zaterdag 25 mei 2013

Vegetarian Lasagna with Spinach, Tomatoes and Mushrooms

As you know I'm a vegetarian so I don't eat meat, fish, chicken. For those vegetarians out there I will give a delicious recipe for lasagna.

You will need a lot of ingredients:
- lasagna sheets
- butter
- basil
- red wine
- tomatoes
- flour
- white wine
- nutmeg
- spinach
- mushrooms
- concentrated tomato paste
- olive oil
- lemon juice
- thyme
- oregano
- rasped cheese
- parmezan
- mascarpone

First we make the Bechamel sauce, which is basically a mixture of flour, cream, butter, water and nutmeg (optional: white wine). It's pretty standard. Don't add too much flour, or you will have a lot of sauce. Make the sauce thick enough.

And this is how I made the lasagna. Try it yourself!

After having baked it for almost an hour on medium heat, I added the cheese on top of it and let it bake for another few minutes on high heat. This is the result...

Without Cheese on Top:

With Cheese on Top:

Very good taste, the only comment I have on myself is that the spinach was a little bit darkened because I cooked it for too long. Almost an hour cooking. Next time don't overcook the lasagna! Half an hour is enough.

Bechamel Sauce for Lasagna

A quick and easy way to make Bechamel sauce for your lasagna topping. Just use basic ingredients: flour, butter, cream, nutmeg and water. Season with salt and pepper.

This sauce will be a little bit thicker than usual because it's going to be used for lasagna.

Can't be easier...

zondag 19 mei 2013

Chicken Vol-au-vent

To make chicken vol-au-vent you need to make a special liaison of egg yolk and cream.

Then you fry/cook the mushrooms. I used oyster mushrooms. You will need nutmeg to add to the taste.

After cooking the mushrooms you make the sauce. For this, you first make a roux, add water and then add the mushrooms and chicken to it. Finally you season it and add the liaison of egg and cream.

If you want a special taste, you can even add wine instead of water.

This is the result:

Hash Browns: Day 3

Ok, I have made the water + flour + starch mixture.

I used 3 table spoons of flour and 1 table spoon of potato starch. Then I added water (around 7 table spoons of water) until the mixture is fluid. It needs to be pretty fluid, do not make it too thick. Don't forget to add salt, otherwise the coat doesn't have flavour.

Then I take out my hash browns from the fridge, let it warm up a bit and then fry it while dipping it in the water/flour/starch mixture.

This is the result: If you fry it a second time, it will be crispier.

Final result:
I think the hash browns were not salted enough, so next time I'm going to add more salt. I also think the potatoes were cooked for too long, so I will cook them less the next time.

To see how you make the hash brown, go here.

maandag 13 mei 2013

Hash Browns: Day 2

Ok, here we go!

1) I chopped 1 potato in small cubes like this.

2) I put them in boiling water for 3 minutes, because they soften pretty quickly.

3) I let them rest for about ten minutes.

4) For our first experiment we add:
     - half a tea spoon of salt
     - half a tea spoon of sugar
     - 3 tea spoons of flower
     - a little bit of pepper

Half a tea spoon of salt
Half a tea spoon of sugar
3 tea spoons of flower
A little bit of pepper

5) I mash them a little bit.

6) I put them in between some baking paper and roll them into the right thickness

7) I cut them in Hash Brown sizes and put them in the freezer.

Tomorrow, we will go to the next part: frying them.

For the water/flower mixture I used 7 cups of water, 3 cups of flower and 1 cup of potato starch.

zondag 12 mei 2013

Tarte Tatin

I think I have perfected the making of tarte tartin, one of the most delicious desserts ever!

The most important part in cooking tarte tartin is to choose how much sugar you are going to use. Do not use too much sugar, or the apples will taste like candy. Do not use too little sugar, or you won't have enough caramelization of the tarte tartin. The standard is: use as much sugar as you need to cover the entire frying pan.

Another important part is how thin your apples are sliced. If you make them really thin, you will get dark brown caramelized apples, which isn't bad. But if you want a little bit more moisture and juiciness to the apples, you will have to slice them bigger.

For the pastry, always use "puff pastry". It is the best combination. Add a little flower to the puff pastry to get that "flowery" taste.

Next on, you will need some apple vinegar, or you could use white wine too. The best is of course Calvados, but not everyone drinks it and it's quite expensive.

A tarte tartin wouldn't be perfect if you didn't have that caramelized (candy-like), chewy, crust on it. To get that crust, you need to cook the apples long enough so that most of the water evaporates. It will take about 15 minutes to get all the water out. When baking it in the oven, make sure you bake it long enough so that the crust becomes candy-like. You need at least half an hour baking in the oven, to make it crisp. For that to happen, you need to bake it on low heat (150 °C). Otherwise the pastry will get burnt. The last 5 minutes you can use 180 °C to get that brown crispy color on your pastry.

After baking it, you flip it over on a plate and don't forget to add the ice cream on top of it.

And the result:

Final Result:
I think the next time I'm going to slice the apples bigger and let them cook longer and also bake them longer. This will make the apples browner, more caramelized. If you have thick apples, then you will still have some juiciness in the apples.

Hash Browns: Day 1

I have always wanted to cook my own McDonald Hash Browns, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. So I watched Youtube for recipes and every time I make them they aren't crispy. So let's start our own experiment.

According to McDonald's, these are the ingredients of Hash Browns:

Potato(es), Vegetable(s) Oil (Canola Oil, Soybean(s) Oil Hydrogenated, Flavor(s) Natural Beef, Citric Acid Preservative) , Salt, Corn Flour, Potato(es) Dehydrated, Dextrose, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate To Protect Color, Pepper(s) Black Extractives, Prepared with Vegetable(s) Oil(Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Soybean(s) Oil, Soybean(s) Oil Hydrogenated, with TBHQ and, Citric Acid Preservative) , Dimethylpolysiloxane An Anti-foaming Agent

The most important ingredients here are: 
- potatoes
- flour
- dextrose (sugar)
- salt
- pepper
- oil

And that's it. No eggs, no milk, no butter. So keep that in mind.

Potatoes should be cut into little blocks. If you look at the hash brown texture of McDonald's, then you see those potatoes are cut like that.

This is how you chop them:

Second, those hash browns use cooked potatoes. So you should have cooked them already before you prepare the hash brown. I would first chop the potatoes and then let them cook for about a few minutes until they begin to soften, don't overcook them.

Next, add the salt, sugar, pepper and flower to the potato blocks. Now here comes the experiment, how much salt, sugar, pepper and flower should we use? After seasoning, you should start creating the hash browns. Make them thin enough so that they will fry at the right rate later on.

Another thing that I learned is that you can get a crispy skin by using a mixture of flour and water to coat the outside, so we're going to do that too. 

Finally, if you want to coat your hash brown with the flour and water mixture, the hash brown should be hard enough, because otherwise it won't work as you have a texture that will fall apart. So that means you need to put your hash brown in the refrigerator first to make it hard. 

After you have iced the hash browns in the refrigerator, you coat them with the flour and water mixture and then you deep fry them. Hopefully it will work.

Go here to find out how I made the Hash Browns.