Thursday, November 26, 2015

Cucumber, Onion and Mint Salad

"November Potluck", the theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). We get to cook from any of IHCC's past or present featured chefs, and for this week, I've made Jacques Pepin's simple and yummy salad, Cucumber, Onion and Mint Salad.

I've sliced the onions into rings (instead of diced), as I like them this way in salads. The cucumbers are from my potted garden, gorgeous fresh cucumbers! I did not peel them since these are homegrown and they have thin skins, so they really do not need any peeling. These are mini cucumbers,and there's barely any seeds in them, so I did not bother to scrape out the seeds. Also I have skipped the step where the cucumbers and onions are sprinkled with salt and left for 30 minutes to extract out the water so that they will be crunchy. My cucumbers are really crisps so I've omitted this step. The salad is made more refreshing and fresh by using mint leaves, also from my garden pot. I did not use Tabasco sauce, but have replaced with Dijon mustard instead. This salad can be prepared in advance and keep in the refrigerator until serving time. It is delicious served cold. 

Mini cucumbers. Fresh, juicy and crisp. Perfect for salads. Looking forward to more cucumber harvests this week! Big grin!!!

Mint from the garden pot.

Cucumber, Onion and Mint Salad
(adapted from : Heart&Soul, Jacques Pepin)
1 large English (seedless) cucumber (about 1 pound)
1 cup diced (1⁄2-inch) mild onion
1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons shredded fresh mint leaves
1⁄2 cup sour cream

1⁄2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (I use Dijon mustard)

Peel the cucumber and cut it lengthwise in half. Using the tip of a teaspoon, scrape out the seeds. Cut the flesh into 1⁄2-inch dice. (You should have about 2 1⁄2 cups.)
Combine the cucumber and diced onion in a bowl, sprinkle with the salt, and mix well. Let cure for 30 minutes. (I skipped this step).
Drain the cucumber mixture in a colander and pat dry with paper towels. Combine with the rest of the ingredients and serve.

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), theme for this week
"November Potluck"

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Pear-Blueberry Roll-Up Tart

This week at Tuesdays With Dorie (TWD), the selected recipe is Pear-Cranberry Roll-Up Tart. I do not have any fresh or frozen cranberry, but I do have a pack of frozen blueberries, so I have used that instead. For the filling, I've used Parkham Pears which are ripe and sweet. For the jam, I've used raspberry jam and replaced the ground ginger with ground allspice as I could not find my little jar of ground ginger. I thought I had one around!

 Roll-Up Tart about to go into the oven.

Dorie's galette dough is quite easy to handle for a round tart, or even small little tarts, but I had a little trouble rolling the dough up into a roll-up tart. With the pear and blueberry filling inside, it was not an easy smooth roll! There's one or two tears, which was easily patched up by pinching the dough together to seal. In the end I managed it somehow, though I am unable to tuck the ends of both sides under the dough, as it was getting sticky and soft by then. So I just pinched them together to seal. Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with demarara sugar. Make a few slits on top and bake as instructed in the recipe.

One thing I know for sure is that, Dorie's galette dough makes a flaky, tender, crisp and buttery dough crust. The juices from the filling was bubbling from the sides of the tart instead of from the slits at the top as Dorie indicated while it was baking. When it was done baking and cool to just warm, I sliced the tart and some of the slices break into pieces.

The pear pieces are tinged from the colour of the blueberries. Overall, a very nice tart, but I could not help comparing this to the Apple Pielettes which we baked last month. They are quite similar, one with apple and this with pear, and they both used different jams and spices. I prefer the Apple Pielettes. That being  said, we did enjoy slices of these tart with warm tea. 

I'm linking this post with Tuesdays With Dorie (TWD)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Green Beans with Mushrooms and Shallots

"Scentsational Sides", the theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). I've made another side dish, this time to go with our usual dinner of rice and some other main dishes.

A simple and very tasty veggie dish. Bought some French green beans and they were very sweet, tender and fresh. I've used fresh shiitake mushrooms instead of assorted mushrooms.

The green beans are cut into 1-inch pieces, then they are cooked in the microwave for about 4 minutes before stir-frying them with the rest of the ingredients. This is similar to what we usually cook at home, the only difference is we always used garlic instead of shallots. Next time I will use both garlic and shallots. Very tasty veggie dish, the perfect side-dish to accompany any meal. 

Green Beans with Mushrooms and Shallots
(adapted from "The Food You Crave", Ellie Krieger)
serves 4
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup sliced shallots (about 2 medium)
3/4 pound assorted fresh mushrooms (i.e. button, baby bella, shiitake, oyster, chanterelle), sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Put the green beans in a microwave-safe bowl with the water.
Cover tightly and microwave on high for 4 minutes. Carefully remove the cover, drain it in a colander, shaking off any excess water, and set aside.
While the beans are cooking, heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until softened slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the water they release has evaporated and they begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the green beans and stir to combine and rewarm. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

This post is linked to I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), the theme for this week
Scentsational Sides

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