella seeds

Remove puff pastry from freeze and let it sit on the counter til you can work with it. Around half an hour
Shred or crumble cheeses.
Add an egg

Add mint
Cut pastry into 4 inch squares

Place filling inside, I use a lot, but you can use less
Fold two corners together
fold up third corner and pinch together.
Fold up last corner and pinch everything, really pinch good puff pastry fights back in the oven.

Place on a baking sheet
Make an egg wash with second egg, use a little water. Top buregs

Sprinkle sesame and nigella seeds on top. 

Bake according to direction on package. (Usually 400 for half an hour) Sometimes they need a little longer in the oven, can be up to an hour.

These are great warm, or as breakfast, or as an appetizer or with the main course. 
Great potluck dish!

Have leftover cheese mixture? Check back tomorrow for my Greek mac & cheese, put all that great cheese to good use.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

No food today.

Observing April 24th today.

97 years ago today, a lot of great men died. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Just adding to Technorati

They asked me to publish this code. 7SCBEWCXYX87

The 30 sec snack

My desert island food is definitely yogurt, so many uses, and varies in flavor from milky sweet to downright sour. Strained yogurt or kefir cheese, is one possibly my favorite variation, Makes a great snack, or even party food, in just seconds, 
Strained yogurt
Nigella seeds
Red pepper (aleppo)
olive oil
pita chips

Shape the yogurt with a spoon, so you can fill valleys with olive oil, top with nigella and red pepper,

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Dinner: Roasted Fish

Roasted Fish
So the family's coming to dinner, and you want to make something mess-free, light, and easy, start with frozen fish.
My mother is spreading the sauce on these little fish, while my aunt spoons on the marinade.
Buy at least one fillet per person, frozen is fine, but let it defrost in the fridge overnight.

1 fillet of fish per person (10 fillets here)
mix of fresh herbs of your choice , such as dill and parsley
2 lemons, juiced
4 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Place a little olive oil on the bottom of a baking dish.
Lay fillets on top in a single layer.
Roasted Fish
Mix herbs, the rest of the oil and lemon with salt and pepper.
Spread sauce on the fish.
Allow the fish to marinade.
Pre heat oven to 400
Roast fish for 10 to 14 minutes, until fish begins to flake a little.

Parsley Sauce
Serve with Fresh Parsley Sauce.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Update on Commenting

I've been hearing a lot about the lack of being able to comment, I just changed the settings again, hopefully this will make it a but easier. Give me feedback, if you can... huh, this may not work out too well.

Trying to figure out a background

Still haven't found something I Like, and fits well 

UPDATE: Tell me what you think of the one I ended up going with? I actually drew it in a sketch book and then took a photo of it. I attempted to edit it with Google Photos, but ended up having to go to Illustrator to get it just right. Was fun working on zombies, rather than houses for once.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Herb Garlic Rice with Bready Undergarments worth fighting for

Herb garlic with with bread tadig
Hmm bread, slightly greasy and with a little rice attached, there's nothing quite like it, the ultimate starchy comfort food, they are definitively worth taking an extra portion of when no ones looking,
This is normally made of rice by Persians and called tadig, Armenians in the area, great lovers of bread, swapped out the rice for pita, and called it kerounk, my grandmother, another rice lover, actually liked using tortilla instead,
Rice is my mother's domain, in fact I rarely ever make it, I usually go for something a little easier to pull off. Here's what you do,
Wash the rice
wash rice
Cover with an inch of water in a pot and bring to a boil for around 15 minutes, The trick is you want a little bit of bright white left at the center of each kernal. Take the rice off the burner, empty it from the dish.
chopped dill

Meanwhile chop up half a bunch of dill, a few springs of parsley and 3 cloves garlic.
Put a little oil in the pot and add wedges of pita bread (split in half) cover the bottom of the pot as best as possible, without overlapping the bread. Place on the burner, warm to medium,
Add dill, parsley and 3 chopped cloves garlic to the rice. Place it all back in the pot and lower the heat. Cover the pot, and continue to xook for around another half hour. to 45 minutes, until the rice is perfectly cooked. You chould have individual grains of rice.
When placing the rice in a serving dish, put a little butter throughout the rice, Top with greased bread, allow everyone to take a serving. then attempt to fight for you rlife over any remaining bit of bread,