Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Identity-not-so-unknown! A lasagna cake.

A new spin on your regular lasagna

Prep for lasagna: Please use organic ingredients whenever possible.

I love that "prrt, prrt, prrt" sound the tomato sauce makes when it cooks!

Our garden

Basil, peppers and tomatoes.

My husband is a passionate amateur gardener and everything he touches turns to green. Lucky for me all the fruits of his labor are the highlight of all my culinary endeavors. However, regardless of passion, growing conditions dictate the type of yield and gardening in Denver can be quite challenging.Temperatures could fluctuate 50 degrees or more in a day and the soil here is highly alkaline and in most parts, heavy clay. This year especially we experienced a longer winter hence more snow with a resultant shorter growing period. This year is also the debut for our yellow tomatoes and I decided to include it in this dish.

The recipe: Makes one 7 inch round springform and a smaller 9 inch round pyrex.


Peel and slice 2 aubergines, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt, pure pickle masala( or Hungarian sweet paprika), chopped fresh basil and oregano, and then bake for 20 mins at 375 degrees. This amount will only cover the base of the sprinform and the base of the pyrex.

Tomato sauce:

Make a little x with a sharp knife in 8 red and 4 yellow tomatoes( I picked these from the garden) and soak in hot water for about 15 mins and then pull off the skins. You could skip this step if you prefer to do so ( I do not like tomato skins in the sauce) and then blend all the tomatoes. Meanwhile, saute' a small onion with about 10 cloves of pounded garlic in a little olive oil until caramelized, add the pureed tomatoes, little kosher salt, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon of organic sugar and cook for about 15min. Add a quarter cup of chopped oregano and basil and set aside to cool.

Ricotta mixture:

Mix 2 containers( 15oz ea.) of ricotta with a quarter cup of chopped basil and oregano, 3 beaten eggs, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes and set aside.


Sprinkle 3 chicken breasts( About 2 and a half pounds with skin on ) with kosher salt, garam masala, pure pickle masala or Hungarian sweet paprika, and chopped chives. Drizzle with olive oil and panko breadcrumbs and roast in the oven for about 35 mins. Remove, cool and then shred into pieces.


Lightly butter the springform pan and line the bottom with the baked aubergine and save the rest for the 9 inch pyrex. Completely cover the aubergine layer with a layer of won tons and then cover this layer with some of the ricotta mixture, sprinkle with fresh grated parmesan, cover with another layer of won tons, and then a layer of shredded chicken , spread a layer of the tomato sauce directly over the chicken and repeat the whole process. Try to end with a layer of ricotta and sprinkle with parmesan. You can prepare the 9inch pyrex with the leftover ingredients. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 -50 mins until golden. Cool for about 5 mins and then remove the ring. I decorated the sides with mozzarella and sweet milk cheese cut with a small square cookie cutter and then just put it back in the warm oven for 10 mins. The residual heat melted the cheese around the circumference just a little.

See also:


Nazarina A.

Feedback from my family: We never want to go back to the regular old lasagna ever again! I must concur each and every bite of this lasagna was surprisingly light, creamy and savory. The tomato sauce had a very 'fresh' taste ( fresh and juicy from the garden taste) and just think of all that lycopene! What is a body to do?

Lasagna made with won tons and little antioxidant jewels from the garden is a grrrrrreat thing!

This is my entry for Andrea's Grow Your Own ( Bi-monthly blogging ) event. She encourages you to commit to a garden and later enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Fire & ice

There was indeed a very warm reception to this
extremely cold treat!

"Feelin a little flat ladies?" have a push-up!

Summer is almost over and then we shall have to say goodbye to those gorgeous icy treats. On the other hand I do occasionally enjoy an ice cream bar after a long day on the slopes!
A client asked me to cater their little girl's birthday party but they did not want cake in this 100 degree weather, so I decided to retrieve all those unused molds that I thought I would never have a use for and made these whimsical sherbet treats and instead of the regular birthday candles, I made these candles that look just like the frozen sherbet treats. Both children and adults were so taken with this idea that I do not know with what they had the most fun, blowing out the "candles" or enjoying the treats! I was so amused at the mothers because they were really into those push-ups ha! ha! ! Even the cashier at the dollar store was curious to know what I was going to do with 30 of these little buckets . I think I pretty much bought all the buckets they had in the store!

Anyway if you want to make these treats instead of cake, you will need: sherbet ice cream( different colors), Gatorade, any type of whimsical mold and ice pop sticks. To obtain the effect that I have in the picture just layer the sherbet and the Gatorade allowing 2 hrs of freezing time between each layer and voila! you should have the cutest ice pops. The Gatorade is the first layer and then position the stick in the second layer (sherbet layer) which has to set for about 20 mins. By this time it should be partially frozen and you will be able to secure the stick, then freeze again for the remainder of the 2 hrs. After this just pour your alternating colors and freeze for 2 hrs after each addition. I only used the Gatorade in the first layer which is in the bottom of the mold. To unmold, just hold the mold in lukewarm water and pull out very gingerly.

Have fun or just come and get me to help!
How did I fare on this post? Comments welcome!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

"Frutti Tutti" yogurt ice pops

Suck on this!

I had to photograph the ice pops on a slab of ice because these record high temps. melt everything!

There is a new kid on the natural-grocer block in S W Denver called the Sunflower Farmers market and yes if you are familiar with my posts, you guessed right, I am there practically everyday for the inexpensive organic produce! I received $50.00 worth of groceries as a gift on opening day! Thank you Sunflower Farmers market!

They have a slogan "serious food at silly prices" and indeed one can get all these sun ripened organic fruits and vegetables at mere pennies. I am not kidding!

Sunflower is also dedicated to practice what they preach i.e. always attempting to be green and Eco-friendly.

Frutti Tutti yogurt ice pops: makes 4 and 2 smaller plain smoothie pops

Please use organic ingredients whenever possible.

  • 6oz blueberries

  • 1 bottle organic orange juice

  • 1 can peaches in syrup

  • 1/2 cantaloupe

  • about 4 strawberries

  • 1 banana

  • 2 apricots

  • 3 peaches

  • 2 oranges

  • small container vanilla Greek yogurt ( Oikos brand)

  • small container (6oz) Yoplait harvest peach yogurt

  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk

  • 2 t honey

The top and bottom of the pop:

Blend the 6oz blueberries, all the syrup in the can of peaches( only the syrup, save the peaches) and about 4oz of the orange juice and pour just a little into the pop molds as I have done in the picture. Freeze these for about 3 hrs but place the mold on its narrow side at a slight angle in the refrigerator( I used a dish and aluminum foil to keep the molds stable).

The middle part of the pop:

Blend the cantaloupe, the rem. of the peaches in the can, strawberries, banana, apricots, peaches, juice of the oranges, 3t of the Greek yogurt, the whole container of Yoplait, a little orange juice if the mixture is too thick, the evaporated milk and last but not least the 2t honey or you can add more depending on your sweet tooth. The little bit of evaporated milk makes it extremely creamy! ( Just like a smoothie).

Remove the molds( by now the blueberry part should be frozen), add the smoothie to the height that I have in the picture and then freeze the pops again( this time in an upright position) for about 15 mins to about 25 mins until you are able to position a stick in the partially frozen smoothie part. Place back into freezer for 3hours and then finally pour your blueberry section on the top and freeze overnight. If you want to unmold the ice pop, just dip in some lukewarm water and gingerly pull out the pop.

You can of course make the pops anyway you fancy, this is just how I did it to get the effect in the picture. This is truly a delicious and healthy ice pop and so good in this hot weather. It is all the more sweeter if you have a Sunflower Farmer's market in your area!

Please enjoy!


Thursday, August 21, 2008

An award hooray!!!!

Many thanks to Reeni for passing on the "Beautiful Site Award" to me!

It is only prudent that I bestow the same honor upon the following bloggers :


Danica J :


Foodie Tots

Sophie: Key ingredient

Apples and Butter

Chicago Sun-Times

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A bucket of orange glo!

A simple preparation and into the oven!

People just do not have the time to cook a decent meal anymore, so they head straight for the fast food chains and in this case you know which one! However, this method is so easy and the end result nothing short of spectacular and under $7.00 ! Please use organic ingredients whenever possible.

Instant Nazarina

We live in an instant era,
where deferred gratification and tolerance are rare,
and instant tempers always flare,
just look at them spin and down they fall,
except for a few who decided to stand tall,
and look at the rest and be amused at them all!

I know that life can be pretty hard and that we expect instant meals for instant efforts but what good is all this "instant food?"

Ingredients for the orange chicken:
  • About 12 drumsticks
  • Kosher salt
  • My home made garam masala mix( which has toasted cumin, coriander, etc...) I make this ahead of time and then grind them in a coffee grinder. But for you that do not have the time, just use cumin and paprika
  • Masala (my home made spice bend for chicken
  • sesame seeds


Sprinkle the drumsticks with salt. Mix together 2 T of the garam & 1 T of the rest of the spices & sprinkle this on the drumsticks and last but not least sprinkle very lightly with the chopped cilantro. Drizzle gingerly( not too much) with olive oil and bake in the oven at 375 degrees for one hour. After about 45 mins into cooking time pour the orange glaze over the chicken and sprinkle with some sesame seeds. Cut a few slices of an orange and arrange over the chicken and bake until golden

Orange glaze:

Boil 2 cups of orange juice with 1 t honey and 1 t tamari( soy sauce) . Add a few orange peels, try not to put in the pith(white part) of the orange. Mix 1 t arrowroot powder into another 1/2 c orange juice. The arrowroot keeps the liquid clear( or you could use cornstarch) . The liquid has to cook until you have about one cup , then mix in the arrowroot mixture and stir. You will notice that the liquid will thicken and look like a syrup.


Nazarina Andrychow.

Reuters newswire

Monday, August 18, 2008

I am a winner of the "Martha Stewart Living Summer Desserts Contest"

Decadently strawberry and dark chocolate! This strawberry mousse
is made of organic whipping cream, Oetker mousse, melted white choc.
This cake is not sweet at all!

A checkerboard design!

Winner of the Martha Stewart summer desserts competition! * Check my comments section for her E-mail!!

This cake is a winner!!!!!! and has brought me and so many others such pleasure! It was a pain to make but it was so darn delightful. It was moist and the frosting was not sweet at all because I used white and dark chocolate and that dreamy Oetker mousse to take my heavy whipping cream to a level known as" taste to infinity and beyond". Thank you Martha Stewart and your team. You guys rock!!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"To acai or not to acai?"


Acai( pronounced ah sigh ee) is all the rage right now. Whenever I check my spam folder, there they are, a zillion e-mails about how one can lose 50lbs with pure acai berry. This berry is located in the Amazon rain forest in Brazil and is smaller and darker than a grape. It is also supposedly anti everything ie. inflammatory, bacterial, oxidant etc... Well I am not going to bore you with all the details because you can certainly Google it.
"Acai you certainly had me" at being a 100x more potent than goji, noni and mangosteen but whatever happened to variety?
I am definitely not going to pit the grape against the acai( no pun intended). I shall continue to partake of all the berries in moderation. My middle name is not Mrs. Havisham( Great Expectations). LOL! By the way this was my favorite book in High school.
Pour a little grape juice or the one I have in the picture( A sparkling grapetiser) in the bottom of your pop sickle maker and add some cut and whole grapes. Set in the freezer for at least 4 hrs, pour your acai and pomegranate juice and set in the freezer for 10 mins. Position the stick and place back in freezer again, until set ( preferably overnight)
This " sucker"( what we call it in South Africa) was absolutely refreshing in this 100 degree weather !
* Please tell me how you acai? Comments welcome!
Nazarina Andrychow.

Enter this competition hosted by Sophie at Key Ingredient

Join this competition hosted by Sophie at Key Ingredient but hurry the closing is on 08/15/08

This is my entry below:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Thank you gift for a regular reader and who always leaves a comment!

Ever since I started my blog, Donette has visited my blog off and on and left a comment and whether it was constructive criticism or just to tell me that I have made something beautiful, was enough to be proud of my work. We actually started e-mailing one another and she would always give me advice and vice versa.
I have made her this luxury spa gift box, packed with homemade soaps and hand towels. I really do appreciate comments and they need not always be what I want to hear because I would never grow!


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Thanksgiving and beyond.....eggnog custard ( "Melktert") or pumpkin custard tart anyone?

You can find the recipe here on this link.

Eggnog custard tart with a coconut cookie crust.

Munson's farm in Boulder, Colorado. Visit them for all your produce needs. Hurry before the sugar in the corn turns starchy!

This is the last post in my series "Thanksgiving and beyond." I had such a blast revamping these recipes and some of them will ultimately be featured in the Fall issue of an Aspen magazine. My deadline was July and boy oh boy was this a challenge. The challenge was not in the making, but in the obtaining of certain ingredients!
These recipes were passed down to me by my Grandmother and this one in particular is called a "Melktert" ( milk tart). Milk is the key ingredient followed by eggs and Fall spices. I can never leave well enough alone, of course, I had to change it. In fact I either change a few ingredients of a recipe or just create a new one, one that suits my fancy. I used eggnog instead of milk, added roasted coconut, coconut extract and the spices to the tart shell and added custard, coconut extract and the spices to the eggnog mixture. I also made a tart with half eggnog and half pumpkin puree to celebrate this vegetable which is so prevalent during the fall.
If you want to try something other than a regular pie crust, then this crust would be perfect for all your pumpkin tart needs!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My Dad's nostalgic journey home

Freedom fighters that want Robben Island to reflect triumph over oppression!

My Dad journeyed back home to Cape Town, South Africa, after 22 years. He stood in awe as he took in sights that has become so unfamiliar yet the memories stay vivid as if they happened yesterday!
He took a boat ride to Robben Island where one of the world's most revered statesman, Nelson Mandela, was imprisoned for 27 years. Nelson Mandela led the struggle against apartheid and was the first democratically elected state president of South Africa in 1994.