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Eggplant Bruschetta
When it comes to bruschetta I don't think simplicity is a plus. I like to give my bruschettas "the works" - roasted eggplant, tomatoes, capers, loads of chopped basil, garlic, olive oil and pine nuts... oh, the balsamic drizzle too. Of course, one has to be careful not to make the bruschettas soggy, so the balsamic should be added last. Totally my favorite Italian appetizer.
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Pumpkin Spice Waffles with Honey Whipped Cream and Apple Cider Jam
Pumpkin spice season does not scare me! I revel in it, and I am particularly smitten by Trader Joe's Apple Cider Jam. Who thought you could get so addicted to apple jam ... I have never actually heard of such a thing. No one makes apples into jam in Bulgaria.

For this breakfast, I made waffles (we call them "gaufrettes" in Bulgaria) with applesauce (didn't have eggs!), browned butter, flour, misc. autumn spices like cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg etc; then melted brown sugar and mixed in walnuts for the walnut crunch on top; whipped some heavy cream and poured a little honey in it. It is all gone now...
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Grilled Chicken Asparagus Mozzarella Balsamic Salad
This salad has everything, and this everything goes well together. And I can eat it every day. Seriously. The recipe is from Google+'s very own master chef +Kevin Lynch, at Closet Cooking.

Sorry about the poor quality photo - low lighting at night. The salad did not survive until the next day, of course.

http://www.closetcooking.com/2016/06/grilled-chicken-and-asparagus-caprese.html
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Whipped Feta and Sumac Baked Potato
Feta & potatoes are THE flavor combo of my childhood, when my grandma regularly made the Bulgarian version of au gratin (with potatoes, feta and eggs), so this recipe is slightly nostalgic. The sumac gives an exotic Near/Far East element, and the basil is here for color, I presume. Didn't add red peppers, cause that would have Balkanized the whole thing too much.

This is a BBC Good Foods creation:
https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/jacket-potato-whipped-feta-sumac
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Brown Sugar & Chocolate Matzah Bark
Recently got The Jewlish Cookbook, a Kickstarter project that makes traditional Jewish recipes from all over the world seem easy. This is basically sheets of matzah covered in toffee, melted chocolate, pine nuts, walnuts and flakes of sea salt. It was a messy first attempt, but one that can be improved upon. The toffee makes it a bit too sweet, so next time there will be a correction. I couldn't cut my pieces straight after freezing, but I like their "rustic" rough edges more!

Here is the recipe: https://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/chocolate-toffee-matzo-crunch/
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Mozzarella-stuffed Fried Zucchini Blossoms
Or, "Fiori di Zucca", and a second photo of where they come from. It's actually pretty hard to convince your vegetable-growing family to spare some blossoms, so I am very thankful I was able to try this. You need blossoms that haven't spread open yet and you stuff them - either with ricotta, or mozzarella (or I have even tried it with shrimp in a restaurant). Then you dip them in a mixture of eggs and flour, and you deep fry. Sprinkle some balsamic reduction (if you have any) and fresh herbs on top. A wonderful Italian thing, attempted in the Bulgarian countryside :)
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8/19/17
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Reuben Egg Rolls
I saw this dish at a diner in Fort Lauderdale, but recently I ran across a similar recipe where you make your corned beef from scratch, and you use cabbage rather than sauerkraut. The dipping sauce is a homemade Thousand Island here, but in the video it is dill-based. Either way the idea is simple - the toppings of a Reuben sandwich go into an egg roll skin which you then deep fry.

For the more elaborate treatment, go here: https://www.tastemade.com/videos/corned-beef-and-cabbage-egg-rolls
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Red Velvet Pancakes with Cream Cheese and Strawberry Sauce
I always thought "red velvet" was supposed to have a particular flavor, but it turns out the red in red velvet was actually coming from the color of cacao back in the days (less processed, raw-er(?)). The cream cheese sauce I made by mixing cream cheese with condensed milk (I know, a cheat, but one that made sense), and the strawberry comes from some preserves. Used some natural red coloring (from vegetables, boy, is it expensive!), which only made the pancakes pink, but with some cocoa powder, the velvet hues finally came out.

Of course the pancakes do become brown at the edges, but there is still a lot of luscious red to go around elsewhere.
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/red-velvet-pancakes-3361986
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Grilled Peach Gazpacho
Publix Supermarkets will occasionally surprise me with a super cool (literally) recipe like this. They have a whole 'peach soup' series, as a matter of fact. I would put more peaches and less peppers, if I had to amend this particular recipe, by the way. And the chipotle spice? I think it brings the whole thing to life :)

https://www.publix.com/recipes-planning/aprons-recipes/grilled-peach-gazpacho
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Orecchiette La Loggia
This used to be what I always ordered from lunch at my go-to joint in Downtown Miami - La Loggia. Orecchiette (little ears) pasta so the chunky sauce can be scooped up better, roasted eggplant, pancetta, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and pink sauce. Since I no longer work there, I had to resort to a nostalgic remake of sorts. No recipe involved, just improv.
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