Sunday, May 30, 2010

How to Make Luscious Lemon Squares

I know, I was surprised too. I don't make a lot of non-chocolate desserts, and I can't recall what prompted me to try this one.

But from the first time, I was hooked. Once you eat one, you just can't stop nibbling. They're also good to have around for guests who may or may not like chocolate, and they can be frozen.

This recipe (slightly modified) is from 300 Best Comfort Food Recipes by Johanna Burkhard, which is a cookbook that I definitely recommend!

Recipe follows...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

How to Make Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

This dish took awhile to make, but maybe that was because I had to make the tortillas, chicken stock, sauce, etc. from scratch. So if you have those around, you are on your way to a fairly quick dinner! Some assembly required...

But honestly, if you can multi-task, it won't take so long...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How to Make Pizza With Rye Dough

I really like working with the rye flour, and I like the sturdiness that it gives the pizza. If you don't like the taste of rye, though, you can substitute. I'm out of whole wheat flour, so have been experimenting with rye a lot. Bear with me. :)

It seems that the main challenge in making pizza is avoiding a soggy crust. My approach is to: 1) Saute veggies ahead of time to get rid of some of the juices. 2) Pre-bake the crust until almost done, so that basically all is left is for the cheese to melt. 3) Not overload the pizza with lots of fillings. It's good for individual flavors to shine, anyway.

Please share if you have other tips. I don't have a pizza stone or anything like that, just a metal baking pan. No corn meal, either.

So here is the crust:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

How to Make Russian Peasant Dip

Some fellow Russian students and I found this recipe while we were living in the "Russian Immersion House" (read: eating lots of blini and watching Russian soviet cartoons).

I am not sure what is actually Russian about this recipe besides the name and the fact that it's made with ingredients commonly found in a Russian refrigerator (sour cream, dill,...).

It's good as a dip for bread and veggies and can also be used as a sauce for meat (I put it on some fish).

For a nice party presentation, you can hollow out a round loaf of bread and pour in the dip, arranging the bread pieces around it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

How to Make Yummy, Moist Yellow Cake (From Scratch)

I don’t make yellow cake very often because I didn’t have a good recipe and considered it inferior to other flavors. However, my roommate made this recipe the other day and it was quite moist and delicious, even without icing!

I definitely recommend giving this a try and making it your default yellow cake recipe.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

How to Make Scalloped Potatoes

My roommate discovered this recipe and I immediately became a fan. Cheesy, buttery, potato goodness. I like it better than other scalloped potato recipes I've tried to make.

Credit goes to Sue Gregg, who adapted her recipes for life in Russia and had a Russian-language edition printed.

Recipe follows...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

How to Make Sandwich (or Dinner) Rolls

I needed to make some bread for sandwiches since my last batch of bread had turned out a bit on the sweeter side.

The recipe I found is from my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook (11th Edition, 1,200 recipes). I had made them with all-white flour before, and wanted to try something a little heavier. Being out of whole wheat flour, I used rye. No caraway seeds, though.

This dough is SO easy to work with!  Such a pleasant surprise...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

How to Make Mocha Cheesecake

What is it about cheesecake? I'm by no means a connoisseur, but could making one really be that hard?

Due to a "prophetic" dream a few weeks ago, and with prompting from my roommate, I decided to give it a try. What did I have to lose? What could go wrong with mixing a little cream cheese, egg, and sugar together and popping it in the oven?

This is my mom/Joy of Chocolate's recipe:

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How to Make Savory Roasted Veggie Medley

Okay, this is pretty much the same as the eggplant one, except it's a different veggie mix and I threw in a little meat since it was going to be a main dish.

I started with the mystery squash in the photo at right. It's about the same size and shape as what I usually refer to as "summer squash" (yellow), but is pale green with some stripes. Perhaps a zucchini variation...aren't they all cousins, anyway?

I liked the eggplant so much that I decided to use a similar recipe, and it did not disappoint.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How to Make Russian Tacos

Nope, I didn't switch the photos. Those are actually blini, or a Russian version of crepes. After trying various substitutes for taco shells, my roommate decided to serve the filling in blini, and it has become one of my favorites.

The blini are soft enough to fold up and thick enough to hold the filling in. They can be reheated and can also be heated up a saucepan or the oven to get a crunchy effect, a la chimichangas.

Monday, May 10, 2010

How to Make Really Good Brownies

900+reviewers on Recipezaar can’t be wrong! This truly is the best brownie recipe. It’s really easy, and impossible to mess up, especially if you use real butter, cocoa, and vanilla!

½ c butter, melted
½ c unsweetened cocoa
1 c sugar
2 eggs...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

How to Roast Eggplant

Hooray, it's my first veggie post! This recipe is another keeper that I found on recipezaar.

I was in the grocery store recently and happened to notice a display of eggplants. I have the produce section memorized, so something new always catches my eye. I didn't really think about whether or not eggplant was in season, but I decided to grab one while I had the chance.

A few days went by and I realized that it was time to do something with that eggplant. A quick investigation turned up "Roasted Eggplant (Aubergine) Spread." I really don't get the whole "spread" part of it. It's so yummy that I don't know why you would put it on bread or crackers, unless you think it is just too rich on its own. To me it is just a yummy veggie dish to mingle with the other flavors on your plate.

Anyway, here is how to make it:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

How to Make Lasagna

I’m pretty flexible when it comes to lasagna fillings. I like there to be plenty of cheese and tomato sauce, but other than that, the choices are wide open.

The basic elements for lasagna are:
1) SAUCE, supplemented with any combination of meat/veggies
2) An egg/cheese CREAMY component
3) A melty cheese like MOZZARELLA
4) PASTA (store-bought or homemade)

Since most of the ingredients are cooked ahead of time, your main goal is for the noodles to become soft (if not cooked already) and the layers to set. This requires having the right amount of liquid in there that is going to bubble up and seep through all the layers. At least, that’s the way I think of it.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

How to Make Flat Bread

I found this recipe on recipezaar under "Arabian Pita Bread." Then, when I was able to purchase whole wheat flour, I began to substitute it for the white flour.

It's not the best bread for sandwiches, but it's good with hummus or to dip into sauces at a meal.

I like the fact that the bread has some yeast to give it body, but you don't have to worry about it being cooked to the perfect point. Just mix, let rest for a few minutes, and then cook one at a time in a frying pan.

I also like that it looks sort of like Naan. I imagine that you could add various spices to get a little more of an exotic taste.

Monday, May 3, 2010

How to Make Banana Bread-Comfort Food!

My roommate and I both like to bake banana bread, especially to take to a church event or other meeting.

I've tried several good recipes, but I have to say that my mom's (modified James Beard) is one of the best!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

How to Make Filling for Great Greek Pitas

This is one of the yummiest fillings for pita!

As far as I can tell, the original recipe can be found here, but I learned it from a friend back in the college days.

Making this dish is really convenient because you can set the meat in the marinade and make the salad ahead of time, then just sauté the meat when you’re ready to eat and it will all take about 10 minutes to put together.