Peoplewhoeat’s Weblog

March 5, 2011

Stuffed Dates

Filed under: Appetizer, Good for party food, Quick cook, Snacks, Special occasions — Tags: , , , , , , — peoplewhoeat @ 2:09 am

Got this from Rachel Wilkerson‘s excellent rundown of Thanksgiving recipes. But I think these puppies are awesome enough to deserve their very own blog post. Also, unlike Rachel, I don’t think the cheese is optional. I’ve made them three times now, and they’ve always been a hit!

Dates, the big ones, the best quality you can afford (it’s actually easier to buy the ones with the pit still in)
Bacon
Gorgonzola cheese

Pit the dates, and replace the pits with a similarly sized and shaped bit of cheese.
Cut the slices of bacon in half, and wrap a half-piece of bacon around each date.
Bake at 400* for 20 minutes, turning halfway.

They’re best slightly warm but not hot (about half an hour after coming out of the oven).

Ta-da! A filling, impressive, and easy appetizer! I made these the other day, chilled them, then reheated them at a party and they were still delicious.
Enjoy!
Emma

(No picture, because while they are DELICIOUS, they are not photogenic)

February 20, 2011

Lobiani (Georgian Bean Bread)

I made this recipe from Darra Goldstein’s excellent The Georgian Feast. I brought it to a Super Bowl party, and it was a big hit–a savory, finger-food that’s quite filling but also a little different. The texture wasn’t the same as the lobiani that I bought on the streets of Tbilisi, but it was still very good. My friends suggested, though, that they would prefer a different spice blend; I’m not sure what would be good though. Any suggestions?

Makes 2 incredibly large breads (fortunately you can freeze it after you cut it)

For dough:
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) softened butter
2 eggs
2 cups sour cream (light worked fine)
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda, divided into quarters

For filling:
1 pound dried kidney beans, soaked overnight to soften
3 or 4 medium onions
2/3 cup vegetable oil (yes, you do need that much or else it gets dry)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons salt
Black pepper to taste

one egg yolk to brush on top while baking

Cream the butter. Beat in the eggs and sour cream. Mix in flour to make a soft dough.

On a well-floured board, roll the dough to a 15 x 18 rectangle. The dough will be INCREDIBLY sticky at this stage, but it will calm down fast, so just do your best the first few times. Sprinkle the rectangle with 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. Fold the dough into quarters and reroll, repeating the baking soda, fold, re-roll procedure until the baking soda is used up. Place the dough into a floured bowl, cover it and leave to rise for 6-8 hours indoors or 2-3 hours in the sun.
For filling: Boil the kidney beans for about one hour. Drain, and then mash. Dice the onions and sautee them in the oil until soft. Stir the onions (and oil) into the kidney beans, and add the spices. Divide in half, and set aside.
Before you start assembling the bread, preheat the oven to 350* F. When the dough has risen, divide it into two parts. Roll each out in a large circle, keeping the inside of the circle thicker than the outside. Place the filling in the center, and bring the dough up around it, forming a sort of ball. Flatten this out, to a large disc. Brush the top of the bread with beaten egg yolk, and bake for 40-45 minutes until browned.

Enjoy!
Emma

Blueberry Banana Bread

I made this recipe yesterday and found it DELICIOUS, but I thought the directions and ordering of ingredients were a bit confusing. I haven’t made any substantive changes to the recipe, I’ve just rewritten it a bit for clarity.

Makes two loaves of bread, or one loaf and one tray of muffins.

Ingredients:
1 egg
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
3 medium mashed bananas
1/4 cup coconut
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
2 cups frozen blueberries

Directions:
In a large bowl, cream together the egg and sugars. Add wet ingredients and mix, then dry.
Add the mashed bananas and mix.
Fold in blueberries, coconut, and pecans if using.
Pour into greased loaf or muffin pans.
Bake at 350* F for about an hour for a loaf, and about 20 minutes for muffins.
Cool slightly, loosen, and turn onto a baking rack to cool.
When cool, wrap in plastic wrap and keep refrigerated.

Enjoy!
-Emma

December 27, 2010

Christmas Cookies

I was under de facto house arrest for a large portion of my winter break, so I took the opportunity to explore some new Christmas cookie recipes. My Mom made her usual assortment: Pinwheels, Nutella Stars, Sandtart Trees, Thumbprints, Russian Tea Cakes and Rugulach (unfortunately I don’t have her recipes, but if I get them, there will be some follow-up here). I made these:

These are probably my new favorite: Coffee-Spice Shortbread
http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2010/12/coffee_spiced_shortbread_with_crystallized_ginger

If you don’t have a tart pan, you can also use a cake pan with removable sides. You just want to be able to get to the shortbread without making a mess of it.

These are delicious and gorgeous, but kind of difficult: Chocolate Peppermint Pinwheels
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/chocolate-peppermint-pinwheel-cookies-recipe4/index.html

A few tips:
Make sure you crush the living daylights out of the peppermints or candy canes. Any large pieces will make it REALLY difficult to make slices of the roll.
The chocolate dough is hard to work with, but delicious. Just tough it out.
These cookies don’t expand very much, so if any of them look less than perfect when you cut them (as many probably will) squish them back together before you bake them. They’ll look pretty much exactly the same when you take them out as when you put them in.
The peppermint melts, so you’ll want to take measures to still be able to get them off the pan.

I also used red and green M&Ms in my usual chocolate chip cookies:
https://peoplewhoeat.wordpress.com/2008/03/27/presidential-cookies

If I were to do it again, I would put in a little extra flour and use parchment paper or something. They spread a little too much, making the M&Ms bleed and stick. Still delicious, though!

September 18, 2010

Irma’s Amazing Eggplant Mush

This is a delicious Georgian specialty, one of my absolute favorites…this is my teacher’s recipe, and it’s one of the best!

1 kg (approximately) eggplant
1 cup walnuts
1 clove garlic
1 onion
Spices (use what you can to taste of the following):
1 tablespoon saffron
1 tablespoon dry coriander
1 tablespoon uckho suneli (Georgian spice blend, don’t use the Russian version…its very different, but yellow curry powder is a possible substitute)
salt to taste
pepper to taste
splash of olive oil
splash of white wine vinegar

Roast the eggplant in a lightly oiled pan (20-25 minutes) until golden.

Mix the walnuts, garlic, spices and vinegar and oil in a blender to make a paste.

Mush the roasted eggplant, chopped onion, and spice mixture together.

Eat as a salad, or serve on top of bread.
Enjoy!
Emma

October 20, 2009

Aubergine/eggplant caviar

A nice simple roasted aubergine and red pepper spread. Next time I might add some chilli and raw garlic to sharpen up the flavours.

2 aubergines / eggplants
1 red capsicum / pepper
Half a head/bulb garlic, unpeeled
Squirt of lemon juice, to taste
Salt, to taste
Olive or vegetable oil, to grease

1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (about 350F). Cut tops off aubergines, prick several times into the body with a sharp knife or fork (to let steam escape so they don’t explode, like when you bake potatoes!). Do not peel aubergines.

2) Grease a baking sheet. Lightly grease aubergines. Place onto baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes.

3) Cut capsicum in half and remove seedy core and stem. Rub oil over it lightly. Oil the unpeeled garlic bulb. Add to baking sheet; bake, along with aubergines, another 20 minutes or so. Aubergine should be soft, the capsicum should be collapsed with the skin lightly blackened and coming away, and garlic cloves should give way when pricked with a knife.

4) Peel capsicum. Cut aubergines in half and scoop out cooked flesh; discard skins. Peel softened garlic (this should be easy). Blend together in a blender or using a stick blender – or just chop very finely. Add splash of lemon juice, to taste. Season with salt. Make sure to taste and adjust the flavours, adding more lemon juice if you need to. Don’t skip it – it really lifts the flavour.

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