Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Summertime and a New Camera

In preparation for our trip to Maine next week I got a new camera. I had to try it out, and since CBC is this Friday, I wanted to try it out on food. I got a Cannon PowerShot A1000IS. I chose it because it was cute and only weighs 7oz (important in backpack world). Turns out that it is rated number one on many levels thus my sweetie was excited as well. Played with it for a few days, nice night photo of my Japanese maple.

In order to try out a camera one must cook. Hitting the Trader Joe, I came across some brats. Now being from WI, I'm pretty picky about my brats (think Usinger's, maybe Johnsonville...), but they were pink (and sitting there) so I decided to give them a try. I boiled them in beer and we grilled them up. Note to self, do not get Trader Joe brats again, they were not so good.

Tuesday night we decided to have warm weather food. I managed to pull a few radishes from my garden, (need to work on garden) and made grilled kofte meatballs, tequila lime shrimp, tomato cucumber salad and some hors d'oeuvers. Paired with a Efes, a Turkish beer, it was a lovely meal.

For dessert I made coffee ice cream with chocolate espresso beans chopped up in it and paired it with a chocolate sauce. Last time I made ice cream I managed to do it wrong, this time I decided not to make a custard and managed to put the plastic thing in the maker correctly. Here's the recipe I made up.

Chocolate Covered Espresso Bean Coffee Ice Cream

3 c heavy whipping cream
1 c whole milk
3 tbsp instant espresso
1/2 vanilla bean sliced in 2 lengthwise scraped and the scrapings and bean put into small saucepan
3/4 c sugar
1/4 c chopped chocolate covered espresso beans

Take 1 cup heavy cream and put into saucepan with vanilla bean and sugar. Slowly bring to a simmer and turn off. Whisk in instant espresso and let sit 5 minutes. Take out vanilla bean and
combine with 2 cups whipping cram and 1 cup milk. Let chill and put in ice cream maker following manufacturer's directions. Add espresso beans 5 minutes before the end.

Chocolate sauce
1 cup half & half
8 oz 72% dark chocolate (or bittersweet)

Heat 1/2 and 1/2 in the pan you heated the last milk in. When hot, turn off and add chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute and whisk until smooth.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

15 Minute Lunch - COUSCOUS!!!

We had nothing prepared to eat this morning and I had to be to work in 20 minutes so I decided, with 15 minutes to spare (gotta love the 5 minute commute) that I would make lemon couscous. Couscous is a fantastic quick meal, I make it for when we go backpacking all the time. Usually I need to dehydrate the chickpeas and the lemon zest for backpacking, and there are, of course no fresh herbs in it, but it makes a fantastic veggie dinner in minutes. The basil at the Waverly Market was fantastic this weekend, thanks Alison!!! Here is my recipe:

Whole wheat lemon couscous with chickpeas & fresh basil.

1 1/2 cups whole wheat couscous (I use Trader Joe's, you can use regular couscous too)
1 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp olive oil
2tbsp chopped sweet onion (on the trail I use a shallot as one is the perfect size)
juice and zest of 1/4 lemon
1/2 can of chickpeas
pinch of dried thyme
pinch of dried rosemary
salt & pepper
julienned fresh basil
1/4 cup crumbled chevre or feta (on the trail I travel with a hunk of parmesan and put that in instead)

Fry the onion for 2-3 minutes in the olive oil, add the chickpeas and saute 1 minute, while you zest the lemon peel into the pot. Add dried herbs and salt. Add water, bring to a boil and add couscous. I always bring the couscous back to a simmer, turn off and let stand for 3-5 minutes. Fluff with fork and add basil and chevre and pepper to taste. You can also squeeze the 1/4 lemon into the couscous at this point. Pack up and cart off to work. This is good warm or cold.

Monday, April 13, 2009

La Bourride Provençale

We had family from Scotland over for dinner Saturday night and in talking to them, I knew they’d been eating a lot of red meat this past week so I decided to do something with fish. It’s been really cold so a warm garlicky fish stew with potatoes sounded just right. Bourride takes about 3-4 hours to make but can be made in advance. Bourride is made with an aioli, and if you make enough, you can start the meal off with some crudités. I served it a few hard boiled eggs, asparagus, carrots and green onions.

La Recette

Marinate a large pinch of saffron in ¾ cup white wine while stock is cooking

For the Stock

Bones of 5lbs firm white fish (I used tilapia) (reserve meat for stew)

1 medium onion rough chopped

2 stalks celery rough chopped

2 carrots peeled and rough chopped

2 bay leaves

3 sprigs thyme

1 sprig rosemary

2 tbsp parsley

Peppercorns & Kosher salt

Place everything in stockpot, add 10-12 cups of cold water and simmer for 3 hours. Strain through cheesecloth, discarding boiled food, return to stockpot and simmer for ½ hour to an hour to reduce to 7-8 cups and flavor of broth is well developed.

For the Aioli

10-12 garlic cloves

Pinch of salt

3 egg yolks

2 cups extra virgin olive oil

Juice of ½ lemon

Mash garlic cloves to a paste, combine with egg yolks and salt. Gradually add olive oil, whisking continuously until all two cups are incorporated. Add lemon juice at the end.

For the Stew

Fillets from the fish

2 leeks

½ fennel bulb


Saffron wine infusion

1 ½ lbs small red potatoes

2 tbsp chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

clean leeks by chopping in ½ and rinsing under cold water, making sure to remove the grit. Chop into ½ moons. Cut fennel bulb in ½ lengthwise, core and chop in ½ moons and then cut to size of leeks.

Saute leeks and fennel on medium low heat in 1 tbsp olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan for 20 minutes or so until almost soft. Turn up heat and add saffron infused wine, cook until liquid is almost evaporated. Add 5 cups of the stock and let the leeks and fennel cook for 20 minutes more. Chop fish into 2 inch square chunks, add carefully to broth ½ at a time, removing when almost cooked. Put aside in a covered dish until ready to serve.

Wash and chop (do not peel) red potatoes into ¾ inch cubes. Cook in boiling salted water until firm but cooked.

Put 1 ½ cups of aioli in a large bowl, gradually add 1 cup of hot stock, whisking to combine. Add this slowly to the leek fennel broth. Add potatoes and bring to a simmer. Thin with more broth if a thinner stew is desired. Place fish in bottom of individual serving bowls, ladle soup over fish. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.