Saturday, March 20, 2010

So-called Superfood Really is Super!

Spring got here, and we've been outside a lot. This is pretty much our only outdoors time for a while, because summer will be so cold we'll have the heater on again between Memorial Day and Labor Day!

To take advantage of the fun and sun, I thought I'd try this Superfood salad from the Leon Cookbook for a backyard luncheon. It is every bit as good as they say!

Superfood, from the Leon Cookbook by Allegra McEvedy

200g broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets

120g peas, fresh or frozen

100g cucumber, cut into slim batons

100g good-quality mozzarella, cubed

20g alfalfa

20g toasted seeds (we use sesame, sunflower, flax and pumpkin)

50g avocado, cut into pieces

30g quinoa, Fairtrade if possible

Small handful flat-leaf parsley, rough chopped

Small handful mint, rough chopped

juice of 1 lemon

4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Wash the quinoa well and put in a small pan. Cover with cold water plus about an inch then let it gently simmer until the water's gone - about 15 minutes. Spread it on a tray to cool to room temperature.

Put an inch of hot water into a saucepan with a pinch of salt and cover it. Once boiling, drop in the broccoli and peas and put the lid back on. Drain after three minutes and run the veg under cold water to take all the heat out and keep them good and green.

Now build your salad in layers, starting with the first ingredient on the list and ending up with the dressing (but only dress it just before you eat it).

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Chocolate Guinness Goodness

Okay, lately I've been saying that everything is the best, but this *really* is the BEST!

Chocolate Guinness Goodness from Bon Appetit

* 8 large egg yolks
* 1 cup sugar
* One 14.9-ounce can Guinness Draught
* 3 cups heavy cream
* 7 ounces high-quality bittersweet (70 to 72% cacao) chocolate, finely chopped [NOTE: I actually used cocoa powder here, Valrhona, 3/4 cup]

* Special equipment: Six 8-ounce old-fashioned glasses

In large nonreactive mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar.

Open can of Guinness and slowly pour into 4-cup measuring cup, pouring down side of cup to reduce foaming. Pour half of Guinness (about 7/8 cup) into heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan. Add 2 1/4 cups cream and whisk to combine. Set over medium heat and heat, whisking occasionally, until bubbles just begin to form at edges. Remove from heat, add chocolate, and whisk until smooth.

Slowly pour hot chocolate mixture into eggs, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. Return mixture to saucepan and set over moderately low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens and coats back of spoon, about 15 minutes. (Pudding will look separated.) Pour into blender and blend on high for 1 minute. [NOTE: My pudding didn't look separated -- wonder if the cocoa powder had anythign to do with that -- so I skip the blender step.] Divide pudding among glasses, leaving at least 1 inch of space at top of each. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and set.

Meanwhile, pour remaining Guinness into small saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to moderately low and simmer, uncovered, until reduced to 1 tablespoon, about 20 minutes. Pour syrup into small bowl and let cool.

Beat remaining cream until soft peaks form. Add Guinness syrup and beat until combined. Divide cream among 6 glasses of pudding and serve.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Grab your Crockpot and Try This!

This is the best thing that we have made in a long time! And I was so happy with it because I thought it was a really healthy dinner apart from the 2 tablespoons of cream that get stirred in at the last minute. And then Rafa reminded me that the chicken was sauteed first in a lot of butter (yes, he made this for us for dinner!). So okay, it has its share of butter and cream, but it is still home-cooked, super-easy, and delish!

Chicken with Golden raisins
from: Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 bone-in chicken thighs
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup red wine
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup golden raisins

One piece at a time, dredge the chicken in the flour, coating both sides and shaking off any excess.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it foams, add the chicken and cook until deep golden brown on both sides, 5 to 7 minutes per side.

Transfer the chicken to the slow cooker. Add the wine to the pan, bring to a boil, and cook, scraping up any browned bits stuck to the pan. Pour over sauce the chicken and season with the with the salt and pepper. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 hours.

Stir in the cream and the raisins. Cover, turn the cooker to HIGH, and cook until the chicken is tender and cooked through, another hour.

Serve the chicken hot, with the raisins and sauce.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I give that a 10!

If climbing in your crib were an olympic sport, we'd have a perfect 10! Here is an example of the team in action:

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Peeking Out for a Look

Springtime is starting to appear, and I am starting to come out of hibernation. The details are boring, but let's just say that I feel like this little spring shoot searching for the sun!