Closet Cooking Logo

Light Swirl Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze

Light Swirl Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze

This months FoodTV.ca's Cooking Clubs Challenge was a Light Swirl Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze by Christine Cushing. I just couldn't pass up on the chance to make a tasty sounding recipe with maple syrup. The coffee cake itself sounded interesting because of its use apple butter. I have been interested in trying apple butter for a while and this was the perfect opportunity. Along with the apple butter the coffee cake uses yogurt and thus promised to be nice and moist. The coffee cake also advertises a swirl which sounded like fun. The swirl is formed by half of the coffee cake being chocolate and the other half being plain. Overall the coffee cake sounded pretty good. The recipe called for the coffee cake to be baked in a bunt cake pan but I did not have one so I just used a standard 8x8 inch baking pan. Both the apple butter and the coffee cake were easy to make. The coffee cake was nice and moist and light and fluffy. The maple glaze was of course really good. I could not really taste the apple butter in the coffee cake but then again I could easily spread some apple butter onto a slice of the coffee cake. My favorite way to enjoy baked goods is with melting butter while still warm from the oven and this coffee cake was no exception.

Ingredients:
2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup white sugar
2/3 cup butter unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 cup plain yogurt
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons apple butter
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon ginger

Directions:
1. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and sugar in a large bowl.
2. Beat in the butter and half of the yogurt and continue to beat for a few minutes.
3. Mix the eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, apple butter and the rest of the yogurt in another large bowl.
4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients in 3 batches beating in between additions.
5. Pour half of he batter into another bowl.
6. Mix the cocoa powder into one of the bowls.
7. Pour the chocolate batter back into the rest of the batter and fold 2 times.
8. Pour the batter into a greased and floured baking pan (a bunt pan or an 8x8 inch baking pan).
9. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until a tooth pick poked into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes.
10. Bring the maple syrup, corn syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger to a boil in a small sauce pan.
11. Let the coffee cake cool and drizzle with the glaze.

Light Swirl Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze

Similar Recipes:
Cranberry Crumb Coffeecake

Apple Butter

Apple Butter

I have been wanting to try apple butter ever since I heard about it. Apple butter is basically a concentrated for of apple sauce where the sugar in the apples caramelizes and turns dark brown. It gets its name from the fact that it has a thick butter like consistency. Apple butter is pretty easy to make. You essentially just simmer some apples, sugar and spices until the the apples start to turn dark and then puree them. In addition to being easy to make the apple butter is really good. The apple butter that I made is disappearing quite quickly.

Ingredients:
10 apples such as Granny Smith (peeled, cored and sliced)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup apple juice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves

Directions:
1. Simmer everything in a pot until the apples are soft, most of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce is thick and dark brown.
2. Puree the mixture.

Similar Recipes:
Roasted Apple Sauce
Pumpkin Butter
Apple Chutney

Dorie's Perfect Party Cake

Dorie's Perfect Party Cake

This months Daring Bakers challenge was Dorie's perfect party cake. I had mixed feelings about this challenge. On the one hand, I had never baked a cake before and I was really looking forward to trying. On the other hand, the last time that I tried making a butter cream it did not work out...

Cake


The cake recipe seemed pretty straight forward and easy but for some reason the cake did not rise at all. Luckily I had enough ingredients to try making the cake again. I figured that I would either be able to use the second cake if it came out right or in the worst case I would be able to use both the first cake and the second cake to get the required 4 layers if it did not rise. The second time I paid even closer attention to the directions, but it did not rise either... I am not sure what went wrong but in the end I had enough cake to continue.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups whole milk or buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract

Directions:
1. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
2. Mix the milk and eggs in a large bowl.
3. Mix the lemon zest and sugar together in a large bowl. Rub them together with your fingers.
4. Beat the butter into the sugar until they are light.
5. Beat in the vanilla extract.
6. Beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture until incorporated.
7. Beat in 1/2 of the milk mixture until incorporated.
8. Beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture until incorporated.
9. Beat in the the remaining milk mixture until incorporated.
10. Beat in the remaining flour mixture until incorporated.
11. Pour the batter into 2 greased and lined 9x2 inch round baking pans.
12. Bake in the middle of a preheated 350F oven until a tooth pick comes out clean, about 20-30 minutes.
13. Let the cakes cool.
14. Cut the cakes in half.

Buttercream


I was not looking forward to making the butter cream as I had not been able to get it right the last time. Before starting I made sure that everything was ready and at hand and fully at room temperature. I pulled out my bowl and trusty pair of forks and got to beating. For the final step of beating the eggs and butter the recipe called for 6-10 minutes of beating time using a machine. I figured that doing it by hand would take longer but at the 10 minute mark the eggs and butter were still liquid and did not seem to be getting any thicker. I decided that if by 20 minutes of beating nothing had changed I would throw in the towel. Then at the 15 minute mark all of a sudden the eggs and butter went from a liquid to perfectly thick and smooth cream. The butter cream was really amazing! It tasted great and it had a really nice texture. I had a hard time keeping my finger out of the bowl while I assembled the cake.

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1/4 cup lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Whisk the sugar into the egg whites in a bowl over a pan of simmering water until the mixture is hot to the touch, about 3 minutes. (The sugar should be dissolved and the mixture should look like shiny marshmallow cream.)
2. Remove the bowl from the heat and beat until the cream is cool, about 5 minutes.
3. Beat in the butter one stick at a time.
4. Beat the mixture until it thickens and becomes smooth, about 10-20 minutes.
5. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla extract a bit at a time until they are incorporated.

Assembly


I decided to decorate my cake with fresh strawberries as there were some really nice looking ones at the store. By going with a strawberry theme I also got the chance to use some of the strawberry jam that I made last year. Assembling and frosting the cake was pretty easy and kind of fun.

Ingredients:
1 jar strawberry jam
* fresh strawberries

Directions:
1. Spread a layer of jam onto the top of one slice of cake.
2. Spread a layer of the butter cream onto the bottom of another layer of cake and place it on top the the first layer.
3. Continue in this fashion until all layers of cake have a layer of jam and butter cream between them but do not place jam on the top layer.
4. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining buttercream and decorate with strawberries.

Dorie's Perfect Party Cake
Dorie's Perfect Party Cake
Dorie's Perfect Party Cake
Dorie's Pfect Party Cake
Dorie's Perfect Party Cake
Dorie's Perfect Party Cake
Dorie's Perfect Party Cake
Dorie's Perfect Party Cake
Dorie's Perfect Party Cake


In the end the cake turned out pretty good! It looked nice and tasted great. The cake park of the cake was a little denser than I would have liked but it tasted good and that is what matters most. I am still not sure why the cake did not rise properly but things worked out so it was not a big problem. I was really pleased with the buttercream. I came into this recipe not really even liking the concept of a buttercream and I came out really enjoying it. I look forward to using buttercream again in the future.

Dorie's Perfect Party Cake

Similar Recipes:
Chocolate Stout Cake with Bailey's Cream Cheese Frosting

Use the leftover egg yolks in:
Guinness Chocolate Pudding
Hollandaise Sauce
Avgolemono Sauce
Azuki (Red Bean) Ice Cream
Black Sesame Ice Cream

Take a look at the other Daring Bakers creations.

Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower

I had heard a lot about roasted cauliflower and how good it was. I had even heard it compared with popcorn. (Perhaps that is because it looks a little like popcorn. I had always just chalked it up as a way to try to get kids to eat healthier.) When I made my roasted cauliflower and red pepper soup I made sure to try some of the roasted cauliflower and it was pretty good. Good enough to get another head of cauliflower and roast it up to snack on. I enjoyed it by itself but I imagine that it would be good with dukkah or curry powder, or even dipped in hummus.

Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower (cut into florets)
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Toss the cauliflower florets in the olive oil with the salt and pepper.
2. Arrange the cauliflower florets in a single layer in a baking dish.
3. Roast the cauliflower in a preheated 400F oven until lightly golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.

Use in:
Creamy Mushroom and Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Strawberry Sour Cream Bread

Strawberry Sour Cream Bread with Melting Butter

I have been seeing a lot of imported strawberries in the grocery stores lately and that reminded me of the fact that strawberry season was coming in a few months. I also remembered that I had frozen a lot of strawberries from last year and they were still taking up a lot of my precious little freezer space. I would have to use the frozen strawberries before strawberry season starts! Besides I would need that freezer space for my ice cream makers bowl and all of the ice cream that I plan on making during the summer. :)

Recently I have been enjoying quick breads and I though that using the frozen strawberries in a strawberry quick bread would be a good idea. Since strawberries and sour cream go well together I wanted to use some in the quick bread. I found this recipe for a strawberry sour cream bread that sounded pretty good. Most quick bread are as simple as mixing the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients and then combining them but this recipe called for mixing them a bit at a time. It was still really easy and took almost no time at all. The baking bread of course filled my apartment with an amazing aroma. When the bread was still warm from the oven I had to give it the standard taste test with melting butter and it was really good! I had the strawberry sour cream bread for breakfasts during the week and I changed it up a bit each time. One morning I had the bread with some strawberry cream cheese and another morning I had it with some of the strawberry jam that I made last strawberry season and it was good both ways.

The strawberries looked great when they went into the freezer and they looked the same when they came out of the freezer but the nice red colour dulled when they thawed and they shrunk. The thawed strawberries certainly did not look all that great but they still tasted good. In fact I think that freezing the strawberries may have enhanced their flavour a bit. It seems that frozen strawberries are fine for when you want some nice strawberry flavour but they are not so great when you want nice looking strawberries. The frozen strawberries were good for a recipe like this bread but they are not the most photogenic. I like to try to eat locally grown foods when I can so in the end I guess it works out.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup toasted pecans (coarsely chopped)
2 cups strawberries (fresh or frozen)

Directions:
1. Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl.
2. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
3. Beat in the vanilla.
4. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in another bowl.
5. Mix 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the wet.
6. Mix 1/2 of the sour cream into the wet ingredients.
7. Mix 1/3 of the dry ingredients into the wet.
8. Mix the remaining sour cream into the wet ingredients.
9. Mix the remaining dry ingredients into the wet.
10. Mix in the strawberries.
11. Pour the batter into a greased 9x5 inch loaf pan.
12. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until golden brown and a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean, about 60 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Strawberries and Cream Coffee Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Glaze
Curried Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Chocolate Chip and Sour Cream Banana Bread
Sweet Potato Bread with Praline Sauce
Banana Bread
Strawberry Greek Yogurt Banana Bread

Strawberry Sour Cream Bread

Strawberry Sour Cream Bread with Cream Cheese

Strawberry Sour Cream Bread with Strawberry Jam

Dukkah

Dukkah

A while ago I was watching Ricardo and Friends on the Food Network and he made something called Dukkah which sounded pretty interesting. Dukkah is an Egyptian blend of nuts, seeds and fragrant spices. I searched the web and quickly found a bunch of recipes and each of them had a different combination of nuts, seeds and spices. I tried to distill all of the recipes down to the core ingredients of a basic dukkah and came up with this combination. Most of the dukkah recipes used either almonds or hazels nuts but I decided to use both. I wanted a chunkier texture so I just chopped the nuts by hand though you could place them into a food processor to make a finer dukkah. One recipe called for dried lemon zest which I will have to try next time.

Since dukkah is used to add flavour to dishes toasting the nuts, seeds and spices is an important step to bring out the full flavour of all of the ingredients. Since I was already toasting so many things I decided to toast up some chili peppers and made a fresh chili powder blend for the dukkah.

The dukkah turned out to be pretty aromatic and tasty. I first tried the dukkah by dipping bread in olive oil and then in the dukkah. Since then I have used the dukkah as a garnish on soups, salads and other vegetables (like roasted cauliflower). Dukkah sounds like it would make a great crunchy crust for fish, chicken, pork chops, etc. I keep finding myself thinking, "Can I put dukkah on this?".

Ingredients:
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon* chili powder (optional)

Directions:
1. Toast the almonds and hazelnuts in a preheated 350F oven until fragrant, about 10-15 minutes.
2. Finely chop the nuts after the cool.
3. Toast the sesame seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns one at a time in a pan until fragrant, about 1-3 minutes.
4. Grind the seeds and peppercorns in a mortar and pestle.
5. Mix every thing together.

* Mix in the chili pepper a little at a time and test the heat with some bread and olive oil.

Similar Recipes:
Chili Powder

Recipes that use Dukkah:
Roasted Cauliflower and Red Pepper Soup
Dukkah Crusted Cod

Roasted Cauliflower and Red Pepper Soup

Roasted Cauliflower and Red Pepper Soup with Dukkah

Recently I have really been enjoying simple vegetable soups. I am still surprised by how such simple recipes can make such great soups. Many vegetable soups only have a few ingredients and yet they are so tasty. A while ago I came across this recipe for roasted cauliflower and red pepper soup. I really like roasted vegetables as roasting them adds a lot of flavour. Roasted red peppers are among my favorite roasted vegetables and I just had to try a roasted red pepper soup. I had also been wanting to try roasting cauliflower so I roasted the cauliflower as well. This soup was super simple to make though it took a bit of time roasting and simmering. It turned out really tasty! The roasted red pepper was the star flavour and the cauliflower contributed a really nice texture and thickness to the soup. There are a lot of things that you can garnish a vegetable soup with including sour cream, fresh chopped herbs, pestos, etc. I garnished mine with a bit of sour cream the first time and some dukkah the second time. The dukkah was really good as a garnish for the soup. It added a bit of spice and heat and a nice contrasting crunchy texture.

Ingredients:
1 head cauliflower (cut into florets)
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon oil
1 onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
2 roasted red peppers
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
3 cups stock or water (add more to thin the soup out if you like)
1 tablespoon heavy cream (optional garnish)
1 tablespoon sour cream (optional garnish)
1 tablespoon dukkah (optional garnish)
1 tablespoon herb (optional garnish, chopped)

Directions:
1. Toss the cauliflower florets in the olive oil with the salt and pepper.
2. Arrange the cauliflower florets in a single layer in a baking dish.
3. Roast the cauliflower in a preheated 400F oven until lightly golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.
4. Heat the oil in a pan.
5. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
6. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
7. Add the cauliflower, roasted red peppers, cayenne and stock.
8. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the cauliflower is tender, about 20 minutes.
9. Puree with a hand blender.
10. Serve garnished with heavy cream or dukkah or chopped herbs etc.

Similar Recipes:
Roasted Cauliflower and Poblano Pepper Soup
Cauliflower and White Cheddar Soup with Dill
Cream of Asparagus Soup
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Creamy Mushroom and Roasted Cauliflower Soup
Roasted Cauliflower and Aged White Cheddar Soup
Cauliflower Soup

Looking for more soup recipes?

Dolmades (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

Dolmades (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

Dolmades are grape leaves that are stuffed with various ingredients. I had never eaten grape leaves before and the idea of stuffing them with a tasty filling sounded really good. I have been wanting to try making them ever since I saw Peter's dolmades post. I recently came across a jar of grape leaves and the dolmades quickly made it to my meal plan.

I had a bit of trouble getting the grape leaves out of the jar as they were packed in so tightly but after that they were fairly easy to work with. I covered the grape leaves in boiling water to make sure that they were tender. (You could also boil them briefly.) I also rinsed them a few times to remove any salt from the packing liquid. The grape leaves that I got had their stems removed so that was one less step that I had to do.

Overall the dolmades were pretty easy to make though it took a bit of time to stuff all of them. They turned out pretty well. One of the reasons that I really enjoy Greek cuisine is because it commonly includes lots of mint and dill which are two of my favorite herbs. With the herbs, feta and avgolemono sauce the dolmades were really tasty! The grape leaves themselves were nice and I look forward to using them again.

Ingredients:
1 jar grape leaves
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 pound lean ground beef (or lamb)
1/2 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup tomato puree
1/2 cup feta (crumbled)
1 lemon (zest)
1 bunch of green onions (sliced)
1/4 cup dill (chopped)
1/4 cup mint (chopped)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
* chicken stock
2 eggs
1 lemon (juice)

Directions:
1. Separate the grape leaves and place them in a large bowl.
2. Cover the grape leaves in boiling water and let soak for 20 minutes.
3. Drain the water and rinse the leaves a few times.
4. Heat the oil in a pan.
5. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
6. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
7. Mix the onions, garlic, ground beef, rice, tomato puree, feta, lemon zest, green onions, dill, mint salt and pepper in a large bowl.
8. Place a grape leaf on a flat surface with the vein side up.
9. Place a tablespoon of filling in the middle of the leaf and fold the sides over the filling and roll the leaf up. (See Peter's post for some good step by step photos showing how to fold the grape leaves.) Repeat until all of the filling is used up.
10. Place stuffed grape leaves into a baking dish in layers and just cover with chicken stock.
11. Bake in a 375F oven for about 1 hour.
12. Whisk the eggs in bowl over a small pan of simmering water until frothy, about 3 minutes.
13. Slowly pour in the lemon juice while whisking.
14. Add some of the liquid from the baking dish and continue whisking until it thickens.
15. Mix most of the avgolemeno sauce into the dish with the dolmades reserving some for garnish.
16. Serve the dolmades garnished with the reserved avgolemeno sauce and some chopped dill and or mint.

Similar Recipes:
Lahanodolmades (Stuffed Cabbage)
Kolokithakia Gemista (Stuffed Courgettes)
Lamb Exohiko (Lamb Stuffed Phyllo Parcels)

Take a look at the Weekend Herb Blogging roundup at The Houndstooth Gourmet.

Baklava

Baklava

Baklava is one of my all time favorite desserts and I have been wanting to try making it for a while now. I kept putting it off because the recipe sounded a little bit intimidating. The baklava has actually made it to my meal plan a few times but I either ran out of time or forgot to thaw the phyllo dough. I finally got over procrastinating and got to it and made baklava. It wasn't nearly as hard as I though it would be.

Moroccan Lamb Tagine

Moroccan Lamb Tagine

Recently I have come across several Moroccan dishes that have sounded pretty interesting. They are interesting because they tend to include a lot of spices and flavour combinations that I would not normally think of using. The Moroccan dishes also used dried fruit and harissa for some sweetness and some heat.

I have also come across several tagine dishes. A tagine is a clay pot with a lid that braises meat very efficiently. The tagine can be baked in the oven or it can be cooked on the stove if the tagine has a metal bottom.

In the end I decided to go with a Moroccan lamb tagine. This dish could also be made with beef but I went with lamb since there is a lot of nice looking lamb in the stores now. Since I don't have a tagine I braised the meat in a covered pot at low heat on the stove. The Moroccan inspired lamb tagine turned out really well. The flavour combinations were really amazing. The spices, the sweetness and the heat all balanced out well. I served the lamb tagine on lemon and mint couscous and garnished it with toasted almonds and cilantro and parsley. Overall it was a very tasty meal.


Moroccan Lamb Tagine


Ingredients:
2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 pinch saffron
1 lemon (zest)
1 tablespoon oil
1 pound lamb (cut into bite sized pieces)
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 tablespoon ginger (grated)
2 tablespoons tomato paste (I used chopped sun dried tomatoes)
1-2 cups beef stock
2 carrots (cut into bite sized pieces)
1/2 cup dried apricots (chopped)
1/2 cup dried dates (chopped)
1/2 cup dried figs (chopped)
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons harissa
1 tablespoon cilantro (chopped)
1 tablespoon parsley (chopped)
1 tablespoon toasted almond slices

Directions:
1. Mix the paprika, turmeric, cumin, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, salt, ginger, garlic, coriander, saffron, lemon zest and oil in a ziplock bag, add the lamb, mix well and marinate the fridge for a few hours to overnight.
2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat, add the lamb, brown well on all sides and set aside.
3. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
4. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for about a minute.
5. Add the lamb, tomato paste, beef stock, carrots, apricots, dates and figs bring to a boil, reduce the meat and simmer covered until the lamb is fall apart tender, about 2-3 hours.
6. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.
7. Add the honey and harissa.
8. Serve garnished with cilantro, parsley and toasted almonds.

Slow Cooker: Optionally implement steps 1-4, place everything except the cilantro, parsley and almond in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-10 hours or high for 2-4 hours.

Lemon and Mint Couscous


Ingredients:
1 cup water
1 cup couscous
1 lemon (juice)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon mint (chopped)

Directions:
1. Bring the water to a boil and mix in the couscous.
2. Turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
3. Mix the lemon juice and oil in a bowl.
4. Mix the lemon and oil mixture and mint into the couscous.

Similar Recipes:
Irish Lamb Stew
Apricot Lamb Tagine
Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Olives and Preserved Lemons
Artichoke and Fava Bean Tagine
Moroccan Nectarine and Plum Chicken Tagine
Moroccan Roasted Carrot and Chickpea Quinoa Salad
Ossobuco Tagine
Pumpkin and Chicken Tagine

Kare Pan (Curry Bread)

Kare Pan (Curry Bread)

I though I had experienced the best that curry had to offer. Japanese curry is one of my favorite meals and it is hard to improve on something that is already so good. I was wrong. Curry bread is the ultimate way to experience curry!

Kare pan or Japanese curry bread is curry wrapped in bread and covered in panko bread crumbs. It is normally deep fried though it can be baked. Curry bread is a popular dish in Japan.

This was my first time making or eating curry bread. This was also only my second time deep frying. I was a bit worried about the deep frying but it turned out ok. Since this recipe uses a yeast based bread it requires some rising time. I am glad that I made this dish on a day off as it took a while.

The kare bread was amazing!! The golden brown crust was nice and light and crispy and the inside was soft and moist. I of course ate them while they were still warm. Each bite was a crisp, soft, warm, and tasty moment of utter enjoyment. A moment that disappeared all to quickly along with the all of the curry bread. I can not believe that simply placing the curry into crispy deep fried bread can make it so much better.

I ran out of curry before I had used all of the dough so I formed the extra dough into balls, fried them and rolled them in sugar and cinnamon. They made for a tasty desert for the curry bread meal.

Doughnut Bits

So ends the week of curry. A very tasty week indeed!

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon yeast
1/4 cup water (lukewarm)
3 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted and cooled)
1 cup water
1 cup leftover curry
1 egg (lightly beaten)
1 tablespoon milk
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Directions:
1. Mix the yeast and the warm water in a bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
2. Mix in the flour, sugar, salt, butter and water and form a dough.
3. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 10 minutes.
4. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise to double its size, about 60-90 minutes.
5. Knock the dough down and knead for 2 minutes.
6. Place the dough back into the bowl and let rise again.
7. Knock the dough down and knead for 2 minutes.
8. Cut the dough into 8 pieces and set aside.
9. Mash the curry to form a paste.
10. Mix the egg and milk in a bowl.
11. Roll out one of the pieces of dough into a 6 inch circle and place a spoonful of the curry in the center.
12. Brush some of the egg wash around the edge of half of the dough and fold it over and pinch the dough closed. Fold the pinch to one side.
13. Repeat 11 & 12 until done.
14. Dip the formed bread into the egg wash and then dip them into the panko bread crumbs to cover.
15. Cover the bread with plastic and let rise while you heat the oil.
16. Heat the oil in a pan.
17. Place the bread into the oil and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 60-90 seconds per side.
18. Place the cooked curry bread onto some paper towels to drain while it cools.

Similar Recipes:
Kare (Japanese Curry)
Katsu Kare (Pork Cutlet with Curry Sauce)
Kare Udon (Curry Udon Soup)
Kare Gyoza (Curry Potstickers)
Char Siu Bao (Chinese BBQ Pork Buns)

Kare Gyoza (Curry Potstickers)

Kare Gyoza (Curry Potstickers)

Not too long ago I came across a post about curry gyoza. I had never even though about filling gyoza with left over curry. It sounded like a great idea and I just had to try it.

Gyoza are Japanese dumplings. They are generally filled with ground meat, vegetables and seasonings. The dumplings can be boiled, steamed, deep fried or shallow fried and steamed. I prefer to shallow fry and steam as you get to enjoy both the crispy fried side and the soft steamed side. Gyoza are typically dipped in a soy and chili oil sauce but since the curry has so much flavour I skipped the dipping sauce. The edge of the gyoza are typically folded up so that the bottom of the gyoza is flat. The first time that I made gyoza I was not able to get the wrappers to fold right but this time they came out pretty well.

By the end of the week the leftover curry is getting a bit dry from being reheated so many times and this is the perfect time to make the gyoza. Assembling the dumplings takes a bit of time but I had no problems doing this on a weeknight. The kare gyoza turned out pretty good. They were nice and tasty. If there are any leftovers I would imagine that they would be a perfect fit for a bento/lunch box.

Ingredients:
wonton wrappers
leftover curry
oil
water

Directions:
1. Mash the leftover curry into a paste. (You may have to shred the meat with a pair of forks.}
2. Place about 1/2 tablespoon of the mashed curry onto the center of a wonton wrapper.
3. Wet the other edge of the wonton wrapper with water.
4. Fold the wonton wrapper over the curry filling and press the center of the edge together to seal.
5. Fold a bit of wonton wrapper towards the sealed center and press to seal. Repeat until the wonton is completely sealed on both sides of the original seal.
6. Assemble the remaining gyoza.
7. Heat some oil in a pan.
8. Add the gyoza with the fold on top and press a bit to flatten the bottoms against the pan.
9. Fry until the bottom of the gyoza are golden brown.
10. Add some water to the pan, cover and steam until the water has evaporated, about 3-5 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Kare (Japanese Curry)
Katsu Kare (Pork Cutlet with Curry Sauce)
Kare Udon (Curry Udon Soup)
Kare Pan (Curry Bread)
Char Siu Bao (Chinese BBQ Pork Buns)

Kare Udon (Curry Udon Soup)

Kare Udon (Curry Udon Soup)

Another popular way to have curry in Japan is kare udon or curry udon soup. Curry udon soup is generally a soup with udon noodles in a thick curry flavoured broth. Sometimes it is as simple as the udon noodles with the curry flavoured broth and sometimes it has the full curry including the beef, carrots and potatoes. I prefer curry udon with the full curry as it makes a nice and filling meal. Curry udon combines the best of both worlds; You get the amazing flavours of the curry along fun of slurping noodles. :)

Curry Udon with Leftover Curry


When you make a big pot of curry you are going to be eating it for a few days in a row so it is nice to change it up a bit. Curry udon is a great way to enjoy that leftover curry. Making curry udon is as simple as adding some curry to some dashi and pouring it over some udon noodles. (Another way to change up the leftover curry is to try serving the curry on udon noodles instead of rice.)

Ingredients:
1 cup dashi
1 cup curry
1 serving udon noodles (cooked)
1 chopped green onion

Directions:
1. Bring the dashi and curry to a boil in a small sauce pan.
2. Place the cooked udon noodles in a bowl and pour the curry soup onto the noodles.
3. Garnish with green onions.

Curry Udon from Scratch


You don't always leftover curry lying around and sometimes you just don't feel like making a full curry when a curry craving hits. For those times you can make a quick curry udon from scratch. The Japanese curry roux comes divided like chocolate so you can easily break off a smaller piece to use in a single serving of curry udon. So it is as easy as adding a single servings worth of curry roux to some dashi and pouring it over udon noodles. Of course it would be better if you added some meat like beef or pork or chicken and some vegetables like onions, carrots and potatoes. This is great if you are seriously craving a quick curry fix.

Ingredients:
2 cups dashi
2 ounces beef (cut into bite sized pieces)
1 small onion (sliced)
1 carrot (cut into bite sized pieces)
1 small potato (cut into bite sized pieces)
1 cube curry roux
1 serving udon noodles (cooked)
1 chopped green onion

Directions:
1. Simmer the beef, onion, carrot and potato in the dashi in a covered sauce pan until the meat is cooked and the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
2. Add the curry roux and stir until it thickens.
3. Place the cooked udon noodles in a bowl and pour the curry soup onto the noodles.
4. Garnish with green onions.

My favorite Japanese curry roux is the House Java Curry. You should be able to find it at your local Asian grocery store and I have even seen it in the Asian section of local grocery stores.

Similar Recipes:
Kare (Japanese Curry)
Katsu Kare (Pork Cutlet with Curry Sauce)
Kare Gyoza (Curry Potstickers)
Kare Pan (Curry Bread)
Udon Noodles
Kitsune Udon
Salmon Noodle Soup

More soup recipes!

Katsu Karē (Pork Cutlet with Curry Sauce)

Katsu Kare (Pork Cutlet with Curry Sauce)

Katsu karē (カツカレー) is tonkatsu, a Japanese breaded and fried pork cutlet with curry sauce. Katsu kari is a popular meal in japan. It is typically served on Japanese short grained rice. I have ordered it at several Japanese restaurants both here and in Japan when I was there on vacation. Sometimes it comes with just the curry sauce and sometimes it comes with the full curry including the meat, carrots and potatoes. I prefer to have just the curry sauce so that I can enjoy the pork cutlet more.

Whenever I make Japanese curry I like to make it with some extra sauce. I skim off the extra sauce and freeze it to use later for katsu kare and other dishes. This meal combines the best of both worlds. Since the tonkatsu was just cooked it is still nice and crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside and it is covered in an amazing spicy slightly sweet curry sauce.

Ingredients:
1 serving Japanese short grained rice (cooked)
1 tonkatsu (sliced)
1 1/2 cup Japanese curry sauce (heated)

Directions:
1. Assemble.

Similar Recipes:
Kare (Japanese Curry)
Kare Udon (Curry Udon Soup)
Kare Gyoza (Curry Potstickers)
Kare Pan (Curry Bread)
Tonkatsu
Katsudon (Pork Cutlet Rice Bowl)

Karē (Japanese Curry)

Karē (Japanese Curry)

Karē (カレー), or Japanese curry is a thicker, sweeter and milder take on curry. Curry is one of the most popular foods in Japan. It can be made with different types of meat such as beef, pork or chicken. The most commonlused vegetables are onions, carrots and potatoes. It is normally served on Japanese style short grained rice.

Japanese curry is one of my all time favorite meals! I have tried it at various local Japanese restaurants and even at a few in Japan when I was there on vacation. It was one of the meals that started me off along my adventures in culinary discovery. I have made Japanese curry many times and each time I try something different. This version is my favorite one so far. This one contains sweet potatoes, apples and some honey to enhance the sweetness. I find that the sweetness goes really well with the spicy flavours of the curry. The sweet potato and apples are grated as they are there for flavour rather than texture. They will pretty much dissolve in the sauce anyways. Of course I prefer to braise the beef until it is fall apart in your mouth tender if I have the time. I also really enjoyed a chicken and broccoli version. The possibilities are nearly endless.

A while ago Katie of A Thyme for Cooking hosted and event called Skeletons in the Pantry. When I heard about the event I immediately though about Japanese curry as it is made with a store bought roux. Since I started this blog I have been trying to make as much as I can myself but I am still using store bought curry roux. I have tried several times to reproduce the curry without using the store bought roux but I have not been successful. I even tried using the curry powder blend that one of the companies that sells the roux makes. Even though the curry powder smells right the curry made with it just does not turn out right.

My favorite Japanese curry roux is the House Java Curry. You should be able to find it at your local Asian grocery store and I have even seen it in the Asian section of local grocery stores.

Japanese Curry Roux

When I make Japanese curry I generally make a lot of it. That way I can enjoy the leftover curry for lunches during the week and for dinners at night. The curry only gets better with time and reheating so the more you make the better it gets. The leftover curry can also be used to create other dishes.

And so starts the week of curry! :)

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon oil
1 pound beef (cut into bite sized pieces)
2 onions (chopped)
1 sweet potato (grated)
* beef broth (or water)
2 carrots (cut into bite sized pieces)
2 potatoes (cut into bite sized pieces)
1 sweet apple (grated)
1 tablespoon honey
1 box Japanese curry roux

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a large pot.
2. Add the beef and brown the beef on all sides.
3. Set the beef aside.
4. Add the onions and saute until soft.
5. Add the beef and cover in beef stock.
6. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the beef is fall apart tender, about 2-3 hours.
7. Add the carrots, potatoes, apple, honey and curry roux.
8. Cover in beef stock.
9. Stir until the curry roux is fully dissolved.
10. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Katsu Karē (Pork Cutlet with Curry Sauce)
Karē Udon (Curry Udon Soup)
Karē Gyoza (Curry Potstickers)
Karē Pan (Curry Bread)
Nikujaga (Japanese Beef Stew)

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich

In addition to having more time to make breakfasts on the weekend I also enjoy being able to make a lunch. During the week I bring leftovers to work for lunch. On the weekend I can actually make a lunch. Recently I have been exploring sandwiches and this stop was at the philly cheese steak sandwich. At its base a steak sandwich is just steak in a bun. You can add more ingredients as desired. When I think of a steak sandwich I think of thinly sliced beef with caramelized onions, green peppers and melting cheese. While looking at steak sandwich recipes I noticed that a lot of them used cheese whiz which sounds good. I think that the next time I make a steak sandwich it will be have caramelized onions, mushrooms and cheese whiz.

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon oil
1 onion (sliced)
1/2 green pepper (sliced)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
1 serving steak (thinly sliced)
salt and pepper to taste
1 bun
* provolone cheese

Directions:
1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Add the onions and green peppers and saute until tender, about 6-10 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
4. Set the onions and peppers aside.
5. Add the steak to the pan and cook until no longer pink, about 3-4 minutes.
6. Mix the vegetables into the steak.
7. Place the steak and vegetables and cheese into the bun and enjoy.
8. (optional) Place the open sandwich, with the cheese on top, under the broiler to melt the cheese.

Similar Recipes:
Grilled Roast Beef and Cheese Sandwich
Pot Roast Sandwich Smothered in Gravy with Melted Swiss Cheese and Horseradish Mayonnaise
BBQ Roast Beef and Cheddar Sandwich
Roast Beef Quesadillas
Chimichurri Steak Sandwiches with Roasted Corn and Red Pepper Salsa
Black and Blue Steak Sandwich
Fajitas

Mushroom, Spinach and Feta Omelet

Mushroom, Spinach and Feta Omelet

Omelets are a really nice weekend breakfasts. An omelet is eggs cooked in a pan and then folded over some kind of filling. The filling can be whatever you want it to be. The combinations of fillings are almost endless. This time I filled my omelet with sauteed mushrooms, spinach, feta and dill. Omelets are pretty easy to make though you want to be careful that the egg does not stick to the pan. Using a non-stick pan and some butter really helps.

Ingredients:
1/2 tablespoon butter
4 ounces mushrooms (sliced)
2 ounces spinach
1 tablespoon dill (chopped)
a touch of butter
3 eggs (lightly beaten.
1 ounce feta (crumbled)

Directions:
1. Melt the butter in a small pan.
2. Add the mushrooms and saute until golden brown.
3. Add the spinach and saute until wilted.
4. Add the dill and the mixture aside.
5. Melt the butter in a small pan.
6. Add the eggs and spread them out to cover the entire bottom of the pan.
7. Cook the eggs until the top is almost set.
8. Place the mushroom mixture and the feta on one half of the eggs.
9. Fold the uncovered half of the eggs on to the spinach mixture.

Similar Recipes:
Tamagoyaki (Japanese Rolled Omelette)
Ham and Egg Buritto
Frittata with Italian Sausage and Cannelli Beans
Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Omelette with Gorgonzola and Sage
Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Omelette with Bacon and Pecans
Mushroom and Thyme Omelette with Gorgonzola

Mushroom, Spinach and Feta Omelet

Chocolate Chip and Sour Cream Banana Bread

Chocolate Chip and Sour Cream Banana Bread

My freezer was filling up with over ripe bananas that needed to be used. Since I really enjoyed that banana bread that I had made a while ago I though I would make another one. This time instead of making a plain banana bread I though I would make it a bit more exciting. I decided to add chocolate chips, walnuts, sour cream and some cinnamon. One of the reasons that I like banana bread so much is that I really enjoy the aroma of baking bananas. The cinnamon in this banana bread made the aroma even better. This banana bread turned out really good. I had a slice while it was still warm from the oven and the chocolate chips were still slightly melted and it was really good. I ate the banana bread for breakfasts during the week. I placed some of the banana bread in the fridge so that it would still be good by the end of the week. One morning I did not heat the chilled banana bread up and I found that I liked the texture of the solid chocolate in the banana bread. The chilled solid chocolate chips made you chew more to find all of them and thus you enjoyed the flavour of the bread longer.

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs (beaten)
1/2 cup sour cream
3 overripe bananas (mashed)
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts (chopped)

Directions:
1. Mix the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.
2. Cream the butter and brown sugar in another bowl.
3. Stir the eggs, sour cream and banana into the butter and sugar.
4. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture.
5. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
6. Pour the batter into a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
7. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until a tooth pick pushed into the center comes out clean, about 60-70 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Curried Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Banana Bread
Strawberry Sour Cream Bread
Sweet Potato Bread with Praline Sauce
Pumpkin Bread with Dried Cranberries, Toasted Pecans and White Chocolate Chips

Chocolate Chip and Sour Cream Banana Bread
Chocolate Zucchini Bread

White Bean and Kale Soup with Turkey Sausage

White Bean and Kale Soup with Turkey Sausage

Kale is a vegetable that I have been wanting to try using for a while. I have seen a few kale dishes around and some of them combined kale with white beans. I thought that the kale would go nicely in an Italian style white bean soup. I knew that I wanted to include Italian style turkey sausage for some meat and flavour but for the rest of the ingredients I played it by ear. I wanted a bit of a rustic feel to the soup so I cut everything roughly leaving fairly large pieces. The white bean and kale soup with turkey sausage turned out well and it was really tasty. I think that I should have cut the kale into slightly smaller pieces but this way I got to experience more of the kale. The kale worked well in the soup. Even though it wilted it did not fall apart or turn mushy. I look forward to experimenting with kale again. I served the white bean and kale soup with some toasted cheesy garlic bread.

Ingredients:
1 pound Italian turkey sausage (casing removed)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
2 stalks celery (chopped)
2 carrots (chopped)
1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15 ounce can white beans
1 bunch kale (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 bay leaf
1/4 red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1 parmigiano reggiano rind (optional)
* chicken stock
1 handful parsley (chopped, optional)
* parmigiano reggiano (grated, optional)

Directions:
1. Brown the sausage in a large pan and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in the same pan.
3. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 7-10 minutes.
4. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
5. Add the sausage, celery, carrots, tomatoes, white beans, kale, oregano, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, parmigiano reggiano rind.
6. Add enough chicken stock to cover.
7. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30-60 minutes.
8. Remove the bay leaf and parmigiano reggiano rind.
9. Serve garnished with chopped parsley and grated parmigiano reggiano.

Similar Recipes:
Ministrone Soup with Sausage and Squash
Turkey White Chili

More soup recipes!

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

I recently got some vanilla beans and I have been itching to use them. I though that I would try using them in one of my favorite desserts, a cheesecake. For the vanilla bean cheesecake I just added the seeds from a vanilla bean to a basic cheesecake recipe. In the past I have used graham cracker crusts and pecan crusts and this time I thought I would try a walnut crust. I also had some raspberries so I added a garnish of a simple raspberry sauce. The vanilla bean cheesecake with walnut crust was really good! It smelled amazing while it was baking. Vanilla is one of my favorite flavours and I really enjoyed the strength of the vanilla flavour provided by the vanilla bean seeds. The walnut crust was really good as well. How can you go wrong adding butter and sugar to walnuts? I am looking forward to more adventures with vanilla beans.

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

(makes 2 servings)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
1/2 cup walnuts
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon butter (melted)
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese (room temperature)
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
1 vanilla bean (split lengthwise and scraped)
1 egg (room temperature)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Pulse the walnuts, sugar and butter in a food processor.
2. Press the mixture into the bottom of two 4 inch spring form pans.
3. Bake the walnut crust in a 350F preheated oven until golden brown on the edges, about 8-12 minutes.
4. Mix the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla bean seeds.
5. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
6. Pour the mixture into the spring form pans.
7. Bake in a preheated 325F oven until it is set, about 45-60 minutes.

Note: This recipe makes enough for 2 4 inch spring form pans. Triple the recipe for an 8 inch spring form pan and quadruple the recipe for a 10 inch spring form pan.

Raspberry Sauce


Ingredients:
1/2 cup raspberries (mashed)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

Directions:
1. Mix the raspberries, sugar, cornstarch and water in a small saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sauce thickens.

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

Similar Recipes:
Chocolate Cheesecake
White Chocolate Cheesecake
Maple Cheesecake
Maple Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake
No Bake Cheesecake
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Raspberry and Nutella Crepes

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

What better to go with Irish lamb stew on Saint Patrick's Day than some Irish soda bread? Irish soda bread is a quick bread that uses baking soda rather than yeast. Traditional soda bread consists of only flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk. The buttermilk reacts with the baking soda to produce carbon dioxide and thus rise. I decided to go with the brown soda bread which replaces half of the flour with whole wheat flour. I also decided to add some rolled oats for additional texture and flavour. I halved the recipe as I did not want to have too much in the way of leftovers. Soda bread would normally just be hand formed and baked on a baking sheet but I decided to put it into a loaf pan to give it a loaf shape. While looking for recipes I saw several that called for some non-traditional ingredients such as raisins, caraway seeds, etc.

The soda bread was the easiest bread that I have ever made. You just mix everything and bake it. It turned out pretty good. The crust was crispy and crunchy without being too hard and the inside was nice and soft and light. I timed it such that the bread came out of the oven at the same time that the stew was done so I got to have the bread while it was still warm from the oven. Of course I had to spread some butter on a few slices to melt into the bread. Melting butter on freshly baked bread is one of my favorite things. Given how easy this bread is to make it would be little trouble to make it for almost any meal.

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 cup buttermilk

Directions:
1. Mix the flour, baking soda, salt and rolled oats in a bowl.
2. Mix in the buttermilk and form a dough.
3. Shape the dough and place it on a baking sheet or in a loaf pan.
4. Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 40 minutes (the top should be golden brown).

Goes well with:
Irish Lamb Stew

More St Patrick’s Day recipes!

Irish Lamb Stew

Irish Lamb Stew

With Saint Patrick's Day coming up I was feeling like something Irish. I had seen some nice looking lamb at the grocery store and I was thinking that a nice lamb stew would do. It kind of worked out well as we got buried in snow again and the stew really hit the spot on a cold day. I went with a pretty basic lamb stew that contained lamb, onions, carrots and potatoes. I was thinking that you could also add parsnips, rutabaga, barley, celery, etc. Of course I could not resist adding a Guinness to the pot. :) I wanted to get a lot of lamb flavour so I made sure to brown the meat really well. I also wanted the lamb to be fall apart tender so I braised it for several hours. Since I did not want the carrots and potatoes to fall apart I did not add them to the stew until the meat was almost ready and then simmered just long enough to cook the vegetables. The lamb stew turned out really well. It was tasty and had a nice lamb flavour. The lamb was melt in the mouth tender. I enjoyed the lamb stew with a Guinness and some Irish soda bread.

Banana Buttermilk Pancakes

Banana Buttermilk Pancakes

One of the good things about the weekend is that you have more time to make a good breakfast. It had been a while since I last had pancakes and I was craving them. I had some over overripe bananas in the freezer and I though they would go nicely in the pancakes. I also had some buttermilk in the fridge so it became banana buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup. They turned out pretty good. They were nice and moist and fluffy. I enjoyed the banana flavour of the pancakes. I garnished the pancakes with slices of bananas and some pecans. They were a great way to start off a day on the weekend.

Ingredients:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
2 overripe bananas (mashed)

Directions:
1. Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
2. Mix the buttermilk, egg, butter and bananas in another bowl.
3. Mix the wet and dry ingredients making sure to not over mix.
4. Heat a pan and melt a touch of butter in it.
5. Pour 1/4 cup of the mixture into the pan and heat until the surface starts to bubble and the bottom is golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
6. Flip the pancake and cook the other side until the bottom is golden brown, about 1-2 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Banana Bread
Mango and Banana Pancakes
Bananas Foster Pancakes
English Muffins

Roasted Garlic Hummus

Roasted Garlic Hummus

After discovering the greatness of roasted garlic I though that I would have to try it in what is one of my favorites snacks, hummus. Hummus is a nice and versatile dip that you can add pretty much any flavour to and I thought that roasted garlic hummus would be a tasty treat. The roasted garlic hummus turned out to be pretty good! The sweetness of the roasted garlic went really well in the creamy hummus. The roasted garlic hummus disappeared quite quickly and I will have to make some more soon.

Ingredients:
1 (19 ounce) can chickpeas
1 head roasted garlic
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup tahini
1/2 lemon (juice)
olive oil to taste
salt and pepper to taste
parsley to taste (chopped, optional)

Directions:
1. Puree everything in a food processor until smooth. Add some water (or more olive oil) to bring it to the consistency that you like.
2. Serve garnished with chopped parsley and olive oil to taste.

Similar Recipes:
Hummus
Sun Dried Olive Hummus
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

Take a look at the Heart of the Matter roundup at Lucullian Delights.

Chicken Salad Sandwich

Chicken Salad Sandwich

While I was looking for ways to use up my leftover roasted chicken I came across the concept of a chicken salad sandwich. At its base, a chicken salad seems to be shredded cooked chicken mixed with mayonnaise. A lot of recipes also included celery and green onions. I decided to go with a basic sandwich for the first time. The chicken salad sandwich was easy to make and really good! Now that I have had the basic sandwich I am thinking of all sort of possibilities. I could add curry, chutney, herbs, nuts, raisins, cranberries, etc. You could also do a turkey salad sandwich. The possibilities seem to be near endless. I can't wait to roast another chicken so that I can use the leftovers to make more chicken salad sandwiches.

Ingredients:
1 cup chicken (cooked and shredded)
1 stalk celery (chopped)
1 green onion (chopped)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Mix everything but the bread in a bowl.
2. Assemble sandwich.

Similar Recipes:
Curried Chicken and Mango Salad Sandwich
Turkey Salad Sandwich
Egg Salad Sandwich
Curried Chicken Salad Sandwich with Apple Chutney

Marinated Feta with Olives and Roasted Red Pepper

Marinated Feta with Olives and Roasted Red Pepper

Not too long ago Peter posted about a meze (a Greek appetizer) of marinated feta with olives that looked really good. Since I was having so many other Greek flavoured dishes this week I though what better time to try it. I went to Greek town and found some nice imported Greek feta and black olives (along with some baklava). This dish was super easy to put together, though, since I roasted my own red pepper it took a bit longer. It tasted great! The flavours all came together really nicely. Even though the feta and the olives were great, I felt that the roasted red pepper stole the show. The sweetness of the roasted red pepper went really well with the balsamic vinegar. The sweet and balsamicy roasted red pepper then went really well with the salty feta and olives. I will definitely be making this again.

Ingredients:
2 slabs of feta (cut into bite sized cubes)
1/2 cup black olives (pitted)
1/2 cup green olives (pitted)
1 roasted red pepper (sliced)
1 red onion (diced)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
pepper to taste
squeeze of lemon juice

Directions:
1. Mix everything and let marinate in the fridge for up to 5 hours.

Similar Recipes:
Marinated Roasted Red Peppers
Feta Salsa
Zucchini Bread with Roasted Red Peppers and Feta
Roasted Red Pepper, Pistachio and Feta Stuffed Chicken

Take a look at the Weekend Herb Blogging roundup at Morsels and Musings.

Avgolemono Soup

Avgolemono Soup

I have been wanting to try an avgolemono soup for a while now. An avgolemono soup is a soup that is made with chicken stock, eggs and lemon juice. Since I had my freshly made chicken stock and some leftover lemons it was the perfect time to make the avgolemono soup. Many recipes that I found for avgolemono soup had little more that the base ingredients but my fridge was full of leftover chicken and vegetables and I could not resist throwing them into the soup. Several of the recipes included rice or pasta and I had some orzo pasta that I had been wanting to try so it went in as well. I also had some fresh dill that also went in. In the end I guess it turned out to be a fairly hearty chicken noodle soup with avgolemono sauce. I cut the vegetables into really small pieces so they they were tender by the time the orzo was cooked. The soup turned out to be pretty tasty. I really enjoyed the lemon and dill flavour of the soup. I also enjoyed the orzo pasta. The orzo added a nice soft chewy texture to the soup.

Ingredients:
8 cups chicken broth or chicken stock
1 cup chicken (cooked, shredded)
1 cup orzo
1 onion (chopped)
2 carrots (chopped)
2 stalks celery (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs
2 lemons (juice)
1 handful dill (chopped)

Directions:
1. Place the chicken stock, chicken, orzo, onion, carrots, celery, oregano, salt and pepper into a pot.
2. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer until the vegetables are tender and the orzo is cooked, about 10-12 minutes.
3. Take the pot off the heat.
4. Whisk the eggs in a bowl until frothy.
5. Whisk in the lemon juice.
6. Slowly whisk in some of the liquid from the soup to temper the eggs.
7. Mix the avgolemono sauce into the soup.
8. Stir in the dill and serve.

Similar Recipes:
Chicken Noodle Soup
Thai Chicken Noodle Soup
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Avgolemono Sauce
Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup
Tom Yum Gai (Thai Hot and Sour Chicken Soup)

More soup recipes!

Easy Hommade Chicken Stock

Chicken Stock
Making soup tonight? This time how about using a chicken stock instead of a chicken broth? Chicken stock is chicken broths older brother and is more full bodied and has more flavour! A chicken broth is made by simmering a chicken in water along with some vegetables, herbs and spices whereas a chicken stock is made by simmering chicken carcasses in water along with the same ingredients. The bones provide a ton of extra flavour and chicken stock is perfect for a tasty chicken noodle soup where a strong chicken flavour is required! Just like chicken broth, chicken stock is super easy to make, requiring only a few minutes of active time and the rest is just unattended simmering. Making your own chicken stock is a great way to get further use from your chickens so save the carcass from your roast chicken dinner in the freezer for the next chicken stock!

Spinach with Feta Dressing

Spinach with Feta Dressing

I often find myself thinking that dinner is just not complete without a green vegetable. One of my favorite green vegetables is spinach and I decided to have some with my lemon roasted chicken dinner. Since I was going with some Greek flavours with the rest of the meal I decided go continue with the theme for the spinach. This spinach was inspired by the spinach filling of spanakopita. The spinach was pretty tasty. I really enjoyed the spinach, feta, lemon and dill flavour combination. I will be making this again and now I really need want to try making the spanakopita.

Ingredients:
1 bunch spinach (rinsed)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon feta (crumbled into fine bits)
1/2 tablespoon dill (chopped)
salt and pepper to taste
1 green onion (chopped, optional)

Directions:
1. Steam the spinach until wilted.
2. Rinse the spinach in cold water to stop the cooking and drain.
3. Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, feta, dill, salt and pepper in a bowl.
4. Mix the dressing and green onions into the spinach.

Similar Recipes:
Spanakorizo (Greek Spinach Rice)
Seasoned Spinach
Spinach with Miso and Mustard Sauce
Spinach with Black Sesame Paste
Spinach and Feta Lasagna (aka Spanakopita Lasagna)

Lemon Roasted Potatoes

Lemon Roasted Potatoes

What better to accompany lemon roasted chicken than some lemon roasted potatoes? You can even cook them in the same dish at the same time. You can also make these potatoes when you are not roasting chicken. They are pretty simple to make and really tasty.

Ingredients:
potatoes (cut into bite sized pieces)
olive oil
lemon (juice and zest)
oregano
salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Toss the potatoes in the olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper.
2. Bake the potatoes in a preheated 350F oven until tender, about an hour.

Similar Recipes:
Creamy Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
White Cheddar and Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Potatoes au Gratin

Lemon and Oregano Roast Chicken

Lemon Roasted Chicken

One of the good things about the weekend is that you have time to make big dinners. This weekend I made roasted chicken dinner. This was the first time that I cooked an entire chicken. I am not sure why I was hesitant about cooking an entire chicken as it turned out to be pretty easy. I decided to season the chicken in a simple fashion with lemon and oregano. The chicken turned out pretty good. It was nice and tasty. I had some lemon roasted potatoes and some spinach with feta dressing with the roasted chicken. Overall it was a really tasty meal. I only cooked a small chicken but I have a lot of left over chicken meat to use in other dishes. Now I also have a chicken carcass with which I can make some home made chicken stock.

Ingredients
1 (3 pound) chicken (rinsed and patted dry)
1 lemon (quartered)
4 sprigs fresh oregano (optional)
4 cloves garlic
1 lemon (zest and juice)
2 tablespoons fresh oregano (or 2 teaspoons dried)
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Directions
1. Fill the cavity with the lemon quarters, oregano sprigs and garlic.
2. Puree the lemon zest, juice, oregano, garlic, oil, salt and pepper in a food processor.
3. Rub the mixture all over the chicken and under the skin of the chicken as much as possible.
4. Place the chicken in a roasting pan and let it come to room temperature.
5. Roast in a preheated 350F oven until done, about 1 1/2 - 2 hours. (It is done when the juices run clear when you slice just behind the drumstick or when a meat thermometer reads 170F.)
6. Remove from oven and let rest for 20 minutes.

Similar Recipes:
Curried Honey Dijon Roasted Chicken
Oven Roasted Turkey Drumsticks
Chicken Giouvetsi

Use leftovers in:
'Souvlaki' Chicken Salad Sandwich with Roasted Red Peppers and Feta