Archive for ‘Portable Dishes’

May 25, 2011

Wheat Berry and Lobster Salad

This is another recipe that was on my Must Try List and that I had been really looking forward to trying. I guess I was waiting for the perfect opportunity to arise. An opportunity such as having some beautiful leftover lobster meat to use it in.

You see, the other night when we had our “summer kick-off” steaks, there was also lobster, but there was no way I could eat mine: it was wayyyyy too much food!!  So I ended up cleaning it and putting it away, knowing EXACTLY what I was going to do with it! I thought it would work perfectly with this salad

AND I THOUGHT RIGHT!!

This salad was just plain insane. In fact, I think I would buy lobster just to do it again! Of course, I guess, if lobster was  not available, shrimp would probably work fine too, but I am telling you, the chewiness of the lobster matched that of the wheat berries just beautifully! And the flavor combination was also superb.

Heidi’s recipe called for carrots but I decided to use orange bell peppers instead. Same color, different texture and taste. It turned out to be an excellent choice. It too, matched the lobster quite well.

The best thing about this salad is that if you have all the ingredients ready, it really comes together in no time. 10 minutes and you’re done. Sure, wheat berries do take a long time to cook, but the trick is to do them ahead of time, then you’re all set!

I guess the best way to go about it is to cook your wheat berries the previous day. Put them to soak in the morning before you leave for work, then cook them in the evening while you are making supper (they require no attention whatsoever, so they won’t even disrupt your schedule) and leave them in the fridge to cool until the next day (or until you are ready to use them… just don’t wait a month, you know!).

And if you have never tried wheat berries before, this, right here, is the perfect excuse for you to give them a go!

INGREDIENTS
(serves 1)

Salad

  • The meat of one lobster, cooked and cooled
  • ½ cup wheat berries, cooked and cooled
  • ½ orange bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 large stalk of celery, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Dressing

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp za’atar (or dried oregano)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • Pinch black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. [The previous day] Soak wheat berries for 8 to 12 hours, then drain, rinse and cook in salted water (at least 4 parts water to 1 part berries) in a pot for an hour to an hour and a half, until chewy but tender and all water is absorbed.  Cool completely before adding to the salad.
  2. Chop veggies and lobster meat in small bite sized pieces and mix all together in a medium sized bowl.
  3. Mix together dressing and pour over the salad.
  4. You can serve this immediately or refrigerate for a half hour to an hour to allow flavors to fully develop.

May 6, 2011

Rustic Salmon Pie

My daughter baked this one while I was at work, so when I came home, it was all done and ready to eat.

As soon as I set foot in the doorway, I was floored. I just could not believe the smell that was emanating from my oven. I tell you, chocolate cake itself has NOTHING on that one. It was UN-BE-LEE-VA-BLE! I thought I had just died and went to heaven. Seriously, I never thought salmon pie could smell THAT good!

I think it has a little bit to do with the crust. This one is now my official alternative to pie crust. The fact that it was my daughter who made it probably helps too… you see, I think she has a special gift when it comes to making pie crust. Hers is always soooo much better, and this time was no exception. I mean, the thing was almost flaky, despite the fact that it contains close to no fat! I don’t know how she does it, but I sure wish she would share her secret! 😉

As for the filling… oh my yum! All those chunks of tender potatoes, and big pieces of salmon, the subtle taste of the cheese, the occasional crunch from the peas and corn, all this brought together by the creaminess of the potatoes that were mashed with buttermilk and plain yogurt. OOOOH! Wow. I’ve never tasted salmon pie that good before. From now on, for me, THIS, is salmon pie. Let’s just say that never again, I will wonder what to do with that leftover salmon!!!

And you know what the best part is? I think even Mr. Shy Salmon realized just how good a dish he had just served in creating, because this time, he accepted to pose proudly for the camera! YAY!!! (although my batteries did die half-way through the shoot and I had to give them a quick charge… did anybody say jinx?)

I chose to serve this with a super quick and easy fennel salad. I shall give you that recipe in a separate post.

 Ingredients
Serves 6

Crust

  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg

Filling

  • 700g (about 6-7) Yukon Gold potatoes, skin on, quartered
  • 500g cooked salmon
  • 1 cup low fat plain yogurt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup frozen corn
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 100g sharp cheddar cheese, grated

 

Instructions

Crust

  • Whisk flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk oil, milk and egg; pour over flour. Stir to form fairly smooth dough. On floured surface, knead until smooth, 2 minutes. Press into disc; wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Filling

  • Preheat oven to 375F
  • Cook potatoes in salted boiling water until nice and tender. Drain and transfer them to a large mixing bowl.
  • With a potato masher, give them a quick smash but don’t over do it. You want really chunky mashed potatoes.
  • Add plain yogurt, buttermilk, salt, pepper, parlsey, peas and corn. Stir gently until well combined.
  • Very delicately fold grated cheese and cooked salmon into the potato mixture. You want to have nice big chunks of salmon.

Assembly

  • On floured surface, roll out dough to form a 18 inch disc. Fit into greased (brush with olive oil) 9 inch cast iron skillet, letting excess hang over edge.
  • Mound filling in center; lift pastry up over filling, letting it fall naturally into folds and leaving 2-3 inch opening in the center. Brush dough with egg white, sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  • Bake in bottom third of oven until pastry is golden and filling is steaming, about 45 minutes. Let stand for 10 – 15 minutes before cutting into wedges.

April 30, 2011

Creamy Cheesy Cranberry Pine Cone (and sucky run…)

I went for a run this morning. A teenny, weeny, should be easy 6.6km run. Pfft, that’s peanuts, right? NO WAY! It was extremely hard and extremely disappointing.

You know that feeling when you want to give it your all, your brain is all up for it, but your body just won’t follow? You’re like GOOOO BODY GOOOOO and it’s like, NOPE, don’t wanna and you can’t make me. I hate that. It has to be one of the most frustrating feelings in the world. Well, this morning was 42 minutes and 10 seconds of EXACTLY that. I could never manage to run for more than 3 consecutive minutes, then I’d have to walk for one. My heart rate would get way high in no time at all! I’d walk and get it down to 145-150, then as soon as I’d start running again, it would get back to 175-180. One cannot sustain that kind of intensity for too long, now, can they? And it’s not like I was running fast either. I was trying to keep it slow and steady. To no avail. AAAAARGH! Frustrated. That’s where I’m at now.

But, while I am extremely disappointed with my body’s performance, I have to see this as one hell of a HIIT. That was 42 minutes of it right there! BUT, that won’t get me running a marathon efficiently! Hopefully next time will be better.

On a completely different subject, remember the creamy cheesy pine cone I made for Easter? I did say that it was so good, it was worthy of getting its own post. Well, I am finally giving it to the little fellow, sort of… He only has to share with my morning run frustration. I’d say he’s getting a not so bad deal. Much better than having to share with all the decadent food from the original post, don’t you think? Plus, to me, it really qualifies as feelgood food, so it does belong here. Big time! I wish I still had some. That would make me feel better!

Now for the recipe:

  • 8 oz low fat cream cheese
  • ½ cup low fat sour cream
  • The zest of one orange
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 75-100 perfect pecan halves (to make the pine cone effect)

Directions

  1. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (an electric mixer would also work), whip cream cheese and sour cream on medium speed until well incorporated, smooth and creamy in texture, about 2-3 minutes. It might help to have the cream cheese at room temperature before you start.
  2. Incorporate the rest of the ingredients and continue mixing on low speed until well combined, about 30-45 seconds.
  3. Turn onto final serving plate and shape into a teardrop. Cover with a plastic film and, ideally, refrigerate until the next day. This will allow flavours to fully develop.
  4. You might want to wait until the last minute to cover with pecans to avoid them going soft on you. Also, you might want to take your teardrop shaped creamcheese  mixture out of the fridge about an hour or two before you are ready to start laying the pecans so it softens up a bit. Pecans will stick better to cheese that is closer to room temperature.
  5. Start layering the pecan halves at the tip and keep shingling until you get to the top. The first rows will lay flat against the cheese but they will be more and more upright as you move towards the end. This will happen naturally, don’t worry. Just keep them nice and tight and use the best pecans you can find.
  6. Decorate with a few pine branches.

Side note… I think this could easily be made into a pineapple… using the pineapple top instead of pine branches and some of the flesh in the cheese mixture instead of cranberries. I will have to come up with something, but I really like the idea and flavor combination. Stay tuned!