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Caramelized Endive with Gruyère

Cultivated chicory is found in these three categories:

  • Radicchio – variegated red or red and green leaves
  • Sugarloaf  – looks like cos lettuce with packed leaves
  • Belgian endive  – small head of cream-colored, slightly bitter leaves

Belgian endive is grown completely underground or indoors in the absence of sunlight in order to prevent the leaves from turning green and opening up.  Exposure to light turns endive green and bitter so store it in a brown paper bag in the crisper.  It’s an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and a good source of dietary fiber.

Serves 4
adapted from Plenty

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 endives, cut in half lengthways
7 oz. Gruyère, sliced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (you may need more)
black pepper

Preheat oven to 375f.  Place a heavy pan over medium heat.  Add the oil, butter and sugar and a pinch of salt – allow to melt.  Place endive halves, cut-side down, in the pan.  Do not move them for 3 to 5 minutes, or until they turn deep golden.  Remove from heat.  Transfer to a small oven-proof dish, arranging them cut-side up, close together.  Sprinkle with half the thyme.  Place slices of cheese on top and sprinkle with the rest of the thyme.

Place in oven and bake 8 to 12 minutes or until cheese starts to bubble.  Serve hot.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  I made this two days in a row it’s that good!  Yotam first published this recipe in the Guardian in 2007 and he used Taleggio but later decided to change it to Gruyère for its piquant flavor.  He also suggests trying raclette, which he said was “born to melt”.  Enjoy!

Fresh Fruit Cake

I had a craving for something sweet and because it’s just the two of us, making a cake doesn’t make sense as we would be eating it for days to come.  This super easy dessert stays moist even on day three!  It’s so easy to whip up and I like the idea of baking it in a sauté pan. 

adapted from Design Sponge

fresh fruit (peaches, nectarines, plums, berries)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
grated zest of one lemon
1 cup flour
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 180c (350f).  Cream butter and sugar. Add the grated lemon zest. Add the eggs, and vanilla, stirring each to combine. In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Pour the batter into a greased 8-inch pan. Top with fruit. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle the mixture on top of the fruit. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is browned.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  Let me just say this was absolutely delicious and John has asked me to make this again…with pleasure!  Enjoy!

Corn On The Cob – a cool and super easy way to cook it!

Whenever I open my mail I scan through the inbox looking at the subject titles to see which ones merit opening first…I’m sure those reading this post do the same thing.  A few weeks ago a friend of mine, April, sent me an email on how to cook corn in the microwave but what really got my attention was how little prep work there was.  I was a bit skeptical but the idea peaked my interest and I knew I had to give it a go.  Fresh corn is now showing up in the grocery stores and although they’re not local, I cannot resist buying.

Before getting down to the nitty-gritty of cooking corn in a rather unorthodox way, let me point out a few juicy tidbits regarding the health benefits of corn.  It is a good source of fiber, a  phytonutrient-rich food that provides antioxidant benefits, provides many B-complex vitamins (including B1, B5 and folic acid),  and 1 to 2 cups of corn helps to control blood sugar in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Corn (maize) has been around for centuries and was eaten by Native American tribes before European settlers arrived in the Americas.  The Maya civilization ate corn as a staple food crop and ate it off the cob, either roasting or boiling it.  Corn grows in ears, and each is covered in rows of kernels that are then protected by the silk-like threads called corn silk and encased in a husk.

Select corn and place in a microwave.  I can put 4 ears of corn in my microwave at one time…maybe more if I stack them.  Microwave on high for 8 minutes.

Remove the corn from the microwave (you may want to use oven mitts as the corn will be hot).  Place on a cutting board.

Take a sharp knife and cut the end off – about 1 to 2 inches.

Pick the ear of corn up and hold at the top.  In a shaking movement, shake downward and the corn will slide out leaving the corn-silk in the husk.

Cooking the corn in the microwave seems to make the corn-silk shrink and attach itself to the husk leaving the corn to slip out of its casing.

No mess, no fuss!  My kind of cooking!

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  The kernels were sweet, juicy, and tender.  Tomorrow is Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day – Stand Up For Real Food.  Share this posting with your children and help educate them where their food comes from.  Enjoy!