Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Sorrel & Ricotta Bread Pudding

I know I like sorrel but I am always a little taken by surprise by just how much I like it. You could make this with spinach and a squeeze of lemon juice if you can't get any sorrel, I suppose, but sorrel really does make this a delightful and unusual treat.

As you can see, my sorrel has survived the weeds left to engulf it for the last few years, although it is looking a little subdued. I will probably not pick much more of it this year but hopefully next year it will be churning it out.

Half a pound of sorrel is a good big bunch - 5 to 6 cups loosely packed, anyhow. Like most greens it is pretty light. I did not use as much as I am calling for (I didn't have it) but I believe the larger amount would have improved this dish. It comes across like a rather solid soufflé and a salad was just the thing to round out the meal.

4 servings
1 hour - 15 minutes prep time - add a few minutes to rest

Sorrel & Ricotta Bread Pudding

225 grams (1/2 pound) fresh sorrel
3 or 4 green onions
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 cups cubed stale bread
450 grams (1 pound) ricotta cheese
1 cup milk
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon rubbed rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
150 grams (5 ounces) old Cheddar cheese

Wash, trim and chop the sorrel. Wash, trim and chop the onions. Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, and add the sorrel and onions when it is melted and bubbling. Cook briefly, stirring frequently, until the sorrel has all turned colour and wilted down. Remove the sorrel and onions from the pan and spread them out to cool.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F.  Lightly butter an 8" x 10" shallow baking (lasagne) pan.

Cut the bread into cubes. Mix the ricotta, milk, and eggs in a mixing bowl with the rosemary, salt, and pepper. Stir in the bread crumbs and the cooled vegetables and spread the mixture in the baking pan.

Grate the Cheddar and sprinkle it over the top. Bake the casserole for 45 to 50 minutes, until puffed all over. Let rest a few minutes before serving.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Grilled Flat Iron – Make the Steak, Not the Mistake

Well, at least I don’t have to type the ingredient amounts for this could’ve-been-delicious, flat iron steak. I thought for sure maple syrup, coffee, and bourbon would be great together, but it turns out they weren’t even good together. 

Okay, they were bad. It reminded me of some daily special, gone really wrong, at one of those strip mall steakhouses. Luckily, we have several excellent marinades that will work perfectly with this great steak, and I will list a few below. 

Like I said in the video, the real point was to share what a great cut of beef flat iron is for the grill. It checks all the boxes, and requires virtually no trimming. Plus, and very ironically, it’s especially good for absorbing marinades.

So, enjoy this with your favorite pre-grill meat soak, or check out one of the following links. Regardless, I really hope you give flat iron steaks a try soon.  Enjoy!

Here are some marinade recipes that would be perfect for this:

Crispy Chicken Salad

Oh dear, chicken two days in a row.  Forgive me!  I had some chicken breasts that I wanted to use up and I did not want to freeze them, so here you go, chicken two days in a row.   Two very different prepartions however!  But, this is also somewhat light and healthy and perfect for a light summer supper!

I don't know how it works, but slicing chicken breasts in half horizontally always seems to tenderize them, and of course it quickens the cook time, so this is also a supper that is very quick to put on the table!

The only faffy part is the panĂ©-ing of the chicken.  ( A fancy French word for breading.) But even that isn't too difficult.

I use a vegetable peeler to cut my carrots into ribbons.   They give a nice look.   I also de-seed the tomatoes for this type of salad, when you don't want the tomato seed/juices diluting the dressing.

There's plenty of Parmesan cheese in the breading and then again in the dressing . . . giving it a lovely creaminess that goes very well with the tartness of the lemon.  Lemon and Parmesan . . .  a brautiful combination.

You can really stream-line things by using store bought breaded chicken if you wanted something really fast, but I happen to think those types of things are pretty tasteless.  I would rather bread my own . . . .

You can also use a ready-mix of salad leaves, but again . . .  I mix my own.  I would rather do it myself, wash it myself, mix it myself.  I find those store mixed leaves have a rather odd taste to them, and they don't last very long either. It seems you no sooner open a pack and they are going off!  In any case.  Give this a go.  I think you will really like it.

*Crispy Chicken Salad*
Serves 4

Crisp coated chicken served on a bed of salad greens with a punchy Lemon & Parmesan Dressing.  What's not to like? 

For the Salad:
6 cups of salad leaves
1 medium carrot, peeled and shaved
1 cucumber, trimmed and sliced
1 large tomato, cored and chopped
For the dressing:
3 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 TBS heavy cream (can also use sour cream, creme fraiche or plain yogurt)
2 TBS finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 TBS extra virgin olive oil
For the chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast portions
sea salt and black pepper to taste
45g plain flour (1/4 cup)
1 large free range egg
180g panko bread crumbs (1 1/2 cups)
90g finely grated Parmesan Cheese (1/2 cups)
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS butter

 Cut the chicken breasts horizontally into two pieces each.  Pound lightly between some cling film.  Season lightly on both sides with salt and pepper.  Place the flour for the chicken into a shallow bowl. Whisk the egg in another shallow bowl.  Combine the bread crumbs and cheese in another shallow bowl.  Dip each chicken first into the flour, shaking off any excess, then into the egg and then into the breadcrumb mixture, pressing firmly to coat well on each side.

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Have ready a baking sheet. 

Heat half of the oil and butter together in a large skillet.  Once the butter begins to foam, add half of the chicken pieces.  Fry until golden brown on both sides, taking about 2 minutes per side.  Transfer to the baking tray.  Wipe out the skillet and repeat with the remaining chicken and oil/butter. When all have been browned and placed onto the baking tray, pop the tray into the heated oven and cook for a further 6 to 8 minutes until cooked through.  Remove from the oven and set aside. 

Make the dressing by whiksing the lemon juice, garlic, cream, cheese and seasoning together until smooth.  Whisk in the olive oil slowly until creamy.  Set aside. 

Mix the salad ingredients together in a bowl.  Add half of the dressing and toss to coat. Divide between 4 chilled plates.  Top each with a portion of chicken and drizzle the chicken with a bit more dressing.  Serve immediately.

This was beautiful enjoyed out on the patio beneath the umbrella with a nice breeze ruffling the hair. Todd is not such a salad freak, but I added a baked potato for him and he was happy.  Bon Appetit!


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