Sunday, August 22, 2010

Passion Fruit Pie - a sweet little piece of sunshine

My husband's recent birthday was the perfect excuse to prepare something sweet. 
Our passion fruit vine has been giving us so much fruit this year that it was meant to be... passion fruit pie. 
It's like a little piece of sunshine... and it's hard to just have one slice. Enjoy! 

Passion Fruit Pie 

Bottom Crust
1 package of butter cookies (about 20)
1/2 cup of melted salted butter
1 teaspoon of water (if necessary)

Easy, just run the cookies in a blender, add the butter and the water and mix for about 10 seconds. Pour everything in a medium size pie mold or any other pan. Press the crust tightly. It should not be thicker than 1 cm (4 inch). Leave aside.

Passion Fruit Cream
1 small can of sweetened condensed milk
1 small pack of whipping cream (38% fat)
10 g of powdered gelatin or 1 sheet
Pulp from 8 passion fruits

Remove the pulp from you passion fruit before you start anything else. Set aside.
Start whipping your cream until firm. Now dissolve the gelatin in a little bit of hot water. Add the condensed milk, the gelatin and the passion fruit pulp to the whipped cream and fold gently. Pour it into the crust you previously prepared and let set in the fridge for at least an hour.

Passion Fruit jelly topping
Pulp from 6 to 8 passion fruit
1/2 glass of natural peach juice (nectar)
1 tablespoon of sugar
10 g of powdered gelatin or 1 sheet

Now that the cream as set, remove the pulp from you passion fruit, add the peach juice and sugar and mix well. As before dissolve your gelatin in a bit of hot water and add it to rest. Stir very well and carefully pour over the cream. Return to the fridge for at least another couple of hours, just to be sure it won't fall apart and you get nice slices. 

Cheers all!

A Carb-less Nifty Little Salmon dish ... and a start up to a thinner you.

It has been a little over a year now that I decided to cut down on my carb frenzy and all I can say is that it has worked wonders on my health. So, no more big bowls of spaghetti and pizza is definitely a treat for special weekends. I feel lighter and oddly enough, more energized, though I suspect there's a lot of psychology involved. (see unusually large smile when fitting in my favorite jeans)
I realized for some time already that the reason why it is so hard to keep eating right is because... well, once hunger hits, I'm not ready to give it a good fight. If I could only have a way to whisk out something really tasty and filling in less than 15 minutes, I would be out of excuses... and that's just what I set myself to do. 
I went out and bought lots of individually wrapped frozen fish fillet (salmon, tilapia, haddock... any as long as it's a 100% unprocessed fish without anything added to it).

 This is what I'm talking about

I also bought chicken steaks and breasts, wrapped each individually and froze them. Also, ground chicken and turkey meat, divided and shaped into individual portions of no more than 150 grams each (about 5 ounces). I guess I'm pretty much covered, protein-wise. 
As for vegetables, cooking time and shelf-life was a problem so I decided to look for frozen vegetables that could also be quickly prepared and had minimal cooking involved. The best choices where frozen spinach, specially those that already come shaped into nuggets for easy use, mixed cut vegetables are also very convenient. Basically, I look for anything that is small enough to be cooked in no more than 5 minutes and also give a big plus to anything that doesn't require boiling. One of my best finds was dried wakame seaweed. All it needs is to be re-hydrated in some hot water and voila! Plus, it's incredibly healthy and rich in omega 3, doesn't spoil and is relatively inexpensive. I try to always keep cucumbers and tomatoes in the fridge, for a quick add-on to my meals.

I also got myself a digital scale to make sure I keep my carbs in check and a good 8 inch non-stick pan that is just the right size to accommodate the meal I'm setting off to cook... and also pretty much eliminates the need for extra oil.
As for carbs, I'm not a zealot. I'm not sure that cutting them down completely is healthy, but it does make things very hard and I realized soon enough that avoiding them too much always made me feel more hungry, so I compensated by eating more protein and soon enough, my cholesterol levels started to go overboard and seriously... I need that little guilty pleasure, even though it's just at 300 g (10 ounces) a day.

So this brings me back to the last post and that nifty little carb-less dish. 
I just whisked out a piece of salmon out of the freezer and let it slowly defrost (about 15 minutes outside), cut into nice bite-size pieces and set aside. I then rehydrated a handful on wakame seaweed in hot water for 5 minutes, drained and lay them at the bottom of a bowl. Added the salmon, one chopped cucumber, green onion. That's pretty straight forward. What really made this dish a winner  were  the topping: japanese dry seasoning and a slightly spicy soy sauce my husband concocted.

The dry seasoning was sent to me from Japan and as I'm quickly running out of it, I decided to try and reproduce it at home. So here's a close up...

...and that's what's in it:
  • 1 Tbsp of black sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp of white roasted sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp of dried bonito shavings
  • 1 Tbsp of granulated wasabi (optional) - use crushed wasabi peas for a similar taste!
  • 1 Tbsp of chopped roasted nori (seaweed sheets for sushi rolls)
  • 1/2 tsp of fine sea salt 

Mix everything well and keep in a airtight container, preferably in the fridge.

Ok, on with the sauce!

This is pretty easy too! Just mix about 1/4 of a cup of soy sauce with 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of mirin (japanese sweet wine) and 1/2 teaspoon of Shichimi Togarashi, also called japanese 7 spice. Let it sit for a few minutes before using, so you'll get the full taste of that amazing roasted orange peel!
If you don't like spicy, you can freely skip the spicy stuff.

Now, just sprinkle your dry seasoning over the dish and add a couple of tablespoons of prepared soy sauce. 
Here's a wonderfully light meal, perfect for the Summer and so easy to make, there's just no excuse to eat junk.

Have a great week all!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I'm back!

Dear readers, it's been such a long time. I guess life has pretty much got in the way and I haven't found much time to sit down and share what I have been up to!
I recently started to work for a coffee shop and got back to making bread, which I absolutely love!
With little time left, I came up with some pretty neat little dishes that are easy to whisk up and relatively cheap too. One of them is this carb-less super healthy salmon dish. There isn't even any cooking involved and I have to give my husband the credit for it, he came up with the idea one of these evenings. Curious? Take a look!

This dish reminds me of one I made before, the "three way salmon", I just skipped the rice and used rehydrated wakame seaweed and used sashimi quality salmon, cut into nice fat slabs. Cucumber, green onion, a special japanese seasoning and a homemade super tasty sauce.
I haven't written down the recipe for the sauce and the seasoning, but please stay tuned, I'll write it down in the next few days!

Meanwhile, have a great weekend all! ^_^

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Daring Bakers' Challenge: Traditional British Pudding - Spotted Dick

The April 2010 Daring Bakers' Challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding, using, if possible a very traditional British ingredient: suet.
...and this is what turned out! ^_^

I decided to go for a traditional English spotted dick, though in a not so traditional shape. It actually turned out very very pretty, though in all seriousness, I don't think I would go out of my way to bake this again. It wasn't bad and I actually had a british friend to come over and have a taste and according to him, this one actually beats most of the ones you'll find in England by miles. 
I'm not yet convinced. 
The warm custard did improve this pudding a lot in my opinion. 
Here are more pictures of the event...
...take a look at the inside.

I will post all the recipe's details this weekend, for all of you out there brave enough!
Ps: Dear Daring Baker's staff, this is my first try at a DB's challenge and just realized I was one day late... oups. 

As many of you pointed out, I have yet to post the recipe for my spotted dick and well, this is embarrassing in two ways. First, I wish this tasted as good as it looked, which it didn't, except for the yummy custard (whose recipe was published in another post). Second, the recipe wasn't altogether mine and now that I'm looking back to find it's author, it seems to have vanished from the web. So I'm stuck with a beautiful pudding, albeit not so tasty and no one to give credit for (though I'm not sure if I would be doing it a favor). My deepest apologies, I hope to be back soon with the recipe!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Toto Restaurant, Tel Aviv

There's a game called the association game, you take a word, draw a circle around it and then, like the sun, draw rays out with associated words. Today's word is: Toto. First things that come to mind are, mmm... Dorothy's dog in the Wizard of Oz, that successful 80's band (Africa!) and Japanese toilets (those that warm your rump and even wash it).
Toto toilet in Japan, not at the T.A restaurant.

But enough with the good things, today's association is a dreadful one, a horror one would believe to exist only in the Grimm brothers' tales.
Ok, that's a tad much! ;-)
Toto Restaurant is a lauded restaurant sitting in Tel Aviv, so lauded it's often mentioned as one of Israel's top ten restaurants. Or is that so...?

As you might have guessed, I'm disgusted, furious and offended by the - for lack of better word - poor excuse of something pretending to be an Italian restaurant. While I thought of writing this review in the morning, I decided to be sure not one detail would slip away and let you know, dear Israeli readers, that Toto is most probably the most overrated restaurant in Israel. 
I am writing this post, sucking on a Tums and literally in pain. Because I love food and respect so much those who pour their heart into it, I feel violated. It's like someone farted in a pan and called it ermm... Green Pasta with Shrimps and mussels. Ohh wait, that's one of the dishes I ate. 
Lets start.
After we were given a menu, we were pretty much left on our own. And let me tell you, whoever wrote that menu should be kicked in the rear. No clear description, no methods of confection, no ingredients, just silly empty meaningless names. Me and my P.I.C called our waiter three times before he came, nonchalantly. Unfortunately, he didn't seem to know anything of what was written in the menu and stared at us (and at the menu) blankly, like a dead fish. We asked what pizza was there on the menu and he said... erm... there's ermm... pizza, with cheese... and additions. 
We had pretty much picked our dishes but decided to ask anyways what he recommended and again, he nodded vaguely and said we had already picked the most recommended dishes. How convenient.
Five minutes later, they brought us a plate of sliced bread, which was nice and served with a variety of olives, olive oil and a tomato sauce, very much like the type served with jachnun.

 Good bread, nice olives, bitter olive oil and jachnun tomato sauce

We decided to order 4 dishes and a pizza, so we could get a good sampling of food. We politely asked that it should be brought 2 dishes at the time, so that it would not all go cold. This was completely ignored.
The first dish, Shrimp Calamari and Octopus Bisque tasted alright, but it was no bisque at all. Bisque is supposed to be a creamy seafood flavored soup (you'll soon realize there is a pattern here). This was just a mess of different things, tossed in a random sauce. Ohh, and there wasn't any octopus there either.

 This was probably the best dish, though it wasn't a bisque at all.
That's basil on top.

Then came the pizza... while our first reaction was a "ohhhh nice", it quickly faded into a "errmm... something's wrong here". The crust was neither crispy or chewy... it just felt like a dense tasteless wet cookie. The tomato sauce was good though, otherwise, if you really feel like getting ripped, just spare yourself the trouble and go straight to Pizzahut.

Pizza: Salami, aged Parmesan, old and wilted arugula and basil on top.

We then tasted the green pasta with shrimps and mussels. Ok, seriously, I never really liked dill that much, except in my chicken soup and pickles, but they really went bananas on this one. The pasta was made with dill, the sauce was made with dill and the whole dish had... you guessed, dill sauce! I'm done with dill for the next few years. Pun intended... I could not dill with it. I would love to meet the guy who came up with this brilliant dish and slap him sideways, up and down.

 Dill, dill, dill and basil.

Thought that was all? Ohh no... this is only going down from here.
Blue Crab with Wassabi Cream (yes, they can't even spell "Wasabi"). Four tiny crabs, hidden under a goo pile of over powering wasabi cream. I bravely started to crack the little beast open and pry anything I could from its tiny body, but I mostly just ate wasabi.

I usually enjoy wasabi, but not as a main dish. 
More basil, purple this time.

Did I mention that every single dish was garnished with basil? If I was Italian, I guess that was supposed to make me feel right at home.
We also had ordered the black pasta, but, thank goodness, it didn't make it and we never got to see the likes of it. We didn't complain about it.
Time for the desserts. I must say we had high hopes and wished deep in our hearts that this could somehow redeem Toto... after all, it wasn't going too well.We looked liked two bloated wales, washed ashore, determined to live long enough to tell about the desserts. We had nothing else to hope for.
I'll take the cake, thank you.

Cannoli with Mascarpone for my friend and Tarte Tatin with Whiskey ice cream for me.
Ok, it's just getting late now... I'm tired, my stomach aches and I don't even know how to start with this one.
I ate cannoli in my days, I grew up in Canada in a Italian neighborhood, so cannoli is as much part of my childhood as were Popsicle. What they presented us with was a rolled piece of cardboard. Thick, dry, flavorless and over fried. While I still hoped for a sign of crunch, there's was nothing but an old cookie and within whatever was left of its cavity, they managed to shove some cream. I can't even say if it was good, it was just cookie all over. It was served over a strawberry and cherry salad. But the truth is, it was simply preserved supermarket sour cherries with sliced strawberry and orange zest. They added some pieces of broken meringue on top and that was it. It was sickeningly sweet.

 Rock hard cannoli anyone? The color you see is actually because the thing was overfried.

My Tarte Tatin, which my waiter naively called "tatine", was just sad. The tarte tatin was simply an apple crumble that didn't even taste very fresh, was served with a ball of whiskey ice cream, but all I could feel was the horrible taste of rum extract, the bad one that tastes like medicine. Some whipped cream around to make it pretty and there you have it.

 Deceivingly pretty.

11:00 pm, 500 shekels later and an empty bottle of Tums, thanks Toto.

Did you have a bad experience too? 
Don't get mad, get even. Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Adenda: I just realized that the chef, Yaron Shalev, was someone I actually worked with when I was at Raphael. Though he probably would not remember me, since he was mostly busy giving hell to anyone below him. If I knew he was the chef behind this restaurant, I would have never ever consider eating there. He was  thoroughly unpleasant and had that holier-than-thou attitude which is the hallmark of a snotty little brat. 
If you wondered, yes, it just became personal.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"1929 Gateau au Chocolat" aka Depression Cake by Chef Lida M. Touzalin

Like many of you foodies out there, I own more cookbooks than I can actually keep up with and wonder if I am the only one to fantasize about actually buying a book and making each and every recipe in it. Either for the sheer challenge of it or because well, some of those cookbooks turned out pretty expensive and I'm just feeling guilty for only making a couple of recipes from them... all the while planning my next buy.  

Today, I picked one of my oldest cookbooks that was given to me by my grandmother, who, in her youth, lived in the Belgian Congo, and mingled with the partying local Belgian/Jewish community. It was by then that she acquired a french cookbook called "L'Art Culinaire Français" (The French Culinary Art, 1950). A must in those days. 
It is a huge fat brick, full of not so well explained recipes and quite honestly, some are just enigmatic, both technically and linguistically. The book is filled with recipes from the greatest chefs like Brillat-Savarin, Escoffier, Pellaprat and many many others, so there we have an amazing compilation that spread from how to cook "cuisse de grenouille" (frog legs) up to... the most simple chocolate cake. That was more up my alley.

The Chocolate Cake recipe I picked was from a chef called Touzalin's, author of the book "L'Amérique À Table" (America at the Table). A quick search on the internet turned out that this was actually a lady called Lida Miller Touzalin, who was not only an accomplished cook, she also happened to be the daughter of Justice Samuel Freeman Miller. a very powerful court man. 
It also turned out that the book she wrote was published in 1929, the year of the Great Depression
Going back to the my big book, I then understood why there was a small reference at the bottom of the recipe (which was written by Touzalin herself) that the recipe is very cheap to make.
I don't know about you, but I love a recipe to which I can tie a story, a mood. 

This chocolate cake is indeed very cheap to make, extremely easy and while I was a bit reluctant about it's simplicity, it was delicious, airy, moist and... gone a couple of hours later. 


 "1929 Gateau au Chocolat" aka Depression Cake 
by Chef Lida M. Touzalin

1 egg
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of milk
1 1/2 cup of flour
10 g of baking soda
70 g of bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter

Separate the egg yolk from the egg white.
Beat the egg white to stiff peaks, set a aside for a moment.

Beat the yolk with the sugar for a couple of minutes, add the milk and keep beating.

Mix the flour with the baking soda and add to the previous mixture.
Beat until the batter is nice and smooth.
Meanwhile, melt the butter with the chocolate (I did it in the microwave, 30 seconds at the time and stirring) and mix until the chocolate is perfectly melted and blended with the butter.

 You'll need less than a tablet
Now add the chocolate to the previous batter and mix well. 

Fold the egg whites into the batter, carefully.
Pour into a well buttered mold and cook at 180 degrees Celsius for about 35 minutes.

Et Voilá! 

 Light, moist and delicious

Cheers all!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

April's 2010 Humble Giveaway!

I have been taking more or less of a break this week as it is Passover and well, flourless cooking is not really my thing. I would gladly put up some recipes of matzoh meal cakes, matzoh ball soup (kneidlach) and chocolate covered matzoh crackers, but lets be honest, we have all been there already... and pssstt... matzoh meal cakes are pretty urghh. I made matzo brei just this morning and while it was good, I can't help but remember when a friend of mine once said that matzo brei could be cut into blocks and used as bricks. 
Just imagine turning saltines into flour and using that instead of flour in your favorite cake. Right.

So this was the perfect time for taking care of the garden, take out the weeds and just lay down on grass, enjoying  the warmer days...

I also prepared more than my average rice dishes and one that particularly hit the spot, was the Arroz Doce, or more simply, portuguese style rice pudding.The kids just went nuts over it!

Here's Irene, digging in, under mom's watchful eye. She usually isn't allowed anywhere near the stove.

I also made some wonderful hummus and masabacha, pictured below.
Masabacha is a wonderful dish that resembles hummus, but has much more tehina and isn't as consistent. It is usually served warm, mixed with whole tender chickpeas, plenty of olive oil, a splash of tehina, chopped parsley and a hard boiled egg.

Take a fresh pita and start scooping!

Masabacha with Gina's Pita... perfect.

So, getting back to the giveaway...
I wanted to thank all of you who came by my humble blog. Each and every one of you!
Many of you left me wonderful comments and it truly made my day! This has been the driving force behind this blog and it has helped me break off those "not so easy days" when I have to take care of my two toddlers. God bless them, they keep me on my toes every moment of the day and have been sampling each and every one of the recipes here. If they don't like it, it isn't blog worthy.

This passover hiatus brought on two things. One was a much needed clean up and the second was the realization that I had too many cook books that had served their purpose. It was time to give them a new purpose other than accumulating dust. One is a particularly wonderful book by Elaine Corn, appropriately called "Chicken 150 Great Recipes for All Seasons". It is a wonderful selection of a 150 recipes with lots of interesting tidbits and techniques on just about everything regarding chicken. If you love chicken, this will likely become your chicken bible! 

 April's 2010 Humble Giveaway 

I'm also throwing in this cute little gadget, the Chef 'n GarlicZoom!

This little garlic chopper has been receiving some mixed reviews and though I haven't tried it myself, I thought it looked kind of cute! I actually own a Chef 'n Dual Grinder and have been really happy with it.  So here goes nothing! ^_^

To enter the April's 2010 Humble Giveaway, all you have to do is:
1. Follow the blog
2. Leave a comment on this post in which you let me know which is your favorite cook book right now.
That's it!

A month is a long time, so chances are, I might be adding new items to this giveaway. Stay tuned!
This giveaway is open worldwide.
The winner will be announced on the 1st of May 2010 and I will accept entries until the 30th of April 2010!

Cheers all and good luck!


And we have a winner! ^_^
True Random Number Generator 12 Powered by RANDOM.ORG
After I skipped a number (which was my own comment), number 12 was the lucky winner of this April's 2010 Humble Giveaway! 



Sunday, March 28, 2010

Gnocchi al Amore Mio

There's this little restaurant called Amore mio in Tel Aviv. As you probably guessed, it's all about Italian food. Nothing fancy and the food was alright by my book, but they had one dish that had me coming back every time. Unfortunately, the menu changed and it seems that particular dish didn't make it to the final... which is almost criminal if you ask me.

Just look at this...

Tender warm gnocchi, bite size fresh mozzarella, ripe cherry tomatoes and crunchy arugula, all tossed in a delicious garlicky pesto. 

That was a classic. 

Now, here's how it was made...

150 g of fresh basil (which is about 4 cups)
30 g of pine nuts
2 garlic cloves
25 g of Parmesan
120 ml of virgin olive oil
2 g (1/2 coffee spoon) of salt 

Put everything in a blender and mix for a couple of minutes until you have fine grained pesto. Don't over do it, or the pesto will start to warm up and the this will darken it's beautiful green color.

 Don't worry about leaving the stalk of the basil, they taste just fine!

1 kg of gnocchi (this is enough for 4 hungry people)
1 teaspoon of olive oil

Cook the gnocchi according to the instructions, unless you're making them from scratch, which is even better!  Drain and put back in the cooking pan. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil to keep them moist and avoid them from sticking together.
Keep warm.
3 cups of cherry tomatoes
1 big bunch of arugula 
350 g of mini fresh mozzarella balls

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and wash and chop the arugula in half or even in three sections if the stems are really long. Remove any hard or fibrous parts. 
Drain the mozzarella.

Now, heat the gnocchi in the pan, gently. When they are nice and warm, pour in a large salad bowl and immediately add the cherry tomatoes, the mozzarella and the arugula. Pour half cup of pesto and toss the everything together. You might want to add more if you like.

Serve immediately in individual bowls and don't forget to have extra Parmesan and cracked pepper on the table, they are great additions to this light and simple dish.

 Cheers all! 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Three Way Salmon Chirashi Sushi

Chirashi sushi can be as complicated or as simple as you want it to be, all depending on how much time you've got on your hands and pretty much what combination of ingredients appeals to you. I'm utterly crazy about salmon skin sushi, but the thought of preparing it can sometimes be a turn off. So why not just throw everything in a bowl, sprinkle a handful of roasted sesame seeds and drizzle with your favorite teriyaki sauce?

Here's my favorite way to do it.

Three Way Salmon Chirashi Sushi

Let's start with the basics. 

Sushi rice!

salmon chirashizushi with black sesameI hear a lot of people saying they can't get it right and the most common complaint is that the roll falls apart because the rice just won't stick. Here's my fail proof recipe and some tricks to turn out the perfect sushi rice!

This will make about 4 cups of cooked rice:

300 g of sushi rice (short grain)
400 ml of water

1. You need calrose rice or any Japanese rice meant for sushi. Don't try to cut corners and make it with basmati. Also, if you're new to this, don't be cocky, leave the brown rice for another time.
2. Wash your rice under cold running water and rub it gently between your fingers, without breaking the grains. Wash until the water nearly comes clean.

Wash gently to keep the grains intact...

3. Put the rice in a pan or in a rice cooker, add the water accordingly and let sit for 30 minutes. Start cooking and as soon as the water boils, cover your pan tightly, turn to minimum heat and let cook for 15 solid minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pan with a thick towel and let it sit again for about 10 minutes. If you have a rice cooker, you don't have to worry about a thing, just don't remove the lid up to 10 minutes after the cooking is finished. 

4. Meanwhile, prepare the seasoned vinegar:

40 ml of rice vinegar
20 g of sugar
pinch of salt

Mix until dissolved.

5. Pour your rice into a large bowl. If you have a wooden bowl, it's even better, it will absorb some extra moisture left in the rice. But this isn't critical. Add the seasoned rice vinegar and with a wide wooden spoon, pick the rice from under and fold it gently. You just want to blend in the vinegar without breaking the grains. Fold until the vinegar is completely absorbed. Cover the rice until you are ready to use it or it will dry out.

Hard part is over!

On to the toppings!

(For 2 large servings)

500 g of sushi grade salmon, skin on (if you can't find that, don't eat it raw)

By the way, I call this Three Way Salmon Chirashi because I actually cook my salmon in three different ways (one one them, not being cooked at all actually!).

Roasted Salmon Skin
Start by cutting out the skin from the salmon, leaving a little less than 1 cm of flesh on it. Sprinkle with a little salt on both sides.

Lay it on a nonstick pan, skin side down, turn up the heat and let it roast gently. It should take about 10 minutes to get a nice golden color without actually burning it. If you feel the need, add just a tiny little bit of oil to the pan. My salmon was quite fatty, so I didn't need to do that.
Keep checking on it and adjust the heat accordingly. When it's done, turn off the heat and flip the salmon to the fleshy side. It will finish cooking all by itself and without drying out (3 to 4 minutes).
Remove the skin from the pan, set aside.

Crunch crunch crunch

Tempura and Panko fried Salmon

For the tempura, you will need:

1 whole egg
2 tablespoons of flour
Cold water
1/2 cup of Panko breadcrumbs (for dredging)

In a small bowl, beat the egg with 2 tablespoons of flour and add enough cold water to get a  smooth pancake-like batter.
In another bowl, pour the panko bread crumbs.

Cut the raw salmon you have in half and slice one half into thick strips, cover them in batter and dredge them in panko, then fry until nice and golden. Remove and let it drain on a paper towel.

 Crispy panko covered salmon. 
You can go ahead and do some quality control! ;-)

Sashimi Salmon
This is pretty easy, just take the remaining salmon and cut it in bite size pieces. I usually keep the fattiest pieces for the sashimi (feel free to skip this part if you don't like raw fish, it's alright!)

 Look at those pretty stripes of fat!

 Now, let's put everything together!

You will need:
2 cucumbers, chopped coarsely
2 stalks of green onion, chopped coarsely
1 avocado, sliced 
Roasted Sesame (or black sesame)
Teriyaki or whichever sauce you like best!

Take two large serving bowls, add about 1/4 of the rice you made into each.
Top each bowl with half of the salmon (I usually leave the tempura for last), cucumbers, green-onion and avocado (I found out at the last moment that mine wasn't ripe enough). Give it a good sprinkling of roasted sesame seeds, drizzle with teriyaki and serve with panko covered salmon sticks on top.



Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sugar Cookies Filled with Spiced Sweet Potato

I love sweet potatoes and there are plenty on the market at the moment. They are so tasty and the color is so amazing that it lends itself to all sorts of dishes, sweet and savory. 
Today, I was feeling pretty adventurous and so I tried making sugar cookies with a sweet potato filling. I also had this wild flower honey for some time and decided to completely substitute the granulated sugar for it. I added a good measure of cinnamon, a little bit of this and a little bit of that... 

Sugar Cookies with a Spiced 
Sweet Potato Filling

Cookie Dough
150 g butter
150 g of sugar
2 g of salt (1/4 teaspoon spoon)
1 whole egg
1/2 vanilla pod (grated) - or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
230 g of flour

In a mixing bowl, beat the butter, sugar and salt until white and creamy. Add the seeds from the vanilla pod (or extract) and then the flour. Mix until the dough looks grainy. Add the egg and beat until the dough comes together. Put in a bowl, cover and let rest in the fridge while preparing the filling.

Spiced Sweet Potato Filling
300 g of cooked and mashed sweet potato
60 g of honey
3 g of cinnamon (1 teaspoon)
pinch of salt
zest from a whole lemon
20 g of quick oats
2 tablespoons of milk (for brushing)

Cook the sweet potato in the oven (30 minutes) or in the microwave (8-10 minutes). 

Look what's hiding under that ugly wrinkled potato skin!

Scrape the inside into a a blender, add the honey, cinnamon and salt. Pulse for just a few seconds to get rid of any fibers from the sweet potato.
Pour the mixture in a bowl and add the lemon zest and mix in the quick oats, which will give the filling a little more body.

Now, take your you cookie dough and on a well floured surface and work it gently for a couple of minutes, just enough to give it some strength. Make silly faces, it's fun! ^_^

 Soon, I will be put in a 180 degree oven. Bummer.

Roll it down to about 4 mm thickness, turning it often with the help of your rolling pin (just to make sure it's not sticking to the working table). Start cutting out circles with a 6 cm cookie cutter (or any other size or shape you fancy!). Drop a little coffee spoon of filling on half of the circles and cover with another half. Seal the edged by pressing. I went over again with the cookie cutter, just to make it look neat.

Place on a non-stick cookie sheet, brush with a little bit of milk and optionally sprinkle with a little bit of granulated sugar. 

Bake for 16 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius, or until the edges just start to brown.
Give it a good sprinkling of powdered sugar and serve with a hot cup of coffee...

And just because they turned out so ridiculously pretty, here's more of them... 

 Perfect fit for my coffee cup

Om nom nom nom... yummy moist filling

These cookies are even better after a few hours!

Cheers all!