Thursday, February 25, 2010

Vegetable Pasta Sauce

There is so much advantage to making your own pasta sauce:
1. Tomato based pasta sauce are easy to make- you can't over or under cook them
2. They taste A LOT better than any jar or canned sauce
3. You can make some extra and freeze it for later
4. It is vegetarian so if you are having vegetarian guests, you don't have to worry about them going hungry at your dinner party


1 small onion, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
4-5 vine ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/2 can tomato paste
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp paprika

Have all the veggies chopped up ready to go. Start by heating the olive oil in a pan on a medium high heat. Add onions first and stir for a couple of minutes. Then add jalapenos, bell pepper and garlic. Add paprika, salt and pepper.

Fry all together for about 5 minutes until the peppers get soft. Add tomatoes and lower the heat. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes.

Add tomato paste. Stir all together and cook for 5 minutes.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Home Made Noodles

It is amazing to learn how easy it is to make your own pasta! Just mix a few ingredients that everyone has in their kitchen handy. You do need a pasta machine as this dough is really tough and would be very hard to stretch with the rolling pin.


1/2 cup water

1/3 cups bread flour
2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp olive oil

Mix all the ingredients together. This dough is very tough. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Use your pasta machine to kneed the dough. Start at the widest setting. Pass it through once. Fold it in 3, and pass through again at the same setting. Repeat this one more time. Then lower the setting and pass the dough through once. Keep repeating this process until you reach desired thickness. I stop about half way thorough for fettuccine and you can go lower for anger hair or soup noodles.

Use the cutting attachment to cut the dough into desired shape. The picture below shows spaghetti shape.

And here are some fettuccine:

This recipe makes 4 servings, or about this much:

You may cook your noodles right away in boiling water for 2 minutes. You can also dry them and save them for later.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Home Made Spinach Fettuccine

Home made noodles are rewarding to make. Everyone eats pasta but you rarely meet anyone who makes it at home. I love pasta and I eat it all the time. Just recently I discovered how easy it is to make. And every time I make them, I impress myself! I love saying that!


2 cups baby spinach (packed)

2 eggs
1 tsp salt

2 2/3 cups all purpose flour

Wash the spinach. Do not dry. Transfer it into the pan all together with the water on the leaves. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Then transfer into the blender and blend. Add eggs and salt and blend it all together.

Transfer this mixture into a larger mixing bowl and add flour. Mix together with a spoon, and as the dough thickens use your hands. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes. Noodle dough is supposed to be very hard. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow to rest of about 20 minutes.

Using a dough scraper or a knife, split the dough into about 10 parts. Do not try to tear it. Set your pasta maker to the widest setting. Feed the first part of the dough through slowly. Fold it and feed it again at the same setting. Reduce the setting and feed once. Repeat this process of reducing the settings and feeding the dough through until you reach desired thickness. Form my experience, the best thickness is to go about half way through (I have 7 settings, 7 being the widest, and I stop at 4). Anything thinner than that cooks too fast and can get mushy.

Using the pasta cutting attachment, cut the dough into desired shape noodles.

Spread the noodles over the counter top surface and do not place them on top of each other, otherwise they will stick.

Cook the noodles in boiling water for about 5 minutes. Drain.

The noodles are ready to eat with your favorite sauce.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Gibanica ala Zorana (Serbian= Гибаница)

Gibanica is one of the most common Serbian dishes. We make it almost every weekend. Gibanica is usually made with white cheese (feta for example), but can also be made with spinach, mushrooms, or ground beef.

I haven't made gibanica in a long time (more than 10 years). Last week, I tried Natasa's gibanica, and I realized how much I missed it. So, I was inspired to make it again.

Everyone makes gibanica a little different, so you can play around and find your optimal measures.


1 packet of filo dough

5 eggs

1 1/2 cup feta cheese

1 1/2 cup yogurt

1 cup oil

1/2 tsp baking soda

salt to taste


1 egg

2 tbsp yogurt

2 tbsp oil

Preheat the oven to 380F.

Mix together eggs, cheese, oil, baking soda and salt. Grease the pan, and place 2 sheets of filo dough to cover the bottom and the sides. Then take sheets one by one, wrinkle them into a ball and dip into the egg and cheese mix. Do not soak them, but make sure they get enough fill on them. Use 2 wrinkled and dipped sheets per layer, then cover them with another clean sheet. Repeat until you use up all of the fill and filo dough. Leave 2 sheets to for the cover. Then mix the glaze and sprinkle over the top.

Bake uncovered for about 1 hour or until it becomes reddish brown.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gibanica ala Nataša (Serbian= Гибаница)

Natasa makes great goodies every day. Her food is all very tasty, therefore it fits on this blog just perfect. Here is gibanica that she made last week. It was so delicious, it is making me hungry while typing this recipe.


1 package of filo dough
5 eggs
3 cups of cottage cheese
2 cups kefir
1 cup club soda
1 cup oil
salt to taste

Mix all the ingredients together (except the filo dough) in a mixing dish. Then preheat the oven to 400F.

Grease the baking dish with butter. Then lay 2 sheets of filo dough to cover the bottom.

Wrinkle the filo dough sheets and dip into the mix, but do not soak.

Spread out 2 soaked sheets per layer.

Cover each layer with one clean sheet of filo dough.

Repeat this process until you run out of mix and filo dough. Try to distribute the mix so that you have enough for all the sheets.

Mix a couple of spoons of kefir and club soda and sprinkle over the top.

Bake for about 1 hour until the top gets reddish brown color.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Serbian Baked Beans- Prebranac (Serbian = Пребранац)

Prebranac is another traditional Serbian dish. It's very easy to make, however, it is not always easy to find the right kind of beans, and a really good smoked meat. I am presenting here Serbian style baked beans with easy to find ingredients.


3 cups beans
1/2 lbs smoked pork meat
2 cups smoked chopped bacon
3 onions, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 tbsp paprika
2-3 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste

The best beans to use are large white verity (largest you can find). Those might be hard to find in your local supermarket. I bought a huge bag of red pinto beans at Costco for making chili, so I wanted to use those. They are smaller and tougher, but taste just as good.

First, soak the beans overnight to soften them. Keep them in the refrigerator while soaking, so that they don't go stale. When you are ready to cook them, drain the water. Fill the pot with new fresh water and cook for 10 minutes. Then drain that water and replace with a new hot water. Add bay leaves and cook for 30 minutes to 1 hour (depending on how tough your beans are). You want the beans to be soft when you are done cooking them.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a frying fan, heat the oil and add onions, carrot, smoked meat and bacon.

When the onions are soft, remove big pieces of meat, and add paprika, salt and pepper and stir. Continue to fry for another 5-10 minutes.

Remove from heat and mix with cooked beans and smoked meat in a baking dish. Make sure you have enough water to cover the beans.

Bake covered for 15 minutes, and uncovered for another 30 minutes or until the crust forms on top.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Potatoes with Onions and Bacon

Several times I went to my friend Svatlana's house and she made this dish. Finally, I decided to watch how its done and take photos. It seems fairly easy. Svetlana is from northern Serbia where they add meat to everything. So, putting bacon on top of potatoes sounds just right.


1 onion, sliced

2 potatoes, sliced

several slices of bacon to cover the potatoes
2 tbsp Vegeta or another vegetable seasoning salt

2 tbsp Paprika

2 tbsp flour

1 cup water

Slice the onion and place in the bottom of the baking dish.

Then slice the potatoes in relatively thin slices (not as thin as chips) and distribute evenly on top of the onions.

Make a mixture of water, flour, Vegeta and paprika. Make sure the flour is mixed well.

Add the mixture to the onions and potatoes.

Add more water if needed so that the potatoes are almost covered.

Cover the potatoes with slices of bacon.

Bake at 400F for about 1 hour, depending on how crispy you like your bacon to be.

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Every household should have at least one quality, heavy duty baking dish. Heavy dishes last forever, hold the heat really well and cook evenly without drying out your meal.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Coconut Cookies (Serbian = Кифлице са кокосом)

Here is another recipe from home. This one is from my mom. I don't make too many sweets, so I have to borrow her recipes every once in a while to maintain the balance on my blog. I noticed that people tend to view deserts more than other food. Coconut cookies take moments to make, and will be very popular among all your guests that are not allergic to coconut.


250 g unsalted butter or margarine
200g coconut flour
8 tbsp sugar

1 egg

300g flour

powder sugar

Use a mixer to mix softened butter with sugar. Add coconut flour, then eggs then flour and continue to mix. When the dough is uniformly mixed, form small croissants with your hands and place them onto the silicone foil or a pregreased cookie sheet.

Bake at 350F. Take out as soon as they start to change color on the ends. Roll them in powdered sugar and serve.

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Silicone baking sheets are very convenient for baking cookies. No oil needed! I especially like it because you don't have to worry about rusting or scratching it.