Foods of The World - March 2009


Ok people. India was not a huge success. I don't know why. Maybe we can just keep posting Indian recipes as we make them and label them using the 'Foods of the World - India 'label so we can find them easily. Speaking of which, I've added buttons to the side bar for each of the Foods of the World countries. If you click on them it will show you all of the recipes labeled with that country. Keep 'em coming, even if that month is finished !! I will still be posting recipes from Spain ... I can't believe I've taken so long to post them ! I've just been a total slacker when it comes to this food blog. I've been cooking some amazing food ... and so want to share the recipes with you ... and I will ... soon ... I promise hope.

How about the rest of you ? What have you been cooking ? I'm sure that you've all been cooking heaps worth sharing ...

I thought I might do something a bit easier. Maybe Indian food was a bit labor intensive ! I don't know ... but let's move on ! Let's cook ITALIAN FOOD this month !! Woo Hoo !!!

I'm going to let you all in on a little secret. Ok, it's not a secret. Who cares ? It sounds better to say it is ! My sister, Ellie, one of the authors of this blog is ITALIAN ! I'm serious. She was born in Italy. Yep ! My brother and I were born in Spain. She was born in Italy and our youngest sister Hannah was born in DC. My parents love to tell people that none of their children were born in any of the 50 States ...

Anyway ... I'm hoping to see some great Italian posts from my great Italian sister ! That's her in the photo above ( it's not in Italy though ... it's in Spain) ... isn't she cute ?

I know I said this last month, and I didn't do it, but I'm going to try and cook one Italian meal a week and post the recipe !! My first one this week is an experiment, in the crock pot, I'll tell you how it turns out !

OK ... get cooking ! Get posting ! Get linking !! (in the comments section)

See you tomorrow for Menu Plan Monday ...
Anyone else planning menus ?
I'd love to know what you're cooking ...

Menu Plan Monday - Bonnie - 30 March 2009

Menu Plan Monday is hosted by I'm an Organizing Junkie.

I can't believe I have missed out on two weeks of Menu Plan Monday !! I didn't plan any sort of menu two weeks ago then last week, I planned it but never got it posted !! So ... here I am, two weeks later ... WITH A PLAN and A POST !!

I went to the library last week and except for tonight, I'm going to cook a new recipe out of one of each of the books I got .... Well ... at least six of the books ... I got more than six though so not really one of EACH !!

Monday :
An easy on because I'm shopping today ...
Falafel Wraps

Tuesday :
Warm Chicken and Lemon Couscous Salad

from The Marie Claire Cookbook Flavors by Donna Hay

Wednesday :

12 Layer Garden Salad
from the Low-Carb Vegetarian Cooking Cookbook by Sue Spitler

Thursday :

Steamed Fish with Chilli and Lime

from Authentic Tastes of Southeast Asia by Celine Carnegie

Friday :

Beef Brochettes
Black Bean Open Sandwiches
Salsa Mexicana

from the Fresh Mexican Cookbook by Monica Medina-Mora and Angeles Ayala

Saturday :
I'll have the kids help me make ...
Pastry Wrapped Chorizo Puffs
and a green salad ....

from the Mediterranean Food and Cooking Cookbook by Jacqueline Clarke

Sunday :


I'll also be making :

Chewy Muesli Bars

from the Reader's Digest Beat High Blood Pressure Cookbook

Wow ... that menu looks great.
I'm excited.
I need to get myself organized now to go do the shopping !!
See you through the week.
I've got some great recipes that I cooked last week coming your way !!

Did you cook anything new last week ?
Do share ....

Hors D'Ouvers


Lunch at our place today.

Yeah, you get more than one ...

I'll bring you a whole post on this lunch later in the week.

And tomorrow ... I'll be back with Menu Plan Monday after two weeks AWOL.

One week I had no plan.

Last week I had a plan but forgot to post it.

This week, no plan yet but I will make it tomorrow !!!

The Best Thing Since...

Ok, maybe it's the best thing IS sliced bread. Today, I decided, was The Day to learn to bake bread! My Betty Crocker Cookbook and I made two loaves of bread (ok, I did all the work and that lazy cookbook just sat there). And here's the awesome/surprising/amazing thing - they actually turned out well! Yay!!

Spinach and Tofu Lasagna


I'm not convinced that Italians would put tofu in their lasagna and therefore cannot vouch for the authenticity of the Italian-ness of this recipe. I can vouch for it's deliciousity and at the very least will claim it to be some sort of Italian-Asian fusion and therefore close enough to post as Italian.

The inspiration for the recipe came out of a cookbook on my mother's shelf many many years ago. I do not remember the name of it and have made so many adaptions over the years that I think by now it is pretty much my own ...


Here's how I make it ...

1 (big) jar of Pasta Sauce - I like Bertolli Five Brothers Oven Roasted Garlic and Onion !!
8 ounces lasagna noodles
10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach ... thawed and drained

Mix the following to make the tofu/cheese mixture.
1 cup tofu
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup cottage cheese

Mozzarella cheese, grated - to put on top

Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Assemble ingredients in a 9x13 baking dish in the following order. Small amount of pasta sauce, noodles, 1/3 of the spinach, 1/3 of the tofu/cheese mixture, pasta sauce. Repeat. And repeat again ! Finish with sauce and then top with moz cheese. Bake for about 40 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand before serving.

Makes 8 servings.

Tangy Olive Salad


This was a tangy little salad that I think would be fabulous as a bruschetta ...
on top of a nice piece of toasted turkish bread !!

I enjoyed it the other night as a side dish to tortilla espanola.
Rory thought it was a bit tart.
The kids ... well, my two are such little troopers.
They really do eat everything I put in front of them with very little complaint.
I was surprised to not hear one complaint about the raw onion in this ...
Alia did ask if the red stuff was tomato or capsicum.
Once she knew it was tomato, she had no other issues !!

I used this recipe as a base but adapted it because I couldn't find fresh parsley and had fresh chives in my garden ... Also, I used olives with pimento in them ... next time I won't.

Here's how I made it this time ....

1 cup green olives
1/2 a red onion
a few small spring onions
fresh herbs
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tomato ( I may add two next time)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses

Chop tomato, onions and herbs and place in bowl with olives.
Squeeze the lemon into the bowl ... preferably using your handy dandy citrus press.
Pour salad onto a plate add olive oil and pomegranate molasses.

Serve ...

Menu Plan Monday - Bonnie - 9 March 2009

Tonight (Sunday ...)
Mushroom and Zucchini Risoni
Broiled Tomatoes

Spinach and Tofu Lasagna
Simple Green Salad

Tortilla Espanola
Green Olive Salad
Leftover Foccacia - toasted in sandwich press

MYO Sushi

Ecuadorian Quinoa And Vegetable Soup

Asparagus Alfredo Pasta
Simple Green Salad
Bread Maker Bread Rolls

Leftovers ?
Eggs on Toast ?

What's on your menu this week ?? I'm headed over to Org Junkie's place to see what everyone else is cooking for Menu Plan Monday ...

Mushroom and Zucchini Risoni


I got this recipe off the back of the box of Risoni ... and served it with broiled tomatoes.

Here's what you need:

Olive Oil
100g Pancetta, sliced
1 TBLS butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Zucchini ( I used 1/2 a large one), sliced
200g button mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup white wine, I used an Unwooded Chardonnay
1/2 bunch spring onions, finely sliced
salt and pepper
2 and 1/2 cups risoni (orzo)

Cook risoni.

Meanwhile, saute pancetta in olive oil slowly ... til crisp and golden. Remove from heat and set aside.

Using the frying pan from the pancetta, add butter and garlic. Saute. Add zucchini and mushrooms. Cook and stir til tender. Add wine, and spring onion. Season with salt and pepper. Return pancetta to pan. Add risoni. Stir to combine. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6

We topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Wait a minute ... I just remembered there are leftovers !! My tummy has been asking me for lunch for an hour now .... I'm off to finish this up !!!

I love gadgets ...


One of my favorite kitchen gadgets is this Pampered Chef Citrus Press.
My sister Ellie made me buy one when I was in the States two years ago.
I'm so glad I listened to her.


Israeli Cous Cous Salad


The recipe I used as a guide ... but didn't follow exactly, I found HERE.

I made this as a main. We're trying to eat light. This was maybe a bit too light.
Would be perfect beside a nice piece of fish ...

Here's how I made it ...

one bag (250g) Israeli cous cous (I think you could substitute Orzo/Rissoni if you can't find this)
6 spring onions, sliced
100g feta, crumbled ( I didn't measure ... I just crumbled some in )
24 or so black (I used Kalamata) olives, stoned and chopped
24 or so cherry tomatoes, chopped ( I didn't have cherry, oops ... I bought them but we had munched them away !! ) I just chopped up regular tomato.
50g toasted pine nuts
half a lemon & some good extra virgin olive oil

Cook the cous cous according to packet instructions. Drain and run under cold water. Combine with the other ingredients and dress with 1 part lemon juice to 3 parts olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Gambas Al Ajillo aka "Garlic Shrimp"


Gambas Al Ajillo

1/2 to 3/4 pound shrimp, shelled
Coarse salt
8 Tablespoons olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and very coarsely chopped ~ we use much more than this !!
1 dried red chili pepper, stem and seeds removed, in two pieces
1/2 teaspoon paprika, preferably Spanish style
1 Tablespoon minced parsley

Dry the shrimp well and sprinkle salt on both sides. Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Heat the oil in four ramekins or one shallow 8-inch casserole, preferably earthenware, by placing in oven. Add the garlic and chili pepper, and when the garlic starts to turn golden (be careful not to overcook) add the shrimp. Cook until shrimp are just done. Sprinkle in the paprika, parsley, and salt. Serve immediately, right in the cooking dish if possible.

Provide lots of good bread for dunking !!

broiled tomatoes

Edited 9 March 2009 by Bonnie to add photo ...

Last night I served these tomatoes with the asparagus alfredo. They are also quick and very yummy.

round tomatoes-, about 2" in diameter
mayonaise-about 1T per tomato
dry parmesan cheese (the shaker kind you buy in the pasta aisle)-about 1T per tomato

1. Cut tomatoes in half (through the middle, not top to bottom) and place on a broiler pan
2. Stir mayonaise and parmesan cheese together. (If it is not a very thick paste, add a bit more cheese--it should be the consistency of cream cheese frosting.)
3. Spread evenly and to the edges of all the tomato faces. It is usually about a 1/4" coating. Don't skimp on it!
4. Place under the broiler, broil about 2 minutes till it suddenly turns a lovely golden brown.
5. Serve and listen to the raves!

Oh so easy asparagus alfredo pasta

(Edited later by Bonnie to add photo...)

This recipe claimed to be fast and truly only takes as long as takes to boil the pasta! Dinner on the table in 30 minutes just can't be beat! Here is the link to the original recipe that I found on line, and following is how I now make it!

1 pound asparagus
1 pound fettuccine
4-5 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

1. Snap the tough ends off the asparagus and discard them. Cut the asparagus spears into 1-inch pieces. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the fettuccine and asparagus stems until almost done, about 8 minutes. Add the asparagus tips; cook until it and the pasta are just done, about 4 minutes longer. (Don't worry about the longer cooking time...the addition of the asparagus slows the process)

2. In a large saute pan, heat the butter, cream, salt, pepper, and parmesean cheese till hot and bubbly.

3. Drain the pasta and asparagus. Toss into the sauce. Serve with additional Parmesan.

Baked Potato Bar


This is such a quick an easy meal.
I did it for the kids the other night.

All you do is ...
Bake the potatoes.
You know, wrap 'em in tin foil, into a hot oven for 30 minutes or so.
Have a bunch of stuff out to top them with.
I cooked a bit of bacon.
Cheese and sour cream and the kids were set.

Normally I'd do beans, salsa, avocado as well ...
Onions and Chives

You name it ... it can go on top of a baked potato !!

Champinones Al Ajillo aka "Garlic Mushrooms"


I am posting this recipe since I took the photos and wanted to post the recipes, but my cousin Pam did all the leg work, typing and emailing them to me since I forgot to copy them while we were there !

Champinones Al Ajillo

3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound mushrooms, stems trimmed, brushed clean, whole if very small, or cut in 1/4-inch thick slices
4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced ~ We definitely do more !!
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 Tablespoons dry (fino) Spanish sherry
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon paprika, preferably Spanish style
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Freshly ground pepper
1 Tablespoon minced parsley

Heat the oil in a skillet until very hot and stir fry the mushrooms and garlic over high heat for about 2 minutes (I've found that the mushrooms soak up the oil very quickly, so I usually add a bit more). Lower the heat and stir in the lemon juice, sherry, broth, paprika, red pepper, salt, and pepper. Simmer a minute or two (may be prepared ahead and reheated right before eating), sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Menu Plan Monday - Bonnie - 2 March 2009

I've started shopping on Sunday afternoons.
It's working well.
Except that it confuses me for Menu Plan Monday.
To save myself and my OCD from further frustration,
I'm going to start my MPM with Sunday's meal !!

Sunday :
Greek Salad with Marinated Radishes and Feta
This is so delicious.
I will share the recipe with you this week !
Those of you that are going into Spring will love it.
Those of you that are coming out of Summer will also love it.
It's crisp and refreshing.

Mediterranean Rice Salad
Khrista posted this recipe over a year ago and I've yet to try it !
Can't wait !!!

I'll be making a Spaghetti Bolognaise in the crock pot.
I'll be making it up using various leftover sauces and what not in my fridge.

Israeli Cous Cous and Feta Salad
I'm excited about this recipe.
I've never eaten Israeli Cous Cous before.
I found it in one of my favorite stores and just had to buy it !
I've since looked it up on line and it is a pasta similar to Orzo/Rissoni.

Another new recipe.
Garlic Lime Crock Pot Chicken
Just the name makes me salivate ...

Grace's Korean Pork Rice

I'm hoping we'll have some leftovers.
Otherwise, I've got some sausages in the freezer that we could BBQ.

If you're interested in some great menu plans, recipes and resources, make sure to stop by