Posts Tagged ‘salad’

Asparagus and Cauliflower Gougère with a Beet and Grapefruit Salad

Gougere with Asparagus and cauliflower

The gougère right out of the oven

Friday night I decided to try something new. I didn’t really know what at first, but as I was flipping through my Vegetarian cookbook, I came across a recipe for a mushroom and cauliflower gougère. I didn’t have any mushrooms, but I did have some asparagus, so I decided to try my own version of the recipe.

The recipe came together quite quickly. I made the dough, which includes a generous amount of butter and cheese, and spread it around the sides of a cake pan. Then I quickly cooked up some onions, cauliflower and asparagus with some pureed tomatoes, thyme and rosemary, and put the mixture in the center of the dough. It went in the over for about 40 minutes, and it puffed up like crazy. The dough doubled in size, but by the time it reached the table just a few minutes later it had lost some of its airiness.

Gougere with Asparagus and Cauliflower

The gougère on the table, slightly deflated

The gougère was quite decadent. The dough was creamy yet fluffy, and the vegetable filling balanced out the richness of the dough. I also thought it looked quite beautiful — and the asparagus made for a nice colorful addition. I thought it turned out even prettier than the photo in my cookbook since it was more colorful. I was also surprised that this was relatively easy to make. Including the beet, grapefruit and goat cheese salad I made, everything took about an hour and a half.

Beet, grapefruit and goat cheese salad

Beet and Grapefruit Salad - taken on my iPhone

Since I started getting my LOVE Delivery veggie boxes, I’ve been getting a lot of beets, and I find that I absolutely love cooking with them. I was a little intimidated when I first was faced with cooking beets since I’d never cooked one before, but just simply roasting them and then peeling them is about all you need to do.

This salad was particularly tasty and it looked very pretty, though the warm beets did start running a bit in the dressing when I moved the plates.

Recipe: Beet, Grapefruit and Goat Cheese Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 beets
  • 1 small grapefruit
  • 1 small shallot
  • red wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • goat cheese

Directions:

You’ll need about half a beet and half a small grapefruit per person.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash the beets and wrap in foil. Put the beets in the oven for 40 minutes. They are done when you can easily pierce them through the foil with a knife. (You can roast beets in advance and keep them in the fridge.)

Unwrap the foil and allow the beets to cool until you’re able to peel off the skin with a paring knife. Cut the beets in half and then create quarter-inch thick slices.

Peel your grapefruit and cut it in half. Slice those halves into quarter-inch thick slices, removing any seeds.

For the vinaigrette, finely chop the shallot and place it in a small bowl. Pour in red wine vinegar until the shallots are just about covered, and let them sit for at least 10 minutes. Add olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Alternate the beet and grapefruit slices in a line on your salad plates. Spoon a small amount of the vinaigrette over the salad and top with some crumbled goat cheese.

Simple and Delicious Lemon Dill Tofu Filets with Avocado Salsa

The simple ingredients (minus tofu and avocado) that give flavor to the tofu fillets and avocado salsa

The simple ingredients that give flavor to the tofu fillets and avocado salsa

Wednesday night, I decided to make a quick tofu dinner. I don’t cook with tofu too often — maybe once a month — and I typically just make some sort of stir fry. But I had bought fresh dill and lemons at the market, and I had some green beans, tomatoes and lettuce from my veggie delivery that I wanted to use, so I decided to do something a little different — more akin to a fish dish than what I typically do with tofu.

I started by creating a green bean, tomato and curly lettuce salad. I boiled the beans until they started to get tender, then drained and dried them. Then I created a shallot vinaigrette from a recipe in the Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook. Their big secret is taking a minced shallot, macerating (soaking) it in 3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar for at least 10 minutes, thn combining it with about 3/4 cup olive oil and adding salt and pepper to taste.

I also started just drying out the tofu. I took a block of extra firm tofu, took it out of the package, put it in between paper towels and placed a heavy frying pan and a cook book on top of it. This would really help press out the water, help the tofu be able to absorb more flavors, and make it easier to cook.

I ended up letting it sit for longer than planned since we decided to meet some friends for drinks down in Venice Beach, so the tofu was pressed for 2-3 hours.

When I got back, I sliced the block of tofu into 4 pieces (once through the thin side, once through the center, so I had pieces that were about 2x3x.5 inches). I heated up a nonstick pan, and when it was medium-hot, I added the tofu. I cooked it until it was nicely browned (about 4-5 minutes) on the bottom, then turned it over.

Once the second side started cooking, I spooned over some of the shallot vinaigrette (enough to cover the top of each tofu filet), a generous amount of fresh dill and the juice of half a lemon. I also put some thin slices of lightly cooked lemon on top of the tofu add some more flavor.

I made a quick avocado salsa by chopping avocado into small pieces, tossing with the vinaigrette, dill and the remaining lemon juice.

When the tofu is nicely crispy and brown on the bottom, serve it topped with the avocado salsa, and put the salad on the side.

The dish tasted wonderful. The salad was nice and light. And the tofu was some of the best I’d ever had. Drying it out for so long made it brown really easily and gave it a much denser and more satisfying texture than it normally has, though without making it too hard or dry. The flavors were simple and traditional, and it really tasted like a fish filet — without any fishy taste. Best of all, it was super easy and it looked beautiful. I can’t believe I didn’t take a photo.

Fantastic Foccacia, a Roasted Beet Salad and Sicilian Pasta

Focaccia bread with rosemary and sea salt just out of the oven

Focaccia bread with rosemary and sea salt just out of the oven

This week’s bread experiment was my very best yet. I made focaccia bread with rosemary and sea salt, and we ate it hot out of the oven with olive oil. The bread was simple to make, and the secret was dousing it in a good deal of olive oil — and adding generous amounts of sea salt and rosemary to the top before baking.

I found this recipe in my Burgers book again. It’s definitely a winner in the bread category.

To go along with the focaccia, I created a dinner using a number of vegetables I got in my first-ever delivery from L.O.V.E. Delivery — an organic food delivery service that I signed up for. I got my first box on Wednesday, and I’ll be getting one every other week.

Roasted beet salad with walnuts and goat cheese

Roasted beet salad with walnuts and goat cheese

I made a salad with the beets — oven roasted at 400 degrees in foil for an hour, then cooled, sliced, and marinated in mustard, vinegar and olive oil — lettuce, walnuts and goat cheese. I’d never cooked beets before, but roasting is simple enough, and they turned out perfectly. The combination of flavors with the mustard, walnuts and goat cheese worked really well. I did try to toss the salad, though, instead of serving it individually, and the whole thing turned magenta.

Sicilian Broccoli and Cauliflower Pasta topped with parmesan and toated pine nuts

Sicilian Broccoli and Cauliflower Pasta topped with Parmesan and toasted pine nuts

For the main course, I made a Sicilian Broccoli and Cauliflower pasta from the Oxbow School that I found on the 101 Cookbooks blog. I got to use some more of the veggies that were delivered this week (broccoli, cauliflower, onion), as well as saffron, garlic, red pepper, rosemary, pine nuts, golden raisins and parsley. It was pretty simple to make and was unlike any pasta I’d ever made before, with its nutty and slightly sweet taste and rustic feel.

Focaccia Bread with Rosemary and Sea Salt

Focaccia Bread with Rosemary and Sea Salt - just drizzled with olive oil

Recipe: Rosemary and Sea Salt Focaccia

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • coarse sea salt
  • rosemary

Instructions

Combine flour, salt, yeast, water and 2 tbsp olive oil. Mix until well blended and knead the dough until smooth and elastic.

Let the dough rise in a greased bowl for an hour.

Knead the dough for a few minutes longer, roll it out into a rectangle/oval about 1/2 inch thick, and leave to rise on a greased baking sheet for 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Use your fingers to make indentations in the dough about 1/4 inch deep and drizzle about half the remaining olive oil over the dough. Sprinkle a generous amount of sea salt and rosemary on top, then bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.

When out of the oven, drizzle or brush the remaining olive oil over the top of the bread. Leave to cool for a few minutes, and serve warm.

Four of us ate half the loaf with dinner.

Thanks, Kacie and Rachael, for coming over, helping me cook and taking photos!

Britishism: Rocket vs. Rocket

Rocket vs. Rocket

I sort of forgot this one since I got used to everyone in Budapest calling arugula rocket. They didn’t understand what we didn’t get in the translation, of course. But I think rocket is a much more exciting and less pretentious name for the fancy lettuce.

Lunchtime at Leon

Leon CafeToday, I went on a bit of a walk down to Leon by Harrods (which I have yet to go into). The place had some funky decor, mostly consisting of images of oranges and bulls, and it had customer response postcards with photos of Leon them and a mailbox by the door to drop them into, which I actually thought was a cute idea.

The cafe is known for simple, fresh fast food, though in my opinion it was a little too fast — I would have appreciated getting a salad that wasn’t premade, and though the juices are supposed to be fresh squeezed, when they’re already in cups and you can see the pulpy bits separating, they stop looking as appetizing.

I ordered the superfoods salad, which was devoid of lettuce, though otherwise incredibly green, with peas, avocado, cucumber and broccoli. It also had some feta cheese and a lemony dressing, which was nice and light. I felt healthier for having eaten it, though while eating in would have liked to eat off a plate and not out of a box.

LeonThe restaurant is supposed to have free WiFi, and I brought my computer along, but didn’t find out how to log on. I should have asked, though I decided to occupy my time with a bit of drawing. I do need to figure out where I can work with some free WiFi, though. It would be nice to get out a bit more while still feeling productive.

I’ll post my latest drawings as soon as I can get them photographed and uploaded. My camera is having a battery issue right now: It takes double-A’s, but my rechargeable batteries don’t seem to hold a charge anymore. I was able to take the photos, but my batteries didn’t last long enough to transfer the photos to my computer. Very frustrating. At least I took a photo on my cell phone so you can see what Leon looked like.

Update (1/18/08): The sketch is posted, though the photo didn’t turn out that great. The page didn’t lie flat, so that’s why the perspective is all weird.