Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Blackberry Crumble

All summer, I have been watching the neighbour's blackberry vines descend over my cedar hedges. I even make a half-hearted attempt to trim them back every now and again.

Why half-hearted? Because these ugly vines:

Produce these beautiful fruit!

And I don't have to reach my hands into a prickly deathbush to get them either - they are cascading over the wall! So I decided to take my bounty and make a crumble.

I had 2 cups of blackberries, and I added two cups of mixed raspberries and blueberries (bought at local fruit stand and then frozen):

Onto the four cups of fruit is about 3/4 cup of sugar (depending on how sweet your fruit is).

Give it a bit of a stir.

To make the crumble, combine flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon, and a bit of salt.

Cut in butter til, well, crumbley.

Butter an 8" baking pan. Mmmmm ... butter ....

Add berry sugar mixture.

Cover with crumbley stuff.

Bake until topping is golden, maybe 30 minutes. Best to let it cool for an hour or so, else the molten fruit will scald your tongue.

Blackberry Crumble
4 cups fresh blackberries or any combination of berries
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. quick cooking oats
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. butter

Place berries in a large bowl. Sprinkle with sugar; gently mix.

In another bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in bowl; give a good stir. Cut in butter until crumbly.

Spoon fruit into buttered baking dish. Sprinkle crumbles over top evenly.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool about an hour. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Boneless Leg of Lamb Stuffed with Feta and Swiss Chard

Still looking for something to do with Swiss Chard, I came upon
this recipe for boneless leg of lamb stuffed with swiss chard and feta. A quick check of the fridge revealed that I had feta - yay! I knew I had some leg roasts in the freezer, and swiss chard - yeah, I've got lots of that too.

I also made the Spiced Quinoa recipe as suggested by the good people at Gourmet Magazine. This was, bar none, the best quinoa I've ever eaten. I have no idea what a timbale mold is so I just dumped the cooked quinoa on a plate. I also omitted the tomatoes and onions because I am finicky. :-)

Swiss Chard with stems removed, roughly chopped.

Steam until wilted and softened.

Thinly slice 6 garlic cloves.

Cook to light golden.

Remove garlic from pan, add wilted chard. Try to squeeze out as much water as possible before adding to pan, as oil gets very jumpy when it meets water.

Cook til excess liquid has evaporated. Place in same bowl as garlic to cool.

Add crumbled feta.

Ah, the glorious butterflied boneless leg of lamb!

I've trimmed off quite a bit of fat and tried to flatten the piece a bit as it needs to be rolled once it's stuffed.

Spread the filling onto the inside of the leg.

Wrap up tightly, starting with short side. Think jelly roll. Tie into submission with butcher's twine.

Place in roasting pan, rub with oil, salt and pepper.

Roast for 30 minutes. In the meantime, slice an onion.

After half an hour roasting, sprinkle the onion around the roast.

Return to oven and roast until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees.

Remove lamb from pan and let rest for at least 20 minutes.

Add red wine to roasting pan and deglaze. Scrape up all the tasty brown bits!

When the liquid has been reduced by half, strain through a sieve into a saucepan.

Add beef broth, water and seasonings. Reduce to about two cups.

Mmmm ... sauce ....

While the sauce is simmering, get started on the quinoa. I skipped the "brown the onion" stage and instead browned the spices, then added the quinoa.

Add the broth and the currants.

Bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated. Add chopped flat leaf parsley.

Place generous helping of quinoa on plate.

Slice lamb, place on plate, slather with sauce. Nom nom!

Boneless Leg of Lamb Stuffed with Swiss Chard and Feta Gourmet | April 1992
Yield: Serves 6

1 pound Swiss chard, the stems discarded and the leaves chopped coarse
6 large garlic cloves, sliced thin lengthwise
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 pound Feta, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
an 8-pound leg of lamb, boned, butterflied, and trimmed well (4 to 5 pounds boneless)
1 1/2 teaspoons crumbled dried rosemary, or to taste
1 onion, sliced
1 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water

Wash the Swiss chard well, drain it, and in a heavy saucepan steam it in the water clinging to the leaves, covered, over moderate heat for 3 to 5 minutes, or until it is wilted. Drain the chard in a colander, refresh it under cold water, and squeeze it dry in a kitchen towel. In a skillet cook the garlic in 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderate heat, stirring, until it is pale golden and transfer it with a slotted spoon to a bowl. To the skillet add the chard, cook it, stirring, for 1 minute, or until any excess liquid is evaporated, and transfer it to the bowl. Let the chard mixture cool and stir in the Feta.

Pat the lamb dry, arrange it, boned side up, on a work surface, and season it with salt and pepper. Spread the lamb evenly with the chard mixture, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges, beginning with a short side roll it up jelly-roll fashion, and tie it tightly with kitchen string. (The rolled and tied roast may look ungainly, but it will improve in appearance when cooked.)

Transfer the lamb to a roasting pan and rub it all over with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon of the rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste. Roast the lamb in the middle of a preheated 325°F. oven for 30 minutes, scatter the onion around it in the pan, and roast the lamb for 1 to 1 1/4 hours more (a total of 20 minutes cooking time for each pound of boneless meat), or until a meat thermometer registers 140°F. for medium-rare meat. Transfer the lamb to a cutting board and let it stand for 20 minutes.

While the lamb is standing, skim the fat from the pan drippings, and set the roasting pan over moderately high heat. Add the wine, deglaze the pan, scraping up the brown bits, and boil the mixture until it is reduced by half. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a saucepan, add the broth, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon rosemary, the water, and any juices that have accumulated on the cutting board, and boil the mixture until it is reduced to about 2 cups. Stir the cornstarch mixture, add it to the wine mixture, whisking, and simmer the sauce for 2 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and keep it warm.

Discard the strings from the lamb, arrange the lamb on a heated platter, and surround it with the quinoa timbales and clusters of the carrots. Strain the sauce into a heated sauceboat and serve it with the lamb, sliced.

Spiced Quinoa Timbales Gourmet | April 1992
Yield: Serves 6

1 cup quinoa (small, flat, disk-shaped seeds, available at natural foods stores and many specialty foods shops)
1 small onion, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
a rounded 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup dried currants or raisins
1/4 cup chopped drained canned tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

In a fine sieve rinsed the quinoa under cold water for 1 minute and drain it well. In a heavy saucepan cook the onion in the oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until it is softened, add the cumin, the cinnamon, and the turmeric, and cook the mixture, stirring, for 30 seconds.

Add the quinoa and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the broth, the water, the currants, the tomatoes, and the salt and simmer the mixture, covered, for 15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed.

Remove the pan from the heat, let the mixture stand, covered, for 5 minutes, and stir in the parsley. Divide the quinoa mixture among 6 buttered 1/2-cup timbale molds, packing it, and invert the timbales onto a platter.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Foccacia with Rosemary

I love making bread. I love watching the dough come to life, the simple few ingredients swelling into this doughy, sticky mess. Foccacia is a really fun bread to make because it's such a silly, runny dough. I am following the recipe from the definitive (in my mind) bread book: Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Bread Bible.

In a stand mixer, stir the flour and yeast.

Slowly drizzle in the water.

Doesn't it look soupy?

Beat on medium for about 20 minutes, or until it's just barely come together.

Pour into an oiled bowl and let rise for four hours, or until triple in size.

Lightly oil a sheet pan with olive oil.

Gently pour the dough into the pan. Try to be gentle - you don't want to lose the bubbles!

Carefully stretch the dough out to the corners. If it's too springy, let it relax for ten minutes and try again.

Cover with oiled cling film and let rise for an hour.

Carefully remove cling film. Dough should be very light and bubbly.

Drizzle olive oil, sprinkle with rosemary and sea salt.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Nommm!!!!