Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Giada De Laurentiis’ Shrimp and Avocado Salad

This delicious and healthy salad is great for light meals. Recipe is taken from Giada’s Feel Good Food cookbook. 

  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • Grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 lb. large shrimp (about 24), peeled and devined
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 1 medium avocado, cut into 1/2- inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
  • 1 Tbsp. light agave nectar
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 head butter lettuce, separated into leaves

• In a medium bowl, mix together ¼ cup of the olive oil, the soy sauce, garlic, lemon zest, parsley, chives, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the shrimp and toss until coated. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
• Place a pan grill over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill.
• Using a pastry brush, brush the zucchini halves with 1 teaspoon oil. Grill until tender, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board. Grill the shrimp until pink and cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to the cutting board. When cool enough to handle, cut the zucchini and shrimp into ½-inch pieces.
• In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, agave, mustard, the remaining salt and pepper until smooth.
• In a medium bowl, combine the zucchini, shrimp and avocado. Add the dressing and gently toss until all ingredients are coated. Using a slotted spoon, spoon the salad into the butter lettuce leaves.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day

Chocolate Dipped Marzipan Hearts


  • 1 ¾ cups ground almonds
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup or honey
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp pure almond extract
  • 3 cups milk chocolate chips
  • Icing sugar for rolling

  1. Place the ground almonds into a food processor. 
  2. Stir the sugar, honey and water in a small saucepan over high heat until it reaches a full boil and the sugar has completely dissolved. 
  3. Pour this into the food processor while it’s running. 
  4. Add the almond extract and blend until the marzipan comes together. 
  5. While it’s still warm, shape this into a log and wrap in plastic wrap well. 
  6. Leave on the counter to cool down to room temperature. 
  7. On a clean work surface, gently knead the marzipan and soften it.
  8. Sprinkle some icing sugar on the surface to keep the marzipan from sticking. 
  9. Roll out the marzipan to about 6 mm. thick and cut into heart shapes with a heart shaped cookie cutter.
  10. Place the cutouts on a parchment-lined baking tray.
  11. Melt the chocolate in a bowl placed over a pot filled with an inch of barely simmering water, stirring gently until smooth or in the microwave mixing every 30 sec. 
  12. Dip each marzipan piece into the chocolate half way and shake off excess chocolate before placing on the parchment lined tray to set. 
  13. Chill for just 10 minutes in the fridge and then store in an airtight container.


Sunday, February 7, 2016

Blueberry Lemon Muffins

Adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book
Ingredients:(For 12 big muffins)
  • 3 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour (or a mix of the two)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 1/4 cup whole or low-fat plain yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 T. fresh lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries, (do not thaw if frozen)
  1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat to 375 F. Place paper liners in a 12 cup muffin tin. 
  2. In a large bowl whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.
  3. In another bowl whisk yogurt, eggs, lemon juice, and lemon zest until smooth. 
  4. With a spatula fold the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. 
  5. Fold in the melted butter. 
  6. Toss the blueberries in 1 tbsp. of flour before folding them in the batter. 
  7. Fold in the blueberries.
  8. With an ice cream scoop fill each muffin cup 3/4 full. Bake for 25-30 min. until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs.
  9. Let the muffins cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then place them on a wire rack. Let them cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Höşmerim - Turkish Ricotta Halva

This delicious traditional dessert is from Balıkesir region. 


  • 500 g. ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup semolina
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

  • Directions:
    1. If ricotta is too thick add a few tablespoons of water. 
    2. Whisk ricotta cheese with egg yolks.
    3. Put the mixture in a pan and cook stirring over medium heat. Add the sugar and semolina and cook until all the liquid is absorbed and the mixture is thickened.