the recipe sharer

Archive: Sep 2012

Broiled salmon with cucumber raita

Beautiful, light, unusual and easy!

Serves 4

2 tsp curry powder
4 tsp whole grain mustard
4 salmon fillets about 6 oz each, skinned (preferably wild)
1 large English cucumber. peeled, seeded and diced small
1 cup red onion, diced the same size as the cucumber (small)
1/2 cup plain thick yoghurt. (Not low fat)
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste

Coat the salmon fillets in the mustard and sprinkle on 1 tsp of the curry powder then season with salt and pepper. Set aside until the raita is made.

Diced cucumber

In a bowl, stir together the remaining tsp of curry powder, cumin,cucumber, red onion, yoghurt, cilantro and mint. Season with salt and pepper.
Cover and refrigerate until serving. (About 1 hour so the flavors can blend)

Cucumber raita

Put the salmon fillets under a broiler and broil until just done but don’t over cook.
Serve with the raita either over the salmon or under the salmon

NB   You can also poach the salmon then chill it, making the dish a cold one, but I like the salmon hot.

Asian avocado salad

This is lovely and a bit different with the Asian dressing complementing the avocado beautifully.
A simple but very effective starter

Serves 4

2 ripe Haas avocados
mixed greens

Dressing

1 tbsp white sesame seeds
2 tbsp safflower oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp Chinese pepper mix  (Equal amounts of whole black, white and Szechuan peppers, toasted then ground in a spice mill. You will be able to keep this for quite a while)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp finely minced fresh ginger

Dressing
Toast the sesame seeds in a small ungreased skillet set over a high heat until they are light golden.
Combine the sesame seeds with the remaining ingredients in a jar and shake well.

Cut the avocados in half, seed and thinly slice.
Place some mixed leaves on 4 salad plates. Fan an avocado half across each bed of greens.
Shake the dressing in the jar and then drizzle it over the avocado.
Serve at once

 

Light, cool and creamy cucumber soup

This is such a wonderful “inner course” in a dinner party as it’s so refreshing and light.

Yields 2 quarts

3/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
3 green onions, sliced (white and green parts)
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 heaped tbsp minced Italian parsley
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
generous pinch of salt
3 large English cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped into dice.
3 cups good plain yoghurt (I use full fat)

Garnish
1/2 another English cucumber, unpeeled and finely sliced for a garnish
A few fresh mint leaves or chopped chives for garnish

Combine the broth, green onions, garlic, parsley, vinegar and salt in a food processor or blender.
Pulse a few times to mix.
Add 2/3 of the diced cucumbers and puree.
Add the yoghurt and blend.

Add the finely diced cucumber to the cold soup and transfer it to a container and chill in the fridge.
When serving, garnish the individual bowls of soup with the sliced cucumber and either some chopped chives or a few sprigs of mint

 

Pacific shrimp stuffed mushrooms with Asian orange glaze

This is a killer appetizer. I have never made it without my guests taking their first bite and saying”wow!” It’s incredibly light, moist and unexpectedly intense in flavor.
Serves 4

Mushroom-Shrimp

2 tbsp peanut oil
sliced green parts of the green onions  (for garnish)
24 small to medium button mushrooms or in my case I used 16 mini Portabellos as they are perfect for stuffing
1/2 lb raw shrimp
4 minced water chestnuts
1 green onion (spring onion) minced
2 tsp finely minced fresh ginger
2 tsp dry sherry
2 tsp light soy sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Twist the stems off the mushrooms and discard. Set caps aside.
Shell, devein and finely chop the shrimp.
Combine the shrimp, water chestnuts, green onion, ginger, sherry, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Stuff the mushrooms with the shrimp mixture, put on a platter  and refrigerate them until you cook them  (This can be done ahead of time and don’t worry if the shrimp mixture starts to discolor, it will disappear when cooking)

Asian orange glaze sauce

1 cup chicken stock
4 tbsp dry sherry
4 tsp oyster sauce
2 tsp hoisin sauce
1/2 tsp Chinese chile sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
4 tsp grated orange rind

In a small bowl combine all the ingredients and stir well.
Set aside.

Final stage

Just before serving, place a large skillet (about 12″) over medium heat.
Pour in the peanut oil, then add the mushrooms carefully, button sides down. (stuffing upwards!)
Fry until the oil sizzles and the bottoms of the mushrooms are starting to brown, about 3 -4 minutes.
Pour in the Asian orange glaze sauce, cover the skillet and cook until the shrimp filling starts to turn white, about 3 – 4 minutes.
Remove the lid, turn the heat up to high and cook the mushrooms until most of the sauce has disappeared and glazes the mushrooms.
This is where the flavor gets really intense as the sauce has reduced so much and become very rich.
During the final minutes of cooking gently ladle what sauce is left over the tops of the mushrooms, glazing them with a shiny brown glaze.
Tip out the mushrooms and glaze onto a platter, decorate with the sliced green onion tops and serve immediately



Gorgonzola, fig and pecan cheese terrine

This is such a lovely hors d’oeuvres to serve with crackers or celery sticks.

Yields about 20 servings

1/2 cup dried Mission figs, cut into small pieces, plus 1/2 cup for garnish
1 cup port
1 good sized sprig fresh thyme, plus 1 bunch for garnish
1 lb cream cheese, at room temperature
1&1/2 sticks butter, at room temperature
8 oz crumbled gorgonzola
2 tbsp brandy
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup toasted pecan pieces, plus 1/2 cup for garnish
2 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
Mesclun or frisee greens, for garnishing

Put the 1/2 cup of chopped figs into a small saucepan along with the port and thyme.
Let the mixture simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Drain the figs, discard the thyme and port and set the figs aside to cool.
Put the cream cheese and butter into a bowl of a standing mixer and, if using the paddle attachment, cream the mixture on medium until well blended, about 1 minute. Add the gorgonzola, brandy and salt and beat for 1 more minute.
Take care not to over beat or it won’t set properly
Spray a 1 quart loaf pan with cooking spray and line the inside with plastic wrap. Spoon half of the cheese mixture into the pan and spread it evenly, making sure to get into the corners.
Scatter the figs, pecans and chopped parsley on top evenly and cover with the remaining cheese.
Give the pan a few sharp raps on a flat surface to settle the terrine and get out the air bubbles.
Cover the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

To remove the terrine from the pan, turn upside down on a flat surface and pull 1 end of the plastic wrap down.
The terrine will slip out of the pan onto the top piece of plastic wrap.
Slice and fan out on a platter garnished with greens. Garnish with the remaining 1/2 cup of figs, pecans and thyme.
Serve with crackers

 

A traybake of roasted Italian sausages, potatoes, ciabatta and rosemary

This is one of those traybake-style dishes that you can really add what you like to, as long as you toss it all in the olive oil and seasonings so that everything is well coated in order to caramelize beautifully! Make sure the pieces are roughly all the same size so that it cooks evenly. The whole family will love it and all you need is a big salad to accompany.

Serves 4

6 Sweet or spicy Italian sausages
1 1/2 tsp paprika
4 long rosemary stalks
smallish-sized potatoes, halved
8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
About 12 to 16 cherry tomatoes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 or 3 thick slices of good ciabatta bread
plenty of fruity olive oil
1 large handful Italian parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 F
Slice the sausages into 1 1/2 inch pieces and place in the roasting pan.
Add the potatoes, tomatoes, paprika, rosemary, garlic cloves, sea salt and black pepper
Tear the ciabatta into bite-sized pieces and add to the roasting tray
Drizzle over about 1/4 cup olive oil, season and gently toss to combine.
Place in the oven and cook, stirring occasionally for 40 mins or until the potatoes are tender and the sausages and bread are golden brown.
When ready to serve, top with the chopped Italian parsley and serve.

NB   Mushrooms, halved are also nice in it

Curried rice salad with raisins and toasted almonds

Serves 4 to 6

3 – 4 tbsp olive oil or other vegetable oil
1 cup uncooked short grain brown rice
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 3/4 cups water or chicken broth
2 tbsp dried raisins or currants
1 – 2 tsps curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
salt
1 bay leaf
1 small (about 1/4 x 1 inch) cinnamon bark
1 whole clove
1/3 cup slivered, blanched almonds
1 cup chopped tart green apple (I use a Granny Smith)
3/4 cup trimmed and thinly sliced scallions
3/4 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped red or green bell pepper
2 – 3 tbsp lime or lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper
fresh cilantro, chopped (a bunch)

Heat 2 tbsps of the oil and the sesame oil over a low heat in a heavy saucepan.
Stir in the rice, turmeric, curry powder, 1/2 tsp salt, bay leaf, cinnamon stick and clove and saute, stirring constantly for 1 minute or until it is all coated with the oil and spices.
Add the water/broth and currants.
Heat to boiling over high heat stirring once.
Cover and cook over medium-low heat until all the water is absorbed, about 45 minutes, then let sit off the element for about 10 minutes or until rice is cooked. Remove the lid and let it stand to the side until cool.
Remove and discard the bay leaf, cinnamon stick and clove from the rice.
Heat the oven to 350F. Spread the almonds in a small baking pan and place in the oven for 5 mins or until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool.
When the rice mixture is cooled to room temperature, empty it into a serving bowl and stir in the toasted almonds, chopped cilantro, apples, celery, scallion, chopped red or green pepper and lime/lemon juice.
Add 2 more tbsp of olive oil if you think it needs it and adjust the seasoning. Chill in the fridge for 2 -3 hours before serving.

Mustard stuffed chicken breasts

This is so lovely and simple. The creaminess of the mozzarella with the tangy wholegrain mustard makes it extra special.

Serves 4

5 -6 oz large fresh mozzarella ball, torn into small pieces
3 oz strong cheddar cheese, grated
1 heaped tbsp wholegrain mustard
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
8 rashers smoked bacon

Heat the oven to 400 F .
Mix the cheeses and mustard together.
Cut a slit into the side of each chicken breast then stuff with the mustard mixture.
Wrap each stuffed chicken breast with 2 bacon rashers each, not too tightly, but enough to hold the chicken together.
Season and place on a baking sheet or pan and roast for 20 to 25 minutes or so, basting once.

Tip- If you want to use less bacon, stretch out each bacon rasher using the back of a knife to make each one longer and thinner and use only one.

A CleanCuisine breakfast

Let me explain the thought process behind my “CleanCuisine” series.

I am in my 50’s and start to notice physical changes. (very few I’m happy to see!)
It’s also the time of life when you start “wearing” anything you eat and health issues can start to arise.
I loathe diets as I don’t like to be so “nitpicky” about food so I started researching all the different diets and health benefits like low cholesterol, low sodium, low sugar, low fat, gluten free……..

My husband and I both need to start losing some weight, get our cholesterol and blood pressure down, generally try and do better maintenance and enjoy the next 20 to 30 years to the full. The children are grown and living independently and it’s OUR time.

CleanCuisine is to do with eating food that tastes and feels “clean” ie doesn’t give you that oily or buttery “slick” in your mouth, doesn’t make you wake up feeling lethargic and generally makes you feel good as you eat it. It’s not necessarily vegan or vegetarian, however it may lean that way at times. It must, however feel clean as you eat it.

This picture is one of the delicious breakfasts I have some mornings;

1 nectarine, sliced
1 toasted piece of Rudy’s Ancient Spelt Grain bread (Wholefoods have it and it’s non wheat)
1/2 small avocado, spread on to the toast instead of butter, then seasoned with salt and pepper
fresh basil  leaves put on top of the avocado
slices of vine ripened tomatoes on top of the basil leaves, seasoned again with salt and pepper

I forgo the red onion and garlic at breakfast!

Broiled asparagus, orange slices with olive oil and shallots

Another lovely, fragrant accompaniment with chicken, fish or just rice.

Serves 4 as a side dish

1lb asparagus, woody stem ends snapped off and discarded
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 shallots, thinly sliced and separated into rings
6 very thin orange slices, cut into quarters (unpeeled)
1/2 tsp grated orange zest

Adjust an oven rack to as close to the broiler as possible. Heat the broiler on high.
In a bowl, toss the asparagus with the oil to coat and season with salt and pepper.
Arrange the shallot slices in a thin layer on one side of a rimmed baking sheet.
Put the asparagus in a single layer on top of them.
Toss the orange slices with the leftover oil in the bowl you used for the asparagus.
Arrange them in a single layer alongside the asparagus.
Broil until the asparagus and the oranges start to char, 5 to 8 minutes.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle the asparagus with the orange zest.
Arrange the asparagus, shallots and oranges on a serving dish.
Serve hot, warm or at room temperature