There is no English language edition yet of Vietnam Exquis, une cuisine entre Ciel et Terre" (Editions de la Martinière- April 3, 2014) by Linh Le with photographs by Isabelle Rozenbaum, yet I could not resist asking Linh to share a couple of recipes from the book.
A drink first, with my English adaptation of French recipe:
Allergic to dairy or just taking a breather from it, Almonds Every Which Way, More than 150 Healthy-Delicious Almond Milk, Almond Flour and Almond Butter Recipes (Da Capo Lifelong, March 2014) by Cheeky Kitchen Brooke McLay offers alternatives.
These no-bake almond butter cups are super for Christmas cookie plates and for gratifying your chocolate cravings in a healthier way. The original version, inspired from a recipe in Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet, is made with peanut butter, but I think this almond butter rendition is better. Vanilla bean seeds can be expensive but lend such intense gourmet flavor to this recipe that I couldn’t help but add them. However, feel free to substitute 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract, if you’re feeling particularly happy about having money in the bank, instead of spending it in the baking aisle.
½ cup butter or Earth Balance ¾ cup almond butter ¾ cup graham cracker crumbs ¼ cup raw honey or maple syrup Seeds of 1 vanilla bean 1 cup dark chocolate chips (for vegan, must be labeled “dairy-free”) ¼ cup coconut milk ¼ cup chopped pecans (optional)
Special Equipment: Muffin tin; cupcake liners
1. Place 12 parchment cupcake liners in a muffin tin. In a microwave-safe bowl, cook butter and almond butter together until melted, about 60–90 seconds. Stir in the graham cracker crumbs, honey, and vanilla bean seeds. Spoon the mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner. 2. In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and coconut milk. Heat in the microwave until the chocolate chips are melted, about 60–90 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir until smooth. Spoon it on top of the almond butter mixture. Top with chopped pecans, if desired.
TIP: Make It for You! Go paleo:Swapthegrahamcrackercrumbsforfinelyshreddedcoconut. Use honey as the sweetener and add coconut oil instead of butter. Go Vegan: Use graham cracker crumbs, Earth Balance Butter, and maple syrup or maple sugar. Grain-sweetened, no-dairy chocolate chips will make this recipe totally vegan. Go Gluten-Free: Gluten-free graham cracker crumbs will keep this recipe celiac-friendly.
Makes 12 Almond Butter Cups
Per serving (1 Almond Butter Cup) Calories: 286 Calories from Fat: 202 Total Fat: 22.5g, 35% Saturated Fat: 8.6g, 43% Total Carb: 20.2g, 7% Dietary Fiber: 1.2g, 5% Sugars: 12.4g Protein: 4.7g Cholesterol: 20mg, 7% Sodium: 102mg, 4%
2 (14.5-ounce) cans green beans, rinsed and drained 1 (14.5-ounce) can wax beans, rinsed and drained 1 (12-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced (1/2 cup) 1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced (1/2 cup) 1 cup white vinegar 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
In a large bowl, combine all of the beans, the onion, bell pepper, vinegar, sugar, oil, and cloves. Stir well and refrigerate for 24 hours to allow the flavors to develop.
Serve at room temperature. The salad will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 days.
Concerned about damage to soil that cattle grazing can bring switch from cows to almonds.
In Almonds Every Which Way, More than 150 Healthy-Delicious Almond Milk, Almond Flour and Almond Butter Recipes ( Da Capo Lifelong Books, March 2014), Cheeky Kitchen Brooke McLay shows us ways to cut down on wheat and dairy products.
Here's a first dip into the book, a gluten free one
Creamy Almond Butter and Honey Apple Dip
(Gluten-free, grain-free, vegetarian)
Quick and easy to toss together for snacking, almond butter and honey mixed with yogurt make a great dip for apples, strawberries, or slices of bananas and kiwi. Little cubes of banana bread also pair well with this yummy dip.
3 tablespoons creamy almond butter 4 ounces cream cheese ¼ cup Greek yogurt 2 tablespoons honey ¼ teaspoon apple pie spice 2 Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into ½-inch slices.
1. Whip the almond butter, cream cheese, yogurt, and honey together in a medium bowl and chill for 1 hour to let the flavors meld. 2. Sprinkle with the apple pie spice before serving. Serve with the apple slices for dipping.
Makes 8 servings
Per serving (1/8 recipe) Calories: 121 Calories from Fat: 72 Total Fat: 8.0g, 12% Saturated Fat: 3.3g, 17% Total Carb: 12.2g, 4% Dietary Fiber: 1.9g, 7% Sugars: 9.4g Protein: 2.4g Cholesterol: 16mg, 5% Sodium: 63mg, 3%
This Pizza with Edible Flowers from Pizza ( Rizzoli USA, October 2013) by Gabriele Bonci smells like Spring.
Pizza with Edible Flowers
10 ounces (300 grams) puntarelle (see Note, page 195)
1 (12-ounce / 350-gram) ball White Pizza Dough (page 60) Extra-virgin olive oil to taste 1¼ cups (300 grams) canned peeled tomatoes Fine sea salt to taste• 9 ounces (250 grams) mozzarella 4 piquillo peppers (see Note) Edible flowers, such as daisies, roses, violets, and chrysanthemums
Preheat the oven to 450˚F to 475˚F (220˚C to 250˚C).
PrePare the Puntarelle: Set up a bowl of ice water. Wash the leaves and cut them lengthwise in thin strips. Transfer the strips to the ice water, where they will curl up.
Stretch out the dough and place it in a well-oiled pan. Distribute the tomatoes on top of the dough, crushing them with your hands.
Bake the pizza until golden brown and well-risen, about 25 minutes.
Remove the pizza from the oven. Drizzle with a little oil and season with salt. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Arrange the cheese, peppers, and flowers on top of the pizza. You can do this any way that you wish: Slice the mozzarella, or try dicing it and creating a checkerboard pattern with squares of diced mozzarella and squares of flowers.
Note: Piquillo peppers are Spanish pickled peppers that have been peeled and lightly charred. They have an incredible flavor and a firm texture.
(* Recipe from 'Pizza' Seasonal Recipes from Rome's Legendary Pizzarium by Gabriele Bonci - Rizzoli USA- October 2013, all rights reserved)
Third excerpt from Take One Pot (Kyle Books, October 2013) by Georgina Fuggle after Hollow the Loaf, Quiche in a Suitcase is based on polenta, once a stomach filling staple for the poor to fill their stomachs, now gracing the best restaurants tables.
Polenta Bake with Tomato, Feta and Mushrooms
Years ago, ground polenta simply provided hunger-defying gruel to the poor, but today it’s found cooked with the expensive additions of Parmesan and butter. The transformation has put it back on the map of Michelinstarred menus and into the repertoire of enthusiastic cooks. Here, instant polenta is used, so there are only minutes from package to plate and the peasant price tag still holds strong. It’s well worth stocking a package in your pantry.
Prep time 10 minutes,
Cook time 20 minutes,
1 cup instant polenta 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks 31/4 cups hot vegetable stock 2/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese 11/2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms (any type really; mypreference would be mini portobello) 1 cup cherry tomatoes, some halved, some not 2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese A handful of delicate arugula Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat your broiler to high.
2. Put the polenta and chunks of butter in a deep, 10-inch diameter ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Gradually pour the hot stock onto the polenta, beating with gusto to prevent any large lumps forming. Keep beating until the mixture has thickened and is starting to bubble like erupting volcanoes, about 4 to 5 minutes. Season well with black pepper and salt.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir through the Parmesan. You could clean the sides of your skillet at this stage to remove any obvious volcano larva (spitting polenta). Top the polenta with the mushroom slices, tomatoes, and crumbled feta.
4. Put the pan under the hot broiler until the tomato skins have burst and the mushrooms have wilted with the heat, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before dressing.
(* Recipe reproduced with permission from 'Take One Pot' by Georgina Fuggle- Kyle Books, October 2013- all rights reserved- Photo by Tara Fisher)
Taking a break from comfort food for winter days, I found healthy inspiration in Amazing Grains (Kyle Books, US edition, February 2014) by Ghillie James.
Let's not jump the gun, it's not time yet for her 'Soaked Summer Muesli' recipe.
Instead we put quinoa in your breakfast bowl
Breakfast quinoa with raisins and honey
Personally, I feel that quinoa when cooked by itself as a hot cereal is not that exciting. However, I am a big fan of the expression “whatever floats your boat,” and in the case of this recipe if you like the fresher taste of pure quinoa, then go for it and don’t add the oats as I’ve suggested. For me, this combination is tasty as well as good for you, and my children adore it for breakfast. I have used coffee mugs in this recipe—when measuring early in the morning, why not keep it simple?
Serves 2 generously
1/2 cup or small mug quinoa flakes, rinsed in a seive 1/2 cup or small mug quickcook oats * 2 tablespoons chia seeds, preferably ground (optional) 3 cups milk (or 2 cups milk and 1 cup water) A handful of raisins or summer fruits Honey, preferably Manuka
Put the quinoa, oats, chia (if using), and milk or milk/water combo into a pan and bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat for 8–10 minutes, stirring every so often, until just thickened. Add the raisins for the final 2–3 minutes; if using fresh fruit, just sprinkle it onto the bowls of cereal once cooked. Serve straight away, drizzled with honey.
* see page 235 for a note about uncontaminated, gluten-free oats
(* Recipe reproduced with permission from 'Amazing Grains' from classic to contemporary, wholesome recipes for every day by Ghillie James -Kyle Books, US edition, March 2014- Photographs by Jonathan Gregson- all rights reserved)
With Olives, Lemons & Za'atar (Kyle Books, February 2014), Rawia Bishara takes us on a journey from her roots in Nazareth to her current Brooklyn home where she owns Tanoreen restaurant.
Red Lentil and Butternut Squash Stew
MAKES 6 TO 8 SERVINGS
1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling 4 shallots, chopped 1 white onion, chopped 8 cloves garlic, crushed 2 chile peppers, such as long hots, jalapeños or poblanos 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro 2 tablespoons ground coriander 1 tablespoon ground cumin 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper 2 butternut squash, peeled and diced to make 5 to 6 cups 1 and 1/2 cups red lentils, picked over
If you make this stew once, there is no going back. Growing up, I loved my lentil soup pureed, but in this recipe I leave the lentils whole. The butternut squash adds a mellow sweetness that gives the stew another flavor dimension, but it is also delicious with chunks of yams or even pumpkin. Use one of these vegetables or a mix to make this stew, which can be served piping hot, warm or chilled.
Heat 6 tablespoons of the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Toss in the shallots and onion and saute until soft and golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and saute, stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle in the chile peppers, cilantro, coriander, cumin, black pepper and stir, about 1 minute. Stir in the squash. Reduce the heat and cook, covered, about 10 minutes.
Add the lentils and 6 cups water, cover and cook for about 12 minutes. If the squash has not softened, pour in 1 cup additional water, cover and cook for 10 minutes more.
Ladle the stew into serving bowls, drizzle with olive oil and serve.
Eat your vegetable stew for Green Day # 267
(* Recipe reproduced from 'Olives, Lemons & Za'atar' by Rawia Bishara -Kyle Books, February 2014- Photography by Peter Cassidy, all rights reserved...illustration is 'Sweet Pea and Kafta Stew')
In this case an Italian white preferably an Orvieto.
Fettuccine with vodka and lemon
• 6 servings •
One of the greatest hits from my Trattoria cookbook was Penne with Spicy Tomato-Cream Sauce, or what is generally known as vodka pasta, a dish inspired by one served at a trattoria in Florence. This is a clear variation on the theme, made with nests of fettuccine and a nice hit of citrus. It’s a real go-to weeknight pasta in our house.
Equipment: A 10-quart (10 l) pasta pot fitted with a colander; a large skillet with a lid; 6 warmed, shallow soup bowls.
1 pound (500 g) dried Italian fettuccine 3 tablespoons coarse sea salt 1/4 cup (60 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice 1/4 cup (60 ml) lemon vodka 1 cup (250 ml) light cream or half-and-half 1/2 cup (35 g) freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese Grated zest of 2 lemons, preferably organic Coarse, freshly ground black pepper
1. In the pasta pot, bring 8 quarts (8 l) of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the fettuccine and salt, stirring to prevent the pasta from sticking. Cook until tender but firm to the bite, about 6 minutes. While the pasta cooks, warm the lemon juice, vodka, and cream in the large skillet.
2. When the pasta is al dente, remove the pot from the heat. Remove the colander and drain the pasta over the sink, shaking to get rid of the excess water. Reserve some of the cooking water for the sauce.
3. Add the drained pasta to the sauce and toss to evenly coat the fettuccine. If the pasta is dry, add pasta cooking water, tablespoon by tablespoon, until the pasta is moist. Add half of the cheese and toss once more. Taste for seasoning. Cover and let rest for 1 to 2 minutes to allow the pasta to thoroughly absorb the sauce. Toss again. Taste for seasoning.
4. Transfer the pasta to the individual soup bowls. Season with the lemon zest and freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately, passing the remaining cheese and a pepper mill at the table.
The secret : The secret here is not to burn off the alcohol by reducing the vodka. Even though vodka is a neutral spirit, it is not flavorless. The key is that the flavor is in the alcohol, so burn off the alcohol, burn off the flavor.
Wine suggestion : A lovely Italian white is my choice here. For some reason this dish takes me back to the charming town of Orvieto, so I’ll suggest the Argillae Orvieto from Umbria.
(* Recipe excerpted from 'The French Kitchen Cookbook' by Patricia Wells- published by William Morrow, October 2013- Photographs byJeff Kauck, all rights reserved)
Will this recipe from 66 Square Feet, A Delicious Life: One Woman, One Terrace, 92 Recipes (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, Fall 2013) by Marie Viljoen make you sing?
Even though Marie puts in in her April thoughts from her Brooklyn terrace.
Apple and Rhine Riesling Soup
It is too early for strawberries. Even local rhubarb has not made an appearance. Farmers still need to sell those apples. This clear sweet soup is an unusual way to enjoy them. It was inspired by an extraordinary ice cider vinegar made by Fabrice Lafon in Quebec, from apples that had frozen on the tree (see Note). It is expensive and rich and is to be eaten slowly by the teaspoonful.
The resulting soup is surprising, delicate and light, and entirely seasonal.
Although we love this as an unorthodox cold starter, like the fruit soups of Eastern Europe, it can also be a dessert. Just decrease the acid component.
Note: This vinegar is not widely available, so a good apple cider vinegar can be substituted, with the addition of ½ teaspoon brown sugar per tablespoon.
1 bottle dry riesling
1 vanilla bean, slit down its length
1 sweet and fragrant apple, cored, peeled, thinly sliced, and tossed with fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons (85 g) brown sugar
2 tablespoons ice cider vinegar (see Note)
Bring the wine, 2 cups (480 ml) of water, and the vanilla bean to a simmer and cook to reduce by one quarter. Scrape the vanilla seeds from the softened pod and whisk them into the liquid to break up any clumps. Add the apple and sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer until the apple is tender. Add the vinegar. Taste. The result should be lightly sweet and fragrant with a tart balance. If necessary, add a little more sugar. Ladle the hot soup into warmed shallow bowls with a few apple slices in each.
(* Recipe from '66 Square Feet' by Marie Viljoen-Stewart, Tanbori and Chang, Fall 2013, all rights reserved)