Thursday, April 22, 2010

Fresh Pea & Feta Salad

2 large handfuls baby spinach
2 large handfuls arugula
2 large handfuls frizee
Substitute for above greens:
You can use a ready made spring mix
2 smaller handfuls fresh peas
2 smaller handfuls cherry or grape tomatoes in halves
olive oil
lemon, juice
crumbled feta cheese

Spin dry (unless it is ready to eat and already dry), and add to a salad bowl with 2 smaller handfuls of fresh peas (unless you are lucky enough to get young peas which are sweet and tender, you should blanch the peas in boiling, unsalted water and leave to cool). Add to bowl. Add tomatoes.

Dress the salad at the last minute with olive oil and lemon juice dressing and sprinkle crumbled feta cheese over the top.

This is my version of Jamie Olivers Recipe

Creamy Potato Gratin

4 1/2 pounds all-purpose potatoes
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 onion, peeled
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon salt
Approximately 1/4 cup unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into slices, neither especially thin nor especially thick (approximately 1/2-inch) and put them into a large saucepan with the milk, cream, onion, minced garlic and salt. Bring to the boil and cook at a robust simmer or gentle boil (however you like to think of it) until verging on tender, but not dissolving into mush. The pan might be hell to clean afterward, but any excuse for long, lazy soaking rather than brisk pre-or postprandial scrubbing always appeals to me. And, for what it's worth, I find that when pans are really, dauntingly, stuck with cooked-on gunge, it's more effective to soak them in hot water and detergent (i.e., the stuff you put in the washing machine, though I haven't tried, and don't think I would, with tablets) rather than dish liquid.
Use some of the butter to grease a large roasting pan (15 by 12-inches) and then pour the almost sludgy milk and potato mixture into it. Dot with remaining butter and cook in the oven for 15 minutes or until the potato is bubbly and browned on top. Remove, let stand for 10 to 20 minutes and then serve.
This is not the most labor saving way of cooking potatoes, to be sure, but one of the most seductive. And it reheats well as an accompaniment to cold roast pork, or indeed anything in the days that follow.

Recipe courtesy Nigella Lawson
Photo courtesy The Wandering Chefs

Sauteed Green Beans

 1 1/2 pound green beans, stem ends trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
Diagonally halve the beans crosswise. Blanch beans in a 6-quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, until crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain beans in a colander and transfer to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking, then drain well.
Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then
sautee beans, stirring, until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
To make rediculously tasty add 1 tablespoon butter (or more) just before serving.
Recipe courtesy Gourmet Magazine
Photo courtesy heathy sprouts

Creme Brulee

2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
8 egg yolks
3 generous tablespoons granulated sugar
Approximately 6 tablespoons Demerara or granulated brown sugar
Put a pie dish of about 8-inches in diameter in the freezer for at least 20 minutes. Half-fill the sink with cold water. This is just a precaution in case the custard looks as if it's about to split, in which case you should plunge the pan into the water and whisk the custard. I'm not saying it will - with so many egg yolks in the rich cream, it thickens quickly and easily enough - but I always feel better if I've done this.
Put the cream and vanilla bean into a saucepan and bring to the boiling point, but do not let boil. Beat the eggs and sugar together in a bowl, and, still beating, pour the flavored cream over it, bean and all. Rinse and dry the pan and pour the custard mix back in. Cook over medium heat (or low, if you're scared) until the custard thickens, whisking almost constantly: about 10 to 12 minutes should do it. You do not want this to be a good, voluptuous creme, so don't err on the side of runny caution. Remember, you've got your sinkful of cold water to plunge the pan into should it really look as if it's about to split.

When the cream's thick enough, take out the vanilla bean, retrieve the pie dish and pour the creme into the severely chilled container. Leave to cool, then put in the refrigerator until truly cold. Sprinkle with Demerara sugar, spoonful by spoonful, and burn with a blowtorch until you have a blistered tortoiseshell covering on top.
Put back in the refrigerator if you want, but remember to take it out a good 20 minutes before serving. At which stage, put the bowl on the table and, with a large spoon and unchecked greed, crack through the sugary carapace and delve into the satin-velvet, vanilla-speckled cream beneath. No more talking: just eat.

Recipe courtesy Nigella Lawson
Photo courtsey

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Roast Chicken with Pan Gravy

2 whole chickens (about 3 1/2 lb each)
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, divided
6 large garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
2 lemons, halved
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups water
kitchen string
For roast chicken:
Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle.

Pull off excess fat around cavities of chickens and discard, then rinse chickens and pat dry. Melt 4 Tbsp butter with garlic and brush butter all over chickens. Season both chickens inside and out with 2 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper (total). Put half of garlic and 1 lemon half in each cavity and loosely tie legs together with string. Roast chickens in a large (17- by 11-inch) flameproof roasting pan, basting with pan juices using a spoon (remove pan from oven and tilt if necessary) every 20 minutes, rotating pan, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into fleshy part of a thigh of each chicken (do not touch bone) registers 170°F, 50 to 60 minutes total. Baste chickens once more, then carefully tilt them so juices from cavities run into roasting pan. Transfer chickens to a cutting board (reserve pan) and let rest 15 minutes before carving.
Make gravy while chickens rest:
Pour off all but 2 Tbsp fat from pan, then cook remaining drippings over medium-high heat until deep golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in water and simmer, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk in remaining 4 Tbsp butter and lemon juice to taste (from remaining lemon halves). Season with salt and pepper. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a gravy boat.

If desired, you can also add herbs such as thyme or rosemary to cavities before roasting.
Recipe courtesy Gourmet Magazine, Image courtesy Romulo Yanes

Monday, April 19, 2010

Brazillian Lemonade

The quick & dirty version

2 bottles Simply Limeaid
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 sliced limes for serving
1 bag crushed ice

In a large bowl (or pitcher if you have one big enough) pour about a cup of the Limeaid in then pour in the sweetened condensed milk. Pour in the rest of the Limeaid, mix well.

Fill desired glasses to the brim with ice, pour Brazilian lemonade over top with lime and serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy Meikel Reece
Photo courtesy Meikel Reece

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

Recipe Courtesy Santacafe
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (7 ounces)
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted

8 ounces fine-quality white chocolate
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
4 whole large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups fresh raspberries (11 ounces)
Garnish: Fresh raspberries, mint sprigs

Make crust: Finely grind almonds and crumbs in a food processor and add butter, blending until combined. Press over bottom and 2/3 up side of a 10-inch springform pan.
Make filling: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a large metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth, and remove from heat.
Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy, then beat in sugar. Add whole eggs and yolks, 1 at a time, beating well at low speed and scraping down bowl after each addition.
Beat in flour and vanilla until just combined, then add melted chocolate in a slow stream, beating until filling is well combined.
Arrange berries in 1 layer over crust and pour filling into crust. Bake in middle of oven until cake is set 3 inches from edge but center is still wobbly when pan is gently shaken, 45 to 55 minutes.
Run a thin knife around edge of cake to loosen, then cool completely in pan on a rack. (Cake will continue to set as it cools.) Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Cooks' note: Cheesecake can be made 3 days ahead and chilled, covered

Lime & Salt Rice

2 C brown rice (short grain)
Zest of 2 limes
Juice of 2 limes
6 cups water
1 bunch cilantro
Kosher Salt

In the pot, add zest, juice then rice. Cover with water and set to medium heat. Allow the rice to cook until there are holes in the rice and all of the water is gone. Remove from heat and cover until tender (10-15 min.)

Chop cilantro. Fluff the rice with a fork, add salt to taste. Fold in cilantro and serve.

Obviously you can make this as limey or salty as you like, just add more lime zest, juice and more salt. You could also use white rice, I prefer the nutty-ness of brown rice.

Recipe courtesy Meikel Reece
Photo courtesy Meikel Reece

Coke Pulled Pork

A little disclaimer, I don’t really use measurements So these are my guesstimates. Also, I usually buy the size of pork butt that will fit in my crock pot.

6 lbs Pork Butt (shoulder)
Coca Cola (no substitutes will do, ie diet or no name brand)
½ C Brown Sugar
2 tsp cumin

Place pork butt whole into the crock pot. Add brown sugar and cumin, cover with coke. Put the lid on and set to low, leave to cook 12 hours.

Gently pull apart with two forks, handle the meat as little as possible. Serve.

Recipe courtesy Meikel Reece
Photo courtesy Meikel Reece
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