Thursday, 30 September 2010

IWAV Cooking With Lidija Rasutis

As many of you know on 22nd September there was another incredible event organized for IWAV ladies.

A cooking class with master chef Lidija Rasutis who has her own TV cooking program. I had to miss it as I was traveling and I am so sad about that. My sadness is doubled by the fact that Lidija's class was about cooking Spanish cuisine. I love many things Spanish: culture, passion, food, salsa dancing!!!

So here is what they cooked:
Tapas (salad and sandwiches)
Chicken and artichoke paella
Flan (desert similar to custard tart)

Ten lucky ladies participated in this event! Here are some mouthwatering photos taken by Irina Tuminiene. Beware: these photos make you very hungry :-)


10 ounces fresh spinach leaves, stems removed and rinsed, or 1 (10-ounce) package frozen leaf spinach.
19-ounce can (2 cups) chick-peas, drained and rinsed OR 2 cups dried chic peas, wash well and soak over night in water, drain and add fresh water to cover and boil until cooked but still firm. I add a bouquet garni made up of fresh garlic cloves, peppercorns, a few whole cloves and a bay leaf to the chic peas while they boil for a nice taste.)
1 red bell pepper, finely diced
1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives
1 to 2 lemons, juiced or to taste
1/4 to 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
If using fresh spinach: cook the spinach in a saucepan with the water clinging to its leaves, stirring, until wilted. Drain, squeeze dry, and finely chop. If using frozen spinach, follow package directions, drain, squeeze dry, and finely chop.

In a bowl combine the spinach with the chick peas, pepper, chives, lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper. Serve as is or chilled with toasted bread.

Yield: 4 servings

PAELLA with Chicken and Artichokes
(serves 6)

1 lemon, halved
1 jar marinated artichokes
Black olives to taste (use greek if possible, the type with a wrinkled skin and pits)
1 lb tomatoes (4 medium)
2 lb chicken or rabbit (cut into pieces)
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I use the oil from the marinated artichokes!)
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sweet Spanish smoked paprika*
6 cups chicken stock or chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
3 cups short- or medium-grain rice, preferably Spanish La Campana*
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 180 degrees C.

Cut a shallow X in bottom of each tomato with a sharp paring knife and blanch in a 3-quart saucepan of boiling water 10 seconds. Transfer tomatoes with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice and cold water to cool. Peel tomatoes, then discard seeds and finely chop.

Pat chicken dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in paella pan on stovetop until oil is hot but not smoking. Using pot holders, swirl oil in pan to evenly distribute it, then brown chicken well on all sides.

Move browned chicken pieces to outer edge of pan to slow down cooking while bell pepper cooks.

Add bell pepper pieces to center of pan and cook, stirring and turning until they are golden brown, about 4 minutes. (Turn chicken pieces occasionally while cooking bell pepper to prevent burning.)

Add artichokes, olives, tomatoes, garlic, and remaining teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until mixture is thickened, about 6 minutes.

Sprinkle mixture with paprika and let cook, undisturbed, 1 minute, then bring chicken in from sides of pan and stir into tomato mixture.

Stir in stock and saffron. Bring mixture to a boil, then sprinkle rice evenly around pan, avoiding pieces of chicken. With a wooden spoon, gently agitate mixture to make sure rice is evenly distributed and all rice grains are submerged. (Do not stir again.)

Cover with tin foil. Place paella in oven and simmer paella until all liquid has evaporated and rice is distinct and just tender (similar to al dente), about 30 minutes. (If all liquid has evaporated and rice is still not tender, sprinkle tepid water or broth, a tablespoon at a time, over rice where needed and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more.)

Turn off stovetop, then cover pan with a clean kitchen towel and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

* For the tastiest paella, use Spanish Bomba (available at Uzupio Krautuve, Uzupio 3, Vilnius) but you can also use Italian Carnaroli (rissoto rice) or Japanese sushi rice. This shop also carries marinated artichokes and good olives, as well as lots of other goodies!! Bon Apetit!


1 1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
6 4-inch-diameter portobello mushrooms, stemmed, dark gills removed

3 tablespoons olive oil
6 red onions, sliced (about 6 cups)

3 large red bell peppers
3 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 garlic clove, minced

1 3 1/2-inch-diameter sourdough or French-bread baguette, cut into 24 slices
Additional olive oil for toasting bread
3 large bunches rucola, finely chopped
Rosemary Aioli (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 190 C. Mix vinegar, honey, brown sugar and thyme in medium bowl. Transfer 1/2 cup marinade to small bowl; set aside. Place mushrooms in 15x10-inch glass baking dish. Pour remaining marinade over mushrooms. Cover baking dish with foil and bake until mushrooms are tender, about 40 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to work surface; cool. Cut mushrooms into ¼ inch-wide slices.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add red onions and saute until very tender and beginning to brown, about 25 minutes. Pour in reserved 1/2 cup marinade and cook until liquid is absorbed and onions are glazed, about 6 minutes. Set onions aside.

Char bell peppers over gas flame or in oven until blackened on all sides. Enclose in paper bag and let stand 10 minutes. Peel, seed and chop peppers. Place peppers in medium bowl. Add green onion, basil, garlic and 1 tablespoon oil and toss to combine. (Mushrooms, onion mixture and bell pepper mixture can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover separately and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 190 C. Place bread slices on baking sheet. Brush bread with additional olive oil. Bake until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Layer portobello mushroom slices, arugula, onions and then bell pepper mixture atop bread slices. Bake until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle bruschetta with Rosemary Aioli. Serve immediately.

Rosemary Aioli
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Whisk all ingredients in small bowl to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Aioli can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic and refrigerate.)

White Wine SANGRIA

4 liters dry white wine (your choice!)
1/2 cup brandy
1/4 cup Cointreau or Gran Marnier
1 liter orange juice
1 liter lemon juice (in a carton, not fresh squeezed)
1/2 cup superfine sugar
12 to 16 ice cubes
1 liter chilled club soda (Perrier works well)
1-2 oranges, thinly sliced
1-2 lemons, thinly sliced
(You can add any seasonal fresh fruit on hand: strawberries, peaches, etc.)

Thoroughly chill all ingredients. Pour the wine, brandy and Cointreau into a large punch bowl. Stir orange and lemon juice with the sugar until sugar has dissolved. Then add to bowl and stir to blend. Add ice cubes and soda and garnish with fruit slices. Serve in 4-ounce punch glasses or wineglasses.

Spanish FLAN

3 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar (divided in half)
5 large eggs

Sprinkle ½ cup sugar in a heavy skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar melts and turns a light golden brown. Immediately pour into a 6-cup bundt pan or glass Pyrex; let mixture cool.
Combine remaining ½ cup sugar, eggs, milk, and vanilla in an electric blender or food processer; mix until sugar dissolves.
Pour into prepared pan, and place pan in a large dutch oven. Add water to dutch oven to depth of 2 inches. Bake at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Carefully remove pan from dutch oven; cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill. Invert onto serving dish, letting melted sugar mixture drizzle over the top. Yield: 8 servings.
Almost all flan is good, but texture is important. It should be relatively solid and grainy when cut ... not creamy like pudding.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Wine Tasting at Radisson: Photos!

I think everyone who attended the wine tasting event Monday would agree that it was a lot of fun, not only for the experienced wine lovers but also for the beginners like me as well :-). We enjoyed wines from Bordeaux, France by Lamothe Vincent. Tatjana from Baltic Wine and Spirits gave a presentation telling us about the wines and the winery which produced them. She had quite a big challenge though… Since everyone was enjoying the company, wine and food so much, the conversation ran fast and loud - impossible to pause or to speak over! But Tatjana gave mini-introductions about each wine to each table. I have to say at our table we did talk a lot about wines and places to buy good wines in Vilnius… I actually learnt that Maria Brandin’s husband Jens had an experience as a Wine Connoisseur and he actually did a presentation for IWAV ladies last year not only talking about wines but also teaching how to correctly taste them! Sorry I missed that!
At the end of the event many people, including me, took advantage of the opportunity to purchase a bottle or two of wine...looking forward to enjoying the rosé wine I got!