Friday, March 14, 2014

Places to Shop


I know I have not updated with any receipes lately, though I do have a back log of ones to post. Sorry! I will get more posted as soon as I can.  In the meantime, I have updated the Places to Shop page, if you are looking for any special ingredients or party supplies for kids birthdays, check it out.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Beef and Cheese Cannelloni

This recipe started because I saw a box of oven ready cannelloni at Migros.  I`d never had it before (and while the box said to fill it with salmon, which I had no interest in), it looked like fun. I hadn`t yet chosen as for who: fun noodles for the kids, or a new dish for us. Well, I didn`t have enough fish sauce to create the bao I wanted to tonight, so made this instead.  I know there are tons of different ways to make it. Mine turned out kind of like lasagna, but without all the layers of noodles. We both thought it was quite good and have leftovers for the next few days for lunch :)

What you need:
Box of oven ready cannelloni
ground beef - I used 350 g
250 g ricotta cheese
1 medium onion
1 tsp minced garlic or 2 cloves chopped
3/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
150 g fresh mozzarella (or grated)
1 large jar pasta sauce (about 2 1/2 cups)
butter for greasing.

First, dice the onion and saute it in a little olive oil. Let cook for a few minutes until the onion is softened.

Add the garlic and stir for about 45 seconds.

Add the beef. Mix until cooked.

Add 1 cup of pasta sauce, stir and let simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Add about 1 tsp of basil (I used dried).

Remove from heat.

Put in a medium mixing bowl and add the ricotta cheese.  When thoroughly mixed, add 1/4 cup of Asiago cheese.

Butter the bottom of a baking dish and turn the oven to 200 C. No need to add sauce to the bottom of the pan with the butter.

Carefully fill the cannelloni. I`m sure there is a proper way to do it, but I just held them in one hand and spooned the mixture in with the other, using the end of the spoon to push it through to the other end.

Lay them in the baking dish and then cover with the other 1 to 1/2 cups of sauce (depending on how big your dish is).

Slice (or use grated) the mozzarella cheese and lay on top. Add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the grated Asiago.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is browned.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014


I love spanakopita. It is a fantastic snack, lunch, or dinner. Hubby thinks its a bit bland, so I haven`t made it in a while though.  I decided to yesterday, but with chicken, with the intent on having them for lunch the rest of the week. Unfortunately, the phyllo (filo) dough that I had put in the freezer did not survive. Apparently you can`t do that. You can with the bl├Ątterteig though. So, change of plans. I had to improvise, and it turned out quite well. I made tzatziki dip to go with it, and it was quite filling. Oh, and hubby thought this was really good!

What you need:
800 g frozen spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
500 g chicken, cooked and cut into bite size pieces
200 g feta cheese
2 eggs
2 Tbls butter, melted
2 packages bl├Ątterteig - puff pastry

One package was 6 rolls, though I could have made them a bit smaller and probably gotten 8. I had leftover filling, so you would do better with 2 packages.

For the dipping sauce, see my tzatziki recipe, but what you need is:
2 containers natural Greek yogurt
1 cucumber
1-2 cloves garlic
1 Tbls dried dill

First, thaw your spinach and cook your chicken. When everything is cooled and pulled apart into small pieces, add the feta and eggs. Mix well.

Melt the butter

Roll out your dough and cut it into 6-8 squares. Brush the edges of the dough with a little melted butter.

Put about 2 Tbls of filling across the edge and roll up, pinch the edges closed. Brush the top with a little of the butter

Bake at 200 C for about 20 minutes.  You can eat these hot, or once cooled, put them in the fridge, and they are great cold as well.

Serve with the dip.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Your Cheese Needs Bread

Since we were making Fondue from scratch this year (I really think the ready made ones are fine, but a splash of Kirsch and a little fresh nutmeg would make it fantastic), I decided I would try making bread from scratch as well - though I did go buy a loaf just in case. And part way through, I thought I would need it. I found this recipe on Facebook through one of my groups, however, tracked it back to its source, here.
Making this bread was super simple. The only thing we noticed was that the cheese preferred to stick to the store bought bread better (and that may have been because I did not get it to rise properly)

What you need:
250 g flour
200 ml water
50 ml olive oil
10 g of fresh yeast (the cake yeast you can get in 42 g blocks)
1 tsp salt
extra flour for sprinkling.

Ok, the original recipe told me to mix everything together and let it sit. However, after reading about cake yeast, I think you need to do things a bit differently.

First, crumble the yeast and put it in a small bowl with your water - make sure it is warm, but not hot. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes until it starts to bubble.

Add the rest of the ingredients. Let sit for 20 minutes.

On baking paper, form the dough into a rectangle. Using a round pizza cutter - if you have one - dip it in flour so the edges do not stick, and cut the dough into a bite sized grid. Mine were a little on the large size and I would make them smaller next time.

not having used the proper yeast activation still formed a rough rectangle

Sprinkle the top with a little water (or use a brush) and then sprinkle with a bit of flour.

Let sit for 10 minutes.

Cook at 210 for 20 minutes.

As you can see, it rose in the oven anyway

It was really good, even though I didn`t let the yeast sit out first. My dough didn`t actually rise like I imagined it would, so I will be making this again soon.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Peppermint Oreos

Here is just a fun little thing I made as a stocking stuffer for hubby this year. He insists on having a giant stocking, and when we were in the US, that was fine, however here it is a little difficult to fill (though he does tell me I don`t need to, he just likes it). Mmhmm...yes, so well, in an effort to add more to it, I decided to do a bunch of different baked goods. Some turned out good, some not so good, but apparently this was the favorite, so here you go.

What you need:
1 package oreos
250 g white chocolate, melted
candy canes (Ikea has a candy section now with peppermint candies - they would probably work as well)

First, put the candy canes in a sealed plastic bag and put a piece of thin cardboard on top. Using a hammer, bash them until they are the size you would like. I went with tiny.

Melt the chocolate. I have a small melter, but you could use the microwave - 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between until melted. Or, you could use the stove. If you have a double boiler, use it, otherwise a pot with a pan that fits on top. Add water to the pot and place the pan on top. Add the chocolate, chopped up (make sure no water touches it). Heat until melted.

Lay some parchment paper down and dunk your oreo in the chocolate. Carefully flip over so both sides are coated. Lay on the paper.

Put the crushed peppermint in a fine sieve and then gently sprinkle on top of the melted chocolate. As the chocolate hardens, it will stick.

Repeat..and make sure you try one for quality control :)

Roll in paper and tie with a string, or put in a jar...these freeze well so you can make them ahead of time, or just have them for when you want a snack.

Mushroom Accompaniment

I am not actually sure what to call this. It is a sauce, a spread and a dip. Spraucip?
I made this to try out for our our Christmas Eve Fondue Chinoise for the meat and ended up putting it on just about everything. I found the recipe on Swissmilk - it`s a fantastic website that has their recipes divided up into a lot of categories for simple use. I changed the reicpe a bit to suit our tastes, but overall, stuck to it for the most part.
Unfortunately, I can`t tell you how long it lasts as it was gone by the end of dinner, however you can`t make it more than half a day in advance, so probably not very long.

What you need:
15 g dried porcini mushrooms (you can buy 30 g bags easily)
150 g rahmquark - had never actually used this, so just bought the Coop brand
80 g sour cream
1 1/2 Tbls chopped fresh parsley
1.5 -2 cloves garlic, depending on your taste. I used 2
2 Tbls Cognac (again, depending on your taste)
pinch of salt, ground fresh pepper.

First, you will need to soak the mushrooms in warm water for 10-15 minutes. Remove and pat try, then chop finely.

Mix the other ingredients in a bowl, omitting the garlic and cognac. Add the mushrooms. Add half the garlic and congac and taste. If desired, add more.

Sprinkle with a bit more parsley and cover, put in the fridge until ready to use.


It`s also yummy spread on fresh bread!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Pizza - Surprise, it's Cauliflower! going along with the whole cauliflower thing, and that it was almost 2014 when I made this, I figured I would try out the cauliflower base for a pizza. Later this week I will try the zucchini one and see which one we like the best.  Now, This isn`t thick crust pizza, or even thin crust. However, it tasted nothing like cauliflower, more like if you had decided to use a flatbread for your crust. Obviously, there is a little more work involved than making your own dough, or even pulling out a store bought crust, but I think, overall, that it is worth the effort as you can still trick yourself into thinking it is pizza if you are trying to start out on the healthier side this year.

I looked at a bunch of different recipes and combined some and then made it my own way. Apparently nearly everyone has trouble picking it up like a regular pizza. However, good news for us on this side of the pond: that`s not what you do with pizza. We use a knife and fork to eat it. Problem solved. (Actually, mine held together relatively well, and I cut it into squares. The edge pieces I could pick up, but not the middle ones).

What you need:
1 head of cauliflower
1/4 cup grana padano (or parm) cheese
1/4 cup mozzarella or pizza cheese
1 egg
1/4 tsp majoram
1/4 tsp sage
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano

 For the toppings, you will need to cook them while your dough is cooking as when you put it all together, you will keep it in just long enough for the cheese to melt.

I used mushrooms, red onions and bell peppers as that is what I had, but pile on your favorites! The more liquidy your ingredients though, the less likely your dough will be able to stay together.

Pre-heat your oven to 230 C

First, cut out the core of the cauliflower. This makes the florets pretty much just drop off without a ton of mess.

Now, I pureed mine next, and then put them in the microwave for 3 minutes. I have read the other way around as well. I think if you decide you want your cauliflower super fine, then microwave it first before putting it in the blender.  I have also seen large `rice` size chunks to `sand` size chunks. I started out on the larger side, then decided to blend again to make them smaller, thought I didn`t get down the sand size.

After you have microwaved it and chopped it up (whichever order you do), let it cool and then place in a clean dish towel and squeeze as much liquid out as you can. This will help it stay together a bit better.

Put in a bowl and add the spices, cheeses and egg. The cheese and egg will make it stay together. Feel free to add a bit more cheese if you would like.

Spread on parchment paper, add another piece on top and roll out to the desired shape. My cauliflower made 2 good size oval shapes. I did roll it rather thin though in the hopes that it would stay together well. Didn`t happen as much as I wanted (though it came apart in large chunks at least, not tiny ones). Next time I will try about 5 or 6mm.

Place in a hot oven, on top of parchment paper. Cook for 7 minutes and then carefully flip your dough and cook for another 5. Take out of the oven. Only the edges will be brown.

I did this a few hours before dinner in the hopes that it would dry a bit and stay together better.

Cook your toppings.

Go lightly on the sauce (though I did see someone suggested putting the cheese down first as a buffer), and then add your cooked toppings and the cheese.

Bake for 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. My hubby likes the cheese to be brown, so I needed to cook it a bit longer.

Enjoy, and if you get your crust to hold up like a real pizza, please share :)

Happy New Year!!

Here are some of the websites I was inspired by:
Domesticate Me
Cosmo Hippie Chef
Little Red Window