Friday, April 24, 2015

Breakfast Egg Cups

If you need to make a lot of eggs all at once for breakfast or for a brunch, try this very easy and fast recipe from Martha Stewart. You only have to flatten a couple of pieces of toast with a rolling pin then layer them in a muffin tin and crack some eggs into these little cups. Done!  

Bacon, Egg, and Toast Cups
(adapated from Martha Stewart)

Note: I didn't use the bacon and the eggs were still delicious!

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
8 slices white or whole-wheat sandwich bread
6 slices bacon
6 large eggs
Coarse salt and ground pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter 6 standard muffin cups. With a rolling pin, flatten bread slices slightly and, with a 4 1/4-inch cookie cutter, cut into 8 rounds. Cut each round in half, then press 2 halves into each muffin cup, overlapping slightly and making sure bread comes up to edge of cup. Use extra bread to patch any gaps. Brush bread with remaining butter.

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium, until almost crisp, 4 minutes, flipping once. (It will continue to cook in the oven.) Lay 1 bacon slice in each bread cup and crack an egg over each. Season with salt and pepper. Bake until egg whites are just set, 20 to 25 minutes. Run a small knife around cups to loosen toasts. Serve immediately.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Egg Salad with Curry and Asparagus

Asparagus season has finally arrived. You can make so many amazing dishes with asparagus. This salad can stand alone as a lunch option or even dinner. The dressing is lightened up with yogurt, sour creme and parsley. And the eggs will keep you full for a long time. 

Egg Salad with Curry and Asparagus

4 hard cooked eggs
3/4 lb Asparagus, blanched
4 Shrimp
Parsley, minced
1/2 Avocado, sliced
1 t Olive Oil

2 T Yoghurt
2 T Sour Creme
2 T Mayonnaise
Juice of 1 Lemon
1/2 t Chilipepper
1 -2 t Curry powder
Salt and Pepper.

Mix the ingredients for the dressing in a large bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Cut the cooked asparagus in 1 inch pieces. Peel and quarter the cooled eggs. Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the shrimp until done, 2 - 4 minutes. Let cool and cut into pieces. Add the avocado, the eggs the shrimp and the parsley to the bowl with the dressing and mix carefully. Adjust seasoning with more salt, chili, pepper, and lemon juice.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ina Garten's Noodle Kugel

Did I tell you, that I have lunch once a month with a couple of lovely ladies who love to cook as much as I do? Each time we have a different theme and explore new things that our families would never want to try, so we cook them for each other. This week we made quiches.  We had a caramelized onion quiche, a leek quiche, a caramelized garlic and spinach quiche and an Indian and Mexican quiche as well. I picked something that I never had heard of before. It didn't have a crust and was made from a custard so I thought it would be interesting.

It is called a Noodle Kugel and I am still not sure if it is a dessert or a side dish because it is sweet but it is also salty. It contains ricotta and raisins and lots of noodles. I must admit, I was not the biggest fan but I am sure that kids would love it when you add a little bit more sugar. It is a very easy and fast recipe and you can make it ahead of time and gently reheat it in the oven just before serving.

Noodle Kugel
(Ina Garten)

serves 8 - 10

1 pound wide egg noodles
5 extra-large eggs
4 cups half-and-half
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup golden raisins
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 10 by 13 by 2 1/4-inch baking dish.

Drizzle some oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Cook the noodles for 6 to 8 minutes, until tender. Drain.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Stir in the ricotta and raisins. Add the drained noodles.

Pour the noodle mixture into the baking dish. Place the filled dish in a larger pan and pour in enough hot water to come halfway up the sides. Cover the entire assembly with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 45 minutes, or until the custard is just set.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Vietnamese Chicken Pho

Pho is originally a Vietnamese soup made from oxtail, beef bones, roasted onions and ginger, star anise and many other flavors. The soup is all about the fragrant and delicious broth. 
It is a popular street food in Vietnam and usually eaten for breakfast. 
For chicken pho, only the meat and bones of the chicken are used in place of beef and beef bone. The recipe comes from Charles Phan, owner and chef of The Slanted Door, a very popular restaurant in San Francisco that I happened to have a chance to visit last year with my daughter and absolutely loved.

Chicken Pho

Adapted from a cookbook by Charles Phan of the famed Slanted Door in San Francisco and smitten kitchen

Serves 6

2 unpeeled yellow onions, quartered
Three 1/2-inch-thick slices of unpeeled fresh ginger, smashed
4 quarts cold water
3 pounds chicken bones or chicken wings
One fresh 3 1/2-pound chicken, quartered
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
Additional spices (optional): Cinnamon, star anise, black cardamoms, coriander seeds, fennel seeds or cloves
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
1 pound dried rice noodles, a linguine shape (bánh phở) if you can find them

1 large scallion, thinly sliced
1 pound mung bean sprouts
1/2 cup torn basil leaves, Thai basil if you can find it
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
2 limes, cut into wedges
2 jalapeños, thinly sliced
Asian chili-garlic sauce
Hoisin sauce
Crispy shallots, recipe follows

Char onions and ginger: Heat the oven to 400°F. Put the onions and ginger on a lightly oiled baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, or until softened and lightly browned. 

Cook the chicken: Fill a large stockpot with the water and bring to a boil. Add the roasted onions and ginger, and the chicken bones or wings, quartered chicken, salt, sugar and any of the optional spices and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to moderate and simmer until the chicken is cooked, about 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken and finish the broth: Using tongs, transfer the quartered chicken to a plate and let cool slightly. Remove the meat from the bones and refrigerate. Return the skin and bones to the stockpot and simmer for 2 hours longer. Strain the chicken broth into a large soup pot and cook over high heat until reduced to 12 cups, about 15 minutes. Stir in the fish sauce; adjust to taste.

*Prepare noodles: In a large bowl of warm water, soak the noodles until pliable, about 20 minutes. You can also prepare the noodles according to the package instructions, if they differ. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Drain the noodles, then add them to the saucepan and boil over high heat until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain well. Divide the noodles between 6 large bowls and sprinkle with the scallion.

Finish and serve the soup: Add the reserved chicken to the broth and simmer until heated through. Ladle the broth and chicken over the noodles. Serve with the bean sprouts, basil, lime wedges, jalapeños, chili-garlic sauce, hoisin sauce and crispy shallots.

Do ahead: The broth can be made ahead and refrigerated for two days, a great way to divide up this recipe.

Crispy Fried Shallots

2 cups thinly sliced shallots (about 4 large shallots)
2 cups canola oil

In a small saucepan or large heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium-high until it registers 275°F on a deep-fry or candy thermometer. Add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently as they’ll want to cook unevenly, until light golden brown, about 4 to 8 minutes, depending on their thickness. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Increase the heat to high and place a fine-mesh sieve over a heatproof bowl. When the oil registers 375°F on the deep-fry or candy thermometer, add return the fried shallots to the oil and cook just until they are crispy and well-browned, about 5 seconds, watching carefully so the shallots don’t burn.

Pour the oil and shallots through the sieve to immediately stop the cooking, then transfer to shallots to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Sprinkle with salt to season. Reserve the oil for another use. The shallots will keep, stored in an airtight container, for 1 day, but they’re best the day they are made.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Bubble Eclairs and Croquets from Dorie Greenspan

Many of you probably have heard of Dorie Greenspan. She is an amazing person, a great baker, and a fantastic cook. I actually had the opportunity to sit next to her the other day at a book presentation of her new book "Baking Chez Moi".
Every recipe of her is tested and written so well that I would make it for a dinner party without even trying it beforehand. So far I've made at least five recipes from her new book, and each of them were extremely delicious and easy to make. Here are the recipes for a very nice cookie and eclairs.


The dough for these croquets is patted out into two logs, like biscotti. And, as with biscotti, after the dough is baked you wait a few minutes and then cut the logs. But unlike biscotti, croquets are not twice-baked, and they're not as well behaved. They're bound to crack some when you cut them, and their imperfection is part of their charm.

Make Ahead: You can make croquets up to 2 weeks before serving if they are stored at room temperature in a dry place. Only humidity will spoil them.

makes 36 cookies


2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
Pinch fine sea salt
4 ounces whole almonds, preferably unblanched, very coarsely chopped (may substitute macadamia nuts, cashews or hazelnuts)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour


Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.

Combine the egg whites, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. The mixture will turn pure white and will look like a thick, heavy meringue frosting. (If you’re using a hand mixer, you might want to switch to a sturdy wooden spoon for the next step.) Reduce the speed to low and mix in the nuts. Still on low speed, add the flour, mixing until it is fully incorporated. The dough will be heavy and sticky and might ball up around the paddle; it will be more like nougat candy than cookie dough.

Use a flexible spatula (or your wooden spoon) to transfer half of the dough to one long side of the lined baking sheet, spreading it into a log that’s 12 inches long. Repeat with the other half, placing it on the other side of the baking sheet. Use your fingertips to flatten the logs to a thickness of about 1/2 inch; they will be about 3 inches wide. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light brown, puffed and cracked. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire cooling rack; let the logs cool for 10 minutes.

If it looks as though the logs are stuck, slide a thin spatula under them to loosen them, then carefully transfer them to a cutting board. Use a long serrated knife to saw each log into cookies 1/2- to 2/3-inch thick. Some of the slices might break, and you're bound to have lots of crumbs and shards. Allow the cookies to cool fully and crisp for about 1 hour before serving.

Bubble Eclairs

Unglazed eclairs are easy to make at home. This simple version calls for nothing more than a dusting of confectioners' sugar and a filling of sweetened whipped cream, and you can pull the whole thing together in under an hour. (FFEK: I filled mine with chocolate pastry cream)

Make Ahead: Once piped onto baking sheets, the eclairs can be frozen for up to 2 days and then can go straight into the oven; add a few minutes to the baking time. Or you can freeze the unfilled baked pastries for up to 2 months; defrost them in the refrigerator, warm in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes, cool and then fill.

makes 16 eclairs


1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4 equal pieces
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup flour
4 large eggs, at room temperature
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

1 1/2 cups whipping cream, chilled
1 1/2 to 6 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, or as needed


For the pastry: Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

Combine the milk, water, butter, granulated sugar and salt in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat. Bring to a rapid boil; add the flour all at once, reduce the heat to medium-low and quickly stir energetically with a wooden spoon or sturdy heatproof spatula. The dough will come together; a light haze will form on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring vigorously for another minute or two to dry out the dough. The dough should be very smooth.

Turn the dough out into the bowl of a stand mixer or into a large bowl in which you can use a hand mixer or a wooden spoon. Let the dough sit for 3 minutes, then beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is incorporated before adding the next and beating until the dough is thick and shiny, 1 to 2 minutes. The dough should be used immediately.

Use a small cookie scoop, a pastry bag with a plain or open star tip, or a plastic zip-top bag with a hole cut in one corner to portion the dough. For each eclair, scoop or pipe a row of 3 balls of dough, each about 1 scant tablespoon, as close to one another as you can get them, snuggling each ball of dough up to the next. When you have 3 balls in a row, move on to the next eclair. Leave at least 2 inches of puff-and-grow space between the clusters. If piping has created little peaks on top of the dough balls, use your wet finger to gently flatten them, if desired.

Slide the baking sheets into the oven; immediately reduce the temperature to 375 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes without opening the oven door, then rotate the baking sheets top to bottom and front to back; bake for about 10 minutes or until the eclairs are golden on the top and bottom and are firm to the touch. Transfer the eclairs to wire racks to cool.

For the filling: Combine the cream and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the confectioners' sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a balloon whisk, or use a hand-held electric mixer. Beat on low speed, then on medium-high just until the cream starts to thicken. Taste, and add confectioners' sugar as needed, then beat on medium-high speed to the desired consistency. Blend in the vanilla extract (to taste).

There are two ways to fill the eclairs. Transfer the filling to a pastry bag fitted with a medium plain pastry tip and poke a hole in the eclair, either in the bottom or in one side; nuzzle the tip into the hole and squeeze in enough filling to come to the edges of the hole. Or slice the eclairs horizontally, either in half or by cutting off the top third. (You can scoop out the eggy innards if you wish.) Pipe, spoon or scoop the filling into the bottom of the eclairs and cap with the tops. Dust the tops with a little confectioners' sugar, if desired.

Serve the eclairs right away.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Thai Zucchini Turkey Meatballs

This is a super easy and fast recipe for Turkey Zucchini Meatballs. The meatballs are finished in a red curry coconut sauce and garnished with tomatoes and green onions. Adding Zucchini to meatballs makes the meatballs very tender and juicy. You can serve the dish with rice or noodles. 

Thai Zucchini Turkey Meatballs

(from ifoodreal)
serves 4

For Meatballs:

2 lbs ground turkey, extra lean
1 cup zucchini, shredded & liquid squeezed out
1 tbsp fish sauce
1/4 cup green onions, finely chopped
2 tbsp basil, finely chopped
2 tsp ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, grated
1 tsp red curry paste
2 tbsp coconut milk, light (canned)
1/8 tsp hot pepper chill flakes
Cooking spray

For the Sauce:
1 + 1/2 cup coconut milk, light (canned)
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp red curry paste
1 tsp fish sauce
1/8 tsp hot pepper chili flakes, or to taste
5-6 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
1 handful of tomatoes, halved for garnish


In a medium bowl, combine ingredients for meatballs, mix with your hands thoroughly. Make 28 meatballs by spooning heaping 1 tbsp of mixture and rolling between your hands. Lay on a cutting board or plate. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients and set aside.
Preheat large, 12" or larger, skillet on high, spray with cooking spray. Add meatballs and cook until brown, for about 2-3 minutes. No need to cook the meatballs through. Add the sauce, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered. Serve warm with brown rice or brown rice noodles. Add garnish like fresh cilantro and green onions.
Storage Instructions: Refrigerate covered for up to 3 days. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Green Lentil Coconut Soup with Indian Spices

I am a great fan of lentils. They have good nutritional value, containing dietary fiber, B-vitamins, protein, and hardly any calories. They don't require soaking and cook much faster than dried beans and they are cheap. There are many varieties but the green and brown lentils are the most common types used in the US. Red lentils are also popular but they don't hold their shape as well when cooked.
This soup is made with green lentils, coconut milk, spinach and some Indian spices and is so good that I could have eaten the whole batch by myself.

Green Lentil Coconut Soup with Indian Spices

serves 6 - 8

2 - 2 1/4 cups French green lentils (or brown lentils)
1 big carrot, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 piece of ginger, peeled and sliced thick
2 t olive oil
2 t butter
1 t dried thyme
9 cups chicken stock
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
3/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 can of coconut milk (400 ml) or to taste
1/2 bag of spinach (fresh or frozen)
salt & pepper, to taste
fresh lemon juice from 1/2 - 1 lemon

Wash the lentils and pick out any debris. Bring the lentils together with the stock to a boil and let simmer until almost done (approx. 20 min.)
Heat the butter and oil in a plan and cook the vegetables with a pinch of salt (carrot, celery, onion)and the thyme over medium heat until soft and golden at least 10 minutes. Add the cardamom, clove and cinnamon and let cook for approximately 30 seconds.
Add the vegetables to the pot with the lentils together with the ginger and let simmer for another 10 minutes until the lentils are done. Add the coconut milk and spinach and let cook for another 5 - 10 minutes until all the flavors come together. Pick out the ginger, taste the soup with salt, pepper and lemon juice and serve hot.