Sunday, August 26, 2012

Pomegranate Roasted Carrots

Roasted carrots get a bad rep. Overly sweet and sadly limp, they're usually a sad sight. This recipe adds some pomegranate molasses to them to give a bit of caramelization and best of all a sour kick. Even if you aren't a fan of cooked carrots, this one's worth a try.

Pomegranate Roasted Carrots (from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite)

450g carrots, peeled, trimmed, and halved or quartered lengthwise
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp kosher salt
pinch Turkish or Syrian red pepper or cayenne
1 tsp pomegranate molasses (or 2 tsp balsamic vinegar, but it will be different)
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, basil, or parsley

1. Heat oven to 425F.
2. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss carrots with oil, salt, and pepper. Spread out in single layer.
3. Roast for 15 minutes.
4. Stir and roast for 10 more minutes.
5. Remove from oven, drizzle with pomegranate molasses and toss to coat. Roast until golden and soft, 5 minutes.
6. Garnish with herbs and serve.

Drumsticks with Caramelized Onions

This is a simple dish that is so much more than the sum of its parts. I could not stop eating the caramelized onion and I'm not usually a big onion fan. I only cooked 2 drumsticks, but kept everything else the same. I might use a larger onion and make a bit more sauce if making the full recipe.

Two years ago: Braided Brie and Pear Bread

Drumsticks with Caramelized Onions (from The Breath of a Wok)

1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp thinly sliced garlic
1 tbsp finely shredded ginger
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
8 chicken drumsticks
1/3 cup finely shredded scallions
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil

1. Heat a 14" flat-bottomed work over high heat. Swirl in vegetable oil, add garlic and ginger, and stir-fry 10 seconds.
2. Add onion, 1/2 tsp of salt, and the pepper. Stir-fry on medium heat 3 - 4 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a plate.
3. Add drumsticks, spreading them evenly and pan-fry 20 - 25 minutes over medium heat, turning drumsticks until well-browned and chicken is cooked through.
4. Add cooked onions and remaining 1/4 tsp salt. Stir.
5. Add scallions, oyster sauce, and sesame oil, stirring over low heat until well combined.

Steamed Pork and Pumpkin Dumplings

The original recipe calls for steamed dumplings with homemade wrappers. I turned these into pot-stickers using this recipe. You could also use store-bought wrappers. The recipe below is only for the filling. The original recipe calls for finely chopping the pumpkin and boiling it. To simplify, I used pumpkin puree.

Two years ago: Slow-Braised Pork with Grapes and Balsamic

Steamed Pork and Pumpkin Dumplings (from Land of Plenty)

150g pumpkin puree
lard or peanut oil for frying
2 tsp finely chopped ginger
225g ground pork
1 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
6 - 8 turns of black pepper
4 tsp finely chopped scallions
1 tsp sesame oil

1. Season wok, heat 3 tbsp of lard or peanut oil over high heat. Add ginger and stir-fry until fragrant.
2. Add pork and stir-fry until it separates.
3. Add pumpkin and stir-fry.
4. Allow to cool and add soy sauce, salt, pepper, scallion, and sesame oil. Mix well.
5. Fill your wrapper of choice and cook according to directions.

Yellow Split Peas and Spinach in a Yogurt-Peanut Sauce

This isn't an attractive dish, but it does taste like comfort food. The flavours all work together very nicely, even for someone who usually isn't a huge fan of yogurt.

Two years ago: Baked French Toast with Raspberries and Walnuts

Yellow Split Peas and Spinach in a Yogurt-Peanut Sauce (from 660 Curries)

1 cup yellow split peas
280g spinach leaves, well-rinsed
2 tbsp unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
2 fresh green Thai, cayenne, or serrano chiles, stems removed
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tbsp chickpea flour
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
12 - 15 fresh curry leaves
2 lengthwise slices gender, cut into matchstick-thin strips (2.5"x1"x1/8")
2 tbsp ghee or canola oil
1 tsp black or yellow mustard seeds
1/4 tsp ground asafetida

1. Place split peas in medium saucepan. Fill with water and rinse peas. Drain. Repeat 3 or 4 times until water is clear. Add 3 cups water and bring to a boil, skimming off foam.
2. Add spinach a few handfuls at a time, stirring until it wilts. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until split peas are tender and spinach is olive green, 30 - 35 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, combine peanuts and chiles in mortar. Pour until it forms a chunky mass.
4. In medium bowl, whisk together yogurt and 1/2 cup water. Sprinkle in chickpea flour and whisk. Stir in salt, turmeric, half of curry leaves, and ginger. Stir in pounded peanut mixture.
5. When peas are tender, mash with a potato masher until leaves break down and some of the peas squish.
6. Stir in yogurt sauce and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower to medium and simmer until sauce has thickened, 15 minutes.
7. Heat ghee in small skillet over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds, cover, and cook until seeds have stopped popping. Remove from heat and sprinkle in asafetida and remaining curry leaves.
8. Stir mustard and leaf mixture into curry. Serve.

Ziti with Arugula and Jaggery

I wasn't sure about this dish after the first bite. It seemed a little too sweet, but after a few more, the flavours blended perfectly. The bitter arugula, the sweetness of the jaggery, a little bit of heat from the chiles, but most of all the fennel. This comes together easily. The original calls for finely chopped tomatoes, but I pulled out some tomato puree from the freezer. The author suggests macaroni, mostaccioli, and orecchiette could be used as pasta laternative. I used orecchiette. I forgot the parmesan I had grated and didn't miss it.

You might get slightly better results with the arugula if you wilted it directly into the sauce and pasta. Otherwise, it clumps quite badly. Original directions are included below.

Two years ago: Broccoli Spears in Garlic Sauce

Ziti with Arugula and Jaggery (from 660 Curries)

450g ziti pasta
450g arugula, washed, stems discarded, large leaves torn
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 - 4 dried Thai or cayenne chiles, stems removed
3 large tomatoes, cored and finely chopped
1/4 cup crumbled jaggery or firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
freshly grated parmesan

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add pasta and cook until fork-tender.
2. In the last minute of pasta cooking, add arugula. Drain pasta and greens and shock with cold water.
3. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle in cumin seeds, fennel seeds, and chiles. Cook until chiles blacken and seeds smell nutty, 20 - 30 seconds.
4. Stir in tomatoes and jaggery and simmer uncovered until tomatoes are warmed through, 5 minutes. Stir in salt.
5. Toss pasta and arugula into sauce and simmer until rewarmed, 3 - 5 minutes.
6. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

Cornmeal Cake with Fresh Corn and Berries

This is a hearty cake that's great for snacking. I used a mixture of blackberries and raspberries. She suggests only using 1 cup of berries in the cake and garnishing with the remaining cup, but I think the cake could handle having 2 cups of fruit.

Two years ago: Eggplant Souffle

Cornmeal Cake with Fresh Corn and Berries (from Farmers' Market Desserts)

2 cups blackberries or raspberries
3/4 cup corn kernels (1 ear of corn)
1 cup plus 2 tbsp flour
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1. Heat oven to 350F. Oil and 8"x2" round cake pan. Dust with flour.
2. Mix berries in small bowl with corn kernels. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp flour and 2 tbsp sugar. Stir to coat.
3. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup flour, 3/4 cup sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and olive oil.
5. Stir wet ingredients into dry until well combined.
6. Fold berries and corn into batter.
7. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until cooked through, 40 - 45 minutes.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Asian Vinaigrette

This is a simple vinaigrette that works very well with Asian meals. I used it on watercress and paired it with some homemade Chinese dumplings, but please, let your imagination run wild.

Two years ago: Cauliflower Pasta Sauce

Asian Vinaigrette (from Raising the Salad Bar)

1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp fresh lime or lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients.

Roasted Peach and Arugula Salad with Gorgonzola

The original recipe calls for apricots, but apricots aren't quite in season here right now, so I used peaches. This is a great salad. The bitter radicchio, creamy gorgonzola, and sweetness of the peaches work very well together.

One year ago: Chicken in Peanut Sauce
Two years ago: Heirloom Tomato and Rice Tart

Roasted Peach and Arugula Salad with Gorgonzola (from Raising the Salad Bar)

4 peaches, halved, pits removed
olive oil
6 to 8 cups baby arugula, washed and dried
1 cup thinly sliced radicchio
1/2 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
Balsamic Vinaigrette
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
5 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Brush peaches on both sides with olive oil and place flesh side up on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment. Roast until cooked and slightly softened, 15 - 18 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. To make dressing, whisk together oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper.
3. In large bowl, toss arugula and radicchio with enough dressing to coat leaves.
4. Divide salad among 4 plates and top with peach halves. Top with gorgonzola and drizzle with remaining dressing.

Pistachio and rosewater meringues

While searching for something to do with frozen egg whites before moving, I stumbled across this recipe. I could've sworn I had rosewater in the pantry, but I didn't, so these became orange blossom meringues. I'm glad I found this recipe as it's a relatively simple dessert that's delicious. I scaled the recipe in half and am giving you the scaled version as I don't think my stand mixer could handle a larger batch and this makes a lot of meringue.

One year ago: Corn Soup with Scallions and Green Apples
Two years ago: Raspberry Limeade Slushies

Pistachio and rosewater meringues (from Ottolenghi)

300g granulated sugar
150g egg whites (about 5)
1 tsp rosewater or orange blossom water
30g pistachio nuts, finely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spread sugar evenly over oven tray lined with parchment. Put in oven for 8 minutes or until sugar is hot and starting to dissolve at edges.
2. While sugar is in oven, put egg whites in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk. When sugar is almost ready, turn mixer on high and let work for a minute or until egg whites start to froth.
3. Carefully pour sugar into whisking whites. Add rosewater and continue whisking on high for 10 minutes or until meringue is cold, beautifully smooth, and holds a shape.
4. Reduce oven temperature to 225F. Line a baking tray or two with parchment. Spread pistachios on a plate.
5. With 2 large spoons, scoop a dollop of meringue the size of an apple. Scrape onto place with pistachios to cover on one side. Place nuts up on baking tray. Repeat.
6. Place in oven and leave for 2 hours. Check if done. Store in a dry place at room temperature.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Cardamom Chicken with Chickpea and Orange Couscous

Cardamom is one of my favourite spices. This simple recipe comes together in well under 30 minutes and has plenty of flavour. The couscous would also work very nicely with other proteins.

One year ago: Blueberry Streusel Bars with Lemon Cream Filling
Two years ago: Broccoli and Gorgonzola Pie

Cardamom Chicken with Chickpea and Orange Couscous (from Radically Simple)

6 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tbsp ground cardamom
2 garlic cloves, divided and minced
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups couscous
3/4 cup cooked chickpeas
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 scallion, finely chopped
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
2 tsp ground cumin
8 ounces Greek yogurt

1. Combine 2 tbsp oil, cardamom and 1 minced garlic clove in a small cup. Rub into chicken.
2. Cook chicken either on a stovetop grill pan or broil for 4 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
3. Meanwhile, bring 1 3/4 cups salted water to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in couscous, chickpeas, raisins, and scallions. Cover, remove from heat, and steam for 5 minutes.
4. Stir into couscous orange zest, orange juice, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tbsp oil, and salt. Cover.
5. In small bowl, stir together yogurt, remaining garlic, 3 tbsp oil, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tbsp water, and salt.
6. Serve chicken on couscous topped with yogurt.

Stir-Fried Rice Noodles with Chicken Slivers

I stumbled across this dish while trying to figure out what to do with the other half of a box of rice noodles. As a bonus, this recipe also used up my remaining dried shiitake mushrooms. This dish is fantastic. After the 30 minute soaking time for the noodles and mushrooms, it comes together incredibly quickly. It has a little bit of heat and a depth of flavour. Don't worry if on the first frying, your noodles start sticking together. That just means it's time to take them off heat. They'll separate better once you return them to heat later in the cooking process.

One year ago: Chocolate Mousse
Two years ago: Gorgonzola and Grape Pizza

Stir-Fried Rice Noodles with Chicken Slivers (from Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook)

2 boneless chicken breast halves (340g)
4 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked for 30 minutes in hot water
140g rice noodles, soaked for 30 minutes
3 scallions, green parts only, sliced into 1 1/2" slivers
2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
2 tsp chopped salted chiles (or sambal oelek)
2 tsp soy sauce
salt and white pepper
140g bean sprouts
1 tsp sesame oil
5 tbsp peanut oil, divided
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp light soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp potato flour or cornstarch
1 tsp Shaoxing wine
1 tbsp water

1. Cut chicken breasts along the grain into fine slivers. Place in bowl with marinade ingredients and mix well.
2. Drain mushrooms, squeeze dry, remove stems, and cut into fine slices.
3. Heat wok over high heat. Add 3 tbsp oil and swirl around. Add drained noodles and stir-fry until fragrant. Set aside.
4. Reheat wok with 2 tbsp of fresh oil. Add chicken slivers and stir-fry until they separate.
5. Add ginger, garlic, chiles, and mushrooms and stir-fry until fragrant.
6. Add hot noodles and stir-fry, adding soy sauce and salt and pepper to taste.
7. Stir in bean sprouts and stir-fry until hot.
8. Add scallion greens and stir-fry. Remove from heat, stir in sesame oil, and serve immediately.

Chickpea, Watercress, and Mango Salad with Lime-Curry Vinaigrette

This is a lovely, refreshing salad. It's hearty enough to serve as a meal on its own, but also works well as a refreshing side salad.

One year ago: Fettuccine with Figs, Rosemary, and Pancetta
Two years ago: Bagel, Egg, and Spinach Red Lentil Soup

Chickpea, Watercress, and Mango Salad with Lime-Curry Vinaigrette (from Raising the Salad Bar)

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpease
1 roasted red bell pepper, diced (I used raw)
1 mango, peeled and cut into 1/2" dice
1 cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into 1/2" dice
1 bunch watercress (2 cups), washed and dried, large stems removed, roughly chopped
Lime-Curry Vinaigrette
2 1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp honey or brown sugar
4 tbsp canola oil (I used sunflower)
salt and pepper

1. In large bowl, combine chickpeas, red pepper, mango, and cucumber.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together lime juice, curry powder, ginger, honey, oil, salt, and pepper.
3. Add watercress and dressing to chickpea mixture, toss to combine, and serve.

Beef Cubes with a Tamarind-Mint Sauce

This dish is listed as an appetizer in the cookbook. It would be great to have out at a party, but it also works as a light dinner, especially when paired with a refreshing mango salad. The beef is spicy, but not as spicy as you might expect when you read through the recipe. The author suggests pairing with a cold beer. I didn't have any on hand, but I do think that's an excellent suggestion!

One year ago: Penne with Chicken and Pesto
Two years ago: Spinach Soup with Red Lentils

Beef Cubes with a Tamarind-Mint Sauce (from 660 Curries)

1/2 cup plain yogurt
6 - 8 green Thai, cayenne, or serrano chiles, stems removed
6 medium garlic cloves
2 lengthwise slices ginger (2"x1"x1/8")
450g boneless beef stew meat, cut into 2" cubes
1 tsp ground Deggi chiles or 1/2 tsp cayenne + 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp whole cloves, ground
Bamboo or metal skewers
1/4 cup firmly packed mint leaves
1/4 cup firmly packed cilantro
1 tsp white sugar
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp tamarind paste or concentrate
1 - 2 fresh green Thai, cayenne, or serrano chiles, stems removed

1. To make marinade, pour yogurt into blender. Add chiles, garlic, and ginger. Puree until smooth.
2. Place beef in bowl and pour marinade over top. Stir in ground chiles, salt, turmeric, and cloves. Refrigerate, covered, for 1 hour or overnight.
3. To make sauce, pour 1/4 cup water into blender and add sauce ingredients. Puree until smooth.
4. Pour sauce into small saucepan and warm over low heat while you cook the kebabs.
5. Heat grill or broiler to high.
6. Thread beef cubes onto skewers with the marinade.
7. Grill or broil for 6 - 8 minutes until cooked to desired level of doneness.
8. Slide beef off of skewers, spoon sauce over beef, and serve.

Yogurt-Marinated Lamb with Rice, Saffron, and Mint

Don't be intimidated by the length of this recipe. It involves a little planning, but comes together with relatively little effort and the results are more than worth it. This dish is rich and flavourful. The rice came out perfectly and the lamb incredibly tender.

One year ago: Shrimp with Basil-Peanut Pesto
Two years ago: Couscous with Broccoli and Walnuts

Yogurt-Marinated Lamb with Rice, Saffron, and Mint (from 660 Curries)

450g boneless leg of lamb, fat trimmed and cut into 1" cubes
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup firmly packed mint leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup firmly packed cilantro, finely chopped
2 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
2 tsp ground kashmiri chiles or 1/2 tsp cayenne + 1 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp Punjabi garam masala
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 cup basmati rice
2 tbsp ghee or unsalted butter
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 black cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 small red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp saffron threads
1 tsp coarse salt
2 tbsp ghee or unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves for garnish

1. Combine lamb, yogurt, mint, cilantro, ginger paste, garlic paste, chiles, salt, garam masala, and turmeric in bowl. Toss to coat lamb. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 3 hours or overnight.
2. An hour before you're ready to start assembly, place rice in medium-size bowl. Fill with water. Rub the grains, drain, and repeat 3 times until water remains clear. Fill with cold water and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Drain.
3. Heat ghee in medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds, cardamom, bay leave, and cinnamon sticks. Cook until they sizzle and smell nutty, 15 - 20 seconds.
4. Add onion to spices and stir-fry until light brown around edges, 3 - 5 minutes.
5. Stir in saffron. Add rice and toss to coat grains.
6. Pour in 1 cup cold water, add salt, and stir rice once. Bring to a boil and cook until water evaporates from surface and craters form, 3 - 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
7. Heat oven to 350F. Grease medium-size casserole dish.
8. Spread lamb and any remaining marinade across bottom of casserole dish.
9. Drizzle melted ghee on top of lamb.
10. Add rice mixture on top of lamb and ghee. Cover and place in oven. Bake until rice is cooked and lamb is tender, 1 hour.
11. Serve topped with mint. Eat around the whole spices.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Nutty-Tart Bell Peppers with Peanuts

Cooked according to the directions below, my bell peppers blackened much more quickly than I thought they would and the water evaporated so quickly I ended up with what looked like a mess. I was worried that my dish was a complete disaster, but it was delicious! If you like bell peppers, this is a dish worth trying.

One year ago: Black and Blue Buckle
Two years ago: Chicken Tikka Masala

Nutty-Tart Bell Peppers with Peanuts (from 660 Curries)

2 tbsp canola oil
2 large bell peppers (900g), any colour, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1" pieces
6 whole cloves
1 or 2 bay leaves
2 tbsp chickpea flour
1 tsp toasted cumin-coriander blend (2:1 ratio of coriander to cumin, toasted and then ground, you can make a lot of a little)
1 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp white sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne
2 tbsp unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts, ground to fine breadcrumbs
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
juice of 1 lime

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add bell peppers, cloves, and bay leaves. Roasted, stirring occasionally until softened and browned, 15 - 18 minutes.
2. Sprinkle in chickpea flour and cook, stirring until lightly browned, 3 - 5 minutes.
3. Pour in 1 cup water and scrape skillet to deglaze.
4. Stir in cumin-coriander blend, salt, sugar, and cayenne. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally until flavours mingle, 5 - 8 minutes.
5. Stir in peanuts and cilantro. Stir in lime juice.

Chilled Cucumber Soup with Sheep's Milk Fromage Blanc

This is a delicious chilled soup. The mint works wonderfully with the cucumber and cheese.

One year ago: Gooey Ginger Chicken
Two years ago: Pear Couscous with Olives, Roasted Tomatoes and Feta

Chilled Cucumber Soup with Sheep's Milk Fromage Blanc (from The Cheesemonger's Kitchen)

910 g cucumbers, peeled and seeded
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
225g sheep's milk fromage blanc
salt and pepper
smoked paprika for sprinkling

1. In a food processor, pulse the cucumbers, onion, and mint to a smooth puree.
2. Add fromage blanc and season with salt and pepper. Pulse to combine.
3. Transfer to a container, cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.
4. Divide into 4 chilled bowls and sprinkle with paprika.

Cucumber Cooler

I may have lost my bartender, but that doesn't mean that creative drinks no longer exist for me. This is a refreshing summery drink.

One year ago: Fig, Prosciutto, and Arugula Salad
Two years ago: Egg and Pancetta Stuffed Tomatoes

Cucumber Cooler (from Saveur's The New Comfort Food)

1 2" piece cucumber, thinly sliced crosswise
1/8 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup crushed ice + more for later
1 1/2 ounce vodka
1/2 ounce simple syrup

1. In a cocktail shaker, combine cucumber slices, thyme, and crushed ice.
2. Using a muddler, crush ingredients until slushy.
3. Add more ice, vodka, and simple syrup. Cover and shake vigorously to combine.
4. Pour into glass and serve.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Japanese Noodle Salad with Ginger-Soy Vinaigrette

This is a light and refreshing salad with beautiful colour. Be warned that the recipe below makes a huge amount of salad. For the amount of bok choy, I also thought it could use one more red bell pepper. The original recipe also calls for one stalk of celery thinly sliced. I omitted this and didn't miss anything, so I'm omitting it below as well.

One year ago: Blueberry Rhubarb Deep Dish Pie
Two years ago: Penang-Style Stir-Fried Kuey Teow Noodles

Japanese Noodle Salad with Ginger-Soy Vinaigrette (from Raising the Salad Bar)

225g dried udon noodles
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
4 stalks bok choy (with green tops), cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 red bell pepper, cored and julienned
4 scallion greens, thinly sliced
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Ginger-soy vinaigrette
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp canola or peanut oil
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Break udon noodles in half and cook according to package directions. Drain and toss with sesame oil.
2. Once cool, toss noodles in large bowl with vegetables.
3. To make dressing, whisk together ingredients.
4. Toss salad with dressing and garnish with sesame seeds.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Creme Brulee French Toast with Orange Blossom Water

After posting 3 salads in a row, I wouldn't want to leave you with the impression that I'm eating super healthy right now. This is a great recipe for using up leftover baguette. I didn't get much of an orange blossom flavour, so if you like that, you might want to increase it a bit.

One word of caution, I used a smaller pan and I believe that's why my bread didn't get crispy on the bottom. I'd pay attention to the pan suggestion, but even then I'm not 100% sure it will crisp up. Either way, it's still delicious.

I added some fresh strawberries and blueberries to the mix and it was quite nice, so feel free to play around with it a bit. You might also consider letting it soak overnight.

One year ago: Creamy, Lemony Eggs with Prosciutto
Two years ago: Corn and Tomato Gratin

Creme Brulee French Toast with Orange Blossom Water (from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite)

1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tsp orange blossom water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp kosher salt
280g French baguette, sliced diagonally, 1" thick

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar and butter until sugar is dissolved. Pour into a large rimmed baking sheet (11x17).
3. In a shallow dish, combine eggs, milk, orange juice, orange blossom water, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Coat both sides of bread slices in mixture and let soak for at least 15 minutes.
4. Place bread on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until tops are golden brown and sugar is bubbling.
5. Serve immediately with crunchy brown sugar side up.

Lentil Salad with Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette

My cooking has taken a turn towards the vegetarian with the boy already out in San Francisco. For some reason, meatless dishes just seem so much more summery and simple to me. As a warning, this dish is slightly sweet thanks to the maple, raisins, and carrots. If that's not your thing, don't say I didn't warn you!

The original recipe (below) serves 6 - 8. That's a bit much for me when I'm on my own. When I made the recipe, I scaled the amount of lentils in half, but kept the vegetable level the same because who wants to deal with a leftover 1/2 carrot or bell pepper. I liked the ratio of vegetables to lentils that I ended up with, but you're of course free to follow your own preferences.

One year ago: Pesto and Prosciutto Stromboli
Two years ago: Pad See Ew

Lentil Salad with Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette (from Raising the Salad Bar)

1 1/2 cups green lentils, rinsed
1 bay leaf
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
1 red bell pepper, cored and finely diced
1/4 cup chopped scallion greens
1/2 cup raisins, roughly chopped
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped (I used pecans)
Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 tsp kosher salt

1. Fill a small saucepan with water, add lentils and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until cooked, 18 - 20 minutes.
2. Drain, lentils, add a few pinches of salt, and let cool.
3. When cool, combine lentils, carrot, bell pepper, scallions, and raisins in a serving bowl.
4. To make dressing, whisk together ingredients.
5. Mix dressing into salad and garnish with chopped nuts.

Farro and Roasted Pepper Salad

The only problem with this recipe is it requires roasted peppers which of course requires a warm oven. I would say this one is worth a little bit of heat though. If you don't have farro, feel free to substitute a grain of your choice. Bulgur would be the closest, but I used Israeli couscous.

One year ago: Chocolate Gravy
Two years ago: Peppers stuffed with cherry tomatoes and basil

Farro and Roasted Pepper Salad (from Plenty)

150g farro
2 red bell peppers
10 pitted black olives, quartered lengthwise
1 tbsp chopped oregano or thyme
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
100g feta, broken into large chunks
juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp fine sea salt

1. Cook farro or whatever grain you're using according to package instruction. Drain and rinse with cold water.
2. Preheat broiler. Brush bell peppers with olive oil and put peppers on a baking dish. Broil, turning as needed until peppers are blackened. Remove from oven, cover with foil, and let cool enough to handle.
3. When peppers are cool, remove and discard skin. Tear by hand into 1 cm wide slices.
4. To make dressing, whisk together all ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
5. Place cooked farro in large mixing bowl and add peppers, olives, oregano, spring onions, and feta. Pour over dressing and mix together. Serve.

Edamame, Shrimp and Snow Pea Pasta Salad

Summer in Montreal this year has been amazing. Warm and lovely with very few days of rain. Of course, that means the last thing I want to do at night when I'm struggling to keep my apartment at 80F (on the cool end!) is turn on the oven. Hence, you'll see quite a few salad-based meals.

This dish is a bit different. The wasabi in the dressing gives it a bit of something special without being overpowering. I thought it needed something a bit extra and had some fresh basil and mint on hand, so I added those and took the dish a bit more in a Thai direction. I also think the peanuts in the dish would go better chopped, so I'm going to suggest that you do that!

One year ago: Pork in Adobo Sauce
Two years ago: Pasta with Roasted Red Pepper and Basil

Edamame, Shrimp and Snow Pea Pasta Salad (from Raising the Salad Bar)

225g dried udon noodles
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 cup edamame beans (soy beans), fresh or frozen
1 cup snow peas, strings removed
olive oil
450g small to medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
salt and pepper
1 large garlic clove, finely minced
1 red bell pepper, cored and cut into thin strips
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallion greens
1/2 cup unsalted, dry roasted peanuts, chopped
2 tbsp chopped basil (optional)
2 tbsp chopped mint (optional)
Wasabi-soy vinaigrette
4 tsp wasabi powder
2 tsp water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp soy sauce
5 tbsp canola or grapeseed oil

1. Break udon noodles in half and cook in boiling salted water according to package directions. Drain, drizzle with sesame oil, and let cool.
2. Bring a small pot of water to a boil and add edamame beans. Cook 3 minutes, add snow peas, and cook 1 minute more. Drain and run under cold water.
3. Heat large saute pan over medium-high heat. Coat with olive oil, add shrimp, and saute. Season with salt and pepper and after 3 minutes, add minced garlic. Cook until pink, turning once.
4. In large serving bowl, combine shrimp, noodles, snow peas, edamame, red pepper, and scallions.
5. To make dressing, in a small bowl, mix wasabi powder with water. Stir and then add lemon juice, soy sauce, and oil.
6. Dress salad and toss to combine. Garnish with peanuts and herbs.