Thursday, April 22, 2010

Greek Night (4-21-10)

Avgolemono (lemon chicken soup)
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
6 egg yolks
8 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup orzo pasta
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 large lemon, zest of
1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 chicken breasts (meat cooked & shredded)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Sliced pita bread, on the side

1) Combine milk, corn starch, & egg yolks. Set aside.
2) Boil the chicken stock in a large soup pot (4 quart is good). Once the stock is boiling, add the orzo pasta and let it cook covered for 9-12 minutes (until pasta is tender).
3) When pasta is tender, remove the pot from the heat and add the egg mixture and butter. Stir slowly until it all blends together. Then add garlic and chicken to pot.
4) Return the pot back to the heat and continue to cook the soup. It will thicken slightly.
5) Remove from the heat again and add the lemon juice and lemon peel. Serve with pita bread.

Sautéed Kale with Toasted Pine Nuts
olive oil (about 2-3T)
1 small red onion, chopped (about 1c)
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1 bunch green kale (about 3-4c)
1/2c pine nuts, toasted
juice of one lemon, optional (about 1-2T)
Salt & pepper, to taste, optional

1) Wash kale thoroughly, and strip the leaves from the stems. Chop into fine strips.
2) In a medium skillet, sauté onion in olive oil, over medium heat, until translucent.
3) Add garlic and sauté for one minute until fragrant.
4) Add kale and stir until it is completely wilted.
5) Reduce heat to low, cover, and continue cooking for 3-5 minutes until kale is tender (not mushy), vibrant green and still a little springy.
6) In a small dry skillet, over high heat, toast pine nuts, stirring constantly until golden brown.
7) Stir pine nuts into kale mixture.
8) Drizzle with optional lemon juice and add seasonings, if desired. Serve immediately.


1 (16 oz) package phyllo dough
1 pound chopped walnuts
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey 

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F(175 degrees C). Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9x13 inch pan. 

2) Chop nuts and toss with cinnamon. Set aside. Unroll phyllo dough. Cut whole stack in half to fit pan. Cover phyllo with a dampened cloth to keep from drying out as you work. Place two sheets of dough in pan, butter thoroughly. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered. Sprinkle 2 - 3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Top with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts, layering as you go. The top layer should be about 6 - 8 sheets deep. 

3) Using a sharp knife cut into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. You may cut into 4 long rows the make diagonal cuts. Bake for about 50 minutes until baklava is golden and crisp. 

4) Make sauce while baklava is baking. Boil sugar and water until sugar is melted. Add vanilla and honey. Simmer for about 20 minutes. 

5) Remove baklava from oven and immediately spoon sauce over it. Let cool. Serve in cupcake papers. This freezes well. Leave it uncovered as it gets soggy if it is wrapped up. 

(Pita chips with hummus)


1 cup dried chickpeas
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper
4 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon baking powder
4-6 tablespoons flour
Soybean or vegetable oil for frying
Chopped tomato for garnish
Diced onion for garnish
Diced green bell pepper for garnish
Tahina sauce
Pita bread

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Welcome to our blog!

This is the beginning of our brand new cooking club - The Curious Cooks. I would like to take a brief moment to spotlight the seven lovely ladies in our club.

Madelynne Brown - from Salt Lake City, UT.  I am a therapist, artist, and foodie wannabe.

I love to make desserts, but stir-frys are also my specialty.

I don't usually cook with recipes. I remember the first batch of cookies I made by myself - I left out the baking soda, and they ran all over the pan. I was so disappointed, and its really hard to stir baking soda into stiff dough!

Patti Cook - I am a lover of variety and crave it in food, people and experiences. I graduated with an undergrad in technical writing and after doing that for a while, I moved into planning events for corporations and associations. Now I stay at home with my two kids and try and plan our daily menus while working around meltdowns, my husband schedules and life in general. I like to cook and enjoy raw ingredients and simple, clean favors. Don't ask me to bake though - I have NEVER had a cookie or a loaf of bread turn out like I had hoped. Yes, I said NEVER....but hope spring eternal.....

My disaster story started when I was banned from the kitchen at a young age. My mom gave my sisters all cooking lessons. When it came to me, I made one dish - homemade mac and cheese - and for some reason it turned out so bad that I was banned from cooking lessons and the kitchen in general! Good thing I married later in life and had lots of time after leaving home to practice cooking. No one since has banned me from the I call that a success!

Aliisa Leon

Janna Mathews - Hometown is Kingman, Arizona. Although now I have lived in the Salt Lake Valley so long, it is starting to become my home. I am currently the Production Supervisor in the Marketing Department for SOS Staffing.

Its hard to pick a favorite food, but I would have to go with watermelon. Nothing can beat a perfectly ripe watermelon. My favorite cooked food however would have to be cheesecake. A yummy crispy crust, with the velvety texture of cheese, egg and cream baked to perfection. hmmmm now I want cheesecake.

My diaster story is a dinner I was making for friends and roommates. I burned the rolls, meat and overcooked the broccoli. It seemed like everything I was doing messed up! I was trying to plug ahead though and thought maybe a little parmesan sprinkles would be ok over the vegetables. I was trying to break up the clumps by hitting the container on the counter. What I didn't realize was that the lid wasn't on very tight. So with the first bang, the lid came off, and I flung Parmesan cheese all over the kitchen. So now not only was my food ruined, but now the whole Kitchen was covered in a fine dust of parmesan cheese.

Glory Rascon

Amanda Wallace - I grew up in a small town called Searcy, Arkansas. I moved to Utah in 1996 and despite my dislike of snow I stuck around. I work as a manager in Dermatology at the University of  Utah (for the past 7 years).

Favorite dish to make is chocolate pecan pie.

Cooking disaster story - I made the perfect cherry pie for a church activity. It was beautiful. Before I left I nibbled on a tiny piece of crust that had broken off. Thank goodness I did! It was super salty. I had accidentally doubled the amount of salt in my crust. Moral of the story - always taste your food before you leave the house!!

Sara Wright - Growing up in San Antonio, Texas, I never thought I’d spend a majority of my adult life in Washington, DC, which is where I began working for Marriott Hotels. When I moved to Salt Lake four years ago, I took my job with me and am fortunate enough to work from home. I’m a manager of special projects in the International Training department and LOVE to travel. Especially internationally. 

My favorite thing I like to make is a bowtie pasta and broccoli dish. And a citrus rice salad. Love the melding of flavors.

My cooking disaster story involves a cheap metal saucepan, a stove burner, oatmeal and molten metal…all while I was a freshman at BYU. It’s always a good idea to remember when you have something cooking on the stove. Just a note to self. One Saturday morning, my oatmeal breakfast turned into a disaster area when I left the cheap metal pan burner on our electric stove in Heritage Halls and got involved in another project. Fifteen minutes later, the smoke alarm informed everyone in the apartment that all was not right in the kitchen. Smoke was pouring from the saucepan and as I lifted it up, the molten metal that dripped from the now bottomless pan (!) met the floor with a sizzle and left its mark. Luckily for all concerned, my roommate no longer wanted her pan and the linoleum was being replaced in all of the apartments later that year. Whew!