Sunday, March 17, 2013

Cookies with Fruit Preserves

Making desserts was not  my forte, until my sister in law came to visit me. She talked to me about this simple and no time consuming cookies that she had seen it on the food network channel. Can we call cookies desserts? Well, it depends where you are from or where you live. In United States a cookie is a small, flat, baked treat. In Scotland a cookie is a plain bun, however in most English speaking countries outside North America the most common name for a small, flat, baked treat is biscuit.

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened ( no substitute)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup fruit preserve or jam 
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl combine sugar and butter. Beat at medium speed, until creamy. Add egg and continue beating until well mixed. Reduce speed to low; add flour, baking powder and salt. Beat until well mixed. Scoop dough into 1 inch balls. Place 2 inches apart onto baking sheet and press down with your thumb to create a well in the middle of each ball. Fill the well with 1 teaspoon fruit preserve and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until edges are golden.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Bread with Baking Powder aka Kulac

Bread is a nutritious assortment used widely from ancient time as staple of our food. This recipe bread in Albania is used for Turkey stuffing for New Year celebration. It is also very delicious when is paired with butter and cheese.

  • 4 cups of flour
  • 4 teaspoon baking  powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup milk 2%
  • 1 egg
Preheat oven to 385 degrees F and lightly grease an 9 inch oven proof loaf pan. In a large bowl mix together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Slightly beat the egg with the milk and olive oil and pour to the flour mixture. Knead the mixture on a surface lightly floured into a round shape dough. Place the dough into the 9 inch pan and bake for 50-60 minutes.

Note: Cover the bread and let it sit for 15 minutes before served.

Hope you enjoy this recipe.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Pasta with Arugula & Garlic

I ran into this recipe looking for simple, easy and it had to include olive oil. I enjoy it every time I make it. This dish is very good and easy for entertaining. This is a recipe by Joy Hoy.

  • 1 pound semolina or whole grain pasta
  • 4 tbs extra virgin  olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 pound baby arugula leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Manchego or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese freshly grated
Heat olive oil in a large skillet and cook garlic for 1 minute. Add baby arugula leaves and toss until they are wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Meanwhile cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water salted until al dente. Drain pasta and toss with arugula in the skillet and season to taste with salt pepper and cheese.

Pairs well with Sauvignon  Blanc.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bread with Chickpeas

Well! This is a request I am making anyone has the old recipe for bread made with chickpeas. Somehow it is impossible that anyone knows this recipe from the scratch. The one that you have to soak the chickpeas overnight, but this how far I can go!

And anything I sure searched it is with chickpea flour.

Grilled Cheese with Dates & Prosciutto

Makes: 4 sandwiches

  • 4 tbs unsalted butter
  • 8 slices crusty bread
  • 8 slices prosciutto
  • 8 slices monterey jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Spread butter on one side of each bread slice. Put 2 bread slices in the skillet, buttered-side down. Layer 2 slices of prosciutto, 1 slice of cheese, dates and basil and another slice of cheese on each piece of bread. Close each with another piece of bread, buttered-side up.
  2. Cook, pressing the sandwiches with spatula, until cheese melts and the bread is golden 3-4 min per side. Repeat to make more sandwiches. Enjoy this easy unusual sandwich.

Beef Stew with Cabbage & Baby Lima Beans

Cabbage is a green leafy and very dense vegetable, rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C and fiber which can provide you some cholesterol lowering benefits if steamed. It originated from Europe and became part of their cuisine as early 16th century. I am bringing this recipe a little different, I am using beef stew instead of pork meat.

  • 1 pound beef  for stew  cut in small pieces
  • 4 cups of shredded cabbage
  • 4 Tbs vegetable oil 
  • 1 cup tomato pure
  • 1 large onion thinly sliced 
  • 2 potatoes ,peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup baby Lima beans (frozen)
  • 1 Tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbs white wine vinegar
  • black pepper and salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup parley chopped
Heat vegetables oil in a large saucepan. Add stew meat and saute until lightly browned. Add sliced onion and saute until they get a golden color. At this point add red pepper flakes, cabbage, tomato pure, white vinegar, bay leaf, salt and black pepper to taste. Add water just enough to cover the meat and the vegetables. Simmer on medium heat until meat and vegetables are tender. When served sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Serve warm with a slice of bread.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Fried Pita - Flat Bread

For a long time I wanted to make this recipe that my mom used to make for me as child and serve as snack with feta cheese.

I have to say I am Albanian born and live in New York for quite while now, but making this recipe was very easy and few ingredients involved.

  • 1 2/3  cups of  all purpose flour
  • 2  Tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup of 1% milk
  • 1/2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 cup corn oil  - (0 gr Trans Fat) for frying
In a large bowl combine together flour, baking soda and salt. In a measurement cup combine milk and 1/2 Tbs. of olive oil. Slowly add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and knead gently the ingredients into a dough. The dough should not be sticky on your hands. If it is to sticky add a little flour and if it is to hard add some more milk. Knead the dough for 5 min then let it rest for 15-20 min. After 20 min shape the dough into oblong loaf  and cut it into 8 equal pieces. Then shape each piece into a ball and flatten each with the back of your palm. Very important to do the flattening  before you open them into the small discs. Using a rolling pin flatten each small dough ball until they are flatten 1/8 inch thick  pita. In  the mean time heat 1/2 cup oil on the medium heat, then place each pita on the hot oil and fry on each side until golden brown. Serve as snack with feta cheese.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Arugula Salad with Lemon & Parmesan

Arugula also known as rugula or rucola is very aromatic vegetable and very rich in vitamin A and C.
With dark green leaves and very low in calories like many vegetables it is widely used in dishes.

  • 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tsp. finely grated lemon peel
  • 4 Cups baby arugula
  • 1 Cup cherry tomatoes - halved
  • 1/3 Parmesan cheese
Blend 3 first ingredients in a food processor. Season dressing with salt and pepper as needed. In a large bowl combine tomatoes and arugula and toss with dressing. Add Parmesan cheese on the top. 

Ready to serve.