Saturday, April 28, 2012

Chicken and Provençal Vegetables en Papillote

Cooking “en papillote” sounds fancy but it is essentially steam-baking food in little parchment packets or pouches. It's easy, healthy and involves almost no cleaning. What's not to love!

Serves 4
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts = 4 escalopes de poulet
  • 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard = 4 cuillères à café de moutarde forte
  • 2 zucchini, diced = 2 courgettes, coupées en dés
  • 1 small eggplant, diced = 1 petite aubergine, coupée en dés
  • 1 orange or yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced = un poivron orange ou rouge, émincé
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved = 12 tomates cerises, coupées en deux
  • 2 tablespoons butter (cut up) or olive oil = 25 g de beurre, coupé en petits morceux ou 2 cuillères à soupe d'huile d'olive
  • Herbes de Provence (thyme/rosemary/savory/marjoram), salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste = herbes de Provence, sel et poivre

Preheat oven to 400°F /200°C.

Cut 4 large pieces of parchment paper. Place each chicken breast in the center of the paper. Spread mustard evenly over chicken breasts. Arrange veggies around the chicken. Add a few pieces of butter or pour a little olive oil over the top. Season with herbs, salt and pepper.

Seal each papillote tightly and place them on a baking sheet.

Bake until the packages are puffed and chicken is cooked through, about 20-25 minutes. Be careful when opening the packets as hot steam will come flying out. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Honey-Lemon Bread

Yesterday was cold and rainy and we were stuck inside. While my son was playing dress-up and fighting imaginary knights and dragons with our dog (yes, dog!), I thought a cup of hot tea would cheer me up. And then I thought that adding a slice of something yummy would make it even better. So I came up with this honey-lemon bread. I had wanted to try baking with honey (instead of processed sugar) for a while and I simply love the combo of honey and lemon. To me, it is both soothing and invigorating.

As the bread was baking, it filled my kitchen with the most tantalizing aroma. No way was I going to wait for the bread to cool down or the glaze to harden, so I cut myself a slice right out of the oven. So. Good. A bit tart. A bit sweet. Perfect with my pear tea. And even better this morning, topped with lemon glaze, and served with a homemade latte.

Makes 1 loaf

For the batter:
  • 1 stick (= 8 tablespoons) butter, softened = 115 g de beurre, ramolli
  • 2 large egg = 2 oeufs
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons honey = 6 à 8 cuillères à soupe de miel
  • 4 tablespoons Greek yogurt (if possible honey-flavored) = 4 cuillères à soupe de yaourt grec (si possible aromatisé au miel)
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour = 210 g de farine
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder = 1 sachet (11 g) de levure
  • ½ teaspoon salt = ½ cuillère à café de sel
  • 1 organic lemon = 1 citron bio non-traité

For the glaze:
  • 1 lemon = 1 citron
  • 1 cup powdered sugar = 130 g de sucre glace

 Preheat oven to 325F/170C.
Combine softened butter, eggs, honey, and Greek yogurt in a bowl. Beat at medium speed until well-blended.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to previous mixture. Beat until smooth.

Zest the lemon with a microplane grater, then cut it in half and juice it. Add both zest and juice to the batter and stir.

Spoon batter into a 9 x 5-inch greased loaf pan, bake for about 45 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, juice second lemon and put 2 tablespoons in a bowl, gradually add powdered sugar, stirring until blended. Glaze should be thick, but pourable. Just add a bit more sugar or lemon juice to achieve the right consistency. Spoon glaze on top of loaf and let it harden for a couple hours. Enjoy!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Quinoa with Mushrooms

Another easy dish that you can serve as a side or as a vegetarian entree.

Quinoa comes in a variety of colors. White quinoa, the most common variety, has a more subtle taste, while dark quinoa is nuttier. I like to use a tricolor mix (white/red/black) for visual appeal and interesting flavor but any color will work.

Serves 4-6
  • 1 cup (uncooked) quinoa = 175 g de quinoa
  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth = 475 ml d'eau ou de bouillon de légumes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil = 2 cuillères à soupe d'huile d'olive
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced = 1 grosse échalotte, émincée
  • 10 oz. cremini mushrooms, cleaned and diced = 280 g de champignons, nettoyés et coupés en dés
  • A few sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, chopped = quelques brins de persil plat (frais), hachés
  • Salt & pepper = sel & poivre

Rinse and drain quinoa thoroughly in cold water before cooking. Place quinoa and water (or vegetable broth) in a saucepan, bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 15 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork.
Meanwhile, heat up olive oil in a large pan. Add shallot and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add mushrooms and continue sautéing until golden. Sprinkle with parsley, salt and pepper.

Place cooked quinoa and mushroom mixture in serving dish, stir gently. Enjoy!