Sunday, April 28, 2013

Potatoes with Olives, Capers and Caperberries

The school year is winding down, the summer finally arrived, so it was time for a long overdue celebration – dinner party time! Similar to Christmas, you ask yourself at sometime what did you get yourself into until you realize the preparation, shopping, cleaning and cooking is half of the fun. 

I studied a stack of my middle eastern cookbooks and found this wonderful recipe: potatoes, first cooked, then chilled, and stovetop browned with capers, caperberries, olives, fresh parseley, and green onions. – A recipe from the fabulous “How to roast a lamb” (Psilakis).


Potatoes, Olives and Capers With White Anchovy Vinaigrette

2 pounds fingerling potatoes, scrubbed, with skin on
salt and black pepper, to taste
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cup small sprigs parsley
1 TB dried dill

18 whole caperberries
1/2 cup capers, drained
18 mixed green and black olives, and pitted
12 whole scallions, sliced on a diagonal
White Anchovy Vinaigrette

 White Anchovy Vinaigrette:
4 anchovies, soaked in hot water to rinse off some of the salt
1 tablespoon dried dill
1 tablespoon small sprigs parsley
8 leaves fresh mint
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dry Greek oregano
1/2 cup champagne vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Cracked black pepper to taste

Put the potatoes in a large pot of generously salted cold water and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently until just crisp-tender, about 7 to 9 minutes. Drain the potatoes and spread out on a plate. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight. Cut into rustic, bite-size chunks and season with kosher salt and pepper.
In a very large skillet (I used the turkey roasting pan), heat the oil over medium-high heat. 

When the oil is very hot, add the potatoes (no crowding!). Roast the potatoes, shaking the pan, for several minutes, until most pieces turn a golden color. Add the herbs, caperberries, capers, olives and scallions, and shake the pan for 1 minute more; just to wilt the herbs and scallions.  Place potatoes on a serving dish, and drizzle with the White Anchovy Vinaigrette before serving. These are good hot or at room temperature. 

For the White Anchovy Vinaigrette: In a small food processor, combine all ingredients, and serve.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Tricolore latkes

Baby cat’s dinenr tonight was inspired by the bouquet of flowers that got a batch of new water. Colorful, but she only ate the little grasses and white flowers.


My dinner was similarly colorful: three color  latkes – made with carrots, sweet potato and beets. It does not take much, shredding them, some flour, egg and spices, and frying them up. Acompanied by salad and a Greek yogurt herb sauce.


Tricolore Latkes: 
(makes 5 small sized latkes)
  • 1 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and shredded
  • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1/2 medium sized beet, peeled and shredded
  • 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, micro-planed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 eggs, beaten
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 TB olive oil for frying
Mix the shredded sweet potato, carrot and beet with the beaten egg, flour and herbs. Heat the olive oil in the pan. and once hot make small mold of shredded potato mix, pat flat with a fork, and fry on both sides for 5 min each. Serve!
Sauce: mix small cup of Greek yogurt with a bit of water, a pressed garlic clove, fresh chopped rosemary and salt and pepper.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Food riddle

Isn't it amazing sometimes that we eat food, and have no idea how the plant looks like when it is growing? I remember getting excited to grow my own eggplants, broccoli and soybeans just to see how the plants grow. Now, I have a riddle for you. The plant for which commonly eaten food is this?   Update: it is quinoa!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Smoked Steelhead Trout

Work is slowly letting up a bit and I’ve been ready to cook something fun and more elaborate again. Yesterday on the grocery run, I bought a filet of steelhead trout, one of my favorite fish, a cross between salmon and trout, the color and taste of salmon but the leanness of trout. I decided to smoke it since it is so simple to make and so delicious at the same time. Jamie Oliver once made a smoker using a tin can and some chicken wire but I bought a simpler, stove-top device.

I placed a tablespoon of alderwood on the bottom of the smoker (less is more here, otherwise the steelhead trout gets too bitter), placed the trout on the rack, added some salt, pepper, and fresh lemon juice, and closed the lid. I turned up the gas stove to medium, and within 15min the trout was cook (and smoked). It would be fabulous with the usual trimmings, such as sour cream, dill and capers, but it was also fabulous with mixed greens, goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Regrowing Romaine

After a beautiful second spring day (since winter), the weekend started with new snow showers today. Snow! Looks like the entire weekend will be ‘wintery mix’. Oh well. I am still watching my way through episodes of Mad Men, the cats told me to not unplug their heated cat beds any time soon, and so I guess we are all set for the weekend. Since there is not much growing outside yet, I started to grow my salad indoors, or and took recycling to new level. If you save about 5in of a romaine salad when you make a salad, place it in a cup wit a few inches of water and at a sunny spot, it will start regrowing new leaves from the heart. Now, a bag of organic romaine goes a long way….



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Smell the Roses

Spring is still very slow to come this year. More snow/wintry mix on the way for Friday. Maybe, it is never going to end? Today, I splurged in flowers and BabyCat immediately jumped up and smelled the roses (or flowers). I think we are all ready for the warmer seasons.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Saffron Cake

It has been months that I had plain time (and the energy) to bake a cake. Finally, work let up a little bit, and I used it for spring cleaning and baking a bright, sweet  cake  with tangy cranberries– saffron cake. A bag of frozen fresh cranberries was still in my freezer, and a pound cake with almond extract, saffron and cranberries promised the spring to come but not here yet. At least, something is bright and warm and sweet…..

Saffron Cake with Cranberries
  • 6 ounces butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • Pinch saffron
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1⁄3 cup warm water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1⁄2 cups sugar, to taste
  • 4 cups allpurpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • Powdered sugar, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a a 9-inch bundt cake pan with a cake spray.
Melt butter in the microwave for 20 second and pour in the bowl of a standmixer.
Crush saffron threads in a mortar and pestle; muddle with 1 teaspoon sugar. Steep 20 minutes in warm water.
Beat eggs and sugar, then add saffron mixture. In a separate bowl, mix flour with baking powder. Fold into the batter with a metal spoon. Bake near bottom of the oven for 40 to 50 minutes.
Let cake cool, then turn out on wire tray to sift powdered sugar over the top.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Edward Scissorhands

Spring is slow to come this year. It might be sunny and blue-skied, but still rather cold and no green blossom in sight. The other day, two weeks ago to be exact, I tried my first shellack manicure. With the working in soapy dish water and around the house a regular manicure only survives 3-4 days with me, so shellack seemed much more promising. After 2 weeks my nails (or manicure) still looked like new. Only problem: they did not have the color I wanted when I got the manicure and instead of pale pink it was more a pale orangy (aka flesh). Meanwhile I had ordered the color I want online and today I decided, perfect manicure or not, I am ready for a perfect manicure in my favorite color. 

How to get the stuff off?

100% acetone they say, but I had seen a shellack removal kit at Sephora that features their Sephora by OPI polish remover. Good enough for me.  I prepped by getting remover, cotton pads, stripes of aluminum foil and a scraper tool ready. I soaked each cotton pad in nail polish remover, folded it, placed it on the nail, and wrapped it with aluminum foil, tightly and pressed it on. 

After a short while I looked like Edward Scissorhands.

I set an internet stop watch for 10min and continued reading blogs. After 10 minutes, the polish started to peel off and was easy to scrap off. I scraped most of it off, and place the 'remover glove' back on the finger to soak off the last layers to avoid more scraping. 

Time for a new manicure!