Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Zucchini Flatbread and Tag: a game of getting to know more about our favorite bloggers.

A while back, I received the following fun exercise from Gera at Sweet Foods. The purpose: getting to know more about our favorite food bloggers. Now, it's my turn. Following Gera's example, I have attached some photos, some random ones chosen from a few of my trips.

First, though, here is my newest flatbread recipe: zucchini, almonds and mozzarella. Initially, I intended to make a simple zucchini flatbread but realized that I had a handful of slivered almonds left and not wanting them to go to waste ( nuts in general last a a good two or three months in the pantry, even longer in the freezer, before turning rancid) I added them to the mix. And not a bad idea either.

Zucchini Almond Flatbread
Serves four

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 tsp salt
2 zucchini, sliced
2 cloved garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup toasted, slivered almonds

1. To make the dough: In a mixing bowl, add the water to the yeast and sugar, set aside until foamy, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the flours and salt and mix into a ball. Remove to a flat, floured working surface and knead until soft and elastic about four to five minutes. Set in the mixing bowl that has been oiled. Cover and let rise for about an hour.
2. In a skillet set over medium heat, add the zucchini, garlic and oil. Cook until zucchini softens about three to four minutes. (It is not necessary to thoroughly cook the zucchini here because it will finish cooking in the oven.)
3. Roll the dough unto a well greased baking sheet to about one eighth of an inch thick. Evenly layer the zucchini and mozzarella. Finally, sprinkle the almonds. Bake at 450 degrees for ten to twelve minutes. Serve while still warm.

Now, on to the questionnaire.

Diamonds or pearls?
Not crazy about either.

What is the last film you saw?
Dark Knight

Your favorite series?
I'm a LOST junkie! It's the first series I actually followed from season one and I'm still hooked. Also watch Law and Order, CSI and anything interesting on Discovery and National Geographic.

What kind of breakfast do you have usually?
It depends on whether I'm eating alone or with my husband. Alone: some sort of cereal. With my husband: pancakes and omelette, or a traditional Trinidadian breakfast.

Lighthouse, Kauai.

Second given name?
Pearl. Yes, Pearl. When I was born, being her first granddaughter, my grandmother thought I was her little gem, hence "Pearl. " I'm just grateful Diamond or Gold didn't come to her mind.

Which kind of food can't you stand?
Processed food

Favorite name (at the moment)?
Don't have one.

Which car do you drive?

Which trait or character don't you like?

Star fish at Aquarium in Minneapolis.

Favorite clothes?
Badgley Mischka, Cache, Banana Republic, BCBG, Adidas.

If you could take the aeroplane to go somewhere, where would you go?
Tough one...Hawaii or Tahiti.

Sea horse at Aquarium.

Where would you want to live when you are retired?
Hawaii. I could seriously spend my days snorkeling, hiking the Na Pali cliffs, and eating fresh seafood.

Which birthday do you remember the most?
My last: my father and youngest sister had visited; I hadn't seen them in more than three years.

Your birthday?
October 10.

Shamu! San Diego.

If you were a color, which one would you be?

Chocolate or vanilla?

Coffee or tea?
Coffee! I started drinking coffee in college to stay up to study. Now, it seems I cannot start my day without a cup. Nothing fancy, just regular coffee; I grind my own beans though. I do have tea on most evenings.

Feeding the animals, Wild Animal Park, San Diego.

The last person you had on the phone?
My sister Nancy in Toronto. We speak to each other almost everyday.

Sweet or savory?
Sweet! My sweet tooth is going to be the end of me.

The day of the week you prefer?
Wednesday night because LOST is on!

Now, let's find out more about:
Sarah at Broken Yolks
Zerrin at Give Recipe

Friday, May 15, 2009

Balsamic Syrup for Fresh Fruit

Strawberries with balsamic syrup

When I was seventeen, I lived and worked in Toronto for five months. It was a period of time right after high school when I hadn't yet decided if I wanted to remain in Trinidad or move abroad for college. So, I went to Canada. ( Supposedly the next best logical step considering I had many relatives there who would keep me in line, or so my parents hoped .) 

After a month of sightseeing and catching up with relatives, it was time to get a part time job. That way, if I  decided to go to college there, I would already have an idea of how the city works.  My job: quasi sales girl for a small company that sold Indian spices, sauces, and chutneys. The owner travelled around the country to trade shows promoting and selling her products; I started working with her at the Convention Center in downtown Toronto. 

So, there I was, in one of the most vibrant cities in the world, with the best options for food and the one thing that I gravitated towards was...chocolate covered bananas. A few yards  down the aisle from our booth was another booth that sold all sorts of chocolate covered fruit, from bananas to pineapple to peaches. Every day after lunch I would buy some sort of chocolate covered confection. Small wonder I gained close to twenty pounds during those five months. 

Now, whenever I feel for a chocolate banana, I make this balsamic syrup that substitutes well for the chocolate and also goes great with almost any fresh fruit. That is not to say I  don't have the real stuff once in a while. :o)

Bananas with balsamic syrup and toasted  almonds

Balsamic Syrup

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
fresh fruit (strawberries, bananas, peaches, etc)

Add the balsamic vinegar and maple syrup to a heavy sauce pan set over medium heat. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes until thick and bubbly.  Stir in the vanilla and serve immediately over fresh fruit or ice cream. 

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Sauteed Spinach with Whole Garlic and Raisins

I'm excited to be staying in tonight. You see, for the past two weeks we had been eating out every night. As much I enjoy the Minneapolis restaurant scene and eating out in general- especially now that it's almost summer and outdoor dining is the rave- the comfort of my apartment and my little kitchen is more appealing right now. On the menu tonight: sauteed spinach with whole garlic and raisins. Not very alluring, I know, but very simple and delicious. Just what I want after a slew of large and involved meals. 

Sauteed Spinach with Whole Garlic and Raisins
Serves two to three

5 cups fresh spinach, washed and drained 
6 garlic cloves
1/4 cup dark raisins
salt to taste
grated parmesan 

1. In a skillet set over medium high heat, add two tablespoons vegetable oil. Add the garlic and cook for three to four minutes, until they turn lightly brown.
2.  Add the raisins, cook for another minute or so until they plump up. Now,  add the spinach. Cook until they wilt, season with enough salt to taste, and serve with grated parmesan on top.