Sunday, March 27, 2011

Saturday Soup lunch

Well another great soup from Seasonal Pantry. The soup this week was Vegetable Beef Barley. The ingredients: veal stock, vegetable stock, onion, celery, turnip, barley, lemon, chili flakes, salt, and pepper. I don't know how Dan does it but the vegetables are always crunchy and not mushy. I appreciate the fact the salt does not overpower the wonderful flavors. Not one ingredients overpowers the others. So, again after slurping down this soup I am looking forward to another soup Saturday.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Can't help myself

Well I did it again, I ordered another cookbook and a DVD this time. Sometimes things are too to pass up.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Another addition to my cookbook family

When I purged my cookbook collection I guess deep down I did it not to organize my workspace but to buy new books. And to my surprise, I think I have more books now then before I reorganized. But every cookbook needs a good home. This newest addition is no exception. This is one special book, I have been on a wait list for a long time and it finally came back in stock. It comes in a box and wrapped in purple tissue paper. The cover is padded and and the pages are illustrated with beautiful photographs. This book will be used but I will need to protect it when used. Welcome home.  Ladureé: The Sweet Recipes.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Marketplace Athens, Greece

Rabbits hanging in the window
Pig parts
Local fish
Octopus and squid
More octopus
Fish mongers 
Catch of the day
Another fish monger
Vendor selling grapes
Vendor posing for a picture
Red peppers
 Varieties of olives
Men of the market

It's always fun to go to the main marketplace of any major city. While in Greece we took a morning trip to the market. After a wonderful cup of Greek coffee and pastries we stepped into the middle of a crazy, wild busy place. The market  is broken into two sections one side you will find meat and fish and the other  side you will find fruits, vegetables which includes nuts and the wide variety of olives.  If you happen to have some free time in Athens stop by and wader the stalls and marvel at the variety of foods.

It's National PI Day

Pie dough waiting the filling
So, you're not a math geek and instead love pie, it's ok, celebrate anyway. To celebrate I made a Macadamia Nut pie. This orginaly was a tart recipe but I am trying to make a pie worthy of entry into the DC "state" fair.  This is adapted from Martha Stewart Desserts cookbook. I added 1 teaspoons of expresso power  to enhance the coffee flavor and 1 tablespoon of kaluaha instead of bourbon, even though bourbon is also good. I though that my dough was a little tough and it shrank as it baked. Not my best pie dough but it still tasted great.

  • 1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • Pate Sucree
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon bourbon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups unsalted whole macadamia nuts, (10 1/2 ounces)


  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll pate sucree into a 14-inch circle. Fit pastry into an 11-inch tart pan; trim dough evenly along edges. Use trimmings to patch any thin spots in shell. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, and bourbon until combined. Whisk in flour, salt, and butter; stir in chocolate. Pour mixture into chilled tart shell. Cover top with nuts, pressing them halfway down into filling.
  2. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. and continue baking until crust and nuts are golden, about 35 minutes. If tart gets too brown, place aluminum foil over top for remainder of cooking time. Cool on wire rack.
Kahlua and chocolate
Pies in the oven
Pies out of the oven, cooling
One to eat, one pie to freeze for later
Ready to eat
Chocolate Macadamia Nut Pie

Read more at Chocolate Macadamia Nut Tart - Martha Stewart Recipes 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday Soup lunch

Again, Seasonal Pantry came through with another great soup, Mushroom. It was one of my favorite soups growing up, besides cream of tomato. Onions, milk, creme fraiche, white wine, bay leaf, salt, pepper, blended together this soup is rich, creamy and full of flavor without additives and a lot of sodium.  In other words this is one great soup, again.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Apple Cake

When a dear friend of mine retired at the end of last year I asked him what could I make for him. He said that was a nice gesture but not necessary. I told him it was not to share with his staff but to take home and enjoy. He came back the next day and told me "Jewish Apple cake". I searched the internet for a recipe and had picked one with few ingredients. To adapt this recipe I added boiled apple cider to the apple mixture and when I didn't have any orange juice,  I added a 2 tablespoons of lemon juice mixed with the more boiled apple cider to make 1/4 cup of citrus. When  I set out to make this cake I hoped that I had found a good recipe.
The batter was sticky and gooey, but I have to admit that it certainly did not look like it was enough batter. I thought that failure was eminent. But after baking, to my surprise, it was a beautiful cake.
The report that I got from my friend the day after he took it home was wonderful. They had eaten some and sliced up the rest to freeze to enjoy at a later date. This cake was moist and will now be my go to cake when I need to bring a dish.

This recipe is adapted from

Mom’s Apple Cake

6 apples, (I used McIntosh apples)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons of boiled apple cider

2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

I also used 2 tablespoons of boiled apple cider mixed with lemon juice to make 1/4 cup instead of the 1/4 cup of orange juice.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan. Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. Toss with cinnamon and sugar and set aside. I added boiled apple cider to the apple mixture.

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.

Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean.

Apples with cinnamon, sugar and boiled cider

Cake ready for the oven

Apple cake

Out of the oven

Waiting to be devoured

Ready for a close up

Ready to eat
I also found this one

Printed from COOKS.COM

Grease a tube pan and set aside

Put the following in a large bowl and mix until smooth:

3 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. cooking oil
4 unbeaten eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. orange juice
2 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 tsp. baking powder

Mix together in another bowl:
3 cups apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 tsp. cinnamon
3 tbsp. sugar

Spread  1/2 of the cake mixture in the pan. Spread 1/2 of the apples then spread the rest of the cake batter. Top with the remaining apples.Bake at 350°F. for about 40 minutes, or until cake tests done. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Tuesday

Shrove Tuesday is also called Fat Tuesday (in French, Mardi=Tuesday; gras=fat, as in "pate de foie gras", which is liver paste and very fatty), because on that day a thrifty housewife uses up the fats that she has kept around (the can of bacon drippings, or whatever) for cooking, but that she will not be using during Lent. Since pancakes are a standard way of using up fat, the day is also called Pancake Tuesday. In England, and perhaps elsewhere, the day is celebrated with pancake races. The contestants run a course while holding a griddle and flipping a pancake. Points are awarded for time, for number and height of flips, and number of times the pancake turns over. There are of course penalties for dropping the pancake.
Celebrate and eat up

A stack of flapjacks

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Saturday Soup lunch

This weeks soup from Seasonal Pantry was Green Lentil. The ingredients: ham hocks, mustard greens, veal stock, onion, jalapeno, garlic, ginger, curry, chat masala and of course green lentils. What a wonderful not overly spicy soup.