Showing posts with label Meals on Heels. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Meals on Heels. Show all posts

Meals on Heels Vol. 17 - Chickpea Sunflower Rice

Very rarely will a four ingredient healthy recipe taste good.  It seems too good to be true, like an "amazing" three ingredient vegan Pinterest cookie recipe.  This dish is one of those rare exceptions.  I made this for my carnivore husband and even he admitted that it is surprisingly delicious.  The chewy nuttiness of the short grain brown rice, the crunch and pleasant flavor of the toasted sunflower seeds mingling with the unique flavor of garbanzo beans is a mellow mouth festival.  I heighten the senses with Mountain sauce, which is just a specific brand of basically soy sauce.  

When I was a child my Mother went through a Macrobiotic phase.  This meant no red meat, lots of steamed dark green vegetables, no processed foods, few foods not grown in the region we were living in (no pineapple or bananas...not local to Virginia!) and a lot of fish.  I would sit on my Mother's lap and insist on eating whatever was on her plate.  

This recipe was one of my favorites, and apparently it showed in my blood.  As a three year old I was taken to the doctor for blood work.  After testing, the doctor returned to the room to report that my iron count was off the chart.  The doctor raised a quizzical brow and asked, "Mrs. Irving!  WHAT are you feeding this child?"  My Mother answered, "Kale, fish, brown rice, beans, nuts..."  Needless to say the doctor was stunned.  Though it may be sad that my proudest health moment was when I was three, it was a proud day!     

The Ingredients:
1 cup garbanzo beans
2 cups short grain brown rice
1 cup toasted sunflower seeds
Mountain Sauce to taste (or soy sauce)

Making the Masterpiece:
Ideally you'll want to soak your beans overnight.  That is a step for those that plan ahead.  For the rest of us, we shall start at step 1!
1)  Place beans in a pot with about six cups of water.  Cook on high heat until the water boils.  Let the water boil for two minutes then turn off the heat and place a lid over the pot.  Let the beans soak for 1 hour.
2)  After one hour of soaking strain and rinse your beans.  Add the beans back into six cups of water in the same pot.  Cook on high heat for about an hour.  
3)  Cook the rice in a rice cooker.  If you do not have a rice cooker use a stovetop, and in the mean time consider getting a rice cooker.  They make perfect rice and you don't have to babysit!
4)  Once the beans and rice are cooked, mix them together in a bowl with the sunflower seeds and Mountain Sauce to taste.  If you are planning on eating this over the period of a few days wait to add the sunflower seeds until right before eating, so they do not absorb moisture and become soggy. 

Bon appétit!

Meals on Heels Vol. 16 - Liquid Velvet

I first saw this soup made on Gordon Ramsay's DVD included in his book Gordon Ramsay Makes It Easy.  It looked deceptively simple.  Four kitchen failures later and I am confident enough to share this with you!  Gordon Ramsay calls this recipe "broccoli soup."    That didn't sit well with me.  I did not want to name my version anything that leads the diner to focus on how healthy it is, that it is vegan without the cheese, or that the main ingredient is broccoli.  When a recipe is prefaced with vegan, gluten-free, etc. I lose interest quickly.  I prefer recipe names that highlight the winning features without pigeon holing them.

Juliano's Raw in Santa Monica taught me a valuable lesson.  They have a delicious drink made of freshly pressed apples, beets, ginger, and lime.  When they first offered the drink on their menu they named it "Apple Blaster."  They sold under 20 per day.  Then they changed the name to Blood highlighting the rich maroon color.  They now sell hundreds per day.  What's in a name?  A lot.  Moving on!

The Ingredients:
3 heads broccoli (tight, dark green, not flowering) cut into florets
2 ounces goat cheese
12 walnuts
Kosher salt (for seasoning as you please)

Making the Masterpiece:
This recipe serves four.  
1)  Wash the heads of broccoli.  Holding the base stem of one head of broccoli cut the broccoli off into florets rotating the broccoli clockwise.  Repeat with all three heads.  
2)  Fill a pan with water over high heat.  Add a touch of kosher salt.  Once the water is rolling add the broccoli florets and top with a lid.  Cook for at least seven minutes.  With this recipe it is much better for the sake of the soup's texture to overcook the broccoli than to undercook.  Undercooked broccoli will result in a grainier consistency and possibly a nickname of "Liquid Sandpaper."
3)  Lift the broccoli from the pot to the blender with a fine sieve or slotted spoon.  Add just enough liquid from the pot to blend.  Add a pinch of salt to season.  
4)  Blend the broccoli and water on high until the consistency is velvety.
5)  Test the seasoning.  Now is the time to add more salt if necessary.  
6)  To add polish, top each bowl with a small round of goat cheese, three walnuts and a circular drizzle of olive oil.

Serve immediately!   

 The texture is so phenomenal that no one will believe this soup does not have a cream or butter base, or that it took you ten minutes to make and plate.

Bon appétit!

Meals on Heels Vol. 15 - Pavlovas with Lemon Curd and Blueberries

I could not find this dessert any more delightful; it is light as air, refreshing, and unexpected.  The crisp exterior with the chewy center topped with tangy lemon curd, marscapone whipped cream, and blueberries makes for an explosive palette impact.  Making pavlovas is simple, it just requires a few techniques that may be unfamiliar.  This recipe is well worth making.  No one will see it coming and for extra credit it is gluten-free!

The Ingredients:
2 large egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoon powdered sugar (you will need some more for dusting)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt (kosher or sea)
1/2 cup lemon curd (home made is always best)
1/2 cup marscapone cheese
1 cup cream
2 cups blueberries

Making the Masterpiece:
1)  Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
2)  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (which I did not have so I used aluminum and it worked just fine) and set aside.        

3)  Place a heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water.  I used my KitchenAid bowl since the next step is to mix.  In the bowl add your granulated sugar, egg whites and salt.    

 4)  Whisk the ingredients together until the sugar has dissolved, for about two minutes.  The finished product will look smooth, almost like white school glue or royal icing.

5)  Attach the bowl to the mixer and whisk the mixture on high speed for about 4 minutes.  Add the vanilla and continue beating until stiff peaks form on the whisk attachment.  You can tell your meringue is ready when you see threads form around the top edges of the mixture in the bowl.  

6)  Take your prepared baking sheet and with a sifter or sieve evenly spread powdered sugar across the sheet.  This keeps the pavlovas from sticking.  Use a large spoon to create six mounds on the sheet.  Use your spoon to create wells in the center of each mound.  Take care to not make the mounds too thin in the center.  We are just creating a well to hold our curd, whipped cream and berries.

7)  Use your sifter or sieve to evenly spread a light dusting of powdered sugar across the tops of the mounds.  This helps the meringue to dry while baking.

8)  Cook the pavlovas for about 1 1/2 hours.  if you can easily lift the pavlovas off the baking sheet they are done.  

9)  Let the pavlovas cool.  Using a whisk attachment beat the cream, marscapone cheese, and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form.  Spread about a tablespoon of lemon curd onto each pavlova.  I strongly suggest using a home made lemon curd.  I tasted a store bought jar of curd and I thought I was eating flavored vaseline.  Home made curd is so flavorful and tart!  Top each pavlova with marscapone cream and berries.  Add a few mint leaves for a lovely pop of color.

You can make the meringues and keep them in an airtight container for up to one day before serving.  You can also add the entire meringue mixture into one large mound to make a cake.  I chose to make personal pavlovas because everyone feels more special with their very own personal pavlova.    

Bon appétit!

Meals on Heels Vol. 14 - Carne Asada

I rarely crave meat.  I'm more of a carbs girl.  When I do want meat or I'm having friends over I turn to my Carne Asada, an original Amelia recipe for the popular dish.  This recipe is so flavorful and interesting.  Flank steak marinates really well with red wine and lime juice tenderizing the meat.  The ginger adds an unexpected turn to the smooth flavor.  This is a perfect recipe for large groups because it is so simple to prepare.  I love how coarsely I get to chop the onion, garlic and ginger for the marinade; when I typically use these ingredients I am finely chopping them.        

The Ingredients:
2 pounds flank steak
2 limes, juiced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 cups red wine
1 yellow onion, coarsely sliced 
1 large piece of ginger, sliced length wise
5 cloves garlic, coarsely sliced
1/2 cup chicken flavor bouillon by Knorr
Salt and pepper to taste

Making the Masterpiece:
1)  On a plate massage the chicken flavor bouillon, salt and pepper into the steak.  
2)  In a large bowl arrange half of your onion, ginger, and garlic along the bottom.  Place the steak on top of the vegetables.  Pour any remaining spices on the plate into the bowl.  
3)  Add the red wine, olive oil, lime juice, and soy sauce to the bowl.  
4)  Add the remaining onion, garlic and ginger on top of the steak.  
5)  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate for at least one hour.
6)  Remove the steak from the marinade and grill the meat (for best flavor) or cook in a stove top pan.  

This is what my marinade looks like - a very chunky stew that smells divine.

Carne Asada always tastes better by candlelight.  Bon appetit!

Meals on Heels Vol. 13 - Bacon Pie

This post really should be called "How I Tricked My Husband to Fall in Love with Me."  Puppy would be a gentleman and deny this, but it's actually true.  This beautiful meat and egg pie produces feelings similar to those felt when one is falling deeply in love.  This pie was the first dish I ever served Puppy, which you  can read about HERE.  

I am so delighted to share my adapted version of an old Martha Stewart favorite of mine.  

The Ingredients:
8 ounces thickly sliced bacon
4 ounces small mushrooms, wiped clean, sliced
11 sweet mini peppers, seeds and ribs removed, diced
3 ounces goat cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 sheet thawed puff pastry
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Making the Masterpiece:
1)  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cook the bacon in a large pan until very crisp.  Remove the bacon and place on paper towels.  Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat (aka the flavor) from the pan.
2)  With the pan on medium-high heat add the sliced mushrooms and cook until well browned, about four minutes.  
3)  On the bottom of a large pie plate (mine has a diameter of 11 inches, which I purchased at an intimate boutique called Ikea) distribute the mushrooms evenly, along with most of the goat cheese and peppers, Parmesan, and thyme.  
4)  Beat the eggs and cream in a bowl, and season with salt and pepper.  Pour the egg mixture over the bacon-vegetable mixture.
5)  Because the colors of the peppers are so attractive, spread the remaining peppers on the top of the dish, along with the remaining goat cheese.

6)  Use your America shaped cookie cutter (or pig cookie cutter) to punch shapes out of the puff pastry.  Arrange the puff pastry shapes on top of the pie.
7)  Bake for about an hour.  With baking time always check on your dish about twenty minutes before the scheduled finished time.  Altitude and different ovens will cook food differently, so what you need to look for are a deep golden color and whether or not the pie is set.

Bacon pie looks most attractive when served in pie wedges.  This dish can be served warm or at room temperature.  Either way, it's going to leave an impression...

Bon appetit!

Meals on Heels Vol.12 - Baked Brie Carousel with Sweet Rosemary Nuts

Merry Christmas everyone!  My gift to you is this delicious brie carousel.  A gift that will keep giving year round.  This recipe is such a winner for so many reasons.  It is easy to make, made for the masses and can be prepared a day ahead before baking.  The creamy brie cheese swirling with the sweet brown sugar, woodsy roasted nuts and floral piney rosemary is new and exciting, but still familiar.  This is a hit with everybody.  

The Ingredients:
20 ounce brie round
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup roasted coarsely chopped hazelnuts, brazil nuts, walnuts, pecans, and almonds
Pinch sea salt
1/4 cup tightly packed brown sugar
1 package (2 sheets) Pepperidge Farm puff pastry (thawed and cold)
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup cream

Making the Masterpiece:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium sized bowl mix the nuts, rosemary, sea salt, and brown sugar.

This silicone mat that I am using is called a Silpat.  This is a French nonstick baking mat that evenly transfers heat and also happens to be fantastic for preparing puff pastry.  

Carefully unfold your cold puff pastry onto your Silpat, or a lightly floured surface, so that it does not break apart at the folds.  

Place the brie in the center of the puff pastry.  Pile the contents of your bowl on top of the brie.

Pack the topping down with your hands, careful to keep as much on top of the brie as you can.

With a rotary cutter (ie pizza slicer) cut a circle around the brie, about 3 inches from the edges.  Keep your scraps for decorating!

Wrap and flute the puff pastry up around the top of the brie.

These scraps will become invaluable for decorating your carousel, so don't toss them!  Carefully unfold your second sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface.

Rub flour over your rolling pin to keep the rolling pin from sticking to your puff pastry.

This piece of puff pastry is making the top cover for the brie, so the two folds in the dough will be visible unless you roll them out.  Roll the dough to smooth out the creases.

Use a pastry brush (here I am using an unused paint brush...shhhh) to brush off excess flour from the dough.

Transfer your fluted brie from the Silpat onto a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil.  Cut the rolled out dough into a large circle using your rotary cutter.  Place the circle on top of the brie and tuck the overhanging dough under the brie.  Be careful to avoid any rips or there will be leaking!

Now for the best part!  Decorating!  For the final decoration you can just go wild with your imagination.  You can match your brie to the season, or to the event that you are bringing this delectable dish to.  A few ideas I thought of are initials, the traditional leaf motif, or braiding.  You can do whatever your heart desires.  My heart desires reindeer for Christmas.  I have an ardent love for cookie cutters because you can you use them in so many different capacities.  A week ago did you think you would be whipping out your cookie cutters for a brie carousel?  Doubtful, but here we are.  This reindeer is from my Christmas collection which I bought at Ikea in a pack.

Roll out the leftover dough scraps to make your decorations.

Using a sharp paring knife I cut little leaves to for a wreath around our lovely reindeer.

I wanted to make the leaves look a bit more obviously like leaves, and adding veins is the way to do it.  Using the back of the same paring knife I used to cut the leaf shape, I pressed into the dough to form lines.

In a small bowl whisk together one egg yolk with the cream.  This will adhere your decorations to the carousel and glaze the puff pastry to achieve that rich golden brown shine that looks so delicious.  

With a pastry brush, paint the entire carousel with the egg glaze.  Attach your decorations, then finish by glazing the whole masterpiece.

Before you bake the brie put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Pop your carousel into the oven and cook at 400 degrees until the puff pastry puffs, about 15 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 30-35 minutes.  

Take advantage of the cooking time to prepare what you will dip into the delicious brie. I always love a good simple loaf of baguette.  You can also wash and serve individual pieces of radicchio lettuce.  Apple is another natural, harmonious paring with brie.  The presentation of this dish is phenomenal, and there are so many ways to take advantage of the visual splendor.

When your brie look like this you are getting close, but not done.  Keep letting the brie bake until it is golden.

The finished product!  When you cut into a warm carousel the brie gently oozes out; it spreads so easily.  I serve the brie carousel on a large platter surrounded by bread.  It is so warm and inviting.  I took this very brie to a party full of women and the brie was gone in ten minutes.  Triumph!  

I really hope you try this recipe.  It may seem like a lot of steps, but it goes by quite quickly.  Most people have had baked brie before, but this takes the concept to a whole new level.  This is perfect for parties and dinners because it is easy, unique, delicious and you can make this a day ahead and refrigerate until you bake it.  Bon appetit!

Meals on Heels Vol.11 - Milkshake Cookies

This cookie is called the Milkshake Cookie, because it brings all the boys to the yard.  At least it did in college, where I became somewhat of a cookie celebrity.  I recall when men would eat these they would look at me with a slightly surprised look that said, "Maybe this IS the One."  This cookie opened doors and still does today.

I am amazed that in this day and age when we as Americans have been making the Chocolate Chip Cookie for decades, it is rare to have a truly sensational cookie which to me means perfectly chewy, and a batter to die for.  The basic dough alone is scrumptious.  But when you add toffee bit, white and semi-sweet chocolate chips, topped with caramelized pockets of marshmallow, you take it to the next level.  

If you are a strict traditionalist that is terribly upset at the thought of messing with the purity of a chocolate chip cookie, then by all means just add a cup and a half of chocolate chips and omit the other candies.  If you are over the age of 50 add walnuts (an interesting generational preference that my Mother often voices).  But on the other hand, if you have grown tired of mediocrity and crave something a little more sensual, a little more interesting, then hold onto your hats...  

The Ingredients:
2 sticks softened unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup organic sugar (you could use simple white sugar, this just has so much flavor)
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup toffee bits
8 large marshmallows, torn into small pieces

Making the Masterpiece:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  In a bowl cream your butter, brown sugar, organic sugar, eggs and vanilla together.  There is no need to overbeat.  Just mix sufficiently.  Add your flour, baking soda, salt, chocolate chips, and toffee bits.  Form cookie dough rounds on a baking sheet with aluminum foil or a silicone Silpat on the sheet.  I like the rounds to be big.  I like my cookie size to shock - just a little bit.  I use a rounded 1/4 cup sized amount.  If people are sensible they will split.  Next pull off small pieces of marshmallow and stuff them into the tops of the cookie, around three to a cookie.  Once cooked these pieces will become pockets of chewy, caramelized Heaven.  Cook at 375 degrees for 11-13 minutes.  Babysit these in the oven for the last five minutes.  Different altitudes and ovens result in varying baking times.  Once your cookies are golden around the edges, not brown, you have achieved success.  The cookies will be loose when they come out, as they cool they will remarkably firm up.

Here is a little trick I use to cool off cookies in five minutes.  Clear out a shelf in your freezer, line it with tea towels and place your cookies straight out of the oven into the freezer.  Shut the door and let physics take its course.  In five minutes the cookies will still be warm but not falling apart.

There are some fabulous ways of serving your cookies.  The first is on a lovely pedestal in a stack.

Or you can serve the cookie individually over a cup of milk with a straw punched through the cookie.  It looks adorable!

For a bit of decadence I like to bake the cookie dough in the small pie plates that I use for my creme brulee, then top with vanilla bean ice cream the moment they come out of the oven.  The ice cream hardens the center to give you a denser, chewier texture.  The heat of the cookie melts the ice cream which tastes delicious as it spreads over the cookie.   

Bon appetit!