Bruschetta

Sliced red and yellow tomatoes

Tomato basil mixture

Easy way to evenly coat the bread with butter

Just out of the oven!

Perfect+Melts in your mouth

I have always wanted to try to make bruschetta and I am SO happy that I did!  These are so good and literally melt in your mouth. They are crispy and pop the second you eat them.  Eat them for an appetizer while other delicious food is awaiting, or eat them with steak or chicken. The parmesan on top pulls it together and adds something extra.  I LOVE these things!

Brushetta

  • 1 C chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 1 medium yellow tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 C fresh basil chopped
  • 1 T  good quality olive oil
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1/4 C butter, melted
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 loaf baguette-style french bread (16 ounces)
  • 1/2 C shredded parmesan

Instructions

In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, basil, olive oil, minced garlic, and salt and pepper. Set aside.

In a small bowl combine butter and garlic powder.  Put in microwave for about 20 seconds until melted.

Set broil on oven to high.  Get out a cookie sheet.  Slice bread about 3/4 inch thick.  Dip each piece of sliced bread in butter on both sides.  Lay on cookie sheet.  Put  tomato mixture on top.  Broil about 5 minutes until heated through and golden brown.  Top with about a teaspoon of parmesan cheese.

Tomato Walnut Salad With Couscous

Trader Joe’s Couscous

Basil plant in the garden

Organic Olive Oil (What would I do with out olive oil+ whether I want to admit it or not it is good lotion for your skin. Lesson learned from the Greeks!)

Delicious Couscous!

Super easy. Be careful not to over cook the spinach!

The finished product!:)

Yumm and it was seriously so easy!

Although I’m not a huge per say pasta salad and pasta girl, I really enjoyed this salad. It is light, full of flavors and is easy to make. You can use fresh veggies and have it for lunch or dinner. It’s even full of nutrients that will help energize you. Enjoy everyone!

Tomato Walnut Salad With Couscous

By Niki Cade

*Serves about 4

  • 2 C dried Israeli Couscous, cook according to box
  • 3 C  fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 10 oz container of cherry tomatoes whole
  • 1 medium size onion, minced ( preferably purple)
  • 1/2 C feta cheese crumbled
  • 1/3 C walnuts crushed
  • 1//3 C minced fresh parsley
  • about 2-3 T olive oil
  • 2 T basil
  • Salt + Pepper
  • 1 t garlic powder or to taste
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar

Instructions 

Cooke couscous according to instructions. Set aside.

Put 1 T of olive oil in pan. Add minced onions and cook until browned. Add cherry tomatoes and cook until tender. Add chopped spinach, walnuts and balsamic vinegar to sauce pan. Cook just for about a minute more. Set aside. Add minced parsley and basil, uncooked to bowl with couscous. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.

Combine couscous and all other ingredients together. Crumble with feta. Drizzle olive oil on top about 1 T.

Thanks for stopping by!

Kale Rice Bowls

Kale plant in my garden

I was hungry for something healthy and refreshing so I decided to create a rice bowl with kale. This recipe is super healthy but is yet filled with satisfying flavors. Kale is full of many nutrients such as vitamin C and beta carotene and is also rich in calcium. You can use many substitutions like avocado and onions in this recipe to make it fit what you like to eat. It can be a vegetation dish or you can simply add chick or steak to it!

Happy cooking!

Kale Rice Bowls

By Niki Cade

*2-3 servings

  • 1 C dry brown rice or white rice
  • 1 1/2 C Kale, chopped
  • 1 C cooked zucchini, cut in cubes (Season with garlic powder and salt and pepper)
  • 1 tomato, chopped (Or you can use salsa if you want)
  • 1/3 C parsley, minced
  • 1 C organic black beans
  • 1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 C sour cream for on top
  • 2 already cooked chicken breasts, diced *optional
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions 

Cook rice according to package. Set aside.

Put as much cooked rice as you would like on plate, about 1/2 cup. Add beans, chopped kale, cooked zucchini, tomato, cheese, chopped chicken if desired, and parsley on top of rice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze a little lemon on top. Top with sour cream.

Serve rice and beans warm. Everything else at room temperature. I like to melt the cheese on mine so I stick it in the microwave. Enjoy!

Very Chocolate Cake

Very Chocolate Cake

If you’re looking for a very chocolate cake that has a bit of a pick me up in it, this is the cake for you . After trying many chocolate cake recipes that seemed to be a disappointment, this recipe stood out because it had everything I wanted in a chocolate cake. It is moist, had just enough chocolate flavor, and is versatile. This recipe is the recipe I go to when I need a cake for birthdays or any special occasion. It is even good to make for a date night! You can use the ganache frosting that I used, or your favorite frosting. It goes perfect with a little whip cream and fresh berries. My sister and I found ourselves eating it for breakfast this morning. It definitely gave us a little more energy than usual! Although there is coffee in it to bring out the chocolate, you can taste it in the batter but don’t let that fool you, once the cake is baked you can’t taste the coffee.

Enjoy chocolate lovers!

-Niki

Ingredients

*serves 12 to 14 people

  • 3 0z. semissweet chocolate
  • 1 1/2 c hot brewed coffee
  • 3 c sugar
  • 2 1/2 c flour
  • 1 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 t. baking soda
  • 3/4 t baking powder
  • 1 1/4 t  salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 c vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 c buttermilk
  • 3/4 t vanilla

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees f and grease pans. Line pans with wax paper. If chocolate is in big pieces, chop chocolate and combine with hot brewed coffee. Let sit until chocolate melts.

Combine sugar, flour, cocoa, soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Stir just until combined. In a another large bowl beat eggs until lemon colored (about three minutes) Add oil, buttermilk, vanilla and chocolate mixture to eggs. Beat until well combined. Slowly add the flour mixture to oil mixture and egg. Stir just until combined. Divide batter in two 10 by 2 inch pans. Bake on 300 for 50 min to an hour.

Chocolate Frosting

  • 1 lb semisweet chocolate
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • 2 T sugar
  • 2 T light corn syrup
  • 1/4 C butter

Chop the chocolate. In a saucepan bring cream, sugar and corn syrup to a boil. Add chopped chocolate and melt. Then add butter and whisk until everything is combined. Let cake cool. Put frosting on the top of one cake then put the other cake on top. Put a blob of frosting in the center on top of the cake. With a spatula spread frosting from the center down to cover the whole cake. Don’t be alarmed if frosting is not thick. It is supposed to be smooth and will eventually dry and harden a little bit.

Creamy Banana Cream Pie

When my Aunt Carol came into town I knew I had to make her favorite pie, Creamy Banana Cream Pie of course. I was a little nervous at first because 1, I had never tried a banana cream pie and 2, I had never attempted to make one. I was excited to try something new as I always am. So, of course I got out my favorite, what I like to call to call ” non fail cookbook”, Essentials of Baking, and found the recipe. One thing that I have found in cream pies is that the pudding they use is not home made and does not taste as good. I like this recipe because it has a good pastry cream .

After the pie was assembled I was eager to try it. I didn’t think that it would be something I liked but I was in for a surprise. Once I took my first bite I was in a whole new world of pie lovers. It was creamy and had just the right amount of banana flavor. I will always love apple pie but this pie is great because it is something new and the recipe is perfect!

Happy Baking!!

-Niki

Creamy Banana Cream Pie

  • Flaky Pie Pastry for single crust (your favorite pie crust or store bought)
  • Pastry Cream ( recipe below)
  • 4 ripe bananas, peeled and cut into slices 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • Whipped Cream

Pastry Cream

  • 1 1/2 c whole milk
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 2 T unsalted butter

Instructions 

In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the milk and vanilla until bubbles appear along the edges of pan. Remove from heat. In a bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch until smooth. Slowly whisk in the hot milk until blended. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook whisking constantly until mixture comes to boil and thickens, about 5 minutes. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Stir in the butter until melted and smooth. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate to chill for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Instructions

Prepare the flaky pie crust. Roll out dough, line a 9 inch pie dish or pan and prebake fully.

Prepare the pastry cream as directed above. Cover with plastic wrap, and let cool slightly until it is still warm, 10-20 min.

To put pie together, in a bowl, combine the sliced bananas and orange juice and mix. Pour half of the pastry cream into the cooled crust. Arrange the bananas in a thick layer over the pastry cream. Spoon the rest of the cream over the bananas and spread evenly. Cover the filled pie with plastic wrap placed directly on pastry cream. cill for about 5 hours.

Remove the plastic and spread the whipped cream over pastry cream with a spatula. Mound it in the center and spread outward. Serve cold.

Greek Village Salad (Horiatiki Salata)

After returning home from Colorado and Ohio I wanted something healthy to eat since, well lets face it, on vacation it is easy not to think about what we eat and splurge on anything and everything in sight.

I went to Greece a few years ago and almost everyday I had a Greek salad.  They were always fresh and had a wonderful taste. When I returned home to Des Moines from Greece I had a craving for Greek salad so I started messing with a few recipes and creating a few of my own. After trying a few different recipies I found that I like a simple Greek salad with only a few ingredients. You can add onions and peppers along with a few other tasty ingredients depending on what you like. My goal when making this salad, was to make sure I had the freshest ingredients possible so it would come close to the fresh and sweet vegetables grown in Greece. I went to my local grocery store to find what I needed.  Every ingredient I used in this salad was either local or organic. It makes a big difference buying fresh ingredients rather than conventional ingredients when it comes to making something as simplistic as a salad.

This salata is not only full of flavor but it is healthy too! The parsley, feta, and kalamata olives really top the salad off and give it a good spin. It is definately worth making and most of all this salad reminded me how easy and delicious salads can be.

Happy Cooking!

Greek Village Salad (Horiatiki Salata)

  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 c kalamata olives
  • 1/3 c crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 c parsley

Instructions:

Wash, dry, and cut the tomatoes in 8 wedges each. Peel and slice the cucumbers. Mix the tomatoes and cucumber in a large bowl. Crumble the feta with your hands. Add to bowl. Mince the parsley. Add the olives. Toss well with the olive-old and vinegar dressing.

Oil-Vinegar Greek Dressing

  • 2 parts olive oil (I used 1/3 cup)
  • 1 part  Balsamic vinegar ( I used 1/4 cup)
  • 1 medium lemon juiced
  • oregano (optional) to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

In a jar mix all of the ingredients together. Shake all of the ingredients well in a tightly-sealed jar until well blended. Pour over salad.

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

For the forth of July I am heading to Colorado for about a week, then to Ohio for a few more days. I am excited to relax and clear my mind in Colorado before the next journey appears. Before my adventures start I wanted to be sure to have one last blog, since it may be awhile until I have a chance to cook again. Though, hopefully I will be able to cook in Colorado a few times, if I’m lucky :).

So here’s the thing, I have been searching for the perfect chocolate chip cookie for awhile now and after trying recipe after recipe, I have finally found it.When I think about the perfect cookie it is something along the lines of (this may sound odd), but those cookies everyone has tried at least once or twice, the Nestle Toll House cookies that come packaged and ready to bake from the grocery store. When I first tried this recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Essentials of Baking, I was a little hesitant because unlike other recipes, these cookies call for more brown sugar than granulated sugar. What I was in for once these cookies came out of the oven was a big surprise to me. It was like love at first sight. They were exactly what I wanted in a cookie. These cookies have a bit of a crunch, gooey center, and just the right taste overall. I was finally satisfied. Few! What a relief. I finally found just the right recipe and all of my hard work paid off.

*I always use mini semi-sweet chocolate chips as opposed to regular because the mini chips evenly distribute throughout the cookie and give the cookie a nice sweet taste while not overpowering it with too much sweetness like the regular chips would.

Happy baking!

Niki

Chocolate Chip Cookie

*30 cookies

  • 1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 butter, room temp
  • 1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
  • 6 T Granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 c semisweet mini chocolate chips

Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or grease with crisco.  In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on low speed until well blended. Slowly add the dry ingredients and beat low speed just until incorporated. Mix in the chocolate chips.

Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets spaced 2 in. apart. Bake the cookies until the edges are lightly browned. About 11 minutes.

Spanakopita

 

Since I am Greek and absolutely love Greek food, I have decided to have my first recipe post be a dish that has both olive oil and feta in it (hence OliveOilandFeta.com). Spanakopita is one of my favorite Greek foods because it is both fairly healthy and melts in your mouth. You can have it as a snack, side dish or even a meal since it can be quite filling. I have adapted this recipe from a very old Greek cook book called Beverages and Preserves that my Yaya Mary (Grandma)  salvaged from the Greek ladies from her church.  Although the recipes are ancient they are the best Greek recipes around!
Happy cooking!
Spanakopita
  • 2 lb spinach- fresh or frozen
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 lb feta cheese, crumbled
  • 7 eggs, slightly beaten
  • salt-just a dash
  • 1/3 c olive oil (or just enough to cover pan)
  • 1/2 lb filo
  • 1/2 lb butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

Wash the spinach and allow to drain well. If you squeeze the spinach and there is still liquid coming out, you haven’t drained it enough. Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Chop the scallions and add to hot oil until lightly browned. Add chopped spinach to a large bowl. Add scallions, cheese, eggs, baking powder and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss lightly to combine all ingredients. Grease a 9 by 13 inch pan with butter. Lay six sheets of filo in pan brushing each sheet with melted butter. Make sure to coat each sheet well with butter. Spread spinach mixture evenly in pan and cover with 10 sheets of filo, each brushed with melted butter. Bake in oven at 350 for 1 hour or until golden brown. Cut in squares and serve hot.