Lately, you could say I've been cooking up a storm. Rainy season concluded with a bang (and a boom and a pow!) with the worst storm to hit Gulu in the past four years. Being from Florida, which ranks first for thunderstorms in the United States, I was used to them. While I wouldn't exactly describe them as creature comforts, they were a nice reminder of home when I moved to Uganda.
The World Meteorological Society reports that Uganda's capital city, Kampala, has more lightning annually than any other city in the world. Gulu is in northern Uganda, and although the storms might not be quite as powerful as in Kampala, they've certainly left us much more powerless.
After storms like this, trees and power lines cover the streets and power may not be back for two weeks. This means a few things. Given that Africa time is slower than molasses, it will more likely be out for a month. This also means I probably should avoid stepping on the live wires outside my house. But as scary as electrocution sounds, it isn't as terrifying as this: no power means no hairdryer.
Being without power has meant one thing – I'm all about preserving the things that are important to me. First, of course, is my hair – I'll try for as long as I can to preserve my last blow dry by putting baby powder on my greasy roots. Next would be to preserve my sanity. Life can get really boring without electricity but I've found cooking really helps. This leads me to the last thing I'm trying to preserve – good food.
When I'm without refrigeration, I can only make things that won't spoil overnight. So losing power means there could not be a better time to start experimenting with preservemaking!
There is a Meyer lemon marmalade I have always wanted to try making but unfortunately Meyer lemons haven't made their way to Uganda. Instead, after exploring the vegetable market, I decided to experiment with what is here – a curious citrus that looks like a lime but tastes like a lemon and some ginger.
Ginger Citrus Marmalade
4 cups citrus, chopped
4 cups sugar
4 cups water
1/2 cup coarsely grated ginger
Cut citrus into segments, removing all membranes, pith and seeds (this will add the pectin that thickens the marmalade). Place them into a piece of *cheesecloth and tie it up. Add citrus segments, ginger, water and pectin bag to a pot and boil over medium high heat until the segments are soft (about 35 minutes).
Take mixture off the stove and remove the pectin bag. When the bag has cooled, squeeze it over the pot to remove any remaining pectin.
Add sugar and return the mixture to the stove. Boil for about 35 minutes but you may want to keep your eye on it after 15. It should reach 220 degrees F. and be thickened. Serve when cool.
*Trick of the Fare Trade If you find yourself in a place where the amount of people combating mosquitoes outnumber those experimenting with cheese making, a cut up mosquito net can be used as a substitution for cheesecloth. Just be 100% sure the mosquito net was not treated with DEET.
About the Author: Layla Eplett has always been curious about food. At the age of five, she shoved peas up both her nostrils in a misguided attempt to eat like the elephants she had seen at the zoo. From this event, Layla gained an appreciation that humans have the option of breathing through their mouth if other airways are obstructed. She also realized the importance of becoming a more astute observer. After shifting her focus from elephant to human behavior and improving her participant observation skills, Layla attended The University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies earning a Masters in Social Anthropology of Development. She now combines her love of learning about food and anthropology in her blog, Fare Trade, where she documents her culinary adventures. She is happy to report none of them have involved food in her nostrils.
Because these very chocolate-y chocolate muffins are a little decadent, they are perfect for a winter weekend breakfast and leftovers will be lovely for late-afternoon tea.
The batter is thick, which means you can fill the cups to the brim and they’ll bake into nice big muffins. You can start from scratch in the morning, but I prefer to measure out the ingredients the night before, which means my batter’s ready to hit the oven by the time it’s preheated.
So enjoy. Here in the Northeast the temperature continues to drop by the minute, so heat up that oven and stay warm!
Chocolate Muffins with White Chocolate and Dried Cherries
Makes 1 dozen large muffins
If short on time melt the butter and mix it with the egg and yogurt, stirring this wet mixture into the dry ingredients.
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt
1 cup each: white chocolate chips and coarsely chopped dried cherries, divided
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer over medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Alternating between ingredients beat in 1/3 each of the yogurt and flour mixture until both are fully incorporated and batter is smooth. Stir in 3/4 cup each of the chips and cherries.
Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with vegetable cooking spray or line with muffin cups. Use a large ice cream scoop to divide batter evenly among the cups (they will be full). Top with remaining 1/4 cup cherries and white chocolate.
Bake until muffins are browned and cooked through, 20 to 25 minutes. Let sit a couple of minutes in muffin tin and then turn onto a wire rack to cool slightly.
I made this gnocchi last week and I have to say the highlight was the curried fig butter. But now what? I had a little left and it was too good to let it go to waste. I needed to make a real dent in it. So, yesterday afternoon I decided to make a vegetable tagine (stay tuned!) I had been dreaming about, and out of no where the most amazing idea came to me. Like angels singing from above! It was magical!
Cinnamon rolls made with curried fig butter (sans sugar of course). Now, that was a good idea. But I didn’t want to fuss with yeast and regular bread dough but I had a better idea! I found a recipe for yogurt biscuits years ago (sorry I can’t quote a source because it was hand written in my little cookbook so very long ago) and they’ve been a household favorite ever since. I suspect it’s the yogurt that really sets these biscuits apart. They stay moist and light for days, unlike it’s buttermilk counterpart that typically are only good the day they are made.
I pulled one of these out of the fridge today to eat with leftovers and it was still just as moist and light as yesterday. I love this biscuit recipe!
Curried Fig Butter Biscuit Rolls
2 cups sprouted spelt flour (but any flour works)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup oil of choice (I used olive oil)
1 cup full fat yogurt (I used 6%)
Curried fig butter*
Cinnamon, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Prepare curried fig butter (recipe below). Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients together. Add oil and yogurt. Mix until just combined.
On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough in a rectangular shape to 1/2-inch thick. Spread soften curried fig butter over the surface of the dough, leaving the last 1-1/2 inches on the long side, unbuttered. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Roll the dough into a log. Pinch the dough to seal up the opening and prevent it from unrolling. Cut into 1-1/2 inch wide slices. I was able to get about 10 slices from the dough. Place individual slices in individual muffin tins. Bake for 12 -15 minutes until light golden brown.
Serve warm with a spicy soup or stew.
Note: You can use this dough recipe to make regular biscuits. Roll out to a half an inch thick and cut into biscuit shape. I use a small glass dipped in flour to make nice 1-1/2 inch wide biscuits. You should get around a dozen biscuits per batch.
*Curried Fig Butter
5 dried figs (soaked in hot water for 10 minutes)
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon of curry powder (I used Garam Masala)
1 tablespoon lemon zest or finely chopped preserved lemon peel
Note: If using unsalted butter, you may want to add a 1/2 tsp of salt to the butter.
Soak the dried figs in hot water until they soften. Drain off the water and remove the stem. Add all the remaining ingredients to a food processor or blender and puree until well combined. Season with salt. Add extra curry and lemon according to taste.
Photography does not do this meal justice. I can’t possibly capture the amazing flavors that resulted after hours of diligent attention and slow cooking. If only I could make a poof of aroma emanate from your monitor right now – fresh minced garlic mingled with beef browned in olive oil, red wine, and slow-cooked tomato sauce.
This is the perfect meal to make on a cold winter day. All afternoon, your senses will be tantalized and teased with aromas, sounds and colors wafting from your kitchen. Things often taste better when someone else cooks them. After a few unwelcome (and overly controlling) interventions early in the process, I vacated my usual domain and let the man of the house have his way with our kitchen. Boy, was I rewarded.
Mr. Whipped chooses recipes I would likely not master as they require more time, precision or research than my patience will allow. His Liege Sugar Waffles continue to be one of the most popular posts on this blog. Though he stems from Dutch and Greek roots, he certainly has a knack for Italian. This Braciole was the best I have ever had.
Braciole – Italian Braised Beef
For the Sauce:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup finely grated carrot
1/4 cup celery minced
2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons basil
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/4 cup pecorino cheese, finely grated
For the Beef:
2 pounds flank steak
1/2 cup pecorino cheese, shredded
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
1 cup red wine [editor's note: substitute 1 cup red cooking wine or 1 cup beef broth]
Pasta of your choice
For the ragu (sauce), heat olive oil over medium heat at the bottom of a medium sauce pan. Add onion and cook a few minutes until translucent. Add carrot, celery and garlic and cook another minute. Add cans of crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, bay leaf, pepper and salt. Add 2 cups water and tomato paste and stir to combine. Add cheese to the sauce. Once the sauce bubbles, turn down the heat and let it simmer uncovered while you work on the meat.
Rinse the steak and pat it dry with paper towel. Use a meat tenderizer to pound the steak, reducing its thickness by a third. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the meat. Rub the garlic onto one side of the meat. Sprinkle both cheeses, parsley and breadcrumbs evenly over the steak. Roll the steak and secure the roll with either string or toothpicks.
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil to brown the meat. Add the roll and brown on all sides. Remove the meat to a plate. Add 1 cup of red wine [or broth] and deglaze the pan, scraping to remove the brown bits from the bottom. Cook until wine reduces by half. Return the meat to the pan.
Pour the ragu (sauce) over the meat into the large pan so that the meat is submerged. Let the meat and sauce simmer for 2-3 hours uncovered. When it is down the meat should be very tender but not completely fallen apart. To test it, put a fork into the meat and turn it. The meat should come apart and loosen easily.
Remove the meat, untie string or remove toothpicks. Slice the roll into individual portions and serve covered in sauce on a platter. For the pasta, cook it until al dente. Drain the pasta and return it to the pan. Ladle sauce over the pasta and heat over low flame for 2-3 minute so the pasta cooks a bit more and absorbs the sauce.
Serve the meat with the pasta and extra sauce and cheese on the side if desired.
Related post: Penne Pasta with Roasted Tomato and Garlic Sauce
It started snowing Saturday afternoon. The fat flakes were just enough to derange traffic and disrupt my plans to meet up with a friend for coffee. Instead, I spent the afternoon making marmalade, filling the house with steamy warmth and the scent of oranges.
The snow continued Sunday morning, a thin blanket over rooftops and cars, obscuring the view of the lake, and stilling the sounds of the city. The kitten watched the snow fall outside the window, at first trying to move his head fast enough to capture all of the enticing motion of dancing, drifting flakes. Finally, he settled for a fixed and unwinking stare.
We bundled up and walked around the quiet, snow-dusted neighborhood, crunching on the thin layer of white underfoot, then returned to cuddle up under a blanket on the couch.
It doesn’t snow often in Seattle, but when it does it is best to give in gracefully and really have a snow day. Pare away any unnecessary errands or chores. Remember what is urgent and what is not. Use a bit of the extra time to cook something that takes a little longer than usual – something savory that will simmer or braise gently all the long, grey afternoon, filling the house with the promise of a hot, hearty dinner. Get a hot cup of tea or cocoa and a blanket and a book. Retreat to the couch. If an unscheduled nap happens while dinner is in the oven, all the better.
This whole braised chicken makes a good dinner party dish, but is also just right for a long winter afternoon when you have nothing special planned. The dough seal keeps the steam inside the pot, gently braising the chicken to an amazing degree of tenderness. The potatoes, carrots, and celery are traditional accompaniments for a Sunday roast, but here they are infused with the aroma of herbs and garlic. And there is plenty of garlic, but it is not overpowering, as the whole cloves cook in their skins and become sweet and caramelized. Serve with French bread, so that you can pop the garlic cloves out of their jackets and smear them all over the bread.
Whole Braised Chicken in a Pot
(adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan)
2 lemons, washed and quartered
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large potatoes, peeled and each cut into 8 same-sized pieces
2 medium onions,
8 carrots, trimmed, peeled, and quartered
4 celery stalks, trimmed, peeled, and quartered
4 garlic heads, cloves separated but not peeled
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon parsley
3 rosemary sprigs
1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine [editor's note: substitute cooking wine or add 1/2 cup more broth]
About 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
About 3/4 cup hot water
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the vegetables and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and sauté in batches until the vegetables are brown on all sides. Spoon the vegetables into a 4-1/2- to 5-quart Dutch oven or other pot with a lid and stir in the herbs and half the lemon quarters.
Return the skillet to the heat, add another tablespoon of oil, and brown the chicken on all sides, seasoning it with salt and pepper as it cooks. Place remaining lemon quarters in the cavity of the chicken, then tuck the chicken into the casserole, surrounding it with the vegetables. Mix together the broth, wine, and the remaining olive oil and pour over the chicken and vegetables.
Put 1-1/2 cups flour in a medium bowl and add enough hot water to make a malleable dough. Dust a work surface with a little flour, turn out the dough, and, working with your hands, roll the dough into a sausage. Place the dough on the rim of the pot – if it breaks, just piece it together – and press the lid onto the dough to seal the pot.
Slide the pot into the oven and bake for 55 minutes.
Use the point of a heavy knife or screwdriver as a lever to separate the lid from the dough.
Related post: Marmalade
Today I want to share a green lentil soup recipe. I really hope you guys and gals aren’t tired of lentil recipes. I mean, after all, it’s not my fault they are so awesome. They are packed with protein and fiber, low in calories and not to mention all kinds of healthy minerals, 2- B vitamins and iron. Health benefits aside, I also like them because they’re fast and yummy.
I made this soup with pre-cooked lentils since I have a bunch in my freezer, but raw ones work great too, so no worries if you don’t have any that are already cooked. With the cooked lentils, I just added them in during the last 5 minutes to heat through.
As a vegan option, simply omit the Raita.
Curried Green Lentil Soup
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 celery stalk
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 – 2 tablespoons garam masala (adjust according to taste)
4 cups vegetable (or chicken broth)
3/4 cup raw lentils or (3 cups cooked)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Start by chopping up the veggies. Dice the onion and clean and chop the celery and carrots.
In a large pot over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (or fat/oil of choice), Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add the celery and carrot, cook for another 2 minutes. Add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and garam masala. Heat until the spices become fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Add the broth and raw lentils (if using raw or wait until the last 5 minutes if using cooked lentils). Increase the heat and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until lentils and carrots are cooked, approximately 20-25 minutes.
Add the lemon juice and cilantro. Serve with a dollop of Raita.*
Optional: If you prefer a creamier texture, use an emulsion blender or a regular blender to puree the mixture before serving. Just remember to allow the soup to cool before adding it to the blender!
2-1/2 inch segment of cucumber
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
Peel the cucumber segment. Using a spoon, scrape out all the seeds. Finely dice the cucumber. Add all the ingredients to a bowl and stir until well combined. Add salt to taste.
Baby, it's cold outside! Nothing will warm you up faster than some fresh, homemade soup. Soups you make yourself definitely beat opening a can. You'll have a feeling of accomplishment and can freeze whatever you don't eat up right away for a handy lunch or dinner down the road. Or, you can set up a "soup swap" with a group friends and share your makings so you have a variety of homemade soups filling your 'fridge.
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
A lovely Thai soup that intermingles lemony, spicy, and creamy flavors.
A quick, tasty, and good-for-you soup
Leftover celery teams up with chicken, carrots, tomato paste, and rice to become Minestra del Sedano, a satisfying meal in a bowl.
A quick, easy meal during the busy weekday rush.
A delicious broth is the key to this noodle and vegetable Asian soup.
A simple, quick meal that takes 5 minutes to put together so you can relax as it simmers.
A protein rich chickpea soup to warm up a rainy fall day.
Mulligatawny soup combines chicken, curry, vegetables, and cream for an Indian-inspired dish.
Tortilla soup is a one-dish recipe for an easy and healthy weeknight supper.
A delicious fall soup with a spicy curry kick.
Dress your chili up as a spicy crowd pleaser.
Big-flavored pistou, a Provençal sauce made with basil, garlic, Parmesan and olive oil, gives a delicious kick – and its name – to soupe au pistou, a hearty vegetable soup.
Pho is Vietnamese soup flavored with meat and fresh herbs.
Miso, a soybean paste, is mostly known as a base for Asian soups.
Navy beans slow cooked with smoked ham hocks make a rich, hearty soup.
Green is the color of spring, growth, and spicy hot and sour lime soup.
White bean escarole soup with turkey meatballs is a healthy, hearty, flavorful meal – perfect for a cold winter’s evening.
A creamy, rich tomato soup and a biscuit, packed with the flavors of pimento cheese.
A soup so simple, clean-flavored, and pure.
A celery pear bisque to calm the winter storms.
A creamy and delicately flavored parsnip soup with just a hint of heat.
A creamy chicken chili with black and white beans.
Spicy pumpkin soup was an easy and creative dinner for these new (and tired) parents.
A delicious soup that is easy, fast, and nutritious.
Butternut squash soup is a classic favorite.
A 'meatless' twist on a familiar favorite.
This was the final thing that went into the care package I sent out last weekend. It's from Cook's Country Chocolate Desserts because I'm like a kid with a new toy when I get a new baking book. It's all I want to play with and make recipes from. The picture in the booklet led me to try these because the brownies looked so dark and fudgy.
I added a layer of dulce de leche in the middle to jazz it up a bit. This was a dark chocolate brownie so I thought the dulce de leche would give it a nice sweetness contrast. For the most part, it worked. The brownies were dark chocolate fudgy goodness and would probably have been fine as is if you want an indulgent chocolate treat.
The dulce de leche also worked although I would probably use half the amount next time so it's more a ribbon of sweetness than a competing layer. It made slicing a little messy. Fortunately the dulce de leche layer was in the middle rather than on top so it was still doable to packaged them up in plastic wrap (2 squares to a package) and put them in the care package.
Chewy Fudgy Triple Chocolate Brownies
From Cook's Country Chocolate Desserts
5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
3 tablespoons cocoa
3 large eggs
1-1/4 cups (8-3/4 ounces) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
[Editor's note: the original postings omitted the eggs by mistake]
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray 8-inch square baking pan with vegetable oil spray. Make foil sling by folding 2 long sheets of aluminum foil so that they are as wide as the pan. Lay sheets of foil in pan perpendicular to one another, with extra foil hanging over edges of pan. Push foil into corners and up sides of pan, smoothing foil flush to pan. Spray foil with vegetable oil spray.
In medium heatproof bowl set over pan of almost-simmering water, melt chocolates and butter, stirring occasionally until mixture is smooth. Whisk in cocoa until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
Whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in medium bowl until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk warm chocolate mixture into egg mixture; then stir in flour with wooden spoon until just combined. Pour mixture into prepared pan, spread into corners, and level surface with rubber spatula; bake until slightly puffed and toothpick inserted in center comes out with small amount of sticky crumbs clinging to it, 35 to 40 minutes.
Let cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove brownies from pan using foil handles.
Cut into 1-inch squares and serve. Do not cut brownies until ready to serve; brownies can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Related post: Caramel Brownies
What I find most interesting about avgholemono is how it looks and feels creamy, which is soothing, but it has no milk or cream in it. The carefully added egg lemon sauce is the secret to the milky broth. The lemony aroma and flavor adds brightness that seems to perk me up a touch in winter weather.
Take your time when adding the egg mixture to the broth. Patience is not my strongest virtue and I have been known to hurry and as a result, find small scrambled egg bits in my soup.
There is no scientific proof that chicken soup helps cure what ails. Whether it is psychological or physical, I am quite sure that this soup has healing powers. Warm, hearty but not heavy, flavorful while being mild, citrus aroma to perk up the senses … it certainly can’t hurt.
Avgholemono: Greek Lemon, Chicken, Rice Soup
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup white rice
juice of 1 lemon
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (optional)
Bring chicken stock to a boil and add rice. If you would like some chunks of chicken in your soup, also cut the chicken breast into a few large chunks and add it to the soup. Cook covered over low-medium heat until rice is tender. Remove chicken breast. Chop or shred the chicken and set aside.
In a separate bowl beat eggs and lemon juice with a whisk. Gradually by the spoonfuls, add at least 1/2 cup of the hot stock to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Be patient and add the warm liquid slowly to avoid cooking the eggs rapids.
Slowly add the warm egg and lemon mixture into the saucepan, stirring the soup constantly. If using chicken breast, return the meat to the pan. Stir over low heat to warm. Do not let it boil. Serve immediately.
Recently, we picked up one of those Kinect sensors for the Xbox 360. We figured it would provide for some active fun for the boys during the cold, indoor winter months and even get us big kids moving a bit more to help out with our fitness goals. Some of the games in Kinect Adventures really get that heart rate pumping! And I’m waiting on my copy of Dance Central 2 to arrive, so I can totally bust out my sweet dance moves (in complete private, when nobody else is around).
The Kinect sensor is pretty amazing. And utterly frightening too. It’s got a little motorized camera which tracks and responds to your movements. If you move, the camera moves to find you. It can scan your body and create an animated version of your image on the tv…wearing the same clothes you’re wearing. Creepy. And it takes pictures of you while you play. It even responds to voice commands, like “Xbox, stop.” and “Xbox, play Golden Girls.” and “Xbox, make my dinner.”
Ok, so the Xbox doesn’t know how to make my dinner. Yet. But I’m sure that software upgrade is just around the corner. Seriously, the robot revolution is upon us. Are you prepared?
The other day, as I was trying to teach the kids not to wander aimlessly in front of other people while they’re playing with the Kinect, I found myself saying, You can’t walk in front of people because it confuses the Kinect. It’s not smart like us and it can’t figure out who it’s supposed to be tracking when there are too many people moving around.
And as soon as the words came out of my mouth, I wanted to eat them. The Xbox just heard me, questioning its intelligence. I swear I heard the little camera eye move to focus closer on me in that moment, recording and passing judgement on me as an enemy of the robot uprising. I’m doomed. I instantly started fumbling my words, trying to make my insult to the Kinect seem less degrading. I love you, Xbox. Please don’t annihilate me.
But since the Xbox is not about to prepare my meals anytime soon, I suppose that leaves me to do it… Hubby and I are still going strong with our lower carb diets. Today marks Day 8 of our diet and I’m down…drumroll, please…6 pounds!! Not a bad start, if you ask me. The weight won’t continue to come off at a rate of six pounds per week (nor should it), but it’s certainly a motivating start. The best part is that we have been dining on some pretty fantastic food this week. Like this smoked salmon and cucumber salad which is the stuff that dreams are made of. So fresh and simple. So insanely delicious!
Enjoy! (And beware. Kinect is watching.)
Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Salad
4 ounces smoked salmon
1 large seedless cucumber
2-3 small tomatoes, halved and sliced into small pieces
1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons non-pareil capers
Creme fraiche, for garnish (can substitute sour cream)
For the Fresh Dill Vinaigrette:
1/8 cup olive oil
1/8 cup white balsamic vinaigrette (plus a touch more)
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh dill leaves, torn
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pepper, to taste
To prepare the vinaigrette, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, dill, salt and pepper until well combined.
Cut the cucumber in half, then use a mandolin slicer or a very sharp knife to very thinly slice the cucumber, lengthwise, into "ribbons." Place a mound of the cucumber ribbons in the center of each plate. Scatter the onions and tomatoes over the cucumber. Tear the salmon into small pieces and scatter over the salad. Place a larger piece of salmon in the center. Sprinkle the capers over the salad. Drizzle each salad with the dill dressing. If desired, garnish the center piece of salmon with a small dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream.