Monday, December 29, 2008

Yammy Bread #3

It's the orange kind again! This time Mark forgot to put eggs, which we got specifically for that! It was yammy nonetheless!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Hanukah

I never know how to correctly spell the name of that holiday. But I do like to celebrate it: it has the best food! Doughnuts, latkes, cheese pancakes...

I made the "Chardonukiyah", as Mark named it :)

The doughnut was made by my aunt. It was very good and filled with strawberry jam. I wanted to make something with sweet potatoes, but I didn't want to make the regular latkes, so I decided to use this recipe, substituting the pumpkin with sweet potatoes.

I made some with white sweet potato, and they were slightly sweeter.

Don't they look nice? They're also easy to make, make very little mess, and are healthy - a good addition a night filled with deep-fried goods.

Spinaroom Pizza

We wanted to have pizza, but also use up some spinach and mushrooms we had, so I found this recipe and decided to follow it, using, of course, Mark's very own pizza crust.

We did follow the advice of several reviewers, and added some garlic on top of the oil. It was good - I liked the sesame oil effect. It wasn't so good reheated, though, which is unusual for pizzas. I think the spinach just became too liquidy. The crust was still yummy, though :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanks For The Bread(s)

Thanksgiving was celebrated at our place with lots of bread.
We had a turkey made out of wheat gluten, bread stuffing and pumpkin bread pudding for dessert. Celiac patients would have really suffered.

So here's our dinner not including the dessert:

As you can see, I made the turkey look like he's alive. Which made it rather difficult for us to carve it.

Yay! It's stuffed!

But we had immense pleasure picking his Swiss-cheese-and-olive-eyes out and eating them. Mind you - these are home-cured olives! Delicious!

The cranberry sauce was a treat to make: the little fruit change color and pop, it's just so much fun!

If someone told me 3 years ago that I would eat (fake) meat, stuffing, gravy and (sweet!) sauce all assembled together on my fork, I would not have believed it. But it's really yummy!

For dessert:

I took the recipe from here, and smothered it with my very own Super-Easy caramel sauce:
Mixing evaporated milk (about 1/3 can) and brown sugar (4-5 T) and heating it gently over medium-low heat. A little butter would have probably made it shinier, but it wasn't lacking in flavor at all.
We topped it with some vanilla ice cream. YUM!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Yammy Bread in White

It's that time of year again! Hurray! Sweet potato season makes for very yammy breads. Last year it was with an orange sweet potato. This year it was with white.

I was surprised (probably for no good reason) to find out that the sweet potatoes are very similar in flavor. The bread came out a bit lighter, but I think it's mostly because Mark didn't write down the recipe last year, so he had to reinvent it. It was so good to eat it straight out of the oven with just butter spread on it. Mmm... melting in the mouth...

Two rather large sweet potatoes make a lot of bread. Mark baked one of them - the long one - in the ceramic bread pan, and the other in a small glass loaf pan. It stuck terribly to the glass and was very difficult to remove. The bread was slightly damaged, but it was still yummy!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Southwestern Waffles

This one came from the Vegetarian Times Magazine. Mark was skeptical, and loyal to his initial reluctance, he decided that he didn't like them so much, but "they're ok". *I* thought they're GOOD! But I like savory waffles. Especially with sweet corn kernels and yummy Hoffman super-sharp cheddar cheese inside.

They were topped with beans, corn and salsa, and then some sour cream. Delicioso!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Indian Feast

We got an Opo squash the other day, and the oracle said we should make an Indian dish called OLAN out of it. So that's what I did 2 nights ago. Of course, Mark had to bake bread for it, so he made some naan. It turned out delicious! The sweetness of the acorn and the sofness of the naan complemented each other wonderfully!

To make the olan, follow the recipe, but just note that Opo squash is VERY similar to zucchini, so if you don't feel like going to the Asian market just for the former, just use the latter. The acorn squash, in my opinion, deserves the most credit for the deliciousness of this dish, as does the coconut milk. Also, I did not have coconut oil, so I just use 1 T of vegetable oil. Also, I did not have green beans. I can't see how omitting them would harm when you already have such a delicious vegetable as acorn squash. Yumm!
I found that cooking halved acorn squash in the microwave (in a covered bowl with a bit of water) for 5 minutes or so makes it softer and much easier to dice. It also saves some over-the-stove time.

We had leftovers for last night, but not enough for a whole meal. So I added some traditional chickpea dish that my mom taught me, and mark made some crisp and delicious chapati that turned out almost the same as the one my mom makes (she usually doesn't use whole wheat)!

Making Southern Indian dishes is really simple once you have a few essential ingredients, and most of them use pretty much the same technique - the only thing that changes is the vegetable. I think it's worthwhile investing a little in those special ingredients, especially since they are not expensive and they can last a long time.
The essential ingredients are:
  • Mustard seeds (can get at Asian markets)
  • Curry leaves (available at Asian markets, and keeps in the fridge. They dry out and are usable for at least a few months).
  • Dried red pepper (available at Asian or Mexican stores)
To make the chickpea dish you will need:
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1 t mustard seeds
  • 1/2 T chopped (or crumbled, if the leaves are dry) curry leaves
  • 3-4 dried red peppers, crushed (less if you want less spicy)
  • 1 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained
  • salt to taste
  • cumin, turmeric and paprika (a little of each goes a long way!)
  • Heat the oil in a small-medium pan.
  • When the oil is fairly hot, add the mustard seeds and cover immediately. A few seconds later the seeds will pop. Reduce heat to medium.
  • When the seeds stop popping, uncover and add the onion, pepper, and curry leaves.
  • Cook until onion is golden-brown.
  • Add chickpeas and spices and stir for a few minutes.
You can substitute chickpeas with either cooked diced potatoes or cooked red lentils for variation. It's highly recommended to turn the over-the-stove fan on HIGH or else you and your surroundings will smell very Indian...

For dessert, we had a sweet snack that my mom sent me:

I don't really know what's inside, but it's really good and probably not very healthy :)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

Rainbow Steamed Cake

That's what I made for lab meeting:

Isn't it pretty? I decided to make it when I was looking for a cake recipe for Adrian's birthday. I did it the same way I look for everything: I google-imaged it. That search led me to this recipe. I didn't make this cake back then, but it looked so intriguing, that I couldn't just pass it over. I think it's made mostly by people in Hong Kong, where they use different measurements and weird ingredients so I will translate the ingredients here.

500g (1 lb) egg white
60g (2 oz) evaporated milk
1 tbsp vanilla essence (You can use butter oil or sweetcorn oil also)
150g (5 oz, I used 1 stick) melted butter
225g (1 cup) castor sugar
300g (2.5 cups all-purpose) top flour
1 tbsp ovalette/sponge cake stabilizer (I have no idea what this might be. Didn't use it at all)
3 colours (red, green and yellow), 1/2 tsp for each colour (I used just a few drops for each)
1 tbsp chocolate emulco (didn't use that one either)
a pinch of salt

I also didn't have the pan they were using, so I just steamed it in the rice bowl of a steamer.

It was very eggy, not surprisingly, and also oily. But it doesn't heat the house, and it sure was fun to make!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wholey Pizza!

Yay, I finally convinced Mark to make a whole wheat pizza crust! Of course, it was very good, and you get the added healthy feeling which makes you think it's even better!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Rye Bread

Don't really have anything to say about it, but it turned out very good and pretty:

We ate it with (veggie) ham and Swiss, as is the custom (or so I was told).

Friday, July 18, 2008


Since I was to have my own room in the suite we were going to stay at in Pacific Grove, CA, while the four guys will squeeze themselves into two beds in a single room, I thought it would be only fair if I make them some cookies. I decided to go with this interesting creation, and I think they liked it!

The termite collection trip went fabulously, and we got so many termites, I will have to spend the next month or so moving them into their new homes in the lab :(

Friday, June 27, 2008

Summer Pizza

There's a holiday in Israel that's dedicated to love. On that day, it is said, young ladies in biblical times used to dress in white dresses and go to the meadows, so that young men can chase them in some sort of a courtship game. This holiday is not supposed to happen yet (I think in around 3 weeks) but it is a symbol of summer. The white pizza we had last night reminded me of it.

It filled the house with wonderful scents of oregano and thyme...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Another Game

Madcap Cupcake has some nice ideas for games... Here's another one:

1. Post the rules of the game at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog (OR do what I and my fellows before me did instead…see end of meme)
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

What were you doing five years ago?

I was in Raleigh, NC, finishing the first year of my PhD.

What are five things on your to-do list for today?

1) Feed the ants.
2) Pick up ceramics pieces from the studio.
3) Cook something for dinner.
4) Watch a movie.
5) Read "The Hatchback of Notre Dame" (difficult task!)

What are five snacks you enjoy?

1) Pecan-stuffed dates.
2) Watermelon sorbet (or any kind).
3) Ants on a log.
4) Matza with Nutella and raspberry jam.
5) Think Thin bars (if I'm exercising later).

What are five things you would do if you were a billionaire?

1) Pay off family debts (there's a lot of that, unfortunately...)
2) I've always wanted to open a rehabilitation center for drug addicts. It would be in the mountains (because exercising helps release opiates I would take them mountain-climbing) and they would grow their own food and take care of abandoned animals.
3) I could do something similar for general homeless and battered wives.
4) Buy a small yacht and operate it as a tour yacht in the Galapagos - I will also be the guide! It will only accommodate up to 8 tourists at a time.
5) Convince world leaders to try peace and equality for a change (they should listen to me when I'm a billionaire, shouldn't they?)

What are five of your bad habits?

1) I tend to kill plants (not intentionally).
2) I’m a terrible driver.
3) Man I’m stubborn.
4) Inventing silly recipes (like banana quesadilla).
5) Sweet tooth. Big time.

What are five places where you have lived?

1) Dier al-Balah, the Gaza Strip
2) Jerusalem, Israel
3) Rehovot, Israel
4) Raleigh, NC
5) Tempe, AZ

What are five jobs you’ve had?

1) Night shift meal preparer in a 24-hr coffee shop/restaurant
2) Passport inspector
3) Translator (articles for students)
4) Assistant librarian
5) Stable cleaner

Five people I tag:

I'll just do what the madcap cupcake did:- so you are tagged if you want to be and…

1) You ate a cookie today (or at least craved one).
2) Your name starts with D.
3) You love the scent of a freshly opened container of coffee.
4) You think it's hot in Pheonix.
5) You live with one or more pets (or did in the past).

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Yesterday Mark and I went looking at a house for rent. The house was nice, but it had a few problems. The biggest of which was its small oven. He mentioned that to the landlady, and she asked: Why? Do you cook?
Yes, he replied.
You're a treasure, said she, most people don't like to cook at all, they just eat out! (Maybe by "most people" she meant herself?)
What do you like to cook?
Breads, mostly, he said.
If that's not a validation, I don't know what is :)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hair of Angels

This pasta was made by Mark (from scratch, of course!) on Thursday night, but I forgot to post it on Friday, being busy with work and that kind of silly stuff. So here it is - better late than never?

It's just semolina flour and water, from what I understand. It was my job to cook it, and I'm afraid I overdid it. It was still good. The best thing about fresh homemade pasta is that leftovers are never dry - even if you just warm them up in the microwave (as we did on the weekend), they still taste just as fresh as on the first day!

On a different note, I was thinking of starting a new blog, for all the foods we make that are not breads. I realized that there's a lot of things we make that look really colorful and appetizing, and it seems such a shame they don't get to have their picture taken. Besides, with summer beginning and the AZ heat, baking may not be such a good idea...

So maybe this blog belongs there rather than here. :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Not Related to Baking At All...

That's an interesting game I found in this blog. To see what it's about, you may click here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


It was my turn to bake a birthday cake for the lab: Adrian's belated birthday celebration; so I google-imaged "cake recipe" and found this Czech honey cake that looked extremely intriguing. Everybody on the web praised the cake as if it's something completely surreal and unimaginably delicious. Then I saw a blog post titled "yucky honey cake" describing the baking of the same cake following the exact same recipe. ** Sigh ** After considerable debate I decided I had to try it. "Worst case", I though, "I'd get a store-cake". I didn't have to! I couldn't tell exactly what it would taste like based on the crumbs-dipped-in-cream I tasted, but I could definitely tell that it's not going to be completely yucky.

Making it involved a bit of muscle work: a lot of stirring of dough that got progressively tougher as more flour was added. And then the eggy cream had to be constantly stirred so it won't get all chunky.

The cake had to sit for at least 8 hours, and I didn't know how that sitting would affect it exactly, so I was a bit anxious to see and hear people's reactions to it. Turns out sitting made the cake layers soft and smooth and the flavors all merged. It sliced beautifully, exhibiting nice layers (which are not easily seen in this fuzzy picture).
People liked it! I thought it was pretty good, though a bit too sweet for my taste (and I do have a sweet tooth!).
I wouldn't call it the best cake ever, but it was an interesting thing to try. Now I have to go to Prague and taste the real thing!

Green Pasta, Herbed Pizza and a Pizza Pretzel

Mark finally got his pasta machine. It was a long and frustrating story, which I will make short here, in favor of pictures. He got one at a World Market store back in NC, which was a cheap piece of crap that broke even before you we used it. Then we ordered one online as a wedding gift to ourselves, thinking it was the good kind. But when we opened the box, we found it was the same cheap piece of crap and had to return it. Apparently the vendor didn't know that the wrong one was shipped. Anyway, Mark finally ordered another one online, this time making sure that what we get is the one that's made in Italy and not in China (even though the Chinese were the ones to invent pasta!). And when it got here he anxiously opened the box, afraid of being disappointed again. The machine was lighter than it should be (indicating possible cheaper materials), but it was still made in Italy. He tried it on, and it seems to be working well!

So we had homemade pasta for dinner!

We had some leftover spinach, but no ricotta, so instead of spinach ravioli, we had some green fettuccine.

One is supposed to chop the pasta in a food processor, which we don't have, so the consistency of the pasta is a bit chunky. Mark thought it tasted too eggy, so next time he will try to make it with less eggs.

The day after he made pretzels - his specialty! I decided that I wanted to have a pizza-style pretzel, so I topped it with tomato sauce, basil and cheese:

They're very good as-is, of course!

And last night we had to use some leftover yogurt pizza dough, but we didn't have any spinach, and we didn't have fresh mozzarella cheese, so I suggested a herb pizza with goat cheese:

Mmmm... the thyme and oregano scents that filled the house!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Corn Blues

We got a lot of blue cornmeal, thinking we'd have lots of piki...
Instead, Mark made some blue buttermilk cornbread which turned out just perfect! Soft on the inside - not at all dry, and a bit crusty on the outside, and the yellow corn kernels (for lack of blue ones) add sweetness and juiciness. Great accompaniment to the leftover chili!

Mmm... It looks more blue in real life...

Monday, June 2, 2008

Two Birthday Cakes

My birthday was a couple of weeks ago, but that didn't stop me from celebrating it today and yesterday :)
I was in Israel during my real birthday, and celebrated someone else's birthday instead (my cousin's son's Bar-Mitzva). Although another cousin of mine, Tally, baked me one of my favorite cakes (sweet bread with lots of chocolate), which was extremely nice of her, it was hardly a birthday celebration. It was a crazy day that started at 5:30 am with the Bar Mitzva party, continued with a trip to the desert and a visit to my cousin's, and ended at 11 pm, after a dinner with my uncles.
So Mark and I decided to celebrate it properly this past weekend, with a nice brunch at the Mandala Tearoom, a visit to the museum, and a cake baked especially for me by Mark.
It was hard to decide what to bake, but I finally decided he should make cinnamon rolls and peanut-butter-and-chocolate rolls. He made them using his regular cinnamon rolls recipe for the dough, but with buttermilk this time, which made the dough very soft and fluffy.


And today, we celebrated my birthday in the lab :)
Dani baked me a luscious mixed berry pie:

Can you see the ant?

It was a very nice birthday gathering, complete with singing candle that refuses to sing, a happy birthday song (which was weird for me not to join in) and presentations of travel pictures made by Kevin (a trip to France) and me.

Now I have no choice but to accept the fact that I'm a year older.

Tricky Piki

About 6 months ago, inspired by a visit to the Heard Museum, we decided to try and make some piki, also known as Native Indian paper bread. Last night we finally realized that decision! We didn't want to eat it just by itself, so we looked for recipes that include any of the "three sisters": Corn, Beans, and Squash (CBS). I finally found one recipe that incorporated all three of them! So we set up for cooking, not realizing how challenging it might be!

Not that the chili was so hard to make - it was actually quite easy. I did omit the garbanzo beans, for authenticity, though.

It's the piki that gave us trouble. That simple paper thin bread, of all things!

First of all, the recipes we found online call for juniper ash. Now where the heck can you find something like that? Fortunately, it can be substituted with baking soda. But what's the exchange rate? One place said 2 tbs per cup of cornmeal but that was way too much. The batter tasted like, well, baking soda, and it created gigantic bubbles in the bread after you pour it onto the hot griddle, resulting in multiple little separated islands of baking-soda-tasting mush.
So we tried again, this time with only 1 tsp per cup. That worked much better.
The amount of water to use was also a matter of trial and error, but I think Mark finally got it right, more or less. Of course, we can't say for sure, since neither of us has ever had it. But at least it resembled a thin paper, albeit a rather holey one.

By itself it doesn't taste like much, but with the chili it was nice. And most importantly, as Mark said, it made us feel "Indian", which was nicely complimentary to our visit to the North Scottsdale branch of the Heard.


Last week we got a new basil plant, of a fairly large size. Being realistic, I know it won't last very long with my methods of cultivation, so we decided to eat as much of it while it's still alive. The first thing we used it for was this yummy fresh mozzarella pizza on yogurt crust.

I didn't care much for the tomatoes - they weren't as sweet as they're supposed to be, will probably be better to use those little sweet cherry tomatoes. But it still was very good - the crust crusty as ever, and the fresh mozzarella, with its pleasant texture but bland flavor, allows for the basil to shine.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


We just came back from the holy land, and all we wanted to eat was bacon! Kosher bacon, of course! We had some BESTs for lunch (stands for: bacon, egg, spinach, and tomato), and then Kugelhopf for dinner. The Kugelhopf was of the savory variety and had bits of bacon in it, along with onions and walnuts.

It was a bit too bacony for my taste, and yet it seemed like there wasn't enough. If you're gonna have bacon and onion and nuts in your bread, you really should have a lot of it, such that you'll have them all in each and every bite. Instead it was just like eating regular bread with a bit of bacon and nuts every now and then. Well, that was my impression on the night it came out of the oven. Today when I had it for lunch it was very good! The crumb is very light and melts in your mouth, and the bacon bits and nuts add crunch to it. So I don't know anymore. Should we make it again - would it be better to make it the same way or add more onion/bacon/nuts to it?
I think I'd vote for adding more nuts, because you can never really have too many of them!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Simple Delicious Dinner

If you ever want to have something quick and yummy - make some ravioli! All you need is a couple of ricotta cheese containers, some mozzarella, Parmesan or any other cheese to your liking, some spinach if you like, or mushrooms, or whatever! mix it all together and fill with it a bunch of egg roll wraps. We found that getting them instead of won ton wraps makes it much easier to fill: you cut them in half and fold them in half. (1.5 pk of ricotta left 5 big wraps unfilled, for a total of 30 ravioli.) Very quick and easy! Cook them in 2 minutes and top them with your favorite pasta sauce!

Of course, we had with freshly baked bread, spread with goat cheese and topped with marinated artichoke. Mmmm....yum!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Ladies Tea Party in the Park

Stealing the theme from this blog, Rebecca, Dani, Andrea and I had one of our own. All dressed in our ladiest attire, we went to Kiwanis Park and had a nice picnic in the shade of some trees by the lake.

We sat there and ate fabulous food and drank a variety of ice teas and lemonade, while watching people go by with looks of surprise and envy on their faces as they saw us.
There was indeed a lot to be envious about: It was arguably a fairly hot day - but we had shade where it was very pleasant. We also had lots of ice teas to cool us down after the bike ride to the park. We had yummy food and desserts to eat with the teas. And to top it all up: we looked awesome!

Andrea's awesome quiche and bean salad and one of Rebecca's teas

Our desserts: Farmers Market bread with grapefruit curd that Dani made, strawberries and fortune tacos.

I attempted to make fortune cookies, but they turned out more like fortune tacos, as Rebecca suggested. Everybody enjoyed their fortunes nonetheless. I think it's extremely appropriate that Rebecca got the one that said: "You should get more exercise" after she already biked 48 miles that day, and just before going for a night hike in South Mountain...

Rebecca's cool bee napkins

A surrey ride around the lake

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Two Cakes

Friday was Mark's birthday. He wanted a coconut cake. But since we planned to go to a vegan restaurant on his birthday, and expected to have yummy vegan cakes, I didn't bake his coconut cake until Saturday. And since Saturday was Passover, and we went over to my aunt and her family to celebrate, and I brought a Kosher for Passover cake with me, we didn't eat the coconut cake till Sunday night (which was actually Mark's birthday by his recently-discovered Hebrew date!).

We indeed had a yummy vegan blueberry cake at the vegan restaurant. No pictures, though, despite my carrying the camera with me at all times... It had a blueberry (vegan) cream cheese frosting that was simply delicious!

On Saturday I therefore baked two cakes. The first was made of a potato and absolutely no flour, oil or dairy (which qualified it as a kosher for passover, healthy, and kosher pareve, respectively). I would like to emphasize that it was made out of a real whole potato - not potato starch (a common substitute in Passover baking). My aunt and uncle were amazed with the cake almost as much as they were amazed by Mark's Hebrew capabilities.

Don't the strawberries simply look gorgeous?

The recipe for this cake is taken from the Vegetarian Times magazine. You can't see it from this angle, but this cake really holds itself - despite the lack of flour and leavening agents, it is quite tall! The original recipe says you should process the cooked potato, pecans and sugar till smooth in a food processor, which I don't have, so I just chopped the pecans by hand and so the result was not very smooth, but I think it gave the cake a nice crunchy bite.

The second cake of the day was the birthday coconut cake. I combined recipes because Mark wanted buttercream frosting and not egg white frosting, which is what most coconut cake recipes come with. So the cake recipe is taken from here and the frosting from here. Although I substitute coconut milk for the milk and added about twice as much of it than was required to make it taste more coconutty.

Oh, and since I didn't have 2 9" pans, I used 3 8" pans instead and got this 3 layer cake instead of two :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Philly Cheesesteak and Other Cheesy Things

Last Friday Mark made pizza. We like to have pizza whenever he has time to bake one, the question is: which kind? There's Sicilian, pan, thin crust, Mexican, Swiss... I like having the thick crust and Sicilian, because they're really big and we always have leftovers. The thin crust are so thin we always finish them the same day. So Mark came up with a way to eat the eggs without breaking them: he made a double batch of thin crust pizza and refrigerated half of it for later use. It worked wonderfully!
So Friday we had this pizza:

And last night, all he had to do was to get the dough out of the fridge, shape it, wait a little, top it, et voila!

On Saturday Mark wanted to make loaves of bread for lunch sandwiches, and to my request he made it whole wheat. They turned out very nice:

But he didn't want to have them the same way he always does - so we decided on trying the philly-cheesesteak style. Neither of us had ever had that famous sandwich, not even the vegetarian version (which we did plan to have while in Philly, but because of a certain David Letterman we ended up not going there at all). So we had to look it up online and make the required modifications, all the time thinking that we have veggie steak strips. But then when we looked in the freezer, we were very disappointed.
However, resourceful Mark came up with another idea: using the veggie-roasted-without-the-beef slices, which should work fine since the steak needs to be sliced thin anyway, according to the original recipe.

Mmmm... caramelized onions...

AND - for dessert - we had some cream cheese pie: graham cracker crust, topped with chocolate, strawberries, all buried under cream cheese-sweetened condensed milk goodness.