Although it`s raining outside and you still need gloves in the morning, the summer has entered our kitchen and dining room. This is the time for local asparagus, rhubarb, and green leaves, including spinach. I find fresh spinach rather blunt, and when overcooked, it does not look very appealing either. For me, the right way is just blanching it, like in this hearty yet fresh tasting soup.
Allow several hours to prepare it unless you have the stock ready. 30-minute rule does not apply until June, since I`m at home with a baby and have the time for cooking.
1. Beef stock. Cover the beef with cold water. Bring to boiling, then discard the water. Cover the beef with fresh water and bring to boiling again. While it simmers, prepare aroma herbs and vegetables in a gauze wrap, adding some black pepper corns. Put the wrap in the simmering water, add sea salt. Continue simmering at least an hour, preferably more. In the end, discard the aroma wrap and lift out the beef.
2. Peel and chop the carrots and potatoes. Add to the stock. Chop the cooked beef, add to the pot as well. While the vegetables are cooking, chop the spinach (discard the hard stalks). When carrots and potatoes are soft, add spinach and take the pot off the stove. The soup is ready; serve with boiled eggs.
In the previous post, I complained about the prolonged season of hearty dishes.
And finally it has arrived: a sunny spring. It feels so good that I fast-forwarded a few months and served this casserole of summer vegetables and low-fat mozzarella.
Slice an eggplant lengthwise. Whisk an egg with salt and pepper. Dip each slice in the egg, then breadcrumbs, and fry in a skillet. In a casserole dish, layer slices of mozzarella, the eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, and bell pepper. Sprinkle with chopped garlic, basil leaves, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Repeat the layers. I only had the eggplant and mozzarella twice. Bake in the oven and serve with fresh salad greens. Reminds of august evenings, of vacation and late dinners on the terrace with friends.
Hardly a few days since the last post, and already another one…
Another curry with coconut milk
If you like nutty curries as much as I do, you have to try this one: peanut butter AND coconut milk. To round it up with more nuts, choose plain yoghurt with maple syrup, cinnamon and walnuts for the dessert.
For the curry (about 6 servings), you`ll need:
pork, chopped bite-size, 500 g
red curry paste, 3 spoons
peanut butter, 2 spoons
brown sugar, 1 spoon
vegetable stock, 1 cup
low-fat coconut milk, 1 can of 400 g
deep-frozen cauliflower florets, a package of 250 g
palm hearts, a can of 400 g
juice of half-lemon
Fry the pork for 5 minutes to seal the juices. Add chopped spring onions and fry another minute. Add curry paste and peanut butter, then the sugar. Cover with stock and coconut oil, add the cauliflower, bring to boiling and simmer for some 10 minutes. Cut palm hearts, add to the sauce and heat through. Stir in lemon juice and serve with rice.
For one of the next posts, I`ll try out David Lebovitz recipes from his “Sweet Life in Paris”. A brilliant book, recommended by my sister who`s much more into desserts than me. Even if you choose to skip the dessert recipes, the book charms with its witty and accurate description of the Parisian lifestyle and some appealing ideas for non-sweet dishes. Breastfeeding a baby means a lot of time for reading:)
There has been a long silence and very few posts with various regularity for some while on this blog. Well… it will most probably continue to be so, as the meaning of regularity has reached a new level in our house. Since the beginning of January there are five of us. Needless to say, the young addition of the family isn’t too keen on haute cuisine quite yet… However, we will still eat, hopefully not too much junk, and will try to drop a line and a pic here now and then.
Thank you for being faithful. Cheers and enjoy!
I do like cabbage, but try to avoid mayonnaise. The baby is born, and there is no more legitimate excuse for unhealthy indulging. After a quick search for “coleslaw dressing”, I found this recipe: http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1815,136162-235200,00.html. Blend mustard, garlic, apple juice, oil, an apple, honey, tabasco, vinegar, salt, and pepper. I used far less oil than in the recipe to save on calories. A tablespoon of pistachio oil and 2 spoons of olive oil seemed sufficient. Vinegar and tabasco was added more generously. So full of flavours, after you try this out, you’ll never come back to mayo!
Although most of the time I have simply given up, there are still dinners when I try to offer the kids vegetables. Disguised in all possible forms. Believe it or not, there are actually children who eat them. In the neighborhood, not some starving third world region. In the picture, you see one of my attempts. It`s been some time since the picture was taken, I cannot recall the precise recipe anymore. However, as with most soups, it`s the idea that matters, vegetables, spices and proportions are up to your imagination and fridge contents. Fry a chopped onion and grated carrots in butter. Pour over water or stock. I use water, my mom`s preserved soup spices (from what I have guessed, the main ingredients are finely chopped mixed greens, garlic, onions, and carrots in salt), and pepper. Add bite size pieces or squash, potatoes, tomatoes (peal the skin off first), and simmer until the vegetables are soft. Blend the soup. Prepare meat balls: mix minced pork with an egg, pressed garlic, salt, pepper, and a tablespoon of buckwheat flour. Heat the blended soup on the stove again, and add small balls formed from the meat mixture. When they are cooked through, the soup is ready. The dish was half-success: one of the two kids liked it.
Since the asparagus is in full season, and strawberries will soon take over the main role on the table, the menu for our Thursday visitors was based on asparagus. (Sorry for having posted this almost a week late). 1. Asparagus cream. Boil white asparagus. Use only the upper milder parts, as any fiber will spoil the cream. Blend with Frischkäse (the proportion I used was something like 2 parts asparagus: 1 part Frischkäse). Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Serve with caviar and/or nachos (or salmon, or whatever you have). 2. Asparagus salad with smoked salmon. Boil asparagus (with some salt and sugar for the green ones, and with a sprinkle of lemon juice for the whites). On a bed of salad greens and some fresh vegetables, place hot asparagus, dress with vinaigrette, then comes the smoked salmon and roasted pine nuts. 3. Chicken legs with fried vegetables. For the salad: chop bell pepper, asparagus, and an onion. Caramelize the onion with brown sugar in a teaspoon of butter, add the asparagus and bell pepper, season with salt and fry until tender.
Hopefully the weather holds, I`m craving for grilled steak with a strawberry sauce and fresh greens from my own garden.
I`ve noticed that our recent posts are from long weekend dinners with friends rather then quick and healthy workday dinners, which was the original idea. This should qualify: chicken with bulghur/lentil mix and fresh vegetables. Cooking didn`t take more than 20 minutes. Pour water over red lentils and bulghur (approximate ratio 1:1,5). Add a tablespoon of sherbet (homemade syrup). Bring to boiling, then simmer until soft. I used both bulghur and lentils of 10 mins cooking time. When ready, mix in some salt. Mix bite-sized chicken pieces with soya sauce, olive oil, honey, and dried chili. Fry on the pan until all juices are gone and the meat is cooked through. On the plate, assemble lettuce, cucumber, and reddish with the bulghur/lentil mix and chicken. Decorate with salted and roasted pumpkin seeds. Enjoy and make sure the kids don`t steal all the pumpkin seeds from your plate:)