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.