Saturday, April 14, 2012

Roasted Vegetable and Beef Moussaka

Moussaka is a Mediterranean dish that is traditionally made with eggplants and ground beef.  I found a vegetarian recipe for roasted vegetable moussaka that I thought looked so pretty with all the different colors, but I also wanted some protein in it so I could eat it as a main dish so I combined it with a more traditional type of moussaka.  The end result turned out very nicely and I'll definitely be making it again.
Roasted Vegetable and Beef Moussaka
serves 6
1 small eggplant, sliced
1 medium zucchini, sliced thickly
1 onion, cut into small wedges
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped coarsely
2 garlic cloves, chopped coarsely, divided
1 lb fresh lean ground beef
5 tbs olive oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper
14 oz canned chopped tomatoes in juice
10 fluid oz strained plain yogurt
2 eggs
2 oz feta cheese

  1. Put eggplant, zucchini, wedged onion, bell pepper, and half the garlic in a roasting pan.  drizzle over the oil, toss together, then sprinkle over the thyme and season with salt and pepper.  Roast in preheated oven, 425F for 30-35 minutes, turning pan halfway through cooking, until golden brown and tender.
  2. Add beef to a skillet and cook for 5 minutes, stirring, until browned.  Stir in the sliced onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper, then bring to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes, or until meat is tender.
  3. Arrange half the roasted vegetable mixture in an oven proof dish.  Add the meat mixture, then a final layer of the remaining roasted vegetable mixture.
  4. Beat the eggs in a bowl, then beat in the yogurt and season with salt and pepper.  Pour the mixture over the roasted vegetables and crumble over the feta cheese.  Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until golden brown.  Serve straight from the dish

Pink Lemonade cupcakes

I found this recipe, of all places, in the magazine my utilities company sent me.  I've tried several recipes form their recipe collection of all have been pretty good.  This turned out really good but soooooooo tart! I'm posting the adjusted recipe with cut backs on pink lemonade mix.

Pink Lemondae Cupcakes (24 cupcakes)
1 cup butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/8 cup powdered pink lemonade mix
4 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
cooking spray
Pink Lemonade Frosting

  1. Preheat oven to 340 degrees.
  2. Cream butter, sugar and lemonade mix at medium speed with electric mixer until creamy
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until blended after each addition
  4. In small bowl, combine flour, baking pwoder and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  5. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition.
  6. Place cupcake paper sin two 12-cup muffin pans and coat with cooking spray
  7. Bake 12-15 minutes or until wooden pick insrted in center comes out clean.
  8. Cool in pans for 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks and cool completely.
  9. Frost with Pink Lemonade.  Decorate with sprinkles.
That's some pink batter!
Pink Lemonade Frosting
1/8 cup powdered pink lemonade mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
2-3 tbs whipping cream
1 package (16 oz) powdered sugar
  1. Dissolve pink lemonade mix in 3 tbs water
  2. Beat butter, lemonade mixture and whipping cream at medium speed with electric mixer until creamy.
  3. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended.
  4. Beat at high speed two minutes or until creamy

Spinach and Feta Swirls

This appetizer or side dish is yummy and pretty.  I combined two different recipes in order to come up with this one.  Made this two times now and always very satisfied with the result.

1 lb fresh baby spinach, chopped or 1 10 oz package frozen spinach
1 small onion, chopped finely
4 oz feta
1 egg, beaten
1 tbs. fresh dill, chopped
2 tbs. fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
salt and pepper
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted

1) Preheat oven to 400F and lightly grease one baking pan.
2) Sautee onion in about 1 tbs olive oil in a large skillet.  Add fresh spinach with just water from leaves and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until wilted.  If using frozen spinach, cook until no longer in chunks.  I've done it with fresh spinach or frozen spinach and I personally think the fresh spinach is easier.
3)Allow to cool.  Drain spinach and onion mixture in a kitchen towel.  Combine spinach, onion, dill, parsley, egg, feta, and salt and pepper.
4)Unfold puff pastry and top with spinach mixture
5)Roll up on short side like a jelly roll.  Slice into 1/2 inch pieces.
6)Place sliced pieces cut side down on greased pan and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Another food blog?!

I come from a culture where recipes aren't really written down. In Vietnam, girls learn how to cook from watching and helping their mothers, aunts, and grandmothers in the kitchen. Unfortunately, that tradition is hard to maintain when your parents immigrated to the US as war refuges and your grandparents live in France.

But I'm lucky to be able to enjoy food from several different cultures. Vietnamese food we ate at home, American (and also Italian, Tex-Mex, Greek) from eating out and growing up in America, and French food from my grandparents and mother's side of the family who live in Paris.

I wanted to have a place where I can share and keep the recipes I've learned from my mother, family, recipe books, or online recipe sites that I want to remember.  The name of my blog comes from a very special type of Vietnamese salt and pepper called Muoi Tieu Hue.  It's from the central region of Vietnam that my father is from.  It is salt and pepper that is smoked for a very long time until the crystals burst and you get a very fine salt and pepper that almost looks like sand.  It is amazing for stir frys, vietnamese soups, pretty much anything.  My mom's cousin makes the stuff and it is one of the things I cherish in my kitchen.  So I hope you enjoy this culinary journey with me.

Hope you enjoy!