Food Hero


Happy Hour – Margarita by Katy K
September 26, 2008, 2:06 am
Filed under: cocktails, happy hour, Katy K
Scratch Margarita on the rocks with salt

Scratch Margarita on the rocks with salt

Fresh squeezed Margaritas are another great source of Vitamin C. This is the most successful Margarita recipe I’ve tried.  It is adapted from Cook’s Illustrated magazine.  I think the mixture of lemon and lime juice makes the drink a little more bright in colour and in flavour.  Once, I was in my kitchen, busily squeezing citrus to make one of these for my friend and she observed that it was a “Margarita with love”.  I know it is  a little late in the year for Margaritas but it is one of my best cocktail recipes so I have to share.  Unfortunately, the Margarita pictured here looks a little pale but the sun goes down early in Seattle now, so I had to take the picture in artificial light. Notice my double-walled glass from Bodum? It helps keep the drink cold and makes it look like the Margarita is suspended in the air, like magic.

Ingredients

Fresh Margarita Mix
1/2 Cup          fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 Cup          fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 Cup          Baker’s sugar (it’s superfine!)
pinch of salt

Tequila           (I like Herradura Silver)
Cointreau

Mix together lemon, lime, sugar and salt. Over ice in a cocktail shaker, pour 1 part margarita mix, 1 part tequila and 3/4 to 1 part Cointreau (depending upon how sweet you want it).  Shake well and strain into a glass with some ice and rimmed with salt.  Rub a leftover squeezed lime rind around the rim of the glass and then dip the rim in some salt (Baleine, for example).  When I make one drink, the part is 1.5 ounces. 

This is a pretty strong margarita and I noticed that it hit one of my young friends pretty hard so I tried a mixture of 1 part margarita mix, 1/2 part tequila, 1/2 part Cointreau, 1 part filtered water. I shook it up and served it and it was tasty, refreshing, and you can drink more of it!

The original recipe in Cook’s Illustrated steeps zest from both the lemon and lime (4 tsp each) in the margarita mix for 4 to 24 hours and then strains it out before using.  I have found that various flavours, both good and bad, can be imparted by the zest.  This probably depends on the quality of the fruit.  Now, I don’t gamble with my mix and just skip the zest.

I like my Margaritas on the rocks with salt.  They’re just delicious that way. I like Herradura Silver Tequila because it doesn’t have a very forward taste – it blends nicely with the juices and doesn’t show off.

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Quinoa Caprese Salad by Katy K
September 23, 2008, 4:39 pm
Filed under: Katy K, Salads
Quinoa Caprese Salad

Quinoa Caprese Salad

Another whole grain salad that I love.  This salad recipe is from the same set of recipes as the Bulgur with Grapes and Goat Cheese salad I posted a few weeks ago (Shape magazine May 2006). You can’t beat the combination of tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozarella.  This salad adds quinoa cooked in broth to give it more nutritional power.  The dressing is also interesting, it’s a simple combination of garlic oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice.  It adds a new dimension to the traditional Caprese flavours.

 

Ingredients
1 Cup         quinoa
14 oz          broth
1 pint         grape tomatoes or roma tomatoes
3 oz           fresh mozarella
1 Cup         torn or chopped basil leaves

2.5 Tblsp    fresh lemon juice
1 Tblsp       garlic oil (I use a brand named Garlic Gold) 

...with a fork

...with a fork

Simmer quinoa in the broth until all the liquid is absorbed (about 15 minutes), fluff witha fork and cool. I use a vegetarian boullion cube (from Rapunzel) just to make it easier.  Slice or chop tomatoes and mozarella into attractive bite-sized pieces.  I normally make all my salads with grape tomatoes and this one is particularly attractive with similarly-sized tomatoes and mozarella balls – but this week the roma tomatoes looked great and the smallest mozarella balls were a little larger than bococcini so that’s what’s in the pictures.  Tear or chop the basil leaves into manageable pieces.  Mix quinoa, tomatoes, mozarella, and basil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.  Whisk lemon juice and garlic oil together, pour over the salad, toss, and get yourself a fork!



Carrot Ginger Soup by Katy K
September 19, 2008, 4:47 pm
Filed under: Katy K, Soup
Carrot Ginger Soup with a little freshly ground black pepper

Carrot Ginger Soup with a little freshly ground black pepper

Another recipe from Low Carb 1-2-3 by Rozanne Gold.  This soup is bright, both in flavour and in colour.  It sort of glows in my white bowls.  I made it the other week and brought it to my friend’s house to eat with her grilled salmon dinner.  She said it was great carrot soup – very enthusiastically.  I left the remainder of the soup with her and got a nice clean container back a couple of days later.

Ingredients

1.5 lbs                carrots
5 inch piece of   ginger
4.5 Tblsp            cream

Peel carrots, slice into 1″ pieces, boil in 4 cups of water with 1/2 teaspoon salt until tender (about 35 minutes).  While carrots are cooking, peel and grate ginger on the large holes of a box grater.  Wrap grated ginger in cheesecloth and squeeze it to extract the juice – you want about a tablespoon.  Puree carrots and cooking water in a food processor, strain into cooking pot (to remove big lumps).  Heat soup up, add ginger juice and stir in.  Add cream and stir in.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

The ginger juice is a little odd.  It has a white substance in it that separates and sticks to the bottom of the cup – a little like cornstarch when you are are mixing it with water.  I stir up the ginger juice and scrape up the cornstarchy stuff with it and mix it all together into the soup.  For all I know all the vitamins (or taste) are in it.  I have a feeling that the ginger flavour in this soup is so warm and bright because of this unusual ingredient of ginger juice.  Enjoy!



Now in Love With: Chicken Pot Pie by Rachelle
September 18, 2008, 3:27 pm
Filed under: Main Dish, Rachelle Mee-Chapman, takes some time to fix | Tags: , ,


submitted by: rachelle

I hate to say it, but here in Copenhagen it’s almost time for mittens. (I know, yikes!) On the plus side that means it’s time to curl up with warm, creamy comfort food. Our current favorite? Chicken Pot Pie with rosemary and veggies and a rich biscuit topping. This makes a big oval casserole (small casserole shown in pic.) If I have extra sauce, I freeze it for a smaller pie the second time around.

The crust and sauce for this recipe are from Chicken and Vegetable Pot Pie with Cream Cheese Crust, by Bon Appétit . The filling is my own based on my memory of grandma’s pot pie (minus the Campbells Cream of Chicken soup!)

The Crust
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, cut into pieces, room temperature

Mix flour and salt. Add in butter and cream cheese. Form into a log, wrap in plastic wrap and chill while you make the rest of the dish. When it’s time, roll out on floured surface until it’s large enough to cover your oval casserole with a good 3/4 inch overlap hanging over the edges of the pan. (When we have extra dough, I roll it out, spread it with butter and cinnamon sugar, roll it back up into a log and slice it for cream cheese cinnamon rolls.)

Filling
2 large chicken breasts (or equivalent amount of any kind of boneless, skinless chicken)
1/2 T dry rosemary
salt and pepper
two cups or so of frozen green beans snapped into prefered-sized pieces
one cup or so frozen peas
5 carrotts, peeled and diced
(you can also add diced onions and sliced mushrooms if your family will eat ’em)

Rub chicken with salt, pepper, and dry rosemary and roast at 350 until juices run clear. While that’s cooking, par-boil carrotts in a pan of hot water until crisp-tender (or zap in the microwave.) Add green beans and peas to simmering water with the carrotts until they are defrosted and just a little cooked. If the chicken’s done now, take it out and cool slightly. Dice. Combine all in a bowl.

Sauce
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
3 cups chicken stock (organic boxed stock, or homemade. don’t use bullion cubes.)

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; whisk 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in 3 cups stock, then milk; bring to boil. Season sauce with salt and pepper. Use about 3c of sauce and stir into the chicken and vegetable mixture.

Assembly
Pour filling into the casserol. Roll out the dough as described above and press to seal along the edges of the casserole dish. Prick dough several times or cut small slits to allow steam to vent. Cook at 350 for about 45 mintues or until crust is browned and steam is escaping through the vents. If the crust is browning too quickly, cover with tin foil until the filling is steaming and/or bubbling up a bit. Have Yum!



Miso Soup with Bok Choy and Chorizo by Katy K
September 9, 2008, 3:04 am
Filed under: Katy K, quick fix, Soup

There is a very interesting cookbook called Low Carb 1-2-3 by Rozanne Gold. It has a lot of great recipes in it and, in particular, I keep making her soups.  This soup is easy and delicious and tastes more complex than the recipe would suggest.  It is an unusual combination of ingredients that, surprisingly, go together really well.  A friend of mine enjoys this recipe and says it always gets a good reception when she makes it for her friends.

Ingredients

6 oz        Bok choy (2 smallish bok choys), sliced to the size you like
3 oz        Chorizo, sliced paper thin 
3 Tblsp   White miso

Add miso to 4 cups of water and bring to a boil, add bok choy, return to a boil, and simmer until bok choy is tender. Add sliced chorizo, return soup to a boil and serve.

There is a school of thought that claims it is important to not boil miso.  I have heard this is because there are beneficial microbes in the miso (like yogurt has beneficial microbes) that you don’t want to kill by boiling.  My mother says to stir the miso into the soup at the very end just before serving to accomplish this lack of boiling.  The instructions for this recipe say to bring the miso and water to an almost-boil and then sequentially add the last 2 ingredients, cooking the chorizo for a short time.  Personally, I don’t think that there is much difference between an almost-boil and a boil when it comes to killing microbes so I just boil the miso.  It doesn’t seem to affect the flavour (to me) and I would rather boil the chorizo and make sure that the pork is cooked.  I love chorizo!

My mis en place for Miso Soup with Bok Choy and Chorizo

My mis en place for Miso Soup with Bok Choy and Chorizo



Buttermilk Pancakes by Rachelle
September 5, 2008, 11:41 am
Filed under: Breakfast/Brunch, quick fix, Rachelle Mee-Chapman | Tags: , ,


Submitted by: Rachelle

These pancakes are very nice – the buttermilk gives them and interesting tang and if you whip up the eggs nicely in the first step, they are not too heavy. (I hate a heavy pancake.) I say, if you top them with fruit, they can count as dinner. Have Yum!

serves 4

Shopping List:
¼ c melted butter, cooled slightly
2c buttermilk
2 eggs
2 c flour
1 T sugar
1 ½ t baking powder
¾ t salt

fruit
cream fraiche or greek yogurt
brown sugar
chopped nuts
real maple syrup

Whisk together butter, buttermilk, and eggs. Stir in salt and baking powder. Stir in sugar and flour. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Fry up your cakes. My favorite toppings? Greek yogurt, nectarines, chopped hazelnuts, and brown sugar.