Yogurt Cake with Raspberries

“This book is perfect for you. The subtitle is A Love Story with recipes,” my friend said to me the other day. I’ve been reading Elizabeth Bard‘s Lunch in Paris and it is such a great summer read. The memoir tells the story of a young American who leaves to go to Paris to live with her boyfriend (who later becomes her husband) meanwhile exploring the food of the City of Lights. The recipes are really simple but so delicious sounding. Only a quarter way through the book, I made this yogurt cake. It is absolutely amazing. Really moist, light and fluffy. Perfect for breakfast or any other time of the day. I went ahead and made my own addition to Bard’s recipe by making a sour cream topping. Before you get grossed out, try it. My mum always used sour cream for toppings on cakes. The sauce does not turn out too sweet (and therefore does not overwhelm the flavor of the cake and fruit) and is perfect consistency for a cake like this one.

Ingredients: 1 cup plain yogurt (whole milk), 1 cup sugar, large pinch of sea salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 2 large eggs, 1 2/3 cups flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, zest of 1 lemon, one 16-ounce can apricots (I used 1 1/2 cups of fresh raspberries)

For the sour-cream topping: 1 cup sour cream, 1 tablespoon sugar, juice from 1 lemon, few drops of vanilla extract, 1/2 cup fresh raspberries

Begin by preheating the oven to 350. Oil or butter a round cake pan (Bard advices to use a parchment paper but I found that I did not need one). In a bowl, combine yogurt, sugar, salt and vanilla

Whisk together until smooth. Add oil slowly and whisk to combine. Add the eggs one by one whisking between each addition.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda

Combine with yogurt mixture

Stir in the lemon zest

Transfer batter to the cake pan and top with fruit of your choice

Bake on the center rack for 45 minutes until slightly golden brown and slightly risen. Allow the cake to cool.

For the topping combine sour cream, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract and raspberries in a blender. Pulse until smooth.

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Pork Lentil Soup/Stew

My first recipe from my New York kitchen! I am still figuring out the lighting for photographs and how to fit everything in a tiny studio kitchen. I saw this pork and lentil soup recipe in May and meant to try it before it became hot out. Fail. I wanted it to be more of a stew consistency so I used a lit bit more of lentils and pork. I was being lazy about the whole shredding the pork thing so I just bought regular boneless pork chops and just cubed them. This recipe is absolutely fantastic. I was hesitant about using the lime at the end (I am weird about lemons and limes squeezed over hot food. I hate lemon juice over seafood especially) but it made such a difference in how fresh this typically heavy dish tasted. Next time I would even use some cilantro on top before serving.

Ingredients: 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 yellow chopped onion, 3 cloves minced garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger,1 1/2 teaspoons dried crushed basil leaves (I did not use any at all), 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 medium carrot, chopped, 1 pound bone-in pork chops (I used boneless pork chops which I cubed), 3 cups chicken broth, 8 ounces brown lentils, rinsed and drained, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, 1 teaspoon red chili flakes

Begin by heating olive oil in a pot on medium heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger.

Season with salt, pepper and cumin and saute for a few minutes until the onion softens. Add the carrot and saute for 5 minutes.

Add the pork and brown on all sides. Add broth.

Add tomato paste and lentils

Stir together. Cover and simmer for 50 (mine took only 40) minutes or until the lentils are tender. Add lime and red flakes.

Serve in bowls

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Filed under Meat, Soup

Useful Useless Delights

My mum has a theory about useful useless kitchen delights. These are little kitchen products that are super cute and technically useful but most of the time serve little purpose and are rarely used. Like this cutest Calzone Mold from Williams-Sonoma which I purchased recently. Among my list of other useless-useful kitchen utensils I possess a cupcake cake mold, grapefruit spoons (I never eat grapefruit) and Hello Kitty Toast Cutter. But I am really excited and have high hopes for making use of this calzone mold since I do make pizza frequently.

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I know I have not posted in a while

I really do have an excuse(s) though. First, I graduated from college a few weeks ago. Second, I am moving to New York. It is mainly my move to New York (and all the apartment hunting, job searching factors that come along with the move) that has kept me from posting or even cooking. It’s hard to remember the last time I even cooked and not eaten out or taken food out. This will all change now as I have finally secured the most adorable little studio in New York where I will continue to cook but now in a much smaller space. With the move happening this upcoming week, keep a look out for all my new recipes. As for now happy Memorial Day weekend and enjoy this white pizza recipe.

Ingredients: 1/2 cup ricotta cheese, 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 cups shredded smoked mozzarella cheese (make sure to use smoked, otherwise the pizza will be really bland), 1.5-2 cups spinach, pizza dough, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, 2 plum tomatoes thinly sliced, olive oil for drizzling, salt and pepper to season

Preheat oven to 450. In a food processor or blender, combine ricotta cheese, garlic, salt and pepper

Add mozzarella cheese and spinach

Pulse until smooth. Roll out the dough and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and spread the spinach mixture evenly on top

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese

Top with sliced tomatoes and bake until the crust becomes golden

Slice and serve

 

 

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Filed under Main Course, Pizza, Vegetarian

Kebabs

I know this looks a little bit like poop but I promise this is delicious. I again had a craving for something middle eastern so I decided to make kebabs which are no harder to make than regular meatballs or burgers. The trick is to use a lot of spices and fresh herbs. My grocery store does not carry ground lamb (which is what traditional kebabs are made of) so I had to use ground beef. Both are good but in my opinion lamb is more juicier and tender for grilling. You can use any other meat if you prefer it to beef or lamb and serve the kebabs on skewers or wrapped in pitas.

Ingredients: 1 onion roughly chopped,3 pressed garlic cloves, fresh bunches of mint, french bunches of parsley, 1 lb ground lamb or beef, 1/2 tablespoon cumin, 1/2 tablespoon paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper

Begin by adding the chopped onion and pressed garlic to a food processor or, in my case, blender

Add mint to the blender

Add fresh parsley. Blend until combined together. Add olive oil if needed.

Add ground meat to a bowl. Add cumin, paprika, salt and pepper.

Top with the mint/parsley mixture. Mix together

Form into rounded kebabs and lay on a baking sheet (if baking like me) or place a skewer through (if grilling).

Bake or grill until cooked. Served with rice or any other side or in a pita with hummus. Enjoy hot.

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Filed under International Food, Main Course, Meat

How my obsession with smitten kitchen began

The first recipe that I ever saw from smitten kitchen blog was this one for Baked Rigatoni with Tiny Meatballs. Ever since then I have not only wanted to try this recipe but I have also discovered smitten kitchen to become my absolute favorite savory cooking blog. I love the recipes and the beautiful photos that the author takes. I can’t believe this recipe took me 9 months to try!

Ingredients

Meatballs:1/4 cup milk, 1 slice good white bread trimmed of its crust, 1 pound ground pork, 1 teaspoon chopped garlic, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan, 1 egg, 1 cup flour spread on a plate, salt and pepper to season, vegetable oil for frying

For the bèchamel:4 1/2 cups milk, 6 tablespoons butter, 5 tablespoons flour, 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

To finish:1 pound rigatoni, 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, 1 tablespoon butter, 1/4 cup milk

Begin by making the meatballs. Heat the milk and drop pieces of bread into it. Allow to soak for 5 minutes before squeezing the excess milk and adding the bread to the meat.

Add garlic, parsley, grated cheese, egg, salt, and pepper to the meat and bread.

Mix together and form mini meatballs

Roll the meatballs (15 to 20 at a time) in the plate with flour

Get rid of excess flour by placing the floured meatballs in a strainer. Heat the oil in the skillet and fry the meatballs making sure to brown on all sides.  Once the batch is done, transfer to a paper towel and allow the meatballs to drain. Set aside when all are done.

Heat the milk over low heat until tiny bubbles appear. Do not let the milk come to a boil.In a different saucepan, melt the butter over low heat, add the flour and whisk constantly  until combined. Add 2 tablespoons of milk at a time to the flour and butter mixture, stirring thoroughly. Repeat 8 more times.

At this point, add the milk in 1/2 cup additions, stirring constantly to keep it smooth. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir the sauce until it thickens. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 and cook the rigatoni according to the instructions on the box. Drain the cooked pasta and add to a bowl. Add meatballs, two-thirds of the bechamel sauce and half the grated cheese. Mix together.

In a buttered baking dish, spread the pasta mixture and pour the milk over the dish. I did not add the milk but just because my mixture was already kind of wet. Top with the rest of the béchamel sauce and grated cheese.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until a golden brown crust forms on top

Serve hot

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Filed under Main Course, Meat, Pasta

Pork Paprikash

I’ve been meaning to making traditional Hungarian chicken paprikash for forever now and never got around to it. When I came upon this pork with paprika, mushrooms and sour cream recipe through tastespotting, I made it right away. Close enough, right? Omg this is so good. The sauce is delicious and the dish is perfect to go over rice or pasta.

Ingredients: 1 lb cubed pork, 2 tablespoons sweet paprika, 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, 9-12 oz mushrooms, 1 chopped onion, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds (I did not use them), 1 14.5 oz-can petite dice tomatoes, 1/2 cup chicken stock, 2/3 cup sour cream, salt and pepper to season

Begin by seasoning the pork cubes with 1 tablespoon of paprika, salt and pepper

To a a pan (I used my Dutch oven) add 1 tablespoon of oil. Heat the oil and add the pork. Cook until evenly browned on all sides.

Remove the pork from the pot and set aside. Add the mushrooms to the pot.

Cook until the mushrooms have browned and all liquid has evaporated for around 5 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and add to the pork. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and drop the onion and sauté until just starting to brown for around 3 to 5 minutes.

Add garlic, thyme and caraway seeds (if using). Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes and chicken stock.

Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes until the mixture thickens. Add pork and mushrooms back to the pot and cook for another 10 minutes. Mix in the sour cream…

… and serve

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Filed under Main Course, Meat