Showing posts with label Jamie Oliver. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jamie Oliver. Show all posts

Friday, March 24, 2017

Muesli in Space or at Home: Overnight Oats for Food 'n Flix March Pick: "The Martian"

It's time for Food 'n Flix again and this month I am actually not running right at the deadline for once. I actually had may dish made last week, it just took a while for me to find time to post it. Baby steps! This month we are watching the 2015 science fiction film, The Martian, starring Matt Damon and hosted by Wendy of Our Life on the Farm. (You can see her announcement post here.)

If for some reason you haven't seen it--in short, The Martian is about Astronaut Mark Watney, who is struck by debris and believed dead after a storm hits Mars and forces the Ares III to abort their mission and take off back to their orbiting space vessel. Since there are no signs of life from Watney or his suit, he is left behind and must try to survive in order to have a chance of rescue. There isn't enough food and supplies to last until a potential rescue  so Watney is forced to "science the shit" out of his circumstances and grow potatoes and ration the leftover supplies to live. The film shows his fight to survive and the attempts made by NASA to rescue him.

I watched and enjoyed this film on Netflix when it came out but this time (with a DVD from the library), I watched it for the food. In addition to the potatoes Watney grows in his improvised green house, there are mentions and glimpses of food throughout the film--not always obvious but there for the finding. Most of what I wrote down came from an inventory list that Watney was making to count up the leftover rations. I stopped and paused and wrote down the parts of the list I could see to find a dish to make. There was Breakfast: Muesli and French Toast, Lunch: Mac & Cheese, Beef Goulash, Meatballs in Tomato Sauce, and Vegetarian Soup and Dinner: including Beef Stroganoff with Noodles, Sweet & Sour Chicken, Beef Teriyaki, Meatloaf, Veg Stew, and Meatloaf with Gravy.

I decided that the start to any long day whether in space or at home is a hearty breakfast so I decided to make muesli as my dish. If you aren't familiar with muesli, it is a breakfast dish based on raw oats, grains, seeds, nuts, and dried and fresh fruit that was usually mixed with milk or yogurt and left overnight for the oats to soften, then eaten cold. Muesli was developed in the early 1900s by Swiss doctor Maximilian Bircher-Benner for patients in his hospital. The original Bircher muesli was soaked overnight with water and lemon juice and then mixed with yogurt to eat the next day.  

Muesli comes in many different styles and forms now pre-packaged and fresh, and like Overnight Oats which became popular in the blogosphere several years ago and remains fairly popular today. I am not a huge hot oatmeal fan but I go through phases where I make up batches of muesli and make overnight oats for breakfast. It is filling, easy to take on the go, keeps me satisfied for hours, and living in a climate that remains fairly warm year-round, I appreciate a cold breakfast many mornings. 

I have a few muesli recipes on the blog, including one for muesli bars but I usually make a variation from a Jamie Oliver recipe he calls Pukkolla from The Naked Chef Takes Off. I have changed it up over time and what goes in it depends entirely on what I have in the pantry but it is always delicious and although you need to plan enough to get some in the fridge the night before, it takes just a minute or two to pull out and add a few touches to have breakfast ready in the morning. 

I'm not sure how the muesli works in space--I tried to do some research and the most I could find is that the cold cereals in ration packets are usually dehydrated and a powdered milk added, then water is added when ready to eat. In this case, since I didn't have to worry about transporting it to Mars, I kept the powdered milk out and added unsweetened almond milk and Honeycrisp apple the night before, then fresh raspberries, a few coconut chips for crunch and a drizzle of maple syrup the next day for eating at home. For my-to go version--also pictured, I made it in a jar, using the grated apple and almond milk and then topped it with cacao nibs for a little crunch. (I would have added a chopped banana but I forgot to buy more!) ;-)

The base for this batch was rolled oats, ground flax, flax seeds, chia seeds, chopped raw walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and a mixture of dried fruit including golden raisins, dried cherries, dried pear and apricot and dried blueberries. 

Loosely Adapted from The Naked Chef Takes Off, Jamie Oliver
(Makes a Bunch) 

Muesli is one of the best things you can have for breakfast as it's got everything you need to kickstart your day. The great thing about this recipe that you can adjust it to your own preference with whatever fruit, nuts, milk or add-ins you want. Keep the dry muesli mix in a large airtight container. Then, the night before, pull out the portion(s) you want and add the milk and apple. Finally, as you are running out the door, you can top the muesli with some fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.

Muesli Dry Mix:
8 large handfuls of organic rolled oats
2 large handfuls of ground bran, flax seed or wheat germ (optional for extra nutritional boost)
3 handfuls of chopped dried fruits of choice (such as raisins, golden raisins, dates, dried pineapple or papaya, chopped dried apricot, dried cherries or cranberries, etc.)

1 handful of crumbled or chopped walnuts or nuts of choice 
1 handful of pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds 
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Add your oats and bran (or ground flax seed or wheat germ) to your airtight container along with the dried fruit, nuts and cinnamon. Place the lid on and shake well to mix. This dry mixture will keep for a good couple of months very happily in your airtight container, but you'll probably have eaten it by then!

The Night before: 
milk to cover (*can use non-fat milk, almond milk, soy, etc.)
1/2 crunchy apple per serving, washed and unpeeled

You can make this anytime, but letting it sit overnight (or for about 8 hours), gives it a more smooth. Place the amount of dry muesli you want to eat in a bowl or small, lidded container. (Remember the dry muesli will almost double in volume so an average serving is about 1/2 to 1/3 cup of dry mix.)

Grate in around 1/2 an apple per person, cover with your milk of choice and stir immediately to keep the apple from discoloring. Place in the fridge. 

1/2 banana per person, peeled and sliced or mashed or 1/2 cup blueberries frozen or fresh, or other fruit of choice.
honey or maple syrup to taste

Remove the container/bowl from the fridge. You will find that it has softened and thickened, so loosen with a little additional milk. Add your banana, sliced or mashed or blueberries. You will find that a lot of natural sweetness has come out of the dried fruit, so add honey or maple syrup to taste. Serve and enjoy.

Notes/Results: To me, the homey crisp apple grated in the night before is what makes the muesli--that and the assortment of seeds and fruits that are like little treasures in the mix. You can of course make it to fit you specifications and dietary needs. For example, use less fruit to reduce the sugar, add more or less nuts and fruit to control calories, use your favorite kind of milk and fresh fruit, or even stir in yogurt or nut butter for some extra protein. This one was very tasty--I had a bunch of dribs and drabs of dried fruit, nuts and seeds for granola bars and such in my pantry and so I had a lot of variety in the mix. I liked the dried pears and cherries and the pumpkin seeds the best. It makes a bunch so I have the dry mix in a container and have been noshing on it for breakfast during the week--switching out the fresh fruit topping. I will happily make this again. 

I'm linking up this post at I Heart Cooking Clubs where it is Potluck this coming week, our chance to make any recipe from our current, or any of our past featured chefs. You can see what everyone made by checking out the picture links on the post.

I'm also linking this post up to the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post

The deadline for this round of Food 'n Flix is Thursday, March 30th and Wendy will be rounding up all the dishes on her blog. If you missed this round and like food, films and foodie films, join us for April when the film pick is A Touch of Spice, hosted by Camilla of Culinary Adventures With Camilla.


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Jamie Oliver's Sesame Seared Salmon with Tahini Avocado and Shred Salad

We are featuring recipes from the always delightful Jamie Oliver this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs as part of our Monthly Featured Chef theme. I like Jamie's style, humor, and especially his number of easy, tasty, and healthy recipes. 

On his website, I loved the look of the Sesame Seared Salmon with Tahini Avocado & Shred Salad; pretty on the plate with the colorful deconstructed salad of shredded veggies, slices of salmon and an avocado half topped with a tahini dressing--and it's pretty healthy to boot

I made a few small changes to the recipe--spiralizing the veggies, swapping in zucchini for the rice noodles and cucumber, omitting the olive oil, adding a little ginger to the tahini dressing, and adding some extra lime juice. My changes are noted in red below. 

Jamie says, “As well as this delicious dish giving us three of our 5-a-day, salmon is full of vitamin D, which our bodies need for absorbing calcium, keeping our bones and teeth healthy.”

Sesame Seared Salmon, Tahini Avocado, and Shred Salad
Very Slightly Adapted from
(Serves 2)

150g/5.25oz brown rice noodles (I omitted & used zucchini)
2 limes (I used 2 1/2 limes)
2 (100g/3.5oz) salmon fillets, skin on, scaled & pin-boned, from sustainable sources
4 tsp sesame seeds
1 clove of garlic

(I added 1 tsp fresh ginger, very finely minced)
tsp tahini
1/3 of a cucumber (I used zucchini)
2 small carrots
2 raw baby beets

cress or radish sprouts
1 ripe avocado
extra virgin olive oil (I omitted)  

fresh red chilli 
fresh coriander springs (cilantro)
(I added a few lime slices to garnish)

Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions, then drain and toss in a little squeeze of lime juice. (I used my spiralizer to shred zucchini to replace the noodles and squeezed the lime juice on it and the other veggies.)

Carefully slice each of the salmon fillets lengthways into three. Scatter the sesame seeds over a board and press one side of the salmon slices into the seeds to form a crust. Place a large dry non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, and once hot, add the salmon sesame side down. Leave for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden, flip over to cook for just 1 more minute, then remove from the heat.

Peel the garlic (and ginger) and pound into a paste with a pinch of sea salt in a pestle and mortar, then muddle in the tahini, the remaining lime juice and a splash of water to make a wicked dressing. Use a box grater to coarsely grate the cucumber, carrots and beets, keeping them in separate piles and dividing between two plates. Snip and divide up the cress, then divide up the noodles. (I used my spiralizer on the veggies, omitting the cucumber as I used zucchini for the noodles.)

Halve, peel and destone the avocado and add one half to each plate, then pour the dressing into the wells and add a few drips of oil. (I omitted the oil and topped with more sesame seeds.) Lay the salmon alongside, then finely slice the chilli and scatter over with the coriander leaves. Toss everything together at the table and enjoy.

Aren't spiralized vegetables pretty?!
Notes/Results: This plate made me happy--looking at it and especially consuming it. It's colorful and has that wonderful balance of healthy but satisfying with the protein and the healthy fat of the salmon, avocado and tahini sauce. One might say, "Do you need to top an a rich avocado with a rich tahini sauce?!" And to that person I would say, "Oh, mind your own business!" Just kidding! But really, if you have never paired avocado with sesame, know that it is amazing. I sometime trickle a bit of sesame oil on top of my avocado toast and top it with sesame seeds. Mmm... Also the tahini sauce (to which I added a little ginger and some extra lime juice), is delicious on the avocado and as you eat your shredded or spiralized veggies, you can drag them through it, giving them extra flavor. I honestly didn't think it needed the extra olive oil dripped on top of the dressed avocado and although I love rice noodles, I found this dish perfectly filling without them (and extra veggies never hurt anyone). The extra lime juice is a nice contrast to the richness, so having a couple of wedges on the plate is nice and the sprouts add a peppery bite. For plating, I like the look of the piles of spiralized veggies and it's faster/easier than grating them on a box grater. I have a small, fairly inexpensive spiralizer I got from Amazon a few years ago (like this one), and although it's not fancy, it gets the job done. All and all, a terrific dish that I will happily make again. 

It's always fun to look back and see favorite recipes from our past IHCC chefs. I have close to 30 recipes from Jamie Oliver posted and while they were pretty universally delicious, below are six of my favorites.

South Indian Rice & Seafood Soup from Jamie's Dinners
Pukkolla (Muesli) from The Naked Chef Takes Off

 Eggplant and Mint Bruschette from Jamie's Italy

Tuna Ceviche in Baby Romaine Cups from Food Network

Ciabatta Sandwich of Grilled Vegetables with Pesto & Mozzarella from Jamie's Dinners

Chickpea, Leek & Parmesan Soup from Soup Kitchen (Celebrity Chef Cookbook)

You can see which Jamie Oliver dishes my fellow IHCC participants made this week by checking out the picture links on the post.

Happy Saturday!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

South Indian Rice and Seafood Soup: Creamy, Coconut & Curry for Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sundays

It occurred to me that I have not cooked along with Jamie Oliver for quite a while so I was flipping through Jamie's Dinners this week and came across his South Indian Rice and Seafood Soup. Craving something coconut and curry-flavored, this soup looked full of flavor and a good reason to open up the spice cabinet.

I did make some changes to the recipe--noted in red below. I cut the oil down by more than half and switched to light coconut milk to reduce the fat, switched to brown basmati for a bit more fiber and protein and added more garam masala spice and lime juice. Finally, I added carrot, celery and chopped baby spinach to increase the nutrients.

Jamie says, "This soup was first cooked for me by Das, my friend who runs the southern Indian restaurants in London called Rasa. I've based mine around his original recipe, and what's fantastic about it is that it's so easy to make. It only takes about 30 minutes, and the other great thing is that the ingredients are not particularly expensive, so it's economical. However, if you want to spend a little more and make it a bit luxurious using something like crab, then you can. The soup is just as good with frozen prawns and flaky white fish though. Use any selection of fish that you fancy – I like to use a good mixture of fresh-looking fish (John Dory, cod, haddock or red mullet all work well). Get it skinned and filleted, then all you have to do is chop it up. If you can find any coconut oil, use that, otherwise vegetable and sunflower oil are fine to use. This really is one of my favourite soups. It's not too hot, but as you eat it you can pick out the individual flavours. And there's something about having rice in a soup that makes it really scrumptious.

South Indian Rice & Seafood Soup
Adapted from Jamie's Dinners by Jamie Oliver
(Serves 4)

5 Tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil (I reduced to 2 Tbsp of coconut oil)
Tbsp brown mustard seeds
1 handful fresh curry leaves, picked off their stalks
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala (I used 2 tsp)
1 1/2 tsp chilli powder, or to taste
2 tsp turmeric
3 red chillies, de-seeded and finely sliced
2 large thumb-sized pieces fresh ginger, peeled and grated
6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 onions, peeled and finely chopped

(I added 1 carrot and 1 large celery stalk, diced)
2 handfuls basmati rice (I used brown basmati rice, cooked separately)

2 1/2 cups (565ml) water
1 lb 6 oz (600g) fish, from sustainable sources, skinned, filleted and cut into 2-3 inch chunks (I used frozen salmon & shrimp + fresh local kajiki/blue marlin)
2 (14 oz) cans (about 400 ml) coconut milk

(I added about 5 cups coarsely chopped baby spinach)
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 limes, juice of (I added another lime + extra wedges to serve)
1 handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
3 Tbsp freshly grated coconut (I used unsweetened coconut from the bulk bin)

Get yourself a big pan and heat up your oil, then add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, cumin seeds, garam masala, chilli powder and turmeric. Cook for a few minutes and you'll get the most amazing smells filling the room from all these spices. Then add the chillies, the ginger, the garlic and the onions. Continue cooking slowly until the garlic and onions are soft. Then add the rice and the water. (Note: Since I was using brown basmati rice which takes longer to cook, I cooked the rice separately, then added in about 5 minutes before I added the coconut milk and fish/shrimp.)

Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add your fish and the coconut milk with a little more water and a pinch of salt. Put the lid on the pan and simmer for a further 7 to 8 minutes, then stir well to break up the pieces of fish. (I added the chopped baby spinach about 2 minutes before it finished cooking.)

Taste and correct the seasoning with salt and pepper, then just before you serve it squeeze in the lime juice and stir in half the coriander. Serve in warmed bowls, sprinkle over some freshly grated coconut, if you have it, and rip over the rest of the coriander.

Notes/Results: A satisfying bowl of highly-flavored soup. Creamy, tangy and aromatic, with a healthy nudge of heat from the chillies, there is a lot going on in this bowl. The ginger and garlic come through, as does the garam masala (the extra helps) and the lime adds the bright notes at the end. I bought a kajiki (local blue marlin) fillet and intended to add it to the frozen cod and salmon in my freezer--then realized I had no cod. I subbed with some large prawns. The seafood was a good mix of textures--the shrimp firm, the kajiki, mild and a bit more flaky, and the salmon, moist and stronger flavored. The sprinkle of coconut on top is a fun textural touch. Probably my only 'complaint' was the amount of curry leaves--they don't really soften up so much so I felt like I was constantly eating around them or pulling them out of my mouth (kind of like the kaffir lime leaves in Thai soups). I think they do add another layer of flavor but, if you don't like them or can't find them, you could certainly leave them out and likely no one would notice. This soup is so thick with the rice and fish, plus the extra veggies, it makes for a filling but not too heavy meal. I would make it again.   

This is Potluck week at I Heart Cooking Clubs--the chance to make any Nigel Slater recipe or any recipe from a previous IHCC chef. You can see what everyone made by checking out the picture links on the post.

It's a quiet Easter Sunday in the Souper Sundays kitchen but we do have both a soup and a salad to share. Let's take a look.

Mireille of Chef Mireille's East West Realm explores India and shares this regional Mizo Chicken Vegetable Soup. She says, "While recipes for Mizo cuisine were hard to come by, I came across many descriptions of the food and I developed my own version of their Chicken Vegetable Soup. It is flavored with a local herb pardi, with a flavor similar to celery as well as other green leaf vegetables, particular to the region. This adapted version of the soup uses ingredients that I was able to locate here in NYC . Mizoram cuisine is characterized by being a low fat cuisine that utilizes little oil and is simply flavored with onions, garlic, ginger and chiles."

Corina of Searching for Spice made this pretty Halloumi, Vegetable and Pomegranate Molasses Salad and says, "Now, a girl can’t just live on salad, especially not when 38 weeks pregnant, and luckily I had some halloumi in the fridge. Halloumi is quite salty but because of that it goes really well with the sweetness of the pomegranate molasses and the sourness of the lemon juice.  In fact, my husband always says it reminds him of bacon! If you haven’t had pomegranate molasses before, it is quite sweet so you may want to add a little less than I did and then add more to taste afterwards. If I’d had a pomegrante at home, a few seeds sprinkled over the  top would have also made a nice addition. Oh well, next time."

Thanks to Mireille and Corina for joining in this week. If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the side bar for all of the details.
Have a happy, healthy week and Happy Easter!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Jamie Oliver's "Pukkolla" (Muesli): A Cool & Creamy Breakfast Treat + A Round Up of My Favorite Jamie Recipes

I have never been a big lover of oatmeal. It goes back to those long-standing texture issues I bring up all the time have mentioned. Lately I have been developing more of an appreciation for it. As long as the oatmeal in question isn't too wet and mushy, has a little chew-factor going for it, and has LOTS of add-ins for flavor. Also, because I live in year-round warm climate, I find I much prefer a cold, raw bowl of oats like muesli. While paging through a library copy of The Naked Chef Takes Off, I found Jamie's version of muesli which he calls Pukkolla, and thought I would give in a try.

Jamie says, "Pukkolla is my name for this outrageously scrumptious concoction. It's one of the best things you can have for breakfast as it's got everything you need to kickstart your day. Basically it's a bastardized, personally composed muesli. The great thing about it is that you can adjust it to your own preference. It's very handy to have a large plastic airtight container to store your composed pukkolla in, so try and get hold of one."

Note: I made a few changes, noted in red below, mainly changing up the fruit to dried papaya and dried pineapple, adding ground flax and cinnamon, swapping the dairy milk for unsweetened almond milk, and omitting the optional yogurt dollop and using frozen blueberries.

Adapted from The Naked Chef Takes Off, Jamie Oliver
(Makes a Bunch or as Jamie says, "Serves Many Mornings")

Composing and Preserving:
8 large handfuls of organic rolled oats
2 large handfuls of ground bran
1 handful of chopped dried apricots (I used dried, unsulphured papaya)
1 handful of chopped dried dates (I used dried, unsulphured pineapple)
1 handful of crumbled walnuts
1 handful of smashed or chopped almonds, hazelnuts or Brazil nuts (I used sliced almonds)
(I added 3 Tablespoons ground flax seed)
(I added 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon and 1 tsp ground cardamom)

Add your oats and bran to your plastic container with the apricots and dates. Add the walnuts and your other chosen nuts. I usually bash them At this point feel free to improvise, adding any other preferred dried fruits like rains, sultanas or figs--but personally I think my combination works pretty well. This will keep for a good couple of months very happily in your airtight container, but you'll have eaten it by then, I guarantee.

Making and Knocking Together:
milk to cover (I used almond milk)
1/2 crunchy apple per person, washed and unpeeled

I would definitely try to make this the night or day before you want to eat it, although it can be made at any time (but you won't get the smooth silky scrumptious texture that the milk gives it overnight). I normally place double the amount of composed pukkolla cereal I need (i.e. four portions for two people) into a bowl. Doubling up like this gives you enough to eat for the next couple of days. Cover with milk, grate in around 1/2 an apple per person and stir immediately to keep the apple from discolouring. Place in the fridge.

Tucking In and Eating:
1/2 banana per person, peeled and sliced or mashed
honey to taste
(I added frozen blueberries)

Remove the bowl from the fridge. You will find that it has softened and thickened, so loosen with a little milk. Add your banana, sliced or mashed. You will find that a lot of natural sweetness has come out of the dried fruit, so add honey to taste. Serve in a bowl with a dollop of yogurt and some mixed fresh berries.

Notes/Results: Cool, sweet, creamy and slightly chewy, these oats make a tasty and quite filling breakfast. When I make muesli or overnight oats as they are sometimes called, I never think to add grated apple, but it adds a nice crisp brightness to the oats. It makes a good quick breakfast as the oats soften all night then you just add a little more milk/almond milk in the morning and top with fruit and the small drizzle of honey or maple syrup. With the banana and blueberries on top and almost in every bite, this is an oatmeal I can enjoy. I will make this again.

Sadly, this is our final week of cooking with Jamie Oliver at IHCC. Next week we start cooking with Tessa Kiros and her beautiful cookbooks. Much as I am excited to cook with a new chef, I will miss my weekly Jamie time--we cooked well together. I thought I would follow the lead of some of my IHCC friends and share some of my very favorite Jamie dishes from the past six months. (Feel free to hum Memory from Cats or Barbara Streisand's The Way We Were as you look at them!) ;-)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Eggplant and Mint Bruschette: A Pretty in Purple Toasty Open-Faced Sandwich

I love good fresh bread with a crunchy crust and soft and slightly chewy within. I am however much too lazy to make it myself. I know people find it relaxing and zen-like, but I find that I have things I would much rather spend my timing doing--especially when it's warm and humid in the kitchen and my schedule is tight. We are celebrating bread at I Heart Cooking Clubs this week and many of our group will be "getting their yeast on." I went the quick and easy route and honored the almighty bread with the recipe for Eggplant and Mint Bruschette from "Jamie's Italy."

I used a nice fresh loaf of multi-grain, seeded bread from the farmers market, where I also picked up a couple of round Italian eggplant (also local in case you were wondering). With parsley and mint from my garden and my trusty grill pan in hand, I had a simple supper dish ready in no time.

Jamie says, "A bruschette is a kind of open sandwich and it's probably where the idea for cheese on toast originally came from."

Basic Bruschette
From "Jamie's Italy"

If you have a large loaf, cut it in half, then slice it crossways about a half-inch thick. Grill the slices on a grill or in a griddle pan until they are crisp on both sides, then lightly rub each piece a couple of times with a clove of cut garlic. Drizzle with some good extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with a tiny pinch of salt. You can eat the toasted bread just like this, but make sure the oil is the best you can find, otherwise it will never taste good.


Eggplant and Mint Topping
From "Jamie's Italy"

2 nice firm eggplants, the round purple Italian ones if possible, sliced lengthwise about 1/4-inch thick
extra virgin olive oil
white wine or herb vinegar
2 sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and finely sliced
a small handful of fresh mint, leaves picked and finely sliced
1 clove of garlic, peeled and very finely sliced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a griddle pan until nice and hot. Lay your eggplant slices on it side by side, and when they are nicely charred on both sides, put them in a bowl. You will probably need to do this in several batches. While the eggplants are grilling, put 8 tablespoons of olive oil and 3 tablespoons of vinegar, with the parsley, mint, and garlic, into another bowl and season with salt and pepper. When the eggplant are all done, add them to the dressing and mix around, then check the seasonings again and divide onto the bruschette. Press the topping into the toast so all the lovely flavor gets sucked in!

Notes/Results: A simple but delicious recipe that makes the most of a few fresh ingredients. The toasted bread soaked up the dressing (so flavorful with the mint and parsley) very well, and the thinly sliced eggplant piled up for a satisfying open-faced sandwich. Quick and easy to make, tasty and pretty to look at, I will make this again for sure.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Quick and Easy Guava-Yuzu-Vanilla Jam: We Be Jammin' Local Style

I am easily seduced by fruit. Show me a big juicy pineapple, a basket of berries, or a pile of plums, and I am getting my wallet out and buying as much as I can. Make it a big seductive display of locally-grown tropical fruit and I start drooling.

I had a chance to check out opening day of the new Ala Moana Farmers Market on Saturday and I was immediately taken with the piles of fresh. local tropical fruit available. I bought a few pieces of things I don't get to enjoy often, then zeroed in on a box of cut guava--so pretty in pink. Of course, once I starting munching, I remembered that as much as I enjoy the flavor of guava, I have some issues with the mushy texture. (Yep, those texture issues of mine raising their ugly heads again!) Not wanting my $5 /1 lb-ish box to go to waste, I decided to make something out of it that would disguise the texture but still allow me to enjoy the flavor.

It's "Condiments!" week at I Heart Cooking Clubs. I was enamoured with the Fresh Strawberry-Vanilla Jam that my pal Kim from Stirring the Pot made last week for the Back to School theme and thought the vanilla would compliment the guava nicely. Kim adapted Jamie's recipe, brightening it up with some lemon juice, and liking the idea I thought I would use the zest and juice of some of the little yuzus that I bought from the same fruit vendor for my jam.

Thus we have Guava-Yuzu-Vanilla Jam. Since September is "Eat Local Month" here on the islands and I am gearing up for another week of eating strictly locally grown and produced foods at the end of the month, I thought it would be fun to use all local ingredients for the jam. In addition to the guava and yuzu, I added sugar from Maui and a vanilla bean from The Big Island.

One "pesky" thing about guava are the many hard seeds contained within. I was doing my best to slice and clean the guava when it decided "this bites!" and just threw the guava into the pot with the yuzu juice and zest, and half of the sugar and cooked it down for the 4 minutes in Jamie's recipe. Then I let it cool just a bit and put it through a metal sieve, mashing it down to get the pulp separated. I ended up with about 1 1/2 cups of jam at that point, which I put back into the pot with the rest of the sugar and the salt and cooked it down another 10 minutes--mainly to make sure it would be thick enough. It worked and the warm jam was enjoyed on top of one of the Baker Dude's Passion Fruit Pineapple Scones (another farmers market purchase!)

I am including Jamie Oliver's recipe from the Food Network below with Kim's addition of lemon juice. In case you can't get your hands on fresh guava and yuzu, this recipe should work with most any "jam-able" fruit and citrus fruit combo.

Strawberry Guava-Yuzu-Vanilla Jam
Adapted from Jamie Oliver & Stirring the Pot
(Makes About 2 Jars)

Seeds of 1 vanilla pod
10 1/2 oz (300 g) sugar
2.2 lbs (1 kg) strawberries, washed (or fruit of choice)
1-2 Tbsp lemon juice (or citrus fruit of choice)

Run your knife down the vanilla pod scrape out the seeds and add with the pod to the strawberries and the sugar. Mush it up a bit with a whisk leaving some large chunks. Put on a medium heat to bring to a gentle simmer and leave to cook for about 4 minutes. Using a ladle remove the scum from the top and leave to cool. Place in sterilized jars and store in the refrigerator.

Notes/Results: It's mighty pink, it's sweet, tastes great, and no texture issues! I really liked the way that the jam turned out. I made a half batch and reduced the sugar down to about 1/2 cup. (That's reduced about 1 1/2 ounces from the recipe because the guava is plenty sweet.) It was excellent on the scone and some jam will hopefully end up on pancakes this weekend. I had enough jam to fill two 4 oz lidded jars, so one will be gifted to a friend. Easy and good, I would make this recipe again. Thanks for the inspiration Kim! ;-)

You can check out what condiments the other IHCC peeps made this week by going to the post here and following the links.

I am also sending this jam to the Friday Potluck over at EKat's Kitchen. It's been a while since I have joined in and Erin is celebrating the potluck's one-year "linkyversary." Congrats Erin!