Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ruby Red Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

As I sit in front of a very angry Pacific Ocean, (our weekend get-away rental is perched, literally, on top of the sea, where the weather isn't exactly cooperating with my idea of beach weather), I have decided to imagine that it's hot outside, (like it was last year), and that I will be eating this salad for lunch...
Yvette and I did this photo shoot ages ago and it kinda got lost in the shuffle, but what better time to share this beautiful salad with you as we could all use a reminder that spring is around the corner, and this salad is perfect for lunch on a warm day. With buttery avocados, crunchy hazelnuts, and juicy pink grapefruit segments, this bright, cheery salad is simply lovely. I like to serve it for brunch with a hearty veggie fritatta and bubbly mimosas.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Roasted Garlic and Broccoli Soup

Buying a giant bunch of beautiful broccoli right before we take off for a long weekend may not have been the wisest of decisions, or was it?? Now that my kitchen is filled with the smell of roasted garlic, and dinner is well on it's way to being finished, I'm thinking that my impetuousness was more of a stroke of pure genius.
Making veggie soups are simple, and a wonderful way to clean out that fridge. By adding roasted garlic, you turn an ordinary soup in to something a little more special. You might as well roast a few heads of garlic, while you have the oven on - they are great to have on hand. They should keep about a week in the fridge.

Roasted Garlic and Broccoli Soup
Borrowed from The Los Angeles Times

Serves 6 - 8

1 large, plump head of garlic
pinch of salt and pepper
drizzle of olive oil

1 large bunch of broccoli
2 TBLS butter or olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 large baking potato, peeled and cubed into 1 '' dice
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375.
Slice the top 1/4 off the head of garlic. Drizzle olive oil over head of garlic, season with salt and pepper and place the top back over the head. Wrap in tin foil and roast until tender, about 45 minutes. Set aside to cool.

While garlic is roasting, heat oil or butter in a large pot, and sweat onions for about 5 minutes and add chopped broccoli florets and potato cubes. Add stock and bring to a boil.
Partially cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until potato is cooked thoroughly.
Once the roasted garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the roasted cloves into the soup.
Season with salt and pepper.

Puree soup in batches, or (better yet!), use an immersion blender. Serve soup hot.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Jamie Oliver's Orange Spiced Doughnuts

"Doughnuts. Is there anything they can't do?"
-Homer Simpson

These take a few hours, and require your attention, but if you are ready to take on the challenge, frying and all, then this are a great doughnut recipe. My suggestion is to make the full recipe if you are having a bunch of friends over - as this yields a large amount. If you happen to be doing this for just a few (two) people, cut this in half. (I did). They won't keep for long, so it's best to fry 'em up and eat 'em warm.

Doughnuts With Old English Spice

1 1/4 oz packet active dry yeast
1/3 cup super fine sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups plus 2 TBLS whole milk (warmed until tepid)
zest of 2 lemons
zest of 1 orange
5 1/2 TBLS butter, softened and cubed
1 3/4 pints vegetable oil

For flavored sugar:

1/2 cup superfine sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp all-spice
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
1 vanilla bean, scored lengthwise, seeds removed

Put the yeast in a bowl with a TBLS of sugar and a TBLS of flour and mix in the warm milk. Put in a warm spot until mixture is frothy.
Put the rest of the sugar, flour, butter and zest into a bowl and add add yeast mixture. Bring together with a spoon and form a ball. Use your clean hands to form a nice ball and knead dough for about 5 minutes, or until soft and silky.
Place ball into a bowl, and place a damp towel over it and allow it to rise for about 1 hour, or until it has doubled in size.

Meanwhile, make the flavored sugar by mixing all ingredients in a bowl and set it aside.

When the dough had doubled in size, knock it back by pushing or punching the air out of the dough. This will allow the dough to rise again and the doughnuts will be light and fluffy.
On a floured surface, roll the dough out until it's about 1/2 inch thick.
Cutout about 25 little holes with a glass rim or cookie cutter- about 2" in diameter. Place on greased cookie sheet and place damp cloth on top and allow to double in size, about 45 minutes.

Once they have doubled in size, use a chop stick to pop into the middle of each blob to form a hole.
Time to fry - BE CAREFUL!!! Heat oil in a deep, heavy sauce pan. Check oil temp by dropping a small piece of left over dough into the oil. If it drops and pops back up right away and turns golden after about 1 minute, the oil is hot enough.
Fry doughnuts in batches, about 2 minutes, removing them with a slotted spoon, and setting on paper napkins to drain.
While still hot, dust with flavored sugar and eat warm.