Monthly Archives: January 2011

Olive Garden Soup

There is nothing better than a chunky plate of soup on a cold day. Especially if it is Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana. I found this recipe on The Mother Huddle. The boyfriend who is hard to please said that it was the best soup he had ever tasted. The spiciness of the sausage and the tenderness of the baby potatoes and kale make a really good combination, and a dash of cream just makes it that much better. The original recipe involved a change of pots but I just made it all in one. Hope that all of you are staying warm.

Ingredients: 1 lb sliced fingerling potatoes, 3 links Italian sausage ‘de-cased’ and chopped, 1 chopped onion, 2 tablespoons butter, 4 cups chicken broth, 2/3 cup cream, 2 cups chopped kale, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to season

Boil a pot of water. Add the potatoes and cook for a few minutes. Drain and set aside.To a pot, on medium heat, add butter. Add the onion and sausage.

Brown the sausage. Make sure to scrape the brown stuff off the bottom of the pot but not remove it. Add 1 cup of chicken broth.

Cook for 10 minutes and add the potatoes, one more cup of broth and the seasonings

Bring the soup to a boil,reduce to simmer and cover for a few minutes. Add the rest of the broth and cook until the potatoes become tender for about 15 minutes. Add cream and stir together.

Cook for another 10 minutes and stir in the kale. Remove off heat and serve.




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Chicken Wings

My friend Lauren taught me all I know about football. There is a line. There are 3 tries. The team you are screaming for must cross the line. The End. This is progress in my knowledge about football. Four years ago when I first came to America, I assumed that what was referred to as football was two teams kicking a ball around and trying to get it into the goal. Nope, that turned out to be soccer. These wings will be great for a Super Bowl party and you can cook them while the game is on and eat them while watching the commercials.

Ingredients: 1 lb chicken wings, 1/4 cup barbecue sauce, 2 tablespoons plum sauce, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 10 tablespoons Tabasco sauce

Begin by making the sauce. Add all the ingredients except the chicken wings and mix together.

Mix the sauce with the wings and allow the chicken to marinate for an hour

Preheat oven to 375. Transfer wings to an ovenproof pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until the wings are fully cooked through.

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Filed under Appetizer, Chicken

Cookie Cake

I rarely bake cookies. And it’s not because I am not great at baking (surprise, surprise I can actually bake cookies and not burn the kitchen or feel lesser of a human being) but because I get irritated making individual little cookies and rolling out the batter or scooping it into small balls. I found this recipe on sophistimom through and had to absolutely try it. I think this is how I will be making all my cookies from now on. In one big pan.

Ingredients: 1 cup granulated sugar (I ran out of brown sugar), 1 cup chocolate chips, 1 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 stick butter, 1 egg

Preheat oven to 350. In a skillet (preferably cast iron which I did not have), melt the butter

Add sugar and vanilla and stir in. Remove from heat.

Add the egg and whisk with a fork

Add flour, baking soda and salt and carefully stir together until the mixture becomes smooth and well blended

Add the chocolate chips and mix together

Transfer the mixture to an oven proof pan (if you are not using a cast iron skillet) and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until corners start to become golden. Enjoy on its own or topped with ice cream and toppings.

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Filed under Dessert

Burgers the healthy way

When you have the crave, there is nothing you can do with the object of your appetite’s desire… except ‘healthify’.  When a few days ago, I was craving some bacon cheeseburger sliders, I decided to make these bean burgers instead. You might say eww, but with Panko breadcrumbs and garlic these sliders are crispy on the outside and super flavorful and tender on the inside. These two-bean burgers can be made using any combination of your favorite beans. I opted for kidney and black beans. The sauce that I used is Greek inspired and works great with these sliders but also with any grilled meat or meat skewers.

Ingredients: 16 oz black beans drained and rinsed, 16 oz kidney beans drained and rinsed, 1 small red onion diced, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt or sour cream, 1 cup Panko crumbs, 1/2 tablespoon cumin, 1 teaspoon coriander, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 tablespoon olive oil plus additional amount for frying

Sauce: 1 cup Greek yogurt, 6 small pickles diced, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 bunch fresh chopped cilantro (I ran out of cilantro this time)

Begin by heating 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in pan on medium heat. Add the onions and saute until soft and golden for about 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside.

To a bowl, add both kinds of beans

Add the onion, garlic, and the spices and mash together

Add sour cream or yogurt and breadcrumbs and mix together

Form into small patties. Heat olive oil in a large pan and fry the patties for 4-6 minutes on each side or until both sides brown.

While the patties are frying, make the sauce by mixing the greek yogurt, garlic, pickles and a sprinkle of salt.

Serve the patties hot with sauce on top or on the side

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Filed under Main Course, Vegetarian

Champagne and Caviar: Breakfast fit for the jetlagged

All good things come to an end. After a good 3 weeks of traveling around, I am back in Boston. With jetlag forcing me awake at 5 am, inches and inches of snow falling down and eventually turning into slush and dirty puddles, I decided to to pseudo prolong the vacation with breakfast composed of bubbly and caviar (I got some from the Duty Free Shop in Moscow’s airport) blinis to spoil the roomate and the boyfriend.”Wicked fishy” was the boyfriend’s first reaction to the caviar blinis. Hope everyone’s first day at school went by well!

Ingredients: 2 eggs, 1 cup milk (use more than 2% milk), 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda,1 cup hot water, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, butter for frying the blinis

Add eggs, milk and sugar to a bowl

Slightly whisk together. Add the water, flour, salt and baking soda.

Whisk together until smooth

Refrigerate the mixture for an hour. Heat a crepe pan and add a small piece of butter. Once the butter melts, pour 1/4 cup of batter into the pan and spread evenly.

Cook the blini until the bottom browns and then and cook the other side for same browning. Repeat until the batter finishes. Let the blinis cool for at least 10 minutes before stuffing with caviar (or any other more modest stuffing) and rolling.

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Filed under Breakfast, International Food

Potato Gratin from the traveling frog

Since I was a baby, I have been referred to as the traveling frog. And without a doubt I have proven this nickname to be accurate with all the traveling that I have been fortunate to do. And again I have not been able to rest for much in Moscow. I am now in Dubai and thus again the lack of posts. I feel like this is becoming a problem. But in a few week’s time, I shall run out of all possible excuses…This is a recipe that I found in the November issue of Bon Appetit magazine. It can be served as both a side dish and a main course and is super easy to make.

Ingredients: 1 1/2 lb Baby Bello mushrooms diced, 2 lb Yukon Gold potatoes cut into 1/8-inch slices, 1 cup Gruyere cheese grated, 2 cups heavy whipping cream, 2 garlic cloves minced, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Begin by adding mushrooms to a pan with oil. Add salt and pepper and saute until the liquid evaporates for 7 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute.

Set aside and let stand at room temperature. Next preheat oven to 375 and pat the potato slices dry. Add whipped cream to a pot on medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.

Add potatoes and bring to boil. Simmer covered for about 10 minutes and then simmer uncovered until cream reduces by half.

Transfer half the potato mixture to a buttered baking dish. Spread evenly and top with mushrooms.

Pour the remaining potato mixture. Cover with cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes and then uncover and cook for another 20 minutes. Leave aside for 10 minutes and then serve.

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Filed under Side Dish, Vegetarian

Happy 2011!

Happy New Year everyone!Hope it brings the realization of all your dreams and wishes. Whose resolution list includes points such as eat more healthy or lose weight? I thought that I would start my 2011 blog posts with a healthy Kale, White Bean and Turkey Meatball Soup.

Ingredients: 1/2 lb ground turkey, 1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning, 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons milk or cream, 1 potato cubed, 2 carrots cubed, 1/2 lb kale stemmed and chopped,1 16 oz can of white beans washed and drained,4 cups turkey or chicken broth, 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350.Begin by making the meatballs. Mix ground turkey with breadcrumbs, milk, breadcrumbs and Italian seasoning.

Form round meatballs and lay on a buttered cookie pan

Bake for 30 minutes until the meatballs are throughly cooked through. Add olive oil to a pot on medium heat. Add potato, carrots, salt and pepper.

Cook for 7 to 10 minutes before adding kale

Cook for a few minutes and add the broth. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add meatballs and beans.

Cook for another 7 minutes and serve

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Filed under Soup, Turkey