Monday, September 27, 2010

Strawberry Swing

This post is inspired by the Coldplay song Strawberry Swing. As I was listening to it yesterday it made me think I have not had strawberries in a while. With summer nearly over (but really just beginning on the west coast) I better go out and pick up some strawberries fast while they are still in season. So that is what I did! To my surprise the strawberries at Henry's Market were incredible. It's like they knew I was coming for them!
I am not big on sweets but one of my favorite things for dessert is strawberries with a reduced balsamic vinegar over vanilla bean ice cream. You simply take balsamic vinegar and cook it on the stove in pot until it becomes thick like syrup. Then you top the vanilla bean ice cream with strawberries and poor the vinegar on top. The flavors together are amazing. You can even top with candied walnuts. YUM! Unfortunately the meal I needed to eat was lunch. So with dessert in-mind. I made a salad.
Goat Cheese Walnut Salad with Walnut Balsamic VinaigretteSalad
Baby Romaine Lettuce
Strawberries - cut up
Goat Cheese Crumbles


Dressing (serves 1-2)

4 tbl spoons Walnut Oil (or olive oil if preferred)

1 tbl spoon Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbl spoon dijon mustard
salt & pepper to taste
Poor the oil slowly and whisk into the mustard and vinegar till thick.

Toss the lettuce, strawberries & walnuts with the dressing and top with Goat Cheese.
Don't forget to listen to Coldplay's Strawberry Swing while you are making this salad and it will be such a perfect day. Have a good start to your week. xx

Friday, September 24, 2010

Getting Wild with Chanterelle's

Last month I had the most amazing opportunity to go mushroom hunting with my brother-in-law deep in forest of Steamboat Springs Colorado. It was there that we found pounds of beautiful orange mushrooms called Chanterelle's. Chanterelle's can only be found in the wild and they can sell as much as $24.00 per lb. So you ask yourself, what did we sell them for? We didn't. We cooked them and we ate them. This was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had with food. Straight out of the wild, picked with my bare hands, into our fridge, into pots & pans and into our belly's.We sauteed them and put them on top of burgers, we put them in pasta and also we made the most amazing soup. I have been wanting to share this pasta recipe with you for a while. Created by Jason Mann owner of Farm Burger and Farm 255. It can be made with just about any kind of mushrooms but if you get your hands on these delicate decadent mushrooms you will be in for a splendid treat!1 lb. pappardelle pasta (sun dried tomato if possible)
1/4 lb pancetta
corn cut off of 1 ear of fresh corn
2 lb of chanterelle mushrooms
red pepper flakes
1/4 Italian parsley
2 tbl butter
salt & pepper to taste
Saute pancetta in a pan for about 2-3 minutes
add mushrooms and corn and cook till done
Boil pasta so its cooked al dente and add pasta to pan with mushrooms and finish with butter, Italian parsley, red pepper flakes as desired and salt & pepper to taste.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Healthy + Tasty = En Papillote

This semester I am taking a Healthy Cuisine cooking class and I plan to share with you all the interesting recipes I learn. Any recipe cooked with sticks of butter and salt taste good but the real challenge is how to make healthy food taste good without all the fat & salt. Boring right?

So not boring! I learned a new healthy way to cook this past week which is amazing. I always wondered how to do it and was surprised by how easy, fun, delicious and healthy it was!
En Papillote (pronounced on-poppy oat) is the technique I want to share with you. En Papillote means "in parchment" in french. Its a method of cooking which food is put into a folded pouch or parcel (typically parchment paper) and then baked. Sometimes a paper bag or aluminum foil is used. The parcel holds in the moisture to steam the food.
The moisture can come from the food itself or by adding a liquid like water, wine or stock. Its most often used to cook fish but chicken is great to use as well. There is hardly any fat used and this technique stands on its own.
In class we had an Iron Chef competition where we got to use all the ingredients in the classroom and each team got to prepare their En Papillote. I was the sous chef at my table so I planned the menu with the help of my team and it came out fantastic. Our dishes were even the chef's favorites!
We made a Soy Honey Cod En Papillote over sauteed red peppers, carrots and scallions and a Herb Crusted Chicken with a Dijon Lemon Garlic sauce served over onions.
It was so good and easy!
To make the pouch - Cut a piece of parchment paper (doubled over) large enough to fit your fillet and an inch or more margin around it. Cut a heart shape for the pocket...just like grade school valentines. Open the heart and use egg whites to brush the outside of one side of the heart. This works as the glue. Then you add your aromatic veggies and herbs, fish or chicken, garnish and wrap it up. Fold the heart over pressing the clean side of the heart against the egg wash. Start at the wider part of the heart and start folding the paper over itself. As you move around the heart you will end at the pointed part of the heart. Leave a little hole to then carefully poor in your liquid. This is going to help flavor and steam your fish or chicken. Then fold under securely so no liquid leaks out.Herb Crusted Chicken with Dijon Lemon Garlic Sauce
1 chicken breast
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt & pepper
make a rub with the above ingredients, coat the chicken and brown it in a pan with a little olive oil. 2-3 minutes each side. Do not cook through. This is just to give the chicken color. Slice up the chicken and keep assembled to be whole and set aside.
1 tbl spoon Dijon mustard
1 clove of garlic minced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 lemon
1 tbl spoon white wine
whisk together till thick and add salt & pepper to taste
3 thin lemon slices
1/2 onion Julienne
1 tbl spoon chopped Italian parsley
1/3 cup chicken stock
On the middle of one side of the heart (side with egg wash) place onions, top with cut chicken assembled to be whole, poor sauce on top of chicken, add lemon slices and top with parsley. Wrap up and at the end poor in chicken stock. Put on cookie sheet and spray the top with cooking spray. This will help the paper brown. Cook @ 400 degrees for 18-25 minutes depending on thickness of chicken. Once done cut an X on the top of the pouch and peel back. Careful of the steam that will release. Enjoy your healthy meal and get creative and create your very own En Papillote recipe now. You will be surprised how fun & easy it is. Even more fun to eat.