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Monday, June 30, 2014

Cherry brownie cake

A lovely brownie cake made with half dark chocolate and half milk chocolate, studded with fresh cherries and some walnuts and additionally flavored with Kirschwasser (cherry brandy). It tastes like summer and chocolate and childhood mischief and smiles all in a slice. :)
Recipe adapted from here.

Last year: Obazda and Gouda pumpernickel party rounds.
Two years ago: Turkey steaks in pink champagne sauce.
Three years ago: Spicy shrimp and wild rice soup (Chinese).

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ispanak Salatasi (Turkish baby spinach salad)

A really nice salad from the Turkish cuisine. Fresh and green as it may be, with all the leaves and such, it's still hearty enough to eat as a main, since it also contains nuts and cheese bits and corn and some raisins. It's seasoned with sumac (a spice very well-loved in Turkey and in Middle Eastern cuisines in general) and lemon juice and it's something you'll really remember and want to make again. Enjoy.
Recipe source: here.

Last year: Papanași (Romanian ricotta-based sweet fritters).
Two years ago: Pizza with goat cheese, caramelized onions and raspberry sauce.
Three years ago: Spicy shrimp and wild rice soup (Chinese).

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Spinach, soy and apple smoothie (raw vegan)

Another one of my little glasses of replenishing wonders. Green, green, green; love, love, love! :)
Vanilla flavored green bliss.
I think I should start signing my posts (especially on smoothies) with "Hello my name is Doctor Greenthumb!") :))) (I actually still like that song once in a while).
Enjoy your smoothie and toast it to your health.

Last year: Kohlrabi carpaccio with prosciutto crudo and Parmesan (raw).
Two years ago: Smoked trout spread on hot buttered toast.
Three years ago: Spicy shrimp and wild rice soup (Chinese).

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Gorgonzola and mushroom pizza with wholemeal crust

This was a lovely pizza created on the base of our amazingly tasty wholemeal thin pizza crust. On the tomato sauce and grated cheese regular base, you can notice specks of Gorgonzola and whole button mushrooms. The combination between the juicy mushrooms, salty Gorgonzola and the walnut-like crispiness and flavor of the base was stunningly good. Especially for a healthy-dough pizza ;)

Last year: Kirmizi Mercimek Çorbasi (Turkish red lentil soup) (vegan).
Two years ago: Mauve rice with bell peppers, carrots, olives and pine nuts (vegan).
Three years ago: Spicy shrimp and wild rice soup (Chinese).

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Whole wheat thin pizza crust (vegan)

I try to avoid bragging around here - but I seriously believe we've discovered the best whole wheat pizza crust out there. It all started as a harmless if somewhat tedious desire to incorporate more wholemeal flour into our diets. I also wanted to make the pizza crust the thin and crispy type I generally prefer. But then... what do you know? I actually come up with something way better than expected. Believe it or not, but this whole wheat pizza crust is in reality better tasting than its regular flour counterpart. Needless to say, I'll be making most of our pizzas using this recipe from now on.
And since sharing is caring as they say, here's the recipe. Enjoy :)
P.S: the photo above is an example of how a section looks like in the version of our mushroom and Gorgonzola pizza. :)

Last year: Sauteed cod with pea cream (Italian).
Two years ago: Pepitoritas (Mexican cajeta and pumpkin seed crescents).
Three years ago: Straciatella cream pie (Italian).

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Owsianka (Belarusian/Polish/Russian/Ukranian oatmeal breakfast)

This is the Slavic version of oatmeal porridge, especially popular in the countries of Belarus, Poland, Russia and Ukraine, where it's a breakfast staple, both in private homes and cantina-style restaurants. It's indeed a simple and delicious way of preparing classic oatmeal, it's reasonably light, using only very little butter and sugar, but it tastes like a proper satisfying breakfast should taste like. If you're from Eastern Europe, it might taste like home as well :). It's also dead easy and fast to make, so give it a try as soon as tomorrow. 
{In Romania, our country, it's not common to encounter this type of porridge, but then again, we're not precisely the most Slavic-influenced country in the area either.}
Serve it with cinnamon sprinkled on top. As you can notice, I like my cinnamon in extra servings. :)
P.S: Happy birthday, dad! :)

Last year: Sangria (Spanish) (vegan).
Two years ago: Cajeta (Goat milk caramel) (Mexican).
Three years ago: Straciatella cream pie (Italian).

Monday, June 16, 2014

Minestrone (Italian vegetable soup) (vegan)

The most well known of vegetable soups and of Italian soups. The lightest and freshest soup possible :). Full of flavorful veggies and herbs. Perfect for summertime. Served with a bit of fresh parsley and a bit of grated Parmesan (the spoon in the picture above), optional, for people who don't insist on keeping it vegan.
Enjoy. :)

Last year: Raspberry and marshmallow cake.
Two years ago: Conchiglioni giganti con ricotta e limone (Italian).
Three years ago: Straciatella cream pie (Italian)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Horta me Avga Tiganita (Wild greens with fried egg) (Greek)

A mix of flavored wild greens (like rucola, nettles, chard, fennel fronds, parsley or dandelion greens or ramps or whatever you have on hand - the more varied, the better) are gently stewed in olive oil and garlic, then served with a fried egg on top. The taste is both green and heart-warming and it makes for the nicest breakfast you've had in a long while. Enjoy :)
Recipe source: mostly Saveur.

Last year: Orange pasta with eggplant and carrots (vegan).
Two years ago: Cauliflower and soy croutons cream soup (vegan).
Three years ago: Straciatella cream pie (Italian).

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Soufflé au citron (Quark and lemon souffle) (French)

Soufflés are something quite intimidating for amateur cooks. I remember we were quite reluctant to try them in our first year of cooking. But now that we've mastered them, thanks to our step-by-step pictures, you'll see they're not hard to make at all. And considering they're so fluffy and airy and sweet you should get to making some right away :).
As to more on their background, they're a traditional French baked good, they can come in various savory or sweet versions and they're usually made with creamier cheeses (or even directly cream). But here we made it using quark which is an almost zero-fat liquid kind of cheese and the result was not only wonderful but also very light.
It's funny that souffle is very often used in movies as a means for humor: either it deflates with an obscene sound when brought to the table after a long anticipation (the sound never happens, by the way), or the annoying person orders it at the restaurant just when everyone at the table was preparing to leave (and these desserts take a while to make). :)
But anyway, the point remains, as always, that it was delicious and easier to make than it looks.
Enjoy. :)
Recipe adapted from here.
P.S: Today is my mom's birthday and a soufflé like this is definitely something she'd like. Her cooking was always very influenced by French cuisine, but I don't remember her making a soufflé. Happy birthday! :)

Last year: Moroccan potato salad (vegan).
Two years ago: Simple tomato gratin (Gratin Provencal).
Three years ago: Stuffed baked avocados (Middle Eastern).

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Roasted white onions with breadcrumb crust (vegan)

When you feel like making a lot out of little and taking something humble but essential to great heights, why not try out this dish? When I first saw it in Saveur's Roots of Flavor story, I fell in love with the idea. I had to try it and the results have been far from disappointing.
Although it may sound too simple or too weird, nothing can be better on a roasted slice of white onion than a topping of intensely flavored herbal breadcrumbs. Just try it :)
Recipe highly adapted from: Saveur

Last year: Three color pizza with basil, mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and avocado.
Two years ago: Violet flame (cocktail).
Three years ago: Stuffed baked avocados (Middle Eastern).

Friday, June 6, 2014

Pui cu smântână (Romanian chicken and cream) (My mom's recipe)

I once attempted to recreate this classic dish of my childhood and Romanian tables everywhere here (adding mushrooms and sunflower seeds among other changes), but never got a chance to show you the classic, which I totally prefer (due to nostalgia reasons).
The true and original version which I'll show you here is done in my mom's kitchen and by her. And it's the best and simplest version out there and the most delicious fast and hearty stew one could wish for. Enjoy :)

Last year: Creamy coconut milk rice (vegan).
Two years ago: Tagliatelle with tuna, lemon, rucola and pine seeds.
Three years ago: Stuffed baked avocados (Middle Eastern).

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Nasi Goreng (Indonesian fried rice)

Left-over rice has found its way to shine in this classic Indonesian comfort food. It's reheated and fried in spices and soy sauce, with shallot and garlic, until really flavorful and delicious. To top it off, it's served with a fried egg and some cucumber slices for a touch of freshness. I really love it for breakfast and it's so easy to make there's no excuse for postponing it whenever you have remaining rice on your hands. Enjoy. :)
Recipe source: Saveur.

Last year: Prosciutto-wrapped turkey fillets with early summer salad.
Two years ago: Ganse Schmaltz Back-Kartoffeln (German goose fat baked potatoes).
Three years ago: Stuffed baked avocados (Middle Eastern).

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Poppy-seed, honey and strawberry glaze bundt cake

{ For the 1st of June, which in Romania is celebrated as kids' day, it was time to post another cake which I'd make for Mira. :) This is the ideal choice as a kid-friendly cake, so if you have some little guests to entertain, don't hesitate. }
I love poppy seeds in everything (including crazy things like salads with a poppy seed vinaigrette or veggie gratins). And, obviously, especially in pastry and desserts (be them yeast-based or just your regular muffin).
You can see where this is going, can't you? Bundt cake was next. Full of flavor depth and crunch from the lovely poppy seeds. And what could be a better base for this than a light and fluffy (what I don't usually like about most bundt cakes is their tendency to be too dry, it isn't the case here, cross my heart) and full-of-honey-flavor-and-smell-and-sweetness cake?

As if things weren't perfect already, there had to be a scrumptious strawberry glaze dripping off the sides of the glorious cake described above and enveloping its all in a pink strawberry liquid embrace.
If you don't like bundt cakes or plain muffins or "bread-y" cakes too much (like me), this is definitely the bundt to start with. It will make you reconsider. 
Recipe adapted from Good Food.

Last year: Elder flower and vanilla syrup (vegan).
Two years ago: Raw walnut-cocoa truffles with honey and cinnamon (raw vegan).
Three years ago: Stuffed baked avocados (Middle Eastern).

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