Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Brown bagging salad for lunch? Yes!

There's this hot new little take out place near my office called Laitue & Go. It's a salad bar where salads are made on the fly and they charge a pretty penny for the service. It's worth it to eat healthy and fresh, but paying 10$ every day for lunch can add up quickly. After eating there a couple of days, and judiciously saving my plastic "salad bowls", I decided to make my own "take out salads" and save myself 40$ a week.

It's really simple. Just buy the prewashed lettuce mixes. I love Earthbound farm's organic spring mix, the 1 lbs box will make me 5 salads. Fill your bowl with enough to cover the bottom. Throw in a couple of cleaned cherry tomatoes (sliced tomatoes would make your salad soggy -not good.), some shredded carrots, a few slices of cucumber, some radish, hummus, sun dried tomatoes, nuts, etc. Make sure you keep the wet parts out of the salad up until you are ready to eat it. This means I will carry seperatly hummus, feta cheese, salad dressing, salsa, tuna, salmon and beans. Combine your dressing with your salad along with the wet parts just before eating and enjoy!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Really simple wild mushroom risotto

I made this for dinner tonight. It makes a good meal for two or side servings for 4.

You'll need:

2 cups boiling water
1/3 cup dried forest mushrooms
2/3 cup arborio rice
1 cup liquid chicken stock
1 tsp sage powder
1 chicken stock cube (or 1 cup water with 2 cubes of stock)
1 medium onion finely minced
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/3 grated parmesan cheese

Cover the dried mushrooms in boiling water and let stand for 30 minutes. Remove mushrooms from water, and squeeze excess liquid, chop them coasely and set aside. Filter the mushroom stock with a sieve and coffee filter to remove the dirt and save liquid. Add in the chicken bouillion cube and add in the extra cup of water. Set aside.

In a wide and deep skillet, melt your butter and oil. Sweat your onions for 4 minutes on medium heat until translucent. Add in the rice and stir to coat with oil and onions for two minutes. Add in mushrooms, sage and stir. Bring up the heat to medium-high. Using a ladle, pour in 1/3 cup stock and stir until liquid is absorbed by rice. Repeat process until all the liquid is absorbed. You'll want to taste the rice after 15 minutes to see if it's cooked through. You don't want it to be chewy but you want it to have a nice soft texture. When its done, remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese. Add pepper if desired. Serve immediatly.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Cream of forest mushroom and 7 grain vegetable pilaf

I went to a restaurant supply store yesterday and bought dried forest mushrooms and a 7 grain rice mix. This is what I made today:

Cream of Forest Mushroom

30 gr (about 1 cup) dried mushroom mix (porcini, shitake, black, oyster, morels)
1 liter boiling water
chicken broth (about 1-2 cups)
1 onion, sliced finely
2 tbsp butter
1/2 package of fresh white mushrooms, sliced
125 ml 35% cream
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tbsp flour and 50 mls of cold water

Place your dried mushrooms in a large bowl and cover in boiling water. Let soak for 30 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the bowl and do not discard the soaking water. Filter the water with a coffee filter and a sieve to remove the dirt. Chop the soaked mushrooms coarsely and set aside. Save the broth.

In a dutch oven, melt the butter and sweat the onions until translucent. Add in the fresh and soaked mushrooms and stir for 1 minute. Pour back in the broth and add chicken broth to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. In a bowl, mix in flour with cold water. Add to simmering soup and bring to boil to thicken. Add sherry vinegar, cream and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

7 Grain Vegetable Pilaf

1 cup 7 grain mix (or brown rice)
1 2/3 cups of broth (vegetable or chicken) - 2 cups if using brown rice
1/2 diced onions
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup green peas
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup zucchini, diced
2 tbsp roasted sesame oil
2 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp sesame seeds

In a pot, bring broth and grains up to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes, until tender. Fan with fork to make fluffy and set aside. In a large cast iron pan, sweat onions until translucent. Add in other vegetables, and stir for 5 minutes, until almost done. Add in the grains, soya sauce, and sesame seeds stir until combined. Set aside and let cool for 5 minutes. Can keep for a few days, if refrigerated.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Flemmish Rice Pudding by Yasmine's Mother

Another wonderful recipe I savored at an office pot luck. This was made with drunken raisins, meaning raisins soaked in liquor, rhum preferably although brandy works well too.

You'll need:

1 tablespoon butter
1 liter full fat milk
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 pinch salt
1 pinch saffron
1 cup shortgrain rice
1 tablespoon vanilla
5 packs vanilla sugar
1 drop almond extract
1/2 cup 10% cream.

Melt spoonful of butter or margarine in dutch oven. Add in the full fat milk, the cinnamon stick, ginger, salt and saffron and bring to boil. Add the rice and reduce the heat to minimum. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Bring heat back up to medium and remove the cinnamon stick, add in the vanilla, vanilla sugar and almond extract with the 10% cream. Keep stirring continuously with fork for another 20 min. The secret in a succesful pudding lays in the stirring. If the pudding is too solid after cooling, stir in some 10% cream. If you want to make it more festive, stir in some dark rum as well.

This rice pudding is traditionally served with a big scoop of brown sugar on top

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Simple protein packed salad

Not so much a recipe than what I had for dinner today. A nice salad made of spring mesclun mix, three slices of ham, one quartered hard boiled egg, 1/4 cup grated gouda cheese, slices of cucumber, tomato and a light yogurt dressing with curry and dill. Divine

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Mushroom Israeli Couscous Risotto

This was an improvisation from this month's issue of Bon Appetit. There is a recipe for an Israeli Couscous risotto using radicchio and squash. I was looking forward to picking up all the ingredients at the my local grocery store this evening when I realise they had neither squash nor raddichio. So I decided to do a mushroom risotto instead. Here's the recipe for my version for 2 people.

You'll need:

2 cups cubed (about 1 inch pieces) portobello mushrooms
2 cups stock
1 cup Israeli couscous
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 small onion chopped
2 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
2 dashes of veggie worstershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste.

In a dutch oven, melt butter in medium to high heat. Add in the onions, stir for two minutes, then lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add in couscous, and stir to coat with butter for 5 minutes. Then add in mushrooms and stock. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the couscous is tender. Mix in parmesan cheese, chives, worstershire sauce and season to taste. Serve immediately.

Bon appetit!

Friday, April 13, 2007

It's sugar shack time!

Living in Quebec gives me access to sweet traditional French Canadian fare like an outing at the sugar shack. I had the good fortune of going Easter weekend in the lower St-Laurent region while visiting my dear aunt.

Set in a quaint barn, with an old wood burning stove and quite a few antique stoves, still being used to prepare the food. It was defenetly good eats... Albeit absolutely unhealthy in every sense of the word.

The menu consisted of baked beans smothered in maple syrup, poached eggs in syrup (simply bring to boil syrup, and gently drop the egg yolk and white into the mixture.. divine), cured ham, "patate bernard" (potatoes cooked in porc lard... equally tasty), grand-pere à l'érable (dumplings cooked in boiling maple syrup) and pancakes.. Thank goodness for snowshoeing in the mountains!