Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jamie Oliver's Evolution Cucumber Salad

I admit it - I watched Rachael Ray yesterday. Anyway, it was okay because she wasn't very screachy and it was rather lucky actually because there was Jamie Oliver in all his Britishness speaking about good food and easy recipes. I copied his recipe down with the PVR on slow-mo and made the cucumber salad the other night for dinner (as a side). Since my own notes are quite basic, I will copy the recipe from RR's website and post it here for you. Go here for a video and picture of the salad - my salad looked EXACTLY the same! It was a very, very good salad. So easy and honestly, much nicer than cucumber salad sounds. I am trying the Evolution Potato Salad tomorrow.

Jamie Oliver's Evolution Cucumber Salad - Serves 4
Peel 2 cucumbers, using a speed peeler, chop off the ends, and halve them lengthways. Use a teaspoon to gently scoop the seeds out, and discard them. Chop the cucumber into irregular bite-sized chunks and place in a bowl. Seas with a good pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and mix well. Pick some leaves off a few sprigs of fresh mint and roughly chop them. Add them to the salad and toss together. Serve the salad simply as it is, or let it evolve…
Add a large tablespoon of natural yogurt to the cucumber salad. Toss until well coated and serve drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil.
Put a large handful of black olives on a clean surface and press down on them with the palm of your hand to remove the pits. Discard the pits and add the olives to the salad. Toss together well.
Halve 1 fresh red chile lengthways, seed, and finely chop. Scatter over your cucumber salad and serve drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil.

Poached Eggs on Spinach & Polenta

This is a good brunch idea or even a great light dinner for the warmer months. I made it tonight for dinner and found it filling enough (for now...wait 'til midnight strikes). A good vegetarian option for those of you hosting an Easter lunch or brunch this weekend.

This recipe is from Food & Drink magazine (LCBO Spring 2010, page 118)

Ingredients and Prep: Serves 4 - adjust accordingly for # of guests

1 tube store bought polenta (500 grams)
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups of sliced shitake mushrooms (I used cremini)
10 cups of baby spinach (I used the Europe's Best frozen squares because it is easier!)
salt and pepper
4 eggs
4 thin slices of cheese (of your choice)

Preheat your oven to 300F - this is just to keep the polenta warm so use your warming drawer if you have one.

Slice up half your tube of polenta. Fill a wide saucepan with a bout 2" of water and bring to a boil. Turn heat down and add vinegar. Add half the oil to a frying pan. Fry up your polenta until golden on each side. About 10-12 minutes. Place on a heat proof plate and keep warm in oven or warming drawer. Add remaining oil to pan and fry up your mushrooms, then add your spinach. Drain any water from the spinach (especially if you use the frozen kind) prior to adding if you can. Season spinach and mushrooms with salt and pepper. keep on a very low heat to keep warm. next, poach your eggs. Keep the yolks slightly runny. Remove with a slotted spoon.

To serve, plate polenta first, then cheese, spinach & mushroom mixture and the eggs on top.

Yum. And Happy Easter.