Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Roasted Asparagus

I love roasted asparagus. The cooking method is a variation of my other recipes for roasting potatoes and cauliflower. The main difference is the roasting time. Asparagus cooks much faster.


1 bunch of asparagus
Olive Oil


Preheat oven to 425F. Generously rub asparagus with olive oil and assemble on a baking sheet. Salt to taste. Roast asparagus for 10 minutes turning once midway through, around minute 5.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Tomato Cucumber Avocado Cilantro Salad

This is a salad that I make almost everyday. It is easy, simple, healthy and tasty. It goes well with chicken, fish, steak or pizza. I love adding avocado. It gives richness to the salad (plus it is full of healthy fats).


2 cups of baby mixed greens
1/2 of cucumber, sliced
1 large tomato and 15 cherry tomatoes, sliced into bite size pieces
1/2 of avocado, seeded and sliced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, minced
salt and pepper


In a large salad bowl combine mixed greens, tomato, cucumber, avocado and cilantro. In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Pour salad dressing into the bowl with salad ingredients and toss. Salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Morning at High 5 Pie

It is Sunday morning and time to meet my friend for coffee. Today we decide on High 5 Pie located on 12th and Madison/Union on Capitol Hill. I am in a desperate need for coffee and some flipside, which reminds me of Russian Pyrogi. I got Potato Dill Cheddar flipside and Americano. The flipside was tasty! Almost anything wrapped in some good buttery dough with cheese is tasty!!! How can you go wrong with butter and cheese?!

Cafe is nice and spacious. They serve variety of pies: different kinds and sizes. Cutie pies are cute individual little pies, which may seduce even serious dieter ;)

While taking pictures of the case full of pies my attention got caught by this beautiful Apple Pie. Say Pie!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Polenta Fries

What do you with polenta the next day if you cannot eat it all at once (like me last night)? There is actually a very nice way to serve polenta the second day. You can make polenta fries! 

Polenta solidifies once it cools off. Cook polenta following my recipe How to make Polenta? So, last night I poured warm polenta into a rectangular tupperware and spread the top evenly. I let polenta cool off in a room temperature and then put it in a refrigerator for the night. Today I took polenta out and it came from a tupperware like a nice block, which I sliced into rectangles shaped like “steak fries" (about 3/4 inch by 1 inch by 5 inches).

I fried them on both sides in olive oil (or butter - of course butter is tastier!!!) in a frying pan on medium high on each side until golden brown. 

Oh, polenta fries came out delicious. Crust is so nice! Happy cooking!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mom's Fried Fish

I like to fry fish such as tilapia, red snapper and catfish the way my mom did when I was growing up in Lithuania. She still makes it this way. This recipe is very easy.


2 fillets of tilapia, red snapper or catfish (whatever is fresh in a store)
1 egg
flour for dipping
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cajun spice (optional)
Olive oil for frying


1. Wash fish fillets with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.

2. Beat egg in a bowl, add salt and pepper to taste (I like cajun spice so I add it too). Take one fillet at a time and deep it into the egg wash.

3. Next, put fillet into a bowl with flour and cover it with flour on both sides.

4. Pour Olive oil in a pan so that the bottom is fully covered with oil. On medium high fry fillets on both sides until golden brown.

5. Cover the pan with a lid and cook fish covered for about 6 minutes or until it is done. This fish is very thin so it does not take that long for it to cook through.

6. Serve fish with mashed potatoes and/or salad. I served it with polenta tonight. I also save fish for lunch the next day and it is good to eat either cold or warmed up. Enjoy!

How to make Polenta?

I learned to make polenta from scratch one summer when I was in Lithuania and none of the stores there sold pre-made polenta. Once I learned how to make it myself I have not bought it in a store ever since. Polenta is usually served with lamb in the restaurants but in my kitchen I like serving polenta as a side dish for lamb, chicken, fish or with veggies. I especially like eating polenta with a zucchini dish that I make in the summer.


1 cup of polenta, Bob’s Red Mill brand
4 cups of water
1 teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons of shredded Parmesan
1 tablespoon of butter


Polenta to water ratio is 1 to 4. Pour water in a pot and add salt, bring to boil. Take cup with polenta into one hand (I use left) and a whisk into another (right for me). To the boiling water in a pot slowly start adding polenta and as you add whisk polenta into the water. Whisking prevents clumps from forming. Continue whisking until all polenta is in a pot, stir polenta and reduce heat to medium low.  Close the lid and let polenta cook for 10 minutes. Stir polenta few times while it is cooking. After 10 minutes once polenta has cooked, take the pot off the heat and add butter and parmesan and mix. Polenta is now ready to serve. Serve it with some shredded Parmesan on top.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fennel, Orange and Red Pepper Salad

It is almost spring and I crave something refreshing. I love combination of fresh fennel and orange and tonight I made a salad using these ingredients. Salad was exactly what I needed. I served it with a piece of pan-fried Black Cod with Tom Douglas Salmon Rub with love.


1 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon of finely chopped fennel fronds
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped into small pieces
2 oranges, navel
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of white sugar
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste


1. Peel orange with a knife so that you cut most of the membrane off and the flesh is exposed. Next from the top cut orange in half. Take each half and put it flat side down. Cut orange into thin slices so that each piece has several small sections of the orange held by the leftover membrane. See picture above.

2. In a salad bowl combine together fennel slices, fennel fronds, red pepper and orange slices. In a separate small bowl whisk together white wine vinegar, sugar and olive oil. Add vinegar and oil mixture to the salad bowl. Mix all ingredients together. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and put it in a refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving letting all the flavors meld together.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Victrola Cappuccino

Victrola Coffee shop is one of my favorites for a cup of cappuccino. I love stopping by it after work or on a weekend for a nice cup of coffee. I usually also get a small cookie. I had this cup and a cookie below today after gym.

New Bagel Place on Capitol Hill

Today my friend and I met for a bagel at a new bagel shop Eltana on Capitol Hill. The place was packed. I wonder if their last week's review in the Seattle Times had anything to do with this. Despite a big line we did get our bagels and sat down to enjoy them. I got sesame bagel with Eggplant Pomegranate Spread, which was more spicy than I expected but had a nice flavor. The bagels are much smaller than your usual bagels but they are tasty! My friend had honey almond spread on his sesame bagel. They have different spreads and other lunch items such as salads and soups. All in all it is a nice place to get a bagel.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Saturday Morning Breakfast

It is Saturday morning and I am making breakfast. Today it is Apple Smoked bacon, egg whites, Essential Bakery Rosemary Bread toast with butter and black currant preserves made by my mom from her garden in Lithuania. Plus coffee and fresh berries. What a great way to start a day! Even Tye, my rat terrier, enjoyed some bacon!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Angel Hair Pasta with Garlic and Chili Flakes

I love this pasta dish. Easy to make and garlic comes out so delicious!!!


angel hair pasta (Capellini), 1/2 package or 8 oz.
1 big garlic, cloves peeled and sliced into 1/8 inch thick slices
chili flakes dried
olive oil enough to cover garlic in a pot
salt, 2 teaspoons
parsley or cilantro, chopped for garnish


Pour oil into a small pot, add garlic, salt and chili flakes and let garlic cook slowly on low heat for about 25 minutes. Be careful not to burn it. Stir occasionally. After about 20 minutes when you see garlic getting soft and brown cook angel hair pasta following instructions on a package. Once pasta is cooked, transfer it into a big bowl, pour the garlic and olive oil mixture and toss. Serve with some chopped parsley or cilantro. I usually serve it with roasted cauliflower, the recipe for which I posted earlier.

Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted cauliflower has beautiful golden brown color and is tender and sweet! Here is how you can make it.


1 head of cauliflower
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil (depending on how large your cauliflower is)


Preheat oven to 450F. Take a head of cauliflower and slice it vertically into slices, about 1/3 -1/2 inch thick. It is ok if some pieces fall apart when you slice the sides of a cauliflower. Rub cauliflower pieces gently on both sides with olive oil. Salt to taste. Layer cauliflower on a cooking sheet in a single layer. Roast cauliflower for 50 minutes turning once midway though.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Banana Tarte Tatin

Last night I wanted to make some easy dessert and I remembered this recipe for Banana Tarte Tartin from Saveur magazine from last year. The recipe is available online and is easy to follow.  Here is how I made the tart.

3⁄4 cup of sugar
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1 teaspoon of orange zest
1⁄4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
3 ripe bananas, halved lengthwise
1  9”x9” sheet of frozen puff pastry, Aussie Bakery brand, thawed. It is sold in many supermarkets in Seattle.

I preheated oven to 400F. First step is to make caramel sauce. I combined sugar and butter in a small pot. I kept mixing sugar and butter in a pot, first on a low heat and then gradually increasing heat to medium high. I made sure not to burn sugar by continually stirring the mixture. I followed instructions and continued cooking the mixture until it was deep golden brown color. The process took about 10-12 minutes. I removed the caramel from heat and stirred in orange zest and cinnamon. Next I poured caramel mixture into a round glass ovenproof pie baking dish and spread it to cover the bottom.

After that I laid bananas cut side up over the caramel. I needed only 3 bananas and cut some pieces as needed to fit in the baking dish.

Following the instructions I unfolded puff pastry sheet over bananas, trimming edges of pastry to fit the dish, and tucked in the edges. I used a fork to prick pastry sheet. I put tart into the oven, put timer for 30 minutes and forgot about it.

After about 20 minutes I checked on tart to see that it was cooking and right at 30 minutes I took the tart out. Just like the recipe said the pastry was puffed and golden brown and caramel was bubbling around the edges of the dish. I let tart cool off for couple minutes.

OK, so this was the tricky part. To serve, you need to place a serving platter or baking sheet upside down over the baking dish and carefully invert tart onto platter or sheet. It takes patience but I did it!

The last step is to cut tart and serve it with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. I ate it just by itself and it was delicious. The next step is to make this tart with apples – a timeless classic!