Not too little, not too much

(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 😛

 

Butternut Squash Soup 12/01/2010

Filed under: Awards,Soups,Squash — Roxana GreenGirl {A little bit of everything} @ 22:43
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I have so many things to share with you today.

Lately it seems I’m the most awarded person around here. My latest reward comes from Dimah , my friend from Syria, she makes lots of delicious cookies.  Thank you so much for thinking of me.

One of the rules of this award is sharing 7 things about yourself, so here are 7 things about me :

 

1. I was born and grew up in Romania.

2. I start cooking when I was almost 30.

3. I could eat chocolate all day long.

4. Love all kinds of flowers.

5. My favorite color is green (I think you all guessed)

6. Christmas is my favorite holiday.

7. My favorite season is spring.

 

my list of 7 blogs out of 15 ( if you want to see more blogs added to the list let me know and I’ll edit the post)

1. Droopi’s everything but the kitchen sink

2. Guvi’s

3. Aphextwinz’ Blog

4. Laura Laurentiu

5. Pansy’s recipes

6. Life and coffee beans

7. Culorile din farfurie

 

Today Romanians celebrate 92 years of national unity.

December 1st, 1918 – the National Union of all Romanians

 

LA MULTI ANI ROMANIA !!

 

Today was the first time I attended MOPS meeting. I’ll talk about it tomorrow.

 

Finally, the recipe of the day 😛

Butternut Squash Soup

 


Ingredients

~ 2 lbs butternut squash

1 big potato

1 onion

3 tbsp butter

5-6 cups stock

1/2 to 3/4 light cream

paprika, salt, pepper

 

Directions

Melt the butter and cook the onion until soft

 

Add the chopped squash, potato, stock, paprika, salt and pepper.

 

Bring to boil, cover and simmer until the vegetables are cooked. Cool slightly and purée. Return to pan and add the cream. Heat gently. Do not boil.

 

Serve warm to hot.

 

 

This soup goes to Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays

 

 

Dinner Rolls 11/27/2010

Filed under: Baking,Breads,Christmas,Holiday — Roxana GreenGirl {A little bit of everything} @ 21:59
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Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day and got lots of good deals on Black Friday hehehe, for those outside US, hope you all are having the time of your life. C’mon, chin up, Christmas is right around the corner. Oh, the cinnamon aroma taking over the kitchen, the smell of fresh-cut Christmas tree, the carols playing at the radio while driving, the cookies, oh, the cookies, the sexy gingermen, and let’s not forget about the presents and the kisses under the mistletoe 

I love this time of the year, if it is up to me I’d skip Thanksgiving and start decorating next day after Halloween

Now, back to my latest dinner rolls accompanied by some Christmasy music

 

 

Ingredients

4 cups bread flour

1 package dry yeast

1 cup lukewarm milk

1/4 cup butter

1 egg

For topping

1 egg

poppy seeds

sesame seeds

black sesame seeds/nigella

sea salt

* you can use whatever you want to top them or even leave them plain.

Directions

Make a well in the middle of the flour. Cream the yeast and little milk, pour into the well and leave about 5 minutes.

Add the egg and  melted butter

 

Start mixing while slowly add the rest of the milk forming a smooth and elastic dough.

Place in a greased bowl, cover with foil and leave to rise until doubled.

When risen, take the dough out and divide it into 12 (almost) equal balls.

Shape each ball as you wish or as shown HERE

 

Place them on baking sheets and leave to rise again. Meanwhile heat the oven at 425F.

Brush them with egg and sprinkle with seeds/salt if you use.

 

Bake them for 16-18 minutes or until golden.

 

enjoy

 

In case you were thinking we don’t have the tree up, you were wrong, hubby did today

Did you start decorating the house ?

 

Oregano Ricotta Knots and more awards 11/23/2010

Filed under: Awards,Baking,Breads,Cheese — Roxana GreenGirl {A little bit of everything} @ 23:35
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I know, I said I’m not going to post any recipe by Thanksgiving but I have some recipes I didn’t have time to write about when I made them and if I don’t post know I have the feeling I’m not going to do it soon. Plus, I still have to give the Lovely Blog Award to 30 more bloggers.

Today I’m going to share with you a Oregano Ricotta Knots recipe. Those of you who don’t like baking will say : ahhhh, another baking recipe but this is an easy one, actually I rarely do hard ones (I’m afraid of failure).

The ricotta cheese makes the knots stay moist even after 2-3 days, but for best results serve them warm to appreciate the oregano flavor.

Let’s start baking.

Gather on your working bench

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 package dry yeast

~ 1 1/2 cup warm milk

1/4 cup ricotta cheese

2-3 tsp dry oregano

2 tbsp butter

1 egg for brushing

and leave them at room temperature for about 30 minutes to an hour.


In a small bowl cream the dry yeast with a little lukewarm milk. Leave aside 5 minutes or so.

In the mixer’s bowl mix flour, ricotta, oregano, diced butter and yeast mixture.

Slowly add enough milk to form a soft dough.

Place the dough into a greased bowl, cover with foil and leave until doubles in volume.

Divide the dough into 12 balls

Take one piece of dough and roll it on your working surface into a rope.

Lift one end of the rope over the other to make a loop. Push the end through the hole to make a knot.

Place the knots on baking sheets, cover with foil and leave to rest for about 30-40 minutes or until doubled in size. Brush them with egg wash.

Bake them in preheated oven at 425F for 16-17 minutes or until golden brown.

 

inside view

 

 

Yesterday I posted the list with 15 lovely blog, tonight I’m going to post 15 more blogs and for the rest 15 please let me know which blog you think deserves the award and I didn’t mention.

1. Lisa from Korean American Mommy

2. Sara from CaffeIna

3.Andreea from Andrea’ s wellness notes

4.  Raven from Ravie Nom Noms Blog

5. Nancy from Spicie Foodie

6. Lindsey from Gingerbread Cake

7. Koci from La Kocinera

 

 

8. Yesim from Yesim Style Kitchen

 

 

9. Zerin from Give Recipe

 

 

10. Dionne from Try Anything Once

11. Cardamom Hills

12. Spice Sherpa

13. Black Book Kitchen Diaries

14. Torview

last but not the least, ladies first, right?

15. Chef Dennis from More than a Mount Full

I also want to thank you all for you kind comments, they make me go on and brighten my day. From the bottom of my heart a big Thank you

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, hope you are surrounded by great people and delicious food

 

A Lovely Blog Award 11/22/2010

Filed under: Awards — Roxana GreenGirl {A little bit of everything} @ 12:59
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A while back I was more than honored when Elishabeth from Food and Thrift Finds http://foodandthriftfinds.blogspot.com/2010/11/lovely-blog-award.html Livya from Eat Greek http://eatgreek.net/2010/11/my-first-award/ and Alisha from The ardent Epicure http://www.theardentepicure.com/2010/11/whats-for-dessert-baked-brie-croissants.html let me know I was given the Lovely Blog award. Thank you so much.

It took me a while to come up with a list of 15 blogs I like, it’s so hard, it’s harder than making a cake from scratch. I promise I’ll post a list with 30 more blogs.

Most of you I met on FoodBuzz  http://www.foodbuzz.com/ . I’m so happy to be part of this big community where I got my languishing blog off the ground ha ha ha and met so many wonderfully talented writers/cooks/photographers . I’m so thankful to all of you for those wonderful recipes/stories/photos you share everyday.

Back to my 15 blog list, gosh, this is hard

1.  Carolyn from All Day I Dream About Food , is one of the Moms I admire, she has three wonderful kids and still has time to share with us wonderful stories and recipes. I wonder if her day has 36 hours or more, hmmm. Check out her latest “freaking good” walnut blondies http://dreamaboutfood.blogspot.com/2010/11/walnut-blondies-with-dark-chocolate.html and let yourself carried away to a land of nuts and low carb chocolate  chips. You will also find lots of low carb/gluten-free recipes.

 

2. Monet from Anecdotes and Apple Cores, she’s one of those people whom you get along so easily. She’s a great writer and baker. Oh yes, she does love baking, check out her latest cranberry bread http://anecdotesandapples.weebly.com/1/post/2010/11/moist-cranberry-bread.html and tell me if you can resist  those moist breads.

 

3. Sommer from A spicy Perspective,  is on a Cranberry mood lately, check out her Christmasy Candied Cranberries http://aspicyperspective.blogspot.com/2010/11/gear-up-for-holidays.html and start playing the carols. Christmas is right around the corner.

 

4. Lora from Cake Duchess, as the title says, her blog is about cake, cake and more cake. Her latest Cranberry and apple cake http://www.cakeduchess.com/2010/11/easy-cranberry-and-apple-cake.html makes you want to be on her Thanksgiving guests’ list.

 

5. Letizia from For the Love of Food, tho I can say lately she can call her blog : For the Love of Chocolate since her Ultimate Chocolate Cake http://letiziagolosa.blogspot.com/2010/11/ultimate-chocolate-cake.html would satisfy every chocoholic’ sweet tooth.

 

6. Roxan from Kitchen Meditation, for her well-balanced dishes and great photos, tho I might give the award to her husband for the dinner he put together http://kitchenmeditation.blogspot.com/2010/11/guest-chef-husband-makes-fish-tacos.html#more . Didn’t he do a wonderful job, I do believe he did.

 

7. Claudia from Foodessa. If i have to explain why I always go back to read for blog, I would not know the answer : the stories, the recipes, the photos. I’ll go with all. See her autumn photos http://www.foodessa.com/2010/10/october-in-quebec-share-and-tell.html and you’ll fall in love .

 

8. Dimah from Orange Blossom Water, most of her posts bring something new to me, I love the way she takes the time to explain the secrets, tips and ingredients of Syrian cuisine and the cookies, oh, the cookies http://www.orangeblossomwater.net/index.php/2010/11/19/eid-al-adha-sweets-2010/ how I wish she’s be my next door neighbor.

 

9. Michelle from Brown Eyed Baker, I don’t know is she’s a brown-eyed girl, but I do believe she’s a baker. Those of you who are still looking at the turkey and have no clue how to cook it, read her tips at http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2010/11/17/thanksgiving-cooking-turkey-tips/

 

 

10. Kristi from Mother Rimmy’s Cooking Light Done Right, her recipes are so easy and healthy and reading your blog you’ll feel like she’s one of your girlfriends talking about weight watchers. Check out her latest soup http://motherrimmy.com/wordpress/?p=6985

 

 

11. Marvellina from What to cook today. On her blog you’ll find lots of Asian recipes, great stories and wonderful photos. Also check her post about post natal diet http://whattocooktoday.com/postnatal-traditional-chinese-confinement-period.html

 

12. Sarah from Baking Serendipity, yup, another baker :d I found her blog a while back and kept going back for more recipes, tips and stories and since she confessed that “I sometimes eat dessert for dinner” I started to like her not just the blog :P. Her Apple Cinnamon Bread http://bakingserendipity.blogspot.com/2010/11/apple-cinnamon-bread.html just calls your name this time of the year.

 

13. Norma from Platanos, Mangoes and Me. she puts in one blog Spanish and Latin flavors and shares with us recipes learned from her mom and the ones she passes to her granddaughter. Oh, and she’s so funny and full of life and a great chef, look at the wonderful dinner she put together http://platanosmangoesandme.blogspot.com/2010/11/my-pom-wonderful-dinner-party.html you can tell by the photos how much fun they had. Did you notice the apron 😉

14. Kylie from A hungry Spoon, another dessert lover and if you don’t believe me check out her chocolate-peanut butter cookies http://ahungryspoon.blogspot.com/2010/11/girls-night-ganache-goodness.html and envy her for the girls night out (I did)

 

15. Julie from Mommy Cooks. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and if you’re still looking for the perfect apple pie or want to impress your guests with a lattice pie, check out her how-to clip at http://mommiecooks.com/2010/11/22/apple-pie-recipe/.

 

 

 
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