Welcome to my kitchen!

Let's make some tasty, easy food

Chicken Soup with Apples and Leeks

Sunday, January 29, 2012

This a sensational full-flavored winter soup, in which the leeks and apples accentuate and bring into focus the chicken. It is especially tasty if you just came in from the cold :D.

- 1.5 lb chicken (I used thighs, feel free to use any parts you like)
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 leeks (including 1 inch of green), cut in half lengthwise, washed and finely sliced
- 2 Granny Smith apples (can be replaced with Golden Delicious or any tart baking apples), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 3 tbsp Calvados (optional) - it's a brandy made by distilling hard cider and aging it in oak casks
- 1/2 cup heavy cream

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Melt the butter over medium heat in a saute pan just large enough to hold the chicken. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook for about 8 minutes over medium heat. Turn the chicken and lightly saute in the same way for 5 more minutes.

Crunchy Crumbed Cod with Frozen Peas

Saturday, January 28, 2012

In this recipe frozen peas are used straight from the freezer, just break them up by slamming the package on the counter a few times. The peas provide moisture as the cod is roasted at a high temperature.

- 10-ounce package frozen peas
- 4 scallions
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup panko
- 1 large garlic clove
- 4 thick cod fillets (about 6 oz each)

Preheat the oven to 475F. Put the frozen peas in a large bowl. Slice the scallions thinly on the bias and mix with the peas. Add the thyme, 2 tbsp of oil, salt and pepper. Sprea on a small rimmed baking sheet.

Mix the panko with the remaining oil, grated garlic and salt. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Top each piece with a thick covering of panko and press down firmly. Place the fish atop the peas. 

Roast for 12 minutes, until the crumbs are golden and the fish is just firm. Serve the fish on the peas.


Morrocan Spiced Chickpea Soup

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chickpeas seem to call out for Moroccan spices, so that's what they get here. I make this soup really chunky and hearty.
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
  • 1 large onion, medium diced
  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 heaping teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
  • 3 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
  • 1 quart vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • several kale leaves (to taste)

Chicken Livers Peri Peri

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My daughter requested that I make some chicken livers last night, and she wanted a recipe I haven't made before. So I found this one which apparently originates in South Africa. I cut down pretty much on the  heat, to make sure she can eat, too. Now, if you decide to make this recipe, please be sure you have plenty of fresh bread on hand to mop the fantastic sauce with! So, here are ingredients:
  • 1 lb chicken livers, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (I only used 3/4 tsp)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp brandy
Place chicken livers in a large bowl, and pour in 3 tbsp  olive oil, vinegar, and lemon juice; season with garlic, cumin, coriander, chili flakes, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Stir together, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. 

Remove livers to a bowl, and reserve marinade. 

Sauteed Chicken Thighs with Roasted Grapes Sauce

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

If you've never had roasted grapes before, please do yourselves a favour: try them now! You'll wonder how could you have lived without until now :)).

3/4 pound black or red seedless grapes, stemmed
3/4 pound seedless green grapes, stemmed
4 tbsp grapeseed oil or olive oil
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves, can be substituted with thighs (as I did)
2 tbsp cold unsalted butter
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh chives (I used dried instead)

Green Lentil and Canadian Bacon Soup

Monday, January 16, 2012

My friend Sandi started the lentil soup trend and really got me into the game. My soup is obviously not entirely vegetarian, but the meat in it is very lean, as you know Canadian bacon is recognized for its lack of fats. Without further ado, let's proceed:

- 1/2 lb lentils, picked and rinsed
- 2 stalks green celery, chopped
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1/2 lb Canadian bacon, finely diced
- 4-6 cups chicken broth
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 pinch dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf (optional)
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste

Cheesy Gratin of Brussels Sprouts

Sunday, January 15, 2012

This dish is very flexible, it can be made early in the day, refrigerated, then baked before mealtime. If you're not a sprout fan, you can substitute one very large head of cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets. 

My daughter had this with the veal scaloppine and red ruby grapefruit and loved the combination. So, here comes the recipe:

Veal Scaloppine with Ruby Red Grapefruit

Thursday, January 12, 2012

  • 2 ruby red grapefruits
  • 8 veal cutlets (about 2 ounces each), thinly pounded
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons safflower oil
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh chives 
Cut peel and pith from grapefruit. Slice fruit along membranes to release segments into a medium bowl. Squeeze juice from membranes into a small bowl; discard membranes. 

Pat veal dry with paper towels; season with 1 teaspoon salt and some pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter, and heat until just starting to brown. Cook 4 cutlets until golden brown, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a platter; cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon butter, and remaining cutlets. 

Add remaining 6 tablespoons butter to pan. Cook, scraping brown bits with a wooden spoon, until deep golden brown. Reduce heat to low. Swirl in reserved grapefruit juice. Season with salt and pepper. Return veal to pan to heat through. Add grapefruit segments. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with chives.


Sauteed Collard Greens with Garlic

I found some great produce (although pricey) in the produce section at the WholeFoods, so I got a little bit of this and that, not having made up my mind as to what I was going to do with them. Of course, the first combination that came to me was meat and greens, so I made a side dish for the veal scaloppine with ruby red grapefruit:

- 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp crushed red-pepper flakes
- 2 heads collard greens (about 1 pound each), tough stems and ribs removed, leaves coarsely chopped
- coarse salt
- 1/2 cup water

Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Cook garlic, stirring often, until golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in red-pepper flakes, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in collard greens and 1 teaspoon salt.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Add water, and steam, covered, until greens are just tender and water evaporates, about 10 minutes. If greens are ready but there is still water in the pan, raise heat to medium-high, and cook, uncovered, until completely evaporated. Plate and serve.


Layered Cake with Caramel and Orange Cream

Monday, January 9, 2012

Today was my daughter's birthday and I made this cake for her to take to school. There were two 9x2x13-inch baking trays she brought back home absolutely empty :)).

Happy Birthday, my sweetheart! I am so happy to have you in my life!

Recipe for 6 layers:

- 2 eggs
- 12 tbsp sugar
- 9 tbsp milk
- 12 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- about 650-700 gr flour
Cream sugar with eggs, then add the milk and the oil, mixing well after each tablespoon. Combine baking powder and baking soda with a bit of vinegar, then add to the egg mixture. Gradually add the flour until dough is no longer sticky.

Divide the dough into 6 equal parts, then toll each part into a layer (9/13-inch); bake each layer on the back of a baking sheet, in the preheated oven at 350F.

Recipe for the caramel and orange cream:

- 3 eggs
- 4 tbsp water
- 4 tbsp flour
- 350 gr sugar
- 2 pints milk
- 50 ml orange juice
- orange juice extract, about 1 tsp
- 200 gr butter

In a small saucepan, on low heat, combine sugar with 4 tbsp water and melt until caramelized, stirring continuously. Mix the flour with eggs, add the flour then pour everything over the caramel, and continue stirring. Add the orange juice and the orange extract, then allow it to cook until it resembles a thick pudding. Turn the heat off and allow mixture to cool, but not completely. Cut the butter into small pieces and mix into the caramel cream little by little.

Allow the cream to cool completely, then start assembling the cake: layer, cream, layer and so on, finishing with a cake layer. Let it rest overnight, preferably with some weight on top.

Prepare a glaze from 1/2 stick butter, 100 gr sugar, 100 gr cocoa and about 10 tbsp water. Mix everything on low heat, then pour it over the cake and decorate either with coconut flakes (as I did) or in any way you like.


Tagliatelle with Sautéed Swiss Chard Ribs and Cream

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I had some ribs left from the sauteed red Swiss chard with Parmesan cheese, I was not sure what to do with them, but then it hit me: pasta! So, here we go!
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped (to cut the richness of the pasta sauce), plus a little bit for decor
  • 1/2 lb swiss chard, yielding 1 cup of chopped ribs
  • 1/8 cup (quarter of a stick) butter
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • enough dry pasta to make about 1/2 quart of cooked pasta
  • salt and pepper to taste
Separate the ribs from the greens. Cut the ribs into 1/2-inch to 1-inch pieces. Blanch the ribs in lightly salted boiling water for 3 minutes.

Melt butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Add the chopped scallions, then the drained, blanched ribs and simmer for 4 minutes.

Add heavy cream and cook until cream reduces by two-thirds.
While the cream is reducing, cook up your pasta according to the pasta's package directions.

Mix creamed chard with pasta. Season lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper. Decorate with chopped scallion.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Yes, the New Year came together with its resolutions, some of which being to "lose a couple of pounds" and "get back in shape". I'm sure I'll please my friends Happy, Sandi and Zazuza with this recipe:
  • 1 cup bulghur wheat
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup minced scallions, white and green parts (1 bunch)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves (1 bunch)
  • 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (1 bunch)
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in quarters
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place the bulghur in a large bowl, pour in the boiling water, and add the lemon juice, olive oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir, then allow to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.
Add the scallions, mint, parsley, tomatoes, 2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper; mix well. Season, to taste, and serve or cover and refrigerate. The flavor will improve if the tabbouleh sits for a few hours. Enjoy!

Sauteed Swiss Chard with Parmesan Cheese

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Since the oven-fried cod with dill butter needed a side dish, I opted for this very fast red Swiss chard recipe, for which I used:
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped (can be replaced with any small onion)
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, center ribs cut out and chopped together, leaves coarsely chopped separately
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt to taste (optional)

Melt butter and olive oil together in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic and onion, and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. 

Add the chard stems and the white wine. Simmer until the stems begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chard leaves, and cook until wilted. 

Finally, stir in lemon juice and Parmesan cheese; season to taste with salt if needed.


Oven-Fried Cod with Dill Butter

I've heard some years ago that the most proper thing to eat on New Year's Day is fish, so that you can go through the year like a fish swims its way in water. Therefore, today was cod day :D. 


- 3-4 cod fillets
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2 heaping tsp minced fresh dill (can substitute another fresh or dried herb if dill is not available) 
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- salt and pepper to taste 
- garlic powder 
- onion powder

Dip fillets quickly in and out of water that has been lightly salted or seasoned with lemon juice. Pat dry with paper towels. 

Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add dill and lemon juice and cook over low heat 3 to 4 minutes. 

Season with salt and pepper, garlic powder and onion powder to taste, then spread one tablespoon of the mixture over bottom of shallow baking pan. Place fillets in pan and put pan on upper shelf of preheated 450 degree oven. 


Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until fish flakes easily when tested with tines of fork. Baste fillets with remaining butter sauce at least twice while cooking. Pour any sauce from the pan over fish when you serve it. Enjoy!


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