Focaccia with Lemon and Dill Marinated Grilled Chicken, Roasted Red Peppers and Feta

Focaccia with Lemon and Dill Marinated Grilled Chicken, Roasted Red Peppers and Feta

It has been a while since I have done a Focaccia bread. This time I thought that I would make it a meal in and of itself with lots of toppings. Grilled chicken, roasted red peppers and feta sounded like it would do the trick. It was pretty good even though most of the toppings kept falling off.

The Focaccia Bread:

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 pinch sugar
1 pinch salt
1 tablespoon yeast
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon olive oil

Directions:
1. Mix everything & knead.
2. Let rest (covered) in a warm place until it doubles in size.
3. Knock it down and flatten it out.
4. Place on a baking sheat with sprinkled with cornmeal to prevent sticking.
5. Let rise a second time.
6. Brush the olive oil on top of the bread.
7. Bake in a preheated 350 oven for about 10 minutes.
8. Add the toppings and continue to cook for another 10 minutes.


The Toppings:

Ingredients:
1 lemon (juice and zest)
2 tablespoons dill (chopped)
1 small chicken breast
1 roasted red pepper (cut into bit sized pieces)
1 ounce feta (crumbled)

Directions:
1. Marinate the chicken in the lemon and dill for about a half an hour.
2. Grill the chicken.
3. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces.

Roasted Mushroom Pesto on Penne

Roasted Mushroom Pesto on Penne

The other day I saw a recipe with oven roasted mushrooms and I thought, that would make a nice pesto. Instead of the standard pine nuts and basil I went with more earthy toned walnuts and parsley.

Ingredients:
1 cup water
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (or Shiitake)
1 tablespoon oil
4 ounces cremini mushrooms (quarterd)
salt and pepper to taste
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons walnuts (toasted)
4 tablespoons grated parmigiano-reggiano
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:
1. Boil the water and remove from heat.
2. Add the porcini mushrooms mushrooms and soak for 15 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 400F.
4. Toss the cremini mushrooms in the oil with the salt and pepper.
5. Place the cremini mushrooms in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
6. Place everything into a food processor and blend.

Similar Recipes:
Wild Mushroom and Double Smoked Bacon Linguine

Take a look at the Presto Pasta Nights roundup at Once Upon a Feast.

Shimeji and Aburage Miso Soup

Shimeji and Aburage Miso Soup

While I was at Sanko getting the ingredients for dashi I saw that they had fresh Shimeji mushrooms. I have been able to find shiitake and enoki mushrooms at local grocery stores but not shimeji. I quickly picked up a package. This was a tasty miso soup.

Ingredients:
1 cup dashi
2 ounces shimeji mushrooms
1 piece of aburage
1 tablespoon dill (chopped)
1 tablespoon miso

Directions:
1. Bring the dashi, shimeji and aburage to a boil in a small sauce pan.
2. Remove from heat.
3. Add the dill.
4. Dissolve the miso with some of the heated dashi in a separate bowl. (We do not want to boil the miso as it will not taste as good.)
5. Add the miso back to the soup.
6. Pour the soup into a bowl.

Does this soup look tasty? Check out the Closet Cooking Soup Cookbook Tasty Soups!

Chili Powder

Chili Powder

I have been using "Chili Powder" a lot in my exploration of Texmex cuisine, but what exactly is chili powder? If you look at the ingredients in the store bought blends you will see things like chili peppers, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, etc. Why is it that many recipes call for both chili powder and cumin if chili powder blends already contain cumin?

I decided to explore "Chili Powder" a bit more. There are a lot of different kinds of chili peppers to choose from. I decided to start with some common ones: anchos, chipotles, and guajillos. I went with equal amounts of each pepper. I decided to make a pure chili blend and add the extras (like cumin, oregano, onions and garlic) separately. It turned out pretty good. I will be tossing the store blend in favor of the home made blend. The chipotles add an amazing aroma and the powder is hotter than the store blends that I have been using. In the future I will have to try using different amounts of the chili peppers and using other types of chili peppers.

Ingredients:
2 ancho pepper (dried)
3 chipotles peppers (dried)
2 guajillo pepper (dried)

Directions:
1. Remove the stems and seeds from the peppers. (I cut the peppers in half with scissors so that I could get at the seeds.)
2. Heat the chilies in a heavy pan until they blister, about 5 minutes.
3. Break or cut the chilies into pieces that are small enough to fill into your grinder.
4. Grind the chili peppers into a powder in your grinder.

The sooner that you use it the better. Store in an air tight jar.

Note: If you have any cuts on your hands you may want to wear gloves as the chili oils burn. ouch!

Use in:
Chicken Fajitas

Similar Recipes:
Dukkah

Gorgonzola and Caramelized Onion Sauce on Penne

Gorgonzola and Caramelized Onion Sauce on Penne

I had some gorgonzola left over from the other night and I decided to make some pasta with a gorgonzola and caramelized onion sauce. This is a Bechamel sauce with cheese and caramelized onions. It was thick an sweet.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound onions (sliced)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup gorganzola
1/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano
2 tablespoons parsley (chopped)
salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Melt the butter in a sauce pan.
2. Add the onions and cook at med-low temperature until the onions are brown and caramelized, about 1 hour.
3. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan.
4. Add the flour and mix.
5. Add the milk, cheese, and onions and heat until the cheese is melted and the sauce is thick.

Similar Recipes:
Penne with Asparagus and Mushrooms in a Gorgonzola Sauce

Texmex Lasagna

Texmex Lasagna

Continuing on my texmex kick, a lasagna with layers of meat, cheese and jalapenos.

Ingredients:
1 pound ground beef
1 onion (chopped)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 & 1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 can kidney beans (drained & rinsed)
1 can corn
1 cup cheddar cheese (grated)
1 cup montery jack cheese (grated)
2 cups cottage cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 jar sliced jalapeno peppers
2 flour tortillas
1/4 cup black olives (sliced, optional)

Directions:
1. Cook the meat and the onion until the meat is done and the onion is tender.
2. Drain the fat.
3. Add the chili powder, cumin, tomato sauce, oregano, salt, pepper kidney beans and corn.
4. Cook for 5-10 minutes and remove from heat.
5. Mix 3/4 of the cheddar and 3/4 of the montery jack cheese with the cottage cheese and the sour cream.
6. Spread 1/3 of the meat mixture on the bottom of a baking dish.
7. Add a tortilla to the baking dish.
8. Add 1/2 of the cheese mixture.
9. Add 1/2 of the chili peppers.
10. Repeat 6-9 until done.
11. Top with the remaining cheese and black olives.
12. Bake in a per-heated 350F oven for about 30 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
King Ranch Chicken Casserole
Lasagna

Guacamole

Guacamole

Guacamole at its base is mashed avocados and from there you can start adding more ingredients. Lime juice is a common component of guacamole as it helps prevent the avocados from discolouring once exposed to the air. I like to keep my guacamole nice and fresh by using fresh ingredients like tomatoes, onions, jalapeno peppers, cilantro and cumin. I normally just throw my guacamole together without looking at a recipe and I include ingredients based on what I am using it for. If I am using the guacamole as a dip I would likely include everything in the recipe below. If I was using the guacamole as a side or as a filling for a tacos or a burrito I would probably omit some of the ingredients that were already present in the dish. If what I was serving the guacamole with was spicy I might omit the jalapeno pepper for example. I really like how smooth and cool and creamy guacamole is. It makes a nice foil for hot and spicy dishes. Guacamole is a really simple and versatile dish not to mention being oh so good!

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto on Penne

Roasted Red Pepper Pesto on Penne

When I was at the grocery store I saw something new. They were "long peppers" and they looked very tasty. I tried one raw and it was very good and really sweet. They are perfect for snacking or in a salad. I had been meaning to try roasting my own peppers for a while and this was the perfect opportunity. And so I made roasted red pepper pesto.

Ingredients:
2 roasted red peppers
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves (optional)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
2 tablespoons pine nuts (toasted)
2 tablespoons parmigiano-reggiano (grated)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Place everything into a food processor and puree.

Use in:
Grilled Goat Cheese and Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Sandwich

Similar recipes:
Greek Style Roasted Red Pepper Pesto
Roasted Tomato and Blue Cheese Sauce
Sundried Tomato Pesto
Greek Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Pasta with Feta and Kalamata Olives
Grilled Goat Cheese and Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Sandwich
Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Pesto
Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Alfredo Pasta

Take a look at the Presto Pasta Nights roundup at Once Upon a Feast.

Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros

For some reason I always seem to have leftover tortillas which is ok because there are lots of ways to use them up. Whenever I have leftover tortillas I toss them into the freezer and although they won't be pliable enough for use as tacos shells coming out, a bit of frying breaths new life into them. One of my favorite ways to use those leftover tortillas is in huevos rancheros or ranch style eggs. Huevos rancheros consist of the lightly fried corn tortillas, the eggs and a tomato chili sauce. The eggs can be done any way that you like and I prefer either fried or poached but scrambled also works. For the tomato chili sauce you can use your favorite though I recommend warming it first as you don't want it making your eggs cold. I tend to make a ranchero salsa because it is fresh, simple and it tastes great. Common extras include refried beans and guacamole. I sometimes like to skip a few steps and go with a simple jalapeno spiced black beans and sliced avocado.

Huevos Rancheros

Huevos Rancheros

(makes 2 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons corn oil
4 corn tortillas
4 eggs
1 cup jalapeno spiced black beans (warm)
1 cup jalapeno ranchero sauce (warm)
1/2 cup queso fresco (or feta, crumbled)
1 avocado (stoned, scooped and sliced)
1 handful cilantro

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Lightly toast the tortillas in the oil and set aside.
3. Fry the eggs sunny side up.
4. Place two tortillas on each plate and top with the black beans followed by the ranchero sauce, eggs and queso fresco.

Similar Recipes:
Huevos Motulenos
Salsa Verde Huevos Rancheros
Migas
Egg Enchiladas in Pipian
Chipotle Lime Shrimp Tostadas
Asparagus Huevos Rancheros
Mexican Baked Eggs
Chorizo Scrambled Eggs Breakfast Tacos
Breakfast Chorizo Quesadilla Topped with a Fried Egg
Corn and Black Bean Huevos Rancheros with Roast Zucchini Salsa

Jalapeno Salsa Ranchera

Jalapeno Salsa Ranchera

Salsa ranchera or ranch style salsa is a simple salsa that contains tomatoes, chillies and spices. It is commonly served warm which makes it perfect for huevos rancheros because no one wants the salsa that they just pulled out of the fridge to make their eggs cold. If fresh tomatoes are in season it would be better to use them but otherwise canned works as well. Though you can add your chilies in any way that you want, my favorite way is to simply add some fresh diced jalapeno peppers.

Jalapeno Salsa Ranchera

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon corn oil
1 small onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 jalapeno (chopped)
1 teaspoon cumin (toasted and ground)
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes (fire roasted is good)
1 handful cilantro (chopped)

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Add the garlic, jalapeno and cumin and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
4. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil.
5. Reduce heat and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.
6. Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro.
7. Puree in a food processor if desired.

Similar Recipes:
Roasted Serrano and Poblano Salsa Ranchera
Pico de Gallo
Salsa Verde
Korean Style Salsa Roja
Roasted Tomato Salsa

Use in:
Huevos Rancheros
Huevos Motulenos
Taco Pizza

Jalapeno Spiced Black Beans

Jalapeno Spiced Black Beans

Although I really like refried beans, sometimes am looking for something a little different and sometimes I want to experience the texture of the whole beans. It is times like these that I like to simply simmer the beans along with onions and some spices. Those spices tend to always include some toasted and ground cumin seeds and then some chili heat. The chili heat often comes n the form of some toasted and ground dries chilies but sometimes I am looking for something a little bit easier and freshly diced jalapenos work really well in this case. I don't know what it is, but there is just something about warm and creamy beans that is just so addictive! I could easily eat a batch of these beans in one siting! Mashing a few of the beans so that there is a creamy 'sauce' surrounding the remaining beans is always nice as well.

Jalapeno Spiced Black Beans

(makes 4 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon corn oil
1 small onion (chopped, optional)
1 clove garlic (chopped, optional)
1 jalapeno (diced)
1 teaspoon cumin (toasted and ground, optional)
1 (19 ounce) can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1/2 cup water (optional)

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 3-5 minutes.
3. Add the garlic, jalapeno and cumin and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
4. Add the beans and water and bring to a boil.
5. Reduce the heat and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.
6. Mash some of the beans with a fork if desired.

Similar Recipes:
Refried Beans (Frijoles Refritos)
Korean Style Refried Beans
Hot Cheesy Bean Dip
Black Bean Guacamole
Cilantro and Lime Refried Beans

Use in:
Huevos Rancheros
Huevos Motulenos
Salsa Verde Huevos Rancheros
Burrito Bowls
Chipotle Butternut Squash and Black Bean Burrito Bowl

Asparagus Frittata

Asparagus Frittata

The local asparagus is still coming and I am still enjoying it. This time it is a simple and tasty frittata. A frittata is an Italian style omelette that is finished under a broiler.

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1/2 pound asparagus (trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces))
6 Eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
Salt & Pepper
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (grated)

Directions:
1. Preheat broiler.
2. Heat oil in oven proof pan.
3. Saute onions until the onions are tender.
4. Add the garlic.
5. Add the asparagus, cover and cook until the asparagus is just tender. (About 6 minutes.)
6. Mix the eggs, cream (if using), salt and pepper.
7. Add eggs to the pan and cook until the eggs are almost set. (About 2 minutes.)
8. Sprinkle the cheese on top.
9. Place the pan under the broiler and cook until the cheese is melted and browned.

Similar Recipes:
Asparagus and Mushroom Quiche
Asparagus, Morel and Ramp Quiche with a Brown Rice Crust

Gnocchi in a Gorgonzola Sauce Topped with Fried Mushrooms

Gorgonzola Sauce on Gnocchi topped with Fried Mushrooms

Lately I have had a craving for Gorgozola cheese (an Italian blue cheese). I was searching the web for interesting recipes when I came across this recipe for Gorgonzola Sauce on Gnocchi topped with Fried Mushrooms that I just had to try. On the weekend I went the St Lawrence Market and got some freshly cut Gorgonzola cheese. (It is much better fresh than wrapped in plastic and sitting on a shelf for who knows how long.) I fried the gnocchi in butter so that it had a nice crisp and golden surface and a warm and chewy center. It turned out great! This is definitely a recipe that I will make again.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter
4 ounces mushrooms (sliced)
1 tablespoon butter
1 serving gnocchi (thawed before hand, if it was frozen)
1 cup bechamel sauce
1/4 cup gorganzola cheese
1/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano
1 tablespoon fresh parsley (chopped)

Directions:
1. Heat the butter in a pan.
2. Add the mushrooms and fry until just caramelizing.
3. Set the mushrooms aside.
4. Melt the butter in the pan.
5. Add the gnocchi, fry until golden and remove from heat.
6. Add the cheeses to the bechamel sauce and heat in a small sauce pan until the cheese melts.
7. Add the parsley and remove from heat.
8. Toss the gnocchi and the gorgonzola sauce.
9. Top with the fried mushrooms and garnish with parsley and parmigiano-reggiano.

Similar Recipes:
Pumpkin Gnocchi in a Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce
Steak Tenderloin in a Mushroom and Blue Cheese Sauce
Penne with Asparagus and Mushrooms in a Gorgonzola Sauce

Greek Meatballs (Keftedes) in Pitas with Tzatziki

Greek Meatballs (Keftedes) in Pitas with Tzatziki

Having seen this recipe for Greek Meatballs I just had to try it. Meatballs with dill, lemon and feta... They just have to be amazing! They are great by themselves, but toss them in a lightly toasted Greek style pita with some tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki and they are even better.

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 onion (finely chopped)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
1 pound lean ground lamb or beef or pork etc.
1 slice of bread (pulsed in a food processor)
1/4 cup milk
1 lemon (zest only)
1 egg
1 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon fresh dill or mint (finely chopped)
1/4 cup feta cheese (crumbled, optional)
salt & pepper to taste
* greek style pitas
1 tomato (chopped)
1/2 red onion (chopped)
1 cup Tzatziki sauce

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Saute the onions until tender.
3. Add the garlic and remove from heat.
4. Mix everything in a bowl.
5. Roll the mixture into balls.
6. Brown the meatballs in a pan. (About 8-10 minutes.)
7. Lightly toast the pita in a pan.
8. Place the meatballs, tomatoes, onions and Tzatziki sauce in the pita and enjoy.

Similar Recipes:
Chicken Souvlaki/Gyro
Lamb Souvlaki
Greek Style Nachos
Eggplant Wrapped Kebabs Baked in Tomato Sauce
Lamb and Mint Meatballs with Farro Risotto and Cilantro Pesto
Greek Style Pulled Lamb Pitas
Lamb Meatballs in Minted Tomato Sauce

Tzatziki (Greek Cucumber Salad)

Tzatziki (Greek Cucumber Salad)


Tzatziki is a Greek meze or appetizer that is made from strained yogurt, cucumber and garlic. Optional ingredients include herbs such as dill, mint and or parsley and lemon juice is also common. If you are feeling daring you can even hit it up with a splash of ouzo. In addition to being served as an appetizer it makes a great condiment especially when served in gyros or with souvlaki.

Tzatziki (Greek Cucumber Salad)

(makes 4 appetizer sized servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Greek yogurt or strained yogurt
1/2 cup cucumber (peeled, seeded, and shredded, squeezed and drained)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or mint (optional)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 splash ouzo (optional)
salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Mix everything and let chill in the fridge for an hour or more to let the flavours mingle.

Similar Recipes:
Melitzanosalata (Eggplant Salad)
Creamy Dilled Cucumber Salad
Htipiti (Greek Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Cheese Dip)
Cucumber and Feta Rolls

Use tzatziki in:
Lamb Souvlaki
Greek Meatballs (Keftedes) in a Pita with Tzatziki Sauce
Greek Zucchini Fritters with Tzatziki
Ntomatokeftedes (Greek Tomato and Feta Fritters) with Tzatziki
Kolokythokeftedes (Zucchini and Feta Balls)
Pumpkin and Feta Fritters
Greek Style Pulled Lamb Pitas
Greek Style Pulled Lamb Fries
'Souvlaki' Chicken Salad Sandwich with Roasted Red Peppers and Feta
Gyro Grilled Cheese Sandwich (aka Gyro Melt)
Chicken Souvlaki Salad
Chicken Gyro Grilled Cheese (aka The Gyro Melt)

Bibimbap

Bulgogi Bibimbap

Bibimbap is a Korean dish that consists of a bowl of rice with various vegetables and optionally meat. Bibimbap literally means stirred or mixed rice and although the dish is commonly presented with the ingredients on top of the rice they are normally all mixed together before eating them. Almost anything can go on bibimbap but vegetable toppings commonly include julienned carrot, cucumber, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach, bean sprouts, etc. An egg is also a common topping and it can be either fried or done as an omelette and julienned. Bibimbap is also commonly topped with meat and it is a great way to use leftover bulgogi, daeji bulgogi, ginger pork, etc. In general bibimbap is a great way to clean out the refrigerator. Of course bibimbap is also commonly topped with a chili sauce for a lot of heat.

Ingredients:
1 cup cooked rice
* meat such as bulgogi or daeji bulgogi or ginger pork or kalbi
* seasoned spinach
* carrot (julienned & blanched)
* cucumber (julienned)
* zucchini (julienned & blanched)
* serving bean sprouts (blanched)
* omelette (julienned)
1 tablespoon gochujang dressing

Directions:
1. Place all ingredients on rice & top with the sweet chili sauce.
2. Mix.

Simple Omelette


Ingredients:
1 egg
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon soy sauce

Directions:
1. Mix the sugar and soy sauce into the egg.
2. Pour the mixture into a small non-stick pan.
3. Cook until almost set.
4. Fold the egg in half and remove from heat.

Bibimbap made with leftover bulgogi (pictured above) all mixed up:
Bulgogi Bibimbap (Mixed)

Bibimbap made with leftover daeji bulgogi:
Daeji Bulgogi Bibimbap

Bibimbap made with leftover daeji bulgogi all mixed up:
Daeji Bulgogi Bibimbap (Mixed)

Similar Recipes:
Spicy BBQ Chicken Bibimbap
Bibim Guksu (Soba and Kimchi Salad)
Zucchini and Kimchi Quinoa Salad
Sweet Chili Chicken Rice Bowl
Kongnamul Bap (Korean Beansprout Rice Bowl)
Spring Quinoa Bibimbap with Asparagus, Fiddleheads, Fava Bean and Ramps
Summer Vegetable Bibimbap with Corn, Zucchini and Black Beans

Ginger Pork

Ginger Pork

Buta no shougayaki or fried ginger pork in a simple and tasty Japanese dish. The pork is marinated in a sweet and salty ginger marinade and then fried. Serve the ginger pork on some rice with some miso soup and a salad and you have a tasty and filling meal. Up until recently I have not really liked ginger but now I can't seem to get enough of it and I have been having ginger pork fairly often.

Tip: Freeze the ginger and it will grate without becoming all stringy.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons ginger (grated)
1 clove garlic (grated, optional)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sake
1 tablespoon mirin
1 teaspoons sesame oil
1 pound thinly sliced pork (or beef, etc)
4 servings rice (cooked)
4 green onions (chopped, optional)
sesame seeds to taste (optional)

Directions:
1. Mix the ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sake, mirin and sesame oil in a bowl.
2. Marinate the pork in the mixture for 20 minutes.
3. Heat the oil in a pan.
4. Add the pork and the marinade and saute until the pork is cooked and the marinade has reduced to a sauce.
5. Pour the pork and sauce over rice and garnish with Green onions and sesame seeds.

Similar Recipes:
Lemon Chicken
Sesame Chicken

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

Lately I was craving the peanut butter cookies that my grandmother used to make when I was young. They turned out pretty good. I tried to place them all on one sheet and they spread into each other when baking... The next time I will split them onto two backing sheets.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:
1. Cream together the butter, peanut butter and the sugars.
2. Beat in the eggs.
3. Add vanilla extract.
4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
5. Mix wet and dry.
6. Ball up a tablespoon of dough and place on a baking sheet.
7. Flatten with a fork making a criss-cross pattern.
8. Repeat 6 & 7 until done.
9. Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 8-10 minutes or until cookies begin to brown.

Similar Recipes:
Gingersnap Cookies

Lemon Spaghetti

Lemon Spaghetti

The other day I came across a strangely interesting recipe. All of the ingredients sounded good but would it work on pasta? I just had to try it. It turned out to be quite refreshing. I will have to make it again. Maybe some dill next time...?

Ingredients:
1 pound spaghetti
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)

Directions:
1. Cook the pasta.
2. Mix the olive oil, lemon juice and parmigiano-reggiano in a bowl.
3. Toss pasta with lemon sauce.
4. Garnish with lemon zest, chopped parsley and parmigiano-reggiano.

(Note: Recipe based on recipe by Giada De Laurentiis of Everyday Italian.)

Take a look at Presto Pasta Nights at Once Upon a Feast.

Chorizo and Scrambled Egg Burrito

Chorizo and Scrambled Egg Burrito

I picked up some chorizo sausage at the St Lawrence Market on the weekend. Along with some eggs they make a nice breakfast burrito.

Ingredients:
1/2 chorizo sausage (casing removed)
1 egg
1 flour tortilla
1 tablespoon cilantro (chopped)

Directions:
1. Cook the chorizo in pan.
2. Add eggs & scramble.
3. Add cilantro, mix and remove from heat.
3. Place meat, eggs & toppings in tortilla.

Possible Toppings:
* Salsa
* Sour Cream
* Cheddar or Montery Jack Cheese (shredded)
* Lettuce (shredded)
* Tomatoes (diced)
* Green Onions (chopped)

Similar Recipes:
Ham and Egg Buritto
Egg Enchiladas in Pipian
Cottage Cheese and Egg Muffins with Ham and Cheddar Cheese
Scrambled Eggs with Sundried Tomato and Parmigiano Reggiano
Burritos
Korean Spicy BBQ Chicken and Egg Burritos
Migas

Quesadillas

Quesadillas

My next stop in exploring texmex cuisine was the quesadilla. A quesadillas is a dish that consists of a tortillas filled with cheese and other ingredients. Once filled the quesadilla is either pan fried or baked ensuring that the cheese is nice and melted and gooey. You can put anything you want in a quesadilla though the one that I tend to see the most is filled with chicken, jalapenos and cheese. Since I had some shredded chicken left over from the chicken enchiladas in salsa verde from the night before I decided to use that. I fried the quesadilla with a touch or butter and the tortilla was crispy and nice and golden brown. I served the quesadilla with with salsa on the side.

Ingredients:
4 flour tortillas
2 cups shredded chicken
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
1/2 cup monterey jack cheese (shredded)
1/4 cup green jalapeno or green chili peppers (sliced)
2 green onions (sliced)

1. Prepare the filling by mixing the chicken, sour cream, cheese, peppers and green onions.
2. Heat some oil or melt some butter in a pan.
3. Add tortilla and sprinkle with a thin layer of the filling.
4. Cover the pan and let cook until the cheese melts and the tortilla turns golden brown. (About 1-2 minutes.)
5. Fold tortilla in half and remove from heat.

Similar Recipes:
Corn and Black Bean Quesadillas
Shrimp Quesadillas
Ham and Cheese Quesadillas

Chicken Enchiladas in Salsa Verde

Chicken Enchiladas in Salsa Verde

In addition to all of the asparagus recipes this week I was also trying some texmex meals. This was my first attempt at enchiladas. It turned out pretty good even though I was a bit short on the green sauce. I look forward to experimenting with different varieties of enchiladas in the future. I could not find any tomatillos so I had to use canned green sauce.

Ingredients:
4 flour tortillas
2 cups shredded chicken
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cheddar cheese (shredded)
1/2 cup monterey jack cheese (shredded)
2 cups salsa verde

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Prepare the filling by mixing the chicken, sour cream and half of the cheese.
3. Warm the tortillas to soften.
4. Place half of the green sauce in the baking dish.
5. Dip a tortilla in the green sauce.
6. Place the filling in the tortilla, wrap and place in baking dish seam down.
7. Repeat 5 & 6 until done.
8. Cover with remaining green sauce and top with remaining cheese.
9. Bake in oven for 15 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Chicken Enchiladas in Mole Sauce
Sweet Potato and Bean Enchiladas
Egg Enchiladas in Pipian
Thai Spicy Peanut Chicken Enchiladas

Texmex Shredded Chicken

Texmex Shredded Chicken

This is simple texmex spiced chicken that can be used in many dishes such as tacos, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, etc.

Ingredients:
1 small chicken
1 tablespoon oil
1 small onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 cup tomato puree
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Rinse the chicken.
2. Place chicken in a pot and cover with water.
3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.
4. Shred the chicken. (Forks work well for this.)
5. Heat the oil in a pan.
5. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
6. Add the garlic, chili and cumin and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
7. Add the shredded chicken, oregano, tomato sauce, salt and pepper and cook for 5-10 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Texmex Seasoned Ground Beef
Taco Seasoned Ground Beef

Used in:
Tacos
Taco Salad
Taco Rice
Taco Pasta
Burritos

Miso and Mustard Sauce

Spinach with Miso and Mustard Sauce

Green Beans with Miso and Mustard Sauce

Asparagus with Miso and Mustard Sauce

Miso and mustard sauce is a super quick and tasty way to dress up vegetables. It is sweet, salty, tangy and it has some kick. I have enjoyed miso and mustard sauce on spinach, green beans, asparagus, and brussels sprouts.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon miso
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
a touch of mustard

Directions:
1. Mix all ingredients.
2. Toss with cooked asparagus.

Similar Recipes:
Spinach with Feta Dressing
Black Sesame Paste

Black Sesame Paste

Spinach with Black Sesame Paste

Green Beans with Black Sesame Paste

Asparagus with Black Sesame Paste

Spinach is great when tossed in a black sesame (kuro goma) seed paste. Black sesame paste is really easy to make. The sweetness and saltiness plays nicely with the black sesame flavour. This sesame paste is also good on green beans and asparagus.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
1 teaspoon soy
1 teaspoon sugar

Directions:
1. Lightly toast the sesame seeds in a pan.
2. Grind the sesame seed in a mortar with pestle (or a small coffee grinder).
3. Mix everything.
4. Toss with asparagus.

Similar Recipes:
Spinach with Feta Dressing
Miso and Mustard Sauce

Asparagus and Aburage Miso Soup

Asparagus and Aburage Miso Soup

This is my favorite type of miso soup. I used instant dashi rather than making it from scratch. I will have to try making the dashi from scratch in the future. Miso soup goes well in the morning for breakfast along with a bowl of nattou on rice.

Ingredients:
1 cup dashi
1 piece aburage (sliced thinly)
4 stalks of asparagus (cut into 1 inch pieces)
1 tablespoon miso
1 green onion (chopped)

Directions:
1. Boil dashi, aburage and asparagus in a small sauce pan until the asparagus is cooked.
2. Remove from heat.
3. Dissolve the miso with some of the heated dashi in a separate bowl. (We do not want to boil the miso as it will not taste as good.)
4. Add the miso back to the soup.
5. Pour the soup into a bowl and top with green onion.

Does this soup look tasty? Check out the Closet Cooking Soup Cookbook Tasty Soups!

Asparagus Pesto on Penne

Asparagus Pesto on Penne

Having seen this recipe for Asparagus Pesto I just had to try it and it was very good. One of the best pestos that I have made. (Note: The spinach helps keep the bright green colour.)

Ingredients:
1 cup asparagus (cleaned, trimmed, blanched and chopped)
1/4 cup spinach (optional, helps keep the pesto nice and green)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
2 tablespoons pine nuts (toasted)
1/4 cup parmigiano-reggiano (grated)
3 tablespoons olive oil
lemon juice to taste (optional)
salt to taste

Directions:
1. Place everything into a food processor and blend.

Similar Recipes:
Fresh Pea and Mint Pesto
Fava Bean Pesto on Fettucini
Wild Leek Pesto Pasta

Cream of Asparagus Soup

Cream of Asparagus Soup

Spring is here and asparagus imported from Mexico and the USA has been in grocery stores for a few weeks now. On the weekend I was at the St Lawrence Market and they had the first of the local asparagus that I have seen. I picked up a lot of it!

One of the first things that I tried was cream of asparagus soup. I forgot to pick up the heavy cream that most recipes that I saw called for so I ended up replacing it with some plain yogurt. I also tried adding a bit of flavour by adding some miso. It turned out great. I will have to make it again.

Ingredients:
8 stalks asparagus (cut into 1 inch pieces)
1/2 small onion (chopped)
1 & 1/2 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth or chicken stock
1 tablespoon plain yogurt
1 tablespoon shiro miso

Directions:
1. Simmer the asparagus and onion in the chicken stock until tender.
2. Remove from heat.
3. Remove some asparagus tips and reserve for garnish.
4. Puree the soup.
5. Mix the miso with a few tablespoons of the soup in a small bowl.
6. Add the miso mixture and the yogurt to the soup and mix.
7. Pour the soup into a serving bowl and add the asparagus tips.
8. Garnish with parmigiano-reggiano if you wish.

Similar Recipes:
Creamy Asparagus Soup with Morel Mushrooms and Ramps
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Roasted Cauliflower and Red Pepper Soup
Carrot Soup with Dill Pesto
Cauliflower and White Cheddar Soup with Dill
Soupe a la Courgette (Zucchini Soup)

Does this soup look tasty? Check out the Closet Cooking Soup Cookbook Tasty Soups!

Where to find Japanese Groceries in Downtown Toronto, Ontario

I do a bit of Japanese cooking and at first I found it difficult to find Japanese groceries in Toronto. Some things that I have looked for and found include: miso, nattou, umeboshi, wakame, aburage, japanese curry roux, pocky, etc. I have found a few places where they are available. Sanko Trading at 730 Queen Street West has a nice selection of Japanese groceries and I have been able to find almost everything that I have looked for there. Little Tokyo at 199 Augusta Ave. (in Kensington Market) also has a nice selection of Japanese groceries. There are also a few shops in the St. Lawrence Market at 95 Front Street East that have a limited selection of Japanese groceries.