Monday, 27 February 2012

Chilean Sea Bass on Roasted Garlic Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes

Vegan Banana Berry Ice Cream with No Machine

Vegan Banana Berry IceCream
without a machine

First off I should say, I am not vegan...I am not a vegetarian, and I am not opposed to trying new recipes.  I love all food with very few exceptions so when I have the chance to have something healthy, why not? 

It's said they we first eat with our eyes, food should be appealling to look at, and hopefully when that happens the taste will meet or exceed our expectations.  Food brings us joy and gives our bodies sustenance, it is a daily requirement we need and it's something regardless of anything else, we have in common, it brings us together. 

I love icecream and love to learn ways to make it sans the icecream machine.  My first attempt was a mango icecream that came out surprisingly delicious.  The new icecream challenge?  Why not try for a vegan, sugar free, low-fat ice cream...okay.  Here it is.  Shockingly simple involving only two ingredients, when I read the original recipe and post, I kept thinking, Really?  I had to reread that post several times before I convinced myself I wasn't missing something : ) I wasn't...and now I have a simple, healthy new version of icecream I can easily make whenever the mood strikes me, what's not to love about that?

Friday, 24 February 2012

Tuna Melt

How do you catch a tiger? Why...with a tuna fish sandwich of course ; )

Thursday, 16 February 2012

More Puff Pastry? Why, yes...thank you's not a meatball, but it is a little spicy : )

Valentine's Day is behind us now and I had tons of fun working with the puff pastry.  It was my goal to make something sweet and something savory.  Even though the chocolate danish was so good, I have to admit that it was the savory this time that hit it out of the ball park for me : )  A play on tomato pie with puff pastry, every time I think of it, I want to make it again, heehee.  I even went as far as to make my first braid...using chocolate and strawberries, oh my : )  A tip for you I learned from making it...when making the slices...make them diagonal from the center instead of horizontal, it will make braiding so much easier I believe.

So, yesterday I found myself with one last piece of puff pastry lurking in the fridge, I only had to decide what to do with it, I can't just let it hang out in there without using it.

Snacks! How about that.  Okay...what to use, what to use...I had an idea : )

A little hot Italian sausage (pre-cook it), fresh basil leaves, sun dried tomato, and a nice slice of mozzarella stuffed inside that golden flaky pastry would make some delicious puffed pillows : ) Off to the kitchen I go...

I played with the shapes a bit since I only had the one sheet left.  I rolled it out flat, cut out some squares and started stuffing and folding : )  I used an egg wash to seal my folds and on the outside for a nice golden brown, baked in a preheated oven set at 350 degrees until puffed and golden.  Sigh, yummy snack!

They were so freakin' good!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Cottage Pie

If your sweetie is a meat and potatoes fan, then maybe cottage pie is the answer for your Valentine's dinner.  It's easy to put together and doesn't take too long to make, it is a delicious homey dish that satisfies and looks nice too.

What will you need?

1 pound ground beef
1 small chopped onion
1 diced carrot
4 baker potatoes
1/4 cup green peas (optional)
1 cup beef stock or just use hot water
Worcestershire's sauce to taste
Dried Thyme
Dried Rosemary
Salt and pepper
1 egg yolk
Splash of cream

Brown ground beef, drain well, set aside.
Saute onion and diced carrot in a small amount of olive oil until soft.
Place ground beef into pan with the carrot and onion.
Add stock or hot water, salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary and Worcestershire's sauce.  Simmer until liquid is absorbed.  Add peas and mix well.  Check seasoning, add Worcestershire's sauce to taste.


In the meantime, boil potatoes until fork tender.  Place potatoes back into pot for a few minutes to dry, add a pad of butter and a few splashes of cream and 1 egg yolk.  Mash till soft and fluffy.  Set aside.

Pour beef mixture into a baking dish, using a spoon, drop piles of mashed potato on top of beef.  Spread with a fork creating ridges on top of the potato. 

Place in a preheated oven set at 350 degrees until heated through and the top of the potatoes are browned.  Sometimes I cheat after 20-30 minutes...if the top is not browned to my liking, I place it under the broiler for a few minutes (watch closely to avoid burning). 
Voila! It's that easy : ) Plate~serve...enjoy.

Makes great leftovers too! Reheat in the oven or microwave : )

I love those potato swirls on top : ) 

Chocolate Cheese Strawberry Braided Danish

Make your chocolate cheese mixture and lay in the center lengthways on your rolled out puff pastry

Top the chocolate cheese mixture with fresh sliced strawberries.  Make slices in the sides of the pastry to create strips, fold over the top criss-crossing as you go to create a braided look to the danish.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes or until golden brown

I love the puff of puff pastry : )
So tasty!

NOTE: Chocolate cheese mixture contains nuts, just omit almonds if allergic...

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Chocolate Almond Danish

Celebrating Valentine's Day with Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry...Sweet or Savory, either way, you'll have a winner on your hands : )

Click on "Read More" for the easy to do recipe


Adapted from Giada De-Laurentiis

Recipe for cheese mixture makes 8 danish, I only made 4 and used the remaining cheese for something else...

1/4 cup softened cream cheese
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp flour
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 oz grated semi sweet bakers chocolate (1 square)
1/2 cup slivered almonds, and two tsp for garnishing the tops of pastry
1 egg beaten (reserve for brushing on to the finished pastry before baking)

Mix all ingredients except chocolate and almonds (& beaten egg) together till smooth

Fold in 1 ounce grated semi sweet bakers chocolate and 1/2 cup slivered almonds

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

Roll out puff pastry sheet, be careful not to roll over the edge to avoid sealing the layers together

Cut into four equal size squares, place a few teaspoons of the cheese mixture into the center.  Fold one side over in a diagonal fashion, just over the top of the filling.  Brush the top of the folded over pastry with the beaten egg wash.  Fold the opposite corner over diagonally reaching towards the opposite side.  Brush top and sides with the egg wash, don't use the egg wash on the edges of the pastry to avoid sealing the layers together.

Place on parchment paper on a sheet pan ( I ran out and couldn't use any but they were just fine), sprinkle a few almonds on top of danish and place in oven to bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and puffed and flaky looking. 

A great tip is to use a spray bottle with water to spritz the danishes and the inside of the oven before closing the door to create steam.  
I could have overlapped the top over a bit more...don't worry about the ends, they'll puff up and fill in beautifully.

The combination of the steam, not rolling the edges of the pastry, and not washing the edges with the egg all help to create the open layers you see here, all adding to the puffed flaky nature of the danish

I had some chocolate cheese leftover...check back here in the next couple of days to see what delicious and creative way I used it!
Thanks for reading, see you soon : )

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Sweet & Savory Upside-Down Tomato Delight

Tart? Tarte Tatin? Tomato Pie? Whatever name you call it by, delicious is the taste.

Celebrate Valentine's Day with Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry and anything red : ) Savory Roma tomatoes w/ Marinara today, Sweet strawberries with mascarpone tomorrow ; )

Click on "Read More" for the easy to do recipe

Dust a flat surface with a little flour to avoid any sticking.
Roll out your puff pastry sheet into a circle the best you can, large enough to lay into a round cake pan.
Slice 5-7 ripe Roma tomatoes lengthways, scoop out seeds and juice from the insides.
Place 1 tbsp of Olive oil in the cake pan and spread around the bottom.
Lie tomatoes skin side down in cake pan.
Season with salt, pepper, thyme, basil, oregano, and fresh rosemary leaves.
Lie slices of mozzarella on tomatoes.
Drizzle a small amount of Olive oil on tomatoes.
Spread a few tbsp of marinara sauce on puff pastry leaving a 1/2 inch border around all sides.
Lay puff pastry marinara side down on top of tomatoes, tuck in any extra pastry into the pan.
Poke puff pastry everywhere with a fork to create steam holes.
Bake in a preheated oven set at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and let rest a few minutes to cool.
Run a knife around the edges, lay a serving dish on top of pan and flip pan over.
Sprinkle with slices of fresh basil.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Serves 8 small pieces when cut into pie wedges.

Marinara Sauce

Saute 2 small chopped shallots with 2 cloves minced garlic in olive oil,
Pour in one large can of crushed tomatoes,
Add one small can of tomato paste,
Season with salt, pepper, oregano, 1 bay leaf, a pinch of sugar and basil,
Simmer for fifteen minutes, if too thick for your taste, just add a little water,
Remove bay leaf and serve with pasta.

For this recipe I used leftover marinara sauce made the night before for a dinner of chicken parmesan  : )

A tart is a baked dish consisting of a filling over a pastry base with an open top not covered with pastry. The pastry is usually shortcrust pastry; the filling may be sweet or savoury, though modern tarts are usually fruit-based, sometimes with custard. Tartlet refers to a miniature tart.

Tarte Tatin is an upside-down tart in which the fruit (usually apples) are caramelized in butter and sugar before the tart is baked.

So with the help of Wikipedia on line defining the above dish titles, I find myself wondering, what the heck do I call this beautiful creation?  I know it's not a new concept, one only has to google the idea and up pops tons of recipes and photos.  They all call it either a tart or a tarte tatin.  I don't think that it really falls under the definition of either though, but it's that close I suppose.  I found many wonderful photos and most are using either cherry or roma tomatoes with a few utilizing heirloom.  I think you probably can't go wrong with any of them, but I find I lean towards the lovely Roma tomato.  Some use pastry, shortbread, and some the flaky puff pastry...I used one of my favorites of course, Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry.  You just can't go wrong with this excellent product, if you've not yet given it a whirl, do try.  There are so many delicious recipes you can make with it.

I love the beauty of the simplicity of this dish, the wholesome delicious ingredients, the delight I get when I turn it over and voila! there it is.  Very easy to make, no time at all to bake, and consumed much too fast, sorry...I couldn't help myself, it was that tasty : )

I can see where people might want to call it a tarte tatin, it is an upside down savory type of tart.  It does not use butter though and absolutely no sugar, although in the end the roma tomatoes take on a very sweet flavor.  Oh how heavenly wonderful when matched with the savory flavors of fresh rosemary, fresh basil and the creamy mozzarella.  Try this once, you'll never be the same : )

My turn to create a bit of Tarte Tatin style magic in the kitchen resulted in a dish I will make again and again : )
Enjoy and thanks for reading!

NOTE: You may notice in the photos that the amount of tomatoes is different than in the recipe, it is because I should of had a few more than I had : )

My inspiration came from two Chocolate & Zucchini cookbook where Clotilde Dusoulier uses the tarte tatin style of baking this dish, leaving the tomatoes skin side down for a lovely appearance which I find to be my favorite, and my Gordon Ramsay's Fast Food cookbook, where he creates a Tomato & Pesto Tart that appears divine and because honestly, anything he cooks, rocks! : )

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Guest Blogger

Would you like to be a guest blogger? Is there something you'd love to share?


Email any questions or to just submit your post/recipes/links etc....send to ciaofraz@, I look forward to hearing from you : )

Email me with your thoughts and ideas, I would love to host guest bloggers on Cookin' In My Kitchen...

If you would like to submit an independent article as a guest blogger, please email me any time for consideration.  It must be in some way food related and not a review of a product or service.  I would love to have you visit and stay awhile : )  ciaofraz@

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