Feb 28, 2009

Bacon Potato

Bacon potato

Now, this is how I want my potatoes from now on! Do you really need a recipe? All you do is peel whole potatoes, cut them all across, not too thin, and not all the way through, sprinkle with some salt, but not too much, the bacon is salty. Then fill with small bacon slices in between. Bake in a pan with some oil until potatoes are fully cooked, and serve!

In the original recipe, the potatoes are first cooked half way, and I guess this is done to cut the baking time, which I didn’t do, and they took a while to be completely baked, but I didn’t mind waiting.

Bacon potato Also, you can incorporate some cheese too, as well as let you imagination loose as to how you want to season them, among other options you chose. Please your taste buds, and keep them quiet!

Feb 27, 2009

Blueberry Crumb by HoneyB

Yet another rainy day, it started out warm though, I even turned my heating off (save a few dimes), and opened the door wide… Dropped the kids off to school, and then it was momma’s time! Sipping coffee, and reading HoneyB’s posts, always a good way to start a day! Her blog is filled with life, her personal stories, so heartfelt, and real, in addition to great recipes which she shares with all of us.

This morning before work she made this Blueberry Crumb Cake (wish I was her co-worker ), and I just wanted a slice right then and there, with my coffee. I read the recipe, and realized I had all the ingredients, even blueberries, no need to run to the store, just got up, and I made it.

The recipe is simple, just get everything prepared, and mix away. I was done in a flash, and it was baked just in time for my husband to try it before my highness did!!! He was back home from a pick up, walked in with a grin on his face, like :“Perfect timing!“, and then kept snatching away my photo subject. So, I just snapped couple of photos, before it was all gone. He ate like a third of the cake!!!

It is delicious, just look at those crumbs, and blueberries, which have that magic power to become more flavorful when baked. The whole house smelled just like a bakery, so we poured another cup of coffee, and enjoyed the warmth indoors, as the temperature dropped, and snow started frosting the grounds again!!! Thank you HoneyB! I had you in my kitchen today : ) Really enjoyed this cake! Again, you can find the recipe here.

Feb 26, 2009

Torte Egyptian

Torte Egyptian
It was a rainy day today, and luckily I made this cake last night, it can cheer the rainiest day! It is not so hard to make, and is worth every minute spent. One bite will make you feel so proud, it feels like you just got served at a fancy restaurant. Check out Marija’s blog, Palachinka, for recipe, and many more great recipes! She has also done this recipe as part of investigating of another great blog, Gaga's blog Iz moje kuhinje.

There is no guilty feeling, and hitting the treadmill later, I was too busy enjoying it to think about what it will do to my waistline. I just kept going back to the fridge to get just another “thin” slice : )

Love the crunch part, with praline, and toasted nuts, it gives such a character to the cake.
I have followed the recipe step by step, except I used whipping cream, because I had no powdered one. I guess that next time I will double the amount of whipping cream to get more of the crunchy filling, for this time I used ½ pint. Also, instead of my beloved hazelnuts, I have used a mixture of walnuts, and almonds.
Can’t say enough about it, my results were great, the recipe is easy, will definitely make this cake again!

What a delicious investigation, as part of February edition of a food blog event, FBI Rukavice, created by Maja of Cooks and Bakes in which we try out recipes from a chosen blog, and for this month we are investigating Palachinka. There is also an English version of the game available for all food bloggers, FBI Gloves.

Torte Egyptian

Feb 24, 2009

Homemade Kinder Surprise

Kinder Egg Surprise Kinder surprise egg was definitely my favorite treat when I was growing up, and I sometimes manage to buy them for my kids here in the USA, at my local ethnic food stores! There are other versions too. You can read more about it here, and here is the Canadian website for Kinder egg Surprise.

It’s a chocolate egg with shell made out of two thin layers of chocolate. One with regular milk chocolate, and another with white chocolate. Inside is a little plastic container, containing a toy.

I couldn’t take the picture of the making process (will add those for Easter), but it’s not so complicated. To make them, I bought some plastic eggs which can open, washed them, separated them in half, aligned each half with foil inside, and placed them onto an empty egg cartoon. I am sure there are special molds for this, but didn’t even want to go there, I live far from such stores :)

Then I coated the inside (of course) with chocolate. First with regular, the I put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes, then I carefully added a layer of white chocolate over the first layer. Back in the freezer, then simply got it out of the plastic shell, peeled the foil, and voila, I got chocolate egg halves. Sure, it’s not as smooth as store bought, but good enough for me, until I get hold of some molds.

Then I just placed the corresponding halves over a heated stove top for few seconds so I can seal the halves into a whole egg. Inside I placed my kids’ favorite little toys, The Littlest Pet Shop animals. Whatever fits, and it depends on what plastic egg you get. Back in the freezer for seal to harden.

After that I wrapped them with foil, and decorated with stickers. That is the beauty of making these, you get to use whatever chocolate you, or shall I say, your kids like, and you and them can decorate together, personalize with their names, or names of their friends and family.

I think it’s a great idea for Easter. It’s making a treat, and crafts all in one! Possibilities are endless. You can use just one kind of chocolate, and also you can fill it with whatever you want.
So, all you need is some plastic eggs, chocolate, and proper tempering, and for tempering the chocolate I have followed these directions.

Kinder SurpriseThis is my contribution to Sugar High Friday #52, a monthly food blogging event created by Jennifer, The Domestic Goddess, and hosted this month by lovely Marija @ Palachinka blog. She chose a theme copycat, and what a great idea that is!

Feb 23, 2009

Luscious Creme Brulee

Creme brulee
Life was but a shallow river before our rivers met
And our summer love gave birth to a timeless one
I shall love you more every new dawn, every sunset
I shall love you only more, never less, till I’m gone.

From my heart, to my husband, my best friend, and true love, who says I never say it enough :)
You are my creme brulee!

Luscious Crème Brulee

2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
1 cup half-and-half
6 large egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300° F. Have ready a flame proof 1-quart shallow baking or gratin dish ( I have used smaller ramekins) and a roasting pan. Put on a kettle of water to boil for the water bath.
Heat the cream, and half-and-half in a medium saucepan over medium heat until hot. Remove from the heat.

Whisk together the yolks, ½ cup of the sugar, and the salt in a medium bowl. Slowly add the cream mixture, whisking constantly until blended and smooth. Do not over mix it. Add the vanilla. Pour the mixture through a fine strainer set over a medium glass measure or a bowl.

Pour the custard into the baking dish, and skim any foam from the top. Transfer to a roasting pan, place in the oven, and pour enough boiling water into the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until custard is set around the edges but still slightly jiggly in the center. Do not over bake--the custard will set further as it cools. Remove the baking dish from the water bath and let cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate the crème brulee, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours, until thoroughly chilled and set, or for up to 1 day.

Preheat the broiler. Have the roasting pan ready, and fill bowl with ice water. Gently blot the surface of the custard with the edge of a paper towel to remove any condensation. Sift the remaining ¼ cup sugar evenly over the custard. Place the baking dish in the roasting pan and carefully pour enough ice water to come halfway up the sides of the baking dish.
Creme Brulee
Broil custard about 3 inches from heat for 2-3 minutes, until sugar has melted and turned a dark amber color; carefully move or rotate the dish if necessary so the sugar caramelizes evenly. Remove from the broiler, and cool the custard in the ice water for 5 minutes.
Carefully remove the baking dish from the pan. Serve right away, or refrigirate, uncovered for no longer than 1 hour before serving-- or the topping will soften.

Recipe adapted from Luscious Creamy Dessertsby Lori Longbotham and France Ruffenach. I love this book, I have my eyes on many more recipes to try.
Poem by me :)

Feb 16, 2009

Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

Roasted tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons
I have jotted down this recipe from a Family Fun magazine, while waiting at the dentists office. I actually am not a big fan of tomato soups, but my husband is, and it sounded delicious for me too, with tomatoes being roasted, and it is! I love it! The recipe is actually from a cookbook 300 Sensational Soups, by Carla Snyder, and Meredith Deeds.

Roasted tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons

6 cups (3 pints) cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chopped onion
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 cup whipping cream

Heat the oven to 400°. On a baking sheet, combine the cherry tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and the salt and pepper. Toss the ingredients to coat evenly and spread them in a single layer. Roast the tomatoes until they are shriveled with brown spots, about 35 to 45 minutes.

In a large pot, heat the butter and the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes with their juice, the broth, the thyme, and the roasted tomatoes, including any liquid on the baking sheet. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 40 minutes.

Using a food processor or blender, puree the soup until it's smooth. Return it to the pot and stir in the cream. Without letting the soup boil, warm it over medium heat, stirring often, until steaming. Add salt and pepper, if necessary.

Grilled cheese croutons:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon thyme
6 thin slices of bread
3 ounces Cheddar, thinly sliced

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. In a small bowl, combine the butter and thyme. Spread one side of each bread slice with the butter mixture. Place 3 slices in the pan, buttered side down. Top with the cheese, then with the remaining 3 bread slices, buttered side up. Cook, turning once, until toasted on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remove the sandwiches from the pan. Let them cool slightly, then cut them into 1-inch squares. Makes about 60 croutons.

I am sending this to Aparna, who is this month's host for Food In Colors, a food blog event created by Harini (better known as the Sunshinemom) of Tongue Ticklers. This month's color is orange.

Banana Pudding

Banana pudding
Southern comfort food in all it’s glory, banana pudding served in jars, topped with meringue hats! Just delicious! Kids couldn't wait to get their hands on it!!!
I have discovered this recipe in a cookbook Screen Doors and Sweet Tea: Recipes and Tales from a Southern Cook. Definitely a great buy!

Banana pudding

3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
2 cups whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 inch piece of cinnamon stick
Vanilla wafer cookies (good quality) or a tea cake recipe included in the book
4 medium bananas, peeled and sliced

4 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
5 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pudding: Bring 2 cups of water to boil in heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. In large stainless steel bowl, whisk together sugar, flour and salt. Whisk in egg yolks, followed by milk, vanilla bean, nutmeg and cinnamon. Place bowl over pan of water and cook, stirring until mixture is thick and coats the back of a spoon, 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove cinnamon and vanilla bean. Rinse vanilla bean and reserve for another use. If using vanilla extract, stir it in now.

While pudding is still warm, layer cookies, bananas and pudding in 1/2 pint canning jars or ramekins. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Topping: Whisk egg whites in electric mixer on medium speed until frothy. Add cream of tartar and slowly increase speed as egg whites become opaque. Add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Add vanilla extract. Whip until whites form a soft peak. Spoon meringue over warm puddings, sealing it to sides of jars.

Bake puddings for 4 minutes or until meringue is puffed and brown. Cool on rack for 20 minutes, then refrigerate for 2 hours before serving. Yield: 8 servings.
Banana Pudding

Feb 12, 2009


As part of February edition of a food blog event, FBI Rukavice ,created for food bloggers from formerly Yugoslavia (but open to others who speak the language) by Maja of Cooks and Bakes, we are investigating Palachinka. There is also an English version of the game available for all food bloggers, FBI Gloves, and coincidentally, for that event this month I am under investigation : )

If you don’t already know Marija, and her blog Palachinka then I am shocked!!!
She is an inspiration to so many, and my dear friend, whom I can’t wait to meet personally. Her blog is filled with such wonderful recipes, and amazing photography in which she seems to adopt her own personal style, as I can now easily distinguish her photos from others. She never seizes to astonish us with culinary creations from the Balkans, and countries from all over the world, and of course is a great presenter of her own country’s cuisine, Serbian cuisine.

I am probably her greatest fan, as I cannot imagine a day without satisfying my eyes with her wonderful presentations, I simply love her work, and she has helped me personally so much with tips on food photography, and blogging. Thank you Marija!

With so many recipes, it is hard to try just one, but for starters, I have tried one of my favorite sweets, Tulumbe. One of the favorite, and oldest desserts in the Balkans, and Marija’s recipe is special because they are not fried, as they traditionally are, but baked.
I have followed her recipe fully, and only step I skipped was caramelizing sugar, and that’s because when I saw how beautiful they are turning up to be in the oven, I have decided to go the faster route, and just make simple syrup, like she suggested, by boiling sugar, and vanilla sugar with water.

I must also admit that I couldn’t possibly wait for them to sit overnight, I wanted them ASAP, and they have soaked pretty fast since I have made them a bit smaller.
From now on I am never frying my tulumbe again, they are much puffier, and evenly baked in the oven as oppose to fried ones, and it’s also easier, and I didn’t sacrifice my hands to burns as much as when I fry them. Also, not to mention, saving the oil.
I didn’t have the proper piping tools, so the shape of my tulumbe is not exactly perfect, but that doesn’t change the great taste. Simply delightful!

Feb 8, 2009


Fritule (fritters) are doughnut-like Dalmatian treat with raisins, and since I was born, and grew up in Dalmatia they have a special place in my heart, and bring back fond memories. My kids prefer them to donuts, they put on a great disappearing act every time I make them.
Tons of recipes out there, but basic ingredients are the same. Instead of brandy, I use rum, just my preference.


For the starter:
1 packet/ ¼ oz/ 7g yeast
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp sugar
About 4 tbsp warm milk
Mix it all in a cup, and let it rise for a while

For the dough:
400g/ 2 2/3 cup flour
1 tsp salt
5 tbsp sugar, or less
1 packet / ¼ oz/ 7 g vanilla sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp spiced rum, or brandy
1 tbsp lemon rind
1 cup warm milk
About a cup of golden raisins, soaked previously

Put all the ingredients in a bowl, except for milk, then add the starter, and start mixing, gradually adding milk, until it’s all well combined, and starts separating form the wooden spoon or hand, if you prefer mixing with a hand. Add raisins, and mix them in, you can add raisins after rising too. Let it rise in a warm place, until it doubles, or triples really, in bulk.

In a pan, heat oil, not too hot, like medium low, and maintain it that way. Spoon out spoonfuls of dough, and slide it off the spoon with your fingers. You can also dip the spoon into some oil (not hot, in a cup) to get more round fritule, but I don’t do this, I like the edges they get by not using the oiled spoon, that’s my favorite part of fritule : )

Fry them for few minutes on each side, until golden brown, turning them over with a fork. Allow them to drain for a while on a paper towel, and then dust with powdered sugar.

Russian fruit cake - refreshing

Russian Fruit Cake
This cake is simple to make, really refreshing, excellent to make ahead. I have been craving tart cherries like crazy lately. 10 years ago, I have craved dried apricots, and sometime later I got a baby girl... I think now, with snow melting away, I just felt like eating something which reminds me of warmer days!

Russian Fruit Cake Slice
Russian fruit cake

For the base:
4 egg whites
150 g sugar
100 g ground walnuts
1 tablespoon flour
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 360 F. Mix egg whites with sugar, then add flour with baking powder, and walnuts, and combine well. Transfer into a spring form pan (8inch) with base aligned with parchment paper. Bake for about 15-20 minutes. Cool, and transfer onto a cake plate; return the spring form ring around it.

For the filling:
500 ml heavy whipping cream
1 packet whipping cream stabilizer
1 packet/ 7g vanilla sugar
Powdered sugar to taste
250 g red tart cherries, fresh or frozen
250 g pineapple cut chopped up into small pieces, fresh or canned
Some whipped cream to decorate

Mix whipped cream with vanilla sugar, and powdered sugar, fold in cherries. Spread over cake base with spring form ring around it, then top with pineapple chunks. Chill well for few hours in a refrigerator, or about 30 minutes in a freezer. Decorate with whipped cream, and enjoy!

Credits: I have adapted this recipe, and adjusted it to my liking from "Kuhinjica"(Little kitchen), a Serbian cooking magazine.