Green Olives Focaccia

Focaccia is flat bread that is oven-baked. Focaccia dough is pretty similar to pizza doughs.

You can serve Focaccia as an appetizer, snack or just table bread. Focaccia can be topped with herbs, onion, and cheese or even meet. Focaccia with Rosemary is a common focaccia style in Italian cuisine.

The main difference between pizza dough and Focaccia dough is that focaccia contain a higher quantity of yeast causing the dough to rise significantly. Also this higher quantity of yeast permits the dough to absorb a large amount of oil.

After you rolled out the dough, you need to dot the dough by creating multiple wells in the bread just by using your fingers. Spread olive oil on top either by hand or with a pastry brush before rising and baking.

Ingredients for about 10-12 servings

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour plus more for
  • 5 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, some extra for the top
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp. active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion (this time I used onion flakes)
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary (I had only dry one handy)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh oregano leaves
  • 4 tbsp. of green olives (I used stuffed ones)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a medium bowl. Wait a few minutes for the yeast to proofing. Add the yeast mixture and two tbsp. of olive oil to the flour and start working the dough. Add more flour if needed. Work the dough for about 5-10 minutes until is coming off your hands.

Transfer the dough to a oiled bowl. Cover loosely (with plastic wrap) and let stand in a warm area until dough has almost doubled in size. (approximately an hour)

Lined a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush it with 2 Tbsp. oil. Stretch and press dough on sheet into a rectangle slightly smaller than the sheet. Brush the top of the dough with the remaining 2 Tbsp. oil.

Preheat the oven to 475. Remove plastic wrap and dot the dough with your fingertips. Scatter onion flakes, rosemary, and oregano and stuffed mushrooms over dough; season with salt and pepper.

Bake focaccia until golden brown, 10–15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before slicing it and enjoy it 🙂

 

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Cinnamon Apple Cake

My hubby is a huge fan of classic Pumpkin Pie. He can have pumpkin pie  actually all year around. And this is not all. He can have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. LOL

For me and my daughter the favorite is Apple pie.We like the classic American apple pie or Romanian that my mom use to make. I usually look and try all kinds of variation of apple pie or apple cakes.

Recently I found my inspiration on a blog I recently followed: Z.Y. DOYLE with Cinnamon Apple Cake that just stuck in my mind from the moment I read it.

I have to admit it was the right choice. We finished this cake in about 24 hours. When we had the last piece in the box my daughter started to count who had the more pieces so she can see if she can have the last one LOL  And I was asked to make it again.

However, due to some dietary restrictions I have ( I cannot eat butter along with a long list of other things ) I changed the original a little bit but even so it was a huge success.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp t baking powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • lemon juice form half of lemon
  • 5 small  granny smith apples
  • 1 1/4 c granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup of Sultana raisins (soaked in 1 tbsp of rum extract and 2 tbsp water)
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sour cream 5%
  • 1/4 cup of grape seed oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 medium eggs, room temperature

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lined a baking pan with parchment paper. In a small bowl mix together the two types of flour, baking powder and salt. In a second bowl mix together the  1/4 cup of sugar and the cinnamon.  Save 2 tbsp for later. Please do not forget as I did. I just sprinkle some cinnamon and brown sugar on top 😦

Peel and core the apples and cut them in thin pieces. Drizzle the lemon juice over the apple pieces along with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Set aside.

In a large bowl mix together the eggs and 1 cup sugar until creamy. Add the sour cream, grape oil, vanilla extract and mix well.

Fold the flour in the egg mixture. Drain the raisins of the liquid and add them to the mixture along with the apple pieces. Pour the mixture in the prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes depending on oven. Let it cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and remove the cake together  with the parchment paper on a cooling rack. Cool completely and just indulge. 🙂

Apple slices covered in cinnamon and sugar mixture

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Ready for the oven 

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Ready to indulge

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Savory muffins

After we ‘overloaded’ on the Overloaded Muffins I was just craving for some savory ones for a change. Personally, I love both. These goodies are called Grab and Go Muffins. I had two for breakfast and two for lunch at work. I could have another two for dinner, no problem if I wouldn’t have to share them 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 chicken breast cooked and chopped
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, diced
  • 1 cup frozen spinach, (chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 4 free run eggs
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp Parmesan flakes ( save a few cheese flakes for the muffin’s top )
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup cashew milk ( you can use any milk of your choice )
  • 3 strings green onion ( I would say that green onion is highly recommended  in savory muffins. However,  I had no green onions handy so I substitute them with 1/4 red onion diced )
  • Himalayan  salt
  • pinch of sweet paprika

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 F. Lined a 12-cup muffin pan with muffin papers.

In a on stick skillet saute the onion, spinach and mushrooms for a few minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Set aside to cool down.

In a small bowl mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Not too much as you have already seasoned for salt the veggies.

In a large bowl mix together the eggs and the milk. Add the chicken, red pepper, Parmesan cheese  and  veggies mix. Stir until well combined.

Add the dry ingredients over the wet ones and stir gently until well combined.

Scoop the mixture in the prepared tray. Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown on top. Let it cool in the tray for about 5 minutes and than place the muffins of a cooling rack and just enjoy them 😉

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Fluffy Rice Pilaf

When you cook a rice pilaf you should always get started by cooking onion in a small sauce pan. Onion is a must. To the onion you could add garlic, shallots and fennel.This will make the difference between steamed rice and pilaf. As I mentioned, add two tbsp of olive oil or unsalted butter to a sauce pan. Add the onion and  cook until translucent.

Now it is time for the spices. You can go for either coriander and cumin or cinnamon and all spices. I went a bit different this time and I added one teaspoon tandoori seasoning which includes: cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, cardamon, turmeric  and black pepper.I read that you should keep it simple and don’t use to many spices at once but I just like the seasoning I am using as it nicely balances out all the flavors.

Once the onion and the spices are cooked ( about 30 seconds ) it’s time for the rice. Add  one cup of long grain white rice. Cook until rice is well covered in spices and the mixture is translucent.

I added know about 6 white mushrooms and half of red pepper and stirred to mix all the flavors together.

Another  important adding is the cooking liquid. Water should be replaced by broth. You can add either chicken broth, veggie broth or seafood broth. Also a bit of white wine one will be welcomed here 😉 Add about one cup of chicken broth and a splash of wine and bring to a broil for about 10-15 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. 

Before serving you can add 2 – 3 tbsp of herbs: cilantro, parsley or mint depending of preferences. Next step? You enjoy it 😉

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Lemonious Cake

I just love lemons. I had to re-blog this special cake to add it on my to do list 😉

Mrs. Twinkle

I’m not going to lose much time on writing this post as there’s a piece of delicious, lemonious cake waiting for me…@ Mrs. Twinkle

The Ingredients
3 eggs
125g butter
125g sugar
a pinch of salt
2 lemons
1.5dl milk
250g flour
1 sachet baking powder

Preheat the oven at 180°C. Mix the eggs, butter, sugar and salt. Add the lemon zest and juice. Stir in the milk followed by the flour and baking powder. Pour the mixture into the baking tin and bake for 35-40 minutes. Dust with icing sugar and you’re done.

Now get a friend over and enjoy!

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Chicken thighs with herbs on a potato bed

I am sure you all have days like that when you feel like 24 hours are just not enough. When that happens I don’t like to spend too much time in the kitchen and yet I would like to cook healthy and tasty meals for my ‘peeps’ 😉

In my opinion the fastest way to cook is to season veggies and meat and bake them in the oven. Why ? Because while the food is cooking by itself, I have time to complete other tasks:  to write on my blog , to play with my cats, to knit or just to watch a favorite TV series.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large casserole chicken thighs ( 8 to 10 pieces )
  • 8-10 yellow potatoes
  • 10 baby tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp tandoori powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder ( you can substitute for garlic cloves, I just wanted to save time )
  • olive oil
  • juice from 1 small lemon
  • salt and black pepper

Directions:

Place the thighs in a large bowl. Add olive oil, lemon juice, tandoori powder, oregano, salt and black pepper. Using your hands mix all together. Refrigerate for at least half an hour or at least until you get the veggies, in this case potatoes and tomatoes, ready.

Peal the potatoes, wash them and cut them in chunky pieces. Wash the tomatoes. Add  them to the meat mixture. Mix together. Now you can either put all the ingredients in a backing tray or just make a bed of potatoes and place the meat on top and the tomatoes in between. I like the tomatoes on top better so they won’t be to mushy.

Bake for about 40 – 60 minutes depending on the oven.

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Family road trip,day two: Peggy’s Cove

I read online that there are over 160 historic lighthouses in Nova Scotia. Some of them are world famous! The one we visited, Peggy’s Cove Point Lighthouse, was built in 1915, and became one of Nova Scotia’s most well-known lighthouses and may be the most photographed in Canada.

Even though the inhabitants are still fishing for lobster, tourism took over fishing and became the main attraction of Peggy’s Cove.  The community preserves the same rustic and undeveloped appearance.

Our plan was to take this trip in July, since we were already accustomed to Canadian weather and were well versed in its many mood swings. We arrived at Peggy’s Cove on a very cold, windy and foggy July morning. To make up for the drab start of the morning, we headed over to “The Sou’ Wester” – a breakfast to dinner restaurant and gift shop. When we arrived at the lighthouse, however, there was no other soul in sight. So we took advantage and took pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. 😉

And the breakfast…

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Next stop: Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

To be continued 😉

Muffins overloaded ;)

Is there such a thing as too many berries for you? Well if there is, it’s OK. There is no such thing for me. I just love them in any form: fresh, frozen, added in muffins, cakes and pancakes …  and in any  quantity 😉

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups unsweetened  cashew milk
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • juice from one large lemon
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries ( one cup should be enough, I just wanted more ;))

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 175 C. Line a muffin tray with the muffin baking paper and set aside.

Mix the two types of flour in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl mix together the eggs and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Add the vanilla extract and milk and mix well.

Place the frozen blueberries in a bowl then steal about two tbsp of flour and cover the berries so they won’t become watery.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. Add the baking powder and drizzle the lemon juice over to activate it. mix all together. Add the berries and fold them slowly.

Pour the batter with an ice scoop in each muffin paper and bake for about 20 – 25 minutes depending on the oven.

Let them stay in the tray for about 5 minutes.

Place the muffins on a rack and wait for them to cool, then enjoy them.

 

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I hope you enjoyed them. I sure did 😉

Family road trip

In the summer of 2014 we took a family road trip to visit the Maritime: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. There are approximately  one thousand eight hundred kilometers from Toronto to Halifax via Trans-Canada HWY. We decided that two weeks should be enough. One week for Nova Scotia and one week for PEI.We were interested in Cape Breton scenery, Peggy’s Cove  and PEI beaches. We just passed New Brunswick and had our first stop in Moncton, Holiday Inn hotel. After a restful night at the hotel we were ready to reach our destination.

I have to mention that there was only one driver, my hubby. I don’t drive but I had other duties instead: to keep him entertained. For this we had prepared music CD’s and comic books from which I read from time to time.  If my daughter was taking a nap I stayed awake so I could keep him alert.

In Quebec we had some construction areas and we had to take a few detours but once we exited Quebec, the HWY was deserted.

We planned to stay three days in Halifax and visit the surroundings: Peggy’s Cove, Halifax Citadel, Nova Scotia Hall of Fame, Pier 21.

Halifax – day one – Halifax shores. 

After we checked in at Dartmouth, Ocean-view Hotel we headed to walk the Halifax shores.

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It was a very beautiful first day on Halifax shores.

To be continued …

 

Garlic Pureed Spinach with Oven Spicy French fries

As a child I was a very picky eater. My mother always had a hard time make me eat. Don’t get me wrong, she was a great cook and growing up I was able to appreciate it. As a child I was very stubborn when it was about food, and I  had just a few dishes I would eat. Curiously spinach pureed was one of them.  Back home we would call it ” Spinach pureed with garlic and milk ( or sour cream ) “. My mother would serve it with  fried eggs and a quick potato pan buns. To be honest I think I loved the buns more and I think she knew that because  she would refuse to make them without the spinach pureed. LOL

Ingredients for 3-4 servings

  • 2 fresh spinach bunches or  2 bags ( 350 g each )  of fresh spinach. Frozen spinach works as well but I think it would never have the same flavor as the fresh one.
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream ( 5% )
  • half of cup of milk
  • salt to taste
  • 1 bag of spicy French fries ( oven roasted )

Directions

Bring a large pot with water to a boil and when is bubbling add the spinach. Do not cook more than five minutes. We don’t want to miss all the vitamins. Strain the spinach and let it in the strainer to lose all the liquid. You can press it from time to time with a spoon.

After the liquid is drained minced the spinach very well on a cutting board. Place the minced spinach back in the strainer to lose the liquid if there is some left.

Preheat the oven as per potato package instruction and bake them for about 15 minuteas or as indicated on the bag.

In a deep skillet add the olive oil and the garlic and cook for one minute.  Add the flour and stir. Add the yogurt and the milk and cook to a low heat until it looks like a smooth sauce. Add more yogurt or milk if needed. It should have the consistency of a sour cream. When the sauce is ready add the minced spinach and cook for about 1 minute stirring continuously.

Serve it with spicy French fries. All I could say is that I was asked for more 😉

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Bon  Appetite ! 😉