Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Lahvosh Wraps with Goat Cheese, Figs & Walnuts

Yummy, yummy, yummy! I made this recipe yesterday for an interview--yes, I'm back in California temporarily and interviewed at Williams Sonoma for a position doing cooking classes on Sunday mornings. I've never taught before, but it was fun! This easy recipe came from the Williams Sonoma website, and all the ingredients came from Trader Joe's grocery store. Lahvosh is a thin flat-bread the comes from Armenia, and is similar to pita bread but usually comes in rounds or long sheets.

Here's what you need:

8oz/250g log of fresh goat cheese, brought to room temperature
1/4 cup/60ml chopped green onions/spring onions (include some green stems)
1/4 cup/60ml finely chopped walnuts
1/2 tsp kosher salt or sea salt
1/2 cup/120 ml chopped dried figs
(I used Trader Joe's Turkish Smyrna figs from their dried fruit section)
2 slices soft lahvosh bread (from TJ's)
4-6 leaves butter or oak lettuce (any soft, large, leafy green is OK), washed and dried

Mix together the goat cheese, green onions, walnuts, salt and figs. Lay 1 piece of lahvosh bread on a damp tea towel (to keep it from drying out and cracking while rolling).

Spread 1/2 of goat cheese mixture over the lahvosh (it was easier to do about 6 clumps of goat cheese around the bread and then mash them together b/c the mixture isn't very spreadable).

Top the goat cheese with 2-3 lettuce leaves, then roll the shorter side of the lavash over tightly until it is rolled up completely. You can cut off the ends where the lettuce sticks out if you want to make it neater, then slice the remaining roll into 1 inch slices. Repeat with 2nd piece of lavash bread and remaining cheese spread and lettuce.

The recipe suggests you chill the roll for 30 mins before serving, but I liked it better when everything was at room temp, so it's up to you! Bon appetit!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tuna Fish Cakes with Garlic Herb Mayo

This recipe came from a cute pocket cookbook I picked up at a boutique in Stratford-Upon-Avon in December, called 200 Really Easy Recipes. I served the fish cakes & rocket with a side of garlic mashed potatoes. Yum!

Ingredients (Serves 4):
2 x 425g (14oz) cans tuna in olive oil, drained
300g (10oz) ricotta cheese
6 spring/green onions, finely chopped
grated rind and juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 egg, beaten
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
100g (3.5 oz) baby rocket/arugula leaves
salt & black pepper

1. Flake the tuna into a bowl and beat in the ricotta, spring onions, lime rind, dill, egg, and salt and pepper to taste with a wooden spoon. Reserve 2 tsp of the lime juice and beat the remainder into the tuna mixture. Shape into 12 small cakes about 7cm (3 inches) across.

2. Heat 1.5 Tbsp of the olive oil in a frying pan, add the fish cakes, in 2 batches, and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side until golden. Reduce heat if they start to over-brown and cook for a further 1 minute. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and keep the cooked cakes warm in an oven preheated to 160C/325F while you cook the remainder.

3. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining olive oil and lime juice together and toss with the rocket leaves in a bowl. Serve the fish cakes with the rocket salad and some garlic & herb mayonnaise (see below).

Garlic & Herb Mayo
Add 1 crushed garlic clove, 2 tsp lime juice, 1 Tbsp chopped fresh coriander and a pinch of cayenne pepper to 150g (5oz) good-quality store-bought mayonnaise in a bowl and mix well. Taste and add more garlic if desired.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Easy Wedge Salad with Fresh Herbs

I was craving some blue cheese a few weeks ago, and this recipe I found in my New Food Fast cookbook fit the bill with the addition of the blue cheese. It was simple and delicious. I ate this with some home-made mac n'cheese from a recipe the same cookbook.

Halve 1 iceberg lettuce bunch and remove the outer leaves. Make a simple dressing of even quantities of oil and vinegar (white or red) mixed with mustard, fresh herbs (use any you love--I had coriander/cilantro, flat leaf parsley and basil on hand), sea salt and cracked black pepper. Crumble your blue cheese over the iceberg lettuce halves, and then pour dressing over lettuce. Serve crisp and chilled.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Egg & Bacon Breakfast Baskets

I saw this fun recipe in my 200 Really Easy Recipes cookbook and decided to make it for D for Valentine's Day breakfast--the cute cherry tomatoes in the middle of the egg mixture reminded me of breakfast cupcakes! Note: See Vegetarian option below.
Ingredients (Makes 8 baskets, serves 4):
Spray olive oil, for oiling muffin tin
75g (3oz) butter, melted
150g (5oz) smoked bacon rashers, rind removed, diced
(Note: we used cubed pancetta pieces)
2 eggs
125 ml (4fl oz) double cream/heavy cream
2 Tbsp fresh grated Parmesan cheese
8 cherry tomatoes on the vine
16 slices white bread (or wheat bread)
salt and fresh ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. First cut the crusts off the bread (try to make even squares) and discard, then flatten each slice by rolling over it firmly with a rolling pin, and brush each slice with the melted butter. Next place 8 squares diagonally on top one other 8 squares and carefully press them into eight muffin tin holes that had been sprayed with the olive oil. Bake the squares for 12-15 minutes until crisp and golden. Meanwhile fry up the bacon/pancetta pieces and prepare the egg mixture in a bowl by beating together the eggs, cream, cheese salt and pepper, then pull the bread baskets out of the oven to cool slightly.

After draining the fried pancetta, I divided it between the 4 bread 'baskets' and then poured the prepared egg mixture over the pancetta (about 2 tablespoons of egg mixture per basket is plenty). Last top each 'basket' with a cherry tomato, then place back into the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until eggs are set.

Note for Vegetarians: You can make this vegetarian by substituting fresh spinach for the bacon/pancetta. Cook the spinach with a small pat of butter in a frying pan until wilted, then add the spinach to the cases instead of the pancetta before pouring over the egg.