dimanche 12 septembre 2010

Clean Up!

I'm sorry for slow trickle of posts lately--Bien manger Bien etre is going under construction! I decided that it's time for this blog to get a new look and a new attitude...over the next couple weeks I'll be changing the design and features, and tweaking the content. So go cook some end-of-summer meals and let me take care of the dishes around here, and I'll see you back in a few!

vendredi 27 août 2010

Quinoa Salad with grapes, carrots, and feta

Quinoa, a grain-like plant originating from South America, is our most complete plant source of protein; it contains a high amount of protein as well as a balance of essential amino acids, and it is gluten-free. In addition to the nutrition value, cooked quinoa is a very light grain (as opposed to the density of cooked pasta or rice), so it weighs less heavily on the stomach, which is certainly nice in the summer.

It’s a perfect vegetarian food for a healthy plant-based protein, or for anyone who would like to diversify their protein sources.

Quinoa can be compared to couscous in texture and to rice in preparation (you can make it in a rice cooker); basically it can be used as a substitute in any dishes calling for rice, also including pilafs, salads, and breakfast foods.

For a light and refreshing salad, combine the following ingredients:

2 cups quinoa, cooked and cooled
½ cup red grapes, halved
½ cup carrots, sliced or diced
½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
a drizzle of olive oil
juice of half a lemon
salt, pepper

lundi 23 août 2010

Fruit Pizza

A birthday party classic, and one of my favoritest summer desserts . . . look how pretty it is! For those who have never yet had the good fortune to partake of a fruit pizza slice--there is nothing pizza about this, it's actually a big sugar cookie with cream cheese and fruit topping.

For my U.S. readers, fruit pizza requires exactly 2 store bought items plus fruit.

1) one tube of sugar cookie dough. cut into slices, arrange in circular fashion on a cookie sheet, and roll out until you have one smooth sheet of cookie dough. Even out the edges of the circle with a knife. Bake the big cookie according to the package directions and let cool.

2) one container of cream cheese fruit dip. Spread evenly over the cooled cookie.

3) Wash and slice your fruits of choice and arrange prettily (or randomly) over the cookie base. Ta-da!

If you don't have access to sugar cookie in a tube or cream cheese fruit dip, follow your favorite sugar cookie recipe to make the dough. Cream cheese fruit dip can be made as follows:

Cream Cheese Fruit Dip

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or lemon juice

Whip all ingrediants together until smooth.

mardi 17 août 2010

Bamia et Soupe aux Lentilles

Je remercie une fois encore Safi pour deux recettes de plus; il me gâte! Voilà une soupe aux lentilles et un plat syrien fait avec des gombos qui s'appelle Bamia.


Une boîte de Bamia (500 g de Bamia : 2 personnes) (indispensable)
Sauce tomates (indispensable)
De l’ail (indispensable)
Oignon (indispensable)
Huile d’olive

On chauffe une petite quantité d’huile d’olive dans une casserole, on rajoute un oignon bien coupé (en très petits morceaux), on le cuit un peu et on rajoute la Bamia (déjà cuite) avec un tout petit peu d’huile d’olive dessus. On ne chauffe un peu, et pas besoin d’attendre que la Bamia soit chaude.

On met du sel dans la sauce tomate, du poivre, un peu de citron, du Harissa mais surtout des gousses (3) d’ail bien coupées (elles doivent être coupées pour faire sortir leur saveur dans le plat). On verse la sauce dans la casserole (où il y a l’oignon et la Bamia), on couvre la casserole ou on attend un bouillonnement de 2/3 minutes.

Le plat est servi avec du riz, ou on peut le manger seul avec du pain.
Soupe aux lentilles

Lentilles rouges
Un oignon
Une baguette

Une tasse de lentilles rouges (la quantité varie, si on veut la soupe légère ou pas), normalement c’est une tasse de thé. On le met dans une casserole, on la remplie d’eau et on le rejette (pour nettoyer les lentilles, sinon le plat ne sera pas réussi), on remplit et rejette de l’eau plusieurs fois (ça peut atteindre jusqu’à 15 fois), on arrête quand l’eau qu’on met dans la casserole est très sereine.

On ajoute un oignon bien coupé (en très petits morceaux) et on remplit donc les trois quarts de la casserole avec de l’eau. On ajoute du sel à volonté, on ferme la casserole et on laisse bouillir jusqu’à ce que le mélange constitue un ensemble cohérent (quand il y a plus de lentilles), ça devrait prendre 30 minutes. Après on ajoute du citron (demi) et du beurre. Dans la soupe on peut tremper des morceaux de baguettes ou bien les jeter dans la soupe.

jeudi 12 août 2010

Cake, French style

« Cake » in French is not the same as « gâteau », which is the French translation for “cake.” A “cake” in France is actually a savory loaf, often with olives, ham, cheese, tomatoes, or other savory ingredients. Confused? So was I, until I ate some, and the wonderful taste inscribed forever into my memory the difference between cake à la française and a sweet American cake.

This cake combines olives, red peppers, and Swiss cheese in a moist eggy batter. A slice of this paired with a salad would be a perfect light summer lunch. You can also prepare the same batter and bake as savory muffins.

Cake with olives, red peppers, and Swiss

1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
swiss cheese, cut into small cubes
black olives
diced red bell pepper

1. Mix the oil, wine, and eggs. Add the flour, then the baking soda. Lastly add the olives, peppers, and cheese.
2. Bake in a loaf pan 30 to 45 minutes at 350 F.

samedi 31 juillet 2010

Chili Dipping Salt for Fruit

Southeast Asians like my mother have no qualms about dipping into spicy and steaming food in full summer heat. There’s something cleansing and refreshing about sweating both inside the body and out.

If you can handle the heat, try dipping fruit slices in a salt and chili pepper mixture. Finely mince fresh red chilis and add to sea salt or regular salt, then crush further if needed. The salt enhances the sweetness and tanginess of the fruit and the chili adds some unexpected bite.

My mother’s favorite is pineapple—try also peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, or grapefruit.

lundi 26 juillet 2010

Quiche with gruyere and chives

Quiche is the fanciest-sounding easy French thing to make. It’s a pie crust filled with a delicious fluffy mixture of egg, cream, and anything else you wish to add. The only restriction in my book is not to get carried away with fillings—the egg should really be central to the dish, not just a binding for a load of vegetables and proteins. Thus I present to you a simple quiche with just grated gruyere cheese and chopped chives.

Cream and egg sounds a bit heavy, but this is a French dish, after all, and a French pie at that (quiche is often called a “savory pie” (tarte salée) in French). Don’t add milk instead of cream, ever. Not only do you sacrifice on taste and texture, but the extra liquid from the milk will make the pie crust soggy.

Cultural note: quiche is never eaten for breakfast in France, as the French don’t eat eggs for breakfast (anecdote: I’m teaching a lesson on meals to my 5th grade class, and we’re making a list of foods we eat at each meal. One student raises his hand: “Madame, there’s a mistake under “breakfast”—no one would eat eggs for breakfast!”). The point is, don't limit your options; a quiche paired with soup or a small salad is more than substantial enough for a good dinner.

Cultural note: to be called une quiche in French is a mild insult, something like a nitwit.

Quiche with Gruyere and Chives

Pre-prepared or frozen pie crust
About 4 eggs, or enough to fill the crust
¾-1 cup heavy cream
1 cup gruyere cheese, grated
handful of chives, chopped
salt, pepper

1. Beat the eggs with a whisk in a mixing bowl and add the cream, beat until smooth.
2. Add the gruyere, chives, salt, and pepper.
3. Pour mixture into the prepared crust and bake at 350 F for about 35 minutes, or until the top is firm and a knife inserted into the center of the quiche comes out clean.