Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
1/2 cup toasted pecans, walnuts, or hazelnuts
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, or feta (I used reduced calorie feta)
simple vinagrette dressing (for this recipe skip the garlic if you usually use it. I used a commercial reduced calorie raspberry vinaigrette from the bottle.
-Cut pears horizontally into three or four slices each. Use a knife to core the center pieces (they will resemble dougnuts.) Leave the stem on. Brush lemon juice on each cut side of the slices to prevent browning.
In a medium size bowl, toss the pecans, blue cheese, water cress (or tender greens of your choice) with the dressing until well coated.
These are best made just shortly before serving. I hope you enjoy!
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Chicken Breasts Roasted on Tomatoes and Eggplant with Oregano
3 Roma, or other ripe tomatoes
1 Tablespoon fresh oregano leaves (or 2 teaspoons dried, crumbled)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper (coarse grind)
4 chicken breast fillets
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350* (F)
Line shallow rimmed baking pan with a silpat liner or parchment paper (for easy clean-up.)
Thickly slice eggplant (one slice for each chicken breast), place on lined baking pan, top with sliced tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper.
Arrange chicken breasts on top of each eggplant/tomato stack. (At this point I like to brush or spray lightly with olive oil.)
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle each evenly with the mozzarella and parmesan. Continue baking until chicken is cooked through and cheese is bubbling and lightly browned. This will depend upon thickness of the chicken breasts. The average size breasts I used required an additional 25 to 30 minutes baking time.
Garnish with additional fresh oregano or parsley if desired. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Donna Hay
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Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Nectarines or Peaches Wrapped in Prosciutto with Balsamic Vinegar Drizzle
2 nectarines or peaches
6 slices prosciutto, halved
3 or 4 ounces arugula or other tender salad greens
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
cracked black pepper
Cut each nectarine (or peach) into 6 wedges then wrap in the prosciutto.
Arrange greens on four plates, divide the wrapped fruit evenly among the plates.
To make Balsamic Syrup:
In a small pot or pan combine balsamic vinegar and brown sugar, place over high heat and boil until thickened. Cool slightly and spoon over the greens, sprinkle with the cracked black pepper and serve.
Recipe adapted from Donna Hay
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Tarte Tatin á la Tomate - Tomato Tatin
Serves 8 as a starter, 4 as a main course.
Pâte Brisée (your favorite recipe), OR 1 sheet commercially prepared puff pastry, thawed
Extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds Roma or plum tomatoes (substitute any other firm and not too juicy variety)
Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Herbes de Provence (or a mix of dried rosemary, basil, oregano, and thyme)
1/4 cup black olive tapenade, store-bought or homemade
6 ounces fresh goat cheese
1/3 cup (loosely packed) fresh basil leaves
Chilling time: 30 minutes for the dough
Prepare the Pâte Brisée, wrap securely in cling film and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. May be made up to 24 hours ahead.
I used a sheet of commercially prepared puff pastry, (thawed as directed on package.)
Preheat the oven to 350°F
Rub the interior of a 10-inch ceramic quiche pan with 1 teaspoon olive oil.
Halve the tomatoes lengthwise and core them. Using your thumb dislodge seeds in the crevices (discard), squeeze tomatoes gently to rid them of some of their juices.
Arrange them in the prepared pan, skin side down, in a circular pattern. They will shrink as they bake, fill the pan snugly.
Season with salt, pepper, herbs, and a good drizzle of olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes, until softened. Remove from the oven (retaining oven temperature).
Remove the dough from the fridge and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Working on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough in an 11-inch circle and prick all over with a fork. Spread with tapenade, leaving a 1-inch margin all around.
Cut the cheese in 1⁄3-inch slices and arrange over the tomatoes in the pan. Lay the dough, tapenade side down, on the cheese, and tuck in the overhanging flaps of dough.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the crust is golden. Remove to a rack and allow to cool for several minutes. Loosen the edge of the pastry by running a knife around the inside of the quiche pan.
To flip: Protect your hands with oven mitts and place an overturned serving plate over the top of the pan, flip quickly but carefully. Don't worry if some of the tomatoes stay in the pan, just arrange them on the tart.
Just before serving garnish with fresh basil leaves, snipped or torn if desired.
This is best served warm or at room temperature the same day it is made.
Suggested variations: Instead of tapenade, spread the dough with onion confit, anchovy paste, or pesto. Instead of goat cheese, use slices of buffalo mozzarella, drained and patted dry with paper towels.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Lemon, Ricotta and Pea Pappardelle Pasta
adapted from Donna Hay
Almost any shaped pasta can be substituted for the wide Pappardelli pasta ~ I also tossed in some cherry tomato halves at the last moment, though I didn't get a picture of it that way. It was a nice addition and one I would do again.
400 g (14 ounces) Pappardelle or other pasta
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup peas (I use petite frozen, and just thaw them)
1/2 cup slivered mint leaves (I used basil leaves)
sea salt and cracked black pepper
500 grams (1 pound) fresh ricotta cheese
Grated Parmesan cheese to serve
* Optional: Cherry Tomato halves
Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Drain and return to the pot, reserving a little of the pasta water. Toss the pasta with all ingredients EXCEPT the ricotta (and reserved water).
After tossing, add ricotta and mix gently. If the pasta seems too "tight", add a little of the reserved pasta water.
Spoon onto serving plates and pass the grated Parmesan cheese.
Recipe provides 4 servings.
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Monday, September 7, 2009
After experimenting for a while with the proportions of whole wheat to white flour this one is my family's favorite, even kids like this one ~ and I'm so pleased to share it with you.
No rising time is necessary, also see tips below for making it ahead and freezing.
Favorite Pizza Dough using Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup whole wheat white flour
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon fast-rise dry active yeast
2 tablespoon olive oil (may substitute vegetable oil of your choice)
1 teaspoon salt
1 to 3 teaspoons white sugar (I use 1 teaspoon)
1 cup warm water, about 110*
Preheat oven with baking stone 500 to 550 degrees (F) for at least 1/2 hour. *
See important note below.
Combine flour, salt, sugar and yeast in food processor fitted with metal blade, or stand mixer fitted with dough hook, pulse or blend for a moment until combined. Mix oil and warm water and add to flour mixture. If using food processor, process or until dough ball forms.
At this point you may form pizza immediately, or allow to rise for 30 to 45 minutes before shaping if that is more convenient. *
To form the pizza, stretch the dough as thin as possible, or roll out on a lightly floured board. It's your choice; make one large pizza, 2 medium, or several smaller pizzas.
Because we like a crisp crust, I prebake the pizza without any toppings for a couple of minutes, then remove it from oven, apply toppings then return to oven to continue baking until the crust is crisp and begins to brown. I use a pizza peel very lightly sprinkled with corn meal to transfer the pizza to and from the oven; a rimless cookie sheet, or thin, flexible cutting board also works well in lieu of a pizza peel.
* For my small family I usually make the entire recipe, then use the amount of dough I need immediately, and form the remainder of the dough into a ball, (or balls). Wrap each ball well in oiled cling film, twist to close and place the balls into a resealable plastic bag and place in the freezer for up to 2 to 3 months.
To use, remove from freezer and allow to thaw completely either in the refrigerator, or at room temperature, you can use it immediately upon thawing, or allow it to rise until doubled, then form the pizza dough.
* If you do not have a baking stone, preheat the oven to 375 degrees (F) and you bake the pizza on a metal baking sheet for 20 to 25 minutes, or until done to your liking.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Chicken Cakes with Sweet Chilli Sauce* Drizzle ~ From the Kitchen of Once Upon a Plate
Makes about 10 medium or 20 small cakes (this of course will depend upon the size of the cakes you make.)
Note: For dinner salads to serve 2 or 3, I halve the recipe and use a small cookie dough scoop/portion scoop, it holds a volume of just under 2 ounces. That size scoop ~(with mixture leveled, not mounded) produces cakes which are about 1 3/4-inches to 2"-inches in diameter.
This is such a quick recipe to put together with the help of your food processor. You'll find the coconut cream makes these brown very quickly so to assure they stay juicy and flavorful without burning, brown them briefly in a pan (stove top), then transfer the patties to a sheet pan and finish cooking for a few minutes in a 325* (F) oven for about 5 minutes, or until they spring back when touched. With this two step cooking method you get the nice brown exterior without drying out the interiors while assuring that they cook through.
- About 12 ounces lean skinless chicken, roughly chopped (You can use boneless thighs, I usually use chicken breasts) *
- 1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, or fresh basil leaves, or parsley leaves
- 1 scallion (green onion), both white and green parts, finely sliced
- Finely grated zest of 1 lime or lemon (use your microplane)
- 2 tablespoons sweet Thai chilli sauce, from the bottle ~ I use Mae Ploy brand)
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce, or 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 egg white
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup coconut cream (I use Coco Lopez brand, from the can)
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced or pressed
- Jalapeno, or other hot pepper, finely minced *
- Canola, or other flavorless oil for frying
* You can combine the minced hot pepper into the patties, but I prefer to offer them on the side in a small bowl with a spoon as some people are very sensitive/allergic to the heat.
Optional to serve:
Additional Sweet Chilli Sauce (I always drizzle this lightly over all), or Salsa, Guacamole, or Basil Oil.
I serve with roquet/rocket (arugula) and/or baby spinach leaves
Place all ingredients, except coconut cream and oil, in food processor fitted with the metal blad and pulse to a coarse purée. With motor running, add coconut cream mix until evenly combined.
Cook in batches:
Heat a lightly oiled, non-stick frypan and cook small scoopfuls* of mixture 2-3 minutes each side over medium heat until cooked through and springy to the touch. Serve on rocket leaves and accompany with Sweet Chilli Sauce, Avocado Salsa or Basil Oil
These can be made and cooked up to a day ahead, then cooled, covered and refrigerated. When ready to serve reheat for just a couple of minutes in a hot oven, until heated through...but don't let them dry out. I tent them very loosely with a piece of foil to slow down the escape of steam while they are reheating.
* This recipe can also be prepared with raw prawn meat or raw fish.
I keep it on hand always ~ it's NOT hot and spicy, rather mild and sweet; perfect for all ages and even sensitive taste buds.