Sunday, December 1, 2013

Pumpkin decorations?

What to do.... Christmas decorations up but thanksgiving leftovers and decorations are all over the place. Came up with a little fun one: twice baked pumpkins!

While you are making you big batch of stock and putting up your tree, cut the top off your baby pumpkins, scoop out the seeds then bake  for 40 minutes at 350.

When cooled, scrape the pumpkin in to a bowl and add the equal amount of left over mashed potatoes and about 1/4 c of shredded cheese per pumpkin (assuming these are the little one that are about 4 inches high). Mix with a little olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper then stuff the pumpkin shells and bake until warm throughout.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Millet & Pumpkin Winter Salad

Just in time for my Thanksgiving planning, my new assistant brought in her latest creation.  Oh yummy yummy....Millet and Pumpkin salad.  I was graced with a little bowl of this today (thanks Beth) and it is now going to be on my Thanksgiving table.  Here is the recipe:

Winter Millet Salad
Serves 4
1 butternut squash
100 g raw hazelnuts
2 avocados, diced
1 small romanesco broccoli, broke into bite-size florets
2 handfuls purple grapes, cut in half
2 handfuls green leaves, we used beetroot leaves
1 pomegranate, seeds
1 handful basil, finely chopped
1 handful parsley, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
1/2 lemon, juice
3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper 

1 cup (240 ml) raw millet (any color will work)
Chunky Herb Dressing
Prepare the butternut by trimming off the top and bottom and cutting it in half crosswise and lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and remove the tough peel with a sharp knife or a peeler. Cut into 1 x 1-inch (2 x 2 cm) dices. Place on an oven tray. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sea salt. Bake on 400 F° (200°C) for 20-30 minutes or until soft and slightly brown on the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
The last 10 minutes of baking time, place the hazelnut on a separate baking tray, sprinkle with salt and toast until skin cracks and browned. Remove and let cool slightly, rub between a rough cloth or kitchen towel to remove the skin. Chop coarsely.
Rinse the millet in a sieve with boiling water, then place in a small saucepan with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and let gently simmer for 10-15 minutes or until soft and the water is gone.
Prepare the avocados, romanesco, grapes, green leaves and pomegranate and Herb Dressing. Place the cooked millet in a large bowl, add the herb dressing and mix with your hands to make sure all millet is coated with dressing. Add all ingredients to the millet mixture and gently fold to combine. Serve!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Preparing for the Feast - Thanksgiving here we come....!

All this being said, here is my amazing sourdough stuffing recipe. Stephanie (my sister) isn't crazy about it....she likes cornbread but I swear by this one (Kathleen....this is for you) - it is a blend of an old Sunset recipe and a new one from Cooking Light.

Thanksgiving is really MY holiday.  What could be better than hanging out with your friends, drinking great wine and playing bocce in the afternoon!  Oh yeah....there also football blaring in the background, my crazy family walking in the door with MORE food and plenty of laughter!

Yup...its the best but it is not without preparation.  I ran in to a friend last Friday who told me she was planning her big feast (first time I think) and we started swapping recipes.  Naturally, my husband (king of the bird) was there to offer his tips on smoking turkey (since Arlon wasn't there we missed the debate on "fried vs smoked" and the Turkey Cook Off from last year!).  Thanksgiving is SERIOUS business in our house.  VERY serious business - best not to get between me and the last piece of my Mom's raisin pie!!  I have been know to can my ethical, moral behavior and flat out LIE for my pie!

Mushroom Artichoke Stuffing 
Heat a large skillet with olive oil (about 1 tbsp).  Saute 12 oz of exotic mushroom blend (TJ's has a frozen bag but be sure to thaw them and chop them a bit), 1 tbsp chopped thyme and 2 tbsp fresh rosemary.  Add one package of thawed frozen artichoke hearts, lightly chopped, 2 tsp fresh garlic (but I use about 4 cloves smashed and chopped!), 1/2 tsp pepper and 1/4 tsp sea salt.  Saute for another 2 minutes.  In a separate bowl, combine  1 1/2 c chicken broth and 2 eggs.  Add 12 oz toasted sourdough bread cubes and 1/2 c grated machego cheese or dry jack then stir. Stir in the saute mixture and  spoon in to an 11x7 baking dish coated with cooking stray.  Bake in a preheated oven for about 45 minutes.  Top with 2 oz shaved Parmesan after baking.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Grizzly Winter Veggie Casserole

True to my word, I went to my sister's class (armed with my box of organic produce and a You Tube video on organic vs conventional) with my standard speech "eat fresh and eat local".  I am NOT a food demo gal and I think I could take a lesson from those ladies at Costco but I did have "helpers" (thanks Natalie and my sister Stephanie who prepped).  We chopped, diced and sauteed our way to a pretty tasty little dish:  Note the smiling faces and the empty 9x13 in the photo below!  Thanks guys!!  All members of the "clean plate club!"

Big shout out to Willey Farms.....good produce makes good food!

2 Crookneck Squash, cut in to 1/2 inch chunks
3/4 c crushed Ritz crackers (nope not organic but the flavor was yummy)
1/2 c sliced sweet red peppers
1 c grated cheddar cheese
3 tbs butter
1/2 minced jalapeno pepper
1/2 large onion chopped
2 tbs finely chopped cilantro leaves
1 fat clove of garlic minced
1 egg lightly beaten
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 healthy shakes of "Slap Yo Mamma" seasoning (or a suitable Cajun seasoning)

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter a medium baking dish or a 9x13 if you are doubling it.  In a microwave bowl, put the squash and the red peppers.  Micro for at least 5 minutes on high until soft. You can boil it but that takes time! Put 2 tbs butter in a frying pan and saute the onions and jalapeno and cook till translucent.  Add garlic and cook a bit more.  Drain the squash and peppers.  Mash lightly and add in the sauteed onions.  Wipe down the frying pan and add a tbs butter and brown the cracker crumbs then set aside.  Mix the squash mixture together and add in the beaten egg and the seasonings. Mix in 1/2 c cheese and 1/2 the crackers.  spread in baking pan.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese and remaining crackers.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until firm and golden brown.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

You asked......Smokvica (fig liquor)

Yeah....I know that I said I was going to make the crostada and then I realized I was getting low on my "hooch" so I shelved the "full fig" crostada for a little detour.  With this I bring you (wait for it......drum roll......) SMOKVICA (or "Smokva" - Croatian for fig liquor).  On my first trip with hubby I paid over 120 kuna for a tiny little bottle and then I thought "well, the label is cute but ...dang.....I could do this!"  It is really easy and, if you like figs, this is a wonderful treat.

2 1/2 cups chopped figs
2 cups brandy (some of the recipes in Fresno call for vodka which, to me, is a little lighter)
2 coffee beans
1 vanilla bean

Chop the figs and place the rest of the ingredients in the bottle and let sit in a dark place, undisturbed, for at least 2 to 3 weeks. I like to shake it up about once a week just to get the fruit fully infused. After the time has passed, strain the ingredients and add simple syrup to taste.  Note:  I happen to like my simple syrup made with a little honey for this recipe.  It gives it a warm, unique flavor.

PS:  These photos are temps since mine is (like me at work) in the dark, out of sight.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Figs.....the last of the season!

Mom said there are only a few left on the tree and they are starting to dry up a bit (but this doesn't stop Dad from grabbing a handful on his way out to the shed!).  Here is what's on deck for this weekend (I got this from a Facebook post from California Figs.....great post!)

Crostata is one fruit-filled pastry that doesn’t require a lot of fuss.

Make a slight fold at the edge of crust, pinching the dough to seal.
If you love a great fruit tart but think it’s a job best left to your grandma or the local bakery, think again. I’ve created a traditional and satisfying Italian crostata that’s quick, easy and perfect for summer. n Oftentimes, I’ve noticed that restaurant pastry chefs will create works of art that are as complicated to make as they look and taste. Who has the time or ingredients to create those complex confections?
When a bite of something warm and delicious is something you crave, this dessert is one of the simplest recipes to manage, with only a few steps to prepare the dough, an even easier assembly and no special experience necessary.
A typical Italian dessert, the crostata is often prepared with jam as its main filling. I created mine with a crust that offers hints of cinnamon and ginger, paired with a topping of in-season fresh fruit and an orange marmalade to give it extra zest, depth and a natural sweetness.
For pastry
2½ cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter, cold, in chunks
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 large egg
½ cup ice water
For filling
3 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
1 pint fresh raspberries
1 pint fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 heaping tablespoons orange marmalade
For glaze
1 large egg, beaten, for egg wash
to serve (optional)
Handful of fresh mint
Good vanilla ice cream
In a food processor fitted with a pastry blade, pulse the flour, butter, sugar, cinnamon and ginger until the dough is crumbly. Add the egg and water, 2 tablespoons at a time, and pulse until the dough forms a texture that is smooth enough to handle. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and work it until well combined, forming a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Add peaches, raspberries and blueberries to a small bowl. Add flour and orange marmalade and stir gently to combine.
Place a pizza stone in a conventional oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
Sprinkle the counter with flour and gently roll the dough out into a 14-inch circle, about 1⁄4-inch thick, turning dough over and sprinkling flour on both sides so it doesn’t stick. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured pizza paddle.
Spoon the fruit mixture into the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border all around.
Lightly dab the egg wash around the border with your fingers. With a fork, make indentations around the border.
Take the pizza stone out of the oven. Slide the crostata off the pizza paddle and onto the pizza stone. Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and fruit is bubbly. Slide the pizza paddle under the tart to remove it from the oven. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream and fresh mint.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Barbecued Okra

Okra for me was a "new" vegetable. I don't recall ever seeing my Mom make okra nor did I see it on any other tables growing up.  For this reason, it is NOT in my repertoire .....

Enter Willey Farms and a fresh bag of okra. Their newsletter, "What's Growin' On", saved me today by providing this fun recipe (modified to suit my personal tastes):

1/2 t sea salt
1/2 t smoked paprika
1/2 t powdered garlic
1/2 t agave nectar 
1/2 t "Slap Yo Mama" seasoning
1 Tbsp Bari Olive oil (I actually used about 2.... But who's counting)
1/2 lb fresh okra

Preheat your grill.  Wash the okra and blot dry. Remove the stems  but do not cut in to the pods.  Place in  a big bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and agave nectar. Toss to coat.  In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients. Toss the dry ingredients and mix to coat the okra.  Place in a grill basket and cook till lightly brown.  Takes about 2 to 4 minutes. Can be put directly in the grill individually or laced together with a skewer.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Taking it on the road....

I received a call from my sister last night asking me if I would come to her class, armed with my CSA box, and talk about the joys of eating fresh and local.

My adorable sister Stephanie teaches Home ec (well that's what I call it but I hear that's not cool!)  Sad thing is that most high schools are doing away with classes that teach cooking and how to rum a household (it is far to "mid century" to be trendy!) and now we are left with people in their 20's and 30's who don't know anything about proper nutrition.  Not only am I talking my game on the road but I am back up on my soap box!!

Hillari Dowdle wrote this wonderful article in Cooking Light Magazine that asked the question "Cooking and Nutrition skills are crucial to a healthy, happy life.  So why don't schools teach them?"  Read on....very thought provoking!  So my faithful blog readers.....did you have home ec?  Who taught you about cooking and nutrition?  With our changing world and the lack of "slow foods" in our homes (this would be the way my Mom cooked "back in the day" when it wasn't chic!), who is going to teach tomorrow's young professionals on what's good to eat to live that long, healthy life?  Does anyone wonder what's going to happen to a generation that lives on drive thru or microwave cuisine? on and post your thoughts?

Bring Back Home Economics in Schools
In 1964, my mom, Nancy, received the Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow award for the talent she demonstrated in home economics. She took the class four years in a row, learning to sew, maintain a tidy house, and care for children, as well as plan menus, balance food budgets, and cook nourishing dishes. She fully expected to become a housewife and raise a family. Which she did.
By the time I reached high school in the late '70s, the women's movement was in high gear. No way would I bother with the details of domestic life. I fully expected to go to college and have a career. Which I did.
For me, home ec had not been required, recommended, or—in many cases—available at all. What's more, it seemed like a faintly embarrassing relic of a life I never expected to live. Until, of course, I did. At 40, I quit my job, had a baby, and began playing house for the first time in my life to a sometimes comic, sometimes catastrophic effect.
Looking at the statistics, you'd never know that there is an entire generation of "lost girls" like me (and boys) who graduated from high school with few practical home-making skills. That's because the percentage of students who participated in Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS, as home ec was rechristened in 1994) was roughly the same in 2005 as it was in 1962, when my mom was in her heyday: about 25%, according to Carol Werhan, PhD, professor in FACS education at Pittsburgh State University. But the numbers don't tell the whole story.
"It used to be that when you took home ec, you took it for a full year at a time," Werhan says. "Now kids can take only one nine-week period, and there's no way to tell how comprehensive their education is. And beyond the question of quantity, the quality of education is vastly different."
In today's tight economic times, what remains of home ec has morphed into something more like vo tech. "FACS classes have had to shift their focus to the jobs market," Werhan explains. "Now you get classes designed to help train young chefs, caterers, hotel and restaurant managers, child-care workers, and fashion merchandisers. What you don't get are the skills everybody really needs: basic household management." Cooking and nutrition—two of the central tenets of traditional home ec curricula—have all but disappeared.
"We fought throughout the '70s and '80s to make the case that [home ec skills] were the skills everyone would need to survive in the world," says Marilyn Wagner, who has taught FACS at East High School in Pueblo, Colorado, for 23 years. "But when we lost the battle for a comprehensive education in the field, we ceded nutrition to science teachers—many of whom just don't teach it. And cooking skills fell off the map altogether."
East High is an International Baccalaureate School, known for its academic excellence and success in prepping kids for attendance at the best universities in the country. "We are so focused on getting them ready for college, but we're not preparing them for life," Wagner says.
Public health experts , nutritionists, and educators are beginning to realize that the lack of basic life skills, like cooking, presents a serious problem: Americans are growing up ignorant about the whats, whys, and hows of eating healthy.
Alice Lichtenstein, DSc, professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University, believes this has a direct link to the obesity epidemic. Since 1980, as traditional home ec classes waned, the rate of obesity among children ages 2 to 19 tripled.
"Prevention is more powerful than treatment, but it is difficult when our education system is not teaching children how to prepare fresh food," Lichtenstein says. "Every child—male and female—should have those skills, but many don't grow up in an environment where there's someone to teach or model them."
Werhan and Wagner agree that change will only happen when parents demand it—when women like me begin to realize we lost out on something important and demand that our kids receive the education we missed.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Fig, Feta and Almond Strudel

Thanks to a bit too much homework and not enough time in the kitchen, I had an abundance of fresh fruits and veggies.  My first idea was to make another cobbler but I am getting tired of these so I took my fresh plouts (thank you Kevin and Greg from Mizuno Farms) and made a walnut and pluot strudel.  This now left me with a half a box of filo dough and I learned from my last batch that it dries out quickly so I went back to the fridge for more inspiration......

The beautiful Kadota figs (thank you T&D Willey Farms) were all the inspiration I needed.  Here is a little gem of a recipe.  Very easy (assuming you are not crazy enough to make your own filo like my Mom and her buddies) and a perfect, elegant late summer appetizer!

Fig, Feta and Almond Strudel

  • 12 medium size fresh figs, stems removed and chopped
  • 1/2 to 3/4 c. feta cheese (plain, not flavored), crumbled
  • 1/2 c. coarsely chopped almonds
  • 1 to 2 shakes of sea salt
  • 1 small sprig of rosemary, stem removed using just the leaves, chopped.
  • 14 sheets of filo
  • 1 stick of butter (1/2 c.), melted
  • Non stick spray

Melt the butter and set aside.  Mix up all the ingredients well (mash up with your hands if it doesn't look fully want the figs to be well mixed with the feta).  Individually, layer the filo dough sheets, one by one, dotting with butter.  On the top layer, along the long side, spread/lump the fig mixture then roll.  Place roll on cookie sheet sprayed with non stick spray.  Brush top of strudel with butter then bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 20 minutes until golden brown.  Slice diagonally and enjoy!

P.S.  This was a HUGE hit at dinner last night.....two people who DO NOT like figs raved about it.  My Mom is still vacuuming filo flakes from the carpet!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Fresh Fig, Walnut and Rosemary Upside Down Cake

Oh my God! This recipe is amazing.... It started with a quick trip to the folks (standing in the sunshine while my Dad about every third fig!) followed by the most heavenly aroma filling my kitchen!  It's easy, fresh and delicious....... Plus a great use of all those beautiful ripe figs that fill our trees this time of year.

1/2 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
10 figs (I used mission figs), tips removed and halved
2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
2-3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1 c. flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 c. granulated sugar
4 teaspoons lemon juice with zest of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat to 350. Put stick of butter in a pan and let it melt. Swirl around and be careful not to let it burn.  Sprinkle brown sugar over the butter. Sprinkle with chopped rosemary  then place figs in the pan with the split side against the sugar.  Sprinkle in the nuts to fill the cracks.  Mix up the remaining ingredients and pour over the figs. Bake at 40 minutes or until golden.

Cool only slightly so the gooey stuff is still gooey and invert.....

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Ta-Cro (A harmonious blend of Mexican and Croatian food!)

If there's one thing I love.... It's good food. Top this off, I can't pass up "good" Mexican food, a batch of fresh civapcici  or anything fresh.  So it's a natural assumption that all of my loves would collide in a wonderful dish I am calling Ta-Cro (Croatian tacos!)

So here's the skinny:  make a batch of civapcici (see older post - summer of 2012). Assemble as follow (this is for one, but you will probably eat MANY more):

1 plain brick oven pita (Mediterranean brand from Royal Market and Deli)
2 freshly grilled civapcici 
2 tablespoons chopped tomatoes (from KMK)
1 heaping tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon store bought Ajvar (also available at Royal market but ground up roasted red sweet peppers would do in a pinch)
1 big fat tablespoon kajmak (see below)
Sprinkle of chopped purple onion (from Willey Farms)

garnish with a fresh green onion

Kajmak (fast method) -- 4 oz of cream cheese, 4 oz feta and 1 stick of soften butter.  2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Blend until smooth.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

It's time to get a little FIGGY!!

I snagged this recipe from Christina's Cucina ( - thank you by the way since I winged my last two batches).  This morning (and yesterday morning) I ate fresh figs for breakfast.  I have to say, I can't part with my first batch (the Mission figs) but I know that my parent's tree is soon to explode with a bounty of goodies.  Stay tuned as there will be more recipes to come.  I'm gettin' FIGGY with it!

So I set out to find a recipe and came across this Drunken Fig Jam recipe from Bon Appétit, and decided I'd make an orange version of it, by replacing the brandy with Grand Marnier. I also swapped half of the lemon zest for orange. I like fig jam on top of brie and crackers, which I will post a recipe for later, but you can use it anyway you like any other type of jam: on bread or toast, in yogurt, with scones, etc. I hope you enjoy my recipe!

(Thank you, Karla! We'll enjoy those figs well into winter now!)

adapted from Drunken Fig Jam
makes about 3 half pint jars

Special equipment: glass jars for the jam


2 lbs ripe, fresh figs (stems removed and cut into 1/2" pieces) about 4 1/2 cups
1 fresh organic orange
1 fresh organic lemon
2 cups sugar
1/3 to 1/2 cup (4 oz) Grand Marnier
a pinch of salt

Place the figs in a large pot, then zest the orange and lemon.

Place the orange and lemon zest, sugar, Grand Marnier
and pinch of salt into the pot with the figs.

Stir and let stand at room temperature for one hour, stirring occasionally.
After an hour, put the pot on medium high heat and bring to a boil, 
stirring to dissolve the sugar. 

Reduce heat to medium and continue to boil for approximately half an hour, stirring 
and mashing the figs with a potato masher, to crush the pieces. Remove from heat.

Ladle into rinsed, hot clean jars (rinsed with boiling water), leaving about 1/4" space at the top, clean the rim and cover with hot lids (also rinsed with boiling water). 
Process in water bath for 10 minutes, or keep refrigerated. 

 NOTE: when I make jam, I pour the boiling jam into old jam jars and once the jam cools,
the middle of the lids will "pop" meaning the jars are sealed (the center of the jar will also become concave). If they do not "pop", the jam will definitely spoil if not refrigerated.
The health department would not approve of this method,
so I'm not suggesting you do this,
I'm just passing on what I do in my kitchen, as my family has been using this
old European method for as long as we can remember.

Cut some pretty fabric and cover the lids, tied with a little ribbon for beautiful gifts.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Kroštule or Hrštule and preparing for the Reunion

As most any one who has read my blog knows:  I am Croatian and I am in to FOOD.  I especially like homemade food.  I LOVE LOVE local fresh food.  Ah heck....I love to eat!  It is in my Dalmatian DNA (right along with loving ocean air, garlic, grilled seafood, red wine and naps under trees).  We Dalmatians are said to be lazy BUT they have never been around my aunts when they are cooking.  I had as huge treat this past week when I was able to horn in on my aunts making Hrštule (yes....there are other ways to spell it and say it....who cares...every country has these things anyway).

It is a huge process in the sense that there are certain things you MUST do.  For one, that dough can't get dry and it must be paper thin!  My Mom made me keep rolling till I could see the lines on my palm (no joke - my cousin Marcie would attest to this).  Oh...and the oil has to be HOT.  Oh.....and they must be "blonde" not golden because they keep cooking. Oh....and they must be straight strips, not too wide and not too thin.  Yeah....its a BIG BIG DEAL!  

All of this in preparation for the big Ivancovich-Lucich reunion on Saturday.  I personally am making civap (aka "turds") but shaping them like meatballs since my faux-Cro relatives don't get the civap thing.  I am saddened by the fact I didn't order the peppers on Kum will not be happy with out those.  Sorry Uncle Paul!

A few years back, my brave sister Stephanie and I did a cookbook with all the family recipes.  I was going to print the Hrštule recipe of my Moms but opted to use a blogged I don't give away the family secret (but I think the secret is was in ever batch since my Baba first made them).

More good recipes, photos and eats to follow after the raucous festivities this weekend.  Thanks to my Aunt Linda for taking the helm on this years reunion!  You brave soul!

Dobar Tek!
2 eggs
3 tablespoons schnapps, fruit brandy or liquer (kirsch, limoncello etc.)
2 tablespoons dark rum
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
pinch of salt
400g (3 cups) all purpose flour
vegetable oil for frying
icing sugar for dusting
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, schnapps, rum, butter, sugar, vanilla sugar, lemon zest and salt. Start adding flour gradually while mixing with a wooden spoon. Continue adding flour until you get a firm dough that doesn't stick to your fingers. It should be the consistency of pasta dough. You may not need to use all the flour, or you might need to add some more, depending on the size of the eggs and the quality of the flour. Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes on a lightly floured surface, flatten into a disc and wrap in plastic. Let it rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Divide the dough in half and roll out each piece on a lightly floured surface to 2mm thick. You can use pasta machine, if you like. Cut with a pasta wheel into 2cm x 20cm strips, tie into loose knots and set aside on a tray dusted with flour.
Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Deep-fry kroštule in batches, turning occasionally, until golden and puffed (2-3 minutes), then drain on kitchen paper. Dust with icing sugar and serve warm or cold. Store in an airtight container.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Baked stuffed tomatoes (Pečene punjene rajčice)

Oh my GOD!!  Have you ever looked at a "foodie" web page and literally drooled.  I am sitting here in the office and this page was emailed to me.  It is 9:30 am and my brain is screaming dinner.  With all the tomatoes in my yard (and my neighbors), I am blogging this one but I encourage my followers to check out this site (hit Google translate and it will pop up in English for ya!)

Baked stuffed tomatoes
• 1 red pepper, finely chopped 
• 8 salted anchovies, cut into strips 
• 20 pitted black olives, sliced ​​in half 
• 8 cherry tomatoes, halved 
• 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
• 1 handful of fresh basil leaves 
• 2 slices stale bread without the crust, cut into small pieces 
• 50g hard goat cheese (Machego)
• Salt and pepper 
• 6 tablespoons olive oil 
• 8 large tomatoes 

Wash the tomatoes, cut, remove the inner flesh and seeds and lightly season with salt and turn them cut off part down. Mix in a bowl of red pepper, anchovies, olives, cherry tomatoes, garlic, basil and bread. Fill tomatoes with mixed ingredients, place them in a cast iron pan, cover with grated cheese and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Bake in a preheated oven at 300 degrees covered with foil 15 minutes, then uncovered for another ten minutes. Serve warm.

Friday, July 5, 2013

It's GONE - Quick Peach Ice Cream

Caroline and Stephanie goofing around ..."back in the day"
When I was a little one (yes....I was once under 6 feet), my Mom used to make homemade ice cream.  It was smooth creamy and wonderful.  Typically, around the 4th of July it was a huge tradition to break out the hand crank ice cream maker and spend hours cranking (and cursing....that would be Dad) in the sun to make this wonderful concoction.  "Back in the day" we also climbed trees, spit watermelon seeds on the lawn, swam in the ditch, drank water from a garden hose and rode in the back of pick ups.....SO THERE!

This summer, armed with my Mizuno white peaches (thanks again to Kevin and Greg for putting up with me and my ever changing calendar), I decided to take a quick trip down memory lane (and I mean QUICK).  Standing in the kitchen, I surveyed my pantry and my fridge.  Nothing of value to make ice cream but since when has that stopped me?  Here is my rapid fire peach ice cream recipe:

3 large white peaches, peeled and chopped
1 14 oz can of organic sweetened condensed milk
1 table spoon peach schnapps
1 tablespoon instant custard mix

Put peaches n the blender, add milk and blend till smooth (really smooth!).  Pour in to sauce pan and heat till just about boiling.  Add schnapps and cook a bit more.  Add custard powder and stir well.  Remove from heat and let cool till room temp.

Take frozen electric ice cream canister.  Add the cooled peach mixture and blend for 35 minutes.  Place in the freezer till firm.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Kat's Belgian Waffles (Getting through the summer with help from friends)

As most of you have guessed, I am not posting as often (we can thank the EdD program for this......we can also thank it for the cold pizza, late night nachos and other horrific food choices).  On the other hand, my hubby is now thinking Monsanto is the devil and has pushed us to seeking Non-GMO when ever possible.  I am grateful that T&D Wiley delivers to a location near campus.....that is refrigerated so I can schlep in late if needed.  Love you guys!  

That being said, this weeks offering is a recipe from my Pal in Alaska (Katrina) - perfect for non-GMO folks (note, you have to get the non-GMO flour...Sprouts or Whole Foods!!)

1.25 c. flour
Katrina sent me the photo.....guess the "wha-who"
photo was a bit much!!  Tee Heee
.75 c. almond flour
2 T Turbino Sugar or Sugar in the Raw
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder

1.5 c. coconut almond milk
4 T. coconut oil (melted)
1 tsp vanilla

Combine wet and dry separately.  Put batter in sprayed preheated waffle iron.  Bake for 5 minutes or so (until golden and crispy).  Serve immediately.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Best Kurdish Carrot Fritters

Well.... The life of a doctoral student has all but ruined my career as a food blogger!  LOL Yet, with hubby out on vacation I am flush with veggies. I tried this new fun recipe using my Nantes Table carrots from T&D Wiley Farms (recipe from "What's Growin' On"

2 c grated carrots
2 large organic eggs
1 red onion finely chopped
1/2 c bread crumbs
1 tsp black pepper

Beat eggs and mix in all above. Mix well and drop dollops in to hot frying oil. I used my Fry Daddy which worked wonderfully. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve with a spoon of sour cream and chopped coriander.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Moroccan Spicy Chicken and Coconut Cilantro Rice

Here I am in the middle of studying for finals and facing a major event filled weekend at Fresno State.....And I am offering a very cool blog for your dining pleasure. Tonight I went a little exotic.

Tonight's dinner took approximately 1 hour from start to finish and had amazing flavor. It was a cinch but there are some items that you need to either have on hand or prep ahead of time (speaking of coconut and preserved lemon).

1 c brown rice
2 c water

Cook as directed and set aside

1/2 a bunch of cilantro with the stems removed and chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 c toasted coconut flakes, packed
4 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

Whirl cilantro, garlic and oil in a food processor. Remove from processor and fold in coconut. Stir in cilantro coconut mixture in to rice and add salt and pepper. Set aside until chicken is done.

In a cast iron (my favorite) Dutch oven (thanks Mom and Dad for actually getting me something "odd" for my birthday, per my request), brown 1 chopped onion, 5 cloves of crushed garlic, 1 chopped red bell pepper in 3 table spoons olive oil. Add 4 boneless chicken thighs and brown. Sprinkle liberally with cumin, turmeric and cracked black pepper. Add ground sea salt to taste and a couple of shakes of Maggie or soy sauce. Stir in 1/2 c preserved lemons (see prior blog post on Meyers lemons), chopped and stir. Add 1/2 c water and cover. Cook for 10 minutes. Add in 2 sliced zucchini and cover completely with the sauce. Cook for an additional 5 minutes at a medium heat. Serve along side the cilantro coconut rice.

Simply fabulous!!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Civap "Polish style"

Well husband never ceases to amaze me.  After 5 days of putting up with my diva -like behavior and asking for everything under the moon and stars, he made civap for dinner.  It wasn't exactly my style of civap but it was delicious none the less.  Here is his recipe and you MUST serve this in the back yard with a candelabra and Pavarotti......

 1 part pork sausage
3 parts deer meat (or beef if you so choose)
 lots of vegeta
Maggi (you do know wht Maggi is, right??) to taste (about 5 shakes)
2 eggs beaten
one onion chopped
parsley and pepper
BBQ sauce.

Mix meats in a bowl  Add all the other ingredients and miss with your hands until fully meshed and mixed   shape into patties or "turd" like shapes.  Grill until done.

Perfection is serving out in the back yard with opera and a great bottle of wine!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Chicken Yassa (Week "whatever")

You gotta love a higher education .... While it fills your brain with knowledge, it drains your bank account, sucks up your free time and consumes every waking thought (more than one can imagine.... I lay in bed thinking of Manovas and Mancovas!!). With that I have lost track of the weeks and I am getting a bit less vigilant with my fresh and local posts.

I did however decide to go gluten free for a couple of weeks (I heard it would improve my joint issues... HA we'll see). That being said, tonight I went a little wild with a recipe from my pal Mona who worked in the peace corp. Chicken Yassa. I paired this with a quinoa and brown rice, tossed with tomatoes, turmeric and garlic.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Polish to go (Week 15)

Easter is here and my hubby was missing "the old country" so I packed up my goodies and took them to my parent's give him a little Polish Easter in the middle of our Croatian festivities.  His number one favorite is the "French Salad" that his Mom makes.  Forgive the "white bars"....the blog is acting up!!

Francuska sałatka

  • 4 cups potatoes (cooked diced)
  • 32 oz mixed vegetables (frozen, cooked and drained)
  • 16 oz frozen peas (cooked and drained)
  • dill pickle (diced)
  • 12 cup green onion (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill (chopped)
  • salt and pepper
  • 34 cup mayonnaise
  • 34 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp prepared mustard
  • hard-boiled eggs (chopped)
  • Mix everything together gently and chill for at least 2 hours.  
Next is Cwikla.  This a beet and horseradish relish that he LOVES.  I can't give you a cool recipe so I will tell you what I do....  Boil 5 small beets.  Peel and throw in the food processor with the blade inside.  Add 3 heaping tablespoons of prepared horseradish   The best is Trader Joe's at this point, unless you are lucky enough to be growing this weed in the garden.  Add a teaspoon on vegeta (or salt and pepper each), then a splash of white vinegar or two.  Whirl till chunky but smooth.  Serve chilled on top of hard boiled eggs.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Westhaven Cake - My Druga Baba's Mysterious Prune Cake (Week 14)

For years, I heard my Mom and her sisters talk of this really moist, insanely delicious prune and chocolate cake (yes....prune!). I have been the "kitchen crash test dummy" for her many failed attempts as my saintly great grandmother took that recipe to her grave (and, if you know old Croatian women....they take those recipes very, very seriously!) My cousin Diane actually followed her Teta Franka around the kitchen with a glass so she could "eyeball" the approximation of her "just a little of this" or "just a little of that." My sister and I never got around to tailing my Baka Maria and her sponge cake went to the great kitchen in the sky!

Last weekend, my pal Genny and I were talking about her grandmother's cake and it sounded similar to the mysterious prune cake (except it had dates). Well.....dried fruit is dried fruit in my book so here is my attempt at the mysterious prune cake (Genny's grandmother's Westhaven cake).

1 c chopped prunes
1 c boiling water (pour it over the prunes)
1/2 lb butter (1 stick) added to the water. Stir till dissolved and let cool.

1 c chopped nuts
1c sugar
2 eggs beaten. Mix in to the prune stuff. I ran this trough the food processor so that the consistency was a bit more smooth.

Sift 1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Pour into a eased and floured 9x13 and sprinkle, with 1 c chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts (I omitted the nuts on the top since I knew my great grandmothers was "nutlets" on top) Bake at 350 for 1/2 hour. Dust with powdered sugar.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mizuna and Roasted Potato Salad (Week 13)

This lovely little recipe is a total "keeper". It offers a new and unique twist on potato salad.

This all started with a mid week trip to the Vineyard Farmers Market and Mr. Thao (sp?). He puts up with my poking and's my typical "what's this?" "Do I cook it or eat it raw?" This time is was a bright green bunch of what looked like field grass..... It was called "Mizuna".

1 1/2 fingerling potatoes, cut in half
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
7 T olive oil
1 shallots, finely chopped
1 1/3 T sherry vinegar
1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sea salt
3/4 chopped mizuna
1 c chopped yellow cherry tomatoes
1/4 c grated parmigiano reggiano

Preheat oven to 450. Roast potatoes with garlic and a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and shallots. Chop mizuna, remove and discard the stems.

Whisk the remaining olive oil, vinegar, mustard and seasonings. Take warm potatoes and place on top of the mizuna to let them wilt. Toss with dressing and cheese.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ooooops, I did it again! Genny's Salsa (Week 13)

Genny, Genny......who can I turn to? (are you singing the song with me?)

My pal Genny makes the most outstanding salsa! As promised for those who literally vacuumed up the stuff last Saturday night, here is the amazing recipe (but .....ooooops, I did it photo! It was GONE!)

1 28oz can of whole tomatoes
1 onion quartered
3 green onions halved
3 jalapeños halved and 1/2 of them seeded
1 bunch of cilantro, leaves only
1 T salt
3 T white vinegar

Put it all in the blend and pulse until desired consistency.

Comment: If you are lucky enough to have a tablespoon left, it is killer on scrambled eggs or anything else for that matter!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Whole Orange Cake (Week 11)

Oranges and more oranges! Leesa and I (the orange picking crew) decided to try a fun and easy recipe from this months Sunset Magazine.... To be clear..... We called it bread last night because both Hubby and I gave up sweets for Lent (amazing how creative you can get with your justifications!). Very yummy, dense and not icky sweet.

1 c butter, softened
1 1/4 c sugar
3 large eggs
2 large oranges (or 4 medium) a lb., ends trimmed and seeded, cut in chunks
2 1/2 c flour
1/4 tsp each salt and baking soda
1 tsp cardamom
1/2 tap baking powder
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
3 tsp orange juice

Preheat over to 325. Coat bundt pan with cooking oil spray.

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs.

In food processor whirl orange chunks till mostly smooth but not puréed. Add 1 1/2 c orange mixture to the batter and beat till blended. Add flour, salt, soda, cardamom and baking powder. Mix until smooth. Spread in to bundt pan.

Bake until tooth pick inserted comes out only with a crumbs, about 55 minutes.

Whisk juice and powdered sugar. Drizzle over cooled cake and let set.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Savoy Cabbage Slaw with Blood Orange Dressing (Week 10) + The "Kum"

Everyone knows that here in the valley, you MUST take advantage of the abundance when it is here.....the old saying "when life gives you lemons....." make lemoncello, lemon curd, lemon finishing salt and everything LEMON until you are sick of it!

This brings me to my Saturday adventure and this weeks recipe. My Hubby was holed up in the garage working on a monster size auto-related nightmare with our neighbor. I, for the first time in "forever" was halfway caught up with homework so I felt compelled to do yard work. This prompted a trip with Leesa (wife of the neighbor in the garage) to OSH. This trip got a little off course with a side trip to the Vineyard Famers Market (hence the Savoy cabbage), coffee, the the yard work got off to a slow start. I did, however, purchase my favorite garden tool: the Hula Hoe! (Back story.....some yeah-who swiped my Hula Hoe from the garage at my apartment complex!  Seriously?  My Hula Hoe?)

Off in the distance while making short order of my weeds, I heard my house phone and then my cell phone.  I trotted in to the house to find a message from my Uncle Paul (ALSO my Godfather or, as called in Croatian, Moj Kum). Hearing I was out killing myself with a Hula Hoe, he offered advice similar to my Father......"What's wrong with Round-up?" In our house, there is little that can't be fixed/cured/repaired/eliminated with Round-up, Super-Glue, Duct Tape or a swift kick.

Apparently my dear Godfather was tracking me down because his blood oranges were Leesa and I high tailed it to Clovis with shopping bags in hand. We thought it was a "pick it yourself" deal but that's not the way it works with my Godparents! HE picked it.....and we walked away with 4 shopping bags busting at the seams and a overloaded plastic tub PLUS a couple of glasses of wine and a few good belly laughs! It reminded me so much of days gone by, my Baba and Nono sitting around the same yellow and green tile table.... talk of briskula games, good food and traditions (that naturally revolve around food).

What could be better?

Savoy Cabbage Slaw with Blood Orange Dressing

1 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp agave nectar (or honey)
6 Tbsp blood orange juice
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c mayo
1 head of Savoy cabbage, shredded
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/2 c peppitas
1/2 c chopped green onions

Whisk together juice, vinegar, agave nectar, oil and mayo. Set aside. Toss cabbage, cranberries, seeds and onions with dressing.

So....I had all these oranges.....I started making a blood orangecello (more on this later after I am sure it works) but the photo of it in process is here on the blog.

In honor of my wonderful Godfather, I made this killer cocktail that I am calling the Kum. Lord knows he'd be proud of me (I can hear him saying "That's my girl!") and know my Godmother (Kuma Sue), a self-professed "cheap date" will probably want to save this for another trip to that wild place at the coast (sorry folks, inside joke between me and my Kuma...tee hee)!

The Kum (the Godfather)

4 oz blood orange juice
1.5 oz vodka
1 oz black pepper simple syrup (see prior post called the "Dalmatian"....the syrup is in the Maraska bottle to the right of the Skyy Vodka!  Yes....I know the vodka bottle is half missing.....trial and error my friends.)

Pour over ice and stir. Živjeli!