Friday, October 31, 2008

Brussels Sprouts

With a touch of fall in the air, seeing Brussels sprouts on sale this week at the market seemed so appropriate. I remember growing up having these little cabbages boiled to death and then some. And I still liked them!

These little bright green gems were halved top to bottom, layered with wedges of shallots, drizzled with a smidgen of olive oil, seasoned with a bit of sea salt and freshly ground pepper and roasted for 30 minutes in a 425° oven.

Tossing and turning after 20 minutes, produced charred cut edges, caramelized shallots and just the right toothiness to the sprout. Tender, but still offering a bit of give to the bite. The final touch when plated, a light drizzle of Pickapeppa sauce.

Eight good sized sprouts with 3 large shallots resulted in the image above. Enough for two as a side, or a generous serving for one, accompanied by a mixed sprout salad dressed in lemon olive oil and a mellow glass of Cabernet.

Life is good.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Baby Belas

Here's a favorite quick dish that I love to make. Baby portabella mushrooms that have been sautéed in an equal mix of olive oil and butter with minced garlic, onion and thyme.

Start the onions over medium heat, then add the minced garlic and thyme. As the mixture softens, add a splash of balsamic vinegar and let that cook off, then add 8 ounces of sliced 'shrooms. As the mushrooms soften, add an ounce or so of Port wine or any other red wine you happen to have open. I keep a bottle of Port in the fridge for these occasions.

When the mushrooms have cooked down and the liquid has evaporated, take them off heat. The dish above has the mushrooms resting on two slices of ciabatta but another alternative is an open piece of baguette, or use the mushrooms as a side dish.

Top the bread slices with a heaping helping of the mushrooms, cover with thinly sliced cheese of your choosing. Mozzarella is nice...Gruyere is grand and in a pinch, as pictured, Monterrey / Jack does just fine. Slide the slices into a 350° oven for 6 to 8 minutes.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Yogurt Cake

The October issue of the Chocolate and Zucchini newsletter arrived in my inbox the other day and I gave into the temptation to make something baked and sweet.

Bags of King Arthur whole wheat, white whole wheat and artisan flours have been loitering in the fridge and freezer for ages.

I've eschewed baked goods and wheat products on my quest to keep an alkaline system and ward off more evil cells. But Clotilde's lovely description of this simple sweet won me over.

I looked over the list of ingredients, everything a pantry staple, then brought the cold items to room temperature before proceeding. Once I measured the dry ingredients into one bowl, and mixed the wet ingredients into another, adding the dry to the wet was all that was required, simple, fast and easy.

I followed the pan prep directions, lining a 10" cake pan with a circle of parchment paper then I buttered the paper and the sides of the pan.

I placed the prepared cake pan in the fridge while I measured and mixed the batter. (This is a little trick I picked up from a cooking class somewhere along the way — it's a superb little trick, assuring easy release of the baked cake.)

Here is the link for Clotilde's recipe. My variation used organic white whole wheat flour and with no rum in the house, I substituted a tablespoon of triple sec and a few drops of orange oil to give the cake a hint of citrus. As an afterthought, a bit of orange zest would have been a lovely addition. Next time, I might give it a lemon tang or layer in some blueberries. Options are endless.