Archive for May, 2013

Homemade Dill Pickles

Home Made Cooking | Salads

I love beer! There, I said it! But what does it have to do with this post? Ahhhh…this post is about one of the best things to go with beer – Dill Pickles. And not just any dill pickles, homemade ones.

Ever since I can remember myself my favorite type of dill pickle was the homemade one. Other than the fact that it tastes so delicious and garlicky I always loved eating the pickles when they’re not quite pickled yet, just half way. That stage when they are semi sweet and semi salty – yum!

So every year when I feel spring has sprung and the days are getting warmer, I pickle something. Could be carrots, cabbage, cauliflower or tomatoes, but I love pickling. I add a lot of garlic and put it aside. The really hard part about making pickles yourself is the wait, because you have to wait a few days before you can consume them 🙂 and that my friends, is hard.

I made a big jar of pickles last week and yesterday we opened it and had a few with our hot dogs. Mmmmm hot dog with homemade pickles, ketchup, mustard, soft bun, I couldn’t ask for anything better. Of course that regardless, I had to have my beer with a side of something salty – pickles duh.

Homemade Dill Pickles

Homemade Dill Pickles
Author: 
Recipe type: Pickles
Cuisine: Pickles
 
Homemade Dill Pickles. So easy to make, only a few ingredients and you're done.
Ingredients
  • 1½lbs (680gr) Small Cucumbers (the smaller the better)
  • 2 Carrots – Cut into thick slices
  • 9 Garlic Cloves
  • 10 Dill Sprigs
  • 1 Liter Boiling Hot Water
  • ¾ tbsp Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Salt (regular)
Instructions
  1. Prepare a clean, large glass jar with lid
  2. Wash the cucumbers and carrots well
  3. Peel the garlic cloves
  4. Place the cucumbers, carrots and garlic in the jar. Make sure you spread them so that you have a few cucumbers topped with a few pieces of carrot and a couple of garlic cloves in between. You do not want to have a separate layer of each.
  5. Place a sprig of dill in between as well; randomly.
  6. In a large bowl mix boiling hot water with the sugar, salt and vinegar and gently start pouring the mix into the glass jar until it is topped up.
  7. Seal jar with its lid and place if possible in a bright place on your kitchen counter (brighter places are better)
  8. Turn the jar upside down once a day to give everything a light stir
  9. The pickles will be ready after 5 days. Give them a taste and if you like them saltier let them stand a bit more.
  10. Once pickles are ready, keep them in the fridge (this will slow down/ stop the pickling)
Notes
**Very important to make sure the jar is clean

Homemade Dill Pickles

Homemade Dill Pickles

Homemade Dill Pickles

I love beer! There, I said it! But what does it have to do with this post? Ahhhh…this post is about one of the best things to go with beer – Dill Pickles. And not just any dill pickles, homemade ones. Ever since I can remember myself my favorite type of dill pickle was the […]

Read More

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Salads

I think that people think that if you love cooking and baking you must love most foods. Well, I’m not sure about the others but I don’t. For example, I will never be able to clean up a fish and then cut and cook it, same goes for chicken. I also don’t like quinoa, brown rice, squash, tofu and other foods that are supposed to be good for you (and me). But sometimes when I manage to camouflage these ingredients I end up having a really good and healthy dish.

 

It’s all good as long as I don’t know about or feel the taste of the original unwanted ingredient.

 

My husband on the other hand loves this healthy nutrition stuff, so when I make something that is extra healthy using wholesome ingredients and some of the ingredients I don’t particularly like it’s a win-win; because then my husband is happy, the kids are eating even healthier and I get a bonus – extra vitamins and minerals for me.

 

The real challenge is usually thinking of a way to camouflage these ingredients. Keeping this in mind, imagine how thrilled I was when I made quinoa salad and it turned out so delicious.

 

This Mediterranean quinoa salad is full of flavor and screams “refreshingly healthy”. Give it a try 🙂

 

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with feta cheese, kalamata olives, oregano, basil

 

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Greek, Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
A refreshing salad with feta cheese, sun dried tomatoes, kalamata olives and quinoa. It's like spring in your spoon.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Cooked Quinoa
  • ½ cup Chopped Bell Pepper
  • 3 Sun Dried Tomatoes - Chopped
  • ¼ cup Kalamata Olives - Chopped (You can also use black olives)
  • ½ cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
  • 1 tsp Chopped Fresh Oregano
  • ½ tsp Chopped Fresh Basil (about 1 large leaf)
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
Instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients together and serve.

 

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with feta cheese, kalamata olives, oregano, basil

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad with feta cheese, kalamata olives, oregano, basil

I think that people think that if you love cooking and baking you must love most foods. Well, I’m not sure about the others but I don’t. For example, I will never be able to clean up a fish and then cut and cook it, same goes for chicken. I also don’t like quinoa, brown […]

Read More

Gluten Free Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Bites

Cakes and Cookies

When I think spring I think nature, sun, flowers, blossom, fresh, life, new and much more. But then I look out the window here in Halifax and I can’t help but thinking gray, rain, wet and windy.  No, I’m not pessimistic by nature, don’t get me wrong but seriously, how many sunless days can one person take? The sun must be on its way here by now.

So what do I do to shake off the dreary weather? I think positive, I smile, I look at the beautiful sunflower bouquet my husband bought me yesterday and I go to the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market!

The market is indoors so once you go in you can’t help but focusing on the beauty and variety inside rather than on the gray and wet outside. I love everything about the Seaport Farmers Market, the atmosphere, the music, the people, the fresh produce, the variety, smell and of course the inspiration I get from it. Luckily this month I get to translate the inspiration into a recipe and enter a contest. What contest? Well, the “Halifax Food Bloggers in association with the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market are having a recipe contest called “Farm Market Table” and as a challenge fanatic I just have to enter. What I need to do is use fresh Farmers Market Produce to create an original recipe. I know, it sounds easy, but believe me, once you see the variety the Farmers Market has to offer, you’ll be confused. So I went for the easy and fast recipe; why? Because to be honest, that’s how I like it J and besides if I can create something sweet and yummy from fresh ingredients that the kids are going to love, I’m in.

I decided to make Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Bites! Sounds yummy right? Well, you’ll be surprised to know that this recipe calls for 3 ingredients only and uses only 1 mixing bowl! It calls for eggs which I got from the “Hill Crest Farm” booth at the market, Cacao Powder which I got from the “Rawthentic Chocolate” booth at the market and finally for the main ingredient which is the sugar and cinnamon coated pumpkin seeds (roasted right there!) from “Maritime Gourmet Nut Company”.

And I figured that with the weather we got this past week, a few chocolate pumpkin seed bites with a cup of hot cocoa will do the job. I was right.

 

Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Bites

 

Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Bites

Gluten Free Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Bites
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Gluten Free, Sweet
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15 Cookies
 
3 ingredients, 1 bowl, 1 trip to the market. This is all it takes to make these amazingly yummy and crunchy bites.
Ingredients
  • 145gr Sugar Coated Pumpkin Seeds (Can be substituted with 145gr pumpkin seeds and ⅓ cup sugar)
  • 1 Egg White
  • ½ tsp Cocoa Powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C)
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. Whisk the egg white and cocoa powder with a fork/ whisker until even and smooth (if you substituted the sugar coated pumpkin seeds with seeds and sugar this is where you add the sugar)
  4. Add in the pumpkin seeds and mix together until seeds are fully coated
  5. Scoop the mix with a teaspoon and place on the baking sheet
  6. Place in preheated oven for 15 minutes
  7. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool completely before removing from baking sheet

 

Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Bites

Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Bites on baking sheet

Update and disclosure: I also entered this recipe to the 2nd annual cookie contest (Christmas In July) sponsored by “Eat In Eat Out Magazine” (www.eatineatout.ca).

As a proud member of FBC (www.foodbloggersofcanada.com) I am entitled to participate in this contest (Contest Page) so I figured – Why not? 🙂 Wish me luck!!

Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Bites

When I think spring I think nature, sun, flowers, blossom, fresh, life, new and much more. But then I look out the window here in Halifax and I can’t help but thinking gray, rain, wet and windy.  No, I’m not pessimistic by nature, don’t get me wrong but seriously, how many sunless days can one […]

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Breaded Baked Sole Fillets – Inspired by Gwenyth Paltrow

Dining Like a Star | Home Made Cooking

I was planning on making pasta for supper, honestly. But then I remembered the lonely mashed potato leftovers in the fridge, and leftovers or not I LOVE mashed potatoes. I can have them with an omelet, sour cream, cheese, chicken, veggies and just basically with anything. Whenever I want food that makes me feel comfort and warmth I turn to the mashed potatoes. But enough about the mashed potatoes, I needed something to go with it. We don’t tend to eat a lot of meat or chicken at home but I still needed something to go with the potatoes and then it hit me – fish! I only had sole fillets and although I love sole, the dishes I made in the past tasted good but looked kind of sad. I remembered watching a video on YouTube my husband sent me, showing Gwyneth Paltrow making one of her favorite recipes from her new cookbook “It’s All Good”. The book is all about egg, gluten, dairy (and so many more ingredients) free food, which is so much healthier, and in the video she was showing how to make baked fish nuggets. Remembering that video inspired me to make something similar but different myself. I always like to avoid frying when possible and tend to bake rather than fry, it’s so much more healthy this way and since I mostly serve to my kids I would naturally prefer it if they eat healthy. So what I did is take my sole fillets out of the freezer and without even thawing them, made supper. The fillets came out crunchy, full of flavor and were super easy to make, just the way I like it. So thanks Gwyneth for the inspiration.

 

Breaded baked sole fillets

 

Braded Baked Sole Fillets
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Fish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9 Fillets
 
Baked Sole Fillets never looked better. It's so easy and much healthier than the fried version.
Ingredients
  • 9 Sole Fillets (Frozen or thawed)
  • 3 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • ½ tsp Dry Oregano
  • ½ tsp Garlic Powder
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup Bread Crumbs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F (200C)
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise, oregano, salt and garlic powder together. Whisk until smooth and even.
  4. Place the bead crumbs in a plate for coating
  5. Dip both sides of the fillets in the mayonnaise batter until both sides fully covered with batter. You can also use a spoon to gently apply some batter on each side.
  6. Dip the batter covered fillet in the bread crumbs until fully coated on both sides
  7. Place on the prepared baking sheet and into the preheated oven for 15 minutes (depending on your oven this may take longer, you need the fillets to turn golden)
  8. After 15 minutes broil for another 4 minutes until golden brown

 

Breaded baked sole fillets

Breaded baked sole fillets

I was planning on making pasta for supper, honestly. But then I remembered the lonely mashed potato leftovers in the fridge, and leftovers or not I LOVE mashed potatoes. I can have them with an omelet, sour cream, cheese, chicken, veggies and just basically with anything. Whenever I want food that makes me feel comfort […]

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Baked Cheese Balls with Sundried Tomatoes

Baked Goodies

Sometimes I’m just looking for ways to make my life easier, like multitasking, like procrastinating and like baking instead of cooking.

This time I really wanted cheese balls but the ones you can usually find recipes for are the ones that mix a few kinds of cheese together, roll into a ball and serve with a nice piece of bread. Well, I wanted something different, I’m not sure why but these” raw” cheese balls are associated with either a fancy reception or breakfast in my head, so I had to come up with something different since I wanted to serve these for dinner.

After thinking about it, I decided to try and bake my cheese balls and make cheese bites.

So I decided I’d roll the balls in sesame, but of course I open the cupboard and see that I have maybe 1 tsp sesame left – great, now what?

I look above the sesame and I see a bag of walnuts – bingo! I can dice them in a food processor and voila! I get a walnut coating for my cheese bites. I mix, I roll, I coat, I bake, I hope, I cross my fingers and it works. I take the baked goodies out of the oven and they are beautiful and smell awesome. The kids taste test it and love it, the hubby gets it for dinner with a side of fresh salad and loves it. Well, I guess taking the short cut did work this time.

Baked Cheese Balls with sun dried tomatoes

 

Baked Cheese Balls with Sundried Tomatoes
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 25 Balls
 
Easy to make and bake. Just serve with fresh vegetables on the side and it's a party.
Ingredients
  • 75gr Cheese – Grated (1½ Cups)
  • ½ cup Cottage Cheese
  • ¼ cup Sun-dried Tomatoes – Chopped
  • 1 tsp Dry Basil
  • ½ tsp Dry Oregano
  • 5 tbsp Bread Crumbs
  • 1 Egg
  • Diced Walnuts or Sesame Seeds for coating
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F (175C)
  2. Mix all the ingredients together (except for the walnuts/ sesame) until fully combined
  3. Scoop mix with a teaspoon and roll into balls
  4. Roll the balls in the diced walnuts or sesame seeds and place on a parchment paper covered baking sheet
  5. Place in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes and serve

 

Baked Cheese Balls with sun dried tomatoes

Sometimes I’m just looking for ways to make my life easier, like multitasking, like procrastinating and like baking instead of cooking. This time I really wanted cheese balls but the ones you can usually find recipes for are the ones that mix a few kinds of cheese together, roll into a ball and serve with […]

Read More

Peanut Butter, Banana and Chocolate in Crunchy Phyllo Bags

Baked Goodies | Cakes and Cookies

This is not really a recipe per say, but rather an inspiration 🙂

I made some goodies using phyllo dough and had a bunch of phyllo leaves leftover so I had to play around with it, especially since this was the first time I’ve ever used this dough.

So first of all I want to say that it’s so easy and mess free, I just had fun playing with it. And second, it was simply amazing; everything I made with this dough turned out fantastic.

So I decided to make some dessert for us all last night and wanted it to be super fast. Now, what’s better than the ultimate combination of peanut butter, banana and chocolate? So that’s exactly what I did. combined them all, in phyllo leaves shaped into tiny bags. It took us about 5 minutes to finish all 9 pieces. It didn’t  even cool.

 

Peanut Butter Banana and Chocolate Phyllo

 

Peanut Butter, Banana and Chocolate in Crunchy Phyllo Bags
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Desserts
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9 Phyllo Pastries
 
A great combination, a great idea! Super easy and looks fantastic. Oh, and wait until you taste it.
Ingredients
  • 2 Phyllo Dough leaves
  • Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Banana - Finely Cubed
  • Peanut Butter
  • 3 tbsp Butter - Melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F (190C)
  2. Place one phyllo leaf on your work surface
  3. Hold edge with one hand and brush melted butter onto dough leaf
  4. Once brushed with butter, cover the leaf with the second leaf
  5. Using a knife pizza roller knife, cut dough into 9 rectangles (3X3)
  6. in the middle of each rectangle place 1 flat tsp peanut butter, a few chocolate chips and a few banana cubes
  7. Fold 2 opposite rectangle edges toward the middle (like envelope) and then take the other 2 opposite edges and pinch them together right above the filling (phyllo dough box should have the instructions on it)
  8. Place on parchment paper covered baking sheet and brush with some melted butter on top
  9. Place in preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until brown and crisp on top
  10. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream

 

Peanut Butter Banana and Chocolate Phyllo

 

Peanut Butter Banana and Chocolate Phyllo

This is not really a recipe per say, but rather an inspiration 🙂 I made some goodies using phyllo dough and had a bunch of phyllo leaves leftover so I had to play around with it, especially since this was the first time I’ve ever used this dough. So first of all I want to […]

Read More

Mini Blueberry Cheesecake

Cakes and Cookies

I’m not sure why but I always though that cheesecakes are complicated and that’s why I tried avoiding them, although I just love cheesecakes, I mean, who doesn’t?

So I decided to take advantage of the fact that these past few days were a Jewish holiday that focuses on eating dairy (“Shavuot”) and dived in, into cheese that is.

As usual, I made up my mind to use whatever I had in my fridge or freezer and luckily, I had blueberries. Now, when it comes to blueberries I admit, I’m like a child, I just love coloring food with them, wondering how purple my food would turn out. So I added the blueberries to the cheese and played around with the ingredients. The result was a great cheesecake with a nice crisp bottom and cheesy soft top. Of course I also made it in mini cheesecake form using my silicon muffin pan because well…I just don’t seen to have enough space in my fridge to store a whole cake. And to be honest, mini cheesecakes look so much better and are consumed so much faster.

 

Mini Blueberry Cheesecake with berries

 

Mini Blueberry Cheesecake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Cheese, Sweet
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 Mini Cakes
 
Great mini cheesecakes. They look so decadent yet easy to make and taste delicious. Next time you want to impress your friends, make these.
Ingredients
For the cheese batter:
  • 250gr Cream Cheese (I used Philadelphia Light)
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • ½ tsp Vanilla Extract
For Blueberry layer:
  • ¼ cup Frozen (or Fresh) Blueberries
  • 1 tbsp White Sugar
For cake bottom:
  • 100gr (1 cup) Graham Cookies – Diced in food processor
  • 50gr Butter – Melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F (175C)
Make the graham cookie bottom:
  1. Mix diced cookies with melted butter until crumbs are fully coated with butter
  2. Grease muffin pan (each cup) with butter
  3. Divide mix evenly between 12 muffin cups in the muffin pan and tighten mix in each cup (I used the bottom of a glass to push the mix all the way down)
Make the cheese batter:
  1. Beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla all together until smooth
  2. Remove ½ cup from cheese batter and set aside in a small bowl
Make the blueberry layer:
  1. In a small saucepan heat up blueberries and sugar over medium heat.
  2. Stir consistently until the mix thickens (5-7 minutes)
  3. Once a bit thick (should have a syrup consistency) remove from heat
  4. Add the fluids only to the ½ cup cheese batter you set aside earlier and mix together until even.
  5. Divide the blueberries left in the saucepan between the muffin cups. Place 1-2 (or whatever number of blueberries you have per cup) blueberries on each graham cookie layer in the muffin cups; Place in the middle.
Assemble the cakes:
  1. Dividing evenly, pour some of the purple cheese-blueberry batter you made into each muffin cup, on top of the blueberries.
  2. Gently, pour some of the white cheese batter (dividing evenly) on top of the purple cheese batter.
  3. Place in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until cake centers are almost set.
  4. Remove from oven and serve as is or upside down with the crumb layer being on top.
Notes
**These mini cakes can also be baked using muffin paper cups.

 

Mini Blueberry Cheesecake with berries

I’m not sure why but I always though that cheesecakes are complicated and that’s why I tried avoiding them, although I just love cheesecakes, I mean, who doesn’t? So I decided to take advantage of the fact that these past few days were a Jewish holiday that focuses on eating dairy (“Shavuot”) and dived in, […]

Read More

Baked Broccoli Feta Bites

Baked Goodies | Home Made Cooking

Shavuot is one of my favorite Jewish holidays. Shavuot commemorates the anniversary of the day the Torah (10 commandments) was given to the entire nation of Israel assembled at Mount Sinai. Now, that’s all nice and dandy but what I really like about the holiday is the food – obviously. You see, this holiday is being celebrated by serving dairy foods, fruits and vegetables and these are my favorite. Imagine the variety of things one can make and bake from dairy products. Also, it’s so much easier than chicken and meat.

So the first thing I made preparing for Shavuot was Broccoli Feta Bites. To be completely honest, I didn’t just make it because of the holiday, as always with my cooking, it was a combination of the upcoming holiday and what I had in the fridge, and this time I had a bag of fresh broccoli and no real craving for yet another quiche, so I came up with something that looks beautiful, made easy and tastes fantastic. The kids loved it (hey, it’s small food, what’s not to like) and we all enjoyed a nice light dinner with these bites and a big side salad – so good!

 

Breaded Broccoli Feta Bites

 

Broccoli Feta Bites
Author: 
Recipe type: Main, Appetizer
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 45 Bite Size Balls
 
Fun to eat, easy to make and healthy as an added bonus. Why not use your broccoli in a different way?
Ingredients
  • 650 grams Fresh (or frozen) Broccoli Florets
  • 2 Garlic Cloves – Diced
  • 2 Eggs
  • 7 tbsp Bread Crumbs
  • 100 grams Cheese – Grated (I used Cheddar)
  • 100 grams Feta Cheese – Crumbed
  • 2 tbsp Fresh Dill- - Chopped
  • 1 tbsp Dried Basil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • ½ cup Bread Crumbs for Coating
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F (180C)
  2. Prepare large baking pan covered with parchment paper
  3. Place the ½ cup bread crumbs for coating in a small bowl and set aside for later.
  4. Cook the broccoli florets in a covered pot with boiling water. Cook for about 15 minutes.
  5. Drain the broccoli florets from water, place in a food processor and chop until diced.
  6. In a large bowl place the garlic, cheese, feta, dill, basil, bread crumbs and eggs and add in the diced broccoli. Mix all together until evenly combined.
  7. Scoop with teaspoon and roll into ping pong size balls.
  8. Roll in the bread crumbs you set aside for coating (1/2 cup) until fully coated and place on baking sheet.
  9. Once you’re done with all the balls, place in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown on the outside.
  10. Serve drizzled with tahini or with sour cream on top.

 

Breaded Broccoli Feta Bites

Breaded Broccoli Feta Bites

Shavuot is one of my favorite Jewish holidays. Shavuot commemorates the anniversary of the day the Torah (10 commandments) was given to the entire nation of Israel assembled at Mount Sinai. Now, that’s all nice and dandy but what I really like about the holiday is the food – obviously. You see, this holiday is […]

Read More
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