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Archive: Jan 2014

Deep fried beets with spicy mayonnaise

 

This will make any frown turn upside down!

Makes 2 servings (easily increased)

1lb beets (golden or red)
1 qt oil for deep frying
1/3 cup cornstarch or rice flour
Kosher salt
1/4 cup mayonnaise (or Japanese mayonnaise, which is a little sweeter)
1/4 tsp sriracha or sambal oelek (at Japanese stores or on Amazon)
furkake seasoning and /or shichimi togarashi seasoning (at Japanese stores or on Amazon)

Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Trim the roots and stem ends off the beets and wrap them in aluminum foil.
Roast the beets for about 45 minutes to an hour or until tender.

Carefully unwrap the beets and remove the skins by rubbing with a paper towel, Cut them into rough cubes about 1 inch each.

Fill a Dutch oven or large stockpot with about 2 inches of oil, or use your electric deep fryer according to the instructions of the deep fryer. Get the temperature to 375 F.
Line a baking sheet with paper towels in preparation for the fried beets coming out of the hot oil.

Toss the beet chunks in the rice flour, or the cornstarch in a large mixing bowl, shaking the beets between your fingers to remove the excess flour.

Put the beets in the hot oil and fry until crispy and golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Skin the beets out of the oil with a slotted wire spoon.

Sprinkle the beets with kosher salt, furikake and shichimi togarashi.

Whisk the mayonnaise with the samba oelek or sriracha and serve alongside the fried beets.

Sprinkle the mayonnaise with extra furkake and /or shichimi togarashi seasoning

 

Grand Marnier macerated strawberries in wonton cups with orange mascarpone cream

Such a lovely, light idea for a dessert. The strawberries are given extra flavor by macerating in Grand Marnier or fresh orange juice and powdered sugar, and the crispy wonton pastry contrasts with the orange flavored cream. Gorgeous!

Makes about 24

Wontons
2 cups sweet strawberries, hulled, and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
3 tbsp Grand Marnier  (OR 3 tbsp orange juice)
1 tbsp powdered sugar
cooking spray
24 wonton wrappers

Mascarpone whipped cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
3 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
zest of 1 orange

For garnish
Some fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

For the wontons
In a large bowl, combine the strawberries, Grand Marnier or orange juice and powdered sugar. Allow the strawberries to macerate for 20 minutes.
Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat it to 350 F.
Spray a 24 count mini muffin tin with cooking spray.
To create the wonton cups, make a small fold in the center of each wonton and push it into the muffin cup. Bake the cups until the edges are golden, 5 to 6 minutes.
Cool the cups while you make the whipped cream.

For the whipped cream
In a bowl using an electric mixer, combine the heavy cream, mascarpone, sugar, vanilla and orange zest.
Whip the cream until it has soft peaks, about 3 minutes.

To assemble the cups
Drain the berries, reserving the macerating liquid. place a few berry slices in the bottom of each cup. Fill the cup with a tbsp of whipped cream and top with additional strawberries. Drizzle a little of the reserved macerated liquid over each wonton, sprinkle with chopped mint leaves and serve.

 

Melon balls with tequila, lime and mint

Gorgeous, slimming, and refreshing at the end of a meal.

Try and get a “melon baller” for this recipe as it will make your life so much easier. They are easy to find these days and you can also get one online.

Serves 4

1 honeydew melon, preferably chilled
3 tbsp cold tequila
finely grated zest of 1/2 lime plus extra to serve
Juice of 1/2 lime
A tiny pinch of sea salt
A few sprigs fresh English mint, leaves only, chopped

Halve the melon and remove the seeds with a spoon. Using a melon baller, scoop the flesh into neat balls and place in a large bowl.

Mix the tequila, lime zest and juice, honey, and salt together in a small pitcher.
Taste and add a little more honey if the dressing is too sour.
Pour over the melon balls, toss very gently to mix and chill for at least 15 minutes.

Divide the melon balls among serving glasses, grate over some lime zest and sprinkle with freshly chopped mint to serve

 

Ready-made gnocchi in creamy Gorgonzola and sage sauce

Simple, soothing, silky and positively sexy! What more could you want, other than a nice green salad!

Serves 4

This can also be cooked in a 4-cup flameproof ceramic dish.

2 x 1lb packages potato gnocchi
1/4 cup butter
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup fresh small sage leaves
4 oz Gorgonzola cheese
1/2 cup cream
1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Preheat the broiler to high.
Lightly grease a 4-cup gratin dish.
Cook the gnocchi in a large saucepan of rapidly boiling, salted water according to the package instructions until al dente.
Lift the gnocchi out with a slotted spoon, leave to drain, then divide among the prepared dishes.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and add the garlic and sage leaves, and cook for a few minutes or until the leaves start to crisp and the garlic starts to turn golden brown a little.
Pour the sage butter evenly over the gnocchi in the gratin dish.

Dot small pats of the Gorgonzola cheese evenly among the gnocchi.
Pour the cream over the top of the dish and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.
Place the dish under the broiler and cook until the top begins to brown and the gnocchi are heated through.
Serve with a fresh green salad.

 

Eggplant and buckwheat (soba) noodle salad

I just LOVE soba noodles and Asian flavors. I think I have some other recipes on this blog for soba noodle salads, but this is another variation and is a very quick meal to make

Serves 4 to 6

1/4 oz dried shitake mushrooms
3/4 lb buckwheat (soba) noodles
2 tsp sesame oil
3 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp peanut oil
2 Japanese eggplants, cut into very thin strips
2 carrots, julienned
10 scallions, cut diagonally
6 fresh shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Soak the dried shitake mushrooms in 1/2 cup hot water for 10 minutes.
Drain, reserving the liquid.
Discard the woody stems and finely slice the caps.

Cook the noodles in a saucepan of boiling water for 5 minutes or until tender.
Rinse under cold water, then toss with 1 tsp of the sesame oil.

Combine the tahini, light and dark soy sauces, honey, lemon juice, 2 tbsp of the reserved mushrom liquid and the remaining sesame oil in a food processor until smooth.

Heat 2 tbsp peanut oil in a wok over high heat. Add the eggplant and cook, turning often, for 4 to 5 minutes or until soft and golden.
Drain on paper towels.

Heat the remaining oil.
Add the carrots, scallions and fresh and dried mushrooms.
Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until just softened.
Remove from the heat and toss with the noodles, eggplant and dressing.

Garnish with the cilantro and sesame seeds

Peanut-sesame slaw with soba noodles

Sometimes you come across a recipe from a fellow food blogger, like this one from  “Cookies and Kate” that needs no adjusting and is just the perfect complete meal. This is a very flexible slaw and depending on your food restrictions, you can leave out the soba noodles, use gluten free pasta, leave out the Brussels sprouts, and even use pre-shredded slaw mix (you will need 12 cups of slaw mix, if so)
This can be vegan, gluten free, low calorie but whatever else, it is tasty and healthy!
Being an Asian food nut, this touches all the “scintilla” in my taste buds. Hope it does for you too!

Serves 4 to 8

Slaw
4 oz soba noodles
1 small purple or green cabbage, sliced into quarters and core removed
1/2 lb (about 12) Brussels sprouts, optional
4 carrots, peeled
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and sliced into thin rounds

Peanut-sesame dressing
1/2 cup peanut butter
3 tbsp white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
3 tbsp toasted sesame oil
3 tbsp reduced-sodium tamari or other soy sauce
2 tbsp honey or agave nectar
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced

Garnish

Sprinkle of coarsely chopped peanuts
handful of coarsely chopped cilantro
1 lime, sliced into wedges

Cook the soba noodles;  bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the noodles according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water before returning to the pot.

Prepare the vegetables;  This is easier in a food processor than by hand. if using a food processor, shred the cabbage and sprouts with the slicing disk, then grate the carrots using the grating disk. or use a chef’s knife to chop the cabbage and sprouts into thin strips, then coarsely grate the carrots.

Prepare the dressing;  In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until smooth.

In a large serving bowl, combine the cooked soba noodles, shredded cabbage and sprouts, grated carrots and chopped scallions.
Pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss to coat (you may or may not need all the dressing).
For best flavor, let the slaw marinate for 20 minutes before serving.

Serve the slaw with a sprinkling of chopped peanuts, torn cilantro and a lime wedge.

You can halve this recipe by using only 6 cups of pre-shredded slaw mix and roughly halving the dressing ingredients.

Roasted pineapple with mint, pistachios and honey

This was recently posted in Bon Appetite Magazine, but I happen to have been making this very simple dessert for a while.

Serves 4

1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3 tbsp flowery honey
1 medium ripe pineapple, peeled, cored, cut lengthwise into 8 wedges
1/4 cup creme fraiche or Greek yoghurt
1/3 cup natural unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp torn fresh mint leaves

Preheat the oven to 450 F
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Stir the first 3 ingredients together in a large bowl until the sugar dissolves.
Add the pineapple wedges and toss to coat.
Let this marinade, tossing occasionally, for 10 to 20 minutes.
Place the pineapple, one flat side down, on the prepared cooking sheet; Reserve the marinade.

Roast the pineapple for 15 mins. Turn, brush with more marinade and roast until tender and caramelized, 10 to 20 minutes.
Drizzle over with the remaining marinade and let the pineapple cool slightly.

Divide the pineapple among plates. Spoon the creme fraiche or yoghurt alongside.
Garnish with the nuts and fresh mint.

Easy, healthy homemade fruit, nut and seed chocolate

This is the most divine chocolate you can eat, and you choose exactly what you want in it and how dark the chocolate is. Everyone swoons with this chocolate.

It almost doesn’t need a recipe so I will give you the guidelines;

This makes about 40 pieces, at least

You will need;

A double boiler, or a bowl to sit on top of a saucepan without the bottom of it touching the water you put in the saucepan.
A shallow 9” by 13” baking tray lined with aluminum foil (however, you can make as little or as much as you want and vary the size of the tray.

Ingredients

12 x 4oz bars of really good quality chocolate. I use Lindt and use 8 x 85% bars and 4  x 70% bars, sometimes using a couple of the “Lindt Intense orange” flavor, or “mint” flavor but you can put in anything you want.

Salted, skinned peanuts (It’s nice to have something salted against the sweetness of the chocolate)
pumpkin seeds
pistachio nuts
sunflower seeds
toasted slivered almonds
any other nuts you like, chopped very coarsely
raisins
dried cranberries
dried blueberries
dried apricots
crystallized ginger
any other dried fruit

2 fresh oranges, grated zest only (if you like a lovely orange flavor)

Method

You can really improvise with this, but all you do is break up the chocolate and put it in the top bowl of a double boiler.

Cut all the nuts until they are pretty similar in size and sprinkle all the fruits, nuts and seeds of your choice onto the lined baking tray.

Finely grate the zest of the two oranges and add to the chocolate in the bowl over medium heat so the water underneath is gently simmering. Stir occasionally until it has all melted.
Take off the stove and pour over all the fruits, nuts and seeds in the baking tray, shaking the baking tray so it spreads evenly into all the holes and crevices. Sprinkle a few bits and pieces of the fruit, nuts and seeds over the top for decoration and then refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours until set.

Remove the foil from underneath the chocolate, and start cutting it into chunks . Store in a container in the fridge and you will have divine chocolate for weeks!!

Shrimp Burgers with Roasted Garlic-orange aioli

Absolutely gorgeous and SO different with the superb flavors of the garlic-orange aioli binding the succulent shrimp together, then slathered between the burger and the bun.

Makes 4 patties.

Roasted garlic-orange aioli

1 head garlic
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
Kosher salt
2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice plus 1 tsp finely grated zest (from 1 orange)
freshly ground black pepper.

To roast the garlic;  Heat the oven to 400 F.
Peel away the outer skin of 1 garlic head, and cut off the top 1/4 to 1/2 inch of the head to expose the individual cloves.
Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil over the garlic head, wrap in foil and roast for 30 to 35 mins, or until the cloves are soft when pressed.
Cool, then squeeze the cloves from their skin. Mash 3 cloves and set aside — reserve the rest for another use.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks.
Gradually whisk in the remaining olive oil, then the grapeseed oil; begin with small drizzles, then whisk in a thin stream until the mayonnaise is very thick.
Whisk in a pinch of salt and then the orange juice, a little at a time (you may not need the full amount) orange zest and the roasted garlic paste.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Shrimp burgers
5 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped fennel, from one small bulb (fronds reserved)
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
2 tbsp finely chopped fennel fronds
1 tbsp finely chopped chives
1 tbsp grated zest from 1 orange
1 1/2lb shrimp, peeled and deveined, finely chopped by hand
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
* 1 to 2 tbsp roasted garlic-orange aioli
Toasted hamburger buns for serving. (brioche is also nice)

In a large saute pan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat.
Add the fennel and shallots and cook until they start to caramelize, about 10 minutes.
Add the red bell pepper and cook about 5 mins longer; you want the pepper to soften but retain it’s texture.
Remove from the heat.
Mix in the fennel fronds, chives and orange zest.

In a bowl, combine the chopped shrimp with the sauteed vegetable-herb mixture and salt and pepper. (to taste).
Fold in the aioli, a teaspoon at a time, to just bind the burgers.
Form them into  four patties, refrigerate until ready to cook.

Heat the remaining 3 tbsp olive oil in a pan (cast iron works well) over medium-heat and fry the patties until golden, about 4 minutes on each side or until cooked through.

Spread the aioli on both sides of the toasted buns’ serve the shrimp burgers with your favorite condiments, such as a big leaf of butter lettuce

 

Slow-roast salmon with fennel, citrus and chiles

This is slow roasted, succulent salmon that gathers together the flavors of the fennel, lemon and chili.  You can also try it with halibut, cod or turbot fillets. Thank you to Bon Appetite magaxine for this beauty.

Serves 4

1 medium fennel; bulb, thinly sliced
1 blood or navel orange, very thinly sliced, seeds removed
1 Meyer or regular lemon, very thinly sliced, seeds removed
4 sprigs dill, plus more for serving
1 red Fresno chili or jalapeno with seeds, thinly sliced
kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 lb skinless salmon fillet, preferably center-cut
3/4 cup olive oil
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

Preheat the oven to 275 F
Toss the fennel, orange slices, lemon slices, chili and 4 dill sprigs in a shallow 3 qt baking dish.
Season with kosher salt and ground pepper. Season the salmon with salt and place on top of the fennel mixture.
Pour over the oil.

Roast until the salmon is just cooked (the tip of the knife will slide through easily and the flesh will be slightly opaque), 30 to 40 minutes for medium rare.

Transfer the salmon to a platter, breaking it into large pieces as you go.
Spoon the fennel mixture and oil from the baking dish over it.
Discard the dill sprigs.
Season with sea salt and ground pepper and top with the fresh dill sprigs.