Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Green Veggie Juice

Sometimes (quite often actually) I like to charge up my fuel cells with a mid-day tall, cool glass of green veggie juice. It is a quick way to get a ton of fresh veggie nutrients, vitamins, anti-oxidants, chlorophyll, etc. It is a low calorie, high-energy kind of food. And I've been told that the green pepper is especially good for the skin. Sold? Yeah, I thought so. I have a non-photo worthy old beat-up Juiceman Juicer that my old man and I were blessed with when we got married. And it has been well used! But it gets the job done... even if it's not quite pretty enough for the pictures!

I am particularly fond of my current juicer because it gives you so much juice for what you put into it! I got a full 16 oz glass of juice from the produce pictured above. Half an apple and some old, left over carrot sticks were added for a hint of sweet... and that it is only one cucumber... I promise! Even though I did some unintentional trick photography to make it look like two!

I am really, really looking forward to having a little salad and juicing garden again this year!

Bulgaria: Meatball Soup (and Peach Cobbler)

image taken from a google search page without permission


 Recently our dining travels have led us to the charming country of Bulgaria. Upon reading the few recipes listed under this country in the UN cookbook I was initially disappointed with the slim pickings. However, I was wrong to jump to conclusions. I tried out the 'Meatball Soup' and it wasn't much to look at when I was stirring it over the stove.
Upon first reading the recipe I had my doubts so I decided that even if it wasn't strictly 'Bulgarian' I would be sure to serve a tasty dessert to bribe the kids into trying the soup! But in the end the soup was hearty, warm and satisfying and everyone was happy to eat it up! They were also pretty happy about eating up the peach cobbler I made as the shameless bribery dessert. I would highly recommend this recipe. I read through the first few reviews and followed the suggestions to lessen the salt and sprinkled a little cinnamon and nutmeg over the peaches. Which were from a can because they were out of season.

Bulgarian Meatball Soup with fresh homemade bread and butter

 I felt like we made such a cozy little peasant family when we were around the table all happily eating such a simple, hearty dinner of meatball soup and fresh bread with thick butter!

Bulgarian Meatball Soup

Of course when it came time for dessert we were back to eating like kings!

Peach Cobbler

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bolivia: Beef Empanadas with Fiesta Rice

image taken from a google search results page without permission
Our table travels have recently taken us to the exciting, inspiring, soulful South American country of Bolivia! What an adventure it was... this has been one of our favorite countries to research online and learn about. So much color and life and beautiful, soaring music! Check out this video and let it play while you read the rest of the post. It will help set the mood.

There are other, higher quality videos with similar content on you tube... but I chose this one to share with you because it seemed more authentic and spirited.

 The dish we chose from the United Nations Cookbook from the country of Bolivia was called 'Empanadas de Carne' and although it was an enjoyable dish to prepare, I don't think I did it justice.
Empanadas de Carne
In my typical, granola mom style I balked at the idea of deep frying the Empanadas and instead baked them on a sheet... they were very dry and a little hard to chew... versus the way they really should be... soft and flaky. :/

However, it is worth noting that everyone in my family was a good sport and ate them happily and without complaining... they're the best! I really enjoyed the filling as it was beautiful mix of veggies, steak and fruit all stir fried together in a pan until well cooked down and then tucked into the empanadas.

There was a bit of extra filling and I ran out of dough it in! So I saved the day by mixing it into the rice and it was soooo delicious. This I may be making again sometime soon! Who knows? Maybe I will even give deep frying a shot... sometime.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Chicken Curry and Rice... and my best yet Na'an!

Every now and again I get a bit of a taste for some curry. Usually I will whip this up on a school night and skip the extra task of making fresh garlic na'an. Since I found the most perfect homemade garlic na'an recipe I have ever tried... I made it again the next week. Cause I had that tell tale deep hankerin' for some perfect garlic na'an... and I knew that nothing else was going to get that job done.

Chicken Curry
serves 6-8

1/4 cup olive oil 
1 onion diced
2 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp curry
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup plain yogurt 
1 lb chicken, deboned and cubed. left over is fine too.
1 cup sweet green peas
1 small potato rinsed, and diced to pea size and par boiled 5 minutes
1 can chickpeas, rinsed well
1 tsp salt
another 1/2 cup yogurt

If using raw chicken, cook this few extra Tbsp of olive oil ahead and set this aside. Saute` the onions with the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once they are quite soft add the spices. They will probably absorb any oil left in the pan... this is okay just stir well to fully combine and let the heat roast the spices for a few minutes. Then with a fork or whisk, add yogurt and stir well. Add the chicken to the skillet along with the peas, diced par-boiled potatoes, and rinsed chickpeas. Stir to coat all ingredients with the sauce. Add the rest of the yogurt and salt to taste. If you want more sauce add more yogurt. I like to serve my curry with extra long grain basmati rice from India and some fresh garlic na'an following this recipe.

One mother's quest to reinvent the wheel... with TUNA!

There was a short season of my childhood where if you had told me that I would never have to eat tuna fish again... I would have kissed your feet in unabashed, worshipful appreciation. I hated the stuff for a while there. But, fortunately for you, me and my gifted young progeny my situation with tuna fish has evolved over the years.

 Finally, after much travels and travails I have arrived on the shores of the promised land. I am honored to share with you the often transcendent joy of Tuna Wheels.

Tuna Wheels
serves 5


For Dough:
1 cup hot tap water
2 tsp active dry yeast
2 tsp honey
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp flax seed meal
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp dill (dry)
2 1/2 cups of freshly milled organic whole wheat flour
For Filling:
4 cans of tuna
1/4 cup dollop of mayo
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp celery seeds
 the juice from one lemon
salt and pepper to taste

4 oz shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese

In a large mixing bowl whisk the hot water, yeast and honey. Cover this with a clean kitchen towel and set this aside to activate for ten minutes. While you are waiting is the perfect time to mix your filling. In a medium mixing bowl add your drained tuna, mayo, spices and lemon juice. Mix well with a fork. Return to your yeast mixture and add the rest of the ingredients in order given, whisking before and after each cup or so of flour. This helps to activate the gluten and improves the consistency of the finished product. Then you will roll out the dough on a well floured surface into an approximate 18x20 rectangle. Spread the filling evenly over the dough. Roll this up like a jelly roll. Using the 'ninja thread' method* cut your wheels in about 1" thickness and lay them on a greased and cornmeal powdered baking sheet. Once they are rolled, cut and laid out there is only one step left! Top each one with a pinch of the grated extra sharp cheddar cheese. Pop those babies in the oven and bake them for about 15 minutes or so at 400 degrees. Sit back, relax and prepare yourself to be loved and adored by your family and friends.

Juda made a 'tuna wheel birthday cupcake' by embedding a carrot stick into the middle of his wheel. Priceless.
*Ninja thread method = slide a long, thin string (unflavored dental floss would work well... I use embroidery thread) under one side of the roll as far as the desired width of the wheel. Make an 'x' shape with the thread over the roll... and then quickly pull the 'x' closed flat across the surface. This will cut a perfect wheel without smushing the roll or the wheel.