Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Stuffed Mushrooms

If you love mushrooms, you will be in love with these.  This apetizer or main course when I make it, has a perfect combination of flavors.  My guests always ask me for the recipe when I make these mushrooms, so this is your chance to get lots of compliments.  It is an appetizer ideal for any dinner party, any time of the year.  Simply delicious! 


2 lbs fresh mushrooms, separate and chop stems  

7 slices of bacon 

1/2 yellow onion, minced  

12 oz cream cheese, softened 

1 cup parmesan cheese, grated  

chives or parsley for topping 

1 tsp butter


In a medium sized skillet sauté bacon until brown; drain and crumble. Drain grease but do not since pan. Add onion and chopped mushroom stems to pan. Cook all together until tender. Add cream cheese to mixture, stir and cook until melted. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet with butter. Stuff mushroom caps with cream cheese mixture and cover with grated cheese. Bake for 17 minutes. When mushrooms are done sprinkle with chives or parsley. You WILL enjoy this! 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


         Tarator is a Bulgarian cold soup also known in Albania, Turkey, Macedonia, Greece and any cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire.  It is especially popular in the hot summer because it is served chilled and is also known as lequid salad.  The main engredients include plain yogurt, cucumber, dill, garlic and in some countries it is made with tahini.  If you want to immerse yourself in a cultural experience this is your recipe.  Also try this as a dry salad when you take out the water. It is great for dips and also great with seafood.  Tarator is not only refreshing and full of flavors but it is also so healthy for you! 


16 oz plain yogurt

1 medium english cucumber, grated or finly cubed  

1 medium clove of garlic, minced  

1 Tbs walnuts chopped 

1 Tbs fresh dill

1 tsp sunflower or olive oil 

1 teaspoon salt 

1 1/2 cups water 


In a medium bowl crush the minced garlic. Add the grated cucumber, dill, salt and walnuts. Stir well. 

Add the yogurt. Stir. Add the water and oil at last. Stir well. If you prefer, you may add more water to the desired consistency. Also add more salt if you wish it to be saltier. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Creme Brûlée

 Creme brûlée also known as burnt cream desert is a one of my personal favorites.  It's richness and flavour is a wonderful way to end a meal, leaving a nice taste in your pallet after a main course.  I have tried quite a few recipes to make sure that I have the perfect combination of ingredients that I think makes a true creme brûlée.  The day I made this creme brûlée, I had it  for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It is THAT good! 


4 cups heavy cream (40%)

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise 

9 large egg yolks 

1/4 cup and 2 Tbs - sugar for the cream 

1/4 cup and 2 Tbs - sugar for the egg yolks 

1/4 teaspoon course salt 

extra sugar for toppings


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Place 8-10 ramekins in a large roasting pan.

2. In a medium saucepan combine cream, sugar (1/4 cup and 2 Tbs),scraped vanilla beans and pod. Heat over medium heat until the mixture starts to bubble around the edge of the pan. About 7-8 minutes. Do not let boil.

3. Meanwhile whisk egg yolks, sugar (1/4 cup and 2 Tbs) and salt in a large bowl.(If yolks are small add an extra one). 

4. Use a ladle to pour a small amount of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture, then whisk to combine. (It is important that you do this so that you will prevent the eggs from curdling). Repeat this step whisking constantly after each addition until all of the cream is combined with the egg mixture. Strain through a fine sieve back into the sauce pan (to remove the vanilla pod and any bits of cooked egg).

5. With a ladle devide the custard equally among the ramekins. Add the boiling water to the roasting pan covering the ramekin dishes about half ways. Bake for about 30-40 minutes. (Time will depend on how deep your ramekins are. If they are the shallow kind you will need only 30 minutes). You will know they are ready when you shake the pan and they shake like a jello in the middle. 

6. Remove pan from oven. Use ones to carefully remove the dishes from the hot water bath. Let them cool for 30 minutes. Wrap them in plastic and place in the fridge for at least 6 hours before serving. (It is very important that you refridurate them no less than 6 hours as they will not taste as good). 

7. Caramelize the custard 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon sugar over each custard. Working with one dish at a time, pass the flame of the torch in a circular motion 1-2 inches above the surface of the custard until the sugar bubbles, turns amber and forms a smooth surface. You know it is a good creme brûlée when the caramelized top sounds like glass when it is tapped. Serve immediately. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Crepes with Nutella

There are many things the french are good at and one of them is crepes.  Truth is you don't have to fly to Paris to indulge this absolutely delightful treat.  Crispy ends and soft middle,  filled with strawberries, creamy Nutella spread and whipped cream, make a perfect combination of flavors.  You  can never have just one.  This unique recipe calls for salt instead of sugar and vanilla, adding extra flavor to the chocolaty filling.  One bite and you will go "ooh la la". 


1 1/2 cups flower

3 eggs

3 cups whole milk or 2%, room temperature 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1 stick unsalted butter, softened 


strawberies or you may use a fruit of your choice 

whipped cream 

Directions :

In a large bowl add flower, salt, eggs and one cup of milk. Make sure the milk is room temperature. With a mixer beat flower and egg mixture at medium speed for about a minute. Slowly add the rest of the milk (2cups) while mixing. This prevents the batter from clumping. Mix until all batter is smooth and have no clumps. 

   Place a large non stick pan on a medium heat. It is very important that the temperature is not too high so the crepes won't stick to the bottom of the pan. If you feel the heat is too low in the process of making the crepes, you may increase it accordingly. For the first crape you will need half of spoon full of the soften butter. After the butter melts, distribute it eqally on the surface of the pan. Wait for the butter to start to sizzle before you put the first batch of crepe batter. With a ladel or a measuring cup pour a little less than half of a cup in the center of the pan and swirl quickly so the batter covers the entire bottom of the pan. Batter will cook as soon as it touches the pan therefore this must happen quickly. 
    Cook for about a minute. You may try shaking the pan which will help the crepe not to stick. You will know one side is ready when the batter changes color to yellow, ends will start curling up and the middle might bubble. With a small offset spatula lift the edge of the crepe, then carefully hold the edge and flip the crepe over in the pan. Cook for about another 10-20 seconds or until bottom is cooked. You will notice brown dots. 
   Repeat the same with the rest of the batter using half as much butter. This makes about twelve servings. 

   Serve with Nutella, fruit and wipped cream, honey or your favorite jam. Bon Appetit!!!! 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Stuffed Grape Leaves

Stuffed Grape Leaves

I thought it would be appropriate to start my blog with a recipie I grew up with.  These stuffed grape leaves might not look very appealing but they taste sooooooo good!  This dish can be served as an apetizer or as a main dish.  Stuffed grape leaves are also known as "Dolmas" or "Sarmi".  They are mostly popular in Eastern Europe, Iraq, Iran, Central Asia, Russia, Mongolia and Italy.  Vegetarians, don't turn down this dish!  These taste just as good without the meat!


8 oz jar of grape leaves + juice in jar 

2 cups white rice 

7 oz ground beef 

7 oz ground pork 

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 yellow onion, minced 

1/2 cup hole carrot, grated and packed

1 medium ripe tomato, chopped 

1 cup fresh parsley, chopped 

1/2 cup sunflower oil 

1 Tbs olive oil

1 tsp Paprika 

2 tsp Kosher salt

1 medium lemon, cut in half

6 cups water

black pepper to taste 

salt to taste 


   In a deep skillet pour the sunflower oil, bell pepper, carrots, onion, kosher salt and little bit of black pepper. Mix and sauté vegetables for about two minutes on medium high heat. This process makes the oil more fragrant. Add the rice and  paprika to the rice mixture. Continue to sauté for about 3 minutes.  Add 4 cups of water, mix and cover. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Uncover and stir making sure that the mixture doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the parsley, pork and beef meat. Continue stirring and make sure that the meat is equally distributed in the rice mixture. Add 2 more cups of water and continue to stir until the water is almost gone or until the mixture starts sticking to the bottom of the pan. Pull off the heat and taste it. If it is too bland it needs more salt. Add salt to taste. Squeeze half of the lemon in the rice and meat mixture and mix well. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare a large metal baking dish.

   Before you pull out the grape leaves out of the jar make sure to save the leaf juice by pouring it in a bowl. Then you can take the leaves out. Cut the stems of the leaves as short as possible.   On a cutting board take a leaf and lay it flat, glossy side up. Scoop a small amount of rice mixture with a spoon and place it in the center of the leaf. The amount of the rice will depend on how big your leaf is. Try to stuff the leaf as much as possible. Starting from one end of the leaf fold in the rice, trying to avoid big gaps. Place the stuffed leaf in the metal pan with the ends of the leaf facing down. Pat the stuffed grape leaf flat and repeat with the remaining leaves. 

   Make sure to line the stuffed grape leaves tightly. Drizzle with olive oil and pour over the grape leaf juice. Bake for 40-45 minutes. When they are done sqeeze the other half of the lemon. These taste even better the next day when all the flavors have settled. Enjoy!