Sunday, September 29, 2013

Spinach, Kalamata Olive and Feta Pizzettes

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I am in a pizza making mood lately, probably because soon I will have a pizza oven installed in my back yard along with a fire pit!  Pictures coming soon! The ingredients in these grilled pizza mirror both the foods of Greece and Cyprus. Baby spinach leaves and garlic sautéed briefly in olive oil, along with sprinkling of the deep purple, briny Kalamata olive and crumbled feta top these lemon and oregano spiced grilled flatbreads. Easily processed in a bread machine, the dough can be held over night in the refrigerator and rolled out the next day, making this an easy small plate meal.

If  you have never grilled pizza, you are in for a treat! I grilled these on a gas grill, but a charcoal grill, a little more time-consuming, or even a ridged grill pan on the stove will work as well.  A quick search on the Internet will bring up many articles on grilling pizzas and flatbread. A few are listed below.

How to Grill Pizza-Simply Recipes

For the Dough

2 teaspoons yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup semolina
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup water, plus 3 or more additional tablespoons, if necessary
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano

Place all the ingredients in the pan of the bread machine according to manufacturer's instructions for your appliance. Process on the dough cycle, adding the extra water, if necessary to make a soft, but distinct ball of dough. While the dough is rising, you can prepare the topping.


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 pound baby spinach leaves, rinsed and dried ( I used a 5 ounce plastic box)
1 large garlic clove, minced
14 Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus extra sprigs for garnish
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2-3 tablespoons olive oil, for brushing the pizzettes
Chopped tomatoes for garnish

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat and cook the spinach leaves until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the minced garlic. Set aside.

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill on medium. Have all your toppings handy to place on the pizzettes.

Remove dough from pan to a lightly oiled work surface. Divide into 4-6 pieces and let rest 5 minutes. Roll each piece into a 6-inch circle. It doesn't have to be perfect, but an even thickness is important. Lay the circles on a parchment lined baking pan. Brush with some of the olive oil. Lay the circles of dough on the grill olive oil side down and let cook 1 minutes, or until the dough puffs slightly and grill marks appear on the underside. Remove to baking pan grill side up.

Distribute the spinach over the grilled breads, followed by the olives and crumbled feta cheese. Sprinkle on the chopped parsley and season lightly with salt and pepper. Lay the filled pizzettes back on the grill and continue to cook until the undersides are grilled and the feta has melted somewhat. Garnish with fresh parsley and chopped fresh tomatoes. Remove from grill and enjoy.

Cyprus is the 13th stop on our culinary journey through the countries of the European Community (Abbecadario Culinario). Haalo has prepared a delicious moussaka to celebrate the cuisine of Cyprus. Join in the fun!

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Black and White Wednesday #98-The Gallery

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It's raining today, but I have had my day brightened by some stunning images submitted to Black and White Wednesday by faithful followers of this weekly blog event. Next week, Priya from The Humpty Dumpty Kitchen will host BWW#99. Thanks to everyone who took the time to photograph a black and white culinary image to submit to BWW #98.

Fish Plate
Sanhita-Pocketful of Spices

Appetizer in Progress

Daddy's Garden Production

Waiting to Get Savored
Rosa-Rosa's Yummy Yums

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Khaliat al Nahal (Honeycomb Buns or Bee's Hive Buns)-We Knead to Bake #9

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These sweet buns are filled with a turbinado sugar, almond and cinnamon filling and glazed with a honey flavored syrup, typical of Middle Eastern confectionery . Khaliat al Nahal translates as bee's hive in Arabic which refers to the shape of the cluster of buns baked in a round pan. This is the ninth installment of We Knead to Bake-Khaliat al Nahal, a baking group begun on Facebook nearly one year ago.

My honeycomb buns look a little more rustic than those of my baking buddies. I think I put too much filling for them to be perfectly round. However, when I baked them, I thought the filling was perfect. Traditionally, the filling used the honeycomb buns is a small piece of plain cream cheese. The filling can also be savory as well. Adding herbs, garlic, spring onion to the cream cheese, crumbled feta, or crumbled paneer sounds delicious. I have seen many recipes for the honeycomb buns, but really like Aparna's adaptation. I used the bread machine to process my dough, but if you want to use Aparna's method, please refer to the one of the links in this text.

Khaliat al Hahal (Honeycomb Buns)

For the Dough

1 cup lukewarm milk
1-1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon sugar (omit if using bread machine)
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar (for sweet bread)
3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt (for savory bread) OR 1/4 teaspoon salt (for sweet bread)
40 grams unsalted butter, melted, cooled
2 tablespoons  milk, for brushing the dough
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds for sprinkling on top (optional; only for savory bread)

For the Filling

1 cup of filling (approximately) of your choice, either sweet or savoury
Savoury - cream cheese OR crumbled feta cheese OR crumbled paneer/ cottage cheese, flavoured according to your choice. You can also use any other savoury filling that you want. I used a combination of crumbled paneer, herbs, chilli flakes, a little garlic and chopped spring onion.

Sweet - cream cheese (traditional filling), or any other filing of your choice like chocolate, dried fruit like dates, raisins, chopped nuts, chopped fruit , sweetened coconut filling, etc.

For the Sugar Syrup/Glaze

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
A pinch of saffron
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon lime/lemon juice

Method-  Dough

In the pan of a bread machine, add all ingredients (except milk for brushing) according to manufacturer's instruction. Process on the dough cycle. When cycle has completed, turn the dough out onto your work surface. Cut into 2 halves. With your palms, roll out each half a rope about 9-inches long. Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces so you have a total of 18 pieces.

Take each piece and flatten it out a little and place half a teaspoon of filling in the center. Pull up the sides and wrap the dough around the filling, pinching it closed at the top. Smoothen it into a round ball. Place this in a well-greased round 9” cake tin. Repeat with the remaining 17 pieces and the filling. Arrange the filled balls of dough in concentric circles, filling the base of the cake tin.
Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise for about 30 to 40 minutes. Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle the sesame seeds over this. Don’t use the sesame seeds for sweet bread, only for the savoury one. Bake the buns at 180C (350F) for about 25 minutes, until they’re done and a nice golden brown on top.

Let them cool in the tin for about 5 minutes and then on a wire rack.

If you’re making the sweet version, make the sugar syrup/ glaze during the first rise of the dough. For this put the sugar, water and saffron in a small pan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for a few minutes until it starts thickening a bit. Take it off the heat and add the honey and the lime/ lemon juice. Mix well and let it cool. Keep aside till needed.
When the sweet buns come out of the oven, pour the syrup all over the top of the “Honeycomb”. The bread should be hot and the syrup/ glaze should be cool. If you want your Honeycomb Buns to be less sweet, just brush the syrup/ glaze over the top.
Let it sit for a while for the syrup/ glaze to set a bit. Serve them warm with tea/ coffee.

This post has been submitted to Yeastspotting.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Pumpkin Almond Golden Raisin Upside Down Cake-Announcing Black andWhite Wednesday #98

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When one thinks of upside down cake, usually pineapple comes to mind. However, I have had a jar of pumpkin butter in my pantry for awhile now and now that Fall is in the air (I think), it's time to use it. A few days ago, I bought some striped pumpkins to photograph for BWW #98, but I wanted to post a recipe and photo to go along with the blog event. It only took me a few minutes to photograph the pumpkins, but a longer time to try and find a recipe to use the pumpkin butter. With some leftover turbinado sugar, almond, golden raisin and cinnamon mixture, I thought maybe pumpkin muffins with a streusel topping. As I thumbed through some magazine, I found an pumpkin upside down cake with similar ingredients. The final product was a big hit! I liked the substitutes I made, especially the turbinado sugar which didn't quite melt as the brown sugar would have, but added a little sugary crunch. I now feel the recipe is mine!

Pumpkin Almond Golden Raisin Upside Down Cake
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup turbinado sugar or light brown sugar
2/3 cup sliced almonds
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 jar (10 ounces) spiced pumpkin butter
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper. Grease or lightly spray with a nonstick baking spray.

Melt butter in a small saucepan, add the sugar, almonds, cinnamon and raisins. Cook over medium heat until bubbly, about 2-3 minutes. Pour into prepared baking dish.

In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin butter, oil and eggs whisking until well blended. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt to blend. Add the pumpkin mixture, stirring to combine. Spoon batter over the sugar/nuts mixture. Smooth top with a spatula.

Bake 30-40 minutes until a pick in the center comes out clean. Let sit 5 minutes on a cooling rack, then invert on a platter. Remove parchment paper. Serve warm. Serves about 8.
The image above is my contribution to BWW # 98 hosted this week by yours truly.  Send your lovely photos and link to post to- lynnylu AT gmail DOT com.

"Rules are simple and unchanged:

- Your clicks have to be  anything of a culinary nature or show anything related to food: an ingredient, a kitchentool, something in your kitchen or in a restaurant,  anything about food preparation/presentation/consumption, whatever your eyes can catch as a food speach.
- You can shoot either in b/w mode or in color, then process in b/w. You can use any effect you like but keeping the image in a monochrome/grayscale, with Sepia and Cyanotype tones allowed. No color details allowed.
- Approximate sizes of your pictures shoud be portrait/500 wide & 700 long - landscape/700 wide & 500 long - or 600 square.
- No need of a recipe, nor a story nor a location (but they are welcome if you like), simply a title for the picture is required.
- You have to post your photograph within the Tuesday of the week going on, so the hostess will be ready to blog about the Gallery on Wednesday (but latecomers might be accepted to the hostess' discretion). For those who use Twitter, Susan created a hashtag (#BWFood) to make it easier to find related conversations.
- You have to mention Black and White Wednesday in your post and link to  this announcement and to the hostess' blog. Use of the logo is optional.
-  We also have a group on Flickr if you'd like to join and share your pics."

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Baked Indian Samosas

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Whenever I make these samosas, I always remember living in Southern Illinois and being invited to my  Indian neighbor's house  to share with her friends the most delicious of Indian food that she spent days preparing. In her  dining room, the table was laden with vegetarian Indian food,and on the large kitchen table, an array of dishes containing meats. At the time, I had no idea what any of the dishes were called; all I knew was I really, really liked Indian food. Not only were we invited to her large banquets, my neighbor would occasionally bring over her fried samosas. Filled with a spicy mix of potatoes, peas, ginger and other heady spices and herbs, these samosas were the best I've ever eaten. Although super delicious fried, the trend now seems to be to bake these little pies, a more healthful alternative. 
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It is widely believed that the Indian Samosa originated around the 10th century and probably traveled to India along the ancient trade routes from Central Asia. Easily made over the campfires at night, these crisp triangular pies filled with a spicy meat or vegetable mince made a perfect snack to pack in saddlebags for the next day's journey. The samosa is the most famous of all Indian pastries and has relatives all over the globe. England has its Cornish pasty, Mexico and Spain the empanada,  and Poland the pierogi-just to name a few.

The dough for the samosas is easily prepared in a bread machine on the dough cycle. Once processed, it can be kept covered in the refrigerator overnight. If refrigerated, remove dough 30 minutes before rolling out.

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Baked Samosas

For the Dough

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons evaporated milk (low fat is fine)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  1. Place all the ingredients in the bread machine pan according to the manufacturer's instructions for your machine. Process on the dough cycle. The dough should be firm, but moist. If not, add more  milk or flour to hold the dough together. 
  2. While the dough is processing, make the filling.
For the Filling
  • 1 medium Idaho potato, (about 6-8 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, (about 8 ounces), finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Place the potato cubes in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium -high heat, lower the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, or until slightly softened, but not cooked through. Add the peas to the boiling water the last minute of cooking. Drain the water from the potato cubes and peas.
  2. Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic and ginger root. Saute until the onions are translucent. Add the potato cubes, peas, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
For the Glaze
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water.

  1. Remove the dough from the machine onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 8 pieces. Let rest 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350° F. with a rack in the center of the oven. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.  On a lightly oiled work surface, roll each ball of dough into a 7-inch circle. Place about 3 tablespoons of filling onto each circle. Lightly moisten the edge of each circle with  water and fold over to form a semi-circle. Press edges firmly together to seal.
  3. Place samosas onto the prepared baking and generously brush tops with the egg glaze. Bake the samosas for 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown. Serve hot or at room temperature. Makes 8. The dough can also made into appetizer portion by dividing the dough into 16 pieces.
The black and white image of the samosas is my contribution to Black and White Wednesday #97 hosted by Simona of Briciole. Black and White Wednesday, a weekly photo even was created by  lovely and super talented Susan and now being managed by also lovely  and super talented  Cinzia.
BWW #96- Gallery-Haalo. I will be hosting BWW #98 the week of September 25. The announcement for that coming soon.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Beer and Honey Marinated Chicken and Jalapeno Smoked Sausage Kebabs with Warm Cabbage Slaw

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I wrote and photographed these chicken and sausage kebabs several years ago along with the warm cabbage slaw, but I felt they needed a revisit especially since I recently received a package from Sunset Farm Foods  in Valdosta, Georgia containing some very nice jalapeño smoked sausage links, smoked baby links and fresh sausage. I have used Sunset Farms cracked pepper smoked sausage in several recipes before, this potato salad and a few others not blogged about, so I wasn't a stranger to this brand. A cattle ranching family, Sunset Farms has been in business since 1918. This particular chicken and sausage kebab recipe is very easy to prepare as the slightly picante jalapeño sausage is fully cooked and the chicken pieces are small. The warm bacon flavored red and green cabbage slaw reminds me of some of the German foods I've enjoyed in my travels. This meal would be delicious as part of an Octoberfest menu.
From original post-
"Lime juice, olive oil and the beer are the main components for the marinade. Garlic and honey add another dimension as well as a torn fresh bay leaf.Only a short hour was needed to marinate the chicken and sausage pieces. The shredded red and green cabbage along with some sliced leeks and carrots were set aside in separate bowls until the warm vinaigrette was made, then combined. The smoky flavor of the maple-cured bacon, plus some maple syrup adds a distinct, but not too sweet flavor to the vinaigrette. The grilled kebabs sit atop this lovely warm slaw. Beer or a light red wine, such as a pinot noir would be delicious with this meal. "

For the Kebabs

1 lime, juiced
1 cup beer, a lager or any light colored beer
1 teaspoon honey
1-2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 bay leaf, torn
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, about 1 pound, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 links Sunset Farm Foods jalapeño smoked sausage, or fully cooked smoked sausage of choice, about 3/4 pound, cut into 1-inch thick slices.
Bamboo or metal skewers. If using bamboo skewers, soak for at least an hour in cold water before using.

For the Warm Cabbage Slaw

4 slices (about 4 ounces) smoked bacon cut into half
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup pure maple syrup (Grade B is fine for this)
1/2 teaspoon ground celery seed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 medium leek, about 1 cup, thinly sliced
3 cups shredded green cabbage, about 1 pound
1-1/2 cups shredded red cabbage, about 1/2 pound
1/2 cup grated carrots (1-2 medium)

In a bowl, combine lime juice, beer, honey, garlic cloves, bay leaf, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add chicken and sausage pieces. Marinate at least one hour. 

Meanwhile, prepare cabbage slaw. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Transfer to paper towels and discard all but 3 tablespoons of the fat. To the pan, add the vinegar, maple syrup, celery seed, salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute. Pour all but 1 tablespoon warm dressing into a small bowl.

Adjust heat to medium low and add leeks to skillet. Cook until slightly softened-about 2 minutes. Add green cabbage, red cabbage and carrots . Stir in the reserved dressing and cook just until the vegetables soften-3-4 minutes. Keep warm.

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill according to manufacturers instructions for moderately hot fire. Remove chicken and sausage pieces from marinade. Thread onto the bamboo or metal skewer. Grill kebabs 1-15 minutes, turning once or twice until chicken thoroughly cooked, but still moist. Remove from grill. 

To serve, either place kebabs atop the chicken and sausage kebabs or serve alongside. Serves 2-4.

While I was given the sausages used in this recipe, my opinions are my own. 
This is my contribution to Abbecedario Culinario hosted by Simona of Briciole. We are nearing the latter part of the Culinary ABC's of the European community with the letter Q for Quarkkeulchen with some lovely pancakes prepared by Simona.

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Black and White Wednesday #96-Shells and Spoons

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I love photographing little things that are either found objects such as the shells below (some from beach combing on Wassaw Island, others from the Caribbean), tiny horn spoons bought at a shop in Edinburgh and some antique silver plated spoons that I use when photographing food items. I derive much joy from these little things and wanted to share them with you. 
Shells found while beachcombing

 Scottish Horn Spoons

Antique Silverplate

These photos are my contribution to Black and White Wednesday #96 hosted this week by Haalo of Cook (Almost) Anything Once. BWW was created by Susan  who blogs at The Well-Seasoned Cook back in July of 2011. Susan passed the baton to Cinzia from CindyStarBlog
Please do not use images or text without my permission. 

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Black and White Wednesday #95

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For the past two weeks, I've been busy shooting interior and exterior photos of vacation rental homes. One client wanted to make sure that in addition to showing her home, she wanted to add some food images to add that special touch. After shooting the wine and cheese images inside her home, we decided that the grapes, cheese and wine looked more enticing when being displayed on her deck.
The top photo is my contribution to Black and White Wednesday #95 hosted by Deepali of Lemon in Ginger. Black and White Wednesday is the brainchild of Susan and is now being managed by Cinzia. BWW #94-Cafe Lynnylu
BWW #96- September 11, 2013 -Cook (Almost) Anything Once

Please do not use images or text without my permission. 
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