Olga's Flavor Factory http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com Step by step, easy, homemade recipes Mon, 20 Oct 2014 14:57:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Boy or Girl? http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/miscellaneous/boy-girl/ http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/miscellaneous/boy-girl/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 14:57:47 +0000 http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/?p=14898 Finding out the gender of the baby is one of the most fun things during pregnancy, at least in our family. We found out really early on this time, at 14 weeks, which is amazing. It’s so incredible that at such  young age, the tiny baby is already so beautifully and wonderfully formed. Sergi and... 

Read More »

The post Boy or Girl? appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
Gender reveal party for our family

Gender reveal party for our family

Finding out the gender of the baby is one of the most fun things during pregnancy, at least in our family. We found out really early on this time, at 14 weeks, which is amazing. It’s so incredible that at such  young age, the tiny baby is already so beautifully and wonderfully formed. Sergi and I wanted to know just as soon as the ultrasound could show something, so we were really excited when we found out. We both had a feeling, parent’s intuition, maybe? that it was a certain gender, and we were right!

We had a very simple get together to share the news with some of my siblings and their spouses later that week. We set up a space with both a boy and girl outfit and everyone had a turn getting their photo taken holding up either a boy or girl outfit, depending on who they thought the baby would be. Then Sergi and I had our turn last and held up the appropriate outfit, and a sign with our baby’s name. Here’s a short video for you to enjoy:).

I can’t believe that I’m already halfway through the pregnancy. We are so thankful that the baby is growing perfectly and are really excited to meet our new family member!

The post Boy or Girl? appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/miscellaneous/boy-girl/feed/ 22
Potato and Celery Root Gratin Packets http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/ontheside/side-dishes/potato-celery-root-gratin-packets/ http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/ontheside/side-dishes/potato-celery-root-gratin-packets/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 17:58:45 +0000 http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/?p=14882 Since my recent obsession with packet cooking, I’ve noticed one huge advantage of using this method – the flavors of the finished dish become really concentrated and every bite is infused with the taste of every single ingredient. Another advantage of cooking food in packets, is that the ingredients stay really moist, since they literally... 

Read More »

The post Potato and Celery Root Gratin Packets appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
Potato and Celery Root Gratin Packets-1-14Since my recent obsession with packet cooking, I’ve noticed one huge advantage of using this method – the flavors of the finished dish become really concentrated and every bite is infused with the taste of every single ingredient. Another advantage of cooking food in packets, is that the ingredients stay really moist, since they literally steam as they cook.

Fish is my favorite ingredient to cook en papillote – (French for “in parchment”), so I thought it would be a great idea to come up with a side dish to throw into the oven at the same time. A potato gratin is such an indulgent, scrumptious dish, but usually takes awhile to prepare and is also very heavy. Cooking it in a packet in smaller serving portions speeds up the cooking time significantly and also is a wonderful way to steam the potatoes in aromatics instead of lathered in a heavy cream sauce. I also added some celery root to the potatoes. If you’ve never tried celery root, I would really encourage you to give it a chance – it is delicious!

I was intending to cook these potatoes on the grill, but Sergi ended up coming home later than usual, so the oven worked out just as well. Next time I get a chance, I will grill these delicate spuds. Sergi and I are both partial to grilled potatoes and love the slightly charred edges on the potatoes and the grill marks, as well as the grilled flavor. This is a convenient recipe to have on hand to use both the oven or the grill. As in all my other packet recipes, you can use parchment paper instead of aluminum foil, unless you will be grilling the packets. 

Ingredients:

1 – 1 1/2 lbs potatoes, (4-5 medium) gold potatoes are best for this recipe, thinly sliced

1 medium (10-12 0z) celery root, peeled and thinly sliced

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3 Tablespoons butter, melted (or oil)

1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 Tablespoon dry herbs (parsley, thyme, rosemary, etc.)

4-5 Tablespoons chicken or vegetable broth (1 –  1 1/2 Tablespoons per packet)

4-5 Tablespoons heavy cream (1 –  1 1/2 Tablespoons per packet)

8-10 Tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese

fresh herbs to garnish, such as dill, parsley, thyme, chives, etc, minced

Instructions:

Potato and Celery Root Gratin Packets-1Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also do this on the grill, in which case you would preheat the grill to medium heat.

Peel the potatoes and the celery root. Potato and Celery Root Gratin Packets-1-2Slice the potatoes and the celery root into really thin slices. If you have a mandoline, this is the best tool for the job, but you can certainly use a knife. If you don’t want to use celery root, just use extra potatoes instead. Potato and Celery Root Gratin Packets-1-3Slice the onion very thinly, using a mandoline or a knife. Slice the garlic, but don’t try using the mandoline, you might end up losing some fingertips:). Potato and Celery Root Gratin Packets-1-4Toss the sliced vegetables in a large bowl with the melted butter, salt, pepper and dry herbs. Use any seasonings that you like to flavor your potatoes – dry herbs (dill, thyme, oregano, parsley, basil, rosemary, etc.) or spices (paprika, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, etc.). Potato and Celery Root Gratin Packets-1-5Meanwhile, tear off 4 sheets of aluminum foil. I like using heavy duty aluminum foil. The sheets need to be 18 – 20 inches wide.

Of course, you can also use parchment paper, if you will be making this in the oven. If you will be preparing this dish on the grill, I would suggest using a double layer of aluminum foil for each packet.

Place 1/4 of the vegetables into each packet, placing them on one half of the aluminum foil. Potato and Celery Root Gratin Packets-1-6You can also make the packets smaller and make 6 of them instead of 4.

Spread out the vegetables so that they are in an even layer. Potato and Celery Root Gratin Packets-1-7Pour 1 – 1 1/2 Tablespoons of broth and heavy cream, EACH, over the vegetables.

Sprinkle with the finely grated Parmesan cheese, about 2 Tablespoons per packet, but the amount of cheese is up to you. Use more or less, depending on your preference. You can also use other cheese, such as Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Provolone, Mozzarella, Fontina, etc. Potato and Celery Root Gratin Packets-1-8Fold the second half of the aluminum foil over the vegetables and seal the edges all the way around, to form the packets. Potato and Celery Root Gratin Packets-1-9For the oven method: Place the packets on a large baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes. You can open the packets at the end and place it under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up the top, if you’d like.

For the grill method: Place the packets on the grill and cook on medium heat for 30-35 minutes.

Garnish with fresh herbs. Potato and Celery Root Gratin Packets-1-10

Potato and Celery Root Gratin Packets
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Sides
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 - 1½ lbs potatoes, gold potatoes are best for this recipe, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium (10-12 0z) celery root, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted (or oil)
  • ½ - ¾ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ Tablespoon dry herbs (parsley, thyme, rosemary, etc.)
  • 4-5 Tablespoons chicken or vegetable broth (1 - 1½ Tablespoons per packet)
  • 4-5 Tablespoons heavy cream (1 - 1½ Tablespoons per packet)
  • 8-10 Tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • fresh herbs to garnish, such as dill, parsley, thyme, chives, etc, minced
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also do this on the grill, in which case you would preheat the grill to medium heat.
  2. Peel the potatoes and the celery root. Slice the potatoes and the celery root into really thin slices. If you have a mandoline, this is the best tool for the job, but you can certainly use a knife. If you don't want to use celery root, just use extra potatoes instead.
  3. Slice the onion very thinly, using a mandoline or a knife. Slice the garlic, but don't try using the mandoline, you might end up losing some fingertips:).
  4. Toss the sliced vegetables in a large bowl with the melted butter, salt, pepper and dry herbs. Use any seasonings that you like to flavor your potatoes - dry herbs (dill, thyme, oregano, parsley, basil, rosemary, etc.) or spices (paprika, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, etc.).
  5. Meanwhile, tear off 4 sheets of aluminum foil. I like using heavy duty aluminum foil. The sheets need to be 18 - 20 inches wide. Of course, you can also use parchment paper, if you will be making this in the oven. If you will be preparing this dish on the grill, I would suggest using a double layer of aluminum foil for each packet.
  6. Place ¼ of the vegetables into each packet, placing them on one half of the aluminum foil. You can also make the packets smaller and make 6 of them instead of 4. Spread out the vegetables so that they are in an even layer.
  7. Pour 1 - 1½ Tablespoons of broth and heavy cream, EACH, over the vegetables.
  8. Sprinkle with the finely grated Parmesan cheese, about 2 Tablespoons per packet, but the amount of cheese is up to you. Use more or less, depending on your preference. You can also use other cheese, such as Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Provolone, Mozzarella, Fontina, etc.
  9. Fold the second half of the aluminum foil over the vegetables and seal the edges all the way around, to form the packets.
  10. For the oven method: Place the packets on a large baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes. You can open the packets at the end and place it under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up the top, if you'd like.
  11. For the grill method: Place the packets on the grill and cook on medium heat for 30-35 minutes.
  12. Garnish with fresh herbs.

 

The post Potato and Celery Root Gratin Packets appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/ontheside/side-dishes/potato-celery-root-gratin-packets/feed/ 4
Cheesy Chicken, Rice and Broccoli Packets http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/main-course/poultry/cheesy-chicken-rice-broccoli-packets/ http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/main-course/poultry/cheesy-chicken-rice-broccoli-packets/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 10:30:21 +0000 http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/?p=14847 I am convinced that the main reason that most of us don’t eat more healthier, homemade meals is simply because we are too busy. We resort to take out, tv dinners, frozen dinners and prepackaged, highly processed food just because it seems to be so much more convenient. Even though I love to cook and... 

Read More »

The post Cheesy Chicken, Rice and Broccoli Packets appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Packets-1-22I am convinced that the main reason that most of us don’t eat more healthier, homemade meals is simply because we are too busy. We resort to take out, tv dinners, frozen dinners and prepackaged, highly processed food just because it seems to be so much more convenient. Even though I love to cook and actually enjoy spending hours in the kitchen, I can completely understand. When you come home from work tired, there’s hardly any motivation left for a cooking endeavor. This is why I love dinners that can be made ahead.

These days, I only have a few hours in a week when I actually feel good enough to cook, so I grab those opportunities to whip something up really quick. These dinner packets are what I have been focusing on a lot lately. They have the whole dinner – starch, protein and vegetable in one, can be made ahead of time, even up to 2 days in advance, and then simply baked in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

There’s nothing like a fresh, nutritious and super tasty dinner on those busy, hectic days. Who can argue with cheesy, aromatic rice served with steamed chicken and broccoli? The chicken is so juicy and really flavorful, since it’s been marinating in garlic, herbs, olive oil and lemon juice. The broccoli is perfectly crisp, not mushy and limp like most tv dinners out there. I’ll have to share some more of my dinner favorites that are cooked in parchment or aluminum foil with all of you. I am hooked. I love the convenience and the fresh flavors that are achieved with this method. 

Ingredients:

1 – 1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces (2-3 medium chicken breast halves, boneless, skinless)

1 cup long grain white rice, uncooked

1 Tablespoon butter or oil

1 onion, chopped

1 carrot, grated or sliced into thin matchsticks

1 celery stalk, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup cheese, grated (Provolone, Mozzarella, cheddar, monterey jack, etc.)

3-4 cups broccoli florets (chop the broccoli stalk and use in the rice)

2 1/2 cup chicken broth, divided (1 1/2 cups to cook the rice in and 1/4 cup broth extra per packet)

salt, ground black pepper

Marinade for chicken:

2-4 Tablespoons olive oil

1-2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

juice of half a lemon

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon chicken seasoning (dry basil, thyme, parsley, oregano, etc)

fresh parsley, thyme, minced

1/2 – 3/4 teaspoon salt, ground black pepper

Instructions:

Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Packets-1-3Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut the chicken into 1 inch pieces. Mix all the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl and add the chicken, mixing thoroughly so all the chicken is coated in the marinade. Place in the refrigerator.

Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Packets-1

Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Packets-1-2Meanwhile, heat the butter or oil in a large skillet or pot on medium high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic cloves. Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Packets-1-4Season with salt and pepper and cook for 5-7 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender and cooked through. The broccoli florets cook a lot faster than the stalk, so I cut off the crown into florets and then peel the hard part off the stalk and chop it up. This way, I use up all the broccoli. Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Packets-1-5Add the chopped broccoli stalk to the veggies. This will give them a head start on cooking. Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Packets-1-6Add the rice to the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes, until all the rice is coated in the vegetables. Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Packets-1-7Pour in 1 1/2 cups hot chicken broth, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and cook, covered for about 10 minutes, just until the rice is almost cooked through and all the broth is absorbed. Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Packets-1-8Add the grated cheese to the rice and mix. Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Packets-1-10Tear off 4 pieces of aluminum foil, each one about 16-18 inches wide. I like to use the heavy duty, extra large foil for this. Place 1/4 of the rice on one half of each piece of aluminum foil. Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Packets-1-11Do you see how cheesy that rice is? Yum.

Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Packets-1-12You can also use parchment paper instead of aluminum foil. Divide the rice among the 4 packets. You can make 4 larger portions, or make 6 smaller portions, by making 2 more packets. Divide the marinated chicken among the 4 or 6 packets, placing the chicken on top of the rice. Make sure that the chicken is spread out in one layer, not on top of each other, or it will not cook through all the way. Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Packets-1-13Place 1/2 – 1 cup of broccoli florets on top of the chicken. Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Packets-1-14The amount of chicken and broccoli you use is totally up to you. You can completely omit the chicken, if you’re pregnant and meat makes you nauseous, or leave out the broccoli, if you have a husband who doesn’t like it.  You can also add cauliflower, bell peppers, zucchini, etc. See? When you’re the cook, you get to make adjustments according to YOUR likes and dislikes. 

Pour about 1/4 cup of chicken broth over the whole beautiful creation. Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Packets-1-15You can also add more cheese on top of the broccoli, but that’s up to you. I might be weird, but I don’t like my food to be too cheesy.

Fold the other half of the aluminum foil or the parchment paper over the mounded rice, chicken and broccoli and crimp the edges closed, making sure they are sealed completely. Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Packets-1-16

Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Packets-1-17

Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Packets-1-18Place the packets on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. If you like your broccoli to be very soft, bake your packet for 20-25 minutes.  Don’t cook it longer than that, or your chicken will be overcooked. If you are one of the people that likes their broccoli really soft, microwave the broccoli, covered, in large bowl until bright green and nearly tender, 2 to 4 minutes, before adding it to the packets.

Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Packets-1-20

Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Packets-1-21Make ahead:

Marinate the chicken and prepare the rice and cut the broccoli. Store the marinated chicken separately from the cheesy rice mixture in the refrigerator. Have the broccoli florets ready as well, stored in a sealed bag or in a bowl in the refrigerator. You can store this in the refrigerator up to 2 days in advance. When you are ready to serve, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and continue with the recipe, filling the packets and then baking. If you will be cooking it the same day, you can pre make the packets and store the sealed packets in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake.

Chicken, Broccoli and Rice Packets-1-22

Cheesy Chicken, Rice and Broccoli Packets
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 - 1½ lbs chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces (2-3 medium chicken breast halves, boneless, skinless)
  • 1 cup long grain white rice, uncooked
  • 1 Tablespoon butter or oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated or sliced into thin matchsticks
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ⅓ cup cheese, grated (Provolone, Mozzarella, cheddar, monterey jack, etc.)
  • 3-4 cups broccoli florets (chop the broccoli stalk and use in the rice)
  • 2½ cup chicken broth, divided (1½ cups to cook the rice in and ¼ cup broth extra per packet)
  • salt, ground black pepper
Marinade for chicken:
  • 2-4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chicken seasoning (dry basil, thyme, parsley, oregano, etc)
  • fresh parsley, thyme, minced
  • ½ - ¾ teaspoon salt, ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut the chicken into 1 inch pieces. Mix all the marinade ingredients in a medium bowl and add the chicken, mixing thoroughly so all the chicken is coated in the marinade. Place in the refrigerator.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the butter or oil in a large skillet or pot on medium high heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic cloves. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 5-7 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender and cooked through.
  4. The broccoli florets cook a lot faster than the stalk, so I cut off the crown into florets and then peel the hard part off the stalk and chop it up. This way, I use up all the broccoli. Add the chopped broccoli stalk to the veggies. This will give them a head start on cooking.
  5. Add the rice to the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes, until all the rice is coated in the vegetables. Pour in 1½ cups hot chicken broth, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and cook, covered for about 10 minutes, just until the rice is almost cooked through and all the broth is absorbed.
  6. Add the grated cheese to the rice and mix.
  7. Tear off 4 pieces of aluminum foil, each one about 16-18 inches wide. I like to use the heavy duty, extra large foil for this. Place ¼ of the rice on one half of each piece of aluminum foil.
  8. You can also use parchment paper instead of aluminum foil. Divide the rice among the 4 packets. You can make 4 larger portions, or make 6 smaller portions, by making 2 more packets.
  9. Divide the marinated chicken among the 4 or 6 packets, placing the chicken on top of the rice. Make sure that the chicken is spread out in one layer, not on top of each other, or it will not cook through all the way.
  10. Place ½ - 1 cup of broccoli florets on top of the chicken. The amount of chicken and broccoli you use is totally up to you. You can completely omit the chicken, if you're pregnant and meat makes you nauseous, or leave out the broccoli, if you have a husband who doesn't like it. You can also add cauliflower, bell peppers, zucchini, etc. See? When you're the cook, you get to make adjustments according to your likes and dislikes.
  11. Pour about ¼ cup of chicken broth over the whole beautiful creation. You can also add more cheese on top of the broccoli, but that's up to you.
  12. Fold the other half of the aluminum foil or the parchment paper over the mounded rice, chicken and broccoli and crimp the edges closed, making sure they are sealed completely.
  13. Place the packets on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. If you like your broccoli to be very soft, bake your packet for 20-25 minutes. Don't cook it longer than that, or your chicken will be overcooked. If you are one of the people that likes their broccoli really soft, microwave the broccoli, covered, in large bowl until bright green and nearly tender, 2 to 4 minutes, before adding it to the packets.
Notes
Make ahead:

Marinate the chicken and prepare the rice and cut the broccoli. Store the marinated chicken separately from the cheesy rice mixture in the refrigerator. Have the broccoli florets ready as well, stored in a sealed bag or in a bowl in the refrigerator.
You can store this in the refrigerator up to 2 days in advance. When you are ready to serve, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and continue with the recipe, filling the packets and then baking.
If you will be cooking it the same day, you can pre make the packets and store the sealed packets in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake.

 

The post Cheesy Chicken, Rice and Broccoli Packets appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/main-course/poultry/cheesy-chicken-rice-broccoli-packets/feed/ 15
Fisherman’s Pie http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/main-course/fishermans-pie/ http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/main-course/fishermans-pie/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 17:43:24 +0000 http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/?p=14823 Even though ’tis the season for creamy soups and hearty casseroles, my taste buds and very temperamental stomach demand light and healthy flavors. I don’t have the luxury of arguing with my gastrointestinal system – she is a diva and if she doesn’t get her way, she WILL throw a tantrum for days, which I... 

Read More »

The post Fisherman’s Pie appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
Fisherman's Pie-1-13Even though ’tis the season for creamy soups and hearty casseroles, my taste buds and very temperamental stomach demand light and healthy flavors. I don’t have the luxury of arguing with my gastrointestinal system – she is a diva and if she doesn’t get her way, she WILL throw a tantrum for days, which I will deeply regret later.

I am so glad that there are ways to cook very filling and deeply satisfying dishes which taste fresh and light at the same time. Based loosely on the Shepherd’s Pie, the Fisherman’s Pie is usually made with a rich and creamy sauce that is poured over the fish  in a baking dish and then topped with a mashed potato crust and baked.

In my version, I bypass the white sauce and create a sauce naturally, saving time and calories, but vastly improving the fresh flavors of this dish. It took me only 15 minutes of prep work and this impressive dish was in the oven. The onions, tomatoes and fish all steam under the potato crust and as they bake, the fish is infused with the aromatic vegetables and herbs, the fish stays very juicy and the onions and tomatoes and the fish juices all intertwine to make a really awesomely delicious sauce. The fluffy potato crust crisps up as it bakes into golden swirls, making this dish into a stunning masterpiece. Not bad for a random Monday night dinner.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 – 1 3/4 lbs russet potatoes (about 4 medium potatoes)

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 onion, thinly sliced

3 tomatoes, sliced

4 Tbsp olive oil, plus more to brush the baking dish

1 – 1/2  lbs white fish fillets (cod, haddock, swai, tilapia, snapper, sea bass, catfish, etc)

fresh herbs, such as parsley, basil, dill

dry herbs, such as basil, thyme,

Old Bay, optional

salt, pepper

4 Tbsp butter

1/3 – 1/2 cup milk

3 egg yolks

Instructions:

Fisherman's Pie-1Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Peel the potatoes and cut them into 2 inch pieces. Place the potatoes into a medium pot, cover with water and cook at a simmer in salted water just until the potatoes are fork tender.

Fisherman's Pie-1-2Meanwhile, brush a deep dish 9 inch round pie plate with oil, making sure to cover the sides as well as the bottom of the dish. You can also use an 8×8 inch rimmed baking dish as well. Spread out 1 of the minced garlic cloves on the bottom of the dish. Fisherman's Pie-1-3Slice the onions into thin circles and spread them out on the bottom of the pie plate. Season with salt and pepper. Fisherman's Pie-1-4Slice the tomatoes into 1/2 inch thick circles and shingle them in one layer on top of the onions.

Make sure to slice the onions very thinly and keep the tomato slices thicker, so that they cook through at the same time. You want to make sure that the onions have a chance to become tender and they won’t if you slice them too thick. Also, if the tomatoes are sliced too thin, they will disintegrate.

Season with salt and ground black pepper, drizzle with about 2 Tablespoons olive oil and also the last minced garlic clove and some fresh and dry herbs, like basil, parsley, dill. I like to use a mixture of both fresh and dry herbs, since they give the dish uniquely different flavor profiles, hearty and fresh, in one. Fisherman's Pie-1-5Cut the fish into smaller portions, so that you can fit them into the pie plate better.

You can use any kind of firm white fish that you like – cod, snapper, sea bass, tilapia, catfish, swai, etc. Salmon would work too, although I’ve never used it in this recipe myself. It’s important to use thick fish fillets in this recipe. I would not recommend using flounder or sole. They are very thin and the fish will be very dry by the time the rest of the ingredients are cooked through.

Season the fish on both sides with salt, pepper and any other seasonings that you like for fish. Place the fish on top of the tomatoes. Drizzle with another 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with both fresh and dry herbs.

Fisherman's Pie-1-6Meanwhile, the potatoes should be done cooking. Drain the water, add the butter to the potatoes and mash the potatoes with a potato masher, or use a potato ricer or a hand held mixer.Fisherman's Pie-1-7

Fisherman's Pie-1-8Add the milk to the mashed potatoes. Add a portion of the milk at a time and adjust the amount of milk that you use to how thick or thin you like mashed potatoes. Fisherman's Pie-1-9Add the egg yolks, mix to combine. Adding the egg yolks to the mashed potato mixture will help give the potatoes structure as they bake, keeping them from falling apart. I think it makes the potatoes extra fluffy too. Fisherman's Pie-1-10Scoop out the mashed potatoes on top of the fish and even it out, so that the mashed potatoes are covering all of the fish. Fisherman's Pie-1-11Bake in the preheated over for 35-40minutes. Broil for the last 2-3 minutes of baking, just to get a light golden color on the potato crust.Fisherman's Pie-1-12

Fisherman's Pie-1-13

Fisherman's Pie
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1½ - 1¾ lbs russet potatoes (about 4 medium potatoes)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tomatoes, sliced
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil, plus more to brush the baking dish
  • 1 - ½ lbs white fish fillets (cod, haddock, swai, tilapia, snapper, sea bass, catfish, etc)
  • fresh herbs, such as parsley, basil, dill
  • dry herbs, such as basil, thyme,
  • Old Bay, optional
  • salt, pepper
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • ⅓ - ½ cup milk
  • 3 egg yolks
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 2 inch pieces. Place the potatoes into a medium pot, cover with water and cook at a simmer in salted water just until the potatoes are fork tender.
  3. Meanwhile, brush a deep dish 9 inch round pie plate with oil, making sure to cover the sides as well as the bottom of the dish. You can also use an 8x8 inch rimmed baking dish as well.
  4. Spread out 1 of the minced garlic cloves on the bottom of the dish.
  5. Slice the onions into thin circles and spread them out on the bottom of the pie plate. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Slice the tomatoes into ½ inch thick circles and shingle them in one layer on top of the onions. Season with salt and ground black pepper, drizzle with about 2 Tablespoons olive oil and also the last minced garlic clove and some fresh and dry herbs, like basil, parsley, dill. I like to use a mixture of both fresh and dry herbs, since they give the dish uniquely different flavor profiles, hearty and fresh, in one.
  7. Cut the fish into smaller portions, so that you can fit them into the pie plate better. Season the fish on both sides with salt, pepper and any other seasonings that you like for fish. Place the fish on top of the tomatoes. Drizzle with another 2 Tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with both fresh and dry herbs.
  8. Meanwhile, the potatoes should be done cooking. Drain the water, add the butter to the potatoes and mash the potatoes with a potato masher, or use a potato ricer or a hand held mixer.
  9. Add the milk to the mashed potatoes. Add a portion of the milk at a time and adjust the amount of milk that you use to how thick or thin you like mashed potatoes.
  10. Add the egg yolks, mix to combine. Scoop out the mashed potatoes on top of the fish and even it out, so that the mashed potatoes are covering all of the fish.
  11. Bake in the preheated over for 35-40minutes. Broil for the last 2-3 minutes of baking, just to get a light golden color on the potato crust.
Notes
You can use any kind of firm white fish that you like - cod, snapper, sea bass, tilapia, catfish, swai, etc. Salmon would work too, although I've never used it in this recipe myself. It's important to use thick fish fillets in this recipe. I would not recommend using flounder or sole. They are very thin and the fish will be very dry by the time the rest of the ingredients are cooked through.

 

The post Fisherman’s Pie appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/main-course/fishermans-pie/feed/ 9
Succotash http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/ontheside/side-dishes/succotash/ http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/ontheside/side-dishes/succotash/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 14:15:55 +0000 http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/?p=14800 As we enjoy the last few whispers of summer, let’s take advantage of all the fresh available garden produce. Since I crave a side of veggies with every meal, it’s easy to get into a rut of eating the same salad/side dish over and over again. That shouldn’t be the case, since there are so... 

Read More »

The post Succotash appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
Succotash-1-11As we enjoy the last few whispers of summer, let’s take advantage of all the fresh available garden produce. Since I crave a side of veggies with every meal, it’s easy to get into a rut of eating the same salad/side dish over and over again. That shouldn’t be the case, since there are so many different varieties of veggies available. Here is a variation of a warm side dish that you can tweak according to what you have available at the time.

Succotash was first prepared by the Native Americans and later adopted and well loved by the early pioneers. It was made with corn, beans and squash, since these were the vegetables that they grew at that time. They even called them “the 3 sisters”. Anyway, as long as you have the corn, beans and squash, the rest of the ingredients are optional, although I think they make it all the more delicious.

Not only is this a brilliant side dish to use up all your summer garden veggies, but it’s also something you can enjoy all year round. Yep. I don’t know about you, but in my case, just because it’s winter doesn’t mean that I want summer veggies any less. Even though it won’t be as 100% fresh and vibrant as when you’re using fresh picked, from the garden vegetables, you can make Succotash all year round by using frozen or canned veggies and still get a pretty good knock off, when you’re tired of creamy soups, hearty casseroles and root vegetables. 

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 cup green beans, cup into 1 1/2 inch pieces

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 small bell pepper, chopped

1/4-1/2 cup water or broth

2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped (or 1 cup canned diced tomatoes)

1 small zucchini, chopped

cup lima beans, fresh or frozen

2 cups corn, fresh or frozen

salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Succotash-1Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat.  Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the onion is tender.

Succotash-1-2Add the green beans, garlic and the bell pepper, season with salt and pepper and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Succotash-1-3Deglaze the skillet with water or broth, cover the skillet and cook for 3-5 more minutes, until the green beans have softened but are still vibrant green.

Succotash-1-4Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook for another 3 minutes.

Succotash-1-5Add the zucchini, lima beans and corn. Succotash-1-6

Succotash-1-7Season with salt and pepper and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until all the vegetables are cooked to your liking.Succotash-1-11

Succotash
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Sides
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup green beans, cup into 1½ inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small bell pepper, chopped
  • ¼-1/2 cup water or broth
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup lima beans, fresh or frozen
  • 2 cups corn, fresh or frozen
  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook for 3-5 minutes, until the onion is tender.
  2. Add the green beans, garlic and the bell pepper, season with salt and pepper and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  3. Deglaze the skillet with water or broth, cover the skillet and cook for 3-5 more minutes, until the green beans have softened but are still vibrant green.
  4. Add the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and cook for another 3 minutes.
  5. Add the zucchini, lima beans and corn. Season with salt and pepper and cook for another 3-5 minutes, until all the vegetables are cooked to your liking.

 

The post Succotash appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/ontheside/side-dishes/succotash/feed/ 1
17 Week Pregnancy Update http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/miscellaneous/17-weeks-pregnancy-update/ http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/miscellaneous/17-weeks-pregnancy-update/#comments Sat, 04 Oct 2014 15:59:35 +0000 http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/?p=14788 Hi everyone! Today seemed like a good day to check in and give you an update on what’s been going on in my life recently. I am so happy to tell you that I am 17 weeks pregnant right now and getting more and more excited to meet our new baby in March. Unfortunately, I... 

Read More »

The post 17 Week Pregnancy Update appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
IMG_9837Hi everyone! Today seemed like a good day to check in and give you an update on what’s been going on in my life recently. I am so happy to tell you that I am 17 weeks pregnant right now and getting more and more excited to meet our new baby in March.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been feeling any better, quite possibly even worse than in my first trimester, so please understand why I haven’t been posting many new recipes, answering your questions and comments, and have pretty much disappeared from social media.

As you know from my previous post, I had a PICC line put in and get IV fluid infusions every day for 6 hours. I’m still not able to keep much food down.  I’ve figured out that I feel a lot better if I don’t eat, LOL. Of course, there are the downsides of weakness, losing weight and stressing out that the baby needs to get nutrients. I do still cook once in a while, the only problem is that it makes me really nauseous and then I can’t eat what I cooked. Last weekend, my sweet husband helped me make a gigantic pot of Chicken Broth and I’m really enjoying sipping on it throughout the day. We made it really concentrated and I also added a whole bunch of veggies to it, so at least I’m getting some nutrients in me.

Chicken Broth-1-2

Sipping on Chicken Broth

I’ll be honest, it’s been really hard lately. I haven’t been able to work for awhile and don’t have any energy at all. I’m a task oriented person by nature, so it’s very difficult for me to not be able to check things off my to do list. It’s torture for me to just lay around in bed or on the couch, but I feel so awful most of the time, that I don’t even have the energy to mope about it too much.

In addition to all of that, last weekend, I ended up being hospitalized, since I got a blood clot in my arm where I have the PICC line. Hospitalization-1-2Blood clots are a risk if you have a central line, and since my protein levels are very low, that put me at an even higher risk. I am so thankful that I didn’t have to be hospitalized any longer and got to go home on the second day. Even though I am really glad to be home and thankful that it wasn’t anything serious, I now have to get shots twice a day for the next 3 months, or possibly for the rest of the pregnancy. NOT fun.

Going home! Best news ever.

Going home! Best news ever.

Anyway, I just wanted to be honest and fill you in. It really helps to have an incredibly supportive and loving husband, who takes amazing care of me. There’s also a wonderful outcome out to all of this. This time, with all the IVs, poking, hospitals and doctors, I at least have something great to look forward to. I know it’s only temporary and I will be back to my normal self before long. I can’t be pregnant forever, and I’m almost half way there.

There are 4 things that I’ve discovered that help me when I feel discouraged:

1. Don’t beat myself up about feeling down.

As human beings living in an imperfect world, there are both good days and bad days. I have to realize that sometimes it’s ok to cry and feel discouraged. Dark days are part of life and that’s normal. As long as I don’t wallow in self pity and depression for too long, it’s ok to have a good cry now and then, like last weekend when I was ordered by my doctor to go to the hospital. Beating yourself up about not staying positive 100% of the time is discouraging and tiring in itself. Besides, it’s not realistic.

2. Don’t expose myself to negative people, media, books, etc.

I’m sure most people are very caring and don’t mean to be malicious in their comments. They probably don’t even realize how much their words can hurt. I’ve had to learn to shield myself from it as much as I can, especially when I am very vulnerable. That is not the time to try to stay strong.

Talk to people who are encouraging and will lift your spirits. When you are strong and feel good emotionally, then you can try to be an encouragement to others, but don’t try to be a hero when you’re weak yourself. It will only make you feel worse. I just talked to both my Dad and Mom on the phone yesterday, and they were so positive, that I felt ready to tackle the world and especially to work hard and take care of our precious baby for the next five months.

3. Don’t compare myself to others. It’s so easy for me to have a pity party if I compare myself to others and wish that I was “normal”. Why can’t I just enjoy my pregnancy like other people? Why do I have to go through so much every day? I wish I was a normal wife to my husband and he didn’t have to come home from work tired and still have to help out with housework and have to know how to manage all my medical care.

Sergi could pass all the Nursing Skills tests with flying colors because he’s practiced them all on me. Sterile dressing changes, hooking up IV fluids, flushing PICC lines, giving shots – piece of cake! That’s not counting all the other stuff he had to learn 7 years ago when I was in much worse shape. I love that he is so smart and we can be mostly self sufficient. The home health nurse only comes once a week to get my bloodwork for labs, but it would be so much better if I didn’t need any of it at all.

My refrigerator has become a pharmacy as well. IV fluids for the next 5 days.

My refrigerator has become a pharmacy as well. IV fluids for the next 5 days.

I wish I could make dinner like usual, have a clean home and go out on fun dates with my husband instead. Sergi reminds me that this is “our normal”. Yes. It is. That is why it’s so important to NOT compare myself to others and instead count all of my blessings and realize how awesome it is that I am alive and doing so well. That green monster can just get out of my house, because the comparison game is too costly for my emotional and spiritual frame of mind.

4. Remember all of God’s promises and all that He has done for me already.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits” Psalm 103:1,2

It’s incredible for me to think back to everything that I’ve already been through and see how God miraculously saved my life and gave us the strength to endure everything that was happening. He has been with us through much more horrific circumstances and He will be with us every step of the way now too. We are so thankful for our miracle baby and I thank God every day for modern medicine and knowledgable physicians.

Thank you for all your prayers and your care and concern! We really appreciate it. 

In other exciting news, Sergi and I DO know the gender of our baby! We found out much sooner than most, because I’ve had to be monitored much more often to make sure the baby was developing properly. Thanks to the grace of God, the baby is growing perfectly. Even though we didn’t care if it was a boy or a girl, it’s very special to know who it is. I think we can connect to the baby much more now. We even have a name picked out. We had a fun gender reveal party for our family and got it on video too:). We are keeping it a secret for now, but will share it with all of you soon.

Gender reveal party for our family

Gender reveal party for our family

The post 17 Week Pregnancy Update appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/miscellaneous/17-weeks-pregnancy-update/feed/ 48
Creamy Butternut Squash Soup http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/soups/creamy-butternut-squash-soup/ http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/soups/creamy-butternut-squash-soup/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 17:33:11 +0000 http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/?p=14765 Even though I love soups all year round, they are especially soothing and comforting as the days get cooler. Butternut squash soup is something I look forward to all year, and as soon as I see it makes an appearance in my local farmer’s market, it quickly finds its way into my shopping cart. My... 

Read More »

The post Creamy Butternut Squash Soup appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
Butternut Squash Soup-1-13Even though I love soups all year round, they are especially soothing and comforting as the days get cooler. Butternut squash soup is something I look forward to all year, and as soon as I see it makes an appearance in my local farmer’s market, it quickly finds its way into my shopping cart.

My favorite way to enjoy vegetables is to roast them. Robust and hearty autumn vegetables seem to especially benefit from the dry heat of the oven, as they soften and caramelize. I have to admit, that there have been plenty of times that as I’ve taken a baking sheet of roasted veggies from the oven, I find myself sampling this morsel and that one, leaving me quite a bit short for a recipe that I was in the process of making. I can’t seem to help myself!  The solution seems to be to always make a little bit extra, since I know that part of it will quickly disappear, and I can happily report that it’s been working.

Naturally, this butternut squash soup starts out with roasting the butternut squash. As it caramelizes, the natural sugars are drawn out and add so much flavor to the finished soup. Instead of using lots of butter and flour to create a cream base for the soup, I add potato, and it thickens the soup, without making it heavy. I love this simple, luscious soup and I hope you give it a try too. 

Ingredients:

1 medium butternut squash (3-4 lbs), peeled, seeded and chopped into 1 1/2 inch pieces

1/4 cup olive oil, for roasting

1 Tablespoon butter or oil, for sautéing

3 shallots, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 carrot, peeled and grated

1-2 Rusett potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces

3-5 sprigs of thyme

4-5 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1/4-1/2 cup heavy cream

salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Parmesan cheese, finely grated, to garnish, optional

fresh thyme, parsley or chives, to garnish, optional

Instructions:

Butternut Squash Soup-1-3Prep all the ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Toss the prepped butternut squash with the 1/4 cup olive oil (I used a little bit less) and season with salt and pepper. It really doesn’t matter what size you chop the butternut squash into, but the smaller you cut it, the faster it will roast. Butternut Squash Soup-1-4Spread out the butternut squash evenly into a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast the butternut squash in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. If you chop the butternut squash into bigger pieces, you will need to roast it longer. The butternut squash should be fork tender and golden and slightly charred in some places.

Butternut Squash Soup-1-5Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large, heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven. Add the shallots and garlic. Cook for about 3 minutes, on medium high heat, just until the shallots are tender. You can use onion instead of shallots, but I prefer shallots. They have a much more mild taste, which is perfect in this light soup.

Add the carrots to the pot, season with salt and pepper and cook for another 3 minutes. Butternut Squash Soup-1-6Add the potatoes, thyme and chicken broth to the soup. I usually add only 4 cups of broth to the soup and after it is done cooking and is pureed, I see if it needs more broth. Adjust the thickness of the broth to your liking. Butternut Squash Soup-1-7As soon as the butternut squash is ready, add it to the soup as well. Butternut Squash Soup-1-8

Butternut Squash Soup-1-9Bring the soup to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, covered, for an additional 15-20 minutes, just until the potatoes are tender. Butternut Squash Soup-1-10Discard the thyme sprigs.

Transfer half of the soup to the blender and puree.Butternut Squash Soup-1

Butternut Squash Soup-1-2Pour the pureed soup into a medium bowl and puree the remaining half of the soup. Pour all of the soup back into the pot that it was cooking in. Butternut Squash Soup-1-12Add the heavy cream, as much or as little as you prefer. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning, if it needs it.

Garnish the soup with finely grated Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs. Other garnishes that you might like to consider are homemade croutons, or roasted pumpkin seeds.

Butternut Squash Soup-1-13

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soups
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 medium butternut squash (3-4 lbs), peeled, seeded and chopped into 1½ inch pieces
  • ¼ cup olive oil, for roasting
  • 1 Tablespoon butter or oil, for sautéing
  • 3 shallots, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1-2 Rusett potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 3-5 sprigs of thyme
  • 4-5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • ¼-1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, finely grated, to garnish, optional
  • fresh thyme, parsley or chives, to garnish, optional
Instructions
  1. Prep all the ingredients.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Toss the prepped butternut squash with the ¼ cup olive oil (I used a little bit less) and season with salt and pepper. It really doesn't matter what size you chop the butternut squash into, but the smaller you cut it, the faster it will roast. Spread out the butternut squash evenly into a large rimmed baking sheet.
  4. Roast the butternut squash in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. If you chop the butternut squash into bigger pieces, you will need to roast it longer. The butternut squash should be fork tender and golden and slightly charred in some places.
  5. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven. Add the shallots and garlic. Cook for about 3 minutes, on medium high heat, just until the shallots are tender. You can use onion instead of shallots, but I prefer shallots. They have a much more mild taste, which is perfect in this light soup.
  6. Add the carrots to the pot, season with salt and pepper and cook for another 3 minutes.
  7. Add the potatoes, thyme and chicken broth to the soup. I usually add only 4 cups of broth to the soup and after it is done cooking and is pureed, I see if it needs more broth. Adjust the thickness of the broth to your liking.
  8. As soon as the butternut squash is ready, add it to the soup as well.
  9. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, covered, for an additional 15-20 minutes, just until the potatoes are tender.
  10. Discard the thyme sprigs.
  11. Transfer half of the soup to the blender and puree. Pour the pureed soup into a medium bowl and puree the remaining half of the soup.
  12. Pour all of the soup back into the pot that it was cooking in.
  13. Add the heavy cream, as much or as little as you prefer.
  14. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning, if it needs it. Garnish the soup with finely grated Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs. Other garnishes that you might like to consider are homemade croutons, or roasted pumpkin seeds.

 

The post Creamy Butternut Squash Soup appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/soups/creamy-butternut-squash-soup/feed/ 7
Blendtec Giveaway – The Best Blender I’ve Ever Used http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/miscellaneous/blendtec-giveaway-best-blender-ive-ever-used/ http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/miscellaneous/blendtec-giveaway-best-blender-ive-ever-used/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 12:42:47 +0000 http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/?p=14753 This giveaway is CLOSED. Congratulations to Angela Y., the winner! I’ve heard great things about the Blendtec blender for many years, so when I met two Blendtec representatives at a blogging conference and got a chance to try out the blender and do a giveaway on my blog, I was so excited. I’ve been playing... 

Read More »

The post Blendtec Giveaway – The Best Blender I’ve Ever Used appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
Blendtec-1-4This giveaway is CLOSED. Congratulations to Angela Y., the winner!

I’ve heard great things about the Blendtec blender for many years, so when I met two Blendtec representatives at a blogging conference and got a chance to try out the blender and do a giveaway on my blog, I was so excited. I’ve been playing with the blender in my own kitchen, and let me tell you, I am VERY impressed.  It is absolutely astounding and makes so many kitchen jobs easy and at lightning speed. I am sure I will be using it all the time, making smoothies, sauces, soups, crepes, batters, juices, cappuccinos and much more. You can be sure I’ll be sharing lots of recipes with all of you.

Butternut Squash Soup-1

Butternut Squash Soup-1-2

Make sure to come back tomorrow for the recipe of this incredibly creamy and scrumptious Butternut Squash Soup that I recently created. 

Here are a few awesome facts about the Blendtec blender:

  • It has a very powerful motor (1625 watt, 3.0 peak horsepower), which is really important, since you want it to do a good job blending your food. What’s the point of a blender, if you get random chunks here and there and it chokes on ingredients such as kale, right?
  • Even though the motor is a monster, the machine runs much quieter than I expected. The blender that I previously owned just about deafened me, and I had to close my ears while blending tomato soup. Not too convenient while trying to push buttons.Blendtec-1-3
  • Preprogrammed cycles! That means you don’t have to guess which speed to press when you make a soup or a smoothie, since it already has different cycles programmed in, such as Smoothie, Ice Cream, Whole Juice, Hot Soup.
  • Another really cool feature that I absolutely love is that you can slide your finger to the left or right for customizable blending. It has 6 different speeds, so you can adjust the speed and the texture of the food that you make.
  • I’m all about function, but can I also mention that it also looks so hip and cool? I can proudly display this on my counter.Blendtec-1-2

It’s always so much better when something that I really, truly love to use can also be shared. Thanks to the generous folks at Blendec, one of YOU will get a chance to win the Designer Series blender plus Twister jar. It also comes with a recipe book, which is loaded with tons of amazing recipes, which is always a big plus, in my opinion.Blendtec-1-4

The Giveaway:

  • The giveaway will be open from September 30, 2014 – October 6, 2014. The contest is open to US residents only.
  • To enter the giveaway, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below. Sometimes Rafflecopter experiences technical difficulties.  If you can’t enter for some reason, try again later and it will probably work.
  • There will be ONE winner selected at random via Rafflecopter. The winner has 48 hours to reply to me with their full name & mailing addresses or I will pick someone else. All entrants under the age of 18 must have parental permission in order to participate.

What are some of your favorite recipes to use a blender for? 

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned in some of the posts on my blog in the hope that I would give it a good review on my blog. I only share products that I personally love and use, so you can be sure that I am honest in my opinions.

For more recipes, tips and giveaways, follow Blendtec on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or YouTube.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Blendtec Giveaway – The Best Blender I’ve Ever Used appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/miscellaneous/blendtec-giveaway-best-blender-ive-ever-used/feed/ 525
Apple Dutch Baby (Or German Apple Pancake) http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/breakfast/apple-dutch-baby-german-apple-pancake/ http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/breakfast/apple-dutch-baby-german-apple-pancake/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 10:30:08 +0000 http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/?p=14744 Apples are in season again, YAY! My apple appreciation goes way back, to my childhood in upstate New York, all the way to present day pregnancy days, when it’s one of the few things my stomach doesn’t rebel against. Apples are great in many different recipes, savory dishes and, of course, there are endless dessert... 

Read More »

The post Apple Dutch Baby (Or German Apple Pancake) appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
Apple Dutch Baby-1-13Apples are in season again, YAY! My apple appreciation goes way back, to my childhood in upstate New York, all the way to present day pregnancy days, when it’s one of the few things my stomach doesn’t rebel against. Apples are great in many different recipes, savory dishes and, of course, there are endless dessert possibilities.

For a special breakfast or a really easy dinner dessert, your really have to try a dutch baby. Isn’t that a funny name? Sometimes, it’s also called a German pancake. This recipe is from my favorite cookbook, America’s Test Kitchen, and I’ve been using it for a few years now. It is very similar to a popover. The texture is amazing; it’s a mixture of a thick crepe and custard. I often make this on a regular weeknight for just my husband and myself, when we are craving something sweet, but don’t want to fuss too much. You’ll see just how easy this is to make. It’s also very impressive. It puffs up beautifully and would make a stunning dessert to serve to guests, in which case, I always make two at the same time, because it gets devoured immediately. 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2/3 cup half n half

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 Tablespoons butter

3-4 apples

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon lemon juice

powdered sugar, for garnishing, optional

maple syrup or caramel sauce, for serving, optional

Instructions:

Apple Dutch Baby-1Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine the flour, granulated sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Apple Dutch Baby-1-2Whisk the eggs, half n half and vanilla extract together. Apple Dutch Baby-1-3Add the flour mixture to the liquid ingredients. Apple Dutch Baby-1-4Whisk to combine and set aside. Apple Dutch Baby-1-5Peel, core and slice the apples into 1/2 inch thick slices.

In a 10 inch nonstick skillet that is oven safe, melt the butter. Add the apples, brown sugar and cinnamon to the skillet and cook on medium heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently,  until the apples are golden brown. Apple Dutch Baby-1-7

Apple Dutch Baby-1-8Add the lemon juice to the apples. Pour the batter over the apples right into the skillet, starting from the sides to the center of the skillet. Apple Dutch Baby-1-9

Apple Dutch Baby-1-10Place the skillet into the preheated oven and reduce the heat to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for about 18 minutes. The dutch baby will be puffed up and the edges will be golden brown. Apple Dutch Baby-1-11As soon as you take it out of the oven, it will deflate a bit. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with maple syrup or caramel sauce. Apple Dutch Baby-1-13

Apple Dutch Baby-1-12

Apple Dutch Baby
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Sweets
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅔ cup half and half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 3-4 apples
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • powdered sugar, for garnishing, optional
  • maple syrup or caramel sauce, for serving, optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine the flour, granulated sugar and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Whisk the eggs, half n half and vanilla extract together.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the liquid ingredients. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  5. Peel, core and slice the apples into ½ inch thick slices.
  6. In a 10 inch nonstick skillet that is oven safe, melt the butter. Add the apples, brown sugar and cinnamon to the skillet and cook on medium heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the apples are golden brown. Add the lemon juice to the apples.
  7. Pour the batter over the apples right into the skillet, starting from the sides to the center of the skillet.
  8. Place the skillet into the preheated oven and reduce the heat to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for about 18 minutes. The dutch baby will be puffed up and the edges will be golden brown. As soon as you take it out of the oven, it will deflate a bit. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with maple syrup or caramel sauce.

 

The post Apple Dutch Baby (Or German Apple Pancake) appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/breakfast/apple-dutch-baby-german-apple-pancake/feed/ 8
Banana Walnut Muffins http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/sweets/desserts/banana-walnut-muffins/ http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/sweets/desserts/banana-walnut-muffins/#comments Tue, 23 Sep 2014 19:05:11 +0000 http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/?p=14709 Whenever I get a craving for something sweet, it’s usually something simple, like a muffin. Even though muffins or bars don’t take that much effort to make, that doesn’t mean that they will somehow be less satisfying. I’ve been looking for a perfect Banana Walnut Muffin recipe for a long time, and I finally came... 

Read More »

The post Banana Walnut Muffins appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
Banana Walnut Muffins-1-2Whenever I get a craving for something sweet, it’s usually something simple, like a muffin. Even though muffins or bars don’t take that much effort to make, that doesn’t mean that they will somehow be less satisfying.

I’ve been looking for a perfect Banana Walnut Muffin recipe for a long time, and I finally came up with the perfect combination of ingredients to end up with a muffin that is moist and tender in the center, not too sweet and of course, really delicious. The best part about simple desserts is that the ingredients are very basic and don’t require an extra trip to the store. It’s also a great way to use up bananas that get too ripe.

Now that I’m pregnant and have very little appetite, I was thrilled when I made these cupcakes that they actually awakened some of my tastebuds and I just smiled as I bit into the first warm muffin and realized that I finally found the perfect recipe for one of my favorite muffins.

Ingredients:

4 ripe bananas

3 cups all purpose flour

3/4 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoons grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 eggs

1/2 cup oil

1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Instructions:

Banana Walnut Muffins-1-13Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Coat muffin pans with non-stick spray, or use paper liners.

The best bananas to use are the ones that are already really ripe and starting to brown. They are much sweeter and will have a more intense flavor. Banana Walnut Muffins-1-14Mash the bananas. You can get away with using only 3 bananas, if you don’t have 4 available. I like to use a potato masher, but you can use a fork or anything else.

Banana Walnut Muffins-1-11Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl – the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Banana Walnut Muffins-1-12In another bowl, whisk the sugars, eggs, oil, yogurt or sour cream, and vanilla extract. Banana Walnut Muffins-1-10

Banana Walnut Muffins-1-9Add the bananas to the liquid ingredients. Banana Walnut Muffins-1-8Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Banana Walnut Muffins-1-7Add the liquid ingredients into the well of the dry ingredients. Use a rubber spatula to mix the ingredients together, just until blended. Do NOT over mix. The dough should still be lumpy. It’s normal to see just a few streaks of flour in the batter. Banana Walnut Muffins-1-6Add 1/2 cup of the walnuts to the batter. Banana Walnut Muffins-1-5Mix to combine, gently, trying not to over mix, as I mentioned earlier.

Fill the prepared muffin pan with the muffin batter. Top the muffins with the remaining walnuts. Of course, you can use any other nuts or omit the nuts completely. Banana Walnut Muffins-1-4You will have 18-24 muffins, depending on how big you want the muffins to be. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.Banana Walnut Muffins-1-3 Banana Walnut Muffins-1-2

Banana Walnut Muffins-1

Banana Walnut Muffins
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Sweets
Serves: 18-22 muffins
Ingredients
  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ Tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoons grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat muffin pans with non-stick spray, or use paper liners.
  2. The best bananas to use are the ones that are already really ripe and starting to brown. They are much sweeter and will have a more intense flavor. Mash the bananas. I like to use a potato masher, but you can use a fork or anything else.
  3. Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl - the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  4. In another bowl, whisk the sugars, eggs, oil, yogurt or sour cream, and vanilla extract.
  5. Add the bananas to the liquid ingredients.
  6. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the liquid ingredients into the well of the dry ingredients. Use a rubber spatula to mix the ingredients together, just until blended. Do NOT over mix. The dough should still be lumpy. It's normal to see just a few streaks of flour in the batter.
  7. Add ½ cup of the walnuts to the batter. Mix to combine, gently, trying not to over mix, as I mentioned earlier. Fill the prepared muffin pan with the muffin batter. Top the muffins with the remaining walnuts. Of course, you can use any other nuts or omit the nuts completely. You will have 18-24 muffins, depending on how big you want the muffins to be.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.

 

The post Banana Walnut Muffins appeared first on Olga's Flavor Factory.

]]>
http://www.olgasflavorfactory.com/sweets/desserts/banana-walnut-muffins/feed/ 18