Sunday, February 16, 2014

Green-Poached Eggs with Spinach and Chives

I rarely make breakfast anymore because it's so much easier to let August specialize in it. With some leftover baby spinach languishing away in the fridge, this seemed like the perfect way to start a quiet weekend on my own. Best of all, it's a simple breakfast that doesn't require a lot of effort in the morning, but still gives you a beautifully soft, perfectly cooked egg.

The recipe header says this one serves 4, but then instructs you to divide the meal into 2 bowls. I made one egg because I had very few greens, but wouldn't been happy to have two.

One year ago: Burmese-style Pork Curry with Fresh Ginger
Two years ago: Perfumed Basmati Rice with Black Cardamom Pods
Three years ago: Brisket Tacos
Four years ago: Peanut Butter and Nutella Brownies

Green-Poached Eggs with Spinach and Chives (from Cook This Now)

2 tbsp unsalted butter
3 scallions, sliced (white and light green separated from dark)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped chives
10 ounces baby spinach (~4 quarts)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
grated zest of 1 lemon
4 large eggs
chile flakes, for serving
sea salt, for serving
toast, for serving

1. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides.
2. Add white and light green scallions and garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.
3. Stir in chives.
4. Toss in spinach a handful at a time, letting it wilt slightly before adding more.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cream and lemon zest. Let simmer until very soft, 3 minutes.
6. Make 4 indentations in the spinach. Crack eggs into holes. Lower heat to medium-low and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and leg eggs cook until almost opaque, 3 minutes.
7. Turn off heat and let eggs rest covered until done, 30 seconds for runny yolks.
8. Scoop eggs and greens into bowls. Season with chile flakes and flaky salt, garnish with scallion greens and serve with toast.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Fennel-Crusted Tuna with Wilted Cabbage and Orange-Soy Vinaigrette

I admit that this isn't the most glamorous sounding recipe, but I had faith in this cookbook (and leftover cabbage that I needed to get rid of along with some lovely sashimi-grade tuna). My faith was rewarded with a simple, but wonderfully flavored and elegant dish. While this has a few components, they all come together quickly, making this a good weeknight meal.

One year ago: Crab Quiche
Two years ago: Cabbage and Cucumber Slaw with Roasted Peanuts
Three years ago: Ninfa's Red Sauce
Four years ago: Broccoli, Red Pepper, and Cheese Chowder

Fennel-Crusted Tuna with Wilted Cabbage and Orange-Soy Vinaigrette (from Fish Without a Doubt)

2 tbsp fennel seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp white peppercorns
2 (12 ounce) pieces tuna, about 1 1/2 inches thick
coarse salt
2 tsp vegetable oil
Wilted Cabbage
2 tsp vegetable oil
2/3 lb savoy cabbage, shredded
4 scallions, cut into thin slices
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp water
Orange-Soy Vinaigrette
2 oranges
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
1/3 cup thinly sliced ginger
1/4 cup thinly sliced shallots
1 tbsp thinly sliced garlic
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1/4 cup fumet or chicken stock
1 tsp lemon juice

1. First, make vinaigrette. Juice oranges. Tear or cut the rinds of 1 1/2 oranges into pieces (discard rest).
2. Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp vegetable oil and ginger. Saute for 30 seconds.
3. Add shallots and garlic and saute until fragrant, 30 - 45 seconds.
4. Add orange juice, rinds, soy, and vinegar. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to an active simmer. Cook, pressing down solids, until thick, syrupy and reduced by two-thirds.
5. Add fumet or stock and bring to active simmer. Strain, pressing down the solids. You should have about 1/2 cup.
6. Pour liquid into blender. With blender running, pour in 1/2 cup vegetable oil slowly. Keep running for 30 seconds. Add lemon juice.
7. Now, make the cabbage. Heat vegetable oil in large skillet over medium heat. Turn heat to high, add cabbage and scallions and stir-fry 30 seconds. Add soy sauce and water and stir-fry until cabbage starts to wilt, 1 minute. Remove from heat.
8. Finally, make fish. Combine fennel, coriander, and peppercorns in a spice grinder and grind to powder.
9. Season tuna with salt and coat with ground spices.
10. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Spoon in oil. Add tuna and cook for 45 seconds - 1 minute on each side.
11. Transfer tuna to cutting board and let rest before slicing the tuna.
12. To serve, make a mound of cabbage in 4 dinner plates. Surround cabbage with a ring of vinaigrette. Lay tuna slices on cabbage and serve.

Lemon Poppy Seed-Sour Cream Cake

I tend not to make as many desserts or breakfast cakes now that I work from home and have fewer people to share them with, so I can't justify buying many dessert cookbooks. But when Rose Levy Beranbaum's Heavenly Cakes showed up on Amazon for $3 on the kindle, I knew I couldn't pass it by. Arguably one of the best bakers of our time, it seemed like a small investment. While I don't love having cookbooks on my kindle because I do enjoy writing in my books, this one was worth making an exception for. My first cake from this book was a resounding success. This cake is very lemony and also extremely moist. I made a half recipe so we wouldn't be overwhelmed with cake and it disappeared in only a few days.

One year ago: Barbecued Quail with Mograbiah Salad
Two years ago: Roasted Chicken Legs with Oranges and Paprika
Three years ago: Shrimp and Avocado in Tamarind Sauce
Four years ago: Chocolate Souffle Cupcakes with Mint Cream

Lemon Poppy Seed-Sour Cream Cake (from Rose's Heavenly Cakes)

2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp sour cream, divided
1 3/4 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup/250g all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup/250g superfine sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
5 tsp/10g finely grated lemon zest
1/3 cup/50g poppy seeds
14 tbsp/200g unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp/112g sugar
6 tbsp lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 10 cup tube pan.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, yolk, 1/4 cup of sour cream, and vanilla.
3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, lemon zest, and poppy seeds on low for 30 seconds.
4. Add butter and remaining sour cream to flour. Mix on low until ingredients are moistened. Raise speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes.
5. Starting on low, add egg mixture in two parts, beating on medium for 30 seconds after each addition.
6. Scrape batter into pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
7. Meanwhile, heat the sugar and lemon juice until sugar dissolves (either in microwave or stovetop).
8. Poke holes in cake and brush with 1/3 of syrup.
9. After 10 minutes, invert cake on serving plate and brush with remaining syrup.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Oven-Braised Forest Mushrooms

You may be noticing a theme for which cookbook I've been enjoying the most lately. Thus far, the recipes that I've tried from The Herbal Kitchen are bursting with flavor from fresh herbs, but relatively simple to make. Even better, the cookbook itself is beautiful and inviting (while I very much appreciate The Herbfarm Cookbook which is its predecessor, the other book isn't quite as attention grabbing). This recipe was not exception to the full flavor with minimal prep. The mushroom absorb the butter, shallots, and vermouth as well as the flavorful herbs. Even better for me, there's no chopping required for all of the herbs.

One year ago: Cauliflower with Tahini
Two years ago: Spicy Coriander Salad
Three years ago: Lemon Souffle Pancakes
Four years ago: Sun-dried Tomatoes, Spinach, Feta, and Pine Nuts

Oven-Braised Forest Mushrooms (from The Herbal Kitchen)

2 lbs assorted mushrooms, cleaned and cut into bite-sized pieces
small bunch thyme sprigs (1/2 ounce)
5 bay leaves
2 large sprigs sage
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
3 tbsp butter or olive oil
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup dry vermouth or white wine

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Layer mushrooms, herbs, and shallots in a lidded covered casserole that's just large enough to hold them.
3. Dot with butter or drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
4. Pour vermouth on top.
5. Cover tightly and bake for 1 hour, stirring halfway. Serve hot.

Sole with Wilted Herbs

While it's been a good couple of weeks for cooking, my motivation for posting recipes lately is rather low, so I'm going to stick with giving you a very quick and easy, but delicious dinner. The sauce on this is rich, but bright. For the herbs, I used a mixture of dill, mint, and just a bit of marjoram.

One year ago: Lamb-Stuffed Quince with Pomegranate and Cilantro
Two years ago: Rabbit with Sichuan Pepper
Three years ago: Sweet Tart Dough
Four years ago: Cranberry Pecan Bread

Sole with Wilted Herbs (from The Herbal Kitchen)

1 1/2 lb skinned sole fillet, such as Dover or petrale
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
kosher salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
5 tbsp butter, divided
1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley
1/2 cup very coarsely chopped soft-leafed herbs, such as basil, chervil, chives, dill, mint, or tarragon
2 tbsp lemon juice

1. Pour milk into shallow bowl.
2. Mix flour with 2 tsp of salt and spread on platter.
3. Dip each piece of fish in milk, dredge with flour, and place on parchment paper.
4. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp of butter when skillet is hot enough for butter to sizzle, but not brown.
5. Place fish fillets in pan without overlapping (for the full recipe, you'll need to do two batches). Cook until golden brown, 2 - 3 minutes. Flip to brown the other side. Slide pieces onto warm plates.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 with remaining fish.
7. Add remaining 2 tbsp to hot pan and turn off heat. Add large pinch of salt if butter is unsalted.
8. When butter melts, toss in parsley and other herbs. Stir so herbs absorb butter.
9. Add lemon juice, stir, and spoon herb butter over fish and serve.