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.

Friday, March 28, 2014


find it here at Fork and Flower

I'm always on the lookout for recipes involving lots of pantry items that will last through the week.

Here in Greece, you can find chickpeas in 4 different sizes. I love it-the smaller sizes cook up quickly and allow me to make this pretty much any time I want. It's the perfect marriage of grains topped with a spiced tomato sauce.

I love my foods in sections. I'll eat the peas first, then move to the grains, then whatever else is on the plate. And koshari works against this and yet I love it so. You layer it so and every bite is pretty much perfect. The original has a “spice punch” that I never get to. I'm too busy eating the grains.

You need: lentils, rice, broth, orzo, chickpeas, onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, tomato sauce, bay leaf, sugar, vinegar

-Soak chickpeas overnight.
-Set to cook in plain water with a bay leaf until soft.
-Drain and set aside.
-Cook the rice and lentils together with double the water.
-When it's mostly cooked, add the broth.
-Set aside.
-Cook the orzo in salted water.
-Drain and set aside.
-Saute some of the onion, garlic, cumin, and coriander until fragrant.
-Add in the tomato sauce to boil.
-Reduce the heat, add the salt, sugar, and some vinegar.
-Caramelize the rest of the onion.

-Layer it-the rice&lentils on the bottom, then the pasta, then the tomato sauce, then the chickpeas, and top with the caramelized onion.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Roast Garlic and Almond Soup

Roast Garlic and Almond Soup

It sounds absolutely odd when you first hear about it. Almonds in soup?

And of course, when you say you made garlic soup for dinner, people instinctively lean away.

But the truth is that this is the type of soup that immediately hits your senses with a creamy mellowness that it feels like a balm. This is the type of soup to soak your bread in and eat cold the next day. It's a comforting soup that feels luxurious and is actually very, very healthy.

You need: garlic, almond, onion, stock, lemon juice
you may want: some grated cheese to pour over when warm, a nice herb or pimentón

-Roast the garlic at about 175C, drizzled in olive oil and wrapped in foil for about 45 minutes.
-Sauté the onions (with an herb if you want) until translucent.
-Add the roast garlic and stock.
-Simmer until the garlic is soft.
-Add salt and pepper plus whatever spice you'd like.
-Add in the almonds.
-Add lemon juice to taste.

-Blend smooth.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Chocolate Pear and Almond Tart

Chocolate Pear and Almond Tart
find it here at Wandering Spice

I have to admit.

I have not baked anything in 3 months. This is quite unusual for me. I got into the kitchen as a baker. I remember making pretzels with my older sister when I was barely capable of reaching the counter. In contrast, cooking was pressure cookers and this heavy cast iron dutch oven full of oil-my mother wisely kept me away. When I grew older, I began baking bread (despite not actually being someone who consumes a lot of bread). Even when I could really only use the kitchen after dark, I still baked pies and cakes (at 11 at night).

So how is it that I've managed to spend 3 months only using my oven for roasting vegetables? Thessaloniki, it seems, has bakeries on every corner piled up with tempting cookies and breads and chocolates and baklava....

It has taken the knowledge that I am to move again, perhaps to a flat without a proper oven, as well as this bottle of homemade vanilla extract with its letter pressed label my friends made and I carried, well wrapped, across an ocean. And a guest.

I don't really know how I've become this person. I'm now practically a 1950s hostess. Freshly baked tart on my pristine kitchen counter, floors gleaming, everything laundered and scrubbed and arranged. I could have sworn it was only a year ago I'd be hiding my laundry basket somewhere I hoped my guest would not snoop, failing to remember where it was that I stashed a fresh bar of soap and imagining my Mediterranean matriarchs standing over my shoulder shaking their heads and hands in despair over the streaks on my windows and dust bunnies in the corners. They'd still not be happy (I decided not to sweep out the balconies today unlike the other women in the neighborhood in their heavy winter coats) but perhaps they'd be less in despair and more just disapproving of the one cobweb in that out of reach corner.

Anyway, this is a show stopper of a tart. The pears lined up beautifully along the rich chocolate base...gorgeous. And also, quite effortless if you have faith in your tart/pie crust skills (please excuse the raggedness of my crust-my oven fails to inform you of any interval between 150-220C, shrinkage occurred). A simple tart base, blind baked, and a filling that dirties only one pan. I brought it to work and my co-workers demonstrated a previously unknown grasp of American sports compliments.

You need: flour, butter, water, dark chocolate, almond meal (or if you're me, crushed almond slivers), 2 eggs, brown sugar, vanilla extract

-Make the tart dough by cutting cold cubed butter into cold flour, then adding just enough ice water to form a dough.
-Knead lightly, flatten into a disc, wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
-Preheat to 180C.
-Roll the dough out into a circle and put it into your pan.
-Blind bake-aka, filled with parchment paper weighed down with something, like beans-for about 10 minutes.
-Lower the oven to 170C when you take it out.
-Meanwhile melt some butter and chocolate slowly on the stove.
-Take off heat and whisk in the almond meal, brown sugar, and vanilla extract.
-Beat in eggs.
-Pour into your blind baked tart base.
-Slice and arrange your pears (I used a pear and a half.)

-Bake for about an hour, rotating midway through until semi firm.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Bulgur Wheat Porridge

Bulgur Wheat Porridge

I know, I know. Porridge? Really? What an unsexy and unphotogenic food. But when you accidentally buy a bag of bulgur wheat instead of brown sugar, you discover that apart from tabbouleh (which I dislike), the internet has little advice on what to do with it. How did I accidentally buy a quarter pound of bulgur? Easily as it turns out when I got frazzled with a too-in-my-personal-space (I know, how positively British of me) vendor and failed to actually taste what I was considering purchasing.

So porridge. Bulgur makes a particularly moreish porridge that manages to not be sticky in that glutinous way oatmeal has but sticks to your bones nonetheless. This is an inherently healthy recipe akin to comfort food in a way. The wheat makes a departure from oatmeal, the milk is not too hot, and the vanilla extract enhances a certain nutty-ness. I tend to top my porridge with yogurt-I'm currently on a goat milk yogurt kick and its tangy goat cheese flavor goes beautifully with the thick blossom honey I use.

You need: bulgur wheat, milk, honey, lemon juice, salt
you may want: some nuts, yogurt, vanilla extract

-Set milk mixed with water to simmer.
-When it's steaming, salt it and add in the bulgur.
-Simmer the bulgur for about 15 minutes or until tender.
-Add in some lemon juice and honey to taste.

-Serve, topped with yogurt and nuts if you'd like.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Beans in Red Sauce

Beans in Red Sauce

My flatmate's parents live in basically the middle of nowhere forested mountains. When I visited them, I had no idea where I was on the map (a rare occurrence, I absolutely love maps) so when they pointed to a mountaintop in the distance and said that was Bulgaria I was floored. This is not the dry, yellowish Greece most people see on vacation, this is a Greece more akin to Galicia and the Peak District.

Anyway, so since they live far away from...everything-up these winding nausea inducing roads-they have a small little farm where they grow enough for themselves. And so our utterly, undeniably urban kitchen gets these occasional touches of the countryside. Like these beans.

Everyone has had Greek gigantes at some point-even if you didn't know it-the heavy sauce on giant beans that goes from wonderful to way too much within a spoonful. This is a lighter version of that-a simple, light red sauce softly coats the beans. Thus, the utter freshness of our beans really shone through.

How fresh are these beans? Well, you're supposed to boil them for about an hour and then salt them so that they become tender after about an hour and a half of cooking. I ended up almost overcooking these beans the first time I made them because they were half an hour. A true demonstration of why you shouldn't store your beans for too long before using.

you need: beans, bay leaf, leek, butter, tomatoes, roast red pepper

-Cook the beans in a bit of water with bay leaf until tender.
-Drain but reserve the bean broth.
-Caramelize the leek in butter.
-Add in tomatoes, chopped roast red pepper, a can of diced tomatoes and the bean broth.
-Cook down to your desire consistency.

-Add the beans back in and cook for a bit so they get a bit of the tomato.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Pimentón Roasted Broccoli

Pimentón Roasted Broccoli

(I know what you're thinking, doesn't she have any other spices? The answer is...not really, no.)

In high school I dated a kid named Broccoli. It wasn't a nickname, his last name was Broccoli. Years later when a friend learned of this, I spent 3 weeks being subjected to the worst puns I've ever heard of how fond I must be of broccoli before I snapped.

I RATHER DISLIKE BROCCOLI. (the dining hall with the most echoes was, of course, quiet when I yelled this out and my outburst was probably heard throughout the building.)

Not the man, that was far in the past by this point. The vegetable. And it was true. Unless it was smothered in cheese or cream or in something very fatty, I did not want to eat broccoli. I disliked broccoli in my stir fries, boiled, roasted, etc. I was okay with broccolini, the broccoli-asparagus hybrid, but not the actual vegetable. 

Until the first time I roasted it with lemon.

Such a simple thing radically transformed my vague dislike of broccoli into a full-blown love of roast broccoli.

You need: lemon juice, garlic, pimentón, broccoli, olive oil, salt and pepper

-Toss all these ingredients together. Do not skimp on the lemon, I promise you it'll be great.
-Roast at 350F/120C until crispy.