Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cheese Salad

Cheese salad is very popular in Latvia and since I am constantly hungry now due to my growing baby, I try to eat foods packed with protein. This salad can be dressed up for special occasions by putting it in on fancy crackers or in salty tart shells. It is served that way as an appetizer here.

Ingredients: (For 2 people)
1 boiled egg
1 boiled or steamed carrot (1/2 if yours are large)
6 oz. grated cheese - In Latvian almost all cheeses are white and I use a simple white cheese. You could probably use cheddar. Try a variety of whatever you have on hand.
2 cloves finely minced garlic.
3 T. mayo
Pepper to taste.

Grate ingredients. Mix together and refrigerate. Best if it has time for the flavors to "marry." We love it on crackers or with some delicious bread. Enjoy!

Monday, January 23, 2012


So ever since we were in Rome I had a hankering to try and make nutella. I like the real Nutella, but its list of ever so fake ingredients- despite the great taste deter me from buying it my kids.

So I did some research and decided to try this recipe. From this website: http://www.sugoodsweets.com/blog/2005/12/nutella/

I have added my comments in yellow because I think it will help yours turn out even better than ours. And ours is yummy :)

Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread (easy version)
Yield: about 12 ounces (1 1/2 cups)
2 cups whole raw hazelnuts
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
up to 1/4 cup vegetable or nut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Place hazelnuts in a single layer on a shallow baking pan. Toast until the skins are almost black and the meat is dark brown, about 15 minutes. Stir the nuts halfway through baking to ensure an even color. Do not cook them this long- they get bitter.
  2. To get rid of the bitter skins, wrap the cooled hazelnuts in a clean kitchen towel or paper towel. Rub until most of the skins come off, but don’t worry if some remain.
  3. Process nuts in a food processor, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally, until they have liquefied, about 5 minutes. First, you will get coarsely chopped nuts, then a fine meal. After a little while, the nuts will form a ball around the blade, and it will seem like you only have a solid mass. Keep processing. The heat and friction will extract the natural oils, and you will get hazelnut butter! I have a small food processor and did this in parts. Be patient they really do turn into hazelnut butter!
  4. When the nuts have liquified, add the sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Slowly drizzle in enough oil to make a spreadable consistency. Since the mixture is warm, it will be more fluid now than at room temperature.
  5. Transfer the spread to an airtight container, and store in the refrigerator for 1-2 months. For best results, stir the chocolate-hazelnut spread before using.