Sunday, June 6, 2010

Broccoli Salad

I find that a lot of broccoli salads are so sweet they taste more like a crunchy green dessert. This one has a hint of sweetness from the cranberries, apples and apricots, but the dressing itself is a bit tangy and not too heavy.

6 cups bite-sized broccoli pieces (Use the stems, too. Peel them, and cut them into one-inch chunks, then slice or chop them to bite-size)
1 apple, cored and diced
1 sweet red pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup diced dried apricots
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds

Combine the above ingredients in a large bowl.

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon honey
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together the dressing ingredients, then combine with the salad. This keeps for a few days in the fridge and I like it with a slice of fresh bread for lunch.

Chocolate Roll

Although this recipe has a triple hit of chocolate, it's still quite light and a good dessert to serve after a heavy dinner. (Or a light dinner, or as a snack). I made this recently for a weekend with our children. They all came up to visit at different times, some overlapped, and I wanted to have easy meals so I could just enjoy being with them.

Jelly rolls are kind of an old fashioned thing, but I think they are easy to make and delicious to eat. The ratio of cake to filling is evenly distributed and just about perfect! I've had people tell me that jelly rolls don't work for them, that they crack. The wonderful thing about them is that if they crack, it's usually at the inner part of the roll and that can easily be disguised and held together with filling. I like them because they can be made ahead and even frozen. So, without further ado, here's the recipe.

Chocolate Jelly Roll

3 large eggs
1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup water, room temperature
1 cup sifted flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla

Grease the bottom and sides of a rimmed baking sheet (about 10 x 15 inches). Line the bottom with waxed paper, and grease that, too. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Beat the eggs until thick and lemon coloured. Gradually beat in the sugar. Blend in the water and the vanilla. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa powder. Mix into the egg and sugar mixture, stirring only until blended. Pour into the prepared pan and spread out evenly. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until top springs back when lightly pressed.

While the jelly roll bakes, spread a clean tea towel onto the counter. Sprinkle with icing sugar, about 1/4 cup. I place the icing sugar into a sieve then tap it gently while moving it over the tea towel to spread it evenly.

As soon as the jelly roll has finished baking turn it upside down onto the tea towel. Remove the waxed paper and then roll it up together WITH the tea towel. Let cool. When the roll has cooled completely, gently unroll it, spread it with the filling and reroll it, WITHOUT the tea towel. Place seamside down on a pretty serving tray, or slice into 3/4 inch thick slices, top with sauce and enjoy.

Chocolate Butter Cream Filling

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
1 oz (1 square) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 oz (1 square) semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon rum (optional)

Combine the sugar and flour together, whisk in the milk. Cook until thickened, in a small saucepan, over medium heat. Mixture should bubble and boil. Stir constantly to avoid scorching. (note: a little sticking to the pan does not affect the taste - said from experience) Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate until melted. Cool completely.
In mixing bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add flour/milk mixture, the rum and vanilla, and beat well. As you beat it the mixture will become light and creamy. Spread onto jelly roll.

Chocolate Sauce

1/2 cup cream
1 cup chocolate chips

Place in a glass measuring cup and microwave about 1-2 minutes, or until the chips have melted. Stir together and voilà, the easiest sauce ever.

Fish Tostados

This is a combination of a couple of recipes I saw - beef tostados and fish tacos. I was looking for something a little different than just baked or pan-fried fish. This turned out okay, not great. I'd up the heat factor - maybe season the fish with a little chipotle powder or chili powder before frying. But, for what it's worth, this recipe is a start - one I think I'll be tweaking because we really enjoyed the concept and the mixture of flavours. Crunchy cabbage with a bit of heat, lightly sauteed onions, creamy avocado, a hint of tomato, and the creamy chipotle flavoured sauce combined quite nicely.

3-4 cups shredded white cabbage
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded, finely minced
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced chipotle pepper
1 pound of boneless white-fleshed fish fillets (I used basa)
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, cut into thin wedges
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1 tomato, diced
4 tortillas (I used wheat because that's what I had on hand, next time I'd plan on using corn tortillas)

Combine the sour cream, jalapeno pepper, lime juice and salt. Mix half of this mixture with the shredded cabbage. Set aside remaining sauce.

Heat 1 T of the oil, and saute the onion until tender crisp (you want some crunch left in it). Remove the onion and keep it warm.

Heat the remaining T of oil to medium high. Cut the fish fillets into strips, salt and pepper them, and quickly fry them. Don't let them touch in the pan, do them in batches if necessary. Remove and keep warm. I piled it on top of the onions.

Toast the tortilla under the broiler, or if you like, quickly fry it until crisp.

To assemble, layer on a plate--

Cabbage (3/4-1 cup)
fish and onion

Top it all with the remaining sauce and squeeze fresh lime juice over.

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