Sunday, November 20, 2011

Baked Jalapeño Poppers

Still hanging out in Peets in Berkeley, cranking out these postings like sugar cookies at Christmas time.
Jalapeño Poppers are a guilty pleasure of mine and I still had some cream cheese on hand, so it was well deserved.

Jalapeño Poppers with Spicy Mozzarella, and Bacon.

Poppin' Poppers (serves 6)

8 Jalapeños, slices, deveined and seeds removed
4oz cream cheese
2 slices Bacon, cooked
1/2 cup Marinated Spicy Mozzarella
A little cayenne, and ground pepper
1/8 cup scallions, sliced

1 egg
1 Tbl milk
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp cayenne
1 Tbl paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a baking tray, cut bacon into small slices.  In a medium sized bowl mix cream cheese, bacon, mozzarella, cayenne, pepper, and scallions.  Place a heaping tablespoon amount into the inside of the jalapeño slices.

In a small bowl beat eggs with milk, and in a medium sized bowl, or pie tin mix bread crumbs, pepper, thyme, cayenne, paprika, garlic powder and oregano.

Dredge the stuffed pepper slices in the flour, dip in milk, then dip in bread crumb mixture, be sure to evenly distribute the bread crumb mixture on the pepper.

Place on the baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for 15-20 minutes.  And enjoy!

When I repeat this recipe I plan on roasting the peppers, and removing the skin prior to stuffing and dredging, I'll let you now how that goes soon :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Mama's Polish Goulash

My mom is a pretty recent immigrant from Poland and I grew up with a lot of semi-traditional Polish foods (all are amazing and will be blogged about).  It was a cold day in Santa Barbara, and I could think of nothing better than Polish Goulash to comfort me.

Oh, and still in Berkeley, leaving once Max gets off work though.

Goulash (serves a little more than 2)

1/2 lb of cubed round, or some kind of semi tender beef cut
1/4 cup flour
2 Tbl paprika
2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 oregano
3 Tbl olive oil
2 cups sweet peppers sliced
1/2 jalapeño diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 onion julienned
1 tomato sliced
1/2 eggplant, cubed
1 15oz can beef broth
Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix the flour, paprika, black pepper, and oregano in a small bowl.  Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Dredge beef cubes in the dry mixture then sauté in the olive oil, cook until outsides are lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Once the meat is finished remove from pan, but keep the juices and fat in the pan, add all the vegetables except the garlic, and sauté over medium heat for about ten minutes, if needed add more olive oil. Next add the garlic and beef to the pan, cook for about a minute then add beef broth.  Allow to simmer for a few minutes, then enjoy!  Best serve with some egg noodles.

Pumpkin, Chocolate, Pecan Explosion Bars + Love Caramel

It's starting to feel like fall, one of my favorite seasons! In addition to wearing scarves, jackets, and boots, I love using an oven to heat up a cold house.  Baking is my favorite activity in the entire world, and generally if you live with me baked goods are bound to be around, all the time. Except right now, since I'm sitting in my boyfriend's physiology class, headed back to Santa Barbara today after an awesome weekend!

Pumpkin, Caramel, Chocolate, Pecan Explosion Bars!

For the crust:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2  chopped pecans
6 Tbl butter, softened
1/4 chocolate chips

For the filling:
1 8oz package of cream cheese
2 eggs
1/2 15oz can of Pumpkin
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the flour and brown sugar in a medium bowl, incorporate butter with a fork or pastry cutter.  Once incorporated, mix in pecans, and chocolate chips.  Press this mixture on the bottom of a buttered 8 x 8 pan.  Bake for 10-15 minutes.

Mix cream cheese, cream and sugar, using a mixer, if you have one, unlike me :( Once well mixed add eggs, one at a time. Beat well.  Add pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, mix well.

Allow crust to cool before pouring filling into the pan, then bake for 30-45 minutes until the middle is just about set.

Also, if desired you can save some of the crumble mixture and place it on top of the bars half-way through baking.

Continue to make caramel, see recipe below.

Once the bars are done baking allow to cool for about an hour.  Finally drizzle caramel on top and enjoy!

The Juices of Autumn, aka Love Caramel

2+5 Tbl butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

While the bars are in the oven heat 2 Tbl of butter in a saucepan with 1 cup of sugar.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar begins to expand, look foamy, and is brown and caramel-esque in color.  When this occurs, pour the sugar mixture in a different bowl and add sugar and cream quickly while whisking rapidly.  Careful! Sugar mixture is extremely hot, it splatters easily!  Continue whisking quickly for a few minutes until the caramel has a smooth consistency.  It's okay to have caramel solids on the whisk, it's snacks for later!  If fall was to be formed into a food, into would be caramel, use it for everything.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Zucchini Au Gratin

Right now I'm hanging out in a Peet's on the Berkeley campus waiting for my boyfriend to finish work and finally have the time to update some of the culinary adventures I've had in the last month.  After my last trip home (in the beginning of September) I was gifted with part of my family's zucchini harvest.  I have learned to prepare zucchini is every way that could be thought of in order to make the most of this delicious summer squash.  Today, or a month and a half ago when I actually prepared this, I felt like indulging myself in something a little more cheesy, in the good way.

Zucchini Au Gratin (Inspired by Ina, and many others)

3 medium sized zucchini, sliced
3 Tbl butter
1 Tbl olive oil
1 small onion, julienned
1/4 tsp paprika
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp black pepper
pinch of salt
1 Tbl flour
1/2 cup milk (2% or whole)
1/2 cup sliced gruyere

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat 1tablespoon of butter and the olive oil in in a large skillet over medium heat, add the zucchini and onion.  Add black pepper, salt, paprika, and nutmeg, Sauté for about ten minutes until the zucchini and onion are tender.

In a small sauce pan, melt remaining butter, add flour, stirring constantly till smooth, and begins to bubble.  Once bubbling, removing a little of the roux and stir it into the milk, now add this milk mixture back to the pan and allow to simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes

Layer zucchini and onion in the pan, pour milk sauce over the layered zucchini and top with sliced gruyere and bake for about 15-20 minutes, until cheese is brown and bubbly.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Canning with Grandma: Caramel Apple Jam

My backyard at home  
Due to my low-budget lifestyle I am making canned goods for Christmas presents this year.  Hopefully no one reads this, and finds out their Christmas present early! So far I have 6 pint-sized mason jars with bread and butter zucchini pickles.  So the next thing I decided to do was make a sweeter treat, like jam.  Luckily, I went home to the beautiful Sonoma Valley for a few days, and there I utilized the bounty of the harvest in my own back yard.  My family enjoys gardening so I can find anything from habaneros to raspberries there.  Basically our backyard at home is a small farm.  

I used about ten pounds of granny smith apples, a ton of sugar, and an 85 year-old woman to successfully make 12 half-pint sized jars of carmel apple jam. The jam has more of a apple pie filling flavor than carmel apple, but who wouldn't want to wake up and eat apple pie on toast?

Caramel Apple Jam (makes 12 8oz jars, plus a little extra)

18 cups of diced, peeled, granny smith apples
1 cup water 
1 Tb butter
2 (1.75oz) packages of Pectin
6 cups white sugar
8 cups brown sugar
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1tsp nutmeg. 

Wash jars, and place jar, mouth side up on a baking sheet.  Place in oven, bake jars at 275 until jam is prepared. Place lids in a sauce pan with water, cook over medium heat until it starts to boil, then turn to low or off, lids need to be very hot when put on the jars.  Begin to heat a large dutch oven, or large pot filled with at least 6 inches of water (enough to fully submerge standing jars).

In a large pot, combine apples, water and butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  The apples are going to soften and lose quite a bit of water.   Once the apples are soft, add pectin and bring the mixture to a boil, this is an important step to set the pectin.  Add sugars, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and allow the mixture to boil again, stirring constantly.  If the mixture appears a little watery allow it to boil for about 5 minutes so more water is lost.

Using a wide-mouth funnel ladle hot jam into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 headspace.  Make sure that the mouth of the jar is jam-free! If there is jam present, wipe it off with a wet paper towel, then place hot lids on jars and seal with the outer ring, somewhat tightly.  Once the jars are shut place them in the dutch oven full of water.  Boil the jars for ten minutes, then remove from the water and allow the jars to seal.  

Enjoy it on some sourdough toast, a personal favorite.  

Monday, September 19, 2011

Beef Sambusa (An African Egg Roll)

I was introduced to Sambusa in sixth grade.  A friend and I made it for a sixth grade project and since then is has become a staple of our friendship. It is a wonderful comfort food that will leave your mouth watering! It's origins are African, perhaps the Islamic community.


1lb ground beef
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 carrot, diced
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 Jalapeño, minced, seeds removed
1 Tb tomato paste
1 cup oil, for frying,
1 tsp water
1 tsp flour
1 package of spring roll wrappers

Add beef and cumin into a skillet and sauté over medium heat until brown.  Once cooked remove the beef from the pan, retaining as much of the beef fat as possible in the pan. Add the onion, garlic, carrot and jalapeño and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes.  Then season with salt and pepper.   Take off the heat and in a medium sized bowl combine meat, vegetables and tomato paste. 

Mix the water and flour in a small bowl.  Heat oil in a medium sized sauce pan.  Place 2 tablespoons of the beef mixture in the center of the spring roll wrapper, then wrap the roll according to how it is shown on the package, or more more instruction...   Use the flour mixture to seal the roll.  

Fry the roll in the oil, turning over every 20 seconds until the entire roll is a golden brown.  Remove from oil and place on a plate containing paper towels.  Allow some of the oil to come off and the rolls to cool, then enjoy!

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Ultimate Bagel-wich, (aka the Max)

I recently started working at this great bagel shop in Isla Vista, known as bagel cafe...

I am allowed one bagel per day to pack with as much salmon, avocado, tomato, cream cheese (every flavor) and lemon pepper to my hearts desire.  Unfortunately, I made this bagel and took these photos prior to getting hired at Bagel Cafe.  So there are many other much other bagel sandwiches to come, although this one will always be my favorite.

The Max (named fondly after my boyfriend)

You need:
Bagels, I enjoy the everything bagel, ("galaxy" at Bagel Cafe)
Red Onion
Chive Cream Cheese, or Chives and Cream Cheese
Salt, Pepper, Butter, and
a little milk or cream

Slice onion thinly, cut and toast bagel.  Meanwhile, beat eggs (I normally do two at a time) with a pinch of salt and pepper, and a tsp of cream.  It is important to beat the egg lots!  Next, add a tablespoon of butter to a small skillet over medium heat.  Add egg, and cooked until moist, yet not too runny.   Spread a generous amount of chive cream cheese and/or chives on to the toasted bagel, then top with lox.  Finally add onion, and egg, and you have a wonderful breakfast!