Spanish Omelet

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This is the deal. When I’m feeling homesick, having a bad day or just because it’s Thursday and that means is Omelet day, this is my go-to recipe. This is the most uplifting thing I’ve every had.

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So traditional and so tasty, you feel (back) in Spain in just a second. It requires quite a bit of olive oil, the freshest of ingredients and it might take a while, but it’s so simple and worth it. One can say that each family has its own recipe and some even consider some things heresy (i.e. boiling the potatoes, chicken broth).

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This is my family’s recipe, with browned fried potatoes, lots of eggs and if you leave it on the runny side, you’ll be in heaven. Enjoy!

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Spanish Omelet

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients
6-7 yellow potatoes and sliced (about 1/8 inch)
6 jumbo eggs
1 onion (medium-big, sliced in half moons)
1 tbls Salt
1 cup olive oil

Instructions
1. Heat the olive oil in a 12 inch pan. When hot, add the sliced potatoes, the onions and 1/2 tbls of salt. Fry for about 40-50 min, until some of the potatoes are brown and stick to the bottom of the pan. I like this omelet without whole potato pieces, so once the potatoes start to brown, I smash them with a wooden spoon into chunks, almost like a fried purée. Taste the salt, it should be salty. If it’s not salty, add salt and cook for at least 5 more minutes.
2. Drain the olive oil surplus tilting the pan for about 5 minutes. Transfer that oil to a cup.
3. Beat the eggs until foamy and mix in the potatoes and onions. Let sit for 4 to 10 minutes.
5. The potatoes should have absorbed the eggs, but the mixture should still be runny. If not, add another egg.
6. Heat on medium-high about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the olive oil surplus in the pan again, only to lightly cover the pan, pour the omelet mixture and spread it to make it round. Then cook for about 4 to 6 minutes. It will be ready to flip once the side is browned.
7. Here comes the difficult part. Take an 11 inch flat plate and cover the raw part. Take the pan out of the stove top (if it’s your first time, do it over a bowl, just in case) and flip it. Carefully slide the omelet back to the pan and cook for about 4 more minutes or until desired doneness. Serve while still hot and enjoy!

P.S.: It’s also (or even more!) delicious the day after.

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Käsekuchen or German Cheesecake

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It’s just so wonderful when you wake up, open the fridge and have exactly the right amount of eggs and lemons to do what you woke up thinking about (definitely not that I have been buying it unconsciously). So my husband and I spent a while in Germany, a country so great for so many things, but what we enjoyed and learned the most about was, of course, food (and maybe a couple of words to survive and beer, let’s never forget beer). Pies and cakes are the deal in Germany, not only the portions are humongous, but they are so so good, and my favorite one was by far the Cheesecake.

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This recipe I found in Germany is really good, maybe not as good as my favorite one in Café Hindenburg, Speyer, but pretty close.

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Use lemons that are fresh and flavorful and don’t use too many eggs (or too big), unless you like that mousse-like texture.

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Maybe it takes a while to get it all together but after all the baking, take a book, your favorite cup of tea and you’ll have the afternoon of your life, word.

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Kaesekuchen

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients
For the crust:
2 cups of flour
1 stick unsalted butter, cubed
3 tbsp sugar
1 large egg
pinch of salt

For the filling:
6 oz. ricotta cheese, drained for at least 2 hours
2 cups Quark or cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1 stick unsalted melted butter
4 medium eggs or 3 large
1/4 cup cornstarch
zest of 1 lemon

Instructions
1. Drain the ricotta cheese in a fine sieve over (or a cheese cloth) a bowl for at least 2 hours in the fridge. Sift the flour onto a clean surface forming a volcano. Add the butter, sugar (I like brown sugar for the crust and white for the filling), salt and egg, and knead with your hands to form a smooth dough. Shape dough into a ball, wrap in plastic and put it in the fridge for 30 min to an hour.
2. Butter a 9in spring form pan or tart and preheat oven to 350 ºF: place rack on the second level from the bottom.
3. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the ricotta, cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Add the vanilla, eggs, melted butter, sugar, cornstarch and lemon zest and beat until well blended at medium speed.
4. Roll out the crust over a slightly floured surface and transfer over the spring-form pan or tart pan. I usually roll the crust over the rolling pin and unroll it over the pan, it’s easier to transfer. Adjust crust to pan and prick it with a fork. Pour in mixture and place on the rack. Bake for 50 min to an hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

The cake may raise a lot and even crack the surface, but once out of the oven let it rest for a while and it will go back to normal. When at room temperature, put it for a while in the fridge, I really think it tastes way better cold. You can serve with jams or red fruits, but it will also be delicious on its own. Enjoy!

PS: I have also tried this recipe gluten-free with a tapioca, potato, hazelnut flour and it tastes just as good!

Cajun Seasoned Chicken Quesadillas

Well, after all the warmth of these winter months, the sun, the tropical breeze… Ok, let’s cut it. I have been more or less hibernating for the past few weeks and got a lot of time to do some cooking and baking (having the oven working by my side has been such a relief). So one of those warm nights we decided to put on some Mexican flair and did these cheesy delicious Chicken Quesadillas with a little, little dash of cayenne to turn that freezing cold red of our cheeks to an “oh, dear, is this spicy” kinda red. Hope you had some of those days too!

Enjoy!

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Yummy! Cheeeeeeeese, anyone?

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The Cajun seasoning I used was really easy to put together and the herbs were just the right match. I’ll try it soon with other meats and I believe it’s going to do great with fish as well.

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Cajun Seasoned Chicken Quesadillas

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, in rings
6-8 tortillas
2 cups mexican blend cheese (or any kind you like)
8 tbsp butter

For the Cajun seasoning:
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 red pepper flakes
1 1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 1/4 tsp dried thyme

Instructions
1. In a small bowl mix all the spices to make the Cajun Seasoning. Spread the mix all over the chicken breast and let it rest for half an hour.
2. In the meantime, sautée the onion rings in a frying pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil, set aside.
3. Cook the chicken breast for 4 to 5 minutes on each side with 1 tbsp of olive oil, until golden brown. Cut the cooked breast into cubes and set aside.
4. Build the quesadillas by laying the cheese on one half of the tortilla, the chicken and the onions. Top with more cheese and close the quesadilla by fliping the other side of the tortilla, it will be half a moon. Do the same with the rest of tortillas, chicken, cheese and onions.
5. On a large skillet, heat 1/2 a tablespoon of butter. Place 2 quesadillas; when golden brown, flip them very carefully and place 1/2 tablespoon more of butter. Repeat with the rest of quesadillas.
6. Cut the quesadillas into wedges and serve with freshly made guacamole and sour cream.

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I love cream cheese and I’ve been meaning to introduce it in cookies for the longest time, so the other day I gave it a try and the results came out wonderfully. I used a combination of cream cheese and a little bit of butter.  The cookies didn’t spread much in the oven, but I ended up with small, cakey, chocolatey balls of pure and moist deliciousness, and the taste of the cream cheese was very present too, so that was a plus. I guess they’ll hold in an air tight container for a couple of days but I can’t say for sure, mines did not last that long.

Enjoy!

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Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: 25 medium-small cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/2 cup cream cheese (don’t use fat-free or whipped cream cheese)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground nutmeg
2 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips or chunks (I used a combination of the two)
Coarse salt to sprinkle

Instructions
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, cream cheese, sugars, egg and beat them at medium speed until well combined, light and fluffy for about 5 to 7 minutes.
2. In another bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Scrap the sides of the bowl and add the dry ingredients to the bowl in the stand mixer. Mix them until just combined, about 1 minute.
3. Add the chocolate chips and chunks and beat it just a moment, you can even fold it by hand or with a spatula.
4. Cover the dough with plastic wrap (the plastic wrap touching the bowl, don’t cover the whole bowl) and refrigerate overnight, ideally for 24 hours (I really like my cookies when they have had time to rest and for the ingredients to combine flavors for 24 to 36 hours in the fridge)
5. Preheat oven to 375ºF and line a baking or cookie sheet with parchment paper. With an ice-cream scoop, scoop the dough into balls, place them on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart and sprinkle them with coarse salt.
6. Bake for about 6 to 9 minutes, until the edges are set and the middle is beginning to. Think that when they cool they’ll firm up. Allow cookies to cool on on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack for about ten minutes (if your appetite and those of the ones that surround you allow you to) and enjoy!

Rigatoni with Eggplant and Ricotta

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I am writing this post while baking Christmas cookies and listening to Christmas music. Isn’t this time of the year just wonderful?

The other day I prepared something ‘healthy’ (very cheeeesy) and non-meaty to counter all the meat that’s yet to come during these Holidays. I used a recipe from a book I’ve recently purchased, Chef’s Easy Weeknight Dinners, which has plenty of wonderful recipes. The one I chose was the Rigatoni with eggplants and ricotta, Parmegiano, Mozzarella (and then some), really cheesy, veggie and great to eat at night. So without further ado, here I leave you the recipe and some pictures.

Enjoy!

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Whole Wheat Rigatoni with Eggplant and Ricotta

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
1/4 pound rigatoni
1 small eggplant
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
4 canned pealed tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh ricotta
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmegiano
olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
butter to grease

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 375º and butter a 4-by-9 inch baking dish. Cook the rigatoni in a large pot of boiling water for about 10 minutes, until al dente. Drain, transfer to a large bowl and toss with some olive oil.
2. Meanwhile in a large pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil and add the cubbed eggplant, season it with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add the eggplant to the pasta
3. Add the onion and the garlic to the pan, and cook over moderate heat until the onion is lightly golden, for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until they have broken down and thickened to a sauce consistency (about 10 min).
4. Add the tomato sauce to the pasta along with the ricotta, season with salt and pepper and toss well. Transfer the rigatoni to the baking dish and top with mozzarella and parmegiano. Bake for about 20 minutes until the top is golden brown and let it rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

A New Start and Mustard Glazed Salmon

Welcome to the Red Hen Apron, my brand new blog and the place where I would like to share with you my favorite recipes, from the ones that I’ve grown with to those that I’ve learned on the way. As the end of the year approaches I thought it would be a great moment to get it going, something that I’ve been meaning to do for a long time.

So let’s get it started with this recipe that I found a couple of days ago reading the latest issue of Cooking Light, Mustard-Glazed Salmon with cauliflower and lentils.

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IMG_3502First time I used shallots (well, yes, not very common in Europe). Made me cry like a baby.

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IMG_3544 IMG_3550 IMG_3552 IMG_3556 IMG_3559Shallots + butter, I am a new fan.

IMG_3565 I am a bit of a head in the clouds and when I went grocery shopping I completely forgot about the herbs, sooo you’ll have to forgive me but I changed a little bit the recipe here and there. Instead of dill I used rosemary and instead of parsley, thyme. It came out beautifully, though!

It was perfect for a weeknight dinner and will be repeating the lentils very, very, very soon!!!

Hope you enjoyed 🙂

Mustard-Glazed Salmon with Roasted Cauliflower and Lentils with Shallots and Butter

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients
1 small cauliflower
Olive oil to drizzle
2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon rosemary
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 salmon filets
3 shallots
1/2 cup dried green lentils
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon thyme
salt and ground black pepper

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 400º and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine on top cauliflower, salt, pepper to taste and drizzle with olive oil.
2. Bake at 400º for 30-35 min or until browned and tender, stirring every 10 minutes.
3. Combine mustard, honey, lemon juice, rosemary in a bowl. Place fillets, skin sides down, on a lined baking sheet with a little bit of olive oil; sprinkle fillets with salt and pepper, and spread the mustard mixture evenly over them. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
4. In the meantime put the lentils in a saucepan and cover them with water to 3 inches above. Bring lentils to a boil, (put now the salmon in the oven, bake it at 400º for 15min aprox.) simmer for about 20 min or until tender and drain them.
5. Melt the butter in a large pan and sauté the shallots for 2 minutes. Add the lentils and thyme, mix a couple of times with a wooden spoon or spatula and toss. Serve it on top of the salmon with the cauliflower as a side.