Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Magret (duck breast), chard and chestnuts

You know those days when you are strolling around the supermarket and find yourself staring at something that you never tried before but heard good things about?

Well, I've had one of those moments the other day. I got duck. More specifically, magret.  Duck breast with a layer of fat. And I had no idea what to do with it.

Here we have a word for these eats, heerlijk. Said heerleeyk.That means divine, but with a lot more foodie appeal. Not that you only can use it for food. It's the way it tastes when you say. Divine sounds more like you are talking about a great piece of music. Or a dress.

Having an nearly endless stream of chard in the garden in this wonder-full fruitful summer, featuring a couple of days of rain and a couple of days of sun and everything all over again - mainly the sun - which veggie wouldn't be excited?

And I figured out the chestnuts I picked and dried last fall were just the perfect starch for this simple but taste bursting meal :-) I'll teach you the best way I found to do that chestnut thing in fall. Now you can find it at a spanish shop (I saw them in the little shop in the little village in Andalucia for the first time like this).

Anyway, here is the recipe:

Magret de canard with chards and chestnuts

Yield: 2 richly filling servings

  • 1 magret
  • 1 cup dried chestnuts, peeled, pick similar sized ones
  • 1 lb chards, chopped
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, mashed
  • 1 tsp herbes de provence
Cooking Directions
  1. Rub the magret with the herbs and a bit of salt on all sides.
  2. Start cooking the chestnuts, and boil them for 45 minutes or until soft as you like; wait to drain.
  3. Heat a pan on the lowest heat setting, and let the fatty part of the magret sit there and grease it a little.
  4. Change the setting to high and check after a couple of minutes.
  5. Turn it around when it is dark brown.
  6. Let the other side brown just as much and remove from the fire.
  7. Meanwhile, fry the coriander in 1-2 tbsp lard or what you wish a little bit in the medium setting.
  8. Add the chard, stirring until it wilts.
  9. Drain the chestnuts.
  10. Serve :-)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Veggie nasi goreng - big batch for freezing

Nham :-)

I have always been crazy about fried rice. Having eaten about a truckload of it, I never imagined how much this version would spin me around like we were dancing for a competition.

I actually got to know this one when sleeping over at a friends who lives on gluten (and I barely eat any), and to my surprise he wasn't going to let me live on eggs this time. And that was the start of a passionate love affair (with the nasi goreng I mean :-) ). I had the leftovers the next morning, sizzled in the butter from frying the omelette, and my dear breakfeast was born. By the way, if you want to make a failproof omelette, check this out.

This batch will yield loads of food, so make it for a party or freeze it (or both,depending on the size of the party or the freezer); you can also make 1/4 of it for a regular amount, then use only 1 bell pepper of your choice). Please don't hurt yourself converting everything to perfection; if making 1/4 us 1 clove of garlic on the bigger side and so on.

Veggie nasi goreng

  • 2kg (4lb) rice
  • 9 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 yellow bell peppers, chopped
  • 5-15 seeded chilis
  • 2 thin leeks, or one regular, sliced (as thick as the flesh of the bell pepper, I wish I had done that)
  • 5-9 carrots, chopped in thin strips or coarsely grated
  • 1kg (2lb) frozen peas
  • 250g (9 oz) soy sprouts (tauge)
  • 1/2 cup kecap manis (I didn't have it, used soy sauce)
  • 3 tbsp turmeric
Cooking Directions
  1. Cook the rice in a giant pot, as instructed here - it will tak longer because of the great volume
  2. Let it cool until at least body temperature (you might want to transfer it to a giant bowl/fridge drawer if you have one). In the meanwhile chop the rest. You might want to ask help :-)
  3. Add the coconut oil to the giant pot, adding the onions and garlic, fry them a bit and then add all the peppers, the leek and the carrots.
  4. Keep stirring and frying until the leek greens look brighter.
  5. Add peas and keep frying.
  6. After 1-2 minutes, add the soy sprouts and the rice (if it is too much for the pot, keep only half or a quarter of the veggies in there, repeating with the rest later.
  7. Fry everything adding the kecap manis (or half or a quarter depending on how much veggies).
  8. Repeat if needed.
  9. Not all the rice needs to be fried, but certainly half and the best is at least two thirds. Stir everything very well with the remaining rice.
  10. Let it cool completely and then freeze in freezer bags.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Spanakopita, Greek spinach pie

New camera :-) Thanks Els!

I have always been crazy about phyllo dough, which I first had as a sweet (I think it was a banana pie). I never got over it. It is visible on how often I make spanakopita.

Can you imagine someone baking spinach pie 3 times in a week?

That's me, when I like something I have to make it for days in a row until the juice runs out, and then I forget about it for a month or a year. It costs my husband's enthusiasm with certain dishes sometimes (buckwheat soup again???) but I can't help it, it takes over me. One thing I know it will stay in in my kitchen repertoire is buckwheat, but it will certainly be easy to tell each buckie recipe apart. When I make spinach pie it is always mostly the same.

Anyway, I made this a lot whn I was pregnant (my husband got enthousiast for longer than usual, because, well, it is spinach and crumbly feta wrapped around with a soft-in-the-middle-crunchy-in-the-top layer of phyllo dough. Loads of spinach. Tastes nely cheesy. It's a pie. What else could you ask?

Eggs. The eggs hold the spinach together so it doesn't jump in all directions when you bite. It's a clean pie, of the kind you can eat with your hand sitting on a park and not thinking very much about the fact that your pants are white. You can never forget that your pants are white, just admit it. Whatever you eat or drink will rmind you even more. Except for this pie, when you get used to it and trust it like your best friend.

I have no idea where I got this recipe from, I'm sure it was on the internet though; it was a year and a half ago so it's pretty hard to remember; whoever posted it, thanks!

I've added fenugreek and halved the amount of phyllo (I find it just as nice with three layes but the traditional recipe says six, see what you prefer).

I just ate half the pie. Be warned.

Spanakopita (Greek spinach pie)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fenugreek
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 3 onions
  • 750g (25 oz) spinach, blanched, or frozen and thawed
  • 225g (8 oz) feta cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 3 phyllo dough sheets, fresh or frozen and thawed
Cooking Directions
  1. Squeeze all the water you can from the spinach (and drink it, it's healthy). This is very important to avoid a soggy bottom; if it is your thing thn squeeze almost all the water, otherwise it becomes soupy.
  2. Fry the onions and the fenugreek until the onions are transparent, stirring constantly.
  3. Add nutmeg and spinach and keep stirring. Don't add salt, the feta will take care of that.
  4. Let it cool and meanwhile prepare the dough.
  5. Phyllo is very delicate, separate them carefully. Nobody is going to care about a couple of rips though (I ripped mine big time on this batch, it is still awesome).
  6. Melt the butter and brush it with a culinary brush into one of the phyllo sheets, or with your fingers, very gently. Make sure it is well spread.
  7. Put another layer of phyllo on top.
  8. Repeat.
  9. Transfer the three layers of phyllo to a round baking pan, open, with thcenter of the phyllo in the center of the pan with 22 cm (9 in) diameter (can be square too but round looks better; I've made both).
  10. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).
  11. Add the feta to the spinach, mashing everything with your hands (the next time you make it I'm sure this step will drive you crazy, thinking of what is about to come)
  12. When the mixture is cold, add the eggs, mixing it with everything (for that I use a fork).
  13. Add that to the center of the phyllo dough, spreading it evenly.
  14. Wrap the tips of the phyllo around the top of the filling. it doesn't need to cover everything.
  15. Bake it for 50 minutes (check at 45)
  16. Serve and enjoy!

Friday, July 4, 2014

How to make the perfect omelette, every time

There is nothing better than nasi goreng leftovers and an omelette for breakfeast.

Yes, breakfeast. Started as a typo but i just realized that maybe whoever wrote the word first, this one, had a serious typo. It's just the best meal of the day (alright, dinner too...). I can't grasp that I grew up eating white bread with margarine for breakfast. These things you just don't do to yourself. Do yourself justice.

Anyway, eggs will keep you full and load you with protein so you can have a great active day without craving food after two hours, and a nasi goreng loaded with veggies will help you in the kick. The rice is just yummy :-) I fry the omelette, put it in my plate, and follow with addind the nasi goreng to the hot, buttery pan and let it sizzle for a bit while stirring, and smelling all the warm spicyness in the air.

I had a lot of unintentional scrambled eggs before I saw Kris, a friend of our best friend making an omelette; I based my method on his (it's almost the same). Thanks :-)

The perfect omelete recipe (amount per person)

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 bit salt
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • A bit of filling (optional)
  • A spatula
  • A skillet, plain, inclined sides, flat bottom. Very important!
Cooking Directions
  1. Add butter to the skillet, enough to cover the pan bottom with minimal swirling.
  2. Beat the eggs in a bowl with a tiny bit of salt. Make it 3 at a time if you are making for more people to ensure equally sized omelettes.
  3. When the butter is very hot (after it has been crackling for a while, careful to not to burn too much (a bit is fine), pour the beaten eggs in and wait until it's almost completely solidified.
  4. Add then the fillings of your choice if any. If you want to fold the omelette, add fillings only to half of it. You can even make an omelette pizza with tomato sauce, cheese and whatever :-)
  5. If you want to fold, this is the time. If you want flip, throwing it in the air, do it at your own risk - better train with pancakes first until you get the hang of it, they don't break as easy.
  6. Let it fry a few seconds more (if with cheese, make sure it's melted)
  7. Slide a spatula underneath to make sure it's all loose and slide into your plate.
Enjoy! What is your favorite omelette filling?