YBR: Your Best Recipes of January 2011

>> Monday, January 31, 2011

As the first month of the new year comes to a close, I can see that you have all started the new year off to a wonderful start. These are Your Best Recipes of January 2011, don't they look delicious? This month we also have a few new participants, welcome and we all hope to keep seeing your best recipes every month. (On a side note I would like to remind those of you that haven't added a badge or the button to your blogs to please do so, it is a requisite for participating. The more exposure for the YBR, the more exposure for you the participants. Please make sure that the YBR badge or button links to the YBR dedicated page http://spiciefoodie.blogspot.com/p/your-best-recipe.html ) Thanks again to each and everyone of you for submitting your delicious and beautiful dishes. Please stop by the participating bloggers, say hello and that you saw their recipe on the YBR. Bon Appetite! Get ready to drool :)

(Recipes are presented in the order they were recieved)

Chicken - Spinach HotDog
Shirley, Enriching Your Kid!, Chicken - Spinach HotDog

Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
Peggy, My Fiance Likes It So It Must Be Good, Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

Potatoe Halves with Cheese and Parsley
Sandra, Sandra's Easy Cooking, Potatoe Halves with Cheese and Parsley

Parsnip Fritters With Blue Cheese Walnut Whip

Lazy Girl's Cassoulet
Heather, Girli Chef, Lazy Girl's Cassoulet

Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream.

Mini shrimp cups
Tanantha, I Just Love My Apron, Mini shrimp cups

Chile Verde Burritos
Karen, The Executive Mom, Chile Verde Burritos

Ricotta Stuffed Sweet Peppers with Ratatuille Nicoise
Alisha~Magic of Spice, The Ardent Epicure, Ricotta Stuffed Sweet Peppers with Ratatuille Nicoise

Monk Fish Scampi
Chef Dennis, More Than A Mount Full, Monk Fish Scampi

Creamy Cheese stuffed Portobello
Kankana, Sunshine & Smile, Creamy Cheese stuffed Portobello

Black Forest Macaron
Julie, Gourmet Gateways, Black Forest Macaron

Daring Bakers - Biscuit Joconde Imprime / Entrement
Roxana, A little Bit of Everything, Biscuit Joconde Imprime / Entrement

Pork Tamales
Gina, What's For Dinner Across State Lines, Pork Tamales

Baharat Spiced Beef Stew
Nancy, Spicie Foodie, Baharat Spiced Beef Stew

Priscilla, She's Cookin', Salmon-wrapped-Poached-Eggs

Brownie Tangerine Cheesecake
Citra, Indonesian in Turkey, Brownie Tangerine Cheesecake

Koi Fish
Ann, Anncoo Journal, Koi Fish

Mexican Hot Choc Cookies
Rocio, Apicius' Apprentice, Mexican Hot Choc Cookies

Sweet & Spicy Sesame Ginger Chicken Stir Fry with Brown Rice

Peanut candy
Nisa, Cooking is Easy, Peanut candy

Wild rabbit roast in red wine
Brindusa , Cooking With My Soul, Wild rabbit roast in red wine

Thai Squash Wonton Soup
Natalie aka foodblogandthedog, Cook Eat Live Vegetarian, Thai Squash Wonton Soup


Heavenly Nutella Banana Bread

>> Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Banana Chocolate Cake; Chocolate Banana Bread; recipe; ingredients; chocolate; bananas; baked; spicie foodie; spicy foodie; sweet and savory cake; sweet and savory bread; bourbon vanilla
Raise your hand if you love bananas, raise your other hand if you love Nutella (Hazelnut cream), now raise your two hands and one foot if you love bananas and Nutella together. Nutella and bananas go together just as dreamy as bananas and peanut butter, drool! One of our favorite snacks, lunches or even breakfast is a freshly made crepe with Nutella and banana slices (Even our scruffy terrier, Panchito, loves a few bites, what can I say this dog has good tastes.) The other day I was daydreaming of Nutella and banana crepes but it was 9 at night and much to late to make a batch of crepes. When I get a craving I'm like a child, I gotta get my fix straight away. So I made a bread instead.

This was one of the best breads/cakes/loafs I have ever made! It was so light, moist, spongy, chocolatie and oh so satisfying. My husband didn't know what I was up to in the kitchen and when I brought him a slice he was happily surprised. He also really liked it and kept saying how good it tasted. In our house I'm the one that eats more desserts and sweets so to see him enjoy it this much was a good sign. Totally worth washing dishes at that time of day. You will notice that there is very little sugar, I find Nutella and bananas to be sweet enough on their own and didn't want to have an over sweetened bread. I hope you too enjoy the recipe as much as we did.

Banana Chocolate; Cake; Ingredients; Baking; Banana Bread; Nutella; Hazelnut cream; chocolate cream; banana cake; flour; baking powder; baking soda; bananas; sugar; brown sugar; organic; milk; vegetable oil; sunflower oil; canola oil; egg; brown egg
Wet Ingredients:
2 small ripe bananas = 1/2 cup or 150 grams mashed
1 medium egg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. Bourbon Vanilla or 1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. brown sugar (organic)
2 heaping tbsp. Nutella or any Hazelnut cream
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1/2 cup whole milk

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda

1. Preheat the oven to 200C or 392F, line a loaf mold with baking paper or butter and dust with flour then set aside. In a large bowl sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

2. In a separate large bowl mash the bananas or add the mashed bananas. Beat the egg into the bananas for 2 minutes ( to build some air). Next add the salt, vanilla, brown sugar and oil into the bowl. Stir until well combined, then add the Nutella and mix until all ingredients are well incorporated. Pour the whole milk into the wet ingredients and stir until well combined.
chocolate; cake; bread; mix; batter; recipe
3. Using a spatula fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, just until all ingredients are well combined. But do not over stir as this will create gluten and the bread will not rise. Pour batter into baking/loaf mold.
Banana Chocolate Cake; Chocolate Banana Bread; recipe; ingredients; chocolate; bananas; baked; spicie foodie; spicy foodie; sweet and savory cake; sweet and savory bread; bourbon vanilla
4. Place in center of oven and bake for 35 minutes or until baked through. Test the bread by inserting either a toothpick or butter knife into the center and if baked through it will come out dry. If there is batter on the toothpick/knife the bread needs to bake longer. Allow to cool before serving.
Banana Chocolate Cake; Chocolate Banana Bread; recipe; ingredients; chocolate; bananas; baked; spicie foodie; spicy foodie; sweet and savory cake; sweet and savory bread; bourbon vanilla
You can also serve with butter, or toast a slice then butter it. Delish!
See the large air pockets that formed all over the bread, making it very light and airy.

If you would like to participate in January's YBR roundup please sign up here and email your information to spiciefoodie (@) gmail.com . January 29th is the cutoff day to participate. Thanks!

Nutella Cream Pie by Gingerbread Bagels
Nutella Queen Claudia (What's Cookin' Italian Style Cuisine) has so many great recipes here.
Fried Orange Creams with Nutella Ganache by Gina (guest post on Chef Dennis blog)


How To Blanch Almonds

>> Sunday, January 23, 2011

Spicie Foodie's Kitchen Know-How; kitchen; know how; tutorials; learn to cook; learn to bake; basics; kitchen basics; kitchen must knows; culinary; lessons; teach
The following post is going to kick off a new series here on Spicie Foodie, Kitchen Know-How. Have you noticed the "Learn" link on the menu bar above↑ This is what it's all about "Whether you are a newbie who wants to learn to cook and bake, or you are a seasoned cook, there are kitchen fundamentals we all need to know and learn. Join me, Spicie Foodie, and my Guests as we teach you essential culinary skills, tips, tricks and shortcuts to make every culinary experience a sucess!" In the future I will be contacting or asking for you to share some of your kitchen know-how, but in the mean time I leave you with the following post.

How to Blanch Almonds; Blanched Almonds; how to peel almonds; white almonds; brown; almonds; pile; almond; how to; almendras; almendras sin casara
To blanch almonds means to peel or remove the outer brown skin by briefly immersing in hot water before peeling. This is a fast and easy method that can often come in handy, and the way I blanch my almonds. When you compare the price of store bought blanched almonds to un-blanched almonds, the price can be quite significant. That of course is an added bonus that will leave your wallet happy. I also feel that the taste when I blanch my own almonds is much better than buying ready blanched almonds. Would you agree?

If you try just to peel the almonds without first soaking in hot water, it will be very difficult to peel and the almond will be damaged from the scratching of the skin.
Easy How To Peel Almonds Instructions, How to Blanch Almonds; Blanched Almonds; how to peel almonds; white almonds; brown; almonds; pile; almond; how to; almendras; almendras sin casara

How to Blanch Almonds :
skin-on (or un-blanched) almonds
boiling water, enough just to cover the almonds
bowl of cold water
paper towels

How to Soak and Peel Almonds; Soaking Almonds; soaking; soak; water; How to Blanch Almonds; Blanched Almonds; how to peel almonds; white almonds; brown; almonds; pile; almond; how to; almendras; almendras sin casara
1. Bring just enough water to cover the almonds to a rolling boil. Turn the heat off, then gently pour the almonds into the pot. Allow to sit for 1 minute, then quickly strain. (You don't want to cook and soften the almonds. They need to stay crisp.) Place the almonds in a bowl with very cold water, allow to sit 1 minute then drain. Place the almonds back in the bowl and cover with cold water again. **UPDATE** If the almonds you are blanching are a bit older, the skin may be harder to remove and require longer blanching in the hot water. This can cause the almonds to become soft so make sure you get purchase almonds.**
How to Blanch Almonds; Blanched Almonds; how to peel almonds; white almonds; brown; almonds; pile; almond; how to; almendras; almendras sin casara
2. Pickup an almond and gently squeeze between your thumb and index finger, pushing the skin off the almond. It should come off very easily. Repeat until all almonds have been peeled. Now spread the almonds on paper towels and pat dry.
Easy How To Peel Almonds Instructions,How to Blanch Almonds; Blanched Almonds; how to peel almonds; white almonds; brown; almonds; pile; almond; how to; almendras; almendras sin casara

Once dried the almonds can be used in any of your favorite recipes or enjoyed as a snack if you prefer.
How to Blanch Almonds; Blanched Almonds; how to peel almonds; white almonds; brown; almonds; pile; almond; how to; almendras; almendras sin casara

Do you have a better or different method for blanching almonds? Would you like to share it?

Previous Post Using Almonds:
~ Homemade Almond Milk (Raw)
~ Caramelized Pears on Goat Cheese Crostini
~ Blood Orange Zest Rolls


Somen (Nyumen) Miso Soup, Ready in 10 Minutes

>> Thursday, January 20, 2011

Somen Miso Noodle Soup; Instant; miso; soup; noodles; recipe; ingredients; hot; Japanese; food; recipes;Nyumen, cuisine
So far 2011 has started just like 2010 came to an end, busy. But I'm not complaining, who wouldn't rather be busy with too much to do then bored with nothing to do. I do have a question for those of you that have children, go to a 9-5 job, cook, clean, and blog- how do you find all that time to do all of the aforementioned plus have time to photograph, write, visit all of your favorite blogs, and still have time to enjoy life? Even those of you that are stay at home parents, how do you guys do it all? Do you guys have clones? And where can I get one?

Lately I have been trying to challenge myself on how to prepare good and healthy meals with limited time. Today I have one of those "challenge" meals. It is a warming, delicious and pretty healthy soup. It's called Somen Miso Soup and it will take you about 10 minutes (or less) to prepare. Somen are pale, really thin Japanese wheat noodles. They are typically eaten or served cold and when prepared or served warm the name changes to Nyumen. (There is a fun way of serving the cold Somen called nagashi somen, they flow down a long bamboo tube and running cold water, the people stand over the tube and try to catch the flowing noodles with their chopsticks. Check out Youtube for the fun demonstrations.) Since the somen is very thin it takes a very small amount of time to cook. I cheated when it came to the miso, I used Kikkoman Instant AKA (Red) Miso Soup packages. Even though I always keep a package of fresh miso paste I love to have those Kikoman packs to grab a quick snack because they are delish! The bad thing is that the package has MSG and for the most part I try to avoid it but oh well. If you don't have the red miso packs you could also use the Shiro miso or white miso packages.
Instant; miso; soup; noodles; recipe; ingredients; hot; Japanese; food; recipes; cuisine,Nyumen

Ingredients for 1 serving:
1 packet instant miso soup,Kikkoman Instant AKA (Red) Miso Soup
1/2 serving Somen noodle, they come bound together per serving just use half
hot water, according to package or adjust to taste

optional toppings:

1. Boil enough water for the noodles and the instant soup mix. *Tip* I have an electric kettle that boils the water in no time, this will really make the process go faster. Fill the electric kettle and boil. Cook the noodles according to package instructions, which will typically say boil the noodles for about 4-5 minutes. Drain the noodles, run under cold water and set aside. Running the noodles under cold water stops them from cooking further.
2. Add the miso pack or packets to a large bowl. Stir in water until fully dissolved. Place the noodles in the bowl(s) and stir. If you would like to add any additional toppings do so before serving.
Somen Miso Noodle Soup; Instant; miso; soup; noodles; recipe; ingredients; hot; Japanese; food; recipes; cuisine; Nyumen
That's it, super simple! This isn't much of a recipe since it's a total no-brainer. But trust me the soup will be really good and when pressed for time this is a great meal option. I've served it both for lunch and double the recipe, per person, for a light dinner. So what about you guys, do you have a go to meal that is both a no-brainer and ready in no time but still healthy? Leave me the links to them in the comments, I'd love to see your dishes!

somen; Somen Noodles; soup; noodles; miso; miso soup; Japanese; hot; Instant; food; recipe; Miso Noodle Soup; Miso Somen Soup; Nyumen; green tea
*Little reminder in case you missed it, You can now sign up for the January edition of YBR here*


January YBR, In Top 10 and Top 100!

>> Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It's time again for another edition of YBR! This month's YBR roundup will be the first for 2011 and I'm excited to see how everyone has kicked off the new year. Before I move on to the information on how to participate in January's YBR I would like to say Thanks. A few days ago I received notice that my cookbook, An Epiphany of the Senses, was among the top 100 cookbook's selling on Lulu for the month of December.

An Epiphany of the Senses; cookbook; ethnic cookbook; ethnic cooking; ethnic food; recipes; spicie foodie; top selling; top 100 cookbooks; best selling; food blog; food blogger; foodie
Sweet! Thank you so much and obviously this wouldn't have been possible without all of your support and purchases. Well if that wasn't enough, My 2011 Calendar was also in the top 100 sellers for last month. Wait it gets even better, it also climbed to #7 in the best sellers for this week!
2011 calendar; 2011 food calendar; food calendar; An Epiphany of the Senses; cookbook; ethnic cookbook; ethnic cooking; ethnic food; recipes; spicie foodie; top selling; top 100 cookbooks; best selling; food blog; food blogger; foodie
How cool is that? Again thank you for your purchases, bear hugs for everyone!

January 2011 YBR announcement:
Show me Your Best Recipes
Your Best Recipe, a monthly roundup of your best recipes hosted by Spicie Foodie. There are no limitations as to what you can submit, anything goes. No limits on your kitchen nor photography skill, everyone is invited to join. This is not a competition, it is just a showcase of great food being cooked all over the world. And here is how you can participate :

Requirements to participate:
1. It has to be a recipe that you published in January, and it has to be a recipe that you feel was your favorite one posted that month. It can be anything your heart desires. Your submitted recipe can be your own creation or one that you adapted from another foodie, just give them credit on your post.

2. Sign up to January's roundup by using the Linky form provided below this post. (It is the "Click Here to Enter" button. AND please link to your blog NOT the recipe you are submitting for the YBR. Your thumb doesn't have to be the recipe you are submitting, it can be your profile or blog photo.)

3. You must choose and display any of the following badges to invite your visitors to the roundup being hosted here.
Right click images to save or get code to embed on your site here:

Your Best Recipes
The badge below, you can add a small thumb of your dish. If you need help or would like the PSD file just shoot me an email, or read the tutorial here YBR Badge Tutorial (how to insert your photo). Some participants like to use this badge below on a new blog post inviting their readers to see the roundup.
Your Best Recipes
This small button can be added to a post and/or your blog's side bar, if you wish.
Your Best Recipes Button

4. By the 29th of January please email me at spiciefoodie (@) gmail.com the following:
1. Your Name, Blog Name, Name and link to your chosen recipe published in January.
2. A small image of your dish. You must own the photo, and it cannot be a creative commons or public domain photo.

On January 31, the last day of the month, I will post the roundup photos with a link to each of your sites and recipes. It would also be good if you invite your readers to the roundup by also posting a new blog entry or mentioning your participation in a new post (the last day of the month or after) on your blogs with a YBR badge and a link to the roundup here on Spicie Foodie. This way we can all help spread the YBR submitted love around even more!

If you need any help or clarifications post a comment or send me an email. I'll make sure to post a reminder as we get closer to the deadline.


Food Photography:Understanding Camera Types

>> Sunday, January 16, 2011

Photography Tips & Tricks, food photography
Welcome to another installment of Spicie Foodie's Photography Tips & Tricks tutorials. I want to thank you all for the great feedback you left on the first tutorial. It's so great to read all of your comments and really gives me the inspiration to keep these coming and sharing my knowledge with you. Before we move on to other step by step tutorials on how I shoot I wanted to share this tutorial about cameras. It was meant to be the first one, as understanding what camera you own is very important. This is a general guide with some good and bad points of each type of camera. To help give you ideas of price range and selections click on the photos for more information. Before we move on to it, there were some comments and emails I'd like to address.

The EGO Lights: It seems like they are getting mixed reviews, but the common comment was that they do work well enough. The bad thing about them was that you have to place them very close to the food and possibly buy 2 for better results. And others said that since they are table lamps they can limit you to where/how you use them. As opposed to the light stand that can be moved around, lowered or lifted up to the location you need.

On a lighter note there were comments about family expecting(demanding) to eat right away once dinner is done. Luckily I don't have this problem but I understand this can be an issue for some. The only thing I can suggest to tell them is, it will be ready when you say it's ready! No I'm just kidding :) Perhaps serve them first and save a plate for yourself to shoot after the family has been served, you can then take the time to shoot your photos. With practice you can set up and shoot a handful of photos all within 3 minutes. More on that another time...
sliced; bread; camera; camera types; which camera to buy; spicie foodie photography; tips & tricks; tutorials; cameras; digital cameras
Thoughts on Cameras:
There were some emails, comments and questions regarding cameras and what my opinion was on the type, brand you should buy. I don't believe in someone telling others "I do something this way and it's the only way of doing it or I use this product and it's the only option you have" There are many ways of doing things and many products to choose from, make educated decisions for yourself. Okay saying that I am a Pentax user, I've always found their products to be high quality, extraordinary and have always had great results. I suggest reading and looking online for reviews and photo quality comparisons before choosing a camera brand. Stop by a local photography shop and ask the staff for help, or to try out a camera.

Umm Mymoonah asked the following: "Does camera plays a major role in photography or the way we use it. Is it possible to get good pictures without any SLR ?" First part, yes and no. Yes because the camera you choose will effect what you want to use if for. For example you wouldn't use a Point and Shoot camera to do a professional shoot and sell your photography, you need a good DSLR for that. The second part of the question, yes! If you know how to use your camera, compose properly and have good light, you can shoot nice photographs. The only thing to think about then is does the camera have the quality that I need.

A common statement people say is "this camera takes good pictures" I'm not a fan of this statement because while the camera does its technical part, the operator plays the biggest role in the shot,(We compose it, we tell the camera what to do.) A person can have a $7,000 camera with all the bells and whistles, but if they don't know how to use it they might as well just take the money and throw it in the garbage. Moral of this story is learn your camera, learn to shoot in Manual mode, learn about aperture, learn composition, learn about white balance, learn about photo quality, read that owner's manual if you have to. So you can take good pictures. Now some information about camera types.

Nikon,point and shoot camera, camera,digital, optioCanon,point and shoot camera, camera,digital, optioPentax,point and shoot camera, camera,digital, optio
- Point and Shoot Cameras, P.&S. (also called consumer cameras): These cameras are fully automatic, perfect for everyday use and are a hassle free option. They are the most compact size and can easily be stored in a pocket, making them the perfect travel companion. P.& S. cameras are the easiest to use, you don not need any training. Just point, press down on the shutter and you've got your shot. The features and controls are very easy to understand. Depending on the camera you may have the option of shooting in different modes, adjusting focus, white balance, and ISO, of course all within very narrow limits . P.&S. are also the cheapest option, and no extra lenses are required. The bad sides are obviously you will be very limited on the control over your shooting. The image quality will not be as good as the other 2 options, but you can still get good results. A P.&S. camera is a good enough camera option if you are just looking for a good vacation, snapshot and camera to shoot small photos for your blog. With a little practice and manual reading you can learn enough before moving on to the next level.

Shot with a Pentax Optio WPi (point&shoot), on a very overcast day. Only minimal levels adjustments to bring out the clouds, and slight tone change. (Photo from my archive)

Nikon,point and shoot camera, camera,digital, optioCanon,point and shoot camera, camera,digital, optioPentax,point and shoot camera, camera,digital, optio
- Prosumer Cameras: This type of camera is between a point and shoot and an DSLR. The term is a cross between professional and consumer. Prosumers are the medium sized cameras but still easy to carry around. They have more features and controls than a point and shoot but are more limiting than a DSLR. A good camera for enthusiasts or someone looking to learn more about photography but not quite ready for the big boy DSLR with all it's features and controls. The price range will be in the middle of the 2 other options, or sometimes comparable to DSLRs. They have better lenses than a point and shoot, but not as good as a DSLR. The lens is attached and you cannot change lenses like you could on a DSLR. (* Though there are special attachment available to adjust lens range for some models.) The image quality will be better than a point and shoot and you will have more controls over your photography. I use to own a Fuji Finepix that had Manual controls, Aperture and Shutter priority, white balance, ISO and I was very happy with the results.

Shot with Fuji FinePix S7000, a prosumer camera and my first camera! I used natural or window light and only slight levels adjustments in Photoshop. (Another photo from my archives.)

Pentax,DSLR camera,digitalCanon,DSLR camera,digitalNikon,DSLR camera,digital

-DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex): This is the camera for those looking to have full control over their photographs. These are the bigger of the options listed here, and are also heavier. The lenses are interchangeable, you also have the option of buying different lenses for your specific needs. (* If you have old film Pentax camera lenses you can use them on the new DSLs. I don't know if you can do this with Cannon and Nikon.) You can shoot in RAW format, which gives you larger and better quality photos. The digital noise is virtually non-existant and the image detail is much better than the two other options. There are a range of DSLR level cameras, from entry level to serious professional level cameras. DSLR are obviously the more expensive and best suited for serious enthusiast and professionals. I would recommend to those looking to learn on a DSLR to buy an entry level until you get comfortable with the camera and learn all of the settings before moving on to a more expensive higher level DSLR.

Shot on a Pentax K10D DSLR, with continues fluorescent light off to the side. The background was darkened, contrast and levels were adjusted in Photoshop.

If you are in the market for a new camera I recommend this great site, Digital Photography Review or dpreview.com. They have sections for all of the different camera manufacturers with reviews of the cameras and image samples. There are forums to ask for advice as well as learning sections.

Which of these camera types do you own? Do you know if your camera has a white balance option? Do you know how to adjust the image size and quality on your camera? I highly recommend that you look at your manual or sit and learn the camera's features. In the coming lessons we will be discussing them.


Buy or Sell Food Photos!

View My PortfolioRoyalty Free Images

Support Me By Clicking on These Links:

living in Czech Republic Expat Women - Helping Women Living OverseasTopOfBlogsBuy Foodie artHonest Cooking The Food Magazine, Spicie Foodie , contributor


©2009-2011 All recipes, articles, blog post, content, and images (*Unless otherwise stated*) are the sole property of Spicie Foodie and Nancy Lopez-McHugh. They should not be used without prior written consent. You can contact me here

  © Blogger template Webnolia by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP