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Deliciously Sweet and Tangy Blackberry and Lemon Tart

I don’t know about where you guys are, but around here right now, lemons are sooo deliciously juicy and wonderful!  I’ve been using a LOT of lemons in my cooking lately and thought, “What better way to use the lovely lemon juice than in a tart?”  I had some frozen blackberries I’ve been looking to use and thought that this would be a match made in heaven.  So right I was.  So wonderfully right. :)

blackberry and lemon tart

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar
6 ounces (150 grams) butter
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
juice of 2 lemons (around 1/2 cup?)
1 carton frozen blackberries, drained (I should have drained mine a little better)

Preparation:

First and foremost, set your blackberries in a sieve over a bowl to drain.
Now, start the crust.
Preheat your oven to 300ºF/150ºC.
Add flour, powdered sugar and butter to your food processor and pulse until it comes together in a dough.
Press the dough into a tart pan, using your hands and fingers to spread the dough evenly.
Parbake the dough about 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
Raise oven temperature to 350ºF/175ºC.
While cooling, combine the filling ingredients.
Beat eggs first, then add remaining ingredients, except blackberries, whisking well to combine.
Pour filling into tart shell, and then arrange blackberries in filling.
Bake about 25 minutes, or until set.
Garnish with powdered sugar if desired.

Bacon and Gouda Burgers with Yummy Beer Battered Un-Blooming Onion Rings

It’s so weird how certain foods seem to appear all at once around the blogosphere…I have been craving onion rings for weeks, and finally decided to make them this week…well, while making the rounds I saw that Kevin at Closet Cooking had also made onion rings recently! LOL  Great minds think alike, that’s all I can say. ;)  Are you guys familiar with the Bloomin’ Onion appetizer at the Outback?  Yeah, right?  I love the seasonings they use, but that thing is such a Pain (capital P) to make at home…plus, it never turns out the way I imagine it…usually it breaks apart and winds up being some sort of onion mess rather than looking like the pretty flower it’s supposed to.  Onion rings are much easier to do, and if you have a deep fryer, well, then all the easier yet. So, I thought why not make a batter with similar flavors to that of the ”Bloomer,” (hehehehe I had to, folks.  I just had to) but in ring form?  Perfect.  Seriously.  They went fabulously well with my bacon and Gouda burger, a bit of alioli (I should post the recipe for that, it’s so easy) and the requisite ketchup and mustard. 

unblooming rings and a burger

Ingredients:

For Burgers:
1 1/2 pounds (3/4 kilo) ground beef
dried onion to taste
garlic powder to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg
1/2 pound (200 grams) bacon
6 slices Gouda cheese
6 buns

For Un-Blooming Onion Rings:
2 large yellow onions, sliced into rings
1 1/2 cups flour (about)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1/2 bottle of pilsner beer (drink the other half while you’re cooking! lol) or sparkling water
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
a bit of paprika
Sunflower oil for frying

Preparation:

For Burgers:
Combine all burger ingredients (except bacon, cheese and buns) and form 6 patties.
Brown bacon and drain on paper towels (leave the drippings in the pan).
Fry patties over medium high heat until cooked to desired doneness.
Serve with Gouda slices and crispy bacon.

For Un-Blooming Onion Rings:
Whisk together all ingredients except onion slices in a medium sized bowl.
Heat oil to just below smoking point.
Gently toss onions in beer batter.
Carefully! Add onions to hot oil, and turn over as they brown (the timing will depend on the size of your rings).
Drain on paper towels.

Food for Gossip Meme

I love reading people’s meme’s.  It’s always so fun to learn the quirky (and not so quirky) stuff about my fellow bloggers…Susan at Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy has tagged me for the Food for Gossip Meme.  It’s only fair after having read so many interesting things about you guys, that I contribute some little known (or not) facts about me, so here goes: 

What were you doing 10 years ago?

I was living on the beach front in Telde, Gran Canaria.  I had 2 little baby girls to care for, 1 and 2 years old!  I was also learning Spanish, and neighbors with a couple of the best friends of my life, Monica and Enrique.

What were you doing 1 year ago?

Pretty much the same as I’m doing now, except that Sammy-jammy was at home with me instead of in preschool.

Five snacks you enjoy:

1. DORITOS (yes, they deserve caps).

2. Chocolate anything.

3. Anchovy stuffed green olives.

4. Golden delicious apples.

5. Cheese!

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:

1. Buy a spacious house with a huge kitchen, big yard, pool and jacuzzi. 

2. Hire a maid.

3. Go to Greece finally!

4. Go to the US several times a year.

5. Buy a pair (or 10) of Manolo’s, Puri Garcí­as and Christian Laboutin’s. (shoes)

Five bad habits:

1. Too. Many. DORITOS.

2. Swearing like a sailor.

3. Procrastination.

4. Not folding the socks until we have none left to wear.

5. Being disorganized.

Five things you like doing:

1. Cooking!

2. Singing (I *love* karaoke).

3. Lounging by the pool.

4. Eating out–especially Sushi and Japanese food in general.

5. Laughing with friends.

Five things you would never wear again:

1. Shoulder pads (totally stealing Susan’s answer).

2. Bell bottomed jeans (I just really hate those suckers).

3. Sh¡t kicker boots.

4. Colored mascara (except brown/black).

5. Bras without underwire. (way tmi) 

Five favorite toys:

1. My Thermomix Machine.

2. My Singstar games for the PS2.

3. My Panasonic LUMIX (though I want a new camera and lenses).

4. My laptop.

5. My dog, Dalí.

And now to nominate some more bloggers!  I’m not sure who’s been tagged and who not, so if you’ve already been tagged, please feel free to ignore! :)

Elle, at Elle’s New England Kitchen

Ashley, at Delish

Brianna, at Oishii

One Food Guy, at One Food Guy

Núria, at Spanish Recipes

and Shaye, at Smarter than Pancakes

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken with something like Pilaf

There are so many awesome Greek food bloggers out there on my regular reading list…Peter, Elly and Valli spring immediately to mind….seeing all their delectable dishes, and hearing wonderful stories of Greece and the Greek language spark my desire to visit the idyllic islands even more….Greece is my dream vacation spot…I have wanted to go for years and years….and will probably have to wait years and years before I actually get the chance to go. :(   In the meantime, reading all about these lucky folks and their fabulous food, I’ve been craving Greek.  While this is certainly not Greek, it does have Greek flavors….the idea was to use Spanakopita filling nestled within a chicken breast.  The pictures this time are disappointing…I’m still adjusting to the new kitchen, and am finding it more and more necessary to get to work constructing a photo box, because the dreary overhead fluorescent light and the auxiliary halogen lamp are just not cutting it. :P   I miss my kitchen window!  Wah!  Ok, ok….enough whining for this post. lol  The rice is something I just threw together….sort of like a pilaf, I guess…sauteed garlic, onions, bay and oregano with rice, chicken broth and sliced almonds…a little lemon juice squeezed on to serve and there you have it.  I hope in spite of the photos the recipe will appeal to you guys as much as it did me….even my picky pants kids loved it! :)

spinach and feta stuffed chicken

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds (3/4 kilo) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thin fillets
2-3 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, minced
1 pound (400 grams) frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
juice of one lemon
2-3 tablespoons dried dill (more if using fresh)
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg
1/4 pound (100 grams) Greek feta, crumbled

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375ºF/170ºC.
Melt butter over medium high heat and saute garlic first.
Add onion and saute until translucent, and remove from heat.
Toss in spinach, lemon and dill, and season with salt and pepper.
Allow mixture to cool slightly, then add egg and feta and mix well.
Place spinach mixture at center of each chicken fillet (amount will depend on size of fillets), and roll up.
Lightly oil the bottom of a baking dish (with a lid) with olive oil and place rolls seam side down.
Cover and bake about 20-30 minutes.
Garnish with paprika if desired.

Now for the Pilaf thingie. lol

pilaf

Ingredients:

2-3 tablespoons butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, minced
2 cups short grained rice
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon oregano
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup sliced almonds
chopped parsley to taste
lemon to garnish

Preparation:

Melt butter over medium high heat.
Saute garlic first, then add onion and saute until translucent.
Add rice, bay and oregano, then season with salt and pepper and stir around for about 2-3 minutes.
Add broth and bring to a boil.
Boil over medium high heat for 5 minutes, then cover and reduce heat to low.
Cook an additional 10 minutes (without removing the lid), then remove from heat and allow to rest 5 minutes before lifting lid.
Add almonds and parsley and toss about.
Serve with a bit of squeezed lemon juice.

Potaje Canario de Verduras (Canarian Vegetable Stew)

Potaje (pronounced po-TAH-hay) is a delicious multi vegetable stew very typical of the Canary Islands.  Here, rather than have all the food served at once, meals are served in courses.  Generally a first course, which can be either a soup, stew, salad, or pasta and is then followed by the main course and of course following that, dessert and coffee.  Many restaurants in Spain offer a lunch “menu,” where you can choose a first and second course from the day’s specials, and it comes with a beverage and dessert.  I’m pretty sure that the variety of potajes are as varied as the chefs that prepare them.  There are lentil potajes, watercress potajes (look for this one soon), corn potaje…the limit is your own creativity, much like soups and stews everywhere else in the world.  Let me share with you my mil’s recipe for Potaje Canario….

potaje

Ingredients:

ingredients

*note, add or subract at your preference, the amounts are approximate.

2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon smokey paprika
2 ripe tomatoes, skinned, seeded and diced
1 onion, diced
a few sprigs of thyme
1-2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
1 cob corn, broken in two pieces
3 zucchini, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 large handful green beans, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
1 large handful of fresh pinto beans, shucked (you can also use canned)
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 of a sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 chunk of pumpkin, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
1 thick slice of bacon, sliced (omit for vegan/vegetarian)
enough broth to generously cover vegetables (I used about 3 1/2 quarts I’d guess?)

Preparation:

In a large stockpot (this makes a LOT!), heat olive oil and saute garlic just until golden.
Add tomatoes, onions, paprika, thyme and bay, then season with salt and pepper.
Saute until vegetables are tender (this is called the “refrito.”)
Add remaining ingredients and generously cover with stock.
Season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer about 30 minutes.
Remove lid and simmer another hour or so, until the stew begins to thicken.
Adjust seasoning.
Serve with Queso Fresco and nice crispy baguettes.

Another Award! E is for Excellent!

Thank you so much, dear Valli!  Valli is such a wonderful and kind person.  She has a beautiful blog called More than Burnt Toast, where she posts amazing recipes.  I love the way she writes, and tells a story.  I am truly honored that she considers my little old blog worthy of an Excellence award.  :)   When I first started my blog, Valli was one of my first regular visitors, and for that I will be eternally grateful. 

Nominating other bloggers for Excellence is easy….it’s narrowing down the choices that is difficult.  There are so many blogs I visit daily…food blogs, humor blogs, informative blogs, daily life blogs….where do I even begin?  I think I have to just say that if you are on my blogroll?  You are nominated!  My blogroll is reserved for the “creme de la creme,” so to speak….I have tons of bookmarked pages, but only the best ones get a link on my site. lol  So, consider yourselves nominated my dear blogger friends.  Much love from me to you.  XOXOXO

canarygirl




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