Raspberry & Mushroom Salad

01
Jun

Listening to: A playlist of Melody Gardot, Mayra Andrade & Natalia Clavier. So beautiful!
Reading: A book on teaching Citizenship Education in the UK. It’s a relatively new subject and the book covers the hows, whys and what it is to be a citizen.
Loving: Washing all our dishes by hand rather than switching the dishwasher on. I’m not sure how long this will go on for, but when our dishwasher broke it took about ten days to get the replacement, and I got hooked on the routine of it. I love listening to music whilst making my food, so this really just gives me another chance to be barefoot in my kitchen, listening to music, avoiding all talk on politics and winding down for the day.

*

The weather has been beautiful for the most part this last month or so. We’ve had plenty of sunshine which has led to sunbathing in the bright green grassy parks, eating dinner out on the balcony and sitting out talking until the sun sets over the tree tops.

Dinners have become lighter too. Gone are the baked sweet potatoes I craved almost every day over winter and instead I’m craving fresh berries and for one reason or another, raw mushrooms. I never used to be all that about raw mushrooms, then one day on a whim I made Frank Stitt’s red onion and mushroom salad on arugula and things changed. I go for long periods with no mushrooms in my diet at all as, generally speaking, I prefer them raw to any other preparation.

This salad is a combination of many of my current favorite flavors all tossed together in one bowl. The mushrooms are marinated in lime juice & fresh minced rosemary in advance, the basis is arugula and seared red onion (as Frank taught me in his book Bottega Favorita!) and to that I added the freshest of raspberries, perfectly ripe and creamy avocado and the crunch of some sprouted sunflower seeds. I dressed it in a little raw avocado oil and some black pepper, but in truth, it’d be just fine without the additional oil as it’s already pretty juicy.

For the mushrooms, you just wash and slice them and put them in a little bowl tossed with the juice of one or two limes and the minced leaves of one sprig of rosemary. Leave it on the side for an hour or two until the flavors have been absorbed. When you drain the mushrooms it’s good to leave the flecks of rosemary on the mushrooms, so no rinsing!

For the onions, just slice a red onion horizontally and sear in a pan on the stove. Leave each side for a few minutes without moving them, until they’ve caramelized. When you take them out you separate them into rings as you toss with the arugula.

Separate enough arugula for two people between the bowls, toss the red onion rings and drained mushrooms in. If you’re using the avocado oil, feel free to drizzle a little on. Cube a hass avocado and add that, along with the raspberries. Top with the sprouted sunflower seeds, grind some black pepper over the top and you’re good to go!

Please feel free to email me at emily@emilyeats.com or find me on twitter if you have any comments, questions or recommendations. I love hearing from you! Comments section is now working! Hurrah!

Creamy Cajun Spiced Broccoli Soup

22
Mar

Listening to: Justin Rutledge at Junofest, 2011
Discussing: The UK Chancellor cutting the top tax rate for the richest because they, uh, weren’t paying it anyway…
Enjoying: The sun setting later and later, having friends over for laid back dinners and go-slow Sunday mornings.

This soup was a hit even with a self professed disliker of broccoli soup! It’s intense green color comes from the blended in raw baby spinach. Somehow between adding the extra greens and also a small amount of goats milk, the little bits of broccoli which tend to cause a textured soup were nowhere to be found. I’m no lover of lumpy bits.

Winter has been giving in to Spring for quite a while here and the blossom and magnolia trees are making for some very pretty roads to wander. The days are reaching 18C/64f leading me to spend more time outdoors and occasionally wishing we had an east facing balcony so I’d get to enjoy a little more of the morning’s colored skies, which for the moment I enjoy reflected back at me on the windows opposite. The rest of the time I am more than content that I get to watch the sunset behind the trees that stand taller than the houses.

This soup is one of the meals taking me away from my winter dependence on root vegetables and snoozing under a blanket on the couch late at night and more toward after dinner walks with good conversation.


Creamy Cajun Spiced Broccoli Soup

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 cup water
1t cajun spice
1 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 large or 2 small heads of broccoli, chopped including the stems
100g (3.5oz) fresh baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup goats milk
100g (3.5oz) young fresh goats cheese
A couple pinches of ground cumin

Method

Gently heat the water, cajun spice, garlic and onion in a medium to large saucepan. When the onions have softened, add the broccoli and put the lid on. Steam the broccoli for about 5 minutes. Transfer it all to your blender (I use a Vitamix, which helped get this really smooth) add the goats milk and spinach, and blend until smooth. Add more milk or water to get to the consistency you’ll enjoy. Transfer the soup back to the saucepan and very gently warm it to taste. It won’t take more than a minute or two. Divide the soup between two bowls, top with the cheese and sprinkle with the cumin.

Grapefruit & Basil Ensalada Verde

25
Jan

Eating healthily is the quickest way to put a meal together, no joke. There’s no hammering of meat, time intensive stirring of gooey risotto and you can be more creative as there’s less scope to go too far wrong!

Take this one such salad. I love playing with the concept of green salad, just finding everything green I have in the refrigerator and making it work. I know some people will be thinking they’d want more variety of color, but there’s something about the coolness of green that I find appealing.

The dressing on this is also pretty light as it’s mostly just grapefruit juice, which then seeps into the veggies infusing them with a little of it’s tang. The peppery basil is cut fine and scattered throughout to season each mouthful and the asparagus is gently grilled to lend smokiness. I also find that using mixed greens in these kinds of salads is the best approach. Romaine has it’s place, but a mix of watercress, arugula (rocket) and baby spinach leaves really kicks the flavor up a bit more.

This is a 30 minute meal from start to finish. I put on my playlist of favorite Amos Lee songs* and marinated myself in his words and the unseasonably mild winter’s evening. Creating dinner is such a meditative time for me. Let’s face it, it’s going to take the same time to make something no matter how you approach it, so you may as well enjoy it, right?

Grapefruit & Basil Infused Green Salad

Serves 2

Ingredients

About 75g of mixed green leaves per plate (or however much you fancy) – I used arugula, baby spinach and watercress

Zest of half a pink grapefruit

Juice of half a pink grapefruit

3 sprigs of fresh basil leaves – about 3T when chopped in a fine chiffonade

1T of extra virgin olive oil

1t of grade 2 pure maple syrup (or sweetener of your choice, I just like the woody note that maple imparts)

1 bunch of fresh asparagus – the plump rather than the fine, woody ends chopped off

1 medium zucchini (courgette) chopped into 2″ long sticks (I cut mine into thirds, then halved each piece and chopped each piece into thirds again)

1 head of broccoli, chopped into florets and the stalk cut into coins

1 large handful of fine green beans

Method

Preheat the over to 200C/400F.

Add the olive oil & maple syrup to a glass jar, then zest the grapefruit over the top. Halve the grapefruit, and add the juice of one half and reserve the other half for another use. Add the chopped basil, then place the lid on the jar and shake well to combine.

Lightly oil a baking sheet, then place the beans, broccoli and zucchini on it – spreading it out as much as you can to encourage roasting rather than steaming. Bake for 20 minutes.

Lightly oil a grill pan and bring to a medium heat on the stove. Grill the asparagus for about 8 minutes, turning mid-way to encourage even cooking.

Plate the greens and lightly drizzle with some of the dressing. Add the other veggies and drizzle with the rest of the dressing.

*Favorite Amos songs include:

Seen it All Before

Baby I Want You

The Wind

Night Train

Arms of a Woman

Dignified Woman

My favorite whole album of his is Last Days at the Lodge. It is just gorgeous. Dare you not to be able to relax to that one!

 

 

Anything Ensalada ~

18
Jan

I get asked a lot about what I actually eat on a day by day basis, so by taking a quick photo of what I’ve made and posting it here, I can point my friends in this direction so they can see for themselves – especially those who live abroad who can’t very easily drop by at feeding time!  It can be much easier to get an idea of how someone is going about doing something via photos rather than a quick chat on the phone or over a drink one evening. I’m guessing most people over think what they need to do to clean their diets up and then it can seem really insurmountable. Of course there are many ways to go about being healthy, and my way is just what works for me.

On some nights, there is also nothing better – in my mind – than taking a few short minutes to just put the exact foods you feel like in one bowl, sit cross legged on the couch (as always!) and to just enjoy it. It happens quite a lot that I literally just open the fridge and put a bit of this or a bit of that in a bowl. There’s nothing complicated about it at all. Nada. It’s just how I eat. No meal plan or book to follow, just my nose.There’s something beautiful about eating what you want, when you want it. It feels intuitive and carefree to me – in a world where those values are not always cultivated.

So here’s one example of an Emily Dinner Bowl:

Test avocado for ripeness.

Open fridge.

Put mixed leaves in my bowl.

Wash and chop a few springs worth of fresh oregano leaves and add those.

Add a few chargrilled artichoke halves.

Wash some cherry tomatoes and halve them. Add those.

Halve the avocado and place on top of the leaves.

Squeeze fresh lemon juice over everything.

Drip hot pepper sauce over the avocado.

C’est tout!

 

Corn Soup With Roasted Corn Guacamole

14
Jan

I was out browsing books on a lunch break a year or so ago when I came across Simply Mexican by Lourdes Castro. This recipe had me immediately and out of all the recipes I’ve tried in the book, zero have ever let me down. Admittedly I haven’t exactly ventured in to the meaty ones, but I have covered everything vegetable and fish. This soup is one of my boyfriend’s favorites so it gets made time and again and, as with all recipes I use, it’s been altered slightly to suit our preferences.

You can find the original recipe here. My main changes are that I don’t use chicken stock but either water or vegetable stock (which I’ve usually made incorporating some cilantro); I use butter instead of oil and frequently sub in a chipotle chilli for the jalapeño. It’s a really flavorful dinner and feels like pure comfort on a winter’s night yet is zesty enough to still be craved in the summertime.

I put this together in about 30 minutes, dancing around the kitchen to Calexico. I love this band so much and have a playlist devoted to them, so I could pretty much have them on in the background for an entire day – they are really good music to work to.  A few of my favorites are Black Heart, Victor Jara’s Hands & Inspiracion. I also love the track they recorded with François Breut called Keeper of the Flame.