Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Carrots and Leeks with Fresh Mint

2 servings
Preparation 10 minutes
Cooking 50 minutes
170 calories per serving

2 carrots, cut into 1 cm rounds
1 leek, cut into 2 cm pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp ginger root, grated
2 tbsp fresh mint
salt and ground pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Prepare the carrots and cut them into rounds about 1 cm thick. Prepare the leeks, remove about 1/4 of the dark green part, and cut them into 2 cm pieces.

Transfer the vegetables to a baking sheet or dish. Add the oil, minced ginger, salt and pepper. Mix well to coat thoroughly with oil, then put in the oven and bake about 35 minutes.

Finely chop half of the mint leaves then add them to the dish, mix and continue baking for about 15 minutes more. Garnish with the remaining mint leaves and serve.

From www.soscuisine.com

Caramel Custard

6 servings
Preparation 15 minutes
Cooking time 40 minutes
Standing time 2 hours
190 calories per serving

3 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups milk, partly skimmed, 2%
2 tsp vanilla extract
salt, about one pinch
6 servings Microwaved Caramel (recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Prepare the caramel.  Divide it among the ramekins, then tilt and rotate each ramekin to thinly coat it.  The caramel may not initially cover bottoms and sides completely, but it will spread and even out after the hot cream mixture is poured in.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs lightly with a fork.  Add sugar and 1 pinch of salt, then mix well.

Warm up the milk in a saucepan until hot but not boiling and pour it slowly into the egg mixture.  Stir constantly but lightly, in order not to create too many air bubbles.  Add the vanilla, then portion out into the caramel-covered ramekins.

Put a towel or piece of cloth into a large baking-pan (either a rectangular cake-mould or a roasting pan).  Place the ramekins on the cloth and fill the pan with enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  (I didn't put a cloth in the bottom of the pan)

Bake in the middle of the oven 35-40 minutes or until the outside is set but the centre still trembles slightly when moved.  The custard will continue to set as it cools.  Check with a toothpick or knife to see if it is cooked through.  (The knife should come out clean)

Take the ramekins out of the water bath right away to avoid overcooking.  Let cool and then chill a few hours in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Run a thin knife around the edges to help remove the custards, then turn upside down onto serving plates and serve cold.

Microwaved Caramel

6 servings
Preparation 5 minutes
Cooking 5 minutes

1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp warm water
1 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed

Be careful: melted caramel is extremely hot!!!

Mix all the ingredients in a glass or Pyrex container of average size. Cook in a microwave oven at maximum power until the syrup starts boiling.

Consider the suggested time as a reference only, since the precise cooking time depends on your oven's power. Continue to cook using 10 seconds: the syrup is ready when it turns golden-brown.

Tofu Ratatouille

I made this soscuisine.com recipe up the other night. It is supposed to make 4 servings but it actually seems to be enough to feed a small banquet. Hal didn't like it, but Hal doesn't like zucchini or eggplant. I loved it. The recipe won't freeze well and I didn't want it to go to waste, so I took the leftover ratatouille and some red quinoa to Ladies Day Out. All the ladies seemed to enjoy it. So, here goes . . .

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 cup green beans, cut into 2 cm pieces
2 zucchini, diced into 1.5 cm squares
1 eggplant, small, diced into 1.5 cm squares
1 yellow or red pepper, cut into 1.5 cm squares
1 carrot, cut into 1.5 cm squares
salt and pepper to taste
300 g firm tofu, cubed
1-1/4 cup canned diced tomatoes
1 tsp Herbs aux Provence
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Heat oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Saute the crushed garlic and chopped onion, taking care not to burn. Cook 4-5 minutes until the onion is translucent.

Boil or steam green beans, drain and set aside.

Prepare the remaining vegetables (except tomatoes and green beans) and add them to the saucepan with the garlic and onion. Salt and pepper. Cook 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add tofu, tomatoes, herbs and cayenne pepper. Cover and simmer ten minutes, until vegetables are tender but still slightly al dente. Add the cooked green beans and heat through 2-3 minutes. Check the seasoning and serve.

This dish can be cooked in advance and reheated, but it is not advisable to freeze.

Serve the ratatouille with rice or quinoa.