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Archive for July, 2010

Baked feta dip

I found another way to use up random ingredients, this time in the form of a dip. I made a big substitution, using homemade pizza sauce rather than marinara sauce. The dip was good, but I think it would have been a lot better with a simpler, less rich and thick sauce. I sprinkled the feta with greek oregano, but there were so many flavors in the dip because of the sauce. The oregano and even the feta kind of got lost. I served this with pita chips.

Baked Feta Dip (Yum Sugar)


1 baguette, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
olive oil, for drizzling
fresh ground black pepper
8 ounces feta cheese
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
  3. Bake until toasted and crisp, 12-15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, crumble the feta in single layer in an oven-safe serving dish.
  5. Sprinkle the red pepper flakes over the top.
  6. Cover completely with the marinara sauce, spreading smooth.
  7. Place in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes until the marinara is bubbly and darker in color.
  8. Carefully remove from the oven and serve immediately with the toasted crostini.

Sun dried tomato pasta salad

I made this to use up a lot of items in my kitchen, now that we’re moving in a few days, but it turned out really good! My biggest substitution was using sun dried tomatoes from a pouch that I rehydrated in water in the microwave for 2 minutes. They were just fine for the dressing, but a little mushy for the actual salad. This was really good warm, but better at room temp. I wouldn’t want to refrigerate the tomatoes, so I only put in as many tomatoes as we would eat today. Then tomorrow, I’ll add more!

Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Salad (Ina)


1/2 pound fusilli (spirals) pasta
Kosher salt
1 pound ripe tomatoes, medium-diced (I used 2 for today, and I’ll add more tomorrow)
3/4 cup good black olives, such as kalamata, pitted and diced (Left out)
1 pound fresh mozzarella, medium-diced (Left out, but would definitely add next time)
6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
For the dressing:
5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 tablespoons good olive oil
1 garlic clove, diced
1 teaspoon capers, drained (Left out because I didn’t have, I will add them next time)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan (I didn’t use that much)
1 cup packed basil leaves, julienned


  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water with a splash of oil to keep it from sticking together. Boil for 12 minutes, or according to the directions on the package. Drain well and allow to cool.
  2. Place the pasta in a bowl and add the tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.
  3. For the dressing, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, capers, salt, and pepper in a food processor until almost smooth.
  4. Pour the dressing over the pasta, sprinkle with the Parmesan and basil, and toss well.

Old bay shrimp boil

Simple, tasty, and fun. Finally, a good way to use up a lot of the big container of Old Bay that I bought oh-so-long ago to make crab cakes. I stuck with the original recipe, but changed a few of the cooking times. Many people on All Recipes (where the original recipe can also be found) thought the potatoes ended up overdone. I started with the onions, then added sausage, then a few minutes later added the potatoes and corn. The onions were ALMOST too soft, so maybe I won’t boil them for the full 8 minutes. The potatoes actually could have been cooked a little bit longer, so I’ll add them with the sausage. The shrimp only took about 2 minutes. I threw in a lemon at the beginning, and about 1/2 bottle of beer.

I’ve included the quantities to serve 2, with enough for leftovers the next day.


4 quarts water (16 cups) (10 cups)

1 can (12 ounces) beer (1/2 bottle)

1 lemon half

1/2 cup OLD BAY® Seasoning (1/4 cup – no more!)

2 tablespoons salt (1 tbsp)

8 medium red potatoes, quartered (4 little-ish ones)

2 large onions, cut into wedges (1 onion)

2 pounds lean smoked sausage, cut into 2-inch pieces (1/2 lb andouille, I didn’t read and cut it into smaller pieces)

8 ears fresh corn, shucked and halved crosswise (2 ears)

4 pounds unpeeled jumbo shrimp (21 to 25 count) (1 lb)


Bring water, beer, OLD BAY Seasoning and salt to boil in 12-quart stockpot on high heat. Add potatoes and onions. Cook 8 minutes. Add smoked sausage. Cook 5 minutes. Add corn. Cook 7 minutes.

Stir in shrimp. Cook 4 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink.

Drain cooking liquid. Pour contents of pot into large serving bowl or platter. Or, mound on paper-covered table. Sprinkle with additional OLD BAY Seasoning, if desired.

White bread comparision

I made two white breads in the past two days…the American Sandwich Bread (Annie’s Eats and Brown Eyed Baker) and King Arthur’s Classic White Bread. Both Jacob and I preferred the American Sandwich Bread. The KA recipe was just too complex for me, and really rich and buttery. It tasted delicious, but it’s not the best for sandwiches. The textures were pretty similar, and they sliced well. Neither bread rose amazingly, and they don’t seem to rise any once they start baking. I’m not sure what the problem is, especially with the American Sandwich Bread, because I made it at home before and it rose like crazy. What could it be? Lubbock? My apartment (which is really warm)? The pan? The oven? Hmm. I’ll keep working on it.

Carrot slaw

Very yummy and refreshing! I left out some of the ingredients, but the ones I used worked nicely together. I ended up using cherry flavored dried cranberries, but next time I would try currants or maybe golden raisins.

Neely’s Carrot Slaw



  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 4 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 tablespoon celery seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped fennel fronds
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds


  1. Add all ingredients to a small bowl and combine well.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together all the slaw ingredients.
  3. Add the vinaigrette and toss until well combined. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Brioche burger bun

I can’t say one bad thing about these buns. I made sure to follow the directions exactly, and even ended up adding a little extra water during kneading because the dough wasn’t that sticky. Then, while shaping, I got my hands wet instead of dusting with flour. I thought they would stick to the parchment paper and not rise correctly. But they were fine! No, wait, they were amazing! Light, sweet, buttery, and beautiful! I sprinkled some with sesame seeds, some with poppy seeds, and some I left naked. My rising times were 1 hr for the first and 1 hr 15 minutes for the second. I followed the step about preheating the oven with a pan of water, but I wonder if the water would be more effective if I poured it into a preheated pan when I put the buns in. Maybe the evaporation of the water while baking is enough. I baked for 16 minutes, turning after 8.

Light Brioche Burger Buns
Adapted from Comme Ça restaurant in Los Angeles, also found on Annie’s Eats

Makes 8 4 to 5-inch burger buns

3 tablespoons warm milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Sesame seeds (optional)

1. In a glass measuring cup, combine one cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about five minutes. Meanwhile, beat one egg.

2. In a large bowl, whisk flours with salt. Add butter and rub into flour between your fingers, making crumbs. Using a dough scraper, stir in yeast mixture and beaten egg until a dough forms. Scrape dough onto clean, well-floured counter and knead, scooping dough up, slapping it on counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. The dough will be on the sticky side so it can be a bit messy, but keep in mind that the more flour you knead in, the tougher the buns will get. Try to leave them tackier than you would a round loaf.

3. Shape dough into a ball and return it to bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, one to two hours. (In my freaky, warm apartment this only took an hour.)

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using dough scraper, divide dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball and arrange two to three inches apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap lightly coated in nonstick spray and let buns rise in a warm place for one to two hours. (Again, this only took one hour in my apartment and I suspect, you’ll also only need an hour for a second rise.)

5. Set a large shallow pan of water on oven floor. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center. Beat remaining egg with one tablespoon water and brush some on top of buns. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using. Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Greek turkey burgers

I’ve made these before, but when I saw ground turkey on sale, making these again was the first thought on my mind. They are so good, and I had leftover frozen spinach and amazing greek oregano. The sides browned quickly, before the meat was cooked all of the way, so I was poking them and taking the temp a lot. We shaped them kind of thick, about 1 inch, but maybe they should be a little thinner. We even made an indention in the middle, but they still puffed up a little. Next time I’ll go for 3/4 inch thickness. Once they were cooked (and not burnt, thankfully), we enjoyed them on toasted brioche buns slathered with tzatziki sauce. So good! And not too heavy. I know these are turkey burgers, but I definitely think that a splash of olive oil is necessary to make these burgers delicious. It is really surprising how these hold together without any egg or breadcrumbs, but they did great!

Racheal’s recipe has so much extra things in it, so I’ll write my own!

Greek Turkey Burgers (inspired by Chicken or Turkey Spanakopita Burgers and Greek-Style Turkey Burgers from Recipezaar/Food.com)

Serves 4


  • One turn of the pan of olive oil and 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 big red onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 10 oz box frozen spinach, defrosted
  • 4 oz crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tsp dried Greek oregano
  • 1 tsp dried Basil
  • S&P
  • 1 1/3 lb ground turkey (whatever comes in the package)


  1. Heat oil and butter in big skillet. Add chopped red onions and cook for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.
  3. Squeeze moisture out of spinach and place in bowl with feta, seasonings, and cooled red onion and garlic. Mix to combine.
  4. Add turkey, gently mix, and form 4 patties, about 3/4 inch thick. Put an indention in the middle of each of the patties.
  5. Have skillet on medium and add a little oil. When hot, add the patties to the pan. Cook about 6-7 minutes on each side. Turkey should be 160 on a thermometer. Serve on buns with tzatziki sauce!