Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Pommes de terre rattes rôties à l'érable

J’ai fait quelques plats de pommes de terre dont je ne vous ai pas parlé. Pourtant, ils étaient bons, mais simplement pas photogéniques. Admettons quand même que c’est rarement photogénique, une patate, hein? Il y a eu une recette indienne, des pommes de terre à la farine de pois chiches et aux graines de pavot, puis ensuite une casserole de pommes de terre avec crème sure et fromage (un vrai délice que je ressortirai sûrement à l’Action de Grâce). La plus récente, par contre, je la partage. Elle est tirée du site J’aime l’érable . ca. Il faut faire cuire les pommes de terre au four longtemps, mais le temps de préparation actif est minime, ce qui me plaît. Je n’ai pas trouvé de pommes de terre rattes, alors j’ai pris de petites pommes de terre à chair jaune – c’est quand même facile à adapter, cette recette. Elles sont servies ici avec des boulettes de viande et du minibrocoli.

1 kg (2,2 lb) de pommes de terre rattes, lavées
¼ tasse de gras de canard
2 c. à soupe de sirop d’érable
3 branches de thym ou de romarin frais
gros sel de mer et poivre du moulin, au goût

Placer la grille au centre du four. Préchauffer le four à 350 °F.

Tapisser une grande plaque à cuisson de papier aluminium. Mélanger tous les ingrédients, puis saler et poivrer.

Cuire au four environ 1 heure 15 minutes en remuant fréquemment pendant la cuisson.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lemon Braised Chicken and Beans with Mint Pesto

I had put off this recipe from The Kitchn for a long time, mostly because I don’t want to cook with dried beans at this point (I don’t have enough space in the pantry to keep them on hand anymore). The recipe calls for a lot of mint, too, and I was hoping the mint in my garden would grow enough for it, but I decided that given the hot climate, summer probably wasn’t going to help things. I felt that this would be a great seasonal recipe, though, in the sense that it seems like a transition between spring and summer, so I forged ahead. (If you don’t have that kind of weather yet, don’t feel jealous; I’ll be roasting down here when you enjoy pleasant summer weather, and you can make that chicken then.)

I ended up using mint from the grocery store, and I again referred to this article from Serious Eats to figure out I needed 3 cans of beans instead of 1 pound of dried beans (and no water). I also omitted the dill, because I’m not crazy about it. Anyway, the result was fantastic! The beans were a creamy, lemony delight, and pretty much overshadowed the chicken, as good as it was. We had lots of leftovers, too, as the recipe makes about 6 to 8 servings. My version is below. If you feel like it, you could use basil instead of mint for the pesto. It would change the taste, but it would still be wonderful. Note that while the dish cooks for a long time, it’s mostly hands-off and very easy to make.

For the mint pesto
4 packed cups mint leaves (or basil, see note above)
1/3 cup blanched almonds (optional)
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
¼ cup olive oil, plus more if necessary
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Blend all the ingredients in a small food processor until finely chopped. If not using immediately, store in the refrigerator with plastic wrap completely covering and touching the surface of the pesto to prevent oxidization.

For the chicken
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small white onion, diced
3 cans (15 oz. each) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 lemons
2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 sprigs fresh thyme

Heat the oven to 350 °F. In a 4-quart (or larger) Dutch oven or heavy ovenproof pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until they are tender and the onion is nearly translucent. Add the beans and stir to coat the beans with the garlic, onion, and oil. Turn off the heat.

Take a sharp vegetable peeler and carefully peel one of the lemons. Peel it in wide strips, taking care that you remove only the top yellow layer of peel and not any of the bitter white pith. Add all of this shaved lemon peel to the beans and stir. Juice the lemon and add the juice to the beans. (Reserve the second lemon for later.)

Pat the chicken dry, and lightly salt and pepper it. Lay it on top of the beans in the Dutch oven. Lay the thyme sprigs on top (I used just the leaves and not the sprigs, but do as you wish). Cover the pot and put it in the oven. Bake for 1 ½ hours, or until the beans are very tender and creamy.

Remove the lid from the pot, and take out the chicken and put it to the side on a plate. Remove the thyme stalks (or just leave the thyme leaves right in there, it’s fine). Zest and juice the second lemon, and stir the zest and juice into the beans. Shred or chop the chicken and place it back on top of the beans. Top with the mint pesto and serve, ideally with good bread to soak up the sauce.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Savory Cauliflower Cake

I’ve seen this recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi a lot lately – I found it on Serious Eats, but last week it was also on Gluten-Free Girl’s Instagram feed, for example. The name of it was originally cauliflower cake, but that seemed misleading to me, as if it should be sweet. It’s not, it’s definitely a main course. It’s halfway between a cake and a frittata – there’s no crust as there would be in a quiche, but there’s enough flour that the inside is closer to batter than omelet. So I’m calling a savory cake, for lack of a better word. In any event, the cauliflower almost disappears in there; the result is a delicious dish, and pretty to boot! We all loved it, even those of us who normally don’t like cauliflower. Note that I couldn’t procure nigella seeds in a brick-and-mortar store, so I replaced them with black sesame seeds.

1 small cauliflower, outer leaves removed, broken into 1¼-inch/3-cm florets (1 lb./450 g.)
1 medium red onion, peeled (6 oz./170 g.)
5 Tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp. finely chopped rosemary
7 eggs
½ cup/15 g. basil leaves, chopped
1 cup/120 g. all-purpose flour, sifted
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1/3 tsp. ground turmeric
5 oz./150 g. coarsely grated parmesan or another mature cheese
melted unsalted butter or margarine, for brushing
1 Tbsp. white sesame seeds
1 tsp nigella seeds (see note above)
salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 °F. Line the base and sides of a 9 ½-inch/24-cm springform cake pan with parchment paper. Brush the sides with melted butter, then mix together the sesame and nigella seeds and toss them around the inside of the pan so that they stick to the sides. Set aside.

Place the cauliflower florets in a saucepan and add 1 teaspoon salt. Cover with water and simmer for 15 minutes, until the florets are quite soft. They should break when pressed with a spoon. Drain and set aside in a colander to dry.

Cut 4 round slices, each ¼-inch/5 mm thick, off one end of the onion and set aside. Coarsely chop the rest of the onion and place in a small pan with the oil and rosemary. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring from time to time, until soft. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Transfer the onion to a large bowl, add the eggs and basil, whisk well, and then add the flour, baking powder, turmeric, parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt, and plenty of pepper. Whisk until smooth before adding the cauliflower and stirring gently, trying not to break up the florets.

Pour the cauliflower mixture into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly, and arrange the reserved onion rings on top. Place in the center of the oven and bake for 45 minutes, until golden brown and set; a knife inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. Remove from the oven and leave for at least 20 minutes before serving. It needs to be served just warm, rather than hot, or at room temperature.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Passover Sweet & Sour Meatballs

Here’s a timely post, for once: Passover! I thought I’d round up a few links: A Food Lover’s Guide to Passover and how to clean one’s kitchen for Passover (which is more thorough than many spring cleanings, and I love that). I was going to throw in another one with a funny Haggadah from 2010, but upon reading it again, it’s not that funny, so I’ll spare you.

It occured to me that I never got around to posting these Passover meatballs, even though I mentioned them before. So, the recipe IS in Second Helpings, Please!, but on page 208, in the Passover section (makes sense, right?). They’re very easy to make, they just need to simmer for a long time (about 2 hours total). We all love these meatballs! If you’re making them when it’s not Passover (or if you’re not celebrating Passover), you can probably just use breadcrumbs instead of seeking out matzo meal. My mother-in-law often serves these with rice, but I served them with carrots and chickpeas last time and with potatoes (recipe to come) and broccolini tonight.

2 lbs. minced meat
2 eggs
salt and pepper, to taste
½ tsp. garlic powder
¼ cup water
3 Tbsp. matzo meal
20-oz. tin of tomato juice
1 cup ketchup
½ cup sugar
few grains sour salt (I use sea salt)

Combine meat, eggs, seasoning, water, and matzo meal and mix well. Form tiny balls. Combine remaining ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add meatballs. Cover and simmer for 1 ½ hours. Remove cover and simmer ½ hour longer.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Batch of links - Food allergies

- I knew that pink peppercorns weren’t true pepper, but are often considered that way (similarly, fresh corn is considered a vegetable even though it is a grain, and quinoa is considered a grain even though it is a seed). Here’s something I didn’t know: pink peppercorns are actually related to cashews and can cause a reaction in people with tree nut allergies. This is really important to know, as many labels lack that warning (!) and restaurant chefs may not be aware of it.

- While we’re talking spices: the FDA says that recent shipments of cumin, both ground and whole, have tested positive for undeclared peanut protein. I’m really glad they caught this!

- This post is mostly for parents of a child with food allergies: Don’t panic. Make a plan. And here’s a good example of an emergency care plan, in PDF form.

- Learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction (it’s a useful document because it goes further than the typical hives and swelling that we all associate with an anaphylactic reaction).

- Another one for parents: the truth about having children with food allergies. This made me realize that I need to be careful what snacks I bring to the playground, even if it’s just for my (thankfully non-allergic) child, because what if he had cross-contaminants on his hands and got them on the play equipment for an allergic child to touch?

- And 25 things only a food allergy parent would understand (I sympathize).

- We now have even more data on the fact that introducing allergens early actually reduces the risk of allergies later on in life. Alice Park wrote an article about it in a Time magazine earlier this month, which had data I knew already (“3 times more peanut allergies since 1997”) along with some I hadn’t seen before (actual numbers like an “86% lower allergy risk when infants ate peanuts” – this study was done on children who had eczema and egg allergies and whose immune system was already primed to react to antigens). It also explains that the body comes in contact with allergens in two different ways, either through skin contact or through ingestion. It would appear that a good balance of those two pathways helps reduce the risk of allergies, and that the body is more likely to perceive an allergen on the skin (like through a mother’s kiss) as a threat, while being more likely to accept an allergen through the gut on the first encounter. I couldn’t find the online version, but there’s a very similar article published a few weeks earlier that is much more detailed, and I think the print version is actually a summary of it. Here’s the online version.

- I’m not a complete downer, however. Did you know that there are promising desensitization therapies for peanut proteins being researched right now? One is a skin patch being developed by a French team, who might expand the treatment to other allergies if it is successful (it might be on the market in a few years). The other involves probiotics and has already had successful human trials in Australia (more details here).

- Also, chef Brooks Headley recently wrote an article in Bon Appétit on why people of his profession should embrace allergies and dietary restrictions. This was very refreshing to hear, and I wish more chefs would follow suit (I know it hasn’t always been my experience, but then again I rarely ask for accommodations and try to eat around my restriction, since it isn’t life-threatening). It also seems to have struck a chord with readers, as positive comments are still coming in.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Sauce bolognaise aux lentilles

Bon, vous allez trouver que ça fait un peu répétitif, deux recettes de pâtes avec sauce tomate et viande, d’affilée. Mais vous saurez que celle des boulettes de dinde au pesto, je l’ai faite il y a quelques semaines, et celle-ci, je l’ai sortie du congélateur pour le souper d’hier. Je l’avais faite il y a des mois de ça, et je n’en avais jamais parlé parce que je pensais être la seule qui avait aimé ça. Mais hier soir, eh bien, le Petit Prince, après avoir boudé son assiette un bon moment, s’est décidé à goûter et a conclu qu’il aimait assez ça pour apprendre à dire le mot « sauce ». Et l’Ingénieur a garni son assiette de Cholula et il a adoré (même qu’il ne se souvenait pas vraiment y avoir goûté auparavant). Alors voilà, c’est une sauce qui saura plaire à tous, ou du moins, la deuxième fois. Elle n’est pas végétarienne, mais elle contient quand même moins de viande qu’une sauce bolognaise traditionnelle, et plus de légumes. Et puis, c’est bon pour la santé, les lentilles! Je l’ai adaptée de Coup de Pouce. Je vous confirme que la sauce se congèle très bien! Vous en aurez environ 2 litres.

1 c. à soupe d'huile d'olive
1 oignon coupé en dés
1 gousse d'ail broyée
1 poivron rouge haché
1 contenant de champignons, coupés en quartiers (10 oz./284 g)
12 oz. (375 g) de bœuf haché maigre
1 tasse de lentilles rouges sèches, rincées
1 boîte (28 oz./796 ml) de tomates broyées
1 tasse de sauce tomate (j’en avais une boîte de 15 oz.)
1 tasse d'eau
2 c. à soupe de pâte de tomates
½ c. à thé de sel
½ c. à thé de poivre noir du moulin
1 c. à soupe d'origan frais, haché
1 c. à soupe de basilic frais, haché
1 c. à soupe de persil frais, haché

Dans une grande casserole, chauffer l'huile à feu moyen. Ajouter l'oignon et l'ail et cuire, en brassant, pendant environ 3 minutes ou jusqu'à ce qu'ils aient ramolli. Ajouter le poivron et les champignons et cuire, en brassant, pendant 5 minutes. Ajouter le bœuf haché et cuire, en défaisant la viande à l'aide d'une cuillère de bois, pendant environ 5 minutes ou jusqu'à ce qu'il ait perdu sa teinte rosée.

Dans la casserole, ajouter les lentilles, les tomates, la sauce tomate, l'eau, la pâte de tomates, le sel et le poivre et bien mélanger. Porter à ébullition. Réduire à feu doux, couvrir et laisser mijoter, en brassant de temps à autre, de 40 à 50 minutes ou jusqu'à ce que la sauce ait épaissi. Incorporer l'origan, le basilic et le persil et poursuivre la cuisson pendant 10 minutes. Servir avec vos pâtes préférées, avec ou sans fromage.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Turkey Pesto Meatballs

I made another recipe from Weelicious, and once again, it was a hit. The Engineer and the Little Prince both love meatballs, and I think that their popularity at the table makes me love them too, even though I didn’t often think to make them before. The only problem I ran into was that the meatballs were undercooked when I followed directions, so I upped the temperature and left them in there longer until my thermometer indicated that they were done. A quick search in the comments on the blog revealed that others ran into the same issue. I fixed it in my version below – my way worked for me, but another reader suggested baking at 400 °F for 20 minutes. If you want to make these dairy-free, use dairy-free pesto and either substitute nutritional yeast for the parmesan or omit it altogether. For the tomato sauce, store-bought is fine; I’d suggest doctoring it with some herbs and spices if necessary. I served these with orzo.

1 ¼ lbs. lean ground turkey
¼ cup pesto
¼ cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt
2 cups tomato sauce (such as marinara)

Preheat oven to 350 °F (see note above).

Place all the ingredients (except for the tomato sauce) in a bowl and using your hands, combine until everything is incorporated.

Using about 1 tablespoon of the mixture per meatball, roll into balls and place on a plate.

Pour the marinara sauce into a 9”x9” pan (I think I used a 9”x13” pan, actually) and top with the meatballs.

Cover the baking pan with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes. Uncover, increase the temperature to 450 °F and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.