"The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude."
-Julia Child

Thursday, March 25, 2010

New obsession Chaise lounge

I know this has nothing to do with food but these past days this has been what I’m obsessing over –

I would like to get one for my living/dining room but finding the perfect one that I can afford seems almost impossible so I search and drive hubby nuts- heck even little Missy is tired of my ramblings over the chaise
I pulled an old love seat apart trying to come up with something that would resemble the vision I have in my head ( that didn’t work ) and here I am looking at that empty space …whereas instead could be telling the kids to please not touch it/sit on it come near it LOL
My adventures in the kitchen continue I just haven't had the time to post them I will shortly -as soon as I'm over this phase I guess :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pan seared steak with caramelized onion

Spring is just around the corner and with it comes the craving for barbeque and fresh cool salads
We can’t use our barbeque ( our deck is not up yet) so a good substitute for some bbq steak is to sear it on a heavy skillet Not the same thing but still pretty good !!
On the side a simple salad with a tropical twist

Pan seared steak with caramelized onion

Season the steaks with salt , pepper and peppercorns

In large skillet, heat oil over high heat; fry steaks, turning once, until browned and medium-rare inside
Transfer to plate; tent with foil and keep warm

In the same pan add the onion; sauté until just tender, Add minced garlic, thyme, salt , pepper and reduce heat to medium and cook until onions are golden, stirring often, add 1/4 cup wine; stir until almost all liquid evaporates,
Season to taste and serve over steak


4 grilling steaks
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup ) red wine
1 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp (1 mL) cracked black peppercorns
2 medium onions sliced

Pineapple salad

Crisp lettuce
Cherry tomatoes
2 slices fresh pineapple cubed
¼ onion
1/3 cup tablespoons orange juice
1/3 cup Grape seed oil
1/3 cup Balsamic vinegar
Salt/pepper to taste

Toss vegetables together in a bowl whisk ingredients for dressing drizzle over and serve

Hummingbird cake

When I came across this recipe I was intrigued hummingbirds are so lovely , I just had taste it
So this weekend I gave it a try the recipe seemed pretty straightforward and simple I was confident I couldn’t mess it up

And it was fairly easy to prepare but as for the results …I was a little disappointed guess because of it’s name and the ingredients I was expecting something else more exciting… different …
I felt like the banana overpowered the pineapple ( I love bananas but not crazy for banana cakes) perhaps had I made the cream cheese frosting it be better? Not sure, it didn’t stop me from eating it though as I kept tasting to see if I liked it better with each new bite … I will try it again with the cream cheese frosting I’m curious if it will make a diference and bring out the other flavors in the cake
It is very moist as I had expected it to be, and in my opinion it actually tastes better the next day

Hummingbird cake adapated from Joy of baking

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped Potatoes

I love potatoes

Growing up they were a staple at our home ( I am Portuguese after all, and from the north tras os montes)
There are so many ways to enjoy them so many different dishes you can make with them so many variations and yet we used to have them either boiled or roasted on rare occasions perhaps fried or in some Cod dish

As I grew up and my kitchen experiments began, I started playing around with potatoes preparing them in different ways some better than others...

This is my version of scalloped potatoes very simple to prepare and healthy

Extra virgin olive oil

4 Potatoes peeled and sliced

1 Onion sliced thin

1 Garlic minced

1/2 cup Bechamel Sauce

Salt/pepper , nutmeg

Sprinkle of parsley

Preheat Oven 375-400

In an oven proof dish drizzle bottom with olive oil

Layer potatoes sprinkle salt and pepper, cover with sliced onions and the garlic-salt and pepper and nutmeg freshly grated pour over the sauce sprinkle with a little cheese I used parmegeano but the cheese is not really necessary-Put in hot oven and bake until potatoes are soft , golden and bubbly 20-30 min

Enjoy with a serving of mixed greens and a side of protein but it’s just perfect on it’s own !

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Childhood Memories

Whenever I think of Orange Cake or Yogurt Cake ( one of my favorite cakes growing up) it always brings me back to my childhood These were the few cakes my mom would bake My mom was not much ( still isn't ) much of a baker -guess I know who I took after ...

This past weekend I was craving Orange cake ( guess I'm going through a fruit based cake period, first apples now oranges ) anyway after I pulled it out of the oven and the aroma of sweet oranges filled my kitchen I could close my eyes and feel like that child again anxiously waiting to eat it -and that's what I did soon after

It's a great cake for afternoon tea or whatever- time- of- day tea-, simple ingredients and easy to make

Orange cake
Here's the recipe :
150 gr butter
150 gr sugar
1 orange
3 eggs
150 gr flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder

Orange syrup
Orange juice from 1 orange, sugar, water and grated orange peel

Have all ingredients at room temperature
Prehaet Oven to 350, grease cake pan with butter and flour

Beat sugar with butter untill creamy
Add the juice of the orange and grated orange peel, add one egg at a time mixing well
whisk flour with baking powder and salt
Add flour to egg mixture mix gently Put batter in pan and bake for about 20 to 30 min
Check with toothpick to see if done

Take cake out of oven remove from pan and pour orange syrup over it

Let it cool and serve

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Apple Cake Obsession

These past weeks I've been obsessing over apple cake( that explains why no posts ) so strange as it's not even apple season and I've never been crazy for apple desserts
Can't explain it or fight it !!

I've made more apple cakes in Februaury than I ever have in my entire life !!
I've tried several recipes my favorite so far has been Barefoot Contessa's Apple cake taken from here http://foodlibrarian.blogspot.com/2008/12/barefoot-contessas-apple-cake-tatin.html
I also enjoyed this one taken from Smitten kitchen " Mom's apple cake" a simple to make cake and perfect for tea http://http//smittenkitchen.com/2008/09/moms-apple-cake/

  • Wonder what obsession will be next !!!

Easy Risotto with mushroom and parmeson cheese

Here's an adaptation of the risotto recipe I made for the daring cooks challenge

2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium minced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1-1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 cups white wine
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 pounds button mushrooms, you can use any kind you like (for example, chanterelles, morels, portobellos, cremini)
3 to 4 cups of hot chicken stock ( I used homemade)or water
2-3 tablespoons Freshly grated Parmesan and some for garnish
Parsley to garnish

1. Heat the olive oil in a in a deep thick-bottomed pan sauté pan. Add onion and sauté for 4 minutes, until soft and clear. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add rice and stir to coat. Sauté until rice is translucent, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the wine. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Add the mushrooms that were sliced. Bring to a boil and add the hot chicken stock, stirring constantly, until liquid is absorbed. Add more stock and cook,do not cover stirring constantly for about 15 more minutes,add the Parmesan cheese keep stirring until risotto is cooked and creamy.Season to taste

3. Garnish with parlsey and grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately with a side of your choice or on it's own