Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Another idea with greens

Salmon and greens, a great combination! This a recipe for the whole family or for a dinner with friends: Swiss Chard and Salmon Pie.
Prepare the Swiss chard (you need 2 bunches): cut the leaves in strips and keep the stalks for another recipe. Put the leaves in boiling water for 3 min and then, cook them in a frying pan for 5 min with one tbsp of butter.

On a sheet of puff pastry (I buy the two sheet box of Pepperidge Farm in the frozen section), spread strips of smoked salmon (3 average-sized slices), then put the Swiss chard on top; on top of it put thick slices of fresh salmon (1/2 lb - skin off), a bit of lemon juice, 3 tbsp of sour cream, a pinch of salt and pepper. The close the pie with the second sheet of puff pastry and seal the edges. Finish by painting the puff pastry with an egg yolk.
Bake this pie for 45 min in the oven at 400F, until nicely puffed and brown.

Enjoy this pie with a green salad, to which you can add arugula, seasoned with balsamic vinaigrette.
This recipe is also very good if you substitute kale for Swiss chard, or any of the spring leaves you can find.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Greens, greens, so many greens...

With spring, all kinds of greens arrive in stores. What to do with them? Here are a couple of ideas with the ones I got yesterday : swiss chard and kale.
Before cooking them, you have to prepare them:
- cut the kale leaves and cook them in boiling water for 3 min, then fry them for 5 min.
- cut the swiss chard leaves, cut the stalks in 2 inches sticks. Cook the leaves like for kale and boil the stalks for 20 min. You can use them together or separately.
2 ideas I tried with my kids yesterday and the result was quite good, indeed: the 3 of them ate them and 2 loved it... What a success!
- First one is, again, my bechamel trick and ham or bacon you pour on the cooked vegetables. See post below with asparagus.
- Second one is closer to a quiche without a dough : mix 2 eggs, with 1/2 cup of half and half, 1/3 cup of shredded cheese like sharp cheddar or swiss cheese, pinch of salt and pepper. Pour the eggs on the cooked greens and put in the oven for 45 min (400F). If you like it, you can switch cheddar by any blue cheese. This is delicious.
Some other ideas will come soon.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Home vinaigrette : how could you live without it?

Ready-to-use vinaigrette is easy to buy and convenient, I know, and we're always in a rush... Yet, just try once to mix one teaspoon of Dijon mustard and one teaspoon of Dijon Moutarde a l'ancienne (the one with mustard seeds) ; then add 4 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar and mix vigorously and finally add 5 teaspoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt. You will not regret it!
And to avoid doing it each time you want some greens with vinaigrette, just make plenty of it and keep it in the fridge in a jam container. I always make some in advance.
This vinaigrette is delicious with simple green salad with tomato grapes and roasted pine nuts.
This my DIY vinaigrette!

Friday, April 9, 2010

How to get kids eat veggies?

With my 3 boys, every dinner is a challenge: how to get them to eat at least one veggie and, if possible, the same one. I have been trying things for years. Basically, the idea is to help them get used to the taste of vegetables and therefore associate them with things they like, such as cheese, eggs, etc....

Here are a few of the most successful ones:

The first one is to use Bechamel, a white sauce I make with parmesan. I wrote the recipe on my post about
the arrival of spring and asparagus. This white sauce can be put on boiled broccoli, leeks, cauliflower, asparagus and, if you add bacon, and put it in the oven for 15 min, most kids will love it (who doesn't love anything with bacon??). Last time I made it, two of my boys had it on broccoli and the third one on leeks.

My second one is quiche. You can use whatever you have left in you fridge: just mix 3 eggs, 1/2 cup of heavy cream, 1/2 cup of milk, 1/2 cup of shredded cheese, salt and ham or bacon and one boiled veggie, like leeks, broccoli, asparagus, spinach... Pour this mix on a ready-made pastry crust or directly in the pie pan if you don't have one and cook in the oven for 45 min at 400F.

Finally, I have been making them vegetables purees and soups for years. A trick for the puree is to boil together a medley of potatoes, carrots and zucchini, mash them with a food mill and add butter and milk. You can also add some cheddar on top of the puree and broil it for 5 min. Delicious and simple!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Let's have dinner on the deck this evening!...

... but, but, I just came home and have no idea about what to cook, for a light dinner, for a very warm evening. We call it in French, litterally, "cooking from the closet". I always have in my fridge a ready-to-use dough (like the pie crust from Pillsbury), mustard and shredded swiss cheese or sharp cheddar cheese. Very simple : you roll out the dough, on a sheet of parchment paper and put it in the pie pan ; put a thin layer of mustard (1/8 in) ; then spread slices of tomatoes, add on top 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. Put in the oven (400F) for 30 to 40 min until micely brown.

Enjoy this pie with green salad made with spring mix and a bit of arugula, tomato grapes, pine nuts previously slightly roasted with a balsamic vinaigrette.... and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Asparagus are back! Good news!

The flowers are coming so fast in my yard! and the Asparagus are spreading in the markets. My house is among those dying for asparagus. They would always eat them the same way, cold with vinaigrette.

I tried yesterday evening a new recipe, for a change : peel and boil the asparagus for 10 min ; roll 4 of them in a ham slice ; make a Parmiggiano Bechamel or white sauce (3tbsp of butter melted in a sauce pan, add 3 tbsp of flour, whip vigourously and add 2 cups of milk and cook slowly for 10min until it gets thick, then add the 1/3 cup of grated parmiggiano) ; pour this sauce on the asparagus and ham ; spread shredded swiss cheese on top and put it in the oven (400F) for 20 min and finish with 5 min broil. Delicious! Even Gabriel, my local fan of vinaigrette, loved it.

You can adapt this idea with leeks, broccolis, cauliflower or boiled endives (very French indeed).