mercredi 28 juillet 2010

Greek Salad

Greek Salad has become one of my standard recipes that I can throw together.  It is good in all seasons but best in the summer when the ingredients are at their best.  It makes a great salad or main course.  There are probably as many recipes for Greek Salad as the number of people who make it but a basic version is composed of tomatoes, olives, lettuce, feta cheese and oregano with a red wine and olive oil vinaigrette.  Optional extras are cucumber, hot peppers and capers.  Of course, if you can get the authentic Greek versions of olive oil, oregano, Kalamata olives, capers and feta - the better the salad will be!   

Don’t worry too much about following the recipe, just throw it together with whichever of the ingredients you have on hand.

Greek Salad                                           
Serves 6

1/2 head of iceberg or romaine lettuce, torn
3 large tomatoes, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped or sliced
1/2 red onion; chopped or sliced
1/4 English cucumber, chopped or sliced
125 mL (1/2 cup) feta cheese, crumbled
15 mL (1 Tbsp) red wine vinegar (or fresh lemon juice)
45 mL (3 Tbsp) olive oil
5 mL (1 tsp) dried oregano
30 mL (2 Tbsp) flat leaf parsley, chopped
125 mL (1/2 cup) Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
6 hot yellow peppers (optional)
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Line a large platter (or individual serving plates/bowls) with lettuce.  Arrange tomato, green pepper, onion, cucumber and hot peppers on top.  Sprinkle with the feta cheese.  Blend red wine vinegar and olive oil; drizzle over salad.  Sprinkle with oregano, parsley and olives.  Season with pepper.

dimanche 25 juillet 2010

Espresso Granita

For the last few years I felt like we had no summer.  There were seemingly endless days of rain and grey and cool temperatures.  So much rain that I wondered why no one was building an ark.  But this year - weeks of sunshine and warm temperatures.  Not quite as hot as ‘la canicule’ (heat wave) of July and August 2003 in France but hot none the less.  Everyone is so much happier when the sun shines!

So instead of the usual hot morning coffee, I tried espresso granita - an iced version of coffee that is granular in texture.  Yummy!!!  You can always adjust the sugar content to suit your taste.  I don’t take sugar in my coffee, but using sugar in the granita helps with the texture and tones down the very strong espresso.  If you don’t have a food processor, stir the granita mixture every 20 minutes to keep it granular.  When all the liquid has become granular, it is ready.

Espresso Granita
Makes 4-5 servings

500 mL (2 cups) water
60 mL (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
250 mL (1 cup) very strong espresso coffee, cooled
whipped cream (optional for garnish)

Heat together water and sugar over low heat until sugar dissolves.  Bring to the boil, remove from heat and let cool.  Combine espresso with sugar syrup, place in a shallow container and freeze until solid.  Remove from container by plunging the bottom in very hot water for a few seconds.  Turn out frozen mixture and chop into large chunks.  Place into a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until it forms small crystals.  Spoon into serving glasses and top with whipped cream (if using).  

jeudi 1 juillet 2010

Happy Birthday Canada!

July 1st is Canada’s birthday.  It is the anniversary of the enactment of the British North American Act in 1876.  It is celebrated across Canada with special festivities and fireworks.  The biggest party is probably the one on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.  This year Queen Elizabeth II was in Ottawa to join in the celebrations.  The future of the monarchy is often a topic for debate in Canada but when the Queen comes for a visit, Canadians line the streets to welcome her at the many stops along her route.
I wasn’t in Canada on July 1st but I celebrated by making these cookies topped with maple syrup flavoured cream and strawberries.  

Cookies with Maple Cream and Strawberries
2 egg yolks
100 g (3.5 oz) butter, softened
200 g (7 oz) flour
100 g (3.5 oz) sugar
pinch of vanilla powder (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
2 pinches fleur de sel
Mix together flour, sugar, vanilla powder and fleur de sel.  Stir in egg yolks then blend in butter.  Let dough rest for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 180°C (360°F).
Roll out dough to a thickness of 6 mm (1/4”).  Use a cookie cutter or glass to cut out cookie rounds or shapes.  Place on a baking paper on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until golden.  Let cool.
250 mL (1 cup) 35% cream
15 mL (1 Tbsp) maple syrup
225 g (8 oz) strawberries, sliced
Whip cream and stir in maple syrup.  Spread over cooled cookies.  Top with sliced strawberries.