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Baked Basa Roulades

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


2-3 Basa fillets
2 red bell peppers
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon
4 cloves of garlic
dry white wine
salt and pepper to taste

Place the red peppers on highest rack in oven and broil. Rotate until burned on all sides. Place in a plastic bag until cool. 

Mix vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper.

Peel away the charred outer layer of red pepper. Seed, cut into strips, and soak in vinaigrette for 15 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees for 15 minutes.

Layer the strips on the fillet, 

roll up and tie with thread (I left them untied).

Place rolled fillets in a shallow baking dish, in 1/2 inch of white wine. Bake on middle rack, covered, for 30 minutes, or until the fillets are opaque.


Roasted Fennel Salad

- 1 fennel bulb, fronds reserved
- 1 organic orange
- olive oil, for frying 
- Fleur de sel (sea salt) and freshly ground black pepper
- small red onion, about 1/2
- a handful toasted pine nuts
- zest and juice of 1 lemon

Trim the fennel, reserving a handful of green fronds. Cut into slices about 1/4-inch thick. Heat a little olive oil in a saute pan, and, working in batches and seasoning with salt and pepper as you go, fry the fennel on both sides until golden and tender. As the fennel is done, arrange it on a serving platter.

Zest the orange and set the zest aside. Remove the skin with a sharp knife, taking care to remove all the white pith from the fruit. Discard the peel. Cut out the orange sections, arranging over the fennel, and squeeze the orange juice over the whole salad.

Slice the onion into paper thin rings and arrange over the salad. Scatter over the pine nuts. Squeeze over lemon juice, to taste. Drizzle over a little more olive oil. Finally, scatter over the reserved fennel fronds. Serve and enjoy!

Broccoli Soup with Lemon-Pistachio Butter

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

No parts of the broccoli are wasted in making this soup; both florets and stalks are boiled and pureed. Pistachio butter is as good as it sounds!

You'll need:

- 3 tbsp chopped salted pistachios
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- grated zest of one lemon
- 1 very large head of broccoli, about 1.5 lbs
- 4 large garlic cloves
- 1/3 cup cup chopped fresh basil

Lightly toast the pistachios in a small skillet until fragrant, 3-4 minutes. Put 4 tbsp of the butter in a bowl and mix in the pistachios and the lemon zest. Roll the mixture in a piece of parchment (I used cling film) to make a 1-inch diameter log. Freeze.

Remove the broccoli florets from the stalks. Peel the stalks; discard the bottom inch and cut into small pieces. Place in a 4-quart pot with the garlic, 6 cups water and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes and add the florets. Cook for 8 minutes, add the basil and cook for 2 more minutes.

Transfer the broccoli, garlic and 3 cups of the cooking liquid to a food processor. Process until smooth. Add the remaining 2 tbsp butter and process again until very smooth. Reheat and serve topped with thin slices of the frozen butter.


Chicken Braciole with Alfredo Sauce

Saturday, February 25, 2012

  • 4 (8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup dried Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves (about 1 small bunch)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 to 2 cups freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 10 ounces angel hair or fettuccini pasta, cooked

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Pound the chicken breasts between 2 pieces of plastic wrap to about 1/4-inch thickness. In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, parsley, grated Parmesan, and garlic. Slowly add 1/2 cup olive oil until the mixture becomes the consistency of thick paste. Evenly spread the mixture down the center of each piece of chicken, leaving room around the edges. 

Brazilian Shrimp Soup

Thursday, February 23, 2012

  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup long-grain rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 3/4 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree (from one 15-ounce can)
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, shelled and cut in half horizontally
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes.

Add the rice, red-pepper flakes, salt, tomatoes, and water to the pot. Bring to a boil and cook until the rice is almost tender, about 10 minutes.

Stir the coconut milk into the soup. Bring back to a simmer and then stir in the shrimp. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are just done, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the black pepper, lemon juice, and parsley.

Now, I know that a real Brazilian shrimp soup should also have okra in it, but my soup was thick enough without it. You can, of course, instead of the shrimp, to use one pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about three), cut crosswise into quarter-inch strips. Cook for the same amount of time.


French Onion Soup (Anne Burrell's recipe)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 large onions, thinly sliced from stem to root end
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 ounces dry sherry
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 bundle thyme
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 12 thin slices baguette
  • 1/2 pound Gruyere, grated
  • 1/2 bunch chopped chives
Coat a large deep pot with olive oil. Add the onions and sprinkle generously with salt. Bring the pan to a medium heat. Stir the onions to coat with oil. Cover the pot and sweat for 15 to 20 minutes.
Once the onions have gotten very soft and let off a lot of water, remove the lid and let the onions cook low and slow. That's right low and slow to really develop their rich brown color and sweet flavor. There is no shortcut or rush for this, do not try! Caramelized onions take a long time, about an hour, accept it and move on. 

Tian of Eggplant, Tomato and Herbs

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

This gorgeous layered vegetable gratin requires 3 hours in the oven for its alchemy to work. A tian is an earthenware baking dish but you can use a small paella pan or any dish with a 10-cup capacity. The delicious liquid that accumulates in the dish can be used to make a vinaigrette. Serve the tian hot or at room temperature.


- 1 large eggplant (about 1.5 lb), peeled
- 4 medium onions, about 1.5 lb
- 5 large ripe tomatoes, about 2 lbs
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 2.5 tbsp dried oregano
- 10 tbsp freshly grated Pecorino Romano
- 1/2 cup olive oil

Preheat the oven to 300 F. Slice the eggplant into thin rounds. Toss with one tbsp salt. Thinly slice the tomatoes. Thinly slice the onions, keeping the slices intact.

Arrange half of the eggplant in the bottom of a tian or paella pan. Top with an overlapping layer of half the tomatoes, and then half the onions.

Sausages, Beans and Olives Casserole

Monday, February 20, 2012

I read that this is a traditional dish in northern Italy, usually made with lard and pork belly, which I replaced here with olive oil, sausages and pancetta, thus getting the strong flavours of pork with less cooking time. The sausages can also be replaced with small ribs.

- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 4 oz pancetta, diced
- 1 lb sausages, cut into 1-inch thick chunks (mine had cheese and parsley in them)
- 1 cup pitted black olives
- 3 oz tomato puree
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 glass red wine
- 14oz can cannellini beans, drained
- 3 bay leaves
- salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400F. Heat the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole dish and fry the onions and carrots over high heat for about 2 minutes, until golden.

French Vegetable Tian

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A wonderful vegetarian dish I used to accompany some chicken breast stuffed with pine nuts, leek and bell pepper. Very simple to make and very versatile, can easily be paired with any meat or eaten on its own.


- 60 ml olive oil
- 500 gr zucchini, thickly sliced on the diagonal
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 650 gr tomatoes
- 2 medium red onions, chopped
- 60 ml white wine
- a pinch of nutmeg
- 25 gr chopped parsley
- 130 gr grated Gruyere cheese
- a few small sprigs of thyme

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 6x10-inch ovenproof dish with melted butter or oil. Heat half of the oil in a large frying pan, then add the zucchini and half the garlic.

Cook, stirring, over low heat for about 8 minutes or until just beginning to soften. Season well with salt, pepper and nutmeg, Spread evenly into the dish.

Simple Chicken Parmigiana

Friday, February 10, 2012

This recipe renders a juicy chicken, after being "breaded" with finely grated Parmesan cheese, covered with mozzarella cheese and topped with roasted grape tomatoes. Everything happens in the oven, on one sheet pan.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large garlic clove, grated
12 oz grape tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
large pinch hot pepper flakes
4 skinless, boneless chicken (8 oz each)
1 1/4 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
5 oz fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
handful of torn fresh flat-leaf parsley or small basil leaves

Preheat the oven to 500F. Combine the oil, garlic and 1/2 tsp salt in a small bowl. Transfer 2 tbsp to another bowl and add the tomatoes, oregano and pepper flakes. 

Veal Cutlets with Red Bell Pepper

Monday, February 6, 2012

For this recipe I used veal for scallopini, so no need to bother beating the meat. I also made some modifications, which I will mention as I go along. The listed quantities yield 6 servings, but I halved them for our needs:

  • 1 1/2 pounds veal slices (about 1/4 inch thick)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard (I replaced with 1 tsp grainy Dijon mustard)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I didn't use it)
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 2 medium sweet red peppers, julienned
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced (didn't use )
  • 1/2 quart chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch (I omitted it)
  • 2 teaspoons water

Place veal in a 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. dish; set aside. 

In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice, oil, lemon peel, garlic, sugar, salt, paprika, mustard and nutmeg; reserve 2 tablespoons. 

Creamy Potato Gratin

Sunday, February 5, 2012

This is a classic recipe where the pungent Gruyere acts as a protective layer, preventing the potatoes from drying out. To serve 4, you'll need:
- 1 lb Yukon gold all all-purpose potatoes
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 oz Gruyere
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves (I used 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
- 1 tsp salt
- pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350F. Peel the potatoes and slice paper-thin. Put the potatoes in a 3-quart pot with the heavy cream, salt and pepper. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, shred the cheese on the large holes of a box grater.

Red Snapper with Tomatoes and Basil

Saturday, February 4, 2012

In this dish the snapper juices mingle with the tomatoes and basil in a parchment packet to create a fabulous sauce.

- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped 
- 1 lb ripe plum tomatoes seeded and chopped
- 1/4 plus 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup freshly chopped basil
- 4 red snapper fillets (6 oz each), skin removed

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until liquid has almost evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in basil.

With tweezers, remove any bones from snapper fillets. Place one fillet, skin side down, on parchment paper. Sprinkle with remaining 1/8 tsp each salt and pepper; top with tomato mixture.

Fold unfilled half of parchment over the fish. To seal packets, beginning at a corner where parchment is folded, make 1/2-inch wide folds, with each new fold overlapping the previous one, until packet is completely sealed. The packet will resemble half a circle. Place the packets in  jelly-roll pan. Bake 15 minutes (the packets will puff up and brown). Cut the packets open to serve. 



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