Saturday, October 31, 2015

Whole Pumpkin Pie Soup

It is Halloween again. We did not have that holiday as kids. Still so much fun for the kids and so much memories. I was lucky  to live it with my fairies, princesses, owls, seahorse, dancers, ladybugs, butterflies :)
However, this time of year in US always meant one thing to me: all the colors of nature, food and of course cooking. Pumpkins!!! I love them- the shape, the colors, to eat them, pumpkin seeds then persimmons, pomegranates, apples, apple cider etc.
This recipe for pumpkin soup inside of whole pumpkin was something I always wanted to make on Halloween night but the kids were too small for it to happen I guess. I made it this year and I am glad I did. It turned out great and much better then your regular pumpkin soup in a pot.

The best part was: I did not miss a minute (ok maybe ten minutes because  I had to come back home and open the lid of the pumpkin to add  goat cheese to it) of trick or treating with my owl and flamneco dancer and we had the yummiest pumpkin soup that came out of the oven it its WHOLE glory when we came back.

I did not change anything in this recipe:
Because this is great Alton Brown and all his recipes should not be changed for a reason!

Enjoy and happy trick-or -treating ;)

PS.I love sharing my pictures even though they are far from great quality photos ;) I know Miki would disagree with this.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Apple roses

What do apples remind you of? They remind me of fall and winter. We have relatives in the countryside who would bring us loads of all kinds of apples at the end of summer. My parents would layer them in the wooden baskets and we would have them throughout the winter. Mom would make apple pies, fruit compote with apples, pears, prunes and other dried fruit that was available to us in winter. We had so many apples that we would give them to our neighbours as well. My childhood friend, who lived next door, would later complain to me that his mom always made apple pies and only apple pikes during those cold fall and winter days. Yes, complain, because we kids, spoiled by the abundance of fresh fruit and all kinds of summery cakes, didn't like the monotony of apple pies in winter. He would say: "My mom made apple pie today (referring to the kind of apple pie that we generally make in Serbia with phyllo dough), yesterday she made lazy apple pie (the one that is made with cookie kind of batter and a layer of grated apples in the middle) and the day before she made pie with lazy apples (making fun and sarcastically calling the same pie with different made-up name). In Serbian: "Пита, Пита лења, лења пита... :)
" Things were different when my Mom made baked apples. She used a very special kind of apples for baking, ones that she said only grew in the place where she was born. Those apples are bitter if eaten fresh (to me at least, not to her :)) and have very thick skin (кожаре). Once baked, they were the sweetest of all apples! She would remove the cores and place them in the baking pan (or on cookie sheet), then fill the middle of the apples with overflowing brown sugar (sometimes she would add ground walnuts, similar to the Bosnian dessert called "tufahije"). The whole house would smell and the caramelly crust would form at the bottom of the pan that we would rush to peel and have while it was still stretchy and warm. Those baked apples, with soft flesh and the thick skin so chewy, remained to day my most favorite kind and baked apples my among favorite comforting desserts in winter. I haven't yet found those kinds of apples here in the USA, but am still searching. I would add a bit of butter and a few drops of lemon nowadays when I make baked apples. 
Apples also remind me of New York winters and apple pie that my landlord used to make. I will post THE recipe later, it is called "Mr. Rod's famous apple pie" :) 
I also have to mention "Nena's apple tart", because I know she will be reading this post :), and I wanted to remind her to post the recipe that she promised! :) 
In addition to NY of course, "big apple" always reminded me of the song we recited as kids from the big book of poems written for children by Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj: "Juca sa velikom jabukom".
I can go on and on... but the point is that apples never reminded me of roses, until now! I saw this video that is becoming viral online. Perhaps you've already seen it, there are now few versions and I wouldn't know which one is original, unfortunately, but according to the number of most youtube views perhaps this one is: 

My favourite Chef John has his own version, too: 

Here is my version: 

In addition to being very tasty, they make for an excellent photographing objects. 

Kitchen notes: 
  • 3 minutes of cooking the apples in the microwave (as suggested in the original video) wasn't enough. Perhaps we should have done that first and then leave apple slices to soak for a while in the warm water. We were very excited and wanted to start rolling, so we cooked them for few more minutes, then had to wait for them to cool down a bit to be able to handle. 
  • We put more apricot jam and it was sticky to get the roses out of the pan. Next time I'll use buttered and sugared ramekins, as per Chef John's suggestion
  • I've used leftover water in which the apples were cooked to make compote, just added a few prunes and leftover apple slices. Delicious! :) 

Have fun,

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Breakfast for champions... and fighting jetlag

You come back home after vacation and there is nothing in the fridge... Then you wake-up in the middle of the night, starving... and you start eating Plazma that you've brought back with you on the plane. Then you try to sleep some more... before you get up feeling even more hungry... How nice would it be if there was a breakfast ready and waiting for you. Well, it can be done! All you need to do is take two minutes before you go to sleep the night before to mix these ingredients in a jar and leave them to work their magic in the fridge overnight. Voila! The breakfast is ready by itself :)

2 servings


  • 1 cup rolled-oats
  • 1 cup milk (I prefer to use vanilla soy milk here, as I always keep a carton in the pantry) 
  • 1/2 cup dried goji berries
  • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 Tbsp flax seeds
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds