Saturday, June 30, 2007

Updated - goat cheese lasagne!

This recipe is one I change every time I make it (like the zucchini in the photo), but this is the basic recipe. It uses mostly goat cheese, which is high in protein, and adds carrots to the tomato sauce for added nutrition and rounder flavor. And...(drum roll, please!) I figured out the nutritional information here.

10-12 lasagne noodles
2 cups tomato puree
1/4 cup cooked carrot puree
2 1/2 cups frozen spinach, thawed
4-6 rounds of fresh goat cheese (chevre)
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella
4 cloves garlic, crushed
Italian seasonings

Mix together goat cheese, spinach and garlic.

In a separate bowl, mix the tomato and carrot puree with 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning and 1 tsp sugar. Taste, adding more seasonings if needed.

In a baking dish spread a layer of tomato sauce, then as follows:

cheese mixture
tomato sauce
cheese mixture
tomato sauce

Repeat until all ingredients have been used. Top with mozzarella. Bake at 350 degrees until bubbly and golden.

Fiesta pizza

2 pita bread rounds (or tortillas)
1/2 cup cooked ground beef with taco seasoning
1/3 cup salsa
1 red pepper, seeded and sliced
1/4 cup corn
1 small onion, chopped
black olives (opt)
shredded Gouda, Monterrey Jack or Cheddar cheese

Spread the salsa on the pita rounds, going to within 1/2 inch from the edge. Top with shredded cheese, then ground beef. Add remaining toppings. Broil until cheese melts and starts to brown.

Broccoli turkey bake

I was going for a good comfort food recipe, and found it. :)

1 lb turkey breast tenders
2-3 cups broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 cups cooked rice
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup frozen, sliced mushrooms
1 cup milk
1/3 cup light cream (15 percent)
1/4 cup porto wine (opt)
1/2 to 1 cup shredded Gouda (or other mild cheese)
1 Tbsp butter
2-3 cloves crushed garlic
2 cubes chicken bouillon
Salt and pepper

Cook rice and quinoa.

Steam the broccoli until just bright green.

Slice turkey into bite-sized pieces. Cook in butter over medium heat until white all the way through. Add garlic, porto and mushrooms and cook until half of liquid evaporates. Add milk, cream, bouillon, pinch of thyme and two dashes rosemary. Once it begins to thicken, stir in cheese until melted.

In a large baking dish, stir together rice, quinoa, sauce, and broccoli. Spread out evenly, then broil 5-10 minutes until browned.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Tomato basil salad

Very simple, very good.

2-3 ripe tomatoes, washed and sliced
1 onion, sliced
1-2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1-2 tsp olive oil or Pampered Chef Basil Blend Oil

Put all in bowl and toss to coat. Chill, and voila! Also good with mozzarella cubes.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Poulet Yassa - the tutorial

Poulet Yassa is a spicy, lemon dish with chicken (poulet, in French) and carmelized onions served over rice. Originally Senegambian, Yassa has become popular throughout West Africa. Visitors to Senegal love Yassa - can't get enough Yassa! It's so good that we actually served this at our wedding rehearsal dinner!

Chez Mamy's in Dakar

2 lbs chicken pieces (or one chicken leg per person)
2 lbs onions, chopped or sliced (at least 2-3 medium onions per person)
4-5 sliced carrots (not traditional yassa ingredient, but we like it)
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp bouillon
black pepper
dried hot peppers or hot pepper sauce (we use Scotch Bonnet)
2-3 lemons (juice)
6 cups cooked rice
Sliced green peppers and tomatoes

Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces carefully. Cook until browned and juices run clear, about 15-20 minutes. Flip occasionally to keep from overcooking.

Fried chicken waiting...

As chicken cooks, slice onions into thin "smiley faces".

Once chicken is cooked, put it aside on a plate lined with paper towels.

Cutting the onions takes a while, but don't skimp! They cook down a lot!

Save 1/2 oil. Reduce heat to lowest setting. Add onions and sauté very slowly (2 hours absolute minimum) until caramelized and light yellow in color. Stir the onions every 15 minutes or so. If after 30 minutes they don't look very different, you've probably got the heat on just right. At an hour they should just begin to be translucent. At two hours they should be floppy. Keep going! But don't turn up the heat. The slower, the better. Really good Yassa needs at least six hours!

Onions after about 30 minutes

Onions after about two hours

Onions after about three hours

Once the onions are completely carmelized, add Dijon, lemon juice, bouillon, hot pepper, salt, and pepper. (This is where we add cooked, sliced carrots.) Turn up the heat to med-low. Let simmer for about an hour, stirring and tasting every 15 minutes until just how you want it.

Sauce Maggi and Dijon mustard

Here's a tasting guide:
- If too bland, add bouillon and Dijon
- If not too lemony, add just a bit more
- If not quite spicy enough, slowly add more pepper and hot pepper sauce
- If you have sauce Maggi, use it!
- some people add a few Tbsp vinegar and/or soy sauce

Add chicken 15 minutes before serving, or sooner if you want the meat to fall off the bones.

Serve over white rice and top with freshly sliced veggies.

The final version - modified a la Masson

Yogurt cake

This cake recipe, 'gateau au yaourt', is often taught to French children who are just learning to cook. It's very much like a sour cream pound cake, but you can play with the flavors by using different fruited yogurts. For this batch I made cupcakes, used pineapple yogurt, and added a half of a cherry on top. (We don't like pineapple yogurt, so rather than alternating who has to eat the one out of six-pack that is, we just freeze them. When I want to make this cake, I pull one out to thaw.)

Pour 1 pot of yogurt, the flavor of your choice, in a mixing bowl. Now use the yogurt cup as your measuring tool.

2 yogurt cups flour
1 1/2 yogurt cups sugar
1/2 yogurt cup oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 t vanilla
Orange or lemon zest (opt)

In a large bowl mix together yougurt, sugar and oil. Beat in the eggs and stir in vanilla. In a small bowl mix flour and baking powder. Stir it into the yogurt mixture. Add zest, if using.

Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until browned and knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Veggie quesadilla

2 flour tortillas
1 cup frozen broccoli, thawed
6-8 slices sun-dried tomatoes
sliced mushrooms
shredded Gouda cheese (or Cheddar)
sour cream (opt)

Lay the tortillas flat on a plate. On half of each, layer veggies and top with cheese. Microwave for 30 seconds on high, more if needed. Serve with sour cream.

Summer fruit crisp

3-4 peaches or 7-8 apricots
2 handfuls sweet cherries or summer berries
1/2 cup flour
1 cup oats
1/2 cup sugar
tiny pinch salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
dash ground cloves
1/4 cup butter, chilled

Cut the fruit in half, removing the pits. Cut the larger fruit into 1/2 inch slices.

Layer the fruit in a baking dish. Sprinkle with 1-2 Tbsps sugar. In a bowl, mix the flour, remaining sugar, salt and cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Slice the butter into chunks and mix it into the dry ingredients until it looks like pea size crumbs. Sprinkle crumbs over fruit.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in preheated oven at 350 degrees, until lightly golden.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Coming soon...

A step-by-step Poulet Yassa tutorial!

Come and get it, toubabs.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sun-dried tomato and spinach white pizza

1 thin pizza crust
1 1/2 cups cooked, chopped spinach
3/4 cup sour cream (creme fraiche in France)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup shredded mozzarella
sun-dried tomatoes

In a bowl, mix spinach, cream and garlic.

Make and bake pizza crust. After flipping, spread spinach mix on top evenly. Top with mozzarella and tomatoes.

Bake 10 minutes or until cheese begins to brown. Slice and serve!

'Sun' dried tomatoes

I decided to try making my own sun-dried tomatoes after seeing how much a jar costs at the store - and the fact that the store variety are packed in oil. Why add fat to such a great flavor?

The instructions I used recommended plum tomatoes, but I just went for the least expensive pile and picked out the darkest red ones. My selection of 8 medium-sized tomatoes (about $2) dried down to about 1 cup in the end. A jar of that size is about $4.50 here, so not a bad deal. Plus - no oil!

On the downside, it is time-consuming. Preparing them takes a minute or two, but they need to dry for 6-8 hours.


Wash and dry your tomatoes.

Slice into 1/2 inch thick rounds.

Place on a baking sheet.

Bake at 200 degrees, flipping every hour or so, until the texture of soft raisins.

The slices on the outside may dry first. Just pull them out and let the others keep drying.

Store in airtight container in the fridge.

Citrus spice banana bread

1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup mashed banana
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp soda
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Cream butter and sugar in a bowl. Add eggs and beat well. Stir in banana, orange juice and zest.

In a second bowl, mix dry ingredients. Add dry to wet and stir until just mixed.

Pour into paper-lined muffin cups, filling 2/3 full. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Baked chicken fingers

A healthy alternative to fried chicken fingers
1 lb chicken bosoms, cut into strips
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 pinches paprika
1 Tbsp oil
Grease a baking sheet with oil.
In a bowl, mix flour, salt and paprika. Dip the strips into egg first, then into flour mixture. Lay the strips on the baking sheet.
Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until browned.