Turns out, you can have a rainbow in your own home – Braised Vegetables.

I knew we are going to have barbecue this weekend. I will let you know how it all turned out afterwards. I also knew that I did not want any heavy garnish to go with the barbecue. Besides, we have already had a full load of macaroni, potatoes (fried ones, boiled ones…any kind), hence my strong desire for changes. And yes, after looking at those mind-blowing kitchen pictures yesterday, I honorably declared: “I want diversity!”  It appears that those photos did their work, they did inspire me to get more colors into my life.

Plus, with all that meat lying on a plate, you would want something light as a garnish, no? Not one of us would fancy a phrase: “A moment on the lips, forever on the hips!” A balance is required in everything. And, the amazing thing is, if you don’t want to eat it with anything else, just enjoy it as it is! So, I wish to say “Gratitude” to those who came up with such a simple recipe –  Braised Veggies. My own version of a French creation – Ratatouille! The thing is, you can just open your fridge and start visualizing how your garnish becomes a reality. It is really of no relevance what you throw in, virtually everything combines together when you talk about vegetables.

Here’s how its done: As I said before, I just went up to my fridge, looked closely and, oh Heavens, I found all the colors I needed. Those bright large peppers (red, yellow, green), onions, tomatoes, parsley, cabbage, garlic, carrots, squash, eggplants…and even broccoli – take pairs, this way you will certainly know you have enough for everyone in your dearest family! Well, maybe cut down a little on the eggplant (totally depends on its size)

I grabbed all, and began dicing, slicing and yes, frying. (Some of them, like eggplants and squash) *But remember that guys like squash and eggplant need to be added last, as they have a tendency to become soft real fast. So, you don’t even have to fry them for a long time. Everything I took, I sliced in large pieces, let the rainbow of colors show in full power! *Every time you put something in a saucepan, or if you want to go all fancy – a wok, remember to add gradually, letting each of the vegetables to take in the juice for several minutes and stir before you add another one. The order is this: Cabbage, onions, carrots, our favorites of all time – colorful large peppers, broccoli (I had frozen, so it needed more time to cook), tomatoes, and…after I waited for about half hour – 40 minutes with all that stirring and mixing, I finally added the eggplants (or an eggplant), and squashes. I took all the strength I got left and mixed those guys together!

Here’s a little secret, for I did not want it to become dry like when walking in a desert, I actually made a sauce for them.

Sauce:  Sour cream (or flour in water), water, pressed garlic (about 5 large cloves or the way you like it) mixed together well. Pour the sauce into the pan, cover with a lid and wait for some magic to happen for about 5 minutes. Add parsley, salt and pepper, decorate!

The Lesson: Mood elevated, light food prepared (despite the sour cream, as I didn’t add a lot of it), diversity achieved!

Enjoy and be healthy!

Want even more diversity in your food:

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I couldn’t, I just couldn’t pass this one by….

I know this is not exactly edible, but any woman in here will understand me when she sees this. And plus, kitchen is the place here you cook, so it seemed quite important to me to post this today. It turns out that kitchen is the place where I spent most of my free time, and it is of value to me that this place would be magical (as my food is, I like to believe), and most of all comfortable and inspiring to create my beauties in.

Talking about creativity! Anyone cooking in these kind of kitchens will probably get their muses for cooking every second! When I started living away from my parents, one of my dreams was to have a kitchen with an island. Man, how narrow my dreams were. I, for sure, want one of those now. Doesn’t really matter which one, they all look beautiful to me. The mix of modern design and the feeling of being at home. Well, maybe number 5 or 7 would actually fit me in the best way possible. They just seem more cozy.

Look at the one with piano on top. Not bad, huh? Maybe only I would write recipes instead of notes on the wall=) But, it is just me.

The morale of all this: These kind of designs would inspire me to cook even more.

Powered by: https://www.facebook.com/CreativeIdeass

Have a great Thanksgiving and  Happy Hanukkah Everyone!

These two clashed together this year, huh?

Check it out for yourself:

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Welcome to my childhood – Chicken today!

Do you remember when your mommy would give you a bowl of hot chicken soup everytime you were cold, or worse, got sick? I do. For me, this bowl of soup was a symbol of her warmth, her care, her love. One of the many…So, cooking this soup today brought all the memories back. And though, I am not a mommy myself (for now), I am sure I will teach my kids how to prepare it someday (one of my colorfull dreams)

I recall the smile on my face everytime I put a spoon of this soup in my mouth. Priceless…I always liked the green stuff (parsley, green onions) swimming inside it. Made me the hapiest kid in the world…

* I gotta say that I let myself distort the original recipe a little bit, I added mushrooms. Let you know how it tastes. According to my loving boyfriend, pretty darn good!

You know you want it!

You know you want it!

 

 

To share it with you in practice and not just in words, here it is, one of my family traditions, right from the heart:

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

Chicken – 500 g (preferably chiken breast), carrots – 2-3, onion-1 – 1.5, mushrooms – 6-7 small ones, chicken stock cubes or powder (3-4 table spoons), macaroni (those very thin, small ones you usually would use for soups) – a handful, parsley, pepper, salt, garlic – 4 cloves.

The Works:

Dice the onions, carrots, and slice the mushrooms. Prepare a frying pan. First fry the onions, see when they change color, then add the carrots. Mix together and wait about 3 minutes. Prepare for the next step. Fry the mushrooms separately, also for about 3 minutes. *Needless to say that while you are working hard on frying all these, it is important to also see that your chicken is enjoying boiling water in a saucepan. Take out the chicken.  Now see, you got the chicken stock from all that chicken in the water…Yes. you can cheat a little and add stock cubes as well, it will only bring out the flavor.

Throw in the macaroni, and all the veggies . Wait for about 10 minutes. Now, so you won’t waste any of your precious time, get to slicing the chicken (it does not have to be a work of art. don’t worry!)  So, when the slicing is done, you can immediately thow it into the soup. Again, be patient, you have to wait a little. While waiting, prepare your parsley for throw in. And, of course, the garlic. Add them in last, wait while garlic shares its flavor with the others (just for about 2 minutes), and turn the whole thing off.

Congratulations! You have prepared the soup of my childhood! Welcome to my Childhood!

I really want you to dive in!

Thanks for reading!

Want to experiment with chicken soup further, these look good to me too:

Attention! Hot Chocolate on the way.

Nostalgia all around. I remembered the time working as a barista in Canada. It seems so many years have past since that time. I was working in a small cafe, really, a four by four square, but with a family-like atmosphere. Somehow, this place, even though it was small, was popular among Canadians. Too bad I cannot seem to recall the name of the cafe.

But, I will always remember the taste of a cup of hot chocolate. The manager even argued that this recipe came from Mexico, and the old Maya traditions. A part of me always wanted to believe him, especially when I drank it with such pleasure.  Unfortunatelly, my memory seems to be too short to remember the recipe itself, but one ingredient stands out for sure: Chili pepper. And one more thing, he insisted that all the ingredients for this chocolaty hot chocolate have to be of highest quality possible. * Not that it does not have to be the same for all other meals.

So I believe the recipe itself would look like this (or at least I would like it to look similar) This one has its zest, I can assure you.

Try me!

Try me!

Ingredients:

Bitter chocolate (the one with high cacao percentage) – 100 g, 1 chili pepper. milk – 400 ml, vanilla sticks – 1, cinnamon sticks – 1,  brown sugar – 15 gr. *  add a little bit of cognac if you like – 20 ml.

The Works:

Break down the chocolate into small pieces.  Next, cut your vanillas sticks in half. Afterwards prepare yourself to battle with chili pepper. clean it out and slice also in half. Get all those guys together in a pot, poir in milk. Heat the party up, but don’t boil. Throw in sliced chocolate, decrease the heat on the stove and let the cookie crumble for about 10 minutes. Do not forget to stir!

The end result: Melted chocolate with even mixture in a pot. Get the spices out, if you don’t mind your chocolate’s level of spiciness to expand your sences, you can leave the chili till the end. However, if its something you stand against – get it out earlier than any other spice. Final step, add brown sugar (maybe even cognac, everything in accordance with your own taste), and serve.

Share this beauty with others or simply dive in yourself!

Enjoy with every sip!

Something of relevance:

The Beauty of Foodoshop Layers – or how to cream up your life with a cake…

I have to confess something….I tried and tried to find those large shrimps for my upcoming Friday shrimp blast. But, the right ones seemed to have swam away from me…And, oh no, I did not find any…But, why the sadness? – I asked myself. I am sure I will prepare those shrimps someday in the nearest future.

So, I immediately thought of a calming dessert. A cake filled up with cream, dried apricots and nuts. Did I forget to mention – it has LAYERS! This was definitely the thing I was missing. I began my journey to the land of the layers.Image

First, I had to prepare dough. And what better than the dough for the shortcrust pastry?

I took 200 g of butter, 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of sugar2 eggs and a little bit of water. And, I let myself dive into the world of “stickiness”. * I find it best to use your own hands in such situations, not only because it gets quite hard to mix the dough with a spoon, but also, it is he warmth of those hands that turns the food afterwards into a delicious magic.  Have to say that it took me a little while until I got dough with an even texture, but let me just note that it was all worth to wait. As a final step, I wrapped it and put it in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

While the dough was resting in the fridge, I thought of the best cream possible for this kind of cake – boiled cream – a classic, so to say. Since I seemed to have ran out of butter, the though about this one really warmed up my heart because IT DID NOT REQUIRE ANY BUTTER AT ALL….

All I had to do is to mix up some eggs (I took 5) with half a liter of milk, a cup of sugar and about 100 g of flour. And yes, I added a little bit of lemon extract to the mixture instead of vanilla. *Of course, you do not mix the ingredients all together at once. Start gradually, mixing eggs with sugar, then add the flour, the extract and the milk. Once I managed to mix them all together, I put them on my stove, stirring all the time till the mixture got thick. Done with that? Perfect! Now it is time for the cream to cool a little!

Having done all this beautiful stuff, I turned to the greatest of works – making layers, just like in Photoshop!

For this, all I needed was just a baking dish and wait for it…my own hands and fingers! Yes, I simply took a baking dish, (just don’t forget to heat up your oven up to 180-190 C before that) put a baking sheet on it, sprinkled a little bit of flour on it, sprinkled a little  on the dough itself as well as on my fingers, and got working! I managed to spread the dough along the baking sheet. Afterwards, the only scenario left to play was to make some holes in the dough with a fork all around the circumference and put it in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the color changes to golden.

But, I did not rest! While the dough was in the over, I turned to dicing, chopping and cutting. This all seemed as nothing in comparison to what I have done so far. Slicing dried apricots and crushing nuts, I found myself getting too much into the process, but, there is never too much of that stuff, isn’t there? Especially, if it all turns into a beautiful cake after! Dicing, slicing, chopping…making sure that my layers are also ready and not burned! * I think I proved to myself once more that I can multitask perfectly.

All in all, the end result: 3 layers of cake which I generously covered with cream, and couldn’t wait to sprinkle each with pieces of dried apricots and nuts (by the way, if I did not mention this before, any nuts will do, just not the salty ones)

There it was! I can say, that for that day, I have conquered a mountain, maybe even my own Everest! But it was perfect in every way! I just had to let it sit in the fridge (ideally for at least 24 hours)…What happened afterwards is withheld=)

My variation of Harcho soup (Georgian lamb soup)

Today, since I had a little bit of time before work, I needed something fast but tasty to make for dinner…So I came up with my own version of Harcho soup, which originally is made with lamb. But since, lamb is quite hard to come by, I have decided to again show my creative side and cross Italy and Georgia together. What I got is a colorful, tasteful. yet simple soup that can be made by everyone, including the beginners of cooking.

It is percicely this kind of soup that warms up your heart during the rainy season. Imagine coming home in the rain, setting up the table for dinner, and there it is… A HOT AND SPICY soup that warms up your whole body, starting from your toes…

The thing is, afterwards, you have almost no need to wash the dishes and waste your precious time…instead, you can curl up into a warm blanket and enjoy your free time.

Ingredients:

Havea good evening

Havea good evening

3-4 tomatoes. 4 table spoons of tomato paste, 1 table spoon of butter, 4 cloves of garlic, 2 onions, 2-3 celery sticks, half a cup of rice, 2 medium carrots, parsley, green onion, red hot ground chili – depends on the level of “hotness” you want to achieve, salt, curry powder – 2 table spoons.

The Works:

Dice the onions, the tomatoes into small cubes. Chop up the celery  and the greens. Oh, and of course, don”t forget about your carrots and garlic! Take a big saucepan, heat it up nicely. Add the butter and let it melt for a while. You can add all the veggies in just when you hear the butter wispering…Let the party start! Add all the veggies (except for the greens), stir for several minutes…Then, take a half cup of rice and mix it in. Afterwards, you can relax a little bit, and let those guys talk to each other but only for a bit.. Pour in about a liter- litter and a half of water, and let it boil, let the rice cook. Do not forget to sprinkle your dish with parsley and green onions, add salt, tomato paste and chili. Wait for about 2 minutes and…it is…LEGEN..wait for it…DARY! LEGENDARY!

Shrimps in White Wine

My Dear readers and visitors! Although, it is been a couple of days since I’ve last written here…

I am proud to say that for this weekend I plan to prepare the greatest snack anyone has ever talked about…Shrimps in White Whine. Amazing turn of events! Promise to provide my personal feedback later on. I heard they go perfectly with beer, and the sauce itself is marvelous. So, let’s say I “patiently” wait for this Friday to come.

Do not know why, but, among other things, my muse is Friday. It is the thought of this particular day that makes me go nuts about food. *One small note, here, in Israel, Friday is when the weekend starts (for some people, including me) Maybe this is what influences me…Suddenly, the atmosphere changes at home, everything turns to warmth. Even when, it seems to rain outside and it gets colder each day.

So, today and for future Friday, I present to you, the greatest recipe of all – Shrimps in White Wine:

Nice, nice, nice

Nice, nice, nice. Simple, anyone can do it!

Ingredients:

Up to 1 kg of shrimps (better to take the big ones, does not matter if they are frozen or not), garlic – 4 cloves (even though I plan to put a little bit more), 4 table spoons of olive oil, 1 chili ground chili pepper, 150 ml white wine, lemon juice from half a lemon, lemon pieces for decoration afterwards.

The Works:

All you need is to put a frying pan on the stove, get it very hot, pour in the oil and add garlic cloves. Can you smell happiness? The smells are simply amazing. I automatically feel the presence of Italy when I put garlic in good olive oil, but actually, this recipe is said to be Portugeese. Let the oil absorb the smell of the garlic. I love when those two dance together! Add shrimps and fry them a little, until they change color. Pour in lemon juice, and mix the chili in. Then, comes the bride, the wine. Pour it in also, and wait, lets see how the guests at your party mingle together. Almost forgot, a good dish, cannot go without salt (in my humble opinion)

You can serve these with croutons made from fresh bread, with butter, and do not forget to put little pieces of garlic on the bread also. I can promise you, it will be tasty!

Yours truly,

Katya.

Guacamole – A great way to start a day.

Guacamole

Simply Unforgettable

Morning again…I come to the fridge, and, as some of you can understand, suddenly I see that I am missing butter for my toast. What to do, I ask myself? You always say you are a creative person, so IT IS TIME TO BE CREATIVE! Show your creativity in the real world!

I turn around, and I notice an avocado. It’s just there…It wants to be found…I have a feeling that it is even looking back at me. There it is! I found a solution to the problem! Make a nice Guacamole, I say to myself. It would be a great way to start a day. And no, I am not turning all Mexican on you, just trying to spice it up a little. I am sure there is nothing wrong with that!

So, my  hands grab the avocado, and get to work incredibly fast…I have to say, there is nothing that is easier, than making a Guacamole! And the amount that is left afterwards is enormous, so you can use it for the whole week…Freeze it if you want and save it for later! Guests, for example…Surprise them, by saying: “He hecho Guacamole sólo para ti…” Ok, ok, maybe my Spanish is not so good, but what can’t you do today in the age of technology=)))) So, blame the tech, if needed, but not me=)))

Ingredients:

half an onion, 2 avocados, coriander leaves – a handful, ground chili- 1/2 teaspoon, salt – 1 teaspoon,  red tomatoes – 250 gr, lemon juice 5 ml.

The Works:

Dice the onion into small cubes, put what you got into a bowl and mix together with coriander leaves and salt. Cut the tomatoes into small cubes as well. Turn to avocados, cut them in half, get the nucleus out, work only with thee green soft stuff – the pulp, if you will.

Work with a fork, smash the pulp together in a bowl and add lemon juice later on. Invite in your tomatoes and onion mixture. Then, add ground chili and mix.

And now, it is time to be even more creative. Remember I told you to cut avocado in half? Yes, well, don’t throw away the halves. You can actually put Guacamole inside those and decorate it all with a piece of lemon on top. Serve up!

Of course, there are variations of this particular dish, but it is the one that I find easiest to make. Not only that, it is also very delicious! Agree?

Whether you put it on regular bread, or make a delightful tortilla’s dinner, it does not matter…Part of you will always feel Mexican afterwards=)

Gnocchi (Nioki) in Mushroom Sauce

During this week, I found myself talking to my friend who asked me quite a general question: “Have you ever tried cooking nioki?” To my surprise, I have answered: “No, they escaped my attention.” But the sound of that word have not left my head since. I was so fascinated to try something new. It was truly exciting. My friend promised me, in her words, to change the situation. Little did I know that nioki would come to me this weekend. I have to say, she showed me real master class. I can definitely say that I have learned something new and opened up my horizons. Once again, I am assured that cooking brings people closer together. Maybe Madonna, when singing that music brings people together, should also sing the same thing about cooking.

I want to say BIG THANKS to my dearest and beloved friend for a great day! Thanks, hon.

Ingredients: (for about a box of nioki)

Nioki, a delight!

Nioki, a delight!

Potato puree from 4 potatoes, flour – several table spoons, spices, salt, pepper, 1 egg. For the sauce: a handful of mushrooms (can be any kind of them, but ideally – dried ones, the ones that before cooking you put in water for several minutes), greens (onion, parsley), milk – about half a liter, again, a little bit of flour – 1 table spoon, salt, 4 cloves of garlic.

The Works:

Nioki: Make potato puree from 4 potatoes. Simply boil them in water, until they are soft and later, squish them together in a bowl. Add salt, pepper, and any other spices to the mix (like oregano, rosemary, etc.) Anything that you like. * While you are making the puree, if you have dried mushrooms, put them into a bowl of water and let them soak in it for several minutes. If you, however, use regular mushrooms, you do not need to go through the process.  When all the spices are added, add an egg and mix it all together. Get a mixer, put in the flour gradually, mixing after every table spoon. You should add about 10-12 table spoons of flour. The texture you get supposed to be even, and turn into a viscous dough. *Put some water into a saucepan and let it boil on the stove. Get a small bowl and pour some cold water in it. Make small round balls from the dough you got and put them into a boiling water on the stove. * You know they are ready when they start to come up. Put nioki into a separate bowl.

The Sauce: Dice mushrooms, put them into a frying pan, add the garlic. Stir together for several minutes. * I have to say that the smells you get from this are simply marvelous. Especially, if you are using good olive oil.  Put these guys into a separate bowl afterwards. Then, pour milk into the same frying pan, add all the greens you like, let it boil. Add the mushrooms with the garlic, mix together. Last but not least, mix in a little bit of flour. * My advice, if you don’t want to get stuck with small chunks of flour floating in your milk, mix the flour separately with a little bit of water in a small cup, and then add to the milk. Again, let the mixture come to its senses for several minutes. * According to my friend, it is also very tasty if you add fresh basil leaves into the mixture. I did not have any, but if you like you can definitely try it out and report back=)

Final step, pour the sauce into the bowl with nioki, *Here, some say it is wonderful to add cheese, makes the sauce even more delicious. As the cheese melts, what you get is a totally different rainbow of taste. Let them cool a little bit, and serve!

Have to say, it really was an interesting and delightful meal.

Get ready for a delicious adventure!

Feeling French…Preparing Crepes

Waking up today I felt an urge to sit outside, enjoy the weather while drinking a nice cup of tea. But, something was

Don't they remind you of France?

Don’t they remind you of France?

missing…Something not too sweet, but still, something that can help me to get connected to France in some way or another.

I went into the kitchen, and, to my great surprise, I found flour, eggs…all you need to make great crepes! Plus, I knew I had guests coming today in the evening, I just had to make a little treat for my awesome friends.

Ingredients:

3 eggs, about 1/2 liter milk, 2 table spoons of mayonnaise (mayo actually helps crepes to become fluffier), sugar – 2-4 table spoons, optional to add a tea spoon of vanilla extract (would not make it worse), flour (this one add until you see your mixture becoming a lot like watery sour cream).

The Works:

Mix together eggs, milk, mayonnaise, sugar, vanilla extract. Gradually add in flour. I used mixer to mix all the ingredients, for me, modern technology makes things much easier. While you are mixing, heat up a frying pan on the stove. The pan has to be very hot when you start frying the mixture. When you are done adding all the ingredients, it is time to fry. Add a little bit of oil into the pan. Use a ladle to pour the mixture into the pan. Do not pour a lot of mixture in, for the crepe to be actually very thin. When you pour in the mixture, grab the frying pan and turn it in the air for a little bit, circular movements, the mixture has to be all over the pan, spread it evenly over it.

Let the mixture fry for about 2 minutes (the fire on the stove has to be medium to small), turn over and fry the other side. Once two sides are done, they should have golden color, you are done as well.

Congratulations and Bon Appetit!

I used butter, you actually can you any other ingredient after, like jam=)

I used butter, you actually can you any other ingredient after, like jam=)