Saturday, December 27

Festive in New Year - Five days of recipe give away

Who doesn't love New Year's Eve, fun and celebration and the feeling to leave all bad in the old year and start fresh and optimistic in the new one?!
Vancouver with snow - not this Holiday (few years ago)
How many resolutions start in January? It's all that great excitement and energy that keep us going.
So, for me , part of the plan is to also start with a great food in new year.
I know that I always plan too much for that evening but it's kind of tradition.
I also cook ahead for January the 1st : Sour cabbage rolls and Russian salad, It's a part of my heritage from my mom's Holiday cooking.
So in the next five days I will post all my favorite recipes that anyone can make for this festive event!

Happy New Year!


Appetizers day:


BB dip (Beets and Beans)


1 cup cooked white beans
1/2 cup roasted and peeled beets
1 clove garlic chopped
2 tbsp lemon/lime juice
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

Puree beans, beets, garlic and lemon juice, then add salt and pepper to taste. 
Add few spoons of water if dip is too thick.

Healthy hot crab and artichoke dip

1 large can of artichoke hearts

1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup of thick yogurt (reduced fat)
1/4 cup sour cream (reduced fat)
3 scallions
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan 
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1 tablespoon minced jalapeño chilies
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 lb (250 gr) lump crab meat
    Chop artichokes and  transfer to a food processor with a 1/3 cup Parmesan, lemon juice, jalapeños, yogurt and salt. Blend mixture in a processor until smooth and transfer to a bowl. Cook bell pepper in 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan over moderately low heat about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, chop and stir in artichoke mixture, chopped scallions and a crab meat. Transfer to La Chamba pot and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan.

    Bake dip in the middle of an oven until bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm.

    Bagna caôda with truffles

    (Hot garlic and anchovy dip)

    50gr (4 tbsp) unsalted butter
    4 garlic cloves, finely sliced,
    5 salted anchovies, cleaned of bones or 10 fillets
    200 ml (1 cup) extra virgin olive oil
    2 tbsp truffle paste (optional)

    Original dip has no truffles in it, but for a spacial flavor add 2 tbsp of truffles at the end of the cooking. 
    Melt the butter over low heat. Add garlic and saute for few seconds. 
    Add anchovies and pour oil gradually, stirring whole time. Cook for about 10 min, on ultra low heat.
    Serve it when ingredients are well blended and smooth.

      The dip is also great spread over toasted flat bread topped with shaved Romano.

    Green leaf jam

    This Green Leaf Jam belongs to those pesto-type spreads, but lighter, and more sensational! It's easy to make, and compared to all other "old-fashion" preserves, this one could arguably be classified into the gourmet food category.

    2 bunches of spinach leaves (250 gr)
    3-4 tbs good olive oil
    3-4 crushed cloves of garlic
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1 bunch of parsley
    handful of cilantro leafs (to the taste)
    handful of good black olives (preferably just in oil- no vinegar)
    1 tsp smoked paprika 
    squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
    salt and pepper to the taste

    Cook spinach in a steamer until soft. Run cold water over and drain well to squeeze out all the excess water. Chop the leafs to very fine, to get almost a paste.
    In a pot, heat 3/4 of the olive oil on a mild temperature and add garlic and cumin, to get a nutty aroma. Stir finely chopped olives, parsley, cilantro and paprika. Cook for about a minute, add spinach and cook more on a mild heat all together with stirring, approximately 10 minutes. Season and cool.
    Transfer jam in a jar or glass container and cover with lemon juice and some remaining olive oil. 


    Kale chips

    You need:

    1 bunch of kale leaves, rinsed, dried, cut lengthwise in half, center ribs and stems removed
    1-2 tbsp olive oil

    Preheat oven to 250°F (120 C). Toss kale with oil in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper or any herb or spice you like. I sprinkled some Cajun spice over. Arrange leaves in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Bake until crisp, about 30 minutes, they should not be burned/dark brown. Transfer leaves to rack to cool.


    Wasabi peas


    2 cups dried whole peas
    2 tablespoons olive oil

    Wasabi Coating
    4 tsp wasabi powder
    tbsp tahini
    tbsp rice vinegar
    tsp Dijon mustard

    Soak the peas in water to cover overnight.
    Preheat the oven to 200°F (95 C). Drain the peas, then cook them according to instructions on the package. Mix the olive oil with the cooked peas until well coated.
    Oil a baking sheet and spread the peas evenly across it. Place in the oven and bake for 4-5 hours, until the peas appear dry and are crisp when bitten into.
    Combine the wasabi powder, tahini, rice vinegar and mustard in a mixing bowl.
    Combine the wasabi mixture with the hot peas making sure that all the peas are evenly coated.
    Using a rubber spatula, spread the peas on the baking sheet, separating as many as you can. Increase the oven temperature to 250°F (120 C). Bake the peas for 10 to 15 minutes, until the coating is dry.

    Roasted chickpeas - (leblebije, leblebi)



    250 gr dry chickpeas (canned can be used instead)
    2 tbsp olive oil

    salt, pepper

    juice of 1 lime
    chilli peppers powder
    salt, pepper

    Cook chickpeas until soft in a large bowl of water (If you are using canned, wash them only). Drain. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast them in the owen on 300 F (150 C) for about an hour.
    Take them out and sprinkle with olive oil and cayenne (or with lime and chilli) and salt and pepper to taste, until still warm. 


      Green tea pumpkin seeds

      1- 1 1/4 cup whole pumpkin seeds (cleaned, remove pulp and strings,
      wipe with paper towel and let dry)
      1 Tbsp. canola oil
      1/2 Tbsp. salt
      1 tsp. green tea powder or matcha

      Preheat oven to 275 F (135 C).  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Mix the ingredients in a bowl and spread it on the foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Let cool and store in an air-tight container.


      Salted Lupini beans (Tormos)

      1 cup dried lupini
      2 cups water
      1 tsp sea salt per 2 cups of water

      Lupini beans looks like a regular beans but it is bitter and needs to be soaked in salted water for a few days to remove the bitterness and alkaloids.
      Soak the beans in salted water overnight. The next day, drain the water, rinse the beans and make a new salted water solution. Add beans, and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for 7-10 minutes. Drain water and soak again in salted water. Change water twice a day and do this for at least five days. Taste a bean. If you taste any bitterness, soak again for another day, changing water twice a day. Process can last for up to two weeks, until there is no bitterness anymore.
      To serve as a snack, drain desired quantity of beans, drizzle with olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper.


      Anis and Fig Bread

      Aroma and flavor of this bread matches with absolutely anything, from savory to sweet. Serve it with some great soft cheese or blue cheese spread. 

      1/2 tbsp dry yeast
      Pinch of Sugar
      1/2 cup (125ml) warm water
      1 1/2 cups (225g) unbleached flour
      1/2 tbsp aniseed seeds, plus extra to sprinkle on top
      1 tbsp sesame seeds, plus extra to sprinkle on top
      2/3 cup dried figs, stalks removed and diced
      1/2 cup chopped walnuts
      1/3 tsp salt
      1/2 cup (125ml) olive oil
      1 egg, lightly beaten

      1 egg yolk
      1 tablespoon water

      Dissolve yeast and sugar in a warm water and set aside for 10 min.
      In a large bowl combine all other ingredients and add to the yeast. Add more water if necessary to get firm but soft dough. Knead for about 10 more minutes until is smooth and not sticky. Oil a dough and leave it to rise for about two hours to double in size.
      Knock it down and knead a little bit and than place on a oiled baking sheet or  dish for bread baking (I have my La Chamba bowl). Brush with egg yolk mixed with water and sprinkle with a remaining anise and sesame seeds. Leave it to rise for about 1/2 hour.
      Preheat the oven to 400F (200 C) and bake it for about 45 minutes, reducing temperature after first 15 minutes to 350F (175 C).

      Napolitan Bread - Casatiello

      It's Italian, and is usually made for Easter, but this fun bread, will impress and cheer any table, any time of year. 


      For the white dough:
      500 ml water (11/2-2 cups)
      400 gr flour
      200 gr durum wheat semolina
      2 tablespoons of salt
      1 tablespoon pepper
      2 tsp dry yeast
      1 egg

      For the green dough:

      500 ml water (11/2-2 cups)
      400 gr flour
      200 gr durum wheat semolina
      2 tablespoons of salt
      1 tablespoon pepper
      2 tsp dry yeast
      200 g fresh spinach
      5 basil leaves
      1 dl olive oil
      cherry tomatoes
      200 g provolone or other half soft cheese pieces

      White dough:
      First knead the dough by adding the yeast previously proofed in warm water and gradually add the flours and mix together, first formed a smooth mass and then add the egg salt and pepper. We add the remaining flour making a smooth dough to rise by at least 30 minutes .

      Green dough:
      Cook the spinach in a pan with the basil leaves . Let them cool and drain it in a colander that will remove excess water. Puree in a blender. Prepare the dough, as the white flour but without the egg which will be replaced by pureed spinach mass. Mix with other ingredients and let the dough rise for 30 minutes.

      Weave colors
      At this point, re- knead the two compounds separately, add the oil incorporating it slowly to the dough and having placed them on a floured surface, weave them by adding a few pieces of provolone cheese and tomato. You can add pieces of ham etc if you like.
      Let it rise at least another 2 ½ hours in a warm , dry place .

      Bake the colorful Casatiello bread for about 1 hour in the oven at 180 degrees until it is golden brown and serve with love and proud.


      Salmon avocado tartare

      It's a great thing that these recipes can be adapted to the other types of fish . Tuna would be perfect here too! This
      impressive dish is so easy to make, with little bit of preparation. Probably the most unusual part is fish scraping, 
      but honestly, it's fun.

      Recipe is flexible too, with or without avocado and tomato relish..
      Shape it with cookie cutters or else..

      Salmon Tartar Recipe

      Salmon Carpaccio:
      1 lb salmon, scraped
      1/4 cup lime juice
      1 tablespoons mustard
      1/4 cup capers, drained
      1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
      2 tablespoons olive oil
      2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
      Salt and freshly ground pepper 

      Scrape whole salmon piece in the bowl Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper
      to taste.
      Up to this point, you have a nice Salmon Carpaccio: Just as an appetizer, better cut the salmon instead of 
      scraping, and leave it for a few hours so lime and spices marinate / "cook" the salmon completely.

      Avocado paste:
      2 Haas avocados, peeled and pitted 
      2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 
      2 tablespoons of chopped on
      Tomato Relish:
      1 chopped tomato 
      1 teaspoon of chopped hot jalapeno
      1 tablespoon  chopped onion
      chopped cilantro (1/4 of teaspoon)

      To assemble :
      Place avocados, lime juice in a medium bowl and mash with a fork until almost smooth, but some texture remains. Add the onion and fold until almost combined and season with salt and pepper to taste. 
      Assemble: Fill the molds with salmon tartar in the center , top with a teaspoon of avocado paste and 1 teaspoon
      of tomato relish.  Serve immediately.

      Salmon and peas terrine


      6 sheets of gelatin (12 g),
      800 g of unshelled fresh peas (or frozen 350 g), 
      2 sticks of lemongrass,
       a knob of ginger,
      700 g salmon fillet, skinned and boned, 
      5 sheets of nori (in organic stores or exotic), 
      1 tsp to s. olive oil, 
      salt, pepper. 


      Put the gelatin in cold water.  Cut the ends of the lemongrass, remove its hard envelope, then chop it. Peel and grate the ginger. Cook the peas from 3 to 5 min in boiling salted water with lemon grass and ginger. Drain them and set aside the cooking water. Mix the peas in blender with some of that water. Fold in gelatin. Cut the salmon into five rectangular section. Add salt and pepper. Wrap each with a sheet of nori, glued to the end with a little water. Bake these in hot oil,  2 minutes each sections. In a loaf pan lined with plastic wrap, place two pieces on the sides, fill the space with the cold pea soup. Fill central section with soup around. Place it in the fridge for 3 h. 

      Salmon rillettes (favourite of Pierre Trudeau - Canada's PM) 

      Smoked and fresh salmon rillettes

      - 1 tablespoon (15 mL) olive oil
      - 1 pound (450 g) boneless, fresh wild Pacific salmon filet (may substitute Atlantic)
      - 31/2 ounces (100 g) smoked salmon
      - 2 shallots
      - 1 tablespoon (15 mL) capers
      - 1/2 bunch fresh chives
      - 1 cup (250 mL) yogurt
      - Juice from 1/2 lime
      - 1/2 cup (1 stick/125 mL) clarified unsalted butter
      - 2 drops Tabasco sauce

      Note: All ingredients must be at room temperature
      Brush olive oil over fresh salmon; wrap in aluminum foil and cook in oven preheated to 400 degreesF (200 degreesC) for 8 minutes. Remove and let cool.
      Break up cooked salmon by hand into smaller chunks of about 1/2 inch (12 mm). Cut smoked salmon into similar-size pieces.
      Chop shallots, capers and chives and hand mix in a stainless steel bowl with cooked salmon, smoked salmon, yogurt, lime juice and clarified butter. Mix in Tabasco, then place mixture in a 4-cup (1-L) terrine mould and refrigerate, covered, 6 hours.
      Serve sliced 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick with Pommeroy Mustard Mayonnaise (3 parts mayonnaise to 1 part grainy mustard).

      Jambon Persillé - Ham in jellied parsley

      This is a french classic a kind of terrine with a puree of parsley leaves  with ham in jello.
      Here is a classic traditional recipe that uses raw uncooked ham, and it takes more than few hours to make. It is usaly made for Christmas or Easter.
      Classic Jamon Persille

      4-lb.(2kg) trimmed, uncooked ham, with bone
      1 lbs. veal bones
      1 medium onion
      2 carrots
      1 small clove garlic, whole, plus 2 minced
      3 black peppercorns
      2 tbsp. fresh tarragon leaves
      2 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
      1 cups dry white wine
      1 cups chicken/beef broth
      2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
      2 large egg whites
      1/2 package powdered gelatin
      2 cups parsley leaves, minced
      Salt and freshly ground pepper
      In a large pot, combine ham, veal bones,  onion, carrots, whole garlic clove, peppercorns, tarragon, thyme, wine, chicken broth, and enough water to cover ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until ham is tender, about 4-5 hours. Remove from heat and cool for at least 1 hour.
      Remove ham from bone and discard bone, along with veal bones. Shred ham into long pieces and cut into 1⁄4" dice. Combine ham, vinegar, and minced garlic, then set aside.
      Reduce stock over high heat, to about 3 cups. Adjust seasoning. Stock should be highly flavored at this point. Remove onions, roughly chop or mash them, and add to ham mixture. Strain stock through a cheesecloth.
      Beat egg whites until stiff, and stir into stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. The crust, that forms will  clarifying the stock. Strain, pouring carefully to avoid disturbing raft; discard raft. Dissolve gelatin in 1 tbsp. cold water and stir into hot stock.
      Pour a 1/3 of the stock into an oiled loaf pan. Sprinkle with a thin layer of parsley, then a layer of the ham mixture, and season with salt and pepper. Repeat until ham and parsley are used up, ending with a layer of parsley. Add stock to cover. Chill over night. Refrigerate remaining stock, and dice, after it congeals, for garnish. Unmold onto a platter and serve with diced aspic.

      Crostini alla Chiantigiana
      (chicken liver pate on crostini)

      225g (8oz) chicken livers chopped
      4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
      1 onion finely chopped
      3 tbsp dry white vine
      1 tbsp dry sage
      1 1/2 tbsp salted capers chopped
      3 garlic cloves chopped
      2 canned anchovy fillets chopped
      1tbsp dry black olives chopped
      1 pinch of pepper

      slices of ciabatta bread

      Trim the livers and chop into quarters. Heat oil in a pan and add an onion and saute for 10 minutes, add livers and 1 tbsp of sage and saute until livers are cooked (about 10 minutes). Increase the heat, add the wine and cook for a few more minutes. Take the pan off the heat and add the anchovies, olives, garlic, capers and pepper. No salt will be needed here because of the saltines of anchovies and capers.
      Transfer into a food processor and pulse for few seconds or mash if you want more coarse pate.
      Heat your bread, top with pate and good goat cheese.
      This could be great lunch with a bowl of lettuce or a tomato salad.

      Duck Liver Parfait
      Makes 1 terrine or 12 ramekins to serve 12
      - 2 pounds (900 g) duck or chicken livers, cleaned to remove all fatty tissues
      - 1/2 pound (2 sticks/250 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
      - 1 shallot
      - 11/2 ounces (40 mL) Armagnac liqueur
      - 2 tablespoons (25 mL) liquid honey
      - 2 large eggs
      - Salt and pepper, to taste

      Blend all ingredients in an electric mixer or food processor working in batches if necessary, and pass through a very fine sieve. Place pate in 12 individual 4-ounce (115-mL) ramekins or 1 large terrine mould (size 6 cups/1.5 L)
      Place ramekins or terrine mould in a larger roasting pan; pour boiling water in pan to come 2/3 up sides of outside of ramekins/terrine mould (bain marie). 
      Bake in preheated oven at 300 degreesF (150 degreesC) for 20 to 25 minutes, or until internal temperature of parfait using an instant-read thermometer reaches 135 F (57 degrees C). Remove from oven and cool while still in the hot water bain-marie.
      When cool to room temperature, refrigerate ramekins/terrine mould, covered, at least 6 hours before serving. Serve with toasted gingerbread 

      8 hot dogs
      1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
      vegetable oil
      1 1/2 cups cornmeal
      1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
      1 teaspoon sugar
      1/2 teaspoon baking soda
      1/8 teaspoon cayenne
      2 large eggs
      1 1/4 cups buttermilk
        And don't  hesitate to experiment, you never know ... it may turn out good!

        Ham and cheese crepe pockets

        This is very creative recipe. Many of ingredients could be substituted with others. It's up to your taste and creativity.  At the end they can also be breaded and than baked,. 

        For four crepes, you need:
        8 slices of good ham (prosciutto cotto)
        8 slices of mozzarella or other half-soft cheese
        vegetable spread
        cream cheese
        grilled vegetables or buscetta

        Eggs and breadcrumbs for breading

        Lay a crepe on a plate. Start layering in the middle: spread cream cheese, one ham slice, bruschetta, cheese slice, grilled vegetables, cheese and at the end slice of ham. Fold front part of crepe over ham, than fold sides and at the end  fold the last part of crepe. Now you have crepe pocket that can be breaded in eggs and breadcrumbs (if desired-dip in flour than eggs and brad crumbs) and than baked in a pan for couple of minutes or without breading until cheese melts inside. Serve with fresh salad.

        Veggie crepe cake
        (This is more like a souffle made of crepes taken again from Julia Child's cookbook)

        1 lb carrots
        6 tbsp butter
        salt and pepper
        1/2 tsp dill
        1 lb fresh mushrooms
        4 tbsp minced scallions
        1 bunch of fresh broccoli

        2 cups of grated cheese like Gruyere 

        Custard mixture:
        1 cup of cream cheese
        6 eggs
        1 cup milk
        salt and pepper
        pinch of nutmeg

        Prepare vegetables separately. Cook carrots with dill in one pan, mushrooms with scallions in another and in a pot of boiling water cook broccoli until tender. Prepare custard mixture by mixing it in a food processor. In oiled round pan lay one crepe. Spread 1/4 of the cheese over the crepe. Cover it with cooked carrot mix, pressing them well and top with 1/3 custard. Lay over another crepe and than layer mushrooms mix over

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