Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Walnut Gateau with Praline Buttercream

The Daring Bakers are at it again! (This time starring the lovely addition of my little sister Super G. Go check hers out. We talked on the phone the whole day we made it and her sounds amazing.)

This month, Chris over at Mele Cotte picked Filbert Gateau with Praline Buttercream, from Great Cakes by Carol Walter. I wasn't worried at first. I thought, actually, whew. A layer cake. This won't be so hard. I had to go and get cocky about it. I had some problems. The cake stuck to the pan. Bad.
See? So I had to bake the cake part again, the second time using a sheet of parchment paper to line the bottom of the pan. But that was the only real problem. Otherwise it just took forever and my kitchen was really hot.

Let me tell you how I made mine different. Instead of the hazelnuts in the original recipe, which can be found on Mele Cotte, I used walnuts. I had a giant bag of them in the freezer, so it wouldn't cost me anything and I'm not sure I can get hazelnuts here without traveling some distance to get to the big city. Then instead of the rum or orange flavored liquor, I used Crown Royal. We're whiskey people here and we were fresh out of bourbon. We had two bottles of Crown and believe me, the Brain was not too happy I was cooking with the good whiskey. And finally, instead of the apricot glaze I used blackberry.

After that white chocolate opera cake that was far too sweet for my taste buds, I was excited to see how this would taste. It was fantastic! I cut a small sliver after I let it chill and brought it to the Brain with two forks. We both sat there worried that I had spent the entire day baking this beautiful thing only to find out we didn't like it. In fact when the Brain came home and I was still working on it he said, "This isn't going to be like that cake you made we couldn't eat is it? Hey! Are you cooking with the Crown!?!?" But fortunately we loved it. It was light, it wasn't too sweet. It was rich, but not overpowering. The Brain ate the whole piece. The next morning when I had a slice for breakfast, I knew I was in trouble and gave it away before lunch. Whew! That could have been disastrous for my hips!

Make sure to check out all the other Daring Bakers and how they all made theirs different. And especially check out Super G's. Hers looks great too! And thank you Chris for such a memorably delicious challenge!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Goodbye Sher Hunka Burning Love

When I first started lurking on food blogs, I came across a cupcake contest, and entered in this cupcake contest was the most magical sounding Hunka Hunka Burning Love Cupcakes entered by Sherry of What Did You Eat? They were a banana cupcake with a chunk of chocolate stuck in them, topped with a peanut butter frosting. A beautiful tribute to Elvis. Two things happened when I found this cupcake. The first thing was that I copied down the recipe. And I made it. And I made it again. And again. I LOVE these cupcakes. I personally don't feel there is any possible way to improve upon them. I even lurked on Sher's site looking for more recipes that could possibly be as delicious. The second thing that happened was I was inspired to start my own food blog. Those cupcake contests looked like fun. And they are!

Unfortunately for the world and for food bloggers in general, we lost Sherry July 20th to a sudden heart attack. Her blog is still up and if you haven't already visited it, go look. Sherry had a wonderful sense of humor and her goodness and love of cats shown through in every post. Her passing leaves a big hole. There's also a beautiful tribute to her on A Fridge Full of Food, posted by her very close friend Glenna.

As a special memorial, today, around the blogosphere, people are choosing recipes off Sherry's blog and posting about them. I'm actually on vacation, but hopefully scheduler will be working and this will post. I didn't have the bananas to make the Hunka Hunka Burning Love Cupcakes that propelled me into the world of food blogging, but I did make the frosting. After all, the peanut butter frosting had special memories for her. And I've never made peanut butter frosting without that pinch of cayenne since making Sherry's frosting. It just isn't the same.

We'll miss you Sherry.

Here's how the frosting appears as she posted it:

Peanut Butter Frosting (Adapted from Meta Givens)
(Note: I doubled this recipe and had a little left over. I froze it. For another day!)

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 cups powdered sugar
2-4 Tbsp. milk
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 small pinch cayenne pepper (Optional) Be careful!

PREPARATION:In large bowl, combine butter, peanut butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and 2 Tbsp. milk. Mix well, adding more milk as needed to make a fluffy spreadable frosting. Frosts 8" layer cake or sides of 9" layer cake

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Grilled Eggplant with Garlic-Cumin Vinaigrette, Feta & Herbs

I don't know if I've mentioned it, but as a kid I hated eggplant. Like really really detested it. I'd eat the peas that Super G would sit there and howl about having to eat. I'd eat M's celery from the chop suey. But I would not, could not, tolerate eggplant. It is my mom's favorite vegetable so pretty much we had it on a every so often basis. She would saute it up and I would sulk. I would call up Bethany and see if I could come over for dinner. I had have a temper tantrum. I would be downright rotten. And when it came time to sit down to dinner, I took the smallest portion possible. I forced it down with my milk. And I complained LOUDLY the entire time. (I did not have the stamina of M or Super G. who would carry on and make such a scene that prolonged dinner for a good 45 minutes. Picky eaters weren't exactly tolerated. We ate what was on our plates and nobody got up from the table until everyone was finished.)

Now it's a different story. Now those glossy purple vegetables call to me in the grocery. "Look at my smooth and shiny skin. Look at my plump firm curves. You know you want to caress me, to devour me. I'm so versatile." I get completely suckered in. Then I find myself at home with this luscious eggplant staring at me. Now what? I could do Baba Ghanoush. I love Baba Ghanoush. But really can't I do something different? I could make the Lamb and Eggplant Potpie, which is an all time favorite, but I don't have any ground lamb and it's hot. So while picking up noodles for the swimming pool for "family vacation" at Walmart, inspiration struck. I was standing there in the checkout and noticed Grilling Summer 2008 from the lovely people of The Best of Fine Cooking. I actually picked it up to see if they had anything interesting to do with a 1 pound pork tenderloin. But there. On page 88 was the most delicious looking eggplant salad staring me in the face.
I am so proud I restrained myself from going and buying more eggplant.

I made the Grilled Eggplant with Garlic-Cumin Vinaigrette, Feta & Herbs today for dinner. It's every bit as good as the photo. Man do I love eggplant now. And I have to say I'm getting better at the grill too. The Brain is working late so he doesn't get any. He can have leftover bucatoni.

As an aside, I will no longer be posting, or sampling any recipes from Cook's Illustrated, America's Test Kitchen, or Cook's Country. For background, check here and here. My personal viewpoint is this:

Given a list of ingredients cannot be copyrighted. And the method can only be copyrighted providing it uses wording that cannot be said another way, such as family anecdotes or such, not phrases like "bring to a boil." That when a person adapts a recipe, makes the recipe grow and evolve, they change the ingredients and therefore adapt the cooking instructions to those changed recipes, the recipe is therefore a different recipe. I'm not talking changing from a dash of salt to a pinch of salt. I'm talking significantly changing.

As a personal policy, I site the recipe source that I adapt so that you can know my inspiration. I think the people at Cook's Illustrated/ America's Test Kitchen/ Cook's Country acted outside of their copyright and merely resorted to bullying a food blogger because they can. Or they think they can. Shame on you Cook's Illustrated. Shame.

That being said, I copied this recipe almost verbatim. And you can see from my notes in the recipe how easy to adapt this recipe is if you don't have exactly the right ingredients. I strongly encourage you to find and buy this handy magazine. There are some amazing looking recipes in here. And I'm definitely not going to post them all! If all of Fine Cooking recipes are like this, then I may subscribe. And if they ask me to take down my post, I will because I didn't change it at all, but I will be disappointed.

Grilled Eggplant with Garlic-Cumin Vinaigrette, Feta & Herbs

1 small clove garlic
kosher salt
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (I ran out of lemons, but jarred lemon juice worked just fine)
1 small shallot, very finely diced (I used a baby onion from the garden)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, lightly toasted and pounded in a mortar or ground in a spice grinder (I used 1/2 tsp ground cumin, call me lazy)
Pinch of cayenne, more to taste
1 large globe eggplant (about 1 lb.), trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil; more as needed
Kosher salt
1/4 cup crumbled feta
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh mint
2 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

With a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and a pinch of salt to a paste, or mince the garlic, sprinkle with salt, and mash into a paste with the side of a chef's knife.

In a small bowl, combine the garlic paste and 1 Tbsp. of the lemon juice and let sit for 10 minutes. Combine the shallot with the remaining 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice and a pinch of salt in another small bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. Whisk the olive oil, cumin, and cayenne into the garlic mixture. Season to taste with salt or cayenne if needed.

Prepare a medium-high charcoal or gas grill fire. Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with olive oil and season with salt. Grill (covered on a gas grill; uncovered on a charcoal grill) until golden-brown grill marks form, 3 to 4 minutes.

Turn the eggplant and grill until tender and well marked on the second sides, another 3 to 4 minutes. The interior should be grayish and soft rather than white and hard.

Top the grilled eggplant slices with the shallots, feta, and herbs. Whisk the garlic-cumin vinaigrette and drizzle it on top. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bucatoni with Peppers

I had noticed this recipe in Serving Up the Harvest long before it was traveling home with me. It seemed so simple and so easy. It also called for fresh linguine. At the time that was no problem. The fresh linguine wasn't a problem until yesterday. When I was stumbling around the Trader Joe's after my fabulous eye doctor dilated my pupils. Seriously, if you live in the West side of Cleveland, you should visit my eye doctor, Dr. Kaye at Skyvision Centers. He's great. But he dilated my pupils and I was fairly blind. Wandering around Trader Joe's.

Somehow in my groping around and taking off and on my glasses trying to focus, I managed to spot some bucatini. Now the only reason I've heard of bucatini is because I watch Rachel Ray. Yes, she's insanely peppy. And the whole EVOO thing is pretty annoying. Especially because she says "that's extra virgin olive oil" after she says it EVERY SINGLE TIME. Why bother to say EVOO then? But bucatini is pretty tasty. It's like elbow macaroni, but really really long. I think kids would really like it.

So really the fresh linguine wouldn't have been a problem if I hadn't spotted the bucatini and been eager to try it. I'm glad I did. I'm glad I tried this recipe. I'm glad I bought the book. How about that? This pasta is light and fresh tasting and yet filling. the sweetness of the peppers works well with the little morsels of prosciutto. It works really well as a terrific summer dinner.

Bucatini with Peppers

1 onion, quartered
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
1 carrot, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (or EVOO)
1/2 cup finely diced prosciutto
6 red, green, yellow, or purple bell peppers, cut into thin strips
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound bucatini
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Combine the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion mixture and saute until fragrant and softened, about 3 minutes. Add the prosciutto and saute for 5 minutes.

Stir in bell peppers, cover and cook for 10 minutes, until the peppers are soft. Stir in the basil and season generously with salt and pepper.

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

Add the pasta to the bell pepper sauce. Toss and add the reserved cooking water as needed to make the pasta moist.

Transfer the pasta and sauce to a serving dish and pass with cheese.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


So I happen to be very bad at some stuff. Like I've now been tagged twice for the same meme. And I just haven't gotten around to doing it. And the lovely Bellini Valli has given me an award and I haven't acknowledged it. Shoot. I completely forgot about it even. Shameful.

So let's start with the award. The lovely Bellini Valli over at More Than Burnt Toast gave me the I Love You This Much award. I love her too. Valli makes me want to be a Canadian. She makes delicious food and uses fresh local ingredients. I love that. And the photos on her blog are beautiful. Stunning really. I've updated my list of yummy blogs over there on the sidelines so you can see there are TONS of blogs worthy of this award, but for now I'll pass it on to a few that I really admire:

Speedbump Kitchen, who's food looks delicious and show us all that living with allergies doesn't mean that you have to live a life of deprivation.

Cheap But Not Easy, who has daily tips about living frugally, which is important right now with our economy whether anyone labels it a recession or not.

Straight From the Farm, who quit her business job to work on a farm and follow her dream and develops recipes for all kinds of produce.

Tartlette, because her photos are truly food porn and even though I'm afraid to try most of her recipes, I love looking at them and I'm very excited that she's writing and developing a cookbook.

and finally Super G's Potpourri, because she's my sister and I strong armed her into joining the Daring Bakers and I convinced her that she was going to die of Yuck when she was 6 and she doesn't hate me for it.

And on to the Meme...

Both April over at Abby Sweets and Speedbump Kitchen have tagged me for the Six Random things meme. They're both lovely people and you should totally go check them out. I'm not going to pass it on to anyone, because I figure meme's are like those emails with the cute pictures of kittens and inspirational sayings about how much God loves us that some people forward to every person in their address book. I never know who really wants to receive them. SO if you'd like to play along, play. If not, that's OK too. So here are my random things....

1) The Brain is lactose intolerant, so on nights like tonight when he's golfing and I'm alone for dinner, I frequently have something silly like cheese. Yep, I'm having cheese for dinner tonight. Goat Brie, and Saint Andre.

2) Although I spend all morning frying donuts, I don't like to eat them. I much prefer to come home and have a bowl of Cheerios. Which I sometimes pronounce Cheerio-e-oooooos.

3) I like to sing, I mean really really sing in the car. With the windows up. I can get my groove thing on to pretty much anything from Kenny Chesney to Verdi. And sometimes, if it something peppy like Gloria Estevan, I tend to seat dance too.

4) My hiking boots are bright pink.

5) When I was a little girl my career aspiration in life was to be a scantily clad alien on Star Trek and make out with Captain Kirk. (I outgrew that one).

6) I think bald men are incredibly sexy.
So there. Now you know everything there is to know.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Cherry Tomato and Lemon Salad

So. It's still hot. And we'll continue on with trying not to turn on the oven. So tonight, I'm still trying to eat up some of the many vegetables crowding my fridge. I've been playing on the Internet rather than solely relying on Vegetables Every Day and Serving Up the Harvest. I found this interesting looking Cherry Tomato and Lemon Salad that was first displayed in Gourmet Magazine May 2005.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to my cherry tomatoes soon enough and about half of them were bad. So my little salad was a little bit light on the tomatoey goodness. But overall it was excellent. I don't really know how to explain the flavor sensation. It was tangy and zesty and a party in my mouth. The tomatoes didn't really taste like tomatoes. They were nice and sweet and mild. I really really like this salad. It was so quick and easy to make. Of course it would be a little less painful if I didn't somehow have tiny little cuts on all my fingers. Lemon juice and cuts are not a good blend.

Cherry Tomato and Lemon Salad

2 large lemons
1 Tbsp sugar
1 lb cherry tomatoes cut in half
3 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Finely grate enough zest from 1 lemon to measure 2 teaspoons. Trim ends of both lemons, then stand lemons on a cut side and cut peel, including all white pith, from lemons with a sharp paring knife (discard peel). Cut segments free from membranes, then cut segments crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces. Toss lemon segments gently with sugar in a bowl.

Stir in remaining ingredients and zest, then let stand, covered, at room temperature 15 minutes (to allow flavors to develop).

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fennel, Apple and Pecan Salad

A couple months ago, I asked my mom why she had never introduced us to fennel when we were kids. I told her I felt like I missed out because I only recently discovered it. At this point my mom confessed she'd never heard of it when we were kids. It was a sad moment, thinking of all those fennel recipes I'd missed out on tasting.

Always one to make up for missed opportunities, while leafing through my new cookbook Serving Up the Harvest, I noticed that fennel was one of the vegetables she highlights. Sure fennel is a mid- to late- summer vegetable. And the only place around I can get it is at the Meijer's in the next county. Still I was bound and determined I was going to try at least one of the fennel recipes in my new book. The heat seems to have broken around here, but the humidity is still killer, so I decided to go with the Fennel, Apple, and Pecan Salad. No cooking required.

This sweetness of the fennel plays against the tang of the buttermilk and the sour of the apple just perfectly. It's crunchy. It's cool. The toasted pecans really add some interesting accents to the texture and flavor. And frankly, it's kind of pretty. I like to think of it as a fennel slaw almost. It would go great with barbecue. I cut my fennel and apple small so that I could get bites that were fennel, pecan and apple all at the same time. And I'm glad I did.

Fennel, Apple, and Pecan Salad
from Serving Up the Harvest by Andrea Chesman

1/3 cup buttermilk
2 scallions, white and light green parts only, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
2 fennel bulbs, trimmed, cut into quarters, and thinly sliced
2 apples, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
1 cup pecans, toasted
Chopped fennel fronds to garnish

To make the dressing, whisk together the buttermilk, scallions, oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl.
Combine the fennel, apples, and pecans in a large bowl. Toss to mix. Pour in the dressing. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Garnish with the fennel fronds and serve.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Penne with Chard and Sausage

I have a garden. A big, beautiful garden. OK, a big, overgrown and well producing garden. I do try to keep it from being a jungle, but reality sets in and without being able to squat or kneel (still) weeding is difficult. Fortunately for me, my inability to weed my garden hasn't hampered the massive production of vegetables that's going on, and suddenly I have about 15 extra tomato plants. Yippee!

What this also means is that my refrigerator is now resembling a highly stocked produce department. Of course part of that is because I've hit some very good sales at the grocery. I've got fennel, eggplants, zucchinis, bell peppers, and blueberries piled in the fridge and out in the garden waiting to be picked or pulled I have more zucchini, turnips, beets, some kind of hearty leaf lettuce, and some rainbow Swiss chard. It's a good thing I love vegetables. Also, I need to start eating these vegetables on a much more regular basis. It would be horrible to waste what I'm so blessed to receive.

So being that the chard was one of the first to mature, I decided I really need to eat that first. Well that and I'm still looking for something new to do with turnips. I just so happened to be in the nearest Borders the other day and also just so happened to find myself in the cookbook section of that Borders. Somehow I found myself buying this new cookbook, Serving Up the Harvest by Andrea Chesman. This tasty little book is full of 175 recipes of what to do with the vegetables you grow.

This new cookbook, Serving Up the Harvest, is a pretty neat cookbook. It's split into what time of year vegetables ripen and it's packed with tons of information about home gardening, growing each vegetable, and interesting tidbits. I'm sure if I had access or belonged to a CSA that I would find it extremely useful. It doesn't cover the quantity of vegetables as my other book, but Ms. Chesman has some exceedingly tasty recipes and far more recipes that are for main dishes. I decided I'd start with the Penne with Chard and Sausage. It was pretty easy too. I managed to use up most of the chard in the garden, and some basil and mint from the herb garden. The pasta had a delicious smell to it and the chard wasn't near as bitter as chard can be. The sauce wasn't very thick, but at the same time the meal itself was surprisingly hearty.

Swiss Chard originally came from Greece, where it was developed with wider stems and used like an asparagus. Ruby colored chard was grown in the South of France exclusively to be eaten at the Christmas Eve meal. Swiss Chard is very popular in Provence and the Rhone River Valley because it can withstand cold temperatures. But nobody knows why it's called SWISS chard. See, this book is full of interesting information.

Penne with Chard and Sausage

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound hot Italian sausage, removed from it's casings and crumbled
1 1/2 pounds chard, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (15 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 pound penne or other similar short pasta
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and saute until brown, 8-10 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and garlic and saute until the chard is wilted and the garlic is fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, broth, basil, and mint. Reduce the heat and simmer while you cook the pasta.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente; drain well. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl.

Season the pasta sauce with salt and pepper. Add the sauce to the pasta and toss well. Serve immediately, passing the Parmesan at the table.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Grilled Zucchini Feta Salad

With the current summer heat, my kitchen now stays at a constant 83°F. This makes me really averse to turning on the stove or the oven. For several days now I have existed on "man food". Food that makes the Brain happy. Things like lunch meat sandwiches, ordered in pizza, and Tostino's Pizza Rolls. The Brain may love food like this, but I'm craving vegetables. SO as I lay sweating on the couch, hooked up to my home electric stim unit, after yet another dismal Dr's appointment, I decided that I needed to somehow find a way of cooking the zucchini on my counter.

This particular zucchini came from my garden. Which is now completely overgrown with weeds. Ugh. This particular zucchini was also mighty delicious. While I washed the remaining Daring Baker dishes (geez there were a lot), I let the sliced up zucchini marinate in some olive oil and garlic. Then I threaded them on to skewers and grilled them until I felt they were done. Add a sprinkle of feta, a splash of red wine vinegar, some kosher salt, and some fresh cracked black pepper and I'm not unhappy to know there are two more big zucchini waiting for me to eat them. And my house didn't get any warmer than it already is!

Grilled Zucchini and Feta Salad
an original Shazam recipe

1 large zucchini
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp crumbled feta

Slice the zucchini into 1/2 inch slices. If the diameter of the zucchini is more than an inch and a half you may want to cut the zucchini into half moons or smaller sized chunks. Let marinate for 30 minutes. Then thread the zucchini onto skewers, as many skewers as needed. Grill over high heat until grill marks appear on zucchini and squash is softened. Pull zucchini off skewers onto a plate. Drizzle with red wine vinegar and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Add crumbled feta cheese and enjoy warm.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Kidney Bean Salad

Once upon a time when I was in college, I had a very bad breakup with a boyfriend who happened to be a raging alcoholic. I quit my bartending job, and moved home to my mom's house where I promptly decided to clean up my life. I quit drinking completely and I became a vegetarian. It lasted about 3 months. I discovered that I can't do soy and that makes vegetarianism difficult, and just because he was an alcoholic didn't mean that I was.

During that brief period of vegetarianism, my mom made me this delicious kidney bean salad which was passed down from her mom. It's super easy and I had to call my mom today to get the recipe (becaues, yes, it's Legume Wednesday!) I just couldn't bear to cook anything in the oven and the stove after slaving all day on the July Daring Baker Challenge. In fact, the Brain and I are ordering pizza in tonight. We're celebrating that I passed my math test. Woohoo!

But I digress. This lovely kidney bean salad is cool and refreshing. When my mom made it for me I knew it wasn't super duper healthy, but I also knew I was getting protein from the beans and it wasn't going to make me sick like the tofu, soy milk and vegetable protein stuff was. And best of all, it can be made from pantry items. Although truth be told, I didn't have any sweet pickles in the house, so I just substituted a couple spoonfulls of sweet relish. Delicious.

Kidney Bean Salad
from Grandma Shazam

1 (15oz.) can light red kidney beans, drained
2 stalks celery thinly sliced
several sweet pickles, chopped (to taste)
a little less than 1/2 cup Miracle Whip

Mix everything together in a bowl. Chill well, and serve.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Red, White, and Blueberry Cupcakes

This month, the Cupcake Hero competition is guest hosted by two of my favorite bloggers, Clara at I Heart Cuppycakes has got fun tidbits, creatively decorated cakes, and seriously delicious cupcakes. She's cohosting with the equally wacky and delicious Nikki of Crazy Delicious Food. And wouldn't you know it. For two such fabulous food bloggers, they came up with what I think has been the hardest yet Cupcake Hero challenge. Red, White, and Blue. Ah, you scoff, how hard can that be? Well maybe I should add they didn't want us to use food coloring for the whole thing.
Then it hit me. No food coloring means that I would have to, gasp, use fruit. Mostly because blueberries are the only naturally blue food I could think of. Good thing I like blueberries. In case you're new here, I don't like the majority of fruit. I'm trying very hard to eat it lately. I figure it's not a good idea to completely dismiss an entire food grouping. Unfortunately, the red fruits posed a problem. I tried some cherries and discovered that I didn't completely mind them fresh. Fresh cherries are way better than that gross super red kind of cherry flavoring type pseudo cherries. But still they had pits. Raspberries are ok, but I had a feeling they'd bleed on the frosting, and call me a little nutty, but I just couldn't deal with that. I thought about maybe a raspberry sauce, but I really wanted to limit the amount of heat going around in my tiny little house. So I started thinking about semi sturdy red fruits and came up with the dreaded strawberries. blecch. (Yeah, I'm probably one of the very few people in the world that doesn't like strawberries.)

So for this month's Cupcake Hero I decided to go way simple and scream summer. I made my favorite basic yellow cake cupcake recipe, topped with an easy meringue buttercream recipe and decorated with fresh fruit. That's red and blue fresh fruit. Well, I made some just with blueberries, because that's how I would like them.But then I packed them all off and gave them away. I figure although cupcakes definitely enhance the taste of fruit, it's not the best way to get some fruit in my diet.

Red, White, and Blueberry Cupcakes

Yellow Cupcakes (from A Baker's Field Guide to Cupcakes)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place paper liners in 16 muffin cups.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl to aerate and combine; set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Beat in vanilla extract. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down after each addition, allowing each egg to be absorbed before continuing. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternately with the milk. Begin and end with the flour mixture, and beat briefly until smooth on low-medium speed after each addition.

Divide batter evenly among cupcake wells. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center shows a few moist crumbs. The center should also spring back when lightly pressed. The cupcakes might color a bit around the edges, but they will not brown.

Cool completely.

Easy Meringue Buttercream (The recipe is on a recipe card that is mighty well loved and I have no idea who to attribute the original recipe to. Sorry!)

4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter very softened

Place egg whites, sugar and salt in medium sized heatproof mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk gently until egg whites are hot (140°F.) and sugar is melted, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and whip by machine until thick and cooled, about 5 minutes. Beat in butter and continue beating until buttercream is smooth and spreadable.

To Assemble
handful of blueberries
handful of strawberries

Frost cooled cupcakes with a layer of buttercream. Decorate the tops of cupcakes with an assortment of blueberries and strawberries.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Greek Week: The Tragic End.

What happens when the entire town of Nowhere, Ohio loses power at 3am on a Sunday morning and doesn't regain it for 3 hours? Pretty much the donut fryer is Screwed. Yes that's with a capital S. See on Sundays I fry by myself. I don't have any deliveries to worry about, but I do have the after church, I want my donut NOW and it better look good crowd. For church going people they can be pretty testy. Now, the store opens at 6. So the donuts have to be done and beautiful by 6. This doesn't happen when the power doesn't come back on until 6. And that church crowd? They get pretty annoyed. And in case you're wondering what happens to yeast donuts that are already proofed and ready to fry when the power decides to blink off for a considerable amount of time, they shrivel up and die. Yep, they lose the will to live and nothing, I mean nothing brings them back. The morning did have a couple high points; using the light of my cell phone to pull some donut rings out of the sizzling fryer in the dark to prevent them from burning (I was worried about fire), and the packing up and hand filling of 10 dozen donuts by flashlight because the customer had already paid and was picking them up at 6. And after working from midnight to 1:30 this afternoon on 3 hours of sleep (and producing some very pathetic looking donuts), I came home, showered and promptly fell asleep on the couch. I'm going in at 11 tonight, so now that I'm awake, it's time to go back to sleep.

The Brain had McDonald's for dinner and I might have a handful of blueberries or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Please forgive me that Greek Week has come to a sudden end. I can tell you that I learned a bunch from this experience. I learned that the library is a useful place to check out cookbooks that you might not have even thought about previously. I learned that I really like the Greek cuisine that doesn't have that icky bechamel sauce. I've learned that Greek cooking requires the use of a surprising amount of olive oil. And I've learned that sometimes it's a really good thing to try out a different culture. Even if it's just for a brief moment.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Greek Week Day 6: Beef with Artichokes and Pine Nuts

Have you ever had one of those days were time just completely gets away from you and you end the day in more chaos than you started it? That was today for me. And that says something being that I woke up at about 3am and 3am, if you are awake is chaotic. So after helping to fry up 28 dozen more than the normal amount, I came home and had my cheerios for breakfast. That was the calmest moment of my day. From there I did some cleaning and some menu planning and then off to do grocery shopping. Then I came home and started dinner. Somewhere in there I missed lunch.

And our dryer is broken, so I have to hang my clothes on the clothesline. I really AM a Midwestern housewife. Ugh. Actually clothes smell really good hung on the line. The only problem is the rain we keep getting. Our clothes are extra clean now! The point of all this is that it has been a hectic day. And Greek Week Day 6 provides a easy and comforting dinner. The lovely people of The Recipe Club of Saint Paul's Greek Orthodox Cathedral provide the recipe for Beef with Artichokes and Pine Nuts, Kreas me Anginares ke Koukounaria.

It's like the Greek equivalent of the ultimate comfort food. Pot Roast. I let the beef simmer for 1 hour 45 minutes and it's incredibly fork tender. And wow is it delicious! The beef and the pine nuts and the artichokes all compliment each other perfectly. I did slice the beef as directed, but then I had to put it back in the sauce while I was waiting for my pasta to cook. I kept snacking on it. I served it over egg noodles. I'm not sure how Greek they are, but yummy!

Beef with Artichokes and Pine Nuts, Kreas me Anginares ke Koukounaria
from The Complete Book of Greek Cooking by The Recipe Club of Saint Paul's Greek Orthodox Cathedral

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 1/2 pounds london broil
2 cups beef stock
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
one 10-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1/2 cup pine nuts

Heat oil in a casserole. Add garlic and beef and saute over high heat until beef is browned on all sides. Add stock and seasonings and bring to a boil. Lower hear, cover, and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until fork tender. Add artichokes and pine nuts. Simmer for 5 minutes. Slice beef and arrange on a serving plate. Garnish with artichoke hearts and pour sauce on top.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Greek Week Day 5: Chicken Souvlakia

OK, it's HOT. hot hot hot. This is the kind of day I don't want to cook indoors. So what's a gal exploring Greek food to do? Take it to the grill. Other than the 3 hour marinating time, this has to be one of the quickest, easiest recipes yet! I just had to throw together a marinade, chop up some chicken breasts, wait the 3 hours, and then thread the chicken onto skewers with some yummy vegetables and grill. Fantastic!

I did alter this recipe just a bit. Instead of 12 small mushroom caps, I used 18. Instead of 12 cherry tomatoes, I used 18. I didn't chop the green peppers into 12 pieces. I chopped it into bite size pieces. Maybe my peppers were just big, but 12 pieces would have been very big pieces. And then, I only used 4 skewers instead of 6. Mostly that's because I finally broke down and bought skewers. And there were only 4 in a pack. Despite my alterations, these were very very tasty skewers. I served them with some rice and I think I'll be cherishing the leftovers in leftover pita pockets. Yummy!

Chicken Souvlakia (Souvlakia me Kota)

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried oregano

2 chicken breasts (boned and skinned) cut into bite sized pieces
2 green peppers cut into bite size pieces
18 button mushrooms
18 cherry tomatoes

Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for 3 hours. Using 4 long skewers, arrange alternating pieces of chicken, green pepper, mushroom, and tomatoes. Brush with some of the marinade. Barbecue on the grill for 15 to 20 minutes, brushing with marinade and turning frequently.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Greek Week Day 4: Envelope Bread

Ok, so you've all heard of pita bread. Or as the book spells it, Peta Bread. I grew up when peta/pita bread was ubiquitous. All the little girls in my brownie troop would show up for lunch with their pita pockets stuffed with egg salad or tuna salad. I of course being the middle kid of 6 would show up with my whatever-was-cheapest white bread stuffed with peanut butter and jelly. I envied those other little brownies with their pita pockets.

Interesting enough, when I was on my own and could buy my own pita bread, I grew tired of it pretty quick. There was one major design flaw. The bottoms would crack and all the fixings of my sandwiches would end up in a puddle on my plate. It's been a long time since I've had a pita pocket. Partly because they aren't too easy to find around here. So when I saw the recipe in The Complete Guide to Greek Cooking, I knew immediately I was going to give it a shot.

Now, homemade bread is always better than store bought bread, but the difference here is amazing! I did have to cut open the pocket, but the bottoms of the bread aren't cracking. The recipe calls for the bread to be wrapped immediately in foil after coming out of the oven to cool. I think this is what helps it stay so nice and soft. Mine has a little crust, but I couldn't sit there and wait for the bread to cool. I have poor impulse control sometimes. This bread is also slightly chewy, and has a great yeasty, salty flavor to it.
Greek cooking is apparently based on fresh local ingredients. That's why there's so much seafood and olive oil. I decided to follow along and stuffed my peta with some slices of cucumber, and slices of turnip from my garden. Hummus or Tahini would have been nice in there too. And I served it with an assortment of lettuces from my garden, dressed simply in lemon juice and olive oil and tossed with feta and fresh cracked black pepper. It's so good I don't really mind that it's super healthy.

Envelope Bread (Peta Bread)

1 package active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar

In a mixing bowl, combine yeast with 1 1/2 cups of flour. Combine water, oil, salt, and sugar and add to yeast mixture. Beat for 1/2 minute with an electric mixer at low speed; then beat for 3 minutes at high speed. Work in remaining flour by hand to form a smooth and elastic dough. Put in a greased bowl in a warm spot, cover, and let rise for 45 minutes. Punch dough down, divide into 12 pieces, and roll each into a ball. Let rest for 10 minutes.Flatten each ball into a 5-inch circle. Place on a greased baking sheet; cover and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bake for 9 or 10 minutes, until puffed and lightly browned on bottom. Immediately wrap in foil and cool.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Greek Week Day 3: Lentils and Rice Pilaf

You guessed it. It's Legume Wednesday! And that means I scoured the book for legume recipes. There's a fantastic looking lentil salad that I really came close to making. But in the end, I chose to make Lentils and Rice Pilaf, Fakorizo. And WOW, I'm glad I did.

I substituted brown rice for the converted rice the recipe calls for, simply because I don't have any converted rice in the house. Because I used the brown rice, I had to up the amount of chicken stock by a cup. The result was the chewy brown rice played perfectly against the mushy lentils. And the tomato flavored oil sauce really flavored the whole dish. The Brain, who usually remains mute on most dishes told me it was "good" and had two very large helpings. I consider it success.

The lovely ladies of the Recipe Club of Saint Paul's Greek Orthodox Cathedral even provide some tips on how to make the dish suitable for Lent. I'm Roman Catholic, which means I'm not allowed to eat meat on Fridays in Lent. According to the book, Lent lasts 40 days and a strict fast is traditionally observed. "No meat, fish, milk, butter, cheese, or eggs are to be eaten until Easter Sunday. Today, few follow this fast totally; instead, they hold to it on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. However, all comply with this strict diet during Holy Week, the week preceding Easter." This is a much stricter fast than I do. It might be interesting to try it next year. If I remember.

Lentils and Rice Pilaf
from The Complete Book of Greek Cooking by The Recipe Club of Saint Paul's Greek Orthodox Cathedral

1 cup lentils, picked over
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup brown rice
salt to taste
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cup olive oil
1 can petite diced tomatoes, drained well (about 1 cup)
black pepper to taste

Wash lentils. Boil them in chicken stock in a deep pot for 5 minutes. Add rice and salt and simmer, covered, until all liquid has been absorbed, about 30 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the sauce. Saute onion in oil for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. As soon as lentil-rice mixture is cooked, remove from heat and add sauce. Sprinkle with pepper.

Note: This can be served as a Lenten dish if plain water is substituted for chicken stock.

Variation: If orzo is used instead of rice, increase the amount of chicken stock by 1/2 cup

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Greek Week Day 2: Tomato Salad

When I was planning the menu for this week I thought I would make the Summer Salad (Kalokerini Salata). But then I realized that it was very similar to the Greek Salad I posted here. Right down to the lack of lettuce. So I was all set to make it anyway, somewhat half-heartedly, but then I looked at the recipe below the Summer Salad. It was for a Tomato Salad, Domatosalata. And it was mighty refreshing.

I happen to have some fresh oregano growing in my garden and it added a beautiful herby flavor to the juicy tomatoes and crunchy onions. I didn't let the salad marinate for an hour because we were hungry and I'd spent the majority of the afternoon dealing with the latest tantrum of Wilma the Knee. Wilma the Knee is starting to be a real downer. So even without the time spent letting the flavors mingle this is a light and excellent salad. I will be making it again when my tomatoes ripen in the garden. Or really whenever it's a hot muggy day like today and I want a salad.

Incidentally, The Complete Book of Greek Cooking, states that "olive oil is used as a dressing on both vegetables and salad green. It is combined with either lemon or vinegar. Fresh herbs, mainly dill, mint, and oregano, are often used in salads and dressings." See? This book not only has fabulous recipes, it also provides an insight into traditional Greek cooking.

Tomato Salad (Domatosalata)
Straight from The Complete Book of Greek Cooking (because I'm learning about Greek food and I'm not quite at the stage where I'll be experimenting with it yet.)

2 medium onions
1 Tbsp salt
5 to 6 tomatoes
2 tsp torn fresh oregano leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
salt to taste

Cut onions in half and slice thin lengthwise. Sprinkle slices with 1 Tbsp salt, cover with cold water, and soak for 5 minutes. Drain.

Cut tomatoes into small pieces. Add onion slices, oregano, olive oil and salt. Toss lightly. Let salad marinate at least 1 hour before serving.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Greek Week Day 1: Orzo With Zucchini

A little bit ago, Peter M. at Kalofagas, had a small rant. Basically he was saying that he didn't like how people will throw a few ingredients in a dish and then say that dish is a certain ethnicity. Like if you add oregano and basil to a dish that doesn't mean it's Italian. Apparently it annoys him greatly. I can understand that. I didn't take it personally because in my own little world I don't usually do anything wrong. Well that, and I'm woefully bad at experimenting with different ethnicities. So I promptly put his rant out of my mind. Sorry Peter.

Well that was until last week when I found myself at the library returning a 2 month overdue book (oops) and checking out a new book for my family's book club. The newest book, The Tipping Point, happened to be located fairly near the cookbook section. So I moseyed over to take a peak. As I was standing there, I came to realize that other than Indian, Middle Eastern, and American-Italian foods, I don't know much at all about the foods of other cultures. Like zip, zero, zilch. That's when I started thinking about Peter's rant. So I decided to explore true Greek cuisine. I realized that the only Greek food I've ever had is Moussaka and Pastitso (which I don't like that thick creamy sauce on), the flaming cheese (which I LOVE), and the ubiquitous Greek Salad. The choice of cuisine was clinched when I came across The Complete Book of Greek Cooking, by The Recipe Club of Saint Paul's Greek Orthodox Cathedral. So a Greek cookbook by Greek people.

And so Greek Week begins. Today's selection is Orzo with Zucchini or Kritharaki me Kolokithakia. It's delicious. Little pieces of zucchini caramelized with chewy little bits of orzo. It's a lovely homey side dish. Very comforting. And totally surprising. I had no idea this is what Greek food was like. I served it up with a white perch that the Brain caught in Lake Erie. According to The Complete Book of Greek Cooking, the Greek way to cook fish is with olive oil and high heat. So I coated it in olive oil, sprinkled it with salt and pepper and turned up the heat on the Barbecue. Wow. I'm cooking more fish this way. Yum.

Orzo with Zucchini
from The Complete Book of Greek Cooking

1/3 cup orzo
4 to 5 medium zucchini (about 3 pounds) scrubbed trimmed and diced
1/4 vegetable or olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dried oregano

Fill a large pot with water, bring to a boil, and add orzo. Reduce heat, and cook for 15 minutes, until tender, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. While orzo cooks, in a large heavy pot, saute zucchini in oil until brown, about 5 minutes. Add drained orzo to zucchini; season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Shake the pot a few times to prevent mixture from becoming lumpy (stirring can mash the zucchini). Serve hot or cold.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Rhubarb Walnut Muffins

So while I was doing an all out search for some frozen artichokes and ended up in the next county, I ran across some beautiful crimson rhubarb stalks. In a moment of impulse, I bought some. Then I came home and realized that I don't like pie. What was I going to do with this rhubarb?

After some searching, I found this fabulous recipe on the Food Network website. This is a superb way to use up rhubarb. The finished muffin has nice crunchy walnuts, crumbly sweet streusel topping, and is studded with tart little pieces of rhubarb. They are super easy to whip together too. Thank goodness I have more rhubarb to use up. I think these are going to go fast.

Rhubarb Walnut Muffins
adapted from the Food Network courtesy of Blacksmith's Inn, Bailey's Harbor, WI

1 1/2 flour
3/4 cups brown sugar (packed)
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped rhubarb

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. and prepare 12 muffin cups.Combine dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients, mixing only until moist. Fold in rhubarb and walnuts. Distribute batter among 12 muffin cups. Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle over muffins. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Margarita Sorbet

I have an aunt who used to drink heavily when she went to go visit her mother in a nursing home. My uncle started buying these margarita mixes that come in freezable pails. All he had to do was add a bottle of tequila and stick it in the freezer. He then would give the bucket to my aunt with a spoon. He said it slowed her down a little bit.

This sorbet makes me think of that. Partly because I was again having trouble waiting for it to freeze firm. What I ended up with is a damnass good sorbet that tastes remarkably like a very very good margarita. I could totally see serving this in a glass with a salted rim (except I like my margaritas without salt). And I completely have my husband to thank for this delicious scoop of frozen dessert. I promised him when I made the ice cream that I would make him some sorbet that didn't have any milk in it. And I'm submitting this one to Mike at Mike's Table for that ice cream event. I LOVE this event!
All it took was 7 limes and a frantic search for tequila that wasn't Patron (Patron in a sorbet is just ridiculous extravagant). We found two bottles of triple sec and a big litre bottle of Jose. It was a learning experience for our marriage. We have a HUMONGOUS stockpile of alcohol. We are a little bit short on the bourbon, but we have a crazy amount of pretty much everything else. I think it's part of being older when we got married. We not only combined 2200 square feet of stuff into a 700 square foot house, we combined bars. It's a little stunning. I think there may be more liquor in the garage too. As the Brain said, "we need to start drinking more." Maybe I'll just make more sorbet and go visit my mother. hee hee hee.

Margarita Sorbet

1 1/4 cup sugar
2 cups water
1 large egg white
2/3 cup fresh lime juice (from 7-8 limes)
zest of 2 limes
1/4 cup tequila
1/4 cup triple sec

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and place over low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely. Raise the heat and boil the syrup 1 minute. Remove from heat.

In a medium mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg white with an electric mixer until foamy. about 10 seconds. Slowly beat in the hot sugar syrup. Continue to beat until the mixture cools down slightly. Add the lime juice, triple sec, tequila, and zest. Cover and refrigerate until cold or overnight. The mixture will have foam on top, but will incorporate into the sorbet when it freezes.

Stir the chilled mixture, then freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. When finished, the sorbet will be soft but ready to eat. For firmer sorbet, transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze at least 2 hours.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Pasta with Lentils

It's Wednesday. That means more legumes! Today's variety is lentils. No fancy French lentils. Or Indian lentils with other names. Well they could go by another name, but I don't know what it is. These are those very cheap lentils you can buy in the grocery store at something like 3 pounds for $1. These are the lentils I ate all the way through college.

They may be cheap college food, but they are in a class way above Ramen noodles and boxed macaroni and cheese. Lentils are a fine source of protein. They have very little fat. They're high in fiber which is very filling and doesn't spike your blood sugar and keeps you full longer. It is actually possible to eat healthy while existing mostly on lentils too. I know, I know, there are those people who say that Ramen noodles are very versatile and are only something like 10 cents a bag. But they are wrong. Ramen noodles are crap. I lived on them for a while in college too. And I'd rather go hungry than eat them ever again.

Today's lentil dish is not the lentil dish I was planning on. We've had such nice moderate weather here that when I made the meal plan for the week I was aiming for a lentil chili. But then today is a full 10 degrees hotter than yesterday and any urge for chili died. So I searched the Internet and found this interesting Pasta with Lentils from I tweaked the recipe quite a bit, and I am really pleased with the result. The meatiness of the lentils really comes through, as well as the zing of the turnip. It probably would have been more glamorous if I had any other small pasta besides macaroni, so I garnished with some edible Nasturtium blossoms. Yes Kittalog, that's what's blooming in my garden.

Pasta with Lentils
inspired by Gourmet

2 small onions, finely chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup lentils
1 2/3 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth to make it vegetarian)
1 carrot, peeled and chopped fine
1 turnip peeled and chopped fine
6 oz. elbow macaroni (or other small pasta)
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

In a heavy large skillet cook the onion with the thyme in the oil in moderate heat, stirring, until the onion is golden and lightly carmalized, about 10 minutes. While the onions are cooking, combine the lentils with broth and bring to a boil. Simmer the lentils, covered, for 12 minutes. Add the carrot and turnips and simmer the mixture, covered, for 3 minutes, or until the carrots, turnips and lentils are tender. Transfer the lentil mixture with the liquid to the skillet, season it with salt and pepper, and keep it at a bare simmer while cooking the pasta.

In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, boil the pasta until it is al dente. Ladle out and reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta liquid, drain the pasta, and add it to the lentil mixture. Simmer the pasta mixture, tossing it to combine it and adding some of the reserved pasta liquid to moisten the mixture if necessary, for 1 minute. Stir in the parsley and serve.