Happy Easter 2013!

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Happy Easter to all my readers! It’s a beautiful day to enjoy our family, friends and good food. I hope you all are having a good time! What are your Easter plans? For Easter 2013, it will be a relaxing day for my family and I. We (including our Papillon-mix dog) are going out to eat! There are a number of restaurants in my town that allow dogs in the outdoor area. Can’t wait! Since I am not cooking, of course I had to bake something! ūüėÄ I read an interesting post over at Lois Elsden’s blog (be sure to check out her blog!) on her Easter treats and saw a recipe for Easter Biscuits that fascinated me.

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Matza Lasagna with Greens & Mushrooms

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Since it’s Holy Week and Passover at the same time, I had to cook dinners with no meat and also Kosher for Passover for both my husband and I. During Holy Week, there are days when Catholics abstain from meat. I always follow these traditions. My husband always follows his Jewish traditions too. So for a dinner that had no meat and was Kosher, I was reminded of some ideas I found last year, while perusing Pinterest.¬†I saw some pins on lasagna¬†using matza as the noodles. So, I decided to give it a go and made matza lasagna with greens & mushrooms. Continue reading

Passover Popovers

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Popovers for Passover? Never heard of them until about a year ago when my Grandma-in-law gave me a recipe for it after we were all full from eating the really good food that she made for Passover seder last year. After getting that recipe, a few days later, I tried making them and they turned out to be delicious. Actually, they are “delectable” as Martha Stewart would often describe the food she was tasting on TV. This recipe is from a Martha Stewart episode on Passover years ago. These popovers are made from matzo cake meal, which I also used in the mocha brownies. The procedure is pretty straightforward. It’s like making choux pastry. Continue reading

Mocha Brownies for Passover

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As the sun sets, I would like to wish you all a Happy Passover! I know that many of you are busy  preparing for the holiday and festivities. I hope that your seder dinner goes well and you have a great time!  Though I am not Jewish, my husband is following the traditions and that means food for him has to be Kosher for Passover. So, for something sweet to enjoy, I made Mocha Nut Brownies for Passover.

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Filipino Chicken Noodle Soup with Turkey Meatballs (Sotanghon Soup)

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What are cellophane noodles? Do you know what they are? It is a type of noodle made out of mung bean starch and is also known as mung bean threads, glass noodles, or mung bean vermicelli among other names. Filipinos call it sotanghon. These are one of my favorite noodles and my mom would often cook with sotanghon more than bihon (rice vermicelli). I guess I was jonesing for some sotanghon soup. It’s the Filipino version of chicken noodle soup, though there are multiple variations on chicken noodle soup in Filipino cuisine. Just replace the sotanghon with elbow macaroni and you have¬†sopas! Or take out some of the veggies, use homemade pasta and you have miki nilad-dit, which is my dad’s specialty. Today is sotanghon day and even though the weather has gotten a bit warmer, I’m still wanting some soup. How about you? Heck, I don’t mind eating this in the heat of summer either! ūüėÄ It’s just a comforting dish. I’ve added some turkey meatballs to make a two bird soup of Chicken Sotanghon Soup with Turkey Meatballs. Continue reading

Lucky Pasta

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This weekend was all about green things and Irish fun. I hope you all had a fun St. Patrick’s Day weekend! We had a good time with good food and good people adorned with green. Had some left over corned beef and cabbage and some cute four-leaf clover shaped pasta I found at World Market so I made a dish out of it: ¬†lucky pasta. Continue reading

St. Patrick’s Day inspired cupcakes

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I couldn’t help myself. I jumped on the bandwagon and baked something with chocolate and stout! Luscious cakes.¬†Gotta live a little, right?¬†ūüėÄ In recent years, there has been an explosion of chocolate and stout desserts especially for St. Patrick’s Day and last year I made chocolate stout cupcakes from Nook & Pantry. Those were really good. This year, I baked another chocolate stout cupcake, but with different ingredients based on the butternut squash, carrot, and hazelnut muffins I recently made. Using that recipe¬†and a recipe from Cannelle et Vanille¬†as motivation,¬†I came up with St. Patrick’s Day inspired stout and chocolate¬†cupcakes with Carolans cream cheese frosting. These cupcakes can be gluten-free if you use gluten-free dark beer. Continue reading

Greek Greens Pie with Cornbread Crust (Hortopita)

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Those that know me know that not only do I love to cook, but also that I like to spend some time watching cooking shows. I was watching PBS one morning and came across a show on Greek cuisine called¬†The Cooking Odyssey hosted by Chef Yanni Mameletzis. It was an episode on Trikala, a city in Northwestern Greece, in Thessaly. ¬†I enjoyed watching the show. Every time I see Greece on TV or some sort of media, its so beautiful it just makes me feel like in awe, like I would want to be in that world. I’d be staring at the beautiful scenery with my mouth open, my eye muscles relaxed and softened to a gaze as if in a trance. Haha, anyways, most of the PBS cooking shows I like, in contrast to Food Network. What do you guys think about PBS or Food Network? PBS shows appeal to me more, though there are some shows that I like on FN. On¬†The Cooking Odyssey, a particular rustic-type pie called¬†hortopita caught my eye. It is a cornmeal pie with a wild greens filling. I never saw cornmeal used as a pie crust, or if I did, it did not catch my attention then. I’ve eaten¬†phyllo based dishes such as spanakopita, but didn’t know that Greek cuisine included cornmeal much. So…since I was fascinated, on a nice and sunny day ¬†in San Diego while yearning to be in Greece, I made Greek Greens Pie with Cornbread Crust. Continue reading

Carrot and Hazelnut Muffins…with a hidden ingredient

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“The rule is flavor, and flavor rules.”

-Master Breadmaker Peter Reinhart

Okay, I won’t keep you in suspense, the hidden ingredient to these carrot and hazelnut muffins is…butternut squash! These muffins have another secret too…they are gluten-free! But they taste really good! That’s no secret ūüôā A year ago I never thought that I would cook gluten-free foods. I’m not on a gluten-free diet, but I love the challenge of cooking gluten-free, especially in baking, where baked goods usually depend on the chemistry of gluten. I enjoy science, and gluten-free baking is like a science experiment for me, in addition to cooking in general. I realized that even if dishes are gluten-free–if it tastes good and makes you feel good, what’s the harm in that? Thus, I wholeheartedly subscribe to Peter Reinhart’s “Flavor Rule” where flavor determines what I enjoy in a dish, not labels–whether gluten-free or otherwise.

Now, back to the muffins. These butternut squash,¬†carrot and hazelnut muffins were inspired by a recipe I found in¬†Whole Living magazine. It is a great all-around muffin recipe with a nice soft and moist texture. They taste even better the next day, or days later. Makes for a great post-workout snack, after-work/school snack, or even as part of a quick breakfast (though I prefer more savory foods in the morning). I decided to use carrot instead of apple in the original recipe and it was definitely yummy. I think you can pretty much sub or add in ingredients like you would in a normal muffin or quick-bread recipe. Zucchini, banana, and chocolate, you’re next!

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