Cook To Iceland

Family Dinner! by laraortizluis
February 27, 2012, 3:48 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

My roommates and I made dinner last week and we all contributed a dish!

I made:
Green Beans Sauteed with Red Onions and Bacon
Mushrooms with white wine, garlic, and butter

Irys made:
Pear, Walnut, and Goat Cheese Salad

Leah made:
Salmon with Honey mustard sauce

Maria Victoria made:
Carrot Cupcakes

Sadly we were so hungry that I only got a chance to snap pictures of the green beans and the salad! I assure you that everything was delish!


Now for the Iceland tidbit:

Read this amazing article from last December that totally convinced me to go to Iceland!


“Reykjavik is a clean, cozy city of 120,000 that has a reputation as both a creative hot spot and a party town. The creativity distinction seemed right: Iceland has more than its share of writers, poets and musicians, and, in the capital, plenty of Icelandic fashion brands were for sale…

…After two days in Reykjavik, I headed to the Golden Circle. My first stop was Thingvellir National Park, which was gorgeous, even in the snow. The Strokkur geyser is a crowd-pleaser, blowing its top every 10 minutes or so. But the real highlight was the sprawling multilayered waterfall called Gullfoss. Spectacular cascades of water roar under a half-cover of ice, which I found terrifyingly ferocious (though perhaps the perfect place to build a lair should I have a second career as a comic book villain).”


Shmalentines dinner with beer pairings by laraortizluis
February 15, 2012, 6:00 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

A 3-course dinner for 6 with beer pairings. Food cost = $10/person. Beer cost = $10/person.


Spinach salad “bouquets” with a warm bacon-shallot vinaigrette and parmesan
Pairing: A Bitter Pale Ale – Firestone Winter Brew

Beef stew with curry and lemongrass
Pairing: A dry porter  – Ba Ba Black Lager

Lemon Tart
Pairing: Grand Cru (Sour)

Funky tunes playlist by Mallory U. including Barry White, Al Green, Amy Winehouse, The Smiths, and acapella renditions of Jackson 5

And now for and Icelandic tidbit:
Iceland celebrates Valentine’s day with less consumerist fervor than America, but the one thing they don’t skimp on is flowers and candlelit dinners. Roses and tulips abound in the streets, and since it’s night all the time during this period, you can have candlelit dinners and breakfasts.

Noodle-less lasagna by laraortizluis
February 15, 2012, 12:36 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

My mom makes this incredible noodle-less lasagna / vegetable parmesan combo. She even made it with soy cheese a couple of times since my dad is lactose intolerant. I called her up yesterday and asked for the recipe.

It’s super simple, but I have yet to do it as well as she does:

1 eggplant, in thin slices, salted on both sides
2 zucchinis, in thin slices
1-2 cups mushrooms, in thin slices
2-3 cups fresh spinach
2 cups marina sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup grated parmesan
olive oil

– Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
– Grease 2 baking sheets with  olive oil
– Arrange the eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until zucchini and eggplant are soft; press all veggies between paper towels to soak up moisture (esp. mushrooms)
– Wilt spinach in the microwave or over the stove; press between paper towels to get rid of all moisture
– In a prepared casserole dish or equivalent, arrange vegetables, marinara, and cheese in alternative layers
– Bake in oven until cheese is melted and golden

Yum!!! This one doesn’t look as pretty as the ones my mom usually makes, but it’s delicious.

Honey Lavender Pot De Cremes by laraortizluis
February 14, 2012, 10:05 am
Filed under: Uncategorized



Makes 6 small pots de creme 

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoons dried lavender flowers
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup honey (more for the top if you want)
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup water
4 large egg yolks

– combine cream and dried lavender in a small saucepan and bring to low simmer
– turn off heat and let lavender infuse for 30 min
– preheat oven to 325 degrees f; prepare 6 small (1/4-1/3 cup size) ramekins or bakeable cups and set in a baking pan with water
– strain cream and discard lavender
– whisk cream, honey, vanilla, and egg yolks together
– divide among ramekins
– bake for 8-10 min until set but still jiggly in the middle
– let cool and then refrigerate

Filipino-American Breakfast Fusion BAM by laraortizluis
February 14, 2012, 8:27 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Fried egg with brown rice and bacon (and ketchup, duh).

Now for a little Icelandic tidbit:

Fishing is the main industry in Iceland and accounts for roughly half of the country’s foreign currency revenues. There are something like 300 species of fish in the surrounding Icelandic waters. Here is a picture of a  cod, the “national hero” according to this article:

“In fact the cod is a kind of national hero. One of the few twentieth-century wars to produce an unambiguous, non-Pyrrhic victor was the Icelandic cod war. They won. We, and the rest of the EU countries, lost. They got exclusive fishing rights to a 200-mile zone around their coast. We got the common fisheries policy, and a quota system so profoundly daft that we end up legally obliged to throw millions of pounds worth of edible dead fish back into the sea.”

PS isn’t it sad that when you google image search “cod,” more pictures of call of duty come up than the fish?

BLTAA Burgers by laraortizluis
February 13, 2012, 9:40 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

In honor of our friend flying all the way from Sydney to come visit SF for a couple of days…
Bacon Lettuce Tomato Avocado and Asiago (crisp) Burgers
with Oven-roasted french fries in bacon fat




Spicy Tomato and Bacon Spaghetti with Parmesan Garlic Bread by laraortizluis
February 7, 2012, 1:35 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

For me, there are few things in life as satisfying as a big bowl of spaghetti with gratuitous amounts of parmesan cheese. Add bacon and I won’t be able to contain myself.

This recipe is super easy and provides enough for at least 5-6 healthy servings.

You need:
5 slices of thick cut bacon
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 onion, dices
1 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried oregano, dried thyme, and/or dried rosemary
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 tsp chili flakes (or to taste)
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated parmesan
Spaghetti / Linguine / Angel hair pasta

– Fry bacon in a heavy pan; crumble bacon in a bowl, set aside; discard bacon fat but keep the brown bits
– Saute onions, garlic, dried herbs, and chili flakes until onions are translucent and soft
– Add red wine and simmer until alcohol evaporates
– Add tomatoes and tomato paste
– Simmer sauce until desired thickness (it just gets better with time, FYI)
– Before serving, add bacon bits
– Top with lots of parmesan!


Now for an Icelandic tidbit:
I bought some skyr (Icelandic yogurt) the other day to see how it differs from American yogurt.

It. is. thick.
We’re talking peanut butter thick.
Apparently skyr is technically a very soft cheese. The difference between yogurt and cheese is whey. Cheese has whey removed before fermentation and yogurt does not. This makes sense since skyr was discovered accidentally one winter by a bunch of farmers who thought pouring a bunch of skim milk over meat would preserve it. The meat didn’t fare too well, but the farmers were pretty hungry so they ate the fermented milk stuff.

Nowadays, skyr is traditionally eaten cold with a dollop of cream and sugar.