Wednesday, March 29, 2006

huzza for mezze

My favorite:

Mezze is a cold platter where you eat lots of different things together. This is my panultimate favorite because I'm the sort who wants to eat just a little bit of everything.

Putting together a mezze is a breeze once you have the right ingredients: store bought hummus, greek yogurt, stuffed grape leaves, marinated olives, feta, and cucumber salad.

I got introduced to spicy marinated olives through a good friend whose father is Moroccan.

Spicy Marinated Olives

marinated olives:

1 lb olives
2 T red pepper flakes
juice of 1 lemon
2 serrano chilies chopped
1/4 c olive oil

In a large ziplock bag put all the olives and half the brine from the jar in it. Add the rest of the stuff. marinate for at least four hours. When the olives are gone (which happens more quickly than you'd think) add more olives to the marinade mixture.

Fake Tabouleh Salad

I rarely have the tabouleh around the house, so here's my modified salad:

1/3 English hothouse cucumber
1/4 bunch of parsley (flat leaved)
2 sprigs of fresh mint
2 T of lemon juice
1/4 small red onion minced

When I serve the hummus, I add a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika.

Mezze is fabuous for a lazy lunch.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

how to use up a lot of dill

Gravlax gone awry.

I actually tried to make gravlax from scratch from a Norwegian cookbook, but it ended up being a disaster so instead I promptly took myself to the supermarket and bought some smoked salmon instead.

I am not certain if this really qualifies as cooking so much as just putting all the ingredients on one plate.

Collect the following ingredients:

Steamed potatoes with dill (preferrably new potatoes)
Wasa sourdough rye crispbread
Butter (preferrably Danish or European buttter)
Creme fraiche (or sour cream)
Bunch of chives
Bunch of fresh dill
Gravlax or Lox
Hard boiled eggs
Mature English Cheddar (the Swedes would likely use Jarlsberg)
Sweet Mustard Sauce (recipe follows)

Sweet Mustard Sauce

8 T of Dijon mustard
8 T of sugar
2 T of vinegar
3 T chopped dill
4 T oil

The sauce will keep for a week in the refrigerator.

How to steam potatoes. Use a vegetable steamer and steam them for about 20 minutes. As you can see, I cut mine into smaller pieces so they cooked faster. Drape dill over potatoes to flavor them while they're being steamed.

And, as the Swedes say: Varsågod och äta!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

there's no such thing as too much chocolate

Sometimes a girl needs a chocolate fix ...

Chocolate Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Toblerone Ganache

3 oz semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 c hot brewed coffee
3 c sugar
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 t baking soda
3/4 t baking powder
1 1/4 t salt
3 large eggs
3/4 c butter (melted)
3/4 c milk
3/4 c greek yogurt (or 1 1/2 c buttermilk or half ratio of milk and sour cream)
1 t vanilla

Dark Chocolate Toblerone Ganache

8 oz dark chocolate (semi-sweet)
8 oz Toblerone
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Line cupcake pans with cupcake papers.

Chop the 3 oz of chocolate and combine with the hot chocolate and let it melt and mix it until it's smooth.

Combine and mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl: sugar, flour, salt, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder.

In another large bowl beat the eggs and add the butter, vanilla, and chocolate/coffee mixture. Add the dry ingredients to the wet combining them until somewhat smooth.

Bake for about 20 minutes, checking at 15 minute in case the oven runs hot.

How to make the frosting:

Bring 1 cup of heavy whipping cream to a near boil and add chocolates and stir until combined. Set in freezer and every five minutes check and stir until nicely thickened.

This makes a bajillion cupcakes. Sharing is nice!