Sunday, March 13, 2011

Soy Ginger Salmon

This marinade has a great combo of flavors, we loved it! Vahe told me that this was his favorite fish that I have ever made! I served it with asparagus sauteed in garlic and ginger with orzo.


Soy Ginger Salmon



Ingredients:
Marinade:
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb salmon fillet, cut into portion-sized pieces
olive oil

Directions:
1. Mix together ingredients, and let salmon marinate for 30 minutes - 2 hours. I like to just pour everything in a gallon-sized ziploc bag for easy clean-up.
2. Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Pan fry salmon, skin side down first. Cook 3-5 minutes on each side, or until done and flaky.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Crock-Pot Yogurt

My friend Lindsey has been making her own yogurt now for a while. She makes it on the stovetop, but recommended that I try it out using my crock-pot. I would have started making it forever ago if I had known how easy it would be! Although it takes a whole day to actually make, it doesn't even take 10 minutes of your time. Vahe and Kyah eat plain yogurt as-is (which I don't care for) but I made my own strawberry yogurt with some mashed strawberries and a little bit of honey. Seriously, it was SO much better than any store-bought yogurt I have had - without any corn syrup, artificial sweeteners or preservatives! Plus, I made a half gallon for less than a dollar. Can't beat the price either! You have to try it out, you'll never go back!


Crockpot Yogurt

Ingredients:
1/2 gallon whole milk
1/2 cup plain yogurt (try to get a whole milk variety instead of a low or non-fat, it will work better!)

Directions:
1. Pour milk into the crockpot, and set on low for three hours. After three hours, turn it off or unplug it for another three hours without removing the lid.
2. After the crockpot has been off for three hours, remove a cup or two of the warm milk, and wisk in the yogurt. Then, add it to the rest of the milk, stir well and replace the lid.
3. Wrap the crock-pot in a blanket or towel for insulation. Let it sit for 8-10 hours while the yogurt starter does its magic!
4. Ta-da! That's it! Pour the whey (the liquid on the top of the yogurt) off and refrigerate for another 8 or so hours before digging in! It will thicken up a little bit as it cools - but if you want it to be even thicker, let it drain in a cheesecloth or piece of fabric (I just use a piece of an old sheet) for an hour or so before (or even after) cooling.
5. Remember to save a 1/2 cup of the yogurt as a starter for your next batch!

You can really add in anything you want. I wouldn't use frozen fruit, though - it will probably make it runny. For my yogurt, I added a few mashed up strawberries and about a tablespoon of honey to 2 cups of yogurt. It was more then sweet enough (even for my sweet tooth!), and I'm sure it will keep well in the fridge for a week or so.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Falafel

Falafel makes an all-around great meal. It is easy to make, so healthy, keeps very well, and also super cheap to make. I like to eat it on a pita with hummus, tomatoes, lettuce, cilantro and feta. Vahe adds in cucumber and tzatziki. It is also great on salads, or just plain!

I make this using my food processor, but if you don't have one you can mash up the beans and mince the onion, garlic, and cilantro. A little more work, but well worth it!

This recipe will make quite a bit - I usually get in about 24. These will keep in your fridge for well over a week, or you can freeze them and use them later!

Falafel


Ingredients:
1 medium onion, quartered
6 cloves garlic
1 bunch cilantro (I'm a cilantro lover - so I put a ton in!)
2 cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 Tablespoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup water (give or take)

Directions:
1. Place onion, garlic, and cilantro in a food processor and pulse until minced. 
2. Add in the rest of the ingredients (except the water), and pulse until beans are crumbly. Do not over beat or your falafel will turn into hummus! 
3. By hand, mix in enough water to bring the mixture together, so that it will form into patties and not crumble. 
4. Form the mixture into 1/4-cup patties.
5. Now... cook them! There are many ways to cook falafel. I think that they are traditionally deep-fried. But, it makes me cringe a little bit to put something so healthy and yummy into so much oil, kinda ruins the health-factor altogether. 

I like to cook them until they are half-way done at 375 for about 8 minutes, then flip them and cook them 8 minutes longer. Then, when we are ready to eat - I heat up just a little bit of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and pan fry them until they are brown and crispy on the outside. If you plan to freeze the leftovers - just freeze them after you have baked them, and cook them the same directly from the freezer! 

You can also bake them until they are done, but you won't get the same crispness on the outside. You will probably end up baking them at 375 for about 15 minutes on each side.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Eggplant Leek Pizza

Eggplant Leek Pizza


Not really a recipe, more of an idea. Try topping your homemade pizza with eggplant slices and chopped leeks that have been lightly sauteed in olive oil. Cut the eggplant into 1/4-inch slices and salt well, then place between two paper towels for at least 20 minutes. This will draw out the excess moisture in the eggplant that could make the pizza soggy. Rinse off each slice, and pat dry before placing on the pizza. Top with leeks and bake as usual! A much healthier (and in my opinion, tastier!) alternative to pepperoni pizza!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Danish Pastries

Seriously. Don't even try making these if you are trying to watch your diet. Five minutes and 1500 calories after these come out of the oven, you won't be dieting anymore. They really are that good. Best served warm out of the oven or cold from the fridge the next day. Great for dessert, or for a special occasion breakfast!

Danish Pastries


Ingredients: 

Dough:
2 teaspoons yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 1/4 cups flour

Filling:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/3-2/3 cup sugar (use less sugar if using a sweetened jam or jelly, more for an unsweetened fresh berry or fruit)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
pinch of salt

1 cup jam or jelly OR 2 cups fresh or frozen berries
*If using frozen berries, let thaw and drain the juice before adding to the pastry.

Icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
a few Tablespoons of milk - enough to bring it to the right consistency 

Optional:
1/4 cup sliced almonds for garnish

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, mix together sugar and warm water. Sprinkle yeast on top and proof for 5-10 minutes, or until the yeast becomes foamy.
2. Melt butter in the microwave in a small bowl. Mix in sour cream, and reheat if necessary until mixture is smooth. Add butter, sour cream, salt and egg to yeast mixture. Gradually add in flour. Knead a few times until just combined, do not over knead dough.
3. Cover, and refrigerate dough for 2 to 3 hours.
4. Before you begin rolling out the dough, beat the filling ingredients together until smooth.
5. After the dough has finished rising in the fridge, punch in down and dive into two pieces.
6. Roll each out into a 10 x 20-inch(ish) rectangle. Transfer to parchment paper and cut 1-inch slices along each side of the dough, about 1/3 of the way in. Cut off the last slice on each row. (Hopefully this picture makes it make more sense.) If you are not using parchment paper, transfer the pastry to a lightly greased baking sheet before filling - it will be very hard to move later!
7. Spread half of the filling on to each pastry.
8. Then, top with jam or fruit.
9. Next, braid the dough by first folding over the end piece, then alternate sides, folding at a slight angle.
Continue braiding until you reach the last two sections, then fold over the end piece.
Finish the braid...
Then tuck the loose pieces underneath.
10. Cover, and let the pastry rise for another hour.
11. Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Transfer pastry and parchment paper to a baking sheet. Bake for 15-25 minutes, until the pastry is a light golden brown.
12. Combine icing ingredients, using enough milk to bring it to a pourable consistency. Drizzle icing over pastry and garnish with almond slices.


I have tried blueberry, blackberry, raspberry and apple pastries so far. Blueberry has been my favorite, and I really didn't care for the apple. (I don't think the almond extract really complimented the tart apple. Maybe substituting for vanilla extract instead would make it better?) I have also used both frozen and fresh berries - both have turned out great!

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