June 23, 2009

Basmati & Almond Stuffed Bells

This is just a quickie post, I've had many requests for this one recipe. So why not post it? I will put up an image later and perhaps give more precise measurements in the future. But for now here it is!!

Use any grain or type of rice you like. Whenever I stuff with brown basmati, seems to be a hit!

Basmati & Almond Stuffed Bells
Serves 4

5 red bell peppers, 1 finely chopped & 4 whole for stuffing
1 small yellow or red onion, finely chopped
2 C cooked brown basmati, cooled
8oz fresh goat cheese
1 C toasted & chopped almonds
handful of favorite fresh herbs, chopped (italian parsley, cilantro, chives etc..)
a few drizzles of extra virgin olive oil
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium saute pan over a medium-high flame, heat a little olive oil add the onion and 1 chopped bell pepper and saute until soft and the onions are translucent, about 8 minutes.

Mix into cooled rice, toss with goat cheese, almonds & herbs. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and season to taste.

Lop off the tops of 4 bell peppers, de-seed and sprinkle the inside cavities with a bit of sea salt.
Stuff the bells with the rice mixture, cover with the tops and bake in a deep casserole dish covered with aluminum foil for approximately 20-35 minutes. Until the bell peppers are soft and cooked through.

Serve with a large mixed green salad.

Buon Appetito!

June 18, 2009

Cedar Plank Rainbow Trout

My grandpa could carry a tune, ride horses, tie knots, fish, hunt, cook, & cut his own firewood. If he were a young man now he would be the perfect candidate for some silly Survivor show or Man Vs. Wild. He was one of those rugged types, self-sufficient, the kind who knows a thing or two about living in the woods and hunting for his own food.

As a child I wasn't much of a fish fan, Rainbow Trout was the only fish that I seemed to truly enjoy; the fresh and delicate flavor, not too "fishy," perfect for kids. Growing up, we spent summers on Lake Sheridan, in British Columbia, at Grandpa's cabin. Fishing, swimming, catching frogs, climbing trees and running with our boxers, Brandy and Jon Jon.

Preparing and eating this meal takes me back to those long summer days.
The smoke from the cedar planks echos the scent of Grandpa's smoker and the fish.....well that's a given.

Grilled Cedar Plank Rainbow Trout

Serves 4

1 untreated cedar plank
4 (6-8ounce) rainbow trout fillets
1 lemon
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Soak the cedar plank in water for at least one hour prior to grilling.
Preheat the grill to Medium High.
Place the cedar plank on the grill for 1-2 minutes per side until you begin to hear a crackle and pop.
Season the trout with sea salt and pepper, place on the prepared plank and close the grill lid. Let cook until fillets are opaque and cooked through, about 5-8 minutes. Squeeze the lemon over the fish and serve on the plank.

June 10, 2009

Spring Greens

Spring greens are abundant at the market. One of my favorite ways to eat them is to toss with a light vinaigrette and serve with warm goat cheese.

Spring Greens with Warm Goat Cheese
Serves 2 as a Dinner Salad or 4 as a Side Salad

5oz baby spinach
handful of sugarsnap peas, destemmed, cut into halves & steamed
small bunch of asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1/4" coins & steamed

5-6oz log of fresh goat cheese
1/2 C of bread crumbs (may need a smidgen more or less)
1 large egg white, beaten with 2 teaspoons of water
butter and olive oil for sauteing

Champagne Vinaigrette
scant 1/8 C Champagne vinegar
1 small shallot, minced
1/3 C fruity evoo
pinch of sea salt
few turns of freshly ground black pepper

For the vinaigrette, let the minced shallot and champagne vinegar bloom together for 10 minutes in a small glass or non-reactive metal bowl. Whisk in the olive oil, season with salt and pepper.

Cut the goat cheese into 8 small rounds (use a sharp knife or dental floss otherwise you'll end up with a mushy mess).
Dip the rounds into the egg white mixture and coat both sides with bread crumbs. Place on a parchment covered pan and pop into the freezer for 10 minutes or fridge for 20.

Meanwhile, toss the greens with the vinaigrette and platter.

In a small saute pan, over medium-high flame, heat 1 T of olive oil and 1 T butter. Saute the goat cheese rounds quickly until golden on each side, 30 seconds or so. You want to sear the outside to form a crust while retaining the shape, flip over before the cheese has a chance to melt on the inside. Place on the tossed greens and serve.

Buon Appetito!

June 5, 2009

Salvadorian Coffee Cake

I love when my friend Roxana comes to town. We went to the CCA together, therefore you can gather that she is a fellow food lover! She's always up to explore new restaurants and delights in my home baked goodies.

I've been saving this recipe for her visit: Gourmet Magazine this March has a recipe for a Salvadorian Quesadilla. You'll find no tortillas here, however cheese is a must. This cake is an El Salvadorian sweet, a delicious poundcake that is usually enjoyed for breakfast with coffee. So I suppose I could name it, Salvadorian Coffee Cake. A hint of parmesan, a sprinkling of sesame seeds, creamy creme fraiche (substitute for sour cream) & a buttery crumb set this cake apart from a typical sourcream coffee cake.

Delicious served with a dollop of creme fraiche or fig preserves and of course a steaming cup of coffee.

After taste testing, the cake is lacking a bit of pungency from the cheese. Roxana is from El Salvador, and I listen up when she has critiques or comments on her native dishes.
"Did you use cake flour? It's too crumbly and it definitely needs more cheese."

Overall, a very Americanized version of the classic Salvadorian Quesadilla. Her sister is the baker in the family and has promised me her recipe. I guess the trick is to use rice flour, rather than cake flour and a native Salvadorian cheese as well as Parmesan.

Overall Gourmet, your recipe receives a B-. Scrumptious particularly when dipped into hot coffee, albeit a bit crumby and lacking cheese flavor, most of all a B- for breaking with tradition.

June 2, 2009

Veggie Kabobs

Grilling season is upon us! Here is a lovely way to get anyone to eat their share of veggies. Load up your skewers with all your favorite veggies. Here I use mushrooms, super firm tofu, bell peppers, red onions & lemons. Summer squash, eggplant & asparagus would be delicious too.

Marinate in a little lemon extra virgin olive oil (lemon zest and a fruity evoo), sea salt, & smashed garlic (a garlic press works great!) from 20 minutes (room temperature) to overnight (covered in the fridge). Soak bamboo skewers for at least 10 minutes in a water bath (this prevents them from burning into charcoal bits). Preheat the grill to medium-low heat. Load up the skewers with your favorite kabob veggies. Grill until dark golden on each side, about 5 minutes per side.

Serve with Muhammara, Hummus, Basil Pesto, Olive Tapanade or any of your favorite dips.