Cooking with Love

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Eggplant - not one of my favorite Veggies - but...

No secret... I am not keen on eggplant. Never was. never will be. BUT....I do love the smell of an eggplant roasting over an open fire. The aroma is something that you cannot ignore. In a good way, not like Guava's for instance (I love the fruit I dislike their scent).
Eggplant is very common both in the mediteranean cuisine and also of the polish jews (well, at least my grandmother used to make it so very often - too often for me). My grandmother used to try to con me into eating it. She succeeded once and it took me 40 years to agree to try it again. And luckily - it was in a Rumanian restaurant, and I loved it. But only this salad. I will never try eggplant in any other way and will never try anything that I suspect may have it in it.
Sorry all eggplant lovers - and I know you are many.

Rumanian Eggplant Salad / Dip

2 medium eggplants
1 jar of roasted red peppers, with the marinade (approx. 500 grams)
1/4 cup vinegar
3-4 garlic
2Tbsp. sugar
salt & pepper

Over an open heat (if you have a bbq ready even better) place the eggplant. If using the stove - cover with aluminum foil, the "charring" is messy. You can also use the broiler - but the charring efect isn't as great. Turn occasionally. The eggplant is ready when it is charred on all sides and its juices start oozing out. Put aside and let cool.
In a food processor process the peppers with the marinade and the garlic till smooth.
Put in a bowl and add the "meat" of the eggplant to the processor and process till chunky.Add to the bowl. Add the sugar and vinegar, salt and pepper. Taste and add more vinegar if necessary.
Cover and serve cold.
Keeps for over a week

Charred meat of eggplant

This is the consistency

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Virtual Girls Night In.....

Silvermoon Dragon from Australia is hosting the October blog event in order to raise awareness for breast cancer. I just saw her post today and hurried to make my Reeses Nesquik cupcakes.
Pink is feminine. Chocolate is feminine - sweet, dark and addicting.
Please please please get your mamography today!

These cupcake are the easiet in the world. No need to take out the kitchenaid - just whisk everything together.

Reeses Nesquik Breast Cancer Awareness Cupcakes

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup Nesquik
1 cup sugar
1 cup oil
3 eggs
1/2 cup cream

15 small reeses (I even found the sugarfree kind!)

15 cupcake cups

150 grams bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup cream
1 TBS. Frangelico (optional)

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, oil, cream, nesquik and eggs.
Pour about a TBS. of batter in each cup and plac a Reese cup. Fill 3/4 high with remaining batter.
Bake for approx. 25 minutes on medium heat.
Cupcakes will fall in the middle.
Melt the chocolate in a pan with the remaining cream till incorporated. Remove from heat and add the Frangelico.
Pour ganach in each cupcake.
Decorate as you please. I used those mile long bubble gums in order to make the pink ribbon.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Starve a Fever, Feed a Cold...?

Or in other words - prepare yourself for winter. It is in the air...something crisp and cool after so many days of summer heat. Yes - I love summer, I love the beach, I love the sun. But even I have to admit - there is a special romance in the winter air. Cuddling under warm blankets while the rain pours outside. Those beautiful thunder storms that light up the sky....Oh, who am I kidding - its all about the soups. We love soups. Warm scents that heat the house and heart. And those winter colds and flus that constantly live here. Yes - chicken soup is the jewish penecillin, but beleive me - all soups are a great medication for any cold. The abundance of those winter veggies is here.

Cream of Potato Soup

3-4 leeks, chopped (white part only)
100 grams butter
4-5 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1.75 liters chicken broth
250 ml cream (or half & half)
salt & pepper
Goat cheese and croutons for garnish (optional)

Melt butter in pot and sautee leeks till softened - do NOT brown!

Add potatoes and continue to saute.
Add chicken broth and cook till potatos are soft.
Puree the soup.

Add salt and pepper.
Stir in cream.
Garnish with goat cheese and croutons.

And have a healthy warm winter.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I'm Back - and love is in the air...

I have always envied those that can make the perfect cookie. Although I am far from it, I am sure that with practice - I will get there, or at least as close as possible.
I have found the Ultimate dough and am working on the royal icing, which does need practice. Alot of practice.
But what better way to decorate cookies than - heart cookies. Yeah, I know - Halloween is just around the corner and there is still along way to go - but when love is in the air - than every day is a celebration of love....:-)

Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 Tbs. milk (which I completly omitted)
3 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

In a bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Sert aside.
In a mixer bowl, on high, beat sugar and butter till fluffy. Add beaten egg and milk.
Gradually add the flour mixture on low till the dough is incorporated and unsticks from the side of the mixer bowl.
Divide into two balls, wrap in saran wrap and chill for an hour.

Preheat oven to 140C. use silpat or grease cookie pan.Roll the dough gently and cut with whatever cooke cutters your heart desires. Bake till cookies start turning golden (mine took 6 minutes exactly).

Completely cool on rack.

Royal Icing:

1/2 egg white
1 cup - 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Food coloring of choice - gel!!

This is tricky. Combine egg white and sugar and stir with a fork. The icing should be very very thick. If its not thick than it won't hold and will be pretty runny on your cookie. Add whatever food coloring you choose.

When cookies are completely cool - start decorating. use freehand or baker bag with assorted tips.