February 24, 2011
February 23, 2011
- Heat oil in a dutch oven or aluminum pot, add chicken and brown it on high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring to make sure it turns golden brown on all sides;
- Add onions and peppers, mix and sauté on medium heat with open lid for 5-8 minutes or until onions are translucent;
- Add both diced and crushed tomatoes plus tomato paste, mix, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through on medium-low heat, stirring to prevent burning;
- Add fresh herbs, cover, turn off heat and let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving;
- Serve with bread or boiled potatoes, or fire extinguisher!
February 21, 2011
- Heat oven to 350°F.
- In a bowl mix together DRY ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt and oats, mix with a wooden spoon.
- In another bowl, mix WET ingredients: butter, eggs and sugar and beat until creamy with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Mix in the zest
- Combine both DRY and WET and beat for about a minute until all mixed together. Fold in cherries and chocolate chips.
- Spoon batter by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cooking sheet and bake in pre-heated oven for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven, let cool on a cookie sheet for 1 minute then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Enjoy with a cup of fresh brewed tea.
February 17, 2011
- Orange peel has high content of essential oil, which is highly flammable. So dried orange peel can be used for starting a fire or kindling for your fireplace;
- I found out on the web, cats don't like orange smell. If you put orange peel next to your house plants, your feline won't chew on it;
- My friend, who is lucky to have a blender inside her kitchen sink, purposely throws and pulverizes the orange peel in it to get rid of bad odors;
- I don't have the pulverizer so I just scrub sink with orange peel;
- For the same purpose--freshness--you can use orange peel to deodorize trash cans by placing the peel on the bottom of the can before lining it with bag. It can also ward off the insects during summer months;
- If you rub oil on your skin, you can prevent mosquito bites during summer as well;
- You can add the orange peel to home made potpourri--it's white pith is super absorbent and will absorb bad odors and humidity from the air;
- Because of it's absorbent qualities, you can also use the peel in closets to soak up musty smell--put it in a cloth bag first; same bag can be used in a car as a air freshener;
- It could be used in cooking, of course. With a microplane zester, peel the top layer of the orange peel--the one that does not have white pith--and use this zest in dessert or savory dishes alike to add a distinct orange flavor;
- You can also use the whole peel to make "succades"--candied orange peel (recipe will follow, start collecting the peel);
- If you're a drinker, you can infuse vodka and other hard liquor with orange peel, too;
- If you're not a drinker--make some tea with dried orange peel by steeping a tablespoon of it in a cup of hot water for 5 minutes.
- Из за высокого содержания в ней эфирного масла, которое легко воспламеняемо, кожуру апельсина можно использовать в качестве разжигателя или в качестве щепок для камина;
- Я узнала из интернета, что кошки не любят запах апельсина. Если положить шкорки около домашних цветков, которые объедает ваша мурка, она к ним больше не подойдёт;
- Моя подруга, которой посчастливилось иметь раковину с блендером, использует апельсиновую кожуру для того, чтобы избавиться от плохого запаха;
- У меня, к сожалению такого приспособления нет, поэтому я натираю кухонную раковину шкорками для запаха;
- Так же для запаха и свежести шкорки можно положить на дно мусорного ведра перед тем как застелить его целофаном. Запах апельсина поможет отогнать мелких насекомых, так как они не любят цитрусовые ароматы;
- Есил потереть масляной стороной шкорки о кожу, можно даже избежать комаринных укусов летом;
- Можно добавить апельсиновую кожуру к вашему пот пурри домашнего приготовления--белая мякоть шкорки обладает "всасывающими" свойствами и поглатит пдлохой запах и влажность из воздуха;
- По этой же причине можно набить шкорками мешочек их грубой материи--холста, например--и поместить его в шкаф, чтобы избавиться от затхлого запаха, или же держать в салоне автомобиля в качестве освежителя.
- Конечно же кожуру можно использовать в кулинарии. Специальной тёркой снимите цедру (это верхний слой)--не задев белую мякоть--и используйте цедру в приготовлении сладких или пикантных блюд для придания специфичного апельсинового запаха и вкуса;
- Можно также использовать всю кожуру полностью для изготовления цукатов (рецепт будет по позже, а пока собирайте шкорку);
- Если вы пьёте алкоголь, то можете сделать настой из шкорок с водкой или другим крепким алкогольным напитком;
- А если вы трезвенник, сделайте чай из сухих апельсиновых корок заварив столовую ложку на стакан кипятка в течении 5 минут.
February 15, 2011
- Cook beans: if you can soak them overnight in quadruple amount of water, if you forgot to do that, bring beans and water to boil, take off the heat, cover and let soak for at least 2 hours. After soaking, drain and rinse again.
- Cook beans in the same amount of water (at least 1 to 4): bring to boil, add a pinch of salt and cook over medium heat for 1/2 an hour. Don't overcook the beans! In case you don't feel like cooking beans, go ahead, use canned ones, but don't forget to rinse them well. Set aside.
- Slice onions, put aside.
- To make Adjika, combine all the ingredients in a a food processor or blender, blend until all combined. Transfer Adjika in a glass jar and close with lid. You can keep it in a fridge for couple of month.
- Combine cooked beans and onions and dress the salad with 1/2 of the Adjika. If it's not too hot for your taste, add more. Toss and serve over some salad greens if desired or as a side dish.
February 09, 2011
- Put shredded cabbage in a heat resistant bowl, add cayenne, chili, vinegar and pour boiling water over it. Keep in a warm place for at least 2 hours.
- Drain water, preserving couple of TB spoons of water. Divide cabbage in 2. Put one half in a jar, pour preserved water, cover and store in a fridge. It can be used later for more salad.
- In a salad bowl combine remaining cabbage and peas. Toss.
- In a skillet, heat 2 TB of olive oil, add onions and sauté until they turn translucent. Pour the onions over the cabbage, toss and serve sprinkled with sea salt.
February 05, 2011
- Heat oil in a 10 qt. stock pot and brown beef ribs on one side until crispy and comes off easily, flip and repeat. Takes about 5 minutes per side to brown. Lower heat to medium.
- Add vegetables: onions, carrots, beets and garlic. Cover and sauté for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spices: dry herbs, bay leaves, chili, black pepper and salt. Cover and simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring to prevent burning.
- Add potatoes and tomato paste, stir, cover and continue to simmer over med-low heat for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile boil 10 cups of water in a tea kettle.
- Pour 10 cups of boiling water, check for salt, adjust if needed; cover and continue to cook for 20 minutes over med-low heat or until potatoes are cooked.
- Add cabbage, cover and cook for another 10 minutes or until cabbage is cooked through.
- Turn the heat off, add fresh cilantro, cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
- Serve with additional fresh cilantro, freshly pressed garlic and sour cream. Melt and enjoy!
February 02, 2011
The feasting season is over and these little guys had worked hard to make it colorful and delicious. But why abandon them now? I saw a bag of frozen cranberries in a supermarket the other day and it looked so lonely and forgotten, thrown into a wrong pile with frozen veggies. I picked it up and decided to give the berries a chance!
- Improve the body's circulatory system
- A daily glass of cranberry juice will treat cystitis (bladder inflammation)
- Provide relief for asthma patients
- Condensed tannins in cranberries are considered an important contributor to a healthy heart
- Can disrupt the development of kidney stone formation due to its affects on the acidity of the urine.
February 01, 2011
One can write an extensive thesis on medicinal propertied of this gem colored vegetable. It is recommended for prevention and treatment of anemia, hypertension, and other cardiovascular diseases.
Dark-colored varieties of beets help strengthen the capillary walls. Substances contained in its root have vasodilator, antispasmodic, anti-sclerotic and soothing effect. In addition, they facilitate the allocation of the excess fluid from the body and are needed for normal functioning of the heart. Beetroot shape itself resembles this vital organ!
Beet root crops contain 14-18% dry matter, 11-12% sugar, 1.7% protein, 5-17 mg of vitamin C. The beets also contain a small amount of carotene, vitamins B1, B2. But what gives this vegetable a special value is vitamin P, which can increase the elasticity of blood vessels, prevent multiple sclerosis and internal hemorrhage.
In addition, beet is useful for the liver. Contained in this vegetable betaine—which is also a natural dye—activates the liver cells and prevents their fatty degeneration. Beetroots contain significant amounts of pectin, which protect the body from exposure to radioactive and heavy metals (lead, strontium, etc.), contribute to the removal of cholesterol and inhibits growth of harmful microorganisms in the intestinal tract. Salts of iron, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, cobalt found in beets also activate the blood formation and regulate metabolism. In iron content, beets trail only to garlic.
Among all other things, beetroot is rich in organic acids that are useful for human body: malic, citric, and tartaric. It also contains minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, sulfur, and sodium.
And let us not leave out the leaves. Beet leaves contain about the same nutrients as the root, but the beet tops have more vitamin C, although less fiber.
Today, I prepared a simple lunch recipes: beetroot soup-puree—although the most traditional soup in this category would be Borsch, but its recipe I will share separately!—and pies with beet leaves and cheese.
This soup is borrowed from Turkish cuisine, where it is traditionally made from roasted beetroots.
ROASTED BEET SOUP
- Heat the oven to 375°F, wrap each washed and patted dry beetroot in aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven—beets have to be tender but not overcooked—cool, peel and chop into disks.
- In the pot, heat oil and melt butter in it. Add the chopped vegetables: onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and sauté them for 5-7 min or until onions are translucent.
- Add spices (besides salt) and beets; mix and pour water or broth and bring to boil. Once boiled, add salt, turn the heat to medium-low and cook for 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat, take out the bay leaves, and blend with an immersion blender. Return to heat for 10 more minutes.
- Serve with dollop of sour cream (or yogurt) and chopped fresh dill weed.
Beet leaves and cheese pies—tsakharadhiin—are traditional Osetian dish. Osetins are one of the indigenous people of North Caucasus region, and I'm 1/8th Osetian (I know it's totally irrelevant).
You may use already prepared yeast dough or buy frozen bread dough and thaw only one loaf, but I deiced to make my own using whole wheat flour; and instead of butter I used clarified butter—it gives sweet note to the pies that compliments saltiness of the cheese and tartness of greens.
Traditionally, Osetian cheese that is similar to Greek feta is used. However, Greek feta works just fine! This recipe yields 3 10 inch pies: it is Osetian tradition to bake three round pies at a time. And to serve it with sour cream and dill dip. Only I used Greek style yogurt in lieu of sour cream. I used the same dip with the beet soup, too.
TSAKHARADJIN—OSETIAN BEET LEAVES AND CHEESE PIE
- To 1 cup of warm water, add yeast and sugar and without mixing let stand for 10 minutes.
- In a bowl with 2 cups of whole-wheat flour and 1 cup of barley (or all purpose) flour, pour the water, oil, and salt; mix the sponge with a wooden spoon.
- On dry clean surface pour 1/2 cup of barley (or all purpose) flour, take the sponge and knead the dough until most the flour is used up; dust the dough with flour and put it back into the bowl, cover with clean kitchen towel and let stand in a warm and non drifty place for and hour. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.
- Wash and dry the beet leaves and shop them into thin ribbons; mix it with finely chopped scallions and dill.
- In a separate bowl crumble the cheese, then add the greens and black pepper.
- Divide the filling into 3 parts and roll into ball shape.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F and keep cast iron skillet (of metal baking sheet) inside the oven to be heated, too.
- Divide the dough into tree parts. On a dusted with flour surface roll the dough with a rolling pin or stretch with hands into circles about 7/8 of an inch thick.
- Put the filling in the center of the dough, push it in, and gather the dough from around the edges closing in it on top. Pinch off any excess dough. With hands even out the pie. Push it into shape (10 inches in diameter) and poke a hole 1 inch in size in the middle.
- Transfer the pie on a hot skillet (baking sheet) and bake for 15-20 until it starts to turn light brown.
- Brush the pie with butter. Repeat for the second and third pie.
- Serve hot, cut in 6 pieces, with a sour cream (yogurt) and dill dip.
I understand that this time of year many people would prefer chocolate as their main ingredient not only because it makes a nice valentine day treat but also because its dark varieties are good for the health. I understand also that beet might not win competing for a place on your table this month because it might not look so attractive. But have you seen or tasted Cocoa au naturelle? Right, now beet doesn't look so bad!