FENNEL-RUBBED SHRIMP IN LIGHT COCONUT SAUCE

Nothing comes together faster than a meal involving shrimp. Or sea scallops, for that matter. But in this neck of the woods it is a rare, very rare event to find dry scallops, whereas good quality shrimp is always available. For this preparation, instead of using a full can of coconut milk (so common in recipes everywhere), I opted for full-fat yogurt with a touch of light coconut milk. Worked wonderfully well. Tasty but considerably lighter.

FENNEL-RUBBED SHRIMP IN LIGHT COCONUT SAUCE
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 + 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp ground fennel
1 teaspoon ground Kashmiri chiles
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp turmeric
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 to 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/3 cup cashews, toasted
1/2 cup full-fat yogurt
1/4 cup light coconut milk
drizzle of honey
dried mint, to taste (optional)

Combine the ground spices and salt in a bowl, add the shrimp and mix to cover it with spices. Refrigerate for 30 min to 1 hour, if possible, but you can start cooking right away. Mix the yogurt with coconut milk and honey, reserve.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp, cook, stirring them for a couple of minutes. Add the yogurt-coconut mixture, and cook in low-heat until shrimp is fully cooked and the sauce reduces a bit. Add the cashew nuts, dried mint (if using), and serve..

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I am calling this dish “Fennel” shrimp because it was the flavor that came through more obviously, at least for me. If you like more heat, add more pepper, or add a touch of cayenne. I love the flavor of Kashmiri pepper, so that’s what I used. If you are like me, and twist the nose at dried mint, I suggest you give it a try. I lost my dried mint snobbism after reading about it in Middle Eastern cookbooks. It has a permanent spot in my pantry now.

Shrimp in light coconut sauce over white rice. So simple, and so satisfying! My kind of dinner!

ONE YEAR AGO: Puff Bread Balls, Two Salads and a Cookbook Review

TWO YEARS AGO: Pistachio-Caramel and Apple Mousse Cakes

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FOUR YEARS AGO: A Special Birthday Dinner

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SEVEN YEARS AGO: Celebrate Wednesday with Pork Tenderloin & Apples

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ROASTED SWEET POTATO WITH CORN AND SUNFLOWER SEEDS

A few things make this recipe a bit unusual. First, the sweet potato is roasted at a low temperature, 300F. Second, it is served either barely warm or at room temperature over fridge-cold lemony yogurt. And finally, it gets crowned with a hot and spicy mixture of sauteed sunflower seeds and corn. I know it all sounds a bit crazy, but when the husband praised this side dish more than he did the bison chili that went with it, I knew I had hit gold.

ROASTED SWEET POTATO WITH CORN AND SUNFLOWER SEEDS
(adapted from Start Simple)

3 medium sweet potatoes
olive oil and salt to season potatoes
1/2 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tsp harissa paste
Urfa pepper (or another ground chile pepper you like)
salt to taste
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
kernels of 1 ear of corn (raw or cooked)
1/4 cup sunflowers seeds, raw
drizzle of toasted sesame oil

Turn the oven to 300F. Rub the sweet potatoes with a little olive oil, season with salt. Roast for 60 to 75 minutes, until soft (it depends on the size of the potatoes). Let the potatoes cool to room temperature, the flesh will sink and the skin will peel off super easily.  Cube the flesh in the size you like. Reserve.

Mix the yogurt with lemon juice and harissa, season lightly with salt. Place in the dish you will use to serve the potatoes.  Add the cubed potatoes on top. Just before your meal, add grape seed oil to a non-stick skillet, when it gets nice and hot add the corn kernels, season with Urfa pepper and salt. Sautee until fragrant, add the sunflower seeds and cook until they start to get golden.  Immediately add the hot mixture over the sweet potatoes, and take to the table.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: There are two ways to make sweet potatoes truly special, sous-vide and low-temperature roasting. The latter is the easiest, and if you’ve never tried them prepared this way, you are in for a treat. It is really a lot better than the more common method of blasting it at higher temperatures, either whole or cut in pieces. Roasted, they can sit in the fridge waiting for you, perfect texture, to be used in all sorts of preparations.

We enjoyed it over bison chili (made with this recipe, but using ground bison instead of ground turkey). The yogurt tames that heat from the chili, acts as a refreshing breeze on a warm summer night. A delicious dinner, that will be on our menu for sure in the near future.  The husband already requested it…

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EIGHT YEARS AGO: Asparagus Pesto

NINE YEARS AGO: Chocolate and Chestnut Terrine

TEN YEARS AGO: Under the spell of lemongrass

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Greens + Grapefruit + Shrimp = Great Salad!

 

CUCUMBER SALAD WITH HARISSA-YOGURT DRESSING

Simplicity hit again the Bewitching Kitchen. I used rose harissa because it is one of those ingredients I fell in love with a couple of years ago and now I cannot live without. If you don’t have it, use regular harissa and it will be wonderful too, it’s all about the delicate heat coupled with the soothing yogurt.  Perfect side dish for those hot days of Kansas summer. Have I ever mentioned I cannot get enough of summer?

CUCUMBER SALAD WITH HARISSA-YOGURT DRESSING
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

¼ cup full-fat yogurt
1 to 2 tsp rose harissa paste
drizzle of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Persian cucumbers, cut in rounds, then quarters
yellow or red grape tomatoes, cut in half
black sesame seeds

Mix the yogurt, oil, salt and pepper, add the harissa paste and mix gently. Add the cucumbers and tomatoes to a bowl, mix with the yogurt dressing. Let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes (if you have the extra time), sprinkle with sesame seeds right before serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I’ve shared quite a few recipes with rose harissa, one of my favorites involved chicken thighs. If you like to see the recipe, go back in time with a click here. I had never tried it in a salad dressing or any preparation in which it goes uncooked, so I am glad to report that it works well. You can adjust the amount according to your tolerance to heat. I find harissa quite pleasant, but you should play with it and see how it works best for you.

Surprisingly, leftovers were still quite good next day, I refreshed it with some additional black sesame seeds, and the flavors seemed to be even better. Cucumbers tend to release a bit of liquid, but not to the point of ruining the salad.   I hope you’ll give this recipe a try, it pairs well with salmon, chicken, pork, and if you have a nice bread, it can even stand alone as a light lunch.

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TWO YEARS AGO: Hickory-Smoked Beef Tenderloin

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FOUR YEARS AGO: Stir-fried Chicken and Cabbage in Spicy Almond Sauce

FIVE YEARS AGO: Fifteen Years!

SIX YEARS AGO: Light Brioche Burger Buns

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Sourdough Blues

EIGHT  YEARS AGO: Headed to Hawaii

NINE YEARS AGO: A yummy Brazilian cake: Bolo de Fuba’

TEN YEARS AGO:  Hidden Treasure

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Avocado Three Ways

 

 

 

 

 

YOGURT TART

Not too long ago I was browsing the internet searching for entremet cakes, and stumbled on a site that was new to me: Cooking Me Softly, hosted by Arianna, a chef from Italy. All I can say is that I had a very hard time moving away from the computer. Her concoctions are things of complete beauty, her flavor combinations unique and her presentation style superb. Not only she shares detailed recipes, but also short videos with the crucial stages of preparation. Basically, her site is culinary gold for those into patisserie. She blogs in Italian, but I can follow most of it closely enough to get the important points. Or so I hope. I fell in love with her Yogurt Tart the moment I first saw it, and could not wait to try and make it. The use of semi-spheres of mousse on top of the tart? Genius.

YOGURT TART
(slightly modified from Cooking Me Softly)

for Sablé Breton:
80 g egg yolks
100 g granulated sugar
125 g very soft butter
125 g pastry flour
2 g salt
5 g baking powder
grated lemon peel (1 lemon)
MyCryo cocoa butter (optional)

for white chocolate ganache:
340 g Lindt white chocolate
85 g heavy cream

for yogurt mousse:
120 g full-fat Greek yogurt
30 g granulated sugar
15 g of lemon juice, sieved
240 g fresh cream
6 g gelatin, 200 bloom
18 g cold water for gelatine hydration

for decoration:
small meringues
Gold dust
sprinkles of choice

Make the cookie base. In a Kitchen Aid type mixer, whisk the yolks with sugar and lemon zest until pale. Replace the whisk with the leaf beater, add the sifted flour with baking powder, salt, and then the butter. Mix well until creamy.  Place in a piece of plastic wrap, form as a disc and refrigerate for 8 hours.

Roll between two sheets of parchment paper to 1 mm thickness an put in the fridge for another hour, as you heat the oven to 350 F.

Cut a disc of dough with a 20 cm ring (7 + 3/4 in), and bake inside the ring for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, and while still hot sprinkle MyCryo over the surface. Allow it to cool completely. Before continuing with assembling, place the base inside the ring and add a band of acetate around it so that the ganache will be poured nicely on top. I like to use a ring that is adjustable, so that I can tighten it better around the base. Often the base shrinks a little during baking.

Make the chocolate ganache. Melt the chocolate gently in the microwave or in a double boiler. Heat the cream to simmering (about 175 F). Add to the chocolate in three additions, whisking gently to fully incorporate the chocolate and the cream.  Reserve. Cool to about 90F before pouring into the cool base. Place in the fridge to cool completely and then in the freezer overnight.

Make the yogurt mousse. Hydrate the gelatin in the water indicated in the recipe. Heat part of the yogurt with the sugar to about 140 F.  Melt the gelatin heating gently for a few seconds in the microwave (do not boil it). Add the melted gelatin to the warm yogurt/sugar mixture.

Add the lemon juice, the remaining cold yogurt and mix. Whip the cream to the consistency of melted ice cream, and fold gently into the yogurt base. Spoon the mousse into a piping bag (no need for a piping tip) and fill half-sphere molds (3.4 and 5 cm in diameter), smoothing the surface well. Put in the fridge to cool and then freeze overnight.

Assemble the tart. Remove the base with chocolate ganache from the freezer, place in a serving tray and remove the acetate. Arrange the mousse spheres of different diameters over the ganache. Decorate with mini-meringues plain and painted with gold spray. Put in the fridge for about 6 hours to allow the ganache to soften and the mousse to thaw.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I truly enjoy making desserts that involve multiple components particularly because they can be made in advance and wait in the freezer or fridge. Finishing the dessert then is easy and fun (assuming it all worked well in the previous steps). For this preparation, Arianna’s video was very helpful, as the Sable Biscuit is quite a bit softer than I anticipated. Watching how she handled it was key to succeed. Also make sure you make the dough the day before you intend to bake it, it needs those 8 hours in the fridge. Another important point is the white chocolate ganache: you need it to be firm enough to slice and hold its shape. Arianna uses a specific brand of chocolate that would be a bit of a hassle for me to find. Using her proportions with the Lindt bar, the ganache ended up way too loose, so I made another batch using a 4:1 ratio chocolate to cream. You can probably get by with a 3.5:1, but not much less than that.

My schedule went like this: I made the biscuit dough on a Friday evening, baked it Saturday morning and made the mini-meringues, the chocolate ganache and the mousse on Saturday afternoon. Once the ganache cooled enough I spread it over the biscuit base and froze it. Sunday afternoon I un-molded the frozen mousse spheres, sprayed some of the meringues with edible gold color, and assembled the tart.

The only issue I had was the golden stars used for decoration. The ones in contact with the ganache held their shape well, but the yogurt mousse (probably due to its acidity) melted the stars within an hour or so.

The flavors were quite amazing, as the sweetness of the white chocolate ganache stood well to the bright flavor of the yogurt mousse. The biscuit base had excellent texture, even if I overbaked it slightly. It was hard to see it inside the ring, next time I’ll be more careful.

Arianna has a cookbook published online and I could not resist getting my copy. It is absolutely amazing, you can get it with a click here.  The name is just too clever: Aria di Dolci. Loved it! Keep in mind it is in Italian, so you need to have some level of understanding of the language.

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Grilled Lamb-Stuffed Pita Bread

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TEN YEARS AGO: Marbled Rye

POST-WORKOUT CHIA YOGURT BLISS

After blogging for more than seven years, every once in a while I wonder if I could be repeating myself?  Have I mentioned this before?  Have I said this in the past? Of course, a search in my own site could be helpful, but I prefer to go with the flow, if a thought crosses my mind and seems relevant enough, it becomes printed material.  So, if you’ve read before that I was probably the last person to join the Chia Seed Cheerleading Department, here I go with the encore. Truth is, the more I have it, the more I like it. They are gelatinous in nature, a bit slippery even, so if you have issues with some types of texture, they could be challenging for your taste bus. This texture thing bothered me at first, then a little less, and now I find chia seeds playful, fun, happy little beings. In this picture, you can see three variations of chia-yogurt concoctions that I like to have after working out.

compositeChia

 

CHIA-YOGURT BOWL OF BLISS

Basic mixture:

1/2 cup yogurt (full-fat)

1 heaping tablespoon chia seeds

1/8 cup of coconut milk, almond milk, or cashew milk

Optional additions:

Sweetener (agave, honey, brown sugar, date syrup)

Matcha powder

Mix it all together and leave in the fridge at least one hour, but overnight is best.

When ready to enjoy it, add the toppings of your choice. My favorites are toasted shredded coconut, toasted slivered almonds with a bit of cinnamon, toasted walnuts, blueberries, raspberries, diced apricots. I also love a little sprinkle of cocoa nibs. Every time I make it a little different, every time I tell myself I should make this exact version again “because this one is a winner.”   What can I say? I am easily amused.

to print the basic “recipe” click here

Something about this mixture of yogurt with chia seeds is quite satisfying after working out. During the week, I exercise before lunch or dinner, but on Saturdays and Sundays I really look forward to these little chia bowls. I make sure to get my basic mixture ready in the fridge the night before.  I once tried using store-bought blended yogurt with fruit, but decided it was too sweet for my taste. Full disclosure: very soon I will experiment with a different type of yogurt, a strike of genius from Sue. Take a look at her post, and be ready to be amazed! I can hardly wait to give it a try, but if you do it let me know in the comments (and of course, let Sue know too!).

😉

Chia-Yogurt Post-Workout Breakfast, from Bewitching Kitchen
ONE YEAR AGO: Tomato Tatin

TWO YEARS AGO: Best Thing I Ever Made: Chocolate Chip Cookies

THREE YEARS AGO: Farofa Brasileira

FOUR YEARS AGO: Thai-Inspired Pork Tenderloin

FIVE YEARS AGO: A yummy Brazilian cake: Bolo de Fuba’

SIX YEARS AGO:  Summer’s Tomatoes

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Leaving on a jet plane… 

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