Friday, September 30, 2011

Plum Dumplings-Szilvás Gombóc...and a Guest Post

I am so thrilled and honored that Roxana of A Little Bit of Everything asked me to guest post for her, while she is vacationing in her homeland, Romania. She has asked some of us who was born outside of the United States to guest post for her, I almost felt as if I'm not going to be able to fulfill this request, because although I was born in Hungary, I did not grow up there. I was 8 years old when we came to the United States. My maternal grandmother, and mother was also born in Romania, what was considered part of Hungary up until after WW1. They were originally from Transylvania...yes, the actual home of Count Dracula, from the 15th century, whose castle still is in existence, as a big tourist attraction. Transylvania/Romania is still in very much existence, and I still have most of my relatives living there, whom I have never met, also, in Hungary as well!

I feel as if I know Roxana in person, because of the background connection.We seem to have had this special bond instantly, since we first met through our blogs.
Thank you Roxana, for your invitation to guest post for you, and I hope I don't disappoint you with my traditional Hungarian dish, that I actually learned how to make when I was a young "mommie"...from my Hungarian aunt, right here in Florida, which was over 30 years ago!

If you would like to get the recipe, please stop over to Roxana, also know as Green Girl! You will find other delicious and amazing desserts, and yummy yeast rolls...which is her "forte."
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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Israeli Couscous Salad

Even though you are not a vegetarian, and for sure not a vegan, have you wondered lately that what you are consciously cooking might be...could be vegetarian, or vegan?...well it happens to me a lot, without even thinking or planning it, do to the fact that I always have fresh veggies on hand and like to use them up with whatever I happen to think of making. Same goes for the dry beans, and for the canned beans, rice, lentils, and couscous that I like to prepare to have around as a snack, or a side dish!

Israeli couscous is made of small, round pearls of pasta. Similar to regular couscous, it resembles a grain but is made of wheat flour. Because of its large surface area, it holds sauce well and is very versatile; Israeli Couscous can go in soup, be baked, served as a pie, or made into a risotto. It is widely used in the Middle East, and in Portugal, Spain, and Italy. So delicious with cooked vegetables or used as a side dish with stews. It has a nutty flavor, and it does not get a sticky texture when it is cooked properly. I love to eat this as a cold salad, but you can eat it warm as well!

Israeli Couscous Salad
my own recipe
2 cups of Israeli couscous
boiled, until fully cooked, drained in a colander,
and rinsed with cold water.
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups chickpeas (cooked from dry) or 1 can drained chickpeas
or garbanzo beans (same)
1 bunch scallions, sliced thin
about 12 cherry, or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
or about 4 small tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 small bunch of flat leaf parsley (you can use basil, as well)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tsp of rice vinegar, or other mild vinegar

In a large bowl, mix together the olive oil, salt, and pepper, and fold in all the other ingredients. You can serve them at room temperature, and refrigerate any leftovers. It is very delicious. Low in calories, high in protein and no isn't that a relief?...something this yummy and healthy, would be actually good for you!

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Restaurant Review, Pets...and Awards!

This is organic green iced tea, served in a glass, and a separate carafe $2.50
As you can see, I'm having a better week this week, thanks to all of your kind words of encouragement, I thought about each and every comment that you posted, and it made me feel so happy that you shared with me. I do have two posts from this week, but I'm saving it for another day to post it...instead, I thought this would be more fun and versatile!

So, I get a call from my daughter, the other day from Lora, (cake duchess) asking me if I want to go to get a "quick bite" for lunch...OK, I'm thinking, she's asking me at the last minute, not giving me time to even get ready, just to jump in the car and go with her, thinking, she wants to go to the Bagel place downtown, that is a very casual trendy breakfast and lunch place where they make the most amazing bagels, and the service is great, no waiting, and you are in-and-out in no time. She says, "we're going to Joy's Noodles"...what the heck is Joy's Noodles? Oh, it's an Asian "mom and pop" little place, for lunch and reservation required, and it's around the corner! come I didn't know about this place when I pass by almost eerie day?...oh, it's "low key"...they never advertise, and the place is always packed, because of the great food, amazing owners, service, and great staff! Well, that explains it all!

This is the menu for Joy's Noodles

located at:
2200 S. Dixie Highway
West Palm Beach, Fl. 33401

A beautiful sunny Wednesday, on the right is the main street, which is S. Dixie Highway, and on the left, is the back of the building which is the parking, You can enter from either side of the building. I took this photo quickly, on the way out. We were really in a rush, and a fabulous fresh and warm lunch was served within about 25 minutes...I kid you not!

As you can see, I ordered a Sautéed Spicy Khmer
Noodles, with squid, $14.95
Udon noodles, with a mixture of spices and herbs, and let me tell you, this was the freshest, and most succulent squid I've ever had, with the most amazing spicy sauce...not overly spicy, but just right, with a mixture of vegetables of scallions, carrots, and tiny broccoli florets...yumm! oh, so delicious!

Now that I've taken a closer look, there were of course chili pepper flakes, as well, and edemame too!
I shared some of the pasta with Lora, as she shared her rice and tofu with me!

The best thing about the noodles, and the rice dishes, is that you get to choose about about 8 different sauces, vegetables, and combination of chicken, beef, and seafood with your sauce. So many choices!

Lora chose the White Rice, with Mixed Vegetables, and Tofu, in a Lemongrass Coconut Sauce...$11.95
so amazingly mellow, and absolutely divine!

After lunch, Lora had to rush off to go to the kids' school, to meet with a teacher, and I went back to her house, to wait. By that time the pets were getting hungry too!
So, this is the back door, Stella the (chubby Chihuahua is already greeting Michetta, Dr. Eric's cat from next door who comes over for a meal once a day, like he really needs it...ha, ha (waiting for me, as soon as he spots my car, outside)

So, on one side of the dish Michetta gets the soft food, that he went for right away, and on the other side, the dry food the the puppy dove right into, as soon as I put the dish down. I had to physically lift her up and take her inside to get her to eat her own food...ha, ha. what a little "brat!"

In the meantime, as I arrived home, Prince, my "princely" kitty, was waiting for me in my computer chair, even though he has his chair next to mine and sits there when I'm on the computer and just hangs out with me.

Now, at this point I have to let him stay on my computer chair, but I put a beach towel over the cushion (for the cat hair shedding)...he comfortably sits back, I sit on the regular chair...he taps my arm...that means we hold "paws"...and "hands" which he likes, and I continue with my blog. As soon as I move my left hand, he taps me again, and nudges me as well! Aren't pets sweet?...they are so predictable, and sometimes, not so predictable!
In my world...I know the "routine" so well!

Now, on to the awards!

I am so fortunate to have the most wonderful food blogger friends, whom some I consider to be closer than some of my friends that I became friends with, over the last 10 years...the reason for that?...well, it's because I have more thing in common with my food blogger friends on a daily basis, then my local friends that I see on occasion, to get together for lunch or for an invite.

I do agree that most people are busy with their work, home, family life, but when you have single friends, what is really the excuse?, relationship, family?! Most of the time it's the "relationship" they're in, or out. I will not subject myself to being a "sounding board"...a shoulder to "cry" on because they just don't get it!...I mean, don't they know better than to get involved in a relationship where the guy is very much "still married?"...and keeps saying..."my wife and I just don't get along"..."she doesn't understand me"..."she is refusing to give me a divorce"...OK, you get the picture now. I'm getting off the subject, so let me get back to the awards!
Citra, my dear food blogger friend, whom I got the pleasure to be friends with about 1 year ago, has the most beautiful blog called My Home Diary in Turkey

She is originally from Indonesia, and is transplanted in Turkey. She has mastered all the amazing Turkish dishes, and has the most amazing recipes from her own homeland, as well. Her cakes are a "work of art"...her desserts are "to die for" beautiful, just beautiful. She is gracious, kind, and generous!
She awarded me, and a list of other bloggers, so talented, with 3 of my very favorite awards...2 that I have received a while back, and mean a lot to me. I have paid it forward to quite a few bloggers, and will do it again. I don't think I will have the time or the energy to be linking each award to 15 bloggers x 3...but will do at least 10 or more!

Thank you Citra, for this wonderful honor, and I will pay it forward, as well! (as soon as I can)

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Great Pasta, and Fish...and a Bad Week!

Amazing fresh pasta with fava beans, and mixed vegetables, topped with goat cheese...courtesy of Chef Fabrizio,
 (my son-in-law)
Do you ever get one of those days when it starts out with a series of things going wrong, and the next day it's the same, and as you go through the week your realize that nothing is going right, only because of that one thing that is tugging at your "sleeves" and you know you have to take care of it. It started exactly one week ago.

Fabulous baked Mahi-Mahi with lemon-butter sauce and veggies...courtesy of Chef Fabrizio (my son-in-law)
My central air condition, which is only about 3 years old, just gave out and water was dripping...then gushing, thinking it's my water heater, or the neighbor's that busted. It was neither but my AC. I live in an older building on the beach where we are sharing "pipes" don't get me wrong...not the kind of pipes that is illegal...ha, ha...but the pipes that is connected to our water system.

The AC guy came out and fixed the problem, only to last 2 days. I waited for another 2 days for him to return the you see, we live in South Florida, and here independent workers run on their own schedule. When they say they will be out in an hour, you should know it will be 2 hours...maybe 3 or all day, depending where they might get stuck on another job. Well, in the meantime it's still in the upper eighty degrees here, and at night the upper seventy degrees. No sign of fall here, till about November. I could not wait for this guy to come back to fix the problem, so my son called his AC guy to come and check the that time it was towards the end of the week. He promptly came out and drained the excess water, but by that time I have used up all my towels...even the good ones to mop up all the water from the floor.

Problem fixed...oh, but NO!...still the same dripping water existed coming through my ceiling pipes in my closet where the water heater and the AC unit is. Mind you, I had to cancel all my appointments that entire week, to deal with all this...not over yet! By Friday, I had no other choice but to call my condo association and tell them perhaps it's an outside problem. Sure enough they sent their AC man, and they checked the outside pipes, drained it...and DONE!...3 AC service people...$100. service charge to each of the first 2; (son paid for the second.)
The 3rd service man didn't charge for the service call, since it's an outside problem...but the inside problem was my responsibility...No air condition for 1 whole appreciating the breeze in the early morning, and evening...but no fun stuck inside not wanting to cook or bake in that heat. So grateful for at least I got to eat two truly amazing meals made by Fabrizio!

Also had a beautiful dinner at my son's. He is the "grill guy!" ...such a nice grilled fish...this time a grouper (didn't take photo, darn!) all in all, I still have my loving family, regardless of all these aggravating issues that have a way of working themselves out!

I picked up rotisserie chicken from my favorite local Publix supermarket that was at least 2 dinners, and 1 lunch for me...also picked up fresh sushi from the same market that they make fresh every single day! So it wasn't so bad. Spent some quality time by myself... and sat around enjoying the breeze on the beach this weekend...have not cooked even 1 meal. I feel so bad for not having anything to post of what I made! didn't make!

I sat out here on this beach lounge for at least 2 hrs under the umbrella Sunday, just chilling and reading cooking magazines!
Such a beautiful scene I captured with the ocean and the sky!
The palm trees gently swaying in the breeze!
Walking along the shore getting my feet wet...waves too rough, they actually knock you down when you go in the water!
About a mile from where I live...drawing the line from the "rich and poor folks" These are the "millionaires' section" ...only in the U.S. can you see plain folks, next door to the rich folks! ...I still prefer my little condo, that has been there a lot longer than these fancy rich ones...that's why we have our "prime select beach"...that they don't have.
In the seventies when ours was built, these fancy condos were just a gleam in the builders' eyes!
Have a wonderful week...hope yours is a better one than mine was...but then again, this is a new week!

I apologize for not commenting back to all your comments. I don't know where my head is sometimes! I will catch up with my comments and hope I didn't offend any one for neglecting them!
Hugs, to all! 

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Easy Frittata with Vegetables and Bacon...also an Award!

I'm not trying to cover up, or making excuses for not posting a fabulous favorite quote..."it is what it is"..."what you see is what you get"...well, it holds true. I'm quite a frugal person, but that does not mean I'm "cheap" I like to get good quality produce, small amount of meats, seafood, and the freshest and best eggs possible.
 I have been buying the 18 carton Egg-Land's Best at Costco's and I always have more than enough. I don't bake enough, and I don't eat enough eggs, so when I have a lot left over, I end up making a frittata on top of the stove, and finish it off in the oven, to melt and brown the top with the cheese on it, but this time I didn't have any cheese...but did still have the organic bacon, so I cooked that separately, to sprinkle on the top. Leftover eggs are always nice hard boiled too, to make egg salad with it.
You probably also didn't know...which some of the 7 things about me, is that I love iced tea better than hot tea. The only time I drink hot tea, when the temperature drops below 65 degrees F. outside! Strange, but true! Also, I love Lipton fresh brewed tea. I literally make a pitcher of fresh tea for iced tea, which both my son and I love. He comes over to my place, at lunch time (works from home)...runs on the beach, and when he returns. he practically drinks the entire pitcher of ice tea with fresh lemon slices, and sweetened with "blue agave" syrup. So that's my little secret with the iced tea!
What you see on the forefront on the left, is little chunks of cooked potato, and little diced pieces of zucchini,
chopped onions, peppers, and diced fresh tomatoes, and beautiful sliced tomatoes  from that glorious bag of fresh tomatoes that I buy for $1.00 when they have it at my favorite local produce market!

Easy Frittata with Vegetables and Bacon

In a nonstick skillet, add 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, and saute 1 medium chopped onion, 2 medium potatoes diced small,1 zucchini diced small, 1 green pepper diced. When vegetables are almost tender, add 1 chopped tomato. Add salt and pepper, and cook until all the veggies are nice and fairly tender.
At this point, you can continue, or put into a plastic container, and save for the next day to continue the frittata.

You can cook up the bacon ahead of time, as well.
Cook 3 or 4 slices of organic, or any other bacon of your choice till crisp. On a double folded paper towel, let the bacon absorb the grease, when cool, you can place it in a small baggie, and refrigerate it.

You can proceed to warm the vegetables the next day, or proceed to continue after everything is cooked, on the same day.

Beat 8 large eggs lightly, chop the cooked bacon coarsely, or you can eliminate it, since the eggs are being cooked without the bacon.

Pour the eggs into the skillet, on top of the vegetables. Let it cook for a minute or two without disturbing it, and gently pull a little with a spatula to let the eggs set, but do not scramble it.

When the frittata is done, you could see the edges nicely set and the rest of the eggs are still moist, no runny parts, it is done, and ready to be served.
Add chopped bacon separately on top on each serving, or serve plain.

At this time you can reheat the cooked bacon in the toaster oven, or regula oven and toast your bread; actually on bake, at 350 degrees F. till  bacon heats up and gets crispy, and bread gets nice and golden.

Just look at the nice solid portion you can serve, not falling apart. Yields, 4 servings.

Scatter the bite size pieces over the top, yumm, nice and crispy, and enjoy!

I received an awards from two amazing food bloggers... that I have received as well back in May of this year.
Such an honor to receive this award, from a talented food blogger, who has been so kind to me in this short time that I had a pleasure to meet her. Remember the wonderful and really amazing watermelon knife? Well, I was the lucky winner of Vicki's givaway for that. Vicki is the author of At Home with Vicki Bensinger, In Home Culinary Classes Thank you Vicki for honoring me with the Versatile Blogger Award!

The next amazing food blogger is a dear friend of mine whom I met and became friends with the first week she just started her blog about 1year ago. She make all the pretty rainbow color cakes, and cupcakes. No wonder Joanna's blog is ChicGorgeous. Thank you Jo for honoring me with this wonderful award, as well!

I have already followed the rules from before, and paid it forward to 15 bloggers...did the 7 things about me, so there's nothing new since.
Please feel free to take the award to keep for yourself, or pass it on. You all deserve it...each and every blogger!

Blogging is not an easy task, and I don't mean that you are not "computer savvy"'s just that when you prepare a post, as in foods, it is quite a project to cook, or bake, photograph it properly, and post the recipe, and also prepare a new post. It takes time, and energy, and to promote it. Makes no difference how many posts you do in a week, they all take up hours of your time.
Take care, and have a wonderful weekend!

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Warm Chocolate Pudding Cakes...and a special 7 Links

People tend to have addictions to all sorts of things, which I do not want to list right now, but if you would have a chocolate addiction like I do, and my granddaughter would understand why I on purposely do not bake a lot of things with chocolate, or even tempt my granddaughter with it.

I cannot trust myself to have chocolate around me, because I would eat the whole thing. Same thing goes for chocolate cake. So, I simply stay away from it, and have it once in a while, but honestly, if you're a "true chocolate lover" this would really satisfy your chocolate addiction. Not too sweet, not heavy, no cream added, just pure "chocolate heaven."
She must take after me, because she and I taste tested this Warm Chocolate Pudding cake, with the excuse of taking a photo of how it looks on the inside, just before my daughter served dinner...Gabby said to me "please don't tell mom I ate most of this...or she'll get so mad at me!..."and me"...I said. We not only taste tested it, but we ate the whole thing. The other spoon you see on the right is with another empty dish...and after that, we proceed to eat a nice dish of pasta, with homemade fresh tomato sauce, and a light salad.
Has any one of you done that? ...or are we just strange?

I'm linking my Warm Chocolate Putting Cakes, to Full Plate Thursday,
@Miz Helen's Country Cottage
Incidentally, I have left a comment @ Vicki's Blog At Home with Vicki Bensinger how I love to eat this pasta, with the fresh tomato sauce. She has just posted her recipe on it. Yumm!
Another delicious fresh tomato sauce recipe with Pennette, from Linda @ Vittles and Committals

Also, I wanted to share with you a special 7 Links from a wonderful blogger friend, Shabs,
@Yum and Delish whom I have tagged a couple weeks ago, if she would like to participate in rounding up her 7 links. She was so gracious and kind to keep me informed through e-mail, to let me know that she is still on vacation in her homeland, Kerala, India, and that she will post it when she comes back. Now, she has let me know on my previous post, commenting that she posted her 7 Links. She chose this gorgeous Strawberries and Cream Cake as her Most Beautiful Post...I do have to agree, and I'm sure you will too. Check out this amazing cake, and recipe, and her 7 will be glad you did!
Strawberries and Cream Cake

Warm Chocolate Pudding Cake
adapted from American Bistro
by Diane Rossen Worthington

6 ounces of Semi-Sweet chocolate, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup=4 ounces unsalted butter
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
5 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly spray, or
butter 6 1-cup ramekins. In top of a double boiler, over simmering water, (you can stack a smaller pot over a large one for this method, it will serve as a double boiler)

Combine the chocolate with the butter. Heat until completely melted, stirring to blend. Remove from over the water, set aside to cool a bit.

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the eggs, the egg yolks, and the sugar for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is light and lemon color.
Add the flour, blending it in completely, and then add the cooled chocolate. Bake for about 11 12 minutes, or until each cake is set around the outside
edges, but the center trembles slightly, when the
ramekin is moved.

Watch carefully, you don't over bake the cake, or it will be dry, instead of creamy in the center. Remove from the oven, using a fine mesh strainer, dust the tops with confectioner sugar. Serve while it's still warm, or at room temperature. If you refrigerate it, just pop it into the microwave for about 30 seconds to get the temperature a little warm.
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