Tuesday, May 31, 2011
The Jamón serrano is a special type of dry air cured ham that comes from the Spanish cuisine. We've talked about it before and what you need to remember is that it's a very lovely delicacy. Here we've had it in a bowl of green pasta with some mozzarella slices, fresh tarragon, olives and a generous layer of grated Parmesan. The combination was lovely. Enjoy :)
Who would mind getting up early to this glorious, sweet and creamy and crunchy breakfast? Not us :).And that's it, we'll keep this one short and just get to the recipe already :)
Monday, May 30, 2011
The taste combinations in this salad are some of our faves. Fresh champignon mushrooms, fresh various salad leaves, pickled cucumbers rounds, grated Gouda cheese and two type of croutons, seasoned with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon-grass. To keep it short, it was one of the best salads that one can make in such a short time and with so common ingredients. Enjoy.
The Teriyaki sauce is one of the most popular products of the Japanese cuisine. It's especially good for marinating and glazing meats, and the combination with salmon seems to be a staple all around the globe. We decided to share this simple recipe with you, being sure you'll like it too. Serve this with the side of your choice :).
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Jamón serrano is a very special type of dry cured raw ham (like the Italian Prosciutto crudo) made in Spain. Considered by many the epitome of pork, it is one of the most representative products of Spanish cuisine. And because Spanish and Mexican cuisine share roots and spices and lots of ingredients, we thought the ham would love nothing more than to adorn some tacos that would reunite the two cultures in one dish. The shrimps are also widely used in the Spanish cuisine, so they work just as well in these tacos. Enjoy.
This is a soup we have been planning for a long time. The name "magic soup" belongs to the original blog post that inspired our adaptation of it, which you can read here. Perhaps we wouldn't call it quite magical, but the taste combination was definitely very interesting, especially in our version, twinked a bit with more mushrooms and fresh melissa (lemon balm).
Enjoy it warm and don't puree it all the way - it's more interesting a bit chunky and with occasional almond crunches. :)
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Ok, first of all we should apologize for the photo. It wasn't supposed to be the final photo, but some technical issues left us with it, so bear with us on this one, please.
The whole idea in these muffins (or cupcakes, if you choose to use the frosting) is that I haven't seen around any good recipe for ginger muffins made with ginger ale (a drink we both love). That needed to be changed... so here it is. :)
Yes, I know, when you hear of salads with meat in them it's usually a chicken or fish salad. Pork salad just sounds.. strange :). Well, we found that fact to be quite unfair to this type of meat, usually associated with heartier meals or with a bunch of medieval men slurping barrels of beer :D. So we decided to make pork salad, but with ingredients that would truly match its flavor and consistency, not by simply replacing the chicken from an ordinary salad with pork and calling it a pork salad.
And we believe our concept was quite fit to highlight the pork's qualities: lovely green olives with their salty and robust character, a bed of mixed salad leaves to lend everything freshness, an addition of roasted bell pepper salad to complement the meat with tangy and smoky touch, and a good sprinkle of Parmesan for its deep flavor. Trust us, if you're a pork lover who resented salads up until now or, on the contrary, if you're a salad lover looking for something new, you'll like this. Enjoy.
This is one of our favorite things to eat from our local Romanian cuisine. The flavor that comes with roasted peppers and its delicate veggie smokiness is matched by few things in this world. Since we recently made this salad (for the first time I should add, since back home someone else would always make it) to use it as an ingredient for another salad, we decided to share this recipe, especially for our non-Romanian friends.
The salad is supposed to be served as a side to a main course. There are more than one way to roast the bell peppers, but the easiest and least messy by far is using the oven, as we have done here. Also, keep in mind that red bell peppers yield the most flavorful and juicy pulp, so they should be the only color choice for this. Enjoy.
Friday, May 27, 2011
The combinations in this pasta dish are so simple and basic and good it's impossible not to be liked by everyone. Also, it comes with a little twist that enhances the taste: use red pesto instead of green (this way you can also add fresh basil for a flavor not already there), black olives instead of green and yellow tomatoes instead of red. You'll love it, and it's so fast it can be thrown together in no more than 10 minutes.
We made this bread as a not-so-common thing to try with asparagus for May's Sweet Romania challenge, and also because we wanted to try a all-in-one meal bread that tasted like the Mediterranean kitchen. Not too complicated to make, this was yummy. Enjoy it with a bowl of clear soup, if you can. :)
Recipe adapted from here.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
We all know the combination of potatoes and melty cheese is a nice one. Well, this relaxed and delicious dinner above took it one step further and made it a simple yet refined serving of spicy lemon-cheese potato fritters alongside fresh salad leaves and a tomato-teriyaki dipping sauce. Best served warm, this is a snack fun and easy to make. Enjoy.
Inspired from GF Romania.
I'm sure everybody who comes here loves chocolate in general and truffles as the epitome of creamy chocolate in particular. Yes, I've heard that such people that don't like chocolate exist but I think it's just an urban legend :). Well, if you feel the same way and if you want an easy to make scrumptious cake (and if you loved our recipe for spicy chocolate truffles :D), you might want to try this one.
Inspired by a similar cake in the Good Food Magazine, the February 2011 Romanian issue and by all the glorious truffle cakes we saw through the glass windows of sugar confection shops while walking through Brugges when we visited some friends in Belgium.
P.S: Can you resist this sight :) ? We couldn't. Enjoy!
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
This is a very fast and easy meal for very busy weeknights. Or a wonderful way to use up any canned fish in tomato sauce you might have on hand. It's not the average potato salad (it's much more leafy), but more like a criss-cross between various salad styles. It contains boiled potatoes smothered in tomato sauce flavored with a drop of Teriyaki (or Tabasco) and fish and flavorful artichoke hearts (canned as well). You may as well call it "Potato salad alla putanesca", like the famous pasta, given how most of the ingredients are salty and robust and conveniently canned. To keep this short, this was a lovely and very delicious salad and you should try it asap. :)
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
We've finally found the ultimate way to make crispy chicken without using any oil or frying it - the kind of dish that screams unhealthiness (in the good way :D) while actually being healthy. It's simple to make and fast and just right for busy weekday evenings. You can make this chicken file with any kind of sauce you like or chop it up and mix it through your favorite salad, but try it at least once with the Japanese Teriyaki sauce - it's sour and tangy and sweet and spicy and delicate all in one :). Enjoy.
Recipe source: Annie's Eats.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Now this is a fine sample of good Mexican flavors which is also fit for those of you who can't take spicy too well. It tastes fresh and yummy and has all the great flavors Mexican cuisine has to offer without the heat your typical chili packs.
The dish is basically formed of 3 components: corn cakes (little corn pancakes made of sweet corn, green onions flour, egg and spices), avocado-green onion salsa (chunky salad made of avocado, green onions, lime juice and spices) and refried beans (a typical Mexican side or dip which doesn't mean re-fried - as in double fried - but means very fried beans; made of boiled beans smashed and stir-fried with oil, spices and optional grated cheese). The combination of the three makes the best Mexican dish we've tasted in a long, long time. Enjoy.
Source: slightly adapted from BBC's Good Food.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
The inspiration for this was a salad I used to eat at Springtime once in a while. I just used more veggies and spiced it up quite a bit. Easy to make and light, perfect to accompany a heavier main dish. If you plan on serving it by itself, it could work only if accompanied by bread. Otherwise I'm not sure you'll like it with all the raw green onion and chili. Anyway, enjoy :)
Saturday, May 21, 2011
We wanted to make these mini-tarts a long time now, but somehow something else always got in the way and we had to make other things before finally, the day had come for these luscious goodies. They're very simple, very good-looking and very addictive. The sweet creamy taste of the dulce de leche cream is ideally balanced by the crunchiness of the tart shells and the sour tanginess of the jewel-looking fruit. Enjoy.
Also, we made this as an entry for May's Sweet Romania challenge.
This is a basic recipe for the sweet tart crust we'll be using for many, many tarts from now on. One of the three basic French doughs (pate sablee). A little sweet and very crunchy, it calls for delicious creams and fillings :)
Courtesy of Irina.
The dulce de leche (or confiture de lait) is a traditional South-American cream that feels and tastes like caramel, only with a more milky touch. It is widely used as an ingredient for various cakes and desserts, but is insanely good and addictive on its own as well, spoonful after spoonful.
The traditional method required mixing milk and sugar and slowly heating and continuous stirring for a long time, but modern methods using canned condensed milk are way easier. All the methods to prepare it are listed and well explained here but the oven one is by far the simplest and safest. It is this method that we will also portray below. Enjoy your dulce de leche, whatever you need it for! :)
Friday, May 20, 2011
We wanted to try a new soup, and as we're very fond of exploring world cuisines, we decided to try a lemon-egg-chicken soup in the good old Mediterranean tradition. To be honest we weren't really sure what to expect but the final result tasted way better than we imagined and hoped for. Given how easy and fast the soup is done we definitely recommend it to be tried as soon as possible.
We had it with crispy pieces of home-made focaccia bread :)
Recipe source: Saveur.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
This was one hell of a heavenly bread (yeah, I know, quite contradictory :P). What could be more delicious and yet humble than a home-made crispy Italian focaccia? We love serving home-made bread with soups and watery stews or curries, and this one went right along a hot bowl of Avgolemono (Greek chicken-lemon soup). I won't keep the story long and just skip to the instructions. Trust me, you want to get started as soon as possible.
The addition of yellow tomatoes is optional. To have the completely traditional version of the focaccia, leave those out.
Adapted from Peter Reinhart, via The Purple Foodie. We made this for just 2 people and spread it more thinly because we want it crispy, but for the original size just double the quantities. Here it goes:
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Back home, in the Romanian language, this is called "Mămăligă cu brânză şi smântână". This may not look like much to our Romanian friends, because the dish is such a staple in Romanian houses that it couldn't possibly surprise anyone back home. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean it's not craved for and sought after, the number of people still ordering it in restaurants (without being foreigners) speaking for itself. And why shouldn't they? Just because it's common doesn't mean it's any less delicious. With this in mind, we decided one evening to forget all the fancy-schmancy curries out there and just serve something more simple and more traditional, as we haven't done in a looong time. What, just because we're passionate about exotic stuff should make us forget our roots? Not a chance :). Enjoy.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
A simple semolina milk pudding topped up with honey and a generous layer of pureed pears spiced with cardamom. The pudding is ready in 10 minutes and the topping should be on it in another 7. Super-quick and delicious for a sweet breakfast or after meal dessert. :)
The semolina pudding is a staple baby and child food in our country and I have had it a lot of times in my parents' kitchen, topped with bitter cherry jam or rose petal jam. One of the tastes of childhood I fondly remember.
Monday, May 16, 2011
We had some fresh tarragon on hand and wanted to make a dish that would truly bring forth all its flavor. Thus, some French cooking was in order. But we didn't want it to be a fried / baked dish, as the flavor of the herb would somewhat wither - so a salad remained the only option. And what better salad to complement and enhance the tarragon flavor than a creamy chicken salad with raw celery root and fresh green grapes? The Frenchies have had a stroke of genius with this combination. Try it as soon as you can and you'll love it. No "but"s. :)
Recipe source: adapted from The Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten).
This was truly a delicate meal, infused with French and Italian flavors. We had a whole flower pot of lemon balm (melissa) and had to find something to use it with, so we thought about coating trout fillets in lemon balm cream, and serving them along baked asparagus rubbed with olive oil and sprinkled with capers. Delicious and light. Best served with warm crunchy ciabatta bread.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
It's a shame to have that lovely full-grown spring outside and not relish in its goodies and celebrate it with a fresh and flavorful dish that would highlight its charm :). So when we saw this recipe for pasta Primavera and its wonderful list of ingredients we were determined to make it. It's airy and delicate flavored from the combination of veggies and infused with a good dose of olive oil, garlic and fresh basil. This pasta recipe can be used both as a vegetarian main and as a lovely side. If you're not sure what you could serve it with, try our fast and easy to make crispy baked chicken ;).
Adapted from L-Mo (and Giada de Laurentis).
Yeah, I know, you can't really see the panacota in this picture, just the toppings. But some mighty glorious toppings they were! Don't worry, you'll see the creamy white panacotas in a few moments. Meanwhile let me tell you a bit about this simple Italian dessert. It's quite easy to make and comes together shortly. The only reason I didn't label this as "fast" is the time you have to wait for it to cool and harden in the fridge (4 hours to overnight). But it doesn't require you to do much so it's quite stress-free.
Panacota has been my favorite dessert since I was in college, when I used to buy some of those ready-made supermarket craps just for the taste and smoothness of it. Also, every time I went to an Italian restaurant I would order either the tiramisu or a caramel panacota. The time has come to make our own - without the added color, artificial flavorings or all the wait. (Yes, I'm implying that it's faster to make this at home than it is to have it at the restaurant) :).
And because all good things come in pairs :D we decided to make two kinds of panacota: a citrusy tasting kind with the lovely orange caramel we always seem to have around and a strawberries-and-cream kind with a strong touch of vanilla (why some people call the vanilla flavor plain is beyond me). Enjoy.
Inspired from the lovely girls from Kiss the Cook.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
I have two major satisfactions regarding this dish. First, and you may laugh, the fact that I managed to make the potato wedges as good or even the better than the ones at McDonald's :D, of which I must admit I was a great fan, at the same time making them incomparably lighter. I'm really patting myself on the back for this.
Next, it's the fact that we managed to have our first "beef" entry on the blog - it's not a type of meat we avoid but somehow never managed to prepare at home so far since starting this virtual adventure.
Overall this was a very satisfying meal and quite fast to prepare.
We recommend serving it next to a little something tangy - we used our great pickled red onion, but some salad leaves sprinkled with lemon juice would work as well.
This recipe was inspired by a similar steak in the Good Food magazine, Romanian February 2011 issue.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
A lovely salad full of Greek flavors. It is meant to be enjoyed as side dish to a main course, or by itself with a few loaves of crispy warm bread. We felt like trying it for a while now, especially that spring is here and that calls for salads :), so we went out, bought the kalamata olives and a cucumber (we had the rest of the ingredients) and returned home with a mighty cooking energy! We enjoyed this salad in a pretty and warm evening, next to some rosemary potatoes and fresh bread. If you take the little time to make it, you'll enjoy it too :).
Monday, May 9, 2011
The Japanese alternative to Southern fried chicken or flour coated chicken. You should use only leg meat for this recipe, as its texture makes the risk of overcooking it very little and you can leave it to fry until it gets good and crispy. Also, breast meat would kind of dry up too quickly so leg (thigh) meat is the only option for this dish.
The first step is preparing a marinade of soy sauce, ginger and garlic and leaving the meat in it for a while, and then it is removed from the marinade and coated in starch (which gives the chicken a more durable crunch).
As for the dish's history, I'll render the words of the original author: "Pronounced kah-rah-ah-geh, the name literally means “Tang fried” (Tang as in the Chinese dynasty). Like Gyoza and Ramen, Karaage is an example of Wafu-Chuka (Chinese style Japanese) cuisine, whereby dumplings, noodles, or in this case fried chicken, was borrowed from the Chinese and turned into something uniquely Japanese." (Source of inspiration for the recipe and the source of the passage above: Marc).
All in all, it's a quite fuss-free dish and with a more approachable taste range if you're new to the Japanese cuisine and you're not too sure how well you can take its flavors. We loved it. Enjoy.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
If you like the combination of olive oil, thyme, lemon and a little dash of freshly ground pepper in pasta you'll sure like it in these cookies as well. They're super tangy and spicy and strongly flavored... like really strong and not for the faint of heart :D.
While I absolutely love them - oh and they're quite healthy too - their flavor is so strong you really can't have more than a few at a time unless you combine them with milk or tea, combination which they seem destined for once you try it.
Make sure you use the best lemon and the freshest thyme for them and they'll take you straight to wow omg :) - but go easy on the pepper if you're not keen on it in general.
Recipe adapted from George Duran.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
We've mentioned before that there are two ways of preparing the delicious rosemary potatoes: baked (lighter version) or fried (the way they're done here, with a marinade that enhances the flavor). If you've never tried rosemary-flavored potatoes, again I must say you must.
Adding a bit of lemon juice to this version of the rosemary potatoes counterbalances both the potential oiliness and the potential too great strength of the rosemary, without overpowering it. You'll see it completes the dish beautifully.
The two versions of this dish are truly different and you should try them both. Enjoy.
Friday, May 6, 2011
This is something we both used to eat as kids, the friganele being a staple in most Romanian houses. Not something made very often, but something quick and simple for when there's nothing fresh left or the munchies strike. It is often served as a more consistent replacement for plain bread, meant to accompany main courses. A known variation on this recipe is serving them sweet (skipping the savory seasonings, obviously), topped with a little sweetened yogurt and / or jam (just like in the case of French toast). Enjoy.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
A handful of baby shrimps fried in red wine, garlic and fresh herbs, served on a bed of healthy quinoa boiled in soup and mixed with green olives and fresh tomatoes. The general range of flavors was definitely Mediterranean and the feel was airy, salty and light.
Quinoa is one of our latest food crushes. We love its rich history (the Aztecs used to consume large quantities of this grain), its fluffy texture and the fact that it's a healthier (and creamier) version of rice. It takes a bit to cook it properly but it's worth the extra waiting time.
Shrimps and alcohol used during cooking is a very common combination due to how well it works. But usually people use something stronger than wine, like whiskey or brandy. You'll see that the wine, especially red, works best in combination with the herbs and garlic. Overall, I can't imagine anything about this dish that you won't enjoy. :)
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
The gnocchi are one of the most known Italian foods. In some parts of the western world you can find them ready made in supermarkets, but even in those areas families of Italian ancestry will still have their own home-made available in the freezer at all times. And why wouldn't they, since gnocchi are so easy to make?
A traditional take on this pasta is to serve it with a butter-thyme sauce, which we did here. But we went a little further and accompanied it with some browned cauliflower florets, which we'll state as optional. It's not specifically Italian to include this specific browned vegetable to the dish, but it's not a no-no either.
Anyway, even if you just serve them with thyme melted butter and Parmesan, you'll love the delicious soft-tasting gnocchi. Must try them if you haven't had them before.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Our latest food crush is on the combination of shiitake mushrooms and sesame oil. Toss the two together and lightly fry them and the resulting taste will be like vegetarian bacon or a soft salty and smoked marshmallow. Really different and enhanced than just the "sum of the parts". We felt that the best way we could frame this combination is by serving it in a spaghetti and chicken dish, and we also added some cucumber pieces for a hint of freshness (to counterbalance the potential oiliness of the pasta). The result was lovely and the overall flavor range was Asian-Chinese. Or at least its a Chinese restaurant feel that was inspired to me when I finally tasted what I've been imagining and planing for days. Try it, you'll definitely enjoy.
Monday, May 2, 2011
This is my favorite dessert so far. I can't imagine it being over-thrown by anything too soon. The glasses are filled with a delicious fluid white chocolate cream infused with fresh basil, and the topping of strawberries is imbibed with a balsamic red wine vinegar syrup. The combination of strawberries and cream is classical, but basil and red vinegar?!? Well, you won't be sorry if you try it. Fear not, the flavors are not too powerful and they complement the strawberries and white chocolate cream perfectly.
But, if you want it to work, respect the instructions and measurements carefully. And don't even think about replacing the white chocolate with regular brown chocolate, the basil flavor will fade out and the whole thing will not taste of anything else than just chocolate. Which is pretty good, don't get me wrong, but it's not what you're aiming for with this.
Sunday, May 1, 2011
This is something very similar to what my mom does with any leftover boiled eggs (especially in the post-Easter days). We didn't label this as world kitchen and "Romanian" because it's greatly modified by adding spicy jalapeno bits, Tabasco sauce and by adding infused bits with fresh rosemary and thyme. You'll love the flavors combined in this one. It tastes Mediterranean (from the herbs), French (from the mushrooms and onion and butter) and Mexican (from the jalapenos and Tabasco). Enjoy.
We love this simple combination for days when you're not in the mood for anything too complicated. It may sound a bit "rough" but red onions are so flavorful that having them raw is free of the yucky downside white onions would pose. And the fries are the perfect match for it.
Go easy on the spices - as you can see we used almost none, which if you know us by now you must understand how hard it was ;) - don't overpower the basic strong aromas of fries and red onion :)