Tuesday, September 30, 2014

689. Spinach Gratin


Creamed spinach is one of my favorite non-healthy-disguised-as-healthy sides.
I could eat it without the main, just by its lonesome.
This spinach gratin is very similar to creamed spinach, but even better.
It is better because you still get that creamy spinach goodness, but with a grilled cheese topping!
Some would argue this is an autumnal or winter dish, others would argue its comfort factor goes beyond the seasons.


Ingredients:

2 Tbsp butter
2 cups chopped onions
1 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
700g frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated mature cheddar


Method:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saute pan over medium heat.
Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 15 minutes.
Add the flour and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes.
Add the cream and milk and cook until thickened.
Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the spinach and add the spinach to the sauce.
Add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese and mix well. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Transfer the spinach to a baking dish and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan and the mature cheddar on top. Bake for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly. Serve hot.


 صحة و عافية

Sunday, September 28, 2014

688. Prune Earl Grey Yogurt Parfait


This parfait was an accidental skinny dessert. I love re-hydrated prunes, so I decided to showcase them as a fancy dessert. The thing is, dried prunes are really sweet, even when re-hydrated, so I skipped adding sugar to the soaking water and to the strained yogurt on top.
To give them another dimension of flavor, I soaked the prunes in Earl Grey tea, which made them extra fragrant. The sprig of mint at the top was not only pretty, but it was also delicious when scooped with the yogurt and prunes. This dessert does not need additional sugar, cream, or anything else to make it perfect: it already is without them.
To recap: all-natural dried unsweetened prunes are re-hydrated overnight in unsweetened fragrant tea, drained, mashed, and topped with all-natural unsweetened strained yogurt and a fresh sprig of mint.
For the sweeter palates, a drizzle of honey can be added just before serving.


Ingredients:

200g dried prunes
1 Tbsp earl grey tea leaves
2 cups boiling water
450g natural yogurt
fresh mint leaves


Method:

Seep the tea leave in the recently boiled water and set aside for 10 minutes.
Strain the slightly cooled tea over the prunes to completely submerge in a jar or bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
At the same time, line a sieve with kitchen paper towels, place over a bowl, and pour the yogurt into the paper towels. Fold the hanging towels over the yogurt and allow to strain overnight in the fridge.
Next day, drain the prunes, remove the pit, and mash.
Divide the mashed prunes in four glasses.
Give the strained yogurt a mix in a bowl (discard the whey), and divide over the prunes in the glasses.
Top the yogurt with a sprig of fresh mint, and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
For the sweeter palates, a drizzle of honey can be added just before serving.


 صحة و عافية

Friday, September 26, 2014

687. Panisses Chickpea Fries


I had to make and taste these panisses to believe how truly they mimic the flavor of potato fries; it was incredible!
Panisse is a southern French side dish made of chickpea flour.
The mixture is cooked to a paste, pressed into a mold, and chilled.
Once chilled, it will be firm enough to cut up into sticks.
Fried to a golden crisp, salted and peppered, these panisses were light, crispy on the outside, incredibly fluffy on the inside, and a great potato fry substitute.


Ingredients:

4 cups water
2 cups chickpea flour
1 Tbsp salt
2 cups vegetable oil


Method:

Place the water in a pot with the salt and bring to a boil.
Pour the chickpea flour into the water and whisk vigorously until all of the water is absorbed and there are no lumps, about 2-3 minutes. You are looking for the consistency of polenta.
Take the pot off the heat. There should be plenty of salt but now is the time to taste and make sure.
Line a loaf tin with plastic wrap or wax paper.
Pour the chickpea mixture onto the tin and spread evenly.
Set aside to firm for about 30 minutes.
After thirty minutes, take a knife and gently cut the mixture into rectangular pieces. Use your judgement as to the size.
Add the vegetable oil to a deep pan. Turn the heat to medium high.
Once the oil is hot enough (you will get a nice sizzle) add some fries (about 8 at a time) and cook until they are golden brown and crispy on the outside.
Take them out and place on a paper towel lined plate.
For adults, sprinkle lightly with sumac and serve immediately with some minted yogurt dip.
For kids, sprinkle lightly with some salt and pepper and serve immediately with some ketchup.


 صحة و عافية

Thursday, September 25, 2014

686. Korean Minced Beef: Express


Express is the key word here.
Asian flavors are clearly conveyed, and by using ground meat, the dish comes together so fast.
I have made it once with white rice, and another with brown, and I liked it with either.
Whether you choose rice or noodles, there is one essential component that makes the dish juuust right: the thinly sliced green onion.
Soy sauce is salty in itself, so I did not add salt, but do taste it for your own preference.
Adapted from berrymorrins.


Ingredients:

450g ground beef
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp crushed red peppers
1/4 tsp pepper
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced


Method:

In a large pan over medium heat, brown the ground beef with and garlic in the sesame oil.
Drain most of the fat and add brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, pepper and chili .
Simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors.
Serve over steamed rice and top with the sliced green onions.


 صحة و عافية

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

685. Freekeh Soup


I was surprised when I discovered that freekeh is not to everyone's tastes.
One person described it as what they would imagine horse's hay feed tastes like.
I, on the other hand, absolutely adore freekeh, and would readily substitute it for rice.
This soup was light, fragrant, warming, and satiating all at the same time.
Very simple to make, the recipe comes from Kitchen of Palestine.


Ingredients:

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup cracked green wheat (freekeh), thoroughly washed 3 times
4 cups vegetable broth
Salt to taste


Method:

In a pot over medium heat, saute the chopped onions with olive oil until lightly browned.
Add cleaned freekeh and stir with onions for a minute or two (roasting freekeh before cooking gives them a richer flavor).
Add vegetable stock, cover the pot and leave it under low-medium heat for about an hour or until freekeh is very tender.
Set aside to cool slightly before blending the mixture.
Adjust seasoning and if too thick add up to 2 cups water to thin out according to taste.
Serve hot with green olives and your preference of bread.


 صحة و عافية

Monday, September 22, 2014

684. Moroccan Chicken with Apricots and Prunes


Moroccan Tagines are very rich in spices and even fruits that make them highly flavorful and aromatic dishes. Typically tagine must be cooked in a unique ceramic or clay cookware that's popular in North Africa.
This recipe however can be made in your average pot, making it very convenient without losing the authenticity.
Moroccan cuisine highlights the unusual use of sweet ingredients in a savory dish, making it one that you would have to try because no matter how it may be described, the proof is in the proverbial pudding.
Adapted form one of my favorite but sadly discontinued blogs, Tummylicious Treats.


Ingredients:

450g skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 onion finely chopped
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and crushed
3 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup dried apricots deseeded and chopped
1/2 cup prunes, deseeded and chopped



Method:

Mix the turmeric, paprika and cinnamon in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Coat the chicken with the spice mix.
Heat oil in a deep pot ad cook the chicken over moderate heat, stirring constantly for 5 minutes or until it changes color. Remove the chicken pieces with a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate.
Add the onion, ginger and garlic to the casserole and cook over a gentle heat until onion softens.
Gradually stir in the chicken stock, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add the dried fruit and  return the chicken and its juices to the pot.
Mix well, cover and simmer gently for 40 minutes.
Adjust the seasonings to taste, serve with hot plain or saffron boiled rice or couscous.


 صحة و عافية