INCREDIBLY SIMPLE TIMES THREE: MAY 2020

Staying safe in Corona virus time: read the guest blog post by Phillip Klebba here.

During social isolation we have more time to devote to meal preparation, things that take hours to materialize at the table don’t need to be reserved to the weekend. But I always welcome simple things with a smile. The first one comes from Nadiya’s show Time to Eat, which I binge watched from first to last episode, enjoying every second of it. The second would be breakfast for most people, but my first meal of the day is lunch, so that’s when I’ve been enjoying it (often). Lastly, the third is a tribute to a UK ingredient that can be not only hard to find, but quite pricey for us Americans, clotted cream. I finally made it from scratch, and if you are into that sort of ingredient, I have one word for you: WOW.

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #1

TORTILLA EGG ROLLS

TORTILLA EGG ROLLS
(adapted from Nadiya’s Time to Eat)

for one person….

1 egg
salt, pepper, spices to taste
1 tortilla (I used corn, she used flour)
olive oil
goodies to taste (I used leftover roasted butternut squash)

Crack the egg into a bowl, season with salt pepper and any spices you feel like. Whisk well.  Put a small frying pan over a medium heat, and drizzle in two teaspoons of oil.  Pour the egg  mixture into the hot oil, making sure it is hot enough to sear it quickly.

Scatter your goodies over the egg, put the tortilla on top, pressing it gently with a spatula to glue nicely to the egg mixture underneath it. Cook for 30 seconds, then flip it all gently and cook on the other side (tortilla down) for another 30 seconds.

Take the pan off the heat and put the tortilla/egg on a plate. Roll the whole thing when it is cool enough to touch, slice and….

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

 

Corn tortillas are a little harder to roll, but I prefer them because they are lighter and in my opinion more flavorful.  I sometimes warm it up for a couple of seconds in the microwave before adding on top of the egg to make it slightly more pliable, but it’s not mandatory. Nothing wrong keeping it simple… You can add mushrooms, olives, peppers, sliced leftover meat, and make them a little bigger by using a larger flour tortilla. The method is simple and so easy to adapt to your needs, I hope you’ll give it a try.

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #2

Orange – Yogurt – Tahini Bowl

Cut orange in segments. I used blood oranges for this version, but any juicy orange will work. Place fruit in a serving bowl.  Top with a nice dollop of yogurt, drizzle tahini all over it. A touch of maple syrup, and your favorite granola.  Close your eyes as you eat it. It is dreamy. I called it lunch many times in the recent past. Tahini and yogurt. Who could tell? I used bananas instead of oranges and also a mixture of oranges and strawberries. Everything works. Refreshing, light but satisfying because tahini packs quite a bit of energy.

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE #3

CLOTTED CREAM

Hardest part of this “recipe?” Finding non-ultra-pasteurized heavy cream. I was lucky to find ONE little container at the grocery store and jumped on it with so much enthusiasm I almost lost my mask. Once you find that, follow this super simple procedure: pour it in a baking dish so that the level is not higher than 1 inch. Place carefully inside a low oven (mine was set at 170 F and I confirmed with oven thermometer to be pretty stable).  Leave it there for 12 hours.  Come back to this view….

Let it come to room temperature, and place it in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours. Carefully scoop out the clotted cream and transfer to a container for storage. If you like it softer, add a bit of the liquid left underneath. That liquid, by the way,  will work as milk in any type of baking, or as a nice addition to your coffee or tea.

Clotted cream is pure culinary gold, and so easy to make, essentially no hands-on work. Perfect over scones, pancakes, waffles. You will find plenty of ways to enjoy it, I’m sure. Even as a simple spread over bread or crackers. With a touch of jam if you are so inclined.

I heard that clotted cream can also be prepared in a crock pot. I intend to try that next time I score some of the appropriate heavy cream. The preparation sous-vide is also available in many sites in the internet, but I found the method a bit too convoluted and potentially messy. This was super easy and I highly recommend you give it a try.

ONE YEAR AGO: Ispahan Macarons

TWO YEAR AGO: Smokin’ Hot Meatloaf and Homemade Ketchup

THREE YEARS AGO: Banana Bread with Espresso Glaze

FOUR YEARS AGO: Slow-Cooker Carnitas & Paleo Planet Cookbook Review

FIVE YEARS AGO: The Making of a Nobel Reception

SIX YEARS AGO: Fennel Soup with Almonds and Mint 

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Green Curry Pork Tenderloin

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Farfalle with Zucchini and Ricotta

NINE YEARS AGO: Slow-baked Salmon with Lemon and Thyme

TEN YEARS AGO: Hoisin Explosion Chicken

 

MINI-FRITTATAS WITH BROCCOLI AND CHEESE

Another great recipe from Kalyn, who knows her way around a low-carb way of life. If you feel like taking a step back from the excesses of Thanksgiving, this is a very nice option for breakfast, brunch, or a light lunch.  I used my beloved tart pan, but  you can  make it in muffin tins, or even go for a single, larger pie type pan, increasing baking time a little bit.

MINI-FRITTATAS WITH BROCCOLI AND CHEESE
(slightly modified from Kalyn’s Kitchen)

2 1/2 cups broccoli flowerets (cut into small, bite-sized pieces)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
6 T coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
8 eggs
1 cup cottage cheese
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp oregano
salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste

 Heat oven to 375F/190C.   Spray tart pan or muffin cups with non-stick spray.
.
Place the broccoli pieces into a bowl, cover with cling wrap, and microwave on high for about 1-2 minutes, or until broccoli just starts to cook. Divide broccoli among the tart wells. Put a generous pinch of cheddar cheese on top of the broccoli, then add coarsely grated Parmesan on top of the cheddar.
 .
Put the cottage cheese into a fine-mesh colander, rinse with cold water, and let drain. Break eggs into a glass measuring cup with a pour spout, and beat with a fork until egg yolks and whites are combined. Add drained cottage cheese, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Pour egg mixture over broccoli and cheese, dividing the eggs evenly among the tart wells.  Stir gently with the fork so ingredients are evenly distributed.
 .
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until eggs are firm and frittatas are starting to get slightly browned on top. Frittatas can be kept in the fridge for several days and microwaved to reheat.  Don’t microwave for more than about a minute or the eggs will get rubbery.
.
ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

 

.
Comments: I absolutely love this type of recipe that I can  make in the weekend and then enjoy for lunch the following week. I prefer to warm them up in my little electric oven, because it gives much better texture than the microwave, but if you follow Kalyn’s advice and keep the microwave time short, it will still prevent the dreadful rubbery-egg-syndrome.
 .
Cottage cheese was – for me – an acquired taste. When I first moved to the US, I did not like it at all.  But for one reason or another I kept trying it and started to enjoy its unique texture and mild taste. Nowadays I can even eat it straight from a spoon, as long as it is crowned with a little shower of salt and coarsely ground black pepper. A little za’atar would not hurt either.  In this preparation, it offers a perfect creamy texture to the frittata.
 .
I love to pair these babies with some juicy tomatoes, but the time for that is unfortunately over…. Must wait for Spring, which obviously cannot come quickly enough for me (sigh).
.
.
.
.


FOUR YEARS AGO:
Cappuccino Panna Cotta

FIVE YEARS AGO: Chicken Parmigiana, the Thriller

SIX YEARS AGO: Wild Mushroom Risotto

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Tartine Bread:  Basic Country Loaf 

EIGHT YEARS AGO:  Pugliese Bread

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

BON BON CHICKEN: LIGHT AND SPECTACULAR!

Can I give a recipe 10 stars? How about a full constellation and a comet dashing through it? This recipe was sitting on my files for a while, but every weekend something would happen and prevent me from trying it.  That all changed on a cold Sunday morning last month.  You need to find a few special ingredients, but trust me, it will be more than worthy.  A constellation and a comet worthy.

Bon Bon Chicken
BON BON CHICKEN
(slightly modified from Serious Eats)

3 skinless chicken breasts
¼ cup Shaoxing wine
2 green onions, chopped
1 inch fresh ginger, chopped
2 + 1/2 teaspoons whole Sichuan peppercorns
1 pound cucumbers, peeled and sliced thin
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinkiang black vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

Place the chicken in a large pot. Add the wine green onions, 3/4 of the ginger, 1 teaspoon of the Sichuan peppercorns, and enough water to cover by 2 inches. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to a simmer, cook for 3 1/2 minutes. Cover the pot, turn off the heat, and let sit for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and let cool for a few minutes, then shred the chicken with your fingers or a couple of forks.

Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, Sriracha, the rest of the Sichuan peppercorn, rest of the ginger, sugar, and cilantro in a blender. Process until smooth.

Scatter the cucumber slices on a plate. Top with the shredded chicken, and pour on the sauce. Garnish with more cilantro, if you want.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

This recipe delivered all it promised and a little more!  I poached three chicken breasts, hoping to have some leftover for a couple of lunches, because I did not think Phil would care for it.  He usually prefers to have a yogurt smoothie for lunch, with a Wasa cracker and peanut butter, something along those lines.  But then, he tasted a piece of chicken, and his plans for lunch changed on the spot.  No leftovers, we polished this big bowl of deliciously poached chicken with a dressing that was like an explosion of contrasting flavors: the sesame oil was there, so was the ginger. But the black vinegar, the Szechuan peppercorns, those took this dish to unprecedented levels of goodness.  Poached chicken never ever tasted so great!  Please, make this recipe.  Make double amount, because you will be going back for more.   Very refreshing, very light, but at the same time it will leave you satisfied, probably because the taste is so intense.    I cannot wait to make this again, and again, and again…

ONE YEAR AGO: Seafood Extravaganza Pasta

TWO YEARS AGO: A Pearfect Drink

THREE YEARS AGO: Ming Tsai Under Pressure

FOUR YEARS AGO: Paris, Je t’aime

SECRET RECIPE ENCORE: CHICKPEA SALAD

When I was a child, becoming an orphan was my greatest fear, and I literally lost many nights of sleep worrying about it.  So, when I learned that one member  from the Secret Recipe Club was about to be an orphan this month (the person supposed to pick a recipe from the blog had a problem and could not complete the assignment in time) I decided to perform a virtual adoption… 😉  My “encore” post for this month’s reveal day comes from Without Adornment, and you can visit it clicking here.  Bean, the hostess, has a site loaded with gluten-free recipes, and absolutely gorgeous photography.   Due to the time constraints (I had less than 24 hours to pick a recipe, make it, and write about it), I had to go with a simple dish.  But, it all ended perfectly for me:  I had no idea what to eat for lunch after working out, and her chickpea salad came to the rescue. Delicious, refreshing, light, healthy, but also filling enough to carry me through a busy Sunday afternoon…
CHICKPEA SALAD
(adapted from Without Adornment)

1 can of chickpeas
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced
Grape or Cherry tomatoes to taste
salt and pepper
grapeseed oil
lime juice
white balsamic vinegar

Boil  2 cups of water in a small sauce pan.  Drain the chickpeas from the can, and drop them in the boiling water for 5-10 second.  Quickly drain them and rinse with plenty of cold water.  Reserve until cold.

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients from chickpeas to tomatoes.   Make a simple dressing with oil, a squeeze of lime juice, a little balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.  Drizzle over the salad and….

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

This salad gives me the chance to introduce you to a reasonably recent acquisition from the Bewitching Kitchen… a spiralizer! Or a spiral-cutter… or… whatever you want to call it…
I like raw carrots in salad, but prefer if they are cut paper-thin.  This gadget gave me the exact texture I was hoping for.  The very thin ribbons get perfectly seasoned and retain just a little crunch.

Chickpeas & boiling water: this is a tip I learned from Barbara Tropp, in her book Mastering the Art of Chinese Cooking.  She recommended to rinse all sorts of canned products in boiling water, to remove what she described as the “tin taste”.  The improvement in flavor is quite noticeable.  So I normally do it whenever I use chickpeas, beans, and water chestnuts.

Bean, it was fun to get to know your blog, I wish I’d had more time to devote to it, your Lemon Cupcakes seemed absolutely scrumptious!  😉

ONE YEAR AGO: A Soft Spot for Chevre

TWO YEARS AGO: Seared Tuna, My Own Private Idaho

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine



A SIMPLE SALAD a la JACQUES PEPIN

Of all “master chefs” in the cooking world, Jacques Pepin is my favorite.  He is the kind of man I’d love to dine with:  gentle, authentic, and down to earth.  Reading his autobiography “The Apprentice”,  made me appreciate him even more.   Of course, his charming French accent is the icing on the cake.  😉

If his name wasn’t beneath this recipe, I wouldn’t have tried it because it seems a little strange.  Who in their right mind would fry a hard boiled egg?  Well, his mother did just that, during the hard years of the Second World War, and when I made it for our lunch, it was clear that her genes were the basis of Jacques’ skills in the kitchen:  the apple didn’t fall far from the tree!

PAN-CRISPED DEVILED EGGS ON FRENCH LETTUCES
(adapted from The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper)

2 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp chives, finely minced
1-2 Tbs milk
2 tsp yogurt
1 tsp white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1 T olive oil

Dressing
leftover egg yolk filling
3 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbs milk
2 tsp white wine vinegar
salt and pepper

Salad
mixed greens of your choice

Cut the boiled eggs in half lengthwise, remove the yolks and place them in a small bowl. Add all the ingredients for the filling, mashing it well to form a cream. Carefully fill each egg white half with the mixture, but do not overfill, make it exactly like the egg yolk would be. You will have excess filling that will be used as part of the dressing.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil on a non-stick pan, and add the egg halves, cut side down. Sautee for 3-4 minutes, until golden. Reserve.

Make a dressing by mixing well all the ingredients. To serve, place the salad greens on a plate or serving bowl, drizzle some of the dressing and mix. Place the sauteed eggs on top, sprinkle a little more dressing, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Some people dislike hard boiled eggs, or even fried eggs.   I love them all. The only thing that turns me off is uncooked egg white floating on top of my sunny-side-up eggs.  I hope that even a deviled-egg-hater might enjoy this preparation. The subtle crunchiness on the hard-cooked eggs gives it a bit of  substance, making the salad seem more filling. The use of the excess egg yolk filling as part of the dressing is a brilliant touch.  It’s a nice light lunch for those of you without high cholesterol issues (or with a prescription vial of a statin in the cupboard!).

For another tasty example of using sauteed hard boiled eggs, take a look at this post by Ilva, a proof that great cooks think alike! 😉

receita em portugues na proxima pagina…..

pagina seguinte…

SPRING ROLLS on a SPRING DAY

March is a wild month. It’s the beginning of Spring in the Southwest, but Winter still occasionally shows its teeth, bringing low temperatures, freezing rain, snow and nasty winds.   It’s enough to make a tropical creature sob.    This past Saturday I fought back,  ignoring the cloudy skies, the intermittent rain and the 25mph winds…  I went ahead and brought a burst of Spring air into the house.

VIETNAMESE-STYLE SPRING ROLLS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

4 rice paper rounds
1 oz dry bean threads or rice vermicelli
cooked shrimp, cut in half lengthwise
carrots, cut in long julienne strips
cucumbers, cut in long matchstick pieces
lettuce, cut in strips
cilantro leaves

for dipping sauce
6 Tbs soy sauce
2 Tbs water
2 Tbs rice wine vinegar
2 Tbs brown sugar
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp grated fresh ginger

Cut the vegetables, cook the shrimp,  and have everything ready to use on your kitchen counter. Prepare the dipping sauce by mixing well all its ingredients.

Cook the noodles according to the directions on the package (they vary according to type). Rinse them in cold water and set aside (you can add a tiny bit of sesame oil or olive oil to prevent them from sticking, but it’s not absolutely necessary if you rinse them well).

Fill a bowl large enough to hold the rice paper with very warm water. Open a damp cloth over your work surface. Soak the rice paper in the warm water until it is soft and pliable. Carefully lift it and place it over the damp cloth. Line your ingredients, starting with the cut shrimp, then the noodles, veggies, herbs. Add 1/2 tsp of dipping sauce (or just a few sprinkles of soy sauce) to the filling, and roll the paper around them. Repeat with the remaining rice papers. To serve, cut each roll at an angle and serve with a small bowl of dipping sauce.

Think about birds chirping, flowers blooming, and ENJOY!


to print the recipe, click here


Comments: What I love about these rolls is that you can improvise and use lots of different things in the filling.  Granted, this practice might compromise their authenticity, but unless you’re having a Vietnamese guest for lunch, no harm done.   Keep in mind that you can have too much of a good thing: avoid using 6 different veggies, two types of meat, 5 herbs, and a smear of peanut butter inside.  😉 These rolls are supposed to be delicate, fresh, and light.   Perfect for the warm weather that is certainly peeking at us  (fingers crossed).

Click here for a quick tutorial on how to prepare them (plus a cool song in the background!)…

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine