June – Cilantro and Lime Crema

June – Cilantro and Lime Crema

Cilantro Lime Crema

Cilantro Lime Crema

 

Use this easy and quick lime crema to add flavor to tacos, tostadas, nachos or drizzle it over a bowl of tortilla or black bean soup. During the warmer months I keep a small jar of it on hand to add a cooling (although you could make it ‘hot’) jolt of flavor. Dairy products will soften the heat of spicy foods.

I only used a tablespoon of finely minced jalapeno but feel free to add more if heat is your thing.

Ingredients:

  • juice and zest of 2 limes
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • 1/4 cup of finely minced cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon of finely minced jalapeno (or more to taste)
  • pinch of kosher salt

Method:

  1. In a small bowl whisk together all the ingredients, saving a few zests of the lime and cilantro leaves to garnish.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to use.

That’s all there is to it. It will keep a few days in the fridge, thickening slightly.

I bet the folks over at Fiesta Friday would find this useful. It’s Fiesta Friday #438, a virtual (can you believe how many things are still virtual!?) blogging party that predates Covid. Angie hosts the party. Click on the link to find ideas for celebrating the 4th, decorating your home, or keeping the kids busy with crafts now that school is out.

 

May – Overnight Croissant French Toast Bake with Coffee Rum Sauce

May – Overnight Croissant French Toast Bake with Coffee Rum Sauce

Get ready for the perfect Mother’s Day brunch dish. Why do I say perfect?

Easy – check,

No fussy ingredients – check,

Make the night before – check,

Absolutely delicious and decadent – double check!!

Overnight Croissant French Toast

Overnight Croissant French Toast

Have a relaxing morning as this dish bakes to a delectable double layer, crisp on top and creamy below. You will be a hero to whom ever you serve it to. This is also the perfect dish to contribute to a brunch pot luck, or serve overnight guests. You only need some fresh fruit, coffee or tea round out the meal.

It’s good the next day, reheated (or cold right out to the baking dish).

My taste testers thought it would make a perfect dessert with some dried fruit added to the base.

Overnight Croissant French Toast

Overnight Croissant French Toast

This recipe will generously serve 6 and 8 to 10 if it is part of a larger menu.

I will include the recipe for the coffee rum sauce (easy, easy, easy). A simple custard sauce would be a wonderful accompaniment as well, especially at breakfast time.

Overnight Croissant French Toast Bake with Coffee Rum Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 8 croissants (stale is perfectly ok)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups (354 ml) heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup (117 ml) pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla paste or extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

Coffee Rum Sauce

  • 1 cup (235 ml) coffee ice cream, melted
  • 2 oz (59 ml) dark rum

Method:

  1. Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.
  2. Tear the croissants into 2 inch pieces and set into the baking dish.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour over the croissants and gently toss to make sure they are coated with the custard mixture.
  4. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  5. Remove the dish from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking and allow to come to room temperature.
  6. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake, uncovered, for 35 to 40 minutes until golden and the custard has set but is still soft.
  7. Combine the melted ice cream with the dark rum and serve over the warm French Toast Bake.

I think melted vanilla ice cream would also be good, with our without the rum.

Note: This can also be prepared several hours in advance, it need not be overnight.

I am taking this to Fiesta Friday #431, hosted by Angie. It’s just in time for Mother’s Day.

Overnight Croissant French Toast

Overnight Croissant French Toast

The recipe comes from the ‘effortless entertaining cookbook’ by Meredith Steele.

April – Moroccan-Spiced Roasted Cauliflower and Carrot Salad (with chickpeas and couscous)

April – Moroccan-Spiced Roasted Cauliflower and Carrot Salad (with chickpeas and couscous)

This whole meal vegetarian salad was perfect as part of a Moroccan inspired dinner party. The couscous in this salad soaks up the spicy, lemony dressing and marries it to the roasted vegetables and chickpeas. Serve the salad warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

Moroccan Salad

Moroccan Salad

The salad is vegan as well as vegetarian. I served it with sides of warm pita, sliced feta, more olives and an eggplant dip.

Moroccan-Spiced Roasted Cauliflower and Carrot Salad (with chickpeas and couscous)

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, trimmed to 1-inch florets
  • 1 small bunch of carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup of whole-what couscous
  • 1 14.5 ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup of chopped pitted brine-cured green olives
  • 1/4 cup currents
  • 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • Additional Italian parsley sprigs as garnish
  • Lemon Slices for serving

Moroccan-Spiced Dressing:

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Method for the dressing:

  • Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a small heavy dry skillet until they are toasted and fragrant.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the turmeric and cinnamon. Let them cool and grind in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and coarsely grind.
  • In a small bowl or jar, combine the spices with the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Whisk or shake to blend.

Method for the salad:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F
  2. Brush a heavy large rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. In a medium bowl, toss the cauliflower and carrots with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Spread the vegetables in a single layer on the baking sheet and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  3. Roast the vegetables until browned in places and tender, stirring once. It will be about 15-25 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, bring 1/2 cup water and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to a simmer in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the couscous, stirring. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  5. Transfer the couscous to a large bowl; mix in the cauliflower, carrots, garbanzo beans, green onions, chopped parsley, cilantro, olives and currents.
  6. Add the dressing to the salad and mix. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Garnish just before serving with the almonds and parsley sprigs.

The salad can be prepared one day ahead and refrigerated.

Moroccan Salad

Moroccan Salad

The recipe came for a cookbook written by Jeanne Kelley called ‘Salad for Dinner‘.

April – Roasted Broccolini with Cream & Parmesan Cheese

April – Roasted Broccolini with Cream & Parmesan Cheese

It’s spring, but summer produce hasn’t quite hit the markets yet. Cabbage family vegetables abound, I search for new ways to use them. In browsing my collection of cookbooks I found this one from Diana Henry’s book ‘From the Oven to the Table‘. It’s a book I’ve had for some time but hadn’t carefully browsed. On the title page it describes the recipes in the book as “simple dishes that look after themselves”. That would certainly describe this simple but delicious dish. It’s a similar dish to my toasty creamed cabbage recipe.

Roast Cabbage Steaks with Cream and Parmesan

Toasty Roast Cabbage Steaks with Cream and Parmesan

This one has the addition of some crisp breadcrumbs, which would also be a nice touch with the cabbage.

Roasted Broccolini with Cream and Cheese

Roasted Broccolini with Cream and Cheese

Both dishes are easy and delicious, like a gratin but without all the fuss of making a white sauce. Make sure you have some crusty bread on hand to dip into the cream which is reduced slightly into a yummy sauce. This could serve as a vegetarian main course or a wonderful side with a roast.

Roasted Broccolini with Cream & Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs of broccolini
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup of fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/4 cups of heavy cream
  • Generous 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese or a combination of Parmesan and sharp cheddar (or Gruyere)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Trim the bottoms of the broccolini. If any of them are thick, halve them along their length
  3. Put the broccolini in a roasting pan or sheet pan and toss with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 12 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile melt the butter in a frying pan, add the breadcrumbs and turn over in the butter until they are coated, but not toasted.
  5. Remove the broccolini from the oven after the 12 minutes, pour over the cream, sprinkle with the cheese and the buttered crumbs. Return to the oven and roast for a final 10-11 minutes, or until golden and bubbling.
  6. Serve immediately.

Note: I had some leftover croutons in the cupboard and use those for the crumbs, simply smashing them with a rolling pin until they were the appropriate size.

Roasted Broccolini with Cream and Cheese

Roasted Broccolini with Cream and Cheese

I imagine other vegetables would be equally delicious treated this way…quartered Brussels sprouts? I plan to use this method with fresh asparagus as well. Since asparagus cooks quickly, I would add the cream I would skip the initial roasting.

The pan cleaned up easily after an overnight soak, much to my surprise.

 

March – Fennel and Celery Salad with Lemon and Parmesan

March – Fennel and Celery Salad with Lemon and Parmesan

I’ve seen several versions of this recipe. David Tanis from the NY Times published one and it also appeared in a 2014 issue of bon appetit. This recipe is a combination of both those recipes. The salad can be made ahead. Prepare the vegetables and toast the pine nuts, then dress it just before serving to take advantage of the crispness of the celery. It will begin to soften after an hour. It will still be delicious and makes great leftovers for lunch the next day, but it won’t have quite the same freshness.

Fennel and Celery Salad

Fennel and Celery Salad

I have finally overcome my own aversion to celery, this salad definitely helps. It wasn’t that I ever actively disliked celery (although I do dislike celery salt) and more that our CSA box of the time had a huge head of celery week, after week, after week. It became tiresome to find ways to use it up.

I used a mandolin for slicing the celery and fennel, a sharp knife works as well. They were cut about 1/4 inch thick.

This would be the perfect salad for a spring BBQ. Spread it out on a platter rather than in a bowl to take advantage of all those wonderful textures.

Fennel and Celery Salad

Fennel and Celery Salad

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice plus the zest from 1 large lemon
  • 1 or 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Dressing Preparation:

  1. Put the lemon juice, zest and garlic cloves in a small jar or bowl. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the olive oil and shake or stir to mix. Set aside for at least 10 minutes.
  2. Remove the garlic cloves before dressing the salad.

Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 6 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • About 4 ounces of parmesan, thinly shaved or thickly shredded
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup of mint leaves, roughly torn
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Salad Preparation:

  1. Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet (tossing frequently) or 350 degree F oven for 8-10 minutes. Watch them carefully as they will go from toasty brown to burnt quickly.
  2. Place the fennel and celery in a bowl, season with salt and pepper.
  3. Remove the garlic from the dressing, give it a shake or a whisk. Pour over the vegetables, and toss well. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
  4. Transfer to a platter, add the parmesan and sprinkle over the parsley and mint.

Enjoy!

Fennel and Celery Salad

Fennel and Celery Salad