Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Paella has long since been one of my favorite Spanish dishes, but I never thought I would be able to cook something that would even come close to what I ate in Spain at my host mom's table.  She would pull out this huge frying type pan which would cover the entire stove (all four burners)!  She would start adding each ingredient until the smell was unbearable and I couldn't wait to taste it.  With a pan that size she fed the entire family (about 10-12 people) and there was plenty to keep us all full and happy with such delicious food.

This recipe comes from Pam Anderson's cookbook Perfect One-Dish Dinners.  I would highly recommend you to buy it and try out this recipe as well as many others which are just as great and easy to cook up for dinner.


Serves 4-6

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, cut into pieces
Oil for cooking
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
Salt and pepper
½ pound spicy sausage
1 yellow onion
½ bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 cup short grain rice
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
3-4 cups chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes
½ pound deveined shrimp
½ cup peas

Drizzle chicken with 1 tablespoon oil, sprinkle with paprika, oregano, salt and pepper.  Toss to coat evenly.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  When pan is hot, add chicken and cook until brown and just cooked.  Transfer to a small bowl.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan and add sausages.  Cook until well browned.  Add onion, bell pepper, garlic and cook until tender.  Stir in saffron, pepper flakes and rice.

Add broth and tomatoes and continue cooking over medium-high heat until liquid simmers.  Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.  Stir in chicken and shrimp and their juices.  Add peas, parsley and cook until seafood is cooked through, about 5 minutes longer.  Turn off heat and let stand for a few minutes.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Norwegian Fattigman - Fried Dough

Fattigman is a Norwegian delight.  It literally means poor man's cakes and traditionally they were fried up for Christmas.  Additionally, you can buy a cutter for the dough specifically for this recipe, but it also works well enough to cut diamond shapes and fold the dough through the slit.  This recipe is very simple and comes from the Scandinavian Baking cookbook by Pat Sinclair.
Fried food is always so bad for you, but oh so good when you eat it fresh from the oil.  They are also so pretty when cooked to a nice golden color and then dusted with powdered sugar.  Just be sure you allow enough time for the dough to chill before frying, but this recipe doesn't take much time to put together other than chilling time.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Place the eggs in a bowl and beat until foamy.  Gradually add the sugar and continue beating on low.  Once the sugar is incorporated, beat on a higher speed until thicker and yellow.  Add whipping cream, melted butter and vanilla and beat on low.  Add the flour and salt slowly and stir until a dough is formed.  Wrap and chill for at least two hours, but overnight is fine.

When ready to cook, heat oil to 375 F.  Roll out half the dough on a floured surface to about 3/8 inch thick.  Cut into inch strips.  Cut into diamond shapes about 2 1/2 inches across.  Cut a 1 inch slit in the middle and pull the dough through.  Fry in hot oil until golden brown.  Drain on a paper towel and dust with powdered sugar.  And if you are like me be careful to wait until they are not too hot to burn your tongue!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Rhubarb Pie


Two years ago my mom came for a visit and decided that I could not live without rhubarb.  While I was glad to have a fruit which would come back each year and sad that my raspberry bush had died that year as well, I wasn’t all together sure what I would do with rhubarb, let alone two rhubarb plants.  Well now, two years later, the rhubarb is doing great, I have found a lot of recipes using rhubarb and I have added a different variety to my raised rhubarb bed.  All is going well in rhubarb land.

Flaky Piecrust (for one crust, double for a top)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
8 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter
3 Tablespons water

Combine all, but water.  Gradually add water until dough comes together.  Divide dough in half and roll out half.  Place into pie plate and then roll out the top.

5 cups rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

Heat oven to 450F.   Toss rhubarb with sugar, corn starch and salt.  Pour into prepared crust and dot with butter.  Cover pie and brush with milk, then dust with sugar. Make two or three slits for steam to be released.  Bake for 10 minutes at 450 F, then reduce heat to 350 for 45 – 50 minutes.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pan Bagnat (Wet Bread)

Pan Bagnat literally means wet bread.  The wet bread is not soggy bread that has been sitting around, but wet bread which has soaked up the flavors of the sandwich stuffing.  When I saw the sandwiches in Chocolate and Zucchini by Clotilde Dusoulier, I knew they were destined to come into my kitchen and be made.  Today I ventured forth and made this one.  Since it has to sit in a cool place for a couple of hours to gather flavor, I made these sandwiches just after breakfast.  I was dreaming of eating this sandwich yesterday as I wandered through the grocery store selecting each stuffing for the sandwich.  The end product is also a beautiful mesh of different colors culminating in a scrumptious lunch.

Even if you are not a sandwich person, I would highly recommend to try this sandwich out.  Not only is it easy to assemble, but it is quick to do as well.  If each of us had one of these in our lunch box, we would all eat a healthy, tasty lunch.

Pan Bagnat from Chocolate and Zucchini by Clotilde Dusoulier
Focaccia Bread (2 small rounds or 1 large round)
Extra virgin olive oil
2 medium tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Red wine vinegar
Green onions
Kalamata Olives
1 can tuna packed in olive oil, drained well
Spring greens

Slice the bread in half to start building the sandwiches.  Drizzle a little bit of olive oil on each half.  Cut the tomatoes into thin slices and place on the bottom portion of the focaccia bread.  Press garlic on top of the tomatoes and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Also drip a little red wine vinegar on top.  Add the green onions, olives, tuna and basil.  Place spring greens on top.  Cover with the top of the bread and wrap tightly in plastic.  Refrigerate from 2 to 12 hour until just before eating as you would like the sandwich to be room temperature before eating.

Strawberry Cream Cake

I was once invited to a Norwegian's woman's home because a Norwegian friend of mine was in town.  This woman simply insisted that we come over so we could chat.  Plus, she said that she made this wonderful strawberry cream cake that we just had to try.  So the day arrived and we went for a visit.  It was one of the most delicious cakes I have eaten...keep in mind I don't really care for cakes as they tend to be drier than most other desserts or sweets I like to eat.  While this recipe is not the same, it too focuses more on not being a cake, but strawberry wonderfulness.  This particular recipe come from Scandinavian Baking by Pat Sinclair and as usual it is not quite the same as written, but particularly closer than other recipes.  How can one change something so wonderful?

Often this cake is made at the beginning of the strawberry season, but here the strawberries are still coming and they are still quite sweet.  I did not add extra sugar to bring out the flavors of the berries as they were sweet and juicy enough as they were.  I bet this cake is even better in Norway where the wonderful strawberries grow so sweet due to the amount of sunlight they get as they grow.

Strawberry Cream Cake
From Scandinavian Classic Baking by Pat Sinclair
Makes 10 to 12 servings
¾ cup cake flour
¾ cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups chopped strawberries, cut into ½ inch pieces
1 tablespoon sugar
4 oz. cream cheese softened
1 ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream

Heat oven to 350F.  Line two 9 inch pans with parchment paper.  Spray parchment paper with nonstick cooking spray.  Sift flour and 1 tablespoon sugar.

Place eggs, ¾ cup sugar, salt, cream of tartar, water and vanilla into a large mixing bowl.  Beat on high with whisk until thick and lemon colored, about 5 minutes.  The eggs should fall in a thick ribbon after 5 minutes which dissolves when it hits the batter.  Fold in the cake flour and mix until blended.  Pour into prepared pans and spread evenly.  Bakes 13 to 16 minutes or until the center springs back when touched lightly with a finger.

Cool 10 minutes on a wire rack.  Run a spatula around the edge of the pans to release the cake.  Remove cakes from pan and peel parchment from them.  Let them cool completely on the wire rack.

Make the topping.  Mix strawberries with the sugar in a medium bowl.  This is unnecessary if the strawberries are sweet or you would like a tarter flavor.  Beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a large bowl on high until the mixture is creamy.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and gradually add the whipping cream while beating on low.  Increase speed to high and beat until soft peaks form.  Beat in strawberries for about 30 seconds.

Place one layer of the cake on a cake plate.  Spread with half the topping.  Add the second layer.  Spread with remaining topping.  Garnish with a cut strawberries or additional strawberries.  Chill at least two hours before serving.  Cake must be refrigerated.