Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Rombauer Jam Cake

I was searching for a jam cake recipe after I realized that I had a huge jam collection sitting in the pantry. I felt like baking and knew I wanted to use up some jam. I started looking for jam cake recipes and found many variations of this cake. This is one of the older recipes for the cake, which means the ingredients are less complicated and the recipe is likely to be closer to the original cake. The cake itself comes out moist and the spiciness of the cloves and nutmeg comes through wonderfully. The cake will continue to be remain moist for a few days if left covered at room temperature.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Simple Spinach and Artichoke Dip

I was in a rush to make a few appetizers a few weeks ago. It was a cloudy day so I wanted to make something warm, but I didn't want to make anything too labor intensive. After scrolling through various collections of "easy appetizers" and "quick appetizers" I decided to check Fine Cooking for some inspiration. I saw this dip and knew it was perfect. All you need to do is chop and mix some ingredients together and then bake the final product. Try to time the dish so it comes out of the oven around when you expect your guests to arrive. You could always prepare the dip ahead of time and just bake it later when you need it. Make up to one day prior to using and allow the dip to come to room temperature as you preheat your oven.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Apple Puff Pastry Galette

The other week I really wanted to have some dessert, but did not have the energy to get into full blown baking mode. I had some apples at home and a box of puff pastry in the freezer so I knew straight away I wanted to make something using those ingredients. In the past my sister has made savory galettes with puff pastry when she hasn't had time to make the dough from scratch, so I figured I'd do the same. I found an Ina Garten recipe for apple crostata and used that as a base for flavoring the galette. The result was delicious and this dessert got rave reviews from everyone who tried it. It goes great with a cup of coffee, tea, or cider.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Arugula and Chopped Fennel Salad

It wasn't until this past summer that I realized how much I love adding finely chopped fennel to my salads. I first discovered this type of salad when I was visiting my grandmother and have been a fan ever since. When the fennel is chopped, the rough texture can be avoided but the flavor can still be enjoyed. I made this for a friend who claims to dislike fennel and she loved the salad. You don't need to use arugula for this salad, the fennel will go well with most greens.

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thai Chicken with Basil and Red Peppers

I love Thai cooking, especially meals like this which are simple to make and come together quickly. The first time I made this I was pleasantly surprised as to how easily the dish came together and how good it tasted even though I had to make do without some ingredients. I didn't have fish sauce, dark soy sauce, or peanut oil at the time so I made some potentially questionable substitutions and still loved the dish. The one thing you cannot skip is the basil. This dish revolves around basil and without it would lack a lot of flavor. Serve the dish over rice for a simple meal.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Moroccan Eggplant Salad

Eggplant based dips and appetizers are some of my favorite snacks. Growing up I would eat tons of baba ganoush and my mom's eggplant dip in between meals. So when my mom told me about a new eggplant recipe she tried out, I had to make it for myself. This eggplant salad is a healthy yet very flavorsome and satisfying salad. I serve it as a side dish or salad, but have also been known to eat it as a main course with some pita bread. The original recipe calls for very little olive oil, but I felt that the salad was too dry and added a little more. This salad will still be good the next day if you have any leftovers.

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tomato and Roasted Garlic Tart

I opened my fridge the other day and realized I had way too many tomatoes needing to be used. I didn't want to make another caprese salad or bruschetta since the weather was cool and foggy. Instead I opted for comfort food and made this tomato and roasted garlic tart. I looked at a few tomato tart recipes and loved that this one used roasted garlic. Yes, you will probably smelly like garlic after you eat this, but it will be worth it. Just make sure everyone around you has a slice so you will al be equally guilty. I didn't have the proper baking form to make this dish and just used a pyrex. It may not have been as pretty as one baked using a tart form, but it still tasted great.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Baked Eggplant and Ground Beef

My mom has been making this recipe for quite a while. My dad and I are both huge eggplant fans, so this dish is always a hit with us. The main ingredients are similar to mousakka, but this recipe is seasoned differently. This feeds about 6 to 8 people. It also reheats well and I have happily eaten the leftovers many times. This is one of my family's go-to dishes for gluten free meals. It is very filling and does not need any kind of starch to be served with it.

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Kale and Quinoa Salad with Parmesan

My sister made this salad over fourth of July weekend and it has been one of the few times that I actually liked kale. I keep trying to convince myself that I enjoy kale, but usually force myself to eat it and remind myself that it's healthy. This salad was actually delicious and gave me faith in kale again. Though I will probably not be adding kale to my usual rotation of foods, this recipe is a great way to sneak it in and stock up on vitamins.

The original recipe called for ricotta salata, but we used Parmesan. We also served extra grated Parmesan at the dinner table for anyone who wanted more (Which of course I did). If you're skeptical about kale, give this salad a try. And if you're still not convinced, the cheese really makes a huge difference too.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Seven Layer Dip

I absolutely love 7 layer dip, but I had never tried making it at home. It's actually pretty easy to make and has been a hit every time it is served. The dip needs to be made the same day you serve it, but since it's easy to make it shouldn't be a problem. Technically, the dip does last overnight, but the guacamole will brown in some places and the tomatoes and salsa will release some water. I'd eat the leftovers myself but wouldn't serve them to guests.

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hummus Tabouleh Dip

If you're ever in need of a quick and easy appetizer, this recipe is a great option. It only requires 2 ingredients, unless you go all out and make things from scratch. Just mix the 2 ingredients and serve with pita chips or pita wedges. I made this as a last minute addition to a barbecue and was happy to have another dip on the table. So long as you like hummus you will most likely enjoy this dip. The tabouleh (or tabbouli) adds an element of freshness to the hummus and makes a great summer appetizer.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bow Tie Cookies with Apricot Jam

It's been a while since I've added a new post, but this past month has been crazy. I've moved back to the US and have been unpacking and repacking for my move to San Francisco. Luckily, there's been some time to try out new recipes even with all the commotion. When I got to my parent's house, I knew I wanted to bake something for my dad. He's the kind of guy who loves having a pastry or cookie with his morning coffee. But he doesn't like things to be overly sweet and dislikes anything with frosting or icing.

I was browsing recipes at Fine Cooking when I came across this cookie recipe and knew it would be perfect. The cookie itself is not too sweet and is the perfect coffee or tea cookie. The flavor is simple yet the cookies are extremely addictive. We managed to finish the entire batch within 4 days (there were only 3 of us at home at the time). You can use any jam you want for these. I made half of the cookies with apricot jam and half with strawberry rhubarb jam and both were delicious. The apricot ones were a little more tart since the jam isn't as sweet. You can fill them with whatever flavor you like, but choose a firm jam. A thin, runny jam will seep out of the cookies more so than a thicker one (this was the case with my apricot jam cookie). Best of all, the original recipe claims you can freeze these cookies in a freezer bag for up to 3 month, so if you don't plan on going on a cookie binge you can save them. But seeing as how these cookies seem to magically disappear, that might not be necessary.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mujaddara (Lentils and Rice)

Mujaddara makes a great meal when you want something home cooked but don't have time to go to the grocery store. If you cook a lot, you will probably have the ingredients at home. If you don't cook often, you may still have these things in your home. Either way, this is a delicious meal which can be used as a side dish or main course. This is a middle eastern recipe that my mom learned from a family friend and has been cooking for years. Though it's pretty simple, the flavor is delicious.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Roasted Leg of Lamb

Since I've been little I have loved lamb. It may be because my mom has been making this lamb recipe for years. It's a time consuming process, but the end result is worth it. There are usually leftovers, which heat up well with some extra sauce. I've also used the leftovers to make Greek style wraps the following day, which I love as well. Put some lamb slices in a wrap with cucumber yogurt sauce or tzatziki and tomatoes and you're lunch is ready. This is definitely a meal made for sharing and it always looks impressive taking a huge roast out of the oven. Just make sure someone will carve it nicely. Serve this with roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes for a hearty meal.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Birchermuesli makes an delicious and filling breakfast. What's great is that you can even prepare it the night before and eat it in the morning, making it ideal for busy weekdays. This recipe can be adapted easily based on what fruits or berries you have available. In the past I've added pineapple, apricots and peaches, and each variety is great. Some recipe do not add the lemon zest, but I find that its add a fresh flavor to the birchermuesli. My mom has always prepared it this way and this birchermuesli has been a hit for years.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Indian Spicy Stewed Cauliflower and Potatoes (Masaledar Gobi Aloo)

This is not your typical aloo gobi you buy at an Indian restaurant. This version is much lighter and has a different taste to it. I was surprised by this dish's flavor since it wasn't what I expected, but I loved it nonetheless. This is a great side dish for any Indian meal. I didn't have mustard seeds on hand the last time I made this and still loved the result.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Indonesian Cucumber Salad

I made this recipe as a side dish and really enjoyed it. It reminds me a little bit of the cucumber salad you can find in many Thai restaurants, but I love the addition of cilantro. I used one red Thai chili when I made this and it had a great spicy kick to it, but I suggest using less if you have a low tolerance for spicy foods. Serve this as a side dish for any Southeast Asian inspired meal.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Betty Bossi's Potatoes au Gratin (Kartoffelgratin Spezial)

These potatoes are a great comfort food when the weather is cold. This recipe comes from a Swiss cookbook and is very easy to make. The ingredients are simple and most people I know love potato dishes, so it's also a crowd pleaser. It tastes best out of the oven since the top layer of potatoes will have a slightly crunchy crust on top. Some people like to sprinkle cheese over the final layer of potatoes, but you can do whatever you prefer.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Mustard Glazed Whitefish

I was looking for a simple fish recipe to make when I was visiting my parents. I came across this Indonesian fish recipe and thought it sounded like a nice alternative to my usual panko crusted variation. Though I did not find the flavor of this fish to be Indonesian at all, the mustard glaze make a nice, simple marinade. This recipe is simple and come together quickly, making it a great weekday meal option.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Burnt Eggplant with Garlic, Lemon & Pomegranate Seeds

Last year my mom bought a cookbook thats I have been dying to try out. It's called Jerusalem: A Cookbook and has all sorts of delicious recipes in it. I started off with something simple since some of the recipes call for lots of ingredients and time. This recipe itself is really easy, but it take time to let the flavors soak in. I started making this late one evening and I wasn't able to finish it until the following day. The authors describe this dish, which I would classify as a dip, starter, or spread, as baba ghanoush without the tahini paste and with a sprinkle or pomegranate seeds.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Spicy Chicken Curry (Murgh Masala)

I love trying out Indian recipes when I visit my parents. My mom has all the spices and both my parents love Indian food. This recipe comes from a great cookbook full of delicious Indian recipes. I didn't find this curry to be to spicy, so I added the serrano pepper. Feel free to omit it if you don't love spicy food. This curry has a lot of sauce, so it's best to serve this with rice. The curry also makes great leftovers.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Death by Chocolate

This is one of those really rich desserts that lives up to its title. I don't normally use cake mixes, but this was a last minute request by a friend. The recipe is easy to make and is definitely a crowd pleaser. If you don't like using cool whip, you can substitute whipped cream. Feel free to add more toffee if you like it, which is what I did. You can make this in a trifle dish or a smaller punch bowl.

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Yogurt with Cucumber

This recipe makes a great side dish to any spicy Indian, Middle Eastern, or Mediterranean meal. I make variations of this with different herbs. Sometimes I use dill or chives and when I am running low on ingredients, I will omit the herbs completely. This is very easy to make and I always make a big portion since I can eat spoonfuls of it. I generally make this with regular plain yogurt as opposed to Greek yogurt. To thicken it, I let it sit in a colander lined with 2 sheets of paper towels. After about 30 minutes to 1 hour the consistency is very similar to Greek yogurt.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli with Tomato Cream Sauce

After discovering how to make fresh pasta, I knew one of the first things I wanted to do was make ravioli. I have always loved vegetarian ravioli, especially with cheese or spinach and cheese fillings. This recipe is pretty easy to make and if you don't want to both making the pasta yourself, you could buy fresh pasta of use wonton wrappers.

I don't have the proper kitchen equipment to make perfect ravioli so I had to hand-form all the pieces, which became pretty time consuming. This would be much easier (and prettier) with a ravioli mold. When making the filling, taste if before filling the ravioli to make sure the salt and pepper amounts are to your liking.

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