Tuesday, March 13, 2012

And I'm back....for now

Wow, that was a rather long break...opps...I thought I was never going to post again... I have been in a food funk....and really haven't been cooking anything interesting or new. I have been working a bit more on my photography so I am posting that for now. March 22nd I will be visiting my sister in Shanghai so I will be posting a lot more often then.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chocolate Cream Bundles with a Sweet Cream Basil Sauce

If you are looking to make a crowd pleasing unusual yet delicious mini-desert this recipe is for you. A few years ago my sister made a chocolate cake with a similar simple syrup basil sauce. I was skeptical at first, basil for dessert? I tasted it and wow, the combination of flavors are delicious.

1 small bunch basil (about 40-50 leaves)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
6 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese, divided
3 TBSP milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup fine quality cocoa
pinch salt
1 sheet Puff Pastry, thawed (1/2 of a 17.3 oz package)

1. In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil; simmer until the sugar is dissolved, 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
2. Blanch basil leaves in boiling water 30 seconds (this will help to keep the leaves a bright green)
3. Place in ice water bath. Drain again and put in a blender, add the simple syrup (sugar and water mixture) and 2 oz cream cheese
4. Blend 1 minute; set aside
5. In a medium bowl combine 4 oz cream cheese and milk well. Slowly add powdered sugar, mixing well.
6. Add cocoa and salt. Beat until well combined; set aside
7. Preheat oven to 400º. Unfold the pastry sheet on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pastry into a 12-inch square. Cut the pastry into 9 (4-inch) squares.
8. Finely chop 3 basil leaves and firmly press into the puff pastry squares
9. Place about 2 tablespoons chocolate cream mixture in the center of each square. Brush the edges of the squares with water.
10. Bring the corners of each square to the center on top of the filling. Twist tightly to seal, fanning out the corners. Place the pastries 2 inches apart on a baking sheet.
11. Bake the bundles for 15 minutes or until they're golden brown.
12. Serve with basil cream sauce for dipping


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Creamy Chicken Pasta

Now here is a delectable and easy pasta. I sometimes try and make a healthy pasta but I always end up adding a ton of butter, cream and cheese. I wouldn't call this pasta healthy but at least it doesn't have any butter or cheese in it, just a little cream :). I hope you will give it a try, it is really simple and delicious.

1 lb fusilli pasta (or your favorite short pasta)
2 cups heavy cream
4 TBSP dijon mustard
2 1/2 cups chicken breast, cooked and chopped
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

1. Cook pasta according to package directions
2. In a large skillet, heat cream and mustard. Add salt & pepper
3. Add chicken and mushrooms and heat thoroughly
4. Add pasta and spinach, toss well

Serves 6-8

Monday, May 9, 2011

Simple Sesame Vinaigrette

I'm back..... at least for today with a new post. I have been very lazy with my postings, well not exactly lazy... yes, yes lazy! I have been trying to eat healthy and I haven't been very inspired. I normally like thick, creamy dressings for salads but since that is NOT healthy I decided to experiment. I wanted something light but packed with flavor, so that is how this vinaigrette came to be. It is an easy, light dressing with lots of flavor but not so it defeats the purpose of eating a salad. This vinaigrette will not stick to your lettuce, but it is so gooooood! It is a great marinade for chicken too. Place chicken and vinaigrette in a ziploc for 2 hours remove chicken and grill or broil until done YUM!!!

1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 TBSP soy sauce
1-2 TBSP sesame oil
1 TBSP honey
1 tsp ginger, grated or finely chopped
2 TBSP sesame seeds

1. Place all ingredients in a glass jar, cover and shake vigorously until well combined.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sopa De Pan en Cazuela (Colombian Bread Soup)

I am back and will be posting more often. Sopa de Pan en Cazuela literally means 'bread soup in a bowl' but that doesn't translate very well because where else would you serve soup but in a bowl? This soup might seem a little unusual or at least that is what I have been told but it is very good. It is very easy to make and I thought it would be the perfect send off before the really hot weather sets in. This recipe is really just a guideline, back home nobody uses exact measurements - adjust to your tastes. Some recipes have ham, beef, corn etc. but I am a purist and love this basic version. The recipe can be easily cut in half or made just for one. It is a complete meal in one delicious, steaming hot bowl, I hope you try it - enjoy!

12 slices toasted french bread
2 cups Mozzarella Cheese, cubed
12 cups Chicken Broth
2 tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
2 small onion, finely chopped
3 TBSP butter
1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
cream (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. In a medium pan melt butter and saute tomato and onion until soft
3. In 6 big, ovenproof bowls arrange layers as follows:
2 pieces of toasted bread
Sauteed tomato and onion mixture (evenly distributed among 6 bowls)
Mozzarella Cheese
Ketchup (a squirt in each bowl)
Ladle hot chicken broth to fill bowls
Sprinkle generously with Cilantro

4. Place bowls on a cookie sheet and in the oven for 6-8 minutes or until eggs are set.
5. Very carefully take out of the oven, add a tsp of cream to each bowl and serve.

Servings 6

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mexican Chicken Enchiladas

These enchiladas are muy deliciosas! You have everything you need wrapped up in a little bundle - the veggie, protein, starch...I love mexican food but I rather cook it at home to make it a little healthier than the restaurant dishes. The pico de gallo gives you a fresh and crisp flavor with a little kick. I usually serve these alone but you can add a small salad or some refried beans on the side. If you are pressed for time you can use store bought salsa and tortillas....sooo good!

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 jar mild taco sauce
1 1/2 cups mexican cheese blend, shredded
1 cup sour cream
1 cup yogurt
1 recipe pico de gallo (from this site:under sauces)
1 cup frozen corn, thawed and drained
8 flour tortillas (store-bought or from this site: under baking and sweets)

1. Combine the yogurt and sour cream
2. In a medium bowl combine the chicken, 1/2 jar taco sauce, 1 cup cheese, 1 cup of the sour cream and yogurt mixture, 1/2 recipe of pico de gallo and corn
3. Place about 1/2 cup of the filling in the center of each tortilla and roll up
4. Place in an 8x8-inch greased baking dish
5. Continue with the remaining filling and tortillas
6. Mix the remaining taco sauce, cheese, sour cream- yogurt mixture and pico de gallo then pour over the enchiladas
8. Place in a pre-heated 375º oven for 35-45 minutes or until brown and bubbly

Servings 4

Monday, March 7, 2011

Homemade Flour Tortillas

I think you have probably already noticed I like to make things from scratch and not only because I think it is healthier (no added preservatives) but I can also adjust ingredients to make it just how I want. These tortillas freeze well but do not last more than a day or two so freeze any leftover tortillas quickly but I have a feeling they won't be around long. I eat a lot of carbs, and I don't buy into the whole zero-carb policy, we need carbs for energy. I remember a friend at work a few years ago that was overweight - she went on a NO CARB diet and lost a lot of weight then the diet ended she ate one grain of rice and gained it all back. I think when people go on a diet, any diet they try to move more adding exercise, that is how you lose weight it's not the fault of my poor, delicious carbs! On that note since these tortillas are so easy to make I usually have them for breakfast with a little butter and cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top _YUM everything in moderation! I will be posting a mexican chicken enchilada recipe soon that is to die for with these homemade tortillas.

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vegetable oil
3/4 cups warm milk

1. Mix together flour, baking powder, salt and oil in a medium bowl
2. Slowly add warm milk, stir with a large wooden spoon until sticky
3. Knead for 2 minutes on a floured surface
4. Place in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap for 25 minutes
5. Divide into 8 equal portions and roll into ball
6. Place on a plate and cover 10 minutes
7. Place 1 ball on floured surface, spread out to a 4-inch circle using the palm of your hand.
8. Then using a rolling pin, roll from center to make an 8-inch round; set aside and continue with remaining portions
9. In a greased skillet over high heat cook about 30 seconds per side or until done.

8 8-inch tortillas

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Excuse Me Sir Is That A Roach In My Rice???

I was in India in 2008 doing some volunteer work, let's just say I lost a lot of weight... a lot!!! Look at that black 'thing' below the spoon - is it or not? You can't see it too good because I tried to cover it up and you can't actually see the legs...ugh!

Excerpt from dinner in Dharamsala (http://www.justonevolunteer.blogspot.com/)

From my blog while I was there:
"Went to dinner with Ragu (an Indian from Bangalore) and had what he calls real Indian food, it turns out where I was going to take my Indian cooking classes - is not 'real' Indian food. He leaves on Friday and told me he would try to convince his mom to have a "cooking session" while he videotapes her.... ha,ha and then he'll send it to me.
Back to dinner, I ordered Veg Briyani and at some point I thought there was a roach in my rice (I had to struggle to swallow what was already in my mouth, not wanting to cause a scene) but after further dissection 'they' came to the conclusion it was just a chili pepper. I wasn't 100% convinced so dinner over...it was too spicy anyways. I really do think it was a cockroach but I just 'buried' it with what was left....uuuggghhhhhh!
I later told Ragu if that was 'real' Indian food I might have second thoughts on getting his mom's recipes - he laughed and assured me it was a chili pepper yeah....... I have never seen a chilli pepper with legs, maybe it's a special Indian variety... I guess that was the last stage missing in my experience. What else can happen to my poor food? That's another place to check OFF my list, by the time I leave I hope to still have 1 or 2 places to go eat...."

I have mentioned that this blog would include the good and bad experiences with food.... clearly this was a bad one! Sorry to gross everyone out but I thought it was funny! Unfortunately after my few months in India I am no longer a huge fan of Indian food as I was before. I had one two many bad experiences and I don't miss it one bit! All in all I went to volunteer and not to eat but I never thought I would have such a hard time finding FOOD!!!!!! I renamed my blog soon after I arrived because it was apparent that my quest to find things to eat was part of the experience. It went from Just One Volunteer to an additional The Dharamsala Food Chronicles. On a good note I didn't get sick but if you would have seen the conditions of some of the kitchens I saw... that is truly a miracle!