Archive for June, 2011


Salsa Fresca Sabrosa!?!

So at last the sun comes out to stay for a couple of days and while I’m completely sunburned :(everyone keeps calling me a Lobster) I am just glad I got to lie on the shores of the ocean again! Now I just need to learn how to fish (can’t be that hard, right?) While it is still summertime and growing hotter by the day, I wanted to make something cold (and yes, spicy) that I could feast on every time I find my blood sugar is low. God bless Mexico for coming up with salsa!?!

This week I made a BIG batch of spicy salsa, substituting a few things since the ingredients aren’t as readily available here fresh; I know it sounds odd, but I used fresh Parsley instead of Cilantro (yeah, definitely no cilantro around here) and pickled jalapenos instead of fresh ones. The important things is that the tomatoes are ripe and fresh (and tomatoes are the best vegetable…er, fruit:) My end result was incredibly tasty and seems to gain a bit of spice as it sits in the fridge. Tonight I used my hearty supply to make chicken burritos with basmati rice and sour cream 🙂 Ahhh, enjoy the summer while it lasts!!

Spicy Salsa with fresh Parsley, Red Onions, & Avocado

Ingredients

7-8 tomatoes, chopped

2 red onions, chopped

1/2 bunch fresh Parsley, chopped

3 fresh Jalapenos, chopped & seeded

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 avocados

juice of 3 limes

1 Tbs. white vinegar

1 Tbs. beer

sea salt & cracked pepper

(1) Combine the tomato, onion, parsley, jalapenos, and garlic in a blender and mix thoroughly. (2) Add the lime juice, vinegar, and beer, blending the mixture well until it is smooth. (3) Transfer to a sealable container; cut the avocados into small cubes and add to the salsa. (4) Mix and refrigerate until chilled, about 20 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips or warmed tortillas 🙂

Serves 6-8

I’m under the belief that any combination–very sweet or salty, super spicy or garlicky–all pretty much work for salsa, you just season to taste and voilà! I was thinking of adding a melon to this recipe to give it a little sweetness to counter some of the acidity; probably should next time }:)

My question this week: what is your favorite type of salsa?

One of mine is chunky pineapple green chili salsa, mmmm…

30.6.11

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Keepin’ it Light & Spicy

So these days I’m keeping it light and simple but still trying to eat healthier, when the opportunity arises }:) I’ve come across so many things I want to eat just walking around here…lavender flowers, strawberries, rosemary leaves, huge pink chive blossoms; there is so much rain on this side of the ocean that everything grows big and green (and juicy;)

I’ve come to find out that my beloved father (Happy Father’s Day if you’re reading this!!) is on a new diet that involves a lot of green things and fewer calories, so I wanted to write some posts that could contribute to this temporary healthful regimen (-: you know, just omit/substitute the sugar, dairy, salt…) I wanted to avoid shopping so I compiled a list of things we had and made this recipe up on the spot. The soy-paprika glaze for the shrimp was a little spicy but the creamy curry dressing smoothed it over with enough crunch to call this a salad (success!) I find that it’s hard to go wrong when using such wonderfully uncomplicated ingredients as curry powder and minced garlic 🙂

Arugula, Spinach, & Bean Sprout Shrimp Salad with Curry Mustard Vinaigrette

Ingredients

(for the salad)

1 cup Arugula (they call it Ricola over here:)

1 cup spinach

1 cup bean sprouts

1 cup mixed greens (such as red leaf lettuce, watercress)

1/4 cup cucumber, thinly sliced

1/2 cup baby  tomatoes, halved

1 golden apple, cored & chopped

(for shrimp w/glaze)

12-15 medium shrimp, (tail-on) peeled & deveined

2 Tbs. soy sauce

2 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. olive oil

1 Tbs. dried Basil

(for vinaigrette)

1/3 cup fat-free Greek yogurt

1 Tbs. curry powder

2 Tbs. Dijon mustard

2 Tbs. olive oil

1 Tbs. lemon juice

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbs. oyster sauce

3 Tbs. fresh chives, chopped

1 Tbs. white vinegar

sea salt & cracked pepper

(1) Wash all the greens and lay out to dry. Cut the bean sprouts in half and mix all of the greens together in a bowl; cover and refrigerate. (2) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (I will persist with the Fahrenheit;). Mix together the soy sauce, paprika, and olive oil for the glaze in a small bowl. Add the shrimp and toss to coat, letting sit for five minutes. (3) To make the vinaigrette, combine all the ingredients above from yogurt through vinegar, seasoning to taste with salt & pepper. Let chill in fridge until ready to serve. (4) When preheated, put the shrimp in the oven for 5-7 minutes until cooked through, turning once midway through and reapplying the glaze. When done, remove from oven and let stand covered for 3 minutes. (5) Mix all the chopped vegetables and fruit into the salad greens, tossing well. Distribute the salad among plates and top with warm shrimp and horizontal lines of the vinaigrette. Serve with warm/toasted bread if desired 🙂

Serves 4

So, as I meddle with all these salad combinations I take comfort in the fact that, at least I’m not on a diet! (sorry Dad;) but I am making an active effort to eat more of these colorful summer vegetables while they’re fresh and inexpensive (but no, I’m not giving up cheese!) There’s something wonderful about summer in the kitchen and now that I am in Europe it feels (and maybe this is just me) so much prettier and romantic, it’s just ahhhh…

My question: what is one of the most delicious salad vinaigrettes you’ve ever had? I’m looking for flavor, something new and interesting }:-)

6.19.11

Hello everybody! Still over here enjoying lots of sun (and rain) in Denmark 🙂 Once I get the camera up and running, I will have some relevant pictures to include; this photo is of canola flower fields, which are all over the place here, very yellow and very pretty! This week I was craving comfort food and so I decided to make a soup based off a recipe I found in the soup bible, a marvelous little book that contains hundreds of these recipes }:) Relying on basics, I made the stock from powdered bullion, used only the stems of the broccoli (all the heads we used to make broccoli salad), and threw in all leftover ingredients including a zucchini, potatoes, and a couple of onions.

In my humble opinion, the two things that made this soup as deliciously palatable as it was include (1) texture; and the fact that I found a hand-held blender-type machine I could put directly into the pot to puree all the stems and huge chunks of potatoes on the spot once they’d cooked through. The consistency of soup is often a large part of how tasty it turns out to be and while I’m all for chunky food, I wanted this soup smooth and blended, leaving only a few chunks of potatoes to remind us that it does in fact accommodate a lot of vegetables;) (2) The second thing is of course, cream. At the very end of all this soup cooking, puréeing, and seasoning – I stirred in a cup of cream (that’s right, Danish cream, the good stuff:) which not only gave it a nice color but smoothed out all other tastes to make a creamy, saporous soup that savors nicely as it sits in the fridge. That was probably the best part, leftovers }:]

Creamy Vegetable Soup with Broccoli, Zucchini & Potatoes

Ingredients

2 Tbs. butter

1 zucchini, coarsely chopped

2 onions, coarsely chopped

2 heads of broccoli or 1 lb. broccoli stems, chopped

3 potatoes, scrubbed & chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups chicken stock

1 cup cream

sea salt & cracked pepper

(1) Melt the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, stirring until soft, about 4-5 minutes. (2) Add the broth and 2 cups of water, bringing to a low boil. Next, add the potatoes, zucchini, and broccoli/stems. Cover and let simmer over low heat until all the vegetables are soft, 35-45 minutes. (3) Let the soup cool slightly before puréeing, either in a blender in batches or with a hand-held blender in the pot; leave small chunks of potatoes if possible, but be sure to blend all the brocoli. (4) When the soup is smooth, reheat on low; stir in the cream (but make sure that the soup doesn’t boil as the cream will curdle). Season to taste with salt & pepper and serve. Soup is good for two weeks but it probably won’t last that long 🙂

Serves 6

Thanks to our efforts pulling up the garden, I was given a small supply of chive blossoms. They were pretty good, crunchy with a very fresh onion taste and pretty pink petals; I served the hot bowls of soup with a couple of blossoms on top and a sprinkle of pepper. Mmmm…

Tonight our wonderful hostess is making a cauliflower curly flour soup (we just can’t get enough over here }:) Ah, bless the cruciferous vegetables in spring!

My question: What is the best vegetable to use in soup? I just love all the possibilities 🙂

6.15.11

Green Fields and Sunny Skies

Hello everybody! Well, I have landed in a country of spacious green fields and blooming lilac bushes 🙂 it’s very pretty here and I just love being by the sea again. Just now, we are having a few days of sun and the skies are very blue. I’m afraid that my present circumstances don’t allow a lot of time for some of the more imaginative cooking I like to partake in, but I am trying as much as I can of Danish food, which is admittedly delightful }:)

I haven’t had the chance to cook much of anything myself, but I did manage to get my hands on some Danish carrots (ha) which looked crisply wonderful upon being spotted in the produce section of the local grocery store. And while I cannot read any of the labels, it’s almost more fun to guess what things are and go for the good-looking things 😉 I can tell you it involves a lot of pate (no bummer there), bread, and cheese!!

For this recipe I had to come up with something creative, but still simple so I used curry powder (seriously, don’t be shy), dried basil, and plenty of Danish beer =) which is definitely my favorite part of being in Denmark so far. The meal was served with toasted dark bread and again, more beer. I’ve been reading carrots are good for your complexion, eyes, and stomach with plenty of cancer-fighting goodness, so I thought to try to incorporate some of the fresh spring harvest that’s here. So…at last, my first culinary posting in Denmark 🙂

Sautéed Onion & Carrots with Curry Powder, Basil, and Beer

Ingredients

1 lb. fresh carrots, trimmed & halved

2 small yellow onions, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 Tbs. butter

1 Tbs. curry powder

1/2 cup Carlsberg Pilsner beer (or sub Heineken)

1 Tbs. dried basil

1 tsp. basil oil

3 Tbs. creme fraiche

sea salt & cracked pepper

(1) Wash and scrub the carrots well, they tend to be a little dirty in the Springtime 😉 Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium heat in a saute pan; add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, until soft. (2) Next, add the carrots, curry, and beer; cover with lid and let the carrots steam until soft, 5-8 minutes. (3) Remove the lid and let the liquid reduce until thickened; season with salt, pepper, and basil oil, mixing thoroughly. (4) Serve the carrots with a dollop of creme fraiche sprinkled with dried basil 🙂

Serves 4

So, while my adventures in Danish kitchens continue, I am excited to try more of the delicious recipes. Mikkel and I were thinking of a making a roast }:] that involves tea leaves, pork neck chops, and veal broth, but we will see…

My question: What is one of the best tasting vegetables that can be sautéed on the stove? I’m dying for some suggestions…

6.4.11