Monday, 26 March 2012

Introducing, Madeleine

I have been wanting a Madeleine pan forEVER. I'll admit - ever since watching that Friends episode where Ross and Rachel hire a male nanny and he makes Madeleines. Ross makes fun of him for this but when Monica asks him how they were, he says "Lighter than air," and closes his eyes in that funny Ross-like way before declaring "That's not the point!" I finally decided there was no reason I needed to end yet another year without having made these beautiful little tea cakes, so I marched out and bought me a good-for-only-one-thing pan!
Yay Madeleines!

Aren't they cute? They're so buttery and spongey - it's a good thing they're small!
I used this Martha Stewart recipe and added lemon zest to the batter. They can be very easily adapted so don't be afraid to add other flavours to them! Just make sure you're patient and use decent technique when you're folding the batter - this is important!

Indian Feast!

I had my brother, sister, and one of their friends over for dinner the other night, and made it Indian Themed. We had so much fun, and realized how fascinating Indian food could be! 

The menu:
Vegetable Korma
White and Brown Rice
Naan Bread
Sweet Rice Cake
Masala Chai

Vegetable Korma is one of my favorite curries so far (curry is very accommodating to the Daniel Fast)… it is so creamy and flavorful, you’d swear it was unhealthy! If I can’t have Butter Chicken, this may be the next best thing. Heck, I may even make it when I’m NOT fasting!
I substituted Coconut Milk (NOT low-fat) for the cream, and I think the recipe was all the better for it!

The Chai and the Sweet Rice Cake are from the cook book “Simply Indian” by Tahera Rawji.

The Sweet Rice Cake was baffling. The entire time I was preparing it I was convinced it wouldn't work out. I had never seen anything cooked in this way before! Of course I needn’t have worried - it turned out fine. But if you ever want to try something new as far as cooking techniques go, try this rice cake!

I still don't know how this made a cake. No eggs, no flour... yet it baked!

1 1/2 cups Basmati Rice (washed and soaked overnight, or 5-6 hours)
1 1/4 cups coconut milk (NOT low-fat)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup warm water
1 tsp. instant yeast
1/2 Tbsp. butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cardamom seeds (crushed)
1 Tbsp. ghee or butter
1) Drain and rinse the rice and blend in a blender with the coconut milk, milk, water, yeast, and butter until it's smooth (this could take awhile!). Preheat the oven broiler.
2) Pour the mixture into a large bowl. Gently stir in the sugar and cardamom. Cover and leave in a warm place to rise ("bubble" is more like it) for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
3) Put the butter or ghee in a frying pan on high heat. When it is hot, lower the heat to medium and pour in the mixture. Cook on low heat for 15 minutes until it is set and the sides are golden.
4) Place the frying pan under the broiler for a few minutes until the top becomes golden/reddish brown.
6) Cool and cut.
Makes 8 generous portions

Vegetable Confit with Accordion Potatoes

I love slow cooked vegetables. I came across a recipe for a Vegetable Tian in Laura Calder’s “French Taste” cookbook. What caught my attention was how she described it as a Vegetable Confit. For those who don’t know, a Confit is usually referring to duck legs that are submerged in duck fat, and slowly cooked in the oven. Can you say heavenly? I can! Here, it refers to all these vegetables cooking away in their own juices and olive oil until they just slump into each other and kind of become one mass. There are very few other flavoring agents in this recipe besides the vegetables themselves. I adapted this recipe a little and made it in the crockpot, to ensure a high level of confit-ness! There are no real measurements here, but it’s good to start with one of each of these vegetables:
Orange Pepper
Yellow Pepper
1) Slice all vegetables to relatively the same thickness.
2) Sautee the onions briefly until they get soft.
3) Putting the onions in first, layer everything in the crockpot however you like. One vegetable per layer, alternating colors – whatever! You’re the artist. Save the tomatoes for the very top, though. Salt and pepper every few layers, and at the end generously drizzle olive oil over everything.
4) Crockpot on low, for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4. If you want to do this in the oven, it’s 450 for about an hour.

Now of course a good accompaniment to ANY dish that is lacking in fill-you-up power is the wonderful potato. These accordian potatoes are also super easy and they just look so fancy.
1) Cut your potatoes width-ways, slicing every centimetre or so, not quite cutting through the bottom.
2) Shove herbs in a few of the crevices - thyme, parsley, bay leaves - drizzle generously with olive oil, and salt and pepper.
3) Roast for about 45 minutes at 375.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Soba Noodle Salad

This is one of my favorite salads. It's kind of my way of tricking myself into thinking I'm eating pasta. Soba noodles are made from buckwheat, so they are much healthier for you even than whole wheat noodles, and they lend themselves wonderfully to Asian flavors. And, what do you know, it fits with the Daniel Fast! Hooray! (Yes, soy products are allowed, so hush) Once you have your vegetables chopped, this is a very fast dinner. If you don't have time there's no need to refrigerate at all. This goes well with chicken or salmon served on the side, or even tossed right in! Man is this delicious! We've been eating this for dinner at least once a week during the fast. Try it, please.

Photo (and recipe) from Women's Health Mag

8 oz soba noodles
1 c frozen shelled edamame
1 1/2 c shredded carrots
1 1/2 c thinly sliced green onion, diagonal
1/2 c chopped fresh mint
1 large orange
2 Tbsp white miso
3 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp crushed red-pepper flakes
1/4 tsp salt

1. Fill a 6-quart saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add noodles and edamame and cook for 6 minutes.
2. Empty into a colander and rinse well with cold water. Drain and place in a serving bowl. Stir in carrots, scallion, and mint; toss gently and set aside.
3. Grate orange to produce a half teaspoon fine zest. Juice orange to produce 3 tablespoons liquid. Place zest and juice in a small bowl and whisk in remaining ingredients. Pour dressing over noodle mixture.
4. Toss gently and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Makes 6 servings as a side, 2-3 as a main dish