Butternut Squash Soup

The weather is warming up, but I promised my Butternut Squash recipe.  Hopefully, there is a cold day lingering before spring is in full bloom.  Otherwise, save this post for Winter 2013!

butternut squash soup

1 LB Butternut Squash cubed
1 small Onion chopped
1 1/2- 2 cups Chicken Stock
1 T Butter
2 1/2 oz heavy cream

1. Chop the onion and squash.

2. Add the chopped onion and butter to a saucepan large enough to fit all the ingredients. Cook on medium heat until the onion in translucent.

3. Add cubed butternut squash and 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock to the saucepan.

4. Simmer until the butternut squash is tender. About 15-20 minutes.

5. Remove from heat and spoon into a blender. Pureé the squash, onions and stock, then add the heavy cream. Add extra stock if needed.

6. Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!It is so easy, and so delicious!


Pão de queijo- Cheese Bread

This past summer I spent about two months in Brazil.  I stayed with my brother and his family is Rio, and while I was there I met wonderful people, new friends, went to beautiful places and picked up a little Portuguese.  The slight differences in the brazilian culture compared to the American, is one to appreciate only by being immersed in it.  Though on occasion I regret not visiting Cristo, I enjoyed going where the locals went and doing what the locals did.  But I did go hanging gliding in São Conrado!
One part of Brazil that one can not escape experiencing, tourist or not, is the pão de queijo.  It is as easy to find as it is to find pizza in NYC, it is everywhere; and it is delicious too. There are moments I wish I was back in Rio, but knowing I can make my own pão de queijo, I can stay in the US a little longer.  The only difference between mine and ones in Brazil is the type of cheese.  In Brazil they use a cheese called “queijo minas” which I have not found in the NYC.  Parmesan seems to be the next best thing and works just as well.
The Brazilian holiday Carnaval was recently celebrated last weekend and I couldn’t help but find a way to celebrate myself.  I could have gone out dressed up in sparkles and feathers, but instead, I made 
pão de queijo and listened to Seu Jorge on Pandora Radio.

As soon as the pão de queijo came out of the oven, my friends Matt and Joe called to say they were on their way over.  Thank goodness for that because I wasn’t going to eat 30 all by myself!  The boys came over with milk and a box of fruit loops, but gladly put it on hold to eat some pão de queijo.
These little balls of goodness are great for feeding some friends or having as a snack. You can shape the dough into balls, freeze them and cook a few at a time to snack on.

Makes 30
1 stick butter
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp salt
2 cups tapioca starch/flour
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs
Preheat oven to 375°
Step 1:  In a saucepan melt butter, then add water and milk and bring to a boil.
Step 2: Remove the pan from the heat and slowly add the tapioca statch while stirring with a wooden spoon.
Step 3: Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes. Then add the eggs and cheese.  Knead the mixture for about 6 minutes, or until it is (mostly) smooth.
Step 4: Grease a cookie sheet then using a tablespoon, scoop the dough into a ball and place it on the cookie.  Cook for 20 minutes or until the the outside is crispy.
Serve warm and enjoy.
xx G

Perfect (Raspberry) Scones

When I was younger I remember my mom and her friends taking a 40+ minute drive to Chester,NJ to a tearoom for lunch.  She would always bring back scones for my brother and dad.  At the time I wasn’t a fan, but boy were things going to change.  At the age of 19 I had my first scone in San Francisco airport waiting for my flight to LA.  I’m not sure what made me choose a blackberry-raspberry scone over a croissant, but I’m glad it happened.  Once my trip was over and I went back to NJ I searched and searched for just the right recipe.  Right off the bat I had a good experience with scones, but my mom warned me that if not made just right, they can be dry.  So, I chose carefully, a recipe from Picky Cook, and made my own version.  This is one of the few recipes stored in my brain because I use it way too much!  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

My Valentine’s Day gift to all of my lovely readers, whether devote followers or search-engine  finders, is this kick-ass recipe that will keep your loved ones loving you even more.  Whether it be a husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, co-worker or friend, these Raspberry Scones are perfect to share with your loved ones on Valentine’s Day.
You can eat them plain or serve them with clotted cream. Clotted cream can be found at specialty stores, such as King’s, but it is sometimes unavailable or expensive.  So, instead, I make a spread of 1 dollop of sour cream and a pinch or 2 of sugar per scone.

*This recipe is great with or without raspberries too.*

* adapted from Picky Cook
 Makes 8
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 T baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
7 T butter (frozen and grated)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
6oz cont. raspberries

Preheat oven to 425°
1. In bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.
2. Grate the butter into the dry ingredients, evenly incorporate the ingredients.

3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together milk and sour cream, then add it to the larger bowl.

4.  Begin to mix the wet and dry ingredients with a rubber spatula, just until combined, then transfer to a floured surface.
5.  Knead the dough until it no longer falls apart.  Roll out, fold it up and roll it out again.  Freeze for 5 minutes.
6. Remove the dough from the freezer and roll out into a rectangle (about 8×14)
7. Lay out the raspberries (if using), leaving 2ins. of empty space on one longer edge.
8. Starting from the longer end with more raspberries roll the dough into a jelly roll.  If you’re not using raspberries, just roll it up. 
9. Cut the roll in half, then cut each half in half.  Then cut the 4 squares diagonally to make triangles.
10. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 18 minutes, or until tops are lightly golden.

To reheat, warm in an oven at 375° for 8-10 minutes.
Dough can be made ONE night ahead, and refrigerated.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sugar Cookies with Pomegranate Cream Cheese Frosting

Whenever I ask my friends what I should bake for them, whether it be a birthday, or a small get together, the unanimous request is “the cookies with that dip”.  They’re actually simple sugar cookies, but with a side of pomegranate cream cheese frosting for dipping!  I found this recipe from Alton Brown and it’s just fantastic!  Alton makes sandwiches with his cookies, but I think it’s a lot easier to have people dip the cookies.  Also, after being a picky eater (for about 20 years), I am very conscious of other peoples need for variety and options.  So the option remains, to dip, or not to dip. (I thought about deleting this sentence, but it is what it is.)

While planning a holiday party for my friends, I was obviously asked to make my cookies with the dip for it and I did, of course, holiday style.  But whether they are for a holiday, a birthday party or just because you want to eat some delicious cookies, these are perfect, and delicious

3 cups flour
3/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 T milk
powdered sugar (for rolling)

8 oz  cream cheese, softened
4 T unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 T pomegranate juice

1. Combine flour, baking powder and salt.
2. In a separate bowl beat sugar and butter together.
3. Add egg and milk to butter mixture.
4. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter.
5. Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
6. After the 2 hours, preheat oven to 375°
7.  Remove 1 half of the dough,  roll out onto a powdered work surface and cut out shapes with cookies cutters ( I recommend small shapes because they are easier for dipping.)
8. Place cookies onto parchment lined cookies sheets and bake for 8 minutes, turning the pan half way through baking time.
9. After the cookies are baking, let cool for 1-2 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.
10. Repeat steps 7-9 with 2nd half of dough.

While cookies are baking and cooling, make the frosting.
1.  Mix together cream cheese and butter, making sure they are both room temperature so they mix together easily.
2.  Add the powdered sugar and pomegranate juice and mix.

xxx G

Tuesday Night Vegetables

Tuesday’s are my longest day at school, 9am to 9pm!  It is always an exhausting day, so I usually pick up a chicken pita for dinner from the greek restaurant around the corner from me, Souvlaki GR.  It is so DELICIOUS!  But tonight I cooked up some vegetables and they are so delicious.  I have a few other posts lined up, but I can’t wait to share my recipe with you.
As some of you may know, everything I cook now has quinoa in it.  I had a quinoa patty, and quinoa and rice stir fry for lunch,  so I think I got my serving for the day.  BUT, I am absolutely certain that in the future it will be an ingredient in this recipe.  I honestly didn’t even think to put it in because I was so hungry and I grabbed a bunch of things from the refrigerator. But anyway, onto the important part.

5 red potatoes
1 t olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 green onion
1/2 large zucchini
1/2 can (or 7 oz) chicken (or veg.) broth
1/2 pack of baby broccoli
1/2 cup cooked quinoa (optional)
4 T tomato sauce
pinch of flour
salt and pepper
grated cheese

1. Wash and boil potatoes for 20 minutes or until tender.
2. While potatoes are boiling, wash and cut zucchini (1/2in coins, then quarter) and baby broccoli, mince garlic and cut green onion.
3. When potatoes are almost cooked, heat a large skillet and add oil, green onion and garlic, cook for 1 minute
4. Add zucchini and chicken broth, cook for 3 minutes.
5. Strain water from potatoes and cut the potatoes into quarters and add to the skillet, wait 3 minutes, then add broccoli (and quinoa if using).
6. Simmer until the broth is almost absorbed about 7-10 minutes then add the tomato sauce, flour, salt and pepper.
7. Cook for 1 more minute then serve hot with grated cheese.

* Vegans can sub the flour for a vegan flour or starch and omit the grated cheese!

I hope you like it!
xxx G

easy, delicious guacamole

I came home today and saw two perfectly ripe avocados waiting to be made into guacamole! It seems redundant to post such a simple recipe, but why not!  After all, i did make it. So, “without further ado, I bring to you” (in Eminem’s voice from the song “Business) GUACAMOLE!

2 avocados
1 roma tomato, diced
1/4 medium onion, diced
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 green onion
salt and pepper

step 1- pit the avocado, and slice into cubes and place in a bowl
step 2- roll the lime a few times to make it juicy, cut in half and squeeze onto the avocado
step 3- muddle the avocado until it is smooth and creamy
step 4- add salt and pepper, snip in green onion,dice onions and tomato and put it in the bowl
* before dicing the onions, cut it in half and separate each shell 

step 5-mix and eat!

xx G