Category Archives: mostly carbs

almond ring coffee cake

Danish almond braid, blizzard braid
this is the best sweet dough i’ve ever made, up to now! it is tender to the bite but easy to mix and its filling of almond paste, cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar has just the right consistency and sweetness.
i started the dough on the night of the Super Blizzard “Nemo” before our power went kaput.
i thought that since it was freezing cold anyway it wouldn’t hurt to just let it rise, thinking that the blackout can’t last THAT long. well it did last 23 hours, but the mixing and the kneading of the dough really helped ease the stress of sitting out the storm. the result is this, and it’s a keeper. i just need to cut the dough deeper before twisting–i think that would make a huge difference in keeping the filling in instead of seeping out. i think i’ll also chill the formed dough in the refrigerator next time, instead of just out in the cold kitchen.
(recipe from Cook’s Country “Blue Ribbon Desserts”) or try sweet bread with with orange cream or honey-nut filling, or a fancy strawberry braid.

super-blizzard comfort food

the wind has just picked up, right on schedule. we’ve been glued to the Weather News–all the local channels are covering the super snowstorm and we are just holed up at home, keeping warm and watching the snow pile up.
sandwich loaf
from a King Arthur’s Flour recipe which i made before in my trusty bread machine.
to ease my mounting anxious restlessness i made some bread to go along with the little baby bries we got from Trader Joe’s. really tender and mild, you can eat the rind too!
soft and tender brie bites

when it’s cold, it’s perfect for making pastries. this recipe i’ve bookmarked for the longest time, i finally got to attempt. i recommend it highly! a tasty little appetizer treat. my two boys loved them. (daughter’s stuck in the dorm at her university.)
i would make it with stronger cheese next time too, instead of the cheddar and cream cheese.

they were made in muffin cups, and the pastry had to be blind-baked first. i puzzled over it for a while, and came up with the idea of using some muffin cup liners, instead of cutting out parchment circles, then putting the pie weights on before popping them into the preheated oven:
dough-filled, butter-greased muffin cups
blind-baking the little tarts before filling
tomato and cheese tartlets
i imagine a hearty red wine would accompany it very well. keep warm and safe, and make pastries!

roasted pumpkin and pasta

something different, not sweets for my sweets, for a bit of a change.
roasted pumpkin and pasta and cheese
this dish earned the co-starring role to husband’s main dish of wiener schnitzel (or you can co-star it with my pork schnitzel). i love how the pumpkins and sage go together! my sturdy little sage bush in the little patch of herb garden outside–in the frozen arctic air!–still had some soft little baby leaves. must remember: pumpkins and sage, pumpkins and sage.
i think it’s a great winter belly-warmer. just make sure and use a firm-fleshed pumpkin or squash.

2 tbsps. olive oil
1 lb. pumpkin or butternut squash (peeled, seeds removed, and cut into 1-inch cubes)

4 ozs. burrata mozzarella
2 ozs. ricotta cheese
(or just the equivalent of 6 ozs. fresh mozzarella cheese)
4 tbsps. unsalted butter, softened
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsps. chopped fresh sage leaves, plus extra whole leaves, to serve
grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
10 ozs. dried pasta, such us fusilli bucati or cavatappi, (i used penne) about 5 cups
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

preheat the oven to 400°F.
put the olive oil in a roasting pan and transfer to the oven for 5 minutes, until hot.
add pumpkin/squash to the hot oil in the roasting pan. add salt and pepper and toss to coat. roast for 30 minutes, turning the pumpkin or squash from time to time until tender and golden.

put the mozzarella, ricotta, butter, garlic, sage, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper in a food processor. work into a coarse paste. transfer to a sheet of wax paper or cling film and roll into a cylinder. chill for at least 20 minutes or until firm enough to slice.
mozzarella butter

prepare pasta according to package directions, to al dente.
drain and return to the warm pan. add the roasted pumpkin or squash. slice or chop the mozzarella butter and add to the pasta.
toss, and top with sage leaves.
(based on a recipe from “easy vegetarian, simple recipes for brunch, lunch and dinner”, pub. Ryland, Peters & Small, ed. Sharon Ashman, 2003.)

baked pasta: mezzi rigate with sausage and prosciutto in a creamy parmesan sauce

that about says it all yes?
baked pasta with sausage and prosciutto
everyone seems to be running around being Santa’s helpers. sometimes dinner becomes an oopsy afterthought: “oops! what shall we have for dinner then?!”
this is a quick pasta dish which came about from rummaging through the refrigerator and pantry shelves. my kids all were happily sniffing about in the kitchen while i was cooking.
it could be a side dish or the main dish–we served it alongside tilapia tempura and arugula salad.
recipe? Continue reading

spinach and artichoke lasagna

“A world without lasagna is a world without love.”–anonymous (but i suspect Garfield)
from “For the love of Lasagna,”
i’ve been going to the charity shop QUITE often, lately. i got so many books, 😆 :goodvibes :yes: :drunk: :bouncy :cheerful: oh yeah i go there for the books. :fryingpan and i picked up a little pamphlet of lasagna recipes.
my kids and i love lasagna but i wanted a change from the usual meat and cheese, or the vegetable and tomato sauce types, that i pounced on the first recipe that made me go hmmmm: spinach and artichoke lasagna made with no-boil dried pasta, and a really lovely ricotta cheese layer. it is served in a little puddle of marinara sauce (it’s okay to use bottled sauce, but homemade would be even more sumptuous).
it truly is the ultimate comfort food–especially for the chilly days being served up to us right now–and maybe eight, no, maybe nine! months more. :faint:

spinach & artichoke lasagna pan
sorry for the photo! it was sliced while still quite hot.
spinach & artichoke lasagna on marinara
here’s the recipe.

Yorkshire puddings, with rib roast dinner

it might have something to do with my latest obsession, watching old episodes of The Vicar of Dibley. i just always snubbed this show, being that it dealt with a Vicar. how funny can it be, i thought, dealing with the Church and the bible.
but i saw the Christmas special finale, the one where Geraldine finally found her someone, and it was so irreverently hilariously outrageously funny that i thought i’d track down all the old episodes (it was put down after 10 years on air, circa 1994.)

it might also have something to do with my Anglophilia, according to husband.
he brought home a rib roast for our dinner tonight. i had almost two hours to roast it so i had a moment of Domestic Goddessness and dug out her “Feast” cookbook to make these lovely little gems.
Yorkshire puddings, the traditional accompaniment to the Christmas roast beast, always look so enticing with their puffed up gloriousness that i’ve always been wanting to try.
how much should Yorkshire puds rise?
now, i’ve had quite a bit of a struggle with her recipes, and this one is no exception: i thought it lacking in instruction but since i’d seen an episode with another self-proclaimed Diva (Tita Martha) with A Real Diva, Anne Willan, i was able to make some passable enough for my family to enjoy.
i think it’s got a lot to do with the pan used (i used a jumbo-muffin pan, but it’s said that a twelve-cup one will work, just as well as an 8-inch round cake pan), and will be on the lookout for a popover pan, the kind where the cups are deeper and divided by thin wires. or maybe the oven temperature wasn’t quite hot enough… my kids said it tasted like rich thick crepes. which they like.

substitute melted butter if you haven’t had the time to get drippings from the rib roast.
roast beef drippings to line the muffin pan

4 eggs
1 & 1/3 cups 2% milk (i used half 1 % milk and half heavy cream, because that’s all i had)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 & 2/3 cups flour

preheat oven to 425ºF.
whisk together eggs, milk and salt until combined then let stand at least 15 minutes. whisk in flour then let stand until ready to bake.

pour about a tablespoon or so of roast beef drippings or melted butter into each muffin/popover pan cup. heat in the oven before pouring in the batter.
pudding batter
bake for 15 – 20 minutes until puffed up and browned.
Yorkshire puddings
Yorkshire puddings with peas and gravy
it was certainly a welcome and delicious change from just mashed potatoes and gravy. the puddings when smothered in peas and gravy went very well with the juicy rib roast.

and no, there was no special occasion, unless you count making it to Friday, a special occasion. :drunk:

“dirty” rice

grey gloomy glum weather again, and still cold, but. at least…. it’s FRIDAY!
i’m not too fond of the name of the dish (it just reminds me too much of the sisid *as in dive underwater* rice stories my Ma told us, about the harrowing times during WW2 :brokenheart: ).
Southern style rice sounds a bit better, but then how to distinguish it from the what, several hundred? kinds of dishes with rice from the South.
so dirty rice it is.
chicken livers, chicken gizzards. you like?
Southern "dirty" rice
we love! husband discovered how to make this, one of our favorite side dishes for fried chicken when we buy it from our preferred take out joint (hint: named for a sailor man who loves his spinach, canned. his goyl’s name is Olive Oyl.)
i used duck gizzards but otherwise followed the recipe to the letter…except i was a bit worried that pulsing the livers, as the recipe commands, would render it bitter so i just roughly chopped them up, same way as the gizzards.
i’m thinking of adding some thick cubes of bacon next time, just to make it even more wicked.
fried chicken, yes, but i think it would also be a good foil (foyl?) for grilled fish or shellfish, Cajun style perhaps?
from Continue reading

chicken and basil fried rice

our bodies are almost cold and numb now from the unforgiving winter (we all forgot how cold it normally is in Boston and vicinity). we do get a little reprieve and they’re calling it a non-snow weekend.
comfort food, hot and spicy, it is then.
this is one dish that all three kids like. we usually order this whenever the mood for Thai food strikes us, at the little take-out place round the corner. my usual complaint is the sparsity(sparseness?), scarcity, kakuriputan?, of ingredients. i mean come on! i can understand skimping on shrimp and shellfish but chicken? tasty as it may be, and easy as it is to just call for an order, i thought i’d try and make this at home. anyway a bunch of fresh Thai or holy basil is only about $1.50 a bunch.
and i can drown it in chicken.
strip away the leaves from the stems…the scent is intoxicating.

i didn’t put in a lot of chilies. i chopped up a third of a serrano chili and then the rest i put in a dipping bowl with a squeeze of lemon and fish sauce.
jasmine rice
make sure rice is cold and dry and fluffed, to keep grains separate.

i forgot to take pictures until we had finished dinner–this is the portion we saved for our college boy.
chicken basil fried rice

i used skinless and boneless chicken thighs. (or use sliced lean pork or beef if you like).
this recipe was the guide, except that i decided to marinate the sliced bite size chicken in light soy, dark soy, fish sauce, and sugar instead of adding them on later.
over medium high heat, in a wok, stir fry 6 finely crushed garlic cloves until golden, then add the chicken. stir fry till the chicken is no longer translucent. add shallots, onions, chilies, green onions.
mix well then add the rice. season to taste then add the basil leaves and toss it about for a bit until the leaves are wilted.
your kitchen should be very fragrant at this point.

[canned] food finds

this is what i was craving:
pancit palabok,
shrimp and garlic sauce over rice noodles, with a sprinkling of something fishy and smoky, as is traditional.

pancit palabok w/ canned oysters, mussels....
but i didn’t have much time. i didn’t feel like cooking a pot of squid adobo, or smoking anything in particular during this cold and chilly day, with the windows all sealed tight (last time i smoked something on a wintry day one of my guests almost passed out!!!).
i watched a rerun of my favorite TV chef, Tony Bourdain in Spain….and he was indulging in the most decadent of canned seafood, –i mean, $175 a can! they gotta be soooo goood. off i went to my Asian grocery store to forage for something more affordable. like maybe 10% of the price might be just a smidgen of a hint of how good it could get.
i knew i did not want to buy anything canned from China…for all the obvious reasons. so when i found these Spanish octopus and mussels,
Spanish canned mussels

canned Octopus
and oysters from Korea,
canned oysters
along with some freshly thawed shrimp from a bag imported from Thailand….it was just about as good as i’ll ever get from here in the rapidly freezing up Northeast portion of the USA…

–with a lot of help from Vietnamese fish sauce, scallions, boiled eggs, lime wedges, and pounded pork cracklings, and a MaMa Sita palabok sauce pouch.

squidly spaghetti

certainly not for the squeamish.
if you have to deal with whole squid that is. to me, finding freshly thawed previously frozen squid is like discovering a vein of gold in the back yard, because i can remember a distant time when i lived in a little village in upstate New York when there was none to be found. not a shrimp, fresh fish, or oyster was to be had.
i never take it for granted no sir!

i guess it is just not typical fare for a majority of Americans–i once met a New Jersey boy raised on peanut butter and jelly and potatoes and he told me squid was fishing bait! tsk tsk tsk.

whenever i came home to my Ma in Manila she always made sure there was adobong pusit on the table for my first meal back. hands down the best way to have pusit–freshly caught.

so, feeling that urge for a squid binge after chatting with my old friend Carole who told me about Saba squid with soy sauce and chili, which i did not find in my Asian grocery, i decided to buy a couple of pounds of fresh squid instead and to cook this squid and spinach and pasta dish that we used to order from an Italian restaurant near us….based on a recipe from Ruth Rogers and Rose Grey (of London River Cafe fame)’s Italian Two Easy(i used spinach instead of their zucchini).

it’s truly a revelation!
now i’ve discovered marjoram, which mixed with lemon zest and juice, elevates squid into fragrant and most unfishily unsquidly heights.
1 lb. squid
1 bag spinach, 12 ozs. (or 1 lb. zucchini, sliced, salted, rinsed, drained)
2 garlic cloves
1 dried hot chile
1 lemon
extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsps. fresh marjoram leaves or 2 tsps. dried
11 ozs. spaghetti

prepare the squid by pulling away the head and tentacles from the body. cut off the tentacles and squeeze out the beak. open the body out into a flat piece and scrape away the soft interior pulp. finely slice the body. separate the tentacles. wash and pat dry.

peel and finely slice the garlic. crumble the chile. grate the zest of the lemon finely, then squeeze out the juice.
heat a large, thick bottomed skillet, add 3 tbsps. olive oil, and when smoking hot, add the squid and dried marjoram, if using, like i did… (otherwise add fresh marjoram with the spinach). stir briefly, then add salt, pepper and chile, followed by the garlic. stiry fry just to brown the squid. add the spinach, lemon juice and zest, (and the fresh marjoram). stir. remove from heat.

cook spaghetti per instructions then drain and add to the squid mixture. toss, and serve with drizzled olive oil.
(i also sprinkled a tiny bit of romano cheese on mine)….