Friday, August 29, 2014

Fudge Pop

Homemade Fudge Pop
see them here

There's a very vocal group of people who love summer. They seem to look forward to it all winter as they whine about having to put on extra layers of clothing. Their pictures suddenly multiply on facebook during the summer months bearing captions like "LOVE LIFE" and are all set on the beach, sunglasses on their faces. Or they claim it's the only time to travel.

I am not one of them. To me summer is like a succubus that drains me of any desire to be awake. Because if I'm awake I'm feeling the sweat drip off my skin despite doing nothing but lying in bed. My mosquito bites (all 100+ of them) are itching and the salt from my sweat is making them sting. Also, there is no possible way to relieve my temperature woes since I am already sleeping mostly naked, do not have a/c, and my fan only moves humid hot air around.

This summer seems to have lasted forever. Day after day of 30C (at least) of glaring bright sunlight, high humidity, and night after night of weak breezes as mosquitoes swarm my legs. Summer in Thessaloniki is about 5 months long and I am clearly not meant for it.

And it's even a 'cooler than usual' year.

So here's a way to beat the heat. Homemade popscicles.

you need: milk, sugar, cocoa, salt, chocolate
optional: caramel, espresso powder (for caramel mocha flavor!)

-Set sugar to dissolve in milk at low heat.
-Add in the cocoa, salt, and chocolate pieces.
-Whisk it strongly until all is blended and melted.
-Pour into your molds and freeze.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Cheesy Potatoes

Cheesy Potatoes
from here

I honestly read this recipe and immediately knew I'd be making it. Soon. And eating the 'left overs' for breakfast.

And so I did. There's little more American than this I think-over the top rich cheese sauce poured over potatoes. How can it go wrong?

you need: potatoes, onion, garlic, butter, flour, broth, milk, sour cream, cheese

-Boil your potatoes, cubed.
-Saute the onion and garlic in butter until softened.
-Add in the flour.
-Add broth and milk and cook over low heat.
-Remove from the heat and add in the sour cream.
-Add this to the potatoes and season.
-Add in the cheese.
-Bake it in a deep dish at 350F/170C.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Carmelized Onion Tart

Caramelized Onion Tart
find it here

The first time I made this tart, I made it to the recipe. It was the first, real social get together with this group of ladies and I wanted to make a good impression. So I baked two tarts-one for dessert and the other veggie. Yeah, I do few things halfway-I actually ended up barely making it in time, a half baked french onion tart in a tin ready to be popped into the host's oven.

It was worth it. The phrase "I never would have thought it was veggie" was uttered-pure success for the sole veggie in fully carnivorous company.

Years later, I've really incorporated this into my regular repertoire. I regularly make it-I've added in peas to incorporate vegetables. This works for a week's worth of lunches or sometimes just dinner.

you need: flour, salt, butter, cold water, olive oil, onions, broth, egg, cream/milk, peas, cheese (I use gouda)

-Make the crust. Cut the butter into flour and salt to form a pebbly mixture. Add in cold water and knead into a dough. Form into a disc and chill for 15 minutes. Roll out and set into pan. Par bake at 400F/200C until golden.
-Caramelize the onions in a mixture of butter and olive oil.
-When they are browned and sweet, add in the broth and peas.
-Simmer it all until it is reduced. Reduce it as dry as possible before it burns. (The drier the mixture, the more concentrated and stable the final tart.)
-Let it all cool.
-Beat the egg and cream or milk together.
-Add it into the onions and put it all into the tart.
-Cover it all with grated cheese.
-Bake until it's all melted and gooey.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Risi e bisi

Rice and Peas
find the original here

When I first read the recipe I thought there wasn't anything ground-breaking here. Peas and rice. What could be special about this particular iteration. Nevertheless, it included butter and involved broth. I thought, hey, this could be an improvement on my previous rice&peas.

Boy, was I unprepared for the impact this would have on my time-tested favorites because I eat this about twice a month. It makes for an excellent dinner and lunch the next day. The dinner version is soupy and wet but it dries slightly for lunch to make it just different enough to prevent boredom.

you need: butter, (frozen) peas, rice, broth, onion or garlic

-Melt the butter.
-Cook the onion until softened.
-Add the broth, peas, and rice.
-Bring to a low boil until it's all cooked, about 20 minutes.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Tomato Risotto

Tomato Risotto

Creamy, surprisingly creamy. I thought I had made enough for dinner and lunch and maybe a little extra but I ended up eating most of it for dinner and then the rest for breakfast.

It was that good.

This is a super easy risotto-not tricky at all and it would make a great beginner risotto if you're the sort to be intimidated by fancy sounding recipes names.

you need: oil, garlic, canned chopped tomatoes, milk, water, soy sauce, cheese

-Heat up the oil in the pan.
-Pour in the rice and stir in order to coat the grains with oil.
-Add in the garlic and let cook until fragrant.
-Add in the tomatoes, milk, water, soy sauce, and cheese.
-Stir, regularly, and well for about 30-35 minutes.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Camarones al ajillo

Camarones al ajillo

Growing up I was such a picky eater that every restaurant was wasted on me. Every special occasion we'd go to the fine Spanish restaurants, say hello to all of the fellow expatriates we knew, and sit down to impeccable waiter service and every time, no matter the restaurant, I'd order camarones alajillo (yes, slurred that way). Usually it was only available as an appetizer but it would be my meal-no matter if it was not even on the menu.

Nowadays, I have a much broader appreciation for the pleasures of Iberian cuisine but let's face it, sometimes I get out the garlic and I cook a very simple version inspired by nostalgia.

you need: shrimp (defrosted a little and patted dry), garlic, paprika (I use pimentón, as you could have guessed), loads of olive oil, lemon juice (if using fresh shrimp, add in some sort of alcohol)

-Heat the oil on low heat.
-Drop in the paprika and garlic. Cook, over low heat, with patience, until fragrant.
-Raise to the heat to high and add in the shrimp and lemon juice.
-Cook until the shrimp is cooked through.
-Enjoy with bread to soak up some of that amazing garlicky oil.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Roast Cauliflower and Cheese Soup

Roast Cauliflower and Cheese Soup

I love cauliflower and cheese. It used to be the only way I ate cauliflower.

Then I began roasting cauliflower and it was so delicious.

I eat it basically 6 times a month.

Then I thought, what if...I combine the two and make it into a soup.

You need: cauliflower, garlic, cumin, pimentón, olive oil, onion, stock, cheese

-Roast the cauliflower and garlic, drizzled in oil and spiced with the cumin, pimentón, salt and pepper.
-Saute the onion until translucent.
-Add in the stock and roast cauliflower and garlic.
-Simmer until everything is tender and the broth tastes set.
-Take the pot off the heat and stir in half the cheese.
-Blend smooth.

-Add in the rest of the cheese.