Monthly Archives: December 2009

Baby Potatoes with Sour Cream Garlic Sauce and Smoked Salmon

This dish is also delicious without the smoked salmon if you don’t eat fish or if you are vegetarian. It is a slightly more expanded version of baby potatoes with butter and dill.

Ingredients: 24 oz Yukon Gold Baby Potatoes, 1 package of smoked salmon,1/2 cup fresh dill(half for the potatoes and half for sauce), 2 garlic cloves, 1 cup sour cream, 1/4 stick butter, salt and pepper to season.

Begin by placing washed baby potatoes in a pot.Fill with cold water, cover the pot and boil until the potatoes become tender.

Mince 1/2 cup of fresh dill and set aside.

The potatoes should take around 15 to 20 minutes to cook. Once tender, drain the potatoes. Add the potatoes back to the pot and add 1/4 stick of butter and half the amount of chopped fresh dill. Add salt and pepper to season and mix everything together.

Set the potatoes aside to cool.

Next start working on the souce. To 1/2 cup of sour cream, add the remained chopped fresh dill, 2 cloves of pressed garlic and salt and pepper to season.

Mix everything together. The sauce is ready. Set aside.

Place the cooked potatoes on a place. With a glass or a bottle of olive oil, gently press on each of the potatoes to make them flat.

Add sauce to the slightly flattened potatoes.

Add smoked salmon on top of the potatoes with sauce.



Filed under Fish, Side Dish, Vegetarian

Gingerbread House

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Filed under Seasonal, Uncategorized

Quinoa Salad

This recipe, I got from a friend of mine. That was my first time trying Quinoa and since then I have been making huge bowls of this salad almost every week. Quinoa, apparently, is very good for you. It is very low in Cholesterol and Sodium as well it is a very good source of Magnesium and Phosphorus. Instead of making a pasta salad, try Quinoa salad with feta cheese for a change.

Ingredients: 1 cup of cooked Quinoa, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1/2 box of cherry tomatoes, 1/2 red onion, 1/3 cup fresh cilantro (substitute with 1/3 cup fresh parsley if you don’t like cilantro),2 cloves of garlic, 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, salt and ground pepper to taste.

Begin by cooking 1 cup of Quinoa by following the instructions on the box. Once the Quinoa is cooked, let it cool and place in a bowl.

Meanwhile begin by chopping finely 1/2 red onion

Next slice 1/2 box of cherry tomatoes into halves.

Next finely chop 1/3 cup of fresh cilantro. If you don’t like cilantro feel free to substitute it with fresh parsley or use both.

Add the red onion, tomatoes and the finely chopped cilantro into the bowl with the quinoa. Next crush 2 cloves of garlic into the bowl. Add 1/2 cup of lemon juice and 1/2 cup of olive oil.

Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Add 1/2 cup of feta cheese.

Toss all together and serve. Enjoy!

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Filed under Salad, Vegetarian

Stuffed Peppers

Hello Gourmands out there!

It’s that time of the year for students. Final Exams Week which should hopefully justify the lack of posts on this blog. Despite all the papers, exams and presentations due this week, I still always find time to cook.

This was one of the first recipes that I actually learned from my mum. Meat stuffed green peppers is not only a popular russian dish but as well one of my dad’s favorite so if there was one thing that I had to learn how to cook growing up, it was that. This recipe is really easy and fast. There are a lot of variations to this recipe but the one below is the one I like best.

Ingredients: 6 large green bell peppers,1 pound ground beef (you can also instead mix half a pound of ground beef with half a pound of ground pork),1/2 cup cooked rice (or 1 bag if you, like I do, use boil in a bag rice), 1 carrot, 1/2 yellow onion, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 cup of sour cream, 1/2 cup tomato paste, 3 cups water, 1 cup chicken stock, salt and pepper

Start by cooking the rice. I use the boil in the bag rice but you can just cook 1/2 cup of regular white rice.

Meanwhile you can start chopping half a yellow onion and grating 1 long carrot.In a skillet, on a medium heat, add olive oil and the chopped onion and carrot.

Saute until the onions become golden

Next cut the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds.

In a bowl, mix the ground beef, the sauteed carrots and onions and the cooked rice.

Add 1/2 cup of sour cream, salt and pepper. Mix everything together.

Stuff each pepper with the mixture and place all in a large pot. Since I live with only one other person,we don’t have big pots and so I cooked 3 peppers in one pot and 3 peppers in another one.

On a medium to high heat start cooking the peppers. Add 1 can of diced tomatoes with all the juice in the can to the pot. Next pour 1 cup of chicken into the pot.

Next Add 3 cups of water, 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1/2 cup of tomato paste and salt and pepper.

Cook uncovered for 10 minutes on medium to high heat and then covered for 20 more minutes. Enjoy!

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Filed under Main Course, Meat

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies and Muffins

This recipe is delicious (and very christmasy) and is fast and easy to prepare. 30 minutes before heading to a get together with 7 delightful ladies, I whipped these yummy baked goodies up. This recipe has a lot of cheating in it. And it’s not because I am bad at baking(or at least I hope I am not), but simply because sometimes I don’t have time to spend more than 30 minutes. You can do both of these recipes or only one of them.

Ingredients:Your favorite chocolate chip cookie mix (I told you that I would be cheating), your favorite muffin mix (my blog isn’t called Recipes of a Cheating Cook for nothing), 3 eggs, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 2/3 cup water, stick of softened(not melted) butter, 4 teaspoons of peppermint extract, green food coloring (just enough to make the mixture green thorough out), christmas tree cookie cutter (optional)

Note:These are the ingredients that I need for my muffin and cookie mix. Make sure you read the instructions on your selected mixes to make sure that you have all the ingredients.

Begin by making the muffins as they usually take longer to bake than the cookies. Grease the muffin pan with butter or cooking spray (my cooking spray just finished the day before, womp womp). Preheat the oven to 400.

Pour all the muffin mix into the bowl. Follow the instructions on the box. Mine said to add 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, 2/3 cup of water, 2 eggs and mix all together.

Add 2 teaspoons of peppermint extract and 3-4 drops of green food coloring.

Mix together until the mixture becomes evenly green. Let the bowl stand for a minute then pour the mixture into the muffin pan.

Put in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden.

While the muffins bake, start working on the cookies. The procedure is almost identical to the one above. Follow the instructions on the cookie mix box. Lower the oven to 350.

Stir a stick of softened (not melted) butter or margarine with 1 egg.

Once the egg and the butter are well mixed together, add the cookie powder mix. Blend all together with a spoon until the the dough becomes sticky and evenly mixed.

Add 2 teaspoons of peppermint extract and a couple drops of green food coloring.

Form into tablespoon ball for large cookies and teaspoons for smaller cookies. Place on a non-stick cookie sheet. If you have time you can shape the cookies into christmas trees with a cookie cutter (I only did a few). Place cookie sheet in the oven.

Bake for no more than 10-12 minutes.

If you want to impress someone for Christmas, use different winter cookie cutters and red food coloring in addition to the green one.


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Filed under Dessert

Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes

I am a big fan of mashed potatoes. And it is one of the only things that my mum never made in our house.Don’t get me wrong, my mum is a fantastic cook. She just has for some unknown reason a total distaste for potatoes. We never had any potatoes in our house. Blame it one the times, when she grew up in communist Russia with shortages of food and probably plenty of potatoes or on the high calorie count contained in potatoes, mashed potatoes was the one dish that I did not get much growing up.

I don’t remember how I came to this recipe but this one of my favorites. In fact on Thanksgiving,you did not have to give me the turkey. I couldn’t be happier with just a bowl of this heavenly side dish.

Ingredients: 4 Potatoes (red or golden), 1/2 cream (or milk), 2 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons chive and onion cream cheese,1 clove of garlic, fresh dill for garnish

Wash and peel the potatoes. If you enjoy your mashed potatoes with skins, I suggest you use the small red potatoes. I prefer mine with no skins. Next cut each potato in 4 pieces.

Fill a pot with cold water, add the potatoes and set the fire to medium high. Add salt.

Let the potatoes cook until soft. The way I check if my potatoes are ready is with a wooden spoon. If the spoon easily breaks through the potato, then I consider the potatoes ready. I always suggest to give the potatoes time to cook to avoid the chunks of hard and uncooked potato in the mashed potatoes.

When the potatoes are cooked, drain the water. Add 2 tablespoons of butter, a pinch of salt and pepper while the potatoes are still hot.

Next add 1/2 cup of cream. I usually use light cream but on Thanksgiving day I only had heavy cream and so I used that. If you prefer milk, you could use that instead of cream but I personally enjoy them with cream more. If 1/2 cup, does not seem enough, add another 1/4-1/2 cup. Just make sure that it doesn’t become a potato soup.

Next add 4 tablespoons of onion and chive cream cheese. Some people prefer to add herb Boursin cheese but I advise to try it at least once with onion and chive cream cheese. Very good and not as expensive as the French version of cream cheese.

Last but not least, add minced garlic and mash together. Please do not use an electric mixer or any other high tech appliances. It really ruins the traditional taste and texture of mashed potatoes.

After you’re done serve in a bowl and garnish with fresh dill.


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Filed under Side Dish, Vegetarian