Sunday, December 18, 2011

Glorious Nutshells- no Need of Nutcracker



...and i can see why they don't make them anymore...at least at home. smart, those young Moldovan ladies. Who has the time to stuff nut shells when you can buy a cake from Franzeluta? Thumbs up.

Nah. Every year when I go home I bring some of my mom's cookery treasures, antiques or vintage stuff of the Old World. Some of those gizmos are nostalgically looked upon here in the US, like my manual meat mincer that has a few attachments for cookie making. So it all started somewhere.

But anyways, nostalgia aside, I dared make those and they were simply delightful. The walnuts and rose jam were brought all the way from Moldova, harvested from our very own walnut tree and rose bush....ah....

I must be nuts.... :)




Friday, December 16, 2011

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum....,


wie treu sind deine Bl├Ątter!
 And moist, nutty, fruity and simply delicious.
 The cake is eggless and dairy free, which makes it a vegan delight-
 a recipe my friend passed on to me when I visited Germany, in 2001. It uses applesauce
in lieu of sourcream and vegetable oil....hence the dense, moist texture- love it while it lasts!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Potato and Carrot Bake- Simply Heaven


Layered potatoes and carrots, plenty of butter and peppery-garlicky heavy cream, topped (and layered) with mozzarella, baked to perfection- a panacea for cold blues. That is, if you do not care for that extra cushion around your hips. Some call them Love Handles!  Come on, it is good for you.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Carrot, Tofu and Peanuts- a Crunchy Monday


Gingery, sourish, sweetish, and a ton of crunch. The roasted bell peppers give great flavour to this simple, but delectable dish. And healthy. Tofu loves it, many great applauds!



Saturday, December 3, 2011

Gingerbread Spritz Cookies- Dashing Though the Dough


Commercial side apart, Christmas time is fun  for kids and grown ups alike. It would have been unthinkable to commence the Season about end of November in Moldova, but here (we all know why) looks like even June is late. But most of us like cookies, don't we? With or without occasion, I suppose. And why not add a little sparkle to those cute Spritz cookies that always intimidated me- more than the cookie, it was the tool used to make them. Until We tried. And man, did we have fun!!!!




...and the best part of all, is when they GO ON THE CHRISTMAS TREE!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sweet Potato and Cranberry Bake


Thanksgiving happens once a year, but metaphorically speaking, it is everyday. That is, for the grateful and gracious.
I have thought long enough what to take for the party we were invited to this year, and many dishes came up to tickle my fancy....from Moldovan Placinta to Ganache cake- and thanks goodness I avoided those, for they would have lacked any welcome among their cousins on the festive table!- but this one was a hit-and I am not exaggerating, it was the first one to go empty! I was asked whether it was a sweet dish or....well, it was both, sweet, sour....and it landed next to the mighty Turkey. Thanks HEB, for it was My Texas Life Magazine which gave me the inspiration!



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chocolate Ganache Cake- Positively Sinful (a Thanksgiving Treat)


I am thankful for many things in my life, this year and every year, and chocolate is one of them :). Labeled "Food of the Gods"( and how can it be otherwise?), chocolate is the thing I cannot resist...well, one of them anyways.

This Ganache Cake is made with both Ghirardelli 100 cacao bar, and a combination of semi-sweet and dark chocolate. So not for the faint of heart.
It was supposed to be enjoyed tomorrow- for our Thanksgiving dinner- but who can wait till then?- and since I am taking something else for the party we are going to- why not?
I thought some "autumn leaves" would sit well with the whole thing- besides you can eat them! The side of the cake is a sheet of chocolate that is piped onto a strip of parchment paper, then applied to the cake- intimidating in the beginning, but really easy- mark my words!

About the taste: I am speechless. I think I will be making this cake over and over- even my better half, who is not a big fan of dark chocolate, said "outstanding". That means something.

 And my little BIG inspiration has tried her hand at chocolate piping- watch out world! She said " mimi, the cake is NOT good"- was expected.

                              Happy Thanksgiving!









And my little BIG inspiration has tried her hand at chocolate piping- watch out world!









Saturday, November 19, 2011

Red Curry Gravy and Fried Plantains


One of my favourites, plantains, when fried- with some sort of gravy, for they tend to be dry and bland-ish.... Easy to make, although I attempted this red curry paste from scratch and it took time. Make more and keep it handy in the fridge but I guess it pays to have a jar of good quality red curry paste  (the Thai type) at hand to spare you the "pain". The gravy is coconut milk based, the low fat kind- it gives the whole affair a very rich taste!!!

Sorry- no recipe. Takes time to jot down each step and try to remember what I put in, and how much. I use cookbooks as reference, my cooking style is intuitive and flexible, and I aim to be honest and not "produce" a recipe just for the sake of the blog. And really, really, really- I have so much on my plate with  my little one growing up- priorities, priorities, priorities!

Why this blog?- just to amuse myself. And love recording my culinary adventures. Good enough reasons to keep it going. If you like something here and want to try, please let me know, and I will try to accommodate your request!  


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fried Carrot and Spiced Coconut


Whenever I end up with too much fresh coconut, I find a quick fix. This usually means the grinding or shredding the coconut and frying it with spices and herbs, so it can be later used in spicing up curries and other dishes. I usually use mustard, cumin, dry red chili, urad and chana dal (Indian lentils) to fry along with fresh curry leaves. The spiced coconut can be frozen in a freezer-safe container for ? several months, but the best part of it is that you have this dry chutney- if you may- at hand, whenever you need it, without going though the rather tedious process of making it every time....

Monday, November 7, 2011

Deep Fried Spring Rolls- A Leftovers Saga



It so happened that I ended up with a lot of cellophane noodles from the previous day's lunch (one of those hot summer days ;) and could not figure out how to resourcefully utilize it...it could have been a salad, but I must have craved for a deep-fried-guilt-laden treat (they say properly deep-fried foods are healthier than shallow frying- GOT YA). A quick fix was to wrap some cellophane noodles, julienned carrot and onions into spring rolls (not egg rolls) and let the whole affair nicely deep-fry till crisp and golden brown! Serve with chili sauce and whatever else you have in hand (in my case some deep fried tofu cubes and edammame - casual but smart. And tasty.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Spanish Rice- None Such in Spain


but the Southwest swears by it...There are tons of recipes out there, but anything you do with it- remember to add the rice
In our family we love it- it is so versatile, pairs well with N number of dishes and IS delicious. This one has tons of flavour: roasted bellpeppers, mint leaves, cilantro, garlic,  lemon juice  and Tabasco for an additional kick of fragrance and flavor. That was actually my lunch, and had to skip dinner altogether- wonder why?
Bon Appetit!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween, Pumpkin Eaters!

Looks like this fall my blog tastes pumpkin! But what can be better for Halloween than a smiling Jack-O-Lantern sweet treat?- nothing, if you ask my little cake monster! we had fun, and at the end of the day, that's all matters- now I have to find someone to share the load of buttercream on this cake- please welcome, take a bite!



the future Master Cake Decorator


Fairy dust, anyone?



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Welcome Fall- I am Back!




... it's been long since I last posted, and it was meant to be so. A great summer behind, with trips abroad- things seen will long stay fresh in my memory. Now that all the berries are gone....oh well.

As for Fall or Autumn- or the Golden Autumn, as it is called in Moldova,  I cannot find enough words to describe how welcome it is, after the scorching heat of Texas summer....besides no other season offers more flavour and spice and versatility as fall does (feel free to disagree).

So let me get back to the job, and invite you to a tasty bite of varzari (pumpkin stuffed pastry)- one that was baking in my parents' brick oven. The dough and method are the same used in my other post- just replace the stuffing with shredded pumpkin seasoned with sugar and spice of your liking.





Monday, June 13, 2011

Taking a Break- Many Exciting Berries this Summer!


Whatever keeps me from posting my rather occasional creations these days, I promise to be back in fall with more exciting and vibrant dishes! For now enjoy this mixed berry pie- a true summer treat!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Happy 1st Year Blogoversary- Chocolate Cake, Please

My good friend Simona Haliga from alison-trials introduced me to the word Blogoversary yesterday, while telling her during our little chat that I was making a cake for the 1 year anniversary of my blog. So I decided to use  the word today, for tomorrow I will complete 1 year of blogging. 
I started off too enthusiastically but I really slowed down as time went since I had to go through my priority list and realized that I had a few "cannot take your eyes off" things to take care of. Well anyways, here I am, with 130 posts published, a bunch of good loyal bloggers who keep coming even if I am not reciprocating all of the time, and a wish almost fulfilled: have my passion for cooking immortalized (unless Google goofs it) in form of words and images.- stingy on writing as I am (at least for now), I let pictures speak, and if they inspire you- my mission is complete!

I wish to offer all the food here to Sai Baba first- who is the owner of it all!

Now the cake: and WHO do you think insisted on blowing the candle? My INSPIRATION!!!

Used this recipe for the crust


2- tone swirls- toffee and chocolate whipped cream!
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