Sunday, July 20, 2014

Pigeon Pea Consomme

It's been busy the last few weeks, but here's a quick side dish that is great to complement any meal, taken from my cookbook, Creole, which I have utilized several times on this blog, re-creating some of her delicious recipes.The author is from the island of Guadeloupe, so here is a little taste of the French Caribbean for you.

While consomme is traditionally a clear soup, this consomme is totally different. However, that is how the author titled the recipe in the book so I am keeping the name.

Pigeon Pea Consomme
Serves 4
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 14 oz.. frozen pigeon peas, defrosted
  • 7 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper, to taste
In a large skillet, fry bacon until crispy.
Add onions and scallions. Saute for a few minutes until onions turn translucent.
Add peas, thyme, bay leaf, cayenne, water, salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes.

Add parsley and stir to combine.

This post is for the CC Challenge of the month 

Chef Mireille

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Fennel Grapefruit Salad with Beets

Amy's Bread is an artisinal bread chain here in NYC that makes some of the most amazing breads. In addition to breads, you can also purchase cookies, muffins, sandwiches and a variety of other snacks.  I was in Chelsea Market and stopped by for a snack and picked up one of their mini loaves made with pancetta and black pepper and used it to make the croutons for this salad. You can substitute any bread you prefer.

I am so lucky to live in NYC and have the entire food world at my fingertips. We have many places that are a food lover's paradise and one of those places is Chelsea Market. Chelsea Market is a indoor mall that runs one entire West-East block in NYC. (if you've ever been to NYC, these are the very long cross town blocks - the equivalent of about 4 of the north-south blocks).  It's full of food stalls where you can grab a snack or even sit down and have a meal.  It also happens to be the building where the Food Network offices/studio are located upstairs. In addition, there are a number of food supply stores selling everything from seafood, dairy products, fruits and vegetables, fresh pastas, spices, teas, nuts and so much more. There are also kitchen supply stores like Bowery Kitchen where you can purchase knives, chef wear, bakeware and a variety of kitchen gadgets and utensils. If you do make it to NYC and are a foodie or maybe you live here and just never visited, here are some stores in Chelsea Market not to miss:
  • Bowery Kitchen - kitchen utensils and bakeware. Also Wednesdays and Saturdays, there is a woman out front who will sharpen your knifes for about $8/knife depending on how dull the blade is.
  • Manhattan Fruit Exchange - large variety of fruits and vegetables from all over the world as well as artisinial cheeses, pastas, spices and canned products. 
  • Buon Italia - an Italian gourmet shop for fresh and dried pastas, cured meats, large cheese selection, bottled products, grains, sweets and many other European products. You can also find fresh yeast here.
  • Spices and Tease - artisinal tea blends, spices and spice blends from around the world like Ethiopian Berber or Za'atar
  • The Nut Box - nuts, dried fruits, snack foods and grains
  • Imports from Marrakesh - a Morroccan shop where you can purchase hand made products like clothes, bags as well as tea glasses and other kitchen stuff like tagines, etc.
Now let's get to today's recipe. The vinaigrette recipe is taken from a cookbook I have called Best of the Best. It is published every year and is a compilation of the best recipes from the best cookbooks of that year. Mine is the 1998 edition. It was given to me as a housewarming gift about 13 years ago when I purchased my apartment and this is the first time I am using it, although it has many recipes I have market to try. Every time I open the book to use it, I am always lacking an ingredient or two to make the recipes that interest me. Even this recipe, I had to make a few minor substitutions. In the book, it is simply tossed with some curly endive and gruyere croutons. I paired it with the salad below I created.

The original book that this recipe came from is Martha Stewart's Healthy Quick Cook.

Before I get to the recipe, I wanted to talk a little about supreme. Supreme is a culinary term you may or may not have heard of before. It is usually used in referenced to citrus fruits. It is the process of removing the skin, pith and membranes from fruit and just retaining the fleshy fruit part. To supreme a fruit, first cut off a little bit off of each end. Now using a sharp paring or serrated knife, remove all of the skin and white pith. The next step is to go in between the membranes and remove the flesh so that you are able to remove in tact segments. You'll get a little practice as my recipe below includes grapefruit supremes.

Citrus Supreme, How to Supreme

Fennel Grapefruit Salad
Serves 2
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 3 oz. pancetta, cut into small dice (Italian bacon)
  • 4 oz. smoked mozzarella, diced
  • 10 basil leaves, chiffonade
  • 2 beets (about 1lb.)
  • 3 sprigs of tarragon leaves
  • 1 grapefruit, cut into supremes
  • 1 mini loaf Amy's Bread pancetta & black pepper (weighing about 4 1/2 oz.) - any bread can be susbstituted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
Vinaigrette Ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (original recipe used lemon juice)
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar (original recipe used white wine vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup grapefruit juice (juice from 2 grapefruits)
  • 2 tablespoons herb infused olive oil (original recipe used canola oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (original recipe used black pepper)
To make the vinaigrette, whisk lime juice, vinegar, grapefruit juice, honey, salt and pepper in a bowl. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.

Place beets in an oven safe dish tossed with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the tarragon. Cover with aluminum foil and roast for 2 hours, until tender. Let cool and peel the beets. Slice the beets.
Thinly slice the fennel.
Fry the pancetta until golden brown and crispy. Drain.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
To make the croutons, chop the mini loaf. Toss with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper.
Place in oven and toast for 15 minutes, until crispy.

Toss the fennel, basil, grapefruit, pancetta and mozzarella with the vinaigrette. Leave for at least 10 minutes to let the foods absorb the flavors of the vinaigrette.
To plate, place sliced beets on the bottom.

Add tossed fennel, etc. on top. Garnish with the croutons.

Surprisingly, this is the second recipe I've done using similar ingredients. I actually made this salad a few weeks ago and then when putting together a dynamic Recipe Index for this blog where you can now easily search for recipes by either course or culture, I discovered I had a similar salad also using beets, fennel and a grapefruit vinaigrette. However, this version is a classier, more gourmet version and this vinaigrette has a different flavor profile, so I decided to post it anyway.

If you love how these ingredients pair with each other as much as I do, you can see the previous version I did here. I'd also love to hear your feedback on the new Recipe Index. I hope it makes it easier for you to use my blog as a resource to search for a variety of recipes.

This salad is perfect to serve as a first course for a dinner party or for a romantic dinner with that special someone!

This post is for the CC Challenge of the month

...linking to Souper Sundays

Chef Mireille

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Koularakia for #Food of the World

It's time for Food of the World Again and this month we are collecting Greek recipes. Located in the Mediterranean, Greece is on the borderland between Europe and the Middle East. Elements of Greek cuisine is as similar to Italian as it is to Turkish and Persian (Iran, Iraq, etc.) Lamb is the most popular meat. Olives, dates, figs and a variety of nuts also are used often in the cuisine. A variety of aged and fresh cheeses like feta, goat cheese, mannouri and kasseri used in Greek cuisine are reminiscent of Italian cuisine as are dishes like Manestra a dish of chicken and orzo cooked with tomato and Pastitsio, pasta and ground beef baked in bechamel sauce.

Koularakia are Greek Butter Cookies traditionally served at Easter. They can be flavored with a variety of ingredients including anise seed, coriander seed, lemon, orange or ouzo. They are also sometimes topped with sesame seeds. I have used both anise and ouzo, an anise flavored liqueur in my version here.

Yield: 15 cookies
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon anise seed, ground
  • 1 tablespoon ouzo
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Topping Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a cookie sheet with non stick spray.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Using an electric mixer, beat butter until light and creamy. Add eggs and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes
Add ouzo, anise seed and flour a little at a time, until you have a thick batter.
Take a small piece of dough and roll into a rope about 10" long. Form into a U shape and then twist the strands twice. Place on prepared cookie sheet. Repeat until all the dough has been used.

Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle sugar on top.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, until you start to see some color from the bottom of the cookies.
Easter cookies

These barely sweet cookies are perfect with a cup of tea. I do need a little more practice shaping them in the traditional way as the opening on the top should not be quite so large, but these are so delicious as you break off pieces to enjoy, does the shape really matter?

These cookies have such a soft texture with the perfect crumb.
Greek Easter Cookies, Greek Butter Cookies

There's a lot more to Greek food than the Spanikopita every one knows about!

...linking to Bake Fest hosted by Sumee

Submit your Greek recipes using the Linky Tool below.
Visit our co-hosts and follow their sites:
Grab our button on my sidebar and link up your recipes.

Submissions will be accepted until August 11th, 2014. Archived recipes are welcome.

...and get ready next month when we will be doing Indian recipes to celebrate Indian Independence Day. I have almost 200 Indian recipes posted on this blog so do take a look at my recipe index here if you're looking for some inspiration for Indian recipes!!!

Chef Mireille

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