Saturday, November 6, 2010

Potato Croquette Benedict with Smoky Pepper Sauce

Potato Croquette Benedict with Smoky Pepper Sauce

I love eggs benedict but this is most certainly not the poached-egg-and-Canadian-bacon-on-top-of-an-English-muffin-with-Hollandaise-sauce version. This is something I put together using leftovers from my fridge and it turned out surprisingly well. Slices of toasted French bread serve as the base and are topped with slices of creamy avocado, a crispy potato croquette, a smoky pepper sauce, and a poached egg. There’s a nice balance of textures from the creaminess of the avocado and egg paired with the crunchy from the toast and croquette.

Croquettes are mashed potatoes shaped into patties, covered with breadcrumbs and usually fried but I baked mine. You can get them crunchy like you would from frying by mixing a little oil into the breadcrumbs and spraying the tops with cooking spray before putting them in the oven. Also, the smoky pepper sauce was left over from having pork chops for dinner one night and the recipe can be found on by Giada.

Breakfast Potato Croquettes
Yields 5-6 small croquettes

2 small potatoes, mashed
3 small sausage links, chopped finely
¼ small onion, chopped finely
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
1 egg
2 tablespoons water
~1 cup breadcrumbs
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

1. Over medium heat cook the chopped sausage until they turn slightly brown. Remove the sausage and add onions to the same pan. Cook until soft and translucent. Season with pepper.
2. Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
3. In a small bowl combine mashed potatoes, sausage, onion, and parmesan cheese.
4. Beat the egg with 2 tablespoons water. Pour about 1/3 of the mixture into the mashed potatoes and mix well.
5. Measure out 1/3 cup of the mashed potatoes for each croquette. Use your hands to shape each one into round disks, kind of like patties.
6. Drizzle about 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil over breadcrumbs in a shallow dish or pie pan. Gently pat and coat each one with breadcrumbs. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes, or until golden brown. (For extra color on your croquettes try spraying cooking spray on top of each one)

Potato Croquette Benedict with Smoky Pepper Sauce
Serves 2

4 Breakfast Potato Croquettes
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vinegar (for poaching the eggs)
4 slices French bread
½ avocado
1 cup smoky pepper sauce, or substitute with tomato sauce
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1. Begin by poaching the eggs.
-Line a large dish with paper towels or napkins and set aside for the finished eggs.
-Bring water to a simmer in a medium pot and add 1 tablespoon vinegar.
-Crack one egg into a small bowl and be careful not to break the yolk.
-Then create a “vortex” by using a wooden spoon to swirl the water and carefully pour the egg in.
-Use the wooden spoon to keep the whites together. Fish the egg out after about 2 ½ minutes and set to drain on the dish lined with paper towels.
-Repeat with the three other eggs.
2. Toast slices of French bread until golden brown. Put slices of avocado on each piece of bread.
3. Place a potato croquette on each slice of bread, followed by the pepper sauce and then a poached egg. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pea Soup

If you have a bag of frozen peas sitting in your freezer and want to use it for something this soup is the way to go.  It’s a no-frills kind of soup that’s even easier than the roasted tomato soup I made about a week ago.  I was a bit wary about using frozen peas but they’re actually often sweeter and more nutritious than fresh peas since they’re picked in season and frozen at the height of their freshness.  Accompany the soup with a sandwich and to change it up, you can add a splash of cream to the soup for a smoother, velvety texture.      

Yields about 4 servings

1 lb. frozen peas
About 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth, or enough to cover the peas
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper

1. In a medium pot heat peas and chicken broth.  Let simmer for about 5 minutes.
2. In small batches blend the peas and chicken broth together until smooth.
3. Return blended mixture into pot over medium heat and add oregano, garlic powder, and season with salt and pepper. 
4. Heat the soup and stir occasionally, until it thickens.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sun-Dried Tomato Caprese Sandwich

This is my version of a caprese sandwich using sun-dried tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes.  I love the tangy flavor of sun-dried tomatoes and paired with the creamy fresh mozzarella, the flavors balance out nicely.  They’re super simple to make yet so delectable.     

*The sandwiches in the picture above are open faced but the recipe is for regular sandwiches.   

Serves 2
8 slices of French bread (makes 2 small sandwiches for each person)
4 slices of fresh mozzarella
5-8 basil leaves (about 2 leaves per sandwich, depending on their sizes)
½ to ¾ cup sliced sun-dried tomato
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

1. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper.
2. Brush balsamic vinaigrette on all slices of bread.  Assemble sandwiches, placing basil first, then mozzarella, and sun-dried tomatoes last.  

Monday, September 27, 2010

Roasted Tomato Soup

Nothing hits the spot like a bowl of steaming hot soup on a chilly day.  This roasted tomato soup from 101 Cookbooks does just that but I’ll have it even when it’s not cold out – it’s that good, although my love for tomato-based products probably has something to do with it too.  While roasting the veggies might take some time, making the soup itself is simple and fast.  All you need is an oven and a blender and you’re good to go. 

Have it alone or try dipping with a Panini like the Wuz and I did when we made it for the first time.  I’d imagine adding cannelli beans, kale, and orechiette topped with grated parmesan would make a decent light meal too.

3 large tomatoes
2 small onions
1 red bell pepper
½ green bell pepper
5 unpeeled cloves of garlic
2 to 3 cups vegetable broth
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Chopped parsley, optional

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F and line a baking sheet with wax paper for the vegetables.
2. Quarter the tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers.  Place on the baking sheet with unpeeled cloves of garlic.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast for 30 to 40 minutes (you’ll know they’re ready when the tomatoes have wilted down and the garlic is soft enough to squeeze out).
3.  In small batches place roasted veggies in a blender and pour in some broth.  Blend well and pour into a pot.  Repeat with remaining veggies and broth. You can use water if you’re short on broth. 
4.  Heat soup in pot and season if needed.  Add parsley before serving.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Spinach Fettuccine with Salmon, Basil, and Lemon

This is perfect pasta for lunch that I’ve adapted from Giada’s recipe I found on  The combination of lemon juice, zest, basil, tomato, and avocado makes a super fresh and light dish that won’t weigh you down the rest of the day.

1 lb. spinach fettuccine, cooked and tossed with olive oil
~1/2 lb. salmon
1 large tomato, diced
1 large avocado, diced and mixed with a little lemon juice to prevent oxidation and browning
1 lemon, juiced
The zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch basil, cut chiffonade style*
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

*To chiffonade the basil roll up some leaves and cut into thin strips.  This might sound and look fancy but is easy do to!

1. Salt and pepper the uncooked salmon.  In a pan over medium heat cook the salmon with olive oil.  Use a lid to cover the pan for faster cooking.  Break the salmon up into bit size pieces in the pan, removing skin if any.
2. In a large bowl toss fettuccine, salmon, tomato, avocado, remaining lemon juice, zest, garlic, and basil.  Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and more if needed.  Season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Kale

These mashed potatoes are perfect with the Country Style Ribs my boyfriend Yohan made.  I found this recipe from 101 Cookbooks and absolutely loved it but the only changes I made were adding in the roasted garlic and cheese.  Think of fluffy potatoes (yes, with no butter!) infused with roasted garlic, mozzarella cheese, and bits of sautéed kale.  I had always thought of kale as tough, unappetizing greens used as a garnish but this is quite the contrary.  Not only does it taste good when prepared properly but it is also high in calcium, vitamin C, vitamin K, and beta carotene.      

5 to 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
3 lbs potatoes
½+ cup milk
½ cup mozzarella, shredded
1 bunch kale, large stems cut and discarded
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Place garlic cloves inside a foil packet and roast for about 30 minutes.  The garlic will have a paste-like consistency when they’re done and you should be able to squeeze them out. 
2. Peel potatoes and cut into cubes.  Boil potatoes in a pot until fork tender.
3. Meanwhile, finely chop the kale and sauté over medium heat until it wilts.  Season with salt and pepper.
4. Place cooked potatoes and roasted garlic in a medium bowl.  Pour in some milk and start mashing with a fork.  Continue adding milk and mash until potatoes are fluffy.
5. Mix in shredded cheese and season with salt and pepper.

6. Fold in sautéed kale (note: stirring too much can turn the potatoes slightly green).

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Country Style Ribs

This is a guest blog post by none other than my boyfriend Yohan! Enjoy!

To a barbeque fanatic it's pretty sacrilegious to suggest boiling ribs, but when you're short on time and don't have hours to kill smoking your 'que, then boiling is the way to go! This recipe is quick and easy, taking roughly 2 hours for pretty decent ribs.

Barbeque Sauce
Once again, can seem like heresy but I like to mix 2 parts store-bought bbq sauce with 1 part ketchup and add spices as I see fit. I like my sauce a little spicy so I usually add a fair bit of red chili pepper flakes. Add pepper and a minced onion and you're good to go!

Ingredients for the Pot
-2 cloves of garlic
-2 tbsp. of oregano
-2 tbsp. of garlic salt
-1/2 an onion

Bring a pot to a rolling boil. Put ribs (~3 lbs) and spices into the pot. Turn down heat to simmering for 1.5 hours. Prepare the barbeque sauce and brush onto ribs in casserole pan. Cover pan and place in oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Enjoy!

*Note: I personally prefer beef ribs when they're available, but this recipe works for both pork and beef.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Creamy Mac Slaw

This is a creation my boyfriend and I made just a few days ago when he made ribs for dinner (ribs post coming soon!).  My boyfriend came up with the name “mac slaw” because it’s a cross between macaroni salad and cole slaw.  Isn’t he creative? It’s very much like the traditional macaroni salad you have at BBQs but with crunchy cabbage, sweet corn, and a little kick from togarashi, a Japanese red pepper seasoning. 

Togarashi* is usually sprinkled over udon noodles but our friend Chris showed us that it’s also delicious with Japanese mayo on corn on the cob, and this is what inspired my boyfriend to come up with a deconstructed “Japanese style corn on the cob” salad.  Let the salad chill in the fridge to let the flavors combine before eating; it makes a big difference in bringing out the spicy togarashi.  I can imagine substituting paprika or cayenne pepper for it, in case you don’t have access to a Japanese grocery store.

*S&B Foods carries two different types of togarashi: ichimi and nanami.

Serves 4-5

½ lb. macaroni, cooked
½ package pre-shredded cabbage
about ¼ cup light mayo
about 1 cup sweet corn, cooked
salt and pepper

1. In a medium bowl mix macaroni, cabbage, corn, and mayo.  Add the mayo in little by little, until all the ingredients are lightly coated.  Add more if desired.
2. Season with salt, pepper, and togarashi.  Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to let flavors combine.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chocolate Chip Banana Nut Muffins

When I have a craving for a baked dessert it’s usually not a muffin that pops into mind.  I prefer a perfectly baked chocolate chip cookie or a berry tart but there’s just something about banana nut muffins with chocolate chips that calls to me.  Maybe it’s the moistness of the bananas in the muffin, or it could be the textural and flavor combination of toasted walnuts and chocolate.  Whatever it is, these muffins don’t get old!

The recipe I used is from with a few tweaks here and there.  I figured less sugar would be just fine since chocolate chips were going into the mix, and I added some chopped walnuts on top of each muffin before sending them off to bake.  Oh, and a word of advice.  Let them cool completely before eating.  The Wuz and I couldn’t wait to eat them once they were done but this was not a good idea.  They were just too hot and didn’t taste quite right.  So for all of you who might do what we did: be patient, and it’ll be worth the wait!

Makes about 10 muffins

3 to 4 ripe bananas
1/3 cup white sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
1 egg
¾ cup toasted walnuts, chopped
½ cup chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Line muffin tin with muffin cups, or lightly grease muffin tin.
2. Mash bananas using a fork.
3. Mix sugar, oil, and egg until goopy and light yellow.  Add in mashed bananas, walnuts, vanilla extract, and chocolate chips.
4. Add flour, salt, and baking soda.  Mix well.
5. Spoon mixture into muffin tin.
6. Bake (about 20 minutes) until a toothpick comes out clean.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Japchae's a side dish you'll probably find in a Korean house on a birthday or a holiday alongside a variety of others, but can be made into a simple meal of its own when served over a bed of rice. I've had this noodle dish a countless number of times since I was little but didn't know to make it until just recently when my mom gave me a mini cooking lesson at home. I stood there beside my mom in her tiny kitchen listening, and mindfully taking mental notes of her tips and tricks on how to make these noodles her way. Together we chopped, sliced, sautéed, stirred, and mixed until the noodles were made to perfection.

When the work was all done and the japchae was ready to eat, I strangely felt a little more Korean at heart knowing that now I can make it like my mom can. I have much more to learn if I want to be able to replicate the flavors of foods I grew up on and hopefully this mini cooking lesson with my mom is just one of many to come.

½ pound chuck steak, sliced into 1 inch strips
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups rehydrated dried shitake mushrooms, sliced
½ bunch fresh spinach
12 ounces Korean vermicelli (Korean sweet potato starch noodles)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 medium sized carrots, cut into 3 inch julienne
about ½ cup soy sauce
2 to 3 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons sugar
salt and pepper
toasted sesame seeds (optional)
  1. In a medium bowl combine steak, garlic, and 2 tablespoons soy sauce. Let it sit.
  2. In a boiling pot of salted water, cook spinach for 2 minutes. Remove and put in a bowl of cold water. Squeeze excess water and let it drain.
  3. Cook noodles in boiling water for about 6 to 7 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.

  4. Using kitchen scissors cut cooked noodles into 6 inch pieces (they don't have to be perfect). Then in a pan over medium heat sauté the noodles with a little oil. Transfer to a large bowl.
  5. Add a little of the reserved soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar to the noodles. Mix. The noodles should have a golden hue to them. Taste to make sure there's enough soy sauce and add more if necessary (Remember that you can always add more but can't take away so pour little by little).
  6. In a pan over medium heat sauté onions. Season with a little salt and pepper. Transfer to the same bowl.
  7. Repeat with carrots. Transfer to the bowl.
  8. Cook the steak in the pan. When halfway done, add the shitake.

  9. Transfer the steak, mushrooms to the bowl, along with the spinach (Cut the spinach into smaller pieces if necessary). Make sure everything is combined well.
  10. If the noodles are a bit dry, drizzle more sesame oil and mix.
  11. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top before serving.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fusilli with Avocado Pesto and Roasted Chickpeas

I made this pasta dish on a whim because of a sudden urge to cook one afternoon (it happens) after coming home from the Little Italy Farmers Market with fresh Hass and Reed Avocados, a beautiful eggplant, and a small block of Firehouse Smoked Cheddar.  I started looking through my kitchen for ingredients that might go well with what I bought from the farmers market and found some pasta and canned chickpeas in my pantry.  So then with these ingredients I created this creamy, wholesome pasta dish with avocado pesto and roasted chickpeas. 

I took the chickpeas and roasted them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried oregano until they turned a little crusty and golden all over (These are good enough to just snack on!).  Then I took a nice round Reed Avocado and made a bright green pesto, not really knowing what it would exactly taste like.  I ended up with a super creamy sauce that tastes like a cross between pesto and guacamole (yum!).  I gave the cooked pasta an even coating of the pesto and added chopped red onion for a little texture, then topped it off with the roasted chickpeas and finely grated Firehouse Smoked Cheddar.  The sharpness and spicy flavor from the cheddar definitely adds an extra something so don’t skimp out on the cheese!   

Roasted Chickpeas
1 can chickpeas, drained
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Dried oregano

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Spread the chickpeas on a baking sheet.
2. Drizzle olive oil, then sprinkle oregano, salt, and pepper over chickpeas.
3. Make sure each chickpea is evenly coated and place baking sheet in oven.
4. When chickpeas turn a golden color, use a spatula to turn them. 
5. Remove when chickpeas are golden all over.

Avocado Pesto
1 large avocado, chopped
A handful of spinach, chopped
½ cup parsley, chopped
A handful of walnuts, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lemon, juiced
¼ cup shredded parmesan
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. Add avocado, spinach, parsley, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, and parm into a blender.
2. Pour in some olive oil (about ½ cup) and blend.
3.  Add more olive oil if necessary and blend.  Season with salt and pepper.

Fusilli with Avocado Pesto and Roasted Chickpeas
1 lb. fusilli (substitute with any short pasta), cooked
Roasted chickpeas (see above)
Avocado pesto (see above)
¼ red onion, chopped
Firehouse smoked cheddar (or any spicy cheese), grated

1. In a large bowl mix cooked pasta with desired amount of pesto.
2. Mix in chopped red onion.
3. Top each bowl with chickpeas and cheese before serving.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


My perfect guacamole has a creamy consistency and is slightly chunky so that you get little pieces of avocado in each bite.  There should also be hints of red onion and garlic, as well as a citrus element from lime or lemon juice.  The lime/lemon juice not only adds a nice little sour note to the guac but also keeps the avocado from oxidizing and turning brown.  For some variation, add in a spoonful of mayo into the mix for extra creaminess or even finely chopped jalapeño for an extra kick.  Get some tortilla chips to eat with this guac and I promise you’ll have trouble stopping yourself from eating the entire bowl.     

3 large ripe avocados
¼ red onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
The juice of 1 lime or small lemon
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. Cut avocados in half and remove pits.  Use a small knife and cut to make a cross hatch pattern for easier removal.  Scoop out the flesh using a spoon.
2. In a medium bowl add avocado pieces and lime or lemon juice.  Use a fork to mash the avocado pieces until you achieve desired consistency.
3.  Mix in onion and garlic.  Drizzle in about a tablespoon of olive oil.
4. Season with salt and pepper.  

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Kalbi Jjim Tacos (Korean Braised Short Rib Tacos)

Taco trucks selling Korean-Mexican fusion tacos seem to be one of the latest food trends in the country.  They were made popular in Southern California by trucks like Kogi and now are widely available for Korean BBQ and taco lovers to feast on.  Hearing about this craze, I was curious to try them since Korean and Mexican foods are right up my alley.  So just a few weeks ago my boyfriend and I went down the street from my apartment to where the Kalbiq truck was posted for the afternoon.  I ordered a few of their short rib and bulgogi tacos and the boyfriend got a bulgogi burrito.  The tacos were pretty tasty but wished I had gotten the burrito instead (it was like a California burrito with a Korean twist, yum!). 

I wanted to try making my own version of Korean tacos thereafter and knew that falling-off-the-bone-as-tender-as-can-be braised short ribs (kalbi jjim) would be the meat of choice for my tacos.  I’ve always loved kalbi jjim as a kid, and is definitely a comfort food of mine.  Seriously, all you need to go with the ribs is a bowl of perfectly cooked sticky white rice and you’re set.  Getting a little side tracked now but my point is, that these braised short ribs are absolutely heavenly and why shouldn’t they be just as good in tacos?

Making these tacos is a bit time consuming but honestly, completely worth putting in the effort.  The short ribs are simmered for half an hour in water, then an hour in a sweet and savory sauce until the meat soaks in the flavors and starts falling off the bones.  When they’re done the bones are removed and the meat cut into small pieces.  The meat is then wrapped up in a warm corn tortilla with fresh guac, my pico de gallo with a Korean twist (includes diced radish kimchi), cilantro-lime seasoned rice, and crunchy shredded cabbage.  The flavor and texture combinations are perfectly balanced, and you will not regret making these tacos!

Serves 2-3
Kalbi Jjim
2 ½ lbs Korean style short ribs, cut ½ inch thick across bones
1 cup soy sauce
½ cup sake
1 cup sugar
½ cup sesame oil
1 ½ cups water
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 Asian pear, sliced
1 teaspoon ground black pepper       

1. Cover the ribs in a pot of cold water for about 30 minutes to remove blood. 
2. Drain and add clean water to pot.  Simmer over medium heat for 30 minutes to 45 minutes.  This will help remove excess fat from the ribs.
3. Drain and wash ribs with clean water.
4.  In a clean pot over medium heat, mix soy sauce, sake, sesame oil, water, garlic, pear slices, and pepper. 
5. Add in short ribs to the simmering sauce.  Let simmer for about an hour.
6. Take ribs out of pot and remove bones from meat.  Cut meat into small pieces.

Short rib meat (see above)
Corn tortillas
Cilantro-lime rice (To make cilantro-lime rice mix in chopped cilantro and lime juice with cooked white rice.  I used short grain white rice.)
Shredded cabbage

1. Assemble ingredients on corn tortillas as desired.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Tomatoes and eggs are a couple of my favorite ingredients to use in my cooking so you can only imagine how excited I was to stumble upon a recipe for shakshuka on Smitten Kitchen.  Shakshuka (also spelled shakshouka, shaqshuqa, or chakcouka) consists of peppers, onions, and spices cooked in a tomato sauce with eggs poached in it.  The dish is usually served with white bread and is popular in Tunisia, Algeria, Somalia, Morocco, Yemen, and Israel.  It’s pretty simple in that everything can be made in one pot and doesn’t require too many ingredients. 

My version of shakshuka is almost identical to the one from Smitten Kitchen with a few exceptions. I add mushrooms into the mix with chopped red onion and jalapeño peppers, cooked with paprika and cumin, then with canned crushed tomatoes.  Eggs are then poached right in the sauce and served with feta and parsley over a bed of brown basmati rice.   Few dishes to clean, not too many ingredients, minimal cooking time and prep work, and incredible flavor.  You really can’t ask for more. 

Serves 4
½ red onion, diced
2 large jalapeños, seeded and diced
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
4 eggs
Feta cheese
Chopped parsely to garnish
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. In a medium pot over medium heat, add in onion and jalapeños.  Season with salt and pepper.
2. When onions become translucent add in mushrooms and mix in garlic, paprika, and cumin when mushrooms cook down.  Stir well.
3. Pour in canned tomatoes and stir. 
4. When tomato sauce thickens crack eggs into pot and cover for 5 minutes.
5. Serve over brown basmati rice topped with feta and parsley.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mushroom and Spinach Rice Casserole

This recipe is a slightly altered version of the Spinach Rice Gratin from 101 Cookbooks.  It’s one of my go-to recipes when I want a healthy and wholesome meal and can easily be served as a side dish.  And since I always seem to have trouble saying no to more cheese, I sprinkle more on top after the casserole’s ready out of the oven.  If you find the dish a little bland the saltiness of some grated Pecorino would be good too. 


3 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 ½ cups chopped spinach
½ onion, diced
4 ounces of firm tofu, crumbled
½ cup ricotta cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella
3 eggs
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
2. In a pan over medium heat add cook mushrooms until slightly tender.  Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add in onions and cook until translucent.
4. Then add in chopped spinach and stir until wilted.  Taste and season if necessary, then remove from heat.
5. In a bowl mix tofu, ricotta, and mozzarella cheese.
6. Beat eggs and add to the tofu mixture.
7. Add mushrooms mixture to the tofu mixture and season one last time.
8. Transfer everything to a lightly greased 9 x 13 baking dish and place in oven for about 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ginger Cream Tart

This was the first time I ever made a tart, including the crust from scratch, and although it was a bit time consuming it was completely worth it. It's not the healthiest of desserts but I figure I can treat myself once in a while to something as decadent as this tart. The filling almost tastes like cheesecake but isn't as dense and has a slight hint of ginger. The ginger cream filling sits on top of a crust that tastes like a crumbly shortbread cookie, made using flour, sugar, and butter. Then to top it off, fresh raspberries and itty bitty champagne grapes are placed on top, but blueberries or strawberries would work just as well. The recipe for the ginger cream filling is from but I opted to use a different one for the crust.

I thought it'd be helpful to post some tips for making the crust because it would have been useful knowing what to be cautious of when I had prepared the crust myself.
1. Be sure to wait for the crust to cool completely before attempting to remove the bottom piece of the pan. I tried doing this when the crust was still warm and made huge cracks in it.
2. The tart crust is crumbly, as I had mentioned earlier, so be extra gentle when handling it. I learned the hard way and broke a crust right in half (the cracks in it didn't help).
3. Also, I lined the removable bottom of the tart pan with wax paper (parchment paper works too). It's difficult to remove the bottom piece without the wax paper so I recommend taking this additional step if you're planning on bringing the tart to a get together with friends or something of that sort.

Tart Crust
1 ½ sticks of butter, at room temperature
½ cup sugar
1 ½ cups flour
special equipment: a 10 by 1 inch round tart pan with a removable bottom

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
2. In a bowl cream the butter and sugar together using a fork.
3. In increments of ½ cups, add in the flour and mix. Use your hands if necessary.
4. Transfer dough to a lightly greased tart pan with a removable bottom (lined with wax paper) and distribute evenly.
5. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until a very light golden color.
Ginger Cream Filling
1 ½ teaspoons unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons milk
½ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
¼ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
2 cups heavy cream
¾ cup sour cream

1. Sprinkle gelatin over milk in a small bowl and let it sit for 1 minute.
2. Mix the milk, ginger, sugar, salt, and 1 cup of the cream into a saucepan over medium heat. When the sugar melts remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
3. Whisk the sour cream until there are no lumps.
4. Beat the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream until soft peaks form, then fold in the sour cream.
5. Fold in the ginger milk mixture to the whipped cream and combine well.
6. Pour mixture into the crust. Place berries/fruit on top and chill for 8 hours.

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