Blog post 100 and the end of 2011.

For 2012 I’m hoping to get to at least 300 recipes and posts.
It’s been a lot of work but also a lot of fun writing this blog.
My family has been eating rather well this last year and I’m aiming to bring more to you next year.

Please come back often and let me know if you liked/tried my recipes.

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy 2012!

Now for something elegant.

Sole is a very dainty fish in my mind.

It cooks fast and it tastes delicious. When you buy the fish get uniform pieces that are not too small or large, this will ensure even cooking.

Sole a la Meuniere (Sole in butter sauce)

2-3 pieces of Sole per person
(if your fish place sells bigger filets use on per person)
2-3 tbs butter
Salt and pepper (to season flour)

For the sauce:
2 tbs butter
1/2 cup white wine
1tbs lemon juice
salt and pepper
1 table spoon capers (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Lightly dredge Dover sole in seasoned flour.
Heat butter in a medium pan until it begins to smoke.
Saute sole until golden brown on each side (about 1 to 2 minutes per side).

Be careful to not turn the fish for more than one time, it will fall apart easily if you do that.
Not pretty.

In a separate pan melt 2 tbs of butter, add wine, lemon juice and salt and pepper. Add the capers last and pour over sole.


Tools of the trade.

E. asked me yesterday what use she would have of the crock-pot her mom bought her for Christmas. Was it going to gather dust or would she find it helpful as she worked long hours.

When we moved to the US I was introduced to a new way of cooking food: a crock-pot (slow cooker)
These were unknown to me but I’ve grown to love and use my crock-pot a lot.
So much so that I bought a second, smaller crock-pot.
Not only do I use them for soups, there are stews too. We cook our ribs in them and nothing is better than coming home to a house that smells like slow-cooked food.
Summer is the only time the crock-pot gets a break, fall and winter I tend to use it a lot.
So the answer E is yes, you’ll be very happy with this Christmas present!

For ideas look at the blog by Stephanie O’Day who in 2008 decided to cook all her food in her crock-pot for 365 days.
Today here is one of her recipes I’m sure I’ll make soon.

Day 74.

There is nothing better than french onion soup. Nothing!

This is ridiculously easy to make, and tastes like it belongs in a french restaurant. This is a good dish to simmer all day long while you are at work, or while out and about saving the world.

The Ingredients.
–2 cans of beef broth
–3 T butter
–2 yellow onions
–1/2 T granulated sugar
–1/4 cup cooking sherry (or dry white wine would probably work)
–1/2 t kosher salt (you might need more if your butter isn’t salted)
–slices of brown rice bread (or french bread)
–gruyere cheese (swiss could work too)

The Directions.

–heat your crockpot to high and plop your butter in to start melting
–slice the yellow onions into rings
–break up the onion slices with your fingers, and rub them around in the melted butter
–add the beef broth, sugar, salt, and sherry
–cook on high for 6-8 hours or low for 10-12. It takes a while for the onions to get translucent and pliable

before serving:
–preheat oven to the broiling option
–toast 4 slices of the bread that you are going to use. That Trader Joe’s brown rice bread needed to be toasted twice in my toaster to get to the desired crunchiness.
–cut gruyere cheese into slices
–put the cheese onto the toasted bread, and carefully float the bread and cheese on the top of the soup
–remove stoneware from crockpot and place the UNCOVERED stoneware into the oven
–broil for a minute or two–the cheese should be all melty and turn a golden color

ladle into 4 bowls.

Recipe by Stephanie O’Day

Simple Dutch comfort food

My kids bought me a Creuset Dutch oven, I’ve always wanted one. They weigh a ton but are ideal for slow cooked foods on the stove.

The thick walls keep the heat and it’s very much like a slow cooker.

This dish is a very traditional dish, the vinegar gives it a bit of a tangy taste and the meat is tender.

Hachee (Hash)

5 onions
3 tbs butter
1.5 pounds stew meat (beef)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbs flour
1 bouillon cube
2 tbs vinegar
1 tsp sugar
2 bay laurel leaves
4 cloves

Cut onions and set aside
In butter saute the meat, add onions as meat is browning.
Sprinkle salt,pepper and flour over meat and onions and mix well.
Add boullion cube and enough water to almost cover the meat
Add vinegar, sugar, bay leaves and the cloves.
Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let it simmer for 3 hours
Remove the bay leaves and the cloves
Taste the gravy and if needed add salt and pepper

Traditionally this dish is eaten with mashed potatoes and red cabbage.


Typical Dutch, Oliebollen.

Right at the beginning of November all over the Netherlands food trucks are set up to sell a traditional pastry called Oliebollen

I published this in May but now is more the time to make and eat these.

Traditionally these are eaten between Christmas and New Years Eve and are as Dutch as clogs and Gouda.

I haven’t been asked, yet, by my family to make them but I might indulge them this year and go for it.

1 (0.6 ounce) cake compressed fresh yeast or 2 1/4 tsp yeast
1 cup lukewarm milk
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 egg
3/4 cup raisins
1 quart vegetable oil for deep-frying
1 cup confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Break up the compressed yeast, and stir into the warm milk.
Let stand for a few minutes to dissolve.
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl.
Stir the yeast mixture and egg into the flour and mix into a smooth batter. Stir in the raisins.
Cover the bowl, and leave the batter in a warm place to rise until double in size. This will take about 1 hour.
Heat the oil in a deep-fryer, or heavy deep pan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Use 2 metal spoons to shape scoops of dough into balls, and drop them carefully into the hot oil.
Fry the balls until golden brown, about 8 minutes.
The doughnuts should be soft and not greasy.
If the oil is not hot enough, the outside will be tough and the insides greasy.
Drain finished doughnuts on paper towels and dust with confectioners’ sugar.
Serve them piled on a dish with more confectioners’ sugar dusted over them.
Eat them hot.


Swedish Chef Sunday, on a Monday!

The Dutch celebrate two days of Christmas so today is a holiday for me too.

Merry Christmas!

And Happy 6th day of Chanukah for my Jewish friends.

Whatever holiday you celebrate, and I know there are many this season, I hope it is with people you love. Light a candle for the ones you miss and hug your children tight.

Thank you for reading my blog, I’ll be back on Monday.

All wrapped up, Salmon en Croute.

When I was in culinary school many many moons ago we were taught many cooking skills and techniques.
Some I liked and retained some I flunked at, detested and forgot them as soon as I didn’t need to know them anymore.
One of my memories is of making filo dough.
The most boring, tedious job to do.
The rolling, folding and then waiting to do it all over again.
Not being a terrible patient person I failed that class.
Miserably too, but time passes and I got over that “F”.

To this day I still have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Filo dough.
I can count on the fingers of one hand how many times I have made it since that day in 1977.
Luckily for cooks like me there is pre-made.

Himself went to Costco (for the non-Us readers, think mega grocery store where nothing comes in small packages)
Himself is not allowed to go to that store alone because he buys, a lot of food in bulk.
He came home with a whole salmon, his saving grace was that it was cleaned up. Never the less a WHOLE salmon.
I’m a bit bored with salmon and running out of ways to make it into a dish everyone will like.

That’s when my memory of Filo dough popped in my head (at 3 am by the way)

Here’s what’s for Christmas Eve dinner tonight;

Salmon with spinach in filo dough.

16 ounces washed spinach leaves
Freshly ground sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grated rind and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 shallot chopped fine
8 large sheets Greek filo pastry
4 oz salmon filets per person
Melted butter, for brushing

Preheat oven to 220 degrees C/425 degrees F.

Cook spinach with a couple tablespoons of water until just wilted.
Drain and squeeze out excess moisture.
In a little butter saute the shallot until cooked, add spinach for a few moments so it absorbs the shallot flavor.
Drain excess liquid
Roughly chop spinach and season with salt, pepper, nutmeg to taste and the lemon rind and juice.

Take two sheets of filo pastry together (keeping the rest under a damp, not wet, tea towel) and set a salmon filet about one-third of the way up from the short end.
Cover the filet with a quarter of the spinach, press down gently.
Flip the short end of the pastry up over the salmon, flip the long edges inwards, then carefully roll the fillet up the length of the pastry.
Brush with melted butter and set on a baking sheet.
Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make four filo parcels in all.

Bake for 15 minutes until crisp and golden and serve immediately salad.

To make this a fancier dish you can add some goat cheese or Boursin cheese to the spinach.


Hold on, blog post coming soon

My oldest is home from school and I’ve had to work every day since she has been home.
With preparations for the upcoming Christmas meal cooking and blogging have been on the back burner so to speak.
I do have a recipe for tomorrow, a festive salmon dish so come on by tomorrow for that.
Me, I’m driving to the mall today.

Everything is better with bacon

A few food items are always in my fridge, cheese, eggs and bacon.

A friend posted a recipe she tried last week on Facebook and I tinkered with it a little and came up with this new recipe.
I made it for The Boy and Himself and they deemed it good for a repeat.
If you can’t find the cheese I used you can substitute with cream cheese, garlic and parsley.

ETA: rinsing the pasta under cold water will stop the cooking process and also avoid melting the cheese too soon.
Also letting the meat cool off a little helps in this process.

Creamy, bacon bake.

1 box pasta (elbows, bow-ties or rotini)
Boursin cheese cheese
1 cup grated cheese, I use half parmesan and mozzerella
4 slices of bacon
8 ounces of chicken
1/2 cup heavy cream

Cook pasta to almost fully cooked, drain and set aside
Cook bacon until crisp, crumble and set aside
Sautee cut up chicken in bacon grease (or in 1 tbs butter, but trust me cooking it in the bacon fat enhances the flavor)
Drain fat from chicken and mix macaroni with bacon, chicken, cream and the cheeses.
Preheat the oven at 350
Coat an ovenproof dish with butter.
Bake for 20-30 minutes until all the cheese is melted.
Halfway stir the pasta so that the cheese coats all over (it stays creamier that way)
If you have a broiler give the dish a quick broil to get a crunchy crust.



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