Friday, December 27, 2013

Eggs in avocado



Eggs in Avocado

Breakfast never tasted so healthy.  A thoroughly satisfying and delish ensemble.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
2 Avocados (preferably slightly under-ripe)
Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
1 tbsp Olive Oil
4 Eggs
2 large tomatoes (sliced) OR 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes (halved)
5-6 torn fresh Basil leaves or chopped fresh coriander
Zest and juice of 1 lime

  • Peel and half each avocado. Remove the pit. Press each half gently to flatten the bottom of each avocado. The idea is to make thick but flat slices, each with a hole in the center. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
  • To a preheated non stick pan, add 1 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the avocado slices cut-sides down and cook until they begin to brown, about 1 minute. Flip and carefully crack 1 egg into each hole. Season the eggs with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the egg whites have set up but the yolks are still runny, about 3 minutes. 
  • While eggs are cooking, make a tomato salad with halved cherry tomatoes, chopped basil, zest and juice of lime, seasoning. OR Slightly char the sliced tomatoes in the pan to warm up.
  • Top each avocado with the tomato salad OR warm tomato slices and coriander and serve. 
Recipe by Chef Michael Symon 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Moussaka

Moussaka with tomato-cucumber-feta salad and steamed green beans
This is the kind of food that fills you from head to toe, and gives you that warm fuzzy feeling. Moussaka can be made with any kind of ground meat. I used chicken. Tastes even better the next day. So double the recipe and keep one for the day after.
Greek moussaka
Ingredients: (serves 4-6)

1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 lb ground chicken
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp dried oregano
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese or Parmesan or Romano

  1. Sprinkle salt on the eggplant slices and leave them to sweat for 20 minutes, then pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Cooking the potatoes: While the eggplant is sweating, heat olive oil in a large pan and add the potato slices and cook until lightly golden on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes. Working in batches to avoid over crowding. Transfer to a paper-lined plate to drain. Season lightly with salt.
  3. Cooking the eggplant slices: Place 1 cup of the flour in a bowl and dredge the eggplant slices in the flour. Shake to remove any excess flour. Heat oil in a skillet and, working in batches, fry the eggplant slices until golden on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Add more oil as needed. Transfer to a paper-lined plate to drain.
  4. Making the meat sauce: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet add the onions. Cook till slightly pink, about 3-4 minutes. Add the ground meat, garlic, and oregano and cook. Stir frequently and break any lumps, cook until meat is browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes, water and parsley and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost all liquid is evaporated, 5 to 10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper and set aside.
  5. Making the bechamel sauce: In a medium saucepan melt the butter and whisk in the flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring so as to avoid browning. Gradually whisk in the milk, stirring until smooth and thick. Season with salt, to taste, and whisk in the egg. Stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese and set aside, covered, while you assemble the casserole.
  6. Putting it all together: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a large casserole dish and place the sliced potatoes in the bottom of the dish in an even layer. Then layer as follows:
Half of the eggplant slices 
Half of the meat sauce
3/4 cup of the bechamel sauce 
1/4 cup of the cheese. 
Remaining eggplant slices, pressing down gently to compress. 
Remaining meat sauce
Remaining bechamel sauce evenly 
Sprinkle with the remaining cheese



Bake, uncovered, until golden brown on the top and heated throughout, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Let stand for at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares and serve.


Tomato-cucumber-feta salad
In a large bowl, toss together the tomatoes, cucumber, red onions, basil, olives, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and feta cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse (Food network)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Chocolate Fudge


Simple chocolate fudge

Here's a decadent treat for the holidays. Rich creamy simple chocolate fudge involves very less work without compromising the texture and flavor. I like to add walnuts, pecans, pistachios and almonds to mine to give it that extra crunch. You can add any combination of nuts you like. If you find the traditional way of making fudge a difficult task then this recipe is for you. It involves using condensed milk as a ready made sugar syrup base. Use the best quality chocolate you can find, because the final taste will depend on it. I used unsweetened chocolate, but you can choose between semi sweet and bitter sweet.

Ingredients:
1 cup nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, pistachios)
1 can (300 ml) condensed milk
225 gm chocolate (bitter sweet, semi sweet or unsweetened)
1 tbsp butter(unsalted)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  1. Toast the nuts in a pan or oven till lightly brown and fragrant. Cool and chop coarsely. Keep aside. 
  2. Line a square baking pan with foil or parchment paper. 
  3. Combine the condensed milk, chopped chocolate, and butter in a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water. Melt the chocolate mixture, stirring frequently. Make sure the mixture doesn't get too hot or the fudge may be grainy. 
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and chopped nuts. 
  5. Spread the mixture in the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Cool at room temperature for about 4-5 hours. 
  6. Remove the fudge from the pan and cut into small pieces. Store in the refrigerator.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Coconut shrimp



Golden, crispy, coconut battered shrimp served with a dipping sauce, a guaranteed party pleaser. Who can resist these bite sized beauties. Serve them as a starter or as lunch with a fruit or berry salad. The quickest easiest way is to deep fry these. The shrimps get cooked in a matter of minutes. Serve them immediately hot and crisp. If you prefer to bake them then follow the baking instructions below. Baked coconut shrimp will not be as golden as the fried version but they do turn out crunchy.  

Ingredients
35-40 raw shrimp, peeled, tail removed and de veined (defrost if using frozen)
1/3 cup all purpose flour seasoned with salt and cracked black pepper
1 egg (or 2 egg whites)
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 1/4 cup shredded dry unsweetened coconut
oil for frying
  1. Clean and pat the shrimp dry. 
  2. Create a breading station of three components. First seasoned flour, second egg whisked till frothy, third a mixture of panko and coconut well combined. 
  3. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Oil level to be high enough for deep frying. Heat oil to about 350-360 F (medium heat). 
  4. Dredge the shrimp in flour and shake off excess. Dip them in egg and finally roll them over the coconut mixture to coat evenly. 
  5. Deep fry in batches till shrimp are crisp and golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per side. 
  6. Drain on a paper towel to remove excess oil. Serve hot with any dipping sauce of your choice. 
  7. To bake instead of frying, place the battered shrimp on a greased cookie sheet. Spray the top of the shrimp with more oil. Bake in the middle rack at 425 F for 10 minutes. Turn and bake for 6-7 minutes more. Serve hot with dipping sauce.