Saturday, February 27, 2010

Grilled Cheese Breakfast Sandwich

I woke up late yesterday to go to school, so I didn't have time to eat breakfast before leaving. Fortunately, my Fridays are pretty short so I was still able to be home before noon. On my way home, I had a weird craving for a sandwich, cheese and breakfast. These things only sort of go together, but I remembered I had some brie in the fridge I needed to eat so I wouldn't waste it, and I thought it might be good with some pear preserves I'd canned previously. This worked out really, really well and I will definitely employ this method for quick breakfasts again. I will advise though, that when it's all done, let it rest for 5 or so minutes so the jam can resolidify to some degree. If you don't, I can tell you with certainty that it's extraordinarily painful when hot jam syrup drips onto your wrist. Hope you enjoy!

2 slices bread
1/8 cup each: brie, pear preserves (or other jam/preserves/whatever)

Spread the brie (I may have used more than I said, but it was around that much) on a slice of bread, and spread the preserves on the other slice of bread. Put them together and grill in your usual manner. Let rest 5 or so minutes, then slice in half (or not; your choice). Serves 1.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Food Waste Friday

This week it was a fairly small amount of waste again. Here's what I lost:

2 tortillas
2 spring rolls (did you know that shrimp spring rolls don't keep more than a day in the fridge? I didn't)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Chicken, Broccoli and Cheese Quiche

I haven't had a quiche in a pretty long time, and I wanted one. I've been so busy with school (which you all should know results in significantly less posting from me), that I'm focused only on easy-to-make-while-studying meals. Quiche definitely fits that bill. I had some broccoli that I'd intended to use for something else, but this seemed just... better, I guess. Plus I always have piles of cheese in the freezer and I discovered a can of chicken in the pantry. You could easily make this with freshly cooked chicken or without chicken at all. Anyway, hope you enjoy!

Quiche Base:

1 can evaporated milk
3 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup cheese (I used cheddar here)
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

Whisk together milk, eggs, salt and pepper. Stir in cheese.

Recipe:

1 large broccoli crown, flowers only
1 small red onion, cut in thin half moons
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 can chicken, drained
1 prepared pie crust (I am using refrigerator crust these days)

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 450F. Cut the broccoli flower(s) into small pieces. Heat a small pan to medium and add oil. Add onions, salt and pepper, and cook for 5 or so minutes. Add lemon juice and cook down, increasing heat if needed to evaporate liquid. Combine broccoli, onion and chicken. Line a pie plate with crust, then fill with chicken mixture, spreading the mixture out evenly. Pour quiche base on top, then put in oven. Bake 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 325F. Bake another 35 minutes (normally I do 25 minutes, take it out and top w/ more cheese, then do 10 more minutes. You can still do that if you like), then rest for 10 minutes and serve. Serves 8.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Food Waste Friday

Eek! Again, there is waste. Sometimes when I write these posts I really find myself wanting to mentally beat myself up for wasting food and not for consistently having no waste weeks. But then I think about the utterly shocking amount of waste most Americans produce and I have to remind myself that while no one is perfect, at least I'm making an effort. Does this happen to you guys too? Where you feel huge amounts of guilt but then have to remind yourself that the fact that you're trying has meaning?

Anyway, here's my waste for the week:

1 1/2 portions salad (I don't really see how this happened, since I eat salad every day. I think I bought too big of a bag or something)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bergamot Dreams

You all know by now how I feel about the bergamot orange. It's my most beloved of the citrus, and next to the olive, my most loved fruit in general. The only thing the bergamot could do to make me happier would be increased availability. For years, I've longed for the day that other people started seeing this beautiful little guy and embracing the wonderful flavours bergamot can bring to nearly anything. I am, of course, always scouring the internet for new bergamot recipes. One thing I love the most about the "blogosphere" is that you have the opportunity to read and use recipes that simply never would have occurred to you to make otherwise. Recently, this happened to me when I was reading through my favourite food blogs. Lo and behold, a DUO of bergamot recipes on Hungry Cravings! Initially, I thought I would make her custard, but I am always so lazy about going to the store that the cream got in the way of me making these. Someday, someday. Instead, I chose to make these beautiful little bergamot dreams.

I zest all the oranges that don't go into curd or marmalade when I get them, then I dry the zest. Next year when I get more (somehow I believe I managed to miss this year's season. In fairness I really only need to place an order once every other year, given the quantities I buy at one shot), I think I may freeze some rinds so I'll have fresh bergamot zest available to me. Regardless, I only had dried zest but it still worked perfectly. I also increased the amount of juice, since where it comes to bergamot, subtlety is not something I know much about. My changes will be in italics, as per usual. For those without access to bergamot, feel free to make these with any other citrus. I can't imagine they wouldn't be just as good with another. Hope you enjoy!

"1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
6 ounces (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon grated Bergamot orange zest (1/2 tablespoon dried and crumbled zest)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed Bergamot orange juice (4 tablespoons frozen then thawed juice)

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, and salt in a medium bowl. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and 1/3 cup of the powdered sugar on medium until creamy. Add the orange zest and juice and mix on low until blended. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until the dough comes together, stopping the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl. (At this point I chilled the dough for about 20 minutes because the extra juice I added made the dough slightly sticky. Chilling the dough is at least in part responsible for my increased baking time). Drop the dough by the tablespoonful onto parchment-lined baking trays, roll each portion of dough into a ball, and arrange the balls about an inch apart. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until lightly browned on the bottom but still pale on top. Transfer cookies to a rack and let cool for about half an hour, or until barely warm (for me, because I don't use my heater in the winter, this was really only about 15 minutes). Roll each cookie in the remaining 2/3 cup of powdered sugar to coat.

Makes 32 to 34 cookies. Use lemons or limes if Bergamot oranges are unavailable. Cookies keep for several days in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry place. Perfect with a cup of Earl Grey tea. " (I got 20 cookies, but I probably made them a little big, and I did have to cook them 20 or 22 minutes)

My picture is not that great, as per usual, and I used less rolling sugar since I liked the sweetness it already had, so please go look at the original recipe to see how they really are supposed to look. :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Baked Salmon

I can't remember the last time I ate cooked salmon before tonight. I remembered liking it, but I just never seen to encounter salmon once it's been cooked. Raw? All the time. Just not cooked. Recently P has put himself on a diet. I'm not entirely clear on what the diet is, except that it involves reduced quantities of food, a meal being defined as "healthy" based on caloric content and increased exercise. I haven't asked for the specifics, since I'm personally happy to continue along the way w/o regard for dietary specifics. I've noticed, though, that in his efforts to become healthier he's been drawn to cuisines and foods that are associated more heavily with increased longevity and heart health. This works for me, since I personally am a fan of most of those foods and cuisines. So both of us are happy on his new diet - him because he can eat well and lose weight, and me because I still get to eat everything I like.

Anyway, I've digressed once again. Last night we went to the store to pick up some fruits and such (plus, I wanted some soup since I wasn't feeling well) when we happened across some beautiful salmon. P wanted to get it, so we agreed to have it for tonight's dinner. I really prefer cooked salmon to be very simply made so it can just speak for itself. This is a baked version. Hope you enjoy!

1 pound salmon (about 1" thick)
1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 350F. Slice lemon thinly and layer half the lemon slices on a large piece of foil. Put the salmon on top of the lemon, skin-side down, then top with a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Top with remaining half of lemon slices and seal the foil so it's like a pouch. Put the pouch in a baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes. Let rest in pouch for about 5 minutes before opening, then open and cut salmon in half. Serves 2.

NOTE: If you're interested in having a sauce for the salmon, take the juices and lemon slices from the pouch and reduce them with a splash of wine or broth and perhaps some dill or whatever spice you like until somewhat thickened. Then turn off the heat, remove slices and stir in a pat of butter to thicken.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Food Waste Friday

After such a good week last week, it was bound to happen this time: waste. :(

Here's what I lost:

6 ounces charro beans
5 ounces mushrooms (these made me particularly sad)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Shrimp with Chunky Tomato Sauce

I've been on a meat thing lately. It's kind of weird, because I usually only eat meat once or twice a week. But the last week or two I've wanted meat every single day. Not much, but some. I must need extra protein or something; perhaps all the extra walking now that school is back in session? Either way, today was shrimp day. I really enjoyed this dish, since it was colourful, simple and very fast to prepare (necessary when you're drowning in homework). As an aside, I tasted this sauce before I added the shrimp and it was awesome. So this would be good for vegetarians/vegans as well. Hope you enjoy!

1 tablespoon each: olive oil, lemon juice
1 cup each: diced red onion, sliced celery
1 teaspoon salt
1 can diced tomatoes with juices
pinch sugar
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup water or broth (I used beef broth since it's in the fridge and needs to be used)
6-8 ounces frozen, peeled and deveined shrimp

Heat a pan over medium-high and add oil, lemon juice, red onion, celery and salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add tomatoes, sugar, frozen corn, red pepper flakes, basil and water/broth. Let simmer 15-30 minutes. Add shrimp and continue to simmer until shrimp is cooked through. Serve with rice. Serves 2.