Sunday, January 30, 2011

refresh




nothing quite like squeezing two overripe pink grapefruits with your bare hands!
scraping all the wonderful flesh and juices into a tall glass
uncensored, unadulterated grapefruit juice... chunks of pulp, tiny seeds,
sweet, tangy, and perfect enough to stand alone
add some ice cubes and ....amazing! seriously the best juice.

"simply grapefruit" has nothing on this

Monday, January 17, 2011

comfort


chicken parmigiana
for me, comfort is not made "light"..
whole eggs, breaded and fried in canola, 
broiled with a generous slice of mozzarella, 
on rich tomato sauce with wine. and noodles, of course!

chicken parmigiana (aka chicken parmesan)

for the chicken:
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 chicken breast, split lengthwise into 1/4 or 1/3 inch thick halves
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 1 tsp oregano, dried
  • 1 tsp basil, dried
  • canola oil
  • 2-3 oz. mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • black pepper, ground
in a wide bowl, combine bread crumbs, salt, and spices.
dip breast half into beaten egg, then into crumb mixture, then into egg again, then finally crumb mixture.
repeat with other chicken breast half.
let chicken rest while heating a generous amount of canola oil in a pan, over medium high heat.
once oil is hot, fry chicken 3-4 min on each side, flipping only once. (cooking time dependent on thickness)
remove chicken from pan and allow to drain on paper towels. begin preheating broiler.
arrange mozzarella slices on each piece.
broil for ~5 min or until cheese is brown and bubbly. top with fresh ground pepper.
---

for the sauce:
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste (i had some homemade on hand)
  • 1/4 cup water (use more as needed)
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp oregano, dried
  • 1 tsp basil, dried
  • 1 tsp marjoram, dried
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seed, crushed
  • salt to taste
combine all ingredients well in a saucepan
simmer together for ~10 min, stirring occasionally and add water as needed.
season to taste with salt.
---

for serving:
spoon sauce over cooked pasta of choice, and top with chicken breast.
serve immediately, sprinkle with parmesan or with a side of toast if desired.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

this week,


crimini mushroom omelette w/ parmesan and chives
a wholesome breakfast to start off the semester right
nutrients much needed to kick start my brain after a month of keeping it on the shelf 
as you can see, it snowed the first day... the first few days the high temp never broke freezing :/

and now, for my favorite!!

i've seen a few pictures of these floating around online, and decided to attempt it for myself.



TOTORO CREAM PUFFS!!!

cream puffs are surprisingly easy to make, 
the pastries are basically water, butter, salt, eggs, and flour.
i halved this recipe, and piped the dough into totoro shapes

light, crispy shells filled with hand-whipped vanilla cream. 
decorations of royal icing and dark chocolate.
delicious, and cuuuuute!

the whole gang

Sunday, January 9, 2011

lime coconut chicken


..been quite sick the last few days :( unfortunately, right before school starts

this means plenty of citrus, ginger teas, soups, and hummus. 

also, this means avoiding milk and cheese (my love!!!)

i've cooked one thing recently,

lime-coconut chicken
boneless skinless breasts, marinated in coconut milk, lime zest, cumin, turmeric, garam masala, soy sauce, etc etc (many things!) seared in hot canola oil until fall apart juicy and flavorful, garnished with lime slice 

served on a mix of basmati, sticky, and wild rices plus quinoa! all cooked in butter with scallions and a pinch of sea salt.

on the side some button mushrooms, cooked with nothing, just naked. nothing better than pure powerful mushroom flavour :D

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

my very first artichoke



went to the store today and artichokes caught my eye. they truly are giant thistles! a cone of sharp leaves shaped somewhat like a club, it really hit me how unusual these vegetables are in appearance. compelled, i purchased one and decided to try cooking it for my first time.

artichokes are delicious, but i've only had others cook them for me or had the delicious marinated hearts from jars. their soft flesh fills your mouth with richness and warmth. the strong flavour lingers and satisfies more like a fatty cut of meat than a green vegetable.

instead of searching the internet for a guide to this new vegetable, i went straight to a source i knew was tried a tested: back to mastering the art of french cooking, by julia child et al. (still soooo glad to have downloaded this, it is a bottomless pit of priceless tips and tricks). 

 it being my first time i fumbled around with this, the sharp tips even cut me and made me bleed! ha. however i finally got it trimmed up nicely and happily boiling in salted, vinagered water. this section gave me the 101 rundown of artichoke anatomy. 

another interesting point: julia child noted that the cooked artichoke would be an olive, not bright green.. the latter an indication that baking soda was used in the water..upon which "any frenchman would look with disfavor.."

gorgeous! a blossom of divine taste
i decided to make hollandaise sauce to serve with my artichoke. i've only had this on rich breakfast egg dishes, but heavy and tangy cream sauce sounded perfect to accompany my project :)

flipped back a few hundred pages to get to the "sauces" chapter of the book, and read ALL about egg yolks and their capacity to hold butter, curdling, temperature, etc etc. despite the intimidating length of the hollandaise section, the recipe is rather simple. i made my sauce a bit thinner by adding more water and lemon juice.


after seeing the illustration in the book, i followed suit and served the hollandaise in the artichoke. makes it look even more like a flower eh? i plated the sauce and artichoke with toast triangles, for balance.


one fair warning:
if you fear butter, or have sworn off such treasures in the new year (hmm! we'll see how long that lasts :D) .... avoid hollandaise sauce, at all costs. it is buttery, lemony, creamy... all things good in life.