Friday, March 30, 2012

Buckwheat with veggies and eggs

I never really understood why buckwheat isn't used in cooking alongside the likes of rice or pasta. I think it is completely underrated, but not in my house:)  It is a classic item that I always have in my cupboard.  It is versatile and valuable in a balanced diet. Buckwheat is a great source of manganese, copper, magnesium, and dietary fiber. It contains flavonoids and amino acids, and is gluten-free.
For breakfast I have it plain (with a pinch of sugar), or with milk in place of cereal. It is a great alternative side dish to serve with your meal.
Buckwheat with veggies and eggs can be served with any main course of your choice.

1.5 cup cooked buckwheat
½ medium onion, peeled and diced
7 white mushrooms, diced or sliced
1 boiled egg, diced
3 tsp cooking oil
parsley, finely chopped

Making buckwheat:

Rinse buckwheat thoroughly under running water before cooking and remove any dirt or debris with your hands. You need one part buckwheat to two parts boiling liquid – water or broth. Place the pot with the mixture on the stove on high heat. After the mixture returns to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

Making buckwheat with veggies and eggs:

Heat the oil in a frying pan over moderate heat and sauté the onion until soft (3-5 minutes). Add mushrooms and cook until ready (4-6 minutes). Add salt and pepper.
Combine buckwheat, onions, mushrooms and eggs together and mix well. Garnish with parsley and serve. 

  • Skip the egg for a vegetarian option 


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chicken Rolls

I love chicken! It is like a perfect pair of shoes: you can dress it up - make a fancy appetizer for a festive dinner, or you can dress it down – make an effortless escalope with vegetables on the side for a quick lunch. It is perfect for any occasion imaginable. This is why it makes sense to buy chicken in bulk - you can make chicken soup from drumsticks, honey glazed thighs, spicy chicken wings and rolls with a filling from chicken breast.
These particular chicken rolls were inspired by warm and sunny Southern California weather:) They have just the right amount of cheese inside to make the chicken moist and not heavy. As for the sauce, it is quite simple and brings richness to the dish. 
Serve the rolls as a main course with a side of vegetables or pasta or make an easy and tasty appetizer for a party.


Chicken Rolls:
1 chicken breast
2 slices of semi-soft cheese (e.g. Havarti, Gouda)
parsley, finely chopped
1 cup water/chicken stock
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp cooking oil

2 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp all-purpose flour

Wash the chicken breast and pat dry with a paper towel. Cut the breast in half and cut each half in 3 pieces. Cover the pieces with a plastic wrap and pound them with a flat side of a meat mallet until they are evenly thin. Season with salt and pepper.
Break each cheese slice in 6 pieces. Put 2-3 cheese pieces and a teaspoon of parsley on one side of a chicken breast and roll it up, so that the filling is inside. Secure the rolls with toothpicks or thread.
Heat the oil and the butter in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Cook the rolls, turning them occasionally, until browned from all sides.
Pour water/chicken stock in a different frying pan (or clean the same one) and place the rolls in it. As soon as the liquid starts boiling, put the heat to a low and cover the pan. Let them simmer for 15 minutes.

Making the sauce:
Take ½ cup of liquid from the pan and add flour and sour cream. Blend the ingredients well. Add salt and pepper. Pour the mixture back into the pan and stir for a couple of minutes, until the sauce is thickened. Take the rolls out from the pan and remove the toothpicks/thread.
Top the rolls with a sauce from the pan and serve.

  • Parsley can be substituted for basil for a bolder flavor
  • Try experimenting with different sauces for these chicken rolls 


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pan - Fried Turkey Burgers

Many of you can relate that it is not easy to make a flavorful dish out of ground turkey. So I was experimenting and came up with this recipe for pan-fried turkey burgers. They turn out real juicy and fluffy.  In fact, my Man bit his tongue eating them - they were so good! You can serve them solo, with a tomato sauce, with white mushroom sauce, or just slide them into buns. 

1 lb ground turkey
1 egg
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
5 tbsp butter at room temperature
¼ cup breadcrumbs + for coating
2 tbsp oil
In a large bowl mix turkey, egg, salt, pepper and 3 tablespoons of butter with a basic hand mixer. Add breadcrumbs and heavy whipping cream and continue mixing until all the ingredients are well blended. The longer you mix, the fluffier the burgers are going to be. Divide the mixture into 4-5 equal portions and shape into ovals. Coat each patty with breadcrumbs.
Heat the oil and the rest of the butter in a frying pan over low-medium heat. Cook the burgers until golden brown, 3-4 minutes per side. Put the heat to the lowest setting and cover the pan. Let them simmer for approximately 10 minutes and take them out. If you are not sure if the burgers are ready, insert the instant thermometer into the side of the burger - it should be 165 °F.  Lay out the patties on a plate with a sheet of a paper towel so it can absorb the excess oil. Your burgers are ready to be served.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Freshly Salted Salmon

This recipe offers a simple and delicious way of incorporating fish into your diet.  Salmon is rich in protein, vitamin D and omega-3 oils that are so good for us. This preparation method takes only 5 minutes and the fish is ready to eat in 24 hours. Salted salmon is great for parties as it makes colorful, mouth-watering hors d’oeuvres. You can use this recipe not only for special occasions. I add it to a salad instead of chicken or meat for a tasty and healthy lunch or I mix it with cream cheese in a blender to create a rich breakfast spread.  Although salmon is expensive, I still believe a good quality fillet is worth buying because of endless possibilities of dishes you can make with this tasty fish.  

1 lb good quality and scaled salmon fillet with skin
1.5 tbsp sugar
1.5 tbsp kosher salt

Wash the fillet in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Mix salt and sugar in a glass pan big enough to fit the fillet. If you want your salmon to be on the saltier side, add 0.5 tbsp less sugar than the recipe calls for.
Put the fillet in the pan skin side up first so the top is covered in mixture and then turn it skin side down and cover the pan with plastic. Flip the fillet over in 12-14 hours. 12 hours later (24 hours total) the fish is ready to be served. Skin the fillet. Cut it in thin slices or cubes depending on appetizers you are planning to make.  Your salmon will stay fresh for up to 1 week if refrigerated.

  • To make the fillet smell “less fishy”, you can put a small bunch of dill on top of it while it’s in the process of salting. Discard the dill afterwards.
  • To make it smell a little citrus-y, you can pour ½ cup of orange juice into the pan.

Easy to make and incredibly delicious canapés!

black bread - pumpernickel, whole wheat or your favorite kind
spread - unsalted butter, cream cheese, horseradish
freshly salted salmon

Cut the bread in cocktail-sized slices. Put a thin layer of the spread over the bread slices. Place a slice of salmon on top. Garnish with dill.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Homemade Chicken Soup

You know how they say that our eating habits come from our childhood? My grandparents believed that soup is an essential part of any dinner and since I can remember there is nothing better for me than to start a meal with a bowl of delicious soup. 
This chicken soup is a filling yet a light flavorful dish that you can serve as a first course or take it for lunch to work. Its soothing properties make it great in a cold and flu season - it is filled with nutrition and leaves you satisfied without being heavy.
The key to this dish is to make your own stock as it gives the soup that homemade full flavor that you will never get from stock cubes. Cooking stock is easy and doesn’t require your attention for the most part – you have plenty of time to prepare ingredients for the soup or make those delicious cakes for dessert:) 

2 lb chicken parts (drumsticks, thighs), bones cut in half with a knife and a mallet
1 carrot, peeled
1 onion, peeled
1.5 qt chicken stock
3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
½ cup of pasta 
1.5 tsp olive oil
parsley, finely chopped

Making stock: 

Put the stock ingredients, except for salt, in a pot. Add cold water - 1.5 qt or until chicken parts are covered by 1 inch. Bring it to a boil and with a large spoon or a skimmer skim off any foam that forms on the surface. Reduce the heat to a low, add salt and simmer uncovered for 50-60 minutes. Discard the vegetables. Transfer the chicken parts to a platter and separate meat from the bones. You can use the stock immediately, refrigerate for up to a week or freeze it in small containers and use it later for soups, sauces and stews.

Making soup:

Return as much of the chicken meat as desired to the stock. Add potatoes and bring to a boil. Cook them for 10 minutes. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add a carrot. Cook it for 3-5 minutes over medium heat until soft but not brown. Add the carrot and pasta to the pot. As soon as pasta is ready (5-8 minutes), season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat, add parsley and cover the pot. Leave it on the stove for 5 minutes for the flavors to infuse.

Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Fruit Crumble Cake

This recipe is one of my favorite desserts due to its simplicity, great look and incredible taste. The cake has an amazing combination of sweet and tart flavors that will satisfy cravings of all your guests. What I love the most about the recipe is its versatility: you can use any combination of fruit and berries, whatever you have left in your fridge and don’t worry if it’s a little less fruit than the recipe calls for, it’s still going to turn out delicious. In my experience plums, plums/blueberries, blueberries/raspberries make the best filling. 
This cake has already become a favorite at my family gatherings. Give it a try and tell me what you think! 

225 gr/ 8 oz butter at room temperature
1.5 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups plain flour
1 egg
¼ tsp salt
4 cups berries or any other fruit, stoned and cut in pieces
4 tsp corn starch
grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 375°F/ 190°C.

Combine 1 cup of sugar, flour, baking soda, salt and grated lemon rind in a bowl. Add butter and egg, then work the mixture with a wooden spoon until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. In another bowl add ½ cup of sugar, corn starch, lemon juice and prepared fruits and gently toss to coat evenly.

Put half the batter from the first bowl into a slightly greased 9x13 inch tin. Pour the fruit mixture over it. Spread the rest of the crumbled batter evenly on top of the fruits.

Place in the oven and bake until the top is golden brown, 40-45 minutes. Let it cool down, cut into squares and place in cupcake liners.

Makes about 16 -18 pieces

  • A smaller tin can be used for this cake;
  • Experiment with the amount of batter on the bottom and on the top of the cake: equal parts; more on the bottom, less on top;
  • Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar