Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Coriander Roasted Potatoes

Here's a simple but sexy way to dress up ordinary potatoes. The entire dish takes under an hour to make.

Whole coriander seeds are crushed and tossed in olive oil with peeled potato pieces. Add some salt and pepper, roast the potatoes and done. I tossed the finished potatoes with fresh cilantro for extra flavor and color but that step is optional. 

I realize not everyone has coriander seeds hanging out in their pantry. They can be expensive. I used McCormick organic ones at $7 a jar. Walmart has a non-organic version for a much more reasonable price. 

The flavor on these is out of this world. The coriander seeds have a sweet citrus flavor. Roasting them with the potatoes brings out the flavor even more. I love when simple has a complex taste.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Meyer Lemon Vanilla Bean Loaf Cake

When I saw a bag of Meyer lemons in the grocery store this week, I was so excited, I did the Dougie right there in the produce aisle. Usually, I am sporting cake frosting or flour in my hair when I am at the market so obviously, I give zero you know whats what people think of me in public. 

One of the prettiest citruses out there, I love bright, sweet flavor of Meyer lemons. This cake was originally designated to be made with clementines. Upon spying the Meyer lemons, the plan was immediately switched up. The Clementines were unceremoniously dumped for these yellow fragrant beauties. 

Sorry Clementines. I will make it up to you later. Promise. 

I also have an unusually large bag of vanilla bean powder in my baking cabinet I bought in Mexico. I thought this cake would be a good excuse to use it. 

Friday, January 26, 2018

Blue Cheese Parmesan Cumin Seed Shortbread Rounds

These lovely savory snacks are a cross between a cracker and a savory cookie. Great on their own, they also are a tasty addition to any cheese board or platter.

I served them with a dab of warm cream cheese on them and they were a huge hit. 

The best part is the recipe comes together in a cinch. Mix the ingredients together, roll into a log, chill, slice, and bake. 

Of course, I tried to make the recipe more complicated by toasting the cumin seeds first. They get plenty toasted in the oven while baking so note to self: skip this step in the future. Toasting them did make my kitchen smell amazing though.  

Sometimes, it's the little things...

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Raja Ampat Indonesia - A Wildlife Fantasy Above & Below

“Your room is very nice” Sophie whispered to me in her beautiful French-accented English. I nodded wearily as I dragged my carry-on through the sandy path. 

We had been traveling for three days to get here. Even styling in business class and spending our long layovers in lounges and hotels, I was numb with fatigue. Temporarily immune to the surrounding beauty, all I could think about was taking a nap. To the right of us, I was aware of a sloping jungle filled with strange sounds from which I was soon to learn housed exotic creatures and birds of all sorts. To the left, a neat row of guest cottages jutting out over crystal clear water. 

When we rolled up to number 13, Bird of Paradise, Sofie slid open the door. Despite my exhaustion, I was immediately enchanted. It seems Lovey and Thurston Howell III had vacated the premises and we were moving into what looked like their deluxe grass hut from Gilligan's Island.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Bratwurst Filled Mustard Knoedel

Raise your hand if you love a surprise knödel.  If your hand is raised you will be very happy with this recipe. 

To create the flavor, I added spicy Germany mustard to a basic bread (Semmel) knödel recipe. You can use whatever mustard you have on hand. If you like spicy, dijon would work as well. 

This recipe takes a bit of time to make. There are several steps and the knödel has to rest an hour before shaping them. However, the steps are easy.  I pan browned the bratwurst after cooking them, You can certainly skip that step. 

To garnish them I sprinkled mustard powder over the top which gave the knödel a little extra hit of flavor. That step is optional. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Red Onion, Goat Cheese, Whole Wheat Anise Tart

Savory tarts have become a thing for me. This is big because I was I was a person who squirmed at quiche. Too much egg.

Once I discovered in making savory tarts I could control the ingredients, mainly stuffing the tart with more cheese and veggies and less egg I was hooked. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Six Strand Braid Challah - January's King Arthur Flour's Bakelaong Challenge

I've only made challah a few times so I was excited when I saw this month's King Arthur Flour's Bakealong Challenge. They've done it again with this great recipe.

The site offers plenty of tips for making the Challah and creating the 6 strand braid. Here's my tip - don't try to braid the challah when you have a bad cold. 

When I got to the braiding step, what should have taken only a few minutes took about 30. I was so light headed from being sick, I just couldn't catch the rhythm of shaping the braid. I kept messing up and having to start over. Probably not the best thing to handle the dough for that long. 

However, stubborn is my middle name so I was determined to make that 6 braid design happen. It did - sort of. However, the recipe is a winner. and my challah result did look pretty even if it was a bit wonky on one end. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Baked Apple Nutella Chocolate Cake

So who's back to baking in the new year? 

Me. Me. Me. 

Didn't take me long after swearing off food forever on January 1, 2018. 

I couldn't help myself because I was intrigued by the style of this unusual cake. The recipe is was inspired by one I saw in a recent German cooking magazine. Baking whole cored apples into a cake. 


In my version, I switched up the recipe and the flavors a bit. Admittedly, I was a bit skeptical while creating it. I wasn't sure it would come together. Specifically, I was worried the apples would not be soft enough, but it worked perfectly and the results were delicious.

The most labor-intensive part of making this recipe is peeling and coring the apples, once those are done, everything else comes together pretty quickly. The apples need to be prebaked for 15 minutes, in that time you can get the cake batter and Nutella filling together. 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Savoy Cabbage Apricot & Bacon Roulade

Roulade dishes always look beautiful on your table and are sure to impress your guests. This version has a bread, apricot filling spiked with fresh parsley and accented with fried thick cut bacon and onions. Chopped raw pumpkins seeds were added into the filling and as garnish for some extra crunch. 

The roulade pieces are pan fried, then baked in a red wine sauce. This dish takes a bit of time to make but the results are worth it. 

I used winter savoy cabbage leaves to wrap the filling. However, you can use any cabbage variety you prefer. Red cabbage would also be flavorful and pretty. 

If you have some rolls or bread hanging around that are a day or two old, this is a great way to use them up. 

Feel free to switch up the ingredients with whatever you might have hanging out in your pantry. Dried apple or pear can be substituted for the paricot. Swap out almonds or walnuts for the pumpkin seeds.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Parsnip, Carrot, Leek, Horseradish Cream Casserole

The onset of winter can bring kitchen challenges and it can be  hard for those of us who like to cook with seasonal produce to srounge together a meal. 

Welcome to this lovely parsnip, carrot, leek creamy casserole perfect for any dinner, lunch or brunch.  

First, the winter vegetables are braised in a large skillet to boost their flavors and then covered with a creamy horseradish sauce and baked in the oven. 

Even though this recipe contains 4 tablespoons of prepared horseradish, it is not that spicy. The cream sauce provides just enough sting to perk up the flavors of the vegetables and the cream mitigates the heat.

This vegetable casserole takes only a hour to create from start to finish. It's heart enough to serve as a main meal and more sparingly, as a side dish. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Black Pepper Cream Chicken with Lemon Butter Noodles

This dish will surely brighten up your winter table. The recipe is hearty enough to keep you warm and sports bright and light flavors. 

There is so much goodness in this meal, I don't know where to start. For all its complicated flavor, the recipe itself is deceivingly simple to make and comes together in less than an hour. 

Strips of boneless chicken breasts are coated with a luscious black pepper cream and served on top of buttered lemon scented egg noodles. Boom.

This recipe is great for a celebratory or Sunday family dinner or any celebration that calls for something extra special on the dining table.

Feel free to substitute boneless pork for the chicken. You can also cut calories by using a light version of the heavy cream or Half and Half. 

Because. January and those New Year's resolutions.  

Friday, January 5, 2018

Parsley Root Cream Soup with Gouda Croutons

January is the time I like to get creative with soup. Finding fresh ingredients is always a challenge this time of year. Parsley root is used often in German and European cuisine for winter recipes. It can be challenging to find but most farmers markets carry it in the late fall season. Some supermarkets sell it in the winter time. 

The combination of this creamy, hearty soup and cheesy crunchy croutons is a scrumptious tummy warmer for these bleak winter days. 

If your community is parsley root poor, y
ou can substitute any root vegetable for the parsley root. Celery root, rutabaga, turnips, kohlrabi even carrots and beets would all work well.  You can get adventurous and add a combination of root vegetables. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Vanilla Almond Polar Bear Claw Cookies

We're in minus degrees here in my part of the USA. The freezing temperatures are what inspired these cute polar bear claw cookies. 

The cookie itself is a vanilla almond flavor. You can easily switch up the extracts with lemon, orange or rum or your favorite flavor combination. 

The dough is extremely easy to throw together. Once the cookies leave the oven, almond slivers are pushed into the tips to create the "claws". The whole cookie is then covered with a simple white sugar glaze.

Make sure you check the cookies at the halfway mark to make sure they are not browning too much at the edges. If the edges become too crisp, pushing the almond slivers into the cookie will crumble the front edges and ruin the shape. Also, make sure you do this while the cookies are slightly warm to make it easier. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Gruyere-Stuffed Walnut Meatballs

Got leftover fondue, cheese platter ingredients, herbs and nuts from the holidays? Here's your quick, easy and delicious solution right here.
Raise your hand if you are suffering from cooking burnout as a result of all the nonstop entertaining over the last weeks. This recipe is super easy, helps clean out your leftovers and takes just under a half hour to create.

Sign me up.

Who doesn't love a fun and delicious surprise in the middle of a meatball?  Seasoned nutty, fresh thyme spiked meatballs surround a creamy lump of melted gruyere cheese. 

I chose raw walnuts to combine with the chopped meat. Toasting the nuts before adding them to the ground meat adds extra flavor. That step is optional.