Greek Panzanella Salad

Greek Panzanella Salad

I have been meaning to try a panzanella salad for a while but I never seem to have the old crusty bread when I think about it. A panzanella salad is a salad that includes bread that is typically old and crusty. I had a Greek salad earlier in the week and I still had all of the ingredients on hand. I thought that a Greek panzanella salad would be pretty good. The bread was pretty stale and I wanted it to soften up a bit so I threw it in a bowl and mixed in the tomato so that the bread absorbed all of the tomatoes juice. The salad turned out pretty good. The bread really soaked up the dressing and ended up being pretty flavourful. I will definitely be thinking of a panzanella salad the next time I have some bread that is getting stale.

Grilled Eggplant and Goats Cheese Tower

Grilled Eggplant and Goats Cheese Tower

It is getting near the end of the week and I was looking into cleaning out my fridge. Among other things I had a half an aubergine, a half of a roasted red pepper, some marinara sauce and some goats cheese. I remembered seeing a photo of some stacked eggplant slices and decided to make an eggplant tower. I really like grilled eggplant so I grilled the eggplant slices first. It turned out pretty good though it was a bit light. The eggplant that I had was rather small and there was not enough left for a second so I added a salad to complete the meal.

Picadillo

Picadillo on Rice

I was looking for a way to use up some of the leftover chipotle peppers in adobo sauce that were sitting in my fridge when I came across picadillo . Picadillo has an interesting combination of flavours. In addition to the chipotles in adobo sauce, it contains cinnamon, raisins and sometime green olives. This dish is spicy hot, savory and sweet all rolled into one. I tried it without the olives this time but next time they will be going in. This recipe made a lot so I will be bringing it to work with me for lunches.

Melon Salad with Prosciutto and Goats Cheese

Melon Salad with Prosciutto and Goats Cheese

I picked up a cantaloupe at the farmers market on the weekend. I was enjoying it with some blueberries and I wondered if there were any other interesting ways of eating cantaloupe. I looked around the web and found several melon salad recipes that sounded tasty. A few of them caught my attention because they contained prosciutto. How can you go wrong with a salad that contains melon, prosciutto, goats cheese and toasted pine nuts? It seems that I have been eating a lot of salads lately. Salads really do seem to hit the spot on warm summer days.

Bibim Guksu (Soba and Kimchi Salad)

Bibim Guksu (Soba and Kimchi Salad)

While I was looking for recipes with kimchi I came across My Korean Kitchen which is a great site with a lot of good looking Korean recipes. The first dish that caught my attention was this one for soba and kimchi salad . This salad is really good! I have already had it twice! The noodles in the salad are served cold and the kimchi and the dressing add a spicy heat making this a perfect summer dish. The salad has a nice mixture of textures from the soft and chewy noodles to the crisp and crunchy carrots and cucumbers.

Honey-Chipotle Barbecue Chicken Sandwich

Honey-Chipotle Barbecue Chicken Sandwich

I am always on the lookout for new tasty sandwich ideas. I came across this tasty looking sandwich a while ago and bookmarked it to try later. The combination of honey, chipotle, cumin and melted smoked mozzarella cheese is really amazing. The sandwich was a bit messy but it made a really tasty Sunday lunch. I think the next time I make this I might try adding some corn.

Kimchi Jjigae (Pork and Kimchi Stew)

Pork and Kimchi Stew (Kimchi Jjigae)

I was searching the web for recipes that used kimchi and I found several for Kimchi Jjigae or kimchi stew. The main recipes that I found were for pork and kimchi stew. I saw some variations of this dish that replaced the pork with canned tuna (which sounds good) and and some that used tofu in addition to the pork. Many of the recipes called for gochujang which is a spicy Korean condiment made of fermented soy beans, rice and chili powder. Keep in mind that both the kimchi and the gochujang are spiced with chili powder so be careful with the amounts that you use if you do not like it really hot. This stew was pretty easy to make and it was really tasty. I have really enjoyed the few Korean dishes that I have tried so far. I am going to have to start looking for a Korean cookbook.

Watermelon and Feta Salad

Watermelon and Feta Salad

When I was at the market this morning I saw some yellow watermelons that looked pretty tasty. I don't normally get watermelons because I walk to get my groceries and a watermelon is a little heavy to carry home. My walk home from the farmers market takes about 30 minutes so I would normally pass on getting a watermelon. But, I remembered seeing this post on watermelon and feta. The idea of feta and watermelon together intrigued me enough to pick up a melon and carry it home. I was having problems cutting the watermelon into perfect squares so I decided to just cut it into chunks. I crumbled the feta and tossed it and the melon together in a bowl. I also added some basil. It was pretty good. The salty and dry feta really contrasts nicely with the sweet and wet watermelon. I think that mint would also go really well in this.

Peach Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Peach Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette

Tonight was a night for leftovers and cleaning out the fridge. I finished up the last of the tomato sauce from the beginning of the week on pasta. I also had some peaches that needed to be finished off and I though that I would try putting one in a salad. The salad ended up a bit bare as there was not much in the fridge but it tasted good regardless. Sometimes simple is best. I got to try a new salad dressing, a maple balsamic vinaigrette.

I have only recently started making my own salad dressings. It is pretty easy to make your own dressings. The basic components of a dressing are oil and vinegar. There are many types of both oil and vinegar and you can use different combinations of them to make different flavours of dressings. You can also add other ingredients to salad dressings: sweeteners like honey, heat from chilis, herbs, garlic, roasted red peppers, pureed raspberries, etc. There are so many different dressings just waiting to be discovered.

I look forward to further experimentation with salad dressings. Though I will also have to learn how to decide which ingredients go well together in the dressing and which dressing go with which salads.

Buta Kimchi Donburi

Buta Kimchi Donburi

I have been meaning to try kimchi for a while now. Kimchi is a Korean dish of fermented vegetables. Kimchi is typically seasoned with chili peppers and is usually hot. I had seen some cabbage kimchi at a local asian grocery store but I had been wondering what I could do with it. I came across a dish call buta kimchi donburi or pork and kimchi rice bowl here . Buta kimchi donburi is a Japanese dish that uses the Korean kimchi. This dish was tasty and really showed off the flavour and spiciness of the kimchi. I really enjoed the kimchi and I will be looking for more ways of using it.

Greek Salad (Horiatiki Salata)

Greek Salad (Horiatiki Salata)
This is a more traditional Greek salad, one without lettuce, that typically consists of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peppers, olives, feta, olive oil, oregano and sometime a splash of red wine vinegar. This salad is super easy to make where you basically just need to slice the veggies and you are good to go! The feta is commonly served as a big slab on top of the salad but you can also serve it with the feta crumbled. This salad makes for a great side or even a light meal and it's perfect in the summer with all of the field ripened veggies around!

Tilapia Baked in Salsa Verde

Tilapia Baked in Salsa Verde

I have been meaning to try tilapia for a while now. I have pan fried fish before; I have broiled fish before; but I have never baked fish before. I have heard of baking chicken in salsa so I thought that I would try baking the tilapia in some of the leftover salsa verde. Baking the tilapia in the salsa kept the fish really soft and moist. The tilapia was pretty good and the salsa verde added a nice flavour to the dish. A really quick and tasty meal.

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Wow, tomato based pasta dishes three nights in a row! I am really enjoying the fresh local vine ripened roma tomatoes. Normally when I make a tomato sauce I use tinned tomatoes but I have been meaning to try making it with fresh tomatoes for a while. I chose to do a fairly simple sauce to so that the tomatoes were the focus of the sauce. The tomato sauce turned out pretty good. It was light, tasty and summery fresh. It is definitely worth using fresh tomatoes while they are in season.

Roasted Tomato Pasta

Roasted Tomato Pasta

For my second dish with the fresh local vine ripened roma tomatoes I could not resist making one of my favorite pasta sauces, an oven roasted tomato sauce. This pasta is easy to make and super tasty. Instead of cooking the sauce in a pan on the stove you roast the sauce in the oven. It is really easy; you just chop everything up and roast it in the oven for a while. Roasting the tomatoes in the oven concentrates their flavour. An added benefit of roasting the sauce is that it fills your place with an amazing aroma. I just did a basic tomato sauce as I wanted the tomatoes to be the stars of the show but you could easily add eggplant, or zucchini, etc. If you prefer a chunky sauce you could just mash the tomatoes with a fork instead of chopping it in a food processor.

Fresh Tomato Pasta

Fresh Tomato Pasta

The fresh local vine ripened roma tomatoes are finally here. I picked up a basket of them at the farmers market this morning. For my first dish using the tomatoes I wanted something that would have the fresh tomatoes as the star of the show. I decided to do a fresh tomato pasta. This is a pretty simple pasta dish. You just need to cook the pasta, saute the garlic and throw everything together. I really like this dish because it shows off the fresh tomatoes, basil and parsley. This dish is summery and fresh.

Nasu Dengaku (Eggplant Broiled in Miso)

Nasu Dengaku (Eggplant Broiled in Miso)

Over the last few weeks I have been enjoying many eggplant dishes. Given my obsession with Japanese cuisine, I looked for a Japanese eggplant dish. I came across this recipe for eggplant broiled in miso. This dish just could not go wrong; I like miso and I really like broiled eggplant. The miso is salty and the sugar adds a sweetness and this sweet and salty mixture goes really well with the broiled eggplant. Asian eggplants are a longer and thinner dark purple variety of eggplant that I was able to find at the local grocery store.

Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde

Back in May when I made the Chicken Enchiladas in Green Sauce I had wanted to make the green sauce (or salsa verde) from scratch but I was unable to find any tomatillos . I was a bit depressed because I could not recall having ever seen any tomatillos in any grocery store ever. I resigned myself to using canned salsa verde. When I was at the farmers market on the weekend I saw some tomatillos and quickly picked them up!

Salsa verde is pretty simple to make. You pretty much just cook the tomatillos and blend everything into a salsa. It was great! It was super fresh, it had a great flavour and some heat. I wanted to enjoy the salsa verde for itself so I used it as a dip for tortilla chips. I made a enough that I have some left over that I look forward to using in another dish.

The article on wikipedia says that tomatillos can be frozen. I think I will try to get some more and freeze them so that I can make my own salsa verde again when I cannot find fresh tomatillos.

Update (10/22/2008):
I have made salsa verde a bunch of times over the last year and I have tried playing around with it in different ways. One of the first new things that I tried was roasting the tomatillos as suggested in the comments below and it turned out great! Roasting vegetables always adds a lot of flavour. I also tried adding some chipotle chilies to add some smokey heat to the salsa verde and it also turned out really well.

Black Sesame Ice Cream

Black Sesame Ice Cream

Once, long ago, I had a black sesame ice cream at a Japanese restaurant. I really liked it but I could never find it at a grocery store. After getting an ice cream maker it was bound to be one of the first ice creams that I tried to make. I was however, unable to find a recipe for it... I decided to take the basic vanilla ice cream recipe from the instruction book that came with the ice cream maker and modify it to suite. It turned out pretty good. I really like the flavour of black sesame and it goes well as a dessert.

Given that the instruction manual that came with the ice cream maker only has about a dozen recipes in it, I will have to look for a book of ice cream recipes.

Pizza with Grilled Chicken, Roasted Red Peppers, and Asiago Cheese

Pizza with Grilled Chicken, Roasted Red Peppers, and Asiago Cheese

I have been wanting to try making a pizza from scratch (including the dough and the sauce) for a while now. Since the red peppers at the market were looking so good I decided to go with a grilled chicken and roasted red pepper with asiago cheese pizza. This is one of my favorite pizza topping combinations. The dough turned out pretty good. It was crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. The pizza sauce was a bit plain... I will have to try playing around with it. I did not end up forming a very good circle with the dough but that did not affect the flavour. It was pretty good. I think I will be making my own pizzas from now on rather than getting them from a store. And there are so many topping combinations to explore!

Simple Pizza Sauce

This is a really simple pizza sauce.

Basic Pizza Dough

This is a basic pizza dough. It has a nice crispy crust and a soft inside. If you place cornmeal under the dough it helps to prevent it from sticking to the baking dish.

Saganaki

Saganaki

Saganaki is a really tasty of fried cheese snack. Halloumi or kasseri cheese is fried in butter and lemon. When the cheese is fried it takes a really nice texture. The outside is crispy and the inside is warm and chewy. It has a really nice salty and lemony flavour.

Pepper Sauce

Pepper Sauce

The other day I was watching Jamie at Home on the Food Network and he did some kind of pepper dish. I am not really sure what it is so I will just call it a pepper sauce. It sounded pretty interesting with roasted red peppers, chili's, onions, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. I could not find any red chili peppers so I used jalapeno peppers. It was pretty interesting. It was a bit sweet, hot and flavourful.

Asagohan (Breakfast)

Asagohan (Breakfast)

I was going through some of my photos and I came across this one that I had forgotten to post about. This is my typical work day breakfast (asagohan). It is a fairly traditional Japanese style of breakfast. It consists of green tea, umeboshi (a pickled plum), some yogurt, miso soup and nattou (fermented soy beans) on rice. The breakfast may look a bit large but I normally eat breakfast at about 6:30am and I normally have lunch at 12:30 so the breakfast needs to hold me over for a while.

Oven Roasted Eggplant and Mushroom Miso Soup

Oven Roasted Eggplant and Mushroom Miso Soup

I have really been enjoying the eggplants this year. I just had to try and eggplant miso soup. I ended up doing an oven roasted eggplant and mushroom miso soup. Simple oven roasted eggplant is really good. The oven roasted mushrooms added a really nice flavour to the broth. I think that this oven roasted eggplant and mushroom miso soup is my new favorite miso soup!

Blueberry Fool

Blueberry Fool

I had some blueberries left over and I was looking for a something to do with them. I came across a dessert called a fool. A fool is basically pureed fruit folded into whipped cream. A simple cool treat for warm summer days. With all of the fresh fruits and berries around right now there are a lot of choices.

Raspberry Sorbet

Raspberry Sorbet

For my second "ice cream" I decided to do a sorbet with some of the fresh raspberries from the local farmers market. Instead of pureeing and straining the raspberries as called for in the instructions that came with the ice cream machine I just mashed the raspberries with a fork. This left some of the raspberries globes intact and they froze more than the rest of the sorbet. The frozen raspberry globes gave the sorbet an interesting texture. The sorbet turned out pretty good. It had a nice texture and tasted great. Sorbets are really simple and the abundance of fresh fruits and berries right now it makes for a lot of possibilities. I really like knowing exactly what is in the "ice cream" that I make.

Melitzanosalata (Greek Eggplant Salad)

Melitzanosalata (Greek Eggplant Salad)


I could not let eggplant season go by without trying this tasty looking recipe for melitzanosalata or a Greek eggplant salad or dip similar to a baba ghanoush. The base melitzanosalata recipe calls for grilled aubergine, olive oil and lemon juice. This recipe adds some garlic and feta for flavour and some parsley for colour. Unfortunately I do not have a grill so I was forced to broil the eggplant in the oven. It turned out really well! I ate it as a dip with baked pitas and I ended up finishing it all in one sitting. I now have one more tasty eggplant recipe in my collection. I have really been enjoying eggplants so far this summer!

Szechuan Prawns on Soba Noodles

Szechuan Prawns on Soba Noodles

I have been seeing some really nice looking dishes with prawns or shrimp lately. I have never really cooked prawns before* and I wanted to give it a try. I went to the market and got some raw tiger shrimp that was still in the shell. Luckily the fish monger had cut open the shell and de-veined the shrimp already so all I really had to do was remove the shells and rinse the prawns. I decided to go with a spicy szechuan style sauce. I let the sauce reduce a little too much while waiting for the noodles to cook and there wasn't much left to cover the soba noodles. It tasted pretty good though. I really liked the prawns. The prawns had an amazing firm and juicy texture. I will definitely have to try more dishes with prawns!

*When I was a kid I did not like seafood and thus I never really ate it. Recently I tried it again and found that I now liked it. I still don't eat much seafood but I am trying to eat it more often.

Moussaka

Moussaka

I got some more egg plants at the farmers market on the weekend. I have been wanting to try a moussaka for a while now and I took this opportunity to make it. Moussaka is dish that typically has three layers; a layer of vegetables (commonly eggplant or aubergines), a layer of meat sauce and a layer of white sauce. This was my first time eating and making moussaka. It turned out pretty good. It was pretty easy to make (even if it took a while), and it was tasty. I really liked the way that the cinnamon in the meat sauce and the nutmeg in the bechamel sauce added a really amazing spiced aroma to this savory dish. I will definitely be making this dish again.

Blueberry Jam

Blueberry Jam

Continuing on the blueberry theme, I did a blueberry jam next. The blueberries were much easier to prepare for jam than the strawberries or cherries. I just needed to rinse them, pick out any bad ones and remove a few stems. I used a mixture of cultivated and wild blueberries. The blueberry jam set really well. With only a few hours to set it was solid enough to be a bit difficult to spread on lightly toasted bread. The next time I make jam I am going to have to try making it without the use of pectin to see how it goes.

Blueberry and Lemon Coffee Cake

Blueberry Coffee Cake

The local blueberries are in season and I could not let them go by without making one of my favorite breakfasts, blueberry coffee cake. This recipe comes from my mother. I really like the way the sugar on top is crispy and lemony. The coffee cake itself is light and fluffy and full of blueberry goodness. This coffee cake freezes well so you can easily store any leftovers for another time.

Chicken and Mango Curry Salad

Chicken and Mango Curry Salad

I still had some mangos to use up and I remembered seeing this recipe for Chicken and Mango Curry Salad. I still did not have any plain yogurt, so once again I used peach yogurt. I had just picked up a jar of mango chutney and I thought I would try tossing some in. I had some leftover cooked chicken in the fridge so all I really had to do was assemble everything. It took no time at all to make and it tasted great. With a combination of mango mayo and curry how can you go wrong?

Matcha and White Chocolate Ice Cream

Matcha and White Chocolate Ice Cream

I have been seeing a lot of amazing looking home made ice cream recipes on a lot of of blogs lately. When I saw this one made with two of my favorite flavours, matctha and white chocolate, I was no longer able to hold off getting an ice cream maker. I was lucky and found the Cuisinart ICE-20C on sale with an extra freezer bowl.

Chicken and Mango Curry

Chicken and Mango Curry

They had some really nice looking mango's on sale at the grocery store on the weekend. I had been enjoying them as snacks all week but I realized that I would not be able to finish them soon enough. I needed to use them quicker. I had just tried some mango chutney and really liked it so I thought that a mango curry would be interesting. This is a variation of my standard curry recipe. (I forgot to pickup some plain yogurt and ended up using the peach yogurt that I had on hand.) It turned out a little too sweet but pretty good. The heat from the peppers and the curry spice helped to balance out the sweetness.