Love in the Kitchen - making fast, healthy, homegrown meals you'll enjoy

Monday, December 31, 2012

It's a New Year at Tuesday's Table!

Happy New Year and welcome to Tuesday's Table!

Did you watch the ball drop in Times Square?  Did you know that the New Year's Eve Times Square Ball Drop may be the most famous event observed all over the world. Those who mark the occasion in New York City brave a crowd of more than a million people and are treated to a ton (literally) of confetti, fireworks and parties that run deep into the first day of the New Year.

Since 1907 the ball has been dropped from One Times Square every year, except in 1942 and 1943, when a wartime blackout canceled the drop. The ball drop has evolved with technology in its hundred-plus-year history. Walter F. Palmer, an electrician with the New York Times, designed the first ball. It appeared as an illuminated 400-pound iron-and-wood orb and was lowered from a flagpole. In 1995, rhinestones and a computerized system featuring strobe lights were added. This year's ball will be 12 feet in diameter and will weigh 11,875 pounds.

By tradition, the ball drop begins one minute to midnight when the mayor of New York City presses a ball-shaped button on a concert stage. In reality, the drop is not triggered by the button, but is cued automatically by an atomic clock synchronized with the time signal WWVB.

And that ball drop marks the start of many many New Year's Resolutions.  Did you make any resolutions this year?  Do you have successes from last year to share?  Do you have new recipes on your list to try?  Do you have some favorites from last year?  Share those or any others here at Tuesday's Table!

We've had a lot of fun and creative links shared.  This week's favorite was difficult to choose!  This week my favorite was the Classic Orange Julius from Tip Garden.  I remember these from when I was a kid, and it feels like a healthy way to start the New Year!

Thanks for sharing - grab a button here!

I'll feature my favorite entry from this week on next week's post.  I hope you bring your favorites!

Only a few guidelines:

  • Please share as many links as you like, but only if you haven't shared them here before.  
  • Add a link back to Tuesday's Table (or grab a button above!) so others can join in the fun.  
  • Sign up for my email reminder here.
No other requirements, but visit the other links here, and I'd love for you to follow me too!

And now, for this week's link party!

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Galactic Burritos (Galaktoboureko)

On our first trip to London, we stayed near Santorini Taverna, a wonderful Greek restaurant.  We ate there several times in our ten day stay, and have been back both times we visited London since then.  Our very first dessert was a Galactic Burrito.  Or at least that is what I heard.  And it was amazing!

I have since found that the actual name is Galaktoboureko (gah-lahk-toh-BOO-reh-koh) and is a divine combination of creamy custard and flaky phyllo dough that is baked to golden perfection then drenched with a lemon and orange infused syrup.

We had a Greek-themed Christmas Eve dinner, and I knew that I had to make it.  

This dish has a lot of steps, but is actually pretty easy to make.  I was galactially (ha!) busy and neglected to get any pictures of the preparation, but if you follow the recipe, you'll have a fabulous dessert.



For the filling:

  • 6 cups milk
  • 1-1/4 cup fine semolina (you can substitute Farina)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter

For the syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 inch piece of lemon rind
  • 2 inch piece of orange rind
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon

For the crust:

  • 1 lb. phyllo pastry sheets
  • 1/2 lb. unsalted butter, melted (for brushing)


Make the Filling: 
  • In a large saucepan, heat the milk over medium high heat until just boiling. Add the semolina and stir with a whisk. Lower the heat to medium low.
  • Using a whisk, beat the egg yolks with the sugar. Ladle a cup of the warmed milk into the egg mixture to temper and then add the egg yolk mixture to the pot.
  • Continue to cook over medium low heat until the cream starts to thicken, stirring continuously.
  • When the custard has thickened, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and the butter. Set aside.
Unwrap the Phyllo:

  • Carefully remove the Phyllo roll from the plastic sleeve. Most packages come in 12 x 18 inch sheets when opened fully. 
  • Using a scissor or sharp knife, cut the sheets in half to make two stacks of 9x12 inch sheets. To prevent drying, cover one stack with wax paper and a damp paper towel while working with the other.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Assemble the Galaktoboureko:

  • Using a pastry brush, brush the bottom and sides of a 9 x 12 rectangular pan. You will use approximately half the phyllo sheets for the bottom of the pastry. 
  • Begin by layering sheets one by one in the bottom of the pan, making sure to brush each one thoroughly with melted butter.
  • When you have almost layered half the sheets, drape two sheets of phyllo so that they extend half in the pan and half out of the pan horizontally. Add the custard in an even layer on top of the sheets, smoothing the surface with a spatula. 
  • Fold the phyllo sheet flaps in over the custard layer. Add the remaining sheets on top, brushing each sheet with melted butter.
  • Before baking, score the top layer of phyllo (making sure not to puncture the filling layer) to enable easier cutting of pieces later. 
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 45 minutes or until the phyllo turns a deep golden color.

While the Galaktoboureko is baking, prepare the syrup:

  • Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and add the lemon peel and orange peel. 
  • Boil over medium high heat for approximately 10 – 15 minutes. 
  • Remove the lemon and orange peel and stir in the lemon juice. 
  • Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Do not pour hot syrup over the hot custard. Allow both to cool to room temperature and then carefully ladle the syrup over the galaktoboureko and allow time for it to be absorbed.  Slice and serve - I served with Coconut Lemon Ice Cream - yum!  I'll share the ice cream recipe tomorrow.  Be sure to come back - you won't want to miss it!

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

Saganaki (Flaming Greek Cheese)

Greek cheese slices are fried and flamed.  We had it first this past summer at a Troy's, a local Greek restaurant, served with fresh pita bread.  And wow was it amazing.  Like a sophisticated grilled cheese sandwich.  But better.

I found several recipes and adapted to match what we had at Troy's.



  • Kasseri or Kefalotere (see below)
  • Ice water
  • Flour
  • Butter or margarine
  • Lemon juice
  • Ouzo (Greek liquor) or cognac


Cut Kasseri cheese into 1/2-inch slices, allowing about 4 ounces for each serving. Chill slices in ice water. Pat dry and dust with flour.

For each serving, melt 3 tablespoons butter until it sizzles but does not brown. Add cheese slices and saute quickly on both sides. Do not overcook or cheese will melt and stick to pan.

For each serving, squeeze juice of 1/2 lemon into skillet and sprinkle with a few drops of Ouzo. Ignite. Serve cheese with fresh hot pita bread when flames die down.

Note: Kasseri and Kefalotere are hard Greek cheeses which can be found at most Greek or Middle Eastern grocery stores or gourmet food shops.  Good Provolone or Mozzarella can be substituted if you cannot find Kasseri or Kefalotere.

You'll note that I don't have any pictures of folks enjoying this because it literally went too quickly.  This is a pretty fun and impressive dish (who doesn't like a dramatic presentation?!)  and is wonderfully rich and delicious.  Give it a try the next time  you are serving Greek food or just the next time you are in the mood for a really good version of a grilled cheese sandwich!

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy Birthday to My Favorite Guy!

Today is a special day in our household - the day The Mr was born.

He was an awfully cute little guy, wasn't he?

And he still is!  We've shared 10 of his birthdays so far... some were pretty casual...

... and some very fancy!

Every day with The Mr is like a gift for me, and I hope he has the very best birthday ever.  I love you baby!

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Making-a Ba-lur-ch-a!

We've been noticeably absent from the blog world of late, but we have a good reason.

This little one has been staying with us and we certainly wanted to soak up every last minute we had with her!

She's even more adorable in person than in pictures.  And to celebrate her last morning here in San Diego, we made a special treat - BA-LUR-CHA!  {you might recognize it as glurch, but Katy knows just what it is}  If you've never made it before, it is a very easy and inexpensive way to entertain kids (and grown-ups) for a morning.

You'll need:

8 ounces of white glue
8 ounces of water
2 teaspoons of Borax
1/3 cup water

What you'll need to do:

1.  Pour the glue into a bowl.  Fill the glue bottle with water and add to the glue.  Stir to combine.

2.  Dissolve 2 teaspoons borax in 1/3 cup water.

3.  Pour the borax mixture into the glue mixture.

4.  Stir until the blurch ;-)  has thickened.

Like this!

Now... play!

Cookie cutters are fun with blurch.

Katy liked to chop it into smaller pieces.

Teddy bears and airplanes are fun.

But a blurch train is the best!

If you leave it on the counter all day, it looks like this:

And later, you can squish it back together and it turns back into a nice smooth solid-ish liquid-ish mass of blurchy delight.  I have read that it keeps for some time in a plastic bag in the refrigerator - though I can tell you that you want to make certain that it is well sealed or it will blurch all over the refrigerator!

Now, can anyone tell me what I am supposed to do with 4 pounds (less 2 teaspoons) of borax?

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tuesday's Table - Christmas is Next Week!

Welcome to Tuesday's Table, where we get together to fill up our table with food, drinks and entertainment.  This week, we're looking for your best holiday recipes and ideas.  Have you got some great recipes for an impromptu get-together?  Last-minute shopping strategies?  Christmas Eve traditions?  Bring them all over and share them here!

I had such fun seeing everyone's entries last week - I've got a list a mile long to make before my family arrives later this week.  For my feature today, I decided to hedge my bet with the big man in red.  I chose Crystelle's recipe for Hot Cocoa with Sleepy Potion for Christmas Eve!  I'll be making this to make sure we're all fast asleep - with happy tummies - when Santa gets here Christmas Eve.

Thanks for sharing Crystelle - grab a button here!

I'll feature my favorite entry from this week on next week's post.  I hope you bring your favorites!

Only a few guidelines:

  • Please share as many links as you like, but only if you haven't shared them here before.  
  • Add a link back to Tuesday's Table (or grab a button above!) so others can join in the fun.  
  • Sign up for my email reminder here.
No other requirements, but visit the other links here, and I'd love for you to follow me too!

And now, for this week's link party - remember, holiday recipes and ideas!

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Ricotta Cookies

I love traditional Christmas cookie recipes.  Especially recipes that yield delicious and unusual cookies.  And that don't take very long to bake!

These cookies are all of that - you'll love them with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.  Here's how to make them:

Ricotta Cookies


  • 1-2/3 cup  ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted, cooled
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • Confectioners sugar for sprinkling

In large bowl, mix ricotta, eggs, granulated sugar and vanilla until well-blended. Stir in butter. Gradually mix in flour and baking powder to form dough. Separate dough into 4 balls.

On lightly floured surface, roll each ball into 10-inch circle. Cut each circle into 8 triangular wedges. From the thicker, outer edge to the thinner, inner edge, roll each triangle into a mini croissant.

Place 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.  {They really don't spread very much, so you can get all of them on two large baking sheets.  See how they don't take long to make?}

Bake in preheated 350F oven until cookies are firm and just hinting at golden, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool 5 minutes on sheets. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Using fine-mesh sieve, dust with confectioners sugar.

Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week or freeze up to 1 month.  Makes 32.

These cookies are not overly sweet, very tender and overall a delightful treat.  I hope you enjoy them!

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