Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Egg Salad Sandwich

My friend Jessi and I met up for lunch in the park. I brought the sandwiches and she brought pumpkin pasties.

Ingredient list:

-3 hard boiled eggs
-1/8 cup of mayonnaise
-1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
-2 tblsp of sweet pickle relish
-1 stalk of celery, chopped
-Freshly ground black pepper
-Sea salt
-Four slices of your favorite bread

1) Mix together the mayonnaise, pepper, relish, a bit of ground black pepper and a pinch of sea salt.

2) Peel the hardboiled eggs and mash them into the mayo mix with a fork. Make sure the entire egg mix is completely mixed. Add the relish and chopped celery. Mix well.

3) Toast the bread slices on both sides (I used Guyanese loaf bread) in a frying pan or skillet.

4) Spread the mashed egg onto a slice of warm bread. Top with a second slice of toasted bread.

Product of the Week: Queso Fresco

My BFF Israel turned me onto this fabulous cheese. When I visited him and his sister, they served me gorditas with fresh homemade salsa and queso fresco.

Once that first bite passed my lips...I was hooked. I can't believe Israel held out on me! All these years I've known him, and it's only now he let me know about this amazing Mexican product.

BFFs can be your worst enemy, you know.

The texture is very similar to Greek feta: crumbly and not spreadable. The taste is salty and somewhat milky. It's so delicious with spicy foods. It offsets the heat and intensity of peppery dishes and introduces a nice jolt of cheesy flavor.

You can read more about it here

Friday, September 26, 2014

Cinnamon Raisin Pancakes

One desperate morning, I was ravenously hungry and out of bread, my usual breakfast staple.

Needing to eat something other than my right arm or the chair in the sitting room, I whipped up a batch of pancakes with a sweet twist: cinnamon and raisins.

Ingredient list:

-1 cup of flour
-1/4 cup of sugar
-1 tsp of baking powder
-1 egg
-1/2 cup of raisins, soaked in warm water
-1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
-1/3 cup of water (you might need more)

1) Beat together the egg and sugar. Add the baking powder then the flour.

2) Pour in enough water to make a smooth batter. Add a little at a time until you achieve the right consistency. A very runny batter will give you flatter pancakes.

3) When you're almost ready to cook them, add the drained raisins and the cinnamon.

4) Lightly butter a cast iron skillet and pour in some batter. Try to pout slowly and form a round cake.

5) Wait 2-3 minutes and check the underside. If it's cooked on the other side, flip it. Cook on both sides until it's fully cooked.

Top with maple syrup or anything you favor.

Twice Baked Cheesy Potatoes

I love potatoes. I don't think I've ever met a person who doesn't.

Potato hating people don't really exist, I think. Or maybe they do, but they live in an alternate universe where everyone hates potatoes and thinks Sarah Palin is a genius.

Ingredient list:

-Whole russet potatoes (as many as you want or need)
-Black pepper
-Sea salt
-Cheese (I used cheddar, but you can use any mild cheese that melts easily, such as gouda, muenster, swiss)

1) Wash and scrub the potatoes. Leave the skins on. Puncture the skin with a fork then wrap them in aluminum foil (leaving the part with the fork holes bare and uncovered).

2) Bake at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes or until a fork pushed into it does not resist and enters easily.

3) Take them out and let them cool a little.

4) When they are cool enough to handle, cut them in half. Scoop out the soft insides, but leave enough to keep the skin a sturdy shell.

5) Place the scooped out portion in a bowl and mash them with a little milk (just enough to soften them), a pinch of sea salt, a little bit of butter and black pepper.

6) Once you have soft mashed potatoes, press them back into the potato skins. Top with cheese and bake in the oven at 200 degrees until the cheese melts.

Kabocha Squash & Spinach with Vegetable Radiatore

Curiouser and curiouser I was, when I came across a display of halved kabocha squash at the supermarket.

I used half of it in this dish.

Ingredient list:

-1/4 of a kabocha squash, peeled and cut into small pieces
-2 large handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped
-1 medium zucchini, sliced
-Olive oil
-1/4 tsp of rosemary
-1/2 tsp of sea salt
-Black pepper
-Red pepper flakes
-1 tsp of garlic paste or 4 cloves of minced garlic
-12 ounces of vegetable radiatore
-1/2 EACH tsp of oregano, basil and parsley

1) In a pot of boiling water, throw in the pasta and let it cook. stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking to the pot. Let it cook.

2) In a separate pot, pour in some olive oil and allow it to heat up. Toss in the garlic, zucchini and squash and stir, coating every piece in oil. Let it cook for 8-10 minutes.

3) When the squash starts to get soft enough to cut, add the chopped spinach and cook until wilted. Add the sea salt, a pinch of red pepper flakes, black pepper (just a couple twists of the mill) and the rosemary. Stir to mix.

4) When the pasta is fully cooked, drain it as well as you can and return it to the pot. In a small bowl, mix 1/2 cup of olive oil with the remaining herbs. Pour it over the pasta and stir to coat.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Apple Pecan Coffee Cake for Mabon

Since there can never be enough cake in this house (and I needed to use up the remaining apples), I made another apple treat for Mabon.

Adapted from Autumn Earth Song

Ingredient list:

-3/4 cup of butter, at room temperature
-1.25 cups of brown sugar
-1 cup of chopped pecans
-3 apples, peeled and finely chopped
-2.5 cups of all purpose flour
-1 tsp of baking soda
-1 tsp of cinnamon
-1/2 tsp of salt
-1 egg
-1 cup of sour cream
-1 tsp of vanilla

1) Combine the flour and brown sugar. Then use a spoon to work the butter into the dry mix, until it becomes a bowl of crumbly textured dough. Add the nuts and stir to distribute.

2) Divide the mixture in half and press into a greased 9 inch springform pan. Set aside.

3) Add the baking soda, cinnamon and salt to the remaining mixture. In a separate bowl, beat together the sour cream, egg and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry mix and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix well and combine everything. Make sure there aren't any dry flour lumps left.

4) Fold in the finely chopped apples.

5) Pour the batter into the springform pan (make sure to spread it out into an even layer) and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Apple Mabon Cake

Happy Mabon, everyone! It's one of my favorite sabbats, and to celebrate I made this moist and tasty cake. It has just the right texture to be a great accompaniment to coffee or tea.

Adapted from October Farm

Ingredient list:

-3 apples, peeled and diced
-2 sticks of butter, melted
-1.5 cups of sugar
-1 tsp of salt
-1 tsp of baking soda
-2 tsp of vanilla
-1 tsp of ground cinnamon
-3 cups of flour
-3 eggs
-1/2 cup of brown sugar
-1 stick of butter, melted
-1/3 cup of evaporated milk

1) Mix together the sugar and eggs. Add the salt and baking soda.

2) Add the vanilla then 2 sticks of melted butter. Mix to combine, then mix in the flour.

3) Add the diced apples last and mix thoroughly, making sure to spread the apple bits throughout the batter.

4) Pour the batter into a greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until a fork pushed into the center comes out clean.

5) In a small pot, melt one stick of butter and add the brown sugar, evaporated milk and cinnamon. Heat while stirring until all the sugar dissolves. I found whisking it to be a good technique.

6) Use a skewer, fork or chopstick to poke holes all over the cake.

7) Pour the warm liquid over the cake, focusing on the holes.

8) I chilled the cake for an hour then sliced it up.