Not too little, not too much

Happy New Year 12/29/2010

Filed under: Holiday — Roxana GreenGirl {A little bit of everything} @ 22:33
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Prior to 2010 I was a clumsy cook at best. No, I’m not going to write about my last year’s cooking experiments that led me to ER both Thanksgiving and Christmas eve 🙂 . Those memories are better left well hidden.

The experience on this site and the wonderful feedback and comments shared from so many amazing people elevated my cooking skills and made me aware of a wide variety of recipes I would have never imaged. I have come to enjoy writing my blog and sharing my pictures and comments with you and have equally enjoyed reading the blogs written by all of you out there…

Without you I don’t think I would have made it so far and I know with you by my side I’m going to stay a while around here. Thank you so much for visiting, reading my blog and for all the kind and encouraging words you said to me.

Last, but not least, Thank you for sharing all those wonderful recipes and tips that made me the cook I’m today.

Tonight I’m going to say Goodbye to 2010 and  Welcome 2011

May this year of 2011 be

A year of Health and Happiness

A year of Wealth and Wisdom

A year of Peace and Prosperity

A year of Glee and Glow

A year of Love and Laughter

 

Happy New Year my Friends

 

Disclosure: None of the photos in this post belong to me

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Cheesy Squash Soup 12/27/2010

Filed under: Cheese,Lunch,Soups,Squash,Vegetarian — Roxana GreenGirl {A little bit of everything} @ 18:02
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Christmas is over. I hope everyone had a wonderful time and receive plenty of gifts.

Our Christmas was white as I wished for, plenty of laughs and lots of good food. The only sad part is that my camera broke down and we don’t have any pictures 😦

Until I get my dream camera (Easter Bunny, I’ve been really really good) is going to be a while   😛 . I can’t stay that long without a camera so meanwhile I have to improvise. I was looking at a cheaper Canon, something to hold me over for 3-4 months but still haven’t decided yet. If you have any suggestions, I’d be more than happy to take them into consideration.

Lucky me, I still have some recipes I haven’t shared with you yet. Today I’m going to post a delicious creamy soup made from one on my decorative Halloween squashes :)). I still have 2 peanut squashes waiting to be cooked. Yummy.

For this soup I used an Australian heirloom Blue squash, correct me if I’m wrong.

The idea of this soup came from Maya‘s  Creamy Patisson Squash Soup with Reblochon Cheese but I just couldn’t find a Patisson squash anywhere so I took matter into my own hands and came up with Creamy Blue Squash Soup with Comté Cheese or Cheesy Squash Soup 😛

Ingredients

2 lbs winter squash (mine was bigger, the rest was baked and mashed)

2 carrots

2 leeks

2 celery ribs

3 tbsp butter

6 oz Comté Cheese

stock

salt, pepper, nutmeg

Directions

Melt the butter and add the chopped carrots, leeks and celery ribs . Pour 1/2 cup stock over them.

Cook until soft.

Meanwhile clean the squash

When the vegetables are soft, add the chopped squash and cover with stock

Simmer until the squash is cooked. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper and let cool slightly.

Puree the soup

Return the soup to the pan, add the shredded Comte cheese and heat gently.

Serve hot sprinkled with more cheese (optional).

closer view

 

Few days before Christmas I submitted my blog to AllTop and they already listed it, yeeee

 

 

This recipe goes to

hearthandsoulgirlichef

Thanks for reading, appreciate your support,

Roxana.

 

Chocolate Candy Cookies 12/23/2010

Since this is my last post before Christmas I’d like to start by wishing you a Merry Christmas

And hoping this Christmas enriches your life;
May each day be happy and bright,
Overflowing with pleasure and love;
May your Christmas be filled with delight.

 

Tonight I’d like to share some chocolate cookies I made earlier

The photos are not so great, I’m sorry 😦

By now, most of you know I love chocolate so when I saw this recipe I knew I have to make them .

Minding my not so perfect photos, aren’t they cute? They look like they’ve come out of a box of chocolate. These bite size cookies are perfect wrapped as a gift.

 

Let’s make some Chocolate Candy Cookies

 

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour

1/4 cup cocoa

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 package vanilla sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

Directions

There are two ways : or you rub the flour, cocoa and butter with your fingers or place them in a food-processor and pulse few times 😀

Mix in the sugars and the eggs (pulse few more times)

Place the dough on your working area and knead for 1-2 minutes until it can be easily shaped in a ball.

Now, take a deep breath and shape small balls, about 11-12 grams each. I had 38 small balls.

Place the trays in the fridge (or in the garage like me) for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile heat the oven at 425 F.

Bake the cookies for 10 minutes until slightly risen and start to crack.

Transfer them to cooling racks.

Now, to decorate them I used around 6 oz chocolate chips (60%) and some Christmas sugars

Dip the top of the cookie in melted chocolate and sprinkle with some sugar.

At the end I melted about 1 oz white chocolate and played a little on some 😛

 

a bite just for you 😛

 

Merry Christmas everyone !!!

 

 

 

Brussels Sprouts au Gratin and Green Vegetable Soup 12/11/2010

As much as I love green, no, I didn’t cook both today, just the soup.  The Brussels sprouts au gratin I baked the other day just didn’t have the time to resize the photos and post it.

I like Brussels sprouts, mostly roasted sprinkled with a pinch of nutmeg but lately that’s the only way I had them so I decided to make a gratin. Sounded good and tasted way better than I imagined. I know lots of people who don’t like these tiny cabbages and I don’t understand why. Brussels sprouts are high in vitamin C and are a good source of folate and vitamin A (beta-carotene). They are cruciferous vegetables and contain phytochemicals that may help prevent cancer.

 

Brussels Sprouts au Gratin

 

Ingredients

lit over 1 pound Brussels sprouts

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

few garlic cloves

1 oz grated Parmesan

1 Tbsp butter

salt and pepper

 

Directions

Mix the milk, heavy cream, Parmesan, finely chopped garlic, salt and pepper. Slice the Brussels sprouts

Butter 2 casseroles, divide the sliced Brussels sprouts between them and pour over the milk/cream mixture.

Bake in preheated oven (350 F) for about 45-50 minutes or until they are soft and start to brown on top.

 

 

Now, the soup.

 

I have a problem with my fridge. If  the vegetables are left outside the fridge drawers they freeze although the thermostat is set as low as it can be. The same goes for eggs if I don’t place them on one of the door’ shelves.

Last night my husband decided to make himself a salad and trying to get everything out of the drawers he put some vegetables on the fridge shelves and forgot them there. This morning when I opened the fridge to make breakfast, surprise, I had 3 frozen zucchini and 2 frozen broccoli crowns. Well, what was I supposed to say, nothing would make them fresh again. While we were enjoying our breakfast I remembered a broccoli-zucchini soup I had once and since we were out of soup the memory came in handy.

I melted some butter and sauté 2 chopped leeks and 2 celery ribs.

 

Meanwhile I chopped the zucchini, broccoli and 5 Brussels sprouts. Added them to the pot and covered with stock.

When the vegetables were cooked I let them cool slightly and purée the soup. Returned it to the pot and added 1 cup Greek yogurt.

Serve warm to hot with more yogurt.

Linking this to

 

hearthandsoulgirlichef

 

(Sort of) Jambalaya 12/08/2010

It’s starting to get colder and colder and I don’t like, not at all. We even had out first snow, well, just few flakes that melted immediately but it counts, right?

I like this time of the year, I like a white Christmas but that’s it, don’t like snow or cold the rest of the year. They are saying is going to get even colder 😦 .  All I want is just a cup of tea and relax in front of a fireplace, watching the fire crack and sparkle and feeling its warmth.

 

Tonight I’m going to share with you a rice dish. I’m pretty sure that everyone heard about Jambalaya and Paella.

Jambalaya is traditionally made in three parts, with meats and vegetables, and is completed by adding stock and rice. It is also a close cousin to the saffron-colored paella found in Spanish culture

Cajun cooking is a regional cuisine native to South Louisiana. Traditional Cajun cooking developed in a diverse and abundant natural environment and a  multiethnic though predominantly French Catholic social environment. In the narrowest sense the word “Cajun” refers to descendants of eighteenth-century Acadian settlers expelled from Canada who eventually settled in South Louisiana among a multiethnic French-speaking population, including people of French, African, Spanish, German, Native American, and other descent. Eventually the Cajuns (short for Acadians) dominated twenty-two parishes of South Louisiana, now called Acadiana. They lived in relative isolation until the twentieth century, when the outside world came to Cajuns in the form of compulsory English education, the oil industry, World War II, mass media, and an influx of outsiders bearing a standard American mass culture. Like immigrants from foreign shores, Cajuns found themselves in a new world of change. Cajun culture was a source of scorn by outsiders and an embarrassment for many insiders, and French speaking declined.
However, a revival of Cajun culture gained steam in the 1970s with the creation of French programs in the schools, a general attention to cultural expressions (music, food, and so forth), and a rise in pride in being Cajun. Part of this pride of identity is as a people who are highly sociable, who know how to enjoy life (joie de
vivre), including the enjoyment of food, and who know how to prepare food that is exceptionally good. It is fitting that Cajun cooking has become a major cultural export and Cajun chefs have become high-profile media personalities.

The aesthetics of traditional Cajun cooking demand that foods have strong, intense flavors. Strong flavoring comes from the use of seasoning vegetables (onion, bell pepper, garlic, celery) and from the careful browning of ingredients. Gumbo and other sauce-based dishes begin with a flour-based roux that is slowly browned to a dark color. Seasoning vegetables are browned. Coffee is dark roasted. The use of cayenne and other hot peppers intensifies flavor. The proportion of hot pepper varies throughout the region and among cooks. Cajuns say good food takes time, and many dishes require long simmering that follows slow browning. For example, gumbo, a soup, or stew that will be served over rice, is simmered for hours until the ingredients soften and break down. Major dishes reflect the practice of combining a flavorful multi-ingredient item with a bland staple, usually rice. Gumbo (of many varieties), étouffée, sauce piquant, and fricassee are served over rice. Jambalaya and rice dressing contain rice. The pattern occurs in less obvious forms, such as rice-containing boudin sausage (the “Cajun fast food”), corn bread dressing, boulettes (rice and meat or seafood balls), vegetables stuffed with seasoned meat and corn bread, and crawfish bisque, which contains cleaned crawfish heads stuffed with a dressing mixture.

Encyclopedia of Food and Culture

Ingredients

2 onions

few garlic cloves

1 habanero chili pepper

1 1/2 cup mixed rice

few celery ribs

1 carrot

2 tomatoes

1 bell pepper

(frozen) cooked shrimps

fresh dill

juice from 1 can of diced tomatoes

3 cups stock

cayenne pepper

oregano

salt and pepper

few tbsp vegetable oil

 

Directions

Heat the oil and add the chopped onions, garlic and chili pepper.

 

Add the rice and stir to coat. Cook for another 1 minute.

Add the shredded carrot, chopped tomatoes, bell pepper and celery.

Add the stock and tomato juice, cover well and simmer until liquid is almost absorbed and rice is cooked.

 

Season to taste. If using uncooked shrimps now is the time to add them. Put the lid back on and cook until all the liquid is absorbed.

 

Add the end add the shrimps and chopped dill, stir well and leave few minutes for the shrimps to warm up.

 

Serve warm

 

Closer view

 

 

 

Dinner Rolls (tutorial) 12/05/2010

Filed under: Baking,Breads — Roxana GreenGirl {A little bit of everything} @ 22:44
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Thank you for all the wonderful comments you left on my guest post and thank you once again Chef Dennis for the invitation. Tonight I’m not going to write much since my post has 28 photos, yes 28, I do apologize for the length.

Today I’d like to share with you a photo tutorial on how to shape dinner rolls.

 

The dough is the same one I used for these dinner rolls (you can use whatever dough you are familiar with). I’m  going to start my tutorial from the moment the dough is divided in 12 balls.

(How to make) knots

Roll the ball into a 12 inches long rope. Tie a knot by pulling the ends through.

 

(How to make) spiral rolls

Roll the ball into a  20 inches long rope. Shape into a tight spiral tucking under the end.

 

(How to make) two spiral rolls

Roll the ball into a 24 inches long rope. Shape into a tight spiral from both ends.

 

(How to make) twisted rolls

Roll the ball into a 24 inches long rope. Twist in and shape it into a spiral roll.

(How to make) twisted braids

Roll the ball into a 20 inches long rope. Twist it. Pinch the ends together.

 

(How to make)  braids

Roll the ball into a 30 inches long rope.  Divide it in three and braid them neatly but not too tight. Pinch the ends together and tuck them under the braid.

 

(How to make) epi

Shape the ball into an oblong. Using scissors, make alternative diagonal cuts halfway through the dough.

 

(How to make) bagels

With your thumb poke a hole in the center of the ball. Pull gently to enlarge hole.

 

(How to make) cottage rolls

Divide the dough into 3/4 and 1/4. Shape them into balls. With your thumb, make a small well in the middle on the big ball. Place the small ball on top.

 

(How to make) clover leaf rolls

Divide the ball into 3 even sized balls. Place the three balls together in a triangle shape.

 

How to make baguettes

Roll the ball into an oblong. With a knife cut through the dough diagonally.

 

(How to make) cross-cut rolls

With the tip of a knife cut a cross through the dough.

 

 

Fresh from the oven.

 

Soooo good

 

 

 

Sweet Cranberry Breads 12/02/2010

Filed under: Baking,Breads,Breakfast,Christmas — Roxana GreenGirl {A little bit of everything} @ 21:46
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It’s already Thursday night and I don’t know when this week went by.

It started with some touches on the Christmas decorations, followed by a ruined afternoon at the doctor’s office while waiting for a blood test, the MOPS meeting and child care center volunteer work. The time flew for me this week.

Yesterday I told you I attended my first MOPS meeting. It was such a great experience. I met new wonderful moms and amazing mentors. As i said, we celebrated Romania’s anniversary so I thought it would be nice to share with them a Romanian cinnamon swirl bread and they all loved it. I came back home with just 2 slices. Now I have to make it again and I share it with you, well, at least the recipe, I’ll be thinking about you while eating it 😀

While I was at the meeting, I dropped Tiffany at the nursery. It was the first time we were apart for more than 5 minutes.  Needless to say how stressed I was for leaving her with strangers. But she was fine, she loved it. When the meeting was over and had to take her back home she start crying, she wanted to stay longer.I felt so helpless.

Getting home I went quickly through my mail and found a letter from the child care center asking me if I’m still interesting to volunteer. Yeeee I was so happy. I knew this way Tiffany gets to play with other kids while we are still together.

She was so happy to see the kids again. The big smiley on her face melt my heart.

 

Today, I’m not going to post any recipe, just tease you with a photo

 

Hungry for some more? Head over to Chef Dennis blog to read my guest post.

http://www.morethanamountfull.com/2010/12/its-guest-post-friday-with-green-girl.html

 

I can’t even describe how honored I was when Chef Dennis asked me to be a guest on his blog.

 

And if you think my day could not get any better, you’re wrong, hihi, Nancy from Spicie Foodie just let me know I won $75  yeeeeee

http://spiciefoodie.blogspot.com/2010/12/giveaway-winner-2011-calendar-and.html

Thank you once again Nancy.

 

Enough about me, let’s go over Chef Dennis blog and enjoy a cranberry bread

 

 

Later Edit – adding the recipe

Sweet Cranberry Breads

 

 

Ingredients

4 cups bread flour

1 1/3 cups lukewarm milk

1 package dry yeast

2-3 tbsp honey/sugar/agave syrup whatever fits your taste

3 tbsp butter

1/3 cup dried cranberries

 

Directions

In a bowl pour the lukewarm milk and add the yeast

honey

stir well and leave until the yeast dissolves (is not going to foam, don’t worry)

add the cubed butter and cranberries

start mixing slowly adding the flour

continue until dough cleans itself off the sides of the  bowl and forms a smooth ball

place the dough in a buttered bowl, cover with foil and leave at room temperatures until it doubles in volume.

when the dough has risen divide it in 12 small balls. place them on baking tray and leave another 30 minutes at room temperature.

heat the over at 400 F. brush the breads with egg wash and sprinkle some sugar (brown in my case) on top

bake them for 16-17 minutes

anyone, care to join me?

I don’t want to hear I didn’t ask 😛

 

 
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