Monthly Archives: January 2011

ONLINE BAKE SALE

Would you like to have a jar or two of this Homemade Quince Jam?

Steph’s Bite by Bite is holding a fundraising event today, Monday, January 31st, in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This event involves an Online Bake Sale featuring delicious baked goods donated by fellow food bloggers. All donations from the bake sale will go directly to Stephanie’s Team In Training efforts to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Please click here to bid on your favorite treats!

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Filed under Home, Sweets. Now. Please.

“Cute!?!”: Phyllo-Stuffed Cheese Puffs

Why do I want to show you how to make a cheese puff stuffed with phyllo? Because there is a story behind it. 🙂

With a happy-go-lucky tone in my walk and in my voice, one early Saturday morning (about 4 years ago) I decided that I was going to make my new husband one of his favorite baked treats – Gibanica/Banica (Bah-knee-tsa), or a Cheese Puff made with eggs, cheese, and milk. And I also thought that it would be “sooo cute” (remember those words) if I made banica in individual sized portions. I quickly did the math and jotted down a recipe that would enable me to put a phyllo pastry inside the filling and have enough of that filling to fill all twelve muffin cups.

As I was working on the filling, my husband walked in. With a seriously puzzled look on his face he asked me “what the heck” I was doing. I explained my idea of having individual-sized banica and he responded with a snotty remark, “Oh so you’ve decided that your idea of an individual-sized banica is the right idea and the right amount for everyone else?” (Did I just hear fighting words?!?) So then I told him that I just thought it was a cute idea.  “CUTE!?! Do I look like I should be eating something that’s cute?” (He’s about 6’4 tall, 200-and some lbs.).  By this point I was annoyed and I responded with my own fighting words; “Are you PMS-ing??? – Pissy Man Syndrome – You’re pissin’ me off – go play some soccer!”

He left and I went back into my kitchen, got my ingredients ready, and started to work.

Moral of the story? If you can describe something as ‘cute’, don’t serve it to your husband/boyfriend. Or, if you are going to serve it to him, do not label the treat as ‘cute’ in front of him. 🙂

But, it didn’t bother him to “kill” six of these in one sitting. Go figure.

Phyllo-Stuffed Cheese Puffs

You will need:

  • 1/2 roll of frozen Phyllo Dough, sliced crosswise, slices should be about 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 cup of plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of oil
  • 1 cup club soda
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup feta cheese
  • Sesame Seeds

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425.
  • Slice up the frozen phyllo dough.

  • In a large, deep mixing bowl whisk in the yogurt, oil, club soda, baking powder and eggs.

  • Add in the feta cheese and mix until well combined.
  • Lastly, stir in the cut up phyllo and mix it all together.

  • Pour the batter into a muffin pan, sprinkle the tops with sesame seeds, and bake it for around 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

  • Makes 12 “so cute”, individual-sized cheese puffs.

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Filed under Home, Macedonian Cuisine

Meatless Wednesdays: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

While the food blogging world is on a Meatless Monday schedule, I had to continue with my Meatless Wednesdays. According to the Orthodox Faith, meat is not allowed on Wednesdays and Fridays, and since I am a product of an Orthodox Priest, I can’t help it – I was raised this way and I don’t mind it. But, of course there was a time when I did mind. Oh how I miss my teenage years. 🙂

I was sick and tired of asking, “does that have meat in it…does that have milk in it…does that have anything that comes from an animal in it…” These were my Wednesday and Friday questions directed at the high school Cafeteria ladies. Most of the time they couldn’t answer the questions because they themselves didn’t know what was in that prepackaged food that they were serving us. So instead of trying to conclude on my own whether this food was meatless/dairy-less/animal-less or not, I decided to rebel; while at school I ate whatever was on the menu – I didn’t care what day of the week it was.

But, this only lasted about 3 months. I was caught! You see, I never told my parents that I was doing this – I actually was hiding it from them.

Can you believe that one of those cafeteria ladies (she was/is a member of my dad’s church) asked the counselor to call my parents and see if something was wrong!?!  They told my parents that every Wednesday I started eating spaghetti with meat sauce and on Fridays I was eating pepperoni pizza. What happened next is even better! Instead of just getting yelled at and getting in trouble at home, my dad decided to come to school during my lunch break! It was Friday, around 11:35 am…there he was roaming around in the cafeteria looking for me. And there I was eating my pizza! I ran to him and screamed through my teeth to get out of the cafeteria. He then told me that if I didn’t stop talking through my teeth, he would embarrass me even more by pulling me outside by the ears! We settled it outside without the pulling of the ears and he took me out of school for the rest of the day. After a session of bickering, we made a deal; on Wednesdays and Fridays he or my mom would make lunches for my sister and I because we were both tired of trying to figure it out on our own.

Now I don’t need their help – I know a whole lot more about vegan friendly dishes than anyone else in this house.

This is what I served yesterday: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup. Today my husband enjoyed the leftovers for lunch by adding in a 1/4 cup of plain yogurt and some bacon – he loved it!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

You will need:

  • 2 pound butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeded
  • 2 large carrots, cut in chunks
  • 3 celery stalks, cut in chunks
  • 3 onions, quartered
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 -4 cups of vegetable stock/broth
  • EVOO
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 5 slices of bacon, chopped (optional)
  • 5 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup of plain yogurt (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • Place squash cut side down in a baking sheet filled with 1/2 cup of water. Put the dish on the bottom oven rack.
  • In a separate baking sheet place the carrots, celery, onions and garlic. Add some salt and pepper and drizzle some EVOO; mix well. Put the baking sheet on the upper rack.

  • Allow to bake for about 40 minutes. Stir the vegetables a few times while they are cooking so to prevent them from sticking. They might be done a bit before the squash. That all depends on your oven. Mine is a bit old so they were done maybe 5 minutes before the squash.
  • Using a large spoon, scrape squash into a food processor; discard peel.
  • Add in the roasted veggies, 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth, salt, pepper, and thyme. Puree until smooth. Set aside.

  • In a heavy saucepan add in the bacon and green onions. Cook until crispy. Remove half of the mixture and set it aside. The bacon is completely optional, but my husband says that it tastes, “Waaaaaaay better!”
  • Transfer the squash mixture into the saucepan.
  • Mix in the plain yogurt (optional) and enough broth (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups) to reach a desired consistency.
  • Stir soup over medium heat until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Ladle soup into bowls.
  • Top with the rest of the bacon and green onions.

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Filed under Dinner A la Diethood, Home

Quince Jam

Back in 1984, some time around mid September or beginning of October (my mom didn’t keep track of those “minor” details), the tooth fairy paid me a visit. I remember that she left me 10.00 Dinari – I have no clue what that would be in American Dollars, but it was a good amount for a six year old; I bought gum, eurocream (nutella type spread), and smoki (peanut cheese puffs)! I was a happy kid with my favorite treats! Losing my tooth, on the other hand, was not as exciting.

The beginning of Fall always meant that we were going to go far far away (a 30 minute drive seemed forever back then) to pick berries, peppers, apples and other fruits and vegetables. This meant an opportunity for my sister and I to run around the green fields, smell the flowers, pick the fruits and eat them. Great times… until you sink your teeth into an “apple” and lose a tooth!

It was round, gold in color, with a green leaf – I really thought it was an apple! I went for that bite as if I hadn’t eaten in the last two days. All I wanted to do was to eat and enjoy this beautiful apple that I just ripped off the tree branch. Instead, there was this crazy child running around the green fields screaming that she was going to die – I saw blood, I spit out a tooth, so I thought my body was  falling apart because I ate the “forbidden” apple just like Eve. I later found out that, one, I was not dying, and two, that it wasn’t an apple – it was quince!

Now when I think back about that day I can’t stop laughing, but back then it was not funny. I thought the end had come – God was going to take me because I ate THE apple.

Quince Jam

I now have a quince tree in my backyard. Can you believe that I still have some quince left over from this past fall? This is my third batch of Jam this season and I have enough to make one more.

You will need:

  • 6 cups of quince (about 5 quince), rinsed, grated, leave peel on.
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 4 cups of sugar

Directions:

  • Put the water in a 6-8 quarts saucepan and bring to a boil.
  • Add the grated quince, lemon zest and lemon juice.

  • Allow the mixture to simmer until the quince is soft; this might take about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Stir in the sugar and bring to a boil again.

  • Lower the heat to medium high and cook the quince for about an hour, stirring occasionally. You are looking for a thicker consistency and a pink quince jam.
  • Spoon the hot mixture into sterilized canning jars and seal.

  • Makes about 10 cups.

This is a wonderful treat that you can spread on your whole wheat toast, your crepes, or even on a piece of manchego cheese – YUM!

How would you like to have a jar of my very own homemade Quince Jam? Would you? Because I’d love to give it to you. Please go here and see how you can have a bite of it by next week! That last batch can be yours!

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Filed under Home, Sweets. Now. Please.

Quince Jam for The Cause

Can you recall the last time you did something for someone else? Can you recall that warm feeling that you got right after you helped them out? Here’s a chance to get reacquainted with that same wonderful feeling of giving: Stephanie, over at Steph’s Bite by Bite, is holding a fundraising event in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This event involves an Online Bake Sale featuring delicious baked goods donated by fellow food bloggers. All donations from this bake sale will go directly to Stephanie’s Team In Training efforts to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

The bake sale will be held on Monday, January 31st, at Steph’s Bite by Bite, and will feature over 40 baked goods to bid on. The bake sale runs like an auction; the highest bidder wins the delicious treats! The instructions to the bake sale will be posted, along with pictures of all the bake sale goodies, on the day of the Bake Sale, January 31st. Please join us this upcoming Monday in our efforts to help out this great cause!

You will also  have the opportunity to bid on 2 (6 oz.) jars of my homemade Quince Jam!

For more information on how to be a part of this event, please visit Stephanie’s Bake Sale Instructions page.

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