31 December 2009

Pre-Thanks: Bananas Fosters Fingers

Years ago, I worked at a French Restaurant as Pastry sous-chef - skills which have proven very useful. One evening, I was staffed alone and we ran out of many of our selections. I was forced to come up with something that could cook fast, taste gourmet and look pretty. The Bananas Fosters Fingers were born. Although I believe we called it something much prettier in French.

High level overview: firm banana's sauteed with cinnamon, nutmeg, butter and rum that are wrapped in filo dough and served with a rum anglaise sauce. and caramel ice cream if you're not watching that figure.

Directions for 2 dozen fingers:
  1. Make the filling: Peel 6 green bananas, then slice in half the short way and each of the halves again the long way so you have 4 similar sized slices per banana. On med-low, heat 1 - 2 tbls butter, add a tsp of cinnamon, nutmeg, pinch of salt and pepper, mix well. Add the bananas (likely in batches), cut side down for 1 min until brown, turn over, add 4 oz of dark rum, let cook for 1 - 2 min until just tender. Remove from pan onto a plate. Also get out 1 cup of raisins and 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts.

  2. Wrap it up: For each of six, pre-thawed filo dough sheets, cut into 4, the short way. Melt 4 tbl of butter. Start an assembly line: brush a piece of filo with butter, add a banana slice, wrap once. Sprinkle on raisins and nuts, continue to wrap until the end. Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet (or best to use a silpat!). Repeat for the rest of the pieces.

  3. Bake it for ~15 min in a 425 degree oven until the filo dough crisps up

  4. Make the sauce: beat 2 egg yolks heavily. heat 1/2 c of milk, 2 tbl of powdered sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla until hot, but not boiling. while whisking, add heated mixture to egg yolks, continue to whisk as fast as possible until mixture cools down (otherwise you will have scrambled eggs!) and then add in 2 oz of dark rum and whisk.

  5. Serve: two banana fosters finger smothered in rum anglaise. At the restaurant we also served it with a scoop of caramel ice cream sprinkled with chopped pecans.

30 December 2009

Make Your Own Big Mac!

OK, It is the day before New year's Eve, two days before the new year, so if your new year's resolution is to diet or eat better food or something along those lines, consider this for your last meal. Local Lemons has taught us how to make our own Big Macs! Following is her recipe to make it happen:

Homemade Big Macs
Serves 8

2 pounds Niman Ranch ground chuck or other high-quality beef. (Or, go all the way and grind your own meat. Try using Brisket.)
1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
3 fresh pickles, sliced thin
8 hamburger buns
5 ounces organic mild cheddar, sliced thin

big mac

Special Sauce:
1 large shallot, minced
1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil, divided into 3/4 cup and 1/2 cup portions
2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar, separated
1/2 cup organic ketchup (Happy Girl, if you can find it)
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons sweet relish
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Seat salt
1 tablespoon Paprika

Homemade Aioli
In a large bowl, beat together egg yolk, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Take a kitchen towel roll it into the shape of an “O.” Place your bowl on top of the towel – this will prevent it from moving around when whisking the aioli. While whisking, add a few drops of olive oil. Keep whisking, and add a few more drops. And a few more. When your sauce begins to thicken, add olive oil in a very slow stream, whisking constantly. Your arm should hurt at this point. When all of the olive oil is incorporated, taste for salt, and add last teaspoon of lemon juice.
French Dressing

In a separate bowl, whisk together ketchup, sugar, minced shallots, 1 tablespoon sweet relish, 1 tablespoon vinegar, paprika and a pinch of salt. Whisk in ½ cup of olive oil in a slow stream.

French Dressing

Slowly add the French dressing to the aioli. Stir to combine, and taste as you add the dressing – you may need not all of it. I had about 2 tablespoons of the French dressing left over. Garnish with a pinch of paprika on top.

Season your chopped meat with salt, pepper and olive oil and separate into 8 patties. Cook them on the grill or on a cast iron skillet for a few minutes per side, adding the cheese at the last minute so it melts.

Assemble the burger

lettuce on bun

Start with the bottom bun, add special sauce, shredded romaine, a cheesy burger and a couple of pickles. Stop here or add the second layer… Take the bottom of a second bun and slice it down the middle. This thin piece will be your middle section. Add it to the burger, and again top with special sauce, lettuce and pickles. double burger


28 December 2009

A Dash of Health - Bread

Welcome back for the second addition of A Dash of Health!
Chapter 2 - Bread
When was the last time you looked at the nutrition information on that “High Fiber Whole Wheat” bread? If you are trying to cut some calories from your diet you might want to consider going “Light”! The typical serving size on regular bread is one slice averaging 100-200 calories a slice. You are probably thinking "That's not too bad....", but remember in a sandwich you would be eating around 300 calories in bread alone. I have tried just about every light bread out there and they are all pretty consistent when it comes to calories: 40 calories per slice with a serving size of 2-3 slices. That's right folks you would be cutting more then 120 calories from a sandwich just by going "Light"! For a exact info check out the nutrition information for this High Fiber Whole Wheat compared to my favorite Light Wheat bread. For you English Muffin eaters, Thomas’ Muffins has a great product for those looking to cut some calories and add some fiber and protein to their diets: Regular English Muffins vs Better Start English Muffins. Making the switch can save you in excess of 120 calories per two slices of bread eaten. With the calories saved you can add a bag of baked potato chips or add extra meat to your sandwich.

Check out my Healthy Alternative recipes for ideas of how you can add more veggies to your diet.

The next A Dash of Health post will be on Cheese.

26 December 2009

Easy Holiday Cooking - Mexican Meatloaf (Tacos)


  • 1 cup Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend (cheddar and Monterey Jack)
  • 1 1/4 cup tomato salsa, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pack of small flour tortillas (about 10)
  • 1 can black beans


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. In a large bowl, combine Panko, eggs, cheese, 1 cup of the salsa, mustard and meats.
  3. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Shape meat mixture into a loaf on the baking sheet.
  4. Spread remaining 1/4 cup of salsa on top.
  5. Bake 50 minutes, take out the meatloaf and spread the can of beans around the meatloaf.
  6. Return the meatloaf to the oven and bake another 10-15 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meatloaf (as measured with a thermometer) reaches 155 degrees. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
  7. Serve sliced with beans on warmed tortillas - TACO STYLE!!
I needed to find a quick, easy and delicious recipe for several holiday events this year and this basic Mexican Meatloaf recipe came through for me big time. I tweaked it a little bit to suit my taste, adding much more cheese than the original recipe required and including black beans. Also, I used honey Dijon for added flavor. If you can't find Panko bread crumbs in the japanese section of your grocery store, then buzz up some slices of bread in your food processor for light airy bread crumbs. Be careful moving the cooked loaf from the baking pan to the serving dish, get a buddy and 2+ spatulas to prevent cracking/breaking the loaf during the transfer. Then arrange the beans artfully around the loaf and find a green garnish. I used limes and encourage a sprig or two of cilantro. These will beautify your log-o'-meat and are appropriate complimentary taco ingredients.

25 December 2009

holiday blunders

or, "unintentional zucchini casserole"

At our pre-thanksgiving celebration, I attempted to recreate my zucchini au gratin from last year, albeit in larger quantity and with the addition of canned tomatoes on top instead of purely decorative slices of a fresh tomato. 

However, I managed to overdo the milk and garlic, so it never quite obtained that lovely gratin texture.  I wasn't pleased, until later I heard folks asking about "Who made that zucchini casserole?  It's so good."  Then I realized I should just not tell anyone it was supposed to be a gratin.

Moral of the story?  My kitchen mistakes are better than danielle's.  Also, if find out that your holiay meal isn't going as planned, maybe just keep your mouth shut and no one will notice. 

Happy holidays.

24 December 2009

The Workout Queen's Chocolate Chip Caramel Cookies

Merry Christmas eve to all you festive folk. Hope you're all keeping up with the diet. Traveling certainly doesn't help to maintain the diet, especially with all these amazing choices in every restaurant and supermarket. But these cookies are among the BEST choice that you can possibly make this holiday season, and will certainly put a smile on people's faces.

If you know how to make chocolate chip cookies, this is right up your alley...

  • 2 1/4 cups of flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 oz bag of chocolate chip morsels
  • 8-10 Caramel squares (Kraft company)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
  3. Cut each caramel squares into 6 or 8 pieces.
  4. Using a little dish, put the cut caramel squares into flour to coat them lightly.
  5. Then, in a larger bowl, cream the sugars with the stick of butter.
  6. Add vanilla.
  7. Once the sugar mixture is creamy, add one egg at a time.
  8. Gradually add the entire flour mixture to the sugar mixture. Mix well.
  9. Add the caramels and chocolate chip morsels.
  10. Place small globs of the cookie mixture on the pan. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
I LOVE chocolate chip cookies. They are a trademark for me and the family. I ALWAYS have them during the holidays. This year I just decided to make a spin on the cookies I love so much. I hope you all have a terrific holiday and enjoy the cookies.

23 December 2009

Candy Cane Chocolate Cupcakes

I love cupcakes. They are my favorite thing in the whole world to bake. The inspiration for these came from a Mint Chocolate Cake my future mother-and-law made last Christmas. I took the recipe and cupcake-a-fied them. They are delightful and perfect for my work Holiday Party this evening!

Candy Cane Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 36 cupcakes


  • 1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 1 (16oz) package light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 (8oz) container sour cream
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 3 cupcake tins with cupcake liners
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt
  3. Beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer, beating about 5 minutes or until well blended
  4. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition
  5. Melt semisweet chocolate morsels in a microwave-safe bowl at high for 30-second intervals until melted (about 1 1/2 minutes total time). Stir until smooth
  6. Add melted chocolate, beating just until blended
  7. Gradually add to chocolate mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture
  8. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition
  9. Gradually add 1 cup hot water in a slow, steady stream, beating at low speed just until blended
  10. Stir in vanilla
  11. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until toothpick inserted comes out clean
  12. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, finish cooling on wire rack
Peppermint Butter Cream Frosting
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 1 (16oz) packages powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint oil (or substitute 1 tsp peppermint extract)
  1. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy
  2. Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with milk
  3. Beating at low speed until blended after each addition
  4. Stir in vanilla extract and peppermint oil
Chocolate Ganache Frosting
  • 1 (12oz) package semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 3 tbsp butter
  1. Microwave semisweet chocolate morsels and whipping cream in a 2-quart microwave-safe bowl at medium (50% power) for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes or until chocolate begins to melt
  2. Whisk until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth
  3. Whisk in butter; let stand 20 minutes
  4. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer 3 to 4 minutes or until mixture forms soft peaks
  1. Scoop peppermint frosting into a large ziplock bag
  2. Use a pairing knife to cut a small circle in the top of one of your cupcakes. Angle the knife toward the center of the cupcake, so a small cone of cake can be removed. Do not throw this away
  3. Take the bag of peppermint frosting and clip away a very small piece of one corner of the bag
  4. Pipe a small amount of peppermint frosting into the center of the cupcake
  5. Replace the removed piece of cake to cover the peppermint frosting
  6. Repeat for all cupcakes
  7. Frost the top of each cupcake with Chocolate Ganache frosting
Finishing Touches
  • 3 Peppermint Candy Canes
  • Place 3 candy canes in a large plastic bag.
  • Using a rolling pin, beat candy canes till they are practically dust
  • Sprinkle each cupcake with crushed candy canes

22 December 2009

Frazzled Shallots

You—or maybe one of your aunts—will probably be putting a version of these on top of a green bean casserole at some point over the coming week. Why not make your own? They're also good on sandwiches and burgers, and in any dip or casserole where an extra crunch is desired.
Frazzled Shallots

5 shallots
Peanut or vegetable oil for frying

Peel the shallots and then carefully slice them into 1/8-inch rings. (If you have a mandoline, this is a good opportunity to use it.)

In a heavy-bottomed frying pan or sauce pan, heat a 1/2-inch depth of oil over medium heat. Add the shallots, stirring gently for about 8 or 10 minutes, until they begin to turn a golden-red color. Watch carefully because once they start to redden, they will easily brown and burn. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon. Toss liberally with salt, and then let dry on a few layers of paper towel or a flattened out paper bag.

21 December 2009

food stuff: make your dishwasher run better

it seemed appropriate that during these festive weeks with massive amounts of cooking and eating, that one should know how to improve how your dishwasher works. check out the kitchn for 10 tips to make your dishwasher run better.

did you try any? how did it go? what are your tips for dishwasher use?

20 December 2009

mad tasty pre-thanks video tour

Better late than never, right? Take a video tour of our pre-thanks here, we'll be going more in depth on how to recreate the fruits of our labour over the next couple weeks.

19 December 2009

need a last minute holiday gift?

Restaurant.com - 80% off your order

Santa probably didn't end up that round by eating salads, but we're not about to complain. As an early - or late - Christmas surprise, you can use code SANTA to take 80% off the price of your order at Restaurant.com! Homecooked meals are a special part of the holiday season, of course, but if you need a night off or a night out, don't be reluctant to treat yourself.

Visit The Bargainist for more.

18 December 2009

quinoa, the sneaky protein

So dear readers, today I give you more of an idea than a full on recipe, but please consider this ingredient in your culinary adventures if you haven't already: quinoa. Say it with me: KEEN-WAH. I usually use this kind, you can get it in the fancy organic grain section of your supermarket. Check out its nutritional analysis here (and compare with white rice and couscous). Basically, think of quinoa as an opportunity to put some protein into an otherwise starchy meal. It adds body to soups as well.

In the attached pictures, I added red quinoa to a vegetarian curry for added protein. So if these pictures have managed to put you in the mood, please visit my other curry posts here. Ignore the first post, unless you want to read about that one time I thought it would be a good idea to try making fennel.

(edited to explain accompanying curry photos ... please notice use of quinoa in photo below)

17 December 2009

So easy and so delicious Popovers

A few months ago, my great aunt was cleaning out her kitchen, and says that i simply "must" take this popover pan, because my husband would absolutely love to eat them. I was intrigued, and most of family shocked, that in my many many years of baking and pastry making i had never come across this fabulous thing called a 'popover'. Apparently it is a New England staple, typically served with potroast.

The pan is actually what does all the work - the shape forces up air through the batter and creates a puff in the middle.

Ingredients: 2 Eggs, 1 cup Flour, 1 cup Milk, 1/2 Tsp Salt

  • Preheat oven to 450 F; Grease pan thoroughly
  • Beat eggs thoroughly, add in flour, milk and salt, being careful not to over beat
  • Fill cups 1/2 way and put in oven for 20 min.
  • Decrease oven temp to 350 F and bake for another 20 min.

Serve with hearty soups and stews, as your dinner rolls at dinner or my favorite: a yummy breakfast. You can add some spices into the batter for a little variation - herbs de provence are really yummy for savory or cinnamon is great for sweet. Also, you can top with powdered sugar, honey, almonds once they come out of the oven (make sure its not too heavy though!)

Can be stored up to a week; cool off and place in zip top bag. After you taste these, you will never want to buy store bought rolls again!

16 December 2009

i <3 eggs

My mom showed me this fun way to make eggs and toast at THE SAME TIME:

(apologies for the phone pictures, it was an unexpected mad tasty-in-the-making moment)

  • Bread
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • a cookie cutter

Warm a griddle or a pan, melt some butter in it. Butter your bread as well. Place the bread on the griddle and use the cookie cutter to remove the center. Crack an egg and drop in the center of the bread. After a minute or two, flip the bread/egg and cook evenly on the other side.

We made it over medium but you could do it however you like... although scrambled would be tough.

Voila! (Sausage or bacon optional)

15 December 2009

meat i can support

Some of you may know my fondness for stationary, but please take a moment to ogle the branding genius that is La Charcuterie's business cards and notepaper, first spotted here but brought to my attention here.

14 December 2009

food stuff: best way to clean knives

and the knife theme lives on here at mad tasty (see sharp knives and storing knives).
check out this post from the kitchn about the best way to clean knives. very interesting. how good are you at keeping your knives clean?

13 December 2009

Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding

Feed the birds, tuppen’s a bag? No! Make bread pudding instead!

It seems that my posts usually end up being baked goods, but to be sure, when I have the opportunity to make something new it usually tends to be a sweet treat. This time of the year, too, I'm all about comfort foods.

This is a fairly standard recipe for bread pudding, which is good for not wasting old hardened bread that you would normally pitch out to the pigeons. Bread pudding is also wonderfully versatile. You can add other fruits instead of apples (pears are good alternative), or try a coconut/banana version using coconut milk instead of moo juice and sliced bananas. Or everyone’s favorite – chocolate – by adding 2 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate into the 1st step and omitting the apples and raisins.

3 c. milk
4 tbsp. (half stick) unsalted butter
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
½ c. plus 1 tbsp. sugar
Pinch salt
Leftover hardened bread, slices or torn into chunks (old baguette or challah is the best)
2 eggs
1 c. peeled, grated and drained apples
¼ c. raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350*. Over low heat in a small saucepan warm the milk, butter, half the cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves, ½ cup sugar, and salt until the butter melts.
2. Grease an 8” glass baking dish, and place the bread chunks inside.
3. Pour the hot milk mixture over the bread in the dish, let sit for a few mins for the bread to soak up the liquid. Beat the eggs briefly and stir them into the bread mixture, adding the apples and raisins too at this stage.

4. Mix the remaining 1 tbsp. of sugar with the rest of the spices and sprinkle over the top of the dish.
5. Set the baking dish within a larger baking pan and pour hot water in within an inch of the top of the dish.
6. Bake 45 mins to 1 hour, until a thin knife into the center comes out clean (or nearly so; the center should be somewhat wobbly).
7. Serve warm or cold, best with a few fresh berries and whipped cream.

12 December 2009

Yes, I Am 28 and I Still Eat Ramen

(Ed. Note:  Please also welcome this guest post from Tony, filling in for Alana)

Other possible titles: "Ramen Is an Ingredient, Not a Right."  Or further, "Ramen in Sheep's Clothing."

When I and many of my good friends fell off the employment wagon, we had to resort to cooking at home to save money. Thanks to Madtasty, I nearly ended my unemployment prematurely with a number of cooking fiascos that left me with mild food poisoning and a badly burned copy of Where's Mom, Now That I Need Her? It wasn't long before I reverted back to my old college habits of 40 ozs and ramen noodles. Safe and sound. I'd like to share one of my more blog-friendly triumphs, covering for Lady A, best cook ever, on a week when she is rather busy.

So, how does a self-respecting yuppie dress up ramen to take home to mom and dad? Just follow along. And, if your parents are separated, you can tailor this recipe to their individual tastes at many steps along the way.

You will need, clockwise from our hero in the bottom left: Ramen, Si Racha, frozen broccoli, boiling (or at least very hot) water (represented here by the pot), a bowl to eat out of, frozen shrimp, fresh cilantro, furikaki (advanced) and chopsticks (not pictured - you may substitute a fork).

Step 1:
Boil some water, note appropriate signage in background

Step 2:
While the water is boiling, unfreeze the shrimps and broccoli (we use frozen shrimp and broccoli because this is Ramen, people! and also its already cooked you just hafta heat it up! this takes about 4 x 1 minute intervals in my wimpy microwave. Plan accordingly.

Step 3:
Is not a step, it is a picture I have included about furikake. What the hell is furikake and why should I have it in my kitchen?

Furikake is a Japanese condiment intended to top rice, but I suppose it is an ingredient and can be used for whatever. It is made of seaweed and sesame and soy (for saltiness) and usually has fish or shrimp in it. I get the kind without fish cause it reminds me of fish food. But you can make that call yourself. Find this at Super 88 or moral equivalent. Its delicious and is not necessary, but it adds a little authenticity to have sesame and seaweed floating in your soup.

Step 4:
When the shrimp and broccoli are defrosted and are on their way to hot, just drop the Ramen on top and add flavor packet, Si Racha, cilantro and furikake to taste. I use about 2/3 the flavor packet, a good dollop of Si Racha, 10-15 cilantro leaves and a teaspoon of furikake.  You can also add lettuce at this step, but I think real asians use bok choy.

Step 5:
Just add water.

Step 6:
Stir to presentability

Step 7:
Wolf down standing in the kitchen at or near the breakfast bar and get to your favorite local watering hole.

Godspeed and good luck.

11 December 2009

Winter Pear Compote

(Ed. Note: Please welcome guest poster Marcy, who'll be dropping madtastiness on us all from time to time.)

Do you know how many types of pears there are? You may be surprised to know that there are actually close to 5,000 pear varieties throughout the world. However, in the U.S., the Bartlett pair accounts for 70% of the pear market. The Bartlett, or green pair, is one of six pears that you may have seen in your local market. The other five common pears in the U.S. include: Anjou, Asian, Bosc, Comice, Red Bartlett and Seckel.

One of my favorite winter desserts is pear compote. Making pear compote is simple, with little prep time. It is also inexpensive and healthy. Any type of pears will work well with this recipe. My personal favorite is Bosc pears, as they cook well even if they aren’t ripe.

There are many ways to eat compote. Eat it cold, hot, on top of ice-cream, with whipping cream, or in yogurt. Make a batch of pear compote and keep in the fridge all week. You’ll have an instant, healthy snack rich in Vitamin C and fiber – both of which will help to keep you healthy and regular!

  • 8 Pears (any pears, or a combination of pears)
  • ¼ of one lemon
  • ¼ C. raisins
  • ¼ C. sugar
  • 2 Cinnamon sticks
  • Water to cover all ingredients
Peel, core and chop the pears into quarters. (FYI- Avoid placing the core and stem in your garbage disposal as it could cause the disposal to clog. This has happened to me on several occasions). Don’t dice the pears as they will fall apart and turn into pear sauce instead of pear compote.

Put all of the ingredients in a 6 qt. pot and cover with water. Simmer and then cook it covered, over a small to medium flame (be careful not to over simmer, as the water could overflow and cause a big mess on your stove top). Cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let it cool down a bit, then serve as you please.

Yields 6 servings.

(this picture is from whole foods, but it should look similar!)

10 December 2009

Workout Queen's Pescado al Vapor

Howdy workout fanatics...You'll find that this recipe, like most that I post, isn't the most intricate, detailed, or HARD recipe. This fish dish is a very common Mexican plate, is economical, tasty and EASY (which I'm WAY into, given my schedule).

Pescado al Vapor really means Vaporized Fish aka Steamed fish. And let me tell you, just like marinating chicken and meats beforehand, cooking any dish al vapor really helps the seasonings soak in and actually cooks the protein that your making. It is also SUPER healthy and there is no need for oil/butter or anything but the protein to cook this. Let's take a look at the ingredients.

  • piece of aluminium foil big enough for your fish
  • 1/4 pound of white fish (call Cochito, here in Mexico), but any white/flouder type will do
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • about 7 mushrooms
  • seasoned salt
  • adobo
  • Cumin
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
Keep in mind, the seasonings can be changed and varied to your liking. Those are my frequently used spices, cause they're yummy.

  1. Thaw your fish if it isn't already fresh. Season it on both sides.
  2. Cut your veggies, and spice them as well. Place them to the side temporarily.
  3. Get the aluminium foil and tear a piece that is about 2 times the size of the actual piece of fish.
  4. Place the fish in the middle of the aluminium.
  5. Add the veggies on top of the fish.
  6. Gently close the foil, bringing the two sides to fold together above the fish, not touching it. (You are basically wrapping it without it touching. So all sides need to be closed)
  7. Place the wrapped fish in a pan. Place the pan on the stove.
  8. Cook for approximately 15 minutes.
  9. Serve and enjoy!
The cooking part isn't pretty, cause your magnificent dish is wrapped in foil, but the taste is simply delightful because it is steaming inside.

As I mentioned, Pescado al Vapor is very common here in Mexico, as is most meats al vapor. Typically, in a nice restaurant, you'll order a dish al vapor and they'll unwrap the ugly foil in front of you at the table - for PROOF that it was actually cooked this way. When you steam your food, your fish and veggies soak up all the moisture, which is really what makes the food juicy. This is a great meal to simply bring to work and reheat, because it is already packaged in lovely foil wrapping. Or you can eat it right after it is prepared. When your schedule is tight and you're on the run, remember that you can al vapor just about any protein and it is sure to come out delicious. Let me know how yours turns out! Happy cooking and keep on being HEALTHY!!

09 December 2009

Kicked Up Magic Cookie Bars

Would you consider yourself a baker? If the answer is no, these magic cookie bars are for you! Super easy, super delicious, and you don't even dirty a bowl or a spoon.

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 6 oz package of chocolate chips
  • 1 6 oz package of white chocolate chips
  • 1 6 oz package of butterscotch chip
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a small sauce pan, melt butter
  3. Pour butter evenly into a 13x9 baking dish so that it coats the bottom of the dish
  4. Layer remaining ingredients evenly on top of the butter
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bottom is golden brown
  6. Let cool before cutting into squares

08 December 2009

Armenian Lentil Burger

This is a burger for the book I've been working on. Forgive the laundry list of ingredients—it's definitely not a complicated recipe: You cook the lentils with some aromatics, then fry an onion with some spices, blitz the cooked onion and beans and some eggs in a food processor (though last week I made this with my friend Emily, who owns a meat grinder attachment for her Kitchen Aide, and—wow!—what a terrific way to make a veggie burger!), then shape the mixture into patties, and then cook them.

Now I've not been to Armenia before and I have very (very) limited experience with Armenian food. The inspiration for this burger comes from an Armenian friend who, when she learned about this book, insisted that an Armenian burger be included. And she was onto something! The allspice and cinnamon and clove lend a warming, even slightly numbing quality that is delicious. But do let me know if you make this and have any suggestions.

Armenian Lentil Burger

1 cup French lentils
2 T plus 1 t olive or grapeseed oil
1/2 onion, sliced into two quarters from the stem
2 whole cloves
1-inch piece ginger, sliced into two pieces
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 cinnamon stick
bay leaf
1 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1-3/4 t ground allspice
1/2 t ground cinnamon
2 pinches ground cloves
pinch cayenne
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 t grated fresh ginger
2 eggs
1/2 t salt
squeeze lemon
3/4 cup toasted breadcrumbs

Pick through the lentils and rinse thoroughly. Stud each of the onion quarters with a clove. In a lidded medium saucepan, heat the 1 teaspoon oil over medium high heat. Add the onion quarters, ginger pieces, garlic cloves, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf. Stir, then cover and cook for one minute, until fragrant. Add the lentils and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Discard the aromatics (the onion, ginger, garlic, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf) and pour off any excess liquid.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-low heat. Add the chopped onion, ground allspice, ground cinnamon, ground cloves and cayenne. Fry for about 12 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to caramelize. Reduce the heat and add the garlic and ginger. Cook for about five minutes more, until the onions are fully cooked.

Set aside 1/2 cup of the cooked lentils. In a food processor, combine the remaining lentils, eggs, and onions, and pulse until thoroughly combined. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the reserved lentils, salt, lemon juice, and breadcrumbs. Adjust seasonings. Using your hands, shape the mixture into four large or six medium patties (or if you want to mimic the photo, you can make about a dozen mini-burgers).

To panfry: heat two tablespoons olive, grapeseed, or vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the burgers, in batches if necessary to avoid crowding, cooking 5 to 6 minutes on each side until browned and firmed.

To bake: Preheat oven 350-degrees. Place burgers on a lightly greased baking sheet for 15-20 minutes, until browned and firmed in the middle. Flip them over halfway through the baking time.
Crispy vegetables are wonderful with this—slices of cucumber and radish and romaine and red onion—on a toasted bun or stuffed into a warm pita. It’s also good with this easy yogurt sauce:
1/2 red onion, minced
2 t lemon juice
1/2 t salt
1 small cucumber
1 cup Greek-style plain yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint (loosely packed)
pinch cayenne

Combine the red onion and lemon juice and salt. Let stand while you grate or finely chop the cucumber. Stir in remaining ingredients. Adjust seasonings and serve.

07 December 2009

food stuff: how to segment an orange

i literally had NO IDEA this is how to segment an orange, but now i do thanks to the kitchn. is this a trick you use often or are you like me that even now you know, you probably won't ever think to segment an orange??

05 December 2009

Bacon Wrapped Tilapia

Everything Tastes Better with Bacon Right?

I don't eat red meat but I do love turkey bacon. So here goes a tasty meal in minutes:

You Need:
  • 1 piece of tilapia per person
  • 1 slice of turkey bacon per person
  • salt, pepper, cayenne pepper to taste

You Do:
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Sprinkle Fish with salt, pepper and cayenne
  3. Place fish on baking sheet
  4. Place bacon on fish
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes (above picture is after baking)
  6. Place under broiler for 4-5 minutes (until bacon is crispy, did this but forgot to take the picture...oops)
  7. Wrap bacon around fish and serve with salad.

04 December 2009

Fantastic Food Trip to Budapest!

Hello there....! No cooking was done by me this week. However a trip to Budapest last weekend brought me across plenty of lovely dishes cooked by my friend Zsuzsanna, who kindly agreed to let me share them here. This is the same friend who created the stuffed peppers with a Hungarian twist - You may notice one particular ingredient findings its way into everything :). Thanks for letting me share Zsuzsu!

Here are some of the fantastic meals we feasted on at her table:

1) Cherry soup.

: Cinnamon, Sugar, Sour Cream and Flour.
To Make: Boil the cherries, sugar and cinnamon. Separately, mix the sour cream and flour. Mix it very well: make sure there are no flour bumps. When the cherries are boiling, stir in the sour cream and flour, and then bring to the boil again.

2) Rakott Krumpli (Translates into 'Late Potatoes').

Need:Potatoes, Chorizo, Bacon, Boiled Eggs, Sour Cream and One Raw Egg.
To Make: Peel and slice the potatoes, chops the chorizo and bacon, and boil and peel a few eggs. Then layer all the ingredients (leave the raw egg aside until the end) into a deep oven dish: sausage, bacon and egg, then potato, then sour cream. Repeat until all the ingredients are used. For the final layer of sour cream, mix it with the raw egg, and pour the whole mixture across the top of the potatoes and meat. Cook in an oven at 180 degrees Celcius for a half hour/forty mins.

3) Goat's cheese mixed with Paprika
Need: Either Goat Cheese OR Sheep Cheese OR Cottage Cheese from sheep's milk (but not cow's), Paprika, Mustard, Cumin, Sour Cream OR Butter.
To Make: Mix together to taste and enjoy......

4) Blue cheese mixed with sour cream
Need: Blue Cheese, Sour Cream, Butter, Chives, Nutmeg, Black Pepper.
To Make: Mix together to taste and enjoy....
Zsuzsanna's tip: Excellent with garlic bread.

In the photo you can see the Sheep's Cheese and Paprika in the foreground, and the Blue Cheese mixture behind, to the left of the butter.


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