Friday, September 26, 2014

Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
find it here

I think I could live on just sweet potatoes for the rest of my life. I mean that very seriously. Between the purple veined, white fleshed boniato I ate as a child, the unveined white sweet potato I ate in the UK, and the most common orange fleshed kind I've eaten pretty much everywhere I've lived, there's such variety in the sweet potato itself.

And when you roast it and smother it with cheese...well.

I fail to see how anyone could resist its siren call.

you need: sweet potato, olive oil, cayenne/smoked paprika, butter, flour, grated cheese (mozzarella and something sharper like cheddar or gouda)

-Slice the sweet potato and set it to roast tossed in oil and whatever spice (like cayenne pepper or pimenton) at 350F/180C.
-Set the slices at the bottom of a pan. Layer with cheese, another layer of potato, and another layer of cheese and so on just ended with cheese on top.
-Cover with tinfoil and bake for about an hour. Remove the foil and cook for a minute or two more.
-Let cool slightly before cutting in (so it's not watery).

Friday, September 19, 2014

Pasta with corn, slow-roasted tomatoes, and garlic confit

Pasta with corn, slow-roasted tomatoes, and garlic confit
found here

This is an excellent recipe to take advantage of the height of the summer vegetables but it is versatile enough to be made with some satisfactory results in the depths of winter. Since I had gotten in the habit of slow roasting both garlic and tomatoes regularly, I can actually whip this up at any time. Especially since I accidentally made too much garlic infused oil once and can even skip that step!

It's remarkably tasty for something with such basic ingredients. I say remarkably tasty as if I didn't make it for 3 days in a row, greedily going for seconds.

you need: oil, garlic, tomatoes, corn, roast tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, pasta
optional: herbs

-Infuse oil with garlic. Set oil to simmer at a very low temperature with minced garlic pieces. The garlic should not get very golden-it should just get soft.
-Set tomatoes to roast in a 250F/120C oven in oil, salt and pepper, and some nice herbs if you've got them. It should take awhile for them to shrivel and darken-like 2 or 3 hours long.
-Dice the sundried tomatoes and rehydrate in the garlic oil.
-Smoosh the tomatoes and then let it roast for 10-15 minutes more.
-Cook the pasta.
-Break apart the garlic and put in a pot with the garlic oil, tomatoes (and their juices) and corn.
-Let the sauce warm up and add it to the pasta.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Roast Garlic Soup

Roast Garlic Soup

I pretty much bring lunch every day to work. Since we have absolutely no way to heat up food and most of the food needs to be shelf-stable even in hot weather (which is feels).

As the spring heated up into summer (in April), I got into the habit of roasting, weekly, a head of garlic and a pan of tomatoes along with anything else I wanted to roast/eat that night. These two staples could then sustain me through multiple meals during the week without needing to fire up the oven. The garlic would get wrapped up and into the fridge. The tomatoes go into a jar covered with oil and then into the fridge.

One of the meals I swear on is this roast garlic soup with rice. It's like a risotto without the cheese and with a soupy component. It's creamy with a wholesome texture.

you need: roast garlic, onion, flour, rice, a few roast tomatoes, stock

-Saute the onion in oil until it's soft.
-Add in flour to become a pseudo-roux.
-Add the stock, the tomatoes, and rice.
-Let simmer until the rice is done.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Roast Potato Galette

Roast Potato Galette with Tumeric
find it here

Seriously, sometimes you just want to have carbs. Lots of them. Like carbs stuffed with carbs.

And cheese.

I really like this type of galette. Made almost sloppily, it is the pinnacle of comfort foods that have nothing to do with your childhood. It's like a sophisticated version of those lazy undergraduate years when you'd just roast a potato and pour gravy over it and call it a meal.

With slightly more nutrients.

you need: flour, sugar, salt, butter, buttermilk, potatoes, cheese, chives, tumeric, smoked paprika, black pepper.
optional: an egg for brushing the dough (the original was more of a spicy cayenne roast)

-Make the crust by combining flour, sugar, salt, butter and buttermilk until it forms a dough.
-Let it set for an hour in the fridge.
-Peel and slice the potatoes.
-Set to roast in olive oil, tumeric, smoked paprika, salt and pepper at 180C/350F.
-Remove from oven and remove from pan to cool it down slightly.
-Roll out the dough into a rough circular shape.
-Layer the potatoes, cheese, and chives on top of the crust.
-Roll the dough over the side to 'seal' it.
-Brush the dough with either a beaten egg or with the extra oil from the potato roasting.
-Bake at 375F/200C for about 15 minutes or until the dough is baked.

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.