My grandma has been working with a lady named Natasha for about 20 years. They are like best friends at this point and partners in crime. Each summer, my parents have my grandma and her friend Natasha stay with us twice a week because they work in NJ during the summer months to cater to their clients going down the shore to their vacation homes. They curse in Russian, come with funny jokes and stories, and love to gossip. Natasha started bringing this amazing apricot crumble cake (tort) and every time she brings it I can’t stop eating it. This is one of her home-made recipes. I finally got the brains to ask her for it, and I thought I could never replicate and even though I only tried once, It was still almost the same and super tasty. Not to mention it took me like 15 minutes to make, and 30 minutes to bake! For under an hour, I’ll take it!
Natasha’s Crumble Cake (Apricot Tort/Pirog)
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup of sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp sour cream or farmer cheese
1/2 tsp baking soda
2.5 cups flour (or more, depending on consistency)
Apricot or any fruit preserves (1 Jar)
Preheat the oven the 350 degrees. Melt the butter completely and cool it slightly. Add the sugar, vanilla, and eggs, and mix until just combined. Add sour cream or farmer cheese, then baking soda and stir to combine. Add 2.5 cups of flour, mixing with a spoon to combine until able to use hands to form a round ball. Should not be very sticky to the touch, if so, add a pinch more flour. Take 3/4 of the ball and press the dough into a slightly floured 8 ” x 11″ pan, rounding around the sides/edges to hold the apricot preserves. Spread apricot preserves evenly throughout the top of the base. Take the rest of the ball and take quarter sized pieces off at a time, placing them on top of the apricot preserves to almost cover it but not fully (keep in mind dough will bake/spread in the oven). That’s it! Pop it into the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the edges are brown and enjoy!
Lemon Bars – Kind of… maybe this was a flop? who knows.. still pretty yummy. If anyone out there knows why this didn’t come out like all the beautiful lemon bar photos I see on pinterest – please tell me!
Lemon Bars (With Whole Wheat Crust)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
Additional confectioners’ sugar
In a bowl, combine the flour, butter and confectioners’ sugar. Pat into an ungreased 8-in. square baking pan. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. For filling, in a small bowl, beat eggs. Add the sugar, flour, baking powder, lemon juice and peel; beat until frothy. Pour over the crust. Bake 25 minutes longer or until light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Cut into bars.
I love Quinoa – ever since i found out it was low GI, i couldn’t believe it. It’s so versatile and can be used just like any rice/couscous. It has a really delicious taste and goes well with any vegetable/meat too.
1 Package of Quinoa (2 cups) (see picture for what i used)
4 cups of low sodium chicken broth
1 zucchini, split down the middle, then sliced again down the middle of one side, cut in 1/2 inch round slices
1 cup of a red bell pepper, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup of an orange pepper, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 pound of asparagus, sliced diagonally in 3/4 inch pieces
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper, per taste
Sea Salt, per taste
Cook the quinoa in the chicken broth as per package instructions. If no instructions are available, bring chicken broth to a boil, stir in quinoa, lower heat and cover, let simmer for 15 minutes until done. Fluff with a fork when ready. Meanwhile, combine all vegetables in a lightly oiled skillet on medium heat, add minced garlic and lemon juice and saute until soft (about 10 minutes). Combine quinoa with the vegetables. Add parsley and green onions, black pepper and sea salt, and serve.
I decided to make Blackened Salmon for us to eat for dinner tomorrow (cooking on a sunday for weeknight meals) – I’ve never used this combination of spices or these pretty thin wild salmon fillets before. Came out really good for my first try! Your turn!
1 lb salmon fillets (amt. to your liking)
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil
1 tsp black pepper
Olive oil, for drizzling
Drizzle olive oil on a skillet on medium-high heat. Combine paprika, oregano, garlic powder, thyme, basil, and black pepper in a small bowl. Drizzle olive oil (about 1/2-1 tsp per each fillet) on the fish, then rub the spice mixture on the fish equally. Top with a little more olive oil to set the spices onto the fish. Place the fish upside down(spice side down) onto the skillet. Let cook and shift from side to side if need be. Serve with veggies or in salad and enjoy!