Friday, May 11, 2012

Quinoa, garbanzo, radish and avocado salad

1 C quinoa
1.5 lemons
1 tbsp cumin
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/3 C olive oil
2 small bunches French breakfast radish
2 small avocados (1.5 large)
3 C garbanzo beans (2 cans), rinsed
1 C chopped red basil leaves

Cook quinoa in 2 cups water for 15-20 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Let quinoa cool. In a large bowl, mix olive oil, cumin, garlic, and salt and pepper according to taste. Grate zest of one lemon, then juice lemons. Add zest and lemon juice to oil. Clean and cut radishes in half lengthwise, add to oil together with garbanzo, basil and quinoa. Cut avocados in half, pit, clean and chop into bite size pieces. Carefully mix in avocado, making sure not to crush the pieces.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Simple Vegetable Paella

1 quart chicken stock, vegetable stock or garlic broth
Generous pinch (about 1/2 teaspoon) saffron threads
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 red pepper, cut into strips
1 green pepper, cut into strips
2 cups medium-grain rice
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 pound ripe tomatoes, seeded and grated on the large holes of a box grater; or peeled, seeded and chopped; or 1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes with juice
1/4 pound green beans, trimmed and cut in 1-inch lengths
2 or 3 baby artichokes, trimmed and sliced (may also use frozen artichoke hearts, sliced)
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed, or 1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen lima beans
1 cup shelled fresh or thawed frozen peas
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Bring the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Crush the saffron threads between your fingertips, and place in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon warm water, and set aside.

2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy frying pan, an earthenware casserole (cazuela) set over a flame tamer, or a paella pan. Add the onion. Cook, stirring, until the onion is tender, about five minutes. Add the garlic, peppers and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until the peppers begin to soften, about three minutes. Add the tomato paste, paprika and rice. Cook, stirring, for one minute until the grains begin to crackle. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, until they cook down slightly and smell fragrant, about five minutes. Stir in the saffron with its soaking water, scraping in every last bit with a rubber spatula. Season generously with salt and pepper.

3. Add the stock, green beans, artichokes and chickpeas or lima beans. Bring to a boil. Stir once, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer without stirring until the liquid has just about evaporated, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the peas. Continue to simmer until the rice is dry, another 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve.

Recipe adapted from the New York Times

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Tres Leches Cake with Strawberries and Cream

For the cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature

For the soaking cream:
1/4 cup heavy cream
One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp rum or brandy

For topping
1.5 cups whipping cream
2 tbsp powdered (icing) sugar, or to taste

Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the eggs with the sugar and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla at medium-high speed until very light and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Add half of the flour mixture and mix at low speed until just incorporated. Gradually add the whole milk, then mix in the remaining flour mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for 25 minutes, or until the center of the cake springs back to the touch. Transfer the baking dish to a rack and let the cake cool for at least 30 minutes. Using a fork, poke holes all over the cooled cake.

Mix sweetened condensed milk, cream, evaporated milk, brandy and vanilla extract until well combined (the sweetened condensed milk is thicker so do ensure it is well mixed). Pour as much of the cream over the cake in batches as it absorbs. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. After 30 minutes, check the cake, and pour the rest of the cream on it. Replace plastic wrap, refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

In a chilled bowl, beat the cream with the sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread cream topping on cake.

Spelt and ale loaf

1 bottle dark ale or Guinness or porter2 tsp yeast
1 tbsp brown sugar
½ a 500mg vitamin C tablet, crushed to a powder
450g spelt flour (about 3.5 cups)
1 tsp fine sea salt
50g unsalted butter, melted (about 4 tbsp)

Bring 300ml dark ale or porter to the boil in a saucepan (don't let it boil over) and simmer for a minute or so to drive off the alcohol, which could slow down or even stop the yeast. Pour the ale into a jug, leave until warm, then top up to 300ml with warm water.

Scald a mixing bowl with boiling water, wipe it dry, then add the warm ale, yeast and sugar. Stir well, then add the vitamin C, flour and salt, and stir well again. Pour in the melted butter and squidge the lot together to work the fat through the dough. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave for 10 minutes.

Give the dough three light kneads over 30 minutes, then cover and leave for 15 minutes.

Lightly flour the work surface, roll the dough into a rectangle, roll up tightly and place seam-side down in a buttered and floured 2lb loaf tin. Cover the tin with a tea towel and leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in height (about 1-1½ hours).

Heat the oven to at least 220C/430F (200C/390F fan-assisted), though if you can get it to 240C/460F (220C/430F fan-assisted), even better.

Dust flour over the dough with a tea strainer, cut the loaf down the middle with a serrated knife, and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 200C/390F (180C/350 fan-assisted) and bake for a further 20-25 minutes until dark golden brown, remove from the oven and tin, and cool on a wire rack.