Welcome to my kitchen!

Let's make some tasty, easy food

Potatoes and Smoked Ham Sour Soup

Monday, February 28, 2011

Another recipe that is very traditional to me, comfort food simple to make and completely satisfying.

- 1 bunch scallions, cleaned and finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, also finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, cleaned and finely sliced
- about 1/3 lb smoked ham, cubed
- salt and pepper to taste
- tomato juice
- sauerkraut juice (or lemon juice), to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium heat, then add the carrots, scallions and onion and allow them to sweat for 5-10 minutes.

Artisan Bread with Kalamata Olives

I found a wonderful recipe for artisan bread, extremely simple to make but very tasty. It makes two 1-pound loaves.

The ingredients are:
- 1.5 cups lukewarm water
- 1 packet granulated yeast
- 3/4 tablespoons kosher or other coarse salt
- 3 1/4 cups unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose white flour, measured with the scoop-and-sweep method
- 1/4 cup high-quality olives, pitted and halved
- some cornmeal for pizza peel (I don't have a pizza peel, I use a normal cutting board)

The water should feel just a little warmer than body temperature, about 100F. Add the yeast and salt to the water in a 5-quart bowl (don't worry about getting it all to dissolve). Add all of the flour at once and mix it (I asked my KA again to do the honours). Don't knead, it's not necessary! It's finished when everything is uniformly moist, without dry patches, in a matter of minutes.

Sausage-stuffed Cornish Hen

Sunday, February 27, 2011

This is meant for 1-2 servings. For two persons, cut the hen in half along the breast and backbones.

- 1 Cornish hen (livers reserved, if included), at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 shallot (I used 3 scallions), finely chopped
- 1/4 pound sausage, casings removed
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley (I omitted that)
- salt and freshly ground pepper

Centre a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425F.

Heat the olive oil and the butter in an oven-going skillet over medium-heat. Toss in the garlic and shallot/onion and stir everything around for minute or so.

Roasted Tomatoes, Basil and Parmesan Quiche

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I got this idea from a discussion with Gringarl regarding the price of cherry tomatoes :D. Now, instead of making a normal quiche/tart dough, I used a sheet of puff pastry, rolled out for a 10-inch tart form and baked it blind for 10 minutes after preheating the oven at 400F/200 C.

I added:
  • 300g cherry tomatoes
  • a drizzle olive oil
  • 50g Parmesan, grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 300 ml heavy cream
  • handful frozen basil leaves, finely chopped 

My Pasta with Ragu Sauce

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Today was so, so cold, my daughter wanted her one of her favourite comfort foods: pasta with meat sauce. Instead of making the usual ragu, I simplified it and substituted sweet Italian sausage meat for the veal/pork/pancetta mix.

I finely chopped 2 medium yellow onions, grated 2 large garlic cloves and put everything to sweat in 2 tablespoon of olive oil combined with one tablespoon of butter.

After approximately 5 minutes I added the meat from 4 sausage links (casings off), then sprinkled some paprika on it

I stirred the meat until was browned on all sides, about 15 minutes, then I poured in about a cup of red wine, one cup tomato sauce and added one tablespoon tomato paste. I let everything simmer on low heat for about one hour. No salt or pepper were necessary for my taste.

When the meat sauce was ready, I boiled the pasta in salty water, then assembled everything together, adding a sprinkle of dry basil on top.

And that's it!

Quiche with Fresh Vegetables

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Yesterday was one of those days when everything is crazy. I had planned to make a soup I saw at Dana's, but then I arrived at the school to pick-up my daughter and she started telling me 10,000 things at once, how was at P.E., how she did great at math and how she wanted to have a playdate with another classmate. Long story short, I forgot to buy the main ingredient for the soup I had wanted to make: the chicken. I decided then to make a quiche with vegetables and I started with the dough, because it needs to sit in the fridge for half hour.

For the dough:
- 140 gr butter, at room temperature
- 140 gr Philadelphia cream cheese
- 300 gr all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt

Chocolate Muffins

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you had a nice, trouble-free, filled with love day. Here's my gift to you:

- 250 gr flour
- 10 gr baking powder
- 175 gr sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa
- 100 gr finely chopped chocolate 
- 250 ml milk
- 90 ml vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1 pinch of salt

Braised Cabbage with Fried Sausage

Friday, February 11, 2011

This is another traditional recipe that my daughter cannot get enough of, and which is very easy to make. Instead of the normal green cabbage, which here seems to be very tough, I used some Savoy cabbage. The sausage is not mandatory, this might very well be a vegetarian side dish.

You'll need:
- 1 medium green (or Savoy) cabbage
- 1 cup white wine (optional, can be replaced with water)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- salt, pepper to taste
- sweet paprika, caraway, thyme, bay leaf to taste
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Cut the cabbage in half and core each of the halves. Preheat the oven to 400F

Peas, Carrots and Chicken Stew

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Of course I had planned for today a totally different meal, but on the way home from school my daughter said she wanted me to make this stew for her. She loves this dish a lot and I always make it with pleasure, because it reminds me of my own childhood. I must admit I'm extremely happy that my daughter loves vegetables and totally dislikes fast-food.

Don't think that the vegetarian version is less tasty! The advantages of this recipe: it's done quickly and the meatless version can be served as a side dish.

So I got from the fridge one chicken breast of about 2/3 lb, about 5 thin scallions and some fresh dill; from the pantry some vegetable oil and tomato paste, and from the freezer approximately 1lb peas and carrots mix.

I cubed the chicken into 1-inch pieces, then added it to a pan in heated vegetable oil (about 2 tbsp)

Asparagus Soup - Supa de sparanghel

Sunday, February 6, 2011

We need:

Sunt necesare:
- 1 lb young asparagus - 1/2 kg sparanghel
- 40 gr butter- 40 gr unt
- 3 onions, sliced - 3 cepe, taiate julienne
- 600 ml vegetable stock or water - 600 ml supa de legume sau apa
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice - 1 lingura suc de lamaie
- 1 cup of milk- 1 cana (250 ml) lapte
- 1/2 cup single cream - 1/2 cana smantana lichida
- salt and freshly grounded black pepper - sare si piper negru proaspat macinat

Trim the stalks of the asparagus and cut 1 inch off the tops of the asparagus and set aside for a garnish.

Curatati sparanghelul si taiat cam 2,5 cm din varfuri, pastrati-le pentru decor 

White Beans Stew - Iahnie de fasole

OK, let me make it clear from the beginning: for this dish you can use canned beans, in which case you don't have to go through the boiling process for the beans. Now, I used 1lb beans, which I allowed to soak in hot water for 2 hours and only then put to boil in salty cold water. The boiling process took about 1.5 hrs, and halfway through I drained the beans and replaced the liquid with another 3 litres of hot water.

Let's talk about veggies: we need here 1 large carrot, peeled and grated; 2 yellow onions, peeled and sliced thinly; 1 bell pepper, cleaned and thinly sliced, and 2 chopped tomatoes.

Heat about 50 ml vegetable oil with about 1/2 tablespoon of sweet paprika

The vegetables, ready to go in:

White Sauce Veal Stew - Ciulama de vitel

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The other day I was talking to a friend of mine about what we would like to eat and have not cooked in a while and she reminded me of this dish. It requires a little bit of attention, but it's not complicated at all.

Vorbeam zilele trecute cu o prietena despre ce-am fi mancat si n-am mai gatit demult, iar ea mi-a amintit de ciulama. Necesita putina atentie, dar nu este deloc dificil de facut.

So I took 1 lb of veal meat, cut into bite-size pieces, 1 carrot and 1 medium onion, 1/2 stick butter, 2 egg yolks, 1.5 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons sour cream and some chopped fresh parsley. In an ideal world I would have also added 1 lb of mushrooms, but, as I previously said, my daughter doesn't like them, so I didn't use them. You can use chicken meat or just the mushrooms if you wish, it's pretty versatile.

Asa ca am adunat 1/2 kg carne de vitel, taiata in bucati cat o imbucatura, 1 morcov si o ceapa medie, 50 gr unt, 2 galbenusuri de ou, 1,5 linguri de faina, 2 linguri de smantana si niste patrunjel proaspat, tocat. Ideal ar fi fost sa pun si 1/2 kg de ciuperci dar, dupa cum am mai spus, fiica-mii nu-i plac, deci n-am folosit. Puteti face ciulamaua si cu carne de pui sau doar cu ciuperci, se preteaza cu usurinta acestor variante.


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