Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Vegetarian Empanadas

I have to admit that I have a bit of an addiction to green peas and lima beans...I try to include them in everything...my favorite is green peas and mac and cheese!  I also do really like eating meat and chicken but have guilt for ethical reasons about eating meat so I usually end up going through several month spurts of eating vegetarian...this recipe was made during one these vegetarian spurts.

- package of store bought dough (I used packaged pie crust)
- 1 package of spinach
- 1 cup of green peas
-1 cup of chopped green beans
- 1 cup of lima beans
-olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves sliced
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning and herbs
- pinch of crushed red pepper
- pinch of salt and pepper
- optional :feta cheese
-sauté spinach in olive oil and garlic
-when spinach is cooked down add lima beans, green beans and green beans
-season with salt, pepper, Italian seasonings and crushed red pepper
When filling is cooked through preheat oven to 350 and grease a casserole dish or baking pan
- cut dough into small circles and fill with veggies and feta if you wish
- crimp ends of the empanadas with a fork so that they stay closed and cut slits to vent
- bake until dough begins to brown

Enjoy :)



orange dessert

I bought a bag of oranges when they were in season and I was trying to find some new uses for them as I quickly got sick of eating them plain.  I decided to try making a baked desert and it came out great - well really how does anything with cinnamon and sugar ever taste bad?

What I did was peel and orange and break up the slices...I then divided the slices between several oven safe dishes.  I drizzled maple syrup over the oranges and topped with cinnamon, brown sugar and chopped candied ginger.  I baked them on 350 until the sugar melted - yum:)  I need to try this again!


Seeing as how its almost next Hanukkah, I thought I would post my recipe for cholent that I made for friends last Hanukkah.  Cholent is a Jewish stew that is very hearty and is typically made on Shabbos as it can stew in a slow cooker before Shabbos and ready to eat the next day.  I have had this meal at orthodox Jewish homes and I am a huge fan.  There are quite a few ingredients but its fairly simple to make and the result is a very filling, warming meal - perfect for cold nights.  My favorite is the beef in this dish, it is so tender!

I'm going to include my pictures but they don't do this food justice...I was too excited to eat it to worry about taking pictures!

- 1 large white potato (I used a sweet potato though) chopped
- 2 yellow onions chopped
- 2 lbs of flank steak sliced to fit into the slow cooker
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup barley
- 1 cup red kidney beans (dry)
- 3 teaspoons of chicken or beef stock
- 2 tablespoons of paprika
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 1 loaf of kishka (you can find these in kosher/jewish markets and even my local publix sells them in the frozen food aisle)
- salt to taste

- after chopping onions and potatoes put these inside of the slow cooker/line the bottom of the slow cooker with them
- add barley and kidney beans on top of onions and potatoes
- sprinkle with stock, paprika, honey and salt if you choose to add
- place kishka in the middle of the slow cooker on top of all of the ingredients
- chop flank meat to fit in the slower cooker (large chunks or strips) and sprinkle with ground pepper before putting meat into slow cooker.  Place meat around kishka.
-add water to cover beans and barley (approximately 2-3 cups of water)
- cover and turn slow cooker on low
-cook on low for 5-8 hours

This is what it will look like before you add water:
After adding water and covering:
After its been cooking for some time:
The finished product:
So it doesn't look so great but it tastes amazing! Everyone loved it and even the canine partygoers were begging for more:

If I had thought about it sooner I would have done something again this year, the holiday just feels so weird this year being so close to Thanksgiving instead of Christmas!  Below are some pictures of the table...my mom made latkes and my roommate made Israeli salad as well...and some pictures of the lighting of the candles and playing dreidel:



Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Tomato and asparagus gratin

I had a large amount of heirloom tomatoes give to me and started to find creative ways to use them. This recipe was by far, my favorite.

- sliced tomatoes (enough to line the bottom of a casserole dish)
-balsamic vinegar
-asparagus spears
-olive oil
-parmesan cheese
-salt and pepper to taste

Slice tomatoes and layer on the bottom of a casserole dish. Top with asparagus spears. Drizzle generously with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Top with grated parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste.  Bake at 350 until cheese melts. Don't eat all at once :)

Sliced tomatoes above and with toppings below before going in the oven:

And after coming out of the oven:

Doctored white cake mix: peanut butter, Nutella cupcakes

I had white cake mix but was in the mood for cupcakes. I also had Nutella and peanut butter that was nearing their expiration dates so I decided to whip something up. I made the batter according to package directions and mixed in two heaping scoops of peanut butter. I then filled the muffin tins (make sure to grease them) halfway full of batter, put a scoop of Nutella on top of each batter/cupcake and covered with remaining batter. I also baked them according to package directions. I was in a rush to go somewhere and bring the cupcakes with me so I quickly frosted them and added sprinkles..the frosting melted a bit but they tasted great!

I've started eating paleo only lately and this post makes me want to cheat! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Carrot Juice

This year has been a very kitchen gadget filled year for me. I've found a few I don't know how I lived without before. I bought a juicer from aldi's right after the new year. It was a great price and is super powerful. They seemed to have the same gadgets come out every year around the same time. I recommend checked in January to see if they have one. My favorite thing to make is carrot juice. It's very filling and has even been my dinner a few times this year.

-4 carrots
-1 sweet potato 
-1 inch of ginger
-1/2 of a lemon

Juice all items into the same glass and enjoy! It doesn't really matter what order you juice it in and in my juicer the above amount would only make one glass.

Clams with Sake

I had a housewarming several years ago and I had an Asian theme so everyone, and I mean everyone, brought me a bottle of sake. I am not actually a huge sake drinker (I prefer soju) so it's taken me a while to use these bottles up. I cook with wine often so I decided to cook with sake and I absolutely love it. I chose to steam clams with sake and the end result has a great flavor- it's even a bit sweet. The first time since I didn't know quite what I was doing a used frozen clams. Here are the ingredients:

-package of frozen clams
-sake (enough to fill bottom of pan and cover at least half of the clams)
-chopped scallions and togarashi spice for seasoning/topping 

I sautéed some chopped onions in butter until they were clear, added the frozen clams and sake and covered. I left them covered for about 15 minutes and my clams were defrosted and steamed. I usually like to mix the clams with the sauce one more and let simmer for another few minutes. There should still be plenty of "sauce" in the bottom of the pan.

This is a picture of what was left in the pan after taking a couple of bowls of clams out. The clams taste good enough to eat just like this but I like the clams with a little spicy to balance out the sweet so I too with sliced scallions and togarashi. And the finished product:

I'm sure this method would taste great with any kind of seafood. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Free online cooking class from Harvard

This class looks amazing!  It explains the science behind food and teaches you fancy techniques.  It is an online class given by Harvard.  You can take it for fun or to earn a certificate.  To earn the certificate you need to do labs, homework and a final project.  This looks like so much fun and it's free - sign up!!!


It started October 8th, 2013 but the first lab/homework isn't due until mid November so its ok to sign up late!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Infulenster VoxBox Sargento Cheese Box August 2013

In my search for subscription boxes I came across www.influenster.com Influenster is a website that you can join and review items and take surveys - its a lot of fun actually. They also send out boxes for members to review. You can qualify for boxes a few different ways. I qualified for their most recent box - a Sargento Cheese Box. The box arrived on Monday - there was a voucher for a free Sargento Cheese Snack, a coupon for $1 off another snack and the most adorable insulated holder to hold one cheese stick! Heres a look at the inside of the box and the cheese snack holder:
I went to my local grocery store and they didn't have any of the string cheese snack which was a huge bummer because I am a really big fan a string cheese...maybe its the little kid in me. Well anyway, at the store I couldn't decide which one snack to try so I used the voucher and the coupon and bought two kinds: sharp cheddar-jack and pepper jack
Can you see that pepper seed in the pepper jack cheese picture! That cheese has a nice bite! I am a huge fan of pepper jack cheese in general, I like anything spicy and this cheese doesn't fail to deliver. The cheddar-jack cheese was very good as well, the cheddar was really rich. These are long sticks of solid cheese so they are rich, not really something you would want to eat alone. I enjoyed mine with some crackers. After I received my box and bought my cheese I logged onto the Influenster website and the Sargento people suggest pairing the cheese snacks with crackers, fruit and veggies along with several other things to make a balanced snack. I really liked these and have been bringing them to work every day in my new little insulated container...I typically get some hunger pangs around 3pm and these snack sticks and a handful of almonds have been helping me get through the day all week :)