Monday, February 23, 2015

Quinoa with Swiss chard, chickpeas, and preserved lemons

This dish is a perfect vegetarian main course. Simple, earthy and down right tasty. The Swiss chard is sauteed with onions and chickpeas and then finished with the wonderfully tangy preserved lemon bits. Served on a bed of quinoa it needs no other accompaniment.

You can buy preserved lemon at most major grocery stores in the ethnic food section or make your own. For David Lebovitz's recipe to make your own click here.

Quinoa with Swiss chard, chickpeas and preserved lemons

1 bunch Swiss chard, cleaned and chopped
1 15 oz can organic chickpeas, drained
1 cup chopped Spanish onion
1 preserved lemon, seeds removed and finely minced
1 tablespoon garlic flavored olive oil or 1 tablespoon minced garlic and 1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (freshly ground is the best)
About 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup water
1 cup quinoa [I used the tricolor quinoa]
  1. Wash the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer  to get rid of the bitterness. Add the quinoa to sauce pan with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Cover the saucepan with a tight fitting lid and simmer for 15 minutes. After the quinoa is cooked, leave the saucepan covered for another 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.
  2. In the meantime, heat a large non-stick saute pan with garlic flavored olive oil. If using minced garlic, heat the oil and while the oil is heating, add the garlic to flavor the oil. Add the chopped onion and saute till the onion has softened. 
  3. Add the chopped Swiss chard stems, crushed red pepper, ground cumin, salt and the chickpeas and continue to saute till the chard stems are soft. Finally add the chard leaves and 1/4 cup water and cook till wilted. If the mixture seems dry, add another 1/4 cup water. The dish should have a little sauce to top the quinoa. When done, mix in the minced preserved lemon.
  4. To serve, place the quinoa at the bottom of the serving dish and top with the Swiss chard and chickpea mixture.
Serves 3

Monday, February 16, 2015

Blood orange madeleines

Madeleines are traditional small French sponge cakes with a distinctive shell like shape. I have been experimenting with them, but could never find a recipe for the perfect sponge. I love the madeleines that Cafe Boulud serves as part of their petit fours and I finally found Daniel Boulud's recipe on Bon Appetit. I have tweaked the recipe a tiny bit, but kept the method the same. I have substituted double acting baking powder for regular baking powder to give the madeleines the extra bump and used the zest of blood oranges instead of regular oranges. Also substituted orange blossom honey to carry through the orange theme. And finally I made  these heavenly little pillows. Note: You need special madeleine pans to make these.

Blood orange madeleines
1 teaspoon double acting baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt

¾ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 large organic eggs
⅓ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon orange blossom honey
2 teaspoons finely grated blood orange zest (from 2 blood oranges)
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, melted, warm
Confectioners sugar

One 12-cake regular madeleine pan. I used a non-stick pan. If not using a non-stick pan, spray with a vegetable spray before using.

  1. Whisk baking powder, salt, and flour in a small bowl.
  2. Whisk eggs, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, honey, and blood orange zest in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in dry ingredients until just incorporated, then whisk in melted butter until smooth. Transfer batter to a pastry bag or resealable plastic bag and chill at least 1 hour. i used a freezer bag since it is thicker than a regular ziploc bag.
  3. Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly dust the madeleine pan with flour. Snip 1 corner of freezer bag and pipe batter into each mold, filling two-thirds full. You will have enough batter for 4 more!
  4. Bake madeleines until edges are golden brown and centers are puffed and lightly spring back when gently pressed, about 7 - 8 minutes.
  5. With a non-stick pan, the madeleines will literally slide off. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm.

  6. Do Ahead: Batter can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.
Makes 16 cakes