August 21, 2010

A have to try recipe!

This is an wonderful recipe for anyone who loves Parmesan cheese and is looking for new ideas to eat an old boring potato. When i buy russet potatoes for gratin or curries or salads I always buy a whole bag of it. Needless to say I always end up with a few extra potatoes and I don´t know what to do with them. Plain old boiled potato is a staple in my home country Sweden but my husband is not the biggest fan so eating meat/chicken or fish with boiled potato is not a hit in my home. One of my favorite foodnetwork chefs is Anne Burell, her funky blond hairstyle makes her cooking a lot more interesting and fun. Although I don't have the HD foodnetwork channel anymore I frequently brows their website and look for interesting recipes.

This 5 star recipe is called Pommes Chef Anne and is a side dish i am sure to prepare again!

3 Russet potatoes, scrubbed clean
Extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano
kosher Sale
Mandoline to facilitate the slicing of the potato!

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Slice one potato at a time on the mandoline. Work quickly as potatoes discolor. Do not put the potatoes in water because this will wash the starch off the potatoes. Coat an 8-inch nonstick saute pan with olive oil. Place the sliced potatoes from the middle and in circles to the edge of the pan. Brush each layer with olive oil sprinkle generously with grated Parmigiano and salt between the layers. After every layer of potatoes press the potatoes so they are very compact. 
Place the pan of potatoes over medium heat and cook until the olive oil begins to sizzle and the potatoes begin to brown on the bottom. Put the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place a tight fitting lid on the pan. Drain the excess oil out the side of the pan. THIS STEP IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!!! After the excess oil has been drained, completely flip the pan so the cake is turned out onto the bottom of the lid, then slide the cake off the lid back into the pan so the brown side of the cake is now up and the top becomes the bottom. We see now why draining the excess oil is important- if you attempt this without draining the oil it will drain out on your wrist and burn you.
Return the cake to the oven and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the cake is fork tender. Cut into wedges and serve. The recipe serves 4 but as usual, in our family it was only enough for two.....

Tip: Be careful not to grab the pan handle right after you take it out of the oven! I rarely, actually, I never cook with a pan in my oven and naturally forgot that it had been in there and grabbed the handle!!!! My hand is ok but red and sore and smothered in aloe vera! 

August 18, 2010

Giant White Berries!!!!

The blue berries that I find in the stores, fresh or frozen, or at green markets are not blueberries. I think I would like to call them whiteberries with blue skin. The only thing they are good for is smoothies and sometimes muffins and fruit salads. My biggest surprise about the american blueberries was that there are low bush blueberries and high bush blueberries. When i went hiking in Harriman state park a few years back i discovered both variates. The high bush blueberry was more like a tree, almost 2 meters high....WOW.

Real blueberries are blue on the inside and on the outside and they make your teeth and your tongue blue when you eat them. The blueberries will stain your clothes and they will leave marks on your fingers when you pick them. Real blueberries are are sweet and make the best blueberry pies!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mr. Whiteberry Muffin

This recipe is from
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup fat-free(skim)milk (I recommend Whole Milk)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1 egg
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flower
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries (cascadianfarms recommmend their blueberries, I would recommend European blueberries)

1) Heat oven to 440F. Spray 12 regular-size muffin cups with cooking spray, or place paper baking cup in each muffin cup.
2) Mix brown sugar and cinnamon, set aside
3) In a large bowl, beat milk, oil, honey and egg with a spoon. Stir in flours, baking powder and salt just until flours are moistened (batter will be lumpy). Gently fold in blueberries.
4) Divide batter evenly among muffin cups (cups will be full). Sprinkle with brown sugar mixture. Bake about 20 minutes until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan.
5) ENJOY while still warm or at room temperature at a later occasion!

Lastly, i would like to add that I LOVE American raspberries!!!! They are huge, bright red and they grow in clusters, like grapes. When I first saw these little fury berries in the forest I was absolutely amazed! They were so pretty and way too beautiful to eat. Needless to say, the hike had drained all my energy and I indulged the treasure!

Summer vegetables!

Living in NY doesn't quite provide me with fresh vegetables all year around. I could probably find almost any vegetable and fruit in NY all year around but they would most probably not be locally grown or taste anything like freshly harvested. Although NY summer is the most dreaded season of the year I also love it. There is a huge variety of green markets on Manhattan and the supply of fresh local vegetables and fruits are almost limitless. The taste of a red ripen tomato or freshly picked basil is divine. I was invited to my co-workers house the other day and she send me home with pretty, mouth watering tomatoes, cucumber and figs. 

Mr Gurken, Mrs yellow grape tomato and Miss Red ripen tomato

Before moving to NY I don't think I ever tried fresh figs. Growing up in Sweden i remember only eating dried figs. As far as I remember my first fresh fig was eating two summers ago and it was fantastic. The fig tree is a must in my future garden, side by side with my apricot tree :). When my husband and I visited South Africa at the end of last year I tried green fig preserve, Groenvyekonfyt,    Which was served with Brie cheese, it was absolutely amazing. Important to point out is that this fig preserve tasted nothing, and I mean it, nothing like any fig preserve I have tried so far.

Walnut Pesto:
One of my favorite picnic dishes is pesto pasta salad. It is so easy to prepare and I can add all my favorite summer ingredients and some grilled chicken or spicy salami for protein. My typical pesto ingredients have always been olive oil, Parmesan, garlic, pine nuts and of course basil. I am sure you all know that pine nuts is not the cheapest nut out there but  very important for the pesto. The other day I had bought a huge bunch of fresh basil and wanted to make pesto. I took my pine nuts out of the cupboard and opened the jar. I sniffed and discovered that my precious nuts had gone rancid, I had to throw them out. i revisited the cupboard for alternative ingredient and found a pound of walnuts. I went online and actually found a Walnut Pesto recipe. I am glad (in a way) that my pine nuts had hone bad otherwise I would never have discovered my new favorite pesto recipe. I didn't save the recipe but basically, you would just substitute the pine nuts for the walnuts.