Tuesday, November 24, 2009



1 lb finely chopped walnuts
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 pound phyllo dough
3 sticks unslated butter melted, for brushing phyllo

2 cups water
3/4 sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
one 2 in strip lemon rind
3/4 cup honey

Preheat oven to 300
Combine nuts, sugar, and cinnamon
place eight sheets of phyllo, one at a time, on the bottom of 8x14x2 pan, brush each with butter (keep the rest of the dough covered as it dries out easily)
Sprinkle top sheet generously with 1/4 cup nut mix
Continue adding buttered phyllo sheets, sprinkling every second sheet with nut mixture until all the nut mixture is used up.
Place remaining phyllo on top buttering each sheet.
Cut into small diamond shape pieces

Place pan of water on lowest shelf in oven and the baklava on the middle shelf above the water and bake for 2 - 2 1/2 hours, or until golden
Make sure the water pan is always full

While the Baklava is cooking, prepare the syrup
Combine in saucepan all ingredients for syrup except the honey
Bring to boil and simmer for 15 mins, add honey and simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove lemon peel and cool.

Remove baklava from oven when ready and pour cooled syrup over it.

Beef and Mushroom Casserole

No idea what a good name would be, I just walked through the store and bought what I thought would work good together.

Penne pasta (enough to cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish)
1 Jar(can) Mushroom pasta sauce (I used Chunky Mushroom Ragu and if you have time you could use a homemade sauce.)
1 lb ground beef
Fresh mushrooms, I used one package of baby portabellas
1/2 medium onion chopped
5 tsp garlic
oregano (to your taste)
2 tbsp olive oil
Mozzarella Cheese
Vodka (optional)

Cook up your noodles and ground beef.
Layer pasta on bottom of casserole dish and the ground beef on top of that.
Preheat oven to 325.

Over medium heat, heat the oil in a skillet and add garlic for 1 minute
Next add the onion and the mushrooms into the pan, saut? until the mushrooms become tender.

Add the pasta sauce to the skillet and let simmer until heated through,
I added a splash of vodka here.
Add the oregano to the sauce, stir and let simmer a few more minutes.

Pour the sauce over the pasta and ground beef smoothing it over the top.
Cover the sauce with the mozzarella cheese until all covered.

Put dish into the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese is to your liking.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pico de Gallo (Salsa Fresca)

Pico de Gallo (Salsa Fresca)

Here is a tasty treat for the summer. It is very quick to make and super tasty.

2 Medium Tomatoes or 4 Roma Tomatoes, cored and chopped (Peeling and Seeding Optional)
1 Jalapeno and 1 Serrano Chile, chopped - Reserve seeds, to add later if you want more heat.
1 Small White Onion, minced
Juice from 1/2 Lime
Handful of Chopped Cilantro
Ground or Whole Toasted Cumin Seeds, or Cumin Powder, to taste (Optional)
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Add all ingredients to a bowl, mix well and taste

Add seasoning and seeds, if desired
Mix well
Place in the fridge for a couple hours, or serve as is.

Fried Potatoes

Here's a hearty breakfast that is great for camping or the dead of winter.

Fried Potatoes

4 med potatoes, peeled and cubed

3 cloves of garlic chopped

1/2 medium onion chopped

4 Tbsp butter

Over medium heat add 2 tbsp of the butter to a small frying pan and saute the onions and garlic together.

Once the onions become clear, add the potatoes and the rest of the butter to the pan and cook until the potatoes are tender.

You can probably substitute margarine or a low fat substitute for this if you're not comfortable with real butter.

Green Beans with Tomato Sauce

Green Bean with Tomato Sauce

1/3 cup olive oil
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 lb fresh green beans, if too long halve
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion chopped
2 large tomatoes, diced (four romas for sweeter and better taste) or if you don't like tomatoes as much, one tomato and a can of tomato sauce or two cans of tomato sauce

heat oil in medium pan, on medium heat

Add the potatoes, cook for about 10 mins
Add onions for about 7 mins or until clear
Add garlic for about 1 minute
Add tomatoes and bring to a simmer
Add green beans and cover for 25 mins or so

Stir the pan, add water if you think it is too dry
Cook for another 20-30 mins until beans are tender

Serve with bread to sop up the juices.

Avgolemono Soup

Avgolemono Soup

This is a big recipe, so if you want to feed just a few people you'll have to experiment and shrink it down.

Chicken Stock (You can buy it canned, if you want the easy route)

3 lb organic chicken (better flavor)
2 - 2 1/2 qt water
one medium celery stalk
one small carrot
3-4 peppercorns
1 medium onion (quartered)
Salt to taste (add about an hour to an hour and a half in)

Throw everything together into the pot.
Cover and cook for 2 hours or until the chicken is tender.

Remove the chicken and place somewhere to keep warm.
Filter the broth to remove the fat, vegetables, and other particles. (I use cheesecloth and a good size bowl)
The chicken can be kept for other dishes, however, I use it for the soup.

Everything else

1 cup orzo or long grain rice
3 medium eggs
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Turn down the heat to medium.
Add 1 cup orzo (or rice) to the broth and let cook until tender.

When the orzo or rice is tender, beat the three eggs and the three tablespoons of lemon juice together in a small bowl.

Ladle some of the broth into the bowl (enough to warm the temperature up to the same as the broth in the pot) and continue beating until mixed well.

Once mixed, pour the mixture into the pot and stir until mixed well.

Add the chicken (optional).

Let the soup heat through and then let stand fifteen minutes before serving, if it starts to separate keep stirring.

Serve and enjoy.
Add more lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste.
This can be kept for a few extra days as well, so, if you're into leftovers, just reheat what you have left.

This is from memory, so, if it isn't exactly right, I apologize but I can't place anything I missed.
Oh, and this may be an acquired taste being heavily based on lemon, our family uses a lot of lemon to flavor up the dish once it is in our bowls.

Kota Kapama

Kota (Chicken) Kapama (This dish is one of my absolute favorites)

one 3-4 lb Chicken cut into serving pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
6 Tbsp butter
2 C canned crushed tomatoes
1 six oz can tomato paste
1 tsp sugar
3/4 C water
3 sticks cinnamon
1 bay leaf
1 C minced onion
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 lb macaroni
1 cup grated kefalotiri cheese (My family uses Mizithra or if you prefer familiarity, use Parmesan

Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, and cinnamon
Melt 2 tbsp butter in pot and brown chicken until golden on all sides

In a bowl combine tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, and water and pour over the chicken. Add the cinnamon sticks and bay leaf

In medium size frying pan, melt 2 tbsp butter and saute the garlic and onions until the onions are wilted and add to the chicken

Bring the pot to a boil, cover, and simmer until the chicken is tender, about an hour

Prepare the pasta towards the end so that it is finished about the same time as the chicken.

Lay out pasta on a serving dish, brown the remaining butter and pour over the pasta. My family grates some cheese onto the pasta here.

Place chicken and sauce over the macaroni and sprinkle more cheese over the top.

Beef can be used to replace the chicken, it is no longer Kota Kapama but it is still quite good. Just cut it into serving sized pieces and follow the rest of the instructions.

Casseroles Galore

Hamburger Pie

These are some good hearty dishes that can be prepared rather quickly and will leave the family quite satisfied. The ingredients are simple and fairly cheap. These can be prepared at least a day in advance.

1 lb hamburger (cooked and drained)
I season with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper to taste
1 can green beans (drained)
1 can tomato soup condensed
4 servings instant mashed potatoes
Less can be used here, just make enough potatoes to cover the top of the casserole
2 qt Casserole Dish or another glass baking dish

Place the hamburger at the bottom of dish
Layer the beans out on top of the hamburger as even as possible
Layer the tomato soup on top of that
Finally, cover the top of the dish with the potatoes
I season the potatoes as well with a bit of garlic powder

Bake @350 degrees for ~30 minutes

Tater Tot Casserole

1 lb hamburger (cooked and drained)
1 can Veg-all Nixed Vegetables (drained)
1 can Cream of Mushroom condensed soup
Enough tater tots to cover the top of the dish
2 qt. Casserole dish

Place the hamburger at the bottom of dish
Layer the mixed vegetables on top of the hamburger
Layer the Cream of Mushroom soup
Finally, cover the top of the dish with tater tots

Bake @ 350 for ~30 minutes

Tuna Noodle Casserole

4 servings Egg Noodles (prepared)
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup (unprepared)
1 can of Tuna (drained)
more tuna can be added if desired

Cook the noodles and mix in the Cream of Chicken soup and the tuna


Friday, November 6, 2009

Quick Fix: Spicy Barbecue Chicken Flatbread Pizza

Finally, a new post. Damn, I've been slacking.

This past week, there was a sale on flatbreads at the store. On a whim I decided that some flatbread pizzas would be tasty and quick. Both are incredibly important with my schedule right now. I collected a variety of materials so that I could make a variety of pizzas, and here is my first offering.

Spicy Barbecue Chicken Flatbread Pizza

1 flatbread
1/4 cup or more (your preference) Spicy Barbecue Sauce. I used Famous Dave's Devil's Spit, which was mighty tasty I might add.
1/4 Cup Prepared, Diced, Roasted Chicken or Seitan seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
1/4-1/2 cup Grated Smoked Mozzarella Cheese

Preheat oven to 450
Prepare pizza




Place directly on oven rack and bake until cheese is melted, about 10-15 minutes


Serve and Enjoy.